The Shepherd’s Voice

This has been a special needs momma week. Those are the types of weeks when we shut off all emotion and go into autopilot mode taking care of medical needs and trying to keep everyone alive. It always sounds so dramatic to word it that way, but the lifesaving moments have been happening every single night as we deal with Malachi seizing hard and contorting his face into his pillow. We are on night 7 of Malachi needing a lifesaving face turn in the middle of the night and the pressure of that is so so heavy. Interesting side note- they all happen at the EXACT same time chunk after I lay him down for bed, like clockwork regardless of what time he lays down. The brain is such an interesting thing. We are sure that this change in seizures is linked to our medication wean we have been working on and will hopefully level back out to his normal soon.

But in addition to that craziness, Levi starting running a fever on Monday evening prompting a trip to the doctor Tuesday morning. Another ear infection which they think is caused by some allergy post nasal drip. He tested negative for all the potential biggies but had a very red throat. He kept saying ”Mommy make it better” while sobbing- it was so heartbreaking.

We started antibiotics for the ear but postnasal drip is always an enemy to Levi’s airway. Anything that touches his throat inside unexpectedly causes vomiting. We slowed down his rate on his g-tube but it still didn’t slow down the vomiting all day and all night. That leads to no sleep, dehydration, and constipation. Most nights this week he was up until 4a-6a until he would finally pass out from sheer exhaustion. He wanted me in the bed with him for comfort, but his bed has high sides that block my view from Malachi. With our weekly seizure struggles I knew I couldn’t be away from him so we rigged up a setup in the big bed and did the best I could to keep everyone comfortable and breathing.

I canceled all of our appointments this week and we hunkered down at home. When Levi is vomiting so much we place old towels strategically around the house and do lots and lots and lots of laundry. As the end of the week rolled around Levi started being able to tolerate more of his g-tube feeds and acting much more like himself.

His vocabulary is growing by the day. The words and phrases he throws out bring so much joy to my heart. I have never known the joy of language development in the parenting journey and I am cherishing it more than I realized. When you have one child that is desperate to communicate but can’t it makes each word a beautiful gift from the Lord. It also serves as a reminder of Levi’s miracle; the voice we were told he would never have due to his surgery.

We are also seeing more of his quick wit and humor. His imagination is a vivid one and he does a lot of pretending and I see a lot of myself as a child in him. We used this week to work on more potty training and we are so close!

I was most definitely in survival mode this week, taking naps whenever and however. Tonight, for example, I took a nap from 9p-10:30p to try to get a burst of sleep before tonight’s challenges begin. Malachi is staying up until at least 3am right now and with Levi staying up even later than that we abandoned any idea of day and night. I have a phrase I use often, “You will never have to repeat the exact same 24 hours” and I have repeated that one often this week.

I have to be honest, I have gone back and forth on whether to share the next chunk with you. I always check my motivations for anything that I include on these posts, as I know the devil can take even the purest intentions and pollute them with self seeking tendencies. But I know deep in my heart my motives are pure and the thought I feel led to share with you is something God has placed on my heart.

As you read above, this week has been a frustrating one. But I can’t say I didn’t see it coming.

Rewind a bit to late July. God had led me to hold a girls retreat in the basement of our home for our high school youth. I had lined up a speaker and sent out details…then Malachi ended up having emergency surgery.

I felt SO strongly that this retreat was still meant to happen. We were scheduled to get out of the hospital on a Thursday and the event would take place Saturday. I sent out the text from the hospital that the retreat was still on!

That was the day that Malachi’s liver failed. I was so frustrated and disappointed about having to cancel the retreat but also felt so much confidence in my heart that this was a calculated attack from the devil. He did not want this retreat to take place. And he was going to do everything in his power to stop it from happening.

We chose a new date but then covid hit our home. So back to the drawing board and we started planning the retreat for late October (this past Saturday). As we inched closer to the day I sensed the devil poising for another attack. When Levi’s fever started I wasn’t shocked. As the week continued and I was running on fumes and fragments of rest I could hear the suggestions and excuses the devil was planting on my mind.

The louder the voice of the devil grew the more firmly I stood, knowing that there wouldn’t be this much resistance to something that wasn’t meant to be spiritually significant to someone at that retreat.

