Heartache. Grief. Loss. Pain. Fear.

I think a lot of times, people think that upon accepting Christ they receive an immunity from these things. The reality is that there is nothing that makes us immune to feeling the full spectrum of human emotions. And frankly, there are plenty of places in the Bible that basically say “life is going to suck” (We’ve already established my paraphrasing of scripture sucks, go read your Bible.) But right after those places where it says life is going to be hard, God says “Hey, chin up! I’m still right here and when you get to the end, you’ll be fabulously skinny.” Or maybe that’s what I tell myself to get my butt on the treadmill…  The point is Christians simply have faith that there is a purpose for the pain.

But that doesn’t always make it easier to handle the moments when the shock wears off and your stomach is churning and it feels like your lungs are shriveling up and you can’t get enough oxygen to breathe, let alone cry, which you know you should be doing but you simply can’t.

It doesn’t stop your mind from racing and trying to process every single scenario of “coulda, shoulda, woulda” at the same time until you feel like a medically induced coma sounds like a delightful vacation.

Knowing there’s a purpose doesn’t always mean you can  keep from shutting down and shutting out the world.

And sometimes,  it starts to feel kinda good to be away from everyone. When you just get to be sad without having to hear someone say “it’s going to be alright.” … because sure, they mean well enough, but let’s be real… you’d like it better if they just shut up. Words aren’t going to fix what’s broken or bring back what’s been taken from you.

But then, it happens.

Someone takes a chance and cracks a joke. The corners of your mouth betray you, and you can feel it. Your first smile. It feels a little bit foreign and even a little wrong.

But instead of just cracking a joke, it’s like they’ve cracked a window into the dark room you’ve shut yourself into. And once that little bit of light breaks through, you realize that the dark room doesn’t feel as cozy and nice as it used to… you realize you don’t want to stay there forever…

And maybe you’re not quite ready to walk out the door yet, but slowly you start letting more and more people open windows until you can finally look out and see that things are going to be ok.

That’s what my faith is to me; a window that lets light into the darkest situations in my life. I can’t always see exactly how things are going to be ok… but I know that they will be.


“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” — Hebrews 11:1






I don’t run.

Like, you know those shirts that say “I don’t run, if you see me running, you should run too because something is chasing me”

… yeah… That’s me.

But when people come to me for advice, I usually tell them to run. To Jesus. Or Mama.

Obviously Jesus has more to offer than a human being, but I’m pretty, pretty sure God gave extra portions of grace and love to mom’s for when their kids can’t lift their heads. And I’m convinced that there is nothing stronger on this earth than the prayer of a desperate mother.

I heard a story on the radio about this guy who was super depressed, everything in his life had gone wrong. He grew up with a Christian mama, but never himself really believed… but when he was so low and feeling suicidal, something always stopped him and he had a sinking suspicion it was divine intervention. Eventually he cried out to God, “Will you just leave me alone?!” and he said God spoke to him in that moment, “I can’t. Your mama won’t leave Me alone.”

Life has been tough the past month or so. It’s put me into a funk that I’ve never quite experienced. Usually, I am the one who people call when they can’t hold it together anymore… so I’ve convinced myself that I can’t fall apart… that if I talk to people about how I’m feeling, I’ll lose some of my street cred as being the one who you can turn to… and that’s probably my pride… and by probably, I mean definitely.

But back to my advice about running…

I took it.

My mama has been listening to this sermon series by Jim White. When I walked into the kitchen, this was what was coming through the speakers:

But I’m sick. Doesn’t Matter. Get Up.

But I’m about to go bankrupt.  Doesn’t Matter. Get Up.

But my wife left me. Doesn’t Matter. Get Up.

But I hate the president. Doesn’t Matter. Get Up.

And when I heard that… it reminded me that even when everything sucks, the decision to get up or stay down is in our own hands… and it’s funny how my brain works, but I was suddenly reminded me of last year’s fall retreat for my campus ministry.

I really didn’t want to go. It was cold. It was rainy. I’m not particularly social, and there was this awful suspension bridge that separated the yurts from the bathrooms… But I went. And if I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have gotten to hear my pastor’s friend Bill’s story about life on a submarine. Which sucks. He said if you tried to put prisoners on a submarine and kept them down there for 72 days at a time, it would be considered cruel and unusual punishment… yet these men went not only willingly, but did it over and over again… and he said, “The difference is the mission. If you believe in your mission, you will go through hell and back to see it accomplished.”

And I really want to live my life like that. From now on. I want to look at my life as a mission, rather than just moments and memories that I’m collecting and will ultimately disappear when I do.  We don’t get to decide when or how we go, but we do get to decide how we live. And I’m going to live my life running from here on out.


“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

—  1 Corinthians 9:24