Practice His Presence

As many of you know, each year for the past seven years, God has stamped a theme for the next twelve months on my heart. Sometimes it has been more fun than others. Every year has challenged me to grow in new ways and shed unneeded baggage while running this race called life.

2014: Do Hard Things

2015: Reflect the Son

2016: God Writes Your Story

2017: Be Brave

2018: Come to His Table

2019: Be A Door Holder

At the dawn of this year, God made it obvious that this new theme was going to rock my style. Majorly.

Theme 2020: “Practice His Presence”.

God kept pressing these words on my heart. Even then…months ago while the letters began to be etched on my heart and mind…I had no idea what that would mean.

As often happens, every Scripture with the word PRESENCE jumped off the page and launched into my soul. In particular, Psalm 16:11, “You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.”

It was like God speaking directly to me with His eyes staring straight into mine. I kept thinking about REST and BEING with Jesus and the ones I love versus always running around trying to earn love and acceptance. I knew one thing for sure: if I didn’t want to burn out, I desperately needed soul rest.

Another thing I’ve been doing since 2016 at the end of each year and into the beginning of a new one is reprioritize and pray through my life/responsibilities/goals. It helps me inventory what I am responsible for and what aren’t needful. I say no to a lot of things. I say yes to a few things. I try to simplify and declutter so I can focus on what really matters. This is a painful process of letting go and allowing God to put His finger on things that aren’t BEST for me. I’ve learned that good is often the enemy of the best. As I do regularly, I asked my parents and mentors to speak into areas that were broken and needed healed. Their perspectives are windows into my life that sometimes I can’t see and need clarity on. I’m grateful for their direction and reproof.

There are ways God immediately did surgery on my heart to remove things that didn’t need to be there in order to Practice His Presence. I fasted from certain things for a period of time before reevaluating and learning what holds (good or bad) those things had on my attention. This is still a process I’m in.

All that to say…I’m being renewed in 2020. Learning what Practicing His Presence means. Learning about soul rest so I can be stronger to serve Jesus. Seeing areas of my life that need to be sanctified and healed. I’d be a liar if I didn’t tell you that it hurts like crazy. Lots of tears. White-knuckle gripping the things I want to keep, but aren’t best for me. Surrendering isn’t easy because it requires death to self.

Practice His Presence.


Practice is something that we do because we are learning. Growing into. Never achieving fully, but hopefully becoming better and more experienced in. It’s a day-in-day-out activity that we have to intentionally schedule in, prioritize and place an importance on. If we never practice, we will never be able to actually make it a part of our character. Repetition is a way of weaving something into the fibers of who we are. Habit can be equally good as it is bad…depending on what you’re practicing.

Isaiah 30:15 says, “For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: ‘You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence, but you are not willing.’” There have been a thousand times when I have thought that my victory was in me DOING. Achieving. Running around ragged…as if it were a spiritual gift or made me a better Christian. That somehow spending every last ounce of my energy, and perhaps even more than I actually had to give, would get me a place of position in God’s better graces. That when I crashed after weeks of expending every drop of sweat and blood in ministry, it was a good sign.

I’ve been a person to run myself ragged more times than I care to admit. Just a year ago I crashed in the middle of a ministry trip. Majorly. Not enough sleep and soul rest led me to the brink of burn out. I got up one day in the middle of a prison ministry week and couldn’t keep my eyes open for devotions. I literally stood up doing my Scripture time and dozed off standing up. My tank was bone-dry. It was pathetic at best. I had made the serving of Jesus more important than the being with Him. Rest would be there when I could get around to it! I had drove myself to a dangerous place physically. Unsafe, really. My team rallied around me in prayer and stepped up to lead. I went back to my bunk and slept for a solid seven more hours! That sealed the deal in my mind. I had to prioritize rest for the health of my body and soul…so I could serve well in a spiritual capacity.

There is nothing spiritual about draining your tank so low that your own relationship with Jesus suffers and your body can’t even stand up after a short night’s sleep. It actually show us that we think we are indivisible. Even Jesus Himself prioritized getting alone with His Father and refilling spiritually. Rest is key to our spiritual, soul, and body health. As this Scripture reminds us: “You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence, but you are not willing.” Are we willing to practice resting in Jesus? Prioritizing our soul health so we can serve Jesus well? This is the essence of why God created the Sabbath.


Being like Jesus isn’t easy. In fact, it’s arguably the hardest thing to do. After all, He’s perfect and I am totally not. Psalm 73:28, “But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all You do.” His Presence is peace. Our Identity. Our hope. Everything we need is in His Presence. Too often, I have gathered feelings about myself from the voices around me…whether they were good or bad determined how I felt about myself. The mirror had more of a voice than my Creator. I’ve let people who barely know me speak things into me that I took and gave them more weight than the One who made me.

His Voice has to be the loudest. The most valued. The biggest weight. That part is up to me. I choose who I listen to and how much I allow their voice to carry weight. It has to be HIM. HIS VOICE. HIS TRUTH.


