Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Currently, I am in a season of blessing. I kind of despise that word 'season'. It's sort of a Christian catch phrase right now. I use it all of the time because well, seasons are guaranteed to change - bringing new, perhaps unexpected twists and turns.

Right now, I am celebrating blessings abounding.

Our oldest little is thriving and healthy for the first time in 4 years (she's only 4).

Our two youngest littles are growing stronger and staying healthy.

All of our littles are showing signs of intelligence beyond their years - impressing us at every turn.

Our ministry is thriving and God is sending many sheep our way to disciple.

We see growth all around us - through students who walk through the doors of our church and also in others we've known for years - who have suddenly come to life in Christ.

It is a beautiful "season". One where I could dance in the street if it wouldn't be so embarrassing.

Today, I am linking up with the voice bloggers over at, focusing on the book When A Woman Finds Her Voice, where we are sharing out stories in an attempt to bring others to the foot of the cross.

I have shared pieces of my story over the past few months. You can read about those here and here - oh and here. ;)

In marriage and motherhood, I have made one solid discovery that I can count on being true all of the time.

I can do nothing in my own strength.

I cannot even enjoy this 'season' in my own strength without acknowledging the ONE who gave it to me - the One who gives and takes away, because after all, blessed be HIS name.

I haven't always felt like dancing in the street. I have raged in the unimaginable and weathered too many storms in my short 31 years. I spent many of these years running from my creator.

I convinced myself that God would never want me or could never love me. Why? Fear. I Feared becoming someone who was weak or reliant. I didn't need anyone helping me get through hard spots - especially the Almighty who I perceived had allowed all of the terror to ravage my heart in the first place.

I remember hearing Christians say, "In the good book, God says everything happens for a reason," and I would wonder if something so feeling-less was really in the bible. To be completely honest, I was afraid to open a book that would confirm that the nightmarish events of my childhood happened because some great OZ was sitting on the clouds orchestrating events that wrapped icy cold fingers around my heart. From this very statement, I could not fathom serving a God who would create devastation in my life for a reason only He could know.

How in the world could I surrender my life to someone - an additional someone - who would leave me breathlessly searching for a love I still hadn't found?

How could I give love to one more person, to only wait in the wings for the trick - the lesson?

I don't remember the exact moment where grace flooded my heart. I wish I could recall a time where the realization that noone was on a cloud in the sky, putting things in my path frogger style.

A woman who I admire greatly spoke into my life once and said that things happen because we live in a broken world. It is up to you to let God use those terrible things for good. A more accurate description of everything happens for a reason, is God weaves good together from even the worst of circumstances. Everything that happens - even the really terrifying stuff - God can use to His glory. That's why He is God. That is why He is so cool.

Selfishly, I want the ability to take my bad and make good, but all I can do with my serving of bad is make it worse. God can take all the nightmares and hurt and pain and weave it for the good of those who love Him. 

The realization that God could take the ashes and the wreckage and make it beautiful and use it for good gave me hope. It gives me daily doses of hope. When the world crashes in around me and threatens to take everything I have gained, I give it over to God. Giving my pain and inability to create anything worthwhile from the bad doesn't make me weak, but somehow gives me the realization that I am much stronger than I could have ever realized - even when I'm all wrapped up in the storm clouds.

You see, a thick fog means the road is gone as much as a rainy day means the sun won't ever shine again. My anger at the things that had happened to the little girl who lived a not-so-charmed life never meant God was responsible for all of the pain. Sometimes bad things happen. The coolest thing about God is that He takes the force of the pain for us - He did on that cross and still does in our lives.

Sharing my story is all part of the path to allowing God to weave good from the ashes. When we can share what God did in our hearts, we get to see a glimpse of just how awesome God is.

Who do you know that will humble themselves to the point of humiliation to right your wrongs?

Are you ready to dance in the street and enjoy your blessings, even when life doesn't feel so blessed?

Head on over to and check out the new book study that is happening. You won't want to miss it.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

My path to knowing I'm beloved--When A Woman Finds Her Voice

I love words. I love everything about them. I love how they can fail you but also tell of everything in your heart. I love how the littles use them (completely wrong in context and usually without all of their consonants or vowels). I love how they tell the listener exactly how you are feeling. I love how they avenge you or make you look silly. I love that some people know more words than others. Most of all - above all else - I love that words help us to understand what Jesus did for us...why He came. That within the Word of God - the bible - we can find all of the promises, truths and hope that will sustain us from one disaster to the next.

After spending time leading worship over the weekend, I began thinking about words from the songs we sang. One in particular, "Not For A Moment" by Meridith Andrews. I love the words within the verses and chorus of this song...
After All, you are constant.
After All, You are only good.
After All, you are sovereign.
Not for a moment, will you forsake me. 
Sovereign. Such a powerful word. It elicits feelings for me because of my belief in an all-knowing King. I am a Christian. I serve a God who is in fact, sovereign. But what does that mean?

The official definition of a sovereighn God is a God who is in complete control. A god who has complete power over all of the earth and everyone in it. Sovereignty could be a stumbling block to an atheist or unbeliever because of inner turmoil that if God is in control of everything, why would he allow us to suffer so much here on this planet? If our sovereighn God is so in love with us, why all the pain and destruction?

