The Embrace


April my sister

We embraced. I held her close and pulled her near, so she could hear me whisper “God loves you.” She whispered back, “He loves you too.” In that moment nothing separated us from the love of God. No color of skin. No social or economic status. Nothing. Just the love of Jesus meeting two women on a cold February evening that warmed our hearts to overflow.

The issues surrounding racial injustice in our world today has my heart broken into a million pieces for all of us. I have been quiet. I have been prayerful. When I zoom in on this beautiful picture that I have saved on my phone tears fill my eyes. I can remember everything about this moment in time. I can remember wiping her tears without a care or worry of COVID19 contaminating me. We were having an intimate moment together. She was sharing her struggles, and in return I shared mine. We connected. We were sisters in Christ despite of our differences, our hang ups and bruises. We were united in the most beautiful and amazing way…JESUS!

Did you know that before you and I even took our first breath, actually before we were even conceived, Jesus prayed for our unity as His believers?

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, THAT ALL OF THEM MAY BE ONE, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, THAT THEY MAY BE ONE AS WE ARE ONE: I in them and you in me. MAY THEY BE BROUGHT TO COMPLETE UNITY to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23

My NIV Life Application Study Bible has amazing footnotes that help break down the verse for further understanding. Look at what it says:

Jesus’s great desire for his disciples was that they would become one. He wanted them unified as a powerful witness to the reality of God’s love. Are you helping to unify the body of Christ, the church? You can pray for other Christians, avoid gossip, build others up, work together in humility, give your time and money, exalt Christ, and refuse to get sidetracked arguing over divisive matters.”

What a powerful question. Are you helping to unify the body of Christ, the church? I want that answer to always be a resounding YES, so I leaned in and asked the Lord how I could do more. His answer came to me as I stared through the photo of the embrace.

The whisper I felt come over me was, “Go and meet people right where they are and love them.” So that is exactly what I am going to do. I have intentionally reached out to 3 different people that I don’t normally share life with. I am going to get to know them. I am going to invite them into my home, meet them for coffee or lunch, and I am going to listen intently to their stories and try to meet them right where they are and love them like Jesus.

The Apostle Paul, while imprisoned in Macedonia, witnessed to 3 people who became Christians. Not 3,000. 3! These three people are how the Philippian church was started. Paul reached a woman that was a slave that was possessed by a demon, a woman that was wealthy named Lydia who was having a prayer gathering outside of her house, and a jailer (Acts 16:6-34). He met each one of them right where they were, and the gospel went forth and it changed the world.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, let’s do it. Let’s change the world 1 person at a time. We are called to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). We do not have time to waste in arguing with each other over divisive matters. There are souls at stake. Instead of looking at what makes us different, let’s look at what makes us the same. We are all uniquely made and created in His image (Psalm 139). He came to save us ALL. The real question we should be asking is are they lost or saved. And if they are lost, what are we doing to tell them about Jesus Christ, the Savior of the WORLD?

When we stop to really lean into why Jesus prayed what he prayed we find the reason…SO THE WORLD KNOWS THAT GOD SENT JESUS and He loves us. When we are unified as His, we are witnesses to the world. People will see God for who He is. LOVE.

Who do you need to embrace? Who can you get to know better and have a deeper understanding of who they are? Will you take the challenge with me? Reach out to someone that you want to get to know better. Lean into them and their struggles. Share your struggles with them. Be vulnerable. Embrace. Love.

May your obedience to step out in faith and love like Jesus have a ripple effect on God’s Kingdom that brings many into the fold. God’s abundant blessings upon you as you GO!




When I saw this mural being painted downtown a few months ago, I knew I wanted to capture my family in front of it. This precious community has been our home for the past five years this month. It is where we have planted new roots that have shaped and restored our family in ways I never thought would be possible.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself RESTORE you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10

This is my verse for 2019. I came upon it one morning in my quiet time. I felt as if The Lord led me to it after months of crying out to him in the wilderness. I desired reprieve from the aches of this broken world, and a taste of wholeness and an anointing from our faithful God. Our last five years have not been easy. In fact, I would say they have been some of the hardest yet most beautiful roads we have ever traveled.

RESTORE stood out to me. It was what I deeply desired for my family. I felt as though The Lord was whispering, “I have seen your suffering and I’m getting ready to restore you, make you strong and steadfast for my name’s sake.” When you hear a whisper like that, it overwhelms you to tears and leaves you hopeful for what is in store.

