The Bridge Builder

I’m not sure if it was the Amanda Cook song playing, the engineering feat, or my heart mourning over all of the metaphorical bridges I’ve burned throughout my life that moved me so much.  But there I was teary-eyed at the sight of a bridge being built. Something about one piece of land connecting to another, the intentional dreaming and planning, and the out-of-the-box mindsets it takes to construct such a structure caused something inside me to explode. The Holy Spirit was definitely beginning to speak… (Not to mention the next morning my daughter was talking to me about building bridges at school. Coincidence??!)

Throughout my life as I transitioned from one place to another I almost always left relationships in the dust. The roots of rejection spoke clearly. “Don’t reach out, they may not want to hear from you.” “Don’t try to connect, you’re relationship is worthless to them.” Queue the gasoline and light the match. Burn the bridge. This wasn’t always caused by my transitions. When others left, the same fears would take over. Who knew that a simple video could shed light and begin the healing… Thanks, YouTube. 🙂

Jesus was a Bridge Builder. He came as a man to connect heaven and earth. He came to connect the Redeemer to the sinner, to connect the Healer to the sick, to connect Love to the broken hearted, and to connect Hope to the hopeless… He came to connect us to Him, and to connect us to each other.

And then He commissioned us to be bridge builders, taking the Love we have received and giving it freely and boldly to those around us.

I’ve been asking the Holy Spirit to show me simple ways to be a bridge builder to you and others around me. Here is what I have so far:

  1. Seek to understand. Don’t assume.
  2. Pray for the people in our spheres of influence. Ask God to use us to build towards others in courageous authenticity.
  3. See the value and treasures on the other side. It’s easy to see what’s different and wrong with others, allow God to give us His eyes for others.
  4. Do the hard work to bring connection. Forgive.

To those whom I’ve cut off in years or months past,  please forgive me for allowing fear to rob me of your friendship.

While this is something God is doing in me on a personal level, I also want to address this as a word for the Church as a whole. The bridge in the video was built as a bypass to the Hoover Dam connecting Nevada to Arizona. The road leading up to the bridge on the Dam had many hairpin turns and didn’t permit the large amount of traffic in the area to move through freely. When building this bridge they first corrected the road, making a straight path in Nevada, “The Silver State’” (silver prophetically representing Wisdom). The bridge connected Nevada to Arizona, “The Copper State” (copper prophetically representing tools and weapons).  I feel that as the Church courageously begins to operate as bridge builders, individually and within church communities, the Lord wants to bring together the Wisdom and the Tools that the Lord has imparted to his people. I believe that the choices that individuals make affect cities, and the influence of cities affects states, then regions, then nations.

I say all this to say: courageously, and in Love… I want to be a bridge builder.  Are you with me?


Trust me…

I don’t have any cute stories this morning.  Well, actually I did have one, but I thought it would get me in trouble, so I’m skipping it.  If you want to hear it (and how it relates to this post), you’ll have to prove to me that I can trust you with it. 🙂  I may even show you the corresponding picture.

If you know anyone who has trouble trusting, the challenge is partially yours to help them. It’s impossible for people to build trusting relationships if we aren’t being trustworthy.  How can we be a trustworthy friend?

  1. Be kind and compassionate.
  2. Have integrity. Tell the truth. Keep a secret.
  3. Go deep. Know people well enough that you can almost predict their behaviors and responses. Healthy trust happens in sincere relationships.

It’s easy for someone with problems trusting to feel like they simply need to step out and trust people more with deep information, but in reality they need to learn WHO to trust. In fact, one of the biggest sign that someone has trust issues is that he is trusting people that he has no business trusting.

King Saul had serious trust issues  that sabotaged his relationships and eventually his reign. That’s what happens if you don’t have a trustworthy community, your relationships are seen with suspicion leaving no room for sincere trust. Eventually your calling with be stunted (if it even has a chance to unfold). It’s important to look at problems with trust as self-sabotaging rather than self-protecting.

Where does someone with trust problems start?

Trust in the Lord.

It sounds simple and perhaps cliché to you, but you have to see, admit, and surrender your fear to the Lord. It’s important that this comes first. Otherwise our other relationships will replace a role that He is meant to have. This is the cause of many problems with trusting others.

Second, start surrounding yourself with trustworthy people. If you don’t know if people are trustworthy, look for the signs listed above.

God desires us to find people with whom we can live in community—sharpening, comforting, confessing… sharing life. Let’s be that people! No more isolation. Let’s let the pain caused by others heal. Let’s try again.

