I can’t do this alone…

Sabrena Morgan & I Praying

Coming from a family of small-town high school quarterbacks and cheerleaders, high school was always built up to be a magical time of pep rallies, football games, and the rigorous academics that would inevitably prepare me for the world of college.

When I began high school, my educational trajectory seemed to match this, or at least mirror this as closely as it can when you attend a small Christian school in the city.

Freshman year, I was a volleyball player, a cheerleader, and a straight A student, dating the co-captain of the varsity basketball team. Everything seemed to be going well for me. I had big plans to graduate as valedictorian of my class and go on to Berkeley or Standford for pre-med, and to eventually become a neuro-surgeon.

But God had different plans for me.

In the middle of my sophomore year, the “excrement hit the ventilation system” within my family and my life took a sharp left turn.

Within the span of six months, my family fell apart for the second time in my life as my step-dad and siblings packed a U-Haul and left my mom and I alone. My step-dad had always been the stabilizing force in our family and without him there, my mom and I drifted apart– only acknowledging each other when we were slamming doors or screaming in each others direction. Eventually, the arguments escalated and I was kicked out of my mom’s house, left to couch surf for most of the summer between my sophomore and junior years.

That summer, I spent nearly my whole vacation crying, drinking cheap alcohol, and engaging in activities that to this day, I am too ashamed of to mention here.

As my life shattered around me, my big dreams and my passion for knowledge faded away. I became depressed and began putting myself in dangerous situations, in hopes that someone would “just put me out of my misery”.

The only thing that seemed worth living for was my goofy two year old god-daughter, and luckily when I was kicked out of my house, her mom, one of my closest friends, let me sleep in their living room. But even then, there was a problem…

My friend, like myself, was not in the best emotional state; Living in an abusive relationship, with the ghosts of her past haunting her, she resorted to drugs and alcohol to bandage her wounds, and together we nearly became a lethal combination.

But through all of the chaos, her sweet little girl kept me semi-grounded.

Eventually my friend’s substance abuse became such a problem that she was incapable of taking care of her daughter. So when she would get plastered, I would stay up and take care of her little one; reading stories, tucking her into bed, and often cleaning the house so she would have a safe place to live. Slowly, that little girl gave me a purpose in life and pulled me out of the wretched depression I had been living in.

As summer began to draw to a close and the beginning of the school year approached, I found out that the school I had been attending had closed unexpectedly, leaving me without anywhere to go for my junior year of high school.

One night as I laid on my friend’s bed, sobbing, trying to figure out whether to drop out of school and get a job, or to find a new school, my little “saving grace” clambered up on the mattress, laid across my stomach, and smiled.

“I love you”, she cooed in her goofy baby voice. In that moment as she snuggled up on my stomach, it hit me– I knew that if I didn’t change my path, I was going to die. Maybe not that day or even that year, but I was actively ruining my life. And with those sweet little brown eyes looking up into my mine, I knew that if I didn’t work to give myself, and her, a better life, that she would inevitably grow up in this hell hole, with no way out, and no one to look up to as a role model.

Over the next few days, I packed my belongings and convinced my mom to let me move home. The next few weeks were rocky and we fought more than ever. One day an argument between us exploded and ended with me screaming “I’M LEAVING!” right as she screamed “GET OUT!”

That rainy July afternoon as I hopped on my bike and peddled away from my home, aimlessly toward Colfax, God changed the entire course of my life.

Bawling my eyes out, silently screaming at everyone and no one, I missed my turn and was lost, but I didn’t care. I continued peddling up and down the side streets, replaying what had just happened and trying to calm myself down.

Finally I got my bearings and began heading back toward Colfax. One block from my destination, I glanced over my shoulder and saw a square white sign in the window of a building that read “Denver Street School — East Campus” in giant purple letters. At the time, school was the last thing on my mind, but knowing that I still had a choice to make about my future, I memorized the cross-streets before going on to borrow a phone from a lady at a bus stop.

