THE MIRACLE SEASON- A Must See Movie!

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I have always really enjoyed going to the movies with friends and family, creating memories indulging in overly buttery popcorn, over-priced candy and soda and some quality entertainment. But as I have gotten older, I have to admit, I don’t go to the movies all too often anymore. One of the main reasons has a lot to do with the “quality entertainment” part.

Obviously, as a Christian, I am cautious and hesistant of what types of movies that I watch. Not out of prudence or judgementalism, but simply as a means to guard my heart. I am a firm believer that what you feed your soul- what you listen to, what you watch, watch you focus your mind on- affects the way you respond and interact with the world.

After all, the Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) to:

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

So needless to say, I am excited any time I hear of solid faith-based movies that will be released in theaters. And it just so happens that there is one releasing today! LD Entertainment, the same production company that brought us the faith film RISEN, and the same director (Sean McNamara) as the faith-based film SOUL SURFER (one of my favorites!) is releasing another film that is based on a true story, called THE MIRACLE SEASON! The film stars Helen Hunt (TWISTER was another favorite of mine when I was a kid!), William Hurt, Erin Moriarty and Danika Yarosh.

This new film is based on the inspiring true story of West High School girls’ volleyball team. After the tragic death of the school’s star player Caroline “Line” Found, the remaining players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hopes of winning the state championship.

And because I got the privilege of viewing this wonderful story in an online screening a couple weeks ago, I can boldly say…

…YOU NEED TO GO SEE THIS FILM!

The cast is extremely talented and authentic in their deliveries of sharing this true story (Danika Yarosh, the actress portraying Caroline, was delightful!) so much so, I found myself wanting to be friends with the real people being portrayed in the movie.

I felt like I was right there in Iowa watching the story unfold. Being from a small, Midwestern town myself, I could totally relate to the small-town charm and support that you see from the whole community banding together to cheer on this volleyball team and the families represented, especially Caroline’s father Ernie.

What was so genuine about this film is that during the credits, there was real footage of the actual people from Iowa- the volleyball team, school, family members. You see how much they were involved in the making of this movie to keep the story in tact. From costumes to the way the volleyball court’s floor was painted, the filmmakers stayed very true to this telling of this beautiful real-life story.

(l to r.) Ernie Found and William Hurt on the set of THE MIRACLE SEASON, an LD Entertainment/Mirror release.

Ernie Found (center) with Nesta Cooper (#18) and other cast on the set of THE MIRACLE SEASON, an LD Entertainment/Mirror release.

 

The writers who wrote the script were very intentional at honoring those involved in this tragic and triumphant story. The director spent some time with Ernie Found to ensure the film would capture the heart at the center of it all. Throughout the film, you discover that it was Ernie’s faith that helped him get through such deep loss.

“You want to honor the people who had passed by talking to their surviving family, asking ‘What was this like, tell me your experience,’ so you can get it right,” says McNamara.

And “get it right,” they surely did!

I think about the struggle we live in today with finding quality entertainment for the whole family to enjoy, and I see how a movie like this that is based on a true story just reveals that our God is such an incredible author. Only the Creator of the Universe could pen something so extraordinary, and LD productions does a fabulous job reflecting it in THE MIRACLE SEASON!

Watch the new trailer BELOW:THE MIRACLE SEASON is available in theaters everywhere today! I highly recommend you go see this amazing film!

Special Delivery Part 2: My Birth Story

Photo credit: Rylie Craft Photography


I wrote about my birthing experiencing with my son, Isaiah, just two weeks after he was born. He wasn’t a great sleeper (and almost 3.5 years later, we occasionally have our issues…Lord, thank You for Your grace!), so I found myself awake all through the night…a lot. I must have had trouble falling back asleep the night I wrote our story of his birth. Sleepless baby and sleepless momma. Man, those were some tough nights. But we survived, thank You Jesus!

Now with my second son, James, it has taken me over a month to sit down and write out our story of his birth. It must be because we actually sleep at night! Even with the time change last night, he STILL slept for 6.5 hours straight!  He is my little sleeper…praise the Lord!

God has been so incredibly faithful to us with Jameson.

From the moment my water broke to these last several weeks with him finally here with us.

His grace, so incredibly tangible.

For the whole pregnancy, I was fully mentally prepared to hold our new precious baby boy in my arms around 38 weeks, since that is when his older brother graced us with his unexpected presence.

But to be completely honest with you, that didn’t happen, and the last month was extremely stressful, confusing, and exhausting.

I cried. A lot. I was moody. A lot. I was tired. A lot.

