“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

Love. This is the word the Lord has pressed upon my spirit for the New Year. Love- a simple four letter word with more meaning than all the words in the dictionary can define. Love is something we all desire and yearn for. For me personally I know this word has been pressed upon my spirit in regards to how Christ loves us. To make it more personal, how Christ Loves ME. I have spent the majority of this last year in anxiousness. Striving to fix my brokenness or cover my brokenness up with momentary pleasures of life. What am I looking for I ask myself? The answer is Love. I can feel my Savior whispering to me ever so sweetly—“I am Love. I am the Love you are looking for. I’ve been here with you the whole time. Don’t you see me? Don’t you feel me caressing your broken heart? I’ve never ever left you. Please come fall into my arms.” That is Love. When I think of the places I’ve allowed my mind to go these last 12 months, from deep sadness, to exploding anger, to disgusting selfishness, to icky worldliness, but yet, here is my Jesus pursuing me, calling to me in the middle of my darkness. This Love trumps any romantic shallow term of love. This Love I’m referring to is an out of this world, undefined, knocks you off your feet and challenges you to run to the cross kind of Love. It brings you to your knees in repentance and leaves your dirty ashes shining like beautiful sunflowers. The kind of Love that turns unimaginable earthly pain into a purpose for His glory. There is nothing that compares to it. So why do I forsake it daily?

I’m stuck. I am stuck in my immature mind of expectations of life not being met. I am so focused on what I am starving for when in reality I have no reason to be hungry at all. I have the answer to everything living in my heart already. I have the wisdom of the Creator of the universe residing inside of me. Why do we as Christians live weak and depressed lives when we know this truth? Why are so many of us allowing the enemy to trample our thoughts and steal our peace and joy? Where is our David kind of boldness ready to sprint on the battle field and conquer fear? Where is our warrior spirit that rises up and steps into the Love that Christ is?

Can I be transparent? I am tired of being sick and tired. I am tired of allowing fear to win. I am tired of waking up every day and remembering how life used to be or allowing a desire to enter my heart of what I think I need, want or deserve and my life reflects zero of those expectations so I mentally and emotionally throw a fit and raise a fist at God. How selfish. This life is not about us. How have I become so self-centered in my journey? Maybe you feel this way too. I feel so off track spiritually.

I feel like the Apostle Paul when he writes “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15. So contradictory, yet so true. Don’t we all do this? It is time to wage war on the things of this world that tarnish the gospel. It is time to wage war on what we allow our minds to dwell on. It is time to wage war on what we allow our ears to hear or eyes to see. It is time to wage war on all that keeps us from running into the Love that is Jesus. We are the only thing that separates ourselves from experiencing the fullness of Christ. He does not withhold himself from us. Can you imagine that kind of earthly love? Where someone never withholds themselves, their feelings, their affections or emotions? A kind of love you can trust without a shadow of a doubt? A kind of love where you never question where you stand or wonder if you’re even loved at all? A kind of love that you know would always sacrifice? A kind of love that you trust would never leave you or forsake you? I don’t think that spotless and flawless love exists in human form. But we can experience it through our relationship with Christ when we surrender our fears and brokenness. Our spiritual walks become blurred when our minds are focused on this world.

Romans 8:5-8 tells us “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of  the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law, indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

To operate in a spiritual Love is getting yourself off of your mind. It is living to glorify the Lord in all you think, act and speak. Love is waging war on all the filth that enters our minds and homes. Love is walking in God’s Will for our lives. Love is living in obedience to His Word. Living a life of this kind of Love is passionate and thrilling. It should never be boring because living a life with Christ is far from boring and the most epic, passionate, life-altering Love story our human minds can possibly imagine. It is being an intricate part of something that is galaxy sizes bigger than our selves. It is partnering with the creator of the Heavens and the earth and allowing Him to work through us to save souls to live out eternity in Heaven. That is our purpose. That is what our goal should be. Not to have a nice home, comfy job, perfect family, or great wealth and fame. Those things all fade and are gone in the blink of an eye. This epic Jesus Love compels us to run out of our comfort zones in the name of Christ. It creates an urgency in our souls to become more eternally minded and live with spiritual reckless abandon because we know that we have the power to show someone the hope of heaven rather than watch them live a life that heads to hell.

