The Day My Life Changed (Part 2)

You can read Part I of this series here.


My husband and I practically ran into the Dartmouth ER where we were met with grim news.

Julia was not waking up.

The doctors had removed all sedatives from her system in the hopes that she would begin to awaken, but thus far, she had shown no signs of doing so.

The doctors were awaiting results of the MRI , CAT scans and X rays to ascertain if she had suffered internal bleeding, broken bones, or brain damage.

She was still intubated and alive, but we didn’t know what that meant yet.

I stood next to my daughter holding her limp hand and prayed as I had never prayed before.

Now let me preface this next statement by saying this: I am painfully aware of the fact that there have been parents, husbands, wives, sons and daughters who have stood next to the bedside of a relative and prayed for a recovery  that never came. All prayers are answered but not always in the affirmative.

This time, our prayers were answered in a wondrous way.

Julia began to wake up.

Her hands suddenly flew up to the tube attached to her throat and she began to claw frantically at it.

“Julia, honey, it’s okay,” The attending nurse soothed. “We’re going to remove that tube for you in just a second.”

Within a minute, the tube was removed from Julia’s throat. Coarse coughs wracked her body and she started to cry.

“Julia, it’s Mom,” I bent down to whisper into her ear while Doug stood over my shoulder. “It’s okay. You are in the hospital but we are here with you.”

“I just don’t know what’s going on,” she said in a small voice, the tears streaming down her ravaged face.

Those words were among the sweetest sounds I have ever heard in my life. My girl was speaking! She had come back to us!

The good news came in quick succession.

Julia was able to respond to all commands. All tests for internal bleeding, brain damage and broken bones came back negative. She was breathing on her own.

The only broken bones she sustained were that every bone around her left eye was shattered, but they would heal on their own over time.

While her left eye was  gruesomely, completely and tightly swollen shut, there had been no damage and her sight would be fine.

There was only one word for what had happened and it came from the mouth of one of the doctors: ““This is a MIRACLE!”

And it was.

Within two days, we brought Julia home.

She had a severe concussion that would take at least a month to heal.

The left side of her face was horribly swollen and would take several months to return to normal but she would not need any plastic surgery.

Her left eye would open in two weeks.

Her two friends who were in the truck with her that night would be fine.

To say that we were grateful is an understatement.

However, life would not be without challenges.

Julia would not be able to attend college as planned and would have to take a gap year.

There was no way her concussion would be healed in time to be able to navigate the rigors of being a brand new college student the following week.

So. Many. Tears. Cherished hopes were dashed into a million little pieces.

As a 50 year old woman, I know through painful experience how fragile life is and how things can change in an instant.

It was heartbreaking for me to see my 17 year old daughter come to this realization. However, as much as we as parents want to shield our children from pain, this is impossible. All we can do is stay by their side, love them unconditionally, and pray our hearts out on their behalf.

Julia spent most of her time in the weeks that followed her return home sleeping as her swollen brain worked hard to repair itself. She wore an eye patch to cover her horrific eye injury so as not to alarm her friends who visited for the short amount of time that she had the energy to receive them.

The day after her return, Diana’s parents drove her over to the house because the girls needed to see each other. Diana had been greatly traumatized. (Unlike Julia, who had no memory of the accident, she remembered everything in terrifying detail).

She had been in the room next to Julia in the ER and heard everything: Julia’s sharp cries of pain, the frantic activity of the doctors and nurses who were trying to save her, the tears and shock of Doug and me as we struggled to deal with this tragic new reality. Like us, she felt helpless as her best friend fought for her life just feet away from her.

Like shell-shocked refugees, Doug and I stood in our living room with Diana’s parents, as we all shared tears for what could have been, as well as thanks for the blessed fact that we still had our girls with us.

The familiar laughter of the two best friends was a much-needed balm for our souls. I had spent the past four years listening to that sound and was incredibly grateful that its joyful music still rang out loud and strong through the walls of our home.

Over time, Julia began to share bits and pieces of her heart with us.

***She had no memory of the accident itself. Her last memory was of her friend Izzy who was driving the pickup truck pulling over on the side of the road right before they started out to their destination.

