That’s What Love Does

As a middle school student growing up at St. Luke’s, I remember my first mission trip. I was going into the 7th grade and we were spending a week of our summer traveling to West Monroe, Louisiana for Youth Force. Youth Force is a mission trip camp that St. Luke’s youth still do today. Students from all different churches come together for a week of working on homes to do repairs that the homeowners physically are not able to do themselves and cannot afford to pay someone else to do. In the evenings, the students all come together after working on homes across the city for a time of worship, games, and small groups.

I can still vividly remember the church we stayed at and sleeping on air mattresses each night…


Representing the Love of Christ

Every week, I have the good fortune of being a part of a tangible representation of Christ’s love- our St. Luke’s Food Ministry program. It has many components: we provide home-delivered meals through Meals on Wheels, and we hand out fresh produce and other food staples to families and individuals through Community Market each week. We also help support a monthly meal to Sisu Youth Services clients, and we bring the Community Market to many in our El Sistema family.

It is a joy to participate with hundreds of volunteers from our family of faith and the community to help carry out these valuable programs. Sometimes the number of people that need these services is staggering…


Let Us Rejoice

My paternal grandmother, “Granny Ruth” as we called her, was a woman of great faith. She had a diligent daily devotional practice, taught Sunday School classes, and played the organ at the small Baptist church where she and my grandfather attended until she was in her 80s. When you called their home telephone and they weren’t there to answer, the voicemail message that greeted you began with the line from Psalms 118, This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

A few weeks ago, I was having of a particularly challenging weekend morning. My toddler-aged son was upset, my energy levels were zapped due to pregnancy, and I had a list of chores that needed to be completed to set my family up for a successful week ahead. As I began to feel sorry for myself…


Matthew 26:36-46

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsem′ane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go yonder and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zeb′edee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”  And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”


Excerpt from John Wesley’s Sermon, ‘Awake, Thou that Sleepest’

“God is light, and will give Himself to every awakened sinner that waiteth for Him; and thou shalt then be a temple of the living God, and Christ shall ‘dwell in thy heart by faith’: and, ‘being rooted and grounded in love, thou shalt be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of that love of Christ which passeth knowledge,’ that thou mayest be filled with all the fullness of God.”


Brought Back Into the Light

I have always felt like I am one of the lucky ones. I’ve gone to all the camps and events I could. I’ve always felt like God and I were best buds. I had difficult times but I always knew that God was there and I didn’t have to be afraid.

That was until I faced my darkest moment. A time when I felt guilt, pain, and darkness all around. It made me so confused and scared that I might not know what light was anymore. I could relate well to King David as well as the Disciples…


Through the Eyes of God

“A work in progress!” Those are the only words I can use to describe myself at this time in my life. I’ve lived long enough and had enough experiences to mature in some ways, but I still say and do cringe-worthy things. When will I ever learn? I believe the answer is found in 1 John 4:12: No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

What a great scripture! So, how do we love one another? When I think of loving others, I always think of my grandkids. I love them unconditionally. When they say or do something they shouldn’t do, I forgive them.

I always give them the benefit of the doubt by thinking about their intentions instead of their actions. I love watching them learn new things and can see the numerous ways God has blessed them with intelligence, talent, beauty, and wonderful personalities… ok, I’ll stop!  You get the idea. I need to see everyone through this same lens of love, through the eyes of God.

But what do we do about those who are difficult to love?…


God’s Love Prevailed

When I was in college, I had a hard time coping with college life and being an “adult.” I chose to skip some of my college classes, especially those scheduled at 8 a.m.  I know I am not the first college student to do this, and I doubt I will be the last.  I had a tough time figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.  At 18 years old, I thought I was meant to be a performer by dancing my way through life.  My dreams were quickly crushed and, as a dramatic young adult, I thought my life was over.  My parents were my cheerleaders during this time. They told me to continue my college education at Oklahoma City University and encouraged me to enjoy my passion of dancing as a hobby.  They lifted me up and reminded me that I needed to keep my mind and heart open to new possibilities.

Little did I realize that God was helping me through this difficult time in my life…


Easter Became Personal

I love each of the gospel stories that tell of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  However, my favorite might be found in the Gospel of John: Jesus has been taken down from the cross, and placed in a borrowed grave. Mary and the disciples returned to the tomb, early that morning, expecting to find the body of Jesus; only to discover an empty tomb. Make no mistake about it, the women and disciples were disappointed; they were afraid; they trembled in fear wondering what had gone wrong; what would happen now to them. Peter and the other disciples left the tomb, heartbroken and confused, wondering how things could have gone so wrong.

But Mary Magdalene remained: devastated, weeping, wondering how people could be so cruel? Mary had seen and been through a lot of tough times, but never anything as heart-wrenching as what she witnessed on what we call “Good Friday.” For the One who was the first to treat her like a human being; the One who had touched and changed her life, the One she had watched do so many wondrous things, the One on whom she had pinned such hopes… was dead!  Crucified!


Through Every Change

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you;He will never leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6

Change is an inevitable part of life. We grow and evolve, and with each new season, we face challenges and opportunities for growth. It can be difficult to let go of the familiar and embrace the unknown, but sometimes change becomes our greatest blessing.

In 2020, I started singing with the LifeLight worship team in Edmond while attending the University of Central Oklahoma. I was searching for a church home, having grown up singing in the worship band at the United Methodist Church in Muskogee, Oklahoma…