This is the essence of being. Our loved ones would rather us BE WITH US than for us to give them all manner of other things and not ourselves. God wants our time too. He wants us to BE with Him. As He is with us. God with us= Emmanuel.

Acts 4:13 says, “When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.” It wasn’t what they were wearing or how they were carrying themselves or what was in their bank account. It wasn’t their job positions or educations. It was this one thing that set them apart: they had been with JESUS.

When is the last time I have BEEN WITH Jesus? Presence. When have I last sat with Him, given Him all my attention, and listened quietly? More often I am reading Scripture because I know it’s good for me and then rushing off on the next to-do list project.

As I’ve read about Jesus through the Gospels, I notice one major thing: He practiced BEING WITH people way more than I do. I like doing stuff for people. I like talking with people. I’m an extrovert who loves people.

But what if my doing and talking didn’t actually carry as much meaning as my BEING WITH those I love? That’s a disappointing truth…since I’m not very good at the BEING WITH part.

I’ve noticed that even my young nieces and nephews prefer my presence over my stuff. I have several nephews that want to sit next to me and just hold my hand. When there are more than two at a time, this presents a problem…but it is a visual reminder of what Presence really means. They want to be with me.

I can’t help but think that Jesus wants us to be this way too. He wants us to regularly crawl up next to Him, lean against His arm and hold His hand. When we do this, we can actually hear the rhythm of His heart beat and hear His Voice clearly. We can feel the security of being with Him. In His Presence is everything we need.

Practice His Presence.

For the rest of this year, I’m going to be learning what this actually means.

Burning My Plow

I had been asking for a sign. For God to speak to me about the future and His purposes in ministry. Truth be told, I know I can’t do both full-time PCM (Polished Cornerstones Ministry) and full-time Prison ministry. But who wants to say no to either one? Both are good. Both are making a difference. Both are valuable and needed in our world.

I’d been praying. I’d been asking for counsel.  I’d been wondering what God wanted for me.

March 24th, 2019, He spoke. I was sitting in a church pew hours before I would leave town for another prison trip and listening to one of my favorite preachers talk about Job and Elijah and Elisha and yoke of oxen. I know, you’re wondering how all that connects. Believe me, it does and it is beautiful.

I was sitting there thinking about the picture of being yoked with Jesus and allowing Him to lead. Following Him wherever and being content to pull a load and tackle the world knowing that He will do the hard work and I just need to submit and follow in joyful obedience.

Then he drops the bomb. He starts talking about how we need to be willing to abandon our former lives to reach for what God has for us in the future. That’s what Elisha did. He was a skilled yoked-oxen-farmer and when he was called to follow Elijah and do the work of God, he burned his yoke, plow and oxen. That way he wouldn’t have the opportunity to come back to his old life. He burned his bridge back and chose to run after a life that looked completely different than anything he had ever known.

I felt it in my spirit. I heard His voice. Jesus was calling me out.

I’ve heard Him and felt His work in my heart before, so I knew this was Him. The tears were streaming down my face at that point. I saw my past… beautiful, good work that I loved, but that was fading. Would I be willing to turn and start something different? Would I be willing to burn my plow and oxen and run towards a new life?

It all boiled down to surrender. I knew He was asking me to offer Him what was in my hands… my dreams, my family, my church, my Community, my Church, my friends- for something that He had for me. He said it would be better for me. Not easier. Not more comfortable. Better.

This much I knew: in order to grab ahold of the new (unknown) life ahead, I had to let go of the current world in my hands. That hurts. It stinks. And for a chronicly fearful gal, it’s scary.

But for all the scariness that stood in front of me that night, I knew this: it scared me more to miss the opportunity of adventuring with Jesus. So, I said yes. I knew, He meant business. And so did I.

Fast forward five months and today I sat with part of my PCM staff and told them I was resigning my position. They didn’t even wince. They saw it coming and they were willing too. They smiled and said the things I most needed to hear… “You can do this, Faith.” “Everything is gonna be okay.” “It was a beautiful season, but we knew it wasn’t forever.” One of them told me, “I think the last five years was a warm up for this next chapter of your life.” I choked back the tears…because these women were doing what they do best… cheering me on as I run at the heels of Jesus.

Life is never as we assume it will be. It’s unpredictable. It’s ever-changing.

Jesus is the only steady in my craziness. He is beautiful. He is faithful. He is Someone I can count on when the rest of the world seems shaky and unpredictable. And even though the unknown scares my socks off, I wouldn’t want to be adventurous with Anyone Else. He’s got the map. He’s got the power. He knows what He’s doing.

I can burn my plow for Someone like that. Jesus is worth it.

The Power of ONE

“Can you pray for me?” The question caught me off guard. We were in the hallway of the education building where young inmates were coming in for their afternoon classes. YOs are generally not very friendly. Especially with someone they don’t know. The trust factor is a real thing.

First, let me back up.

