Friday, March 7, 2014


I was sitting in my night class at church when the professor started talking about covenants. He said that, on our wedding day, we begin creating our legacy.  Our "I do's" have a purpose, plan and destiny in the eyes of God. Wow...

On our wedding day, we come to the altar with dreams. We want the house with the white picket fence, a couple of kids and a dog. That's the American dream, right? My husband and I talked about that stuff.  But, where's the conversation about the legacy?  How come this is the first time I'm realizing this?  We got married almost eight years ago and never once did we sit down and say, "OK, now that we're married, let's plan our legacy".

A legacy is defined as one of three things:  something handed down from one generation to another, money or property left in a will, or how you'll be remembered.

For me, how I'll be remembered is the important one.  Sure, I want to leave our kids an inheritance and some nice material things they can pass on to the generations that follow.  Isn't how they'll remember me far more important, though?  Isn't that what passes on to them and what they'll pass on to their children?

The thing about this type of legacy is, we typically don't think about it.  We live, we die and those that remain are left with memories and lessons learned.  Some of these lessons we meant to teach and others we didn't.  But, they got taught anyway.

My brother and I got an inheritance and some special things from our parents when they passed.  Far more importantly, we have what we learned from them.  There's the legacy. That was the greatest gift they passed down to us.  I just never labeled it.  I wondered if they ever gave it any thought.  Knowing our parents and taking into account their generation and culture, they didn't.  They simply lived it.  

I've heard pastors say that our children are our number one disciples.  Sounds like the perfect start to creating a legacy. 

What do I want to be remembered by?  That's simple:

I loved Jesus with reckless abandon and I lived my life to serve Him. 

If my family sees me living for the Lord, I've created my legacy.

"We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders...
...So the next generation might know them—even the children not yet born—and they in turn will teach their own children.  So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting His glorious miracle and obeying His commands."—Psalm 78:4, 6-7

Friday, November 22, 2013


I’ve been grieving for close to two days now.  No, no one died.  I cut my hair.  Some of you are thinking this is pretty ridiculous but for me, it isn’t.  My hair has been a very big deal for me for quite some time now.  But now it’s gone.  Not all gone but I can’t feel it on my neck anymore.  I’m a little cold, actually. 

So I sit here, grieving.  I try to understand why I’m devastated by this decision.  It’s not like it won’t grow back.  It’s not like today won’t be a distant memory by next summer when it’s up in a ponytail at the beach again. 

No, this isn’t a post about my hair.  It’s a post about how I’ve defined myself for far too long.  I’m a week away from turning 38 and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been defined by my weight.  Growing up, I was the chubby girl no one wanted to sit with in the cafeteria.  I still feel like that now some days.  So I make sure my hair looks really good and my accessories look great so maybe no one notices my weight problem.

I let the numbers on the scale define me daily.  Although I’ve lost 73 pounds, I’m 25 pounds from my goal weight.  I get on the scale every morning, see I haven’t lost any more weight, and I get in the shower devastated. I berate myself.  I get consumed with worry about what others are thinking as they look at me.   

And, now my hair is short.  What are people going to say when they see me now?

And then, God speaks.  I love it when He checks me.  He gives me clarity and revelation and suddenly, everything is OK.  Clear as day, I heard his voice reminding me of two things.

First: I’m His. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I’m not defined by the numbers on the scale or the length of my hair or the size of the necklace and earrings I’m wearing.  But, I am defined by one very important word—His.  That’s right, I’m His.  His creation.  His daughter.    

Second: My concern should not be what people think when they see my outward appearance.  I should be concerned with whether or not they’re seeing the love of Jesus Christ through me.  Are they seeing His love in how I interact with my husband, my children and anyone I encounter? 

I should be defined by my love for Him and all He has created which includes me. 

Today I stand firm on God's word.  I stand firm in the knowledge that He created me exactly the way I am.  I stand firm in the knowledge of a love so deep, so intense, I’m overwhelmed by it.  I stand firm in knowing what’s important—showing others this love. 

