This is my story of a God who takes our girlish dreams and gives us brokenness, then takes our brokenness and gives us what we long for most of all — himself.

At 18 years old, I had the world on a string. Never could I have imagined I’d be single till I was 34, spend two decades in the deep waters of anxiety and depression, suffer years of chronic illness, give birth to a child with multiple health complications, walk through crushing private sorrows, and one day hear those life-altering words, “You have cancer.”

But God knew. He’d already dreamed up plans for me that would leave mine looking anemic and frail.

In fact, His plans have always left mine resembling what C.S. Lewis described as

an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.

Whenever I’ve released my white-knuckled grip on my mud-pie plans, He’s unfolded his infinitely better ones. I’m a slow and stubborn learner, and I often beat a path back to that mud—but I have a most patient Teacher who continues to show me how to laugh through the darkest days, love people in their messiest moments, and run back to him with my besetting failures.

This blog is where I look at the beauty of suffering in light of God’s goodness, and I point myself (and hopefully you too, dear reader) back to the Only One who can turn our grief into joy, our tears into laughter—in every season of our lives.

Colleen Elisabeth Chao

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Colleen is a former copy editor, English teacher, middle school administrator, and actress who is now mastering the finer arts of dirt, dishes, and little-boy discipleship. She makes her home in Southern California with her husband and son and their joyful community at Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church. She loves 95% dark chocolate, side-splitting laughter, long hikes, a good story, and all things French. When time allows, she writes for True Woman and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

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I don’t think that’s a very good question to ask a writer, ‘Why do you write?’ You write because there’s fire in your bones.
– Eugene Peterson

Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills, as I have found out long ago.
– C.S. Lewis