my friend

Last night we had dinner with a great family friend, Hank Hanegraaff.

Throughout this past year, I’ve been inundated with encouraging phone calls, emails and Facebook messages.

One such call came from Hank. I left the dinner table and went outside to sit on the concrete curb. He told me that I would make it through the betrayal and the divorce. That eventually, though the pain would still be there, it wouldn’t hurt as bad. He encouraged me not to make any brash or impulsive decisions. And he prayed with me.

Now, nearly a year later, I was able to thank him for that phone call. And introduce to him to my new fiance. He told me how proud he was of me. He asked me what my dreams and aspirations were. And then he told me he believed in me.

I can’t tell you what that meant to me. I want to be that persons in others’ lives. I want to tell young women that they can make it after divorce and learn to trust again. Because if I can make it through what I went through, others can too.

I’m praying for big things right now. I’m praying for God to prepare me to be a wonderful, godly, encouraging, loving wife for my future husband. I’m praying for my mortgage company to accept the offer that has been made on my house. I’m praying for God to open a door for me to do ministry again in His timing and His way. And, I’m praying for God to send me some people who believe in me more than I believe in myself; people who will help me accomplish all that God has planned for me.

I’m blessed to consider Hank one of those people…and my friend.

“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Who encourages you?

one final shot

If you have been reading my posts, you should know by now that I am engaged to this handsome photographer:

He asked me to help him shoot a wedding this past weekend. Despite the 100PLUSdegree weather, standing in my uncomfortable shoes for hours, and carrying a ridiculously heavy lens (who knew photographers had to have “guns”?!), I had such an incredible time with him.

(Here I am taking a much needed water break, haha)

Isn’t it intriguing to watch someone thoroughly in their element? Jeff is that way while  shooting pictures; just completely in the zone. It’s as if everyone and everything fades away while he just creates. As my eyes followed him, I could almost visualize the invisible wheels perpetually turning in his head.

The evening wound down as bubbles faded into oblivion, jackets were discarded and ties had been loosened. With smiles and sighs of relief, the newlyweds finally released their pent-up stress and anxiety after months of planning. Pictures were done…and yet Jeff saw something. Shinning light burst through trees illuminating the horizon as the sun set and Jeff envisioned what could be.

Quickly, we pulled the couple away from their party inside to grab one final picture. They probably would have never noticed the magnificent light on their own. They were done holding smiles taut and posing. However, a few seconds and one final shot produced a memory that will live on. And in my opinion…it’s breathtaking. 

I see God’s fingerprints everywhere in my life. This moment pointed me to Him yet again. God envisions what could be in our lives. He sees the brilliance and sparkling light. He glimpses the awaiting masterpiece. If it were up to us, we would never leave the current party we’re attending. Because were tired of the planning and stressing. We just want to let our hair down. 

But do you see Him rushing in? Did you notice Him grab our hands and pull us alongside Him? He has something for us.

We just have to hold on tight and trust Him. 

“Ask me and I will tell you about remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.” Jeremiah 33:3

no pain, no gain

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be more fruitful.” John 15:1, 2 

I’m so bad at yard work. I can’t keep the lines straight when I mow the lawn. I forget to water my plants and they tend to die sometime in July. I feel so lost and out of place at the Grass Pad. Gardening is a lot like math to me. Different rules for different plants. And how can you possibly remember them all?!

The worst part is that I want to be good at yard work! Seriously, there’s nothing better grabbing my ipod, soaking up my favorite vitamin and just doing work. (Like, manual labor work.)

A couple years ago I fell in love with something. The double knockout rose bush. It’s hot pink, big and beautiful. I lined the entire side of my house with them. (It still sucks driving by my old house – I feel like I left my friends there. Like I saw them grow up and now someone else is taking care of them. How is that fair? But, I digress…) I was in love with my little bushes and I wanted to take the best possible care of them that I could. I started to research and discovered that I was missing a pretty important step in the spring…pruning.

We’re talking taking a BLADE to my precious bush and CUTTING parts of it off! Sounds crazy, huh? But, I swear it’s legit. All the real gardeners do it. So, I squeezed my eyes shut, grit my teeth and starting chopping. And, to my utter surprise – come mid-summer my bushes were bigger and prettier than they were before! (Who would have thought?)

How fitting that this is the metaphor God gives us for how He helps us grow. He is the Great Gardener. I can see him putting the gloves over His massive, strong, calloused hands and setting out to work. The Word says that He removes the branches that aren’t producing anything and with ALL the others, He prunes them. That means if you’re life is actually being effective in the Kingdom, He will cut you down. And maybe cut you down so far that there is barely anything left there.

But He is the Great Gardener and He knows all the rules. He knows it will hurt. He knows you will bleed. He knows you will scream and blame Him. But, He just smiles knowing that in the end you will be better because of it. In fact, the finished result just might be breathtaking.

Last year, He pruned me. He cut me down so much that I felt there was nothing left. He took it all. Everything I loved. He didn’t even allow me time to say goodbye to my life – the house, the ministry, the kids, the marriage. It was over in an instant. And the worst part…it HURT. Sometimes I won’t even let my mind go back there. Because when I do, I feel deep, gut-wrenching, heart stopping, dark pain.

I have watched Him prune others as well. Friends who cannot get pregnant despite pleading with God. Students who have attended their own parent’s funerals. Friends who battle demons from their past, and cannot break their addictions. Family who are checked in and out of the hospital. Others call it bad luck. But we know…it’s the Great Gardener doing his work.

