A Surrendered Heart

I lay me down

upon the table

not knowing what’s to come

 

All my hopes

and dreams combined

are fighting for a single crumb

 

 

Inside of me

they push and pull

’til answers are revealed

 

But secretly

they know the truth:

tomorrow’s fate is sealed

 

Not in the hunger

Nor in the thirst

But only when I surrender

 

To the maker

of this starving heart

So bent on becoming fatter

 

He wants my hopes

He wants my dreams

to reflect the One above

 

I won’t be free

from longing for more

until I feast on His goodness and love

 

So I bow my head

but I lift my hands

in an effort that brings me rest

 

And I recognize

with teary eyes

that His ways are always best.

 

Photo Credit: Jamie Street
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Dreams of the Heart

At my women’s Bible study this week, a word was spoken during worship to encourage the weary. It was simply this:

“God doesn’t care about your comfort, He cares about your well-being. “

As soon as I heard it, I grabbed hold of it with both hands. I knew that there was some deep truth in that phrase for me to search out. It sounded remarkably like another phrase that was spoken to me by a mentor during a dark season of my life:

“God is more concerned about your heart than your happiness.”

Both of these words were meant to encourage and challenge me. They definitely didn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. In fact, they stung my pride just a little bit. And I was reminded of King David from the Bible who was called a man after God’s own heart as a young boy yet had to wait about twenty more years to walk in the promise of Kingship over Israel.

He already had the promise but his heart wasn’t capable of carrying the weight of its fulfillment just yet.

That resonates with me. I feel like I’ve been stuck forever in the waiting room of my life when it comes to dream fulfillment. One step forward, two steps back, until I fall over into the chair of discomfort and discontentment.

My heart and my mind wonder: Did you really put that dream in my heart when I was 16, God?

Much like David, I have been fighting battles with lions and bears in the wilderness. Goliath’s of all shapes and sizes have come against me during this time of waiting. Saul’s have come after me with evil plans and many times I’ve just wanted to find a cave and hide away.

But I have had to believe that “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” (Psalm 54:4)

I have had to trust that God is helping me fight each and every battle with the intent of preparing my heart for what He has called me to do in the future. That each time I’m blindsided by pain, my purpose is being refined through God’s sustaining love.

I now see, if given the opportunity as a young woman, I would have chosen to go after dreams based upon my personal comfort  And comfort can be downright fatal to the health of one’s soul.

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

A committed heart doesn’t come from an easy life. How can you tell if I’m committed if I’ve never had anything threaten my happiness? Commitment comes only after we have made a choice to stick with someone through all that may come our way.

A devoted heart doesn’t happen overnight.

If I had been given the opportunity to fulfill my dreams at 16, I would have wavered in my faith because my heart wasn’t strong enough to carry them yet. Years of discomfort and disappointment have come my way while I’ve been waiting. But, my heart has learned contentment and faithfulness because of the delay.

And if my dreams match the condition of my heart, I want to position myself under the waterfall of His love as much as possible. Comfort comes from Him when my faith is stagnant, but it never causes me to stop pursuing something greater than myself.

A healthy heart is my calling. And Jesus is the only doctor that can make that dream come true.

Choosing to Really See (An Empower Up Project Story)

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I was blessed to write a piece for The Empower Up Project yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, this amazing community/website “was created to provide ALL women with a platform where we can help each other grow, succeed and collaborate.” It was founded by the awesome Kim Albano, a leadership and development consultant doing the work of lifting women up and helping them go after their dreams. I am honored to play a little part in her vision of empowerment with a grace story that I wrote in view of my sister’s joy-filled perspective on life despite her daily struggle with the effects of breast cancer.

For those of you who are new to Grace for the Wasted Space and don’t know my sister’s story, check it out here. For those of you who need some light shed on your dark path right now, come on over to The Empower Up Project and see what I learned while watching my sister go through the greatest battle of her short life. Maybe you know someone that needs a little hope in this season. Maybe you need some?

I’ll leave you with this heartfelt quote from my piece and hope it resonates with you:

“We don’t have to say much to understand each other’s hearts. The seagulls squawking over a child’s sandy snack in the distance say what we’re both thinking: There’s just not enough to go around, is there? Or so it would seem. There are too many unfulfilled needs to be met. Too many broken hearts to be mended. Too many desperately lost to be saved. “

Moms, It’s Okay to Embrace Your Mushy Side

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Hi friends! I have a post up on my fave site, Her View From Home, for all my mamas out there. I have discovered a new side to myself since having children- sappy! (And I’m loving it, though it does make things awkward at times.) Come on over to HVFH and check out my newest piece if you’re constantly feeling that tug to tear up over things your kids do. I promise you’ll find some solidarity with other moms in my words.