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."—Psalm 139:13-15

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight."— 1 Peter 3:3-4

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Prodigal Son

“So I guess being an Italian girl from Jersey, you’re Catholic, right?”  Wow, that’s quite a question being that I just met this guy when he sat next to me on a flight from Charlotte to Norfolk…even better was his response when I told him I was a born again Christian.  “Born again?  Really?  What made you do that?”  Who is this guy?  Don’t get me wrong, I loved that he asked.  It gave me the opportunity to share part of my testimony so he could see God’s grace.  But, pretty bold for someone I don’t know.

The fact is, there are plenty of people in my life who are wondering the same thing.  Some have asked and I love it!  But, I know there are others in my life who would love to ask but don’t really know how. 

I will admit, before I was saved, I didn't understand it.  I never heard of ‘being saved’ and ‘born again’ until I moved to Virginia.  I made a bunch of unfair assumptions.  I didn't really want to hear what people had to say about being saved.  I was raised Catholic.  I knew about God.  I prayed.  So, why did I need to be saved?  What’s funny to me now is I don’t understand why everyone else isn't saved. 

I could easily share my testimony.  But, that would be a long, long post.  If you’re interested in the whole story, reach out to me.  I’d love to share it with you.

Synopsis:  my marriage was much less than I was hoping for, I was angry, impatient and disrespectful.  I was not a good wife, not a good mother.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn't out plotting crimes or intentionally hurting those I love but, I wasn't playing the by the rules, either.  I went to Wave Church to save my marriage.  I had no idea I’d get saved, too.  I met Jesus Christ one day during a women’s service and I accepted His gift of salvation.  I changed dramatically.  I became less angry, more patient and showed people the respect they deserved.  I started to forgive and forget as the bible teaches, and I started making a conscious effort to show people the love Jesus teaches us to show.  I was delivered from the things that were ruining me.  This all happened once I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior (being saved) and was subsequently baptized (born again).  Slowly but surely, my marriage was restored. 

But is my testimony really enough for people?  I've been saved for two years now.  Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder why people don’t give their lives over to Jesus.  I just can’t wrap my head around it.  Don’t they want what I and so many others have?  Don’t they want true peace that runs deep into their souls?  Don’t they want to experience truly unconditional love, redemption, forgiveness, happiness, and joy?  The list could go on and on.  What is it about being born again that makes some people so uncomfortable?   
It was a few things for me.  I wonder if it’s similar for you…

  • Fear of losing your “freedom”.  What I think you aren't realizing is, you’re far from free.  You’re enslaved.  You’re a slave to sin and the shame that comes with it.  You’re in bondage.  Freedom comes from redemption.  Freedom comes when you surrender your life to the one who created it.  Freedom comes when you stop living in the lie that you’re happy and you realize the true happiness of living your life the way it was created for you to live it.  Freedom comes from your salvation.  You’re being held captive until you let Jesus in and allow Him to pull you to safety, to freedom. 

  • Shame and fear that your sordid passed is so bad, you’re not worthy of the gift of salvation and forgiveness.  Something that is constantly repeated in church is “Shame off you”.   When I first heard that, it blew my mind wide open.  I had never heard those words before.  Shame off you?  Really?  What a concept.  I thought God was vengeful and that the punishment for my sins would be so great, I couldn't handle facing it.  This is what I had been taught.  There I was at 35, learning there was no shame.  That nothing I've done was so bad that God couldn't forgive me for it.  That God had already forgiven me for it.  All I had to do was repent and accept that forgiveness.  All I had to do was accept the gift of freedom from the chains that bound me.

So now, I pose a question to you.  What is it?  What’s the reason you won’t give your life over in full surrender and accept Jesus Christ into your life and heart as your savior?
I leave you with this final story.  You probably know it well.  It’s the parable of the prodigal son.  (Luke 15:11-32)  In a nutshell, the son made some serious mistakes and lost his inheritance.  He came back with his tail tucked between his legs expecting his father to condemn him. Instead, his father prepared a huge feast for him and celebrated his return.  

This is what God, our father, does for us when we return to Him.  He and all the heavens celebrate our return.  We distance ourselves from Him.  We squander away our inheritance of the Kingdom of God and think we've gone too far to ever turn back.  But, forgiveness is ours.  We just have to accept it.

…to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven. — Luke 1:76-77
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:7

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Letting go...

