A Wretch Like Me

Failure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Painting in the Fields

Set down your phone,

push out your chair

and step across the creaky floor

Place your hand on the cold knob

and swing open the back door

Hesitate at the threshold

and squint at the sudden flood of bright

Take a barefoot step into the natural world,

thaw your bones in the sunlight

Release the distractions,

the mock reality

Find your true self in Creation

as you rest from technology


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

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

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

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

IMG_6528
My open field painting with Jesus|”Potato Hills”| Summer 2018

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

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

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

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


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

July’s Worship Playlist

I said I would start sending out my monthly recommended worship playlist, and here I am following through. I’m currently patting myself on the back for finally gaining some maturity in commitment; and slightly kidding….slightly.

All jokes aside, here is July’s worship playlist “Faith Increase” I compiled on my YouTube channel filled with worship songs from churches and worship groups all over the world including Hillsong, Bethel, United Pursuit and Housefires . This worship playlist is a seesaw of songs from centering on who God is, to fanning into the flame of faith within us to persevere and trust. As I have been singing these songs to the Lord, my posture towards God has moved into a deeper reverence and trust. With every new possibility and present struggle in my life right now, I confess my weaknesses and need of the Lord’s grace. I could use an extra daily dose of praise and an increase of faith. Maybe you could too. So I pray as you praise and worship God with these songs, you have a surge of increased faith. Take a journey deeper into faith with this music and be blessed in Christ!


  • “Emptiness” by United Pursuit (Will Reagan & Brock Human)

This is the first song on the list because it is the first one I heard in the midst of an emotional pit I was stuck in for a few days whilst the end of June transitioned into July. As I’ve previously mentioned in my post Journey to the Center of Me,  I have been reading a book filled with testimonies and scriptures that help usher the reader into true rest for their soul. It’s been a real journey full of valleys and mountains and lots and lots of God’s healing, reviving, renewing love. This song was a rope extending to the lowest of lows I laid curled up in and helped me climb out.

  • “This Love (Spontaneous)” by Housefires II (ft. Pat Barrett)

God’s love is so much deeper than we know. Our mundane brains just can’t fathom the endless levels of His pure and overwhelming love. As Barrett sings in the Holy Spirit a new song, you catch a glimpse of the height, width and depth of God’s never-ending love though even here we are barely scratching the surface. This song is full of truth that can counter any lie the enemy would try to whisper in your mind.

  • “Pieces (Spontaneous)” by Amanda Cook (Bethel Music)

In the previous song we are faced with God’s ever-present love. God is love (1 John 4:8). This song amplifies the nature of God and tells our soul the truth of who He really is. It’s so beautiful. Amanda’s first words sung in this incredible spontaneous version of the song are “You’re giving us new memories, You’re giving us new memories. To all the places shame wrote our story, You’re giving us new memories. It’s not just perspective, it’s innocence restored

  • “Into Faith I Go” by Pat Barrett

If I had one song I could share with you in hopes of fanning into your inner flame it would be this one. I saw Pat’s new album and this was the one that stuck out. I was wrecked by the words as this song washed over me and met me exactly where I was (and continues to do so). Verses 1 & 2 “I’ve never been good at change/If I’m honest it’s always scared me/ But I can’t deny this stirring deep inside me/Now it’s time to stop resisting”

  • “Abba, I Belong to You” by Jonathan David Helser

As I journeyed deeper within myself and therefore deeper with God, this song vocalized what I felt internally. The Father relationship we have with God is such an important part of our intimacy with Him, and it’s again one I’ve barely scratched the surface with. The song plunges me into the my heavenly Daddy’s arms.

  • “Speak to Me| Defender | Closer” by Bethel Church (ft. Kari Jobe Carnes)

“Defender” by Rita Springer and “Closer” by Steffany Gretzinger are two songs that have been true heart cries of mine over the passed several days. So to find this wildly anointed medley of three intense worship songs was just a knock out of the ballpark for me.

  • “Way Maker” by Sinach

Why did I hear this song for the very first time last week? I don’t know, but it came at the perfect time. Wow. My husband and I were at a worship night led by Leeland from Bethel and I was working through some things that just weren’t sitting well with me spiritually. At the beginning of the worship night I kept asking God to show all of us who He really is. To make His true Self known. I sang it over and over. A hairsbreadth of a second later, Leeland begins singing this song, “Way Maker, Miracle Worker/ Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness/ my God, that is who You are“. Needless to say, I lost it. My body took over and I jumped like a fool, totally wrecked by the enormity of who God is.

  • Hidden” by United Pursuit (ft. Will Reagan)

This song is a declaration song. Though I don’t always feel in my heart the words of praise I am singing to God, this one brought me into the place of finally feeling it. The truth of the Gospel of Jesus in this song brought about the change in perspective I needed.

  • “Bitter/Sweet (Spontaneous)” by Bethel Music (ft. Amanda Cook)

Here we switch gears into facing the truth of who God is and what He does. This song speaks truth over the lies that would try to drown us. In Mark 9:24 a man tells Jesus,“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”. As I sing this song I experience the transformation of any hidden unbelief dissolving into pure belief. That’s just what happens when you meditate on who God is, and that’s exactly what this song does.

  • “Getting There” by Steffany Gretzinger

Another song to perfectly proclaim faith in the process of getting to the promise. I love this song! Steffany is one of the most inspiring women of Christ and I absolutely love her album “The Undoing“. These lyrics are nothing but raw truth as we all journey through the process of life, “But there’s a reason for the journey/ There is purpose in the learning/ That not everything in life comes naturally/ No, not everything in life comes easily/ But we’re getting there”

  • “Hidden” by Mosaic MSC

I almost put the well known song “Oceans” by Hillsong United on this list because it really does usher us into a place of faith and trust in God as we walk on the water, but this song does as well and it’s different! This song is so good; it’s by Mosaic whom I have fallen in love with for their unique style of declaring truth and victory in Christ.

  • “Psalm 46” by Shane & Shane

Last but by no means least, this song I have newly discover will totally rock your world. You have to have to HAVE TO listen to this. And then listen again. And again. Until you know the words and can scream them with your deepest heart cry! This is one of those songs that you hear and think you have heard it before because it just feels like home in your spirit. You will love this one!


And there you have it folks, July’s worship playlist! I hope you not only enjoy the incredibly creative and anointed music in this playlist, but also are taken deeper with the Lord as you worship Him. May your faith be increased!