Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Life is hectic and my focus was not on Him.

I sat in church, praying, "Lord, let me hear you. Let me see you."

I stood on stage singing at the Christmas musical about His birth and the joy this time of year brings, praying, "God, give me joy."

I stood beside my mom, discouraged after a day full of what seemed to be hopelessness. The words tumbled out of my mouth as if I didn't care, "I've given up all hope of having a normal Christmas this year. I'm just done." I shook my head and turned around, ready for a new day.

As I sat on my bed, doing my quiet time, I tried to hear His voice. I tried to see why all of this was going on. I prayed, I begged, "God, give me Your hope, Your peace. I need you."

It hit me. All at once it hit me. I could hear Him.

"My child, don't you see? I've been whispering my hope to you all day long! You just weren't listening. You were too busy seeking comfort in other things that you simply didn't hear my voice all day. I am hope. I am peace. I am joy. I am with you, my hope is with you. I am for you."

That morning in church, the sermon was about seeking the ONLY hope at this time of year. The hope in Jesus Christ.

"For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:24-25

I stood on stage, singing about JOY and HOPE in Christ because of what He had done.

Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

I received encouraging words and texts from friends, checking up on us and seeing if we needed anything.

"We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf..." Hebrews 6:19-20

I sat on my bed and read verses that ALL had to do with hope. I was too busy looking to stop and listen. 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13

My eyes were opened and there He was, whispering hope all day long.

And He's always there, always whispering hope into our darkest days, wanting us to stop and listen.

Because this hope He whispers is the greatest comfort.

So stop and listen.

Listen for His voice, whispering in the dark, "You are mine."


Friday, November 22, 2013

127 Million.

Normally, Friday morning is my designated writing time. From 8:30-10:30 I make myself sit down and write, no matter how much school work I have ahead of me.

It refreshes me. And I love it.

Except for mornings like this morning.

There are days when the words just don't come, and the creativity is wiped right out of your head.

It's frustrating.

Anyway- I figured I would use this time to sit down and write to you all about something that's been pressing on my heart all month.

Actually, it's something this month is designated for.

November is orphan awareness month.

And boy, do I have a lot to say about that.

I can't believe I'm about to do this. But, I'm about to give you an exert from my book. This is one of my favorite scenes from the whole book.

So, here you are. In this scene, Chrissy, the main character, is asked to help introduce three babies that are being adopted to their parents. As you might be able to tell, this was taken from when we met Sonia the first time in Rwanda.

     "I handed her to her father, she looked confused, but her parents were elated. Her mother’s eyes were brimming with tears, watching her husband holding his daughter for the first time. As it had many times already, my heart broke for the children who didn’t have families, who weren’t going to be loved like little Sonia was. I then thought back to Ava, she would one day have a family, who would love her with all of their hearts. Her mother’s eyes would be full of tears, seeing her for the first time, and her father would hold her with comforting arms. She wouldn’t know then that this would be the family to care for her and to love her as long as she lived, but she would someday. She wouldn’t know that I had fallen in love with her and would have given anything to make her mine. Even if she never remembered me, even if I couldn’t be there forever to love and care for her, I could love on her while I was there, knowing that one day, she would have a family too. 

     Once they had spent about forty-five minutes with the kids, we had to take the children back to their rooms. The fathers held each of their children in their arms. We led them to their rooms and they placed each of their children back in a bed, where they would sleep for one of their last nights there. The children once again had a look of confusion on their faces, wondering why in the world they had to leave these people. Sonia’s father kissed her on the forehead and walked out. Once they had all left and the door was shut, all of their eyes filled with tears as their fathers walked away but I scooped them up and held them close."

Ava is a little girl who doesn't have a family. In this book she represents all of the orphans around the world- all 127 MILLION of them. 

These children long to be loved- they long to know the love of a family. Not just children in different countries- but right here in America. 

I have been so burdened lately after being in Uganda and seeing all of the orphans again. My thoughts this time have been mainly, "What if they don't ever know the love of the Father? The love of Jesus Christ?"

And it breaks my heart. 

It breaks my heart to think that there are going to be children who will never know the love that Christ has shown us. He is Father to the Fatherless- what if they NEVER hear that?

May we not just sit still and think, "What cute children!" 

May we be called into ACTION by the words of James 1:27, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."

God- wake us up. Move us to action so that these 127 million children can know your love and know the love of a family. 

He has called us to so much more than sitting still. 

He has called us to GO. To LOVE. To be His hands and feet. 

So that every. single. child. on this planet may know the love of the Best Father this world will EVER know. 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Let the fundraising begin!!!

I am VERY thrilled to announce that I have officially begun fundraising for my book!

This is a huge step in the direction towards being a published author.

"Where might I find this fundraising?" You may ask?

Here: "For I Know the Plans" Fundraising!

I would be honored if you would check out this page!

Please help us spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by including the link above(http://www.youcaring.com/other/for-i-know-the-plans/99856).

I'm trusting in Him to fulfill these needs and I know He will be faithful to complete what I've begun in Him!

Thank you so very much for reading!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

For the Love of Music

Seriously- Emily Grace and I have the BEST memories together.

Let's take a moment to remember the Taylor Swift Concert in 2011.

Uganda this summer. 

Camp together this summer.

And then...Yesterday.

Emily Grace's birthday was in October and for her birthday...we went to the Hunter Hayes concert nearby. 