I started to have time-able/ pattern-forming contractions around 37 weeks along with baby boy #2; I was getting even more anxious for that special day to come when we would finally meet our newest blessing.

But that cycle of “fake outs” lasted for over 3 weeks. God bless my poor husband! I never really knew when it was “go time…”

…until a little after 6am on February 7th, 2018 (the day after my due date), just as Paul was headed out the door for work telling me to keep him updated, I gasped as my water broke while lounging on the couch!

No more guessing if it was “go time!” Ha! Grace! Paul called my mom to let her know the news because she offered to drive over an hour and a half to come watch little man AKA Isaiah. Grace!

Because a friend of mine offered to be present at the birth to photograph the joyful day (Grace!), I hopped in the shower and got glammed up, of course! 😉

I assumed that it would be awhile before contractions began, since mine never started with Isaiah after my water broke with him…Pitocin is the devil…

…but before I could finish my shower, they started to amp up. Grace! And they were definitely the real deal this time! Yikes!

Trying to get baby James to kick with a chocolate long john!

I dialed (do we still use that word for cell phones?) the on-call midwife and let her know what was going down and we decided to meet at the birth center at 8am, just in time to get stuck in rush hour morning traffic! But by the grace of God, we were able to stop by Chick-fi-la for FREE chicken biscuits for a quick breakfast (eating in between contractions that were now starting to get pretty intense) and STILL made it to the birth center on time, not having to deal much with traffic whatsoever. Grace! Grace! Grace!

We pulled into the parking lot at 8am on the dot, shortly after the midwives arrived, and made our way to the room. Less than 10 minutes later, my mom arrived to take little man to the waiting room for a bit to play with their blocks. Grace!

I was able to joke through the contractions and make the midwives laugh a few times before it was game-time, which came MUCH sooner than I had anticipated.

The contractions intensified very quickly, so much so that I didn’t even want to lie and relax in the giant Jacuzzi tub that was just filled up for me. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was ready to push soon and hold that precious little peanut.

Not really knowing what position would be most comfortable for me because I didn’t have much time to decide, I made my way to the bed and laid down on my left side. Paul knelt by the bedside and held my hands and I used them to brace myself through each contraction. Before they got too close together, he asked if I wanted to listen to some music on his phone. I immediately said, “The Undoing by Steffany Gretzinger.”

God’s peace filled the room. Again, I could tangibly feel God’s grace.

When I could, I sang and hummed along and looked into Paul’s eyes and told him how much I loved him. It was an absolutely beautiful moment with him, something so completely different than what we experienced with Isaiah’s birth that left us dealing with much anxiety and trauma in the weeks following.

In an instant, all of that was redeemed. Grace!

We really were such a great team together. Team Massey!

When the contractions became pretty unbearable, I found myself making an “O” sound to get through them. It really was the only thing that seemed to help me stay focused through the pain.

The midwives were so encouraging through it all, and kept reminding me that I was almost there and that I was doing such an awesome job.

It was very quickly time to push, so I made my way up to my knees and braced my arms around Paul’s shoulders. He told me later that I almost made him pass out when I accidentally had him in the sleeper hold! Hahahaha! Funny, but not funny for him, I’m sure!

Then suddenly, when I didn’t think I could take another second, at 9:40am (yes, that’s right, an hour and 40 minutes after we arrived at the birth center) they told me to pick up my baby who entered the world.

The birth center’s 1,000th birth, might I add…so cool!

“We did it, we did it!” I said with joy filling my lungs. Sooooooooooo….much GRACE!!!!!

I scooped up Mr. Jameson, discovering he had a head full of brown hair like his momma (Yay!), and said “You’re a slippery lil’ fella!” making the whole room laugh once again.

Just four hours later, were discharged from the birth center, both momma and baby healthy and thriving. It was so nice to be able to head home and start our life together as a family of 4. On the trip home, both boys were snoozing and stayed down for naps for a couple more hours for us. Grace!

A miracle, really!

The whole day was just perfect.

I’m really still in awe of it and just how good God is to us. He truly is a redeemer and a giver of good gifts.

So here I am, almost 5 weeks postpartum, and signs of postpartum depression/anxiety/rage or insomnia are no where to be found! Praise God! My milk supply has been overflowing, and we have no need of formula supplementation like we had to do with Isaiah.  And thanks to an awesome lactation consultant that we saw 2 weeks postpartum, I am able to have success with breastfeeding this time around. A major answer to prayer that just ties the whole experience together with so much GRACE!

