hope. pray. wait.


I naively believed that grief has an end.

It doesn’t.  Not on this side of heaven, anyway.

It’s hard to explain our grief. There is no obituary, there’s no funeral or memorial. Just waves of crippling loss that threaten to overwhelm us.

We’ve traveled this journey of infertility for almost 10 years.

My soul aches as I write those words.

10 years. Hoping. Praying. Waiting.

And after years of battling an illness that wrecks my body more each year, we’ve come to a point where we have to make a decision about my health that will leave me permanently barren.

There’s finality in this that feels like running full speed into a brick wall.

Truth be told, our default in the hard stuff is to isolate. To hide ourselves away from the world and wait for the worst to pass.

But as we’re processing through this pain, we’ve both felt God impressing on us to share our story and invite those who love us to walk with us as we grieve, as we discern, and ultimately as we heal.

This is us.

Wounded, raw, and grieving.

Struggling to hold it all together, but trusting we don’t have to, because we belong to the One who is before all things and Who holds all things together (including us).

And in our grief we continue to Hope. Pray. Wait.

Because even when the miracle doesn’t come, we still trust the Miracle Worker.

Though the darkness threatens to overwhelm us, we hold fast to the glimmer of hope that God sees us, and even now, He is at work in our circumstances to bring about His glory and our good.

We find joy and peace in His presence.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Merry Christmas, friends.


Todd & Nichole

The Bravest Prayer

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I sat in the doctors office with tears streaming down my face, trying with all my strength to hold myself together until I could escape to the relative privacy of my car.

I’ve been here many times before, but it never gets easier.

Bottom line? My body’s broken. And so is my heart. Because we’ve spent NINE years hoping, praying, and yearning for children.

But somewhere in the midst, we’ve found it is possible to grieve and rejoice simultaneously.

Because we’re learning from Christ’s example to be about our Father’s business. To pray this cup would pass from us, but desire above all things, that not our will, but HIS be done.

Years ago, Todd held me in his arms as I cried tears of frustration after I’d been told by some well meaning soul that I needed to pray more boldly and more specifically so God would hear from heaven and answer.

With wisdom that comes from a heart aligned with our sovereign God, my husband spoke these words,

“I don’t believe there is a braver or bolder prayer than “God, not our will, but Yours be done.’”

Mic drop, y’all.

While I do believe in bold, specific prayers, I also believe in God’s sovereignty and I’m learning that there is nowhere I’d rather be than within His perfect will.

Even if His will for us doesn’t include a house full of kids.

Although this journey has been riddled with doubt and fear at times, and I certainly wouldn’t have chosen this particular cross to bear, it’s this road that’s led me into a deeper faith and a trust that’s been forged by fire.

We have faith God can still give us children. And we trust that even if He doesn’t, He is still God and He is still good.

As I sat down to write this, I received a card from a dear friend of mine. The card contained a picture drawn by her daughter (see above) with these words,

“We are doing the Ann Voskamp Advent book…..we were asked if we knew anyone ‘enduring a flood’…and I listed you. The family activity was to send something to remind them Jesus can carry them through their storm. After praying, we decided to send something to you. Ava wanted to make this picture to send. She asked me to tell you both that God loves you and is holding you up and close.”

He most certainly is, Ava. He most certainly is.

Lord, Thank You that You are holding us up and close. Thank You that even when life doesn’t look as we expected, we can trust You are good. Thank You for faith and trust. Thank You that You are enough. Help us to rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all things. We love You Jesus, Amen.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

Redemption in the Brokenness

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“I’m so broken, I can’t even write.”

I sobbed these words to a friend, recently.

Writing is my release. My heart dump, if you will. It’s where I get all the feelings out, even if I never share them publicly.

I have a process. I open a document for each month. That way, I have somewhere to bang out a few sentences with no pressure to make them into something coherent. I’m currently writing this in a document aptly named “October writing.” This document actually contains some sentences….finally.

Because these last several months? Even though I’ve sat down to write 1000 times, ALL of those documents are blank.

There are no paragraphs. No sentences. No words.

This last year has been ridiculously hard for Todd and me. One of the hardest. And we’re still in the middle of the yuck. So much so, I can’t even get into details without breaking down.

I’ve felt so weighted down by all the things we’ve been walking through, oftentimes it feels like I’m just going through the motions. I want to be joyful in hope, but some days, the best I can do is thank Jesus I made it out of bed.

But God is faithful, y’all.

He continues to love on us, encourage us, and strengthen us.

Through His word, His Spirit, and His people.

They point us to Truth when we feel we’re drowning in lies. They pray us through the days we can’t seem to form our words into prayers. They remind us we’re not alone on what feels like an impossibly lonely road.

