“Where are we going?” Hot or Cold

I looked down to see a compass spinning wildly in front of me. “Where are we going?”, my spirit asked Papa God. The needle spun rapidly clockwise then jerked back in the opposite direction. It was completely directionless. Which meant I was too. Then came the gentle reply, “There’s something blocking its connection to the earth’s magnetism.” He spoke it to me like an observing companion, and the realization dawned on me instantly.

There is no direction because something is blocking the connection.

We both peered underneath and a magnet was hidden beneath the compass causing it to be demagnetized from the right source. In this visual encounter with God, as much as I wanted to will myself to pull the magnet away from the compass I couldn’t because it was a vision not intended for only me. After the visual encounter with Jesus, I asked Him what the deal was. I felt Him say,

This removal of the wrong magnetic source, and reconnection to the true source was an act of repentance that we would have to do collectively as the body of Christ.


Praying into what exactly “the wrong magnet” severing our connection could be, I heard the Lord say “live by FAITH, not by sight.” We are looking for direction from the world, from the things we can see with our physical eyes, and not living by faith. This is why the compass spins violently in every direction, with no clear objective to move towards.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

For we live by faith, not by sight. 
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him,

2 Corinthians 4:17-18, 5:7-9a NIV (emph. added)

I feel this pull from the Lord, a longing to simply hold our faces between His hands, willing us to just look at Him. I believe He is moving us into a time of making the ultimate decision to be ALL…or nothing. To lay down our lives, our will, our desires, our dreams and to live our lives for Him no matter what lies ahead.

We are facing a fork in the road that looks a lot like a compass spinning out of control. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace as in all the churches of the saints (1 Cor. 14:33)” So if God isn’t bringing confusion, then something else is. We are in a time where we are challenged not to look at what can be seen, but at what is unseen. I sense one aspect of this confusion and lack of direction that we are experiencing is coming from the constant outlets of information and escapes from reality flowing around the world that are feeding our bellies with malnourishing food. The media is happy to give you direction right now, your panicked family members telling you how you should be reacting to the global pandemic, and even countless online Christian ministries meant to give you encouragement in this crisis; all of these can easily become the magnetic attraction your compass is pinned to. The result of our main source of direction coming from the horizontal (the physical) instead of the vertical, our personal relationship with God, will end up in not being able to see the direction God has for our lives anymore.

In this case, we are walking by sight and not by faith. We are living our life out of the affirmation of the channels around us, receiving information that feeds our souls in one way or another, and basing our purpose and perspective off of what we can see in the physical. All of this instead of seeking God for what He is doing in the unseen in our own lives and in the world. Living by sight and not by faith. And when we do this, we are displeasing to God. God has called His Bride, the church, the body of Christ to live by faith (Hab. 2:4, Romans 1:16, Galatians 3:11). In Hebrews 10:38, the scripture tells us plainly that if we don’t have faith, God finds no pleasure in us. That sounds harsh but it comes down to relationship. When we claim to believe in Him and yet we put our faith in the world, we are like an engaged woman who prostitutes herself on the side for easy money to take care of bills, food, pleasures, etc. Our Betrothed has endless riches He is waiting to pour out on us if only we accept His invitation of marriage, and yet we are trying to make a few dollars by giving away our everything to things that can never fill us completely. We can say that we love Him, but we can not truly love Him if we are putting our faith in the world.

So going back to this very basic, foundational concept of the Christian faith of actually having faith, the Lord reminded of Revelation 3:14-22. In context to the vision and the word, “live by faith and not by sight”, I wonder if we are facing ourselves at present as being a lukewarm body in whole. We must be either HOT or COLD. Being lukewarm, Jesus will spit us out as we face Him in these times to come. And He directly connects lukewarm to being satisfied with our comfort and success received from the world, which in His eyes is wretched, poor, blind and naked. As Jesus tells us in verse 19, “be zealous and repent.”

We must get back our zeal for the Lord. Getting back to earnestly desiring God alone, and earnestly going after loving Him with our entire being overflowing out of a daily revelation of His great love for us. Earnestly go after loving people like Jesus from every political party, economic background, nation and denomination regardless of how different they are from us. Completely compelled by love. So be zealous and repent. We must also repent, change our minds, turn away from our lukewarm ‘faith’. Repentance is something to be excited about! Turning to Jesus is not condemning at all but it is the greatest joy there is.

Are we on fire or ice cold? Are we all in or not at all?


Now, I know that I’ve spent a bit of time referencing scriptures that I felt confirmed this encounter I had with the Lord. This is because I had a strong sense that we, the body of Christ, need to get this immediately. Thus I tried to lay a foundation on the Word, so thanks for bearing with me for those who continued reading!

