Finding Unconditional Love and Worth in God’s Embrace


In our journey through life, we often find ourselves burdened by insecurities and the weight of past experiences that make us question our worth and ability to be loved. Whether it’s feeling unlovable, believing we’re not good enough, or carrying the scars of broken relationships, these struggles can deeply impact our sense of self. But amidst the storm, there is a refuge, a source of unwavering love and acceptance – Jesus Christ. Today, we delve into the depths of God’s Word to discover the truth about our value and the boundless love that awaits us.

Overcoming the Lies:

Have you ever felt that no one could ever want to be friends with you because people in your life have turned their backs on you? Perhaps you’ve carried the weight of feeling inadequate, whether it be your appearance, talents, or intelligence. These thoughts often stem from the lies that the enemy whispers in our ears, trying to convince us of our unworthiness. But let me assure you, these are nothing but falsehoods.

In Zephaniah 3:17, we find solace in God’s promise: “The LORD your God is with you; he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; he will quiet you with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing.” These words remind us that our Heavenly Father sees our true worth and loves us unconditionally. Let us release the grip of past lies and allow God’s truth to resonate in our hearts.

The Depth of God’s Love:

Ephesians 3:18-19 urges us to grasp the vastness of God’s love, which surpasses all understanding. The love of Christ is immeasurable, and when we open ourselves to experiencing it fully, we become complete and empowered by His life-giving grace. Even when troubles surround us, we can find solace in Psalm 31:7: “I will be glad and rejoice in Your unfailing love, for You have seen my troubles, and You care about the anguish of my soul.” God sees our pain, and He cares deeply for us.

God’s Unwavering Presence:

When earthly relationships falter and disappoint, it’s easy to believe that we are destined to be alone. However, Deuteronomy 31:6-8 reassures us of God’s faithfulness: “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” God is always by our side, guiding us and providing the love and support we need. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother, offering His unwavering presence through every step of our journey.

God’s Love Knows No Boundaries:

In our search for love and acceptance, we may have been hurt or let down by friends and family. But there is hope. When we give our hearts and lives to Jesus, we discover a love that transcends human failings. Jesus is for everyone; He doesn’t play favorites. He loves us individually and unconditionally. If we were the only sinner on Earth, He would still have given His life for us. Through Jesus, we can have eternal life and a profound relationship with Him, experiencing a love that surpasses any love we’ve ever known.

Embracing God’s Invitation:

My friend, I encourage you to run to Jesus and lay all your cares and worries at His feet. He is eager to hear from you, to offer you solace and guidance. Jesus longs to be the Father who loves you more than any earthly father ever could. Embrace His invitation, for in Him, you are truly found.

Muddling Through the Fog

It looked likely to become a dark and stormy night. Suntanned and a bit tired from the day’s outing in the mountains, our family felt cheerful as we drove through the valley, trying to beat the impending bad weather to our cabin. Our chances of that began to look bleak. As Murphy’s Law would predict, anything that could go wrong did.

We had started up the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains when we realized we’d forgotten to get gas. We turned around for the town we had passed through a few miles back, understanding that we were losing time against the rolling clouds. At the gas station it was not only fuel, but a restroom that was needed. With a family of six, that takes a bit.

After the quickest possible stop for fuel, we once again headed up the two-lane road over the mountains. Dusk was coming quickly for us on the unfamiliar winding highway. About ten minutes into the climb we drove into a wall of cloud. Not just a gentle lowland fog like we were used to, but an honest-to-goodness, totally opaque cloud. Immediately, we had to slow down. Headlights couldn’t penetrate the fog bank; in fact, they made visibility worse as our headlights reflected back off the water droplets of the fog.

We were traveling in a rather new vehicle and had no clue how to turn on the fog lights. After creeping along a quarter of a mile or so, we caught a glimpse of a sign for a scenic pull-off. Cautiously wrangling the car into the pull-off, we parked and grabbed the User’s Manual to figure out the fog lights.

