The Best Years For My Life

*Year Forty-One*

I’ve been going down memory lane for the last few weeks:). Mostly because I want to remember what I looked like without anti-aging cream or other additives applied to my face!


But for real, since I recently celebrated my 41st birthday and I’ve been looking over the course of my life. The early years, the ones in the middle thus far, and the most recent. As I was looking through old photos, or remembering times past, not one time did I wish to go back. I’ve often heard friends say they’d love to have the energy they did as a twenty -something, but with the wisdom of their forties. Agreed. I don’t want to return to my younger years. I’ve never heard anyone want to return to all the hormones of teenage years and high school drama or even the early years of adulting. No thank you:). To be honest, I kind of like the age I’m at.


Those years were good, but they aren’t the best years of my life. They have been the best years FOR my life.


Formative. Informative. Inspiring. Challenging. Strengthening.

And So. Much. More.

I can look back to being a little girl in Ms. Richard’s 2nd grade class and receiving an A+ on a poem assignment, knowing that it meant something special to me. What was the poem supposed to be about? It was free choice and 2nd grade little me wrote about life & death. Yup, that’s a glimpse at 2nd grade me:).


I remember receiving some paperwork from high school around graduation time and on the paper it said in bold lettering, that I was, “Endorsed in Reading. Endorsed in Writing.” I have no clue what else it said or if everyone’s said that, but those words jumped off the page and into my heart.

I remember early days of ministry training, traveling a lot and sleeping a little, then full time ministry learning to stay in one place while still learning to develop roots in a town I never thought I would live in. I also remember learning to create family friends in new places like a real adult.


I remember real conversations, hard decisions, situations and circumstances in which I didn’t know how to process all that was going on around us, and big moves that grew us up in more ways than one.


Memories & moments that formed and informed my way of thinking. Moments & memories that challenged and strengthened my way of connecting with God and times that built up my prayer life.

Have you ever walked down memory lane friend?
Can you see the years that were the best FOR your life?


Our lives may not all seem like monumental years with big wins or huge successes. Maybe they are years filled with little glimpses of hope, or dark moments where now you can see some light among the shadows.
Friend, wherever you find yourself today, know that your story matters, and the years of your life are worth looking over and celebrating too.

Hold onto that promise above from God’s Word. In fact, go check out the full chapter of Psalm 23 – you won’t regret it.

Over the next few weeks, we will look at some of our best years together. I hope you’ll join me and invite a friend to come along too. It’ll be a worthwhile journey.


Let’s Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, we know You to be the Giver and Sustainer of life, and in many of our stories, we may look back and see times of feeling just sustained. Lord, as we look over our lives this month, will You help us to see the moments that were so good for us- especially the ones where we haven’t been able to see the good quite yet. We desire to live lives today that are full of good fruit- lives that are full of blessing and not regret; lives full of hope and not full of bitterness. In this new month, we give You these years that we have already experienced and even the years ahead, asking that if You can use any of it for Your glory, that You would. Lord help us to have eyes to see the lessons and the important parts through Your lens of love. Help us to see who in our story was a source of strength and hope for the us as encouragers. Help our hearts to grow closer to You as we learn together how events and experiences shaped us into who we are today. May we continue to learn how You’ll use our life stories to lead others into knowing You- Our loving and generous Father. And may we grow more and more into the people You dreamt us to be. Amen.

peace – liz:)

Go The Extra Mile: Check out this song by Josh Baldwin – I kid you not, it has encouraged me during my own walk down memory lane – We CAN see the evidence of God’s goodness when we look over our lives because Jesus changed everything when He died on the cross and rose from the grave. Listen and be encouraged today friends!

Hello January: What’s Your Word?


Hello & Happy Belated New Year TrueLife Friends! I can’t believe we are almost finished with month one of this new year, yet here we are!


When I was a kid I thought 2021 would look a lot differently. You know, flying cars, smell-o-vision on our tv screens, and such:).


In some ways life looks completely different than childhood dreams. For one, I do not have a flying car…yet;). In many ways, it looks different because we are still in the midst of (you guessed it!) a pandemic. That’s the obvious, but what are we going to do about it?


