Monday, October 5, 2020

The Best is Yet to Come

 God, what are you trying to teach me?? What are you trying to show me?? WHY are you challenging me so much? 

These are the things I have been silently screaming for the past 3 weeks. 

The move to GA was nothing short of horrible. We had trial after trial. Almost everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Now that we are here, I'm unhappy for superficial reasons. I'm trying, daily, to look past these things and see that God has a plan. God is never wrong. He knows what He's setting us up for. But I don't. And that's what's eating away at me. 

We have been trying to get to a church and even that has had it's obstacles. It's like the devil is just attacking us from every angle. People say he does that when God has big plans for you. The devil is attacking and trying to stop you because you're here to do big things. Not that I think Paul & I are some incredible people who can make huge impacts...but God is. He's incredible. And He can make huge impacts. 

I guess my point in this post is to say this has been hard. I'm trying to be patient and understand. I'm trying to stop being so negative and down. God is good. Always. He has never let me down. And he's not going to start now. So I'm going to trust Him. I am. Sometimes it just needs to be written down...or typed out, for it to sink in.

He's already shown us His goodness financially this month. He's showing off. And I love it. So yes, I can trust Him. We are here for His purpose, not ours. 

The best is yet to come.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

An Open Book

Most of you know that I'm an open book. I feel like if my transparency can help others going through a similar situation then it's my pleasure really (queue Chick-Fil-A), to share my experiences, emotions, and deepest thoughts. Plus it's therapeutic. So also slightly a selfish move.

The anniversary of my biological dad's death was this past Saturday. He's been gone now for 14 years, I think. Some of you may wonder why I don't post anything on social media about him on that day or his birthday, or even Father's Day. Here's the thing - what would I say? I didn't really think about him too much on Saturday and if I'm being honest I didn't think about him on Father's Day at all. Today though, I'm thinking about him. Perhaps it's because I listened to Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know," which was one of his favorite songs. I only learned that at his funeral. You see, I didn't know my dad. I have posted about this before but every so often, like today, these feelings just come up out of nowhere. I only really even listen to that song when I'm feeling especially vulnerable.

The feelings I have though aren't sadness. I'm angry. After 14 years, I'm still angry. And confused. I told my counselor I had handled all of those emotions, but the truth is, I will never fully "handle" them. They will always be there. The reoccurring question that runs through my mind when I think of my dad are "why didn't he love me?" No really. This isn't a sympathy-seeking post. WHY DIDN'T HE LOVE ME? He lived 45 minutes from me. 45 MINUTES!!! When I was 7 years old and he said he lived too far away to come see me on a Saturday, I trusted that was true. Now, I realize just what 45 minutes really is and I'm baffled. What was so much more important than visiting your daughter? The person you created???? I can think of other questions like did he talk about me with his other family? Was I ever even thought about? But really the biggest question is why didn't he love me. I'm a lovable person. I'm funny, I'm interesting, I'm spontaneous... there are reasons to love me! I'll likely never get the answer to this question. But it's there - roaming around in my mind.

I am blessed though. I'm blessed because I know my Heavenly Father loves me. He loves me more than any earthly father ever could. And I know most fathers love their daughters intensely, so that's a lot of love. God also blessed me with the person I do call my dad. It's funny, because I had this biological tie to a man who created me and we had no connection. Then I have no biological tie - only a legal label - to my step-father who raised me. And now - now he technically isn't even my step-father. We have no legal label anymore yet I'm his daughter and he's my dad. He has shown me unconditional love from the day he met me. And although I'm so thankful and so blessed for it, it will never stop hurting that the man who had a part in my existence didn't even care to get to know me. 

I'm happy he was there for his step-daughter though. I truly am. I would never want anyone to grow up without a father-figure. I'll always tell people what a great musician he was and how I'm 100% sure he would be YouTube famous if he were still here on this earth. He was an excellent artist too. I believe Madi has his artistic abilities.  I wanted to know my dad. I admired him. But for whatever reason, which I'm sure was rooted very deep in him, he didn't have the strength or desire to be my dad. Even still, I'll always keep the few memories of him with me.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Love is Prevailing


"Social distancing" is now a very common, well-known term.

Restaurants are open for take-out and delivery only.

Majority of Americans are working remotely with children at home.

Schools are closed and have been for 3 weeks already. Some are planning to re-open this year and some are not.

Graduations are cancelled.