A few days went by, things calmed down, and I went back to living with my mom. By then, I had researched this “Street School” and found out that they had a nursery– which was perfect, as I was still taking care of my friend’s daughter the majority of the time. I was sold on the idea of trying out this new school and by the end of July, I was enrolled at the Denver Street School.

The first day of school came and within a month of beginning school at DSS, things began to change drastically in my life.

On September 12th, 2007 I came to accept Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life, mostly due to the tender, loving mentoring and Godly influence of my teachers.

In the seven months that followed, I went on to complete two full years of high school in one, allowing me to graduate a year early in May of 2008.

Throughout all of that academic chaos, my peers and teachers became the family that I had been missing and supported me through the death of my grandfather and the healing process that I had to walk through due to other traumatic events that had occurred the previous summer.

The Street School taught me your standard “school stuff” like Biology and Trigonometry, but most importantly, they taught me that I mattered– both in their eyes and in the eyes of God– and that I could make something of myself and become the positive role model to my god-daughter that I so desired to be.


Since that first day of school 6 years ago, my former teachers and peers have walked along side me and empowered me when I needed strength to make it through college, loved me when I made stupid mistakes, and showed me the light of Christ when I was lost in the darkness of death and depression that has come in waves over the last several years.

And this year, I been given a new position within my “second family” as a full-time English teacher. Having experienced the darkness that many of these students have, I am elated to have the opportunity to pour love and hope back into their lives.

But you see, the Denver Street School runs on a very small budget, and because I am in the “internship” phase of my teaching licensure, and therefore am an “additional teacher”, there is no money in the budget to pay me a full salary. So I am taking a huge step out in faith and will be raising my own wage this school year, as many missionaries do.

Looking back, I can see each and every moment that God was at work, bringing me to this place.

I can see His patient, loving kindness in my god-daughter; His magnetic personality in the moment that He made me look over my shoulder and see the sign for the Street School in the window; His redemptive power at work in my journey to become the opposite of the angry, broken young woman I once was; and because of all of these beautiful moments, I know that I am exactly where He wants me to be this year.

But I also know that I can’t do this alone.

I am setting aside all of the things in life that tell me that this is an illogical move and am stepping out in faith, knowing that God is going to supply, just as He promises to do in Matthew 6.

So if you are reading this, I am asking you to please pray for me. Raising your own salary is unnerving, but I know that just like God brought me to the Street School six years ago, that He is going to provide in ways that I can’t even fathom. Ways that will glorify Him and allow my students to know that I am 100% in this journey for them, and not the money (or lack there of…)

Or if you’re interested in supporting me financially, you can make a small one-time, or monthly donation, through the “Donate Now” tab on the Denver Street School’s website by clicking here. Simply designate your donation as “Faculty support for Kacy” in the comment section. [The school is a government certified 501(c)3 non-profit and all donations are 100% tax deductible & secure, I promise!]

Whether you are able to support me in prayer or financially, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know I am standing on the edge of beautiful things and know the Lord is about to blow down walls in my life, and the lives of my students this year.

I will be logging my journey on this very blog and via newsletters throughout the year, so be sure to subscribe to my blog or send me your e-mail so I can keep you updated on the amazing things that God is doing here in Denver at the Street School.

Thank you for your generosity and for allowing me to pour into the lives of my wonderful students.

~Kacy Lou

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

~Matthew 6:25-26


Typically, I’m not a big “foodie”. Don’t get me wrong– I appreciate eating things that are delicious. But having survived off of my own (rather dismal) cooking for years, food has just become something that keeps me alive– not necessarily something that I go to for enjoyment.

