Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Following the Light

So here we look upon Mary and Joseph, both obediently following the will of God.

They had to travel to Bethlehem, the City of David- because everyone had to return to their hometown to be registered. And Joseph’s hometown was Bethlehem.

Mary stayed alongside her betrothed, praying the chid would wait until the arrived…until they could find somewhere to stay.

Then they reached Bethlehem.

And Jesus had not been born.

But Mary knew, she would feel it, it wouldn’t be long.

He would come right on time. He would come on time…not in a clean room or in a palace…but in a stable among animals and hay- because there was no room for them in the inn.

There was no room in the inn for the Savior to come.

I wonder if it was cold that night. If she thought about the moment when they would know that He was the Son of God.

I know she was scared.

There was no one to help her but Joseph. How would she do this on her own? She hadn’t even been with him yet…surely this wasn’t how she wanted him to truly see her for the first time.

But nevertheless, the baby would come.

His first cry pierced the night.

His earthly father held Him…held the Son of God in his hands.

His wife had given birth to a son…Joseph could rest. They were both safe.

A miracle.

Tears fell down both of their cheeks as Jesus rested close on His mother’s chest.

This woman He had created now held Him. The stars He had breathed now shone down on Him.

The Light had come to break the darkness, to fulfill all of the prophecies…

And the celebration had only begun.

For nearby a group of shepherds were watching their sheep, looking up at the stars. These shepherds were the ones looked down upon by many in their society.

They had no idea that the Light of the World laid nearby.

But suddenly an angel appeared in the sky.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Light from Heaven broke through the sky as a multitude of angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

A miracle. 

The shepherds threw off their fear and they rushed to the manger, finding the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. They bowed in awe of this baby who would save them.

I can’t imagine having people come and worship my hours old baby, having them bow and praise my baby.

But not only did the shepherds come.

The wise men came, too. We don’t know how old Jesus was when they came.

When they came they brought presents for this Child. Gold, frankincense and myrrh.

They followed the star to find the Child, to find the Savior.

“And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”

A miracle. 

They followed the star to find The Light.

They let the star lead them to the place where the Savior of the world lay.

They let the star lead them. Yes, a miracle.

There will be lights in this world that lead us astray.

But His Light- THE Light- will always lead us back to Him.

Let the Light lead you this Christmas.

Not to the Christmas tree. But to the tree in the shape of a cross.

Not to the presents. But to the Present lying in a manger…the Baby who came to give hope, the Baby who came to die, the Baby who came to give us miracles- to BE the Miracle.

Friends, have a very merry Christmas celebrating the miracles He does in our lives each and every day and most of all...The Miracle He came to be.


"Jesus came for you, warring against the darkness to win you back to Him...And then, at last, all was calm. All was bright. Over Bethlehem the star hung high and victorious on that silent night, that holy night.

"All other love stories don't compare to this one-because this is the truest, realest story that ever was. That night, our rescue has come. God has visited our planet, and we can breathe free.

"He chose to enter our world right in a pile of mucky, messy, stinky dirty straw. Jesus comes and meets you in the stinky mess of your sin... Jesus is with you now. Wherever you are, no matter what is happening, Jesus always wants to be with you. The Lord saves. Jesus is with us." -Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Miracle Monday: Week 4

I’ve been especially excited about this week’s post ever since I had the idea for this series.


Because between today and Wednesday, we get to talk about one of my all time favorite parts of Scripture.

And yes, I know. Wednesday is not a Monday. BUT, I needed an extra day to fit in an extra special story so we’ll have Miracle Monday and Wednesday this week!

- - - - - -

Four hundred years.

Four centuries.

Forty decades.

However you want to look at it, it’s a very, very, very long time.

God’s people haven’t heard from Him in 400 years. What they had been hearing from Heaven was so silent you could have heard a cricket chirp, a pen drop.

They had been waiting for those prophecies from Isaiah to come true. The ones about their Promised King? He still hadn’t come but they held out hope.

They passed down these prophecies to their children and to their children’s children and to their children’s children’s children…you get the point.

I’m sure people asked, “Well, it’s been 257 years and He still isn’t here. Why should we keep believing?”

Their answer, “Because the God we serve has done amazing things for us and our people and we know He will keep His promise.”

So they waited.

And waited.

Through the silence they passed down the promise.

And still they waited, praying maybe their generation would be the one to see the King of the Jews born in Bethlehem.

Then one day a young lady, probably about my age (only 17), was going about her business…and then God said, “I have come to speak again.”

And the silence ended.

The Light was breaking through….to a teenage girl betrothed to a man named Joseph.

An angel came to Mary and told her that she would bear a son. That she was favored in God’s sight. That she was to call the baby Jesus…the Son of the Most High God.

Hold on. I’m not married. I can’t have a baby yet.
I’m favored in God’s sight?
Why the name Jesus?
Son…of the Most High God?

“How can this be, since I am a virgin?” she asked. Out of all the questions flying through her head, How can this be?

The angel tells her that the power of the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will conceive by the Holy Spirit. “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Her response blows me away every time I read this story, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

And just like that, the angel left. The angel left and Mary was pregnant and not married and so young…and so afraid.

Let it be to me according to your word. 

She knew the ridicule that would come to her for being pregnant out of wedlock. She knew hardly anyone would believe her when she said an angel had come to her, much less that she was favored in God’s sight. She knew that her betrothal to Joseph would more than likely come to an end.

But not only did Mary say, “Let it be…”, she said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

In the middle of the scariest situation she has probably ever faced, Mary turns and praises the Lord.

This is all recorded in the book of Luke, chapter one.

If you flip back a few pages, you see the story of Joseph and get a bit of a different perspective.

In the first chapter we see the genealogy of Jesus Christ including people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and David. All sinful people who God used to bring about the sinless One.

In verses 18-19 we read this, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.”

But God.

But God was speaking again and sent another angel to Joseph in a dream.

“Joseph, your wife’s child is from the Holy Spirit, just as she has said. Don’t fear to take her as your wife. She will give birth to a son. And Joseph, call his name Jesus…for He will save His people from their sins. This all fulfills those prophecies you’ve learned about all of your life, ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ which means God with us.”

And Joseph awoke.

He obeyed.

He took Mary as his wife.

And together they pushed past all of the fear, pushed back all of the worries…

They pushed back all of the questions like, “How will we raise the Son of God? What does this mean?”

Together in God’s power and in obedience to His Word they walked together knowing this was what God had planned all along.

After 400 years God was talking again…and He would use one perfectly normal, sinful young woman and one perfectly normal, sinful man to be the earthly parents of His own perfect, sinless Son…

And it would be the greatest love story to ever unfold.

Just wait, you’ll see. It’s what Christmas is all about.

