Stress, Sadness, Celebration, and Blessing

A quarter of a year has past since I sat down to write to you. That seems so weird to say, a fourth of a year has come and gone. I didn’t intend to go so long without writing about the journey of trusting the Lord that I have been on, but the writing just did not come. The end of September, October, November, and December brought about many joys and many sadnesses and now I am ready to share it with you.

Five days after my last post, Allison, the friend fighting cancer whom I asked many of you to pray for, passed on to be with the Lord. My heart broke. While I had not been close to Allison in life, I felt an intense call from the Lord at the beginning of her journey to be a prayer warrior for her, her husband, and their sweet baby Judah. God called me to pray at all hours, while I ran I prayed, while I worked I prayed, in the middle of the night I would wake up and pray, and I begged many others to pray with me. Only one other time in my life have I ever felt so desperately compelled to pray unceasingly (some may know her as a sweet little miracle named Maybre). I was sure that the Lord would save Judah and heal Allison. I believed so strongly that He had an amazing tale for Allison to tell and would draw so many to Himself with her story.

I was right in believing those things. They just didn’t unfold the way that I thought they should…the Lord calling me to trust Him more.  Judah is full of life and healthy, a sweet little baby boy. Allison is healed of all that ever ailed her on earth and now lives with her Heavenly Father. On October 17th, 2015 at Allison’s Celebration of Life, I watched in tears and in awe at what the Lord is doing with her story and how He continues to use her to draw people to Himself. I felt personally stirred by Allison’s young life to seek the Lord more deeply and to more strongly pursue the things He has placed on my heart. The Lord whispered to my heart that Allison was much more needed with Him and He would use her life to bring so much glory to Himself and to Allison. It was a gift to watch how many people were and are touched by Allison’s faithfulness, see some of it here.

Also in September, I began a journey at school that has repeatedly broken my heart and my heart continues to bleed for many of the children at my school. I had my first of several encounters with needing the police and CPS to intervene. So many of the children I serve, teach, and love everyday do not live the life you and I plan to or do give our children. My heart has not yet learned to live in the tangle of caring about my students/my children, trying to help and love them, and still giving these cares to the Lord for Him to carry. This has been an on going struggle for the past 4 months. I clearly cannot share much of their stories so please pray for my students and their families, their safety, that the Lord reveals Himself to them, how I can help them, and how my heart should respond to these situations and how my heart should respond to the Lord.

I don’t think I can think of a time where I have felt at the same time so much pain and joy at the same time, which I might add is very uncomfortable. While Allison was going to be with the Lord and school had become a very sorrowful place, the Lambert’s were adopting their beautiful baby girl, they had been awaiting her arrival for years (read more here and here). I was and am ecstatic for them. Another couple, we love dearly was also getting their bundle of joy through adoption. It was so confusing, painful, and beautiful to watch the Lord work in so many different ways.

During all of this, we were preparing for our new home and getting ready to move. We watched prayerfully and joyfully as the Lord and the construction workers built our home. It was a beautiful time, we wrote verses and prayers on the frame and foundation of our house, family came and wrote well wishes, proverbs, verses and prayers for us, as well. We visited frequently praying for the house, the people that worked on it, the ministry we would have in and through it, and we prayed above all else that it would be dedicated to the Lord and His work and that we would not forget that. The Lord planted beautiful things in mine and Luke’s hearts, the seeds of what He has next for us and what He would use our house for.

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My heart constantly was and is skipping from joy to sorrow. At times I felt and still feel overcome by the sadness and grief in my heart and then in an instant joyous over the many amazing gifts that the Lord has brought: babies (adopted and birthed) of friends, marriages, debt reduced by over $40,000, a beautiful new home, a job that gives me my husband back, friends completely giving themselves over to the Lord, engagements, pregnant friends, myself growing so much in trust and faith, and whispers of joys, ministries, and service to the Lord yet to come.

These three months have been amazingly and awfully difficult and yet amazingly beautiful and joyful. I have learned that I cannot save the world, the people and children I love, or even myself, that job is reserved only for the Lord. I feel here and now, I begin to embark on a new journey of trusting even deeper and in new ways our awesome Lord. Won’t you come too?


August Celebrations

I just wanted to do a quick update on what has happened in August in the land of paying off student loans. Since we paid off a student loan in June, we saved up and made a $5,000 payment and with the government APLE program I am in (teaching at a low-income school) another $3,000 payment was made…such a huge blessing! So overall last month we paid over $8,500, including our monthly payments.


