Every Lipstick Counts


Every lipstick counts…

Something shifted when I heard those 3 little words. It seems so small- and almost laughable- but I learned a lot through lipstick last week.


It started when my Mary Kay Director handed me my stretch goal for June.  The challenge was to earn my first star, a benchmark of achievement within the company that comes with some pretty great rewards.

One of those incentives was a gorgeous pink ring offered to everyone who made their goal by the end of the month. I had missed another opportunity to earn a similar ring, and I was ready to give it another shot.

I thought out my plan of action went for it. I hosted skincare parties, promoted sales, and participated in a fundraiser with HeroBox to send care packages with sunblock and lip protection to our troops overseas. Remembering how gifts from home blessed me when I was on the mission field; I was excited to pay it forward.

My goal was to sponsor over 50 soldiers and I had roughly three weeks to do it. Day by day friends and family joined in to help and three days before the end of the fundraiser I had just 12 more soldiers to sponsor. I felt the stretch, but I knew I could do it!

Then came the cancellations… one after another after another. Some people reached out and communicated with me, for which I am so thankful. Others just stopped answering and by the end of the day I was down 10 sponsorships and feeling rather deflated. 12 had been a stretch… now 22? In 3 days? It seemed impossible.

Maybe I’m wasting my time, I thought. I’ve sent out hundreds of messages, phone calls, texts, and emails. If anyone else wants to give, they know how to reach me. I was giving up.

The next day at church a friend approached me and said, “Michelle, I’m not sure what this means, so take it to the Lord in prayer, but I feel like you made a decision within the last few days and God say’s it’s not His will.” She reiterated the words “the last few days,” as if they were some kind of key to unlocking that unusual statement.

Holding back tears, I smiled and thanked her then hurried away to spend time with Jesus. I stared blankly over a cup of coffee as I pored through my memory. Was it my future plans, my relationships, maybe my businesses? I had purposefully avoided making major decisions in all those areas because I had no idea what to do. The past few months had been a roller coaster of emotion, and I had put planning on the shelf because I was tired of watching life bulldoze my plans. Exasperated I breathed deep and prayed, “Lord, I haven’t made any decisions recently! How have I made the wrong one? If this word is from you, I need some clarity!

When I got home an hour later, a quiet but confident thought floated up through the sea of static in my mind. Like a whisper I heard, “Go door to door and fund raise.” I shot that thing down faster than lightening. I didn’t even sell Girl Scout cookies, door to door was not in my comfort zone. Besides, I had given up fundraising, it was decided. In spite of this, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was supposed to get up and go.

And then it clicked… maybe this was what God was talking about.

A little skeptical I told Him, Lord, I’ll go to ONE house, but if this is a bad experience, I’m done. I didn’t even know what “done” meant, but I already had the house in mind. It had actually been on my mind all week. Half an hour ticked by and I finally put on my Mary Kay badge, grabbed my fundraising packet and made my way across the street.

My neighbor was taking out his recycling when I walked up and said hello. Seeing that I had something to say, he leaned on the blue bin and listened as I shared the fundraiser. Then for added measure I motioned behind me and said, I’m staying with my parents this summer and I wanted to invite the neighborhood to help out. His face suddenly brightened as walls crashed to the ground.

“Are you the little girl who used to play in my bushes all those years ago?”

I was!

That line of bushes was long gone, but the memories of muddy overalls and crawling through their branches remained. The connection sparked a beautiful conversation and 45 minutes later I was walking home with a rekindled friendship, two soldiers sponsored, and a bit of hope restored in maybe reaching my goals.

But the Lord wasn’t finished yet.

Next up was our weekly Mary Kay conference call. My motivation felt like a helium balloon a month and a half after Valentine’s Day. It was kind of hovering in mid air, not down yet, but certainly not sky high.