We had scheduled a special class for YOs (Youthful Offenders) in this particular prison. It’s always our hardest crowd to minister to… but so worth it! The zeal that young people have when they are set on fire for Jesus is worth the difficulty in getting to that point. They are regular world-changers, if we are willing to view them as such. For this reason, we press on.

We had a four-day class in one of the education buildings. We had our own room for those four days. Every morning we would come in and set up our equipment… DVD player, laptop, pencil sharpener and pencils, screen, projector, and workbooks. Then we would wait.

Little did we know what we were getting into that week. When Susannah and I started that first day, we barely knew each other. A few short conversations in person at various events and a couple phone calls leading up to the week. We were just acquaintances, really. That was about to change. We have a saying on my women’s prison team- “Come as friends, leave as sisters.” That’s the way it goes. Intense ministry can make or break you.

For our first two days no one showed up.

That’s never happened to me. There was literally not a soul that came those first two days. We were stuck in a room a thousand miles from home and not a person to show for the time and energy we had prepared. It was discouraging if I stopped and thought about it too long. But Susannah and I were determined to not go there with our minds. Instead, we chose to stake our claim on the hearts of these girls.

We prayed like mad women for two days.

There in that little classroom, we prayed for hours. Once in a while a passer-by would stick their head in our room and ask where our students were. “They’re coming,” we’d say, or “we don’t have any yet.” There were a lot of strange looks from people…especially from the other teachers in the building. One teacher kept telling us- “You came all this way and don’t have any students? Go to the beach or something! I feel so bad…you’re sitting here and you have no one. Don’t waste your time. Go enjoy yourself.” We smiled. He couldn’t see what we could see.

Like Elisha when he saw what his servant didn’t see in 2 Kings 6…Elisha saw the Army of the Lord and his servant couldn’t see, so he was afraid. We could sit and wait knowing that God could still make something beautiful out of our days of sitting and prayer. What if our waiting was for someone else? What if our waiting was showing that one teacher that we were willing to wait for ONE student? What if our patience was proving to him that there is a God in heaven who waits for the one? Even for ONE. What if our waiting showed the love of the Father for one child? Individually. Personally.

By the end of our first day, that room was like our home. We stood at the doorway during break times and talked to the ladies coming by. We had women come in and sit on the front row, telling us their stories and asking for prayer. One at a time, we ministered to them in whatever ways we could. It started feeling like our living room where the broken were coming. I started to wonder if this would be our week.

Over and over I heard the words of Revelation 3:8- “I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you and open door that no one is able to close.” (HCSB) I kept feeling like God was setting the stage for something bigger than we could even imagine.

It’s not in numbers friends. Jesus turned the world upside-down with twelve men. I am willing to bet that He can do the same with a few gals from prison. Or He could do it with ONE.

After two days of praying and small talk with those visiting “our house”, we made a bold request and ASKED to track down some students. Maybe sometimes God tells us there is an open door… then He asks us to kick it down. It’s unlocked, but maybe it’s stuck. The authorities said we could stand near the education classes and talk to the girls coming in after lunch. We were all about it.

When the YOs started pouring in the doors, my friend Susannah and I split up and started trying to make conversation with the girls as they walked by. I stood there in a lull, looking for a pair of eyeballs to meet mine, ready to jump out with a smile and howdy-do. I kept whispering under my breath, “Jesus, just give me ONE.” But no one was making eye contact with me.

Then I heard a voice behind me. “Can you pray for me?”

It startled me. A girl who I had seen walk by me had whirled around and stood directly next to me. She had her head down and she was twiddling her hat in her hands. She seemed nervous. I reached for her hands and although she gave them to me, she kept her head down. “Absolutely! What do you want me to pray for?”

Her answer cut through me.

“I want God’s favor on my life. I need help. I need answers.” This was my one. I had come a thousand miles for THIS GIRL.

Fast forward two more days and we were wrapping up our class with SIX GIRLS, ages 17-23. Y’all, that’s a door that we couldn’t have went through if it wasn’t for Jesus.

I had my one and Susannah had her one and each of them had brought friends. We ended the class with six girls who were ready to face the compound with a new zeal and hunger for Jesus. One 17-year-old decided to follow Jesus with her life. Maybe she was our ONE too.

Yes, we cried tears of joy over these girls. But can I tell you what made me cry every single time those last two days?

When that certain teacher would come by and peak in the window and see us teaching the class. Every time he came by and stood in the window or whenever some other teacher or inmate who knew us from the first two days came by and peaking their heads in the door, their responses made me tear up. They knew of the waiting. They knew about the praying. They knew that we had staked out in an empty room waiting for ONE. And then they saw filled chairs and workbooks being wrote in and interactions between us and the YOs and they knew- Jesus is real. I saw a dozen or more inmates and teachers stand in that window over those two days and clap. Quiet standing ovations to the God who believes in waiting for ONE. They would laugh and high-five us. They would give our girls thumbs up.

