The Box

A few weeks ago, something really wild happened at the church we’ve been attending. It caught me by surprise, and I was able to snap a photo of it right after it happened, so I thought I’d share it here on the blog today.

Before I get to the moment though, I should start by saying, that I’ve never really had a “church home”, so finding this place, that I feel so excited by and comfortable in, has really been a BIG, BIG blessing for me. The folks that created it (a few years ago) sure have done a great job of putting together a warm and inspiring place for us to worship. And although we haven’t met a ton of people there yet, (we’re still in “stroll in quietly and sit off to the very side” mode- ha!) I look forward to our time there so much. Each week, I can feel my “crazy compass” bobbity-bobble back toward the center point again. Ya know what I mean? (Fun fact: The church is called Centerpoint.) The only problem (for lack of a better word) with attending this particular church is that I have yet to make it through a service without tearing up. And I’m not talking about just during the message portion of the service. I’m talkin': while the worship team is playing a song, while someone is getting baptized…you name itI’m tipping my head back ever-so-slightly so that those big ol’ drops welling up don’t fall down…or outifyaknowwhatI’msayin.

A friend of mine said the same thing happens to her at church, and I had to laugh when we both admitted that we hope the people around us don’t think it’s because we’ve done so much sinning throughout the week- ha!

Okay, on to the moment.

Right now, we’re in the middle of a series on relationships. It’s about relationships with God, relationships with others, setting priorities, and resolving conflicts. Our pastor (John Schmidt) found a clever way to demonstrate things by using different-sized moving boxes to illustrate how our priorities should stack up. God’s box is three big boxes taped together to make up one, extra-large box. From there, they decrease in size: spouse, then kids, then work, then house/car/stuff. The smallest box is labeled, hobbies.

John’s been talking about how easy it is for those “moving boxes” to get jumbled up, and lost in the shuffle, when life gets go-go-going, like it always tends to do. Just like when you’re literally moving. Boxes get re-stacked and relocated, and when they end up in the wrong room, it can cause a lot of stress and make it really hard to find the things you need. I’m such a visual person, so seeing it laid out that way was great, and it makes sense to me why everything would run smoother if I just kept those stacks in the right order.

Okay. Now on to the moment.

It was pretty symbolic and goosebump-y, y’all…and I hope it translates here as well. I don’t even know if anyone else saw it happen, but boy did it make my eyes pop wide.

A couple of Sunday’s ago, the worship team (who absolutely rocks my socks off, by the way) was playing “The Great I Am“. (If you haven’t heard it, and want to check it out, click here.) It’s a really catchy and powerful tune, and at that moment, it felt like the whole congregation was really locked in. I’m talkin’ total sing-it-like-you-mean-it goin’ on. Exhilarating. Moving. The whole kit-and-kaboodle. I was lovin’ it…and I’m pretty sure big drops had welled up, and *ahem* out at that point.

Anywho, right about that time, as I was standing there all goosebump-y, the priority/moving box labeled “House/Car/Stuff”, (which was previously perfectly stacked on top of the box beneath it) flew right up and onto the floor…top side down. I scanned the area, looking for a fan, or anything that could’ve blown it over that hard.

But there wasn’t anything blowing over there. There wasn’t anyone near the box.

It just flew off.

Right there at the end of that Great song that we were all singing.

I probably embarrassed Kevin to pieces, but I had to pull out my cell phone and take this photo when the song was over, and we had all taken our seats again. See the box upside down on the floor?

The lighting was low, so the picture is a blurry and less than perfect. Hmmm…reminds me of me…and that’s okay, because it’s all about the “boxes” and how they’re standing, anyway.

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  1. Terry says

    Layla, I totally get it! What an awesome reminder that we constantly need to be aware of our priorities, not only in relationships, but in every area of life. Sometimes I’ve deceived myself into thinking that something or someone is a priority, but if I really examine how I spend my time, money, and other resources, I realize I have been talking the talk but not walking the walk!
    Thank you so much for sharing! May the Lord continue to bless you with wisdom and insight – for your good and for the good of others, and most importantly, for His great glory!

    • says

      Yes! We will not be moving too far away, and it is definitely worth the drive for us. Thanks for stopping by today, Donna! :)

      • says

        A church family that loves and feeds you is worth a bit of a drive. And i stop by regularly…you are on my blog side bar. My little husband and I are building our retirement home together and I love the look you and Layla create…cottage-y and comfy. We are trying to make our new home look about 100 years old!

  2. says

    Layla, I totally understand what you are saying. Crying at church isn’t unusual for me, even though I’m not sad. When the sermon is right and the music is right it just gets to the heart of things and then it pours out…in big ol’ tears for me too. The box thing is so cool!

    By the way, “The Great I Am” is my favorite name for God of all.

  3. says

    That is my favorite song and I get all goosebumpy too when I hear it! What an amazing moment and I’m so glad you captured it. Each day is a new start on God’s journey for us.

  4. says

    I so hear you!!!!! We just recently found a church that really feels like home and it feels SO good! I am so happy for you. That goose-bumpy, ugly crying feeling is straight from God and it’s a beautiful thing. I love this post…..thank you for sharing from your heart!

  5. sharon terrill says

    what a wonderful thing for you to see! i love little “Godwinks”. i see them often and appreciate everyone of them. God is Good!
    good luck with your move….and keeping your boxes in order!

  6. melaniek says

    It comes across… God is so good. I lost a cousin when she was only 24 years old, our families always vacationed together, the following summer when we were on vacation we were sitting on a beach on a perfect summer, hot, nary a cotton ball cloud in the sky day…talking about Dawn and how things were not the same without her (I was 17 or 18 yrs old) and all the sudden we look up and there were dozens of tiny little rainbows all over the sky. we were all asking each other “can you see those?” and I have never seen anything like it since. To this day when we see a rainbow she comes to mind, but still I will always remember being blown away by those few moments of little rainbows.

    • Erin says

      In my family we have a little “tradition” of sorts that started after my grandpa passed away 11 years ago. When you find a penny on the ground you pick it up, not because it’s good luck, but because it means that someone in heaven is looking down on you. Bonus points if you can look at the year and recall something important that happened in that person’s life during that year. It’s always nice to have a reminder that someone is watching over you. :)

  7. Sherri Langford-Farrell says

    I’m a church cryer, too!!!! I always keep tissues tucked in my Bible so I can soak them up!!! Its such a great thing to find a church that feels like home.

    • Amy G. says

      My tears went to a whole new level one Sunday this summer. We were on vacation in L.A., and we visited an old, beautiful, little stone cottage church in Rancho Palos Verdes. We sang lots of wonderful old hymns, an organist played a pipe organ, and the Pacific ocean was right out the windows on the left. It was an experience I will never forget!

  8. Lindsey M Thomas says

    Isn’t it great when God shows up in a BIG way to let us know He is right there with us?!? I’ve been studying the book of James with a fabulous group of ladies at the church I attend and last night’s study was on “good and perfect gifts.” When I read this post today it made me think of his small gifts again already this morning.
    “…Out of God’s outstanding grace, a very imperfect person can still receive a delightfully perfect gift precisely because it’s perfect for her. God’s gifts are given with goals. They’re perfect because they’re perfecting. They don’t just give today. They give toward every tomorrow…”-from Beth Moore”s Mercy Triumphs.
    Thank you for sharing your goosebump-y moment! Praying blessings for you that don’t just give today, but, in their perfection, give for every tomorrow!

  9. Sandra says

    Love the story! Yes, I get emotionally moved by God also – I can relate! Your “box moment” is what my family calls a “God Wink”. There is a fantastic book called “Godwinks” or “God Winks” – full of stories that some people might call a coincidence but others see as a moment when God was saying “yep – I’m still here and I care about the little things in your life also”. I have had so
    many of these – quite amazing! Thanks for sharing your box story!!!

  10. says

    OH my sweet friend, I love that you tear up! I do it EVERY Sunday. I cry during choir practice, I cry during worship, I cry during the message…and it’s ok to let them spill out, it’s just God moving on your heart….pulling you closer to him. I’m sure those people you are attending church with don’t think you’re crazy or have sinned a lot that week…they just probably think you’re building your relationship with Jesus…and that’s a good thing. :) I love how your pastor used the boxes to show where our priorities should be, what a wonderful visual! God uses little things to speak to us sometimes…like a box falling off another box to prove a point, or when you’re praying to God for a vacation, and not 15 minutes later a friend texts you an amazing answer to prayer. :-)

  11. Kathy F. says

    I think maybe some one upstairs is saying Hey- House , car and Stuff is not important like Kids and God….maybe he was trying to see how many people there noticed it….ha..
    love your blog- you do a wonderful job!@!