- - - - - -

“When you make space in your words, in your wants, in your ways for Jesus, He comes and lives in the most miraculous way in your heart, too.” Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

Luke 1:28-35, 28
“And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

- - - - - -

Christmas is coming. The day when the Savior would be born and hope would come…

*To be continued Wednesday, Christmas Eve*

Monday, December 15, 2014

Miracle Monday: Week 3

I went into this week knowing it was going to be INSANE. I had the ACT Saturday morning, the Christmas musical at church all weekend, babysitting on Thursday and Tuesday…

You get the point.

Well, God certainly has a good sense of humor. Friday morning I woke up and felt HORRIBLE. Like stomach bug horrible. Let’s just say Friday wasn’t a pleasant day for anyone in the Bowers household. THANKFULLY we all caught it in 24 hours and it was gone by Saturday mid-day.

The ACT did not happen. We were only able to take part in one(some of us two) nights of the Christmas program. But here we are. And we made it. And please, Lord, don’t let that ever happen again.

Whew! Now, let’s talk about some miracles shall we?

- - - - - -


The baby in the basket. We’ve all heard about him. We all know that his mother made a basket and sent him downstream to hopefully save him from the murdering Pharaoh. We’ve heard about how his sister waited in the bushes to see what would happen.

But I think the miracle here is in his very mother…the one who sent her son up a river in a basket. Her month old son…just floating away from her grasp. I can’t imagine the pain!

Her trust in the Lord alone is a miracle.

She sent him down this enormous rive only to be found by who? Pharaoh’s daughter.

Talk about God’s hand being in a situation! The same Pharaoh who was killing all of the Jewish baby boys…his daughter had come down to bathe and Moses just happened to be right there.

You probably remember what happens next?

But since we’re talking about miracles…let’s list a few in this story.

1. Moses grew up in the household of Pharaoh, more than likely treated like one of his sons.
When Moses killed an Egyptian, he ran off into the wilderness…and there he met HIS WIFE! Ha. Crazy beautiful.
2. One day he was leading his sheep when he came upon a bush. Not just a bush…a burning bush. But…wait…hold on…it’s not really burning. I mean, yeah, it was on fire but it wasn't being burned away. The fire wasn’t turning it into shreds…this went against all science. I love it.
4. From that burning bush he received a message from the Lord that he was to go into Pharaoh’s court and tell him to let God’s people go. And what is God’s name to these people? I AM. I Am your God.
5. God’s people are passed over when the death angel comes to kill the firstborn of every Egyptian during the plagues.

Many plagues later and Moses and God’s people were making their way out of Egypt. The Pharaoh had said, “I’ve had enough of you people and your God- GET OUT!”

So gladly they left.

Then something happens. Pharaoh woke up.

He realized that with the Jewish people, he had lost every one of his slaves. How will he get his work done? He won’t.

Quickly Pharaoh changed his mind and they went after Moses and God’s people.

Just about this time our Jewish friends had reached the Red Sea and they needed to get across. And FAST. Because Pharaoh’s army was quickly approaching from behind.

How in the world would they get across?

{Follow me on this one…if you’ve ever read the children’s book I’m Going on a Bear Hunt, you know this phrase. We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it- we’ve got to go through it!}

This is what they’d have to do. They couldn't go over or under a huge sea. Somehow they'd have to go through it. But complaints and cries for help began to arise from these people, telling Moses, “How are we going to get our animals across with the Egyptians right at our heels? Did God just bring us out here to die?”

Can you imagine the thoughts going through Moses’ head? Seriously. Did you see all that God did to get you out of slavery? That’s not even the beginning of what He is going to do for you!

So Moses hit his staff on the ground…

And the water split.

Where there should have been water there was dry ground…just enough for God’s people to walk through. Were there were doubting hearts and minds…now stood wide eyed, open jawed and amazed people. Because they were God’s people.

We travel forward quite some time…to another story with fire.

This one is in the book of Daniel. It’s way past Exodus and while there are many more miracles in the pages between Exodus and Daniel we’re running out of Mondays before Christmas.

So in your mind turn with me and imagine three men. Their names are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. (The spell check on my computer is hating me for those names right now.)

These three men are noted as, “servants of the Most High God.”

They served the Lord and refused to bow down to the golden statue of their earthly ruler.

King Nebuchadnezzar didn’t like this very much and decided to throw them into the fiery furnace. These three servants of the Lord were bound together and thrown into the fire.

But here’s one of my favorite parts of this story, it’s what they say before they’re thrown into the fire.  “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

They said, “Our God is able!”

They also said, “But if not…”

But if He chooses not to deliver us, we will still serve Him. We will still trust Him because we are his people and He is our God.

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were bound and thrown in the fire. Just the three of them. A fire that hot would kill them, it would, at the very least, severely burn them.

Nebuchadnezzar looked in the fire and saw not three but FOUR men standing in the furnace. And none of them were burning.

And the fourth man, where did he come from? “The appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” He looked like an angel.

He had come to protect Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Remember how Abraham was willing to sacrifice his one and only son because He feared and loved and trusted the Lord?

Just as God delivered Isaac, He delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Because He is their God, and they were His people.

- - - - - -

"All the little things that happened- they just happened to be little miracles. All that's happening around you every day is happening to make miracles. Eery little thing is going to be okay, because God is working good through every little thing. There is never a night, never a darkness when gifts and miracles and joy aren't coming- coming right to you." -Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

Matthew 2:1-6, "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.' When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, 'In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

'"And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler

    who will shepherd my people Israel."'"

- - - - - -

I'm adding an extra little section here to tell you all about some serious miracles that have happened in my life this week.

Miracle 1:

When we were traveling to Rwanda to get Sonia back in 2009, we met another family who would be with us for those 16 days. They were the Spores and they were the kind of people you felt like you've known forever.

Well, the Spores adopted Cooper from Rwanda. Hannah and Caleb were adopted from Uganda and they are now in the process of adopting a young man with special needs from Uganda. I LOVE the heart of this family that so strongly beats for God's love and His heart for orphans. After they bring "S" home, they will have four biological children and four from Africa. THAT is beautiful.

Anyway. Chad and Heidi (mom and dad) are in Uganda right now waiting for their court date. They were told upon arriving that their judge had left country and couldn't hear their case until FEBRUARY. Seriously?

Well. We got to praying. And Saturday we found out that by God's miraculous hand, their case would be heard this coming week and they would return home in time for Christmas! Praise God!

Now, they'll still have to go back after the new year to finish everything up and bring home "S" but let's join together and continue to pray for the safe arrival of "S" back in the United States with his amazing family.

