Looking Back

2018 was so beautiful.

We started 2018 with a deep sadness. So much disappointment was felt in 2017 and our foster son that had been with us for six months left very abruptly. But we welcomed 2018 with full hearts, expectant of all God had for us. We heard Him say this year would be a year of harvest. And we definitely saw that. It was beautiful. We saw the first fruits of all the good seed we have been sowing for so many years. It was a year I’ll deeply cherish.

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Our babies grew so much this year. Selah started 4K and Micah dropped his bolus feeds during the day, only using his feeding pump at night. They bring us so much joy. The kind that makes you really exhausted at night, but at the same time makes you want to go in their rooms and wake them up.

We ended 2017 saying goodbye to their foster brother, quickly and unexpectedly. It was hard for them navigating it all, but they were so brave. And I think about all they have accomplished this year and the way they have grown, it just melts me. I had such a hard time walking through that pain with them, but every time the Father kept reminding me that what He calls us to, He also calls them too. And there was so much grace there. There’s always so much grace when we walk in obedience.

We took a few fun trips this year with them. We went to the “big zoo” for Micah’s three year old birthday and he’s talked about it everyday since. We had an epic beach trip with our entire family and I’m certain they’ll talk about it at their weddings. The cousins played their hearts out and they promised to be best friends forever. They’re pretty obsessed with each other. We also went to Great Wolf Lodge for Selah’s birthday. And they still haven’t taken off their wristbands.

This was the first year they've really started to play together well. Selah and Micah are best friends. Always together. They might fight with each other but the next second they’re making up, and will play together for hours. I hope it’s always true for them.

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After a lot of miracles, as unexpectedly as he left, our foster son came back to us in May. It was a crazy story. So much I wish I could share. Hopefully I can share a little more about his case soon. We learned through it all how thankful we are for our family and community who always rally around us. Raising children is something you just can’t do alone, especially children that have experienced trauma.

My sister and I learned a lot about mothering together this year. It’s what we always dreamed of as little girls. So to be able to do this mothering thing with her is one of my greatest gifts. People at church always wonder who’s kids are who’s because we always have each other’s kids with us. It’s such a gift having her as a foster mom too. When no one else understands, she does. And it’s been such a blessing mothering alongside her.

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God did a really deep work in my heart this year. He exposed several lies I had been believing about myself for my entire life and replaced those lies with a deeper revelation of His love. It was extremely painful. I remember Him inviting me one morning in July to “catch the troubling foxes, those sly little foxes that hinder our relationship. For they raid our budding vineyard of love to ruin what I’ve planted within you.” Song of Solomon 2: 14.

But I wanted all of Him. I had to have more. So walking through pain to have more of Him at the end was so worth it. And He promised me we would do it together. I’ll do anything as long as He’s with me. But it really hurt. Honestly, it’s still pretty tender. When He placed His finger on those places in my heart that needed attention, I knew I was ready to do the work to get free.

And on this side of it all, there are places in His heart I wouldn’t have ever been able to see had He not revealed more of His love to me. I’m so grateful for His deep love for us. Shining light, exposing truth. I’ll never forget what He did in me this year. I wear a gold ring on my right hand now to remember the work He’s done in my heart from it all, that we’re in covenant together and I’m never rejected. I’m so very thankful.

Out of it all, so many unexpected relationships deepened in my life just when I needed them the most. And I’m forever grateful. I’m surrounded by women who believe God Word over anything they can see with their eyes. To the outside world, even to most Christians, what we all are believing for looks insane. But we’ve all decided to believe every word that comes out of our Father’s mouth. It’s an absolute honor to stand alongside them, to believe with them for their miracles. And if you’re contending for a miracle, they are the women you want in your corner, believe me.

They renew their mind with His truth, and have taught me so much about what it looks like to walk in the Holy Spirit’s fire. The revelation I’ve received this year is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I’m devouring the Word of God, it’s been the very sustenance that has sustained me. Holy Spirit has opened my eyes to see and my ears to hear. The hunger, this year has left me with for Him is nothing like before. It’s deeper. Intensified. Almost an aching.