  12. Shari Elmore says

    Love it when the Holy Spirit shows up. Sometimes He speaks to us in soft, humbles ways and other times through really cool acts-like symbolic boxes landing upside down on the floor. I go to Mars Hill Church in Seattle and we talk a lot about our idols-maybe God needed to see that moment as your home should not be your focus–He should!
    If you want to hear some more cool tunes, here is a link to MH Music, King’s Kaleidoscope is our fave, the lead singer often kicks his shoes off while singing, totally gets into praising-it is pretty cool. They are launching a big record label deal soon, too. Can’t wait to hear them praising on the radio!

    • says

      Thank you so much for the link to MH Music! I love finding new tunes. The singer for one of my favorite rock bands (Thrice) is also a worship leader for Mars Hill Bellevue. I’m looking forward to checking out King’s Kaleidoscope. I hope you have a great weekend!

      • Shari Elmore says

        We are frequently at the Bellevue branch as the hubs does security for Pastor Mark sometimes. I was there when Dustin and his beautiful family were introduced to the congregation around a month two ago? Haha, don’t think I’ve ever seen Pastor that stoked about someone new in a while. Kinsrew (sp?) is crazy talented, we are blessed to have him leading-what a small world. Getting ready to launch the new Tacoma MH, btw-so if you guys ever feel froggy-you should come jam with us there sometime :).
        Hope you are enjoying King’s K, Chad is one amazingly talented dude, not to mention the rest of the team, we can’t get enough of them-just wish we still attended Ballard MH so we could see them more often, hope the new Tacoma branch will rock like they do.
        Take care!

  13. says

    I totally get it. So awesome. True story: Right after college, I moved to Florida & stayed with an aunt and uncle who happened to be co-pastors in a local church. I wasn’t much of a believer in God (I actually detested the very thought of him), but out of respect I’d attend church on Weds. & Sunday nights. I had been going through a tough time after a break up with my high school sweetheart and I was just plain sad and angry. Well, one night, smack dab in the middle of my uncle’s sermon, a vision (as clear as day…like I was looking at it 5 ft. away) of 3 beautiful pyramids and bright yellow light shining behind them was RIGHT THERE in front of my face. Then, like a teleprompter, the words, “Luke 7:37) scrolled by. My uncle looked over and I’m not sure what kind of awe-struck look I had on my face, but it was enough for him to interrupt his sermon and ask if I was okay. I walked up to my uncle, whispered the creepy thing that just happened and asked him to read that verse to me. Well, turns out it was a verse about a sinner who brought an alabaster box filled with perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet. She gave ALL THAT SHE HAD to him. To this day, I’m sure if the pyramids were actually alabaster boxes, tilted on their sides or if it was symbolic of Egypt, where alabaster came from. All I know is, I believed in God with ever fibre of my being after that moment. I even painted a picture of it that evening so I would never forget it. In fact, I always wanted to open a little shop called, “The Alabaster Box” and considered naming my blog after it. Oh, and I swear on a stack, after that day, I had no heaviness on my heart about the break up. It was like Jesus was saying, let him go and let me in. xo

  14. Dawn says

    Great post Layla! Thank you so much for sharing! I get that goosebumpy feeling al,most every time I am at Mass. The tears are insterspersed when we have “special” moments in church like baptisms, first communions or special petitions. I’m with ya siata!

  15. faith says

    ok, just so there’s no condemnation about the small hobbies box, I believe this to be true: If God is number ONE, there is no number TWO. Meaning, He can be in ALL the things we have in our lives, and we don’t HAVE to rank them in order of importance, or time/attention we pour into them. I get the box thing, but it leans toward legalism and condemnation. God is ALL and IN ALL. So if you are hosting his presence in ALL you do, you “don’t have to worry ’bout no BOXES girl!!!” just my two cents.

    And you are not alone in the crying department. Especially when God moves!
    and also i LURVE you and your blog. totally influenced my whole decor scheme… done now…

  16. Beth says

    This was a “put-a-smile-on-my-face,” uplifting post! Many thanks for sharing such a beautiful part of your life…it makes my heart sing when I hear other people getting the same kind of blessings I experience in church! I always have a couple of extra kleenex in my purse just for occasions like this!!

  17. Betsy Derr says

    You guys will be such a blessing to that congregation. But you have to go early enough to meet and greet people as they’re coming in, and stay after the service and get to know people. Invite someone over for dinner. Maybe since Kevin’s a musician, start with someone on the worship team. Before you know it, you’ll be involved in people’s lives and they’ll be blessed by you. No more “stroll in quietly and sit off to the very side” mode- ha! Participate in the “one anothers”. When our family switched churches 4 years ago, that’s what we did. My husband is a musician, so we invited the worship pastor and his wife over for dinner. Now we know almost everyone in our congregation of around 400 people.

    • says

      That sounds like a great idea Betsy. Our church has “Connect Groups” that Layla and I are excited to be a part of. Thank you for the wonderful words of encouragement!

  18. says

    Layla– sounds like a great experience! So glad you guys have found a church– sounds like a wonderful, encouraging place (I had no idea you were a christian– yay!) I feel blessed that I’ve also had a few of those moments where I feel like God is speaking directly to me. It’s a great feeling to know that He loves us all so individually to encourage us to grow where we need to grow– not just a one-size fits all message. Wishing you and your husband more of these moments (and by the way, I totally tear up during worship too– “10,000 reasons” never fails to get me for some reason).

  19. says

    hey layla! loved reading this post… isn’t it neat to see how God works. this reminded me of 1 Samuel chapter 5. if you have a chance read it… it might sound familiar. the ark of the covenant represented God’s presence in the old testament… read what happend when the Philistines captured the ark and put it in their temple with their idol dagon.

  20. says

    You made by day by posting this insight into your soul, Layla! Thank you for being transparent and not just sticking to “house stuff”…I’d say that you have your priorities in order!

  21. Corrie says

    Oh man I have goosebumps right now Layla ! One of our daughters, Georgi is just a beautiful person inside and out. Such strong faith, brave about it but not judgmental u know the whole 9 yards. She’s 18 a senior and getting really independent. This is her last year at home before going to college. She is always very involved w things. All good but VERY involved from school to starting a new bible type study called wildlife. So anywho, I have been really frustrated w her because she is so busy she seldom spends quality time w her sister(fraternal twin but has learning disabilities) I feel like its just something on her list to check off. So she said we need to talk and let her know me and dads expectations of her. Smarty. Good idea but I want to teach her the deeper meaning of my frustration. So I have been thinking praying and it’s definitely a talk about relationships. Gods view of them, Jesus’ relationships/how he spent time w his close peeps etc. long story short- voila your post! I’m going to try to see if I can watch his message or listen to it. It’s really cool to see Gods provision over our issues!
    {{}}hugs to you

  22. Ginny says

    Love this!! Not only was God speaking to you personally but what a blessing for you to share it with us. I think because you blog mostly about “home and stuff” it speaks volumes to your readers of where your heart is and the perspective we should have while reading all blogs about decorating, diying and remodeling. Thank you Layla and may God continue to pour out His blessings!!

  23. says

    Oh my gosh, I thought I was the only one who cries in church! It happens to me ALL THE TIME! I will be sittin’ there all innocent like enjoying the music and then I think of my gramma or my life or how this sermon makes so much sense and then it happens. Waterworks. It made me laugh out loud to read this because I thought I was a freak of nature bc I know no one else who cries during church! Yay!! We can be freaks together! Great post!

    • says

      Hi Kari! The first Sunday we visited we both left after the service with our sunglasses on to hide our watery eyes. Ha! It rocked us pretty hard and we talked for hours that day. Such a wonderful experience. Thanks for stopping by today! :)

  24. says

    Hi Layla, you have a soft tender heart toward the Lord and He is just loving you through the words and music about Him. That’s why you are weeping and that’s always a good thing. Some have hearts that are so hard and cold that the Holy Spirit can’t get through and bless them at all. You are being loved and blessed and I am happy for you.
    I always enjoy your blog and this is the first time I’ve left a comment. Your post today was so sweet I just had to.

  25. says

    This might be my favorite post ever from you! The way you wrote it made me feel like I was there, and the symbolic nature of the box is something that I will be “unpacking” in my head for a long time ;-)
    Thank you so much for sharing this deeply personal experience with such transparency- I absolutely love your soft tender heart ;-)

  26. says

    I honestly had no idea ya’ll were Christians! I’m soooo excited! I am always a huge supporter of creative folks who are followers of Jesus. I think it’s wonderful you had that experience. The Lord moves in some very funky ways that sometimes we just cannot explain and makes others skeptical. But it is the relationship YOU have with God and all you can do is show your wonderment with it all. It is inspiring!

