A Beautiful Day

Seven years ago, Will’s cousin invited us to the U2 concert in Nashville. We were about to leave town when we got the call that his wife was in labor. And it was not going well. They were headed to Vanderbilt Hospital and said we could come pick up the tickets from them and head over to Vanderbilt stadium.

Should we still even go? With mixed emotions, we hit the road to Nashville anxious to see them in person.

When we got to the hospital, we exchanged hugs as the doctors came up with a plan. Things were unsettled. The elevator doors closed as we parted ways with Will’s cousin, also a physician, who said, “it’s not good.”

With heads hung low, just steps away from that hospital room in the stadium, we waited for U2 to start in silence. Oh, how we wished the seats beside us were filled by the faces we had just seen. We felt guilty for being there and worried. We were waiting for news and praying while trying to make sense of the turn of events. The atmosphere shifted as U2 came on stage and played “Beautiful Day”.  At the exact time the song began, we got the text that baby Dylan had arrived and that momma and baby were healthy and doing great. With happy tears we sang the song at the top of our lungs and texted them a video of Bono’s words echoed by thousands of voices just steps away from that baby boy’s first cry. After the show we got to meet our baby nephew and rejoice in that oh so beautiful day!

It is one I will never forget!

Will and I had tickets to see U2 in Nashville again last night. I woke up thinking about that memory and song. I envisioned a picture of us there steps away from the band with a hashtag #beautifulday. We were ecstatic! Before leaving town, we swung by the pool for a quick dip with our kids. Long story short, Anna (our two-year-old) stepped into a pile of fire ants, and moments later her face was swollen and her throat was closing. We gathered our wet kids and bits and pieces of our stuff and found ourselves speeding to the ER, our whole world spinning, shaking out of control. We held our little girl and prayed to God to keep her alive as she lost her ability to speak.

In just a moment, our universe turned upside-down. The previous script of our day was thrown out the window as we held tightly to our baby girl wanting nothing more than moments with one another. There was something beautiful in that crazy moment of knowing that nothing else mattered. The cares that had previously consumed our morning were gone. We were fully present with each other and with God in the eye of that storm.

As Will rushed Anna into the ER, I parked the car with Mary and John, and a crocodile tear rolled down John’s cheek. “I was really hoping Anna was gonna get to turn 3 and get bigger.” It was, as Will’s cousin had said those seven years ago in front of another set of sliding doors, “not good.” Anna received excellent care and breathing treatments as the adventure continued in an ambulance ride to another hospital where we spent the night in the ICU.


It was a nightmare in the middle of a summer day and all we knew to do was hold tightly to each other and claim God’s promises for our girl. We are so thankful for the love from our family and sweet friends who happened to be there in the moment to help and pray.

As it turns out, my childhood friend who lives in Nashville was able to go to U2 in our place. She texted me this video of that all too familiar song.

The words reminded me of the picture we had seen just hours earlier over the Emergency Room reminding us that God was with our little girl:


“After the flood, all the colors came out…it was a beautiful day!!!”

As I held Anna in that hospital bed, I was overcome with the same feeling Will’s cousin had 7 years before.

Indeed it was.


Anna is doing great and got to eat Skittles for breakfast this morning. She was discharged in hot pink style with an epipen and charge to always wear shoes outside. We have a cautious road ahead, but she’s a happy girl with an even happier momma!


God, thank You for Your mercy. Thanks for waking us up and reminding us of the miracle of life. May we love well, live with purpose, keep perspective, and hug our family. Thanks for the joy in those anticipated moments on our highlight reel that are extraordinary. Thanks also for those unexpected moments we would never write into our script that send us to our knees and reframe the ordinary as beautiful days. In Jesus’ Name we thank You. Amen.

Winning the Gold – On our Knees

My family has loved the Olympics this summer, and we have been so inspired to see the athletes walk out their amazing God-given talent with courage. Dreams become reality in these gold medal moments, but we know it is the countless, private, unseen hours of training that have brought these athletes to this place of victory.

