Running the Race


A few months ago I decided I was tired of being tired. I had put on weight since my wedding…ya know, the whole “fat and happy” syndrome, and I felt sluggish and not my usual athletic self. I sought out my own routine – I tried Jillian, Insanity, going to the gym, and every tip I could find on fitness blogs, but I just couldn’t seem to get in a rhythm that stuck. A few ladies in town told me about a fitness group called Camp Gladiator, so I decided to check it out. What I found is that CG provides 60-minute intense workouts at many locations throughout the week in my area (including one across the street from my house…which makes it nearly impossible to find an excuse not to go **face palm**).



They have certified trainers that write full-body workouts and provide accountability for its members. After the first month, I realized that I felt better, lost weight and most importantly, found a routine. I found a community of women that push me to run faster, go further, and show up to workouts at 5am. Long story short, I am now four months in, 15 pounds down, and feel better than ever.


This is me and my trainer Heather the day I signed up for CG.

At the end of the summer I will be participating in a competition called CG Games. It is a unique physical test unlike any other that challenges its participants in endurance, speed, agility, strength, and all other areas of physical fitness. In many ways, I’ve realized that training for CG Games is like running the “race” God calls us to run in life. As I have prayed through what the future holds for this community of women, I continue to come back to lessons I’ve learned in physical fitness.

  1. Run with a purpose – don’t run aimlessly.

One reason training for CG Games has been good for me is because it has given me a purpose to run. I’ve never been much of a runner, but now when I pop in my ear buds and throw on my tennis shoes, I am running with a specific goal in mind. When running aimlessly, we tend to burn out quicker, stop short when our bodies could continue, and lack purpose. Just like training for a race, I believe that the Lord calls us to do all things in life with a purpose and to the best of our ability. In 1 Corinthians, Paul says,

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

As Kelsey, Andi, Amanda, and Lauren have previously stated the past couple of weeks, there have been many things… good things, like babies and changes in ministry contexts and new jobs… that have taken our time and attention the past few months. For this reason, we have not been able to invest the adequate time into GLOW to allow it to be all that it can be and reach its potential. After much prayer and deliberation, we believe that, for a season, we need to pause, exercise self-control, and take a break from GLOW to fulfill our other responsibilities to the fullest. Our plan is to return at the start of 2017 fresh, rejuvenated, and full of energy and passion to move forward.

  1. Slow and steady wins the race.

When I started my workout regimen a few months ago, it was tempting to eat far too few calories to jumpstart the weight loss or even worse, eat far too many calories because it felt like momentum wasn’t in my favor. If girls at workout could lift more than me or run faster, it made me want to either go to the extreme and workout twice a day (which is unrealistic with my schedule) or quit working out all together. Neither one of these are good options. What I realized through my training was that sometimes it’s better to jog for a long distance and finish, than it is to sprint a short distance and stop before I’ve reached my goal. It’s better to consistently work out and eat a balanced healthy diet over time than it is to workout excessively for a short time. With GLOW, our team has decided that it would be best for us to take a short break now to allow rest than it would be to continue “sprinting,” leading to a burnout. Each of us on the team has a heart for this blog, this community, and sharing our hearts for the sake of His glory. We believe that taking things slow and steady will lead to a win when we launch again in January.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.” Ephesians 5:15

  1. Balance is crucial.

In physical fitness, balance is key. I’m not just referring to literal core strength. The balance in nutrition (goodbye carbs), time spent working out, and consistent sleep patterns directly affect weight loss and muscle gain. I believe this to be true in life as well. I had to learn some hard lessons regarding balance the last few months. I bit off more than I could chew and found that I was consistently stressed out and feeling inadequate since I couldn’t do any one thing on my calendar to the best of my ability. I felt like a juggler, juggling so many balls that I would have just enough energy to catch one and throw it back in the air in the knick of time before it hit the ground and ended my performance. I decided I needed to cut back on writing weekly for GLOW for a few months until other commitments ended and I was able to get control of my schedule again. While I was still very much a part of the operations behind the scenes, I wanted to thank each of you for being patient with me and allowing me the break that I needed. At this time, our team has decided that as a whole we need to exercise balance as well. Said balance means that we need to take a short break from GLOW to allow everyone to fulfill their current commitments well.

