Posts filed under Building Your Faith

Trusting God with my miscarriage: Comforting Thoughts for those who grieve


In May 2008, my husband and I bought our first home and had fun (well, I had fun) painting every room, replacing flooring, and installing new light fixtures, curtains, and blinds. Our new home had a small bedroom next to the master that was the perfect size for a nursery. But we had debt to get rid of so the plan was for me to keep working so that one day I could stay home when we had kids. So, while we knew we had the space, having a baby was on the back burner – way back on the back burner. The small bedroom became my home office.

In March 2009, I realized I was a bit late in my cycle. When I took the pregnancy test and it was positive, I felt fear instead of joy. I didn’t feel ready for kids. I had finally started losing some weight and still needed to work because our monthly budget was really tight. Even as I looked at the positive test I hoped that it was a false positive or that if not, it would somehow go away. I’m ashamed, mortified, and angry about that thought now. I had no idea what I was hoping for.

Our first appointment at the OB led us to a trip to the hospital to get a better ultrasound. Things didn’t look good. And they weren’t good. That was our first miscarriage. It wasn’t until we lost the baby that I realized how much I wanted the baby.

Then we had another miscarriage. And another. The third happened the week before Christmas in 2009. By then I was in a deep, dark well. I didn’t know how to come out of it and I didn’t want to come out of it.

I spent months crying in my car before and after work. I still went to church but couldn’t sing in service because every song made me cry. I didn’t go to church on Mother’s Day. I did what I had to in order to get through each day. I stayed home a lot. I rejoiced with friends who announced their pregnancies and then drove home and sobbed into my pillow. I went to baby showers and made frequent trips to the bathroom to cry. It truly was a dark and hopeless time.

In the midst of this grief, there were a few things that managed to keep me going. They didn’t take away the pain, but they helped me navigate and survive the dark waters of grief.

First, my faith in God carried me through. I fully believe I would have done something drastic (there were times I prayed and asked God to let me die) had it not been for the fact that I knew God loved me and hurt with me. I did ask Him a lot of questions though, like: Why do people who don’t want to have a baby deliver healthy babies? Why me? Romans 8:26 accurately depicts my prayer life in that time. More often than not, the Holy Spirit needed to intercede for me with groans too deep for words because I didn’t know how to pray. I also clung to Psalm 30:5b because it assured me that while the days and nights were dark, there would come a time when I would experience joy again.

Second, I found a group of women who had also experienced the loss of one or more babies. We met on a baby-focused website and after some time, a dozen of us formed a private group in Facebook where we shared, vented, encouraged, and rejoiced with each other. We’re spread across the country but I’ve been able to meet several of them over the nine years we’ve been connected. I had friends who lived near me, but at that point none of them had experienced a miscarriage and while they loved me, they couldn’t truly grasp my grief. I was so achingly lonely in that time of sorrow because I thought no one knew what I was feeling. Once I figured out that I needed to bond with women who understood what I was going through and I found the group, my loneliness eased. That group has been a huge source of healing for me.

Third, I decided to focus on something I could control. I couldn’t control my body and make it keep a baby safe, but I could control what I put in it and how I took care of it. I was overweight and decided to use that time to take control of my weight. I tracked what I ate and exercised and as I saw the number on the scale drop and felt the clothes loosen, I felt renewed and hopeful. I still had many moments of tears and despair, but being in control in just one area of life was a respite to the grief.

Trusting God with miscarriage pull quote (1).png

I’ll never have a satisfying answer as to why I lost my babies. I don’t think there is one, but I choose to trust in God. I’ve also come to a realization: we live in a fallen world and tragic things happen as a result of living in a fallen world. Does that take away the pain? No. But it gives me some semblance of peace and closure now that I have distance from the rawness of the miscarriages.

If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, go to God. Cling to Him. Ask Him questions. We may never receive an answer that completely satisfies, but we can trust in His character when we look at the cross and meditate on Scripture. For example, Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” He can shoulder your pain. He wants to comfort you in your sorrow.

If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, know that you are not alone. Find a group online or that’s part of a church’s care ministry. My church has a care night where various groups meet and address specific needs and hurts. I wish I had that when I was in the middle of the pain.

And lastly, if you’ve experienced a miscarriage, find something healthy to focus on so you can have some sense of control when you feel like there isn’t anything you can control. Maybe it’s exercise or education. Dedicate yourself to a hobby you’ve been meaning to take up. It won’t take away the pain but it can distract you in a good way.

