Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Travel Bug

As I've mentioned before, I am a huge fan of missions. At some point in my life I think God will send me over seas somewhere because of my passions for the hurt, suffering, and the misunderstood. I like to think of it as my big adventure of following God and serving Him.

The hardest part is that I want to go right now and I know God hasn't put the place or time on my heart, so I must wait. It seems like I do a lot of that. But maybe we grow most while in the wait, learn things before taking flight with God. Learning to trust His timing and not our own. I was listening to a radio show the other day and someone shared some great wisdom on the subject. He said a lot of people have destination disease. Which means people think happiness is "over there". That the grass is greener on the other side. How easy it is to have this mentality! Sometimes it is the case that moving somewhere else is better. But often we just think we would be happier somewhere else. For me that would be in a house on the beach... preferably in another country... maybe in the Caribbean... :] Big dreams huh? But the man on the radio pointed out something that spoke a lot to me. He said, "No matter where you are... there you are." If we aren't happy with ourselves where we are now that isn't going to change if we move else where. Other people can add to our happiness immeasurably but being with someone, marrying someone, or moving somewhere doesn't in itself make you happy. It is a choice. Choose to love who God created you to be!

So this summer God has been teaching me that no matter where I am, He has lives to impact through me! Even though I would like to be doing missions in a different country or my dream of living on a beach, doesn't mean now is the time. Even in little Middlebury Indiana, or as I like to call it "Mayberry", He has good plans. Plans to impact and change lives!

So if you are having the travel bug or destination disease, remember to seek Gods impeccable timing beyond you own wants. He knows the desires of your heart. He loves you!

I use this verse all the time but it is so applicable to my days my weeks and my years and yours too!

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chase God's Dream

Yesterday someone close to me spoke this into my life.

It was concerning me and what I am currently doing with my life.
The dreams I am trying to chase with the help of God.
I have so many creative outlets and such that I'm starting to feel like I'm in a tangled mess.
Too much to do, too little time.
That quote made me think.
What am I trying to make happen that isn't really God's PURPOSE for my life?
What is my purpose?
I can't be Martha Stewart and do it all.
You know, the blogging, the mom duties, helping friends, serving at church.
More importantly all my business adventures.
I've come to realize that all of my outlets are great and God given abilities and open doors BUT the enemy can start using them to distract you from God's purpose.
Figure out what dream God has for you and quit trying to force your own dream.
You will flourish so much better and be happier when you are in God's will.

Monday, July 21, 2014

authentic faith

Authentic faith.

What is it? Do you have it? Do I?

Is your faith real? Is mine?

Do you absolutely believe in His Word? His truths? His promises? Do I?

These are all questions I can battle on a daily basis & honestly, on a circumstance basis.

Is my God bigger than my problem & situation? Do I believe He can conquer it and help me through it? Do I trust Him enough to help me through it? Do I believe that His plan is better than my own?


Doubt arises & I question my faith. So is my faith authentic?

I believe that authentic faith is more than just saying you believe, it's a movement. An action to your belief.

When we start rooting ourselves in the Word, our behaviors, our words, our actions start reflecting that authentic faith. My behavior overwhelmingly flows from what I believe deep down. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What Is Hope & How Do We Find It?

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  Hebrews 6:19

I would imagine you've not only heard this verse but seen an image with an anchor and this verse recently!  Not only is it trendy but also wonderfully encouraging.  But what does it really mean for us?

Hope is our anchor because it keeps our eyes fixed on God.  Because we hope in His promises, we aren't drifting around, tossed about by the sea of life with no real confidence of what's to come.  Even when things in our lives are frustrating or painful we know that he will deliver us in his timing with his powerful grace.  And we wait in hope for him, knowing that one day we will live with him in heaven where there is not more pain, no more tears, no more illness or disappointment. 

Psalms 33:18-22 says: But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.  We wait in hope for the Lord; In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  May your unfailing love rest upon us, oh Lord, even as we put our hope in you.

I think as humans we have been disappointed by someone or something that we have put our hope in so it can be hard to really place our hope fully on God.  So how do we find this hope in our lives?  Reminding ourselves of his truth constantly.  We have to know his word and his promises and make a habit out of speaking God's truth to ourselves.  This gives us hope!  There's a song I really like because it speaks his truth.  It's from the Passion album featuring David Crowder, titled "Here's My Heart." The lyrics say:
Here's my heart, Lord Speak what is true
I am found, I am Yours, I am loved, I'm made pure
I have life, I can breathe, I am healed, I am free
You are strong, You are sure, You are life, You endure
You are good, always true, You are light breaking through
You are more than enough, You are here, You are love
You are hope, You are grace
You're all I have, You're everything
(Please ignore the ad in the beginning!)

So you guys, I encourage you to find out what the truth is about who you are in the Lord and who he is in our lives and meditate on that.  Speak it to yourself and to the Lord and let it be the hope that anchors you in this life, that gives you encouragement and a reason to keep going.  (And never forget we are here to pray with you if you are struggling to find hope or believe in God's promises for you.  Message us here or on Facebook!)

