Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Lord, I love what is familiar...I love what I know. I want to stay in what I know & what is familiar. But you call! You call, so loudly, so clearly, so desperately that I am intrigued. I question why you call. I am fat with knowledge, fat with your word & oh so comfortable right here in what is familiar and what I know...especially how I know you. But I hear you & your getting louder & its unsettling. Why are you so desperate to get my attention? I'm curious, more than intrigued. So, I fatten up and this time questioning, am I missing something?
And there it is on the page, the very page I have read 100 times. But now listening with ears that want to hear.
You call me to go!! to move!! to walk!! to bring!! to run!! to follow!! Wait...I don't want to hear anymore.
But I've heard & now must make a choice.
But... I am comforted by what is familiar, by what I know. Maybe I'll just pretend I didn't hear Him or overthink it to the point of confusion and then convince myself that I must really understand it all before I move & risk moving in the wrong direction. Days pass. I disobey. I don't listen to the call. I drown it out with lots of busyness & t.v. I am doing it my way and I am miserable. I've heard the call grow fainter. I'm afraid. Did I miss it? I thought I wanted to miss it but now I'm afraid that I did. I turned from the Holy, creator of the universe & exercised my will to say NO & I am now terrified to return. Unfulfilled, I head to His word, ashamed, timid & yet still longing for Him.
I open His word & there I see Him. So beautiful, running to me as I stumble to put one foot in front of the other. I come in faith that His redemptive offer still stands and that His blood can cover the multitude of sins that I just racked up! I am humbled to the point of pain. Sorrowed so deeply that I left Him & denied Him over & over.
Father, how can you receive me back? I am not worthy of your call. But still you call & I see it in your eyes that you have work for me...beyond my comfort zone...beyond what I know and what's familiar.
You call me to faith. You want me to trust you. You've earned my trust by the incredible love you show me, through your redeeming grace. The fact that your word is meant to light my path suggests that I am going somewhere! I am moving & there is a path that you have ordained for me while I was yet unformed. You call me to take a step, firmly on you my solid rock & step in faith, listening to the call, following your beautiful voice.
Thank you.
Thank you my God.

Hebrews 11:7
By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Job 29:3
When His lamp shone upon my head, And when by His light I walked through darkness;

Hebrews 12:1
[ The Race of Faith ] Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Monday, September 12, 2011

A real Praise Report

Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield;My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.
My heart is overwhelmingly thankful. Praise Him with me! This attitude of worship has infiltrated my body & my spirit so beautifully. I just want to rejoice in His faithfulness. I am so thankful and want to praise Him. Just want to praise.
He has saved me, and not only from sin & death but from a meaningless life...a powerless life, a joyless life.
I want to rejoice. I have to praise!
My sweet Grace came through her surgery and has been healing up so incredibly. Infact the day after the surgery the doctor found a small hole that had pulled open in her soft pallet...which would have required further surgery down the line and after 2 weeks, we went in and it had healed and closed without surgery. It was our little miracle and one that came as a result of His grace & your many prayers that flooded heaven that week.
My mom survived Chemo...and so gracefully. What a horrible, long battle to watch. It is so strange to have to endure such misery to save your life. So now she is working full time and straight after work heading to radiation(6 weeks for the breast followed by 6 weeks for the brain. We are continuing to pray for endurance and praying for a miracle of God to remove this brain tumor... that is what she will battle next.

There was a time in the hospital where I questioned God about His faithfulness. I questioned why I couldn't feel Him this time. And was He faithful even when I couldn't feel Him? And then so clearly...the answer. I am Faithful in so much more than the warm fuzzy feeling you are asking for. I am faithful to EVERY single one of my attributes & promises I have made... every minute of every day.
Thank you Lord. Wow.

Exodus 15:2
The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.

God is not just worthy to be praised because He got us through a tough summer. God is not faithful because they both are healing up. His faithfulness is not bound by the outcome of any circumstance. I have captured a glimpse of what His faithfulness looks like. It is complete. It is beautiful. It is deep. It is real. It is hard to grasp. It is in His word.

