Previously Published Articles


A Walking Billboard

A Walking Billboard


Posted By on Apr 8, 2017

“For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” —2 Corinthians 4:11-12 (NIV) My 16-year-old walked to the front of her speech class at the State College with her hair tucked up in a scarf, concealing every strand, as she mimicked how I looked some 17 years ago. She shared her story of how my husband and I made the toughest decision to not abort her when I was diagnosed with cancer when I was six weeks pregnant, but instead underwent chemotherapy with her in the womb. For a teen who typically loves public speaking, and effortlessly captivates her audience, this was the first time I heard her say, “Mom, that was uncomfortable. I was the youngest student in the class, I’m homeschooled, and now they know I’m a Christian. Why is sharing our God-story so awkward?” She continued to say she felt judged by her silent, smile-free audience, especially when the next young lady to present encouraged the class to support Planned Parenthood. Her eyes widened as she listened to this opposing presentation. At that moment, I wanted to bubble wrap my teen and protect her from those unworthy feelings, until she admitted, “But then a handful of students came up after class and said, ‘Wow, that was really cool how you talked about your story and faith and all. We’re glad your mom, you know, listened to God and now you’re here.’” And that was it. That was the moment I was reminded of the importance of dying to those uncomfortable feelings and opening our mouths to share the truth and life through our redemption story, even in the difficult times when we think no one is listening, and certainly no one cares. We are much like a walking billboard, advertising how God has delivered us from a sickness, an addiction, maybe a gut-wrenching divorce, or some other heartbreaking experience where it feels like we’re being given over to death and we think no one would want to hear about that, would they? That’s the beautiful part about becoming a Christian. We’ve all been saved from something. And when we share our story and surrender to God by dying to ourselves, even our fears, that’s how His life is revealed in our bodies, that’s how He brings life out of death. DIG: What did God reveal to you as you read through this devotional? DISCOVER: Pray and ask Him how He’d like you to...

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New Year, New You

New Year, New You


Posted By on Dec 31, 2016

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) After battling infertility for years, and finally accepting that I was sterile, my husband and I considered adoption. It’s amazing how excited you become about something once all other doors seem welded shut. So there we were, a year into adopting a sweet baby from China when mysteriously I became pregnant. No words can describe the ecstatic momma I morphed into, because God wasn’t blessing us with one baby, He was blessing us with two! Oh, praise Jesus. That is until week seven when all my pregnancy symptoms subsided and my ultrasound confirmed I’d lost the baby. Understandably, I became that weepy mess of a mom you’d imagine. That was the day Philippians 3:13-14 took on a whole new meaning, especially the “pressing on” part. I had a choice in the months that followed: I could wallow and lament (which, I did at first), or I could follow God’s Word and start “straining toward what [was] ahead, [and] press on toward the goal . . .” Some days this world tangles my heart so tight from the disappointments that I could easily whimper my time away. Boy, isn’t that what our enemy would love for us to do? Maybe that’s why God reminds us that this isn’t our home. This temporary world takes some pushing, straining, and pressing in order to get through. And the more I look around, the more I realize that I’m not the only one facing bumps. We all are. Praise God we will one day win the prize of heaven, because during this unexpected season of my life, I learned that obsessing over my brokenness wasn’t helping me move forward. Then more craziness happened. Seven months after my miscarriage, we adopted our sweet baby. And wouldn’t you know, as soon as my focused shifted to praise Him for this blessing, He surprised us with another pregnancy. This is a new year, filled with new experiences. Life may not turn out how we imagine, but the more we focus on Him, the more He blesses us when we least expect it. The biggest challenge we face is keeping our eyes on the goal. This new year are you ready to press on and become a new you? DIG: Are you facing a painful event you are having a hard time getting past? DISCOVER: Did the Lord put anything...

