Fighting the Post-Thanksgiving Slump//Loving, Listening, Reading

I don’t know about you, but the days post-holidays are usually a slump for me. I am a big holiday girl so I often have to fight for the joy once the fun and excitement of the holidays have passed.

To do that, here’s a quick reflection on what I am loving, listening, and reading lately.

LOVING//It goes without saying, but I am L-O-V-I-N-G the holidays! For me, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I love traditions, snow, food, and family. I also love reflecting on the humble beginnings of Jesus. This season just begs me to slow down and remember (even though I am not so good at that!). It is such a special season in every sense.

LISTENING//I am so tempted to make this entire post dedicated to the holidays and say I am listening to Christmas music on repeat, but I won’t. Some of my favorites that are gracing my ears lately include Lauren Daigle’s newest album, Annie F. Down’s podcast That Sounds Fun, and Christy Nockel’s podcast Glorious in the Mundane. I also LOVE IF Lead’s Spotify playlist – SO GOOD. Love it even more that my son asks for his worship music at bed time!



READING//I always seem to be reading something, but my favorite favorite right now is Lysa TerKeurst’s newest book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. It is GOOD. Good because it is raw, vulnerable, and relatable…and GOD. I love reading and hearing the stories of others and how God is moving and working and this book definitely is one of those. If you know Lysa’s story, this book speaks to the hurt and redemption she has been walking through and is so, so moving. It is an incredible read and I am not even halfway through. Highly recommend!




I’m loving the book of Daniel! No wonder. It’s filled with history and that history is centered with the Middle East, present day Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Israel, as the setting. I’ve always been enamored with history! After just returning from my first visit to Israel (!!!), I’m trying to convince my husband to sell out, pack up and move to a little apartment in the Old City of Jerusalem!

old city of J

The Middle East had captured my attention long ago before I read Michener’s “The Source” or Leon Uris’s “Exodus”. As a little girl hearing Bible stories, I imagined a beautiful, orphan Jewish girl being chosen by the King of Persia (Iran) to be his wife and was sent into a daydream land.

The first chapter of Daniel is a set up for an ADDer to fall off the wagon! Can you begin to comprehend all that kid, Daniel, went through as he was ripped away from his sobbing, maybe screaming, mom and frantic dad? Just gathered up with a bunch of other young guys and transported 900 miles away! The strange language, dress, food, surroundings…he had to think it was a nightmare he’d wake up from in a few hours.

But it wasn’t, and he never saw his parents or family again. He never ran thru the streets of his city or thru the door into his cozy, warm home. He never walked up the Temple steps to enter into worship of the One True God with that community of believers again.

walls of OJ

Every component of life had changed overnight. From love, privilege, comfort and community he moved into a world of manipulation, compromise, intrigue, isolation, power plays and petty envy. He had the makings of a man at 15 or 16 years old and kudos to his parents for taking seriously their job description—- “Boys will be boys” was never part of their vocab!

From the first moments of this cruel fiasco, Daniel had resolve. He stood firm, he set his course, and he made up his mind that he would not compromise himself to appease any opposing entity for the sake of any favor or ease of life. He was devoted to living an honorable and principled life, but not because he had to check in every night with a committed mom or dad who waited up for him.

It was because he had a compassionate God whose eyes were looking down on him and whose power was working behind the scenes in the dim unknown on his behalf. He knew his God and was determined to do what was right and honoring to Him no matter the cost.

These few paragraphs introduce you to this man of God, Daniel. He is the author of this compelling Old Testament book. History and prophecy (some already fulfilled to the T!) are mixed almost equally in this book as far as genres go.

Daniel (of course inspired by the Spirit of God as all Biblical authors are) was a literary genius as far as his ability to describe the out-of-this-world visions he and others had. He was obviously a brilliant man with intellectual acuity and emotional maturity. He kept his head when others about him were losing theirs (as Rudyard Kipling wrote in “If”).

His security and identity were well-formed and imprinted into his person. He knew who he was and whose he was. He knew who loved him and wanted him versus who courted him and used him. He showed respect for authority that tried hard to usurped his Holy God’s authority. He practiced being courageous and developed that courage, when faced with death sentences by the sword or sharp claws of lions, that didn’t whimper or beg. Many begin strong but few end without scars of compromise and regrets over foolish decisions and self-centered sin.