Just to clarify a little, we have two loans left. One is a private student loan that now totals, after our August payments, about $28,000 and then we have a federal student loan totaling about $28,000, as well. We are focusing on paying off the private student loan because the APLE program I am enrolled in and most government loan forgiveness programs only pay on federal loans. So each year that I teach I can receive more loan forgiveness on the federal loan, hence why we are focusing on the private loan.  The $5,000 went to the private loan and the $3,000 went to the federal loan.

Anyway I have to say, since we moved forward with building a house, are preparing to make the down payment, and made the list of things we actually need…kind’ve need…might be necessary… maybe we just really want to buy for the house (a refrigerator is actually necessary right?), I was certainly worried that we would slow down in paying down this debt. But I am so thankful to say that God has kept us on the right track and helped us to stay focused mostly on continuing to pay down the debt. We are using our Apple stock and a couple other investments to make our down payment and we are so grateful that the money we have from these investments almost perfectly covers what we need to make the payment. God has also sent some other jobs for Luke (poor guy…he works hard to provide for us!) that have made it possible to do the couple of things we have deemed necessary to move into our house. So we have had to use very little of our money that would go to paying down student loans for anything house related! 

We are continually amazed, surprised, and ultimately grateful at what God is doing in our lives and how faithful He has been in paying off this debt, providing a house, a new job for Luke, and more importantly growing my faith and trust in Him. My heart has started to turn from a constant need to be reminded that God is faithful, to a slow steady thought process that speaks of His faithfulness. It has been a beautiful melody to my soul and a soothing salve over the anxiety, fear, and doubt that can cloud my heart. I looked forward to what He will do next in my heart and with this debt.

On a totally separate note, please let me encourage you to be a prayer warrior for yourself,  your family and friends, and anyone around you. In my life I have noticed more and more lately that there are so many people around me that are struggling, hurting, and just in need of prayer. Please look for those people in your life and lift them up. My heart is so heavy seeing the illnesses, hurt, and pain of all those around me, so let’s be a community that lifts each other up in prayer to the One who can bring healing, peace, and joy.


Bursting with Thankfulness Part 2

Luke got a new job!!!!

Now most of you know Luke LOVES Apple and he has LOVED working for them for the last 5 1/2 years, but it is extremely difficult to never know your schedule more than 3 weeks in advance and not have nights or weekends off. I know there are tons of people that have to do just that and let’s just take a second to recognize their struggle………………………… IT IS SO HARD! We haven’t ever gotten to spend weekends together, go on trips, been in a bible study together, gone to church regularly, had a regular date night, Luke has missed so many celebrations for people we love, and the list just goes on and on. It has been hard on us as a couple, on me, our family and friends, and it has been especially hard on Luke. SO this is HUGE news for us!!!

The funny thing is, we weren’t looking… in the past Luke has looked and just not found where God was leading him and he recently went back to school and I thought okay, well I am going to have to deal with this for the next few years, but God (I love those two words!) had other plans. I saw a friend posted a job opening at his company and sent it to Luke. It was maybe a week to two week process and I didn’t realize this until a couple days ago, but I was praying a week or so before the job posting that God would find a way for us to go to church together consistently, be in a bible study, have date nights, and that Luke would be able to engage with godly men (he is often cut off from serving and such activities at church because of his schedule). And God just straight up answered that prayer!!!! Luke is now working for Kotman Technology as a Network Engineer, 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday! So if you or your business need tech support give them a call! I am so proud of Luke and so amazed at how awesome God is!

I have felt like we were in a season of waiting for so long…years…and God has just been so faithful in that waiting and now He is showing us some of what we have been waiting for!

And let me just tell you, it has been SO worth the wait!!!! In the last two weeks of Luke working at Kotman Technology, our lives have been drastically different…we have gone to church together, gone out of town together, spent evenings together, hung out with family and friends at NORMAL hours, had many date nights, and Luke has just been so ridiculously sweet to me!!! He has had time and energy to help me prepare for starting school, lovingly dealt with crazy going back-to-school BaCall, and just been sweet and nice. It has been such a blessing!!! I am just beyond thankful and every time I think about it I just get all teary, oh yeah he’s been sweetly dealing with super emotional me too!

