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!

The House Has A Name!

During Clay’s treatment, I wrote a blog named “Morning Will Come and I Will Stand on a Hill.” The following is a quick excerpt from that blog, which is one of the most powerful illustrations God has ever given me.

“Our situation makes me think of the Red Sea crossing. I imagine that as the Israelites were walking across the Red Sea and those towering walls of water rose up on both sides of them, they were probably filled with amazement and wonder. They were probably filled with joy and excitement at what God was doing.

But, every now and then, they must have glanced over at the millions of pounds of water, shooting up into the air, and the reality of the situation must have hit them hard. “We are walking on dry land, across the Red Sea, and at any minute this water could fall and crush us.” But they didn’t have a choice, did they? An army was chasing them, so they couldn’t turn around. They had to just believe God. They had to trust Him and walk on.

I’ve always imagined the walk across the Red Sea to be a joyful celebration, filled with singing and dancing and laughing.

But, now, my perspective is changed and I imagine that moment  differently.

I think it is more likely that they were rushing across as fast as they could possible go. They were probably filled with hope and excitement, but don’t you think they were scared, too? It was night and they were in a very dangerous situation. While God was showing them just how powerful He is, I bet they were really ready to get on dry land that was not surrounded by walls of water.

I imagine that they wanted that miracle experience to end as soon as possible.

And, it did.

It ended.

They made it to the other side.

Morning came. And, as they stood on that dry ground, they turned to watch as God completely destroyed their enemy.

Their enemy pursued them….all they way to his death.

I’m sure Pharaoh was laughing to himself and beating his chest in pride at the strength of his chariots and horses. He was probably telling himself that the people were wasting time running from him because he would surely catch them and kill them. Even as he charged ahead into THEIR miracle, he was filled with pride.

I wonder when it hit him that he was trapped in the power of God?

I wonder when he realized that his pride had led him right into the hand of God?

As the water crashed down on him and all his glory, the Israelites stood in a safe place and watched God utterly destroy their enemy.

If you’ve ever wondered why the Old Testament is important, I hope you can see the answer in this story. These stories in the Old Testament give us hope and they show us the character of God. They prove the power of God and the desires of God for us, His people. He loves us and He will stop at nothing to prove His greatness. He wins every time. Why can’t the enemy see this? I don’t know. Maybe he just doesn’t want to accept his defeat, but he is defeated.

Do you hear me, Satan??? You are defeated.

Do you hear me, Cancer????? You are defeated.

As Clay and I walk across our Red Sea, there are times when I notice the walls of water. There are times when the roar of the water is so loud in my ears. There are times when I want to panic at the thought that those walls could crush us at any moment.

But, then, I turn and see my arrogant, stupid enemy. I see him rushing into the middle of OUR miracle and I am filled with excitement to finish this crossing.

Because I know that morning will come!

And I will stand on a hill…just in time to watch the waves crash down on my enemy. God will utterly destroy him and he will be washed away in the current of God’s power.

We win.

God wins.

And, we get to stand with Him and watch as His power is displayed and His glory is revealed. Amen.”

When I was working out the details of the purchase of this beautiful house in St. Francisville, I was expressing my heart to my dear friend, Kayla. I want this place to be a place of surrender, healing, and hope. I want people who come here to leave triumphant and filled with endurance. My prayer is that those who are crossing a Red Sea, will come to this retreat center, and gain perspective to believe God that their enemy will be destroyed.

My words reminded Kayla of the blog you just read. She sent me a text the next day that said, “What if you named it ‘The Hill’? Morning has come and you are standing on a hill.”


I immediately knew that was it. That is the name. “The Hill”!

First – this is MY hill. This is my moment to stand on this proverbial hill and watch my enemy destroyed as the waters close. He wanted to hurt me, destroy me, ruin me, demolish my family, crush my dreams, take my joy. But, instead, this retreat center is happening and God is going to receive so much glory for the great things He has done for me! My enemy is destroyed, and I will sing songs of praise to my God!

Second – this is YOUR hill! Those of you who will come here. This will become your hill, too. You will enter this property with heaviness, questions, doubts, fears. You will most likely be living in a moment when the walls of water are stealing your joy. The fear of millions of pounds of water crashing on you will likely have you gripped with fear. But, oh my friend, you will leave with confidence. You will leave with hope. You will know that your morning is coming, and your view from the hill will be glorious. Your enemy will be swallowed up and washed away just as the sun rises!

I am so excited about this!!! I’m bursting with joy at all of these words I’ve just typed. God is so wonderful. I LOVE the name. I LOVE the way God revealed the power of this imagery to my soul. I LOVE what He is doing.

You may also remember that the morning after Clay died, I wrote a blog called, “Morning Has Come.” I had just gotten our family pictures back from Ashleigh Jane Photography, and I didn’t even realize that we had taken this picture of all of us standing on a hill together. It was so precious to me in that moment when God spoke the words to me, “Morning has come.”

I knew we would be okay. I knew that in that very moment my enemy was destroyed. Death had no sting. The grave had no victory. Our morning came. And, though Clay was in heaven and the four of us were still here on earth, I knew that God had delivered us from our enemy. His plans were destroyed. His weapons were disarmed. God held the victory and Clay received his reward.

If you are reading this tonight, and you are in the midst of your Red Sea crossing, I assure you that your morning will come, too. The night can seem so long. The waves so big. The crossing so treacherous. But, He promises that morning is coming. If you keep your eyes on the pillar of fire, and finish your crossing, you will climb the bank and ascend to your hill. And, that view will be one you will never forget.