Dance recitals/competitions are cancelled or post-poned.

Birthday & anniversary parties are done at home without guests.

Millions are now unemployed.

Hospitals are overwhelmed.

Church services are online only.

Window shopping is no longer a thing.

Nursing homes are closed to visitors.

Gas prices are at an all-time low.

Travel plans are cancelled.


Neighbors are helping neighbors.

Restaurants are donating unused food to food pantries.

Teachers are visiting neighborhoods in car parades.

Grocery stores and restaurants are making sure school children are fed.

Communities are feeding hospital workers.

Families are exploring the outdoors, doing crafts, and baking together.

Churches are reaching triple the audience doing virtual services.

Strangers are buying strangers' groceries.

Political parties are coming together for the greater good.

Random acts of kindness are happening daily.

Loved ones are celebrating birthdays between glass with posters and smiles.

Children are learning independence.

Snail mail is making a comeback.

Love is overruling fear. Love is prevailing. Love is present.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

God's Got You

Three days ago I took my last dose of Zoloft, an SSRI (antidepressant/anxiety) medication. I have been on Zoloft, or some type of SSRI, for 17 years. That is HALF of my life.

Before I delve into my thoughts on this, let me preface by saying I firmly believe in the necessity of medication for depression, anxiety, OCD, etc. If I had diabetes I would not deprive myself of the insulin I needed. If your brain is not producing enough serotonin, which is what triggers depression/ & anxiety behaviors, then yes, of course you should visit a doctor and follow the course of action. My oldest daughter had debilitating social anxiety. She is currently on 25mg of Zoloft and now thriving. I believe medication is necessary...sometimes and for a time.

That being said...17 years ago when I first started taking Zoloft I definitely needed it. I was a Freshman in college and had dealt with anxiety/OCD for as long as I can remember. Here's the key - I wasn't a Christian. I thought I was but I wasn't so I was dealing with my anxiety all on my own. Alone. I was counting on being able to handle this daily, stressful, agonizing worry and stress by myself.

That just doesn't happen. It's not possible.

Fast forward a bit, in 2010 I became a Christian. Over the past decade I have had my ups and downs in my walk with God, but over the past 2 years I have become closer to God than ever before. About 8 months ago I made the decision to get off my medicine - to surrender, really - my anxious thoughts, occasional depression, and OCD behaviors to God. To let Him have them. And yes, you read that right - it took me 8 months to go from the maximum dose of Zoloft (200mg) to 0. Was it easy? Nope. Was it exhausting? Yep. Is it a struggle even now that I'm completely off? Yes. Do I feel like I'm going to cry at every single commercial? Yes. Am I succeeding? Yes. Yes, I am. Why? Because I have God.

Now let me go back to what I said before - serotonin levels in my brain were causing my anxiety. After 17 years on Zoloft I feel like that was plenty of time (more than enough, way more) to restore those levels. I'm not a doctor but based on some reading I do believe those medications are meant for short-term use. The problem is that we begin to believe we can't do life without them. We depend on them. But we don't have to! We can depend on God. God can get us through the anxious thoughts. God can be there for us when we feel like we have to make the bed 100 times (you think I'm joking -- wish I was!). God can be our crutch. 

Three days off of Zoloft and I'm feeling good. The journey to get here was rough, but it prepared me for this. It taught me how to go to God when in need. It taught me how to rely on the only One who can truly heal, completely and indefinitely. I'm going to have more anxious thoughts. I'm going to feel the need to triple check the locks, but when I do have those urges, I have someone to get me through it. I have someone to set me straight and help me see that it's something I can overcome.

I'm telling you all of this because I want you to feel the same freedom. Again, I don't want it to seem like I have something against medicine. I don't. I just don't want others to feel like it's their only option like I did. Zoloft numbed me. It took away the natural feelings I should have. It took away my deeper emotions. It did it's job, for a while. But it was time to do life without it and I'm darn proud of myself for it. I truly am, because life isn't easy. It's tough. We all have our things, but whether you have struggled with anxiety for 25+ years like I have or if you're just going through a tough season, God's got you. All you have to do is let Him. Let Him catch you. Let Him lift you up. He will never fail you. Ever. I promise. 

