Living with gastroparesis: my experience with diet, foods and medications

I have gastroparesis.

Gastroparesis is a condition that affects the normal spontaneous movement of the muscles (motility) in your stomach. Ordinarily, strong muscular contractions propel food through your digestive tract. But if you have gastroparesis, your stomach’s motility is slowed down or doesn’t work at all, preventing your stomach from emptying properly.

Mayo Clinic

For me, how it feels varies from day-to-day or even minute-to-minute. Sometimes it feels like what I eat gets stuck in the middle of my chest. I’ll develop nausea out of nowhere, nausea that ranges from annoying to debilitating. I’ve had projectile vomiting.  Or I’ll experience a severe burning sensation that feels like my insides are eating themselves. Sometimes I’m able to taste what I had for breakfast while trying to fall asleep. I’ve also had the pleasure of having my breakfast come back up my throat when I lay down to go to bed. Yuck.

BUT… I’m thankful to say that I now have many days when my symptoms are just a minor annoyance instead of debilitating. For the average person, the stomach should be empty within 3-4 hours. My nuclear stomach emptying study showed I had 76% left in my stomach 4 hours after eating scrambled eggs and toast. One doctor documented that this is a “very convincing gastric emptying study” and another said I have “one of the worst gastric emptying studies I’ve ever seen.” My favorite response from a provider is “I thought the gastric emptying time in your records was a typo.” Even so, I get the impression that my symptoms are not as severe as others. So what works for me, might not work for others.

I would like to give a shout out to my gastroenterologist for referring me to Virginia Mason’s gastroenterology group. Not only do they have one of the world experts on gastroparesis, they also have a nutritionist on staff that provides free consultations. The free part is awesome, but what’s even more awesome is that she cares for a lot of gastroparesis patients and can offer suggestions based on what has worked for others.

In this post, I’m going to talk about the medication, diet/eating approach that is working for me. I plan to follow-up with a post about lifestyle changes and how changing how you eat impacts social interactions.

UPDATE: the week after initially publishing this post my gastroparesis flared up, so I’ve updated with some additional tips.


Schedules/Daily Meds

These are the medications I use to prevent symptoms.

  • PPI to control acid. I take lansoprazole simply because that is what I bought over-the-counter when I first became symptomatic and no provider has recommended switching because this currently works for me
  • Ranitidine. I added this to my daily meds (I only need it in the AM) in the fall when the lansoprazole wasn’t cutting it on its own. I can’t tolerate the pain without both meds, which is disappointing because both can cause hair loss.
  • Miralax. My “gastric dysmotility” extends beyond my stomach to the rest of my gut. So constipation is a factor. I didn’t find much relief with magnesium supplementation (although I still use it). Instead, I use 1/8-1/2 tsp of Miralax in my morning protein shake (I was told to dilute in 12-18 oz of water for best effectiveness).
  • Multivitamin. To prevent nutritional deficiencies associated with gastroparesis.

PRN / As needed Meds

These are what I use to control symptoms. Sometimes I can’t tell if I am nauseated, having heartburn, or am hungry. So I just go through the options until I get relief.

  • my #1 lifesaver: TummyDrops!
    • I love these and try not to leave the house without them. I hate eating out and then feeling miserable and having nothing with me.
    • I use the Ginger Pear drops for mild nausea and the Double Ginger Peach for more severe nausea or if it feels like what I ate is “stuck.” If I’m having a “bad” day, I sometimes use one before I eat to get my stomach moving. I like that they are hard candy so I can pop it in my mouth and go without having chewy ginger candy stuck to my teeth.
    • Ginger water was also recommended, but I haven’t tried it
    • I tried making my own ginger candy, but it was time-consuming and it went bad before I used all of it.
    • Tip for making your own ginger-related remedies is to drop the ginger in boiling water for 10 seconds to make the skin easier to remove
  • #2 eat something that I normally tolerate
  • #3 Mylanta
    • If you want to use Mylanta, don’t do the generic brand plain flavor 🤮. The minty one is decent. I’m about to try the Vanilla Carmel and hope it doesn’t ruin those flavors for me forever.
    • Others have success with different antacids, but I respond better to magnesium and aluminum.
  • #4 Reglan. I try to avoid this until I absolutely have to take it. And I only do 1/2 tab. This is basically my “I’ve done everything and I still feel so terrible I can’t go to sleep” solution. I’m prescribed enough to use daily, but I typically use it once a week or less. But I always try to keep some on me because sometimes the need to vomit hits me out of nowhere and it responds to nothing except Reglan. And working or doing normal daily activities are really challenging when you feel like you have a stomach bug or the flu.
    • Why do I avoid it if it works so well? Reglan has some side effects that I want to avoid and I’ve been told if I develop them (EPS or extrapyramidal side effects) I have to stop using it. My understanding is that the likelihood of a reaction is related to how much/frequently I use it.
    • Note: one of the things that helped point us to a gastroparesis diagnosis was because Zofran doesn’t work AT ALL, but Reglan does. Zofran still works for nausea with other causes (i.e. gastroenteritis or influenza)

