Day 6: The Declaration of Un-independence

Day 6: The Declaration of Un-independence

Hi there! This post is part of a 31-Day writing adventure I’m embarking on. I’d love for you to join me and read along. You can find the introduction to the series, and a “Table of Contents” as each day goes live, right here. Thanks so much for dropping in!

And thanks to a reader’s comment, I realized I hadn’t enabled my Subscribe via Email option. If you’d like to be receiving these posts via email, you can sign up in the sidebar right there –>

31 Days Banner

Yesterday we chatted about the gloriousness of a God who came near when we pulled further away, and the glorious gift that is the Holy Spirit — the Helper sent by God to enable us to stay in communication with Him, live out His heart and abide in His presence.

The Holy Spirit is a gift indeed — one that many never take out of the box.

A.W. Tozer gives this exacting description of the purpose of the Holy Spirit in a fantastic published sermon series called I Talk Back to the Devil!:

I am convinced that in New Testament Christianity, the object of the Holy Spirit is twofold. First, He wants to convince Christians that it is actually possible for us to know the beauty and perfection of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. Second, it is His desire to lead us forward into victory and blessing even as Joshua once led Israel into the promised land.

If these are the gifts available to us — deeply knowing Jesus as an integral part of our daily lives, and walking in victory throughout the days we’re given on Earth, what is the barrier between that idea and its reality?

He goes on to say, “We know our lack, but we are very slow in allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us into deeper Christian life and experience, that place where the intent of our heart is so cleansed that we may perfectly love God and worthily praise Him.”

One piece of the problem lies in our remaining content with having “a persuaded mind and even a well-intentioned heart” that are still very far from the faithful practice of walking in step with the spirit. Unfortunately, speculation about the possibility of the existence of a place of walking in the promises of God is not the same thing is actually walking in them.

It is good and well to believe that there’s a Promised Land — but you won’t get there without crossing the Jordan.


When I first began to take being a following of Jesus seriously, there was one area of my life (I’m sure among many, but this was quite an obvious one) where I was unwilling to yield to God’s leading: romantic relationships. Instead, I began dating a Christian guy, which I felt “redeemed” the “issue.”

I felt the constant need to have a boyfriend — and, whichever fellow he was, he generally tended to take up a lot of my thoughts and attention and focus, and I generally made about as many decisions with my boyfriend in mind as the Lord.

I believe I was trying to fill a hole in my heart that only the Lord could fill, and perhaps dealing with issues related to my Dad (which by the Lord’s goodness, were later resolved).

Eventually, while away on a retreat one weekend, the Lord whispered to my heart that it was time to let go — and the voice that I’d avoided hearing was this time unmistakably clear.

I went home and let go.

The letting go was a dark night for my soul.

In the months that followed, still struggling to see the point, I tried to find another replacement. What I didn’t see, however, was that I could not be launched into my destiny until I let go — I would never have left home and headed to Scotland if I’d had to leave a beloved boyfriend behind. It was in Scotland that I met the man the Lord intended to be my husband all along.

Sometimes receiving an amazing gift means letting go something else first.

Tozer says, “I think the more we learn of God and His ways and man and his nature we are bound to reach the conclusion that we are all just about as holy as we want to be. We are all just about as full of the Spirit as we want to be.”

Our Declaration of Un-Independence is often a decision to stop to clinging to something (even something God-given) instead of God Himself. And it is often a decision to stop hiding something from God in order to let Him have complete authority over our lives entirely.

The cross comes before all things are made new — for Jesus and for us.

In Hebrews we’re encouraged to run the race, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” {Heb. 12:2}

Jesus endured the cross because there was something better waiting on the other side: Forgiveness and Redemption, when He paid the price for the sin of the world, and so much more.

The cross always precedes the Resurrection.

