You Can’t.

For whatever you are going through today, whatever makes you say, “I can’t _____.”

Know that you are right. You can’t.

You can’t stop thinking about your weight. You can’t just “know” that you are beautiful. You can’t stop sleeping with your boyfriend. You can’t stop watching pornography. You can’t make enough money to pay your bills. You can’t get out of bed and face that person today. You can’t make it through this breakup. You can’t make it through this divorce. You can’t overcome your depression. You can’t.
There is no solution, no formula, no magic number or word or “thing” that can move you from “I can’t” to “I can and I did…now look how far I’ve come!!”
And yet we all know someone who did. We do know someone who isn’t binging or purging anymore. We do know someone who is abundantly full of life without sex being part of the equation. We do know someone who is sober from pornography for 2 years. We do know someone who paid rent last month when it wasn’t possible. We do know someone who made it through a break-up worse than this one and is now in the best place of her life. We do know someone who is divorced and still fulfilled in their single life. We do know someone who has overcome severe depression and extreme grief, and now knows joy and contentment and peace.

So what happened? What happened when “they couldn’t _______.”

Christ moved.

These are not physical battles against our bodies, our beauty, our eyes, our skin, our genitals, our brain, our blood-pumping hearts. These are battles of the soul, where an enemy is daily waging war against our value, our peace, our worth, our contentment, our comfort, our belonging, our love, and our LIFE.

What you don’t need is world-acknowledgement that you are the most beautiful woman on the earth. You need the heart-belief that you are created to be beautiful and have inherent value despite what just-as-broken people may tell you.

What you don’t need is to white-knuckle it against sex and pornography. You need the heart-belief that you are not alone and that you are deeply truly loved, and that your Father is proud that you are his child, despite how it feels.

What you don’t need is one more person telling you to just be happy because you have a pretty good life and you should be ashamed of your unwarranted depression. You need the heart-belief that your spirit was covered in dirt and pain before Christ himself fought the greatest war of all time to present your spirit before God as pure, complete, and wholly loved, even if you can’t get out of bed. And that God will never see you as anything other and pure and valuable. He will wait for you.

What you don’t need is one more sermon on how pre-marital sex is sinful. You need the heart-belief that Jesus hasn’t left your side a single moment and is willing to do a supernatural work in you the very moment you begin to slip into behavior you feel you cannot control. You need the heart-belief that God never forgot about you, and that there is a man who will love who you are more than he will love sleeping with you.

This is not a physical war, and there is no physical solution. This is a war for your heart, because there is nothing in all of existence that is more valuable to God than the heart of a man or woman. This is a war that we cannot win unless we let Jesus fight it for us.

I was the girl who couldn’t stop sleeping with her boyfriend. I was the girl in the ER having a panic attack that she couldn’t control. I was the girl who thought the earth would swallow me up because the break-up was too painful. I was the girl who skipped meals and hated to see herself in the mirror every morning. I was the girl who watched pornography because I had no other way to cope. I was the girl who couldn’t get out of bed and was numb from the anti-depressants. I was the girl who lost her family and could not see a future for myself because the grief was too heavy.

I was the girl who couldn’t.

And I am the girl that learned that Jesus could.


We Are Abominations.

Everyone keeps asking me what my beliefs are on homosexuality. And everyone keeps telling me that it’s an abomination before God. “If you are a Christian you must preach that it is an abomination! People must know the TRUTH! Stop with your washy Jesus-just-loves-everyone-new-age-love-fest Christianity!”

Do you know why this is a knife to my heart? Do you know? Do you feel this knife?

Because very few of you seem to understand that a human being’s sexual orientation is so extraordinarily intertwined with their very existence, that every man and woman hears nothing but, “you are an abomination to God.”

Bear with me for a moment, and imagine that your family and best friends shun you because your desire for the opposite sex warranted the label of “Abomination.” Tow’ebah, in Hebrew.

No one stopped to ask you if you chose Abomination or if Abomination chose you, but what does it matter? You are.

Where is the verse that says Jesus died for every man but the one who loves men?

Where is the verse that says God is a father to every child but the one who will realize his sexual orientation 7 years down the road from now?

