In July 2016, I had a complete colectomy which resulted in an ostomy bag. I was 25 years old, single, and I now used the bathroom through a bag attached to my abdomen.

I made my mind up that I was NOT going to date until I had a second surgery to get the bag removed. Because who would want to date someone that wasn’t whole, and had this abnormality? Talk about awkward first date convo.

I thought if I was in control of my dating life, or lack there of, then I could protect myself from future pain and rejection.

Without realizing it, I put God in a box. Crazy right? The almighty, creator of the universe, was now being pushed into a tiny, self constructed box that I made for Him.

Funny thing is, you can’t put God in a box.

See God doesn’t exist to be placed in the boxes we build. He exists to feed the 10,000, part the Red Sea, turn water into wine, defeat death, light up darkness, and save our souls.

I find it ironic looking back on past seasons of my life at all the different boxes I have tried to put Him in. It’s easy to talk about how big our God is when life is rainbows and butterflies. But are we as quick to declare how gigantic and mighty God is when things shift from good to difficult?

I think real faith, the kind of faith that God desires, comes from announcing His greatness, even when it’s not so easy.

Through this season of life, God taught me a valuable lesson on where He belongs. He belongs on the throne, not in the container I tried to shove Him in.

So open up the box. Tear it apart, and let the Savior of the world have free reign in your  life. Don’t rob yourself of the blessings God has in store for you.

Because who knows, one day you might be on a first date at Starbucks with someone who doesn’t see your flaws. Someone who can love you deeply, because they love God the most. And there will be no other explanation for it, except that God sent them directly to you at the exact right moment in time. Then when that person asks you to to do life with them forever, you will be so glad you let God out of the box. 

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4


I am a Christian, and I am a follower of Jesus. However, two weeks ago I drove to a town an hour away from my home to have a meeting with a Jewish Rabbi.

Have you ever felt like you needed to do something, and you simply could not rest until  it was done? Have you ever felt like a complete weirdo while you were doing it? I have.

An overwhelming curiosity arose within me recently, and caused me to evaluate the common ground that lies between Christians and Jews. I wondered how we could have such an important theology in common, monotheism, believing that there is one true God, and that He made us and everything around us; Yet, be so different at the same time.

So many things line up between us. Except one thing, the most important thing, the belief that Jesus is The Messiah or “The Anointed One.”

There are so many beautiful things about Judaism. The way they exalt God, and honor Him by keeping His laws is truly awe inspiring. The Rabbi described God as this, “When I open my eyes in the morning I see God. God is the knowledge I have learned. He is everywhere, all the time, all at once.” People of the Jewish faith dedicate years of their life going to Torah school to learn Hebrew, and memorize God’s word. There is something about their discipline that fascinates me, and humbles me.

I often wonder how different my life would be if I, as a Christian, would have spent more of my time being that disciplined.

I thought God was taking me to a Jewish Temple to learn more about Judaism. After all Jesus was born Jewish, and I claim to be one of His followers. I did learn, a lot. However, I think the real lesson God was trying to teach me was on obedience.

God clearly states in Mark 12 that the two greatest commandments are to first love God, and second to love our neighbors. How can we truly love our neighbors if we do not take the time to understand them?

Did I feel crazy going to meet with a Rabbi? You bet. Was it uncomfortable sharing my faith about Jesus, whom I believe in the depths of my soul is the one true Messiah who came to save the world, with someone who strongly rejects this claim? ABSOLUTELY.

I think sometimes God wants us to obey Him even when we are confused. He wants us to become comfortable sharing our faith in extremely uncomfortable situations. Does God call us to stay in our comfort zones? No, He doesn’t.

Will anything ever come from my two and a half hour long meeting with my new friend the Rabbi? Maybe. Maybe not. One thing that did transpire was me getting out of my Christian bubble. It caused me to realize not everyone believes the way I do. It made my heart break for the 8,000 Jewish individuals who live one hour from me who may not have a personal relationship with Jesus.

It caused me to be thankful that even though He knew many would reject Him, Jesus died a brutally horrific and painful death to know ALL OF US.

So I want to challenge my fellow Christian brothers and sisters, “be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” LOVE YOUR NEIGHBORS. Get to know them, especially if they are different than you. And if God stirs up something inside of you, leading you to email a Rabbi that you don’t know, DO IT. You will be so glad you did.





