A Look Back At The Past Year & The Light At The End Of The Tunnel


I have been silent for quite a bit of the past year. It has been one of the strangest years of my life. But I’m not writing this to rehash what has already been said, rather, I’m happy to share with you how this past year has changed me and while I could write a book on this past year alone, here is my small attempt at communicating the transformation I have gone through.

I’ve stepped back and looked at my life, a childless mother, a young caregiver, a victim, a survivor and I’ve asked myself over and over again, “Who am I?”

I’ve felt the weight of Brielle’s loss in a strange, almost surreal, way. Life went on and David and I were left with a gaping hole in our lives. Walking through everyday feeling as if she was only a dream. Asking ourselves if our reality is really real. I’ve dealt with the hard questions of, “Does God really answer my prayers? Does he really care?”

In the fog of my trauma and pain, I decided to pursue new relationships within my church, and signed up for a morning bible class and an evening bible class. I didn’t check the subjects we’d be studying. I didn’t expect much at all. As I sat there during the first class, a study on 2 Timothy (the Entrusted study by Beth Moore), I was shocked with how relevant the study was to my current season in life, but was also shocked at how seriously this church takes their bible studies. They weren’t messing around, these classes expected memorization, homework, deep personal and spiritual growth. We were going to dig in and root out the chaos of our lives and find our calling.

I watched myself transform as I dug into scripture, a true fire igniting within me. I have lived my entire Christian faith filled with questions and seeking answers. I would turn to those around me and receive criticism for even venturing outside of the confines of order, but I have always been spiritual and have felt a deep connection with God, could no one explain to me then why this was? Could no one explain to me my purpose? Could no one guide me and help explain to me the truly, spiritual, almost supernatural, things that have occurred in my life?

No, not one. In my search for answers, I have spent the past six years (previous to Brielle’s conception) in search of a church that felt alive. A place where I could feel God’s presence and see a sincere devotion to God’s calling. I wanted to see Christians who sought to do good and who were transformed by Christ. The unfortunate truth is that our nation, our world, is largely disconnected from it’s spirituality and Christians do not always behave in a Christ like manner. In the church we call this a Form of Godliness.

I walked out of class a month ago, hurriedly walking to my car, when I felt the pull of God’s voice on my heart and mind, “Go back. Go back and ask them to pray over you.”

I swerved, “Uhh, I don’t know about that. That’s weird. That makes me uncomfortable. God, I’ll just send them an email.”

I felt that all familiar pull at my heart, “Go back.”

“Do I have to? This is weird.

“Go back and ask them to pray for you. Go back.

I stopped, awkwardly standing in the parking deck, turned around and stormed into the chapel. I grabbed one of the women whom I greatly admire for her candor, she would not mislead me or sugar coat things, I wanted to be corrected, I wanted Godly advice. She grabbed another woman and I another.

They sat me down and gathered around me as I spoke to them of my past, the loss of Brielle, and the conviction on my heart. I asked desperately for discernment as I faced new paths in my life. They placed their hands on me and prayed over me. Praying for freedom from those who have prayed against me. Praying for freedom from my pain and trauma. Praying for discernment, blessings, and healing.

As they spoke, I felt a warmth encircle my head and spread through my brain. I felt it move through my body and felt a weight disappear from my shoulders. I could breathe easier. I could smile easier. My aches and pains, my heartbreak, my world, glowed in a pure sense of happiness and relief. I felt free for the first time in my life.

They directed me towards scriptures that would aid me through this process and I returned home. David was astonished, he had never seen me so carefree. My therapist was happily shocked and my scores for depression, anxiety, and anger have reduced by more than three times.

I happily joked about how ridiculously crazy I sounded. I laughed at how many would mock my crazy spirituality. And I found joy. Over the past three weeks I have watched my life transform into something sincerely beautiful and full of life, joy, and happiness. God has filled me with more joy and blessings than I could imagine. He has revealed to me my calling in life and set me on my path. I have experienced things that I had only read about in the New Testament.

