Category Archives: Resources

Peace for the Broken

She lingered in the shadows, hearing a distant crowd draw near.  Her body a mere shadow of who she once was, frail from years of ailment and failed treatments.  Twelve long years had taken their toll.  What began as a simple bleed perpetuated into more than a decade of tests, treatments and tortured hope.  Every penny spent, every ounce of dignity gone, this woman bore within her veins a hopeless cause.  She had endured much at the hands of physicians trying to heal her constant hemorrhage.  Not a person in town didn’t know of her condition as illness bore witness over every ounce of her being.  For twelve years she had pursued all possible options and remedies.  But at the end of it all, she remained diseased, destitute and discouraged, worse off than ever before.  The crowd now came into her view.  Rumors of this Jesus has spread through the town.  A miracle man, a great healer, a prophet.  Some even called Him the Messiah.  As she heard their voices grow louder, this decrepit woman felt one last flicker of hope, that final spark before the flame completely went out.  Could this be the day?

This woman’s account in Mark 5:25-34 is a classic miracle story, one that had grown familiar.  But as Week Six of You Belong To The Bridegroom brought me to these verses again, I was able to see this passage with fresh eyes and a new perspective.  The Word of God IS living and active!  This was a woman who had spent over a decade in pain, isolation and shame.  At that point in history, Old Testament law still ruled in Jewish society.  Leviticus 15:9 & 25 states that any woman with bleeding was considered unclean as long as the bleeding persisted and anyone who touched her would become unclean as well.  So for twelve YEARS this woman was considered a source of defilement and shunned.  In remembering the Pharisee’s assumption that a boy was born blind because of either his or his parents sin (John 9:2), its safe to assume this woman bore the same judgement as well.  Unclean, outcast, shamed.  She had tried every remedy, spent every penny, saw every physician she could.  Yet she remained afflicted.

Matthew Henry said it well, “It is usual with people not to apply themselves to Christ till they have tried in vain all other helpers and find them, as certainly they will, physicians of no value.  And He will be found a sure refuge, even to those who make Him their last refuge.”   This precious woman found such words to be true that day.  She knew her desperate need for Jesus’ touch: “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” (Mark 5:28)  Braving the shame and mockery she would face for going out in public, let alone a crowd, she pressed through the crowd till at last she touched the back of His robe.  Instantly she was healed!

The Scriptures tell us what healed this woman as Jesus “perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth.” (vs. 30)  As I wrestled with this phrase, I went back to the original Greek roots and came to a beautiful realization.  This “power” was no superhero, ultra-zap that my mind often assumed.  In true translation, it was Christ’s virtue – the full essence of Himself – that healed the woman.  Wow!  Christ and Christ alone brought healing to a woman.  How often do we seek His hand when it is His fullness that we so desperately need?!

Jesus knew this secret act of faith by the woman.  It pleased Him, it drew His attention, it was of utmost importance to Him.  This woman who felt unworthy of His attention but desperate for His power realized she would not go unnoticed.  She approached her Healer “fearing and trembling…and fell down before Him” (vs. 33)  The woman was wholly honest, vulnerable and humble before Jesus.  The Savior of the world stopped all the commotion around Him, fixed His full attention on a woman bowed low at His feet, and gave her restoration.  True, she could have been healed of just her physical affliction that day but as many of us know to be true, the emotions that had grown so familiar would have carried on.  Even without the bleeding, would she still define herself as outcast, wretched, ashamed?  How beautiful is the love of our Savior!  “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” (vs. 34)  The woman sought mere healing; the Messiah bestowed a greater gift – peace.  He desired to remove more than her physical ailment; He desired to lift her head.

We are all this woman, battered by life’s circumstances.  Our afflictions may vary but our heart cries are all the same.  “If only I can get to Jesus.”  Beloved, His arms are ever open wide!  Cast away the shame that binds.  Press through life’s crowds and commotion to be with the only One who can set us free.  May we all find what He bestowed on the broken woman that day.  Peace.

