Over the years, life has been full of many disappointments and lost dreams with what often has felt like little promise of a turnaround.

If I’m being completely honest, had God given me the insight at 19 of what my journey might have looked like, I’m certain I would have done many things differently. Had I held the foreknowledge of the events that would transpire over the course of my life, I think I might have run the other way from many of the choices I made when I was younger. Yes, those words might sound harsh, but it is in the reality and harshness of life where we find our greatest blessings.

We were never promised an easy road, and I won’t pretend that life is without disappointments and pain. I’ve learned that to share my story and who God is in my story, all the parts; the good, the bad and the ugly should be shared so others can be encouraged and find the hope that can only be found in Jesus. So, the stark reality is this; life isn’t butterflies and roses. When we choose to follow Jesus, we are not handed a “get out of jail free” card and knowing that truth, we need to be there to support, encourage and remind one another of what stands on the other side of our doubts and fears. That there is hope in the but God moments.

But God. He is so good to remind us of where hard roads can take us. For me, He reminds me through the amazing gift of my 5 amazing kids. These five came from a situation I would have never chosen for myself all those years ago had I known the destruction and chaos that would evolve out of many years of dishonesty. However, God uses and continues to use those amazing kids of mine to constantly remind me of His ability to take the ugliest and most painful experiences and turn them into tapestries of beauty that far exceed anything I could create or even imagine on my own (Ephesians 3:20).

His reminders and provisions give me the tenacity to hold on to the unknown because of the confidence I can have in knowing what He’s capable of creating and doing in my life. I’m reminded that this story, my story isn’t finished and that there are many more chapters to be written. And with confidence I can expect that once this season, this chapter, concludes I will once again stand amazed at the way God works in all things when we trust and love Him.

I am aware that the words I have written may sound absurd to many who have made it this far in this post, but the truth is that God can use our most painful situations and turn them into great moments of joy and thankfulness. That as He continues working in our lives, we can discoverer a peace and faith that will transform our lives. Rest assured there will be pain and disappointment, but we can rest in knowing the truth of who He is.

Knowing all I’ve written to be true from my own experiences, I will encourage you to choose to hang on longer and to trust Him more fully. I encourage you to stand guard and be aware of the attacks of the enemy whose plan is to discourage you from trusting and remembering the goodness and faithfulness of God.

Life didn’t turn out the way I would have planned for myself as may be the same for many of you reading, but up to this point, I still wouldn’t choose for things to be any different. God has most definitely blessed me with way more than I could have ever hoped for myself and moved in ways I could have never imagined. So, until this season passes, I will find comfort in knowing that He is faithful and that He will move in mighty ways again! Will you choose the same?

Everything or Nothing

Christianity is free, but it will cost you your entire life. Nobody ever changed the world by living safe.

-Banning Liebscher

Scroll social media and you’ll see post after post about what people think is wrong with the world today. People pointing fingers and blaming people, things, ideas for all that is wrong with the world.  But at the end of the day, this world is the way it is because of sin. Because we all are sinners. Sinners who came into this world full of selfishness and pride.  We weren’t trained to be this way. We were born this way. We were created with the ability to think for ourselves, make decisions for ourselves and do those things we want to do in order to get what we want. No one had to teach us how to live or think that way.

God created us with free will and a whole lot of responsibility to live out our lives but most live a selfish life. Lives focused on self and sin. We want what we want, sin and all, and when we don’t get it, we throw a fit and blame the world around us.

This world is headed for disaster. It is headed for disaster because people have turned away from God. People are choosing sin. People are focused on self, pleasure, and gratification. And we were NOT created for those things.

We were created for a greater purpose. We were created to do great things! We were created for God. We were created to glorify God in all we say and do.

Glorifying God with our lives means giving up everything.  It means total surrender.  To give up our lives means it will literally cost everything. EVERYTHING. But giving up everything means that in return you receive His grace, His love, His forgiveness, an eternity spent with Him and so much more. So much more than you could ever hope or imagine. But free will allows us to choose our own story and own way. But in the end, if that is the choice you make, you will most definitely end up with nothing.

The next time you see another news article blaming some other issue as being the reason the world is falling apart, take a minute, take a breath and pray.  Ask that God would open your eyes to see this world as He sees it and then ask Him to show you the part you play in His story. Ask Him for a heart that sees, loves and speaks His truth and not the “truth” that this world wants us to follow. And be willing to give it all away for something greater!

“That is why He warned people to “count the cost” before becoming Christians. “Make no mistake,” He
says, “if you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what
you are in for. Nothing less, or other, than that. You have free will, and if you choose, you can push
Me away.

