NEWLY His

Late one Saturday afternoon when my son was four years old, I left the house to celebrate the impending arrival of a friend’s baby. Upon returning home and tucking my child into bed, he asked, “Did the baby get all clean, Mommy?”

I replied, “Sweetie, the baby hasn’t been born yet. But, why did you ask if the baby is clean?”

Johnathan answered, “You said the baby was going to take a shower. But he should take a bath, like me!”

My son misunderstood the meaning of going to a “baby shower,” where we celebrate new life by giving gifts to expectant parents. His literal interpretation made me laugh, but it also made perfect sense.

New life emerging from death in my backyard.

We usher in new life with all kinds of rituals and fanfare — baby showers, wedding receptions, birth announcements — even birthdays and anniversaries focus on life in the year to come. I’m currently celebrating the new life I’m witnessing in my yard and garden. The winter storm appeared to kill everything in existence, but as temperatures warm and the sun shines and spring emerges, signs of life peek out from every branch and blade of grass. Flowers are blooming, new vegetable plants poke through the soil, and young, green leaves take up residence beside brown, dead ones. We only need to look outside to understand that death can, and does, give way to new life.

As followers of Jesus, we also understand how death can give way to new life, and we strive to focus on the new (resurrected) life of Christ and on the new life He promises to us.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

ROmans 6:4

We are Easter people, my friends! Gone is Somber Saturday when everything appeared dead and lost. Jesus is alive, and so are we! So, what exactly does “new life in Christ” look like?

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:15-17

Verses 15 and 16 say we are to no longer live for ourselves, but instead live for Christ who died for us; furthermore, we are to think about and respond to one another in the same way Christ thinks about and responds to us.

That’s a tall order of selflessness for an inherently selfish people. Thank God that He gave us the example of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us along the way!

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:22-24

New life yields a new mindset that yields a new self. From the death of our former ways of disbelief and sinfulness, springs new life and new ways of reflecting the character and nature of God to others.

From the cross to the resurrection …

From winter to spring …

From our old ways to our new lives …

From death, springs life.

NEWLY His,

Nicki

REASSURINGLY His

I returned to in-person worship inside my church building two weeks ago, for the first time in a year.

When the world as we knew it came to an abrupt stop, I imagined a return to worship filled with jubilant singing, clapping, and shouts of praise, punctuated by a buoyant, contagious energy. The room would be packed to the doors with old and new faces, all expressing relief at the return to normalcy and conclusion of a nightmare.

Instead, I returned to a socially-distanced seating arrangement with mostly empty chairs, faces covered with masks, awkward interactions (Do I hug? Am I standing too close?) and an eerie feeling of familiarity mixed with the bizarre.

Still, I worshiped. Tears ran down my cheeks as the sound of my own voice blended with the voices of others, singing to and about the God we love. Simple. Authentic. And somehow exquisite. The beauty and comfort found in a family and fellowship of believers.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Matthew 18:20

I quickly recognized some division in my heart, though. Some of the words I sang didn’t ring completely true. I desperately wanted to sing of my faith and belief in a good God, of His faithfulness and provision, of His redemption and healing. But right beside me sat a friend, crying over the recent loss of his life partner to COVID, and my mind flooded with the countless others — known and unknown — who have struggled under the weight of this virus, as well as a terrible winter storm, loss of jobs and incomes, relationships broken by unusual strain, more typical life tragedies and deaths, and on and on.

I felt like a hypocrite. I do believe in a good God, but after months of profound suffering taking a front-row seat in our homes and communities, I’m left dealing with a great deal of hurt, sadness, and even anger. I want to cry out: Jesus, just come back already!

So, I chose to pray. I didn’t wait for quiet, privacy, or a “better time.” While the people around me sang, I closed my eyes and silently lifted up some guttural mix of confession and desperate plea:

“God, I’m so upset. I’m even upset with You. I’m so tired. I cannot understand everything You are allowing to happen in this world. But I know you love us. I know I love you. I know you are a good Father. Help me with my unbelief.

The two weeks following that worship service have been filled with reminders of God’s presence and His love. I see hearts He has put in my path at every turn. I breathe in my favorite aromas of springtime. I feel the gentle breeze and the sunshine warming my skin. He hasn’t come rushing in like a hurricane, but instead like a reassuring whisper in my ear: I’m still here. And I love you.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:11-12

God doesn’t force Himself on us. He extends an invitation, and waits for us to come to Him. I pray we receive that invitation, and if you are like me and have struggled lately to relax fully in His presence, I encourage you to pray and return to worship anyway. He is faithful and merciful to help us along the way.

God, help us in our areas of unbelief. Amen.

