down in the dirt

In 2015 I was prayed over in visions, and the Father showed me a wolf that was chasing me as I ran to a mountaintop. I was fearful until a brave welled in me at the top of the mountain as I was able to turn around, look into his yellow eyes and kick him in the face. I got that wolf tattooed on my hand with Genesis 50:20. Because the enemy is always after our story. he wants to bite our throat before we make it to the mountaintop, where we can scream it out loud. There’s some sort of healing in ourselves when we speak out our story, then that same healing flows through to others. The wolf was catching up with me again the last few years. I was believing that what I said was just pointless words and I was believing that my story didn’t matter. I was hiding behind my husband and motherhood and anxiety and the fear of (wo)man. Then yesterday, my sweet friend gave me a prophetic letter with the mention of that wolf. I immediately looked at my tattoo and remembered the first time I kicked him in the face. I remembered what he is after. And that I’d rather lay my head deep in the dirt next to Jesus than to please anyone with silent words just to make them comfortable. There’s a time to walk quietly in the deep of the woods to heal and let go and there’s a time to turn around, kick the wolf in the face and use your voice. 🌿 you intended to harm me, but God’s using it all for His good..

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Walk before run

My son had his one year appointment today. I can’t believe he is one. Everyday he wakes and he is doing something new. He’s been walking for the last month and a half, and with each day he grows more balance, he walks a little faster, he needs my hand a little less. Today at his appointment, his doctor smiled as he showed off his walking skills, and said “He is getting the walk down, soon he will be running!”

And my mama heart is in no rush for that. I’m in no rush for him to need me less. To let go of my hand. Though I’m so proud of every accomplishment he makes, I love him being my baby. I love watching him slowly plant his feet firm on the ground, gain his balance and walk. And I know, soon he will run. Soon he will chase his brother off without needing his mama’s hand. It made me think of where we are at in life. I was getting so frustrated with our walking season. I was ready to run. But today the Father reminded me, walk before run. He is in no hurry in teaching us to run. He loves holding our hand in the walking season. Full of compassion as He watches us fall, and loves watching our determination as we get up, gain our balance and walk off again.

And I ask, Lord don’t give us the things we aren’t ready for. We don’t want a single thing prematurely. We want to hold Your hand in the growing season, we want to learn from You and walk slowly with you, though there are moments when I try to run ahead. Your hand picks me up, and we start again. Thank you Father, for those you’ve surrounded us with that walk with us, believing in us, and calling out the best in us. This season is a treasure as we walk before run.

Photo by the lovely Anna Moos

I’ll never recover

when you know you’re loved you walk differently. You look at the world differently. When you believe you are loved kind words flow easily. Confidence comes naturally. Hope feels accessible.

As we got ready for church this morning I heard my husband singing a song as if he were trying to convince himself of its truth:

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

This last week I could feel that on edge feeling creep in. I could feel frustration leave my husband’s lips from a heavy week and I could feel my patience run dry. When you’re in the midst of a pressing place, I’m learning how important it is to hold onto the identity of His love. So when I could feel the tension in the midst of my little family on our way to church this morning, I grabbed my husband’s hand and prayed to the Father. Asking Him to remind us of who we are. Of whose we are.

When we bought our home last fall we overlooked the tree in our backyard. But as it started to come back to life this spring, I thought I was going to puke from what I saw. A magnolia tree. We prayed for years over the home we would one day buy, and I would always mention how I’d love a magnolia tree. So when I saw that The Father remembered, it felt like just an above and beyond moment. I remember telling the Lord, “you already did all of this, you didn’t have to…” but He wants to. And I’ll never recover from the goodness of God.

When a season calls for stretching in all areas of your being, of your families being, the enemy doesn’t want you to pass the test. He wants to cloud your vision. Destroy your identity. He wants you to forget the promise the Father has given you. He wants you to feel abandoned and alone.

So I prayed in our car on a warm Sunday morning. The sun woke our bones and I asked the Father to let His creation be our reminder. Of how loved we are. We weren’t walking as people who are Fathered by God, but like we were abandoned. And I remembered our sweet magnolia tree blooming in our backyard. What a gift, a promise. That He remembers every detail in the deep gardens of our hearts. And He remembers us all the more.

And I asked the Father to let us remember, every time we sit under the shade of that tree, every time we look out of our window into the blooming flowers, may that be our promise. We can walk in the identity of a remembered child because we are Fathered by the God who remembers it all. Even when it’s been so long that we have started to forget. And every promise He has ever made will come to pass.

Before we got out of our car I tell the Father, we don’t need any special words, but Lord today let it be special. Let us be reminded.

So I lean into my husband during worship and my sweet friend starts to sing,

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

I look to my sweet husband with tear welled eyes, as if to tell him, He remembers. Oh how loved you are, my love. And The Father remembers you. And I’ll never recover from the goodness of God.