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I’m currently going through You Belong To The Bridegroom (seriously cannot recommend this study highly enough!  Get it!!).  This week finds me in Mark 3:1-6, a passage familiar which packed a new-found punch.  In college, I traveled to India for two weeks and while there, one of my travel companions, Cara Powers George, shared an impactful message on this passage.  Today’s time in these six verses brought her words to memory as the Lord spoke fresh revelations to my heart.

The passage tells of a man with a withered hand who has a life-changing encounter with Jesus.  We know not why the man’s hand was withered.  Was it a birth defect?  A horrible accident?  The result of intentional harm?  No matter the source of his impairment, this man carried a physical reminder of weakness, inability and shame.  Every.  Day.  But rather than hiding in life’s shadows, we find him in the synagogue, the place of worship and teaching of Scriptures.  He had come to the place of religion but that day, he met the Source of Salvation.

Jesus called the man to Himself.  “Get up and come forward!”  One of disability, I wonder if the man blushed at the attention, slowly rising from the back of the room and walked timidly to the center of the synagogue.  Did he hide his hand beneath his cloak?  How often we too hide in our shame, embarrassed of the marks we carry of life’s afflictions and poor decisions.  Even in churches, we come knowing we ought be there or hoping answers will be found, yet put on a happy face, hiding the disfigurements we all carry behind smiles and cliches.

As he reached the Savior, this man heard the words, “Stretch out your hand.”  Expose your withered hand, your inability, your source of pain.  The very hand that had defined and limited the man was precisely what Jesus desired.  Bring it out from hiding into the light.  What struck me most in this passage was not just the Lord’s desire for the disfigured, but how He chose to heal him.  Verse 5 tells us that the man stretch out his hand (comma) and it was restored.  Notice the order!  The hand was restored after he exposed it to Jesus.  The man’s willingness to stretch out his hand, to trust Jesus with his greatest shame, brought forth His healing.  The Lord honored the man’s trust and obedience in restoring his hand.  How often He calls me to bring my withered parts to Him with healing in mind, yet I remain impaired by my own pride to keep it hidden.

I love how Jesus called the broken to Himself.  He was surrounded by Pharisees in this moment.  Men of discipline, knowledge and religious perfection.  Yet it was the man of withered hand, standing in the back shadows, that drew the Lord’s attention and affection.  Jesus did not ask the cause of this man’s brokenness.  In fact, He already knew it all.  But the cause was not of concern to the Lord.  Only that he would come forward and trust the messy result into His keeping.

We all have withered places: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.  We all carry scarred results of past decisions and harmful afflictions.  But try as we might, we cannot mend ourselves.  Jesus calls us all to get up out of our shame and hiding, to come forward into His presence and to stretch out our disfigurements to Him.  Jesus loves us.  He longs for us.  And it is in our vulnerable trusting that His healing takes place.

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Filed under Bible Studies, Faith, God, Resources, Struggles, Thoughts

When Hope Seems Lost

This week overflowed with struggle and heartache.  Friends in pain, a terminal baby boy born and lost, a life-saving transplant seeming just out of reach, a new diagnosis plaguing one who has suffered much already, a beloved teenage boy’s life ending suddenly.  My heart has been heavy for people I love whose anguish I cannot ease.

Then yesterday happened.

Everything in me aches for Newtown, Connecticut.  My mind still can’t grasp the devastation the families of Sandy Hook are experiencing.  20 CHILDREN murdered.  Tears flood my eyes every time I think about it.  While our family celebrated Eliana’s first Christmas musical performance at school and laughed at Evan’s entertaining antics, other families were being recklessly shattered.  I know the pain of loosing a child, seeing their end near over a long period of time.  I cannot begin to fathom the agony of having your child’s life stolen so violently, so senselessly, so brutally!  Final words left unspoken, last goodbyes and I love yous never exchanged.  Why?!  Picking up Eliana from school became a luxury yesterday.  Hearing breath fill Evan’s lungs as he slept on my shoulder – a freshly appreciated gift.  My mind cannot contain the evil in this world, my heart overwhelmed by the pain it causes.