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven- A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

What will the next few months look like for me? I will continue my job at the seminary working in marketing and communications. This will include some travel to conferences and other events. I will also be taking seminary classes to continue my Masters in Theological Studies. Mike and I have been very busy with our church and, as a team, our passion to love God’s people grows each day. We have several trips planned to see family and I look forward to spending time with my nieces and nephews. While I have largely put my photography business on hold (as a part of that whole exercising balance thing I mentioned earlier), I have a few projects on the horizon this fall. Considering the topic of today’s post, I guess I should mention that I will continue to workout and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for tuning in every day to read. If you are a contributor or desire to be a contributor, please feel free to continue sending us blog posts via the instructions on the Submissions page. Our goal is to start fresh with many blog posts in the “bank” to be published after the new year. Check in with our media channels as they will be updated closer to the time of our new launch in January. Please be in prayer for the GLOW team and continue to keep in touch.

Just as Camp Gladiator offered a community of friends that provided encouragement, accountability, and consistency in physical fitness, GLOW provided those same things for me in my spiritual walk. GLOW has been an encouragement when times were tough, it kept me accountable to spend time in God’s Word, and it was a consistent source of “real talk” written by women who want to know God more. We want our team to be that for you, too! See you in January, friends.

He Has Gathered the Winds


Like the infamous weather here in Amarillo, my life has been a little windy.

On April 30, I graduated from California Baptist University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & New Media.

On May 4, I flew to Amarillo, Texas for a three-day interview with the Amarillo Globe-News.

On May 9, I accepted a position with AGN as their new faith and religion reporter.

On May 27, I moved to Amarillo.

In less than one month, I had graduated, moved home, interviewed for a job, cut my hair, sold my car, moved to a new state, bought a new car, signed a lease on an apartment and began my first big girl job.


Experiencing Amarillo’s welcoming wind while on assignment for my job interview.

I am so grateful. But some days, I have to remind myself of that out loud. Days when I’m homesick and lonely. Days when I’m frustrated with the search for a new church family. Days when I burn my dinner on the stove because I’m learning to cook for one. Days when the culture shock becomes fist-clenchingly irritating. Days when I really just want to be a kid again and move back home.

Amarillo is not where I expected to be after college. I didn’t even want to work for a newspaper. As a junior at CBU, I wanted to move overseas as soon as possible. During my senior year, I wanted to write for some sort of trendy, countercultural, Christian magazine and pummel the Church with my strong opinions.

Now, I find myself in the middle of nowhere, the Panhandle, far from trendy, far from the “Lauren” I knew in California and far from my family and friends.

As the faith reporter most days are humbling and thought-provoking – interviewing some of the most extreme and radical facets of the Church, spending an in-depth day with Mormon missionaries, hearing the testimonies of an LGBTQ couple who are Christians, and breaking the Ramadan fast with a Muslim family from Somalia.

If God could have tailored a position in journalism specifically for little, new-grad me, this would be it. I know that and I believe that – it’s just been a huge adjustment.

If I’m being real, many people don’t discuss the disillusionment of the post-grad life – especially as a young Christian who graduates and moves away from their spiritual community.

Never before have I been so grateful for the spiritual support and encouragement I found in college. Never before have I realized how much I took that for granted. Now I realize how much I have lost. Even with cellphones and social media, we lose it – we’re all so busy.

For 7 weeks now in Amarillo, I have been slipping and sliding down a slope of spiritual dryness. I have gone to work every morning, filed my articles and come home every evening to an empty apartment and an empty schedule. I’ll admit, for the first few weeks, Red Box was my best friend.

When you’re in a new state, don’t have a church yet and don’t know a single soul, you slip quickly.

For me, I slipped and fell deeper into the pits of self-reliance and fear. I’m still struggling to pull myself out of it.

I’ve been strategically placed here in Amarillo. Yes, for my job, but also because it’s allowing my fast-paced, self-reliant, stubborn, prideful self to hit a wall. Well, I’ve already hit that wall. Now I must humble myself to allow God to pick me up, bloodied, broken… and still fighting.

I wish I could share some inspirational, uplifting devotional for you today, but I’m still feeling tossed about in the wind. That, and I’m battling my pride.

These next six months will be a time for me to refocus on Jesus and come to full, humbled peace with my brand new, post-grad, big girl life.

I am eagerly awaiting the chance to return next year with the team, each of us ready to recommit to “living as light” in the world that seems to grow darker with each moment. I do believe we all need these six months, but I also believe the Lord is blessing that time of rest and preparing us for the next chapter.

“Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!” Proverbs 30:4

One thing I am certain of, the Lord is the one who has “gathered the wind in his fists.” No man can even fathom what it means to do this. The wind may continue to pummel me, but my God is in the winds that blow through my ever-changing life. I hope you know that truth as well.


About the Author

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetLauren Koski

Hello! My name is Lauren and I am a follower of Jesus Christ. As a journalist, I believe in harnessing the media’s influence for the Gospel and believe that storytelling will be a strategic tool used for the growth of His Kingdom. I am excited to be interning with GLOW and look forward to the ways Jesus will use this platform for His glory.

A Unified Vision

new sun

I am excited for this new season of GLOW.

As Kelsey pointed to in her blog post to kick off our explanation of this season, the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for every season. Sometimes that is hard to understand, but as our lives ebb and flow, God is present, working and declaring his glory over our lives, in creation, and in many other ways we probably aren’t even aware of yet.

As many of our contributors prepare for new seasons of life, adding members to the family, beginning new jobs, moving to a new location, etc., I am also looking forward to embracing my next season. I am excited to pour into young adults here in Zambia as I help welcome four North Americans to volunteer for the next year with our partners here at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Zambia. I also get to help send out one Malawian and three Zambians to volunteer for a year of service in other parts of the world. I am so thankful for this job and this opportunity to come alongside people and welcome them into a new season as I help send others out. It is so beautiful to see how God works in newness and in challenges that take us out of our comfort zone and beacon us to trust in Him all the more.


The feast prepared by one of our volunteers to say goodbye to her host family as she also moves to the next season

I am looking forward to leaning into these experiences and continuing to listen to where God is and finding ways to share that with others. Whether God leads me to share with someone one-on-one, in small groups, or through writing, I am excited to find new outlets and new ways to be held accountable to growing in my faith every day.

However, as much as I want to learn who God is in my own life in this next season, my heart is also after unity from within our GLOW team and community even in this season of quiet and stillness. As we take the next three months to step back and rest from our time writing regularly for GLOW, my prayer is that this would serve to build up our bond with one another as well. As God continues to move in our hearts individually and as we continue to shine God’s light where we have bene placed, may we continue to contemplate how we are also called together as writers, readers, and Christ-followers around the world.

The writer of Ecclesiastes not only reminds us of the beauty of each season, but also the beauty of doing things together,

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

When Alyssa first asked me to join the team of regular writers at GLOW, I was honored and excited for the opportunity. Not only has writing for GLOW kept me accountable for listening to God speak, but it has left me encouraged to be a part of something bigger than myself. Even in this season of stepping back, we are still united in this purpose. I would encourage you all as readers and writers yourselves to set up ways to lean deeply into Christ this season. Maybe he will call you to reach out to someone new, learn a new skill, or even write something new that could encourage our GLOW community when we begin writing together again.

May we continue to pray for one another and grow in the unity created by the love of Christ for us.

I’ll miss communicating often with you all so often, but I am excited for what God will continue to do in our midst. May we continue to allow him to transform our lives and make us GLOW for his sake in every season.

Change is Often Bittersweet

We have a bit of change in the air over in the Clem household. Our second son Harper James was born on May 22nd! We are so happy to welcome him and his pure newborn sweetness into our lives!


While we were in the hospital with Harper, we received a call from the pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, TN (both mine and my husband’s HOMETOWN) to offer Tyler the position of youth minister. He was, of course, going through the interview process, but we couldn’t believe our ears when we received the call. Especially considering our current circumstances. On June 12th, we said our goodbyes to our Calvary family in South Carolina, packed up the U-Haul, and made our way to Tennessee with a 2 year old and a 3 week old. Talk about craziness! Of course, all of this has been bittersweet. We have been overwhelmed with the love we have received from both churches. If it were not hard to say goodbye, we would not have been doing the job God set out for us in South Carolina. We are so grateful for our ministry there. And now, we are thrilled to serve at our new home church, and we are loving them all already! While the past couple of months have been seeped with change, I cannot get over the fact that the past two YEARS have had change written throughout them. The birth of our first son, walking through Postpartum Depression, going through another pregnancy, the birth of our second son, and moving to Tennessee after almost 4 years (5 for my husband) serving there.