Lots of love,

Thursday, June 26, 2014

God's To-Do List

I am [somewhat] of a Type A personality. I say "somewhat" because I only have so much motivation to work as hard as Type A's like to work. I like organization and control. I have good intentions in getting things completed, but the motivation sometimes is lacking. But… I do love a good list. One of my favorite things is a blank piece of paper and a pen. Lists of groceries, to-dos, projects, packing lists. You name it, I'll make it into a list.

Lately I feel like God has some lists for me. A list of things He'd like to me study in His Word. Books I have laying on my shelf that He knows I would benefit from spiritually. Fruits of the Spirit that He knows I need to work on (like patience!). A list of heavy prayer requests, people to lift up, health and healing to pray for. Characteristics He knows I need to better myself on in marriage, like respect, service, and holding my tongue. As a family, we're also looking for a new church home. Which means starting new friendships, and hopefully long lasting ones that will benefit our spiritual lives. But where do I begin? Which list do I start?

When I feel like God is about to make big changes in my life or challenge me spiritually and deepen my growth… that's when I start reacting more emotionally (good and bad) in my every day life. I become more impatient with my almost 2 year old son, losing my temper and yelling. I am quicker to interrupt my husband with my ideas and opinions instead of patiently and quiet listening to the important things he has to say. Worry and doubt sneak their little sly thoughts into my head, and eventually I start to dwell on them more. This is when I stop and realize that God is about to do something awesome. Our Enemy is using, and will use, every war tactic he possibly can so that no growth in Christ can happen. Our minds are battlefields between the Holy Spirit and Satan. I have to press forward with the Truth of the Word of God in my mind, apply it to my life, and let it sink into the depths of my heart.

I don't always know what part of my life God wants to work on, but I do know that some of the main things on His to-do list for me include pressing forward and persevering in Him. If I am consistently studying His Word, then those truths will become more and more a part of my thought life and belief system. If I am not in His Word and not in prayer, then how will I ever hear from Him or feel His leading in my life?! It starts with the Word of God, the Bread of Life. When we start to apply that knowledge into our everyday lives, we'll begin to see how God can work on us. Just today I was very angry at my son at lunch time for throwing his food. I took him upstairs for an early nap, which he was not happy about… but I needed time away from him. He had a hard time falling asleep so I laid down in his bed with him, only a few minutes later to find ourselves full out laughing at each other. I prayed for patience when he was throwing his food, and God relieved my anger through that laughter with my son. The Bible teaches me to be patient and kind. The Bible also teaches me to pray and ask for help when I need it. Because I have taken the time to study the Bible, this knowledge is in my mind. So I applied it to my specific situation, asking Jesus to intervene in my emotions. Jesus not only relieved my anger, but reminded me about how good laughter can be. And how when I ask for something I need, He will give it in His time, and in His way.

You may feel like God has a lot of things to work on in your life. You may even feel overwhelmed because you don't know where to start. Understand that by prayer and petition, we are to present our requests to God - and to do it with thanksgiving in our heart. Think about what may be on God's to-do list for you - dig into the Word and find how God will speak to you on how He wants you to grow. Then apply that to you everyday life - the knowledge and love of Christ, deep in your heart, transforming your life for Him.

Monday, June 23, 2014

a community: where we thrive

I've always loved having a lot of friends. I had groups & groups of friends throughout high school & college. I had a few really good friends, seasons of "best friends", but as I got older I realized who my true friends are, my real best friends. I love them. And I couldn't do life without them & I will fight for them & our friendship until the end. 

But community, that's still important. It's so easy as we get older to become unattached from community. We are no longer in school & we enter into this huge world. A world where I sometimes struggle to find others around me wanting the same thing I do. 

In school, I feel like everyone searched out for friends. In this busy world, I feel like no one searches out for friends. And maybe that's a bold statement, but when you go to Target are you looking for friends? When you go grab coffee are you looking for friends? When you are out to dinner with your husband are you looking for friends? I do not. 

So how do you make friends? I live 2000 miles away from my best friends. I've lived here for a little over 4 years now. You know how I met people? The internet. 

I've met several girls, Julie, being one of them, where we do Bible studies for the past few years & traveled to see Beth Moore. They've become apart of my community here. 

2 resources that I absolutely love are the Influence Network and Thrive Moms. Influence Network you can join & become part of forums & a community group. One of my absolute favorite things is that they offer online classes each month. They have been an absolute blessing. Thrive Moms just launched a network called Thrive Local. It is brand new & there are spots all throughout the US to join a community. And it's a community where you can meet in person. 

Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.

I'll be honest, I love staying in my home & not getting out. I am a hermit, a homebody. I just love being in my own home. But God has spoken to me on multiple occasions that I need to get out. He put me here in the middle of California for a reason. And that reason may be as simple as encouraging another believer in this community. To love on them. 

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them. 

How powerful is that? Come together in unity, in community. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

God Speaks

Today I feel like sharing a personal story about what God has done and is doing in my life.

I suppose I'd better start out by giving some background! Sometimes I know things before they happen or I know when something is right. You must be thinking "wow this girl is psychic" or maybe "she is nuts". But no! Well I can be a little nuts sometimes but that is besides the point;] Anyway I am nowhere near psychic. You may call it a gift of prophecy or something but I just say that my Holy Spirit senses are tingling. Let me give you an example in case I've befuddled you.

