No Longer Slaves

One of the first songs that was sent to me (thanks KR) was a link to a YouTube video in a text.  It was right before I was about to walk into the hospital for one of my many biopsies.  (I think it was of the lymph nodes – the biopsy that was going to determine chemo or no chemo.)  Every time I hear it I think back to that moment and how through this song God gave me a peace and a confidence and ultimately hope.  I would remember this chorus many times over the last year and it would bring those same feelings back, “I’m no longer a slave to fear.  I am a child of God.”  I chose this version of the video because it gives you the lyrics.  I hope you will take the time to listen to it.


So one of the most common questions I’ve received over the last almost 18 months of my life has been, “How did you do it?  How did you stay so strong and faithful?”.  My answer would vary, but ultimately it came down to one word: Surrender.  My pastor gave an AMAZING sermon this past Sunday that described this thought of surrendering beautifully.  I would love for you to take the time to watch (or listen) to it.  Make sure to keep watching for the closing song.  (This will also give you a taste of the church we call home).

I would love to hear your thoughts, questions, and/or comments if you listen/watch it.  Comment below, reply to this email, or email me at:


(This post is a little longer, but since I haven’t posted a real entry in almost two months I decided not to edit it down…)

No one really prepares you for the aftermath of cancer.  People have plenty to say and all sorts of advice when it comes to treatment options, doctors, surgeons, diet, medications etc. They are quick to tell you remedies to make chemo more bearable or giving you tips like: “use a lint roller and roll your head to help remove your hair.”  (Yes, I did that!).  But no one ever told me: “The aftermath of cancer is heavy and you will have much to grieve.”  When it’s all over the advice sorta goes silent.

I survived cancer physically.  But I know myself well enough to know that I am a “stuffer”.  I tend to stuff my emotions rather than feel them.  So when all of the surviving was physically over I knew I needed to make sure that I was ‘feeling’ everything properly.  I decided to go back to my Christian counselor I had seen previously a few years back.  At the same time Mark and I discussed that if I am having a hard time processing the last year at 38, maybe our 10 year-old might need some help processing it as well.  So Hamilton has also started seeing a Christian play-therapist.

A few sessions in, Dr. Julie assessed that I did not suppress or deflect the emotions of the last year.  That she does feel that I truly felt everything.  She even said ‘I think you are emotionally and psychologically healthy and stable’.  Ha!  I think my family might disagree with this statement occasionally, but it was so good to hear.  After I told her how much I was being cared for and prayed over by all of you – my Team AJ supporters – she said she truly felt that I was carried through this past year and upheld by your prayers.  You supported me so well and for that I don’t know how to adequately express my gratitude.

However, through the sessions, I pinpointed and had to walk through some of the sadness of the last year.  I had to individually grieve specific things.  However simple or ‘easy’ they seemed.  Some were small…well smaller.  The loss of my hair.  The loss of time with my boys, especially Garrett.  The loss of my body.  The loss of our dog (not directly related to cancer, but working through the ‘why God?’ was part of that). And they got heavier. The loss of my youth (going through menopause 10 years before all my peers) and reproductive organs.  The option of having more biological children taken from me.  The loss of my mentor, Regina, just 4 months before my diagnosis, who being a breast cancer survivor seemed to be the perfect person in my life to walk through this journey with.  (which was another ‘why God?’ moment.)  And some of the grief was just feelings.  Let me explain.  The loss of my confidence.  The loss of what I looked like for 37 years of my life.  Everywhere I looked in my house I see pictures of myself that don’t look like me anymore.  I go somewhere and talk to someone and have to reintroduce myself because they don’t recognize me.  I go home to Texas and people I’ve known for years walk right past me.  My identity was lost.

All of this is not something that I have dealt with and is now over.  It is all what I am currently dealing with and it comes and goes.  Grief is for sure like the seasons – sometimes it is bare, cold, and bitter and sometimes it is bright, flourishing, and new.  It’s a cycle.  One blurs into the other.  I have days where I’m so thankful and accept the blessing of my new identity, my new look, the new me, and actually appreciate all that has transpired over the last year.  And then, like flipping a switch, I arise feeling sad and frustrated and have to turn some of the old family pics around on the shelf because it’s just too much for that day.  And just like the seasons, one is not bad and other one good – they each are new and different.  So instead of looking at these changes in my life as bad I’m choosing to look at them as new.  That was a game-changer for me!

