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Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's Been Awhile...

Hi My Dear Friends,
It's been awhile since I chatted with you, shared what God has laid on my heart. And although I miss our time together, I haven't missed the stress and pressure that blogging brought to my life. I found that all day long I was searching for the next "great post" idea. I wasn't living in the moment, enjoying my kids, serving my family, loving on others, being still. I wasn't in the Word to grow in my own walk, but to search for that next nugget of wisdom God had for me to share...all the while missing what He so desperately wanted to share with me, what He wanted to speak into my heart, how He wanted to grow our relationship.

Photo Credit

So I began to pray...

I prayed. I sought His will for my life...this areas of service. 
I mean how do you know what needs to go, what needs to be re-prioritized, what needs to stay in our oh-too-busy schedules when we see all of it as good? 

We seek God. I sought God. I shared my struggle with some very close Godly-girlfriends who had already witnessed my balancing act and had been praying for me. I got down on my knees in prayer. I even had a mini-breakdown at church, pouring my overwhelmed heart out to a lady God placed in my path at just the right moment to speak truth into me and pray with me. Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." All these things...including sorting out in a sea of good, what God has chosen for me to do today, in this season.

So what did He say?

Among other things, He has reminded me that BBM is His ministry. That I am to write when He calls me to. That I shouldn't spin, seeking posts and wisdom to share. I am His and am willing to be used how and when HE chooses. I know that most bloggers have a schedule, writing and posting on specific days on specific topics. BBM is not one of those blogs. I love to write and God has given me a passion for it. However, I want it to be used for HIS glory, not out of obligation!

Although the decisions were hard to come to, I know it is God's will, because when we are in the center of His will, there is peace. And I have a perfect peace for the first time in a long time!

My son reminded me that some women only hear about Jesus from what they can read online and God is using me to reach them. Out of the mouths of babes, right! I love each and every one of you! I know that God has given me a passion to share His love, truth & promises with women. So if you would like to stay connected with me and BBM, please "like" us on our Facebook page. I have begun posting on there daily as a short devotional-style. If you have "liked" us in the past and haven't seen us in your news feed, just go to our page and either "like" a picture, leave a comment or make sure that the "Like" button is still checked. Facebook is making it more and more difficult for you to see your favorite pages. Doing this should help keep BBM in your news feeds! You will need to do this again from time to time to make sure you're able to see us.

I LOVE hearing from you and treasure our time together! I look forward to staying connected with you on Facebook. Please feel free to leave messages, comments, prayer & praise requests, or whatever is on your heart.

Are you spinning...stressed out...balancing a plate so full it's cracking and it's only a matter of time before it shatters and everything falls? Maybe it's time to pray and seek His face. There is no peace in spinning. There is perfect peace in God's plan!

Be A Blessing,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Discovering God’s New Normal for Me ~ (Testimony of Danielle O.)

“Life isn’t a book. Life isn’t logical or sensible or orderly. Life is a mess most of the time. And theology must be lived in the midst of that mess.” ~Charles Colson (from Carol Kent’s A New Kind of Normal)
It was the end of a long and frustrating week and I was anticipating the call and conversation with a friend that I hadn’t spoken with or seen in at least two years. As the call came through and I excitedly picked up the phone, it seemed as though we picked up right where we had left off two years ago.

We went through the normal questions… you know. How are you? How are the kids? How’s life etc. Then she asked the question that I had been dreading. How is your husband?? Ugghhh! That question is the new knife in my side.

Author Carol Kent calls this new phase of my life “A New Kind of Normal” and honestly I couldn’t agree with her assessment more. It is definitely “new”, but just four short weeks in, it hardly seemed normal. My mind reflected back to May 5, 2012. While everyone was celebrating Cinco de Mayo with the flavor and flair of Latin cuisine, I was working in California while my husband was moving out. For me, the unthinkable had happened AGAIN, but this time it was permanent.

The last few months of this year have been filled with what I had been trying to pass off as normal behavior. You know, get up in the morning, and get the kids off to school, go to work, clean the house, make dinner, go to bed and repeat the next day. However, in our house there was a deeper secret lying beneath the surface.
My husband of ten and half years had chosen to leave our marriage, our home and rip the heart out of our family again. Yes, I said it again!
It happened in somewhat the same way as the first time. It was 2008, and it was the exact same time of year when he looked me in the eye and said almost the exact same words “I don’t want this marriage anymore. I’m not happy with who I am and therefore I am not happy with our marriage.” Thinking that this was just a normal phase in marriage, I didn’t really take it seriously. I suggested we try counseling, speaking with our pastor, reading books, listening to tapes etc. you name I suggested it. All to no avail, nothing would change and suddenly it became real. He came home one day announcing that he had found a place and would be moving at the end of our lease.

In that moment, the beautifully constructed castle that was my life crumbled right before my eyes. So, naturally, being the “good Christian girl” that I am, I began to pray. I began to seek and yearn for God like I had never sought Him before. I prayed on behalf of my marriage, my daughters, my husband and myself. I called Him on every promise written in the bible. I desperately wanted my marriage to work. I had seen God working so many times in my life and I knew that, He alone had the power to heal our broken marriage. So, for a year and a half, I prayed, I believed and I studied his word. In the process, a genuine authentic relationship with Christ began to form. It was a relationship with Him that only brokenness and heartache could produce. It was fire-tested. As time passed, I felt myself becoming content with how I thought my life would look without my husband.

Then in 2009 just weeks before our anniversary, he came back! It was like God picked me out of a crowd, looked into my soul and granted me the desire of my heart. I felt like Charlie receiving the golden ticket to Willie Wonka’s factory. My husband wanted his family back. I was elated. As I cautiously re-built my relationship with my husband on the outside, the inside of me was rejoicing, praising and thanking God for what I knew was a blessing from Him. The following year for our ten-year anniversary, we celebrated on the beaches of Puerto Rico and for me it was a dream come true!

So when, on Valentines Day 2012, my husband again said that he didn’t want the marriage because he wanted to work on himself, I knew that this time the outcome would be different. I knew because my prayers were different, the seeking was different, the petitions were different; it was all different.
My prayers were no longer petitions to God to save my marriage, even though I longed for that to be the outcome. They were no longer requests to make me the wife that He created me to be to my husband. Those prayers had already been answered. I was that woman, I was that mom, I was that wife and God made sure that I knew it.

This was different. The prayers that I prayed, or rather cried this time were filled with questions demanding to know why. Why would you allow this to happen again? Why would you do this to my girls? Why would you do this to me? Hadn’t I done everything you asked? Hadn’t I given you everything you wanted? I did it all according to your word. Why? Why allow us to reconcile only to be back in this hurtful, shameful, embarrassing and humiliating place again just two short years later? Why tease me with this false sense of hope for a marriage that would eventually end? What kind of God does that? WHY?

