love God, love people, push back darkness

My husband and I have attended the same church for over 4 years now. With the exception of the church I grew up in, it's the longest I have ever attended one church. Usually something happens and I begin to see flaws in a church. The people in charge essentially show that they are human, and I run away scared and hurt and having decided that I will go it alone without the church. Going it alone never works out well. It isn't what we as Christians are called to.

In December, my husband and I changed campuses. Same church, as far as the preaching is concerned, but a new campus. More than once we've commented to each other that we believe we began attending our church four years ago so that we could now attend the campus we do. It might not make sense, but things of the spirit often don't.

Our church, as a whole, has the mission statement of: Love God. Love People. Push Back Darkness. For most of my time as an attendee, it has been just a mission statement to me. I haven't felt the weight of the statement. Until this past week.

So much has been happening, and a lot of it I am unable to share at this moment (note: I am not pregnant). I know we all dislike when people are coy and hide things or make vague statements. And I wish I could share everything that is happening - every last detail. But I simply can not.
What I can share is this... God is continuing to ruin my life. In a way that I never would have expected. In a way that I never really wanted. In a way that has me reeling and holding on for dear life. It's terrifying, but He's never been more real to me.

I am seeing what it means to really love God, love people, and push back darkness. I am learning why it starts with loving God, and I am realizing that sometimes, like now, pushing back darkness entails pushing back the darkness that tries to stop us from living out God's purpose in our lives.

Earlier this week, I stumbled across a few Francis Chan quotes. I've read his book Crazy Love, but haven't thought much of him since. Then I saw a video of him talking about giving away money and supporting kids and doing all these things others think are crazy. And it reminded me of how we're living our lives in a way a lot of people think is crazy.

We're trying to foster right now. That's something everyone in the church is called to do in some form or fashion. It doesn't mean everyone needs to take in a child but everyone should be helping in some form. For every 1 orphan, there are 7 Christians. That's ridiculous and heartwrenching. There is no reason there are any orphans. There are enough of us to solve the orphan crisis.

And yet, people think we're crazy. Which we probably are if you look at how much change we've had since December. But we're simply going where God is calling us even though it makes little to no sense on paper.

I think I know we're doing what we're supposed to because it doesn't make any sense. Nothing has made sense in nearly two months. And I don't see things making sense anytime soon. And yet, God has been there every single step of the way. He has provided in ways we never expected or saw coming. He's granted us peace in the moments of worry. And He has spoken to me more than ever before.
Comfort used to be all that mattered to me. I wanted comfort in the amount of money in my checking account. Comfort in knowing what the next day would bring. Comfort in knowing that we were taking care of ourselves.

But now... now I find myself in a place where if God doesn't come through then I'm in trouble. I find myself fighting for what God tells me to fight for. I find myself stepping out in faith in ways I never have before. And while it's scary, I know God is there breaking me of my comforts. 

My prayers right now are for this to continue. I have even more time left to be off work due to not being cleared to return to work. And while I am frustrated and ready to return to work, I'm resting in God and His strength during this time. He's so much bigger than I am. I am waiting to see what He will do next and reveal next.

And I'm praying for foster care and the orphan crisis. I am praying against injustice. I am praying for God to move and for Him to show me where and how to fight. I am praying against the darkness that threatens to creep in and keep me from fighting the causes God has placed on my heart.


i will wait for you

thanks to the lovely laurie for capturing this photo
When we decided to build a house, we did so knowing that we weren't just building a house. We were building a home. And we knew that home would eventually be filled with children. We also agreed (IE: I decided) that we would wait at least a year to fill said house with children. I wanted to enjoy the house. I wanted to spend time in the house just the two of us.

They say that if you want God to laugh then all you need to do is tell Him your plans. I've made Him laugh a lot in my lifetime. And I know He was rolling on the floor in laughter when I vehemently said no to fostering any earlier. In fact, a year was stretching it for me. I wanted to wait until my age started with a 3.

A lot has happened over the past two months. And needless to say God has utterly ruined my life and my plans. I've had a lot of moments. And a lot of thoughts. And a lot of overwhelmingness. My husband has been a rock through it all, with little to no reaction, because he has just been waiting for me to be ready. For me to stop saying not right now or never going to happen.