“Let’s put on our seatbelts,” she had said, “I don’t feel like dying tonight.”

Prophetic words indeed: without seatbelts the odds are very small that any of them would have survived the impact.

*** “The instant I woke up and for days afterward,” Julia told me one afternoon, “I kept hearing the chorus of a song you always used to play, Mom.”

It was a Chris Rice song entitled “Life Means So Much.” The chorus goes like this:

Every day is a gift you’ve been given
Make the most of the time every minute you’re livin’.”

“I know I’ve been given a second chance,: Julia said in a quiet voice. Her beautiful blue eyes held a maturity that is only gained through enduring a challenge beyond oneself. “I also know that that song was a message to me from Jesus.

Those words were music to this mom’s ears.

From the time my best friend Tracy died suddenly when we were in our mid-20’s, I have known that life is precious and fragile and have shared that so often with my kids as they were growing up. They often (teasingly) accused me of being sentimental and to an extent they were right. Yet, I spoke the truth to them and now Julia understood.

We are not promised tomorrow.

***My daughter has a group of incredible friends. The love and support she received from them in the aftermath of her accident was amazing. She is deeply loved.

***Julia rediscovered her passion for music. Once her healing had reached a certain point, she pulled out her guitar and started singing again.

You have no doubt heard the saying that there are people who sing like angels. Julia does. Her voice is so achingly beautiful and every time I heard her sing, it brought tears to my eyes, and  I praised God that her voice hadn’t been silenced.

She is working hard on her music and plans to share her gift with others in our area in the spring, performing at local Open Mic nights.

I am sure that I will embarrass her by being in the front row for every performance. :)

Alas for those who never sing
But die with the music still in them.
—Oliver Wendall Holmes 

Julia did not die that awful night and for that, I will thank God for the rest of my days.

She is still here to share her music, her bright light, her contagious laughter, and her joy.

Sometimes I think the greatest beauty is born from pain.

In the next post, I will share the lessons I have learned over the past few months.

Thank you for reading.

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The Day My Life Changed (Part I)

August 19th, 2015 was the worst day of my life.

On the hottest day of the year, our air conditioning broke. Then the well pressure tank broke and our basement was flooded.

We hadn’t seen anything yet.

Since we wouldn’t have any water until the next day, my husband and I checked into a local hotel.

Our daughter Julia was at a sleepover with two of her best friends. It was a last hurrah before they left for college.


We were incredibly grateful for air conditioning and a shower and had just settled down to sleep when my cell phone rang.

It was 10:30 at night and Julia’s best friend Diana’s name flashed across the face of my iPhone.

My heart stopped.

It is a mother’s intuition. This would not be good news.

“Mrs. Brown, it’s Diana.” Her voice was high pitched and shaking. “There’s been an accident.”

She took a deep breath and then the words came out in a torrent.

An old pickup truck, a dark night, a dirt and gravel road in the country, a driver going too fast, all ending with a sickening crash into a tree.

Julia was unconscious for a few minutes. She was in the middle and since there was only a lap belt to restrain her, her face hit the dashboard with full force.

She woke up when the ambulance arrived and was able to state her name and answer the questions of the EMT’s.

It was at that point that Diana called us, so we headed to the hospital thinking that she would have a concussion and that would be that.


We were kept in the ER waiting room for over 20 minutes.

We would find out later that was because they were desperately trying to get her stabilized. Julia had decompensated fairly quickly after the ambulance arrived. She was extremely combative  and stopped breathing several times on the ride to the hospital.

When the ER doors finally opened, the head doctor met us looking extremely serious.

“Your daughter is in grave condition,” he said. “We believe she has suffered severe head trauma and you may be looking at long term care.”

And then: “If she survives.”

He gave us permission to see her for just a few moments.

It was heartbreaking.

The first thing I noticed was that she was intubated. There was an enormous patch over her left eye and there were angry cuts on her forehead. Dried blood was streaked through her beautiful strawberry blonde curls. Her legs and arms twitched in agitation. On a pile beneath her bed was her favorite outfit in a heap, all cut up.