I don’t know why I felt compelled to tell you about this part of the journey.  I guess just to let you know that the physical stuff is over.  The surgeries are done.  The rehab is complete.  Nothing but check-ups and follow-ups are in my future.  But, the post-cancer emotions are real.  I know I’m not the only person in your life that has been touched with cancer.  So ask them how they are doing in the post-cancer realm.  Not just how they are feeling, but how they are handling the aftermath.  Still love on them.  Know that some days, something completely random, might just be the thing that makes them emotional.  And that same thing the next day may be the perfect thing that encourages them in the day ahead.

Life sure is funny.  It brings me to my knees daily.  But I know that all is well in the life that is tied and secured to the anchor of Christ.  My emotions may get rocky in the waves and wind.  The grief may rain down on certain days.  My vessel gets slapped around, but no matter what I know that I am safe, stable, and secure because I have faith in my anchor that is solid, trustworthy, and heavier than any of my woes (it will not slip or break down under whatever comes it’s way).

“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.  This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.  It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.  Jesus has already gone in there for us.  He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.”  Hebrews 6:18b-20 NLT

There is so much I could say about this verse, but I think I’ll just let it sit out there for you to read and meditate on and see what the Lord wants to show you.

Thanks for joining me on this journey and being a small part of it – or actually a large part of it –by carrying me through the past year.

And…may I ask…what are you tying your life to?  There is much in this life that can give us the feeling of security, that can make us feel solid and whole.  But I would suggest you look and see just how strong and trustworthy it is.  I encourage you to go through the process of moving your vessel to the one, true anchor!


The number one question I have received over the last year is actually an unfortunate one.  It usually starts with, “My friend”, or “My neighbor”, or “My father-in-law” has recently been diagnosed with XYZ cancer.  Then the questions come:  What were some of the things people gave you that were really helpful?  What can I do for him/her?  What can I give to aide with the effect of chemo?

As much as I love to help it’s strange.  It’s strange that I am now a ‘go-to’ person regarding cancer and chemo.  As much as I love to help it stinks.  It stinks that cancer is so rampant that it is effecting so many!

So I thought why not post something about it and then I would be able to point people to this post a lot easier than I could rewrite it each time.

First of all gifts for people diagnosed with cancer:  (These are things I found helped – remember this is my opinion and may not be a blessing to others)

  • House-cleaning:  My neighbors provided once a month house-cleaning for me for 8 months!  It was a huge blessing to my family.
  • Meals: I had a meal calendar that provided meals 3x a week for 8 months!  This was huge and allowed my family to eat a lot less fast food during this time.  Popular meal calendar websites that make this so easy are: &  If they don’t have a meal calendar or you live too far away to take a meal any restaurant gift card from Chick-fil-A to Chili’s to a steakhouse is very nice and helpful.
  • Yard Service:  If it’s during the season of high yard work providing even one month of yard care that mows the lawn and trims the bushes would be a huge help.
  • Carpool: Offer to help carpool children to and from school, PreK, and extra-curricular activities.
  • Snail Mail: Cards and packages were so uplifting to receive
  • Just Reach Out: If you can’t find a stamp just reach out.  Even a simple text message to say “I’m thinking about you today, how are you doing?” goes a long way!  All too often people think, “I don’t want to bother her” or “I’m sure she is sleeping” or “I know she has so many people taking care of her”.  Believe me: They want to be bothered.  Leave a message if they are sleeping.  They may not have as many people surrounding them as you think.

What about gifts if he/she is going through chemo?  I received two HUGE chemo baskets. (Here’s a picture of one of them) I actually brought one of them with me to each treatment.  You never know what you will want/need or how your body is going to respond to each treatment so it’s good to be prepared.  Here is what I would put in a chemo basket:

