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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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fully Surrendered {Testimony of Erika B.}

I grew up in church and was saved at an early age. I didn't really understand God's power until I was much older.

Four years into my marriage my husband was very meanly asked to leave a church he was pastoring and not long after that we were evicted from our home. Money was a struggle. We had two small children and I was pregnant with our third. We packed a small U-Haul (that family rented for us) and crammed whatever else we could in our vehicle. The trek from Idaho to Arkansas was long, sad, and discouraging. This was NOT the first church that we were asked to leave, but it was the WORSE situation. I couldn't figure out why we couldn't get it to work. In this "move", I lost a lot of things that I held near and dear to me. The china my husband bought for my wedding, the girls baby books, material things... but things that I loved.
It was the only time that I seriously considered leaving my husband.
I knew it was wrong. Divorce isn't in God's plan, but I was at my wit's end! Flesh kept telling me to leave. That the girls and I deserved better. We deserved someone who wasn't screwing up God's work. Someone who could give us stability.

I struggled. My husband and I fought and grew apart.

It wasn't until we decided to meet a pastor friend and really talk to him. The one thing that stood out in our conversations was when the pastor told us that God wasn't blessing us.
Talk about a wake up call! What do you mean? God wasn't blessing us? It was at that moment that I realized I needed to change. I needed to change my attitude, my desires, and my way of life. I so desperately wanted His blessing! It was a hard road, but my husband and I started growing together. I ignored flesh and sought God. My marriage was worth fighting for and my husband needed a wife that would stick by his side- especially in this dark time. I had gotten so boggled down with life and the responsibility of three children under the age of three that I had forgotten what it was like to be in fellowship with God. The pastor's wife took me under her wing and mentored me revealing how a mama could still fellowship with God, how whispered prayers while rocking the baby, or a quick prayer during a diaper change could improve my life.

It took us some time, but eventually we felt that it was time to re-enter the ministry and it was for a sweet church. God took care of us and provided for our needs the entire time we were there. Eventually though, my husband felt God calling Him elsewhere. The journey was to another church to pastor, only this time it wasn't smooth. It ended with great difficulty and I found myself questioning God. I was back to a place where I hadn't wanted to go back to, to a time of sadness and discouragement. It wasn't until my husband surrendered into the mission field that life picked back up.
It goes back to what my pastor friend told us, that God wasn't blessing us.
See, God isn't going to pour ALL of His blessings out on you if you aren't in the center of His will.
Trust me, you don't want to be anywhere but the CENTER. Even during the hard times, God placed people around me to help comfort, uplift, and guide me. He had great plans for me and He wasn't willing to let me fall through the cracks. However, the choice was ultimately up to me. I had to choose His way or the highway!

I can tell you that now, as we celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary in July, that God has definitely blessed us! We are in Nebraska doing a mission work for Him. It isn't always easy, but we see God at work. Life has definitely improved, but I just count that as a blessing! I can name them one by one....

About Erika:
Erika is a homeschooling, servin' Christ, strivin' for a simpler life, keepin' eyes focused on HIM mama of four! She's been transplanted from Arkansas to Nebraska, from a bigger city to a small rural town, all because God led her husband there to do mission work by starting a Baptist church. She blogs over at Slowly Natural ( about modesty, homeschooling, healthier living and life in the ministry.

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, July 22, 2012

Are You Fall-ing?

Guest Post by Debi Walter
Trees 023
Fall is the season when the trees let go of their green as it retreats to the dark, damp recesses of the earth. With this process comes the other colors usually hidden in the tree. Reds, golds and orange ignite the landscape with flames of brilliance. It is a joy to behold.
We all, like the trees of the forest, experience Fall from time to time. Circumstances and difficulties cause us to retreat inward. We seek shelter, the cool familiarity of home. But what we do as we retreat is essential to our growth in godliness!
It can be tempting to remember what the trees looked like in the spring, longing and wishing it could be the same. But it never will be. God, in His plan ordained the seasons. It is up to us to listen and learn through the changes. We must let go of things He’s showing us, and trust God that there is beauty in what we haven’t seen or experienced. He is the great God. He is the One who brings the seasons to pass. He is the One calling us to Fall into His arms and be comforted by His Words.
The forest provides a stillness as we walk and reflect. God’s Word provides a stillness in our soul where we can hear the reflections of our Savior. He is intimately acquainted with all our ways. As we walk and talk with Him; He will be faithful to bring us through every season we face.
This is what causes my heart to love my Savior more. I am Fall-ing! I am Fall-ing more in love with Him as He helps me let go of those things which are temporary and cling only to that which is eternal.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” - Isaiah 40:8
How is God currently speaking to you, to your marriage?
Are you anticipating the Fall season?
About Debi:
DebiDebi Walter along with her husband Tom, host The Romantic Vineyard dedicated to helping marriages grow strong for God’s glory. They live in Orlando, FL. and have been married for 33 years.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Raise the Banner High {Testimony of Dawn H}

My testimony is one of prophesy.

