The end is better

I’m a huge book worm. Few things bring me greater joy than reading a book. Now throw me in a coffee shop with no kids and a real macchiato and I will kiss your feet and call you a saint. Just kidding about the feet thing because I’m totally repulsed by them, even the shoe-d variety. But seriously, I love reading books.

When I’m reading through a book and a chapter ends with some type of cliff hanger, I don’t panic. I just keep reading. In my opinion, if it’s any sort of good book or series then there are almost always answers provided for the reader’s questions. That doesn’t mean I’m always happy with the answers, but from my experience usually 90% of the time I am not left in the dark by the end of a book or series. No loose ends. Of course some authors enjoy leaving their readers hanging. The entire series will end on a completely horrific cliff hanger, with no sequel to come, never providing closure. It’s absolutely wicked and sends me, at minimum, on a one week mope-fest (which my husband can attest to).

I’m being a little dramatic here, but my point is that every good story has an ending providing closure.

Reality isn’t much different from novels, considering books are written by humans for humans. But what about a story written by God for humans?  A story so important that it has been written on your heart. Think about that for a second. Even the most secluded of peoples will look to the stars and wonder.

We know even when we don’t technically know.

If finite humans can write quality, life-changing literature, how much more can the Creator of the Universe provide something even greater?

The story written by God, in which we are living out, already has an end. And not just any end, a victory that provides total closure for all who might heed. Jesus is the author AND FINISHER of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Unlike those wretched writers that love to torture their readers with eternal loose ends, God is a kind author.

God knows His readers need closure. This is why He gave mankind the end of the book to soothe our fragile souls as we live out the ups and downs of our life stories.

Our journey begins with the end. Our journey is because of the end. We can move forward no matter the circumstance because we know the end. We can stand on this truth because our God is the beginning and the end.

I AM is the one and only always.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8 NKJV)

Your past is heavy and it’s trying so hard to shape your future. But what does God say? He is your before and He is your after. Forget about time as your mundane self knows it, and look at time the way God sees it.  He is our timeline. So your dark past is gone because God literally is the past. Your present, now, has an opportunity to allow the King in and transform it because God literally is here. God literally is your present. And should you allow Jesus into your heart, then your future has a fairy tale ending because He is literally the future. The past is now, the now is now, and the future is now. Today is the day of salvation and the time is now (2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV).

Now….

If I haven’t lost you yet then maybe just maybe the Holy Spirit is at work here. I’m praying for that, but I’m kind of even above my own thinking while typing this out. It’s deep! But it’s amazing!

God wants you to measure your life marked by the starting points of your journeys which are the departures of your previous seasons. Read that one more time.

“These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. 2 Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord. And these are their journeys according to their starting points: They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians.” (Numbers 33:1-3 NKJV)

The entire chapter then goes on to tell of all the places they departed from and what God did for them after.

Life is measured by the departure.

You see, my life was in shambles 4 years ago, but I left. I departed that life. My present life is not based on what happened then, but what is happening now. Right now, I am sober. Today I am a mommy and wife. Today, right now, this very second I choose salvation through Jesus, the Son of God.

The end is better than the beginning.

“The end of a thing is better than its beginning;” (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NKJV)

We just finished up Christmas, and it is a truly miraculous time. But the birth of Jesus is only so important because of the ending He was to provide. O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord who will save us! Christ the Lord who has saved. God is our timeline and God is now.

What good is a beginning that is not on solid ground? We are destined to crumble if we build on sinking sand. But Christ is our firm foundation because He provided the end for us from the very beginning.

So as we close 2017, let us not dwell on the resolutions to come in the next year. But instead let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith! Faith is built on seeing where God has brought you out of, and that faith is what will push you to achieve those dreams and goals to come. Write down your journey, starting with your departure. Look at how this year has finished with God’s signature and turn over to the next crisp blank page.

For those who are stuck, who have yet to depart from your current season, ask God to make a way. Moses said “let my people go” over and over, and eventually Pharaoh had to let them go. Our enemies have no authority over us because the end has already been written. Jesus is our closure. Jesus is our insurance. Do not lose hope. Persevere until the sea splits.

If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and would like to know more about our incredible God who has saved us, please message me!

