Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11

photo (18)Yesterday I received a very unexpected note in the mail. I mean anything that’s not a bill is unexpected, right? Really how often do you receive a hand written note? I thought maybe it’s a thank you card or an invitation to a kids party. I was wrong. It was a sweet note of encouragement. This wasn’t a note from a family member or even someone who is in the category of “best friend”. This note was from a wonderful woman who really listened to something I said to her in passing and felt the need to encourage me. WOW!

In our world today we are so busy and so willing to glaze over what people say to us, or to be honest we really don’t want to hear what they are saying anyways. Because who really has time to listen to other people problems anyway? How often are you asked “How are you?” and your response is “good.” when in reality everything is far from good? We don’t talk about what’s really going on and we don’t really want to hear the truth. We are constantly moving to the next thing, the next appointment or meeting. We sprint through our day reading texts while eating lunch with friends, answering emails at the dinner table and letting real life pass us by.

This amazing woman of God who I talk to almost every Sunday spent maybe 5 minutes speaking with me, she truly heard my heart and was moved by God to encourage me. I had told her how much I looked up to her as a mother and grandmother, and that I was in awe of the woman she is. I joked that if she gave classes on being a good mom I would love to attend because I could only hope to be the kind of woman she is. Behind that joke was a real deep insecurity that I have, I’m scared of failing as a mother and wife. I have a deep fear of ruining the lives of those I love most. I struggle daily with feeling unworthy of my family. And this beautiful woman I was speaking to heard the fear behind my “joke”. She went home and sat down and wrote me the most lovely note of encouragement. She squashed my fears with truth and spoke love and light into my life. That is what this Christian life is about!

We are called to be there for one another, to love and encourage each other. We so often lose sight of what’s most important in this life. We get so busy fighting for the best job, the most money, the better position and we forget what we were sent here to do. We were sent here to love others like Christ did, period! We were not born to judge, destroy, hurt, lie to, mock, knock down, belittle, fight, rip apart or break others. We were created to LOVE because God LOVED first. It’s sad to say that I see those hurtful things in the Christian church today. People willing to put aside the call of Love on our lives to get what they want. I want to see this change in the church and world. I want to see Christians come together in love and throw away strife to shower each other with love.

My sweet friend who took the time to write and mail a note of encouragement to me, lived out the call God has placed on her life. She has experienced many deep hardships in her own life, yet she shines bright. She is a beacon of light in my church and community. She has shown up every time she is needed and given her time, energy and even her home to help others. I was right to say that I hope to be like her, but she was right in telling me that I am like her. Those words filled my heart and gave me hope, someone does care, someone sees me. Don’t we all want that? Someone to see us and care?

Come on church, lets join together and see people! Lets move slower, listen harder and encourage one another. People matter, let’s make sure they know that!

f8086eca34d411e3842d22000a1f9ada_8This past weekend I turned 30 years old. Ekkk! I don’t feel like I’ve been on this earth that long, yet as I look back at my 30 years of life I am proud of where God has placed me and used me. Although I don’t feel 30 I have lived every single moment of my time on the earth and looking back I am content with how I lived it, but hope to do more and push harder in the years to come.

In my 10,958 days on this earth I have:

* Overcome huge obstacles with my learning disability and hearing lose, I’ve done what doctors and teachers thought I could never do. * I have achieved my childhood dreams: Married a good man, live in a safe home and give my children things I never had. * I found who I am in Christ: Chosen and Beloved! * I’ve gone from being a shy scared child to a whole woman who isn’t afraid. * I have loved deeply. * I have had the honor of knowing and serving along side some of the greatest warriors for Christ. * I have loved and discipled many amazing teens who have grown up to be God honoring adults who now disciple and love others. * I have traveled to the other side of the planet to share the love of Jesus Christ, and experienced living outside my comfort zone. * I’ve gotten to hold many jobs: from waitress, Santa’s photographer,special needs aid, teacher, youth worker, photographer and mother. * I got to marry my childhood best friend and have two beautiful and amazing children. * I’ve found friends who have become family, I have lived life with people who push me to be better and to fight harder. I am forever thankful for my tribe. * I’ve healed deep childhood wounds and moved into a healthy place with my past. * I have forgiven those who have hurt me. * I’ve given my all for the cause of Christ and found out that I could give more. * I’ve learned that I can’t give up because this life is worth living. 

