security clearance

I was talking recently with a woman whose husband works for a government agency. She was sharing how odd it is sometimes not to be allowed into certain parts, big parts, of his life. We pondered at the challenge that can come to being in relationship with someone with whom you cannot share your entire self.

Many of believe that without complete transparency in all things relationship is void of value. It is wisdom, however, to understand the mutual nature and benefit of the relationships we enjoy. It is possible to have a full connection to someone yet still have spaces which are reserved for only a select few. Or, for God alone.

Sometimes I struggle with relationships where I don’t feel there is an equal reciprocity, or when there are things that cannot be shared because we don’t share the same value or processing system. Such connections can feel disjointed or unfulfilling at times, however, when we begin to shift our perspective and understand more clearly the quality each individual relationship brings, we can begin to walk in more freedom in ALL our daily interactions.

Freedom always begets freedom.

You know the saying, ‘some friendships are for a reason, some are for a season.’ Albeit sometimes a painful truth, the trust that we can have in our Heavenly Father lends itself to the opportunity to embrace each one as it is, and release unrealistic expectations placed on those whom we often assign responsibilities they are not positioned or equipped to fill.

Not everyone is meant to gain full access to our deepest spaces.

The other day I had a conversation with someone who was broken because of a lost relationship. It had just begun and ended just as abruptly. Years later her heart still longed to know the source of the friendship’s demise. As I shared the possibility that it wasn’t actually meant for her, that perhaps God was protecting her from heartache or a situation she was not equipped to navigate, a look of relief came over her face.

She was set free from the belief that she had done something wrong or was broken in some way. Some things are just not meant for us.

Allow yourself the latitude to embrace that which is, AND, that which is not. Live in the understanding that God has people designed specifically to come alongside you, and you along them, and that His timing is perfect. As He promises to complete the work in you, embrace that His process is for you as well.

Live in peace, hope and joy today, my friend.

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make it personal

Years ago in a time of prayer with friends, one of them shared a vision of us each on our own islands. She felt that we were headed into a time of isolation, but encouraged us that it would come from God and to keep pressing in to what He had for us. Since then, I have actually encountered more seasons of isolation, and perceived isolation, than not.

The bible says that we are set apart, and while in context it refers to a spiritual positioning, I believe that sometimes it can play out in real time as well. Like a seed in the ground, or a butterfly in a cocoon, times of developing into who we were originally intended to be can not only be lonely at times, but extremely painful. If we miss the work He is doing in the midst of it, however, we can try to rush through the hardship and completely miss the work being done internally.

The Lord wants to know each of us intimately, and us Him, yet more often than not we scramble to create relationships with others, expecting them to fill us up. Such a misnomer has guided the majority of my life so far, and I have an impressive resume which speaks to literal years of self-doubt, self-loathing and disillusionment as I missed the teaching moments in trying to fix the loneliness in my own power. Chasing people instead of God always leads us to a dead end street, requiring a 360 and return-to-start card.

The cycle will continue to disappoint until we are chasing desperately after

Jesus.

“So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.” – Matthew 6:33

The good news is that all roads eventually lead to God. The bad news is that if we don’t learn the lesson the first time, we will get to repeat the same mistakes until we finally rest in the process.

Such a thing can sometimes take a lifetime.

Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house, finding the sweet loveliness of his face, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to live my life so close to him that he takes pleasure in my every prayer. – Psalm 27:4

To align ourselves with God’s purpose, we must first acknowledge that God works ALL things to good for those who love Him. All things includes our very own weaknesses and blind spots. Until we make the gospel of Jesus Christ personal to our own lives, and fully submit to the process regardless of our own preferences, we will repeatedly return to the space from which we just scratched ourselves out of.

Imagine, for a moment, the vulnerability of a butterfly climbing out of its cocoon before her wings are fully formed.

For every persistent one will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he longs for. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door. – Matthew 7:8

To walk a life of faith is to walk a life of full submission to the work of Christ in our lives, to admit that our gifts, no matter how brilliant, will never be enough. No human is enough. No anointing will compare. Only the rest in His perfect plan, process and timing will bring about the peace and fulfillment that we each so desperately long for.

“So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.” – Matthew 6:33

I’m headed back to my cocoon today – it’s time to get personal.

Peace be with you, my friend.

it got real

My son is a musician. To be honest, he is brilliant. I can’t even begin to find the words to express how beautiful he is – in style vocally, lyrically… He is a Stevie Ray Vaughan of sorts – the voice of his guitar is undeniable. Self-taught; every note he plays reverberates the very holiness of God.

When I was pregnant with him I would sing over him, pray, play rhythms on my swollen belly, cry lyrics over my sweet boy, in the hopes that he would hear and identify one day with the pain in my heart, the redemption in my faith, and the rhythm of my soul.

As he grew into a man, I watched him pursue relationships with people of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, develop a love for words of depth, embrace the sounds of rhythm and blues, walk a life of hope and grit…

… just like his mama.

Tonight I am listening to one of his original songs and my heart could just burst. I cannot find a way to express the faithfulness of my God as I hear in my son’s voice, my very own heart. Having been betrayed in the deepest way a woman can be broken – knowing the awesome power of a redemptive Jesus at a depth few I know can relate to – I am weeping with a gratitude impossible to put to words.

I never thought I would survive that kind of brokenness. There were more years of telling myself every moment to keep breathing, than days of true life. Without my children I know I would not be here. Sincerely.

I never knew that kind of pain existed, to be honest. Eternal emptiness danced with sheer anguish. Who can describe such a thing? And yet, somehow, on the other side, a God who promises to bring something good out of all things for those who love Him raised up in front of me, 4 children who embody a hope I never knew existed.