As followers of Jesus, we are His Bride. He waits patiently for us to leave our family, leave our belongings, and walk down the aisle to at last be married to Him and only Him. He delights in you. You are so beautiful, so lovely to Him. The cross is a perfect picture of just the eternal degree of lengths He has gone to show His love for you. He rose from the grave to conquer sin and death for you. He went up to Heaven so that He and the Father could make their home with you. He left His Holy Spirit, the Counselor, Comforter, and Compass to empower you with His Spirit equipped with His supernatural gifts to be Christ’s hands and feet on earth: healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, feeding the poor, loving the fatherless; to be like Jesus. How can this be? The Infinite wants the finite to become like Him? The King wants the wasteful runaway to be a co-heir with His Son in His Kingdom? He loves you, with an everlasting love. And He is coming back for you. He is coming back for His Bride. That’s why this is important, to reject our lukewarm nature and be all in with Him.

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say.
Forget your people and your family far away.
For your royal Husband delights in your beauty;
honor Him, for He is your Lord.

The bride, a princess, looks glorious
in her golden gown.
In her beautiful (multi-colored) robes, she is led to the King,
accompanied by her bridesmaids.
What a joyful and enthusiastic procession
as they enter the King’s palace!

Psalm 45:10-11,13-15 NLT (emph. added)

This is our confidence. That we, the bride, the princess with many colors on her robes, colors representing every nation, tribe and tongue on earth, will soon be united as one body with our Bridegroom. We will walk by faith and not by sight. Our compass points us Home.


I do not own rights to this image. I can not find who created this beautiful artwork, so I can not properly give credit. But I see the signature @arte_carde, the little figure on the corner, and am blessed for the piece of art!

We know in part, and we see in part. So test all that I’ve said with the Lord for yourself. Ask Him questions, and listen for His response. He is your Source.

All that is shaken

I woke up late that morning. “7:29 a.m.” gleamed at me on my phone screen and the snooze timer counted down the seconds until the next time it would attempt to wake me. That current season of life had been so busy. I was staffing my first Discipleship Training School with my husband, and it had been some of the most intense and exciting months we’ve had in ministry together yet. Still there’s a cost, and sleep was one price I was okay with losing some of. We had spent the past three months living in close community with thirteen students, young and old, from all of the world. Sharing meals together, having heart to heart connections with, receiving healing from long lasted wounds, growing in the Lord together, ministering on the streets together, and everything in between. They became instant family.

We were two weeks away from going on outreach, which would consist of two months of evangelism and ministry. Outreach is the whole point of the Discipleship Training School. My husband and I had spent the entire school planning and connecting with the local contacts we would work with during our outreach: praying with our team, casting vision, setting up housing, meals, budgeting the expenses, etc. All we had left to do was pack our bags. We were ready, and excited to go, as was the rest of our team.

We had pressed into the Lord as a school and seen wonders and miracles as the Holy Spirit moved in and through us. It was incredible how willing all of the students were to receive all that God had for them during the school, and even more incredible how quickly God showed up in a powerful way. Our second week of school several were baptized in the Holy Spirit and many received the fire of God. Everyone in the room that day night and into the next day was encountering God in either laughter, laying out on the floor, weeping, sitting still, or a mixture of the sum. God manifested a small bit of His glory to us and it was wonderful. This fast beginning launched us into a radical several months of seeking God and finding Him in all of His splendor.

The night before this morning, we had an evening meeting updating the students on the COVID-19 situation. Currently we would have to stay one meter apart from one another, and eating in the cafeteria would look a bit different as the kitchen staff would have to change the ways they distributed food. Three of our students were missing because they were in a ‘quarantine’ of sorts from a stomach bug. The base leadership was requesting anyone that had any hint of illness to stay in their rooms. After the announcements we prayed for the nations and for our school during this crisis time as the virus spread. We took communion together and then began spontaneously singing out worship and praise to the Lord acapella. “Fearless forerunners carrying the fire and fragrance of God” That was the banner the Lord gave us staff for the school. And that was exactly who we were. I could see it before my eyes as we sang out in one accord together. It was beautiful. As the hours went on many left and many stayed to continue spurting out heart cries to the Lord in song, exalting Jesus over this global crisis. I didn’t know then that would be our last time worshipping together as a school.

So after the intense night I didn’t get as much sleep as I would’ve normally, but it was worth it. I quickly turned off my alarm that morning and was excited for the day ahead. Because of the mandatory national closure for all schools in the nation we were living as missionaries in, my kids’ kindergarten school had already been shut down the day before. So I didn’t have to get them ready for school that morning, and quickly ate some toast, poured a cup of tea and rushed out to class. I led the typical Friday’s Bible reading morning; still working through the book of Acts. The staff that normally led this morning was in quarantine for a sore throat. The base wasn’t taking any chances. The speaker for the week’s teaching on ‘relationships’ came in after our Bible reading session, and we began our final day of teaching on the subject. There was an uneasy feeling in the room, at least I could feel it. Something was off, and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. The world was in a panic over this virus spreading globally, and we were on the edge of everything tipping over as the balance became one-side too heavy here.

