The day after.


I won’t succumb to its power. The roots that thread and weave their way around every square inch of your heart. Starving out all the goodness, and handed down from generation to generation like the blessed family pearls. Ripping and tearing souls apart with no thought of time and moments missed! And then…Phil 4:8 gently reminds me I have the power to think on the true and lovely things. The right and noble…excellent and praiseworthy things!! Bitterness’s root is once again cut off.

I choose to not let that root take over!! I give it to Jesus continuously. Never wanting to look back and see all it stole from me. Someday I will see the Lord bring healing in even the deepest crevices and know that this bitterness that tries to destroy no longer has any soil to take root in…no water to let it grow…no sun to give it new birth.

Because only the Pure and Holy things will be left.

What does your family roots look like? Ask God to reveal them because maybe you don’t see them slowly overtaking your good! Give it to Him continuously and let your mind be renewed with the words of Phil 4:8. And then…rest.


Grief. I have never figured out why we say “funny” thing on things that are the farthest from being funny. So I won’t dare say funny thing that “grief”…nope I won’t say it.

I will say, that G-word has a weird way of showing up at the most inopportune times. For instance, when a friend ask how u are? You know the traditional greeting we all respond, “Good. How are you?” Now don’t let that keep you from asking people how they are. It’s just a warning. It’s like praying for the Lord’s will…be prepared for Him to do JUST that. And be prepared for a mom to let loose all the water works, in an ugly cry, in public and you standing there like you’re being punked…

Or when you should be celebrating wins and victories, but instead it brings you to a place you didn’t know existed. A reminder that in the midst of joy is unbearable grief. A mother’s heart so divided Pharoah’s army could pass through.

They say grief comes in stages. I think a better word picture is currents and waves. Waves that crash over you, take you under, leave you breathless, gasping for air, and drag you so far from the starting point you wonder if the sand on the shore will ever grace your toes again. Then…you see Jesus meet you in places so deep he’s the only life raft within worlds’ reach. You stand. Realizing (today) the waters are only ankle deep. You don’t let yourself worry about tomorrow because for the first time this scripture has become tangible and tomorrow actually may never come.

I spent days upon days under the covers. Literally barely leaving my bed. Some of you are probably saying “what? I never knew.” It’s because I didn’t want you to know. I didn’t let you know.

The days were long but the years are short. I have been grieving for over two years now…for what I thought my family looked like. For what I thought our future held. For what I know we are missing out on. For what I now know (at least in part) of what the future holds. What I am 100% sure of, like raising both hands high, is that the currents will never take me past His reach. The waves will never order my last breath. Only He will.

Today friend don’t be afraid to let Jesus bring you out into the storm…he will rescue you!

The G-word…Is God. Then God. Always…THEN God!


P.S. How are you??

I’m sorry for having to write this and yet I’m not sorry to share because I want to be there for the next momma and daddy. I want to comfort their pain, the questioning, the what-if’s, and the where-did-we-go-wrong that comes from your children straying from God.

God reminded me of this passage the very day I wrote this blog in 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

God knew I needed that. I don’t know about you, but I’m so thankful God is compassionate and He comforts. It’s like hugging someone who just melts into your embrace verses the stiff hugger. Now don’t act like you don’t know what I’m saying. And those of you that are “stiff” huggers..why? Just why?? It’s just as awkward receiving a stiff one as it is for you to give it. Lol

Bottom line…Satan is a liar. He is out to kill, steal and destroy. John 10:10. He isn’t out to just throw a few jabs or speed bumps. He’s out for blood. He seems to have forgotten that when God is for us NOTHING can stand against us. Romans 8:31. Scripture. Scripture. Scripture. Because somedays it’s all I’ve got. I am holding on to every single last crumb I can to carry me through this next battle. Jesus will win. I happen to know the ending.

Kids…there are days you question God about your ability and how and why in the world did He choose you for this task. The reality is, it’s God’s perfect picture for us to relate to Him. He loves us enough He died for us, yet we fail and disobey Him over and over. The promise and the beauty is NOTHING will separate us from His love. Romans 8: 38-39. For that I am “eternally” grateful. Literally.

Nothing can separate us from His LOVE, not even…homosexuality. The words are hard to write. The tears are like faucets. NOTHING prepares you for the words when your child comes and tells you this. I’m sharing because it’s a reality in our life. We are choosing to love and pray through it. We are heart broken. The pain seems unbearable.

Our LOVE will never cease.