I returned from my business trip on May 6th thinking I was ready to deal with my new reality. However, when I walked into “our” home and saw all the empty spaces where his things had once been, I realized I was more unprepared than ever. This is hard and it sucks! I wanted so bad to be that strong woman that just bounces back from the trials that life had dealt me. To be a picture of strength for my daughters, my family, my friends and all the people that had prayed for and supported us the first time. I wanted so badly to just fast forward to my “happily ever after”, but I’m learning day by day that there is no such thing as happily ever after (even for Christians) and that each day is a new opportunity to choose life in Jesus.

It would be super easy to just pretend like none of this is affecting me, like my husband leaving me twice, was part of God’s big plan for my life. It would also be easy and completely understandable to just fall apart and stay in bed with my grief and despair while life passed me by. But God isn’t a God of “easy”, He’s a God of purpose, healing and redemption.

Furthermore, that’s not what I believe needs to happen. God has given each of us free will to make our own choices in this life. My husband has made his and I’m making mine. For me, I’m choosing to believe that while God didn’t cause this, He will redeem it (Romans 8:28). I’m choosing to believe that the faith of my daughter’s will be stronger because I walked through this “valley” with integrity. I’m choosing to believe that He will use my testimony to help other women in similar circumstances of brokenness. I’m choosing to believe that He was with me during every step of this dark journey, walking and many times carrying me through, when I was too weak to walk on my own. I believe that daily He gives me the courage and the strength that I need to take care of my children and myself.

Even in the midst of extreme brokenness, I’m choosing to cling with every fiber of my being, every ounce of energy to the God of Hope. I’m choosing to live a life that honors God. It isn’t easy, and there are days where my comfy bed coupled with chips and dip win out over reason. But every day the choice is mine.
God is carving out a new normal for me. In her book “A New kind of Normal” Carol Kent quotes Ken Gire who says this. “When suffering shatters the carefully kept vase that is our lives, God stoops to pick up the pieces. But he doesn’t put them back together as a restoration project patterned after our former selves. Instead he sifts through the rubble and selects some of the shards as raw material for another project-a mosaic that tells the story of redemption.”

So, when despair tries to take me under… I choose life! (John 3:16)
Instead of trying to figure out What God was thinking in all this…. I choose to trust! (Proverbs 3:5-6)
When I desperately want relief from the pain of reality… I choose to persevere! (Romans 5:3-4)
When I feel oppressed and overwhelmed by disappointment and sorrow…. I choose gratitude! (Philippians 4:6-8)
When I want to keep my feelings to myself….I choose vulnerability! (1 Peter 2:9)
When nothing goes according to my plan … I choose to relinquish it to God!(Jeremiah 29:11)
When I want to point the finger…. I choose forgiveness! (Ephesians 4:32)
When I want to give up…. I choose intentional action! (Philippians 3:12-14)

I don’t know why horrible things happen in life. I do know, however, that the same God who loved me enough to send His only son into this world to be a perfect sacrifice for an imperfect world. Was there with me through each of those dark days, and that He will one day turn my weeping into dancing (Psalm 30:11) and redeem my pain for His greater glory!

About Danielle:
Danielle ODanielle is a full-time work from home mom in Las Vegas, NV. She runs a successful business helping women transform their look and their lives with the beauty and affordability of high fashion jewelry. She currently serves as a leader on the Women’s Ministry staff for The Crossing, Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV where she attends with her family. Most importantly, she is intentionally parenting two beautiful daughters to know and seek the heart of God for purpose in their lives.  This fall Danielle will be launching a blog and speaking ministry to share with others the blessings God has for us in our brokenness. She also is planning to share her love and experience in children’s ministries to help churches build their own healthy children’s ministries that will benefit both the children and their families. She welcomes your email and prayer requests at:

Each of us have a story to share and we would LOVE to share the story God is writing in your life! Your testimony matters. It may be the very thing God will use to minister to someone else. If you are feeling God tug at your heart to share, please contact me at or via private message on our Facebook page. I look forward to sharing your testimony very soon!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Trash to Treasure {Donna’s Testimony–Part 2}

Somehow, during those 30 years since I left home, became a wife and mother, I also became an alcoholic…
My determination to QUIT became stronger when I found out I was going to be a grandmother. Sadly, my ability to control how much I drank, did too. So I really began to pray. As I had done many times in the past, I ask God to please DELIVER me from this addiction. I didn't want to go to rehab and leave my family behind. I didn't want the extra financial burden of a rehab hospital bills, etc. I just knew in my heart that God could (and would) deliver me from my alcohol addiction. I prayed for three years before God answered.
Here's how it happened. I am a writer for a small publication called The Minute Magazine, here in northern Louisiana. My column is called "True Confessions of an Antique Junkie." I usually write about "my passion" of turning "trash into treasures" - finding junk & pieces of furniture that others have discarded & left for trash, and I re-purpose them into treasures.
I have always "felt connected" to my work, because I feel like that is how God sees me. He sees the mess (trash) I've made of my life, but He sees beyond all those sins & imperfections because He knows what a "treasure" I can become!!
Normally, I write about my “treasure hunting” in my column.  However, the last year or so, I felt God put it on my heart to share more of my personal stories and how I relate the "trash to treasure" story to myself. This opened a new door for me, and started me on a journey that I never would have dreamed or imagined.

On January 1st, 2012, I stood before our church and shared "My Trash-to Treasure Story" with our congregation. Next, I received a phone call from the director of the Louisiana Baptist Women's Convention. She had read an article of mine and asked me to come speak at the conference. I explained that I had no experience with this (on that large of a scale) and that I had only shared my story with a few small groups at our church. She assured me that "we all have to start somewhere, and I'd do fine." So, our February 4th, I shared my story with 100-150 women at the conference. Something happened while I was there. I was so touched and blessed by the women who came up to me afterwards. Many were crying and hugging me, telling me how much "my story" had ENCOURGED them and given them HOPE. In the story I shared, that I had been sexually abuse as a small child by my step-father; that I saw my brother physically abused and beaten by the same man. As an adult, I was physically abused by my husband and that we both admitted to committing adultery.
The only thing I didn't share with this group was my addiction to alcohol!!! Why? Because I had not quit drinking at the time.
It wasn't until February 5th (the day after I came home from the conference) that GOD DELIVERED ME!!! I got up and went to church as usual. I was excited to share with my Sunday School class about the conference I had attended. When I came home, I just "knew in my spirit" that something was different. That evening, I didn't drink anything. The next day, I woke up and thanked God that I had actually made it through the evening without a drink! The process repeated itself for several days. Next thing I knew... it had been a week, then 2 weeks, then a month since I drank a beer (or any other type of alcohol)!!!

I began to have a dream. In the dream, I wrote about my addiction to alcohol in my column. When I woke up, I thought, "That's CRAZY! I'm never going to tell the world about my drinking problem!" But I had the dream several times, so I began to pray. I asked God if HE wanted me to tell my story? I felt like His answer was "yes." So, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I began to write. It just flowed from the tips of my fingers. I didn't even have to think about it! The words just came to me. I called the owner/publisher of the magazine (who is also a close personal friend) and told her I had something to tell her. I told her that I felt like God had put it on my heart to publish this story but I first needed to tell her what it was about. She didn't even know about "my little secret." After hearing what I had to say, she encouraged me to do what I felt God leading me to do. Next, I ran the idea by my husband, who was in denial about addiction. After hearing everything I had to say and reading my story, I had his love & support. So, in the March/April issue I shared my story of addiction.

