Oh, What a Beautiful Journey!

After years away from God, this prodigal daughter found her way home with a little bit of help from my boys.

13307492_10209179031022491_7503621198356673458_nFour years ago it seemed that after unthinkable  tragedy my family and I just couldn’t take another blow.  After two-second trimester infant losses, with burial sites side by side, my family and I felt as if we were left to bleed ourselves dry.

After what seemed to be the last fatal blow, I threw up my hands and took my son Cameron who was struggling deeply at the time to Journey Church up the road from where we lived. It was in the middle of the day, filled with the newness of spring but in my heart the end of a long dead battle with winter.

The Administrative Assistant, after spotting my tear filled eyes and broken spirit, went to find a pastor on duty…fast. Pastor Jonathan took us in and wiped our tears but mostly met my then 11-year-old son where he was…as true men of God do.

And I knew a thing or two of a true component of God.  I was raised in the church, a passionate youth who screamed the gospel of Christ at every avenue of life I encountered.  I spoke, sung, shouted, and lived Jesus.  But then I left Him.  As fast as the sun rose it set and in that I had come and gone away from my Savior.

But me seeing the consequences ahead I chose to saturate Cameron with Journey Kids. He even won a scholarship to summer camp that year, embodying the faith he was new to that was putting his broken heart back together again.  Now he serves regularly on the tech team, on Servolution Saturday’s, and is a leader at H20.  He has a passion for ministry and has been told he has a gift of wisdom with an emphasis in theology.

My husband and I saw the fruits of the church and the swift change in our son, but we still wanted nothing to do with it ourselves. It just wasn’t our “thing.”

Our then 14-year-old son Caleb was a harder sell to get to go to H2O. We saw what it was doing for Cam and wanted the same healing for Caleb. We had in fact just buried two infant sons in the past 18 months. Who couldn’t use a little healing after such losses?

After the bribe of a Chill and Grill and free ice cream, we convinced Caleb to go. He was met with music, fellowship and football on the shores of Lake Michigan. He was sold.


That summer Caleb taught himself to play the guitar, gave his life to Jesus and has been an instrument for God with growing momentum ever since. He is the worship leader for H20 and often is on the worship team for the big services. He is attending NCU this fall studying to be a…worship pastor.

My husband and I had no mistake in seeing what Jesus through Journey Church was doing through our son’s lives; we just wanted nothing to do with it.  It scared me, threatened to own me again, ultimately bringing me back to feelings of abandonment of parents who just didn’t want to stay. The broken inner child inside us can be really unforgiving at times.

I was still bitter personally, angry and stubborn. Why did God keep taking from me but forgetting to give back?

My sons encouraged us to come to weekend service and we told them that, although it was doing great things in their lives, we had no need for “religion”. I knew deep inside  my rage filled mindset that was a lie. I was just too proud to admit it.

My darkness grew fast eventually consuming me. As easy as it was for me to ask for help from God on behalf of my children I simply didn’t feel like I was worthy of God’s grace for myself.  I mean who walks away from God after over 25 years of deep commitment?  The idea of going back to church compounded my guilt, reminding me that I was unfaithful, that I did in fact,  walk away from the Lord who had never walked away from me.

Jesus kept melting my frozen heart, reminding me that I wasn’t the lost child, that I was His chosen child.

While my sons were at Winter Camp this past February I went to the Saturday night service. The first church service I had gone to in nearly 15 years.

And I was brought to my knees.

The Holy Spirit moved and I ran into His loving arms as Pastor Jordan sang the invitation song.  I took God up on the call He has on my life, the prophecy to use me, heal me, and put my broken pieces back together again. I ran to the altar and gave my life back to Christ.

Since then my husband and I have rarely missed a service. We are now on the First Impressions team for Journey Kids, telling parents all the amazing things Journey Kids and H20 have done for our kids. We have 2 younger kids who we now have the opportunity to raise in the church.

So what has coming to Journey Church through the medium of my kids done for me?

It has made me grow.

Brought me hope.

Made me seek.

Called me out.

Forged a smile when all I wanted to do was cry.

And brought out my inner Shine.  

