Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Let's Get Real.


Something everyone wants more of, is stressed over,  and can hover over your life with TOO much control if you let it.

Money is TIGHT. And honestly I feel like that's an understatement. 

I'm not writing this as a "woe is me" - I know that Jake and I are better off than 90% of the world, but the reality is, money is tight. There's a new baby coming, and there has been MUCH added expense the last few months in prepping for her arrival. Health insurance ain't CHEAP. 

But this post isn't so much to focus on the dollar amount, but on the heart behind it all. 

Last week, God really began to speak to my spirit about our tithe. It's something that Jake and I go up and down with,. and when I say Jake and I, I mean me. We're really consistent for a few months and then things get tight and I don't follow through. All of our money flows into the same account, but I handle what is paid and what goes out. It's something Jake and I established when we first got married as I had more of the brain for it and Jake just didn't care to have that control, it's something we do together. But in the end, I've been the one deciding whether to write that check or not. 

I can tell you that the months that I don't, I feel convicted. I feel like I'm letting my husband down by not, I know that I'm putting more faith in my calculator than in the God who holds the world. But sometimes I just couldn't write that check. With a tithe being 10% of what you bring in... it can FEEL like a significant chunk of money. Like I said, this post isn't about the dollar amount, but our tithe is roughly two thirds the amount of our mortgage, and that mortgage is a significant chunk of what we pay out each month. I also had this warped idea that because of others disobedience, that money we'd be giving up, wouldn't make it's way back to us anyway, so I just needed to hold onto it because we NEEDED it. HAAAAA. The problem is that I can't justify my disobedience in the light of someone else's. I won't answer for theirs, but I'll surely answer for mine. Not writing that check, holding on to what isn't even mine in the first place, is being disobedient to what God calls me/us to. Something Steven Furtick said rang clear with me "Outcome is God's responsibility.. Obedience is yours." - WOAH. 

Tithing is the one area where God asks us to test him.. it states in Malichi 3:10  "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!" 

It also states in Luke 6:38 "Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full -- pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back." 

The thing is, that blessing/provision can't come unless you're obedient FIRST. The provision doesn't precede the obedience.

Pretty sure it was another Steven message I caught last week, but he said "To neglect your priorities is to forfeit your provision..." See, there's never a lack of provision in God, because He OWNS IT ALL What we think is a lack of provision is really a lack of priority.. 

What am I seeking first? Who am I putting first? 

Matthew 6:33 states "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

"ALL these things will be given to you..." God doesn't want to keep anything from us, he WANTS to bless us and give us abundantly more. BUT He asks that we seek Him FIRST. Giving our FIRST fruits, is an act of faith. Writing that check, putting the 10% back into the hands who gave you every bit of the 100% says "God I trust you more than I trust what this money can do for me. I trust you to provide even when I can't see where it's going to come from. I trust YOU more than my calculator." 

In a sense there's so much more peace when you give, even if your bank account may not reflect what you need - you've done what God asks and now you trust Him to provide. Essentially saying "It's in your hands God, I trust you." It lifts the burden off of our own shoulders and puts faith in THE God. And what does God want to do with us here? Grow our faith. Trust HIM more. 

It's insane how God prepared me to write that check this week. I listened to these messages (See the three below) - Our own pastor has been teaching out of Malachi, and this week was about "Money Worship" (You can see that message here.) On Friday, Jake got a phone call from our Pastor, asking him if Jake would be willing to share a little testimony about tithing and what that has done to grow our faith. HA! I kid you not. All week the Holy Spirit is speaking to me about tithing, and here our Pastor sought Jake out to share about how giving has affected our faith and our family. ( I see you Holy Spirit..) If you watch the message, you'll see Jake's response. But basically Jake got to share that NO it isn't easy, but it's something God asks of us. It's a faith builder, it allows God the opportunity to show up and show His power, it allows our faith to be stretched and grown. It brings peace and security, because you're placing more faith in THE God's hands than in your own. And it's an act of obedience, it tends to put back into perspective the reality that EVERYTHING in our bank account is HIS anyway. He gave us the opportunity/talent/means to earn it. It has LESS control over me when I give it up to HIM. 