I muted the phone and set it on speaker, listening as one of our National Sales Directors shared her story and encouraged us. Nestled into a hundred other insights were the three words that changed it for me:

…every lipstick counts…

Jourdan continued on to say words that I believe came straight from the heart of God, who loves each person as if they’re the only one. She reminded us that whether we had a $1,000 sale day or simply sold a lipstick, every little bit counts, and it adds up! What we did, big or small, it all mattered!

It was a bulls-eye remark. Even if I just sponsored one more soldier. It matters to that one. If I sold just one more mascara; I was growing my business and pushing us closer to our Unit goals. Even if I didn’t make my star… it was ok, there would be more rings to earn in the future. I was making a difference with each and every sale, each and every sponsorship. And it all counted.

So I went for it- again.

I reached farther. I visited other neighbors, called different friends, and sent out more messages and one by one by one the support came in. Two and a half days later I looked at my records in disbelief. We’d done it!

God’s heart is for the one, and one by one we change the world. Every smile. Every hug. Every sale. Every decision. Everything adds up in the bigger picture of life. And it all counts. In three weeks 36 individuals raised the money to send 70 skincare sets overseas to our troops. Some sponsored a lot, some a little. But alongside all the other participating consultants we got hundreds of soldiers sponsored. It takes all of us, giving what we can, no matter how big or small, to make a HUGE difference.

Through lipstick, God reminded me about the power of one.

“For God so loved the world that He sent His ONE and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~John 3:16

So never give up, because the world needs your one, and you make a difference. :)


The Call

When I was three years old, I came home one day to the shock of finding that my bedroom ceiling had gone completely missing. In it’s place, open skies stretched up into infinity. My mom, artist that she is, had in a single day opened up the heavens with the help of a paintbrush and several of her artsy friends. Painted gloriously over the whitewash plaster, layers of heavy clouds, whipped to cotton candy consistency, billowed down from an endless blue sky. My dad, an architect at heart, had adhered decorative trim around the lightbulb in the shape of a starburst which was soon after transformed into a glorious golden sun. To my delight, the instant the lights went out, a thousand tiny planets glowed hazily around the perimeter of the room, transporting me into distant galaxies of thought and imagination.

It was beneath this endless sky that I found myself struggling to sleep each night as my imagination ran wild. It began innocently enough with blanket forts and giggles with my plushy friends, but as the minutes ticked by, anxiety crept in and suffocated the wanderings of my imagination, throwing me into fits of insomnia. When I couldn’t count enough sheep, I turned to music as my salvation. I would pop in a cassette tape and let the melody fill up my restless mind until sleep could claim me.

I was listening to a Christian cassette when I met Him for the first time. It was still early in the evening but I had laid in bed with my eyes closed for several songs already. The chorus played: Like a rose, trampled on the ground, you took the fall, and thought of me, above all. There was something in those words that I couldn’t quite place my finger on; it was like trying to vocalize something on the tip of your tongue. I let the lids of my eyes slide gently open and I watched the glow of the stars above me melt into the darkness. My finger fell on the pause button and silence filled the room, quieting my thoughts. My nine year old imagination conjured a rose, beautiful and without blemish. Burgundy petals unfurled heavenward like a supernova and jade leaves fanned from a delicate stalk covered in thorns. As I gazed at the flower, I felt the tug of sleep and I started to doze, letting myself sink through space in slow motion. Just as my muscles began to relax in the free fall, gravity laid hold of me once more, brutally denying me sleep. With a feeling like falling, I was jarred awake. My eyes shot wide open, and my head spun in confusion.

When the shock abated, I closed me eyes once more to find a flattened floral corpse, it’s stem folded and splintered like broken wood. Deep grooves marred the petals, crushed by what looked like a shoe print. Translucency spread from innumerable creases in the leaves and bruises disfigured the velvety skin of the petals. I saw the liquified flesh of the flower, pummeled into applesauce and dragged across the ground. In the distance I thought I saw a child race away, unaware of the carnage.