That concludes this episode of WOW GOD WOW! Thanks for tuning in and I am sure we will be back proclaiming His faithfulness soon, whether in more exciting news or come what may He is good!


PS Update on my friend Allison, she had her baby 10 weeks early. His name is Judah and he is doing very well! Thank you for all your prayers! Please keep praying as she is now doing the more extreme chemo and Judah is still growing and developing.


Bursting with Thankfulness Part 1

For at least a month or two now I have been bubbling over with gratitude and just really wanting to share what God has been doing in Luke’s and my lives, but we just weren’t ready to share and to be honest the story was still unfolding. Well the time has finally arrived!!!

….And now all of you that know me think I am announcing I’m pregnant! LOL well I am NOT prego and I have found that every time I tell anyone that I have good, exciting, or any kind of positive news people assume the answer is pregnant. We aren’t quite there yet folks and won’t be for quite a while. So just assume for now that any news I share is not that news and still be excited…because let’s be real, most people have seemed a little disappointed when it isn’t pregnant and that makes me sad because our news is still so exciting to us and a really big deal to us and speaks of God’s graciousness and really just want you to be excited too because God is just super cool! Now I’m done with my pregnancy rant 😉

Anyway, so in June we paid off our $9,300 student loan (WHOOHHOOO! Still so happy about that!) and God totally came through in the money department on that loan. See the last loan that we paid off, we were so excited to pay it off that we used part of our emergency fund and basically all the money we had to our name and then the next month we paid our emergency fund back. Well this time we didn’t need to do that, God was so awesome… we were short $300 or so we thought, it turned out we were really short a little more, but I’ll come back to that… randomly my mom said she wanted to give us some money. My mom is a super generous person and is always buying people things and clothes and such, but she doesn’t usually say here’s some money randomly. So I asked why and she said I want to give you $300 for student loans and I almost cried. I knew from our bi-monthly budget meeting that we needed that exact amount!!! Knowing it was God using my mom to provide I thanked her and Him and graciously accepted, I’m hoping it was graciously that I accepted :/. That was the first cool thing, then we realized we were actually short a little more than we thought and Luke, who always seems to trust that God has us covered, was like don’t worry it will all work out. That always makes me grumpy… how does he trust so well?!?!?! And he was of course right and randomly his paycheck was bigger than normal and we had the perfect amount to pay off the loan! God just showing His faithfulness to me again and saying come on BaCall you can trust me and I must say my trust is definitely growing!

THEN something even cooler happened! Luke and I have been looking at houses for a LONG time. Not super seriously at first, but we have gone to open houses every chance we got and we also went to look at any model home we got the chance to look at for the last year, just to get an idea of what we really wanted and to watch the housing prices while we were paying off student loans. And to be honest I was nervous, we hadn’t found anything we really liked or that we felt was worth its price and worse yet, we started to see prices rising a little more quickly than we had hoped for. Then in April we saw this model home and from the second I walked in I thought, this is it! This is THE house.

Luke is normally the excitable one and he is usually all in once he is excited and I am very rarely excited and almost never all in. We flipped that day, Luke wasn’t excited or all in, which confused me like never before. I felt peace and knew this house was exactly what we had been looking for and even felt like God might be leading us to buy the house, which is a super big deal because well see above…rarely excited, never all in. But Luke said he thought something wasn’t right. WHY oh why is the man always right?!?!? So we moved on, then last month right before we paid off the student loan, we decided to go look at those models again. The exact house we would have bought was sold and the whole neighborhood was just about sold out, especially the model we loved. We asked about another specific lot…see part of the problem has been lot size, we don’t want a tiny yard and there was only one lot left that was a bigger size and was the model we loved… so when we asked about it we were extremely disappointed to hear that it was already spoken for. We gave our name and number anyway and asked to be called if it should happen to become available again. To which we were told that he didn’t think it would fall through, I believe he said he was 95% or more sure that it wouldn’t fall through, but he would give us a call if anything happened. He then proceed to try to sell us on other models and lots…which drastically failed because like I mentioned before rarely excited, never all in.

