Dream a little Dream

I was recently asked by my friend Abby to be her writing mentor as she’s in the process of writing a family-focused small group curriculum for I am Second as part of her internship at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Last night, over tea at Starbucks, we had our first meeting to talk about writing. It was exciting to dream about what her curriculum could like before it’s even fleshed out on paper. But it was more exciting to dream about something that has great potential to impact a lot of people.

I left our meeting encouraged and excited for Abby’s project. And I was reminded that I am definitely a dreamer. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t dream about something that is sparked in my thoughts, something from music, a movie, conversation, God’s word, or a book. I believe God gives us dreams for a reason. I believe he plants certain desires within us and that some of those desires we will never escape because they are directly from Him.

I think it’s also natural to get frustrated when we don’t see those dreams come to fruition, but yet we still believe that some day they will happen. We believe that God wants to do something in us that is much greater than ourselves.

My prayer is that Abby’s dreams for this curriculum will be fulfilled above and beyond what she imagines.

Do you consider yourself a dreamer? Or have any specific dreams? If you go first, I’ll tell you  some of mine.

Life is in Creating

This post has been inspired by one of my new favorite blogs: History in the Making with Ben Arment. Ben’s passion for the church and for creativity leaks all over his blog. It’s awesome.

Yesterday he wrote about how creating is worth all the potential consequences. He lists what those consequences might be and says to not create is simply…

the greatest tragedy.

This struck such a chord with me because all my life, all I’ve wanted to do was create. Whether it was through creating a photo book for my family for Christmas, an imaginary story while playing dolls or building forts with my friends, a short story in creative writing class, a scrapbook, photos in the darkroom, a non-fiction article from scratch… the list goes on.

For me to not create would be impossible because it’s part of who I am. It’s how God has designed and wired me. And this desire to create doesn’t make me better than someone who doesn’t particularly love to “create” or would say that being creative isn’t one of his or her gifts. It’s all about how God is best glorified through us, whether that’s working with numbers, performing surgeries, or writing scripts.

In a sense though, we all have the ability to create something. We’re made in the image of God, the Creator.

I don’t know if I’ve come to the place yet where I’m willing to risk it all though. I have a huge desire to craft a book proposal, but I wonder if it’s worth creating even if it gets rejected a thousand times. Is it worth writing if I have to rewrite it or if it never sees the light of day?

For some reason I think God would say yes. It’s just up to me to dive in and risk.

What about you… Can you live without creating? What are you currently creating or hoping to create in the future?

Latest article on Permission to Speak Freely

Anne Jackson has a book releasing in 2010 called Permission to Speak Freely: Essays & Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace. We’ve been in touch here and there since we had lunch together at the RightNow conference.

Recently, Anne asked if she could publish my article An Uptown Confession (originally published on Ungrind.org) on the blog of her book.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the story (over there), and explore a little bit about her upcoming book and wildly popular blog Flowerdust.net. You can check it all out here.

I think you’ll be glad you did.

Article: An Uptown Confession

6a00e0099410db88330120a5d95c8c970b-800wiMy article, An Uptown Confession, was published yesterday on Ungrind. Here’s a little “scoop” into the article:

I made a pretty “I have it all together” appearance a lot like my pristine surroundings that night. But I neglected to reveal any kind of imperfections on the inside. Like a plastic promise, I pretended to be what I was not.

In the last few years, my view of confession and what it means to be authentic has been transformed into a “wholly biblical” one and it’s been life changing.

Confessing our sin aids in healing the tattered and broken pieces inside us. They are the places God knows about and is helping us through, but also the areas that others need to know too.

Confessing our sin to one another helps us see we were created for community and relationships. We were created to embrace confession as a lifestyle.

Remembering, considering, and confessing sin is not an easy task. It requires humbling myself to walk backstage for a behind-the-scenes look into the dressing room of my soul — where there is no make-up or fancy dress to hide my shame, flaws, and insecurities. Even though it can be so bitter at first, in the end it is so sweet. It’s a “detergent for the soul” as the famous theologian Jonathan Edwards once said.

How has confessing your sins healed you and other relationships? What do you fear most about others taking a behind-the-scenes look into who you really are?

How Pride Kills Prayer

Untitled-1In thinking further on yesterday’s post If God is sovereign, why pray? I thought about a few more things when it comes to prayer inspired from Matt Chandler’s message The Art of Prayer.

I’ve heard lots of sermons preached that have given me a step by step outline on how to pray that include acronyms to follow and certain disciplines to have a better prayer life. I’m not saying they aren’t effective or that I haven’t used them- some of them have really helped me stay disciplined. But most of the time my prayer issues are not because of the how-to’s but deal more with the state of my heart.