Thank you for praying. Thank you for following my story. Thank you for your love and support. I can’t contain my joy for what God will accomplish through this place. And, I sincerely hope you all get to be part of it.

I love you.

The Hill at St. Francisville

Far Beyond All That We Ask or Think

There are two words that have been surfacing in my vocabulary over the past few years on a very regular basis…

“Far Beyond”

What do those words make you think of? They are important to me because of Ephesians 3:20-21,

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” 

One version says, “far beyond all that we ask or think…”

You see, before May 3, 2016, when my sweet husband, Clay, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, my life was so normal. It was wonderful and filled with blessings, but it was normal. And, somewhere, deep down inside of me, I always knew there was more. I knew it. I yearned for it. For what? What was “it”? Good question. I had no idea. I just knew there was a deeper purpose in me. I knew God was preparing me for more. 

And, now, after quite a journey, I can see it clearly. I can see the purpose in the pain. And, I want you to be part of it. God is writing a beautiful story and I believe He intends to use it to heal believers who are suffering the pains of this life and need help understanding why God has allowed them to hurt.

Back in July of this year, I had been dealing with another really difficult situation that I had to keep very private. It involved another person, so I couldn’t share the details of what was happening. I was holding it all in, not letting hardly anyone see what was really happening, and I was crumbling. I felt the beginning of a spiral and I could feel the devil taunting me with thoughts of depression, and even the idea of quitting. 

I reached a place that King David knew well, but not that I had never actually experienced, yet. 

I found myself crying out to God for mercy. I opened up my Bible to Psalms and I found David giving words to my feelings…

“To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy:” (Psalm 30:8)

“Let your mercy come to me that I may live…” (Psalm 119:77)

“Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.” (Psalm 123:3)

There are more, but you get the point. I was there, y’all. I was telling God that I wouldn’t make it if He didn’t step in and show me His mercy. And, not only did God so kindly allow me this moment to pour out my heart to Him, but He heard me and answered my cry.

Within just a few days, I was reading my Bible and praying, and I heard God speak to me. There was a dream in me that had been there for a long time. I hadn’t really buried it. It was just untouched. I had laid it to the side while I was working through my own healing. But, God pulled it up in me really quickly and gently.

And, He told me, ever so clearly, that it was time. “It’s time?!?! Now?!?! Now, when I’m crying out for mercy?! Now?! When I’m at the end of my rope?! Now?!?!”

“Yes. Now.”

The dream? A retreat center. A place of healing. A place of surrender and hope. A place where people can come to meet with God in their greatest time of need, and leave healed, helped, full, and ready to be used by God. 

So, I opened up Zillow and started looking. My first thought was to find a place in Mississippi. You know how pretty it is just over the state line? There are beautiful farms and country homes. I wanted something close enough that I could be there often while maintaining my life, church involvement and work in Baton Rouge. Y’all, I heard God say St. Francisville. He literally just dropped those two words into my spirit and I knew to look there. 

So, I changed my search – “St. Francisville, LA”. I found a few houses that were lovely and would have accommodated a lot of people. Then, I noticed this huge roofline in a picture of a place called “The Victorian”. 

As I clicked through the photos, I could easily see that this location had been used for a venue – probably weddings. It was huge and beautiful. The property was 10 acres and had a lovely pond in the front. Wow. It was gorgeous. 

Again, I heard the Lord….”Go look at it.”

So, I called my dear friend, Danielle Musso, and the conversation started something like this,

“Danielle, this is way out of my reach, but I feel like God is telling me to go see it. Maybe I’ll just leave with some good ideas. Do you have time to take me?”

She was perfectly willing, and we were both excited about just spending some time together. I was nervous to tell her more about my dream because it felt so unattainable. But, she was happy to listen and to show me the place. So, Danielle, my dear friend Kayla and I went for a drive.

The Victorian was the very first place we visited. Y’all, it was the very first place I even looked at, and now it’s mine. It’s so crazy and overwhelming to think about that moment. I got out of the car and all I could think was, “This is impossible.” I honestly just enjoyed walking around and viewing it. The house was built in the 1800’s and has been very well kept. Old pine floors, gorgeous fireplaces, 6700 square feet of living space, a hidden 3rd floor and a widows’ peak. It was amazing. 

But, it was far out of my reach and I couldn’t imagine owning it. I submitted some questions to the owner that day and he answered me within hours. He and his wife bought the house 13 years ago to be a wedding venue. They had obviously put a lot of money into it, but they had changed their minds and decided to just retire in Baton Rouge. Within a week, I asked to see it again and the owner met me there himself. I shared my story with him and told all about the work God has done to heal me from grief. I shared my dream to create a place of healing for others. He was so supportive and encouraging. I could tell he genuinely loved the idea of the house being used for such a good purpose.

So, the negotiations began. I actually made my first offer for the property on September 12, which was the 3rd anniversary of Clay’s death. It was a sweet blessing from God and it made that day so special for me. 

Every time I spoke to Danielle, it felt like an out of body experience. Especially when we met on November 13 for the closing. The generosity of the current owners and the favor of God were fully on display through this entire experience. It was a complete miracle that God allowed me to purchase this property. I feel like He gave it to me.

Danielle and James were our realtors. They did a wonderful job! Drs Prem and Velma Menon were the sellers. It was a joy to get to know them through the process.

After the paperwork was signed, we posed for a few pictures, and Dr. Vemla Menon came over to me. With tears in her eyes, she spoke the most beautiful words over me. She told me that she saw me as a tree planted by rivers of water and that much life would come forth out of the work that God is doing. She told me that she believed the house was always mine. That God always intended for this to happen. Y’all, I was crying so much. I couldn’t control it.