When God Feels Far Away

A lot of people find it odd when I tell them I love studying the book of Lamentations. No joke ya’ll I’ve read the book 50+ times. I also used to listen to Green Day in high school (lol)… I find myself especially drawn to this book when I am searching for God. Does anyone else ever do that, search for God?

It sounds bizarre that someone who loves God, and believes in God to the very depths of her soul would have to go and search for Him.

But sometimes God just feels far away. 

So the back story on Lamentations is, Jerusalem is falling. When I say falling, I really mean it is burning to the ground, people are getting stabbed to death, and possibly eating other people, (And you thought your life was a mess, ha!) The author of this book, which is likely Jeremiah, spends a lot of time talking about pain, sorrow, and death.

Then comes my favorite part in Lamentations 3:22-24

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.”

Ya’ll people are dying. The city is burning to the ground. Yet, I picture the author of this book sitting in the street, maybe fallen to his knees, amidst all the dirt and grime, and ugliness, and sorrow… and he still recognizes that God is who He says He is.

I think that’s why God says, “Be still and KNOW.” Sometimes, right in the middle of your loneliness, depression, and confusion you just need to be still and prophesy some truth.

You can say it out loud like you really mean it, or you can say it out loud until you mean it. “God, I know you are here. I know you love me. I know you are good.”

It’s normal to feel like God is far away sometimes. Whether you are in a hospital, at work, at a funeral, or in the middle of a praise and worship sesh at your church…

You aren’t a bad person, and you aren’t a bad christian. 

I think that’s what Jeremiah had to do. In the middle of it all, the pain, the sorrow, and the despair he had to stop and speak some truth. He had to be still, and say it out loud. His soul knew the truth. His brain just needed to hear it.

So if you’re reading this and you’re searching for God, if you’re feeling alone and without hope, and like God is out of reach and far away, speak out loud what your heart already knows.

And sometimes, if you are still enough, you might just hear Him whisper back, “I AM WITH YOU. I DO LOVE YOU. I AM GOOD.”




I was visiting a church one time. I heard someone that I was sitting with literally say, “Wow, (insert woman’s name here), should have re-thunk that dress. She looks huge.”

Are you kidding me?….

When did we, as Christians, become so self righteous? When did we start fooling ourselves into believing that we are superior to any other human? I say we because I too, am guilty of passing judgment.

It doesn’t end with hateful comments about someone’s appearance inside the church walls. It’s like we are promoting the lie that says, “You have to clean yourself up before you can come to church.” We look down upon “the big sins,” but then we forget the commandment in the bible that says, “love your neighbor as yourself.”

We become comfortable in our little bubble we call church, and sometimes we make anyone outside those church walls feel like just that, outsiders.

I want to point out Galatians 6:1-2, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (NIV)

Restore that person gently. Carry each other’s burdens.

We need to get uncomfortable. We need to get outside of our bubble, and out of our comfort zones. We are not called to be comfortable. We are called to love, even when it’s hard. Instead of throwing stones let’s build each other up. Let’s all stop trying to increase by seeing others decrease.

Sinners have no right to judge other sinners, only God can do that.

What is it inside of us that makes us feel better about ourselves by pointing out someone else’s sins? Does it make us feel less guilty about our own? We all sin. Don’t make someone feel like an outsider because they sin differently than you.

Those people that we are trying to keep on the outside are the very people we need to be the hands and feet of Jesus to.

I’m not saying that we should condone sin. I’m saying we need to be gentle, and help carry the weight. 

Jesus suffered a horrific crucifixion so that EVERY HUMAN could receive forgiveness. Those people that we are so desperate to exlude and forget about, the ones that have those “big sins,” JESUS DIED FOR THEM TOO.

The thing about Jesus is, He offers grace. The thing about grace is, none of us deserve it. Seek out those people that are different from you, and be gentle to them.

Stop judging people and start loving them.



I stood there looking in the mirror, after showering, zoning in on that one thing. The thing I carry with me now, every. single. day.

All I could focus on was the flaw, the scar, the constant reminder that my body isn’t whole anymore. I felt disgusted.

We all have that, thing don’t we?

Sometimes we just don’t feel pretty. We become consumed, obsessed even, with what is wrong with us. I could tell you that, “what’s on the inside is what counts” or “beauty is only skin deep,” but sometimes that doesn’t ease that gut wrenching, I want to stay in my room and hide, kind of pain you feel about your thing. Instead, i’m going to say to you,

“Don’t dwell on it” 

God spoke to me directly through David Crowder. I was on my way to work, and I was feeling all kinds of pitiful. I felt like my thing was displayed as a scarlet letter A on my forehead. So during my morning praise session, I heard a song that I’ve heard at least 100 times, “How He Loves,” and something just clicked. Does that ever happen to you? You hear something over and over, and then the Holy Spirit just moves in your heart, and you finally get it. 

