Believe…The Backstory

God is in every single detail.  Every. Single. Detail. And His Timing is perfect.

The above Believe Sign has been placed in our yard now for 5 Christmases. It is more than just a Christmas decoration we pull down out of the attic.  After Warren died I had a lot of questions, but God had one for me too…
“Do you believe?”…..

He cares for us.  He sees us and He hears us. Scripture says that He is near to the brokenhearted. I have experienced and know this to be true.  This story, this “sign” is a visual picture of how much He loves us.  He does not drop us in the middle of a trial and whisper “good luck” leaving us to figure a way out on our own.  Even when it seems there is nothing but darkness and uncertainty pulling us under.  When the silence seems to say we are all alone.  He is present, He is holding us & He is working.  Breakthrough is coming. We need only to believe.  But what does that look like?

John Piper says this about believing…
“It’s more than believing in the fact that Jesus is the Son of God but delighting in that fact, embracing that fact, and making Christ the treasure and the Lord of your life by surrendering to him.”

One of the things I love most about this particular “Believe sign” is learning the “back story” or the “behind the scenes” if you will…How several friends, looking for ways to love on our family during a very difficult season, followed through with a simple idea, not knowing the impact it was going to have on my personal journey of grief and belief.

My dear precious friend Carolyn wrote this letter to me describing the events that led up to this Believe sign ending up in our yard on 12-17-2014, only 24 days after Warren died~

Dearest Julie,

The “I Believe” story is a story that I dwell on almost daily as it confirms to me that God is good, and God is with us, and God will never leave us.  God also gives us what we need, when we need it.  He KNOWS.  After collecting money from many people in the community and spending it on different needs; we had some money left over.  You had mentioned to a friend that there wasa yard sign you liked, and it was one simple word-BELIEVE.  I looked online for the sign-found it and bought the last one available and it was even on sale.  The shipping date was a few weeks from the order date which was not ideal and made me a little anxious as I had a sense of urgency to make everything right for you. It was the holiday season and shipping anything would take a long time.

Two days after I ordered the sign, it showed up on my porch.  I knew then I had to get it in your yard that night. Something-and I really believe it was God – was insistent that I set it up that night. I called Tom at work and asked him to help me.  He said he had to work late and also had work at home to do.  It was cold and rainy, and he said he preferred to do it the next day.  I didn’t cry or beg like I wanted to but I knew in my heart he was going to put it together that night. 

He came home earlier than expected and started on the sign without me even saying anything.  He came inside to tell me at one point, that it was missing bolts and screws and they were not the standard.  He wasn’t sure he had anything that would work.  He went back out-and then 10 minutes later came in and said “I’m finished.”

I went outside to look at it, it was perfect. We called Amy, your neighbor, to be on the lookout for you as you were taking Grace to cheer.  She gave us the go ahead-We set it up pretty quickly and left.  I got a text from you shortly thereafter that you had cried out to God for a sign to believe, and then came home to the sign in your yard…”BELIEVE”

To sum up this story, and to reflect on how it was ‘meant to be’ I want to list the obstacles and the blessings that all worked together to create one of the best stories of God’s love and perfect timing that I have ever been a part of.

  • Money left over
  • Last sign available
  • On sale
  • Shipped in 2 days not 2 weeks
  • Tom had to work late and had work to do at home
  • Cold and rainy weather
  • Missing bolts and screws
  • You had been asking for a sign to help you “believe”

He loves you.  He is with you ALWAYS.     Love you, Carolyn

Knowing now how God was working that Wednesday, hearing my desperate cry for relief is overwhelming. The details  of that day, the kindness and generosity of others, and these 7 glittery letters changed everything………………



This word has been on my mind all day today.  Bill and I are headed to Passion 2016 this weekend.  (we cannot wait!!) We are asking God to show us HIS perspective as we enter into 2016.

perspective– a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.  (outlook, position, attitude, frame of reference)

Websters definition of perspective–  (a) the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed (b) the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance   {Trying to maintain my perspective}


My “perspective” has been all over the place this holiday season.  Trying to keep a “handle” on what’s important.  We’ve been busy and overwhelmed with emotion since the unavoidable arrival of the one year of Warren’s death, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now the New Year.

Many days have been spent trying to gain perspective and/or keep perspective.  What was important?  Do we get a tree this year?  Should we spend the holidays with family or alone?  Travel or stay at home? Gifts or no gifts?  Laugh or cry? Anxious or calm?  Attend the party or decline the invitation?  Remember or choose to forget?  Memories…allow them to settle and remember fondly or avoid the excruciating pain they can bring?

Each of these moments can bring me into a downward spiral (which they sometimes do…) Or, in God’s tender mercy, He helps me to see things through the lense of Heaven…Eternity…where I will be Forever with Jesus & Warren!!!

Looking back with perspective…eternal perspective, I can see God’s faithfulness…His goodness…His love for us…and His very tender care over us during this last year, especially these last two or so months.

