BAM! What?


Have you ever gone so long in a season that you literally just thought that life would always remain that way? I ask this question because my husband and I have gone through season after season of intensity. Seasons were filled with yucky slime and we often felt robbed. Despite this we chose Jesus and chose to laugh, chose to remain steadfast and choose love. All we have ever desired was to please God and be faithful to him in all things. We still desire this knowing that we may have to walk through heart wrenching things. Life is tough but I have been realizing that because of God I am stronger and tougher than what may happen in this life.

Recently we have been living in a new season. It came slowly, and steadily until one day… BAM!! We were walking right into a miracle. What?! This was something so new and so surreal. God had laid our path in order to walk out impossible things. We have always believed this about God but never did we dare to even dream what he wanted to give to us. As I write this, tears well up in my eyes because I feel so overcome with his love for us. 

Our entire married life has been filled with miracles. When we needed a car, one was given to us. When we had no money for food or rent, a check would show up in the mail or groceries would be delivered to our door. When we were in desperate need God always provided. He was never late and never too early. His timing was impeccable, perfect.

Not only does God care about providing your physical needs but your mental and emotional needs as well. When you need people in your life to love you just like Father God, he will either send them or lead them to you. As we have walked in miracles God has given us the biggest one: family and a home. We no longer feel like we are wandering. Our hearts swell real big with gratefulness and a deeper love for others. 

Through it all, God remains faithful. The greater question through every season whether good or bad is, will you remain faithful to him? Will you praise him no matter the circumstance? 

Our answer has always been, “yes, God” and I pray that it always will.



Let Go

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Let go!

For a period in my life I was holding onto ashes. These ashes contained many things. Pain and turmoil left a constant ache in my heart. I was holding onto words and an identity full of lies that I had allowed to penetrate what I did. It left me feeling anxious and doubting everything I said and did. One day I looked at my hands and realized,

“What am I doing? Why am I allowing this to rule my thoughts? Why am I allowing this pain over these ashes keep me from living in freedom?”

I decided then, that no matter how hard it may be to break the habit of holding handfuls of ashes that I would let go.

That day I chose freedom, I chose Jesus.

Too often we let what others say, a diagnosis, an ailment in our bodies, distance, or certain actions from others dictate and rule our lives to the extent of binding us. We were never intended to live this way. We were made for freedom! We were made to fly, to dance in joy, and to be so full of love that it literally overflows onto everyone and invades everything that we do.

What are you holding onto? What are you allowing to bind you?

Let it all go!

When you let go you are able to rest well. You are free to dance! Freedom grows and increases your faith.

I do not want to live a life limited but rather one that shows passionate living. Passionate living to me means to be bold in the Lord. I have no need to be anxious. I want to operate with him casting aside man-made boundaries of faith and man-made ideals of identity. It is in him that my identity lays. I can be me as God intends me to be.

Let go!

Raise your hands in freedom. Dance. Laugh. Love deeply. Rest in his peace. Fly.

 

 

The Treasure

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The past several weeks have not at all gone as I had originally planned. But I guess that is life, right? I am writing this with a smirk because I have begun to find joy in these simple hiccups in plans. God has little blessings and treasures even amidst those times as long as you are able to stop focusing so much on what did not happen!

The fatigue and health issues that I have been having, which I thought were simply from stress and grieving were indeed more than just that. Unbeknownst to me, I have actually had mono. The mono then led to a flare up of tonsillitis.  Because of my diagnosis, I realized just how much I needed to slow down, and not put such high expectations on myself to do everything that I wanted to do. This meant that I did not hand out any Christmas goodies or cards to many people that I originally planned on (sorry everyone). It also meant that I have been learning the art of pacing myself while enjoying every single moment possible to the fullest measure. When one’s energy is low and food puts pressure on an inflamed and swollen spleen, you learn to enjoy every bite because it could be your last for a couple of hours.

I am grateful for everyone who has put in extra effort to help carry loads for me since I am ordered not to do so for at least a month. I am grateful for a husband who helps do laundry, pick up the house, and cook for me while I lay down on the couch. For those who know me well, I am much like my Mom…  a stubborn go-getter, never letting pain and fatigue stop me from living. This is how I have been living my life. I did not realize how serious it was until my spleen was at risk of rupturing. I am thankful that God was protecting me and intervened through the prayers of my husband and my daughter.