About six to eight months ago I got a call from my boyfriend saying he talked with some organizations about doing work in other countries around the world. There were several opportunities that arose and for awhile he didn't know which trip to go on. Well I prayed and almost right away I felt a peace about one in particular. I knew he would go on this trip and what do you know.. just this week we took him to the airport and sent him on this journey. See I knew it would all work out even before he did! I think God spoke to me in this way so that I would have peace about him going, which I still do and so that I could support him and encourage him. It was like I already knew things would work out and so when road blocks came up and he didn't think he would be able to go I made sure I was right there for him!

God speaks to me often in this manner for more long term things. Another example is about two years ago I know I'd work at the same place one of my parents did for my first job. Mind you, there were no openings at either place when God revealed this to me. So December 2012 rolled along, I graduated high school, still no openings. I waited 3 months and guess what, I started working with my mom.

And one more example for you is that about three years ago I found out God didn't intend for me to go to college... NOT in my plans. I had ALWAYS thought of myself going to college, all of my friends would be. Well I followed His will and haven't gone. I don't know all the reasons for his wanting me to stay home but I have a great job, have grown closer to my family and am doing volunteer work at my church and right now all this is enough. Gods will is enough.

Sometimes I don't completely know why God does the things he does but I do know when my Holy Spirit senses start tingling I'd better follow it because He has the absolute best plans for me!

I don't know if you all get this feeling from time to time... maybe you 'just knew' your husband was the one you'd end up with. But this is just the way God speaks to me. He knows I listen best this way. So maybe for you it is different and that is perfectly fine! Maybe you are like my boyfriend and he communicates to you through the dreams you have. Or maybe you hear things in the sermons at church or in just God's creation! However you hear God speaking to you, listen!!! He desperately wants to talk to you! He wants the best for you. It may not always be easy, believe me, some things he has revealed to me are not easy but we have to listen!

Obey the Spirit of the Lord!

God Bless!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Galatians 5

I've been taking part in Kristin Schmucker's 31 days of scripture challenge. From the moment I committed to this, God has reminded me to stick to it! I committed to setting my alarm for 6:45am every morning so that I can hopefully spend 30 minutes in solitaire before my little man wakes up. Let me tell you… on the days I didn't set my alarm, I was wide awake at 6:50am. No matter what. God definitely wanted me to dig in and use that time alone in the morning to do it. I chose to read Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians. One chapter a day, digging into the words of truth.

Galatians chapter 5 was one that I could not stop writing in my prayer journal about. There was so much truth a goodness that Paul was speaking to these people and those same truths still hold true in our spiritual lives today. I think I copied half the verses down. Here's some that stood out to me:

"Stand fim, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
This was my reminder that it was always God's intention for us to be free in Christ. That's why he sent his only Son to die a horrific death on the cross for the people he loved. He wanted us to be free. Don't let sin make you a slave. Sin can become chains that imprison you and hold you back from freedom. Break every chain and stand firm so that you are not burdened by sin. Verse 13 also talked about how we are called to be free. And in the notes there it says, "True Christian liberty is not license to sin but freedom to serve God and one another in love."

"In Christ, neither circumcision or uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Galatians 5:6
Back in this day, many people believed that following the law was above all else. But the problem was that many people who followed the law were not right with God in their heart. They thought if they followed the rules then they were fine. Not so… it's a matter of the heart and how we love one another. The notes in my Bible say "Faith is a living trust in God's grace that expresses itself in acts of love." 

"You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" Galatians 5:7
I could probably write a whole post on this. It's so good. Paul says, "You guys… you were doing great in your spiritual life with Christ. You were believing, trusting, hoping, and loving Him. You were running a good race. What happened? Who jumped in front of you and made you stray? Who has caused you to disobey?" I pictured myself running a race, knowing why I was running and who I was running for. Then someone cuts right in front of me and starts telling me all the reasons I shouldn't be running, making me questions why I'm running, making me doubt the truths I have known. My friends… has something or someone cut in front of your spiritual run with Christ? What has caused you to disobey or question the God you're running for?

"Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you'll be destroyed by each other." Galatians 5:14-15
Whoo… there's a warning. The command says to love your neighbor as yourself. That means selfless, servant, love. If we continue to tear each other down, be disrespectful to one another, and compete against one another… they we will be destroyed by one another.

"Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desire what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature." Galatians 5:16
When we choose to live our lives according to the Spirit of Christ and His commands then we are not satisfying our sinful nature, or Satan's desire for us. Our sinful nature is completely on opposite spectrums than the Spirit. When you choose to sin, you choose to disobey God. When you choose to obey God, you defy the Devil. Living by the promptings and power of the Spirit is the key to conquering sinful desires.

And finally… the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

God's Plans far Exceed the Circumstances of the Day

Have you ever heard someone say that the enemy always attacks harder on this things we are working on?

This has been such a reality for me over the past week or so! Going through the study Unglued I have been trying to grasp how I react in certain situations, those unglued moments. And as I have been working through these moments it seems the enemy is just trying to make it even harder on me.

This happens all the time. Not just with me but with everyone. You start trying to work on things in your life and it seems to get harder with every step you make. This is the enemy. He wants us to feel alone and uncomfortable and sad and worn out. 

