Open your Hands

Like a knife slicing through butter, I stepped out of my house and into the crisp yet somehow damp with humidity morning. It’s not abnormal for Texas to provide such paradoxical weather. I clomped over to my car door and noticed a butterfly perched on the handle with outstretched wings. Instinctively I froze and gently eased my hand in front of the butterfly. It slowly placed one spindly leg after onto my hand. Time seemed to pause as I held the butterfly in the palm of my hand. Every now and then the little guy (maybe girl?) would flutter its wings as it explored the newfound territory. I tried to put him on a nearby shrub. but he was quite content to sit on my hand. The moment was so beautiful. Still I was itching to grab my phone out of the purse slung on my arm to catch a picture. At the same time I didn’t want to scare off the butterfly with my movements. I forced myself to wait and be in the moment. Yet the ridiculous internal battle raged on. After several agonizing minutes, I slowly maneuvered my other arm and pulled out my phone for the picture. As I looked through my phone’s screen and readied myself to take the photo, the butterfly fluttered away.

Of course there was a lesson to be learned in this for me. As I watched the butterfly float away on the thick air, I immediately heard the tender whisper from Abba, Father, “Don’t be distracted with holding onto things- I will provide more tomorrow.” My desire to take a picture of the beauty in my hands was birthed out of my want to hold on to the moment for longer than the fleeting minutes I thought it would be. I knew the butterfly would not stay there forever, and I wanted to keep the moment. I wanted to show my kids, show my friends, maybe even put a pretty quote on it and feature it in a blog. Whatever my good intentions were, the thoughts of physically hanging on to this beautiful encounter were distracting me from the moment itself. And not only that,  but my obsession put a damper on the beauty of the fleeting gift that the visit from the butterfly was. You see the gifts, the moments, the people, the material possessions, part of what makes them so special is that they are momentary. From a macro level of viewing this in my own life, I will not be on this earth forever. One day this body will die and become new with Jesus. In the grand scheme of eternity, my time here is short. Therefore I want to run as fast as I can in pursuit of my forerunner Jesus. Even if it means falling and scraping my knees. By grace, I rise and press on. Following every God-given dream, saying, “Yes”, to every calling, and passionately utilizing ever gift planted by the Lord within my soul. I want to love deeply out of the wellspring of love crashing into me from the Lord. To bring Him glory from my surrender, to make Him known through my life. His voice guides me on, “Come, child.”

If you are new to my blog, then you don’t know that my family is planning to become full-time missionaries and are moving to Norway in March, God-willing. There are so many baby steps to even getting the change to take this giant leap of faith. There is a daily surrendering to the Lord’s ability to accomplish the task of provision and endurance for us to get there. And despite the challenge, it has been amazing for our family. Our faith is swelling, our flame burning bright, and our family is becoming closer to God and one another than I thought possible. Yesterday started out so well, and then something in me shifted. Granted, being on the phone with an internet company for an hour and a half to troubleshoot a work issue probably played a role in my mood. But regardless, a heaviness began to fall on me. I knew why the entire time but I fought it. I had just had a crazy intensely miraculous week. Every day was full of stretching and miraculous provision. So much good. And still, I was tired. “Rest, child“, the Lord whispered to me over and over again. I fought it. I was frustrated with my relationships for a list of conjured up reasons, angry that my voice was hoarse and I couldn’t even sing to worship my way out. I was tired. I was desperately hanging on to every thing but the Lord. I cleaned my house and posted pictures of my couch on the internet to be sold for our missions fund. Not long afterwards my kids asked to build a tent, and I obliged. I began to rearrange the very furniture that we planned to sell in my living room and I built the coolest blanket fort around. In that action, I even thought to myself that I would miss having the furniture that our family had made so many memories with. As any parent probably knows, the next request from my children came as no surprise, “Come hang out in our tent with us, Mommy!” Isn’t is so like our children to cry out to us the very things our souls cry out to the Lord? I crawled inside the plush fortress like a swaddled giant and at last the Lord beautifully wrecked me. Wrecked my walls, anyways. “Open your hands“, Abba whispered.

Surrender the plans, the future, the giftings, the possessions, the people. Surrender the moments. Surrender my life. Every day the Lord wants me to have open palms. This is the same posture that allowed a beautiful butterfly to rest on my hand. Open palms to release what I have already obtained and to receive new, fresh manna. Not to grip on to things so hard that I have no room for newness. God wants you and I to live with open palms to constantly receive His fullness, His beauty, His goodness. We cannot create eternity, it has already been written on our hearts. We need only to lean into Him, giving up ourselves, trusting that He is enough, and receiving all that He has for us. So open up your hands today. Give up your life. Give the Lord your good and your bad. Trust that He will provide you more. He is a good Dad.


