You ready for this?

It has been almost an entire week since my family has prayerfully locked in on to the exact place we will begin our full-time missionary journey, received acceptance into the organization, and basically jumped off a cliff into the unknown. How are we going to get  funding? Who will partner with us? What does life overseas look like for a young family? When will come back? Will we come back? After four years of marriage and both of us resisting the call into missions, we have finally obeyed the Lord’s call in this area. After many, many months of praying, at last, we have peace and clarity in this specific decision for our family. Even though we firmly know this decision is founded on what God has spoken to us and His peace; still, to others we are doing something crazy by selling our belongings, raising up a team of partners, moving to Norway to begin our journey of going out to all nations to love people like Christ loves us. We have several times joked out loud about how crazy that sounds-even to us. It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. A few nights ago I had my first moment of panic, feeling the weight of all that must be done to prepare-the questions I shared with you at the beginning of this post. And in that moment of doubt, fear, and wrong thinking, I heard the Lord so clearly whisper into my racing mind, “You are my child”. It took all I had to repeat over and over, “I am a child of God”; quickly my mind was soothed like a spooked baby and I fell asleep.

Rejection was always a fear of mine. I’m sure most of us have a middle school memory like mine: I’m standing amidst a group of kids, waiting for one of the team captains to excitedly choose me to be on their team. I bite my nails as I hope to be chosen, but the choosing doesn’t come. I’m just not good enough in the team captain’s eyes. There were many times that I didn’t get picked; therefore I was put on whichever team was leftover at the end. I was a leftover. And it stung, that small form of rejection. I began to feel the need to prove myself, to prove my worth. I became a beast at volleyball and cheerleading. I was a performer and I had an audience to please.

Taking the roots of rejection in my life back even further, I wasn’t raise by my birth parents for various reasons and circumstances. I praise God that after a while, those relationships have now been reconciled tenfold. But regardless of the ‘why?‘, as a little girl with curly blonde hair, that feeling of being rejected by them still rooted in me and effected every decision I made. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be deemed valuable to people so that they wouldn’t leave me. I spent my youth striving to be accepted. Which as you can imagine or have probably experienced yourself, brought on all kinds of chaos in my relationships.

In fact this was something I just revisited last Saturday. That morning my mom, who parented me, brought over my birth certificate to be processed with our passport applications. I unfolded the old piece of worn paper, and noticed that I actually have no father listed on my birth certificate. Legally I am fatherless. Although I was blessed to have been raised by an amazing dad whom loved me though he wasn’t bound to me by blood, and though I was able to spend a brief few days with my birth father overtime before he passed away, still…the pain of having no earthly father claim me on the day I entered this world was like ripping off a scab.

Praise be to God that this particular scab was covering a wound that was already healing underneath. Although it stung to be removed, there was fresh pink skin underneath that scab just waiting to be exposed to the air and light. The scab needed to go, and this time I didn’t stay in that sad place of rejection. I didn’t go down my own mental path of destruction. Instead I saw the rejection for what it was, an invitation for me to accept God’s truth. I do have a Father. I am a child of God. And more than just being one child of many children. I am His child. His girl.  The one whom God sent His Son to die for. The one whom God raised to life with His Son on the third day. This Father-daughter relationship is way more intimate and personal than merely being a kid standing in a group waiting to be picked. This love is way more detailed than the word typed “unknown” near the place where a father’s name belongs on your birth certificate. No, no, this is an endless pursuit of love, an every millisecond of every day, for all eternity kind of love. The “I choose you” even at your worst kind of love. The love of God is personal, specific, tailor made just for me and just for you. My Father is not unknown. My Father is, He always was, and He always will be. There is nowhere I can go that He will not be. There is nothing I can do that He will not steadily guide me in. My Father doesn’t forsake, He doesn’t forget me. He isn’t misleading, He isn’t hesitant. My Father has a plan, and it is good. My Father knows me and loves me. My Father goes before me, and walks behind me. My Father surrounds me, and no weapon formed against me will prosper. I am a child of God. That is my status, that is my promise, that is my identity.