Gen's baptismIt wasn’t long after this whisper when our family went to church one Sunday and learned the book we would be studying in the Spring would be 1 Peter. You guys, seriously, I can’t make this up if I tried. I call them God winks from Heaven. One of our greatest joys of this community has come through belonging to Currey Creek. It’s a family of deep rooted followers who are committed to studying His word and living it out loud, so all can come to know him. I remember nudging Ryan and writing him a note on our bulletin reminding him of my verse of the year. He squeezed my hand in affirmation.

Over the next few months, we dug in deep and learned so much about the book of 1 Peter. Did you know that Peter wrote the book as an exhortation, an encouragement for each one of us?  Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples and best friend’s who walked with him, wanted us to have an end time mentality to suffering. It will end! Until that sweet day comes, our call as His followers is to STAND FIRM and hold fast. “Glory is the result of perseverance of the faith. It’s the same road Jesus walked…to the cross,” states Pastor John Free. Better days are coming, friends! Our God WILL RESTORE and make all things new.

Meanwhile, our job while we wait is to make sure the gospel goes forth and transforms hearts. It’s not how we start our Christian walk, it’s how we finish! Through His faithfulness, we will finish strong! How are you reaching many with the good news of Jesus Christ?

I started this blog five years ago. I love that there have been 23,479 views to this sight. I love that each story I have shared points to the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him. (John 14:6)

Us at State2019 has been a year of favor and true delight for The Coe’s. It’s been a year of great JOY and celebration as we have tasted and seen His goodness to our family. I will never forget His whisper to me and then experiencing His RESTORING of some of the things that have been broken in us. He’s not finished with us yet. There’s still work to be done in and through all of us, but I promise if you look for His faithfulness you will see it. He is everywhere moving in ways that take my breath away. In the Lord’s prayer we say, “let your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.” We get beautiful glimpses of the Kingdom coming. I’m so grateful He has let me see some of His beauty right here and now in Boerne, TX in 2019.

Have you seen His goodness? Look for Him today! Worship Him! Rejoice! Better days are coming!

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-17

This is one of my new favorite worship songs…take a listen. Turn it up! Sing it loud!

Walk in Confidence

When I was a little girl growing up there were words my mom would strand together to give me encouragement and instruction. I heard them so much over my span of life that it became second nature to me. As I grew into a teenage girl, I can remember rolling my eyes a time or two as she would say them, “Stand up straight, put your shoulders back, chin up, walk in confidence.” Today, those are the very words I am saying to my own daughters who are living in a world where tearing down is more common than building up.

Super HeroesThis week at our High School we are celebrating “Self Confidence Week” thanks to our amazing FCCLA. All week long we have been dressing up to different themes each day to ROCK our confidence. I wish all it took was a week of dressing up and morning announcements to fix our insecurities. Unfortunately, it can take a lifetime of overcoming the whispers inside of our head, or from others, that tell us we are not enough.

I believe one of the most powerful and important lessons we can teach our children is to know who they are as a child of God. If we can plant that seed in them, and it takes root, it is sure to blossom and grow. I am so grateful my mom never stopped chanting and cheering me on.

It’s not hard to do. Here are some easy things we can say every single day to help plant the seed of self-confidence: YOU are loved. YOU are valued. YOU are chosen. YOU are adored. YOU are worthy. YOU are FREE to be who God made YOU to be. You are HIS! SOAR!

A few weeks back we took our oldest daughter to interview for a full scholarship at the college she will attend. She was nervous as there were over 60 students invited to participate for the 2 full paid scholarships. The President and Senior Vice President spoke to the parents as the students went off in groups to be interviewed.  This is how the Senior Vice President started her time with us.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

She went on to tell us how this statement was shared by one of her professors when she was in college and how the Professor spoke life into hers by telling her that she had a voice and needed to not be afraid to use it. She went on to become a Debate Teacher, Professor and now is the Senior Vice President of Southwestern College.

Why do I tell you this story? I want you to see the power of influencing others by speaking life into them. I want you to also see the power that we behold in how we think and believe.  It rests in us. No one can make you feel in inferior without your consent means that you have the power to listen or not. You have the power to believe it or not. When you know who you are and to whom you belong, there is nothing or no one that can take away your confidence. You are simply free to WALK in CONFIDENCE.