I’ve never seen six girls so applauded by the rest of the prison compound as these gals were. They weren’t just waited for by us anymore…there was a host of men and women that were rooting for those chairs to be filled. Now they were seeing the answer of their waiting and hoping. Maybe true faith is slightly contagious.

We weren’t standing our ground for ourselves. We were willing to wait because we believed that the Jesus we serve is more powerful than the one who had chained these in prison. Because ONE can change the world. Perhaps the domino affect starts here in the waiting.

Do you have ONE you’re waiting for? Don’t give up, friend.

There is power in one. The ONE named Jesus and He says ONE is worth the wait.

FREE Bible Studies!

Hey friends,

Wanted you to know that my website has been updated with some free resources on studying the Bible…Three video series that encourage studying the Word and living for Jesus.

The Brave and Courageous Living series is three stories of women from different ages and stages of life who have learned what it means to walk in courage and trust in the Lord.

The Secrets to Home Bible Study series is a practical four-part progression of how to lead your own Bible study with other people. It’s fun, hands on, and you can even download the free study guide to follow along and write down your thoughts.

The 16-Day Challenge is a 16 days of discovering your identity in Christ through the pages of Scripture. The free downloadable study guide will help you process through questions and stories. Originally designed for teen girls, this study has since been taken by women (and even a few guys!) across the United States.

If you’re looking for a summer series to encourage your walk with Jesus, this might be the thing!

Have a blessed summer,

Faith Walker


Do you take ex-felons?

Do you even take ex-felons?”

I was sitting cross-legged on the floor and the question came from a teenage girl on a chair in front of me. She was just a kid. Still had a baby-face and a childish look about her. Her voice seemed halting. Almost scared of the answer I’d give her.

It was one of my first experiences with Youthful Offenders and juveniles behind bars and they had been so open and trusting of us. We talked around the world about the Bible, Christian living, redemption and grace. They were endeared to our hearts at the end of those four days.

Somehow, they seemed like frightened little children…asking for acceptance and guidance and purpose. They wanted something different. They wanted something real. The Jesus they were encountering was different than they originally thought. It seemed to surprise them. Almost as much as this gal’s question surprised me.

Maybe they thought Jesus wanted cute, put-together girls with pat-answers and perfect stories. Maybe they thought their wounds would scare Him away.

It had been my privilege to sit with these precious girls and open the Word with them. To dispel the myths of Christianity one and a time. To present the real TRUTH and healing their hearts longed for. For once in prison, it felt like we were all in my living room, curled up talking about life like I do with the teenagers who visit me at home.

But their hunger was different. It was more intense. More palpable.

After a few days of “getting into their world” I sat with this 17-year-old who had a prison sentence hanging over her head and listened to her story. She had plans when she got out…plans that she hoped could involve traveling with me and presenting truth across the United States. I smiled at her zeal.

Then I saw a cloud come across her face. She looked deep into my eyes and asked in a timid voice… “But, do you even take ex-felons?”

The question made me choke up inside. She didn’t know. She couldn’t believe that she would be worthy of someone else’s trust or could minister to others with a checkered past.

I looked at her square in the face and smiled. Before I could answer, her friend sitting next to her nudged her. “You don’t know? Of course she takes ex-felons! Why do you think she does this?!”

The gal asking me looked back at me with a curious gaze. “Yes, I take ex-felons. In my line of work, being a felon doesn’t discredit you, it qualifies you.” She smiled with a new-found freedom. “Tell you what, keep in touch and when you get out, we will talk.”

“But friend, you need to know…the most important thing is that JESUS takes ex-felons. He died to make your past just a stepping stone…not a label that you have to wear for eternity. He loves ex-felons.”

She walked away with a pep in her step.

I wanted to say more. I wanted to hug her firm and cup her scared, little face in my hands and assure her that her story was redeemable. I wanted to tell her she was beautiful. To hold her by the shoulders and look square in her eyes and say, “Yes, Jesus takes ex-felons.”

At what point did we start making people believe that their past was unworthy of love or their stories unredeemable? Everywhere I look in Scripture, I see broken lives that Jesus chose ON PURPOSE for His glory. In fact, He rarely picked the virtuous for His plans. More often than not, He went to the slums and picked the most unlikely candidate to fulfill His purposes.

Maybe we should start believing that Jesus takes the messed up and gives them 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th chances. We should start living like we are Jesus to a broken world, looking for a redo on their bad choices.

Jesus takes ex-felons, y’all. We should too.

Captive Miracles

Before I left for Alaska, I was asking God for a word to share with the women I was going to meet there. I was drawn to 2 Kings 5 reading about Naaman and his skin disease.

We have all heard the story. Many of us have also seen it in flannel graph demonstration. Naaman was a mighty man and victorious soldier. His one major flaw is leprosy. This horrible disease eventually disfigures and disables its victims, and he couldn’t do anything about it. It was incurable. He knew his fate and he needed a miracle.

There’s a weird thing that happens when I read most Bible passages. I look at a story in its totality, which is normal, but makes us miss out on the small details. I read the story in totality once. Then twice. I felt God’s Spirit telling me to read it again…a third time.