  • Bottles of Vitamin D, C, & E, Zinc, Biotin & Claritin (claritin actually helps with bone pain associated with chemo)
  • Bath petals/soap
  • Queasy drops/Peppermints
  • Hand sanitizer (multiple bottles for around the house – any visitors and family members need to be constantly washing their hands)
  • Pill Box (that has slots for 7 days morning and night)
  • Comfy PJs (or a gift card to Soma – they have the best ones and have great supportive camis and button down PJs for mastectomy patients)
  • Soft Blanket (it can get cold during chemo)
  • Mouth Wash (‘Prevention’ is a brand made specifically for chemo patients and helps with mouth sores)
  • Journal
  • Book: Chemo: Secrets to Thrive by: Roxanne Brown (can buy on Amazon – very short read, but lots of helpful info.)
  • Flavored bottles of water (chemo tastes like metal and flavored water is nice)
  • Water Bottle (preferably a glass one – I got a great one from Target) – drinking a lot of water during chemo helps it get out of your system faster and the side effects to not last as long.  (My cheer I would always say is, “Pee, Pee, Pee, Get This Chemo Out Of Me!”
  • Lemon Oil (I am a fan of DoTerra Essential Oils – I flavored my water with it and it’s a wonderful cleansing agent as well for your body)
  • Gripper Socks
  • Chemo Hats – the softer and more generic in color the better
  • Gift Card to Charming Charlie (or other jewelry/accessory stores) – when you lose your hair cute hats and long earrings become a girl’s best friend.
  • Zipper Pouch (think make-up bag) with the following ‘travel-sized’ essentials: chapstick, hand sanitizer, tissues, lotion, and tylenol
  • Gift Card to gas station (especially if they have to travel far for treatments)
  • Gift Cards to eat lunches and dinners (chemo can last hours and their infusion companion usually has to run out and pick up lunch and then you usually have to pick dinner up on your way home as well)
  • Adult coloring book and easy fiction reading (during chemo and the few days after you have a lot of down time resting where you don’t have much energy)

Obviously this is a lot of stuff and not all is necessary, but it is an extensive list that even one of these things would be a blessing to a chemo patient.

For the creative types:

  • A blessing ring: This was such a neat thing that I brought with me to all my treatments and still have hanging at my prayer desk. I’d read through the verses and pray for the people praying for me.  This is a picture of mine.
  • Personalized scripture bouquet: I was given this and have since given it to many others. Use the ‘find & replace’ feature in Word to replace the person’s name. Cut them out. Fold them up. Throw in a vase and tie a ribbon around it.  100ScripturePromisesDocument-Template
  • Fundraiser jewelry: Find a piece of jewelry you like on Etsy. Work with the creator and design something for the patient that means something to them. Take orders from their team of supporters and give the patient some of the proceeds. We did a cool pink leather wrap bracelet for a friend and they did a silver necklace for me.  Here’s a pic of the jewelry.

I hope this helps.  Feel free to leave a comment if there are other things you have given to friends that were appreciated or if you yourself are a survivor what you were given that blessed you during that time.


Choo-Choo Express

Each of my boys at one point in their life have been obsessed with trains.  Hamilton was probably the most intense and lasted the longest.  He went from Thomas the Train, to real trains, to Disney’s Chuggington, and then back to Thomas.  Luke sorta skipped the train phase, except for the Mickey Mouse movie (more on that in a bit).  Garrett loves the train table and was all things Thomas for awhile and now his go-to movie is the same Mickey Mouse one.

Disney put out a full-length feature movie on DVD called Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Choo-Choo Express.  Here’s a couple pictures:

I put two so you could see how the train works.  I don’t know if you can tell, but the train throws out the next piece of track one at a time from his mouth.  I have no idea where all the track pieces come from (probably some of that pixie dust Disney magic).  If you want to see it in action go here and watch the first 25 seconds of the video:  CLICK HERE

A scripture I would consider my “life” verse is:  “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Entertain my nerdiness for a second.  In my Key Word Study Bible I am able to ‘tease’ out the actual meanings of the words.  The Hebrew and Greek languages were so rich our English language cannot always do translation justice.  Looking up the words in my lexical aide in the back of my Bible can really add depth to the verse.  For instance:

plan: plot, consider, principal idea is that of thinking

course: way, route, road, conduct, way of life, physical pathway or journey

determines: be established, be firm, be prepared, make secure, provide, denotes bringing something into existence, “signifies the deep satisfaction and sense of well-being which comes from the certainty that the Lord directs man’s paths”.

The Amplified (AMP) version of the Bible says, “A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the LORD directs his steps and establishes them.”