I don’t know what the future looks like only He does. I know that the Bible is truth. I know we are seeking that truth. We are begging God for help. Selfishly, I am begging God to return. He promises if we train a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Sin is sin. My pride and envious ways (I wish I was ______), jealousy and, in truth, idolatry is no better or worse than the sin of homosexuality or drunkenness, adultery, or murder. The consequences may look different. The path of homosexuality could be rocky and hurtful for everyone involved, but there’s always LOVE. We will never agree with this decision. We have rules and we stand firm on what the Bible says. We love…we don’t agree. I can say for certain there are things about our lifestyle and choices that others don’t agree with. That’s the beauty and the freedom God gives us, to choose what we want and to grow towards Him however we feel best according to the scriptures. 1 Cor 6:12

Please don’t try to “fix” this. We have sought professional and pastoral help. Trust me I would do ANYTHING to change this situation. I also know that God will NEVER leave us. Duet 31:6 We also don’t need your advice right now. No offense. We need your prayers. That’s it. We don’t need your pity. We need your prayers. We don’t need your dirty looks or shame or guilt. Trust me anything negative you could say about our parenting (been there done that) or our choices I have already said to myself. We just need prayer that’s it.

I couldn’t not share…because trust me it’s the furthest thing I wanted to do. But we can’t do this without your prayers. We want to be here for the next parent(s) or even child who needs us.

I leave you with this truth if you are silently walking through battles with the enemy (NOT your child)-Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Hold on to this nugget and claim it.

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
I will pray and hope for this until my final breathe or Jesus returns whichever comes first.



No those aren’t my measurements…talk about spongebob squarepants. Sheesh…and what would the 6 represent, my ankles??

They are in fact some incredibly important numbers though.

Yesterday I turned 36. Not 37 like I kept saying. That would be Jason. I will take back that year I’m trying so hard to skip. Maybe that’s a mental thing. Yep, now that I think about it, it totally is.

28-approximately how long ago I asked Jesus in my heart, the moment I felt my whole entire soul shift, and a new “birth” day to celebrate. See I am still in my 20’s!!!

Married for 18 magnificent, grievous, beautiful, unbearable, tolerable, joyous, and blessed (made holy, consecrated) years.

And last but definitely not least…6 unique and insanely gifted children.

I share all of this today because birthdays are a time for reflection. A time to remember where you’ve been and where you are going. To appreciate God allowing you however many years on this earth. To savor each and every moment whether you want to or not.

2015 has been an incredible year of shifts and balancing acts. It’s had enough highs and lows to make an astronaut vomit. We are on the last leg of this 2015 race, but only the beginning of a long hard season of fighting the enemy for the things he’s stolen from us. It’s messy. It’s exhausting. The best part is when my “arms” are tired from the fight I have people surrounding me to fill in the gap and hold my arms up. Moses had the same encounter. My prayer is that you do too. If not, try letting people in. Yes that means being vulnerable. Yes that means sobbing through the words and feeling like a fool. Yes it means using God’s people and risking judgement. Yes it means beautiful friendships. Yes it means unfathomable encouragement. And yes it means relying on Him and trusting Him with everything you got. I can’t really say if I would trade it or not. Look at all I wouldn’t have…and someday what I’ll be able to offer.

Today this first day of being 36 (and counting) I want to let Jesus win.

Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt 6:34

Today I’m 36-28-18-6 and counting (all but the children…please Lord)

Side note: I actually had to edit this after I published from 8 to 6 kids…apparently the old age is setting in.


I have realized in the silence the last few weeks that what I thought I struggled with in this whole transition period has changed over and over. So instead of writing post after post of that I’m just going to share what I do know.

I’m not an extrovert. I happen to be married to the world’s most extrovert person. Therefore, I happen to fall in the line of fire way more than I prefer.

I’m not a natural leader. Yet I find myself leading a lot in my life. A Lot.

I’m not a fearless person. I am strangled with it consistently. I feel like my poor plants in the garden. Struggling to overcome what is completely out of their control. My son tried to dig some trenches to let the water flow out but the plot was too low to begin with. The “SON” is the only one to fix it. In time. This extra watering may be what strengthens those roots deep into the soil to sustain it in the coming heat. So they wait for the water to absorb and the sun to shine and the fruit to blossom. I wait for the calm to wash back over me and set my world right…again.


