Fifteen Years Later

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Taken in 2004 when we were still babies.

The day we got married fifteen years ago, we were babies. I was twenty-one; you were twenty-three. At the time, we thought we were so grown up, but now I see how naive we were. Our entire future lay before us: bright and overflowing with possibility. We were going to conquer the world! Not really, but it certainly felt like it.

We didn’t know that our first ministry position would be at a church plant that would fail before it fully launched, that in its final week you would become the lead pastor with the responsibility of shutting it down with dignity. You were amazing; I can’t remember if I ever told you. We didn’t know how bad the situation was until a veteran minister told us that what we went through was the worst he had ever seen. Surely not, we thought. But further corroboration came a decade later when we ran into several pastors who had seen what we went through and each told us the same thing: “We’re so happy you’re still following Jesus.”

When we were in the midst of that ministerial catastrophe, we felt like our lives were over. We had no idea our lives were just beginning.

We didn’t know that in less than a year, we would move to the Philippines and join the pastoral staff of the largest church in the country. (What a turnaround from what we had come from!) Our minds didn’t have the capacity to anticipate how much we would learn, how much we would heal, and how much we would fall in love with a people we never expected to fall in love with. When we eventually left the Philippines to follow the dream we had in our hearts since before we got married, we again felt like we could conquer the world.

We left the Philippines to move to Springfield, MO. Not really. We left the Philippines because we wanted to move to Japan to start a church, but we needed to prepare first. And God wanted us to prepare in Small City, USA. “Five years,” we said. “We’ll live in Springfield for five years and then we’ll move to Japan.” No we wouldn’t.

When we hit the two-and-a-half-year mark, we were halfway done with our gotta-do-before-we-go-to-Japan list. We were right on schedule. And then…

“Daniel, my hands hurt. Look, my fingers can barely move.” After getting a master’s degree in piano performance, we thought my hands were just tired. We had no idea our lives were about to get harder.

Months later you wouldn’t just be my husband; you would become my caretaker. Every morning, you would carry me out of bed and move my legs toward the bathroom because I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own. You would lift my hands over my head to help my arms move as I would scream and cry in pain. It was torture, but it had to be done. It was the only way I would be able to shower on my own. When you weren’t at work, you were spending all your time taking care of me. I could see the exhaustion and worry on your face. Before we went to bed each night, I would cry because I knew the next day we would have to do it all again.

All of this was during your first semester of seminary. When I was in grad school, you supported me. “When you start working on your master’s,” I said, I’m going to support you.” I’m so sorry I couldn’t keep my end of the deal.

When I was diagnosed with lupus, people told me, “Your husband is amazing because he stayed.” This isn’t what you signed up for the day you married me. And yet you stayed.

“But what about Japan?” people asked us, as though God was completely shocked by my lupus diagnosis and had no idea it was coming when He placed the dream for Japan on our hearts. We didn’t know that the first time we would have a chance to minister in Japan, lupus would be the key. I would share my story of God’s goodness amidst suffering. It was Christmastime, so you would talk about Narnia, the darkness of winter, and the coming of spring. And God would do amazing things. We had no idea we would have to wait so long for this dream, but God has been good enough to let us have a little taste.

The excitement of that trip was soon overshadowed by more pain. “This is harder than the failed church plant,” I cried, “This is harder than lupus!” You nodded. You felt it, too. Finding out we couldn’t have children was devastating for both of us.

The day we got married, if I would have known the kind of suffering we would experience, I don’t know that I could have gone through it. I would have looked at all the hard stuff and walked away. But if I had, I wouldn’t have known the profound joy that has blossomed out of each painful experience.

In the months that followed the failed church plant, we found another church in Washington, D.C. where we were surrounded by people who spoke life into our hearts. In that church, God taught us to stand up again. Whenever we go back to visit D.C., I love that we always make a stop at that church’s coffeehouse as a kind of pilgrimage. How fitting that it’s called Ebenezers: “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” And as you sip your coffee and I sip my iced chai, we remember that we’re standing on holy ground, a place where God met us. And when we look back on our lives and remember all we’ve been through, we’re filled with fresh excitement for our future. God brought us this far; He’s not about to stop helping us now!