The twins may as well be monkeys.  They climb on everything with no trouble.  However, when they try to get down, they get about two inches off the floor and start asking for help. I was telling our nanny about this and how, when they start asking for help, I tell them: “Just let go, you’ll be OK”.
She looked at me and said:  “I’m sure there’s a sermon in there somewhere”.  Well that hit me like a freight train.  It’s so funny when God uses your kids (and their nanny) to teach you a lesson.  
Letting go is my greatest struggle.  Those of you who know me are well aware that I’m a control freak.  I talk about being so strong in my faith.  My daughter’s middle name is Faith.  I claim Hebrews 11:1 as my scripture.  I have a ton of faith when it comes to other people’s trials.  So, how come I can’t exercise that same faith when it comes to my own trials?  Why do I have to get in God’s way and try to fix everything myself? 
My best friend was saved long before me.  I remember sending her emails about stuff that I was going through, looking for advice.  She’d always tell me to let go and let God.  What does that even mean?  I’d look at her emails and be so confused. 
Now I’m learning and growing more each day and I understand more about what she meant.  I learned a lot about it during my pregnancy with the twins. I suffered through major anxiety.  That was when I started on my path to Jesus.  I started reading the bible and praying whenever I felt anxious.  I learned about leaving your cares at the foot of the cross and praying for peace.  I still do that with some things but, not with all of them. 
As we go through life, we trust so many people.  Think about it.  When we fly, for instance, we trust the pilots, people we don’t even know, with our lives.  So, why get scared or have to be in control of things instead of just handing them over to our Creator?  What makes me think I can handle something better than God?  It’s our job to cast our cares on Him and His job to take care of us.  So, why don’t we just do it?  Lack of faith.
Fear is lack of faith.  Anxiety is lack of faith.  Concern is lack of faith. 
I’m slowly learning about the complete surrender of my life to Jesus.  This includes, leaning into Him when anything, no matter how big or small I think it is, and knowing He will come through for me.
Most recently, God taught me several lessons all rolled into one neat little package.  The biggest lesson, though, was to trust in Him.  I had something to share with someone I deeply love.  I was riddled with anxiety over it.  I was nauseous the day it was going to all come out.  I tried to fight it.  I tried to talk myself out of it until I realized, I wasn’t having faith in my God.  The same God that got me through being abused as a child, the One that got me through being abused as an adult, the One that got me through losing both my parents far too early, the One that got me through my struggle with infertility and gifted me the most beautiful children.  In this moment, I was lacking faith in this God. 
You see, what I was about to share with this person was serious enough that it could’ve, at minimum, damaged the relationship, at worst, ended the relationship.  Granted, I was going to share this information out of an act of obedience.  God told me I had to come clean.  But, in order to be obedient, I had to trust.  I had to trust the one and only person that has ALWAYS been there to take care of me.  Why wasn’t I willing?  FEAR.  And, again, fear is lack of faith.
So, what did I do?  I was obedient.  I had faith.  I came clean.  And I was met with God's grace.  I saw a glimpse of Jesus in this person.  It was a beautiful, unexpected gift.  And, as usual, God took care of me, He took care of us. 
I have made a choice.  I’ve chosen to surrender my life to Jesus Christ.  I’ve chosen to live for Him with reckless abandon.  That means, no matter what He asks, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me, no matter how much fear I want to feel, my life will be put into His hands.  I will have the faith of a child.  Just like the twins have to believe me when I tell them to let go because they’ll be OK, I have to believe in my Heavenly Father when He tells me to let go because, as long as I have Him, I’ll always end up OK, too.
What are you holding on to?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. — Philippians 4:6
The Message Bible starts the verse like this:
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray…

