Archive of ‘Story’ category
There are some days when I can’t believe Holy Yoga is my job. I mean if you can call living your dream a job. Today is one of those days.
When I opened facebook and saw the above post this morning, I wept. Initially I thought it was because of the beauty captured in the photo. Maybe it was the verse. Or maybe it was because the photographer and the model both happen to be my life long sisters.
But aesthetic beauty, while it evokes soul-stirring, it never brings tears like these. These kind of tears come from a knowing of the soul, not just a stirring of it. I re-read the verse and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I wept (and wept) because this is what He has done for me in Holy Yoga.
I have had to hold on for dear life to my God on my mat as He has ripped my heart open and laid it bare before His alter. I have had to cling to the hope of my next breath as He has His was with the one in my lungs. I have had to repent. I have had to forgive other. I have had to forgive myself. I have had to see things for the first time. And the last time.I have had to stay still when all I wanted to do is run. And I have had to run when I was used to being crushed by the same old weight and sick thinking.
I realized my weeping this morning was not that of a woman buried under the weight of her own sin, but that of a woman who’s mourning had turned into joyous singing. Whose God has held her and made her steady as a post. A woman who may not know who she is at times but knows exactly who her God is.
I wept this morning because He has done great things for me, both on and off my mat. I wept this morning with great anticipation because I know He will do it again. I wept this morning because I am grateful He is not done with me and loves to save me. He is not at all offended by my desperation. In fact He can’t wait to hold me and comfort me and to transform me into the likeness of His beloved Son.
That is My God. This is His ministry and this is my get to. That is why I wept.
I pray that God will give grace and abundance to His ministry of Holy Yoga so that more people know this kind of love affair with their King. Will you join me in praying for Holy Yoga? That it would swell by the outpouring of His life changing Spirit? Would you pray fiercely with me for this kind of revival?
Hold on for dear life and He will hold you steady you as a post. No matter where, when or how. Our God is faithful.
My eldest turned 13 yesterday. I am officially the proud parent of a boy-man. I say boy- man, because we’re confused. We both know he’s definitely not a boy. I know he’s definitely not a man. So where does this leave a tenacious first-born and his momma?
Here are a few things I know about this new season of my life.
1.Puberty sucks and hormones make you crazy. Seriously. Tell me, was I this crazy at 13? Wait, better question…am I still this crazy? Don’t be offended by my use of the word crazy. I don’t mean crazy in a bad way…I mean it in a true way. Like when the words coming out of his mouth are not at all similar to anything he means or wants. Apparently puberty changes the meaning of common everyday language. See, “Never mind” is the new “you don’t care about me” and “whatever” is code for “I used to think you were somewhat cool, but now I see you are a complete noob’. What is a noob, anyway?
Perhaps I am not using words like “noob” or “never mind”, but the strategy of not meaning what I say or saying what I mean may just be a place of 13-year-old arrested development in me.
2. Passion for Fashion. My boy always looks good. All ways and always. He cares about his hair and his wardrobe much more than I do. Let’s just say he would never roll out of bed and slap on a headband for the entire day and call it good. We have a running joke in our home that the bathroom mirror misses him when we are on vacation.
If I am honest, puberty has this momma feeling left behind and unimportant. Hormones and growing up have me wondering what my role is and what happened to the days when my boy needed me to love him. To comb his hair or pick out his clothes (which really hasn’t happened since kindergarten) or to remind him that his teeth need to be brushed.
We were at Sea World yesterday for his birthday when a bird pooped on his favorite khaki’s. (insert roaring laughter here from everyone except for him). The ones I wash almost daily because he loves them so much. He decided in that instant that the khakis had to go. They could never be redeemed as clean and they must be replaced. We all agreed since there is no reasoning with a pubescent 13-year-old and the Shamu Rocks show started in 20 minutes.
