Practical Faith, Miraculous Results

One of the things I’ve been deeply convicted of the past few years is the way I handle people who are suffering around me. Say someone posts on Facebook that they are sick or have a need. How do I respond? I used to just blow past that in the busyness of life, thinking “I’ll pray about that later” or “poor so-and-so, that stinks.” But the Lord sent me some amazing faithful friends who lived differently, who acted on their faith constantly and met needs and ministered to others, and I wanted to live more like them – more like Jesus. It changed me.

Now when I see someone hurting, I try to stop – I try to be the church and meet a need, maybe even get to be Jesus with skin to that person. First off, I’ll say “I’m praying” and I stop at that moment and actually pray – lifting that need to the Father (trying to make myself less of a liar when I inevitably forget the need later). But second, I try to think of a practical thing I can do to lift their burden. Can I bring a meal? Can I pick up a kid or send you a book or note to encourage your heart? If it is a ministry, can I send supplies or give a gift? And I try to do that quickly too. Commit right then to do something, and do it then, before I can forget.

It takes a few minutes, but when I am faithful to do it – I’m telling you I get blessed. And we can’t out-give God – he always provides. This is a completely true story of how God provided for us last year when we were learning to live with open hands. It started when we were given a huge Christmas blessing including quite a bit of cash. After paying bills, we had $300 remaining. We heard of a friend who needed $300 to pay their electric bill, and we gave it to them. We just felt like the money wasn’t ours to begin with, since it had been given to us, so why not share it? A few weeks later, when we were faced with some medical bills, a friend of mine asked me to coffee (someone also going through a difficult financial struggle). Without knowing about our gift to our friend, she slid an envelope over to me across the table with $300 in cash inside the envelope because she and her husband felt the Lord had told them to bless us. A few weeks later, someone dropped an envelope on those friends’ front porch with a little over $300 inside it. That money transferred hands four times meeting needs exactly when it was needed, that we know of. It freaks me out it’s so cool. It taught us a HUGE lesson.

So we give – even when we don’t have much to give. And God provides. We have loved taking meals to friends. We have loved meeting simple basic needs for ministries on the ground around the world. I do the graphics for a ministry in Kenya that houses young pregnant women and helps them with prenatal and postnatal needs so they can keep their babies and not have to give them up for adoption, and that was all because I saw a tweet that they needed help and over a year later, I’m still partnering with them whenever possible.


Baby scale


In addition, we have started following several ministries on Facebook and Twitter, especially since the Haiti earthquake, so we can know what they need and pray and maybe help meet those needs. One of the ministries we follow is Real Hope for Haiti – a clinic and outreach center a few hours north of Port-au-Prince Haiti. A few months ago they posted a need for a baby scale for their clinic. I reached out and purchased a scale off Amazon, had it shipped along with a few other basic pieces of medical equipment to Miami, and the ministry sent me pictures this week of the supplies we sent being used to treat the beautiful people of Haiti.

This was a simple thing – I think the whole thing cost us maybe $150 bucks. But look at where it went! That is an investment that pays dividends forever.

I know many of you who read this have a huge heart for the world, and like me, you love meeting practical needs. Real Hope for Haiti is getting ready to ship a massive container of supplies from Indiana to Haiti to help the poor and hurting. They have set up a Walmart Wishlist with things like baby powder and orajel on it (some things cost just a few dollars) and we can partner with them to meet these simple needs. In addition, they are gathering money to ship the container. If you want to be a part of a simple solution to bless someone who needs it, click here.

Let’s be the church. Let’s obey Jesus. And let’s see the miracles pour forth.

Confession of an Heiress

Someone asked me recently how the Lord speaks to me (because it really is different for different people). For me, thoughts, scriptures, things people say, and ideas are threads that one day, usually early in the morning, suddenly string together into a picture that surprises me and opens my eyes to a truth I seem to have forgotten.

This morning my mom sent me a passage of Scripture. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in Heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 1Peter 1:3-5

Every morning my mom sends our family, early in the morning, a passage of Scripture that she has prayed on and meditated on for our family. It has been a huge gift from the Lord because this year has been one of considerable challenges and instability, for me in particular. So these verses, regardless of what state (or country) I am in, regardless of how early my call time is or how long my day, regardless of the demands on my time, have been a way for me to remain rooted in the Word of God.

This morning God used mom sending this passage, and this specific part of the passage to thread together a picture of what He’s been trying to say to me lately: into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 

Get ready, because I have some serious confessing I want to do here.


Do you ever dream, like I do, of someday getting this phone call? The call that someone has left you some money, or discovered something valuable that is yours, or that somehow – miraculously – you have won a modest fortune?

