What is your only comfort in life and in death?

Part of my rescue included learning the meaning of the words shared within the Heidelberg Catechism.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with this piece of literature, it serves as a confession of faith for those who believe in the work of Christ within many churches but in my case, I first saw it within the reformed church.


Yesterday, as I heard of the passing of a man who had taught me of its goodness, I was reminded of the first question and answer found within its pages.  These words have been of great assurance to me in many seasons of my life, but I will never forget the first time I heard them, sitting in a little classroom at Sonlight Church with Pastor Koemen preparing me and others for a public confession of faith.  I will never forget the enthusiasm he had for the gospel and the truth found within the word of God, or how he so longed for each us to believe just how loved we were. I will never forget how he described the act of baptism or the realities of heaven. It was that same year that he would ask me if I wanted to be baptized and that same year that I would begin to understand the assurance that I had been given in Jesus.  


But there were many other things I thought of and remembered yesterday as I thought of Pastor Koeman’s life and how it shaped my own. I thought of themes of welcome, of care and of belonging.  From the moment I entered the doors of that building he learned my name, my school, what I was interested in and where I came from.  Even though my parents didn’t attend church with me, he knew their names, what they did for work and how to get a hold of them.  The morning I made profession of faith, I was also baptized and sitting among those who watched were my parents, because Pastor Koeman had invited them.  He knew it was important to me and I believe it was seen as opportunity for him.  I will never forget that.


I thought much about legacy in ministry yesterday.  I too now find myself employed by a church and count myself as a servant of God to many.  I often think of how Pastor Koeman welcomed me perhaps an unlikely recipient of his welcome by worldly standards, but he made sure I knew that I was the most likely recipients of God’s grace by God’s standards.  He was humble and kind and aware of those he had been given watch over and I never saw him make it about anyone or anything other than the one who truly watches over us; our Father in Heaven.  I pray that God would humble me in a way in which my own calling could be administered the same.  


To the man who baptized me, married me to my husband, baptized my babies and showed me great welcome, thank you! I celebrate a life that made an impact on my own and through which I pray will make an impact on many others.


I cannot help but think and hope that the words found in question one were close to you in the last days.  And I pray that I will keep them well and close to me.  


Lord's Day 1

Q&A 1
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own,1 but belong—body and soul, in life and in death2—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.3

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,4 and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.5 He also watches over me in such a way6 that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven;7 in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.8

Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life9 and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.10






We need not understand.

Yesterday, as I thought and prayed over the recent riots and attacks on what really should be sacred in this country- freedom to exist freely as you are - I reflected much on my own heart and what my role is in all of this.  Whether I have perpetuated any of it or not, as turning a blind eye is just as bad as participating in things most of the time. I prayed in light of my community and how we love. Are we including the least of these? Are we honoring all humans as a beloved creation of our Fathers hand? Do I reach out when I don’t understand or stand behind my closed blinds with fist clenched, ready to take on what might enter my door? Over the last months I have thought much about understanding in light of loving, of caring for those around us.  I have wondered how often my own need to understand gets in the way of me fulfilling the well known calling that I have; to be a disciple that makes disciples, and to love my neighbor as myself.  And what I have challenged myself with is to not trust my feeling of the need to understand. In fact, in Proverbs we are told “not to trust in our own understanding but to trust in the Lord our God”….I am told to trust in the Lord MY God rather.  I believe I can bring this into my experience on this earth and through the calling that I have been so graciously given, to be a disciple who makes disciples and to love my neighbor as myself, apart from my understanding.  This is not only a humbling thought but should be a commanding thought that propels us into deeper relation. We are in fact freed up to trust in the Lord simply because our identity rests in all He has sacrificed, not all that we will be welcomed to.  My righteousness will not be judged by the company I keep rather the company I don’t keep.  You tracking, family? We are called to love. (period) (exclamation point) .!