This past year of my life I felt as if I lost myself and truly gave up on everything. I experienced the deepest hurt I’ve ever felt and learned that I can live though it. God has used this past year to humble my heart and bring me into a place of complete surrender to Him. He has used this season of brokenness to rebuild the person He wants me to be in this next phase of life. And it wasn’t an easy process. As I laid in my bed for months in pain with heart ache over the lose of my sweet baby Hunter and experienced the physical pain of a miscarriage only 4 months later, I truly wanted to die. I felt like I couldn’t move and there was no hope for me after experiencing such deep traumatic pain. My heart and body were broken beyond repair (so I thought) and I actually didn’t want to feel happy or healthy again, because I thought feeling happy meant forgetting and I didn’t want to for get any of the babies I lost this year.However God uses ALL things for His glory and although I am nowhere near healed, I have hope that I will be. I still have really bad days where I fall back into that deep dark pit of pain, but now I have faith God will pull me out. I know that He is not done writing my story, I know that this is not the ending. I don’t think I can ever go back to the person I was before this past year happened, I’m not the same woman, but I know God has a plan for me, it just looks different now. And I am ok with that.

I had dreaded turning 30 and had joked that I was going to just turn 29 again. But you couldn’t pay me to experience this past year again. Turning 30 isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I look forward into the next decade and I am excited. I’m excited to watch my children grow up, it’s crazy to think that my daughter will be in her last year of high school in ten years. I look forward to how God wants to use my story to help others. I look forward to the adventures my husband and I will experience. I can’t wait to see who God brings into my life. I long for what God has planned for me and the people I love. Growing older can be scary, yet we can’t stop the sands of time, we can only run this race with endurance and finish strong for the glory of Jesus Christ.

So here’s my challenge for you, no matter what age or stage of life you are in, lets run together! Lets chase our dreams together, lets push each other, help each other get up and even carry one another when we can no longer run. This year was hard because I thought I was alone, but God brought some of the most amazing people into my life to be on my team and to pick me up and carry me when I couldn’t do it on my own. I’m planning on kicking 30′s butt! Join me as I try to live a life well lived for the God who gave us this life!

Last weekend I had the honor of attend the first ever Hillsong Conference in LA! The fellowship with friends, challenging teaching and mind blowing worship was priceless. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. It was one of the most incredible two days I’ve had the pleasure of living in my life. Sitting next to my husband and hearing him sing his heart out as we worshiped together was my favorite part of the two day event, nothing compares to that. Getting to exchange ideas and thoughts with our closest friends about church and how to love others better was fantastic. The teaching was incredible, I took over 20 pages of notes on how to be a better leader. I felt like God awakened something inside of me and is preparing me for something new and bigger then I can imagine. If you ever get the chance to attend a conference I would highly recommend it. We are never done growing, never done learning, never done developing and if you get the opportunity to worship with thousands of other believers and learn something knew about yourself, your God and your ministry, you have to do it!

At the conference Hillsong introduced there newest addition to their family Hillsong Young and Free. I absolutely fell in love with them. They are approaching worship in a new and fresh way and I really think the youth of today is going to LOVE it as well. Our God is so amazing and diverse. He has a heart for all walks of life and all ages, He wants to reach the entire world and He wants to meet them where they are. This new group will bring the love of Jesus Christ to a whole new generation, that’s so EXCITING!

The words in their songs are powerful and the energy is electric. Take a second and listen to Wake, my personal favorite. My kids and I have been dancing around the house praising Jesus as we listen to this album. I hope you take some time today to dance before the Lord with joy and praise!!!!!!!!!!!

We only get one life, make sure you dance!

Have you heard of The Giving Keys? They are an amazing organization who help the homeless in LA and make inspiring jewelry. Caitlin Crosby the founder of The Giving Keys, wore a key as a necklace and had the idea to start engraving old, used keys with inspirational words. Realizing that in a way we are all like these keys — unique, flawed, scarred, and at risk of being discarded – she began encouraging people to wear and embrace the message on their key necklace, then ‘pay it forward’ to someone who needs the message more. Amazing and inspiring! I got to hear Caitlin Crosby speak at Catalyst and I loved hearing her heart and her message.

Their slogan is “Love is the Key”. Isn’t that true? When we break down the bible and theology, isn’t Love the key? Love is Jesus’ message and what God wants the world to feel. I love this idea and have owned three of these keys and I have been able to give two of them away, when I found people who needed that word more than I did. It’s amazing how much power a word holds. The words we speak into the lives of people we are around can make or break their spirits. I tend to have a sharp tongue and God is constantly at work in me to watch the words I say and to speak light into darkness. And these keys are a reminder to speak love into the lives of those God has placed into my life.

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I am not perfect, I am flawed, I fail, I struggle, I sin, I have a temper, I’m sensitive, I am a hypocrite, I hurt and I am NOT God.