“Talk to her,” the doctor encouraged us. “She may be able to hear you.”

Through many tears, Doug and I took our places on either side of our daughter’s bed. We took her hands and took turns saying that we loved her. I have never felt so helpless.

I was in the same room with my daughter but I could not reach her.

To our horror, she began to decompensate again and we were rushed out of the small room as the curtain around Julia was closed decisively.

We held each other and wept. Julia had just graduated from high school two months before. She was due to leave for college the following week.

My brilliant, beautiful, creative, musical girl might be gone forever, replaced with a shadow of her former self.

The thought was more than I could bear.

Life had suddenly become extremely terrifying and I felt like I could not breathe.

After what seemed an eternity, the doctor told us that they were transferring her to Dartmouth Hitchcock hospital via ambulance, as the fog that night precluded a life flight.

“Can I go with her in the ambulance?” I asked.

He shook his head. Her case was serious enough that the ambulance would be filled with staff. Doug and I would have to drive ourselves. But before we could leave, he instructed us to leave our cell phone numbers with the ambulance driver…so that he could call us if Julia did not survive the ride to Dartmouth.

With heavy hearts, we headed out into the middle of the night and began the hour and a half drive to Dartmouth.

I spent much of our drive looking at Julia’s Instagram and Facebook pages on my phone.  Just two weeks before I had done a photo shoot with her and her friends on the beach. Seeing the photos of Julia drenched in sunshine, smiling and laughing made me weep.

At one point, I looked up from my phone and straight ahead into the dark night lit only by the high beams of our SUV.

“If Julia doesn’t make it,” I said in a small voice, “I cannot stay here. I would want to take whatever we need with us, mail the keys to the house back to the bank and leave this town forever.”

They were not idle words. I meant every one of them.

Doug agreed.

When we finally pulled into the ER parking lot of the hospital, we both looked at each other and the tears flowed.

Our cell phones had not rung.

Our girl was still with us.

To be continued…


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A Sweet Summer

This summer has been one of miracles and joy.

****Our daughter graduated from high school with honors, marking the end of an era.

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Doug and I did it. Just like that (so it seems), our formal parenting journey is over. Both kids have graduated. Josh is now a sophomore in college and Julia will begin her freshman year in August.

Time races on like a raging river. I am so grateful that He has taught me how to slow down and savor each day, quietly counting all the gifts I have been given, an overabundance of riches spilled into my life on a daily basis by my very good God.

*****In one wonderful day, Doug and I experienced an outrageous, amazing, and totally unexpected outpouring of His grace. It was a sheer miracle, one that we will never forget as long as we live. It was yet another reminder that He does all things well, that He has resources we know nothing about, that He is faithful and trustworthy no matter what, and that He always honors faith.

We still  have more questions than answers, but our future is not a mystery to Him and we rest in that.We have been on a wild journey where we are walking only by faith and not by sight and it has been the adventure of our lives.

He’s got this.

****We were able to go to Washington DC for Julia’s college orientation. It may have been one of our last road trips as a family and I treasured every moment of it. (Well, I suppose I didn’t treasure the extreme humidity on the first day we were there when it was 105 degrees!).

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The entire time we were in DC, I found it surreal that we were there to prepare for Julia’s freshman year of college. It was exciting and a bit sad all at once. But mostly exciting.

****Due to the generosity of sweet friends offering us the use of their cabin, we were able to visit Acadia National Park in Maine, which is absolutely one of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen!

















It was the desire of my heart to be able to go on one last family vacation this summer, but it just did not seem possible. However, two of the sweetest words in the world are, “But God….” Not only did He grant me my heart’s desire of having one trip, he gave us two. Incredible, lavish GRACE!

Next summer, both kids could conceivably be taking summer classes or working in the cities where they go to school.

I thought about these things as we drove home from Maine. At the cabin, there was no Wi-Fi, so we were gloriously unplugged. We talked, read a lot, played a game or two, slept in, explored. It felt like a magical time.

And as we sped toward home, tears filled my eyes because I wanted time to slow down. I knew that once we hit our driveway, the rest of the summer would travel at warp speed. Josh will be 700 miles away, Julia 600 miles away.