In April, my husband & I flew to California to visit our son & daughter-in-law. We planned some activities while we were there.  Before we left, I had a dream several times where I felt God kept asking me if I trusted Him? My answer was always, "of course I do, Lord." Then He said, "You need to show me that you COMPLETELY TRUST me." So, "walking by faith... not by sight," I followed through with the dream that God had given me.
I took a "Leap of Faith!" Yep- I went skydiving (and I’m scared to death of heights) to "celebrate" the new things God is doing in my life and the changes He has made in me!!
 Donna _ skydive sign       Donna _jump1 
I know this is just the beginning of many new things that God has in store for me. He is using me as a vessel to encourage others. I know there's going to be more chapters added to this story. I'm excited about "the new thing" God is doing in me & through me. I am humbled that He has chosen to use "my story" to offer HOPE to others out there that are struggling with addictions. It's especially hard when you're a Christian who is dealing with a "secret sin." I was so overwhelmed with guilt. I'd want to do better, then I'd give in to the OVER-POWERING temptation and I'd drink again. Afterwards, I'd feel bad, ask for forgiveness, feel guilty, then the whole process would start over again.
I know my story has been "long winded" but I found it hard to write & not tell you the "back-ground" on all the how's & why's. I pray that God uses my story to give encouragement and hope.
About Donna:
Donna-A_thumb1I'm a columnist, & featured writer for The Minute Magazine. I love to restore, refinish & repurpose unwanted furniture & give it "new life." I have been married to my best friend, Mike, for 28 years. We have been BLESSED with two children who are now grown. son- Michael & his wife Michelle (and) our daughter-McKensie & her husband David who have blessed us with two precious grandsons; Remington 3-1/2 yrs. & Levi 2 yrs.
What is God doing in your life? Has he delivered you from an addiction like Donna? Or carried you through a dark valley? Or given you strength and courage during a time of fear and uncertainty? We would love to share your story! For more information or to share your testimony, email us at or private message us on our Facebook page. We look forward to sharing your story very soon!
Be A Blessing,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Trash-to-Treasure {Donna’s Testimony–Part 1}

make me newI turned 47 on July 13th. This year I "celebrated" my birthday like never before. Here's why:

I accepted Christ as my Lord & Savior when I was a teenager. I didn't have any "this is where I turn my life around" experience. I was raised in a very small country church and just felt it was time. I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit & followed through. Afterwards, life went on as usual.

When I was 15 I met my husband, starting dating him at 17, and married him at 18. While we were dating, he lived life "a little on the wild side." He was saved, but had fallen away. I wanted him to go to church with me, but when he didn't show any interest in joining me, I decided to join him. (You know the old saying..."if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.)  We began drinking socially. My husband worked offshore, so when he was home, we'd join our friends and go out drinking & dancing.

In 1986, I found out I was expecting our first child. We’d been married for two years and after several moves, had settled down and started attending a small, country church. Finding out that we were going to be parents REALLY helped us decide to put our "drinking days behind us." We took the fact that God trusted us to be care-givers to a beautiful baby very seriously.  What an honor & a blessing!! When our son was born, we couldn't have been happier! A couple of years later, we were blessed again with a daughter. This completed "us" and we were happy with our little family of four.

As the children got a little older, we began to have an occasional drink again. We would buy frozen drinks during half-price happy hour or on 2 for 1 days.
This was where I made a huge mistake. This started a "habit" that I didn't fully understand or realize until years later.
I began to enjoy our frozen drinks a little more often. We began socializing with other couples with children the same age as ours. We would get together to let the kids play while we enjoyed adult company…and adult beverages.
After all, a little drink every-now-and-then didn't hurt anything, and we were not going out to bars or anything like that. Nothing wrong with a little "social drinking," right? (At least that's what I told myself.)
After several years and moves, we found ourselves near the small town we had lived in when our children were born. When we moved back, we changed churches so we could get "plugged in" with new friends & get our children involved in their new church and school. This is where we have lived for the past 20 years, where our children grew up, where we call HOME. So much has happened during the past 20 years that it sometimes just doesn't seem possible that time goes by so fast. My children are now grown, married and are beginning families of their own. To say that I am BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE is an understatement!
But that's not when my story ends. Actually that's where "it begins", because somewhere, during the past 30 years, as I became a wife and mother, I also became an alcoholic…
I'm not sure exactly when or where it happened...but it did. I did not drink a drop either time I was pregnant or breastfeeding my children (just want to make that perfectly clear)! There were years that I completely stopped. As I struggled with "being a Christian" and drinking, I'd ask for prayer, confide in close friends, be determined that "I can do this on my own". I would quit for a while, then sadly, the process would start all over again. Anytime I decided that I wanted "just a drink", it became 2 or 3 drinks. Then it progressed to several days a week, and so on. Next thing I knew... I realize that for at least the last 10 years, I drank 7 days a week with just a few exceptions.

I’ve discovered I’m considered a High-Functioning Alcoholic. I kept my secret very well. Even some of my closest friends and family did not know that I struggled with this problem. I worked a normal job during the day, went to church, went to school functions (when my kids were still at home). I did everything just like most moms/grandmothers do. But in the evening, after all my "chores" were done, I would pop-the-top on my first cold beer, (my drink of choice). My husband was even denial about my addiction, until earlier this year. I'm not exactly sure how long I had been considered an alcoholic. I probably began drinking as early as 13 –15 years old. Although I didn't drink consistently for the past 30 years, I know I probably drank 7 days a week for the last 10 years of my life. In the end, I was hiding how much and how often I drank, even from my husband. He usually goes to bed before me, so I would stay up and drink for several hours after he was sound asleep. I would "sneak" to the liquor store when he was at work, and I'd always pay in cash so it wouldn't show up on our banking account.

Tomorrow Donna shares Part 2 of her amazing story. You won’t want to miss it!

About Donna:
I'm a columnist, & featured writer for The Minute Magazine. I love to restore, refinish & repurpose unwanted furniture & give it "new life." I have been married to my best friend, Mike, for 28 years. We have been BLESSED with two children who are now grown. son- Michael & his wife Michelle (and) our daughter-McKensie & her husband David who have blessed us with two precious grandsons; Remington 3-1/2 yrs. & Levi 2 yrs.

What is God doing in your life? Has he delivered you from an addiction like Donna? Or carried you through a dark valley? Or given you strength and courage during a time of fear and uncertainty? We would love to share your story! For more information or to share your testimony, email us at or private message us on our Facebook page. We look forward to sharing your story very soon!

Be A Blessing

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Time for Retreat!