Scripture from 1 Peter 5 played in my mind on repeat as the week ticked by:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”

Standing firm in the faith. This phrase makes us sound superhuman, but in reality the firmness it references is the mighty hand of God backing you up. Standing firm in the faith is an act of humility, recognizing that your power is insufficient and asking God to lift you up.

Anxiety is not of God, in fact I believe it to be an enemy of God. It feels so insignificant but its power is monumental.

So this week I continued to speak to God about the retreat and felt in my heart it was still meant to happen. And by golly it happened! We had such a God glorifying time filled with worship and some really faith challenging talks. We even somehow got a whole bus of high school girls ready and out the door for church on time this morning. I had a little God wink this morning as Malachi slept in- something he hasn’t done in months. It allowed me to prepare breakfast for everyone and focus on being present this morning.

Praise be to God!

In place of hosting teen Bible study tonight we opted to take the show on the road, scheduling paintball for the rest of our youth.

I will tell you, my two boys have had the absolute BEST time this weekend. They love spending time with the big kids. Levi was the welcome wagon this morning, sneaking down into the basement to wake up the girls for church. I have been really processing lately that his testimony has already begun. It has for all of us. And what a great treasure it is to get to watch his unfold. I wonder which parts of his upbringing will be instrumental in his testimony of knowing the Lord. Exciting times!

Back on track to the roaring lion devil…

The devil is a liar. And a smooth talker. His attacks often are disguised as “looking out for your best interest” instead of menacing and obvious.

The devil’s voice has a tendency to be loud. And oftentimes for me, God’s voice is a gentle and quiet whisper. If I am not being cautious and aware I can hear what I want to be told. I can hear valid excuses, comfort, potential opportunities to catch up on sleep. The devil knows what my heart longs for and promises it to steer me off God’s course.

But God’s voice calls for self sacrifice and obedience. He calls us to follow HIS vision and not our own. He calls for our humility and our dependency on Him.

If you need a good devotional scripture chunk this week I encourage you to read John 10. In it Jesus talks about the voice of the Shepherd and has so many beautiful reminders for us. But I want to leave you with these specific verses:

“But the one who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep listen to his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts all his own sheep outside, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. However, a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Do you know the voice of the Shepherd? Can you recognize it in the darkness of your life, even when you cannot lay eyes on Him? If this is a struggle the best place to start is by digging into God’s Word. Read the words of Jesus. Highlight, underline, and take notes.

I know there are parts of Christianity that can be confusing, and the many Bible translations are definitely one of those topics. The original scriptures were written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramic. People will always argue that their English version is the best, the most accurate, the most God honoring.

But God doesn’t rely on translations to speak for Him. I believe that when you seek Him, regardless of the translation you choose to open, God is able to speak loudly and clearly to your heart.

If you are new to the Bible I recommend starting with NIV or NASB. If you still have trouble try the Message translation. I grew up with the King James Version. At this point in my walk with God I often look up the same scripture in several translations and allow each of them to saturate in my heart.

But regardless of the version you choose, make it a point this week to look in His Word! Learn His voice. It is beautiful and life transforming.

Much love,


The Narrow Road

This week we tackled some much needed appointments for both boys so we will start with some quick health updates.

Malachi went back to the neurologist this week and we have a plan in motion for weaning off of one seizure med while simultaneously increasing another. This is great news, but also a very sensitive transition. Changing seizure meds and changing doses can lead to breakthrough seizures, and while we don’t have ”seizure control” per say right now we don’t want to make things worse. I started decreasing the med we hope to eliminate and it has led to an increase in seizures. I will give it another day or two but if he doesn’t level out it is safe to assume we were too aggressive with the wean and we will have to back up and try again.

Our nighttimes have been pretty rough for several months now with Malachi staying up until 3am most nights. His brain is just struggling so much to level out.

Malachi did have to have some blood drawn to check his liver enzyme levels and I am happy to share that those levels looked great! He usually handled blood draws like a champ but really struggled with this one leading to lots of tears. Levi had a hard time seeing Malachi so sad and watching him trying to comfort him was so heartwarming.

Both boys went to see the gastroenterologist (we shorten this to GI doc) this week. This was the first time we have seen him since Malachi’s inpatient stay so we had a lot of catching up to do. Malachi lost a significant amount of weight due to his surgery and contracting covid and the scale shows that he is 34 pounds. According to the charts he is nowhere near where an 8 year old boy should be but that doesn’t surprise us a bit.

