Before God

Photo credit: mihaela echols
Photo credit: Mihaela Echols

Before God I was afraid.

Before God my journey was strayed.

Before God I freeze.

Before God I fall on my knees.

Before God I drop my desires.

Inside he starts his fire.

Before God purpose wasn’t real.

Before God I didn’t know I could heal.

Before God nothing else stands.

Before God my heart is safe in his hands.

 Written September 28,2015 

God’s Ministry NOT Mine

Galatians 6:7-9

There was a time in my life I honestly thought I was just bad at ministry.

I felt very unorganized and wondered why I was even put in leadership. No matter how hard or advanced I would plan things they would be getting done last minute.

I remember a conversation with a friend going something like this….

“Jessica I don’t understand it. I’m a very organized person. Shoot I have adults who look up to me outside of ministry, but when it comes to ministry I’m all over the place I don’t get it!”

Jessica and I do ministry together. She has seen me serve in the church. If it was anyone who would be honest with me it would be her. That’s what good friends do. They tell you the truth even if you don’t want to hear it.

“Your not bad at it…its people. Your working with people and people are people.”

What she meant by that was people get sick , or busy so they cant answer the phone for follow ups. Schedules get in the way of appointments or they might forget to get back to you. It’s not intentional its just things happen.


Then it clicked.

Why am I expecting perfection in something that isn’t even mine? It’s Gods.

Ministry is Gods. It’s his job to reach peoples hearts. I am just the tool.

Every project that I had planned six months in advance and then scrambled around the week of to get the details figured out have turned out. People were still blessed. It just wasn’t done the way I would do it. There are days I would walk into my Sunday school room holding the lesson I planned weeks ahead but then teach on something completely different. 

Again not how I would do it. But ministry has to be flexible. Why? Because it’s meeting peoples hearts. In other words I need to get out of Gods way and let him do his work.


Pardon my progress.



Romans Reality

As I read I am blown away at how God reminds me of these truths…

                “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved His life. And not only this, but we exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation… For if by the transgression of the one, death through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1, 5:10, 5:17

  These truths are part of what was going through my head one Sunday morning as I fought a spiritual battle against the lies Satan wants me to believe. The prince of this world was pushing and pushing at me to accept thoughts like…

I am worthless

I will never measure up

I cannot lead in ministry

  But God says no and we read it in Romans. Once all I had was sin in my life but now God supernaturally has changed everything except the physical appearance. The underline part above is what stops me in my tracks because of how good God is. Not only does God’s grace and righteousness cover and wipe away our sins, because of the cross; it also puts us in a new whole new light and life. Abundance in our imagination still cant describe just how much God has poured into us.

 I am now justified, reconciled, redeemed, and put in a righteous standing with him. He does not see me for any other idea than…

A masterpiece

A son of God with the Holy Spirit testifying to God (Romans 8:14-8:16)

Washed clean by his blood (Romans 5:9)

  Then there is still one more amazing thing that he has done for me and all believers. He gave us the Holy Spirit…

   “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.” John 16:13-14

  That Sunday morning as I fought against Satan and all the junk he was trying to put into my head, the Holy Spirit kept reminding of all these truths. God is at work all the time for our behalf.




Prayer At Work

    Welding…it was what I was hired on to do but not what I did for the first year and a half of my job. I did have a couple of welding opportunities throughout the time which I was grateful for. Fire watching was my job which meant watching the welder for how ever long and making sure everything is safe. I understood that this was an important job but it got monotonous after months. Most of the time I would come to work feeling frustrated because I felt like I did not earn the money which was being given to me. I also felt like I was not being effective for God either but He started to change my thinking through a mentor of mine. 

    It all started with an idea he threw out to me…prayer. Before this idea came along I had been praying throughout the day but this expanded my prayer life immensely. People would receive my text asking what they needed prayer for. God used this time in the beginning of my job to be effective for Him, our relationship, and the people I interacted with.

    “I always knew he was praying for me when we were friends.” – Mihaela

     As time went on this process changed my thinking and allowed me to have contentment because my identity did not rest in working hard every day. Though like most guys we want to work hard and I yearned for it, but Christ is my centerpiece. Being up to date on just how exactly I could pray for people was the highlight of my day. I hope you guys are encouraged with how God can turn something seemingly boring into an awesome time in prayer.

