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    Daily Thread

    Happy Mother's Day!

    It’s Mother’s Day Weekend and because it was also one of my kiddos birthdays this week too, I’ve certainly been thinking a lot about parenting and the colossal role I have as ‘mother’!

    Before any flight takes off, the flight attendants request that in case of a decrease in oxygen in the cabin, you must put your mask on first before assisting others (because God knows we aren’t going to be helping anybody if we can’t breathe)! Much in the same way is the truth of how that applies to motherhood and realizing the importance of that request-- taking time for you! Not selfishly, but as one of the leaders of your home to be constantly “putting your oxygen mask on first” – meaning personally getting right before the Lord, and asking Him continuously for wholeness, strength, healing, perseverance and wisdom. How can we, as mothers, help or guide anyone if we aren’t getting ourselves right first? For me, getting alone time in the morning with the Lord and my 45-minute walks everyday are crucial and the key to my existence (ha!)! Not only do I get to work out my stress through activity, but I also get to spend time listening to my favorite worship music or podcasts! Taking time daily to have an introspective look at my heart, my priorities, my hurts, my shortcomings and laying them all at the foot of the cross is my time of healing—it’s my “oxygen.” Because mothering isn’t a one-time transaction, I am in daily need from the Lord for help and assistance in raising my kiddos. It is the biggest responsibility of my life and I can't do anything good for them if I first don't heal and deal with myself and with my issues. Joy, love and trust in a home are grown by healthy parents and from nourished moms and dads who pour in the time to build that firm foundation! Mothering is truly one of the highest callings and I don’t want to screw up what God has entrusted to me.

    Anyone who knows me knows I don’t have it all together as a mom. I certainly don’t have all the answers and am daily expressing the need for guidance, discernment and grace. I try the best I can at being a mom and honestly most of the time I'm a hot mess! Thankfully, I’ve realized I’m not alone and I’m constantly encouraged by stories of families I read about throughout the Bible that didn’t have it all together either. It’s like God is repeatedly saying, “grace, not perfection” and that “it’s ok to be not ok.” It’s ok to not be flawless because that’s not the objective. God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). He fills in the gaps. He rights our wrongs. God uses stories of families with brokenness, dysfunction, struggles and derailed lives to encourage us and to demonstrate His might, power and glory within these situations! There is a reason for these Biblical models (I’m looking at you Cain, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Saul, David, and Solomon to name a few)! Seeing these Biblical examples played out gives me great hope for God’s redemptive and restorative plans for my family’s life and my children’s lives; despite me and in spite of my failings as a mother. It is so beautiful to see our God repeatedly make beauty out of ashes. It’s never too late to bring Him your ashes, “His mercies are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Tomorrow we get to wake up and try again. There is grace upon grace for parenting!

    Being a mom is one of life’s grandest joys and inconceivable blessings! It is the most wonderful, hardest, fun, most daunting, joy-filled, intimidating, delightful, overwhelming and blissful job ever. It is every single emotion wrapped into one. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. In my short 6-year stent of being a mother, I've learned to let go, release the need to control, enjoy them and embrace the circus at our house! No one could have ever prepared me for how much I would love my children and how much FUN this would be, but I’ve learned how much grace I need while doing it and equally how much it helps to surround my family with Godly people who will encourage you, share Scripture with you, help you, pray for you and build you up, not tear you down. Thankfully, Ellis and I have learned first hand the power behind the Body of Christ when it surrounds you and your family. We are so thankful for the wisdom and support from both sides of our family—it really does “take a village,” as they say!