And so in my reflection of the last days, I think of ‘the least of these’ in this situation. I think about those who were beaten in the streets of this modern, forward thinking country all because they do not share the same color skin. Yet, did He not create us purposely, with the knowledge of who we would be and what we would look like?  I have to trust that He did, not only because the word tells me so but because my body is broken and I need to believe that He loves it as it is. We can stand in borrowed pulpits and preach words that were never meant to be spoken, talking of the shoulds and should nots. Heck, we can even speak the words that at times need to be spoken but if those words are not spoken in love, they are not His (as we are told in 1 Corinthians).  And if you are preaching from a bitter place I would ask you to get out of the pulpit- whether it be found in a place of worship or your dining room table or Facebook or all the other places we gather- you are not furthering what we have been invited to share.  We need not understand what others do in order to share the good news in love.  


Through the power of the blood of Christ and the gospel that was delivered through it we have been invited and commanded to move towards those that we do not understand; to lean in, to ask questions, to gain relationship, to share love and then speak truth as the Spirit moves.  Our good ideas are simply not needed as often as we think, our opinions and advice hold little to no weight outside of His arms and the invitation for redemption.  As holders of the light of the gospel, we must fling our doors wider open still, fill our tables with those that need a place to sit, to be family, to feel loved.  Open your blinds, talk to your neighbors, the checker at the grocery, the grumpy man who walks down your street with a stick, the kid who shows up at your door unannounced; take notice of those He puts in your path, the path to fix this ugly and shameful mess is found here. And then friends, as you hear of the hearts and stories held in the misunderstood, you may see that you were the one that doesn’t make sense to the least of those. We easily become those Jesus people who talk the talk but aren’t willing to move across the street to bring light and love.  We easily become those holy people who “don’t do” certain things or fraternize with certain people.

These are the problems of our day and weren’t they, surprisingly, the problems of our grandparents day?  I don’t want this to be the problem of my children’s day but if it is:  I want them to know they need not be afraid.  That they too can open their doors.  That they themselves have no need to hide, rather they can make their hearts known and their arms available.  That their home too, could be a sanctuary that provides rest and a honest space to exist in.  A space that shares love and speaks of the hope we have been promised.  A place that I believe will be filled with color, in all shapes, forms and fashions.  A place that knows Jesus and the grace and mercy He bestowed upon the likes of all humanity to welcome them into that promised place; a restored Eden.  Because this picture of home, friends, is what it looks like to be the church. We will stumble and fall but we will not be without rescue.  We will mess things up but we aren’t without redemption.  We will step on toes and create awkward silence but we won’t be without the Spirit that cultivates restoration.  Hope is what will remain through it all and love will be the foundation.

A Letter to His Ladies.

We have spent the last bit talking about shame: our shame related to wounding and in our next gathering, about shame related to our own sin.  Throughout that, we have dug into some pretty powerful scripture in Hebrews, learning that we are not only welcome and wanted at the foot of the throne, but that is in fact, where we belong.  There is nothing that can separate us from these truths, as there has been an eternal blood offering made for us in the place of our ability or need to maintain or provide perfection.

I felt quite called and led to teach on these themes and share these scriptures in preparation for our series in the spring- Family Redeemer.  I have come to know that unless we are aware of our shame and our sin, its origin and its effects, we can not fully know the freedom that was meant for us in a redeemer and how much we need it.  I also feel it is of great importance for us to see that He has provided the want, the welcome and the belonging.  This isn’t a cooperative experience where you give even 10%; rather an experience that required  death of our savior on the cross so that we could be free to simply love and be loved.

I have heard that some have struggled with these themes, feeling as if we may need to get to a place where you can feel like you have made it to the other side, so that you can feel happy or more light when you leave.  And I pray friends, that those things are true for you when you come to Restore, but may I challenge you? It may not look as you are longing for. You see, I don’t believe we are going to get to a place where you will feel like you have made it to the other side. The reason being, we have been made by design for continual restoration; your complete self will not be seen here by the likes of you or anyone else.  I want to encourage you- there is so much hope to be found in that! If you could reach the other side here, you would no longer be in need of Him.  Without Him, you are but a lost sheep without a shepherd, wandering on your own to decide what makes you good and what makes you whole.  I have heard that some are feeling quite heavy after our gathering and I would say two things to that; one: me too, at times. This is a lot of material to uncover and to offer back to Him. That can seem heavy and overwhelming but in Him and through Him, He intends to make you light; that can be a process, and you will need others to help you. Two: the word of God was not meant to crush, but to offer life. However, the process of that can feel like death at times, as we are stripped of the things that were not meant for us and they are replaced with truths that are meant to free us, but can make us feel like we have less. But often, that ‘less’ is control. Control is a chain that tells you that you have to know what is next, you have to do it right, you can’t trust and you can’t fail; and those are lies from the pit. Perhaps the challenge comes through the truth and recognition that you have never actually been in control, anyway.  I pray that you feel happy, friends.  More than that, I pray  you would feel comfort when you leave our gatherings; comfort that you have an awareness of a need for someone who truly holds all that you need to be whole, to be free, to be complete, to be renewed, to be restored, to be known, to be seen, to be loved, to be wanted, to be washed clean, to experience rest, to experience hope and to know that you have a place that screams of  belonging.

