fundraising pic

Belief. Faith. Surrender.  These simple words hold the secret to great power.  They seem so simple, and yet, they end up being so elusive.   Every time I think I understand these words, I am thrown into a situation in which its quite clear that I don’t.  Back in April, my family took a huge plunge into faith.  We decided to send my oldest daughter, Anna, to Honduras on a mission trip with the youth group, and to send my other teen daughter, Abbi, and myself to Swaziland for a mission trip.  Crazy!  Here we’ve been struggling financially for 2 years and we decide to do this while my husband is enrolled in the police academy.  Insanity is the word I would use, but God calls it faith.

I personally determined that I would not worry about the $6,500 we would need to raise in two months time.  God would take care of it, right?  But as reality hit and the tickets were purchased by the church, there was no turning back and panic set in.  Once again, I launched into “moving my own mountain” mode trying to be creative with fundraising ideas.

Then my husband got a job!  After 9 months of testing and interviews, he was accepted into the police academy.  Another reality hit, he would be gone for the summer and the responsibility of family, my job, raising funds, and our non-profit rested on my shoulders.  I freaked!  “God, you have to close a door!”  Never in my life have I prayed for God to shut a door, instead it has always been to open one.  “I can’t handle all this!”  I complained.

God began whispering into my heart, “Don’t worry about fundraising.  I just want you to enjoy preparing for the missions trip and enjoy it while you’re there.”

“Sounds great, God, but this is a lot of money and you’re asking me to sit back and relax?  What about working for it, earning it?”  I asked confused.

“What about belief?  What about surrender?  What about the rest I’ve promised to you if you would just let go?”  He asked back.

This wasn’t the door I expected for Him to shut, but I was quite relieved and happy with it.  Still unsure if I heard God correctly, I tested the waters.  Instead of trying to come up with a nifty fundraiser this weekend, I weeded my yard and helped my husband study.

I just came into work this morning and was faced with some amazing news!  Donations had come in over the weekend to help my daughters with their trips.  They are now both completely paid for!  Two down and one left to go.  I know God will take care of my expenses without my help.

Belief. Faith. Surrender.  Three simple words that create the greatest fundraiser of all!  God is true to His promises, and if He calls you to something, He will make a way for you to obey.  To God be ALL the glory!

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 the glory…  Ephesians 3:20


falling down a hole

Believe.  That word has been rattling around in my head for a month now, but I’ve been struggling to grasp it.

The insecurity of life became too much for me, and so I retreated into a corner, hugged my knees, and closed my eyes in an effort to provide a false sense of security.  That only lasted for so long, when I began to feel my body being moved and turned.  A breeze swept over me as I lost my equilibrium.  It felt as if a deep cavernous hole had opened up and I was spiraling downward towards the inevitable.  At first, I resisted, but then growing weary of the fight, I found solace in the darkness that was sure to come when I hit bottom.

Believe!  The soft spoken word pierced through the dark thoughts.  Believe what?  Believe that someday I’ll be able to wake up without fear gnawing at my heart and stomach?  Believe that I can someday accept who I really am – a daughter of God?  Believe that joy will come in the morning?  A spark of hope flickered and was instantly snuffed as I twisted and turned in my fall.

Believe! The word seemed to bounce off the jagged rocks that formed the deep pit.  “Believe what?”  My mind screamed in confusion and horror.

“Believe that I have called you.  Believe that you are mine.  Believe that I see you and won’t let you be harmed!  Believe that I love you!”  The unseen voice sounded desperate almost pleading.

“I want to, I really want to, I just don’t have the strength anymore.  All I see is darkness, and all I hear is the wind swirling around me, and all I feel is the weight of gravity pulling me down.”  I frantically rambled.

The tender voice responded, “Open your eyes and look up!”

“I’m too scared!” My voice squeaked out.

“Open your eyes!”

Ever so slowly, I pried open my eyes and looked up.  Instead of seeing pitch black darkness, I saw a handsomely rugged face peering anxiously down at me.  “You’re not falling, I’m carrying you!”

“But I…”

“You became scared of the world around you and you closed your eyes.  When I picked you up, you thought you were falling.  If you had opened your eyes, you would have seen that I am carrying you to safety.”  He gently explained.

“Believe,” I whispered.

“Yes, just believe and you will see the truth.”  My Abba hugged me close as I clung to him realizing that I had been safe in his arms all along.