This time something jumped off the page. “Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’ So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.’” (Verses 2-4) ESV

I had read these verses many times. We know at the end of the story, Naaman is healed from his leprosy. However, I suddenly realized that Naaman was healed because years before a little girl was captured from her home land and brought to serve in his house. A slave girl who knew the God of Israel. This young captive girl knew where to find healing…and she wasn’t afraid to share that healing with others.

I sat back in my chair, a little overwhelmed at this concept.

Where would Naaman be without this little slave girl? Or what if she wouldn’t have had the boldness to give the right information to her master about healing? What if she had been mean and not wanted him to be healed? And strangely enough…what if she had never been captured?

How often I’m guilty of looking at certain moments in my life as all bad…when down the road God might be orchestrating someone else’s miracle.

What if the broken places of your story are being woven in a way that will bring someone else to Jesus and the place that real healing can be found?

That can change your perspective a little bit. Or a lot.

So here is this Israeli slave girl who says twenty short words that completely alter the course of Naaman’s life and end up gracing the pages of Scripture for generations to come: “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria, he would cure him of his skin disease.” It almost seems like a side comment. Like she was throwing it out there…just in case they were interested in the God of Israel and the prophet that knew Him.

Naaman acts on what he hears. Apparently, this captive girl didn’t have a reputation of crying wolf, because he goes right to the king to get this healing process started. He believed her word THAT MUCH.

One man, free on the outside but sick enough to need a miracle for healing.

One girl, in chains and yet free enough inside to point to the Healer.

This is the essence of sharing the Gospel. We don’t have to have all the answers, we just need to know where to go to get them.


At the end of our first week in Alaska, we had a room full of female inmates who were graduating from our four-day Bible program and tearfully saying goodbye. This is the message I left with them.

I could see the tears in their eyes. They knew the God of Israel. They were free inside. Free enough to point to the Healer.

Captive Miracles.

Jesus is My Home

There’s something that happens when you travel extensively. Or at least it’s happened to me. And I’m not talking about being able to sleep in all manner of places and talk to sort of people and navigate multiple airports…although those things are true too. I’m actually talking about knowing where you belong.

Where is home, and what determines that it is YOUR PLACE?

It can be challenging to adjust to each new place, new surroundings, and people. I’ve literally woke up in the middle of the night before and had to lay there for a few minutes to realize where I am. Traveling a lot (even in ministry) can make you a little disoriented at night.

Each trip God teaches me big things…which usually all boil down to trusting Him. Last trip, I learned about blooming wherever I am. Don’t let that statement fool you- I haven’t arrived. I am STILL LEARNING how to bloom wherever I am in the moment. Let me explain my inner challenge to you.

You see, I’m a root digger. I love digging my roots deep into the soil of the place I live. My family has moved a lot in my life, and I’ve learned to settle rather quickly in a new environment. However, we are currently living in a home that we’ve been in for twelve years. Translated: we have never lived anywhere longer. So, the root system I have here is pretty serious business.

Then in September 2017, God sent me on an adventure. I was terrified. I was 28 years old and I had never been away from my family for more than six days. Yep, you heard that right… six days. So, I left on an adventure with a friend for 23 days, a thousand miles away from home. We were going to prison for the first time to minister to women we had never met and half of the people we would be working with I had never seen before. I had never been to Florida, and that’s where I was going. It was an all-around adventure.

It was supposed to be a one-time deal, but something happened when I was there. Something tugged on my heart. I cried buckets standing in front of those precious, incarcerated women. In the most broken time of my life, they let me into their weakest moments and I began to heal. They understood my pain and we connected at heart level. After our second day behind bars, I crawled into bed and whispered to the Lord, “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.” I meant it. Through tears, I could feel Him doing something strange and wonderful inside of me.

Fast forward 19 months and I’m sitting here staring at a calendar for 2019 where I’m gone more nights than I’m home. Prison does weird things to you. Or maybe it’s the Jesus part.

Anyway, I’ve been on this prison adventure with Jesus for a while now and He keeps stretching me and calling me to trust regardless of how I feel. It’s amazing and terrifying in the same time. It’s beautiful and broken. I’ve seen things in myself that make me squirm (I don’t always have the best attitude when I’m under pressure!) and seen Him call out strength in me that I didn’t know I had (I didn’t…it was His and He let me borrow it).

Still, there’s this “bloom where you are” business.

I’d like to think I’m fairly adaptable, but sometimes it seems like a process for me to acclimate to new surroundings. I like routine. I like predictability. But when you’re on the road, there’s very little that’s certain. Like VERY LITTLE.

Last trip was my longest ever: 47 nights away from home. That’s nearly seven weeks on the road. I moved eight times. This is what I mean by unpredictably. Just when you feel comfortable with your surroundings, it is time to move. Let’s be honest…it’s hard to dig down roots when you’re being replanted every few days or weeks.