I’m so thankful for God’s grace, my friends. It is truly all-sufficient and is carrying me through this new season of motherhood in such a beautiful way. It doesn’t mean everything is easy by any means, because along with the demands and responsibilities that come with caring for a newborn, we surely have had some tough toddler days as Isaiah goes through some mega emotional development right now (ah meltdowns!), but God’s grace is my ever-present help to see me through it all.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV).

And this momma will gladly boast in my frailty because Jesus’ gracious strength is so much better than my own.

Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME Movie Review: A Christian’s Perspective

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Did you happen to read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time in grade-school? I don’t remember too many details of the book, but I do remember it impacting my little heart now decades ago. That’s why me (and other millennials like me) have been greatly anticipating the release of Disney’s adaptation of the this best-selling science-fantasy novel. The re-telling of this classic story is said to take audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light, good versus evil and, ultimately, the triumph of love.

I was able to catch a press screening of the film earlier this week, and it has taken me a couple days to really collect my thoughts about the movie.

The stellar cast (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling to name a few), awe-inspring special effects, and vividly colorful costumes and make-up definitely drew me in right away.

Oprah Winfrey is Mrs. Which, Reese Witherspoon is Mrs. Whatsit and Mindy Kaling is Mrs. Who in Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME.

But what impressed me the most was the young, up and coming actress, Storm Reid, who plays the main character Meg Murry. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Miss Reid will become a role model for young girls all over the world. She portrayed the awkward, middle-school heroine with such beauty, wit, vulnerability and strength. The desire to find and rescue her father who has traveled through time and space and is trapped by a darkness called “The It,” and restore her family drives her to risk everything, including her life.

Storm Reid is Meg Murry and Levi Miller is Calvin O’Keefe in Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME, an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timless classic directed by Ava DuVernay.

That act of selfless love is nothing short of beautiful to me- a love that I know has been shown to us through Jesus Christ.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13, ESV). 

Although the book is not considered a Christian piece, L’Engle, who actually used to teach Sunday school at her church and wrote a devotional on grace later on in her life, wove Christian truths throughout the book. There are actually many scriptures quoted throughout the novel as well as mention of Jesus being a “great warrior of light.” Ultimately, this book is about the powerful force of good over evil and love triumphing in the end, a message believers proclaim and live by.

“What if we are here for a reason? What if we are apart of something truly divine?” is echoed in the movie by Dr. Murry, Meg’s father, as he tries to explain his theory of time travel to colleagues at NASA at the beginning of the movie. He wanted to bend time with his mind and shake the Universe’s hand.

The “divine” and the “hand” that is mentioned should be God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth..the Creator of the entire universe…

…but sadly, Disney’s “Wrinkle in Time” paints another picture about the Creator of the Universe. Sadly, but not surprisingly, they remain silent about God.

Where Miss L’Engle highlighted Christian truths and even mentions Jesus Christ in her book, sadly, Disney erases them completely.

But they were not silent on new age and eastern religion culture. 

Oprah Winfrey is Mrs. Which and Storm Reid is Meg Murry in Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME.

Meg, along with her younger brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin, have all been chosen by messengers of the Universe (“the Mrs’s”) because they saw light and hope in them. They were being called on to be warriors for the Universe. Lines such as you must “become one with the Universe” and “have faith in yourself” echo loudly in the film, which brings a false message of hope, light, and love. Yoga and highlighting the Hindu “third eye chakra” exercise were also a part of the film, expressing the idea that you have the power within yourself to see into the future, perhaps, becoming your own savior with no need of anyone’s help, including God.

Photo courtesy: Still from Film Trailer

Photo courtesy: Still from Film Trailer

I understand that this story is fantasy, and that it is not particularly a Christian work, but subjecting children to these other spiritual exercises that people actually practice is dangerous in my opinion. And yes, it is my opinion, but my faith in God, which is extremely important to me, had to filter a lot while viewing this film. To me, if the film-makers and screenplay writer were going to ignore the mention of God or any form of Christian themes that the author put in the book, they should not have highlighted other faiths or spiritual exercises, just out of respect for the author.

If you are a Christian and plan on going to see this movie, just know that the message of light vs. darkness, hope and love, good vs. evil are not our definition of those things. None of those things exist a part from God.

God is light. God is hope. God is good. God is love.

We are not our own savior. We are not our own answer. We cannot “become the Light” and defeat darkness (another line from the film) without the light of Christ.

If you plan on taking your children to see this movie, I pray you take the time to explain Biblical truths about our Christian definitions of light vs. darkness, hope and love, good vs. evil. This film will definitely spark that conversation.