That kind of revelation makes our family’s move to Norway feel like a walk in the park. That kind of security in your identity makes man’s opinions of you invalid. My God has spoken. And what His word does not return void. The truth of God is strong and firm, a truth I can stand on forever. Nothing is impossible for a co-heir with Christ, we need only abide in Him.

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:16-17 NKJV)


The funds to go out and love on the nations will come from God because He is God and He is our supplier. Even though Norway is across the world, there is no where I can go that God is not there. He will not abandon us there or anywhere. I’m not afraid to free fall into the unknown. Because the ‘unknown‘ really is not unknown. And that’s what I’m beginning to see.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1-3 NIV)

Nothing is unknown to the One True God who created literally everything. Friend, I encourage you today to release your fear. Maybe it looks like a middle school team captain sneering at your wobbly knees. Maybe it looks like obeying the Lord’s call over your life into a destiny you deem impossible. Fear is a spirit, and it flees when the love of God comes crashing in. I pray the Lord totally wreck your walls and strongholds holding you back right now as you read my testimony. You are chosen. You are loved beyond measure. You have a purpose and a calling. Now, jump!

“But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:18-21 NKJV)


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!

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!

Meaningless, meaningless

After a few weeks of walking through spiritual fog, I had had enough. I was still intimate with God, but I was growing weary of not being able to see where I was going. I knew what I was getting myself into when I stepped out onto the waters. That still didn’t change the fact that my flesh has been screaming at me to turn around and go back to where I came from.

Between alternating work schedules, recording/editing YouTube videos, ministry events, and just flat out financial dryness hindering date nights, my husband and I haven’t had much alone time. Which is why on Monday we talked non-stop as we drove two hours east to a family member’s home. That seemingly small moment we shared was like a crack in the sidewalk ruptured with grass and flowers. A bursting forth of who we really are and what we were always meant to be. Our children slept for the majority of the way and we totally flourished in the lengthy yet fleeting conversation. During that ‘selah’ moment, God highlighted our joint vision for our family and reminded us of the calling He has over our lives. We realized how distracted we had become in the day to day busyness. Those flourishing sidewalk cracks of rest allow the rebuilding of creativity, dreams, and visions to be started up again.


The next day I went to an evangelism class at our church on a whim. That in itself was a miracle to get the kids and myself there so randomly but also efficiently. Ten minutes into the class and my eyes welled with tears. The class was specifically on digital evangelism! It was all about tips and counsel for spreading the gospel of Jesus through social media and blogging. Talk about confirmation. That’s exactly what I am doing through this blog and my YouTube channel. Though the enemy will whisper to me that I’m not doing much, God says,

“Obedience over outcome”

It isn’t about the amount of likes or followers I receive, that’s the outcome that I am not intended to presume on (Proverbs 27:1). Obedience is simply me walking out the great commission to make disciples of all nations through whatever means possible and impossible (Matthew 28:18-20).


In all honesty, this season of life is odd for my family. Odd isn’t the best word, maybe…unfamiliar? Let me try putting it this way: We are walking in the promise land that we’ve been praying for, but at the same time, fighting to push out the enemies inhabiting our promise land.

One example being after I got home from that amazing class at church, our family car broke down in the driveway! What are the odds, right? But the situation didn’t shake me like it would have in the past. After all God had been revealing to me, I was too pumped at the prospect of watching God work a miracle with my car. And later that night, He fixed it!

In this new place, we are claiming and witnessing victory, but also marching around the same city over and over again while waiting for the walls to drop. When is the outcome complete? When does the final finish line appear? I know one answer to that would be when I take my last breath, but I think on a more micro level, what my soul really longs for is rest. Rest from the noise. Rest from the constant battle. Sometimes life can feel like one thing after the next, “sunrise to sunset”. As Solomon puts it in Ecclesiastes 1,

“Meaningless, meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”

Solomon describes life on earth, and how minute and temporary all of our tasks are in the grand scheme of things. “What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1:2 ESV)” Then later he says that everything we do under the sun is “meaningless and a striving after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14 ESV)”.