During the show, seeing my boy 20 rows in front of us because the splash zone is a 13-year-old must, I realized I just may be the khakis. It’s not a rational fear or apprehension, because I GET IT… a boy will always love his mama, but its different now. He is growing up and I feel like the favorite khakis. All worn out and ready for dispose. His very favorite things not nearly as important as they once were.
Maybe his very favorite person not nearly as important as she once was.
3. Feeling and Healing. One of the root things in my walk with Christ has been the healing of my deepest root of abandonment. At age 2, my biological dad walked out the front door never to return again. Like never. Ever. So clearly, I had some things the Lord needed to heal. He has…and apparently still is.
My son’s puberty has not been easy for me. I do annoyed really well. Anger is easy and my fuse is rarely longer than my pinky finger. I realized recently that as my boy grows up, he’s working his way toward leaving. He’s appropriately growing up and gaining his independence. AND with every step towards the door, my fear mounts that once he walks out, he will never come back. That somehow he will forget about us, about me.
I see that my anger masks my fear. I see that I need Jesus more now than ever.
4. It is All Good. My life, as I live it at the foot of the cross, is dealt with at the foot of the cross. In Christ, I don’t run the risk of my need for importance bleeding over into co-dependence on my son. I am seen, heard and validated by God. He sees my heart. He leads me in the way of everlasting. He gives me my purpose and my value. He has me see things for what they really are and how my perception is just that, perception.
He teaches me in the ways that I should go and helps me be a woman who trusts Him with everything. The beating heart within my own chest, and the extension of it that beats in the ribcage of a tenacious, amazing and a little bit crazy 13-year-old boy.
I’m so excited to join in with Megan’s Link Up today! Head over to She Does Justice and read the contribution stories. Add your OWN! This is what community is about. Share your life and lean into others as they share theirs. See you there!
The Lord wrote me a love letter. I needed one. In a bad way. In a way that I have never needed one before. This is what He said.
You dont have to defend yourself. You can cry out to me. You can ask me to defend your cause and to redeem you; to preserve your life according to My promise and I will answer. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend and a cord of three strands will never be broken. You are not alone. I am with you. Those whom I love are with you. They are with you because they love me and, in loving me, I have given them over to loving you. Rest, daughter. They have you. I have you.
Remember how I taught you to make up your mind beforehand to not defend yourself? How I taught you in the ways of My ways to avoid ancient ruins? Remember, I am doing a new thing. Remember that you are who I say you are. You are a light dweller, and though you travel through the valley of death, you will not find a home there.
Hear Me. I will fight for you, you need only to be still. I alone will show you great and unsearchable things that you do not know. Seek Me. I have eyes for you. When I see you, I see Me. Seek Me and find more of yourself. Since you are precious and honored in My sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Listen to Me. This is what I say “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go” You cry out “Heal me Lord and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise”, I hear you.
I will shut the mouth of the lion. I will quench the murmurs of deceit and slander that come against you. If I am for you, who can stand against you? Walk with me, Light Bearer. You became an imitator of Me, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. So cast all of your anxiety on Me because I care for you. Rest in Me. Come to Me, daughter who is weary and burdened and I will give you rest. This is how you will know that you belong to the truth and that you can set your heart at rest in My presence.
Know My love. Rely in Me. Abide and Me. I see you and adore what I see.
My best friend, Alisa, wrote a blog last week that gave voice to the thing God is most recently working out in me. And since God is a God of relationship, it seems He is working it out in those closest to me at the very same time. If you haven’t read her blog, read it HERE first and then come on back to me.
So I suppose I should start with a praise offering before I go into my pile of crap with you. That way the stench of what needs sacrificing doesn’t overwhelm the fact that my offering is ultimately a fragrance welcomed by God, no matter how old and infected it may be.
I praise God for relationship. I praise God for intimacy. I praise God for the full length mirrors He has given me as gifts and tools for lifelong self-reflection who bear the names Jarrett, Jory, Jace and Brynn. I praise God for best friends who not only bring to light things one on one, but broadcast it to the blogging world in order that hiding from accountability is not an option. I praise God for light. I praise God for freedom.