Brian's Head, Utah - Where our church's Women's Ministry Retreat is being held! Isn't it BEAUTIFUL!!!!
Earlier this summer, I was asked to speak at our women's retreat. Honored and excited doesn't begin to describe my emotions!!!! Seriously, I think I squealed all the way home like a school girl who just got asked to prom!! When I received my topic I was even more thrilled! (I can't go into any more details now as some of the ladies from our church read this blog and our extra speakers (me and 2 other ladies) are a surprise).

Since then, my life seems to be one commitment after another. (Funny how the enemy uses distractions to attempt to derail us from God's plan and purpose!) I have all my thoughts ready to go, but desperately need to get them down on paper. So, with the retreat coming up in ten days, I HAVE to focus all my thoughts and prayers on what God wants me to say to these precious ladies. My full attention need to be with them and the amazing opportunity that God has given me to share a glimpse of His heart.

I will NOT be blogging until the beginning of October. I WILL continue to post testimonies this week and next week, which you WON'T want to miss!! (This week's is a 2-part story from an amazing women who shares what is it to be Christian alcoholic-powerful!! And the following week a personal friend shares her story of brokenness and her "new normal". It will move you to tears...and cheers!!)

Please keep me in your prayers if you would as I write, pray and prepare. Thank you all for your love, support and constant encouragement!! You each bless me more than you know!

While I'm away, visit my Blogs That Bless tab to find some of my favorite blogs like Time-Warp Wife, Becoming A Strong Women of God and Women Living Well. I'm sure these ladies will be a blessing!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Leaving a Successful Legacy

How do you define success?

~By achieving that next promotion or bonus at work...or better yet, breaking the "glass ceiling"?

~Having the best house, car, clothes, etc?

~Keeping the perfect house. Everything is in its place, cleaned and polished at all times?

~Is it through your children…they are the best on the team, make straight As, are involved in multiple activities, strive for perfection in all they do?

Or it is something else???

Two weeks ago, my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary!! It was a wonderful weekend, full of tears, memories, surprises and more love than you can imagine! I watched as two hearts, joined together over 50 years ago (if you include the years of high school romance), renewed their commitment to one another and to God…a God they both love and serve, a God that has guided their marriage, a God who is more than a religion, but an individual personal relationship of which they both share. It is this relationship and steadfast commitment to their Lord and to each other that has allowed them to walk hand-in-hand through good times and bad; through trials, laughter, tears, and triumphs; through blessings and loss. It is this example, this legacy, that they have given to their two sons, whom they raised and taught to love the Lord with all their hearts. These sons have in turn both married women who love the Lord, who seek His will, who strive to live a life of integrity, who desire to rear Godly children.

50th anniversary
Mom and Dad Sorge at their surprise vow renewal. Happy 50th Anniversary!!
This past weekend, their oldest grandson continued this living legacy when he got married. He married a women who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Her love and heart for God is first followed by the love she has for her new husband and our family. Eric was raised in a home that loves God and seeks to serve Him in and through all things! Now he begins a new life as the leader of his own home and eventually his children. There is no doubt that it will be a home guided by the Hand of God, just like his parents, his uncle's family and his grandparents.

husband and wife
Mr & Mrs Eric Sorge
walking back the asile
The happy couple!

Felicia washing Eric feet
Felicia washing Eric's feet
Eric washing Felicia feet
Eric washing Felicia's feet
kiss the bride1
"You may kiss the bride!"

Two hearts… two sons… two daughter-in-laws…six grandchildren…One God!! 
         All love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind!!

So how do you define success?
For me, it’s being able to look at my children and see hearts that love the Lord, minds that seek His wisdom, and souls that long to serve Him. In the end, that is all that will truly matter.
“Train up a child in the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” ~Proverbs 22:6
Now, it's your turn. How do you define success? We'd love to hear your thoughts. You can comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Be A Blessing,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Awaking the Lioness: Becoming the Women God Needs Me to Be {Testimony of Candice}

My life is full of different kinds of testimony but the one I am going to share with you is how God awoke the lioness inside me. In my twenties, I walked away from God. Yes, I still loved him, but I was not living for God. Instead I was living for myself and the world. When I got married my husband and I started attending church but we where still on the fence.

Then God awoke me with the birth of Lilly.

Having gone through my whole pregnancy with out a hiccup, to find out that my daughter lacked oxygen 0-72 hours before birth that resulted in a major brain injury affecting huge areas of the brain was devastating. I am not going to go into the medical journey of Lilly's first days of life because that is Lilly's testimony, not mine. Mine is about seeing hope through a traumatic season of life.

While feeling numb, scared, and frightened, he was there as my comfort. As I sat there wondering if my baby would live through the night, he was there. God made a promise to us through His Word that he would deliver her from her sick bed.  I clang onto these verses (Psalms 41: 1-3) with my every fiber and some days still do.
Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble. The Lord protects and preserves them. They are counted among the blessed in the land.He does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness. ~Psalms 41:1-3
On the third day I watched him take my baby barely hanging onto life and blow life into her body. With in a matter of hours she went from a machine breathing for her to breathing on her own in my arms for the first time!

As time passed I knew that Lilly will one day become a strong women of God, but I felt unworthy of my role as her mom. People, would come up to me and say things like, "She will bring thousands of girls to God." It scared me in the sense of how do you raise a child who will one day be this women?

Here I am struggling with getting over a traumatic birth, finding out who I am as a wife and mother. Most days I felt weak, scared and sometimes it felt like I was going crazy. How can I raise a strong women of God?

Looking back I see God's foot prints in my life. He has molded me into the women I am today. Through prayer, books such as Lioness Arising, other females, opportunities, and blogging I am becoming the women he needs me to be – a Proverbs 31 wife and mother.

Lilly's testimony is her own, mine is a different journey and just as important. Since founding the blog Lilly Through The Valley, God has placed it on my heart to speak to other women who are walking similar journeys. I started the blog as a way to connect to other special needs mommas; now it's way more than that. It's my ministry, my purpose in life - to give other mommas hope in a time of need.

Candice Lilly
This is my inheritance to my daughter as she grows up. My prayer is that she will one day find her own ministry just as I did.

The more I listen to God, the more I become the mother he needs me to be for Lilly. The fact is he will use Lilly to bring people to God, I know this because he already has. It's hard sometimes to believe that she will walk, talk, speak, and do unthinkable things in her life time when we have so much against us. But I know it will happen because he promised. It will definitely not be in my timing but his timing. (I remind myself this every time I get frustrated.)

The women I was four years ago is a distant memory. Sometimes it feels like a totally different world. Today I am thankful for the person God has changed me into and the ministry he has blessed me with. Psalms 119:171 states it quite well, "My lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees."
He's teaching me to be the person he needs me to be.
Have a great day!
About Candice:
CandiceI am Candice the founder of the inspirational blog Lilly Through The Valley. As a blogger, I strive to leave a positive impact on my readers. I love things that up lift my soul and love to share them. In my double life I am a late twenty something old stay at home wife and mother. I have a passion for 5 km walks, dogs, and reading. I love hearing from my readers. Please join me on Facebook and Twitter!

