That word stirs something in me every single time I hear it or read it. 

Inspire. Inspiration. Inspiring.  Inspired.

Whatever form it comes it, it moves me.  In my world, there is no higher compliment that I could give to a person, movie, book or situation than to say that it was inspiring. 

One of the definitions of the verb inspire that Google gave me says, “to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”  On Merriam-Webster’s website it also says “to influence, move or guide by divine or supernatural…to spur on…to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on….”

You get the idea.

And I guess this word causes so much emotion inside of me because deep down more than I want my life to be anything else, I want it to be inspiring.  For many years, when I was younger especially, I chased that “one thing” that was going to be my “big moment.”  It was going to look like the movie Rudy or The Gladiator or even The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Someday I was going to be faced with one of those do or die moments, and I would choose die in the name of whatever was my cause and that would inspire and enable me to leave the kind of legacy that I thought mattered.

I probably watched way to many movies and read far too many books. 

Nevertheless, even though my aspirations have changed quite a bit since I was a young girl, I still have that deep resolve that my life matter…that it makes a difference…that it inspires.

Now don’t get the wrong idea about me. I am no saint. I make mistakes daily. I am selfish.  I am at times narcissistic.  I get caught up in my own little “first world problems.” I am judgmental.  Believe me, I am as human as the next person.  But what I do have is just this desire to know that I didn’t waste my life.  Life is short.  Time with loved ones even shorter.  Moments with strangers the shortest of all.  And, I guess I just want to know that I am making all those moments, time, and experiences the absolute richest they can be.  

If I am totally honest, though, I have struggled this year to understand what that needs to look like.  I see people all around me doing HUGE, BIG things for the kingdom of Christ, for their neighbor, for their communities, for their families, for those in need, and I am just trying to figure out why my life doesn’t feel so epic.  I see daily pain and suffering all around me, not just here in Guatemala but in the states and in the Middle East and in Greece and in Africa and really just all over the world, and I am asking myself what to do about it.  How can I make a difference in a sea of so much hurt? How can I have a voice more than just posting a few articles on Facebook?  How can I be a part of inspiring change?


Last weekend, though, I had an opportunity to visit one of the sweet girls that I had cared for prior to her moving out on her own.  She was recently married and then just last week gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  The doctors had told her she was having a boy, so it was quite the surprise to her when she gave birth to a little girl instead.  I was anxious to see both mama and baby, so only the day after she arrived back at home, we made the trip over to visit her. 

Is there anything like a sweet little newborn?  I hugged mama, and then she passed that sweet little thing into my arm.  As I gazed into her precious face, I asked her mama what name she had decided to give her.  She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Sara Estefania.” 

“Sara? You really named her Sara?”

“Yes, I named her Sara.”

The tears started to stream down my face.  This beautiful young woman gave her one and only child my name.  It was too much for me. 

I hugged that sweet baby close and prayed words of life and blessing over her sweet body. 

This week I have been reflecting on that moment over and over again.  My news feed has been filled with so much ugliness, hate, and pain this week.  I once again started asking God to show me how to be a part of bringing healing to all those broken.  How can I be a part of producing change? Where is my place?  What is my platform?  What am I supposed to do?

But it’s as if He has been whispering to me quietly all week that isn’t about a platform or epic moments or being in the right place or even about being an inspiration for the masses. 

This life is about moments…this moment, the next one, and the one after that.  Its about investing in and inspiring and loving the ones that God placed right here around me. 

It’s about the dinner table. 

It’s braiding hair and playing catch. 

It’s providing a meal for the young single mom who is working overtime just to make ends meet.

It’s listening without judgment. 

It’s sacrificing time, space, money, resources, in order to help someone who has none of those to spare.

It’s just being ALL IN right where God placed me.

My long awaited “epic moment” may never come.  I may never do anything worth writing about in the history books.  But, I am more and more convinced that if I really want to inspire change and do something about all the ugly that I see in this world, then I have to get right the things that I am doing in my own circle.  I need to inspire, teach, lead, and love well those that God placed right here next to me.  No one in this world will feel my influence, for better or worse, more than my own family and community…no one.

So yes my friends stand up in the face of injustice.  Please we need you on those front lines.  Protest, write letters, give money, bring awareness, use your hashtags, highlight wrongdoings and advocate for change.  We can’t grow weary of doing good just because it’s hard. 

