All tagged jesus

Jesus responded, “Just because I am the one making these claims doesn’t mean they’re invalid. For I absolutely know who I am, where I’ve come from, and where I’m going. But you Pharisees have no idea about what I’m saying. For you’ve set yourselves up as judges of others based on outward appearances, but I certainly never judge others in that way. For I discern the truth. And I am not alone in my judgments, for my Father and I have the same understanding in all things, and he has sent me to you.”

John 8:14-16 TPT

I love this passage. Jesus is so amazing!! These verses come just after He had proclaimed, “I am the light of the world and those who embrace me will experience life-giving light, and they will never walk in darkness.” (Verse 12) The Pharisees were astonished and offended by this declaration. How could Jesus claim such a thing?? They got snarky with Him and accused Him of being arrogant. “You’re just boasting about yourself!” they said. “Since we only have your word on this, it makes your testimony invalid!” (Verse 13)

But guess what? Jesus wasn’t being arrogant or conceited when He said these things. Not at all. He was simply speaking the life-giving truth of who He was!! And the people needed to hear this truth, because it was their chance to have eternal hope!

Oh how beautiful Jesus is. He is our light. We literally do not ever have to walk in the darkness of despair that wraps this world in its tentacles, because Jesus’s light overcomes it; His life can and will flood our lives if we recognize Him as our Savior and declare Him as our Lord.

That’s enough good news right there for us to give thanks for eternity. But something else has struck a powerful chord in me as I’ve meditated on this passage: we can have the same confidence Jesus had in these verses. We too can say, “I absolutely know who I am!” Why? Because we are in Him (“Your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Col. 3:3) and He is in us (“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Gal. 2:20). We have become one with Him because of what He has done for us on the cross. Oh Jesus! How marvelous You are to Love us like this. Because of His sacrifice, because of His Love, we can confidently, absolutely, know who we are.

Hi guys.

It’s been a while.

There are a bunch of reasons why I haven’t really been able to write recently. One big one is I have my two littles home with me for the summer and, well, that takes most of my time. J

But I have to admit, the biggest reason why I haven’t been able to write is because I’ve been walking through something really really hard. After returning from an incredible trip to Bhutan at the beginning of June, this hard blindsided me and I’ve been working on catching my breath ever since. The problem is, the hard is part of my daily life right now, so catching my breath is more of a gasping day-by-day nature. It’s one of those hard things you can’t walk away from; one of those hard things that doesn’t have a known expiration date.

So here I sit in the middle of my hard and I’m wondering what to write to you guys, because I feel as though there is so much burning within me waiting to come out, and I desire to write even though my heart is very heavy.

Here’s the thing – I’ve been talking so much about seeing eternity, about seeing the REALITY of God in the midst of the “reality” of our situations. A bit ironic I suppose to have that as the burning message in my soul as I walk through some of the most difficult weeks of my life. But maybe it’s not as ironic as I think. Because you know, God doesn’t inspire us with messages to share just so that other people will be encouraged to walk in courage and freedom. No, somehow – I am convinced – somehow every lesson He allows His mouthpieces to share are in fact lessons first and foremost for themselves.

I realize even right now as I write that His wisdom and His Love are extraordinarily intimate…

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...

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.

Courage, Dear Heart: A Lesson on Hope

“Courage, dear heart.”

-Aslan, The Voyage of the Dawntreader

Lucy was heading into a place of great darkness when these Aslan whispers were carried on the wind by a bird flying above her head. These same words are whispering now over me, too...

Courage, dear heart.

You don’t know what’s next. You don’t know why you’re here. But courage. Courage, dear heart, because I know.

If I know that He knows, and I believe that He loves me, and I’m convinced that all things are for my good (Rom. 8:28), then my heart should rise to meet the whisper flying on the wind, grabbing it with both hands as I breathe in the courage of knowing my God is near.

And that He can be trusted.

Today, I look at what’s in my hands. I look at my time and the things that I’m doing with it. And I don’t fully understand what it’s all about. Actually, I don’t really understand it at all. But with all the grit I can muster, I put my head down and I move forward and I write, because it’s all I know to do right now. This writing and this studying and this speaking truth. This loving my children, my husband, and my friends, and this taking it one day at a time and believing that there’s a purpose for this season, even though I don’t understand.