There was such a sense of relief in me. That moment was a culmination of so much that God has spoken. So much that He has done. He brought me here. I couldn’t have made it to this place without Him literally carrying me so many times. Grief wanted to swallow me. The devil wanted to kill me. Death wanted to take me out. Depression wanted to suppress me. Loneliness wanted to paralyze me. 

But, God won. He delivered me. He heard my cry and showed me His mercy. His lovingkindness and His deliverance rescued me! And, His love worked purpose into my soul. A purpose that I can’t escape. Believe me. I tried. I’ve tried a few times to tell God that I want to do something else. I considered going back to my business career. It was easier. But, I can’t. He won’t let me. He has a work that He needs to accomplish and He has made me part of it. 

Y’all! That is so incredible to think about. God needs you. He designed His plan to be dependent on you. For the world to see His glory, He needs a glorious church who will live by faith. We get to live our lives for His glory. And, the lost can be saved when they see God at work in and through us!

So, I plan to tell you much more over the coming weeks and months. For now, I’ll answer a few questions I’ve received a lot…

I am not planning to move there right now. I have no idea what this will all look like in the end. Right now, I’m focusing on some slight renovations and furnishing the house. It will sleep 25 immediately, and 32 after a little work on the 3rd floor. There is room in some detached buildings to house at least 30 – 50 more people. God will have to make a way for all of this to get finished, but I believe He will do it. 

Most of you know that I am simultaneously working on my first book proposal with Proverbs 31 Ministries. God will have to do some miracles there, too, but He is able! The book I am writing will be a foundation for the teaching at the retreats I will offer. 

I have named the house. I hope to write to you in the next few days and share the name and the significance of it. I know it is straight from God.

I do plan to offer the house as a wedding and event venue. It would be an amazing location for an outdoor concert or prayer rally. I can see so many possibilities for ways to use it for God’s glory. I can’t wait to tell you more.

And……I haven’t quite decided what I will do with the foyer. It’s been fun to see your very strong opinions. And, really, it just makes me smile to feel like you are in this with me. Even though it might just be a simple comment or “like” on social media, every time you respond, it makes me feel tremendous support. Thank you for that. The devil likes to remind me that Clay is gone and I am embarking on this huge project “by myself”. So, your friendship, love, prayer and support mean so much to me.

Y’all, this is God’s house. It is His ministry. It is His testimony. It is His desire. I’m just the vessel. 

My prayer for you today is that God will fill you with faith. Faith to believe for the impossible. Faith that takes action – even when you are terrified. Faith that can see the future – even if it’s a little blurry. Faith that is willing to lay everything down for this cause. 

Live your life for the glory of God and trust Him to do “far beyond” anything you could ever imagine. That’s who He is…..the God of “far beyonds”. Let Him prove it to you.

Pine Boxes and Brass Carvings

“Purchase burial plot” – Those three words remained on my to-do list from the time Clay was brave enough to speak them out loud, just days after his diagnosis, until I was brave enough to actually do them, just a few months before he died. I just couldn’t make myself actually do it.

Then, we finally met with the funeral home and I was so overwhelmed. First of all, do you know how much this stuff costs?! It feels like you’re being robbed. Clay was so simple. He didn’t want anything fancy and he didn’t want me spending a lot of money on this. He just wanted to be buried in a pine box. He would tell me, “Babe, don’t go out there and talk to me. I’m not going to be able to hear you. I’m going to be with Jesus.” He had a way of simplifying all of it so well.

We considered cremation. We considered the memorial boxes at Resthaven, in which you place memorial items. They are beautiful. He joked about spreading his ashes in Dodger Stadium. In the beginning I was open to ideas, but the closer his death came, the more I wanted everything to be very traditional. There is just something about knowing where his bones are buried. The Lord reminded me of Joseph saying, “Take my bones back to Israel when you go.”

So, you probably remember, we DID, in fact, bury him in a pine box.

My uncle, who is now in Heaven with Clay, built the most beautiful pine box for us. And, we buried him in a very traditional way. Somehow, it all gave me comfort. I remember following the casket to the burial plot and knowing that God was using that moment to strengthen me.

The next step, however, was much harder.

“Order headstone” – Those words!? Those words stayed on my to-do list for 2.5 years!

His name. His dates. It was all so final. It’s funny because it was already final. He was gone. The funeral was over. The grass was growing over the grave. But, I couldn’t bare to look at his name with those dates on the sample headstones. I couldn’t decide what words to say. I could have written a book about his life. How do you choose 3 lines? I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

About a year after his death, I finally told the kids I needed help. I asked them to go with me so they could express their opinions and desires. I learned a lot that day. I know the Lord caused me to wait because of what the kids shared with me that day as we walked through the cemetery looking at examples. Their view is so different than mine, and I was so thankful I slowed down to get their opinion.

So, three years later, after God has completed a very deep healing in my heart, I’m so proud of the final product. It may just be a simple pine box and a brass carving, but to me it is a memorial of his life.

The pain of seeing his name and dates carved so finally into that brass isn’t as sharp, now. Really when I see this, I smile. For one thing, look how cute he was!! But, more than that, I’m just so proud of the man he was. His life actually can be summed up in this one scripture.

“He is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.” Luke 6:48

It’s beautiful. And, although I don’t go there to talk to him directly, I do go there sometimes to talk to the Lord. For me, it is a place of remembrance. It is a peaceful place for me to reflect and pray about the future. I’m so happy with all the choices, and I’m content that God’s timing was perfect in all of it.