I had been in and out of church, trying more to be in then out. My husband and I had been trying to conceive for quite some time, when my friend convinced me to come to a ladies meeting at her church on September 25, 2008. The guest speaker  spoke on banner waiving and of prophetic dancing. During her teaching , she felt led to go into prayer. During that time I was prayed over by many people and a prophesy was given to me. A child was coming, but I needed to be obedient and step out and begin to waive my banners and seek God's direction.

I was scared to death, there were no banner waivers in my church and so I was about to tread on new waters. The more I waived, the more God began to bless me and speak to me. The prophesy was confirmed on December 3, 2008. I continued to pray and thank the Lord for what He was about to do in our lives. On January 7, 2009 I learned that I was in fact going to have a child. We were so excited! I grew so much closer to Him, and trusted that all would fall into place. You see my husband was not a Christian at the time. By Easter of 2009, my husband had accepted Christ. I rededicated my live that very same day and God was continuing to do great things in our lives. On August 31, 2009 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She was perfect! Almost three years later, our relationship with Christ continues to grow. Our daughter has such a love for Christ as well, and can not wait to get to church. Her love for banners is growing as well, she loves to dance, waive and praise the Lord any way she can.

Dawn H
Dawn and her daughter
*Click here for  more information on banner waiving.

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, July 16, 2012

Our Marriages Are Worth Fighting For

Matthew 19:6 “"So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
Do you  know how to recognize the enemy when he is prowling around your marriage? Are you too distracted to even notice or are you fully equipped to take him on when he arrives? Do you feel your marriage, no matter what happens, is worth fighting for?
This week has been a challenge for me.
Hearing about marriages that are being devoured by the enemy, separations that have taken place and even divorces that are in route, truly makes my heart hurt.
“Love is not self seeking, it’s not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong.” 1 Corinthians 13:5
So it got me thinking, do we look at the things going on in our marriages as challenges, do we look at the whole situation before reacting, do we get angry and stay there long, do we get frustrated at all the things that are not going well, do we take a step back and know that the enemy is prowling around causing all things to happen, to keep us from God?
These questions really made me dig deep into my own marriage to see if I knew when the enemy was prowling around. At first he does sneak in however we catch on quickly and smash his goals immediately.
The bottom line is, I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THE ENEMY to keep me from Gods plan for my marriage and His plans for the Kingdom.
How about you?
Staying two steps ahead of the enemy takes spending a lot of time with God together. The enemy knows are weakness well and will use them against us in any way he sees fit.
Take time to study together helps us to keep our eyes on Christ and what His plan is for our marriage. If we are unsure of what God ask of us, that it is an open invitation for the enemy to come right on it to devour the marriage.
Matthew 19:6 “"So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
So the next time your spouse does not talk to you in love, or your feelings are hurt, you both are arguing over anything, nothing seems to be going right in the marriage. Take a moment to STEP BACK and know that the enemy is prowling around to devour your marriage.
He works through distractions, arguing, hurt feelings, worrying, being upset. All these things keeps us from Gods plan. The quicker we learn this, the harder the enemy has to work to keep us from God.
Has there been a time when the enemy has prowled around your marriage and you did not recognize it?
I would love to hear your comments on this topic.
“A man doesn’t own his marriage; he is only the steward of his wife’s love.” ~ Edwin Louis Cole (Ed Cole)
sonyaSonya is the daughter to the Most High, Help-Meet to her amazing husband Jay. She has 3 sons in which is out on his own and two at home. She homeschools her youngest son. In her spare time you can find her reading a good book, scrapbooking, take photos, and at her home away from home, the baseball field. Sonya blogs over at Becoming a Strong Woman of God about marriage, motherhood, homemaking, parenting, & homeschooling. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Serving Him With Joy,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Beauty for Ashes {Testimony of Julie & Bill D.