One day, at the height of my frustration I started praying about my bad attitude and vented some real emotions about where I was standing. I’m grateful God isn’t offended by my honest emotional outbursts. I told Him that it was hard for me to be here, there and everywhere. I told Him I felt like I was failing at living in the moment and living out of a suitcase. I told Him I wanted to do better, but I had no idea how. “Bloom where you are” loomed over my head and I just didn’t know the practical ways to actually LIVE that way.

Then in a moment, I felt His whisper- “I. Am. Your. Home.”

That’s it. He is my home, and He is always with me…therefore wherever I am, it can be home. I know this doesn’t seem like a huge revelation, but to me it felt like a major life shift.

Whenever I’m on a long trip (and my friends can verify this) I have a countdown of how many days until I get back home. I talk about it a lot. For my nieces and nephews, we call it “how many sleeps until Aunt Faith comes home”. They can wrap their mind around that…and I can too! I like my home. I miss my family when I’m away. I feel justified to count down the days until I return to my people and the place where I belong.

This dramatic shift of heart started alerting me to how much I talked about the countdown. How much I made the people I spent time with while I was away (co-workers, friends, neighbors) feel like I didn’t want to be there. Like they were less important because I really wished I was home.

It kinda made me feel I had been missing the boat. I was missing the TODAYS because I was wishing for TOMORROW when I could be home with my family. I’m not minimizing my love for family…I’m grateful for a gravitational pull to home base. But to overlook the people I’m currently with is slighting and perhaps a little rude. They are people too. People who God has called me to love in the moment.

March was the month I memorized Psalm 84:3, “Even a sparrow finds a home, and a swallow, a nest for herself where she places her young—near Your altars, Lord of Hosts, my King and my God.” (HCSB) When I started memorizing this verse, it completely wrecked my view of home.

The swallow FINDS A HOME. What if that means I’m supposed to hold all things lightly? Find the home in every place I stay? Find my family in the faces of the people I’m with right now? Love fully and embrace each season…even if it’s sleeping on fold out beds or floor pallets and traveling thousands of miles to be Jesus to people I’ve never met and may never see again? Maybe this is what it means to be a stranger and pilgrim on earth.

I think of Jeremiah 29:4-7, “This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there, do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on it’s behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper.” (HCSB)

What if this season of flying all over the place and learning to be comfortable in the car and figuring out how to sleep on a couch (and not wake up like you slept on a couch…) what if all of this is pointing to One Who wants all of me? He wants me to find my true home in Him, and only Him. Perhaps all these trivial things are just guideposts pointing to the real place I belong. The authentic Home I’ve been craving.

Jesus is where my home is. Home is where Jesus is.

No matter where I am, I can belong. I can be at home. Fully at rest. I can still miss my family. I can still love being at home. But it doesn’t have to define me as out-of-place when I’m not there. Heaven is my forever Home with Jesus…perhaps finding my belonging in Him now is part of the plan.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a kitchen in Alaska, four thousand miles away from my house. I belong here not because this is the place I’m living permanently but because I take my Home with me. His name is Jesus.

Jesus is My Home.

Dear Teen Girl

Dear Teen Girl,

I’m writing this letter to you because I need you to know something…I know you get a bad rap for your age. Maybe some of it is legit (after all, you are a young and imperfect human being like the rest of us), but I believe you are more. You are beautifully created for TODAY and for this time in history. I’m young enough to know that the problems you face are real, and old enough to know you will make it.

No really, you will. I know it seems like no one in the world could ever make it out of these years alive, but you can. You will. (The God that made you has also parted the Red Sea and healed the sick, so helping you through the teen years is very doable for Him.) So, pretend I’m standing next to you, me-a twenty-something and you-a teen…and drink it in. What I’m about to say comes right from my heart. I want you to listen close:

I believe in your generation of young women.

I see in you an amazing hunger for truth that the world isn’t satisfying. The girls of your generation are looking for answers…and you are smart enough to know that this world doesn’t have what it takes. I see in you a desire to know Jesus and discover if He is real for yourselves. I see in your generation a fire to be more than what is expected. To go beyond what is accepted and stand up in a culture that expects so little of teens. I see a passion for being different and swimming against the tide. I see you girls rebelling against culture and saying YES to Jesus in ways that knock my socks off. I know many in your generation believe that your teen years can be some of your best years, some of your most fruitful years. I believe in your generation, but more importantly, I believe in you.

Did you hear that?

I believe in YOU.

You may think the whole world is against you.

It is.

You may think that the entire culture is nipping at your heels waiting for you to fail.

It is.

You may even feel the pressure of your Christian community expecting you to waste your life and make some major mistakes in the next few years.

For the most part, they probably are. It’s just human.

But for all the negative pushing against you, I believe you can be different. I also believe that you WANT to be. Deep down in the recesses of your heart, you desire more than anything to stand up and stand out. You want to do something big with your life and to find out what really matters. You want to know what you believe in and to stop piggy-backing on someone else’s faith. You want to know Jesus personally. To KNOW He is real for yourself.