And where is the verse that says once we love Jesus enough, our sexual orientation will be miraculously reversed because our sexual orientation bears weight on our eternal spirit?

To ask a person to walk into a church gay and then walk out straight is as outrageous as having someone pray over me and have me suddenly be “turned gay” in order to be a better Christian. Or worse, to prove that I am one.

To ask a person to be prayed over, and then judge the condition of their heart for the lack of miracle that you decided needed to take place in order to confirm their salvation, is to play the role of God. God promised to create in us new hearts, not new bodies.

We will receive our new bodies in paradise, but until then, each of us will live in the brokenness that we were born into, strung painfully between heaven and hell.

Coach a small child to despise the color purple, and have him shun its every appearance. From day one, speak out against it, barricade your church doors from it, pray against it, and refuse to touch any garment in the color purple. And then, introduce him to a man wearing a purple t-shirt. What response could you possibly expect from your child?

He will despise, judge, and run from this man in the purple shirt.

At the very best, he will welcome the man into his home but sit uncomfortably and offensively in the corner, terrified of nothing but a shirt.

I challenge you to stop using the phrase, “hate the sin, but love the sinner.”

I challenge you to simply love.

I challenge you to stop adding buts to your salvation. To stop saying outrageous things like, “But if ______ was really saved then ______.” To stop re-interpreting scripture to make someone feel accepted as they are, because THE SCRIPTURES ALREADY SAY THEY ARE ACCEPTED AS THEY ARE.

I challenge you to recognize that as we grasp for heaven with gravity pulling us ever downward, we MUST let our brother and sister stand on our shoulders in all of their brokenness, and we MUST stop looking at the outward appearance, as God looks at the heart.

I will tell you what is an abomination to God.

I will tell you what is tow’ebah.

People that cause conflict. (Proverbs 6:19)
Believing that we are better. (Proverbs 6:17)
Dishonesty. (Proverbs 11:1)
Lying lips. (Proverbs 12:22)
Meaningless church attendance. (Isaiah 1:13)
Worshipping things instead of God. (Isaiah 44:19)
Oppressing the foreigner, forgetting the fatherless and the orphans. (Jeremiah 7)

God has made it clear in hundreds of verses what he considers tow’ebah: We are tow’ebah without Jesus. And with Jesus? We are stainless, spotless white.

No conditions. Pure, permanently, forever accepted.

Bring me the verse that claims one man’s actions are an abomination, and I will bring you the Creator of your Life whose very skin was shredded for all of your tow’ebah.

Our un-grace, our conditional love, our chronic handicap of evaluating and hating someone else’s sin while we can barely see through the plank in our own? We choose tow’ebah every day, over choosing our forgiveness.

Oh, dear church, I beg of you to love as your Father saw fit to love you. To die for you despite knowing that you would continue to sin, continue to play your own little god, continue to fall in the dirt – as we all do, children of God with bodies of dust.

Oh, dear church, I beg of you to know that we were all tow’ebah, before Jesus became tow’ebah in our place.


What I Wish I’d Known Before Watching Porn

In addition to this little blog here, I run Good Women Project. I don’t normally post much there and am primarily the editor, since I have been blessed with countless women who have incredible stories of their own to share. This month, however, we are talking about pornography. So, I decided to begin with a little bit of my own history with porn. To read the full post, click here. We will be talking about pornography from a women’s perspective for the rest of November. Join us.

– – –

“Pornography is a charged subject, and it’s a word that rarely crosses the lips of most women. Yes, there are now breeds of the modern woman who watch, talk and joke about it regularly, but most of us still stay further away from speaking the word than we actually stay away from it.

When I was in high school, pornography was on the long list of “bad things” that I didn’t know much about – and unfortunately also on the list of things I had participated in. Nevermind why I was watching it, the how is the same for all of us: we stumbled upon it because of someone else. And none of us knew what to expect, or how to handle it.

Later in life, I caught myself remembering how I used to watch it for a few minutes here or there, and wondered strictly out of boredom if it would fill the big, empty space of loneliness in my late nights. There were no parents around to hide from anymore, and no one checking my Internet history. Pornography was easy, and I never exactly knew why it was bad, particularly since I wasn’t actually having sex. To me, it was just something dirty that you probably shouldn’t have anything to do with. But “probably shouldn’t” never stands up against loneliness and boredom.