Pride says, “I’ve got it figured out. I can handle it all on my own. When I really need God, that’s when I’ll start leaning on him…” These are the kind of control issues I have to battle.

And the reality is that pride kills prayer, making me useless in building God’s kingdom and being about his work. Pride is dealt with when I confess. Repent. Humble myself. Beg for a changed heart. Ask God to help me with any guilt or shame I might feel that would keep me from coming to him.

I love how Hebrews says to approach the throne of grace. It’s all about grace. Jesus gives us grace and mercy to help us in our time of need because he’s been there. He can sympathize with our struggles and pain because he was tempted in every way, but was without sin. He knows we need grace and mercy- we are just so weak without him. There is nothing that he doesn’t understand.

He wants to take my pride and replace it with something greater. He wants a heart that is humble. Humility is what breathes life back into prayer again. And I know it’s something I have to pray for every day.

Has pride ever effected your prayers? How so? Why do you think it’s so hard sometimes to have a humble heart?

If God is Sovereign, Why Pray?

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Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights.

Every night we put our son John down for bed, Jeremiah and I pray that he will come to know the Lord at an early age. We think about the responsibility that’s on our shoulders to raise him in a loving home, display a loving marriage, teach him God’s word, live a life that does not say “do as I say, not as I do…” And to do this by leaning on God’s grace and not our human effort.

A truth that we acknowledge is that we can’t force John to love God in the future. That’s a decision he must come to on his own. We also know that God is sovereign over his life. And sometimes it’s easy to say well, “Why pray for his salvation if God already knows?”

As you know, a question like this is a great debate in lots of hearts today. And it often keeps us from approaching God or even giving him the time of day.

I was encouraged to hear Matt Chandler hit on the topic of prayer yesterday. A few points he made out of Scripture have given me great hope today.

We know that God listens to his people and has changed his mind based on a request (Moses in Exodus). We know in Luke that we’re to ask, and it will be given to us. To seek and we will find.

But what we miss out on is the act of praying in faith.

Having the faith that he will do what we ask because we’re seeking him. Having faith to lean on his grace for every moment in our lives. We pray in faith because we’ve been commanded to and prayer is really for us, more than it is for God. It changes us and it’s about participating in what He is doing.

As Jeremiah and I continue to pray for John’s salvation, we’re praying in faith that God will answer our prayers. As imperfect parents, we’re trusting that God will use us as his  tool to help lead John to the cross.

When we believe that God will do something, I think that changes everything and gives us great hope in his future grace.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).

What are you praying for today, hoping that God will answer? Do you have the faith that He will do it?

Archives Page for You

WordPress just announced their new code for Archives so I’ve added a page on my blog above for you to browse through any past content you’d like. Unfortunately they don’t have a categories section yet. I’m sitting at 131 posts over a span of about two years. That basically means that I’ve just now starting blogging consistently.

My confession? I’m naturally lazy at blogging. I don’t mind writing in my personal journal or for magazines, books, or of course anything that’s asked of me at work. I think I’m deadline driven and that’s the issue. But I have to say I’m enjoying it the more I do it. My greatest struggle is wondering what you appreciate content wise. What will speak to you? What will provide depth for you, and not fluff? What will help you grow and get a greater glimpse of God’s love for you?

The answer is probably that I just need to be who I am. Write what I’m passionate about and write about what God is doing in my life. And not try to be another great blogger out there who can boast a ridiculous amount of stats and comments.

So… grab a mug of coffee or tea and enjoy the archives. Comment as you feel led. The best is yet to come my reader friend…

Article: Vulnerable & Unashamed

courtesy of Ungrind.org


I was reading an article on Ungrind the other day that I’ve fallen in love with. It’s called Vulnerable and Unashamed by Christin Taylor. I was immediately drawn by her writing style, use of metaphors, the pictures she paints with words, and her authenticity.

Many of us have experienced moving to different cities, finding new friendships, and the whirlwind adjustments that go with that. Some of us struggle to allow other women into our souls for the fear of being wounded, rejected, or just “known.” We’d rather let them skim the surface. But God didn’t create us for shallow women friendships- He wants us to be known into the depths- scars, bruises, insecurities and all.

Here are a few sneak peaks into Christin’s article:

Movies and love songs croon about a desire to be seen and accepted by the men in our lives, but here is a deep down truth, a hidden knowing: husbands, boyfriends, and babies cannot satisfy the extents of our relational needs. Women’s hearts are vast and we need the love, the friendship, the intimacy of other women.