Pain meds

I’m no longer able to tolerate ibuprofen, which was my go-to options for pain management. So now I use acetaminophen and a supplement called Curamin as needed.



Nausea is a powerful deterrent / negative reinforcement. So, I quickly learned that overeating was a recipe for feeling horrible. When I feel full I have to stop right then. Even “one more bite” is enough to ruin the rest of my day.

Irritating Foods

I’m pretty disciplined about avoiding foods that irritate and/or slow gastric emptying. With food lingering in my stomach for hours I develop gastritis pretty easily (which is inflammation of the stomach lining… it’s a painful, burning sensation that feels like my stomach is eating itself).

Here are the foods I avoid:

  • Coffee. even decaf. This makes me sad because I love the taste.
  • Acidic foods including tomato sauces. I miss spaghetti and lasagna!
  • Citrus. I still put citrus juice in recipes, but I am careful with the amount.
  • Fried and/or high-fat foods. Fat slows down gastric emptying. But I still have the occasional order of french fries
  • Soy. I found that soy makes my symptoms worse. I can tolerate small amounts but mostly avoid all but soy lecithin.
  • Chocolate 😭… but only when I have flares

I tried removing dairy, but that didn’t seem to make a difference and including dairy provides a lot of additional, easy to eat options. I was gluten-free prior to this diagnosis.


Here are PDFs of handouts that I received that are very helpful. I recommend reading them. I discovered a lot of the info in these handouts by trial and error. I wish I had access to them earlier (instead of 2 years after my initial diagnosis)

Other resources I discovered while writing this blog


I have experimented with multiple eating plans:

  • five shakes a day plus one meal
  • two shakes a day (beginning and end of day) plus two snacks and one meal
  • one shake a day, 1-2 meals and 2+ snacks depending on how hungry I am / activity level.

I vary my eating based on how I feel and what I’m doing that day. But one thing I don’t mess with is how I start my day.

On the rare occasion where I decide to start with something other than a shake, I end up regretting it. I call these “dietary indiscretions”

***Morning Shake***

I start every day with a protein shake that includes collagen and Miralax. I like to mix my shake with a milk frother, I get fewer clumps than when using a protein shake bottle and I can drink my shake in a mug (fewer pieces to wash! yay!). This provides enough sustenance for my stomach to tolerate my morning meds and supplements.

  • I supplement with vitamin D, multivitamin, biotin and collagen (also for the hair loss), magnesium, and omega/fish oil. This is based on blood lab results and recommendations from my doctors based on my health.
  • Burping fish oil is nasty. If you need fish oil, I like these burpless fish oil capsules.

The texture and taste of whey protein shakes are WAY better than pea protein. However, not all whey protein is created equal. My all-time favorite is Isagenix Peach Mango. I could drink that every day multiple times a day. Unfortunately, it’s pricey. Orgain branded protein shakes were recommended by my nutritionist and I like them (some varieties are even carried at Costco). When I’m tolerating chocolate, the shake I use the most is Chocolate Orgain Whey Protein Powder.

