Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Incredible Interrupted Life

A few months ago I had the opportunity speak our church's women's event.  The below is the message that I gave to the ladies.  I pray that it will encourage you as you journey on in life.

In our ladies Bible study we have recently gone through the study, Jonah, “A life Interrupted”. It really dove into the story of Jonah, and how he was a good, little follower of God, until God decided to interrupt his perfectly planned lifeThe study hit home and showed me how God has done such an amazing, incredible, gracious, interrupted, hard, tear-filled, restoring work in my life, and I would like to share a little bit of that story with you tonight.

Just to give you a little back ground, I grew up in a simi-small town, with incredible parents who have just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary and one very over protective big brother.  I was taken to church on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights and Wednesday nights from the time I was still in my mommy’s tummy!  Through that exposure to the things of Christ at an early age, I asked Jesus into my heart and became a Christian at the age of 8.  I was a very good, little Christian, Southern Baptist girl, who pretty much followed all the rules, didn’t get into too much trouble, read my Bible, tithed, went to church camp.  The worst thing I did was kiss boys at youth camp!   My view of God and the Christian life was, if you did all the right things, and followed all “the rules”, then good stuff would be given to you and your life would be relatively smooth.  On the other hand, if you did bad things, or broke any of “the rules”, then bad things would happen to you and your life with not go smoothly! To be honest that logic had pretty much be true in my life.  That logic was about to be changed and challenged as I entered into college, and the reality of WHO God is, was taught to me through a string of “life interruptions”!!

When I was a freshman in college several of my friends and I sat around one afternoon, and instead of studying we talked about what we thought our future would look like!  As we went around and talked, I said my future looked something like this.  My first two years of college I would have fun then in about my junior year I would meet the man I would marry, we would date, get married after graduation, move back to my hometown of Greenville, Sc and then have 2 to 4 children.  I really think at that moment God probably about feel off His throne laughing!!  I can picture Him now looking over at Gabriel and saying, “Oh that sweet girl, doesn’t know the journey she is about to take!”

My plan seemed to be going just the way I wanted it to go.  The summer after my sophomore year I met and started dating this great Christian guy, and we continued to date through my Senior and after graduation.  After over two years of dating I was sure an engagement was right around the corner.  Yet, that was not God’s plan.  Instead, after two and half years of dating, “Mr. Wonderful” dumped me by an email!  No face to face, no phone call…just an email!   What’s sort of funny or ironic is that one of my favorite verses and a verse I hold onto as one of my life verses is Ephesians 2:10 which states, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which HE prepared in advance for us to do!” Me getting dumped by “Mr Perfect” ,was just  the first of the interruptions that God used in my life to grow me, shape me and show me the path that HE HAD created for me!   
As I was mending my broken heart, I felt led to continue my education and started my studies at Seminary.  Not only did I know, that a seminary degree would be a great addition to my resume, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt my chances of getting married, if I went to a school the was 70 percent guys and 30 percent girls!!  During my time in Seminary, I was given the opportunity to complete an internship at First Baptist Woodstock.  From the moment, I started the internship, I  felt at home.  It was such my desire to have a career at FBCW.  Even though the internship was great, there was not a position open for me, at the time, so back to seminary I went!  A few months before I was set to graduate, FBCW offered me a job!  Even though it was not moving back to Greenville, SC that I thought I wanted, God used a “divine interruption” again, to open an even better door for me. 

