62,000 Published Words Per Week Average?!?!

62,000 Published Words Per Week Average?!?!

Just want to say, God, how thankful I am this morning that you answer my prayers. I spent much of my twenties living with daily migraines, depression, and anxiety so severe I seldom left the house. And I prayed that some day you’d let me be productive by having children and a career.

And you gave me four beautiful children. I was able to stay home much of the time with them as they grew. And despite all of my many failures and flaws, you were with me as I asked for your grace and mercy in our lives. You were with me when I worshipped you through my tears as you touched my heart with your goodness all around me despite tragedies that touched us all.

Today, I look back on the content of those prayers: many were praising you for who you are. But others were asking for specific things… that you would let me lead worship someday and that you’d let me write for a living someday.

From my early twenties on I cried through one praise song after another just feeling your presence all around me.  And then in 2019, you led me to a position leading worship at renewalgac.org. You sent me to this church. I have no doubt. And every week I ask you to be with me as I undertake an honor that is too magnificent to put into words. I don’t deserve to be up there leading worship, but you use me despite my human flaws and failures. And you send encouragers to lift me up every time I feel discouraged.

And then in July of 2020. you sent Charlie, a friend from high school to call me up out of the blue and offer me a job writing and marketing at whooshagency.com. I have been at this job over a year now and loving every minute. Today I realized that I have written an average of 62,000 published words per week since Feb 2021. And I am in wonder that you brought me to this place, that you answered this prayer!

I never logically thought through how to reach these goals. I just worshiped and praised YOU God. You do more than I could ever ask or imagine. You fight my battles for me. I just give my worries and anxieties to You. You take them all off my shoulders and give me your peace. Your way of giving peace is beyond my human understanding. How do you take all of my pain and turn it into hope and goodness?  It’s like the song we sang Sunday: “You turn graves into gardens. You turn seas into highways. You turn shame into glory. You’re the only one who can.” You’re the only one who can do this!

I simply lay all of my struggles, failures, joys, victories, anxieties, and hopes before You as I worship You, knowing that You make a way. You work it out for my good. You work it out so that I will praise Your NAME and everyone will know that You are good to those who trust in YOU! And my gratefulness overflows this morning as I worship and praise You.

Thank you for making my life so full of Your goodness and victory. I pray that you continue to help me see the diamonds glittering in ashes and the gold strands amid the dark blackness of the pain in the world.

Thank you Jesus for the cross and the beautiful light of your forgiveness for all of the wrongs in my life. You make my wrongs into a beautiful clean slate everyday. Your mercies are new every morning when I wake up. You gave your all so that I could have this clean conscience despite my failures. It’s you who makes me clean and new each day.

You do it for everyone who asks. Thank you Jesus.

Hold On To Me

Hold On To Me

Abba it’s amazing that you made it so easy for me to just talk with you, like you’re just a friend I am calling. And it’s crazy that I don’t make time for this every day,  considering what it cost you to tear the veil that separated us. But I’m here now in your presence because you made it possible for me to come to you. And Abba Father I do need you. I need you more than I can say, more than I am willing to admit most days.

I’ve Run From You

I’ve run from you before when I’ve messed up. I feel ashamed when I don’t get things right. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, I want to hide from you and cover over my sins with fig leaves. But this year I promised that I would run to you when I mess up, even if I feel unworthy or like I’m too much of a disaster to come to you. 

Your Love Never Fails Me

No matter what I’ve done, your love never fails. You run to me with your arms open wide even when I’ve chosen to put on the rags of a slave. You wrap your arms around me and tell me how much you love me. You remind me that I am your child and my sins are paid for. There is no need for fig leaves. You’ve known about everything I would ever do since the beginning of time. And you chose to love me and die for me anyway. I mattered to you when you took your last breath, Jesus. I mattered enough that you continued to suffer rather than call down legions of angels to save you. Your love for me is more than I can fathom. 

But Why Do I Keep Messing Up?

So I’m here again, Lord, because I keep making the same mistakes and I don’t know why. And I’m running to you again, a child feeling like a failure. I can’t seem to get this life right. I can’t seem to pull it together and be the person I want to be. Every time I focus on getting rid of my sin, it just seems to chase me down and I choose the things of this world over you. So God instead of focusing on my sin, I’m gonna focus on you.

