Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Christmas To Remember

I remember those Christmases the most. 

The ones where I stood in between heartache ten feet deep and grief and shame that ripped through my soul like a tidal wave of what felt like the entire world against me.

I even considered that life was this painful because I wasn't supposed to be in it.

Sorrow that cuts to the bone and marrow will do that to a person. Will unravel a person. Will break us open and bring us to our knees in the darkest corner of our soul, howling in the midnight hour with the pain of just trying to do life - all wrecked and messed up inside and wishing that life could please be gentler, kinder even, just once.

But even still...

I would look at those beautiful brown eyes staring back at me and the absolute sheer perfection that called me Mama...

And I held her and loved her and sang over her and let the tears fall as I watched her sleep and brushed those gorgeous curls and told her while she was sleeping how sorry I was.

For everything.

For the mama she had. For everything I was. For everything I wasn't.

For the 1.99 Happy Meal we had to share and call it dinner.

For the trailer. For the pipes that froze. For no running water. For no electricity multiple times. Too many times. For the cabinets that were bare. For the empty fridge. For the car that barely ran.
For the smocked dresses that weren't in her closet and the pink bows that weren't in her hair. For lacy turn down socks I didn't have the money to buy. For new patent leather shoes that weren't on her feet. For the few dollars of a paycheck on the 15th of December that was all I had to give her some kind of a Christmas. 

And for the wedding band that still wasn't on my left hand.

And every year I would wish that it was the Christmas to remember. The one where I was happily married with a house full of babies and siblings for my Macey girl. And enough money to pay all the bills and buy all the presents and still keep the electricity on. The one where we baked cookies and decorated gingerbread and wrapped gifts and watched real ballerinas on a real stage.

I would look at other mothers through the eyes of comparison and wonder what on earth they had that I didn't. How they were able to make it work or capture the heart of another or even how on earth they were married, divorced and married again?

I couldn't for the life of me figure out the formula.

And then the holidays would unfold each year.

And during the holidays we had to share our daughter.

Every, single time I would plead with a God that I didn't know, that the drop off wouldn't kill me.

That He would help me.

That He would hold me up.

That the missing wedding band didn't identify me. And the trailer park and eventually apartment complex we called home didn't define me as a mom who loved her daughter less.

The empty car seat and barbie on the floor board of our car after the drop off would send me into a whirlwind of sorrow and despair and a sudden need to pull this car over because I can't drive it while slumped over the steering wheel- emotional breakdown.

I was a failure. By every definition. 

And if I didn't know it enough myself, I had an army of people waiting in the wings to tell me so.

But the years wore on and I learned a few things.

I learned that Christmas in a trailer, or a tiny apartment with no heat, or with only a gift or two under the tree- if there was a tree in the first place, or a left hand without a wedding band for any number of reasons, or the painful drop off- pick up with our children, didn't mean that it wasn't a Christmas to remember. 

Or that we as parents had failed.

Because the King of Kings was conceived in the womb of a young teenage unmarried girl and was born into an absolute mess of a place without heat or running water or crown molding and magnolia wreaths.

God set it up that way.

We have a Savior who knows. 

Because He has been there. He lived it.

I learned that no matter what our circumstances, it's always a Christmas to remember, Him.

And we can hold up our emptiness or our empty bank accounts or empty trees like an offering by measuring everything we don't have and everything that isn't the way it should be or the way we think it should be...

Or, we can kneel down, in a tiny apartment floor, in a drafty trailer, or in a big beautiful home and say to the Author of it all....

Thank you for the breath in my body to praise Your Holy name.

Thank you for the freedom to worship You any time, any place, in any way that I choose.

Thank you for waking me up this morning. For another day. For another Christmas.

Thank you for this tree or a single gift at all.

Thank you for a small bite of food. Thank you for the ability to eat and taste.

Thank you for the ability to visit a church and see the candles and hear the music and worship You.

Thank you for my precious children and for the ability to hold them and tell them how much I love them whether it is on Christmas Eve or Christmas day or any day.

And we can thank Him for the wedding band on our hand, or the one that isn't there this year for any number of reasons or for the one that has yet to circle our ring finger at all. 

Because married, divorced, single, single mom or single dad- 

It is still a Christmas to remember, Him.

And the God Who loves us more than we can even fathom, inhabits the praises of His people.

We can revel in His glory while we watch our child sleep or while we share a two dollar meal because He has made us in His image. In His very likeness.

We can still revel in His goodness even if our house, bills, holidays, friendships, relationships, marriage, etc. is not what we dreamed about or isn't what we hoped it would be, because He promises us that He will use every single thing we have gone through, for our good and His glory. 

We can still revel in His very nature to love us and to draw near to us because His word says that He is close to the brokenhearted.

We can still revel in the fact that it is Christmas, whether there are gifts or trees or not. Whether we have a house full of family or we are standing completely alone. Because the God of heaven and earth has promised us double honor for our former shame and that He is the author of our lives and we are to trust Him with the pen....

From someone who has been on every side of the holidays known possible, I write these words.