Despite all of the physical disruptions to my plans, Christmas has been very full of blessings, sweet surprises, and moments filled with tears as well as laughter. The art of choosing joy is the best way to live life. Cherishing every moment and not getting hung up on how things are so painfully different is also important. What will your focus be on? I choose the positive things. Those people who are right in front of me. A daughter that needs me and wants to be a part of everything even if I am so tired that I feel like the couch is enveloping me.  My husband that chooses to work hard, provide, take care, encourage, and love me as well as our daughter with every fiber in his being blesses me daily. What greater treasure is there than that of the people whom love you and you love?

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Those people are my God given treasure. They remind me just how much God loves me.

I could have chosen the other route. It would have been easy to sink into the misery of what my body has been feeling for over a month and allow that to overtake my thoughts and feelings. I am stubborn.

I choose joy. I choose to be thankful. I want to be the type of woman that has grit! I want to be tough as well as sweet and gracious. I want to be like Jesus whose life was not always full of great circumstances yet he knew whom his Father was and why he needed to choose his ways. Life is not about us. Life is about love and choosing that love above all else. Life is about pointing others to the source of our joy. Life is showing others why we choose the way of living lovingly and joyfully. Life is full of twists and turns with blessings and treasures at every single one of them if we take the time to see them.

Life is beautiful!

God is the source and he is good.

 

 

I Will Exalt You

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Here I am going into the second year of holidays without one of my best friends, my Mom. This time last year I was doing my best to walk the journey day by day uncertain of how the waves of grief might hit me as important traditions ceased and days trailed off. I was not anticipating the grief to take a different face yet have such similar affects on my body as last year. Once again I cannot seem to remember things like I used to, my appetite is either none to completely ravenous, and I am very emotional. To be perfectly honest, this makes me feel a bit angry because I do not like this affect on my body.

Despite all of this, there is a difference. Laughter fills my body clear to my bones. Each day I choose joy and choose love. Letting go has come much easier. The ache still lingers. Tears still fall. Last year I was mourning Mom and continue to miss her each day. But this year I am mourning family as well. It has felt like we have taken hits to our family in all ways after having to fight a battle for our own little one recently. Everything seemed to hit all at once. That alone is exhausting!

Even amidst the issues God has given us victory. He has provided for us like only he can. He has drawn us closer to him. He has drawn us closer as husband and wife. If there is any purpose for the pain in the journey, being intertwined closer with him and with my husband makes it all worth it! That alone gives me a reason to sing. That alone gives me a reason to smile through the tears.

I want to know him more! I want to move in his love and power effortlessly and fully surrendered to him. I want to sing and dance. I want his joy to bubble over onto others. I have known many joyful people that I have wanted to be like. Their joy seemed so contagious. You know the ones I am talking about. They can often be labeled as, “those annoying super positive people out of touch with reality”. I now understand why they always have a positive response. When you spend more time with God and choose his joy, it penetrates every part of your being. You have a reason to be so positive. No Eeyore over here!

He is the source of my strength. He is the source of my joy. He is joy! Because he has won the victory we can persevere with joy through anything. Because he was and is stronger than anything that could come up against him, we have a reason to be full to the point of overflowing with joy!

My heart overflows.

Joy is Jesus.

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The lowly manger scene reveals our source of joy. When God brought the greatest gift to come save us and make a way for us, joy entered our lives. Holy Spirit within us is a reflection of that day, the only virgin birth known in history, and a family knit together by God. The furious love of the King of Kings coming to save the day in the most unlikely way was also anxiously awaited by so many. It was scandalous for the time period. But Mary and Joseph chose to obey. Because of their obedience and God’s perfect timing, joy was sent to all people.

This is the reason I sing. This is the reason I can laugh in the face of grief. This is the reason I love like every second counts. It is why I live.

Jesus.

“I will exalt you; I will praise your name”.