Who You Are Makes Me Who I Am

  • Your goodness covers my failures. 
  • Your faithfulness means that you never leave or forsake me. I’m the one who leaves you time and again.
  • Your lovingkindness means that when I mess up again and hurt others, you’ve already forgiven me. You welcome me back into your arms. 
  • Your mercy means no matter what I did, you are never going to give up on me. 
  • Your grace means that you still shower all of your gifts on me even though I never measure up to perfection. I am complete in you.
  • Your forgiveness of my sin through Jesus’ blood means that you don’t even see my sin. You’ve already placed it all as far away as east is from west. 

I Lay It Down

I lay all of my selfishness, my failures, my pride, my flesh, my burdens too deep to speak of, my selfishness down. I lay it all at your feet God.  I know that you carry me when don’t know where I’m going. Your groans, Holy Spirit, intercede at the throne room for me when I’m in dark places and don’t even know how to pray. When my prayers seen to bounce off the ceiling, God, You are still working in my life!

So I Will Praise You Forever

I will praise you forever! I’ve only just begun to praise you here in this earthly realm! There is an eternity of praising you awaiting me. I can’t wait until the day I can praise you knowing I will never will fall again and leave your presence. There is coming a day when I will always be with you and will not ever run from you again.

But until that day God, hold me tight, close to you under your wings. Keep me in your presence. Help me to run to you instead of running to other things or people when I am empty. Help me to reach out to you when I’m caught yet again in a cycle of sin, when I get myself bound up in chains. 

Remind Me that I Am Free to Love

You saved me so that I could be free to worship, free to come before you. Yet, when I let my sins bind me up, I get too tied up in chasing my desires and forget who I am in you. I forget that you sacrificed so much to give me this freedom from a continual desire for something other than you. I don’t want to look for something other than you to fill me. 

Remind Me Who I Am In You

So when I look to others or things in this world to make my life complete, remind me who I am. I am a child of the King. I do not serve the things of this world. I serve a risen Savior. You conquered death and the grave. You conquered my fears and let me find the place where I know your perfect love that love casts out every fear. 

Show Me the Path You Have For Me

I know you’re leading me now. You’re showing me the next step. God, I want to step out on the water and take that step. No matter where it leads or what it may seem to cost me, I know that your ways are higher and better than mine. You see what I can’t.  So when I hear your still small voice telling me to walk in your way, help me to follow. Help me be the sheep who knows your voice and knows to trust you through it all. Help me see that I am never alone. You are always with me even until the ends of the earth. 

Thank you Jesus for the cross, for your sacrifice, for your all-consuming love for me. Holy Spirit, help me not to grieve you. I ask you to abide in me and give my prayers meaning even when I don’t have the words. Abba Father bring this child close to your love daily. Run to me with your love and never let me go.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Good God Almighty

Good God Almighty

Good morning God. I’ve already talked to you some this morning but it was before I had my coffee and I was grumpy. I wanted to feel grateful earlier, but mostly I just felt annoyed at having to wake up to my alarm. So I threw out a quick “Thank you for this day” but I didn’t really mean it. And now, I am here with you wanting my heart to be thankful, but I’m still not there.

So I am at the conclusion already this morning that I need you. I need you to help me. Help me understand how to be grateful… really deep down inside, full of heartfelt gratitude, kind of grateful. Because I do know that I have so much to thank you for. You are the Father of lights and all good gifts come from you. I know you are good, but my thoughts are still struggling to focus. Instead, I grouse in my head about being tired or having a sinus infection, as though every detail of my life should be perfect or else you are not good.

You saw how my child groused at me this morning when I told her to take a bath, even though baths are hot and soapy pure heaven on earth! So even though I may not understand why you tell me some things, I do trust that you have a reason for everything that you let happen in this life. And even though I want to understand WHY about everything, I may not be ready for the truth yet. You may be waiting to reveal something deeper by letting me go through something I don’t like.

So really, this morning I need a bath. I need you to take my heart and cleanse it so that I can see more clearly how you bless me and give me more than enough for this life. I can’t see how to be grateful on my own, but you know my heart and you know the how and why of what is keeping me back from knowing your goodness intimately this morning. I really want to be close to you, but when I’m complaining about what you haven’t given me, I am missing an opportunity to recognize who you are.