It's not easy. It's a constant act of obedience to write that check. 
But I can tell you, every single time, God has come through. 
Every single time we've been covered. 

I'm sick of saying I trust God, but living in such a way that doesn't always show it. I can tell you I wrote that check this week, and am trusting God to come through so our bank account doesn't end up in the negatives, real talk. Not easy, but worth it. 

Robert Morris (another pastor I like to follow) states "Would you rather live cursed in the 100%? or Provided for in the 90%?" - Woah. Perspective. 

Anyway - check out these messages below, they were good to me. The one by Joby Martin is the first of a 5 part series he did two years ago, you can find the others on youtube or via podcast. 

"GIVE and it will be GIVEN to you... only AFTER obedience that evidence is manifest.." 
"The Blessing with FOLLOW obedience, it won't precede it.." 
"I want to stay connected to my SOURCE and not dependent on my STUFF." 
"Don't. Be. Afraid." 
"Do you want the fish? or the favor?" 

"Outcome is GOD's responsibility, OBEDIENCE is YOURS." - Steven Furtick

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Ava is Two!

Today we celebrate a special little girl.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, eating, sitting and child  Image may contain: 1 person, tree and outdoor  Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting

The first girl to turn our life upside up! I don't say down, because nothing about her is a downer. She's full of joy, a joy we prayed over her before she even existed - a joy that comes from the heavenlies, a joy that comes from Jesus. It blows my mind that it's been a year since we celebrated her first birthday.. and it almost scares me to think about how quickly the years to come will go. EEK!

  Image may contain: 1 person, child  Image may contain: 1 person  Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, child, shoes and outdoor  Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, closeup and indoorImage may contain: 1 person, sitting, child and shoes  Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, closeup and indoor  Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and outdoor

So on this day, her second birthday, I want to document some of my favorite things about this tiny yet MIGHTY human.

She loves..

Cheese, M&M's, FRUIT SNACKS, Mickey Mouse, Paw Patrol, her blanky, and YOGURT!

Her PUPPIES, I'll never get sick of hearing her yell "GUNNER, ANK (Hank), and SELSA (Elsa)" She calls them in when they go outside, she puts them in their crates and gives them treats when we leave, and even scolds them with a "Bad dog!" when they've decided they like one of her toys better than her own. She also takes it upon herself to feed them - and we have to pay close attention as sometimes we hear the dog food bin open, and the plastic cup "TING" before we know what's happening! She's a sneaky one..

  Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, people sleeping, cat and indoor  Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor  Image may contain: 1 person    

BABIES - recently this obsession has gotten greater, so we can't wait to watch her with her new REAL LIFE Baby, Sawyer, in the upcoming weeks. She swaddles her babies in blankets and puts them to bed, she strips off their clothes and yells POOP when they need a diaper change, let's hope we can teacher her quickly not to do that to Sawyer! (Could get messy) ;)

Her Mimi, Ms. Kerry, G-Man, and Papa - If you ever get in the car and ask her where she's going, she'll list them! "Mimi, Kerry, G-Man, Papa.." And most recently she lists "Nic and B" and even sometimes the dogs "Bewwa (Bella), Bo Bo, and Moosey"

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting  Image may contain: 1 person, sky and outdoor           Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, child and closeup 

Her "Nook" or Paci depending on the day - she likes to have two at a time if you'll let her - but she only gets it at night, and she's good about leaving it in her crib in the morning. But as stated earlier.. she is a sneaky one and will sometimes come out of her room with one in her mouth that she could reach through the bar of the crib!