Each of us have a story to share and we would LOVE to share the story God is writing in your life! Your testimony matters. It may be the very thing God will use to minister to someone else. If you are feeling God tug at your heart to share, please contact me at or via private message on our Facebook page. I look forward to sharing your testimony very soon

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I Stopped Praying for Their Marriage

sad women
Photo Credit
Several weeks ago, two women – close Christian girlfriends of mine -  came to me, sharing that their marriages were in serious trouble. These two ladies each live in different states and do not know one another. However, within 24 hours, each of them was sharing their broken hearts with me. Over the following days and weeks, I listened, shared whatever wisdom God laid on my heart and I prayed. I don’t mean I prayed… I mean I PRAYED!!! I awoke in the middle of the night, these relationships heavy on my heart and I prayed. When I heard a song on the radio that would remind me of the couples, I prayed. I prayed in the car, at the store, everywhere I went. Tears ran down my face at church as I lifted these marriages up to God, asking Him to restore them as only He can.

The ladies and I shared texts and conversations. I listened as they shared their frustration, hurt, anger, resentment, and brokenness. I made sure NOT to take sides or give my opinion. With each interaction, I tried my best to point them back to scripture and the way God wants us to respond, regardless if we feel like it, regardless if it seems fair, regardless if the same kindness is being returned.

First Corinthians 13:4-8 is probably the most quoted Bible passage at weddings. It defines love as patient, kind, not envious, boastful or proud. Love does not dishonor others, is not selfish or keeps any record of wrongs. It doesn’t delight in evil, but takes joy in the truth. It ALWAYS protects, trusts, hopes and preservers. LOVE NEVER FAILS.

Are you loving your spouse like this? 
...Even when it’s hard? 
...Even when it’s unfair? 
...Even when you are not loved the same way in return?
As I was prayed for these marriages, God reminded me of an even more important relationship…the one we have with Him. 
I stopped right there, in the middle of my prayer time!! God showed me in that moment how to best pray for these marriages. It wasn’t to pray for their relationships with one another (although that is so very important). It was to pray for four individual people who need to revive their personal relationship with God Almighty! I have no doubt that God desperately wants to restore these marriages (as He does any marriage). But even more than that, He desires each of us to have an intimate relationship with Him. Sometimes God allows us to loose everything – our job, our home, our finances, our position, even our marriage – to draw us back to Him.*

*Notice I said He allows it…not that He causes it. The problems plaguing these two marriages were not cause by God, nor are the problems you may be facing in your own home. They have been growing for some time, rooted in our own choices. Like the Casting Crown songs says, “it’s a slow fade.”

So I continue to PRAY for my dear friends. It breaks my heart to see them go through these dark days. However, my prayer now focuses on four people instead of two marriages. I pray that they will each find God in a new way, that their relationship with the Almighty will be renewed and strengthen, that their minds will not be influenced by lies from the enemy, but will be reminded of God’s promises, that they will not rely on the deceitful emotions of the heart, but on the unchanging truth of the Word of God to guide them. I pray that as God speaks and works in the hearts of four individuals, that ultimately two marriages will be restored and the plans of the enemy to kill, steal and destroy another Christian family will be defeated!!

My friend, are you facing a similar situation in your home, in your marriage? Remember, you are not alone! BBM is here to come along side you, to encourage you, to pray for you and with you. If you would like us to pray with you, please send us a private message on our Facebook page.
Be A Blessing,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From the Inside Out- Hearts Changed and a Marriage Restored {Testimony of Mandy M}

Here is my story......
It has always intrigued me that my name means “worthy of love” because for the majority of my life, I never felt that I was worthy of being loved.  I don’t feel that it is necessary to dwell on the reasons why I felt that way, because the ‘why’ doesn’t matter, the fact is, I felt as though I was of very little worth to anyone and that I served no purpose in life.

For most of my life, I had a strong addiction to pleasing people and that addiction caused me to do many things over the years that I am not very proud of.  I would literally do anything, no matter the consequences, for anyone if I thought they would ‘like’ me for it.  Drugs, sex, lying, the list goes on and on.  I felt so terrible about myself and to feel better, I fed off of the attention I got from others although 99% of the time it was negative attention.

I wouldn’t consider myself as a child that grew up in church.  I visited church with my grandmother, my family would go occasionally, and I went every so often with my biological father but nothing consistent and I didn’t get much out of it when I went.  My main reason for visiting churches was to meet boys or hang out with my friends.  My first kiss took place at a church and I went on retreats as a teenager not for purposes of the Lord but to hang out and feed off of the attention I would receive from the boys there.  At 16, visiting church with a friend, I felt a strong tugging at my heart during an altar call.  I went up front, prayed and thought I was saved.  I say ‘thought I was saved’ because I went right back out and did the same old junk I did as before I went up to the altar.

I was on a fast paced track of destruction most of my teenage life.  I look back now and know without a doubt that even though I was running from God, He was chasing after me and protecting me from so many bad things.  I have seen things and been places and I often wonder how I made it out alive and the only answer I have for that is that God protected me even though I was wallowing in sinful ways.
I became pregnant at 19.  That was a pivotal point in my life and in my walk to the Lord.  Even though I was not married, God saved me through blessing me with a child.  He saved me because He gave me something to live for and to love.  I may have not loved myself but I definitely loved my son so that gave me the push I needed to make better choices and gave me a better outlook on life.

My husband & I were married shortly after our son’s first birthday.  I wish I could say that we lived happily ever after from that point but sadly it did not begin that way.  I would say that life went from bad to worse.  Although, after my son was born, I gave my life to the Lord, I still was unable to see myself through God’s eyes but still through my own eyes and I was still as unworthy as before.  Our marriage for the first couple of years was a nightmare and we were both very unhappy.  We both considered divorce at different points during that time and there were things that we both needed to change but we were too busy pointing out the wrong in the other one to even realize the wrong we were doing ourselves.

During all of this turmoil, we found out we were expecting our second child.  Although, I was very excited to be a mother again, all I could think of was being a single mom with two children now instead of one.  I was not excited to bring another child into this unpleasant situation that we were living in.  There was a point during my pregnancy that the Holy Spirit tugged at my heart and we, as a family, started attending church regularly. 
Through doing this, many strongholds in our lives were broken and I started to focus on myself and the changes I needed the Lord to help me make.  I began to understand God’s love for me and for the first time in 23 years, I knew that I was worthy to be loved.
Through my own journey, I began to secretly pray for my husband and after months of tears, prayers, and more trials; God began to change him. 
We made an agreement at that point; divorce was NOT an option ever again.  God literally changed the both of us from the inside out.
God transformed my husband into the man of my dreams and turned our nightmare into a fairy tale.  Life is still life and we still have trials, but we now have a relationship with Jesus and we know that He is there with us through those trials.  We live for HIM and not for ourselves anymore.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thank  in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
About MandyMany M

A daughter of the King of kings, wife to an awesome husband, mother to 2 wonderful kiddos.  Mandy shares her passion for teaching others to save money and serve the Lord along the way on her blog Serving While Saving : on Facebook and Twitter.

