Mirrors and Chains

My head hangs a little as I look down at the dark ground. The first thing I notice is fog curling at the edges of a mirror in front of me, reflecting my old faux-leather combat boots. Behind that small one sitting on the ground, is a floor length mirror reflecting all of me. Beside those mirrors are rows and rows of mirrors encircling me. As I slowly turn around, utterly bewildered, I can see every angle of myself. It’s dark all around what I assume is a room, but I can’t really see where walls would be. It’s all just…darkness? Something like a spot light is shining directly down on me, as if I’m in some teenage clothing store’s dressing room. In fact, that thought brings a flashback to when I was fourteen standing before a mirror not so different from the one in front of me.

In the memory, I was at a local mall with my aunt shopping for new, trendy clothes for my first day at a public high school. I was transferring from a Christian private school, and I was terrified. This was my first time to even try on clothes at a store like this. A dimly lit teenage clothing store with paper thin models in swim suits, loud music, tight-fitting clothes and perfume clouds seeping out of the main entrance. I knew this wasn’t me, but I also knew this was the type of style the kids had at my new school. So here I stood with a size small covering me like a second skin. I refused to go up a size because the thought of wearing a size ‘Medium’ formed a knot in my throat and an onslaught of hot tears. I stared at my reflection and hated everything I saw looking back at me. Two years before that I stood in front of another mirror in a bathroom and thought for the first time that I was fat. This night I was at a twelve year old’s Halloween birthday party in which I made my own cute witch costume. I loved being creative, and honestly we couldn’t afford to buy one if I wanted to. My hair had gotten so long and curly. This was a time in my life where I first felt my body changing, maturing, and thought to myself that I was becoming a beautiful young girl. At the party there was a ton of pizza and I was trying all the different types of it because, I mean-do I even need an explanation? Come on, it’s pizza! But this young boy whom I had a crush on sat across from me, and laughed with a friend of mine while I ate. I smiled thinking he was just saying something funny to me, but then my friend yelled across the table, “he’s laughing because of how fast you’re eating!” It doesn’t sound that sinister, but the thought that food consumption could be something that made others look at you funny hooked a twisted self-image into me that grew into a mental prison over time. That night, at twelve, for the first time in my life I went into the bathroom crying. I looked at my reflection, turned to one side, and sucked my stomach in. I remember wondering if I could manage to stay focused on breathing ,in a way that wouldn’t make my stomach extend in and out while also continuing to clench my abs together, for the rest of the night. No more care-free eating, Lacey, for the next seven years of your life. I was caged inside the self-image nightmare with the name “Eating Disorder” branded on my sticking out collar bones.

So there you have it. Mirrors. And here I was again, standing before hundreds of them, big and small, and all around me. Unsettling. Yet this, I knew, was merely a vision. Honestly mirrors hadn’t bothered me much in a long while. Not since, Jesus crouched down and set me free from my eating-disorder prison at age nineteen. That was almost seven years ago now. Having two babies, gaining the weight, and dropping it in a healthy way was so healing for my soul on top of that radical deliverance as well. Now at age twenty six, food is normal, food is necessary, food is healthy, food is down right delicious- most of it anyways. Truthfully, sometimes I eat too much chocolate after my kids go to bed. Nonetheless the thought of running to the bathroom to purge what I just binged does not ding into my mind like an unwelcome fruit fly. No more starving myself or binging/purging. No, you see, that stronghold of fear of man and self-image has no authority over my life any more. As a matter of fact in this vision right now, the woman looking back at me looks rather ticked off. Hair, a blonde curly mess. Eyes, squinted in frustration. Lips curled in a snarl. Yeah. Okay. I see you.

This entire mirror worshipping, self-image enslavement culture, has been breathing down our necks for too long.