During the last session of teaching that day, us staff present on the school’s team were notified that the base leadership was calling a mandatory meeting for all people on the base to attend after lunch. Our school leader informed myself and my fellow staff (also close friend) that the leadership was shutting down our school. My heart sunk in my chest. Everything from then on felt like slow motion. We all stood in the room two meters a part and listened to our base leader update us on the national proclamations for this virus, and how our base would take action on it. The nation we were in had become level 3 on the global health advisory and everything was about to change. Serving food had to stop, meeting in groups had to stop, isolation in our homes would be our priority and amongst a long list of other changes, the main one that took our breath away was this: everyone that could leave had to leave, effective immediately. Basically if you didn’t have your own unit, your own home with a kitchen and bathroom, then you had to move off of the base for an unknown amount of time. This meant all of our students and also a good deal of international/domestic staff.

What. Seriously? Our students cried, we cried. Everyone was shocked. In one hour, our entire lifestyle was flipped upside down. Many began buying tickets for flights home and planning to leave. I didn’t have many words to say. The students and our staff were heartbroken. The future was uncertain and we weren’t gauranteed that we would all get to be together again. We had three weeks left of school, and that was all put on hold. The outreach we spent months planning was cancelled. We weren’t sure (and still aren’t) when nations will begin opening up their boarders again. And so we had to send students back to their homes without getting any sort of preparation, reverse-culture shock training, or debriefing in order to return back to their homes. Our dreams and hopes for finishing this season seemed to be ripped out from under us and crushed in front of our eyes.

We had a rushed, thrown together dinner that Friday night where we all said our, ‘goodbye’s’. A dinner in which many were too stunned to even eat. People cried while they sat at a table quickly decorated for the fast departure party. We gave spontaneous speeches, cried bitter tears, hugged, and tried to encourage one another in the only hope that remained, hope in Christ. But it wasn’t anywhere near closure. It was sudden and it hurt our hearts. It hurt mine. Over two to three days, most people left. It was quite traumatic to have your entire daily schedule, group of people you do life with, weekly ministry times of worship and prayer, and close community living completely shatter in a matter of one day.

Helpless is a good term for how I felt. Of course I prayed, and my heart still praised the Lord despite it all. Yet the way everything ended so suddenly, it hurt my heart. I had so much faith that God would get us through this crisis time, and it didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it. But over this week and a half since that day, God has spoken so much to me. Trust and hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 NIV

I had to wrestle with the Lord in why things didn’t turn out as planned.
Why didn’t people do this instead of that? Why didn’t we seek you more or try other options? Why are people so afraid?
So many why’s, and still there was just one heart that Holy Spirit seemed to be the most concerned about…
mine.

I was frantically looking for solutions, frantically praying for Him to pick up the pieces that had just been scattered all over the world by COVID-19. All the while joy and peace began to fade as my trust in God became the real issue for me here. I wanted Him to bring things back to they way they were, and yet everyone around me was proclaiming that was impossible. I was so set on proving them all wrong that my trust actually became misplaced. I trusted that our leadership would keep the school running, and when that didn’t happen for many reasons I was in despair. I trusted that we would do whatever it took to get all of our students and staff back together again as soon as we were able. Again that wasn’t able to happen either. My trust was in people.
My trust was in the results of my labor looking a certain way.
All the while God wanted to fill up my pleading heart. With hope. A hope that resulted in joy and peace that would overflow hope to other people.

I was trying to save the world, and He was wanting to steady me.

God’s agenda was a little different than mine…maybe because He already did all of the saving. Thankfully there’s grace for me and I can joyfully repent which just looks like me turning to Jesus, confessing my sin and asking Him to change the way I think. Throughout this global COVID-19 crisis, my daily routine has been shaken. My living conditions have shaken. My friendships and family have been shaken. My plans for the next month have been shaken. Even my trust has been shaken. And out of all that has crumbled in the shaking, what cannot be shaken has remained. That is the kingdom of God inside me. The kingdom that wants to be released out. So this is me letting it shine. And my declarations of truth will be shouted out louder than the chaos

I am God’s daughter carrying His authority and power by the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit upon me.
I am a co-heir with Christ, seated in the heavenly places with Him.
I am rooted and established in the love of God.
I am no longer a slave to fear, but I am a child of the living God.
I am a disciple of Christ, called to be His witness to the nations, and signs and wonders will accompany this call.
I am strong and courageous and will not be afraid or dismayed for the Lord, my God is with me wherever I go.
I have hope, joy and peace in Christ.
I am a city on a hill that can not be hidden.
My family and I are dwelling in the shelter of the Almighty and abiding in the shadow of His wings.
I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone that believes.
I have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken.


As for the school, the vision remains the same. We are fearless forerunners carrying the fire and fragrance of God. This our time to walk that out. Myself included. The future might be uncertain for some, but it’s not for me. I know my God has a plan and a purpose for my life that nothing can hinder. Though my heart and my flesh may fail, God is the strength of my heart and my portion f o r e v e r. The wind and the waves will come, but through it all there is so much more to be thankful for. Because Jesus is alive, and He is faithful.