Miracle 2:

One of the young ladies in our youth group has faced something many of us won't face. Her father was diagnosed with lung cancer about three or four months ago. He went in for a check up this past Wednesday. He had been undergoing weeks and weeks of chemo and radiation and was scheduled to start another six day round this coming week.

BUT GOD! Oh this gives me chills.

His doctor came in and said, "Well, we won't be needing to do that chemo. Your cancer is gone."


Only God. Only our God of miracles.

We stood in my dad's office after church Wednesday with another family from church and we prayed aloud, thanking the Lord for this absolute miracle He had done in this man's life. He is the Healer and the Great Physician. How could we ever forget that?

- - - - - -

God didn’t let that bush burn. He had something He needed to tell Moses. God didn’t let those three men die in the fire. He had something else He needed to do through them.

He has something He needs to do through you, too. He needs to say something to you, too. And you can be sure He’ll work His miracles and He’ll bring you out of the fire to do incredible things in your life. Because you are one of God’s people.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Miracle Monday: Week 2

This coming week is going to be particularly busy for me and sitting down to remember and write about the miracles of God seems like something God had planned for me for a long time. 

So maybe this very moment He designed for me is a miracle in itself. Isn’t that a fun thought?

Anyway. Here we go- week 2!

- - - - - -

So Abraham and Sarah had their miracle baby, Isaac. 

Abraham still had this promise, “You will be the father of a great nation. Try to number the stars- this is the number of your descendants!”

And now Abraham was finally beginning to see the promises of the Lord playing out in his life. And he was thankful, worshipful, praising God for his son.

Then one day Abraham received a message from the Lord. Keep in mind that the last time Abraham spoke to the Lord he received the news he was going to be a father after thinking he would never have children with his lawful wife. He was probably expecting something grand. 

But this is not at all what he was expecting. God came to Him and said, “Abraham.”

He called his servant by name.

“Here I am.”

“Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love…and offer him as a burnt offering.”

I can only imagine what was running through Abraham’s mind.

But God- he is my son, my only son…the one You promised me! You said through HIM you would make a great nation. You can’t do that if he’s dead. 

But his outward response was this, “But God has done so much for me already, I must trust Him with this, too.”

We don’t know how long it was before Abraham, his son Isaac and his servants left to go the place where God called him to make the sacrifice. Nevertheless, the left. They carried the wood and the knife. 

At the foot of the mountain Abraham turned to his servants, “My son Isaac and I are going up to make the sacrifice…”

Yes, Lord, we will go. But please, somehow, bring him back. 

“And we will return to you.”

Abraham did not say I will return to you. No, he said WE. As in, me and my son will return to you.

That’s faith big enough to believe in a miracle. 

They got to the top of the mountain (it’s name was Mount Moriah, just incase you were wondering) and Isaac finally asked the question burning on the tip of our tongues, “Father, we have the sticks and the knife but where is the ram for the sacrifice?”

“God will provide,” Abraham said. I picture him looking up at the sky thinking, God please provide.

Abraham painstakingly laid the sticks for the fire, piling them on top of each other. Isaac probably helped his father.

God, don’t let these be the last moments with my son. He can’t die after building the very alter to be sacrificed on. 

I can’t even write this calmly. It makes me nauseous to even think about being in this situation. 

Then as Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice his son, the angel of the Lord called out to him again.
“Abraham! Abraham!” 

“Here I am.” Same response. Lord let it be different, better news. Save my son. 

“Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

And there it was in the bushes. A ram. The sacrifice that would take Isaac’s place. 

I wonder if Abraham cried as he lifted his son from the alter, if he cried tears of joy over his son’s life. 

And they sacrificed the ram. Abraham called the place “the Lord will provide.” Together they went back down the mountain. Together they returned to his servants. 

Later down the line Isaac married a lady named Rebecca and together they had twin boys names Jacob and Esau. The story of Jacob and Esau is quite lengthy but we’ll sum it up like this: they didn’t get along. Worst sibling rivalry E.V.E.R. Almost as bad as Cain and Abel- but before Esau could kill Jacob (or vise versa) Jacob ran off and fell in love with Rachel.

But Jacob had nothing. He had run away from home and had no money, no prospects, nothing to his name but his inheritance which wouldn’t do him any good since his father was still alive. 

Jacob made a deal with Rachel’s father. He would work for him for seven years. At the end of those seven years Jacob would get to marry Rachel. 

You think that is a picture of love? Wait, it gets better.

On their wedding night, Jacob found not Rachel but her OLDER SISTER, Leah to be beside him.

I can only imagine the scene. It’s not pretty.

In their weddings, the bride would wear all kinds of coverings over her face and you couldn’t tell who was who. That’s how Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah. 

But, he decided not to divorce her. He decided to work another seven years to marry the woman he truly loved.

Now that’s a beautiful picture of devoted love! 

So, now Jacob had two wives (which was common then), and Leah began to bear children. 

Actually, Leah had quite a few children. Leah, the one Jacob didn’t really love. Scripture tells us that “when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.”

Woah. Again. This sounds like a rivalry between wives. 

BUT. Something miraculous happened the fourth time she had a son. We don’t know if it was her fourth child (girls aren’t typically recorded except in really awesome stories like Esther, Ruth and Mary), but it was her fourth son. 

“And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ Therefore she called his name Judah.”

Guess who was one of Judah’s great-great-great-great-great-grandsons? King David.

Do you know who was one of King David’s great-great-great-great-great-grandsons by his mother AND his father’s lineage? Jesus Christ of Nazareth. 

You heard me right. 

Jacob was deceived into marrying Leah so that WAY WAY WAY down the line…Jesus would be born of the line of Judah.
Sometimes God gives us miracles in a ram hidden in the bushes, in a treasure that his hidden that God gives to us.

Sometimes God gives us miracles in loving someone we didn’t originally want to love, in a way that seemed absolutely crazy. 

But no matter what, He’s a God of miracles. He’s a God who provides miracles in the ways we would never expect and never dream. 

Like this moment right now…when I’m asking for a miracle in my own life…but taking a moment to remember the amazing things He has done all through scripture to show me that He is more than possible to do what I’m asking. To remember that He is a God who gives miracles big and small each and every day…

- - - - - - 

"Jesus doesn't wait for you to be good; He comes to be with us who are having very awful, miserable, no-good days right now. Jesus comes to cary us who are feeling mad and  bad and sad and anything but glad, and He left heaven to be with us who feel left out. Jesus comes to us who seem to get every step wrong- he becomes the step just to get to us. Jesus came from heaven to be with you in your hurt." -Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

Genesis 28:12-16, "And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, 'I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.' Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, 'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.'"

- - - - - -

Let’s look for the ram in the bushes. Let’s find the miracles this Christmas season. 