A tear slowly rolled down my cheek as the scene dissolved once more and the stars and planets peppering my ceiling shone bright in my peripherals. Michelle, I took the fall, because I love you above all else. The words rang out clear a bells in the quiet of my room. Follow me, Jesus said, and I placed my trust in Him. At that moment I did not fully understand the cost of following Him. I didn’t know that I had died to this world to receive citizenship in another. I did not know that I had become an adopted child of the Almighty or that He would be with me all the days of this life and the next. I did not understand the extent of my sin, or the fullness of His love, and I did not know that in that moment I had been flooded by the Spirit of God and I would never be the same. Jesus knew me by name, and I when He called, I answered and gave Him the rest of my life.

Little did I know, it was the beginning of a love story grander than anything I could have have ever imagined as I fell asleep beneath the glow of a thousand tiny stars.



This post is from my World Race Blog. (originally written 7/30/2014)


Two months ago I felt like giving up on the Race.

It was turning out to be a whole lot harder than I ever thought it would be.

I  didn’t know how I was going to make it 6 more months.


I was tired of building beautiful relationships just to have to say goodbye.

I was tired of expectations and hopes I’d had falling to pieces as a different reality replaced them.

I was tired of Facebook replacing face to face conversations.

Tired of loving when it didn’t feel good, or when it wasn’t reciprocated.

I was tired. Very very tired.

I wanted things to be easy.

And they weren’t.

And it made me want to quit because I didn’t really trust my Father in the midst of the mess. I wanted an easy way out.


But my teammate gave me a word from the Lord that has become a staple in my walk of faith. She simply wrote Trust on a little slip of paper and left it on my pillow one day.

And for almost the entire month I wrote that word on the arch of my foot every morning. A reminder to walk in trust in the good times and bad because in all things He is good and He is Trustworthy.

My Father is worthy of my trust.

He loves me and has good plans for me. He proved that love by the Cross of Calvary. What more do I need? And even though He doesn’t promise it will always be easy, He does promise that He will never leave me. He also promises that it’s worth it.

My Protector. My Defender. My Salvation. My Best Friend. My Healer. My Comforter. My King. My God.


Proverbs 3:5~ “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.”


It’s been two months since He first spoke this word to me and since then He has impressed it deeper and deeper into the center of my heart.

Now when I don’t understand, when things all seem to be going wrong, when people don’t like me, when I fail, when I feel like I can’t go on, I don’t lose hope because I trust Him and where He is leading me.

And it has been a beautiful exchange. As I’ve submitted, He has led me into incredible new depths of His love, new unity on my team, beautiful new relationships in each country, and so many other blessings that have far outweighed the struggle. I’m learning that there are things worth fighting for that are worth the mess. That’s what real love is. It isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.


So if you are in that place where you don’t know how to keep going. Don’t lose hope. Trust Him. He is so trustworthy and so good, you cannot even imagine. My prayer is that you understand the depth of Gods love for us. Once we know His love, the only response is to trust. He is so so worthy to be trusted. He loves us SO much.


God Bless!



Whips, Chains, and the Light of Christ

This post from my World Race Blog (originally written 7/27/2014)

We were all there for the same reason.

Every person in the “World Biggest Adult Playground” that night was trying to meet a need:

One woman hangs on the neck of a man twice her age, playing the part of a lover so he will pay.  She hopes to pay off the loans that have been gaining 400% interest every day. The alcohol he buys her numbs the pain.

The man she dotes on expects her to fill the void in his heart. He’s longing to be heard. To be noticed. To be loved, even if it is counterfeit.

Another girl waits, her eyelids heavy with disinterest and apathy. As a man walks to the counter, she begins the show; face suddenly animated with exaggerated charm. The money she makes will go to her family in the village while she sleeps in her empty cubicle apartment.

I wonder if her customer knows he’s just a means to an end. Would it change anything if he could see through her fake smile and flirty eyes to the hollow reality behind the “love” she offers.

Another secretly prostitutes herself to pay for school. She’s young, but tells herself that it’s only for a few weeks. It’s the same story shared by many who have now worked the bars for years and years; addicted and disempowered by the routine and the fast money.