    Ellis and I’s desire is to have a home where we are walking out the forgiveness and grace we have been shown from above. We don’t want to be quick to forget the grace God has shown us. We don’t want to receive it and then withhold it from one another or selectively dispense it. No, we want grateful, soft and merciful hearts. We want to lead by example by showing our children what true forgiveness and genuine reconciliation really looks like and what it means to do it both inside our home with one another and outside our home within friendships. We want our children to see that we, too, can own our flaws, say we’re sorry, and ask for forgiveness face-to-face to make it right again. It’s important to us that our kids know we are flawed and imperfect—that we all are, but grace, not perfection, is the goal. Besides, I think our kids want us to be authentic and genuine with them. I am a flawed person, a mere human, raising children and I will, of course, fail and disappoint. I don’t and won’t ever have all the parenting answers (not sure you ever graduate to that status), so I am clinging to the cross every step of the way—that is the safest place for me to be as their momma. Just as Jesus gives me true life, I want to be a life-giver to my children. I want to pour into them just like my heavenly Father does to me! I want to encourage them, build them up, pray for them, lift them up, and pour into them! I want to make them feel not only loved, but valued, safe, secure and for our home to be a refuge for them. I want to raise our kids in a home where we celebrate and encourage the differences between us – because I don’t want them to be a mini version of me (how scary!). I want them to be the unique, gifted, “wonderfully made”, one-of-a-kind person that God created them to be with their own magnificent and glorious callings and purposes! My job is to shepherd their little hearts, cover them in prayer and to be a good steward over these treasures. Thank the Lord I have the most incredible partner, leader, friend, God-fearing, gracious, prayer centered, and loyal man in Ellis to do this with. Praise God we serve a Heavenly Father who is wiser than I, who created my children and who always wants the absolute best for my kids too.

    Jeremiah 29:11 “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.” 

    As a busy working momma, I realized through a very painful season that my family must come first or else everything starts to unravel! I’ve learned first hand that Jesus is the only source of real life and when you aren’t close with Him you are distancing yourself from “true life” and from “life abundant." I’ve done it wrong many times, but I know now that when my priorities are in line and my family comes second to God (before work, before friends, etc.), everything else falls in to place. Then and only then do I feel like my time is mercifully multiplied and joy is even more abundant. Ellis and I covet time alone in our busy and full lives and try now to protect our family’s time alone with just the five of us. It’s sacred time being together and spending more time with the five of us than we do with other people. It is not lost on me just how fast time is flying by and I do not want to miss a thing.

    But truth be told, there isn’t anything in the world quite like parenting that will make you have more constant worry or apprehension (or at least for me!)! I find great comfort in Isaiah 26:3 “You keep in perfect peace those whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” May I be a woman who keeps her eyes fixed on Jesus; knowing that doubt, worry, anxiety and fear is not from the Lord. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and of sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7) Proverbs 31 says that a woman of God “is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear at the future. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!”

    Psalms 89:19 is one of my favorites and it says that God will “energize His warrior!” Well as a mom, this is sometimes what I need more than anything – energy! God has entrusted me to be a mother, made me to be a “warrior” to raise this next generation and His word tells us that He will “energize” us! As a mom, I sure am weary and drained often, so let’s come and ask boldly for a double portion of this verse!

    Over the years, I have felt very strongly about learning how to specifically pray for my kids! Beth Moore has an amazing list of verses to pray over your children that I have adopted into my own prayer life. I hope you find some encouragement in how to cover your children and family in prayer too! (Below are just a few of the ones that really resonate with me personally and that have become part of covering my children -- to read the entire list click here).

    Lord, ignite my children to love you with their whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Grant them hearts to love others as much as they love themselves. (Mark 12:30-31)

    Lord, I pray that all of my children shall be taught by You and great shall be the peace of my children. (Isaiah 54:13)

    Lord, You are for my children and not against them. (Romans 8:31) Make them more than conquerors through You who love them. (Romans 8:37)

    Lord, hem my children in. You are behind them and You are in front of them. Hold them tightly in Your hand. (Psalm 139:5)

    Lord, You will fulfill Your purposes for my children. Your steadfast love endures forever. You will not forsake the work of Your hands. (Psalm 138:8)

    Lord, make my children strong and courageous. Cause them not to be driven by fear or dismay. Be outrageously obvious in Your presence with them wherever they may go. (Joshua 1:9)

    Lord, my children cannot exceed the bounds of where Your Spirit is willing to go. They cannot flee from Your presence. Whether they ascend to the heights or sink to the depths, they are in Your hands. Be the light in their darkness. (Psalm 139:7-11)

    Lord, stir up kindness and tenderheartedness in my children. Cause them to be forgiving people as they have been forgiven. (Ephesians 4:32)

    When my children walk in the midst of trouble, Lord, preserve their lives. Stretch out Your hand against the wrath of their enemies, and deliver them with Your right hand. (Psalm 138:7)

    Cause my children to know the truth and the truth will set them free. (John 8:32)

