Creating Restorative Time with God

The year didn’t begin as expected.

I hoped to grab a quick breakfast on the road so we could arrive at our family vacation spot earlier than expected, but Brian insisted we take advantage of the free breakfast at our hotel. (Brian also insists I missed my calling as an industrial engineer because I naturally gravitate to saving time. *wink*)

We took the stairs instead of the elevator on our way back to the room. (Trust me when I say you don’t want to join me in a confined space.) In a blink of an eye, the rubber tip of my shoe kissed the edge of the stair step, and down she went. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was downright painful from the get-go, but we enjoyed our vacation only to find out later I’d broken the shoulder socket.

One doctor appointment after another quickly ensued, leaving me exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Every week required a different appointment, a follow-up call, or a notification that a new bill had landed in MyChart. I needed restorative time with God but struggled to create it.

One night, however, while taking Henry the Doodle for a walk outside, it felt like the sky was magnetic. I couldn’t help but look up. And when I did, God used the glorious backlit heavens to remind me of His vast love, faithfulness, and purpose in every detail sifted through His hands for my good and His ultimate glory.


Threads of God’s restorative power began weaving its healing power through a weary soul that night.


“I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2


Jesus created restorative time with God, and we can too.


When people or circumstances look for us at every corner of our day, we can look up and find help in Christ. In my featured article on the Dawn app this week, I share how Jesus exemplifies this beautiful connection after experiencing an onslaught of expectations from those around Him. Hop over and join me there. It’s a short read, but one I pray will stick with you on those days when everything feels like it’s falling apart.

When was the last time you felt sought after by either circumstances or people and how did God help you? 


The Night This Titus 2 Woman Hosted a Tea Party

Tea Party



Remember this eavesdropping story that took place in a North Carolina café?


“Our generation needs women like you to pour into us.”


These words, from the lips of an eighteen-year-old woman, continue to flow through my mind as smoothly as the coffee tasted that morning.

Several weeks following my cafe encounter, Brian and I hosted our first small group from our new church. We were told ahead of time that the majority of the group consisted of college students.

I felt a rush of excitement over the opportunity to meet these young women but it didn’t take long for insecurities to rise and take their place. You didn’t attend college, so what could you possibly offer these young women? Why would they care what you have to say? Why are you in this group anyway?

All this while trying to rescue a dozen chocolate chip cookies from our gas-fired oven. But before they had time to cool, the college students, mostly female, began filing through our back door, two-by-two.


And I did what any good southerner would do—I hugged the puddin’ out of them.


We ate, drank hot tea, laughed, shared, studied and prayed that night. My insecurities fell like scales from my eyes. Like Saul, I was able to see—really see. The connection between “the girls” and I had nothing to do with me, my strengths, and especially my weaknesses.


I put my insecurities back in their place⏤at the foot of the cross.


It’s not about what I have or don’t have to offer. It’s about what God has to offer through me.


A few weeks after our first meeting, I asked the girls if they might be interested in coming over for a little tea party. “Will there be sugar cubes?” one asked. Why oh my, yes!

Because Valentine’s Day was right around the corner, it soon evolved into a bona fide Valentine’s Day Tea Party.

Valentine Tea table setting

Because I was expecting twelve and my great-aunt’s Apple Blossom china plates only counted to eight, I ordered a stack of ornately trimmed plates decked out in peachy-pink from Amazon. They come in an array of gorgeous colors and they were the perfect fit for both the table and my budget.

The love of my great-aunt, who purchased a piece of this china with every paycheck, was present through the use of these treasured teacups and saucers. (Did I mention she purchased these pieces for me even though I was a baby at the time?)

Valentine Tea Cupcakes

I found these individual cupcake holders in the Target dollar bin, along with the larger pedestal platter that held vanilla doozies wrapped in sprinkles. On each pedestal, a light pink gauzy ribbon was attached, even though they’re barely visible in the picture.

Valentine Tea Gold Hearts

After we munched on scones and sandwiches between sips of tea, I passed around this heart-shaped basket. Inside were hearts, one side gold, and the other paper, with a handwritten verse about God’s love.

Valentine Tea Candles

We closed out our evening together by taking turns lighting hand-held candles. After each candle caught flame, the gold heart was flipped over and the verse was read aloud. It was a sweet time of worship.

Valentine Tea group

My girls. Beautiful, inside and out.

Valentine Tea Gift Bag

Before leaving, they picked up this little bag filled with a Starbucks gift card, colorful gumballs individually wrapped, and chocolate kisses dressed in Valentine colors.

Looking back, I believe God began preparing my heart that morning in the North Carolina cafe. I could’ve never known that within a few months, the road would lead to my celebrating God’s love with a group of young women who’ve stolen my heart.


Like all stories penned by God, beauty unravels at every turn.


Is there some area in life where you’re holding back because of your insecurities? I’d love to pray for you. Private message, email, or leave your request in the comment section.

Which part of the tea party is your favorite? Do share!



Pauses for the Vacationing Soul

Poetic Pauses: Psalm 103

As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 103:13-19


Wondrous delight is found in the presence of God. With a blank sheet of paper and pen in hand, along with a Bible nearby, begin making a list of the characteristics of God. Write down various names for God. Record attributes of God. List promises of God. Then spend some time thanking God simply for who He is and offering words of adoration to Him. The wonder of God’s presence awaits you. 

-Margaret Feinburg, Wonderstruck

No Hoops Required

“She’s so cute…and she hasn’t even done anything yet,” a friend said after seeing Piper’s most recent picture.

My response? “She doesn’t have to.”

As the words fell from my lips, the Lord whispered neither do you.

Piper doesn’t have to speak, smile, or giggle to win more of my affection. She has my heart clinched tightly in her tiny fist—no matter what. There’s nothing she could do to make me love or accept her more.

As God’s children, we’ll find ourselves both delighting and grieving the heart of our heavenly Father—but His love for us? It wavers not.

Jumping through hoops of perfectionism, perhaps unknowingly, in hopes of gaining more of God’s love or attention will eventually bring us to the point of exhaustion. Refreshment, rest, and a deep abiding joy is ours when we choose to embrace that which is already ours as a Christ follower—God’s unfathomable, magnificent, and unconditional gift of love.

No hoops required.

1 John 4:9-10 “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (NIV)

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