Wherever you are, please, please know that the God of all creation is not ignorant to your needs, your pain, your hopes … Be encouraged that while you may not be, or have, enough, when you tether yourself to the hope of Christ, He will meet every need and exceed every expectation. There is no greater hope I know than the hope of Jesus Christ.

May you find your peace today.

Shalom.

new devotional

For years I have been asked to write a daily devotional and recently a dear friend suggested I just start with a week at a time. My first in a series of daily, 5-day devos is now available on Amazon. Designed to be quick, simple, yet powerful; my prayer is you would find joy and power in starting each day positioned in the knowledge that YOU are designed by our Creator God for a purpose. Today. Now. This very moment.

Check it out today! www.amazon.com

don’t fence me in

My son made the most interesting statement on the way to school this morning. He said, “So there are a couple different places around the school where we can escape.” I chuckled out loud and said, “Escape? It’s not a jail.” To which he responded;

“Well, there are fences.”

Upon further discussion, I discovered that he thought the fence was there to keep him in. He literally felt as though it was a form of restraint, that it carried with it a negative connotation. His last school had no fences or gates, he currently doesn’t enjoy school… There ya go – jail. Or purgatory.

So we discussed how fences keep kindergartners from wandering into the trees or street and how they prevent animals from coming in…fences and doors make sure the people are on campus are safe and there for a purpose that is in the best interest of children and staff. Gates ensure that the culture of learning and a safe atmosphere are maintained within those walls. What he saw as a cruel means to control him, became an opportunity to feel free behind its safety. He saw purpose and value where there had been control and negativity.

Our natural minds instinctively categorize information through existing filters, formulated by culture, family or origin and life experience. They are truth to us and we can hold them very tightly to ourselves, even in light of new information being introduced. Our filters, become our gods. And sometimes, our self-inflicted obstacle to growth.

Without all the information, or life experience, my son’s precious 9-year-old brain related to the new experience as an obstacle. In the past year and a half, he has moved from the occasional complaint to a daily objection over school attendance. I am now contemplating what sorts of changes he has experienced since attending a new school has been processed by him in a manner contrary to its actual intent.

What in your life do you see as a symbol of negativity? of oppression? Are there “walls,” boundaries or circumstances that you currently perceive as being a hindrance? Could some of those situations actually be opportunities presented? When we choose to filter everything through the truth that God has uniquely designed each of us for a specific plan and purpose in this life, we will shift in our understanding of what is before (and behind) us. The veil is lifted and our minds are set free to overcome areas we thought impenetrable.

Walk to the other side of the fence. Turn from facing east and face west. Lift your eyes from the ground and meditate on what is above. Freedom is waiting for you.

nominal knowers

I read a post recently by someone who felt the need to speak out about Christians who “tell other people they are godly,” but aren’t good people. Certainly not the first time I have heard such a rant, and confident it won’t be the last, I felt the urge to encourage those of us perhaps a bit discouraged by such an assessment. First of all, I don’t know a single person who proclaims to be a Christian who walks around telling anyone how holy or godly they are. (If they do, that is a whole other blog post).

And second, in my personal experience, the longer someone follows Jesus, the more they tend to realize their own flaws and shortcomings.

Now, are there people who can be hypocritical? Absolutely. Have I met them? Sure. But have I also met people who don’t believe in anything at all, or hold loosely to some form of “belief” in something, and declare how well-adjusted and “woke” they are with their “tell-it-like-it-is, real,” personas?

Yes.

Just because someone doesn’t show love, or communicate, the way YOU want them to, does not mean they aren’t loving. Oftentimes, personality differences or personal inability to connect will be perceived as hypocrisy if that person is a person of faith. Some people won’t see eye to eye regardless – it does not invalidate their position or the authenticity of their faith. There is a chasm between people who actively live in hypocrisy and lies of secrecy, (ie Catholic priests who rape children) and those who make human mistakes.

Choosing to follow Jesus will often unearth more of our flaws as we seek to give our lives over to Him, and often become more alienated from people who struggle to watch us change in ways unfamiliar to them .

Sometimes people can know just enough about something to make them dangerously toxic. They pick up one scripture or one general principle, learn a smidge about a cultural expectation, and then run around looking for ways that other people are supposedly violating their own value system. When we don’t meet their expectations of our personal beliefs, BOOM! – we are hypocrites or fake.

(Mind you, they already feel like they won’t measure up to our “expectations” or didn’t like us in the first place anyway, hence the scavenger hunt for dirt …But it still can feel like a loss to us…)

Important to note, is that people who make mistakes who aren’t Christians are held to a different standard. They are afforded a list of reasons why life has done them wrong and challenges have brought them to a place of being fallible. No such grace is afforded to a person who follows Jesus though. Oh goodness, no. Perfection now is the expectation of those around us.

Delightful.

Here is the truth. Someone who truly believes in a sovereign God, truly embraces the belief of Jesus being the Son of God and the covering for our sinful nature, fully recognizes the depravity of their own shortcomings. We pray for redemption, seek direction, and long for the peace that comes when we finally give over our previously held need to be perfect. Those who seek a submitted life to their faith truly desire to do it better than they did before.

Never perfect, but always being perfected.

If you feel judged by others, or feel like you just can’t get it right in the eyes of other people, I pray grace over you today. Please do be sure to take ownership of what does belong to you, and be released to love those who curse you. Jesus didn’t spend any time trying to convince others of his heart, he just focused his time loving on those who chose to receive his love.

Go and do the same.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34

If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. – Matthew 10:14

But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! – Matthew 5:44


[ The Wisdom of God ] The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18


[ Love for Enemies ] “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. – Luke 6:27