When trouble seems near, God is NEARER

Wow, so hey, it’s been awhile…

But as can be expected, God has been at work in my life! (KJ here.) Circumstances have totally changed: new location, new job, new church, new house…..NEW BABY 🙂 still in the tummy but she is giddy as can be as God is creating her in there.

It’s so funny how looking pregnant can change how people treat me. Complete strangers and close friends. Random people smile at me when they see my bump. Like they are so happy I just let them in on the secret of life inside me. I never knew pregnant women made people so happy! And then of course there is my family and close friends who are all of a sudden SUPER PROTECTIVE and cautious about everything I do. “Honey don’t lift that….You get off of that lawnmower….Wear your seat belt, drive slow…” I mean it goes on and on. Like I’m this fragile piece of pottery, able to fall and break at any moment.

I’m thinking to myself, “Seriously, give my God-built body some credit people! He made women to be able to handle this. His creation is sturdy and if He intends for this precious baby to be born, then she will be!” And it’s true His Soveriegnty is bigger, MUCH bigger, than any sort of anxieties, precautions and fears I or my loved ones might have. (Not that I’m not thrilled they want to love and protect me, of course.)


I couldn’t possibly sum up the last few months of my life in just one blog post. 1. Because they have been some of the HARDEST MONTHS OF MY LIFE. 2. Because I have learned too much to process.
I’m writing this blog post mostly to process my thoughts. (selfish me) But also, I know that sharing honest pieces of life and the strength of God’s Word is powerful. Maybe you are in need of some of that profound power of God right now.

As far as God’s Word goes, Psalm 46 is a star player in my life right now:

God is our shelter and our strength.
    When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help.
So why run and hide?
No fear, no pacing, no biting fingernails.
    When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless.
    When mountains crumble and the waters run wild, we are sure and fearless.
Even in heavy winds and huge waves,
    or as mountains shake, we are sure and fearless.

Come, gaze, fix your eyes on what the Eternal can do.
    Amazing, He has worked desolation here on this battlefield, earth.

10 “Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God.
    I am honored among all the nations.
    I am honored over all the earth.”
11 You know the Eternal, the Commander of heavenly armies, surrounds us and protects us;
    the True God of Jacob is our shelter, close to His heart.


Agave parryi closeup

Like wow. Who can’t glean some courage and peace from these words!? I have these “mantras” as I call them, that I repeat to myself over and over when I feel like my thought-life is out of control and anxieties are slipping into my heart. It’s just something that Holy Spirit lead me to do because it works for my brain and heart(Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you). So, I have been gathering “mantras” from this psalm for weeks!

  1. When trouble seems near, God is nearer.
  2. When the earth(and my life) spins out of control, I AM SURE AND FEARLESS with Jesus by my side.
  3. Gaze and FIX MY EYES on what Jesus can do!
  4. Be still, be calm, see, and understand that Jesus is the True God.
  5. I am close to God’s heart. He keeps me there.

BOOM. Those are just the obvious ones that my spirit has been drawn to.

I mean here’s the truth: my husband didn’t have a full-time job for 7 months. We still don’t have a place of our own; living with my parents means “nesting” for baby gets put on the back burner. My marriage has been a deep, dark valley. BUT I am close to God’s heart. He keeps me there.

Circumstances give me tons of reasons to doubt God, to be anxious, to be fearful, to even be angry at times. BUT Be still, be calm, see, and understand that Jesus is the True God.

I don’t know what’s coming. I don’t even know where I will be living in a few months. I don’t know where I am called to be a part of something greater than myself. I am depressed y’all. BUT When trouble seems near, God is nearer.

My first trimester was a complete WRECK. I couldn’t eat anything but french fries and cereal (for those of you that don’t know me I’m a big fan of healthy eating and nutrition and don’t normally touch these things) so my health, physical and mental, went through a huge decline. I was crying and/or laying on the floor sick every day. BUT When the earth(and my life) spins out of control, I AM SURE AND FEARLESS with Jesus by my side. 