We all have that inner knowledge that there is something more. And there is, right? What is the point of life if everything we do is meaningless? It can all feel so hopeless, and that is why the world we live in today is plagued with hopeless people. My past self included. Of course, life is only meaningless when we are striving to find something that has already been given to us, or attempting to pay a debt that has already been paid. The truth being that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:4) and He has everything we need. Anything outside of Jesus really is vanity. No success ladder or tower of Babel will give us the gift of the abundant, meaningful life that is found only in Jesus. It is so easy to lose sight on what we are really doing here on this planet-experiencing intimacy with Christ and intimacy with people. Relationship.

That is why the special moment of rest on a spontaneous road trip with my husband was so critical. It plunged us into further intimacy with Jesus which in return took us deeper with each other. And my favorite part of all, we were reminded of the call from Christ to lay hold of that which He has laid hold of for us.

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Philippians‬ ‭3:7-12‬ ‭NKJV)

There is more to life, an abundant life found in Jesus. We have access to it all, and we can only appreciate it all in our moments of pausing and resting. So mom’s, lock yourself in the bathroom today and just breathe for a few minutes. Take a random road trip with your family, soak up the scenery, and search for animals in the clouds. Put your phone down, close your eyes, and hum along to the heart beat of silence. Rest in Jesus is important. Prioritize it and you will thrive in it.


I just started a phenomenal new book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace: awakening your soul to rest by Bonnie Gray. This book goes into detail on the rest that we all need! You can start your journey to rest in Christ through this book by purchasing your copy here !

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Growth Spurts

Wait on God.

That is the glorious prophetic word spoken over me at the beginning of my current, new season. And my voice is just a tad sarcastic in saying that. It’s not easy to wait on the unseen. But it truly has been a glorious thing to experience.

I can’t say that I’ve valiantly taken the reigns of this patient task, riding off in my peace-filled happy sunset dream. I haven’t. It has been a tear-filled, up and down hopeless to hopeful, raging inner fire to flickering ember roller coaster ride. My time of waiting has consisted of thoughts of doubt and fear latching on to my brain, only to be ripped out like a cancerous tumor and packed with a soothing poultice of truth- but that’s not always a pleasant experience. Sometimes it hurts to discover the lie you always believed and then to feel the cauterizing of veins coming together to pump new blood to the dying areas in yourself. It doesn’t always feel good to wait because in the waiting is growth, in the waiting is revival. When a person stops breathing, resuscitation requires a sudden burst of air into the lungs and a beating on the chest. Reviving can sting painful, but the product of renewed life is well worth the process.


Do you have kids? My husband and I do. Growth spurts are the greatest, worst thing you can experience with a child. I’ll give you the bad news first.

Growth spurts are the worst. The little one will cry, cling to you night and day, throw fits, suddenly not like foods he or she once loved, and basically be a total sour patch kid for the duration of said growth spurt. You can kiss a good night’s sleep goodbye (but who really sleeps as a parent with toddlers anyway?) I had an app on my phone with my firstborn that would tell me when the upcoming growth spurts, also known as mental leaps, were going to be. And as if we didn’t already know, these mental leaps were signified on the app’s calendar by stormy clouds lasting days or weeks.

On the contrary, growth spurts are also the greatest times in childhood. The child enduring them can suddenly do all kinds of new tricks that they couldn’t do before. Right now Isabelle, my sixteen month old, is going through one. She is so clinging and whiny, but she has also mastered a handful of words she can say at the right times. She can imagine by rocking her baby dolls to sleep. I can ask her for a particular item and she will bring it to me. Her newfound knowledge and ability is astounding. The babies/toddlers have such difficult times with these growth spurts because their little bodies have literally just grown to a new level of capacity. And with that new growth comes new knowledge and ability. The sudden flood of advancement is a lot for the little ones.

The same goes for us big ones.

Every time I go through a season or some type of trial I learn something new, I grow. And how cool is God to teach us new things, and then give us the chance to put them into action?