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Staring at the abundance of fruit that was overflowing onto the countertops, I clapped my hands with excitement.

“Kids, look at all the fruit!  I prayed that God would provide us with fruit and he did!”

God didn’t promise that life would be easy, but He did promise He would supply for all our needs.  Yep, that’s my Father, my Abba, taking care of even the smallest of desires!

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.  – Hebrews 13:15

broken car

I’m sitting here at work desperately trying not to give into the temptation to grumble and fret.  I made a commitment this week and I plan on sticking to it.  My half day Friday has ended, and excitedly I packed my things up to go home and get lunch before heading off to the Trail to serve coffee, but that is not meant to be.  After turning my car on, it huffed and vibrated, with all the warning lights turning on.  Much to my dismay, I’m back at my desk wondering how are we going to get to the Trail with all the supplies on time and how will my daughter get to work.

But I made a commitment!  God promised that ALL things would work together for good, so there’s a blessing in this situation.  I just need to find it.  🙂  So, Father, thank you for the car, thank you that it didn’t break down while I was driving, and thank you that I can wait in a warm place.  Blessings come in disguises.

In all things will I give thanks.

Blessing #6


After spending the weekend feeling discouraged and fearful, I decided that I would focus on finding little blessings throughout the day.  As I found things, I would text them to my husband.  Blessing #1:  the ability to text so I can stay in touch with Josh all day.  Blessing #2: God provided lunch at work, etc.  The discouragement and fear were beginning to be replaced with peace and joy, that is, until I received a phone call.  A doctor’s office called informing me of a medical bill that I had no idea I even had.  They were very unsympathetic to my surprise, all they cared about was when they would receive payment.

“God, really?  I’m trying to do the right thing here by not grumbling and complaining.  What’s this all about?  Why can’t we get a break?”

In the quietness of the moment, God answered, “What about the commitment you made this morning about be thankful for the blessings?”

“Yes, BLESSINGS, not more bad news!”  I complained.  “You know we’ll never be able to pay this!  We can’t even buy a roll of paper towels!” (fact, not exaggeration)

“But who’s to say that I didn’t just give you a blessing?”  God challenged.

“What?” I retorted, but then I stopped and thought about it.  Our helpless situation required a miracle, and the only one that could perform the miracle was God.  There was the blessing.  I would be able to see God provide for us in a way that only he could do!  Through this my faith would be strengthened.

Quite humbled and filled with gratitude, I responded, “You’re right, God, this bill and this situation is a blessing.  No matter what, I will praise you.”

That night, my husband and I shared with our children the situation that we were in and our commitment to give thanks in all things.  As our kids prayed asking God to meet our needs, they also made sure they thanked him for all that he has given.

Sometimes blessings come in disguises, we just need to have a different perspective.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

(I Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)


Abba, things are looking pretty bleak right now.  It feels as if we are going backward not forward in this trial.  How much longer will this go on?

Even though I am truly discouraged, I know that you want me to fully trust you and to give praise no matter how I feel.  So, please help me to see the little blessings that you provide each day and help me to learn to be joyful and content even when things are uncertain.


ripe orange with leaves on white backgroundA few weeks ago, I was all excited about 2015 and all the mystery surrounding a new year, but for whatever reason, the excitement vanished.  Instead, the year loomed before me as a deep bottomless pit with no hope.  As the joy of the holidays subsided and the reality of 2 ½ weeks of no work, no pay (not by choice) sunk in, so did the fear and frustration.  Why can’t we ever move forward?  Why are we always in a continual backward motion?  With 6 mouths to feed our stash of food was quickly dwindling and the cravings were growing (No, not pregnant cravings).

After all the junk food and sweets of the holidays, we all wanted fruit, veggies, and meat.  “God, can you please provide some fruit, veggies, and meat?  We all need this.”  I simply asked.

Not aware of our need, my mom went to the glean to gather some food.  A glean is where people pick up day old food from grocery stores and bring them to one location.  Everyone who helps out, can pick out any food for free.  My mom helps out with one and she often brings all sorts of goodies to us.  On this day, she stopped by our house with a box of oranges, veggies, meat, and bread!

I am so thankful that I belong to God, my father and provider!  He shows his love for me even through an orange.