This next gathering on the 20th will be the last time we gather until April when we start our next 4 part series; Family Redeemer.  The four parts are titled: Family Redeemer, Ransomed, Rescued, Redeemed.  We have spent the last months talking about our need, who Jesus is and how that was meant to heal us.  And starting on April 27, we will spend time learning about what He's done, and how we desperately needed and continue to need for Him to do all of those things.  For we could not be redeemed if we hadn't been rescued and we couldn't have been rescued if He hadn’t paid our ransom.  Perhaps you have people in your earthly families who have really been the glue for the cracks, the strength in hard or weak times or perhaps the only one who could have held it together. But those people are human- death and weakness is real for them and failure is inevitable.  But for our King, for our Jesus, for our Savior; He is the true Family Redeemer who will not rest until you are His, who will not fail you and who has done all the things to make you whole, to make you His, to give you life.

I pray that you know just how loved you are.  I have been challenged in the last months to be a better leader, a better teacher, a better communicator and I realize now more than ever, that without Him I can do nothing but wish. Yet, in Him and through Him I can hope and I can ask and I can pray; ‘better’ is no longer in my list of needs but, to be more of a daughter, is.  May you know that all that has been done for you has been done specifically for you, in light of your sin and in full knowledge of your need.  You are free women who can ask, who can need, who can be weak and who can confess that they get it wrong and only through your confession can you become whole, friends. Your weakness is what makes you worthy.


Gathering Dec. 9 Prayer and Worship Night

This Friday, we will be gathering together for a prayer and worship gathering.  We will be practicing four postures of prayer joined with confession and story sharing, encouragement and care.  The four postures are: Adoration-Confession-Thanksgiving- Supplication.  They are meant to help us draw near Him, to provide reminder of who He is and what He has done, to make room for us to be vulnerable and enter into a time of repentance and longing, together with Him.  It is my prayer, specifically as we meet this week, that we would be reminded of our belonging that has been provided for through the sacrifice of the blood of Christ. Not only has it cleansed us but it has reunited us with our Father in a way that has made it possible for us to be broken, messy sinners; no longer cast away but brought all the more near to receive grace through His gentle and full mercy.  We can rest now, friends, as our works are not necessary.  You belong and there is nothing more you need do but approach Him knowing what was meant for you. Let us do so, as worded in the Message “full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out” (Hebrews 10:22). His sacrifice was complete and through that, “complete in Him” is another phrase to describe us.  

So will you join me this Friday, from 6-9 at the Plymouth Building Basement- to sit shoulder to shoulder with some sisters that are as alike to you in their weakness and need as they are in the hope that was meant for them?  Each of you is welcome and wanted. This week, what we learn and rest in, is the truth that we belong.  

will be sharing more throughout the week on the verses we will be resting in, so check back for more updates.

nd if you haven't gotten a chance to RSVP yet please do so here


Little Women

This past Restore Gathering brought a few more women into our mix. I am going to call them them, affectionately, our “little women”.  I have been thinking about this since Restore began- what ages does Restore include? As the family of Soma, we believe that we have been called to be disciples that make disciples. In and through this belief, I believe we can find some direction, as well as some help, with discerning ‘Restore readiness’, if you will.  