Then there was us. Four young American women and our Thai friend Thom. The bar was Thom’s reality until she was offered something else: a chance to work at Samaritans Creations, our ministry in Thailand. It was there that she met Jesus, learned skills such as sewing and jewelry making and now she goes back into the darkness of the bars to offer that same choice to others.


We were there that night to meet the need for Jesus.

The need that drives all other needs.


It was my first night in the bar complex. Neon images of whips and chains flashed haphazardly on all three stories of the building and everything was saturated with a sick red glow. Women and ladyboys in skimpy attire walked around or waited by doors leading to inner bars where only the men could go. We sat down at a table in the center area and bought a “lady drink” for one of the girls. It was buying her time so we could talk. Her name was Nam, the Thai word for water, and we explained that we just wanted to be her friend. We were there to represent our Father, and His love through Jesus Christ; to affirm her worth and inexpressible value in the eyes of God and to speak life into her life.

About halfway through the conversation, I was surprised to lock eyes with an older man from across the bar. He smiled and walked over, introducing himself in a thick Australian accent. Following some formalities and small talk, a weighty silence replaced the conversation. Uncertain of what to say after that, we wished him a good night and he walked away.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about him. It was like there was a spotlight on him and no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t ignore him. So I asked the Lord what to do and I heard the word “provider.”

Excusing myself from our table I went and delivered the word that the Lord had given me, blessing him in prayer before returning to my table several minutes later.

It was a jarring experience to say the least. From the second that I asked to pray, his eyes caught mine and wouldn’t let go. With eyes wide open, I took his hands in mine and spoke to my Father on his behalf as I looked through the crystal blue of his irises into their very centers. I was talking to a son of God, he just didn’t know it yet. And then I told him that the God of the universe loves him and is proud of him. At the word proud, his steadfast gaze dropped to the floor.

I don’t know what happened, but I believe that in the bar that night a loving Father touched His child and that man will never be the same again.

These are the moments that bring me such great joy. The unexpected situations that pull the grace of God into the most unlikely of places. The daughters of the King bringing His light into Nana Plaza, a center stage of the red light district in Bangok.

If the men knew that the women they bought and sold were daughters of the Most High, they would never dare to touch them. But if the men knew who their Father was, they would never find the need to in the first place.

Please continue to pray for human trafficking and prostitution in Thailand and around the world. When the people of God speak in faith, even the strongest walls of the devil dissolve like dust in the name of Jesus.

Sending lots of love as I get ready to go to Malaysia!


Chelle :)


The Presence of Light

From my World Race Blog (originally written 1/12/2014 as my team and I began our 11 month journey to 11 countries)

In the documentary Father of Lights, Majed el Shafie says, “In the absence of light, darkness prevails.” And the Bible says that followers of Christ are the light of the world, and like a city on a hill we cannot be hidden.

Right before we left for Guatemala, Alena, Jennie, and I saw firsthand how the presence of light in a situation changes everything. In a routine run to get chapstick, batteries, and snacks, we took a cab to Walgreens and pulled into the parking lot to find quite a scene.

I first saw a hysterical man flailing his arms and hollering at a big red pickup truck, demanding that the driver turn off his engine. As we got out of the cab, I noticed an older woman getting up off the ground. My eyes widened as I finally saw her purse and groceries sprawled across the pavement around and beneath the truck.

I couldn’t believe it.

We had just arrived at the scene of a car accident.


The police were called, an ambulance dispatched, and Alena prayed and spoke with the woman and her husband, ushering peace into the frantic situation.

As Jennie and Alena talked with the couple and the police, I stood to the side unsure of what to do. Suddenly an agitated woman came from behind and started to ask me again and again for help and for money. I tried to get her to explain her need, but she kept repeating herself and I couldn’t understand her.