In this vision I am surrounded by every angle of myself, with mirrors yelling at me to criticize myself and step into the psychotic appearance mantra. Whether it’s an eating disorder or the deceivingly simple “just worrying what other people will think” continuous mindset, self-image is a consuming god that wants all of your worship. The only problem with it is, you were never meant to be afraid of man. Engraved self-image is what the media vomits over us every second of every day, but it is a deception. And thankfully there is light in this darkness. If you want to see your true reflection, look into Papa God’s eyes. In the vision as I look at my many reflections, I am filled with a holy anger at the familiar lies coming to choke out the freedom Christ intended for every person to have. I sense Holy Spirit here with me. He puts a baseball bat in my hand and tells me, “Have at it.” I’m filled with anger at that the thought of the countless girls and boys riddled with so much anxiety and fear that they can’t even see reality when they look at theirselves anymore. So many young people afraid to dream big and do what they are passionate about, what they were actually created to do, because it doesn’t fit into the duct-taped success box society stuffed them inside. So many people living every day completely consumed with fear of what others will say or think about them if they make one move that goes outside of the cultural norm. Enough is enough. With Holy Spirit’s words I give it a go. I begin smashing every single one of those self-image mirrors until there’s nothing but dust and fog. No more. The war on inaction has begun. No more sitting idly by while the walking dead roam the earth. I used to be a zombie, until the Cure found me. Jesus. Searching for temporary satisfaction, but now I found the real thing. Jesus. Whether it’s freedom to eat a salad or freedom to eat dessert. Whether it’s preaching the gospel on a stage, or praying for a crippled man to walk on the streets. I’m done worshipping my image and being afraid of man. I’m out here smashing mirrors. And it’s so not about me. It’s about God. And what He created us to have. Perfect relationship with Papa God through Jesus. That’s what you call, life, and life abundant. It’s not about me. It’s about you. God so loved..you. Don’t waste another thought in your mind thinking otherwise. Grab that lie and take it by the neck to kneel before the King on the throne of your heart. Jesus. Watch Him crush that slithering snake’s head before your eyes.

As I stand in this place with a baseball bat still hanging from my right hand, something tightens around my neck. It’s a thick chain that you may have seen a dog tied up with. The mirrors are gone, but now this is closing around my neck and pulling me back. I can’t yell and am losing the ability to even breathe. My nails dig into my skin as I try to loosen the hold on me, but I’m not strong enough. Suddenly I see Jesus standing before me. His eyes are wide and looking into mine. As if talking to a spooked child he gently steps toward me and says, “Put your hands down and let me take it off you.” I relent, and He pulls the chain up and over my head with ease. I can breathe again and I have my voice back. Jesus says, “This chain was shame.”

Shame. It chokes the life out of us. It keeps us silent. Shame holds back confession and stagnates change. It quiets a song and extinguishes a warrior’s battle cry. We were created for open fields with hair flowing in the wind. We were created to dance, laugh, love, scream just because we’re happy, run, skip, climb mountains, do the things, enjoy life with God, enjoy life with people, follow God’s wildest dreams, walk in His power and love. This is the garden that we can return to with Papa God through Christ.

I believe the Lord gave me this vision to identify some strongholds hindering the church in this season. Self-image and the fear of man, along with shame. It could look really glittery and religious. In fact it typically is. Jesus called them a “brood of vipers” when they tried to tape good fruit on their rotten trees. He’s after that heart transformation, that freedom from the inside out. But religion also institutes self-image and fear of man as well. It could look like a really bright and fine thing to quench the Spirit and trade in just an inch of your freedom in Christ to submit to the religious norms around you. Like conforming your appearance, your behavior, your words, and dreams to the degree of what’s acceptable by those around you, to the patterns of this world, is really the ‘right’ thing to do. Maybe it is. But maybe it isn’t. And maybe God is wanting you to let Him break through with freedom and release you into a greater revelation of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. No need to fear whatever mirrors surround you. Holy Spirit is with us, empowering us to walk out the fulness of intimacy with God. Maybe He’s offering you a baseball bat today and releasing you to smash some mirrors or empower someone else to smash theirs. Ask Him. Jesus is so present, so willing to take your shame and give you His inheritance. The First born inheritance is no joke, ya’ll! Let’s press in to God and go after walking out the full inheritance package Christ died for us to have. We don’t worship a dead god, no! Jesus is ALIVE. The tomb was empty. We need to quit looking for Jesus at the grave. He’s not there. Life. Life. He came for life. Let’s embrace it. Let’s embrace Papa God, Jesus, Holy Spirit- three in one. Talk to Him about all things. There’s so much He has for you, you only need to look up.


“No more livin’ for the culture, we nobody’s slave”

Who am I? 

Our identity is everything. To get a job, to open a bank account, to drive a car, to travel, to marry, to go to school..literally everything in this world requires identification. What’s your name? What do you look like? Who are you? 

You know what you look like. You know your name. If someone asked you to describe yourself you could easily spew out the details without hesitation. 

I’m Lacey. I am just shy of five feet tall, twenty four years old, with blonde hair and green eyes. No one could convince me that I’m six feet tall because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not. 