Each of us have a story to share and we would LOVE to share the story God is writing in your life! Your testimony matters. It may be the very thing God will use to minister to someone else. If you are feeling God tug at your heart to share, please contact me at or via private message on our Facebook page. I look forward to sharing your testimony very soon
Be A Blessing,

Monday, August 20, 2012

Following God’s Lead…into Public School

Photo Credit
The new back pack has been purchased; supplies are packed and ready to go; new jeans and shirts hang in the closet…it’s back to school time!

For the past two weeks, I’ve struggled with this post. My heart desperately wants to share the experience that God has given to our family, yet it breaks my heart to know that some (many perhaps) will not read this with open eyes. The journey I’m about to share is not meant IN ANY WAY to offend. It is simply to share what God revealed in our heart and to our family.

In a few short days our son will return to school…public school. I know for many this is a controversial decision. However, this is not a decision that my husband and I have come to lightly or without much prayer.

For the past two years, our son has asked to be homeschooled. He first proposed the idea while in 3rd grade, a year that was challenging to say the least. (You can read more about that year and our son's struggles in school here, here and here.) To be honest, I didn’t even entertain his request at first. But as the year went on and I could see the outgoing, happy kid who loved to learn and thrived in school retreat into himself and become a shell of who he once was, my heart became open to the idea. So I began to research it. I asked friends and posed questions online for information. I looked into various curriculums and spent many nights awake in prayer. As 3rd grade came to a close, I continued to gather information and then sat down, presenting everything to my husband, who was already well aware of the situation. To my surprise, he was very hesitant.  His concerns were valid and I listened to them.
One of the rules in our family is that if both my husband and I are not 100% in agreement, we don’t move forward. We stop, continue to pray about it and seek God’s will for the situation. We've learned that sometimes God chooses to only speak to one of us; so the other always needs to be open and prayerful for God's will.
That’s exactly what I did. I continued to pray, seek Godly wisdom and trust God's perfect will and timing.

As 4th grade began, I had determined to give it a month. If things weren’t better, I was going to pull our son out and begin homeschooling him (provided I could convenience my husband. Noticed I said “I” would be doing the convincing. I'm so glad this moment of weakness didn't win out). It didn’t happen overnight, but things did get better. As the year went on, I saw a happiness and excitement return to our son. Yet, he still continued to ask about homeschooling. Although I was willing to do whatever necessary to help our son I had reservations of my own and my husband still maintained his.
There is a song I love that says, “Lord move, or move me.” And that’s exactly what He did!  He didn’t change my husband’s heart…he changed mine!
Throughout the spring and over these summer months, God has made it incredibly obvious that He has our son right where HE wants him.

How do we know?

~When we asked our son why he wanted to be homeschooled, it became clear that is was his way of escape. Instead of facing a challenging year with a difficult teacher and classmates, he knew it was easier to stay home. He knew is was safe at home. God didn't call us to run. He called us to put on our armor! We can not run from our problems and God never promised our road would be easy. He promised he would walk it with us. The life of a believer is rarely safe, confortable or easy. As parents, we needed to help our son in the growing pains of his faith, not help him run from them. (As a mother, this was especially hard. Not mother wants to see their child hurt. However, it's through the pain that God stretches us, grows us and draws us closer to him...YES, even children).

~We saw God open door after door, using our son to be Jesus to his teacher and classmates. When a boy didn't have lunch, our son willingly shared his. When another child was being picked on, our son stood up for him, befriending him. He spoke words of encouragement over classmates who were struggling. He began to seek out ways to be Jesus at school. It became our conversation on the ride home, “How did you shine His light today?”

~Most importantly, we know because my husband and I have a perfect peace about it…and so does our son. He is excited to return to school for the first time in two years. He is becoming more firm in His faith and in shining God’s light to a dark classroom, playground, lunch period. He is learning that he may be the only Jesus someone ever sees and he is learning to make the most of those opportunities.

My husband and I firmly believe that God has a divine purpose for each of our children. We know that for now, that purpose is in our public school. If and when that ever changes, we are open and willing to move where ever He leads us.
And that, I believe is one of the greatest lessons we as parents who follow the Word of God can teach our children, to follow God’s lead, where ever it takes us, no matter how scary or uncomfortable it may be.
Regardless of where the little ones (and not so little ones) in your life attend school, it is my prayer that they have a wonderful year and that God’s light will shine brightly through them.
Be A Blessing,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Ma was Raped {Testimony of Connie B}

Just hearing or seeing the word sparks something in our hearts. For some it’s a cry for a woman’s right to choose. For others, it is a moral decision that only God should decide. One of the biggest debates and questions surrounding it…what about in the case of rape or incest?

Today’s testimony comes from Connie and the story she shares is a powerful one of love, forgiveness, God’s amazing grace and the power of God to restore and bless as ONLY He can. I read her story a few months ago and knew that it needed to be shared. I was in tears and my heart so full after reading it! I pray yours will be too!!!
(*Note: Connie has a unique way of writing. It makes you want to grab a glass of sweet tea and join her on the swing on the front porch and listen as she shares.)

"I am a woman who is, accordin’ to many people, a very STRONG WOMEN and GOD has been ALL I’ve known.
My sweet ma was brutally raped. She grew up in church and was a strong woman of God herself. She was a single mother and she LOVED me with everythin’ she had…
She never once was angry. She forgave him quickly and embraced a baby that was her “special blessin’".
Four months ago after 5 years of bein’ her caretaker, travelin’ to and fro Ohio, she was able to move to New York last September. We were able to spend six months together makin’ beautiful memories ~ She went to be with Jesus…
She was very well cared for by the baby born from that rape…
So, to all those who think that there’s SHAME in bein’ raped, or think it’s BEST to abort, I say, “look at me and then tell me ya really rather see me dead.”

TRUSTIN’ HIM is truly what makes me a STRONG WOMAN OF GOD!
It still is quite tough on me, havin' no family left. But I know God has plans for me! This is my daily mantra: the deeper your faith, the stronger you'll stand! He's still writin' my story, one page at a time. Everythin' I am, I owe to HIM!"

Connie's sweet Ma

Eleven roses at Ma's funeral. The
white represents Connie, the red
her mother's love for her.

Each of us have a story to share and we would LOVE to share the story God is writing in your life! Your testimony matters. It may be the very thing God will use to minister to someone else. If you are feeling God tug at your heart to share, please contact me at or via private message on our Facebook page. I look forward to sharing your testimony very soon!
Be a Blessing,

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It’s Good to be Home!

home is where the heart is

Hi Ladies,
They say that home is where the heart is. Well, my home is certainly here with you!! I missed you all and the encouragement you give to be each day (which is why I wasn’t able to stay away quiet like I had planned.) ♥
First, I want to say a huge “THANK YOU!!” to all the ladies who filled in as guest posts over the past several weeks!! All of you did an amazing job! If you missed any of their posts, I will have a list at the bottom that you can access.

So, what did I do with all my extra time???

