Tag Archives: purpose


I’m writing this for several reasons. For one, I know that a few of you have been along for the ride but don’t actually know me. You’ve prayed for me and supported us through this so you definitely deserve an update! But I’m doing this for me as well. Although I don’t go back and read my old blogs, if I ever decided to I would for sure want this chronicled.

Yesterday, I got my port out.

Yes, it’s an awkward pic but I don’t care! Because I’m excited and I’m happy! Let me tell ya, the procedure is done in a very professional way in the OR and all that, but I was also fully awake for it. So all of the tugging and pulling against my scar tissue while I was still awake and aware was gag-worthy. For real. But…good has come from it.

For a while this port was like a security blanket for me. It felt like relief and it felt like comfort. I didn’t want it at first but once I had it, I truly came to rely on it as a source of calming, as weird as that may sound.

But over the years, I’ve needed it less and less. Treatments were stopped over 2 years ago and it became a hassle. Something that was uncomfortable and that needed attending to (in the form of getting flushed) even though it was inconvenient. As my days were spent more at home than at Penn, these visits to have my port flushed felt increasingly intrusive. And so we decided to get it out.

I need to include something here for my own records because I felt that I never had closure on this cancer stuff. As much as I could physically feel healthy and mentally detach from the trauma, there was always the reminder in the form of that uncomfortable port in my chest. Treatments didn’t stop with some triumphant “last chemo” where I ring a bell and get applause. No, I simply didn’t want to do them anymore and my oncologist understood and supported that decision.

Appointments and specialists and scans sort of petered out. There wasn’t an end. But this? This felt like an end to the chapter. This felt like the turning of a page. This port that had ingested so much chemo and has seen me through some of the hardest times of my life was about to go. And symbolically, it was impossible to ignore.

You see, God has been opening my eyes to so much recently.

I wanted to go by myself to Philly to get my port out and as I drove home, I thought I’d listen to my chemo playlist on my phone. This was literally the playlist I would listen to during infusions. I haven’t been able to bring myself to listen to it for over 2 years, but I also haven’t been able to bring myself to delete it. It’s special.

So as the songs played, I felt myself get real honest with God. You see, over the last year and a half, we have been a part of starting a church. This is good! But on the same coin, it’s been the hardest time of my life. I’ll explain.

When God called us to this church plant, it ripped me from the only church home I’ve ever known. It tore me from the comfort of the church family that was truly my family, the people who had loved and supported us through my cancer and the people that I wanted to love and support. It took us away from the teens who loved and trusted us and who we loved so very much. Being a part of this church plant meant willingly giving up a huge piece of my heart. And unbeknownst to us at the time, it meant enduring some cruel and unjust criticisms as well. And I was just not ready for that.

On the drive home from having my port removed and thinking through all of the happenings of the last few years that I had shut off from myself, I came to see a few things.

For one: difficult emotions can coexist. I’ll say it again, difficult emotions can coexist! My grief over the loss of my church family in New Holland did not mean I love my new church any less! I’ve tried to hide my grief because I felt like if I looked sad to leave my other church that it would look like I wasn’t ready or excited to tackle what God had in store for us at the new church. And that’s just not true! I spent almost a year in a deep depression over losing our old church, especially the youth. So much so God had to hit me over the head with the new opportunities we had to spread the gospel this past week as 20 teens came to our house for youth group. Praise God for His goodness!! I will always miss our old church. Always. Especially the teens. But I feel more free to experience that grief alongside the excitement and joy of creating new relationships.

And two: God showed me that I have closed myself off from Him. Ok, actually I already knew this, but I guess He showed me why.

Over the last few years, God has called me to some things that were hard. Things I didn’t want or ask for. Things I didn’t want to do and things I didn’t want to face. I’ve meditated on the verse that says, “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” a LOT over the last few weeks, and there was just a hesitation on my part to draw near to Him but I couldn’t figure out why. I love Him and I want to serve Him only, so why couldn’t I connect?

Then, in the drive home from having my port removed while I was listening to the worship music on my chemo playlist it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m terrified of what He’ll ask of me next.

The last few years have been so hard, such a struggle, with so little clarity that I was scared that what He’d ask next would be even more so difficult. I’m a little ashamed to even admit this, but I know I need to as some of you look at me as a Christian who just has it all together and has it all figured out. That’s just not the case.

So why even write this? For one, an update to you amazing folks who have followed this journey with me. And for two, so I can look back someday and see what God was up to in this season. I feel closure on the part of my life that was ruled by cancer and that feels so good! And while I still grieve the loss of the most amazing church family anyone could ask for, I’m thanking God for putting us where He has put us.