Blessings and happy new year,

Lacey

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Catch your breath

It’s 2 a.m. and the walls of my house are practically reverberating from my daughter’s shrieks. Isabelle is my 9.5 month old. How naive of me to think that I was almost out of the “baby stage”. Teething is the worst. Top that off with some sort of cold/virus and my poor Isabelle just can’t catch a break. Neither can the rest of our family. She has literally cried all night long for the past three nights. I wish I was being dramatic, but I’m not. I was so tired yesterday that I just laid around with the kids all day. This left my toddler, Lazarus, so bored that his behavior flipped the switch in a bad way after he woke up from his nap. He didn’t understand why mommy was still laying around with his feverish and fussy sissy. He was not happy and he had every right to be upset. Though I still didn’t react well. I had reached my breaking point. But there was still more breaking to be done apparently, because I did not get to sleep tonight either. Isabelle’s fever is back and her painful teeth cutting through the gums has her crying every 5 minutes while sleeping. After hours spent rocking her, dispensing baby medicine, and attempting to nurse her, the crying continued. So I finally had to sit her in her crib and walk away. By some miracle that I had given up on praying for, my husband successfully got her to fall asleep. I was tired. I was mad. I was selfish.

That’s really what it boils down to, isn’t it? As parents, we have to put our wants and even our needs aside so that we can provide these things for our children. As I rocked my baby with tears in my eyes and frustration in my heart, I heard the Lord say “thorn in your flesh”. I retorted back rather impolitely that I have experienced enough thorns in my flesh and when was enough going to be enough?! I immediately repented. It was after that mental conversation with God that I finally just had to lay Isabelle in her crib and walk away for a minute.

This week of no sleep has been a thorn in my flesh.

Let’s see what scripture God was speaking to me in the midst of this physically/spiritually/mentally exhausting night..

“Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 AMP)

Now, I know that’s a lot to read. But I could not say it any better than God’s word says it. I’m not giving Satan credit by stating that he is making my baby stay up all night. No. On the contrary, God is allowing me to go through this stage of a thorn in my flesh so that I might humble myself; casting aside MY provision for my life, in order to go deeper in surrender to Him and HIS provision for my life. Once again, I find myself facing the question, “Is God’s grace really sufficient for me?”.

At the early hours of the morning, going on 3 days of no sleep and managing a crying baby who can’t be soothed, I am not the same woman that puts God’s will above all. Over the passed few days, when asked by my husband why I am acting on edge my reply has been that I just need sleep. That was my excuse for all of the chaos happening within and around me. If I could just get some sleep then I wouldn’t be yelling at my toddler. If I could just get some sleep then I wouldn’t be in such a bad mood. It is in those uncontrollable moments of my life, where my flesh is in serious pain, that some inner version of myself comes out who is far from surrendered to the Holy Spirit. Yes, human’s do need sleep, but what God is showing me through this season is that my inner self, my soul, needs rest as well. And I wouldn’t have stopped to allow my soul to rest had I not come face to face with this thorn of sleep deprivation.

The past few weeks have been very busy for me. Work has been crazy, ministry meetings with friends occurring multiple times a week, bible studies, and back-to-back worship events that God allowed me to lead. All very exciting and all very amazing, but now God wants me to pause and catch my breath. Selah.

If you have ever read through Psalms then you have surely noticed the Hebrew word “selah” used in between paragraphs through out the Psalms.

Selah is a suspension in music, a pause to catch your breath and exalt God above all (definition from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).

When we become so busy doing life, we need a selah moment to stop, take a rest, and lift up the King who is sufficient for us. It’s easy to put works on the platform of our lives. What we can provide for our Father in Heaven. I’ve written about this before and yet here I am needing to remember it again. God’s grace is enough for me. God’s power is my strength

. It’s all about Him and it’s all because of Him.

I’m tired. But I’ll be okay. I will sleep again. This season will end and I will one day look at my children wishing I could hold them as babies once again. Why waste another moment living outside of God’s grace by being focused on the thorn in my flesh?

If I am looking at the thorn then my eyes are not fixed on Christ.

Take a selah moment and re-exalt the King. This is the constant rest we all truly need.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

Growing in Faith

3.5 months ago I found myself tired. Tired of trying to be. Like one of those puzzle pieces you can’t find a spot for so you just shove into a spot it looks like it should fit into. But it just won’t fit no matter how hard you press it in or how much you bend it. It’s not meant to fit there because it has its own special place it belongs. A place where it doesn’t need to change itself, it just needs to be. We too don’t need to try to be anything, we need only be.

Of course there is a transformation process any believer must undergo if they are surrendered to God. But it is not our works that bring about genuine transformation, it is our faith in Christ activating an unraveling with in our hearts.