REASSURINGLY His,

Nicki

EMOTIONALLY His

This morning I sipped a cup of coffee and just cried.

I cried with gratitude. I cried with exhaustion. I cried with relief, thanks, frustration, weariness, and empathy.

Let’s be real: We just survived a natural disaster in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s ok to not be ok.

“Unprecedented times” fatigue continues to tear at our stamina and well-being.

Living in “survival mode” is unhealthy for us physically, mentally, and emotionally. And most of us have been living in that place for close to a year now. According to the American Psychiatric Association, common reactions in adults after a disaster include:

  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Sadness, depression, hyperactivity, irritability or anger
  • Having no feelings at all or feeling numb
  • A lack of energy or feeling exhausted all the time
  • Lack of appetite or, the opposite, eating all the time
  • Trouble concentrating or feeling confused
  • Social isolation, reduced or restricted activities
  • Thinking no one else is having the same reactions as you
  • Headaches, stomachaches, or other body pains
  • Misusing alcohol, tobacco, drugs or prescription medications to cope

In addition to all these concerns, we may also be struggling spiritually.

One of my children spoke to me this week about feeling like she’s not growing in her faith. I assured her that we all go through phases like that, especially during dark and difficult periods in our lives. I related it to gardening. When we plant seeds in a garden, it looks and feels like nothing is happening until we can see those first green sprouts coming up from the soil. Right now, in this time of COVID-19 and winter storms, we are planting seeds. The growth and the harvest will come later. For now, we water our faith by spending time in the word, worship, and prayer. We wait for the sun to warm the ground, and we trust new life will burst forth in the Lord’s timing.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.

Isaiah 61:11

It’s similar to Lent. We abstain for now and focus on God and how we can live more intentionally for Him, knowing that Easter is around the corner.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin.

Hebrews 4:14-15

In the meantime, know this last year hasn’t been easy for anyone. Help one another. Focus on opportunities to do good for those around you. Love others like Jesus loves you. And don’t forget to cut yourself some slack, too. We have all been through quite an ordeal, so extend grace and mercy to yourself and others.

The winter thaw is already happening. Look around. The sun is shining. The Son is, too.

Spring — and Easter — are coming soon, friends!

EMOTIONALLY His,

Nicki

CERTAINLY His

I remember the moment with a mixture of pride-filled validation as well as shame.

I had just arrived back at school after a morning pre-Kindergarten field trip with my five-year-old son. As the children were set loose on the playground to let out their wiggles, one of my son’s sweet classmates cuddled up against my leg and reached out and grabbed hold of my hand. Seeing this, my son came tearing across the playground screaming, “She’s not yours! She’s MINE!!” Flash-forward to the present when that same son, now a teenager, would probably rather his friends not even know I’m his mom. It’s no small wonder many mothers experience identity crises as their children grow up.

Lately I do feel a bit like a stranger in my own body. The pandemic, the political unrest, and the barrage of bad news and cancellations have all knocked me so far out of my comfort zone that I can’t even remember how a comfort zone feels. The question that keeps circling in my mind asks, “Where did last year go? And what will this year bring?”

When routines and rituals are stripped away, we are forced to face the most basic truths about who we are and what is most important to us.

Periods of uncertainty can rock us to our core and make us question ourselves, our faith, our leaders, and the very lens through which we view the world around us. Where do we turn for grounding? What do we lean on for stability? What is the truth? Furthermore, who even are we?

Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” So, if I am no longer doing so many of the things that I feel defined me, has it changed who I really am? In other words, are we what we do? Or do we tend to do the things that we inherently are?

This is what I know to be true about myself: I am saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. My Heavenly Father loves me and calls me His own. I love my God and my Savior.

And honestly, that is enough.

This does not mean I will always feel super content and at peace. Honestly, right now I struggle to feel either. In response, I choose to do the following: I remind myself of the promises God has made to me, and of the reassurances Scripture provides. I reflect on all the lessons He has taught me through the course of my lifetime. I remember the stories of the faithful ones around me, and how God provided for them and proved Himself trustworthy time and time again. I spend more time in prayer and in the Word of God.

I serve a faithful God. Sometimes me faithfully serving Him looks simply like trust and a whole lot of patience. Sometimes He removes comfort and familiarity in my life to drive me more fully into His arms. Sometimes He asks me to simply be still and learn, because He is preparing me for what He’s doing next.

I choose to lean into life’s uncertainty with the certainty of who God is, and whose I am.

I pray I never doubt for a second, regardless of all the other questions that may plague me, that Jesus is running towards me screaming, “You’re MINE!”

I believe He is running towards you, too.