It was absolutely incredible. Honestly, I'm surprised I can still talk today.

We screamed and sang the entire time.

AND our seats were SO close up to the stage! As Emily said, "We could see the sweat on his forehead and everything!"

All dressed up and ready to go!

Waiting for merchandise, we got a picture just like this at the Taylor Swift concert. We've changed SO much since then!!

Before the concert.

We were just a TAD excited.

Me during the concert.


After the concert. Our hearts were still racing!

During the concert. (We took a few selfies!) 

On the way to Mellow Mushroom for dinner.

Overall, it was an absolutely amazing night that we will never, ever, forget. 

There were so many laughs shared...and I'm so glad I got to share this night with my best friend.

God is so good to give us such great times in the middle of crazy weeks! 

I love you Emily Grace, happy late birthday!!

And Hunter Hayes- you're beautiful. Just sayin'.


P.S. And thanks to my mom and Emily's mom for taking us. Thanks for dealing with our squealing and talking all the way home last night!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Don't you forget it.

Music plays through my head.

And the words just flow.

Beautifully and perfectly onto the page.

I stand on stage, hands wide, crying, Lord, I need you, oh, I need you. 

How true that always is.

This week in particular.

I look back on Monday.

We all stood on the porch, collapsing into tears- each and every one of us.

My heart broke in half as I watched a grown man, who has become like my older brother, cry. He hugged William and Jonathan. And I could hardly bare it.

I remember the dance parties.

And the movie nights. The time we watched Lion King 1 1/2 and ate Blow Pops.

The homework chair. The long afternoons at the pool.

"You're going to be one of my bridesmaids, aren't you?"

"Will you make the baby's scrapbook?"

"Harper's going to be a big sister!"

I kissed her sweet forehead, memorizing her sweet features, her laughs and giggles.

I hugged her tightly, not wanting to let go. Not wanting her to leave.

"I love you."

She wiped the tears from her cheeks. That was only the third time I had ever seen her cry.

My vision was blurred with tears as I tried to hold it together, tried to be strong.

We walked off, they got in their car, and drove. And drove. And drove.

On Monday, Amanda, Nick, Harper and baby girl on-the-way left for California.

I dreaded the day we'd have to say goodbye.

But it came and went.

And I can now look back and think, He was faithful once again. 

This week I have written.

I have prayed.

I have stayed close to my Jesus.

And He has proven himself so faithful to me.

I'm going to miss them more than I can say.

But, I can't wait to visit California to see my favorite almost one year old, her mom and dad, and her sweet baby sister.

Once again this week- He has been faithful to remind me of His promises. I don't think He will ever let me forget that He will always be faithful. No matter what.

Amanda, Nick, Harper, and little miss Mckinley(I love having a name for you, sweet baby), I love you guys. And though I'd rather you be here, I know God wants you there. So go ahead and find some awesome things for us to do when we come visit next summer. Thanks for everything from the dance parties to letting me help with wedding planning and everything in between. Be safe. And Harper- don't you ever forget I was your favorite in our family from the very beginning!

Love, Bailey Elizabeth

Friday, October 18, 2013

Life as a writer.

Life as a writer is....






Learning to balance.

And this week I figured out my favorite part.

My favorite thing about writing is this-

When my reality stinks and I'm tired of living in this world, I can turn my mind into the reality of my writing. I can turn my mind around and live in the world of Chrissy and Carter. The world that is right now taking place in Uganda with chocolate babies and fictional characters that are more than real to me.

As a writer- my mind is constantly in two worlds, two different realities. And however odd this sounds, it's really happening.

I'll be sitting at the kitchen table, doing math, and all of the sudden I can see a scene happening in my head, as if it's happening right before my eyes. I can hear the conversation, feel people's emotions.

And I find it beautiful.

On horrible days, I go to Chrissy's world, shaping characters, figuring out plot points, seeing the beauty in her life.

Then I think, doesn't God feel the same way? He's already shaped my story- and it's grander than anything I could ever come up with on my own.

Through writing, somehow I can get a glimpse of how the Grand Author has already shaped my life, my character, my story.

It makes me SO thankful that I'm not in control of my life. Because even on the bad days, or hard weeks, I know it will get better.

I'm thankful today for being an author. For this gift He has given me and the two realities I can find myself in.

Though some days it's frustrating...because I'll be somewhere and feel this wave of creativity move in, and I can't write...it's also so beautiful.

And I love it.

I also can't wait for the day when you get to read book #1, which is now completed.

I'm just praying about what to do next.

And I have no doubt that because He's in control of it all, it will be beautiful.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Uganda. Revisited.

When the Daraja Children's Choir of Africa came to stay with us in May, I never thought it could get better than that. We had three of the sweetest girls and a fabulous intern staying with us for three nights. And it was SO much fun, it always is. Our church worshipped with them in May, and it was beautiful.

Then. I went to Uganda. And it just so happened that the Children's Choir was from Uganda, too.

As we all know, Uganda was...beautiful. Healing. Incredible. I fell in love with that country and their people.

God did some incredible things on that trip...and I will never forget it.

The friendships, the laughter, the emotions, the jumps for joy...everything.

Ever since then- all I've wanted is a simple reminder of Uganda. And it's in the pictures- but it's still not quite the same.

Then tonight...oh, God is so good.

The Daraja Children's Choir was back for their fall tour and they were about thirty minutes from us. We got to go see them at another church.

