Leaving 2017 behind felt good.  If you’ve been following along with me on my journey, you know some of the monstrous health issues I’ve faced.  Even though doctors ended up calling it fibromyalgia, I am still calling by its pet name, aka “cruel misery”.  Why?  Because I want to separate cruel misery from my identity, and fibromyalgia is too broad a term in my mind to describe the nightmare I’ve been through.  Last year was saturated with intense pain, deep angst, and raw moments with the Lord.  And as happy as I am to put those awful months behind me, I’d be a fool to think it would have been far better if I hadn’t gone through all of that suffering.

Something changed in my spirit every time I cried out to God in my brokenness.  He met me there.  He did not run away when I screamed at Him for letting my pain persist.  He never hid His face when I fell into despair and disappointment.  God never left my side.  When I came to Him with my dust, thinking there was no possible way that He could form anything valuable out of something so damaged, He showed me that brokenness does not immobilize me, but instead it qualifies me to make enormous waves of love in the world.  In the words of Graham Cooke, “God needs us wounded to do His ministry.”

When I came to Him with my dust, thinking there was no possible way that He could form anything valuable out of something so damaged, He showed me that brokenness does not immobilize me, but instead it qualifies me to make enormous waves of love in the world. 

Our human condition, at times, prevents us from an awareness that God isn’t surprised when these unbending situations arise in front of us.  He has known since the beginning of time every detail of our suffering.  When I look back at my life before cruel misery entered the picture, I remember the nudging of the Holy Spirit to build a foundation of faith.  He called me out through conviction of secret sins that had been tormenting me for years with shame and guilt; He spoke prophetic visions through strangers I’d never met that came true; He drew me in with a tenacious hunger for His word; and He guided me out of my comfort zone and into unfamiliar heights of leadership.  Little did I know at the time that the Lord was training me for battle behind the scenes, and every step of obedience became of weapon for me to use in combat.  My heavenly Father had given me words of life before the doctors could give me the words of death and incurable suffering.  What a beautiful gift!

My heavenly Father had given me words of life before the doctors could give me the words of death and incurable suffering. 

While I am still in wait for victory over this illness, I have seen daily victories in my life being won by taking every though captive to the obedience of Christ and letting the Lord transform and renew my mind.  I’ve learned that when we walk in daily obedience, we get to share His authority in the spiritual world! So the fear that had been plaguing me my entire life was broken by standing under God’s authority and speaking the Lord’s truth over every situation.  This metamorphosis has been the most freeing and beautiful part of my existence, and it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t experienced deep long-standing torment.  Another Graham Cooke quote comes to mind is this, “If you don’t let God take you to the depths; He can’t take you into the heights.” Plunging into the underbelly of suffering with God allows us to develop a profound trust in Him that brings us to a place where He can trust us with His ministry.

Plunging into the underbelly of suffering with God allows us to develop a profound trust in Him that brings us to a place where He can trust us with His ministry.

Before last year, I thought that the word success and achievement were synonymous.  But the Lord views success a whole lot differently than we do, and it took years of suffering to understand His perspective.  We succeed when we are faithful!  When we remain steadfast through the trail, He rewards our upright standing both in this world and the next.  1 Peter 1:7 says this, “Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine.  When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.”  This truth that I believe in has been proved true time and time again.  My prayer is that He would get to glory, just as the prophecy spoken over me had foretold.  So while there is still pain searing through my body, I am declaring that it would radiate His triumph over the schemes of hell.

Like many, I have been searching for a word that would summarize my direction for 2018.  The word for this year is undaunted.  While I was reading the book of John, I saw that word in Jesus’ command to us before he went through his own trial.  This is what Jesus commands of us in John 16:33, “Be confident, be undaunted, and be filled with joy; for I have overcome the world.”  The word undaunted can be defined by the following: not intimidated or discouraged by difficulty, danger, or disappointment.   While I expect 2018 to continue with obstacles and hardships, I believe that God has assigned me to be courageous through it all.  The disappointment that will soon appear cannot overcome me.  I won’t let it win.  Every moment of pain will be met time and time again by God’s reckless love and bountiful grace.  I’ve got all I need to fight this battle, and to have victory over disappointment!  I will not be bullied by Satan’s strategies to wear down my soul in this waiting period.  Instead, I will stand and take ground back for God!  Thank you Jesus for such an encouraging outlook on this fresh new year.  My prayer is that you, Lord,  would get the glory in everything I do!


I will be praying this word for you all this year!  May the Lord bring you out of the pit of disappointment, by filling your well with His amazing presence. My hope is that you will find relentless peace in your unrelenting suffering.