I am not one with an addictive personality. Meaning, I binge, and then drop things quickly. I knew this about myself, and so I used this as an excuse for watching pornography. I’d watch it every night for a couple weeks, then not at all for a few weeks. Always off and on. Clearly I wasn’t addicted. Just like I smoked, and never became addicted to nicotine, and drank, but never became an alcoholic. I was just watching it, and could stop anytime I wanted. No damage done, because I was still in control.

Wrong. Nicotine still seared my lungs, and alcohol still did some decent damage to my liver and personal life. Just because we aren’t addicted, doesn’t mean it does no harm. Even while I wasn’t “addicted” to watching pornography, I always wanted more. It existed as a guaranteed time-filler and pleasure-bringer, and when you get an hour to yourself – that’s an easy default. An easy default activity that establishes a heavy precedence in what you do with your next bad night.

I wish that 10 years ago someone had educated me on pornography. What it is, what it does, and what it reaches in and destroys in the hearts, minds and bodies of men and women.

I wish that someone would have told me that researchers have proven it sabotages your sex life.

I wish someone would have explained how dopamine, the chemical that is released every time you experience pleasure, drives you to return to what provided that feeling before.

I wish someone would have told me that the kind of pornography you’re most turned on by is usually linked to a corresponding hurtful event in your life, further injuring your brokenness.”

To read the rest, please visit Good Women Project. > > >

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Supplemental Saviors, And My Disappointment In Myself.

I am disappointed with myself.

I am disappointed that I have tried to find supplemental saviors.
People ask how I did it. Did what? I want to ask.
How you overcame your past. What was done to you, and what you did to others; to yourself. The grief that you were dealt, and the grief you caused.
I listen to their perception, and begin to think I am an exception.
I listen to them search for an answer more tangible, more attainable, more controllable than Jesus.
And I begin to comb through my healing, dig through my heart, sift through the hard years…to find things easier than Jesus.
Some days I find nothing. Some days, empty things that bear partial witness to a whole truth.
The empty things, the whispers-of-truth things, the supplemental saviors…they taunt me with their checks in boxes and say, “See? We have made you whole. We have filled you. We helped you overcome.”
But still, their mercies begin and end with the front and back of their covers. Their mercies fill and are contained by the box for the checkmark.
And I am a living, dying creature. I need mercies every morning. New ones. For the new death, the new hurt, the new sin.
So I rally my books, my counselors, my friends, my pastors, my families, my communities, my epiphanies, my curriculum, my antidepressants, my better diets, my therapists, my mentors, my time that passes, my supplemental saviors, and I cry out: “APART FROM HIM WE CAN DO NOTHING.”
Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing.
I have done nothing. I have overcome nothing. I have healed nothing. I have won nothing. Rather, I have come to the end of myself, and found a Savior who needs no supplement. A Savior who has done and is doing and will do it all.
For he has sworn it across the heavens, “It is FINISHED.”
We have not believed.
Death wrecked my heart, my family, my hope. Jesus killed it off before it killed me utterly, and gave me a new life.
There is no healing or comfort that can be attained by your adding. Only by emptying everything you are, and filling it with everything He is.
I am not the exception. You are not the exception. We have inside us the hope of all eternity, a seal upon our hearts, because He was the exception in our behalf.
Lord, help us with our unbelief.


Resources For The Recovering Legalist (Or Homeschooled Kid.)

After I wrote A Letter To My 18 Year Old Self and shared a little of my ultra-sheltered, conservative upbringing, I’ve received a lot of emails asking what books I recommend reading.

So, I’m working on putting together a little resource list for each of you dear hearts. It’s by no means complete, but a core selection of reading material that helped me move out of one world into another. If you have something to add to this list, PLEASE do! Leave it in the comments.

Please, please do not let money come in between you and these books. Rent them at the library, or find them through Or carve out time in your week to go sit at Barnes & Noble and read them on the floor. That’s how I read most of them.