    God, You are able to make all grace abound to my children, so that in all things at all times and in all ways, they may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

    Lord, activate the mind of Christ in my children. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

    Lord, when my children are weak, cause the power of Christ to rest upon them. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

    Lord, foster trust in my children toward You and move them by Your Spirit to pour out their hearts to You because You are a refuge for them. (Psalm 62:8)

    Grant my children the privilege to know You as the Lord, the compassionate and gracious One who is slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness. (Exodus 34:6)

    Lord, even if my children wander far away and squander what You’ve entrusted to them, draw them home, act on Your great compassion, run to them, embrace and kiss them, and welcome them home. (Luke 15:13, 20)

    May my children know You as the eternal God who is their refuge, and that underneath them are your everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)

    As I constantly pray to God for help and direction with my kiddos, my number one prayer is always, use me Lord to show them YOU!

    Mothering—it’s the hardest job in the world. I hope you get to love on, give thanks for, bless and encourage the moms around you this weekend! 

    I hope you guys have a happy and amazing Mother’s Day,

    Transformed by the Resurrected King | Part II

    I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend celebrating and spending time with loved ones! We sure did.

    As I reflect back on Easter and the enormity of what Jesus did for us, I felt like I needed to expand and offer up some Resurrection mentality and application for our day-to-day lives. The holiday itself may be over, but the story of Easter is not over! What happened 2000 years ago is a huge concept to grasp—it took me 26 years to grasp it fully. 

    So, what exactly is the promise of the cross and empty tomb doing today? Yes, our salvation has been secured, but what is the work on the cross doing here in between salvation and eternal life— between the “already” and the “not yet?” I’m a girl that needs some tangibility and real life application, and something tells me I’m not alone in that, so the task of the day is to answer those questions!

    Jesus not only came to give us eternal life, but also to restore and redeem all things that sin has broken here on earth. He didn't just die for your "future" (aka heaven). No, He doesn’t just leave us at salvation—He is still dynamically, mightily, lovingly and passionately at work for you and for me! He died to fix, heal, save, repair, revive, comfort, remedy and protect your “here and now.” Your soul may be saved, but He never stops pursuing His "beloved" (us!). Our Lord does not have "buyer’s remorse" (aka regrets) over going to the cross for us—He knew what needed to be done in order to close the gap between death and eternal life--to redeem our hearts both now and forevermore.  Even when we are blatantly disobedient, intolerable, prideful and flat out unlovable, God is still loving. 

    Our Savior comes back for us day in and day out through our circumstances, relationships, and hardships. He comes back to pursue our broken hearts, to make us whole and secure, and to ensure we understand the depths of His love for us! He came for the broken hearted, the wounded, the hurting, the lost, for you and for me. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and conquering over sin and death actually provides us with TWO things – abundant life NOW and glorious eternal life to come! We can have great hope amidst a broken and fallen world.

    Tim Keller “God sees us as we are, loves us as we are and accepts us as we are, but by His grace, He doesn’t leave us as we are!”

    Isaiah 53:5-6 “But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be WHOLE. He was whipped so we could be HEALED. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray. We have left God’ paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.”

    John 14:25-27 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

    I think it’s safe to say some, if not all, of us walk around able to muscle through life based on our own accord, depending on our natural abilities, gifts and personalities. If I’m honest, I was in this boat for a majority of my life—not really needing the Lord for anything. I didn't bring Him my hurting heart. I was actively living out my deep pain and I came to the end of my own might and strength and received the anomalous gift of desperation. I was desperate for something greater than what I could offer myself. I desperately needed healing, rescue, reviving, fixing and freedom. Thankfully, this desperation would lead me to the foot of the cross with arms wide open in surrender. You don’t know how much you need Jesus until Jesus is all you have. Being vulnerable and transparent before God is when mighty and powerful things begin to happen.  

    He didn’t come for perfect people. He came for broken situations just like mine. He came to make it right, to fix me in the here and now, to transform me, to help me, to give me hope, to refine me, to heal me! He came for people like me who desperately needed a Savior, Helper and Healer! This is WHY He came to save us! Not just to give us salvation, but to be actively and fervently at work in us while we are here on earth. To give us “life abundant” NOW (John 10:10)!