What does the future hold? Only God knows all the details. But, I will tell you that He is beginning to allow me to see it. He has given me promises and dreams. Hopes and desires. And, I believe they are soon to be fulfilled.

Today, three full years after his passing, I am believing for open doors and realized dreams!

I challenge you today – is your life built on a firm foundation? When the winds and waves of this life come crashing onto you, will you stand? Did you dig deep enough? Are you built on the rock?

What will your family consider writing on your headstone? Will they struggle to find words that sound good? Or will they struggle to find few enough words to fit in the allowed space?

Will the summation of your life glorify God? Or will it just glorify you?

Will you leave behind hope and an expectation of a reunion? Or will you leave your family and friends in fear of total loss?

Live your life for Jesus. He is the only thing that matters. In Christ, there is such hope. Such purpose. Such life! Give yourself to Him today. Pursue Him with all your might. Love Him above anything else in this world. You will never regret it. I promise!

The Enveloping Darkness

In the Summer of 2018, the kids and I visited New Zealand with our friends, the Scherer’s. One of the most exciting places on our agenda was the Cavern House, which is home to the amazing glowworm. If you don’t know what a glowworm is, go look it up. I won’t have time in this blog….unless y’all want it to turn into a book….to explain them to you, but, trust me, they are amazing.

So, we boarded a boat, and set sail for the glowworm caves. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I was just excited about this opportunity to see something I had never seen before and experience something rare. Nature amazes me because it is God’s way of showing us just how incredible He is.

The scenery was picturesque. The tour guides prepared us as well as they could for what we were about to experience. They explained the glowworm and how it lives. They told us what to do when we were in the cave and how to remain safe while we were below ground. They took every precaution to make sure we were ready.

As we started to leave for our tour, they told us that our boat was full and they needed 2 volunteers to separate and go with another group. Caleb and Robin looked at me and asked if I would be ok if I took all the kids/young adults with me and they would volunteer to go with the other group. I was totally fine with this. So, they left us and we started our walk down to the caves without them. img_1350

We were led by an experienced tour guide, who knew exactly where we were going and what was ahead of us, because he had been down this path many times before us.


Upon entering the cave, you could hear the loud sound of rushing water and water falls. The area was dark, but there was electric lighting where we were. The tour guide showed us important features and helped us understand the surroundings. We saw our first glowworm up close and in a small space. But, with all the lighting in the cave, we couldn’t see how the worm, itself, glowed in the dark. We had to go further into the darkness in order to see the light.

So, we boarded a gondola. There was one bench running down the middle of the small boat. Tourists sat back to back along the bench, facing outward so they could see. Our tour guide was at the front of the boat, guiding us. Thankfully, I also noticed that the boats were attached to a system of ropes, so they couldn’t stray off the path.

We pushed off. As we sailed along, I could still see a fair amount of light from the dock. Up ahead was darkness, and I was beginning to see the glowworms. As I looked up to the ceiling of the cave, the glowworms were everywhere…their little white lights shining at us. We moved further and further into the darkness, and the tour guide asked that everyone in the boat remain completely silent. It got more and more black until I literally could not see my hand in front of my face.

The silence was deafening. I could hear my own heart beat. The darkness was enveloping. I felt like it was hard to breath. I have never felt anything physically like this before. Mia and Ben (the youngest of these people for whom I was responsible) were pressed up against me as tightly as they could, each holding one of my hands. Emma and Grace were sitting with their backs to me and I felt both of them lean back closer to me. Hanna and Sam were further away and I whispered as quietly as possible, “Everyone touch me. Just touch me so I can feel that you are still here.”

I needed to know they were there because, y’all, I literally felt blind. I would blink my eyes and there was no change. Whether they were closed or open, it didn’t matter. The blackness was the same. I was terrified for a minute. Something could have come up out of that water and we never would have seen it coming. The darkness felt like a person, pressed up against me and breathing in my face. I could literally feel the darkness pressing on me.

But……when I looked up…..the ceiling was covered in these tiny white lights that looked like a million stars above us. Because of the darkness, we were able to see this beautiful light that we never could have seen any other way. We had to go into the cave, where there was no other light, to see the glowworm. And, there, tucked away in this cave deep in the mountains of New Zealand, was a beautiful creation that God made.


If I wouldn’t have pressed through the darkness, I never could have seen it.

I would have had to hear others tell stories about it, while never experiencing it for myself.

And, as I looked up and gazed upon this really amazing creation, I was gently reminded that our tour guide had been here probably thousands of times before. He knew exactly where he was. Our boat was attached to the ropes and he was in full control. He wasn’t scared. He wasn’t surprised. He wasn’t alarmed. When I was grasping for the things I loved most to make sure they were still there with me, he was calmly guiding our boat back to safety.

And, we made it. We made it out of the dark and into the light.


Look at our faces just after we came out. We were so excited about what we had experienced. Now that we could talk again, we couldn’t wait to tell each other all about how we felt down in that darkness. We all experienced it together, but we still told our own version of the story multiple times. We were amazed. We all were.

It was an experience I will never forget. And, the best part…..we were reunited with Robin and Caleb. I remember watching them walk out and all of us rushing over to hug them and share stories. We were all laughing and so excited to talk about how it all felt.

Minutes later, we were standing in a beautiful valley. The kids were running and laughing and playing. We were all smiling and taking in God’s beautiful creation. I was so thankful for all that He had shown me that day. We were together. We were safe. We were changed because of something amazing we had encountered together. We had a knowledge that we didn’t have before this day. Our eyes had seen something unique and wonderful. We had come through the darkness and lived to tell our story.