Now that I was working at the mega church, and giving myself and my life to the Lord in full time ministry, I knew that a husband was not far behind!  But God had a little bit more work to do in my life.  During the next 4 years I worked and ministered at FBCW,  During those 4 years I was a bridesmaid 10 times, as I watched my friends marry their prince charmings.  I was getting to the point that I was starting to think that maybe God wanted me to a Lottie Moon of my generation and destined to be single forever. Yet, God was about to “interrupt” my life, with a life changing, and name changing interruption.   One Tuesday night during our singles Bible study, a friend of mine decided to play match maker!  She walked into Bible Study and introduced me to one of her life long friends. That was the first time that I looked into the eyes of my precious, amazing, incredible husband Adam.  Just when I was done with guys and had given  up on my dream of being a wife and mother, God interrupted my life in the most wonderful way.  On our first date, Adam picked me up in his white explorer and proceeded to turn off the engine.  I started getting a little nervous, and just when I thought was going to be on episode of American’s most wanted, he asked me if we could pray before we went on the date.  I have no recollection of the prayer he prayed but the prayer I was praying was…PRAISE THE LORD, my prince has arrived.  Of course I did not tell him that is what I was thinking.  After just three short months of dating he told me he loved me and then ten months later on a hike up Kennesaw Mountain, he asked me to be his wife.  On March 25, 2006, I finally became a Mrs.  I became, Mrs. Adam Cooler!!  So finally after many interruptions in the form of ridiculous guys, I was finally married at the ripe old age at 29!! I was finally a wife!

Soon after Adam and I were married, we decided that we wanted to start to “try” to have children.  Since I had taken sixth grade science, I didn’t think it was going to take us too long to become pregnant!  I had knew that A plus B equals C…tada, we would be pregnant! Plus, I figured since I had kept my “true love waits” promise I had made in 6th grade, and I had to waited so long to get married, God somehow, “owed” me!   Well getting pregnant did not happen as quickly as I had hoped.  After trying for about six months on our own, I went to my OB and he gave me a little bit of medicine and said, that we would check and see how it was going, but he was sure that it would just take a few months of being on the medicine and we would be pregnant.  Yet, after 6 months, there was still no pregnancy.   So for the next 6-8 months, I was then sent to various of doctors, and was poked, prodded, had blood taken and x—rays done of my most private parts.  Still there was no pregnancy and really no reason why I was not getting pregnant.  By this point, I was getting frustrated, mad, sad, upset and questioning God’s plan and timing!! Finally, my doctor sent me to a specialist.  When we first met with them, I again got my hopes up.  We met with the doctor and he said he would need to rerun some of the test that I had already done, awesome, but that he should have a plan in motion in just a few weeks.  Soon it was decided that we would try the less invasive route of doing an IUI or Inuterine insemination with me and he felt 75% confident that it would work.  If you do not know what an IUI is, just think turkey basester.  The date was set for the procedure.  It happened that the date that was chosen was Mother’s day.  Well, of course I thought that was a sign from the Lord, that the procedure would work.  We went in for the procedure, it was quick and painless.  A few weeks later I went in to have my blood drawn to see if the procedure had worked and if I was finally pregnant.  On that day, after my blood was taken, I headed to one of my closest friends baby shower. I figured I would not get the results so soon and if I did, how fun would it be to share the news with all of my friends.  While, at the shower, my phone rang and it was the doctor’s office.  I quickly ran and answered it, just knowing the answer would be yes.  Well, the minute I heard the nurses voice I knew it was not good news.  She gently told me that the results were negative…I was not pregnant.  At that point I was devastated and just started crying hysterically.  Remind you, still at my friend’s baby shower.  At that point, I was shown just what amazing friends God has placed in my life.  They all jumped into action, getting me something to drink, hugging me, drying my eyes and helping me get to my car and home.  Once I got home, I just fell to the ground and sobbed.  I felt so broken hearted and honestly so very let down by the Lord.  With little strength I did have, I got my Bible, turned to the book of Psalms and just started reading them out loud.  One of the Psalms that I kept reading out loud was, Psalms 18:1-19  (READ PASSGE).  As I read that passage I just felt the Lord, over and over say two thing, “It’s going to be okay and soon and very soon!” 
As I was getting back up off my face from praying to the Lord, a great friend of mine, Sarah called me and said, we were heading out to the lake to watch some wakeboard competition.  This might sound random and not “spiritual”, because I was facing a crisis, but sometimes when you are facing a heartbreaking, faith shaking time, you don’t need to hear one more Bible verse or one more quote from Beth Moore.  You just need a friend to support you and get your mind off of the experience!

