Dec 30th, 2013

My top ten blog posts of 2013

I enjoy writing. It doesn’t come as naturally to me as speaking but once I force myself to begin it usually flows with minimal psychological trauma. Especially in this past year it has proved to be a cathartic experience as most of my writing has been focused on Lenya and Heaven and grief. Journaling and blogging has long been a discipline I have tried to maintain, if only to have a record of things I have been learning or musing on, even if it all doesn’t end up getting posted.

Looking back on the blog posts from this past year was challenging as there are some very strong emotions and memories that they triggered but they also contain some very powerful lessons that God taught me in difficult times. I picked out ten of them that are some of my favorites and they are presented here.

Thank you for reading this blog and for sharing my posts with other people! Knowing that God has used something I have written to give hope or encouragement blesses me greatly. I hope and pray that God, who crowns the new year with goodness, would shine His face upon you in 2014 like never before.

10. A question I don’t need answered
There has been one question I haven’t asked. That question is, “why?” I have never found my heart bubbling up with that. Even in my darkest moments of unfiltered pain and confusion: “Why did this happen?” or “Why did God let my daughter die?” wasn’t what gushed out. To be honest my lack of thirst for those answers has shocked me a little bit…

9. The honeymoon is over
When you first get married there is a newness to it that causes everything to glow. It is surreal, like living in a dream. No more saying goodbye at the end of the night. No more falling asleep with your mobile phone because after you dropped her off you still wanted to talk as you drove home and got ready for bed, brushed your teeth and drifted off together. (Thanks Verizon.) Now you get to brush your teeth together! …

8. Pastor Chuck Smith: A Life Well-Lived
Early this morning I received a text that made me pause and breathe deeply. It said, “Pastor Chuck just passed into glory a little while ago.”

7. Good Grief
At various points in the last three months I have wanted to find out whoever came up with the phrase “good grief” and do physical harm to them. Too honest? Sorry. I suppose these are the sorts of thoughts you have when you are grieving. For the record there’s nothing good about it from where I am sitting…

6. A Distant Shore
Her pink bike is in the garage with her helmet hung by its strap from one of the handlebars. It has white-walled tires. Just like mine. Every time I walk by it I take a deep breath in and let it out slowly as I think about how spring will come and the snow will melt and we will go on family bike rides in the evenings, but her bike will stay parked in that spot…

5. The Pain of Searing Loss
In the movie The Avengers there is a scene where Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are having a conversation. Bruce feels as though being the Hulk is nothing but a curse, a nightmare. He feels exposed, like a nerve, and sees no good in it. Tony, on the other hand, views being Iron Man as a responsibility…

4.The Vanishing Point
While on a recent trip to the coast Alivia snapped this polaroid of Jennie and I staring out into the mysterious and gloomy sea on a foggy day. When she showed it to me it seemed to perfectly encapsulate life for us right now. Our eyes are straining to see something that we can’t. The sun is hiding behind clouds and refusing to shine. Life is unfolding in muted colors and in a minor-key…

3. Meeting Billy Graham
Last week Jennie and I were given the opportunity to meet Billy Graham. We traveled to his mountainside home in North Carolina and were honored to sit down in his kitchen and spend some time with him…

2. There’s no such thing as a wireless anchor
The Bible tells us that we have hope as an anchor of the soul. It is both sure and steadfast. Translation: It is unmovable. A permanent anchor that will never budge. We can know this is true because it is Jesus who is our anchor. He is our hope. He has entered God’s presence and has promised to bring us to be where He is. Our hope is not dead either, it is a living hope, because He lives forever…

1. 30 Days in Heaven
It has been 30 days now since my second born child Lenya stepped into eternity. Her last breath, which she took in my arms, was immediately followed by her first breath in the arms of her Savior and Creator Jesus Christ. Scripture promises nothing less than an instant transition to Heaven for the believer–to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. In her final moment on the earth…

Posted in Lenya Lion, raw thoughts


  1. Love you Levi ❤️

  2. What is in your heart is magnified by your preaching. Your gift from God is so evident when you teach His word. I prayed yesterday, as you sat directly in front of me, as if God placed you there just for me to reach out to you with a blessing, that He would use you to tell me what He needed me to hear. And as He always does, He spoke to me through your message. My spirit had been restless for over a week and I couldn’t shake what was on my heart until His words through you made it all make sense. I’ve found an inner peace with it all since. Thank You God for this beautiful gifted young man with a passion to let all the world know about You! I love him and his family so. Please pour Your love and blessings upon them and their ministry! In the precious name of Jesus, Amen
    Love you guys so much!

  3. Adriana Says:

    Thank you for sharing with us, I have been in much prayer for you And your family. We love you here at Harvest Riverside!!

    God bless you all…

  4. Susana Says:

    Thank you Levi, it means so much to me, to hear your messages. They give me hope and comfort, next month 01-28-2014 marks one year that my mom went home to Jesus. Its been a hard year for me. I know that having God in my has kept me strong, and also my sisters in Christ. Please pray that this new year help me be the happy person I once was. I’m suffering from depression and not letting go of my life.

  5. Susana Says:

    Thank you for sharing, love hearing you preach when in Riverside, God Bless

  6. Your words have blessed us greatly. “Thank you so much” doesn’t sound like its enough, but from the heart… thank you so much.

  7. Junellen Winchester Says:

    Thank you for sharing, we love hearing all your words and more. God Blesses you and your family

  8. Christine Says:

    The growth and the strength I have seen in you in the past year Levi is truly amazing to me. I see and feel in my heart of hearts that God is so all up in your brain. Its crazy ya know ! This young guy I just starting listening to a 3 years ago is now not just a young guy but A man ! How can anyone not change with what is allowed in life’s storms and tragedies but I see so much more strength and and passion in the way you speak. All Glory to our King !

    You had a very positive impact on my 24 year old daughter and thank you so much for being so up front, honest,funny and to the point with the youths and the behaviors and attitudes. You make it real and it made me realize why God has called you. I saw a change in her the day she first saw you at Harvest last year. Thank for all you do. And I thank God that He called you.

    TONS of HUGS and LOVE to you and your precious family from Riverside California !

  9. dear levi,
    thanks for your posts this past year.
    they have ministered to me and brought great encouragement.
    praying for you.
    keep trusting and preaching Jesus,
    dave (sydney, australia)

  10. Dear Levi, I am one of those who has shared your blog with others dealing with grief. I have read a lot on this topic and I must say that your ability to pour out your heart onto the pages is quite incredible. I think this last year of your blog might easily become a book. You have given the Holy Spirit permission to use your grief for His eternal glory and for that, I thank you. Keep your hold on Him for He most certainly is holding you!

  11. Thank you Debbie, I am working on that right now. Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing my posts. Bless you! P.S. I love Monterey :)

  12. lori rudman Says:

    Dear Pastor Levi,
    Thanks for your raw and infectious personality but mostly for your passion for Jesus and Gods Word.We are blessed to have shown up at Calvary Boca Raton to be reminded about the perfect glory of Jesus. Love the horses and eagles.Peace to you and yours.

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