I hope you have been able to recognize the analogy to this story.

We are all in the glowworm cave, y’all. We’re down there together. Collectively. Basically the entire world. We’re all down there together right now. We’ve pushed off from the dock and the darkness is growing darker by the day.

For some of us, the darkness is so real that we can hardly breath. It is pressing on us. We are reaching through the dark just to make sure our loved ones are still there. We are missing those who are not with us.

Some of us are scared….

Some of us are lonely….

Some of us are wondering how we got to this dark place….

Some of us are afraid that something will jump out of the darkness and take us….

Some of us are paralyzed….

But, some of us are looking up!

Looking up to see the hand of God.

Looking up to see the reason God led us here in the first place.

To show His glory!

We are surrounded by darkness, fear and loneliness like we’ve never felt before, but if we look up, we can see the glory of God.

And, as we place our eyes on the only good thing in this moment – Jesus – we will gently be reminded that we have a Holy Spirit who is guiding our boat. We are tied to the ropes that God placed in this cave and He is guiding us through the darkness. He has been here before. He saw this coming. He prepared us to enter this cave, and He will get us through it.

He is not surprised.

He is not scared.

He is not lonely.

He is right where He wants to be. In the boat with us. Leading us. Helping us. Quietly speaking to us so we can hear Him through the darkness. And, He knows how to get us back to the light.

Psalm 31: 7 – 8 says,

“I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
    because you have seen my affliction;
    you have known the distress of my soul,
and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
    you have set my feet in a broad place.”

He is going to bring us out of this. We will be reunited with our friends. He will lead us to that valley and our feet will be in a broad place. A big, wide open, beautiful space where there is plenty of room to run and play and be safe. There will be sunlight, blue skies, clouds and mountains in the view. We are going to be smiling and telling the stories of all that God did while we were down there in our cave.

I promise. He promises.

If you will remain faithful and trust the Lord, He will bring us out. And, we will have such a powerful story to tell. We will be able to say that we have seen something amazing. We will understand God more and we will be different. His glory will be seen in the earth.

The glowworms were worth the darkness.

I’m praying that we can all say that Jesus was worth it when this cave experience ends.

I love you.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Emma!!!!!! We’ve been in more than one dark cave together in this life and I’m rejoicing that we lived to tell of the glory of God! I love you like you are my very own.

Are You Grieving?

Just after Clay’s funeral, many of you who so faithfully read our blog, encouraged me to continue writing…and I said that I would. I told you that I thought it would help me heal. Well………..I didn’t. I only wrote about 4 times. I couldn’t. I would sit down to write and nothing would come.

When Clay was sick, we were spending so much time with doctors, family and with visitors. Many of you asked me, “How do you have time to write?” My answer was that I couldn’t NOT write. God was compelling me. The Holy Spirit was literally urging me and I couldn’t go to sleep at night without writing sometimes.

After Clay died, if I’m being honest, I wondered if you would want to read about this part of the story. It seemed that what drew you to this blog was Clay. His testimony. His life. His affliction. And, rightfully so. He was such an incredible testimony. God did so much through him!

And, grief is a difficult topic to write about. I wasn’t ready to really tell you what was happening in me. Some of you know exactly what I mean by that. God was so faithful and He constantly pulled me out of my pit, but there were pieces of that time of my life that I just wasn’t sure I could share. Besides love, grief is the deepest emotion I’ve ever felt.

A few weeks ago, I was asking the Lord to show me some things about my future. I was asking Him about why He didn’t have me write over the past two years. This thought came to me and I know it was from God. “You will. You will write it. It will be a remembrance of all that I’ve done for you.” He made me see that…written in my moments of despair, my words may have been tainted with grief. Written now, they will be soaked in joy.

So, why now? I’m so glad you asked that!

The first answer is that it is God’s timing. I never wrote because I wanted to. The blog wasn’t even my idea. He used some of my dearest friends to show me the idea. It was all God. And that has to be true now, as well. I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing this for God. He has something to say that can only be said by and through Him.

Our church is live streaming our services right now, like so many others. I was there this morning to help and make sure everything went well. I sat in the back of the sanctuary, and although my heart was so glad to be there, I felt weak and unable to even stand – much less lift my hands in praise. I wanted to literally lay on the floor in the back of the room and bawl like a baby while the worship team sang and Pastor Lee preached.

I was weepy all day. Tonight, in the presence of God, all I could do was cry. I almost couldn’t even pray. I’ve heard some heart wrenching stories of how this virus is affecting peoples’ lives and my heart is so broken.

I got in my car this evening, and just started driving for a while. The Lord gently spoke to me and let me see that what I am feeling is grief…all over again. I literally feel just like I did after Clay died.

I’m grieved for the sick. For the lonely. For the hurting. For the lost. For the church. Y’all, I’m so grieved for the church. Being assembled is vital to our lives. I’m grieved for those of you who are scared. For those of you who are trapped in fear. For those of you who are fighting depression and sadness. For those who feel confused and out of control. I’m grieved for God. For what He must be feeling right now as so many suffer, but won’t turn to Him.

So, I’m going to write to you about how God pulled me out of grief. I’m going to share with you the things He taught me as I walked the valley, for what seemed to be a long time. It was in those days that I found the hiding place. It was in the valley that I found the table. It was in my sadness that I found my praise. It was in the darkness that I came to love the light. It was in death that I found life.

