You Already Matter

Colossians 2:10 “…and you are complete in Him…”

You don’t have to accomplish anything, make something of yourself, or be more of anything else for your life to matter. Our culture has an impossible list of requirements before they deem you acceptable. Because of Christ’s finished work, God has no such list. He came looking for you while you were at your worst for no other reason but that He loved you. It may take a lifetime to grasp that concept, but your joy will increase with every handful. He loves you because of Who He is, not because of what you are, what you offer, or even what you will become. He doesn’t need anything from you. He just wants you! He wants to restore what you lost before you were even born.

Come closer, My Friend, drop that heavy load of pretending to have it together, peel off that mask with the painted-on smile. You can rest that dragon-slayer look you hide behind for protection. Kick off the blistering shoes of perfection and let the weighty wig of insecurity fall at His feet. This nakedness can be a dangerous vulnerability in front of others, but never before your Redeemer. He knows the worst of you so hiding is ridiculous. Oh, but the love, once you dare to embrace it, has great power! It can saturate and heal the wounds left on your spirit by words and deeds designed to destroy you. It infuses supernatural steel in your spine where fear once coursed.(1 John 4:18). It gives your complexion that glow of joy like no cosmetic can. It sucks the darkness out of your future and though you still can’t see it clearly, you know He’s already there, making it bright with His presence.

When you let Christ in, His love changes you for the better. With your cooperation, His love transforms you into the better person you never knew you could become. He loves you as you are now and He will love you at every stage of growth. It will take time to believe it isn’t too good to be true. He’ll wait. The best way to expedite the process is to park the deepest part of you in the wonderland of His Word where daily He loads you up with truth about his feelings for you. Some days it will be so sweet you can hardly stand it. It will make you want to love Him back through some form of service. That service will not be earning His love or securing a fickle favor. It will be an offering you can’t help but bring out of gratitude that His great heart thinks you matter and you always have.

Question: What area of your life causes the most struggle in believing you matter? Who or what do you think is behind this idea? What truth do you need to embrace to break out of this struggle?

How to Encourage Yourself

Discouragement happens to all of us. It can feel like a pit too deep to scale and can lead to despair if you don’t know how to climb out.

All of David’s friends blamed him for the kidnapping of their children. They wanted to stone him, and friendless David fell into a pit of discouragement. The Scriptures say he encouraged himself “in the Lord His God.” (1Samuel 30:6) What does that mean? What would that look like for you?

Discouragement is like an old lady with bad breath, amnesia, and terrible vision. The bad breath represents negative talk. Discouragement tends to speak in extremes, “It’s ALWAYS going to be this bad. I’m NEVER going to get better.” In the face of an omnipotent God, extreme statements like those are inappropriate. Hannah, barren and bullied, chose to believe neither of her disadvantages was permanent because she knew Someone greater than both of them ( 1Samuel 10-18). Back to David, Can you hear him reminding himself that even though all his buddies were against him, God tipped the scales in David’s favor? God is always greater than any odds stacked against you. To encourage yourself in the Lord, speak the opposite of what your negative thoughts say.

Old Lady Discouragement has a sort of amnesia, forgetting all God has done in the past. Your present situation may be pitiful, but it’s just a set-up for what God wants to do. Going for a walk to clear his head and to save it from the threat of stoning, I imagine David reminded himself of God’s power through the lion-and bear-killing infusion of his youth and the countless rescues from King Saul’s spear. Perhaps the psalmist dusted off an old hymn stored in the back of his mind and hummed, then whistled, then shouted it so loudly that the mice of discouragement scuttled back to the dark pit from which they came. To encourage yourself in the Lord is to itemize what God has done in your past and to recognize He has not yet finished your story!

Finally, Discouragement wears dark glasses with dirt on the lenses and only sees darkness when she looks to the future. Her problem is that she views everything as if God is dead. You can remove the dirty sunglasses of doubt when you remind yourself that God’s presence fills every corner of your future with hope and that He’s making good plans for you! (Jeremiah 29:11) Encourage yourself in the Lord ‭by switching on the blazing light of His promises and letting them lead you out of the darkness of your discouragement (Psalm 27:13).

God has an antidote for every poisonous drop of discouragement, but you must reach for it. Do away with Old Lady Discouragement. Be like David and encourage yourself in the Lord!

Sing Your Song

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him. Psalm 40:3

God has put a song in your heart. Sing it! He’s done what you struggled to believe He would, and He’s begun changing you into someone you’re proud to be. You can’t keep that song to yourself. Sing it!

This singing has nothing to do with pushing air through your vocal chords in partnership with music; no, it’s narrating in your everyday voice what the Lord has done. People are waiting and desperate to hear it. Someone’s out there surrounded by the dead silence of hopelessness, waiting for your song to fill it.