Most of all.. Her Daddy. This girl can't get enough of the man who loves her most. It's HER Daddy if you ever ask her, and don't you dare think she'll share. He's the first person she asks for when she wakes in the morning, and every Red Truck is his. He's the best boo boo kisser and her favorite seat in the house. Wherever He is, she wants to be there, beside him doing whatever he's doing. - feeding the dogs, riding the lawn mower, or watching football. She calls for him just to hear him call her name back, always hugs him tight, and snuggles him best. She's the epitome of a Daddy's girl, and I'm okay to share him :)

Image may contain: one or more people, people sleeping, people sitting and indoor  Image may contain: one or more people and shoes  Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, shoes and outdoor  Image may contain: 2 people, outdoor and nature  Image may contain: 2 people, indoor  Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, baby and shorts  Image may contain: 2 people, closeup Image may contain: 2 people  Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, sky, grass, shoes, outdoor and nature

She dislikes...

When the dogs don't listen! She'll scold them and walk them to their crate if they've taken her toy or knocked her over accidently.

Leaving her grandparents... Mimi and Ms. Kerry have hung the moon, if you didn't know, so leaving them is NEVER easy.

Getting water in her eyes! You've got to be quick in the tub to get that shampoo out of her hair, she'll dodge that cup faster than Flash himself.

Dirty hands.. when she needs a napkin she needs it NOW!

Sitting still to get her hair brushed or put up.. but she loves to wear a bow!

She's a lefty when she eats, and tends to put her boots on the wrong feet.

She loves to dance and listen to the music LOUD.

  • Raffi - Shake my Sillies OUT
  • Joe Scruggs - Goo Goo Ga Ga (Ava calls it the "baby song")\

She's a constant mover who tends to wander rather than hold your hand.

She's full of the purest joy and yet as Sassy as they come.

She's a strong willed child with a love that is hard to comprehend, who's most ticklish in the back of her legs!

We can't get enough of this little gift.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

So you asked me how Rebekah's doing... Pt. 2

It's been a little over three months since our dear friend walked into Heaven.

I say walked because her legs work there, and I know she got up, and walked in. I can imagine her running and jumping into the arms of Jesus with a smile that radiates HIS glory.

How's Rebekah doing? Rebekah is HEALED.

Rebekah no longer walks with a little limp, but struts with strong bones and strengthened muscles.

How's Rebekah doing? Rebekah is HEALED.

Rebekah no longer only lifts her right arm part way above her head, but waves and raises both arms fully to praise her Abba Father!

Rebekah is HEALED.

Last Monday was her 27th birthday. I won't say that it "would have been"  because it WAS, it just wasn't HERE. She celebrated her 27th year of life in the place that we all long for, in her eternal home with her most gracious Father. The Father who anxiously waited to celebrate that birthday with her in heaven, as He knew the first 26 would be spent on Earth.

Think about that? God knew He would get to celebrate that 27th birthday with her, don't you think that excited Him?! To celebrate His girl where she was meant to live forever?! Amazing.

Though missing her happens often, it isn't something that sticks around for long. For I know she is living, just not near me at the moment. I know that one day, I'll celebrate another birthday with her.

Today my mind is thinking a lot about having and keeping an eternal perspective. Remembering that though it seems like it will be ages before we hug her again, in the perspective of Eternity, it's but a blink of an eye.

It's easy to get caught up in the frustrations of life on Earth. Financially feeling strapped and anxious about how the money will come in. BUSY with the craziness of work, kids, sports, etc..wondering where God is in the midst of it, and being convicted when we're not taking the time to SEE Him in it.

Rebekah had an eternal perspective. Her husband, Jared, had and has an eternal perspective. Though not always easy to maintain, it's necessary to trudge through the grit of what life can be. When our focus is eternity, the struggle seems more bearable, as we know it's temporary.

My goal is to focus on the "line" and not the "speck".

* -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

My Dad has drawn this illustration many times - that dot representing our lives here on earth, even if we get 90 or 100 years, those years are NOTHING in light of eternity but they mean EVERYTHING when it comes to where you'll spend that eternity.

Focus on Jesus.
Focus on the Forever.
Not the right now, not the struggle, not the temporary.

Mark 13:31 (NIV)

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

1 John 2:17 (NIV)

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to focus on eternity, that though I am broken and unworthy, God provided a way because HE wants to spend eternity with ME. And He wants to spend it with you too.. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hashtag Hot Mess #HHM

Maybe it's pregnancy, maybe it's the fact that I am a female (who just spelled female "femail" three times before getting it right).. but today, I'm a mess.