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


When was the last time you showed someone love (outside of your family)?  When I say ‘show someone love’ I mean instead of judgment or condemnation.  When was the last time you showed a complete stranger acceptance instead of making assumptions about who they are?
It’s human nature to see someone and immediately condemn them for what we see, even without knowing a thing about their story.  We so easily forget that we are all the way we are because of something.  Some person or some event made us who we are.  Perhaps it was not feeling loved by a parent, being abused by someone physically, emotionally or sexually, being made fun of for our weight or looks, a spouse that went out for milk and never came back, the passing of someone we loved deeply.  When was the last time you took any of that into account?
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of judgment and condemnation.  It’s also very easy to fall into the trap of gossip.  And, how quickly we feel hurt and betrayed when someone does it to us yet we can’t wait to get together with certain friends to get the dirt on other people. What do we gain by doing this?
An even better question would be:  What would the world be like if we all stopped judging each other and started loving each other instead?
Sure, people would think you were crazy but, so what?  I’m willing to bet you’d make someone’s day.  Imagine walking into DMV and greeting the person behind the desk with a great big smile and a “good morning!”  Or, the next time you’re with your “gossipy” friends—you know you have them—you ask them to stop gossiping or you politely opt out of the conversation because you’re uncomfortable with it.  Sure, at first they’ll probably judge you, too.  But, something else will happen.  You’ll have planted the seeds of what it’s like to do the right thing.  You’ll cause them to think about their actions and who they are.  This is called conviction.  When we get offended when someone calls us out, it’s most often because, deep down, we know we’re guilty and that’s a crummy feeling.  This conviction is just enough to cause a change, a ripple effect.  You can begin to change the world around you. 
I recently watched “The Bible” miniseries.  I was amazed by how the actor playing Jesus gave such an incredible visual of how Jesus loved.  The way He would look at people was amazing.  It was a love you could see and feel.  I’ve read it all in the Bible several times.  But to see it left me floored.  I would pause the TV just so I could stare at Him a little longer.  He looked people in the eye with love. 
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when the woman is caught committing adultery and she’s brought into town to be stoned.  Jesus says that the first person who is without sin can cast the first stone.  Of course, everyone disappears.  Then he looks at the woman and tells her to go back to her life and sin no more.  There was no judgment, no condemnation; no “I can’t wait to have dinner with the Apostles tonight so I can tell them what she did”. 
Jesus, the only man who ever lived without committing a single sin, who could’ve so easily cast the first stone, said to the woman: 
“Then neither do I condemn you.  Go now and leave your life of sin.”  John 7:11
This is the beauty of following Him:  forgiveness, no condemnation for our sin.  Who are we to judge and condemn each other? 
I have a challenge for you.  This week, try to show someone love like Jesus did.  Maybe it’s a waitress that’s less than pleasant while you’re out to eat, or praying for someone instead of judging them and talking about them. I think you’ll be surprised by the response you get and how you get treated in return.  You’ll also feel better about yourself.
Just remember, everyone has a story.  And, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we’re called to love one another. 
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. —John 13:34-35

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Hole

Do you ever have a feeling inside you, a void perhaps, that, no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to fill?  You know what I’m talking about, that emptiness, that feeling of not quite being 100% happy.  Or, maybe you’re happy around others but when you’re alone you just feel crummy? 

So, you drink, do drugs, take some prescription pills, shop, eat, have sex.  You may do some of these things or all of them.  And, while you’re doing them and shortly after, you feel great, euphoric even. I know because I’ve been there.  But what happens when you wake up the day after?  Or, a few days later?  Let me guess, you go out and do more of it, right?  Pop a few more Xanax, drink a little more, try some more of your friend’s pot or other drugs, throw caution to the wind and hook up with that guy or girl at the club. 

Now, what if I told you I had the perfect solution for you.  The answer to what you’re searching for and longing for.  Many of you may tell me to bottle it and sell it because I’d make millions.  I’m sure I’d catch your attention if I told you I could offer it to you for nothing, free, zip, zilch, nada.  You’d stop and listen then, no?  Well, I have that solution.  It’s so simple, many won’t believe me.  Are you ready for it?


One word, one being, one solution.  Don’t tune out, stay with me.  Let me tell you the story that changed my life, changed me as a woman, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend.

I’m very blessed to have a lot of wonderful people in my life.  There’s one woman in particular that has offered me a lot of guidance.  Her name is Michelle.  She’s an incredible woman and I am so much better for knowing her.  She told me the story of the “God shaped hole” one day and I was blown away.  Suddenly, everything made sense and nothing was the same after that. 

You see, we're all born with a God shaped hole inside.  We try to fill this hole with all sorts of stuff, sex, drugs, alcohol, spending money, whatever.  It works for a little while, but since what we’ve stuffed in there isn’t the right shape, it ends up slipping through the hole and we end up feeling empty again.  So, what do we do?  We have more sex, do more drugs, drink more, spend more and end up empty every time.  On top of that, people in our lives start to recognize the path we’re on and they get onto us.  Then, we end up feeling emptiness, anger and anxiety all together.  Not a good place to be. 