Now Luke was on board, so we prayed and gave it to God. We both felt like it was in God’s hands. See the previous house or lot I should say, would have closed in September or October and that was just a little too soon for us and our loan paying selves and apparently just wasn’t right for us, plus we wouldn’t have been able to payoff that $9,300 student loan when we did because we would have had to put down a deposit instead. Also the address had 666 in it, which I didn’t find out until later, and I just thought that was another added bonus to not buying the first house because really no one likes that number. Hence Luke being right… Well to our surprise and delight a week or so later, after we paid off the student loan, we got a call from the agent that the house became available. And even more surprising, there wasn’t a lot premium for the bigger lot and he was taking $5,000 off of the price. What?!?!?!? Yeah, can you say blessing… Trust God He has it all worked out. I really couldn’t believe it, I was in shock and thought seriously God??? It was a WOW moment. All that to say we are buying a house and it will be done at the end of November! God’s timing is just incredible. Plus we had money to pay for the deposit because we didn’t spend our emergency fund on the student loan, since God just a week or two before provided us with the exact amount for that loan. We were a little short on the deposit, but had my in-laws offer to loan us the money for a week or so until we got paid and could pay them back, which we did. We have awesome parents in case you couldn’t tell! Everything worked out so seamlessly and God provided in so many ways, it has been absolutely wonderful and guess what… that’s not even the end.


Praying and Helping Others

God’s faithfulness and growth in trusting Him has been the motivation for this blog, right??!?! So today I thought I would feature two families who are really trusting in God and His faithfulness! I know this post is a little departure from the normal financial, student loan stuff, which isn’t completely abnormal for me 😉 as I am trying just to write about whatever God would like me to write about. So I would like this blog to be a place where we pray for and help each other. With that in mind, I would love to invite you to pray for and help, as you feel led, these two families.

I mentioned on my last blog post, a friend that is pregnant and found out she has leukemia. Her and her husband have done an amazing job of following the Lord in this valley. They have shown their faithfulness to the Lord and their devotion in trusting what He has for them. I am encouraged and driven to follow Christ with more devotion because of their obedience to be joyful in all circumstances, to trust the Lord, to lay all of their fears and worries at His feet and I have seen the peace that has come over them as a result.  I ask you to join in prayer for this faithful little family! I am praying for complete healing, protection over their unborn child, and continued trust, joy, and peace! If you would like to follow Allison’s story click here. You can follow their emotional and wonderful video series here:

The other family I would love for you to pray for and help, is a family that is so near and dear to my heart! You may have seen me posting about them on Facebook or Instagram, Rob and Andi Lambert! They are such wonderful people, that have devoted their lives to serving the Lord and whom I have always been able to count on. To make it even closer to my heart it is their process of adopting, which Luke and I LOVE and can’t wait to be a part of ourselves! They are in the process of adopting a sweet baby and the road to becoming parents has been long and hard, but more importantly filled with faithfulness and trust in the Lord! This couple has also spurred me on to trust in the Lord and His will for Luke’s and my life. You can read about their story on their blog here. You can also help them bring  baby L home here

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with their super fun LOVEraiser (with the chance to win an awesome portrait or here on their GoFundMe page.


Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this, pray, and respond to these two families’ stories! I really appreciate it and if you need prayer please feel free to message me or leave a comment! Let’s be a community of people that love on each other in good times and in times of need.


Amazon Prime Day

Prime Day is a one-day shopping event on July 15, 2015, with more deals than Black Friday. Prime members can shop exclusive deals from electronics, toys, video games, movies, clothing, patio, lawn and garden, sports and outdoor items and more. If you use my link to to amazon it helps out the site and you can find some killer deals today.


A Little More

WARNING: This post is not my typical post and does not deal with my normal content… it is more controversial….

There is a lot of controversy going around this week (and just let me go ahead and add to it ; )*, Friday being the day that the federal government legalized gay marriage in all 50 states, even though that is a state issue. All the controversy, arguing, and general atmosphere of hate surrounding this topic has been so sad and overwhelming to me. But God is still God no matter what we say or do, thankfully, and I just want to remind myself and my fellow Jesus lovers out there that our commission is to make followers of Christ and to love our neighbors as ourself. I don’t know about you, but “myself” felt the hope and love of Christ before I knew I needed a Savior…before my sin was lovingly pointed out to me and I realized I needed to repent and it most certainly wasn’t rudely shouted about on social media. I felt broken and down and He was my hope, He offered love and forgiveness and healing…I wasn’t scared into loving or accepting Him by knowing I would go to Hell if I didn’t stop my sinful ways.  If you were, color me surprised.