You’re tempted to keep quiet because you’re not sure they won’t judge you. Don’t shy from your song because you’re not proud of the bad parts. You’d be surprised how much those parts resonate with people and remind them they’re not alone. The bad parts are what make the good parts so beautiful. They tell people they can get where you are because you’ve been where they are. Sing it!

How you sing it will be unique to you; maybe by writing a book, sending a note to someone needing encouragement, volunteering, baking, cleaning, or literally singing. God has given you your own style and method, and it’s beautiful. In your eyes, your song’s not perfect, but it is to those who need it. It will bring glory and pleasure to God, joy and purpose to you, and inspiration to many. Sing it!

A Prayer of Faith When Life Is Hard

This is the last of the top blog posts. Be blessed!

Oh, God, I’m hurting. I know You are the Great Healer of hurts. Please heal me. Dry my tears and hold me. You’ve done it many times before. Do it again, Lord!

I wish for relief today. I desire an end to all that’s uncertain, for the light to be turned on in those places dark with uncertainty. I know you can do it, Lord, all power is in Your mighty hand.


I also know Your ways are higher than mine, and You want me to trust You. I understand You are at work when I don’t understand. Your power doesn’t just work to fulfill my desire; it fulfills Your divine purpose, and I bow my heart and will to Your desire above my own.

I choose to trust Your timing, Your agenda, Your love. As hard as my current hurt is, I submit to Your schedule for its relief. You are a Healer, no doubt, but You are also a Vinedresser, a Cultivator of character.( John 15:1) Cut, snip, prune, and take away according to Your wisdom. Only preserve my mind. Don’t let me lose heart or sight of what is important since trouble tends to be a great liar when I’m hurting.

Thank You that You care enough for me to give me what I need instead of what I want. Take my hand and lead me on into the uncertainty that lies ahead. Whisper words of love and hope to me in the dark. Thank you in advance for what I will become and the heightened beauty I will see in You when we both come out on the other side.

How To Wait On God Well

I am not surprised this was one of my most viewed posts. Everyone is waiting on God for something, right? This provides encouragement on how to do it the right way. Enjoy!

How To Wait On God Well

Psalm 40:1-3

1. I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

2. He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

3. He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the Lord

and put their trust in him.

Waiting on God is not always easy, is it? Sometimes it feels as if He’s forgotten you’re standing there in His waiting room. My Friend, be confident that He knows exactly where you are. He will not keep you there any longer than necessary. You are not forgotten. Do you trust Him?

How do you wait well in your holding place? Today’s passage gives some insight. Come with me and let’s explore it.

I waited patiently for the Lord— you and I are to wait patiently. That means not trying to rush things. Remember when Sara came up with the impatient idea to have her husband Abraham conceive a son with Hagar instead of waiting on God? Enough said.

he turned to me and heard my cry– waiting well is possible when you remind yourself that God’s ear turned in your direction the moment you called on Him. Just because He has not answered in your timing doesn’t mean He didn’t hear and doesn’t care. Remember when Lazarus died and his two sisters called for Jesus? Did He come right away? No. Would they have traded their experience of witnessing their brother resurrected? I don’t think so. Waiting on God is an opportunity to see some amazing things. You really don’t want to miss what God wants to show you, My Friend.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand– did you notice all of those verbs are in the past tense? Yours will change tenses too. Whatever you are asking God to do now will turn tenses and transform into a testimony. Do you believe this? Waiting well means waiting in faith.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.: oh, a new song is a beautiful thing! It sings about something God has done that He hasn’t done in your life before! It’s a new entry on God’s resume in your story. It’s notes birth a strapping stronger faith that looks like Jesus. Waiting well can mean singing about what He will do as if He’s already done it. Try it!

Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.-your time of waiting is about more than getting what you want. It is divinely orchestrated for those around you too. They see your distress, your longing, and sometimes your tears. They are waiting on God with you and for their own requests as well. When God comes through, your story will boost and encourage THEIR faith. It’s a sometimes uncomfortable way to be used by God, but why not set a good example of waiting well while they watch? It makes the answer so much sweeter!

Wait for God patiently, knowing He’s heard you and has not forgotten your request. Wait for God believing He will do just what He said He will. Wait valiantly, My friend, not complaining or pouting but soberly, knowing you are setting an example for others who are watching and waiting too.

One more thing: A good waiting room always has good magazines to occupy you while you wait. May I suggest you pick up a copy of His Word and read what God did for others while they waited on Him? Hebrews 11 is a good place to start. Perhaps a good Christian biography can while away the time and remind you of His faithfulness in the lives of others who have been in the waiting room just like you! Please let me know what YOU’VE learned about waiting on God!

