to celebrate Breathing Eden–your way

He had me close my eyes and walk into the bedroom. “I have a gift for you. Keep your eyes closed.” I feel my way into the room, fingers extended, and then sit up on the edge of the bed.

“Keep your eyes closed. Listen to me describe it first. This is what I want to tell you.” . . .

Read More

The birth of Breathing Eden – and a giveaway!

It was my friend Judy, over coffee at Cafe Barrone, who offered the first encouragement.

We sat outside, drinking lattes from porcelain mugs. We were talking about writing and story. About the hard stuff of parenting and marriage. Of being known and messing up. Of connection and isolation. Of future dreams and gratitude for the now.

I was in the middle of writing a series on my blog called Voice: A Journey Toward Life in 31 Conversations. And Judy said it could be more than just a series on a blog.

Here is how I described Voice to my readers on my old blog page two years ago:

“I wonder if you’re a lot like me. I wonder if you’re busy, with a calendar that is filled. I wonder if you want to live a life more fully surrendered to God but are intimidated by what a life of prayer is supposed to look like—particularly, what it may look like to have regular conversations with God.

Come participate in a back and forth conversation—a woman’s prayers and heart cries to God, and His responses back, as she listens and writes them down.

In the midst of a culture of busyness and to-do lists and trying to prove oneself and get ahead, can a busy woman’s regular conversations with God—her prayers and her listening to Him—be the key to claiming the life God has always intended for her to live?”

A journey toward life. I still like how that sounds. And when my husband, Justin, a few months later, who had heard me talk about this blog series but never knew the title of it, comes into the bedroom where I sit, laptop in my lap, and tells me he was praying and says, “I feel like God impressed upon my heart something about you writing and some project called ‘Voice.’ What is that?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

It felt too good to be true. Too beautiful. . . Read More and enter the giveaway! . . .

Read More

the obstacle in the way of our freedom

We lean in closer. We need to hear it again. “You are loved. I will love you outrageously all the days of your life.”

Graham Cooke declares it. He declares it with the Voice of truth singing loud and strong: “You can only love Me as much as you love yourself. So my love comes to set you free from yourself, to set you free from how you see yourself, to set you free from the smallness of your own thinking about yourself.”

Our Father comes and frees us from the smallness of our own thinking because of the abuse, the self-contempt, the despair, the shame, the pride, the fear.

The six of us sit in a circle around the small portable speaker placed on the ottoman in the center of the room. We are hungry, searching. We are missing God. We are tired and want to lay ourselves down.

We gather, the six of us, because the lies have come again. Silently. Stealthily. They have crept in, and we didn’t even see them. But they are tangible. They are dark. We can feel them on our skin, our minds, our hearts. Read More . . .

Read More

when we feel weak and we’re running – how to believe we’re strong

“You are stronger than you know.”

She hears the words and wants to throw them back in his face. She wants to yell, spit, run.

“What do you know?” she thinks. “How can you tell me I am strong when I struggle to maintain a job, or look put together, or be the mother my kids need me to be?“

She can hardly believe the response, “What defines ‘success,’ my love?”

“I do. I define success. My success” she tells him. And then she runs. She doesn’t want to hear him anymore.

So she runs far away, as far away as she can. Deep into the place where she’s convinced she can’t be seen. The place that is deeper and further away than any physical location on a map. It is the place in her heart, deep inside her, where she tucks herself away.

“No one. Not one person can find me here,” she insists. “Not unless I want to be found.” Read More . . .

Read More

the first step to believing we are beloved

“I am unlovable.”

It’s the whisper that feels true, more true than anything else: How can I be loved, right now, like this? How can I be considered “beloved”?

Meet Aliza.

Aliza is 25 years old. Works as a barista. Struggles to believe she has what it takes to make it in a world pushing achievement, salary, perfection. Cutting is her response. Digging into her skin—with anything she can find—the answer to her pain. How can she not try to do something to wake herself up, or do better, or at least inflict self-punishment—for her failing to not deserve love?

God has something to say to her. Read More . . .

Read More

too deep for words: when we feel broken and we don’t know how to pray

Oh, God, what do I even say?

This week I wrote and recorded an audio lesson on Romans 8. I read the verses of Romans 8 over and over, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart. I wanted to dig in deep to the promises Paul shares with us. I wanted to explore how the Holy Spirit, when we don’t even know how to pray, intercedes for us. And how Jesus, at the right hand of God, communicates to our Father each word our heart longs to say.
We are being fought for, cared for, when our pain, our fear, our worries, make it difficult for us to lift our heads.

We may long for God, but we sometimes don’t know how to pray to Him. We don’t know how to articulate what is truly going on in our heart, our life. Or, we may not even recognize what barriers might exist that make it difficult for us to connect with Him. Or, we don’t even believe He is here, listening.

We need the Holy Spirit to give us words, translate our heart-needs to our Father. It is so beautiful that this is exactly what He does.

But as much as I love this truth—even though it rocks me to my core that God loves us so much that He helps us in our need, I struggled to digest this. . . . Read more and learn about the free audio lesson I created for you on Romans 8 . . .

Read More

“I am overwhelmed.” Am I okay?

The dog let out a howl in his sleep this morning at 4 a.m.

Low. Weird. Totally annoying. I awoke, startled, but fell back to sleep, dreaming that our oldest, who just started high school, was attending my university alma mater’s rival school across town. No, he can’t go to school there!

We are living in a cozy space this fall, displaced from our home due to a house remodel. The kids are in three different schools for the first time. There is a lot of driving now, meetings with contractors, trying to not get overwhelmed by a book launch. Oh, and Justin and I are working on another writing project together, too.

In the evenings, with our family crowded into a single room, we watch the Olympics, the TV blaring too late into the night. There have been a few nights, when I have had deadlines, that I have had to crawl into the bedroom closet, across from the bathroom, and write. Earbuds in my ears, cranking up music by Jonathan David Helser or Lauren Daigle.

This album is on repeat when I write now.

Crazy? Good? Too full, God? Can you help me keep my eyes on You? Read more . . .

Read More

Join the Launch Team and Declare With Me #IAmBreathingEden

I am breathing Eden. Let’s declare this together, shall we?

I think this is the best hashtag ever. (Okay, I admit: I am totally not impartial.)

Throughout the summer, you’ve heard me share about the release, on October 4, of my new book Breathing Eden: Conversations With God On Light, Fresh Air, and New Things via Zeal Books. You know how I believe this book can help women, in their unique life situation, hear God’s response to specific, real-life prayers.

I want everyone who needs this book to know about it. And I would love your help.

Join the Breathing Eden book launch team!

As a member of the team you will get an advance review copy of the book (via mail to US residents), access to a private Facebook group with our team and much more. Read More and learn how to join! . . .

Read More