Self Confidence ImageSo what’s stopping you today from walking in confidence? Stand up straight, put your shoulders back, chin up and walk in confidence!

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

If you know someone who is struggling with their own self-worth, share this with them. Play this song for them. Listen with them and then build them up.  You will never know the impact it may make on them. You could very well help them to SOAR and become all that God designed them to be. Be BRAVE! Be BOLD! Be YOU!


It REALLY Is a Wonderful Life

paintingWhen I walked into my office yesterday I was overcome with surprise. In my chair was this beautiful hand painted picture of my husband and me just a year ago on top of the Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. All of my emotions of that special day came flooding back to me. My husband and I had been given a 2nd chance at life together. Just days before we took this trip, we were in a hospital room for 3 days after my husband suffered a stroke. I was so scared to lose him, and he was so tired and stressed from life’s blows that he had lost sight of the blessings he had been given.


Our year had been hard and difficult. Nothing was easy. Every day seemed to be more difficult than the day before. I was trying to encourage. I was trying to stay hopeful. I was preaching to myself the good news by reading God’s word every morning. It’s the only thing that was keeping me going. I would weep and cry out for help. There was no reprieve in sight. We were in a pit of despair.

Have you been there? Maybe you are there now and you don’t think you can do it one more day. You’re ready to quit. DON’T! Keep going. Keep persevering. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. I promise you it’s worth it. Your life is worth it. There is so much value to who you are and what your life represents.

Do you remember George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life?” He was ready to throw in the towel too. Life had gotten hard. He prayed this prayer, “Dear Father in heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if you’re up there and you can hear me, show me the way…show me the way.” God heard him and sent an angel named Clarence to show George what would have happened if he had never lived. George sees the impact that his life has had on the whole town and discovers what a wonderful life he has had.

Friends, it really is a wonderful life. I can attest to it. My husband was released on December 23rd, 2017 from the hospital. Praise The Lord! We came home to unwrapped presents scattered, unmade beds, an upside down kitchen where Christmas goodies were being baked right before we left to the ER, and I had never been so happy to be home with my family. Christmas was coming, and I was so grateful. I didn’t care if we unwrapped one single present under a tree. My presents were right in front of me already. My perspective had shifted. I could see again. My gaze was no longer fixed on the woes of this world, but on the real blessings I had been given.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Under that tree last Christmas was one last unwrapped gift, and my girls were so eager to see me open it. It was a photo book of the memories we had made in Estes Park the year before. When I turned to the last page I read, “Pack your bags, Fancy, we leave tonight to our cabin in the woods.” I had no idea that I would be on top of that mountain taking in all of its majesty and beauty with the one I love. He didn’t know, while in the hospital, if he’d ever be able to give it to me. We both had been given an amazing gift from above, and we are not going to take it for granted. We are going to do our very best to live this life we have been given well. I hope you will join us in doing the same. There are people whose life will be impacted by the way we live! Let’s live it well!

I leave you with one of my favorite promises Jesus made to us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Merry Christmas Family and Friends…our God has OVERCOME THE WORLD!!!

A special thank you to our gifted friend, Doug Peak, who made this moment in our life a forever reminder to LIVE WELL! We love you and will cherish this for always.  Ryan Coe, thank you for having this painted for me. I love doing life with you and can’t wait to see what the next 20 years bring! I love you!!!

By clicking on Doug Peak, you will see his amazing art gallery. Go check it out today! You can order a special painting too. He’s amazing!



I Will Carry You

Taylor Brooke CoeThis is the first time I have ever shared a picture of our Taylor Brooke publicly. We had a shadow box made with her keepsakes after we laid her to rest. We keep it safely tucked in the corner of our closet, so we will always remember. This time of year is when I think about her the most. Today would have been her 19th birthday!

A few weeks ago, I awakened to a dream that left me yearning to know why I dreamed it. It was one of those dreams that had to have purpose. I was at a conference with thousands of people that I couldn’t see. Their faces were darkened by the auditorium lights. I was alone and didn’t know anyone around me. When I looked to the stage I could not even see the entertainers as the light cast a shadow on their faces. The only thing that I could clearly see was the sign on the stage that read, “SELAH.” Then I woke up!

What was that? Why, Lord, was I there and who or what in the world is Selah? Those were my questions when I was alone with Him in my morning time. So I went on a pursuit to find out what it meant.

