Monday, April 23, 2018

Something Beautiful

The story behind this pic goes a lot deeper than your scroll could ever take you. 
When we parked directly across from this sign, I immediately told my teen daughter we HAD to take her picture there! 
She was hesitant. 
I was like WHAT?! Get over there! You embody that sign! That is ALL YOU! We are taking your picture! 
And we did. And they are beautiful. 
But here is the irony...

She wanted to take some of me, too. And I complied. 
But all of them-I honestly cringed at. 
I picked apart every flaw of myself. 
My size, my wrinkles, my hair, my outfit, my belly, my teeth...all of it. 
I laughed at thinking I was even worthy to stand in front of a sign bearing that word: beautiful. 

When we came back to the car, we took a few more with friends- because let’s be honest- it is a really hip backdrop. 
And as we walked away, Logan, not knowing we had already taken some of me, asked if I wanted her to take some, and I obliged. 
So I did my best to smile pretty, suck it in and- well- you know the drill.  

While we were taking them she stopped and said, “Ok. Fix your smile.”
And I knew exactly what she meant. I was looking frozen. 😜

I was losing myself in the picture of beautiful I was trying to create. 

So I made some funny faces to loosen up and then looked back at her laughing at my own crazy. 
And this is the picture she caught. 

It’s my real laugh- the one that makes my eyes get lost in my wrinkles and my big ole mouth overtake my face. And I didn’t care about the sucking in or what my hair was doing...because...well...laughter does that. 

I didn’t even look at the picture right then because I knew I would be dissatisfied- ready to unleash the list of “if only’s” I have long memorized and spoken to myself: 
If only I was smaller, if only I was younger, if only my nose wasn’t crooked, if only, if only, if only- THEN maybe I would share this picture. 
If only I felt worthy of being called something beautiful. 

Y’all. I am 41. And I still struggle with this. I struggle with seeing the beauty because I am too busy studying the ashes. 

Caught up in what I do or don’t see instead of what my Father says. 

Maybe you completely have no clue what I’m talking about- maybe it’s just me. But I have a feeling I’m not the only one. I think in some way or another we all struggle to see ourselves as “something beautiful”. 

I think back to the moment my girl hesitated to take her picture with these words, and how my heart broke thinking she felt even for a second unworthy of that. 

And I know my Father must feel the same when I speak lying labels over myself, when I choose to listen to every other thing about who I am except what my Father says about me. 

If only I fully believed that Jesus died to free me of those lies, to bring beauty for my ashes, joy for my mourning...
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3 

What can’t be lost in looking at this verse is the why found in verse three: it is all for the display of HIS splendor- for His glory to be made known. 

THAT is the reason I live and breathe. Whether that amounts to the world’s current definition of outward beauty, or even my own- the TRUTH remains that Jesus’ death and resurrection has redeemed me from every lie and brought the beauty God intended into my life. 
What HE calls beautiful. 
And I am simply called to make that known. 

To take this something beautiful and become someone surrender to something wonderful: 
His perfect love. 

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a place where I get this right- even a slight majority of the time. 
But it doesn’t mean it’s ok for me to stop trying. 
I’ll wake up each day asking for His mind, His eyes, His heart...and His strength to live it all out in a world that looks so different. 
Go live loved. 
Because you are. 
You are something beautiful. 

Let’s remind each other of that #SimpleTruth more often.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

5 Steps for Navigating Rejection from a Lifelong People Pleasing Perfectionist

Fear of rejection. 

It is real. 

I have only edited these words 5 bazillion times because of it. 

What MIGHT people say? How many likes or site hits will there be? 

In every area of life, the enemy tries to convince us to use fear as our fuel over faith. 

We are frozen in the shadow of what someone might think.

We are paralyzed by the fear of rejection. 


Because the pain of rejection is very real. 

And if you've ever experienced the PAIN of rejection, then it is something you choose to avoid. 

That is why the FEAR of it is so powerful and persuasive. 

I get stuck spinning my wheels in the mud and muck of those times the worst fears of this people pleasing perfectionist were realized and rejection happened. 

So how do we move forward? 

How do we move forward CERTAIN we can avoid the pain of rejection? 

The answer: we can't. 

Rejection is a part of life. 

It cannot be completely avoided. 

We must to learn (notice I said WE- because I am STILL learning!) how to navigate rejection instead of being paralyzed by the thought of it  or drowned in its wake. 

We must choose, God helping us, to change our perspective. 

See, what we call rejection, God calls protection and redirection. 

It isn't the END of the road, it's a BEND in the road. 

We have to acknowledge that we will experience rejection, and know that, through faith in Jesus, we not only can survive, but ultimately thrive WHEN (not IF) rejection comes our way. 

How do we do that? 

These are 5 steps I have been walking through to navigate the storm that is rejection. Maybe they can be a lifeline for you as well. 