Victory Over Anxiety DIY Banner


Want to hear something ironic?  I was afraid to share this.  The thoughts that went on in my head sounded a lot like this, “This is going to make someone uncomfortable.  Maybe I’m not well enough to write this.  What if I write this, and then continue to struggle with anxiety?  What are they going to think?  I’m not an expert.  People are going to think this is too spiritual.  They are going to think that I’m judging them.”

What does that sound like?  Fear?  Yes.  I was afraid to talk about fear.  How silly is that?  It took reading scripture to realize that what I was thinking didn’t line up with what the Lord was asking me to do.  Throughout my entire experience with anxiety and depression, God has asked me to step out and share.  It certainly is not because I want attention, because believe me, I am not a huge fan of sharing painful parts of my life.  But God has been calling me to shine light over those dark places nobody wants to go, and although my pride takes a hit, I know that obedience to his calling is always the best for me.  While I have been going through the book of Matthew, a scripture in particular jumped out at me.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept.  We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.  If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you ?  I’m putting you on a light stand.  Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand–shine!  Keep open house; be generous with your lives.  By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

The Lord was revealing to me the importance of shedding light on fear itself!  God has brought me through a lot of horrible stuff, and now he wants to show the world what he has done in my life, so why should I be afraid?  That’s why I’m sharing this my friends.

This is not a spiritual platform.  I am not a perfect person, but through Christ I have found victory over anxiety, and therefore I will not put a basket over that light!  I will let the Lord put my words on a light stand.

One of the lies that anxiety tells us is that we cannot control our thoughts.  I know this is a lie, because through prayer and reading scripture I have been able to take those initial thoughts captive and release them.

“For thought we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

God offers something that the world cannot.  His word.  It’s still alive and active, as if Jesus was speaking to us today.  So if the Lord commands us to take captive every thought, cast all of our cares upon him, and give him all of our fears, why should we even hesitate to do so?  It’s our freedom he’s after!  He wants to set us free!

“I want you to be free from anxieties. ” 1 Corinthians 7:32

    My prayer for all of you who read this, is that you will find your victory in overcoming anxious thoughts, and live in the freedom that the Lord always meant for you to have!




My dear friend Becki has a beautiful shop on Etsy called the Love Note Shoppe.  These cards are just gorgeous and hold onto the power of God’s word.  I have taken them with me in my car while heading to numerous doctor’s appointments and hospital procedures.

Have you seen the movie War Room?  It does such a good job of showing how powerful the word of God and prayer are in a believer’s life.  After watching that film, I decided that it was time to create an atmosphere of truth in my own home.  I wanted a place where I could visibly see God’s truth spoken over me so that when the fear and anxiety swell up, I could fight them head on and conquer.


This process may be self-explanatory to some, but basically you’ll measure the length of jute, adding a few inches on either side so that you can attach them to the nails or whatever you use to hold up this banner.  Then, you’ll have to measure and put nails that fit the length of the jute.  Each card is 2.75″ x 4.75″ and there are 24 total scripture cards.

So if each card is about 5 inches long, that should help you measure the total length of the jute.  What I did was measured 5 feet of jute and laid it down on the ground, put a few cards across it to see how many cards would fit within the five feet of space provided.


You could also hang a second layer under to the original string of jute in case you want to hang more than just a handful of scripture cards.

Another option for this banner would be to jazz it up with some beautiful greenery.  I had a garland from a while back that looks awesome with those little scripture cards hanging down.

Why the clothespins?  So that you can easily take off a card and carry it with you.  If you are in a state of battling anxiety, you know that it follows you wherever you go.  So why not take a weapon with you?

I hope that this post encourages you to fight fear with God’s word!





Health Update (DIAGNOSES and HEALING)

Hello friends!  I wanted to jump on here really quick to give you an update on how things have been going thus far.  If you’re new here, I’ll invite you to look at this post on Mustard Seed Family about the health issues I’ve been dealing with this year.  Basically I’ve been feeling awful for the last couple of years, but since February I have lost 40 pounds (not trying), contracted shingles, and had many panic attacks.


We left off last time somewhere between the 3rd ER visit and my endoscopy.  I had an infusion about an hour before my endoscopy, which is used to prevent any bleeding that could occur during the procedure (because of my blood disorder).  Just as we were finishing the infusion, my heart started racing, blood pressure shot up, arms went numb, and my face and neck started to get red.  So they stopped the infusion and gave me benedryl, which worked right away.  I was surprised how calm I was in that moment, because typically I would have been freaking out.  But the Lord gave me a peace that flooded my mind so that I could remain calm knowing that the Lord was in control.