The Norma Jeanes

Phot credit: unknown
Photo credit: unknown

    I don’t love her because she’s a legend. I love her because of her story. Why? Because it’s many people’s story. They too want the world to see them for who they want to be. Many people didn’t know her story until her death. She wanted the world to see her exactly as what we saw…




    But what her husbands and people who worked close with her saw was a sad abandoned little girl who wanted to be noticed, treasured, and loved. One of her ex-husbands never stopped loving her. He would often visit her gravestone after her death. They too may have called her Marilyn Monroe, but they still saw Norma Jeane. Even with her name change she was still little Norma on the inside screaming for love.

Photo credit :unknown

  I don’t know Marilyn Monroe. But I do know of “Norma’s” and I hurt for the Norma’s out there who never get to hear about God’s love for them. Who walk around hiding behind forced smiles. Who keep the people at arms length that have good intentions. Who don’t know that they don’t have to carry burdens that they have been carrying. 

If you are Norma on the inside I want you to know….

 You are loved

you are treasured

you are fought for 

and yes you are desired by God. 

Read on:

Name Change


I am happy with this change but it has been confusing, and I know it will take time.

“Ma’am what is your name?” The person over the phone asks as I prepare for a women’s retreat.

I froze.


In that moment I had no idea what to say. Being a newlywed for a few weeks I am still getting used to our identity and who I am to Peter. Who I am now.

I finally got the last name out. “Echols”

“Thank you ma’am and your email.”

“Yeah aaah Cham-ber-lain” I begin slowly

I had no idea how to answer these simple questions. I had to sit down after getting off the phone. I wonder this question as I learn my new identity as a wife Is this what it’s like when you are adopted as and older child? Do their minds spin as they answer the same simple question ‘What is your name?’. Do they stare at the new last or first name after they write it down for as long as I do? 

Her Identity

Identity Crisis 

Identity Crisis

Me and my dad. Year of my adoption.
Me and my dad. Year of my adoption.

    I opened an envelope written in Romanian.

Silvia reads the letter. “It’s from your birth family. Wait this guy claims to be your dad.”

    I stand silent. 

She asks if I want to see him on the CD. 


    It wasn’t the I’m craving the empty void inside me kind of ‘yes’ some of us adopted children have when we yearn for our birth families even if we don’t know them. It was a sure why not? Kind of ‘yes’. 

    You see I once was bonded to my birth mom for nine months in her whom, but that was it. For so long I bound myself in curiosity letting thoughts stir of who the mystery birth-dad was. I even yearned to hear my birth mom’s voice, and feel her embrace. Some babies die and some hurt forever, because those nine months of sharing an identity  with a birth-mom is so important. That is why so many babies are traumatized when they are taken away from birth mothers. 

But when this guy marched back into my life twenty-one years later “Hi I’m your dad” in a letter all I could think was….

Are you though? You were never there when I needed you most. My dad was. In fact you might think you are my dad because I’m of your blood, but you’re not. I have a dad. But most importantly I have a heavenly father. 

Romans 8:15 “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

I do not hate this man for not doing what he should have done, be a dad. I just want to know why now…twenty-one years later…

Read on :

The Hardest Story To Tell: Mine

the “food” was always mashed up. There were about four of us to a crib.

    The helpless crying baby would cry for the love she needed, but no one would come. She’d cry and hope, cry and hope, cry and hope until there were no more tears to shed.

Left alone.


    But something inside her told her to keep hoping and keep crying, someone
will hear you. Years she cried and hoped for her life. The hope never died. When the special some ones finally came her crying then, turned into screaming. She wanted so badly to love them back, but how could she if she never knew what love was. Hatred toward people burned in the little girls heart. What happened in her first three years marked her heart in way only God could change. The love her parents showed her was so foreign and yet so addicting. As she grew older fear of losing them grew more each day. She was falling in love. Then they told her about who Love is, how He brought her to them, how he died for her sins and how He loves her. She believed and loves Him back. That day she accepted Christ to be the boss of her life.
The little girl is me.

    I’m alive and shouldn’t be at least that’s what the world says.
It would’ve made the most sense, that is why they call me a survivor.
My first three years of abandonment are only explained by a miracle. What
you just read was only a glimpse of what I went through. As I mentioned I hated people and was locked out from reality. I felt like the world was moving around me waiting to be touched and I was in glass. The only emotion I felt for years was fear. Fear of being hit again, left again, and unwanted. But when I asked Christ to be the boss of my life I became alive. I would “run” the best I could with my hurt little legs, sing, love, and be fearless because He is living me in. There were times I have forgotten my first love, Christ (The Scariest Road), but like in the orphanage He hears my cry and calls me His.