I write them to give you hope, to point you to the One who created you and to remind you that no matter what, it is still a Christmas to remember.... Him.

May you feel the wonder of His love above all ...

Merry Christmas sweet friends.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

He Still Can

Right there in the scriptures I see my own heart just as plain as day.

That place in the middle of Mark chapter nine where the Father of the young child says to Jesus,

"I believe; but help my unbelief."

We can sometimes find ourselves in this very place, when the end of the year is drawing to a close and our hearts begin to panic and we look back over the last 11 months and see that it hasn't happened yet.

The breakthrough. The restoration. The recompense. The restitution. The redemption in whatever areas we are praying for.

We have believed.

We have prayed.

We have trusted.

We have been patient in affliction.

We have offered up a multitude of a form of worship called a sacrifice of praise in the midst of painful circumstance after painful circumstance.

Some of us have been disappointed so many times that it can feel like hope deferred on steroids and despair has threatened to take up permanent residence in our hearts.

And we can believe and know for certain that God is good, because He absolutely is. That He is faithful and true. That He can do above all we can think, hope or imagine...

And yet sometimes the years of waiting can bring on a tidal wave of unbelief in our hearts.

I think the longer we've been waiting on the breakthrough, the harder it can be to simply believe that HE STILL CAN.

That He has not forgotten.

The longer we wait for the promises to be fulfilled, the heavier the weight our hearts can feel.

Wait = Weight.

But He reminds us in His word what all of that really means.

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen." - 2Corinthians 5:16-18

Wait + Weight = The weight of glory.

This is the good news.

In Mark Chapter 9

A Father is hurting over a serious situation with his son and he brings his son to Jesus for healing.

Jesus asks the Father, "How long has this been happening?"

And he answered, "From childhood."

The Father goes on to explain in some detail about the circumstances surrounding his son and says to Jesus, "If you can do anything, please have compassion on us and help us." - Mark 9:22

"What do you mean, 'if I can'?" Jesus asked.  ~Mark 9:23 NLT

Jesus then says "Anything is possible if a person believes."

The Father replies, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:24

The scriptures tell us that the very next thing that happens is that Jesus immediately helped his son.

It was important for me to see that Jesus wanted to know how long it had been and he also spoke directly to his unbelief by asking him, "What do you mean, 'If I can'?"

Jesus is concerned with how long we have suffered with our circumstances.

And sometimes the only way we can overcome our unbelief is by receiving the breakthrough.

Each time He answers or moves on our behalf- our faith increases. Those situations become stones of remembrance in our faith walk, where we can look back and remember and know that no matter what it looks like, He is for us and not against us.

Even if it takes years. 

I hope these words bring encouragement and if you are waiting and wondering if He still can, I pray that these words are a healing balm for your heart today.

"What do you mean, 'If I can'?"

Heal your body?

Restore your soul?

Redeem your circumstances?

Open your womb?

Heal your marriage?
Restore the years the locusts have eaten?

Replace your lost income?

Renew your mind?

Open up opportunities?

Heal your circumstances?

Give you the desire of your heart?

Help you in that situation?

Move in that adoption process?

Bring your daughter home?

Give you an incredible spouse?

Teach you my word?

Help you in raising your children?

Reveal myself to you in a new way?

He still can. 

He is well able to do above all we can think, hope or imagine.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 5:16-18

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Then By All Means

Honey filled words spilled forth right there in the middle of my day through a dear friend recently.

They sounded foreign and uncomfortable and hard to receive, as beautiful as they were.

Sometimes honey words sound foreign to us when we've spent the day beating ourselves up with our own words.

Or when we've allowed someone else's words to take root and replace the truth of our own.

Brokenness can do that to us.

It can leave us unable to hear the truth because we've heard so many lies about who we really are that when the truth comes in like a flood, it feels foreign and we can't receive it.

Brokenness can leave us with limited capacity for truth because the words that have nearly destroyed us take up all the space.

And if we do not replace those heart wrecking words with truth soon, they can take root.

And they can tangle us up in a world of hurt to the point that we can begin to live and move and have our being out of the words that were spoken out of someone else's brokenness.

And if we do not have a foundation and platform of truth and love and goodness called love letters from the King, to stand on, then our hearts will either move into some form of agreement with the lies or hit full tilt mode, called, they must be right, so why am I even trying to do this?

This is when He sends in the encouragers.

The encouragers come in like a flood and tear down everything that is not from the Father with the truth of everything that is from Him.

And God was so kind to me that day in the midst of my inner turmoil.

He graciously sent the encouragers by way of two precious friends to call and ask me why on earth I wasn't writing. 

I answered that I was busy with the baby and family and such.


They know that I've had lots of babies and that still, I
write and they know my heart behind the writing.

I don't write for myself and I don't write for others.

I write for Him.

It is the way that I worship Him. 

But sometimes the very thing we were created to do is the very thing that people will use against us to keep us from doing the very thing that God has called us to do.

And so, eventually, I shared how a friend told me months ago, that I wasn't a writer.

And that because I admired her and she had a long list of credentials, it crushed me.