The procedure itself took about 3 minutes.  The doctor who did the endoscopy was incredible.  He told me that his kids were asking him when he’d be home (it was the Friday before the fourth of July), and he said to them, “After I take care of Janell first.  She needs my help.”  I couldn’t believe that came out of a doctor’s mouth, especially after the way I was treated by other medical professionals.  He found nothing, but took biopsies and told me that he would have the results back by Wednesday.  So I spent about half and hour in recovery waiting for the drugs to wear off, and then my mom brought me back to their house to recover.

The day after my endoscopy I felt awful.  As the day went on it got worse, to the point where I was getting confused, dizzy, and faint.  I ended up going to the ER, and after some tests they found out that I was dehydrated.  So they pumped me full of fluids and sent me home.

Then, I had a couple of weeks before my colonoscopy.  I was able to finally eat and build up some strength to get to the next procedure.  The prep was everything they said it would be, but relatively painless.  The funny thing about it was that I swear someone put out a memo, because I had about 10 different salesmen come to my door.  Obviously I wasn’t going to open it…I mean come on!  But now it makes me laugh to think of it.

I went to get my infusion, this time they gave me benedryl before the medication, and I did great.  The procedure was uncomfortable, but went well.  I was awake the whole time.  They found nothing.  That was both a relief and a disappointment.  I just wanted to feel better, and it didn’t seem possible after getting another test result that said I was fine.


After the colonoscopy I made an appointment with my primary physician to discuss the results.  I had a couple of weeks to wait for the appointment, and I still wasn’t feeling great.  The tension in my neck and shoulders got worse.  Then I had pain in my right leg. It seemed like one thing after the other.  The day of my doctors appointment I woke up in agony.  It felt like someone had hit me over and over with a baseball bat.  Everything hurt.  But as soon as my feet hit the floor the Lord whispered, “Clarity.”  I wasn’t convinced it was him, so I asked, “Is that you Lord?”  And he said, “Of course it is.  You’re getting clarity today.”

So I started praying like I’ve never prayed before asking the Lord for peace and wisdom.  When I saw my doctor I told her my whole tale of woe.  We talked about the endoscopy, and she told me that I never had acid reflux.  There would have been visible damage in my esophagus if that had been the case.  I asked her what all of this pain could be from.  She checked for trigger points and found several, on my chest, back, neck, shoulders, arms, and hips.  Then she told me that she believed it could be fibromyalgia.  So, she sent me over to the lab to rule out other things like anemia, lupus, and a couple other conditions.

That was the clarity God had promised me.  What a relief that was!  Someone finally saw my pain.  But I knew that wasn’t the end.  A diagnoses is never the end, because it’s only just the beginning of a new journey.  That weekend I was in excruciating pain.  In addition to the pain I was already in, I had a sharp shooting pain in between my ribs on my right side that wrapped around from front to back.  My chest pain became unbearable.  After maxing out on over-the-counter pain medication, I was still in agony.  I couldn’t sleep and could barely eat.  On Sunday I wanted to go into the ER, but God firmly said…NO!  So I listened.  I went to church instead and ran up for prayer at the end.  I left feeling encouraged, but still in pain.  That night my daughter could sense how much pain I was in.  She prayed for me.  It was even worse that night, but I was reminded of a verse from Romans 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”

Then yesterday morning my daughter told me that Jesus was going to heal me today.  So I decided to call the chiropractor that my friend had suggested and make an appointment.  I knew it was worth a shot since nothing else had worked.  I wasn’t going to go to the ER for them to again tell me that they have no idea why I’m in pain, and send me home with addictive pain medication.  So I went.  And it worked.  I felt immediate relief.  Chest pain wasn’t completely gone, but I was finally able to breathe without being in pain.  As the day went on, I felt better and better.  I did rotations of ice and heat the rest of that day.  When I laid down to go to bed last night, I felt at peace.

I didn’t wake up until 6 am this morning!  You guys I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in over 5 years!  It was the best sleep I’ve ever had.  All the praise and glory goes out to God!  I believe that it will only get better from here on out.  There is more healing ahead!  Thank you everyone who has prayed me through this journey.  I would have given up long ago if it wasn’t for all of your encouragement and prayers for healing.



“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.”

2 Corinthians 1:20

“For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.  You alone are God.”

Psalms 86:10


“Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom.  All glory to God forever and ever!  Amen.”

2 Timothy 4:18


“Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else — not only in this world but also in the world to come.” 

Ephesians 1:21