Cloth and Clay

There are two foundational truths that God has molded into my soul through suffering.

First, our lives were created for the glory of God. I like to think about it like this….God is designing a beautiful tapestry from our lives. We are cloth in His hands. Right now, we only see threads and colors. We see the back of the tapestry and we can’t imagine what the Artist is creating on the other side. But, when we get to Heaven, we will see the finished work in all its beauty. In that moment, Jesus will reveal the beauty He was creating with our lives. Everything will make sense. We will see God’s plan in its fullness and have the answer to every “why?” What felt like painful stabs of the needle, and looked like a hodgepodge of colors, will suddenly be raised to reveal the work of eternity’s greatest Artisan.

Second, God uses our lives to bring healing to the watching world around us. In John chapter 9, Jesus gives sight to a blind man. Although He could have just performed His miracle with a single word, He didn’t. Instead, He scooped up some dirt, spit into that dirt and formed clay, which he spread over the blind man’s eyes and the man received his sight. You and I are like clay in Jesus’ hands. We start out as dirt, then Jesus adds His life to us, and invites us to become part of the miracle – the miracle of salvation and healing!

He doesn’t have to use us, but He does! Y’all, He loves us so much that He wants to make us part of His work in this world today. And, He wants to bring salvation to the blind men and women who will see our lives and recognize the miracle working power of this Jesus.

If we will just surrender to His will, we can be like cloth and clay in His hands.

Many of you have followed my story over the past several years and you have truly helped me survive some of my hardest moments. When my husband Clay was diagnosed with Glioblastoma in May of 2016, we were shocked. Our world came to a screeching halt when we received that very sudden diagnosis. Clay was given 3 months to live, but God intervened and gave us 16 wonderful months to enjoy the end of his life on this earth. 

I knew immediately that God was building a tapestry through my life. I knew that there was a purpose I couldn’t see. I believed with all my heart that something beautiful would result from all of the pain I was experiencing. And, Clay was the clay that was smeared on many blind eyes during the last 16 months of his life. He was always a great guy who people adored, but he became an Evangelist. A preacher. When he knew the end was near, he gave everything to Jesus and allowed Him to use his testimony as a powerful tool. Many were encouraged, saved, and strengthened because of Clay’s example.

As our story spread and so many of you followed along, I began blogging about the work God was doing in us, and it blossomed into a beautiful ministry. Thank you. Thank you for loving us and encouraging us through such a difficult time.

Now, God is giving this ministry a name and a clear purpose. He has given me a heart to minister to people in times of grief, suffering and devastation. The truth is, we all experience these things. Your grief might look a little different from my grief, but the pain is the same. The sorrow is the same. Devastation is no respecter of persons and suffering visits us all.

In the valley of the shadow, I experienced the comfort of the Holy Spirit. I have come to a more complete understanding of why God allows His people to suffer the pains of this life. Accepting this truth has literally changed my entire perspective on life, and that has enabled me to rejoice in my suffering. 

But, that’s not enough. I want to see YOU rejoice in your suffering too. 

I want to see the church, as a whole, healed from our pain so we can walk together in hope and joy. I want to see us victorious and filled with purpose. The world is growing colder and colder. Our nation is changing. Our freedoms are being challenged. Life as we’ve known it may never look the same. We have to be strong. We have to be healed. We have to surrender to the plans of God so He can use us to demonstrate His power to the lost world around us in these last days.

This is the heart behind Cloth & Clay Ministries. 

As we surrender to the plans of God, Jesus is able to weave the beautiful tapestry He knows we can become. When we are healed, we can become an instrument of healing to the broken.

And, for what? For us? No indeed! For Jesus! For His glory! And for the sake of the lost! So that blind men can receive sight.

So, what is next?

In the next few weeks, a new website will be released. My blog will relocate to the new site and I will be adding new content on a regular basis. My amazingly talented friend, Anna Abrahams at Visual Branding Group, has created the brand and the new website. She took a bunch of scrambled ideas that I barely got down on paper, and made the most beautiful logos and branding materials. I can’t wait for you to see her work when the website is released.

Look how giddy we are! Anna has worked so hard to develop this brand!