Posted on February 28, 2018 and filed under Building Your Faith.

Stand Before Him With Your Little Ones


The living and active Word of God never ceases to amaze me. A passage I’ve known for years breathes new life into my current situation, and I walk away ready to face the day. As my circumstances threatened to overtake me this month, God flooded my heart with hope and direction through 2 Chronicles 20. I’d like to share it with you for when you face the overwhelming. It is a long passage, but it’s so worth it, so please stick with me!

After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. 2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). 3 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 6 and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. 7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ 10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— 11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

13 Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. 14 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly.15 And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's.16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.

18 Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

20 And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.”21 And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,

“Give thanks to the Lord,
for his steadfast love endures forever.”

22 And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. 23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.

WOW. So much to encourage us, isn’t there? What captivated me most was verse 13, Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.” Three sets of enemies are on their way to attack them. Instead of running away with their families--their little ones--they stood. They stood before the Lord. I think it is significant that the verse separates children and little ones. Of course children were not expected to fight in the battle. Surely, it was commonplace to flee with little ones. Yet this is not what the nation did. They stood with their babies and they waited to see how God would respond. SIx times in the passage the word “stood” or “stand” is used. Here it describes their posture, but it also reveals the trust in their hearts.

I’m not sure this is my natural response…. When trials come, I often want to scoop up my babies and work my hardest to protect them from the pain of the world. Sometimes that’s what the Lord calls us to do as mothers. Still other times, our Savior is ready to rescue mightily--for our children to see. Stand firm! See the salvation of the Lord! If we try to protect our children every time a hardship comes, they will indeed miss out on the good, gracious, powerful hand of the Lord. He has limitless resources and abundant creativity to rescue us. His means of protection and provision far exceed our greatest imaginations.

I can’t tell you when to protect your children and when to let them watch; that distinction is for you to work out with Jesus on your own. Perhaps when our knuckles are most white, grasping the hardest for an escape is when we need to let go the most. When the tugging of the Lord on your heart makes the tears about to fall, He’s got you. Be still, and know. (Ps. 46:10) Sometimes the power to “stand” comes from being on our knees, and it isn’t a physical change, but a resoluteness with which we go forward.

That was encouragement enough, but God had more to show me. I had to reread the chapter three times to ensure I wasn’t missing something. The Lord didn’t tell them to worship. They worshipped out of expectation and urgency. Faith and hope collided into the perfect, deserved response of devotion.

No matter how great the battle, how daunting the circumstance, how necessary the preparations, the correct response will always be to worship. Not only is it what the Lord deserves, it can actually lead to our victory. “And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord sent an ambush” (v. 22)


The best motion pictures have nothing on this! Multitudes are coming against these people. Can you sense the impending rumblings of the enemy vibrating on the ground? Can you see the dust rolling up from the coming attack? Do you feel your heart beating within your chest? Now do you hear the worship of God’s children louder than all of it?

They choose to stand.

They choose to worship.

Many people select a word or phrase to meditate upon or strive for in the new year, sometimes in place of a resolution, sometimes to go along with one. This January I chose “Worship” to be my word for the year. I didn’t necessarily understand why God was laying this word, this choice, on my heart, but as 2018 has unfolded, it is becoming quite clear.

Recently I shared that we were in the ER right before Christmas because my husband was having some concerning neurological symptoms. A CT scan ensured us that he had not had a stroke or a brain tumor, and we were incredibly thankful. More testing needed to be done, however, and the MRI revealed lesions on his brain. We have just learned he has Multiple Sclerosis. As we await more clarity on this unpredictable condition, I have a picture in my mind of my little family. The six of us are holding hands, and standing together in hope and faith.

 I clearly see my two choices. I will stand with my children, with my little ones, watching to see how God works on our behalf. And I will worship.

My sweet sister, I pray that the Lord gives you the strength to stand and worship as you mother--today and every day.

Posted on February 21, 2018 and filed under Building Your Faith.

One Tiny Change That Will Instantly Turn You Into More A Grateful Person


As we turn the calendar page to 2018, many of us are thinking about resolutions. Last year at this time, I wrote about being more forgiving. This year I’m working on being more grateful.

Self-talk and your inner dialogue are surprisingly powerful influences on your thinking. And, true blog confessions? I think my inner dialogue is getting more and more cranky the older I get!

My aunt, Diana, introduced me to what I believe could be the solution. A tiny, utterly simple vocabulary swap that will have huge ripple effects on your entire pattern of thinking.