I can’t find any verses in the Bible about Jesus trying to force people into His way of thinking or following, accepting, or even loving Him, He pointed things out to people that CAME to Him. Like the way He spoke to the woman at the well and how He spoke to your heart when He called you to Himself. And if they didn’t want Him, He didn’t yell at them or chase them and demand they see His side.  I also don’t recall Jesus, Paul, Peter or anyone else trying to stop, change, or in anyway influence the government. I am NOT saying there isn’t a time and a place or a reason to fight for something you believe in as far as the law is concerned. I am just saying, have we forgotten our purpose? Have we forgotten that this world serves evil not God and His perfect will?

I wonder if we are trying to make this country a mini heaven, a comfortable place to live until we go to Heaven? Rome, Jerusalem, or Corinth didn’t have  “Christian friendly” laws that nicely matched up to all the beliefs laid out in the Bible. WHY do we think our country should do that?!?!?! So confusing to me. Guys, things are going to get worse and gay marriage will be the least of our worries and it seriously already is folks….come on… we want to blow up Facebook with our outrage on gay marriage, when there are children being killed by the likes of ISIS, people in other countries literally being killed for their beliefs, people starving to DEATH, sex slaves, people in our own country being gunned down for their color and faith and we are freaking out because some people can get married now?  I’m confused as to how that bothers me, hurts me, or stops me from pursuing my purpose in life, loving Jesus and making disciples.

But yelling about it, being ugly about it, and posting damning things about it, certainly does hinder me from my purpose…making disciples. No one, is changing their opinion or lifestyle because someone yelled out to Facebook how upset and outraged they are. Because let’s be real, YOU are making it all about YOU. Those posts are about our rights as Christians, our freedoms as Americans, and don’t get me wrong I hate having my things taken away or infringed upon, but that feeling in me didn’t come from Christ it comes from my own selfish wants and desires. Yet, Christ calls us to die to self. I have yet to read a post (and I read as many as I see) that was really trying to appeal to people that don’t know Jesus and get them to love Him and reached out to them by being upset by this ruling and even if there are those articles, I doubt they will work. This is not about about me or you or Joe the Jesus lover down the street. It is not about going to Heaven and saying Jesus aren’t you happy I really told those guys they are sinners…IT IS about God and His glory and His amazing love and how He is going to use this situation for His glory because that is what He does. IT IS about going to Heaven and bringing a bunch of folks with you.  That is ALL of our purpose. GOD said so! I could be wrong I doubt it though, but I don’t think arguing with people is going to help me reach my God-given purpose in life (so I won’t be arguing with anyone in the comment section FYI).

And please, please, please, PLEASE my heart begs of you please don’t insinuate in anything that is posted online that gay people are going to Hell or aren’t saved. WE DO NOT KNOW THEIR HEARTS!!!! The heart is what matters folks and we do not know who has accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts. IF we are saved based on whether or not we sin, we are ALL going to HELL. Our lives do reflect our hearts, but we do not know where someone is in their faith or what they are wrestling with the Lord about. Please don’t say or type things like that, its embarrassingly pompous of us to assume we know who the LORD has saved.

This sermon that Shea Sumlin gave had some great things to say about marriage and Christ and this article speaks my heart and love for people struggling between what the Bible says and their pain in the very first lines and brings up some interesting thoughts. I love both of these, they are both very thought provoking. They are directed at a Christian audience. And follow this link for more posts on marriage  and some great thoughts from Sheila over at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum on the Supreme Court ruling.

To sum up this post that hopefully moves us to love and our purpose as Christians and scares the poops (my new favorite word) out of me to post, this world is not about us.  We are promised a rough time and persecution by loving Christ, we are not promised our “rights”, preferences, or the favor of our country. So let’s do what we are asked to do, follow Christ in making disciples.

*I try very hard not to shout my opinions on social media because I realize that does not reach hearts most of the time, like speaking in person does, but I felt led to write this. This is thoughtfully and prayerfully written, not flippantly written please do the same in commenting :).



Another One Bites the Dust

And by another one I most certainly mean another student loan!!!! We paid off a $9,300 student loan in like 4 months!!! WHOOHOOO!!!! Glory be to GOD!!!