    2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “For His power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

    Isaiah 61:1-4 "He was sent to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. He will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; He will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."

    Psalm 103:11, 16-17 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His LOVE for those who fear Him! As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. From everlasting to everlasting, the Lord’s LOVE is with those who fear Him.” 

    Last week I talked about how Jesus came to save the lost, but today I wanted to narrow in on the latter half of Matthew 18:11-14:

    “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.”

    Are you not encouraged by this?! My heart rejoices—I was lost but now I’m found (John 9:25)! Our God has taken the blinders off my hurting heart— not only to the grievances of my sin, but more so to the power and weight of what God has done for me! What grace! "Grace that allows you to face your sin, to own it and not shift blame. Grace that forces you to feel the pain of your regrets, but never asks you to pay for them, because the price has already been paid by Jesus." (Paul David Tripp) Grace that took my derailed life and put it back on the tracks. Our God is faithful to heal us through His love and to gently show us where we’ve gone astray and bring us back to a place of humility before Him. His grace abounds in the deepest waters and in the toughest of all situations. If reflecting back on Easter tells me anything, it's that God holds life in His hands. The God that raised Jesus front the dead, is the same God who can revive and breathe life into any person, situation, marriage, circumstance, or relationship here on earth! This is a current, active and risen God we serve! I pray you trust Him with your whole heart, too!

    Romans 8:37-39 “ In ALL things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Until you experience true brokenness, I don't think you can grasp just how unfailing, sacrificial and endless Jesus’ love is for you! And just what His work on the cross actually accomplished. In God’s economy, brokenness always turns into abundant wholeness!

    Ephesians 3:20 “He is able to do immeasurably more than you could ask, think or imagine!”

    Psalm 130:7 “Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.”

    Even though Easter is officially over, let’s constantly celebrate the only One who satisfies, saves, revives and heals our souls! Through His redemptive and unparalleled love for us, we are free and forgiven!

    Hope you guys have a great week! 

    Broken For You | Part I

    Easter is my absolute favorite holiday! Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas—Christ coming as a baby is one of the most magnificent and indescribable events that has ever occurred, but that wasn’t what ultimately saved us! And that’s why I love Easter so much. Jesus had to not only come for, but also die for us as well. It’s what brings the story to completion and it’s what celebrates the magnitude of what He did through His life, His death on the cross and His resurrection! He was a King unlike any other, who came not to be served, but to serve; a King that left His Throne to rescue, save and die for us!

    I desperately need my Savior! My flaws are big and my failings are awful, yet He came for me, a sinner, and took my brokenness and nailed it all to the cross. Just thinking about how He freely sacrificed Himself on my behalf could make me drop to my knees and weep. How could someone trade a perfect life for one like mine?! One of my favorite authors, Paul David Tripp sums it up perfectly: “That’s how wicked I am that He went to cross for me and that’s how loved I am that He went to the cross for me! Jesus came here and went readily unloved so that I would know constant love. He deserved to be loved, but was rejected, so that I, who deserved to be rejected, would be eternally loved!” Our God has bestowed on us a crown of beauty instead of ashes, traded our pain for a spirit of rejoicing, forgiven us, freed us, and given us eternal life when we deserved death!


    I’m about to be really transparent with you. Even as a life-long Christian, I’ve remorsefully walked around for most of it not looking or acting any different than the rest of the world. I lived how I wanted—looking for fullness of life elsewhere, but in turn was handed a counterfeit—lacking and always needing more. So grasping the concept of Ephesians 3:18—“…how wide and long and high and deep His love is for me”—was difficult for someone like me—the deeply broken, wounded and undeserving. My hurting and aching heart, searching for love and significance everywhere but the cross, was blocking an understanding of how this kind of love could even be possible.

    Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

    Romans 5:8 “While we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us.”

    Through these battles and struggles the Lord has taught me, YES, He came to save us, but also so, so much more—He also came to redeem, restore and fix our broken hearts! He came to make them whole and to replace what was damaged with something that is full, intact, abundant and complete. In His perfect, unwavering and unshakable love for us, we have great hope—hope from His sacrifice and atoning death on the cross. Thankfully, this is a hope outside of us! Through the Resurrection, He has overcome the grave and we no longer have to earn His favor. It is by grace that we have been saved and have been granted eternal life! He has given us a free place for help, refuge, healing, contentment, unconditional love, hope and forgiveness. Walking through these very painful seasons lends to knowing and experiencing first hand undeserved mercy and true forgiveness, and feeling the magnitude of life-changing grace, truly transforming my heart to its very core.