I am a planner.  I’ve been a calculated soul my entire life.  You know this from my previous post and picture of my four-month whiteboard calendar.  This verse reminds me who is truly in control of my plans.  I’m thinking about the future all the time (it can be as little as what I will buy at the grocery store to my son’s upcoming birthday party or even much bigger like my future hopes and dreams).  These plans obviously determine the course I perceive my journey should take as well as directs the conduct of my life to help accomplish those plans.  BUT!  The Lord is who firmly establishes each individual step, that when I submit to it, brings deep satisfaction when I realize he has my well-being in mind. (Read those last two sentences again – don’t gloss over them).

So what in the world does the  Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Choo-Choo Express have to do with anything?

Well, I was recently watching the movie with G-man and it hit me what a perfect example the train was.  I can ride on the train where I think I want it to go, where I have planned for it to go, but God is the one that is throwing out each individual track ultimately taking my train where He wants it to go.  One.  Track.  At.  A.  Time.  He brings the path into existence one track at a time.  He is never in any rush.  Never is surprised of where He takes me.  I just have to trust, surrender, and be patient. 

So take 25 seconds and click on the video link above so you can see the train in action.  Think about your plans; the little ones and the big ones.  Try not to look so far ahead.  Enjoy the piece of track He has you on right now.  Expect some right-on-time-surprises. Continue to plan (I know I will), but also experience the excitement and peace in that he has the entire track already fully prepared.  And when a track goes in a different direction than we expect will we choose to trust, surrender, and be patient?  I pray we will.


So it’s started.  The ‘last year on this day’ events.

February 2 – Annual OB appointment where during my exam he found the lump and ordered a mammogram & sonogram.  I heard “I’m sure it’s nothing – probably just a cyst.”

February 4 – Mammogram and Sonogram on lump.  The doctor said it look very inconclusive and that she was ordering a biopsy.

February 5-7 – Mark and I went to a marriage retreat at Winshape Retreat Center.  It was a sweet time to be together before what would transpire the following week.

February 8 – Biopsy on lump.

February 10 – Received phone call from my OB that biopsy did come back as carcinoma.  Immediately called Breast Care Specialists and was able to get in at 7:30 Friday morning.

February 12 – Appointment with my surgeon at Breast Care Specialist – left with surgery plan and surgery date of March 24.  Later that day our house went under contract.

And then the craziness really began.  I think back about how I was feeling.  The unsureness (is that a word?) of everything.  I had 6 different appointments and/or procedures over the next 2 weeks: MRI, another biopsy, PET scan, multiple consult appointments, & genetic testing.  This didn’t include the house inspections and things that had to be done with the move.  As well as our dog was also diagnosed with cancer and she had surgery.  All within those 2 weeks.

And with each appointment came a wait.  The whole thing was a hurry up and wait scenario.  Hurry up and get a MRI done so we can see if it has spread.  Wait 3 days to get the results.  It looks like it is in the lymph nodes.  Hurry up and get a PET scan.  Wait 3 days to get the results.  Hurry up and get genetic testing.  Wait 3 weeks to get the results.  Hurry up and pack boxes.  Wait a month for closing on house.  Etc. etc.  All along you are just walking in a daze becoming an expert in a subject you once knew nothing about learning as you go.  Honestly, not really grasping the severity of the situation.  Throw on top of all of this normal life of raising three boys and the endless phone calls of talking to doctors and nurses and the insurance company and keeping my friends and family informed after each appointment.  My phone would be low on battery constantly.

A mentor of Mark’s told him, “You will find yourself living out Scripture that you only previously intellectually understood.”  During this time that I just described to you above Mark and I felt supported by our friends and family, but we also felt supported by the strong foundation that we stood upon.

Jesus spoke as recorded in Luke chapter 6 verses 46-49:

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?  As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.  They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.  When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.  But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation (Matthew 7:26 says “built his house on sand”).  The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Mark and I were smack dab in the middle of a flood, but our foundation was on THE rock.  We refused to be shaken, could not be shaken, because our house was well built.  We had dug down deep (and had to continue to dig deep throughout 2016) putting into practice his words, not just hearing them.  It was hard.  It is hard.  But man is it better than complete destruction.

I would think about the words to this familiar hymn a lot:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

We had hope.  Still have hope.  No matter what the outcome.  Hope comes from The Rock!

Are you digging deep to build a strong foundation?  Where are you standing on sinking/shifting sand that you need to start building your trust and hope on Him, the solid rock?


