20,000 Words

Did you know that the average woman speaks about 20,000 words a day? (Not a scientific statistic.)  Well they clearly have never met Livi.  She most definitely speaks minimum 40,000 a day!!  But, if we’re being truly honest, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  One of the things on my “must work on myself in this area” list is to be quiet more, i.e. shut up Lindsay.  Writing doesn’t count does it!? *Insert winking smiley face here*

It’s funny how we are each communicating all day long.  Sometimes on social media, sometimes over email, other times in our own head, and even more often verbally.  We often hear about reflective listening skills and it’s importance in the transmittal and receipt of communication.  When someone is expressing something to you, you demonstrate active listening by stating “What I heard you say is [blank].”  We also know that before we fire back with our first instinctive response we take a deep breath, process the information we just received, and then craft a response from a place of grace-giving love rather than hurt-filled anger.

What we sometimes forget to realize is we are constantly transmitting communication with our Savior as well.  When we are too busy to have our quiet time.  When we cuss at the driver that just cut us off.  When we go to bed and realize we completely forgot to pray all day.  Or even when we look in the mirror and all we see is flaws and imperfections.  All of it is communicating loud and clear to our Lord and Savior.

What are you communicating to God today?  How are you communicating with God?  We are all broken messes, and we will forever have areas in which we can improve.  God loves you, he loves me, and he wants us to live in the freedom that the saving grace of Jesus Christ brings.  In a relationship with Christ, we can be messy and be forgiven.  We can know the true meaning of unconditional love.  Take this grace, take this freedom, and run with it my friend.  Love others, love yourself and most of all, love Christ.

Ephesians 6:18 – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

James 5:13 – Is anyone among you in trouble?  Let them pray.  Is anyone happy?  Let them sing songs of praise.

Jeremiah 29:12 – Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Psalm 17:6 – I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.

Breaking Your Chains

I used to live life in heavy chains of guilt and shame.  I remember one day in particular.  Addy and I went to McDonalds after getting her dad’s drug test results.  She was 18 months old and had no clue what was going on, other than she got to play and eat ice-cream.  I, on the other hand, needed a public place so that I could breathe and make sure I wouldn’t fall apart in front of her.

I remember feeling so lost that day.  I was a believer, I had recommitted my life to Christ, yet I felt such overwhelming crushing bondage.  The Bible teaches that we have freedom in Christ, so why did I feel such death upon my life?

Satan whispers in our ears that we are alone in our shame, alone in our grief, alone in our guilt.  There couldn’t be anything further from the truth.  Look around at the people in your life.  They each have a story.  It’s probably a juicy, drama-filled story that you’d never believe in a million years.  It is also through those stories that Christ’s glory shines the most.

The recognition of guilt and shame is the first step.  Turn that feeling, that emotion, over to God.  Pray over your shame.  Pray over your guilt and grief.  Fully give them over to God from your heart.  Take them off your “I feel” list and put them on God’s “I redeemed” list.  Then each time the thought of you being ‘less than’ (shame, fear, guilt) arises, instantly call it out, stop it dead in its tracks, and turn it over to God.

Christ has already conquered Satan by Jesus’ death and resurrection, don’t give him any ground in your life.  Call a spade a spade, call a lie a lie.  You are loved, redeemed, delighted in, rejoiced over, precious and honored.  You are my brother and sister in Christ and I am honored to do messy life with you.

**Note: Great resource that was incredibly impactful for me going through guilt and shame from my divorce was Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler.  Here is a link to the book (you can also get used ones for around $4) and his videos are free on YouTube.  It is such an incredible life changing study.  Everyone needs to do it.  I’m currently completing it for the 3rd time. 🙂

Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 8:1 – There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 43:25 – I, I am the one who blots out your transgression for my own sake, and I’ll remember your sins no more.

Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the devil.

James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Confession Is Good For the Soul

So, true confession, I am not a writer.  This whole blogging thing is not my thing!  It is completely not within my comfort zone, nor is it in the top ten “Lindsay attributes” list either.  That being said, I always, and I mean always, pray before sitting down to blog.  This blog is for God’s glory, not my own, and therefore it’s my hearts desire to allow Him to lead my heart and my fingers.

