how life shows you that time was never on your side

be brave

The one thing currently standing out to me like nothing else is how the world goes on.

It does not stop moving.

While you are trying to put one foot in front of the other, feeling broken, days keep rolling in and rolling out.

People working.







Then there is me at the grocery store walking through the cleaning aisle to get some toilet paper and an employee flashes me his biggest smile and asks how I’m doing.

How on earth do I answer that question?

Yeah, I smile and say “good” and “thank you”.

But on the inside I am screaming.

There is a heaviness deep in my chest that makes it hard to keep moving, to keep breathing, to keep doing anything at all.

. . . . . . . .

I don’t think anyone expects to receive bad news when they are having a moment with God.

I was holding our brand new little lady in the morning sun.

Smitten by her wonder. Lost in worship. Sputtering words of gratitude.

Then my phone rings.

“I think your dad just had a heart attack,” says my husband and for a second it doesn’t register.

I call mom and somewhere in me I am convinced it’s nothing serious, that it’s all a false alarm.

But with each call it keeps going to voicemail and my hands begin to tremble.

Minutes turn into agonizing hours as I receive updates bit by bit.

Mom tells me it’s a stroke.

His whole right side is paralyzed.

He can’t talk.

And the whole thing feels like a nightmare.

Sick to my stomach, I start to wail.

Face to the floor, I literally wail!

“I want to wake up, God! Please! Please have me wake up!”

. . . . . . . .

Dad was a truck driver.

But that was only one of the many titles he held.

He was strong, self sufficient, who could do just about anything. A proud, confident, charismatic man whose stress level was lately getting a little out of control.

And on this particular trip with mom, the itinerary included a few days in the Northwest.

Some quality time with my sister, attend a friend’s wedding, see extended family, etc.

It was the kind of rest he was looking forward to.

There was one last drop off in Tacoma. Mom was already staying with family in Oregon. The plan was to be back by early evening and have the weekend festivities begin.

Then at 5:45 in the morning, inside his truck, feeling a little off, he decides to call mom and his speech starts slurring.

He collapses to the floor and the entire family is a frantic mess, trying to figure out where he is and how to get him help immediately.

And life, with all of its plans, comes to a screeching halt and shows you that time was never on your side, that you don’t hold the days, that regardless of your status, regardless of how important you may feel, regardless of how busy you are, God can bring you to your knees with a blink of an eye.

Suddenly there is so much uncertainty.

. . . . . . . .

My sister sends me a photo of dad with wires and tubes.

She tells me that she’s really scared.

And I’m scared too. I’m terrified!

I stare at the photo and sob in ways I never thought were possible.

Questions and fears flood my mind.

How much damage did the brain incur?

Will he ever walk?

Will he ever be the same again?

In the midst of trying to make dinner and nursing the baby and getting the girls ready for bed, I cling to my phone for any kind of update and do research upon research and feel like vomiting at the idea of my dad having permanent disability.

Hours turn into days and it’s a struggle to function.

All I can think about is him.

My phone constantly beeps with text messages of photos and videos.

He can talk much better now.

He is eating and drinking.

He can wiggle his toes.

He can move his foot.

It’s a roller coaster of emotions.

We rejoice over every little progress he makes yet weep over the uncertainty of the days ahead.

There is no guarantee of a full recovery. It’s a step by step process. It’s the possibility of accepting a new normal.

And I hate it.

The thought of it all.

I hate it!

The whole family hates it.

Yet no one is more shocked or more affected by this than dad himself.

As a physical therapist slowly helps him into his wheelchair, he completely loses it.

He sits there and sobs loudly.

Because none of this feels real yet it’s so very real and it hurts to feel helpless and dependent and so small.

. . . . . . . .

What has been hard for me is managing who I am.

I am a wife.

I am a mother.

Yet . . . . I am also a daughter.

When my husband sees that I am a wreck, that I haven’t showered in days, that I am constantly on the phone, that I am spacing out on and off and not really listening to our 5 year old telling me about her day at school, he begs me to be strong, to focus on our family.

So I try.

I get in the shower.

I blow dry my hair.

I turn on the curling iron.

I tell myself to put on some mascara.

I do the laundry and step into the kitchen and force myself to bake a loaf of banana nut bread.

But who am I kidding!