Today is a GREAT day. Today Jake and I celebrate two years married. My husband  is my best friend. He is the ONE God created to fill every need and want I didn't even know existed when it comes to a spouse. He cherishes me, and pushes me towards Jesus.

But today, I'm a mess.

My heart has been heavy recently, riddled with conviction of not doing enough. This morning I listened to a message by Pastor Steven Furtick called " Are you growing your gifts?" - He talks about how God loves GOOD things, not things that are half done with the right heart - we should have the right heart AND do things WELL. God has told me countless times to be in his word more, and to write more. Do I do it? No. Instead I journal here and there when it's convenient, or I blog here and there when God REALLY pushes me.

Where is the discipline? There is SO much fufillment when I do what he has asked, so much release when I sit down and put to paper the thoughts and things the Holy Spirit is speaking.. so why don't I do it more consistently? Where is my effort? It's wrapped up in excuses. "I'm so busy" - but let's watch an episode of Arrow on Netflix. "I'm just exhausted" - so let's sleep an extra 20mins because you stayed up watching that episode of Arrow. Stupid. It's a matter of discipline. Carving out time and making it a habit.

God, I come to you asking for HELP. Convict me so deeply that I can't even stand the thought of watching that episode or of sleeping those extra mins. Keep at the forefront of my mind that YOU are greater than ALL things, and YOU deserve my utmost attention. I'm sorry for only giving you "half" worship.. Thanks for loving me any way, even when I suck. And lately, I feel like I suck more than don't suck. You are good, ALL the time. Reveal yourself to me in the smallest things, that I would begin to see you more.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Victory - a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war.

2014 - A year of prayer and trusting.

2015 - A year of change, love, answered prayer, and some struggle.
2016 - A year of more answered prayer and lots of transition.
2017 - A year of VICTORY. 

This year our word is Victory. 

It's amazing - I started this post in January, and here it is August and I never finished it.

I can tell you that this year has truly been a year of victory. 

This year God settled some things and now we have Ava half the time.

This year my best friend overcame cancer and was healed in the arms of Jesus. 

This year we will welcome a baby girl, Sawyer Jane, a baby we had hoped for but who came as complete sweet surprise. 

This year a job opportunity became available to provide more financially for our family, as well as less stress so MORE focus could be on our family. 

This year IS a year of Victory. 

This year has not been easy. 
No cake walks here. 
But this year has been laced with victory.

Victory is a way of life we can walk in when we walk with Jesus. Ultimately, no matter the circumstance, victory is always ours to claim in Jesus name. 

I surely haven't always lived with this perspective, and sometimes my pessimistic nature gets the best of me. Thankfully, God provided me with a sweet husband who is quick to remind me of that VICTORY when I need a paradigm shift. 

It would have been easy to be upset that Rebekah wasn't healed here, where I wanted to it happen. I could have easily sat in selfishness that my best friend wouldn't get to experience this pregnancy with me, or that she wouldn't get to experience pregnancy at all. I could have been upset for her husband who in the world's eyes was left all alone. Or upset for her family who is surely missing their sister and daughter. But I couldn't be any of those things. It hit me one day as I was making cookies, like Beck and I had done countless times, that I wasn't crying and upset over her absence. Then instantly I felt terrible for not feeling that sorrow I thought should accompany her being gone.. But I could hear her voice, I could see her push my shoulder and tell me to "Get over it, TP - You know where I am, you know I am healed, and you know you'll see me again. I don't even miss you!" I laughed out loud and then did begin to cry, sweet tears of joy, not sadness. 

Two weeks before Rebekah walked into heaven, I went to visit and it was just she and I for a few minutes, she kept asking to touch my belly, she kissed my belly, told my belly "I love you kid, you don't even know." Beck was excited about this girl (who we both thought was a boy at the time..). 

It's funny because as much as I wish she was here, I don't. 

I know the joy, the peace, the wholeness she is experiencing and I wouldn't wish this Earth on her again. I can't wait to see her again. I can't wait for her to meet Sawyer one day in Heaven. To see the girl who carries part of her name. 