The reality is though that God is making head way in our lives. Chiseling away the yuck for us to become even better and more like him! 

He has such great plans for us. This is one of my favorite verses because it applies to every area of life and my boyfriend lovingly reminded me of it yesterday.

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."   Jeremiah 29:11

And sometimes those plans are a little scary but Yahweh knows far more than we do and he has a reason and a plan for everything that goes on in our lives. After all the struggles are done we will look back and see some of the amazing work he does through us even in the midst of hardship. We have such a loving, merciful Lord! Let us praise him for the good and the hard because no matter what He's got our backs!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Our Relationship With Love

"...there is no real reality, no full life, outside of the relationship with Love,
because God Himself wraps Himself eternally in relationship; God the 
Father, God the Son, and God the Goly Spirit existing in relationship, an 
encircling dance of communion sweetest.  
God is love - everywhere! everything! - and He can only be love
because He exists in triune relationship...
I can't simply ignore His serenade because I'm unsure, uncomfortable, 
uninterested, thinking I've claimed Christ as my Savior already anyways.
God is relationship and He woos us to relationship and there is nothing
with God if there is no relationship."

Ann Voskamp, 1,000 Gifts

Happy Friday all!  I am just wrapping up Ann Voskamp's book, 1,000 Gifts, and it has been soooo good!  It has brought so much perspective to me on faith and thankfulness and intimate relationship with my Savior.  The quote above struck me because so many times I've believed the lie that "I've claimed Christ as my Savior anyway" and forgotten that I have nothing that really fulfills me outside of real and intimate relationship with Him.  Lord how I've failed to wrap myself up in you even though you constantly pursue me!

Forget about the rules, the traditions, the ideas of how things should be for a moment.  Put aside judgments of what a real Christ follower should look like or sound like or act like for a moment and just BE with the Lover of Your Soul!  Find your peace and your joy in relationship with your Father.  Nurture your relationship with Him like you would with a boyfriend or husband or child.  Spend time getting to know Him.  What is His personality like?  How does He really feel about you?  He will meet you right where you are at and He will fill you like no other on Earth can!  I promise you if you take the time to find your identity in real relationship with the One who created you, your life will change.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How to make time for God when you don't have time

I have a kinda embarrassing confession to make. I guess I always try to lie to myself, but lately, even if the truth hurts I've been searching my own heart and admitting my faults.

I'm terrible at following through with some commitments. I would definitely rather now commit to anything so I didn't have to cancel anything. For example, if I commit to going to my bible study then I don't have time for the homework most days. But, at least I showed up right? Who can blame me? I'm a busy mom, trying to run multiple business and writing on 4+ blogs. It's hard to juggle all those things. Things in which I say "yes" to  way more than I should. I guess I'm not great at time managment either so I rush around last minute to get things done too if I can muster up enough energy to get them done. 5 hour energy shots are a must for me. I'm running on an empty tank lately. Just plain exhausted. So where do I have time for God if I don't even have time for myself? Let alone time for a shower.

Post it notes are perfect for writing scriptures on and spiritual reminders on them. Place them on the mirror so when you are getting ready you can read them. Especially when blow drying your hair!

Make small prayer lists like things and people to pray for.
Scriptures, quotes & anything uplifting.

I personally have a post it note on the dash of my car by the volume knob that says "PRAY."
Everytime I look at it, it reminds me to talk to God. Praise Him, pray in the spirit, thank Him, prayer over circumstances and declare victories!

Seriously ladies, the Bible app is amazing for busy days. Read the daily verse and when you have a minute, grab your phone and read some more. Anytime you have a second meditate on the daily verse!

I use the YouVersion Bible App.

After you put the kids in bed, find an awesome sermon on youtube and lay in bed or take a bubble bath!
You can also read a daily devotional or your bible! If you get the kids on a nightly routine then it is a lot easier to have a few minutes to yourself at night to spend with God.

Remember, He is #1 in our lives! So let's make Him a priority in our busy lives!

Monday, May 5, 2014

craving grace: restoration

For the last few weeks I have been walking through Ruthie Delk's book, Craving Grace.

Now on to restoration. Being restored, restored into the person God intends for you to be. 

We sin. We repent. Then we let God cover us in His grace to restore us. I think this might be the most difficult part. At least for me personally. 

Sinning seems to be the easiest part. When we don't abide in God's way but our own. We then recognize our sin and repent and turn away. Then we look to Jesus to wash that blood stain away and cleanse us white as snow. 

But do you ever feel guilty? Like you are not good enough to be cleansed of your sins? I know I do. I struggle with this immensely. This is when you need to speak truth over yourself. Stop believing the lie the devil is putting in your head. 

Take that guilt to the Lord because loved one, you are worthy. Worthy of His grace. 

Let Him restore you. 

Restoration breeds hope, joy, and freedom. It's the promise that one day, in spite of my circumstances or my pain, God will make all things new. -- Ruthie Delk

Do not fear. Do not fret. You are good enough. He has redeemed you. 

Isaiah 43:18-19 -- Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

You have repented, forget the former things that held you back. Do not dwell on your sin. But trust in God to let Him RESTORE you and do HIS NEW thing. 