It’s like my internal spiritual light bulb came on when I heard the words, “…and all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.” Right then, God looked down on me and said, “Sweet child, Don’t dwell on it.” 

I don’t know if you’ve ever looked up the definition of the word eclipsed (probably not), but it basically means “to block out,” or “to outshine.” All those afflictions that overwhelm you, and make you dislike (or even hate) yourself, those things can’t outshine God’s glory.


The things you wear like a scarlet A, God doesn’t see those. When He looks at you, those things are quite literally blocked out by grace. 

We don’t deserve what Jesus did for us. But it’s free.

You are one decision away from either dwelling on the things you don’t like about yourself, or dwelling on Jesus.

The Apostle Paul said it best, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” If you don’t believe me, believe Paul.

You’ve got to fix your focus. So much is right about you. It isn’t worth the tears, pain, or another minute’s thought. It does not compare to the light of Christ Jesus shining through you. Not even close.

Get excited, because you are enough, and you are beautiful. You have THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE radiating through that body of yours.

I challenge you, next time you look in the mirror, let your focus be Jesus. Don’t let those things eclipse the sacrifice He made on Calvary for you.

So, sweet child, DON’T DWELL ON IT.

If you think you can’t, you’re exactly right.

Life is tough. Sometimes fear consumes us. It paralyzes us, and tells us that we can’t possibly conquer life’s curve balls. It makes us believe that we are not capable of dealing with whatever difficulty lies in front of us.

  • I can’t be single. I’ll be lonely.
  • I’m afraid of what they will think.
  • I’m not pretty enough.
  • What if I try and fail and look stupid.
  • How will I live with this? My life is so different than I wanted it to be.


That fear and all those excuses are Satan. Satan is the master of deception. He wants to drain every ounce of hope, and strength from your weak flesh. He wants to paralyze you so as to keep you from moving forward and spreading the light.

Well folks, if you think you can’t, you’re exactly right. You can’t conquer the storms of life. You can’t turn rain and clouds into sunshine. YOU CAN’T FIX IT. Not alone. You were not made to carry that burden by yourself.

Those dark nights full of gut wrenching pain or agony or self doubt were not meant to be spent alone. You aren’t supposed to pace the cold tile floors of that hospital biting your nails by yourself. You shouldn’t be sitting in a corner alone clinging to the hem of your sweater. God is in your corner friend. You weren’t meant to carry the weight of the world on your fragile human shoulders. Don’t take on that burden. We were created with a desire and empty spot in our hearts and souls. You were made with a void that can only be filled by our creator.

Don’t weigh yourself down. Don’t let Satan keep you from moving. Don’t let him rob you of God’s blessings. Don’t let him dull your light, the ultimate light that pushes out all darkness and shadows and hurt.

Life can most certainly break you. Its okay to be broken. Embrace it. Asking for help isn’t weak. That’s being STRONG. Look at pain in the face and say, “Nope not today Satan! Back on up.”

You are being broken down so you can be built back stronger. You are learning to love differently. To worship in a greater way. YOU ARE BEING CHANGED INTO SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL AND NEW AND FIERCE. I can’t help but think about the wise words of Paul in the bible,

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

(2 Corinthians 12:10)

How wonderful would it be to take joy in our struggles? To think, “Hey this is a chance for God to make me better, wiser, stronger….new again.” It is a chance to feel the most perfect peace you have ever know. And that friends, is something to get excited about. How lucky are we that the creator of the universe desires to help carry the load? He wants so badly for you to say “God, I can’t. Not without you.” He wants to be your father AND your best friend.

Don’t sit in there alone. God is in your corner. You can’t save yourself from the brokenness. Only God can do that. Be bold. Be fierce. And let that light shine so bright that everyone around you will need sunglasses.


Unending Love, Amazing Grace.

My chains are gone. I’ve been set free. My God, my savior has ransomed me, and like a flood his mercy reigns unending love, amazing grace.”