I can appreciate this film for the sake of the art and creativity and for the fact that it shows the importance of family and the strength of selfless love. Yet, I pray people that watch it remember that it is just fantasy and it’s message of hope, light, and love pale in comparison to real hope, light, and love found in Christ alone.

A Wrinkle in Time, in theaters now.

Podcast Interview- She Walks in Truth (1.29.18)

I had such a blast being a guest on She Walks in Truth with host Carrie Robaina!

Listen in as I share my journey of faith in Christ and how God transformed my heart and gave me such a deep desire to tell others that you are never too far gone for God to use you as His vessel. You can can walk in freedom from all that has had you bound! You just need to yield yourself to His hands!

FOREVER MY GIRL- A Movie Review

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With Valentine’s Day just three weeks away, many couples are looking for something romantic to do together to celebrate the February holiday.

Dinner and a movie, anyone?

A bit cliche, I guess, but I know that my husband and I enjoy any time we are able to spend together on V-Day, especially when that special date consists of filling our bellies with good food and our hearts with a good love story….well, maybe that second part is more for me than him. Right, ladies?

And let me tell you, I know the absolutely perfect romantic movie that you and your sweetheart can go see that actually just released in theaters last weekend!

FOREVER MY GIRL, which is based on the best-selling novel, tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar, choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind.

In addition to facing consequences of his selfish and careless actions, Liam is also faced with his very own brokenness that he had been running from for many years.

But what I absolutely loved about this movie is that brokenness is not the end of Liam’s story, nor the story of the film.

The word that seems to capture the heart-beat behind this heart-warming film is “RESTORATION.”

Although there are only glimpses of the characters’ faith shown in the film through scenes in a church, I see God’s hand of restoration throughout the entire story and it is incredibly, breathtakingly beautiful- a redemptive story of ashes turned into beauty, most definitely.

This film will having you laughing one minute and tearing up the next, which aside from that being fairly normal emotional activity for me at 38 weeks pregnant, I loved every minute of the emotional ride I was on throughout the film, and I think you will love it too.

So ladies, grab your honey, or your girlfriends, and go see this heart-warming movie! But don’t forget to bring along your tissues! Seriously!

Catch the trailer for FOREVER YOUR GIRL below:

In theaters now!

How I Met My Hubs, Our First Date, and A New Romantic Movie for You to Go See!

Last year, while shopping for a wedding gift, I found the cutest piece of decor for my home that helped remind me where our little (growing) family began.

I couldn’t help myself, I just really NEEDED it in our home.

Well, maybe not “needed…”

…but you get my point!emily rose massey, love, valentines day, new movie, forever my girl, grace hill media, review, story, love story, family

“Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.”

Every time that I see those words in our living room, surrounded by photos of my husband and I and our little boy (and pretty soon, photos our second bundle of joy), I can’t help but get overwhelmed by how blessed I am to have such a beautiful love story that continues to unfold in such a sweet and precious way.

But where did our love story begin?

Well, in the summer of 2008, I attended a church service for the first time in three years at a church my mom had found out about through their TV ministry. It was a pivotal moment for me in my walk with the Lord (that’s another story for another time…), and I absolutely fell into love with people there. Within a couple months, I started to make some new friends. One of my new friends who worked for the church introduced me to a young man name Paul. She and Paul both were raised in that church and grew up together. In the Fall, they had tons of events for young adults and families to attend and my family took advantage of them and made great memories. One in particular was a bonfire and hayride at a local pumpkin patch where Paul and I had our first conversation. Little did I know, he called the church earlier that day to find out if me or my family signed up to attend the event because he wanted a chance to spend some time getting to know me.

Awwwww….

Later that weekend after the church service ended, he approached me and my mom.

“A few of us were going to the movies after the hay-ride the other night and no one had your number to see if you wanted to go,” he nervously told me. “So um…um…”

“Would you like it?” I asked with a smirk.

“Uh…yeah. That’d be great.”

I handed him my business card with my head-shot on the front. Emily Rose Mollet- Actress. Singer. Dancer. I was so full of myself and had serious identity
problems, but the Lord was working on me, as I slowly let Him. Paul thanked me and told me to have a good night. I looked at my mom and squealed.

Later that week, I volunteered to chaperone for a field trip with the youth group and was paired up with Paul. (I’m pretty sure he had somehow arranged that) We didn’t do a good job chaperoning because we spent the entire night talking to each other and ignored the rest of the group. He asked me to go out to dinner with him that weekend so we could get to know each other better.

That first date lasted over ten hours!