But if you do not push Me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever
suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after
death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect—until my
Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased
with me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less.”

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Painted Fences

Words matter. What I might think or call good/beneficial, might be different than what someone else thinks or sees as good. What I believe as bad/sinful may not be bad to another. The banter and disagreements over sensitive topics that many people feel differently yet passionately about is overwhelming. Perspectives based on things such as life experience, spiritual/faith beliefs, or just our own pride, help to shape the way we view the world.

But at the end of the day, we each have the right to decide for ourselves (not everyone else) what our individual belief system will involve. What we in our home may see as good or sinful, may not be how it is seen by others. It does not make you wrong and me right. Instead, it just puts us on opposite sides of the same fence. I may paint my side of the fence blue, while you paint your side red. We’re looking at the same fence just different colors. I’m not going to argue with you to paint your side blue. Even though it is the better color 😉 No. You are free to choose. But your choice will not impact my belief in what I consider as the more beautiful color.

A lot of the issues we see being thrown around are being stirred up by those who do not like that not everyone agrees with their choices, their lifestyle, their attitudes, or words. They want others to agree or be okay with what they are doing or saying or believing. They don’t like thinking that there are people who view certain actions as “evil” or “bad”. So, those who believe their way of thinking is the only way, will then put down and demean anyone who crosses their path and doesn’t agree. It’s interesting to me because many years ago, I was in counseling and listened as the counselor told the other party sitting in the room that they were a smooth-talking person who would take down any individual so as to accomplish their agenda. I often think of that day in counseling as I see this type of personality played out on social media as those individuals work to force their agenda on others no matter the cost.  Anything to accomplish the agenda of painting the fence the color they deem as the correct color. If you are someone who must demean another to get your point across, then maybe there is something not quite upstanding about the statement you are trying to make. What we believe is our personal choice and right but how we display and share that belief should be done with kindness and respect if shared or displayed at all.

Another thought to consider. For those who are called believers or profess to follow Jesus, beliefs and convictions come differently. We start with Jesus. Often in debates, people will bring Him into the argument by saying He has room at the table for everyone. Agreed. I believe He does. But I also know that He turned over the tables in the temple when people did wrong. He didn’t invite them to sit and share a drink. I am then reminded of the woman caught in adultery. He didn’t tell her she was loved and to then go live a happy life. No. He told her to go and sin no more. He accepted her but with a condition. In saying, “Go and sin no more,” He was not speaking of sinless perfection, but he was warning against a return to sinful lifestyle choices. The words He spoke extended mercy yet demanded holiness. He is the perfect balance of “grace and truth”. With His forgiveness comes the expectation that we will not continue in the same path of disobedience and for those who know God’s love, obedience will be the natural course of action. (John 14:15). Unfortunately, that is not the gospel being taught nowadays. It appears instead, we have a teaching that says, “you can sin as you like because God loves you. There are no consequences for sin because love is all we need.” For me, I cannot ascribe to this particular teaching because it goes against what I believe to be true about the bible and the sacrifice Jesus made. But that is between me, and the conviction placed on my heart by the Holy Spirit. That comes from the personal relationship I have with the Holy Spirit and the truths that He reveals to me as part of that relationship. Only He can change that belief in me. Not the arguments of others. Not the put downs. Not the threats or accusations. Only His work in my life will move me to change the paint on my side of the fence should it need changing. That is why beliefs and convictions are different for believers. We each are at a different stage in our walk with the Spirit which means we may not all be on the same page. So, we need to recognize and acknowledge we all are different and act in kindness.  In addition, this world is made up of 7.753 billion people. We are never all going to agree. So that leaves me to ask that you please respect my beliefs as I respect yours. You do not have to agree with what I believe or do, just I as do not have to agree with what you believe or do. We have the right to our individuality. However, though we may differ in those things, I will still choose to love you. Support you. Encourage you. Pray for you. Be your biggest cheerleader. And I can do all those things because you are a human being worthy of respect and love! And that is love!

Peace over Pride

Being that this world is shouting at me how I should think, believe and live, I took the time to sort through all the noise and reflect on my own beliefs. This is what I discovered.

In a world that celebrates pride and uses the rainbow as a way to promote that pride, a symbol given as a reminder of God’s protection, His faithfulness, and a sign of the covenant between God and man, I cannot and will not celebrate pride or any other sin that cost the life of Jesus. I cannot celebrate something that ultimately leads to destruction. Someone said, “by God’s grace, I strive in the Spirit’s power to put my pride to death and one day, my God will put a full and final end to any pride which remains in me.”  Until that day when I see Him face to face, pride will be an ongoing sin I struggle to overcome but not one I will celebrate.

