“Speak to Us”: Pastors, Opinions, Women and the Church

Happy International Women’s Day!
andy celebrating
If you’re a lady or a girl, I hope you know that you were created that way on purpose.
You — uniquely in your own “woman-li-ness” — reflect God’s image to the world around you and have been given specific gifts/talents/skills that can greatly impact it for good (yes, technically the same is true of men in their own way, but today isn’t international men’s day).
Around this time last year, there was a bit of a kerfuffle going on. A famous male pastor responded to a question online which asked if women should be “allowed” to teach in seminaries since some Biblical passages allude to women remaining silent during church services.
Long story short, the pastor said women shouldn’t be allowed to teach in seminaries and soon after came a firestorm of responses.
This all came to mind today as I was thinking about #InternationalWomensDay . I remembered sitting there that night with this sort of “If that’s true, then…” line of thinking weighing heavily upon me, and something wouldn’t let me fall asleep until I got (basically) these words (this is the abridged version) down on “paper” (aka a note in my phone).

Speak to Us

These are just a few realities of American women:

  • We make up a little more than 50% of the church.
  • 30% or more of that same church is single (a majority that number includes us).
  • 10 to 20% of us will have pregnancies that end in miscarriages.
  • 1 in 4 of us will be sexually abused before we are old enough to vote.
  • 1 in 5 of us be raped in our lifetime.
“If only men are called to be pastors — and teachers at seminary — then you have an enormous privilege, a heavy burden and a big responsibility to become learners of and advocates for the needs and issues of the women in your church as well as the surrounding community.
You cannot leave it up to Beth Moore or a yearly women’s retreat to speak directly to the hearts and wounds of the daughters God has placed in your care. We are here. We take up more than half the seats in the the room.
Speak to us.
We need sermons about how the church is going to support the fatherless sons, daughters and single mothers.
We are here. Speak to us.
We need God’s word for the victims of sexual violence and spousal abuse. What does our Father in Heaven have to say to us about the pain of our past — or present — suffering so we can experience and live for Him today?
This is part of our reality. Speak to us.
We need your words for the perpetrators (both male and female) of the #metoo generation — and the generations before that? Call them to bring their sin into the light, to get help and to repent.
They are here too. Speak for us, speak to them. 
Do you realize the affect it has on some of us in the room, if the only time you talk about beauty is when you are referring to how “hot” your wife is?
We have been told most of our lives that our worth comes from how sexually desirable a man finds us. The God we worship says something different.
We all need to hear that too. So, speak to us.
If feeding His sheep is what you are called to do, and more than half of us are women — widows, wives, singles, mothers, daughters and sisters — then,
speak to us!
The women of minority cultures — both in your church and community — need to hear God’s words spoken over our hearts. So, rise up and say them.
Tell us our lives matter. Tell us where God is when we experience racism and injustice. Teach us what to do with the anger, brokenness and pain.
Petition the Lord on our behalf — whether you look like us or not —  and speak to us.
As women, we stand before you with certain common experiences, needs, hurts, thought patterns and addictions. 
Speak to directly to our pain, our sin and our brokenness — and not just on mother’s day.
We have been abused, belittled, paid less for the same work, ignored, written off and taken advantage of — both inside and outside the church.
Acknowledge our pain. Tell us how the Gospel applies to these heartaches. Remind us who we are. Beckon us to respond in love and forgiveness. Remind us what the hope of Jesus means for us and the world around us.
The world is watching. We are waiting. So, speak to us.

10 (Lesser-Known) Christmas Classics to Help Make Your Spirit Bright

Depending on how you roll during the holiday season, the day after Thanksgiving may usher in moments to be filled with merry and bright.

But, after you’ve checked off the classics like “Home Alone,” “White Christmas,” and the claymation “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” what is there left to watch? You’ve got 24+ days to fill with cheer.