Levi has officially passed Malachi’s height and weight and is in the 75th percentile for his BMI. He is actually doing so well that the doctor has us cutting his daytime feeding pump sessions down by two. This is a pretty big deal! He is still fed continuously at night but even that is proving to be a challenge this week as he has started sleep walking a bit. He is in a bed with very high sides to keep him from rolling out and dislodging his tummy tube but the last few nights he has been standing up in the middle of the night and teetering near the side of the bed. I sleep lightly with the boys and have been able to get to him each time before something bad happens but it still isn’t an ideal new habit with a g-tube.

Speaking of tummy tubes accidents, here is a sweet picture of Levi before church this morning. Five minutes after we dropped him off at children’s church the teacher brought him to us in the service- his tummy tube extension had popped open and somehow was unclamped. Milk had poured out of his belly and all over his khaki shorts, so he ended up with the ”car shorts”- that one pair I keep in the back for emergencies. At least I got a cute photo before the chaos hit!

We wrapped up our soccer season this week and we pause all sports for a few months to regroup as a family. After the new year God has led me to start a children’s soccer ministry in our community, teaching both the sport and lessons about God each practice and game. Jake will be coaching the high school boys team during this time and we will also be running our adult indoor soccer league at the church so I recognize life is going to get wild, but when God calls me to do something I walk in faith knowing He will provide the energy and ability to see it through.

On Thursday and Friday Malachi spent a few hours at school at his request. Levi and I went into town and ran errands while we waited to pick him up and I tried to catch up on all the things that are exceptionally hard to do with a wheelchair and another toddler in tow.

Simply getting Levi out of the car and carrying him into a store was such a unique experience. I just felt so…normal. As we wheeled down the aisle with Levi in the cart I had people make eye contact with me and stop to interact with Levi. They complimented his hair, asked him his age, and smiled with their face and their eyes. I know that sounds like an odd thing to mention but special needs moms rarely get eye contact from strangers. We get awkward shuffles out of the way and we get lots of well meaning comments (“Wow you have your hands full!” or ”God gives special children to special people.” etc)

The anonymity I felt this week as just a typical mom was really refreshing- but then when I realized it was refreshing I felt a pang of guilt as if I were cheating on my special needs momma self. I love my unique motherhood journey and I have accepted the role that God has placed me in, but the social encounters this week really made me think.

I have been thinking specifically about relationships and how isolating our world can get. We have a wonderful community support system but sometimes it feels like we have worn out our welcome and we tend to see friends slowly start to drift away. Friendship with our family is a lot of work and we tend to ”bleed” onto those around us without intentionally doing so. I know this potential for friendship destruction exists so I catch myself trying to bubble wrap my friendships and not let always see the hard parts of our lives. I shield them away for fear of losing another friend, but in turn that leads to a superficial friendship that doesn’t last.

The psychology of rejection is something that has a grip on me. I don’t know if any of you share that same struggle. Each time I think I have overcome I am reminded by a circumstance or a memory that I have not fully healed from the many moments of rejection in my past from people I loved.

But I am coming to terms with the idea that God never intended us to blend in. And He provides a continual reminder in His word that our reliance should be placed on Him instead of others.

I can apply this thought to my family specifically, as God has clearly written us a novel that I have never seen in a bookstore.

But I can also apply this thought to the way we are called to live our life. When we strive to fit the mold of the world we will never be fulfilled. I think about those encounters with strangers in the store this week and how yes, it was refreshing but in the end still so unfulfilling. The devil used that temporary high in my heart to plant potential seeds of bitterness.

Matthew 7:13-14 ”Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

As a child of God I have chosen to walk the narrow road. It seems to foolish to now that I acknowledge that to complain about how narrow and sometimes isolating that road can be. As I reflect back on relationships that have dissolved I can’t ignore how toxic many of those friendships were in my walk with the Lord. Sometimes we foolishly mourn over branches that God has clearly pruned from our life to allow healthier fruit to grow.

Instead of looking for eye contact from strangers for encouragement on the road I need to make eye contact with God- because in the end that relationship will never dissolve. God welcomes my mess as He recognizes that He is the one who entrusted me with it.