A few weeks later, which just happened to be Father’s day this time….Awesome we went and tried the IUI again, hoping for a good outcome but really just following the doctor’s advice.  After waiting the three week waiting period Adam and I went and I had my blood drawn to see if  the procedure worked this time.  As we were driving back from the doctor’s office, in fact we were right at the intersection of 41 and 92, my phone rang.  The nurse barely got out the words, CONGRATULATIONS…before I was screaming and crying at the same time, and Adam had to pull off into a bank parking lot, because of all the tears in the car.  PRAISE THE LORD.  After 2  ½ years of pokes, prodding, prayers, tears and tantrums, God had answered our prayers.  He answered our prayers for a child and her name is Ava Elizabeth Cooler.  She is 3 ½ now, almost 4 and if you attend Cedarcrest you may see my little miracle in Elevate Jr every Sunday!!  
Now Ava is not only a miracle because of how hard we had to “work” to conceive her, but she is a miracle all by herself because she decided to make her debut into the world, 10 weeks early at just 2 lbs and 14 ounces.  After spending 57 days in the NICU, and almost 4 years of weeks filled with OT, PT and Speech therapy, it is only by the amazing grace of God, that she has no vision, hearing or breathing issues and has caught up with her peers in her development.!!
Because of the dramatic experiences we had in both concieveing and  having Ava, we had pretty much decided that we were going to be an only child family.  We  thought about going through all the infertility treatments again and even looked into adopting, but I knew that I just was not emotionally recovered enough to endure the heartache that I may face with either option.  So we went on with our life.  We enjoyed family trips, lazy Saturdays and just each moment with the little family that God had given us.  At this point, Ava had turned 3 and I had turned 35, and we got into a groove with life and were moving on.  Again, I started putting my plan in motion, and started preparing to go back to work, thinking Ava would be in Kindergarten in about  2 years.  Then God again, decided to divinely interrupt my perfectly planned out life.  Soon after easter of this year, I started feeling like I was gaining weight and just did not feel like myself.  I just figured that is what happened when you turned 35.  We jointed the YMCA, I took kick boxing classes and swam almost every day, and also began trying to eat really healthy.  Still, I was feeling very tired and the weight was adding in up on me, not coming off!!  Finally, I went to Kroger and decided to buy a pregnancy test, just to “rule out” being pregnant, so I could start figuring out why I felt the way I felt.  Even as I was taking the test, I knew it was going to be negative.  Hadn’t I had 150 negative pregnancy tests when trying to conceive Ava.  Hadn’t I been told by my doctor, that there was NO WAY I could become pregnant on my own with our medical intervention.  Well, ladies my God is greater, higher, and then any doubt of mine and any doctor’s diagnosis.  Because even before the 3 minute waiting period was up, I look at the test and there, in bright pink was a positive sign!!  That positive sign will be born on December 5th and her name is Anna Mincey Cooler!! 
 God is great, amazing, powerful and full of grace and mercy.  As I close tonight, I just want you to remember one thing from my story and that is that God’s plan and is timing are perfect, even if sometimes they can be very painful!!  God has taught me through this amazing, incredible, interrupted life, that sometime the greatest blessings and his greatest gifts come from and through our darkest , and hardest times!!  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's been a while!

I know, I know, it has been awhile since I have written anything.  I have had some great friends and family ask me why I have not written lately or do I still want to or like to write.  The answer is yes!  I love to write, I still want to be considered a "writer" in my own right (no pun intended!).  If you are someone who enjoys my writing, all ten of not fear.  The main reason that I have not written in a while is that I am newly pregnant with my 2nd child!  Can I get a hallelujah!!  What is even more astounding about the fact that I am pregnant again, is that fact that this pregnancy happened "all natural".  With out going in to too many details, means that my husband and I were just doing what married people do...with no help of drugs or procedures and we got pregnant.  Which is such amazing miracle!  My doctor had told me after my daughter was born that I most likely would not be able to become pregnant on my own with out medical intervention.  Good think I follow, love and serve an amazing GIVER OF LIFE!!  Back to why I have not is called being in first trimester!  Hopefully there are ladies out there that can relate to my tired, overly exhausted, emotional, sickly self!  Now that I have passed into 2nd trimester, I actually have energy and even the brain capacity to write again!