Carry On.


In keeping with personal tradition, I choose to greet this new year with some hope and a new word for the year. I like lists and goals but I also like something small enough I can write on my hand (yes, I’m one of those people, haha) to remember daily. It serves as a reminder, a compass to offer direction when I need it most.


Our words don’t have to be inspirational – though they can be. We can also choose silly words to remember to have fun in this new year, or we can choose words that challenge us to our core. Words that have meaning or words that remind us we can complete what we’ve committed to. So what’s my word?


Humble. My word for 2021 is Humble.


No, my word does not mean that I am always humble, or that I’ve got this attitude of humility nailed down yet. It does mean that in everything that I feel God is asking of me, I want to approach it with a humble heart that yields, responds, and surrenders to all that He wants. His will, and not my own.

Last year my words (yep, you can choose more than one), were Speak & Train Up. I chose them in February 2020, not knowing what the rest of last year would look like. Not knowing the grief we would expereince at personal and global levels- not knowing the courage & confidence we would all need to cling to. Throughout 2020 God gave me opportunities to speak along the way and opportunities to train others a few times too. Not immediately or even when I thought he would. Not even in the ways I thought possible (thank you Zoom & Google Meet).

Yet, He did.

A key verse that I kept coming back to last year was this:

“He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17 CSB)


HE is before all things. Includiung this year.

By HIM all things are being held together….including us dear friends.

So here’s my question: What is YOUR WORD?


What word will remind you of what you’d like to do this year? Or, who you’d like to be or become?
I want to hear your words friends. I want to see how you are responding to a new year ahead while reflecting on what has past. Be sure to share your words below!

I can’t wait to hear from you and see all the words that God impresses on your heart. Friends, I’m so grateful for this past year – all of the good and all of the hard, all of the small victories and big wins, all of the time inside because of time in the “Q” or time outside getting fresh air…all of it. Why? Because all of it makes me appreciate all of this year so much more.

Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we do not know what this new year holds. What we do know is that YOU will remain faithful because that is who YOU are. You’re faithful, and good, and full of love. You are gracious and compassionate. You are holy and perfect and You hold all things together. You hold us together God. In this new year, help us to look for the ways You want us to grow and recognize the gifts we’ve already been given. Help our hearts to stay focused on You as You lead and guide us each and every day. If we are still trying to find a word that helps us remember your goodness and all that you’re asking of us in 2021, help us to find it and hold onto it. If we’ve already chosen a word, help us to share it with those around us to help us and encourage other on our journey. This year, we choose to trust You and Your plans. We remind ourselves that Your ways are better and higher than our ways and we pray for Your ways to be the desire of our hearts. Help us daily to become more and more like You in all we say and do in 2021. Amen.

peace-liz:)

Go The Extra Mile: Check out this song by CrossPoint Music . “Lean Back” by Crosspoint has been on repeat for me, lead by one of our all-time favorite worship leaders -the one & only Mr. Setnick Sene! I hope it encourages you and reminds you of our Loving Heavenly Father as we continue to walk through 2021 together!

Merry Christmas!

It’s Christmas morning here on the Western Slope is Colorado, and though I wish I could say we are experiencing a snowy white Christmas, we aren’t :). It’s still beautiful; sunny outside with a chill in the air, and warm and cozy here in the house.

There are a several things this season that aren’t quite how we wish they would be due to the year we are all experiencing together. I don’t even have to go through the list of things that aren’t like Christmas last year because we all know what the list is and feel the ache of longing to be with loved ones and celebrating in big gatherings, etc.

But this year, my hope is that we will take time amidst this different kind of Christmas- time to reflect on the good things we have right in front of us, and, time to be great Gil for the family and friends who are still with us (whether in our homes or a phone call or Zoom away). I also hope we’ll take time to remember the loved ones who ran their race and walked into eternity during 2020 as well as their loved ones who still remain here.

It’s a time for celebrating and remembering Our Savior’s birth. He came into the world that was very much dark and longing for things to be made right. In fact, that’s the whole story of creation- knowing that things aren’t as they should be, and aching for the time when they’ll be made new again.