Here are some flavor combinations to break up the monotony:

  • Orgain Natural Unsweetened protein powder OR plain whey protein PLUS either water or almond milk PLUS
    • 1 Tablespoon Jello sugar-free pudding powder (I like banana, butterscotch, pistachio, vanilla, white chocolate. Lemon was disgusting)
    • Sometimes I like to combine the White Chocolate SF pudding powder with 1 scoop of JUCE (super fruit and veggie powder)
    • Or I’ll combine the pistachio pudding powder with a scoop of powdered green stuff
  • Orgain chocolate protein powder + Powdered Peanut Butter
    • Sometimes I add banana pudding powder to this combo (yum!!!)
    • For chocolate protein powder I have 3 varieties I use:
  • I don’t like the Orgain vanilla protein powder taste, so when I had a container I wanted to finish, II added 1/2 packet of Splenda + 1/2 tsp cinnamon and/or 1 tsp cocoa and/or 1 tsp vanilla abstract

I was inspired to mix flavorings by


Meal Timing

I eat my main meal around lunchtime. This is when my stomach seems to work the best. I feel like my stomach takes several hours to “wake up” in the morning. And then I need to finish eating 3-4 hours before going to bed (since we want gravity to help with stomach emptying), so that makes dinner challenging especially when I’m working 12-hour shifts.

Typically, I only eat 1 main meal per day, the rest of my nutrition comes from smaller (100-200 calorie) snacks spaced throughout the day

Meal proportions

1/3 cooked or pureed fruits or veggies, 1/3 protein, 1/3 starch

Gastroparesis Plate

The recommended “plate” for gastroparesis, is 1/3 protein, 1/3 starch, 1/3 cooked/pureed veggies and/or fruit.

I try to do 1/4 lean protein + 1/4 complex carbohydrates + 1/2 fruits and veggies, which is what I learned to do when losing weight with Isagenix (which is very effective for healthy weight loss, especially abdominal fat, but also very expensive).

But to be honest, my meals are often higher on the starch/carbs and lower on the fruits/veggies. I may start adding JUCE (super fruit and veggie powder) to my daily shake to increase my micronutrient intake.

I love using sweet potatoes as my complex carbohydrate. It’s easy to digest, tastes delicious and is great left over.

It never occurred to me to look for gastroparesis recipes or cookbooks, but my nutritionist recommended The Gastroparesis Cookbook by Karen Frazier. (update: After seeing this post my Mom bought me this cookbook. I LOVE it. It clearly indicates which recipes are GERD-friendly, SIBO-friendly, gluten-free, etc. Plus it has great information and tips for managing gastroparesis. I HIGHLY recommend it!)


I work 12 hour days, so I pack a lot of snacks. Here are my main go-to options.

  • string cheese and/or low-fat baby bell cheese (fat decreases gastric emptying, so low-fat options work best. I think low-fat string cheese has a weird texture)
  • Chobani fat-free Greek yogurt + honey (sometimes I use real maple syrup instead and/or add berries and/or granola)
  • Citterio Genoa + Provolone (Costco or Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 protein bar (protein bars may be too dense for your stomach, so be careful)
    • I occasionally use Isagenix bars. I like the chocolate peanut crunch (favorite because it keeps me satiated), chocolate decadence, chocolate crisp.
    • Rx bars was another recommendation but I haven’t tried them since developing gastroparesis.
  • Homemade almond butter on GF bread. I put 1.5 cups of raw almonds and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or almond oil into my Blendec twister jar. It takes less than 1 minute.

When my stomach cooperates, I like to include raw nuts and raw fruits/veggies. When my gastroparesis flairs, I don’t eat these.

  • peanut butter and apple
  • hummus + celery (I avoid spicy hummus because spicy foods increase gastritis and acid reflux.)
  • Epic bison bars (I get them at Trader Joe’s)
  • a small handful of almonds (only if your stomach tolerates them. I buy the mini packs at Trader Joe’s when I can)
  • For more ideas check out Balanced snacks by VM, however, not everything on this list is gastroparesis-friendly


Thankfully my team has provided me with options should my symptoms increase/become unmanageable.

Supplements & Medications

  • FDguard. I’m ordering some now and will see how it goes. (update: Unfortunately, I noticed no difference when using this)
  • Domperidone. I plan to get some next time I’m in Canada (update: turns out my MD is no longer allowed to prescribe medications not approved for use by the FDA)
  • Erythromycin. We haven’t tried this as my symptoms are controlled and its efficacy can wane with long term use. We want to keep this option available if my symptoms become worse / result in a hospitalization
  • Wheat Dextrin. It’s gluten-free despite the name. This is on my list of options if Miralax doesn’t “do the trick.” What’s cool about it (unlike Miralax which can only take you from constipated –> soft –> WAY TOO SOFT) is it can be used for both constipation and diarrhea. For constipation, it is added to water and for diarrhea, it can be sprinkled on food.

