The Battle.

“So here we stand. In the gray. Without answers. With anxieties, sadness, disappointment, and fears. But more importantly, with our unchanging and sovereign God. This is His story. And so is yours. We can escape the bitterness and callous heart that comes from hard things when we look to Him as the Giver of ALL good gifts. If He has given it to you… it is good. This might sting today. It may not make sense today. Rest assured, the Lord grieves with us in our sorrows as well. But He allows circumstances and portions of our stories to enter because He sees the beauty around the bend. While, of course, we are praying that God would heal the girls of any delay or atypical development that is occurring, we also are ready to praise Him and trust Him if He, in His wisdom, chooses not to. And this, my friends, is where freedom lies. There is eternal beauty in the waiting. What an incredible, merciful God we serve. He brings beauty from all of our ashes. He loves us. Oh, how He loves us.”- written January 1, 2014

As I have looked back on the past year, so many words and so many thoughts come to mind. The Lord has, point blank, carried us through 2014. I am sure some of you can relate. When I first began this blog, I had no idea what the Lord desired to do with it, with our family’s story. I shared His words with obedience and have been absolutely awed at what He has done with it. To watch God use the hardest season of my life in a way that brings Him the utmost glory has been nothing short of beautiful. Now, we stand at the brink of 2015, and the only thing I am positive of is that He will continue to carry us, and He will not stop working all things together for good. Speaking events and a book (which I promise, dear readers, will eventually reach your hands!) are in the mix; but I would be amiss to not look back on what He has taught us-and I hope you- through the past year.

When I think about 2014, one word comes to mind: battle. It has been a battle, full of blood, sweat, tears, vomit, and more. It has been messy, but He has been good. As I wrote about surrender last week, it occurred to me that we are all going to surrender to something. This life is in fact a battle, and if you are not sure of that just look around you, or more importantly, within you. For you see, the battle behind all the battles exterior is the battle for our very souls. Each and every day, you are going to surrender to something. It might be the pain you feel as you take one more drink or slash one more scar into your flesh. It could be that person who you know is not good for you but makes you feel whole for an hour while leaving you more broken after. We give in to so many things: our jobs, our relationships, our habits, our addictions, our emotions. My hope today and every day is that we would not resist God’s pursuit of us and instead surrender to it. But, this will not come without a price, for again, there is a battle going on.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”- Ephesians 6:10-13 (emphasis mine)

God’s word makes it clear that there is much going on behind the scenes, behind that which we can see with our own eyes. At times, it appears that this fight is against one another, or even against ourselves. Yet, let us not forget that this battle is in fact one which goes much deeper than our own flesh and blood. There is an enemy that would love for us to believe it is only skin-deep; hence all the brokenness in the world around us. But, 2014 has taught me more than ever that until the day I see Jesus face to face, each and every day, each and every moment, I am in a battle much greater than myself. But God.

This year, we have battled. We have battled for our marriage during a time where time nurturing our covenant has been limited and stress has been in abundance. We have walked through things in our twenties that some do not walk through, period. We have battled to get nutrients into our daughters and keep them there, which in our situation is much easier said than done. We have battled for answers, prognosis, appointments, therapy. We have battled for our friendships and our mission, as it has been a daily temptation to throw in the towel at times. Each of you have done the same in your own lives in different ways. We have certainly not battled perfectly, and many days have been an absolute, imperfect, mess; yet I have learned two things I want to pass on to you as this year comes to a close:

We are all fighting a battle.

Who is fighting this battle?

What are we fighting against?

The way you answer these questions is crucial to how you will live in the coming year.

God’s word is very clear, on numerous occasions, that this fight is the Lord’s. Throughout the Old Testament, God’s constant cry to His people was this: Do not be afraid. Do not be dismayed. I am with you. I am fighting. I always win. (Isaiah 8:9-16, Deuteronomy 20:1-9, Exodus 14:14, Joshua 1:9, and more). What if you were promised victory in all things? What if you were assured that, despite insurmountable circumstances, the battle had already been won for you? With God, this is precisely true. This is the reality of living surrendered to the Lord. But, Morgan, you might say. This sounds good, but you don’t know what I am fighting against. You don’t know all that is against me. That’s okay. I do not have to; for I know the God who is working on your behalf and that is enough. Victory, while it may not appear like you anticipated, and it may not be visible on this side of heaven, is already yours if you put the battle in His hands. And, let us not forget that we are not fighting against one another; we are fighting against an enemy who cannot ultimately win in light of our ever-present, ever-powerful, all-consuming Savior. He already bought your victory on Calvary. So, while it may seem like the fight is against the person who took your parking space, or the person who insulted you, or the person who told you a lie and broke your heart, it goes much, much deeper than that. This fight is in fact not against the cancer, not against the addiction, not against the abuser. This fight is against sin and death itself, and Christ has already won that battle! We no longer have to live as if we are in charge of making things go according to plan. No. Instead, we can take a step back with open hands, assume a posture of holy awe, and rest assured that The Lord, the Lord is our helper. We can love one another, even turn the other cheek, in light of the knowledge that God wins each and every time. We can embrace those that offend us, offering hope to those that hurt; for we know that hurting people hurt others. This, my friends, is the power of the Gospel.

To those of you who have looked at our family’s life and said that, “I could never do it”, or, “My faith is not as strong as yours”; you are missing the point. Those that know us best know how utterly weak and messed up we are. We stumble, we doubt, we wonder…yet God. He takes our mustard seed faith, strengthens our weakened knees, and sustains us through one more day. He offers these same promises to you, and I can assure you that with God on your side, you can make it through ANYTHING with absolute joy in the depths of who you are. This is the true miracle.