“You never realize that God is all you need, until He’s all you have”.
My pastor loves to use that quote often when he is teaching from God’s Word. I had always agreed with it, but I had never really experienced what it meant until November 26th, 2011. It was a day that started like any other Saturday around the Davis house. My husband Bill was up early along with 4 of our 5 kids and the house was busy as usual. Bill’s buddies were meeting at our house that morning so they could all leave together for their manly mountain biking adventures which they tried to do at least one Saturday a month. This was the perfect day to go because it was Thanksgiving weekend and everyone was off work. Bill woke up that morning mostly over the cold he had been fighting all week and at first he thought he might not go, but after a little Netti Pot therapy for his sinuses and he felt up for it. He really wanted to go riding with the guys!! Let’s face it, any escape from our crazy house- hold was worth it, even with a slight cold.

Bill and I have 3 children that the Lord blessed has us with that I carried in my womb. At the time, Ethan was 6, Isaac was 5 and Grace was 3. We were also blessed to be a foster family so we also had Treasure who was 5 and Randal who was just a month shy of being 2 years old. So when I say our house was crazy, I am not exaggerating in the slightest. But it was a good kind of crazy. Our biological children LOVED our foster children and vice-versa. Ethan, being the oldest, was the only one of the kids still asleep that morning as daddy got ready to leave. Bill gave hugs and kisses all around to the other kids and finally kissed me. I of course added my usual “have fun and be careful” along with my kiss and the guys were off for fun and adventure. It was less than a month from Ethan’s 7th birthday and we had yet to plan his party, so the first thing on my list for that morning was to get the evite out so friends and family could get a date on the calendar. Of course I had to get everyone breakfast, make my coffee and get through all the other morning rituals first. So I finally sat down around 8:30am and created the evite. I think I sent it to a handful of people and then planned to post it to Facebook later. Not more than 5 minutes after I hit send on the evite, my cell phone rang.

My phone showed a number but there was no name attached to it and 9 times out of 10, I would have just let it go to voice mail. But for whatever reason (a nudging of the Holy Spirit I think), I answered. The voice was very calm and deep but foreign to me. The man on the other end said something like “Honey, I’ve been hurt”. My mind was racing to think who this man was that was calling me honey. I asked “who is this”? To which I heard “It’s me, Bill”. I still get a little nauseous thinking back to how he sounded. He spoke in such a deep, slow voice it was almost haunting. I know he was just getting over a cold, but even that didn’t explain how he sounded. He went on to say he was hurt and he couldn’t feel his legs. All I remember is that my knees hit the floor on the linoleum in our kitchen. “What do you mean, what are you talking about?” were the words I repeated several times. Bill was so calm though, he knew I was upset and I could tell he was trying to be calm to keep my calm. He asked me to pray for him. “Pray to Jesus,” he kept saying. “Jesus will take care of me.” Of course by now I am sobbing hysterically and trying to keep my head together because there were 5 kids freaking out because mommy was crying so hard. So I gathered the kids up and we sat together in the living room and we prayed to Jesus for Bill.

After that everything happened so fast I really didn’t have time to think about it. All I knew is I was supposed to meet Bill at the hospital. Well, we live 3 minutes from a major hospital so I figured I’d be heading down there. I hadn’t showered yet so I jumped in the shower talking myself through each moment in numb sort of robotic words.  “Okay Lord, I can do this. I just have to get myself clean. Please Jesus, be with Bill. Please Lord, let him be okay. I can do this. Now I just need to wash my hair. Okay Lord, I can do this.” Somehow I managed to get myself showered and dressed; and by the time I got out of the shower, two of my dear sweet friends were standing in my living room. Both of their husbands were with Bill and they called them to come to the house to watch the kids and the other one to drive me to the hospital. Why did I need someone to drive me to the hospital, it was only 3 minutes away.
That’s when I was told that Bill had hit a rock while going pretty fast down a hill and flipped over on his bike. He landed on his head. His helmet had saved his brain, but his spine took the impact. 
He was instantly paralyzed from the chest down.
(Praise the Lord he listened to me when I asked him to buy a helmet and wear it. He was the only one in the group wearing one that day!) He never lost consciousness and the first thing he asked the guys to do was pray for him. I am so thankful he was riding with the guys from our Bible study group!! After they prayed that is when they called 911 and then Bill called me. The paramedics determined that Bill would need to be air lifted to Scripps La Jolla which was the nearest hospital that could handle his level of trauma.
Then it was clear to me why I needed someone to drive me to the hospital. This was very serious, he hadn’t just broken a leg or an arm. He had in fact broken his neck.
Bill underwent a 6 hour surgery to decompress his spine and remove the fractured pieces of his C7 vertebrae. The neurologist that did the surgery called it a “burst” fracture and when you look on the CT scan it looks like his vertebrae exploded, which is basically what happened. The spinal cord was crushed but not severed or even punctured. On the ASIA impairment scale Bill was a B after surgery. (Last month, June 2012, he was upgraded to a C). Bill spent 31 horrific days in the ICU. He was deceived by lies of Satan under the influence major narcotics but he also had some amazingly sweet fellowship with God. It was the scariest time of my entire life and never did I have to trust in God more. I knew that God’s ways were different from mine, and even though I asked plenty of “why’s”, I still trusted that He was in control and believed with all my heart that He would make beauty from ashes.