Wikipedia says Selah is a word used 74 times in the Hebrew bible – 71 times in the Psalms and three times in the Book of Habakkuk. The meaning of the word is not known, though various interpretations are given below. (It should not be confused with the Hebrew word sela which means “rock”, or in an adjective form, “like a rock”, i.e.: firm, hard, heavy.) It is probably either a liturgico-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like “stop and listen.”

Okay, so now The Lord had my attention. He wanted me to stop and listen, but listen to what? Directly below the Wikipedia definition of “Selah” on my search engine were images of the Christian Trio group and a list of their songs they sing. I am terrible at knowing Artist’s names, but I always remember their songs. I scrolled through song after song that I have worshipped to so many times. I was grateful in that moment to know this group’s name, Selah. How cool! The Lord wanted me to stop and listen to their songs? Which one should I stop and listen to? I kept scrolling through the list of songs and found one that I had never heard before. Wow! I stopped and listened and the words that I heard brought me to my knees. I could not believe what I heard our Lord speak over me.


The images of an empty cradle remained frozen as the words scrolled through and the tears rolled down my face. “I will carry you while your heart beats here, long beyond the empty cradle through the coming years. I will carry you all my life. I will praise the one who’s chosen me to carry you!”

And He says, “I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning, walked her through the parted sea. Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes, who could love her like this?” I will carry you while your heart beats here, long beyond the empty cradle through the coming years. I will carry you all your life. I will praise the one who’s chosen me to carry you!”

Baby quoteOur Father is a comforter. He knows our hearts and when we are hurting. I am in awe to know that He can speak to us in a multitude of ways including a dream, a song, a verse, a friend, a sunrise, a sunset, through His creation. When I think back to my dream, I was surrounded by many people that I didn’t know and we were all there seeing “Selah” together. He wanted us all to stop and listen, so that’s why I open up my vulnerable heart to you on what would have been my daughter’s 19th birthday.

In her precious memory, I pray that every mom and dad that have experienced this great loss experience His amazing comfort today. I hope you find hope in knowing that our children are being shown around the Heavens with angel lullabies…no more teary eyes and one day we will see them again. I hope you find great comfort in knowing that your precious child’s life mattered and still does. The ripple effect of a life touches lives beyond the grave. Ryan and I were the only ones to hold this precious baby girl, but because her heartbeat existed, and she was born with one single breath, God gave me a dream to encourage each of you. I hope you hear His words singing to you. Stop and listen! He will carry you!

“The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.” Zechariah 8:5

Miracles Happen

Miracle QuoteIt’s been a month since I have written. I’ve been quiet. I’ve been listening. I’ve been praying and seeking. The past five years have been hard and down right exhausting. There have been moments where we wanted to quit, give up, and throw in the towel. By God’s grace, we have held on. He has shown up in amazing ways that have taken my breath away…those just in time…had to be The Lord moments. I know you have experienced them too. They are the lifelines that keep us holding on and pressing forward. I am so grateful that He sees and knows and understands what we are going through. Aren’t you?

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with him, like I always do, but this time I asked him to do the impossible. I wanted to be rescued for good. I wanted the chains that were holding us captive to be removed. I cried out to him that I was tired of the fight. I needed and wanted to be set free once and for all. Right after I closed my prayer in a flood of tears I went to His word. These are the words I read:

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

I lost it. Was He really saying those words to me? Could they be true? Was He really going to rescue me, protect me and answer me? Was he really going to deliver me and honor me and satisfy me? I have continued to come back to these words every day for the past four weeks. I meditate on them. They bring me hope, but if I only read them as words of hope that is all they will ever be. I have to BELIEVE them as words that are TRUE. That’s when the conviction washed over me that these words are for me. They are also for YOU! We just have to BELIEVE!

Arise verseSo I started believing them. The minute I said yes to believing is when I started seeing His deliverance. He is making the way for my family. He is setting us all the way free. He is doing exactly what He said he would do, and all I can do is stand in AWE! He continues to speak to me through His word. Look at these words in Psalm 12: 5-8. As you know, ARISE is my word of the year. I felt The Lord asking me to ARISE and lift my head to Him at the start of this year. I have been working to arise, but I never thought that he would use that word to show me that HE is ARISING for ME! Seriously! Look at these words and let them soak in. This is The Lord we serve!!!