Or at least that was the case until I had a vast array of fresh, California produce at my finger tips this month. Everywhere you turn around out there, there are gigantic, juicy fruits and vegetables and I must say, I was in heaven! (I mean, when our family had a huge block party for the 4th of July, I bar-be-qued corn, mangoes, and pineapples– not because I’m a super healthy person (although I wish I was), but because the produce there is fresh from the source and unlike any food that you can find in Colorado.) And knowing that I was about to return home, I crammed my backpack full of fresh produce and looked like a complete nutjob on the airplane.

But in a weird way, I’m glad I rebelled against TSA’s “suggested items not to pack in your carry-on” list, as I received more joy out of my smuggled treats than I had anticipated.

You see, last week while munching on a smuggled California kiwi and doing some work for my summer job, I had a sermon podcast from my home church, Scum of the Earth, running in my headphones.

The topic of the sermon? Living closer with God

The verses that Mike (Scum’s pastor) felt the Holy Spirit leading him to? John 15:4-5

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

At first, I just giggled at the coincidence between my snack and the fact that I was listening to my pastor speak about fruit before continuing on to plug information about some software company into its respective email. But as the sermon went on, I began making more and more connections between what Mike was saying and where I currently was in relationship to God.

The first connection: The relationship between fresh fruit and its source. The fruit in California tastes better because it is brought to me shortly after being removed from its vine/tree/root. The farmer harvests (is that the proper term for something that’s not chili? I don’t know… #Mexicanproblems) the crop right at its peak ripeness and because it has a shorter distance to travel before it lands in my hands, it is sweeter. My snack gets to remain attached to its source and be nourished longer, and therefore continues to grow and become better and better.

The second connection: The relationship between my life and my Source.

I don’t know about you, but I can feel a difference in myself when I spend time with God and when I don’t. If God and I aren’t in communication either overtly or subconsciously, suddenly, “old, ghetto me” peeks out of hiding. I get easily annoyed by the little things, short-tempered, overly snarky, and if enough time goes by, just down-right mean. And while I’m not proud to admit it, toward the end of my last stay in California, I was beginning to get revert-igo and was sliding right back into those old characteristics.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that the “fruit” that John 15 is referring to “is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”…and as I grumpily sat working on a coffee shop patio, listening to Mike speak, I was lacking almost all of these.

Why? It’s simple: I wasn’t actively in communication with God.

As Mike says in the aforementioned sermon, “Not to advance is to retreat. When does a plant stop growing? When you stop watering it and it starts dying. There is no middle ground here.”

I was grumpy, impatient, and lacking in joy because I wasn’t watering my spiritual plant. I was allowing myself to die, day by day, choice by choice.

As someone who tried to plant a garden in her classroom and accidentally killed it by not watering it over spring break, you would think I would have this elementary principle of gardening down pat.

But, I guess I don’t…

My last few days in California, and even for my first few days back home, I wasn’t intentional about tending to my relationship with God. Sometimes I would wake up late and forget to have quiet time in the midst of a chaotic morning. Other times, I was too apathetic to pick up my Bible instead of my iPad on my break or late at night.

We’ve all been there.

But unlike my classroom garden that I didn’t exactly mourn after I killed it, my relationship with God is important to me. Who I am in Him and whether I am doing His work or not, is important to me.

Too important for me to simply stop watering it and allow myself to shrivel away.

So yes, I’m a sucky gardener, but I’m making an effort to, well… make an effort.

Where are you with God today? Are you picking up something that is going to draw you closer to Him? Or are you allowing yourself to shrivel up and die one decision at a time?

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Philippians 4: 6-7 (The Message)

(If you’re interested in hearing the wonderful sermon I’ve mentioned, the podcast can be found in the Scum archives here. It’s worth a listen, I promise.)

Tell me once again…

I am many things.

I’m a daughter, a student, a teacher, a friend, a sister, an auntie, a niece, and a cousin— just to name a few of the many positions that I fulfill in life.

This summer, I have had the privilege of bouncing back and forth between Colorado and California, focusing on the last two “jobs” on that list as I act as a live-in nanny for my aunt’s two-year old daughter Monica.