Here are some questions I have for you today. Grab a pen and take a moment to process.

-Where were you the day this virus changed the regular flow of your life? —-What were some of the consequences of the changes that had to be made (i .e. social distancing, lack of usual supplies, school/work shutdown)?
-Where does your trust lie right now?
-What are your “I am” truth statements?
-What are ten things you can thank God for today?

Finding Beauty in the Frost: a poem

Glittering threads,
frozen spider webs
The fine details of life 
are made evident on a snow-fallen day.

A once invisible breath
escaping from lips
becomes a cloud of warmth
puffing away. 

The moon herself
never shines so bright,
like a sunlit night,
than when she hangs full atop a winter’s land.

The glory of sun rays
may be hidden beneath blankets of gray,
whilst the heat lingers as memory
and the frost nips your hands.

And yet
if you are still enough to listen,
rising early enough to witness
morning rise upon the snow,
you will hear
with your ears
and see
with your eyes
a kitten’s gliding paws
leaving behind
life’s gentle trail.
If you are a watchman for detail, 
you will find
beauty in the frost 
amidst the coldest seasons of time.

Because only in the winter are branches truly seen;
and when all is shaken
what is hidden will remain.

Beauty in the Frost by L.S.



Finding Beauty in the Frost was written during this holiday season as I accompany several friends walking through deep valleys. My role as a prayer warrior has been taken completely serious because I know only God can deliver them, us, out of these troubles. My faith stands fast in Christ, in His love and His power; even amidst the apparent waiting for results after praying out the bold prayers. I know God is moving, even when we can not see the work with our physical eyes. But can we? If we look closely? I’m learning to believe that the work needing to be done is, in fact, already finished. It was finished on the cross when, “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” What Jesus accomplished is a finished work for us all. This knowledge, the knowledge of Christ, is a hidden treasure; one tucked beneath the folds of our hearts. A treasure brightly shining within us fragile jars. When the darkness of our circumstances threatens to crush us will we choose to pull open the lid and allow the light to pierce the veil? Somewhere, buried within the heart of a daughter or son of the Living God, is a cry of faith that can not be shaken.
Hear it rising.
Feel it rumble.
Let it roar.


Reference: 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 NKJV & Isaiah 53:4-5 NKJV

I met Peace

Sometimes my life feels so normal and other times, times like today my family’s path becomes so narrow that I can feel the branches on either side of us scratching my arms as we squeeze through. Always fixing our eyes ahead, though. Pressing onward to the light that we can see shining at the end. Reminding ourselves that the open space is sure to come soon. For the joy set before us, we endure.

Earlier I logged on to social media to message family about an urgent prayer request for my husband. We are a family in overseas Christian ministry, and my husband is currently on his first solo trip in a nation in the Middle East. I typed the brief request on my laptop, partially hoping for some sort of quick response to ease my nerves, yet to no avail. And so I began mindlessly scrolling through my news feed simply attempting to not think for a few seconds; mind wandering as the words and images blurred upon the screen. Meanwhile my children continued to talk across their beds to each other in the other room despite me having already visited them four times asking them to be quiet and go to sleep. The kids and I have to catch an early train in the morning to get to the airport, meet my husband there after he flies back from his trip and then we will all fly together to stay in another country for a few weeks. Before January we had never left our home country, and now by the end of 2019 we will have been to thirteen nations, traveling and sharing the gospel of the kingdom. Whoa. That’s wild. I can hardly grasp it myself. A lot.

Peace. Come in with Your peace, Daddy.

Facebook will never meet that requirement for me. Nor chocolate. Or my favorite Scandinavian pastries. And neither can people, honestly. They can encourage us and usher in the Lord’s presence who in return will bring peace. But there’s a Divine flow that can only drench us fully when it comes straight from the Source. The River of Life.
So I sat, waiting. And He came. I knew He would. I thrusted my cares on to Him, knowing that Jesus endlessly cares for me. And His peace washed over me like cool water on a warm day.
For several months now I have been intentionally practicing living in the peace of God. This mission hasn’t been an easy one. I’ve basically offered myself up to be refined and purified. Willingly choosing to become more aware of how much time I spend outside of the pool of peace that was always meant to be my inheritance in Christ. A life without peace becomes so noticeable once you begin actively pursuing the real thing. And that’s what I had, a life without peace. Of course there were countless moments of peace that came and went, but the moment adversity arose I was panicked and desperate.

Help me, Lord. I’m sinking!

I am full of faith. I can walk out on to the water with no hesitation. The moment God calls me to something I jump, “Here I am, send me!”, taking the huge leaps of faith with little flinching. But without the peace of God over me, suddenly the waves would begin to lick my ankles, a panic would rise from my gut to my throat and before I knew it I would begin to sink.

Help me, Lord. I’m sinking!

