Thy Will Be Done: Walking by Faith With Chronic Illness

You can call it coincidence, good timing, divine intervention, or God’s will but there are moments in time where in the midst of chaos, rambling around, or just goofing off that the universe hands you exactly what you’ve needed to hear on a platter. I had one such moment this week. It was late and I was poking around on Spotify looking for new songs to add to my playlist and I came across a song called “Thy Will Be Done” by Hillary Scott and The Scott Family.

For one, I had no idea that Hillary Scott (most known for being a part of the country group Lady Antebellum) had a worship album and second, would have probably never found the album on my own.

By the time the song was over, I was in tears. I take that back. Not tears. Sobbing. It would not describe the prayer of my heart more if I had written it myself. Actually, it described it better than I could have ever written. It could be the perfect anthem for trying to standing strong in your faith with chronic illness. It just spills out of my heart.

I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

I was a junior in college when I felt the call to ministry and I answered. However, when I answered this call, I thought it came with a plan. After graduating undergrad, I immediately started seminary where I studied Pastoral Care and Counseling. I absolutely loved it. My health was continuing to decline but as I was working in the hospital during my chaplaincy internship, I finally felt like my pain had a purpose. I was able to connect to patients in a way that I knew that many chaplains were not. My spirit felt so alive. I graduated seminary in 2010. In 2012, I had to quit working and started the disability process. I was finally approved in 2015 and now, here I am preparing to beg my doctor for surgery at my next appointment. How did I get here? How was this a part of the plan?

I know you’re good
But this don’t feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about
It’s hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you’re God
And I am not

Lately, I have found it so very hard to stay positive hence why I had to take a little break recently. I love this verse because it is such a powerful reminder that God is so much bigger than my tiny mind can even begin to comprehend and the noise can be so distracting. It is in moments like these that I know that God is good and even when I cannot see what His plan is here in this very moment, I can trust in His character and because He is good, I can find peace and respite in that.

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Good news you have in store

I will be the first to admit that there have been moments where I’ve been singing this in my truck and almost had to pull over because I’ve been so moved by these lyrics. Yes, I am that weirdo on the side of the road singing at the top of her lungs with her hands raised in her truck but I can’t help it. Even in the deepest depths of my pain, I can find such comfort just knowing that God has a plan for me and that plan involves things that are good and full of hope. And hope is like the wind. You can’t see it but you can feel it.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I Know The Plans I Have For You"

I am so glad I happened to be up browsing Spotify that night so I could find this song. It has truly changed my heart and has helped me regain some perspective on my current situation. Though it doesn’t feel good right now, God is good and He has good in store for me and it is from there that I can draw my strength. I have put together a playlist called Strength For The Journey that you can check out if you are on Spotify and hopefully these songs can offer you some strength and encouragement as well!

What is a song that has been keeping you going?

P.S. If you are on Spotify, leave me a link so I can follow you!


Surrounded By Stars: The Story Behind My Tattoo & My Faith



If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, then you know I got a shiny new tattoo! This tattoo makes tattoo #4 and it means the most to me by far. It is one that I have wanted for a really long time. I had always planned on having it done on my abdomen/rib area but thanks to the roadmap of incision scars that now cover my abdomen, it kind of knocked out that option. What little space was available, I was worried since I have the worst luck that they would have to cut right though it with the next surgery (which according to my surgeon major surgery should happen again within 3-4 years tops).

I have talked about Skillet in many posts and how much their songs have impacted my life. I love so many of their songs but “Whispers In The Dark” is like my life song. It has gotten me through so many hard days (and nights). My favorite line is, “When darkness comes, I’ll light the night with stars” (Skillet, Whispers In the Dark).

So when it came time to get my tattoo, that is the lyric of the song that I knew I wanted to get. Since my abdomen was no longer an option, I chose to have it done around my collarbone/shoulder area so I could see it everyday as a reminder. I absolutely love the way it turned out. I had the tattoo artist design the tattoo to follow the curves of my body and to place the tattoo in such a way that I can build onto it either down my back or down my shoulder if I get the itch for another tattoo in the future (because we all know I will – maybe something like this or another Skillet lyric ). You can’t tell from this pictures is that there are two more stars that follow the lyric up and over my shoulder. I absolutely love the way it turned out:


The reason I love this lyric so much is because it reminds us that no matter how dark our lives seem to be, God always leaves reminders of His love all around us as beacons of light to remind us that we are not alone and all is not lost if we only look up.

[bctt tweet=”No matter how dark our lives seem to be, God leaves reminders of His love all around us if we only look up.”]

Despite the struggles and challenges we may face, we still have so much to be thankful for and so many blessings to count. We are constantly surrounded by stars.

Inspired by this, I want to do a weekly Instagram campaign on Fridays called “Surrounded by Stars” using the hashtag #surroundedbystars where we can each post things that we are thankful for, blessings we have received that week, or people who have made an impact in our lives that week. I hope you all will participate!