I’ve heard people say that you don’t really know what love is until you have children. But when you carried me—literally—each morning as we thought I might be dying, you showed me what love is. You showed me a capacity for love beyond what I could imagine. And as we have walked through the deep waters of chronic illness together, you have been my advocate and my champion. When I began to walk on my own again, you cheered for me and made me feel like I had conquered the world. I can’t articulate well the gratitude I feel knowing that I have such an amazing person to celebrate every victory with.

And as we walked through the wilderness of infertility, you refused to let me stop dreaming. I love what we’re doing with our lives now. We’re doing things we probably wouldn’t be able to do well if we had children. We wanted so much to be able to leave behind a legacy. We thought we needed children to do that; God showed us we don’t.

And the cherry on top: you’ve shown me how fun it can be when it’s just the two of us. Five Bookstore Friday dates, late night Waffle House runs, and spontaneous “Ooooh, what’s that? Let’s check it out!” adventures.

When we were young, we wanted so much for God to show us His plan for our lives. We know better now. We don’t really want to see all the stuff that God sees because it would terrify us. We would run the other direction and miss all the good stuff He has for us.

I don’t want to know what’s going to happen next. I just want to keep living this adventure with you.

Speak Life

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Photo by Tharatip Sukee on Pexels.com

“So when are you gonna start having kids?”

“Um…I want kids, but, um…I can’t.”

I could see the wheels in their heads spinning wildly as they hurried to conjure something to say. I wished they focused more on being present and speaking life rather than just trying to make conversation. At least they were being nice, right? Or maybe they missed an opportunity to speak the words I needed to hear in that moment.

When I was diagnosed with lupus six years ago, I was inundated with people who had a lot of advice for me—both medical advice from people who had no medical degrees but vast knowledge obtained from Google, and spiritual advice from people who could quote passages of scripture but didn’t take enough time to get to know me and where I was with my faith. Early on a friend gave me some good advice that saved me a lot of frustration: “People will say things to you that are insensitive or even hurtful, but they mean well and don’t know any better. So when that happens, it’s an opportunity for you to show grace.” I don’t have the energy to dwell on the hurtful things people say, and I’ve found that when I show grace to others, I’m also saving myself from bitterness and frustration that can drain me of my limited strength.

Unfortunately, this story repeats itself many times over for those who suffer in any form. People want to help, but all too often say the wrong things. They’re trying to be nice, but they’re still missing the mark. And when I say, “people,” I mean me, too. I’m guilty of saying “nice” things that miss the mark.

When we were kids we were taught, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This is great advice to teach children to not be mean.

But is that all? As followers of Jesus, when we speak, is the most important thing for us to avoid being mean or is there something more? Are we missing out on opportunities to be salt and light by being satisfied with our “nice” conversations?

When I think of the words of Jesus (and even Peter and Paul), “nice” doesn’t come to mind. Kind, powerful, honest, but not “nice.” If you removed from the Bible all the words of Jesus that didn’t follow the “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” maxim, I don’t think you’d have very much left.

So let’s change the motto: “If you don’t have anything life-giving to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Speak life. That’s what made Jesus’ words—even the ones that stung—so good. He wasn’t careless with His words. He never spoke just to fill the silence or just to get something off His chest. When He spoke, He spoke life.

I want to be the kind of person who speaks life.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.(Ephesians 4:29 ESV)

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”(Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

 
Our words should
  • build up
  • be good, helpful, and beneficial
  • encourage
  • be appropriate for the occasion and meet people where they’re at in that moment and season of their lives (which means you’ll need to listen carefully first)
  • give grace

Don’t just be nice. Don’t just say what you feel. Don’t just give advice. Speak life.

Speak life to the mom and her children who have had a rough day.

Speak life to the couple who is facing infertility.

Speak life to the woman who is struggling with chronic illness.

Speak life to the man who exhausted from working hard to provide for his family.

Speak life to the high school kid who’s struggling to get your fast-food order right.