Bill spent 42 days in a rehabilitation hospital before he was able to come home. He developed a pressure ulcer on his coccyx while in the ICU that we are still dealing with. Our lives are completely different now. We face new challenges all the time; but by God’s grace, we have made it this far. I long for heaven in a more intense way than I ever have before.
I believe with all my heart the verse that has been our theme from the start of this trial,
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

I am not sure how God will use us or our story but I pray it is all for His glory.
Julie D
Julie and Bill, Thanksgiving 2011 (just 2 days before the accident).
About Julie:
Julie, Bill and their children live in Southern California. They continue to find God’s strength in each new challenge and His faithfulness as He provides for their every need. Follow Bill’s progress, see how God is continuing to make beauty for ashes, and learn how you can pray for Bill, Julie and their family at

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Left for Dead

Have you ever had something in your life that you thought for sure was dead and then it came back life?
We once had a snail in our fish tank that we named Lazarus, after the Biblical man Lazarus who had been dead three days before Jesus brought back him back to life. This snail was flipped upside down on the floor of the fish tank for a few days. We were busy and didn’t do anything with him, and then one morning we noticed the snail crawling up the side of the fish tank. I have no idea if he was just hibernating (do snails hibernate?!), but Lazarus went on to have over 50 babies, which is a story for another day.

A couple years ago, my husband and I bought a living Christmas tree to plant in our backyard after the holidays, commemorating the first Christmas in our new home.  I diligently listened to the sales lady’s planting instructions, but apparently failed to clearly communicate the directions to my husband. After Christmas, he hauled the tree outside, dug a hole, and planted it. However, we weren’t supposed to actually plant the tree in the ground until spring. The sales lady had instructed me to leave the tree outside in its pot until after the spring thaw.

I thought for sure the tree would die. All winter long, I glanced out the window, watching the tree shrivel and turn brown. I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do to save the poor little tree. I knew its roots were freezing and was certain it was going to starve to death. By spring it was a dry, brown, tangled mess. I figured we’d just try again this next Christmas and we could just “pretend” it was the tree from our first Christmas in the house.

But in late spring, I noticed the tree was starting to turn a bit green. I thought, maybe, just maybe, it would survive. Soon, tiny green shoots poked their way out of the dead branches. Then one day, after a week filled with rain showers, the tree exploded in lush, long, green shoots. It looked like a brand new, healthy tree. I couldn’t believe it. I had left the tree for dead, but it came back to life in full glory.


And I realized, no situation is impossible for God. And I realized, God is the author of life. All life. Even snails , pine trees planted incorrectly, strained relationships, children who’ve wandered, and a neglected spiritual life. Nothing is impossible for Him. I wonder how many things we leave for dead that God is ready to bring back to life?

If you feel helpless, and like there’s no hope, bring your impossible situation to God. Ask Him to bring life as only He can do.
amelia_rhodesAmelia Rhodes lives in West Michigan with her husband and two children. She is a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride, and her essays have appeared on Burnside Writers Collective and Catapult Magazine. Her book, Isn’t it Time for a Coffee Break? Doing life together in an all-about-me kind of world (Barbour) will release January 1, 2013. Amelia blogs at:
Be A Blessing,

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gone Too Soon {Tribute to Dawn W.}

“Dawn was so generous! She would give to anyone in need or just give for the joy of giving.” ~Susan J.

"I admired your thoughtful, giving soul. I have never met a kinder person than you.” ~Kelly R.C.

I will treasure my memories of you, especially our trip to Brazil and your huge heart of compassion for those in need, from Brazil to India to China.” ~Suzannah N.

“Dawn Wilson touched the lives of people who never laid eyes on her. Dawn showed Jesus to us.” ~Jennifer W.
*These are actual quotes left by friends and family on Dawn's Facebook wall.

I love this picture of Dawn. Exactly how I remember her, always smiling!
This is how friends and family remember Dawn. This is how they saw her, as a beautiful soul who was ALWAYS willing to help those in need. She loved missions, traveling around the world, spreading the love of Jesus to the nations. She loved people, but above all else she loved her Jesus! Whether it was on the church campus where she worked or around the small California town where she lived most of her life, she could be found helping, sharing, caring and smiling.