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Deliverance from Despair

Deliverance from Despair


Posted By on Jul 4, 2016

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.”—Psalm 107:6 (NIV) I remember the day Erin Brockovich, the well-known environmental activist, visited our town and confirmed what our community had feared: We were living in a cancer cluster and water contamination was to blame. Each bath, hand-washed dish, or dip in our above-ground pool my family of six encountered meant cancer-causing elements were slowly absorbing into our system. Never before had we wanted to move so quickly, yet with this unsettling news the housing prices in our area had plummeted. As a result, we owed more than the house was worth, and the only way out was filing for foreclosure or applying for a short sale, so we thought. It’s unexpected situations like these that remind me why I love God’s Word so much. In fact, the Lord showcases what triggers His amazing power in Psalm 107:6. This passage retells the story of when the Israelites hit rock bottom, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress” (emphasis added). Sometimes it isn’t until we are wading through hardships in life that we experience our “then” moment. The bottom falls out, “then” we cry out to the Lord. It’s like this one act of emptying our resources, emotions, and physical stamina finally allows us to become the perfect vessel, weak enough to unleash His mighty power. In our housing situation, that’s exactly what happened. For a year we tried to finagle a plan. We attempted to short sale, even though we never missed a monthly payment, but as every buyer fell through, I cried out to God to save us. After a year, we finally gave up and trusted that He was in control. If we were supposed to move, He’d show us how. So when a new realtor explained that we could rent out our home and buy another, we laughed. “Sure, ok,” we jested, and half-heartedly tried this guy’s plan. Somehow, within 30 days we found a home, signed a contract, and secured renters who could care less about the silly scare. And wouldn’t you know it, a year later our water contamination problems diminished as no explanation was found for the unusual outbreak. God loves to deliver His children. As much as we try, our lives will never morph into perfection, not on this broken earth. But we can grow and transform with our knees on the ground and our face lifted high, crying out for His wisdom and guidance. DIG: When was the last time you hit rock bottom...

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Face Your Fears

Face Your Fears


Posted By on Feb 19, 2016

{Devotional} Fear is the great silencer in life. I remember the moment a friend asked if I’d speak at his crisis pregnancy fundraiser. After an uncomfortable chuckle, I refused. “I’m not a speaker,” I reminded him. He wasn’t looking for a speaker, he said, followed by something along the lines of, “God has given you a powerful testimony our guests would be blessed to hear.” Biting my inner lip, I agreed. My tummy twisted as anxiety filled my spirit, so I prayed, polled friends for wise counsel, and eventually joined a public speaking group. However, I soon learned that of the twenty or so club members, few shared my faith in God. And the speech I needed help with was how the Lord protected my unborn baby while I endured chemotherapy during my pregnancy. So now I fretted that I’d somehow offend these people by talking about God. Fear had entrapped me. With my speaking event a few months away, I had no other options. I practiced with these strangers my crazy God-story. And these kind folks coached me through, all the while hearing a message from a sheepish 30-year-old who would rather have shoved her head in a hole than shared her miraculous testimony. Panic felt like a weapon used to slice my soul and render me wounded. Little did I know that this one speech would open the door to many more speaking events, where other strangers would spur me on to face yet another fear: writing. This dyslexic, math-lover who failed the fourth grade somehow ended up being used by God in the most unusual ways, and all because I faced the things that had held me captive for far too long. God knew He wanted to use this testimony to reach other struggling souls. I simply had to trust Him. So what if I would have allowed my cowardice to silence my first speaking event? Fear could have kept me from the very thing God was calling me do. The Bible says the “Fear of man is a dangerous trap . . .” (Proverbs 29:25 TLB). Clearly, anxiety hinders our faith. Maybe that’s why God repeated differing versions of “Do not be afraid” 365 times throughout the Word. He knew we’d need daily reminders to combat faith’s number one obstacle. Dig: Today, trust the Lord with all of your heart like Proverbs 3:5 suggests. Write out your fears, praying for answers. Make sure you listen and write down what you feel the Lord is revealing. Discover: Research “fear” in the Bible, and see what God reveals to you. Here are some verses to get you...