Moving forward in bold faith with peace that came and went looked like frequent stops atop the sea in order to be lifted out of sinking waters by Merciful Hands. With that I am learning that faith and peace are not the same.

Chaos. Anxiety. Stress. Overwhelmed. These are big words that no one wants to identify with but many are caught up within the endless rotation nonetheless. These are senses of reality that I, now, consistently rely upon the Holy Spirit to not realign with. I am witnessing firsthand that it is possible, to live within the peace of God. This year has been one of overcoming. My greatest fears and challenges have taken place, and within the fire there has been another One standing with my family and I. Jesus has never left our side. He has been glorified through every ounce of victory we’ve had in the trials. Yet I realized that even overcoming all of these crazy, radical things did not organically cultivate a life of peace. Peace was an inheritance I still had a choice to steadfastly claim or not.

All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
And great shall be the peace of your children.

Isaiah 54:13 NKJV

This mission of peace was kickstarted one day when I heard the Lord tell me to consistently pray that scripture over my children. God knows us so well. He knew I would truly receive it if the revelation came through parenting. So I started praying claiming that peace would be my children’s inheritance. Being a missionary child is not your typical childhood. My husband and I’s prayer has been that throughout all of the changes in our journey as a family, the peace of God will remain constant over us. But I didn’t notice until I kept praying and attempting to force peaceful behavior, that I was never really taught by love to receive this peace inheritance from the Lord myself. How then could I possibly train my two under-5-year-olds to live in the peace of God? This was something I needed first. Something I truly longed for. And so I merely asked.

I want to dwell in Your house forever, God. Give me Your peace.

He’s a good Dad, He gives good gifts. Peace is a part of my inheritance in Christ and I claim that over myself. Before long, in the midst of our multiple travels I noticed that long-lived knots began to work out of chest. Thought patterns were molded and transformed in truth. Peace became a Person that I was in relationship with daily, and He also goes by the name, Jesus. Something wild happens when you begin to actually get to know God. As you talk with Him and discover more about about Him, your heart begins to expand with a love unfathomable and your mind renews with a freedom unattainable in your own strength. He is just that good.

My husband has been gone for four days now on this incredible, miraculous trip seeing God move in a new way in a nation that will effect the world. While he has been away, I have had to slow down my pace of life to be able to thrive with my kids. The change of pace has brought rest and also revelation to my life. Living in the peace of God doesn’t mean adversity stops, it just means you have a fortress to live inside regardless of what comes your way. Changing up the kids’ routine by not having their daddy around was a bit of a frenzy those first few days. We fought to remain in peace. Monday rolled around and I dropped the ball in maintaining the peace in our household. Getting them dressed, fed and dropped off at school was rushed because I needed to also lead worship that morning. And my hastiness choked out peace for myself and my son. He refused to be dropped off at school. Screaming and clinging to me when I tried to leave, fighting off his teachers, and completely not acting like himself. I knew I shouldn’t leave him, but I was so upset without fully understanding why. I tearfully put his snowsuit back on and stomped back over with him to our house. In the absence of peace, stress created anger. He was upset. I was upset. I quietly let frustrated tears slide down my cheeks as we sat down on the floor of my kids’ bedroom. I had no clue where to go from there.
Then the Lord drew near, put His lips to my ear, and whispered to me, reminding me of His peace.

Oh right. I’ve been living outside of it again.

I repented for projecting my stress onto my kids and eventually letting anger flood my actions. Following that, revelation swept in. Instead of leading worship for our community, I had an opportunity exceedingly more important in that moment. I excitedly ran to get my computer, returned to his room, and put on some soaking instrumental worship music. I began leading myself and my son into the presence of God. He sat in my lap for a few minutes and we both were still as we let the instruments wash over us while listening to the voice of God. I encouraged my son to ask God if there was anything God wanted to say to him. Fifteen or twenty minutes of quiet worship and little words spoken went by while my son periodically moved about the room, laying down, sitting up, and playing with toys here and there. My son was lying on his belly, rolling his sapphire blue marble across the floor when he said,

“He told me that I need to get peace and then I can go to school today.”

Whoa.

“God told you that?”, I asked while holding my breath. “Yeah.”, he said with a smirk and shrug of his shoulders.

My heart exploded. The reality of that scripture I had been praying over my children was occuring before my eyes (ref. Isaiah 54:13). My children are taught by the Lord and great is their peace. My four year old not only hears God’s voice, but he chooses to live in God’s peace. Not by my control or manipulation, but out of my willingness to provide space for the choice of peace to be made. We laughed and talked for a while; so full of gratitude for the Lord coming in that room, the Prince of Peace Himself coming to meet us in our mess. Afterwards my son felt the peace of God and wanted to return to school. We walked back and attempted to drop him off again. This time I took my time with him. Soaking in every moment that I had rushed through the first time. And the day went on, not ruined by one moment of things not going my way which ultimately resulted in me choosing to sin. I chose peace, and the man Himself came in glory not only for me but for my child. He is just that good. I’m excited to continue on this journey of getting to know God and make Him known.