The old seasons teach us and stretch our capacity of knowledge and ability-all of which we will need to thrive and endure the upcoming days. If we learn nothing from the past and present then we will repeat history. Now I do not mean to say that all repetitive trials and seasons are because God is teaching you something that you aren’t grasping it. No, not always but sometimes but I am not judge of that. However I do know that in the Father-to-child relationship in which we all have with God, there is always something to learn from our Heavenly Dad.

In the waiting we are growing.


Personally, I kind of took the whole “wait on God” message and ran a twisted direction with it. Because of the way waiting went before in my life, I conjured up the word “stop” in my head. I thought I needed to close myself off from a lot of the work God has been building up in my ministry, work and even family. All in the name of waiting. Thinking that waiting meant stopping. And I can say now that those two verbs are not quite the same. For some people, maybe, but for me it was a defense mechanism. Mostly because I was completely afraid to be standing on a tight rope, balancing everything while also waiting to figure out what was on the other side of the balance. What if I fall and die? What if I lose my footing and drop the ball? Almost trying to manipulate God by stopping all that He was doing for me in hopes that He would then give me what I sought after. Because I know what is best for me, right? Wrong. Not good thinking and maneuvering for sure. If I’m waiting on God, it doesn’t have much to do with me and everything to do with God. His timing is everything, and I simply need my heart to be completely yielded to the when.

Honestly I have barely scratched the surface to what waiting on God entails. I know this:

Wisdom is needed. Tenacity is key. Endurance must be shod on. Humility is armor. And above all else, I am just the clay in the hands of the Potter.

In this truth, I will patiently endure. I will wait and stretch and grow. As I soak up the sun in the long hot days, I will dig my roots deeper and outstretch them wider tapping into the Water of Life. I will bend my stem to follow the Light wherever He goes. I will open up my petals to face the Sun more fully and allow my pollen to be given out to those in need of nourishment. I will not worry myself with how other flowers will be nourished, I will simply yield to the Holy Spirit working much like a bee that can be everywhere at once. I won’t stop pressing in and pushing through. I won’t stop loving and walking out the callings on my life. I will stay focused on the Potter being the One to bring about the finished product. All the while remembering that I wait on God because nothing is done by my works or my striving but by God’s power and purpose for my life.

In His grace and love,

Lacey

Superhero

If we as followers of Christ truly believed that we are who God says we are, then we would be able to endure the most nerve-wracking and uncomfortable moments life has to offer us with complete faith that our divine superpowers through Christ will kick in before we fall.

This week has been one for the books in mom life. Living in a small (and I mean tiny) two bedroom house has its ups and downs. Ups being,  I can deep clean the whole place in a few hours. Though my husband would  probably scoff at that sentence because it typically doesn’t work out that way with two kids. Another positive note, I can hear everything my kids are doing from the other room. Sneaky kids can’t get past me! Except I pretty much always show up a millisecond too late, just as one is covered in sour cream or the other is jumping off my piano. The current downside is that my not-so-baby one year old outgrew her crib and now shares a room with her almost-three year old brother. The transition was okay the first few weeks, but took a sudden turn for the worst after we got back from a camping trip. The amount of attention they are both requiring to stay in their beds has been so draining. My husband and I end up with only a few hours of sleep each night. We’ve done it countless times before, but it was usually one kid or the other keeping us up. This time around, because they are in such close quarters, if one wakes up then the other does too. You see where I’m going with this.

I think my subconscious has taken this a little personal. Quietly whispering, “Why God? I’ve been through this many times, so why are you testing me like this again?! Can’t You make them sleep!!” The ugly parts of myself come out at 3 a.m. Which is probably good enough reason to test me. And I’m not saying God is testing me by keeping my kids awake, but I do believe He is working all things out for my good and will use all things to help me walk out His calling over my life (Romans 8:28).  Just as I am typing this blog out, God is reminding me of a recent Psalm I have been praying to Him:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-14)

God really is using my kids’ growth spurt/teething/sleeping adjustment season of life to help me discover my weaknesses and lead me out of them. I should be praising Him for my spiritual progress instead of complaining about my physical discomfort. Last night I prayed this Psalm 139 scripture, and instead of complaining about my kid’s harassing me, I asked God to be my strength during these present weaknesses within myself. He did exactly that! The cherry on top was reading 1 Kings 3. this morning during my quiet time with the Father. Through this passage I found the answer to my relentless cry for help:

I was asking for a way out when I should have been asking for God’s understanding.