Today, I’m so grateful that Our Jesus came to this earth- right into the middle of our mess and our struggle and He became Immanuel- God WITH us.

He’s with us friend.

In the messy, the momentous, and the mundane- He is with us. In the broken, the beautiful and the blessed- He is with us. In the longing…through it all He is with us.

Friend, I pray that wherever you find yourself today, that you’d be reminded of His presence so very near to us all today. Right where you are, that’s where He is.

He is Jesus, Immanuel, dwelling with us and hearing every prayer and seeing every need this Christmas Day.

May your day be filled with the reminder of His love for you, His care of you and His peace over you.

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of your presence today. Thank you for the ache that tells us things aren’t the way they should be, because it’s the reminder that you will make all things right again one day soon. Thank you for stepping into this broken world so that you could bring redemption and hope. Thank you that you are right here with us in and through every bit of this life. Help our hearts to cling to the promise that you are with us, even to the end of the age. Amen.

peace -liz:)

https://youtu.be/5PBEMfbWq_Y

From our family to yours, we pray you’ll enjoy a wonderful and hope filled Christmas!

The Trujillo Fam:)

The Nativity Post by Melissa

2020 has been hard to say the least. I think everyone could attest to this being one of the roughest years full of trials and frustrations. For some of us our 2020 actually began in 2018 or 2008 or our whole lives; and let’s be honest, we may not even have hope that the next 5-10 years will be any different. 

Many of us have posted 2020 woes on social media or at the very least shared a meme. It is very difficult to post every moment of our lives so most posts are highlights of our good and bad, but mostly good because that is how we want to remember; and let’s be real, that is how we want others to see us. 

2020 for me has been full of joy, struggles, and downright raw, painful events. I gave birth to my first child and he has consumed 98% percent of my time. When I get the chance to post, it is mostly about a baby milestone. But what the majority of my followers do not see are the sleepless nights, the trips to the doctor because something is wrong, the maybe once a week “real” shower with hot water and shampoo, the frustration of trying to take care of the house and work from home simultaneously. There are even events that honestly are just too painful to even want to post. And in the most vulnerable moments of chaos, the thoughts of, “Am I really in God’s will?” or “Did He put me in this position only to watch me struggle in another hardship?” rises to the surface of my mind. 

Because I have a child who is 3 weeks from his first birthday, I think a lot of what it was like for Mary, the mother of Jesus.  We have the “posts” in the Bible about the birth and the manger. We hear of angels singing and the wise men bearing gifts. But I wonder if Mary ever thought, “How can I raise this Son of God when I can’t even get him to sleep through the night?”, “We just got into a routine in our new home and now we have to leave our belongings and flee in the night to become refugees all because someone is trying to kill my son?”, “Is this what God really envisioned for my life?”, “Is it always going to be like this?”

The Bible picks up with a snapshot of a worried mother losing her 12 year old son and doesn’t post again until he is in his 30’s going to a wedding performing a miracle. Imagine all those years of joys and sorrows, confidence and doubt that we never get to see. And as her son grew and became the man God promised, she began to see those initial doubts disappear. 

I don’t think it was any easier for her though as he grew up knowing people hated him or watching him stumble to the hill where he would die. I’m sure her thoughts and prayers were the same as when all the hype of his birth subsided. But she got to see the beginning of a changed world because of everything she endured. Now I know many people can say, “But he is the Son of God and nothing was going to stop it”; but imagine for a moment if he was not. What a legacy to leave, raising a son who is still talked about 2000 years later. A son whose name causes riots and wars, who brings peace and comfort, who has so much power that it cannot be used on prime time tv as a curse word. 

Take courage my friend. This year, these moments will not last forever. You may question God and it’s okay. But know the big picture is in his hands. Don’t forget 2020, but let it be a reminder that greater things are to come. Work diligently to fulfill your calling. Merry Christmas!