After a minute or two of entertaining the chaos, I decided to pray. It seemed like one thing after another was piling up in the little parking lot and I could feel the anxiety in the air. So after refocusing on the Presence of the Lord with me, I told the woman I had no money to give her, but I asked if she had any needs for physical or emotional healing. She said absolutely.

She bent her head and showed me a bullet that was lodged in her spine, sealed beneath a layer of scarred skin. I placed my hand on the wound and prayed, declaring peace and healing into her body. As I shared the love and Presence of Jesus with the woman through prayer, I watched as peace settled over her. Her speech slowed and the agitation left. I blessed her and later the man who had caused the accident before reconnecting with me teammates.

As we did a mini debrief in Walgreens, I couldn’t help but wonder at the craziness of the situation that we had just encountered.

At first I’d though it was a spiritual attack aimed at us… but amidst the chaos the Lord showed me that the darkness we had just encountered would have happened whether we had been there or not. However, when we arrived, we brought the light of Christ and the darkness had to flee. It was a sneak attack from heaven, destroying the works of the devil and bringing restoration to the destruction.

When the children of God enter any scene, not even the deepest darkness is able to remain because of Christ in us. It’s awesome! :)


I’m now in Guatemala with my team and team Agape living in a sweet little casa. The weather is a stunning 70 degrees, our location is absolutely beautiful, and we start ministry at a local school tomorrow!


Thanks for reading :)




The Season for Sunflowers

This post from my World Race Blog (Originally written 9/10/2013)


I sometimes laugh at how God speaks to me. He has a tendency to break all my boxes and pop all my bubbles. :)

The following story is a turning point. Based on my last post, you might be tempted to think I cry all the time haha. But I don’t! The past few weeks have been absolutely amazing, and I will share more soon. But let me start with this story.  :)

A few weeks ago, a woman at church prophesied into my friends life, encouraging her by comparing her to a tiger-lily flower. As they talked, I looked over their heads into the main hallway. All I could see was a MASSIVE banner with sunflowers all over it. To myself, I thought, “man. sunflowers are probably my least favorite flower in the whole world. They’re big, and awkward, and ugly.” Haha. The unspoken words had barely crossed my mind when the woman turned to me with a huge smile and said, “and I feel like the Lord is saying you’re a sunflower!” I wish the dimmed lights in the room had been able to mask my indignation better.

As a total stranger compared me to the flower I disliked, her uplifting and incredibly accurate words bounced off my angry heart like bouncy balls on a brick wall. I was fixated on how inconsiderate God was for comparing me to the one flower I just told him I hated! I had wanted God to speak to me, but not like that!

As we left, my friend wanted to find some real sunflowers, convinced that if I could just see them, I’d appreciate their beauty. We ended up at Trader Joe’s and found a bouquet with several nestled in it. I took one look at their huge awkward heads, felt their stubbly stems and sandpaper leaves and the tears welled up again.

When I got home that night, I went online and researched the flower in question. To my surprise, I discovered some pretty cool things!

    •    Did you know that sunflowers are considered “volunteer plants?”  They will grow almost anywhere. A sunflower can fall out of a bird feeder and grow right where it hits the ground.

    •    They grow fast and they grow tall. A sunflower can grow 8-12 feet within 6 months and it only takes 90-100 days from seed to maturity. The tallest one on record is over 25 FEET tall!!

    •    Their heads are actually 1,000-2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle. The little flowers follow an intricate pattern of three intersecting circles and they all go to seed! The outer “petals” are actually “ray flowers” that don’t develop into seed. (isn’t that cool!?)

    •    And the heads follow the sun :)

As I read, the Holy Spirit reminded me how this season of my life really can be seen reflected in this magnificent flower. My impromptu “volunteer” move to Annapolis, how much I’ve been learning and growing, and how quickly; my desire to love and provide for the people around me and how I love to follow the Son! So many of these descriptions resonated in my heart.

As I got up, I glanced at the tablecloth and just laughed. It was covered in sunflowers! I think God laughed too. It was the beginning of a change of heart.

