All in Christian Living

I don’t want to forget.

I don’t want to forget what I walked through. I don’t want to forget how it changed me. And mostly, I don’t want to forget Who brought me through it.

Cuz I’m sitting here now on the other side of the valley – a little breathless, but with the sun streaming onto my face. And it could be easy to forget. I could just turn and keep walking toward the brightness and forget that I just came through the shadows.

But I don’t want to. I need to remember where I was and contrast it to where I am. I need to not get caught up in the trivial things that seem so easy and meaningful in this brightness, when the thing that really matters is that my Savior Loves me, and He saved me, and He’s saving me still.

He never left me when I was in the depths. He never turned from me even when I screamed His Name in anger. He never walked away when the trouble got so troublesome that I nearly lost my faith.

No – He was there. Every. Single. Moment. Watching out for me. Holding me. Catching every single tear in that bottle that He holds right next to His heart. He was interceding for me. Crying with me. And whispering deep down in my soul that He understood – because He’s that kind of Savior, the most wonderful Great High Priest.

I can’t believe how much things have changed, and so very quickly. The wandering through the darkness felt as though it would last forever. Every ray of light I saw turned into a mirage when I was in that place, and each time the light melted away, my heart would go deeper into hiding.

BUT GOD…

This past week I ran into this gem of a Scripture passage hidden away in the book of Haggai. It moved me deeply considering the season I’m in, and I wanted to share it with all of you!

"Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 'Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies says: Look at what's happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes! This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies says: Look at what's happening to you! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord.'"

Haggai 1:2-8, NLT

This passage is talking about how God's people had been neglecting the rebuilding of the literal temple of God. As New Testament believers, we are God's temple (1 Corinthians 6:19), and He feels the same way about the care of these bodily temples as He did about the temple He dwelt in in the Old Testament! Doesn't that blow your mind? But in this day of scurry here, hurry there, achieve achieve achieve - depression, anxiety, fatigue, auto-immune disorders, digestive issues, and all kinds of mental and physical health issues are at an all-time high. This is a result of planting, building, and doing in our own strength, instead of surrendering to God and tending to our temples, and trusting that He will grace and enable us to do everything He's called us to do - but in HIS strength.

I could talk all day about the importance of rebuilding our temples, of self-care, but let me just leave you with a few action points instead…

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.

I'm Not Good Enough: Why Christians Need a Savior, Too

Hi friends!

I just wanted to write a quick little blog about a Scripture that kinda just kicked me in the gut. Here it is:

“You are busy analyzing the Scriptures, frantically poring over them in hopes of gaining eternal life. Everything you read points to me, yet you still refuse to come to me so I can give you the life you’re looking for – eternal life!” John 5:39, The Passion Translation

These are the words of Jesus to the Jewish religious leaders of the day. They were refusing to believe in Him as the Son of God, to embrace Him as their Savior.

But wait – I believe in Jesus, so why did this kick me in the gut? Well honestly, I know for a fact that there is some Pharisee in me…a part of me that wants to perform and to measure up and to be full of head knowledge about the Scriptures and try to live accordingly. I mean, isn’t that what makes me a good Christian?

But man, I have been realizing more than ever that simply knowing (or even knowing AND doing) the “right things” according to Scripture IS NOT GOING TO SAVE ME. In fact, I think for those of us who have grown up in the church, who think we are “good” because we don’t swear or get drunk or have sex outside of marriage, etc. etc. – I think we are in a serious danger zone. Why? Because we, like those religious leaders of Jesus’s day, think that we are made good by what we do. We may not say it out loud, but we are so “good” that we think we don’t need saving! Yes, we can say that Jesus is our Savior, that He’s forgiven our sins, and that we have given our hearts to Him. But are we truly trusting in HIM as our salvation, or have we simply been trusting our own good behavior??…

I want to testify about the faithfulness of God.

And I want to talk about depression.

Here are two things that can simultaneously be true: a person can be depressed and believe in the faithfulness of God.