The change is this: Every time you catch yourself saying “have to,” say “get to” instead.

For example, when a friend asks you to lunch on Friday and you decline, saying, “Oh darn, I can’t that day. I have to go to the dentist. Let’s do breakfast on Saturday instead.”

You would instead switch the word “have” for the word “get” and say, “Oh darn, I can’t that day. I get to go to the dentist. Let’s do breakfast on Saturday instead.”

Changing that one little word has the power to change everything in your brain. You may not even take the time to process through the thoughts behind your statement, but they will go from something like this:

“I have to go to the dentist.”

            ‘Ugh. Drudgery! I hate giving up the time, sitting in that chair, having my teeth poked at and prodded and learning I have the inevitable bi-annual cavity no matter how much I brush or floss!’ something like this:

“I get to go to the dentist.”

            ‘I live in a country where I have access to healthcare for my teeth! I have the money to afford getting them cleaned and cared for, and to have my cavities filled. I don’t have to face a future of my teeth decaying or falling out.’

Do you see what attitude the words “get to” create? Gratefulness. It’s simply inevitable.

This subtle change in your pattern of speech is normal enough not to make you sound like a weirdo, but abnormal enough to trigger your brain to take notice of what you are saying. And it really works!


Here’s what my cranky inner self is grumbling when I say, “I have to go grocery shopping:”

            ‘Grocery shopping is the worst! Especially when I have the kids in tow. In the winter, just bundling them to leave the house requires the stamina of a triathlete, and then I have to schlep them around a huge store, load the van, haul all the heavy bags in and then try to put everything away. All this while they’re trying to tear open cookie packages and dump them on the floor!’

My inner self turns grateful when I change my words to, “I get to go grocery shopping:”

            ‘I can afford food! It’s beautifully laid out for me in a store. I don’t have to grow it, harvest it, or can it for the winter. I have an able body and a driver’s license to go shopping for myself, and the strength to load my own car and carry in my own bags. Every one of these are things I take for granted every day that other people don’t have.’

I have heard many testimonies and sermons about how easy it is, when you stop and think, to be grateful for the many blessings in hard situations. For instance, our pastor had his credit card stolen, and was quick to point out that he was grateful to have money that someone could steal! It’s not hard for us to see the blessings in our lives. It’s just hard for us to take the time to see them moment by moment. This small vocabulary change is a tiny reminder you can give yourself throughout the day to do just that.

Before: “I have to drive my daughter to soccer practice.”

            ‘Does anyone else feel like they’re bungee strapped to their minivan? I think I’m going to install a coffee bar in the center console.’

After: “I get to drive my daughter to soccer practice.”

            ‘I’m capable and available enough to drive my daughter to soccer practice. We can spend the time talking in the car, and she’ll know I’m there for her.’

These are just the small things. The inconveniences, the hassles, and the headaches that trip us up and make us crabby, especially when we’re hungry, amiright?? They’re the easy things to start retraining ourselves to say we “get to” do.

But what about the harder circumstances in life?     

“I have to stay home with my kids.”

            ‘Even though I love them, I’m exhausted. I feel like all I do is clean up after them, play peek a boo, make them snacks, and try to keep my one-year-old from taking a leap off the top of his brother’s bunk bed. I miss my office. And I can’t even remember what having disposable income feels like...’

“I get to stay home with my kids.”

            ‘Even though I’m exhausted, it’s an enormous privilege to be able to afford to stay home with my kids. Even though I feel like all I do is try to keep them alive (barely successfully!!), I know that this time is precious and short, and this season will be gone before I know it. Today I got to pour love and care into my children, all day. That’s awesome to be able to say.’

“I have to go to work.”

            ‘Monday morning again. I am so tired of this crazy schedule. It’s so hard to pack everyone up and get them out the door so early in the mornings, be gone all day, get home just in time for dinner, homework and bed, and then do it all again the next day. I don’t know if I can stand this grind for another week!’

“I get to go to work.”

            ‘I get to earn a living today. I am getting paid for my labor. Not only that, I have co-workers who are wonderful, and I get to do a job that is fulfilling and affirming. I get to do something that I’m good at and that makes a difference in people’s lives every day, all while supporting my family.’

These are just a sampling of some of the very real struggles moms face, and I don’t want to trivialize them in the slightest. Some of us are facing even harder things, like the death of a loved one or a health crisis. It’s important to be honest with ourselves about our feelings, so I don’t want to suggest that we should all just sweep real heartaches under the cheery-sunshine-I’m-fine-I’m-grateful-for-everything rug. So, you can prayerfully consider how you might apply this vocab change to the more serious stuff of life, and if it would be helpful for the season you’re in.

Once you’re in the habit of telling yourself you “get to” do certain things, you’ll naturally begin talking that way with your kids, and you might see big changes spread to their attitudes as well. For example, at 6:30 AM when you’re trying to rouse your pre-teen out of bed...

“Wake up, you have to go to school.”

            ‘Yep. School stinks. I completely get how hard it is to wake up early in the morning just so you can go sit through boring classes that you don’t care about and probably won’t need in life, all while navigating Junior High (aka the most awkward and stressful social experiment ever invented). Just bide your time and plow through until you can graduate- in a mere 7 years!’

“Wake up, you get to go to school!”

           ‘I know you’re too young to understand this yet, but you have to trust me that your education is precious. It is an incredible gift and privilege to be educated. Abraham Lincoln had to walk miles to find and read one book. Yet every day you go to a building that is filled with books! And not only that, but people teach you how to read them and think about them critically. Past generations would have given anything for the knowledge and learning you are privy to every day. Even today, there are some children around the world who still have no access to education, or who have to walk miles or work in cramped conditions with few resources. You’re blessed to learn in a place that is safe and convenient and comfortable. And since I’m on a soap box, let’s not forget that a loving mother is waking you from a deep sleep that was afforded to you in a warm cozy bed, and that breakfast is readily available to you downstairs after your hot shower and access to spectacular dental care! So, get moving, okay?!’

Well, I think if we’ve learned anything here it’s that there is a LOT of talking going on inside my head. :) And hopefully if you’re in the same boat, we can turn a little more of that talk into gratefulness this year by declaring aloud that we “get to” do hard things. By doing so, I believe we’ll be on the path to one of the things I covet most as a woman of God: a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in His sight.

Happy New Year!

Posted on January 5, 2018 and filed under Building Your Faith.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Thankfulness


I’ve written for this blog for several years now, which means I’ve created multiple Thanksgiving blog posts. This year I didn’t want to do the typical “have your kids list off everything they are thankful for” post. Yet my kids are still pretty young, and getting them to stretch past that is often beyond their capabilities. Then I remembered part of a sermon I heard a few months ago about gratitude.

The pastor was challenging believers to move beyond the “elementary level” gratitude of thanking God for our blessings, and towards 1 Thessalonians 5:18 thankfulness: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I was truly convicted by this challenge. Do I really praise God for my difficulties, or do I just try to focus on the good that happened and move forward? The second half of the verse assures me this is worth meditating upon… and worthy of teaching to my children.

Authentic Gratitude Quote.png

So after a few weeks of praying about how to teach this concept to kids, I don’t have a lot of ideas. What I do know is that it starts with us. We need to model authentic gratitude for God’s sovereignty. It can’t just be at the Thanksgiving dinner table. When we are stuck in traffic, we need to thank God that we are perhaps being spared from a situation or being taught patience. When we are sick, we need to praise God for the reminder that we are healthy most of our days, and to appreciate them. When our dishwasher breaks, we need to be thankful we have one at all! The list of opportunities goes on and on. I truly believe that when our kids see us model this in a genuine fashion, they will be inclined to follow.

I think it is fantastic to provide intentional opportunities for us to show gratitude, I just don’t think true thankfulness can be forced. Bear that in mind should you incorporate the following ideas:

  1. Play Highs/Lows. This is a typical game for the dinner table, but consider adding a twist. Perhaps when a family member shares their low for the day, challenge them to see a blessing in the disappointment. I believe it is still important to show empathy for the hurt feelings or sadness your child experienced; we aren’t asking them to be robots, we are asking them to model seeking God’s perspective.

  2. Play “The Gratitude Game”. I saw this idea recently. Basically, you have a group of colored straws or popsicle sticks. When someone picks up a red straw, they can thank God for a person in their life, for orange a place, for green a food, for blue a thing, and for purple they get to pick. My suggestion is that if your child picks purple, encourage them to find a blessing in a hard situation. When your turn comes, you do the same.

  3. Incorporate 1 Thessalonians 5:18 thankfulness into your prayers. “Lord, we thank you for this opportunity to see your hand at work.” “Jesus, thank you that you are our provider and that we know you will provide even when we don’t understand how.” “God, thank you for the testimony we will have when you work in this situation. Thank you that our character is being refined in this trial.” When our kids hear these prayers repeatedly, they will be more likely to speak to their Savior in kind.