Believers are told in Deuteronomy 6:5 to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” This truth is so important that it was repeated by Jesus (Matthew 22:37). We cannot be focused on pride or sin or the things of this world and truly love God. He should be the priority! Joby Martin explains it like this when he says, “when Jesus is preeminent, when He is before all things, He doesn’t make top of the list. He is the paper on which you write the list so that everything in your world points to Him and Him alone!”  That’s the life I want to live and reflect. A life not based on a religion or a doctrine but a life reflective of an intimate relationship with Jesus. A life surrendered to the Holy Spirit that brings life and peace. A life that demonstrates a love for Him that is so great, that there is no need to fill a void in my life with worldly desires or sin. I know I will never be that person completely on this side of heaven because of my sinful nature, but I will, to the best of my ability, run this race as I have been called while pointing those around me to the true prize, a personal relationship with Jesus and to the Truth of His Word and His Grace.

In our home, we will choose to celebrate His grace, His Truth and His love because it is His grace, His Truth and His love that will win in the end! Today I am thankful for a God who is faithful to His promises and who gave the life of His Son for me. His love is the greatest love I know and the only love I need.

He is the paper on which you write the list so that everything in your world points to Him and Him alone!

““He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). Therefore, “in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Ephesians 1:7). “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43). The cross of Christ declares my depravity, and delivers me from it. The Christian heart is a broken and forgiven heart.

But something else happened when Jesus died. All his people died with him. When we are united to Christ by faith, his death becomes not only the punishment of our sins, but also the death of our sinful nature. Our old, rebellious, selfish, arrogant nature dies. “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

A new creation comes into being. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore, “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Being loved by Christ with self-sacrificing love, and dying to our old selfish nature, shapes us into the image of our heavenly Father: “Be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:1–2).

A new way of disapproving of sin is built into being forgiven, dying to our old nature, and being recreated in Christ. Christians do not stop disapproving of what will destroy people (sin). They start desiring the good of self-destroyers (sinners). Forgiven Christians want others to join them in being forgiven. Hope-filled Christians want others to join them in the hope of glory. Christians rescued at the cost of Christ’s life are willing to sacrifice for the sake of rescuing others.

This includes all others. Our crucified Savior said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27–28). The apostle Paul said, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone” (Galatians 6:10). “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

This love for all others is rooted in, and formed by, the sacrifice of Christ. His sacrificial servant-heart forms ours. Paul put it like this:

In humility count others more significant than yourselves. . . . Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant . . . to the point of death. (Philippians 2:3–8)

Counting others more significant than ourselves does not mean approving of what they feel or do. It means becoming a servant of their forgiveness, their rescue, their Christ-exalting hope. Christians do not bear ill will toward any. We live for the good of all.”

-John Piper

Proverbs 11:2

Proverbs 8:13

Proverbs 29:23

1 John 2:16

Romans 8:5-8

Hurdles, Skinned Knees and Chaotic Greatness

Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely;

never depend upon your own ideas and inventions.

Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish,

and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.

Proverbs 3:5-6

gabbyloveI haven’t written in a while.  Life has been abnormally busy, but busy in a good way.  Between family, school, church and moving a family of 7 there has been little time to process my thoughts let alone write them out.

My head is full of great stuff.  God is doing such mighty things in our family, I often take a step back and ask, “Is this really my life?”  There are moments when I cannot grasp how far I have come in the last few years, however, I wholeheartedly acknowledge that nothing I have accomplished I did on my own.  I recognize God’s sufficient grace has carried me every step of the way.

I just finished my first semester back in college. I finished with three As and a B.  All of that in the middle of my youngest son’s health issues, the senseless murder of a friend, the starting of a small group in our home each week, working with a ministry team, leading a women’s bible study group and moving.  It has been months of chaotic greatest as God has worked to increase my faith and restore the lost years of joy taken.

I often cannot comprehend the greatness of my God and how His powerful love can encourage us to trudge ahead even in the midst of anguish. 

God’s plans for our family remain a mystery, however, I firmly believe He is preparing us for something and we are ready for the challenge.  I realize as I continue through my classes I am constantly reminded of the way in which He will use my story to encourage and comfort other women who have been hurt the way in which I was.  He has given me a passion for the people I once disliked and trusted least in life; women.  After years of superficial relationships which always ended with broken hearts, He has placed women in my life to love me and for me to love all while teaching the significance of true Christian sisterhood.  I am overwhelmed daily by the opportunities He allows in which I can grow.