We moved in last July to Luke’s parents’ house with six student loans and now we are down to two!!! That is so exciting right?!?!?! But the embarrassing and disappointing part is we paid off that student loan on June 5th and it has taken me this long to boast about the Lord’s provision and blessings! I want to be the person that shouts of His blessings off of the rooftops and I’m disappointed it took me so long to shout it from my proverbial rooftop…aka this blog.

I feel like I have had a split personality the last couple of weeks in paying off this student loan. Part of me was ridiculously ecstatic, especially since the Lord really came through in helping us make it happen (more on that in a minute). And part of me couldn’t help but think, yeah that’s great, but the two loans left are the giant ones and our time here is growing short. I really let other people’s my own doubt get to me.

I have to say I have always been quite the Doubting Thomas (John 20:24–29), a see it to believe it kind’ve person and have been very comforted in the way Jesus loved Thomas. And I’ve never been quite sure what the Lord’s promise has been with this debt. I know I distinctly heard or felt God telling me to trust Him in paying off the loans. But if I am being really honest, I believe He said He would do it this year… and let’s be real, the Lord asking me to trust Him in taking care of my debt…yeah I can get behind that, I can believe that because I know and trust that the Lord loves me and will work everything out according to His will and glory, but to believe that He is going to do it in a specific time frame sounds well…nuts, crazy, made up in my head, maybe even wishful thinking… especially when that timeframe is rapidly approaching and the thought of debt being gone is a sweet sweet dream… a deep desire of my heart. It weighs on me in a way I can’t explain and it makes me feel like a decision I made 10 years ago is slowing me down from doing what God is calling me to do today… those longings He placed on my heart to serve Him, bring Him glory, and love others the way He has loved me are dim shadows of what they could be. (Now I know that the Lord can do whatever He wants whenever He wants and have no doubt in my mind that He is absolutely using this debt for His good purpose, yet I still feel longing in my heart to move forward, to serve, and love in those specific ways.)

That split personality was rearing its ugly head this last two weeks. Some of the people I shared our newest payoff with were excited for me, but continuously made suggestions and comments that made me feel like they clearly didn’t think God was going to make this miracle happen. Which partially made me think I was crazy for even thinking it was possible, but also partially fueled the flame of my belief. More and more I felt the Lord encouraging me to seek the impossible, believe the impossible, to believe in a Sun Standing Still kind’ve miracle. The Sun Stand Still idea comes from Joshua 10:12-13, where Joshua asked the Lord to stop the sun and moon from moving until they won a battle and the Lord did it! He made the impossible happen. This has come to me now two separate times in the last few weeks and I have never heard of it before. I read a random blog on Pinterest or Facebook about buying a house from an author I had no idea was a Christian, where she talked about having a Sun Stand Still prayer to the Lord and then a couple days ago again, someone I know on Facebook wrote about a book that is called something like Sun Stand Still, and showed a quote from the book about how if we aren’t believing God for the impossible then we are wasting our faith and not truly seeing His power and might. I am also currently reading the book of Joshua and God has been calling me to be strong and courageous  over and over again (AND WOW! I am continually in awe of how God uses the writing of this blog to grow my faith! SO cool! Just writing this reminds me of how He continual speaks into my life.)

I have to say I have been so excited to trust the Lord with paying off these loans and to tell you about it, but as the days went by and I didn’t make time to write, my enthusiasm dwindled little by little and doubt began to creep in. It has been a very busy two weeks, finishing the school year, being in a friend’s wedding, and starting summer school made it a little overwhelming. But in writing my flame is rekindled and I am declaring here and now to believe the Lord for the impossible! $30,000+ more paid off by the end of this year! Who will believe God for the impossible with me?!?!? What is your SUN STAND STILL prayer? Let’s pray together for each other!

Speaking of praying for the impossible, please pray with me for a friend…Her name is Allison and she is 5 months pregnant and she just found out she has leukemia. Please pray for complete healing and safety for her and her baby and strength and guidance for her husband. Thank you!

Leave your prayers in the comments! I will be praying for you!


Tithing during Debt

Disclaimer: This post is in no way a prescription of how to tithe at any time…it is simply a call to seek the Lord, pray, and search the Word in all times to find how the Lord would like you to give at any given time, specifically during times of hardship or struggle.


It’s about time, right?!?!? I believe this post came to mind two or more months ago… It was just a brief thought I had because of a comment on one of my posts. I thought maybe it would be helpful for someone to hear what we did to figure out how the Lord wanted us to give at this time in our lives. So hopefully it will be helpful to someone!