Love as Christ Loves. Do not treat people how they treat you, treat them how Christ Loves you. As Christ followers we have the power to change the world and show others a life-changing Love.

“Love is patient, is kind, does not envy, or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things hope’s all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

I challenge you to join me in pursuance of this kind of Love for 2019.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

I Will Praise You Through The Pain


Photo By Brianne Campos Photography

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults. And with my song I shall thank Him.” Psalm 28:7

I made a decision a long time ago that I would praise You, always, Lord.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t understand what praising You meant.

There was a time in my life when You whispered to me to praise You, and I replied with, “I will not praise You when my life is a mess… fix this and then I’ll praise You.”

What a victim mentality that was.

That particular night 4 years ago is a moment I will never forget. The Lord got a hold of my heart and revealed Himself to me in a whole new light. I began to realize it’s not about what God can do for us… We shouldn’t praise Him for what He can do… We should praise Him simply for Who He is. He is The Lord of Lord’s, The King of King’s. He is worthy of all of our praise, all of the time. No matter our circumstances.

Even when we’re hurting.

Especially when we’re hurting.

There is power in praising God through the Pain. There is power in praising God through the storms of life.

And I’m not talking about a flat tire kind of day storm—I am referring to the hurricanes and tornadoes of life… broken relationships, dreaded news…death. Through the dark chaos of life—God still deserves our praises.

Through learning to praise God during what was my greatest fear at that time—a near failed marriage (which God redeemed)… That trial changed my praise. God showed me the power of praising Him through the darkness. A supernatural power arises within us and around us when we lift our hands and eyes to the heavens and pour out our praises to our Creator. Some may think it’s weird, uncomfortable or mystical even. But we were made to praise God. There is something threaded in our souls that yearns for fellowship with Christ. We may not even realize it. But I am living proof of the strength that can be born from praising in the most un-praise-able scenarios. The above picture was captured at my late husband’s funeral on January 24, 2017.

When I look at this picture a swarm of emotions arise within me. I look at my face and don’t even recognize the woman in that picture. I remember that moment as if it were yesterday. It was one of those moments that changes who you are… forever. I will never be the same woman I was a moment before this photo was captured. The praise happening in this picture was one of absolute and complete surrender to God. I woke up that morning not wanting to face the day of burying my husband and the father of my then 9 month old baby girl. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to do this hard thing in front of me.

But God.

Getting dressed that morning was a blur. The drive to the church was a blur. Entering the building and being guided to a secluded room was a blur. The walk down the aisle to take my seat in front of the cedar casket that held my husband’s lifeless body was a blur.

But when the music began… When the words of worship emitted through the air… Something happened inside of me. I have always considered myself a ‘worshipper’. But this day changed that meaning to me.

The Holy Spirit came and ministered to me in my seat. He began to engulf me in peace. He began to shower me with an out of this world strength. In that moment—I knew I was going to be okay. I knew I was not alone. I knew God was bigger than my pain. I could feel the Holy Spirit tell me to surrender. He told me to TRUST. He told me this was not about me.

This tragedy was not about me.

This pain was not about me.

It was not about the cedar casket in front of me that held my husband.

It was not about anyone in that building.

It was about my Jesus.

My Redeemer. My Creator. The One who lives and reigns forever. Because of HIM I had the assurance to know and see in the spirit my husband was ALIVE.

He’s not in that cedar casket. He’s not lifeless.

He is living out his eternity with Jesus. He is more alive than we are.

I couldn’t stay seated any longer. I had to stand and praise my creator for giving LIFE to my husband and all that believe in Christ as their savior.

Christ was to be glorified through this tragedy. I was not to bottle up my hurt and sink into a dark pit.

The Holy Spirit whispered His love to me. He whispered parts of His plan to me. I knew it was going to be a hard road. I knew the grief that lay ahead would be gut-wrenching… But I knew I would survive with Christ living in me. By His power—not mine.

And you will survive the pain of whatever you’re facing too. God is bigger than our earthly pain and sorrow.