I don’t know why we’re in the midst of this battle. We certainly wouldn’t have chosen it for ourselves. But it’s in this battle we’re learning to filter life through God’s Truth and trust His will.

It’s in these hard places we see Him fighting for us.

And here in the brokenness, we can’t help but praise Him, because we know His is the victory.

Friends, sometimes life is just hard. If you find yourself battered and broken tonight, please hear me when I say, it won’t be hard and yucky forever. God’s working on our behalf.

And in the meantime? Let’s lean into Jesus and allow Him to use our brokenness to let His Light shine through.

He will use this redemption story He’s writing in our lives for His glory.

Because He is good, y’all, even when we’re tempted to let our circumstances convince us otherwise.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Lord, we find ourselves in such hard places right now. It’s hard to see the Light in the midst of all the darkness and it’s hard to trust Your will when we don’t understand the pain. Jesus, draw near to us, cover us in Your peace, give us rest in Your presence and help us trust Your sovereignty even when it’s hard. We love you, Jesus. Amen.

Be Still.

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Guest post by Ashleigh Murr

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah” Psalms 46:10-11 ESV

While talking with a dear friend several months ago, I learned an important lesson I would love to share. It has forever impacted my life, and more importantly, my walk with Christ.

It’s so simple:

Be still. Be still and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10)

It is indeed a simple concept, yet one of the hardest lessons God has ever taught me.

I am a planner. I enjoy having a plan A, and if that doesn’t work-a plan B, and chances are I have a way to make things happen if that one falls through! But when it comes to God’s will for my life, I must take a step back. I am NOT in the driver’s seat. I am not in control; He is. “Stop the worrying. Stop the wondering. Stop trying to take control,” I tell myself over and over, but this proves so, so hard when life throws you curve balls. A year ago, I pictured my life much differently from what it is now. I couldn’t see God’s plan for me, but He has proven that He always has my good and His glory in mind! I am so thankful for the way God changed my life from what I thought it would be, and I’m very thankful for the growth I experienced in Christ during that time.

Even in those times of uncertainty, God has my best interest in mind. He goes before me, and He’s with me all along the way.

“‘It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.'” Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

If my eyes are towards the Lord, I will have security; however, when I put my focus on this life and not the eternal life I have in Him, I lose security, I lose hope, and I lose peace.

As my wise friend stated “God calls us to be still in the hallway. If He opens the door, we walk in faith. If He closes it, we trust that He will open another and praise Him in the hallway. All along the way it is extremely important we seek Him and trust Him daily.” (Paraphrase) Okay y’all, so we know that sometimes we JUST DON’T KNOW, but please do not underestimate that season of uncertainty. It prompts humility and trust in the One who holds our future! It grows us. It humbles us. And, it leads us to trust our Creator and Lord in His perfect plan for our lives.

So when these times of trouble come, and they will, be still. Trust in the Lord. Seek Him daily. He will DAILY bear you up!!

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah” Psalms 68:19 ESV

Ashleigh Murr

Ashleigh Murr is a senior in high school that loves the Lord more than anything. She plans to attend Meredith College in the Fall of 2017 to pursue a degree in Elementary Education, and she plans to do big things for God and His kingdom through that. Ashleigh is humbled that her Savior continues to use her when she is so undeserving!

3 Things We Can Do When We Don’t Know What to Do

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Life is just hard, y’all.

Even when I know in the depths of my soul that I’m blessed beyond all I could ask, hope or imagine.

I still feel like I’ve been suckered punched in the gut sometimes. Especially right now in this season of life.

My stomach hurts. My palms are clammy.  My eye is twitching.

And this life stuff that’s got me all out of whack? There’s absolutely, NOT ONE THING, I can do to fix it.

As a doer, this is a HARD place for me. And I know it’s a hard place for you, too.

I wish I had a fairy wand to sprinkle “LIFE IS FABULOUS” dust all around, but I just don’t.

What I do have are some suggestions on what we can do when we don’t know what to do.

I’m sure there’s more than three. But these three?

Tried and true, my friend, and I’m speaking from experience.

  1. Pray  Sometimes the best we can do is whisper the name of Jesus. And that’s ok. Our prayers aren’t powerful because of us, but because of Him.

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

  2. Stand firm Our faith can get shaky when we’re in the midst of life’s battles, but we must hold fast to what we know is true. Our God never fails. 

    Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. I Corinthians 16:13-14

  3. Rally the troops God didn’t create us to do life alone. When the weight of this world threatens to crush us, reaching out to others can help us share the burden. Even when #mypeople don’t have the answers, their prayers and words of encouragement are like a balm for my soul.

    Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Father, God, thank you that you hear our prayers. Help us to trust Your plans even when we don’t understand. Let us stand firm in our faith in You. Lord, we know You are faithful. Surround us with people who love you and who will help carry the burdens of this life and help us to recognize those in need and do the same for them. We love you, Jesus. Amen.