We still have a long ways to go. And a lot of paperwork to get through. But hopefully in May we will have a few children in our house.

It's difficult because I won't be able to share a whole lot on the blog. We're planning to foster, and with foster care, there are a lot of rules of what you can and can not post. I know them well, and I know I have to follow them - even if it kills me not to share what is one of the most exciting times of our lives.

Here's what I can say. A situation has presented itself, and we know that now is the time. We've told our parents and our close friends. We've sought prayer and counsel from our church. We've prayed a LOT. And we've discussed the matter with the people this decision affects - the children we plan to bring into our home. And it's real now. All too real.

And I simply can not wait to be able to open our doors and have new additions to our family. They might not be in our home for long, but they will always be a part of our family.

So we need prayer. For my anxious heart because this waiting game is not one I am good at. For direction on how to move forward. For items like a convertible crib, bedding, dressers, high chairs, car seats, etc. For skills to parent.

After these two are gone, there will be more. I'm not sure if the more will come right from foster care for another temporary stay or if we'll look into more permament options. I just now that it's time.

So there you have it. We are parents to be - just not sure when. We are growing our family in the way we feel is right for us. We are listening to the call and burden God had placed on our hearts.

And we are more excited than I ever thought possible.

Have any questions about our decision to foster? Or want to know other ways you can help? Feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email. I'll do my best to answer all questions in a follow-up post (leaving out identifying information of course).

NOTE: This blog will not become a parenting or family blog at this time. I'll be keeping most stories to myself and our close circle to protect the children and our family - even though my heart is already bursting with excitement and a desire to talk about how wonderful these kids are.

(title from "i will wait" by mumford and sons)


lovely lines (week 5)

I don't have a full lovely lines post ready for you. But I did want to share a blog post from Jen Hatmaker (her words are piercing my heart lately).

"None of us are good at everything, but all of us are great at something. No rule requires focus on the parts we get wrong. There is always, always something worthy to honor if we’re brave enough to live like that."

"In our marriage, grace won’t mean what it might in yours. All I know is, rather than a list of techniques to work on (“What I hear you saying is my refusal to put things in our shared iCalendar makes you want to put my paper calendar in the wood chipper…”), all our junk can be soothed if not solved altogether by the simple addition of more grace."

"Sometimes my discontent with the Church I see is so intense, I fight the urge to run away from the whole mechanism and search for something that looks more like a hospital for the sick and a sanctuary for sinners. I think more Jesus is the answer, not more staff, more buildings, more mailers, more landscaping, more fish tanks."

Go read the rest here. You won't be sorry.


sometimes God ruins your life

Lately, God is ruining my life. And I do mean ruining. Everything I once thought I wanted suddenly isn't what I want. The plans I've had for my life no longer exist. I still have plans, but they're different. The plans aren't mine at all. They're God's.

I've always had a love for foster care and adoption. I can remember being in my adolescence and dreaming about my life as an adult. My dream was to have a large ranch on the beach. And that large ranch would be used to house girls suffering and recovering from eating disorders. Or to house children who didn't have families. At that time, I didn't fully grasp the concept of foster care and adoption, but I still had a heart for it. God was placing dreams and visions and love for the marginalized and the forgotten; I just didn't realize it.

My heart has been swelling lately. I didn't think I would be ready for kids until I was at least 30. And I never knew if I would have a longing to hold a baby. I kind of thought I would always want to care for older children - children who were already potty trained. Because honestly? How do you even teach a child to use the toilet? I don't even know how I taught our dogs to go to the bathroom outside.

But God knew. He always knows. It's a bit annoying.

He knew that my heart would change. He probably cringed every time I said I would never want children. He also knew I would meet my husband, my perfect help mate who compliments me. He knew that things would come together in a timing that I will never fully comprehend.

I honestly feel an ache in my soul when I think about fostering and adopting. It brings tears to my eyes (and I'm not one to cry easily). It makes me feel like I will have a true and definable purpose. Almost like I was created to care for the forgotten and the marginalized.