Well I told you I have been processing a lot.  I’m a little less than 3 weeks away from the year mark of receiving my cancer call.  I’ve been feeling slightly anxious about that anniversary and I wasn’t sure why.  I’m not really fearful or scared that it’s gonna come back or anything.  But it was the looking back and comparing it to the now.  It’s like when you have a baby and he’s about to turn one.  You look back to the previous year and think, “Wow, this time last year I was still pregnant.” Or “I remember this time last year I was in the hospital in labor.” Or “How fast the time goes, he was in preemie clothes, or had his first solid food, or started crawling, etc. etc.”.  So I’m coming up on all those memories in a very different way.  February 10 I received my phone call.  March 24 I had my mastectomy.  And my list continues.

When you go through something “life-threatening” like cancer you tend to re-evaluate a lot.  Look at things differently.  Re-prioritize.  You hear those stories of people who did a complete 180 – making a lot of changes in their life.  So as February 10 kept crawling closer and closer I found myself feeling more and more oppressed.  I was looking back and comparing this time (the time before the phone call) to last year and I didn’t see anything different.  My life looked and felt the same.

See, over the last year I have made declarations like: “I will never yell at my kids again” “I am going to be a better wife now” “Things are going to be very different going forward (never defining what different meant).” All because of cancer.  So when I saw that everything was the same I started getting upset and very discouraged.

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a women’s retreat with my sweet friend Kim at the beautiful Winshape Retreat Center.  I prayed God would meet me there because I knew I needed a fresh word from him.  The speaker spoke to us about the lies our enemy, the devil, puts in our minds.  How we needed to combat those lies with God’s truth from His Word.  How satan is sneaky making us question our worth and identity.

I kept hearing the word ‘joy’ over and over whenever I would pray or study this past weekend.  And it hit me!  What is the biggest thing God has done for me over this past year?  HEALED ME!  And what should be celebrated on February 10?  Him healing me!!  And how should I respond to me being healed?  With JOY!!  Of course!!  Stupid satan was trying to steal my joy feeding me all these lies that I hadn’t made enough changes over the last year.  That I wasn’t victorious in the battle of cancer because my life had gone back to normal.  That I wasn’t worthy to celebrate anything because there was no obvious differences in my life.

That.  Is.  A.  Lie.  From.  The.  Pit.  Of.  HELL!

I have every right to be joyful on February 10.  The definition of joy:  the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good.  Ladies and gentlemen I do declare I think something exceptionally good happened this year and by golly I’m going to claim joy on February 10.  My life doesn’t need to look different.  If I’m truthful, my prayer all along was that my life would go back to normal.  Why?  Because my life was pretty great before February 10.  I wasn’t someone who needed a complete 180 life change before cancer.  Yes, we changed some of our priorities and we look at life more intently now, but day-to-day, THANK GOD, is back to good ol’ normal!

So…bring on February 10!  I’m gonna meet you with a whole big bowl of awesome sauce and sparkly confetti!

Something for you to think about:  Where might you be believing a lie – stealing from yourself the joy, contentment and peace God has for you?  What phrases or words are floating around your head?  Is it negative or positive self-talk?  Where are you making declarations on your life that may not be God-ordained?  Words such as ‘should’, ‘always’, & ‘never’ are usually good clues to self-imposed declarations.  When you hear phrases starting with ‘you’ in your head rather than ‘I’ that is a clue that it is not God speaking to you.  For example: “You are a pitiful excuse for a survivor – you are doing nothing different with your life – what do you have to show for this year?” And my response is oppression, defeat, and discouragement.  Compare that to “I am your healer, the great physician.  I love you and am proud of how you have glorified me in your journey.  I give you joy!  Celebrate the renewed life I have given you.  I am well-pleased.  “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”(John 15:11)”.) And my response is joy, victory, and encouragement: “Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 86:4)

Reckless Abandon

As we embark upon Christmas next weekend I want to share a little on what I have been reflecting.  Maybe it’s because I’m a woman or a mom, but I tend to think a lot about Mary when I consider the Christmas story.  I recently read a wonderful book by Francine Rivers titled A Lineage of Grace. (It’s actually a collection of 5 short stories on the women named in Jesus’ lineage: Unveiled (Tamar), Unashamed (Rahab), Unshaken (Ruth), Unspoken (Bathsheba), & Unafraid (Mary)).  Francine has the amazing gift of teasing out a Biblical account and really putting feeling and context to the story without altering its accuracy.  Reading the account of Mary was captivating.