I’ve been so busy trying to keep myself from the pain of making new friends, the pain of loosing old ones that I’ve neglected to see the power of that pain. Maybe I’m supposed to let these relationships peel away the dead skin on my heart. Perhaps I’ve gotten too comfortable, been too self-absorbed, and the burn of vulnerability does a scrubbing work on my soul. I go in tan, I come out bright pink.

In order to engage in the intimacy of women friendships it means letting each other close to the fleshy part of our hearts, and that means sometimes getting snagged.

Check it out on Ungrind!

Who He is- what i’m not

Lately, I’ve been realizing just how much I don’t care to be known in the world. (Don’t worry this won’t be a depressing post.)  Don’t get me wrong– it would be really amazing to be on TV or have my name written across a book (especially because I want to author my own book one day) or to be rich and famous. But I’m guessing that somewhere down the road, I would end up empty. So while I know my flesh desires those things here and there, I can honestly say in my spirit that I just don’t care.

What I do care though is about making Jesus famous. It’s a worn out cliche among the Christian bubble, but what it really means is desiring to reflect who Christ is in all of life. It’s no easy task to figure out exactly who He is, but He’s given us His Word to help guide us.

In the Bible, I see how beautiful, perfect, loving, tender, merciful, gracious, and faithful He is. I see his humility in the way he dealt with people. How he not only healed the sick and the blind, but cut to the core of a person’s heart. I see how he rebuked pompous religious leaders and people in his day who were self-righteous. I see how much pain he endured on the cross to save us. I most importantly see His love for all people and how he met them right where they’re at.

Jesus’ life also wasn’t about making a name for himself, but for his Father. He didn’t manipulate people to get what He wanted. He wasn’t concerned about the affairs of this world, but about doing God’s will. I’m so challenged by his life that sometimes it’s overwhelming. I’m so messed up (most of the time).  I struggle with attitude. I struggle with pride. My thoughts aren’t always pure. I don’t always love people. I often want my way only. All in all, I simply love me. It’s a total tragedy.

But I wasn’t created to make myself glorious. No one stands in front of the Grand Canyon and says, Wow. I’m so beautiful.

I was created to make God glorious.

I think that when we truly grasp what we are not, and what Christ is, that we fall on our knees in humility and wonder why in the world we keep trying so hard. We let him take the reins and work through us. I think that’s what He was getting at when he said:

I am the vine. You are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

Susan, Max Lucado and Publishing

booksToday I had the opportunity to meet with Susan Ligon- she works alongside Max Lucado not as his literary agent but in the area of marketing and consulting the Max Lucado brand. She’s been involved in publishing for more than 10 years and helps make many of the decisions in what Max will or will not commit to in his publishing and writing career. Before our meeting, she got a text message from him as he’s in Ethiopia with Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson and a few others big names with World Vision. Max went there to experience what’s happening there with World Vision and for research on his upcoming book. Really exciting stuff.

Anyhow, the purpose of Susan and I meeting was to ask advice on a few things regarding publishing and writing and my ideas for an upcoming book for young women. She was extremely encouraging and really passed some wisdom on to me. She suggested that I start little by little with the book proposal, while also realizing I’m a new mom and need to focus on my marriage. It would be difficult to work on a proposal every night without something suffering. I figured if I worked little by little on it for the next  6-8 months that would be realistic. She encouraged me to then start sending it to agents and they will help in the process of getting it to publishers.  

Publishing is such a crazy world right now. Sales aren’t where they need to be and it’s pretty difficult to get a manuscript in to the hands of a publisher who will give it time. Publishers invest a lot of money in you as the author and in your book so they are taking a great risk. I had read this before, but it was good to hear it from Susan who’s fully immersed in that world.

She was also encouraging when it comes to who I’m writing for. She said to write as if I’m writing directly to my girlfriends (since that’s the primary audience for my potential book). And to let who I am just pour out on the pages.

While I know publishing my own book in the next few years may or may not happen, she was encouraging that other opportunities may come up in the mean time and she mentioned a potential one I could potentially be a part of so we’ll see what happens. My honest heart’s desire is to be faithful where I’m at and to use my gifts however God wants.

Towards the end of our time she said something that has stuck with me all day. She said in our culture we’re told we can have whatever we want, when we want it and it’s true. But it doesn’t mean we need to have it right away. We may need to wait for it and have it later. In a better season.

Nonetheless, I was really honored to have met with her and hear more about her work with Max and to hear from someone I truly respect.

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