I hesitated posting this picture and this blog… But the pull in my spirit is someone needs these words. The pain is real. The pain of death is very real, almost tangible. Grief is its own entity. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to grieve. Just remember not to stay there forever. Ask God to help you through the darkness. Ask Him to guide you minute to minute. Ask Him what His purpose for this pain is. He will show you. Going through these last 12 months navigating life after deep loss has allowed me to feel others pain as if it were my own again. The compassion that has been etched into my heart specifically for other widowers is so real. I am thankful for that new emotion. I will carry it for the remainder of my life. I will always pray strategically for ones who face this same road. A road no one wants to travel or thinks of having to travel—This road is hard, but allow God to change your heart on the journey. He will not leave or forsake you, Ever. Even on the hardest and darkest day—HE is there, holding you, breathing life into your loss.

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. John 4:23-24.

Praise Him in those moments. Praise Him when it hurts the most. He will show up in the middle of your pain. I promise He will.

“The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Sing praises to the LORD…” Psalm 9:9-11.

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:5-6.

“And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all the day long.” Psalm 35:28

When life brings pain, remember you are never alone. The Lord is our strong tower, our ever present help in times of trouble. He makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, Romans 8:28.

You are so much stronger than you know…

Just repeat after me…

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

I Love You… Eternally

I Love you Eternally

Photo By Daniel Dockweiler

So many emotions the last few days have taken camp on my heart as I face the 1-year mark of Cody being home in heaven. But of all the emotions I’ve faced—Thankfulness is the most prevalent. I am so thankful for having experienced the Love of Cody Lusk. I am thankful to raise the life we created. I am thankful for the new appreciation of life I have. I am thankful for the people the Lord has brought into my life this last year. I am thankful for the deep grief, pain and sorrow, because it has allowed me to experience true joy and peace on a new level.

Tragedy doesn’t have to define you. We do not have to be victims of tragedy for the remainder of our lives. God does not allow tragedy to penetrate our lives for it to be forgotten in the ground… He put in us a strength and a faith that can erupt like a volcano when we Surrender to HIM. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, and it doesn’t mean questions don’t come—but it means we can accept and TRUST that God has us in the palm of His hands—“We are covered under His feathers and under His wings we will find refuge.” Psalm 91:4. I don’t know about you, but there is no place else I’d rather be than covered under His wings.

The word eternity has pierced my heart this last year. I now have a deep desire to be more eternally focused. Over the last year I have re-read dozens and dozens of letters and love notes from Cody over the years of our marriage. Every single one ended with, “I Love you, Eternally”. The definition of eternally is, “in a way that continues and lasts forever; permanently.” That makes my heart smile. Over the last couple of months I am ashamed to admit I have struggled with anger in regards to unresolved things in our marriage. I would angrily cry out to God hundreds of WHY’S?

On New Year’s Eve while praying in my special prayer area, I had my face buried in my hands sobbing and I felt a little hand on my shoulder. I looked up and baby Abby was standing inches from me with her arms outstretched. In that moment I felt the Holy Spirit say, “It is finished. Cody is with me. He Loved you with all that he had and I left the best part of him with you.” In that moment the burden of the unanswerable ‘why’s’ that were haunting me dissipated. The anger was released and replaced with that unexplainable peace that exists when we surrender. In that moment as my daughters little body was wrapped around mine, her little face nestled in my neck, feeling her heart beating and her breath on my skin, a new strength and love arose. I began to see a part of my heart neatly wrapped up with a pretty bow on it—that part of my heart was Cody’s and our life together. I then saw a huge part of my heart beating that I never knew existed. I’m realizing it’s okay to desire certain things again. It’s okay to look to the future with excitement. It’s okay to stop asking why.

It doesn’t matter why.

It doesn’t matter what happened.

It doesn’t matter.

That may sound cold, and I don’t mean it to at all. I just mean I am coming to a place, a new stage of healing and I’m realizing no amount of screams and cries to God or Cody in anger will change anything. Accepting that it was ordained for me to only get 4.5 years with him and Abby was only to get 9 months with him… But we have eternity to look forward to.