~ Although I intended to be completely offline the entire time, I barely made it 1 day!! It wasn’t because of a “need to check in and see what’s going on" attitude. Rather, I found that within a day, I missed you terribly! I look forward to reading your comments, seeing your posts, sharing stories and just “doing life” together! BBM has become such a big part of my life and ministry. God uses you to bless, encourage and revive my soul throughout the day. I just couldn’t stay away!

~ I spent a lot of time praying and seeking God’s direction for BBM Ministries. I will get into more details over time. But I am so thankful to have confirmation in regards to the theme and direction that He has for BBM.

~ I also, hung out – with my kiddos, my family & my friends. It was WONDERFUL!! It reminded me that first and foremost, I am to minister to my husband and children. I LOVE BBM, but too often it has come before them. That is NOT how things are going to be anymore!!! Me…you, we all need to take a step back, re-evaluate our lives and re-prioritize from time to time.

~ I studied and dug into the Word. I can’t wait to begin to unpack all the things God revealed to me. His Word is amazing and ALIVE! He has SO many things that he wants us to know, so many ways he wants us to grow, so many promises he wants us to not just read or quote, but really get into the depths of our hearts and begin to live by! (Can you sense my excitement!?!?! I hope so, ‘cause boy, I am!!!!).

Thank you for joining me on this journey called "life". Isn’t is great to know you’re not alone! It’s my prayer that you will continue to walk with me, as BBM grows and develops into all that God desires it to be. He is good and worthy of our praise!!!
It’s good to be home! ♥

In Case You Missed Them:
Ladies, We Have a Choice” by Darlene Schacht of Time-Warp Wife
Are You Fall-ing?” by Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard
Our Marriages Are Worth Fighting For” by Sonya Schroeder of Becoming A Strong Woman of God
What If They Walked Into Your Church?” by Gina Smith of Keepin’ It Real
Left For Dead” by Amelia Rhodes of Amelia Rhodes Blog
Be A Blessing,

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Our Son Saved My Life {Testimony of Jayme}

At 32, I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child. When I was 17 weeks pregnant, I was called and told to go to the doctor's office. When I got there, my husband was there also....they had called him too. They didn't put us in a room, they had us go to the doctor's private office. That's when we were told that I had cervical cancer.  I was scared, but more concerned for my baby than anything. A few days later, my husband and I were sitting in an oncology waiting room.  That's when thing became real to me. We were called back and were escorted to the oncologist's private office.  I wasn't prepared for what was happening. The oncologist sat down and said it was his medical opinion that I needed to terminate my pregnancy and immediately have a hysterectomy. I didn't need time to think, I knew my answer. I looked at him and told him no. I wasn't sure if I was going to survive, but I knew that I was not going to kill my baby.
I kept thanking God for giving me this baby that was going to save my life. I wouldn't have known I even had cancer had I not gotten pregnant.
I delivered my 3rd little boy via C-section at 34 weeks. I immediately had a radical hysterectomy. We named him Andrew, which means protector. Eight months after Andrew was born, I received news that the cancer was back.  Now.....I was really scared. I prayed harder than I ever have. I started chemo and radiation a few weeks later. I finally finished my treatments 4 months ago and had my first PET scan....I got my results 3 weeks ago.......THE CANCER IS GONE!!!!!! Andrew is 15 months old now and he is healthy and happy!

Baby Andrew

Each of us have a story to share and we would LOVE to share the story God is writing in your life! Your testimony matters. It may be the very thing God will use to minister to someone else. If you are feeling God tug at your heart to share, please contact me at or via private message on our Facebook page. I look forward to sharing your testimony very soon! 
Be A Blessing,

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ladies, We Have A Choice….

old couple
(image from Pinterest, photographer unknown)
Marriages, like a garden, take time to grow. 
But the harvest is rich unto those who
patiently and tenderly care for the ground.
~ Time-Warp Wife

I go through the same cycle every couple of years. I finally get my hair to the length that I want it and then I start to wonder why I grew it out. It's lifeless, drab and all I ever seem to do is pull it back into a ponytail. I become "The Pony Girl" for about a year until I make the call. 

I want volume. I want layers. And I want them today. So I go see Justin at the mall and I tell him that I want big hair--the biggest hair he can pull off. I don't care if I need to add a sun roof to my little red car, I just want volume.
A centimeter is added to my stature, the new Facebook photos go up, and I'm thrilled with my hair for a few days, maybe a few weeks...

Then one day I get up, look in the mirror and say to myself. "What in the world have you done, Darlene? Didn't you learn your lesson the first bazillion times you made this mistake? Do you know how long this takes to grow back?" 
Finally after forty-six years I realized something. My hair style isn't the problem, I am. For one, I'm not content, and two, when I take the time to wash, blow dry, and style my hair it looks awesome, when I don't put the extra effort in, it looks drab. Period. Long or short I deal with the same scenario every time--I think that a new hair style will make the difference when the change is right at my fingertips. I'm just to lazy to do what it takes. 
So it is with many marriages. We may wake up one morning, take a look at our spouse and start to notice that life has gotten a little drab over time. We need proverbial volume in our lives, and we want it today. Unfortunately many marriages end because people get caught up in the cycle of discontentment. Just look at Zsa Zsa Gabor who was married nine times, Liz Taylor married eight times, Larry King married eight times, Linda Wolfe from Indiana married 23 times is looking for 24, and the list goes on...
There's a lot of discontentment in this world.
Take a look at this piece of scripture:
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. ~ Matthew 12:43-45
What we learn from this is the difference between a moral transformation and a spiritual one. When we see something in our lives that requires a change, whether it be a bad habit or something as big as a troubled marriage, we need to handle it in a spiritual way. We could eliminate the problem, but that desire for more will only come back again and again unless we fill that space with the contentment that comes to those who walk in the Spirit.

Contentment is vital, but some work is also required to those who seek change. Marriages, like a garden take time to grow, but the harvest is rich unto those who patiently and tenderly care for the ground. 
And so ladies, we have a choice. We can live in discontentment wishing that we had a better marriage, a cleaner house, polite children, and a good meal on the table, or we can put in the extra work that it takes to be a loving wife, a nurturing mother, and a faithful steward of our home.