But something happened… Something went wrong….

No one knows why, but for some unexplained reason, this beautiful woman who was loved by so many, brought blessing to so many, had serve so many…loved Jesus and knew without any doubt of his love for her choose to take her own life. 

Hearing the news was like having the wind knocked out of you. It didn’t make sense! It wasn’t like her! It has to be a mistake! There has to be an explanation! But there wasn’t. No note. No reason. No warning.

Even those who were closest to her, who worked with her, who saw her every day had no idea of what must have been going on inside. Why didn’t she tell someone? So many loved her. Many would have done whatever was necessary to help. WHY?

We may not know or understand why Dawn made the decision she did. What we can do is become watchful for those around us. There is an enemy out there who is seeking to kill and steal and destroy (Jn 10:10.). He is always as work, feeding the mind with lies.
My sweet friend, if you are in a place today where you believe your life doesn’t matter, that no one loves you, that no one would miss you anyways.   STOP!!!!  YOU ARE LOVED!!  YOU DO MATTER!  YOUR LIFE HAS PURPOSE!
John 3:16 says that God loved YOU so much that he sent his only Son to die for YOU. The same God who spoke the world into being, hangs the stars each night, calms the storms, CREATED YOU IN HIS VERY IMAGE! (Genesis 1:27) He has a plan for your life, plans to help and not to harm you (Jeremiah 29:11). You are NOT a mistake. Even before you were formed, He knew you and chose you (Jeremiah 1:5).
you are loved
Photo Credit
My friend, if you are reading this, it’s not by mistake! God led you here and he wants you to know that it’s never too late to give over control, admit you can’t handle it on your own, cry out to Him. He’s there and HE DESPERATELY LOVES YOU!

We may never know what caused Dawn’s actions. What we do know is the the enemy succeeded in stealing a wonderful, giving, compassionate, loving, caring person from us far too soon. But as this post from Dawn’s Facebook wall says, he may have lied to her, but he didn't get to claim her. She was already spoken for!
To the enemy,
“You think you won. That the battle is over. You whispered the lies, quietly, sometimes loudly, when no one was around. Doesn’t matter what you said, what lies you told. You were never ALONE WITH HER. And you DON’T have her now. She is chosen. Forgiven. Loved. ALWAYS. Earth one second, Heaven the next. Not how you thought it would be, huh? Gloating then...wait, WHAT?! “But, but, that’s not fair! She listened to me, she’s mine now!” You shout. You scream…But the ONE she belonged, BELONGS to, stepped in…ruined your plans AGAIN. This time you caught us off guard. NEVER AGAIN. WE will not fear the storm, we will not fear the War. Our help is on the way. Deal with it.” ~Lori
Are you alone, depressed, desperate? If you feel like no one cares, I’m here to tell you I care and there is a community of women who love and care about you too! We would LOVE to be able to pray for you, listen to you, share God’s love with you. Just contact us at or via private message on BBM’s Facebook page. Don’t let the enemy steal another moment of your life!!

Be A Blessing,

Sunday, July 1, 2012

4th of July Fun & Food

Wednesday is our nation’s birthday. Time to break out the red, white & blue!! It’s a day full of parades, backyard BBQ, pool parties, hamburgers, hot dogs and fireworks. It’s a day for Americans – young, old, Republican, Democrat, every race and heritage – to forget about our differences and unite as one people proud to be from the USA!
Here are some of my favorites patriotic finds to make the day full of fun memories.

76 Trombones Lead the Big Parade
parade buckets
Starting the day with a parade? Don’t forget to make these cute buckets for the kiddos. They will LOVE them! from Amelia Rhodes

Come on in

happy 4th
Welcome friends and family with affordable and easy decorating ideas. Plus there are FREE printables (including the banner!) at

Dinner Time!
watermelon salad
Use a simple star cookie-cutter to make a patriotic fruit salad from Wit & Whistle

Please Pass the Dessert!
Who can resist chocolate covered strawberries?! White chocolate and some blue sugar give these berries a cute patriotic twist from

Here is a great way to use that beautiful trifle bowl that’s in your china cabinet. Using a star cookie cutter, cut the shapes out of pre-made pound cake. Then just layer some Redi Whip, sliced strawberries and blueberries for a beautiful red, white and blue dessert! Seen on Fancy Frugal Life

Firework Fun!
When the sun goes down, the fireworks come out. I LOVE this!! Even the little ones will be able to share in the fun with this added safety tip from Love 2 Dream Do You.
Wishing you all a safe and happy 4th of July!
Be A Blessing,

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