Monday, December 1, 2014

Miracle Monday: Week One

Christmas is quickly approaching. I couldn’t be more excited. 

I think that so often we forget all that Christmas really is. We don’t take the time to slow down and look past the decorations and all of the materialism to see the miracle of Christmas.

So for the next four weeks, every Monday we’re going to have a bit of fun. 

We’re going to make our way through scripture, observing some of my favorite miracles. 

Because, you see, Christmas didn’t begin at the manger. 

Christmas began here…

When God said, “Let there be light.” 

- - - - -

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

God opened His mouth and the world came into existence. He didn’t have to wait for it to become something- He spoke and it was there…

A miracle

Light. Day and night. Earth and sea. Sun, moon, and my personal favorites- the stars. Birds and fish. Animals. And God’s personal favorite- man. 

…And it was good.

We then see the story of Adam and Eve. 

If you were watching a movie- I imagine that this is how the story of the Bible would look right about now… 

**Opening credits

God creates the world. 

You say, “Woah! How did He do that?”

God creates man and says, “It is very good.”

“Wow. I am very good?”

But then this woman and this man disobey the one command God had given them. They eat of the infamous fruit. 

“Come on! You couldn’t listen to that ONE rule? Seriously, Adam and Eve. You got to walk with God for goodness’ sake!”**

And that’s just about how it’s played out so far. You and I are sitting here wondering how in the world Adam and Eve couldn’t have listened to one simple command…

While that is vitally important, perhaps what we should be focusing on is God’s mercy. 

Maybe we should take this moment to look at the fact that God did a miracle in the moment when He allowed them to still walk the earth. After all, He had said they were very good. And how did they respond? By going against the one thing He had commanded them not to do. 

But God…

He allowed them to live. No, they would not live in the garden of Eden. But they would live. 

And many years down the line, there would be a man named Abram.

Abram had a wife named Sarai. And Abram was called to leave his home and take his family and travel to the land of promise. 

Now, God had promised that He would show Abram the land of promise. He had also promised that He would be a father of many nations. 

If you know this story, you know that this is problematic. 

Abram had no children. His wife was barren. How would he be the father of many nations with no children? 

Don’t worry- Abram and Sarai were asking themselves the same questions. 

Without trusting God or listening to His promise, Abram took things into his own hands and had a son outside of his marriage. Yes, it’s as scandalous as it sounds. 

But again- this was not the son God was referring to. 

God called Abram to himself yet again and said, “Abram, I am changing your name. You shall no longer be Abram, but Abraham- Father of the Great Nation. And your wife, she gets a new name too, she’ll be Sarah. Oh, and she’s also going to have a baby.”

Well, Abraham thought God was a little crazy. He was one hundred years old! His wife was ninety. She could not have children. Abraham and Sarah laughed at the thought.

God said, “Your son’s name will be Isaac, it means laughter.”

I kind of think they forgot they were dealing with the God who created the universe. 

A year later, Abraham and Sarah had a son. His name was Isaac. 

And he was the son God was talking about from the very beginning. 

Isaac was the miracle baby. 

- - - - -

"God never stopped dreaming of the miracle, the one He'd dreamed right from the very beginning, because love never stops dreaming of a way to draw close again." {From Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, a journey through Advent.}

Isaiah 11:1-2, 10

"There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord...
In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—
    of him shall the nations inquire, 
    and his resting place shall be glorious."

- - - - -

Stay tuned for next weeks miracles. It only gets better. Trust me.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Promised King

I look outside my window right now and all I want to do is curl up with a good book and a soft blanket and read all day long. Doesn't that sound perfectly delightful?

I think so, too.

The trees have lost their October beauty, all of the leaves lay scattered on the ground. The sky is dark and the weather gloomy.

Thanksgiving is literally just around the corner. I'm personally very excited for the Macy's Day Parade. It's probably my second favorite thing on Thanksgiving.

The first? Our Bowers family Thanksgiving dinner. We gather around the table at my Aunt's house. All of us hold hands, making a circle around the entire kitchen. It's a beautiful family, you see. I am so blessed with a family who gets along, who loves one another deeply. And this time of year I am incredibly grateful.

After dinner is over, all of us ladies clean up the kitchen while the guys watch football. It's just what happens. The house gets warmer as everyone laughs and talks. But the warmth doesn't seem to bother anyone- because we're together.

And together is a beautiful place to be.

We're together, and we're joyful and we're oh-so-thankful for this huge, crazy family God has given us.

On the way back to our house, Dad turns on the Christmas music and we sing all the way back from Charlotte. On Saturday we'll decorate our tree and hang the ornaments, the music still blaring. We'll get started on Christmas shopping.

But just as Thanksgiving isn't just about the turkey or the football games or parades, Christmas isn't about the trees or the music or the shopping.

Sure we're thankful for our families and our homes...but Christmas comes so close to Thanksgiving that I can't help but wonder if God did this on purpose.

Back in the Old Testament we see that God's people had to wait 400 years for the coming of the Messiah. 400 years! That's a LONG time. If you went back 400 years from 2014 it would be 1614! Ha. That's crazy.

Imagine you're God's people and you've waited and waited and waited for the Promised Christ's coming, hoping maybe this is the generation who will see the Lord.

Then you hear of this baby born in Bethlehem...son of Mary and Joseph and His name is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.

Imagine you were one of the ones in Scripture who realized He was the Promised King, the Promised One come to save us all. Your heart would sing with praise and thankfulness. 

So Thanksgiving is on Thursday...less than one month from Christmas, less than one month from the celebration of Christ's coming. May we take this Thanksgiving to be especially grateful for these weeks of waiting and exciting anticipation of the celebration of the baby who came to save us all.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Not Knowing

The night before taking the SAT for the first time, a friend and I were talking about growing up. "It's just so crazy," she said, "That all of our lives people are telling us what to do and how to do it. And then all of the sudden when we hit our junior or senior year in high school, they start asking us what we're doing with our lives. They ask us and they expect us to know what to do and how to do it on our own when all of our lives they've been telling us what to do. Like, seriously, what changes?"

It's that question that everyone who is a junior or senior in high school hates the most, "Where are you going to college? What do you want to do? Have you decided on a college yet?"

No. No. No. 

Because going to college is a big step. 

Because this career and degree I pick are a big deal. 

Because picking a college is going to play a huge factor in my life over the next four years. 

And I feel like we need time. 

That maybe having more time would help.

But over the past couple of weeks, I've seen that what we need isn't time to make decisions. Because in a way, time blurs things. After visiting several colleges, I thought I had my mind made up. I thought, "This is where I want to go and this is what I want to do."

Then people said, "But what about this school? And what about this profession?"

And my entire being screams, "I DON'T KNOW."