Having God’s perspective is the way out of the storms.

In a book I am currently reading, In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson, the author states, “No problem, no miracle”. How profound is that? Without the annoying discomforts, without the thorns in our side, how will God’s grace ever be enough for us or how will His power ever have is perfect work in us?

 “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NKJV)

Now let me share a story from earlier this week that I believe might coincide with this divine perspective:

A few days ago my husband, kids, and I went to a new park. My son, Lazarus, was wearing his Spiderman costume from last year’s Fall festival. Laz’s attire was another one of those things I just had to let him get away because us moms pick our battles, right? Anyways, as we approached the playground all of the little boys and girls ran up to Lazarus. They were touching his costume, looking at his hands, and saying, “Hi Spiderman!”. The kids really and truly thought Laz was this superhero-man of spiders. It is no secret that Laz absolutely loves Spiderman. So this praise from other kids his age really boosted his spirit. He began jumping all around the playground and shooting imaginary webs everywhere while the kids followed him. It was one of the funniest/cutest things I’ve ever seen..until Brenner and I spent a hairsbreadth of a second looking at our daughter, and then the onslaught of Laz’s painful screams began. There was a 6-7 foot tall rock-climbing wall on one side of the playground’s tower. Imagine a stairway leading up to the area where one could go down the tallest slide on the playground, but there also being a doorway up there to climb down the rock wall. Apparently Laz, a.k.a. Spiderman, fearlessly jumped from the very top of the opening to descend the rock-climbing wall and free-fell like a flying squirrel to the ground . What was he thinking as he stood over the edge of this 7 foot drop? Lazarus was without a doubt believing that he was Spiderman.

Yes, yes as parents we should have been there to catch him. Trust me, my momma heart chewed on that guilt for a long while. Accidents happen, and if you have kids you know what I mean. Thank God, Lazarus was 100% okay and somehow just knocked the breath out of himself. But putting that aside, Laz believed with all of his heart that he was a superhero. So much so that he jumped from the highest point possible on this playground believing his superpowers would kick in before he fell.

If we as followers of Christ truly believed that we are who God says we are, then we would be able to endure the most nerve-wracking and uncomfortable moments life has to offer us with complete faith that our divine superpowers through Christ will kick in before we fall.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)

Of course, in my son’s physical situation, Lazarus did fall and he did get hurt. But we, his parents, came to his rescue and we healed him with our superpower kisses. We gave Lazarus the gift of divine understanding by telling him that he was a superhero, but in the future he should wait for us to be there to catch him when he wants to fly off something high up. Does God not give even greater gifts to His children than us mundane parents? God can be everywhere at once. God can catch all of us at the same time as we take tremendous leaps of faith to trust Him in the unknown and uncomfortable moments.

 “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:17-22 NKJV)

That is a lengthy read, but packed with life-changing truth! In Ephesians 3, Paul goes on to talk about us being raised to life with Christ and seated at the right hand of God’s throne with Christ. This means that believers receive all of these benefits of Christ: wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, enlightened understanding, the riches of God’s glory, and the greatness of His mighty power over all things (to name a few). In other words, we are more super than Spiderman and God is a more amazing Father than my husband and I (as if we didn’t already know that). My point is this, God’s perspective on who He is and who we are is fundamental in walking out the fullness of God’s plan for our lives with fearless joy. Whether it’s jumping off a 7 foot ledge in faith of flying, or getting up 15 times a night to keep your children sleeping in their own beds, identity and divine perspective are the keys to thriving in it all. Be who God says you are and trust the process through the valleys and mountaintops alike. God is good and faithful. His mercies are new every day, and His grace is enough for us.