What would it have been like to be a 14 year-old girl, engaged, anticipating and preparing for a wedding and what married life would be like when an angel literally stops you in your tracks? (Don’t just read that word because you are familiar with it – actually think about an ANGEL appearing to you).  The angel says you are going to be pregnant and have a baby boy which, dumb-founded, you talk back to the angel and say, “How? I’m a virgin!”, with which he replies, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you”.  Luke 1:38 “Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May everything you have said about me come true.”  And then the angel left her.”  Really?  Like, seriously?  I would have way more to say than just, “Okie Dokie God, whatever you say.”  I mean: First, what is the Holy Spirit (keeping in mind the Holy Spirit had not been ‘released’ onto believers yet (Luke 24:49; Acts 2) and she would have had no context of the Holy Spirit)?  How will He come upon me? When will this happen?  What am I supposed to tell my parents?  How do I explain this to Joseph, you know, that guy I’m ENGAGED to?  But luckily God chose Mary; and her response proves his choice wise.

And to give you a little more context – no one had heard from God in over 400 years.  Four. Hundred. YEARS.  (I mean, people, the good ole’ U.S. of A. is only 240 years old – we are talking almost double that time).  She was obviously raised in a faithful and believing home, but I’m sure by now a lot of people were way beyond doubting the God of the Jews existed.  And now you are going to tell me that he breaks his silence by appearing to a 14-year old girl?  God sure knows how to make things interesting.  The Scriptures go on in verse 39 by saying, “A few days later…”.  Think about this – what in the world was going on in Mary’s heart and mind during those few days?  Do you think Mary told Joseph what she had seen and experienced?  (I don’t know if it would’ve gone over very well: “So Joe, I know we don’t know each other very well yet, if at all, and no one has heard from God in quite some time, but he just told me I was gonna get pregnant, but don’t worry I’ll still be a virgin.”  Uh, yeah, ummm, ok…)  Do you think she told her parents? Do you think she pondered it and kept it to herself (as she will do in 2:19 after Jesus is born & again in 2:51)?  Did she sleep at all?  (I wouldn’t be able to sleep, keeping one eye open looking for this ‘Holy Spirit’ the angel referenced).

Mary stayed with her cousin Elizabeth for the first 3 months of her pregnancy and then returned home (vs. 56).  So for the remaining 6 months she was pregnant, engaged, living with her parents.  Think about the stares she received.  The gossip she heard.  Think about the ridicule Joseph received for not breaking the engagement with his ‘unfaithful’ fiancé (By now Joseph had his own angel encounter and was in on the truth (Matthew 1:20-25)).  Think about the comments her parents received; what a joke the dowry was that her father had worked so hard to collect for Mary’s hand in marriage.  The loneliness and injustice would have been heavy to bear.  All of this confusion and scandal with the parents of the long-awaited King and Redeemer?  It’s unimaginable.  It’s unthinkable.  It’s not what was expected.

Yet, Mary’s response to all of this can be summarized by the opening verse of her song: “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.  How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” (v. 46-47).  For the rest of the birth account of Jesus the Bible really doesn’t tell us anything else Mary says. It just tells us what she does:  She gave birth, she loved and cared for Jesus – probably snuggling with her first-born child and even nursing him, and she treasured much in her heart.


So when I think of sweet Mary I just can’t help but be impressed and in awe of her faith.  Her absolute and complete unwavering trust in God.  All with reckless abandon. Not caring what the consequences were because she knew who who was calling the shots.

Christmas shouldn’t be measured by how tall your stack of gifts is on Christmas morning.  Christmas should be about remembering and acknowledging the story of how our Savior entered this world.  This year, maybe you can think more about his mom and her part in the story.  As you celebrate Christmas next weekend I encourage you to practice a “Mary-habit”; treasuring/pondering much in your heart.

Where in your life should you be trusting God more?

In what situation, relationship, or area in your life can you recklessly have more faith?

Have you responded in praise to that unexpected, unthinkable event in your life?

Your level of trust, your level of faith and your response should impress those that encounter you and hear of your story.

Just like Mary’s story still impresses us!