Below are 10 lesser-known Christmas classics that may not have been added to your holiday movie rotation yet:

10. “Unlikely Angel” (1996)

Hello, Dolly!

unlikely angel

Dolly Parton is one of my favorite Christmas staples! In this heartwarming classic, she falls from the sky to help heal a wounded family and spark holiday romance. She does this all while toting a guitar and struggling with her new found role as an angel.

9. “The Bishop’s Wife” (1947)  

This movie was the original to one of my favorite Christmas movies that you probably have heard of “The Preacher’s Wife” (1996) starring Whitney Houston.

In the original version from the 40’s, the dreamy Cary Grant plays the role of Dudley — later taken on by Denzel Washington 😍 — the angel sent to answer the prayers of a struggling bishop.

Curl up by the fire — tv or real — , grab a snack and enjoy.

8. “A Diva’s Christmas Carol” (2000) 


Most of us when we think of Vanessa Williams and Christmastime we think of music, but prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

“A Diva’s Christmas Carol” takes a fun spin on the classic “A Christmas Carol” with a dash of VH1’s “Behind the Music” and a cameo from TLC’s ‘Chilli.’

Ah, the 90’s music vibes!!!

7. “The Christmas Box” (1995)

In this t.v. holiday classic, a family moves in with an elderly woman (Maureen O’Hara) and their lives are forever changed. There’s a little bit of magic in this house alongside some tears. Get out the tissues.

Side Note: They made a prequel the following year called “The Timepiece” (1996) with James Earl Jones.

6. “To Grandmother’s House We Go” (1992) 

to granny house

Oh, the Olsen Twins.

Check out the super sweet, super cheesy adventure chock-full of “Full House” cameos. Mary-Kate and Ashley try to give their single mom a break for Christmas and go to their great-grandma’s house all by themselves.

5. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas” (2014)

This is a holiday-themed movie-length episode from a great Hallmark tv series called “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” — if you haven’t seen the show before I highly recommend it.

The cast of main characters work for the dead letter department of the post office. Each episode chronicles their adventures as they try to solve the mystery of who from and where to these undeliverable packages and letters go.

signed sealed delivered christmas

This Christmas episode helps answer two different little girls’ Christmas letters — one addressed to Santa and the other addressed to God.

Can you feel the warm fuzzies already? Just trust me and watch it.

4. “All I Want for Christmas” (1991)

This cute flick features the young Thora Birch and Ethan Embry — aka Ethan Randall — as well as Leslie Nielson, Lauren Bacall and Kevin Nealon.

Thora Birch’s character asks Santa (Leslie Nielson) to reunite her parents for Christmas and holiday hijinks ensue.

all i want for christmas movie

So cute and funny!

3. “Christmas in Connecticut” (1945 and 1992)

christmas in connecticut old

The remake (1992) and the original (1945) are tied for third on this list. I can’t choose!

This famous homemaker is a fraud and tries not to lose her job by accumulating a home and a fake family for Christmas. And well… it gets complicated — especially when a dreamy stranger enters the picture.

Watch them both. You won’t be disappointed!

2. “It Happened on 5th Avenue” (1947)

I LOVE this movie. It’s a black and white oldie, but a goodie set in 1940’s NYC.

Homeless man, Aloysius T. McKeever, habitually squats in mansions all year long while the unassuming weathly owners are out of town. This Christmas while squatting in real estate tycoon Michael J. O’Conner’s home, McKeever collects a temporary family of new friends to fill the home who also have no place to go.

Unbeknownst to the other squatters, the mansion’s real owner O’Connor, his daughter and ex-wife also pretend to be homeless and find themselves building relationships with all these loving down-and-outers.

1. “A Smokey Mountain Christmas” (1986)

This film is how I personally transition from fall to Christmas time. It’s like my own personal Santa in the Macy’s Day Parade. Slap on some tube cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven — Annie’s Organic if you’re wondering — and call it a day-after-Thanksgiving-morning!

smokey mountain christmas

My country music-loving friend in college introduced me to this and my holiday film watching has never been the same.