    Isaiah 53:5 “By HIS wounds we are healed!”

    Isaiah 43:1 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine!”

    Colossians 2:13-15 “And you, who were dead in your trespasses, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them.”

    No matter what you’ve done and no matter who you are—hear this: Christ came and died for you! He sees the depths of your heart and loves you all the same. He has given us new life! Oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!

    1 Peter 1:3  - “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

    Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood!”

    Ellis and I pray for our children to know what we have learned the hard way without having to walk down the same paths. We pray they might be spared the pain we have had to endure in order to learn what we know now on the other side. We pray they have soft hearts, so that they, too, will experience the unfailing love of the Lord.

    We talk to the kiddos about Jesus and try to introduce new fun and creative ways to talk to them about the truths of the Bible. Since I love Easter so much, we have a number of traditions around our house—the Easter Bunny and egg hunts and candy are still very much our norm, but we desire for our little ones to know what Easter is truly about. That’s where the Resurrection Eggs come in. There are 12 eggs filled with little “props” that help tell the entire Easter story—from Palm Sunday to the empty tomb! It’s a great interactive and physical way to wrap their precious little minds around the heavy story that surrounds Easter.

    This year, we got to loop our (almost) two-year old, Graham, into the tradition mix for the first time! We want to be faithful stewards to pass these truths onto the next generation we have been entrusted with! We want to show them that neither mom nor dad are perfect, but perfection isn’t the way or the goal! We want to encourage them to bring their mess to our Heavenly Father for fixing and forgiving. We want to teach grace, not perfection, and that that they are not alone. We want them to see grace lived out and understand it by grace and grace alone that we have been saved!

    Psalm 103:12 “His grace abounds and as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed my sins from me!” 

    Psalm 89:1 "I will sing of your great love forever! I will proclaim your faithfulness from one generation to the next."

    Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

    As I’ve been reading through the Easter story with the kids, I have loved the reminder that God’s hand was involved in every single detail of the entire story. When the crowd chose Barabbas, a convicted murderer, to be freed instead of Jesus, God’s plan was unfolding even though it seemed like darkness was taking victory that day. His hand was in all of it and He is sovereign even when we don’t understand. What was meant for evil, God meant for good. God’s greater purpose of Jesus going to the cross on our behalf were being accomplished even through the sin of those who chose to free Barabbas and even through the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot. God is so much bigger than whatever situation you are in. Be encouraged!

    Today (Good Friday) almost 2000 years ago, He died on the cross for us, and on Sunday, He will RISE again! So this weekend, let’s celebrate His perfect love that could not be overcome. Give thanks for the work He did for us in the grave! He took our place, pardoned us, and gave us life when we deserved death.

    John 13:63 “He has OVERCOME the world!” 

    John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”

    Matthew 28:6 “He is not here, He is RISEN. Just as He said!”


    Happy Easter and stay tuned for Part 2 next week! 


    No Rain, No Flowers

    NO RAIN, NO FLOWERS-- I just recently heard this phrase for the first time and it honestly blew me away. Based on my personal testimony, I found it so profound— short but to the point and SO true! No pain, no gain, right?

    With the first day of spring being just a few weeks ago, I got to thinking about the significance of the change in seasons for a moment. During the winter, the ground and fields experience drought from the lack of water—the grass, the soil and the land look parched, cracked and thirsty. Nothing can really grow in these conditions, and this isn’t the soil you would pick to plant a garden or a tree in. Much in the same way are our hearts when we don’t “water” them with time in the Word, time with our Lord, or following His ways. We need water for life and for growth so that we can produce fruit, flowers and beauty. Sometimes growth, or seasons of drought can be painful, but they can absolutely create something lovely. Take pruning for instance—we have Crate Myrtles in our backyard, and every season, we must prune them so they will bear even more flowers next season!