More often than I’d like to admit, I’m not sure how to start my prayer time with him, though.  Usually my brain is still churning on the events of the day and not ready to settle down into God’s word.  I try to imagine kneeling before him, hands open, head bowed, submitting to his will.  Sometimes that imagery is the catalyst to the beginning of our quiet time together, and sometimes I still feel distant and alone.

One day mom and I were out running errands together (I was 4ish years old), and I committed theft.  We were at Michael’s and while standing in line I started playing with some small suction cups.  Totally random, I know, but I was fascinated by them.  They were the size of a quarter, clear, bendy, and fun to play with.  Mom wouldn’t let me have them, though, and I really wanted them.  My fingers NEEDED them.  So I did what any child would do when their mom told them “no” and to instead of putting them back on the shelf, I stuck them down my pants.

Later that day, mom was assisting me in the restroom and, as I pulled down my pants, out fell the suction cups.  There was no hiding it, they fell out right in front of her.  She knew exactly what I had done.  She knew I had stolen them after she told me no.  Needless to say that was the longest, most quietest, ride back to Michael’s that she and I ever had.  There was a chasm in our relationship that couldn’t be bridged until repentance took place.

Mom drove me back to Michael’s where I had to hand over the suction cups to the employee on duty and confess my crime.  I was sure that they’d handcuff me right then and there.  I was ashamed and embarrassed.  The employee accepted my apology, permitted me to put the suction cups back on the shelf, and leave the store with my mom (no jail time!).  The ride home wasn’t as silent as the ride there; Mom and I started our repair.

If you’re having trouble praying today, try confessing your sins.  Confess to the sin of putting self first, greed of finances, gluttony of food, anger towards others and lack of love in general.  As your sin pours out, God’s love pours in.  Thank you God for filling my ugly heart with your everlasting love and grace.

Psalm 32:5 – Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”  And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Proverbs 28:13 – Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Psalm 69:5 – O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

James 4:7-10 – Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep.  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

For The Love of Projects

Do you ever get so engrossed in a project that you lose track of time?   You know those times where you plan to spend thirty minutes clearing out a closet, but then an hour later you are finally done?  Or when you plan to spend an hour in the pool but get so caught up getting the leaves out (and floating) that two hours pass by?  Painting projects with the kids is another area where we get so immersed in the painting, and glitter, and gem stones, and all that kind of stuff, that hours go by without us even realizing.

Doesn’t it seem interesting that we can get engrossed in all kinds of stuff that feels good, or seems important to us, but yet when we sit down to read the Bible it feels like work?  Do you remember the last time you got so engrossed in your quiet time with God that you didn’t realize what time it was?  Me neither. 

Pray.  Pray to God that our love for Him would increase beyond measure.  Pray that He would help us to have a relationship with Him where we hunger and thirst for Him more.  Pray that He would be made great through our learning of his goodness and grace.  Pray that He would enable us to seek after Him with all our hearts and be so engrossed in our relationship with Him that everything else would fade to the background. 

Get engrossed with God to the point that your relationship with Him is your whole life, and life is the little stuff you do in between. 

1 Thessalonians 3:12 – May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.

Philippians 1:9 – And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment.

Psalm 33:11-13 – But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chooses for his inheritance.  From heaven the Lord looks down and  sees all mankind.

2 Timothy 4:22 – The Lord be with your spirit.  Grace be with you.

Suppositories Are Never Good

I’ve promised to be a real life, speak-it-like-it-is, messy blog.  This one may take the cake and take “messy” to a whole new level, though.

Suppositories are awful.  They are never a good thing.  Maybe the end result of using one is good, but the actual experience is terrible.  When Livi was little she had awful GI issues for months.  We spent hours in the doctor’s offices getting x-rays, blood work, medications, you name it, all just to try and help her get some relief.  Expect Joy Monday night ladies Bible study group was praying for poop (yes we actually prayed for poop) for months.  The prayers and the medical treatments worked and, after a while, Livi was back to normal on her GI functions.

It made me think, though.  What stuff is making us constipated in life?  When we are focused on Christ (and what joy we can experience by following His will), we have balance.  When we lose sight of God’s will, or choose our way over His way, we start to get constipated by the world.  Sometimes we have small hurdles in life that jolt us back to clean living.  Other times we have painful life lessons that bring us to our knees in reliance and submission to God’s will.