Dolly Parton — yes she’s on this list twice and if you’ve never seen “Christmas of Many Colors” you should watch that too  — is a Christmas movie triple threat. But, this movie in particular is my favorite Christmas movie of all. 

She plays country singer, Lorna Davis, who — while looking to escape the spotlight for awhile — has a run in with the gaggle of orphans who were squatting in her friend’s cabin in the Smokeys.

Dolly, adorable orphans, a witch, a mountain man and a skeezy sherif.  What more could you want?

Honorable Mention:

Other great films that are worth mentioning that you may or may not have heard of are:

  • “Holiday Affair” (1949) – Ugh, just watch it.
  • “Eloise at Christmastime” (2003) – Super cute movie with Julie Andrews.
  • “Call Me Claus” (2001) – “A Christmas Carol” remake with Whoopi Goldberg.
  • “Mrs. Santa Claus” (1996) – Starring Angela Landsbury as Mrs. Claus.

Happy holiday watching!


What’s your favorite lesser-known Christmas classic? Comment below.

When Your Body Falls Apart

I was about 25 when I first realized that could no longer stay up all night and just wake up the next day like nothing had happened.

Unlike college, it took DAYS to recover — if at all.

i take nap right here

Two years after that, I had to stop drinking caffeine after 3 pm to avoid being up all night.

Though I have what some might call “grandma-esque” taste in television — I love me some Murder She Wrote and Matlock — I didn’t think my body would begin to mimic issues commonly attributed to that demographic so early on.

murder she wrote

Those newfound limits were an especially low blow back then because I had just lost 140 pounds — after being overweight my whole life. I was “healthier” than I’d ever been, but my body was starting to show clear signs of aging.

What’s up with that?

what's up with that

More Than Just Age

Fast forward seven years, and I’m two years deep into a new physical limit — a weird immunity issue that most people have never heard of — Mast Cell Disease.

When I try to explain my current situation to others, it usually results in comments that jokingly — but somewhat accurately — reference The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.

boy in the bubble.gif

It’s hard to admit we have — and live with — limits — physical or otherwise.

It’s painful to feel trapped in your home or your own body, and totally out of control of what happens next.

I don’t know about you, but I try to avoid pain and all forms of discomfort and this has been one of the most painful isolating things I’ve ever been through.

What are we supposed to do when difficult circumstances are thrust upon us? How do you live — or rather cope — when your body — or your life — fall apart?

“I Don’t Know About That”

My faith tells me to consider the difficulties I face as an opportunity for great joy.”  But, sometimes that phrase can feel more like Adele’s lyric “words made of knives” than an encouragement to my soul. 

How can some of the most painful and frustrating experiences you’ve ever faced be an opportunity for joy? 

While I don’t fully understand all complexities of this truth — aka it sounds kind of crazy — I do know that some of the most beautiful and inspiring people I know are those who have or are currently walking through unimaginably painful times.

Maybe a “good life” isn’t one devoid of pain and discomfort. Maybe a good life is a life you lead in the midst of those things.

Pain and Joy Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

One lie I often believed is that if I do good things or live a certain way, then God will give me — or even somehow owes me — a pain-free existence.

However, the God that the Bible describes, promises we will all experience pain and suffering in this life, and in the same breath that He will be with us in the midst of it.

Life is like a beautiful disaster* filled with moments of extreme joy and earth-shattering loss jumbled all together.

Sometimes we participate in and cause our pain and other times it’s just the result of having relationships with actual humans and living in a broken — yet simultaneously beautiful — world.

When Reality Bites

I have never felt closer to God in my entire life than I did when my life — and my body — really started to fall apart last year. In my sheer desperation, when all I wanted were answers and relief God sweetly and gently asked me,

“Deanna, do you want answers or do you want Me?”

If I’m honest I wanted both and often times I just wanted answers, but I’m so glad that I got Him.