You Have Worth Because He is Worthy

I hope you are being encouraged by my top blog postings this week. Encouragement is meant to be shared. Who do you know that could use today’s encouragement? Pass it on!

You Have Worth Because He is Worthy

“and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.” Colossians 2:10

One of the enemy’s favorite spots for punching is that soft place where you question your value. He likes to put on his spiked brass knuckles and continually pummel you with thoughts like, “You are not good enough, and you never will be,” or “However bad anyone else is, you’re worse.” Maybe you’ve heard, “If anybody knew the real you, they’d reject you.”

He throws your past in your face to darken your present and to blind you to any hope for your future.

To make it worse, you and I respond by covering up and pretending to be someone else. That’s not the right way to fight, My Friend, because you are agreeing with those lies. No, you must dig out this poisonous core or your spirit will remain sick and weak and hinder you from flying. Yes, I said flying. What better way to combat a fist than to fly above it?

How do you dig out the core? With a sword–the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God! How does this work? All three of those lies I mentioned can be knocked out by today’s verse. People often quote the first part but miss the second. You are complete in Christ, yes, but it’s because of Who He is: the head over all rule and authority. His most powerful position makes whatever He says the final word on your worth, My Friend. You don’t have to makeshift your worth through your bank account, your bra size, your zip code, career, comparison, or credentials. If Christ says you have value, you can’t add anything else to that to make it more true. Know this! Believe this!

When the enemy corners you with those self-defeating thoughts, fight like a girl–a girl who knows who she is because her Daddy told her. This means that, um, you gotta know what your Daddy told you. You won’t know if Facebook gets more of your time than His book. Am I right? Invest the time each day getting in His Word because it informs you of your worth, and because of Who He is. He. Is. Worthy!!

Nobody Like Him!

Today I am continuing with my most popular posts….

” To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.” Isaiah 40:25

There’s nobody like Him! To whom are you gonna compare Him? Anything you line up next to Him is ridiculous. He’s in a class all. by. Himself.

He makes claims nobody else can, and He backs up every one of them. EVERY one! No one else can claim to never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 11:25b) and then have the omnipresence to keep that promise. (Psalm 139:7-10)

All others say “Work your way up to me, appease me.”

Our wonderful God says, ” You don’t have what it takes to make it to Me. How about I come to you instead? You don’t have enough good in inventory to appease Me. Let me provide that too. Let me grant the very righteousness I require so we can be together.” (Romans 8:3-4) Who does that!? Our merciful God, that’s Who! Nobody like Him!

Then He has the glorious nerve to provide this to everyone. No special license, background, education, pedigree, skin color, or credit check required. Whosoever will may come. ( Romans 10:13) Nobody like Him!

Then there’s the love. He’s more than a God Who’s bigger than you, requiring whatever tribute the King of the Universe has every right to demand. He is relational, personal, compassionate, and intimately acquainted with all your ways…not a dry, mute statue to bring incense to, but a living, concerned, and conversational God. (1John 3:1; Psalm 145:8; Exodus 34:6; Psalm 138:3) Nobody like Him.

I wouldn’t dare leave out the resurrection. Nobody else has the patent on that but our God. Death was a snarling, ferocious, and carnivorous beast whose dungeon was the grave. Our Mighty God defeated that beast and turned that very dark dungeon into a doorway to Heaven.

Can anyone be silent about such a God as He? Let the idols of the earth be satisfied with incense and fearful appeasement. A God as mighty and unique as ours deserves so much better. Reserve your worship, best love, and service for Him precisely because there is nobody like Him. (Romans 12:1)

I’m Trying Something Different

Hello Friends,

Many of you are new to my blog and I am thrilled to have you! This blog is only a couple of months old, but I want to share some entries from another blog I did for about 4 years. For the next week or so, I will share the top 5 most popular posts from that wonderful season of writing. I hope you enjoy them. Please let me know if they speak to you in a certain way. Feedback is important to a writer to let her know she is writing in the right direction of your needs.

Without further ado, here is the all-time most visited blog post in all my years of ministering through blogging.

While You Are Hurting

“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1-2

It had been lurking in the shadows of my heart: a hurt I had incurred about a week prior. Busyness made it shy, but when the quiet came, the hurt limped back to center stage.

Then one night, I was in a noisy place, a place of worship. Most of the songs were unfamiliar; therefore singing while gleaning the truth made an awkward dance.

Enter the beautiful blindsiding.

