An Altar of Goodness

March 4, 2013

For years and years, I found myself in a place of perpetual waiting – hoping – for God to fulfill in my life what felt like the one desire I longed for more than any other. I longed to be a wife. To live beside my best friend. And to journey on the wild adventure of life together.

Due to his seemingly perpetual absence, I embarked around the world on my own, jumping into a fast-paced ministry of crazy adventure that led me to 40 countries in the last 5 years. I resolved to live life to its fullest and deeply hoped that along the way, I would find him somewhere beside me in the same orbit of adventure.

Some seasons I could easily remind myself of the catch I believed myself to be, that the wait was worth it, and that God’s hand was in it. Other days and weeks were filled with doubts over if it would ever happen given how long it had been without. The tears fell easily and I would weep wildly.

A couple years ago, in one of those downward seasons where my heart ached beyond comprehension for someone I didn’t think I even knew, I scribbled a message with dry-erase marker up on my mirror wall. Every morning and night I would look at it, speak it out, and do all I possibly could do in the midst of my spinning to settle back into its truth.


I did all I knew to keep believing that despite the prolonged waiting ground I stood on, richly watered by my ever-flowing tears, I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. The word highlighted off my mirror each day was the word still.

Despite all that’s (not) happened,  I would see it. His promise alive and active ahead.

Ten years after first asking God to fulfill this desire, he showed up. I assure you, the whole thing looked nothing as I imagined it to be. It was not sparkly or pretty or glamorous – it was breathing, living and messy. Sure signs God’s hand was in all of it.

Yesterday, one lovely year ago, God fulfilled the long-awaited hope for me as I stood on the shore of St. Simon’s Island in front of the love of my life on his knee. With a ring. Asking me to be his wife.


After that ring was slipped on my finger and I uttered “yes” a million times, Mark stood to his feet and my arms instantly embraced him. Tucked close into him, my eyes looked out over his shoulder at an endless ocean in the distance, with the waters appearing to fall off the world’s final cliff. The moment was frozen for me – all was still, silent, and paused.

As I stared out at the beautiful vastness, I began to replay in my mind’s eye the last decade of waiting – the moments of being sure I had found “him,” of being curled up on my bedroom floor weeping over a hope still not met, of watching others step into what I so longed for myself, of prophesying on shores, chairs, and the like for who he would be. Every moment and memory carried the same underlying voice, the voice that repeated His soft word of promise year after year, season after season: “Beloved, I am good.”

Standing on that shore, embracing my soon-to-be husband, I wept. I wept because of how true that word stood in every moment of waiting. All I uttered for an hour on the Georgian shore, over and over, was this…

You are so good.

That day the love of my life promised all of himself to me for the future ahead. The ring, as a sign of the the covenant to come, was slipped upon my finger. And something long awaited for became fulfilled.

This day, just one year ago, will forever be marked as an altar of the Lord’s manifest, tangible, breathing goodness in my life as I never knew before.

Building altars in the old was the symbolic proclamation that on this day, in this place, the Living One showed up and moved in their midst. It was an expression of remembrance, to help insure that what happened in the past would not soon be forgotten with the coming wilderness trials.

This story isn’t scripted to necessarily be hope for those who are single, although it could be. And it isn’t a story that assures “all is well in the end,” though it may. This story is one about the goodness of God in the land of the living. The altar built that day in my life is an altar of goodness. It’s one of remembrance, to insure I will not soon forget how He has moved in my life and midst.

I believe with all of me that the absence of it today does not negate the promise of it ahead. The waiting ground is the birthing ground for promises fulfilled in the seasons and years yet lived. And it is by waiting in the “still” of today that we are able to partake in the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living that is to come.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Brooke March 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Such a beautiful story of patience, faith and trusting in the Father. It seems your journey with Him wasn’t easy, but as your obedience grew and your journey alone came to end, He saw fit to lead you two together and I’m so happy for you both!

  • Reply Michelle Smith March 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    This was beautifully written & it really encouraged me during this tough tear-filled adventure called “waiting”. Congratulations to you both!! Thanks for sharing this <3 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart!

    • Reply Caroline March 5, 2013 at 7:16 am

      Thank you so much Michelle! So glad you were encouraged. Waiting isn’t easy AT ALL – but what He has for you is so worth it. 🙂

  • Reply Ericka March 4, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Oh friend… what a beautiful story full of truth. It really resonates with me as I have cried and prayed and begged God to fulfill our hope of adopting a little girl from Thailand for the past year. It reminds me of all the days we have looked at His hand and His confirmation and tried desperately to focus on HIS TRUTH, while we faced closed door after closed door, and so much discouragement and heartache. I have wept many days and many nights over the “nos’s” – waiting and hoping and believing for our YES. And last week, when we got that YES – it was like the day of your engagement. It symbolized a hope and a promise that would finally be fulfilled. It banished all the doubts and “what ifs”.

    I love that you call it “an Altar of Goodness”. That is exactly how I felt that day. I will NEVER forget how it felt to see God’s hand move in such a tangible way. He moved a mountain for our family, and I will forever remember and share that story of His power and His faithfulness.

    A few weeks ago you tweeted this, “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45
    He speaks to fulfill.

    I have clung to that verse….meditated on that truth…. claimed that promise for weeks now. And last Monday, we saw it come to fruition. What an extraordinary, supernatural, life-changing reminder of His goodness!!!

    He is ABLE. He is GOOD. He is LOVING. He is FAITHFUL. He FULFILLS His promises!

    Love you sister!

    • Reply Caroline March 5, 2013 at 7:17 am

      I love it so much Ericka! I am so excited for how He has moved in your lives and that Kate is coming! So celebrating with you over the promises He’s fulfilling with you Jacksons. Love you dearly!

  • Reply Holland Cox March 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    this is sooo good, i got a little weepy myself.

  • Reply Jenny Telfer March 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    “it was breathing, living and messy.” So true and so beautiful.

    • Reply Caroline March 5, 2013 at 7:14 am

      Thanks Jenny! I’m sure it keeps getting truer as the family expands. 😉

  • Reply Cindy Flores March 4, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Shooty, this is good. And now I’m weepy.

  • Reply Cinthia B March 4, 2013 at 10:55 pm


    This has blessed me beyond what you could imagine. God’s promises are so beautiful and yet Satan tries to make them seem impossible.

    Thanks for the encouragement to stand and STILL be confident in the LORD. I WILL see His promises come to fruition!

    • Reply Caroline March 5, 2013 at 7:21 am

      Cinthia, I’m so glad it encouraged you! The enemy tries all he can to have us forget how God has moved so the promises ahead seem all the more impossible and unlikely by the day. And yet with every act of God moving in your ‘today’, it gives such confidence that even He can do what’s impossible. I so believe with you that the ‘still’ in your life is true for what’s yet ahead!

  • Reply Martha March 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

    This is refreshing and beautiful. Thank you for sharing, giving me yet another opportunity to reflect on God’s amazing goodness!

    • Reply Caroline March 8, 2013 at 7:52 am

      Thank you so much Martha! It’s wonderful hearing from you!!

  • Reply Hope Naomi March 12, 2013 at 1:02 am

    …just now reading this. so, so good. and hopeful for the rest of us 🙂

  • Leave a Reply

    Live Here. Love Now.

    Get your free copy of
    Live Here. Love Now.

    6 Practices for Cultivating a Life of Presence, Purpose, and Power

    You have Successfully Subscribed!