I was texting a friend the other day about all of this...about how I'm so tired of my answer being, "I don't know."

Just typing these words brings back the emotions- the emotions of confusion and frustration. 

Right now my answer is still, "I don't know." 

But right now in this moment, I'm okay with that. 

At camp this past summer, I was talking with my youth pastor. We were having one of those conversations that I will never forget. One of those conversations where things are real and honest and he figures how to get me to open up like no one else but my very closest friends can. 

He said something like this, "All of your senior year people are going to act like they know what they want to do and where they want to go. But in reality...they're going to be just as confused and overwhelmed as you are."

While it helps to know this, I'm not just okay with all of these unknowns because other people are going through it, too.

I'm okay with it because it's not in my hands. 

I'm not in control. 

As I type those words I can breathe deeply. I am not in control. 

I don't know what's best for myself. There's only One person who always knows what's best for me. 

He's the One who crafted the stars and called them each by name. He's the One who created every animal and knew just what they would look like before ever speaking them into existence. He's the One who spoke and it was good. He's the One who crafted the mountains and the volcanos and knew just how the Grand Canyon would dip and curve, each groove marked by his breath. 

He's also the One who breathed life into my very soul! His breath is inside of me! I wasn't just, I was very good. We were the peak of His creation, the thing He was most pleased with. 

This God who crafted the mountains and stars that reach thousands of miles higher than we could ever imagine is the God who knows my every day, my every move, my every breath. 

My days are so small. My life is so short. Yet He cares. 

He cares because He made me, He breathed into my lungs the breath of life. 

He loves me. 

Tears brim in my eyes at that thought. 

He is big enough to shape every star...and He loves me. Little, tiny me...

Scripture says He is jealous for me...for all of us.

He is jealous of the things that take our attention away from Him. Because He knows that when we are in Him, we are the best we could ever be. 

I find my purpose in Him. I find my joy in Him. I find everything I need to exist in my God who knows all of the stars by name. 

So I'm okay not knowing exactly what's going to come next. 

Because He knows. 

And if He is able to sustain this entire world...He is more than able to know what's going to happen in my life. 

So yes, college is coming. And yes, that's a big deal. 

But tonight I choose to rest in the knowledge that He knows what tomorrow will hold. He knows what next August will bring. He knows the relationships I will make and the stories I will write and the lives I will impact. 

He knows each and every step. 

He's writing my story. 

And that is worth living for. 


P.S. If we're mentioning stories...I guess I should tell you that book #3 is in the making. Surprise! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A World with Octobers.

I drove down the road yesterday coming home from a babysitting job, old Taylor Swift blasting through my speakers, the windows down and the breeze in my hair.

The leaves are changing colors. Bright reds and oranges. Soon they'll fall and create mounds of crinkly leaves on the ground.

There's something about this change of seasons that I've grown to love.

I used to absolutely love summer. I loved the warm weather, shorts and flip flops, the beach and the fact that we had over two full months without school. I still do.

But there's something about fall and spring that have become my favorite.

Because when I watch the leaves grow in the spring, bright green with blossoms and blooms, my heart is full and the Lord says, "That's what I've done in you. I've given you new life."

And in the fall when the leaves turn colors and begin to fall he says, "Look, it's your past. All of those things you regret...they can be forgotten. You are forgiven. Wait a little bit longer, you'll start to feel that new life again."

I sit here typing these words and I can only think...

Without Octobers we would miss the colors of the leaves. We would miss bonfires and s'mores and the smell that the smoke from the fire leaves on our clothes. 

We would miss pumpkins and cool fall days just before the weather turns cold. We would miss days spent in our favorite cozy sweatshirt with a good book. 

We would miss so many things. 

So today there's not a whole lot on my mind. But I'm making sure I take the time to thank God for this October. Because there won't be another one just like it. 

He is daily reminding me that those broken pieces of my past are still healing. That all of my sin has been washed clean. 

He reminds me that His love for me is unconditional, unfathomable. 

And every time I see those bright red and orange leaves He says, "I created this. I created the billions of stars. I created the vast fields and the birds and animals. And I said, 'It is good.' But then I created you! And you were very good. I will hold you and take care of you. Your future is in my hand, daughter. You are precious to me. Just like the colors of those leaves, you are unlike any other."

I breathe deeply and let the cool air fill my lungs, grateful for this day He's given me. Grateful that I am made in His imagine and for His plan. 

And I'm especially grateful He's given us Octobers.


Monday, September 29, 2014

On Goodbyes

**This is one of those mornings where I'm supposed to be doing school but my Bible study this morning applied SO directly to my life I just need to write about it. So here we go.**


Even if they're just temporary, there's something about them that pulls at your heartstrings until you feel as if there's nothing left. The tears rise and you feel that familiar burning in your throat growing as you dab at your eyes, trying to keep mascara from smearing.

I've had a lot of these in the past two years, more than I would like to remember.

The hardest goodbyes are the ones where you don't get to say goodbye- where the person leaves before you get a chance to wish them well, before you get to tell them how much you really did love them, how much you still love them.

Then there are the kind that are face to face. You embrace and cry and get to tell the person how much you love them, you wish them well and watch them load into the car. And then they drive off. You know it's harder for them than it is for you when a piece of your heart has just gone to live somewhere else.

Weeks crawl by and you wonder where they have gone and when they will be back, if they'll be back at all.

I can remember when my Paige died. My father held me and I cried, "I didn't get to say goodbye." Later in the day, I hugged a middle schooler at church and she said, "I just wish I could have said goodbye."

When my *adopted* big sister and brother-in-law moved to California last October, we stood on the front porch of the house they were staying in. Their eleven month old daughter was confused as could be about why everyone around her was crying, but we all knew. East coast to west coast is a long way away and Christmas didn't seem very close at all.

Just over a month ago, one of my dearest friends was leaving for college. Over the last six months we've become closer than ever and I dreaded the day when she would make the two hour drive and move into her dorm room at Gardner Webb University. We stood in the youth area after everyone else had left. Normally we are extremely sarcastic around each other but not that night. We wrapped our arms around each other, each of us about to lose it and said, "I love you, friend."

And in just a couple of days, I'll say another goodbye to two people who have become increasingly important in my life within the past year and a half. They are moving to Brazil to be missionaries and I couldn't be more excited to see what the Lord is going to do through them there. Trent has taken me in as his little sister, offering me more advice, love and encouragement than I ever deserved. Sydney has been faithful to text me when I'm having hard weeks and pray for me when I need it. I don't know how I'm going to make it without them around.

In my Bible study this morning, one statement stuck out to me. When I read it, I didn't think of it in context of the passage we were looking at. But in the context of goodbyes.

"Closeness carries risk."