This equally applies in the spiritual realm. Do you want to move forward in your walk with Jesus? Do you want to take the big risks, step out on a limb to follow your dreams for Christ, and run the race set before you with endurance? You must know without a shadow of a doubt who you are in the kingdom of God. If you don’t know who you are then the moment that your identity is challenged by the enemy, you will own the lie that is spoken to you. Just like that your identity becomes twisted and warped by the velvet tongue of the devil. Losing your identity gives way for your assets to be stolen and your credibility stained. Believing lies about who we really are not only holds us back from walking out the holding God has over our life, but it keeps us from cultivating those deep and intimate relationships with God and with people- all of which Jesus died for us to have.

Let me give you an example of what a lost identity looks like.

I was five years old. My parent’s and I were having dinner over at our neighbor’s house. Nearly every time we were at their house my mom continuously scolded me for harassing their dog, but in my child’s mind I didn’t give her advice a second thought. This specific time was no different, and yet wasn’t it so? The adults were talking in the living room while I repeatedly sought out the dog. My intentions were purely honorable, of course, as I simply wanted to love on her- obnoxiously- the way most kids do.


My very first physically traumatic experience enters center stage.

I walked down the dim hallway towards the large Dalmatian, “Lady”. Lady was sitting with her back towards me. Without warning I ran to her and flung my five year old self onto her with a big bear hug. There was an instantaneous bite. The large dog defensively snapped her teeth at me in bewilderment. Just a simple, “back off” move in the dog world, and yet somehow I found that my entire tiny face was trapped within her jaws. It happened so fast. And then the screaming ensued. Oddly enough I do not remember the pain as much as I remember the look on everyone’s face as the beheld the wounds all over my face. I felt ruined. There was so much blood everywhere, I remember that too. And the sheer panic in my parent’s voices as we sprinted out of the house, ignoring the shocked faces, and piled into my dad’s single cab grey pickup. Once we speedily arrived at the nearest hospital, my mom lifted me up out of the front seat and gasped at what she found. Not only was my face near shredded, but I had a gaping hole between my neck and my chin. The pain eased as shock took over and we waited to be seen by a plastic surgeon. I remember my mom made a point to keep me from looking at any mirrors or windows that we bypassed. Yet still as we moved into a new room, I managed to catch my reflection in one. Terrified of my own face would be an understatement. For the first time in my short life, I can recall feeling truly hideous. My identity was captured as shame and insecurity entered into my heart. Thirty-two stitches and a traumatic surgery without anesthesia later, and it was over. But the soul wound remained and shaped who I began believed I was.

Fast forward to a several months and one birthday later, six year old Lacey’s wounds healed and life went on. I loved school but soon found that I really struggled with reading. It took me longer than it took the other kids. So my mom would work with me after school every night. I’d come home from school, sit in my dad’s recliner with the small booklet of short words, try with all my might to read, and just cry. I didn’t have any progress at all. I felt in adequate, like there was something wrong with me. It was tough on a little five year old’s heart who just couldn’t get it.

And then out of no where on one seemingly normal day, a miracle happened. My parents were playing in my room with me, and amidst the playing I picked up a Bible that was sitting within the jumble of toys on the floor with us. I looked at the first sentence and I simply began to read:


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

Even now I can still hear the way my sweet kid voice sounded as I spoke the Word of God with such clarity. I can still remember the way my heart beat out of my chest as I read my first sentence. And I can still see the look on my parents face as they saw me witness my first miracle. In that brief moment following, the hum of silence in the air was electric with awe. It was in that pocket of silence, before my parents flipped their lids with excitement, that I remember hearing God’s voice for the first time. He whispered to me,

Lacey, you are special.

Merely writing out the one word, special, doesn’t quite capture all that God said to me in those four words. Yet my brain can’t quite describe the heavenly encounter so well in human words. When God whispered that to me, I felt more than a thousand affectionate words from Him. Special meant beautiful, it meant I had a purpose, and it meant warm. I didn’t know much about God then, but I knew He was real, that He loved me, and that He’d chosen me. At the very beginning of my life the enemy attempted to steal my identity, kill my confidence, and send me down a path of destruction, and yet in the wake of such attempted tragedy God spoke my true identity in Christ over me. How sweet is that? He does this for all of us- this light in the darkness, also known as the Man named Jesus in whom all truth resides; we only need to have eyes to see and ears to hear.

“and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:17 ESV

Brothers and sisters in Yeshua Jesus the Messiah, receive that identity affirmation from your Heavenly Father today.

Check out my new cover of a worship song that’s ALL ABOUT our new identity in Christ!