  27. Barbara F says

    Layla – thanks for being so honest and sharing your heart with us. I almost always shed at least one tear during church service. I try really hard to restrain those darn liquid drops, but they usually trickle down anyway. This was a beautful story and a beautiful post – thank you!!

  28. Jacque says

    I haven’t read all the comments, and someone else may have already said this, but… Isn’t it great how God gets our attention? He uses all sorts of ways (people, prayer, music, BOXES!) He is definitely working on you! He has a purpose for you! Sometimes it is out of our comfort zone, and we think there is NO WAY you would ever be able to do it. I really want you to pray about what that is in your church. The best way to feel a part of something is to be involved. I can tell you that there are never enough volunteers. Go love on the babies in the nursery, or sit in and be a helper (not leader) in one of the childrens or youth groups. Help in the kitchen. Maybe it is the women of the church that you feel most comfortable with. Walk up to one of the staff members, and tell them you want to help in what ever way they need you. Just tell them you dont want to lead, you just want to be a helper. Sometimes they just need another adult in the room. I really don’t know why I’m saying this to you. I usually read over these blogs and go on. I’ve never commented on any of them. But, for whatever reason, I feel led to say this to you. What a blessing you will be to that church. All you need to be able to do is be willing…no skills necessary!!! God will take care of the rest!

  29. says

    Layla, I am so glad you and Kevin have found a “church home”. That excites me. Your worship team is awesome, too. (I am listening right now to that song.) Thanks for sharing this personal experience and I love your blog.

  30. elaine schmidt says

    Thank you for enlightening my day with this story! I have always followed & love your blog & your personalities (I, too, have renovated an old place) and can relate to so much of what you have done. I only wish I had maintained a sense of humor and philosophy about it all as you have done! :) All aside, I too am an ‘on-the-side’ church goer and tend to find it some sort of anchor. I love your compass reference and your visual needs as well. Seems like a great church with my kind of values!! God Bless you guys, keep up the good work and the spirit you do all with!

  31. says

    Layla, I so identify with your “tearing up” and goose-bump moments at church. I used to be embarrassed about it, but decided that I just need to go with it. I guess God made me to be one of those “cryers”. I’m learning to embrace it. {I wrote about it here
    as one of my earlier blog posts.}
    I’m glad to know I’m not the only church weeper. We could sit beside each other and pass the Kleenex… ;)

  32. Denise says

    Thanks so much for sharing your faith and the way God is working in your life and in your church. Many blessings for you and Kevin as you start this next journey. God has great plans for you guys! Jer. 29:11…
    Denise :)

  33. Jan says

    I cry all the time at church….can’t make it thru a gospel song, whether singing at home or at church without crying…..the Spirit is strong!

  34. Patricia Wash says

    How exciting to be in a place that preaches and worships like that. Most of my time in church is also spent teary-eyed. He is such a great God.

  35. chrissi says

    Wow! Love this post, maybe because I too cry at our service. Even though I try really hard not to cry. I can’t help it. I am so struck by the love/words that tears start to fall. People must think I have huge problems in my life. I am lucky. My life is easy. I am blessed. Love knowing that I am not alone♥

  36. says

    As a lot of us here, I’m a crier in church and further more have had the same thought about “I wonder if the people around me think I’m a horrible sinner” because of it. Now, I just make sure I have tissue at the ready because it’s gonna happen. I’m gonna cry during a song or worship or a prayer and I’m learning to just let it happen. Things touch me for reasons and most of the time I’m not sure what those reasons are so I just envelope the blessing.
    There’s a song that every time I hear, I loose it. I cry and I cry hard. The words hit me like a ball to the chest. It’s this one. Redeemed by Big Daddy weave

    I hope you enjoy it and Rita Joy, I’ll sit beside ya!

  37. says

    Know just what you mean. When God grabs our attention He uses people, events, boxes or whatever. Those times are so goose bumpy. Love your site by the way. Praying for your new home God has in store.

  38. Centsational Girl says

    I’m a HUGE crier in church, seriously always packing tissues in my purse!! I love this story so much and I especially love the glow on “God”- that big ol’ box was sending you a message and now to all of us now that you’ve shared it. Bless you friend !!

  39. Anita says

    I get teary at church too. I don’t know why I get so embarrassed about it. Thanks for sharing your story.

  40. says

    Layla & Kevin, I got all teary-eyed just reading this! So happy ya’ll have found a church you love and feel at home in. That’s so important. I totally know about crying in church, I do it ALL the time. I sing in the choir now and love being up there singing glory to God on Sunday a.m. Those songs really speak to me and make me cry all over again at God’s mercy in my life and how He has brought me through so many situations. He is worth bragging on! Love this goose-bumpy story. I never do believe in coincidences, God knows how to work behind the scenes.

  41. SheilaE says

    I am a church crier, too. My kids think I am weird but I don’t care. It’s God speaking to me. One of my God moments was a time I had just started a new job. I was working late on a weekend trying to finish up a project. I was feeling pressured and starting to doubt my abilities. When I left that evening and was on my way home I saw two HUGE parrots in an old tree on the side of the road. One was blue and one was red. I turned around and went back to make sure I wasn’t seeing things and sure enough they were still there. Keep in mind I was in rural Oklahoma, not a place you would see parrots flying around. LOL. I don’t know why but I just took that as a sign from God that I was going to be okay, just take time to enjoy the unexpected He sends our way.

  42. Pam says

    I call those nuggets from God and I am a witness that they happen just when you feel overwhelmed and need a “clear” answer from the Lord.

  43. says

    Wow, thanks for sharing and especially that amazing song! I had never heard it before….just love it, gives me goosebumps. I need to find a church like you have found.

  44. says

    So neat! Loved reading this! Speaking of relationships, I’ve been really thankful lately for the way God has woven together some neat friendship opportunities for me. He is always in the details, and that is so comforting to me! :) Have a great day!

  45. says

    Oh, Layla! I’m a church crier, too. I hardly ever make it through sunday school or worship without a tear being shed. Thanks for sharing a piece of your heart with us through this story. God bless you both!

  46. Melinda says

    I love how God cares about all the details in our lives and by keeping him first the rest all fall into place. I love how the box that fell was “house/car/stuff”. Like God saying – focus on my box because as for your new house and the stuff needed to set it up, I got this! He is so good and so faithful. Love your post and your tender hearts. Could worship music be in Kevin’s future…? : )

  47. says

    I am lovin’ this!! Our (old..we moved) church did the same for me. I loved. Every Sunday I would literally cry!?! It was really a great way to get the week going, feeling so inspired and light and worthy!

  48. Cory S. says

    O.K. I have a goose bumpy story to tell. Many years ago my parents took my daughter and I to Disney World for a trip of a lifetime kind of trip. We flew from the mid-west to Orlando. You should know that I do not like to fly AT ALL, EVER! Needless to say I was an emotional mess by the time we got there. I got over it, we had a fantastic week there and when we showed back up at the airport to fly back home, my anxieties and worries returned full force.
    I was in the first stages of a divorce at the time of that trip, and had started to attend a church near my home for the emotional and spiritual support I felt it could provide through that difficult time. My minister had been giving lessons to learn more about the foundations of the church and religion as a whole and had recently taught us about the power of prayer.
    Well back to the airport, while we were at our gate, before we sat down to wait for our flight to arrive, my daughter said she wanted some candy from the gift shop right there and so my mother took her into the shop to get it, and my father asked me to watch the carry-on luggage while he went to the restroom. Standing in that airport by myself, I knew I couldn’t handle my anxieties about flying for that many hours again, and I asked myself what to do. Then I remembered my minister’s teachings of the power of prayer and I said to myself, “Yes. I need to pray.” I asked God to please alive my fears and help me get through the next 5 to 6 hours in peace. After I said my prayer, lifted my head, and opened my eyes, I looked into the gift shop to see where my daughter and mother were. They were at the counter paying for the candy, and when I happened to looked up to the display behind the shop clerk, something caught my eye. On a high shelf was a torso mannequin selling a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. The T-shirt read: RELAX. YOU’RE IN GOD’S HANDS. I just about fell over!! Wow, I thought to myself, that was fast prayer service! It really got me through my flight home.

      • Layla says

        I want to thank you guys for sharing these comments…I have the same anxiety and have found so much comfort in connecting with you today!