We managed to get them on and pulled back onto the road hoping the fog was temporary and would have abated some. But no, if anything it was getting more dense. Even with the fog lights to help visibility, I had to slow down to 5-10 miles per hour. My husband, concerned about a low shoulder or drop off, rolled down his window and stuck his head out to make sure I was within the line marking the edge of the pavement.

It was a tense period of time. The kids were hushed in the back seat sensing our tension. I had a white knuckle grip on the wheel, and my husband spoke only as necessary to give me driving warnings or encouragement as we crept higher into the mountain fog. Some relief came as we felt ourselves top the mountain and begin our descent into the valley on the other side.

Although it seemed like hours of creeping through the fog, in reality it was probably thirty minutes or less until we broke out of the fog when we were several hundred feet down the other side. As suddenly as it had come the fog was gone. The tension in the car broke with exhaled breaths, and a bit of lighthearted chatter picked back up.

Why do I tell this long story? I’m glad you asked.

In life we may be cruising along having a happy time – then suddenly, we are hit with the unexpected. It often feels quite like my trip through that fog bank.

The Problem.

  • It interrupts our plans.
  • We can’t see through the problem, and find ourselves anxious or fearful about the trek we are on.
  • We try everything we know to do, but nothing gets us out of the situation, be it a health, relational, financial or another type situation.
  • We find we are NOT in control. We are forced to trust – trust ourselves, trust God, trust the procedures or advice from the experts (the Owner’s manual).
  • We must wait. And waiting is not the strong suit for most of us. But patience is a fruit of the spirit.

The Solution.

Our only recourse in those foggy life adventures, is to do what we know to do. That includes:

  • pray
  • dig in the Word
  • seek godly wisdom from others who have gone through the situation
  • wait in faith for God to bring us through the murky mess
  • turn loose of control

As you face your next crisis, storm, or trial, remember these steps, and the following verses. The Father will guide you through your fog bank.

Isaiah 64:4 – Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

Psalm 139:1-5 – You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before,  and you lay your hand upon me.

Genesis 50:19-20 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Romans 8:28 & 32 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. … 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

The LIGHT in the Tunnel

There’s an old saying that I’ve heard all my life that says, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” This saying seems to indicate that when I am going through a tough situation, I should have hope that it will end soon, and I will see improvement in the situation. This saying is from a quote by Ada Adams – “There is a light at the end of every tunnel. Some tunnels just happen to be longer than others.”   

Something I heard got me to thinking about this saying. I’ve heard so many people use it to comfort someone going through a hard time. But I wondered, is that really how I should think as a believer in Jesus Christ? Is He really waiting at the end of the tunnel? Is He there at the end when I finally make my way through the situation? Will I finally step into His light after I make my way through the muck and mire of this world?  

I quickly realized that Ada was wrong. 

The light is not at the end of the tunnel for me. It is in the tunnel with me; every hurt, every tear, every pain is wrapped in His love and light. I don’t have to make my way through whatever situation I am in alone. I draw so much comfort in knowing that my Jesus walks every step of this life with me whether I’m in a tunnel or on a mountaintop. It can be difficult to remember this when things are falling apart; but by focusing on Him I have light IN the tunnel. 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom should I fear.” Ps. 27:1 (CSB)

“Arise and shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you.”  Is. 60:1 (CSB)

“Jesus spoke to them again; ‘I am the light of the world.  Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness again but will have the light of life.'”  Jn. 8:12 (CSB)


It was a half mindless scroll the day I came across the posts of a friend, I have literally known her as far back as I can remember. She was our babysitter one summer; she drove a fancy blue trans am kind of car; her mama taught me every Bible song from childhood I know and made peanut butter cookies that might make the Pope use profanities. Susan, our babysitter introduced me to Prince and “Raspberry Beret.” Truth be told, back then I didn’t even know what a beret was, much less how you would make one from raspberries, but I knew you could get one like it from the second-hand-store. Susan was with me the time I was swinging and accidentally swallowed a wasp. My tongue swelled and I had a hefty antihistamine dose that caused me to wake up from a nap wondering if I had skipped the summer and already turned 8 years old.  