Now, I have some answers, but I’m growing weary in this difficult battle with my body and really what I want and need is more of Him.


* Check out Beautiful Disaster by Kelly Clarkson. It’s bananas-good!!!

3 Reasons Why Comparison is One of The Scariest Monsters Hiding Under Your Bed

 “It’s ok that you aren’t this or that. You! I choose you!” – Heather Holleman, Included in Christ


A beast that everyone experiences — who shouts the same message over and over again,

“You just don’t measure up!”

monsters inc

And, it’s not just comparison to others — their bodies, houses, incomes, phase of life, relationships or fill in the blank — but a comparison to yourself — at a previous time — can crush your spirit and cause you to miss out on the life right in front of you.

It seems harmless enough at first, but if you don’t get this monster under control it can control or even destroy you.

Here are three reasons why I think comparison is one of the scariest monsters hiding under the bed of your life:

Reason # 1 – Liar Liar, Pants on Fire

“No, No I’m really Happy For You.” <sniff, sniff>

Comparison can rob you of healthy relationships and make you a bitter bitty.

How can you truly be happy for someone else who has something you long for or who’s achievement causes you to ask the question, “What have I been doing with my life?”  

The answer is: It’s just plain hard. And, it’s even harder if your identity rises or falls with the successes of others. You cannot gauge how you are doing in life based on the people around you. You aren’t them. That’s is really easy to say, but really hard to live out.

If someone in your life has what you ache for it’s painful. There’s no getting around it. And, when that happens — cause it will — pretending it doesn’t hurt or stuffing your feelings won’t help.

Step back from the situation and remind yourself that you are your own person and your value doesn’t depend on how they are doing at life. If you are a praying person, ask God to help.

I believe, the story being written through your life is different than anyone else’s. If you can remind yourself of that — sometimes over and over again— you can be freed to celebrate with people you care about.

Reason # 2 – Trapper Keeper

Comparison can keep you stuck.

trapper keeper gif.gif

When I first started gaining weight back a few years ago, one of the things that brought me the most shame was when I compared my struggle to my past successes.

“This wasn’t hard before. Why is it hard now? What is wrong with me?”

The more I struggled, the more shame I felt and the more I wanted to turn to food for escape and comfort. And, so went the merry-go-round.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with this type of comparison in terms of my beliefs.

I’ve had a bizarre allergy issue that keeps me homebound a majority of the time. My struggles started over two years, and for some reason last year I felt closer to God than I do right now. Sometimes, I feel numb towards and it’s hard for me to connect with Him.

I have to battle the shame and questions that come when I compare today’s Deanna with last year’s Deanna.

If food or God isn’t your thing, can you relate to patterns like this in your own life?

I’ve found that comparison of your feelings or performance in any area to past feelings or performance makes you want to give up and avoid _____________ altogether.

You aren’t the same person you were a year ago and neither am I. You could waste your time comparing “current you” to “old you,” but I can tell you it’s not going to get you anywhere worth going. But, even knowing this, it’s still a struggle.

Reason # 3 – Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Comparison makes you ugly.

One of the grossest things you can do — even without realizing it sometimes — is compare yourself to someone’s failures or shortcomings in an effort to boost your own self-esteem.

Barf. 🤮

No one usually wants to admit it, but — you do it and I do it — everyone does it. What a truly selfish way to use other people. Ew.

Where Do You Find Your Identity?

Your identity and worth have to be able to stand on their own, apart from the success or failures of others. And, until you start to tame the beast of comparison, the cycle will continue.

My faith has a lot to say about this.

If I truly believe that I am — and you are — created in the image of — in someway look like or act like or reflect — God, then every person — gross or awesome — has innate dignity and purpose <cough, cough even your least favorite celeb or politician 😐>.

Christianity says — though Christians don’t always act like it’s true — everyone’s identity comes from what God says is true about you not how you feel about yourself, how well you perform, battle the beast of comparison or how you stack up against the rest.