That song got me through many nights at the hospital this summer. It, along with Dr. Naguib, Dr. Rollhauser, Dr. Russ, My tireless parents and sister Tim Diane and Stacia who made sure I was never alone, my cousin Sharon who made sure I was checked on and had dinner every night, countless friends and visitors and co-workers, all the nurses of the 11th floor of UT Medical Center (shout out to Lisa, Andrea, and Jessie), the ambulance drivers who waited patiently with me for answers, the ER and Trauma doctors who gave me hope, the staff of UT Medical ICU, and countless other beautiful souls are all the reason I am here today. However, the most important reason i’m here is God’s grace. He saved me this summer. So here is my testimony, how I got through surgery, and how I’m doing now.

It all started on Memorial Day morning. A scary ambulance ride to UT medical that I didn’t think I would survive. My parents scared to death called 911 for a passed out daughter who was unresponsive on the kitchen floor. The paramedics couldn’t get a blood pressure reading or pulse and I was blacking out. I remember looking at Will who was anxiously trying to start an IV in the back of the ambulance and saying, “Am I going to make it, am I going to be okay?”…Then everything went black again. I couldn’t see I couldn’t move but I could hear Will’s words. He prayed over me the entire ride to Knoxville. As my dad and the ambulance driver made the decision to go straight to UT because life star was not available due to fog. Will prayed. Flying down Chapman highway I held on to Will’s words and I held on to God. I didn’t believe I would ever come home from that ambulance ride and that scared me. Next comes UT ER….

We made it to the hospital. The trauma team was waiting for me and i’m convinced God placed that doctor in path. They started IV fluids, blood transfusions, and I  began to wake up and realize my surroundings in less than a half hour. I’ve never seen a team work that fast. the trauma doctor, not worried about the risks, pulled her medical gloves off grabbed my hand and held it as I cried. The nurse nervously asked why are you taking your gloves off why are you doing that? The doctor simply replied, “Right now holding her hand is more important”…and she held my hand as I received the fluids and blood and woke up. I’ll never forget that moment with that doctor.

I woke up to the UT ICU and a very scared mom, dad, and sister. I remained there for a few days, then I was moved to the 11th floor. This is where I met Dr. Naguib. It was a Tuesday morning. I had lost blood all through the night and passed out that morning. Dr. Naguib decided to send me back to the ICU. I called my parents who both raced to the hospital. All the while Naguib never left my bedside. Round two of the ICU. They send me for a ct scan and several xrays of my colon to find the source of bleeding. I received blood transfusions and fluids in the meantime and the nurses prayed with me and my mom by day and encouraged me and my dad through our sleepless worry filled nights. Then I met Dr. Russ….

Dr Russ was introduced to me by my gi physician Dr Rollhauser. My heart sank with his news. Surgery was now an option. Dr Rollhauser wanted him on my case in the event that my colon did not stop bleeding and I had to have it removed. He was the “we will contact you in the middle of the night if her colon rips open” guy. I was afraid of him. I turned pale white when he told me the things he may have to do. My mother looked as if she had seen a ghost and my sister cried. My dad came back down and I couldn’t even speak because I was in shock. It was a very silent night. We finally received the news that my colon had no tears or rips or anything, and with antibiotics and prednisone I was soon moved back to the 11th floor under my gi’s care. No surgeon in sight.

I spent my birthday at UT Medical, was taken off the antibiotics and sent home several weeks after all this first transpired. My mother nursed me back to health and we were on what we believed to be the road to recovery. However, I didn’t get better….. I got worse. The blood came back and an ambulance again drove me to UT ER. Its July 19th now and i’m very sick with a doctor who is on vacation to Argentina. I am sent for another ct scan, blood work, urine samples, and no answers for about 30 hours. Finally I am sent to a waiting room while waiting on a hospital room to come available. Me my mother, father, and sister all anxiously wait…and we wait…. and finally we are given the news “Amber is positive for c diff and has a UTI” or (c difficile colitis)…. C diff is evil…it is a bacteria that can get in your colon and cause nausea, pain, and diarrhea being the main symptom. It is caused by over exposure to antibiotics but yet it is treated with guess what? The strongest most awful antibiotic ever. Vancomycin. Oh and by the way its contagious through contact and the medicine used to treat UTI’s makes it worse…so now no one can touch me or anything I’ve touched and I have to go into isolation..