A big reason I write, is really just a way to journal, or put down on paper (or blog), what God is teaching me.  I have never been a big journaler, but blogging seems to be a good fit for me.  I would like to say that I get inspired or lead to write because I am spending hours and hours a day reading my Bible, while I am listening to hymns.  Sad to say that is not the case.  Alot of times I get inspired to write because of a song I hear on the radio, something I see in my daily life or even a show I am watching, while I try to rest during naptime.  Today I was inspired to write based on watching the show, The Glee Project on Hulu, don't is my guilty pleasure!  This weeks episode focused on bullying  and it made think and go back and relive some of the times when I was a victim of bullying.   When I was in middle school and a big part of high school I was picked on and bullied by a certain group of girls and specifically one particular girl.  It was awful...especially in middle school!  Every day they seemed to have a caddy or cruel comment to say to me about my hair, my clothes, shoes or even my height.  There were mornings that I dreaded going to school and afternoons when I could not wait for the bell to ring.  Those perfect, plastic girls made what should have been fun, learning, growing, a coming into my self time, into a time of misery and counting the minutes until they were over.  Thankfully, during that time I had some great friends and an always supportive family, that I made it to college with out too many permanent scars.

But today in the world of Facebook and social media, I can see pictures and read updates from these once cruel chicks.  Many of them have turned their lives around, married, have children, and love the Lord.  That last fact makes me the most mad.  I know it sounds a little dramatic, but sometimes it makes me mad!  It makes me mad that the same girls that were picking on my for my believes and my stance on Christianity, Jesus, God, Church, values and moral, are now reaping the "benefits" of being a Christian.     There are times when I tell God, that I don't think it is fair that they get to love You too...after how awful they were to me and some many other "goody girl" Christians!  Today was one of those days when I was talking to God about Him allowing me (how dare Him!) to be bullied and those mean girls being able to now get to share in the same eternal blessings that I have too!  God in His gentleness simply reminded me of Paul and of Stephen.  Paul, when he was still Saul, stoned to death Stephen who was considered a great preacher, missionary and man of God.  Then just a few weeks later, Saul becomes Paul and he who was once a mean, persecutor was turned into a heroic missionary, preacher and writer!  I am sure when God dramatically changed Paul's life, Stephen was not up in Heaven, leaning over God's shoulder, saying really God??  I am sure Stephen was rejoicing in the life change in and the influence of Paul's life.  This convicted me, on how I need to think about those once bullies in my own life.  When I see one of the "mean girls" posting a Bible verse on their Facebook wall, I need to rejoice in their life change, and what God has done and in doing in their lives.  Because we are going to be spending eternity I better get used to it!  I need to remind myself of the simple truth of John 3:16, "For God so loved the World (even the mean girls), that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have ever lasting life!!"

Monday, April 9, 2012

March of Dimes 2012

Ava's debut into the world. She was 10 weeks early.
She weighed 2lbs and 14 ounces.
She stayed in the NICU 57 days
Today she is an energetic, happy, smart, amazing little girl

Hey, Family, Friends and Blog readers,

Adam, Ava and I will again be walking in the March of Dimes, "Walk for Babies"! The event will take place on April 28th at Marietta High School. The walk will start at 9:00 am. This year, our goal for the walk is $570. The reason I chose that amount is because Ava's stay in the NICU was 57 days. If you would be interested in walking with us or supporting us financially, you may do so at the link provided. Thank you so very much for your encouragement and support!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Teaser for 2012 Summer Curriuclum

Last summer I did a "Letter of the Day" curriculum for Ava. Several of my friends have asked if I am going to do something similiar this summer. I have started on a brief outline of what I am going to do this summer to help Ava continue to grow in "wisdom, stature and favor with God and man!" I am using some activities books that I purchased at the dollar store as a jumping off point for the curriculum. Two days a week she will be attending a day camp at "Babies R Talking", (I will be one of the teachers). Two days a week we will be doing "school" and then on Fridays will be our free day.

