a new rhythm of rest–a choice to leave the desert place (with book giveaway!)

We are upstairs in my father-in-law’s house, in the bedroom quarters our family shares during our little house’s remodel.

We have the laptop set up on a cardboard box on top of the bedside table so we can easily see the screen. We sit side by side on chairs borrowed from the kitchen table, watching this couple’s faces over Skype. They are kind, wise, gentle. But strong. They nudge us forward intentionally, inviting us to listen carefully for Jesus’ words to our hearts.

When Justin and I gather with our mentors over Skype, they invite the four of us to listen together, asking what Jesus wants to say. For me, I hear silence. Nothing. Not a mental picture. Not a thought–no sentence or idea. But I am not distressed about this. I am not anxious.

But I must be depleted of energy, or distracted. And I tell them this. For I hesitate to ask Holy Spirit to use my imagination, like I usually do. I struggle for energy, desire, to say yes to Jesus’ invitation to be in the presence of the Father. I am not sure I want to listen to any invitation Jesus might have to make.

But I sit. Seemingly empty. In quiet.

But it is not dark here.

And I am not alone.

I wait. I let the openness of my heart be enough. It is all I have, right now, to give.

But I have a feeling my soul knows what it is Jesus is saying. So I wait. And I become aware of the barrenness surrounding me. For I am seeing now–I see myself in a gray, depleted, washed out place of no water, no green, no life.

I look up.

“I am in a desert place,” I say aloud. Read More . . .

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when you get soul bare (and a giveaway)

When she asked me if I would share the truth about myself, the story of my beginning, I knew I would have to start at the end.

It was the end of me that started it all, the choice to let pride kill a life. Two decades later and forgiveness and grace is the truth I sing.

Not death. Although that is part of the story too. Not shame. Although I carried that like an invisible shroud for years. Not silence. Although that is what prompted the belief in other lies I believed about myself too: you have no voice; you are not made to be loved; you are never enough.

There is a beautiful book my friend Cara edited and released into the world a few weeks ago. It is called Soul Bare: Stories of Redemption–a book of 31 real-life stories by women who share the things they don’t want to keep silent. Stories of the hard and the beautiful, the desperate and the good. Each story points to God, a testament to His presence in the midst of heartache, disappointment, pain.

My story is in there. It is called Cold, Dark Ground. I talk about my story with my friends over at the beautiful Mudroom. And I am giving away three autographed copies of the book, Soul Bare, too.Read more and enter the giveaway . . .

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And the Earth Cries Out, Jesus

Jesus, it is even in the cracks of moments, when hearts turn themselves over, begging for hope to cover, You come.

It is not only in the darkness that you enter, when tears leave us empty, parched. But it is in darkness too, when we are in the desert, wondering if You are close. And You are. We know it, yet we wonder still.

The earth is aching. Pain that is too much to bear. And You bear it. In the confusion and disorder. In the darkness unleashed, You are still mighty. You are justice, in the night. You are love in the hate. You are comfort in the chaos. You are peace in the mess.

Wise friends share how it is hatred that is here, a thunderous movement upon the scarred land. Hearts are calloused, but the ones who know You cry out. You hear. You are here. You do not abandon the downtrodden, the alone and desperate and afraid. Read More and pray with me . . .

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She Wants to Pray for You

On that night when the rain poured down in my little California bungalow, and I was tucked inside, so happy to be home and warm and dry, I wrote a post over at Loop’s page on Facebook, asking if Loop devotional readers would want to have a place to get to know one another, share their hearts with one another, and pray. And nearly two hundred women said yes.

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Jonah Werner’s Run, the New Album I Love {a Giveaway}

Once upon a time, there was a Colorado boy who wrote and sang and created community around the truth that we are whom Christ came to save. Jonah Werner came to know Christ through Young Life and has spent more than a decade pursuing the heart that his Father gave him, connecting other hearts to God

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The Pointed Life – Community that Points Women to God

It’s silent. I hear only my own breathing. And then my friend’s puppy presses against my bare foot – cute, clumsy paws gently brushing the thick carpet. I’m not sure what I’m listening for. The right prayer? A whisper from God to my heart? I think, actually, I’m relishing the invitation to not think any thoughts. I

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