Things will not always go my way. Like Peter, I’ve given Jesus permission to call me out on to the water with Him. And He responded. He has called me to be with Him, to be like Him. I’m out on the water with Jesus. Sometimes the waves will reach my waist, sometimes the wind will toss me off my balance. Adversity will come. I’m not asking for it, but I know that if I share in the sufferings of Christ then I have a solid hope that I will attain to the fulness of His resurrection as well. To fully know Christ, and glorify Him to the nations. He is Jehovah Shalom. The Lord my Peace.

The Redeemed Tragedy of the Cellist

From side to side she sweeps her bow across the strings. Eyes closed, lips pressed, shoulders hunched forward, and body pulled with the vibrant tug of the melody. She is gripped by the music. Lost, and yet utterly found. This is her place. Here in this creative space, pouring into her cello words that could never be spoken and emotions that language can’t express. The conductor silently swings his baton in precise angular movements, directing the orchestra to surround her song. Together the symphony builds and builds into a beautiful crescendo as the remaining strings take over. Leaning back in a moment of reprieve, she grips her bow and rests it against her right leg. She gulps down the air with steadied, deep breaths as she waits for the moment the entire concerto was written upon. Her moment. The climax, her solo, at the beginning of the final movement. So much history is here in this exact solo for her, so much pain, but there is no time to dwell. She pushes it all behind her and commands her entire being to focus on each individual breath while waiting, listening to the rest of the orchestra build a tower of notes meant for her to jump from. She waits. Suddenly with one sharp swing, the conductor waves his baton and she explodes into motions. Gently holding her bow like a feather as she violently brushes it across her cello, a sound so furious, yet captivating bursts into the atmosphere. Her fingers move fiercely up and down the fingerboard in a dance only she could perform. She has never been more free, never been more vulnerable than here in this place of pouring her whole heart into her cello. So beautiful, so lovely. She becomes the music. The orchestra jumps in and together they create a vigorous symphony movement that captures the entire room. Everyone is touched as she moves as one with her cello. And then so abruptly, you’d thought you had imagined it, her beautiful performance cuts off as strings rip off her bow. The conductor calmly silences the orchestra with a wave of his hands. She professionally addresses the audience with grace, explaining that she will quickly go change the broken strings on her bow and return to finish the movement. With a small bow she smiles and turns to head to the back stage.

Did that truly just happen?
The crowd instantly murmurs.

An announcer speaks over the intercom assuring the room that the orchestra will continue the final movement shortly. Whispers coat the air and the sound of instrumentalists resting their instruments pierce the silence. Everyone waits for her, the star of the show, the star that failed during her most crucial performance. And as if this wasn’t enough, the announcer informs everyone that this is the second time she has broken the strings during this exact same movement in this exact same concerto.

How could this be? Failing so drastically, t w i c e ?

Could she have watered down her performance more so that the strings on her bow stayed intact? Put less emotion in her music to save herself from making the same mistake twice? Was this even a mistake of her own doing, or was it merely a product of bad circumstances lining up like rocks for her to stumble over? So many questions flooded her brain as she swiftly walked behind the stage to her dressing room where she began to efficiently restore the strings on her bow. Eyes followed her exit like darts aimed at a target. Putting all of her internal questions aside, she moved, falling at ease into a routine she knew well. Replacing the strings was one of the first lessons she had learned.

It was part of the art.
A part of the process in continuing to move forward; a process of building and pausing, running and resting.

How challenging it is to reveal this process publicly. Failing for all to see. Especially amidst such a prestigious, black and white crowd with no room for grey areas.

The first time this happened to her she could hardly bear the humiliation. There in the heat of the symphony’s final movement, her passionate creative expression came to a halt as strings ripped from her bow. The failure sucked the breath from her lungs. She knocked over her music stand as she quickly arose to change the strings, clumsily tripping over the hem of her dress while running back stage. She refused the offers of help from back stage employees turning pitying glances her way. That time, she cried silently as she replaced the strings aggressively. Scraping tears away she returned to finish the concerto all mind and no heart. Pouring out of her heart simply wasn’t worth the risk anymore.

After the concert, she remained in her chair bewildered as her coworkers patted her on the back before exiting the room. She wept every night after that for weeks as she practiced the same movement over and over again until the callouses on her hands cracked. Even so she relentlessly pushed herself further still. One thought pounded through her veins.

She must redeem herself.

Make the wrong, right. This continued on an empty stage with just her and her cello every night at a local music hall for months. She practiced and practiced until one night, she pushed herself so hard that finally, she broke. Her fingers bled, and a cry ripped out of her heart. The failure of her performance weighed down on her more than ever before. Caught up in her self-torment the cello slid to the floor with a crash. Throughout her school years and her adult career, she spent the mass of her life striving to be the best cellist, the perfect performer. She sacrificed everything to be the perfect musician that she was today. And she succeeded. She became, one of the most talented, prestigious musicians of her time.