But don’t forget your own village…your own tribe…your own community…your own family. 

Inspire in them the change you want to see in the world. 

I don’t know why that sweet girl named her baby after me.  Maybe she just thought it was a pretty name.  I hope it was more than that. I hope that I had impacted her life in such a way or INSPIRED her in such a way that she wanted the legacy of that impact to live on in her baby. 

But even if that isn’t the case, it doesn’t really matter, does it? 

Does it really matter if anyone ever remembers Sara?  Does it matter if my legacy is far-reaching and widespread? 

No it doesn’t.

It doesn’t matter if mine is or yours is.

What matters is that in the face of evil and heartbreak and brokenness, we chose love and light and laughter.  Laughter!  We chose to stretch out our hand to our neighbor, our friend, our church, our community, and most especially to our sons and daughters, and said, “This world is ugly. I may not be able to fix it all, but I’m sure not going to let you go alone.  Let’s do this together.”

It’s a lot more romantic thinking about a big EPIC showdown. It’s a lot more motivating thinking we are going to be the next Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa or whoever else inspires and empowers you. 

However, without taking an ounce away from those amazing individuals, I think that we have to stop waiting for our platform to do something.  We have to stop thinking that we have to “save the world” in order to make a difference.  We have to quit comparing our efforts to those of the person next to us.

You are right where you are for a purpose and for a reason.  Don’t squander THIS MOMENT and THIS TIME. 

Be an inspiration to those that know you best.  Show those that see you struggle the most how to get back up and try again. 

Be the change for them that you want to see in the world. 


Choosing all life and not just one...

Planned Parenthood.









Not Edited.

These are just some of the words that I have seen floating around social media these days in regards to the Planned Parenthood videos that have been released.  I have been reading, praying, and talking with people in my circle of influence about it, but up until this point I refrained from publicly saying anything on the subject.

I guess there are several reasons for that.  The first being I wanted to be better informed before allowing my emotions to just provide a trigger response to it all.  Secondly, I don’t like to use social media to engage in conversations that should be left for intimate conversation.  It has nothing to do with me not wanting to stand up for what I believe to be true or right or just whatever.   It is me saying that I love and care about the people God has placed in my life enough to discuss things that I know are going to have an immediate impact on them in person.  I don’t want to throw statements around on Facebook and hope that they have been interpreted in the way that I meant them.  No thanks. I am just not into that game.  I would just as soon delete all of my social media accounts then to allow it to become the means that I have my most intimate conversations and/or share some of my deepest and innermost thoughts and opinions.

But this time, I feel like I have to speak out.  In this case, we aren’t talking about something that I can just wait until I have a chance to talk to each and every one of my Facebook friends face to face and finally discuss this issue.  That’s never going to happen.  Additionally, this topic is super close to my heart…it is one of the things I honestly feel the most passionate about, so I know that I must speak out.  Regardless if you agree or disagree with me, I am going to be bold and tell you why I think both sides of this issue need to slow down and think very clearly before proceeding.

So here goes nothing…

I am pro-life.  Always.  And before you start asking me if I am pro-life in every situation like the death penalty or war or anything like that, let me just ask you to stick to the topic.  When I say, pro-life, most of you know that I am using that phrase in regards to the act of abortion.

I believe that every single life conceived inside the womb deserves to have life outside of it as well. 


What about rape?  Should the woman be forced to carry a baby born of a monstrous act? 


What about incest?  What about cases of young girls being forced to have babies conceived from ongoing child molestation by a father or brother or uncle? What about them?

Yes. Them too.

What about babies that are going to die anyway?  What about the ones that will never make it past birth? 

Still Yes.

Every time, I believe that life should be given. 

Now before you all throw your arms up in anger or start sending me hate messages, please at least give me the chance to finish sharing some things. 

I know people born under every single one of those scenarios.  I know actual people that have been born as result of rape, incest, and after mom was told that the baby would never make it after birth.  These are real life people who are now living breathing adults or in some cases, children, that would not exist if abortion under any of the above cases had been an option for their mother. 

I have changed diapers for these unwanted ones. I have held their hands. I have pushed them on the swing. I have fixed their hair.  I have sat with them and talked. I have made them cookies.  I have laughed with them.  I have seen their faces and locked eyes with them.  I have heard their hearts beat. 