My heart is free. I can begin again. And as I reach the milestone of Brielle’s first birthday, I find myself joyful. I have work to do. I have growing and learning to do. I still have memories that I need to confront and grow from. But I look forward to all of this. I have been given a remarkable gift, I can begin again. My life, my world, is renewed and I can find joy in the knowledge that I can rebuild my life and myself into something beautiful, loving, and filled with happiness.

I say this often, but I have no idea why God has been so good to me. I have no idea why he has kept me safe for all of these years. But I am thankful. I would be lost without him. I look forward to a new year of love and happiness and discovering who I am in Christ. And, while I am not ashamed, I hope I won’t scare you all off. 😉



A Call To Action To My Fellow Christians, How We Should Use This Political Season

I know that many have been upset by the election of Trump and have chosen to act out violently in response. I also know that there are those who feel free, under a Trump presidency, to unleash their racist, homophobic, xenophobic beliefs in sickening acts of hostility. I’m not here to add another voice to the madness of politics, rather I wish to call on my fellow Christians during this season of political and social upheaval.

As Christians we are called to spread love and peace. To serve those who suffer and to live a life beneath others. In our materialistic American world we’ve lost sight of that and we’ve all suffered. We’ve grown complacent. We don’t wish to offend. We are too busy to do one more thing. I understand, really, I do.

We all know we have failings. We all, no matter religion or political party, hear about our many flaws on a constant loop. And again, I’m not here to go into that.

What I ask, as one Christian to another, is that we band together and serve the hurting hearts of our country. Let those who lost this election have their protest. Pray over them. Bless them. Bring them food and water. Listen to their feelings and fears. Encourage them in their despair.

Quiet the voice inside you that wishes to gloat, to speak of your feelings, to draw attention to your pain. Yes, I know, many of you have felt (and are) oppressed, persecuted, and patronized for being conservative. Let them persecute you and instead give them your kindness, your generosity. As we often do not know why we do foolish things, so is true of those who are afraid and hurting.

“Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

We all want the same thing, a unified country, we want peace. Ultimately someone has to humble themselves and reach out with open arms. As Christians this is our calling.

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

As Christians we all have a specific calling and duty in Christ. I encourage you to use your gifts and calling in this time to encourage and uplift the hurting. For those that are unsure what their calling or gifts are; I encourage you to ask God for revelation and guidance and to speak to a trusted mentor in the faith.


In the same way, I encourage my fellow Christians to listen to the voice of the church and openly, in Christ’s name and love, rebuke those who carry words of hate and a lukewarm faith. Now is not the time to be proud and selfish. This is a season of humility, responsibility, revival, and rebirth. Do not lose your way in a sea of hateful and foolish speech.

“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.” [Paul instructing Timothy in regard to the church.] 1 Timothy 5:20

“If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16

Most importantly, I strongly remind those in the faith to remember that rebuke is to be given to those within the church, not to those outside of Christianity.

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world [those not in the faith], or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother [Christian] if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler-not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.'” 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

Modern examples of this behavior (I imagine you understand drunkard and sexual immorality):

Greed: Selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food. Materialism (materialism is one of my greatest struggles), self-indulgence, lust

Idolatry: Extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone. i.e. celebrity preachers, self-gratification over worship, busyness (I’m guilty of this), personal prosperity (I struggle with this), treasuring anything more than God (even our loved ones), a desire to please others more than God (I’m guilty of this), sexual stimulation, education, career, etc. Great article here


Revile: criticize in an abusive or angrily insulting manner. Denounce, slander, vilify, bad mouth. i.e. speaking poorly of baby boomers, speaking poorly of millennials, criticizing Clinton voters, criticizing Trump voters, disliking those who differ from you, speaking against those who have different beliefs

(I have been and can be a reviler at times, aren’t we all? Thank God he convicts us of our foolishness! I’d be a bigoted angry mess without him.)


