Let my life speak louder than my words


Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Their only source of water was a three-hour walk from their huts and homes.

I was eighteen years old and knew nothing about the world, except what I saw in front of me: dozens of Rwandan children walking to fetch their jugs of water, and they had invited me along. Of course I obliged and followed behind them while the blazing African sun seemed to scorch hotter every second. I was feeling too much — too white, too privileged, and far too out of place. I was holding a water bottle in my hands and guilt wrapped around me like a suffocating fur coat.

Who was I to drink water so freely and easily while the kids around me had to traipse for hours to collect theirs?

We didn’t speak much on the walk. Their words were in Kinyarwanda, mine were not. When we arrived back at the village after the agonizingly hot and tiring trip, the pastor of their village came to me, his wife not far behind him. They took our hands and led us to their home, a humble thatched hut with benches pulled around a small table. Huge heapings of potatoes and cooked bananas were placed in front of us, and the pastor’s wife shone hospitality in a way I had never seen before. When she handed me my plate, I almost cried.

They had nothing, yet they gave me everything.

We could hardly communicate with one another — at least not in the typical way I’d been taught. But through that meal where they offered me literally all that they had, the pastor and his wife in a small Rwandan village shared with me two things: their very lives and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I saw Jesus in them, and we barely spoke. They taught me that our lives can speak more than words ever can.

May our lives be a poured out offering, an emptying of us and what we desire. May we love so deeply that we reach out our hands and grab the person in front of us, bring them into our homes and give them all that we have.

That, I believe, is where the Gospel is most evident.

Do you need prayer? Come over to (in)courage and there will be people praying for you. 

When I found love by the sea

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.10.53 PM We had driven eight and a half hours — longer if you count how many times I had to stop and use the bathroom. (If you’re wanting to get somewhere quick, I’m not exactly the most ideal person to road trip with.) We drove from Ontario to Massachusetts, right across the state of New York, and the closer we got to the coast, the more I thought I could smell the salt rise from the sea.

The sea does something to me. It opens up a well inside of me — some deep, cavernous place I had forgotten about, and it brings out realizations and understandings that I hadn’t quite grasped before.

Cape Cod is nothing short of stunning. Despite the fact it was freezing, I slipped my toes out from my shoes and felt the sand beneath me as I walked closer toward the ocean. My sister wrapped her arms tighter around her small son, a fuzzy blanket keeping him warm.

We were small, minuscule in fact, in front of that gaping water.

I have felt small before — the good kind and the bad.

I have felt small in the good way: while standing in front of the sea, sitting under the star speckled sky, looking out at the mountains of Rwanda and Peru. And the bad way: feeling unloved and like a desperate disappointment, all the while convincing myself I needed to do something in order to measure up.

I'm over at (in)courage today and would love for you to come join... 

I'll be planting a garden

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 8.50.59 AM God told me to plant a garden.

Not a literal one, although I'm debating starting that kind too. Sunflowers that stretch taller than me -- I'd like to have that. It's not my hands that are stained with dirt, instead it's my soul, which Jesus kindly whispered to pay attention to.

It was a nice thought, to plant a garden. So I told Him, "Okay."

The problem with creating a garden is finding understanding that what you will be creating will not be immediate. I don't know exactly how the whole process works, but I do know gardens take time and tending and watering and waiting. You don't see much progress for awhile, do you? You just plant your bulbs, dust your hands, offer a little water each day, and wait, hoping that something is forming deep within the ground below you.

I did the same thing with my soul. I got real quiet -- just me and Jesus and my innermost parts which were feeling shaky and untrusting. I prayed for faithfulness and patience, two things that are not my forte, and I planted my bulbs. I could picture them rooting inside of me. Red and orange tulips, I liked to think.

One thing I'm realizing: if you're going to pray for patience and faithfulness, God is most certainly going to provide you opportunities to grow those bulbs.

The past month and a half I have felt like my life has been on hold. Like I'm waiting for something, for anything really, to just click into place and get things moving. In the beginning of my waiting, I didn't mind. I thought, "I am being such a faithful, patient servant. Jesus is working in me so clearly." And then my waiting felt like it was stretching out much too long, and much too slowly, and soon I was done with waiting. But I was praying for patience and faithfulness -- so why would anything come quickly when what I deeply wanted was to learn how to wait?

One night, when I was significantly tired of waiting for something to happen in my life, I told Jesus how I was feeling. "You say You have good plans for me, Jesus? If this is true, tell me, where are these good and lovely plans and why aren't they happening yet?"

I'm over at (in)courage today and would love for you to join me...

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.  

