I Will Remember You…

I was speaking with my friend the other day. Often she will ask me questions about our children that have passed. I love these types of conversations as I find them quite therapeutic. I think it is a parent’s greatest fear that their child will be forgotten, not only by others but even by ourselves.

Each time I reminisce, it’s as if I’m able to watch a movie in my mind’s eye and step back in time.

And I’m there again.

Somehow we got on the discussion about would I want them to come back.

Years ago, I would have had a very different answer as it would have been more about what I wanted.  Now, I feel differently.

As I closed my eyes and stepped back into those last moments that our son Elijah was here, my heart sank. Seeing his tiny little body on such a large bed, while doctors and nurses frantically rushed around trying to save him. Watching the numbers on the machines rapidly decline while we helplessly stood there not knowing what to do.

I found myself wondering what he experienced in those moments. While we were listening to the machines beeping incessantly as we sobbed, he was listening to the songs of angels.

I often think of Jesus calling his name so peacefully, “Elijah. Elijah Praise. It’s time to come home.”

I imagine the pain leaving his body and the feeling of wholeness overwhelming his soul. I can only imagine Jesus picking him up with a jovial laugh and bringing him into a world he has never seen! To be surrounded by light so bright and color so vibrant that his eyes are wide with wonder!


Our family and friends who had gone on before him surround him with laughter as they pass him around for hugs and kisses. Then a hush falls over the crowd and everyone steps back. In comes our daughter Aurora with our other two that we never got to meet.

She steps forward in her white eyelet dress, bare feet, and cascading waves of blond hair down her cherub cheeks. “My brother!! We have been waiting for you!” Falling into a deep embrace and laughter, they snuggle together so tightly.

I was so deep in thought that my friend patiently called me back into reality, “Kelly. Kelly…”

“Oh yes, I’m so sorry. My answer would be no. I wouldn’t want him to have to come back into all that pain. It would be for my own desires that I would want him here.”

We sat in silence.

I never thought I would answer that question that way. My heart’s desire has always been to have more time here. Yet the more I learn about G-d and heaven, the more my heart has shifted to wait patiently till I get to go to them.

I often think of the scene in the movie, “The Shack” where the father gets to see his daughter in heaven. As he’s watching his daughter laugh and play around in the green meadow, he stands there lovingly gazing at his daughter. This is the turning point where he can finally be at peace to know she is more than okay.

How could I ever wish my children away from our final destination?

We have had the honor since then to walk beside so many wonderful people who have had to walk the hard road of child loss. Our society wants to convince us that since we didn’t have tangible time with them that it somehow should make it less painful.

Yet, we serve a loving Father who calls us His children.

He too understands the pain of losing His children on a daily basis. He created us to grieve as He grieves. He instilled the bond of a child being woven in the mother’s womb. That connection is not only endless, but it is also sacred.

If you speak to most parents who have lost a child, you will find that it isn’t only the heartache of the loss. It’s also the fear of losing that connection and that somehow they will be forgotten.

The way I feel about my children that I can hold on a daily basis is the way I still feel about the ones in Heaven. Like a mother who has left her kids with the babysitter and checks on them throughout the night, is like a mother who has lost her child. You never stop thinking about them. You never stop wondering what they are doing. You never stop wanting to hold them close.

We are called to be people of remembrance. We are also called to protect and cherish those that cannot speak. These little seeds whether they take root here on earth or in heaven have been divinely created for such a time as this.

Let us choose to look at remembrance as a blessing and not a curse. It is only in the deepest of pain that we realize how deeply we have loved.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.  Psalms 56:8 (NLT)



The Inheritance She Left Behind…

“Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.” Proverbs 13:22(NLT)


I used to think this was just about money and felt it was a pretty black and white statement. That is until my grandmother passed away in October. She lived to the ripe age of one hundred and would have turned 101 this month.  We know she lived a good long life, but it’s still so hard to say goodbye to someone who has been so constant in your life.

I had been working on her eulogy for several days and I was amazed at how much she had accomplished. She was from a large family that had little money. She was so intelligent that when she begged to go to college and her father said no because she was a girl, the nuns pleaded and changed his mind. She cherished her education and urged us to keep learning.

She was a classy lady that was always dressed properly for every occasion. I never heard her swear and her house was kept in pristine shape. Her and my grandfather were flipping houses long before that was even a thing. She was smart with money and gave abundantly. If you came to her house, she would put out a huge spread of food and set the table like you were royalty.