So friends, I ask you two simple questions: as 2014 is coming to a close, let’s not look behind us, and instead, let’s look ahead. Who is fighting your battles, and who are you fighting against? No matter what the coming days hold, I pray each of you would hold fast to the promises of God offered in His word. The promises that assure us He is holding all things together, and that He will never grow weary of fighting our battles. Let’s love one another well, and let’s especially love those who are unaware that the fight is much deeper than our flesh and digs down into our souls. And, when it seems as if we can’t do it any longer and we no longer sense His presence, let’s cling to Him all the more, in spite of our emotions, knowing that it is these moments that stretch and mold our faith the most. Sometimes, uttering the name, “Jesus”, is all that we can muster. And, oh, how sufficient that can be; for there is power in His Holy name.

Lastly, thank you to each and every one of you. I am praying for you, that the coming year would bring you to less of yourself and to more of Him. What a mighty God we serve. I am so excited to watch God continue to work in the coming year. Would you comment below and share how He has worked in your life this year? The lessons He has taught you? I would love to hear.

“O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: You with Your own hand drove out the nations, but them You planted; You afflicted the peoples, but them You set free; for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but Your right hand and Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You delighted in them. You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob! Through You we push down our foes; through Your name we tread down those who rise up against us. For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. But You have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to Your name forever.”- Psalm 44:1-8

What a Savior.

“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”- Luke 22:41-42 (emphasis mine)

A bride dressed in white on her wedding night. A baby asleep in its mother’s arms. A white flag on the battle field. A criminal surrounded by authorities with his weapon down and his arms up. Jesus, hanging bloody on a cross. What do all these things have in common? Surrender. The definition of surrender? To abandon oneself entirely to. The antonym? To resist.

“Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, ‘Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness. Then they seized him and led him away…”- Luke 22:52-54a

This God. This same God that breathed and with a single breath created the entire world. This God, the Maker of heaven and earth, seized and taken away at his own will. Surrendered. I know it is not a coincidence that minutes before, the Lord had been praying to the Father, hands not clinched but fully open. Again, minutes later, after uttering the words, “not my will but Yours”, He was taken away in order to open His arms wide and die an excruciating death on the cross. You have to wonder where the love in it all is. The second that Jesus vocalized God’s will above His own wants was the very moment that things began to get very, very heart-wrenching and pain-staking for Christ.

“You cannot fulfill God’s purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.”- Rick Warren

When I first began college, my major was broadcasting journalism. I pictured myself as a sports broadcaster, eventually on ESPN, making decent money and being looked at while doing it. I proudly told the guys around me what my career choice had been, believing it to be a really attractive occupation choice. Now, there is nothing at all wrong with broadcasting, and I am certain many people do it for the right reasons. But Morgan? For me, this job was about exactly that: me. I was already a Christian at this point, and despite knowing that my gifts lay elsewhere, and feeling a heart tug in other directions, I continued to stifle the Lord’s voice in order to follow my own wants. Resistance.

I remember the moment I changed my major to Social Work. It was a career in which no cameras would be on me, I would be in the background, and truthfully, I would be disliked by my clients at many points. It felt so right in my soul. I think back on how many of God’s gifts I would have missed out on had I not listened to His call. Social Work is certainly a messy field, but the Lord continues to teach me that being an uncomfortable, dirty servant child of His is better than looking put together and attaining worldly success.

“For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”- Psalm 84:10

As I have come to know the Lord more and more, I have come to know these words as truth. Friends, the more we surrender to God’s plans for our life instead of trying to pave the safest or most “successful” path, the more we will realize that His plans are best. Our most well thought-out intentions pale in comparison to God’s purposes and desires for our lives. And, I believe one of the first things this requires of us is denying self, looking away from me, and looking towards Him. David Platt says it this way,

“We desperately need to explore how much of our understanding of the gospel is American and how much is biblical”. (Radical)

You see, if as a Christian, I say that Jesus is my example, then I have to remember what surrendering brought to His life. Initially, Jesus’s surrender in the garden did not change his painful circumstances. In fact, it intensified them. However, God is not looking to change our situations. He’s longing to change our hearts. And, only He has the power to do so. But first, we must cease trying to make this life about “me” and instead, making it about Him. You see, surrender is God’s ultimate reversal of all our pain. But, immediately? Immediately, surrender requires us to lay everything else down, including our comfort, petty happiness, and fleshly wants. Ultimately, Jesus’s surrender in the garden brought Him back up to heaven at the right hand of God. We have to determine what’s more important: a few easy years on earth, spent drowning the hards in whatever temporary pleasures we can most quickly reach; or eternity with the One who is making all things new?

Friends, I don’t know who this was meant for today, but if you think it was you than I would guess you are right. Open your arms wide. Fall down to your knees, stand up on your feet, raise your hands in the air, do whatever it takes to surrender whatever you are holding on so tightly to. I can assure you this: it is not safe in your own feeble hands. Your spouse, your children, your future, your career, your possessions…none of them safe unless they are given back to the One who handed them to you in the first place. My prayer for each of us today is that we would let go of the things we think are ours in order to grab onto the One whose grip on us reached all the way to hell and back in order to regain our souls. You are safe with Him, dear reader. Let’s surrender all today to the One who gave us all in His Son.