“But the Lord says, NOW I will ARISE! I will defend the poor, those who were plundered, the oppressed, and the needy who groan for help. I will ARISE to rescue and protect them! For every word God speaks is sure and every promise pure. His truth is tested, found to be flawless, and ever faithful. It’s as pure as silver refined seven times in a crucible of clay. O Lord, you will keep us forever safe and protect us from such people forever.” Psalm 12:5-8

I don’t know what you are going through in your life right now. I don’t know how hard your journey has been. Maybe you are at the end of your rope today. Maybe you are looking for a lifeline to help you keep pressing forward. If that’s you today, I pray these words of truth wash over you and convict you to BELIEVE! Believe in our faithful God who is mighty to ARISE, RESCUE and SAVE! He is who He says He is. When we believe – we are making room for Him and His miracles to happen! Get ready to stand in AWE!

Lavishly Loved

Girls on the beachHave you ever thought about how you love others and the impact it makes on their lives? I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I just finished Bob Goff’s book, Everybody, Always. It’s challenged me to love more and deeper than I ever have before. I had a wonderful opportunity to be surrounded by my daughters and their friends for a week on the beach. I was determined to love them well. As it turns out loving others that look and act like we do is not where the challenge lies. It’s when we are faced with the ones that don’t that it becomes hard.

We’ve never had a problem with theft at the beach, but this year was different. It was our 2nd day on the beach at the end of a gorgeous day. My oldest and I were the only ones down on the beach. We heard a woman begin to question the ladies behind us about a pair of shoes. She went on to ask them where they had gotten them because she had purchased some just like them for her daughter, and they had left them at the end of the boardwalk and now they were gone. I was stunned to hear the confrontation as was Catherine. We never heard a response from the ladies being accused. They were silent. In their silence the mom continued, “I can tell by your faces and your silence that those are my daughter’s shoes, and I would like them back now please.” They gave her the shoes and she turned around and left.

I could not believe it. They really had taken someone else’s shoes, and they were sitting right behind us. Wow! I decided that was enough of the beach for me, so Catherine and I began to gather our things. I got a glance of the girls. They really weren’t that much older than our own girls. They looked to have been college age.

I figured that would be the last time I would see them. I definitely did not expect them to steal from us. That was a one time deal, right? Wrong!

It was time for a sunscreen reload before we all hit the ocean. I noticed as I reached into our beach bag that we were missing a pair of our goggles. We had 3 pair, but we were down to 2. I asked the girls where the green and black goggles were. No one knew they were even missing. I wasn’t really surprised because let’s face it, teenagers don’t always put things back to where they belong. I figured they must be up in the condo somewhere. We carried on with our day.

Later that afternoon, my middle daughter and I were the last on the beach. We had taken our beach chairs down to the ocean to put our feet in and allow the ocean waves to crash on our feet. We were just people watching and having mother/daughter talk. About that time, Lexi asked me, “Mom, are those the girls that stole the shoes?” I quickly glanced as the two girls passed us by. I affirmed that they were, and Lexi replied, “And are those my green and black goggles they are carrying?” What! Really? I couldn’t believe it.

Lexi looked at me and said, “I’m going to get my goggles back. I bought those with my own money, and I want them back.” That’s exactly what she did. She followed them up and ended up in the elevator with them. She confronted them just like the mom had two days before. They handed over the goggles to her, and she got them back. Yeah, the $12 goggles were salvaged. That’s when The Lord pricked my heart.

It’s as if I could hear Jesus himself whisper, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

After hearing that whisper it made me go to His word to read about why and when he said them. Look what I found…”Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left.” Luke 23:32-33

Lavishly lovedThere were 2 thieves that hung on either side of Christ when he was crucified. They were guilty, He was innocent. He prayed that prayer not just for the criminals but for the ones that were crucifying Him, for you and me. Sometimes we can get so focused on pursuing justice and what is right that we forget that there are lives that need saving, forgiving and restoring. I don’t know what caused those girls to need and desire to steal, but I know that they are lavishly loved by a Father that can forgive and save them.

So here’s how I need your help…will you say a prayer for these two girls wherever they are today? I believe in the power of prayer and that our God hears us and is mighty to save. Will you utter the same words that Jesus prayed? I can’t think of a better way to love our enemies than to pray for their salvation. That’s what Christ did! I’m a work in progress on this “Love” business, but I firmly believe that by praying for these girls we are loving like Christ. He’s in the judgment business. We are only in the love business.  Thanks for praying alongside of me. This is the kind of love that will leave an impact for eternity. I am expecting to meet these two daughters of the King one day.

