Faithful Friday – Tally Marks on our Faith Wall

Faithful Friday – Tally Marks on our Faith Wall


Welcome to this week’s Faithful Friday. God is so good to us and we want to share the stories that will inspire you to remember moments when God has been faithful in your life.

Today’s post comes from Courtney Elliott, co-founder and Head of School at HOPE Academy, wife and mother of 2 HOPE Academy students. Courtney shares her personal experience with God’s faithfulness and in doing so offers advice on how we can strengthen our children’s faith and our own faith through experiencing God’s best in our lives.


Elliott Family
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Turner Photography



About a week ago, my mom said the best way we can prepare our children for the future is to help strengthen their faith. It suddenly occurred to me: our faith is strengthened when we personally experience God responding to our lives in ways that most often exceed all that we can ask or imagine.

Our faith is developed and strengthened by the tally marks on our faith wall, our first hand, personal experiences with the one true God. It is in times of struggle and pain that we can be assured of God’s faithfulness when we reflect on the tally marks on our own faith wall.

One of my family’s first hand personal experiences has been through our children’s prayer for our home to sell.

Through prayer and scripture the Holy Spirit clearly affirmed our purchase and recent move into a new home. Our “For Sale” home has had two contracts fall through, eight offers, and over sixty showings. It has been the most unusual experience and quite frankly, disappointing. After all, God clearly spoke to us through His word. So why has our home not sold?

Both children have been praying for the “For Sale” home to sell. My husband Paul and I have been pleading the same thing: “Just sell the house, Lord, please.” Can you hear the angst in those words? In your life right now, are you pleading with God about something? Are you wondering where He is and why He just doesn’t do it…now.”

I have been wondering those same things until it occurred to me that our “For Sale” home can become more than just a house that sells but instead it can become a tally mark on our children’s faith wall. No, not because it sells, or because we get a cash offer that closes this month, but because they will see God respond in a way that exceeds our small prayer of “Just Sell.”


Tally marks


I have suddenly been freed from the burden of “Just sell it Lord” and am praying earnestly that our children’s faith will be strengthened through persevering prayer. The words of the song “Trust In You” by Lauren Daigle speak what is on my heart.


“When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!”


In what areas of our children’s lives can we guide them to pray and watch how God exceeds and expands the reaches of our words and our hearts to experience Him more? I am praying to see my children’s faith developed through the tally marks on their faith wall.

Five years ago, we prayed that our son would get a kindergarten spot in a charter school. We fervently prayed that prayer even when we had reservations. And then one day, we surrendered what we thought was best and started praying for God’s best.

We never would have imagined that God would respond with something so wonderful and so outside of the parameters of anything we could possibly consider. He responded with HOPE Academy! He responded with a mission that aligned to the vision for our family and so many other families. HOPE Academy is a tally mark on our faith wall. The provision of space to lease is a tally mark on our faith wall. Our humble beginnings of thirty students and three teachers are all tally marks on our faith wall.
It is not about God answering our prayers or desires in the ways that we want or think is best. No. In fact, it may not work out in those ways at all. However, it is about trusting that He is working it out for our good and the glory of His kingdom.

I am praying for all of our children to experience God’s faithfulness intimately. While we truly cannot even begin to tally God’s faithfulness, there are those moments where He intersects our lives in such a way that they leave a permanent impression on our heart and become a part of our faith story.

Now it’s your turn to share! How has God been faithful to you?

We can’t wait to hear, please leave your comments below.

All comments (2)

    Courtney, thank you for sharing your faith and encouraging the rest of us to consider the tally marks of our own journey. For me, many come to mind, but three really stand out. Husband, daughter, and son. Being single well into my 30’s, I often wondered about God’s plan as it related to my desire to be married and have a family. Many prayers were offered in frustration and sadness as I waited (not so patiently!) for that perfect mate He had selected for me. And while neither of us is perfect, God obviously knew what he was doing when He brought Ed into my life. Our happy marriage is definitely “the union of two good forgivers”. Tally mark 1. Two years into marriage (both of us in our late 30’s) began our struggle with infertility. Lots of doctor appointments, lots of shots, four failed attempts, two miscarriages….our prayers were desperate, pleading, questioning….what in the world was God up to in our lives. Why was He not answering this prayer and why did it seem everyone around us was getting pregnant in the “usual way”? One Sunday morning during church, the Holy Spirit led me to a scripture passage – Mark 11:24 – “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it and it will be yours.” While I can’t explain why, other than the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, I knew instantly that God was going to answer our prayers. At the same time, I also knew the answer might not be what we expected. So we waited, but we weren’t idle and now we had alot more peace and much less anxiety. After one more failed attempt, we decided enough was enough and turned to adoption. That decision was made in May 2005, our applications were mailed off in August and our sweet daughter was born on Nov. 7, 2005. Yes, you read that correctly – about 3 months. The Lord was faithful to His promise in Mark 11:24 and He was faithful beyond what we could have ever asked or imagined! Tally mark 2. Two years went by and our longing for another child was strong. Through prayer we sensed confirmation to proceed and entered the adoption process once more. We mailed off applications in December 2007 and our son was born May 3, 2008. Yes, about 5 months. AGAIN, the Lord was faithful to His promise in Mark 11:24 and AGAIN it was beyond what we could have ever asked or imagined. Tally mark 3. How grateful we are that God is ALWAYS in control, ALWAYS faithful, and ALWAYS answers our prayers….sometimes in the most unexpected, yet perfectly beautiful ways.

    Thank you for sharing your personal story of how God has been faithful in your life. It’s really encouraging to hear that even though He answers prayers in the best way possible it may not be the way we are expecting.

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