I really like to tithe…I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not or a weird thing or not… I say that because I like all things to be under-control, to know exactly what’s expected of me, and to be able to do them easily and quickly. And that’s exactly what tithing is… or at least so I thought. See I struggle in knowing exactly what God wants me to do, I think many people do… or at least I hope it’s not just me… Anyway I struggle with practical application of things, like what does forgiveness actually look like in really life, what does grace mean or what does it mean for me to extend grace… How do I have healthy boundaries and not be selfish? These things plague me constantly…I want DESPERATELY to know exactly what it means to obey God and how to do it and I want to be able to do it right away. I really really  want to be obedient to Christ. But I have this problem… well I have lots of problems namely being sinful, but the specific problem I have is needing to really understand what to do and how it looks and every little detail. I am very detail-oriented… (Side-note does anyone else feel like all of the good things about them are also severe downfalls?!?!?!?identity crisis) So sometimes I don’t do anything because I don’t know where to start or understand exactly what I’m supposed to do… I suppose faith and trust come in here somewhere… oh man…

All that to say tithing seemed very straight-forward to me… you give 10% of your income… that I could do! Yes, it is money and I wouldn’t have it anymore and that sucks when you want to buy something or money is tight, BUT it was something I could physically do and I could do it RIGHT and obey the Lord. Let me tell you, I was STOKED!!! So while I’m over here trying to figure out all the messy stuff with the Lord at least I was obedient in something right? Right? Well then I heard people talking about tithing from your gross income, not your take home income and I kinda freaked out… DANG IT!!!! I wasn’t doing it right after all… You are supposed to give from your FIRST fruits… I didn’t want to be like Cain (dramatic I know)… but could we afford to give more… I didn’t know, but it is ALL God’s money after all. So Luke and I prayed about it and discussed it A LOT and we decide of course we wanted to give of our first fruits. So we started tithing 10% of our gross income. FUEW! Crisis averted… we were being obedient! Or so I thought…hoped. Granted I knew already that God is all about the heart of the giver and that was the most important part, but I really like to give as it is so I didn’t feel quite so much like a Pharisee. My heart was ready and willing to give. Plus my husband praised that about me, so I felt like I had maybe one quality of that ever elusive Proverbs 31 woman.

Then there was another curve ball… moving in with the in-laws to take on paying off our debt full-time and as intensely as we possibly could. So we could go on paying our tithe just like we planned or we could do something different…Luke brought this up as we were making our new budget for our new way of living… Immediately the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I bristled…WHAT?!?!? Could you actually be suggesting we don’t tithe? I thought he had lost his mind or at least his faith (again dramatic I. KNOW.) He asked me to chill out…grrr… and hear him out… I will admit I wasn’t that friendly about listening, but I did try. He had talked to some Christ-followers that we really respect and they had suggested that maybe tithing wasn’t such a perfect formula like I had thought.

So we decide to spend some time praying about it and seeking the Lord before we made any decisions about our new budget. It REALLY stressed me out! So thankfully God led me to Himself and I picked up my Bible and did a search on the words tithing and giving. I was shocked at what I found. I felt the Lord lovingly whispering to my heart that not everything or maybe nothing fits into my perfect little box… maybe faith and being obedient was a little more messy. (I have to admit I am always a little surprised when God lovingly whispers something to me, I always think God is somehow as frustrated with my slowness as I am, thankfully He is patient, loving, merciful, and compassionate.) God showed me that giving is so important and that He loves a cheerful giver 2 Corinthians 6-8. He also showed me that giving in this time might look different than it has before, He has called us to be faithful and give to those in need. The most important thing I felt God showed me was that I could trust Him to show me when and how to give, not just with money, but with my time, and talents. And He has been so faithful, I have occasionally stressed about what and how to give, but He clearly revealed the times He wanted us to give. It’s been messy and does not fit in the nice neat box I wanted it to, but we are trusting the Lord. Practically, because I LOVE practical applications, we prayerfully decided to tithe from Luke’s pay since we are living off of his paycheck and decide to give according to what the Lord puts on our hearts with everything else, which sometimes looks like donating to an organization or helping with a fundraiser or giving to help the Lord’s plan in some else’s life or buying someone coffee.