Through the gift of social media I can keep up with Susan now, and she had taken a trip across the world. Again in full disclosure I won’t lie. I was a tad jealous. Susan was checking one off on my very own bucket list, however, to my satisfaction she had and was posting magnificent pictures to the social media. My mindless scrolling had turned from pausing to stalking. I was enthralled with her pictures and then I came across one with a caption. It asked if anyone knew what the apparatus was located next to the toilet. I smiled to myself, I am somewhat cultured after all, and I have watched the 1988 film “Big Business” so many times I can quote lines verbatim whenever the mood strikes, which is precisely where I learned about just such an apparatus, and “It’s called a bidet.” I even said it in Bette Middler’s voice. 

Then I read the next line in the caption, “It’s not a toilet or a bidet, it’s a foot washing sink.” I stopped cold. I examined the picture, stretched my fingers across the screen so I could get a better look and then I remembered Susan was in the Middle East, the land of my King. 

I immediately translated the foot washing sink in my head into a “footwasher” and then I went backwards in my memory. It was Easter week some years or a year ago and again  I was mindlessly scrolling again and a picture or a text question with a graphic background asked the question: “If you had one day left to live what would you do?” I paused and began to hypothetically answer the question, and then I read the second half of the statement, “Jesus knew and He washed feet.” That statement hit me like a ton of bricks. Jesus on the last day he was to live gathered his people around Him and he washed their dusty, stinky, dirty, sand covered, aching feet. Jesus, fully man and fully God, sinless and perfect on the last day He lived got down on the floor and He was a footwasher. I came back to the present in my mind and I examined the modern day footwasher more closely. I reasoned that feet still get awful dusty and dirty in the middle east and out of modern convenience, placed next to the modern day commode was a footwasher. Low to the ground, humble, and waiting to be used and I realized My King really did come not to be served but to serve and He has called me to do the same, to be a footwasher. 

Nothing New

“What has been will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 CSB

It gets hard some days to stay focused on the good things of this life.  So much is going on that can distract, disturb, and dishearten.  The days just seem to run together with one bad news story after another. I was recently reading in 1 Samuel 7 and was reminded that this is not new.  It may be getting worse and more frequent, but it’s not new, and it’s not a surprise to the great I AM. 

Israel had come out of Egypt, spent years wandering around, and received God’s mercy multiple times.  They had been oppressed by their enemies and experienced deliverance through many God-appointed judges, and now they had Samuel to judge them. Samuel was a dad as well as a judge, but his sons, who he appointed as the next judges, did not judge by God’s standards. They became oppressors of God’s people. Before Samuel died the people rejected Samuel’s sons and said, “Give us a king like other nations have.” 

They did not want his sons, and I think this might have hurt Samuel’s feeling just a little.  I don’t know for sure, but Samuel may have just cried out something like “God, why are these people doing this to me.” That’s what I would probably say. I think God’s answer might have surprised him a little.  

“But the Lord told him, ‘Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected me as their king. They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to me, since the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, abandoning me and worshiping other gods. “1 Samuel 8:7-8 CSB

God said this is nothing new. They are not doing anything to you they haven’t already done to me. You feel rejected? They have rejected me repeatedly. They are abandoning you? How many times have they abandoned their faith in me? This made me stop and consider how I react to what is happening to me and around me. What the world, governments, or people do or say to me is not new; it’s not unique. God has already been there, experienced that, felt that – forgiven that. 

Dear friend, whatever your hurt is today, give it to the one can comfort, heal, and support you like no one else – because He has already been there. 

All’s Well

They were utterly astonished, saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” Mark 7:37 NASB

I was weary from the week and to be honest I kept having to take baby steps to get to the next thing. When I was a child I used to play a game called “Mother May I?” The object of the game is to reach the mother and the finish line. Baby steps are advantageous to the mother but frustrating for the children, it takes so much longer to reach the finish line when one is shuffling along as opposed to giant steps that are a much wider gait.

 Baby steps these days were apart from the “Mother May I?” and they looked a bit more like,

“Get dressed for work.” 

 “Get to the car.” 