Speak life to the one who feels like their life is falling apart and they just can’t get it together.

Speak life to the public official who has to make the decision several times a day between doing what’s easy and doing what’s right.

Speak life to the college student who is carrying heavy loads, learning to be an adult, and is reminded of the uncertainty of their future every time someone says, “So what are you doing when you graduate?”

Even speak life to the pastor who carries the burdens of the people he (or she) leads while spending unseen hours writing sermons and handling administrative duties that keep the church functioning week to week.

Speak life.

Redeeming Our Full Schedules

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I recently wrote about needing a nap in the midst of a very busy season, so I wanted to bring balance to the conversation and discuss full schedules.

Being busy isn’t necessarily bad. If we’re pursuing God-sized dreams, we can expect our schedules to be full. The problem comes when we’re so busy it depletes us and flows out of a dependence on ourselves instead of God. He is our true source of energy, ability, and resources.

On the other hand, I’ve seen what happens when people prioritize rest without prioritizing work: things don’t get done, deadlines get missed, those who pick up the slack get stressed, and things that could be excellent don’t reach their potential.

Work and rest are meant to go hand in hand—not one or the other. We can redeem our full schedules by cultivating Christ-centered rhythms and using our time well.

How can we do that?

Let’s start with my favorite word: efficiency. I remember a day when my husband and I were watching The Biggest Loser and there was a challenge where each team had to unload big bags of something-or-other from a truck and carry them to the other side of the field as fast as they could. (As you can see, I remember every detail impeccably.) The team that ended up winning had people in the truck placing the bags on other team members’ backs. The other team threw the bags on the ground to unload the truck, leaving the team members who were going to run across the field to first bend down and hoist the bags onto their backs, using up more energy and tiring themselves out faster. My husband laughed and said, “If you were their team leader, you would have started yelling, ‘What are you doing?! Why are you being so inefficient?!'”

If you can work more efficiently, you can get more done with less energy and in a shorter amount of time, thus giving you margin to rest, thus giving you the energy to continue to work efficiently! If you want to get a lot done in a way that’s sustainable, efficiency is the key. 

So let me give you a glimpse of how I make my work efficient:

I pray over my schedule. Yes, that’s right. Author and pastor, Mark Batterson, often says, “Pray like it depends on God, and work like it depends on us.” So I pray for God to help me to be productive and efficient and for anointing in each task I do.

Create momentum. I love to-do lists, but sometimes my lists can be daunting. When I feel overwhelmed, I start with small tasks to get a feeling of accomplishment and create momentum. No matter how large some of the items on my to-do list are, a shrinking to-do list is always encouraging. Some people prefer to do the opposite: complete the largest task first so the remaining tasks seem less daunting. Either way, start with something and shrink your to-do list.

Arrange the puzzle pieces. I think of each item on my to-do list as a puzzle piece. If I place them wherever willy-nilly, they won’t all fit. Just as we need to budget our finances (allotting set amounts from our paychecks towards groceries, bills, gas etc…), we need to budget our time (allotting time for each item on our to-do list).