Cling

The words escape my mind as steam from a hot shower evaporates on a cold winter’s day. Eloquent descriptions of what I view in my day to day appear in my thoughts like a blinking cursor waiting to be moved onward, a pen itching in my hand to be scratched upon paper, and yet the mere thought of acting upon the notion feels so weighty. One second I’m encouraging myself to journal the passing moment’s events, and the next I am resting nose deep within pages of a book. The presence of unwritten words hastily fleeting, yet the ghost of their absence lingering on my skin like a cold sweat. More. Do More.

Even merely describing this inner struggle feels so taxing. Maybe I’ve moved into a new season. Maybe writing has become a different extremity on my body; no longer legs holding me up, but fingers processing the touch and feel of what’s in front of me. Painting has become my release, my brain’s jigsaw puzzle of putting together the pieces of my life-my inhale with Jesus. I don’t know fine artistic technique. I can name historically famous painters on one hand. My artisan knowledge is minimal and maybe that is exactly why I can relax as beauty explodes from my finger tips. I can sit in silence and enjoy the hum of quiet whilst my own naivety births ingenuity.  There are no voices in my head criticizing my every brush stroke, because I know nothing except what I am doing in that moment. Pure innocence, purely child-like, pure faith if you think about it. Untainted by insecurity because there is no degree of comparison. There is no need to be the best, no pressure to get my viewers to love what they see, or even to relate- just pure product of self. Purity. It’s not always beautiful. I often hate what I see and, to my own dismay, I will paint over it or throw it out. But even that doesn’t discourage my creativity, because there is more paper, more canvas, and more paint. I can try again. Though many bumper stickers state it, that isn’t something we often believe. In contrast, we feel like we have this one chance to make it big or one moment to get it right. Failure or rejection in the face of that perfection ruins us. We have an exceeding amount of judgement for ourselves-and others- and yet very little grace. We’re drowning whilst delusional in thinking we are climbing our ladders to the American Dream. Stepping on the faces of those scrambling up with us, money clenched within our fists while elbowing anyone that gets in our way. Upward we climb for success. Success. Success. Success. Outwardly moving forward as a people, all the while inwardly shriveling up like a moth flying too close to a flame. It is a brutal, destructive way of living. If you can even call it life. What does Jesus call life?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 14:6 NIV

Jesus is the ladder up to the success we’re after which is, relationship with the Father. Jesus is the abundant life we seek. He’s the beginning and the end. The answer to our questions. The answer to our problems. And He wants to do life with us. He wants more than a one hour prayer time slot with us. He wants us to walk with Him, to let Him walk with us. This is more than being a robot programmed to obey God, it’s more than a possession of spirit, this is relationship. The closer to God I get the more aware of my own humanity I become, the more evident it is that relationship is truly what it is all about. Jesus came to give us access to the Father. That is what the goal of salvation is. Relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ is the abundant life, the blessed life we’re after. From that river we can spring outward to reach a parched humanity.

Abba is our deep breath. Abba is our rest. In Deuteronomy 30, God tells us that He gives us a choice every day: life or death, blessing or curse. The choice is ours.

therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NKJV

I always believed that naivety was a downfall. Now I’m not so sure. There are many scriptures to support that Godly wisdom is a good thing-something to be desired more than the finest gold. I’m not countering that. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Where can we obtain it?Not found in books or speeches, no, this wisdom is found in the purity of an embrace. There is purity in not knowing who, what, when, where, why, or how. There is purity in the mystery; purity in contentment. There is purity in clinging to God and allowing His gentle yoke to teach you His ways.

Do you have children? If so, then like me, you have seen a new facet to the word ‘cling’. Both my son and daughter cling to me many times a day. However, my favorite moments are when they come to me with arms opened wide, I sweep them up into my arms, and they go fully limp against my chest as they cling to me in a warm embrace. This is what the Father desires from us. To run to Him with outstretched arms, to release a sigh as we rest our head upon His chest, listening to His heart beat while He holds us in His arms. This is vulnerable. It takes courage to let it all go in a shuttering exhale and find something new in the rest.  Still it is here, this warm embrace with Him, where life resides. It is here that I find myself, in His arms; with no expectations, only love. That love is what moves my hand in carefree strokes across a canvas. It’s what drives me to type these words despite my desire to read the next chapter in my book. You see, I must tell you about the love of the Father. The love that brings life from death. The love that moves mountains, and heals diseases. This love is more; therefore, we do not have to be. Hear His whisper to you now..

Stop your striving, child, just be.

 Enjoy the milk and honey found in His arms as He walks you through life. His goodness will move you to be like Him. Cling to the Father and breathe.