From the recesses of my mind, a William Blake poem that I had studied as an undergraduate came to my mind:

He who binds himself to a joy
Does the winged life destroy
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

Kiss the joy as it flies is excellent advice for this time in my life.

****I have had the great joy of having my son work for me this summer as my second shooter at all my photography events. Before he came home from his first year of college, he texted me and told me he wanted to spend the summer learning photography from me. Music to a mom’s ears!

We have worked together at the prom, weddings, anniversary parties, senior portrait sessions, headshots, etc and I have had the privilege of helping him make some fine art pictures.  He has a razor sharp artistic eye and wild creativity and I have loved having him by my side. To know that he has my back and will consistently produce quality work has been invaluable.

Seeing him with his lovely red Nikon makes me all kinds of happy.

Acadia-90*****I decided to do a Golden Hour series of photographs, since it is my favorite time of day, as well as the most magical. I started in my own backyard.

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Golden Hour-46For the rest of the summer, I will roam all over my small  town during the golden hour and be “a hunter of beauty” with my camera (as Ann Voskamp says in her book 1000 Gifts).

Summer is the most enchanting season. There is so much beauty everywhere. I hope you are searching for it in your neck of the woods.

Then followed that beautiful season…Summer
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.


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Walking In The Rain

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Yesterday afternoon, my son Josh and I decided to take a walk into town, even though it had rained on and off all day.

The sky was unsettled, bright in some spots, dark and gray in others. The air was thick with humidity and steam rose up from the pavement.

We decided to chance it.

The scents, sounds, and sights of summer were all around us. Huge water drops clung to brightly colored flowers and shimmered like diamonds. An owl flew over our heads, causing Josh to wonder aloud why an owl was up and about in the afternoon. Birds sang to each other and we could hear crickets deep in the woods. The smell of clover wafted through the air as we passed a neighbor’s freshly cut lawn and the wind rustled the bright green leaves of the trees. Old pine needles carpeted the sidewalk as we headed toward the lake. Every once in awhile, I would catch the scent of pine, which reminded me of Christmastime.

A soft rain started. Still, we continued our walk.

The thunder had chased away all swimmers, except for two middle aged lovers who had the swimming area to themselves. They were completely oblivious to the fact that we were walking on the road above them, so wrapped up were they in each other. They kissed and splashed and laughed and swam with utter abandon and joy. I marveled that a woman who had, shall we say extremely generous curves, could be so completely comfortable out in  public wearing a bikini.  I have never known that kind of security in my own skin.

But maybe I am beginning to.

Years ago, I would never have taken a walk in the rain. I would have considered it impractical, uncomfortable and possibly unsafe, especially if there was a rumble of thunder.

Yet here I was, steadily getting soaked. I was not wearing a stitch of makeup. An old baseball cap covered my hair and I wore workout pants and an old T-shirt. I didn’t even have my cell phone with me.

And I loved it.

As the rain intensified, Josh pushed away the hood of his raincoat and lifted his face up to the weeping sky with a big smile on his face.

Then he looked over at me, not quite believing that his mom had agreed to do this with him.

We both laughed.

Even as a little boy, he was fascinated by storms and loved to play in the rain.  This has never changed.

The second year that we had moved up here to our little town in the mountains, the Fourth of July fireworks were rained out. We ran for the car to head home and as we pulled into our driveway, the first thing Josh noticed were the enormous puddles that had formed right in front of our garage.

“Can we play in the puddles?” our 11 year old son asked excitedly.

“Yeah! Can we?” asked his 10 year old sister, always anxious to follow her big brother’s lead.

Why not?

Once we gave permission, they scrambled out of the car and for the next thirty minutes their screams of laughter and squeals of joy reverberated through our little cul-de-sac as they jumped with all their might into puddle after puddle. Doug and I just sat in the car and watched them through the rain-spattered windshield, smiling wide and soaking it all up.

In the summer of his junior year, Josh asked me to take some photos of him jumping in puddles while it was raining, which I did from the safety of the inside of our garage.