Closeness carries the risk of telling the painful truth.

Closeness carries the risk of losing that person and the pain being unbearable.

Closeness carries the risk of long distance relationships, FaceTiming and Skyping.

Closeness carries the risk of goodbyes. 

And as hard as goodbyes might be...I wouldn't trade these relationships for anything.

I wouldn't trade the memories, the letters, the hugs, the encouraging texts and words...

I wouldn't trade it just because goodbyes hurt.

After all- closeness carries risk. We know going into a relationship that things could go wrong. But we also know that at some point, we'll have to say goodbye in one way or another.

As much as this hurts, we must remember- I must remember- that Christ calls us as the church to "admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone." (1 Thes. 5:14-15)

Even if it means a more painful goodbye in the end, let's make relationships, let's encourage one another, let's not take for granted one moment we have together...

Because it's all beautiful. It's all so beautiful. And it's all part of His plan, every single moment.

"And the only way to ever leave beauty marks on the world is with bits of yourself — and this will hurt. Things of realest beauty don’t bring us glory — but Him glory." {Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience}


Friday, August 29, 2014


I'm super pumped, friends!

It's time to have my very first blog/facebook GIVEAWAY!!!

Before I show you what you might be winning, let's go over the entry rules:

1. You must Tweet/Facebook/Instagram about For I Know the Plans, using the hashtag: #ForIKnowthePlansbook with a link back to my blog. Yes, I'm aware it's the longest hashtag EVER. Also, please tag me in your posts! I'm on all three of the social media sites listed above. (FB: Bailey Bowers, Twitter: BaileyBowers15, Instagram: baileyelizabeth_b) This way I can make sure you posted.

Once you've posted about it, comment back on this post and let me know that you did so! Each post will count for one entry. Example: if you posted on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter you would get THREE entries!

2. If you've already read For I Know the Plans, you can get TWO more entries! You can go to, search "For I Know the Plans" and write a review! Once you comment on this post saying you wrote a review, I will enter your name TWO more times since a review takes a little extra time and thought.

Oh, and you must live in the United States to enter this giveaway.

NOW! Here's what I'll be giving away.

Two people will win this super cute Sole Hope water bottle and a Light Gives Heat necklace (made in Uganda)!

(Here's my favorite one!) One person will win an autographed copy of For I Know the Plans AND a Light Gives Heat necklace!!

I know, super fun, right?

The winners will be announced NEXT FRIDAY, September 5th! This gives you plenty of time to enter.

Thank you ahead of time for helping spread the word about For I Know the Plans! If you live in this area, be on the lookout for an article in the High Point Enterprise about my journey to writing this book. It will be out Sunday or Monday. THAT is also very exciting.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Always Worth It.

Today is story time. This is not about my book. This is not about writing. This is a story of what God is doing and I had to share it in it's entirety.

Travel back with me eleven years ago. 

In the forefront of our story is a six year old girl with thin blonde hair and brown eyes, always tall for her age. She sat at basketball practice as the coach shared the story of salvation. This six year old's mind was churning knowing that she needed this Jesus in her life. When she got home, she went to her parents and told them what happened at basketball practice. That night that six year old little girl prayed to ask the Lord to be her Savior, to forgive her of her sins and to walk with her the rest of her life. 

Let's fast-forward two years. Around the age of eight, this little girl met a thirteen year old who was in her mom's Sunday School class. Her mom had taught a lot of Sunday School classes and she had met a lot of youth students. But this young girl, this wide-open, crazy about Jesus girl...she was different. 

You see, this thirteen year old made the little girl feel special. She made her feel loved. She showed this incredible love she knew from Jesus to the children around her. And this little blonde girl felt it, too. 

This eight year old and this thirteen year old grew older. As they grew older, they grew closer. Each year their relationship strengthened until the little girl, now thirteen years old considered this high school graduate one of her best friends. 

When she went off to college, this little blonde girl was broken hearted. But the friendship wasn't broken up by college. No, it was only strengthened and shared by two girls now entering a completely new and different phase of life. 

Every week or so, this little blonde girl would receive a letter in the mail from her friend off at school. Letters containing updates on classes and new friends being made. And they were precious to her, no one else was allowed to read them. She would write back telling her college aged friend all about life back at home- how the family was and how her little sister from Rwanda was growing up so quickly. 

Each summer they spent many days together, celebrating the small and big things, like finishing driver's ed and VBS and SWTA. 

That is until this little girl's college age friend passed away. At twenty years old, she had made such a big impact on this almost fifteen year old. No, she would not be forgotten. Her faith and her life would make an impact on all of those she knew- including this fifteen year old. 

About this time, this blonde headed fifteen year old met a seven year old little girl. Her name was Haley and she had brown hair and freckles. This fifteen year old loved this seven year old and she immediately knew: this is my chance. This is my chance to love someone like she loved me. 

So she did. This fifteen year old and this seven year old also grew older. As they grew older they grew closer. When our main character turned sixteen and got her license, she took Haley out for her birthday and made her feel special...hopefully like her dearest friend had done for her. 

When she went away to the beach for a couple of weeks, she wrote to Haley and asked her how things were at home, just like her friend had done for her. She told her to be the young lady God had created her to be, just like her friend had done for her. She told her to chase God with all of her heart and not miss the incredible opportunities He had for her, just like her friend had done for her. 

And when Haley came running up to me before Sunday School today, telling me she had gone forward in church to let everyone know she had the Lord as her Savior and she wanted to be eyes filled with tears and my heart soared. 

Because I was able to love my Haley like Paige loved me. I was able to encourage her and hug her and tell her how incredibly proud I was of her just like Paige had done for me. 

All because at six years old I trusted in the Lord as my Savior. Because some things only happen when Christ is in the lead. And today I realized that Paige and Haley and the relationships with so many other children at church only take place because of Him and my reconciled relationship to Him. 

Oh how thankful I am for the love that He shows each of us...this love that I am also able to show my Haley and my Sonia and all of my other kids at church. 

Today I was overwhelmed with gratefulness to be able to love for Him and because of Him. I was grateful for the joy on Haley's face when she told me about her decision. I was grateful for the way Sonia loves to tell me about her day and her friends in Sunday School. I was grateful for every bit of it. 

Most of all I was grateful for His love for me, each and every day that enables me to love others even when it seems impossible. 

So love those around you with the biggest love you can imagine. Today I saw that it is always worth it.

~Bailey (that blonde haired six year old.)

P.S. My sweet Haley, I am SO very proud of you and the beautiful young lady the Lord is shaping you to be. Keep pursuing Him and loving Him all of the days of your life. I love you so, so, SO much. Thanks for being my friend. I can't wait for all of the memories we will continue to make. Have I mentioned I'm proud of you? 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What's next?