Staying out in the Bay Area again has been great. I’ve met new people, seen old friends from Berkeley, and have had amazing home cooked Mexican food and fresh fish for almost every meal. But most importantly, I’ve gotten to build a new layer into my relationship with my aunt.

Being the only two girls on my dad’s side of my family for nearly two decades, my aunt and I have always been very close. In fact, when I was a little kid, I essentially wanted to be my Aunt Vee when I “grew up”.

She has influenced every decision in my life from wanting to be a cheerleader in high school to where I applied for college to what NFL team I cheer for. (Raider Nation, baby! Sorry… couldn’t resist.)

When we’re together, my aunt and I always have a great time. But no matter how much I love my second home with her and her little family, I can’t help but feel a bit stressed out here.

You see, in Colorado I know exactly who I am. I have a routine. I have my job and friends. I even have a regular coffee shop where the owner knows exactly how I like my coffee (and occasionally my breakfast) made.

In Colorado, I’m someone’s teacher, someone’s intellectual equal, someone’s best friend.

But here, I’m just “Vee’s niece. You know, the tall one that used to have a cute Latina afro and little pink boots when she was three…”

Here I’m the bridge between two generations; not an adult in the eyes of my family, but certainly over qualified (and far too tall) to be considered a child by anyone’s standards.

I’m living in a weird flux state where I can’t quite figure out my identity in this new place. I don’t know if I’m coming or going, but I do know that this situation makes me want to get on the first plane and go back home to Colorado.

I know that retreating back to my comfort zone won’t do me any favors. I know that my identity is in (or should be in) my Heavenly Father, and not rooted in who I say I am or who my family views me as.

I know all of this, but I still have identity vertigo.

I’m well aware that I’m not the first, or only twenty-something-year-old to feel this way. But I want a definite answer about who I am, in every situation, not just at home. I want to take the control away from God and say “Look Buddy, I’m getting whiplash here. Just give me an answer before I lose my mind!”

And there in lies my problem. I am trying to discover who I am on my own… and in that process I am removing God. The same God who is the one true root of my identity; The one who knows me better than anyone, including my aunt or even my closest friends.

In the middle of my panic and vertigo, I am reminded…

I’m the one You love, that will be enough.”

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

~Isaiah 43:1

In a Relationship

I love Summer.

The days are longer, the air is warmer, and maybe it’s just me, but early morning iced coffee and late night ice cream with friends just seems sweeter.

I know that part of my love affair with summer has to do with the fact that I’m young and single. While I lay in a hammock in the California sunshine typing this, I have been switching back and forth to my Facebook where many of my young married friends with children have been chattering about plans to head to the swimming pool, the zoo, the museum, ect. For many, summer seems like a time to hit the ground running, but being in the stage of life that I am, Summer is a time for me to head the opposite direction and slow down.

Without lessons to be planned, papers to grade, or my own homework to do, I have had the pleasure of being able to fill my time with other things these first few weeks of summer vacation.

In the last month, I’ve read more for pleasure and have been able to go out to coffee and have some amazing heart-to-heart talks with friends, both new and old. I’m an incredibly relational person and there are few things that nurture my soul quite like building relationships with the people I love.

My favorite “over coffee” question? “What is God doing in your life right now?”

Roughly three months ago when one of my friends first asked me this question, I was semi-paralyzed. Shoot, I don’t know… I thought, right before my mind went entirely blank.

God seemed so big and abstract. I couldn’t really pinpoint anything specific that He was doing in my life.

But my dear friend (who shall remain nameless) takes a certain amount of joy in watching me squirm in challenging conversations, and week in and week out, he would ask me this until I had an answer. After a few weeks of healthy nudging, I realized something.

Maybe I couldn’t always pinpoint what God was doing in my life because my relationship with Him wasn’t very strong…

After all, I knew exactly what all my friends were doing with their lives because I spent all of my free time talking to them over coffee, but I had never considered doing the same thing with my Creator everyday.