Finding God in the Uncertainty of Unemployment


A round of layoffs found me on the “axe” list. I was laid off the end of November, after almost nine years.

Honestly? I’m feeling All. the. Feelings. 

Humbled. Because there’s a bit of pride at work here. When hundreds of others were deemed worth keeping, but I wasn’t.

Displaced. I’ve had a job since I was 14. It’s tough to transition to being unemployed after being part of the workforce for so many years.

Unsure. I’m a planner and a doer. Not knowing what’s next makes my palms sweat. Not ‘doing’ almost makes me break out in hives. Combine these two and I’m almost in full blown panic mode.

But I’m finding a quiet beauty here with margin in my schedule.

I have time.

To sit before God

To do a weekly Bible study with one of my girls

To volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center

To be still

As I process the myriad of feelings and thoughts that threaten to overwhelm me, I feel God nudging me, asking me,

“Daughter, do you trust Me?”

My heart cries out, “Yes, Lord, I trust You!”

He responds,

“Be still. Know that I am God. Trust the plans I have for you.”

Y’all, I don’t know what God has planned for our lives. but when we don’t have all the answers, we can trust He does.

His love for us is unfailing and we can have faith He will guide us and grow us during our times of uncertainty.

Are you going through an uncertain time? Is life overwhelming you?

I’d be honored to pray for you, just comment below. If you’re not comfortable sharing details of your prayer request, just reply “unspoken.”

God knows every detail and we can let His peace calm our anxious souls.

Lord, thank You that Your plans are good and perfect. We want Your best for our lives and we want to take the time to seek You in all things. Help us be still before You and trust Your purpose. We love you, Jesus. Amen.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Faith vs. Fear and Chaos


I’m struggling lately y’all, and I can’t even explain why. My teeth are clenched, my neck and shoulders are tense, and I’m just out of sorts. It was a tough weekend here with Hurricane Matthew and with all the other stuff going on around me, I keep finding myself anxious and overwhelmed.

I’m reaching up and out to invite God to calm my spirit, but it’s tougher than I want it to be, because my focus keeps wandering from the One who calms my spirit to the chaos I see playing out in front of me.

Why is it so easy to forget where our help comes from, when we know the One who knows our name?

In the midst of our fear and desperation, we frantically look around trying to find something, anything, that will fix our specific brand of misery, and we get lost in the chaos, losing sight of who God is because we focus on everything but Him.

We surrender the spaces in our hearts and minds to our pain and our fear, and our faith is forced to the forgotten recesses.

It’s a miserable place to be, where my soul is worn and my heart cries for peace.

But in the moment I bring my focus back to the One who guards my soul, before I can utter a word, He hears my cry and His Truth whispers to my weary soul.

“Peace! Be still.”

And just like that, His Light invades the darkness, and my faith bursts forth from the recesses, driving out my fears.

What an amazing Jesus we serve.

Lord, thank you for hearing the cries of my heart, though they be silent. Thank you for Your Word that speaks life to my weary soul. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Hope. Even for Those Who Forgot it’s Friday


Imagine careening down a mountain at a break neck speed, you look up and see a hairpin turn ahead.  And your brakes are shot. And your check engine light is on. And there is a rattlesnake rattling away in the passenger side floorboard.

Although this sounds like a crazy car chase scene from an action movie, it actually feels like a fairly accurate depiction of my life right now.  Sometimes I feel like I have to stop in the middle of everything to remind myself to breathe.

It’s not that I am some jetsetter with a glamorous life.  I’m a regular, every day Jesus girl doing my best to live a life that honors my God.

But this Jesus life is hard ya’ll.

And I fail.  A lot.

For example: I got an email from a friend of mine the other day reminding me she was on her way and where would I like to meet for dinner?

I had to check my calendar, because I KNEW it could not be Friday already. But my friend was right, it really was Friday.

Have mercy, Ya’ll – WHO FORGETS  IT’S FRIDAY????

I wish I could wrap this up in a nice little bow, but I feel like that would be a false ending.

So, I thought perhaps I would wrap it up with a prayer and some scripture for all of us Jesus people who feel like we’re just managing to keep the car from careening OFF the mountain.

God, we love You.  We thank You for these abundant lives You have given us.  Help us to honor You Lord. Help us to praise You even when we feel like things are out of control. Encourage us when we feel like we’re failing because we know that YOU never fail. Help us to keep our focus on You.  Because You are who matters most.  Your grace, Your mercy, Your peace, and Your love….cover us with all of these as we seek You and find You in the midst of it all. If there are things in our lives that are keeping us from seeing You, please help us root them out and restore us as only You can.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Psalm 105:3

“Even if Not” Kind of Faith


FullSizeRenderWe love stories of hope and triumph.

