We will never have it together.

Many of you know our early years' marriage story.

But in case you don't, I'll fill you in...it was rough.

Sweet Man and I are products of two very different families. If you couple that with the reality that we are both beyond stubborn, independent and insanely selfish, it shouldn't surprise you that I called home after being in our wedding night hotel room a whole hour, weeping to my mom to come and get me.

She gently encouraged me to get a grip.

Now take that frustration and compound it by hundreds of days of unwillingness to bend or grow on either of our ends, and you're greeted with the natural result of numerous nights of my jumping up and down on the dining room table screaming, or pouting and whining to manipulate our personal agendas.

We were messed up.

From the outside, you would never know it. 

We knew the Christian script well. 

We mechanically danced the waltz we'd been taught to do, but we were professional fakers.

Mix this scenario with three surprise blessing pregnancies in three and a half years, a sick son and gallons of sin...and you have a picture of our ticking bomb.

But friends, we all have a ticking bomb.

It may not be your marriage, but there is a space you're striving to control, to juggle, to protect. You're unknowingly preserving its idol status.

You next natural question might be, How did you ever get from there to here?

From weeping in my daddy's lap to let me come home, to grasping that Jamie is the primary catalyst of my seeing my Savior on this earth and becoming more like Him?

It was a train wreck of coming clean.

We got real with those around us, let them into our muck and grey, to wade through it with us.

It was May 18th, 2007, when we hit rock bottom. I was six months pregnant with Daniel, Benjamin was at the doctor every other day, vomiting and so very sick all the time, Caleb was surviving, and Jamie and I despised each other.

But something shifted that day. 

For so long, we had bought the lie that we could not be used by God until we were able to pull ourselves together. We believed the nasty whispers that in order to do life with the body of believers, we had to be neat and tidy, presentable and appropriate.

On that afternoon, we fell to our knees together and said, Enough.

We called those we considered close to us and shared the truth that we were broken and at the end. 

They came, and for the first time in our five years of marriage we were exposed, our sin, our desperation, our aching and scars.

Then, we turned to God, weeping from our knees and said, Take it all. Take our lives, our sons, our home, our marriage, money and dreams, and just make it Yours, whatever you want, however you want it, because it's not working our way.

Friends, in that moment, for the first time in our marriage, I knew I wasn't going to suffocate from my own need to control.

I was free from myself. 

We weren't our own anymore.

And we've never looked back.

People often remark to me in conversation, We want to do something like you do when we have it more together...

When there's enough money...

Or the bigger house...

Or our kids' grow up...

Or we retire...

Or we don't fight anymore...

Women tell me they will join a small group when their hearts are in a more stable place. 

Families will open their doors to hospitality when their house is in better shape, the new project complete.

Christ-followers commenting they'll incorporate outreach into their lives when they cross the next time hump, financial crunch...

Friends, the Gospel is for the broken.

It's about beggars discovering the Bread of Life in the midst of our famine of the soul.

We're all desperate, and if we say we're not, we've missed one of the most beautiful cornerstones of life...

To be utterly exposed and needy together, with one another before our Savior who became exposed for us.

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you're better,
You will never come at all.

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies;
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! the incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood;
Venture on Him, venture wholly.
Let no other trust intrude.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need for Him.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

~ Joseph Hart, an 18th century minister who strived to have it all together, 
before he finally fell in desperation at the feet of his Savior.


  1. so very encouraging. Thank you for sharing

  2. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!! Marriage has been harder than I ever expected - and it's so easy to feel alone in that. God's work in your marriage has been a huge encouragement to me!

    1. Girl, I love you from afar. Ever learning that marriage was never meant to be easy. It was meant to help shape us into the form of Jesus, and that means sharpening, and bending, and chiseling away. All that aside, talking about marriage with you now, rather than junior high woes...I'm old :)

  3. I love your gut level honesty.... You are right--we all have those "sick" and broken places inside... I never would have guessed that you and Jamie struggled so deeply. I mean, you've shared some pieces of it before on your blog but I had no idea that it began early in the marriage and almost caused the marriage to end. I am so grateful to God (on behalf of your bio kiddos and your foster kiddos) that He got you to the place He wanted you in life. I pray that can be the same for me as well within my life. I had a neighbor friend that often spoke to me of using my past hurts to help others but she would then always list my faults and sin and tell me that "when your life is healed, then you can help others." I'm thankful that God meets us where we are at--now I have to actually TRUST that and act accordingly!

    1. Sweet Lori, I'm always so grateful for your comments. They encourage my heart. It's so brave to step out in our weakness, knowing we will be utterly dependent in our exposure :) Love you girl.

    2. Love you too, dear Catie! I'm glad my comments are encouraging to you... as yours definitely are to me. You are so genuine which is what I strive for but most of all, for a stronger faith. Did you know, as a Christian I've never read my Bible cover to cover? (Speaking of taking a risk and being genuine, lol) I'm ashamed of that but that is a goal of mine. I read so much. But I want what I read to minister to others through me as well as help me personally. Today, while walking to go pay my rent, (very close by) this young man stopped me (he'd been just ahead of me) and he very politely said "Ma'am? My name is Justin (and he offered his hand which I shook and told him my first name) and I was wondering if I could just give you this card. God led me to offer you one and so if by any chance you are looking for a church or just want to visit sometime, we'd love to have you!" The strange part about that is just the other night I was saying to someone that it's been a long time since I've been to church. Ever since I moved away from my home church (and because I don't have a vehicle) I've had no church. This young man told me "We can even provide transportation if you'd like." So I just may check it out very soon! Hugs and prayers headed your way!

  4. Beautiful. Courageous. Lovely. Thank you!!!!

  5. Catie - your blog is so truthfully correct. We all suffer from issues that we feel like we are the only ones going through and it is tough to be brutally honest. But I love love love your statement "To be utterly exposed and needy together, with one another before our Savior who became exposed for us." I needed those words today!

    1. Thank you, Sweet Randi! Exposed is so freeing!

  6. Thinking of you and your family, Catie. Praying all is well! Hugs!

    1. I PROMISE I'm not a "stalker" lol but I just checked to see if you'd posted and it's been a long while. Hope that means you are "just" busy and that you and yours are doing well! Wishing you and your family a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving, Catie!

  7. I miss your words. This post is rich with truth. I just think I might bookmark it for another day. It hits home in all the ways of I will wait until I clean up to do this or that, etc. I've always wondered how real life meets serving in foster care. You remind me that I could say yes even though circumstances are not just right.

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