Surgical options

If we get to the point where my symptoms are unmanageable, I’ve been told I have these options:

Unfortunately, not every gastroparesis patient is the right fit for these options.

In my research, I discovered some other options for gastroparesis associated with GERD: nissen fundoplication and Stretta.


If you take nothing else away from this blog:

  1. Try TummyDrops. Serious, these candies keep me living the life I want to live.
  2. Avoid overeating
  3. Figure out what foods work for you
  4. Stay AWAY from what foods that irritate your stomach. Just don’t do it. I know it’s tempting… but that bite is not worth it.
  5. Start your day with liquid foods
  6. Eat your main meal in the middle of the day
  7. Work with your care team to find a medication combination that works for you


I hope this was helpful. And I’d love to hear tips that others with gastroparesis have discovered. Please comment or message me!

This post is not meant to replace medical consultation and advise. I am simply sharing my experiences with managing the day-to-day pain and discomfort of gastroparesis in the hope of encouraging others and providing access to the information/resources I wish I had encountered sooner.

This post contains NO affiliate links. I’m only including links to products because I want to make it easy for others to find options that work for them. If you’re interested in using any of the Isagenix products, I know a great coach (who is not me!).

Why I chose nursing

A few years ago I was working late when a co-worker said, “Why are you still here? It’s not like we’re curing cancer.” The reason was simple: it’s in my nature to focus intensely and invest significantly regardless of what I’m doing. This conversation prompted questions like: Am I making a difference in the world? Am I doing something I’m passionate about? When I’m old, will I have regrets about how I invested my time?

The conclusion to my soul search was that I wasn’t in the right career despite my success. I decided I wanted a career that allowed me to be empathic, strengthen others, distribute information/knowledge, be an advocate, and make a long-term impact on people. This change required significant sacrifice: I resigned from a high-paying position, relocated, moved from living by myself to living with family, and am utilizing my savings to go back to school.

After eight months in nursing school, I’m thrilled to say that nursing meshes more naturally with who I am than I ever hoped or expected. Here’s how:

Nurses look at the whole person including their emotional, psychosocial, and physical needs. As a nurse, empathy allows me to quickly hear what a patient is saying, brainstorm through a bunch of potential solutions, and identify the best strategy I can use to help.

Nurses advocate for patient needs and for the needs of the community. In many healthcare settings, a patient is completely and utterly dependent on others to do simple tasks they would normally do for themselves. It’s an honor to be able to represent these needs and ensure they get what they need.

The more patients I work with, the more convinced I am about the importance of empowering others. I am constantly looking for opportunities that allow patients to exert some level of control in an otherwise out-of-control experience.

Nurses educate patients. I am passionate about the human body and fascinated by disease processes and treatments. I love educating patients about what’s happening with their bodies and what they can do about it.

Nursing offers unlimited variety. There are so many different roles, settings, and specialties. There are so many things to learn. When I tackle a challenge there will always be another challenge on the horizon (and that’s just how I like it).

Overall, I’ve determined that I want to support patients and families who are unexpectedly experiencing some of the hardest days of their lives. I want to be challenged to become the best of the best. This is the kind of work that will allow me to look back and say that I lived a life that was meaningful.


Next stop: nursing school!

Thought I’d post an update on where I’m at with “going back to school and completely changing careers”.

I start Nursing School at Wenatchee Valley College in 17 days! It’s a 2-year ADN (Associates of Nursing) degree. As preparation, I completed a CNA course over the summer. I walked into class saying “I’m not sure if I want to be a nurse, or if I want to become a doctor.” But after spending 8 weeks with a phenomenal and passionate teacher and LOVING clinicals, I feel really comfortable with my decision to go to nursing school.

I’m currently working (very) part-time as a Nursing Assistant Registered and med aid at an adult family home which means I can give patients medication (which is scary and cool). I’m enjoying the work way more than I thought I would.

$800+ worth of nursing books

This fall I’ll take my NACES exam to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

I was incredibly fortunate to receive an Opportunity Grant from the state of Washington that covers my books (check out the stack in my pic) and part of my tuition!  Plus the awesome Wenatchee Valley College Foundation gave each nursing student about $500-$600 worth of supplies including our lab supplies, a Littmann stethoscope (check it out in my pic) and our uniforms (navy blue scrubs with white shoes). Can I also just say I’m so glad to be in navy blue instead of white?

