Chair of Hope

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)

During the service at our church this morning, this scripture came to mind as Brenner and I sat beside my dear friend who had two of her children clinging to her. Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10). Powerful stuff. . The word ‘virtuous’ in the original Hebrew text is  חָ֫יִל (chayil) which means army, band of soldiers, able, mighty, riches, strength. Knowing that full definition, brings this scripture to life even more. The way our world has portrayed the image of women is one of lesser being, weak, and inferior. But here we see the call for a virtuous woman, a mighty woman, a woman who is a force to be reckoned with both in strength and riches. Women of God, this is us. This kind of virtue can not be mustered up from one’s own strength; how could one person also be an entire army? It almost sounds like a paradox. But with the Lord of hosts, we can be both. Take a look at Psalm 18. By God I can run against a troop of soldiers. By God I can leap over a wall. Now, I typically wear skinny jeans. It’s just my preferred choice and who knows? At age 24, maybe I’m still stuck in my Myspace and Paramore punk fashion days. But no matter what I’m wearing, there is no way I could just stare up at a wall and leap over it. However, with the help of our Merciful Lord, gracious and compassionate to the skinny jean wearers like me, you bet your bottom dollar, I could jump over that wall. Whether you take those verses as literal or spiritual strength given to us from the Lord, the promises are still true. The Psalm goes on to say that God is a shield to all who trust in Him, that our Lord is Sovereign God and a rock.

 “It is God who arms me with strengthAnd makes my way perfectHe makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high placesHe teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvationYour right hand has held me upYour gentleness has made me greatYou enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip I have pursued my enemies and overtaken themNeither did I turn back again till they were destroyed” (Psalm 18:32-37 NKJV)

That’s incredible. That is virtuous, a promise from the Lord of hosts to those of us who would place our trust in Him. As the Lord makes us virtuous and set up for battle as we see here in Psalm 18, what man or devil could stand against us? The answer is none. My dear friend sitting next to my family at church this morning is a virtuous wife. Her value truly is exceedingly greater than rubies. For many years now, she has attended church with her children and without her husband. Her husband has yet to place his faith and trust in the Lord, though there are a troop of us saints that are praying him in. Still regardless of who stands with her, she stands tall on the foundation of Christ and teaches her children all about the one true God who gives her strength. Already a great deal of people in her family have witnessed her steadfast, virtuous faith and have turned their lives over to Jesus Yeshua the Messiah. She carries the light of Christ with her everywhere she goes; that light is pursuing and eliminating all darkness that would dare step foot near the holy ground beneath her feet as she walks hand-in-hand with the Holy One. The next verse in Proverbs 31 is an amazing turning point as well:

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain” (Proverbs 31:11)

There is no gain, no inheritance greater than that which comes from salvation through Jesus the Messiah.

My dear friend’s kids refused to go to Sunday school class this morning, and so did my little Laz. Still we all sat on the front row as one big family and worshipped God with our kids. As I sat beside her and saw her littles laying across her lap or sitting at her feet, I noticed an empty chair popped up between us. In the juggle of having three young children wiggle and giggle through a church message, a seat was made available between my friend and I. In that moment I thought it coincidental, but as I type out her testimony I see the hope. That chair is a promise for her family that her husband will have no lack of gain.

Today the Lord wants you to see the chair of hope sitting next to you as well. What is the mountain in front of you? The thing that makes you feel so small, and so impossible? Friends, I tell you that as you put your trust in the Sovereign Lord, you are equipped with everything you need for the challenge. Abide in Him, let Him fill you with steadfastness and strength.

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Check out my new worship cover and pray for my family as we have recently been accepted to a missions school with YWAM in Norway!

 

 

The Feast of Tabernacles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lacey


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

My now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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sixth night- still working on completion

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

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