And here we were again today, walking together in another rain storm.

There was a certain freedom in not rushing for shelter, not trying in the least to stay dry, not hurrying our pace. or worrying over the fact that we were by this time completely water-logged.

We were living fully in the moment, and making a memory and I was filled with joy to be in this place, spending this time with my son.

By the time we turned around and headed for home, the rain had picked up considerably and the thunder rumbled more ominously. We continued to talk about dreams and plans and the importance of art, interspersed with much delighted laughter. The amorous couple had left the water and there were certainly no other pedestrians. Only a few cars drove along the lake, their headlights reflecting on the shiny wet road, the drivers no doubt shaking their heads at the two loons who were taking a stroll in such weather.

As our home came into view, I looked over at Josh, who had not stopped grinning. His red hair was darkened to a rich auburn by the rain and big droplets clung to his impossibly thick eyelashes. I tried to take a mental snapshot of him that I would always remember: my beautiful boy soon to leave his teen years forever behind, smiling wide, full of life and dreams and brimming with creativity.

I thanked God for this moment and for granting me the precious gift of time with my son.

Later as I took a hot shower, I shuddered to think of what I would have missed if I had decided to do the practical thing and stay warm and dry inside.

So much of real life is lived outside of the box and very often, that is the place where the deepest joy is found and experienced.

By the time I had showered and changed clothes, the sun was pouring through the windows, the rain over and gone. My husband called my attention to the amazing sky that the storm left in its wake and I grabbed my camera and ran outside to capture the image at the top of this post.

A benediction to a magical walk in the rain.

My heart was full.


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He Is Still God

Photo credit: New York Daily News

As everyone in our nation now knows, a troubled, hate-filled person opened fire on a group of unsuspecting Christians who had gathered for prayer and Bible study in their South Carolina church last week.

I am sure that those nine souls who entered eternity that evening never imagined that in the span of an hour, they would leave this world and be gazing into the face of the very One they had come to worship.

The bullets that stopped their hearts ended their earthly lives but ushered them into a world more beautiful and glorious than their deepest imaginings. They are Home and they are forever free of this broken world.

As C.S. Lewis has said, “All their adventures in this world…had only been the cover story and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read; which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.”—The Last Battle.

How much would it change things if when we walked into church on Sunday mornings, we behaved as if we might see the face of our Savior before we left that place? If when we showed up for Bible study, we faced the very real possibility that the Author of those precious pages could usher us into His Presence at any time?

We should live all of life that way because we are incredibly fragile and the number of our days on this planet are known only to the One who created us. We dare not take our hours and minutes and seconds for granted. This life is not a game. Our choices in this life have eternal and fixed consequences in the next world.

It has been said that the gunman had hoped to start a race war with his heinous actions. I imagine that we are all very glad that his demented hopes were a pipe dream and a miserable failure.

This Sunday morning, the doors of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were thrown open wide and the Rev. Dr. Norveel Goff Sr. gave a hope-filled, joy filled sermon that rang out loud and clear and gave notice to heaven and earth, angels and demons and every person within the sound of his voice that our joy in our risen Savior is defiant and blazing, triumphant in even in the face of the greatest acts of evil.

Our joy is not dependent on circumstances.

Our joy cannot be contained, no matter how fierce the opposition.

Our joy cannot be silenced.

Our joy is not wispy but solid as a Rock.

Nothing that happens on this broken, fallen earth can touch our joy because our Joy IS the Person of the risen Christ. He is the very eternal personification of joy and He offers it to us freely.

And we can never lose Him.

Rev. Dr. Goff shared that this morning (and indeed, every morning), he praised God for the fact that he woke up to live another day and that he spent his life in praise and joy, daily thanking God for the gift of his salvation.

When we choose to live that way, we, too, are living in such a way that we are ready to come face to face with the risen Christ at any moment.

He reminded his congregation that this world is ever-changing and our hope must be in God alone.

Thunderous applause greeted his declaration that “The open doors of this church say, “NO weapon formed against us will prosper!”

Then he ended his sermon with these jubilant words: “We are serving notice on evil-doers who  think they have the victory: HE IS STILL GOD!”