Waking The Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive – John Eldredge :::::: “The story of your life is the story of a long and brutal assault on your heart, by the one who knows what you could be, and fears it.” Enough said. Read it.

Sex God – by Rob Bell :::::: We never talked about sex. Ever. It was dirty, sinful, wrong. I recommend this book to every person regardless of their past or present.
Captivating – Staci Eldredge :::::: READ. I was the ugly duckling growing up. On top of wearing “homeschooler clothes,” I was gripped with devastating insecurity through middle school and high school. I read this when I was 18, and thank God I did. Girls, you are beautiful. And you were meant to be beautiful. It’s OKAY to be beautiful.

Sex & The Soul Of A Woman – Paula Rinehart :::::: Girls, this is a must-read. Even if you haven’t had sex. You are an absolute gift to man. Paula writes about sex and heart-stuff in a way that only a woman can.
Ragamuffin Gospel – Brennan Manning :::::: The gospel is simple. The church has complicated it. Get it un-complicated.
Think Differently, Live Differently – Bob Hamp :::::: This book will change the way you view absolutely everything. It’s no longer about doing more right, more good. It’s about knowing that “more right, more good” won’t get you any closer to the life Jesus created for you. It’s about living from the Tree of Life, not from the branch of Good on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
What’s So Amazing About Grace – Phillip Yancey :::::: Get this, or at least get the Visual Edition for starters. Weeks after I ran out and away from my family, I probably wouldn’t have read anything other than the super-awesome visual edition. This book showed me, for the first time, that Jesus loved me. No matter what. And that all of us were sinners, and equally dirty. No matter what.
Longing For Daddy: Healing From The Pain Of An Absent or Emotionally Distant Father – Monique Robinson :::::: I had a close relationship with my dad the majority of my life, but not so much in high school. And I haven’t had an eye-to-eye conversation with him in six years. No matter where you are in your relationship with your dad, this book helps you look at fathers (and your heart) the way God does.
Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How To Say No – Cloud & Townsend :::::: This book is important for every single person, and absolutely necessary for someone who grew up in an controlling or manipulative environment. I am a people pleaser, I can’t say no, I over-commit, & I get irrationally emotionally involved. For the first time in my life, I know it’s okay to do what I want with my life.
The Hidden Heart* – Bob Hamp :::::: The idea that “the heart is deceitful above all else” and must be ignored and smothered, is something that has been grossly mis-interpreted in a lot of conservative Christian circles. I was racked with guilt and ended up severely depressed because of it. Read Bob’s brief *blog post on how you are SUPPOSED to treat your heart.
Radical – David Platt :::::: The gospel in its simplest form. Learn to live how Jesus lived.
Homeschool Blindspots* – Reb Bradley :::::: If you are planning on homeschooling, or are homeschooling, read this *blog post. Also, if you were homeschooled, this might set you free a bit from your parents mistakes, and help you measure out grace where it is needed.
Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith From Politics – Alisa Harris :::::: If you were raised in a very political-oriented family like I was, read this.
A Tale Of Three Kings: A Study In Brokenness – Gene Edwards :::::: Very, very short book. If you’ve lost family members, moved away, or gone through any sort of grief – read it.
Redeeming Love – Francine Rivers :::::: This is a pretty hefty novel (yes! novel!) about a prostitute. This book I hid in my room when I was 17, and it pulled at my heart strings just enough to give me the courage to leave home and seek out a God who was this loving, this forgiving, of a woman He dearly treasured.

Blog Posts I’ve written on my experiences:

A New Definition Of Love
How To Deal With Pain
Letter To The Girl Without A Father
Grief, Lightning Storms, & A Broken Spirit
Jesus Will Change You
When Christianity Says You Aren’t Enough
Love Was The Plan

Very important note:
At the end of the day, no book or author is going to heal your heart. If you’re human, chances are you’ve undergone heartbreak, heartache, or trauma. On top of being born broken. There are no words better than God’s, no love closer than Jesus’s, and no friendship closer than the men and women who are called your brothers and sisters in Christ. If you’re a recovering legalist, or don’t know much about God, take a little break from the rest of the Bible and spend significant time reading just Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Get to know Jesus first. We come to God through him, and we begin to live our new created lives through him.
If you’re having trouble reconciling the love of Jesus to the harshness of God that you used to know, read Hosea, Jeremiah, and Isaiah. Learn that He has written His words on your heart, and will never forsake you or be angry with you again. Hear that He has forgotten your mistakes completely. He has bound you up your wounds in loving kindness. God has fought in your defense since the day He created you. You are safe, and He is NOT disappointed.