As thoughts raged and fear loomed closer, the words of a cherished song began to play gently in my mind.  Throughout the night and into this morning, Holding Us has grown louder in my ears as the Lord reassured my aching heart.  Written by my friend Josh Via during a season of great trial and uncertainty, its words hit home like never before.  I hope every person in Newtown…in our country…can hear this song.  Written out of suffering and based completely in Truth that never fails, it is a melody of hope for hopeless times.  May its truth still your restless heart today, drawing your gaze from fear to faith in God who holds us.


Filed under Faith, God, Music, Resources, Struggles, Worship

Pinning Inspiration

I find when there is a lesson, quality, memory verse, mindset or habit I’m trying to gain, I need to be reminded of my goal.  Often.  Very often.

Enter Pinterest.  This has become my go-to tool for visual reminders.   I’ve been gathering artistically displayed verses and quotes on a board titled “Points To Ponder”.  I’ll select a pin fitting my current circumstance and display the image as many places as possible.  Seeing these reminders throughout the day has really helped my growth in desired areas, memorizing verses more quickly and often restoring my mindset on frazzled days.

One great place to display such prompts is on your phone or desktop.  For example, recently I was struggling with feeling overwhelmed.  I grabbed a pin from my Pinterest board, copied the image to my phone’s wallpaper and voila!  My mind was directed towards the Lord EVERY time I used my phone.  Every call, every text brought this verse to mind.

Its a little trick that I’ve found greatly helpful.  Hopefully it will encourage you too.  Get pinning!


Filed under Patience, Random, Resources, Thoughts

The Snare Of Comparison

Comparison.  A tug and a trap.  The older I get, the more I realize how dangerous comparison to other people can be.  Amidst the craziness of life, I find myself easily tempted to hold up my experiences and surroundings with others.  And as my pastor, Jimmy Carroll, wisely says, we often compare up.  When my kids are misbehaving, my thoughts quickly go to the many friends I have whose kids seemed well-behaved.  When my house is disheveled, I remember their orderly homes.  When my walk with the Lord feels dry, I’m quickly reminded of those who seem to be intimate with Him always.  When I see someone’s strength, it often makes me ponder my weaknesses.  Compare becomes despair.

In those moments, what I fail to remember is their kids also have meltdown days.  No child is perfectly behaved all the time.  When I’m frustrated by a weakness, I neglect to recall my strengths.  When I become consumed with the gifting of another, I’m wasting opportunities to use and strengthen the giftings He has given me.  When their clean home comes to mind, I don’t remember that it was clean because company was coming over or the other times when my own has been orderly.  When I feel discouraged that my walk isn’t at the level of so-and-so’s walk, I’m not considering the dry seasons they too have experienced nor the trials that grew their walk with the Lord.

Comparison can be a shoddy lens.  While it is wise to observe characteristics and habits in those we admire to better strengthen ourselves, we must remember that we are ALL uniquely made by a loving Creator.  He gives us all a beautiful life inheritance, giftings and a future.  (Psalm 16.6, Jeremiah 29.11).  When consumed with what we lack or struggle in, we are restrained from living fully the life He has perfectly crafted for us individually and end up being poor stewards of what has already been entrusted to us.  I have wasted years resenting the successes of others in areas I desired for myself.  How kind the Lord has been to show me this error.  It was His loving design to lead me down the path I’m on.  He has given me gifts and talents for good were I to actually develop them rather than waste my energies coveting the giftings of others.  (1 Corinthians 12.7-26, 1 Timothy 1.6-7)  As I was recently reminded in Radically Obedient, “We miss the joy and freedom of radical obedience, of becoming all that God has designed us to be, when we try to be like someone else.”  The LORD defines His plans us.