I never thought it would connect that much. But, oh, when they played the intro video...folks. Let me just tell you.

I don't cry. Like ever. Except over math and sometimes chemistry. But tonight...when they were showing those sweet pearly white smiles and deep, chocolate faces, my mind and heart were brought back to log, hot afternoons in Uganda. When we laughed, and sang and tried to communicate with these kids who didn't speak English.

And my heart was more connected to those children-to their hearts-than I have ever been to anything else before.

Tears threatened to spill over as I watched them talk of dreaming to be someone who made a difference.

And saying that this journey- it's worth it. Because they are making a difference right now.

And precious Ugandan children, let me tell you, you made a difference in my day. You made me feel as if I was back under the eucalyptus trees in Uganda, praising Jesus once again.

So thank you.

Thank you for making me feel as if I was back in Uganda again, back where my heart is. Back where your home is.

Thank you for giving me the chance to worship alongside you tonight, to praise the God who has cleansed us all White As Snow.

You are beautiful, Daraja Children's Choir.

~And to my readers, here's the video that made me cry.

Have fun.~

Friday, October 4, 2013


These past two weeks have been hard. Really hard.

I had a migraine for two weeks straight. That was just awesome.

My heart was hurting.

But now- I'm doing much better.

Day #3(sort of) without a headache!

Haven't cried since Tuesday.

Sunday is youth Sunday.

Which means that the youth Praise Band (which I'm in!) will be playing in big church.

We had practice last night. I love it.

We're playing all our money songs, as Trent calls them. Cornerstone. Be Thou My Vision. Revelation Song.

I'm SO pumped.

Last night we were in practice and I was standing at my keyboard as we played "Great I Am."

I was singing at the top of my lungs, praising Him for being the Great I Am.

And it hit me.

I've been thinking about this time last year a lot lately, but last night- I thought about it differently.

I thought about the emotional wreck I was this time last year, the lack of trust I had in God, I wasn't playing in the Praise Band yet, Caroline and I weren't super close like we are now, everytime I heard "Great I Am" I sobbed.

I thought back to today.

I was standing on stage with Caroline, who has become one of my dearest friends, with Trent, who has basically adopted me as his little sister, with Becca and the rest of the band.

And last night I was thankful.

Because it was beautiful.

I was playing and singing with all that I had, praising Him. And this time last year, I couldn't have done that.

But now- I worship with all of me. I praise Him for being the Great I Am.

And even on days when I don't see it, He is Healer. He is the Great I Am. He is the only thing I will ever need.

And for the first time, I realized that this- this is beautiful.

The road He has me on, this journey, this heartache, this Joy in Him, it is beautiful.

It's a different kind of beauty.

But this healing He has brought me, it is indeed beautiful.

"When my sin is all that I can see,
Your grace remains the shelter that I seek.
And when my weakness is all I can give,
Your gentle Spirit gives me strength again.
And oh, the beauty of Your majesty,
On the cross You showed Your love for me...

You're beautiful, my Lord."

This life is full of beauty. May we always take time to find it, to find Him- our Beautiful Lord.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What's next?


Write a book. Edit. Edit some more. Don't like it. Re-write. Edit again. Re-write again. Edit some more. Let people read it. Say you're done. Publish. The end! Famous author.


Let me tell you, it's NOT that easy.

Two years later, and I'm finally finished. It took three, yes three, re-writes, but I'm finally finished.

I'm very proud of my 41,306 words, 100-something pages.

This story...it's not just fiction. It's reflections on my life.

Going to go get Sonia. Traveling to Uganda. Paige dying.

It's all a story. In one way or another, it's how I saw those events. It's how they changed me, just through a new pair of eyes, a few different circumstances.

This story is one of grace. It's one of His beauty. And in the end, it's a story saying that His sovereign hand is in control of every situation in our lives.

For both years, I kept thinking, "I'll self publish and somehow I'll get famous...somehow."

I kept writing and I kept thinking, "I just want a copy in my hands! I don't care how..."

Now I'm finished.

And I don't quite know what to do.

I'm praying...continually asking Him, "Father, what do I do? Give me an answer. Show me what YOU want me to do." 

In all reality- I have no clue what I'm doing!

This is my first manuscript.

My first time walking through this journey...

I've written a cover letter to send off to some literary agents.

I've figured out how to raise the money to self-publish.

But what does He want me to do?

What will bring Him the most glory? What is His will in my writing?

I keep asking myself, "What's next? What do I do next?"

My mom asks, "What do you want to do next? What's your end goal?"

My thoughts? I have no idea. Right now, I don't know what I want. 

All I know right now is that I want a copy of MY book in MY hands.

I know that I want my writing to bring HIM glory.

But in the same breath I ask, what if I don't become a famous author? What if my writing is pointless?

And I just laugh and remember...it doesn't matter. If I don't become a famous author- who cares? Me, maybe. Because in the end...if my writing helps two or three people realize He is sovereign and perfect, then that's perfect.

In the end, if my writing brings Him glory...

Then I have accomplished the greatest goal.

And my writing won't be pointless- because His glory is the ultimate thing to strive for.

Closeness to Him is all I should strive for.

And whatever happens...

It's perfect. And it's in His will.

No matter what happens, no matter how hard it is to accept, no matter how frustrating life can be...

He is sovereign.

