The Power of With {One Week After Easter}

The power of with

This wasn’t the post I intended to write the week after Easter. Things, however, have been topsy-turvy at the Baker house. Last week, I was diagnosed with pneumonia. The tiredness is real. And while there’s never a good time to be sick, there’s certainly a bad time⎯like now. I wasn’t able to attend our Easter service or hunt eggs with the kids. And then there’s my little book that’s set to launch on Tuesday, May 2nd, that requires more of me than I have to give right now.


But amidst all this — the disappointment of missing out on a special holiday with my family, the feelings of inadequacy, and the concern of flat-out failing to launch the book properly, one word has held me together: WITH.


The weight of this word with is heavy and sweet like the scent of tea olives in Spring. It brings rest to the soul. Mark 16:20 frames the word in all its glory: Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.  [Emphasis mine]

After the crucifixion and before the resurrection the disciples were confused and afraid. John 20:19 says, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews…

But then they discovered the power of the empty tomb. Jesus was not there. He had risen! In that moment they went from being without Jesus to being with Him, and Him with them. Jesus wasn’t only with them following His resurrection⎯He worked with them. And the same Jesus works with you and with me this very day to accomplish your goals for His glory.

Recently, I had a slight but powerful shift in my relationship with Christ, my prayer life, and my calling when I began walking in the reality of God’s “with-ness”. I’ve experienced the reality of His presence within me since becoming a Christ-follower at the age of 27. But only in recent months have I harnessed the power of His being with me.

With me when I don’t have the physical energy to complete necessary tasks.
With me when I can’t understand the timing of getting sick.
With me when I’m feeling alone in an overwhelming process.
With me when I can’t be all that I want to be for my family and for myself.

His with-ness provides the grace, mercy, and rest required to move forward when everything else around me feels backward. His sovereignty trumps it all. And knowing that He is with me⎯and not indifferent toward me or against me⎯changes everything.

Have you considered how grasping the reality of God being with you might shift your perspective in your ministry, as well as life in general?


The Power of With:
  • You wonder if what you’re doing is making an eternal difference or if you’re just spinning temporal wheels. Jesus is with you, prompting others to encourage you at just the right moment. No — that email, text, or call was not “out of the blue”. He is with you and knows exactly what you need to keep moving forward in your calling.
  • In the grocery line, you feel prompted to share the joy of the empty tomb with the woman ahead of you. Your pulse pumps with fear — but Jesus is there — right there, standing with you, ready to give you the bravery to speak.
  • Your work weighs you down emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Jesus is with you. He longs for you to ask for His wisdom and discernment instead of relying on your own. Your work matters to Him.
  • You’re a single mom or a widow. You’re exhausted and loaded down with questions of “what if?”. Jesus is with you, upholding you, giving you manna-strength for the day.
  • You’ve received a dreaded diagnosis. Jesus is fighting for you and He is with you.

Easter is my favorite day of the year. Without the resurrection, there would be no hope. No hope of God being in a relationship with us, no hope of forgiveness, no hope of an eternity with Him. No hope of seeing our loved ones again — and the list goes on. But because the tomb was empty that Easter morn, with-ness with God is a reality.

As the song says, “May we never lose our wonder.”

“This is an invitation to spend your lives pursuing what you most enjoy doing⎯together with God. Raising a family. Investing in your passion. Chasing your dreams. In all of it, God’s primary goal isn’t to teach you lessons. He’s a Father who teaches, not a Teacher who fathers. And a Father’s deepest desire is to invite his sons and daughters into more intimate relationship with Him. Which means God didn’t primarily create us so we would do things for Him. Or even to learn lessons about Him. His primary reason for creating us is so we can be with Him.” — Allen Arnold, The Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love & Create

How does it make you feel to know that the God of the universe created you to be with Him?


Pauses for the Vacationing Soul







3 Ways I Love to Celebrate Lent

“Lent isn’t about forfeiting as much as it’s about formation.” -Ann Voskamp

For those of you who, like me, didn’t grow up celebrating Lent there is much to learn, and much to celebrate. Jesus Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert are the spiritual foundation for the season that begins on Ash Wednesday.

Thomas Merton wrote, “Lent is not just a time for squaring conscious accounts: but for realizing what we had perhaps not seen before.”