If you read this to the end, I’m so sorry for making you endure all that and may God bless you for it!! There’s no way I can thank you guys enough for your love, encouragement, and prayers over the years. It’s really mind-boggling to think of all of the support we’ve received and we are beyond thankful! So, thank you!!

And in case you want to know, Eric and the kids are doing great and I found a hobby and passion in cookies!

Love to all of you!! 💕

The Secret to Joy

Hey all!  I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve updated but God still has me on the mission of face-to-face ministry and I’m trying to be obedient there and I must say I’m in a really good place as far as that goes.  To be honest, I started to feel quite guilty when people knew who I was, knew my struggles, knew my heart but I didn’t know theirs!  I’m not limiting how much I may or may not blog in the future, but for the past few months, I’ve felt God saying that this was becoming too distant of a ministry and that I needed to be more present and intentional in the lives of individuals rather than the masses, so to speak.  So that’s what I’ve been doing!  And it’s been amazing, rewarding, God-honoring, and truly very refreshing.

But with all that said, I have been mulling over a few things lately that I felt have really helped me keep perspective in servanthood.  We know God wants us to live with a servant’s heart but in our day and age that can quickly lead to burnout or even just confusion over where to start.  If I can help with that for even one person, then I will be really glad to break my streak of not blogging.

My husband is one of the members of the teaching team at our church plant (another blog just waiting to be written!), and on Sunday he preached about something near and dear to my heart, which is serving.  He based his message off of Galatians 5:13-14, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather, serve one another in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”  Looking at our faith through this lens is so invigorating and empowering.  What an honor to serve in Christ’s name!

But here’s what I really wanted to share.  I wanted to share what I’ve found to be my secret for keeping a positive attitude and a desire to continue serving, regardless of the circumstance and here it is:

Express gratitude and give appreciation whenever possible, but never, ever expect it.

This may sound simple enough but if you really take it in and apply it to your own life you can see that it may just be the key to serving joyfully in all circumstances and if you’re looking for opportunities to encourage others and that becomes your heart’s desire, it really won’t phase you if your efforts go unnoticed.  This philosophy has kept me humble in ministry and kept me from ending up doing acts of service where there’s recognition of some sort.  Not that recognition is horrible, but it sure shouldn’t be the goal, right?!

Maybe everyone already knows this and I’m late to the party, but I really wanted to share this because it has helped me so much.

And if you haven’t found a means of serving that seems to quite fit yet, I encourage you to apply this to that area.  Don’t limit yourself only to opportunities that your local church offers, though that is of course a great place to start.  But when you find a means of serving that energizes you and doesn’t drain and to where you would continue to serve even if no one ever knew you were there, then in my humble opinion, that’s the one for you.  Disclaimer, of course we can all have more than one important ministry in our lives.

Hopefully this all makes sense, give me a little grace, it’s been a while!

And hey if you’ve made it this far, I’ll give a little life update.  Cancer-wise, everything is steady and stable and besides little things here and there, I’m feeling great.  So a deep, heartfelt “thank you” to those who have prayed for me over the years, it is much appreciated!  And I very much miss interacting with those of you I’ve “met” through blogging.

A few little updates, our family has grown by 7 chickens, 1 duck, and a kitten.  Buck and Mater, Eric, and the kids are all doing well, and I hope this message finds you well, too!


A Season of “No.”

Imagine if God gave us everything we wanted right when we wanted it starting as soon as we repented and accepted Christ. At first, this sort of sounds awesome, right?

But what would we ask for?

We would, no doubt, destroy ourselves with indulgences and whims and would turn from Him to live in our selfishness, glorifying only ourselves.

I think back on things I’ve prayed for and can see where His unwillingness to yield to the foolish whims of my heart were ultimately in my best interest. I also see clearly where seasons of suffering, that I prayed to be delivered from, were painfully drawn out and have brought much fruit that otherwise wouldn’t have flourished if left to my own will.

This is why I will trust His “No.” or His “Wait.” Whatever it might be. It is most certainly for my own good.

The problem is I’ve grown impulsive in my faith, all because of cancer. I no longer see any need to sit around and wait, I want to be shown where to go and I want go. So being told “No” or “wait” is most definitely bothering me more than I’d like to admit.

But just as these two pictures of our lane show, clarity will come. It won’t be foggy forever. And so I’ll seek Him in prayer and scripture. I will continue to serve Him the best I know how.

And I will wait.


Gun Violence and The Church


Of course when I hear of a tragedy like the one that happened yesterday, my heart breaks for the victims’ families and friends and for the ones who witnessed it and must deal with the emotional scars from this forever.  I’m unable to comprehend in any form the grief and weight that they will carry now forever.  These tragedies instill in us fear and distrust and it’s easy to jump to our go-to talking points on these incidents.  But that doesn’t seem to be helping, does it?  Maybe we need to take a step back, look at the whole picture, and see if there isn’t another possible approach.

To be perfectly clear:  I am not anti-gun nor am I a pacifist.  I have tried to look at this issue from all sides and I feel like there is an element from a Christian perspective that maybe we are missing.  Is an ultimate solution to add money into the budget for armed personnel at every school?  Maybe.  Is it a solution to restrict access?  I don’t know.  I just know that it’s time we all start listening to each other instead of fighting.  Church, please hear me out.

I’m no expert by any stretch on, well, anything, but I’ve learned a few things in my 11 years of faith and 10 years of youth ministry.  By and large, the kids who act out the most or go on to hurt themselves or others are kids who don’t feel noticed, accepted, loved, or worthy.  They don’t see why they are here and can’t fathom having a purpose.  When your life centers around you and there is seemingly no value to it, it makes some sense why these things can occur.  These kids feel wronged and since life has no meaning apart from themselves, they feel hopeless and trapped because they truly do not believe that things can get better.

As a Christian, I know that every person on this planet is loved, worthy, and has a purpose.  And that there is always hope.  But there are so many people that can look into the mirror and see no hope, no purpose, and can’t imagine ever being loved.  I’ve worked with many troubled teens and can attest that they truly feel this way and the depths of this hopelessness is soul crushing.  So what can we do?  How are we, as individuals, supposed to help any of this?

There’s no way I could fully explain the intricacies and nuance of a life following Christ, at least not in one blog post certainly, but I can fully attest to the fact that it is better.  Even if our circumstances don’t change at all, Christ changes us and refines us and that’s what we need.

Church, imagine the burden of thinking that in your life, all that matters is what you make of yourself through your own effort and achievements.  We are often so far removed from our pre-Christ selves that we don’t see that that is an enormous burden and one that our neighbors are shouldering.  And that that “truth” as they see it does not reconcile well with a sin-sick world that glorifies violent and dangerous behavior.  Add to that the burden teens feel due to social media.  Don’t blow it off just because we don’t understand it as an older generation, it creates pressures that we just cannot fathom.  And if you are growing up outside of the church, you likely don’t have that support system or that place to go to feel loved and cared about.  These kids are hurting so deeply and it tears me up inside.

If we are looking for a cure for this violence, I believe it must go deeper than guns and deeper than saying “they need Jesus” although, of course, I believe that’s true.  I’m not anti-gun by any means but I’m also not crazy enough to believe that a secular society, such as ours, that is taught from day one to look out for #1 and that there is no inherent value in life because there is no God and we are all here by complete random chance, is capable of raising children and teens that have a solid foundation and can be kept from actions like these.  So perhaps reformed gun laws are in order so that we can protect this next group of kids because, truthfully, Church, we aren’t doing enough.  Saying “It’s a heart problem not a gun problem” isn’t good enough.  Is it true?  I believe so, yes.  But we must as a whole take a long and difficult look in the mirror and realize that our faith without actions is dead.  Useless.  Pointless.  Christians do a whole lot more talking than acting these days and there is just no fruit from that.  And Jesus tells us we will be known by our fruit.  No wonder the world takes one look at us and decides it doesn’t want to a part of our stale and complacent faith.

Do I believe law-abiding citizens should have to give up their guns?  No.  But I do believe if every law-abiding, self-proclaimed Christian would step up and get involved in the lives of young people through mentoring or something along those lines, these tragedies would decrease greatly, maybe even disappear.

It’s no secret that America is becoming more and more secular every year as people leave their faith in droves, some stats for a place to start.  These stats should spur us on to do better!  Perhaps it’s time to take our walls down, listen to the other side, and see if there isn’t middle ground somewhere without compromising our faith.   I believe there are issues like abortion that from a faith-based perspective are black and white and there is no middle ground.  That the right to life should always be pursued and protected.  I think it’s important to take a solid and loving stand on these issues.  But is gun control really one of them?  I’m open to hearing other sides and very much invite civil conversation, so let me know if you disagree.  And please know I’m well versed in both sides of the argument and can fully understand both sides.