There's a very obvious reminder of this every time I open my book on the computer. The title comes up first...and I'm reminded it's all for Him, to Him and through Him.

"For I Know the Plans..." 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

This weekend has been great.

Caroline, Jenna and I went to Trent and Sydney's house for a girls night. We watched Pride and Prejudice. He's the best adopted big brother.

I've been writing a lot.

The sequel is amazing. I don't know what in the world I'm going to do with the first one...I guess that would be important.

I wrote for almost four hours Tuesday. It was magical.

School is...crazy.


I just wanted this year to be different. Easier.

Oh well.

But after it all...

God is good.

John 16:33
        “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

"All our failure and all our fear,
God our love, He has overcome
All our heartache, and all our pain,
God our healer, He has overcome.

All our burdens, and all our shame,
God our freedom, He has overcome,
All our troubles, and all our tears,
God our hope, He has overcome.

All our failures, and all our fear,
God our love, He has overcome,
God our justice, God our grace,
God our freedom, He has overcome.

God our refuge, God our strength,
God is with us, He has overcome."
~Take Heart, Hillsong

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


And, oh, I'm running to your arms.
I'm running to your arms.
The riches of your love will always be enough.
Nothing compares to your embrace.
Light of the world forever reign.

My heart will sing no other name, Jesus, Jesus.


"I will not cause pain
    without allowing something new to be born," says the Lord.
-Isaiah 66:9


This day is hard.

I won't pretend.

My heart is hurting.

Remembering the thoughts flying through my mind exactly one year ago.

"God don't take her. I can't do this without her."


Hebrews 11:32-35

"And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life."


I rest today on the same faith in Hebrews 11.

The one that makes my weaknesses STRONG.

I can do ANYTHING through this faith.

I can find HOPE and JOY on a day of an anniversary of death.



she wouldn't want me being sad.

She wouldn't want me to spend my day moping around.

She would want me to LIVE.

John 10:10

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."- JESUS.

He wants me to have life. To live. And to live abundantly.

She would want me to celebrate my 16th birthday.


Today I'm going to LIVE.

I'm going to LAUGH with my best friend this afternoon.

I'm going to do just as she would have done.


Monday, July 22, 2013

I've been wanting to write.

This Wednesday is the 24th. Of July.

One year from when she left us.

I didn't know what to write about.

Until yesterday night.

At d*groups when my youth pastor was speaking...

He said something that caught my attention.

"We know as a follower of Christ life won't be easy. We know the tribulations and trials are coming. But are we preparing ourselves for that? Are we getting to a place with our relationship with Christ that when trials come the first thing we think to do is go before the Lord in prayer?"

I couldn't help but think back to this time last year.

I had just gotten back from camp.

Paige was the FIRST person to greet me when I got off the bus. Even before my parents.

We were getting ready for SWTA together.


What if I had been hearing the exact same thing my youth pastor said last night?

Would that have made a difference in my reaction to the next couple of days...

I was probably just thinking, "I don't need to prepare. Because that will never happen to me."

And then it did.

Tragedy hit.

And I questioned God endlessly. I ran to people- not to Him.

Would my life then have been different?

If I would have been preparing for trials...would my reaction have been running to Him?

It just makes me think.

And gives me motivation to prepare for anything else that could come my way.

Because this year has certainly been full of trials.

Constantly something else.

So I'm going to LISTEN this time.

And prepare.

And hold on to all the sweet memories I have of us from those last few days.

What a great comfort it is to know that He has already overcome.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

But I'm here.

I miss the red dirt washing over my face as we drove down the road.

I miss playing with hundreds of kids in a big empty field.

I miss giving shoes.

I miss bandaging feet.

I miss church outside.

I miss loving on chocolate babies who don't have mama's and dada's.

I miss 2 Friends and Backpackers.

I miss Joyce and Betty and Eric.

I miss cold showers(okay- not that much).

I miss Quinn and Asa and Silas.

I miss children shouting, "Mzungu!" as we drove down the road.

I miss Dru and Asher.

I miss...


But I'm reminded...

I'm here. In North Carolina, with my family and all my closest friends for a reason.

God has me here to fulfill his will for this part of my life.

I feel very strongly that Uganda will play a part of my life in the future.

But right now- I'm here.

And as hard as that is- I accept it.

Because here?

Even though there's no church outside- There's Rich Fork with Caroline and Jenna and Sarah and Lissa and Megan....

Even though there's no orphanages full of chocolate babies- There's plenty of little girls who need to be told they are special, like Haley and Emma and Madison and Bizzy and Peyton and Riley...

So. I'm here.

And I'm praying God will show me ways to use my gifts right here where I am.

And I believe he will!


Friday, July 5, 2013

The Cost

I'm saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I'll leave myself behind
And follow You

I'll walk the narrow road
'cause it leads me to You
I'll fall but grace 
Will pick me up again

I've counted up the cost
Oh I've counted up the cost
Yes I've counted up the cost
And You are worth it

I do not need safety
As much as I need You
You're dangerous
But Lord You're beautiful

I'll chase You through the pain
I'll carry my cross
'cause real love
Is not afraid to bleed

Take my all
Take my everything

I've counted up the cost
And You're worth everything

-The Cost by Rend Collective Experiment 

I'm back from Uganda. 

It was incredible. 

And I miss it so much already.

Friday, June 21, 2013

And we're back from camp!