1. Acknowledge the hurt. Write it down. Put words to the pain. And then? Forgive. 

It won't happen overnight. But it has to be a choice before it is a realized feeling. So choose to turn toward forgiveness and God will weave it into the fabric of your heart one thread at a time. 

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.””

John 16:33 NLT

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

Colossians 3:13 NLT

“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”

Hebrews 12:15 NLT

2. Acknowledge what different choices you can make next time, the ways you can personally grow. 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Psalms 139:23-24 NLT

3. Acknowledge SPECIFICALLY the lies that the enemy is screaming at you about who you are through this rejection. Write them down, even though it may be painful. He only wants to derail and disarm you. Don't let him. 

Jesus says about the devil, your enemy, “...He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

John 8:44 NLT

4. REPLACE each of those specific lies with God's truth- who HE says you are. Dig in His Word and find out what HE says about you. Write them down, even though you might not quite believe them yet. Repeat them daily. Put them on notecards and put them in the places and spaces you will be, find them in songs, say them aloud. Don't leave space for the lies to take root. 

“Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.”

Psalms 119:18

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

Psalms 139:17-18 NLT

5. Do the next thing. Take the next step. Refuse to pitch your tent in the campground of rejection. Put a pin in the map o your life and acknowledge it as a part of your journey, but don't let it become your default destination. Pack it up and move forward- even if it's at a snail's pace. 

 Fill your time with constructive, positive, life giving things. Find companionship first with Jesus. Volunteer your time. 

Worship Him. Dream. Hope. Laugh. Give. Do. 

And whatever it is you're afraid to do, if God is asking you to do it, do it afraid. 

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 NLT

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

I know if you're a lifelong people pleasing perfectionist and you're thinking this list of 5 things seems messy and foggy and wildly unpredictable and're right. 

It's surrender. But not the kind that means defeat. It's surrender that is your victory. 

These 5 steps don't mean you can move on overnight or that no pain will be present through the process. It simply means you have a plan, a process for healing that you are choosing to step into. 

It's your plan for moving on from being paralyzed by the fear and pain of rejection, and instead be propelled into your purpose filled, Holy Spirit empowered life. 

What we call rejection, God calls protection and redirection. 

God has protected you from what was on that path by redirecting you to another. 

Trust Him. 

THAT is when the fear of rejection no longer controls us and FAITH takes the reigns.

Don't let fear of rejection paralyze you.

Let it propel you toward a deeper faith in Jesus, knowing that He has a perfect plan for your life. He has prepared you for every step and He will never leave you. 

This is #SimpleTruth that can help you navigate rejection all the way through to Christ centered, Truth empowered healing and freedom. 

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”

Philippians 3:12-16 ESV

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Hard of Hurt and the Hope of Our Healer

When hurt is in the deep, deep places, so unseen, it is hard to know how to walk forward. 
I only know to write and to worship what is raging and stirring in my spirit. I just don't know any other way. 
So here I am, fingers to keyboard, not knowing what He has me to say and what He needs me to hear. 

When hurt and grief grab us unexpectedly, chaos happens inside. 
We look a mess trying to fumble through our days, stumble through the mess of broken ground around our hearts. Our minds are stuck in the waves of our ache and our tears and by all intents and purposes- these aches and pains are not even truly our own. 
We ache because our friends ache. 
We hurt because they hurt. 
We grieve because they grieve. 
And we grasp for words to say, to heal. But we find that all the words are thin and the healing seems so far away. 

I sit and weep over pain that only the Holy Spirit could open my heart to feel for another. 
And I am not alone. That is the compassion of our God, isn't it? That He would drop into our spirit even a small twinge of what our friend is trudging through because He will not allow her to walk that path isolated and alone. He. Will. Not.

My heart is so torn and broken. But I know that those who loved intimately this life lost, their heart must feel broken and scattered so hopelessly. 
And so I get on my knees and cry out that God gather those pieces to Himself and for His glory. 
He alone is good. Even when it hurts so deeply, when the pain is so relentless…His love is deeper still…His love is a fiery passion that will NEVER stop pursuing us even in the dark and hard places. 
The victory is His. Not will be…but already is. We live FROM that Hope, not FOR it. Death IS conquered. And because HE lives, WE can live. My friend’s daughter now lives eternally.

My heart aches in so many ways today. 
Questions flood my soul…
Do those around me know this love?
Are my children rooted in the truth of this One and Only Lover of their soul?
Is my walk with Him intentional or haphazard?
Would I be able to cling like this to Jesus when the pain of the world has wounded me so?
Is my faith strong enough to bear the weight of whatever life brings?
Is Christ truly enough for me?
Am I content to live as His yet never share the desperate need for the Savior with those far from relationship with Him? 
Do I walk in boldness or do I bow to fear?
Am I living comfortable in my salvation or captivated by my Jesus? 