  4. Pray honestly. Sometimes you may not be able to see God’s goodness. I think it’s okay to let your kids hear you ask for it. “Lord, we want to trust you in all things. We know you are good, but we are hurting right now. Please show us how you are working in this.” Kids don’t need a mother who is in denial of her true feelings. They need a mother that trusts her feelings to her maker.

  5. Teach Scripture on the topic. The Bible shows us that thankfulness is the appropriate response in all situations. Let your children see how frequently God requests this of His children. Here are just a few verses on the topic:

“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly

I will show the salvation of God!” ~Psalm 50:23 (ESV)

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! ~Psalm 30:11-12 (ESV)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name! ~Psalm 100:4 (ESV)

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. ~Ephesians 5:4 (ESV)

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,

and your faithfulness by night… ~Psalm 92:1-2 (ESV)

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. ~Psalm 7:17 (ESV)

Hang on a second—two of my boys just destroyed an entire banana cake I made for company and the evidence is all over the floor. Where was I? Thankfulness, right?!

Okay, thank you, Lord that I have more ingredients to make something else!

I’d like to share two personal, recent examples that I will be sharing with my kids this Thanksgiving season. These two situations are ones my sons have walked through (at least partially) with me, so I want them to see my gratitude.

First of all, I am thanking God for how He has shown up in my three-year-old’s allergies. At one-and-a-half, he was diagnosed with 21 food allergies; thankfully he has outgrown all but 8 of them. We are about to undergo testing to see if 3 more can be incorporated into his diet. It has been challenging for our entire family, but so cool to celebrate together each time he is healed of an allergy! We’ve had cashew and coconut celebrations, gluten fests, and a pistachio party. We are facing this challenge together as a family, and Everett knows how we love him and want him healed of every last one. What I praise God the most for however, is the character my little boy is growing in the midst of this. He has incredible self-control and a sense of responsibility; he knows to ask before he eats anything, and he has a FANTASTIC attitude when we tell him no. In fact, 99% of the time he responds with, “That’s okay! God is healing me! Maybe I can have that next year!” This young man knows the power of God at work in his own body! Could a mom be any more proud? Also, his brothers are learning thoughtfulness and conscientiousness. They can’t just eat a nut and leave the table. They know they need to wash their hands immediately and clean off their spot. They have also become great prayer warriors! They regularly ask God to heal their brother. Here Everett is with a watermelon cake. He had absolute joy and wasn’t focusing on how he was missing out… boy, can I learn from him!


Another situation we are praising God for is the recent birth of our healthy baby girl. There were so many challenges during my pregnancy with her. Upon finding out I was pregnant with her, I bled heavily for a full month. All the while, I was vomiting repeatedly, sometimes up to 20 times a day. This lasted for ⅔ or the pregnancy. Next, I had a hernia, which made me look huge for most of the pregnancy. Then my whole family and I got the flu. Then I got food poisoning. Then I hurt my back. Then I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to take my blood sugar 4 times a day, eat a specific diet, and write down everything I ate (all things a mom of 3 has time for, right?). Then we found out the baby was breech. I was so over being pregnant at this point! (I am someone who puts an enormous amount of energy into being a healthy environment for my baby, so to have all of these challenges, it was humbling and frustrating.) Anyway, upon finding out the news, I came home, and my three little boys, and my husband put their hands on my big belly. They each prayed for God to turn our baby girl. They talked to her as they had throughout the pregnancy. “Baby, we are so excited to meet you! We need you to turn your head so you are upside down. Then put your feet up here so you can come out. Can you hear me? Okay do it now!” While I was doing crazy upside-down exercises to help her move, my son would crawl under my tummy and talk to her some more. What a blessing to see the faithfulness of children in prayer! Well, the time came for me to go for an ultrasound and see what the baby’s position was…. And she turned!!! It was highly unlikely that it would happen, but God moved on our behalf. We were so incredibly thankful, and the best part was that we were able to share the depth of joy with our sons! I pray that the seeds of seeing God at work are planted in their hearts through this testimony. Next came the birth… and I am thrilled to say it was my easiest birth. Blessing after blessing ushered in the arrival of Adeline Eden. She is healthy and beautiful and a wonderful addition to our family. I truly believe that the frustrations during the pregnancy have made the blessings so much sweeter. And so I can honestly say, thank you God for it all. And now I get to see my sons embrace their baby sister. Perhaps God was already cultivating a protective love in their hearts for their sister the whole time.