I can’t imagine life without any of these individuals. I can’t.  My life has been richer and fuller and just better because of them. 

And the thing is theirs has too...because they were given the gift of life when someone else wanted to snatch it away. 

But what about the mom?  Doesn’t she have rights too?  Doesn’t she count?  What about her pain? 

I want to tell you the story of a young girl that I knew once.  She was 11 years old when I met her…just a few months away from giving birth.  She was pregnant with her father’s baby. I met her shortly after she was rescued from this situation.

This young girl loved to play with dolls.  She loved to ride her bike.  She was shy but had a bright smile. I was certain that during her pregnancy she was really quite oblivious to all that was happening to her.  She just continued with what she always knew.  We knew already that there was a very good chance her baby was going to be born prematurely but also with some pretty significant health issues.  We tried to prepare as best as we could but it was hard knowing for sure what to expect. 

The day came for her baby boy to finally come into this world, and as expected he was immediately rushed off to the intensive care unit of the hospital.  Thankfully even though we knew that his chances of survival at the time were slim, we had received many donations so that he could be cared for in one of the top hospitals in the country. 

While he fought for his life, with doctors caring for him round the clock, his mama came back home to us.  She, of course, had changed.  She still had a bright smile, but she was much more scared too.  She couldn’t keep denying her situation anymore.  She had to face the reality. 

And she was in pain.  Deep pain caused by her swollen breasts and the toll that giving life to her baby had caused on her own body. 

I was only a few months out of experiencing this myself.  I had just a few months earlier given birth for the first time.  When I heard she was back home, I immediately went over to her house to see her, armed with my breast pump, cream, and every other oil, ointment, etc. that had been helpful to me in those first few weeks and months.

I entered into the dimly lit room and she was laying on her bed, silent tears streaming down her face.

“It hurts so much,” she tells me.

“I know honey. It does hurt so much.”

“Will it go away soon?  Will it stop hurting soon?” she asks.

“It will.  But the doctor says that what your baby needs the most right now is your milk.  That is why you are hurting so much too.  You are full and the milk needs to come out. It will hurt at first but it’s going to make you feel so much better.  And your baby needs it,” I tell her.

“Okay. I will try then.”

It takes some maneuvering but we finally are able to start getting milk out. She winces in pain but she keeps pressing on.  I am surprised by her tenacity. 

I give her some more advice on using the machine but also just on caring for herself. I promise to come back the next day.  I had barely hit the door to leave when the tears starting coming fast down my face.  I ran down to my house and just went straight into my room and openly sobbed into my pillow. 

“Why God! Why!  Why is this sweet girl having to experience this?! It’s not fair.  It’s not right.  This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.”

I would be lying if I told you I experienced some sort of epiphany in that moment.  I didn’t.  But, I just started fervently praying for this sweet girl and her baby.  I didn’t understand. I couldn’t make sense of it, but I had to just trust God’s plan for this girl and for her baby.

That little baby did make it.  He is a toddler now. I haven’t seen him or his mama in a long while, but I know that while the road wasn’t always easy, she loved her baby and he loved her. 

Life was given.  Life is being lived.

So no matter the story, no matter the background, no matter the narrative, I will always be for life.  I think every baby conceived deserves that chance.  This story and so many others like this one make me more convinced of that every day. 

BUT...and there is a big BUT…

The lives of these women matter too.  And to pretend any different…to treat the women that have had abortions in the past or considering one currently as if they are nothing but heartless murders is incredibly wrong also.

No I may not agree with their decision. I may not think it is right but they are also real people with real hearts and real situations that are sometimes incredibly heartbreaking and almost impossible.  I will not stand here and judge what I don’t know.

I have only been pregnant 2 times.  Both of those times I got pregnant after “trying” to so to speak.  I was married. I wanted to have a baby.  Both of my babies from what the doctors could tell even in the womb were going to be born healthy and normal and without any serious health conditions.  With the exception of some serious and insane all day sickness, my pregnancies were as close to the ideal as possible. 

So who am I to say to a woman, whose circumstances are completely opposite to those that I experienced, that she is wrong to consider abortion?  Of course, I don’t think that is the answer and never should be, but does it make her a horrible person because she feels like it is her only option? 

