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! . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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! . . .

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when you are lost and you need God’s response

“I am lost,” is what she says. But she is stronger than she knows.

She is beautiful but doesn’t believe it yet. Rather, she is convinced of a lie: there is no hope for her; she can never be found.

Who would look for her? Who would come for the daughter who flounders, doubting her role, her purpose? How can she find her way?

Who will hear the questions she whispers in the night?

I am restless, God. How do I get more of You?

Where are You when it is eight o’clock and my patience is gone and I’m wondering how to keep loving people while feeling completely spent?

How do I pray to You when I don’t know the words?

When did that lie come in, God—the lie that I’m not enough?

These are the questions of the women of Breathing Eden. Do you ask these questions, too? Read More . . .

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“marriage is no fairy tale”

She wore ivory, the same dress her mother wore decades before her.

Her satin train melted onto the church aisle in ripples of lace delicate and sheer. She insisted her toenails be painted pale pink, her fingernails lacquered shiny. The flowers were shades of pink and coral—peony and ranunculus stems tied together with ivory ribbon layered over her grandfather’s cotton handkerchief with monogrammed pale blue trim.

He stood there at the end of the aisle, young and strong and willing to take on the world. He was her everything, the man she believed she would love until the end of her days. This was it. The beginning of her life, the beginning of all possibility. They were going to be a team, able to conquer any obstacle, steadfast and sure toward anything that got in their way. Love conquers all, right? Love was certainly all they needed. Clearly, it would not fail.

And then it did.

She tells me she isn’t sure when the fairy tale ended. Or maybe it was never a fairy tale at all. But she loved him. And he loved her. Or I think she thought he did—and she believed she loved him too.

Nevertheless, those words, “I love you,” became words for her that meant only what the newly engaged couple, elated and blissful, whisper to each over a candle light meal, a display of false, saccharine perfection displayed in Lifetime Channel movies on TV.

She asks now, could love, with a husband, be something that could last—that would be more than a fairytale, but reality, too?

Marriage is no fairytale. That’s for sure. Marriage is difficult, God.

She prays, “How did it get so hard to keep loving each other? Where did we go wrong? How can I find my way to him—toward You, God, toward love again?”

We ask these questions of God.

And married or not, we wonder about love. Read More . . .

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