“But you will not mind the roughness, nor the steepness of the way, nor the cold, unrested morning, nor the heat of the noonday; and you will not take a turning to the left or to the right, but go straight ahead, nor tremble at the coming of the night, for the road leads home.”- Streams in the Desert, emphasis mine


I am a sucker for this time of year. I get butterflies whenever I listen to, “Carol of the Bells”, for the first time come November something (because it’s never after Thanksgiving, despite strong encouragement from the man of our house). I love the decorations, the traditions, the delicious food, the hustle and bustle, the giving and receiving… it’s such a special season. But, I also love CHRISTmas. And, on this CHRISTmas eve, I want to remind myself, remind us all, that while those things are wonderful, they are not, “the reason for the season”, as the saying goes. In fact, they are not CHRISTmas at all. When the store clerk says in a politically correct manner, “Have a Happy Holiday!” I do not get offended; for you see, the holidays are universal. CHRISTmas however, is a whole different ballgame. And, while November and December can be dedicated to the traditional merriment, decorations, and cheer; CHRISTmas in itself is much, much more.

This reminder, this re-focus if you will, came much sooner than the birth of our girls. It started when I fell in love and married a medical student. I knew right then and there that this year after year traditional mindset was going to have to be stretched. We were not going to be able to celebrate holidays with both, sometimes even one, side of our families every year. In fact, we have spent most of our Thanksgivings and CHRISTmases right here in Alabama, usually with friends who ended up with the same schedules in the same boat. And, you know what? While I have missed all the things that make the holidays feel comfortable and familiar, I do believe I have gained the priceless gift of remembering why we celebrate.

Friends, I am here to give us a gentle reminder that if today and tomorrow are about family, friends, gifts, traditions, and merriment, we are missing out. If tonight is the one out of two times that you enter into a church building within the year, while I’m sincerely happy you are going, to put it bluntly, you just aren’t fully receiving the benefits that have been offered. You see, Christ didn’t come down to earth for us to light a candle and sing a song in unison one or two days out of the year. Christ came so that He could make His way into our hearts. He did not come to be spoken of in our homes in honor of a cultural holiday; He came to save us from those temporary things we often find ourselves fixating on throughout this season we tie to His birth. And, if we just peer our eyes onto the babe in the manger, we are only getting one piece of a much bigger puzzle. For you see, the miracle of CHRISTmas is that not only did God Himself come as a babe in a manger; He grew up, perfect, sinless God-man, and died on a cross so that we could be with Him throughout all eternity. We cannot look at the baby in Bethlehem and rejoice unless we see His second coming as the purpose behind the birth.

This year, I see so many around us struggling, both that I know and do not know. Cancer, memories of loved ones gone too soon, miscarriages of babies already loved, abuse, death, sickness, divorce….the list goes on and on. And, if we aren’t careful, we can forget that the true meaning of CHRISTmas is much more connected to these things, these things we suffer, than the things underneath the tree. The true hope is that in light of Christ’s birth, we can look to a God who is making all things new. THIS is why we celebrate. This is way, no matter what our current circumstances are, we can rejoice: Because the rejoicing has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Him.

These expectations we so often speak of had to be felt in the manger that day. A king, coming in the form of a baby and essentially being kicked out of the inn because there was no room. No palace, no strength displayed in those moments, but holy all the same. As God looked down on His Son that day, knowing what was to come, knowing what the birth truly represented, I can imagine that joy stemmed from His sovereign knowledge that through His Son, He was going to make all things right.

Tomorrow, we too will listen to the typical songs, eat traditional food, open way too many gifts set up under the tree, and celebrate. My prayer for you and for me is that we would see CHRISTmas day as a reminder that God has had our backs all along; that His plans are good and that His ways may be unexpected, yet they are glorious. I pray we would see the baby in a manger and not miss the Savior on the cross. That our greatest gift would not be found within the presents or even within the people, but that it would be found in Him and the hope we can have because of His extravagant love for His children. And, for those of us who experience a sense of grief or mourning for all that is not or all that we pictured, may we be found rejoicing the most of all, for we know that He is making all things right all things new. Merry CHRISTmas, dear readers. I am so thankful for each of you.

“Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.”- Corrie Ten Boom

In the Land of the Living.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”- Psalm 107:1

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”- Psalm 34:8

I am reflecting on God’s goodness this morning, as I have seen so much of it, so much of Him, in all things this week. As I process our time at the NIH, the same phrase keeps coming to mind: God wins. He wins in all things. He already has the victory. Glory be to God!

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We experienced God’s goodness in so many ways this week: through the prayers, texts, calls, emails, and cards of friends. It’s not very often that you show up to a hotel and they hand you a package of mail, full of Scripture, encouraging words, and Starbucks’ cards. The girls traveled well, and outside of some major feeding troubles (which is an ongoing issue and not surprising) they handled each and every part of our journey with ease. The flights were quick and painless, and I don’t think an hour went by that we didn’t receive some kind of communication from our community saying, “We love you. God loves you. We are in this with you.” We felt unbelievably carried. We even had some precious friends give us a generous amount of money in order to let us have a nice dinner after some long doctor’s visits. My parents set up a driver to pick us up and drop us off to the airport; which made the transitions seamless. So much grace. I could go on and on, but really, it was all God’s children being His hands, His feet, and His heart in our family’s life. So undeserving. So humbling to be continually served during this new normal. In all this, we felt the Lord saying over and over again, “I love you. I am with you. You are not alone.”