Each step in trying to keep moving hurts like hell!

It hurts!

A friend stops by with salad and a hot pot of soup and I tell her how I don’t know what to do.

How do I take care of my own family when I, myself, feel like a little girl who desperately wants to be with her daddy?


And she can’t give me an answer.

There isn’t one that would take away the pain or make it any easier.

. . . . . . . .

Somewhere in the back of your mind you think your parents will always be around.

Even though time is moving pretty quickly and my own children are getting bigger, it never really dawned on me that I am getting older, that my mom and dad are getting older.

I sit on the corner of our living room couch and breastfeed and think and think about so many memories.

How dad was always a man of his word, a man who never broke a promise to his children.

It would be a scorching summer day and we’d count the seconds and minutes for him to get home from work because he said he’d take us to the lake as soon as he got back and sure enough he always did.

He’d pull into the driveway with exhaustion in his eyes from a laborious job yet never said “not today.”

Instead he’d make us laugh, have mom pack a cooler with food and drinks and off we’d go.

Then there was us asking him for a sleepover.

He’d stay up with me in my room into the wee hours of the night.

We’d lay side by side on the bed and talk about all sorts of things. Like where do clouds come from? How does an earthquake happen? Do you think heaven will have lots of food? And could you please make French toast in the morning?

And now I am here, out on my balcony, rocking a baby in my arms and seeing so very clearly how everything is temporary and it fills me with intense sadness.

I watch a group of people run by, a lady stretch her arms, someone walk their dog, and it slays me.

Because daddy loved to jog. He always jogged.

. . . . . . . .

I know everything happens for a reason.

Oh yes, I know it is such a cliche saying and frankly, I want to burn it. Torch it!

However, no matter how I feel about it, it’s the truth.

It has been six weeks since dad collapsed.

Six weeks of taking it day by day. Of sitting in silence and pressing into God repeatedly and trying to process all that has taken place.

A total blur.

We have not questioned why.

We know that God has not forsaken us. We have felt Him hold us.

Of course it doesn’t change the fact that it’s been painful to breathe in and out. It’s been especially painful for both mom and dad.

And I have cried out for supernatural strength, supernatural peace.

When I read Voskamp write about how we should be brave, how we shouldn’t pray for the hard thing to go away but to pray for a bravery that is bigger than the hard thing, it is a truth that gets me on my knees, pushes me to keep holding on.

Because we all know that growth requires pain and as much as we don’t like it, it is necessary and worth it.

But then there are moments where the worry and the anxiety suffocate, where my sister tells me dad is weeping and mom is not eating, where I think about those simple days of hanging out at the music store with him, looking through aisles of cd’s for new and old gems to listen to, where my 5 year old tells me that she misses him, and my oldest wants him to come back so that they can have a sleepover and he can make that special breakfast – it is then that I get really scared and beg for the hard stuff to stop.

. . . . . . . .

At a Trader Joe’s parking lot, my emotions are all over the place.

It is pouring buckets.

The kind of rain that isn’t planning to pass by any time soon.

It’s strong and flooding the streets and I’m sitting there in the car with three children wondering what to do.

My husband tells me to go home, to text him the grocery list, that he will take care of it all for me after work.

Yet I want to get it done myself and I feel like I’m going to breakdown then and there and I really don’t know why.

There is frustration and anger and a whole lot of discouragement.

Then my grandma calls me.

She asks me how I am feeling.

And before I can even respond, we both start to cry.

He is my daddy and he is her son.

“It hurts,” are the only words I can muster up and they come out like a whimper.

I hear her blow her nose and the rain beats even harder and everything in me is desperate for things to be easy.

Oh God, how I want it all to be easy!

“I know. I know it hurts. But praise God,” she says, “Praise Him!”

As I listen to her say it again with more emphasis, more tenacity, I stare at the trees being terrorized by the wind and silently nod.

Despite this valley my family is in, there isn’t an ounce of doubt in me about His goodness.

I know God is good.

And this act of praising Him, the power that lies in lifting His name with a joyful sound, is something He has been slowly revealing to me for the past six months.

But now it is speaking in greater volumes, it is clearer and louder than ever before  . . . . . .

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the world calls it bittersweet


My alarm clock has been going off at 6 am every morning now.

A new schedule has taken over our home.