And it silenced me.

And every time I would sit down to write, I would hear those words over and over again.

Never mind the viral blog posts or beautiful words of encouragement from others.

Never mind any of that.

All I could hear were her words.

Even though I somewhat knew what she meant.

She meant perfection. 

Because you won't find a shred of that anywhere on this blog.

The God I love and adore, the One whom I write for,  doesn't require that from me. 

So I write what He leads me to and how He prompts me to write and I do my best not to worry with someone else's definitions of "writer."

I just write.

And from everything I've read in His word, He always uses the least likely people.

I am so grateful for the kindness of those friends who spoke truth and life and encouragement to me that day.

Their honey filled words helped me to start writing again and also reminded me of one of my favorite quotes.

"If you hear a voice from within you say, 'you are not a painter,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." Vincent van Gogh

I believe that this not only includes negative self talk but also refers to the voices of others who choose to use their words to tear down gifting in other people.

No matter how many voices we have in our life, His voice has to be the loudest.

And the more we do the very thing He has called us to do and the more we fill our hearts with His words, the louder His voice will be and the easier it will be to move past words that do not line up with the truth from the One who tells us...

In me, you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

So today, if you find yourself conflicted over whether or not you can write or sing or dance or teach or paint or pastor or create or instruct or parent or cook or fill in the blank with any number of calling and talent and gifting...

I hope your heart will remember these words and by all means...


















Because the body of Christ needs you beautiful friend.

Yet who knows if you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Grace Abounds

Hello beautiful friends,

I wanted to stop in and post a quick note and a picture of the Prince with his sisters.


We are all absolutely smitten beyond words with Wells Henry Worth and can hardly get a thing done, with the love fest going on over here- and the work load!

I am doing my best to manage the hustle and bustle of our busy family of nine people.

Somehow, by His unimaginable goodness and grace, I've managed to birth a bouncing baby boy and along with my husband, get five children registered for three different schools, get them all out to purchase clothes and shoes and various school supplies. We've taken all of them for haircuts and physicals and dentist appointments, attended all of their open houses and parent teacher conferences and managed decent school pictures for everyone as well as getting one ready for band and one ready for football, all with a newborn in tow. We have also managed to survive a series of strep throat sickness with two of the children and asthma attacks with one of the children. Most of which happened the day after the baby was born. Our oldest son gave us a good scare that day and had to be rushed to the ER clinic. 

I won't even get into the scary car accident we were involved in with five of my children in the car with me just a few weeks ago.

We are all fine thank goodness. So, so grateful for that. 

But it has been a lot to manage to say the least.  

I'm so thankful for His grace. 

His grace is sufficient....

Our Macey Girl is doing well and has been living on her own and supporting herself for a long time now, but we never stop being Mama, do we? Our children need us differently once they are grown and I do my best to make myself available without smothering or hovering over her life.  I'm still learning. Still making mistakes but still trying! I love her more and more and do my best to demonstrate my love for her even though we aren't under the same roof any more. Sometimes that is a floor move at her adorable apartment or a pumpkin candle and a little love note left on her door step or even a Sunday night dinner at our house with the nine of us- my favorite. 

I'm learning to meet the ever changing needs of seven precious children and navigate a new normal here the best that I can. I have certainly made my share of mistakes but thankful that He gives me the grace to do this. 

Grace abounds.

A big family isn't for everyone but when I look at these longed for, prayed for, hoped for babies- all I can see is love.

And I can't find a thing in the world wrong with love.

Just messy beautiful, trying hard, learning and growing and forgiving in a family motivated by love.

I think that's all He asks of us....

That we love.

I'm so looking forward to writing again and have missed you all so much!

I have a long list of notes to post here soon, written in some kind of 3:00 a.m.- I'm nursing a baby handwriting- but here's hoping.

I hope you all are enjoying a glorious fall and that your homes are spilling over with the plumpest pumpkins this season!

Big Hug...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Morning Glories,

Lots of excitement in the air here at our house!

We have been blessed with a beautiful new baby boy!

I am incredibly humbled to introduce you to Wells Henry Worth...

"Wells Henry" has a big, beautiful name with lots of meaning and purpose.

He was crowned on July 15, arriving two weeks early, weighing in at 8 pounds and 10 ounces and is healthy and whole and has absolutely captured our hearts! 

We are so in love with this sweet boy and all of the children are over the moon excited about their new brother.

My mama heart is grateful and thankful and humbled beyond words.

Will try to share more words and pictures soon. 

Right now we are soaking in the sounds and the fragrance of a scrumptious newborn baby in our home again.

Nothing compares with this gift. 

Big hug to you sweet friends.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


He missed everything.

Every single moment. Every single opportunity.

He missed every dance recital. Every birthday and every Christmas morning.

Never once so much as a phone call, a letter or a single card or gift.

Never one apology, or single attempt to make amends.

I have no idea if he was even there the day I was born. If he was happy or sad or disappointed.

There is not a single picture. No tokens from that day and barely anything from those years.

Those years that define you.

And those wounds cut deep when you are a daughter with a missing piece.