A rose among thorns.

But as she progressed fear of failure also grew along with her as a subtle thorn wrapping itself around her stem, slowly choking the life from her. In this practice session after her cello crashed down, she too allowed herself to slide from her chair and crumble like a cloth onto the ground. It was there in her desperation that another sound penetrated the rattle from all the arrows she threw at herself inside her mind.

A loving whisper, one of mercy and grace.

A voice from the One who gave it all so that she could have room to grow with Him again. He comforted her with His love, and clothed her with His grace. “My grace is sufficient for you.“, He said to her. It was enough, enough of a shock to revive her heart back into motion. Enough of truth to clear out the thorns and give her space to grow. Jesus can handle her failures, she need not fear them. If she allows herself to share in the sufferings of Christ, she will also attain the full resurrection with Him. She must press on. Not to attain perfection on earth, but to attain that which comes from a grace-filled life walking in the righteousness found only in Jesus. Becoming like Him. This awareness that, because of Jesus she was in right standing with God, stripped her from all forms of fear which had once gripped the wellspring of life within her. She wasn’t made to fail, but she had to give herself the freedom to do so if it meant she could grow.

And so, the show went on. This second time around she kept that revolutionary encounter on the center stage of her mind while she restored her bow and eloquently rushed back to the music hall’s center stage. The whispers were hushed but the stares continued. She could not care less. She was confident of one thing. Her right standing with God, and that was enough. Quickly tuning her cello, she nodded to the conductor and he motioned for the rest of the orchestra to begin a few measures prior to where they stopped before. Despite the large audience waiting with dismay before her and the eager orchestra surrounding her, she allowed herself to drift to that secret place once again. Suddenly she was back on that small dimly lit stage sitting upon a worn wooden chair with just her and her cello, only this time she knew Someone else knelt beside her as well. Awaiting the cue from the conductor, she gently hovered her bow near the strings of the cello and felt the pleasure from the One kneeling beside her brush away that nervous sweat that had been beading upon her brow. He wasn’t bothered by her mistakes. He loved to watch her passionately pour her all into this life with a heart abandoned, ever after Him alone. And so her moment came anew. Whether she failed a third time or a thousand, she would keep pressing on because she loved every bit of playing and wanted to let her music shine. To let her process shine the light of a gracious Savior. She closed her eyes and exhaled a breath she didn’t realize she was holding as music exploded once more from her hands. Release. A distant understanding lit like a match in her mind as she killed the vigorous final movement of the concerto so fearfully and wonderfully. She let go of everything in that moment, and yet so skillfully she played nonetheless. It was her many tries and fails that allowed her to do this very thing, to naturally overflow anointing from a place of letting go. Like an evergreen spruce tree she could remain bearing fruit and fragrance amidst the coldest of winters so long as her roots abided in Him. Living out of this secret space filled with grace to merely be and grow with her Beloved.

 “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:7-14 NIV

They May Say I’m a Dreamer

“Look, this dreamer is coming!”

That’s what they said before Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him out of their own fear, jealousy, and selfish ambition. They were too focused on Joseph to seek God in their own destinies. If they asked, they would be told of all the unique and world-changing promises God had for each of them. One big purpose being that they would, together, become the great, twelve tribes of Israel. The brothers only saw their present circumstances, while Joseph saw his future.

“Look, this dreamer is coming!”

I sense the Lord is saying that this statement, this taunt, this mocking jab towards one’s purpose and calling is clanging loudly throughout the earth still today. It is the sound suffocating a child’s wonder and creativity out of her, wavering her direction to go up a success ladder of consumerism and personal gain. It is the deceitful whisper telling dreamer’s of change to point their guns at one another.

It is the sound of the enemy.

“Look, this dreamer is coming!” His finger, pointing at you in disbelief; preceding a plan, an attempt, to silence your voice and capture your identity, to kill your vision and crush your dreams. It is here, encompassed with this feeling of being stupid, so stupid, to believe in such big dreams, that many are stuck. Listening to the devil’s taunt on repeat, mocking who they could be, the dreams they once had, the calling that was too big. It is the sound of the unbelieving taunt, the unbelieving sin, that so easily entangles us.

Coming in agreement with that unbelief will bring about an inner torment that will rewire your brain from its original design. And soon your personally-designed, real purpose in life becomes so lost that it is now you pointing your finger at the other dreamers of the world. This has been me many times.

For so long humanity has listened to this clanging symbol, labelling the dreamers from the normal people, believing the unbelief, and hence, never stepping out into the fullness of Christ. But I sense that God is saying, first,

“Enough is enough.”

Enough of settling for the lie, and remaining outside of the abundant kingdom life God has in store, right here and now, for His beloved.

Oh the dream! His dream for His children.

