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

God's hand.JPG

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

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

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

Finding Peace When Fear Surrounds Me


Our family has spent the last 2 months waiting on test results.

My Mama is a lung cancer survivor (9 years in May, praise God) and she was hospitalized with pneumonia in December.

The tests they ran showed some abnormalities and the preliminary suspicion was metastatic bone cancer.

I wish I could tell you I laid all this at the Throne of grace and trusted God every minute since.  

The truth is, I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights lying on a tear soaked pillow waiting for the knots of fear in my belly to untie themselves so I could breathe.

I don’t want my Mama to have to fight this battle again. I don’t want to shave her beautiful head again and I don’t want to sit next to her while they pump poison into her veins to kill the cancer before it kills her.  

My heart wrenches at the very thought of reliving these memories, but they were playing over and over again in my mind.  

This was part of the problem. I was spending more time thinking about the “what-ifs” than praying and trusting God with what is.

Friends, when we allow ourselves to focus on the possibilities we create in our minds and take our focus off the God of the impossible, we allow fear to shove aside His Truth in our hearts.

In order to break this cycle, we have to allow ourselves to be so consumed with God’s Love that we leave room for nothing else.  

But how do we do this in the midst of the storms raging in us and around us?

We pray.

I’m not talking big elaborate prayers, y’all. Sometimes the greatest peace comes in the moments when all we can squeak out between sobs is the name of Jesus Christ.

Just know this:

No matter how our prayers sound to us;

He hears. He sees. He answers.


This week, we received the final report on my Mama’s test results.

There is NO CANCER in her body.

How’s that for answered prayers, my friends?


Y’all, I know not all situations end with such amazing results. I know sometimes the answers are not the ones we want to hear. I’ve been there too, and it’s a hard place. In our times of uncertainty, when we’re so blinded by fear we can’t see the next step, we can still trust God to show up in the midst of the storm.   

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 (NIV)

Will you leave your prayer/petition in the comments below and allow me to pray with you and for you today?

Rejoicing in Hope,

When You Lose Your Passion to Pray

LIGHTI lost my passion to pray.

I quit spending time pouring my heart out to God.

And all I heard was silence.

You could hear a pin drop.

For months.

The silence was more than I could handle. Instead of drawing closer to God and letting Him grow my faith, I drew away from Him and let the enemy drown my faith in doubt.

It all started (or perhaps ended) with a prayer I prayed for years. I prayed God would answer and give me the desires of my heart and I believed, with all of my heart, He would.

I remember prayerfully surrendering my dreams, telling God He could have them because I trusted Him and His will…Please note this is a good thing when it’s done with the right heart.

However, as I began to grow tired of the silence and I allowed God to show me the heart behind my dream sacrifice, I found the truth.

I surrendered my dream thinking it would placate my God and please Him enough to grant my wish.

My godly surrender was a poorly concealed bribe.

Because in my mind I thought surely, if I gave up my dream, God would give it back.

There’s a lot wrong with this theology, I know, but there was even more wrong with my heart.

I wanted God to be a genie in a bottle. I wanted Him to change His dreams to match my dreams. I didn’t truly want to sacrifice my dreams for His much better ones. And I suffered because of it.

I wrangled with doubt about whether or not God truly answers prayers because I refused to see all the ways He was answering mine. I accused myself of not having enough faith, telling myself if I just believed more, or prayed more He would grant my wish. I struggled with discontent because all I could see was what He was doing in the lives of others. I couldn’t see what He was doing in my own life because I wasn’t brave enough to admit the only issue with my life was me.

You see, when we somehow hinge God’s work upon our performance or our ‘goodness’, we cheapen it. We put it inside the box of our finite understanding and take it from the infinite control of the God who created the universe. We think because we cannot understand what He is doing , surely what He is doing cannot be good. And we try to attribute to God a dark side that He does not possess.


Not even a little bit.

And ANYTHING in my life that assigns this attribute to Him is fraudulent. It must be eradicated because if it is not, it will tarnish my faith and silence my prayers.

This is how I lost my passion for prayer.

It wasn’t that I stopped praying altogether. I just stopped praying big. I stopped praying often. I stopped praying like my life depended upon it.

And I wondered what was wrong with God.

Isn’t it so like us to place the blame elsewhere, but so like God to give us a mirror to see the errors in our thinking?

He used a few people close to me and a few good books (Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, Prayer Warrior by Stormie Omartian, and The Holy Bible) to speak His truth into my heart.

You see, as I spend time with God and allow His word to work in my heart, I can see where what I do doesn’t match up with what He says.

When His word tells me to rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all things because this is His will for me, then that is what I need to do.

But how do I do this when my heart is broken and my prayers feel like they are bouncing off the clouds?

I pray anyway. I give thanks for the many blessings in my life. And I REJOICE because God is good.

And because He is light and in Him there is no darkness.

These past several weeks I have committed to praying again, to being passionate about prayer, and trusting that God hears me.

My God is no longer silent because I am no longer impatiently waiting on a genie in a bottle to grant my wish. I am pursuing my first love and I am listening as He speaks to my heart. I am watching in awe as He works His miracles in me, through me, and all around me.