My parents ended up caring for her for the past eleven years. I am so thankful because we got to spend more time with her than we had when were growing up and living so far away. She went blind soon after she moved and we got to experience her in a whole new way. Every day she kept expecting her eyesight to return, but it never did. When I was sick and couldn’t eat, I was furious with everyone and everything. While she was frustrated, it brought on a humility that I have rarely seen anywhere. She was filled with gratitude, kindness, and smiles.

When I look back, I can’t believe I didn’t recognize this sooner. She was showing what it looks like to fully surrender to G-d’s plan and not be bitter by it, but to be grateful. As I thought of the words of Proverbs, all my life I had thought about it being about something financial, but it’s not just that. Everytime that we step into our identity as a child of G-d, His gifts for us not only blossom, but they flourish.

I would pray for my grandma to get her eyesight back regularly and often wonder why G-d hadn’t healed her. We believed by faith that she would be healed, yet His plan was different for her. He became her eyesight and her vision. It wasn’t a waste. She didn’t miss out. Rather, I think He changed her focus and her heart.

As soon as we had heard she slipped away my heart broke. I had been wanting to visit but wasn’t able to get to her due to my family being sick. As I started to live in regret, I was reminded of how she lived. She didn’t live in fear and anxiety, she lived in prayer. She thought about the good old days and not on her regrets. She was always thanking us and telling us how much she loved us, especially in those last years.

I now realize that the inheritance that my grandmother left behind was greater than any dollar amount. Instead, she left behind a priceless trail of intercessory prayer, faith, kindness, hospitality, humility, love, gratitude, and class.

Our pastor spoke about this verse:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Romans 1:1 (NLT)

This comforted me. I have realized in the past few years how much her prayers have changed our life for the better and I was thinking, who will pray for us now? She has not gone away, rather she stands with so many others who have gone before us and she is still cheering us on.  She has left behind a great inheritance of unwavering faith, devotion, and prayer for her family and I pray one day to do the same.



He Will Meet You There

Grief isn’t a place where most want to hang out. It takes great patience, perseverance, and peace that comes only from the hands of Heaven to help us hang on. I have been fighting my emotions all week. I have finally entered into a season of joy and hate the idea of backtracking to sorrow. It’s a season that plants seeds of good fruit, but it’s very heavy and deep. Yet I know it is where we do some of our best growing.

This is also the season of our first son Elijah. It is hard to not retrace our steps of where we were twelve years ago at this moment and all of the what should have been’s. While I know he is in Heaven free from pain, I will always be his mother. A mother never gets used to her children being gone.

Around the time that he died, the book, “The Shack,” came out. It was received with great controversy, but I didn’t care. I was on the brink of suicide and felt very angry about my loving Father taking my daughter and now my son.

As I read the book I could relate to the emotions of the main character and wept as he went on his journey to meet the trinity. It encouraged me at a time where I had no hope. I longed for the days of a movie to see how his journey of faith and grief would be played out to please my visual appetite.

With great excitement, the movie came out this March and again great controversy ensued. I wrestled with going, but my husband surprised me with a birthday date to see the movie.

I prayed before I went in and wondered if it was okay that I was even there. As the movie played, it reawoke a sleeping part of my grief that I thought had been long healed.

But it wasn’t.

As the lead character gets to meet G-d, Jesus, and Holy Spirit I felt this childlike faith enter in as he explores the necessary questions those who have had experienced loss ask. Not only that, but I could feel the Lord’s presence as he drained pain that had been locked away for so long, but encompassed with love.

I would love to go into detail, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. While we know that this is just a book, a story, it put into play emotions that had been long hidden in the secret places of my heart and the resolution was freedom.

For those of you who feel that this book isn’t a good depiction of sound doctrine, it’s a story. While I did just watch the movie, I encountered G-d. Not on the screen, but in my heart. He uprooted some deep pain that had been coursing through my thoughts for years and I KNOW He met me there.

I literally choked back my sobbing in a way I haven’t cried since the burial of my son. I felt years of oppressive thoughts of how G-d loved me and my children fade away, and finally, let go and see how my Father really sees me.

He is love.

I could barely stand up after the movie as I was so full of emotion. As I fought to keep my joy and stuff my tears I am reminded of these verses:

Ecclesiastics 7:2-4 NASB

“It is better to go to a house of mourning
Then to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.

Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.

The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.”

As I listen to the words of Stephen Curtis Chapman’s song, “Jesus Will Meet You There,” the cello seems to be the sound of my heart’s cry. With each note, I can feel my emotions rise and fall with each movement of the bow.