La 3:22 23 "The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness."

Heb 10:23
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

I praise Him! Praise Him with me!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Breaking new ground

I haven't posted in a while. This month i've felt the darkness, had more questions then answers, and saw the messiness that is my life. Now I can say with beautiful confidence...He gently led me through the darkness, even while I questioned Him all the way.

Yesterday, I kept picturing a tree with roots as I thought about this last month. Picture the roots as faith, breaking new ground as they dive deeper and deeper, and the tree and its branches as praise, giving Him glory in response. As the roots go deeper, the branches raise higher, the tree gets stronger, and is able to weather the storm. All because His grace planted the seed.
When I asked Jesus into my heart as a 7th grader I was this little sprout with all the faith I needed at that point. Though I've always prayed to grow deeper in my faith, I never understood the pain that came with breaking new ground...or atleast in this case. The ground that was broken felt cold, lonely, and frankly I questioned if this is how it was supposed to be. My questions led me to His word. His word is truth. I clung to the promises that He has NEVER broken.
The glorious part of this whole journey and I think the reward of breaking new ground was I had the privilege of experiencing that Yes, He is even here, in the deepest part. He is still here with me at this depth...so my faith grows and my arms raise with praise. I look forward to growing deeper still, no matter the cost, knowing that in His love He will be there.

Gracie had her cleft pallet surgery 2 days ago and just one day after my mom went in for her 4th round of chemo. We have waited 2 years for this surgery, and it took 3 cancellations for me to finally yield that I had no control and was along for the ride. So, I held it loosely, and then all of a sudden the doctor came in, cleared her, and they carried her away to surgery. It was a surreal moment of excitement and terror. The door closed and I thought... that was oddly easy. I just handed her over. Josh and I turned...walked hand in hand to the waiting room...filled with anxious parents. I grabbed for my bible and journal and had to walk outside while Josh napped. (He is such a good example to me...just rest. haha)
All I could do was look out the window. A song came into my heart( I love how He does that).
So I quietly sang...
If my heart is overwhelmed and I cannot hear Your voice
I'll hold on to what is true though I cannot see
If the storms of life they come & the road ahead gets steep
I will lift these hands in faith
I will believe
I remind myself of all that you've done
And the life I have because of your Son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours
I am forever Yours
(Love Came Down by Brian Johnson)

I believe His love is deep. How can I KNOW how deep His love is unless I see it in the depths?

The smell of the hospital soap reminds me that we've been here before. It reminds me that He was faithful before.

I am thankful that He took me there. Thankful that He WAS with me. Thankful that my sweet Gracie was handed back to me, whole...all sewn-up and given a fresh start. What a complete joy she is and what a privilege it was to have 2 days with her alone, in the hospital to play dollies, hold her, and pray. She is one of the toughest little joyfilled girls I know. I am so in love with her and so proud to be her mama. God teaches me so much through her.

Jeremiah 17:7-9
7 “ Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

A verse about the wicked:
Job 18
16 His roots are dried out below,
And his branch withers above.

Psalm 37:3
Trust in the LORD, and do good;Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Phillipians 1:6
6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will (be faithful to)complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bo is 1!

I Chronicles 28:20
“Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.

My baby turned 1 yesterday. Just for the record...I'm not ok with this. haha When did this happen? I'm learning that motherhood is a constant letting go process. They just continue to get more and more independant...and we have small goodbye's along the way. Yes, even at 1.
My Bo is hillarious. I just adore his little personality. Right now he prefers crawling and standing on one knee. He loves to say Whoooo at just the right time. He loves his sister and big brother and is officially into EVERYTHING!
He still cuddles and sucks his thumb and that is my favorite time with him.
It is so much fun celebrating milestones in my children's life. What an honor to have family and friends to walk beside us and sometimes carry us in this journey called parenthood.
I love my Bo and I love being his mama!