    Romans 8:15 “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Babies were placed on bread trays stacked on racks.
Babies were placed on bread trays and stacked on racks.
Nicolae Ceausescu, the man who started the orphanages.
Nicolae Ceausescu, the man who started the orphanages.
we would rock ourselves for self soothing, and look at our hands because it was the only thing to look at.
we would rock ourselves for self soothing, and look at our hands because it was the only thing to look at.

    Some ask how  could I believe in God after what I went through. My answer is this. I believe there’s a hell. I’ve only tasted it in just three years. Mean people are the result of sin and so badly the Devil wants to rob me from the truth of knowing God and who He is and how He loves us. The Devil thrives off of abuse and will do anything to pull us away from God. Why? Because God is love, joy and enough.

Oh To Fly

Oh to fly    

    Pacing, nail biting, heart racing, palms sweating, with anxiety wondering what will come next. We all feel it, whether we are watching a movie, reading a book, or living life. We all want to know what will come next and in this waiting, we dream. Maybe your dream is working your dream job, getting married, starting a family, seeing the world, or doing great things for others. All these things on our hearts are not wrong if for the glory of God and not ourselves. He puts them there for a reason. But why is it so hard for us to allow the maker of dreams dream for us? In this letter below God writes to us in His Princess by: Sheri Rose Shepherd, reminding readers to wait on their dreams because His timing is perfect.  My Princess…wait on Me Wait on Me, My princess. My timing is always perfect. I know you’re anxious about many things, and I see your passion for all the plans I have put on your heart. I know that you long to fly and I see your enthusiasm. However, just as a vine dresser nurtures the vine and waits patiently for the right moment to harvest the grapes, so too am I working tirelessly to prepare you to bear much fruit. Don’t run ahead of Me or try to fly before My plans are complete. Your strength will fail you, and your dreams will wither away. Trust Me that my dreams for you are far greater than you can dream on your own. You will run farther and soar higher if you patiently wait for the season of My blessing. Draw close to Me now, and I promise that this season of waiting will bring you the sweetest of rewards.  Love, Your King and Lord of perfect timings.                                                   Isaiah 40:31

The Scariest Road

    Have you ever wondered how God or anyone could forgive the choices you’ve made?

          The choices we’ve made are apart of us, but don’t have to define us. 

             I’m going to tell you a story about a girl who forgot her first love. She made one choice and it led to sinning. She took a road and got lost. She was afraid at first, but then was curious and saw how different it was from the other road she had taken before. On the road, there were thorns and rocks that cut her feet up. At first it hurt, but soon she ignored them, justified them, and told herself she could walk through them alone. Her feet bled. Farther along, the thorns had grown as tall as trees. She tried to push through. Regretting her choice, her whole body bled. “God what should I do?” she asked stepping back. 

         “Stop hurting yourself!” He cried through tears. Oh how it hurt him to see His little girl trying to push through the pain. 

       She stepped back for second, and realized that going through would only hurt. Wrapping up her wounds she thought it would help make her feet bleed less. Again, she persisted through the thorns. More blood was spilled as the wounds were becoming deeper. “God what should I do?!” she screamed.

       “Daughter stop. Please stop! There is another way.” He pleaded.

      She stepped back and decided to chop through it with a machete. She lost it in the thorny mess. The sky was getting darker as time passed. More blood dripped. She could hardly see her feet in the blood that was covering them. Pushing through again, her body hated her for this. Finally, after hours of pushing she stepped back. “Oh God, what should I do?” she asked through her hopeless tears.

      “Sit down.” He whispered. 

      She sat. “Now what?”

     Psalm 46:10

      “Daughter I want you to come back to me. Love me. Follow me.” He answered.

      Looking up to heaven she closed her eyes and began walking. She felt water under her feet. Some of her scratches went away as she kept walking through the water and into a grassy meadow. As time went by her scars faded, but remained. She opened her eyes and found where she once was before she went down the scariest road she thought was only in scary stories and didn’t ever want it to become hers.  “Oh God I am so sorry, forgive me, I want to follow you.” she cried. 

       ” I already have.” He answered.

John 10:1-18

      Have you ever wondered how God or anyone could forgive the choices you’ve made? Someone once told me to just keep falling in love with the Lord and I would find that I wont have to forgive myself, because what He has done on the cross for us, is enough. This I believe. 

Dedicated to 3-17-14