I feel like I am off my blogging game today. We had record breaking numbers at our home Bible study last night with over 50 people! Praise the Lord!!! My brain didn’t have much energy left for blogging on my normal Sunday night routine. I will just have to trust God that He will speak to you through something that was said!

And please pray over our parenting journey as it continually evolves. As Levi is getting older we are discovering new challenges with parenting Malachi. These challenges are bringing new grief to all of our hearts as we navigate brother jealousy.



Renewed Day By Day

With Jake off for fall break we decided to get the kids out of the house and embark on an adventure! Traveling with the boys is always complicated but after the few months we have had we felt like a change of scenery might do us all some good. We headed to Pigeon Forge and spent two nights being tourists just two hours from home.

Our trip was a little bit of sweet and a little bit of sour. We had some really great moments and an equal amount of emotionally challenging ones. 

We started the trip with a visit to a dinner theater called the Hatfields and McCoys. We have seen this one in the past but when we let Malachi choose which show to go to he voted to see it again. When we take his wheelchair into theaters like this one our seating is limited to the corners and top levels. Malachi is legally blind and cannot see anything from most of those spots. We decided this time to carry him in and take turns holding him so we could sit front and center in the “splash zone” (you get wet when the characters jump into the stage pool). Malachi was so excited and very much into the show when he went into a very aggressive seizure. After several minutes and him still being stuck in his seizure I quietly raced him out the back to try to reduce the stimuli. He finally stopped seizing and I asked him if he would like to go back to the show he signed yes. He did not have another seizure but him being in that one for so long depleted him of all energy. He tried hard to pay attention but his little mind was just tired. 

On the way to the rental house we stopped by an inclusive playground and tried out some of the cool options they had for children with disabilities. Levi spent the time going from child to child asking them “Do you go to church?” And getting some strange looks back. Jake and I laughed at our tiny evangelist. 

The next day was our biggest adventure day and we found a local company with a lot of activities offered. I had reached out to them a few weeks ago to ask about their accessibility and which activities they would allow Malachi to participate in. For liability reasons many companies will not allow him to participate even with adult assistance. For example, the only thing that Malachi can do at Dollywood is sit on the big train. He is not permitted on any rides. We have to be very cautious when planning activities because of his awareness- if he hears that he is not able to do something he cries so we try to avoid that from ever being something he overhears. 

Adventure #1- We loaded a tiny train and took a short ride up to a barn to meet Abu the monkey and several large birds. I had convinced myself that Malachi would be ecstatic and he gave me more of a “too cool for school” teenager vibe instead. Levi liked watching the monkey but didn’t want the physical interaction as Abu hopped from person to person. Jake and I thoroughly enjoyed it though!

Adventure #2- we took the boys mudding on a UTV through the woods. This was a result of some sheer determination as we struggled to find a safe setup for Malachi. We finally managed to get a car seat and tray positioned for him, but he was screaming in frustration. I was cringing at the idea of heading out for the hour long ride with him so angry, but as we started the drive his anger was replaced with joy. Levi enjoyed it too, continually telling me “Daddy drives crazy”. This activity was most definitely a win. 

I took a quick video for you so you could hear the giggles:

The next day we tried Adventure #3- a visit to the aquarium in Gatlinburg. It was so jam packed with people that we decided after 15 minutes to turn around and leave. Navigating the crowds with a wheelchair was just too much and our stress levels were spiking for all four of us. We made sure to see the sharks though!

Before we left Malachi and I got to sneak away on an outing to meet a penguin. Our penguin’s name was Moana, which Malachi loved. He got to pet the penguin three times, signing “more” each time he was finished so I know he enjoyed it even if his face didn’t show it haha. I think the fact that he got to do something that Levi wasn’t allowed to do (he wasn’t old enough) was the most exciting part! 

At the end of the vacation I found myself feeling…deflated. It didn’t have the WOW factor I had really hoped it would have for the boys. In addition to that, I started to process what our family vacations will look like in the future. With Levi still being so young we can get away with going to a place like Pigeon Forge and only doing Malachi friendly activities. But as I looked out the window when we drove the main strip of Pigeon Forge my eyes were drawn to all of the shiny rides and activities that I know Levi will be begging for us to do when he gets older…the go carts, the alpine slides, the zip lines. Those are all activities that Malachi won’t be able to do. I started imagining the conversations that we will have to have in the future and realizing that we are going to have to navigate some complicated things in the near future. 