What is holding you back from receiving His restoration?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

To Love, To Help, To Serve

Let me share something with you... maybe you can relate.

I don't like to do dishes. I don't like to sweep or mop. I don't like dusting. And I really don't like cleaning bathrooms. Laundry, vacuuming, picking up toys... I can handle.

I love preparing to get organized. Creating cleaning charts, keeping my calendar up to date, creating a home command center. But I don't always follow through. I have my organized piles. Most of the time I know where right where to find things. I have great motivation. But my actions aren't really intentional. My husband wishes I was a little more intentional in my actions and not just my the motivation in my head.

I am a "stay-at-home" mom. I use that term lightly because it just means that I don't have a full time job working for another company outside the home. I am a wife, a mom, a maid, a cook, a personal shopper, etc. But I am home almost all day. There are errands to run, grocery shopping to do, some yard work, laundry to start, continue, fold and put away, floors to sweep, mop, and vacuum, shelves to be dusted, bathrooms to clean, dishes to be done, meals to be prepared, a Thirty-One business to keep alive, and OH YEAH... and a year and a half old son to take care of, teach, play with, feed, and put to bed. A stay-at-home mommy is a busy, rewarding, hard job. It's hard to keep up with everything that is required - it's hard to do it with a right heart sometimes too. BUT - it's a privilege I (we) chose, and therefore I need to work my hardest at it.

My husband - wants, needs, and appreciates a clean house. After a long day at work, he wants to walk in the door and spend quality time with his family. Not quantities of time cleaning. It shows him that I respect him when our home is clean. And as much as I "get that"... I'm not very good at helping fulfill that area of our marriage. I argue with it, I give excuses. Yes, we can all be realistic and admit it's not always possible to walk into a clean house, especially when you have young kids at home. But I should still be trying my best, with a right heart and pure intentions, to be that helper for my man and meet his desires and love languages. Even if I don't understand them. Why... because I promised to love, cherish, and help him. Your relationship should be a priority above all others.

Here are some biblical principles for marriage:

  • God created wives to be helpers to our husbands (Genesis 2:18)
  • God commands wives to respect our husbands (Ephesians 5:33)
  • God commissions our husbands to be leaders of the home (Ephesians 5:22-24)
Sometimes these are tough truths to handle and it requires some humbling in our selfish, independent hearts. Sometimes we are so quick to lead our men, boss them, and criticize them. In Courtney Joseph's book, Women Living Well she writes, "God desires that they (our husbands) be servant leaders, but whether they are actually doing that should make no difference as to our attitude of being their helpers."

She suggests three simple concepts when it comes to helping your husband.
1. Know your husband. Know what he likes and what he doesn't. Help him when he asks, without questioning him. Always have an attitude of helpfulness. Look for ways to meet his needs.

2. Do not compare your husband to your friend's husband, your brother-in-law, or your pastor! Your husband is your husband and he is unique. Don't expect him to be anyone else besides who God has called him to be.

3. Do not wait for your husband to "deserve" to be helped. Do what is right no matter what he is saying or doing. Have the right heart and attitude.

So today I challenge you - wives - work hard at whatever you're doing with a humble, right heart. Whether you understand what your husband is asking of you or not, choose to love him for him and to show him you respect him.  Respect is an attitude of the heart that will be displayed in our actions. Be a servant leader, a support system, and a helper. Your marriage will be better for it and so will you.

Friday, April 25, 2014

God is in the Darkness

"Trauma's storm can mask the Christ and feelings can lie.
I draw all the hurting voices close and I touch their scars with a whisper:
sometimes we don't fully see that in Christ, because of Christ,
through Christ, He does give us all things good - until we have
the perspective of years.  In time, years, dust settles.
In memory, ages, God emerges.  Then when we look back,
we see God's back.  Wasn't that too His way with Moses?

 "When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and 
cover you with my hand until I have passes by. Then I will 
remove my hand and you will see my back" (Exodus 33:22-23).

Is that it?  When it gets dark, it's only because God has 
tucked me in a cleft of the rock and covered me, protected, with
HIs hand?  In the pitch, I feel like I'm falling, sense the bridge giving
way, God long absent.  In the dark, the bridge and my world shakes, 
cracking dreams.  But maybe this is true reality: It is in the dark that
God is passing by.  The bridge and our lives shake not because 
God has abandoned, but the exact opposite:  
God is passing by.
God is in the tremors.
In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging HIs perfect and right 
will.  Though it is black and we can't see and and our world seems 
to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us, 
I-beam supporting in earthquake.  Then He will remove His hand.
Then we will look.  Then we look back and see His back."

Ann Voskamp
One Thousand Gifts

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Children Dance in Heaven

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. 1 in 8 couples have experienced infertility. I am one. As of this year, we have 3 babies in heaven. Yes... that's some very personal information that I just shared with you. But through each miscarriage, I have learned that God wants me to share my story with others. If I can encourage, be there for, listen to, or support another woman who has been through this, then I will share my story over and over. To God be the glory.

With each of our miscarriages these are the emotions: Fear. Worry. Doubt. Anger. Depression. Lost hope. Why? Why give me hope or excitement just to take it away? What happened? What could I Have done different? And along with these emotional comes what I know in the depths of my heart: I trust you Lord. I have faith.