And, that life is available to everyone. There is nothing special about me, y’all. In fact, it is the complete opposite. I am nothing. But, God came to me. He found me. He helped me. And, I want the world to know the joy that is available to them in my very best friend – Jesus. He is real. He is true. Every promise He’s ever spoken has been proven. Put your hope in Him today.

The quarantine got me motivated to clean up some things in the house. I moved my bedroom around and created a desk space in my room, so I would have a better view from which to write.

As I was arranging furniture, the only space Clay’s rocking chair fit was beside my desk. I didn’t think much of it until later that night when I sat down at the desk and looked over. It’s like he’s sitting here with me as I write to you. The Lord constantly gives me sweet reminders of him. I miss him so much.

I’ll leave you tonight with a really wonderful thought. I carry this around in my Bible with me….


It’s Clay’s handwritten notes from a Bible study we taught together less than 6 months before he got sick.

Here are a few of my favorite words in Lamentations 3,

“…But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. Great is your Faithfulness. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though He cause grief, He will have compassion according to the abundance of His steadfast love; for He does not afflict from His heart or grieve the children of men. I called on Your Name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit, You heard my plea. You came near when I called on You. You said, ‘Do not fear!’ You have redeemed my life.”

Clay wrote these words, “Jeremiah’s remembrance of God’s faithfulness brings him hope in times of distress. This is a made up mind focused on all that God has done through you and for you…seeing how He has moved in times past in your life. This will allow you to declare, no matter your circumstance, ‘Great is your faithfulness!'”

Friends, I know that many of you are hurting tonight. Maybe you are praying for loved ones you can’t be with. Maybe you are praying for lost loved ones. Maybe you are just sad because you are lonely and not handling the quarantine very well. No matter your current circumstance, recall to your mind tonight all the good things God has already done in your life. Remember. Ask Him to help you remember the times He has pulled you out of the miry clay. Recall to your mind the steadfast love of this wonderful God, and stir up the hope you have living inside of you.

And, if you don’t have this hope, all you have to do is invite Him in. Just confess your sin and ask Him to be your Savior. He is waiting for you to come to Him tonight. Right now. Don’t delay. You can see that these times are unprecedented. Don’t live in fear. Walk with God and He will draw near to you. Imagine hearing Almighty God say to you, “Do not fear!” You can hear it. Come to Him tonight. He will free you from fear.

I love you. And, as I go to sleep tonight, I’ll be praying for you. Praying to a God, who I KNOW is able to help you, because He helped me. He will rescue us, friends. He is in control tonight. Trust that. I encourage you to take a moment in the morning to write down just a few things God has done for you. Do it and see how God can use it to encourage you all through your day tomorrow. “This I recall to my mind….”


Standing Firm In One Spirit

Yesterday was the first day that me and the kids were all home in quarantine. I worked through the morning, and then Grace, Ben, Ellie (our family dog) and I decided to go out for some fresh air. Grace and I wanted to jog, while Ben wanted to fish.

Now, stay with me. There is a point to this story!

The four of us left the house at the same time. All with the same mission – to get out of the house for a little while.

Grace and I shared a set of air pods so we could be listening to the same music. She has an amazing worship playlist, which got both of us ready to run. We left the driveway in perfect unison. Walking at the same pace to warm up, listening to the same music, breathing practically at the same pace.

As we started jogging, Grace was keeping a faster pace than me. I was having to work to keep up with her, but it was tiring me too fast, so I slowed back to my normal pace and let her get ahead just a little. (Please keep in mind that I am 23 years older than her!)


See….she’s ahead of me.

Then, when we were both ready to stop jogging and walk for a minute, I quickly passed her with my faster walking pace. A few times I tried to encourage her to walk a little faster so we could remain side by side, but she didn’t want to. The more I urged her, the more frustrated she got, so I just walked ahead of her slightly.


Then we would jog again and she would pass me. There were times when I slowed my walking pace a little so we could walk side by side and have conversation. I love talking to her!

After a while, we came around a corner and I could see Ben in the distance. Standing at the bank of the lake…Ellie at his side…fishing. Loving every minute of it. Just as we walked up, he hooked a 1.5 lb fish. He was so excited!


He’s unhooking his catch!

As we sat down to watch him for minute, the Lord gently spoke to me about His church during these momentous days we are living in right now. We all have a common goal – to see God receive His glory. But, it looks different in all of us. We are each called to a different purpose and we have to know what God has asked us to do.

Ben wasn’t standing at that lake thinking to himself, “I wonder if I should be running with Mom and Grace.” He wasn’t afraid that what we were doing was better. He was perfectly content to do what he felt was right in that moment.

And shame on me or Grace if we had judged Ben for not running with us. What if we had approached him at the lake and said, “What are you doing wasting your time here? You should have been exercising with us.” How dare we. In fact, for me, it was quite the opposite. When I turned the corner and saw him there…happy as he could be…I was proud of him. I was happy for him. He was enjoying himself and excited to tell us about what had happened while we were gone.

When Grace and I were jogging, we let one another run and walk at different paces when needed. There were times we were side by side and in perfect unison. There were also times that we were a few steps apart. But, it was fine. We both accomplished our goal and we made it home at the same time.

Church, People of God, Christians, let us do this for one another in this time. Let us love one another and trust each other to live our faith the way God has called us to live it.

If you are quarantined in your home because you believe that is what God has told you to do – do it with faith. Tuck yourself away with Him and let Him teach you and speak to you during this time.

If you feel God has told you to go out into the world under the guidelines set forth by our officials – to help others, to go to your church, to work – do it with faith. Let Him use you in a great way during this time.