When I read the words “I Love you, Eternally” written by my husband, my heart soars and breaks at the same time. But you know what is marinated in my soul even deeper than my husband speaking those words? Is my Heavenly Daddy speaking those same words over me—He Loves me eternally. He will never leave or forsake me or my daughter. He has more than taken care of us these last 12 months and I trust and have faith He will continue to do so.

Romans 5:2-5 tells us “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

I’ve had people ask me over the last 12 months if I have felt guilty for laughing or having fun. My instant answer is ‘NO’. I will never feel guilty for laughing or for exuding joy and God’s Love. Because joy and love is the essence of life. Cody was one of the most exuberant souls you would have ever met.

He would never want me to live my life in darkness and sadness forever.

So I refuse to.

Grief changes you, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent sad kind of change.

It can be a strengthening change.

A brave change.

A learning to Love deeper kind of change.

A let’s not take life for granted kind of change.

So yes, grief and tragedy has changed me, but not in the worlds way of thinking. God’s eternal love has penetrated my life on so many new levels this year that wouldn’t be had it not been for experiencing deep loss. I would have never chosen to walk this walk, but here I am. So every day I ask the Lord for help and continue to repeat…

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.




Photo by Brianne Campos Photography

“But now, this is what the LORD says—He who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”  Isaiah 43:1

Last week I had the honor of speaking at River of Praise Church in Palestine during their revival week.  While praying about what the Lord would have me speak the word fearless kept coming to mind.  Studying scriptures on the Lord commanding us to not fear, I could not get away from Isaiah 43:1.  I love the NLT version above as it uses the word summoned.

The definition of summoned is “to authoritatively or urgently call on someone to be present—especially in a courtroom of law.  You could be summoned as a witness.”

It is past tense—meaning The Lord has already summoned us.  We are His.  It is already done.  That alone should make us #fearless.  What are we so afraid of?

The feedback I received after speaking this message was confirmation that fear has undoubtedly seeped into our churches and in the hearts and minds of God’s people.  It has become an epidemic.  I want to do what the Lord has commanded of us hundreds of times in the Bible—‘DO NOT FEAR!’

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.”  Isaiah 41:13

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

These three scriptures should be etched into our minds.  These words should be our weapons against the enemy when he throws arrows of fear at us.  After speaking about the Lord calling us to be fearless—guess what happened?  The enemy tried to attack me with fear tactics.  Keyword tried.  Over the years I have come to recognize the enemy.  We are called to be warriors for the gospel of Christ.  Like any good warrior prior to stepping on the battlefield we need to study our enemy.  We need to understand his plan of attack so when it happens we can cast him down with the Word of God and stand fearless in our rebukes.

But what happens when we don’t draw our swords against attacks of fear?  Fear can become a momentary eclipse over glory.  I use the word momentary because John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  Though fear/darkness will never defeat us when we have Christ as our Savior, fear can ail us.  Each time we fear, we give the enemy more power over us.  Our trust in the Lord falters when fear arises.

One of my favorite biblical testimonies is of David and Goliath found in 1 Samuel chapter 17.  Goliath of Gath a Philistine Champion was described as having a coat with the weight of five thousand shekels of bronze, he had a helmet of bronze on his head, bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spears head weighed six hundred shekels of iron, and a shield-bearer went before him.

David was just a young shepherd boy, the youngest of eight brothers.  Three of his brothers were with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah fighting the Philistines.  Per his father’s request, David took food to his brothers.  While in Elah David witnesses Goliath of Gath challenge any Israelite man to go to battle with him.  Goliath said if an Israelite man could defeat him to death then the Philistines would serve the Israelites and vice versa.  Goliath was feared by the Israelite army.  “All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid.”  1 Samuel 17:24

But David did not fear Goliath.

“And David said to the men who stood by him… “ For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”” 1 Samuel 17:26

David went to Saul and requested he fight Goliath.  Saul said no.  “But David said to Saul “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father.  And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him down and delivered it out of his mouth… The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”  1 Samuel 17:34-35, 37.

Can we take a second and think about David’s fearlessness?  His unhindered TRUST in God produced a fearless nature in him that I guarantee every man on that battlefield envied.  David knew the power of the Lord we serve.  He knew he had nothing to fear because the Lord was with him.