I don't know why it took so long to get pregnant with our son Miles. But I do know that God has perfect timing. I don't know why God allows me to see a positive pregnancy test, just to lose that hope after a week. Why does He allow me to get excited? I don't know... but someday I might. God has purpose and reason. And while I may not understand His timing, purpose, and reason... I know that it is right and that it is out of love. Yes there is anger, disappointment, fear, sadness. All normal. All natural. I have to allow myself to feel these things again and know that it's okay. I'm allowed to be mad. I'm allowed to be sad and grieve.  Lord, remind me it's okay and acceptable to feel this way. I don't have to hide it or pretend I have it all together.

My prayer is that the Lord teaches me hope again, with no reserve. To trust Him with no boundaries. With every loss I've learned, we've learned, that God's timing is perfect. His purpose and promise for my life is real and I can trust it. I can believe that God is good. 

If you have struggle with miscarriages, infertility, or loss, please know you are not alone. And it is not your fault. If you need someone to talk to, please email me at

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I just recently started the Bible study Unglued with my sister. Unglued. Before starting this study I thought I didn't really have the raw emotions and reactions this book was talking about but boy was I wrong.

The author Lysa Terkeurst uses the best imagery and analogy with Michaelangelos' David. Did you know it took Michaelangelo two years to complete David? It's said he never really even left the room where he was making David during those two years. When asked how he completed the statue Michaelangelo said, " It was easy. I just chipped away the stone that didn't look like David." Doesn't God do similar work in us? He chisels away the raw emotions, failures, that don't look like us. Every day he is chipping, chiseling, and molding us into who he has called us to be.

In the Unglued study guide, Lysa states, "Over time, negative thought patterns can become self-defeating labels that impact how we see ourselves and keep us  stuck in hard places. Instead of seeing our failures as temporary setbacks, we begin to see them as permanent conditions or even as part of our identity." She gives examples such as...

I always mess up.
Things will never get better.
I'll never lose weight.
I'm such a coward.

Are you stuck in a hard place and trapped by weaknesses and your emotions?

Jesus sees you. He is helping chisel you into the best you can be. He knows who you are deep down. He knows the truth, you can't hide from him and he is always there for you! Even Peter had emotions to keep him stuck, Matthew 14: 22-32. You aren't alone, you never are and will never be!

Monday, April 21, 2014

craving grace: repentance

Last week I introduced a book, Craving Grace. I talked about the awareness of sin. This week it's about repentance.

What does repentance look like to you? Repentance is an ongoing battle for me. Sometimes I fight with myself because when I come back to a repeated sin I think to myself.. Didn't I repent of this? Why am I caught up doing it, again?

But I am human. This I must remember. And I also must remember God gives me grace in repeated sins. But striving to do better and be better for Him, to me that is repentance.

The word repentance literally means to turn around. -- Ruthie Delk

In sin, we are acting in our human flesh, satisfying our own desires.
Repenting is turning to the Holy Spirit and relying on His strength to satisfy HIS desires for us.

It means I lean into grace while turning away from the things that have distracted my heart from Him.  -- Ruthie Delk

I love that quote. Sin, everything that distracts us from God. Grace, everything that turns us around back to Him.

This ongoing battle for me also makes me think I falsely repent. And perhaps sometimes this is true, but not always. Sometimes when I feel this way it is just the devil getting inside of my head. But other times are conviction from God that I need to rethink my repentance.

I know that when my heart changes, I truly repented.
I know that when my attitude and behavior changes toward it, I truly repented.
I know that when I see that relationship through Jesus' eyes, I truly repented.

Don't reject repentance. Live in His freedom. He GIVES us freedom and grace if we repent. Make that decision today, walk in freedom. Stop having your own plans. Have HIS plans.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He is Risen!

The angel said to 
the women, 
"Do not be afraid
for I know that you are looking for 
who was crucified. 
He is not here
He has RISEN
Just as He said."

Matthew 28:5-6

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Purpose and Promise

There is a lot of trials, sickness, confusion, and change happening in the lives around me. My 7 year old cousin found out he has leukemia over a month ago. And now his only hope is God and a bone marrow transplant. On top of that his family has to move out of their house in a few weeks. And they need a new van to get them back and forth to the hospital. Our head pastor at our church has had to resign after 25 years at the same church, 10 of them as the pastor. There is change coming, and we don't know what it will look like. 

And yet through all these things, through all the prayer, I hear God say, "Trust me, I have promises to fulfill in your (and their) earthly life (lives). That's why I put you here on this Earth. This is for my glory." Sometimes Christians are so focused on the Lord's returning and going to heaven that they forget there is purpose for their lives here on Earth. Why else would God put you here?! In Beth Moore's book, Believe God, she writes, 

"God has made us promises. Real ones. Numerous ones. Promises of things like all-surpassing power, productivity, peace, and joy… while still occupying these jars of clay."

No matter what you may be going through now, or what you may go through in the future, there is purpose to it. And God has promises for you. The Word of God tells us that He knows the plans He has for us - they are plans to prosper us, to protect us - to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Whatever we go through, God has purpose for. Whether it's to show us a better way, to teach us how to become more like Him, to break down our walls, or to allow our story to affect others for Him. It's all for His glory.

