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

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)

Slay like Shamgar

My writing has been a mostly private passion these past weeks. Just God and I. Pouring out my praise, crying out my complaints to Him, and then listening for His response, which usually sounded something like, “This too shall pass”.

Now I am trudging out of the valley with new battle scars and strengthened spiritual muscles. My vision is clearer, heart humbled, and newborn fawn legs remembering how to walk again. Helping my kids (ages 2 and 11 months old) battle the flu for nine days was not easy. Especially not as I endured my own draining, cold sickness. By day five I had finally thrown in the towel on my hopeful outlook and laid on the ground crying in defeat. I didn’t even have the strength to try to have hope. I was expecting hope to be a feeling, and I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. It took me 2 hours of laying on the ground in physical pain and spiritual desperation to really learn what hope is.

That morning of day five my dear friend, Katelyn, texted me and told me to try singing out to the Lord to get healing. Something about her text made me mad. Probably because a part of me was throwing a pity party and Katelyn was wanting me to trade my self-pity for praise. I thought she was crazy. But then as I laid there on the floor and realized nothing was changing (if anything the situation was getting worse because mommy lost her hope), I decided to open my mouth and sing out to the Lord. As my scratchy, painful and completely out-of-tune voice sang the words, “Whatever has come, whatever will be I’m held by the One who’s Name is Perfect Peace” a stirring began within me.

I sang it again.

I started to feel it that time.

The peace of God, like a wave washing over me slowly at first, and then- whoosh – a tidal wave. I was swept under and into the Lord’s current. An infilling of peace provided the perspective to see/taste/touch/feel the hope. It was like God put His hands on either side of my face and said, “Look me in the eyes”. As I stared with silver lined eyes, I could see the endless promise land of my hope fulfilled in the reflection of His eyes. See I think that hope is not an emotional feeling. I think hope is an action. Hope is an arrow soaring through the sky until it meets its target. We can only have hope, we can only be hopeful if we continuously see what we’re hoping for.  The moment we lose sight on that which is hoped for, the moment we lose our hope.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 NIV)

I was trying to feel hope, I was trying to be hopeful but I could not see the end in sight. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel gives us the hope to move forward. We have to fix/glue/stick our gaze on to the absolute truth that is Jesus Christ in order to walk out life with the action of hope. Hope is more than a mindset, it’s a way of living.

Here we are 48 hours post-fever and completely healed. Thank you Lord! Two lessons  were taken from this nine day illness:

  1. Do not lose hope in your desire’s fulfillment
  2. Use the weapons you have been given

“After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel.” (Judges 3:31 NKJV)

An ox goad is similar to a cattle prod, a big stick with a sharp spur on the end to get the animal to go where you direct it. This Shamgar, I don’t really know who he was or what he did for a living, but he managed to kill 600 Philistine men with a pointy stick! There could have even been some giants in that band of men. All I know from this one verse about the guy, is that Shamgar grabbed what he had, something not typically used as a weapon, and did what he had to do to get to the other side of his problem. We think we need shiny swords and golden shields, we think we have to muster up something fancy that looks good on the outside to others. But I’m here to tell you that all David had was a sling shot and some stones. All Shamgar had was a oxgoad. And there is something in your reach as well.

I don’t know what enemy you’re facing this week, but we all have something before us whether it be a trial, goal, dream, etc. If you feel like you don’t have what it takes to fight through it, look around. The Lord has given you weapons for your warfare and spiritual gifts to glorify Him with. Grab what you have and annihilate the task at hand! Not only did Shamgar save himself, but he delivered an entire nation from captivity. For me, it was singing during the storm. Ephesians 6 gives us the armor of God to battle spiritual warfare. 1 Corinthians 12 gives us a list of spiritual gifts imparted with in us to glorify God, build up ourselves, and build up His people. Build relationships with godly friends to uplift you and speak truth to you. Find your weapons, hone in on your gifts, and live out your hope. Get off of the ground and slay 600 enemies. Today is the day for victory, my friends!

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Check out the song quoted in this blog here!