All tagged calling

I’ve made no secret of the fact that the past year has been hard.

Like really hard. Like get-me-out-of-here hard.

And yes, sometimes in the midst of it I have wondered where God is. I have asked Him, “why have you forsaken me?” Didn’t even Jesus in His darkest hour ask the same question (see Matt. 27:46)? And yet..

And yet…

Somehow through it all, somehow all along, even in those moments when I was struggling for my very breath and feeling the deepest pain...

I rejoiced. I found joy. I felt joy. Something about the fact that I knew that there was something worth fighting for, Someone worth living for who was even worth dying for…that caused me to have this odd sense of joy in the midst of it all.

I promise before God that what I am telling you is true. It is not a lie.

Even in those moments in my car when I felt like the weight of everything was going to crush me. Even in those moments when I could not keep the tears from falling down my face…or worse…those moments when the ache was so deep that even tears wouldn’t come…I had this sense of anticipation deep within me that said, this is where I find out what’s real. And I know the secret. I already know what’s real. I just have to fight to keep that truth in my mind now…fight to get it down into my heart like never before.

And friends, that real is Jesus. And this is now my message, this is now my story: Suffering is part of the beauty of life. Suffering is part of the joy of walking with Christ. I know it sounds crazy, but stop, still yourself… isn’t there something within you, a little glimmer of hope that what I am saying is true?

This is it. I’m undone.

Coming to this place of being swept up in the most amazing Love, swimming in an ocean of it after these years of desert walking, this past year of darkness and breaking.

Oh how can it be?

This is the singularity. This intimate Loving that comes from the very heart of Christ straight… onto… me… oh, the breathlessness of this moment leaves me gasping, for suddenly, I understand.

I understand.

I understand.

Yes.

Jesus Loves me.

ME.

Little me. Just one person, so insignificant and small. I’ve questioned and I’ve worried and I’ve striven until my hands and heart are utterly weary from the strain of it all. Little Lucy I’ve always been, looking and finding Him everywhere I can, but somehow I thought, if I don’t do this right, if I don’t measure up…I shouldn’t go looking for Him.

For I didn’t want to see the disappointment on His face.

I didn’t want to risk losing His favor.

So I’d fight and I’d get on my knees and I’d serve ‘til I was black and blue, just so I could return to the forest and glance at His face without shame.

But shame, oh it chased me down and – gosh now I see it – it wore the awful ugly face of the enemy himself, convincing me of my unworthiness and strangling me with my own insufficiency.

The conniving grew more cunning as the days wore on and my faith grew stronger, for he saw that I was winning, he saw that I knew the call, so he warped my relationships and there…

Oh there the lies rained down on my head, the deceptive lies that seeped right into my heart, lies that said these pieces of me that were woven with delicate beauty by my King - they were ugly and weak and worthless and needed to be hidden away.

And so I hid them and I cried and I wondered how I could be subject to such bondage to these little things that I thought were beautiful and strong, but that the lies had convinced me were ugly and weak.

When you hear those words enough times…

When you are subject to their disdain for too long…

They can destroy and warp and alter until you cannot even decipher between right and wrong anymore. They battered me until I even had to sit at the feet of Jesus and ask, “Am I all wrong?”

But no. NO. Oh no.

My Deliverer has come and with tears and fire in His eyes. He is fighting for me with His Love…this Love that has always been there, that has always been around me, that has always been chasing me. I was just too captive, too hurt, too blind to see...

It's Going to Be Ok: The Truth About Those Days You Feel Useless

Hey.

Hey you.

You’re amazing.

You’re worthwhile.

You’re doing great.

I know today you might feel like you’re useless. Like maybe you made a wrong turn and you didn’t expect to be sitting here like this in this place with these struggles and these unknowns for this long.

But girl…it’s ok. You’re ok. And that feeling you’re feeling? That’s ok, too.

Come on. Pick it up. Feel it close, and then let’s take it to the heart of Jesus together.

Because sometimes it’s these days when we feel like we’re not of any use to anyone that God really wants to show us how very special we are to Him.