Psalm 92:1
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cleft Pallet Surgery for Grace

A phone call caught me off guard at the store with 3 kids in the cart and barely any room for groceries. I stop in the isle as the voice on the other line says, "Miss Young we have a cancellation and we can get Grace in for surgery this week. Does Thursday work for you?" Umm..sure, yah. Let's do it. I quickly oblige, hang up the phone and realize life is about to change...and just that quick.
My daughter, a beautiful baby girl, born full term at 5 pounds was seemingly perfect. The dr. placed her on my chest. I thought she was beautiful. I ooed and awwed. Then she cried, and I noticed something was wrong. I quickly told the doctor...there is a hole in the back of my baby's throat! They took her into the NICU and confirmed yes, she has a soft pallet cleft. And that was just the beginning. After an emergency run to the hospital at 1 week old, followed by a 6 week stay at the NICU, we found out that the cleft was a byproduct of a chromosome abnormality and she will most likely be delayed her whole life. We had chosen to name her Grace, long before we knew that she really was God's gift of grace to us. Her name was perfect and she was just as God had made her...beautiful and different.
So surgery to fix the cleft is exciting and terrifying. I catch myself looking at her differently. I look at her with compassion, knowing what is coming tomorrow. She has no idea and I could never verbally communicate in a way she could understand. So, I hold her a little longer, kiss her a little more.
I wish I could take it away or maybe just call the whole thing off. But...would that be loving? No, I can't do that. She needs it. She needs this surgery to make her whole, to allow her to eat, to allow her to grow and live.
I pray.
What can I do? I realize all I can do is hold her and be there with her through it, wipe her tears, stroke her blonde curls, rock her to sleep, and never ever leave her side.
All of a sudden it clicks.
God, is this how you feel when you have to lead me through something painful? Now I know it must be necessary or you wouldn't allow it.
That's it Lord. You won't take away the pain; you won't stop the surgery, the trial, the lesson...because with the pain comes healing. I need it. I need it to be whole, to grow, and live. It’s out of love that you allow me to go through it. However, in your compassion, you promise to never leave me alone in the pain. You promise to hold me a little closer. You promise to see me through it and you promise that I will be whole, complete, and beautiful in the end.
I look back and realize that my Jesus has always held me in the hard times. He held me in elementary school when I cried watching my daddy drive away. He held me when my tiny daughter was diagnosed with a syndrome as I held her in my arms in the NICU. He held me this month when I found out my mom has breast cancer and a brain tumor. He has always held me, always loved me, and I know that I would never choose a life without Him. He is my comforter, my joy, and my peace forever.
Psalm 55:22
Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not for I am with you...
Psalm 28:6-7
Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart gladly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Halle Berry hair

Isn't she beautiful...with her cute Halle Berry cut?? This was her transition cut, by tomorrow you will see her in a wig or hat. So beautiful.
Please pray for her as her 2nd round of Chemo starts tomorrow.

Psalm 51:12
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

I was so down this week. You know those weeks where the darkness seems to prevail and its hard tuning out the lies?
Pheww. Everywhere I looked seemed dark and hopeless.
Except His word.
His truth is never overcome by darkness. His word is always a light leading me out of painful misery.
I praise Him.
Psalm 103:
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Isaiah 38:16
O Lord, by these things men live; And in all these things is the life of my spirit; So You will restore me and make me live.

Joel 2:25
25 “ So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten...

He is a gracious and merciful God quick to restore and I bless Him...O my soul, I bless Him.

Last day of Preschool

My baby finished Preschool.
Here he is at the beginning of the year and at the end.
It really is amazing how fast it goes.
I am so proud of him and the changes I've seen in him this year.
He is growing into such a great kid! :)

James 4:8
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

Isaiah 45:2
I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Ephesians 1:7
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

I like to feel like I have it all figured out. I like to think that I know it all. But somedays I am EXTREMELY aware that I know nothing. Infact the only moments I grasp something...its a gift from God. His ways are higher than mine. How could I grasp a Holy God? I am so sinful. I battle my sin nature daily and fail daily.
Oh how I grasp for His forgiveness...how I run to His arms. I hate my sin that seperates us.
I'm humbled by failure. I'm humbled by His presence. I'm humbled when I worship. I'm humbled when God allows my prayers to fill His ears. I'm humbled that I don't know it all.
I'm grateful that I serve the God who does. I can rest in that. I'm grateful that He welcomes me, a sinner, into His presence. I'm grateful that He loves me.
God knelt down and formed me out of the dust of the earth. I am nothing without His life filled breath.
I am on a journey. A journey with Christ. I am learning and growing...all of which He does in me.
Thank you. Thank you Jesus.

Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

1 Peter 2
1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,[a] 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Psalm 130:3-7

3 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

7 O Israel, hope in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chemo begins

God so loved
Jesus came
I believe
The Holy Spirit guides
His word comforts

I am in love.

Simple as that.

My mom starts Chemo tomorrow...her first treatment from 10am-2pm. Her next appointment is 21 days from then. She will lose her beautiful hair in about 2 weeks.

Today on the phone...she calls and asks if we can talk about the one we both love...Jesus.
Fresh from her time with Him...

She feels loved.
She calls Jesus her Savior.
She says the Holy Spirit spoke to her.
She feels comfort in God's word.

She is in love.

Simple as that.

As we speak we are moved to tears by a prayer she wrote, a story of amazing grace, and how true compassion can only come when you are free.

There is nothing like it...walking with Jesus. Nothing like it.

Please pray for my mama! Pray for strength, healing, joy, peace, rest.

P.S. Praise report...they biopsied the lymphnodes they removed during surgery last week. Only 1 of the 11 lymphnodes they took out had cancer. I praise the Lord.

God loved, Jesus came, & I believe
John 3:16
For God so loved the world
that He gave His only son
that whoesoever believes in Him
will not perish but have
everlasting life.

The Holy Spirit guides
John 14:26
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

The Word comforts
Romans 15:4
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

cancer removed & a weight lifted

i press on...
i reflect...

i look ahead, eyes fixed on Jesus.

I cracked. I cracked on Mother's day. A Mother's day with surgery looming for my precious momma and I totally blew it. Oh man. I think I blew it. Like a tea kettle, I just exploded with built up pressure that I didn't even realize was there. I just wanted her to rest and take a break before surgery...with me. JUST TAKE A BREAK!!! But, really what I was saying was that I needed a break. I needed to rest, and I wanted to spend time relaxing with her. Maybe I wanted to get away, pretend surgery wasn't coming...that she didn't really have cancer.
Stress is a funny thing. It creeps. And I busy myself so I don't have to think about it...and it creeps.
Luckily my mom and sis are gracious women. My sister quieted me and encouraged me. I was embarassed. We laughed afterward...like a crazy person...I laughed.
I bit off WAY more than I could chew last week, thought I was superwoman, and thought I could skate by without paying attention to the hurt. I was hurting deeply. I was worried.
I thought if I hurt or worried that I wasn't trusting God somehow. I thought if I worried or hurt, I would give God a bad rap. (P.S. He doesn't need my help in giving Him a good reputation. haha)
My Grandma so gently said yesterday, while praying in the waiting room...Shelly, have you ever read Psalms? Have you read how David cried out to God in turmoil? Have you ever read how Job cried out?
It's ok.
You are human.
I cried. A calm came over me. I relaxed. A weight was lifted. Why is there no weight heavier than the one we put on ourselves?

So surgery is over, no complications. They removed the cancer in both her breast and 17 lymphnodes. She came through beautifully. And in Debbie fashion, as she wakes up from anesthesia she is commenting on how cute the pink ruffled tube top is, that they gave her. So funny...so adorable. So we take her home. Can you believe its an outpatient surgery?? nuts.
She is sleeping a lot. Something she needs. She is on pain meds, so no complaints so far. She has my beautiful Grandmother and Grandfather there to care for her...fix her meals, play family movies, and keep her company. Jeff is working during the day, taking care of her in the evening, and handing out meds at night. I pray for his strength. He loves her. It makes me happy.
Thank you for your prayers. I will update you as soon as we know more.
What is to be expected, you say?
They are hoping for a quick recovery from this so that they can start administering chemotherapy and radiation. This will be quite a process, and we don't know until Monday what particular therapy they will be using of each. The reason they want to keep this on schedule is so that they can start working on her brain tumor this Fall.