Swindler: use deception to deprive of money or possessions. i.e. fraud, cheat, deceive, deceiving other Christians with the amount you put in the offering plate, using the church for personal gain or even power, Christians can swindle more than money

I encourage my fellow Christians to ask God to purge any evil within yourselves, purify your heart before God, and follow his calling for your life so that we can unite this once great nation. Politics and intelligent conversation will never unite us, but Jesus can, love can.

“…Perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18

We are to be the balm to aching souls, but to many we have become a poison. We can only correct this through humility and God’s grace and guidance. We have purpose, we have a calling, and I am calling on you to join me in uniting a fractured nation, not through politics or grand gestures, but through Jesus Christ and his love.


Do Not Fear!


I don’t always talk about the Holy Spirit. It’s kind of one of those topics that we all kind of avoid. It’s spiritual, it’s not a science, and experiencing the Spirit isn’t something everyone is open to.

For those that aren’t familiar with the Holy Spirit, it is: 1 John 2:20, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Mark 13:11, John 14:17, Acts 1:8, Acts 2:38, Acts 10:44, Acts 13:52, Romans 5:5, Romans 8:5, Romans 8:26, Romans 9:1, Romans 15:13, 1 Corinthians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:6, Galatians 3:2, Galatians 5:22

There have been times in my life when I have clearly felt the Spirit, His will, and His guidance. One example of this was the all consuming faith and peace I felt when Brielle was born.

I felt Him again this past week and weekend. My heart, my spirit felt like it was on fire, and I felt His anger. I felt a power, a force I cannot describe. He has watched me suffer, He has seen my pain, and He knows my innocence and I felt His anger. I have suffered long enough and it’s time to fight.

But I doubted my feelings. I doubted what I felt as real. And then we went church. Dr. Cooper took the stage, and I saw that he too, was on fire. He preached against those who try to intimidate us, who try to derail us from our path in life. He spoke against those who speak with hate against the children of God, and he spoke of how God is with us and He will fight for us. With Him our Goliath will be destroyed. That we must stand firm in Him, confident in God.

And I felt it. I felt the Spirit, the fire, the rage of the Lord. I was too tired, too weak to even stand, but I felt Him. And I knew, it’s time to fight. The Lord is on my side, He is my strength, and He has had enough.

David and I got in the car and he turned to me, with a huge smile on his face, “Can you believe that sermon this morning!? I haven’t seen Dr. Cooper that fired up in a long time. God is fighting for you. He’s fighting for us. Don’t doubt yourself, God gave you this message, He is on our side.”

That night, I felt prompted to write a post, and I flipped to my Bible for a verse, praying God would guide me to the scripture I needed, and I was amazed. I was comforted. God is great and powerful. He is faithful.

My Bible later opened to Exodus, it just, fell open. I turned my attention away for a moment and when I looked back, my Bible had changed pages to Exodus. Which was a bit of a jump. I almost didn’t read it either, but so many things had happened that day, that I thought I should read. I’m glad I did. I read the story of Moses and the plagues of Egypt. And this verse jumped out at me.

Exodus 14:14

“…Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today;…”

You can see Dr. Cooper’s message here. It will be available until June 26, 2016 give or take a day. And then, I think, it will be available here.

I highly recommend his Valleys series and Get Well Soon series. The Valleys series is about going through life’s hard times. And Get Well Soon is about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and faith.

Wrestling With Doubt

2 Corinthians 13-4

I was so sure God was going to spare Brielle. Miracle after miracle happened during my pregnancy. I experienced things and felt things that I had only heard about, and that I had previously dismissed as fanaticism. But then I lived a miracle. I wrestled with my doubt and skepticism. I knew what should be and what should happen. And at times I felt foolish for even trying. I felt foolish for sharing my faith, because what if He doesn’t heal her? What if she doesn’t survive?

Our walk with Brielle forced us to ask questions that no one really had answers for. David and I spent a great deal of time in prayer and scripture. I’d spend days fasting and meditating, solely devoted on Brielle and her survival. And I wrestled with myself. A voice in my head always told me to doubt, that I was being ridiculous. I wanted to believe that voice, because that little voice was easier to believe. We all doubt, I know that I am not alone in that. And during my pregnancy, I wondered if I would be punished for doubting, that maybe my faith wasn’t strong enough and that I would pay a price for that.

