Tend to the Fire

Jake and I wear many hats. But we have orchestrated each one in such a way that we rarely have to wear them all at once. We compartmentalize each “role” we have and life just chugs along, us living day by day and doing our best to give 100% to each one.

For example, here was today’s crazy schedule:

Saturday night we went to bed around 12:30am

4:00a-6:00a Up with Malachi

7:00a-8:00a Up with Levi

8:30a-9:30a Made Jake get up with Malachi haha

10:00a-11:00a Went to Sunday School

11:00a-12:30p Taught Children’s Church

4:00p-5:30p Soccer Meeting

5:30p-6:00p Staff Meeting at church

6:00p-7:30p Took youth group to the pizza buffet

8:00p-9:30p Soccer parent meeting

10:00p-current       Blogging it up!

In addition to all of that was feeding children, changing diapers, bath time for the boys.

So the good news is that our soccer team has won their district, their region, and their sub-state game and they are now headed to Murfeesboro, TN (about 3 hours from us) to fight for the state championship. If you don’t know anything about soccer just know this is a HUGE deal for the girls and for Jake and I as their coaches! We are so proud that their hard work has paid off.

But with this honor comes a whole lot of hard work for our little family. All week long we have been scheduling referees, painting fields, meeting with coaches, hosting games, coordinating 19 players and their parents. This is all in addition to me working part time, tackling medical appointments, being youth minister and doing lesson plans for the children’s minister job. It has been a whirlwind of busyness for us!

As we head to the state tournament we add to the list: hotel, food, chaperones, transportation accommodations for 19 high school girls. Then the actual trip for me and the boys (Jake will already be there a day early with the team). But we never shy away from a challenge so Murfeesboro here we come!

Is all this busyness in life necessary? Absolutely not. But Jake and I firmly feel that we are called to make a difference in as many lives as we can while we are here on earth. We recognize that so many teens in our county don’t know Jesus, and if we can show them a little bit of Jesus as their coach, teacher, friend, mentor, youth pastor then it is worth all of the stressful days. We always want our lives to be about others rather than ourselves.

A week from tomorrow Malachi will have surgery to place his g-tube. We really need help with prayers over this surgery as it could be a smooth and easy one or it could be difficult. Our goal is to place it laparoscopically but with the amount of scar tissue in his belly we may have to do a large open incision to be able to place it. The plan now is for Jake to stay home with Levi, as we are very worried about exposing him to hospital germs and sickness. Malachi and I will have to stay at least one night, based on the type of incision we end up doing.


Levi’s eye appointment this week was canceled. The doctor we were scheduled to see went on maternity leave the day before so the appointment has been pushed off until November. I was trying really hard to keep our November relatively open since we have so many pre-op and post-op appointments for Malachi’s next surgery but unfortunately it is filling up fast. We need some major prayers that we all stay healthy enough to handle the chaos that is coming.

Both of the boys have been hilarious this week. Levi has started talking to Malachi, and hearing his little noises warms my heart. I tried to snag a video this week, but this was the best I could do:

He has been turning lots of heads with his rocking action. We are having to keep him strapped in as he has almost flipped the seat several times!

And Malachi still LOVES Levi so much. He has been filled with joy this week, more so than his normal. He really enjoys going to the soccer games with us and even cheers on the team. There is a girl on the team named Maggie and he shouted her name as clear as day TWICE. Here is a video of him laughing at Levi:

Malachi rode his horse like a champ this week, pretending to be a superhero the whole time. His whole face changes when he is pretending and he gets very serious while he puffs out his chest dramatically. He is a ham.

Levi will turn 1 in three weeks…that seems so unbelievable to me. But too many emotions, so I will save that for another post.

And just to keep us on our toes, another bear came for a visit this week! I heard him around 3:45am and peeked out the window to see the largest bear I have EVER seen right outside our window. He picked up our wheeled trash bin (with 3 full bags of trash) and carried it like it was nothing 50 yards away and into the woods. After I saw his size and the ease of which he carried the trash like a coke can, taking the shotgun out on the porch (firing it to scare him only- not hit him) seemed like a really bad idea. He came back about 45 minutes later to check out the rest of the porch then went on his way.

To be honest, I am struggling with a little bit of conviction this week. Watching all of these intense soccer games has brought out the competitive side in me and I have caught myself yelling pretty loudly at some of the games. Now granted, none of what I yell is necessarily mean or hurtful but I wonder what those moments of impulse say about me as a Christian. I always want to reflect God, and when I find myself getting mad about silly things that is definitely not an accurate reflection of Him.

We had a rainy day this week and anytime it rains my day gets more challenging. Nothing can be done quickly with the boys, and loading them in and out of the car alone can take about ten minutes, leaving me soaked to the bone.

We happened to have feeding therapy on this rainy day and by the time we made it in I was on the verge of tears, just overwhelmed and feeling defeated. It took me longer than normal to get the boys out of the car so we were a few minutes late- something I HATE. As I wheeled through the doors of the therapy office I started smiling, thinking to myself about what an insane life we have. It was one of those “laugh so you don’t cry” moments.

As I raced down the hall, leaving a trail of water from our rainy clothes a woman stepped out of her office and flagged me down. She said “I don’t know you, but I see you come in here each week with your hands so full. But you always have a smile on your face. It is so encouraging to me every time I see that.”

I don’t take compliments well and usually get awkward (even when the words truly touch me), and this time was no exception. As I verbally fumbled my words trying to think of a reply, the therapist walked up and said to this woman “It’s because she is a Jesus lover.” The woman smiled at this new piece of info and nodded like she knew it all along.

I keep thinking about that conversation. I keep thinking about the impact we are supposed to have on our world. I desperately want for God to be seen in me. I desperately want to be known as a Jesus lover, not by my words but by my actions. I want to be a lighthouse for His light.

My job as a daughter of Christ is to keep that light within me shining brightly. Trust me- it fades when you aren’t tending to that fire. And truthfully, I think that is part of the problem I have had this week with my sports enthusiasm. I haven’t been into the Word as much as I should be.

But thankfully each day has new mercies and I can change that routine starting now.

Please continue to pray for the Carroll family as we tackle this messy life day by day by day…






3 thoughts on “Tend to the Fire

  1. You’re family is in my daily prayers. I marvel at your strength to keep on keeping on, when I am exhausted reading what you do in 1 day! God’s grace n strength is sufficient in each circumstance n I pray that Malachi’s surgery is easy n without complications. Love to both boys n prayers always!! I too am medically fragile n challenged n understand!😊


  2. Hi Jake and Leah. Congratulations on the win last night! Your PCHS girls played some inspired soccer and were fun to watch. Cool story: I coach the Grace Christian girls and yesterday afternoon as we were preparing for the game one of our moms sent a link to your blog to my wife. I was in the midst of my typical pre-game angst and asking God what he wanted me to share with the team as we prepared to play. She sent me the link with the caption “Some perspective…” I was so moved reading about your journey; I shared the blog with our girls as our pre-game devotional and talked about how there are no coincidences with God. We often have no idea what He’s doing and He connects us with people and stories for reasons only He knows. All that to say, although our girls are devastated by the result last night, you have some new prayer warriors praying for you and Jake and Malachi and Levi in Franklin, TN. As a team, we’ll continue to pray for you, your family and your work there in Polk County. And good luck to you and your girls today! Go ahead and win this thing!!


  3. Dear Leah, usually I don’t leave a reply, cause it seems kind of hard to do. Today I really wanted to because I saw so many times that you have been such a testimony. I know this is your prayer, and it’s exciting to see it happening! Don’t be discouraged. Pray for me that I could be a better witness for Jesus


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