I believe in you.

I have seen what happens when a girl catches fire for Jesus. I have seen the fire in her eyes as she shares truth unashamed. I have seen the power she possesses to change and challenge an entire generation. I have stood in awe, again and again to watch the path of one ordinary girl…One ordinary girl who chooses to give her 100% to Someone powerful and far bigger than herself.

I believe YOU are that girl.

You see, I believe you are just like Esther. You are come to our generation, to our time in history “for such a time as this”. You were born for this! You are a princess sent here in mission for your Heavenly Father, capable of insurmountable odds and mind-blowing things because of Him. I believe you are crazy-loved and wonderfully perfect for this mission and I believe in you. Esther wasn’t a hero because she was extraordinary…she was a hero because she made some amazing choices in the moments she found herself in. She just did the next right thing and left the results to God. And I believe Esther’s God (Yahweh) in you, could do the same heroic deeds. (Esther 4)

I believe you are like Jeremiah…a young person feeling ill-equipped and yet called to be the voice of God to His people. (Jeremiah 1) You are equipped by the very Hand of God as He puts words in your mouth and wisdom in your heart for the journey ahead.

I believe you are like Timothy…bearing the weight of an incredible spiritual harvest, and yet despised because of your age (1 Timothy 4:12). That’s why I’m writing this letter…because I see that you are capable of showing a dying world the healing power of Jesus. You are about His business!

I believe in you. I love your heart, your craving for Jesus and your zeal for truth. I love your energy…I could use it some days. I love how your eyes light up when you connect with the Word or understand something new from Scripture. I appreciate your honesty.

I believe you are beautiful, chosen, unique, and created for this moment. I believe you are forgiven, bought, secure, and sealed. I believe you are cherished, valued, loved, and adopted into royalty. I believe you are enough.

Can I just tell you, I believe in you for more than the shade of your tan or the silkiness of your hair. You are more than what you look like. I believe in you because I know your Creator…and He doesn’t make anything less than masterpieces. You’re one of them. Every time I see you I smile because I know He has an amazing plan for you. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat…wondering, what will He do next with you?

Why do I talk to teens, write to teens and speak to teen girls like you? Simply put, I want a front row seat for the adventure God has you on.

I believe in YOU. I believe in your Jesus. Put a daughter on a mission for her ALL-Powerful Father, and I believe we have… a winner! That’s why I believe in you!

Keep it up little sis, I’m cheering you on!

Love from, An Older Sister


(Originally published on April 16, 2016 on the Polished Cornerstones blog.)


I know her back story and she knows mine. Our spirits connect at a different level…even though we are about as different as could be.

I am young. She is old enough to be my grandma.

I am short. She is tall.

I have light-colored, straight hair. She has dark, curly hair.

I have pale skin. She has chocolately skin.

I visit from the free-world. She wears an inmate tag.

We were born and raised in different countries, so we have different accents.

But inside, we are made of the same things, and we both are in love with the same Jesus. I am learning that this is all that matters.


It was the second day of this particular class and I still hadn’t seen her in the mass of women coming and going. This was unusual since she never missed a class, even if it was her 8th time going through it. After lunch, she came bursting through the door with one of her young friends she was mentoring. I looked up to see her face beaming. She shrieked my name from across the room. She raised both hands in the air to signal how happy she was to see me. She gave me a high-five and held my hand there for a second. “I just love you,” she said. I told her I loved her too. This was our normal greeting.

She started chatting happily to MaryEllen and I about how glad she was to see us and rambled on about life. She wanted to know how we were doing and told us what she was learning.

All the while, the girl next to her stood quietly and watched us. Curious eyes staring. Wondering. It’s a real thing to be invited into the space of others…especially in a prison setting where they size you up with trust issues. I could see it in the way she watched us…she was deciding if she was going to “let us in”.

Finally, my old friend turned to the young lady and introduced us. She waved her hand towards us: “These two girls are our homies. They are locked up WITH US in here.” She smiled at us, ear-to-ear.

I’ve never in my life been introduced to someone like that, and honestly, may never again. But for the moment, it choked me and I could feel the tears rising in my eyes. This was the most beautiful way I had ever been presented to someone.

Ever since starting into prison ministry 18-months ago, my prayer has always been they would see that I’m not just for them, but that I am WITH THEM. My heart is to be a friend to each of them. To listen to their stories. To spread Hope and give Jesus away.

This friend knew we weren’t just for her. We were WITH her.

“These two are our homies.” The words kinda hung in the air.

In case you need to know the exact definition of a homie: “an acquaintance from one’s town or neighborhood, or a member of one’s peer group or gang.” In my words, I call these kind of folks “my people”,  the ones you can count on anytime or anywhere to have your back. In prison and on the street they call them: “Homies.” I’m learning this language and on that particular winter day, it had never been more beautiful.

It wasn’t me in this equation…it was THESE WOMEN who invited me into their world. They let me in. They extended their hands and opened their hearts to me…an outsider who they chose to trust with their friendship. That humbled me.