Open your Bible. Read how much God loves us and what He has for your life. Cling to the Word of God. There is TRUTH and POWER in the Word. There is comfort, peace, promises, and solid ground in Jesus' words.

"Nothing keeps the mind sane in adversity like the Word of God.

If you know it, then you know peace. If you've read it, then you know hope. And it you love it, then you know love. You would know that love can heal.

When the waters have breached and flooded the walls of your heart, it's the Word of God that rescues you. 

And when the rhythm of life is out of beat, it's the Word of God that becomes your conductor. And when the earthquake comes to shake you, the Word of God is the pillar you can hang on to.

Our mismanagements, brokenness, and sins are all subject to the Word of God.

They are all subject to love because LOVE CAN HEAL."

Pastor Steve Reynolds
Hope City Church

Monday, April 14, 2014

craving grace: awareness of sin

I am currently reading a book called Craving Grace by Ruthie Delk. Grace seems to be my theme these days. God has been speaking to me so much lately about grace. Wanting more of it, giving more of it, learning more about it, craving it in general.
Grace. Unmerited. Unearned. Not deserved. Not worthy. But yet God gives us this, freely.

We don't deserve grace, but He gives grace, no matter what.

Our identity is based on who He is, not who we are. -- Ruthie Delk

How sweet is that to know? To know that our identity isn't based on what we have done or who we wish to become or who we pretend to be or who we really are. It is based on who He is. What He is. What He says we are.

We are all sinners. Sinners that need grace. Without grace we are enslaved to sin. But Chris sets us free. By grace.

Sin is so much more than just behavior. -- Ruthie Delk

Sin is more than a behavior, it's who we become. We get comfortable in our day to day lives, in sin and we continue in that sinful way. Sin gets rooted into our hearts. And what is in our hearts is who we are truly. It affects more than just our behavior but the innermost parts of us. And that hinders our relationship with Christ.
I read that and thought, wow. Wow. So basically I lose my patience (a sin) with my kids because I do not believe that God is powerful enough to give me more patience. Ouch.

When I become bitter I do not believe that God can give me peace.

When my hormones take over me I do not believe God can help me choose joy.

Where I sin, I do not believe God. I do not believe that He can change me or the situation so I choose selfishly to sin.

I make God small. And He is not. He is more powerful than anything I can encounter and I need to believe and act on that.

Accurate self-assessment is the product of grace. -- Paul David Tripp

Until we see ourselves clearly, we will never understand the sweet gift of grace we have been given. -- Ruthie Delk

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Little of My Story

Hi all!  I feel like I have been absent from you for a while and I apologize.  I've missed sharing what the Lord has been teaching me so let me tell you what's been happening lately!

We (Tiffany, our friend Sybil and I) just completed a study by Jennie Allen titled Restless.  This study blew my world right open and turned it upside down - in a fabulous way!  This study helps us to intentionally begin to recognize the threads in our lives that are floating in the breeze so to speak.  Threads are moments in our life that have had an impact on us either positive or negative.  The challenge was to look at these moments and figure out how the Lord has brought us to this point in our lives through all that we have gone through.  This book met me right where I was at.  Over the last several months I have been trying to narrow down what it is that my calling is.  What is my purpose?  How does my Father want to use me to impact this world?  I am one of those that wants to do EVERYTHING! If you are a multi-tasker like me with a broken heart for the lost and the hurting, it can be easy to jump from one ministry to the next without actually developing and growing in the area where the Lord has called you to be.

About 13 years ago at the age of 18, I went through the darkest period in my life.  I was dealing with a very difficult betrayal in my family and my world as I knew it was falling apart.  I strayed from the Lord for a while as I sought to drown my pain however possible.  Through counseling and support from my friends and family, I began to work through my pain.  Over the course of a few years, the Lord healed myself and my family in a way that is nothing short of a miracle.  The enemy could have used that very dark experience to break me - and he almost did.  But my God is so much bigger than that and out of that experience has been born in me a desire to help families struggling in the same way we did.  I told the Lord a few years ago that however He wanted to use me and my story to help others, I would do it.  For a long time I felt the urge to write out my story.  I had told it in many different forms to different people but wanted to get every single detail out in one spot.  I sat on that idea for a long time.  One morning in church the Lord said to me, "Now Julie".  How do I know it was Him?  It was an undeniable voice and it seemingly came out of nowhere... I knew I had to sit down and write it out.  I figured I would write it as it came to me and then I'd have to go back and cut and paste to make it all flow and make sense.  After three separate sittings at my computer I had gotten it all out.  I sat back and read it and it was perfect.  Right there in front of me was my story in the perfect order with all of the details just as I wanted them.  How did that happen?!!  I knew what I needed to do next... I needed to send it to someone.  I sent it to a few of my close friends and then I sent it to my pastor.  I said in my email to him that I was just being obedient to the Lord and if he could think of any way my story could be useful then to let me know.  A week later he emailed me back and said that they were preparing to film some testimonies on relational healing for an upcoming sermon but the lady they had in mind had backed out.  He asked if I would like to share a little bit of my story.  I was scared but I agreed.  My church is a large one with a congregation of about 2000 including all of the services.  On the day my testimony was shown in service I had my whole family sitting next to me in support.  I know that what I had to say was powerful and that lives were touched.  Since that day a few years ago, I have had several people find me and ask me to speak.  I have never sought out any speaking opportunities!  I have only been obedient to say yes when they ask.  I almost chicken out every time I'm about to speak!  But, I refuse to let the enemy stop me from using what he intended as destruction, to bring life to others who are hurting.