10

10 years old. It’s hard to even try to imagine life with a 10 year old. But that’s how old you should be this January. That number feels significant to me, and my heart and mind are jumbled with a thousand thoughts surrounding you and your 10th year. I remember the first January that rolled around 10 years ago when you should have been born. Each day I woke and I wondered, should this have been the day? Your day? I remember a dream I had when I was struggling internally with my abortion. I remember being at a store and I had a son that I had just met that I couldn’t bring myself to love. He had been with a father who was loving him deeply. I watched them interact with each other and it pained me to see how loving their relationship seemed to be. And I didn’t know how to do it. The father showed me how to love my son, too. I woke up and I knew it was you.

I’m much different than I was back then. I’ve grown much and I know better. I close my eyes and imagine sitting across from my younger self,10 years ago. She who was consumed with confusion and lonely and secrets and grief. I reach for her trembling hand and I imagine she’d pull away behind the wall that surrounded her for years to come. I know her and she lives in a desolate place. But I’d call her out of it. I wouldn’t look away when she couldn’t look me in the eyes. When I’d tell her I know what she did out of fear and I’d remind her that she is loved and forgiven. And oh how I know her so well. Oh how I know she wouldn’t believe it. But I’d speak it over her again, and again, and I’d hope she would really hear me this time. I’d tell her it won’t always be this way. That there’s going to be harder days but I’d promise her there will be a Rescuer and He is on His way. That He is already here, just waiting for her to let Him break down all of these walls. I’d wrap the younger me in my arms and reassure her that Healing is on His way. That it feels like abortion stole her story but oh sweet girl, this is not the end. I’d declare victory over her and call out the mother heart in her where she felt like all she was is destruction. And I know her so well and I know her broken. But I’d tell her I’m so proud of her, because in 10 years she will look back full of wonder for what could have been, but so much gratitude for what He has done. There’s so much to say about what He has done. And I know she wouldn’t believe it then, but I’d tell her there will come a Sunday in January where she will stand in a church that feels just like home, and she will sing to the Father about His goodness. So much goodness. And there won’t be a single wall left. Just freedom.

And I’m thankful for the promise of sitting with my baby on his side of Heaven one day, it will be a warm January day, and we will be eating birthday cake.

You were here.

You existed.

You are remembered.

It’s Okay to Stay

I thought by now maybe we’d be somewhere new. Somewhere broke down on the side of the road in the motor home we bought three years ago that’s now probably been sold a time or two since we sold it last fall. I’ve spent time wondering maybe if I didn’t miss some turns then maybe we’d be somewhere far from here by now. But we’re still here, in our hometown.

Sometimes you’re called away but sometimes you’re called to stay. Just stay. And when you’re gone from everything, all that you know, in a new town and new faces, new street signs and stop lights, it takes all that you have to be brave. Brave to step on the new sidewalk outside of your new house. Brave to re-memorize where the closest Tim Horton’s is on the corner (you pray to God there’s a Tim Horton’s). Brave to say hello to new faces. To start over again. And that’s always viewed as honorable. You’ve made it, right? Getting out of your hometown. But sometimes you’re asked to stay. Stay planted in the familiar. You don’t have to use that old GPS in the center counsel because you’ve drove down Michigan Avenue a million times or two since you were a kid. Seeing a familiar face every time you go to the store and it all feels like home. A different memory at every red light floods your mind as your car comes to a stop. When did it become such a bad thing to say you’ve lived here all your life? When did it get written in the rules that we have to leave in order to really have lived? Sometimes life’s missed when we’re so busy saving up for the next bus ticket out. 

Yes, it can be brave to leave, to start over where nobody knows your name, but it also takes courage when we are asked to stay. Invest love and life right where your roots are planted. In the familiar. In the faces who already know you. What you have done in your past and the mistakes you have made. It’s brave to to pick up and start again, right where you are. 

Sometimes we’re asked to pack up our things and invest in a new place. But sometimes we’re asked to just stay.

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Fear is a Liar

When was a time you felt most scared? What was it over? How much did you allow that fear to dictate your life? Did you triumph over it or are you still allowing fear to whisper lies to you in the dark?

Fear is a liar, and if we accept these lies we remain chained to it. I won’t forget the way these lies slowly crept into my mind. The fear of being honest about who I am and the path I have walked took over my life so much that I shut off and shut down. I believed that there was no way I could be honest about how I felt or that I could be my true self, because fear told me it was absolutely impossible. Fear told me that everything I’ve ever done in my past was too ugly, and too unforgivable, that no one would understand. Fear took away my self-worth. Fear took away my potential. Fear took away my voice. The enemy oppressed me with so much fear because he feared who I was created to be. His mission was to paralyze me in this fear, and I believed him when he said, “This is it. This is all God has for you.” A life of a shell of myself and that God could never use me because of my past. I believed fear when it said that I could not overcome. I believed fear when it said that healing is too hard, and that a life lived out for The Lord was not possible for me. I was listening to fears loud voice so much that it tuned out The Lords still, small voice telling me I am. I can. I will. Fear began to scream louder in my face the more God spoke gently to my heart. When fear told me I’m not worth fighting for, Yahweh said I’m worth dying for. When fear told me I can’t trust in God, El Roi said with Him I can move mountains. When fear told me I won’t overcome, El Shaddai said I will be victorious.