I must have listened to his album a thousand times. To have someone be able to speak your pain into words, music, or a visually stimulating movie, it never ceases to amaze me how the Lord heals through creativity.

G-d is the Lord of creative miracles. Maybe today your head is buried in your hands and it seems like you hit a dead end. But I know my G-d is living and loves to resurrect what looks hopeless.

While you wait, know this, Jesus will meet you there. Your pain isn’t going to be wasted, know that beauty will come from these ashes.

But while you wait wherever you are, Jesus will meet you there.





How These Three Things Saved My Life

We all live lives of great adventure. Most of us may not recognize it until we look back, but I am sure you are stockpiled with memories of every emotion imaginable.

Whether we know it or not, each encounter we face can change how we respond for the rest of our lives. For me, I have lived with a lot of fear of the unknown.

This beast of fear has robbed me and my loved ones. It steals our peace. Without peace, we are restless and anxious. I am done living in the prisons of bondage and I bet you are too.

I don’t know what has happened in your past, but it’s been hard to forget the hurts of mine. What I didn’t realize is that with each letdown or scary experience, I carried it with me.

After being so sick, G-d has shown me his healing power by teaching me how to forgive those who have broken my heart (including myself). Another thing he taught me was not to look at those hard times as a punishment, rather a learning tool.

G-d doesn’t expect us to be perfect. The only failure we have is when we don’t learn from our mistakes. I am actually learning to be grateful for these difficult places. They are what have shaped my compassion, increased my prayer life, and helped me to persevere.




These words put into action helped save my life.



I have listened to countless sermons on forgiveness and all of them have said, it’s rarely something you feel like doing. It’s a choice. Jesus shared a parable in Matthew 18:21-35 (NLT) about the Unforgiving Debtor.

This is the story of a servant who owed an enormous sum of money to the King and was going to be put in prison. But when the servant begged for mercy the King forgave him. Then once the servant was freed; he turned around and went after someone else who had owed him much less money.

When the King finds out about his behavior he replies:

You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me.  Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’  Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

The Lord opened my eyes that I was the unforgiving servant. I had pleaded with G-d so many times for grace but was unwilling to give it to those who had wronged me.

This is a tender area for a lot of us. It’s easy for us to spot this sin in someone else, but very easily hidden in our own heart.

In these past few years of healing, I have realized that some of my sicknesses came from carrying years of unforgiveness. It weighed heavily on my body and brought me to the point of death.

It was when I was at my sickest I watched Ed Dobson’s series at :http://edsstory.com/. If you haven’t seen these, I would strongly encourage you to watch.

He shared about forgiveness and gratitude. As I listened, I could feel the walls around my heart come tumbling down. If this man with ALS can find reasons to be grateful, who am I not to search out such things.

And I did.

For the first time in years, I finally see the younger untainted girl who had been imprisoned in the chains of bondage of unforgiveness, shame, regret, and guilt.

As I began to be more grateful, G-d sent His grace to free me from these chains that had held me back for so long. I now see forgiveness isn’t letting them off the hook; it’s there to give me peace.

As my pastor had truthfully preached, “Healing most of the time isn’t instantaneous. More times than not, it’s a process.”

I still have my days where the enemy likes to strike me while I am weak. On those days I ask others for prayer and open my Bible and focus on scripture to refocus.

As soon as they come up, I realize how dangerous these poisonous morsels can be.

I have learned to grieve deeply. But because I have walked those hard roads, I have noticed that I have joy on a scale I haven’t had since I was a child.

Are you feeling weighed down?

What things are you holding onto that are keeping you in chains?

It’s time to taste sweet freedom, and joy to flood your heart!

All I Ever Have to be is What He Made Me…

Faith is a road that isn’t for the faint of heart. Growing up in the church was cut and dried with my black and white personality. I just assumed that if I did everything the Bible told me to do, life would turn out dandy.

What I didn’t realize is that the word of G-d teaches you anything but that. In each story that is told and each person that we learn about, you see the struggle. Rarely do we see anyone who goes unfazed by the trials of life.  If anything their journey is filled with mountains and valleys.

We often think of the mountains as being an amazing view with all the world at your feet. I will never forget driving to Maine. While we there we visited Bar Harbor and rode up Mount Cadillac. To most, it is a leisure scenic drive up a glorified hill. For me, I was freaking out. I am not even exaggerating, we didn’t even make it all the way to the top. I told my husband if he went any higher, I was jumping out of the car.

What should have been a picturesque drive turned into a nightmare.