Each time I would see a Daddy with his daughter- it cut deeper.

There was no room for healing when the wounds sliced straight to the bone and marrow.

Daily. Hourly.

And the enemy would whisper my entire life. just aren't worth it.

Even your own Father could see that.

And so I would live my life without the posture of worth. For many years.

And because the enemy was so set against me ever discovering anything even close to worth and because he was so set against me ever discovering the one true Father- where I would unveil my true identity- he did not hold back in this area of attack.

Not by a long shot.

There were seven years of my childhood - stolen in part by a new man who would never come close to the role of a Father.

But who instead caused more suffering.

More pieces.

As if those things weren't enough.

There would be more.

And the enemy would whisper for years....

See...You just aren't worth it.

Anyone can see that.

By the time I was ten, there was a new Father figure.

By the time I was twelve, he had promised everything under the sun.

Including adoption.

There were words about being a Father to me and how we were going to be a family.

There were notices out in the paper, that an adoption would be taking place, giving my birth Father
a legal chance to claim me.

He did not respond.

There was a wedding, a court date, and a legal name change.

And the Father line on my birth certificate would be replaced with the name of a new Father.

A better one.

My saving grace.

My recompense.

My hope redeemed.

Or so I thought.

Every, single little girl dream inside me would come to a crashing halt.

I will spare the details because they are between my heavenly father and me.

But the enemy came in like a flood to destroy me through this man.

I finally relented at the tender age of fifteen with a suicide attempt.

My world was just too painful to breathe anymore.

The rejection and abandonment wounds as wide as the ocean is deep.

I'm sorry to share that I would also be completely rejected and abandoned by this new Father as well.

Wounds like that will threaten to kill a girl. A daddy leaving. A daddy harming. A daddy destroying.

And the enemy would whisper... just aren't worth it.

Even your adoptive Father can see that.

I wish I could say that the pain associated with the word Father ended there.

But the enemy was relentless.

I would go on to search for the love I so desperately needed and wanted and ended up a single mama at the age of eighteen years old and would continue that path for the next ten years.

By His grace He gave me an indescribable gift of a daughter that to this day, I will tell you I do not deserve.

And with that gift in my arms, I would go on to endure still, even more heartbreak.

Because nothing stirs the aching Father wound like having a child of your own.

And so I searched for him. The birth father that started twenty something years of heartache.

By His grace, I found him.

Shortly after, I would drive a long way to meet him in the state penitentiary.

I wondered how many daughters had gone before me, being searched and frisked and put through security to wait in a holding room for two prison doors to open to meet the man who missed it all.

To meet the man who decided they just weren't worth it.

I can't even begin to describe the emotion that gripped my heart that day.

It was fear and pain and wonder and hope and years of worthlessness.

It was dread and sorrow and suffering and unanswered questions that cut so deep it hurt to breathe.

I got my answers when one of the first things he said to me was this.

"What happened to your face?"

I remember fighting back tears and being so confused I could barely stand.

"My face?"

"You have so many scars and marks on your face."

"Your face is all marked up."

I remember feeling like I had been punched in the stomach a gazillion times, to put it lightly.

Years of acne with only being allowed to use soap and water had left their damage.

I died inside that day.

Down to my core, I died a thousand deaths.

I would go on to be abandoned all over again by the man who started it all.

And the enemy would whisper...

See, I told you that you just aren't worth it.

Even your own birth father doesn't want you- not even twenty years later.

No one does. 

There is so much more sorrow in this area of my life, but God, in all of His graciousness gave me a sweet husband, who is not perfect, but who longs to lay his life down for his family and from the first part of our courtship shared his heart with me about his dream of a big family of his own to love one day.

We are both humbled- daily.

That the God of the universe, the author of it all, would trust two very broken people, with the hearts of children of our own, is especially overwhelming to me.

That He would entrust me with the raising of sons.....

To call me to the enormous task of the raising of boys into amazing grown men who will be purposeful and intentional and lead their families with love in the admonition of the Lord is just enough to keep me on my knees for the rest of my life- in complete and total gratitude and humility.


Today when the enemy tries to come in like a flood with memories of the past and tries to convince me that I'm simply damaged goods and that I'm too marked up to be of any real purpose in life...

I punch back with everything that I am with one powerful word.


Webster's definition is : "a faint design made in some paper during manufacture, which is visible when held against the light and typically identifies the maker."

I love this part- Which is visible when held against the light and typically identifies the maker.

After years of struggling with these things and trying to find Father God in the midst of such untold sorrow and suffering, as well as walking through years of inner healing and forgiveness....

I now speak the word.

The truth that is the living, breathing and sharper than any two edged sword - gospel.

I hold up my circumstances and situations to the light.

And I can clearly see the mark of my maker on my life.

Maybe you were abandoned or rejected as a child, teenager or even as an adult. Maybe you've never even met your birth father. Maybe your Father tried to destroy you in the most unthinkable and unimaginable ways. Maybe your Father has passed away and this day represents a tremendous loss for you. Maybe this day is painful because of how it highlights all of the good that you never received. All of the Father's that did show up and did pour out and did invest. The ones whose daughters were worth it. Maybe it represents and magnifies what you've never had.