Most of all, Daniel played to an audience of One. He cared first and foremost about his Father—the Heavenly One. Above all the kings he served, he obeyed and adored the Eternal One. He knew how to prioritize. Only one person gets to be “king of the mountain” at a time and Daniel knew who would never be pushed off His place as King of this world and the world to come.

On Wednesday mornings you’re welcomed to join the last week of our Daniel study. Its never too late to start! December 12th from 9-10am we’ll do a summary of the book of Daniel and from 10-11am we have a treat—-a local, lay astronomer will share her insights. We may even have some Christmas treats to compliment our coffee and tea! Remember child care is available!


Love INC: Our Local Impact Partner


Love INC, or Love In the Name of Christ, is the last of our local impact partners to introduce. If you haven’t learned about our other partners—Child Bridge and Family Promise—check out posts from November 5th and 11th to learn more about these ministries and how to get connected and serve.

Love INC‘s mission is “to mobilize local churches to transform lives and communities In the name of Christ.” Many churches find themselves being constantly contacted for need requests from individuals, families and groups. While each church seeks to meet these needs the best they can (if at all), they may not have the resources to do it well.

Instead of every church putting forth a makeshift effort to meet each need that knocks on its door, why not collaborate across the city and across denominations to serve people with our strengths? And know that resources we can’t provide are being offered by someone who can? Thanks to Love INC, bridges have been built between the people with the needs and the churches with resources.

For example, one Billings church has a system in place to repair automobiles–the space, the help, the tools. Another Billings church offers classes on budgeting and finances. Another church collects diapers, while another houses a food pantry. Why spread our resources thin when others can go above and beyond to do certain things well? Again, thank you to Love INC!!

So how does this all work? Love INC is a clearinghouse. People in need call Love INC. With patience and prayer, Love INC volunteers listen and respond with Christlike compassion to the situation at hand. After referencing their database of resources, they can refer the caller to the most appropriate place.

How can you help?

  • If you are made aware of needs, refer to Love INC! 406-206-5896
  • If you have a skill you’d like to share, contact Love INC and become a volunteer!  These skills can be nearly anything—computer programming, shopping, yard work, haircuts…

FaithE is filling a specific gap for washer and dryer needs. If you or someone you know is updating their appliances and willing to donate their used washer and dryer, please let us know! We have a relationship with a repair shop who can get them in best working order and ready to donate.

Also, if you would like to help contribute a “blessing basket” to accompany the appliances, this is another area of need! Individually or together with your family, coworkers, or life group, consider donating laundry items. We have previously blessed families with a laundry basket, detergent, dryer sheets, hangers, a devotional, journal, and cookies. There is room for creativity here! Contact me at

Christlike relationships can be transformative. While the receivers of these resources may not know Christ, they are able to be in relationship with those of us who do. Please consider how you can bring Christ to our community!

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15b

Family Promise: Our Local Impact Partner


Last week we began our series on FaithE’s Local Impact partners, starting with Child Bridge. Today we will continue the series as we highlight Family Promise (FP). FaithE has had a relationship with FP for many years as a “host” church, which you may be familiar with. In this role, the church provides a safe, non-judgmental place for families to stay to help FP fulfill its mission “to help homeless families achieve and sustain independence through a community response to homelessness.”

These families stay at the church for a week at a time, typically every 2-3 months. While these weeks are spearheaded by two amazing coordinators, many volunteers are needed to make this happen—to help set up beds, make or serve meals, lead activities with the kids, and just make the families feel known and welcomed. There are 25 other local churches helping to fulfill this mission, but as a selected “partner,” we want to go above and beyond for Family Promise.

Before going into specific needs the organization has, I think its important to paint a picture of how FP is nurturing homeless families towards sustained independence. While churches provide basic needs during the week to families in their emergency shelter, they spend the majority of their time at the Day Center. They wake early to start their days as they receive case management services and do things such as apply for jobs, receive mentoring, and look for housing.

With assistance, families save enough money for both a housing deposit and two month’s rent. After achieving this, they “graduate” from Family Promise’s intensive services, though follow-up can still occur through their transitional housing, Partners in Housing, and aftercare programs. 