Rising early, packing lunches, making breakfast and pulling the girls out of bed.

And I’m not sure how I feel about it.

This whole idea of driving them to school, walking them to their classrooms, leaving them for seven hours – I know it’s good for them, it’s good for me yet it’s hard.

Week two is coming to a close and there is still that anxiety and that fear and a lot of “I don’t want to go” and “I don’t want to be here.”

Both are struggling with this new change and I’m struggling too.

My oldest cries into her hands as we get into the car because she is terrified of learning math.

My youngest clings to me as I try to leave, begging to be four years old again because being little feels safer.

And I wipe their tears away and tell them it’s going to be okay and that learning is necessary and growing up is a part of life and Jesus is always with them.

But what I really want to do is throw out their backpacks, grab them by the hand and run.

I want to run to the beach, I want to forget about all this stuff, I want to freeze time and just build castles in the sand and have them stay small forever and ever.

. . . . . . . .

A little while ago my husband came home and told me how a long hug every single day not only does wonders for the soul but is also really good for your health.

It relieves stress, restores the mind, encourages the heart and soothes the nerves.

“I heard it on the radio,” he says and pulls me in a for a solid, thirty second squeeze and I laugh, inhale his soft cotton shirt and feel the weight of that day fall right off me.

Then during my drive to a prenatal appointment, a Christian station starts a discussion by asking parents how they wake up their children for school.

“What is your routine? How do you start that very first part of the morning?”

And I immediately think about the mistake I don’t want to make.

The mistake of hurrying, rushing – the whole go-go-go, we gotta go, we are running late.

It’s vicious and it’s ugly and it wounds the spirit and I’ve been guilty of it more times than I can count.

So when the sun begins to filter in through the blinds, I zip up the lunch boxes, shuffle my feet to the girls’ room and tell myself to start this most fragile nugget of the day with a lot of snuggling.

It’s so quiet and they look so lovely and I don’t want to wake them up.

But I know I have to.

I gently nudge and pull on the covers.

I lift each one right into my arms.

I hold them real tight for a few minutes.

I whisper good morning, I rub their back and kiss their sweet face.

And I see how it sets the tone, how a sliver of affection enables them to get out of bed.

. . . . . . . .

The due date is looming around the corner and even though I thought I’d have this baby by now, I’m still pregnant and very much relieved.

It has given me a chance to be there for my daughters, to help them ease into all this newness.

Especially for my kindergartner.

I’ve been able to watch her day in and day out step into her classroom, sign her name on a clipboard, and put her bag in a cubby.

Together we sit down at her table and do the morning activity.

Coloring the school bus.

Or making a spider out of play dough.

Or drawing her favorite meal.

Thirty precious minutes with her which I know I won’t have once baby comes and daddy starts taking her to school.

So I’ve been soaking it in and then crying in the car because I cannot get a grip on this reality that the kids are growing up.

People tell me over and over how it’s okay, how I will get to have another little one soon and I know they mean well.

But having another one doesn’t change the fact that my other two aren’t babies anymore.

Having another one doesn’t fill the void or take away the pain.

Because what I would really like is the ability to go back and smother them more, hold them tighter, have more fun and relive every single one of their firsts.

. . . . . . . .

I’ve heard it often, how fast it goes and in a way I never really believed it.

Now I’m here, envying all the mommas who have toddlers under their wings.

I see them at bookstores, at grocery stores, at the park, on social sites.

And it takes me back to when my oldest was two years old.

How we would wake up and treat each day like an adventure.

Yeah, I know that age, the toddler years; it can be stressful and exhausting and your heart skips a beat when bedtime comes around.

But she was my little pal and I loved seeing the world through her eyes.

Absolutely loved it.

Everything was exciting, everything was fascinating, everything had a new meaning.

And I’m standing in the kitchen, drinking my tea, spacing out and reminiscing and it dawns on me that I am grieving.

Actually grieving and I finally get why all of this has been so hard for me.

Having both of my kids in school full time.

Feeling like my hands, finger by finger have been slowly unclasped without my asking.

Wondering if I did anything right.

Hating on all the moments I let my mouth run.

Knowing mistakes were made and wishing I could have a redo.

The world calls it bittersweet and I don’t really know if it’s even the word for what I am feeling.

I simply never expected it to hurt so much.

The letting go part.