The appointment in itself was long, detailed, emotionally draining, and intense. It was exactly what we needed, to be honest; and huge answer to prayer. The physician that led the team that saw us was the most intelligent man I have ever met (worldly speaking). Did we leave with an exact diagnosis? No. But, we left with detailed direction, specific panels run, and confident answers that the girls’ diagnosis is within a very rare realm of disorders that have to do with the connections between the nerves and the brain. Someone was finally able to tie the unique pieces of our girls’ development together, and I left feeling a wide array of emotions. Thankful, because I certainly want to know what is going on. Deeply grieving, because the closer we get to a diagnosis, the more I realize that life is going to look completely different than we anticipated. As I thought about this on the way home, however, my sadness turned quickly into joy. Here’s the thing: all of our lives end up looking different than we expected. For some of us, this happens as a small child. Others are thrown off guard later on. Either way, the same truth still stands: God’s plans are way better than the ones we made up in our heads.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”- Psalm 27:13 (emphasis mine)

I am not sure I could word it any better than this verse does. Yes, this world is not our home. Yes, broken people in a broken world doesn’t always feel good; and we certainly are going to have times where our emotions just plain hurt. All of us. However, I believe no matter what our situation, we are assured that we do not have to despair because God’s goodness is as near, even nearer, than our own flesh. In all things. At all times. What joy this brings! It brings joy in the easy times and the hard. When the physician tells you that he doesn’t foresee your children walking or talking? God’s goodness in the land of the living. When the phrase, “potential life-threatening seizures” is mentioned? God’s goodness in the land of the living. No matter what your current reality is, God’s goodness is being lavished on you. Yes, even in that. The comparison game is pointless because for every person that has things easier than you, there will be someone who has it harder. But, comparison is equally as irrelevant when you know that there is a God in heaven handpicking, with perfect, intricate, precision, what He allows or doesn’t allow in each of our lives. What is best for me is not best for you, and vice versa; but we can be sure of one thing: His goodness is covering all things. What the enemy intends for evil, God intends for good and we can be sure if it’s there, He is going to use it for His glory.

God’s goodness is His continued presence.

God’s goodness is His promises to us, in all their fullness.

God’s goodness is His offer to bring us HOPE through Christ…eternal pleasures over temporary trinkets.

Yes, this world is not our home, but praise God that we can be confident in the here and now that His goodness is available today.

One day, those of us who have trusted in Christ as our Savior will see Him face to face. We will go to the land of no more tears, no more pain, no more suffering. But, until then, we can strive to see Him in all things, knowing that whether today or years from now, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that His hand was in every step of our journey here on earth. Friends, we do not have to despair. He offers His goodness, a goodness that never fades or spoils, right here, right now. As we celebrate His birth in the coming weeks, may we fall to our knees and rejoice in the One who is making all things new. His love never fails.

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”- Genesis 28:15-16

The Lord is in this place friends. If we seek Him, we will find Him. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift in Jesus Christ.


Needy. The word has such a negative connotation in the society we live in. As a woman, it seems as if we are told, at a young age, to never “need” a man. We are encouraged to not seem to “needy” toward those around us. It’s unattractive, they say. Dangerous, even. Independence is what we are preached; and there is pride associated in being an “independent woman” who, “takes care of herself” or, “doesn’t need anyone”. Needy.

This is certainly not going to be a blog about the roles of a woman, nor will I attempt to give a theological lesson on God’s thoughts on submission. I do believe that we were created equal but different as man and woman, and I am convinced that each of us is most content when we are comfortable in those roles. However, I want to talk about this concept of “neediness”, because I do believe that it sets a foundation for our relationship with the Lord and how we approach Him.

“He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a broad place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”- Psalm 18:16-19

Our salvation. I believe that, at the very core of who we are, we are needy. We hunger, we thirst, we work, we desire…we have needs. I am not talking about those things we think we need but are not necessarily vital. At the center of who we are, we have true, actual needs. No matter what we believe, we have this in common. And, each of us has the desire for eternity in our hearts. At the end of the day, we all know we were meant for more than this world offers. Our life is but a breath, and I don’t think any of us feels like we were meant for just a breath. We have a Savior who met this central need for us at the cross, and as we read through His word, it is pretty clear that He was not only most aware of our neediness; He was also the only one able to meet us in it. You see, that’s the beautiful thing about the Lord. We are encouraged to not be too needy with those around us because of fear. Fears of being “too much”. Fears of not having those needs met. Fears of being too vulnerable. Fears that if people saw who we really were, they would leave. Fears that we would seem helpless. But God. God saw us, from the beginning, in our helplessness. In our vast neediness. In our naked state. And, not only did He not say, “This is too much for me to handle; I’m out”; He took it all upon Himself at the cross and said, “My child, you are full of great need, yet your greatest need is spiritual. There is no one that is able to help you with those needs but me. I commit to helping you with all your needs. I commit to giving you my spirit to replace your weak, failing spirit in order to have the ability to make you whole. I commit to you if yet you would admit your neediness to me”. You see? The basis of our faith as a Christian is admitting our neediness knowing that God Himself can handle it. The beauty of it all is that instead of leaving us weaker; He is able to make us stronger in our weakness- because of who He is, not because of who we are. Once we recognize the state we are in without Him, and allow God to fill us up, we no longer have to fear being “needy” because at all times, we know He is meeting us and providing for the things that matter. And, instead of walking around with a cup, each day begging others to fill it up, we can start every morning, every moment, with our cup already full; and we can allow what He has given us to pour out to others around us. We are safe with Him.