The more I learn about nursing, the less confident I am about what I’m going to do after I graduate. There are a ton of options within the nursing field, and I’m looking forward to exploring them. Maybe I’ll even become a traveling nurse. I am so happy with my decision to change paths and so thankful for the support of those around me.

Here’s to two years of craziness followed by who knows what.

What’s next on my midwifery journey

Hi friends and family!

As I shared in September, I am on a journey to become a midwife.

I’ve wrestled through the decision on what training and credentialing to pursue and even

took a little sidetrack exploring medical school. But I’ve settled on the decision to become a nurse-midwife. This means I’ll become an RN first and then get a masters in midwifery.

There are still a lot of decisions to make. Some of which are completely out of my control.

stork delivery

The next step is completing my prereqs:

  • I’m currently taking Anatomy & Physiology I and Microbiology (and am loving it!).
  • Next quarter I’ll take Anatomy & Physiology II and Lifespan Psychology (and I may add in a chemistry class for “fun”).
  • This summer I’ll take a quick CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) course, which I’ve heard is helpful for getting acclimated to the nursing culture.

In June I’ll apply to the ADN (Associates in Nursing) at Wenatchee Valley College for the fall quarter. The program is 2 years long. Upon graduation I will qualify to take the NCLEX-RN exam after which I will be able to apply to master’s programs for midwifery. The midwifery program will probably take 3 years.

So if all goes well I’ll be in school until 2020!

So far it’s been amazing to see God orchestrate so many details that continue to confirm that I’m moving in the right direction, including some awesome financial aid for tuition!

At first I was itching to finish my education as quickly as possible, but I’m learning to enjoy each step of the journey instead of just focusing on the end result. It’s been a refreshing change in perspective. After a month back in school I feel like I’ve found my groove. The work is challenging but I am energized by the learning. If you’re curious about what I’m learning you can check out my digital flashcards.

Well… I’m off to take a two-hour exam on all the bones in the body and read up on viruses that transfer DNA from one bacteria to another.

With love,

Krista Joy


Responding to grief

Emily Faith's feetI wrote this letter recently for a dear friend who is heading to the Philippines to train as a midwife and who asked for “read me when” letters. I had no intention of sharing it with anyone else at the time. But there are two reasons I’ve decided to do so:

  1. Last night I learned the shocking, kick-you-in-the-gut news that my friend, Betsey, was killed in a Marine helicopter crash.
  2. Today is the four-year anniversary of my dear niece, Emily Faith. Her life, and my subsequent grief, impacted my decision to become a midwife. When asked why I’m becoming a midwife it’s hard to answer because the motivation is tied to such deep emotions.

A lot of this letter is specifically tied to midwifery and infant loss, but I’ve bolded the portions that seem relevant in other contexts.


Dear friend,

The death of a baby is one of the greatest tragedies. So much potential wrapped up in that little life; all of the dreams and hopes that will never come to be. It seems completely unnatural for a sweet little child to leave this world without staying very long. The horror and grief I felt after Emily passed away was stronger than anything I’d experience before or since. It took my breath away and it may have been years before I felt like I was able to take a deep one again without being assuaged by grief.

Here are a few things I learned along the way:

  • Experiencing death changes you; it’s impossible to remain exactly the same in the face of grief. From my observations of other grieving people, there seems to be two options: to become softer or to become harder. I think in a 3rd world country where death will be more common in childbirth, where you are needing to become strong in order to survive in a profession like midwifery, and where you are far from your family, it will probably be easy to become harder. Not necessarily as an intentional choice, but it will be easy to slide into that to protect yourself from agony. But I urge you: in the pain and grief, intentionally choose softness. It seems like it will make you more vulnerable, and in the beginning it will probably feel that way. But in the long run it will make you stronger.
  • There is no way to avoid the pain. The more you avoid it, the bigger it becomes. Dive straight in. There is an end. Trust me, dear sister. I’ve been there and have found the other side. 

And sweet girl, I encourage you: don’t let it eat you up inside.

  • Take it to our Father. Talk to Him about how this death makes you question things. He is not put off by the reality of how you feel and what you’re thinking. He will reveal who He is to you and bring you Truth and comfort.
  • Share your pain with others.

I pray that through this experience you will be motivated to learn any skills you can to prevent similar death in the future. These emotions are powerful motivators and pouring grief into something that will have long-term impact honors that person’s live and allows their life to have a ripple effect in this world. 