And this is just the beginning…
I feel a gentle breeze against my face overwhelming me with peace, that I can fulfill my greatest destiny against the deepest of odds as I’ve found my way back into the loving arms of my Savior.

Because the World Needed him…

My oldest son was given a grave diagnosis 14 years ago, insulin injections for life. Since then he has defeated the lies his sickness told him and has risen to the call God had for his life.


My oldest son Caleb’s job on this earth is to prove adversity as lies and disparage.   And he has done so further than I could have ever imagined after he grew sicker than I could have dreamed at the tender age of four.

A season that threatened to take my first born son away  gutted me deeper than anything had up to that point in my life.  Caleb was four years old  and deeply energetic and gregarious.  His smile was larger than the world and his body seemed invincible.  Until it wasn’t.

He ate all the time, yet lost weight.  He was tired yet couldn’t keep his eyes open and vomited more than he didn’t.  My boy was sick.  And I was scared.  More like terrified.

This was before “Google” and “WebMD.”  The days where we simply had to trust our doctors, and they were telling me he was okay.  But my son was far from okay, he was leaving us and I knew it.  I feared cancer, I felt the worst knock on my door that whispered to me, “you are going to bury a child.”   

 I demanded a blood test.

Indeed, he was sick, he was declared a type one diabetic, insulin dependent for life.

My immediate response was relief,  I get to keep him!  I don’t have to bury a child, he can live with diabetes!  

After a week-long stay in the hospital nursing my dying son’s body back to life we faced a scary yet comforting reality; that our lives would never be the same, but we did in fact, get to keep him.  He wasn’t leaving us, he just had to try a lot harder than other kids who weren’t burdened with constant insulin shots and finger pokes.  Endless carb counting and ketoacidosis monitoring.  I would wake up in sheer panic at 3 am running to his bedroom with a juice box in hand terrified his blood sugar had dipped too low, and more times than I’d like to admit it saved his young life.

Exodus 23:25~Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.

Cameron his brother closest in age, was his diabetes manager.  His dad and I nurtured him to health and held each other up as we grieved the failure of our boy’s body.  Later my husband and I divorced and Caleb’s step dad took over the main scheduling of diabetes appointments, insisting that Caleb be placed on the latest technology, an insulin pump.  Alan called and called until he found a doctor who could help Caleb in Madison, Wisconsin.  We came together as a family, rallied around our Caleb as families do.

June 18, 2002, will always be special.  It both saved my son and took something from us, our innocence.  But in the midst of struggle and health issues, I can say this…my son has overcome impossible odds.

He was told he couldn’t, yet he said he could.

Caleb is a black belt in Taekwondo…a fighter indeed.  He was recently third in his graduating class, winner of more awards than I can count.  He is smart, logical, and deeply emotive as God has given him the gift of song.

My son is smarter than 99.999% of his peers, could be a doctor, a lawyer, a chemist, or scholar, yet God has laid upon his heart to be a music pastor.

And I told him to follow his calling.  If God says to live a life of touching people’s life through worship and song, it is just as powerful (or more) than performing a surgery.  

My boy is on the brinks of his own life.  He is ready to go into the next part of his life and he takes his disease with him… as he owns it, it doesn’t own him.


Fourteen years ago we met type one diabetes.  We welcomed needles and medicinal liquid into our lives because we had to.  But today we are blessed.  Simply because we got to keep him.

The world got to keep him.  And oh, so many lives he has touched already.  And more he will with his heart, drive, and spirit to serve the God he loves and praises every day.

As a mother who loves her babies more than life itself I am left humbled that God chose me to be a type one diabetic mom. I’m  honored deeper than you’ll ever know that the world gets to keep my boy, my joy, my first born child who has been chosen for a purpose greater than I could have ever imagined…to defeat the lies of his disease in order to serve his God.

Songs of inspiration…

Caleb wrote this song as an expression of his testimony of strength, grace, and perseverance that God has given him along the way…

The Testimony

Hearing the testimonies of some amazing young people recently made me introspect and consilidate my own story…my reason for praise in midst of darkness.



