All in Dreaming

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…

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?

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...

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.