THAT is victory. 

To face death with a smile because it isn't the end. 

Rebekah is victorious. 

We can do that every day. Face death with a smile, because no matter how hard the circumstance, it isn't ever going to be our end. 

Jesus is our end. 
He is THE victory. 

So if you're struggling today to see the good, cling to the promise that ALL things work out for good for those who love and seek HIM. You may not see the good until you're on the other side of heaven, but eventually you'll see it. Find joy in that. Claim it. It's yours because of Jesus. 

Victory - a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war.

Our victory over Satan was won on the cross. We can walk every day knowing that our steps, though sometimes trudging and not always easy, are moving towards Jesus. 

Praying God's peace on and all over you as you walk through tough stuff, He's there. Cling to him and claim that victory!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

So you asked me how Rebekah's doing...

I'll tell you this is something that has been on my heart to write for a few weeks now as many of you have reached out to know how our sweet friend is currently feeling.

For those of you who don't know, Rebekah is a woman who has battled cancer for close to half of her life. One who's smile never leaves, no matter the difficulty or the pain. One who isn't bothered by any little thing, and never fails to tell you straight.

Her most recent fight has been more difficult than others. But GOD has sustained both she and her husband as they've leaned heavily into His side. I've watched them walk through deep waters with a firm grip on Jesus' hand. Never claiming it was easy, but always claiming Jesus strength in their weakness. Jared has upheld his wife in the highest manner, caring for her exactly as he vowed to, as Christ loved the church. Sacrificially and with the utmost servitude.

Right now, medically things look grim. To the world it seems that goodbyes should be said and final words exchanged. But let's not forget the God we serve. The God who has proclaimed that by HIS wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

I'm going to be bold and say something that has the possibility of hurting your feelings, or offending you in some way, please know that's not my intention. What I want to share with you is truth. Truth that Jared and Rebekah are believing and want nothing more then for you to come alongside in agreement with them. But if you question it, or have any ounce of unbelief, I ask that you kindly keep your prayers to yourself, or maybe ask God to change them before you continue. We believe that Rebekah's healing is just one part of an even grander plan that God has in store for this community and for this world, quite honestly. This healing has been spoken and proclaimed over her with Christ's authority. And has been confirmed in so many instances, too many to list in one sitting.

John 14:12 (NIV)

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Jesus spoke and told the disciples that they (we) would do even greater things than He did. If you recall, Jesus fed the hungry, healed the sick, and RAISED people from the dead. And yet here, He tells us we will do greater. So why can't we claim healing over the cells in Rebekah's body? Not simply accepting "God's Will" - ie. praying "Well if it's her time Lord.. we trust you..." but crying out in the authority given to you through Christ Jesus "Lord we KNOW that you are POWERFUL and we KNOW that you are the SAME God today that you were when you walked the Earth and healed the sick - YOU live in US - YOU told us we would do GREATER things - REBEKAH WILL DO GREATER THINGS - Rebekah's body rebukes this sick and claims the healing that you already won when you died on that cross. by YOUR wounds she IS healed."

THIS is the prayer Jared asks you to pray for his wife.
THIS is the prayer Rebekah asks that you pray over her. 
THIS is prayer that steps into the authority given when we walk with Jesus. 

Ephesians 1:18-23 States 

18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Christ's Resurrection was such an overwhelming display of God's power that this was actually the MIGHTIEST work of God ever recorded! The Resurrection was opposed by Satan and all his cohorts. However his forces were confused and defeated by our Lord Jesus Christ, who arose, ascended, and is now seated at the right hand of the father far above them.
[Paraphrased from book by Kenneth E. Hagin, The Believer's Authority]

Colossians 2:15 (NIV)

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he [Christ] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

These are the same demonic powers we have to deal with, but, thank God, Jesus defeated them. Other translations say He "put them to "nought" or "paralyzed them."