The Feast of Tabernacles

Last year I shared a little bit with you all about Sukkot, a season of drawing near to God as He draws near to us. This is my favorite Biblical festival. Every year the Lord does amazing things with and in my family during this time! This is day two of Sukkot and God has already moved mountains for my family. My husband is so on fire for the Lord, I can’t even describe how amazing it is to witness. My kids are loving being out in our sukkah (temporary dwelling) or more technically, our tent set up in our back yard. Camping out in a tent in your backyard, doesn’t seem glamorous from the outside looking in. Who would willingly choose to endure mosquito bites and Texas humidity when they have a perfectly good air-conditioned home? We are those seemingly crazy people.

Why, you ask? When we take the leap of faith to come out in nature, set up a temporary home, and expect the Lord to show up with us, He does. Every time. This is our fourth year to do Sukkot, And each new year is even more miraculous than the last.

Our very first year to celebrate Sukkot was in 2014, and it was just Brenner and I. We were in the middle of planning our wedding which was only two weeks away, and I started feeling really bloated and sick. We were living with my mom, Stacy, and stepdad at the time. Stacy had pregnancy tests on hand and encouraged me to take one. Five tests, several lines and plus signs later, and they all showed the same result: I was pregnant. I immediately fell into condemnation. All of the voices of shame and rejection flooded my mind. That’s the real reason they’re getting married. What a sinner! She’s not a real Christian. And so on. Every lie pointed to my pregnancy being a mistake, and even deeper, to me being a mistake. Honestly, yes, it was sinful for us to not wait until our marriage to be intimate. The Lord commands us to wait for marriage to have sex for a reason. Wait because of all of the pain that can come with wholly giving yourself to someone outside of marriage that you were never meant for. Wait because there is miraculous value in a covenant between God and man. Wait because God is good and His plans are good. It’s true and I don’t deny it. The sin was a mistake, but the little baby in my belly was not and neither were we. Believing that truth took a lot of time spent dwelling in the grace and mercy of the Father and a great deal of life spoken over us from my team of encouragers. God redeems even the worst of the worst like me.

Now that we got that out of the way let’s get back to my family’s first Sukkot. We found out we were having a baby. Rewind to the year before, I laid on a doctor’s medical table and heard the words, “you had a miscarriage”. At eighteen years old in the heat of my dark past, that sent me off the deep end. So fast forward back to finding out I was pregnant again, that fear was a steady pulse in my heart. Still, because of my relationship with Christ, I let the joy flood me and was excited as Stacy took us to a pregnancy center to receive a free sonogram. Again I found myself on a table with eyes filled with tears as I refused to search the screen any longer for a missing heartbeat. Again I heard the words, “you had another miscarriage”. It shattered me, but this time I had my future husband and my reconciled relationship with my mom to speak truth and hold up my broken pieces. I signed the paper stating that I had a miscarriage, prayed with the nurse that took care of me, and left feeling empty. We got back to their house and my family instantly went to battle for me. They prayed life over me, rejected the death report and spoke life over me. They believed, and that helped my unbelief. Later that night the nurse who took care of me at the center called me. Her alias can be, Cher. Apparently Cher took my number off of my paperwork and called me personally. Which is totally unheard of, and still I’m so glad she did. I’ll never forget it. Cher sounded almost frantic as she immediately asked me if I had gone to the E.R. to have the miscarriage removed through a D&C. I told her about our choice to believe life over the baby and that I hadn’t gone to the hospital. Cher was so overjoyed because she said that she just didn’t feel peace about the miscarriage. Cher felt like it was wrong too. Wow!

So we set up an OBGYN appointment for the next business day, which was 4 days later (note: The story of Lazarus in John 11) and we prayerfully waited. Brenner worked late nights at Walgreens and I spent time with God and my reconciled family in their sukkah as we waited. Before I knew it I was laying on a new table with a new doctor, staring at a ceiling because I couldn’t bear to witness my empty womb again. Yet this time I heard the room gasp. Stacy cried out with joyful tears as the Doctor countered my worst fear and told me that my baby was alive. My shattered heart both healed and burst a thousand times in one moment of joy. That was a day our lives changed and has continued to since. One miraculous Sukkot, one beautiful covenant marriage, and two children later, here we are on year four. By the grace of God, our lives just get sweeter ever day. What a blessing it has been for my family to celebrate the Biblical Hebrew festivals. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is faithful! I wonder where we will be next year?