I’m not saying any of this is easy to believe or do. And, perhaps your beliefs or values tell you something else entirely. But, no matter what, everyone has to figure out how to fight the battle of comparison — even if that means screaming back in an effort to silence it and remind yourself what is true about you.




What Story is Your Life Telling?

“Names have power, like magic spells.” – Cinderella, 2015

Have you ever not liked your name? Or a name people called you?

My name is Deanna Joy and growing up I hated it.

In a time of Saved By the Bell and Full House, it was so different and people could never pronounce it — or my Americanized-Greek last name for that matter.

I so longed to be called DJ — like DJ Tanner from Full House — but, alas, no one ever did.

dj tanner

As I have gotten older though, I have come to love and even find deep meaning and beauty in my name.

From the Valley

My whole life, my mom has told me that the reason she named me Deanna (pronounced Dee-ana 👏 , not Dee-na 👎) was because she read that it meant “God’s princess.” It also didn’t hurt that her father’s name was Dean. 😉

After much searching on the internet, I’ve never been able to substantiate her exact claim. I’m not calling my mom a liar, buuuuuuut the results I’ve found show something else entirely.

To my mom’s credit, I’ve seen the meaning “heavenly, divine” on occasion associated with my name, but never God’s princess.

Today, while Googling, I found a new one that I don’t so much love, “judgment.” Yikes!

wiig yikes

Overall, the most consistent meaning I’ve found for Deanna, Diane or Dean has been “valley” or “of/from the valley.”

Nobody Puts Baby (Girl) in a Corner

The other part of my name is a little easier to figure out the meaning of.

When my mom found out she was pregnant with me, she just knew I was going to be a girl. After having two boys, you can imagine her feelings when she ended up being right about my gender — hence Joy.

What’s in a Name?

Names we are given, names we call ourselves and each other matter —because we can start to believe them and live them out.

During a summer in South Africa, one really interesting thing I noticed was the importance of people’s names/the meaning of their names. It seemed as though for some, the name they were given was like a hope for or a blessing spoken over their life.

In the Bible, name meanings usually carry great significance and often represent the story being told through that individual’s life.

Two examples I like are Ezra and Nehemiah — two profits from the Bible who God communicated messages to His people through. Ezra’s name meant “help is here” and Nehemiah’s name meant “God wipes away our tears.” Their lives were spent telling those messages about God to the world.

Joy From the Valley

When you combine the meanings of my two first names, you basically get “joy from the valley.”

If you know me well and the various valley’s — or low points — I have faced thus far in my story and you know how much I love to laugh, this meaning rings pretty true.

This is the story — that joy can be found in the midst of the valleys we walk through — I believe God is revealing to me and wants to tell through my life.

Now, all this may sound super weird or naive but think about it.

Your life — no matter what you believe, what you’ve been through, are doing now or will do in the future — tells a story that impacts the world around you.

What is the story your life is telling?

Sometimes my story tells people I’m afraid, it’s all about me and I don’t really believe the things I say with my mouth — or type my fingers.

Other times, my story communicates that no matter what you’ve been through or are going through now, joy can be found and good can come, when let God in.


What does your name mean?

What story is your life telling?

When you Love Food, but You Also Like it When Your Pants Zip

“He’s fat. He’s a fatty.” – Tom Hanks, You’ve Got Mail

It’s the age-old problem.

Food is delicious.

mary berry mao

Your clothes fitting, also good.

looking good

I have fought the battle of the bulge for what seems like my whole life — and though the battle has changed it still rages on.

Mom Genes

My dad’s side of the family has made chocolate for over 100 years. So, there was always a good quantity of high-quality chocolate in our home.

On my mom’s side, my grandmother was AMAZING at making desserts. So, it’s no surprise my mom carried the torch and was known as the cake lady at church.

We’re a people well versed in deliciousness, but our family line simultaneously has genes floating around prone to tightening paints and stretch marks.