It was obvious there was a connection between us. He had an amazing sense of humor, and I could tell that he had a huge heart for God and His Kingdom. At about one in the morning, he dropped me off at my car. We hugged good-night and said we would see each other in the morning at church. He took me out to lunch after the service the next day, and we spent the entire afternoon talking and getting to know each other even more. We sat in his car talking about the sermon, and I shared my heart with him about where I was before I came back to the Lord.

He had a completely different experience than me because all he knew was the house of God and being in fellowship with the Lord. I discovered that the very same ministry he had served in since he was seven years old was the one God used to bring me to him. He had served in the TV department at the church running cameras and assistant-producing the program that my mom would watch on Sunday mornings. I was beginning to see God’s hand in this whole story even though it had just begun. At one moment our eyes locked and he reached for my hand.

“I have something to ask you,” he said.

“Yes…?” I respond with my heart beating faster.

“Everyone else in your life has always stolen kisses from you, and I wanted to ask
you for one this time. Emily, can I kiss you?” he gently asked me.

I nodded my head, and he leaned in and kissed me. I had kissed so many men at this point I my life, but this one could not ever be compared to any of them at all. It will forever be marked on my heart and mind. I was completely smitten by this boy (yes, he was a boy at only 18 years old, actually 8 months younger than my little brother! haha). After the evening service that night at church, he began introducing me to his family and friends. He couldn’t stop smiling because his friends had been telling him that he had absolutely no chance with me because he was so much younger than me. He by no means behaved like any 18-year-old I knew, so I didn’t even notice the age difference.

Later that night, he took me to the park by the church, and we sat on a bench with his arm around me. I laid my head on his shoulder and looked up at the stars,wondering how someone like me, someone with such a dark and messy past, could possibly end up with someone like him. We walked to the car with our arms around each other; I fit perfectly under his arm.

Paul looked at me and said, “I’ve never felt this way about anyone before.”

“Me either. This is different. I know we haven’t known each other that long, but I want to be with you for the rest of my life.”

“Me too. Emily, I want to grow old with you.”

That night there was no doubt in either of our minds or hearts that we were supposed to get married. We just trusted God would work out all of the details, and we would follow His leading.

And in October of this year, we will have been walking hand in hand, following God’s leading, for ten years together! It’s been a beautiful story to watch unfold, with God as the author of it all!

Our love story is, of course, my favorite, but like my little sign in my living room reminds me, every love story is absolutely beautiful!

That’s why I am thrilled for the release of the upcoming romantic film, Forever My Girl, that tells of another beautiful love story.

This new film will begin showing in theaters on January 19th…just in time for Valentine’s Day too!

forever my girl, movie poster, movies, upcoming releases, romance, marriage, adulterySynopsis: Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind.  Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances.

Watch the trailer below:

Not only does the story line draw me in, but the music soundtrack includes some of country music’s favorites such as CMA New Artist of the Year nominee Lauren Alaina, and Travis Tritt!

Be sure to make plans with your gal pals or your honey next weekend to go see this movie! I’m sure it will be a beautifully sweet one!

 

Expecting: What will be birthed through me in 2018?

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Photo courtesy of Lex & Jess Photography


January 4th, 2018.

4 days into the new year. How’s 2018 going so far for you?

For me, it seems like I am finally finding time to write down goals/dreams and be still to listen with more clarity to what God wants to do in and through me this year.

Some people use the end of the year to reflect upon the past year and look forward to what is ahead when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

I’d like to say that I had ample time to do some mega reflecting, soul searching, and waiting on the Lord for direction and vision for 2018 at the end of December, but like so many other people because of the rush of the holiday season, my life was pretty full, frantic, and fast-paced for much of the month of December.

Aside from birthday celebrations, my wedding anniversary, Christmas, and New Years, (and oh yeah, GROWING A HUMAN!), December truly was just the culmination of much hard work for probably 6 months, especially regarding completing tons of writing deadlines, serving on a team at the Gateway House of Prayer as a singer, and one specific Kingdom assignment- writing, producing, and directing a Christmas production for my church! Although that assignment is now complete, I know there is still much Kingdom work to do that God is calling me to!

All of this was a huge change of pace for me, considering I was in a “season of rest” and “pressing pause” on many responsibilities for like…um…2.5 years!

Instead of merely reflecting on 2017, God really has been highlighting a period of time where He had to intervene before the train completely derailed, and I ended up in a padded room somewhere.

For reals.

No, instead of focusing on 2017, I feel like I need to reflect and give God glory for this last extended season of the soul because I am truly no longer the same woman.