Money is tight. We aren’t meeting our financial goals. BUT Gaze and FIX MY EYES on what Jesus can do!

These Scripture-truths have been keeping me afloat. Some days I don’t see that light and I forget my mantras when my fearful thoughts overwhelm me. But the next day is a fresh start and Jesus picks me up and brushes me off. He sits me in His Mercy Seat, lets me repent and weep and seek His direction. He says this:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

His works are wonderful! I cannot WAIT to see his way through the wilderness and those streams in the wasteland. I am counting on them. I declare they are beautiful before I can see the, living by faith and not by sight.

Another cool thing Holy Spirit has introduced me to is praying Scripture over people and over myself.
For myself and my best friend Rochelle: Proverbs 31:25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. We are both in a place where change is around every corner and there is so much to think about and plan for the future. We NEED to trust in God enough to smile at the future instead of worrying over it or becoming overwhelmed. 

For my husband: Proverbs 3. The whole thing. I just want God to bless him and his decisions with wisdom and understanding. I want his sleep to be refreshing and not burdened with worry. I want him to inherit honor and walk a path of peace.


So yeah, this is my comeback post. There is still hope to spread! Even when life is crazy and prickly and MESSY, God is who He is. He is a good Father. He is trustworthy. He is moving and doing great things. He is worthy of our love, fear, praise and attention.
Cactus in garden
Action steps for any of you reading this, TRY SOMETHING NEW:

  1. Take seriously the Scripture God puts into your life. If a verse is read at church, meditate on it. Repeat it to yourself in the midst of chaos and loneliness. His Word is powerful so cling to it!
  2. Pray a Scripture over yourself and anyone who comes to mind. It will get you into the Word and refresh you!

Buckets of love!


Try It Out Tuesday!

We proudly present to you our very first resource of online devotionals! Whoot!! The RARK sisters respect the Word of God as Truth. Diving into it regularly is one way of nurturing our relationship with the God of the universe. If you don’t know where to begin when you pick up that big intimidating Bible, these resources below will guide you and make reading the Bible fun, more convenient and exciting!  


She Reads Truth: This is a community of women who pursue Jesus and get in the Word daily! You can become part of the community. Visit their site and get plugged into one of their reading Plans, available in paperback as well in case you like flipping those pages or smelling a fresh new book. You can follow SRT on social media and connect with other women who thrive in God’s good book.  *Cool perk: SRT provides a pretty image for your phone’s lock screen so that you can see it often, read the truth throughout the day or even memorize it.


Hebrews 4:12 ‘The Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’


First 5: The app that will transform your time with God. It’s a totally free, very modern and very beautiful app that takes you through a book of the Bible(currently Joshua). The short daily studies look deeply into Scripture and make it come alive with videos and great writing. *Cool perk: In the app you can write a private thought in ‘My Moment’ or even write out a prayer. Then you can look back at your moments as a journal and see glimpses of your faith walk. Also, there is a section for public ‘Comments’ which you can share with the general First 5 public. Reading through the comments gives me encouragement just as much as reading the First 5 teaching sometimes.


John 1:1 ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.’


The Bible Project: This very modern movement specializes in making videos, podcasts and series to help make the Word come alive! Their main goal is to help believers grow in Bible literacy. They also have an app. *Cool perk: Entertaining, thought provoking videos which would be great for a family Bible study! The breakdown of the stories make it obvious that the Bible is one continuous story that points to Jesus.

We’re just getting started with this list of FREE resources for Bible-reading-women. Check back for more when you’ve gone through all 3!

Happy reading!

Much love,


To my sister who longs to be content…


First off, you are not alone. The struggle to be content is real. We make it more real than it ever needs to be. Living in a world where you can buy anything at any time whether you have the money or not, has become normal. We let the fantasy of earthly romance briefly fill a longing in our hearts, while crossing boundaries that chip away at our innocence. We think moving to the next thing, attaining success or a new job will solve our problems (because our problems aren’t that big to begin with, right?). Wrong.