-Melissa Atencio – Colmenero


Friends, I was seriously blessed when I read through Melissa’s message to us today. I’m so grateful for her perspective and for her support of the blog and this writing adventure of mine. I find myself reflecting over 2020 and sharing those same experiences that have made this season both different and challenging. I also find myself clinging to the hope that we have in Jesus just like Melissa talked about – because He sees the bigger picture. I thought it would be fitting that we share this song from Francesca Batestelli with you today. My prayer is that we have the same heart that is shared from the point of view as Mary, the mother of Jesus. I hope it encourages you as you move through this season. peace-liz:)

Happy Thanksgiving Fam:)

Dear Friends, from my house to yours, I hope you enjoy a beautiful thanksgiving everywhere you find yourself.

This year has been full of so many emotions, and I hope that amongst them all, we will choose to cling to gratitude and hope.

May our hearts and homes be full of gratefulness for the many blessings we have been given. May we remember the beautiful moments we’ve been given through a tough year and dream together with our loved ones of better days ahead.

Friends, this year might not look like we imagined it to, but we get the chance to be grateful for the life and breath and joy that still remains among us and in us.

“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Peace & love to you today and always- liz:)

BONUS POST: Letting Go – For the Parents of Seniors by Davina Gorsh

            Dreams…I’m not talking about the ones that come and go as we sleep. I’m talking about the ones that start the day we get the positive pregnancy test. The ones that we don’t even realize are taking hold in our hearts in a deep and permanent way. These dreams grow and change as our babies grow and change. They get lived out right before our very eyes in the eyes of our son or daughters.

            Often the dreams we have are challenged by the world around us, by circumstances and even by our children because without knowing it we are handing this dream over to our children. We don’t even know we are doing it. But it is happening.  When they strap on that backpack that is way too big for their little 5 year old body. When they learn to ride a bike, make their own lunch, go on their first sleepover, go on their first date, wear their first work uniform, and start making plans to leave our home. They are learning to own their own dream and we are moving towards this moment. The leaving that God has so wisely designed.

            This is part of the gig, right? We know this even before we have children. We know they will leave our homes. We jump in knowing this and yet when we get to this point it becomes heart wrenching.  As moms and dads, we have willingly and lovingly given so much of ourselves in raising these young people. So much has gone into the process to get them to this point. It leaves us without words at times. Sometimes all we have are tears. So many tears. Tears of joy because we are so proud of them. Tears of sadness because we just want one more minute of chubby fingers and sticky cuddles. Tears of gratitude because God trusted us to raise these amazing humans. Tears of fear because what if we didn’t do enough. Tears of faith and hope.

            Here’s the thing. This heart ache is a part of the dream. They are leaving because we were enough. We gave them so much in all those years. They are leaving home because they are strong enough to take this step. We have helped them pack those bags. All those years on our knees praying for wisdom that felt like it didn’t come. While we were walking in faith, not always knowing if we were doing things well, God was doing what only He can do (Roman 8:26). Not only was He sustaining us but He was also imparting His strength to them (Ephesians 3:16). 

            It is now our time to grieve our role changes, walk shoulder to shoulder with our young people and continue to pray on our knees. God sees the ways our heart aches, He sees all of our tears, collects them, and records them all (Psalm 56:8). He sees our kids as they walk into a new season of their lives, He has a plan to sustain them, His grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9).

            As your tears start to subside I pray you will see the hope in the ache. As the dream evolves and takes up a new place in our heart may we walk in faith and expectation for the new joys to come. For the Lord restores our soul (Psalm 23:3). There is such goodness in this process. May you take the time to be in God’s presence with it, to let Him counsel you with His Spirit and His word. Release your tears for His safe keeping, be still, and wait expectantly on the Lord (Exodus 14:14 and Psalm 27:14) for He is good. 

-Davina

Meet the Author: Davina is a life-long learner, lover of books and great coffee. Being a 4w5 on the enneagram she loves equal parts time with friends and time alone. She is also the only woman in a house of men. She is happily raising 3 boys alongside her husband, two dogs, and one cat.