How’s a girl supposed to stay skinny with that kind of set up?

Some can, but I didn’t.

It’s Complicated

All of us have relationships with food. 🥓

But, when food is no longer just food — and shame, identity, joy or pain are added to the mix — things get complicated.

People overeat for all sorts of emotional and physical reasons — using food for something other than it’s meant to be.

For me food has been a comfort in pain, a friend in loneliness and the building blocks for a wall to keep others at bay.

That is a lot to put on some frosting and sprinkles that won’t love you back. 🍩

A woman who mentored me in my faith in my twenties encouraged me to get counseling. Through that, good friends holding me accountable and my relationship with God, I was able to start to deal with some of the reasons I wasn’t using food as food.

Soon after, I set out on a massive weight loss journey and lost 140 lbs.

Now, that’s great, but, in all that time and the years that followed, I never learned how to have a “normal” relationship with food. My identity and my view of how God felt about me became almost compulsively tied to what I was eating and how much I weighed.

After like three years of living like that, I was exhausted. So, when life got really hard, I gave up and ran back to my old “friend.” 🍕

Oh for Shame

We all have our “vices.” But, when your vice is food:

  1.  If you eat too much over time there’s no hiding it — people notice.
  2. There’s no quitting cold turkey — you have to have it in order to live.
There’s a lifetime of shame that accumulates for someone who’s overweight and struggles with overeating. But, I can’t really put to words the level of shame you feel after losing a significant amount of weight and then gaining a majority of it back.
I’m still carrying some — not all 🙌 — of that weight and a little of that shame. But, I’m thankful to say I’m in a much healthier place with food than I ever was.

Feasting and “Fasting”

Shauna Niequist is one, my favorite authors.

In one of her books, she talks about the concept of intentionally practicing seasons of feasting — these aren’t hard to come by — and fasting — not a “no food” kind of fast, but a fast from seasons of overindulgence in multiple areas of life.

Using food to celebrate and indulging once in a while isn’t the problem — that’s even Biblical — it’s when that becomes the norm rather than the exception.

This concept really resonates with me since I also got the baking gene from my family and I love to throw a good party.

So, I’m currently toying with the idea of what adding intentional seasons of “leanness” could look like in my life — because I love food, but I also like it when my pants zip.


Can you relate?

Have you ever tried setting up intentional seasons of “leanness” in your life?





What Do You Do When Life is Hard?

Job 1:6-11

One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan.

Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”

Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”

Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. 10 You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! 11 But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”

In the heavenly scene above, we find God and Satan having a conversation — kind of a weird set up based on most of the depictions of good versus evil I’ve seen.

Satan tells God he’s watching “everything that’s going on” on earth and God’s response was, “Have you noticed my servant Job?”

When I first read this, it came off as kind of brag-y on God’s part, “Check out my man Job!” But, the more I read, it seems like God — in this statement — is a proud Father.

This messes with the image of God I get in my head sometimes: super judge-y, critical, hard to please and usually disappointed in me — like a cosmic Emily Gilmore. Yikes!

The older I get, the more I realize I put a lot of things on God that are nothing like Him, and everything like my own baggage, hurts, assumptions and judgments.

Netflix, Naps and Target Runs

Those lies I believe about God are part of the reason why — when the “ish” really hits the fan in my life — it can feel easier to search for comfort or relief in food, Netflix, naps, and Target runs, rather than Him.            

Now, there is nothing wrong with enjoying T.V., shopping, food, sleeping or ______________ (fill in the blank with your favorite non-destructive de-stressor of choice).

 target lady its a match.gif              

But, things get dicey when I try to use those comforts to numb pain or avoid relationships when I’m hurting.

For me, often the first relationship I avoid — when things are difficult or stressful — is the one I have with God.

When Things Hit the Fan 

A few years ago, I went through one of the hardest times of my life.

Three relationships in a row ended up not panning out.