I sit here and also reflect upon the fact that I am about to give birth to my second child within the next month, after months and months of growth and development of a life inside of me, experiencing a change in my appetite and a major change in the way I walk.

Just like my second baby boy that is about to be born soon, I believe God is going to “birth” something through me this year that has taken more preparation, growth, and change in me than a mere 40 weeks, I can tell you that much…how about a spiritual pregnancy that has probably lasted over 3 years!

Ironically enough, all of this preparation, growth, and change in appetite and change in my walk started when my son was born, on October 11th, 2014- the day I became a mom.

Because I thought that I could go on with “life as usual,” I was seriously shaken by the fact that life would never be the same, that I would never be the same.

EVERYTHING CHANGED!

Things that I thought I had overcome reared its ugly head and began taunting me.

Rejection. Depression. Anxiety. Fits of anger and rage.

Just a few months into motherhood, I heard God whisper that I needed to learn how to “just be,” but it was so completely foreign to me that I just kept trying to run full speed ahead (especially regarding the many leadership hats I wore at my church, my writing ministry, and the release and promotion of my book in 2015- radio and TV interviews and networking with ministry leaders filling up my schedule and my focus). I was seriously running on fumes from utter stress and mega sleep deprivation (because my son refused to sleep until I was holding him or laying next to him), and then trying to get high off of the fumes from my accomplishments and productivity, thinking that (and coffee) would fix everything.

It all caught up to me, and I started to severely struggle in my physical and mental health in ways that I never had before.

More anxiety. More depression. More panic attacks. Weird physical symptoms like restless leg syndrome, insomnia, chronic ulcers in my mouth, and eventually an irregular cycle that would lead to a chemical pregnancy later on.

I felt like the air was being sucked from my lungs.

I felt so completely broken, but I would have no choice but to continue to stand on the promise that God would bring restoration to my life!

Little did I know that I wouldn’t see that promise start to come to fruition for another 2 years…in 2017!

Within that span of time, God told us to sell our house and move back to the county, step down from ALL leadership at our church home of 4.5 years and transition us and prepare our hearts into searching for a new church home (which all sadly came with much wounds from rejection and abandonment from ministry friends- but praise be to God for healing this area of our hearts over time), all while completely deconstructing every single Christian ideology/theology Paul and I stood upon in our marriage. We truly learned (and are continuing to learn) why we believed what we believed for the first time in either of our lives, immersing ourselves in the scriptures for ourselves and not clinging to what our upbringing, our pastor, or TV preacher told us was truth.

We became like the Bereans discussed in Acts 17:

The brothers[b] immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so (10-11, ESV).

In January 2016, after months of wrestling with all of these changes and realizing many doors were going to stay closed for me for a long time, I finally embraced the call the “just be” and rest. I finally surrendered to God as He stripped me of any title that I tried to find my identity in.

So much happened in me from January 2016 into Spring 2017. I learned how to simply be “Beloved” and “Daughter,” and learned how to find my rest in God alone.

It was from that place of rest that I would eventually find healing and restoration- physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually- truly learning how to become a vessel for God’s glory- spirit, soul, and body.

That process did not come without resistance and struggle though, and there would be countless opportunities to become discouraged, as we began dealing with Isaiah’s nightly wakings again- every night, 3-5 times a night for almost six months, all while I was trying to serve on a night-watch prayer team for two 10 week terms back to back, and hold down a part-time retail job in customer service at the height of the holiday season. Yep, all of that will definitely try your faith!

But we held onto HOPE the best we could!

Eventually, we experienced such great breakthrough with Isaiah’s sleep because of our church community’s willingness to stand with us in intense prayer…for that I will be forever thankful!

Then on Resurrection Sunday 2017, I realized God had been so faithful to bring restoration and resurrection life in so many areas of my life. That morning, one of my pastors approached me during soundcheck on my first Sunday leading worship at our new church home (after not standing in that role for a year and a half by that point) and told me that the Lord had put me on his heart recently during prayer and kept hearing the word “restoration.”

“Does that mean anything to you?” he asked.

Yes, yes it did! He was restoring my joy again, just like He promised!