And I’m certain a lot of it is a result of these women speaking into my life. It really matters who we surround ourselves with.

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The Garden grew so much this year! We officially became a Non Profit, 501c3 in May. It’s been crazy to see what was only a seed, a few girls in my living room, to what is now a growing, thriving ministry. He’s performed miracle after miracle this year and we’re so excited for what’s coming. I think our pregnancy and baby count is now over 40 since last summer! The Garden is such a huge part of my life, it feels like my fourth child. It’s most definitely a full time job running a ministry. He’s been so faithful to bring women and men alongside me who share the vision of The Garden. The leaders and the board who care so deeply about seeing His daughters walk from healing to wholeness. I feel so deeply this is only the very beginning days of The Garden. God has massive plans for this ministry. I’m so glad He’s the one who runs the thing and I’m just working in the family business.

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My speaking schedule really picked up this year. It’s hard to believe, but I spoke over 18 times last year to so many different groups of women in different parts of the United States. Speaking is an unexpected passion of mine. I never thought it was something I would be doing, but it brings me so much life. I don’t take it lightly to have women sitting under me hearing the Word of God. It’s such an honor to talk about my Papa. I think I enjoy it so much, because I get to talk about His goodness and how I’ve seen that goodness play out in my life, but also how intimacy with Him is available to everyone! I already have several events booked for 2019 and am so excited to continue to get to do something I love so much! If you would like for me to speak at your event or conference you can find more information here.

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Brandon and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this summer. He’s such a gift to me and our family. We went on a cruise, kid-free, to celebrate this summer! And every single moment was like heaven. We are believing for more trips together, just the two of us like this. His work schedule is so crazy, we make it a priority to make sure we spend time together investing in our marriage. The Father is expanding us. He’s opening our eyes to see exactly why He put us together in the Kingdom, and it’s been so beautiful to see what we each carry and what we carry together.

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2018 will be a year I’ll never forget. So much healing. So much restored. So much harvest. We’re turning the calendar page with thankful hearts today. 2018 has been full. God taught us a lot about rest and how to operate out of it. We took risks this year as we stepped out in faith and the reward was incredible. We’ve sown a lot of good seed this year, and in the Kingdom that only means one thing, there’s even more harvest for us.

Harvest didn’t look like a round belly and babies. But we are more expectant than ever for Him to fulfill His promise to us in adding more miracle babies to our family. You know what I did get this year? More of Him. And He is so satisfying. Knowing Him, it’s all I want. This year, right when I didn’t think it was possible to love Him more, He showed me a way.

And our family is stepping into 2019 confident. We’re confident in His love. More than ever, confident of His faithfulness that He’ll finish what He’s started, that He’ll be true to what He’s promised. We’re also ready for more. He’s giving us blueprints for our family and what we are to build. And I believe that this next year what He’ll birth in us will be something we could have never dreamed. I think it’s just the beginning of what He’s asked us to step into. And I literally can’t wait.

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I also understand birthing is painful (or so I’ve been told). That’s not exciting. But I’ve learned this year, and honestly an underlying theme in my life has been the beauty that pain has produced. I’m not really scared of it anymore. Because I know He’ll be on the other side, and with us each step of the way. I also know there is more of Him that we’ll get to explore. And I know in the natural when the baby comes out, the pain stops. So we’re ready to have these spiritual babies, whatever they might be. We’re also ready to birth in the natural too! So any day now, God! :)

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Honestly, I don’t care anymore about anything else in this world. I just have to have Him. And more of Him. I feel like this picture perfectly closes out this year for me. Dancing in the ocean of His love. Always deeper places to go in Him. I want to get so deep, I drown.

Thank you for following along. Some of you, sweet readers, have been here for over six years now, faithfully reading every word I write. And it’s an honor to know you and to meet you here and maybe on Instagram too. Some of you have joined along the way, and have made yourself right at home in this little house on the internet. I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful for your support. For every comment, every share, every encouraging email, you bless me. As you step into 2019, I’m praying God’s richest blessings on you. That this will be a year when you find out what His heartbeat sounds like, because you stay that close to Him.

2018, you’ve been beautiful.

2019, we’re so ready for you!