    • Layla says

      WOW. That was so powerful, Cory! I can relate to you and your anxiety so much. Your story will definitely be running through my mind when we fly to Peru in November. Thank you! :-D

  49. says

    First, I cry in church, too. My friend Sara and I have had that exact same discussion and I have many ways to make those around me think my contact lens is bothering me, or my eye lids just happen to be itching (ha).
    Long Story Short – I have really been struggling with something and I shared it with my best friend (that lives far away), my parents, and my husband and each of them told me they would pray for me and I went on about my life. A few months passed – I am a teacher and a local church caters lunch for our staff at the beginning of each year. I walked into the lunch a couple weeks ago and came face to face with my best friend’s (the one mentioned above) aunt. I had no idea she lived in my city or attended the church that caters the lunch. She has never attended or helped before. We hugged and began chatting. During our conversation, I mentioned something I worry about (totally unrelated to my struggle) and she said, “When I have a struggle this is how I pray…” and she taught me what/how to pray. My eyes welled up right there in front of her and I told her how much I needed to hear that. What she said has helped me TREMENDOUSLY with my struggle. I truly believe God put her in my path that day, that moment. I still get chills and teary eyed thinking about it.
    Thanks for this post!

    • Layla says

      Oh my goodness, Amanda- that story has me all filled up inside! (I would love to hear what your friend’s aunt told you!) ;-)

      • says

        She taught me to pray the Lord’s Prayer, but insert the person’s name that you are worried about. Instead of saying, “Our Father,..” say, Kevin’s Father, which art in Heaven…

        I have been using it regularly. It took a little practice, but it really calms me and helps me give my worry to God. It also helps when I just don’t know the right words, which is often.

  50. Annie says

    I have 2 goosebump moments that I don’t share very often, but I do when it fits, and I think this post fits!

    The first one is about my dad- On Sept 11, 2001, that awful day in our history, I also found out that my dad had something covering half of his brain. It was so far progressed, whatever it was (no one could figure it out), that they scheduled a repeat MRI 6 weeks later rather than getting him to surgery right away. Long story short, 6 weeks later the MRI was 100% clear. Nothing covering my dad’s brain.

    The second one was when I was pregnant with my first child, my son. I was leaking fluid and my nurse midwife, after her exam, was fairly sure I was losing the baby. So my husband and I sat in a waiting room to get an ultrasound to see if the baby’s heart beat was still there. While we were sitting there, only the 2 of us, a song came on the overhead speakers. It lasted for minutes, and the only words were, “It’s gonna be okay, it’s gonna be okay…” Over and over for minutes on end. We looked at each other and could not believe what was happening. And it was okay- the heartbeat was there, and and he was totally fine.

    So God has provided me with 2 incredible examples of His love, grace, provision and protection. With my dad being ill, I moved close to home again, ready to take over the family for my mom since I knew she was not going to be able to. I had an incredible peace inside during those 6 weeks of unknown and heartbreak. When I face something difficult now and my imagination goes wild, I’m not able to center myself, I remember how God got me and my family through those horrible times- both with unmistakeable and outright “I AM HERE” acts. Then I think if He got us through that, He will get us through anything.

    Sadly I had lost sights on those 2 incredible examples and this post reminded me. He is good… all of the time. :)

    • Layla says

      Thank you so much for sharing this comment, Annie. I am just sitting here in awe, and am so thankful we can “talk” to each other about all these life-changing moments!

  51. Beverly says

    What a great illustration on how our life’s flow should be! I also would cry at the drop of a hat when I found my home church I’m beginning to believe that when you find your “home” there’s no denying it and our emotions tend to spilleth over. I hope that you can still go to your new home when you move!?

  52. says

    SMALL WORLD!!!!!!!! My dad was the associate minister of the church that Centerpoint broke off of. He was the first one they asked to go and start the church up with them. After much consideration and prayer, he knew he couldn’t throw away his retirement with the Methodist conference he’s in and ultimately it wasn’t where the Lord was calling him. I know lots of the people that go to that church! Several of which are adopting or have adopted! You’re in a great place, that’s for sure. As far as crying in church? Happens to me every Sunday!

  53. Karen says

    Crying as I read this, Layla… It is the Holy Spirit.
    The tears are from His presence, whether in church or at home.
    How could we not weep.
    Let others wonder…let the tears fall. You are loving and being loved by your God.

    • Annie says

      I so feel the love circling around this entire post, comments, everything. Thank you for that comment, even though it was obviously not directed at me. I have tried to numb myself so that I don’t cry in church so much. Sometimes I feel like I just don’t want to cry about anything anymore. What you said has really touched my heart. :)

      I love how comments and replies to comments are blessing and touching people, too. Shows what God can do when we follow His prompts.

  54. Karen says

    .Love the song… and yes, I have had many miracles and goose bump moments,..too many to list here. :) Blessings to you and Kevin in whatever direction God leads you.

  55. Wendy says

    LOVED your experience!! So can relate and what I have learned throughout the years – 3 kids and 15 years of marriage. If God is not your priority………all the boxes WILL fall. Literally! However, the encouraging part is when they do and they usually always do, He is always there to pick you up. Thanks for your story – sometimes we need to be reminded how Great He is.

  56. Jennifer Clause says

    Love this story. GOD is so powerful. This is the first time I have read that about your faith and so happy that you shared. I cry ALL the time at our church here in the bay area. My husband does as well, he’d kill me if he knew I was telling you.

  57. Sandy says

    Reminds me of the statue of Dagon that couldn’t stand in the presence of the ark of the covenant!! They picked it up again and again the next morning it was laying on the ground
    PS. Thanks for introducing that song to me…LOVE it!!
    God bless you in your move…glad you can still go to your church home!

  58. sandy R says

    I can totally relate, God is always trying to get out attention!! Several years ago as I was searching to strengthen my faith, I mindlessly was repeating the Lords prayer but fumbling the lines/words which annoyed me. Several hours later, as I sat in a Nike shoe store of all places trying on sneakers, a tote bag crossed Right in From of My Face (as I tied shoes) with the Lords prayer in line and full verse – talk about goose bumps, it still gives me chills !! the Lord is good!

  59. coasterkim says

    Whoa what a neat story. I, more often than not, also tear up during church and sometimes downright sob! And I can’t even explain it most times. It’s just a feeling of God’s presence that just gets to me there.

  60. says

    In our church there’s a visual lesson that’s pretty common… You take a jar and fill it with a bunch of pebbles and then start piling bigger rocks on top. Except they don’t all fit. After that you take it all out. Then put the big rocks in first and pour the pebbles all on top.. they fill in all the cracks and (magically!) it all fits. It’s a lesson on priorities and how if we put God and the important things first, we’ll have room for hobbies and other good things that fill our lives too. Just reminded me of your story… What a wonderful experience! Thanks for sharing Layla!

  61. says

    I am not really a highly spiritual person and I don’t often share this story but after hearing your experience I’m compelled to share. A couple weeks after my father passed away my mother and I went to a service to honor those who had passed away during the year. Not surprisingly, it was very emotional. All of the sudden, clear as day, I heard my dad’s voice say, “Don’t be sad Babe.” I looked around and of course no one else heard it, but to this day I swear my father was speaking to me from a better place and trying to comfort me.Maybe I was hearing what I wanted to hear, but none the less, it felt like God had sent me a sign.

  62. Rebecca says

    Thank you for sharing. It made me think about a Bible story of an idol who falls over in the presence of the ark of the covenant. They stand the idol back up and the next day it is back fallen down in front of the ark with the hands broken off. Something like that.. maybe should have looked it up first. Blessings on you both as you go through the upcoming move.

  63. Allie says

    This blog just made me cry it was so beautful! How I needed that, Sometimes I feel like my most biggest “box” is making my house a home. As of recently I have spent more time staring at a million paint swatches on my bathroom wall and trying to figure out undertones and feeling so frustrated. Reading your blog made me think about what is really important in life. Thanks for sharing : )

  64. says

    Layla, I loved reading your account of what happened that day. I love when God’s Spirit moves among us in our services. Shelley and I would love to get to know you and Kevin, especially since I read Kevin is a musician :-). Please come up before or after church and introduce yourselves to us. Btw you are a very gifted writer.

    Tommy Green
    Associate Pastor Centerpoint Fellowship Church.

    Shelley Green
    Worship Leader Centerpoint Fellowship Church

    • says

      Hi Tommy!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving us a comment today. We feel so blessed to have found Centerpoint and will definitely introduce ourselves to you and Shelley this weekend. We look forward to meeting both of you! :)

  65. MelO says

    Wow, I am now a basket case, reading your post, and the comments! I need some of all that right now! I need all your prayers. My life is a total mess. It seems once a blessing occurs, not soon after something happens to counteract it, and just when I think things can’t get worse, they do!! I desperately want to create a home and peace for me and my family, but at every turn I am getting the opposite.
    I believe it inherent in women, to want to build a nest for their family, and we shouldn’t feel guilty about that instinct. There is nothing more enriching to the soul, then beautiful surroundings! We know this, because we know how it makes us feel, when we are not in a place that is comfortable and beautiful! This doesn’t mean being materialistic, coveting or superficial. You can do it on a budget and by being creative, like Layla has demonstrated. We need the safe, comfortable home as a foundation to the rest of our lives.