The source of our authority is found in this resurrection and exalting of Christ by God. Notice in the 18th verse that the Holy Spirit through Paul prays that the eyes of the Ephesians' understanding -- their spirits -- might be opened to these truths. He wanted all churches -- all believers -- to be enlightened. You will never understand the authority of the believer only with your intellect; you must get the spiritual revelation of it. You must believe it by Faith. 
[Paraphrased from book by Kenneth E. Hagin, The Believer's Authority]

I wasn't sure how to say those last few paragraphs on my own, so I used a source to help explain. 

What I want you to understand is that the state of Rebekah's health is a nonissue when you ask "How is she?". Physically? She's got cancer that's ripping through her body. Spiritually? Emotionally? Rebekah is right where she needs to be. Taking authority over her body and claiming the healing that is promised through Christ's death and resurrection. Rebekah trusts with 150% of who she is that she will be healed on THIS side of heaven. That there is MORE work to be done to further God's kingdom, and she wants to do whatever she can to bring Him and Him only, all the glory and all the praise. 

So you asked me how Rebekah's doing, and what you can do to help...

You can pray with FULL BELIEF that this is NOT the end. 
That healing is on the horizon and that GOD will be GLORIFIED through it all.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


The last few days have been more than difficult. They've just plain ole hurt.

Thursday night did not go the way I ever thought it would, Mickey ran into the woods like she usually does, and came back when I called.. but when we got inside everything went wrong. She seemed fine but had a cut on her head, it was bleeding pretty profusely and I got some hydrogen peroxide to clean it. When I got back to her a few seconds later she was laying on the rug and didn't want to get up. I got her into the kitchen where she laid out on the floor and cried out in pain. I instantly became hysterical, calling Jake with no answer, then my Mom. I wrapped Mickey into her blanket, got her in the car and rushed her to the emergency vet a few miles away. On the ride over she continued to cry out and all I could do was cry to Jesus to touch her.

When we got to the vet she perked up, she walked around and we took that as a sign that maybe this wasn't as serious as it seemed, she would get better. We went back to the exam room and waited for her to be looked at, she just sat in my lap, I loved on her, told her she would be fine. I prayed over her and asked Jesus to touch her.. I had peace that all would be well. The vet seemed to think it was a bite of some sort, they took X-rays and couldn't see much because the swelling was getting worse. They put her back in an oxygen crate, gave her something for the pain, and something to bring the swelling down.. it was beginning to constrict her airway so that's what they were focused on, bring swelling down. They were going to watch her overnight, keep her airway clear, checking her often. I reached into that crate, wrapped my arms around her, and she began to cry as I prayed over her. I asked that God would keep her calm, that she would feel as if she was home with Hank and Elsa, I asked for wisdom for the Vet and Vet tech who were attending to her, and thanked Jesus for their help. I told Mickey that I loved her, and that soon she would be home and back to normal. I cried and cried over her, but still trusted that Jesus would take care of her. And He did. Just not the way I expected...

We got a phone call at 2am that she was gone. She didn't make it through the night. They tried to intubate but it was too late.. Mickey wasn't with us any more. It felt like part of me was just ripped out from under me and I couldn't breathe. It seems crazy, she's "just a dog" right? I shouldn't be that upset...but I was. I was devastated. I felt guilty like I didn't do enough, I shouldn't have wasted time in Chobee and should have gotten home sooner when it was light out.. then she would probably be okay. Maybe I should have spoken up sooner when we were waiting for her to be examined, if they would have X-Rayed her sooner maybe they would have been able to do more.. so many what if's.. so many "I should have's"... this just sucked. It wasn't fair.

I asked God, why? You gave me peace when I left there that she would be okay? Why did you take her? Immediately in that place of darkness the Holy Spirit spoke to me, He said "You don't have to know that, Taylor. You just have to trust Me." I told God it was unfair, she was such a good pup. The Holy Spirit said "And how fair was it for Jesus to die on a cross? He was such a good man.." God sent his only Son to hang on a cross so that He could have a relationship with ME. At any moment he could have snapped his fingers and said "Nahh, not today. I can't handle this." But He didn't, He watched, and He hurt, and He grieved because He knew that this was the way to have a relationship with me. "Wow.. you love me that much. You watched your son hang on a cross.. how much more do you understand my hurting heart.. how much more can you comfort me when you suffered the ultimate loss.." You see, God loves us so much that regardless of the hurt, no matter how big or how small it may seem to some, if it rocks your world, it rocks His too.