How can I really know you if I don’t really care to see the good in you? When I have a relationship with someone who only sees bad in me, it is hard to believe that they really know me deeply. So how do you feel, God, when I throw a quick and lackluster “Good Morning” up at you while harboring resentment toward you and doubting your character?

So I’m asking you to open the eyes of my heart and take my self-imposed blindness away. Let me see the good that is who you are. Let me focus on you and how you leave everything time and again to run to me when I am weak and lost. Let me see your wings that cover over me like a baby chick when I am terrified and alone. Let me focus on your love that never fails and never leaves or forsakes me. Let me breathe in deeply and thank you for this life you have given me and these moments where I see you more clearly and my heart fills with gratitude for a good God! Let me see more of YOU and less of me.

Let me wake up praising you for who you are. You are good!

Image by stokpic from Pixabay

Feeling Anxious? You are not Alone… FOR REAL.

Feeling Anxious? You are not Alone… FOR REAL.

I have anxieties and fears about so many things and I wonder how did I get this way? Was it something I did or a habit I created earlier in life? I look back at times when I was hurt by those I thought were friends and wonder if I closed off part of myself. Maybe I didn’t trust you enough to care about me, God, so I decided to think out life all by myself.

I used to be afraid of you also. For almost 20 years, I was afraid that you thought I wasn’t good enough for you, that you were sitting in judgment of me, that you would never see the good in me because you were too busy seeing all of the ways I chose the wrong things, thought the wrong things, and behaved in wrong ways.

So instead of turning TO you, I ran AWAY from you. I ran to others. I ran to success and tried to run to money. I ran to my intellect, my musicianship, my personality, my looks, my spouse, my children, my churchy friends. But all of the things and the people let me down. I let myself down. I couldn’t stop my mind from overthinking absolutely everything and I tried so hard to think everything through! I trusted my thoughts to save me from disaster, but my thoughts were not that powerful. And I was left with disasters in my life that I could not prevent. I was left with the fact that I am powerless to save myself from the struggles of this life.

And this morning I woke up thinking about all of the ways that I fail, all of the ways I have disappointed, all of the ways that I don’t measure up to the perfectionistic standards in my head. And now at 10am, I am already exhausted… of making this life about me, of looking to myself for answers that I don’t have, of telling myself all of the “shouldv’e, couldv’e, wouldv’e.” How is it that at 10am on a normal Monday, I am having enough anxiety to have trouble breathing?!

But, you say to bring you all of my worries and cares and that you will carry them for me. So I am bringing mine today. I am talking with you God and just laying it out like it is. I am running TO you this morning and I am declaring what YOU say and what YOU think.

I know that you are FOR me. You have a plan for my life and a purpose in mind. You may let me go through hard times, but you are for me, not against me. Sometimes you use REALLY difficult times to help me look up to you. When I have no one and nowhere else to turn, I am more likely to look up. So I accept that sometimes I don’t feel happy. Sometimes life is difficult and painful. Sometimes I am afraid and even anxious enough that the people around me notice. But I see now that you don’t expect me to be perfect. It’s not even possible for me as a human here and now.

But you say that I am perfect and complete in you. And you tell me that I am good enough for you because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. You tell me that all of my weaknesses and failures are hidden in your strength. You let me rest in knowing that You have a path for me and that you will lead me when I ask. You sing love over me and tell me that I am yours and that you knit me together before I was born. You have a purpose for my life and you’re helping me finish it. I am not alone with my thoughts. So I do not accept “anxious” as my label today. That’s not who I am. I see that now.

And I see the reason I was anxious all along. Overthinking causes anxiety. Overthinking does not cause peace. I was trusting in the problem (overthinking) to find the solution (peace)! No more. Today I choose to trust YOUR THOUGHTS and YOUR WAYS!! I choose not to be overwhelmed by my anxious thoughts, but instead be overwhelmed by your peace.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV


For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38 ESV


And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 ESV


Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

What is the Point?

What is the Point?