“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”- Romans 5:8

He died for us in the midst of our humanity. This God, this God who is able to take our bloody stains and make them white as snow by shedding His blood for us, He has already met our greatest need and promises to continue to meet us where we are at if yet we would have the faith to believe. And, He sends us others, just like us in our brokenness and messiness, and gives them the opportunity to pour out His love onto us. Learning to accept this love, to allow others to meet you exactly where you are without any fear, isn’t easy. But, because of Christ, we don’t have to be afraid because our Hope, our plans, our core needs, are met in Him.

As we head to this appointment, I am needy. I am desperate for God to show up; I am longing for Him to do what seems like a miracle. His children, our brothers and sisters, have poured out from their cups His money, His love, His words…all His. They are fervently seeking Him on our behalf, and gratitude doesn’t even quite cover how this makes us feel. We are so grateful that He has loved us through His people in this; and are humbled knowing they will continue to be with us in this journey. He is the mighty One; and as we pray for answers at this appointment, I know that I do not have to defend Him if in fact He withholds those. His choices are always best. We come to the throne, confident of who He is in all His goodness, and confident that we can approach Him without fear. Friends, we can pray for a diagnosis over and over and over again. We can ask thousands to do the same. But, ultimately, His plans will stand. And, there is so much goodness in that because I do not want anything unless it has been filtered through His loving hands.

So, this morning. In a little while, we will head toward the airport with two beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made, little girls. We will travel to those who are ultimately just men, and tomorrow, we will pray that God will give them the wisdom and discernment to understand our girls more. We will not fear, for we know that at the end of the day, He knows. He knows them through and through. He created them in my womb; and the plans for their lives are His. Friends, there is such beauty in that fact that we can be needy before this God, this God who created and loved us to hell and back. He will sustain you today, no matter what today holds. You can come to Him and rest in who He is. Admit your dependence on Him today and cling to His promises. He is worthy.

The Sweetness of the Cross.

“The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, “This is love.” God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, “This is love.”- Joshua Harris

“To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat. What good is a God who does not control his Son’s suffering? But another sound can be heard: the shout of a God crying out to human beings, “I LOVE YOU.” Love was compressed for all history in that lonely figure on the cross, who said that he could call down angels at any moment on a rescue mission, but chose not to – because of us. At Calvary, God accepted his own unbreakable terms of justice. Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit into God’s scheme ultimately leads back to the cross. ”- Philip Yancey

“I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown.”- Old Rugged Cross hymnal

The sweetness of the cross. The title in itself is an oxymoron; yet God made it so. I often picture that day, picture the day that Jesus walked the road to the will of His Father, and I forget. I forget to picture it as it truly was- a bloody, horrific mess. There are many articles that discuss what was thought to have been done to Jesus and what that would have felt or looked like. This time of year, we see Jesus, a little baby wrapped up in a manger. All is calm, all is bright. Yet, let us not forget that this little baby wrapped up in a manger is the very Being that walked this painful road to Calvary. Both the scene in Bethlehem and the picture on that cross are equally a part of Jesus’ story. And, Jesus would not be Jesus without the death He experienced that day.

Friend, you would not be you without the specific cross God has purposed in your life. And, if we are truly desiring to cling to that “old rugged cross” as the song portrays, we must recognize the sour and the sweet that will exist until we see Him again face to face; the mystery of the Gospel and the basis of our faith as Christ-followers.

Our community has loved us so well this week. We are so undeserving, yet in the midst of admitting our weakness and weariness, too many have stepped up to help carry this burden that is our reality. It is truly this love, these hands, feet, and heart of Him, that are pressing us forward in faith. As we get closer to our trip to the NIH, I find myself clinching my fists, for in my heart I know that if the Lord chooses to not reveal answers at this appointment, we are at the end of the road for a diagnosis for the time being. Do I trust that the Lord is over this and that He is good? Absolutely. Am I happy about this if He chooses to withhold for His perfect and eternal purposes? Not yet. But, the beauty of the cross is that it has the capacity to reach infinitely further than our emotions, way beyond our current circumstances. He gives us strength for the day, and I know if this is how He chooses to lay this whole thing out, He will give me the peace to endure. So, I trust. Sometimes, the simplicity of that is all we need to know. Sometimes, our prayers and our groanings in the midst of our weakness can only be spoken as, “Lord, I am not sure where this is headed. I am not sure my flesh is going to like it. But, in the depths of who You created me to be I trust You.”

“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”- 1 Corinthians 15:49

Friends, my vision is pretty tunneled at the moment, and my words are fewer than usual, but I want to remind us that at all times, bearing the cross is going to mean bearing His image- His complete image. And, if this is true, which God’s word says it is, then bearing the cross means learning to be comfortable with the sweetness within the messiness. It means picking up the rose, thorns and all, and admiring the beauty of the flower even as the thorns are cutting and pricking. And, we can rest assured that when things “feel” too heavy, He is more real and more powerful than our fleeting emotions. If God used the death of His Son to bring mankind to Himself, and if Jesus is our example, should we anticipate any differently? Should we be shocked when, at times, clinging to that old rugged cross means clinging to Him in the midst of our own blood, sweat, and tears?

“And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”- Luke 9:23 (emphasis mine)

I love this verse and am challenged by this verse at all once. I believe it is twofold. First off, we have to actively choose, consistently, to obey God and what He has for us. Secondly, I think He is reminding us that each day does have enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34) and that we must focus not on yesterday, not on tomorrow, but on what He has for us today. Furthermore, we must simply fix our eyes on Him.