    • gina says

      You should read what Darlene from Fieldstone Hill Designs says about being a master designer. Basically, she reminds us that we can create beauty because God, the Master Designer, created us. We are not materialistic to want beauty around us. God has created the most beauty.

      And I, too, cry in church…and in the car (if praising!)!!!
      And Layla, so happy you were open to see God’s message and to share it. —–gina in s. florida

      PS. Pray for us. Our church needs a new pastor.

    • says

      Thank you so much for leaving this comment today. A fews years ago when Layla and I thought we were going to lose our house and our car, I felt a lot of these same emotions. We were in a scary place and couldn’t see how we were going to get out. Hang in there, you are definitely in our prayers.

  66. Denise says

    First, I LOVE your blog but have never commented – I just just enjoyed the beautiful pics!!!! Now about this post – I, too, get teary eyed or goose-pimply at church which is fine…except that I play piano/keyboard during music worship and the tears make me miss notes/chords/cues/page turns….but I like to think it is God giving me a nudge or a wink….or maybe its Satan being mad that I am worshipping!!!!!! lol jk

  67. says

    One of the things that I like best about your blog is your sincerity and authenticity. I tear up at church all the time. It’s kind of embarrassing sometimes, but the Bible says that we should worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, and for me, tears are an overflow of what’s in my heart: gratitude for what He has done for me.

  68. says

    You are so blessed to have found a place that makes you feel that way. I was raised in a very small church, but I like the worship at the bigger ones. I struggle to keep my love for the small and the big in balance so that I can feel comfortable at church. All the best!

  69. Kimberlie M says

    And even more goose bumpy for me today as I read with a car that’s broken down/struggling with the mortgage this month and spending my time reading DIY blogs instead of my Bible – thanks ya’ll! P.S. I always cry in church!

  70. says

    Oh Layla….I got all goosebumpy just reading your post today. Got speaks to us in so many different ways (good and bad) – and bless you for recognizing that it was He who was speaking to your heart during that sermon. That’s huge. Big hugs to you, my sister-in-Christ! ♥

    xoxo laurie

  71. Lee says

    founf this is pinterest….how true
    A professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’ The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. ‘Now,’ said the professor, as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else – the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. So… pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’ One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. ‘I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend

  72. says

    one time the hubs was oncall during a storm and he had to go help restore power.. He called on his way in around 10 or 11pm but then I hadn’t heard from him for a while.. I went to bed and woke up at 2am.. no calls, no texts. I called and called and called.. no answer.. I was getting worried (and annoyed lol) and then I swear I heard God’s voice as clear as day say “Try him now Nicole.” I dialed and sure enough he answered.

    Ok one more =) I never really “ask” God for anything.. I just tend to say thank you.. well money was super tight and I prayed and asked God for $3,000 and I kid you not a credit card came in the mail within the week, I went online and filled out the application (but did not request an amount – they choose that) and guess what?? Got approved for $3,000 exactly! =)

  73. Kelly says

    My goose bump story has a few parts to it. My Dad passed away very unexpectedly last June. The day after he passed I was alone in my house staring outside the front window. There was this very horrible smell coming from the bush in the front of the house. I went out to check to see and it was a dead baby bunny. To emotional to bury him myself, I would ask my Husband to do it for me when he came home from running errands for me. I prayed that I would have a sign that my Dad was safe and happy in what we all hope is heaven. An hour or so passed and I went back to the same window and the smell was gone. The bunny was no longer there. Was it my Dad knowing that the bunny would cause me even more grief and sadness? I would like to think it was him telling me everything would be alright! My Dad and I shared the same birthday. I received an outside plant as a sympathy gift. It gets very cold here in Canada and It was on my front porch. The frost didn’t kill it and it just kept blooming. I had to bring it in the house for the winter. It was trying to tell me something! It survived the winter by growing like crazy! It stopped flowering but was very happy inside. In the spring this year I put it in a bigger pot and put it outside. I couldn’t get it to flower for anything. Fertilizer didn’t even get it to bloom. I figured it was very happy just to be green! On my birthday (and my Dads) it bloomed for the first time. Crazy but I would like to think it was my birthday gift from my Dad.

  74. Louise says

    I notice there was another rainbow comment earlier. I have one also. One day, over 20 years ago I was getting ready to move to another continent the very next day. My much younger brother came by and as he was leaving, standing outside he gave me a card. It had a rainbow on it, and the words were something about finding my pot of gold. I read it, looked up at that very moment and an almost perfect, and very large rainbow was spread across the small town I lived in. I couldn’t get over it and will never forget it. I know rainbows are not uncommon, but they are not common either, and it was just such a wonderful one . .. and the timing! I am SURE it was not a coincidence, I absolutely felt it was goodwishes meant just for me.

  75. Holly S says

    Love this post, Layla! Thanks so much for sharing. I can totally relate to everything you’re saying. We moved across the country from our family and friends four years ago for my husbands job and it’s been the most difficult time in my all my life to feel at, “Home”. My boxes have been stacked upside down this whole time and I couldn’t figure out why we felt so disconnected and unhappy. I had taken worship and having a church home for granted. Two weeks ago we visited a church that I’ve been watching their televised service, and I had an overwhelming sense of, “Home” the minute we walked in . I get the tears too, I’m soooo happy to hear I’m not the only one! I thought I was having some sort of emotional breakdown. lol Thanks again for sharing this touching, personal experience, and may God bless you and your husband with your move and settling into your new home!

  76. says

    What a powerful way for God to get your attention! He’s so awesome like that!! And, no worries, I cry every week… it just happens… it moves my heart and the tears just start rolling. :)

  77. erica says

    i cry 2 in church at anything really. i cry like a baby when 5yr old kasey, whom has a brain tumor, gets up and sings god is so good…im tearing up now just thinking about her.

  78. tracyo says

    What a wonderful experience and thanks for posting Layla! I always have to fight the tears at church. Usually when music is involved. The more I try to control it, the worse it gets! :)

  79. says

    Love it! Isn’t it awesome that we serve a caring, personal God?! I”ve been struggling with major fear over stepping out in faith about making my little blog/furniture hobby a business, and God has brought message after message from different sources on overcoming fear. Each time is like a hug from my Daddy. :)

  80. Tiffany Hughes says

    Here is my miracle…and it involves something similar. I usually don’t spread the word untilGod gives me an opportunity to, because what happened to me is what happens in the movies- certainly not in Prattville, Al, to me and my family. Let me state that 1) i’m not nuts. 2) i still don’t understand all of it. 3) and i know that I’ll be laughed at because of it. I write my personal blog to my friends, to me, and to my kids- and here the link to my miracle…

  81. says

    Great story! I love it! So true and hard for us DIYers to sometimes keep our “box sizes” straight!…I guess hard for everyone! I well up at church also…and often. I can’t really tell when I will, where I’ll be, or sometimes even why! I decided it has to be the Holy Spirit. I was at my sister’s church the other day, and I walked in, sat down, and felt myself starting to cry….It was not even at a normal time to do so. I’m always thinking….omgosh, I have to try not to do this….keep it together,….keep it together. lol, but I think sometimes that must be what I should do….to let it out, loose my pride a little, and realize that it’s really only between Jesus and Me, and everything else will fall into place. Thanks for sharing!

  82. Jennifer says

    I cannot tell you how much this post blessed my heart. You may not remember me but we met in bham back in April at PW book signing, my baby threw up on you ;) I remember sharing w Kevin about my husband being an avid musician and playing in the church praise band at our church (we live in montg)and how much a part of worship the music was. Knowing John and having several friends at centerpoint I mentioned to Kevin that y’all should check them out. I have prayed ferverently for you both that you would find a church family never knowing if you would post anything about your personal faith. Thank you for sharing as you did Layla because you affirmed an answer to prayer. I know it can be so intimidating to visit new churches but I am so glad you have felt at home there. I truly believe that the Lord has a wonderful plan for you two. :)

    • says

      Hi Jennifer!

      I remember our conversation very well! We appreciate the kind words and the prayers. I remember you telling me about Centerpoint and I can’t tell you how many times it seemed to pop up in our lives after that conversation. It was almost like we were being led there. Thank you so much for stopping by today and I hope you and your family are well! :)

  83. Angela Fritz says

    every. single. week.
    it happens to me, too.
    i get CRAZY and my eyes start watering. it’s usually never during the sermon, isn’t that funny? it’s always like songs, or announcements, or parts of prayers that really speak to me.

    my husband thinks i’m a nut.
    i suppose i am.

