*A note before you read this. After doing an audit of my blog in 2022, I have decided to leave content that speaks to the Christian I was at the time this was written. I no longer identify as Christian (and haven’t for a very long time.) I chose to leave these posts because it is who I was then and it is important to me to be honest and true with every iteration and evolution of self that I experience. I may decide to add comments to the end of posts like this as well

God has this thing with numbers. So do I. It’s part of the language He uses to communicate with me. Phil and I were talking about this move to Cedar Rapids. We agreed, life has been both difficult and rewarding these last seven years.

Early in 2006 our lives took some very heartbreaking turns (and I’ve blogged about them all) A small recap would include the death of close family members (my uncle, his paternal grandma, my maternal grandma, my best friend, his maternal grandma, his paternal grandpa, his dad, my mom,) our income was chiseled away until today, we stand at making less than half of what we did then, both of us have had some hefty health concerns, the betrayal and ultimate loss of four very good friends, we’ve moved 3 times, in 2006 we left our church because the pastor made horrid accusations against me, this year we left a second church because that same pastor was hired on…we’ve been hit in the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional areas…and hit hard.

We closed this chapter of our lives on the first day of Lent–the 40 days leading up to the Resurrection of Christ.

My word for this year is {restore}

“For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast…”

Jeremiah 30:17

This word “restore” in this verse in Hebrew means

to ascend,

to spring up,


shoot forth,

to come up (before God,)

to bring up,

draw up,


This feels like birth. Phil’s new job, the way they’re transferring us to a new place, taking care of the move, new home, new city, new friends–real friends, Godly friends, a new (to us) vehicle, a surprisingly good tax return, a bonus from work, my art career, the ease of this huge change and everything falling together at this very moment in time, our health concerns addressed and healing, mind, body, and soul healing.  Like morning sickness in the first trimester and the full, achy, wobbly, exhausting third trimester. Like the contractions, the pain of birth. At once everything happens at once and there is relief and love and tears and overwhelming joy.

that’s what I feel like.

I talked with Phil about the Israelites wandering the desert. How I feel like at the beginning of these seven years, I was a young and immature believer, I complained, I expected things, I demanded, I was insulted if I didn’t receive, and now? I feel God has taught me what it means to Follow Him. To truly listen to His voice and only His voice. How both of us have learned to listen to Him and not argue and fight. We just obey. Like we’re entering a spiritual Promised Land. Phil said, “I’m sure glad it didn’t take us 40 years!!”

but I am 40.

and maybe it did take me 40 years of wandering.

Then last night, after the movers finished loading our belongings and drove off, after we packed our vehicles with what they wouldn’t transport, after cleaning the house we’re leaving behind, after taking a final sunset picture from Indiana and saying goodbye to my family, after all that I was flipping through the stations and Pastor Rodney Finch was giving a sermon about how the Israelites had only an eleven day journey  from Egypt to the Promised Land and yet, it took them 40 years.

And how we are built in affliction.

This morning, I remembered that 2006 was seven years ago and that God’s meaning in seven is


to bring to a close,

to fulfill,


Things feel different. We have had no fear during this transition. Anxiety of the unknown–yes. But fear? Not so much. We’ve willingly stepped out in faith each with each new situation we’ve been faced with and also with the repeat trials. We’ve faced some pretty serious giants and we’ve stood firm. And even though there is still much unknown, I don’t feel the overwhelming sense of dread cloaked over us.

 I’m praying that the deepest darkness has now passed.

That this is indeed the beginning of a new time. A time to come up before God. A time of restoration.

a time of healing

my soul yearns to be restored.

9 thoughts on “Completion”

  1. Such a beautiful story of His faithfulness and your trust. I am so excited for you and cannot wait to see what else the Lord has in store for you.

    Love ya

  2. Michelle – I haven’t been there through all of the last seven years, but in the few that I have seen, you’ve always inspired me with the story of how you got here. I wish you the best of luck in IA and wherever else you go next. Thank you for always being willing to share, listen and pray. I hope the restoration is the kind where your cup overflows 🙂

    • Thank you, Martel. You’re such a huge blessing to me (and my family!) When we met, I had no clue the impact you’d have. I’m so glad God brought us together!!

  3. I am so happy for you! I love your story of your journey! Isn’t it amazing how God teaches us and loves on us and carries us through the journey? I can’t wait to see what the Lord has for you in this new place! Sooo exciting! And I am so happy about how the Lord guided you to your Art and grew a business from your passion during a time when you needed it. Just think how much has come because of this time! Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Praying your new home and new stage of your journey is an amazing blessing to you!

    • Mary–I have been thinking non-stop about how God has provided us with Manna–the mystery from the sky. It truly is mysterious to me. And my favorite part is how, when I’m creating, it’s not really about me…how He transcends the art and becomes the message for the receiver of the creation. It’s all so very complicated and I can hardly wrap my brain around it.

  4. Beautifully written Michelle…as always!
    I have no idea who, but one time at Unity someone said, “If you are going through a crucifixion experience, make sure you stick around for the resurrection.”
    May you rise again and continue to help others rise through the gracious sharing of your experiences! Love ya!

  5. So good to read this. I’m bummed that you’re moving farther away, but I’m rejoicing with you at the way things are moving and shifting and at the hope I read in these words. SO happy for you!

  6. Michelle, first I gotta say that I love you send I’m so happy to hear the newest turn of events is a good thing for you guys. And secondly, all things pure and strong have to be put under extreme pressure to become that way. Diamonds are compressed, and silver, gold, even steel have to be melted down to become what they are. When God said all things work together for good, he wasn’t speaking lightly. Its those dark, hard seasons he brings us through where this promise shines on the path as you look BACK on it. The key is getting that far so we can really see what he’s done. 🙂


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