Amen and amen.

This is what true Christian joy looks like.

Yes, there is weeping and there will always be questions that cannot be answered when such evil is unleashed.

But because of the cross, evil does not triumph. Hope and joy blaze brilliantly in the face of the darkness.

Love wins.

The Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it.—John 1:5

No matter what is happening in your life right now, no matter what headlines you read, remember this: His Light shines on.


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Mercy Reigns

Message to my subscribers: I hit “publish” too soon on my draft of Mercy Reigns. I did erase it from the site but it still was delivered to your inbox. Please ignore that one. Here is the full post. :) 

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Things have been very quiet on this blog recently.

Major life events were happening and things just felt too overwhelming.

Here is the short version: A couple of weeks ago, we had to close the doors to our business.

Over three years ago, we had entered into a partnership with a family member.  It turned out that our trust was horribly misplaced and we were betrayed.

We have lost our life savings, our investment, the college fund for our kids, the vast majority of our income, and we may lose our home. I can honestly say that we have experienced an unprecedented attack from the enemy as he has tried to destroy every aspect of our lives.

It has been heartbreaking.

It has been devastating.

It has been extremely scary.

The process of forgiveness was very  ugly and it has taken me the better part of a year. (And it is still a battle some days).

This journey has called us to walk by faith in a way that we have never had to do before.

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Here are a few things I have learned along the way:

1 ) I can trust my very good God. 

As speaker and writer Lysa Terkuerst said this past weekend when I saw her at a local women’s conference: “God is good and God is very good at being God.”

Amen to that. He is in full control and nothing takes Him by surprise.

One of the things I love most about Jesus is that He never pulls any punches. He made it very clear to all who would follow Him that “…In Me, you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world, you will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer! Take courage, be confident, certain, undaunted! For I have overcome the world! I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you!” (John 16;33, Amplified). 

The older I get, the less surprised I am when trials hit.  Jesus told me to expect them.

It wasn’t until this brutal season that I realized how much of my life I have spent expecting things to be easy and smooth in this world.

They won’t be. This isn’t Heaven yet.

I no longer hold such illusions. I may have meltdowns from time to time, but I am tough. I have chosen to live through this as Jesus told me to.

I choose joy.
I offer my weakness for His strength.
I accept His gift of peace.
I ask Him everyday for a fresh infusion of His courage.
I am confident that I will see His goodness both in the midst of and at the end of this trial.
I have become the enemy’s worst nightmare. I will not stay down. Each time he hits, I may get knocked down and be black and blue, but I WILL get back up. Every. Single. Time.

I have heard it said that the enemy doesn’t mess with those he doesn’t consider to be a threat to his kingdom of darkness, so I am taking this present season as a badge of honor.

If he thinks I was a threat before, he hasn’t seen anything yet.

2) I MUST preach the gospel to myself every single day. 

This is the only way that I have been able to forgive.

It is crucial that I remember the enormous debt that I owed a holy God and without Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf, I would be utterly without hope. He loved me when I was His enemy and hated Him.  Every one of my sins drove those nails into His flesh and without His grace and mercy, I would be forever cursed.

How can I then turn around and refuse to forgive the one who has sinned against me?

I  can’t.

Jesus doesn’t give any of His followers that option. …even as the Lord has freely forgiven you, so must you also forgive.”—(Colossians 3:13).

Forgiveness does NOT mean that everything is okay.
Forgiveness does NOT mean forgetting.
Forgiveness does NOT mean that things will go back to the way they used to be.
Forgiveness on my part does not necessarily mean that the offending party will realize error of their ways.
Forgiveness does NOT mean that you won’t still have ugly feelings.
Forgiveness is NOT something you can do on your own. It is supernatural.
Forgiveness DEMANDS that you cooperate with your powerful Savior and allow Him to forgive through you.
The process of forgiveness may feel like it will be the death of you. It isn’t. He will carry your through it.
Forgiveness is ultimately the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Because it will kill you otherwise.
Forgiveness is the way of peace.

3) His Word is my lifeline.

I have had to cling to the TRUTH of God’s Word with all of my strength.