If “He who says He abides in Him ought to walk in the way Jesus walked.” {1 John 2:6}, then it is likely that we will have our own cross to bear. We don’t pay for our own salvation by any means, but there is often a letting go of one thing in order to choose the better thing that God has in mind for you or me.

In His Glorious Goodness, God sees it fit to help us let go — and though the things we’re letting go of seem absolutely huge at the time, we afterwards realize, like Paul:

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ… {Phil. 3:8}

What we gain in Christ far surpasses anything we could ever give up to receive Him. And this is another unexpected gift of God: we come to the end of ourselves and find, we give up so little to receive SO much.

Is there something you aren’t letting go of? Are you afraid of what people would think if you were to decide to dive head-first into God’s goodness and become wholly His? Are you afraid you might lose respect or social status or friends (which I would tend to conclude weren’t friends anyway…) if you make the decision to Declare your own Un-independence and choose to depend on God completely?

Have you perhaps been walking with the Lord for a long time, but there is just some area where you aren’t experiencing the victory you’ve been hoping for? Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Ask Him to show you what it is that needs letting go of, what needs to be brought into the light.

Don’t settle for mediocrity when deep and wide and ravishing treasures await those who choose the narrow path to holiness.

It’s in His glorious goodness, and Tozer explains it so well, that “In spite of our hesitation and delay and holding back God does not give up, because the Holy Spirit is faithful and kind and patient and ever seeks to lead us forward into the life of the special kind of Christian.”

You are invited to live that life. Dive in, and it will be glorious.



Day 4: On Dragons, Angels and Jesus

Day 4: On Dragons, Angels and Jesus

Hi there! This post is part of a 31-Day writing adventure I’m embarking on. I’d love for you to join me and read along. You can find the introduction to the series, and a “Table of Contents” as each day goes live, right here. Thanks so much for dropping in!

31 Days Banner

The idea really struck me for the first time the other day as I was driving down Second Street in our wee town, taking the Tank to preschool. Two more little ones were in the car, and I don’t know if we were listening to music or the kids were watching something — but I am usually just inspired by thankfulness most mornings when all three of my children wake up and we have the privilege of another day together.

Whatever was happening in the seats behind me, I was in the front pondering the existence of Jesus. Not the question of whether or not he existed — I think there’s more evidence that Jesus existed than that Abraham Lincoln existed, so that’s not really a question in my mind.

I was deep in thought about the fact that God decided to come to the Earth as a human. It hadn’t occurred to me before, really, this thought that He could have showed up as a magical talking dragon, delighting fifth grade boys everywhere, and instantly winning favor with people because, ya know, who wouldn’t like a nice dragon on their team?

Or, perhaps more realistically (although God could do anything, ya know — He’s God!) He could have walked among us as some sort of angelic being that seemed kind of human but also had majestic wings and tended to appear and disappear at will whenever we needed help. With some superhero qualities thrown in for good measure. No one would’ve questioned whether or not an Angelic Super Hero had come from God. At least I don’t think so.

But what an unexpected risk the God of the Universe took, in His Incarnation, His arrival on the scene, in human form! And He didn’t just show up as an adult human either — He went all in and was born, a helpless baby just like the rest of us, who trusted His mother and (earthly) father to care for Him.

How risky, He arrived just like everybody else. Some of you reading these words right now might not believe He was anything other than just a guy who showed up with a lot of useful things to say and probably did some nice stuff. Maybe you think His miracles were smoke and mirrors. Maybe you think the Bible is full of holes and errors and not worth building a life on. (Mind you, I’ve been reading it cover to cover for years and I haven’t found any yet.)

God really took a risk when He decided to arrive like you and me.

Buachaille Etive Mor

But the people who lived in Jesus’ time? They knew something was different about Him. Some thought He was dangerous, a threat to tradition, some thought He was the hope for the political deliverance of the Jewish nation, still others confessed Him to be the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of God.