When Two Worlds Collided

Two worlds collided over Memorial Day weekend. It was a weekend that was full of many different emotions: heartache, pain, sorrow, yet full of joy for our Father. It is so hard to describe exactly every little feeling. It all felt so surreal.


 

It is most difficult to process two worlds that do not make sense quite yet. One full of memories of what once was, and the other that is now. The sorrow is ever present. It is a constant friend or foe depending on your perspective. Yet, there is joy, there is hope knowing that God is our strength. Life is bittersweet.


 

Our Mom was a most extraordinary woman. She loved us in such a way that no woman ever has. There was no doubt in each of our minds that she cared for every single one of us. She made sacrifices for us. She gave her life for others. It is this love from her that makes the void feel so deep. We can all be grateful that we had a taste of heaven through her in our lives.


 

Now, as our Father, whom we have only known with our Mom embarks on this new beginning it seems so strange to see him with anyone else other than our Mom. He loves each of us enough to want us to be a part of this new journey. It is a foreign way of living when it seems like all those happy memories of someone so dear to you feels as if it all is slipping away to be forgotten forever. Yet, I know that is not what is happening.


 

It is all these feelings that pollute being rational. I have learned to be slow to action during this time of grieving. To be perfectly honest, my husband has received the worst of these struggles within me. He has been so gracious as I battle through every emotion, rational or not. I am thankful I am not alone. He has learned to bring me coffee in bed (this is a nice perk!). For those of you who know me well, you can laugh knowing how amazing I think this is. I wish I liked mornings better.


 

Many have asked me how I was able to officiate the wedding for my Dad and Step Mom. To put it quite simply, Love. I knew from the beginning that this was God. It was more than evident to me that God brought my Dad and his new wife together and they gave me the greatest honor to be able to officiate it for them. I was able to talk through the tears because God gave me the strength I needed. God is strong in the broken places.


 

I also feel like I need to explain the tears. Some people thought I was just sad. Other people thought I was simply happy. It was both for me. Two worlds collided in that moment and I was overwhelmed with grief, and joy all in one setting. It was a definite and more solid ending to what our family once was and who my Dad used to be. But it was also a beginning to a new joyous journey with an added gift of a wonderful woman of God whose love and care for our journey up to this point has been rather remarkable.


 

My tears also represented a huge miracle for my husband and I personally. We saved the flower girl spot for our daughter J, for our wedding (for those of you who do not know, I am a Step Mom to a beautiful girl). When this did not happen because of unfair actions from the other party, it was hard for both of us. J was able to be a flower girl for my Dad’s wedding. I was crying because it was truly a miracle that she was there. I also felt like this was something that Mom would have wanted and prayed for herself.


 

God was showering us blessings in multiple ways. These realizations came upon me, wave after wave within the ceremony itself. I found myself shaking as emotion after emotion flooded my heart. And the tears just fell. It was beautiful.


 

 

Philippians 4:13

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

 

3 weeks ago… A Thankful Heart

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So much has happened within the past several weeks. I am just now getting to a place where I can actually sit down and write something other than, “hey guys, a little busy here!” There are so many thoughts going through my mind right now as I think back over these past weeks. I feel emotions ranging from sadness, disappointment, frustration, to joy, and gladness. I understand more how much life is a painful journey of letting go and allowing God to mold the hardest parts of my will. These past weeks have felt like a glorious breaking of every part of who I am.


 

We have gone from one big event to another major transition, all while being sick 4 out of the 6 weeks. Stress does that to your body after having endured so many long days. I have to admit that I am ready to be back to “normal” and actually get some rest. In the meantime, let me share with you a little part of my journey from 3 weeks ago.


 

I had 9 minutes left until I had to go on stage. I was doing my best to work through the vast majority of my nerves and excitement before Kids Convention was to officially begin. Earlier that day I had run into the arms of Jesus as a wave of extreme sadness and longing for my Mom came upon me. Kids Convention has been the closest to a personal dream coming true in my life. As a child I sang as often as I could. I had dreams of being a professional singer on tour around the world. When my world crumbled down on me with my own tragedy in high school, all my dreams were buried in their own graveyard. It was not until about 4-5 years ago, God was showing me how he wanted to take back from the enemy what he had stolen. My Savior, and Lord helped me take back my voice!


