On the day that I saw Jesus


I wrote this a few years back, for (in)courage. But today, on Holy Saturday, when Jesus was buried and the people thought everything was over and finished and done, we can hold onto the fact that Sunday is coming. That Love is still being redeemed. line1

I saw Jesus the day my father shaved the hair off my mother’s head.

This was two years ago, back when she had cancer. Jesus was there that day, too.

When my mom asked my dad if he would shave her head -- because the chemo was causing her hair to fall out and it was just too hard to pick up the pieces -- he said yes. When my mom asked my younger brother and I if we would be there when he shaved it, we said yes, too.

Jesus was on her right side, my dad on her left. Eli and I stood behind. I looped my arm through his and watched.

Watched the hair and tears mingle and fall together into the sink.

Watched my dads hand curve gently on the small of her back.

Watched love happen right there in front of me.

And Jesus was there for it all. He saw every hair fall -- and since he knows how many hairs are on our head, he knows when those hairs aren’t there anymore -- and I wonder if maybe Jesus was crying, too.

You see -- this is what love looks like to me:

Love is a husband shaving the hair off his wife’s head. Love is holding the razor steady while watching her body rack with sobs. Love is clinging to her tightly afterwards and whispering, “You are beautiful, you are beautiful, you are beautiful.”

Love is a Groom taking the sins of his bride on his shoulders. Love is carrying her shame to Golgotha, all the way to Calvary. Love is nails hammered to bones, thorns thrusted to scalp, spear stabbed to side. Love is the Groom writhing in pain, bathed in blood, so the bride can dance free.

But Love didn’t end when that last breath was taken. Love rose three days later, and because of that, the bride can say:

I am redeemed.

I am forgiven.

I am set free.


My mom’s hair was all there in the kitchen sink. Long tears streamed steadily down my cheeks as I hugged her closely. But I witnessed love that day.

I saw love.

Jesus holds me, holds her, holds you, and whispers: You are redeemed. You are forgiven. You are set free.

You are loved.

Did you hear that? Lean in closer.


Let those words wash over you, like a balm on your weary, weary soul.

The Groom is whispering to you – to his sweet, broken, beautiful bride.

You are loved. 

Now, we can dance free.  

Finding Jesus at Machu Picchu


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I met Jesus on a mountaintop.

I was at Machu Picchu -- a stunningly enormous collection of ruins, high in the Andes mountains here in Peru. We had hiked up and down the mountains that morning, exploring the rocks and gorgeous architecture. I loved looking at the details, tracing my fingertips along the stones, fascinated by the artwork that stood in front of me.

But my favourite spot was sitting at the top of the mountain.

I had lugged my ukulele on my back all day, and I was determined to find a quiet spot to play it. It was hot and sunny and, though it’s tempting, I’ll do no romanticizing. We sat down in a shaded area, and large mosquitoes devoured my arms and elbows as I played. They hurt and left huge, itchy bites. But take note -- I was determined.

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I played one of my favourite songs for Jesus on a mountaintop in Peru.

Lord, I come, I confess Bowing here, I find my rest

“Without you, I fall apart,” my friends and I sang. “You’re the one that guides my heart.”

People on the mountain walked past us. We kept singing. A woman took a photo of us. We kept singing. An older man whistled alongside us. We kept singing.

Lord, I need you. Oh, I need you.

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There was nothing anyone could do or say that could break that moment for me. There was no mosquito large enough, no sun hot enough, no reason that could unfold me from that sacred moment in the Sacred Valley.

Every hour I need you.

I didn’t play perfectly -- not even close -- and our voices were soft and breathless from both the altitude and the heat. But we were determined to sing a song to Jesus on that mountaintop.

For so many years of my life I have fallen for the lie that Jesus’ love is meant for everyone but me. This has been an enormous struggle. I finally had to make a decision:  I could choose to believe the lie I kept falling for, or I could decide that what Jesus said is true -- that he does love me, as I am.

This is a choice I make now, even when my heart may not believe it.


I chose to believe he loves me when I gaped at the statue of Christo Blanco, high above the city of Cusco. I chose to believe he loves me when our taxi driver, Santos, was kind to us, his name literally translating to the word holy. I chose to believe he loves me while I sang a song to him on the Andes mountains at Machu Picchu. I choose to love him in return.

Over and over again, I choose to love him in return.

I lettered this verse before we went to Machu Picchu. I read it and thought, yes, this, this is what I want my life to represent.

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May we have the power to understand that the love of God is infinitely long, and wide, and high, and deep -- even higher than the mountains of Machu Picchu, even wider than the star-spread skies, even deeper than the Atlantic ocean -- surpassing everything any of us have previously experienced.

That’s the kind of love we have. I’ll keep choosing that love -- even over oceans and stars and the staggering mountains that fill up Machu Picchu.

Where sin runs deep, your grace is more Where grace is found is where you are And where you are, Lord, I am free Holiness is Christ in me

I don’t ever want to quit choosing that love.

You're so totally loved (free valentine printable)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset I know there are a lot of Valentine's Day haters out there. (But according to T Swift, the haters gonna hate.)