The next day I went downtown and passed by a large flower pot that generally hosts an array of broken beer bottles and other debris. I looked into the wreckage and nestled in the bottles was a cloth sunflower. I decided that if it was still there when I walked back I would take it with me. Sure enough it was and it now rests on my windowsill.

A day later, I went to Trader Joes again and was surprised to see the bouquet displays exploding with sunbursts of yellow and huge brown centers. There were even sunflower plants for sale! I laughed out loud and bought a bouquet, starting to see the beauty I had so quickly written off just days before.

As I paid, the girl at the counter commented on how much she loves sunflowers. I actually agreed with her and asked if they would be selling the potted ones for much longer. I almost bought one that day haha! She said absolutely, since they were coming into season. I thanked God as I left.

Since then I have seen an abundance of sunflowers all over Annapolis. It brings me great joy that the Lord speaks through His creation, helping me to see things like He sees them. Just as this is the season for sunflowers, every flower I see is a reminder that this is a special season in my life too. I look forwarding to growing tall and strong in the Lord as I prepare for the World Race and I’m learning that when I see the world through my Fathers eyes, it makes everything more bright, more beautiful, and everything comes alive.

I bless you all in Jesus name!

Love always,


The Cry of My Heart

The cry of my heart is for healing. It always has been. I’ve just never known what that looked like.

The past week has been a struggle. I’ve been hurting. It got to the point where I didn’t  bother to put in contacts because I knew they’d probably just wash away haha. The pain emanates from a broken heart being in community with other people…

If you had asked me a month ago if my heart was hurting, I would have said no. Because it wasn’t haha. It actually wasn’t feeling much of anything . But as I have asked God to take me deeper into His Prescence, there has always been this little part of me thats like, “no. thats ok. that’s scary. lets not go any deeper.” 

At first I tried to ignore it. Then I got angry at it. Then I asked God what it was. And He showed me. That the little voice that protests intimacy with God is pieces of my broken heart crying out in fear and longing to be healed.

I was hurt intentionally and unintentionally by the people around me throughout my life and I made myself incredibly independent as a way to protect myself. I thought that if I didn’t get close to anyone, I couldn’t be hurt by anyone. But this was super lonely and my heart longed for deep relationships.

Now I’m choosing to be vulnerable and let people get close, and past wounds are being triggered, like lemon juice seeping into torn skin. Being independent just covered the pain up, it didn’t heal the wounds, and they’ve been festering. Some for a very, very long time haha.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds, it just buries the pain so that we don’t feel it all the time. The pain comes when something pokes at our wounded hearts and makes the injury bigger and more painful. I believe that only God can heal us and make our hearts whole again. It’s what Jesus came to die for!

The Bible says that faith without works is dead. One speaker said it this way: faith always manifests.

Manifest is defined by thefreedictionary.com as: clearly apparent to the sight or understanding; obvious.

What I put my faith in is going to manifest in my life. If I put my faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, heaven manifests in my life. I experience and walk in the fruit of the Spirit which are joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, righteousness and a lot of other good and beautiful things!

But if I place my faith in a lie, then that lie will bear fruit in my life as well. For instance, rejection, insecurity, worthlessness, fear, comparison, jealousy etc. (things that are not from  God).

The manifestations of faith are like fruit on a tree. You can cut fruit off a tree but it will quickly grow back because the tree is still alive. You can’t kill a tree by picking off it’s fruit haha. You need to destroy the roots!

So if I feel rejection again and again, and I know that rejection does not come from the Holy Spirit, I know it is fruit from something else. Something that doesn’t belong inside a child of God, and I take it to Jesus. He then speaks truth into my life and it’s the Truth that sets us free! It’s the Truth that pulverizes the roots of the lies, completely destroying and nullifying them.

The more time I spend with Him, the more freedom I have come to enjoy, and I know it only gets better from here :)


“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter until the full light of day.” ~Proverbs 4:18


Be blessed my friends! God is love and in Him there is no darkness at all.

Love always,