And the restoration continued throughout 2017:

  • Where we had issues conceiving, I found out I was pregnant shortly after Mother’s Day. Timely… 🙂
  • God restored my writing and teaching ministry- countless articles written, reaching and encouraging readers from all over the globe that email me constantly, more networking connections made and freelance job opportunities, and being able to continue to lead a group of precious women through the Bible at Diane’s House (Teen Challenge St. Louis).
  • God restored and breathed new life into my creative outlets with singing at the House of Prayer here in St. Louis and brought theater back into my life with the assignment of writing and directing the Christmas production.
  • God restored the assignment of testifying for Him and sharing more about my book with my church community where my book is given out to visitors for free! More reached for Christ!
  • God restored and strengthened relationship after relationship, bringing genuine friendship into my life, as we learned how to encourage and pray for each other in our struggles and trials. I have some of the closest relationships with godly women in my life right now- it seriously overwhelms me with so much JOY to even think about it! An answer to a prayer that I have believed and ask for MANY YEARS!
  • God restored and strengthened my marriage on such a deep level as we survived the first 3 years as parents and learned how to always fight to hang onto loving and forgiving each other, no matter how difficult it may get. I don’t know where I would be without the support of my best friend who works so incredibly hard for our family (yay for TWO promotions in ONE YEAR!). Super huuuuuuuuubbbbbssss!!
  • God even restored and is restoring relationships within my family that I thought would be impossible to ever see reconciliation.

For over 2 years, all I knew to do was to keep breathing, even though I had to fight for air so many times.

But God gave me my breathe back. The air is back in my lungs, and I can run without growing weary because of how He has taught me to wait and rest upon Him (Isaiah 40: 28-31), one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn to date, let me tell you!

So what does all of this mean for me for 2018? What is going to be birthed through me this year?

Well aside from another baby boy, obviously, I don’t know exactly what will all transpire this year, but I can tell you that I am expectant!

The Lord has already been giving me specific instructions as to what He wants me to focus on this year as He strengthens me and gives me courage to face all that is ahead in this new year and new season (STRENGTH and COURAGE being my words for 2018).

I feel like since 2017 gave me the breath back in my lungs, I have gained the momentum to hit the ground running into 2018. I’m starting this year in wholeness, not brokenness.

Some of you had a really difficult 2017, experiencing so many trials, storms, disappointments, and setbacks. Feeling broken and bruised, your faith really took a beating.

That wasn’t really the case for me this last year.

I don’t share that to rub it in your face, beloved.  My faith has definitely taken a beating in the past, and I have experienced those times of trials and storms and disappointments just like what I shared with you in this blog post and through so many other blog posts I have written over the last three years on this journey to restoration.

Those storms, trials, and setbacks are not the end of your story, my friends! Just like they were not the end of mine!

Hope is on the way! Joy is on the way! Peace that passes all understanding is on the way! No matter what, God has good in store for you! Don’t give up, don’t give in! He’s going to turn it all around…just wait and see! He is so incredibly faithful!

I pray that this year, I will be able to continue to lead and encourage many more people as the Lord infuses me with His strength and courage! I want to help you get your breath back so I can see you run alongside of me and help others on their journey to complete wholeness, as we learn to give God all the glory with every fiber of our being!

Blessings to you in this new year! Expect your miracle…expect your breakthrough…expect restoration and healing! Expect, expect, expect!

Created to Worship

Did you know that everyone was created to worship?

YEP.

Worship is giving something or someone worth.

It is what you give your time, your devotion, your affection, your finances, your heart to. If you allow yourself to really reflect on this, you will know in your heart where all of those things in your life are going to.

If you worship anyone or anything besides God Almighty, the Bible calls those people or those things idols. And when it comes to God, He doesn’t want you to give yourself away to anything or anyone but Him. He’s not egotistical or prideful, He just loves us SO MUCH and wants us to see the world and people like He does. Worshiping God creates an atmosphere in our hearts that is conducive to letting God mold us into His image. It becomes a breeding ground for selfless love to be produced in us.

2 Samuel 16:7 says:
“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (NIV).

When we allow the Lord to mold us and change our hearts, we will be able to love others with the Father’s love.

In prayer one day, the Lord dropped this song down into my heart:

Cultivate the ground of my heart
Til it yields a harvest of lasting fruit
For Your purpose
For Your plan…

 How does God cultivate the ground of your heart?

By worship.
By worshipping God Almighty and surrendering your life completely to Him. And worship is not just singing to the Lord (although that’s important). It is denying yourself and saying “yes” to Him every single day of your life. From seeking Him in prayer or telling a stranger that God loves them by praying with them or giving them a hug, every “yes” to God is worship. When we love God with all that we are, our hearts can’t help but overflow with His love for others. 
So it is true. Worship IS a lifestyle. It is constantly telling God “More of You and less of me.” EVERY DAY. And every time we obey God and say “yes” to Him, we give Him glory. We give Him worth because He sees us growing up and maturing. Every father wants to see their children mature and succeed their love walk.
So who or what do you worship?
Yourself? Your plans? Your job? Money? Nice clothes?
Everything in this world will pass away, except for Love. Let God speak to your heart today and see if there are areas in your life that you are holding back from Him. The more we say “yes” to God, the more He can molds our hearts and they will overflow with His perfect Love. 
Give God worth today. Even in the little things. 🙂

Created to Worship is also posted on iBelieve.com!