Fear is a liar and the enemy fights the worst fight to keep us there. When we are so captivated in fear then it’s hard for God to use us. When we eat the lies fear feeds us then everything God has for us is tainted. I challenge you right now, today, to take a fear in your life and call it out. Like a bully that’s been taunting you, stand up for yourself and push it back. You will see that it’s not as tough as it appears to be when you just take the first step. There is victory and light that comes from breaking the chain of fear and leaving it in the dark. God promises that we are, we can and we will.

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Handing Over the Keys to the Cellars of Our Souls

Every one of us walking on this earth have a few cobwebs in the corners of our souls. Maybe your mom once told you not to have any cookies before dinner but they were so enticing that you ate one anyway when she left the room. A cobweb forms. Maybe you told a “white lie” to your best friend because it feels easier than facing the truth. Another cobweb forms.

But maybe you have a cellar in the basement of your soul. It’s dead bolted and has a million and one locks just to ensure that no one gets in. Maybe it’s been there for so long that the cobwebs have become so thick. It’s even formed mildew so not even you want to touch it. The enemy guards that cellar with his strongest forces. He wants to make sure no light shines through. He wants that cellar in your soul to remain hopeless. Impossible to open. And he wants to continue to torment you with it.

He wants you to believe that if anyone knew what was locked inside then they would abandoned you. That they would disown you and be disgusted with you. He wants you to believe that you are the only one who has done what you’ve done or what has been done to you. That no one can relate, understand or help. Let me tell you that that is a lie from the deepest, fieriest pit of hell. Whatever has happened to you in this life, whatever is chained inside your cellar, there are over 7 billion people in this world, you are not the only one. It’s impossible. God says there is nothing new under the sun. Although it feels like it, you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last.

God didn’t create our bodies for cellars in our souls. We are not capable of keeping them there long enough without going crazy. Without forming some kind of destructive behavior. What is that one thing you’re holding on to that hinders you from reading your bible more? What is it that stops you from growing deeper in your faith? You may veer off course a little bit, and for some of us a lot a bit. You may have junk in your cellar that no one could have ever imagined. But God knows. No matter how well you believe you’ve fooled everyone else, God knows. He sees your cellar. Down to your deepest wound, and He mourns for you.

You may believe that nobody else in this world could ever know how you feel or how much your cellar has made you suffer, but God knows. And He wants to brush away the cobwebs. He wants you to hand over the lock and key and allow Him to free you. You might be thinking, “Well He’s God, why doesn’t He just take it from me and do it Himself?” He’s a gentle God. He’s a patient God. He’s a God who gave us free will to choose to remain under the weight of the enemy’s thumb or choose to bring it all to His feet and say, “Okay, Lord. I can’t carry this on my own anymore. I need a Savior. I need you to carry this for me.” And He will. And He already has when He had His only Son drink the cup of our sins and taste the bitterness of all the filth we have ever done. His son Jesus, the Savior of you and I, who carried it all and was nailed on the cross so we could be free to willingly choose to hand over the keys of our cellars to God, and let it all go.

Enough is enough, have you had enough? Are you ready to hand over the keys?

When you call on me, when you pray to Me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for Me you’ll find me. When you want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you home again, you can count on it.

Jeremiah 29

  

Jesus in me.

As I sat against the fence alone, thinking on my trip so far in South Dakota, a man was walking through the skate park picking up cans. I glanced at him and looked away. To me being a Christian means sitting with the homeless. I saw the man picking up cans sitting under a tree in the shade. As I walked up to him my mind thought “what if he stabs me?” but God quickly took over and kept my feet moving. He saw me and waved crazily like I was some kind of old friend. He told me his name and welcomed me to Sioux Falls. I asked him his story and he dove right in. I believe that whoever should call themselves a Christian should also call themselves a friend of homeless, the needy, the poor. To give a listening ear to someone who just doesn’t get it enough. Through that alone Christ is able to show warm love to them. Before I left I wondered if I should pray over him, but I felt as though my time with him was a prayer.

Yesterday I met Daryl, “can-man”. He is welcoming and likes to be outside. He told me about his family and how people think he sleeps outside by the swamp. He is funny and likes to watch the kids skate, even though they think they are better than what they really are. He sits on this bench for about a half hour every day, to just be. Yesterday Daryl felt Jesus’s love.

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