Sometimes it’s these days when we struggle to find our value in the economy of this world, in the view of our society, and even in our own eyes that God’s trying to knock down some walls and tell us we’re glorious (2 Cor. 3:18), we’re fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and we have been created for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).

I don’t know where you’re at. I don’t know what you’re going through. But I know that the lies of the enemy can hit hard and knock down and steal breath and lie lies that can fill your mind with the idea that you’re not who or where you’re supposed to be.

But look at you. You are there loving Jesus and chasing after His heart (even as He’s relentlessly, recklessly chasing after yours). You are asking for wisdom and waiting for His answers. You are loving the people around you (don’t think that you’re not), and your heart is constantly yearning for opportunities to serve Him.

And that’s so beautiful. And you’re so beautiful. And it’s all going to be ok.

It’s going to be ok, and this weight on your chest today will be lifted tomorrow because, gosh, don’t you know? Joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). That’s a promise and a fact, and although your night may be long, and though the dusk clouds your eyes, the dawn is coming, and baby girl…it’s gonna be ok. You’re going to be ok. It’s all going to be ok.

And one day soon all of this will make sense. Even this sitting on your bed and wondering how in the world you got to this place, and then standing up and putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward anyway even though you really have no earthly idea WHY...

Do You Like Your Presents? Delighting in Your God-Given Gifts

“Jesus just asked me if I like my presents!”

Startled, I looked at my 4-year-old son who had been quietly and intently playing with his Legos (which were a Christmas gift) before uttering this exclamation.

“What?” I said, “Jesus asked you that?”

“Yes, mommy!”

“Wow. How did you hear Him say it?”

With a look of 4-year-old pity, he turned to me and replied, “He said it to my brain, silly!”

Of course. Silly me.

“That is so amazing, buddy. How special that you heard Jesus talk to you! Did you answer Him?”

“Yep. I told Him I like allll my Christmas presents.”

I really don’t doubt that my kid is hearing the voice of God. It’s utter simplicity to him. He doesn’t have any preconceived ideas or misconceptions. If a (good) thought fills his mind that he knows is not from himself, he knows it’s Jesus. Shouldn’t it just be that simple? But that’s another lesson for another time…

After having this conversation with my son, I got a little teary-eyed. Life has become so complicated for me. I’ve been in this state of constant wrestling: fighting for vision, fighting for direction, working through pain, and urgently, desperately seeking God for clarity and wisdom for the complicated “grown-up” things of life. And all of that is important, but…

I think I forgot that Jesus cares about the little stuff. Like if I like my Christmas presents.

I think I even put Him in this box that says, “when talking to Jesus, only the serious stuff matters.” I’ve grown to think that anything little, like telling Him how much I love my cozy new throw blanket, is just silly.

And maybe it is. But when did He ever say He doesn’t like the silly things, too? When did He say not to invite Him into every detail? Quite the opposite, really…look:

O Lord our God, let your sweet beauty rest upon us
    and give us favor.
    Come work with us, and then our works will endure,
    and give us success in all we do.

Psalm 90:17, TPT

There’s a point at which this starts to feel crazy. For all of these months I’ve been sitting and I’ve been writing. I’ve been praying and I’ve been crying. I’ve been talking to people and to God and I’ve been wondering what everything means. The embers have been stirred inside of me and the gifts that have been there all along, gifts being cultivated and watered by the Spirit in the secret place, are being uncovered…uncovered even to me, and I am left breathless in wonder, somehow saying, “God, I had no idea this was in there,” even though He and I have been working on it all this time.

So He brought me here and He set me down and He opened my time to where I started choking on too much of it. You know, when you have been running for years and you suddenly stop in the space of time, you start to feel the beating of your heart, and you start to assess what is going on inside.

And that stopping and feeling the beating of my heart…that was the grace of God even though, to be honest, it nearly destroyed me. Out on the battlefields I had been fighting for so long, thought I was fighting for good, for my family, to minister well, to be an example, to provide, and to love and serve people. But here with my beating heart and my battle scars, I realized so much of the fight was actually a fight for my life, a fight against the very enemy of my soul and his schemes which had been cutting me down and trying to take me out for a good long time. And I didn’t even know it until God brought me here to stop, to breathe, and to look at my heart.