We love hearing from women who have struggled to have children for years whose prayers are miraculously answered when they find themselves with arms and hearts full to overflowing with bundles of joy.

These stories warm our hearts and renew our hope.

But as much as we love these stories, many of us are experiencing the reality of empty arms and broken hearts because our stories aren’t blessed by the honor of motherhood.

This is my story of hope and triumph in our ongoing battle with infertility.

When we started trying to have children seven years ago, motherhood quickly became my idol.

I wanted nothing more and would settle for nothing less.

Month after month, I waited for God to part the waters of infertility and as months became years, I began to question my faith and God’s faithfulness.

During this time, I read the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3.

If you haven’t studied this scripture before, it’s a beautiful testimony of faith and God’s faithfulness.  

Here’s the short version.

Around 600 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah and took many Jewish people captive to Babylon. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were Jewish youths who had been taken captive, educated by Babylonian standards, and were then given high positions in the king’s government.

During this time, King Nebuchadnezzar  built a golden idol of himself and commanded all of Babylon to worship this statue. He decreed whomever refused would be thrown into a blazing furnace.

Because of their commitment to worship the One True God, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image.

The king was furious and reminded them they would be thrown into the fiery furnace because of their refusal.

Their response to him challenges me each time I read it:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 (emphasis mine)

As I read this scripture, I was deeply convicted that my faith in God had become contingent upon His answering my prayers in the exact way I wanted. I made God into nothing more than a genie in a bottle whose job was to make my wish His command.

I searched my heart and found myself seeking after my desires more than I was seeking after God’s heart.

I found my dream of being a mother had taken over my life.

And I was miserable.

By hinging my happiness upon motherhood, I had stolen my own joy.

This biblical account of three men who stood before a king and a world who demanded their worship, but chose to worship instead their God to whom they had already surrendered, challenged me to do the same.

To surrender my whole heart to my God whose plans are to give me a future and a hope. My God who uses all things for good for those who love Him.

With trepidation, I surrendered my idol.

In my obedience, I found hope.

Hope in God’s promises to prosper and not to harm and His unfailing Love.

This hope reignited the fire in my soul to love the Lord my God with all of my heart, soul and strength.

I don’t want to desire anything more than I desire God’s presence in my life.

Because the kind of faith I want to live out is the EVEN IF HE DOES NOT kind of faith.

Friends, I don’t know what your struggle is today.

But if you’re like me and you’ve wanted something so badly you’ve allowed it to become your idol, may I challenge you to lay it down?

Because y’all, the God we serve can be trusted with our dreams.

He can take the ashes of our brokenness and make them beautiful.

Because He is God, and He is good, and perfect and true.


Guest Post by Ashleigh Murr



Today as I sat in English class taking my AP practice exam (fun…I know), I was writing an essay and I began to write the phrase “as they walked through the path of life.” This phrase is common; I’m sure you all have heard it. But when I put my pencil down to write these simple words, God brought a verse to my mind.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”  1 Corinthians 9:24

This verse compares life to a race, not a path we merely walk or wander on.

I believe that this verse is telling us three main things.

  1. Keep the end prize in mind.

At this point in the year, students begin to stress over exams and grades, and worry about decisions that will impact their future. As a result, many lose focus on what is truly important. I believe Paul is saying that we have the best prize possible: an eternity with Jesus Christ! So why should anything else be our focus? And why should anything else be at the center of our efforts?

  1. In all that you do, do it with passion.

I believe that the reason the Bible compares life to a race, not a walk, mainly concerns the passion which we should have in everything that our hand finds to do. The Bible says in Colossians: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” God put us on this earth for a purpose, and to fully live that out, passion proves necessary.

  1. Everyone runs the race

I Corinthians says “all runners run”, so to those who believe we should walk, we ought to encourage them to run and God will be with us in doing so.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” Matthew 28:19-20ESV

We need to show them love and show each one why we have the passion that we do. We have a duty show them the glory of the end prize and why they too should join us on this run called life.

I also believe this proves what the world is telling us vs. what the Bible is telling us as clearly contradictory.

The world is saying do whatever you want, please yourself, and live for now; the Bible says to live for the glory of God and live for the end prize: eternity.

The world is saying this is YOUR walk, YOUR path to create; the Bible tells us God has already created the path and made a way for us.

He has plans for us and has gone before us.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 ESV; “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

The world says relax; God is saying run with passion.

The world says believe what you want but don’t push it on others; God calls us to love people to Him so that they may join us on our run.

I pray that I will live out God’s words, run with passion until I obtain the end prize, and flee from the lies of the world; and I pray you do too