– – –

Were you raised in a too-conservative home? Homeschooled? Dealt with severe loss or grief? Have a past you’ve needed recovery from? Broken relationships with family?

What books do you recommend? PLEASE share them in the comments.


Your Homosexuality vs. My Pornography

I slouched in my booth, staring at the last few crumbs on my plate, trying to stifle the suffocating internal heat. He ignored my silence and volleyed his question right back over the table top for the third time. “But it’s a SIN. Why won’t you admit to me that it’s a SIN.”

“Because I don’t understand why it’s so important that I say that.” I mumbled, as I moved the crumbs into a little circle with my straw.

“Because it’s SIN. Sin is important, Lauren.”

The bitter edge in his voice snapped something inside of me and I slammed my hands down on the table in Panera. “I don’t CARE if it’s sin or if it’s not! It doesn’t MATTER to me. And I’m not going to say that it is or isn’t because I’M NOT GOD. Even if I think it’s sinful, it changes NOTHING. It makes it worse. And I can’t STAND the hate in your voice.”

And so ended one more stupid conversation over homosexuality. A waste of words. One more place that sin was granted more power than it ever should have been given. One more relationship strained because a well-seated self-righteousness was given more weight than grace.

Yesterday, I read Emily’s words, “I cry for fear of Christians finding me and learning I had a homosexual friend who was the most Christ-like person I’ve ever known.”

Yesterday, I tweeted “Tired of the gay community being the Christian’s advanced challenge for grace & acceptance. Man looks at appearance, God looks at the heart.” And was barraged by people who replied, “I don’t understand” and “It’s not our place to fix their problem, it’s God’s.”

This morning I woke up to an email from a 16 year old girl who just met Jesus – and got into a fight with her Atheist parents over homosexuality at the breakfast table. She was searching for someone else to defend her desire to love unconditionally and without question.

Today I sit in front of Jesus and hand him a list of every man’s name that I’ve slept with and kissed – and a face sketched for the names I don’t remember. Today I sit at Jesus’ feet with an entire book filled with every lie I’ve ever told and every hateful comment I’ve ever made.

Today I sit next to Jesus and hide my face while he watches my life play back on the screen – every night I’ve draped myself over men at the bar and mixed profane lips with a half-dressed body, every minute I’ve spent watching pornography, and every coffee date I’ve gossiped about other women behind their backs.

Today I hand Jesus a lifetime of bank statements with every outrageous, self-satisfying expense highlighted – and I watch Him add up my selfishness that I “deserved” as He pulls a small, motherless and homeless child closer to Him in his lap.

Today I sit in the dirt, unable to see Jesus’ ripped flesh on the cross through my tears. Knowing that it is for MY sins that He has endured Hell.

As I sob, I am approached by a stranger to grace who points at another man and says, “Tell me that it is sin. Tell me that his sexuality is a sin.”

And I feel my soul stretch to it’s breaking point.

I struggle to stand to my feet, with emotions I cannot distinguish raging through my veins. A jumble of fiery words tumble over one another in my mind. I want to scream, “HOW DARE YOU” to the accuser.

Instead, I stumble and fall in the arms of the other man – and cling to him for comfort. He is a man who knows what brokenness feels like. He is a man who has been trying since the day he was born. He is a man with his own pain-filled list of lovers. We are men and women who have become brand new and beloved, at the foot of the cross.

I call him brother. Because he is.

And together we are a broken generation of children who stand in the face of the accuser, so desperately needing a Father who refuses to look at our physical bodies and looks only at our hearts.

A Father who views us as wholly pure – who no longer names any of our sins because he has removed it from us as far as the East as the West, and does not remember it.