Let’s not spend our time judging one another. Let’s stand together in unity and love.

Very early in this pandemic, God pointed me to this verse:

Philippians 1:27-28, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.”

This is my prayer for my church, the church in our nation, and the worldwide church. That God would return and find us standing together in one spirit, striving side by side. In UNITY. I long to see us maintain unity. How can we defeat our enemy if we are fighting ourselves?

I love this part….NOT FRIGHTENED IN ANYTHING BY YOUR OPPONENTS! When we stand together, we don’t have to be afraid of our enemy. Our unity is a clear sign to the enemy of his destruction. Satan wants to destroy the church during this time. Let’s pray for the opposite. That we would band together in unity and become a sure sign of his destruction. I love that thought!

My Pastor recently said this, “There is one thing of which we can be certain. There is no possible way that an event of global proportions like this could occur without God and the devil being intimately involved.” Don’t you know that this is true? This is a spiritual event. Yes. It’s a physical sickness. But the proportion to which it has affected the globe signifies that it there are spiritual implications.

If this is true….if you believe that the devil is real and that he is fighting against the church of God…

Then, let’s stand together, without fear, and become a clear sign to him of his destruction! He is already defeated. We have read the end of the story, church. It is already written! God has given us His Word so that we will be able to discern these events and understand the truth of what is happening. This is a call to prepare ourselves to see Him. He is our salvation. He is our answer.

Can we honor Him, and demonstrate our love for Him, but loving one another? By serving one another?


Let’s encourage each other and cheer each other on. I love you! I am praying for you. Whether you are fishing, running or walking, I am praying for God to fill you with purpose, faith, confidence and hope!

Please pray for the church in the world, y’all. The hope of glory lives in us. Let the world see hope in you!

I Need You…

As soon as the news of limited gatherings hit the news cycle, my heart was so grieved. Because I know. I know how much we need each other. I know how much I need you!

I agree with what many are saying….The church is not a building. The church is the people. But, there is power when those people are assembled. And God is the one who created the assembly.

It wasn’t until I was 40 years old, and my husband was dying of cancer, that I really understood the value of the Body of Christ. But, let me just tell you that in the valley of the shadow, God revealed to me why He designed the church. And, I’ve never been the same. I’ve literally given my life to the church, now, because I know that I can’t make it without it.

I sat and looked through photos for a while today. I really miss Clay during times of crisis and I’ve been remembering so many things about his life over these past several days. These are just a few of my favorite pictures that tell a beautiful story of how powerful the assembled church can be. It literally carried us.

Our church has been working so diligently to figure out ways to gather together during this pandemic, while following the governmental recommendations. Someone asked me yesterday, “Are y’all afraid to not have church?” My response in the moment was “No.” Followed by an eloquently worded explanation of why we believe it is important to gather. But, later when I was reflecting, I thought to myself that the answer is actually, “Yes!” I’m fearful of what we will miss if we are unable to gather. Because I know the power of an assembled church.

After a long week of planning and preparing at the church, I was literally exhausted last night. We had called a prayer meeting in our sanctuary, and I knew only 50 people could enter, so I waited to see if there was room for me. I walked in at 6:40 to find 34 people spread out all around the room. They were worshipping, singing, talking to God. Some were crying out. Some were praying for others. Some were quiet and still.

I immediately just began to cry. I was so comforted by the presence of God in that room. And, though I had been in prayer all throughout the day, it was different. It is just different when you gather in a room with other believers who are seeking God. I was able to sit in my exhaustion and just listen to the prayers of the people around me, and I was lifted up.

I was strengthened.

I was encouraged.

I received help from God.

I received boldness in my prayers.

I was broken for the lost and those who are unable to see the reality of God in all of this.

I was broken for the Christians who will lose faith during this trial.

I was sad for those who have never known the presence of God the way I felt it last night.

Y’all, I want so desperately for the world to know Jesus the way I know Him. Please don’t misunderstand this. I’m no better than anyone else. I’ve just come to a place of desperation. A place where I knew I wouldn’t live if I couldn’t find Him.

And, in that desperation, He taught me the power of His presence. He brought me into His Hiding Place. The shelter of His wings. The secret place.

But there have been times when I was so broken, so weak, so burdened, that I needed my friends to carry me. You know the story of the lame man whose friends lowered him through the roof to Jesus? So many of you have been that friend to me over the years. I can remember so many Sundays or Wednesdays when I barely made it to the church and couldn’t wait to get to the altar during worship because I needed the presence of God that lives in the beautiful people who are there worshipping God with me. And, they came. They surrounded me in prayer. They lifted me up so I could get to Jesus.

God made us for this. He made us to love one another and help one another. He put life in us so that life can flow out and minister to others around us who desperately need hope.

So, friends, please see it. Please realize that the lack of ability to gather is a desperate thing. It is not something to be taken lightly. The Bible says, “as the day approaches, gather all the more.” Because God knew we would need each other.

And, I beseech you, pray against the hardening of your heart. Pray against the tendency of our flesh to become stagnant and comfortable. If we are home watching church online for weeks, how easy will it be to just continue that and convince ourselves that we’re fine watching from home? Don’t give in. Let there be a burning in your heart to gather with the people of God. Don’t grow comfortable. Don’t be satisfied.

Let’s call out to God and believe Him for miracles and a cure. He can stop this disease. But, if He doesn’t, He can keep our hearts from growing cold. Pray that He causes you to long for the church more than ever. Let this time away from one another cause you to desire it all the more. You should miss it.