Beloved, each of us carries our own cross today. Each of us will experience the sweet and the sour of whatever God has planned. Above and beyond our circumstances, we can know this: He is good. He is good. He is good. I pray to never stop preaching this truth to you or to myself. Because He endures forever, because of what He bore on the cross, we can endure the now. Moment by moment, He is weaving together the beautiful story of His children, and while we cannot yet see the full pattern, we can know that His ways are perfect. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

“And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who is seated on the throne ad worship Him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created.”- Revelation 4:9-11

Through it.

At times, I know I sound like a broken record. These things I write about, they are nothing new under the sun. These truths have been written since the beginning of time, but are being deeply imprinted on my own heart now; and for that I am forever grateful. On the way home from a friend’s baby shower last night, Hugh and I talked about our life and the pains that are always there. We discussed the hurts I have with not being able to have “normal mom talk”. I know I am not the only one out there that feels this way. True, there are universal truths in motherhood; but if I’m being real, my life is very much different than most of the mothers I know. It’s hard to relate at times, and certainly can be isolating. It’s why many of us moms find ourselves in online support groups. We are able, in these groups, to talk about OUR normal with people who get it. I am so thankful for the opportunity to do this, but we all need real, live breathing bodies to relate with as well. It is a part of the way the Lord made us: we all crave a sense of community, and we need tangible shoulders to cry on. That being said, these days, Hugh and I attempt to relate to those around us by reminding ourselves what we do have in common rather than focusing on what we don’t. There is something we all desire no matter what stage we are in: connection with our Creator. We are all in need of grace, all sinners who are met with our own unique struggles. These sufferings may be different, but the emotions and the hurt that go along with them are not. The truth is, I may not be able to relate to what you are walking through right now; but I AM able to relate to what suffering feels like. And, I believe the more authentic we are with others in our own journeys, the more we are able to connect. This is why I have been obedient to choose to pour my heart out on this blog and into the hearts of others; because I believe while we are all learning lessons in our own circumstances, I do not think we are supposed to keep those lessons to ourselves. So, here I write.

This week. This week, we sit at our house, praying for wellness and wisdom in what lies ahead. Next week, we will head north in hopes of opening up a new chapter of information for our family. December 17th will not bring any new knowledge to our Lord, for I am most aware that He already knows what’s ahead. This brings me so much comfort in light of recent conversations with our physicians. This roller coaster has been filled with mountains and valleys; yet in all moments, it has brought us to our knees. I pray and anticipate the coming days to do the same. It occurred to me that while we have continued to look at different diagnoses, there has not been one we have considered that has been “good” or “mild” in the world’s eyes. Truthfully, I don’t expect a diagnosis of that capacity. I know our girls, I know where we are in comparison to their peers, and my mother’s intuition knows this isn’t something that is going away. I have suspected for a while that this is not something God is going to bring us to for a season, but rather through. I know many might find it confusing that I do not consistently pray for healing (on this side of heaven) for our girls. I did, in the beginning. But, as time has gone on, as I have seen the fruit of our sufferings and the Lord has changed my desires, I cannot bring myself to pray against something that seems to have such eternal significance. Instead, I find myself praying for the things that I know truly matter: for people to continue to see Christ’s hands, feet, and heart in the midst of what He has for our family. Through it, not out of it. While every bone in my human body wishes otherwise, I sense the heart of God leading my prayers in this manner. This concept of “through” has been on my mind for a while now, and I have been so encouraged as to what God’s word says about it.

“But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them…”-Exodus 14:29, emphasis mine

When the Israelites arrived at the Red Sea, desperately trying to escape the Egyptians, the Lord chose to ask them to step out, in faith, into the sea. He could have easily made the waters disappear, but this is not what He desired. You see, the Lord always has layered motives in the circumstances He puts His children in. The beauty of this story is that it was the very waters the Israelites feared that ended up being the walls of safety God provided them. This happens many times throughout God’s word. In Daniel, the furnace was heated up more, not less. Jesus Himself was not spared a painful death on the cross, yet brought through to victory. I believe it is true in our own lives as well. I believe that it is through our trials and afflictions that we are able to see God the most. We are able, when our vision is darkened to hope in all other things, to truly see the Light of God in its truest form. It is often in these moments that we are genuinely taught to say, “Thy will be done”. As it says in Hosea 2, He often allures us into the deserts of life in order to give us back the vineyards that truly matter. And, He is always, always able to make the Valley of Achor (trouble and tears) a valley of hope.

“We often pray to be delivered from afflictions, and even trust God that we will be. But we do not pray for Him to make us what we should be while in the midst of afflictions. Nor do we pray that we would be able to live within them for however long they may last, in the complete awareness that we are held and sheltered by the Lord and can therefore continue within them without any suffering or harm”. (Streams in the Desert)

This mindset, friends, is completely other. The world would tell us to avoid suffering at all costs, fearful that struggles and hardships hurt and harm. God’s word is clear that while healing is absolutely in His hands, that struggles are simply another way we can know and become more like Him.