When we desire things or people more than God, it’s sin. When we struggle with honoring God as all we need, it goes beyond the surface, being rooted in our hearts. In order to take our focus from wanting stuff or people, we have to surrender our hearts to Christ. It is so very easy to lose sight of that when we begin to feel content because of things other than Jesus.

So back in May, I wrote a note in my phone. It started with, “Why do I always feel like I need something new? There are a handful of days out of the year when I feel content. Like truly, fully content.” I had found myself so easily pleased by spending money frivolously. It could be anything from buying new work clothes to lunch for my husband. This only happens when my focus shifts, and I am not spending enough time actively worshiping God. But I found myself feeling fulfilled or complacent. Feelings can get you in trouble, let me tell you. God created emotions. He gave them to us; perfectly crafted emotions for us to relate to each other in ways we wouldn’t be able to without them.

Our emotions do not get to dictate our actions, unless we allow them to. Sometimes we experience the best things when we only follow our hearts, but all too often we replace truth with how we feel. Our emotions are so real and raw at times that it’s hard to see beyond them. The best part is that truth never changes; therefore, God is constant, unwavering in the face of our emotions, and working for our good in spite of the lies we believe.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom…” That’s the first half of 1 Corinthians 1:25, and it so simply shows how greatly we fall short of the Glory of God. We can be so easily blinded by our version of wisdom, when in fact we are beyond foolish. We convince ourselves that the unnecessary will fill our hearts with peace and joy, when everything we need is found in Jesus. Content at its very definition means to be satisfied with what you have; not wanting more.

So as we work to shift our focus from things to God, we will experience some growing pains. Hebrews chapter 12, verse 11 says,

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

We have to remember that God holds the title of our Father. As a loving father, he wants to shape us and mold us, and that requires discipline. It doesn’t always feel good. We won’t always feel content. But as I said earlier, truth never changes and God’s word is truth. The Word promises us that if we stay the course and surrender to Christ, we will receive “peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Contentment will come with practice.

When you find yourself struggling to feel content, take time to reflect on how you have been living. Take a look at where you spend your resources, including: money, time, and skills. Schedules and routines aren’t for everyone, but make dedicated time for God. Don’t replace that time with anything else because you might walk away feeling content, but your soul will still be hungry. Let His word sink into your heart and continue His transformation. God loves you where you’re at, but too much to let you stay there. The more you practice being content and focusing on God throughout your daily life, you will find that no matter where you are physically, emotionally or spiritually, God is there and that is enough. When you don’t have a Pinterest perfect life or even a glimpse of it, God is there and that is enough.

Breathe in Emmanuel. Exhale the world.
❤ Ran

The Unexpected Christmas

Luke 1:26-38

There’s a piece of garland on my mantle that doesn’t quite look like the rest.  One side hanging down is luscious and full with lights while the other is sparse in its branches with the ribbon a bit crumpled.  I also have a string of lights that keeps falling down so it’s more like the shape of a boot than a beautiful, twinkling border around the peephole to my kitchen.  When I look at the uneven garland or hear the sound of my twinkle lights falling down once again, I get a little agitated.
You see, Christmas is my favorite time of year.  Everything feels magical to me, until the small details don’t quite live up to my expectations.


When I notice those minute details, I can’t help but almost immediately feel a pang of guilt and think back to our dear sister Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus.  I’m sure she had her small annoyances in life (though I feel confident they looked awfully different than uneven garland).  But when we read about Mary, we read of a girl who had much more than small things not pan out as she expected.  Mary was engaged to be married.  Before her little visit by Gabriel, she and her family were probably excitedly making wedding plans.  She likely imagined that she and Joseph would have children.  That Joseph would spend his days working while she tended to the children.  She would raise them to be warriors, workers, and homemakers and when she had faithfully completed her task of raising the children, she and Joseph would grow old together.  Just a simple, normal existence our young friend probably imagined. What she didn’t dream of?  An angel telling her she would become pregnant—out of wedlock—with a One coming to save the whole world.  Who could imagine something like that?