Abba, I need more faith this morning. I need to know that You are here with me and that you see me and know me and still love me. I need to know that I matter to You. And I need direction. I feel like I have no idea what I am doing here on this earth. I need Your hand to guide me and show me what I need to be doing on a daily basis. I am just super lost trying to figure this out on my own. Only You have the whole picture and know what is the best course. I only see through a glass darkly and right now that glass is really fogged up.

I get so worried about the future that I don’t know how to live in the now. It feels like my days consist of sitting and worrying and doing things that are meaningless. I want to know that I am making a difference to someone out there…that I am making a difference for you. I want to know that You think I am doing a good job. I want to feel like I am where I am supposed to be. It feels like I am just dangling over a precipice and waiting for the last terrifying moment when the string holding me breaks loose. I just feel so defeated wondering what the point is to what I spend my time on. Will you lead me? Will you send me where you want me? Right now, my life feels meaningless.

Is there a person out there who is supposed to tell me what I need to work on? Do I need a partner in my life? Do I need a boss at a job? Why do I struggle so much with keeping my life full of things that I find meaningful? Is it because I am still grieving over loss? Is it because I have a personality disorder or PTSD? Am I depressed? Am I not right in the head? Do I need to seek help from other people or is it ok to curl up in bed and just cry because I don’t have the answers? I feel like I am failing the test of life. Is life a test? I know it’s not, but there are a million things that I want to be faithful in that I am not and I don’t understand why I keep messing things up. There are a million things that I do right also, but it feels like they are a drop in a bucket.

So God, since I can’t get it right, I need You. I need Your direction, Your will, Your ability to love others, Your light to guide me, Your clarity for relationships, Your eyes of love on me, Your vision for my future, Your kindness to me, Your favor as I do the things that You guide me into, Your EVERYTHING. Whatever You have for me today….that’s what I want. I can’t do this on my own. This thing I have called life is too much for me. I need Your life in me more than I can say. I need ALL of YOU to fill ALL OF ME, because I have nothing left. I have nothing without YOU.

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

John 4:13-15

What Am I Worth?

What Am I Worth?

Abba Father, I am coming to you because you understand me like no one else. You know that I struggle with myself more than anyone else. There is just a part of me that is afraid that “What I do is never going to amount to anything, so why do I even try?” I know that this attitude is defeatist in nature and not good for me, but sometimes I am literally paralyzed with this fear and I stay in my room watching Netflix or just finding pins to put on my Pinterest boards so that I can say to myself that I am doing something worthwhile. I know that every moment doesn’t have to be productive, but I am just feeling like I don’t know what is worth something anymore. Which parts of what I do actually matter? Which matter to You? Are you pleased with me when I do almost nothing for an entire day? How far does Your ability to love me go?

I look at my kids and realize that You love me more than I love them. My love for them is not contingent upon whether they do anything. I just want them to work on whatever they love and have a passion to do because I know that doing what they love is part of living in the giftedness that you gave them. So since You are a good and perfect Father to me, you love me right where I am no matter what I am doing. Your love is not about what I do.

So today I am letting go of trying to be something other than who I am. I will live in the moment and let myself work on things that you’ve given me a desire to do! I will live in the truth that You love me just as I am and you have joy over me. And if you have joy over me, then I will have joy that you feel that way about ME!

The fact that the God who made the entire universe and keeps life in motion loves me and feels actual joy over me is beyond comprehension! How can you feel joy when you look at me? I look at me and see a self-absorbed, anxious, worried, inept, disaster who keeps hurting others and can’t seem to stop. But then I see You watching me and how Your eyes light up just because I am me! You created me so that you could enjoy knowing me. When I talk to You, You listen and You care and You are glad that I came to chat with You for a while.

And then I think about how Jesus came here to this earthly place where he lived like me and felt all of the same messy jumble of feelings that I do. And he endured those feelings of shame and humiliation and sadness and then pain like I’ve never known when He was made a human sacrifice.  All because You love me enough to do absolutely anything to have me in Your life!!

So what can I say? I will choose to see myself as whole and healed and loved and righteous. I will say of myself the things that are true. I am clean. I am held. I am blessed. I am highly favored.

I am YOURS.

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

“But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”  Isaiah 49:4
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”  Habakkuk 3:19
Daniel 10:17  “How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”