  • Before the week begins, I write down what my puzzle pieces are—what I want to accomplish by the end of the week. As I do this, I’m mindful of what’s most important to me. Is this worth my time? Is this keeping me from fulfilling my Kingdom dreams? (And a word of caution: I don’t believe that God is against fun. He wants us to experience enjoyment, laughter, and beauty. These things feed our work, creativity, and even our worship. So if you’re the type that works constantly without regularly experiencing these things, I highly recommend finding ways to add fun to your rhythm.)
  • Next, using my planner/calendar, I decide when the best times to accomplish those tasks are. I use pencil because I may have to rearrange later. It’s typical for me to rearrange as the week progresses because…well…life happens. (No guilt!)
  • When possible, I group puzzle pieces according to categories for efficiency. For example, if I have multiple tasks that require me to drive to a certain part of town, I plan to do them in one day so I’m not making multiple trips. If I have multiple tasks that require the use of my computer, I try to accomplish as many of those tasks as possible in one sitting.
  • I don’t evenly distribute tasks throughout the week. I put a heavier load in the beginning of the week so that I have more room to work with later when unexpected things come up throughout the week.
  • I leave time open later for make up work. It’s important to be realistic and to plan for imperfection. Things happen. Computers crash, traffic backs up, cold and flu season hits, lupus flares…If I set up my schedule so there’s no room for error, I’m setting myself up to fall behind. (The great thing is that if I write in time for margin and it ends up being open, I can rest, get ahead on work for the next week, or do something fun.)
  • I don’t budget minute-by-minute; I budget according to segments of the day. (Examples: morning, afternoon, evening; before classes, after classes, after dinner.) Appointments need specific start and (usually) end times. But when it comes to tasks to be done, minute-by-minute rarely works simply because it isn’t realistic. And when my plan for the day doesn’t work, it has a way of making me feel guilty…and guilt is not very helpful for productivity. In fact, guilt has a way of slowing us down.
  • I budget time for rest. We’re more productive and efficient when we’re well rested. Chronic illness has made rest a non-negotiable for me, but as I look back to my life before lupus, it’s clear I was in desperate need for rest long before I got sick.
  • Procrastination is not an option; rearranging my schedule is. I don’t assume I’ll have time to complete something “later.” Some projects take longer than expected. Emergencies and interruptions happen. If I have time to do it now, I do it now. If, however, I end up not being able to complete a task when I wanted, I don’t get guilty; I get proactive. I simply make the adjustments necessary to get it done.

One last note:

I don’t let other people dictate how I manage my time. At the end of the day, I’m the one who is accountable for how I spend my time and what I accomplish.

Singing My Theology, No. 2

pexels-photo-92083.jpegI’m a bibliophile. I live in a house that is overflowing with books. One of my favorite genres? Theology. Aside from the Bible, wanna guess what my first theology book ever was? Not some masterpiece by Augustine, Bonhoeffer, or even C. S. Lewis.

My very first theology book was Wee Sing Bible Songs…complete with a cassette tape. I acquired this priceless gem around the first grade. I had never heard of the word “theology,” yet deep theological truths were sinking deep into my heart as I sang along with the cassette tape that played over and over and over again in my parents’ car.

Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones, to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me…

God is so good. God is so good. God is so good, He’s so good to me…

I’ve got peace like a river. I’ve got peace like a river. I’ve got peace like a river in my soul…I’ve got joy like a fountain. I’ve got joy like a fountain…

The songs we sing matter. I don’t remember any sermons from the first decade of my life, but the songs I sang are still imprinted in my memory.

In the months that led up to my lupus diagnosis, my body was frail. I couldn’t keep down food and lost about 20 pounds in two and a half months. (If you don’t know me, I’m 4′ 10″, so those 20 pounds were significant.) I couldn’t get out of bed or squeeze a tube of toothpaste on my own. Simple things like walking and playing the piano were excruciating. This is when I truly began to understand: They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me…

At first, I was hopeful that it wasn’t anything serious, and even if it was, certainly God would heal me soon. But as time went on with my health getting worse and no answers from the doctors, I felt like my time in this world might be coming to a close. And one evening, I asked my husband sit beside me as I lay in bed. Through tears, I let him know I loved him and told him my dying wish. I was sad at the thought of leaving him behind so young, but I was no longer afraid of death or what the future may hold. I had peace. I’ve got peace like a river. I’ve got peace like a river…

I remember wanting to read my Bible, but my fingers were too weak to hold such a bulky book. So I spent a lot of time lying in bed, alone with my thoughts. Nothing to distract me from the tender voice of God. I still cherish those moments. Yes, they were excruciating, but God’s presence was so sweet. I prayed with rawness and honesty; I didn’t have the energy to offer dignified prayers. And as I silently poured out my heart, God wrapped me in His loving arms. God is so good. God is so good. God is so good, He’s so good to me…

Someone once told me that there’s something about suffering that changes a person; suffering refines us. It is suffering that has taught me the depth and richness of the words I sang as a girl. And as chronic illness brings pain and challenges to daily life, these songs keep my mind fixed on the God who is strong and good, who loves me, and who fills my soul with peace and joy.