Liz’s Note: I can’t say enough about this amazing friend of mine! She’s been such an inspiration to my faith journey and instrumental in my journey of motherhood! Not only that, Davina has been such an encouragement and support throughout my writing journey, and for that I am so so thankful. I’m also grateful for the friendship God has allowed us to cultivate over these past several years over coffee and deep conversations. What an honor to have her heart and message shared on the blog today! -liz

Go The Extra Mile: Trust me when I say that it’s the exact song for this specific season of parenthood. Do yourself a huge favor and listen to it all the way through and think of the journey you are experiencing with your senior students and those who are heading towards that season. It’s such a fitting song and we know it will bless you today.

Hold On: Encouragement for the School Year

I recently remembered an old movie I watched called, “Scaramouche“. It’s a classic and if you haven’t seen it, you totally should. With buttered popcorn…and peanut m&m’s:).

There’s a great scene where the main character is learning how to fence. The instructor tells him to hold the foil like a little bird, “too tightly- you’ll choke it, too lightly- it will fly away.”

Hold it like a little bird.

In the last few months, we’ve walked our children through some crazy and unpredictable times. This year, we have a a little guy who’s entering 3rd grade, a freshman in high school, and a freshman who just moved to college. But when this whole pandemic began, those same children entered the school year as a 2nd grader, 9th grader, and you guessed it- a senior from the Class of 2020. Daily we would find ourselves having to learn to hold the days like that little bird mentioned above, firm yet gentle. The tighter we gripped, the more we felt things almost vanish and be ripped from our children’s school year; the more loosely we held it it seemed to just kind of fall between the cracks of our hands.


Like many of us all over the world, we weren’t sure how to adapt and adjust. We weren’t sure how long this season would last. We weren’t sure of much at the time however, we knew we had to find a way to still hold onto the good in the midst of all the bad and difficult that seemed to surround us.


In the movie I mentioned, the main character eventually developed the skill needed for the task at hand. He became a great fencer, and was able to anticipate the next move of his opponent & and adjust his next move accordingly. In my humble opinion, our role as parents in this season is much like that of a fencer- we must learn to hold onto God’s Word as we adapt and adjust to the challenges that will come – and they will come friend. Try as we might, we cannot fix these experiences for our children. What we can do is demonstrate to our children what is of most importance: Holding firmly to God’s Word & trusting in His promises. Ultimately, we must learn to hold onto hope with them for God’s best, even when the season we find ourselves in changes and plans have to be adjusted.


Friend, this new school year will be unlike any other. It won’t be normal, but we have the advantage – we can cheer each other on! Heck, we ourselves are still walking through all of this with you.


You, dear friend, are guiding and leading your kiddos into the unknown (cue Elsa from Disney’s Frozen!). Especially your seniors! The class of 2021 was granted a front row seat to watch their upperclassmen walk through a difficult season. Classes went remote. Lockers were cleaned out with the hope of returning. The return was cancelled. Classes finished online. Graduations & continuations were cancelled. Graduations and continuations became Drive-thru and online experiences. Some didn’t even get to have a ceremony. We were super blessed that our district was able to put ceremonies together in July (#weared51). And yes, it was crazy hot and we cried through the whole thing. It was worth it to see our sweet girl experience a dream come true even if it looked different than once imagined.


All of those experiences happened for a reason- to prepare your students, Class of 2021 (and you too, mama), for this season. Seasons change; that’s what they do. I think that’s why I love Fall so much is because you can visibly see the changes occurring in nature. Leaves change color and float to the ground. Fruit that was once on those same trees can be enjoyed later because they have been preserved. I truly believe that in this school year, as experiences continue to change, we will get to see some preservation. We just have to hold onto God and choose how we will respond to life as it happens.

Milestones can still be momentous and the experiences of this year can still be epic.

To your students, I say this: Hold onto the joy that this season can still bring. It might look totally different than you could’ve imagined but, you can do it. Whether learning remotely or in person, in a hybrid way or even homeschooling for this season, you have the opportunity to learn from those who literally walked before you and approach your school year with complete trust in God.

Parents of this new school year- Hold on. Class of 2021 -Hold on.

