Breakthrough of Bravery

As confusing and messed up it is that some Canadians have left to go fight overseas for ISIS, it is because they have a (misplaced) desire to be brave and to fight for a cause.

How dangerous it is to be sucked in by the other side.

Something about this year is requiring us to muster up all the courage within us. Everywhere I turn people are talking about bravery.

And while my life my not look like it requires a ton of bravery – I don’t daily ward off terrorists or give international prophetic words – I long to be brave.

Where fear has kept me hidden in the past, I feel just below the surface of breakthrough.

All of a sudden every time I close my eyes I see this roaring lioness, sprinting across the plains, with great courage, agility and grace.

I wake each morning, and hear the Lord call me “brave lioness”.

So I have chosen to practice bravery. There are things on my heart for this year, that will take courage, and instead of waiting until the last second, I feel like I’m to jump in with both feet.

I’ve been rapidly crossing off “the braves” this January, and oh what freedom that is bringing to my soul.

Andrew and I took three kids swimming, even though being outnumbered by kids in water terrified me. It ended up being harder than I had thought, it was a wave pool!10945397_10155084215690431_782178886066163822_n

Once Amayah stopped her panic screaming, I laughed inside that I was being stretched in this area of fear for my kids.

Andrew and I have had it on our hearts to speak together, to tag team preach on some subjects that we’re both really passionate about.

The opportunity arose, and we almost settled for not being brave. The night before we almost changed the plan back to within our comfort zone.

But then we didn’t. Oh the breakthrough that comes when you’re brave. pre preach selfie

(blurry pre-preach selfie)

There are many more things this year that are going to take bravery. Scary things.

The Lord has asked me to record prophetic worship, to keep writing, to my more open with my stuggles, and to be genuine in my love toward people.

He’s asked me to wake up at 6 a.m. every morning to get time just with him and to be more clear minded with my kids (I always feel brutal when they haul me out of bed). 10801991_10155079828340431_1865938019883008118_n

I have to realistically looking at my post-three babies body and how I will meet my fitness goals to maintain my ability to run hard after my kids, and after what the Lord has asked me to do.

Brave – ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.

Brave – Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

Now you, lionhearted one, will you join me in the quest for bravery in 2015?

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The Shame Game

“That there is why I don’t ever want to have my own kids.”

That statement came from a onlooking cell phone kiosk operator at the mall on Friday, as my husband carried our screaming almost four year old out, with our baby on his other arm in the car seat.

Hearing that comment made me fume a little more. That guy had no idea why Caleb had melted down that bad.

We had just been in a little store where I had told Caleb that we weren’t going to buy what he wanted to buy. The cashier proceeded to pull out a container of suckers.

His eyes got wide and reached out to take the whole container (holding probably fifty candies).

Laughter broke out from all four people working behind the counter.

“Oh no, just take one!” The lady laughed.

Then I saw it sweep across his face.

Shame.

Embarrassment.

Total humiliation.

He fell to my feet and curled up in a tiny ball and started to cry. I knew this was not going to end well.

I tried to get out of the store quietly, containing the meltdown but things started escalating fast.

He could not deal with this emotion. The shame, embarrassment and humiliation was over taking his whole body.

He genuinely thought that he had been offered all those suckers.

Then he exploded. It was just a race to get out of the mall, passed the condescending phone kiosks and to the van without us melting down from embarrassment too.

Until things spiralled to complete hysteria, I really felt bad for my son.

I know that feeling of shame and embarrassment. It can be almost crippling. To do or say the wrong thing can be paralyzing.

In high school I experienced it so much, feeling like I never knew exactly what to say or how to respond to certain comments. Sometimes I was so embarrassed.

My confidence grew significantly the more I learned what God’s heart was toward me. That he wasn’t mad at me. That he wasn’t disappointed with me.

The more I was concerned about my relationship with the Lord, the less I felt embarrassment in situations where I felt like I didn’t know how to respond properly.

Psalm 34:5 says

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

During this developmental stage of experiencing these confusing emotions, I hope I can help my son turn to the Lord for his identity and not be crippled by embarrassment when he messes up.

Don’t let guilt and shame hold you back from making the changes in your life that you need to. The Lord promises us that as we turn to him for help, we can trade our downcast faces of shame for hearts full of bright and radiant joy. 10407478_10154967846915431_1188958141941374220_n

The one area I’m not looking to be frugal.

A prostitute poured out a years wages on a man’s feet.

This was a lavish display of love and affection, toward someone who might very well reject her.

This man was Jesus, and this woman offered everything she had to him in what appeared to be an almost unnecessarily wasteful way: anointing him with extravagant perfume.

“The money should have been given to the poor.” one man said.

But Jesus defended her and said:

“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

Lavish, extravagant, reckless love from a woman who knows the grace of God all too well.

In my husband’s message this last week at church, he asked something that has haunted me all week.

“Are you building your life with no expense spared?”.

The material we use for our life, are they righteous things that will stand the test of time?

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 talks about what we build on our foundation of Jesus Christ.

Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

Is your life a lavish display of love for the Lord?