  84. Cindy Chapman says

    The upside down box seems to be saying, “Sh……” Just like you shush a child that’s upset and needs calming down.

  85. Kim says

    Thanks for sharing your moment! My 85-year old mother-in-law says it is the Spirit moving you when you tear up/cry in church. Try to look at the tears as a gift that reflect how the Holy Spirit is reaching you. Just a thought!

  86. says

    Don’t worry about tearing up during service. Happens to me every Sunday I attend. That’s why I keep a lovely, old-fashioned cotton ladies hankerchief in my purse.
    BTW, I had a completely jaw dropping, unexplainable moment when I was at the Jordan River (yes, in the Holy Land) this January. We had left the river and were walking back through the beautiful “wooded” area to the bus when I stopped to take a picture of a gorgeous new church built there. I took a picture of the roof over the entry way where there was a painting of the descending dove. As I backed away, and was still looking upward, a white dove with an olive leaf in it’s beak flew over. Only three of us were there when this happened and all we could do was look at each other. I still get goosebumps when I think of that moment.

  87. Hannah Mason says

    Hey guys! I love reading your blog! I totally asked my husband if we could up and buy your house. =) I feel so blessed to have stumbled upon it a few years ago when I was searching for decor ideas for my bedroom! God is so good at keeping His people connected to each other!
    I really enjoyed this post, especially because my husband and I are involved in the music ministry. My husband is currently in a Christian worship/rock band based out of New England called the Andy Needham Band. They just finished a CD release tour that took them through several states, including Alabama! I would be honored if you would check them out! Thank you for boldly writing about your faith, it helps me do the same! Keep up the good work! =)
    -This is some information about them:
    -This is a link to their TFAT (tweet for a track) for their song “Lifted High”:
    -The website also has a link to their i-pad giveaway! =)

  88. Gayla Templeton says

    I’m having a hard time understanding the comments about not knowing you are a Christian. From the first time I read one of your posts I’ve got that message loud and clear. I didn’t need another blog to take up my time but I felt something special goes on here and I wanted to see more of you. A lot of the things don’t apply to my life as I’m a retired widow but all things beautiful draw me and since I’m a retired realtor houses are one of the things that do. I love the box analogy and I’m glad you shared it. All of us get out of balance at times. I was very concerned that you are moving away from a church that is such a good fit. It’s not a thing to toss away w/out a lot of prayer. Don’t be upset if God doesn’t move things that way because you really are blooming where you are planted now. You are in my prayers every day when I read your post. Your Light shines out bright and shining. Thanks for sharing your life and its’ lessons with all of us.

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Gayla! We sure do appreciate your kind comment! I’m happy to report the church we love will only be a 25 minute drive away from the area we hope to move to, and since they have three services (8:00, 9:15 and 11:00) there’s no excuse to not keep going, as far as traveling is concerned! :-D It’s definitely worth the easy drive!

      • Peg Howard says

        We go to a church that is 20 miles away- we were always small church folks- wanting the music to fill our hearts- who knew it would be at a church of about 700 in one service ( Heritage Church, Moultrie Ga :) It took us 7 years to find it,,,,,, Yes is always worth the drive.. and sounds like you have found a home church….tears in our church flow pretty freely from young and old- man or woman—-
        God Bless you both.

  89. Cindy says

    What a powerful post! We, too, have been searching for a church home that ‘fits’. It hasn’t been an easy journey for us, to be honest. We hope to find someplace soon.

    But the most impactful part of your post has to be the fact that you (and many others in the comments) are church criers! Thank you to all for posting about this! I thought I was the only one who did this and it’s always made me sort of embarrassed, to be honest. I don’t like feeling as if I should tamp down those emotions, but it’s what I do out of fear that those around me will think I’ve gone around the bend. Does that even make sense?

    Anyway, great post – big thanks!!


    • Cindy says

      I just re-read my post and I wanted to clarify…I should have said the most impactful part of your post ‘for me’ was the part about crying in church. It was all so moving and I hope I didn’t make it sound as if I thought any less of the rest of the post.

      That’s what I get for typing/posting without really editing first, right? ;-)

      Have a great day!

  90. Terra says

    Great way to show how our priorities in life should be! The Lord moves in such mysterious, and incredibly thoughtful, ways.

  91. Cheryl Holmes says

    I know the church you are talking about- I got to your blog through Pioneer Woman- not realizing you are in AL- my parents live in MGM and we have followed John when he was at Frazer!

  92. anonymous says

    Your post really spoke to me Layla. I have been on a roller coaster ride for the past few weeks dealing with my sister’s suicide attempt. She lived, but the reality is….her God box is upside down, and her “want” box is huge. She craves stuff. Part of her despair is finances and wanting / needing more stuff than she needs or wants God. If anyone reads this, and if you feel led, sent a prayer our way. We need it.

  93. Katie says

    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog and also read it to Dad. The blog and comments made me teary eyed and gave me goose bumps. Kevin and you will never know how much Dad and I have prayed that God would lead you to a church where you would feel comfortable and could become active. While Dad and I were talking last week about how you all are enjoying Centerpoint, Dad made the statement, “Our prayers have finally been answered.” We are so proud of the two of you and the accomplishments you have made in your lives. We love you, Mom & Dad Palmer.

  94. Laura Bervig says

    Love your transparency! Sounds like you have found a church that fits what my hubby calls the “sweet spot.” Worship is especially such an important part for us too! That song “Great I am” is one of my all time favs! ( That the song was written by one of the worship leaders at my church..Mr Jared Anderson.) You might check out his other songs sometime..”‘Worthy”, “Rescue”..lots of amazing well as the songs from Desperation Band. Who knows, since you are now connected to Compassion, maybe you two could come and hear Jared sing that song
    live at our church New Life in Colorado Springs! Love, love, love your hearts!!!

  95. Brittny says

    I know exactly what you mean! I haven’t felt like I’ve had a church home in a VERY long time due to moving constantly, so I couldn’t let this post go without commenting. John Schmidt is amazing. He actually married my husband and I over 8 years ago. My husband and I both ended up in Montgomery after college, ended up at Frazer and became very good friends with the worship leader (who ended up marrying my roommate!) and he introduced us to John. Those teary moments? I had many of those back then and have not been able to find a church that begs for God to “fill this place” with His Spirit like we did when John was leading us. I have heard only amazing things Centerpointe and I’m not one bit surprised. John has such a passion for teaching God’s Word and God shows up every. single. Sunday. My favorite thing that John prays every time before he preaches… “move me out of the way.” I’m so glad that you had your “box” moment and hope that you have many more! God bless!! : )

  96. says

    God moments like that are always so amazing! He knows how to get our attention, doesn’t he?
    I’m so glad you have found a wonderful church to plug into. It sounds like a great place where Jesus is at the center. It makes me like you guys even more because I’m not sure I realized before that you are Christians too! Cool!
    Oh, and I love that song too. God moves a lot when our worship team plays that song. Oooh, I’m excited for tomorrow’s service now! I hope they play it!

  97. Genevieve V. says

    Hi there,
    Thanks for sharing. Sounds like your pastor uses some great visual aids to carry the message home. His use of the boxes could be used in another great teaching illustration and that is to remind us that sometimes we attempt to fit the Lord in a neat little box that we can feel comfortable with and relate “better” to, but then we create a false image and no longer worship the Creator, but the person or thing we created in His place (even with the best of intentions). There is absolute freedom in truly getting to know Him intimately through spending time studying His Word, in prayer and in fellowship with other believers. As we are faithful to Him and obey His teachings, His true character is graciously revealed time and time again and we are truly a new creation through the work of the Holy Spirit within us. I encourage everyone who professes to be a follower of Christ to always test all things through Scripture and to seek His guidance in every aspect of their lives (one on one). Just as a child to their father.

    By the way, I don’t know if you’ve heard of this family ministry, but with your husband’s musical gift, I thought you all would appreciate how they put Scripture to music (Seeds Family Worship).

    You can sample their songs at
    It is a great way for families to hide God’s Word in their hearts.

  98. lionofjudah says

    it’s funny that your pastor said hobbies should be the smallest box. i watched my husband’s hobby (crossfit) which on the outside seemed nothing is wrong with exercising, until the gym and his gym friends, and his secret gym relationships took over his life, work and marriage to its detriment. it is so important for young married couples to be on the same page and prioritize the relationship in exactly the way the pastor describes. do it at the beginning, make each other sign a contract if necessary and go over it ever so often to make sure the relationship is on track. both have to be God focused, with the same level of commitment for success in marriage and life.