I suppose perspective plays a big part of it. To my husband, it would have been a photo op filled with the release of all stress. For me, it was a panic attack.

Isn’t that how faith can be? Sometimes for one person, that mountaintop experience would mean freedom! For another, it means a free fall.

I love to think logically. Yet what I have learned is that G-d moves outside of the box. He is constantly pulling us out of our comfort zones to be the people he created us to be. Better versions of anything we could dream possible.

But this is not done without growth.

It’s these passages of life that feel like you can’t take one more breath because you are so exhausted. Whether they be in fear, loss, sickness, abandonment, doubt, depression, it all is so consuming. It’s almost like a Tsunami that seemingly destroys everything in its path.

What we fail to realize is that after each catastrophic event, we learn how to be rebuilt to be tougher, braver, and persevere onto our next destination of life.

Often we feel we need to do it all on our own, but that is a lie. G-d didn’t create us to do any of this on our own. He created us to do this with Him and the community that He sends to support us.

Are you in a faith crisis?

Do you feel like you are imprisoned in a nightmare or a cyclical pattern of endless insanity? Do you feel like you are doing everything wrong and you wonder when the punishment will end?

If you have prayed and you believe with all your heart that G-d is your Father and Jesus is your savior, know this: the enemy isn’t going to make your life easy. In fact, he is going to do everything he can to defer you from becoming the person G-d created you to be.

I love the Message version of James 1:2-4 says:

Faith Under Pressure

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

I remember reading this for the first time and being utterly aghast at the simplicity and dare I say condescending tone (or so I thought) of this message. Then, I learned that James was Jesus’ half brother. If anyone had witnessed this first hand, it was him. How do you watch your brother be murdered by your own people and later suffer persecution for following him? Talk about death-defying faith.

What I am learning is that most of the people in the Bible weren’t naturally awesome. In fact, we learn of their human side and how desperately they needed to be saved. Each time that a miracle occurred, it wasn’t because they deserved it or made it happen, rather it was an act of grace.

When they finally let go of all the striving, G-d stepped in.

I have wrestled with my place in the kingdom of G-d. How do I move on without striving in my own flesh? And where do I let G-d take the reigns? What if I missed my one opportunity that was bestowed upon me and I screwed it up? What if I….


Amy Grant sang this song many years ago.

‘All I Ever Have To Be’

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head
And the thoughtful words of help and hope
Have all been nicely said
But I’m still hurting, wondering if I’ll ever be the one
I think I am–I think I am.
Then you gently re-remind me
That You’ve made me from the first
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst.
And I realize the good in me is only there because of who
You are, who You are.
And all I ever have to be is what
You’ve made me
Any more or less would be a step out of Your plan
As you daily recreate me help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do what I can find
And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be is what You’ve made me”

The words and the music soothe my soul and remind me, we can let go and stop trying to figure it all out. He knows our capabilities and doesn’t fault us for not having His supernatural strength. That is why we need him every step of the way.

Take comfort in knowing, you are right where you belong and He guides your steps.



Dancing in a Garment of Praise

Isaiah 61:3(NIV)

“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”

I had been in a long season of grieving. As I read this scripture verse repeatedly, it was hard for me to see beauty coming out of these ashes. Or how joy could drench my soul while in mourning. And then imagining a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair? It was hard to comprehend.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. When picking out the header for my blog, my friend Bethany sent a series of designs. I saw this one and fell head over heals in love! I remember thinking, but what does a dress have to do with my blog?

I initially picked it because I love dresses. We picked the four colorful butterflies for our children in Heaven. If I didn’t live so far north, I would be wearing dresses every day. They just make me feel dainty. They make everyday ordinary moments feel special.

I finally realized why I picked it. The colors of the dress symbolize a watercolor swirl of emotions, but the dress itself represents a garment of praise! No matter what occasion I am in, I can’t help but put a dress on and not feel beautiful.

There is something about dressing up that makes you empowered and brave. Also, it makes you feel beautiful. Kings and Queens have been doing this for centuries!

I want to encourage you to find your “garment of praise.” What can you add to your daily wardrobe that makes you want to sing!? Maybe it’s scarves, hats, makeup, jackets, colorful socks, brightly colored leggings, or one of my all time favorites, shoes! (Shoes are right up there with dresses in my book!)

I realize these some of these are not actual garments but you get the idea!

I have a friend of mine who is always wearing stunning pieces of jewelry; she always looks glamorous! I have another friend who wears beautiful coats. And another who wears anything with Pugs! It makes them feel happy and they rock it!