I know there’s a lot of buzz around about the importance of not stigmatizing mental health issues or people with mental health issues, but let me throw my hat into the ring. Because I want to share something very personal: I am depressed. I have been depressed for a good long time. And for a good long time I did all the “right” things – I woke up each morning before dawn, got on my knees, worshipped, studied the Word, declared His (very true) promises over my life and my family’s life. I talked to some friends I trust about the things going on with me and asked for prayer and accountability. And it was all good, really really good and I learned so much about the Lord. In the midst of that season of battling depression in all the “right” spiritual ways, God somehow graced me to be able to complete my book, to take two overseas trips to speak to women leaders about the faithfulness of God, and to keep moving forward.

But it wasn’t enough. Even after doing all of those things right, my depression did not get better – it, along with my life situations, got worse.

The truth is, my family’s life has been thrown topsy-turvy this year. MY life has been thrown topsy-turvy. Some of the things I and we are dealing with are intensely personal and I cannot share them publicly for the sake of my family members’ privacy. But I will tell you this – there hasn’t been a single day that has gone by without having to walk through trauma of some kind on some level. And my mind and heart haven’t been able to bear up under the constant duress and the weight of it all…

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…

This week marks the last week I have “on my own” before my kids get out of preschool for the summer. Next week is the final week of school, but I’m heading out to Asia this weekend and so, when I get back, they’ll be home! This is huge for me as it’s the first time ever I’m going to have the chance to spend this much time with my kids.

Not being a stay-at-home mom has been a struggle for me – mostly a struggle because I have felt so guilty for feeling grateful that they had school so I could go to work (in Colorado) or pursue my passions and figure out my heart (since moving to Texas). But now more than ever I see how God’s hand has been in this, and finally – finally ­– when it’s almost over (at least for a season), I am certain that they have been where they needed to be and so have I.

Because this year that I’ve walked through (which has been very far from a cake-walk) provided me with the opportunity to come face-to-face with what I truly believed about myself and about God. It’s interesting to grow up a Christian and to dedicate your life to ministry from a young age, and then get here to the 30s and realize how much performance-based identity living in that “Christian paradigm” has created inside of you. Have any of you ever been through this? Here in this year of upheaval, though, I just could never live up to the expectations I had of myself (and which I thought others must have of me, too), and I discovered how much I had been living with lies rooted in me, lies that said I was only enough if I was doing enough, only valuable if I was achieving what society, the church, and myself expected of me…

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?

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?”

2 Samuel 7:18, ESV

The prophet Nathan had just delivered to King David the most incredible word from the Lord. The word had begun with the Lord speaking of the past, about how He had taken notice of David years prior, plucking him from obscurity and choosing him as the future leader of all of Israel (“I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel.” 2 Sam. 7:8b, NLT). Then He recounted to David all He had done, reminding him how He had been by his side every moment, fighting on his behalf and delivering him from his enemies (v. 9).

Surely these words made David’s heart beat faster and grow hotter as he remembered all that God had done for him. This would certainly have been enough to cause him to rejoice and be in awe of God’s intimate love and goodness for the rest of his days. And yet…

God wasn’t finished.

He went on to outline the fame He was going to bring to David’s name and family. He told him of His incredible plans for the future, plans that would originate with David and stretch into eternity, literally promising him an unending dynasty. God told David that his throne would be secure forever. This was a covenant – a promise that God could not and would not break. “Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.” 2 Samuel 7:16, NLT

After receiving this prophetic word from the Lord, David was so wrecked and in awe of God that he was compelled to go and speak with Him himself.

First of all – I love this. I love how David heard the God-words through a prophet, and therefore could have just said, “Wow! That’s amazing! Take my thanks back to the Lord for me, please…” But this is David we are talking about! The passionate lover of God couldn’t leave it at that. He needed to express his thanks to God one-on-one, not through an intermediary. And so, he immediately “went in” to sit before the Lord to pour out his heart.

And pour out his heart he did. This Scripture so beautifully expresses the heartfelt response to the words of the Divine being spoken intricately and intimately over a single human being. “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?”

God. Is. So. Personal. Sit down and think about it for a minute. Look at your life. No matter where you are standing, if you are reading these words, you are an absolute MIRACLE. Perhaps even the fact that you are reading these exact words today is evidence that God sees you and knows your every specific prayer and longing!...

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...