But remember, there are things about this process that are completely outside our control or ability to influence. Learning to be comfortable being out of control and to trust in the sovereignty of God will be something that will bring you strength and comfort. Can you believe that I, of all people, am saying there is comfort in not being in control?

And don’t loose sight of the fact that being a midwife strongly decreases the chances of death. Women and babies will survive because of your presence. Don’t let this loss let you forget that you’re choosing to endure this pain to help prevent it for others in the future. That is beautiful, meaningful and self-less.

You will make it through this. 

Krista Joy

John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Medical insurance, pre-existing conditions and Obama care

When I went back to school to finish my Bachelor’s degree several years ago, my COBRA payment was somewhere around $450 per month. Due to a pre-existing condition I didn’t qualify for any less expensive options.

After graduation I worked as a freelancer. Taxes alone required saving approximately 50% of my income, which meant I had to bill $900 per month just to pay for medical insurance. As the work became harder to find the cost of medical insurance became a motivating reason to find permanent employment.

After three months at my new job my medical insurance kicked in! It was like getting a raise.

That’s when the mess began: I started to receive rejection statements on most of my claims. Each time I called I was given a different reason for the rejection (billing errors, pre-existing conditions, etc.). Each time my providers called they were given different reasons than what I was given. Meanwhile I was paying for all my health care out-of-pocket. After eight month we finally discovered the problem: my new insurance provider needed proof of continuous coverage. After multiple requests and “paperwork being lost in the mail” the paperwork was finally delivered!

So, when I decided to go back to school to get my Master’s I knew that continual medical insurance coverage was a deal breaker.

Being a die-hard “I pay my own way in this world” kind-of-person, it didn’t occur to me to apply for state coverage. Plus, when Obama care rolled out I remember reading countless articles with opposing views and first-hand accounts that left my mind reeling. In general it sounded like a crazy mess.

But then I found out that my employer’s COBRA was $650!

Feeling a little desperate, last weekend I spent a short amount of time filling out the application online. I received an error when trying to submit the application but they provided a number to call. When I called today I was connected to an incredibly friendly and helpful live person without spending any time on hold! He gave me specific instructions on what I needed to adjust. Within 5 minutes, and with a single click, I received confirmation that I qualified for Washington Apple Care.

I still can’t believe how easy it was. Granted, I’ve yet to experience what it’s like to actually use the insurance. But, I’m curious to see what happens next.

Blank contracts and the faithfulness of God

Wesley Covenant Prayer:


I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.


This prayer represents a commitment I made as a teenager to do whatever/go wherever God prompted me to do/go. I call this my “blank contract” and wear a simple ring as a reminder.


I love listening to music by Laura Story. Her song, You Are Love, is one of my favorites:


You are justice for every oppression
You’re forgiveness for every confession
You are beauty, goodness, blessing
You are love


You are healing for every sickness
You are power in every weakness
You are mighty, holy, faithful,
You are love


O God of the Heavens
You descended from your throne
Gave Your Son for our ransom
And by this all men will know that You are love.


We were thirsty, you gave us water
We were orphans, now you are our Father
We were desperate, hungry, seeking
You are love


Everlasting, Never ending
All consuming, You are love


I love how this song is the parallel to the prayer above: one is about being willing to go into any circumstance, the other is about how God is exactly what is needed in every situation.


Almost every time I read this prayer or hear this song tears come to my eyes because


  • I am reminded of the faithfulness of God. He has carried me through the rough times and strengthened me during the plentiful times.
  • I am reminded that complete and utter surrender to Him is totally worth it. I have no regrets about living based on a “blank contract” with the Creator of the universe.

A voice cries out

I wrote this initial part of a blog in October 2012:

I’ve thought about blogging for years. In 2008, I was asked to write a guest blog for Renee Fisher, and I loved it. I wanted to do more of it. But something always got in the way.

That something was the belief that what I had to say really didn’t matter.

I have a lot of things I want to say. But I honestly believe that no one wants to hear them.

This belief permeates my personal life. Almost no one in my professional life would believe that this is a reality for me. At work I have a lot of opinions and I am not afraid to express them. But in my personal life I hold back. When I share my thoughts, especially in a group, I edit everything I say and am plagued by insecurities and doubts.

I really just wanted to hide. To guard all my thoughts and opinions and ideas.