"So what's next?"

I feel like I was just asking myself that question a couple of months ago concerning the publication of For I Know the Plans. And here we are today, over one hundred people have my book in their homes. That alone blows me away.

Here we are today and so many of you have read my book and recommended it to other people. It makes me SO excited and SO very thankful to my Jesus who has done all of this.

"There's still time in the summer to read one more book and this needs to be it. Not only to support a wonderful young lady in her writing debut, but to let God work on your heart in a BIG way. Read it but be prepared to be moved, to be touched, to be changed. To be amazed." (Words about my book from a friend at church.)

Less than than three months ago, I didn't think I'd have this book done before the beginning of the school year. Then God said, "Oh really? Watch THIS!" And He did so much in so little time- I am AMAZED by Him!

But in these last couple of days I've found myself asking the same question- what's next?

Book #1 is published and people are reading it.

This post is to let all of you know that yes, there is a book #2 coming! Tentatively titled, With All of Your Heart (continuing on with the Jeremiah 29:11-13 thing).

So many of you have gotten to the end of For I Know the Plans and said, "I just wished there was more!" Well, apparently I did, too because I'm working on the sequel.

The rough draft is getting there. It's at around 47,000 words (the final draft of book #1 was 56,000) and I'm absolutely loving this story. If you've fallen in love with the characters in the first book, I hope this second book will only make you love them more! There's lots in store for Chrissy in this next installment and I'm excited to share that with you.

Now. I've also had people ask me, "When????" The answer to that question...

I don't know. Though God did some incredible things, the last couple of months of editing For I Know the Plans were VERY stressful and frustrating for me. I want this experience of writing/editing my next book to be enjoyable and not rushed.

My hope for publication is this time next year. I say hope because it may be may be later. I don't want to keep anyone waiting longer than necessary but I want this to be the best that it can be, not for my glory but for His.

I still have a lot of work left to do on this one...lots of editing and scene writing and plot developing. Being homeschooled, my mom has allowed me to incorporate 45 minutes of editing into my daily school schedule this year and I'm super excited about that.

All of this being said, I guess I'm really not sure what's next.

I know I'll be writing. I know I'll be doing school(officially a senior, by the way- WHAT?!). I also know that I'll be looking to Him for guidance in all of the decisions to be made. I'll be spending time in His Word and in His Presence.

But like I said a while back, while I may write other stories- this one isn't mine, it isn't for me. This story is His, it's for Him. He knows what's next and I rest in the comfort of that promise.

And while I rest, I write in hopes to glorify Him and see where this grand adventure of life will take me next.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I woke up Sunday morning and felt as if I had just been hit by a truck.

I was exhausted; we all were.

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you know that the party Saturday was a HUGE success. Thanks again to everyone who came out and celebrated with me. It was definitely one of the best days of my life so far.

I was texting a friend Sunday night about how surreal it felt for person after person to be buying my book, for me to be signing each book. I just kept thinking, I'm an author. And all day long I thanked the Lord for all He had done to get me to that point.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day.

This is quite possibly my favorite shot from the day. 

My Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Riddle, came to celebrate with me. She is holding two of the little books that we made in Kindergarten. 

Both sets of grandparents, my parents, my aunt and me.

Beginning to end table! 

Friends from our homeschool group last year. Love these girls!

Girls from church--missing a few who had to head home early! 

Two of my beautiful cousins and me.

Jane Austen quote.


Anyway, thanks again for all of your support. Don't forget to spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or buy the book on amazon! 


Friday, August 8, 2014

Celebrating Him

Tomorrow is the big day! The one I have been waiting all summer for. 

Tomorrow I celebrate the publishing of my book. 

I celebrate these three years of hard work. 

I celebrate these months and months of editing. 

I celebrate this story that has already reached many people in many different ways. 

But more than any of these, I celebrate the way that the Lord has moved in my life within the last two and three years to bring me to this point. 

On Wednesday as we stood in church singing "Great I Am," I proclaimed the words of this song, knowing what a great and powerful God that I serve. This song was my Paige's favorite worship song and normally it brings tears to my eyes. 

Wednesday was different. I was able to stand and worship, truly worship my God who has brought me SO far and done SO much for me. And I was beyond grateful. 

I texted a friend that night, "Can we just talk about how awesome our God is?"

And we did, because we've both seen Him move in the craziest, most amazing ways and we know that His plans are beyond perfect. 

Just ask me and I'll tell you that the journey to this book proves that the God I serve has the perfect plan. 

On Sunday mornings I help teach the 5th grade Sunday school class with some good friends, Brent and Ashlee Moore. Ashlee was telling the kids about my book last week in class and they started asking all of these questions (Will you be on the red carpet? Probably not. Is your book going to be made into a movie? Probably not. Are the characters based off of people in your life? Yes, a few of them.).

Anyway, we ended up spending the last twenty five minutes of Sunday school hour doing a Q&A about my book. I told them if I ever became famous I would give them credit for my first official interview. Haha!! 

At the end of class, sweet Gwen was closing us in prayer and she said, "And I pray that people would know You, God, through Bailey's book." And I smiled because that's what I've been praying all along. 

After Sunday school I walked a couple of the girls back to their parents who were working nursery and we were carrying on conversation when the book came up again. They asked if I wanted it made into a movie. 

My response, "Well, my goal wasn't to write a book that would be made into a movie or become wildly popular, I mean, that would be fantastic. Anyway, my goal was to write a book that would point people to the Lord, to write a book that would show people what it means to live for Him. I pray that He would be glorified in what I write and what I do with the abilities He has given me."

I pray that is what I have done. I pray that I have written to glorify my Savior. 

I pray that this weekend we celebrate the things the Lord has done, that we celebrate the fact that He does know the plans for each of our lives!

As my youth pastor said Wednesday night, I don't want to trade in my love for the Creator for the love of the created. I want to stay focused on my Creator and His will, His glory, His honor and not be distracted by the created. 

I know that God has big things in store for me, for my writing, for this story and the ones to come (yes, there are more). But I want Him to get the credit! 

Because HE has done great things and I am so very thankful! 

Let that be what we celebrate this weekend.

~Bailey Elizabeth 

Psalm 98:1
"Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things!"

Monday, July 28, 2014


You've probably seen it on Facebook or Instagram by now...

Yes, it's true.

I'm officially published!

For I Know the Plans is available on Amazon in paperback form and Kindle edition.

It was a bittersweet day, July 24th, 2014.

As I approved my very last proof copy online, my dad was sitting beside me entering all of the technical information so that it could be sold and I would receive royalties.

"It seems very appropriate that your book is being published on July 24th."

Tears brimmed and I clicked, Okay. My book was published. Just like that. I was a published author. A smile quickly spread across my face.

For those of you who don't know, two years ago on July 24th, 2012 we lost a dear friend completely unexpectedly. She didn't wake up and we didn't get to say goodbye.

She was my closest spiritual mentor, and though she was five years older than me, she was one of my very best friends.

This book is dedicated to her. It is dedicated to not only the impact she made on my life, but to the impact she made on the lives of the other children at our church as well. Because our Paige Elizabeth will never be forgotten.

So on Amazon it says, "Paperback, July 24, 2014."

And I am still in awe of how my Jesus has redeemed this date.

As we approached the 24th of July this year, the knot of dread in my stomach only grew. I dreaded the grief that I knew would come. I dreaded the memories and the fact that I would have to acknowledge another year's passing without her. I talked about all of this with my mom and my friend, Courtney.

But it didn't take away the raw hurt.

I woke up on the 24th, tired as usual (still recovering from mono) and pushed through a headache that was slowly coming on. I had to get to Summer With the Arts. I needed to love on those kids.

I got to church and I was filled with this joy that only the Lord could bring. All day I played with the kids. When I returned home that night I was quite exhausted but could think about only one thing: I've got to get the books ordered for my party. 

So my dad sat down with me and made it happen.

That's when it clicked, "Today's the 24th."

And I sat in awe of what God had done.

He had it planned to redeem the 24th for me all this time.

I used my gift in order to glorify my God. I dedicated this book to her long before I even started this crazy publishing process, long before this summer got crazy. I believed my God had big things in store.

Little did I know He had the 24th in mind.

But I am so thankful that He did.

While it still won't be an easy day, it won't be as hard anymore either. Because my God is full of redemption even on the darkest of days. 

Obviously, I'd love for you to read my book. You can find it here: For I Know the Plans

If you live in the area and will be in town, I'd love for you to join me in celebrating this occasion.

August 9th, 2014 from 2:00pm-5:00pm at Rich Fork Baptist Church(MPB lobby).

Books will be available and I will be signing them there($10 a copy).

There will be cupcakes and other snacks along with a shoe cutting party for Sole Hope.

Buy the book and spread the word on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (I'm on all three!).

Thanks again for reading, can't wait to see what you think about the book!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Happy Waiting.

Oh my friends! I could cry happy tears.

This last month, especially these past couple of weeks have been really hard. I've had to lean on the Lord more than ever. He has taught me how to rest. And He has shown me that I always need Him.

Anyway...onto today's events! My God is SO good!

On Friday I ordered the very last proof of my very first book (friends, I'm SO excited)! This happened today and I just have to share it with you.

Earlier this afternoon I was visiting with my bestie, catching up on life because we hadn't seen each other in FOREVER. I was sitting on her couch and I said, "If the proof of my book isn't there when I get home I might hurt someone."

*While I made this threat, this would most likely not happen.*

I got in the van with my mom and sister ten minutes later and we drove home. As we approached the house, I scanned the front porch for the box from CreateSpace. It wasn't there.

Guys. I paid TWELVE DOLLARS for shipping so it would be here today. And it wasn't on the porch.

"Mom, seriously? This is ridiculous." I slammed the car door and walked inside, trying to ignore the headache that was coming back.

"Maybe the boys brought it inside for you," my mom said hopefully.

I turned the corner into the kitchen and there on the kitchen counter was the little brown box I had been patiently anticipating since Friday.

"IT CAME!!!" I shouted, and then continued, "Mom, please don't video me this time."

She laughed and consented.

I grabbed a pair of scissors from the pencil drawer and carefully cut open the box.

My insides were a mix of nerves and excitement.

As I tore away the packing I saw the new and improved cover and my heart swelled.

It's perfect. No. It's beyond perfect. It's better than anything I could have ever wanted for my own book. And I love it. 

I had a goofy grin on my face as I flipped through the beautiful cream pages and smelled them(because what else do you do with your own book?).

I looked at the words I have spent three years writing and rewriting and editing and I was like a proud mama.

And my friends, I cannot wait for you to read it and hopefully fall in love with these characters just like I have.

Now I know you're probably dying to see the new cover.

But. Good things come to those who wait.

So you'll have to wait until August 9th to see the official cover of "For I Know the Plans."

Yes, it's a secret. It's one I'm very excited to keep.

For now I'll leave you with this.

Isn't it lovely?

God has given me so much to be thankful for.

Happy waiting!


Ephesians 3:20-21

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I look to You.

I wake up with that sharp pain in my head. Right there in my temple, slowly making it's way all over my head.

After taking some medicine, I crawl back in bed, waiting for relief.

This has been going on for a couple of weeks now.

This reoccurring pain comes throughout the day, knocking me out with each blow.

And yes, I'm discouraged.

Discouraged that I had to miss a birthday party on Saturday.

Discouraged that I had to miss church on Sunday because I slept right through it.

Discouraged that I had to cancel babysitting some of my favorite kiddos twice this week because I simply didn't feel up to it.

Discouraged that I missed a meeting to design the cover for my book with my youth pastor.

I'm discouraged. And I'm frustrated. And right now, I'm not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

I wish I knew when this season would be over...when the pain would come to a halt.

I want to stand at the top of this mountain and look down into the valley and say, "Thank you Lord for being faithful and bringing me through."

Because the valley is never a fun place to be.

But in all of the cancelled plans and days of rest at home...I've had time to do just that.

To rest. To be.

And as frustrating as it is, I think He's trying to show me something.

I think He wants me to take some time every once and a while...or every be still and know that He is God.

I think He wants me to use this summer to be refreshed and renewed in His Presence, no matter what's going on around me.

Today I got another one of Ann Voskamp's daily e-mail encouragements. The title caught me off guard: What you have to do to come to peace with this season in life. It's written by Emily Freeman.

"In long light, in deep darkness, and in all the layers of shadow in between, Christ came first and holds us together even when change comes rolling through.

And so we welcome this new season, whatever it may bring, because we must, because to press on as we have been doing hurts too much.

Instead of fighting the changes and the transitions —

what if we leaned into them instead?"

What if I stopped trying to fight this pain and tried to learn from it instead?

What if I stopped asking God "why?" and leaned into His grace instead?

What if on these days of being at home I stopped moping around and spent time in His Presence instead?

I know it would make a difference.

I also know that my God is good and He is Healer.

And while I wait for the pain to pass, while I wait to be on top of this mountain, I will continue to trust and hope in my Great God who will help me lean into His grace day by day.

My God, I will look to You. And I will know that You alone are God.


“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10

*The headaches are hereditary migraines passed down from both my mom and dad. While being a Bowers is fantastic- the migraines are not!*