I am also on the verge of praising for the things that hold me back in certain places. I say on the verge, because embracing my deficiencies are never moments I charge excitedly. I mean I will do it, because God has made me obedient, but I don’t like it.
And so IT is (this week at least), comparison.
Comparison has been a companion of mine for my entire life. If we are honest, its in all of us. It bears names like education, money, intellect, beauty, weight, status, and success just to name a few. We are born into a society and bred by that society to compare. It’s so rooted in us that we don’t even know we are doing it. Not only are we being done (or undone) by it, we are perpetuating it.
Webster’s dictionary defines comparison as the act of comparing and also simultaneously the state of being compared. Do you get that? Comparison is the thing we do externally as a manifestation of what we are doing internally.
There is nothing like relationships that matter to us to draw out in us this deep seated root of comparison. We are drawn to those who reflect the truest nature of our inmost selves. For the most part we really appreciate them for who they are – until we realize that those people are a reflection of what we really like most about ourselves. Then we are faced with the question “is there enough of that to go around?”. Thats why marriage gets hard. Thats why friendships (real ones) get hard, because God uses them to wake us up to deeper places in us.
Annndddd so it is with Alisa. Alisa is a leader of the finest degree. She is fearless and brilliant. Articulate and generous. Stunning and strong. Everything I want to be when I grow up. Alisa has all the things I ask God to make me in ministry. What a perfect place for the creeper called comparison to take root.
God says in Galatians 6:4-5 in the Message “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” It sounds easy. It’s not. I am not allowed to add to the Bible, but if I was, I would add “God helping you” to Galatians 6:4-5, because Lord knows He needs to.
It first began when I started to see Alisa step into the fullness of who God has created her to be, specifically in her teaching of the Word and her leadership in ministry. I say it began there because it was a quick landslide. I found myself jealous of the restoration work God was doing in her marriage. The very marriage I had been petitioning for in prayer (without ceasing) for the last four years. Gross. What the hell? What is that? I clearly see my crazy but why do I know better yet can’t do better? I need a Savior, stat.
See, I need people to like me. I need people to want me to be around and I need people to think I am great in order to feel worth. Ok, that’s not pretty to write. It’s not pretty to admit (to myself, let alone all of you) and it’s not pretty that it’s true.
My comparison trap is I want to be the best at whatever I do and if I perceive anyone else as better, I have a problem. My problem is not against flesh and blood, but is one of spirit. I am not assaulted by Alisa and her beautiful being, I am assaulted by a lie of the enemy that says “if Alisa is good at this, there is no room for you to be good at it too.” It’s a scarcity mentality. It’s a lie that says there is not enough to go around. Without the Spirit of the Lord plumbing the depth of my being, I would assume Alisa is the problem. I would make Alisa, what my sister Stephanie calls, a “we” problem. My issue of comparison who happens to be wearing the name “Alisa” is not a “we” problem, its a “me” problem. Its a spiritual problem that the Lord is wanting to heal in me.
And here is the truth. For a while Alisa and I kept it at bay. We would confess to each other right away when our feelings of jealousy would pop up in order that we have fellowship with one another in the light. We know what the Word says and we were doing it…but God often has something more. God had for each of us something more than the “we”. “We” were good. “We” were honest and still the “we” felt unsettled. We know now that God was interested in the “me” in both of us. We needed individual explorations of the heart. I went on my “me” journey and realized that our “we” lacking was a reflection of my “me” needs.
Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of Joy.” As a lover of the great Lover, my joy is found in the person and anchor of Jesus Christ. To compare myself with others is to intentionally look Christ in the face and say “you are not enough”. What you have for me and all that your Word promises, is not enough. It’s to say that the temporal fix from believing that I am “better than her” or “it’s all her fault” is more secure than the act of Christ on the cross.