Friends of ours are at the very end of being approved as foster parents, and they blessed us by asking if we would be willing to be approved as their alternate caregiver (someone who can care for the children in their home should the need arise). I didn't even ask Justin for his opinion; I simply said yes. It wasn't because I don't value his opinion. I do. But I knew what his answer would be.

On Tuesday morning, I sat down with the social worker in charge of approving our friend's home. We talked about my jobs and my life and my knee surgery. She kept asking questions about me and my husband. Because she wanted to know about our lives. Our story spoke to her.

But it wasn't our story. We play a part in it, but it's God's story. His story of fostering and adoption. His love for the least of these.

That day was a moment for me. It was as though God broke open the entire world and crashed into my living room to look directly in my face and say this is what you and Justin are created for.

When it's time, when we open up our home, we will love every single child with fierceness and joy. We will not replace their families, but they will become a part of our family. And we will love them for the rest of time.

While this has all been going on (God ruining our lives that is), I've been slowly making my way through the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. It's all hit me. How much I consume and waste. How much I have and yet think I need more. And while I'm still not perfect (Target and JC Penney can attest to that), I'm realizing just how much I have that I don't need.

It's not just stuff, though. Stuff is something I need less of, but what has truly gripped me about the book is just how much the CHURCH has. Last night, I nestled into our bed with my Kindle and resumed reading when this passage jumped out at me: "If the modern church held to its biblical definition, we would become the answer to all that ails society."

That truth is offensive. But it is true. We as the modern church have so much, too much, and we continue to want more and consume more. But we aren't giving back. We aren't taking care of the least of these the way the Bible calls us to.

I have spent so much time lost in my faith. I struggle with knowing what to share and how to share it. I struggle with loving on people without mentioning the gospel because people need to be loved more instead of talked to about Christ. I've felt lost in churches. Confused by what we are or aren't doing as Christians to serve.

I alone can't change the church. I alone can't make people care for others. But I can follow where God leads my husband and I. I can love my husband and love children who feel they aren't wanted. I can open up my heart and my home and feel every single thing.

When I started this blog, I didn't know what I was doing with it. I didn't really know what I was doing with my life. IT morphed into more of a weight loss blog, and while I still plan to write on that topic (once I'm able to exercise again!), I feel like God is leading me to document my faith and the works He is doing.

I'm not sure where this all will take us or this blog. I have dreams that God is placing on my heart right now - dreams that He is also placing on my husband's heart. And we are praying over those and seeking His guidance. I'll share when I can.

I'm so glad He's ruining our lives. I'm so glad I'm letting Him ruin my life. Because for the first time in a while, I feel like I have purpose. I feel like I am actually walking in the light.

also linking up here!


why i will never say never again

I tend to be more of a black and white person. Things either are or they aren't. Simple as that.

Except it isn't as simple as that. There is more of a grey area than there are black and white areas. And that grey area is where I need to spend more time.

If I could learn anything when I was younger, it would be to never say never. Because the word never is an ugly word, a word that will make you eat all those things you said in the past. And even though I've heard from others to never say never, I just did not think it had any place in my own life.

I used to say (repeatedly) that I never wanted children. I also said I would ever get married. That I never wanted to get to a point where I would stay home from work. That I would never want to live in the suburbs.

Now, I'm married. I actually want children. And I live in the suburbs. So far, I'm three for four. And I'm a completely different person now than I was at the ripe age of 21 and 22.

While I regret saying never for myself, I truly regret saying never to other people. The word of never, when talking about what I don't want, hurts other people.

If I say I never want something, it means that I think it is wrong for my own life. And, even though I never realized it as a younger 20-something, it comes across as me thinking things are wrong for other people.

I regret all the times I said I never. And if I could go back, I would take all those things back. But I can't go back; I can only go forward.

And going forward I am going to stop saying never. Going forward I am going to be open to what the future holds instead of focusing just on what I think I want in the moment.


a little about me (influence network link up)

It's late in the day today. I've spent the majority of the day wanting to write but not knowing what to write. Writer's block.. it's a real thing. And it is so not my friend.