Friends, you and I get to choose how we will enter this season and how we will respond to ever-changing circumstances. Will we huff and puff and be mad at every turn because one more thing has been stripped away from our children’s experience? Or will we sing and even give thanks for how God will use these moments of loss for His glory? Let’s choose wisely friends. May we hold onto each other with gentleness and grace as we stick together and hold on to Him.

Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, today we just want to thank You for the strength You provide for us. Thank You Lord for enabling us to hold onto You and Your promises in the midst of all that we experience in this life. Lord, we choose today to hold Your Word deep within our hearts. It’s so easy to become frustrated at this new normal we are all experiencing, but You Lord, have offered us a better way – You’ve offered us the choice to put our hope in You. Today we know that this school year will not be like any we have experienced before. Lord, we surrender our expectations and ideas of this school year to You. We know that You are still providing ways and opportunities for us to stretch our faith and trust in Your plans. When our arms feel weak from the tasks of each day, help us to hold them up in surrender and worship to You. When our hearts and minds feel overwhelmed with decisions we are making for our children or with our children, help us to hold onto Your peace as we navigate this road together. Lord, help our eyes to see the joy that still remains and to help redirect the eyes and focus of our children – that they too may focus on the joy and beauty of this season as you prepare all of us for the seasons ahead. We trust You and invite You to do Your will in our lives and in the lives of our children. Amen.

Go The Extra Mile: This song below has been on my current playlist for a few weeks now…the chorus invites us to surrender and invite God to do whatever He wants to do. Friend, I pray this song blesses your heart and places hope deep within you. His way is better.

BONUS MATERIAL: Here is a pic of us with our 2020 Graduate on her actual graduation day. It happened almost 2 months later than planned but it happened! Praise God!

Book Review: Ready to Rise

Ready to Rise by Jo Saxton

Ya’ll seriously need to get this book into your hands!

Hey friends!

I have been honored to be a part of the launch team for Jo Saxton’s new book, “Ready to Rise“! I was excited to be a part of the team because I am a HUGE fan of her voice and her leadership (and she’s from the UK!), and I was blown away by the message she shares and the next steps she provides to help us all RISE..

If you are a woman in leadership, work with women in leadership, minister alongside women in leadership, wonder if you have any gifts to use in leadership or want to help your young daughters grow into all that God has for them & their gifts, do yourself a favor and buy the book. It has been a blessing to me as a mom, wife, writer, and mother.

Here is my personal review:

“So So Good!!! This book is exactly what I needed in this season of leadership! I’m so glad I got my hands on it and I am so thankful that I was able to share it with my daughters who are growing into womanhood & leadership! Jo Saxton has a way of delivering a powerful message we all need to hear, asking the questions we all need in order to grow into leadership AND help us with the game plan to move forward with our village!”

peace -Liz T.

Ready to Rise: Own Your Voice, Gather Your Community, Step into Your Influence by Jo Saxton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Ready to Rise: Own Your Voice, Gather Your Community, Step into Your Influence

If you read it, please be sure to let me know! I’d love to hear how it encouraged & inspired you!

Go The Extra Mile: Share your own review with Jo on her website and post your review to all the places you can share it! Thank you everyone!

Great (Unmet) Expectations

I have a rather large pile of party decorations sitting in the corner of my dining room. Graduation decorations to be exact. Red and silver balloons, confetti, maps, globes, suitcases, you name it – I have it.

My eldest daughter is a senior this year and I’ve been collecting the decorations for her party for months now. Her heart is to travel and I wanted to be sure we captured that spirit of adventure when we decorated. She, like many others, has an adventure up ahead.

But the adventures, and even the celebrations ahead will look differently than any of us could have anticipated.

We’ve all been feeling the loss of unmet expectations. Our seniors were expected to walk across the stage and have their name called. I was expected to cheer so loud that I would embarrass my daughter and family sitting with me. We were expecting to throw a massive party with numerous friends and family making the trip to celebrate. We were expecting to capture all the important “lasts” of her final year of high school, all the “lasts” of our middle daughter’s final year of middle school, and the final days of our son’s 2nd grade year. We expected to take pictures of graduations, continuations, and end-of-year swimming parties. But everything has changed and will look differently moving forward.

