People ask me all the time... why did you start A Thousand Hills?  I’d like to say it was because I was inspired to share my testimony of a life lived fully for Jesus and now, I even want my clothes to share that!  But no.  Reality goes something more like this... 

Struggle. Two years ago I faced a tremendous one in my life caused by my own pride and spiritual {IM}maturity. I was boldly serving the Lord in every direction that I could with hope of saving a world in need of saving and maybe getting some glory for myself at the same time.  If this sounds familiar, you know that the exposure of your misguided heart can be gut-wrenching and freeing all at the same time.  I didn’t see it - but the Lord knew my heart was way off, and it was time for some serious pruning.

Life came to an ugly head, as all my “good” stuff lead to a mess as I struggled to keep things looking tip top.  An admirable job, ministries, family, friends, home, car, appearance,... became exhausting as I made them my everything.  Misordered priorities, anxiety, depression, poor judgement and much more opened the door to straight up sin and rebellion in my heart toward the “One” who I was giving my all to.  I thought I knew better than Him.  And it came crashing down in the early spring of 2017.

I lost my job, my career, my ministries, my car, my friends, and almost my family due to what I think of as my first “unicorn” moment.  I really thought tragedy wouldn’t happen to me, and I thought I was above weakness and struggle.  I know... you don’t have to shake your head in this moment.  Accusations flew - and I fell from my domain in a public fashion.  Some true.  Some not.  Some too painful to read even to this day.  And some still lingering and stinging out there even as investigations close and fade from the public scene.  For sure they are in my heart and mind.  I learned “pride cometh before a fall” was more than just a commonly quoted Bible verse aimed at hurting people by hurting people.  It was a truthful warning from the Lord to me.

I sat at home for months.  I wouldn’t get out of bed and definitely wouldn’t go anywhere in my community.  Honestly, I wore baseball caps and thankfully drove a different vehicle as to not be recognized.  I cringed to say my name over the phone or at Starbucks - lest anyone recognize me as “that girl.”  I was the woman at the well who went at noon to avoid the other women.

My Mom knew.  And she loved me as a mama does.  She didn’t care what was being posted and whispered.  She didn’t care what I was accused of, of what I did, or of what I didn’t do.  She showed grace.  And so, a specific Thursday (cause that’s the day nobody goes to Canton), we set out of town to get away.  She gave me money to buy something to make me feel better.  And I looked ALL day through the frustrating aura and pain of an unwelcome migraine, for a shirt that offered hope.  I had no where to go anymore (so I told myself), so I just needed a T-shirt.

Enter “TEAM UNICORN”.  Yep.  It was all I could find.  6,000 booths and no real encouragement to be found.  I collected unicorns when I was 10, so I guess my roots were comforting as I stood there red-eyed with my Mom paying for the soft shirt.

But the Lord had a different purpose that day.  He had a plan to transform my pain and mistakes into more than a temporary, self-imposed prison.  From Team Unicorn, birthed Amazing Grace.  And my husband Brian, grabbed my hand as we gingerly walked forward.  God used Him to show me Jesus as he personally gave me grace and steadfast love through the unicorn days that God transformed into A Thousand Hills.

This sounds like it all happened so fast as I read it back, but the last 2 years have seemed longer than the 43 that came before.  The valley has been lonely and dark.  It hurts when you have your wandering legs broken.  And it’s hard to be carried when you just want to run.  Healing is slow.  It’s messy.  And wound care is nasty at times.  Scars have feeling.  But God closes wounds to save our lives and help us go on living for His purpose.

Jesus is more than the first part of my day.  He’s not my coffee.  He’s not my pumpkin spice.  Y’all don’t need Jesus {well really y’all do}, BUT I NEED JESUS.  I need to live and breathe Him.  I need to wear His truth on my wrist, my neck and over my heart.  I need to read His words as I get dressed, as I drive, as I dig in my pit of a purse, and as I scroll through my feeds.  

“But God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

He is enough.  He is my everything.  His words are life, and I have to shout them to anyone out there wandering the aisles looking for hope and a reason to live on.  Healing WILL come.  And we can walk on with our scars that have feeling - remembering that grace is for you AND for me.  And it’s amazing.

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