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I’ll never forget the day I learned my cancer had returned. Standing in the kitchen, I gripped the phone as my oncologist shared the news. My knees gave out, and I slid to the floor. Deep from within, moans I’d never heard before bellowed out. Shock, fear, and then anger set in as I shouted to God two words: “Why me?” What had I done to deserve this? Looking back, I now see that God had a plan, one which included a great deal of earthly pain on my part, but would eventually turn into back-to-back miracles on His. His plan, the best plan, would slowly unfold over the years and point hundreds of people to Christ. And isn’t that the greater goal? Even in my weakest moments, when my fleshly fear winds me tighter than I’d like to admit, the Bible says He sees and knows my needs even before I cry them out. That’s why He sends a Helper, the Holy Spirit, to search our hearts and pray on our behalf. He is constantly looking for a way to comfort us and draw us closer to Him. His ways are not my ways, even though in my mind I believe I have the superior plan, one that usually requires minimal discomfort. But sometimes the greatest spiritual growth occurs when the pain runs deep and tears flow unendingly and I am so emotionally wounded that the only place I can look is up. And usually that’s where His glory is revealed—in the complete surrender of my will. The Bible describes God as being the potter, and me the clay. He’s searching for those imperfections. His desire as a Creator is to smooth out the bumps and form me into the follower He wants me to be. This requires close inspection on His part, and faith on mine. All of which are beautiful steps in our walk with Him. He is molding us, making us a better version of ourselves. We just can’t see the potential masterpiece from our point of view. God knows our heart, our dedication, and even our limitations. He’s constantly looking for ways to refine and free us from our anxious thoughts. And to show us that He’s got this, especially the scary stuff of life. “And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.”—Romans 8:27 (AMP) DIG: Is there an area of your life where you feel God is refining you spiritually? DISCOVER: How...

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“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.”—Romans 1:8 (NKJV) In this verse, the apostle Paul praises the faith-filled Christians living in Rome. At first glance, it’s easy to miss the historical significance of Paul’s admiration. Consider this: Rome was a hedonistic culture—a modern-day mixture of Vegas and Hollywood,if you will. At the time of this writing, around 56 AD, Rome’s extravagant societywas focused on self-pleasurerather than service. As a result, they marginalized the sick and elderly, and they even discarded their unwanted infants.Now imagine a group of these same selfish people believing in something deep enough to change their lifestyle. With Jesus’ love in their heart, and the knowledge of His Good Samaritan message to care for the less fortunate, they took it upon themselves to help the poor, sick, and destitute. No wonder the Christians stood out. Their actions altered the ethical temperature of Rome. And Paul, living some 600 miles away in Corinth, Greece, marveled at their reputation spreading throughout the world. What sacrifice! What faith! What a reflection of Christ to live out Jesus’ second commandment to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39).Our spiritual reputation is what others think when they hear our name. What message are we conveying to those around us: selflessness, humbleness, and unconditional love? One of the best parts of following Christ is that He is always refining our reputations. He gives us opportunities when He whispers for us to invite someone to church, help a neighbor in need, or simply offer a listening ear to a hurting friend. When we become the hands and feet of Jesus, people take notice. We look different. Act different. And that’s when barriers are torn down and doors are opened for us to share why we believe what we believe.We profess our faith by sharing what God’s doing in our lives, serving others, and following His internal nudges on our heart. Our neighbors are watching. Our co-workers, childcare providers, even our waiters and waitresses observe our behavior, whether we realize it or not. What evidence of faith is Christ stirring in you to help shape your spiritual reputation? DIG: What do you believe your spiritual reputation reveals about you? DISCOVER: What one area of your life might be hindering your testimony? DISPLAY: What one step of faith do you feel God is calling you to take?   Dabney Hedegard is an author, speaker, and professional patient. Her memoir, When God Intervenes (Tyndale House Publishers), chronicles her four near-death experiences.This devotional was previously published in the DailyDevo. Used by permission from Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. ...