 

What Does Faith Look Like?

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“You need to have faith.” Most of the time, I hate these words. It’s not that I don’t have faith or that I have anything against encouraging others to have it, but it’s the context in which these words tend to be spoken to me. When I’m going through a hard season or feel like I’m walking through the great unknown, the words, “You need to have faith,” don’t fill me with faith at all. They make me think, “Isn’t that what I’ve been doing this whole time?” and then I start to feel like I’ve done something wrong. I don’t walk away from these conversations feeling encouraged and empowered. Instead, I walk away feeling deflated and slightly condemned.

Chronic Illness

A few years before I was diagnosed with lupus, I was given a smaller diagnosis. Like most diagnoses, it came at an inconvenient time. I was living in the Philippines and had just been accepted into a graduate program to study piano performance in the States when I found out I had carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis in both of my wrists. Over and over again, people told me, “You need to have faith.” What they meant was, “If you want to keep playing the piano and get a Master’s in piano performance, God has to heal you.” I prayed for God to heal me. He didn’t. And I did get a Master’s in piano performance.

It took faith…

  • to pursue a graduate degree in piano performance with carpal tunnel and tendinitis.
  • to choose my repertoire and practice every day.
  • to keep going and not quit when it got hard.

I know that God could have completely healed me and it would have been great, but my 70 minute recital with carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis was no less miraculous, no less glorifying to God. But didn’t that make it harder? Yes. I’ll get more into that later, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

When I was diagnosed with lupus, I heard it again: “You need to have faith.” What people meant was, “You need to be completely healed of lupus to be able to fully live your life. And if you aren’t healed, then you must not have enough faith.”

It takes faith…

Speaking of the future…

A Dream Delayed

Ever since we were in college and still dating, my husband and I have dreamt of moving to Japan to start a church. It’s something we feel God has placed on our hearts. But even though we’ve been on a missions trip to Japan, we have yet to move there. There are things that we feel God has asked us to accomplish first—that’s why we moved back to the States—but lupus has caused those things to take much longer than we anticipated.

It takes faith…

  • to keep moving towards this goal, even when things feel slow.
  • to keep studying Japanese.
  • to remember that God was not surprised when I received my lupus diagnosis and knew about it years ago when He placed the dream for Japan on my heart.
  • to trust in God’s perfect timing and to rest in the fact that He is in control.

Unanswered Prayer

I’ve spoken about my infertility in other posts, so I won’t retell those stories here. What I will say is that unanswered prayer—no matter the subject matter—is painful. It fills us with the darkest of doubts and questions. Why didn’t God answer my prayer? Did I do something wrong? Does God really love me? Is God really who I thought He was? It’s in the midst of unanswered prayer when people’s statements of “You need to have faith,” are most painful to hear. Haven’t I been having faith all along?

It takes faith…

  • to hope and pray when the doctor says words like, “zero percent chance.”
  • to pray to God after being wounded by unanswered prayer.
  • to continue to believe that God is good and that He is not withholding good from me.
  • to choose to live with hope and purpose when you feel like your hope and purpose have been crushed.

The Truth About Faith

“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:32-40)

Did you catch that? Hebrews 11 has been nicknamed the “faith chapter” of the Bible. If you want to know what faith looks like, this is where you look. So. Many. Miracles. And also weakness. And torture. And imprisonment. Oh, and also people who were destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. The life of faith isn’t as neat and tidy as many would have us think. In fact, if faith were easy, it wouldn’t be faith at all.

We do need faith, but not because God has called us to a life of comfort and ease. We need faith because life is hard.

So let’s get real for a moment. When the object of our faith is faith itself, it falls apart when things don’t go our way. But when the object of our faith is the God who is sovereign, loving, and good, then it can be subjected to hardships and still continue to stand.

Before you keep reading, I want you to pause and ask yourself this question: Is your idea of what faith looks like so narrow that it leaves little room to be surprised by God and to notice when He works in mysterious ways?