Having no armor and only 5 rocks and a sling David fearlessly approached Goliath.
1 Samuel 17:45-47 is some of my favorite words in the entire Bible.  “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear.  For the battle is the LORD’s and he will give you into our hand.”

David defeated Goliath with one stone and his sling.  Goliath falls to the ground and David grabs the giant’s sword and uses it to cut his head off.  The Philistines fled.

This was the beginning of David’s fearless nature and unshakable trust in the Lord.

I keep thinking about how much thicker the Bible would be if everyone the Lord summoned to be fearless in His name had been obedient to the calling and anointing on their life?

I don’t know about you—but I want to walk in a fearless obedience to the things the Lord has called me to do on this side of glory.

I want a faith so big that I run fearlessly into the battlefield ready to cut a giants head off —because I know Who fights for me.  I don’t want to fear anything.  I think we can all say that.  So why has fear made itself so cozy in our lives?

The past 9 months of my life have been what some would describe as fearful.  Being widowed at 27 with a 9 month old baby has ‘fear’ written all over it.

But God.

In April the Lord gave me a vision—I was standing on a rock in the middle of a large body of water.  I am alone physically.  I see the word fearless above me.  In my spirit the Lord is calling me to trust Him, to take His hand and live fearlessly with Him.  I think of this vision daily.

I am not going to lie and say the enemy doesn’t parade fear around me, and oh how easy it is to give into the fear of the unknown of life.  The fear of another devastating tragedy taking camp in my life.  The fear of being alone.  The fear of my daughter not having an earthly father.  The fear of being a single parent.  The fear of grief.


I have to choose daily to be like David.  I choose to face my Goliath’s knowing that my God will never leave me or forsake me.  He will deliver me.  He will protect me.

“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”  Psalm 34:4

We have nothing to fear when the Lord of hosts, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and everything in between, is holding us up.  Even when our lives seem turned upside down, we need to take our eyes off ourselves and look at our situations through the lens of the Gospel and Christ.  The sooner we understand that our lives are NOT ABOUT US, the sooner we will begin to truly live a life of fearlessness that eludes freedom.  Everything is designed for the Glory of God.  He is worthy of that glory, all of the time.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:4

“The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”  Psalm 56:3-4

The Lord is calling all of us to be #fearless.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

Diamond In The Rough

Diamond in the Rough by Erik Johansson

Photo Credit: Erik Johansson

A diamond in the rough. I’m sure you’ve heard this analogy before. The last several weeks I have had an urge to research the formation process of a diamond…and now I know why.

A diamond is a rare gem. A diamond is formed deep within the earth’s mantle at depths plunging to sometimes 118 miles. It is formed with carbon containing minerals that provide the carbon source. These minerals undergo high temperature and pressure to form a diamond in the rough. This growth occurs over periods from 1 billion years to 3.3 billion years. That is a long time to be “in the rough” before the diamond is discovered for its eternal purpose. Which brings me to my next point- the “discovery” process of the diamond in the rough is fascinating to me. I learned that nearly 50% of diamonds come from Africa. The diamonds that emerge to the surface of the earth were forced there by volcanic activity through kimberlite pipes. A kimberlite pipe is a pipe containing a vertical shaft and tunnels running from the main pipe. The mines run deep into the earth with hundreds of tons of rock, gravel and sand that need to be blasted, drilled, crushed and processed.

We are diamonds in the rough.

This is the revelation the Lord gave me during my research of diamonds. We are sometimes plunged deep into the chaos of this life. We face extreme pressures, we seem to always be under stress. Some of us experience devastation and tragedy to the degree of comparing our lives to an erupting volcano. We feel like we are being blasted, drilled, and crushed with trials and tumultuous seasons of life. These high temperatures, pressures, blasting, drilling, and crushing, all help mold us. Sometimes the molding reflects harshness, defeat, exhaustion, loss of hope, anger, bitterness, and depression. The beauty of the diamond (Jesus in you) cannot be seen. It is stuck in the rough.

And then the diamond in the rough reaches the market.