 

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Message of Ashes

Your feelings of impurity, humiliation, filth and worthlessness are all ashes that Jesus died for. He died to trade the ashes of your past, present and future in exchange for His radiant beauty.

I have sang the sweet words “beauty for ashes” in worship many times. I have prayed those words over people crying out to God for deliverance, “trade your ashes for Christ’s beauty!!” I’ve prayed that great exchange from Jesus to myself many times. But today it was as if the words became a little more tangible; the Word of God cut into my bones a little deeper.

This morning I was reading about burnt offerings in Leviticus. The priest would perform the offering and then take the ashes of the burnt offering out of the camp (Leviticus 6:11). There was no reason why this stuck out to me, except that the Holy Spirit wanted to teach me something. I tried to read on, but the word ‘ashes’ became a ringing bell in my head. Therefore I proceeded to use my favorite biblical study tool, a concordance (through biblehub.com) and look up the root meaning of ‘ashes’. As I read that this specific Hebrew word, דָּ֫שֶׁן or deshen, means ‘fatness, ashes of fat, abundance’, I wondered if the same version of the word was used in the ‘beauty for ashes’ scripture I knew and loved:

To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”” (Isaiah‬ ‭61:3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

To my amazement, the word for ‘ashes’ in the Isaiah passage was different from the Leviticus one. ‘Ashes’ used here in Isaiah 61 is אֵ֫פֶר or epher, and it is used in several other scriptures meaning: ashes of the red heifer which was an offering for purification, ashes put on the head as a sign of humiliation, ashes representing contrition (self-reproach, repentance), ashes for mourning, ashes meaning filthy or loathsome, ashes meaning worthlessness, sorrow and distress (all taken from Brown-Driver-Briggs). Wow, isn’t that powerful? These are the ashes Jesus wants us to give up to Him so that He can exchange them for His beauty, the beauty of the Bridegroom! Your feelings of impurity, humiliation, filth and worthlessness are all ashes Jesus died for. He died to trade the ashes of your past, present and future in exchange for His radiant beauty. That’s astounding. That kind of pure love makes no sense to the human mind, but it doesn’t have to because God just is who He is and does what He does despite our level of understanding.

I very briefly studied out this message of ashes before going about my day. Around mid-afternoon I found myself in a situation where my past sins and mistakes were being kind of..rubbed in my nose. A conversation that was intended to be redemptive, forgiving and freeing, had felt shaming, accusatory and enslaving. A list of mistakes I made (4 years ago and very early in my walk with Christ) were being thrown at me in detail and it hurt to revisit those dark places in my life. I could literally feel the spiritual cuffs of my past being clicked onto my wrists and ankles and could hear the enemy’s excitement that he had captured me again…but God.

God wouldn’t have any of that, no sir. He caught me as my mind tumbled into that pit and He fought His way out with me in His arms. After much prayer, repentance and seeking His counsel, I saw the situation for what it really was: An invitation from Jesus to trade my buried, old ashes for His fresh and new beauty. Jesus wants to be the king of my entire heart..not just some of it. Even the most dark and infected spaces within me-especially those places. The devil wanted this conversation to harm me, but God used it to take me back into that sinful time in my life and totally annihilate that darkness with His glory light! His light always overcomes the darkness (John 1:5). Instead of wearing those past sins and allowing shame and regret to control my mind in that moment, I allowed Jesus to take those ashes of humiliation and give me His beauty-His grace, His mercy, His love, His peace. These are the things I am called to meditate on. Not who I was then, but who I am now in Christ Jesus! Today is the day of salvation and today I am sold out for Jesus. God is renewing me into the image of His perfect Son, Jesus. I’m not perfect, but God is and He will complete the good work in me that He started.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6 NLT)

Ask God if there are any ashes you are still wearing on your head in humiliation or despair from past regrets or present mistakes. If you’re feeling worthless, shamed, impure, or filthy there is an invitation from Jesus to you. An invitation to trade all of that pain and heartache for His beauty and resurrection which can be received through accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior and surrendering all of yourself to Him!

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)