It is in all this work that Family Promise focuses on providing compassion and accountability. Isn’t that the love our heavenly Father shows us? He pours out kindness and love while not neglecting to hold us responsible for the life He has gifted us. With this in mind, let’s look at the many ways FP needs us to help extend this compassion.

**Adopt a Family: with your life group, group of friends, co-workers, or family members, commit to a family nearing graduation from emergency shelter for a 6-month (or longer) period. What could this look like? Buying essential items for their new home, sending birthday cards, praying regularly for and with them, celebrating anything from holidays to job offers and other successes.

**Adopt a Room: when families become homeowners through the Partners in Housing program, help furnish/decorate/supply a room in their new home.

**Donate: contribute $20/month in their recurring donor program. (A perfect option for the time-crunched, busy family!!) Their website can help you with this. 

If you want to learn more about how to connect with Family Promise, you may contact me at

Please prayerfully consider how you can make an impact with Family Promise. The opportunities don’t stop here! Other needs include childcare, organizing donations, helping families move, making “birthday bags”…one church’s youth group even brings their video game systems to the Day Center to play with kids and offer an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have. Again, just consider what gifts you have to share.

I’ll leave you with a video to give you a glimpse into the beautiful work Family Promise is doing. May we remember to “keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels” (Hebrews 13:1-2).






Testify Thursday (on a Saturday!)//In the Wait

Hello! We are so excited to share our newest series, Testify Thursdays. Normally, this would be coming to you on a Thursday (hence the name!), but a chaotic week threw everything for a loop for me. That being said, the purpose of Testify Thursdays is to highlight the stories of our community, what God is doing, what we are learning, and how we are changing and growing. The stories may be hard, the stories may be deep, and the stories may be lighthearted. Most importantly, the stories are real and speak to the glory of our very real God.

On that note, here’s a part of my story.

Sunset chaser

“For everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3.

I must admit, this passage has always been one of those “glass half full” passages for me, a favorite even. Let me elaborate.

Growing up in the church and in a Christian school, I have had many run-ins with this verse. For as many times as I have heard it, I’ve always seemed to conveniently pass over the hard parts.

A time for war? More about a time of peace.

A time to weep? Give me a time to laugh!

Oh! And that whole time to mourn? I’d rather have that time of dancing.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t noticed the harder parts of the passage; it was just easier to focus on the positive. The feel good parts. The parts that show the glorious parts of life.

To believe that no matter what, there would always be a time for those things that are just so lovely.

Like a buffet line. All about the seconds of desserts and only a skim over the steamed veggies.

I was “buffet lining” this passage.

Mourning is hard. War is hard. Weeping is hard.

Why focus on those when God so obviously tells me there is a time for those, but, even better, there is a time for dancing?!

The only time I ever really gave those hard time portions of the passage a second glance was when I would attempt to offer them up as comfort and peace to someone who was living in a time of hard…as if silver lining their grief with promises of better times made it any easier for that person.

It wasn’t all that long ago that life handed me one of those dark times. One of those times that demanded me to grapple with what it means to live in hard times, uncertain times…the not so fun times of not dancing and no peace and no laughing. The time of waiting. The time of mourning.

Flashback to June 2016. I had recently found out I was pregnant with Baby #2 and was over the moon thrilled about expanding our family and having our precious Noah become a big brother. Because I am one of those women who are hyper aware when something is off, I found out super early on about the baby.

And, because it was so early, we decided to keep quiet for a bit, just to be sure.

I had only known about the baby for a few days when everything fell out from beneath me.

It was a Saturday night.

My husband, Joe, was at a baseball game with some friends. Noah was sleeping peacefully in his crib. I was cleaning up the apartment, preparing for a visit from my mom who was coming to town the very next day.

I had been working hard all day and noticed that it was starting to take a toll on my body. My back was really sore and I started cramping. I felt spent and tired.

Simply thinking I had overexerted myself, I decided to relax for a bit and take a bath, treating myself to some peace and quiet.

I got out and put on my Netflix show of the moment when I noticed it.


My heart sank, panic setting in. I called the Family Birth Center, already knowing in my heart what was likely happening and what I had to do. They confirmed I needed to go to the ED to be seen, to confirm what I felt was the inevitable.