My current work schedule is my culprit.  We had some changes at the office a few months ago and the trickle-down effects mean I’m no longer balanced in life the way I once was.  I’m more heavy on work than I am on kids, family, house, God or myself.  I’m constipated by work and the only way to clear it out is by doing something intentionally and strategically to break up the dysfunctional routine and enable the body to form a new rhythm of life.

Spending time in God’s word is the best place to start.  Ask God to reveal the areas that are blocking you from having a joy-filled relationship with Him.  Spend time praying specifically for God to show you His will for your life at its present stage.  Pray for Him to show what your balance should be.  God created the body and He created us.  He knows exactly what we need to function smoothly.  Pray that He strengthen you to follow Him.

Jeremiah 10:23 – I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.

1 Corinthians 6:19 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

1 Corinthians 3:16 – Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

That Certain Moment

The coolest thing happened a couple of weeks ago.  I was feeling discouraged and started to doubt God’s calling in my life.  (No, that’s not the cool part).  It can be frustrating to wake up every day with a burning need to share Christ with others yet, when you do, there’s no response or worse, a negative response.  How can God call you to share, and share openly, yet you get rejected time and time again?

It had been a few days in a row without God’s affirmation of my calling, and I started doubting.  It is so selfish to think if God doesn’t affirm His call each and every day then I will doubt and rebel against him.  (You can pray for me on this!)  On day three with no encouragement or sign of impact I started to pray “God, did I misunderstand you?” and “God, why am I even doing this, what is the point?”  Selfish prayers.  I should have felt blessed just to have been called.  That’s when I got the message.

Within two minutes of praying out my discouragement to God, a friend went online and gave me public encouragement.  Not just encouragement but specific words that ministered to exactly what I had just prayed for.  She probably doesn’t know it but in that certain moment she was the hands and feet of Jesus.  She took less than 30 seconds of her time and changed my life forever.  Her words of encouragement would give me hope for a day.  Her words directly from God, showing me that He is listening to my prayers and listening to the outpouring of my heart, will last me a lifetime.

The next time you feel that tugging on your heart for someone, stop and take 30 seconds to reach out.  Text them, Facebook them, tweet, snap, whatever method God puts on your heart, but DO IT.  You never know when those few seconds and few words will be their answer to prayer.  You never know when the words you share are the words that they just prayed to hear.  You never know when your prayers for them will be the prayers they needed but hadn’t yet shared about.  When you stop and act in response to the tugging of your heart, you will be serving as the hands and feet of Jesus.

To my friend and sister who encouraged me, thank you for saying YES to God.  To my friends reading this, say YES to God today.

James 4:8 – Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time.  Quit dabbling in sin.  Purify your inner life.  Quit playing the field.

Psalm 32:8 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Psalm 40:8 – I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.

Psalm 18:30 – As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.

Can You Let God Know?

Do you ever hold back from God?  Like you’re praying one set of words while in the back of your mind thinking another?  Or maybe you don’t pray because you don’t want to have to talk to God about it?  Sometimes being afraid to tell God because you know in your gut if you tell him about it he’s going to do something about it, and that’s totally not what you want?

Recently I was writing an email on my phone.  No clue what it was about but my brain was telling my fingers to type “can you let the client know” however my fingers actually typed “can you let the God know.”  Its funny how a few small words make you stop and think.  Can I, Lindsay, let God know?  Can I honestly stop right here right now and tell God about it?  If we’re going to be honest, maybe the answer is no, sometimes I don’t feel like I can.  I’d love to say “yes, I always turn everything over to God right away” but that’s not the honest truth.  I want to be in control.  I want to know how I feel about it before I let someone else take the situation away from me.  I want to appear to be good and righteous, not broken and sinful.

Those few small words, that small little one word typo, changed my day; changed my week.  That one small action allowed God to break through in my heart and reveal an area that I needed to grow in.  An area that I needed to turn over to Him, to surrender to Him.

Today I want to challenge you, can you let God know?  Do you let him in to those scary, lonely places in your heart?  Look for Him in the small ways and in the small moments today.  Let God in, let Him take the lead.  The love and mercy that you receive will change not only you but those around you.

John 11:13-15 – Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins – even those you do in secret.  Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.

James 4:10 – Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Psalms 51:1 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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