The opportunity to become a contributor for GLOW came to me at a time of hopefulness. I was very freshly pregnant with Liam…bright eyed at the thought of sweet motherhood. When he came in June, my world felt like it was falling apart as I dealt with Postpartum Depression. I know you all have read many of my posts mentioning this time in my life, and I thank you for all your words of encouragement. Time and time again I did not feel like praying or reading the Scriptures. I did not have energy or passion for seeking the Lord because of this deep darkness I was walking through. As I look back on this time, GLOW was a way for the Lord to push me forward. When I did not have the drive, He kept nudging my heart to search for Him because I had GLOW to write for weekly. This is the reason I look at GLOW with such sincere thankfulness. The Lord was gracious to give me this community as I walked through the darkness. I was encouraged by posts, comments, and even HAD to force myself to keep going. When all I wanted to do was lie in bed and accomplish nothing, I HAD to press on. I am forever grateful for this sweet community of encouragement. It is so nice to know I am not alone in this crazy life!

As Kelsey mentioned in her post Wednesday, we are taking a 6-month sabbatical because of all the changes all of us are walking through. We want to write with fresh and rejuvenated hearts. Thank you, ladies, for pushing me to pursue the Lord through this GLOW community even in the darkest time of my life. You do not even know how much I have been blessed by y’all.

Over these next few months, Tyler and I will continue to pursue building deep relationships with people in our new church family. We are also looking for a home to purchase and hope to be moving once again in the next several months. We are certainly adjusting to life with TWO precious boys now! We are so grateful for both of them (and very tired)! If you had asked me what life would look like two years from GLOW’s beginning, I would have never guessed this would be my life. But boy, am I grateful!


If there’s anything I would like to leave you with it is this…You are CHOSEN by God. You are LOVED by God. You are CHERISHED by God. Claim it day in and day out! I pray each of you continues to grow to have an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I urge you to continue on your faith journey, no matter what you are facing. Find women to encourage you. Find women you can encourage. Build your homes firmly on Jesus. Find your identity in Him. And TRUST, breathe, and remember you are His BELOVED.

Be blessed, sisters!

A Time for Every Season

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the Heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

Life ebbs and flows. Just when you get settled into a rhythm, think that you’ve found your sweet spot, your equilibrium, your routine, things change. Do you know what I’m talking about? This is the way it is for all of us. The green leaves of summer turn the golden hues of autumn, the fallen leaves of autumn are covered by the white flakes of winter, and then all of it nourishes the ground for the flowers of spring only to repeat itself again. Change bringing beauty. A shifting bringing blessings.


From the beginning of time, this is how it has been. It seems that our Creator takes joy in refreshing, renewing, and changing the things that we are used to and we here at GLOW seem to be learning that right along with each other.

Through no small coincidence, these last few months have been ushering in newness for each and every one of us. From graduations, to babies, to new jobs, to moving from one state to another, our lives have mirrored the changing of seasons.

I wrote to you all a little while back about our surprise little blessing coming in October. It caught us completely unaware and our hearts, minds, and dreams have been caught up in this new life growing within me. My children can’t stop talking about their new baby brother. My husband has us settled with a new mini van. We are transforming into a family of five, leaning into the season that God has given us. But no season comes without the one before it changing.


For me, a new baby means a singleness of mind that comes over me. I can’t seem to have an infant without it touching every aspect of me, taking over my thoughts and habits for a little while. I’m okay with this. I feel called to motherhood and this is how I manage to do it well. It’s why maternity leave is so vital. Because a mother should be able to be captivated and overtaken with her child. Because she should be able to settle into the new season, the new calling, the new physical, emotional, and mental state that she is in. With that single mindedness though, comes a pruning of other things.

This is not only the way it is when you have a baby. This pruning, stepping back, change can come with any life event. With a job change, a move, a new school schedule, or whatever it may be.

You’re going to hear a lot about those changes in the lives of our contributors in the coming days. You’re going to hear about the newness that the Lord is bringing and the blessings, lessons, and strengthening that’s coming through it. We hope that you’ll rejoice with us in it.

We also hope that you’ll understand the need for a changing of seasons with GLOW.

We have all sensed that the Lord has dropped these things into our lives for a purpose and we want to glean everything possible from them. We don’t want to shirk our duty in being good stewards of the season that we’ve been planted in and we also don’t want to offer GLOW our second best. We want to live well and learn much and, because of that, we feel led to take a sabbatical from GLOW.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Ecclesiastes 9: 10 NIV

We will be taking the time for each of our contributors to update you on the happenings in their lives and the plans that God has revealed to them through Friday, July 15th and then we will be saying “See you soon!” to you, our dear friends until January of next year.