All that being said, I'm now at a point where I know I need to take the next step in reaching people.  For a long time I've had an idea in the back of my head that I've been sitting on.  A couple of weeks ago during a rare quiet moment with the Lord (I've got small kids, believe me those moments are hard to come by!), the Lord said to me again, "Now Julie."  I knew it was time and I feverishly started writing notes.  My dream right now is to write a curriculum and start a support group for girls who went through what I went through 13 years ago.  I've searched and found nothing quite like it anywhere yet.  I've learned through our study that when something is God's will, it's most likely not going to be mapped out cleanly in front of us.  We most likely won't be able to see the big picture.  We need only to take one step at a time in faith that God will lead us.  So I am taking one step at a time, and I'm excited!  I didn't think this would be a big project or one that would require much of my time in the future, but in another moment of clarity the Lord said to me, "How do you know?"  I've twice found myself putting God in a box regarding this project.  The reality is, I don't know how the Lord's going to use me, I know only that He's called me and that's good enough for now.   I'm learning to not rely so heavily on my need to plan everything to a T but rather say, "What's next God?" And then take the next step.

I'd love to keep you updated on how this goes.  Part of my purpose for writing this post is so that I can look back and say, wow, look where I was 6 months - a year ago!  Would you ask the Lord what the next step is for you?  I guarantee you were put on this Earth for a VERY specific purpose and I know for many it's a struggle to discover just what that is.  Ask the Lord to remove things in your life that are a distraction from what He really wants you to focus on and if you'd like prayer for this very issue, let us know!  We'd love to partner with you in prayer.

Have a blessed day,

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Lord Has No Equal

I got the rare chance last Saturday morning to have a girls morning. Just me and my best friend talking for an hour at Starbucks then doing some shopping. Before she met me, I sat and read a random Bible passage from Isaiah on my YouVersion Bible App. It was the "Verse of the Day" and I decided to read the whole chapter. Wow - it blew me away! I had to share it with you. We may think the words we speak or write can be powerful or have meaning, but nothing compares to the Word of God!

Isaiah 40:12-31 NLT (portions)

The Lord Has No Equal

"Who else had held the oceans in his hand? Who else has measured off the heavens with his fingers?

Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?

Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who know enough to give him advice or teach him?

Has the Lord ever needed anyone's advice? Does he need instruction about what is good?

Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice?

No, for all the nations of the word are but a drop in a bucket. They are nothing more in dust on the scales.

He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.

The nations of the world are worth nothing to him. In his eyes, they count for less than nothing - mere emptiness and froth.

To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him?

Haven't you heard? Don't you understand?

Are you deaf to the words of God - the words he gave before the world began? Are you so ignorant?

God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!

He spread out the heavens like a curtain and make his tent from them.

He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing. They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff.

"To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?" asks the HOLY ONE.

Look up into the heavens. Who created the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.

Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.

He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.

But those who trust in the Lord will find their strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. 

They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

There's God

I have been wanting to write this post for a while now and have been a little timid because it can be a touchy subject. But here I go! :]

I think many you would agree that lately there has been a lot going on in our world. So many shootings, crime, natural disaster, disease, cancer, etc. It seems never ending. There is always something that seems to be going on in our lives and those around us. I am with you there! But lately I have been reading One Thousand Gifts and God has been touching my heart and showing me the beauty he put on Earth and in people. Yes, there is still A LOT of hurt and pain going on but there is even more beauty in God, His creation, and His love. I got to go outside today and sit on the cement by our pool in sweat pants and a tshirt, sun shining on my skin for the first time in what seems like FOREVER. And in northern Indiana that is a gift :] Considering we spend 75% of our lives under cloud cover here and haven't been able to go outside without freezing for about 6 months!! But I'm not complaining about the lack of sun and warmth, I just enjoy them more when they are around!

To my point... God is blessing us every day ladies! I know there are hard things going on in each of our lives but he desperately wants us to connect with him and see his beauty. Join with me and looking for those specs of beauty, specs of light in our seemingly dark world!

Today mine were sitting outside, seeing spring flowers starting to grow(pardon the fence that got in the photo... :] ), and having a day off work!!! When I took a moment to pause and look at what God wanted me to see, I could appreciate what he was giving me! How about you? have you paused today and seen your blessings?:]

Also I just want to say again I know many of you are going through rough times and this post is not meant to hurt you or make you feel guilty but to help you to know God is still there for you and he still loves you! If there are any of you reading this that need prayer and are having a hard time right now, who aren't able to see God's blessings and you would like someone to pray for you please feel free to comment on this post or contact us on Facebook we would like to pray for you!

Thanks be to God for His gifts!
2 Corinthians 9:15

God Bless and have a great rest of the week:]