Believe me when I say that we are all born diseased, and Jesus has healed all of His children of every piece of brokenness.
– – – – –

“When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony of God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that you faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” II Corinthians 2:1-4

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that there be no divisions among you but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” I Corinthians 1:10

“God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; the weak things to shame the strong. God chose the lowly and despised things – so that no one may boast before him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us our righteousness, our holiness, and our redemption.” I Corinthians 1:28-30

“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” Romans 14:10


A Confession: I’ve Changed.

Have you changed lately? Are you a different person than you were a year ago? Three? Five?

If you ran into a long lost friend, or fell out of touch with someone for a few months – would they notice that you are different?

I would hope so.

Some of us fear change simply because of the uncertain. Some of us fear change in others because it leaves our relationship undefined. And we all fear change because it reminds us that we are not in control.

I’ve been accused of changing a lot in my life. This past year included. Guilty as charged.

5 years ago, I would have called myself a sinner.*

2 years ago, my views on sex would not have let me be close friends with the woman I am today.

A year ago, I was scrambling to understand who I was, for the second time.**

And even in the last 6 months, I have become radically different.

Yes. I have changed.

Do you know what I love about Jesus? This. “Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon, the son of John. You will be called Peter.’ ” (John 1:42)

In one fell swoop, Jesus looks at a man, acknowledges his father, his family, his past – and says, “I know who you are. I KNOW. And I will call you otherwise.”

Not, “you have some problems, let’s talk about them.” Not, “follow me, and eventually you’ll be further away from your past.” Not, “tell me about yourself.” And not, “let’s get rid of the bad and keep what looks good.”

Jesus says, “I know you. I know everything. I know where you come from, and who you are. None of it matters to me. THIS is who you were created to be, and THIS is what you will be called in the new family that I am creating.”

Done, and done.

When you decide to follow Jesus, you are faced with a very inconvenient truth. That you are brand new, and that your reality will never again be the same.

That everything you thought you knew must now be re-filtered through God’s perception, not yours.

It is a loaded truth. It is a truth that implies your sins, your faults, your past are dead and gone. A truth that says this world matters no longer, and that our eyes are “to be focused not on the seen but on the unseen.” It is a truth that implies the old is DEAD and the new is NOW. It is a truth that forces you over and over again to decide which is more important to you: the kingdom you’ve lived in your entire life, or the kingdom of heaven.

It is an active truth. It requires fighting. It requires ripping open the scarred flesh so that the surgeon can remove the debris.

Becoming a new creation in Christ is not a fancy way of saying that the sins in your pretty little heart are now invisible to God because you said The Prayer. Becoming a new creation in Christ means that Jesus knew who you were, and has said No. This stops here. You are mine, this is your name, and this is how you fit perfectly into a family that you can’t even see yet.

Being given a new name in Christ does not mean that when you get to heaven you will be assigned a bedroom with Mildred Winnie Anne on the plaque above your vanity. (Although this could be true, God does have a sense of humor.) It means that every morning you wake up you must re-commit to accepting the name that Jesus has given you, and refuse the depression, the pain, the accusations, the never-enough, the selfishness, the materialism, the loneliness, the addiction, the sadness, and the failure that every other broken person has sold to you.

I have a hard time with this.

Just as Paul had a thorn in his flesh, I have mine, and you have yours. Or we have a few of them.

Many days, I want to be the Lauren who can’t quite hear God clearly. I want to be the Lauren that’s depressed because her biological family isn’t coming to her wedding on Saturday. I want to be the girl that’s really shy that grew up without any friends and struggles to relate to women. I want to be the girl that makes everyone around her happy and at peace. I want to be the Lauren who goes back to re-read Systematic Theology every 5 years so that I can have a tiny chance of winning over my dad with my flawless hermeneutics.

But that is not the name that Jesus has given me.

Jesus has told me that just as a sheep knows the voice of his shepherd, I DO know the voice of my Father. (John 10:2) I have been given family all across the world who actively loves & encourages me daily, because “whoever does My will is my mother, and brother, and sisters.” (Matt 12:50) I have been called Bold and Victorious One, because Jesus has promised to carry out to completion the good work that was begun in me. (Phil 1:6) In my mission to preach the scandalous life that Jesus offers, I bear the same sword that He does. (Matthew 10:34) Jesus has called me Simple, because “you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” (Matt 11:25)

Jesus was not a watered-down sort of man. Never did he come to make you better, he came to make you brand new. Never did he show up with painkillers, he came to heal.