I know my trials are small right now. For this I am thankful. And sometimes if I am honest, I have an easier time giving thanks through great challenges than through small disappointments. Like why is it so hard to give thanks for the baseboards and carpet I was hoping were replaced? Or for the trim that isn’t painted yet? I still have lots in which to be sanctified. But I will keep pursuing “the will of God in Christ Jesus” for me (1 Thess 5:18).

I hope you have much to be thankful for this season. Yet I know there are many going through trials right now. Maybe you were expecting to embrace a child by this time… maybe this is your first holiday without a loved one… maybe you or someone you love has received a difficult diagnosis… Whatever it may be, I pray that God reveals His goodness to you through it and that your heart will be able to praise Him.

Posted on November 15, 2017 and filed under Building Your Faith.

Scripture Memory and Prayer: Cultivating Faith in Your Child's Heart


I had the blessing of growing up in a Christian home. My dad was a pastor, which made me a PK (pastor’s kid). I was continually surrounded by prayer, Scripture and biblical teaching. I remember as a little girl praying to receive Jesus as my Savior, and yet I also remember struggling to feel like I was really saved for many years. I feared if I would die, I would go to hell and suffer for eternity. I would ask Jesus into my heart several times over the years and then feel guilty because I had already asked and would wrestle over my lack of faith and belief.

The Lord ended up leading me to college at Moody Bible Institute and I will forever be thankful for listening to His prompting to go there. My foundation for understanding Scripture was strengthened, my love for God increased, my faith deepened and I met Mark, my husband there: a major bonus!

My faith began to grow as I learned more of Who God was and is.

Mark 9:23-24 says, “Jesus said, ...‘All things are possible for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 'I believe; help my unbelief.'"

I am sure I heard this verse many times growing up but it wasn’t until I was a bit older that this specific cry of the father to Jesus penetrated my heart. As this prayer began to settle in my heart, the Lord used this to breathe life into my prayer and deepen my faith.

My faith journey continues and now that I have children, one of my biggest prayers has been for them to have a big, strong faith! I am continually trying to love, grow, teach, nurture, discipline, strengthen, encourage and ready my girls for each day of life they are given. My heart longs for my girls to continue and develop their own faith and grow mightily in the Lord. What does it look like to cultivate and grow their faith in the everyday routine of life?

I wish there was a cookie cutter answer, but the reality is, each child, each parent, each home, each circumstance, each life that we live, is different. Therefore we interact and teach them according to our present life environment and culture. Although we are all different, thankfully God is not; He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore.


Here are three ways to help cultivate and develop a deeper faith for our children:

  1. Pray with them. Your children have such a sensitivity to the heart of the Lord. Matthew 18:2 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” What profound truth this Scripture reveals for our kids’ hearts: they are ready to hear from the Lord. Pray over them, pray for them and have them pray out loud. Let them hear you pray for them in a deep way. Pray for things that are going on in your lives that are difficult and they will learn to pray in these situations as well. We are teaching them what prayer looks like by how we pray with them and for them.

  2. Be willing to discuss prayer requests and answered prayers. If we are willing to pray through deeper, real life issues and needs with our children, then we need to be willing to discuss when we are waiting to hear from God and when He answers those prayers. God always answers prayers, maybe not in the way we desire, or even in our timing, but He does answer. So, it’s important for our children and their growing faith to talk about how God is at work in it all. We need to have daily reminders of God’s character and how He doesn’t change even if we are in the “waiting period” of a prayer request. I remember countless times talking with the girls after we prayed for God to provide a specific job we were all wanting for Mark. While we were waiting, we all prayed and cried out for the Lord’s provision every morning for this job. The Lord gave me wisdom to talk with them after every single time, explaining if God didn’t decide to provide this job we all wanted, He was still good and faithful and would provide something even better. It ended up not being the job God provided and yet because of the continual open dialogue with the girls, their faith was not shaken. Of course there was great disappointment and pain, but their faith grew through this.