So if you find yourself scoping the circumstances of others and coming up short, take heart.  Be mindful of what you are comparing yourself to and the incomplete picture it may be.  Remember that we are ALL a work in progress.  We ALL have been entrusted with amazing gifts, talents, and blessings.  Focus on what He has given you and celebrate His gifts to others.  With a heart of gratitude and humility, we can avoid the snares of comparison and live out fuller lives.  All to the glory of God.



Filed under Comparison, Faith, God, Resources, Struggles, Thoughts

Living And Active

I recently completed Radical Obedience: The Joshua Study for the second time.  To say this study is life-changing would be a stark understatement.  This Scripture-saturated 9 week study by Aliene Thompson dramatically impacted me the first time through three years ago.  Going through it again only furthered its impact and has left me changed for the better.  Aliene has brilliantly written this study in such a way that the Word truly speaks for itself.  Nothing is conjured.  Rather, it guides the reader in learning to hear the Lord’s voice through the whole cannon of Scripture.

“The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword.  It penetrates to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow, discerning the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  Hebrews 4.12

Radically Obedient brought this truth to new light in my life.  As I went through the Scriptures, the Lord spoke often to my heart.  He exposed root issues in my life, showed me areas I needed to confess and grow in, and gave me a deeper perspective of His magnificent grace.  I was stretched as a woman, wife, mother, daughter, Christ-follower and friend.  Though my life circumstances are far different now than my first time through this study, He worked through it to profoundly impact me today.  Fresh manna.

PLEASE!  Get this study!  Not because Aliene has written it so well (though she has) nor because Joshua is an amazing book of the Bible (though it is).  Get this study because the Word of God is its sole focus.  His Word IS living and active!  Allow it to penetrate your heart and change you for the better.  No matter your circumstances or season, there are treasures to be found within its pages.

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Its tempting.  That persistent pull during stressful moments and amidst the chaos of motherhood.  When it seems you’re treading water just to make it through the day, yearning for bedtime to finally come for a brief respite from life’s ever-rushing flow.  It whispers in the mundane as I fold yet another load of laundry and look at the messy room that was clean just moments before.

“I can’t wait for this season to be over.”

I have found myself wrestling with this tug to look more towards tomorrow than enjoy whatever is held in today.  Don’t get me wrong.  I absolutely ADORE my children!  I’m beyond grateful that I’m able to stay home to raise them in these small years.  What a blessing to have a home to keep and a full fridge of food to prepare.  All gifts.  All luxuries.  All able to wear me out more than I’d like to admit.  Motherhood has proven thus far the most refining role I’ve held yet.  Sacrifice.  Selflessness.  Patience.  So much patience.  ‘Tis not a glamorous job but oh so worthwhile.

As I’ve wrestled with this pull during today’s struggles to be more eager for tomorrow’s elusive ease, the Lord continues to bring this passage to mind.  Oh how I need it!

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for me, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Colossians 3.23-24)

Whatever you do.  Whatever.  Whether folding laundry for the millionth time or cleaning another dirty diaper or putting down the book that you’d really like the chance to read to give your child a needed hug, do it ALL for the glory of God.  When tomorrow’s dreams feel like they lay on the back burner in order to accomplish the needs of today, work at today’s tasks as unto the Lord.  Rather than hoping this season will quickly pass because of my own shortcomings and impatience, I ought embrace the gift of today that He has given me.  After all, the whole of life is a sum of todays.  If I spend it all looking towards the tomorrows rather than embracing the now, I will have squandered it all.

Jim Elliot once said, “Wherever you are, be all there.”  In other words, bloom where you are planted.  That is my hope, my prayer, the lesson I continue to struggle in learning.  When the tugging comes to wish away the present struggles for tomorrow, may I remember that it is the Lord Jesus whom I serve.  May I work at all before me as working unto Him, knowing if this is the season He has for me, then it is for a good purpose and I can trust Him in it.  After all, today is but a wisp, here for a moment and then gone forever.  May I be found faithful in His sight.  May I bloom where I’ve been planted.