 

“These opportunities come our way whether we like it or not. We have to decide if we’re going to let them steer us further into relationship with our child, even if that means shedding a few tears, or if we’re going to let them push us out of connection with them. Seeing life through our children’s eyes will evoke emotions from the hardest of hearts. Our children seeing life through our eyes will help them see that we, their parents, are simply human. Just. Like. Them.”

Read more… 

 

I’ve also linked up with Mom Life Mondays. 

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Photo Credit : Jon Flobrant 

And One More Thing Before You Vote

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Women,

I appeal to you to discover who you really are in Christ. Read the word of God and find out what He says about you. It is critical to your overrall health as a human being. And it is critical to the health of this nation. Yes. That’s right.

Your knowledge of your God ordained identity is the key to a healthy nation.

Did you know that Satan hates women? He literally detests us. So much so that he came to us FIRST in the garden of Eden. He wanted to use Eve to manipulate the man that God gave her. This was the first instance of deception in the Scriptures. The devil is still using his lying ways to rule women today. And those of us who don’t know who we are in Christ are allowing him to do it. (Read Genesis 3.)


The primary thing we Christian women should stand for is truth. Not experiential truth (which is temporal). Not circumstantial truth (which is ever-changing). The truth of who God is and what He says about our role in the earth. Let’s take a look at this truth that stands the test of time.

Acts 10:34- Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.”

Women and men are equal in God’s eyes. There is nothing, eternally speaking, that can elevate the status of a man over a woman (and vice-versa). Believing that in order for a woman to succeed she has to climb over a man to get there is a lie. Believing that God favors men over women because she has been used and abused by a man is a lie. God loves women. And He doesn’t try to convince us of this love through a skewed perspective based upon limited pleasure or pain that this world has inevitably forced upon us.

He convinces us of His unconditional, unbiased love through His words of truth which speak for themselves. In no way ever, does God put women down or speak less of the feminine sex. He also never says that women should use their femininity to wield power around like a magic wand. Both men and women are equally and inherently valuable.

When we know that there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more than a man and there is nothing that we can do to make God love us less than a man, we are untouchable by the enemy of our souls. Ultimately, that’s the point of this whole living on earth thing, right? To submit to God, resist the devil, and then watch him flee? (James 4:7) Shouldn’t our focus be more on submitting and resisting and less on competing and cheating? With other women? With other men? With ourselves?

What if we turned this nation upside down by grabbing hold of who we really are and never letting go of that truth- not even to the highest or most charming bidder? Chaos follows lies. Peace follows truth.

I implore you, before you go to the polls and choose our great country’s next leader, to vote for the person who values truth more than popularity and peace more than likability. Don’t vote based on gender because you feel like it’s high time a woman’s voice is heard. (By the way, women are speaking up in many places and many ways- influence has nothing to do with the size of your platform in the Kingdom of God.) Don’t vote based on your own hurts that have yet to heal in regards to what someone of the opposite sex may have done to you. Open up the good Book and ask God to reveal His healing, comforting love to you so that you can live a life of freedom. The truth sets you free!


Your ability as a woman of God to walk confidently in who He made you hinges on one thing alone: Jesus died for you. He also died for men, too. Let’s see eachother through the lens of Jesus’ sacrifice and let go of offense that is dividing the church (and this country) in two. America is at a crossroads and the only way to choose rightly is to choose truth.

Hebrews 4:12- “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Photo Credit: Ben White

The Reason I Write

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It’s simple, really. I do this writing thing for a reason. This blog is not a haphazard journal of random thoughts or a disheveled version of my personal life. Writing is a purposeful activity that brings me joy.

Yet I don’t write for me. I just get to benefit from my words. You may think that sounds cocky or irreverent, like I’m worshiping my own work. But, really, it’s a humble expression of the God’s-honest truth.

I write so that you will know you’re not alone in your struggles. I write so that you will know love and hope in a tangible way. I write so that you will know the truth of the goodness of God. Not for applause or acclaim. I simply want you to experience one minute, heck, even one second, of God’s grace. Believe me, I couldn’t write a single word without it. Thankfully, I don’t ever have to.

I have a message that can’t be contained. It has to be shared. And after I share it, I am blessed because I didn’t keep it all to myself. However, if I don’t share the truth nestled down deep inside of me, then I am not fully living. The truth sets us free, right? So, if I don’t offer you a taste of the free life, then I’m just hoarding my own freedom. How could I live with myself?

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As we all know, freedom doesn’t come without sacrifice. My pain on a page for the world to read, that’s sacrifice. But the glory that God gets through just one person finding hope through my struggles is worth the cost. Isn’t that what life is all about?