<3 p="">

Thursday, December 12, 2019


Recently, I have really been struggling with feelings that I'm not a good mom. I'm sure we have all had that fleeting thought but I have really been believing this lie. Social media truly is the enemy in times like this. I love my kids fiercely but I'm not a good mom because I don't live to do Pinterest crafts daily. I forget to move that darn elf at least 3 times a week. The tooth fairy has been on vacation almost regularly the past 4 times a kid has lost a tooth. I don't like to get on the floor and play pretend.

These are the lies I told myself to justify my feelings of being an inadequate, bad mother. But, as I was confiding these feelings in my husband he brought up a very good point - my identity is not in my children, nor should it be. My identity is in Christ. I don't live FOR my children. I do things for my children. I love my children. I enjoy my children {most of the time}, but I don't surround my entire being around them and that does not make me a bad mom.

Now, I'm not saying if you are religiously amazing about moving the Elf that you're obsessed with your kids - not saying that at all. I'm just saying that my mom status is not determined by the socially expected pressures of this world today.

I may not play hide and seek but I do provide for them. I do read to them nightly. I do take the oldest to dance weekly and sit there for an hour 1/2 when I have 100 other things I could be doing. I do take them to church, even when it's raining and cold outside! I do encourage their relationship with Christ. I do sing and dance with them. And, I do punish them. All of which, I can now see, make me to be a good mom.

Social media is so tough. It's so hard to not compare. It's so hard to not set expectations onto yourself based on the highlight reel of others. It's so hard. But, stop comparing. Stop judging. Stop telling yourself lies. We are all doing the best we can and that's enough. It really is. My kids won't ever grow up knowing what it's like to have a tooth fairy leave money the first night they put their tooth under their pillow. And guess what? They don't know what they are missing! :) Give yourself a break, because I'm giving myself one.

God made me a mom. God doesn't make mistakes. <3 p="">

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


"Don't be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life, then God's wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ." -Philippians 4:6-7 TPT

Holidays are so hard on people. There are expectations, pressure, occasionally drama, and just so much chaos that we often fail to just take it all in. Myself included. This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to just step back. Step away from the clock. Step away from the *gasp* phone. Step away from the structure. If you are supposed to be at Grandma's house at 2pm and Uncle Eddie's house at 4pm - realize that ain't gonna happen. Tell Uncle Eddie that you'll be there when you get there. Next year, don't over-commit. 

We only have this one 2019 Thanksgiving Day. Don't allow yourself to spend it fretting over the uncontrollable. Instead, relish the time with family. Time with family that some people would give anything in this world to have. Embrace the mess that your children are going to make, as cliche as it is - making memories. Laugh about the burnt rolls.

I'm even going to challenge you to take less pictures. Yeah, I said it. When you're behind the phone/camera, you're behind the scenes. You're not IN the picture. You're not experiencing the moment. You might be capturing the moment, but wouldn't you rather remember that moment as something you were a part of instead of something you were just observing? 

I'm heeding my own advice. This is for me too. Just think about it. Make this holiday count.

And don't forget your stretchy pants.

<3 p="">

Sunday, October 6, 2019

All In

One of my favorite preachers mentioned this a few years ago but I didn’t quite grasp the impact at the time.

I went to a football game last weekend. Well, not just any football game - Clemson vs. UNC. If you follow college football even a little bit, you have heard about this game. It was intense. Like edge of your seat, standing up, jumping, back to the edge of your seat kind of intense - for both teams.

Football fans are not shy about their commitment, excitement, and loyalty to their team. They wear clothes to represent their team (& to let everyone know who they cheer for); put decals on their vehicles; and some even paint their faces in the team colors. They also jump up and down and SCREAM for their team. I was one of those people. And the thing is, they do this in public. Without caring who sees or hears them.

But Christians. Do we do this? Without a second thought or reservation? Do we stand up in church and raise our hands without resisting? Or do we first look around to see who else has their hands up? Do we encourage the pastor by shouting out to them or do we hold it in? But wait, we just said we quickly, without thought shout  at the QB. We quickly shout at the coach and the refs. We adamantly jump up and down when our team scores.

What if, Christians had no reservations or limitations to praising God? What if, we worshipped Him with all we had and lost our voices FOR HIM?? What if, we voiced words of encouragement and confirmation to our pastors?

Wouldn’t the church become a completely new level of worship?

Just a thought for today. Just a thought for my fellow Christians, and of course myself. I checked myself before church this morning & I moved to the music just a little bit harder today. God deserves more than football. A whole lot more.

PS. Go Tigers. #ALLIN #ALLINforJESUStoo

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