Do you have any tattoos (or planning to get any) that have a special meaning to you?


chronic illnessfaith

Friday Words of Faith – Riley’s Story

I am completely honored to have Tiffany Cox as a guest writer today! I “met” her through the awesome organization, The Fight Like a Girl Club where she first shared her daughter’s story. I was so completely moved that I invited her to share it with you guys. It is truly moving and inspiring. Grab your tissues before reading ahead!


If I ever had any doubts about whether God truly existed or if he really heard my cries, those were all erased the day Riley was diagnosed. I witnessed the healing hand of God. Next week we celebrate four years of LIFE with Riley that wasn’t promised to us. I’ve been asked before if this story is made up. Trust me, I WISH! Riley was diagnosed on October 28, 2006 with a rare blood disorder. There is no cure. She had a hemoglobin level of 2.9 and near heart failure. In the past four years, Riley has underwent surgery, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, medications, tests and numerous hospital stays. We’ve been told by doctors that ‘medically speaking’, she shouldn’t be alive. She IS and God has given her one heck of a testimony along the way!


I have seen many things in the past four years since Riley’s diagnosis. Most of them have been while walking the road we are on. I have watched my daughter fight to overcome so much, beating the odds, SURVIVING, fighting back from setbacks and complications. She is my inspiration! Being on this journey has been a true test of faith. It’s not always easy to trust when you are afraid. You want so badly to have control of the situation and force the outcome you want.


I can still remember every detail of that day. I will be forever haunted by the image of Riley laying in a hospital bed with tubes and machines all around her. I remember the look on the doctors face when he had to tell us that he didn’t think that she would make it through the night and the shock on his face when she did. To this day, I still can’t look him in the eye. I remember the kind words from a chaplin who was sent in our room to ‘prepare’ us for our daughters death. I remember the fear and confusion. I remember being told that if a blood transfusion didn’t begin to work on Riley that there was no hope for survival. I remember the anger. I remember the rocking chair in Riley’s ICU room where I spent many hours watching her sleep and begging God to let me take her place. I remember the empty feeling.


Have I questioned God’s purpose? Yes. Have I been angry with God? Yes. But even at the darkest of times when I have felt alone, God has been there. I may not have felt it at the time, but looking back, I know that it was God who got us through the tough times and still gets us through those times today. I went through a period of complete bitterness. I felt that as a Mom, I had let my daughter down. I couldn’t fix the ‘boo boo’ with a kiss or protect her from fear or pain. I had no control of the situation. I questioned God as to why he would allow a child, MY child to go through so much pain and sickness. Instead of praying, I argued. I wouldn’t go around other Mom’s who had ‘healthy’ children. I grew more bitter when other people would boast and brag on how blessed they were. I distanced myself and wrapped myself around the negative, never looking for the ‘good’ in Riley’s situation. To me, nothing good could come out of a situation where my daughter was having to fight for her life. It just didn’t seem fair!


But, you know what? Good DID come from Riley’s situation. We have been taught life lessons that can’t be found in text books or taught in a classroom. I have learned to be grateful, truly grateful for the little things. Not a day with her is taken for granted! I get overly emotional on the first day of a new school year because not only is Riley growing up, she’s beginning a new chapter in her life. One that I’ve feared we wouldn’t get to see. I cry each time Riley reaches a new milestone, rather it be losing her first baby tooth, learning her first cheer or getting a new ‘big girl’ haircut. So when I randomly have emotional breakdowns, bare with me 🙂  I don’t take birthdays very lightly because I know that every year is a gift. God’s gift. God had every right to tell us ‘no’ when we prayed for him not to take Riley. Instead, he has entrusted us to raise her and allowed us to witness HIM through the life of our child. For me, there is no greater honor! Am I overly protective? You better believe it! Do I worry alot? Of course (I’m a Mom) and because we know that just because she may look okay on the outside, doesn’t mean that everything is okay on the inside. We are never guaranteed that tomorrow we won’t be back to where we were four years ago and honestly, it scares me. This disease is rare and we know that she can relapse at any time, but I also know that God knows what’s in store for Riley long before we do.


You can ask Riley about angels and she’ll tell you she sees them. I get chill bumps when she describes how beautiful they are in great detail. You can ask Riley where she was when Mom and Dad were at her bedside those first few critical nights in the hospital and she’ll tell you she was being rocked by Jesus in a rocking chair. I wasn’t allowed to hold her, but she was being held. Some may call her (and me) crazy. I believe her with all of my heart. I believe that she has witnessed and seen things that only others can imagine. I know that even though her body isn’t healed completely from disease, that God has helped heal me as a christian, a wife, a mother and so many more can say the same. My daughter has taught me more then I could ever have taught her about life. I believe she has been given insight and wisdom far beyond what some can comprehend. I believe God has a plan for my Riley!