Jana, my friend who has suffered such great loss, said to me once, 
“Comfort is a terrible life goal.”
I wrote those words down. 
I don’t know if these are her words or ones she simply passed along to me. 
Either way, they struck deeply that day.
I had been living for comfort. And it is such an easy trap to fall into. Before we know it we are back on the couch of our lives, settled into complacency and our voice of truth not carrying past the door of our heart. 
I cannot be content with comfort in some thin version of Christianity when so many do not know, when so many do not have relationship with my Jesus. 

There is no way to stand when life’s blow is so sweeping, swift, and powerful…unless….unless 
your ROCK,
your HOPE, 
your POWER, 
your VICTORY, 
is Jesus. 

We will still weep today and in days to come. 
Our hearts will still ache for our friend. 
We will still call on our God to be near in the watches of the night. 
And our God will dry our tears.
Our God will embrace us in the ache. 
Our God will answer and empower us to stand strong in days to come and rest in peace in the darkest of nights. 

We will not be shaken. No. 
We will be STIRRED to action in His name and for His glory. 
We will not be paralyzed with the SHOCK of it all. NO.
We will let this SHOCKWAVE be the SURGE of power that catapults us into greatness for the Kingdom of God.
We will not be SILENCED in the suffering. No. 
We will SHOUT the praise of our GOOD GOD. 
We WILL- in the hurt, in the sorrow, in the pain, in the confusion, in the unanswered questions, in the anger, we WILL shout the praise of our good, good God. 
That is what our gone-home-so-young-friend is doing right now. 
And I am sure sweet Ally would want it no other way. 

And this? Do not doubt that this is some of the hardest #SimpleTruth to write and hear. 
My prayers are not ceasing. Please join me. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Line in the Sand

A line in the sand. 
The urban dictionary says it’s,"Something that you refuse to do, or something on which you will not compromise. A point that you will not pass in any situation."
You might call it a defining moment. 
That moment you firmly choose which way you’re headed at a particular crossroads of life. 
It’s the place where ideas are birthed, visions are cast, declarations are penned, challenges are accepted. Mediocre is not welcome, mundane has to flee, and uncertainty is exiled. 
That is what happens when you draw the line in the sand. 
You decide that you will go no further in that same old way. No more compromise. It stops here. 
And the new mindset begins. 

But sometimes you need someone to remind you that you are worth that line in the sand. 

And I think that is where I was when I received this message from my friend.
A picture of my name and 2017 in the sands of a Hawaiian beach that brought me to tears.

What was just a simple gesture, a rake of the finger across granules of earth, a mere moment in time for her…that became a defining moment for me. 
What I had desired in my heart, was drawn in the sand for me.
She stooped down to drawn lines in the sand that spelled out a future not dictated by my past, but a future declared by the passion and positioning of my present. 

And in that moment I was reminded of Another who once did the same for a woman caught in sin and faced with a past so insurmountable that she could not imagine her future. I can only imagine that she stood before her accusers and could not find the hope to grasp in that moment. 

But Jesus.

“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and sin no more.’” (John 8:6-11)

Jesus drew lines in the sand that changed her future from condemnation to grace. 
And the line that Grace draws? It changes things.
He drew a line in the sand of her present that declared her future untainted by her past. 
A defining moment. 
A woman on the doorstep of condemnation, now a woman on threshold of transformation. 
She simply had to remember that line in the sand.
That place where Jesus stooped down, raking his finger across granules of earth, and spelled out a future not dictated by her past, but a future declared by the forgiveness of her present. 
A defining moment that defined her life.
A defining moment that didn’t tell her she had to stay in the familiar- it unleashed her into the freedom of her present and the promise of her future. 

That’s what a line in the sand will do: unleash you from the ordinary into the extraordinary, from the mundane into the insane, from the past into the power, from the mediocre into the marvelous, from the safe into the spectacular. 
And sometimes God uses another to draw that line in the sand of your heart. 
To remind you, you are worth that finger scraping the earth.
You are forgiven.
You are called to GO. 
You are worth that defining moment where a thing is birthed, a vision is cast, a declaration is penned, a challenge is accepted. 
All you have to do is believe. 
Believe that you ARE who Jesus says you are and you will DO what He has purposed and prepared for you in advance to do! 

A line in the sand.

Let the new mindset begin. 