Rest not in what you do or who you think you are, but instead rest in who He is, and in the knowledge that you belong to Him.

Certainly His,

Nicki

LUMINOUSLY His

          

As I tucked my pint-sized, three-year-old son in for the night, he frantically looked up at me and asked, “Mommy! Where’s my white boy?”

Confused, I repeated back to him, “Your white boy?”

Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com

“Yes! He’s not here. I want him.”

My maternal brain started flipping through a catalogue of toys, trying to figure out what he meant. Nothing registered.

Johnathan grew frustrated. “My yite boy!”

“Ohhhh! Your light boy! Wait … I still don’t understand.”

And then it dawned on me. I reached under the bed, rummaging around in the dark for the hard, plastic casing of Buzz Lightyear. I pulled it out and triumphantly presented it to my son.

“Yes!! There’s my yite boy!” he exclaimed.

And off to sleep my little toddler went, clutching his white-clad hero of light.

Last week, the first Sunday of Advent, Pastor David brought a message centering on light and hope. He reminded us that we are called to not only follow the light of the world, but to be the light of the world … the light of hope.

I think hope gets a bad rap (like many other four-letter-words), especially around Christmastime. Hallmark movies and others like them lead us to believe if we hope strongly enough for a desired outcome, the magic of Christmas will make it happen. It’s important to remember, though, that the God we serve is not a wish-granting genie, roaming around catering to the whims of His people. Hope is not a magic cure for what’s “going wrong” in our lives.

Hope is a deep understanding that God is always at work in our lives, in all the good, bad, and in-between circumstances, in ways we cannot see or understand.

During times when we feel God is withholding blessing, HOPE reminds us that He is always working for our good. (Romans 8:28)

During times when we feel overwhelmed by His good fortune, HOPE reminds us that He is a giver of good things (James 1:17).

During times when we feel sadness and disappointment, HOPE reminds us that His ways are higher than our own (Isaiah 55:9).

During times when we want more than He has seen fit to give us, HOPE reminds us that we lack for nothing (Philippians 4:19).

You see, hope and positivity are not synonymous, but hope and trust are.

We trust because God has proven His mercy and grace through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We trust because He has proven His faithfulness time and again through circumstances in our own lives and those around us. We trust because He has proven his limitless love for us through every word spoken in the Bible.

 We have to let go of wanting things God hasn’t seen fit to give us, and of thinking our way is better than His. Trusting God means letting go of our own ideas about how our lives should look, how the world should look, how our church should look, and how it all should feel. Do our current times look and feel dark? Of course they do. But we can be certain the God of Light and Love still rules on His throne, orchestrating the events of the world so that all may come to salvation.

I’m not a person waiting with baited breath for the end of 2020. I don’t believe when the clock strikes midnight this New Year’s Eve, that all our troubles will be over. Is that pessimistic? Perhaps. Realistic? Probably. I don’t believe 2021 will bring the end of all that ails us. I don’t think 2021 will be the “anti-2020.”

What I do believe — and what I hope — is that as surely as there will be struggle, there will be triumph. As surely as there will be sin, there will be forgiveness. As surely as there will be grief, there will be joy. As surely as there will be sickness, there will be healing.

 And as surely as there will be darkness, there will be light: the hope found in the son of God, Jesus Christ, the white-clad-superhero-light-wielding savior of this world.

LUMINOUSLY His,

Nicki

JOYFULLY His

“Stop saying that so rudely every time I interrupt you!” said one of my children, who shall remain nameless.

It was quite a mouthful, and so indicative of the way so many of us converse these days. Indignation, disgust, refusing to listen to another’s viewpoint or opinion, and outrage seem to be cornerstones of today’s societal interactions. Irritation is the mood du jour. I’m not sure when we lost the art of respectful discourse and discussion, but my guess is it occurred around the same time we decided being heard was more important than listening.

Few things can block our joy faster than the heated emotions listed above, and yet so many of us seem to live almost continuously in this heightened state of agitation.

Pastor David Payne said in last Sunday’s sermon that joy is a choice. So how do we go about making that choice for ourselves?

As in all things, I believe it starts with prayer.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

God wishes for us to experience the joy of our salvation, and the joy of Christian living. If we want joy, we must first ask for it, for it is one of those God-given good and perfect gifts James speaks about in this verse. And we know, according to Mark 11:24, that if we ask for something in accordance with God’s will, and believe in His ability to grant it and our ability to receive it, God will honor that request.