His constant confirmation of love and grace pushes me to strive harder in letting go of my inhibitions to trust women and open my heart to those who need Him.

I recognize that without God’s love and the love of my remarkable husband and love of my extraordinary kids, I would not be where I am today.  My greatest fan and encourager, my husband supports me in every way while inspiring me to keep dreaming and reaching for the end goal. He is my heart and my rock and to know this type of support and love in a marriage are something I never dreamed possible.  In the end, his love and our marriage prove God’s goodness when we seek to live a life faithful to Him.

The last few months have presented several large hurdles to overcome and though I’ve stumbled and skinned a few knees, God in His sufficiently perfect grace, has given me the strength, wisdom and insight to overcome those hurdles with immense anticipation of what He has around the corner for us.

Be encouraged!  God’s plans are so much greater than our own!  When we trust Him completely and allow Him to lead, He uses our lives to encourage others and point them to His amazing love!  Keep running!  NO matter how significant those hurdles appear, with Him by your side, they are worth the jump, skinned knees and all!




With Love, The Adulterous Woman

waitNot many will understand or know the pain of betrayal that leaves deep wounds created by those we’ve loved as they walk away.  

For me, the wounds created began with the title, adulterer.  Stories were told while the people in my life clutched hold of gossip and walked away.  I patiently waited.

Rumors spread like wildfire.  Whispers full of judgement followed by raised eyebrows brought pain that couldn’t be ignored.  I patiently waited.

The screams of the world yelled fight back.  God said, “Be still.”  

My children cried at the cruelty caused by ignorance.  I patiently prayed.  

From court hearings filled with lies to documents full of untruths, the fire grew tall and the smoke suffocatingly thick.  I patiently waited.

Friend you know the pain.  You’ve sat in that same cold courtroom listening to the words of betrayal.  The feelings of darkness from the other side leave you bewildered and questioning your own sanity. You know the dark filled lonely nights full of tears crying out to God for His rescue.  You too have heard Him say, “Be still and wait.”

Waiting.  The hardest part of waiting when you have been trampled, talked about, lied about, and labeled, becomes that of waiting. The longer the wait, the more you begin to believe the lies and you’re left questioning all you’ve done. The longer the wait, you begin to accept the titles. For me, my title became the adulterous woman.  But God.

Through all the name calling and shunning, I found something.  I found a love like no other. In the midst of pain, I became desperate.  A mighty thirst for genuine community and relationship grew deep within my heart.  I wanted to know the love and loyalty of a true friend. I prayed and patiently waited.

Suddenly, a door opened and a glorious light shined into my loneliness.  As He walked through the door, Jesus wiped away every tear and began mending my broken heart.  As He wrapped me in His arms, enormous love and kindness filled His eyes as He said, “You are MINE.”

This man began picking up every piece of my broken heart and meticulously worked them into something new.  As He worked, He spoke to my broken heart.  “You are my beloved child.”  
How had I forgotten?  

For the first time in too many years, my heart began to beat again as the healing words of His truth and love were spoken into my life. His presence and peace overwhelmed me. He cast aside those “names” given by others and replaced the, with “Daughter of The One True King.” 

You see it is easy to be defined by the words of others.  It is easy to fall prey to the attacks of the enemy as he works to discourage and torment leaving us to forget our true identity.  

It is easy to forget that sin is sin.  Gossip, lies and betrayal. No one is without sin and no amount of “good works” makes us any better than another. The enemy points to our sin and calls us failures but Jesus redeems and calls us His own.

So from one sinner to another and who has been redeemed and restored, take the childish playground name calling and untold truths in stride. Don’t allow it to define you.  Remember who you are and to Whom you belong.  He knows every heart and every thought.  He knows what has happened behind closed doors.  He knows every ounce of pain and every tear that has fallen. He will rectify all the wrong that has been done.  He makes all things new because His mercies are new every morning.  

Wait patiently and trust His timing.  Allow Him to fight for you because in the end, I can promise you, He will give back to you all that was taken and so much more. When we walk with Him and choose good over evil, we win! Just have faith my sweet friend ❤

With Love,

Daughter of the One True King

“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Exodus 14:14

A New Identity, A Pair of Broken Wings and One Great Hope

ghwI accept that many will never understand the pain others suffer. I accept that unless some things happen to you personally, it’s hard to acknowledge the hurt it causes to others. Sometimes we need to take a step back, stop debating and realize that people are hurting. Suffering. They need to be rescued. They need to know that someone cares and loves them. They need their broken wings healed. They need HOPE. Will you visit Give Her Wings and offer someone hope?