We just got back from camp.

And it was INCREDIBLE.

David Platt spoke, Kristian Stanfill lead worship and we had a surprise band from IRELAND.

God moved.

He reminded me that I have a purpose.

That this last year was in His plan, however hard it was- it was his plan. As we sang "Like a Lion," I did the motions for her. And thought of her the whole time.

That His kingdom is worth fighting for.

And that the cost of following him is high- but it's worth it.

We laughed till our sides hurt.

We worshipped our hearts out.

We sang until we had nothing left.

We soaked in his glory and majesty like never before.

And now- I'm tired. I'm empowered. And I've got to get ready to leave Monday for Uganda. What an incredible week we've had.

David Platt was speaking...on missions...His words exactly, "I pray some of you will leave here and go to AFRICA." Out of all the continents, the first he lists is Africa. Emily and I had chills.

I'm SO thankful for this chance to focus only on God with some of my best friends.

And I cannot wait until Monday when we leave for Uganda.

My conclusion for this week? He's bigger. His plan is perfect. And I have clearly been called to GO.

To follow wherever he takes me.


Monday, June 10, 2013

So trust Him.


I guess I'm a junior now.

My sophomore year is coming to an end.

Since I'm homeschooled and we have to do math through the summer, we don't really have an official last day.

But that's okay!

I guess it's about time I start thinking about college. And the big, bad world beyond.

This year has been...a bit crazy...and college was the last thing I wanted to think about.

"Where are you going to college?" People asked.

"It's been a crazy year. That's not really on my mind." I would answer.

But eventually I have to move on...so it might as well be now.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Most of it has involved Paige...

She would have been at the wedding I went to Saturday. We would be going to lunch this week. She would have been at youth graduation at church, telling me to stop thinking that in two years that will be me. She would have been the one to stay with us while my grandma was in the hospital.

But then I was sitting with my grandma...and she said something that really had me thinking, "You can't focus on the 'what-ifs' or the 'should-haves,' you just have to do the best you can."

I shouldn't be focused on the things I would be doing IF she were here...or the things we SHOULD have been doing. It's hard not to, though. I want to keep thinking about her. I want her to be on the front of my mind. I don't want a day to go by without me thinking, "I miss you."

I sat with Mary Saturday at the wedding. And we both laughed. Really laughed about life, and I knew Paige would be happy. I went to lunch with Megan and Haley on Saturday. We talked about weddings and our future and how crazy it was that in 5 years she could be a mom...and I would be half way through college. I knew Paige would be glad I was having a good time. I stand in worship and proclaim to Jesus, "Be lifted higher than all you've overcome." I knew she would be proud of me for making an effort, with Him by my side, to overcome these challenges in life. We play the 'Great I Am' downstairs with the praise band...and I worship as hard as I can. Because I'm finally able to. I knew she would be proud of me for making steps towards healing.

It's in things like that I think about her.

And in two weeks, when I leave for Uganda with my best friend and my dad...I know, without a shadow of a doubt that she is proud of me. And I think about those things...

And I wish she were here.

But Lissa said, "God's timing is way more accurate. So trust him."

It can be as simple as that...trust him.

Two words that can make a world of difference.

So I trust Him.

In this life. In this grieving. In the joy. In the laughter. In each step I take.

Because I am His. More precious to Him than the span of the sparkling ocean or the vastness of the stars in the sky. He knows the plan He has for my life and it's perfect. One day I will see...not now, but one day...how beautiful the masterpiece He has created for me really is.

So I trust Him.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

To my sweet Haley!

Tomorrow is a very special day.

For a very special little girl.

Who holds a very special place in my heart.

I love her just a little bit.

Miss Haley's birthday is tomorrow.

This little girl- she gives amazing hugs.

She loves God.

She loves other people. And she has a HUGE and LOVING heart.

When we were on TV for our trip to Uganda she went into school and said to her teacher, "My best friend was on TV today!!" 

How can you resist that?!

Miss Haley-
You need to stop growing up so fast! 
Sooner than you know it you'll be walking through the doors at highschool.
And you'll make me feel REALLY old. 

Sweet girl, you'll never know how much I love you. And how much you mean to me.
I know you miss Paige. I do too...a whole lot. But we're making through it together! 
I'll always be here for you. No matter what happens.

I love you! Keep Jesus first!

Love your 15 year old best friend- Bailey :)

Would you join me in wishing Haley a very happy 8th birthday?!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

He is my hope.

I stand on the back porch of the beach house staring out at the ocean.

He is my hope.

Emily and I sit on the beach, a book in each of our hands. Soaking in the sunlight shining on our skin.

He is my hope.

We ride down the road on our bikes to the shopping center to get ice cream. We laugh.

He is my hope.

We go see Little Women the play at the local youth theater. We laugh all the way home. Memories are made. Ones that will never, ever be forgotten.

He is my hope. 

I walk down the beach, my toes barely touching the water. The clouds are pink- cotton candy pink. I think of Lissa's mom. I think of Paige. She would have loved it.

He is my hope.

I hold Harper in my arms. Rocking her to sleep as she cries softly. Paige will never get to meet her. I soak up these moments with her. Because even if I'm not thinking about it now... They're moving. Eventually. And she won't be little forever...they won't be here, close to our home, forever.

He is my hope.

We go into one of the shops. I see the doll we sent her. It was a "Preppy Paige" doll. Completely opposite of who she was is. We sent it because it was funny.