No it doesn’t. 

What she needs is someone to walk with her…someone to take her by the hand and go with her.  Pray with her.  Go to her doctor’s appointments with her.  Cry with her if need be.  Help her find a job or a place to live.  Help her sign up for Medicaid or something like that if she needs it.  Do research for her.  Do something with her and for her.  But don’t just sit back and judge.  Don’t give her some lecture about safe sex or about abstinence.  Don’t tell her she is wrong or horrible or anything like that. 

Give her a better option.

And so this is the point in the Planned Parenthood conversation that things get really sticky for me.  I am absolutely positively HORRIFIED by what these videos have shown.  The most recent one especially about the brain being cut out of a LIVE BABY just made me sick.  I just can’t comprehend why anyone would ever, ever think that this kind of practice is okay.  It’s just absolutely gruesome and heartbreaking to me. 

However, while I think that any organization that practices anything similar to this should be shut down, I also think that it would be incredibly careless of us to protest for the shutting down of Planned Parenthood WITHOUT also coming up with some serious alternatives for all of the other care that thousands of women are receiving daily at different Planned Parenthood clinics throughout the US.   Many if not all of the women walking into Planned Parenthood for any service are doing so because they have not received the help, care, assistance they needed elsewhere.  

So what about them?  Are we going to fight for the life of the unborn and forget all about the life of the one already born?  Doesn’t she matter too? 

She matters to me.  I hope she matters to you too.

I don’t have the answers. I really don’t. But, I am begging God to show me.  I want to advocate for the life of the unborn child. Yes, of course I do and will continue to do. I want to fight for his/her life.  I want to because, as I mentioned above, there are so many amazing human beings in my life that would not exist had abortion been an option for their mothers.  And besides that, I believe only God has the right to take life away as He is also the only Giver of life.

BUT, I also want to advocate for women…and especially women who are hurting and broken and confused and feel like they are without hope and that their situation is completely impossible.  I want to advocate for them too. I want to fight for them too. 

So church what are you going to do?  How can we fight for both?  How do we stand in the gap for both? 

I encourage you to take some serious time as a family, as a church family, as a community on your knees in prayer and maybe even in fasting.  It is horrific what is happening.  It’s devastating but lets not bring more shame on these women.  Let’s not put more burdens on them.  Let’s instead come alongside of them.  Let’s be a friend, a sister, a brother, a family, a safe haven for them.  We cannot pretend to know what they are experiencing and/or have experienced.  We can’t.    

Friends lets pray.  Let’s pray and plead and cry out as we never have before.  God has overcome.  He is the Victor.  Darkness will not last. Light will prevail.  But, we need to be wise.  Wise in how we speak and how we walk during this time…wise even in how we go to battle. 

If you want to choose life, please choose every life. 


Preparing for Battle

Unmet expectations

Aka the thorn in my side

One of the greatest enemies in finding true joy and contentment in pretty much every area of my life has been unmet expectations. I build things up so much in my head and in my heart that I can never fully embrace the reality of what things are.

Case in point: college

I watched far too much Felicity before going off to college.  My room was going to be huge.  Scott Foley and Scott Speedman (or at least their very handsome lookalikes) would be fighting over me.  My classes would be awesome, and I would secretly chronicle my life each evening into some sort of recording device. I would suddenly be cool and dress funky. It was going to be grand.

What really happened: I pretty much hated everything about college until about my junior year. My parents still like to tell the story of me standing at the window, looking out at the parking lot with tears streaming down my face as my parents drove off after helping me unload everything at the start of my sophomore year. It was not pretty.  I eventually learned to love it and made some amazing friends and memories, but I probably would have loved it more had I not gone into it with so many expectations and just tried to embrace it for what it was instead of trying to make into what I thought it should be.

Another case in point: Marriage

I hate you country music.  You made me think that my husband was going to wake up and sing to me about how beautiful I am despite the drool dripping down the side of my face, the pillow mark across my forehead, and the morning breath that probably needs ample brushing, flossing, and mouth wash to take the stench away.   I thought we were going to be dancing in the rain and holding hands every time in the car.  Fighting was really only going to be for making up, and my husband was going to think I was the most beautiful and amazing creature EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of EVERY SINGLE DAY!