So next week. I will go into this appointment fully aware of my human desires; but most aware of my desire for His plans and purposes. I know that everything within in me desires a clear diagnosis, and I know God is fully capable of making this happen. But, I trust Him. I trust Him much more than my own ever changing and feeble emotions. I trust Him more than any physician, and human, any report. And, whatever those answers may end up being, this I know most of all: He is not surprised. He is sovereign. He has a plan. He loves Ally and Bailey Grace more than I could ever love them. He is working. Friends, this is true for each of you in whatever God is walking you through. My prayer for us is that we would meet each other IN the other’s suffering. That we would not try to understand, but would instead, encourage one another to hope in not avoidance of the suffering at hand but to hope in God Himself. He meets us in all things and, thanks be to God, He has overcome!

In light of Hugh’s Birthday: Ramblings of a Grateful Wife.

Laying in bed last night, Hugh and I had a conversation that went as follows:

Me: Babe, the fact that you are only turning 29 tomorrow makes us sound really young. I know we never know the Lord’s plans, but if things happen the traditional way, you’ve still got a long way to go.”

Hugh: Morgan…nothing in our life has ever gone the traditional way so I probably wouldn’t plan on that one.

We laughed, and I knew it to be true; but as I lay awake in the middle of the night, I began to think about that statement even more; and I began to feel oh so grateful that God continues to wreck the plans that we assumed would be true. As it says in James 4:13-14,

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that”.

I believe these verses are there for two reasons. The first being to remind us that God is Lord and that He has the authority and the right to determine what all of our moments bring. The second, so that we are saved from these false expectations of what we wanted life to look like; and can instead, embrace the life that God has chosen for us, knowing that it is His best.


This is a picture of Hugh doing what he has grown to love best, serving others. It was a picture he sent me while doing medical missions in Peru, and I love the joy I see in his face. It is Hugh’s birthday today. If you know Hugh, he doesn’t enjoy being the center of attention, and is probably already embarrassed that I noted this fact in the blog. But, as I have been thinking about his life, his leadership in our family, and all that the Lord has brought us through and to, I wanted to remind those of us who are mothers a little something: we are not married to our children.

This seems so obvious; and those of you who are not parents might wonder how this truth could ever be mistaken. But, I want to speak specifically to women in these moments because I think it is a gentle truth that needs to be highlighted.

When I met Hugh, I literally could not believe a man like him existed. I magnified his strengths and was blinded to his weaknesses, and I thought he was the best thing to have ever hit the planet. I can remember getting butterflies each and every time he walked through the door, and I could not wait to get married to him. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. In the months after we got married, I can remember getting excited whenever he pulled into the driveway. Excited to see him, to give him a kiss, and to simply be around him. When we found out we were pregnant, the whole idea of having a baby (or two) with him seemed so glamorous. I fully anticipated our love for one another to grow deeper as we brought new life into this world, side by side.

Fast forward some time. Pregnancy was spent vomiting and being so tired I could barely function, and then the newborn trenches were all a blur. I remember people telling me to be careful to guard our marriage, and that children changed everything, but just like every other season of life, you never think you are going to be the person affected by that truth because your emotions don’t line up to it in the moment it is told to you. Oh, how we would be wise to listen to those a step ahead. The truth is, those people were absolutely right. Children do change everything, and if we are not careful, our priorities can become completely misaligned in the midst of it. I could go on and on but here is what I want to say to us today: as a father, your life is certainly changed when a little one comes along. But, as a mother, your entire being is changed. Your body, your day to day life, everything. And, while this may not always reign true for every situation, I think men tend to do a much better job of continuing to put marriage above kids than women do. It makes sense, and believe me, I get it as much as anyone. I was once told that there was a statistic that says that 90% of marriages of couples that lose a child end up divorced; and that 75% of couples who have children with special needs do. I believe this is a direct result of misaligned priorities that God intends for our families. Ladies, it is hard. We are called to nurture and invest fully in our children, and there are days where the thought of being needed by anyone else at the end of the day is exhausting. We are tired, we are drained, and often, it is hard to feel close to sexy after the stickiness and bodily fluid-filled moments we walk through. I get it, believe me. However, we must be cautious, for we are not in a covenant relationship with our children. We are in a covenant with our husbands, and they deserve to be right behind God in our list of priorities. It’s a part of what we promised them on that day that dirty diapers and toddler messes were far from our minds. We should not tolerate finding more comfort from the touch of our babies’ hand than the embrace of our husbands. You feel me on this?

I could go on and on, but in light of that, I want to spend a couple moments honoring Hugh and who he is; for I spent an entire blog doing that for Ally and Bailey Grace.

I celebrate Hugh today, and all the qualities that make him who he is. Yes, he is a wonderful, loving father. He is quick to celebrate the beauty in our girls, and spends most of his time simply loving on them. He comes straight home from work most days, ready to help with baths and bedtime stories and nighttime duty. But, outside of that, going back to the basics, Hugh is a man of God who authentically seeks the Lord in everything he does. He desires to share the Gospel with everyone he comes in contact with, and is quick to lead me back to what the Word says if I ever speak otherwise. Simply put, he wants to be more like Jesus in all that he does and all that he is. He works hard at loving me well, and is tough on himself when he does not feel like he has done that. He is quick to repent, and patient with those around him in all things. He strives to be the man that God has called him to be; and goes against the grain when necessary. He refuses to be legalistic, and refuses to set up legalistic standards for those around him. He believes the best in both his family, co-workers, and patients. He is intelligent, good-looking, ambitious, and just plain funny. He is not perfect, and he will never be. He is a man worthy of respect. As time goes on, we may argue less, but those arguments still occur and once they are over, he does not keep a file of them on record, as he knows Jesus does not do that either. He is not exactly what I always thought I wanted; but he is exactly what the Lord knew I needed in a husband. Hugh is not my Savior; never has been and never will be. Hugh will never completely satisfy me, and for that I am so grateful because I know the One who will and when all else fails, Hugh will always remind me of just that. He is much more than I would ever deserve in a husband, and while the butterflies might not always be there, I still can’t believe that I get to call him mine.