He is my hope.

Sadness fills my heart. I feel cheated. I can't send her pictures of all the beautiful things I'm seeing. I used to share all this with her. Now, well, now I can't.

He is my hope.

I stand beside Lissa in church. Her heart is hurting more than I can imagine today. I hold her sweet girl close to me as we pray.

He is my hope.

I fill out my Summer With the Arts form. Tears come to my eyes. I just think about that week. It makes me sick. And I hurt all over again.

He is my hope.

My birthday without her- again. My 16th of all things. Camp without her. Uganda without her. Summer With the Arts...without her.

He. Is. My. Hope.

Yes. That He is. Always.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

This is what He's doing.


We talked about this at youth group last night. And I've been thinking about it since.

How can I be a better leader?

-being in His Word
-being a servant
-being an Example

But really? How can I live this out every day?

I need to watch my mouth. I need to show them what a godly young woman looks like, even though I'm still learning myself. I need to be in His word...so they will see what the results are. I need to pray continuously for them in their walks with Him.


Yesterday was the 24th.

9 months since she...I just can't force the words out.

9 months and 1 day since I've heard her voice...or gotten a text...

Yesterday was the first time I REALLY needed her advice.

It was one of the many, many days I've wanted a text...or a hug...or a call.

But it was the first time I truly needed advice.

I need my mentor back.

I need my sister back.

I need my friend back...well she was more than a friend.


Classical ended Tuesday. We're done...

And I never thought I'd see that day.

It's been a hard, hard year.

But like when mom and I talked, God has shown me that I am capable of doing so much more than I think.

He's taking me to Uganda.

He's given me a best friend who is so supportive it blows me out of the water.

He's brought me Lissa and Megan.

He's given me sweet Harper Elizabeth and her oh-so-beautiful self!

He's given me laughter and joy on days when I thought I was going to have pain in abundance...like yesterday. I laughed all day long, literally.

He's spoken to me in the secret. In the times when I'm by myself with him, right before bed, he's given me a word...one that's just for me.

He's been faithful.

He's shown me that prayer really does work.

He's given me times of rest.

He's given me strength.

He's given me wisdom.

Most of all...He's loved me. And because he loved me...he's gotten me through this year.

In the midst of heartache...

In the midst of hate and anger...

In the middle of brokenness and being lost...

He's held me and gotten me through.


So these? These are my thoughts from yesterday and today.

My best friends have blessed me so much.

Yesterday(like I already said) we literally laughed all day, then I saw some of my other best friends(who happen to be 35 and 19...haha) and we laughed and laughed. And it was a great day.

Yesterday I expected grieving...He gave me joy- in abundance!

And how grateful I am of that.

This post might have seemed really random.

But everything I've said...or typed...are things God is doing. Things He is telling me.

And if God is doing it...it's worth writing about.

Even if it's sad or depressing.

God is doing it, it's in His plan, and He's calling you to this life.

So I write to show you that even in the shadows and hard places...

He brings you joy and laughter.

He gives you friends who will support you and give you advice along the way.

He is faithful. Always.

And that's what I'm learning.


Monday, April 8, 2013

It's just where I am.

I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Classical is over in two weeks. And oh what tears of joy and sighs of relief will be let out. I literally can't wait. Even though we still have a bit of school after classical is over, it's not the same. It's a break. And then comes summer...and I'm beyond excited.

Yesterday...yesterday was a hard day. I woke up with a migraine and knew- yep, this is going to be a hard day. I just had a gut instinct. And I was right!! It was a long, hard and in part rewarding day.

But you wanna know the best part? (Besides seeing some of my favorite people at church.)

I found something.

I was looking through my phone for whatever reason and I came across something.

When I realized what it was I almost burst into tears. No lie.

It made me leap for joy and excitement, but it also made me really, really sad.

Here's what I found.

"Bailey B. you are a wonderful young lady and you make me smile a whole lot. I'm so glad the Lord put you in my life. I love you :]"

You know who wrote that?

Paige Elizabeth.

I remember her writing it and me reading it. But finding it yesterday was such a treasure, I can't even tell you how happy it made me. It made me miss little notes like that.

But it was just like God knew that I needed to hear from her, to know that she loves me and that she is proud of me (I refuse to use past tense.). And He knew that I needed to be reminded that one day- I'll see her again. (Geez- I'm about to cry, again.) As one of my friends said, "You know, He's kinda good at that." He's good at knowing what we need.

I read it over, and over, and over again, dwelling on those words, "Love you..." because, to be honest, out of all the things she said to me- that's what I've wanted to hear all this time.

As I pour my heart out onto this computer screen...it's more than just words to me. It's what God is doing, how He is moving in my life. And how every day, He's bringing me through with such constant reminders that He's here with me.

So... that's what's going on.

I'm tired.

I miss her.

I need God.

But He's continually showing me that He's here. And He's always giving me little reminders of her that never fail to either make me cry or make me really happy.

And Paige- I'm really, super duper glad the Lord put you in my life, too. Thanks for loving Jesus. And for leaving me that note. It made my day. I can't wait to see you friend.
With my love and a hug- Bailey

Friday, March 29, 2013

This Easter I choose...

I'm supposed to be doing school right now...

But my mind is literally EVERYWHERE.

Sunday is Easter...I don't have a dress.