Here are a couple of scriptures that will shed some light on Sukkot, The Feast of Tabernacles:

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.” (Leviticus‬ ‭23:33-34‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John‬ ‭1:10-14‬ ‭NKJV)

  • In this one, the word ‘dwelt’ actually means ‘tabernacled’! So cool! Jesus was actually born during Sukkot! Powerful stuff!

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain.” (Zechariah‬ ‭14:16-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

  • I love this one so much because it shows that we will all be celebrating Sukkot with the Lord after He returns!

“Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.””(Revelation‬ ‭7:15-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

  • This is our hope! This is what Sukkot foreshadows, our joyful expectation of what’s to come!

Whether you celebrate the Biblical festivals or not, I pray that you would draw near to God as He is drawing near to you in this season and expect miracles from the Miraculous One! Be blessed,

Lacey


Want to learn more about Sukkot and your faith in the Messiah’s Hebraic roots? Check out this great resource!

My now

A face smudged with charcoal, and paint streaking the tips of my long blonde hair, that’s how you will find me these days. Who knew I’d become an artist in my twenties? Not me. As I uncovered painful and suppressed moments from my past, beauty was risen out of my ashes. Not a beauty that I could ever conjure up, but one only brought from the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Dying to myself, dying to the old me in ancient heart places I didn’t realize were still set on loop. Bitter roots repeating childhood and adolescent scenes in my soul over and over again, but my conscious mind had no idea. Here in the present I could only the see the surface reactions of these roots, like an anxiety attack from a too tight seat belt or a panicked hopelessness from a minor conflict. Jesus came in those bitter, cold places and did what He does best…He loved me there. So much came from that season of soul restoration, a passion for worshipping God through art was a big one. I spent my summer experimenting with different forms of art and so far have narrowed down to charcoal sketching and oil painting being my preferred avenues. They are both messy and beautiful, just like humans..just like me.

I loved the secret place I dwelled with the Lord this summer so much, that I honestly didn’t really want to leave. However, I felt Him calling me back out into the world to love His people and tell my story of what happened with Jesus and I during the summer. Now I am learning to stay in the secret place with God in my soul even while I walk through all kinds of life places- true rest for your soul. I saw this new season approaching filled with so much busyness, and I felt a bit intimidated. Still, the Lord was telling me to put one foot in front of the other, to keep going slowly. Two words, He said, “Say, ‘yes’.” So here we are. Instead of just being busy, I am being intentional with my time and keeping my head laying upon the Lord’s chest to hear every heart beat guiding me on.

This is the first week of my once daunting but now intentional new year, according to the Biblical calendar. Thus far it has exceeded all of my hopes and prayers and has been jam packed with amazing God encounters. Last month I started a create group with the help of my artist sister, Cate. A group for creators to simply come together in the presence of God and create all types of things from music in worship sessions, writing, journaling, painting, sketching, etc. Tuesday night was our second Elohim Create group and in preparation the Lord led to me to Matthew 14, specifically the section of Jesus walking on water. The Word of the night being ‘trust‘. From there I was led to a few writing prompts for us to journal during our worship session. One of the prompts was, “Some areas I need to put more trust in God…” The day before that group, I kind of thought I would write something like “with my family’s safety” or “providing finances for our future missional endeavors”, but no. In the moment as I was totally immersed in the presence of God with both friends and new group visitors, I wrote something that kind of shocked me. I use the word shock, because it seems like basic knowledge and yet for me it is so profound.

An area I need to put more trust in God in is my now. I finally trust God with my future, but I am realizing that I struggle submitting my present time to Him. Whether it’s checking my e-mail a thousand times a day looking for a response from several different opportunities my family is waiting on, or spending many minutes a day wondering what is to come and how we will get there. I’ve been feeling like we are in an in between place. In that moment, God showed me that I still need to surrender to Him in the process before completion. Surrender to the process. And suddenly, as I type that out, it is all made so clear. I’m not in an in between place. I’m in THE only place. The now. The secret place with God. Can I stay here? Can’t I just take Jesus’s hand and let the dead bury the dead (Luke 9:60)? The answer will always be ‘yes’, I need only choose it.