Lent officially began February 10th, but we know it’s never too late to worship, or to discover new ways to worshipping, even if we didn’t grow up celebrating the Lenten season.

Below are three resources I LOVE and have used. I hope you’ll share yours in the comment section!

{A Free 40 Day Lent Devotional Journey, Ann Voskamp}


{Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church}
Topical Daily Lent Readings
I’m using Ann Voskamp’s free 40 Day Lent Devotional this year. I wish I’d started on the 10th, but I didn’t, so I will begin where I am.
Here are some quotes on Lent to consider during this season, and every day:
“The goal of fasting is inner unity. This means hearing, but not with the ear; hearing, but not with the understanding; it is hearing with the spirit, with your whole being.” Fr. Thomas Merton
“Lord, have mercy on me! … I make no effort to conceal my wounds. You are my physician, I your patient. You are merciful; I stand in need of mercy.” St. Augustine
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Do you have a go-to resource for the Lenten season, or what is one way you choose to prepare your heart for Easter? 

Joy: The Forever Fragrance

by Cathy Baker

Welcome to our NEW series!

I can’t imagine a better time to revel in the truths of joy as we celebrate Easter this coming Sunday.

It’s because of Christ and His resurrection that joy is not only attainable — it is forever infused into the life of every follower. 

This month, we’ll camp out beneath a canopy of truths about joy, dispelling common misconceptions but most of all, celebrating its true meaning and the implications these truths hold for our daily lives.

In a day when circumstances continue to crumble about us, we need to hold fast to the fragrance of Christ that will linger forever, and that, is joy. (No foolin’!)

I look forward to sharing this joy-filled journey with you.

So, what is one way you’ll celebrate JOY this Easter weekend? 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great
mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…  1 Peter 1:3

Easter, A New Roof, and Running!

It’s the first day of Spring! 

This season, I will celebrate:

  • My risen Savior. The same dunamis power that raised Jesus from the grave resides in me – within every Christ follower – and He is a life changer. My celebration of this gospel-driven truth isn’t limited to the one Sunday many rise before the sun, wear new outfits, and race to find the most brightly colored eggs. For “‘In Him we live and move and have our being…'”. Acts 17:28
  • Light breezes, rainy mornings, emerging hostas, and shady corners in my yard. (Along with a possible screened-in back porch from which to enjoy all of the above. My vintage glider is waiting for a test drive from Piper.)
  • Getting a new roof! Our hundred-year old home has never seen one — and we have a leak to prove it. But God (two favorite words) blessed us through this experience in a way we never expected. Thank You Lord! 
  • My time at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference in May. 60 days away…but who’s counting? Reservations are made, a possible book idea to pitch is in the works, and I can’t wait to hug this friend in person. We’ve been e-friends for a year but we’ll meet face to face in May. Building relationships is one of the things BRMCWC does best. 
  • Running! I received official clearance after a procedure last week and I’ve already begun my walk/run journey. Starting over again at 50 will certainly be different than years past. I may be slow and steady but this I know for sure: I’m moving in the right direction.

What’s one thing you will be celebrating this Spring season? Welcome to the party!

Were It Not For Grace

Not once have I listened to this song that my heart did not explode with gratitude or the tears forget to flow. Not once.

The title says it all. Were It Not For Grace, by Larnelle Harris. It’s old-school but few songs move me as much as this one does. Perhaps it’s because I know how barren my life was at the age of 27 before that night in the tiny duplex when I fell to my knees and “gave up” the mess I’d made up to that point. Oh, the freedom that flooded my soul in those moments…and in the years to follow.

I can’t imagine where I would be today, or my boys, if not for the glorious intervention of grace.

I pray my eyes will never remain dry when I think of all Christ accomplished for me, my family, and the world, that glorious Easter morn. Thank You, Jesus!

Were It Not For Grace

Time measured out my days
Life carried me along
In my soul I yearned to follow God
But knew Id never be so strong
I looked hard at this world
To learn how heaven could be gained
Just to end where I began
Where human effort is all in vain


Were it not for grace I can tell you where Id be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace
So here is all my praise
Expressed with all my heart
Offered to the Friend who took my place
And ran a course I could not start
And when He saw in full
Just how much His would cost
He still went the final mile between me and heaven
So I would not be lost

Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace

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