Here’s the picture. You can guess the connection. 🙂


Being a Friend… even when it’s messy

I recently went to a retreat with women from my church. There were lots of tears shed, chocolate shared, and connections made. We all learned that we need the pieces of each other’s stories to live the fullest life that God desires us to live…. It’s God’s design. I have recently been asking God to teach me what it means to be a good friend. Facebook, Instagram, kids gymnastics, school activities, packed schedules… so many things make it easy for real friendships to become drowned out. BUT, we all long for good friendships, don’t we? …Even if our issues or introversion cause us to push them away.

So how do we do it? How do we build Godly friendships? I found some answers in the story of David and Doug. Ok, it’s actually “Doeg,” but “Doug” is my American translation. …and the story isn’t actually about Doug and David specifically, but their roles reveal something really valuable. So here’s the story (1 Samuel 22) in a nutshell:

Doug is Saul’s chief shepherd. He follows Saul, not out of relationship or honor, but rather out of fear. In fact, his name means “careful” and “anxious.” Doug is the kind of friend that has to be manipulated and enticed in order to show his loyalty. Doug sees the priests gave David the consecrated bread from the temple and he tells Saul. Why does he tattle? Telling our of the wrong motive (aka tattling) is often times about gaining status, power, or favor. (1) Doug is willing to do what it takes to gain attention from Saul. After Saul confronts and condemns the priest of feeding (literally) the “rebellion.” He tells his soldiers to kill the priest and the other men in his family. The soldiers refuse to kill God’s priests. Doug is then told by Saul to do it. He turns around and kills all but one who manages to escape. The fleeing priest who survived the masacre finds David.

David comforts him.

And here is where David teaches me a thing or two about friendship. Listen to what David says:

  1. “Stay with me. Don’t be afraid.” The priest was probably feeling more alone than ever. David responded with compassion and tenderness. Being a friend means we are making sure we stay open with each other. We don’t ignore or detach from the “hard stuff.” We implore others to not run from the support friendship can provide. Intimacy can be scary, but on the other side of that fear is a treasure that can only come from being open and broken with each other So often we are looking for answers and quick fixes to our circumstances while ignoring the fact that the struggle is where we are often refined and strengthened. I believe this is multiplied when we process through in a community of friends. As we come out of isolation, the emotional connection with friends can lessens the effects of life’s trauma. (2)
  2. “The man who is trying to kill you wants to kill me too.” David may not have known what it feels like to have your entire family slaughtered, but he could identify with running away, with feeling like your destiny is far from vision, and with feeling like you are one step away from death. David didn’t pretend to know what the priest had just experienced, nor did he try to fix his problem or act like it was no big deal. David showed sincere empathy, and reached him with compassion. This was an eye-to-eye, “I’m in this fight, too” moment. He connected and pulled him higher. I’ve learned that my compassion will be substantially limited if I’m unwilling connect with empathy. Any compassion I show without chosing to connect with their pain, lacks depth and runs the risk of looking like pity.
  3. “You are safe with me.” A good friend will surround you in your time of need. We usually can’t stop the problems in other’s lives, but we can add perspective, and lighten the load in areas that need it. Genuine friendship will combine this with #1 and 2. Without creating a safe place and emotional connection, surrounding the needs of a friend can still lack intimacy. However, when combined, they are a powerful act of friendship.


What do you think it means to be a good friend? What do you struggle with? Ask the Lord to show you!

If you long to be a better friend, consider praying this with me:

Dear Lord,

Thank you for being the perfect Friend to me no matter what I am going through or how I respond.  Open my eyes to see the Friend you are, and the friend that you desire me to be to those around me. I want to love well. I want to build deep community.  Show me how to be who you want me to be.  Build my empathy and compassion for my friends so that I can love well.  Free me from fear so that I can draw closer to those around me. Help me to be a vessel of unity to the Body of Christ.  In Jesus Name. Amen!



Three Ways to Be a Better Mom

mother mountains

A few days ago I woke up to SIX kids at once. Imagine it: snuggled into your fluffy, down duvet and favorite 400 count sheets collecting REM when suddenly—“Mom, MOM, mom, MOM, Moooom.” I was all like “Whoa, Nelly!” Coffee, COFFEE, coffee, COOOFFFEEEE.” It seems like mornings like this can impact my whole day. I get off on the wrong foot, and Cray-Grumpy Mom wants to run the morning. Let’s not be Cray-Grumpy Mom.  Lets read these three tips to be Sane-Happy Mom. Here they are…

  1.  Heart Posture. Motherhood calls for a lot offerings. First it’s sleep. Then when you get your sleep back you lose your peaceful mornings. Your Anthropologie budget turns into your Gymboree budget.  The hour of reading before bed turns into an hour of folding laundry. There is the added whining, the extra chores, the shriveling life… It can make it easy to feel frustrated.  But here’s a trick to help: We have to see everything thrown at us as an opportunity—an opportunity to teach, learn, stretch in our faith, grow…  But, the struggle is real, right? The benefit I have as a follower of Jesus is to know I can cast my burdens at His feet and rest in His activity in my life. I don’t have to stress. If I’m looking to Him, he will use me and make me more like Him even in the ugly or ordinary things.
  2. You deal with you. Parents, quite making your children deal with your issues. When I’m frustrated it’s easy for me to project that onto those around me. This is especially dangerous with young hearts that are easily crushed with our words, expressions, and actions. When I suddenly feel frustrated or angry, it’s important to step back, see what triggered it, and deal with my heart before I unintentionally take my issues out on the kids. Sometimes it’s difficult to take the time to take inventory of our emotions, but if we don’t, the consequences can be huge.
  3. Say Yes more. Parenting little ones can require constant mental and physical activity throughout the day.  It’s easy to say “no” to our children simply because we are drained. “No, we can’t go to the park today. Mommy is tired.” “No, you can’t play with Play-Dough right now. I don’t want another mess in the kitchen.” Saying “no” can create important structure at times, but saying “yes” nurtures and builds trust in your child. This is especially important for children from hard places. ( We all have limits and responsibilities, but parenting requires connection and doing lots of things (not just needs, but also wants) outside of ourselves.

Let’s be honest, these areas don’t really allow us to “arrive.”  But as we allow the Holy Spirit to be Lord of our hearts and minds, we can trust HIM to do the work in these areas. It’s important to remember that we don’t have to strive to be an amazing mom.  We can trust Jesus to teach us and work in us.  I hope that these three things bring light to areas He wants to mold in you as He is in me.  ❤

DIY String Art Map

IMG_7124We recently put new hardwood flooring throughout our main level. By “we” I mean my husband and some of our amazing friends.  “We” also tore out a large built-in in the middle of our living area, and had to refinish some drywall. Neither of these projects are complete, and could be considered a bit of an eye sore.  I decided that despite those projects, I needed a DIY (for me: DIY therapy). *Enter DIY string art project.* I’ve loved string art since we moved into our first Colorado house in 2011. I printed off some large block letters and made a “WASH  DRY” sign with colorful string and galvanized nails for our laundry room.  It was pretty cute if I do say so myself.  I decided that that single, small project qualified me to create a massive string art world map for our new home.  🙂  Truthfully, string art is fairly simple, but can require lots of TIME.  For this project, it did indeed.

The supply list was simple:

Large Map


Weather-strip Nails


Painter’s Tape

Embroidery String ( I used grey)

First off, I decided where I would like to create it. Since I didn’t use a board or similar material, I needed to be certain since I wouldn’t be able to move it.  Next, I hung my map using painter’s tape and a level. It would be so sad to do all of the work to end up with a crooked map, so I highly recommend NOT skipping that step. Now, it’s time to get to work. Make a LARGE cup a joe, and let’s go!

I used a sharpie to mark the spots on the map I would be putting nails.  I drew a guide with the spacing size I wanted on my thumb to help things move a little faster.  When going around small countries, I did closer spacing to maintain the shape.  I skipped small islands, and didn’t get ridiculously detailed.

After my spots were marked, I used small copper weatherstrip nails and nailed them into each of my marked spots.  I used a small stool for higher portions to help keep my nails straight.    IMG_6579

Once the nails were in I took pictures of each section with my phone.  When you remove the map, the borders can get confusing.  Picture references really help.  I tore off the map one continent at a time, and strung it before moving on.

IMG_6588 2

To add the string, I tied the end to a nail, and cut off the excess. Then I randomly wrapped the string across and around nails until I achieved the look I desired.  After I completed a section, I simply tied it off like I started it.  I tried stringing in a pattern initially but wasn’t happy with the effect.


I may add more string to sections in the future, but overall I’m really happy with how it turned out!

String art is endless fun!  I whipped together a string art arrow in like 10 minutes the other day by staining a scrap piece of pallet, and eye-balling the nails.  You can really make it as simple or intricate as you want.

If you live in the Colorado Springs area, and are looking for a home with a wall to pound a million holes into (hehe), check out my husband’s facebook page!  He would love to help you find a home to make lovely!

Living Large …as in 10 lbs over weight with 6 kids

That’s right. We are currently the proud parents of 6 kiddos. Six kids that are ages 10 and under. We received a call from our foster agency a week ago from a worker desperately looking for a home for a 10 month old boy. “For a few days,” they said. “Until he goes to be with a relative,” they said. Oh, the drama of foster care. You just never know what twists and turns are ahead. Until we know, I get to love on an adorable, ½ Polynesian, chunk of cuteness. People act like I’m Wonder Woman when I walk into Target with a baby in a carseat, a baby on my hip, and a couple more hanging on to me. I mean, HOW, do I do it, right? LOL! Noooo super powers. Not even great biceps.  How does anyone do hard things? Here’s the secret: I just do it.

There are books, blogs, sermons, and stories dedicated to this very subject, but I believe it’s simple. I can even lay in out in two very easy steps… maybe even use unnecessary alliteration… (*insert telemarker voice*) You too, can do difficult things. Just follow my two simple steps.

  1. Know the destiny God has formed inside of you.
  2. Be brave. No really, jump.

…Ok, no alliteration.

You can skip the rest of this blog if you are like me, and don’t have a ton of time for details. Just do those, ok? ;P

I’m just going to dive into those two ideas.

  1. Know your destiny. If you don’t know, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you ask yourself a few questions. What makes you tick? What are you passionate about? What makes you cry? What makes you angry? Where do you want to spend your time and energy? What has God spoken to you regarding your future? Once you know, start moving towards it. There are some out there who believe that the path is so narrow that if you don’t watch, pray, fast, hear specific words from God on when and exactly how your calling should “play out.” I don’t buy it. I believe that God leads us through a narrow door (Jesus) to a wide place (narrow is the road that LEADS to life). God LOVES to watch your creativity and passions in action. As you are obediently submitted to him, he more than able to give you the course correction you need. For some of you just the freedom of being afraid of “missing it” or the freedom to dream is enough to set you soaring. For the rest of us, there’s number two.


  1. Be brave. Be willing. Just jump. There are a lot of people out there who know what God has called them to do, but they seem to be waiting for the perfect scenario to step into their passion and calling. Just a little secret for you: there is never a perfect time. There is always something. God likes to stretch us to fit our situations, rather than stretch our situation to fit what we think we need. When we began our journey in foster care, we had just downsized to a smaller home with two bedrooms on the main level and one in the basement. We had three girls of our own. We ended up turning our sunroom into a large bedroom for our three girls, moving Seth and I to a very tiny bedroom that barely fit our queen sized bed. This allowed our second bedroom upstairs to be available for foster kids. Our first placement was for a sibling group of 3, so talk about stretching!  So many of us think that we are willing to do something, but then we hesitate, and then–shoot! Missed that opportunity. Then we second guess next time, and–SHOOT! Missed it again. …I’ve learned that if I’m looking for a spotlight, I’m going to face some serious problems and challenges walking in my destiny, but if I’m simply looking to shine, opportunities abound. So, I want to encourage to be aware of what you are going to dive into, but don’t let it scare you or stop you.


If you are having trouble dreaming, or finding your passions, I would invite you to pray this with me:

Lord, I’m ready to go on an adventure with you. Where do you want to take me? Please birth your dreams in me, and show me what you have made me to do.

If you are having trouble diving into your destiny, consider praying this with me:

Lord, thank you for the vision you have put inside of me. I submit to you, and know that you have good plans for me. I tell all fear that I am no longer walking with you, and you are no longer welcome to stop me from the plans that God has in store for me. I chose today to be brave… even if the water temperature isn’t perfect. In Jesus Name, AMEN!

Sunshine and Rain…and weeds

I had a mental picture a few weeks ago. It was one of those thoughts that felt like heaven was drawing close and trying to whisper to you. In this picture I was standing in my patch of front yard on our suburban cul de sac looking up to the sky. There was a rain shower ending, the clouds were parting, and the sun began to shine through. As soon as the sense of refreshment had settled in, I looked down and saw them. Dozens of weeds started shooting up out of the ground rising well above the grass, and making my yard look disgraceful.

The end.

Um, can I just stick to the clouds breaking and the pleasant sunshine beating down on my grinning face? Maybe skip the weed part? No? Well, ok but I’m not sure the HOA approves of that picture, Holy Spirit.

My immediate thought was, “Oh, God. Ugh. I need to get to work, and clean up this MESS before anyone sees.” Later I went back to the picture and asked the Lord to show me more. He showed me himself down on His knees, carefully pulling the weeds. Then it hit me. I was never meant to do the work.  The shame! The embarrassment!  But I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me… If I chose to be humble, the Lord will use my weaknesses and my process. He will receive glory.

Philippians 1 tells us that God is continuing to lead us towards perfection until the day of Christ’s return. The work being done in us calls for our trust, our humility, and our surrender. As we simply present ourselves to God for his hand to mold and form us, we are offering our worship to him. There is no striving. Face it, our striving is pretty pathetic compared to what he has done and is doing. So, let’s rest as He works. Let’s love and praise our maker as we watch him receive glory through the lives of his kids.