Maybe this day is the rehearsing of a death of what should have been and never was.

You have a Heavenly Father who knows and who understands and who longs to fill every heartbreaking wound with His immeasurable love and healing power.

"For in me, you live and move and have your being." Acts 17:28

You are not your circumstances.

The unfortunate series of life events that you have survived, do not have to define you. What seems missing in our lives, is really a beautiful opportunity for the Father to step in and fill every place where there has been a void.

When there is loss or less or not enough, we simply have more room for Him.

He will restore.

He will give a recompense that there will not be room enough to receive.

He is no respecter of persons.

He did it for me, with years worth of Father wounds a mile deep.

He will do the same for you beautiful friend.

So today, if the enemy tries to whisper. Tries to stir up those painful things. Tries to convince you that you are worth nothing. Tries to make a mockery of who you are in Christ, even.

You tell him this....

I'm watermarked with the mark of my maker.

I'm marked and set apart and loved and cherished and adored by the author of it all.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he'd made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.-  Eph. 1:3-14

From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 
Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.  Gal. 6:17-18 

For those of you who struggle with this day, for any number of reasons. I pray that these words and this video are life-giving to your heart this morning.

I'll leave you with the amazing Priscilla Shirer and the most beautiful truths today.

The spoken word.

Brace yourself.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Birth Of A Baby And A Book

Morning Glories!

I wanted to pop in and write a quick update post this morning. I hope that you all are enjoying the start of summer with your beautiful families! I don't usually write posts like this about our family-but since it's been a while, I thought I would just write a quick update. 

I missed the month of May completely here due to the many end of the school year activities with this many children, as well as quite a few celebrations within our own family.

Our sweet baby is due very soon and I have officially hit the uncomfortable stage and have found it increasingly more difficult to sit for long periods of time at the computer to write.

But oh how I love to write. I think about it constantly and have notebooks in my purse and the car and all over the house so that I can jot down pieces of new posts and book chapters as He gives them to me.

I have some encouraging blog posts brewing and have been busy trying to work on the book proposal in the very few spare minutes of the day that I have to do so. 

My sweet husband built a giant dry erase board to hang in the laundry room so that I could just run in and write down pieces of the book as well as blog post ideas quickly before I forget them. It has helped so much! 

I have named this year the year of birthing a baby and a book! I'm still praying that every word would be His and that He would move and speak and encourage in every way imaginable.

We've been busy trying to prepare our home for a newborn and have moved our youngest out of his crib and into a big boy bed and moved kids around and tried to get everyone settled and happy before the arrival of our newest gift. It has been floor move city over here! 

We've potty trained yet another little one and have spent almost every afternoon at the pool. We have four really great swimmers now and one who's coming along nicely but who still wears "water muscles!" Also, no swim diapers this summer!! Freedom!

This is the first summer that we've had like this and it has made such a huge difference for our family! 

My dear friend Amy recently got married in the same church where we were married 14 years ago and it was the first time we had attended another wedding there since our own. It was so incredibly beautiful and also very moving for me as I never dreamed the next time I would stand at that same alter it would be to do a reading for the ceremony of a dear friend. 

God is just really amazing. 

This is a quick snapshot of baby and me before the ceremony. Hopefully it's technically not a selfie since I'm carrying our little one :) 

Happy summer to you sweet friends!!! I will post again soon. xo

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

If You Remain Silent

If we were to sit and have coffee together, I would listen. 

I would listen for ways to encourage you.

I would listen for giftings. Wisdom. Talent. Hidden treasure.

And I would do my best to encourage you not to remain silent any longer.

I would do my best to help support you and figure out a way to help you out of the 
silent, fear, frozen, denial, pick somebody else, mindset.

I would tell you this.

God didn't create you so that you would remain silent.

He created you with incredible creativity and wisdom and ideas and gifts and talent and abilities.

To speak.

As women, we can speak any number of ways.

For years, I thought I was supposed to be silent. The voice that God had given me was buried under years of pain and abuse and worthlessness.

And so I spoke through creativity without even realizing I was using my God given voice.

Through flowers and styling and event planning and photography and then through words... I spoke with exclamation marks by using beauty and making people feel loved.

Doubting every bit of it the entire time.

Even when my favorite magazine called to feature my work.

I still doubted.

And wanted to remain silent.

And so I gave those things to Him and focused on speaking through motherhood.

Learning years later, that we don't always have to choose. 

Sometimes, He gives us more than one way to speak. More than one voice. More than one platform.

You may have read the book of Esther. If you haven't. You must. You must. You must.

Esther will rock your world. 

There are at least 50 sermons in that book of the bible.

One of my favorite pieces of scripture of all time is found in the book of Esther, Chapter 4:14

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?"

Did you know that God will speak through you? Through your words? Your art? Your parenting?

Your marriage?  Your music? Your landscaping business? Your catering business? 

Your platform and ministry? Your books? Your photography? 