Half of the fun of getting married is finding that perfect dress, veil, and jewelry to make you stand out and feel radiant! Everyone who is invited to the wedding gets decked out and it just makes the event magical. The joy becomes contagious!

We give babies and young children a pacifier, blanket, or special toy that help soothe them and bring comfort through any situation. As adults, depression and anxiety run rampant. We are bombarded with heavy schedules and the need to constantly go 24/7. It would make sense to find something that encourages us and reminds us to be full of praise.

With the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The holidays are normally associated with joy and presents. But for many who are dealing with sickness, loss, or just not feeling it this year, it can be rough.

Maybe you are in a great spot right now and you don’t need that reminder. But you know someone who could use something to brighten their life. Think about what they love and bless them with something they can touch or wear and bring a smile to their face. Help them find their garment of praise!

It seems like such a simple and maybe silly thing to suggest. But if the Bible suggests it, I am all in! I have found that finding reasons to praise G-d really helps shift my focus to what is good instead of what may be bogging me down.  Trust me, praise goes a long way!


What does your garment look like?

I challenge you to find something that makes you feel full of praise when you wear it. It will bring a smile to your face and a spring in your step!

Go ahead, put in on!




This One Thing Changed My Whole Life

I remember the first time that I heard a song by U2 that completely captured my attention. The chorus still echoes often in my mind:

“But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.”

Admittedly, I have tried to find what I am looking for in so many things, only to come up empty. We all go through these phases continually through our lives.

I have poured hours into scripture wanting to find a way to have authentic joy.  I kept coming back to faith in action and pondered what that looked like.

I was waiting for the Lord to show up in my prayers with a loud booming voice and command me where I was supposed to go. I didn’t want to do it wrong, so I did nothing.

We see amazing people do spectacular things and think, wow if I just had their talent or money I would do something great like them.

Or we find ourselves begging the Lord for mercy for our suffering friends, feeling discouraged we can’t fix them.

But here’s the thing. I have found the most amazing thing that can change the way we live.  It will add a healing to your life that is unexplainable. It will open doors you didn’t know existed. Most of all, it will bring you hope and joy!

Some of us will have that magical moment where G-d intervenes in a miraculous way. But much of the time He is waiting for us to step out in faith.

So here is the one thing that has changed my whole life: giving.


It can be our time, resources, or any way you feel led.

It’s just showing up for someone.

I remember sitting in my bed when I was so sick and close to death. In those weak moments, I realized that looking back on my life, I wasn’t successful. I am not talking about college degrees, a big house, or a big bank account. I am talking about realizing I hadn’t done much to really help anyone out unless it was easy for me.

A lot of the times I am finding out that true giving isn’t convenient. It’s stopping to help a person when you are in a hurry. It’s visiting someone who has no hope and entering willingly into their pain.  Most of all, helping those who can’t give anything back.

That moment I had that realization in bed I promised the Lord that if I got well, I would make sure to help others as much as I could. When I didn’t get well fast enough I would cry out to Him and say, “How am I supposed to help when I can’t leave my house!”

He ended up bringing people to me. Sometimes it was a phone call or sending/answering a message on the computer. While I couldn’t give them money or fix their problems, I could listen and pray for them.

It didn’t seem like much at first, but after a while, my eyes were opened to see there were so many  suffering all around me. As I have grown stronger he has me step out of my comfort zone to help meet other’s needs in unique ways.

Through each hardship we have experienced, the Lord sent many people in our lives to help us out in unique ways. We had people drop off clothes for the kids, meals, babysitting, taking my kids to school, helping clean our house, and so much more. Sometimes we didn’t even know who they were. All I know is each time they showed up, we were filled with gratitude and awe. It’s one thing to read about acts of kindess, but another to experience it. It was contagious and I wanted to pay it forward.

I have found my true fulfillment isn’t in what I gain, instead, it’s what I give.

We have been instructed to do these things in secret as much as possible. I think it just makes it that much more special when someone is standing there baffled wondering who it was and then it gets them thanking G-d while bringing hope to their hearts.

The simple act of showing up and giving has revolutionalized my family’s life. I have found on days where I am really depressed or frustrated, I stop and think about what I can do for someone else. Without fail, it always turns my day around.

Today, I want to challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and give. Whether it be dropping off something simple, taking the time to listen to a hurting heart, or whatever thought comes to mind. Each day, be intentional in trying to do something for someone you know can’t give anything back.

Just show up.

But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Matthew 6:3 (NLT)

Your life will never be the same.

Guess what, I found what I am looking for.