Because He always prunes-

before the harvest.

before we were…engaged.

My fiance wrote this poem in college. It’s about the first time we held hands as teenagers. Eat your hearts out ladies.

Pinky Scout

A theater packed like a brand new crayon box,

Opportunity so perfect,

As if my pulse was volcanic, my body heat rises,

Envisions of a future together.

Movie reels expose each frame,

My heart pounding inside my cage.

The Pinky Scout starts his adventure,

Sliding his way towards your grasp.

Sweat fills my palm.

Beads drip down my forehead,

My Pinky Scout has touched down,

Grazing your soft skin.

Like an avalanche, your grip surrounds my hand.

Floating through the air,

Your smile illuminates me with each look I take.

More than anyone can realize,

Better than any love story,

More perfect than any equation,

The uniting of our fingers,

Interlocking so tight.

I love you.

Us then (as in 2004, crazy 18 year-olds)

Us now (as in SEVEN years later)

One day I will post our (very crazy) love story. I promise that it has all the standard ingredients of an (animated) Disney movie, plus a few unique spices too: love, stolen kisses, heartbreak, tears, things we should have said (I may have wrote the Taylor Swift “Speak Now” CD with my life) reconciliation, forgiveness, friendship, laughter, encouragement, more tears, butterflies, a sparkly rock on on my finger…and Jesus Christ (the greatest romance author of them all – take a seat Shakespeare).

For now…how did you fall in love?


Only my future father-in-law could actually succeed in getting me out of bed at 5:30 am to go fishing! Though I was quite tired for the rest of the day we had such a great time fishing off of the Pier. The ocean and the cotton-candy colored sky is breathtaking in the early hours of morning. I love being in the ocean or the mountains, because it reminds me how BIG God is!

So I have officially become an “angler”, and if you don’t know what that is, you don’t fish! I caught the little fish we used for bait and a pretty flat one called a “Lookdown”. I may not be a morning person, but it’s wonderful being up that early when most of the world is still asleep. It’s as though you’ve been let in on a secret no one else knows. Each morning is a new day with new opportunities. The old has gone and the new has come.

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22,23

i am

I am the daughter of an evangelist.

I am the girl who watched lives change in crusades around the country.

I am an alumni of the Rock Youth Ministry where I experienced my greatest teenage memories.

I am the girl who was “kicked out” of Liberty University for having too many reps.

I am not a natural blonde (anymore!)

I am the daughter of a senior pastor

I am a victim of lies and betrayal

I am such a sinner

I am divorced

I am passionate about ministering to hurting people

I am an avid reader

I am acquainted with loss – those who have “left” the church and “left” my life

I am in love with The Word

I am engaged

I am a singer

I am unconditionally loved by a man who had every right to never speak to me again

I am competitive

I am a horrible driver

I am full of wild dreams and ideas

However, more importantly –

I am created in the image and likeness of God

Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us…”

I am the “kept” by God – the apple of His eye

Deuteronomy 32:10 “…He threw his arms around him, lavished attention on him, 
      guarding him as the apple of his eye”

I am fearfully and wonderfully made

Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

I am crowned with glory and honor

Psalm 8:5-6 “You put us in charge of your handcrafted world”

I am a temple – housing the very presence of God

1 Corinthians 6:19 “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” 

I am adopted – a child of God

Romans 8:15 “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father…”

I am part of a chosen generation

1 Peter 2:9 “But you…are chosen…God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”

I am an overcomer

1 John 5:4 “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

And I am forgiven

Psalm 103:12 “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Who Are You?


So, I woke up early last Saturday morning to run the “Jazz in the Woods” 5k race. I even managed to drag Jeff and my dad with me to run. Only, the dream was short lived – we never ran because it was thunder storming something terrible! Ah well…we still took pictures to commemorate what could have been!

From there we attended Miss Lily’s second birthday party at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. I hope all the Johnson County children of the 80’s remember this place. It was basically a little pen with goats that you could feed. Now – it’s a farm alike to Disney Land. There are even little pet pigs!

And we culminated our evening at “Stems” in the Arboretum. Gorgeous.

Love the hand painted glasses!

This week I am so blessed to be in Florida with Jeff and his family relaxing and confirming our vendors for the upcoming big wedding day. Jeff and I attended Calvary Chapel Church in Fort Lauderdale this morning and were so touched. (Visit there website here.) The Pastor, Bob Coy, gave one of the best messages I’ve ever heard on what salvation truly is. When people come forward for prayer and to make a life commitment to Christ the entire church claps. I just felt so much life while we were there this morning.

I truly love attending different churches when I travel. It’s so intriguing to realize that every Sunday morning believers ALL over the world are worshiping Jesus Christ together – in different places and in different styles. What a great God we serve. The older I get the most I realize that I am head over heels in love with my savior and that relationship is the GREATEST relationship in my life. I cannot wait to see what He has in store for me. All I know is, if He were to call on me, I would echo Isaiah’s words, “Here I am; send me!”

They sang a song I had never head this morning, entitled “Give Me Faith,” by the Elevation Worship team. Check it out:

My favorite words are: “I may be weak, but your Spirit’s strong in me.” There is SO much truth in those words. We (ME) are all sinners struggling daily to battle our inner temptations. Alone – there’s no way we can succeed, but, as Bob Coy recounted today, when we are saved, Jesus comes inside of us to HELP us become the people God meant us to be. What an incredible Savior.