It is definitely easier to look back opposed to looking ahead.  My past…our last 13 months are secure.   God was faithful and He did what He promised.  He walked with us and never left us alone.  We “made it” because He was enough and through it all He was bigger than our hurt.  We know this because we’ve lived it and have seen Him miraculously meet us in our desperateness.

Perspective…I simply need to remind my weary heart of the awesomeness of God…even in the middle of my hurt.  He has been ENOUGH and He will be ENOUGH!!   It’s easy to get overwhelmed with life’s circumstances…I know of others who are facing situations, that are very much not what they thought of when they were making plans for 2016!

Jesus we want to SEE you.  Open our eyes Lord.  Open the eyes of our hearts and do not let us miss the MORE that you are offering.  As painful as it might be, we are trusting You with our wounds…Seeking the One who continues to be our ROCK and our REFUGE.

It has certainly been messy at times and my perspective has been challenged, but even still, God was and IS at work !!!  Whether I like it or not, 2016 is here and we are moving ONWARD & UPWARD!!

We will shine the light of Jesus and we will lean into the glory and brilliance of the Lord.

This last year was a year of BELIEVING with all our heart, mind and soul that Jesus Christ is Enough for Today and that our only HOPE is found in Him.  We know, that we know, that we know…He is the same yesterday, today and FOREVER….

As we move forward into 2016 we are claiming this scripture and asking God to continue giving us ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE.  

Arise [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the Lord]; for your light has come,
And the glory and brilliance of the Lord has risen upon you.

Isaiah 60:1





Our last Christmas with Warren…..Christmas 2013 in Gatlinburg, TN

It was pretty much the most wonderful Christmas ever!  Even if I’d known it would be our last, there isn’t much I would have changed…so thankful for such a wonderful memory, and one that truly warms my heart as I reflect back on it today.

Miss you so much bud…your laughter, your silliness & your tender heart toward your family.  Longing to be with you … So proud to be your Mom!  I love you, MORE!





Christmas Memories…2008


Christmas ~ 7 years ago…Winter Park, Colorado 2008

Looking back…so hard, and yet I can’t keep myself from strolling down memory lane.  Mostly with tears, along with some laughter, talking about the good times.  This Christmas, unlike last, I’m very aware of the loss and the pain of not having him here.  I feel like last year we simply put ourselves in neutral and didn’t “think”, we just “did”.  We didn’t know how to miss him. We could hardly comprehend that he was gone.

Now, a year later, my mind and my heart are much more aware of our reality and how nothing about it feels right.  I don’t think it ever will…Thankful for the good times and the pictures that help me to remember!

Precious Grace…my how she has grown up!  Love this girl and how she inspires me everyday to be strong and courageous.  Christmas isn’t nearly as much fun without her brother…she misses him so very much!DSC_0324

We had taken the kids out of school a few days early before Christmas break.  We were living in San Antonio at the time.  Since we’ve always lived in Texas, going where there was snow was exciting!!

Warren loved skiing and was VERY good with little coaching from Dad!  DSC_0123_11DSC_0125_10

We had fun riding snowmobiles!  The view from the top of the mountain was so awesome…Absolutely breathtaking!


I remember how very cold it was..especially the higher we got!  At one point during the ride, we had to stop so that Warren could warm his hands using the heat of the engine. I think he complained of his hands being cold the entire time..It was cold!



I remember stopping on the side of the road to build this snowman.  Warren and his Dad worked so hard.  We laughed and laughed as they built this ….”snowman”!  (looked more like a triangle of snow …) Warren was so proud!!


We ice skated and Warren helped Grace until she got the hang of it.

Snow angels were a must, as well as a good ole’ fashion snowball fight!

Tubing was probably one of our favorite activities!!  The look on Warren’s face is one of my favorites…pure JOY!!!



  With the Christmas season in full swing, our hearts are aching as we remember… Remembering our family as it used to be.  Longing for the “normal” of Christmas..whatever that is.  Doing our very best to push through the hard, trusting that God will be bigger, yet again, than this pain that’s almost unbearable. I miss Warren everywhere I go.  There is always something I see or hear that reminds me of him.  He loved Christmas almost as much as I did!!  🙂  This time of year will never be the same without Warren…and I don’t mean that negatively.  It’s just a fact.  Not having him here changes everything..and no matter how intentional we are to see things from an eternal perspective, I can’t help but wish… with  my whole heart… he were still here with us.


I pulled out one of my journals yesterday, and found that this week last year I was trying to wrap my mind around how to have JOY in the midst of great sorrow. On one hand it seems impossible except that Joy, true Joy, is something found deep within my soul …my salvation in Jesus Christ,and no one or no thing can take that from me. Even in the worst of circumstances, I can sing and shout, because the JOY of the Lord is my strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)

So, as we grieve and push through the “hard”, we will fix our eyes on Jesus.  When this doesn’t seem fair and we wonder why us, we will press in and believe that God is working, and we will trust Him. When I cry because I’m not sure I can make it one more day…I will look UP, for that is where my Help comes from.

Please be near to us Jesus…Overwhelm us with your presence this Christmas.

We just miss him so much.  

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