Seven years ago, writing became a big part of my life.  I did not know the purpose or reason at the time but God did.  He was aware of my impending storm and prepared me for the road ahead.  

If you have never dealt with divorce, it is hard to understand the emotions involved and even harder to relate.  There is so much pain from feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, feelings of betrayal, fear and hurt that never seem to end.  For me, except for my parents and siblings as well a dear friend who lived two minutes from my home, I was alone. My church, my closest friends and my extended family abandoned me.  At a time when love and support were needed, I found none. It was not only lonely but scary.
After the trials and storms, He has given me a place and a purpose to be for others what I did not have. By sharing His love, His grace and His hope, I can help women who are not just suffering from the loss of their marriage but struggling to find their “new” identity.
Throughout the last few years I have encountered many women whose experiences were much like mine.  Recognizing their pain and being aware of how much it happens, leaves me with a great desire to offer encouragement to those hurting.  I want them to know they are not alone and they have a great HOPE.
Several months ago, I commented on a Facebook post of a friend. That same day I received a friend request from someone I did not know who had also left a comment.  Because we had several mutual friends I accepted and God began a work. Little did I know the way He was working, orchestrating a new journey for me.

As I visited the profile of my new friend, I discovered that my beautiful new friend Megan and her husband are part of an incredible ministry, Give Her Wings.   While reading about this ministry, their mission and purpose left me overcome with gratitude. The mission:  Helping to give specific mothers who have left abusive situations a chance to get on their feet…to breathe…to heal their broken wings and fly free again.   Being one who understands and is passionate to serve those women who are left to start over, I wanted to help.  I wanted to do what they were doing but I was only one person. I didn’t even know how to start such an undertaking.

Time passed but the feelings grew stronger. It took time for me to recognize the nudging of the Holy Spirit to contact Megan.  I didn’t know what to say but began by sharing my story and the desire to be a part of this amazing work God was doing through them. Much to my surprise my message was met with such encouragement.  God opened doors and made it clear that this ministry, Give Her Wings, was where He wanted me.

Less than a month ago I received a special gift in the mail that touched my heart. Megan has written an amazing book also titled Give Her Wings.  This incredible book brought so much healing as the words spoke such truth and love as well as encouragement. It was filled with clarity, compassion and hope and helped to free me from the struggle of guilt I often experience. It is a great resource filled with practical advice for mamas searching for answers in what can be such a dark journey while giving excellent and much-needed advice and wisdom to those walking alongside those dealing with abuse. It is a much needed resource for an area that is greatly lacking in many churches and one every pastor should read. To learn more about her book or to pick up a copy for yourself, click here.

So if you have made it this far into this post I have something for you to consider.  Right now as you are reading, someone’s name has probably come to mind. Someone in your life is dealing with a struggling marriage or with abuse.  With that said, I would like to ask something of you because there is something you can do.

First, you can pray. Whoever God has placed on your heart, say a prayer. You don’t need details because God knows. Realizing the struggle is more than enough.  It simply takes a minute to pray. Mamas and their babies (even the husbands) who are dealing with this battle need to be covered in prayer. These families need to be loved on and shown that they are not alone.  And we can intercede on their behalf by lifting them up in prayer.

My second request is for you to visit the website Give Her Wings. The purpose of Give Her Wings is to raise gifts and money for mothers who have left abusive situations. Oftentimes, when a woman leaves an abusive marriage, she narrowly escapes with little more than her children and the clothes on her back. Give Her Wings desires to do all they can to help specific mothers who are living in very poor conditions presently.  Once there you can read more about the ministry as well blog posts and updates on mamas who have been helped. There is also a place to donate and support the ministry as well as nominate a mama you may know who needs help.

There is so much hurting in our world.  So many people left without hope. People need to be reminded of our mighty God who loves and longs to walk alongside them through the darkest storms in life.  To know that we, the Church, are here to love and walk with them. We need to be the light. We need to be on mission.  We are called to care for those around us who are hurting and in need.

Help me take the first step in making a difference. Visit GiveHerWings.com and see what part you can play in the lives of those who need our help to heal their broken wings and fly free again.  Thank you in advance for your help as we make a difference in a world that often can be dark.

Can I go anywhere apart from you Spirit?

Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence?

If I go up into Heaven, You are there.

If I make my bed in the realm of the dead, You are there.

If I ride on the wings of morning,

if I make my home in the most isolated part of the ocean,

Even then You will be there to guide me;

Your right hand will embrace me, for You are always there.