I was blessed on Friday by my Principal who allowed me to go home. He saw me that morning and didn't even know what had happened, but he knew that school was not a place I could be at the moment... honestly it would have scared my students.. haha Puffy face, crying constantly, not something they needed to witness. 

Jake and I spent Friday at home, we cried, we loved on Hank and Elsa, we went to lunch with family to get out of the house.. made sure we went somewhere the pups could go also. Before we headed to lunch we stopped by the Vet to pay for Mickey's cremation.. I walked out with a receipt and a report. A report that basically said that Mickey was fine.. trauma to the head, died of a constricted airway.. That's it?! She died because someone didn't check her soon enough to see that she wasn't breathing?? My exact words to Jake were "How am I supposed to accept this? I CANNOT accept this??" And instantly the Holy Spirit spoke again "How do parents accept the death of their unborn child without any explanation... or the death of any child for that matter?" And then God reminded me.. "Death does not take away from the joy of new life..." because my thoughts were - No more dogs. I'm done. I can't do this again. But when couples lose one child, soon they try for another. And that new life doesn't take away from the life that was lost, if anything it makes you appreciate it more. 

Then as we were heading home from lunch.. I was watching Hank and Elsa look out the window to the ocean.. I kept thinking about how I could have always had Mickey on a leash, no real freedom. Yes I would've been able to keep her safe, knowing always what she was doing and where she was, but she wouldn't have enjoyed life, she wouldn't have loved me as much as she did, she would have tolerated me because I fed her. Mickey had run of the yard and of the woods behind our house, and she loved it. She would gazelle leap through it every chance she got. She loved to explore and was full of adventure. She was athletic, hilarious, and full of energy - and most of that is because of the freedom we allowed her. The best parts of her personality came through in the freedom she was given.

Then my thoughts went to our Creator, the one who designs us with desires, dreams, talents, and characteristics. All of which come out in the freedom He allows us. God doesn't put us on a leash and keep us close.. though sometimes I wish He would. He allows us the freedom to make our own decisions and to seek Him on our own. How many times do we make decisions that cause pain, physical, emotional, and/or spiritual pain to not only ourselves but to our Creator. How many times do we make decisions that grieve His heart.. Mickey's choice to go into the woods doesn't hurt me, it's the fact that I was responsible for her and she got hurt on my watch. God knows us, He takes responsibility for us, and it hurts Him when we get hurt on His watch.. How much more does He understand My heart through this loss of our sweet Mickey?

God is good, ALL the time. No matter how hard, or how painful. He is constant. He is consistent.

He is good. 

I'm sure God could have healed Mickey, but for whatever reason He decided to do that on the other side of Heaven. I know this happens to many in different situations, with loved ones, friends, etc. We may never know the why but we have a promise that every tear shed is accounted for, and each one will be redeemed in HIS time. I live with the promise that my end is Victory, in a place where pain will cease to exist. So I'll carry my cross as I wait for the crown, and praise Jesus every step of the way.
I believe I'll see Mickey again in Heaven one day. That she'll meet me at the gate with her crooked tail and happy smile. Until then, I'll remember that smile and appreciate the ones around me who are still here for me to love on. 

To every parent who's lost a child - I know losing a dog can't compare but I feel like God gave me a glimpse of what it's like.. to come home to an empty room with their bed and belongings. To feel the empty of a hole only they filled. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm so sorry you've had to feel that hole. I pray that you know Jesus and that you let him hold you when you can't keep yourself up. And if you don't know Him, I pray you find Him, because I can assure you that walking with Him is so much better than walking without Him.

High five to you if you made it all the way through this.. this might be "Michelle" worthy just by the length! (You'll have to check out my Mom's blog to understand that..lol)

I'll leave you with some pics of our sweet girl. She was quite the light.