In closing, can I ask you an honest question? Do you have a “we” situation that is troubling you today? Could your “we” problem simply be the lowest hanging fruit, per se? The fruit most easily picked on. Or off. The ones that could easily be discarded as hopeless and in need of disposal? Or could there be something more than the “we” ? Could the Lord be calling you to the “me”?
The remedy of “we” is found in the remedy of “me”. By definition, comparison is the act of comparing and also simultaneously the state of being compared. In Christ we are anchored to Him. He defines us and in Him there is no room for lack, scarcity, or comparison.
And there it is, friends. In the words of my sister and bestie por vida…
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13-14 NIV
The Lord has had me for some time now standing on a wall. Not behind a wall, or next to a wall, but directly on top of a wall – completely exposed. Walls historically and practically are a built to defend. Their sole purpose to protect.
So what am I doing on this wall and why am I here? When can I leave? And if I cant leave, then what can I do to at least camouflage myself if I am going to be here a while?
What happens when the only option is to stay on the wall. When turning back and taking on old habits or patterns is not an option. I’ve come too far. Plus, God is not behind me. I mean, He was there when I was there…but now I am here and I know He only draws forward.
But what if the path is not clear beyond the wall? What if to go forward or to go back have the same potential problems…alone-ness, uncertainty, and worst of all… vulnerability.
The definition of vulnerability is capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: difficult to defend.
My tendency in spaces like this is to take cover. Use old my habits to numb, to avoid, and to match externally what I feel internally. But on the wall, I cant go back and the path ahead is not clear, so my only option is to stay put. To remain here, positioned in a place of the heart where I am able to hear, feel, see. Its in this space of the heart that my King often speaks the kind of Truth that separates bone from marrow. It’s the place I see soberly the role I have played in believing what Tim Keller says:
“The problem with us is we blame problems on things besides sin and identify salvation on things besides God.”
I realize here on the wall, that whatever I am trying to defend…whatever I am trying to justify… whatever I have used or abused in order not to “be”… that the Lord is drawing that out of me. Here. On the wall. Completely vulnerable. And its a space that while I don’t want to be here, I can’t image avoiding any longer if it means I will have to do it in my old ways.
I am reminded that I am not defend myself. That is the Lords doing. In Luke 21:14 on the heels of letting the disciples know that this life IS NOT EASY, that really bad stuff is going to happen. Jesus says “But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.”
Never does God say to defend Him. He says worship me. Jesus says follow me. The Holy Spirit says listen to me. Defense and deliverance are God’s alone.
So I wait. On the wall. Exposed and Vulnerable.
Yet tenderly and mercifully covered. Confident in what I hope for and have not yet seen.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good
news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the
captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who
grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of
mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the
ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the LORD; you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice
in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will
be yours. Isaiah 61:1-7 NIV
I am standing, and staring, at a threshold. A threshold by definition is a sill or doorway. It’s an entrance
point to a house. In this case, it’s my house. Even these first few typed words are giving way to what I
know God is calling me to do. He wants me to open the door to my house. To the place behind the veil,
where Jesus has done, and is doing, some of His best work.
This is a place of obedience. I have to write. I cant not. Although I am not sure where to start or where
it will end, I am sure I need to write. I suppose this will be a testimony of sorts to the power of God. To
the working of His Holy Spirit in me, a sinner. But maybe more than that it will be a testimony to the
authority of God who enables and requires us to do the things we most resist.
This is a story of a little girl lost, then found. One whose heart has been bound up and set free. One who
has been released from darkness in order to proclaim the goodness of her God. This is a story of the
recovery of sight, the rebuilding of ancient ruins, and the joy of an unknown inheritance.
This has been a long time coming and I am afraid. I am afraid of starting. I am afraid of stopping. And I
am afraid of everything in between. Here’s the thing the Lord has taught me about fear…its OK to have
it. Its just not ok for it to have you. It seems to me a marker for what I must do in order that God has
more of me than my enemy does.
I’m reminded. Be strong and very courageous, and obey. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. If I am for
you, who can come against you?
I will do this afraid.