You may laugh – but I have found myself daydreaming of these things. I have even driven my husband crazy on a couple of truly bad days by buying a lottery ticket. I have laughed it off as a joke, and I have even tried to ‘church-it-up’ by thinking of the good things I would do with the money (free adoptions for all my friends!).

But my confession today is that in that moment, my trust has definitely been in the wrong thing, and the Bible doesn’t laugh that off – the Bible treats it as a serious issue of the heart.

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13

I do not come from a wealthy family, and neither does Justin. There is truthfully no real hope of either of us ever getting any form of cash inheritance. And there are days where, while we’re in confession mode, that is a hopeless thought for me. It means that there is no miraculous human cure for the sins that we have committed in the past, and even present, by getting ourselves in debt.

I confess I am a worrier – mainly about money. In fact, I’d confess that most days I worry about our future expenses and wish for some miraculous human windfall that will somehow insure me against the pressures that are coming down the road. I am a planner, and so I know exactly what future pressures are coming – and I worry about how we will rise to meet those challenges. And I pray and ask the Lord for rescue from future pressures so often that to confess it is embarrassing.

Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

All the while, while asking, I don’t acknowledge what He has already done to provide. We have, despite financial challenges, not missed payments. And that is miraculous. That is manna from heaven, given each day, just as it was to the Israelites 4000 years ago (Exodus 16). God gave a group of people enough food each day, just for that day, and sustained them for 40 years.

But just like the Israelites, I grumble against the manna. I don’t want manna for each day – I want the manna for now until 2025 paid out in one lump sum, thank you very much.

And the truth is – not only is that not how God operates, that is not what is best for my soul.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34

That passage is a red-letter passage. That means Jesus said it – and I LOVE that because Jesus knows us well. He walked in our skin and hung out with us everyday for 30-something years before He preached this particular sermon. And He knew what we were like. He knew we were worrying fools and He knew the things we were worrying about were money and tomorrow. He knew that we needed to “choose each day who we will serve” and He knew there would be days we simply wouldn’t choose the right thing.

So He repeated Himself over and over and over because someday He knew I would battle my mind on this idea over and over and over until the day He takes me home.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 3:15

It is a choice to set apart Christ as Lord and we can, frankly, choose many things to fill that blank. We can, in our hearts, set apart money as Lord. Or we can, in our hearts, set apart our plans as Lord. Or we can, in our hearts, set apart a relationship as Lord (or our job, or happiness, or any number of things that do not fulfill). And those small decisions to trust in things other than Christ can add up over time and before we know it, we’re like me out buying lottery tickets because we can’t imagine another way out of the mess of our life than a financial windfall.


This morning, in a scary Holiday Inn bathroom in Austin, I saw the depth of my sin, did some confessing, and my heart and perceptions were changed. I suddenly saw these threads come together into a pretty amazing picture.

In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

Here is the TRUTH that broke through today.

My parents and Justin’s will never give us a cash inheritance (which let’s be honest, is what the world values and what I, so often, have valued (set apart as Lord)). But Justin’s parents led him to Christ at 18, mine led me to Christ in childhood, and my mom sends me Scripture every-stinking-day of my life.


I have been given, first of all by Christ, and secondly by Godly parents, all the inheritance I need. I have been given an inheritance of righteousness that can never perish, spoil, or fade.

And that inheritance means I can go to the God of the universe when our mortgage is due, and He provides it.

He is even so patient and graceful and loving to me that when I ask for a check in the total amount of our debt, and He only provides our mortgage payment, I grumble against Him and refuse to acknowledge in gratitude his provision of manna for each day (I am SO like those grumbling Israelites in Exodus 16).

What terrible sin, and yet He loves me.

And I don’t acknowledge the heritage of righteousness, the best inheritance possible, Justin and I have been given with Godly parents. A praying mom, an honorable dad, a family that has stayed together. These things are priceless and no cash inheritance could possibly compare.

That’s another terrible sin, and yet He loves me and they love me.


Today, (and this is the truth) I don’t want the big check or the magic phone call.

I want the daily manna. Because although I’m sure I’m driving the Lord a little batty by asking him for money all of the time – at least I’m talking to Him. Sometimes I wonder, if He delivered the big money phone call – if I’d leave Him behind, all-the-while doing the things I think will serve Him with that cash payment.


I am an heiress, ladies and gentleman. I have been given an inheritance that will never perish, spoil, or fade.

And today I am humbled by it. And grateful. And I feel like the wealthiest girl in all of the world.