After a few years of ministry and miracles, and of pouring out into a needy world and especially investing in the twelve disciples who would later turn the world upside down, Jesus announced His departure. In John 13, the story is retold — how He washed His disciples’ feet and then predicted His betrayal, and that Peter would deny Him.

Clearly, the disciples, many of whom were planning on “ruling the joint” as Jesus’ right-hand-men, were disappointed to know that this man who’d completely changed their lives was leaving. In John 14, Jesus encouraged them that He would prepare a place for them, and then they could come, too. And, He added, “you know the way to where I am going.”

I can almost hear the ache in Thomas’ heart when he says “We have no idea where you’re going, so how can we know the way!?!?!” (John 14:5)

Then Jesus answers, “am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him, and have seen him!”

The guys still aren’t catching on, this time Philip asks, “Lord, show us the Father and we will be satisfied.”

Jesus replies, “Have I been with you all this time Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! … Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.”

And that is the marvelously unexpected mystery unfolding before our eyes — seeing a human, someone of flesh and bone who is just like us, can allow us to see God. And perhaps that’s because it’s not about what God looks like — a magical dragon or a strapping, mysterious angel.

If Jesus was a human, just like us, but we can still see God when we look at Him, then what is it we’re supposed to see?

What God wants us to see is the actions of a human who is doing God’s will, living out God’s heart. 

In His glorious goodness, God arrived on the scene looking just like us, which in turn shows us that there is hope for this broken humanity — when we learn how to live with a heart like His.

It’s no mistake that the next topic of conversation between Jesus and His disciples at this point was the discussion of the Holy Spirit — the Third Person in the Trinity, the Helper who comes into human hearts and allows us to live out God’s heart, to walk the way Jesus walked. Jesus lived out a relationship of constant communication with God, of constantly doing God’s will, and showed us what it would look like, and then told us how we would be enabled to live that way, too.

Will you join me to talk about that tomorrow?


Day 3: Blind Faith Sees

Hi there! This post is part of a 31-Day writing adventure I’m embarking on. I’d love for you to join me and read along. You can find the introduction to the series, and a “Table of Contents” as each day goes live, right here. Thanks so much for dropping in!

31 Days Banner

There are some very serious things going on in the world right now. A child is dying of hunger every fifteen seconds. {You can do something to help here.} Because of human trafficking, there are more people in slavery than ever before. {See previous link – World Vision is also fighting human trafficking.} There is talk of a forceful disarmament in Syria — and it sounds a lot like war. And in the USA, the government is shutting down over a disagreement about spending, and health care.

Why do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing? … {Ps. 2:1}

People are very nervous, even fearful about what the future holds. How much will they have to spend to get the care that they need? Will they be able to afford it? Will they have to switch to a health care plan that will have high deductibles and low coverage? It can create anxiety in the most peaceful of souls.

Even if the circumstances in the world around you aren’t enough to bring you down, you probably have something in your own life that you’d change in a heartbeat if you could. You may have recently walked through something that still has you reeling — you’re fighting to find your feet and wondering what moving forward looks like.

The unexpected events of life are often holy ground.

When my Dad was in the hospital for that never-ending week earlier this year, and we didn’t know what the outcome would be, I clung to hope until my knuckles were white, but I knew that hope had to be grounded not in my Dad’s recovery (though I was absolutely praying for it). I knew that my hope had to be in the goodness of God Himself.

I couldn’t see what was going to happen, so I had to lean on blind trust, looking to the God who could see.

I chose to trust that life would go on. I chose thankfulness for the time we had together before he was gone. And when I chose to lean on His wisdom, and not my own understanding, I was met with unmistakeable peace.

Hall Arm 4

James explained it like this:

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. {James 3:17}

And this is a very unexpected discovery: the “wisdom” of the world — knowledge about the things going on around the world, understanding of the intricacies of the issues, both domestic and abroad, is likely to lead to deeper anxiety.

It looks like the world is a big blooming mess.