We’ve had tears from learning the school year would be finishing up here at our house instead of in the hallways of their schools, and we’ve had lots of sighs because we’ve been feeling all the feelings. 

We’ve also had the following:

We’ve been blessed to video chat with our family and friends catch up on life. Seeing faces and hearing voices makes such a difference!

We’ve had face masks that were lovingly made and delivered to our doorstep by our church family.

We’ve had beautiful yard signs made and delivered by friends to honor our senior girl.

Cake pops were delivered to our middle girl by a friend from her middle school – out of the blue.

Meals and treats have been delivered to us by friends across town and across the state.

A Surprise Easter Egg Hunt was lovingly delivered and placed in our front yard for our kids to enjoy on Easter Sunday.

More than just these wonderful expressions of love, we’ve had hope delivered to our hearts.

Yes, everything we expected to do won’t happen quite like we planned. But believe me when I tell you:

Our Seniors will still graduate.

Our middle schoolers will still continue on to High School.

Our littles will still finish out their school year with the excitement they always have with summer ahead.

Above all, Our God will remain faithful. That’s who He is.

Those events and celebrations will happen, they will just look differently than we expected.

But in the midst of this, we can still find hope, celebrate, and find reasons to discover joy. 

Celebrations will look differently for all of us. At our house, we are going to do our best to throw a backyard Prom, a Drive-Thru graduation Party for local fam & friends, an 8th grade Continuation Dance, and a 2nd grade End of Year Party. Why? Because celebrations still matter and I can’t let this crappy virus steal any more from my kids.

Our senior girl will still dress up in her Cap & Gown because Caps & Gowns Matter and if you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that message means a lot to me. If you are new to the blog, here is another reason why it matters: Click here.

This time of being at home has definitely felt like a loss in many ways, but I also feel as if God is giving us back so much. 

He’s supplying our needs.

He is providing us strength and new mercy every single day.

He is helping us to think creatively about how to make the most of our time, and how to connect with others in our community.

He is sustaining us with His love and quieting our minds with His peace.

He is making His love known and His gospel accessible through things like online worship experiences, through food banks being open, and through community outreach programs for all who have been affected.

He is helping our entire world

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He is giving us a chance to see the world through different eyes, and giving us the opportunity to respond to the needs of those around us as best as we can with what we already have. 

Friend, if you are reading this anywhere in the world today, chances are, you’ve felt loss at some level during this pandemic. I’d even venture to say you have felt a lot of loss. Whether it be personal loss, or feeling the weight from what your children have lost, we are all walking through this together. A beautiful reminder that we are not alone. 

My hope for us is that we reflect the love we have been given and the hope that has been delivered to us. That our children, young and old, can watch how we respond to unmet expectations. I pray that our families would see the resilience that comes from thinking about doing celebrations differently. Moving forward may not look the same as in times past, but that is probably a good thing. I keep hearing leaders say the same thing, “Do we want to go back to the way things were?”. I don’t want to go back to normal- I want to grow through this whole experience and learn to look at life and people differently.

As we inch closer and closer to the dates that these celebrations would’ve been taking place, let’s be mindful to show those around us that we too can hold onto hope while walking through uncertainty. We can still seek God while we wait for Him to move in and around us. We can shout for joy while we wait for restrictions to lift. We can honor the achievements of those we love while providing for the needs of those around us. It’s not one or the other; it can be both. It must be both. Here in this image is the verse I am praying over you, and today, let’s all begin to pray it over each other:

Lana's View
That’s my girl:)

Go The Extra Mile: Today, take the time to check out one of my all-time favorite songs. A beautiful reminder that we can hold onto hope in the midst of uncertainty. God is our hope and He is truly the anchor for our souls.

Do you have a senior or someone special you;d like us to celebrate with you in this season? Tell us about them in the comments!

peace-liz

Easter Experience 2020

Our family enjoyed some quality time by creating an Easter message on our sidewalk through our #JCCChalkTheWalk project!