Many of us have little women within our homes; they call us mom or auntie or grandma. They look to your face now to tell them when they are ok, to tell them when they need to choose differently.  What I am praying for daily, for them, is that they would learn to also look to your hearts.  That they would learn they too, can ask questions and engage in sharing story, because they need both.  In community, our little women (who are constantly and continuously being discipled into grown women) need to know that you too have stories, that have shaped you- your beliefs, your heart, your filter and your wisdom.  They need to know and hear that you too, struggle with sin and shame and belonging.  That you too, need to be fully dependant on the Lord in which to function at all.  That your existence and comfort and ability comes from the One who created you. And in that, we need to also be practicing the same alongside them.  Giving them room to share their own experiences, bringing in the light of Christ to pull their own wounds and sin and shame out of the darkness. Discipling them in the beauty of vulnerability and story; and through that, highlighting and making much of Jesus and what He has done for you and for them.  

I have one of these little women in my own home.  I think she will be ready in another year to engage in this process of restoration with us.  It is not always easy to be vulnerable with her. There is much of my story that she does not know and that is ok. But I am praying that I would watch for the opportunities He gives me in which to do so.  Mostly I pray that He would use these hopes I shared above to propel me to be on mission to her and for her. And out of that, would flow truth of Him- how I have experienced Him, how I have needed Him, how He has rescued me and how He longs to restore me to Himself.

So the long answer to the thought or the question is: Restore is for women little and grown.  Women that have held their story for decades upon decades and those who have just begun.  Restore is about restoration and how beautiful would it have been for me to have known from my ‘little woman’ stage that I was free; that my story mattered, that God desired all of the pieces and chapters- not just the ones that were pretty and good and right.  Perhaps for these little women we will watch a different thing spring forth, a group of women who know that they are loved, held and seen; made on purpose by a Father who has a purpose for them.  

As I looked to the back of the room at our last Gathering, I felt so much rejoice in what God has given me to share and teach and preach; that the faces and hearts of the teen girls I saw inhabiting the length of the wall in the back room had just as much story to gather as the rest of us. I felt humbled to be able to share it with them, too.  So bring your little women! Of course, discern where they are at as far as holding their own stories and let us ask God to help us disciple this next generation of women.  God has plans for them, He knows what their chains will look like, He knows why He died for each of them, He knows their names and their timeline.  There is so much hope for them.




Two years ago, I remember for the first time realizing that there had very much been a theme to the way I had experienced God that year. Good was the word; God was good.  Seems trivial, maybe even a given to some.  But for me it was huge, as for the first time I didn’t feel as if I was picking and choosing where He was good and where He just hadn’t answered my prayers. All was good, because all was within His reach, and all was within His care.  And with that realization came a truckload of grace that allowed me to exhale for the first time, maybe ever.  

The next year brought the theme of mercy, and perhaps that couldn’t have been experienced if I hadn’t been brought into the belief that He was good.  I realized that His mercy wasn’t done for me out of earning or worthiness, but out of that goodness.  I felt myself rest even further as everything I looked at and saw and envisioned included the knowledge that He was in it.  I didn’t have to do anything to welcome His presence or make myself clean enough for Him to be in it.  I could approach Him knowing He was listening- I was welcome and wanted in His presence; He just wanted to be near me. Perfection was no longer a goal or even a desire as I was able to believe that He was working all of the pieces of my story, my day, my hour into His plan for my restoration.

This past year I would say that the theme has been abundance.  This may seem to some as something that only a woman of privilege would say.  Seeing Him as abundant is perhaps one of the most difficult pieces of His character for most to rest in, let alone see.  There is so much that we are missing here on this earth that He intended for us to have and to experience and to exist within that is beyond our reach at this point- we live without much. There are different degrees and stories and experiences behind not only that belief but that reality, for many of us- but may I challenge you in what I have seen: it is not beyond the reach of HIs hand.  His abundance is often mistaken for the good stuff He gives us, the things that are bestowed upon us through His mercy and out of His grace.  And although those things; such as a warm home, food, jobs, provision are all very much dues to Him….His abundance is so full that it does not stop there.  Out of His abundance He has provided for our ransom, He continually rescues us from the sin that we so often choose instead of Him, and He redeems those broken stories that come from that sin.  I have said for years now that He is not a God who wastes, each story is gathered up in His hands and made beautiful as the light of His face pours out a cleansing for all that is dirty, broken and what we have determined beyond repair.  And in those things I think we find the true definition of His abundance.  His abundance provides us with new, with that which we do not deserve on our own feet but by the goodness and glory of His hand. It replaces doubt with hope and fear with sure standing.  His abundance is one that makes sacrifices that are bigger than we can fathom, simply so we can be near Him. Simply so that we can be part of the family.  