But that’s just what Mary experienced.  She must have been terrified.  Terrified for what her life would look like, what others would think, what her betrothed would think!  There are many ways she could have responded to that conversation.  In anger, disrespect, or despair she could have replied to Gabriel.  But she had only one question:

 “How?”  As soon as it was explained to her, she quietly submitted and accepted the Lord’s will for her life.  “’I am the Lord’s slave,’ said Mary.  ‘May it be done to me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38)

Have you ever been caught off guard by something the Lord has asked of you?  Have you ever had your picture perfect life plan derailed?    Sometimes, we feel disappointed by the way He is asking us to live or the gifts he gives us that we do not necessarily regard as gifts.  In those instances, we can scream and cry and stomp our feet in resistance, or we can quietly accept the Lord’s will for us.  It will not always look perfect, but we can know that our lives are working according to His plan.  Through Mary’s obedience and submission, we were all given a Savior.  A sweet, beautiful, baby boy destined to save the world because one young Jewish girl was obedient to her calling.  During this season, I’ll be sitting back with a cup of hot cider, staring at my boot shaped lights and uneven garland praying that God continues to shatter my “perfect” expectations for life so He can replace them with a more holy path.

Where is He leading your life, sweet sister? Will you follow Him?


To my sister who thinks her prayer life is lame…

I am so with you. I’m blushing at the thought of how inadequate my prayer life is. But then I think, “Compared to what?” Why do I feel a sense of unworthiness when it comes to prayer? Is it because of the way I feel? Probably. No doubt I’ve gone through seasons where I feel like I’m being intimate with God, thinking of others and just being a Xena-hardcore-amazing-prayer-warrior, and that is awesome. But on the reg, the day-to-day, I can’t help thinking that my prayer life sucks.

Most mornings I wake up, start talking to God, and it sounds something like this: “Lord, I am so tired! Please let me have some yoga pants clean because I forgot to shave my legs last night. Help me get out of bed. Or maybe you could think about making the Rapture happen today?”

Y’all might think I’m kidding but I’m 100% serious. I just can’t escape this feeling that I don’t measure up in my prayer life. But then again, what exactly am I trying to measure up to? Hopefully not others, because the Bible makes it pretty clear that we are all equally distant from the Lord and sinful. Maybe I’m comparing myself to Jesus? Well, if I do that it’s a guaranteed failure. Spoiler alert: HE IS PERFECT. Maybe there is no correct comparison.

I have realized that I am disappointed in the fact that I don’t have an intense emotional and spiritual high every time I talk with God. And yet after typing that out it sounds pretty ridiculous. I don’t get an intense spiritual high every time I talk to my husband even though I love the socks off of him. The root of the problem is not my actual prayer life but my perspective. The way I view prayer has been warped; somehow I view it as a competition. I see it as something I can succeed or fail at. When in reality it’s perfectly ok that I start my day out with silly thoughts directed at God. He accepts me. He knows and loves me and he enjoys it when I reach out to speak with him.

I see the same type of false perspective as I teach Holy Yoga. It’s great fun to introduce others to the practice. For most people, coming to class is a brand new experience. I love hearing from people who feel physical benefits of yoga after the first class or spiritual connection with Jesus during guided meditation. Everyone usually begins the first class feeling self-conscious, wanting to be in the very back of the room but gradually, with encouragement, people start asking questions and taking ownership of their own practice. Each person has a unique physical body and a different emotional status when they come into class. I love seeing all the various ways people can move through the poses and worship God. It would be pointless and insulting if I started comparing people to each other. And yet I do that exact thing with my own prayer life. I’m learning to change my perspective.