    • Genevieve V. says

      Prudent point. Anything in our lives that takes first place before the Lord just becomes an idol. God’s Word is clear…that in everything, we must seek Him first. We build all relationships (marriage, children, fellow believers, etc) on the foundation of Christ. Our covenant (promise/binding contract) is with Him first. With anyone who seeks to grow in their walk with Him and to serve Him (making disciples, raising the next generation of Christ followers and building His kingdom), we must look to what His Word says and not just read it, but study it and then put it into practice daily.

      Like your suggestion, one should go over the “contract” (shown in God’s Word) regularly (in all areas of our life, not just relationships). A husband and a wife would be wise to study and model what God’s design for marriage is together and what each person’s role and responsibilities are within the covenant He created. It is important to remind ourselves that we are sinners married to a sinner. We must show love and forgiveness, just as the Lord shows us as we repent and follow Him. As we resolve to do this, we are able to then bear the lasting fruit that the Lord desires from each of us.

  99. Sue VanParys says

    Somtimes it takes a visual aid to hit me over the head !!! This is a good one Layla, Thanks for sharing! P.S. Congrats on selling your home and your new house, which I cant wait to see you and Kevin make into your home!

  100. says


    I followed your link to your church website and watched a video on “Relationships in the Workplace”. Now, I have been having issues with a lady I share an office with, so that video hit home. TALK ABOUT GOOSEBUMPS. I saved the church website so that I can check out other videos and the new ones that they post. I loved the sermon on workplace relationships and it gave me a whole new perspective on why I was where I am at. If you had not of posted about the box, I would not have found the video to open my eyes. I wrote to John to tell him that his sermon reached Indiana and how much it helped and blessed me. Your blog also blesses each of us who read it either by your decorating tips, your kind heart of like today, sharing of something else that touched you. I am praying for you and Kevin. I pray that God guides you through your home process and moving and also starting another family. I do not know you personally, but I do pray for you ♥.

    Have a blessed day….
    ~ Lisa from Indiana ~

  101. Bethanie says

    Dear Kevin and Layla,
    I can remember two specific times in my life when if was if the Lord was literally by my side. The first was when my daughter was a baby. It was 18 years ago, and back then you put your car seat rear facing, but in the front seat was fine. (why did we ever think that was ok?!) I was driving thru busy Savannah traffic in the rain…I took my eyes off the road for a second and the car ahead of me stopped. I hit the brakes and should have caused a major pile-up. It all happened so fast, but it was literally like it was in slow motion, if that even makes sense. When I opened my eyes, because I had prepared for the impact, traffic had just completely stopped around me, even though I had hydroplaned into oncoming traffic. It was like everyone took a deep breath,let me get back where I needed to go, and then moved on. I was headed to the Pediatricians office, and I remember being so shaken and in tears when I got to the parking lot…it was the day I truly believed that the Lord does put a hedge of protection around his children.
    The second time I flew from GA to NY to meet my newborn nephew because he was born with major medical problems. My family said to come and meet him, and they didnt come right out and say it, but meant, “and say good-bye all in one visit”… I was in the NICU with this precious baby, all by myself–my brother and sister in law had gone home for a couple hours, as it was the birth day of another nephew. I sat by the isolet, and thought, “he looks so healthy, how can this be?” He wasnt preemie, he was a healthy 7+ lbs. His problems were with his heart and lungs, he was on 100% oxygen..they were sure they would have to put him on the bypass machine within the day. As I sat there, I prayed and cried, and prayed some more ….the nurses came in all in a bustle, which freaked me out. They wanted my brother and sister in law, I said, “Im here alone, they’ll be back soon, what is the problem?” (My insides were mush, I didnt know how I would live with being the one there when he passed.) They looked at me and had this look of pure amazement, (which I mistook as panic at first) and said, “this baby is going to be moved back closer to home!!” It was a “say what?!” moment. They couldnt explain it…he literally did an about face. My brother and sister in law hadnt even made it home yet and turned around because they were going to prepare Gunnar to be transported back closer to our home in PA. I remember crying and crying, remembering it all as I write, brings it all back. I looked up and knew that those prayers had been answered. I dont look at that wild 6 year old boy the same way I look at the other 9 nieces and nephews I have, I was there as he was fighting for life…miracle is the first thing I think of when I see him.
    Sorry, you didnt ask for an epistle…sometimes the Lord shows up and shows off, and we have to share!

    xoxo you both

  102. says

    How awesome that you guys found a church home, it won’t be long before you’ll feel like you are a part of the family, I’m sure!

    It is a powerful thing to sense God’s presence — those tears just show you are in touch with your need to connect with Him on a deeper level. So happy to know you’ve found a great place to do just that!

  103. Robbin says

    I’m blown away. Layla and Kevin, not only has your post been a much needed “God moment” for me, but look at all the replies with wonderful comments and stories. You two always inspire me, but sharing your story got a whole different dialog going. God bless you in your new home and your church family. I’ll be praying for you.
    ~I’m a proud church crier too! :)

  104. Lori says

    Nothing happens without reason/purpose in God’s economy. Each time something catches my attention; a person, place, thing, or something else – I call it cause to ask God what He would have me to learn from “it”.
    Perhaps He is trying to get your attention in regards to something He wants to do in your life.
    This is usually when I learn the most of myself or my Creator :)
    Glad you have, seemingly, found a “church home”!

  105. says

    Two scriptures came to mind when I read your post: And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written…John 21:25/Clearly, you are an epistle(letter) of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart…2 Cor. 3:3. I too have many stories of which I could write a book, like the scripture says. This is just the beginning of all the neat things He will do in your lives (volumes). And the 2nd scripture explains the tears b/c these things we experience are written on our hearts as they transpire by His Spirit. He has gifted the two of you in so many ways and I look forward to the continuation of the journey as He is taking you into new beginnings…new home/new church.

  106. says

    this post made me tear up – i totally do that head tilt back thing to keep them from falling out at church too ;) thanks for sharing!

  107. says

    I am particularly moved by your post today. Perhaps it’s because I’m in a hospital waiting room while my six year old is in surgery. Either way, I write this with tears in my eyes.

  108. Lisa says

    I always know I’m going to be inspired after reading your blog. Little did I know that I would be truly uplifted!! Thanks for sharing and remember God created our tears – its just part of being able to express ourselves. I know a lady who tended to tear up at the slighted thing as she was so annoyed by it – she asked God to change her but she soon found out that she missed her tears and the tenderness that it brought to her heart. She told me that she asked God to give her tears back to her and now she appreciates in a way she never did before. Congrats on finding a church home it can literally turn your world around : )

  109. says

    I definitely know how that feels!

    When I was in college I had all the fruits of the spirit painted on 9 individual canvases and had them hanging on my wall in a 3×3 grid in my room. They had been there for a long time and had never fallen off the wall before.

    Well one night I was having a little too much fun with my boyfriend if you know what I mean, and the canvas “Self-Control” crashed to the ground. I was in awe! And you would think I would’ve learned my lesson, but just like the Israelites I had to be reminded. It actually happened twice. The exact same thing. It crashed to the ground and startled us. Those two times were the only times any of them ever fell off the wall. I know it was God reminding me to live in the Spirit and put away the sins of my flesh. I will never forget those two moments. Thanks for making me think of them again on a day where I need to be reminded.

  110. Carol says

    Was trying to think of what to say here and it appears everyone has said it already. So, I will just add an amen and thank you to both of you.

  111. Nancy says

    I love those goosebumpy moments. It reminded me of something that happened a few years ago. I had been in a Beth Moore Bible study and during one session she talked about how much God loves us and wants to show us. She challenged us to put our faith to work and ask God to show us something special that would give us a little glimpse of his love. Being the “midsouth” girl that I am, (Oklahoma ;) ) I love horny toads so I asked him to show me one. I hadn’t seen one in years, for some reason. Later that day my daughter in law called to see if she could drop by. She said she had a treat for me. Not knowing my God request, she showed up with “horny toad cookies” she had made for me!!! (I need to google the recipe because she doesn’t even remember it and says that is the only time she has ever made them). Talk about goose bumps. God really does love us. Best news ever. :D Thanks for sharing your story and reminding me of mine.

  112. sally says

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who gets teary at church even during worship. I’m not a tilt my head back and keep it from spilling over gal though…nope, those tears come out so hard that I am left with a sopping wet neck…and children giving me that “oh there she goes again” smile. Hard not to cry when the presence of God is there. But I have had my moments of worrying someone thought I was a big sinner in repentance mode too. LOL.

  113. says

    Wow, I love moments like this…that is so crazy and yes, goosebumpy :) I’m with you on crying at church. I’ve gotten to where I don’t make it through one service without tearing up. The songs and baptisms do it to me more than anything. Thanks for sharing, Layla!

