A few nights ago, I found an old journal from the year 1991. My first entry included the details of a God orchestrated event that still leaves me in awe today. I, at eighteen years old, was a young Believer; and unlike the majority of my peers, I had no plans for the future. For months, I sought the Lord each night, asking Him to show me my next steps. His answer would come the day after I graduated from high school.

Early that morning, I received a phone call from my pastor, asking me if I would like to be a summer intern with a ministry based in Mexico. My job, he said, would be to help church groups coming from the states build houses for families in need in the heart of Mexico. If I were to agree to go, I would need to be ready to leave in three days. When I inquired about the financial aspect of the summer, I was dumbfounded when my pastor told me that our church was paying for everything. 

Without a doubt, I knew this opportunity was my long-awaited answer. Three days later, I was on my first plane ride donned in my blue jean overalls and a straw hat with a big floral bow attached to the side. And that right there was where the cuteness ended because the rest of the summer was one of the most exacting experiences I have ever faced.Read More →

y heart has been in my throat most of the day, and it took me until dinner to pinpoint my angst. I miss Justin. I still find it nearly impossible to understand that he is gone fully. This morning as I walked, I was grateful for the empty sidewalks that gave me the freedom to allow fresh tears to drop without inhibition.

I guess in hindsight, that should have clewed me that this might be a tough day. But, the thing about grief is that, sometimes, it’s sneaky. It clouds your mind with countless unintelligible thoughts while stealthy depleting your energy reserve. And, grief, coupled with the added stress of Tim’s now extended lay-off, has me feeling a smidge undone. 

One of the most impactful lessons I am learning since losing Justin is how to lament and simultaneously remember God’s character. In my “before,” I did not want to sit in my heavy emotions and wait for God to comfort me. Instead, I skipped the lament and eased my ache on my own terms. But, after losing my boy, the previous coping practices that I honed so well were inadequate in the face of such anguish. Read More →

About a year ago, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I read a headline from a social news site about someone’s child dying. I made the mistake of reading through the comments, and I’ll never forget the woman who wrote, “Well, I pray for God’s protection over my children every day.” I thought about writing back, “Well, so do I, but sometimes God has a different plan.”

The day we lost Justin, I prayed for him and his safety. I asked the Lord to protect him. When the sheriff’s deputies arrived at our door early Sunday morning, I was dumbfounded. When the shock wore off, I was hurt and confused. Read More →

When I was eighteen years old, and one-day post-graduation, I heard from God. A few months earlier, I had attended a retreat with my church youth group. I don’t remember all of the details of that weekend except that the speaker’s testimony mirrored my life.

When I returned home, through tears, I began kneeling by my bedside and seeking the Lord each night. I felt an enormous amount of stress; the majority of my friends had already selected their colleges. I, on the other hand, wasn’t sure if my grades would allow me to cross the stage and receive my diploma. I’d lost track of how many times we’d moved, but it was my fourth high school in four years. Therefore, I had no plan at all and only a part-time job at the local Fish N Chips.Read More →

If you are at all familiar with Dave Ramsey, you’ll understand my next statement with ease. Tim and I have “done stupid” more times than we can count. Financially speaking, it’s been a long road of learning how to steward our resources wisely.

We’ve put ourselves on many budget freezes, made oaths to each other that we wouldn’t eat out, and for a while, I even ventured into the craziness of price matching. Everyone in our family jokingly uses the phrase in our best Texas accent, “rice and beans, and beans and rice,” but we’ve never actually eaten only rice and beans for dinner.Read More →

When I was a new mom, I met an Irish woman at church named Rosie. She had flaming red hair kept in a pixie cut. Her sense of humor was razor-sharp, and she held a wealth of wisdom in her petite frame.

At the time, Tim was taking a full load of classes at seminary and working fulltime at the hospital. Most of my days consisted of just Justin and me. I noticed that Justin started to misbehave in the late afternoon, making the home stretch to bedtime feel like an eternity. One day, I shared my concern with Rosie. She looked me in the eyes, and with empathy, she said something to the effect of, “Missy, no wonder. the hours from 5:00-7:00 pm are known as the arsenic hour.”

At the time, that sounded a little sinister to me, but now, five kids and twenty-some years later, I get it. By dinner time, I come in limping,Read More →

ON THE LEFT: I was overwhelmed and filled with shame. Getting healthy felt unattainable. One morning, alone in my bathroom, I cried out to God, “Please help me, this feels hopeless!”. I was in the pit of despair and couldn’t see a way out. A few days later, our Justin sat me down for what would be a life-changing conversation asking me to get healthy. I agreed and wholeheartedly set out on my pilgrimage. ON THE RIGHT: F R E E I am learning what walking in freedom looks like on a daily basis. I am more broken than I have ever been, but God,Read More →

Our bedroom has a revolving door most mornings; today was no exception. Joshua, our youngest, climbed into bed with us after a middle of the night potty accident. He gives the sweetest wake-up calls, usually greeting me with a hug around the neck and multiple kisses; first my cheeks and then two more, one for each closed eye. He finally makes his way out of our bed, and I breathe a sigh of relief as I hear his little feet padding down the stairs to see his Daddy. Moments later, again the door opens, and I spy our sleepy-eyed Sammy boy, he’s nine-years-old, and aRead More →

Since the early days after the accident, I have sensed a certain sacredness in grief. With the most vulnerable part of my heart exposed, I could only cry out to the Lord in my brokenness. It was laughable to consider anything else being even remotely comforting. As the days and weeks have turned into months, the temptation for distraction is enticing. I am learning that it is of utmost importance to allow myself to sit in the waves of grief as they come; avoiding and postponing the ache is futile. In my lament, my heart is drawn to the great Comforter enabling me to clingRead More →