Our very desire to seek God is a gift from Him, and so is our desire to seek joy. Left to our own devices, we would wander around in pursuit of selfish ends. Our natural selves find pleasure in the wrong as well as the right; in the unholy as well as the holy; in the irritation and frustration as well as the peace. We’re broken. To experience true, abundant, abiding joy, we must turn to the creator of joy itself, and ask Him for a great big dose of it.

Even David found the need to pray for joy, as found in Psalm 51:

Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:11-13

After asking for joy, we must continuously seek it and practice it. Feeling agitated? Try meditative breathing. Getting itchy keyboard fingers every time you read that one friend’s political posts? Take a break from social media. Can’t say something nice? Say nothing at all. Go for a nature walk. Sit and watch the butterflies. Read the Bible. Listen to a Christian podcast. Turn on worship music in your house and car.

The joy of the Lord is always all around us! We just need to stop our striving long enough to see it, feel it, and appreciate it.

I think of joy like glitter. You can’t toss a handful of glitter in the air and not get it on others around you. Throw some joy into the air and watch what happens. Choose to be a joy-spreader.

JOYFULLY His,

Nicki

SECURELY His

This morning I spent five minutes buckling myself into an ankle brace so I could play tennis. I’m healing from a severe ankle sprain, and although I really dislike the push-and-pull battle of strapping myself into this contraption, I am grateful it allows me to hit the courts again. I may not enjoy the constricted, slower movement when wearing this sweaty thing, but it provides the protection I need to go and participate in something I love.

I started thinking of all kinds of similarities between this brace and my relationship with God.

I know many people think Christians are uptight, and that their lives lack freedom and fun. They don’t want to go to church or become “Jesus freaks” because they don’t want to live by God’s “restrictive rules.”

In truth, the kind of lives believers experience within the confines of His will for us yield incredible freedom and blessing.

Yes, God gave us the Bible, and within it He set forth guidelines for how He wants us to live our lives. God also gave us free will to make our own choices, though. The beautiful mystery is that when we choose to live within God’s expectations for us, we are allowing His greatest blessings to fall upon us.

My ankle brace restricts my ankle’s movement, but it does so only to the degree that the ankle moves safely. Likewise, the boundaries God has set forth are for our physical, emotional, and spiritual safety. We find ourselves freer to live life to the fullest because we are surrounded by His hedge of protection.

Just like I would miss out on playing tennis were it not for this brace, we children of God miss out on wonderful things He has planned for us because we stray from the confines of His safety net.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.

Psalm 91:1-2

If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.

Psalm 91:9-11

To experience true freedom, we must surrender authority to our Creator God, and rest in His authority over all. A word of advice? Strap yourselves in tightly, because His blessings will knock your socks off!

SECURELY His,

Nicki

DIFFERENTLY His

A lot of LIFE has happened since I last wrote a blog – cancer diagnoses, surgeries, heart attacks, a global pandemic and quarantine, a suspended school year that required me to suddenly become a homeschool teacher, a new school year, buying a house, selling a house, and moving with a severely sprained ankle – just to name a few.

As I sit here typing in my new writing room, very little feels familiar. Even my fingernails look different, with a glittery polish that I swear was not the one I selected at the nail place last week. The room behind my laptop screen holds an entirely different view. It’s quieter here, without the sirens of a nearby fire station or the distant laughter and squeals of children on a school playground. Even the fragrance here is new, because I changed laundry detergents recently, and I’m not sure I like that “powerful clean” scent.

Different is not bad though … it’s just different.

With a world that is so rapidly changing that our heads are spinning from the centrifugal forces, “different” may feel like an enemy to our peace. “Change” may feel completely overwhelming. “New” may sound like a code-word for a forced way of doing things that none of us wanted or ever asked for in the first place.

Now, “nostalgia” – that’s where it’s at these days. We long for the way life used to be, how we used to do things, and how it all felt. Hindsight is 20/20, right? Well … let’s just agree to not use that phrase anymore, shall we?

But what if even now, God is still in our midst? What if all the events of 2020 are no surprise to Him? What if He really is using all of these things for our – dare I say it – good?

According to Scripture, these are facts upon which we can rely.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46:7 (NIV)

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Psalm 139:15 (NLT)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28 (NLT)

In the midst of the many trials we are facing; in the midst of endless change; in the midst of so much uncertainty; in the midst of a dang woodpecker that will not for the love leave my new house alone; God is still in control. That will never change. And that is where we find strength to embrace the present and the future.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 (NLT)

The world may look different, my little piece of the world may feel entirely unfamiliar, and tomorrow it may all change yet again, but I rest in the knowledge that my Jesus is walking right beside me in every moment. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8), and that will never change.

DIFFERENTLY His,

Nicki

PEACEFULLY His

“Shhhh!” Johnathan urgently whispered. “There’s a fake man sleeping in my room!”