Even if I am afraid and think to myself, “There is no doubt that the darkness will swallow me,

the light around me will soon be turned night,”

You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.

For You the night is just as bright as the day.

Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.

Psalm 139:7-12

A Broken Angel, a Shattered Heart and a Beautiful Christmas Miracle

angelConstantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Living in a state of anxious thoughts that God can’t bless me.  I cannot be this happy.  I am divorced. My home is broken.  God is angry with me.  He doesn’t want me.

Because of a bad decision, a sin I committed at the age of 15, I lived many years dealing with the consequences.  I also lived believing God was angry with me and had no true purpose for my life.  I lived my life wanting to serve Him and did so in hopes of gaining His approval. Wanting His love. But never feeling worthy.  I felt my life could not be used because of my sins.  My past haunted me daily.

Almost six years ago I embarked on a journey down a very dark path that drew me closer to Jesus.  As I was cast out by a church and turned away by friends and family, I learned what following Jesus truly meant.  I learned how to listen to His voice and follow His leading.  For the first time, I embraced His love and understood and accepted His grace.

When you make a choice to go against the beliefs and advice of others and hold fast to what you know to be true, you expose yourself to great challenges.  Defying another, especially a pastor, leaves you vulnerable to enormous ridicule and loneliness.  When you make a choice to follow the Holy Spirit as He leads, you don’t always win the favor of those around you.  

That was me.  I had spent hours and hours upon my knees in prayer.  Praying for so many things.  Looking for answers.  Looking for change.  When the Spirit began moving in my life and I stood up against those who attempted to manipulate me into following their voice, I faced severe consequences.  But those consequences changed my life forever and grew my faith in ways I never thought possible.

I was left totally on my own.  My church, my friends and certain family abandoned me.  They cast me aside.  At the time, it was devastating.  It was heartbreaking. But now it has become one of the greatest blessings and lessons in my life.

God taught me to trust Him in all things.  Even when it seemed all hope was lost and I felt like I was sinking, He was there.

When you are dealing with storms, often through the darkness, God parts the clouds and gives you a beautiful glimpse of His love.  In dark moments He reveals to you those things or people in your life you need to separate yourself from but also those you need to pull closer.  He provides when all hope feels lost and emptiness is overwhelming. I experienced those moments. They became precious and intimate gifts from my Heavenly Daddy as He made His presence known in my life.

When the gossip spread that I was running from God, having an affair, and had walked away from my faith, He intervened and revealed Himself in mighty ways.  From simple messages from those who loved me to finding bags of groceries at my front door, His presence was undeniable.  From each verbal attack from those who questioned my character and made me doubt myself, God spoke into my heart and reminded me I was His and He had great plans for me. Though others walked away, His presence never left me.  His arms were always there to hold me up as He embraced me with His love.

The past couple of years have amazed.   God has blessed and provided for my children and me in more ways than I can write in one post.  But this Christmas He sent me a precious reminder. Many months ago, my daughter broke something of mine that was very special to me.  It was something from my earlier life that held a significant place in my heart. It had served as a reminder of God’s faithfulness through my trials and storms.  The day it broke, my heart shattered.  But God.

On December 1, 2012 God gave me the most wonderful blessing I had in many years.  He gave me my husband. Some know our story, others have formulated their own version but to summarize, we were two broken people, God redeemed and gave to one another.  My husband is my dream come true.  This Christmas God used him to remind me of His restoring love.

Unbeknownst to me, but not my boys, my husband had collected the pieces of my broken angel and was determined to repair the damage. He spent months gluing back the many broken pieces. Each time I left the house (which was rare) he would pull out those pieces working to repair what I had lost.  Behind the scenes he worked to restore the brokenness.

On Christmas morning, as I pulled the angel out of the bright red bag, overwhelming joy flooded my heart.  As I took it all in my mind immediately went to the love of my Heavenly Daddy.  For years my shattered heart laid a broken mess.  Broken and unraveled, I needed fixing.  

But God.  He scooped up all my broken pieces and one by one began putting them back together.  It took time allowing for the “glue” to dry. It took great precision as each piece now fit a little differently. And some were no longer needed. Things didn’t go back the way they had once been but instead fit together in a new and more beautiful way.

He took the entire broken and shattered mess I had become and turned it into a masterpiece that became a display of His restoring love and grace.  A magnificent portrait of His faithfulness.  Just as my husband restored my angel.

My husband is a beautiful reflection and reminder of God’s love and faithfulness.  His love is something I have never experienced.  Each day because of his love for me, I get a taste of how my Heavenly Daddy loves me.  So complete and selfless.