Figuring that out all of the sudden can be pretty brutal, but oh, grace of God, it can also be the most astonishingly beautiful thing in the whole wide world and in all of life, because it’s there…there in the realization of the ache, in the depth of wounds, in the opening and cleaning of the scarred-over-places that Jesus becomes so real, so beautiful, so perfect, and so TRUE.

Don't Forget Who He Is: God Is Good (And Not Like A Cup of Coffee)

Don’t forget who He is.

This King of the Universe, this Grand Designer of heaven and of earth and of you.

Don’t forget who He is. Don’t take Him lightly. Don’t get a glimpse of Him and then go on with your day thinking that you’ve got this.

Because, guess what – you don’t. He does. He’s got this. This little life of Yours, He’s chosen to put it right in front of His eyes, right inside the palm of His hand.

Like a delighted craftsman, He looks at You and says, “Oh, this is good.”

Like a Loving Father, He directs and guides You and says, “Oh, see that I’m good.”

Like a jealous Lover, He runs after Your heart and says, “Don’t call anything else good. Only I am Good. All Goodness is found in Me. And oh, how I long for you to just turn your gaze back to me and remember how I Love you, to remember that I am good.”

“Let me see your face; let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant, and your face is lovely.” Song of Songs 2:14, NLT

But maybe you forgot. Maybe you forgot that “everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory.” (Romans 11:36, NLT)  This is the greatness of our God. Without Him we have nothing. Without Him we are nothing. Without Him there is nothing.

To taste and see that the Lord is Good (Psalm 34:8) is delightful and invigorating, but here we are, forgetting His utter greatness. And in our forgetting, sometimes we merely crave His presence like we crave our morning coffee. We want to taste and see so we can feel strong and move forward. We’ve had our coffee and our Jesus and then we close the door of our room on the empty mug and…God forgive us…on the very Lover of our souls.

Oh Jesus, I’m so so sorry.

When will we see how He jealously longs for us? When will we see that, while we so feel like we must fight and we must fend for ourselves and we must make things happen – His heart for us is actually contrary to all of that. He is offering us a Love so much deeper, so much greater, so much more intimate than this work-worn striving…so much more than this taking a sip of Him and then leaving Him behind and hoping the little taste that we got will get us through today.

Fall is in the Air: Change is Coming...Let Hope Arise.

Fall is in the air.

The trees are still green, but daydreams of lying under a canopy of gold and looking up through the leaves while the sunlight plays in dapple drops on your face make you smile, because you know what’s coming. You know it’s not far away…this season of autumn-crisp days and pumpkin-scented everything.

Mmmm…yes, hope is stirring.

Hope is stirring in anticipation of the changing seasons because you know that the season coming brings the warmth of blankets and family and cider and curling up with a good book with no guilt at all.

And maybe, like me, the hope inside your soul is stirring, too.

Because maybe as the seasons change outside your window, the seasons are changing inside as well. Maybe within your heart, the darkness of the shadows that have been hovering is being dappled by sunlight drops of hope that have fallen through the leaves of doubt and fear.

Repurposed: How to Have a New Outlook on Life Even When Things Look Bleak

“Siri, tell me where the coolest Starbucks in Dallas is.”

She gave me ideas for a few, but this one – this one looked special. I read a couple of articles about its unique interior design, about its rooftop garden. So when I walked in, I looked around before I ordered my coffee (yeah…crazy).

Long, black iron community table with tall iron chairs. Leather wingbacks and plush wall-installed sofas. Blown-glass chandeliers.

As a Starbucks-vibe connoisseur (the coffee is ok, but the Starbucks vibe? Oh yes, take me every day. To me, finding a new Starbucks feels like Christmas)…I was absolutely impressed. But what I loved the most was the shiplap-esque wall, and the gorgeous repurposed wood hanging artfully and beautifully from the ceiling, creatively covering up the air ducts.

Stunning. Absolutely stunning. It took my breath away. Did you ever just see something so beautiful that you felt like you almost couldn’t breathe? It hits different people in different ways by different means…for some it’s architecture, for some it’s flowers, for some it’s Picasso (you’re weird if this is you, but that’s ok, I like weird people).