Filed under God, Patience, Resources, Struggles, Thoughts


The skies are cloudy.  Rain comes and goes.  Many of us are probably home-bound today with a little extra time to browse the web.  In light of this dreary Thursday, I’d like to share some awesome resources for your perusing pleasure.  Not only have each of these resources impacted my life personally but they are all provided by solid-to-the-core, incredible people.  So click away, blogging friends.  All of these resources will bless your life and by using them, you will be supporting some amazing families.  Seriously.

Nathan Lawrenson Photography – Nate began delving into the world of photography during his extensive stay at Duke Hopsital while his wife recovered from a double-lung transplant, was then treated for cancer and while his daughter (born at 24 weeks gestation) spent the first several months of her life in the NICU.  To say he knows how to capture precious moments on film is a stark understatement.  He took all the pictures seen on our blog banner.  His work is artistic, capturing both the beauty and spirit of the families he photographs.  To learn more about Nate and his inspiring family, visit Confessions of a CF Husband.

So Much Bigger Than The Bunny – Tasha is a mom of 3 (soon-to-be 4) who is absolutely committed to the spiritual growth of her kids.  She is one of the most humble people I know, with capabilities far beyond anything she would ever say herself.  She wrote an innovative 7-week devotional for kids and families about the true meaning of Easter.  Fun, practical and applicable to all ages.  Proceeds from the book go towards funding their Uganda adoption.  I’m telling you – these people are amazing!

Resurrection Songs – Josh is our worship pastor and hands-down, one of the most talented song writers/musicians/vocalists I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.  For real.  He is producing a kids rock album to make Scripture memory easy and fun for kids.  The album compliments So Much Bigger Than The Bunny (written by his wife, Tasha), putting each week’s memory verse verbatim into songs that stick with you.  Jordan has been working with Josh on this project, playing drums and keys for each track.  It has been an absolute blast for him!  This isn’t your typical kids album.  Adults will want to rock out to these tunes as well!  Non-cheesy kids music.  Love it!  Proceeds also go towards their adoption from Uganda.

Tellefsen Custom Portraits – Cathy is like the big sister I never had.  She came into my life at just the perfect season and has since been a source of encouragement, much laughter, and solid advice.  Cathy studied art at Wake Forest University and is an accomplished painter.  Their family traveled the road of child loss nearly 13 years ago when their second daughter, Sarah, fell ill with cancer at 4 months old and passed 5 months later.  During their time at Duke, a photographer from Time magazine captured an intimate picture of Cathy holding her daughter in the cancer unit – a picture she did not receive until after Sarah’s passing.  The image made such a profound impact on my friend that she dedicated herself to capturing such moments of children on canvas for their families.  Her portraits are exquisite, excellently painted with genuine love poured into every brush stroke.  The perfect gift!

From Glimpses To Glory – Beverly was recently described as a combination of Beth Moore and Paula Dean.  So true!  This southern woman oozes love and joy from every pore while having a vibrant, humble walk with God and passionate love for His Word.  From Glimpses To Glory is Beverly’s first book, taking the reader from getting a glimpse of who God made them to be through the journey of seeing the vision fulfilled.  Jam-packed with Biblical truth, eloquence and wisdom, this is an excellent resource for women of all ages who want to grow in their walk with Christ towards being all they were created to be.

Radically Obedient: The Joshua Study – This 9-week study of the Book of Joshua rocked my world last year!  Ailene’s approach to studying the Bible is both refreshing and equipping, sharing valuable insights but leaving much room for God voice to speak to the individual simply through the Word itself.  Radically Obedient equips the reader in how to meditate on Scripture while teaching life-changing lessons from the life of Joshua.  No matter what season of life you are in, this study has something for you!