Ava’s Summer School Schedule



School work: Letters, Numbers, Shapes, Colors

Exercise Activity: Whitewater

Cooking Activity: Food based on school work

Spiritual Activity: Verse and Bible Story based on school work


Babies R Talking Camp (9-1)

Afternoon activity: Park, puzzles/games, play time with friends


School work: Letters, Numbers, Shapes, Colors

Exercise Activity: Whitewater

Cooking Activity: Food based on school work

Spiritual Activity: Verse and Bible Story based on school work


Babies R Talking Camp (9-1)

Afternoon activity: Park, puzzles/games, play time with friends


Free Day-nothing really planned, go with the flow, visit with family and friends.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jesus the One and Only

Jesus the One and Only

In 2000 I had the privilege of journeying to Israel and to sit under the teachings of Beth Moore as she filmed “Jesus the One and Only.” I sat in the audience with my bleached blonde hair and my bright red lipstick, soaking in every word that was taught and singing to the top of my lungs in worship to my Savior. I tried to take in everything I saw, tasted, touch and even smelled as I experience the ONE and ONLY birth place of Jesus. I listened, took notes and was encouraged and challenge as I was taught by my favorite Bible Study teacher, the ONE and Only Beth Moore. But at the same time, I was longing and my heart was broken by the person that I thought was my One and Only!!

Today in 2012 as I watched myself (bless my heart) on the DVD, I could not help but want to scream out to my then 23 year old self…It is going to be okay! I did not know it back in 2000 when my heart was breaking from being dumped by my college boyfriend, of two years, what exciting journey God had in store for me. I did not realize at the time both the trials and triumphs that would come my way in the next 12 years and how much I would go back to the simple but profound truth that Jesus is the ONE and ONLY!

2001- Our world changed on 9/11 and I feared my brother was on the Boston bound plane. Who gave me peace and my brother protection, Jesus the One and ONLY

2004- On December 16, God in His grace and mercy chose to take my precious nephew home to be with him. Who was it that my family trusted in during our darkest hours of grief, Jesus the One and ONLY

2006- On March 25th, I married my best friend Adam and the memories of that boy that broke my heart were just that a memory. In that amazing moment of when two became one, in whom did I rejoice, Jesus was the One and Only

2007 and 2008 When my body felt broken and my heart and soul were desperate for a baby, who did I cling to, Jesus the One and Only

December 30, 2008 My precious preemie was born, so little and so fragile. I was so scared and so worried. Who was my refuge and my strength, who did I run to in my fear, anger, sadness, happiness and joy, Jesus the One and Only

Present Day. When I am dancing around the kitchen to praise songs with my miracle daughter, Ava; When I am laughing again at one of Adam’s joke; When I am sitting on the beach
with my parents, brother, sister in law and neice and nephew, and Adam and Ava; When I am sitting quietly by myself, study Gods word. Who am I thanking, studying about, worshipping, amazed by….Jesus the ONE AND ONLY!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This Little Light of Mine

I absolutely love this song! I hope this song encourages you today! God has amazing plans for you life, don't be afraid to take a step out in faith!

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Poetry....Hilarious!

I have always liked to write. Even from way back in high school, I enjoyed writing...even if it was terrible and so very cheesey! Today, I was going through some of my documents looking for a specific file and I came across these jewels! Below are some "poems" that I wrote from high school through Seminary (1991-2002).

Poem One

Who Would You Choose

(high school- 1991 to 1995)

There is a boy I know and I love him so, I am not sure If he likes me or her

She is my best friend, I don’t know what I would do if he should choose her over me

If he did pick her, I’m not sure what I would do

Because she is my best friend

If he chose her, my heart would be there to mend

I love him so, I wander if he knows who to choose

I love him so but she is my best friend

I don’t know what to do, who would you choose?

Poem Two

(high school)

Why do I sit here and cry. I’ve always put my heart into every relationship I start

You don’t know how much my heart broke when you wrote me that note.

I guess you were trying to even the score, Lets not write notes anymore

You have the win

But if I ever had another chance to begin

I would hove you all over again

Poem Three

Love and Pain

(college- 1995 to 1999)

Love and Pain, Why are these two things the same

Why does love hurt so much

Who would think of such

But what is it all about

Love is great, but it doesn’t last

Son it will all be in the past

Because it seems every time you love someone, they just leave you out to dry

Soon that day comes when you have to say goodbye

It’s always ok to cry

Love and Pain are just the same

If you love someone you sometimes have to loose them to realized why

Love hurts so much

Poem Four

Guy I Love


I know this guy that I will love forever, I only wish we were still together.