It's 9:07 and I just got up and I have a full day of school today.

My BFF is coming tonight, we're going shopping, and it's going to be great fun.

But what I really can't stop thinking about is last night, we had a communion service at church in the sanctuary.

I can vividly remember one of the last times I sat in that sanctuary. Paige's body was in a casket on the at the front of the room.

And every time I'm in the sanctuary, that's all I can think about. That day when I sobbed audibly. That day when tears didn't stop. That day when my dearest friends grieved with me. That day when I didn't want God. That day when I thought, "How could He do this to me?" It was by far, hands down, the hardest day of my life.

And tears fill my eyes every time I think of that day.

I can hear our music pastor playing the Tennessee Waltz on Trumpet, she cried every time she heard that song. And I cried that day too. I can hear my dad crying while reading my letter to her. I can hear everyone singing the Great I Am.

All that to say...this Easter isn't easy.

It's going to be one of the last firsts without her.

My birthday has already passed, Christmas, the New Year, Thanksgiving...

I remember last Easter, she was SO excited that she had gotten her entire family to come to Rich Fork.

"Bailey B! Go say hi to my family!" She said after hugging me. I went and said hi, but Paige couldn't sit still. She was so excited about that day that Jesus saved her. And that her family was there to celebrate.

I remember two years ago, I sat with her on Easter, and we worshipped together.

This year, God's love amazes me more than ever. I have found God in circumstances I would have never imagined.

He has shown me that He is there in every circumstance. He has shown me that He loves me even when I cry, "Why did you do this to me?"

He loves me all the time.

He found me when I didn't want Him because He took my Paige, and I didn't know why.

He rescued me. And showed me His love in a way I've never experienced it before.

And last night, as I took of His body and His blood, His sacrifice for me was so real, so evident.

And I am so thankful that today, many years ago, He died for me. He sacrificed Himself for me, because He loved me in spite of my sinfulness.

He knew I would need Him more than anything.

So He allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross and give Himself up to death.

He died for ME. He rose for ME. He loves ME.

This Easter....she gets to celebrate with her Savior.

This Easter....I worship from Earth, praising Him because He loves me, even when I don't.

This Easter....I recognize His unending love for me, that covers me every day.

And I choose to worship and love Him with everything I have in me.

Because, this Easter, she wouldn't want me to grieve, she would want me to worship and be thankful for my Savior's love.

So that's what I'm going to do.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

A peak into her heart...

Ever since children's choir last week, my heart has been so heavy.

Why? You ask.

We were singing that song I wrote the blog post about, "Bring My Praise."

And a little girl came up to me (she's in kindergarten, sweet as can be, super cute, and lives with a foster family) tears filling her eyes.

"This song makes me sad," she said as tears ran down her cheeks.

I scooped her up in my arms and we went to the back of the room. She buried her head in my shoulder and her tears left stains on my shirt.

"Did you know Jesus loves to hear you sing?" I asked. She nodded. I rocked her for a few minutes, hugging her tightly, trying not to cry myself.

"Why does it make you sad?" I asked. I wasn't expecting the answer she gave me.

"It makes me think of my mommy and daddy. And I don't have one." She began to bawl. And my eyes filled with tears. Her little heart was so broken.

I just held her tightly and she continued to cry.

"Do you know how much Jesus loves you, sweet girl?" I asked. She just cried. And my heart continued to break.

I thought about this all night and I told several friends.

This sweet girl, who feels alone in this world, needs love. I'm thankful that I know this sweet girl receives so much love from her foster family. I see them in church every Sunday and I'm confident that she has love...but don't you just wonder what goes through her little mind?

There are so many children in foster care or in orphanages all around the world that don't get love. Their hearts are broken and they need Jesus. They need people like us to step up to the plate and love them. People like us who can show them God's precious, gracious, merciful love.

And it breaks my heart to know that there are children out there, just like this sweet little girl, who don't have mommies and daddies. Who don't have people on a daily basis to love them. Friends, their hearts can be healed. And there is so much we can do. If only we would just do it.

So, as I love on children in children's choir, and love on this sweet little girl, I challenge you to think about what you can do. So many children need love and after this peek into this little girl's heart...I've been
continually challenged to love. God keeps telling me, "This is what I want you to do. To love children, no matter what their circumstances."

So that's what I'll do for this sweet girl. I'll show her God's love. And I'll continue to tell her that Jesus loves her more than she can imagine. Because really...that's all that matters.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Goodbye friend.

This week is going to be hard. 

Well, more like the beginning of next week. 

Why you ask?

Nick leaves for the Navy on Monday. 

He's like my brother-in-law. 

When I first met him, I had no idea how close he would become to me. How much he would feel like family. 

Because we are family. 

And what's even harder than that...is that my big sister and niece will leave later this year, and right now, we don't even know where. 

My heart is hurting, friends. Those three are family. They mean so much to me. 

I'm so proud to call them family. Because what they're doing is incredible. They're following what God is calling them to do even if they have no idea where it will take them (literally). It's a brave thing what they're doing. 

And I'm going to miss them. So, so, so very much. 

Friends- don't pray for me. I've made it through the last(almost eight months), I can make it through this. Pray for Nick, Amanda and sweet miss Harper(good gracious- isn't she the CUTEST thing?!). Pray they would feel the Lord's comforting arms around them. Pray for Amanda during these next few months while Nick is away. 