I considered doing Weight Loss Wednesday, but I need a break from that. The scale's not moving at all. Or maybe it is moving - just in the wrong direction.

A few weeks ago, I joined the Influence Network. I have been beyond blessed by the network and the forums in the short amount of time I've been a member. So, after a lot of thinking and sleeping through my alarm this morning and then watching a terrible movie, I think I finally have something to say and am linking up with a whole lot of beautiful, amazing women for The Influential Women Link Up.

The guidelines are simple: 3 things about yourself. 1 thing you've learned on the Network. 1 photo that you love of yourself.

1. Until recently (read: today), I thought I really never wanted to have kids. My husband and I have discussed fostering and adopting since our wedding in 2008. But I've constantly said not yet. I even mapped out a timeline for myself and how long I wanted to be married before having kids. And I never had that huge, heartbreaking desire to have children at home. I just didn't think it would ever happen to me.

A lot has changed lately. God's taken a rough, frustrating, exhausting, crappy situation (knee surgery) and turned it into a life changing experience. An experience that left me wanting to have a baby to love on. Does that mean we're going to jump right into starting our own family right now? Not necessarily. But it does mean that I know it is something I want. And that's something I know God will honor. In the words of Jen Hatmaker: If you are for the orphan, God is for you.

2. I will never be a runner. But I will be an athlete (again) soon. Still I will always and forever love doing things like The Color Run and The Dirty 30. I can't wait to take part in those activities once I am able. And I can't wait to remind people that they can still participate even if they aren't physically able to run.

(I chose this picture because it reminds me of how much fun I had with my mom when we were in Tulsa for The Color Run. And I look genuinely happy in it. Being pelted with colored powder does that to a person.)

3. When I feel like God is making clear the direction I should go, I often find myself stuck. Like right now (see point #1). I feel like He is opening up doors for me with writing and a few other items. Earlier this week, I was all set to write. But now that I have direction I am exhausted and battling a case of writer's block that is preventing me from spending hours upon hours writing.

It will pass. It always does. And I am teaching myself to push past it which would be a lot easier if I could consume countless cans of diet coke in the process.

4. I'm throwing in a bonus statement. Just because I feel like it needs to be said.

I am a social worker. At my heart and the core of my being, I am a social worker. It is hard and messy and exhausting and not something I delve into a lot. But it has (and is) preparing me for the rest of my life. I didn't go to college for it, but I truly believe God put me on this path for reasons I may never comprehend.

When the day comes that I am not working as a social worker, I will still be one at my core. This means I will always fight for social justice, for children, for the homeless, against human trafficking, etc. My faith is the only reason I've been able to be in the field for the past 5 years; drinking wine (which is what a lot of people do) just doesn't take care of the ache in your soul following the things I've seen.

The biggest thing I love about the Influence Network is the women who are a part of it. There is so much talent in the network. And it helps to bring out my creativity. I also love seeing so many people live for Jesus. That has helped me to be more bold in my faith, and it has reminded me of just how BIG God is. I'm excited to meet more people through the network and continue to share my life.


you are you for a reason (and that's a good thing)

I've spent a LOT of time wanting to be like someone else, wanting to be the next "someone." Which means I've spent a LOT of time idolizing other people.

I've wanted to be the next Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson. Embarassing. But when I was in high school, I saw their lives and thought that was what I should strive for. Minus the shaving of the head and losing my mind and going barefoot into a gas station bathroom.

They had rocking bodies. Their clothes were amazing. And... they were (or had at one point) dating/married to two of the most attractive men God has ever made: Nick Lachey and Justin Timberlake. Who wouldn't want to be them?

I've also wanted to be the next Beth Moore. I've longed for the chance to write something that moves people. I've felt like I needed to be a big time author to make a difference.

When I started this blog, I started it with the intention of it blowing up. I decided I wouldn't be like other bloggers. I was going to write beautiful prose and words that moved people. And I was going to make lots of money and quickly.