 

8 minutes were left before I needed to go on stage. There I was going to find my water bottle and put a cough drop in my mouth when an amazing woman asked me if I had any significant prayer points. It was then that the floodgates opened. In that moment, the longing for my Mom was beyond what I could hold within myself. My sciatica was also really causing me pain. As I cried and told her how I felt she put her arms around me.


 

7 minutes left before I needed to go on stage. As the tears fell, she anointed me with oil and prayed for my aching heart and hurting body. 6 minutes left and she still was not done. Inside I was thinking how my timing could not have been any worse. But the waves of grief do not ever come in good timing. I have had to work through feelings of guilt when it strikes at the worst of times. I made a conscious choice to cast the guilt aside from feeling this grief.


 

5 minutes were left and her prayer ended. It was in a sense a perfect timed prayer as I was able to run to my position and begin a weekend I will treasure in my heart forever. The tears were gone. Strength was renewed within my mind and body. And there I was using my voice against the enemy once again. I know that my amazing Mom was celebrating. I could imagine her doing her air punches with her lips firmly pressed together followed by a victory dance.


 

I am so thankful that I do not have to walk this life alone. Healing and grieving is a painful journey. There are times that it can feel dark. Other times you can feel overwhelmed. I am learning that even in the grief, and even in the pain, God is so much stronger. His goodness surpasses anything. His love furiously invades every aspect of life. Because of God there is so much beauty in the journey.


 

Thank you God for walking this journey with me. Thank you for the beauty.

 

 

 

Perceiving the New

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My last post was about letting go. Since that time, I have realized on a deeper level how letting go is often a process and it can often come in different stages. But once you have let go of something completely, and God frees you from the pain, perceiving the new is so much easier. When pain is dragging you down it can make your eyesight a little cloudy. There are times when one small glimpse of the new is hard to focus on.


This weekend was a great weekend full of sorrow, and joy. I could not be more proud of my Dad. My Mom up in Heaven is so proud. God smiles like a proud Father. To see the new coming forth and being able to be a part of that is by far one of the greatest gifts in life. I could not be more grateful that God made it possible so that I could be a part of this new journey with my Dad being installed at a new church. Healing occurred this weekend.


As any healing process goes, you have to be willing to endure extreme moments of pain and sorrow. It can hit you in a rush and overwhelm you to the feeling of drowning. At the end of the rush, as long as you handle it correctly, your breath can return and a feeling of relief follows. With this relief, perceiving the new can become a celebration.


My Dad preached out of Isaiah 43. It is a perfect message about life. If you love and follow Jesus, this passage can pertain at any part of life. It is another passage that reinforces how we must never get stuck in the past or remain stagnant. It is evidence that you must continue living your life. You disobey and dishonor God when you stop growing and moving forward with him. You dishonor God when you do not move on. Because God is always up to new things. He is always working powerfully, you just have to stop looking back, and have eyes pointed in his direction, which is at the new, miraculous, glorious things that he is doing.


This weekend marked the new that God is doing in my Dad’s life, as well as part of the new for our family. And as hard as some things are because of the separation from our Mom, there is so much to celebrate. God is so good. He places the lonely in families. He restores the broken. He brings healing to pain. Because of him we can have joy amidst the sorrow. Laughter can become the best medicine. And when times of pain arise in the healing process, new breath and new life can begin to form, bringing forth hope.


You must let go of your past in order to “perceive the new”. Looking back does you no good. This does not mean that you cannot reminisce or talk about memories. Those are all ways to celebrate the people God gave to you. But looking back to keep things the same way, never willing to change or see things in a way that God desires, is wrong. To obey God, is to perceive the new. To obey God is to honor and uplift God. To obey God is to accept that you must change how you think about things and instead have the mind of Christ. That is how my Dad is living his life. I believe that any new change in his life will be a result of his obedience and love for God.


I believe that the new that has come and the new that is coming is cause for a celebration even if my heart still hurts and yearns for my Mom. It is a comfort to know that my Dad feels the same way. He loves my Mom. This is evident as he obeys God, perceives the new, and lives life full of love, and joy amidst the sorrow. He continues to honor her memory by choosing life and love. He continues to honor God by not only perceiving the new but also embracing it. Anyone who states otherwise I question your heart and motives. Anyone who says this is wrong needs to seriously do a proper study of Gods word.