He uses vessels to speak and teach and minister to the hearts of His people.

In my years of listening to the hearts of women, I've found the following to be true.

We remain silent because of guilt.

We remain silent because of fear.

We remain silent because of our own insecurities.

We remain silent because of an abusive or controlling person.

We remain silent because of self doubt and worthlessness.

We remain silent because of spiritual abuse.

We remain silent because of fear of failure.

We remain silent because of fear of rejection.

We remain silent because of limited resources.

We remain silent because of past criticism.

We remain silent because we are waiting on perfection.

We remain silent because we are waiting for permission.

Just to name a few.

So today I wanted to leave you with something to encourage you.

I wanted to leave you with a pretty, pink permission slip from your heavenly Father.

"Who knows but that you have come to your royal position but for such a time as this?"

God did not create you to remain silent beautiful friend.

He created you for such a time as this.....

If you are waiting on Him or waiting on perfect or waiting on everyone to cheer you on first....

You don't have to remain silent any longer.

Step out in faith today. Ask Him for courage.  He is faithful to send the confirmation.

Peoples lives will be changed and blessed and transformed because you chose to walk in your called, chosen, anointed and appointed royal position and speak....

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Love and Splendor

...and provide for those who grieve in Zion, 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. ~ Isaiah 61:3 

We can spend much of our life creating our own plans and dreams and goals and many, many times, the Father simply has another way. He has a better way.

It doesn't always turn out like we thought or hoped or asked or prayed.

Sometimes there are years of pain and suffering and sorrow involved.

But He is purposeful. Intentional. Careful with His people and in the end He is faithful to display His love and splendor in the most beautiful ways.

One of the areas that I struggled with for many years was trying to grow my family.

We have three babies in heaven.

There was a season that I thought- it would never happen. 

My dream of a house full of baby boys and girls.

I wanted to wake up every day with a bed full of scrumptious babies and step on hot wheel cars and barbie shoes on my way to get my morning coffee.

I longed for tea parties and dance parties and bed time stories and flash light tag and apple bobbing and too many pictures to even mention.

I dreamed about finding R2D2 in my coffee cup and scooting dinosaurs and naked barbies out of the way in the shower.

I couldn't wait to carry and labor and deliver and nurse a precious life.

I wasn't sure what He would give us or how He would bless us or even if He would, I just knew that we wanted more children and a big family and our pastor prayed for that very thing during our wedding ceremony.

Motherhood had stolen my heart and captivated me at the tender age of 18 years old.

It was my calling.

Certainly not perfection.

Certainly not without falling short and plenty of mistakes and some really hard days.

And definitely not without clinging to Him on a daily basis for wisdom and guidance.

But motherhood....

With all of its love and splendor is what makes me weak in the knees and keeps me close to Him.

Our dream has never been to have a big and fancy life.

We dream in children and family and lots of tiny feet running through the house and sleepless nights.

By His grace, I am overjoyed and humbled and honored to share our news. 

We have been sweetly blessed again....

Our children are just a tiny bit excited.....

A blue million pictures and gender reveal coming soon!

All photography by my dear friend Meredith Teasley of Teasley Photography.

And Peter ~ A Repost

Morning Glories,

I hope you all had a blessed Easter weekend.  For those of you who didn't and who may be struggling with the whole Easter celebration, this post is for you. 

Because I know you are many....

I felt it was worthy of a repost.

And because there are so many thoughts published about Easter on actual Easter...and the days following this major holiday can be somewhat of a let down...

I felt it was important to post it after Easter.

Because Easter isn't just a day. 

It is a gift. 

And one that is available to each one of us, every, single day.

There are so many important pieces about that Easter morning many years ago, but nothing strikes at my heart and speaks to me with such volume as this piece of the scriptures.

After everything. The betrayal. The denials. Three times Peter denied Jesus. After all the wrong doing and after all of the falling short and all of the everything that just wasn't right at all...

Jesus knew that Peter would be feeling less than. And that He would be feeling really worthless.

I mean. Here the stone has rolled away. The resurrection has happened. Jesus is alive.

And Peter is going to miss the miracle because of the shame of his past mistakes.

But God wanted to make sure He didn't miss it.

He made sure by actually calling for Peter by name....

The scriptures tell us in Mark 16:7 these words...

But go, tell His disciples- and Peter.

I know many of you are preparing to celebrate the gift that is Resurrection Sunday this morning...

But there are some of you who have no desire to celebrate Easter today.

Or maybe you would like to celebrate this glorious day, but you feel too far gone. The space between you and Jesus is as vast as the sea. Too much sorrow. Too much heartache. Too much sin.

Or maybe there are some of you who just feel that there is no way that a Holy God could love a girl like me.....

This post is for you beautiful friend.

Read this...

"But He said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples- and Peter- that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you." - Mark 16:6-7

There are two words here for you this morning.

And Peter.

After everything. The betrayal. The denials. Three times Peter denied Jesus. After all the wrong doing and after all of the falling short and all of the everything that just wasn't right at all...

Jesus knew that Peter would be feeling less than. And that He would be feeling really worthless.