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Woman Cheats Death Four Times

Woman Cheats Death Four Times


Posted By on Sep 16, 2014

  “A football-sized tumor is embedded around your lungs,” my ER doctor explained. It’s not every day you hear this news, especially when you’re 25 years old and six weeks pregnant. But my diagnosis isn’t where my story begins — because every illness has a unique symptom that internally whispers something’s wrong. Mine seeped out the summer of ‘98 in the form of a faint, recurring itch that danced across my leg. Then my cheek. My back. Inside my ear. The gradual progression of this assumed allergic reaction to my dog or detergent blossomed from a rash-like itch into a maddening sensation of fleas infesting my skin. Nothing helped. Not topical anti-itch cream, allergy medicine, or violently scraping with my nails until red welts appeared. Four months spent at allergists, dermatologists and two different primary care physicians, attempting to explain my skin discomfort typically ended with, “This is all in your head.” Each doctor prescribed Xanax, the wonder anti-anxiety medication. As soon as the prescription was slipped into my hand, my head slumped in defeat, and I knew another appointment had ended with no answers. After all, what 25-year-old has anything seriously wrong with her? And my blood work — the main code they knew how to read — was indicating low iron, which could easily explain why I fell asleep at my desk midday. “Nothing to be alarmed about,” my doctors always said. A month later, while lying in the backseat of my friend’s SUV, driving home from a girl’s getaway weekend, my flip-flop slid off my moist foot. I wiped the underside of my insole with a beach towel and went back to resting. But the water reappeared. Examining the flipside of my foot a little closer, I watched beads of sweat resurface, almost like my body was crying out from the misery of all my odd symptoms: itching, extreme exhaustion, insomnia, brain-fog and now excessive perspiration. With much apprehension of yet another doctor labeling me with a psychosomatic disorder, I tracked down a third primary care physician. With one swipe of her tissue across my wet foot, she commented, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my 30 years of practice.” She ended my consultation with a promise to research her medical journals in search of the ailment plaguing my body. Only, I didn’t make it to my next appointment. Six days later,…(read the full article in the Palm Beach Post by clicking here)...

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  {A recent guest post I shared over at ILoveDevotionals.com.}   I used to be fearful of a lot of things. I worried about money. I agonized over work projects and whether I was competent to perform a job well done. Seeking the approval of others was another fear. Did I offend them? Will they like me or secretly laugh at me?    It’s funny the things I let consume my thoughts; such trivial matters in comparison to reality.    Money? I could always make more. Work? I could always refine my skills. Approval? People, I’ve learned, are typically more concerned with themselves, not my little blunders.   But a life-threatening sickness? That’s bone-wearying business. That’s real fear that trumps a host of nonsense.   You can’t control that.   I’m about to share something that can transform your thoughts, something more powerful than disease itself.   At 25-years old and six-weeks-pregnant, a football sized tumor blanketed my lungs.    Life changed with one x-ray and an oncologist telling me my odds would improve by terminating my pregnancy. Only, he couldn’t really endorse an abortion since it contradicted his beliefs.   Meeting this physician in the ER the night of my diagnoses was no accident. Any other professional wouldn’t have treated me unless I ended my pregnancy. If I ever doubted that God was with me during the coming years of battling illnesses, this should have been clue number one.   But sometimes we don’t see God’s hand entwined in ours until we look back on our journey. (tweet this)   We never aborted. Kneeling in our apartment, praying for guidance, a supernatural peace confirmed our hunch that this baby was destined to live. I assumed God had a greater miracle to perform, one which surely included healing me from cancer. Why else would He have given me such a peace to keep my child?   But He didn’t.   My prayer wasn’t answered. Not the way I wanted.   When I started chemotherapy in my second trimester, I again believed He would heal me and spare me the six months more of treatment after my baby was born.   But He didn’t.   No matter which prayer-position I tried, or how many church members petitioned the Lord, God never removed my illness.   My daughter was born early, and I endured more chemo, then radiation.   At 26, my cancer was in remission. Halleluiah, I thought, until two months later my oncologist found cottage-cheese looking tumors along the outside sac of my heart and more mushroomed clusters growing along my abdomen.   Not a good sign. Not a good prognosis. Not...

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