This revelation from the Lord was also confirmed through a new art project I have been working on. For my recent birthday, my husband gifted me a ton of art supplies. A large travel easel being one of them. I wanted to use it, and so, began my first large piece. Over the few months of my new art journey, each time I have excitedly attempted to create something for others that they would like, it has turned out badly. Not only have I quickly lost interest, but I just haven’t felt it. That sounds bad, but it’s real. What I have done instead is pray about what I’m going to do, and then let the idea fill me. Then it becomes me. Not a job or task for someone else, but a piece of me that I put onto canvas or paper. And of course from there, I can then gift the piece to others or keep it for my own pleasure. That being said, as I sat staring at my large blank canvas wondering what to paint, I saw an image of my son, Lazarus. Then scrolling through my many phone pictures, I found the one I was envisioning. I thought for such a large piece I should try sketching it out first. Once my kids went to bed I spent a good portion of the night sketching the portrait and after all that work I decided I hated the sketch. I prayed and chose to jump into painting it. Examining all of the new paintbrush sets on my desk (courtesy of my sweet husband), my eyes locked in on a small metal palette knife. Let the mess begin. For two days I worked on something that looked like a melted image of Laz, totally despising every little imprint of paint I pressed into the blob I was creating.

I love my son so much and know how handsome he is. The blob I was attempting simply did not look like him. So I prayed. A lot. And God kept saying just put one more tiny streak here, mix a darker color and add a small dot of it over there. He was putting knowledge in my unexperienced brain and literally guiding me step by step. Slowly, Lazarus began to come into view on the canvas.

I have spent this entire week working on the project. If you’re like me, having little knowledge about painting, then it may not sound that challenging..but take my word for it, creating detailed portrait with oil paint AND using only a small palette knife to paint it is seriously challenging! I have no clue what I’m doing, but God is taking me slowly through the process. This is exactly what He is showing me! I can only take little steps, He will help me along the way. All that I have is my today, and I must not lose it due to being lost in my far away promises. The promises stand, I must merely submit to the process of the now.


I am still not finished with my Lazarus project, but I wanted to share the unfinished journey with you!

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sixth night- still working on completion

Here’s where I am with this portrait now. It’s not where I’ll be forever and it isn’t the complete picture, but it’s my today. Just as my life, today, is my only now. Surrender to the process friends, the promise is worth the journey.

“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be [b]perfect and complete, lacking nothing. ” (James 1:4 NKJV)

Petal

Petal, soft

Snaps from stem

Drifting down

down

down

Floating with ease

It pillows to the ground

Not a sound released

still the moment resounds

To one, appears

as a loss of beauty

To the flower, it is clear

A greater room is made

for new blooms to flame

in a small petal’s place

No words need be spoken

No time need tell

God breathed

Life

in a seed

A call

A pealing bell

“Go,”

He says.

And as

the shifting occurs

from a call to a send,

embrace the beginning

created

from an end.


“Petal” is a poem I wrote today as my baby girl fell asleep in my arms while I looked up at my uninteresting ceiling. The Lord reveals Himself to us in so many ways at unprecedented times. Place your ear to His chest and listen to His heartbeat, be willing to hear His voice. Be expectant. He loves you and has so much good in store for you.


“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace. What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.” (‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1-14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

Be sure and check out this song by Steffany Gretzinger!

A Wretch Like Me

Failure.

That seems to be the most recent lie fighting to claim the forefront of my mind. Failure as a mom. Failure as a friend. Failure as a human. Failure as a follower of Christ. The standard I have for myself gradually creeps up so high, whether by my own expectations or by the words I have warped from the people around me. Despite the intentions of criticism and advice, it doesn’t always feel constructive. Especially when you are an overcoming shame puppet. I used to feed off my own mental self-destruction prior to surrendering to Jesus. Shortly after true salvation and marrying Brenner, I decided to read and then destroy all of my old journals from middle school to college. The common theme throughout each journal was hopelessness. Yet a small glimmer of the light of Christ still shined through the dark cracks. Back in those times in my life, depression and anxiety ate me alive. After a time I didn’t really want to leave that pit. It became comforting to never hope for anything, to never be let down. But see I was missing one small whisper, one massive truth..my hope was in the wrong things.