All this until, one day, if we know enough to do it, we turn to our creator.  He put this hole in us.  He put this thirst in us.  A hole that’ll never be filled, a thirst that will never be quenched until we submit to Him and give ourselves over to Him. 

Wow, that’s quite a statement, submit and give ourselves over.  I’m probably about to lose a bunch of you right now.  But again, I’m going to ask you to stay with me because there’s something very important you need to know about salvation and being reborn in Christ.  Are you ready for it?

You don’t have to give anything up. 

But you will gain everything.  Imagine waking up every morning with a feeling of peace and happiness inside.  True peace and true happiness, a feeling of fulfillment, lacking nothing.  An overwhelming feeling of being loved and taken care of.  An overwhelming feeling of hope.  When was the last time you felt that?

Imagine no longer needing to drink so much you black out, no longer needing to sleep around, no longer needing to pop a bunch of Xanax or smoke anything.  Doesn’t that sound exciting?  It probably also sounds unbelievable to some.  But, it’s true.  Once that God shaped hole gets filled with Him, the emptiness is gone.  He doesn’t slip through the hole like everything else did. 

So many people have this preconceived notion of what being reborn is.  I have what I like to call “my cup runneth over” moments.  I get so overwhelmed with the joy and peace I have inside me now that I don’t know what to do with myself.  When you become reborn, you don’t give anything up.  You will want to change the way you live because you’ll recognize that your old life just wasn’t good enough.  

You will no longer want for anything but Him.  You’ll see people differently. You’ll see situations differently.  You’ll see yourself differently.  And, the best part is, you’ll like what you see. 
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.— John 6:35 

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.— John 7:37

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Labels…not good enough, fat, ugly, clumsy, loud, mouthy.  I often joke about these labels but the jokes come from years of believing they all make me who I am.  I’m not playing the martyr card here, just stay with me. 
I told you in my first post about the rocks in my backpack.  I took them all out and forgave every person these rocks represented.  However, the damage had been done.  You know what I mean, that voice you just can’t get rid of.  That loud whisper in your head that tells you you’re not good enough or you can’t do something…why does this voice speak louder than the voice of God? I would think His voice would speak louder than any other.  But, once you’re damaged, it becomes who you are.  Or, does it? 
I realized I let myself become those things.  I let myself believe I wasn’t good enough.  I was so stuck on never being good enough, I didn’t even feel like a good enough Christian some days.  Well, guess what I learned?  I am good enough.  And, so are you.  You see, God created me.  He knows every single hair on my head.  He knew me before I was in my mother’s womb.  He loved me then, He was with me then and He loves me now and He is with me now. 
But, getting to this point hasn’t been easy.  I’ve let my past define me for a very long time.  To give all of that up, to no longer live behind the labels, was scary.  So I decided to start fighting. Fighting to release myself from all the things people had said to me, done to me and the things I had done.  I was fighting myself.  Until one day I realized, I was fighting a fight that had already been won. 
Jesus died on a cross for my sins.  He died on a cross for me.  The me that I defined as all those negative things, the ‘not good enough’ me…but He defines me as His—His creation, His child.  He fought the fight…and won.  Why was I still fighting?
Sure, those things had been said to me and about me.  But, one day, September 14, 2011, I took a stand, literally.  I stood up in church, believed in my heart and confessed with my mouth that Jesus was my Lord and Savior.  And, on another day, April 29, 2012, I came up out of the water, changed.  On that day, I was reborn, a child of God, a daughter of the King.
Now, don't misunderstand.  I didn't wake up on April 30 believing I was good enough.  But, I was, as I said above, changed.  I had an awareness that I never had before.  I had the knowledge that I was created by God for a reason.  That He had a will for me that was far greater than I had ever imagined.  That, with His grace, I could do anything.  The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead was the same Spirit that now lived in me.  This Spirit, His voice, now speaks louder than any other voice in my head.   And, I finally stopped fighting.
Labels…redeemed, forgiven, loved, saved, fearfully and wonderfully made, a child of God.  I like this list much better.
Therefore if any person is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!—2 Corinthians 5:17
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.—John 1:12-13