I mean. Here the stone has rolled away. The resurrection has happened. Jesus is alive.

And Peter is going to miss the miracle because of the shame of his past mistakes.

But God wanted to make sure He didn't miss it.

He made sure by actually calling for Peter by name....

The scriptures tell us in Mark 16:7 these words...

But go, tell His disciples- and Peter.

This is one of the many miracles that happened on Easter Sunday so many years ago.

The stone was rolled away.

He is risen.

The guards never heard a thing. 

The angels appeared. 

The women arrived first.

The angel spoke and gave directions.

A request was made for Peter, whom they specifically called by name, to hear the news about the miracles.

The one who had denied Jesus. The one who had betrayed Him.

Jesus wanted Him to know about all of this right away.


Because He loved Peter. Because He was forgiven. Because He wanted Him to know these things. Because He wanted to reassure him and reach out to Him and let Peter know that despite all of it....

Jesus still loved Peter.

And He still loves you.

He walked through that first Easter Sunday for all of us. Not just for the ones who claim to be perfect.
Or the ones who have been raised up in the church all of their life or whatever it may be...

Sweet friend, the work of the cross, the suffering and the glory of it all- is for every, single one of us.

Today, while you are trying to decide if this post may be the Father gently wooing you unto Himself, I want to ask you if you would just repeat these two little words over and over again to yourself today.

And Peter.

And Peter.

And Peter.

He didn't leave Peter out of the miracle.

He doesn't want to leave you out either. There are miracles He wants to do in your life.

And sometimes we know this truth but we just need to be reminded...

I want to encourage you to change Peter's name to your own and repeat this to yourself today over and over again. Anytime any negative thoughts try to fill your heart, just crush those thoughts by saying these two little words...

And Jane.

And Charity.

And Angela.

And Robin.

And Paige.

And Jill.

And Edie.

And Kim.

And Macey.

And Starr.

And Betty.

And Sheral.

And Di'Anna.

And Misty.

And Jenny.

And Sarah.

And Ashley.

And Bridgette.

And Carole.

And Katie.

And Cherish.

And Rachel.

And KK.

And Bevy.

And Nancy.

And Claritza.

And Mel.

And Lizzy.

And Jennine.

And Maria.

And Donna.

And Andrea.

And Jaimeson.

And Jacki.

And Lissa.

And Hastings.

And Jennifer.

And Jenny Beth.

And Michelle

And Sherri.

And Cara.

And JuJu.

And Maggie.

And Vickie.

And Karen.

And Lara.

And Emily.

And Julie.

And Rebecca.

And Ann.

And Amy.

And Danielle.

And Elayne.

And then call on His name....

Because the same God who rolled the stone away over 2,000 years ago is here with us now and has rolled away every sin so that we could walk in forgiveness and love and hope and joy and grace and peace and the freedom to live life and life more abundantly.

Happy Easter to you beautiful friends. 

Whether you are worshiping Him from the pew of a beautiful church or worshiping Him alone in your own home or wondering how to worship Him at all.

Please know this....

He loves you so.

"They shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, on the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares His own son who serves him." Malachi 3:17

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When God Speaks

Last year I walked through a season of overwhelming despair.

And so I took pen to paper and did the only thing that I know how to do when that feeling hits.

I wrote to Him.

I wrote and journaled and let my heart empty out the things I didn't have the courage to even so  much as whisper in a prayer.

I shared with Him what I felt like were a series of mistakes that I had made during a really painful time in my life last year, as well as some really hurtful relational things that happened at the same time and I didn't know how to overcome them. I couldn't fix them. I couldn't undo them.

I also shared how unqualified and ill equipped I felt with anything regarding writing or blogging or ministry or marriage or the raising of children or even just life in general.

I highlighted my many mistakes, just in case He had failed to take note of them.

I also told Him that I honestly had no idea what He wanted me to do with The Pearl Event, with this blog, with the piles of notebooks filled with pages that could be books, the bible studies and teachings and lessons that I had been writing for the last ten years.

I shared with Him about how He needed to give it to someone else.

Someone more capable. Someone more qualified. Someone with ten degrees hanging on the wall. Someone with a huge realm of influence and big time platforms and blogs and callings. Someone with a famous husband or famous friends or the ability to just make phone calls and create backing and support and the like.

I'm not your girl, I told Him.

It shouldn't be this hard for this many years.

This feeling that overwhelms my heart every year of having to push through a giant wall of adversity and obstacles and doing the work of ten people solo to create an event to bless His daughters.

I'm a Mama and it's all I've ever done and it's all that I know how to do and there are days where I fail miserably at just that.

Lots of days, actually.

So I felt that for now, I should just try and focus on getting that right. After 24 years of parenting, I am still trying to figure out the mystery of motherhood and the raising of beautiful children.

I flipped to the last page and wrote whatever I felt He was speaking to my heart.

"I am the only connection you need. Stay connected to the source. I can make happen for you in a  moment what it takes people years to achieve on their own." 