That's what we can do, but there's so much more that God can do.
Things might not fall into place the way that we want them too. In fact nobody can predict what tomorrow will hold. But I can promise you this. If you pray asking God to work in your situation, and trust Him with your life He will be at work, because godliness with contentment is great gain!
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-8
You are loved by an almighty God,
Darlene Schacht is an ordinary mom, living an extraordinary life, because of who she is through Jesus Christ. As help-meet to her husband Michael, she guides and nurtures their four children, leading them toward a deeper walk of faith.
She has co-authored a book with actress Candace Cameron Bure, the award-winning and New York Times Best-Seller, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness and she's the author of the best-selling eBook, The Good Wife's Guide.
Find Darlene at, where she empowers wives to joyfully serve. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Glorifying God at The Olympic Games

Photo Credit

After being carried over 8,000 miles by more than 8,000 torch bearers through 1,000 towns and villages*, the Olympic flame will be lite tonight, signifying the start to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Athletes  from around the world have trained, sacrificed and given everything they have to gain the opportunity to be apart of the next 16-days of history-in-the-making.
But for some of these athletes, the games are about more than personal achievement. They are about more than obtaining Olympic glory. They are about God's glory and revealing that glory to the world through the talents He has graciously given them. Here are just a few of the courageous men and women representing the USA:

Dawn Harper
Dawn Harper - Track & field (Hurdles)
After knee surgery during her sophomore year of high school, doctors told her she would never run as fast as she used to. She not only fully recovered, but went on to preform one of the biggest upsets in recent track & field history.
“From this big ol’ globe, God chose this little girl from East St. Louis out of all the kids who have said, ‘I want to go to the Olympics,’” Harper says. “He knew that I could handle this—the knee surgery and all of the things that come with being an Olympic champion. He took the girl that no one thought would win. He chose me. He entrusted me with this.”
Kevin Durant - Men's Basketball
As one of the top five players in the NBA (and now apart of the men’s Olympic basketball team), it would be very easy for Kevin to become arrogant and prideful. However, he recognizes these traps and strives to live a life of humility as stated in Matthew 23:12, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
“I always kind of pinch myself and say that any day this can be gone. When people tell me I’m great, I [remind myself that I] can always be better. I always work on what I have now. I’ve got to be thankful to the Lord for the gifts He’s given me. My gift back to Him is to always be humble and to always try to work as hard as I can.”

Brady Ellison - Archery
Brady, hunter turned Olympian, is representing the USA in archery. It is his goal only to be used by God for HIS glory. He lives out Phillipans 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” by doing his best, not worrying about the score and leaving the outcome to God.
“Once I put winning in God’s hands, I stopped worrying about it. Since then, I’ve gone to these tournaments and I’ve shot with no fear, doing only the best I can do and leaving the rest up to God.”

Kendrick Farris - Weightlifting
Sometimes, life takes a detour and we forget about childhood dreams. That’s what happened to Kendrick who put his Olympic dreams on a shelf until God used a co-worker to remind him that he was created to be a weightlifter. This year he has made the Olympic team and God is blessing him with the desires of his heart.
“I’ve truly humbled myself over the past couple of years and I’ve learned about the power we have as Christians. Jesus said we would do greater works and I believe that.”

Brittany Viola - Diving (Platform)
Brittany sort of “fell” into the sport of diving while trying some gymnastic moves at her local pool. A coach spotted her and recognized her talent. However, her road to London has been paved with hardship and struggles, failing to qualify in 2004 and barely making the team in 2008. She has also had a personal struggle with the eating disorder, bulimia. But like many of life’s painful times, her struggle with bulimia has deepened her relationship with her Heavenly Father.
“As I struggled with my eating disorder, I would be reminded that God still loved me even when I did not love myself. His forgiveness helped me to forgive myself. His truth allowed me to replace the many lies in my head. He saw me as fearfully and wonderfully made—His perfect creation, chosen, holy and dearly loved.”

Tobin Heath - Women's Soccer

Tobin is no stranger to the games. She was apart of the women’s soccer team four years ago in China (they won the gold!). This time her goal is more than winning. It’s about sharing Jesus’ love.

“It’s not about that worldly outcome in terms of winning or losing,” she explains. “It’s about Jesus being known—not in a way that forces it upon other people, but in a way that lets people know how He’s transformed my life and how He’s given me purpose and meaning and love and satisfaction.”

Bryan Clay - Track & Field (Decathlon)

Bryan is also a returning gold medalist. He doesn’t attribute his success to hard work, long hours training or any self sacrifice (although all of those things go into making an Olympian). He says it’s his faith that has lead to his success.

“Without my faith, I think it would be very easy for me to have a family that’s in disarray, to have my priorities out of order, to make decisions that could derail my path to success. But because I have this foundation of faith, I like to believe that it’s my compass. It keeps me on the path that I want to be on. It allows me to make good decisions that bear good results. Without my faith, I think that I’d be lost and I don’t think that I’d be as successful as I am today.”

Ryan Hall - Track & Field (Marathon)

“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” Proverbs 24:16 This verse has given hope to Ryan Hall, the fastest American-born marathon runner. Although he hasn’t achieve a high profile status as an Olympian (yet), he doesn’t choose to see his success in medals, but rather in the ability to get back up and try again.

“I have found that it’s not the ability to never fail that makes an Olympian, but the ability to get back up. I have found that the ability to get back up comes from my ability to stay close to God and to see myself as He sees me,” Hall says. “God has always given me the grace and strength to get back up after I have fallen. I have found that He has given me everything I need to accomplish what He has created me to be and to do.”

Jonathon Horton - Men's Gymnastics
Two-time Olympic medalist, Jonathon returns to the Games in London after enduring one of the biggest tests to his faith. For the past year, he has been recovering from torn ligament and two broken bones.
“Without my faith, I think I would be panicking,” Horton says. “But sometimes I think that this could be a blessing in disguise. This could be something He’s put in front of me to see how strong my faith really is. Sometimes I question if this was really necessary, but then I realize that this is God’s plan and I have to overcome it and keep my faith in God. His plan is always greater than my plan.”

Jesse Williams - Track & Field (High Jump)
Being a world class athlete involves international travel which can become very lonely. However, Jesse doesn’t allow those moments to overcome him. He knows God has a greater plan for him, finding comfort and peace in the Word of God.
“I know that God has a plan for me and no matter how many times I fail I know its in Gods plan,” he explains. “I never let myself get down when I have a bad performance. I use it as inspiration to work harder. I always fall back on the Word when I am feeling lonely or when something is not going well.”

Tamika Catching - Women's Basketball

Tamika is returning to the Games for her 3rd time as part of the women’s basketball team. Although she has found success in the sport, she has faced both physical an emotional struggles off the court.
“God has taught me about patience and about accepting myself for who I am and knowing that He formed me and made me unique,” she states. “He made everyone uniquely wonderful. Every single cell, every single muscle, every single thing about my body, He created and He formed—even my personality. I never thought I’d be able to speak in front of hundreds of people and have a story and a testimony. I’m extremely blessed to have all of these opportunities.”
Missy Franklin - Swimming
Missy has been swimming since she was only six months old. Now at the age of 17, she is a world champion and Olympic contender. She realizes that God has placed her as a mentor for other young athletes and she doesn’t take that role lightly.
“God is always there for me. I talk with Him before, during and after practice and competitions,” the Pasadena, Calif., native says. “I pray to Him for guidance. I thank Him for this talent He has given me and I’ve promised him that I will be a positive role model for young athletes in all sports.”
So as the flame burns in Olympic park, let us pray that God’s light will shine brightly through the athletes who long to bring Him glory.

Dear Father,
We pray for these men and women as they compete. We ask for your protection on them. Keep them healthy and safe. Whether they or lose, we pray that you would be glorified through their words and actions. We thank you for the talents you have given to each of us. May we too strive to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You.
In your Holy name,
Go USA!!!
*You can read more about these athletes at CharismaMagazine.

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