I called Joe, barely making out the words, “I think I am losing the baby.”

Without missing a beat, he responded, “I am on my way home.”

Packing up a sleepy Noah, we made our way to the ED.

The whole way, my panic mounted. I could barely think straight. All I could think about was losing this future I had just started dreaming of, this baby who I newly discovered and already deeply loved.

I was praying for everything to be okay, for our baby to be okay, but in my heart, I believed it was already over.

Hours of anxious waiting revealed that I was having a threatened miscarriage, a diagnosis that meant while I wasn’t actively miscarrying, my body was acting like it was. I was told it’s common in very early pregnancy to miscarry…I was so early on that they couldn’t even tell me how far long I was. The ultrasound had simply revealed a teeny bubble, the teeny bubble of my baby who I loved, who God had fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14) and who I was afraid I’d never get to know on this side of heaven.

We were sent home, told to follow up with my OB, and basically just wait. If I was going to miscarry, there was nothing they could do…but they would be there if it happened.

The days that followed were some of the heaviest, most mentally and emotionally draining days I have ever had.

My symptoms continued, sending me once again back to the ED. I was told that, at this point, a miscarriage was becoming the more likely end result.

Where were my times of peace? Of dancing? Of joy?

I was supposed to be celebrating the life of baby #2 cooking away inside.

Instead, I was living each day in complete uncertainty, fear, and anxiety.

This continued for over a month. In hindsight, it really doesn’t seem that long.

But in the moment, it felt like a lifetime.

Isn’t that how it always seems to go in the dark times, the hard times, the times of mourning?

Those days were one of the hardest times of my life.

Everything about that time was completely out of my control.

I couldn’t stop my symptoms. I couldn’t make the physical pain go away. I couldn’t save my baby.

All I could do was pray and abide.

Saying that now, I feel like I’ve said the most dishonorable thing I could have ever said about my heavenly Father. Really, that’s all I could do?

Because you know what I learned through the whole experience? When you are in the thick of those dark and hard times that is when God shines the brightest. When you are at the point where you, in your earthly, broken body, cannot do a single thing to impact the outcome and prayer to the Maker of the entire universe is THE option you have, that is when He shows up in mighty ways.

I found that from the darkest place, came my greatest peace.

No matter how dark the season, God is still God.

No matter how hard the season, God is still good.

No matter how desperate the season, God is still good to me.

As I began to grasp the truth of these words, I was reminded of Romans 8:28…“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” (MSG).

I may not have known what the outcome was going to be, but for me, the peace of knowing God was there, working for my good, not leaving me out alone to dry, was enough. In that moment, I did not know if God was going to show up in the ways I wanted, but I did know, He was there. Always.

I am beyond grateful and happy to say that God kept His hand over our precious baby and I am joyfully a momma to two beautiful boys.

However, I am even more grateful for the lesson I learned. Yes, the times of joy, dancing, peace, and laughing are great and make life so sweet. Yes, it is those times that make our days memorable and full.

But for those sweet times to be so sweet, you have to go through the tough times.

 The tough times to make you strong, to make you fully know just how good and faithful our God is.

No matter what, God is God. God is still good. And God is forever good to me.

Even in the wait. Even in the mourning.

Especially in the wait. Especially in the mourning.


What I’m Loving Wednesdays // The Bible Project

Today I’m loving the resources available through The Bible Project.   According to their website, “The Bible Project is a non-profit animation studio that produces short-form, fully animated videos to make the biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere.”

I could spend hours watching their videos and I’m fascinated by their artistic skill in bringing together themes, word studies and entire books of the Bible.  Their videos are great to watch with kids and are also engaging resources to supplement more in-depth study.   In areas of theological difference, I appreciate that although the creators present their position, they seem to also give additional perspectives allowing for the viewer to make conclusions on their own.  Check out the New Testament overview video here and have a happy Wednesday exploring The Bible Project!

NT Overview

Child Bridge: Our Local Impact Partner

Child-BridgeOver the last year, FaithE has reviewed a multitude of non-profit organizations in Billings with a goal of selecting a small few to become the church’s “local impact partners”. As a partner, we are consistently providing finances and we are (hopefully) consistently providing volunteers. The prayer is that we can walk alongside these organizations to truly make a supportive impact in the work they are doing.