My great friend Sarah told me she loves Valentine's Day because it's an excuse to tell someone they're loved. What a wonderful way of looking at it.

I whipped up a card which I thought would make a fun free printable for you guys! And the great thing is, you can give it to anyone -- and not just on Valentine's Day either.

You're absolutely, completely, totally loved. By me. By God. By a whole bunch of other people too, I'll guarantee it.

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The printable may go directly into your downloads without popping up on your screen, so if you don't see it right away, you may want to check there.
 You can find the rest of my free hand lettered printables right here.

this is how I see you


Dear Mom, You're beautiful.

You're the most beautiful person in the world, if you want my opinion.

If I were to write these words large and proud right across your bathroom mirror so you could see them in the morning, or stroke them on a banner and wave it tall and high all stretched out from each corner of the sky, or whisper them quiet in your ear every moment of every day, it still wouldn't be nearly enough. 



You've taught me that when you love someone, you tell them who they are to you. So today I'm telling you - you're beautiful, Mom. And more than that, you're funny and kind and tender and spirited. You're all the best things that there are in a person, really.

But you're absolutely beautiful.

You emit grace with every breath that releases from your lips. Slow, patient, untiring. Grace for me, grace for others, gracefulness in all you do. Because of the immense and extraordinary love you have for me, you've shown me how I should go out and love others.

And yes, I know we've had our days (cough, years), like when you were home schooling me in eighth grade, and I yelled at you almost every day that you were COMPLETELY RUINING MY ENTIRE LIFE. Remember that? Yeah, I'm sure you do.


IMG_1595But we got past that, didn't we? We got past the days of Liv and I fighting over our Ken doll, past the days of us refusing to eat your tuna melts, past the days of not getting my favourite part in my favourite play. We've had good days and bad days and each day we made it through. Together.

You welcomed me into this world, and then you held me close after I fell down all those stairs, and you kissed my fingers when I burned my hand, and you prayed over me more times than I can count, and you cried with me when those girls were cruel, and you waved goodbye when I left to go to Africa, and then, in that airport, you welcomed me right back home.


When you told me Jesus loves me, I believed you, because you love me.

When you told me that I am beautiful, I believed you, because you're beautiful.

And when you told me if I said one more mean word you were going to wash my mouth out with soap, I believed you, because you're honest and you stick to what you say.

When I was little, I wanted to be just like you when I grew up. And the truth is, at twenty, still little in so many ways, I still do. I want to be like you.

So, this is how I see you, Mom.

I see you strong and brave and humble. I see you empathetic and adventurous and kind. I see you classy and smart and creative.  

I see you beautiful. I see you so beautiful - altogether beautiful, beautiful in every way. 

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Let me ask something of you. Tomorrow when you wake up and look at yourself in the mirror, when you're tempted to see you as you've always seen yourself, will you think about this? Will you think about how I see you instead?

Maybe I can't write these words across your bathroom mirror, or hang them on a banner high, but I can scratch them down here for you to come back to.

I see you beautiful. Here, now, always.

I love you forever,

Love me


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I believe that you are altogether beautiful, too. For you, this print is on sale for 25% off for the next week, using the code "altogetherbeautiful" at the checkout of the Choose Brave Shop, 



I am going to fix you


So this is it. I am going to fix you. Or at least, I want to.

We are sitting across a table, and you are staring at me, telling me how you feel. You say you’re scared and ashamed and empty. You’ve run out of options and you don’t know what to do anymore. And yet to me, you are brave.

I feel a sort of squeezing deep inside of my chest as you say this, and I feel scared and anxious, too. I could almost throw up I’m so nervous. Because I know after this, after you’ve courageously splayed your heart across this table, reaching out for someone to finally see you, it will be my turn.

And I will need to fix you.

I know that as a Christian, this is what I’m supposed to do. Naturally.

Because if I am to embody Jesus, if I am to show you who Christ is, it is entirely up to me to fix you. I must leave our conversation confident that I, Aliza Naomi Latta, have defeated your demons. That I have single-handedly conquered your darkness.

I must leave with absolute certainty that you are going to be okay. And if you do not leave okay, it will be solely my fault.


I need to save you, or at least cover up your pain so it appears that you are mended. If your pain is too great, or your story too scary, I can rip open a band-aid and cover it up. I can place it gently on your raw, open wounds, smoothing out the edges so it’s hidden and concealed. I can wash my hands, smile at you, say, “All better,” tell you I’ll be praying, and walk away.

And in my eyes, you’re healed. In my eyes, I healed you.

But in my heart, I feel you’re still cracked and splintered. And I feel cracked and splintered, too. In my heart, guilt comes like a tidal wave, hissing that I have let you down, that I haven’t really saved you. In applying this quick ‘n easy band-aid fix, I have made you and your struggle into something small and insignificant, when in reality you’re crucial to this world.

And this? This is the truth: I want to fix you, I feel like I’m supposed to fix you, but I can’t. It’s an impossible feat.

Only the Saviour of the world can do the saving.


Come over to (in)courage with me, and finish reading the rest of this post...line1