That the body of Christ would walk as one Bride in the fullness of Christ, the glory of God made manifest in her, the abundant life that Jesus Christ died for her to live.

What if the key is this…

What if we were all made to dream? Made to cast vision for the impossible to become possible through Christ in our lives?

I believe we can.

Second, I sense that in this season the Lord is awakening the dreamers to dream once again. He is transforming that taunt, meant to snuff out our fire, into a steady beat for us march to in pursuit of the goal for the prize of the upward call in Christ (Philippians 3:14). And He wants us to know that there is a tool we can use, a belt that we can fasten upon ourselves to secure us against the unbelieving taunt from the devil. God is highlighting the belt of truth for His people to put on once again. In this season God is calling us to boast in our weakness, boasting in the truth. The truth that our dreams can not be accomplished without Him, without God’s all-sufficient grace. This is the armor covering you, His armor. This is the light, the light of Jesus Christ, keeping your eyes fixed upward. This is the melody, the song of deliverance, surrounding you, and playing louder than the unbelief. You are loved. You have a purpose and a calling. And Jesus? Jesus is coming back, and He is calling His Bride to ready herself. To realize that she carries the kingdom of God on earth, and to not merely be a hearer of the word, but a doer.

If we step into this open invitation from the Lord, an invitation to dream again, could we unite as one body in Christ and celebrate each other’s progress? Could we not only dream the impossible in faith, but also see it come to pass? The miracles, the healings, the deliverance, the chains falling off of nations? Could we see in our lifetime the glory of God covering the earth as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14)?

I believe we can, if we are willing.

There is another piece to all of this that the Lord is reminding us of in this time as well. Our walk of faith, our obedience to the call, will not come without challenges. You see, we might think that Joseph had a special calling. But God doesn’t show favoritism (Romans 2:12). Your calling is just as big as Joseph’s was, and his dream came with many struggles. Yours will too. Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers, sold into slavery, shown favor, but then betrayed again and thrown into prison. Still, God never left him. God never stopped working things out in Joseph’s favor. Even though Joseph was brought low. Even though it seemed that the odds were always against him. Even though his circumstances didn’t line up with his dreams. Joseph believed that God was able. And He was. Through it all, God brought the vision, the dream to pass. I can hear Him whisper to us,

The hardships were part of the dream coming to pass.

To press on in this new season, we must know that our present, past and future hardships are all being worked together, by God, for our good.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 NKJV

So love God. Dream again. You are called. You have a purpose. And no matter the trials that lie ahead, remember that God is working it all out for your good. Believe, not in yourself, but in Him who is able to do exceedingly, and abundantly above all that you could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21). To Him be the glory forever and ever.

Spirit and Truth

The humming first note in a violin’s gentle melody pierced the car ride home. Home. The low hanging moon snagged my attention as I gazed across the large lake encompassed by small mountains. Home. Where is that anymore? The violin ministered a supernatural song that sounded so like my Dad in Heaven’s voice.

Yes, this is Me.

Whoah. The melody tugged me upward towards that waning moon shining crystalline as it shared the sky with the setting sun. While the notes of the violin increased in a crescendo my heart swelled with inexplicable love. This was a dance between Him and I. I felt the swaying, the climatic back and forth, as I struggled to believe a love so deep.

This is real.

He told me again and again: I love you, Lacey.

He says He loves me because He loves me, because He loves, because He loves me, because that’s who He is, that’s what He does. God is love. The crashing love rolled over me like a tidal wave, sucking the dusty air out of me and flooding my lungs with grace. In a season of mystery where everything feels possible and yet still too good to be true, do I trust Your leading? His reminding of His goodness caressed my brain and dissolved all unbelief. Yes, I trust You with everything I have. The love of God hit me to the core and tore down the lingering belief systems and self-protecting mindsets I had presumptuously left uncharted within. And I felt the peace that surpasses all understanding come in like a wind blowing away the fog. He loves me, and He has me in His hands.

This is wild, right? I’m away from everything I’ve ever “known” here on earth, yet I’ve never felt more at home. Not always physically, but right here in the hallways of my heart, the depths of my soul, deep into the marrow of my bones. The Lord gently leads me on. And as I press in to actually speaking to Him and listening to His response, God the Father, Holy Spirit, and Jesus are becoming more tangible. My faith is more evident to me.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28 (MSG)

Those unforced rhythms of grace made up the very song hitting me within that violin. So here I stand on the edge of the horizon, letting go of myself long enough to be caught in the arms of Jesus- the very surrendering He died to make possible. Though I always strived to, I’m seeing that it’s not so centered on me loving Him as it is foundational to let Him love me first. Every second of every day. To worship in spirit and truth. Love is the key, and there’s an order to it that I just can’t afford to miss: receiving His love, pouring it back to Him, then turning that love towards myself, and bursting it out towards other people (Matthew 22:37-39). A heart tapped into the streams of living water, and from there everything changes.

Photo taken by Adine Schweizer
Song referenced above