Happy reading/listening/image-capturing/web-perusing/growing/smiling-despite-this-dreary-weather, everyone!


Filed under Friends, Resources

I Belong

The season of love is upon us.  Valentine’s Day is a mere four days away and everywhere you look, hearts and chocolates and the color red abound.  Personally, I find the holiday quite strange.  If you love someone, do you really need an “official” day to show them?  Do you need the calendar to mandate that you make that affection tangible in some special way for the day?  Just my personal opinion. Though I always enjoy a good chocolate. 🙂

That said, Jordan has been amazing on this day for as long as I’ve known him.  From grand occasions to celebrating in sweet, simple ways, he has a knack for romance.  I am truly blessed and continually grateful for him.  Whether its February 14th or some obscure day anytime year round, he never ceases to show me love and value as his wife.  It is a gift I never knew possible and one I do not take for granted.  I am most fortunate to be Jordan Leino’s soulmate.

Beyond the holiday festivities, the subject of love has been in the forefront of my mind of late.  Wrapping my brain around God’s love, applying it to my life (not just knowing about it), and learning more how to live out His love in my own life.  He has taught me much but heaven knows, I still have a long way to go.  This past Sunday, Pastor Jimmy began a 4-week series on Love at Journey Church.  His sermon focused solely on God’s love for us.  It was saturated with Truth – that God is love, He pursued us before we even knew we needed pursuing, and NOTHING can separate us from His love.  Nothing!  He closed with a passage from Romans that has been a rock for me through the ups and downs of my life: Romans 8.38-39

“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.”

This passage continues to amaze and challenge me.  Is it even possible to wrap one’s mind around the vast expanse of this love?  Regardless of my circumstances, do I remain convinced His love remains unlimited and unchanging?  Blows my mind.  A simple song by Kathryn Scott captures these verses so beautifully: I Belong.  It has been playing in my mind all week.  I find myself waking to its melody and humming its lyrics as I go about my day.   It reminds me of the truth in Romans 8 – that nothing can take me from God’s great love.  Click the link below to hear I Belong.  This song has blessed my heart; perhaps it will do the same for you today.

I Belong by Kathryn Scott

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Filed under Faith, God, Journey Church, Patience, Resources, Thoughts, Worship

Faith, Hope & Lovebugs

I have been blessed by countless friendships over the course of my life.  Some for a season, others for a lifetime.  God has graciously crossed my path with many incredible people who have taught me life lessons, inspired me and challenged me…simply by how they live their lives day to day. To put it plainly – their lives have changed mine.

One such friend stands out in my mind today.  I first knew of her casually during my time at Liberty University.  She was the brown-eyed girl who always wore a smile.  Everyone who knew her would comment on how amazing she was anytime her name came up in conversation.  But it wasn’t until the fall of 2007 that our paths would divinely collide and begin what has grown into a sweet friendship.  A friendship that I’m honestly humbled and overwhelmed to have.

Our story begins in September 2007.  It was the month following Isaac’s death – a time when we were still shell-shocked and perhaps numb from all that had occurred during the 6 months prior.  A time when we were surrounded by more love and support than I ever imagined possible by people we knew well and others who only knew of us through our blog.  September was a month of learning a new “normal” and figuring out how life was supposed to move on as a family of two again.  It was a time when God carried us moment by moment.

I received an email from an old acquaintance at Liberty – Nathan Lawrenson.  He had served on one of the ministry teams at the same time as Jordan and I.  All I remembered of Nathan was his incredible singing voice, constant humor, and that he had married the brown-eyed girl everyone spoke so fondly of during my time at LU.  I read on to learn that he and his wife, Tricia, lived in North Carolina’s Outer Banks where he was a worship pastor and had just learned through a mutual friend that we had just lost Isaac.  His condolences were so sincere.  He wrote that Tricia had cystic fibrosis and they would soon be traveling to Duke to begin the process of qualifying her for a necessary double lung transplant.  With Duke being a mere 40 minutes from us, they hoped to attend October’s First Wednesday service at the church where Jordan then worked and catch up with us a bit.