Healing is a painful process but scripture never stated it must be done alone. Healing is a process. Letting go of the past must be done in order to move forward and perceive the new. Holding on never does anyone any good. Bitterness, a joyless, and a disobedient life is what you inherit by holding on. Letting go is actually where the truth about freedom and control can be experienced. Because in letting go, life is the greatest even amidst sorrow. Joy overflows. And God is there always to hold you close to his heart in a peaceful embrace. Holding on to have your own way is like a screaming child battling against his will, and pushing him away while he allows you to throw a fit. How pointless is that, right? God knows best. Let go. Perceive the new. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Obey.


Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV)

“18 “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.


I encourage you to read this entire chapter as it is pretty epic! God loves you and he knows what is best. Now, it is up to you to decide whether you truly trust him. Letting go shows that you do. By all means allow yourself to feel every feeling of sadness and pain but do not remain there. By all means weep and tell God why you are hurting so badly, but do not push him away.


He will give you strength for the healing process. He will not let you drown. He will restore new breath and replenish your soul. Joy is yours to choose and his arms are opened wide.

Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears- Margaret Feinberg

Fight Back With Joy Bible Study

Fight Back with Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears.- Margaret Feinberg (Click on the link below to watch a video)

Fight Back With Joy


I found myself laughing and crying my way through Margaret Feinberg’s newest book, Fight Back with Joy. One of the things that I appreciate the most about Margaret is how she opens up about her painful journey through cancer. With her honesty it allows each of us as the reader to be able to be honest with ourselves. Too often when we walk into a path that is filled with darkness and loss, we sometimes can get lost within the depths of those powerful emotions of sadness and hopelessness. What Margaret so beautifully describes in this book is how there is always hope, and that we can choose joy as our greatest weapon against the darkness.


At the very beginning Margaret addresses the common misconception about joy that I think most of us have believed. She states, “For most of my life, I had thought of joy as a natural byproduct of a life well lived. A complimentary add-on, a tacked-on freebie.” I, too thought the same thing as Margaret. Although, I have had moments in the past 5 years where I slowly but surely have had different hints of what joy was really supposed to be, I have not fully grasped the truth about joy until my Mom passed away. Sometimes, just like with Margaret’s journey fighting cancer or like a life without my Mom, we find that joy is right there for us to take up for ourselves amidst the darkness, amidst the pain and sorrow. It is always our choice.


You must read this book to understand Margaret’s journey searching for joy is often much like our own. She tried a “yes experiment”, which failed. Each of us search for more in life. We want to be happy. We want fulfillment in life. We want things to go as we plan them. I am in full agreement with her when she says, “Many people live joyless lives because they don’t understand what joy is, what joy does, how to discover joy, and what to do with it once they find it.” I have lived joyless not because I did not want joy but because I did not understand what it was. I thought that joy meant always feeling happy and having my life circumstances just right.


“Practicing defiant joy is the declaration that the darkness does not and will not win. When we fight back with joy, we embrace a reality that is more real than what we’re enduring and we awaken to the deepest reality of our identity as beloved, joyful children of God.” Joy is a choice. It is as basic as that. As Margaret so beautifully points out, “we are created for joy”, and “we are destined for joy.” Jesus made it possible for us to have joy. It is definitely a part of our heritage.


Joy is your heritage


As I live and let go, and choose Jesus, I realize just how much joy is a choice for us. Too often people will play a blame game about their lives. Too often we can remain angry. Too often we think that our bitterness is because of how bad life has treated us. The reality is, is that our life is a gift. God extends grace to us everyday. He chooses to love us and pursue us even when we choose to ignore him. I can tell you from experience that when we choose Him, there is no end to the things that he wants to show us. Joy is one of those great gifts. It is a fruit of the Spirit and as such, if we choose Jesus, it should be an action in our daily lives.