You are not somewhere between dead and alive. You are alive.

“He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him, all are alive.” (Luke 20:38)

Change does not come easily. Life does not come easily.

The people in your life that identify only with your old self will be confused, unsettled, offended or no longer know how to relate to you. But the people who have a glimpse of the self Jesus created you to be will cheer you on, be excited with you, and encourage you in your race to change and be changed.

And that last group of people? THAT is family. The family that will be ever growing – as you continue to seek them out and as God continues to bring them to you exactly when you need them. And when they need you.

You will change.

It’s okay to change. It’s okay to become more like Jesus and less like you.

It’s okay to stand up for your change. Losing things is okay.

I will celebrate your change with you.

I will celebrate the new name Jesus has given you.

How have you changed? Tell me.

Our new names are glorious things.

_ _ _ _

* Recovering legalist, folks. Infinitely envious of what other women possessed but terrified to seek it out, and utterly convinced I would never emanate or live out freedom. Jesus gave it to me.

**Finally addressing a lifelong identity crisis & inferiority complex with being a woman. Coming to terms with Jesus creating me as a woman for a purpose & finally understanding that I have great value (not less) because of my gender.


A Reminder For When We Forget.

This is a reminder that God does see you.

And He does love you.
And He does know that you are trying, and trying hard.
This is a reminder that the fight is worth it, particularly when it’s painful.
And that the women you admire are worth admiring because of their scars.
And that Jesus sees your scars before anyone else does. While they’re still raw wounds.
This is a reminder that tomorrow comes.
That you are beautiful.
That everyone feels alone; it isn’t just you.
This is a reminder that Jesus is closer than blood. That “healing” isn’t a church-word. That when He feels absent, compassionless, and silent, He is still the great I AM.
This is a reminder that you have been saved.
That you have been re-made.
That you have been re-named.
That when God reached down from heaven and wiped the mud and dirt and sin and sludge off of your heart and soul, he made a commitment to see you as innocent as the day you were born – for eternity.
This is a reminder that you were created to be desperate for His love.
So act like you’re desperate for it.


How Do You Fall In Love With Jesus?

How do you fall in love with Jesus?

The same way you fall in love with anyone else.

They show interest in you, and you show interest back.

Someone initiates a conversation, and begins investing their time.

Talking to them becomes a priority because there’s SOMETHING there that you don’t understand yet, but just want more of.

They write you a love letter, and you read it over and over.

You write one back.

You make them a priority in your life, and begin carving time out of your daily routine because you want them. You want their attention, you want their love, you want to know who they are and how they work.

You sacrifice something here to show you care more for them than that, and you give up something there because you want to know what will happen if you spend just one more hour with them now.

You share your secrets with them. You tell them the best parts, the worst parts.

Give a little time every week, and you’ll find you want it more than just on Friday or Saturday nights. Give them a little time every day, and you’ll wonder why you thought that one thing was so important.

You talk about the things you’d rather not, but kind of do – just to see if they’ll still want you.
The more you invest, the more you’ll love.

This is what we were supposed to understand when we heard, “Where your treasure is, your heart will be also.”

Somehow we turned it into a currency of money instead of a currency of time and intimacy.

Spend all your money on a person, and that’s a cheap reason to stay.

Spend all your time and secrets on a person, and that’s a heart you won’t be able to leave.

Invest your treasures in Jesus, and your heart will follow.

Few of us love at first sight; we need beauty, passion, or interest to slowly reel us in.

Stop waiting for Jesus to be any of these things for you; he already has.

Beautiful enough to design the mountains and rivers for your admiration, passionate enough for you to die, and interested enough in you to sell off the whole world for you.

He wrote down his entire life story for you, a love letter thousands of pages long – just so you would know him and fall in love with him.

He fell in love with you before first sight.

And he’s stopped at nothing – not even death – to show you how much he wants you.
He’s waiting for you to start falling in love back.


Friends With Benefits for Relevant Magazine & Identity for DeeperStory