“God himself, gave himself to save us from himself.” – John Scott


CastlesI love to people watch especially at the beach. The most amazing things happen when I am drawn into their world by observation. My imagination starts to kick in, and The Holy Spirit starts to speak. I never fail to receive a tremendous amount of love and overflowing joy when these moments take place. They are just too good not to share.

Our morning had started like they always do. Ryan and I enjoy our first cup of coffee on the balcony of our condo around 5:30a. There are always a few people walking along the shore but for the most part it is quiet and still. As we were sipping our first cup and enjoying the crashing of the waves we both observed a man walk up to a rather large set of sandcastles that had been built the day before. He began to step on them and knock them down with great pleasure with his bare feet. Ryan and I looked at each other with disgust, and before we could utter a word another man from his balcony shouts out to him in a loud voice, HEY, to try to get the man’s attention. The distance was too much with the crashing waves for the man to hear. He continued to destroy the castles. My heart was heavy. I immediately began to have a conversation with The Lord. Why? Why do people have to be so destructive? Someone is going to wake up today without their sandcastles and be crushed.

My morning continued without an answer. We got ready for our day on the beach. The ice chest was packed. Sunscreen, shades, hats, books to read were ready in the beach bag. We got set up in our chairs with umbrellas and the day began. I had just gotten settled and was reading my first chapter of the day when Ryan pointed out to me that the man that yelled out from the balcony was in front of us talking to the family who had started building sandcastles. He asked them if they were the ones that had built the sandcastles the day before. They replied with a yes as he continued to tell them that he had witnessed a man destroy them that morning on the beach. He said he had yelled at him, but he didn’t stop. I couldn’t believe it. What are the odds that we would be sitting right behind the family that had built the castles and to actually see the man that had yelled out from his balcony? The Lord had my attention.

Castles 2The most precious little girl came up with her bucket full of sand. The dad was already busy at work rebuilding the sandcastles as the little girl continued to fill her bucket and bring it to him. All of a sudden I could hear God’s whisper, “Don’t be afraid of those who cause destruction. I am your Father that can rebuild anything they destroy and build it better than before.” Friends, tears swelled. Ryan and I have experienced this kind of destruction in our own personal lives. We had built something that was special for Him. We were serving Him through it when destruction had been done and caused us to let go of it.

We were both given front row seats at the beach to witness this precious family rebuild their sandcastles. They weren’t going to let the destruction keep them from rebuilding. It was such a confirmation from our Heavenly Father that He sees us. He knows our hearts, and He is faithful to help us rebuild our lives even better than it was before. All we have to do is keep filling up our bucket, being faithful day in and day out to do the work he is calling us to do, and take it to Him. He will do the rest.

Susie Larson quoteI continued to watch them throughout the rest of the day. The man had taken great delight and detail in making this set of sandcastles even better than the day before. I loved it. The little girl was so happy and carefree. She was without a worry in the world. When we trust our Father amazing things can happen. So what’s stopping you from getting out there and filling up your bucket today? Take your fruits of labor to Him and watch and see what He will do. He is able to do MORE than we ask or imagine. Trust Him!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21



When Dreams Come True

Chan and JakobWhen you were a child did you dream of your wedding day? I remember playing dress up and changing my last name to match up with my crush at the young age of 12 years old. I even practiced writing my name over and over on a notepad trying to perfect my handwriting. It’s funny how I can vividly remember these desires that were within me at such a young age. Where did those desires come from?

This past weekend my family traveled in for the wedding of my best friend’s daughter. My oldest and I arrived early and made our way to save our seats. The Wedding Coordinator and her team were working diligently to finish up the final touches. I loved what I witnessed. There was a flower box resting on the steps of the gazebo full of white rose petals. They opened the box and began to grab handfuls of the rose petals and placed them along the inside aisle on both sides.  The wind picked up and began to scatter the rose petals away from their desired location. The sweet lady whispered, “Please wind… stop blowing, this is Chandler’s dream.” I love that I got to witness some of Chandler’s deepest desires and dream come true.