I love this video of one of the many nights our house was filled with people who just wanted to worship God with us while Clay was sick. We did this often. In a time of great need, our love for the world faded and our love for the body of Christ grew. We would have had a worship service in our home every single night. Life stopped. Everything was about Jesus. The things of the world didn’t matter anymore….only the work of God.

I’m praying for you, believers. I’m praying that your faith will be strengthened during this time. I’m praying that fear will not take root in your life, but you will be bold and courageous for God. I’m praying that our love for the things of this world will grow cold. That while sports and entertainment is taken from us, we won’t miss it. But, that we will crave the gathering of the church.

Please don’t become complacent. If we retreat to our homes and binge on Netflix, we are going to be useless to God in this desperate hour. Recognize that this is a spiritual occurrence and God has a plan. He desires to receive glory through this situation. How can He receive glory through you? What does He want to accomplish in and through you? Ask Him. Don’t let this moment pass you by. Engage. Pray. Seek.

The world is reeling in fear and confusion. The lost are so afraid. Bring them hope. It lives in you! The hope of glory – Jesus!!! Let the world see His life in you right now. Lower each other through the roof, if needed. But, whatever you do, get people to Jesus!

I’m so excited about what God will do through this momentous event. We are going to see the glory of God, friends! I love you!

For I know….

Jeremiah 29:11 is probably one of the single most quoted verses in the Bible.


“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans for good and not evil, to give you a hope and a future.”


Isn’t that such an encouraging message from the Lord? So many of us hold to those words as we believe God for hope. But, did you know that He wrote these words to His people when they were in exile. They were exiled to Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar was ruling over Israel. They were captives….living under the rule of an ungodly king.


So, God speaks to Jeremiah and tells him to write this message to the exiles. He reminds them that He is in control and that He will restore them. I can just imagine the people rejoicing at the thought of being rescued. There’s just one small detail that is really important. He tells them exactly when the rescue is coming. In a week? A few days? Right away? Nope. After 70 years.


What?! 70 years?


Is that supposed to be encouraging? Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself.


“For thus says the Lord, When seventy years is completed for Babylon, I will visit you and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you…” Jeremiah 29:10-11


Why 70 years? Why not right then?


Because He had a plan.

Because the entire future of the world was at stake.

Because Daniel and the three Hebrew children were being developed.

Because He was going to make a brilliant display of God’s glory.

Because the Bible was being written.

Because the Name of God was at stake.


Because those exiles, who were completely absorbed with their own lives, needed to be reminded that the things which are seen are only temporal and the things that are unseen are eternal. God was gracious enough to send them encouragement that if they would believe Him and just hold on, He would come at the perfect time.


God has taught me so much about this. The future that I dreamed of is gone. My plans for the rest of my life, proved to be just that…MY plans and not His. I thought that Clay would be with me until we were old and grey. I assumed he would be with me at all the big events. I dreamed about being really happy empty-nesters one day.


Over the past several weeks, we celebrated two significant life events without Clay. Grace’s High School graduation, and the end of our 15 years at Victory Academy, as Ben graduated from 8thgrade.



As humans, we place such a priority on these events. While Clay sat beside me at Sam’s graduation, just months before he died, the Lord worked a truth into my spirit – the things that are seen are temporal. These life events that we celebrate are mostly not significant in the spiritual realm. Yes, they symbolize success and growth. They give honor to the work of God in our lives, but I had accepted the reality that when we get to heaven, these moments are not going to have significance in eternity.



I’m thankful that the Lord helped me see this because it gave me confidence that I could make it through future events without Clay. But, the void of his presence was so obvious at each one. Everyone is thinking it. No one is really saying it. But, he’s not there. And it’s sad.


When I opened my eyes on Ben’s last day of school, I literally burst into tears. Clay drove our kids to that school every morning for years. I loved his white Ford F-150. My heart still stops sometimes when I see one on the road. He was so good looking behind that wheel. Y’all, that truck was a safe place for my kids. That’s where they talked about life, learned their deep appreciation for all genres of music, and made many memories with their dad. I’m so thankful they had that time with him.



But, it’s over and he’s gone. That harsh reality could make me really mad. It could crush me. The grief I feel when I think about this is so strong.


And, then, the Lord reminds me that He knows the plans He has for me. And, although they don’t look like mine, God is a much better Author than I am. Y’all, He orchestrated thousands of peoples’ lives just to get Daniel into that lion’s den and just to get those 3 Hebrew boys into that furnace. He knew that there was a spectacular opportunity for His greatness to be displayed, so He didn’t rescue the people when they wanted to be rescued.


He was writing the greatest love story of all time, and those exiles in Babylon were part of His story. Some of them were not cast into the roles they wanted, but now that they are in heaven, they can see how vital their life was to God’s plan.


That is my hope. When I see Him face to face, I will understand. And, I relinquish the right to understand it while I live here on earth. I take my thoughts captive and I choose not to dwell on what I want, or the disappointment of what I didn’t get. Rather, I choose to trust my Lord. He is fully trustworthy, and He has a plan. And His plan is for a hope and a future.


I implore you to allow God to engraft this truth into your spirit. It is the only way to live through the pain of this life and not be bitter, disappointed and overcome. If you want to walk in victory and peace, you must let God reveal these spiritual truths to you.


Proverbs 16:9

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”


Proverbs 16:3

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”


Psalm 146:4

“When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.”


Let God have His way in your life. His plans will not perish. His hope will not be put to shame. His ways will be established if you commit your life to His work. Don’t hold on to what you want, or what you think you deserve. Trust Him with your future.