Sure, I experience healing from getting my thoughts onto paper. Sometimes, I can’t even talk about my hurt, but strangely, I can always seem to write about it. Once my authentic work is out there, peace follows in the knowing that someone will hopefully identify with it.

The thing is, even when my writing might seem a bit too vulnerable, my heart feels freer once I let the scary feelings out. Fear of judgement is quickly overshadowed by the undeniable presence of God’s love and faithfulness found in my story. These truths never fail to jump up from the page and surprise me. Closing my eyes in fear doesn’t remove His light of love.  

That, dear friends, is my reason for writing. To share the messy, unconventional, irrational grace that God has woven into my very ordinary and completely flawed life. To remind myself as I remind you that God has never left me and He never, ever will.

Why do you write?

Photo credit: Priscilla Westra

Finding Hope in the Mundane

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace. “

Helen Howarth Lemmel

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I love this hymn. It’s probably my favorite one. It addresses the questions and uncertainties of this life with an answer of hope.

The Answer is Hope.

This Wednesday, this mid-week slump of a day, has me all caught up in the mundane. I need some renewed hope. How about you? So, here’s my rendition of this timeless hymn. I pray it brings you newness of spirit, soul, and body.


I slightly see you Jesus. But I choose to turn, to redirect the position of my body so that I am facing in a different direction, to change my course if it is not in line with Your perfect will.

I really see you Jesus. I desire to look, to use my sight or vision in seeking, searching, examining, watching, to gaze upon Your beauty more than I stare at my ugly circumstances. 

I only see you Jesus. The darkness of this temporary place can’t overwhelm my soul. It has to fade away, disappear, vanish without a trace of existence in your presence.

I live to see you Jesus. Your love shines on every part of my life causing me to run wild and free because of your beaming favor that welcomes me into fields of grace.


Whatever you’re facing today, just look to the Jesus. the source of all HOPE, the answer to every problem. He will meet you where you are. And always guide you home.

The 5 People You NEED in Your Life

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I don’t know about you but as I’ve gotten older (rounding 40 in a few), I have come to realize that my life is much better with certain people in it. Of course, we can all relate to the opposite of this fact as well : Life is much better without certain people in it, too. 🙂

Here’s a list of the five types of people you need in your life right now. This very minute.

1. The Encourager 

This radiant girl is joyful and thoughtful. She doesn’t give in to negativity when the storms of life come her way. She doesn’t let you give in to negativity either. She blesses your life because of the thought she puts into what she says. She lives a life of purpose that is intentionally focused on lifting others up. It’s not fake happiness that she exhibits but rather true joy because of her glass half-full mentality.

2. The REAL DEAL

This gal knows how tough life can be. She’s been through the fire and the rain. She doesn’t sugar coat shi* but lets you know exactly what she thinks. She knows the value of authenticity and vulnerability causing her to be open about her struggles. This is not to bring you down but to help you from making her mistakes. She brings out the raw side of you and it makes you feel free. Her influence on you always prompts you to be your best self.

3. The Warrior 

I love this woman. She is strength and grace personified in a beauty so inspiring that the right words to describe her are hard to find. She fights her battles with wisdom and defends others that are losing theirs. No challenge is too great for her to war against because no matter what she has HOPE. Her passion for justice fuels your inner truth seeker. You can’t be around her and not want to take up a cause or help the hurting.

4. The Mentor  

This is usually someone who’s a bit older than you are and has seen more than you have. She is a walking testimony of God’s faithfulness and speaks of it often. She is also well-read and loves to share her knowledge with others in hopes of helping them navigate life well. She has a desire to nurture, teach and walk beside those that need a boost or just some accountability. Her choices represent strong leadership skills and you know you can go to her for advice on pretty much anything.

5. The Dreamer

This lovely lady has her head in the clouds for all the right reasons. She not only dreams BIG but she writes them down and puts her hand to the plow. Her determination to go all in causes you to  take a good hard look at your own dreaming ability. She does the things that most see as impossible and regards setbacks as set ups to greater opportunities. There’s no being around the dreamer without being motivated to set some serious goals. She believes in miracles and because of her, you do too.


So, I say, do an assessment of the women in your inner circle. Are they all benefiting your life in some way? Even more important to ask of yourself: Are you benefiting their life? How can you display qualities of the Encourager, the Real Deal, the Warrior, the Mentor and the Dreamer to those in your world? Who represents these descriptions to you? Sometimes, if you’re lucky like me, you can find one amazing sister that actually displays all of these attributes well. When you do, never let her go. ❤

#MondayMusings
I’m linking up with #mondaymusings from EverydayGyann.

My Addiction to Fear

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I’m learning that I can’t be the mom who saves my kids. From a lot of things. 