I look at my life and see what others do not.  Many feel pity for my children and sadness for what we’ve endured. Heavy hearted because they come from a broken home.  But God has shown me something different.  Each time my children smile and laugh, I am reminded that God restored our broken home.  He put together all the broken pieces of our lives and gave us something beautiful.  A home full of love.  A home where He is welcome. He took our shattered broken mess and turned it into an extravagant tapestry of His love and grace.

DSC09940How enduring is God’s loyal love;

the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion.

Here they are, every morning new!

Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day.

Have courage, for the Eternal is all that I will need.

My soul boasts, “Hope in God; just wait.”

It is good,  The Eternal One is good to those who expect Him,

to those who seek Him wholeheartedly.

It is good to wait quietly

for the Eternal to make things right again.

Lamentations 3:22-26


Originally posted on For Always

Grace Deficiency: Pointed fingers, upturned noses and a great big lack of grace

usSo imagine being told someone has no desire to meet your spouse.  Because of preconceived notions and judgments they have formulated in their own mind. The person who has most demonstrated God’s love to you, they do not want to meet. The dilemma I face brings much heartache.  But God is turning my dilemma into a great lesson.

I learned a lot about people over the course of a messy divorce.   I learned even more about the unending love and amazing grace God has for His children. For those who stand in judgment of others and refuse to accept them leads me to believe a grace deficiency exists.

I have come to realize when you struggle with sin, there will be those who stand casting stones.  They point their fingers and make their judgements neglecting to notice the plank in their own eye. The large plank leaves very little room for God to move.

So imagine standing in a room full of people.  You are  alone and weighed down by the struggles and sin that consume you.  As you look around the room, you try to make sense of a life gone wrong.  All around you are those who turn up their noses, pointing fingers while making assumptions of every wrong decision you have made. The loneliness consumes you.  Suddenly you look up and see a familiar face standing next to you.  You are flooded with confusion. Why?  Because it is Jesus and He is standing beside you.  You don’t understand.  You see, the room is full of people who have lived such good lives.  They do all the right things.  They say the right things. Their lives are full of good works. But Jesus is standing with you?  As if He hears the thoughts playing through your head, He speaks.


“Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.”

Then He adds,

“Now go and learn the meaning of this scripture: I want you to show mercy not offer sacrifices.  For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”


Matthew 9:12-13


Tears stream down your face. There it is.  In a nutshell.  He is standing with you because you get it.  You know you are a sinner and you know you need His grace.


Sometimes those living a “blameless” life find it hard to understand how “others” can be used by God.  But the verse above makes it clear to me.  Jesus takes our greatest failures, our deepest regrets, our biggest heartaches and uses them to do amazing things.  When we seek His forgiveness in true repentance, He restores us.  Not only does He restore, He makes us shine brighter than we ever did before.  Why?  Because we get it.  We recognize that we are frail, weak and sinful. We know we can not live this life on our own.   Once held in bondage by rules and regulations, we missed walking with Him in an intimate way.  However we now understand what it means to fall flat on our face.  To feel the love of the Creator of the Universe as He picks us up and says, “My child I love you.”  The many times we have gotten it wrong and experienced His grace makes it impossible for us to turn our noses down at another.  Instead we see a world full of people just like us.  People who are hurting and broken, longing to be rescued.


Oh the longing to be rescued.  But that is exactly what He does.  He rescues.  He pulls us out of the miry clay and begins to mold and fashion us into something beautiful.  But we are not just beautiful.  The incredible thing is we are usable too.  Because we have been beaten and bruised by the ugliness of the world, we’re easier to shape into His likeness. We are easier to mold because we yearn to be like Him. We want to be transformed.   We long to share Him and everything He has done and given to us.  We can’t get enough.  We look at the world and see what He sees:  The hurt, the lonely, the struggling, the abandoned, the beaten, the betrayed, the orphaned, and our hearts overflow with love for them.  We see the world with His eyes.  Our hearts flow with compassion, mercy and grace for those who need hope, who need Him just like we did. And so, He uses us.   Because of His grace we are used to bring His Father glory and show His Father’s love to those who need rescuing.


As Christians, none of this is new information. Throughout scripture we find Jesus with the sinners.  With the sinners, the downtrodden and the lost.  He was with the ones who needed love and rescuing but most of all, needed Him. He avoided the ones who “followed” the rules. They had no place for Him in their lives because they did not get it.


The mission of Jesus: To rescue the wounded and broken and love the one’s cast aside by the world. That should be our mission too.  Not to turn up our noses at those who stumble and fall but instead to offer them the grace, mercy and love that Jesus offered to us.  Why? Because He offered it to us first.