This week I felt like I was watching the Olympics when I saw Beth Moore speak in Nashville. After all these years, that woman is more on fire with the Holy Spirit than I have ever seen. She is living out her calling with courage and walking in victory and freedom. She is completely alive and surrendered to God’s purpose for her. What would it be like if we were all surrendered to God’s anointing, power and purpose in our lives? We wouldn’t look like Beth Moore, but in our own unique ways, our lives would look like victory and our gifts would be shining for His glory.

And how that happens is something Beth not only talked about, but walked out. This woman has been speaking to people for decades. After all these years, she’s probably used to it, right? She could probably see a crowd of 10,000 women and say, “I got this.” But as the worship music stopped and the lights went out, Beth, who I (being a bit star struck) was watching from my second row seat, went onto the stage and privately kneeled. While the introduction movie played on the screen in the dark room, she stayed on her knees. This was not meant for anyone to see, but it spoke louder to me than any word she said. When the lights came on, she was up and full of holy fire. She began by saying she was completely inadequate, and that she was completely dependent on God to show up. I believed her and believed He would.

Just like the Olympians, it’s those private hours of training that pave the path to victory. For believers, it’s those private moments in prayer and Scripture that equip us. Beth encouraged us never to give that up or depend on other people to do the praying or the digging into God’s word for us. When we blaze the path, the territory is ours.

I went on this trip to Nashville with four amazing women. They have been following Jesus for many years and each have that special sparkle about them. 


When my alarm went off at 5:45a for a 6:45 departure, I was shocked to see one friend showered and headed to the lobby with her Bible and notebook. Another was already dressed, sitting down to journal, read and pray. Here we were about to hear from one of the most gifted teachers of our day, but these ladies knew nothing could replace hearing directly from the Source. No extra hour of sleep was going to change that. These small deposits of time, one day at a time, have a powerful cumulative effect.

And when pressure comes, tragedy strikes, lies attack, a decision needs to be made or life hands us a microphone, what’s inside of us comes out. And what’s inside of us is grown in those private moments with God. Every single day.

What came out of two friends on the trip was the desire to serve. They graciously volunteered to sit in the overflow room at the conference even though they blessed us with the tickets. They had already seen Beth live and wanted to give the rest of us the good seats. We were elated to be so close to the stage, and even more elated to hear that they unexpectedly got to meet Beth in the overflow room. Not only that, but she prayed over one of them! Isn’t it amazing how God blesses us when we bless others? The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12) As Beth said, “there is no limit to what God will do with someone who has the humility to handle it.”

She encouraged us that as believers in Jesus we are anointed with the Holy Spirit of the Living God. We have not just received “an anointing” but the real, live anointing of Jesus Christ. And the Holy Spirit gives us power to live out our calling. As believers, we are all called. She encouraged us that our calling is between us and God, and no one else. No one else can put it on us or work it out in us. And when we are true to work out our unique calling with God through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will never have to be jealous of anyone else. Isn’t that awesome!? We will never have to look to someone and want what they have if we are if we are surrendered to God’s unique plan in our life.

Beth said in this day of tweeting, she is still committed to deep teaching, and was faithful to deliver that. But there were three great one-liners I have to share:


“Jesus is the best thing that has ever made me crazy!”

“When our passion exceeds our fear, we can do anything in Jesus’ name.”

“If you don’t believe in a God of wonders, WHAT BIBLE ARE YOU READING?!”

Can I get an “Amen”?!

My takeaway from Nashville was more than the teaching. It was the living proof of what I saw behind the scenes. I heard many words from the stage and from my companions, but it was the private prayers I glimpsed that I heard the loudest. What leads to victory is not striving, but surrender. That gold is ours to receive, and it’s found in that time on our knees, in that time in the Word expectant to find treasure, in that time of quiet when we can hear that call, and in those moments of trust when we follow that voice. For anyone who walks in victory, it’s in those private moments of training when the gold is won. Those private moments of prayer and Scripture are what bring to life the champion…that Champion who lives in us.


“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35 NIV)

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One…” (1John 2:20 NIV).

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. (1 Cor 9:24-26 NLT)

“For You meet him with the blessings of good things; You set a crown of fine gold on his head.” (Psalm 21:3 ESV)