As described within the pages of Jo Ann Fore's new book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice, 
" Short of heaven, I can't find anywhere God promised a pain-free zone. But He does have good things in store for us. He promises. And He keeps His promises. Anytime we're tempted to doubt God's hand in the circumstances of our lives, we need to meditate of Psalm 103. Here we are reminded (promised) that God not only forgives our sins, redeems us, saves our lives, crowns us with love and mercy, but He wraps us in goodness and, "makes everything come out right"
The yucky truth is that sinful human beings deserve nothing from a Holy God. We cannot manipulate God in prayer. We cannot expect a rich, pain-free life, as expressed by a man made false gospel that speaks nothing but prosperity. Neither can we expect to reach heaven because we are a "good person." Jesus Christ has been provided to us as the way to heaven. (John 14:6)

Part of God's sovereignty is that despite our unworthiness, he chooses to love and save us anyway. He gives everyone the freedom to accept or reject his love.

Bad stuff happens. Really terrible things occur in this life - entering our hearts and threatening to take from us, sometimes threatening to take everything from us. "At a time when hope threatens to never rise again, the power in the simple truth of God's word can call one's spirit to attention, can transform lives." (Jo Ann Fore, When A Woman Finds Her Voice 

For me, the pain of this world came fast and hard. Very early on, the family life I called home threatened my very sense of security. I remember walks home from school, wishing I could manufacture the environment I would walk into. I knew that what the afternoon held could only be determined by the one who was governing our home- Satan. I didn't know it then, but Satan was the responsible party for the elimination of my carefree childhood, and I can imagine he was thrilled about that unfortunate truth. I had the weight of the world presiding on my shoulders. I worked hard to fix - always trying to fix things enough to make everyone happy. I thought if I cared hard enough, loved everyone enough, cleaned the house enough, succeeded in school enough, succeeded in sports enough and just flat out pretended enough, that my home would be a normal healthy place. The problem was, I was never enough. I was never good enough or pretty enough or smart enough and Satan had his way in fooling me into finally convincing my tired soul into believing that my inadequacies as a young child were the reason my family life was a disaster. Do you have any idea what that does to the heart of a little girl? Always feeling, no always knowing, that whatever I did was never going to be good enough? I was exhausted and sad and feeling worthless before I was even 15 years old, and this was just the beginning.

I would do anything for attention, and I got plenty of it, but the quick realization flooded my soul that attention and admiration for my pretender self was never going to be good enough either. My heart was so lonely and no one ever knew. The pain of never being accepted or loved or cared for crashed around my heart and thoughts of the false reality that I was unlovable were sometimes too much to bear.

It wasn't until I allowed words - words given to me in the form of forever promises - to penetrate my heart that I was able to begin to fully realize how lovely I am, and that all the ugly realities of a young girl being swept aside were not God's plan for my life.

There is something my friend Jo Ann says in her book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice. Something that even after all the healing I have allowed God to orchestrate in my heart, brings me to my knees. She's speaking of full healing - the kind that only a sovereign God can bring.

"When she learned how much God loved her, 
how much he valued her, 
the soul-corroding shame lost its power." 
Jo Ann Fore When A Woman Finds Her Voice

To me, the truth that I was so very loved by a God who holds my tomorrows was the golden nugget that I needed to begin to heal from living a life of 'not good enough'. Reading this very quote reminds me of a time when crawling out from under an unimaginable pain of 'why did all of that happen' into the loving arms of a savior and the truth that I could trust in the promises of One who loved me so much that His 'mercies are new every morning' was the exact transformation I needed to become the whole version of myself that God had intended me to be.

I wasn't enough by myself, but I was always enough for Him. Satan had convinced me I could never be worth anything to anyone, but God has promised that I am worth far more than any riches here on earth, and tat there is no flaw in me. 

I spent my childhood and most of my adolescence just wishing someone would hold me and tell me it was all somehow going to be OK. I found that - but not the way I had searched for. In my searching for all of the wrong things  the temporary fixes, I found a God who is enthralled by my beauty. He makes nothing that is not worthy of love - I believe that is why we are in 'His image' so there could be no mistake of that. 

Another song - one that slays me every time has truths directly from the word from which I  was saved:

Under my mercy come and wait
Till we are standing face to face
I see no stain on you my child

You're beautiful to me
So beautiful to me

I sing over you my song of peace
Cast all your care down at my feet
Come and find your rest in me

I'll breathe my life inside of you
I'll bear you up on eagle's wings
And hide you in the shadow of my strength

I'll take you to my quiet waters
I'll restore your soul
Come rest in me and be made whole

You're my beloved, you're my bride
To sing over you is my delight
Come away with me my love

 Yes, it's all going to be OK. More than OK. Find your voice. God has a magnificent plan to use you for the glory of His kingdom. I can't promise you it's is all going to feel good or that it is always going to be easy, but I can promise you that it is - without a shadow of a doubt - going to be OK in every sense of the word.

Do you want to find your voice?  
Find out how important your voice is to the God I speak of. 
Read more below.

This week we are celebrating the official release of When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference. Join us? Leave a comment over at Jo Ann's post and be entered for a chance to win a FREE copy. Meanwhile be sure to head over to and sign up for a FREE Bible Study. And if you can’t wait and want to go ahead and pick up the book, Jo Ann is offering some awesome FREE gifts for you this week only with your purchase.