“Choose your radio station, pick the one with the Bible quiz every morning.”

“Okay now Swing by the McDonalds and grab a sweet tea with a lemon. Go to the one that gives you a tiny bag of individual lemons.” 

If it were a “giant step” morning it would be “Go to work.” 

I was baby stepping my way to work in the cold rain and had pulled over to the aforementioned McDonalds. I paused in the parking lot long enough to turn the radio back up and I could hear the radio host speaking. The host sounds like a pastor to me. His words are always measured and deliberate. He pauses when he asks a question and he is friendly and kind. The radio host’s unconfirmed pastor’s voice came through the speaker. It was calm and measured and I recognized he was praying. 

He does this every morning. He chooses a people group and he prays for them; he asks the audience to pray with him. I used to feel awkward praying with a person I have never met, but I don’t anymore. My tea purchase had caused me to miss for whom we were praying for today, and for what. 

Some days we have prayed for husbands; we have prayed for wives, for stay at home parents, for people in the entertainment industry. We have prayed for those who are in a job search and those in the clergy. I was unsure who we were praying for this wet dark morning but he made a statement that was sobering and shook me to my core. 

He prayed, “If I should die in the next hour, may my heart cry out forever ‘My God has done all things well. Amen”

As soon as the statement registered I felt the pang of conviction, I heard that still small voice of the Spirit speak and I knew without question that should I die in the next hour that would not be what my heart would cry out. There was no way it could, if I couldn’t honestly say it for one minute now, how could my heart cry for eternity possibly be “My God has done all things well”?

I was shook, shaken, flabbergasted, astonished, bewildered, stupefied, taken aback, and all other vocabulary-list-worthy words conveying shock. 

“My God has done all things well.” 

It was a statement and not an interrogative, but the realization in that moment as I sat frozen and fixed, was that I realized my heart cry is actually “My God has done all things well, question mark.” 

Seriously, all things? All the things? I mulled over in my mind. All things? I began to dialog directly with God. 

“All things? No Lord, not all things.”

“All things Amy.” 

“But Lord, not all things. What about this circumstance that resulted in that outcome that has left these consequences? Not these things?”

“All things Amy Elizabeth.”

But Lord, all things? Really? But Lord you know right now, this moment, this hurt and season of despondency I am feeling, this is done well?” 

“Yes. All things. Have you forgotten my very nature, that I am incapable of not doing all things well?”

When He asks me questions, He knows I am forced to think.

I had not forgotten. The realization was, I had not even considered that aspect of His perfect nature. I had somehow in my mind compartmentalized and separated His perfection with His doing all things well. I had relegated His doing things well to the first six days of creation when he saw it as good. 

Tears came to my eyes and before long my face resembled the windshield in front of me. I told the Lord I was sorry and asked Him for His forgiveness that He had long ago already given me, and I thanked Him for being kind and patient, for abounding in love and for showing me that true nature of my heart and of His. I asked Him to help me to remember to take baby steps each day remembering and living out, “If I should die in the next hour, may my heart cry for eternity be. ‘My God has done all things well.’”

“You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.” Psalm 119:68 NIV 


We had walked around for about an hour when my grandson, Xavier, started telling me his “feets were so tired.” We had taken him to a car show and had seen everything from green cars to purple cars to trucks to motorcycles to old cars to new cars and everything in between. He had a photo op with some Star Wars characters that made his day, and he was just rounding the corner of politely being done and an all out breakdown. Can’t lie…I’ve been there myself.

We stepped to the side and he climbed up on a stage and on to his Papa’s shoulders. As we made our way back through the arena heading towards the door he started perking up. “I see an orange car over there, Gigi,” he shouted and pointed that little finger to his right. “Wait, I can see waaaaaay over there now, Papa!” “Papa, go this way…no this way…wait, I see a truck over there…go that way!” With every step taken on his Papa’s shoulders a whole new world was visible to him.