But the verses in the Psalm I previously mentioned? They go on to say “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.” {Psalm 2:4}

What does that mean? God is not anxious about the outcome. You get the feeling that He considers some of the grand schemes of the nations amusing. Not because He doesn’t care about us.

I imagine it’s more like a moment when one of my children, in their innocence, tries to do something that seems logical to them, in their limited understanding. A few weeks ago, the Tank, who is learning to undress himself, kept pulling one arm out of his sleeve. He’d stick it up through the collar of his shirt and then feel stuck and not know what to do next.

When he asked for help with a perplexed look on his face, I’d laugh and gladly put things right.

In the same way, I think there are times when — as humbling as it is to admit it sometimes — God’s ways are absolutely higher than ours. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Our capacity is too limited to get it.

As a result, the wisdom from heaven sometimes looks a lot like trust. We are wise enough to know we are not as wise as we think we are. We rather choose to trust that God is as wise as we believe He is, and, even in the face of health care scares, or losing someone of you love, somehow, the one thing you can be sure of, is His glorious goodness.

This is the wisdom that brings peace.

He is sovereign. He is altogether good. He sits in the heavens and laughs — which reminds us that this vapor we call life can probably be taken a little less seriously.

We can trust without seeing now, and this helps us to truly see: the best is yet to come. How perfectly fitting, we often call that “Going home to glory.”


Day 2: The Strength in Our Frailty (And the Guy at the Bank)

Day 2: The Strength in Our Frailty (And the Guy at the Bank)

Hi there! This post is the second in a 31-Day writing adventure I’m embarking on. I’d love for you to join me and read along. You can find the introduction to the series, and a “Table of Contents” as each day goes live, right here. Thanks so much for dropping in!

31 Days Banner

If there is one thing I can pinpoint that I find most frustrating about the experience of being human, it’s humanity. Not everybody else’s humanity — it’s my own shortcomings that, metaphorically speaking, keep getting under my skin.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a rather unfortunate experience at the bank, where someone made a pretty bad judgment call about what was happening when I was being helped by the teller. He made a very hurtful comment and followed it up by not being willing to hear what I had to say in defense of the significant amount of time I took with the teller. I cried in my car… cried again when one of the tellers called to apologize while I was in the parking lot at Walmart… it basically just kind of stunk.

I shared the story just after it happened, but I haven’t yet shared the follow-up story, what happened the Monday after that fateful Friday afternoon. By the end of the incident, I knew the name of the gentleman who’d spoken so harshly to me. When I got home from my errands and shared what had happened, the Hubs was… pretty much livid.

He handled it well, but decided he wanted to do something in my defense. So, on Monday afternoon, I was busy in my kitchen when he walked in with the phone in his hand and said “Someone wants to speak with you.”

He’d contacted the guy from the bank, explained that he’d been rude to his wife, and said he owed me an apology. I answered the phone and he apologized in an “if I have offended you…” sort of way. Not really committing — if you get my drift?

I took a moment to explain what was happening at the bank that afternoon when he was waiting in line. That there were 112 checks to process. That those checks were to cover my Dad’s medical bills. That that day was the six month anniversary of his death.

And once he had the whole story? He really apologized. Through a few more tears, I encouraged him to remember that you don’t always know what is going on in other’s people’s lives, so it’s best to be careful with everyone. He agreed that that was good advice and seemed to sincerely take it to heart.


At the end of the interaction, I was thankful I’d had the opportunity to speak with him, appreciated the apology, and was especially grateful to the amazing husband who stood in the kitchen with me, held me while I cried once more and said “You don’t deserve to be treated like that.” {Hero, more and more all the time…}

Reflecting on this incident, I see myself in the bank story — but I’m not always the protagonist. Sometimes I’m the one misjudging others, the one who doesn’t really want to hear the explanations for what I’ve already made my own judgments about. Sometimes I’m one of the other customers in line who stands there and agrees with the guy who’s getting impatient, stoking the fire instead of suggesting there’s the possibility that something else is going on there.