This Easter was definitely a different experience altogether. Being a family in ministry, we are so accustomed to getting ready early and worshipping with our church family in person. This year, while getting ready in the early morn, a friend messaged us saying there were eggs in our front year for a surprise-egg hunt for our kids. That’s when my heart was overwhelmed with joy.

We have some amazing friends in our lives that blessed our kids and made their day bright because of the lavish love and thoughtfulness of friends who know that for kiddos, these ever-changing times can be overwhelming. It was a beautiful reminder to them, and to us, that we are not forgotten and that goodness is still happening in our community.

What an egg-cellent surprise!

The entire fam was up and ready before our first online service began, so our kiddos went out to find the candy-filled eggs (hooray for chocolate!), and then we began our online worship experience. We are very used to hugging our church fam as they walk through the doors and in this time of experiencing Easter from home, it was beautiful to see friends and family near and far stream in and hop on to our worship experience with us. We were able to say hello to friends and family in different time zones, and hear from God’s Word together. We hosted our own watch party for each service and every time a new friend or family member joined online, my heart began to swell with joy. I’m so thankful that our services are live-streamed and our pastoral team made the online experience feel like we were home at Junction Community Church.

This pandemic isn’t stopping us from getting together. No, in fact, this time where we are all sequestered is proving to serve as a time where we are digging in our heels and learning new rhythms of community. Especially as the church; we are learning new ways to express and demonstrate our faith and embracing new ways to engage and develop our community.

For this, I am so grateful.

Another exciting experience we got to be a part of yesterday was a “Virtual Choir”. You have to know- a huge piece of our heart is for the city of Sumter, South Carolina. God allowed us to serve as youth pastors there a number of years ago (I know that’s vague- but if I tell you the number of years I will feel really old, lol). So, when our dear friend and brother asked for friends to help join his church’s virtual choir for Easter, we couldn’t resist. My husband, my oldest daughter, and I were all able to participate, and when we saw the finished product…again, my heart was filled with incredible joy. There were familiar faces of friends in the choir that we haven’t been able to physically worship with in years because of distance. But yesterday, we were able to worship together. It was a powerful experience and I am honored that we got to partner with such an amazing group of worshippers.

I wanted to share it with you – first, because number one: you are part of my community. And two: because I am blown away by how beautiful it is to see the church being the church and bringing the hope of Christ to everyone, virtually everywhere. This experience made us feel so deeply connected to the body of Christ near and far, so I hope it also brings joy to you wherever you get to watch it from.


Easter may be finished, but let me assure you – the story continues dear friend.

How beautiful to know that we were all loved so much by God that He did in fact send His Son Jesus to die for our sins. And not only did He do that hard and painful work of suffering and dying on the cross for our sins, but He conquered death and gives us new life in Him. He resurrected to give us that new life and ascended to The Father so that He could send the Comforter, The Holy Spirit, to fill us with His power.

Friend, we might all be staying home, but we do not have to let our story end at home. Our story in Christ continues. And because He lives, we too can live, being moved to action by the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives. This verse was a part of my reading today and I found it fitting for us:

My prayer is that during this time, we would wait on God and seek to be empowered by His Spirit, to move into action using your unique gifts and abilities. Just like the disciples of old, let’s wait and pray; seek God and continue to love others well.

Easter may have been different this year, but sometimes different is good. It definitely made us appreciate the rich and vibrant community of faith and family we have both near and far. It also brought to mind the unique opportunity we have been given during this time of staying home: time to slow down and embrace a new way of experiencing God’s presence and a new perspective on how we can still connect with our family and friends during holidays.

From my family to yours, I hope you know you are remembered and loved and created on purpose for a purpose. Our story continues friend, so let’s keep doing what we can with the time we’ve been given.

We were going for that peep-yellow duck color palette:)

Go The Extra Mile: In case you are searching for an online worship experience, please know that I am personally inviting you to join me at Junction Community Church online Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. (MST), and Sundays at 9:00 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.. You can also check out previous messages and services on our YouTube channel. I’d love for you to join me online!

peace- liz:)