This season is different than the ones I’ve had before, but isn’t it funny how in every season we can find what’s wrong? In every season we can uncover heartache under a rock and then let it fall on top of us, thinking that our lives are over.

This is silly and crazy and yet it’s the human condition, isn’t it? Because oh, there’s this longing inside of us that just knows there is more. There’s so much more and we can feel it fleetingly in the breeze that blows through our hair, or in the smile of friend, or in the moving chorus of a song, but just as soon as we reach out to grab it, the more we tasted slips through our fingers and we wonder if it was something we simply imagined. Because isn’t hope the very thing that causes disappointment? If we hope for that fleeting more to take root in our lives on a more consistent basis, won’t we fall into despair when…

Well…

When it doesn’t?

Mary.

Mother of Jesus.

All these years I’ve known of you. How did I not see who you really were? I thought you were little Mary, meek and mild. But now I see that just couldn’t be.

Mary. Young Mary in Nazareth. An angel of the Lord came to you and told you that you’d conceive and give birth to a son. And yet, you had never been with a man.

No Mary. You weren’t mild and demure and timid. There’s just no way. This was no joke, being told by an angel that you would be with child. And not just that, but to know that within you would grow God’s Son Himself. Mary, dear Mary- God needed a woman of strength, a woman of dreams, a woman with a fiery, fearless soul. He needed a woman who had decided long before that fateful day that she would believe and follow God, regardless of how foolish it made her look.

I bet you were the one who walked around recounting the stories of God’s miracles from long ago, with a light in your eyes because you chose to believe that this great God still existed. I bet you were mocked for your foolish, wide-eyed hope in these ancient tales. I bet as you skipped and sang of Elijah being taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire, that you were hushed and shushed by a jaded generation saying, stop singing, girl. Those things don’t happen anymore. Keep your head down. Be quiet. This ugly life is all you get and you need to stay silent to stay alive.

Valley of Trouble, Gateway of Hope: Experiencing the Heart of Jesus

I will return her vineyards to her
    and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
    as she did long ago when she was young,
    when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
Hosea 2:15, NLT

Oh how this season has been a valley. Oh how I had thought that coming here, that this act of obedience was going to take me to joy, to dream-fruition, and to passionate service for the Kingdom. This was my expectation. This was my hope. I obeyed and I came and I made all of the immense changes because I thought that it was time, time for the dreams to awaken, time to take Your hand and to follow you into destiny.

Then I arrived. Any my heart sank. And nothing was as it was supposed to be. And trouble started to come upon me, not in drops, not in showers, but in waves. Wave after wave of trouble and heartache and the cries of “Why God?” and “Where are You, God” and “Have You forgotten me?”

Oh Valley of Trouble, how you broke me. How you brought me to my weakest point and left me on my face on the floor, unable to move. I didn’t know you were coming. I didn’t know that making this change and walking in obedience was going to bring me to this place where trouble was a flood around me, a valley of bones surrounding me, a desert of hopelessness and fear and brokenness with no oasis, no end in sight.

Yet here I stand.

Today.

And I say with fullness of heart…Thank You, God. Oh thank you for the Valley of Trouble.

But why oh why would I thank Him for this? How can I be broken and battered to within an inch of my life and say thank you? And not just thank you, but 100% without hesitation, I would do it all over again. Have I gone mad? Have I lost my senses?

Here I am.

Face to face with my own brokenness.

In desperation I cry out, oh God…deliver me, as I see the depth of my sin, realize the immensity of my weakness. Oh God…deliver me.

But how? How does He deliver? What will He do to free me from myself?

Let Me show you the dream on My heart, He whispers.

And He takes me to that place.

That place of most dreaded sadness. There. Golgotha. Mary’s robes whipping in the wind as tears stream down her face. Man unrecognizable hanging on a tree. Blood-soaked ground and moans of anguish.

This is My dream, He says again with wetness on his cheeks and a smile tugging the corners of his mouth.

Oh God. God. What could you mean? How is this Your dream?

Here, give Me your sin. Give Me your brokenness, He says.

I hand it over and wonder what on earth my sin has to do with His dream. He takes it in His hands and walks over to this place of greatest grief…the cross of Christ. He lays my sins there at the cross and beckons for me.

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.