We ask that you be praying for all of the adjustments coming up, that we would have ears to hear what it is the Lord is sharing in this time so that we can have more to offer you in January.

We will be praying for each of you and missing our weekly time together! Thank you for your feedback, support, likes, shares, comments, subscriptions, and submissions! They mean the world to us and we can’t wait for more of all of it in January!

I pray blessings over all of you until we talk again!

P.S. If you want to check in with me during our time away, I’ll be updating my personal blog, While We Mother, with what the Lord is doing and sharing with me! Hope to see you there!

Love, Kelsey

Fresh Eyes

Looking Water (1)

Lately I have been learning how to drive the dreaded stick shift! I hoped and prayed this day would never come. I have been very comfortable driving sweet automatic cars all my life. Then, I decided to move to a part of the world where manual driving is the standard, and for long trips, the best vehicles my work has to drive are manual. So, as I prepare for a long trip in just a few weeks, I have got to learn to drive this thing. Boy has it been humbling, frustrating, and challenging, but as I continue to try and to grow, I am thankful for this emerging skills and these fresh eyes I have to see driving in a whole new way.

I started thinking about this message of freshness, and although it has not been easy to embark on something new, something I know I am not good at, what would it be like if I approached other areas of my life with a fresh attitude, open to learning, experiencing, being vulnerable, and conquering fears. I believe freshness is part of the Gospel message. God has freed us from sin, which has hung over our heads since birth. He sets us free to have a fresh start on life. However, our journey as Christians does not end there. Though we are free to live a life away from sin, we often choose to go back to our old ways and are in need of God’s renewing spirit again and again.

The Psalmist proclaims the good news in chapter 34 verse 22,

“The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”

God is our redeemer, he takes our punishment and replaces it with His new life. We must come back to Him, to know deeply how much we need freshness to break through our old habits and unhealthy behaviors that are not in line with our new lives in Christ.

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” Psalm 37:5-6

Those are such beautiful words, but often difficult to put into practice. How do we commit our ways to the Lord? What does it look like to trust him in everyday life? How do we live in such a way that we show we believe this message?

For me, it often starts with prayer. I may be troubled with a feeling of how things are, knowing that there is something in my life that is not fully committed to him. I must ask for fresh eyes to see my heart. Talk to God and listen to where he is leading me.

God searches and knows me, and wants to reveal to me ways that I can draw closer to him and align my life with who he is. He knows the secrets of my heart that need to be revealed and reworked. And sometimes it will feel like I am driving a manual car for the first time. It will be awkward and bumpy and embarrassing as these dark things come to the surface. But ultimately, if I am trusting Him to lead the way, He will make things right, He will bring about righteousness in me.

Sometimes this means that God will work in us to teach us a new skill, a new way of doing things, and before we know it, we will be driving manual all the way to Southern Province to see His glory at Victoria Falls. Other times, we are never truly comfortable, and though God shows us secret areas of our heart that need mending, but instead of getting rid of it, God uses it to help us continually lean and trust in him.

You may be familiar with Paul’s quote about his own struggles and weakness in 2 Corinthians,

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 12:8-9

Wow. Thank goodness.

I am not the only one that struggles. You are not alone if you feel like you have something similar in your life that you have prayed for the Lord to take away. Just because it is still there, or you are still working through it, doesn’t mean God has left you. He is still leading you toward His righteousness and he is using your struggle to bring gory to his name.

Looking out (1)

Take a look at your struggles and your strengths with fresh eyes. How does the Lord want to use what you have been given to draw others closer to him? What is something new He wants to teach you? What is something you are wrestling with that can draw you closer to Him?

May we take a look at our hearts with fresh eyes. May we take a look at one another with fresh eyes. And may we battle alongside one another to bring about His kingdom in new ways and in new places here on earth.

Where is God challenging you to see with fresh eyes?

He Rebuilds

GlowLiveAsLightJune15 copy

5 days ago, I woke up wanting more. Do you ever want more?