In the present, my flesh still constantly fights to place myself on the throne of my life. Though I wouldn’t say this at first glance, when I dig to the root of my shame and fear, the root of feeling hopeless or feeling like a failure is this: I can easily idolize myself and other people. Though I should have no other gods before the One True God, I can easily place other things before Him and sugar coat the sin by calling it a ‘prioritization issue’ . It’s a sin nonetheless, and confession and repentance are needed for real change.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 ESV)

Now I’m sure by now you’ve just had several sharp intakes of breath and you’re either relating one hundred percent or your trying not to judge me. That’s okay, I’m just sharing my heart and it is a broken thing. But it’s being made whole by the God who rebuilds the ancient ruins (Isaiah 61:4). He is creating in me a pure heart. I started praying that consistently over myself  two years ago. In the beginning it sounded sweet, it sounded like I would feel pure and righteous as God was doing it, pink skies and fluffy white clouds. I’m sure there was an angel baby floating somewhere playing a harp in that imagination.  But as He has truly began to shine truth and love into my innermost being, I have never felt more dirty. I have never felt more small than as the sheer weight of the glory of God has entered into my hovel of a soul. Not because God’s judgement has pierced me and minimized me due to my sin. No quite the contrary, I recognize my own faultiness, my own finite humanity because it is only in these broken weaknesses that I am seeing the depths of God’s love for me and the extreme heights of His strength. He is creating in me a pure heart. With every speck of dirt removed He is telling me I am loved, that I am worthy of this love. He is reaching the deepest, lonely glaciers of my soul. I see the speck in my own eye, first. This is helping me to love God, myself, my family, my friends, strangers, and my enemies more genuinely. Love is coming out of the destruction, a temple for the living God is being made out of the ancient ruins. Again, I will confess that my mundane mind can not make sense of it. Still His grace is sufficient for even that. Jesus tells me that I’m not a failure, that He has chosen me (Ephesians 1). That He has made me righteous. (Romans 3:22) I can’t be both a failure and also righteous. I chose Jesus.

Every time I let God in a little deeper, every time I release clenched fists over all He’s given me to gain a posture of open palms, every time I surrender myself to His plan, every time I say yes to Him, I am transformed. The journey can feel like a back and forth emotional/physical/spiritual roller coaster. And it is when we look horizontally, as Paul said,

 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15 NIV)

Which is why a few lines down, Romans 8, tells us there is no condemnation for those of us who live in Christ! We must keep our eyes fixed on the vertical, on Jesus. We are dying to our flesh and living by the spirit. That is what this roller coaster is. And God doesn’t just throw us to the wolves, He chips away the dirt and grime over time. He takes away the shame of our sins completely. Like the white shirt I wore in hopes of my toddlers staying tidy, but they’re kids and tidy just isn’t happening realistically yet. Lazarus came up from behind me, jumped up and “Hulk squished” me. That white shirt was soon marred with whatever substance was on his hands. God tells us that even then, He makes us white as snow.

I am becoming more like Jesus. I am learning to trust Him, to love..truly love. He is faithful to complete the good work He has begun. So now I face the chaos with hope, I tell the wind to “Be still.” And when I don’t have the strength to sing the words, when praise takes everything in me to conjure up a note, still there He hears my silent rock of a heart’s cry and He responds with a melody that He sings over me. He is love. He is better than we know, His love, deeper than we realize. It feels intense, because it is.

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
but now I’m found
was blind
but now I see.

Thank you, Lord, for Your love. It is enough. You are enough. Be my compass today, Be my peace. You are Jehovah Shalom (The Lord my Peace). Make me whole with, Your shalom peace. I pray this in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.


This song “P E A C E” covered by Amanda Cook has been renewing my mind daily over the past week. Check it out!

Painting in the Fields

Set down your phone,

push out your chair

and step across the creaky floor

Place your hand on the cold knob

and swing open the back door

Hesitate at the threshold

and squint at the sudden flood of bright

Take a barefoot step into the natural world,

thaw your bones in the sunlight

Release the distractions,

the mock reality

Find your true self in Creation

as you rest from technology


My small-but-fierce family and I just got back from a mini adventure trip in the Oklahoman wilderness. As we drove closer and closer to our destination and further from cement cities, I could practically feel my spirit being freed from my skin to frolic beside our fast-moving car as we wound through the green, gold fields.