As Charles Stanley once said, “I don’t care what I see, feel, hear, or think. THIS is what God’s Word says.”

When my world felt like it was collapsing all around me and spinning out of control, His Word was my anchor.

He has given me promises to hold onto during this time and I have allowed Him to write those promises deep into my heart. They are and always will be a part of me.

So rather than face each day with dread, I look forward with a sense of expectation to see what He will do. When fear threatens to overwhelm me, I review those promises and His peace floods my soul.

I have several devotionals that I read every morning and without fail, He speaks to me through them and I have fresh hope to face another uncertain day.

4) He truly is Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider.

We have seen Him provide in miraculous ways for our needs time and time again.

I did a fantastic Bible study by Dr. Tony Evans last fall called The Names Of God.  He said something that I will never forget: “God Himself is your Source. Everything else is just a resource. “

Our store was simply a resource. We were not ultimately dependent on it because Jesus is our Source and He has promised to provide for our every need. His resources are infinite so we need never worry that He won’t come through. He will. Every time.

At this particular moment, things look quite scary but we are choosing to rest and rehearse. We are resting in His promises and in His character and we are actively rehearsing the myriad of ways that He has been faithful to respond to our fervent prayers in the past.

5) Prayer is a powerful weapon.

We are incredibly blessed to have amazing friends who faithfully pray for us. (You know who you are and we love you dearly!).

We simply flat out cannot make it without prayer.

Sometimes, when things are dark and you are exhausted and feel like you can’t even pray anymore, just knowing that there are others who are willing to stand in the gap for you is an amazing gift.

Prayer moves the heart of our God. He is not unaffected by our pain. His Word tells us that He is deeply touched by our cries and moved by our prayers. He sees every tear that falls and He responds. 

I remember a Bible teacher once saying that when we combine our prayers with God’s Word, it is like dynamite. I have found that to be true. It has been the  adventure of my life to watch and experience how He answers prayer.


Those are just a few of the lessons I have learned so far. I will be writing about many more in posts to come.

This morning at church, we sang “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).” One line in that song really touched my heart. It says this: ” And like a flood, His mercy reigns/ unending love, amazing. grace.”

I had tears in my eyes as I sang those words because I realized that even through all the pain of the past year, it has been true:

His mercy reigns.











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The Singing Of The Birds

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It has been a long, dark, brutal winter in my part of the world this year.

The view out any window in New England is a world of  endless white, the promise of spring seemingly buried forever.

Last week, I met a dear friend for lunch. She asked about the latest on the ongoing trial that my family has been enduring for quite awhile now.

After I filled her in, she smiled wide and said, “Remember, spring is coming!” She reminded me of one of my favorite Scriptures, Song of Solomon 2:10-12, which speaks of the coming of spring and a time of great hope.

That Scripture stayed with me over the next couple of days, so it sprang immediately to my mind like the sun bursting through a cloudy day the moment that I encountered the singing birds.

It was well below zero that morning. The night before, the wind had blown and howled with hurricane- force velocity but the dawn had ushered in a blessed calm and the winds were mercifully stilled.

The instant I opened my eyes, I could hear the birds.

I immediately got up and followed their sweet sound, marveling that even though the earth was locked into sub-zero temperatures, there could be birds singing!

And there they were: two small fluffy birds perched on the bare branches right outside our window. I walked right up to the pane and could see them in great detail. Their little black eyes burned brightly and their brown and black feathers looked they they would be soft to the touch. But it was their singing that completely captivated me. They sat on those branches for probably a solid minute, their voices mingling in what was to me a beautiful symphony. I smiled with delight and wished they would stay all day. I had never before seen birds in that particular location.

All too soon, they flew away and took their lovely music with them.

But in their place, the Scripture my friend had shared with me rang out loud can clear: “Arise My love, My beautiful one, and come away! For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of the birds has come.” 

The great Creator God who controls all things had sent my winter-weary soul a message that morning through those two dark-eyed juncos: Winter will soon be over. Spring is on its way. Hope lives. There is always still a song.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops — at all….
~Emily Dickinson, c.1861


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