How about you? Are you weary of the silence?

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. I John 1:5 (NIV)

Father God, thank you that You are pure Light. Thank you that you hear the prayers of Your people and that You are at work in us, through us, and around us even when we don’t see You or hear You. Thank you that You forgive us and restore us to You. We praise You and we love You. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Because We are Weary of Fighting the Battles Alone


What if we were willing to go to battle with and for one another?

In the book of Exodus, there is a battle between the Amaleks and Israel. Moses, his brother Aaron and Hur were on top of a hill overlooking the battle. During the battle, as long as Moses held his hands in the air with the staff of God, the Israelites prevailed. When he let his hand down, the Amaleks prevailed. As you can imagine, Moses’ hands got shaky and weak from the effort and he was exhausted.  Aaron and Hur saw Moses’ weariness and they responded by bringing a stone for him to sit on. But they didn’t stop there; Aaron and Hur actually come along each side of Moses to support his hands to hold them steady through the battle.

This is huge, y’all. These two people God placed in Moses’ life give us incredible instructions on how to minister to one another in the midst of our own battles.

First, Aaron and Hur were with Moses overlooking the battle. This means they knew there was a battle going on.

Are we aware of the battles going on in the lives of those God has placed in our spheres?

Second, Aaron and Hur saw Moses was weary. They were paying attention.

Are we in tune enough to recognize when others are struggling?

Third, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for Moses to sit on. I’m thinking this must have been a fairly large stone to provide a resting spot for a grown man. This tells me it took effort for Aaron and Hur to move the stone for Moses.

Are we willing to put in the effort it will take to help others?

Fourth, Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ hands. Wow, y’all. This kind of active ministering gives me chills.

How can we rally around our people and actively help them during the battle?

And finally, Moses allowed Aaron and Hur to help him. He didn’t push them away or say “I got this.” He accepted their help.

Are we willing to allow the Aarons and Hurs in our lives to help us when we need them?

Friends, so many of us have grown weary of doing good.

We are exhausted spiritually, emotionally and physically. We have given more of ourselves than we hold on to. And we find ourselves with parched hearts yearning to be filled.

In response to this, may we hear beyond the false bravado in one another’s voices and ask the hard questions. May we recognize the needs of others and be willing to be present and make the effort to help. Let it be so with us, Lord.

Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. Exodus 17:11-12 (NLT)

Father God, we know two are better than one and we thank you for the people you have placed in our lives. Help us to love one another as you love us. Give us courage to ask the hard questions and walk through the hard places to help those in need. We love you and we praise you, Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

How God used a Toilet Brush to Transform My Wicked Heart


“Here I am, Lord, send me.”

This has been my prayer over the last several years.  And there is a great part of me that means every word.  But there is also a part of me that says….”send me, but don’t send me THERE.”

You see, I want to serve my Jesus, but most of the time, I want to control where, when, how, and whom I serve.

A couple of years ago, Todd sent me a video made by a famous Christian artist who talked about humble service, and the basic gist was this:

“If you aren’t willing to hold a toilet brush, you have no business holding a microphone.”

My first thought was this:  “WHEW!! I’m glad Todd’s the one who holds the microphone in our family.”


Then God reminded me of the ministries he has called me to. Almost every single one of them requires me to put myself in front of people; either in person, on social media, or via phone.

His reminder sparked a question from the depths of my prideful heart….are you REALLY willing to serve me no matter what it looks like, Nichole?

I knew the answer wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Because I knew there were times when I wanted the platform. Times when I wanted someone to tell me what a great speech, blog, presentation, teaching, or conversation that was because I wanted validation. And I wanted the glory.

During the months I wrestled with this, we began serving with a homeless ministry that provides hot meals and showers for our homeless friends each Saturday. We love the heart of service in this ministry and we were (and still are) thrilled to be involved.

We were serving one Saturday and the ministry was very shorthanded. We were serving in the back where the showers are and once the last person finished showering, there were only few volunteers left to get the church cleaned and back in order. I knew what God was going to ask me to do.

He was asking me to clean the bathrooms.

Y’all. I am a germaphobe. And I have a compromised immune system. And, well, just YUCK!

But God already knew all this. Surprisingly enough, I did it with a good attitude because when I woke that morning, I prayed God would give me opportunities to serve Him and I found myself grateful that I recognized this opportunity and was willing to take it.

So I donned four pairs of plastic gloves and got to work.  And as I was cleaning the last of four bathrooms, it hit me.

I was holding a toilet brush.

In that beautiful moment, I knew God was aligning my heart with His. His grace surgery was cutting away the pride in my heart. And it was Him who got every ounce of the glory.

The opportunities God has placed in front of me since then just overwhelm me with gratitude. I am grateful for a God who loves me enough to not leave me the same. I am grateful that although He has worked wonders in my heart, He also nudges me to be sure my heart is aligned with His on each and every assignment, no matter whether I am holding a microphone or a toilet brush.

 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10

Father God, thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you that you love us too much to leave us where we are. Give us hearts that are aligned with yours and let all we think, say and do glorify you. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen