Purpose, Glory and Grace

I was considering a different title for this post like: “Seeking God despite my Failures”, but decided to stick with the current title above.

I’m writing this post because grief (a small word for that horrible, scary, overwhelming ocean of pain) can really make you question the reason for existence, question God and several other things.  And, if you are anything like me, you’ve probably asked yourself why you’re here, or what your purpose is on Earth. Maybe you were six, or 16 or 26.. Or maybe it’s been a continual question in your heart. For me it definitely started at a young age. I honestly don’t think I ever understood or truly heard the purpose until I was 25. I spent plenty of childhood Sundays in Sunday school class, so I likely could have heard the truth about our purpose, but I didn’t commit it to memory. Not knowing this left me with a hole in my heart. I tried to fill the hole with a job, money, starting a family, but even before experiencing great loss and grief, I was discontent and felt like I lacked value or purpose. The biggest lack was in that area of joy. I could enjoy my family, don’t get me wrong, but it felt shallow, like I was missing something.

I remember 2007, being eight months pregnant with Lila (our second child who passed away), and sitting on our Pastor’s couch. They had invited us over to dinner because we had questions we hoped to get answers to. I explained to him and his wife that night that I wanted to be saved, but something about the gospel wasn’t clicking for me. I didn’t completely understand, and I personally felt ‘stuck”. I bit my lip and held back tears before confessing that my problem wasn’t believing the gospel, but believing that I could be saved.

What I did believe in these early stages of my messy walk with God was that I wasn’t good enough to be loved by God.

In six short months I had gone from

Don’t call me a sinner, I’m a good person”


I’m ashamed of my past life choices, why would God ever accept me?”

That’s when he said it.

‘It’s a gift.’ He went on to explain that gifts aren’t always given when someone deserves it, sometimes they are given because of the grace of the giver. (I quickly associated this with buying our oldest child Christmas gifts even though she had produced a series of tumultuous tantrums from October through December.)

It finally clicked. God gives us grace, love and the hope of a future with Him because of Jesus, not anything we have done.

Though, in return, we show obedience, gratefulness, and that’s where the fruit comes in. (Or – at least, it should..) Our good deeds and works don’t earn us a spot in Heaven. But instead, our obedience shows God our love and thankfulness to Him. If we didn’t love God, why should we be allowed in Heaven? And if we truly love someone, we show it, right?

Finally I understood that our purpose on Earth is to Glorify God, to love God and love others. I hadn’t known that, and it was causing me so much strife.

It’s hard not to get caught up in a legalistic mindset where we decide what we should and shouldn’t do. It’s equally hard not to be overly casual and start making choices based on a moral code we make up ourselves instead of checking the Bible and our hearts to see if we are on the right page.

I have struggled with that part for 10+ years. Have you? Knowing I have to guard my heart and watch my tongue can be hard (even my typing/blogging figurative internet tongue included) lest I be a stumbling block to another soul trying to find the truth about Jesus. What I want/need/do/think should all be put through my filter in my heart asking myself, does this glorify my Great God. I have to hold myself accountable.

Sometimes I feel intensely guilty for my words. I ask myself how they would look as a tattoo across my forehead. Would I be proud to wear them, would God be honored, would my kids be willing to claim me? Thank goodness for Grace, because a lot of times the answer is a big, fat NO. Insert Heavy Sigh here, I have failed DAILY. I won’t lie. But- and I do mean BUT- I can keep trying. I have a forgiving God who gives me repeated chances to try again.

Who doesn’t want to hear this when they get to Heaven,
‘Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:23 NIV

We’re not perfect, but we can certainly be loved by our Great God.



My Messy Walk with God

I grew up in a loving home and attended church off and on at different denominations.  As an adult I hadn’t been to church much and after a bad car accident had that feeling of “if I had died today, where would I have gone?”   It ended up being the perfect timing for going back and learning about God, I had no clue my child would be vanishing from my life in just a few short months and that I would be crying out to this God I was just getting to know.

I came to faith and decided to pursue God, to really get to know Him, to read the Bible, to try and shape up my life.  Not legalistically, but practically -I had always heard that hymn (and maybe you’ve heard it too- How deep the Father’s Love for Us) that convicts me and makes me think.

Here are the lyrics, I’m highlighting the ones that grab my heart the hardest when I hear them.  If you prefer to hear it, here is a beautiful version from two sweet ladies from our church (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0a5Oveznmc)

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
 We are often told that Jesus died for our sins.  I had heard that my whole life, but I will be honest.  Prior to getting to know God through the Bible, I thought this whole blue marble should be focused on me.  I was selfish, I was lost, I HATED being told I was a sinner.  I couldn’t understand why my basic life would be called sin.  I scoffed at the legalistic and the faithful equally.  I couldn’t understand why my “little issues” needed to be changed.
Then it hit me.
Or rather, the Holy Spirit paid me a visit.  It wasn’t my own mind telling me I needed to change, someone was working in my heart.
It was all fresh and new, learning to serve others and think of others instead of myself.  Learning not to just do what everyone else is doing because it’s “normal”, I was in the middle of meeting a new version of myself and thinking differently about things when my sweet baby girl just vanished.  Seeing the lifeless body of your child is the most horrific soul agonizing pain.  You immediately want to demand to see someone, like- who’s in charge?!  Who can I talk to that can get this reversed?!  You can beg, plea, cry, scream, blame, but at the end of the day- it DOESN’T CHANGE.
Within one week of this experience a friend of mine who believed in God said to me, “You just became a Christian, why would God do this to you?”
It’s a question a lot of people think, but not many would say it out loud to a grieving mother.  But it was something I had thought over a thousand times.
So I asked Him,  God, how could you let this happen to me?  I know I used to go my own way and act more like the world, I know I didn’t seek after you until I was 25, but why?  Why now when I have come to know you better, and wanted you so desperately.  Why would you let my life crumble this way?
Questions were asked like that daily, and it was through prayer and reading that He showed me many answers, although some I may never know until I am in Heaven and then they might not matter to me anymore.
I believe God allowed this tragedy in my life to shape me, to teach me it’s not all about me, to open my eyes to the hurts and sorrows of others.  Could He have taught me another way?  Maybe, but perhaps it would not have been so profoundly effective.  In 10 years I have met so many other Moms who have experienced this massive loss.  Some lost their children to SIDS, some cancer, some stillbirth, medical issues, doctor negligence, you name it- there are so many heartbreaking stories.  So many people who just NEED SOMEONE to listen, NEED Someone to understand, to know they aren’t alone and someone has walked in similar shoes.  I may never have been a listener if my life hadn’t taken those turns.  God doesn’t just shape the life of the person experiencing the tragedy, but He can do so much more with that.
God gave His own Son to bring us to Him. He didn’t have to do that.  He made that choice.  He could have looked down at all of us being “sinful humans”, selfish and narrowly focused and just shrugged it off allowing us to be separate from Him forever.  But He didn’t.
He didn’t have to offer us eternity with Him.
But He did.
Back to the hymn- my voice was a mocking voice my whole life until age 25.
My sin held Him on that cross.
That song was written for everyone who is human, and that included me whether I could acknowledged it or not.
I personally was a scoffer.
But I had to come to terms with the fact that God did not take my child to hurt me.
He did not take her to crush me.
He built me up, brought me through the fire, made me stronger.
I think about my actions now, I think about eternal value and consequence.
I struggle daily and fail often. 
I have hurt other people, I have failed to see needs of fellow humans- but I am certainly so much further than I was 10+ years ago when all I could see was myself.
I want her back more than anything, but I can accept God’s will for my life, and I know it’s not the end.  There is an eternal life offered where I can be a part of a family that doesn’t experience pain.  Trials here on Earth are worth it when they lead us to a perfect forever.  I’ve come to find that I grieve my existence here on Earth more than her departure.  I want me whole family to be where she is.  She’s with her creator, the maker of everything majestic and beautiful, the keeper of the stars.  This Earth is filled with terror, sadness, selfishness and broken-ness.  She is far better there than here.  My heart aches to see my family reunited with her and be in the presence of the Lord.  So for now, I can choose to not be angry with God for the lessons and the trials, but to be grateful and anxious for the next life.  To purposely seek joy when my heart wants to dwell in pain.  Everything we do is a choice.  We can choose to glorify God or wallow.  Some days I still want to wallow, but I know which ones leads to happiness.
If you’re in the middle of this right now, it’s okay to be mad, it’s okay to ask questions and seek answers.  It’s okay to admit to other people and to God that you’re not fine, and that healing is messy and takes forever.  Don’t hide your pain, it’s okay to be a real person- because you are.  My personal plea to those who are hurting and mad at God is for them to let Him know.  Talk to Him every minute that it hurts, through your anger.  It can be hard, but He’s the one who can heal your aching heart and bring you understanding.
He’s also the one who can grant you eternal life with those you’ve lost here on Earth.
And if you just can’t bring yourself to do it, you can talk to me.
I’m here for anyone who needs a listener.  Just message me, I’ll give you my number.
Love to you all,
If I could personally take your pain, I would, because I hate for others to feel it. 😦


I’m reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn for the second time.  It was inspiring the first time I read it, which I believe was about 10 years ago, and I felt that my heart could use a refresher.

I love reaching further into the truths about Heaven that the Bible shares with us, and I love knowing that what the world teaches about Heaven is inaccurate.  It’s not a boring, cloud filled, harp plucking eternity–  It’s everything beautiful and promising and wonderful that God has offered through his Son Jesus.  I was talking to a friend recently about a trip to the Oregon woods I took back in 2016.  I told her everything was so lush, full of life and green.  It felt so clean and vibrant, new and exciting.  This book sheds light on the New Earth God will create, what Heaven is really like.  God created us, our thoughts, and all the awesome things we can picture in our minds..  Why would we ever assume Heaven is a boring place of monotony or anything less than amazing.  How do we absorb these lies from the world?!  I adore this book and the way it has opened my eyes to how exciting Heaven will truly be.

I also have to add- it breaks my heart when people tell me my baby is in someone’s arms being rocked.  My baby, is in Heaven.  She is not bound by time or the body she had here on this sinful Earth.  God is not going to be restricting babies to baby bodies forever, considering issues like abortion- can you IMAGINE if God made all those fetus’ remain as fetus’ forever?!  No! Why do we bound Heaven up by time and try to put God in a box.  Our perceptions of this marvelous place are so off base.






Lila Grace.

This is our sweet Lila Grace.

She taught us so much and yet she left the earth before she ever spoke a word or stepped foot on the ground.  I cannot begin to tell you every single change she made in our lives in her short time here on Earth (just 86 days), nor can I tell you every change made in our lives after her departure.  But- I will sure try!  The Lord used this sweet girl to make us into new people.

lilagrace (16)

Step One

Tomorrow is step one for us in our 2nd go-around in the foster system.  We fostered YEARS ago and had the sweetest little baby from 9 days old until he was 8 months.  Taking him back home to his family was awesome, because he belonged there..  His parents were super loving, sweet people who just had a few things to work on.  We were thankful for that journey, but this time we are in it to adopt.

Initially we had it in our minds that we were seeking toddlers through younger elementary, but God has really been laying it on our hearts to consider older kids.  We recently saw a few videos from the Heart Gallery site, and it was suddenly clear that our hearts are open to any adoption without stipulation of age.

We know that it won’t be without struggle, but what is worth doing that is easy?  Let’s be real, it’s often the most difficult trials and journeys of our lives that bring us the greatest rewards.  It would be INSANELY rewarding to be able to provide a home to a child who has thought they might never have a forever family.  My heart aches to do this for as many kids as we are able.

The Day She Left for Heaven.

You may NOT want to read this. It’s horrible. Really horrible. But it’s part of my life, it’s part of our family’s story…  I wrote this many years ago.  Truth be told, I’m pasting it here from another blog and can’t find the gumption to read it today.  I don’t want to go there, but I’m pasting into this post because I know other women want to know they aren’t the only ones with horrible stories.  They want to know it’s not just them.  So, that is why I share.  I’d also like to note that the coroner who we felt treated us badly during all of this got dreadfully ill on vacation and randomly died.  There is no chance to tell him our feelings, or to try to right any wrongs.  It’s in God’s hands..

On January 31st of 2008 the weather channel forecasted that we’d be snowed in the next morning. It was a Thursday and Josh and I were pretty certain he’d be off work the next day because the roads were supposed to be completely lost in the massive amounts of snow. We’d just gotten back from the Urgent Care with our kids, Maddie- our oldest was sick, and we’d taken her to see the doctor. Lila was extremely quiet all evening, we took her to bed at about 10pm and hoped we’d all be home enjoying ourselves in the snow the next day. Somewhere during the night I awoke and decided it was time to change and feed Lila. She wasn’t stirring, so I don’t really know why I woke up, but I changed her diaper and tried to feed her. She didn’t want to eat, instead she acted super sleepy and barely noticed the diaper change so I put her back to bed and fell asleep shortly after that.
I didn’t wake up until sometime after five am when I heard my husband up – getting ready to try to get to work. That’s when I heard his voice in our dark bedroom. Something’s wrong with Lila, she’s not breathing! I dove out of bed, flipped on the light and there she was. Purple and Blue. There was no life in her, she was bloated, COLD, lifeless… it was horrific. I heard my husband saying he was calling 911, but we both knew it was too late. We did what we could, tried to do CPR, over and over and over… Josh took over and I was screaming my baby! and pounding my fists on the floor. He called our neighbor and babysitter because she was trained in CPR and she could get there before the ambulance. And she did. She got there in less than 10 minutes, she worked on her while her husband checked for a pulse. They looked up at us now and then with so much sadness in their faces because they knew she was gone, they were doing CPR for us. They knew it was the only way to stay sane, to think we could help- to stop it, to back it up.. But we knew it couldn’t really be stopped. It was reality. She had died while we were sleeping. Stopped breathing, right there in her bed. She floated up toward Heaven, her soul floating right past mommy and daddy while they slept, unaware.
The ambulance took 40 minutes to get to our house.
Forty minutes of terror, panic, screaming.. We thought Maddie was still in her bedroom, but our little 2 ½ year old had climbed over her baby gate to see what was going on. She saw the paramedics when they arrived, she watched from behind us as they worked on her. To this day she still brings up things she witnessed.. We never meant for her to see that… but we were so caught up in the pain we couldn’t think straight.
We got in the car to follow the ambulance, and I called my father on the phone. They live just a handful of miles away, I wanted them to be aware, to follow us to the hospital, but when my dad answered the phone I was screaming/crying/bawling gibberish… words would not form… He kept asking me to calm down and start over so he could help me, so he could understand.
The ambulance made it 8 miles and stopped in town to take on another paramedic who could shock Lila’s heart. We sat at a snowy intersection waiting for them to pull away and head to the hospital. My husband got out, went to the ambulance to find out what was going on. My parents stood by the door of my car asking me what was going on, would she be okay? I told them I didn’t know. I couldn’t say she was dead. I wouldn’t say it even though I knew it was true.
The rest of the ride to the hospital was painful. The snow was so deep, it took over 30 minutes to drive what should have only taken 15, I sat in the passenger seat screaming, God bring her back, I’ll do anything if you bring her back.
At the hospital I saw them bring her in on the stretcher, they’d cut her clothes down the front and she was in just a diaper, cords attached, needles inserted. I can’t even explain what I felt. It was complete insanity- I had just birthed this baby three months ago and she was gone.
The hospital hallway started to fill up with people who came to be with us, my husbands parents, close personal friends, the pastors from our church, our neighbors, they all held me quietly, rocking me back and forth, their tears dripping off their faces onto mine. I hadn’t thought to put in my contacts, everything was blurry, I was there in my pajamas in a hospital before sunrise mourning the death of my daughter. It all didn’t make sense, it was a night mirror, I thought if only God would wake me up… this isn’t real.
I went into the hospital bathroom, leaned against the wall and slid all the way to the floor. I wanted to die in there. I didn’t ever want to walk out. I was silently begging God to undo the day, to start it over again.
Josh and his mom were both in the bathroom with me, they lifted me under the arms and helped me walk to the room where I was told I could say my goodbyes. My mom stayed by my side holding my arm, it was like we were clinging to each other on the side of a mountain.. There was Lila, dark purple, wrapped in a tiny pink blanket she’d been sleeping with, some sort of clip on her tongue, lifeless and gone. I cradled her in my arms, and held her to my cheek. At that very moment I felt warm, she was being held by Jesus, no doubt in my mind. I remember telling her you’re safe with Jesus, I love you so much, You’re safe with Jesus. It’s gonna be ok.
I knew then my life WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME. I was not going to be a typical person, with a typical life, I would never be normal.
While I was saying goodbye there was another family on the other side of the curtain at first. Their baby had be found unresponsive that morning too, but it was saved. I looked them in the eye one time and thought to myself that I hoped they knew how lucky they were that theirs was spared. They looked at Lila with panic and pain and knew it could have been them. The tables could have been turned..
Before we left we stood in a circle, there were many of us, we prayed, we cried… then it was time to go. To go home without my baby. The snow was deep outside, everything was covered in perfect white snow that hadn’t yet been plowed. Lila had had a short stay in the ICU when she was born for cleft palate and Josh had kept telling me, “I know you want her out of the ICU, she’ll probably get to come home when it snows, she’ll get to see the snow.” That was around Thanksgiving, she got to come home after 13 days, but it hadn’t snowed. That morning as we were driving away from the hospital I cried and told Josh, “You were right, she went home when it snowed.” She went to her heavenly home.
Now if you are still with me, imagine the pain I was feeling and add to this the fact that the CPS decided they were going to come to our house that day and interview us. Within four hours of us leaving the hospital. They didn’t wait for an autopsy, they decided to see if we were unfit, which we are the farthest thing from unfit… they came – toured our home, asked to show them where she slept, wanted to see our other child. It was awful. To have strangers in your house checking to see if it was your fault. And if that seems rough add to that the fact that three days later our local coroner came and did the same thing. He came to our home, made us put a baby doll in her bed just the way she was when we found her and then he took pictures for his files. Can you imagine the anger/grief/hatred I felt that day. I couldn’t believe that we were being put through this- it was enough that our baby had died. He told us he was working on the autopsy, that he didn’t want to say sids, that she had tiny spots of pneumonia in her lungs, but it didn’t look like enough to have killed her… He went back and forth and eventually I guess he ruled with viral pneumonia, but our doctor scoffed at that. When I questioned the deputy coroner she made me feel like a moron. She informed me how “important” the coroner is and how “respected” he was in our community. I was angry, I didn’t care how respected he was, he had made my heartache so much worse. Our pediatrician thought for sure it was a sids death. Lila had just been at the doctors office two days before to be seen for a cold. They had listened to her lungs and checked her for everything including rsv and found nothing, just a sniffle. Listening to the professionals go back and forth about her death did not make it any easier. It did, however, make me realize that only God knew the answer.
I wish things had been different from beginning to end, I wish I didn’t have to give up my baby girl- but things wouldn’t have been so horrid if the CPS and coroner had kept their distance like they do in some places. My second cousin’s baby died from SIDS the same weekend that Lila did, and oddly enough the baby was born the exact same day as Lila… She had no autopsy, no cps, no coroner to deal with… just the grief. I wished more than anything I had known my rights then… That I could have been strong enough to stand up for myself and tell them that just because we live in some small town in the middle of nowhere doesn’t give them the right to prance in there and make a bigger mess out of a tragedy. I hope and pray that never happens to another mother. That they never know the pain of wrapping up a fake baby and placing it in the bed so some man they’ve never met can photograph a “reenacted death scene” right there in the privacy of their bedroom.

Until God takes me home, I’m going to keep on reaching out to other mommas because that is the best way I know how to deal with all of this… to be there for someone else who’s hurting. And to all of those reading who don’t believe in God, He is real, and he does love you. He gives, and he takes away, but he’s in charge. I don’t understand why He allows things to happen to us, and I don’t need to.. All I need to know is that faith in his son and his work on that cross is my saving grace. I honestly don’t know where I’d be right now without it. Call me a preacher, a volunteer, a bible beater, whatever you want- but I can tell you, when you’ve held your own lifeless child in your arms and have been sent a feeling from God that strong – that she IS safe- you can’t help but want to tell the world about Him.


Why I Blog

I blog because 10 years ago, something so important, so precious disappeared from my life while I was sleeping.  It was shocking, heart wrenching, soul crushing.  I woke up hearing my husband’s voice in the early darkness of morning telling me our daughter wasn’t breathing.  That’s not a way that anyone wants to wake up.  But you have to wake up, and then you have to deal with it, every.single.day.afterward.

This is my story, the past, and the continuation of our life after loss, and if it can help in some small way- another grieving parent- then it has done it’s job.  I’m here for anyone searching for another person who understands.


God is our Rock and our Salvation.

We couldn’t do anything without His strength and grace.


And here is the link to our story of the day she left.

Also, a link to our Sweet Lila Grace.


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