We know there is a cure for hopelessness, a cure for soul-crushing self hatred, a cure for life without purpose and Jesus really is the cure for this.  We know this, Church!  And God has chosen us as the means to deliver this message!  I believe our idols of safety and comfort have kept quiet and made us complacent.  There are a whole lot of hurting people out there and we aren’t powerless to sit back and do nothing.  For we know the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ because we have been made new because of it!  The first steps toward personal change and progress are always hard and scary and make us vulnerable and we just don’t like that.  But we have so much work to do and with God’s help, it is not impossible.

Cancerlessness and the Ensuing Identity Crisis

I haven’t blogged for a while and I’ll spare you the gory (boring) details.  But essentially, it’s a good thing.  I’ve wrestled with the idea of even stopping completely because, well, cancer was kind of my “thing”.  It wasn’t a gimmick by any means, it truly became a part of who I was and how I identified with the outside world.  Well now I’m in a state of feeling good – and that’s a good thing obviously!  I’m not cancer free but I’m certainly not living the cancer lifestyle at this point, and that has been a tougher adjustment than I had anticipated. So in a way I’m in a state of cancerlessness (not a real word, but it fits) that leaves me a little bit lost.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful and I’ve been enjoying this time very much but things sure are different now.   Looking back, it’s truly amazing how quickly we were able to pare down our schedule to just the bare essentials when it seemed that death was eminent and crazy how the schedule fills right back in.  We decided to home preschool our 4 year old son and that has been keeping me busy for sure (if you have experience in homeschooling, I will gladly accept any and all advice you have in this area!).  So with that amongst everything else, it’s wild how quickly our lives just settled right back into “normal”.  Right back into busy.  Right back into scheduled chaos. 

Some days I truly miss the sleepless nights where I could snuggle up on the couch with Buck and Mater and just read my Bible and be in His presence.


It was like time carved out for me to be with Him and now I struggle again to “find the time” which I hate.  I had a clear and deeply assured sense of purpose that I’m grieving the loss of.  I’m working on it, so for now I guess my purpose looks like a little blogging here and there, continuing to speak at places or events when I’m asked, keeping up with our normal ministries, and trying to raise children who follow Christ. 

We are coming up on two years since my original diagnosis of stage 3 melanoma (which if you know me or have followed my story you know that it quickly progressed to stage 4 and at this time last year they weren’t thinking I would live past Christmas of last year).  And with that comes a wave of many emotions.  As much as I’d like to pretend that all of this never even happened, the truth is that this journey has left deep physical and emotional scars on all of us that I can’t deny. 

For example, I have an awful stomach bug today and our sweet 4 year old says tonight as I’m putting him to bed, “I know you aren’t feeling well, Mommy.  I love you so much.  I’m so sad your cancer is back.”  Aaaaand that’s when my heart broke.  I mean we haven’t even talked about it for so long and here he is sad because that’s the first thing his mind went to when he saw I was sick. 

But it’s not just him, I still panic when I feel something weird.  I still get choked up when I remember how it felt to try and prepare to leave my kids.  I still have nightmares about being bolted to the table for radiation or dreams that it’s coming back in some way or the other. 

But on the other hand, I’ve gained much more than I’ve lost in that I’ve found that when God says He is all we need, He is not exaggerating.  I can say with joy in my heart that suffering and trials are amazing ways to refine us and to bring us closer to Jesus.  I can say that my life is far more intentional now – nothing is taken for granted and I’m not shy about my faith.  I’ve gotten a bold spirit through this and that is worth all of it.  If I could go back in time I wouldn’t change a thing.  I would seriously do it all again in a heartbeat and without hesitation.  That may sound weird but we have grown closer with so many people just by letting them in on our struggles.  Our friendships, family, marriage and faith are stronger than ever and that’s worth it.  All of it.


I guess what I’m taking the long way in saying is: our trials can be of infinite value if we are open to allowing God and other people in on our journey.  I’m nothing special, like I’m painfully ordinary, but I’ve seen how God can show His power through such a person as myself. 

Everyone’s story and walk will be different and God will call us all to different things, but just know that if you are struggling tonight with something, anything, He is there.  He does love you.  And even if we can’t see it now, one day we will see that He knows what He’s doing and that trust in Him brings us not just closer to Him but also gives us rest.  You don’t have to do this alone.  You don’t have to carry this burden by yourself.  No one does.  Hang in there ❤