Too often we try to make the works of God fit into a box too small to contain Him. We think that when faith looks like x, God will do y. God’s ways are too creative and too wonderful for our preconceived ideas!

The God Who Can Do Anything. Literally.

Could you imagine what would happen if we believed God could do anything?

Let me give you an example of what I mean by anything.  Let’s say someone you know is sick. Do you believe God can do anything so He can heal them? That’s great! But believing God can do anything doesn’t stop there. He can heal how He wants and when He wants, and no matter how God decides to work, it’s going to be good and amazing, and even if He chooses to wait and doesn’t heal someone on this side of eternity, He can make them strong out of their weakness and use them to be the catalyst for a myriad of more amazing miracles that can change the course of history. God can do anything!

I hope that you’re getting really excited right now because I’m getting excited just typing this! If we can live with this kind of faith, can you imagine the kind of faith we can inspire in others? When people spend time with us, instead of walking away feeling discouraged about their lack of faith, they could walk into the great unknown full of faith, believing and expecting God to do anything!

So enough with telling people, “You need to have faith.” Let’s fill people with excited expectancy and say, “What if the God who is sovereign, loving, and good—the God who can do anything—is preparing to do something infinitely more amazing than we can imagine?”

This is the kind of faith that can change the world!

About Esther

Photo by Mela Photography
Photo by Mela Photography

Hello! I’m Esther and I’m glad you’re here!

Let me tell you a little about myself.

I started playing the piano when I was 6 years old and began playing in church at the age of 11. Throughout high school and college, I traveled to churches across the United States, performing concerts where I interwove music and speaking.

In 2012, I earned a Master of Music degree in piano performance from Missouri State University and participated in the Washington International Piano Festival where I was selected to perform on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Around this time, I started noticing stiffness in my hands that turned into intense pain. The stiffness and pain spread all over my body to the point that I couldn’t move on my own. My husband had to lift my body out of bed and walk me one step at a time through my morning routine. I couldn’t even squeeze toothpaste onto my toothbrush. It took every ounce of my strength to make it through each day.

In October of 2012, I was diagnosed with systemic lupus. For me, this diagnosis includes widespread arthritis, particularly in my hands. I wake up every morning with my body reminding me of its brokenness and my need for God’s help to make it through the day. But despite challenges to my health, I continue to perform and was again selected to perform at the Kennedy Center in 2016.

I know suffering. I live with the daily struggles of a chronic illness (lupus) and have walked the hard road of infertility. I know what it means to fight to believe in the goodness of God.

I love being able to share my story of hope amidst suffering, whether it’s through speaking, performing music, or writing.

My husband and I live in Springfield, MO where I’m a piano professor at Drury University, writing my first book, and working alongside my husband who is the College and Young Adults Pastor at Central Assembly.

I love books, beautiful sounds, watching birds come to my bird feeder, wandering through museums, and long conversations with friends at coffeeshops.

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Writing (Again)

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I blogged. Past tense. It was an adventure I started shortly after a phone call from the doctor that changed my life. The words, “You have lupus,” had the potential to devastate me. At least, that’s what I gathered when I googled this strange disease I knew barely anything about. Over and over again, my heart broke as I read stories of lupus sufferers who used words like, “alone,” “despair,” and, “my life is over.” I didn’t feel any of this.

I felt God holding together my broken body and my anxious mind. With all the heavy emotions that flooded my heart, I felt a strong undercurrent of joy and peace. My life had become incredibly hard, but it continued to be good because God remained good. And I knew that what I was experiencing was different from the words that appeared on the screen when I googled lupus. I wanted people to know they could experience what I was experiencing, too. So I blogged.

But after a few years, I came to a place where I was done writing. I had said what I wanted to say, and now it was time for other things. So I walked away from my blog with no intention to blog again.

I had no idea that as I walked away from my blog, I was walking into something big. Not a great, exciting adventure, but the darkest, most painful season of my life. A season where I longed for the voice of God to speak joy and peace into my heart and soul, but instead all I heard from Him was silence. For so long, I was a broken and empty shell, overwhelmed by the silence of God. Then one day, the silence ended. And this is where my new writing adventure begins.