The world loves to say that church is filled with hypocrites, I’d have to say the world is. No one is perfect, we are all sinners in need of a Savior and when we really understand that, there is freedom. Freedom in knowing that my hope is not found in myself but in Jesus Christ. If my place in heaven depended on how good I am here on earth, I would never be allowed past the entrance gates. It is in Christ alone and His flawless love that I get to spend eternity in the presence of the all mighty God. I can’t be perfect and I can’t always do the right thing, but I am thankful and praise God that He is always good, that He is perfect and His love never fails.

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“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Hebrews 10:16

When I was packing my house up to move this summer I found a box full of old journals. I have been writing in journals since I could pick up a pen. But I had no idea that I had accumulated so many. My oldest journal has a kitten on it and is full of hearts that say, “I love Chad” apparently in 3rd grade I was very enamored with a boy named Chad. It also has short stories I made up in my head as well as my thoughts and feelings about the surgeries I under went as a child. It is also filled with my deepest childhood fears and biggest dreams. I have journals from high school as well as trade books that are filled with notes from friends as we passed it around school. It’s amazing to see my life story compiled into one very large box.

I’m not sure what exactly made me start writing as a child, but I know why I continue to write now. I carry a journal with me everywhere, it’s tucked into my purse I love to grab it out when I get an idea or when someone says something amazing. It’s right there ready to be filled with magic. I know in the age of technology that I can keep notes and ideas in my phone, but there’s something amazing about tangibly writing it down. For me the act of putting pen to paper actually helps me to remember what ever it is that I am documenting.

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IMG_8337I get to walk my daughter to and from school everyday. I love that we live so close to her school and we get to be outside in the fresh air together everyday. It’s a great time to talk and to just enjoy each others company. On days that I have to drive to pick her up from school my heart is sad because I miss out on that time. Walking leads to talks and adventures, we discover new things and enjoy old favorites. It’s an amazing bonding time that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

My walks with my children remind me so much of my walk with God. I look forward to my daily time with God, talking to Him and listening to His spirit refreshes my soul and pushes me to do His will in my life. When I miss my time with Him, I feel empty and saddened like I missed out on something spectacular. Both walks with my God and my children takes work. I have to make the time and not be lazy, but it is always worth it.

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Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14

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When you’re little you long to be a big kid, and when you’re a teenager you frustratingly count the days left until “freedom”. But something happens when you hit adulthood, it’s like life hits hyper speed, and all you want to do is slow down the hands of time and hold on to the now. Time truly does fly and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

The watch in the photo above is my grandfather’s watch, he gave it to my dad and now I have it. The sad thing is I didn’t really know either of those men. Even so, they are my history and without them I wouldn’t exist. Their lives were a vapor, I doubt they had any idea they’d never seem me go to prom, graduate high school, get married and have children. They had no idea they wouldn’t be apart of their child and grand child’s life. I hope and pray I am around to see my children and grandchildren live their lives. But there is no guarantee, I may not get to see tomorrow. That’s the funny thing about time, it will never stop but my life will.

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All of Social Media is all a buzz over this weeks VMA awards, I’m kinda surprised by the fact that people are shocked. I mean seriously its the VMAs, something crazy stupid always happens. It’s not like MTV is known for breeding great role models. But it did get me thinking about role models and who my daughter looks up to. My sweet girl does adore Hannah Montana, but has no clue who she grew up to be. However I am proud to say that I know that my daughter looks up to some amazing women. From her Great Grandmother to her teenage cousins, she is surrounded by wonderful women. And one of those women is my best friend Sarah Lynn Grubb.

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IMG_7520IMG_7529Seven years ago I became a mom, this rocked my world and changed my life in the best possible way. My beautiful Sienna Joy entered the world and filled it with a rainbow of light, and a little over three years later God gave me the gift of my Eli Daniel. Eli came into this world roaring like a lion and his wild spirit has set my life on the course of the greatest adventure. These two miracles have truly made me the person I am today. I have rocked them through the night, held them as they slept, wiped away tears, kissed boo boos, read thousands of books, chased, hugged and heard every giggle. They are everything.

I am entering a new season of life with my babies, they aren’t babies anymore! With our move we sold/donated every baby toy, onesie, crib, rocking chair and stroller. No more baby stuff, and Eli finally conquered potty training! With that there are no more diaper bags filled with toys, sippy cups, blankies, wipes and diapers. I can now leave the house with just my keys and a wallet! Both my babies are full-fledged big kids, they are independent, they push me with intelligent questions, they care about others and want to make a difference in our world. I am blown away, I wasn’t truly ready for this, ready for them to be so big. But here I am, Mama to two amazing big kids.

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