At that next month’s First Wednesday, we saw Nathan and Tricia.  It was a wonderful service and we were so excited to catch up with these fellow LU alumni afterwards.  I remember first seeing them after the service ended.  They looked shell-shocked and tired.  All I knew is they had arrived at the church immediately following a full day of tests and doctors appointments at Duke.  With the late hour and their apparent fatigue, we made plans to postpone our catching-up date for the next time they were in town – just a week or two later.

That following visit, we met up at Coldstone for some delicious creamy calories to catch up with each other.  And it was that day that a beautiful journey in friendship began with the lovely brown-eyed girl named Tricia.  We reminisced over days at Liberty and memories from serving on ministry teams.  We laughed as we realized just how many mutual friends we had from LU.  We shared some of our story with the Lawrensons and how we were coping with the sudden change in our family.  And then they caught us up with their lives, explaining why they looked so shell-shocked at the service a few weeks prior.

Tricia’s CF had deteriorated her lungs to the point of now needing to qualify for a double-lung transplant.  It would be a rigorous process of tests, strict diets, and strong medication to ready her body for the new lungs should they become available in time.  Their visit at Duke had been going smoothly until they learned shocking news that would forever change the course of their lives.  Tricia was pregnant!  While most cases of pregnancy begin with pure elation, theirs was a mix of shock, awe and fear.  Terminating the pregnancy was NOT an option as they knew every child is a gift from God.  But how could Tricia now qualify for the lungs she was needing with increasing severity?  The drugs necessary would harm the baby.  Would her body even be able to carry the baby to term, let alone survive a full pregnancy and delivery?  They were smack in the middle of a rock and a hard place.  This precious couple was facing impossible odds, however in the midst of the madness, had a peace about them that could only be explained by their faith in Jesus.  I was so amazed by Tricia that day.  Her very life was in jeopardy, yet she was so full of joy and gratitude for God’s working in her life.  All the while, they kept asking how they could pray for us in our time of grieving!  They were facing the impossible but were so focused on how they could still be God’s hands and feet to others.  I left that afternoon completely humbled and amazed by this sweet couple, particularly Tricia’s grace and genuine love despite her circumstances.

This truly is only the beginning of their remarkable story of faith and overcoming insurmountable odds by the grace and power of God.  Nathan gives a beautiful snapshot of their life since that October here on his blog.  Please read it! My words will not do it justice.  Even during our many visits to the hospital as Tricia’s health quickly declined, both she and Nathan would always ask how we were doing and how they could pray on our behalf.  Since that day at Coldstone, my friendship with Tricia has grown into one I truly treasure.  Every time I’m with her, I’m deeply humbled and challenged by her example to surrender my life more fully to Christ.  She faces so many obstacles each day.  She has nearly every reason to live a selfish, bitter or complacent life.  Yet Tricia joyfully lives out the love of Jesus in each day, always seeking ways to serve others and display Him more.  And to this very day, anytime we are with this precious couple, they still ask how they can serve and pray for us.  Amazing.

Words completely fail me to describe the impact they both have had on my life.  When I think of women I want to be more like, Tricia is always on that list.  It is a joy and privilege to call her friend.  She has recently begun blogging again – Faith, Hope & Lovebugs.  I strongly encourage everyone to read it!  You’ll fall in love with this sweet family as she both inspires and challenges you through the example of her own life and her written words.  There are many beautiful things about Tricia (beyond the fact that she’s gorgeous).  Truly beautiful in every way.  But the one that stands out to me most: she never thinks of herself as inspiring or exceptional.  Rather, she simply thanks God for the gift of every new day she’s given and out of that gratitude and love for Jesus, strives to live Him out however she can.  She loves boldly, serves tirelessly, walks humbly and seeks to better the lives of every one around her.