I was raised in a Christian home.  Kinda.  My grandparents were my primary caregivers from age four until nine, and we went to church every Sunday morning.  Yet I longed for my mom and dad who were too busy living their own lives with their other families to care. At least that is how I felt.  And still do.

While doodling on the offering envelope with the smell of oak pews and mold in my essence I caught words in the sermon that yelled the consequences of not knowing Jesus as my personal Savior.  This revelation terrified me as I didn’t have a savior and the thought of flesh-eating fire was a little…well…scary.

So I accepted Jesus into my heart in the depths of the night, in the suburbs of Chicago as a little girl who had wide eyes of fear of a God who could abandon her and send her to hell as fast as the night turned to day.  It seemed real enough given my circumstances thus far in life.

Fast forward ten years where I was given the opportunity to truly experience Jesus through worship.  Music in its truest form has a way of convicting the heaviest of hearts and breaking through the thickest of oppositions.

I was sixteen, passionate, and in love with Jesus, proclaiming His Love and shouting His mercy at every turn.  I wrote an award-winning poem, I sang in worship, played my flute to his honor Him and brought the Word of God whenever I was asked in the form of speaking.

I.  Was. On fire.

Pain and parental abandonment meant nothing in the face of Christ’s unconditional love and that can be the raw beauty of a life story, the light is outweighed by the darkness.  Love gives way to hate and we can be set free…

I met my first husband at Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and we praised our God together.  Our testimony alone was the place we were despite the places we had come from.  And our spirits were full.

Until tragedy struck our young lives and instead of turning toward Him we fled.  Faster than the wind and swifter than a famine.  We abandoned our faith in exchange for anger and resentment of a God who had always given us all we needed.  We left Him and neglected His Grace because we couldn’t see The Testimony in the face of devastation.

We had a child, a  baby boy with black hair and big eyes encompassing possibility that I just couldn’t leave in a mess of complications filled with single parenthood.  So I followed the journey of godlessness, believing every last lie I was fed.  We were a family filled with love and questions of how God could bring tribulation to good people, and how Jesus could leave us unwashed with His grace?

I lived breathed and knew secularism.  It suited me, being a strong independent woman who knew who she was and where she wanted to go…on her own.  My future seemed bright and filled with joy and promise.  As the enemy screams so you succumb to the lies.

Eventually, divorce came and left me ragged, turmoil knocked at my door and Jesus never felt so far away.  I married again, a Canadian with a heart bigger than hearts themselves; just not enough to save me.

Because people never can save us.

We had a baby together in the cold of March and we felt the loveliness that a child comes from.  Yet we didn’t praise our God who gave, we simply just didn’t...

Then a year later we lost a baby in the warmth of spring with the songs of birds and promise.  Jaden Hope went on to the next and I hated God more now than ever.

“See!” I cried.  “You are not my God.”  No God would take the one thing I love the most, my children. 

Yet, eighteen months later I found out my twenty-three-week old baby boy would die too.

My anger peaked, my faith diminished further into a blur of reality and existence, a place where no one knows which is more powerful.

“This is why I don’t believe!”  I bellowed into the night’s sky trying to figure it all out.

Why?  Why just why?

He told me that I was not broken that I was filled.  And I shouted, “leave me alone, I don’t know what you want from me!”

Days later a dear friend from my youth prophesied over me telling me that God had provision over my life that I would find Him again and be even more of a powerful tool than I was in my youth.  My eyes rolled and my heart churned in a cadence of anger.  “You are not using me, God, for you have wrecked me.  You’ve taken from me.  You’ve left me for dead.  I hate you.”

Yet I didn’t hate, or regret, or demolish my God.  I was finding my way back through His grace.

For He had a plan.

Four years later as I gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl in the trenches of a cold December Wisconsin afternoon and then I saw His grace come full circle.  The hospital room was filled with people watching the unfolding of God’s promise and Truth as my tears met my husband’s forming a perfect Rainbow, letting us know we will never be stricken by the same tragedy twice and that we had finally met our Grace.

My climb back truly began somewhere in between.  My older sons at that time immersed themselves at Journey Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin after I brought them there instinctively after a major life crisis struck.