Child Bridge (CB) was chosen as one of our partners and I have no doubt that together an impact is being made. I had the opportunity to spend time with Erin Thom, the outreach and support coordinator for CB in Billings, who also attends FaithE with her family. While the majority of our time together was spent keeping our four small children from injury while sledding down our 100 year-old stairs, we managed to have a bit of intentional conversation and get a few questions answered. What a GEM she is with a HUGE heart for the ministry she is in! Here we go.


Me: What does Child Bridge do?

Erin: We find and equip foster and adoptive families in Montana.

Me: How big of a need does Yellowstone County have?

Erin: Its huge. Its ridiculous. There are 1000 kids in the county currently in foster or kinship care, totaling 4000 for the state of Montana.

Me: What’s kinship care?

Erin: When a child is living with a relative or close family friend.

Me: How many families do you serve?

Erin: About 80 families are actively supported, meaning we talk to them at least monthly. Around 100 families attend our Resource Group.

Me: How long have you worked for CB and why?

Erin: Two and a half years. In January of 2016 I heard them speak at FaithE and just walked right up and asked, “Do you have a job?”

Me: That’s amazing. Tell me more!!

Erin: I had been working in mental health with kids for eight years and saw foster families have no support. I loved the mission of CB and that it had a faith component. They were doing what I wished I could’ve been doing.

Unbeknownst to me, Val Young (also from FaithE) had the Spirit move her to have the same conversation with them and we were able to create a position with each of us working part-time.

Me: What do you do on a daily basis?

Erin: I support foster and adoptive families by doing things like talking with them on the phone or praying with them. I also coordinate the Resource Group.

Me: How has working for CB changed you?

Erin: There are a lot of ways! I’ve learned a lot about who God is and how much the heart of God is communicated in foster and adoptive care. Just the way God loves us, unconditionally—not because we’ve earned it, and even when we resist it…that’s the love of a foster or adoptive parent. I’ve also learned how much my role is NOT to fix things.

Me: What are your greatest needs?

Erin: (without hesitation) Foster families. And people to come along side foster families. And people to volunteer at our Resource Group.

Also, we are funded only by people who believe in our mission, so we always need people to join the team and give financially to allow us to continue to do the work we are doing.  **DONATE HERE!!**

Me: What’s the best way to get connected and serve?

Erin: Contact me via email at or go to our website

It was short and to the point, leaving room for me to include a few more details…

Resource Group was mentioned repeatedly. I must emphasize that this group includes 100 FAMILIES, not individuals, but FAMILIES!! That’s a lot of people and hence the great need for a LOT of volunteers. If you only have two hours to give monthly, please consider this!! It’s the second Monday of every month from 6-8PM. During these evenings, foster and adoptive families are served dinner, child care is provided, speakers provide encouragement and training, and there is time for fellowship.

Deeply Loved. This kid-free retreat weekend for foster and adoptive moms just took place last month at a resort in Whitefish. It emphasizes that “we need each other to do what God has called us to do. You are deeply loved and are called to love deeply!”  The women are invited to relax, rest, connect with other moms, and be encouraged. Below you will find a recap video of their amazing weekend!


National Adoption Month is recognized in November. It aims to bring awareness especially to the need for adoption of children in the foster care system. This year’s emphasis is on the adoption of teenagers, whom, according to the Children’s Bureau, are “less likely to be adopted, often because of their age, and are much more likely to age out of foster care without strong or stable family support.”

Stand Sunday will also be recognized this weekend, November 11th, as promoted by the Christian Alliance for Orphans to encourage others to “stand up” for kids in foster care.

If the work of Child Bridge tugs on your heart strings like it did on Erin’s, please don’t hesitate. CB needs you. Foster and adoptive families need you. As the body of Christ, we are to be His hands and feet.

To all the mommas already loving these dear children, you are in the hard places and I’m praying for you. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

And I’m praying for me. Lord, make me uncomfortable in the ways you see fit. Help me make more room for people, for commitments, for difficult situations. Thank you for the work of Child Bridge and its supporters. May these children get to see a glimpse of you on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.