Tricia lives every moment on purpose and because of it, my life will never be the same.

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We Still Believe

Jordan and I spent the past two days at Glorious: Seminars 4 Worship (put on by Integrity Music Live) in Durham, NC.  Two days dedicated to equipping and encouraging those who serve in local church worship teams.  Led by Paul Baloche, Kathryn Scott, and Brian Doerksen, the event covered a broad spectrum of elements that contribute to the worship element in weekend services.  Musical techniques, organizational resources, many Q&A sessions all brought a heightened level of understanding and knowledge to those in attendance.  But what made the greatest impact throughout the event was the genuine humility and gentle spirits of those leading.  Paul, Kathryn and Brian all have reason to boast as experts and carry themselves as ones whom all should listen  to.  But they did not!  Far from it!  These three worship leaders directed all attention and admiration back to God.  In all they said and did, they pointed to Him.  Their example emphasized how there is no need for stardom on the platform but rather sons and daughters of God who adore Him and want to simply use the gifting He has given them to open the door for others to worship Him also.  Paul, Kathryn and Brian are by all standards musical giants, but carried themselves with an air of humble grace and sincere love for the Lord and people.

Throughout the two days at Glorious, we sang many beautiful and powerful songs.  But one song in particular left an indelible mark on both Jordan and me – “We Still Believe” by Kathryn Scott.  If you have not heard it, I highly recommend checking her album out on iTunes to get your own copy.  She eloquently puts to song that in vast array of human experience, no matter the circumstance, God’s goodness and faithfulness always abounds.  No matter what believers may be facing, as the song simply puts, we still believe.

From the thankful heart to the battle-scarred
From the comforted to those who grieve
From the mountaintop to the empty cup
From the waiting to those who have received
We cry out as one

We still believe
We still believe
We still surrender in our hearts
Your faithfulness is our reward
We still believe
We still believe
And though the journey has been hard
We will confess Your goodness, God
We still believe

From the reborn hope to the weary soul
From the quest for truth to those who see
From the soaring wings to the shattered dream
From the broken to those who have been healed
We cry out as one


Through the fire, through the pain
We offer You our “yes” again


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Pretty In Pink

Our friend, Nathan Lawrenson, captured this image of Eliana while our families caught up over breakfast this past week.  It was wonderful to see him, Tricia, and Gwyneth.  If you’re not familiar with the Lawrenson’s story, check out his blog this instant!  You’ll be challenged, inspired and truly blessed.  As you can tell, he’s also an amazing photographer.  Thanks again for the pic, Nathan!


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Haiti Relief

Not a moment goes by without the thought of Haiti close to mind.  As I sit here – typing on a laptop in a warm, comfortable apartment, with sounds of laughter coming from my daughter in the next room- I struggle to wrap my mind around the ongoing crisis just a few thousand miles south of us.  Questions of why flood the mind and I’m reduced to a state of wonder.  Why is it that I was born here rather than Haiti?  Such tragedy could happen to any of us.  Why them?  Why not me?  Why?

In light of the devastation in Haiti, we who are elsewhere have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to rise up and respond.  Now is the time for action, for compassion, for sacrifice and steadfast prayer.  James 1.27 states that religion pleasing to our God is to look after widows and orphans in their distress.  Join me in partnering with the following organizations that are on the ground in Haiti, meeting the need.

May we be found faithful in this hour by swift response and vigilant prayer on behalf of those who are suffering.

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All That Glitters

Recently I was introduced to the All That Glitters project.  More than your average CD, its a journey to find where true worth lies.  We’ve all heard the expression “all that glitters isn’t gold”.  This project, through song and spoken word, reveals the state of man and the sovereign, unfailing love of the Savior.  I’ve had the songs “Yours Alone” and “In His Hands” playing over and again this morning.  All That Glitters has been a blessing to me.  Perhaps it will be for you as well.

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