I’m not the world’s greatest mom. I daily ask for forgiveness. For wisdom. For some God-sized super natural “Super Woman” strength. I ask my children to forgive me. I try. I will keep trying until they are ready to be shoved gently guided out of the nest and pray they fly, or at least have a soft landing. I get how, in the wild, mother’s eat their young. When you have a big family you are bound to get at least one that makes your hair turn gray a little sooner. I think in the end that child will also bring you some of your greatest joy. I’m holding out for that. Don’t burst my bubble. Just congratulate me that the odds are in my favor 4 to 5 out of 6 is good, right?

I’m not “Super HOLY Woman.” There are days I don’t even open my Bible. It shows. Yes, I have lived in Africa doing some missionary things. I have also lived in Africa and done some not so spiritual things. I have dared to ask God some really hard questions and tried to lay blame. Me. Who am I? The creator of the universe. The one who loves me most. The one who can see why and how what He’s doing will play out for more than just me. Today I am rejoicing I didn’t miss the blessing of our time in Africa. Today marks 3 weeks since my husband left. I haven’t been too spiritual or holy the last couple weeks…

So while I told you to “stay tuned for why/how I’m struggling with who I am supposed to be or what I am supposed to do here,” I don’t really have any answers. My mind is still in a fog. Clearly. (from this post) I just felt the need to say something. Break the silence before it got out of hand, and a year passed right before my eyes. It happens ya know…


What am I struggling with, you ask? I am struggling with the “stuff.” I am struggling with this new sense of “keeping a good image.” I am struggling with wanting Africa to be closer and cheaper to travel to. I am struggling with starting a new ministry and investing every part of us into 2nd Milk, and it might all fall apart. I am struggling with the food here. I am struggling with “letting go” of my children. (Thank you Jeff Crawford for the message yesterday. If you didn’t see it go to Crosschurch online and watch it) I’m struggling with who or what am I supposed to do or be here.

It overwhelms me in the stores. We had stores in Africa and lots of them. They all had lots of stuff in them, too. It just wasn’t the stuff I needed or wanted. It was a treat to even go, so it didn’t feel so overwhelming either. Here, it’s easy, most of it’s not expensive, (at least not where I shop…I’m a cheap-o) but it still adds up. I know there’s a lot we actually do need right now, but I still question it because I think about how little you can actually live on. I want to be a good steward and think well it’s just a muffin pan, it’s not part of my decor/theme so maybe if I wait I’ll find one at a garage sale for 50 cents. We are renting so obviously we will at some point move…again. I don’t want to deal with all the “stuff” we don’t need or use when that happens…again. I don’t want to be controlled by the stuff.

Keeping a good image-
People have come up to me in public and introduced themselves frequently lately. I LOVE it!!! I love that people are encouraging and say how much they have enjoyed following us, praying for us, and supporting us! I also wonder what in the heck my kids and I were doing minutes before. Where they begging for the “stuff” and I was scolding them for being a kid? Were they completely disrespecting me and back talking like they just walked out of juvy and I was un-lovingly telling them I was fixing to send them back there? Were my children behaving like a normal American toddler, preschooler, child, teenager and they are supposed to be acting (in MY MIND) like a person who just came from the #1 poorest country in the world and doesn’t ever want to enjoy a bowl of cereal if everyone can’t…

Closer and Cheaper and starting 2nd Milk-
We love Africa and we love Malawi. We love the people and relationships we’ve made there. We have a real business there with offices and staff. I don’t know if you’ve ever run your own business before, but try doing it on the other side of the world…a third world at that, where lives happen to be at stake (babies for goodness sake) is hard. Jason will be traveling every once in awhile to do those business-y things, but what about the rest of us. We want to go to. My girls basically think that is “home” for them. Why did we move? It was time. It was time for our family, it was time to get the U.S. side going, and God said it was time. It doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s not easy being there and it’s not easy leaving, but oh….if it was closer and cheaper to travel to!

I’m pretty sure I could write a whole blog post on just this one thing. I personally know the difference I have felt from eating healthy fresh food vs store bought American food. The bread last FOREVER here. There, a few days at most. That’s the case with most things you buy from local bakeries or the market verses here. We have been on the go, going back and forth picking up things, traveling, basically so busy those first few weeks we were only eating fast food or fast prepared food. Trust me, we were feeling the effects of it. I am so happy we are getting back on track. I’m so excited it’s farmers market season, and I’m ecstatic we got some of our garden in! When the rain subsides long enough we can get the rest in! 🙂

Letting Go-
My kids have homeschooled the last two years. Important years for my older 3 boys. Are they going to fit back in? Do I want them to fit back in? Will they be bullied? Will they want to fit in so much they turn their hearts to worldly things? Will they forget the things they saw and did in Africa? Will they be ashamed? I want them to speak and remember truth. I know that homeschool is not the answer this year. I know that Christian schools are too expensive, and even if they weren’t that doesn’t mean they are perfect. I know that public school is the answer for this season, and I know I have to let go and let God.