Let me set this scene up for you; it is a clear, beautiful Colorado day. The sky is extra blue and the grass is so much greener and longer than usual. I feel particularly gloomy today, which isn’t a typical thing. What’s that all about? I then decide that I need some Jesus time, so I bring up my massive bible and a pen and take a seat on the back deck. Why do I feel so tied up, so weary on a day like today. All I can see is green fields and picturesque homes and massive mountains far into the distance. I should be happy, and I was extremely convicted when I realized that I definitely was not acting like I was blessed to live in such a lovely place. As peaceful as it was to be sitting outside with no one close by, my soul was uneasy. As I was talking to God, I realized how all this beauty, all this greenery and magnificence was once quite the opposite. Grass is only green because of the rain that falls over and over again. Houses are built as an opposing force pounds nail after nail into the pieces that make it up. I am shaped by giving every broken piece to the one who knows how to glue it back to the others.

Isaiah 64:8 “And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand.”

God is referred to as “The Potter” many times throughout the Bible. How beautiful is it to realize that our potter is able to create a masterpiece out of us when we allow Him to do what He wants to do within us? Even more so, how amazing is it that He wants me to give Him ALL of my broken pieces, because He is the only one who can truly mend them in a way that is so much more amazing than before. Ladies, we serve a God that takes our brokenness and turns it into something beautiful. We have all heard that said many times before, but as I sat down on my deck with a sad face and clouded mind, God reminded me that He is rebuilding me in ways that I can’t see, for they are too wonderful, too high, too great for me to even understand! God can’t do any of this unless we give Him the permission. We are not puppets and God wants to come break down every box that we try to put Him in… if we allow Him to.

Psalm 102:16 “The Lord will rebuild Jerusalem. He will appear in His glory.”

He is rebuilding me. He is rebuilding you, just as He rebuilt Jerusalem. His promises were fulfilled in history and they are being fulfilled in your life too, no matter how long he might seem to take in doing so. As I sit, 5 days later, admiring the same scene with a new perspective, I am encouraged as God reminds me that He is rebuilding me. He has picked up the broken pieces and He is slowly and carefully and tenderly placing them where they need to be. He is taking what is broken in my own life to create a bigger testimony for His Kingdom than I could ever do by myself. How comforting is it to know that our Potter wasn’t satisfied in molding and shaping the Earth and the land and the animals and all that we get to enjoy?

He wanted one of you too.

He wanted your beauty and your pain, because that is the only way He can truly appear in all of His glory; through YOU.

Ephesians 3:19-20 “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

If My People


Three out of four mornings in a row, I woke up to a new tragedy happening in Orlando. I would open up my Facebook app to see if any of my pregnant friends had their babies over night or if any new wedding pictures had been posted by those that just tied the knot and instead, disaster greeted me. A beautiful young singer, shot down after a show, 49 people killed out of nowhere, a little boy taken from the arms of his parents by a crocodile attack, and I’m sure so many other tragedies that I’m unaware of.

It has weighed heavily on my heart. I’ve cried tears and prayed prayers that I never wanted to and these weren’t even people that I knew. It’s just that all of these tragedies are too much for my heart to bear. They’re too much for me to understand or process or even accept because it could happen to anyone. Our world is so full of hurt and sadness and it’s heavy. Too heavy.

None of these things are new. There’s always been tragedy in this world. Parents have always buried their children. Violence has always plagued us. Hate has always contaminated our world. It doesn’t take a very discerning eye to see that humanity is a sorry lot when left to these devices and that’s where I’ve been at — a loss for words and explanations for the world that we live in — and all I can think to do is pray.

We say that all of the time. “All we can do is pray.” We throw it out there like a last resort or something that’s not good enough because, at that point when all we can do is pray, we’re at the end of our ropes and we can’t think of anything else within our power to do. We say it like it’s not good enough. Like all that we have left, prayer, is nothing better than crossing our fingers or wearing our lucky socks.

The fact of the matter though is that when we get to the point where all we can is pray, we are at our most effective place.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Are you at the same place that I am? One that’s full of discouragement for the state of our world? One that’s plagued with sadness and heart break for those that are hurting and hating? One that seems like you are powerless to do anything but pray?


That’s where we need to be. We need to be humble and contrite and ready to say, “I don’t know what else to do here except acknowledge that we are helpless apart from you Lord and we need you every second of every day to heal this land that’s so very broken.”

We need to pray like we’ve never prayed before. We need to pour out our hearts and our confessions and our desires and fears and let the Lord take them all and heal them. We need to surrender our actions and words to Him so that He can take them and redeem them and make them Holy and effective. So that He can heal our land.