My then-four-year-old caught me off-guard with his instructions. On the one hand, he was adamant that everyone in the house conform to his imaginary world; on the other hand, his own words betrayed him when he described the man as “fake.”   

I miss the quiet, simple days of imaginary play. Life is incredibly noisy and complicated right now. Exhaustingly so, even. Gone are the peaceful school-day hours when I had the house to myself. Gone is the solitude of enjoying my morning coffee, or a few minutes here or there where family members were out of the house doing other things. Gone are the trips to a coffee shop or diner where I’d tap away at my laptop while eating brunch. We’re all stuck in the house, pretty much all the time. Television shows, music, video games, talking, bickering, laughing, appliances running, cabinets closing, dishes clanking … it’s loud up in here.

And then there’s social media. Full stop. Everyone is shouting their opinions at the top of their lungs with every meme, statement, cartoon, post, and picture. COVID statistics, instructions, politics, racism, and more at every turn. I can’t process it anymore. I literally cannot. Overwhelmed is an understatement. My brain never shuts off, yet I’ve found it incredibly difficult to put thoughtful sentences together. I procrastinate writing because that means meditating on ideas, unpacking concepts, dealing with emotional pain, and pondering truths. I feel incapable at the moment. Unqualified. Unworthy of saying anything profound or meaningful in these never-seen-before circumstances.

The deepest truth: I am desperate for peace — peace in our world, peace in our government, peace in our society, peace in my home, peace in my own mind.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

I cannot imagine more comforting words in this present time. Despite everything we currently face, Jesus has already won the battle. He has overcome this world. And the gift He left us? True, honest-to-goodness peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

Are you troubled, afraid, anxious? I have my moments, to be sure. These are not emotions Jesus wants for us, though. When your own child or someone you love feels this way, how do you respond? I just scoop them up into my arms, speak comforting words, and often pray with them. I imagine this is what God wants to do with us, His children. He wants to take us in His arms, reassure us, and hold us until we feel secure again.

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

I feel pretty helpless, and definitely child-like because of it. So much is out of our hands right now. The weight of our current problems is a burden too great for any person to bear. So today, I want to encourage us all to climb into our Heavenly Father’s arms. Cry out to Abba, Father. Open the Bible and allow Him to speak consoling and encouraging words to you. Rest in His presence.

PEACEFULLY His,

Nicki

ETERNALLY His

I routinely dropped my son off at school one morning, and watched as he climbed out of the back seat.

I offered my typical, “Bye, sweetie!”

He replied, “Bye sweetie Mommy,” quickly closed the door, and off he went.

I sat in the car for a moment, giggling at his funny farewell. This was decidedly a nice change from his “fart-and-run” goodbye from the previous morning, which he found hilarious.

Next week, however, I have to say goodbye to some friends that are moving, and I don’t find the situation funny at all. I hate goodbyes. I mean, does anyone really like them? My tender heart is the one that doesn’t want to let go during that last hug, and I fight mightily to keep tears at bay. I’ve grown pretty adept at the “be strong for the other person” act.

But my currently-breaking little heart wonders, “In a world filled with goodbyes, why are they still so hard?”

Let’s face it, people: Goodbyes stink. Nothing here is permanent. Everything is temporary. Life itself is transitory, leading to the ultimate goodbye of death itself. I think we’d rather live our lives in denial of all this, but goodbyes remind us of the truth: we’re mortal. And our time here is limited. Only heaven is eternal.

Knowing this and living this are two completely different things. We can know something yet not be acutely aware of it. We can admit the truth but not make choices with it in the forefront of our minds. So, how exactly are we to handle the ideas of our very brief lives juxtaposed against an unending Heaven?

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:2-3

If we want to remember our present limitations, we actually need to fix our minds on what is limitless: God.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9

In contrast to the temporal earth, heaven is eternal. If we tie our future to Christ’s sacrifice, we know the best is yet to come. We know every goodbye is actually a “see you later.” In heaven, we can look forward to never having to say another goodbye.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. 

There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Revelation 21:4

It’s hard to even imagine a place with no goodbyes. I am so eager for it though, especially as I currently prepare my heart to help my dear friends pack up their moving truck. I sweetly recall holding their newborn in my arms, sending my own daughters off to babysit their children, family dinners, hugs at church, and watching Longhorn football games. No spoken platitudes make this easier.

I will, however, pray we will make more memories in the future. And I will, however, cling to the hope of our eternal reunion in the presence of our Heavenly Father. Christ is the only hope I profess, and He is more than enough.

Godspeed, Portwood family. See you later.

Eternally His,

Nicki

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