Counting and Dancing

I am on the 10th straight day away from my family (2 more days to go!) in one of the longest stretches yet that I have been on the road.  I have been counting the days because I miss Justin and the girls.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced something like our past year, but I have learned something I find interesting, and it involves counting.  When you are living with some degree of uncertainty and you are mourning a change in your life you weren’t expecting, there are these strange milestones you live with in your head.  You keep count (or at least, I do).  I realized I would start to grow anxious and stressed as the first of each month neared because it was another month in our struggle.  I could always tell you exactly how many months it had been since Justin was laid off and then later, since I was, because these monthly deadlines defined our journey to some extent.

Yesterday I realized that during this stretch I’ve been out of town, we passed the one-year mark for my layoff.

And I had missed it.  How very unlike me.  🙂

I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude.  This internal clock seems to have finally switched off.  Thank you, Father.  I think that means I’ve healed.  That quietly, under the surface, the Lord has been working to release me from any pain attached to that event so that it isn’t a defining reality in our world anymore.

We have moved on.  We are in a new place.  Justin is working for a wonderful church.  The Lord is providing for us through that and through my travel.  He has given me a new vision for my future.

And He has provided.  Over a year without fulltime employment in our family.  We never thought we could have survived that – and yet He is faithful.  In our weakness He is strong.

So I think that this anniversary is worth celebrating.

You have turned my mourning into dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy. Psalm 30:11

For all of you who have prayed for us and loved us, THANK YOU.  You will never know the blessing you have been.  I’m highly tempted to throw a little dance party to celebrate all the Lord has done, and you are ALL invited.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5


With tears in my eyes I write this one, because today was a rough day.  I say that not to garner sympathy, but because I have committed to walk this path with transparency.  And maybe someone is like me today and needs to hear this.

I woke up today with a heaviness.  A fear.  A dread.  I kept praying and trying to shake it off.   Still not sure why today was the first really tough day – but it was.  And truthfully most of the difficulty today was financial.  Today I moved money over from savings – our “emergency” cash reserves – with no real idea how I would pay it back.  And that was pretty scary.  And then this afternoon I heard that to have my test tomorrow, the test I need to verify that I need to have gallbladder surgery, I’ll need to pay out almost $1500 in the morning because I haven’t yet reached the deductible on my insurance.  Brutal.  So now I’ll need to move that over from savings as well.  And after that, truthfully, there isn’t much left.


This morning a precious friend was talking to me and I was telling her about the freelance things that Justin and I are piecing together to pay our bills over the next couple of months until we see what the Lord is going to do.  She said, “He gives us just enough manna for each day, doesn’t He?”  I laughed and began to remember the story.

I immediately got off the phone and looked up Exodus 16 and read again about the Israelites and manna.  You see, the Lord had rescued His people, the Israelites, from slavery.  They had seen Him do great and mighty things.  He parted a Sea and let them walk across on dry land, then he released the Sea on their enemies and they saw the bodies of their pursuers and their captives washed away.  The Lord then led them through a desert.  They were afraid because there was no food and no water, and they grumbled against the Lord.  So the Lord struck them all dead.

No He really didn’t.  Sometimes we see God that way though, don’t we?  We are afraid if we grumble against Him that He will squish us like a bug.  But that’s not how our God is.  I love that the Bible includes these stories of humans being human so we can see His mercy.

Exodus 16 says that they grumbled against Him, and then He…

Fed them.

Manna.  Just enough for each day.  In fact, to test them in this and see if they trusted Him to provide each day, He would cause the manna to rot each night if they happened to store any up.  He wanted them to look to Him, each day, for their daily bread.  Literally.

When I was younger I would read this and think, “Silly Israelites, why would you NOT trust Him?  You’ve seen what He’s done.  He rescued you.  He parted the Red Sea.  He brings manna from heaven.”  Now that I’m older and have kids and a mortgage, I unfortunately relate more with their grumbling.  I bet it was terrifying.  Deserts are vast and hot and creatures die in deserts.  I’m sure the Israelites were like me – they would hold their kids close and feel the weight of the responsibility to care for that sweet child the Lord had given them, and with tears in their eyes they would just beg God to work.

I am really tired.  And I am really scared.  Where we are, today, feels like a desert.  And although I do trust my God, there is this human part of me that feels alone in this.  I look around and all I see is desert.

So today I lay my fears at the feet of the cross.  I choose to trust Him with the manna He has provided for today.  I try to take comfort from the fact that the Israelites did in fact cross through the desert safely.  I look up to the God who saves and I ask Him to provide today for my family.  And I’ll turn to Him again tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next day.  Until He leads us through this particular desert.

Because our hope is in Him and He alone is our good.