Because it’s so very broken. You see it as clearly as I do, the help that we need. You can feel it and sense it and it’s that very shattered state that it’s in that turns us toward prayer.

So this week, let’s humble ourselves. Let’s search our hearts and find the sins therein. Let’s confess them and turn from them and instead of seeking out our own desires, let’s seek His face. Let’s seek it like we’ve never sought it before. And for all that’s broken in this world of ours, let’s pray. Pray without ceasing, pray without fear, pray without discouragement. And then the healing will come.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

My Father’s Footstool

It was one of the most majestic and magical moments I have ever experienced.

I was lying on a wooden bench engulfed in the darkness that surrounded me. A ray of light beamed from the full moon that hung over the wondrous canyon below. A canyon filled with enchanting and lovely creations. Intricate spirals of rock shot up out of the ground and into the sky creating a jagged and magnificent skyline.

Here I was looking up at a sky full of stars- seemingly tiny beams of light, which in essence were massive balls of fire and gas. The air was dry and cold. The night was silent and the world was asleep.

I was in awe.

Completely baffled at the greatness and creativity of the Creator. Humbled to know in such a massive universe, I mattered to Him. Truly and completely mattered.

And then I saw it.

The most brilliant, bright, and massive shooting star whizzed across the sky.

And I freaked. I shot up off the bench and screeched at my friend to look. To gaze upon one of the most breathtaking things I had ever experienced.

The shooting star was gone in an instant, but I just sat and grinned. It was as though in my already established state of awe and amazement, my Father sent me a shooting star just to get me more enraptured.

You see, overtime I have come to realize something.

My Father created the universe. He also created me. And then He put me in His universe.

He didn’t have to do this. He could have kept His children separate from His universe. Separate from the mountains, the oceans, the plains, the deserts, the stars, the sun, and the moon. He could have placed us in a box. One in which there was no landscape, no massive balls of fire and gas, no tectonic plates moving and grooving to constantly transform the layout of this world, and no massive bodies of water to explore. He could have put us in the most mundane and ordinary of places.

But He didn’t.

And He did it for a reason.

When He looked back at all He had created- the universe, the animals, His children- He said they were good. He was proud of them. So why keep them from one another?

We are good together- us and this universe.

In His most generous and loving ways, He let us experience His creation.

His precious, perfect, intricate, beautiful, majestic, and brilliant creation.

He let us- sinful, flawed, ugly, broken beings- experience it.


Because He knew in our tiny and fragile state, His massive and baffling world would catch our attention in a way nothing else could. And in having our attention, He could reveal Himself to us.

Matthew 5:35 tells us the earth is His footstool.

A place from which He can stand a little higher and be seen a little better.

Our God is a big God. He towers above us in the most marvelous of ways, but somehow we still find ways to ignore Him. To miss Him.

So being the loving and pursuing Father He is, He gets on His footstool, stands a little taller, becomes a little bigger, and grabs our attention.

The mountains speak of His vastness and dominance.

The oceans speak of His unending pools of mercy and love.

The deserts speak of His provision of life.

The storms speak of His power and fierceness.

The flowers speak of His intricacy and delicacy.

The creation defines the Creator through and through. In every aspect, fine detail, and vast expanse you see Him. His character. His dominance. His reign.

It truly is the most marvelous and thrilling thing- to know my Father wants me to explore and adventure.

When I get outside, my world becomes brighter and better. Life’s worries are swept away by the gentle whisper of the wind, and the blindfold the world so often puts on me is removed. I see things the way my Father intended for me to see them. I see life as a precious gift. I see how expansive and glorious my Father is. I see how fragile and tiny I am. I see the work my Father started and is continuing through the expansion of His kingdom. I see with His eyes.

And I know He created me to be this way. He created me to be uplifted and renewed when I step outside of four walls. He created me to be awed, baffled, and giddy over this world. He created me to love it and explore it.

We have access to it- His greatest work. We have the chance to get up close and personal with His masterpiece.

But even better, we have access to the artist behind it all.

Our Father doesn’t sign off on His masterpiece and go hide in His studio. He sits on the edge of His seat waiting to baffle us. To rile us up. To surprise us. He waits for us to explore so He can send a grizzly bear down the hiking trail. Produce a thunderous storm in the night. Paint a dazzling sunset over the mountains. Send the most brilliant and magnificent shooting star across the night sky.