I have operated out of fear, in the name of protection, for too long. And it has taken from me. My sanity, my ability to trust, my peace.

More importantly, my fear has taken from my kids. Their love of new things, their desire for adventure, their confidence in their decisions. Yeah, I did that. (Or rather, I allowed my fear to do that!)

I couldn’t see it before because I was happily living in a padded room of my own making. Quite like the rooms you see on t.v. in the haunted mental institutions. This was my brain on fear. I was safe but isolated, left to deal with my tormenting thoughts all on my own.

What sobered me up was my gut-wrenching decision to put my kids in public school this year after only homeschooling them for the past 6 years. Just making the choice to do it felt like death hovering over me as I shook from fear withdrawals.

I felt sick at the thought of letting them go when all I (and they) had ever known was our home, our rules, our ways. But then, after the waves of nausea started to decrease, I felt something new and, honestly, it scared me.

Freedom.

Not in the sense that freedom is only delegated to the school-going families. No, freedom in the sense that I could actually walk away from something that was no longer working for our family. It was keeping me bound in despair as I wrestled every day with watching my kids cling more and more to me and less to their own amazing personalities.

You know when you just get to that point when enough is enough? You are afraid of the new thing staring you in the face but you know that the old thing has just been done way too long? That’s where I was when my husband came to me and introduced the idea of putting them in school. I had a choice to make, albeit painful.

I decided that I was not going to be a fear-addict any longer.

So, we did it. And it’s been great! It’s also been hard some days. But better all around. They are standing on their own two feet and learning to take responsibility for their choices without me there to prompt them. They are embarking on new friendships and engaging in activities that they would have not had the chance to do otherwise. Most importantly, my fear of them not needing me anymore was proven totally unfathomable. They get to take care of themselves when not at home but the evenings are my time with them. Time for snuggles and homework help and bedtime prayers.

They say fear is an illusion. I say fear is also a drug. It incapacitates you and leaves you wanting more and more of it until it’s all you can think about. Thank God I have a husband who listens to God’s voice and calls me higher when I’m living beneath the level of freedom God has for me.

Thank God, the taste of freedom is way more satisfying then the taste of fear.

Ladies, You Are All Awesome

God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.St. Augustine

How often do we get caught up in comparing ourselves with someone else? We discount our own gifting’s or abilities because someone else has the same gifting’s and abilities…and, in our opinion, they do it better. But, here’s the thing I’m learning:

Our opinion about our awesomeness has nothing to do with how awesome we really are.

Sure, we need to have confidence in ourselves. But, this confidence, if based solely upon what we can do within our own strength, will only get us so far. We will eventually feel depleted and worn out from trying to convince ourselves and everyone else just how talented we are. Sounds pretty exhausting to me.

The question that God has been gently asking me lately puts things in a new perspective. He says, “Do you believe that I would uniquely make you just to watch you fight for your place in the world?”  

He made each of us uniquely yet we compete and strive for center stage because we are so worried that someone else is going to out-do us. We strive to perform perfectly so that someone else doesn’t have a chance to one-up us. Or we try to outshine the rest because we only feel accepted if we get the public acclaim and applause.

The problem with this situation lies in the answer to God’s provocative question. Many of us, not being confident in who God made us to be, would say, “Yes, God, I believe you want me to work for my position.”

That’s what I said when He first prompted me for an answer. Was God stunned at my response? Definitely not. He already knew the fragile condition of my heart. I, on the other hand, was shocked by my admission.

I assure you, He wanted me to be aware of my self-dependency so He could point me back to the truth of His all-sufficiency.

However, we don’t have to prove ourselves to anyone. God made us unique which means we are matchless. We are distinct in our calling, our makeup, our strengths, and yes, even our weaknesses.

St. Augustine said, “God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” So, why are we constantly trying to prove to everyone just how lovable we are? Our value can’t be overestimated. Our worth can’t be bottled and sold to the highest bidder. God already paid for us with His unrelenting love and yet we try to convince ourselves and everyone else of our importance.

I think its high time we ladies got a glimpse of just how amazingly loved we are. We shouldn’t be downgrading our own value because of someone else’s value. We are all equally valuable but are all uniquely made. God doesn’t love us all the same because He made us all different. He does, however, love us all completely.

When we really understand this truth, we start walking in a new level of freedom in our relationships with God and others. We don’t have to try to be better than her (who pops in your mind?) because she was created for something that you could never do. (And vice-versa.)

We GET to embrace our uniqueness with confidence because we know that He never, ever compares us to each other. He affectionately looks at each of us individually and sees a beautiful woman made in His image. (Genesis 1:27)  There’s no upstaging that!