All tagged purpose

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.

The Star - A Journey from Darkness to Light

And when they saw the star, they were so ecstatic that they shouted and celebrated with unrestrained joy.

Matthew 2:10, TPT

Walking through the shadowy lands of this life and earth, oh how I long for light. In my efforts, my achievements, and my striving, I find myself falling deeper into the darkness, a darkness that opens up beneath the ache inside me that cannot be filled. No matter how much knowledge, riches, or power I attain, the ache is still there at the gaping mouth of the darkness, darkness which is trying to swallow me whole.

Where is the light? Where is the rescue from this darkness? Falling to my knees in the middle of my abundance (or perhaps it’s in the center of my lack?) I break open to the knowledge that I am incapable of rescuing myself. And there I finally whisper…

“Oh light, if you exist, please shine on me.”

Looking up, I see a glimmer of something on the horizon. It’s hardly enough light for me to even see my fingers in front of my face, but I stand and move toward it, for isn’t it the only light there is? As I slowly walk forward, the light becomes brighter. Somehow it even seems to be moving toward me as I move toward it.

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).

He's in the Darkness: Enduring the Dark Night of the Soul

It’s so dark here.

Darkness like that cave we visited on a field trip as kids. They said, “Turn off your flashlights and then put your hand in front of your face.”

So we did, and it was like we didn’t even have hands, like our hands were phantoms, lost with the rest of us in the darkness.

The darkness is complete and the silence is, too. Silence that can’t be described, like a room without windows or doors, without the whirr of air or the creak of a hinge.

I ache for a thunderstorm. That roaring, loud crash that is so obviously a message to run to safety; that rain that drenches me and makes me cold and I shiver and I shake, but at least I’m feeling something.

I dream of busy streets. That rushing to and fro, the honking of horns, that race that makes me feel like I’m doing something even if all I’ve done is cross the street alive or drive my car from one end of the city to the other.

I long for light, for a sunny day in the mountains where you almost have to close your eyes for a moment because it’s just too good, it’s just too beautiful.

But it’s dark here and I’m lost, my soul a phantom like the hand in front of my face.