I can just see it- me freaking over the shooting star while my Father watched me intently with a wide grin on His face and a gentle chuckle escaping His mouth. I can only imagine the extreme amount of joy that washed over Him when He saw His daughter overcome with awe and wonder at His world.

I know that every time I step into His world, He sends me gifts. Beautiful and wonderful things that bring me to my knees and teach me something more about who He is. Because in those moments of awe and astonishment, I can’t help but stop and ponder the artist behind it all. Acknowledge the creativity, intricacy, and beauty.

It’s obvious. My Father put this desire in my heart- this intense passion for adventuring and exploring.

Not so He could receive the praises of His great work. But so He could stand a little taller on His footstool, wow me enough to stop me in my tracks, and say, “Daughter, I’m here. Look at me.”

And in doing this, I have come to know my Father in such an intimate, real, and special way.

It has created this bond between Him and me. This love for His world and the gifts it has to offer.

It is unlike anything I have ever experienced.

His world is my playground, and I plan to never stop exploring His masterpiece, but more so, to never stop exploring the artist behind it all.


About the Author


Hi! My name is Morgan Colander. I am a senior at Lee University in Tennessee studying to be an elementary teacher. I am attempting to survive these college years as I learn to rely more on God and less on myself while being surrounded by new opportunities and decisions. College has presented itself with its difficulties- college budget, college dorms, college food, an endless list of things to do, and plenty of homesickness- but through it all, I have never been more dependent on God and realized how incapable I am to do life without Him. God, family, and friends are all I need to survive in life but some junior mints, a hike up a mountain, laughter, and some sarcasm definitely add some joy to the journey.



It has been an overwhelming couple of weeks for me. My days have been full of one too many things I don’t feel good at, and I have been plagued with stress. Ever had one of those weeks where things are so out of focus with the chaos, it’s hard to see anything meaningful in the midst?

Blurry Monkey

I know this is not the place that I should be. It’s not the place I want to be, and yet, I find myself in an endless desire to please others instead of focusing first and foremost on pleasing God. As I continue striving in my own strength, I find myself in these verses Paul wrote to the church in Rome, warning them about those who pursue unrighteousness,

“Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore, God gave them up to the lusts of their hearts to impurity to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

Romans 1:22-25

When I feel my body, literally overcome with stress, pushing to please and to accomplish and to prove myself worthy, I exchange God’s truth for a lie. I lie to myself that I am somehow worthy of life, when my unrighteous deeds need to be paid for with death. I worship those I am trying to please or the task I am trying to accomplish rather than the Creator who made it all possible and gives it all meaning in the first place.

And yet, in all my lowliness, I still feel God speak transformation and a ministry of reconciliation. Though He does not condone where I am, he is not content to see me stay here, and he is looking to help me find a way out. I see this beautiful ministry of God pursuing us in spite of the ways we wander in the parable of the lost items in Luke 15. The message I see is not to shame the one that was lost, but to rejoice in the one that is found,

“Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 15:10

God is after our hearts, God is after repentance. Though he hates sin and does not approve of me getting caught up in what others think of me ahead of what He thinks of me, more than anything I feel Him longing for me to return back to Him. When I’m striving to please others, it doesn’t make sense just to redirect my striving to what I think God wants me to do. Striving is part of my problem. To come out of it, I need to be still, repent, and answer the loving call to turn back to Him. Again, he repeats this message to the Israelites who are infamous, just like us, for going astray,

“and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.”

Deuteronomy 30:2-3

Throughout all the chaos of my week, I have felt Him calling me to return, letting me know I don’t have to feel this way, I don’t have to run after these things again. And instead of getting frustrated with myself for messing up yet again, it is best for me to turn back to him, to cry out to him in my time of need rather than continue running to keep up with what I know I need to do. I must trust. He will take care of me. Everything that actually needs to get done will get done, and everything else will fade away. I must stop chasing after the wind and declare along with the Psalmist,

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation and my glory;

My mighty rock, my refuge is God.”

Psalm 62:5-7


What are you chasing after this week? Where is the attention of your mind and the affection of your heart fixed? The fact is, no matter how much we grow in our walk with the Lord, we only get it right in His strength. Let us encourage one another not to dwell in our short falls, but instead to return our hearts to Him and trust Him to take care of the important things and let go of the rest.

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