  3. Scripture memory. Have your children memorize God’s Word! My father is a first generation believer and as early as I can remember he taught us Bible verses that we recited every night. He was teaching us to hide God’s Word in our hearts. I can’t even tell you how many verses I have memorized from this practice with my dad, and what a blessing it is when God brings them to mind. I will always have those Scripture verses resonating within my heart. I was deeply convicted that I wanted to continue the legacy my father started when we had our own children, and teach them Bible verses to hide in their hearts. My girls were about 2 when they memorized their first verse. I still have them recite 3 verses every night and we continue to learn new ones. When we were going through a hard time as a family in transition, we even had a family memory verse that we would talk about with them. Scripture memory is powerful and helps solidify our faith.

There are many different ways to help cultivate faith in the heart of a child. I hope and pray as you wrestle through how God wants you to nurture your own child’s faith, that this is a springboard to further explore what God has for you as a parent. Blessings to you!  

Posted on October 18, 2017 and filed under Building Your Faith.

Daily Words of Life and Truth: Reminding Your Kids of who they are and who they will become in Christ


The last few weeks have provided many reminders that parenting is not for the faint of heart. My three girlies have just finished their fourth week of school. My eldest started 8th grade, middle started 5th grade and my little started all day kindergarten! Hard to believe we are four, almost five weeks in! It has been a bit of a rough re-entry into school world; which has then spilled over into our home world.

All this to say, school brings a whole slew of new adventures: drama with friends (oh yes, it can even affect the child who has never had it), homework, papers, lack of sleep, a smidge of crankiness (kids, and yes, even this mama), swim, volleyball, piano and voice into an already loaded school schedule. I’m exhausted from even writing that out! So, with all the adventures school and schedules provide, what does it look like to stay intentional with our kiddos on a daily basis?

One way I have chosen to stay intentional with my girls is by speaking truth and life into and over them each morning before school. I adopted this form of intentionality after hearing a prominent woman in leadership, whom I greatly respect, explain how she did this with her children.

Her backstory for creating this was from Judges, a book in the Old Testament. It’s about the story of Gideon in chapter 6. Here is a quick history lesson.

And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” Judges 6:12
And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” Judges 6:14

These verses are important because the angel of the Lord was speaking into who Gideon was going to become. When the angel appeared to him, he was not a mighty man of valor. In fact he was hiding from the Midianites in a winepress, beating out wheat because the Israelites were being oppressed by them. Hardly a mighty man of valor. Yet, God chose to speak truth through his angel as to what kind of man he was going to become.

The story continues on to explain that Gideon would help save his people from the hand of Midian. God showed His miraculous power in this by taking the 22,000 men who were going to help fight the Midianites and bringing that number down to 300 and only then were the Midianites defeated! God spoke and worked through Gideon and the truth of who he was going to become was revealed. He became a mighty man of valor by God’s grace. The story of Gideon is a powerful, real life example of a truth we can apply even today.


I’ve adapted this principle (after hearing from the woman I mentioned, and the story of Gideon) by speaking into my girls according to their needs and things that I see in them. Our children are inundated with outside influences and lies each day from the world we live in. Shouldn’t we as parents be the ones daily setting their minds and hearts right with godly principles and godly character as to who they are and who they will become?

So what does it look like to speak into and over our children? I’m so glad you asked!

First off, there is no exact formula. Every child is unique and you will need to adjust it according to their needs.

Secondly, I incorporate Scripture, godly principles and our hopes and dreams for them.

Thirdly, I have my girls stand in front of me, one at a time and have them look me in the eye and repeat back what I am saying.

My girls were a little awkward when we first started. Okay, I’ll be honest, it was awkward for me as well. However, we pushed through and before long they were wanting to speak back into me. (Talk about melting your heart.) So why not give it a try? You might be blessed in return as well!

Here is an example of what I speak into them each morning... Say each phrase and have them repeat it back to you:

“I’m a child of God.”
“God has a purpose and a plan for my life.”
“I am very special.”
“There is no one like me.”
I’m beautiful on the inside and the outside.”
“He has called me by name, I am His.”
“My identity is found in Him.”
“I will have a heart after God’s heart.”
“I will choose to walk with the Lord today.”
“I will have courage and stand for what is right.”
"I can do hard things with the Lord’s strength.”
“I will try my hardest in all that I do.”
“I will listen to my parents.”
“I will listen to my teachers.”
“I will be kind to my friends.”
“I am a strong girl/woman in the Lord.”
“I will put on the full armor of God.”

“The helmet of salvation.”
“The breastplate of righteousness.”
“The belt of truth.”
"The shield of faith."
“My feet will stand strong and be ready for battle.”

“Mommy and Daddy love me.”
“My family loves me.”
“God loves me.”
“And there is nothing I can do to change that.”
“We’ll be for each other, not against each other.”