THE MIRACLE SEASON- Upcoming Faith Film Releasing in April 2018!

new releases, movies, volleyball, Helen Hunt, movies, films, true stories, media, Grace Hill Media


I have always really enjoyed going to the movies with friends and family, creating memories induldging in overly buttery popcorn, over-priced candy and soda and some quality entertainment. But as I have gotten older, I have to admit, I don’t go to the movies all too often anymore. One of the main reasons has a lot to do with the “quality entermainment” part.

Obviously, as a Christian, I am cautious and hesistant of what types of movies that I watch. Not out of prudence or judgementalism, but simply as a means to guard my heart. I am a firm believer that what you feed your soul- what you listen to, what you watch, watch you focus your mind on- affects the way you respond and interact with the world.

After all, the Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) to:

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

So needless to say, I am excited any time I hear of solid faith-based movies that will be released in theaters. And it just so happens that there will be one released in Spring 2018! LD Entertainment, the same production company that brought us the faith film RISEN, and the same director (Sean McNamara) as the faith-based film SOUL SURFER (one of my favorites!) is releasing another film that is based on a true story, called THE MIRACLE SEASON! The film stars Helen Hunt (TWISTER was another favorite of mine when I was a kid!), William Hurt, Erin Moriarty and Danika Yarosh.

This upcoming film is based on the inspiring true story of West High School girls’ volleyball team. After the tragic death of the school’s star player Caroline “Line” Found, the remaining players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hopes of winning the state championship.

THE MIRACLE SEASON is available in theaters everywhere on April 13, 2018! I’m definitely looking forward to going to see it and you should too!

Watch the new trailer BELOW:

THE MIRACLE SEASON Official Channels:

WEBSITE: miracleseason.movie

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/miracleseason

TWITTER: twitter.com/tweetLD

INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/miracleseason

#LiveLikeLine

Bearing Lasting Fruit

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“You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you” (John 15:16).

In the Spring through the Fall seasons, my husband and I enjoy spending our Saturday mornings taking our son to the local farmer’s market. The whole family truly does try our best to incorporate fruit and veggies in our diet, and this farmer’s market gives us ample options to pack our fridge with fresh produce. During the winter months, the market is closed, so thankfully, we can still purchase our produce at the local grocery store, but the taste of the fruit and veggies at this farmer’s market is just a little fresher in my opinion. Needless to say, I eagerly await the Springtime to get back to our beloved farmer’s market trips.

In John 15, Jesus tells us how he longs for us to bear spiritual fruit. But what happens to our fruit production when we reach a seemingly spiritually barren place, a “winter” season? We will all face “winter” seasons in our lives, but we should never want to stay there or make it a continuous cycle. Difficult seasons in life can actually be a time of growth and maturity in the Lord. In the natural, trees’ roots actually grow down deeper into the earth in the winter time.

If we don’t stay rooted and grounded in God (who is love), we lose our sustaining life and are prone to depression. Instead of yielded to depression, we need to allow our roots in Jesus grow deeper and deeper. We use those times of trial to draw closer to the Lord and drink deep of His goodness and faithfulness. During these dark times, the enemy wants you to dry up and rot- physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We must remain connected to our life-source, Jesus, the Vine.

Over the course of my life, I have experienced some pretty harsh winter seasons.

Thankfully, I had established a solid “root-system” in the Lord and also surrounded myself with some mighty “oaks” of righteous people. If we are isolated during these times, and are not taking in the proper nutrients from God’s Word, we are in trouble. Being around other trees or fruit bearers is crucial to sustain spiritual health. Their root systems can get “nutrients” to us and their fruit can “feed” us when we are struggling to hang onto the Vine.

No matter our circumstances, we must allow our fruit to ripen or mature, and even when it may seem hopeless, if you are abiding in Jesus, the Vine, you will see abundance once again. Be grateful for the little fruit you do have, but don’t stay there, let the Vine-dresser care for you. He chose you and longs for you to bear fruit, just continue to abide in Him!

Thank You, Lord, for remaining with me through all seasons of my life, even the difficult ones. Help me to continue to abide in the Vine, Christ Jesus, so that I can bear lasting fruit all for Your glory!

Deeper Walk: Galatians 5:22-23