Comparison — and all that comes with it

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset Last week I had strange dreams each night. I would wake up scared or sad or confused. I didn't once wake up rested. I felt stale instead of refreshed, as if all of my enthusiasm for the day had already been sucked out of me before I even lifted the covers.

For a while I blamed the winter blues. I ate a juicy orange, practiced yoga, and even went to a Zumba class. But then -- slowly, because my processing is a long, slow affair -- I started to realize that it wasn't just the end of January exhaustion I was feeling. It was the life-sucking death trap of comparison. Comparison commingled with relying on my own strength in lieu of God.

I didn't mean to compare.

I didn't mean to doubt God.

I just worried I wasn't good enough, or right enough, or well, frankly, enough all around. I have practiced these feelings for so long that they have inevitably become habitual. Instead of life, I carried around stale comparison, which was heavy and tiring. I spent my days worrying about this and that, and looking online to see what others were doing. What I saw was good. People in the world are doing good, lovely work. But immediately I felt like what they were doing would be far better and lovelier than anything I might possibly do.

I'm over at (in)courage today and would love for you to come along!

To the woman who feels she's not enough

12012015_AlizaLatta_BecauseOfJesus To the woman who feels she’s not enough:

You come across confident. Your words, your actions, the way you present yourself, all seem to be carried with a quintessential poise. I know I’m just a girl you think may not know much, but when I look at you — when I really peer in and try to understand who you are — I have this feeling that your confidence is a facade. That your layers are merely that: just layers to hide an engulfing fear of inadequacy. I know this diversion well.

I often use artificial confidence to hide how I feel.

I don’t want you to drown in a sea of decaying self-worth. You have so much to offer this world, so much to give. You’re infinitely valuable. I hope you stretch out your fingers and see the innumerable gifts you could provide.

There are certain nights when I feel most un-enough, and those are the nights I ask Jesus to hold me. Sometimes I feel His arms wrap around mine, and I fall asleep with this feeling of safety. Tonight, I’m asking Him to hold you. Tonight, I’m asking Him to wrap Himself around you so tight that the inadequacy falls away. That you wake up clean and whole and free.

Please don’t rip your worth away.

I have so many scars from all the times I’ve teared open my skin and wrenched out my worth. Every time I convince myself I’m not enough, I rip away the worth Jesus has instilled inside of me. Jesus never ceases to sew me back up, adding value and worth and adequacy.

With Him, I am enough. With Him, I am complete again.

Need a reminder of your worth? Come over with me to (in)courage today...

What it looks like to be at our bravest

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 1.36.10 PM I’m sitting at the edge of the Amazon rain forest, in the depths of Peru. I’m here for just under six weeks, recording stories and helping my friends before they start up their girls’ home. I’m on a constant journey of searching for bravery, and I’ve realized . . .

When I look for courage, I tend to find it wherever I go.

My friends are brave for moving to Peru. They’ve been here for over a year now, and I look at their lives in wonder and amazement. They’re learning Spanish, they’re living under bug nets, they’re using a toilet that doesn’t have plumbing. They’re doing brave, hard things — things I’m not sure I would ever be able to do. And they do it, not because it’s glamorous or glorifying, but because they’re in the place where Jesus wants them to be, and doing the work that Jesus wants them to do.

I wonder if that’s true for all of us.

I think we’re at our bravest when we’re in the place where Jesus wants us to be, doing the work that Jesus wants us to be doing.

I'm over at (in)courage today -- come join me?

11 brave things you can do today


IMG_4653 I used to believe bravery included a well-worn passport -- one stamped with adventure from cover to cover. I thought courage consisted of daring risks, life changing experiences, and escapades sure to grace the gritty insides of a novel.

And this, perhaps, is still true. I do believe these things are brave -- but surely there's more to bravery than just this. Bravery is biblical. It's an idea I believe Jesus is rooting for, and it's one I want to root for too. The more I long to know courage, the more I have realized it is a choice and not a feeling. I'd like to choose brave more often. I'd like to choose it every day.

When I look at the bravest people in my life, I see a pattern. They choose bravery, over and over and back over again. I'm certain they don't feel brave all the time -- in fact, they've told me quite the opposite. But they choose brave, not because they feel it, but because they know -- deep within their quivering bones -- that bravery is strongly connected with freedom.

If you feel as though your bravery cup is close to empty, let me tell you some practical ways you can choose brave today:

Come on over to (in)courage with me and find out the 11 brave things I think you can do today.




This is day five of the series 31 days of choosing brave. You can click here if you'd like a list of all the posts in this series. If you want to make sure you don't miss a day, feel free to subscribe below. line1