The destiny of the diamond in the rough changes here.

The diamond in the rough is purchased by a manufacture.

But the pruning process of the diamond in the rough isn’t over. It then reaches cutting centers. The diamond in the rough is examined intricately and then cut to yield the greatest value. “Taking into consideration the rough’s shape, as well as the quantity and position of its internal inclusions, the stone is marked and usually sawed. The stone then goes through a series of diamond cutters who each have their own specialty. Finally, the diamond is polished and cleaned.” Diamond Net

Just as the diamond in the rough is purchased by a manufacture, we were purchased with the blood of Jesus at the Cross. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior—it doesn’t mean we will have a pain free life. We will continue to be pruned. Our flesh will be cut and sawed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, with the goal of reflecting the image of Christ during our earthly lives—so we can yield the greatest value—an eternal life with Christ.

We are not defined by how we came into this world. We are not defined by how deep in sin we used to live. We are not defined by how many internal cuts and scars we have.

We are defined by who we are in Jesus.

We are marked by the blood of Christ. He chose us. He purchased us. He accepts us. He yearns for a personal relationship with us, His diamonds.

Henry Kissinger said, “A diamond is a chunk of coal that did really well under pressure.”

Through the trials, tribulations and the pressures we face during our earthly lives, we have the greatest opportunity to shine like a diamond. We have the greatest opportunity to represent our Heavenly Father here on this earth. Our seasons of “being in the rough”, may very well be the majority of this life—It doesn’t negate that we are diamonds, destined to shine the light of Christ.

When you look at a diamond, you don’t see the “rough” that underwent high temperatures, pressure, crushing, drilling, cutting and sawing. All you see is the beautiful gem in all of its glorious glimmer. You see the final product. You see this rough yielding its greatest value as a beautiful diamond, worn on your finger, or around your neck.

“…She is far more precious than jewels.” Proverbs 31:10

“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10

“So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7

When God looks at us, He sees a diamond. Through Jesus, we are able to yield our greatest value. We are able to walk with the power of the Holy Spirit residing in us. We have a new name and a new purpose. We are beautiful diamonds shining through our “rough”.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

Sources: Wikipedia,

Keep Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other

Maternity 04.07.16 (47 of 72)

Photo By KT Photography

“I can’t go anymore,” I thought to myself. I was defeated. The sun was beating on my face, my shoulders, and arms. My feet felt like they were on fire. The sweat poured from my face as if someone had dumped a gallon of warm water on me.

Just when my feet were about to stop, I heard… “Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep doing that over and over. Focus on one step at a time… Keep putting one foot in front of the other.”

I smiled through my pain. He me made it look so easy. He made it sound so easy. Then I thought, “What if it really is that simple?” I could do that. I could keep putting one foot in front of the other. I turned to my right and watched this man, who I was falling in love with, cheer me on. He wasn’t giving up on me. He wanted me to succeed. He wanted me to become stronger. He was lovingly pushing me to the invisible finish line we had set.

My strength rose. My ears tingled listening to his Marine Corps Cadence’s, as he ran beside me.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other… and it will lead you to the finish line.

I woke up this morning with such heaviness in my heart. I feel pulled in many different direction in life as of late. As I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook, my heart skipped as I saw a beautiful picture of my husband that my father in law had posted along with a story of how Cody’s soul lives on through the many lives he touched.

It wrenched my heart, it pierced my soul. I love hearing stories of how Cody impacted others through his testimony and passion for life. But it wrecks me to the core at the same time. My flesh screams that it was too soon for him to leave this earth. My flesh aches with not getting to hear his laughter and feel safe in his strong arms. Or get to see him hold my baby girl again. So many torments. So much that is unfair.

So many times the last 8 months I don’t think I have the strength to make it through a tough day. I hear these words… “Just Keep Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other”.

I can hear my Husband’s voice cheering me on.

But… to top his voice… I hear my Heavenly Daddy saying the same.

The words, “Keep putting one foot in front of the other” have helped me tremendously the last 5 years- since they were first spoken to me. Cody and I would often remind one another of them when we faced difficult things in what was our life together. We would repeat these words often while running together. One would give the other strength when needed. But these words have come to my mind countless times since Cody departed to his eternal home.