Right now, my youngest has one top tooth missing and the other one hanging by a thread.

She’s feisty and talkative and speaks her mind with this innocent little lisp.

She makes sure to tell me as often as possible how much she dislikes the school uniform.

She asks me why she has to be like everyone else.

She throws a fit here and there about the whole thing and informs me that she will only wear the ruffled laced socks.

And I’m savoring it.

I stand in the hallway at 3 p.m. sharp and watch her run to me with that big smile on her face and holy cow, it ties me up in knots . . . . . .

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to trust him is to praise him


There are exactly 10 days left until this baby comes and the midwife tells me it will probably happen much sooner than that and I get all giddy.

Then nighttime rolls in and I feel quite the opposite.

As I carefully lift myself off the bed at two in the morning and sit there for a bit before waddling to the bathroom for the fifth time, I take notice of just how tired I am and it gives me a vivid reminder of the exhaustion that is yet to arrive.

Suddenly, the excitement isn’t there.

Instead there is a whole lot of apprehension.

God, give me the stamina, I whisper, give me the endurance.

Because I know my body.

I know how it deteriorates on very little sleep.

The migraines that torture, the body aches that overwhelm.

And all I want is to enjoy her. I want to relish every single moment.

Yet it is so hard to do when physically, you’re barely hanging on.

. . . . . . . .

Not too long ago, I get an email from a visitor to my site.

I tense up as I read her words.

She takes the liberty of labeling my writing as depressing and negative.

She informs me that my so called faith spits in the face of God, that I love to torment myself with the struggles of this world, that I am infecting my children with fear.

And I stare into the distance with utter bewilderment as to how someone can foolishly believe they have me all figured out, how someone can accuse me of simply being human.

Then the Holy Spirit speaks, “It’s okay. It’s okay. You don’t write for her”.

. . . . . . . .

What I see though is how easy it is to gain approval when one blogs about everything pretty.

An Instagram profile can have a following in the ten thousands when every single photo oozes of glamour, luxury and sex appeal.

But the numbers are deceiving and frivolous and mean nothing.

Because the moment you get personal, the moment you start sharing what you really believe in, what you wholeheartedly stand for, the popularity dwindles.

The adoration decreases.

Which is the reality for a writer.

It’s much harder to bare your soul than it is to post a fancy snapshot of your shoes with a bible verse attached.

At times my hands shake as I sit in front of the computer.

Because here you won’t find something easier to chew.

Here, I pour out my honesty on motherhood.

I reveal the tidal wave of emotions that come rushing in.

I share how there are days where my faith is sky high and days where fear starts knocking.

I talk about what stirs me up, what brings me to my knees, what convicts me.

I look at what’s around me, the pain people walk through, the lessons that come and go, the blessings in between and I write it all down.

In my prayer journal.

Or a notepad.

Or a piece of scratch paper in the car.

Whatever I can get my hands on at that moment, I write it all down.

And I know rejection is inevitable.

There will be those few who will roll their eyes, who will criticize like vultures.

But God has numerously pressed it upon my heart that I am not here to please everyone’s palate.

Whether my words resonate with a reader or not, it’s not about me nor is it about them.

He knows what to do with every syllable.

He is uses it all for His purpose. He gets all the glory.

. . . . . . . .

This past Saturday we were all over town, running errands.

School uniforms at Old Navy.

Black, close toed shoes at Target.

Groceries at Whole Foods.

A quick lunch at Chipotle.

Then onto more pit stops, checking things off my list, girls laughing in the back seat, husband holding my hand, the sun slowly, beautifully settling behind the trees.

I walk through the baby aisle, looking for a thermometer and pacifiers and in the Middle East, Christians are being slaughtered.

Children beheaded, wives raped and killed.

While I’m here tucking my daughters into bed.

Here, in a completely different world that is quiet and comfortable.

But really, there is so much horror.  Not only in Iraq or Nigeria or Ukraine or Syria. It’s everywhere. It’s down the street.

And I don’t know what to think as I slip into a thick, white robe after a hot shower.

Yeah, I feel safe, I feel blessed but there is also this ugly heaviness and it stirs a sickness in the pit of my stomach.

For I can’t wrap my mind around all that is going on. I try and I just can’t.

. . . . . . . .

Today it’s first of day school.