I was living alone for the first time, having a hard time finding community and feeling really lonely.

And then, soon after the medicine I was on was on started causing symptoms of depression, I was sexually assaulted by a stranger.

Something inside me just broke.

I went numb and ran to old comforts I had tried for years on and off to get under control, which added a nice thick layer of shame on top of everything else that I was going through.

The Heisman 

So, there I was isolated, feeling shame and floating in numbness, giving God the relational “Heisman.”

He didn’t seem good anymore and it felt like I couldn’t trust Him. However, it would be months before I allowed myself to admit I was feeling that way.

I proceeded to go through the motions of life and faith, trying cope through distractions. All the while, I was wrestling with immense shame because of the things I was running to instead of God.

I judged myself harshly for how I handled everything and then proceeded to project that judgment onto God.

What God wanted from me then — and still wants now — was my heart first, not my behavior.

What I expected from myself then — and still struggle with expecting now — was the ability to handle it all and behave perfectly on my own.

The truth that a perfect God sees me — my anger, my frustration, the weird way I say “milk,” my wounds, my fear, my love of hostessing, music and animals, my failure, my muffin top as well as my disdain for my muffin top, my selfishness, my love of gift giving, my wrong assumptions, all of it — and invites me to bring every part of me to Him,  literally doesn’t make sense.

But, if I can’t acknowledge those parts of me and trust and accept that I am totally loved and forgiven by God, I will keep running away from Him and to other things.

Closeness with God starts with my insides — bringing my heart to Him — not my outsides — my behavior. But, I get this twisted.

I don’t need to have it all together or have my life wrapped up in a pretty bow that I made from a tutorial I found on Pinterest — though Pinterest tutorials are fun.

When all that crap was happening to me and when I was doing all that crap to myself, God was there grieving with me and for me.

He saw His daughter broken and hurting, and wanted to hold her.

And with time, I want to learn how to bring every part of me to Him and be held.


P.S. If you want to read the rest of the story about happened to Job you can click here. The Reader’s Digest version is: Satan basically destroyed and took everything from Job that he loved. Job didn’t curse God. But, Job was honest about his pain and brought it to God. God restored everything that was lost and then some for, His son, Job.

What Weeds In A Graveyard Can Teach You About Bitterness

My parents grew up and met in a small town in New York, between Rochester and  Buffalo, called Batavia.

Around Mother’s Day this year, my mom and I went to the graveyard there, where all my grandparents are now buried.

As we started cleaning up the leaves and weeds around the headstones of my dad’s parents, we feasted our eyes on one of the biggest weeds I’ve ever seen.

I mean this thing was mammoth with Jack and the Beanstalk-esque (is that how you spell that?) qualities.


It stood about four feet tall and two inches thick with a stem — which looked more like a trunk at this point— covered in large sharp thorns.

We were ill prepared for this fight armed only with our wits, a couple of plastic “Wegmans” bags and a pair of scissors.

As my mom and I took turns wrestling, hacking and accumulating battle wounds trying to remove it, I felt like God whispered something over the loudspeaker of my heart:

“Deanna, this is what bitterness looks like when you allow it to grow in your life.”

Oh. My. Gosh.

That moment was a lovingly scary wake-up call.

It can feel safer and be more satisfying in the moment, to talk about the things people have done to you with others, rather than bring it up with those you need to confront.

We can occasionally feel justified —or even a momentarily sense of reprieve from our pain — when we take out our suffering on anyone or anything that comes in our path when we’re hurting.

The most difficult thing sometimes can be the best thing for us and the very thing that will lead to our healing.

For me, what leads to healing and peace instead of bitterness has often looked like forgiving someone instead of holding the harm and pain of things they’ve done to me against them.

This is a process. It’s not easy. And, it doesn’t come naturally. But, based on the picture of bitterness I got that day if we don’t — if I don’t — this freakishly monstrous thing grows inside our hearts. The only way to “trim it back” is through confession, confrontation, and forgiveness.