When you choose joy, you will find that life is great even amidst the pain, the sorrow, and the darkness. Joy is powerful. Will you Fight Back With Joy? Margaret Feinberg has written an exceptional study on joy by being very honest and raw about her darkest journey so far. Through her testimony, we see how “life’s thorniest paths can lead to great joy.”


To purchase the book today please follow this link: http://mar.cta.gs/0biGreat Joy

2015: Not Losing Hope

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As usual, a new year brings about reflection and resolutions. I found myself annoyed while I was on social media on New Years Eve. I was annoyed because so many mark a new year to change without really ever doing anything differently. I was annoyed because 2015 would mark the year, my first year, without my Mom in it.


I was also annoyed because I lacked any vision for what 2015 would hold. This is not in itself a bad thing. For me it has been the first time that I have not known what direction God will be taking us as a family. Through this God has been teaching me that it is okay to not always see a glimmer of what is to come (although he often shows us what steps to take). He cares more about the day to day and at times the hour-by-hour trust in him more.


I have always been the one to dream these big impossible dreams that could only be explained by God orchestrating them. There came a time in my life though that I realized my own selfishness. Too often our culture, as well as our human nature, is so inwardly focused, that we do not even realize that we expect God to fit into our life, our dreams and our expectations without really ever changing. We think that a magic prayer or even remaining stagnant, proclaiming that we follow God, is good enough. News flash. If you claim to follow Jesus Christ good fruit will be evident in your life. This means joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, love and self control will grow more and more a part of who you are on a consistent basis (look at Galatians 5:22-23). It does not mean that you can speak all of the right words and get into heaven, while all the evidence in your life dishonors God.


We tend to be a selfish nation and humankind tends to be inward focused. We can make self a god. Instead what needs to take place is to allow God to have complete control over every aspect of our lives. We must allow him to ravage our hearts with his holy love. We must allow him to change and transform us. This is the only way that any lasting change will ever occur.


He has much bigger plans for us than we could ever come up with on our own. When we choose him everyday, life will often look so much different than you ever expected, in a good way. When I realize my selfish tendencies it helps me to surrender to God daily. This dying of self can be painful at times. The death of my Mom greatly shed light on several things in my own life. Habits, thinking processes and even how I communicated and dealt with my emotions were all things God brought to my attention. It was not that I had been doing anything wrong but these things needed refining in me. And I am so thankful!


I am thankful I listened to him in those moments because I would not be here today sharing this blog. My fear of being fully myself around others is slowly melting away. Too often I let the worries of ministry, family members, friends, and even strangers keep me from being fully honest in my writing. There was always this desire in me to speak the truth but I often let the opinions of others keep me from writing them out. God is so gracious to us in moments like these. He is so patient.


He knows what is best every time. His timing is also perfect. Usually, the dreams and plans we thought we would have, take a much different turn because he wants more for us than we ever could do for ourselves. He loves us so much that he uses everything along our journey to get us to the place we wanted to be all along. That place is directly in his will, having gone on a miraculous, love consuming journey filled with sorrow and joy. All of the things in this life, the heartache and the pain are all worth it when you realize that the best place is in full surrender, laying your life into Gods hands. Because once you do that a whole new world is opened up to you. It is beyond description. In giving up of yourself, dying to your selfish ways, you gain everything.


I see many holding on to other things. People gravitate to sex, money, food, fads, and even double lives. The death of my Mom has shown me this more. I have seen how some choose to hold on when letting go is actually much healthier. This is a process for each of us in life. Too often we try to hold onto our life when the greatest freedom and joy is in letting go and bowing before God. We are not promised tomorrow. We do not deserve the grace God gives us everyday. We do not deserve such patience when our sin splatters over everyone in our lives. And if you think you are good at hiding it, or justifying it, think again. The foolish ones never know how evident it is to those around them. And all of us have been foolish in our lives. We were just too prideful to take a serious look at ourselves at the time. We thought that by controlling our own lives, we could achieve everything we ever wanted or at least be able to hide our own sinful, dark secrets.