The Spirit prompted the worship leader to break the cadence of the service with an invitation to lift up a burden. Without my permission, my hurt came to the forefront. I tried to stifle it’s bruised hand reaching for the altar. It complied, but manifested itself in tears instead. No! No! I didn’t want to cry in this unfamiliar place, but the woo to lay that burden down had an irresistible seduction. It was as though Jesus came to me, held my uplifted face between His hands and said, “Tell me all about it.” Everything and everyone around me seemed excused from this private time with my Saviour. I didn’t say anything I hadn’t said to Him before about this matter, and I knew this hurt wasn’t going to heal overnight, but this time my keen awareness of His tender listening was enough.

Sometimes listening to someone is the most Christ-like thing you can do. No solutions…no rescue…just the loan of your time, attention, and ears. Though you say no words, a healing exchange transacts. A burden is cut in half, and it’s weight redistributes. A lightness blows the fragrance of hope through the place once packed with heaviness. What a beautiful gift!

Know this! Jesus is an ever-present help in time of trouble. Sometimes His presence speaks and dead hopes arise. Sometimes He answers before You even ask. Other times His still, small voice says nothing, but the comfort comes in knowing He cares enough to listen while you are hurting.

Before You Decide To Quit

“… knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint….” Romans 5:3-5

I’ve never been so close to quitting as I was in that terrifying moment. I had been stretched all week, each day a little more. Then came a challenge I felt so unready for that I began packing my belongings and drafting my excuse to the leader. In my mind, I was already headed for my car, but in real-time, the first team was up doing the assignment. “They seem to be doing alright, but I’m sure they are better prepared than I am,” I thought. This was a lie because it was an assignment the instructor sprang on all of us, and I could see the nervousness hiding behind the jokes of the first team. I was next. It felt rude to walk out with everyone looking at me, so I walked to the front of the class with my partner. The fear was so strong it stood in my eyes in the form of tears. My partner began, and my response was to take an option allowing me to come back to the question later. To my surprise, I got the answer to the next question right. Still nervous, but no longer terrified, I worked through the rest of the assignment, and it was over sooner than I expected.

It’s going to be the same for you if you don’t quit, My Friend. Fear is a master storyteller who writes vivid lies designed to make you abdicate your destiny. He camps around the doorway of your breakthrough, exerting exaggerated motions for you to turn back. Your haters are hoping you will, but those who’ve invested in you are waiting to see a return of a different kind. Quitting is never a solitary thing.

I’ve done the quitting thing and even years later, it stings every time I recall it. Before you decide to give up, know that quitting wastes time because you’ll have to do the task again anyway. Know that some opportunities won’t wait around that long.

The better “you”is waiting at the finish line. Determine to get there even if it means tear stains on your cheeks and blood on your knees from falling and getting back up. The wounds of a fighter hurt better than the gut-level gashes of a quitter.

You wouldn’t have started this journey if there wasn’t something you thought was worth whatever it took. You have a life to live and the better part waits on the other side of what has you wanting to run away.

That terrifying moment I described turned out to be a turning point in my life. It forged a courage in me that I nearly robbed myself of, but thank God, it serves me well for my next terrifying assignment. I am still shaking, but I’m not backing down. I want whatever awaits the other side. I know you want yours too.

Find an encourager, pray, cry it out if you have to, but….Please. Don’t. Quit.

Got Burdens?

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

I must have looked a sight, a 20-year-old weighing 120 pounds dragging a 100-pound suitcase onto the streets of New York City. Having traveled several hours on a bus overnight, I had a layover before heading for Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The years have smudged the details, but I do recall a strange man asking if he could carry the mammoth piece of luggage up several flights of stairs for me. I agreed, and halfway up what seemed fifty flights in that dark stairwell, I realized this man could have killed me or worse, and my family, over a thousand miles away in Memphis, would never have known what happened. Reaching the desired floor, he dropped the bag, and I paid him handsomely, as much from gratitude for not murdering me as for saving my young back and shoulders.

Some of you are carrying a mammoth load of baggage from your past, and Jesus wants to carry it for you. The offer sounds wonderful, but either you’re not sure you can trust Him with it, or you’re not sure how to let Him relieve you. My friend, it’s hard to trust someone you don’t know, even Jesus. Get to know Him by reading the Bible. I suggest reading Luke because you’ll see how much compassion He has for hurting people like you. Then consider reading John which comes right after Luke. The love in those chapters can soften your hardest spots and coax your anger, hurt, and confusion into His healing light without shame. I dare you to try it!

If your spirit has been burdened a long time, the thought of releasing it may seem more frightening than the familiar misery of holding onto it. Jesus loves you and wants so much better for you than the life you’re living. He wants you to experience ongoing joy and a lightness that frees you, not just to survive, but also to dance.

Healing can feel like a surgery at first, but then it brings new life. Let Him do what He does best (besides protecting naive, 20-year-old commuters); let Him carry all your burdens.