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works , so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

“…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Itty Bitty Life

It's a huge assignment. 
And sometimes I feel so small for the task. 
But Jesus didn't think so: He died and rose again for me to have it. 
He absolutely believes that I am enough for every single task, every single encounter, every single valley I enter and every single mountain I am called to scale to make His name known. 
Not because of any good or any power that I alone possess. No. 
It's because He is enough in me. 
When I fully embrace the One the world so desperately needs to know, that is when I so beautifully make Him known. 
Not because I am asking the world to look at me, but because I am so locked in on Him they can't help but see the One who has captured my gaze.
I can only truly represent a heart I fully know. 
That is when I become an ambassador for Christ. 
So today, even when I feel like the tiny and powerless, I will focus my spirit on the only One with power to make me big and bold. He will take my itty bitty and do great big things as I stand surrendered. 
What will my life say about Who He is today? 
 #SimpleTruth to power your day, you life and connect others to His tender grace.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Unexpected

It hit me a while back. 
One of those deep thought moments where truth just pierces and you see what you couldn't see when you had to take that first step of faith that scared you and almost paralyzed you.

It hit me when I was siting on a bus on a once and a lifetime trip that had all come about because of something I never expected. 

I never expected to be diagnosed with major health issues. 
I never expected to try all the "right" things and still end up living in daily pain that no one even really knew about or understood. 
I never expected for a quick message to turn into the path to pain free. 
I never expected on that path to find the opportunity to share this hope with others. 
I never expected to be reduced to tears over stories of success and renewed health. 
I never expected so many doors of ministry to open simply because I shared my struggle. 
I never expected to be able to speak the love and life of Jesus into so many people's circumstances. 
I never expected financial blessing and freedom. 
I never expected any of it. 

Because I was living from my limited expectations instead of from my LIMITLESS God. 

I was dreaming from a safe place. 
I was compartmentalizing my life, unable to see the possibilities of where heaven meets earth...where everything I have to offer is surrendered to Him in every place, in every situation. 

My mission is to lay down MY mission and take up HIS in any and every opportunity He places before me. 

All of these are pieces of my dream- glimpses of who I am- who HE created me to be. 
And they are all His.

I long to be a person that allows the Lord to loose heaven through me. 
I never expected God to use something that I hadn't even considered. 
But He did. 
And I am thankful I get to share that with others. 

One year ago He prompted me to step out in scary faith and bare my soul. 
It's been a journey of growth that has stretched me in so many ways.
And I wouldn't trade it for a thing. 
I know it's only just begun. 

The only way to limit less in life is to live LIMITLESS in CHRIST!! 
#SimpleTruth for your day, your week, your! :) 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

South Carolina Heat and Jesus Fire

It's hot. Like I just want to hire people to fan me hot. If you haven't lived in the south, and you don't know what SC 100 degree heat feels like, you can just nod and pretend. 
If you have, you just said, "Bless her heart" and meant it. 
You don't leave anything in the car during the daylight hours unless you want it warped or cooked. Ask Jarrett's poor Chipotle rewards card he left on the dash. 
And God bless your soul if you sit down on leather seats with anything shorter than capris. It's the kind of hot you feel with every breath. It's humid and hot and even the shade wants relief down here. 
And while I complain and fan with my old church fan in the car(not even kidding- see pic))

WITH the air running...all of the sudden, I remember. 

I remember all those Facebook posts about a countdown to summer I saw everybody posting and the longings for heat filled bathing suit weather and all the sunshine. 
We asked for these days. 
We longed for change. 
But for that cold season to leave, heat had to arrive. 
Change could only come with heat. 

No doubt: Heat changes things. 

And so it is when God allows the heat, the fire of life to come to that area where I've been asking for change...and I pitch a fit. I fan and whine wanting the heat to be turned down because it's just hard to breathe sometimes. 
But He is changing my season and the heat has to come. 
He is transforming this vessel and the fire has to breakdown what was to prepare for what will be.

And I have to trust Him. 

Melted hearts in the hands of the Refiner.
The fire doesn’t change our worth, it changes our purpose.
Melted gold is still gold…its just being shaped by the Creator into something that is going to add to its value, not detract from it!

It will not be comfortable or easy. 
It may feel like running barefoot on a SC blacktop some days. 
But there's a big patch of country grass and clover waiting to pause and cool my weary feet and my racing heart along the way and it's right next to the heart of my Daddy. 

So when the heat comes and the fire blazes, just know that what we call destruction, God calls preparation for purpose. 
It may feel like an end of good things, but in reality it is the beginning of GOD things. 

God's plans are to prosper us, to PROPEL us into our purpose and future. 
He is our Refiner. 
He is the Rebuilder of broken walls. 

So the next time you feel like Jarrett's chipotle rewards card left on the dash in this SC summer heat- all warped and bent- remember that it just means you're ready and able to be shaped for a purpose you may not yet know in the hands of your Father who DOES. 

Fan on fiends. But don't remove yourself from the hands of the Refiner. 
He makes all things new. 

#SimpleTruth for when the heat comes. 
Praying you know your worth in Christ today and everyday.
“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’””
Zechariah 13:9 NLT

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:19 NLT