Tell us a little bit about yourself and what God has called you to do? My name is Amy Hilliker and I have been married to my best friend Tommy for nearly 16 years. Life with him just keeps getting better and better and it should, as we have worked hard for what we have. I am mom to Kaylie (13), Cassidy (11) and Caleb (9). I love being mom to these three! They really are some of my favorite people on the planet and bring me so much joy. Tommy is a Pastor and Elder at Saddleback Church and we deeply love our church family. Being a pastors wife wasn’t something I anticipated would be my story but is a role I am very comfortable and at ease with. I had phenomenal examples to learn from as my mother, my Aunt, and both my grandmothers are and were pastors wives. I have spent much of the last decade recovering from a very complex, chronic illness and so my ministry has largely been focused within my home and with the people who have crossed that threshold. As the Lord has allowed healing and my boundaries have expanded, I am enjoying teaching more, leading bible studies in my home, mentoring and writing. Having not been able to do much of this for so long -I have deep appreciation for the ability to participate in the Kingdom in a broader sense. It’s truly a gift!

Where do you live and have you lived anywhere else? I live in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. I was born in Fort Worth, Texas but my parents moved here to Southern California when I was 6 months old and I have lived here ever since. As a little girl I used to proudly claim my Texas “roots” (as if they were substantial!) but nowadays I just boast about the privilege of getting to live and make my home in mild and sunny So Cal.

How do you carve out time with God everyday? It’s tricky and changes with the seasons of my life and times of the year. My most favorite and satisfying way to spend time with Jesus is to be up for at least an hour before my family. Something about having the house quiet, the day new and all my people accounted for in their beds allows my mind and heart to go deep quickly. This is my ideal but I have walked through several seasons, including the one I am in right now where this is not feasible. What I have learned works best for me is to try and plan my day around the devotional time I need with the Lord. If that is penciled in first, even if just in my head, then that time almost always happens. I am also a big believer in along the way devotions. I take my “bible bag” with me everywhere. Its just a simple bag with my bible, my journal, pens, ear buds, and any devotional reading or study I am currently working through, and of course my phone with which I listen to sermons and teachings. I learned this from a Bible teacher many years ago and its helped me to capture unexpected windows of time to be in the Word and with Jesus.

What is your best organizational/planning tip? Oh heavens. I am probably the wrong person to ask this of. In my dreams I have systems, routines and fabulous organization but really it’s outside the reasonable limits of my personality. I am just too much of a relationally driven hippie to really commit to any one style of organization or planning. I tend to keep things very simple and unfussy. I am not overly enamored with all the new apps and tech for planning and organizing (but that may be more to do with my serious lack of tech skills) and I avoid books and blogs that tell me how to color code and alphabetize my life. Trying to raise my family while recovering from chronic illness has laser focused my life to the bare minimum. So I guess that would be my best tip: keep it super simple and relationally focused.

What is your family’s favorite go-to easy meal? Oven tacos. A couple of girlfriends brought this meal to our family after my brother passed and we all adored it and we have had it almost weekly every since. Everyone has their own family taco recipe but this one’s the best, I swear!

Tell us your favorite God story (in your own life)? I have many that are dear to my heart. My healing story, which is far too long to write here, is definitely my favorite God story. Sometimes God heals in miraculous and immediate ways and other times it’s in bits and degrees over time. My story of healing is definitely the latter. God has faithfully been healing me layer by layer over the last 9 years and I am so humbled and grateful for the restoration and wholeness He has brought to my body, mind and heart. It has been a long road and I have been places I don’t care to return to, but my Papa God never left my side. My life and heart are forever His. He is such a good and perfect Father.

What are your 3 favorite books, other than the Bible of course? That’s nearly impossible to narrow to 3! Three books that have been very shaping of three distinct seasons of my life would be, When God Weeps: Why our Suffering Matters to the Almighty, by Joni Eareckson Tada, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World, by Henri Nouwen and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, by Pete Scazzero.

What is your favorite Bible Verse? I have been hanging out in Ephesians 1:18-20 this past year. It is this incredible passage that talks about the incomparable power that is available to those of us who belong to Christ. Scripture says that it’s the same power that Jesus was raised from the dead with… and now it’s living and available to us! Yes please! I want that kind of empowered life.

We are dying to know . . . how you are teaching the beauty of a life of “depth” to your children? In my experience depth is better caught than necessarily taught. Parents who are emotionally and spiritually deep wells themselves, inadvertently end up raising kids just like them. When people ask me this I always flip it back to the parents: what are you doing to cultivate a life of depth in your own soul? Kids have the best radar about this sort of thing; they know when what you are teaching them isn’t something your living out in your own life. The good news is that a deep and full soul well can’t help but overflow and get all over the people around it. If you as a parent are pursuing God with passion, single mindedness, consistency and humility your life of depth will pour out onto your kids. Your transformed life will transform theirs.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms . . . EPHESIANS 1:18-20