When I want to give up, throw in the towel, so to speak. Shut down, shut the world out. When I want to give up progressing and moving forward in what is now my new life… I hear the Holy Spirit prompting me… “Keep putting one foot in front of the other”.

As I an avid runner, I have many times thought of the analogy that our daily life and faith walk is much like running a race. There are many times during a difficult run that I am having an internal conflict. One part of me is screaming to walk or stop all together. The other part is passionately saying “Keep putting one foot in front of the other.” I am proud to say the latter usually wins that battle.

But what about the spiritual race I run daily? That is what really matters. Proverbs 4:25 instructs us to “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” When I meditate on this verse, I see a finish line in the distance.

What is the finish line?


My eyes are to remain on Him. He is the finish line.

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24.

After the 5 days of searching for Cody’s body in the lake came to a devastating end, the next morning I woke up with a strength that can only come from the Lord. As soon as my eyes opened that morning, I had a strong urge to go for a run. My mom was staying with me during this time so she watched Abby while I ran. About 2 miles into my run, my feet slipped. I was running up a slight hill and millions of pine needles had shrouded the road. A truck had just passed me when my feet gave way and I fell to the ground. I felt the sting of the pavement against my right knee and shin. I had used my hands to block the majority of the fall so my hands were throbbing and scratched.

Without hesitation, I jolted up and continued my run. I pushed the minor embarrassment out of my mind and I ran even stronger than I did before I fell.

Walking this faith walk is not about never falling.

In fact, get ready to fall.

This faith journey is about how you get back up when this ugly world knocks you down. It’s about Who you turn your eyes to even when you’ve fallen. You have never fallen too hard or too far for you to call on the Name of Jesus. He will hear you. He will give you the strength you need and even some you didn’t know you needed.

“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Isaiah 58:11.

Keep running your race.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

Rise Up and Walk Right


Google Image

Do you ever feel like you’ve reached a Y in the road regarding your life?  I am sure most of you are shaking your head “Yes”.  I am at that fork in the road so to speak.  I am standing in front of this gigantic Y.  Not moving.  Just standing still.  I envision myself looking way down each road.  The road on the left is glittery and shining beautifully, calling to me, enticing me.  I just want to run into the fun glitter.  It appears to be the easier path.  But I can only see the beginning of that road.  I only see the glittering lights.  I don’t know how far those lights actually shine.

Then I look to the road to the right.  It’s kind of dark in the beginning— I would have to be brave to step into that unknown darkness.  I envision myself having to put on armor to protect myself against any enemies or any discomfort.  But I can see further down that road.  The path brightens up.  An out of this world brightness of colors shine to no avail.  And keeps going and going into more illuminating purity.  But it’s so dark in the beginning.  How could I bravely step into the darkness not knowing when I will actually reach the luminescence?

I’m still just standing there.  I’m straining my neck and standing on the tips of my toes.  I’m trying to see further down each road.  But I cannot.

I step toward the left a little, the glitter has me mesmerized.  But I hesitate.  That still small voice that has guided my life for so long is telling me to go back.  I run back to the beginning of the Y.  I look to the right.  My flesh does not want to step into the unknown.  It doesn’t look pretty and captivating until way down the road.  My flesh has been through so much.  I just want a break.  I just want instant glitter and shininess.  I just want to walk left.  No more trials, no more tests, no more loneliness.  My flesh is tired.  My flesh is weak.

But God.

Can I take a moment and say that those two words are two of the most powerful words in my vocabulary book.

But God…with these two words the plans of the enemy become ruined and undone.

I fall to my knees in between these two roads.  My flesh is torn.  “… you shall weep no more.  He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry.  As soon as he hears it, he answers you.  And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.  Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images.  You will scatter them as unclean things.  You will say to them, “Be gone!”  Isaiah 30:19-22

I know in my spirit, this is a pivotal moment in my walk with the Lord.  I bow my face before Him.  I am reminded of trials in the past.  I am reminded of being in the middle of life and death situations.  Physical death and spiritual death.  I am remembering the darkness of those trials.  I remember Who saved me.  I remember who I am.  I am a Daughter of the most High King.  I am a Daughter to the creator and King of the Universe!  I am made for a time such as this.  I am an overcomer.  I have the wisdom of the Lord.  I have overcome by the blood of the lamb and by the Word of my Testimony.  I may be weak, but He is strong.  I may be weary, but He gives me my strength.  He never leaves me.  He never forsakes me.  He makes a way out of danger.   The power of God tears down the veil.  I believe in the Holy Spirit, and He has given me new life.  Though I fall, He makes me new again.