I say things I later regret. I do things I wish I didn’t do. And this is the frailty that makes the human experience so challenging. Our imperfections and weaknesses are an integral part of the story — we even say it, when we make mistakes:

I’m only human.

And that only human place? That is the place where God steps in with strength for our frailty.

What seems like a liability, God turns into an asset.

Paul explains it this way:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. {2 Cor. 12: 9-10}

Paul’s weakness started out as a source of frustration for him, but in God’s glorious goodness, He saw it fit to redeem those weaknesses — and turn them into a personal advantage. The more weakness we struggle with, the more we can lean on the power of God instead of trying to stand on our own {in}sufficiency.

We will make bad calls. We’ll make mistakes. We’ll make misjudgments. We might sometimes be the one that sends someone else to their minivan in tears, and not even know it.

But there is grace and forgiveness for those poor choices, and by the help of the Holy Spirit, there is the hope that we can walk the line a little better next time, that we can stay in step with the Spirit, that we can follow the example of Jesus.

Will we ever be completely comfortable in our own skin? Probably not. But that God chooses to stand with us, work through us, forgive us and use us anyway? It’s nothing short of glorious.



Day 1: One Day at a Time

Hi there! This post is the first in a 31-Day writing adventure I’m embarking on. I’d love for you to join me and read along. You can find the introduction to the series, and a “Table of Contents” as each day goes live, right here. Thanks so much for dropping in!

31 Days Banner

The last time I thought about it, I think I was staring out the kitchen window, hands deep in gloves deep in hot, soapy water, washing dishes. I’m sure I was busy wondering how it was all going to get done on that particular day: the homeschooling, the laundry, the diaper changes and naps and lunch and starting dinner and returning phone calls and trying my darnedest to check a thing or two off the estate-settling list while posting a sneak peek for Quiver Tree.

When I look back at that list? It is dumb. Because life never comes at you that way. If you’re on the baseball field, the pitcher throws one ball, and that’s what you deal with. If you’re on the tennis court, there’s just one ball coming at you, unless the person playing on the next court over is just that bad. Maybe if you’re feeling really adventurous or you’re Forrest Gump, you’ll try to simultaneously play ping pong with two people and two balls.

But really? I’ve never been slapped with a moment where there were literally eight things that needed to happen simultaneously. Sure, sometimes, more than one kid is crying or more than one diaper needs changing. But usually? Even if there are a hundred things on the list, they never all have to happen right then. The tough part is always choosing the one.

I’ve realized I think I make those lists in my head to make me feel better about the fact that I’m walking around with a bad attitude.

Don’t expect me to have a good attitude, dang it, can’t you see my list!?!

As I stood there with my hands deep in gloves deep in water in the sink, I began to feel for a moment, as if I was sinking like the heavy dishes I’d been scrubbing. But a little hope can go a very long way — I purposefully redirected my attention to God.

It probably went something like, “Lord, do You see my list?” {Sigh.}

And the reminder that immediately followed was a gift in word-form:

Just take it one day at a time.


There have absolutely been moments in my life where I’ve thought about how nice it would be to get a glimpse of the big picture. How much easier it would be to endure the tough moments if I could go ahead and see past them, see what’s around the bend. There have been moments where I’ve realized I’ve allowed my brain to wander down a rabbit trail of what-ifs that involve future possibilities that are so stinking unlikely it’s ridiculous. Or how many times have I re-lived past failures in my head, as if I could concentrate hard enough to change them?

But in His glorious goodness, the Lord already knows this thing that I’m slowly warming up to: the best way to live the days that you’re given is one at a time. Forget what’s behind and press on, but don’t worry about tomorrow, each day has enough trouble of its own.

So, friends, here it is: an unexpected gift that you have the privilege of enjoying. One slice of your wildly precious life. Savor it and make the most of it.

You always only ever have today. What a gloriously good gift.