You parents – if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.   – Matthew 7:9, 10 (NLT)

mangerThe gifts are all wrapped, the house has been cleaned, everything at work has been completed.  All the deadlines of newsletters, Christmas cards, and shopping have been met.  In just a few hours, our church will begin their Christmas Eve services, family will be coming over, and I’ll be bombarded with the eager excited voices of my children.  In this quiet time at work, I just want to breathe and to reflect on Christmas.

Tonight is the night we have chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  What must it have been like for the shepherds?  I imagine they were humble people for they were considered to be the “bottom rung” of society. Feeling the boredom of watching the sheep graze,  they  probably huddled together in attempts to keep warm, quietly chatting to keep themselves awake not realizing the miracle that was about to unfold.

What of the wise men?  Even though they weren’t there for the birth, but were there 2 years later, what struggles did they face in their journey?  To step out into the unknown, leaving behind what they knew, to reach for something based upon their studies and a star shows an extreme act of faith!  How many of us would do that?

What of Mary?  Being nine months pregnant, balancing herself and her big belly on top of a wobbly donkey, and sleeping on the hard ground, must have been torture; and yet, she did it.  And Joseph?  The feelings that he must have wrestled with knowing that the baby was not his and not fully understanding the miracle that he was chosen to take part in.

And Jesus?  I imagine his little pudgy baby arms flailing in the cold as he was introduced to this new harsh world.  As Mary, Joseph and the shepherds watched, did they know that those little hands would someday have a nail driven through them?  Did they know that his tiny infant cries would turn into screams of agony as he takes the punishment of the whole world?  Did they understand how his heart would break for thousands of years to come as people would reject his love and sacrifice?  Did they know that someday, this little baby would come back as a King and right the world?  Most likely not, but we can know.

Christmas is the day we’ve chosen to celebrate not just Jesus’ birth, but the beginning of our redemption.  If you have not yet accepted his gift of forgiveness and sacrifice, I urge you to do so.

I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas!



Christmas Lived Out

I’m a Hallmark Christmas movie fanatic.  There’s nothing better than making it through a long work week to come home curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and watch a movie about love and sacrifice.  This past weekend, I felt as if I was in one of those movies.

Our non-profit, The Trail Youth Outreach, held its first Christmas event for people in crisis.   All over the community, people rose to the occasion to give and to collect warm coats, hats, gloves, hoodies, hand warmers, and toiletries.                     Teams of peopleCopy of IMG_5448 tirelessly wrapped each item in colorful festive Christmas paper.  When all the gifts were brought to one place, I stood amazed at the generosity of the community.  There was such an abundance that we had to move the gift tables outside!  As those in crisis came to the Community Hall for the normal dinner hour, they were shocked and excited.  They had a lot of fun digging through packages to find what they needed.  Thank you to all of you who donated, collected, and wrapped the gifts!

Copy of IMG_5471A shout out also needs to go to Maggiano’s who provided a real Italian experience with their cuisine.  Josh Roth, the restaurant’s manager stayed and worked alongside another community group in the set up and serving of the food.

No event is complete without music!  Dan Hegelund and his Common Copy of IMG_5489Ground Choir made a special appearance gracing us with Christmas carols.  To top off the evening, everyone was sent off with a cup of specialty hot chocolate and coffee made by the teens of the Trail Youth.

The left over gifts and coats were divided up and sent to our sister outreach in Tacoma and the Teen Challenge Rehab. in Graham!

What is the true meaning of Christmas?  The movies often get it right, it’s about giving not receiving.  Christmas is about love, sacrifice, and the giving of hope.  On December 12th, Christmas was lived out.  Thank you to all of you who participated!

Copy of IMG_5510    Merry Christmas, from the Trail Youth Team

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December 12th!!!  Today is the day!  I feel as if I’m reading a mystery book.  As I’m drawing closer to the end, my anticipation builds with excitement and curiosity.  How is this going to end?

Yesterday was another God moment.  A women’s Bible study group met together to wrap the gifts they all had gathered.  Clothes and coats were heaped along with hand warmers and goodies.  With much care, these ladies took sweaters and matched them up with hats, scarves, and gloves wrapping them as a set.  When they were all finished, they called me in (I was in the office working).  It was so hard to thank them for the tears kept coming!  We had to call in another vehicle to transport all the gifts!

This is the true meaning of Christmas being lived out in the lives of all these people.  Jesus gave of Himself for all of us, how can we do any less?