Last Wednesday someone allowed God to speak through them. And this is what I heard: I have a voice. It was given to me by God. He has been honing it. It’s time to be put to use. I have a calling to use my voice to honor Christ.

“A voice cries out… prepare the way of the Lord.” Matthew 3:3

“They…cried out: ‘Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'” John 12:12-13

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” Psalm 34:7

On Easter Sunday I went to a prayer and worship service at a House of Prayer I’d never been to before. I sat in the back by myself. A few minutes into the service a man came over and asked if he could pray for me. He asked if I wanted prayer for something specific or just as the Spirit led. I’ve had some really incredible experiences with prayer in the past when people knew nothing about me, so I’m always excited to say “yes” to an opportunity like this. As this man started praying for me, scriptures that God has using to minister to my heart over the years poured out of his mouth. He hit on about eight different topics that God and I have been dialoging about and one of them hit this topic head on:

God created me exactly as I am. He has given me a story and has worked amazingly in my life. He has given me a voice and has called me to use it. To share my experiences, my thoughts, my ideas and most incredibly, His story. How sweet to look at the blog I stopped writing because I didn’t want to be so vulnerable and see how God has circled around and given me the confidence and security to speak up.

Giving out of poverty

What is it like to give everything you have left? Have I ever truly done that?

I’ve been asking myself this question for a few days. And not really about money but about my time and energy because that is the “currency” that I really value and when it’s running low I conserve instead of give.

This question started out with watching a video a friend posted on Facebook: All I Can Say by David Crowder Band. Something about these three lines have stuck with me: “And this is all that I can say right now / And this is all I have to give / that’s my everything.”

That triggered thoughts of the parable of the Widow’s Mite. This woman was commended by Jesus in Mark 21:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4 for giving the last cents that she owned while those around her gave out of their surplus.

In my opinion, giving out of surplus feels way better (and by better what I really mean is comfortable) than giving out of poverty. I know that God has called me to live sacrificially instead of comfortably. But gosh it’s hard.


Confessions from failure

To wrap up my reflection on my short time in the Army, here’s a short piece I wrote a few years ago:


There are many things that remind me
Of the failure in my past.
The smell of gunpowder in the air
which follows
the crack, crack, burst of the rifle.
The burning in my lungs and thighs
after a long distance run.
The rough, gravelly concrete beneath my palms
with the strenuous rhythm of push-up and down.
The off kilter of concrete
slabs beneath my back
as my stomach muscles contract
Lifting chest to knees.
The sound of angry voices
crude language on their lips.
The screeching voices echoing
“Failure, failure. You will never be
anything more.”


For several years after my discharge from the Army I wrestled with the sting of failure. It started with a wrongly diagnosed sprained ankle. I was treated for an invisible fracture, told to walk until it showed up on the X-ray. Because it was sprained, the pain went away after a few days and I continued to run and jump. But within a few hours, the pain returned but too late to go to the Doctor. Without a trip to the Dr I had to train and we were severely punished because one man did something stupid. I spent an entire Sunday afternoon doing squat thrusts (some people call them burpees) using only my opposite leg and ended up with a knee injury. From there the injuries collected: resulting in damage to both hips, both knees and that initial ankle. I training injured for 7 weeks and then the day came: the final PT test. I passed the push ups and sit-ups with no problem and then failed the 2-mile run by 3 seconds. I remember collapsing in defeat after that failure. A few days later I tried again and once again failed the 2-mile run by 3 seconds. A few days later I gave up trying and failed again by more than a minute. I told them I wanted to go home. To get permission to be discharged I had to meet one-on-one with the Captain. He told me that it cost the military $50,000 to get me to this point in training and because they spent that $50,000 on me instead of on resources for another Private out in the sandbox, he was dead. It was my fault another private was dead and here I was quitting. I was a failure.

Those words haunted me for a long while. I do not believe them now. And I no longer feel like my discharge represents a failure. Did I fail? Yes. Was it a failure? No. It was the right path for me. The five years I would have spent in the military would have radically changed who I am and how I see the world. I am thankful. Thankful for the injuries. Thankful for those 3 seconds. I don’t feel thankful for that Captain, but he was only doing his job to the best of his ability. I think I’ll pray for him tonight.

I’m thankful for the experience. I’m not sure I could explain why. But I am.

How about you? What experiences are you thankful for?