And while I have never been nor will I ever be, the blogger who blogs with the "what's in it for me mentality" I couldn't help but wonder about what I thought He had called me to do, especially where The Pearl Event was concerned. I have spent the last six years blogging to give, not blogging to get.
Which is the complete opposite of most of the blog world.

But I have struggled as of late with feeling like a failure and with everything feeling really, really hard and even feeling like maybe I just completely missed it. Big time.

To create something from nothing.

One hundred percent grass roots.

Without mentors or huge influence or help or financial backing and with truck loads of naysayers waiting in the wings.

It is not for the faint of heart.

And so after many years of trying and failing, in my opinion, on New Years Eve this year I gave it all to Him. 

I carried it to Him, along with mountains of what I considered to be failure of epic proportions and I placed it at His feet.

I apologized for my failure and shortcomings and mistakes and for clearly not being able to execute whatever on earth it was that He wanted me to do.

I talked with a couple of faithful friends and shared with them that I was walking away from everything with the exception of my family.

It was time.

No more writing or speaking or blogging about Him. 

No more encouraging others through His word.

No more ministry.

No more Pearl Events or anything of the sort.

I'm leaving all of that for the perfect people and the experts and the qualified.

And so on Jan. 1 this year I told Him these things and said these words...

"Unless you tell me otherwise, I'm done." You have to do it Lord.

If you want me to do anything else ....You have to do it, so that I know it is all You. I can't do this any more."

I then wrote a blog post about editing your life and home stuff and didn't write anything else for nearly a month.

I was too busy walking through a crisis of faith.

Evaluating the last 10 years I had sown into the lives of others. The years I gathered women in my home every Wed. to love on them and share His word. The years of Pearl Events. The six years of filling the pages here with post after post all for His glory. The countless, endless things - all in His name. 

As well as rehearsing the mountain of mistakes I've made, which just so happens to be one of my spiritual gifts. 

I recounted them one by one, and tried to make some sense out of everything as well as justify it all.

And then, in spite of all of my shortcomings and mistakes and my walking away on Jan. 1 this year...

The Father came in like a flood.

He woke me up in the wee hours of the morning on Jan. 29th and asked me to write a post called "The New Church Lady."

To which I immediately replied with something along the lines of "NO WAY."

There isn't anything about me that would qualify me to write something like that- I am not a good church lady when meant in a good way and I struggle and fail miserably and have made way too many mistakes and besides, those words have such a negative connotation attached to them. Those words make people cringe, Lord.

Church ladies are notorious for excluding and judging and condemning and 
running the "Holy Huddle" at their various churches.

Why would anyone want to read that? 

No way.

And He whispered and wooed and prompted and guided and led and I relented.

And together we wrote. Just like we have nearly every post here these last six years.

And then because He is God and He is looking for willing and obedient and not perfection.

He sent nearly one million people here to read and share and forward that post- all in a manner of days.

And I went into a full fledged panic attack.

People from all over the country reached out in various ways, Pastors and leaders and clergy, asking permission to share it in their pulpits, and their Sunday School classrooms and with their bible studies and women's groups and in their newsletters and church bulletins.

They wrote and shared their own experiences and some even shared their own reasons for walking away from the church and ultimately from Him.

They wrote and shared about their own church hurt and the countless ways they had been excluded and rejected from the very place that should welcome anyone with open arms.

And I wept.

Because I laid it all down and considered myself a great failure in every category and I walked away and told Him that I was done.

And He decided that wasn't enough...

I was then connected with a wonderful agent and by His unmerited grace, I am now officially with Premiere Speakers Bureau and they will be booking any future speaking engagements and Pearl Events in various churches and cities.

And I wept.

Because I saw a glimpse of what He must be doing.

Because I never imagined that through this blog or through a small piece of my own testimony, He would speak with such volume.

And then, 

Because He is God all by Himself and there is no other .....

I was connected with a literary agent in Washington, DC. and by His grace, I am humbled to share that I am currently working on my first book proposal.

The agent will then pitch the book to various publishing houses in hopes of a book deal.

And that is when I nearly collapsed.

Because it feels so undeserved and so meant for someone else and also, so unbelievable.

This certainly was not meant for someone who has my testimony and who isn't a perfect church girl.

But when God speaks.

When God opens doors.

When God moves.

When God decides and orchestrates and sets things up according to His purpose and plan, no one can deny it.

This much is true.

And so with all humility of heart and knowing full well the mountain of mistakes I have made in life, I am, by His grace, writing whatever words He asks me to, and I am praying that He would simply have His way, that He would move and speak and orchestrate in whatever ways He so chooses through the pages of this proposal and through any upcoming speaking engagements and Pearl Events.

I would like to ask you to pray, if you feel led to, that God would pour out His spirit and His great love onto the pages of this book proposal and that He would supernaturally enable me to write it.

In between kissing babies and refereeing sibling arguments and folding loads of laundry and preparing lots of meals for our family, just to name a few things....

Thank you in advance beautiful friends.

With a heart in complete awe and wonder.

"I created you with a longing in your heart that only I can fill." Psalm 90:14