Lauren Daigle sings the perfect words, “You plead my cause, You right my wrongs, You break my chains, You overcome, You gave Your life to give me mine, You say I am free, How can it be?”

For years I have struggled with perfectionism.  I have tried to maintain an image of perfection, an image without stains.  God is bringing me to a place of transparency in my walk with Him.  Perfection doesn’t exist.  If it did, we would not need Jesus.  There is a world full of broken people who are at a fork in the road.  I can feel the loss of strength in them.  I am here cheering you on, I am here shouting, “Rise Up!” The Lord is your strength.  His Word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. (Psalm 119:105)

Now Rise Up, and Walk Right.

It may be dark and quiet for a little while, but His light will guide every single step on the path He has ordained for your feet.  And oh, once you reach the pure luminescence, you will understand the battle will have been worth it.  The momentary darkness, the fear of the unknown, and the discomfort of your flesh was all preparing you for an eternal victory.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

Make Me Broken

Fear of the Lord

Lord, Make Me Broken…

I didn’t know this is what it would feel like to be broken.  When I prayed that prayer, I didn’t know what I was praying.  I prayed to be broken, so I could be healed.  What does that even mean?  They say “why fix something if it’s not broken?”  Why pray to be broken so you can be healed?

About 2 years ago, the Lord was drawing me deeper to Him.  I remember being on my face begging the Lord to break my heart for what breaks His.  I didn’t know this is what it would feel like.  I didn’t think about the “breaking” process, until now.  The song “Keep Making Me”, by Sidewalk Prophets comes to mind.  “Make me broken, so I can be healed, ‘Cause I’m so calloused and now I can’t feel.  I want to run to You with my heart wide open.  Make me broken.  Make me empty so I can be filled.  Cause I’m still holding onto my will.  And I’m completed when you are with me.  Make me empty.  Until You are my one desire, until You are my true Love.  Until You are my breath, my everything.  Make me lonely so I can be Yours.  Until I want no one more than You, Lord.  Cause in the darkness I know you will hold me.  Make me lonely.”

Who in their right mind would pray this prayer?  I didn’t really know what I was praying for.  Until this moment.  Until relentless episodes of grief have hit during this new season of my life.  I get it now.  I get what broken is.  I get what empty is.  I get what lonely is.

And I am thankful.

Through the pain, confusion, tears, I am thankful to be broken, thankful to be empty, thankful to be lonely.  Because that means I can see the Lord shine bigger in my life.  I can feel His presence overpowering the brokenness, emptiness, and loneliness.  I feel his love in an all-consuming way. When I am weak, His strength comes in and turns everything around for His glory.  “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:31.

I don’t want to be “complete” in myself.  I don’t want to be “full” in myself.  I don’t want to be so distracted by this world that I don’t know what loneliness feels like.  If I didn’t experience life altering brokenness, I wouldn’t be experiencing the depths of God’s Love.  I wouldn’t be able to witness firsthand Him build something beautiful out of the broken pieces.  After all He is the Master creator.

Walking this faith journey has made me more sensitive to real things.  By “real things” I mean getting out of the way of God’s plan.  I mean stepping out of my comfort zone when He calls me to do so.  I mean helping others even when I may not feel like it.  I mean getting myself off my mind, even on a grieving day.  I mean trusting in God when I see only darkness surrounding me.  Those are real things.

Jessica is weak.  Jessica is broken.  Jessica is empty.

But God.

With God, Jessica is strong.

With God, Jessica is made whole.

With God, Jessica is filled up.

It is a freeing place to be to admit I am weak, broken and empty.  I am nothing without God.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Make me broken.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.