Following Jesus is an undoing, a metamorphosis that just happens organically when a person is submitted to the Holy Spirit within them.

I was kind of trying to help the Holy Spirit work in my life. Sacrificing this and that, without realizing that God just wanted me to simply be the sacrifice.

“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].”(ROMANS 12:1-2 AMP)

I had set myself apart from the world but was trying to force a budding to the next level in life without truly renewing my mind and therefore I was not really walking in the will of God.

God is after my heart not my list of good works.

What good is advancing in life if I am still shackled to my past strongholds? But I didn’t realize I was a prisoner, so God changed my circumstances so that I would wake up and see what He saw. And as always, it worked.

With the intimidating changes taking place in my life, my husband and I sought counsel and decided to take a break from ministry work. Amidst car trouble and my husband’s job situation I heard God tell me to start looking for a group to join through Gateway Church. Being the new girl, alone, with no friends to fill in the awkwardness was a humbling experience. My kids got to play with other kids and relationship. I got to put myself out there and meet other women who love Jesus! The initial group I attended just wasn’t for me, but I still left so filled up and refreshed that I knew God was up to something here. So i kept looking for the small group that I knew God was leading me to. After about a week of searching and attending different groups, I came across a women’s playgroup for mom’s and their kids. It was one of the less glamorized groups I came across. There was no huge description of what the group would include. No ‘todo list’, no requirements other than the fact that you might want to be a mom because who else would be crazy enough to attend a group full of moms chasing kids? So i embraced my crazy mom life and decided, “what do I have to lose?”.

Yes!!!! I love writing that out and revisiting that moment in my life! I had no idea then the incredible road that I was hesitantly putting a foot onto!

I got the kids dressed and we were on our way! I wasn’t even nervous because I had little hope that I would actually become a part of this group due to the many groups I had previously attended to no avail.

Pulling into the neighborhood I realized that it was the same neighborhood my husband and I took our engagement pictures in. That’s how beautiful of a home edition it is! So maybe there was a little intimidation began to roil in my stomach. Regardless, I showed up to the group leader’s house early, didn’t want to be that early lady and have to make awkward one-on-one conversation with a stranger, so I did what any normal person would do. I sat in my car. I began reading the next chapter I was on in my Bible. It was all about healing. Okay cool! Then it was time to start. So I unloaded the kids and we went in. That day changed the course of my journey with God.

I made quick friends with everyone. Conversations were as smooth as butter. My kids had a blast with all of the other kids. We talked about God in our lives and then we shared prayer requests. And you would never guess it, but the woman sitting beside me requested a serious healing. What are the odds that i had just received a word from God that He is the God who heals?!

“For I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26)

We laid hands on her and prayed that healing in. This entire first day in the group did not feel like work, every person I met loved on me as much as I loved on them. Did I mention Victoria really did get healed?Praise Jehovah Rapha-the Lord who heals!

Now 3.5 months later it has still been incredibly Christ-like and Spirit-filled. Through many laughs and tears, I believe that this group has shown me what the body of Christ was intended to look like.

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”(Acts 2:44-47 NKJV)

This description of the first church is a clear image of how these women and I relationship with each other and with our Heavenly Father.

These girls have poured out their hearts to me and I to them. Every relationship has been a two way road instead of the one way street relationships I had unintentionally pursued and burned out in. I’ve learned so much about true leadership in Christ through these sisters.

To be a leader is to be a servant to all and to genuinely love people.

I have submitted myself to doing both over the duration of this group and I have truly blossomed into a new person because of the work of Christ in me.

God has showed up every single time we have met up, whether it was an official group meeting or just 2 of us girls having lunch. The Lord has blessed our tribe and brought us all together, each woman bringing a different gifting and purpose to the group. I am so thankful for these ladies and all of my sisters in Christ (not excluding those of not in this group)! I am so thankful for God’s strength in me to take that leap of faith and join a small group!

I am so thankful for God humbling me to take a step back from trying to be a leader. All so in becoming a servant for His kingdom I would become a true leader, shining the unhindered light of Christ. God is so good. No one in this group of women is perfect, but we all cheer each other on and encourage one another to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

If you have not found your tribe, or feel like you don’t belong, please look into Gateway Church and their many small groups! If you aren’t in the DFW then look around at your local churches for a group to get plugged into. It’s never too late to just be yourself and let God lead you. Be intentional with your relationships and seek what God has for your life! We all need accountability partners, true friends to run beside us in this race of life to win!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)

Growing in Faith Playgroup 2017

Growing in Faith Playgroup 2017