We also just found out that my sweet daughter Grace's cleft pallet repair surgery is now scheduled for August. So, we will be praying double time!
Oh 2011.

Here is a scripture God gave me yesterday...confirming what my grandma had said. Man He is faithful!!! Amazing in my weakness.
Psalm 69
1 Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
2 I sink in deep mire,
Where there is no standing;
I have come into deep waters,
Where the floods overflow me.
3 I am weary with my crying;
My throat is dry;
My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

5 O God, You know my foolishness;
And my sins are not hidden from You.
6 Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me;
Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel.
13 But as for me, my prayer is to You,
O LORD, in the acceptable time;
O God, in the multitude of Your mercy,
Hear me in the truth of Your salvation.
14 Deliver me out of the mire,
And let me not sink;
Let me be delivered from those who hate me,
And out of the deep waters.
15 Let not the floodwater overflow me,
Nor let the deep swallow me up;
And let not the pit shut its mouth on me.
16 Hear me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good;
Turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies.
17 And do not hide Your face from Your servant,
For I am in trouble;
Hear me speedily.
18 Draw near to my soul, and redeem it;
29b Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high.
30 I will praise the name of God with a song,
And will magnify Him with thanksgiving.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Prince of Peace & a Royal Wedding

He speaks to me in pictures.
I'm a photographer...and he speaks to me in pictures.

My girlfriend called last week and asked what I was doing for the royal wedding. "Nothing." I replied, "You want to come over?"
We thought an English tea would be just perfect. So, I cut flowers from my moms garden, made scones (for the first time), layered the table with red and blue linens, and set out the pretty dishes.

My girlfriends came over bright and early, brought beautiful fruit and lots of kids. The Tivo was ready...and once the kids were situated, our tea was poured and the remote was in hand...we let out a quick squeal...excited to see the procession and Ohhhh that dress!!
What happened next, I was not prepared for...
The spectacle!
Beautiful buildings & streets lined with eager on-lookers waving their flags...more than you could count...filling the sidewalks & streets. The flag & tree lined streets leading directly to the palace. The sound of the bells ringing.

The cars start to come, one by one. People have been waiting for hours just to catch a glimpse of the royalty inside.
And who's in this car? I see the uniform. Wow...It's Prince William, the groom!! The crowds are going crazy...welcoming their future King.

All I can think...
God, you allowed this. Why do you allow such a spectacle. Why is my heart pounding in my chest.
Is this a picture of you? Is this what it will be like...when you come again? I know its silly, but it's all I can liken it to. And my heart is still pounding. Oh how I long for it to be You! To see you making a triumphant entry...coming to receive your bride, the church. The honor, the glory, the crowds shouting your name. Jesus! The Son of God! The Prince of Peace!

And then, the moment we've been waiting for...there she is! The beautiful bride, coming to be presented to her husband, the prince. She becomes a princess today, and only through him.
God created this. There is a reason why 3 billion people wanted to watch a wedding...why our hearts pounded when we saw royalty.
A couple tears started rolling down my cheeks...my girlfriends and I could't stop interjecting with different parallels we saw.
Even now it sounds silly describing it...you just had to see it.

And then the ceremony...and my jaw drops. Romans 12!
God's true and living word proclaimed to 3 billion people of different race and culture. The true and living word of God that has been promised (Isaiah 55:11) to never return void. The name of Jesus Christ proclaimed and honored by earthly royalty, for all to hear. It was Amazing.

It started out a silly, girly, idea...let's have a tea party and watch a royal wedding...and we ended up so incredibly blessed. God met us there, he gently spoke to us in pictures and filled our hearts with longing. Longing for the real thing...the true King of Kings...the true wedding feast.

Isaiah 62:5
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you.

Ezekiel 16:11
I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty.