Where is God When I’m Hurting?

The weight on my heart is heavier today than usual…

I logged onto Facebook this morning to check and see if there were any updates about Pastor Rob. I was praying for him, and wanted to see if his family had posted any updates.(He’s having open heart surgery today so if you’re reading this, please send up a prayer for him TOO!)

Pastor Rob served at our church when I was around 11-12 years old. It was during one of his sermons that I met Jesus. Rob asked a question like “If you died today, what do you think would happen after you died? Where will you go?”

The first thought in my 11-12ish year old brain was, “Of course I’m going to go to HEAVEN!”

My thoughts continued….

I’ve been going to church here since I was born. Well really even before that if you want to get technical about it. My mom came to church here when she was pregnant with me, so that makes a difference, right? I’ve been in the children’s plays at church. I sang in the children’s choir. I put money in the offering every week. This all means something, right? That gets me IN, Right? As it turns out, no.

No. No. No. No. No.

Picture of me as a Toddler

My little self. I grew up in church and was always a “good kid.” But going to heaven is not about “ME” it’s about HIM.

I had been in church all that time, yet that’s not what it was about at ALL. It wasn’t about the actions of DOING for God or about being a good person. It was about a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus.

That was the gist of Pastor Rob’s sermon that day. Something he said that morning made me not sure I was really going to go to Heaven. After the service I started asking my Dad lots of questions about it. He opened up his Bible and took me through the “Romans Road.” It was there at the dining room table of my grandparents’ house on Pine Street that I decided to give my life to Jesus.

So Pastor Rob means a lot to me, and was a huge part of my coming to know The Lord. His son married one of my close friends, and now leads the Celebrate Recovery group at our church. This family has poured so much into me, therefore it was only natural for me to pour my heart out to God this morning and ask for healing for Rob and for comfort and peace for his family.

As I looked through my facebook newsfeed for the lastest news about Rob, I saw so many other burdened friends. A childhood friend of mine posted that her grandmother had gone on to be with the Lord, after many long days and nights at a Hospice House… Another friend was asking for prayers as her baby was getting tested for food allergies today.. Four months today marked the passing of Brad Boley (which I haven’t even been able to muster the strength to blog about yet)… Two friends from high school are planning their Nana’s funeral…

And it just goes on and on….

So much pain, worries, and real suffering.

It’s in these moments that I really have to dig deep and cry out to God.

When I open my Bible, and give my worries over to Him, He always answers me.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

To my dear friends who are hurting: God has not forgotten you. He loves you. You can find peace in HIM.

Afterall, He’s already paid the ultimate price: He suffered more pain on the cross, more than we could ever imagine, just so that we can be with HIM in heaven.

Do you know that today? I’m praying that you do.

Because of Him,


Burdens: Hand ‘Em Over

The last couple of days have been kind of rough. 

Nothing major or catastrophic has happened, just your regular, run of the mill, grown-up/first world/parenting problems.

If you are a grown up with small children living in the United States and (taking your job as a parent seriously) breathing actual air, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

Silly little annoyances over the last few days have brought me DOWN:

-Waiting in long lines.

-Vending machines that WON’T work.

-Little children that WON’T obey.

-Slow internet.

-Computer crash. (A special kind of frustration when you are a WORK AT HOME mom.)

-Missing your husband because he works 6 days a week.

-Forgetting to pay the water bill/waiting til the last minute, then the website you need to pay it on will NOT load.

-Laundry that WON’T do itself.

-Neverending messes.

-Child with food allergy runs out of non-dairy milk at pre-school, so husband rushes to the store to get it while you sit and imagine worst-case scenarios of your 3-year-old grabbing other kids’ drinks and a trip to the ER in your future.

-Graduation looming. (What in the world and I gonna do next?)

-Stuck by trains in Kenova. Enough said.

-Running late for EVERYTHING.


I could go on, but I won’t.


Why are these things bothering me so much?

I asked myself this question.

Then I asked God this question.

I opened up my Bible.

Here’s what it said:


“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Psalm 55:22 (NASB)

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

Wow. I wasn’t giving my concerns to Jesus. THAT is why I was feeling so yucky. It’s not the same as just telling your friend about your day and venting your frustrations. The Word says to CAST them. In other words hand ‘em over.

 I needed an attitude check.

So I had a long heart-to-heart with Jesus. I handed it all over. It’s amazing the freedom that comes with that!!!!

At Camp Cowen, we always used to sing this song that went along with 1 Peter 5:7…..

Imagine these words to a cheesy Reggae sounding beat. And with the words ending in –ER, pronounce them with –AH (Instead of Higher, we said High-AH, Instead of super, we said SUP-AH… and so on)…


Here it is:


“Cast your burdens

Upon Jesus

‘Cause He cares for you.


Cast your burdens

Upon Jesus

‘Cause He cares for you


Higher, Higher

Higher Higher Higher Higher Higher Higher

Lift Jesus Higher


Lower, Lower

Lower Lower Lower Lower Lower Lower

Stomp satan Lower


Super, Super

Super Super Super Super Super Super

Supernatural Power


Fire, Fire

Fire Fire Fire Fire Fire Fire

Holy Ghost Fire!!!!


Shout out to Camp Cowen Peeps: You can thank me later for putting this song into your brain that will surely be there ALL DAY LONG.

(P.S. I’m so thankful for you. Thank you for being part of the foundation that God laid down in my life. It’s the foundation that brought me back to Him after a long time of going astray). *HUGS


Just a couple of my Cowen People (Not sure about the year, Maybe 2000? or 2001?)..Help me out peeps. :)  From Left to Right: Lee Boso, LeeAnn (Jordan) Woda, and ME!

Just a couple of my Cowen People..
From Left to Right:
Lee Boso, LeeAnn (Jordan) Woda, and ME!


I’m giving Him my burdens today. Even the little ones.


Will you?


Because of Him,


The Story Behind the Mess

This past week, I posted a video on YouTube of a huge mess that my 3-year-old made. Here it is:

Here’s the story behind the mess…

My 3-year-old loves the snow. We live here in the Tri-state area of Huntington, West Virginia/Ohio/Kentucky and we really haven’t had a great deal of snow. At least not enough to go outside and make snow angels and snowmen with. (Which is really the best part of the snow, right?) The shoveling and barreling through part, we can just do without.

Due to this lack-of-snow situation, my creative boy decided to come up with his own solution. He made “snow” with BABY POWDER!

I am a full-time college student, and also doing an internship (from home). I was catching up on some work while my 2-year-old was napping and while (I thought) the 3-year-old was busy playing! Unbeknownst to me, he was creating his own “snow” in his bedroom.

I took the above video in the aftermath. It was a MESS! I had a minor “panic attack” I believe! However, he was just so cute, I couldn’t stay mad. He just wanted snow!

At one point he even asks me “Are you mad?” Bless his heart.

I praised him for his creativity, but made SURE to tell him we CANNOT do this everyday.

(For the record, there was baby powder ALL through the drawers of clean clothes. Which I had to wash all over again!)

So yes he had fun. Yes he was/is cute. But this is not a very practical means of creative fun! Maybe we’ll try it in the bathroom next time… Maybe. ;)

Time Goes By Too Fast

When I was pregnant with Nathan, a friend of mine told me, “Time will fly by, because you will be so busy!”

Oh my goodness, how true that has been.

I wish I had more time to write, blog, create, etc. I know there are times when I am not an incredibly reliable/available person.

99% of the time I am TERRIBLY behind in my school work. But you wanna know the truth? If I were given any more than the 24 hours already allotted to me, I would probably STILL be spending it with these two precious boys. They are irresistible and delicious!

The ONLY reason I’m able to write this post at this moment: It’s early on a Saturday morning, they are still asleep, and I was able to drink an entire cup of coffee all by myself. Trust me, that is something. I rarely even get to go to the bathroom by myself. True story.

So since it’s been a little long while since my last post, I thought I’d take 10 and write out this quick post.

While I’m at it, I’ll share a cute/funny video with you. (Just in case you didn’t see it on Facebook!)

Thanks for visiting my friends!

Gotta go, Nathan is up and ready to start wallowing me. 


Love, Love, Love,



It’s not every day that you get to sit and learn directly from an author, teaching the subject they wrote about.



I’m so excited about the next 6 weeks!

Monday Musings: “Anything”: An Online Summer Study

A New Session of GMG starts today!

I am very excited to begin another Good Morning Girls online study. I am leading two groups this session and feel very blessed to be able to do so!

My time alone with God is crucial. It makes my whole day fall into place and pushes me ever further toward being the kind of wife and mother I long to be. I am a work in progress! After a long semester of school and some very VERY difficult personal trials and struggles, I am looking forward to pouring over God’s word and seeking a deeper relationship with the Jesus I love SOOOO very much.

Won’t you join me?

For more information about this Online Summer Study and Good Morning Girls, visit the GMG site at http://www.goodmorninggirls.org 

Today I’m linking up with The Better Mom: Sharing Life and Learning Together


Back from Blogcation

Yes, I know. It’s the week of finals. Shouldn’t I have waited until next week to return from my Blogcation? Probably. But there is something much too big going on in my life right now to NOT blog about. Immediately.