Sadly lots of people decide they don’t want to even try yoga. Multiple people have given me these exact words, “Oh, I’d like to do yoga but I’m just not flexible enough.”

I’m sorry, WHAT? ! Do you hear yourself? What kind of logic is that?! It’s like saying “I’m not very strong so I won’t go to the gym” or “I’m not spiritual enough so I won’t read my Bible”. Flexibility is only one tiny part of yoga! Their perspective is flawed. Looking at yoga through the tiniest possible lens, only allows you to see a minuscule portion of what it has to offer. It’s the same with prayer. Feeling like you are inadequate at prayer shouldn’t stop you from doing it. If we are contemplating and judging our prayer life based on our feelings then our perspective is limited! Imagine what we are missing out on!

Prayer is not about being perfect. It’s not a competition. And we can’t always expect to feel the same way each time we pray. Prayer is a journey. It’s a conversation. It’s being yourself and being with God. Just like everyone’s physical body takes a different path through the practice of yoga, every child of God has a prayer life that matches their own soul. Beautiful right? God is awesome. I encourage you to broaden your perspective! Open your heart up to all the wondrous possibilities of prayer.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot and over the years have discipled many girls who struggle with bad feelings about prayer. Here are some suggestions anchored in truths from the Word that may help you to feel more freedom and less guilt as you spend time with the Lord.

  • Never compare your prayers to someone else’s. When God wrote “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” in the Bible, He meant it. Our unique personalities and character are a gift from God to be embraced. Being different is not shameful, it’s beautiful! Any florist would tell you that different shapes, sizes and colors make for the most dazzling bouquets. Who would waste their time comparing a sunflower to a rose? 
  • Be with God doing things you like to do.  In Hosea 6:6 God says “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” God wants you to know Him and love Him for who he really is. So be with Him in a way that you can discover who He is without the pressure to be over-spiritual. Go on a hike. Listen to worship music. Sip coffee in a local shop. Surf. Paint. Read. Anything. Share life with Him the same way you share it with your closest friends.
  • Try something new. Psalm 34:8 tells us to, “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” The day-to-day grind can get stale every now and again. To refresh your routine will be a wonderful adventure! Taste something new. Have you ever done Lectio Divina? Or been guided through meditation on God’s Word? Read through a daily devotional? How about prayer journaling? Give it a try! God is not your funky old grandpa who eats donuts and drinks prune juice every single morning. He is not slow. He is omnipotent! Alive and active and good.
  • Realize that there is no one way or one time or one place to pray. God surrounds us. His Spirit dwells within us and Jesus promised to never leave us. I am fiercely passionate about this one. Do not listen to the person who tells you that you must get up at 4am and have 2 hours of prayer time with God on your knees beside your bed before you start your day and get your butt to work. I’ve struggled with this for years, but I’ve put my foot down recently. I refuse to give God my worst hours of the day. I’ve never been a morning person. Why would I force myself to pray when I can’t even think coherently? I refuse to be guilted into a terrible decision. Jesus prayed at all different times of the day and in all different places! See Luke 6:12 & Mark 1:35. I’m not saying you shouldn’t sacrifice a little sleep if you only have that window of time available to be with God. I’m simply saying that the idea of a strict and rigid “quiet time” every morning may not appeal to each and every Christian. We are not robots. God is a person. He is relational and available. Can I get a whoot whoot for all the night owls!?!?!?! Yeaaahh! (The funny thing is I’m writing this and it’s about 1am Ha!)
  • Never stop crying out to God. Even our precious God-in-the-flesh Jesus never stopped praying, even though He knew His mission was to go to the cross. Hebrews 5:7 says “While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.” Prayer is for YOU, to give you peace, to focus your heart on your faith and not your sight, to teach you more about God’s perfect character and to weave your heart even tighter to His, creating a deep and unmoving reverence. Those prayers that Jesus offered up to God the Father gave him the strength to go to the cross and win victory over death.
  • Treat God less like a genie in a lamp and more like a lover. Here is the simplest of ways that you can broaden your perspective. God doesn’t want just our prayer requests. Hosea 2:14-15 makes it obvious that He is in love with you!! “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.”  He displays his affections for His people over and over again. He is relentless! A God who does all that and more wants to know your deepest desires, your dreams, your feelings, your grief, your thoughts about Him.
  • A simple surrender is a magnificent prayer. Let me give you some words more beautiful than my own to bring home this idea:“WHEN YOU LIVE IN GOD, your day begins when you open your eyes, though you have done nothing yourself to open them, and you take your first breath, though there is no reason why this life-giving breeze should be given to you and not to some other. In the dark or in the light, with a stone slab under your back or a feather topper, your day begins when you let God hold you because you do not have the slightest idea how to hold yourself—when you let God raise you up, when you consent to rest to show you get the point, since that is the last thing you would do if you were running the show yourself. When you live in God, your day begins when you lose yourself long enough for God to find you, and when God finds you, to lose yourself again in praise.”

Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

There you have it: 7 refreshing thoughts about prayer. I hope and pray your perspective reflects the truth. Keep gleaning the truth of God’s Word wherever you can get it! In fact, it would be great if the comment section of this post were to become a place for you to share scripture about prayer! Encourage one another with HIS words.

Now go and be with the Lord. You can’t fail.

Much love!


A Gift that Gives Beyond


Whether you’re looking for a Christmas gift, handcrafted goodies, or an epic company that gives back, we have got you covered! We have partnered with beyondBeanie to provide our readers with a great option for gifting this season! In a world where companies are cutting costs and treating employees like dirt to make money, it’s refreshing to see a company that is doing some major good with their business model. This company truly works to help kids in need. Every time you buy a product, your money goes to a worthy cause.


Currently, beyondBeanie is working with Amanecer Salomon Klein children’s center in Cochabamba, Bolivia to help provide kids with food, medical care and school supplies. If you would like to help this awesome company accomplish their goals, I really encourage you to grab your beanies and accessories while they are in stock! Anything in their store would make a fabulous and meaningful Christmas gift!

After you have received your warm and toasty beanie, feel free to write a letter to the person who made it. After all, you can do that because of what this company stands for. The artisans, women who reside in Bolivia, hand sign their work! These talented women are featured on the website so that you can see who handcrafted your purchase.

beyondBeanie is also incredible because you can be an ambassador! Being an ambassador involves ordering some sweet hand made items, taking a picture with them and putting the pictures and a link on your social media accounts. We have taken advantage of this awesome opportunity to share and support a business worth believing in. It really is that simple.

Our hope is that by sharing this company with you, you would be encouraged to look beyond the hustle and bustle of this time of year. Take a moment to support a worthy cause by giving a gift that spreads hope internationally.

To learn more information, click here and be a part of something globally unique. Use the coupon code ROROMAN to get 15% off of your entire purchase.

Good tidings yall!


The heartbeat of this blog is love. The love of Jesus. Wherever you go, whatever you do, whoever you become; you cannot escape the reaches of His love. It knows no bounds and no defeat. This love that restores is what we have experienced and what we aim to share with you. We call you sisters even when we do not know you. We write letters that are filled with wisdom and vulnerability and holiness. We love because he first loved us. We give because he first gave to us.

If you visit this blog, read a post or two, join the newsletter, comment or email us or anything, and you do not feel the love of Christ, then we have failed.  We plan to create a good mix of discipleship and sisterhood, God’s Word and prayer, grace and laughter, every time you join us here.

Receiving love and grace from Jesus will empower you to live your life abiding in Him, pursuing discipleship and seeking Truth. This is powerful. He is powerful. Let’s walk along side of each other in this crazy life of faith. We are incredibly honored to be your sisters in Christ and so thankful you found us.

The Sisters