    John 15:2 “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

    Then the rain comes about. Sometimes it’s a drizzle, other times it comes in as a thunderous and raging storm—with true floods and limited visibility. When we find ourselves caught in the middle of these downpours, we’re drenched and uncomfortable. But after the rain comes a beautiful yield—a well-watered harvest, a well-nourished heart. Roots are quenched and cultivated, and flowers and fruits have their foundation to grow! I want my heart to mirror this. Lord, refine me! Strip away and prune me as you have done to the fields, and make my roots go deep so they won’t waiver in tough seasons. Fill my heart with thankfulness for these seasons that I encounter before I can experience the harvest.

    Spring in Texas means fields of wildflowers and lush, nourished grass. Everything is in bloom and we are in awe every time we look out the window. There is warmth from the sun, cloudless days and the brightest of colors! When we are walking in wholeness with the Lord, scripture says you will know because of the fruit that is born in your life, and your heart will reflect the beauty of a well-watered life. We are promised the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!

    Psalm 1:3 A person whose hope and trust is in the Lord “is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wilt or fade—whatever they do prospers.”

     I don’t know about you, but abiding by my plans usually leads to things that are not quite as beautiful as God’s promise from above. In nature and in our hearts, He takes what was lifeless and parched and transforms it into something new and spectacular. In our winters and storms, God is working! What looks like a disaster may in fact be grace, and what looks like the end might actually be the beginning. Be encouraged and take heart! He takes our tough seasons, all being allowed and filtered through His loving and sovereign hand, and turns them into tools of redemption and remaking. Leaves wither and fade in order to bring about new life in the next season. In God’s ecological economy, it’s the same in our lives and our hearts.

    John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

    God works through the pain, loss and storms to remake us, to redeem us, and to make us whole and lacking nothing. These storms and droughts are merely a season—temporary. They’re only a chapter, not the whole book! He prunes us because He loves us. It may be hard, but it’s so we can bear even more fruit than before.

    1 Peter 1:4-8 We have been given “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire.”

    Here are a few great promises in Scripture that have been a great hope to my husband and I in tough seasons:

    Psalm 126:5-6 “Those who sew in tears, will reap a harvest of JOY! For though they may weep while going forth to plant their seed, if they persevere, they will undoubtedly return rejoicing—bringing their sheaves with them.”

    Romans 12:12 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

    Psalm 30:5 “Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning!” 


    We should invite the rain and not flee or hide from it. I avoided pain and tears my entire life, and suffered an immense amount of hurt, heartache and loss because of it. Press in. Do not numb or deny those hurting places—the lessons we learn in difficult times often turn out to be our most treasured. There will be beauty from the ashes no matter the situation, relationship or circumstance when you choose to walk with the Lord and reap the fullness of the promises He makes to us in His Word. Let God use your brokenness to be made into abundance. What’s undoing you, can be the things that remakes you! I’ve seen it and experienced it first hand! His grace is waiting for you when you humbly come to Him asking for help, refuge and water (Living Water!). Water that will never run dry! Aren't you thirsty, as I was, for something more than what you can offer yourself?

    John 4:14 "But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

    Isaiah 43:19  “Look, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

    Ecclesiastes 3:11  “He has made everything beautiful in its time.

    Joel 2:23-27 “Rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given the early rain for your vindication; He has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. He will restore  to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.” 

    Thankfully, our God is not “seasonal” and is there to give you everything you every need! Reach out for His lavish and astounding grace! 

    Happy Spring!! There is so much to celebrate and give thanks for!


    If y’all have been following along with our Instagram, you know that the family and I just spent a week in paradise for Spring Break (forgive me for some of the repeat pictures below, but they’re just too cute!). Getting away certainly has new meaning and significance to us as a family when we’re able to take a break from the mundane routine and the daily stresses of life. I’ve found that escaping to quietness is the perfect time to refocus and seek after the Lord’s wisdom. 

    While we were gone, I felt the Lord give me new perspective on what “R&R” means. Yes, rest and relaxation, but it means so much more than that, too. He gave me a couple more “R” words of wisdom that I felt led to share: reflection, refined, reset, renewal, refresh, reconnection, rejuvenation, restoration, repair, and refuge. Retreating definitely lends a helping hand to different and better outlooks on life back home, because, to be honest, I went away a little weary, burdened and worn out. We have some rather big, personal decisions hanging in the valence, so getting to spend time with one another and seek after the Lord is where we’ve found great peace while we trust Him to show us the way!