Pastor PJ Lewis gave me a great reminder of this and greatly put it all into perspective in this sermon (Tithing is talked about about halfway through this sermon). God wants us to give generously, sacrificially, and without guilt. Seek the Lord in how, where, and in how much He wants you to give with your time, treasure, and talents. He is faithful to answer.



Hidden Blessings

The title of this blog would more honestly be… Blessings I Refused to See, but we will go with Hidden Blessings because it sounds less….honest wordy. In my last post I laid bare my soul, revealed that I wasn’t quite lifting my eyes to the Lord, and was letting circumstances blind me to what the Lord was doing. Today I just wanted to share with you one of the blessings I refused to see or at least refused to let my heart believe it was a blessing or miracle from the Lord.

Luke, my husband, has been doing some blogging of his own, you can see his posts and videos here. He is sharing his knowledge about what he has learned with technology, doing podcasts with his friends Russell and Jason, sharing a childhood journal, and most importantly for this post reviewing different items he has purchased. The videos he has made are reviewing things from apps to running shoes to podcast microphones (I think that’s what it is…He is the techie one here) and have become rather popular. Luke being the genius that he is, has made the popularity of the videos profitable to our family by adding Amazon ads to his page and to mine.

If you look on the right side of the page there should be an ad, which if you click on and buy something, we get a percentage of…who knew??? I had Luke put Dave Ramsey as the ad on my page because I truly believe it does help those struggling with debt and it helped and is helping us. So if you are interested in Dave Ramsey feel free to click the ad. Also totally weird and interesting to me, if you are already planning to buy something off Amazon and you go to Amazon through the ad on mine or Luke’s page we will still get a percentage, even if it’s not the thing advertised on my page. Weird and cool right?!?! I’ve always seen advertising on blogs, but I never knew how it worked. So apparently that’s how it works with Amazon…  I don’t expect anyone to buy anything by the way or use the link at all, that is not at all why I am writing this, I’m just sharing the process of what Luke and the Lord are doing to bless our family.

Anyway, so Luke has been doing this for a few months and apparently a lot of people are clicking on the ads for whatever he is reviewing and they are buying things. Which has led to income that we did not expect or even image was possible. A surprise blessing/miracle. Luke was just doing the videos for fun and the Lord used it to show His faithfulness and will be blessing us with more money towards paying off student loans! (I say will be blessing because it takes a few months to get the money, because of returns and things like that… Amazon policies… I really have no idea about any of that, but that’s how Luke explained it to me or at least what I remember of his explaining. So I titled this blog hidden blessings because I kinda just refused to even consider the money we were/are making as anything… partially because we weren’t getting it right away and partially because it wasn’t the miracle I was expecting.

One day in particular I was getting a little down because there is so much debt and although we are making progress it wasn’t the progress I had hoped for and so I asked Luke…when do you think the Lord is going to start doing miracles? And he LAUGHED at me! I was sooooo confused and said something along the lines of why in the heck are you laughing at me, which he kindly then explained was because the Lord was clearly doing miracles right at that very moment. I kinda, embarrassingly chuckled at and began to argue how that wasn’t true… silly me…I seem to frequently forget that God’s ways are not my ways (THANKFULLY)!!! Luke then patiently reminded me of the Amazon money and how even though we hadn’t gotten it yet, we would and it was in fact a miracle that people were watching his videos with thousands/millions??? (I honestly have no idea how many videos are on YouTube) of other videos on YouTube. My answer was yeah but… to which Luke wisely said do you really get to decide what is a miracle and what isn’t…Ouch! He was clearly right and I stubbornly hadn’t received God’s faithfulness as being from God at all. All I can say to that is I am so thankful I have Luke to point me back to the Lord when I am so stuck on my own thoughts, ideas, and demands of how the Lord should answer my prayers.

Here is how this is impacting our loan payoffs, the first month Luke did this he made about $60 and I think Luke said it takes 60 days to get paid (these are all rough estimates people) which I believe we got at the end of last month or beginning of this month, which was nice. But every month (about two or three months) since the first month he has made about $500 a month. As you can probably tell an extra $500 a month towards the student loans is very very helpful and such a blessing! We will be getting the first payment of $500 at the end of this month and hopefully we will have very exciting news around the beginning of next month 🙂 Whoo HOO!

Praise the Lord for He is good and FAITHFUL!!! Thank you for your continued support and prayers on this journey.