  114. says

    Girl, since we moved to Georgia and joined our church (Eagles Landing First Baptist Church) I haven’t had a sunday that I haven’t sobbed. But the last few weeks have been funny, like you said, just too crazy to be real. We’ve been going through alot as a family. And I had just told my husband that I had about lost hope in our situation and we walked into a sermon all about the endless hope of God. Talk about goosebumps. As if that wasn’t enough, another very tough week passed and we caught ourselves already forgetting and the next week was all about faith. Just what I’ve always called “God Moments” – those moments when you know he’s whispering something to you. JUST TO YOU. And I lost it. My husband keeps joking that I need to get stronger mascara if we are going to stay at this church. But yeah, I got goose bumps just reading your story. And I love it. I love that he’s working, that He’s speaking to you. And that you are hearing what he’s saying. LOOOOOVE it.

  115. shelby says

    Reminds me of how God shows up and turns our lives/plans upside down for his glory. The knower of all things:) I’m so like you, I’m a major weeper (to steal a line from “The Holiday”) too. Minor chords make me cry my hubby figured out, who knew. I can’t get through worship without balling. It’s comforting to me to know most people have their hands lifted or their eyes closed and aren’t watching my mascara drip down my face anyway but if they did they would “get it”. God’s presence is a cool thing. Love and blessings to you both.

  116. Gina says

    Loved reading through all the comments. One of my moments was Mother’s day one year recently when we had been going through a very rough period of unemployment and my husband decided on a whim to take me to a restaurant for breakfast. When we get back to the van there were beautiful flowers in this galvanized conatiner sitting in my seat. I was all-thanks honey-how sweet! How did you manage this? And he was like-I didn’t. The van was locked and noone knew we were going there-like I said it was on a whim and we didn’t tell anyone. I asked him a couple more times-are you sure,but nope he didn’t and no he’s never lied to me-it was just so amazing I couldn’t believe it. The Lord gave me flowers for Mother’s Day! Also have a very brown thumb and these flowers lasted until WI! Also lost a baby so was especially meaningfully timing wise. The Lord is good!

  117. Becky W says

    I also tear up quite frequently at church and usually during the worship singing. It is uncontrollable, the tears just come and I can’t stop them. It’s a God thing!

  118. Anja says

    Wow, I just love how you guys are so real and courageous in sharing your faith…and how many dialogues this has started…leaving so many of us feeling encouraged. May God bless you abundantly and beyond what you could ever dream of!

  119. says

    I got serious goosebumps reading this. I know how you feel, although I don’t go to worship all the time like i use to as a kid. I feel really connected in the house of God and worshiping him. Great post.

  120. says

    First off, Love your blog! Been reading it for years and don’t usually comment but this post inspired me! Loved the box story, I can totally relate because I have a box story of my own. 12 years ago I moved across the country with my husband and 4 kids to Kansas. We had no jobs, no house, and no family in Kansas, but we were both from the midwest and it our kids were getting older and it was calling us back. It was a huge leap of faith and even though we knew it was the right thing to do, it was scary! We left on a Tuesday morning and drove through the night to get there by Wednesday. We were somewhere in Texas, it was nightime and I was driving. It was pitch black out but we passed this church that had an ENORMOUS white cross in front of it. It was lit up with spotlights and was just beautiful. As we were about to pass it I sent a prayer up to God to help our family be strong and for things to work out in our new home. At that instant a shooting star zipped behind that cross like God himself was talking to me personally. I knew in that moment that everything was going to be alright. I will never forget it. God speaks to us if we are willing to listen. Thanks for letting me share :)

  121. Deborah says

    layla, you never fail to inspire me and today you totally touched my spirit. wish i could have been there to have seen the box fly but glad you caught the after. i love the pastor using the boxes as examples of the “stuff’ in our lives great visual. Thanks again for the inspiring words. Prayers for you and Kev as you start your new adventure and praying for your baby whereve he/she may be.

  122. says

    Layla, I got all goose-bumpy when I read this post. SO neat!!! Thank you for sharing it with us. It comes at a good time for me – we are about to start renovating our kitchen, and it’s so easy to get caught up in those details.

  123. says

    layla! it sounds like our churches are very similar. we sing that song sometimes – and also most recently! it is pretty moving and i know the feeling (about the box) b/c i’ve experienced similar situations.

    i bet you will miss that church when you move. surely God has a great plan for ya’ll. :)

    p.s. i think it’s awesome that you share your faith here. the world needs more people who live openly – especially those with admirers and watchers throughout the www.

    • Layla says

      Hi Crissy!
      Luckily, we won’t miss the church at all when we move, because it’ll only be 25 minutes away! :-D We just joined last Sunday and can’t wait to learn more about how we can become a part of what they’re doing over there. Good stuff!

  124. says

    Thanks for sharing, Layla! God is so personal, speaking to each of us in unique and subtle ways. I enjoyed your post.

  125. Susan says

    How happy I am to have found this story today of all days. After a long month of worrying about stupid stuff, you have reminded me of what is really important. Thanks!

  126. Sunny Beamish says

    Hi Layla,
    I’m really enjoying reading your blogs..and am so happy you and Kevin have a found a church that feels right..and you know, all those feelings and tears are just God’s way of cleaning the house (inside of us) and making us whole..showing us in those very personal ways that are for ” our eyes only” ( no 007 ) just how deeply He loves and knows us…I can be oh so addicted to all the magazines, and ideas of home decor but He reminds to rearrange my boxes, because when He is our delight, He gives us all the other creative juices in ways we could never imagine!

    • Layla says

      Thank you so much, Sunny! Your comment has reminded me to stop and take a little time to talk to God right now. Thanks for the inspiration! :-)

  127. says

    I have yet to find a place that makes me feel all cozy when I’m there but I am just like you-when something touches me or gets right to the heart of the matter I instantly cry. It’s not a sad cry, just a happy or overwhelmed cry.
    I love that you took that photo so you won’t forget. xoxo

  128. says

    Wow, Layla!

    I call those things “God Nudges” and I’m pretty sure my pastor has told me there’s a book about such things (likely called, “The Nudge” or something equally as obvious). I’ve had moments like that, where, I swear my pastor is talking to me.

    In fact, the other day, he was talking about when to know to follow your dreams, or just stay put, and he used the example of, “Do I stay at my job here in Ann Arbor, or take a risk and try out this job in Chicago, even if I don’t know how it will work out?” and ironically, I had just quit my 16 year long job in Ann Arbor, to take a summer contract in Chicago which was part of a bigger plan to start my own design company.

    So far, so good, but then, I followed a nudge to get there ;)

  129. Cristen says

    Recently stumbled upon your blog (LOVE it, and added it to my favorite Blogs Bookmark!), and this post really spoke to me. For one, I know that I really need to find a church home again, as I haven’t had one in years. Also, it made me think of the only church that I ever really felt “at home” in, because it also was called Centerpoint. What a great demonstration of priorities made by your pastor. Just seeing it in the pictures has already given me a visual in my mind of my own priorities that I really need to get straight. Thank you so much for your open and honest post, and I’m very glad I was able to read it today when I really needed it.

  130. says

    Those moments when you know it can only be God are an amazing gift.
    If you look at my silly little nothing of a blog (you don’t have to) you will find it is not very long. I found blogging through you and started my site just after new year’s when you had a post on your blog about how life is a book, it’s pages are blank….I felt a new start. happy in our dream house. The second to the last post is about leaving there after being there nearly one year. It was completely over our head to say the least. All winter with NO FURNACE and no way to get one. We signed it back over to the bank. Anyway. I stood in the front window crying. Looking out at the neighbors cows, snow falling. Breaking down. “God….please tell me what to do…i will listen….I WILL LISTEN…i don’t want to be this way anymore…i will listen. Fast forward. I found a house for rent. Still not trusting myself. Called. It was Dr Godshall who was the town dr for many years. Godshall…God shall! I knew it was right and God was leading me now. I have had several more experiences like this since. I am listening! Every Little Thing Is a BLESSING! I want nothing without Him. (psalm 16 hit me like a rush of warm sunshine all over me).
    Thanks for letting me share. I know you will cherish every little sign you get and that you will have many.

  131. Danielle says

    Wow Kevin and Layla, great story! When we draw close to God, he does indeed draw cTrust Himlose to us. Maybe you are starting to see that ya’ll are His house and he would like to move stuff around and express His love and wisdom by decorating your lives!! The creativity that spills out of both of you are from Him. He is so good and it’s so exciting to see Him move and you to recognise it! So many ramifications here! He will just blow your minds! Trust Him. He is faithful!!!
    Abundant Blessings

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