But one thing that I never fully connected until many years ago, is that dying to self means that you must be willing to give up everything in your life, even what you considered good and maybe even godly. This includes your dreams. Too often I would hold onto certain dreams and expectations of how my life would go because I assumed that I did not need to give these up as well. This reality came crashing down on me when I married my husband. Marrying Jeremy was a huge dream come true! It was not my original dream of what I thought getting married would look like. In fact, I ate a lot of my own words because I never realized the power of God unifying two hearts together after a complete transformation had taken place in both of our hearts. For this I am thankful.


But I never knew that marrying Jeremy would mean that I would lose one of the most precious relationships to me. I never realized that others would hate Gods truth and unifying love between two hearts so much in my life. I never realized until after several years of going without this relationship that I tried to hold onto the dream that this person was going to be my confidant, and best friend for life. See, my dream looked a lot different than it has actually been like. Even though this lack of relationship still breaks me to pieces, and I cry often about it, I would not trade the life that God has given me. Because I know and trust that God loves me and loves to reconcile relationships every day, I have hope that the dream I let go for this relationship (yet fought to keep for so long), will one day be so much better than I ever thought possible, because instead of my dream, it will be Gods dream for us. In the waiting I still get to enjoy love and joy in its fullest measure because I chose God and he gave me one amazing husband!


I have to apply this hope to so many other dreams in my life. And it is with this that I choose to begin the year 2015: Never losing hope for the desires that God has placed in my heart, knowing that one day, everything will come together so much better than I ever imagined, despite the pain and heartache along the way. This is how I begin 2015.


Thank you God for 2014. Thank you for loving me so much that you desire me to change and grow and thrive even though it can be excruciating at times. Please continue to give me the strength I need to continue on without giving up hope. Thank you for the joy you give everyday when I choose you.

Thanksgiving: Beauty Amidst Sorrow

Thanksgiving has come and gone. I will be perfectly honest with you and tell you that for me, the anticipation of the Thanksgiving Holiday was much more difficult than the actual day. Questions would go through my mind about how we were going to be able to handle the day without our Mom. Initially, Mom and Dad were not going to be able to be a part of Thanksgiving this year due to serving in Dominica. But it was the reality that we would never have this day with Mom as a part of it that created such turmoil. I cried everyday prior to Thursday. I would wake up in a deep sadness and go to bed with a similar ache. But Thanksgiving morning came and I was doing much better than I had anticipated.


There was joy in being able to pick up our 6-year-old daughter knowing that we were going to bake in the kitchen together. Some of my fondest memories with my Mom were in the kitchen. Not every Mom or woman in the kitchen would do such a thing. The kitchen for my Mom was a place of love not a place of ownership. Because these times with her were so precious, my dream was to do the same with my daughter. And I have to say that this year it was so healing for us to bake pumpkin pies. My daughter would ask me, “Did Grandma Carrie teach you this?” and I would reply, “Yes, she did. And that is why I want to teach you.” Her eyes would light up and she would smile from ear to ear.


It is moments like these that help all of us to be able to grieve in a healthy way.


Thanksgiving week seemed to be a refining time for my heart. The past several months have presented challenges and other heartaches. God has somehow increased his measure of love within my heart for others, especially those who have hurt me during this journey. I know that there are many who simply say things because they do not understand. But there is such a thing as empathy and compassion for others who are grieving and doing their best to work through the grief while living their lives. This Thanksgiving God was able to bring me around full circle. He helped me to realize that most often, those who inflict pain upon others have hidden wounds and pains themselves. This is not a new fact for me. But God gave me a deeper understanding of such things.


God has been teaching me so much about the hurting. Because of what I have been experiencing through my own journey of grief, God has been helping me walk others through similar pain. I never would have these new tools and insights had I not been on this journey. There can be so much beauty amidst such sorrow.


My Mom was an amazing gift. She graced this earth with obedience and love to God that many would never be willing to give simply because of their own selfishness. Through her death, we saw the ultimate sacrifice. Even though there is pain in the separation, there still is so much beauty.


Having made it through Thanksgiving, gratefulness overflows out of my heart for God. He has blessed us so much. He has taken care of us in our time of need. He has given us many more moments with our Dad whom, had things gone differently, would still have been serving on the island of Dominica. God continues to reveal through our mess that life is still so beautiful!


There is so much to be thankful for.


Thank you God!


We love you!