I pack pita bread sandwiches into 2 colorful lunch boxes.

I put in sugar snap peas and sweet cherry tomatoes.

And it takes me some serious will power to not cancel the whole thing.

I want to keep my children under my wings.

They are mine only for a moment. All I have is today. It’s all I really have, I tell God.

As I walk them to their classrooms, my third grader smiles and waves her hand, so brave, while my kindergartner wraps her arms tight around my neck and tells me she can’t be strong, that she is scared and I can’t tell her how I am even more terrified than her.

For I’ve never left her with a room full of children she doesn’t know, with an adult she has never met, for a whole seven hours and the fact that I have entered into a season where she isn’t a baby anymore, where I have to let go . . . . well,  it all just feels ludicrous to me.

I blow her one more kiss, walk to the car and weep.

Then I enter a quiet home, send my husband a text about how weird it is and for a split second I see myself in 15 years with an empty nest and wow, the whole thing hurts and I cry some more.

You know what is comforting though?

Nothing surprises God.

Not my anxiousness, not my doubting, not my insecurities, not my fears, not my rage, not even my joy.

He doesn’t disapprove or question when a hurricane of emotions thunders in, whether it’s positive or negative.

He is the writer of my story. He knows what I will encounter before it even hits ground.

And it’s silly that someone would reprimand me for feeling anything at all.

Because He has uniquely fashioned each and every one of us, He knows what makes us tick, He allows us to walk through stuff, He invites us to be fragile, so that we can see we are not invincible and be reminded of just how lost we are without Him.

. . . . . . . .

The secret, if it’s even a secret at all, is to always look to Him.

Ever since I woke up one morning with Acts 16:25 – 26 on my mind, God has been repeatedly showing me to fill my home with praise.

Day after day for the past few months, He has been speaking the same message.

“Rejoice in me! Let your mouth continuously pour out praises to My name!”

And then our pastor hands me a book on cultivating a home that welcomes God’s presence, a home that is drenched in His glory, and I smile and see it as no coincidence.

I make myself comfortable on the couch that very same day and read page through page and swallow back the tears because I clearly hear Him saying how all I need to do is trust Him and the way to do it is to praise Him.

There is so much going on for a lot of people.

Many of us are being hard pressed in some shape or form.

We look at the atrocities happening far, far away yet we feel weary from our own battles as well.

Maybe they aren’t that big or that serious and maybe we have a lot to be thankful for.

Regardless, God is calling us all to set our eyes on Him.

Sure, my prayer list is long, my to do list is long and weariness tries to consume at every sunrise but there is a reason He is telling me to do what matters most.

Because He’s got everything under control . . . . . . .

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who you should be running to first

looking to him

After two weeks of staring at turquoise waters with white sand between my toes, it was hard to walk through the door of our home.

Because the changes that we were slowly preparing for were now so very close.

A new place to call home, a new baby on the way, a new school for our daughters.

Which meant there was a long to-do list waiting on us.

With packing as the first and foremost.

As much as I was excited, I was also feeling a bit terrified.

Anxiety was creeping in as I pulled the luggage behind me and set it near the couch.

The girls wasted no time in running to their room and becoming engrossed with their Barbie house.

Hubs was already taking stuff out of his suitcase.

And I was simply telling myself to not freak out.

. . . . . . .

At church, a friend shares how she was having an off day.

Wondering if there was anyone that cared, anyone that was praying for her.

In the midst of these emotions, her phone rang.

It was her dad.

Just randomly calling to see how she’s doing.

He tells her that he loves her, that he’s always praying for her.

And she’s sees right there and then what God is trying to say to her.

How there is no need to question whether anyone cares, no need to feel alone.

Because she’s got Him, her heavenly daddy who loves beyond all comprehension and is always working on her behalf.

As I listen to her story, I feel all weepy.

Maybe it’s the darn hormones raging all over the place.

Or maybe I wholeheartedly understand where she is coming from.

There are mentors and counselors and close friends.

Our natural inclination is to turn to them.

We vent, we cry on their shoulder, we pour out the mess that makes us feel so heavy and weary.

It’s all valuable – a blessing to have this listening ear.

But I have come to see and understand that they can’t do what God can do.

He has the ability to make something out of my nothing.

He takes my every word as a precious seed and plants it into the rich soil of His endless possibilities.