Plus I needed a break from studying.


A few weeks ago, (April 11th to be exact), I began my day just like any other. I stopped by Starbucks on my way to school and got my vanilla latte and sausage breakfast sandwich. I had no idea it would be the last piece of meat I would ever care to eat.


This semester at Marshall, I took an English Class called “Texting the World,” (Rhetoric in Popular Culture) taught by Dr. Roxanne Aftanas .  There is not enough blog space here to talk about this class, and the impact it had on me. It was a critical thinking class and after taking it, I cannot live my life, day to day, without asking WHY? about everything. I am constantly analyzing now. On April 11th, she DARED us to go 5 days without eating meat or dairy, and to watch the documentary Forks over Knives . So I did it as kind of a fun social experiment. On the 3rd day of the #nomeatchallenge something happened. I felt AMAZING . The best I had felt in years.

I watched only a few  minutes of the documentary “Forks over Knives,” and I was in tears. When it came to the story about the man taking insulin shots everyday I had to stop the film. The reason I stopped it is because I KNEW my husband needed to be watching it with me. JR is a type II diabetic and ALSO taking insulin shots. That evening we watched the documentary together. To be honest, I fell asleep before it was over, but he stayed up and watched the whole thing. The next morning we discussed the documentary and he was telling me about the parts I missed (after having fallen asleep), I asked him what he thought about it. LOVE is not a strong enough word for how my husband feels about steak. It was his absolute favorite thing on earth to eat. I never thought in a hundred million years he would ever consider giving it up. But the morning after we watched the film he looked at me and said, “This way of eating reversed that man’s diabetes. And one day, I want to play with my grandchildren. So I’m going to do it.”  I was floored. So on day 5, my husband joined me on the no meat challenge.

On this blog, I have talked about my struggle with weight and my desire to become healthy.  For the first time, I feel like it’s happening:


3 weeks in and I lost 15 pounds!

3 weeks in and I lost 15 pounds!

Yes! 15 pounds! I am feeling great. I don’t feel like I am dieting, I just changed my lifestyle….This is only the beginning!

The Pearl

Right now, I have approximately 5 or 6 unfinished blog posts sitting in my drafts. I have at least two reasons for this: My 20 month old, and my 2 month old.

My sweet baby boys: Aidan and Nathan

My sweet baby boys: Aidan and Nathan

I am a little ( a lot) overwhelmed right now.

I have so many things I need to share, but right now is not the time I guess. I need to share about being on bed rest while trying to take care of my toddler. I need to tell the story of my little Nathan’s birth and what a miracle it is that he survived it and made his way into the world. I need to share about how I cried my heart out when I had to come home from the hospital without him when he stayed in the NICU for 7 days, and how I survived it by cuddling with my toddler CONSTANTLY when I was not at the hospital. I need to talk about pumping breastmilk. LOTS of pumping. See there? I’ve already worn myself out, and I haven’t even mentioned my postpartum issues yet.

There is so much to share, but to do it justice, I’m going to have to wait until life calms down a bit.

I read something today that I just had to share. I can’t begin to tell you how much I needed this today and how much it ministered to me. I hope it will to you as well!

The Story of The Pearl

“Most people know that a pearl comes from an oyster. It isn’t just luck of the draw or random chance- in fact, that little oyster has to do a lot of work and endure quite a bit of hardship during the making of that pearl. And the most amazing part of the process is that the oyster’s goal isn’t even to make a pearl. The oyster’s goal is to insulate itself from the offending irritant.

A pearl is formed when a single grain of sand or tiny foreign particle is lodged inside an oyster. If left alone, that tiny particle will cause damage to the tender mollusk. The particle is an irritant, causing the oyster to produce a lacquer-like substance called nacre. The oyster secretes the nacre to cover that irritant as a means of protecting itself. It constantly works to shield itself from the irritant. Those layers of nacre coat the sand granule, eventually sealing away the irritation and forming a gorgeous pearl.  Offenses are just like that grain of sand-when someone says or does something to us that offends us, it is as if they put sand in our oyster. While the oyster always knows how to deal with its grain of sand, we too need to learn how to deal with the offenses that irritate us.

Throughout our lives, unfair things will happen. People will let us down, they’ll say things that hurt our feelings, and they won’t always treat us the way we think they should. If we allow those offenses to take root in our heart, they will cause us to become bitter and lose our joy and enthusiasm for life. We must learn to insulate ourselves from offenses and to keep our hearts pure. One of the keys to loving your life is learning how to take those negative things, give them to God, and allow Him to produce the priceless pearls our lives are meant to be.”  – Victoria Osteen