If we don’t actively do that, the ugliness continues to grow and I fear that as it grows, we become like the people and the things that harmed us in the first place.





5 Reasons to Stop Whatever You’re Doing Right Now and Listen to the New Lauren Daigle Album

Not to be bossy, but if haven’t heard Lauren Daigle’s new album yet, stop reading this right now and listen to it!

If you still aren’t convinced, below are 5 reasons why you gotta check it out.

1. Everyone Needs a Little Dance Break in Their Day

I dare you to go to track 10, “Look Up Child,” and at 0:32 not start to dance immediately wherever you are.

This song is super fun and encouraging — full of #positivevibes set to a great beat.

2. You’ll Get Magically Transported Back to the Late 90’s/Early 2000’s for 5 Minutes & 34 Seconds

As you make your way to track 13, at 0:56, images and sounds of the late 90’s/early 2000’s — in the best way possible —will start to swirl.

The remake of this song totally caught me by surprise.

I heard a sprinkle of the Fugees,

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…a dash of India Arie and a touch of Erykah Badu. Loved it! ❤️

3. The Lyrics to “Rescue” 

Yesterday, before I had made my way through the entire album, one of my friends told me that “Rescue” was her jam.  #TheSongMurdererStrikesAgain — I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since!

If you want to know why just check out a few of the lyrics:

“You are not hidden
There’s never been a moment
You were forgotten”

“I hear you whisper underneath Your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army to find You
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you
I will never stop marching to reach you
In the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true, I will rescue you”

Do you want to experience a determined, willing to fight for you, kind of love like that?

I do!

Have you ever felt forgotten? By God or others?

I have!

One of the most beautiful things about Christianity — that I and other people who claim to believe in Jesus often forget— is the belief that God sees you — all of you, every part, even the ones we try to hide or wish weren’t true — and He loves you.

Not only does God see you as you are and love you, but hears your cries for help— no matter what you’ve done or what’s been done to you — and He promises to be your Rescuer — to fight for you — and to restore what’s been broken, if you let Him.

Even if Jesus isn’t your jam, this is a beautifully written song.

4. Music Can Positively Effect Your Mood and Happiness

According to this super legitimate sounding article, “A 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listened to upbeat music could improve their moods and boost their happiness…”

This album is both upbeat and positive. Ergo, it’s good for your health!

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5. It’s Amazing            

Do you ever have albums that become the soundtrack for certain periods of time in your life?

I totally do and I’ve got a feeling this album will be that for me. It’s well written and produced, and conveys a message of hope that we all could use right about now.

So, there you have it. This album and Lauren Daigle are amazing. But, don’t take my word for it, decide for yourself.

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P.S. If you’re already sold on the greatness of this album, post in the comments below what song are you currently murdering on repeat.


Dearest Lady Friends who Hover…

If I was ever to host a primetime awards show or decide stand-up was for me, I would use those platforms to bring light to this potty paradox. But, since both seem unlikely, I wrote this instead:

Dearest Ladies who Hover,

Women I know and love — sisters, mothers, and friends.

Let’s talk.

First off, I don’t judge your choice.

I affirm you and your hover-dom in public restrooms. We’ve all found ourselves playing a round of “Stall Door Roulette” to only have it end in horrors we wish could be unseen.

snow white shocked

Germs are gross and people’s exit behavior of the commode leaves much to be desired.

Here’s what I don’t get.

If you choose to stand and straddle as a way to avoid grossness, why — DEAR GOD WHY — do you yourselves leave a mess behind?

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There are few things worse in life, then when you sit down to answer nature’s call and are left to wonder if the “hover-agette” who used the stall before you was hopping on one foot with her eyes closed.

I know things happen. I know this is not all of you. I even know that I need to look before I “leap.” But,  please hear the cry of your sisters who prefer to sit:


the more you know

We all have our role to play in eliminating public restroom grossness, but I believe as women if we work together…

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