I knew better. Throughout my life I have experienced God’s hand in my life, time and time again. He has loved me and carried me through multiple tragedies in my life. And I didn’t deserve all that He did for me. He didn’t penalize me for my infantile faith then, so why would He now? And yet, I doubted. What David and I asked for, it was everything. To us, Brielle’s life was the biggest request we would ever ask for.

And God said, “No.” I talk more about some of the things He said yes to here, but the no He did give stung. It hurt, it hurt both David and I. And our faith was shaken. It sunk in more slowly for me, it took time for Brielle’s absence to really become something I could accept. Of course, I knew she was gone. I was keenly aware of that, but a part of me kept waiting to wake up. We’d be together again soon, right? And then the reality of how long it would be, until I’d hold her again, began to sink in. It’s still sinking in. That pain is unimaginable.

I knew God had a good reason for saying no, so I didn’t struggle with the why. Instead, I struggled with the pain of His answer. And I began to question myself, I began to question everything.

“Did I really experience everything I experienced?”

“Is He really listening to me?”

“Why did my daughter have to die?”

I was frustrated with him and I felt guilty. I questioned my love for Him. I questioned my faith.

“Did he penalize me for doubting?”

“Was my faith not strong enough?”

I wanted answers. I wanted this all to be a very, very bad dream.

My grief, physical pain, and spiritual pain left me exhausted. And the fervor which I used to pray and meditate with was gone. I struggled with day to day tasks. I wanted, and still do, to just slip away. To zone out and be alone. I didn’t have the strength for anything more and my prayers were half hearted cries for mercy. I had lost the spiritual connection I once had. I couldn’t seem to feel anything but my own numbing pain. I felt guilty, ashamed. I felt that it was wrong of me to have begged and begged for miracles and then to have grown silent when He didn’t answer the way I wanted. I felt childish.

Most of all, I felt ashamed. I felt foolish. I was embarrassed. Embarrassed that I had put my faith on the line for Him, that I had publicly declared what we were praying for and that He had publicly declined my request. My pride was hurt and I am humbled. And He was silent.

After Brielle died, I thought life couldn’t get much worse, it became far worse. Stressors in our lives became almost unbearable. We were abused. We lost family relationships. We lost friends. Our finances plummeted. I became a caregiver. A mass on my skull (that had shown up during pregnancy) became unbearably painful. David’s horrible job, somehow, became even more horrible. We cried out for God, we cried out for help. And He was silent. We knew God was listening. We knew our cries weren’t being ignored, but where was He?

I felt even more foolish and ashamed. Had I done something wrong? Were we being punished? Or were we being prepared for something in our future?

I sat on the floor in my bedroom and said, “This is what I want in my life God, now do what you want.” I finally had enough strength to talk, to speak to Him like an old friend. And I felt Him again. I felt the prompting to pray for specific things again. I felt the all consuming peace I feel when I speak to Him. I felt His love again. I felt warm and I felt hopeful. For the first time in months, I felt positive.

I missed Him. I know that I am still struggling to get into my new normal. I also know that God did not punish me for having doubt. He has not abandoned me, He’s just been waiting. Like a good friend should, He’s just been waiting for me to be ready.

I don’t know what is ahead for my family. I know I am going to have times in my future where things will be tough, where I doubt, where I struggle. I know that I am going to make mistakes and that I am far from perfect. But I do know that God will not abandon me. I do know that He loves me fully and completely.

I know that to some God can seem like an abstract concept, an oppressive being. To me, He has always been my best friend. The shoulder I lean on and the one I confide in. He has held my hand through every storm and I have felt His presence through all the highs and lows of my life. And I am content and pleased to go where He leads. Whatever He asks, I will do. In the process, I may mess up, but I can trust that I can always come back and make it right. I am at peace. And it feels so good to feel His presence again.