I have experienced this abundance in many ways this past year, don’t get me wrong- I have received plenty of shiny things from His hands this year, but my stories of this true abundance have been found when He has reached down from the throne to pick the grime out of my hands and handed it back to me clean and new to give it another go, not out of a need for me to try again, but out of an opportunity to experience again, to live again.  And that, friends, is what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Because everything else; my friends, my family, my children, restore, my home, my food has all been a result of this.

sharing my notes.

Sharing My Notes

I plan on sharing my notes with you here once a week.  I think it is so important for us to get in the Word; to find the promise that keeps us moving forward, to find the truths that root our feet, and to remember that we serve (and are served by) a Father who is for us.  

Within the body of SOMA,  we look at Bible passages with four key questions-

Who Is God?

What Has He Done?

Who Am I?

What Is My Response?

I have found this to be such a fruitful way for me to journal and seek out the truths that are held for me within the Word.  Therefore, this is how I intend to share my notes with you here.

Right now, I am spending a concentrated amount of time in Hebrews in preparation of a new series I have entitled, Family Redeemer.  I thought it might be nice to have you join me in my study.

Hebrews 10:19-25

19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Who is God?

Life, holy, high priest, ruler, trustworthy,

What has He done?

Shed His blood for me, made a way through the curtain, cleansed me from my sin

Who am I?

Welcome, wanted, I belong, clean, washed, provided for

What is my response?

Hope, love one another, meet together to tell and remind of His goodness, encourage one another in truth through the love we have given in hope of His return


We will be resting in these verses at our next gathering on December 9, so I thought instead of me sharing my journaling on these verses I would encourage you to do some journaling on your own apart from my thoughts.


Some key questions to ask while you process..

What is worth adoring about Him in these verses? What do you feel it roots up for you, that you can confess and ask Him to free you from? What is there to celebrate and be thankful for? And what about Him and what He has done creates longing for something more; what are those longings rooted in?

As we dig into these verses together we too will be asking similar questions.  We will be practicing listening,encouraging and ultimately returning to throne in light of His mercy to receive the grace He so longs to bestow.


Wanted and Welcome

Two weeks ago we gathered together and discussed the topic of shame as it relates to our wounds.  I shared with you all my wounds, the ramifications of them and how I relate out of them.  Often I struggle with believing that I am wanted; that i am worth leaving because of my weakness or sin or shame and that has come out of wounds that have been created through my experience/story.  

We will spend the next few months on the topic of shame.  This past gathering was focused on what it looks like to receive compassion and care for our wounds and how that compassion and welcome to the cross is what frees us from the shame that comes with those stories.  In the next two gatherings we will focus on another piece of scripture and look at the stories of shame that are in relation to our sin.  

There are three main things that I want you to learn and see and believe as truths for your hearts- that you are not only welcome at the foot of the cross but wanted there, that you belong within the arms of God, and that through those truths you can run towards the hope of tomorrow joyfully knowing what was meant for you is still to come.

Here are the notes for you to use for journaling, for recounting story and for discussion within your DNA groups.  And as always you can reach out to me through the contact me page on the website.  

Hebrews 4: 14-16

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.


I want to practice the recounting of our stories.  I believe that many of our stories of wounding are invitations of communion with Him.  He longs to gather them up, He desires to receive them through His mercy and cover them with His grace for the purpose of stronger community with you; for redemption, for healing, for love.


I want to encourage you to spend an hour of time each week digging into your story.  Look for chains, hunt for the places that you do not see Him as merciful and lament over the places where you so long to receive grace; we are weak and in such need of Him. Boldly approach the throne in full expectation of experiencing and receiving both. You and your story are worth pursuit and both are worth redeeming.


Here are some questions to help get you started in that process.  Go through them, journal and then talk about them with your DNA group.  

  1. What part of your story holds the mark of shame?

  2. How did the story come to be and what chain has it created?

  3. What about your story makes it hard to see Him as merciful?

  4. What part of the grace do you long to receive?