The sound of song flowed beautifully throughout my home as my oldest son, the black haired baby who had grown up found a passion for music as I had as a teen so many years ago.  My second son Cameron bled the Word of God and even though I wanted it back only in small pieces God always had a plan.

They begged us to come to church and I fought it until I just couldn’t deny the gift of grace on my life any longer.  The testimony begged to be told, the ending needed to be unveiled.  Because God told me one cold February night at Saturday church as Pastor Jordan sang and the angels watched that it was time to come home.

To fulfill the prophesy allowing my life to be used in a greater manner than it was in my youth.  It was time, and He told that through my suffering He was using me, waiting for me, but mostly, loving me.

And…He really was all along the way.

Luke 15:32… My son,the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
My life isn’t perfect, I struggle and then I fall.  I get it and then I don’t.  But through my vision of loss and redemption,  I see that my testimony alone is the place I am despite the place I came.  

Please enjoy the song that inspired this blog post…and may its words soak into your heart as you overcome odds and fulfill your destiny…


I’ve never met a love like this…

12182634_1694533300792622_509578852822680727_oMy eighteen-year-old son is done, completed, and finished being raised by me.    He’s flying out of the nest into a freedom of opportunity and into the light of promise and the guidance of a God who is good and has endless Grace and mercy upon him.  Yet he just doesn’t realize how much…just yet.

I brought him into his world and wept at the greatness of a God who could bless me with such a gift, a child of my own.  I gave praise all night as he slept peacefully,  knowing my fight for him flowed deeper than I could have ever imagined that March evening in 1998.

I also wept at his bedside at age four, when I thought he may not be destined to continue life on this earth.  He was apparently sick, tattered, and worn.  Type One Diabetes was the call, insulin injections the prescriptions.  For life.  His body was failing, yet his spirit never faltered.  His joy never left him…not once.

God had plans for my boy.  Great, great plans.  Far beyond my recognition at the time, only enough peace to keep me afloat.  God has a way of doing so.

His life transformed in a beautiful scrapbook of panoramic magnitude in front of me quickly.  I began compiling the awards fast, the accolades kept flowing  in.  While I kept chasing my own dreams, he seemed to chase his own in record speed.

Fast forward to today to his high school graduation.  My boy is the strong dream chaser I taught him to be.  But the one thing that leaves me empty is…now he is left without…me.

And the thing that leaves me really empty is.. is he is fine without…me.

He doesn’t want me.

He doesn’t need me.

God tells me, it has nothing to do with me.  

It is about what God has done through me, with me, yet not about me.

As his mom, I fall to my knees.  Knowing that I’ve always been there for him, at the hospital bed of his birth, and the hospital bed of sickness that wanted to take him from me.  Through all the highs and lows of his life, It was me that was undeniably there for him. I cheered at the top of my voice as they called his name with every distinguished honor to proclaim third in his class.  THIRD!

Yet, I cried tonight after it was all said and done.

Not tears of overwhelming pride because of his grandeur.  Of leading worship at church,  countless awards, leadership, scholarships, etc…But simply due to the fact that he was no longer mine to keep.

God has prepared him for greatness and I was his first home…and now I realize the birds nest is empty.  For he is flying much further than I could have ever dreamed.

After realizing that he really doesn’t want to spend time with me, or listen to my lessons any longer, I wandered to my husband and sobbed.

My husband met me where I was and he said, “I’ve never met a love like this, he is who he is because of you.  He is blessed to have you as his mother.”

I sobbed more.

My boy is blessed and I am blessed more because of who God has made him, forever plus some more.

Two Seconds From Grace

Mental illness affects us all. Especially those of us who have a chance to make a difference at the moment before a fall from grace.

FullSizeRender (5)

Definition: Grace/  simple elegance or refinement of movement.

(In Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.


My letter to the church leaders of the world,

I know why you serve the way you do with such reckless abandon coupled with intense fervor.

It is found in the knowledge and emotion that you love God and have a passion for people that very few in this life possess, wanting to spread a rare never ending beautiful bleeding heart upon the needy and hurting people of the world. That in itself holds value; people today desperately lack yet deeply crave to be helped when they cannot help themselves.  It can be a catapult to distinguish the true servants of God and the false chasers of self-glorification.