That didn't happen. Thank God. In fact, my blog kind of bombed big time. By a lot of people's standards, it's still bombing big time. I mean... I don't make any money from it. I do happy dances when I hit 300 page views in a single day. I celebrate every new fan on Facebook and follower on Twitter.

But what I've learned recently is that the world doesn't need another next person. God doesn't want any of us to be the next anything. He wants us to be us and to serve the purposes He has set forth. Genius, right? Why didn't I think of that sooner?

It's been over 2000 years since Jesus walked the earth. 2000 years, people. That's a long time. And with so many years having past, it feels like and seems like everything has already been done. All the great theologians have already lived. We've had Whitney Houston, Etta James, The Beatles. Authors like John Grisham and JK Rowling have made billions of dollars. It's all been done. So it only makes sense to copy what has already been done.

Except God creates everyone to be different. And when people have wanted to be like God, it hasn't gone very well. What God wants is for us to be ourselves, to serve the purpose He has set out for us with our own zany flair.

Standing in the shower on Saturday, now that I'm showering more than once every 10 days (knee surgery is stinky, y'all), this all hit me. I remembered all the different posts I've written. How I've plastered them all over Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I thought about all the different bloggers who have talked about how to make money and grow a following. And while none of that is bad, it's made me lose sight of who I am.

God doesn't want another Beth Moore. The world certainly doesn't need another Britney Spears. And I love my husband more than I ever would have loved Justin Timberlake or Nick Lachey (though I would definitely give them my hand in marriage should I ever be a widow and they were single and following Jesus at the same time).

God wants me to be Leslie Knight. The world needs more authentic people. Your friends need you to be yourself.

It's easy to lose yourself in the world of technology and in a day and age when everyone is trying to emulate something. I've lost myself in it. I'll probably lose myself in it in the future. But then I'll be reminded that I can never be exactly like someone else.

And I'm here to remind you that you can never be exactly like someone else. Thank God.

Mingle 240


lovely lines (week 4)

"Our culture tells us that in order to get higher we need to push others down, but God’s word says the opposite." via The Influence Blog

"I value the practice of celebrating small gifts – but that practice doesn’t look the same from day to day or season to season." via Chatting at the Sky

"God wants someone to appreciate your husband, and to urge him on in faith and in love. And that someone, that He has especially prepared for the task, is you." via To Love, Honor, and Vacuum

"I have perhaps lost my way a bit, as I have been too concerned with patterning my blog design, content, networking, etc. after what the majority of other bloggers are doing. While getting advice from mentors or seasons folks in your area is certainly important, straying from who you are as a person (or in my case, as a blogger) is NOT authentic." via Waiting With Joy

"I realized then something I’ve known about love but hadn’t yet been able to define: True love is often so fierce and so thick that the feelings don’t have space to surface." via Chatting at the Sky


a note in which i talk about being wrecked

I don't do well with being still. Or quiet. I kind of like to be a tornado of to-do lists, people to serve, money to make and plans. That's been kicked to the curb over the past few months. As I'm sure y'all know. I can hear you saying/thinking: we know; you had knee surgery. MOVE ON already.

This isn't a post about my recovery. So you can go ahead and let out a sigh of relief.

Really this isn't a true post. Because I have no flipping clue what to say. All I know right now (and God keeps reminding that I don't really know ANYTHING) is that my life is being flipped upside down.

You remember the guest post on The Closet Project? Well I feel like I need to give away almost everything I own. I also feel like all the time I have spent chasing things has meant that I've spent even more time running away from my calling and my purpose and the life God wants me to have. The life He has planned. The life He is forcing me into - in the most loving, I am going to do whatever I have to to get you to slow down way.

I'm wrecked right now. By a bunch of videos I posted on Twitter. By this immense love I have for foster care and adoption. By the way my life looks nothing like what I thought it would.

And I'm terrified. Because I know my husband and I.. we're being called to do some radical, life changing things. Things that will make people think what the hell are they thinking? Things that make no sense.

But I am also excited. For the future. For my relationship with God. Because He is placing people and things where they need to be. He is helping me to network. He is creating new relationships for us and strengthening old relationships.