I started walking a little slower to fall in behind them. I soaked in the conversation they were having. The excitement from Xavier was contagious, and the joy that poured out of Shane was almost more than I could take. My eyes filled with tears and my heart almost burst. The image will forever be imprinted in my mind because it was such a beautiful moment between a grandfather and his grandson, but I just couldn’t remove the imagine of what life looks like on Jesus’s shoulders!

Friend, we spend a lot of time going through the motions. We walk with our head hung low because we’re just trying to make it through the day or the week or the month or sometimes just through the hour, and everything around us is buzzing by. We see it, but we don’t SEE it. And, then, one day Jesus comes along and picks us up and tosses us on his shoulders and starts carrying us. We’re so high that we can see over that mountain that is in front of us, and we can see the blessings that are all around. We exclaim “Jesus, I see it over there!” “Wait, Jesus, this way, I see something!” “Jesus, I didn’t know it was this…(sigh) beautiful!” Everything changes…when our view changes!

A change in view is life changing. That shift in perspective is literally the difference in existing and living. So, if you find yourself simply existing today, can I just encourage you to climb on Jesus’s shoulders and rest. Allow him to carry you and show the goodness that you can only see from his shoulders.

May the End of Your Story Be His Glory!

“This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” John 11:4

Sometimes a single word can light up your brain with a whole story or a huge lesson. Names especially can do this: Nemo… DeSoto… Madame Curie… and from scripture, names like Zaccheus… Lazarus… You could give me The Story on each of these most likely. I thought I could too. At least until yesterday when I saw something new in the Lazarus narrative I had never seen before. Studying through the book of John, something leapt off the page of God’s Word.

Last week, in preparation for Sunday, I had read John 11 in its entirety, read some commentary on it, and was sitting in Sunday morning Bible class participating in a discussion pretty familiar with the chapter. As we reflected on details, we flipped back and forth observing verses that fleshed out the basics we can all re-tell so easily. We had looked at every kids’ favorite memory verse in John 11:35 – “Jesus wept.” Now, the focus of the moment had turned to Jesus’ behavior at the first part of the chapter when He received word that His friend was sick, before Lazarus had died. The part where Jesus didn’t rush to Bethany and prevent Lazarus from dying!

As I flipped back to look at what happened, verse 4 caught my eye.

“This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” John 11:4

Right here, at the beginning, Jesus had told His disciples that this wouldn’t end in death. Then he lingered before He went, and Lazarus died. BUT this was only the middle of the story, not the end. You know the end: stinky four-day-old corpse, opening of the tomb, Jesus speaks a command, and out walks Lazarus, Zombie-style in grave clothes – Alive! It was a Hallelujah ending!

What began with sickness and a plea to the Messiah for help, proceeded through death, burial, and grieving, but ended with Glory!

Ladies, I wish I could tell you to just follow Jesus and your life will be rainbows and sunshine. But we all know “No rain, no rainbows.” What I can tell you with assurance are these things:

  • God is allowing your story to be written according to His plan. Jer. 29:11
  • You can call to Him and He will hear. Jer. 29:12-13
  • Like Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’ story, there will be sadness, grieving and death in the middle of our stories.
  • BUT – and I pray Dear friend, that you know Christ, because if you do – you can be certain that the end of your story will be Jesus’ glory!

So take heart this week. If it seems Jesus is delaying in doing something you are asking Him to do, or if He isn’t preventing death from entering your story, remember that He has Glory for the End of Your Story! Hope in the Lord!

A Simple Yes

Several years ago my kids and I were driving home from church down the interstate just at sunset. The colors in the sky that evening were absolutely breathtaking! The kids were commenting on their favorite colors and how pretty it was, and they started cheering as I drove. It looked like we were literally chasing the sun as it set! We had the windows down, sun roof open, and praise music playing pretty loud on our journey home!

I listened as the kids sang the words of the song! I looked in my rear view mirror and saw four little faces, the sun reflecting a bit in their eyes and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Greg and I and our girls said a simple “yes” to what God was calling us to do. We listened when He called us to just walk, just move when He needed us to. The part that hit me that day is that if we had said “no” or decided that we were too busy or scared that we would get “too attached,” we would have missed this. All of it. These faces that were singing praise, we would have missed it all.