We also dealt with some trauma moments from Levi that I didn’t see coming. On our big adventure day he had to wear paper bracelets for the activities we had purchased. As I lifted him up for the lady at the ticket counter to put on his bracelets he started crying. I didn’t understand why he was so upset after he had just been so excited and when I asked him what was wrong he cried “No surgery mama, no surgery”. He has attached bracelets to surgery, pain, and hospital stays. I tried to explain it to him but he just didn’t believe me. 

For the next several hours that we were there he continued to ask “No surgery mama?” Over and over again for reassurance. Apparently this made his radar go up and the next day when we pulled into a parking garage at the aquarium the tears started again and he screamed “no doctor mommy, no doctor”. I guess he has attached parking garages to medical things. 

These are the moments that break my heart. They remind me that our lives are full of physical scars and mental ones, and not having a way to heal those makes me so sad. Also realizing that there will be more scars in the future is so defeating. There is no winning this battle, there is only fighting with strength and bravery each time we go back into the battle. 

The rest of this week has been full of fun as some of my family from Ohio came down for an extended visit. We have been staying up late playing cards and visiting, and the boys have been able to play with their cousins. It has been such a joy catching up with them! I have taken an insane amount of great photos, so here is a sampling.

Cousins! And just for a point of comparison, the cousin in the back row with the navy blue and red shirt was born 5 days after Malachi.

This week I was walking in our yard and spotted a pile of brush that we have been meaning to clear for over a year now. It is one of those tasks that continues to get moved to the bottom of the list but is such an eye sore each time I spot it. But this week as I looked closely at it I noticed something new; inside that pile of chaos and ugly there were some beautiful flowers sprouting.

I sat and stared at that brush pile for quite awhile as I felt the Holy Spirit asking me to be still and allow God’s voice to be heard. And the longer I stared at the pile the more I started to see how well it represented my family and the testimony that God has been creating for us.

Our family is the ground that is hidden under that brush pile, covered in the death of our dreams, our expectations, and our comfort. As each new wave of trials has been stacked on top of us the darkness gets thicker and thicker. Yet through the tiny gaps the light is able to pierce that darkness and touch the soil. New growth is happening and God is literally bringing beauty from the ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

The Spirit laid this scripture on my heart and as I read it in the context of the brush pile I couldn’t help but feel God speaking to my heart. Maybe it will speak to you as well.

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen containers, so that the extraordinary greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying around in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being handed over to death because of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:6-12, 16-18

Verse 16 is the one I really needed to be reminded of this week, so it bears typing it again:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day.

Often times I forget that God is a renewing God. We all will go through brush pile times…times where the weight of the burdens you are under feels like it is almost too much to bear. But it is in those moments that we have to remember that God is renewing our spirit each and every day. He is still very active and very hard at work, allowing new life to spring forth even under the weight of burdens. And allowing beautiful things to grow out from under the brokenness that we carry. He will also provide the gaps in our hardest moments to allow us to let His light shine through.

And when you step back and really take a look you will notice that simple things like flowers will look even more magnificent when they are placed with a backdrop of affliction.

Afflicted but not crushed.

Perplexed but not despairing.

Persecuted but not abandoned.

Struck down but not destroyed.

I don’t think you can find a more uplifting verse than this one to kick off a new challenging week. Please keep us in your prayers as we tackle lots of medical appointments this week for both boys.

Much love,



If I am being perfectly honest, I have a very hard time being still. I am a projects person and have always packed my days from start to finish with productivity- well, I guess I should be more honest and say “busyness” as it isn’t always productive. Even when I am resting my mind is actively detailing each upcoming project. I worked three jobs in college, 7 days a week, and took on 18-21 credit hours each semester to graduate with the lowest debt possible. I crave busy- almost to the level that it becomes an idol so it is something I have to cautiously watch.

I recently made the decision to step away from my job as church secretary and it has left an odd void in my brain. When Covid hit in 2020 our church closed the office and I worked from home, going up to the actual office when needed to complete the tasks I couldn’t accomplish at home. Slow days at home used to become church office catchup days. Now slow days at home are just that…slow days at home.