It’s no small thing to be invited into the inner circle. Our world is full of cliques and groups and gangs and clubs…and we as Christians are no different. We have the power to invite people into our corner of this broken and battered world. To hold out our hand and motion for others to come to our table. To invite the outsider into our inner circle. To hold open the door and point to the Jesus we already know and assure them that there’s room for them and they are wanted.

They don’t have to look like you. They don’t have to act just like you. They just need to be a human with a beating heart and BINGO- you have someone who most likely needs a friend. Not a Facebook like. Not a comment on Instagram. Not a retweet on Twitter. They need a person, flawed, real-life, flesh-and-blood friend.

Go. Be. That. Friend.

Invite that person who is COMPLETELY different from you. Sit at the same table with people who aren’t in the same age group and don’t dress like you do and don’t go to the same church as you do.

“Jesus spent His whole life engaging the people most of us have spent our whole lives trying to avoid.” – Bob Goff

Most Christians want to have friends that look, act and sound just like themselves. I don’t know about you, but that’s a boring world. It’s a poor view of Christianity. What’s more, it’s not Biblical. God is our Creator, which means He is creative…which means He likes color and diversity and being different. That’s why no two snowflakes or human beings are alike. He loves variety. He made it that way on purpose.

What if we just starting loving people like Jesus did? What if we were to celebrate our differences and the God who has created the variety in us?

“These two girls are our homies.” Truth is, my friends behind bars took a chance on letting me in their world. I’m not exactly like them and I am a human with a ginormous ability to fail…but they were willing to risk it and open their hearts to me. They invited me to their table. They invited me to their corner of the world. They called me their homie.

I’m grateful.

Sweet Silence

Hello Friday. It’s that day again that I come to a coffee shop to rest and receive from the Lord. Sometimes I feel like I do the most talking, but I’m learning to sit and listen to Him. Even if He doesn’t say anything. Because sometimes He doesn’t, and I’m reminded of times in life when He has been silent and I crave to hear His voice again.

How sweet the sound of His voice is after silence.

I remember teaching my piano students years ago what a rest in music was. Some of them wanted to rush the musical rest because it felt weird to be at a piano bench for even a couple of seconds when you weren’t actually doing or hearing anything. But over and over I told them the same thing: “Music is always sweeter after a rest.” I don’t know where I heard it, but I knew it was true. A rest makes the listeners lean in with anticipation to the music coming.

Music is sweeter after a rest.

I’ve come to learn (painfully and slowly) that God’s voice is much the same. His voice is sweeter to us after a time of silence. Not because He changes, but because our posture towards Him changes. We lean in towards Him more. We sit on the edge of our seats in anticipation. We beg for Him to speak and crave connection with His voice. We can suddenly identify with King David when he wrote:

“Answer me, Lord, for Your faithful love is good; in keeping with Your great compassion, turn to me. Don’t hide Your face from Your servant, for I am in distress. Answer me quickly!” Psalm 69:16-17 HCSB

I’m in a season of edge-of-the-seat silence. I can see His smile gracing me often. There are moments almost every day that I see His hand orchestrating the moments and answering my prayers. I know He is present and near…but I can’t hear His voice.

It’s hard to be still in the silence. Even when you’ve walked the wilderness before, it still doesn’t feel natural or right or comfortable. Anyway you cut it, the wilderness seasons feel dry. Dusty. Quiet. Silence isn’t comfortable.

I’m one of those people who is a chronic silence-filler. More than once I’ve felt nervous with silence and therefore felt the need to fill it in with WORDS. Sometimes the words are practically meaningless, which makes matters worse. It’s been a process of growing to understand and learning to live out the truth that sometimes being silent is okay. In fact, being still is a sign of maturity and security.

Have you ever been riding in a car with someone you don’t know very well and an awkward silence descends on the vehicle? In those situations, I tend to go inward freak-out mode and start filling the space with unnecessary conversation. The truth is, the better you know the other person in the silent vehicle, the more at rest you can be in the quiet. You have nothing to prove. Nothing to say that’s earth shattering. Just sitting there doesn’t bother you because you are secure in your own skin and at rest with this other person.

Today is one of those days when I am hypothetically in an enclosed area with a quiet Friend. I know He is fully aware of ALL my flaws and loves me anyway. He knows me better than anyone in the world and somehow I feel the need to fill the silence with pointless words. I can see His Fatherly smile upon me as I chatter away nervously. His face says it all. To just be at rest in His Presence. To just sit and soak in all the things He has told me over and over. Even when He doesn’t speak them right now, I know they are true. His promises never change because HE never changes.

Today in my favorite coffee shop I am reminded that His voice is sweeter after the silence. Until then, I will lean in with anticipation and rest in His Presence. Content to ride along with Him in the quietness. One day soon, His voice will split the silence and the sound will make my heart sing.

The wilderness experiences of life create a special hunger in my soul for Jesus. What about you?