The website is also where you will be able to find out more about The Hill, the soon-to-open retreat center that God is creating! If you’ve been watching the progress of the renovation, you know that I’m getting close to completion. I anticipate offering 4 – 5 retreats during 2021, and I hope the first date will be in the Spring. I will be posting more information soon about my vision for the retreats and how you can reserve a space on our waiting list.

I’m also completing my book proposal to Proverbs 31 ministries this month. I hope you will join me in praying that God’s will can be done through this book idea. I have truly surrendered it all to the Lord and He has given me faith to trust Him no matter the outcome. The message is powerful and life-changing, and I trust God to get it through me to every person that He intends for it to reach.

This was taken during my last Zoom call with my group this week. Now, I will add the final touches and submit on January 25.

So, you can see… is a little busy! But, I’m happy to busy about the Lord’s work. I couldn’t be more thrilled about everything that is happening and how God is bringing to fruition the things He birthed in me years ago. He is amazing. I hope you can see that living in surrender to His plans is the very best place you will ever be. It’s not always the easiest, but it is the best!

Thank you for your continued love, support and prayer!

I’ll be in touch with you soon!

I can’t wait to tell you more!

The Secret I’ve Learned

You. Have. Cancer.

Three words no one ever wants to hear. Unfortunately, our family has been faced with this diagnosis several times and now we find ourselves right back in the doctor’s office chair waiting for the Oncologist to arrive.

Clay’s dad, Mr. Jim, has lived well with prostate cancer for 20 years. But we found out recently that it has begun to grow in his spine. Y’all, cancer is literally like a demon. It is intelligent and cunning. It learns how to grow, even after doctors have taken away its normal food source. It adjusts as medications are introduced and it adapts to new environments. It truly is a robber of life.

Look at Ellie photobombing!

His Oncologist is in the same group as Clay’s Oncologist. So, you can imagine that many difficult emotions were unearthed in me as I exited the highway at Bluebonnet and entered the Baton Rouge General parking lot. And, the timing feels unfortunate because God is doing so many good things in my life and this felt a little like the proverbial brick wall that I’ve crashed into before.

I sat beside my mother-in-law as she filled out the paperwork, and I had to take a deep breath. But, these words came to my mind….

“…for I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content…I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Now, I realize Paul is talking about financial provisions in this passage of a scripture, but the principal applies to our emotional provision as well. Regardless of my circumstance, I have learned a SECRET. I love that word here because it actually is like a secret. You have to seek to understand it. You have to be really close to God to learn it. Whether I’m at The Hill enjoying the new life and excitement of what God is doing, or if I’m the Oncology office waiting to hear a diagnosis, I am content.

I am content knowing that God is fully in control. He is the giver of gifts and the giver of life. He is ordering our steps. He is love. He is gracious. He is kind. And, He never leaves. He never forgets. He never overlooks. He’s never surprised. I am content knowing my life is in His hands. I am content and I can do all things.

I’m praying for you this morning. Praying that wherever you find yourself today – in joy or in pain – that you are content in knowing that God is good. He loves you and promises to work all things together for your good. Praise Him for that thought today. Even if you only have the strength to softly whisper the words “Thank you.” That’s enough. But, let your heart acknowledge Christ, and you just may find the strength you need to praise Him a little louder and then a little louder.

Please pray for my in-laws today – Jim and Flo Furlow. The prognosis is good, but they need that strength that only Jesus can give.

I also want to share some very good news with you.

Last night was the christening of The Hill. It was a beautiful celebration with many people who I love dearly – my church.

We ended 2020 and began a new year together with a beautiful evening and an amazing fireworks display! We worshipped Jesus, enjoyed one another, rejoiced in all that He has done this year and celebrated His glory in the midst of such uncertainty. It was such an honor to host and allow people to see what God is doing here.

The view from the roof

I still have a lot of work to do here and many decisions to make about how this house will be used, but God has gone before me and He is lighting my path as I take steps of faith. Thank you for praying for me and for your sweet encouragement. I am so grateful that many of you have expressed your excitement for this dream. You encourage me so much! I’m planning to have a big Open House as soon as I finish a few more projects. I want to invite you to come and pray with me for God’s vision to be fulfilled here.

Thank you for your love! Happy New Year!



I’m gonna rest a little while, now!