My name is Lacey, and it means “frolic”. I always thought that was irrelevant until a few weeks ago, and this adventure really set it in. I was born for this, this freedom in Creation with my Creator. An hour from the small ranch we were heading to and we officially had no cell service. The technology withdrawals took several habitual moments of checking my phone only to find the same “no service” notification at the top left of my screen. Then the freedom took over. Rolling down our windows while driving down the final dirt roads, we were each giddy with excitement and the fresh forest air. Our tires slowly crunched over rock as we pulled up to the crisp green haven. I stretched out my stiff wings for the first time in a while, and planned how I would soak up the solace.

In the mornings we cooked breakfast and played with the kids. We ran around the forest, played ball, swung under a huge pine, swam in the river, hiked, picked pine cones, absorbed all the vitamin D and joy that only nature can provide, enjoyed time with our friends and ate good food.

During my quiet time, I spent a few hours of my afternoons painting. One day in particular I ran with my art supplies in tow down passed the river to an open field I had seen in a vision months ago. The gentle caress of a breeze blowing through the sky high trees was my inhale. The chirping cicadas and songs of birds were my glass of water. The melody of water trickling over the near riverbed was my sound of silence. There was the open field of tall green grass dusted with gold and bordered with the Potato Hills. I sat there in the middle of that field and leaned into Jesus. I began to paint what I saw. Time didn’t exist here, though a distant thought reminded me that I’d have to return to my family soon once the kids woke up from their naps. A small bee buzzed around me in search of a flower. Occasionally little black ants would wander across my folded legs. Still i was encompassed by the beauty of the place i sat and the Creator who created it. Just as sweat began to form on my back, a light drizzle fell from the sky for a few minutes. It was a kiss from Jesus. Every stroke of my brush and mixing of colors was completely refreshing my being. I’ve never felt closer to Jesus and more alive.

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My open field painting with Jesus|”Potato Hills”| Summer 2018

I needed that weekend of rest and nature with God and my loved ones. I want to encourage you to set aside time to do the same, even if it’s just putting down your phone and walking out to your backyard. Every moment in nature is significant. Create adventure and journey to rest for your soul with Jesus!

“The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.” (Psalm 23 NKJV)


As I’ve previously mentioned, Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray is a great book to help walk alongside you as you journey with Jesus to soul rest. I truly can not express just how incredible this book is. You can buy your copy here!

Faith Fight

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”    (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)

Tired and embarrassed, I sat wringing my hands at a grimy school desk damp with Texas humidity in my new community college lecture room. It reeked of teenage angst. I was tired because I had just gotten back from a mission trip, and was not yet accustomed to the time change. And at 19 years old having lived on my own two years prior, I definitely was not used to the nonexistent sleeping schedule of my toddler sibling that I was now sharing a room with. Yes, I was tired.

I was embarrassed. I really messed up my academics the prior semester at the university I was attending and as a result my GPA dropped too low. Because of my own bad choices, academic probation forced me to attend this community college. I didn’t want to be there, but deep down I didn’t want to be in school at all. I wanted to be back in the mission field, doing what I could to further the kingdom of God. Yet I could hear the voices of influential figures from my adolescence commanding me to push my passions into the “elective” section of my life and seek a future that will gain me the most financial success and highest status. I listened to the wrong voices.

So there I sat, unhappy and unsure. I was taking a philosophy class because a close friend that I roomed with during my mission trip was majoring in philosophy and I thought it might be interesting to learn more. I remember the first day of class the professor attacked Christianity. He was an atheist and wanted to shame any of us who didn’t believe what he did. Ironic, isn’t it? My attention was grasped and my heart racing. I didn’t have an opportunity to speak up yet, but over the next few weeks God rolled out a red carpet for me to speak. One day the professor asked those of us who believed in Jesus to raise our hands. My hand shot up as I quickly looked around to see my other classmates uniting with me and Jesus. Except to my shock, only one other person hesitantly raise their hand. Immediately the professor argued that Christianity couldn’t be true because faith isn’t real and there is no evidence that God could be real via the five sense humans have. I remember so clearly his shrill voice, “Can you see God? No! Can you smell God? Can you hear Him? Can you feel Him? Can you taste God?” At his last question, scattered, immature laughter and comments washed over the room. Blood pounded in my ears. The professor smugly crossed his arms in self-absorbed triumph as he leaned against his desk and quickly inhaled in preparation of moving on to another topic. That was my cue.

“I can”, I said a little quietly but firm amidst the chatter.