CeremonyThe wedding got underway with one of the Pastor’s that helped shepherd this beautiful bride when she was just a young girl. He pastored my precious children too. It melted my heart to get to see him have the honor of unifying these two as one. He stood on a crate during the most important part of the ceremony, with laughter coming from the congregation understanding his humor, so the groom could look him into his eyes. He said, “I want you to truly hear and understand the importance of these words.”

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is LOVE.” 1 John 4:7-8

Did you catch that truth? Love comes from God. The desire that was present within my heart as a young child was there because God gave it to me. He gives it to all of us. Our world paints love as a fairy tale, a princess dancing with her prince, where our emotions are wrapped up in how we feel. It’s as fleeting as the rose petals that get tossed and scattered by the wind. God’s love is not like that at all. God’s love is selfless, not self-serving.

“This is how God showed his love among us. He SENT his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This IS LOVE; not that we loved God, but that HE LOVED US and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:9-11

In Bob Goff’s Everybody Always, he states it like this; “Love isn’t something that we fall into; love is someone we become. As the ceremony continued my thoughts raced back to my very own wedding day. I love the dreams that became a reality for me on December 19, 1998, but I love who we have become even more.

Us2My groom has learned the art of self-less love. He wakes up to serve his girls daily. I pray that our daughters have watched him adore his bride. I pray they have watched their Pops adore their Mimi. Love has been modeled well for them. This is the love that last a lifetime. It grows stronger by the second when it’s rooted like God designed. I am so grateful that I paid attention to the character trait that replicates God the most when choosing the man to spend the rest of my life with. If you find a man with humility, who thinks less of himself and more about others, you have found someone that will love you well. I love my groom. He’s become even more than I ever dreamed he would be. Dreams really do come true!

Best wishes to Jakob and Chandler Damstra. I know I witnessed something special with the two of you long before you said I do. With God by your side, your love for one another can’t help but grow stronger and stronger. Be blessed as you become a blessing of love to all who witness your union! Go and love each other and others well.


I Raise a Hallelujah

Ashley basketball campThey say a lot can happen in a year. I say they are right. One year ago we dropped this beauty off at basketball camp just like many parents do this time of year. On the very first day… on the very first jump shot she came down on her feet and felt a piercing pain. She knew something was wrong but was afraid to speak up and tell someone. She played all week on a double fracture to her back. She had to spend 12 weeks (3 months) in a back brace for 24 hours a day. She experienced  being a part of the team from the sidelines cheering on her teammates instead of being in the game. She had to learn how to see things from a new perspective. She had to learn how to sing in the middle of her storm.

When the storms of life come for you how do you handle the adversity? Do you keep your eyes focused on the raging sea and the whistling winds that continue to roar around you, or do you lift your eyes above the storm and lean in to the Maker of heaven and earth?

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:28-30

Storm imageDo you know what happened to these merchants that were on the mighty waters right before they cried out to Him? Their courage melted away. They were at their wits’ end. (Psalm 107:26-27) Isn’t it funny how we have to come to the end of ourselves before we will look up and cry out for help. Some of you are in the middle of some pretty big storms. You’re still fighting against the raging sea hoping it will succumb to your ways. It’s important for us to remember that even the wind and the waves obey Him. He is the only one that can calm our storms.

One of the ways we helped our girl through her storm was we found ways to praise Him. We wrote down things that we were thankful for, and we kept singing. I will never forget coming home from her MRI after learning about her fracture. I crawled in bed with her and helped wipe away her tears that came down her cheek while we listened to a song that one of my friends had sent to help us keep our eyes on Jesus.

It was hard. It wasn’t easy to sing, but as the words sank into our heart we began to be filled with hope again. We helped her to take one day at a time as it came and soon 1 week became 2 and then 4 and before she knew it she had sang her way through her storm. The Lord calmed it to a whisper. She has been healed!

We dropped her off yesterday at camp again, you can visibly see her beaming smile. She was not scared to go. She is confident in the one who goes before her.

I hope this encourages you to SING! I hope you sing a little louder and find ways to give him PRAISE in the middle of your storms. I heard this song for the first time last weekend at the Bethel Heaven Come Conference. I cannot get over the words. They are life giving, chain breaking, hope restoring words! Listen to them. Raise a Hallelujah! He is worthy of our PRAISE!

I’m going to sing in the middle of the storm
Louder and Louder you’re going to hear my praises ROAR
Up from the ashes hope will ARISE
Death is defeated