I felt so special when an older man took my hand

Then this year I saw him with another girl

I had to shed a tear because I fear he will never love me again

Poem Five




They are the toothless smile of a five year old little boy.

They are the innocent laughter of a two year old little girl who has discovered the joy of bubbles

Their smiles can brighten our day and their little hugs can melt our hearts

Poem Six

Looking at the Sunset


Looking at the sunset and remembering how we met

Running through a field and catching fire flies

Looking up at the stars and wondering why


Why did God bring you to me?

How I long I had dreamed

How many tears did flow

But oh how I could never see

See that God had a perfect plan

God was creating a Godly man

A man who was after God’s own heart

A man whose love will never depart

Oh bring him to me

Let with my very eyes see

The one who is better then them all

The one by whose name I will be called

Poem Seven

No Matter What


Who would you die for?

Your dad, your mom, your big sister or little brother?

Maybe your girlfriend, wife, boyfriend, husband

But would you die for that ex-boyfriend who kissed your best friend, or that one who assaulted you or an abusive parent.

Jesus did just that. He died for the Roman soldier who whipped him

He died for Judas who sold his soul for thirty pieces

He died for Peter who denied him

Jesus died for you. He died for you no matter what you have done or said or thought

Won’t you allow Him to come and make you whole and love you no matter what!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Taking Tentative Steps

12 "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained."

Philippians 3:12-16

***Disclaimer: This is a very honest, real, blog posting. If it hurts feelings, I am sorry, but it is my life experience. If you don't like what I wrote...don't read it.***

This Sunday at church our pastor, George Wright, began a new series on growth. Being that it is the start of a new year, many people are trying to set goals, resolutions, changes they want to do or make in the coming year. As George was closing his sermon on "Christian Growth", he included some points, scripture and dialogue about how we sometimes let our past prevent us for moving onward and upward in what God has called us to do with our lives. He made this point about our past. "Do not be defined by your past but by Christ who covers your past." He also stated that our past can prevent us from having growth in two ways. The first way is that we can say that our past disqualifies us. The second way is that we can say that our past entitles us. WOW! Both of those thoughts about our past, my past has crossed my mind. I have used both those excuses lately for not following God's calling and God's will in my life!

My past ENTITLES me! I feel like I have used that excuse so often in the last few years. I so many times feel like my past entitles me to either get special treatment or to be excused from service. Why do I think my past entitles me for certain privileges? I grew up in a strong, intact, Christian family. I grew up going to church every time the doors were open, being a GA, being part of Bible drill, and a leader in the youth group. As I grew up, left the nest and went to a Christian college, I was called the "shining star" by many of my professors. In Seminary I was told I was "their favorite student", by my professors. Then as I entered into the ministry world I had the privilege of working on staff at one of the most amazing, wonderful, growing, Gospel preaching churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. So if you ask me had I put in "my time" in Christian growth and service I would have said ABSOLUTELY!

My past DISQUALIFIES me! I have also used this excuse many times, probably the most in the last few years. I have used it as a cop-out, reason, and an excuse for why I am not stepping up and risking doing anything out of my comfort zone. What in my life, in my past am I so scared of repeating? Why am I so shy to be bold and brave again? Funny you should ask! After my stunning, shining and sensational ministry life experience from college through my ministry position at the mega church, I took a new position at another church and it was a train wreck. Maybe I was over confident in my ability. Maybe it was a "growth opportunity" for me. But whatever it was, it was very hard and to be honest very scarring. I went to work at a church where I really felt and still feel today that God was leading me to, but the experience was tough...scary...hard. It was nothing like anything I had experienced before, and it has changed me.

So where do I go from here? Well two things first. One, I am not going to rely on or wear like a medal, what I did six to ten years ago in ministry as a way to feel, think or even sometimes act superior to others. Two, as far as my "trying experience" in ministry I am going to forgive, learn, grow and most importantly move on!! I will not let Satan, anything or anyone else steal the "joy of my salvation'!! I will move. I will worship. I will teach. I will write. I will pray. I will follow. I will serve. I will grow!