If you expedite an intense yet sincere passion for serving the God you praise more dutiful than the god within yourself we all fight, you have won a battle most will lose. 

You can have victory over the dark one that creeps up deep inside of us all that will find you and beg to be noticed no matter how hard we try to shove down the cornerstone of true humanity.

I’ll be quick because I realize we are all in a huge hurry.

I know this to be true as I too live in the fast paced social media era of reckoning as we find ourselves completely submerged in a lack of presence with the moment we are in. In fact, research states that the dopamine released in the brain is equivalent to heroin during times distracted on social media.  Today such distractions consume us, transporting even the most faithful of leaders to a far away land providing a high that we can’t feel simply by being present in the moment.  The intoxication feeds us, propels and catapults into a greatness we cannot taste alone.  Yet our “real” friends do the same for us, the ones we see after serving a long day wanting to congratulate us on a great sermon delivered, or an amazing set of music at worship.  Connecting with those real time friends is essential to our walk of life no matter our focus, yet losing peripheral vision in the ministry can be catastrophic

Think of a stranger who may be approaching you in their darkest hour?  Will you find time for compassion, fluidity, and what we are called to administer like no other upon one another…grace?

Having lived two amazingly diverse double decades of life, I have derived more wisdom through the badges of honor and the pitfalls presented my way and I’d like to share.  For I have a powerful observation, and that is, ultimately we all crave the  innate need to be seen.

We simply need to feel loved where we are in the moment of truth that life can poignantly present.  The insides of us that we cultivate deep into the throws of our true identity need acknowledgment.  Those of us that get up early and go to bed late fighting hard to be the best we can be are known as a special breed in the eyes of our Creator, or the church, and can find a remarkable place that can meet the need of acceptance.

There is a special commodity where our gifts can be used to help others find the principle belief that Jesus will fight their battles and WIN!

In the ministry, we feel blessed if a person in the congregation waits to speak to us after God delivered hope through our words. But what if they happen to be at the end of their rope, feeling lost and hopeless, are you truly prepared for such an encounter?  Are you in tune with the holy spirit for such an acquisition but mostly are you on standby to provide the need for them to be seen?

Pay close attention…Because what if…a hypothetical story is truth week after week in a large body of christ.

They find hope and acceptance because they found power, of Jesus’ grace through your words.

They sought the promise to end earth deafening loneliness through the cry out for a better life.

Then they wander home wanting to find a more fruitful life.

And sit at their bedside-more lost than when they left your congregation hours before.

The darkness comes in a wave of unthinkable sorrow because they sought out love yet received a standoff.

Feeling loneliness and exile from you.

They recall your~

Distracted eyes on as they shook your hand.

As you looked for someone more important approaching in the distance.

Turmoil overtakes them.  The inability to be seen leaves them hopeless with a small bottle quickly emptying its numbing liquid effect and making the sorrow of life’s war more real.

Then they reach for the steel cold barrel by their bedside

Lifting it to their mouth, they see no other way out.

A thousand decibels of anguish quake the earth and the heavens leaving nothing but sorrow and exile behind.

Don’t blame them;  their face you cannot recall as they couldn’t state the obvious dread inside their heart when they shook your distracted hand.

They couldn’t voice the ache in their heart,

“I’m struggling with depression.  I am having suicidal thoughts, and I’m about two seconds from grace yet a thousand miles away because I feel alone.”  They won’t say it because they didn’t feel  important enough in your shifting eyes.  And even if they were, they didn’t see it because you were too concerned with the need to be seen yourself.


A once church leader turned church goer searching love and the need to be seen…  One who has traveled many years of love, loss and service to find herself needing an eye on hers, a handshake, or an extended listening ear, yet found disengaged leaders who were waiting for the next great moment to come their way.  I’m lucky to say that I’m still here today to write about it, but so many aren’t.   Please find  Jesus’ grace deep inside the gifts you have and never deny to show it to a beating heart that desperately may need you for the very reason you serve with such reckless abandon.