What it is really like:  If you are married, this point probably doesn’t even need a second paragraph explaining all the lies mentioned above…but since some of you may not be married and may still be listening to far too much country music with stars in your eyes, I am here to tell you, its all a big fat lie.  Marriage takes a lot of work.  There is much much beauty in it but your breath and all the rest of your junk doesn’t start smelling better just because you are married.  You may dance in the rain occasionally, and you may still hold hands in the car sometimes, but hard is still hard, and you are going to have to make lots of sacrifices along the way to finding your happily ever after.

Basically this has been my way for as long as I can remember. 

Inside my head leading up to __________ life event, “It’s going to be amazing.  We are going to do so many exciting things.  It’s just going to be life changing.  I can’t wait for all the awesomeness in store.”

Real life during _________ life event, “This is horrible.  Why is this so hard?  Can’t anything ever turn out how I want it to!? God, why did you let this happen?  It’s not supposed to be like this? WHYYYYYYY!” {Basically just imagine me being super dramatic and over the top}

You get the point.

Somehow all of 2015 has turned out to be one of the biggest let downs in my life.  I looked towards each month or each new event with expectancy and eagerness, hoping for something to change the mess that had seemed to overtake this year, and each time I was just met with more heartbreak and challenges and tears.

And that was all before July.

Then July came.  The month I had looked forward to all year. I was going to head back to my homeland and fill my life with all of my favorite summer goodies of summers past. I was going to relax and refresh and recharge and just make life better again.

And then the biggest bomb of them all dropped.

I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t ready.  My head and heart spun.  It felt like I was just watching some sort of bad movie and it would all be over soon.

“This can’t be happening.  This one really is just a bad dream. I am going to wake up. It’s all not going to be true.”

That is what I felt on the inside but on the outside I had to be the strong one. I had to not only have faith myself but I had to have faith for others too. I had to hold up the arms of loved ones because they couldn’t hold them up on their own. I had to speak truth over the lies.

I had to turn off the inside voice and just be there.

No time for tears.  No time for feeling sorry for myself.  No time to really even ask why and analyze. 

I had to just be in the moment. I had to embrace it for what it was…ugliness and all. 

I couldn’t wish it away. I couldn’t change it.  It was what it was.  I didn’t have to like it, and I didn’t have to understand it.  But I couldn’t run away from it. 

And then something amazing happened.

For the first time truly in my life, I couldn’t let the unmet expectations steal anything. 

When you are in a battle, you just fight.  You don’t have time to think about if your strategy is working or not working.  You don’t have time to even evaluate an alternate plan.  You can’t fret over what you didn’t do or didn’t know or couldn’t see.  You just fight.  You stay alive, and you try to keep those standing on that front line with you, alive too.

You are just in that one moment. 

And that dark, ugly battle finally set me free.

Free to just be in the moment.  Free to trust.  Free to embrace what is before me. 

Free to believe that dreams are great, but God’s reality is far better.

For so long, I lived with so many hurts and disappointments that I brought on myself because I couldn’t just be in the moment.  Everything in my life and especially in my thoughts revolved around what should have been and wasn’t or what I hoped for and didn’t get. 

It was never just about seeing the enormous grace and beauty and mercy and joy that can be had by just being wholly and fully right where God placed me.

I see now that I missed so much.  I missed out on so much because I chose to hang onto what I thought was good instead of embracing what God knew was better. 

And the most ironic part of it all was that it took a heart-wrenching, heartbreaking, devastating event for me to see that.

There are probably going to still be some unmet expectations.  I am far from perfect so I am bound to go back to my old ways a time or two. 

But for today at least I have decided in my heart to want more what God has for me…even if it hurts…than what I think I should have.  I would rather find beauty in a battle then live in some mirage that tries desperately to imitate beauty by avoiding pain. 

Because more than anything in this whole world, I want my life and the lives of those I love to be a bright and shining light in this very dark world. I want God to use me to be beacon of hope to those hurting. I want my home to be a place of refuge for the broken and outcast. 

That can’t happen by avoiding the hard or the ugly or the painful. I have to get right in there in the trenches and be willing to sacrifice and be willing to get hurt.

Expecting something different isn’t going to change the outcome. The only difference is how I am going to walk through it.   


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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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