Thank you for what you're doing, Nick. Thank you for taking care of my sister. And on another note- thank you for trusting me with your baby. That means more than you can imagine.
I can't wait to see what God is going to do through your family. 

But most of all, I'm going to miss you guys a whole, whole lot.

Love, Bailey Elizabeth

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Unending Love

It's been a while since I've written.

And a lot has happened I haven't posted about.

I'm in the Senior Praise Band for our youth group, we play every Wednesday night. And I love it. SO. Much. Getting to lead others in praise is an incredible feeling and responsibility.

We played this song last night...

It talks about His unfailing love...how His promises are the greatest comfort and how we can always rest in His peace.

It made me realize how much I take for granted the love of Jesus I receive. It made me long to be closer to Him.

It made me think...that through these months of pain, He's brought me joy. He's brought me through. He's given me friendships that I wouldn't have found otherwise. He's loved me continually. Even when honestly, I was too angry to love Him back. He's brought me new mercies every morning. So why shouldn't I praise Him and give Him all I have?

I've listened to it a whole lot today...and these words are the cry of my heart.

You don't even have to watch the video, just listen to the words...and let you heart soak them in as I did.

Enjoy it friends. And have a wonderful day.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Paige Elizabeth-

Here I sit at the computer after working on my book for a while.

But I can't get this thought off of my mind.

You know that song? The one from the musical for Summer With the Arts...it was called, "I Believe." It went something like this...

I believe, oh I believe in Jesus. I believe He died and he rose again. 

Every time you listened to it- you cried, because all you could think of was sitting there watching all of the kids sing it on Sunday night after SWTA. Watching all those kids cry out how they believed in their Savior, and how much they loved Him. Well, I can tell you, it was great. I cried for you.

I've told you how I'm helping in children's choir this year, right? I'm doing it because of you.

The kids are learning this song. It's called "Bring My Praise." You would love it. I can't help but sit there and just listen to the sweet voices of the kids sing to the Lord in praise.

No one else can bring my praise but me. No one else can bring my offerring. You have put a love song deep inside of me...I love you, I need you....

I now know exactly how you feel about "I Believe." It amazes me to listen to the kids just sing, declaring their need for their Sweet Jesus. I love to watch their faces as they sing their hearts out. It makes me smile.

I think of you every. single. time I hear that song. And when they sing it in church- I'm probably gonna cry, and you know I don't typically cry. So that's a big deal.

I'll cry for you. I'll hug them for you. I'll tell them how proud of them you are. I'll tell them that because the Lord put you in my life and you loved me so much, I love them.

You're great.

I think of you often. I know you wouldn't trade time with Jesus for anything, but selfishly I really, really wish you were here with me.

And I miss you so desperately.

With love and a hug- your Bailey Elizabeth.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

May you have the sweetest of birthdays today.
I love you.
I love that picture, it's so us.
And I miss you, I miss times together, laughs together.
I wish you were here, but I know you'll have a spectacular birthday.
Have a happy 21st birthday my dearest Paige.

Love, me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's the 24th.

I've thought about this day for a long while.

What I would write...and written many posts, but nothing quite fit.

If it would just feel like every other day of missing her.

I read so many posts/tweets of people grieving...they have so many words to express their sadness.


Somedays I do...but not today.

Today...I just simply miss her. More than normal.

I miss her laughter, her hugs, her letters, her texts, and our time together...

It's been 6 months since she left. 6 months since I cried out desperately to God, "Don't take her. I can't do this without her." And somehow, it really hasn't gotten a whole lot easier.

It's just hard to believe that she's not on this earth anymore. I lay in bed some nights wondering what it would be like if she were here...

If school would be easier. Not so draining.

If we would have gone to App to see her last semester when the trees were turning colors.

If we would have had fun adventures together listening to Taylor Swift during Christmas break.

If she would love my room all redone and big girlish.

If I wouldn't be so burnt out...about everything.

I wonder what she would have said when Harper was born and she saw her for the first time.

Or when I told her me and my best friend get to go to Uganda together this summer.

I wonder how incredibly different my life would be....

And then I read this verse....

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord." Isaiah 55:8

These past six months....

They were certainly not my way. Not the way my sophomore year would have gone.

My way?

She would still be here. I would still be getting letters. And texts. And hugs. And I could know that I could simply text her whenever I needed to talk.

But things don't go my way.

They go HIS way.

And these past six months...they were his way.

The tears.

The heartache.

The pain.

But then again...

Harper was His way.

Uganda was His way.

Coming closer to Melissa was His way.

Being able to love on sweet 8th grade girls was His way.

The memories I have of her...the ones that make me laugh. The ones that make me cry...those were his plan too.

Even though I know these past 6 months were his plan...July 24th 2012 was His plan...

It makes this no easier. The pain is still the same. The tears still rise at the words, "I miss her."

But somehow...on the days when my pain is deepest...

On the days when I miss her the most,

The Lord whispers, "My dearest child, it's alright. She's here. You'll see her again. And when you see her again...you'll be together with ME, worshipping ME for all of eternity. That's so much better than anything you could ever have received with her on this earth." And He wraps His arms around me...and together...only with Him, do I move on to the next day.

So like any other day of grieving...

He will wrap His arms around me...and together- we'll get through. One day at a time.

I miss you Paige Elizabeth. More than any words could ever describe.

Love, Bailey Elizabeth