“Excuse me?”, the professor asked looking at me incredulously. I’ll never forget his facial expression as it dropped in mock confusion, but the truthful fear that only I could see hidden behind pride in his beady eyes. “You can taste God?”, he asked with a creepy smile as the classroom laughed on with him.

“I can. Jesus is the bread of life, I can taste Him and never hunger again. You could too” The professor was not expecting that and I could see his mind reeling for some intelligent response. “I can see Him, He’s here right now.”, I went on while never breaking eye contact with him. “I can smell His sweet aroma on the wind. I can feel Him holding me in the night. I can hear Him speaking to me, we talk every day.”

You. talk to God?”, the professor’s emphasis on “you” and “God” was full of condescending doubt as he asked this final question with less humor and more hateful accusation. As if to say, “You of all people talk to the God of the universe?” His view of the Lord was so pitifully warped, and his lack of self-worth so deeply wounded. I looked at him with sorrow and responded gently, “Yes. I have faith in Jesus. And faith is enough evidence that God is real.” He looked at me a moment longer as though I was a math problem he couldn’t solve, and then he made some joke about my sanity and moved on.

He moved on, but something changed. Not just in me, but in him and in the classroom. As if I had broken through some small crack in his false truth facade. I saw several students regaining some of the confidence they had in their beliefs in Christ, though they didn’t express it outwardly. I could see the fire in their eyes for the same truth I proclaimed. I won’t lie to you, I did walk out of the class feeling like I was crazy.

I talk to God. Am I crazy? Did I really just tell fifty or more strangers, all staring at me, that I could taste God?! I am crazy. I’m weird and this is why I haven’t made friends yet. I’m out of my mind. Couldn’t You have caused an earthquake or something in the class room to prove my case, God?!

There was no glamorous ending to that semester in philosophy class. I actually ended up dropping the class because I found out I was pregnant a few weeks later and was totally wrecked in my first trimester sickness and fatigue. I never saw any fruition from the words I spoke boldly. But here’s what did happen. My faith grew! Though that professor did everything he could to destroy my faith in Christ, sharing my testimony actually increased my faith. And that’s enough.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”    (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)

Faith is real, tangible substance for all that we hope for. Faith is the evidence that science demands. Sure, that sounds like nonsense to the logical mind, but the logical mind is nonsense.

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”;”                                        (1 Corin. 3:18-19 NKJV)

God reminded me of that encounter with a philosophy professor this morning because I’m currently experiencing God increasing my faith. Which I would even go so far to say that we always have an opportunity to let God increase our faith, however my eyes are more open to Him working right now than they ever have been. Not just within myself, but also in my life. My family has recently embarked on a journey to follow a dream that was sown in our hearts long ago, and it’s absolutely nerve-wracking. Or it was, until this morning when I remembered what all God has already done. That memory of His faithfulness, His love for us, was enough to cast out all fear.

“He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.”                                                                                                                                      (Psalm 111:4 NKJV)

This was the word God led me to this morning. God has given us the power to remember. We live our lives in first person, we see memories from our eyes. But what if God wants us to start looking at our lives from His eyes? To remember our memories with the story He wrote down in His journal about us? Our memories become new. Our lives become new. It’s time to remember the Lord’s wonderful works, He made them to be remembered because there is power in remembering. But don’t let the power stop within your own heart change, share your testimony of God’s love and faithfulness with the world.

“And they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to death.” (Revelation 12:11 NKJV)

I’ll leave you with that and a few thoughts to jot down…


Creative writing with in cracks of time [pull out your journal & pen]

Have you been washed with the Blood of the Lamb, Yeshua Jesus the Messiah?

If you haven’t received Jesus and want to, shoot me a reply at the bottom of this page and I can share with you how He has changed my life.

If you have received the Blood of Jesus then know that you have overcome the enemy, and write down times in your life where God showed up like a super hero to save the day.

Have you shared your testimony? Write down a few times where you did share your faith, and if you never have, write down moments where you felt like you could have. Ask God to show you how you can next time.

There are so many opportunities to share God’s wonderful works in your life. Social media, blogging, vlogging, checking out at the grocery store, etc. Pray for God to open moments for you to share your story, the one Jesus wrote for you, and step out in faith. God will do the rest! Not only do you depend on sharing your testimony for your own walk with God, but others need to hear your testimony to encourage them that they too can overcome the enemy!

Finally, re-read that last part of Revelation 12:11, “and they did not love their lives to death”.

What is God saying to you right now? Write it all down, God is speaking. Write. Remember.


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