So here I am with blood coming from my colon through bowel movements that cant be stopped because I can’t get backed up with infection. I’m shortly moved to the 11th floor again and my parents once again never leave my side. Sanitizing and scrubbing everything in my path and watching me suffer through the vancomycin, pain medicine, antibiotics for my UTI that are making my c. diff worse, and frequent bowel movements every few moments filled with blood. All the while my doctor is in Argentina. Until his return I was placed under the care of his partner. This doctor said if I turn the corner over the weekend I should be well in a week and on my way home. WRONG… Dr Rollhauser returns on Monday from his vacation and says I have 48 hours. In walks Dr. Russ….

Dr. Russ meets with us and Dr Rollhauser late Monday evening. We made a game plan as i sat with my family and my best friend Katie, clinging to my hospital bed in pain, we made a plan. We said we would give my body 48 hours to fight this infection or we would remove my colon via surgery with Dr Russ. I then…very heavily medicated made all the doctors, family members, and Katie pray with me. Katie held my c diff infected hand and my mother wept on my father. My surgeon respectfully bowed his head and then the doctors left. I was left with my parents to try to fight this off and I only had 48 hours to do it. I tried to eat. I tried to be strong. I took everything that you could take….Yet, the blood and infection continued.

Then God stepped in. I gave all control to him. I prayed harder than I have ever prayed in my life. I was praying for my life. I was loosing blood, I was showing no improvement and the infection had diseased my entire colon. I sat in the bathroom and God spoke to me right then and there as my head hung low from being in pain. He told me I had to have the surgery. I grabbed my mothers hand and I said mom call the surgeon. She looked at me and said “You don’t have to do this we can fight a little longer and ill be here the entire time.” I told her God was saving my life an that my colon needed to be removed. Dr. Naguib then came back, he consulted with colleagues, held my hand, consoled my parents and talked with Dr Russ. He again never left my bedside even though he wasn’t my assigned doctor. He said that he never had children and this summer I had become like a daughter to him and he would be there through it all…. and he was… we made a lifelong friend in Dr. Naguib that day… Its July 27th now and mom called Dr  Russ. Dr Russ came in and said “I’ve been watching your case all week I’ll have you in surgery tomorrow. ” I was scared. I was scared of surgery. I was scared of everything. But then I remembered who was in charge…. I remembered who the real physician was and whose hands I was in. I remember who had got me to that day. It was God the whole time. He lead me to that very moment.

July 28th was surgery day. It was my last day with my diseased colon and the day I had a 4 hour long procedure to have it removed. My Crohn’s Disease and C diff had taken its tole on my body and I was ready to feel better. So Dr. Russ comes to get me, I make some Grey’s anatomy jokes and then its surgery time. I made it through with no complications! Praise God for a great surgeon who was there for me and my family during the entire process. Who prayed with us and made sure he did everything in his power to make me better.

The surgeon told us after the procedure my colon was a lot more inflamed, thin, and diseased than we had anticipated. The damage had started before the c diff came. Any moment my colon could have torn  or burst and the bacteria would have spread through my entire body. I didn’t have 48 hours… and God knew that. He told me that. He saved my life again. He saved me from what could have been an awful situation. So now I begin my life with no colon.

I feel free. I feel healthy. I spend way less time in the bathroom you guys ;)…..I’m finding my new version of normal with as much family, friends, and Jesus as possible. So when I sing “My chains are gone I’ve been set free” It takes on an entire new meaning. I’m no longer waited down by diseased organs and Crohn’s disease. God has granted me his “Unending love and amazing grace”….grace to live my life as an example to live for him and be what I was always meant to be. To live healthy and disease free.

As for now. I’m recovering. I’m blessed, The surgeon said once I am healed he could do a reversal surgery and everything would go back to normal, a lot of people do not have this option so I am forever grateful God is giving it to me and that I will have “normal” bowel function as of next summer. Between now and then I will heal. I’ll take time to listen to God when he speaks. To reflect and remember where he has brought me from. Focus on the chains that are gone and the grace that has been granted. Praise God for leading. Leading the doctors, my family, my friends, nurses and countless others. Leading me here and to today.

I am so blessed and I will never forget what God has done for me. I know people say that God saves them daily, but I have now seen first hand God save me from an awful situation and made a way for me to live a normal and happy life with him walking by me and filling me with his peace everyday forever! God is so much more than someone we just go to with our burdens and temporary concerns he is truly the ultimate physician and our almighty savior and I am forever grateful that he has saved me and healed me. So for now I’m living my new life with the help of my family and so many others, and I feel as if i’m truly on the road to recovery. Until next time! 🙂

(Thank you to everyone who has visited, called, text, fb messaged, prayed etc. I’ll never be able to repay you all for the love and support)