    It’s difficult for someone like me (type A!) to lay down my plans and follow the Lord. He may not always lead me to where I expected we’d go. I’ve learned through personal, very painful, circumstances that my so-called "perfect plan" does not always lead me to the best places. But here’s the good news to what I've learned the hard way— His ways, His thoughts and His purposes are ALL higher than mine. His plans are always good! In the midst of uncertainty, I am so thankful for the unplugged and uninterrupted time together as a family. God knows what we need, right when we need it, and for us that was to trust a refreshing perspective on God’s plans for our family.

    Isaiah 40:18-19 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

    Jeremiah 31:25 “He will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

    Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.”

    These last several years have not been easy. There are things I wish I had done very differently, but thankfully God remains sovereign even over my screw-ups and shortcomings. He alone is able to right all my wrongs. Our family has learned and been strengthened more through difficulties than we ever would have through the easy times. God’s redemption and restoration are the most beautiful and real things I have ever experienced. He longs for us to trust Him in and out of the storm, and to follow where He leads. He is faithful to strengthen the weary, to give peace to the worried and guidance to the wanderer. We still choose to stand firm on the covenant promise that His power is made perfect in our admitted weaknesses and humanly flaws. Jesus came and lived among us; He took on our frame and took on all of our burdens and shame so that we would live redeemed, grace-filled, abundant and transformed lives!

    Psalm 119:114 “You alone are my place of quiet retreat. I wait for your word to renew me.”

    Psalm 18:30 “His way is perfect, the word of the Lord proves true, He us a shield for all who take refuge in Him!”

    Isaiah 30:15 “In returning and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

    As God’s chosen people, we are called to be obedient to His will. By grace, He takes us places we wouldn’t normally plan to go so that He can accomplish in us what we couldn’t achieve on our own. He loves us too much to leave us as we are. His love is not disengaged; it is always present and never passive. Although it may feel like it, your world is not out of control; it is under God’s careful, selective and redemptive control—to improve, love, refine and sanctify you.

    In refining seasons, our spiritual maturity is put to the test—producing perseverance, hope, character, faith and endurance that are “more precious than gold” (1 Peter 1:6). Genesis 50:20 says, “what was meant for evil, God meant for GOOD.” He uses it ALL—the good, the bad and the ugly—ALL for good! Trust Him at His word that He is leading you into abundantly more joyous and prosperous places!

    I love this quote from Ann Voskamp: “What was intended to tear you apart, God intends it to set you apart.” Be encouraged! God’s hand is in every detail. The question is when will we (preaching to the choir here) learn to trust Him in everything with everything? When we have peace with God, we will experience the peace of God. Press in! There is refuge waiting for you and a “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

    The Bible is not filled with stories of heroes or people who lived perfectly or easily (am I the only one encouraged by this?). Take Jesus’s lineage for example—comprised of some of the most wicked people in mankind. These people were sinful, wounded, broken and made their fair share of disastrous failures and poor decisions. He chose to come through this blood-line. To rescue us, to save us, to free us, to redeem us-- demonstrating His magnificent love for us all!  So many stories in the Bible show God’s full redemptive and restorative power, encouraging us to dust ourselves off and try again. They demonstrate His immensity, might, authority and goodness ALL along; how He was in control the whole time and His purposes were being accomplished, even when it looked like darkness was winning the day. Our acceptance has not been or ever will be based on our performance “track record.” It is by what God alone has done for us through His unfailing love and unrivaled grace!

    Proverbs 19:21 “You can make plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”

    Isaiah 42:16 “He turns my darkness into light and makes my rough places smooth.”

    After writing all of this out, it seems a bit silly that I would allow anxiety and worry to cloud my judgment of God’s goodness. Ephesians 6 simply spells out the necessary armor to clothe us with in order to protect ourselves from the schemes and creeping thoughts from the enemy. When we are actively girded in truth, pursuing righteousness and walking in peace with God, we bear the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). He trades my anxieties of the unknown and replaces them with peace and fullness of joy—leading me to “life abundant” (John 10:10)! Only true peace comes from His presence, not from ease of circumstances or by getting our way.

    Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

    Isaiah 26:3 “You keep in perfect peace those whose mind is stayed on you!”

    Let’s press in and TRUST Him.

    Have a great weekend!