We are going on four years of this morning habit before school and I trust and believe what they hear and repeat back will continue to settle deep within their souls.

I hope this has encouraged your parenting hearts a bit. I know for me, it was life-changing to know I was speaking godly truth and principles into and over my children on a daily basis. My heart’s desire is for my girls to be influenced by truth and not by the lies that are fighting against them every day in this world. Although our schedules and routines are full every day this is one way we can capture and reset their minds each morning.

Blessings to you in your parenting journey.

Posted on August 24, 2017 and filed under Building Your Faith.

Why Did God Place the Tree in the Garden?


My brother recently started reading Genesis for the first time. Not a believer, he’s curious to know what’s in the Bible. A few chapters in, he started grappling with a question that many of us have also asked ourselves. “If God knew that Adam and Eve were going to eat the fruit, why did He put the tree there in the first place?”

At first glance, it might seem like the ultimate form of entrapment. Perhaps it feels like God decided to play a game of cat and mouse with His new creations for the sake of His own amusement. Or maybe it feels like God was conducting a divine experiment, the outcome of which He did not yet know. Nothing could be further from the truth. God had a perfect plan for the trees.

Yes, trees. There were two special trees in the garden: the “tree of life” and the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Adam and Eve were only forbidden from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

There was nothing unfair or deceptive in God’s placing the trees in the center of the garden. Nothing that Adam and Eve needed was being withheld from them—at least nothing that would improve their lives. They had all that they could need. There was also nothing in God’s command that was beyond their capacity to keep it.

The garden was the place of perfect fellowship with God—a holy place. At the center were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam was put in charge of the garden but he failed in his duties. He allowed a foul creature to desecrate the holy place and gave dominion of it to Satan by falling for his scheme and eating of the fruit. Sin did not originate with Adam; it originated with Satan. Adam had no predisposition to sin before the fall but He gave into the temptation from Satan (through Eve). It’s interesting how easily we can be made to believe that we “deserve” something we don’t have, and then disobey God to get it, rather than trust Him for what He has provided.

God would actually banish Adam and Eve from the garden for their protection so that they would not eat of the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). It they had eaten of that tree in their sinful state, they would have existed forever as fallen beings without hope.

God reveals His justice in condemning the serpent (Satan and his seed). He also reveals His mercy in dealing with Adam and Eve by providing a Way of salvation for the guilty. The first mention of the gospel in the Bible is in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He (Jesus) will bruise you on the head (destroy evil forever) and you (Satan) shall bruise him on the heel (unsuccessfully attempt to destroy his plan).” The final outcome will be that those who are in Christ will live in a restored Eden (heaven) without the presence of evil.

Apart from a fuller understanding of Adam’s sin and its impact on all humanity, it is not possible to understand how Jesus’ sacrifice restores our fellowship with God. Jesus reverses the curses; He is the One who rescues the guilty, making it possible to “pass from death to life” — eternal life. (John 5:24)

Did God place the trees to trick Adam and Eve? Certainly not! God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. He is perfect in all of His ways. He is love. He has numbered every hair on our heads, and holds every one of our tears in a bottle. He knew us before the foundation of the world, knit us together in our mother’s wombs, and is intimately acquainted with all of our ways. God loved the world so much, that He gave his only Son as the payment for our sin, so that whoever believes in him could have eternal life.

So how can we let this grow our faith? First of all, take comfort that God doesn’t do anything lightly. He does it purposefully. He has our best interests at heart. When hard things happen, when awful tragedies strike, and when life seems its most unfair, God can be trusted. He will be faithful to you. His plans are perfect, and His motivation is that the world would come to see Him as He really is and glorify Him.

Secondly, He will not abandon you. I believe it is good to ask these questions of the Bible. Study reveals time and again the great lengths to which God will go to save and provide for His people. He has promised that He will not forsake you in your time of need. He is the God who saves.


And lastly, He longs to be in a relationship with you. Do not harden your heart. Today can be the day of your salvation. Accept the payment for your sin that Jesus made on the cross, and believe in Him for eternal life.

The tree of life means that God’s intent for humanity was always life and not death. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was there because God is holy and we are to obey him. Those who trust in Jesus Christ by faith will live in the restored Eden and partake of the tree of life.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
” (Revelation 2:7)


(This post is co-authored by Betsy Corning and Laura Irion)

Posted on July 8, 2017 and filed under Building Your Faith.