The temptation to pack those days is ever present but I have been trying to consciously fight those urges and find contentment in being a stay at home mom. I have been trying to establish routines and am reminded each time that the task isn’t an easy one with medically complex children. Sleep routines are still wonky; some nights this week Malachi slept a total of 2.5 hours, and other nights he slept 6 hours. Each day is a new one with no preconceived notions from the last.

We spent most of this week at the house playing games, catching up on medical phone calls, and being intentional with our time. The boys did some painting which they both thoroughly enjoyed.

Side note- pee pads work as wonderful table covers when painting! Excess medical supplies for the win!

The boys also got to spend some time in the therapy pool. The temperatures are cooling down and it is prime time for them to spend evenings in the pool.

We titrated Malachi’s CBD oil up for a final time early this week and it always takes some time for him to adjust to the new dose. We have officially maxed out the medication level for him post-liver failure. They are worried about going any higher than 0.7mls, but he was formerly at a dose of 1.5mls. The good news is that the tiny increase we were able to do this week (0.2mls) did seem to help us gain a bit more seizure control. He was having 6-8 pretty nasty seizures a day. Some of them were lasting longer than 4 minutes. But as of today he is only having 2-4 and they are much more mild.

His personality is starting to return as well and you can tell that he is generally just feeling better on the new dose.

Levi is changing by the minute it seems. His vocabulary is continuing to grow and the things that he says are legitimately funny. We have been working hard on manners and how to handle big emotions- I have never met a more empathetic kid in my life. He cries during most Daniel Tiger episodes. He has such a tender heart.

This week I was playing a song while doing chores and I noticed Levi intently listening. He joined in and much to my surprise he knew most of the words! I filmed a little chunk for you:

This week Jake is on fall break and we have some exciting adventures planned as a family. We have had so many tough weeks lately and Jake and I agreed that we need to create some fun for them. I am confident we will have some great stories to share with you next week as we have been scheming since Covid week.

I have been thinking a whole lot about discipleship lately. I recognize that the term may be a foreign to you so I shopped for a definition that I liked: “teaching biblical precepts, while modeling and guiding others toward living righteously as followers of Jesus Christ”.

I have been specifically burdened (in a good way) by what I want discipleship to look like with my own children. As youth leaders we see dozens and dozens of children each year, and it doesn’t take long to spot the ones that are being discipled at home. Too often families believe that the burden to disciple is on the church. But the time I spent with my children far outweighs the 2 hours they sit in church each week.

It is an honor to me to be able to introduce these boys to Jesus. To help God’s word come alive to them and help them understand what a relationship with God looks like.

But how in the world do you disciple a 3 year old and a medically complex 8 year old?? That question has been swirling in my brain as I try to find out what God wants me to focus on with each of them.

I was THRILLED to find some amazing books to help and I thought I would share them with you all in case you are hunting for something similar. They came in this week and they have already served as great stepping stones to intentional talks about God.

Here is a link to the books in case you want a set for yourself or someone else:

While these books have been helpful at the teaching aspect of discipleship, the modeling and guiding parts are proving to be the most challenging. These boys see me at my worst. They see me when my temper is short. They hear me gossip. They get front row seats to my sinful and human side. But these ugly moments are such great teaching moments for them to learn from as well. Moments when I can point to the grace others have shown me. Moments when my tank is empty and I have to call out to Jesus for strength.

I guess the word for the night is ”intentional”. I am working at being more intentional in discipling both boys.

Billy Graham said ”Our faith becomes stronger as we express it; a growing faith is a sharing faith.”

I am not really sure why I typed this as it doesn’t sound like a devotional. But my hope is that by sharing my inner dialogue that maybe I can help encourage you in whatever discipleship or Kingdom work you may be called to. Who in your life needs to meet your Jesus? Who needs to see your ugly, weak side to help them truly understand the grace and power of God?

How many opportunities do we miss when we allow ourselves to believe we aren’t equipped or qualified to share the gospel with others?

I will be praying specifically this week for opportunities for each of you to get to share a piece of your faith with someone else. And I will pray that God gives you eyes to spot those opportunities and courage to start those conversations.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

And please continue to pray for our family. And selfishly I ask that you pray for me as I shift my focus from fruitless projects to the Kingdom work in my own family.