Stay tuned for why/how I’m struggling with who I am supposed to be or what I am supposed to do here!

Be blessed! It’s Monday!! Monday doesn’t have to be a struggle 😉

But she did.

We moved our family of 8 to Africa, and we learned so much more about life and who we are as individuals than we ever could’ve imagined. I survived periods with little to no water, little to no electricity, homeschooling, solitude, sickness, hunger (in the beginning), anger, spiritual battles, death, discontent, and no unity in our marriage, or our children. There was also much joy, serving, being served, seeing Jesus in the mundane, spiritual growth, learning to “make it work,” healing, and trust. There were days I didn’t think I’d survive. But with Jesus, only Jesus, I did.

We have been home almost one month. It hasn’t really flown by this time. The transition and re-entry has been long and we are fighting battles, but we couldn’t be more grateful. Truly. Grateful for friends and family. Grateful for church and corporate worship, water (even though it was a little too much), electricity (even the shortages) and a store within 10 min wherever we are.

This is what we’ve been up to the last 30 days:
1-moved into a rental, delt with the pipes bursting and all that entails (aka too much water/electrical shortages)
2-traveling to Dallas to visit with a friend and pastor about 2nd Milk
3-traveling to Nashville for an incredible conference for 2nd Milk
4-oh wait getting our new ministry 2nd Milk off the ground and running (including the website) stateside
5-enrolling kids in school and Dr visits for shots and physicals
6-meeting and loving on our peeps just for fun and for 2nd Milk
7-working 24/7 with the Malawian side and US side for an adoption taking place
8-shopping and gathering gifts to refurnish a whole entire house for 8 people
10-and Jason left yesterday morning to travel back to Malawi

Now that we’ve cleared that all up…

It wasn’t to brag or complain WHATSOEVER. The Lord knows griping and complaining is something I try to keep in check purposefully. I say it to say, we COULD NOT have done those things without some divine interventions. If we look a little frazzled, scatter brained, forgetful, lost, sad, or confused please be patient with us. We hit the ground running, but our hearts and minds are taking their own sweet time to grieve, and re-wire to a new normal.

I won’t speak for the rest of my family, but I will share tomorrow what my personal struggles have been. I pray that it will encourage you. I pray that God will use it to how He sees fit. I pray that you won’t judge me and by NO MEANS am I judging any of you. Mostly, I would just love for you to pray for me, us, and this new Jesus journey!


Apparently calloused knees don’t burn or tan…

We took Anna and Leah (our two younger interns) and Doug (our ” “older” construction intern) and his wife Christy to the lake yesterday. I got lobsterfied (that’s a new word). I will save you all the horrifying tan line pics because there are so many! I look like I’m ready for war with a red checkered tablecloth. There are previous lines, swimsuit lines, and my cover up (gym shorts and a T) all competing to see who can make me the most miserable today.

We did have a blast though. It’s always a tiring restful little day trip.

I was looking at my legs on the way back to the car and realized I had white circles on both knees like I had tried to wear tanning bed goggles around them or something. You tanning girls know what I mean-the raccoon eyes. Except this was raccoon knees, or a Zorro mask, or TMNT…nevermind. I realized that one of two things was happening either really bad moisturizing probs or my knees have hit the floor in prayer more times than ever. I know number one is true…come on, we live in Africa! But…I also know that more than anything else, I’m taking home calloused knees. We have roughly 22 days left and I’ve realized God needed to bring me here in the middle of nothing and no one to find a deeper relationship with Him and a stronger reliance on only Him. Not my friends, not my family, not Dr.s (at least in person), not my church, JUST HIM. I would like to think I was strong and He knew I could handle all of “this.” The truth, I was weak and needed to be stronger, and this was how He gave me calloused knees. I will never trade them in. They will forever be MY white spots in this tanned world.

I have a feeling my knees are just the beginning because in seeing the strong…my weaknesses stand out like sore thumbs. My guess is on my knees is where I’ll stay.

Do you have calloused knees? If so let’s be (weak) friends together!!