Our Father is a relational God who created us to be in relationship with Him. (Weird how that works, huh?) As Jamie West Zumwalt says in her book Simple Obsession, God didn’t create us because He needed someone/something else to serve Him; He had the angels for that.

God created Adam and Eve and walked through the Garden of Eden with them everyday, simply because He could. God gave us His Son so that He could walk among and beside us. God put the Holy Spirit within all of His believers so that we could experience true unity with Him.

God wants our hearts. He wants our time. He wants to be in a relationship with us.

Think about it. When you begin a new relationship, you spend all of your time getting to know that person. You want to know what they think, what they love, what their heart longs for. And to do this, you have to spend quality time with them.

This quality time looks different for every couple. I have friends who have gotten to know their future husbands and wives over city adventures, coffee dates, dinners, movies, training for marathons, and all kinds of other crazy activities. But the important thing is never the activity planned, but the time spent together.

If we can find the time to spend quality time with our friends and loved ones, why not set aside time to date God? Pour your heart out to Him and listen to what He tells you. Begin building an intimate, loving relationship with your Creator.

It may seem strange, but this summer, I’m dating God. One cup of coffee and conversation at a time, we’re getting acquainted in new ways, through both His Word and my words. And let me tell you, it is a beautiful process.

Where is God working in your life this Summer? Is He calling you into closer relationship with Himself?


“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us.”

~1 John 4:10


In August 2011, I was fed up. I was stuck in a job that I was no longer passionate about, in a neighborhood I knew I needed to leave, surrounded by things and people that reminded me of the mess I had recently made of my life…and I was begging God to move in me.

That’s when God dropped a job offer in my lap that changed everything. Out of virtually nowhere, I was offered a position as a Nursery Director at the Denver Street School. The possibility of getting away from the negativity in my life was so tempting, but there was one problem– I really disliked the idea of working with children.

They’re sticky, impatient, demanding, and cry all the time. (Ironically, a near mirror image of myself during this chapter of my life. Well, sans the stickiness…)

Even though I had specifically been praying all summer for a job to open up at the Denver Street School, I was beyond hesitant to accept what God had put right in front of me.

Seriously, God? Kids?! You couldn’t have opened an office position or something that I’m good at and would actually like?

And that’s when I heard it…

You’ve prayed and begged for a job at DSS. Just trust me, would you? This is going to be great, but I need you to take a leap of faith here…I’ve got you. You’re not going to fall.

I wavered for days. Was I really willing to walk out of my comfort zone to follow God somewhere new?

It wasn’t even that the Street School was scary; in fact it was more a home to me than any I had ever lived in. But I was (am) stubborn and it took many anxious talks with God before I finally “caved” and said yes.

Accepting the job at the Denver Street School has single-handedly been the best choice I’ve ever made. And I almost missed it because I wasn’t willing to let go of the rags I had gathered around myself and take that leap of faith.

Similar to where I found myself two years ago, I now have a choice to make.

The call to take another leap of faith has presented itself; I may have the opportunity to go to one of the best graduate schools for linguistics in this hemisphere. 

I say hemisphere, because it’s in Canada…

Taking this leap of faith would mean having to leave my comfortable life that I have watched God rebuild: new friendships, family, my adorable studio apartment in the city, my students, my teaching position… The list goes on and on.

So the question remains: What will I do? Where will I go?

Luckily, I have several friends that God has put in this same place in life to work through this with. (Shout out to these lovely people who know exactly who they are!)

All I can ask is that if you’re reading this, that you pray for me. I would pray for guidance, but I know I already have that; so instead I’m requesting prayer for courage.

Courage to accept the call: Courage to go on the adventure that I have so desperately been craving.

Is God calling you somewhere new today? What will your response be? 


Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

~Matthew 16:24

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