In honor of Hugh’s birthday, if you are married, would you spend today honoring your husband for who God made him to be? Let’s prayerfully celebrate their strengths instead of looking at their weaknesses; and if you have children, let’s remember to always put them third in line. Happy Birthday Hugh! I love you, and I pray to be the wife God has called me to be for all the days He chooses to give to us. I am so thankful to walk through this non-traditional adventure that we call life together.

The Broken Pieces of our Lives.

“…and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”- 1 Corinthians 11:24


I have broken three things within the past week: a coffee mug, a wipe warmer container, and this ornament. The coffee mug was shattered; and I immediately threw it away. The wipe warmer has been broken off and on, and so we are still using it, even though it’s not in its original condition. This ornament, however, we are sitting in a safe place and we are going to attempt to fix the broken pieces. Why? Because it is from our first year of marriage and has special meaning. Although it is not hanging shiny on the tree at the moment, the plan is to glue the pieces back together so it appears whole again. The problem is, no matter how sticky or magical this glue is, the ornament will never be the same. Broken forever.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”- Psalm 51:17

Throughout the Old Testament, sacrifice after sacrifice was made in order to try and be clean before God. Bulls, goats, calves, all given in a feeble attempt to be whole again. But, just like the ornament, at the end of the day, these sacrifices were just temporary offers for a permanent problem. You see, we needed something more. We needed much more than glue or an animal could offer; we needed an eternal answer. Jesus.

“For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”- Hebrews 10:14

Him. No more temporary fixes for our sins. A final, forever sacrifice made that exchanged our soiled record for His, once and for all. But, let’s not forget the brokenness that had to occur for this to happen; His body broken for us.

“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”- Vance Havner

Sharing the messed up pieces of ourselves can be uncomfortable. As I shared over the weekend, I have my share of junk. And, it didn’t stop at 16. Even today, I struggle to let Christ reign in my moments. This is just plain part of being human. But, because of Christ and what He did for us, we can be sure of two things: first off, we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God makes the broken things beautiful. Beauty out of ashes. Triumph over death through death. Secondly, because of what God did for us on that cross, we can find freedom in letting others in on our messes, with confidence that God is not finished with us. We don’t have to hide. The One who created us sees us fully, and He loves us.

The truth is, we live in a world of appearances; yet, reality lies beyond the appearance itself. When we are broken, the true fragrance of who we are seeps out and we are left standing in the truth of who we are. Without Christ, we would be left in our messes. But Love. Love chose to take on our junk in order to bring us out of it. He didn’t run from the grossness of our humanity. By embracing us, He embraced all that we were and He has called us to do the same with those around us. Only God has the power to replace the stench, the brokenness that is now apparent but had always been there, and give us Himself in its place. The face that we have the ability to be so broken proves the fragile nature of who we all are. But in Christ, we have been given the liberty to use all these things for good. When we are broken, we discover, sometimes for the first time, what is inside of us. And without Jesus, that would be terrifying. But God in His wisdom knows that only in breaking us can we break free of that within us in order to be filled by something else- God Himself. To be broken would feel weak until we remember who is putting the pieces back together; and that He is alive within us and promises to work on our behalf. But, to share our stories, we must first accept them. We must own them as the story being written for us. To share it, we can no longer run from it or cover it up when company comes over. This is where true community begins: when we learn to wrap our arms around one another in love, no matter what junk is being put on the table. Because, in the midst of all that mess, Jesus’s victory still reigns true. He is much, much bigger than any mistake or any struggle that you or I could ever walk through. Yes, it pains Him to watch us choose death instead of life. His way is always best, and true peace is always found in walking in the direction He has called us to walk. But, rest assured, there is no where you could go that His love cannot reach. Friends, He wraps up our brokenness in His grace if yet we would have the faith to let Him. He takes us just the way we are and loves us. How beautiful is that?

About a month ago, ¾ of our family caught the stomach bug. The beginning of a very long 48 hours started at a restaurant nearby, in which one of our daughters vomited more than I thought was humanly possible. It was all over her, all over the car seat, and obvious to those sitting around us. We left the restaurant, got home, and attempted to clean both her and the seat itself. In that moment, I realized something: I could care less what others thought at the pizza place; I wasn’t concerned with getting her germs on me. She was helpless to help herself, and I just wanted to make her clean again. I mentioned this to Hugh, how God sees us in our mess but doesn’t just leave us there, and he said this to me, “Yes. And you know what? I think I might even love her more in these moments.” A father’s heart. Our Father’s heart toward us. This is how He deals with His children; and it’s how He has asked us to deal with one another. Friends, He desires us to meet each other in the midst of the mess. We are all so very broken without Christ. My junk may look different than yours, but it is all the same. There is freedom in being able to air it all out, knowing that God Himself already overcame it at the cross. Yes, we are all broken; but He is making beauty from each and every one of our ashes.

This Christmas season, I want to encourage each of us to celebrate Jesus’s birthday by celebrating the things that He has done. Let’s rejoice with one another, let’s mourn with one another, and above all, let’s love one another, brokenness and all. Only He has the power to pick up the pieces of our bruised and wounded lives and make us whole. Let’s place those broken pieces in His hands, knowing that they are safe with Him.