Breakfast burritos, dented doors and teenagers: The bigger picture


I’m sure you are familiar with the saying “Children should be seen and not heard.”  Bet you even know people who live by that motto.  As a child it made me cringe but now as a parent, it breaks my heart to hear.

Sitting in McDonald’s talking with my two teenage boys led to a plethora of insightful information.  Teenagers are good like that.  Spend any amount of time with them doing the things they enjoy (eating) and they will talk your ear off.


I have often heard people, parents, tell horror stories about raising teenagers.  I have spent years dreading these years but now that they are here, I LOVE IT!  Don’t get me wrong.  I miss the sweet cuddles and innocent conversations followed by a “mommy I love you” moment of the younger years but something about having teenagers is fun.  I love having conversations with my kids.  I love hearing their hearts, their stories, their perspective on the things happening around them.  It is amazing.  I love that my kids are not afraid to talk to me.  For me it’s important that they know that they can.  I guess being upfront about my reckless mistakes as a teenager has left the door open for honest conversation between us.


Oftentimes when I hear parents complain about their teenagers, I realize that a lot of their issues simply come from not listening.  Parents who at the slightest voice raising of their child who choose to send them straight to their room might be missing something bigger.  As a mom of five, I am learning the signals.  When temperatures rise and voices get loud, I know I need to step back and listen.  

I have five really great kids.  They range in age from 16 to seven.  Three are boys and two are girls.  Each with a different personality.  I have a 16 year old who is easy going, polite, gets great grades and for the most part does what I tell him to do.  Then I have a fourteen year old who is artsy, life of the party, athletic and a little more of a rebel.  He challenges me.  Then the thirteen year old mini version of me.  Every time she opens her mouth, I hear me at that age. She is sassy, lively, dramatic, argumentative and full of life.  She challenges me even more.  Next, we have the energetic ten year old who is super intelligent, inquisitive, mischievous, funny and melts my heart with his smile.  He has not quite hit the challenging stage yet.  Last but not least, the baby,  the seven year old.  She is rotten but has stolen all of our hearts.  She is clever, funny and full of personality.  She is a people pleaser like her mommy, which is not necessarily a good thing, but keeps her out of trouble because she does not want to disappoint.  All five I love but each one has driven me crazy at some time or another.  As a mom, my job requires knowing and understanding each of them.  I need to understand the way they think and be aware of the happenings in their lives.  As a kid, it is not always easy to know when to speak or to know what is safe to share.  My kids need to know they do have a voice and I will listen. To know that I care enough about what is important to them no matter what it involves.


What I’ve learned is oftentimes there is more to the conversation then what is happening on the surface.  There is another underlying problem that my child is unsure how to express or even scared to share. I am learning that raising teenagers is not just about listening to the words said but to the words not being said as well.  Kids most definitely should be heard. They have important things to say. I have had some great conversations with my kids about real world problems (to them) because they are not afraid to tell me what they are really thinking.  Do I expect respect?  Absolutely!  Do they lack in this particular area at times?  Absolutely!  Does that make them difficult children? No way!

I lack in so many areas of my own life.  I fall short before the Lord daily.   In those moments when tensions rise, I need to be quiet and listen. I need to look for the bigger picture.  Those moments become my time to shine as a parent. Those are my moments to take a step back and evaluate my own parenting skills by hearing what they may not be saying.  What a great opportunity to be Jesus to by kids by extending grace, patience, and love.  


The lessons taught through parenting: Parenting is not a right.  It is a privilege.  It also holds a lot of power. And as a wise man once said, with great power comes great responsibility.  I have the power to crush my children or to build them up. God has entrusted me to raise His children and extend the same grace and love that He extends to me on a daily basis.  I do not always get that right. I have had to ask the forgiveness of my children on more than one occasion as I have thrown my weight around making them feel less than they are.


Parenting is hard work but it is the most rewarding thing I have done so far in this life.  I look at my children and see hearts that need to be molded.  Hearts that need to be led.  Hearts that need to be taught God’s word. That will never happen if they do not see that I am listening. They won’t hear me if I do not value them just as Jesus does.  He sees them as precious and even Jesus took the time to listen to the children.  I have to do the same.


I am thankful for the challenges that come with being a mom.  Each challenge is slowly turning me into a better person.  I am learning to be patient when things seem out of control.  I am learning to be silent when listening is needed.  I am learning to love and extend grace in ways I never imagined.  So the next time you hear that tone in their voice that makes you want to react and correct, take a second and evaluate.  Maybe there is a bigger conversation waiting to be had.