So I need prayer. Prayer for peace because this stuff's about to get real. There's going to be no running away. No hiding. No pretending I don't hear God calling me. Prayer for direction. Prayer for God to clear the way.

I'm excited to share more when it's time. But it's just not yet time for all the details to come out. I just had to say something here as a reminder to me that God's a whole lot bigger than I am and that it's time I finally and actually listen to what He has to say.


the closet project (a guest post)

It's no secret that I love clothes and things. I've had a shopping habit for as long as I can remember. And I have fought giving it up for just as long.

I started reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess a few weeks back, and it's wrecked me. Specifically when it comes to clothes and just how many articles of clothing (and pairs of shoes) I have and do not need. And when it comes to buying new articles of clothing because I feel like I need to keep up with others. 7 was very clear on how little we need. And it made me really look at what I have in my closet and in the entire armoire I use just for my belongs. 3/4 of a walk-in master closet and an entire armoire is a bit excess, don't you this?

It's no coincidence that this all happened right around my knee surgery. I'm much happier in yoga pants than anything else. And I see just how unnecessary over 20 cardigans are.
my uniform as of late. yoga pants, grey tee-shirt, hot pink hoodie.
I'm also proud to say I never purchased the clothing I added into my on-line cart on Tuesday! In fact, other than the two pairs of Bob's I bought, I haven't purchased any clothes while being at home. I mean, it's not like I have anywhere to wear new clothes to right now...

But back to 7... I met Kelli around the same time, and I instantly liked her. She was also reading 7 and was being wrecked as well. Rather than tell you her story, I'll let Kelli take it away!

Hey there friends! My name is Kelli and I blog at Eat Pray {read} Love. It is so nice to "meet" you!   I am so appreciative of Leslie letting me take over her lovely blog for a moment! I asked her to let me share with you a project that God has laid on my heart - but let me share a little about myself first! 

This is me with my hubby. We've been married 11 years and have four sweet kiddos- ages 7, 6, 2, and 3 months. My husband is a church planter and we live in the South. I love to read, cook, go to the beach (obviously!) and watch movies with my family.

And.... this is my closet! Glad we're getting to know one another so well, so quickly!

How about another one?

embarrassed for me yet?
Please tell me I'm not the only one whose closet looks like this! With parenting four kids, being a preacher's wife, co-leading a Bible study, homeschooling, blogging, and life, my closet probably gets the least attention in the whole house. It somehow always seems overflowing. With clothes I never wear.

About two months ago, I felt God tell me to get RID of the excess and GIVE to those who need. I wasn't sure just yet where he would have me give, but human trafficking has been on my mind so much lately. Enter Redeemed Ministries. Their focus is to help women in the Houston area that are enslaved in sex trafficking. If you're like I was until last year, you may think that human trafficking is an international problem- which it is. 

But it is also a US problem. In fact, one that hits very close to my home. And maybe yours too.

Thus, The Closet Project was born. Women uniting forces- paring down to step up.

Here's the lowdown:
1.) Pare down your wardrobe to what you actually wear.

2.) Sell what you don't. Take them to resale shops, sell them on eBay, have a garage sell, sell them to your friends!

3.) Donate directly to Redeemed Ministries

4.) Go to this form to let me know how much you were able to donate. ANYTHING helps! Seriously! Only have $5 to spare? Great, that is wonderful. Got a cool million burning a hole in your pocket? I'm sure Redeemed would be SO happy to receive that, too! :)

During these last few months, God has been slowly but surely peeling back and exposing layers of selfishness that I didn't even know I had. It's been so refreshing to see that he provides when I decide to obey. I've been surrounded by enough clothes to wardrobe a small village, and it's overwhelming.

I have a goal- to raise $500 for Redeemed. I am currently 14% of the way there, and know of more that will be coming in.

Ladies, I really appreciate your time today. If you'd like to read a little more detail of the project, goals, etc. please click here. I'll leave you with these words from the book of Matthew:

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (25:40). Let's help "the least of these," shall we?

PS I'd be very grateful if you'd help spread the word by sharing this tweet --->

Team up with  to help modern-day slaves and pare down your closet too.  



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