Choosing Him first brings in comfort like no other.

Because He doesn’t just listen.

He gets straight to work. He makes things happen.

. . . . .

Of course, we are forgetful creatures.

We read about the Israelites in the Old Testament and gawk at their constant worry and despair.

They witnessed miracles upon miracles of God providing, God rescuing, and still the slightest discomfort had them acting like they were doomed, like they had been forsaken.

And so we shake our heads in disbelief and call them foolish.

We tell ourselves that if we had witnessed the Red Sea separating before our very eyes, then we would never doubt.

Instead, we would believe and believe and believe no matter what came against us.

But let’s face the truth.

We really aren’t any different.

Nothing has changed under the sun.

Even though God has shown Himself in every situation I have ever walked through, I still have moments where I wonder if He’s genuinely there when another storm rolls in.

And it’s got nothing to do with whether I have enough faith.

Because it’s not about faith.

It’s about the spirit of unbelief.

It doesn’t sleep and will sneak up repeatedly.

The key is what you do when it does come.

. . . . . . .

A few months ago I found myself thinking about Paul in the book of Acts.

Each morning I would wake up with this specific scripture on my mind.

And I knew God was trying to tell me something.

Paul and Silas were both beaten with rods and thrown into prison.

Wounded and in serious pain, they had every right to feel anguish.

But they chose to glorify the Almighty.

They refused to believe He was far from them and made the conscious decision to sing praises to His name and it was their praise that broke the prison gates.

I had read and heard the story countless times before and only now was it seriously blowing me away.

Because here was my answer.

In moments of desperation, of unbelief, of feeling like there is no miracle in sight, I needed to worship Him, I needed to delight in Him, I needed to lift His name up in adoration.

It all sounds so simple, so textbook, like “duh” that is exactly what a believer should be doing, no big surprise there, I’m preaching to the choir, etc.

However, let’s be real.

How many of us actually feel like praising Jesus when all hell breaks loose?

. . . . . . .

At our new place, there is chaos with all the boxes.

I force myself to sort through the dishes and the clothes and all the little knick knacks and feel a heaviness dragging me down.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know it’s unbelief.

I feel it pushing me into a corner.

And I’m just too overwhelmed with grief to rise above it.

Because it hurts.

This waiting game, waiting for answers to countless prayer – it hurts.

And the girls are whining about everything.

And dinner needs to be made.

And husband walks through the door with the weight of hopelessness upon his shoulders.

And there are explosions in Israel and people dying in Ukraine and planes crashing.

And I look at myself in the mirror and completely lose it.

I know I need to pray, to worship, to press in harder, to do what Paul and Silas did.

Yet I can’t.

My mouth feels like a ton of bricks and it reminds me of the apostles walking with Jesus.

He asked them to stay awake, to intercede, He knew His time had come to be taken captive and even though they didn’t really understand what He meant, they felt something too, a heaviness inside them, a grief so exhausting that they couldn’t bring themselves to utter a single word.

Instead, they fell asleep.

And it’s what I wanted to do as well.

I wanted to hide under my covers and numb all that was in me with sleep.

However, the Holy Spirit was nudging me to follow Christ’s example.

He was struck with deep anguish and it was painful.

But He didn’t let it consume Him.

There, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed with intensity beyond comprehension.

He pressed in so hard that His body sweat drops of blood.

. . . . . . . .

In the morning, I get up and think about how our faith goes beyond “feelings”.

How it’s about having the discipline to always worship, to always rejoice even though everything around us tells us we have no reason to do so.

It’s a choice we have to make every single day.

“Sing praises to Him, rejoice in Him,” the spirit beckons.

And I don’t always want to.

As my flesh groans, I turn on some music and reach for my prayer journal and start looking through all the promises God has spoken in the last few years and listen to Nicole Binion sing about how when He draws near, all fear is swept away, distractions disappear, how she is not moving, she is here waiting on Him, how He is so good, always good and she is standing on His promise and the lyrics engulf me like a tidal wave.

Life can be too much sometimes and it feels like my small voice gets lost in the rubble of this world, it feels like He is far from me.

But we all know that’s foolishness.

Because the moment I cry out to Him, He bends his ear to me as if I am the only one and gets straight to work.

No one else can do that.

No one  . . . . . . .

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