Like a storm-tossed ship, these questions have been going around in my mind since Sunday.

What does this lavish love life look like?

This week it looked like leaving my kitchen messier longer than I wanted in order to spend time with someone who needed my time.

It looked like confession, apologies, tears, late nights, early mornings, baring my soul when I didn’t want to and pushing my body beyond what I thought it could do.

And there were other ways it should have looked like, that I didn’t follow through on. Times when I cheaped out and built with hay or straw. Situations where I took the easy way out.

I don’t say that to sound discouraged or hard on myself, but the reality is we have one life. One allotment of days to work with, and once it’s gone, the impact that I have made on the world has finished.

Then I get to be in the eternal rest of heaven.

This year lavish love looks like the bravery of a lion. Confronting my fears, lack of self-control and my security blankets. Lioness-17

It’s about responding to the call to pour out my life as simply a beautiful fragrance to the Lord.

It looks like a renewed call to holiness. It’s saying yes to loving God greatly, deeply and passionately, and saying no to the things that breed apathy in my life.

It looks like intentionality with my kids, my husband, my friendships, my ministry, my writing and my worship.

I’m recommitting to building with beautiful materials, will you join me? Courage is required.

 

The word I said I’d never say.

I wish I hadn’t said it. I don’t think I really meant to. It just kind of slipped out in a moment of intense frustration.

I had vowed to my husband that I wouldn’t be “one of those moms” who calls their kids terrible names or negatively labels them.

Especially the word brat. Who would say that kind of thing about their own child they gave life to?

That was before I had the blessing of a three and one year old (and a baby, but honestly, he’s the easy one right now.)

Well last week my kids were having a full-out brawl like has been our norm lately, and I hear my son start screaming at his sister:

“Get away from me brat! You’re just a brat child!”

Amayah’s eyes were big and wet, her heart was broken.

I felt sick. This was a mirror for me. Although I hadn’t said it quite like this, he knew this was the most deeply cutting thing he could say to her.

No one else in this house had ever said that word before except me.

And now it was spewing angrily from his mouth toward his sister.

If there is one thing I try to consistently practice in the failures of my parenting, it is to always apologize to my kids when I’m wrong.

I don’t want them to ever think that I believe I’m always right and I never make mistakes.

Crying, I held him while he was cooling down, and I said I am so sorry mommy said the word brat toward you guys. It’s a yucky word isn’t it? Did that make you feel sad? Well it’s making your sister sad too. Let’s both say that we won’t use that word that makes us feel sad and yucky.

He melted into me and said he wouldn’t say it again, and I felt a little better.

It’s always a reality check when you hear something come from a kid’s mouth. It sort of stops you in your tracks and makes you ask “where’d they get that from?”.

If it’s a sweet, cute or positive thing, I know I want to chalk it up to my great parenting skills.

And if it’s sad, hurtful, or degrading…well they probably got it from dad!

Just kidding.

The power of our words is a lesson I will keep on learning until I die. The voice inside me keeps saying “speak life, speak life, speak life.”

“Brat” has now become one of those reminder words that my kids spirits are so sensitive to what I speak over them.

I want my voice to be the loudest encourager they hear.

Gentle words are a tree of life;
    a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 15:4

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(My goof balls making silly faces all dressed for church.)

Your day is your week is your month is your year.

As I was reading through Michael Hyatt‘s ebook “Your Best Year Ever – The 8 Strategies Super-Successful High Achievers Use to Prepare for the New Year”, I came across a jaw dropping quote.

This quote literally changed how I view the start of each day.

Today I woke up completely exhausted. All three kids had been up in the night, I had fed Eli more than my body was used to, and my muscles were sore from a very busy day before.

This quote made me do 100 jumping jacks to wake myself up and get the blood flowing through my veins. I would not waste today regardless of my physical feelings (it’s not like I could go back to bed anyway)!

Are you ready for it?

“My great years are built on keeping a bigger mission in front of me, but looking at my daily actions as the ‘molecules’ of that mission. Your day is your week is your month is your year. Best years come from best efforts performed daily.” – Chris Brogan

Is that just profound to me?

This is not about perfectionism, working too hard or not allowing yourself to rest.

For me, this was a new look at the verse in Lamentations 3:23 that says

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

The day wears you out, and the new day begins and there is the Lord standing there waiting for you with everything you need.

When we can accept and receive that grace and mercy, that’s when we can have incredible days, terrific weeks, exciting months and world-changing years.

I know what I’m called to. Sometimes it feels daunting and I ask the Lord how he expects me to conquer my mountain.

It’s as simple as starting every day over with him. The call of God on my life is just that – the call of GOD. Surrendering my new day to him all over again is the first step to a great week of seeing HIS plans and purposes fulfilled on this earth.

And when I feel like I mess up? (Which honestly right now feels like every evening as I look back on my day.)

The hardest part of messing up is not listening to the devil telling me that my failures disqualify me from waking up to new mercy tomorrow.

Thankfully I know the truth, and the truth can set me free every single day.

My day is my week, is my month is my year. And this is my year for changing the world.10881832_10154952564395431_7354897400945754396_n