What Scares Me More Than Being Inadequate

I used to think my greatest fear was inadequacy.

I believed these words for a very long time.

You could never do that.

You aren’t good enough.

You cannot make a difference.

You will fail.

But the day I said yes to something bigger than my capability, I discovered being inadequate -not having all the answers, not being successful, not being enough–these weren’t my deepest fears.

My deepest fear was rooted in the unleashing of my yes. I realized the unbelievable, unspeakable power of that little word would thrust me into an unknown world of faith-walking and desperation for Jesus.

And that terrified me.

Because I’m still inadequate. No matter what I do, what I learn, there’s always something I don’t know.  We cannot rescue or save or even get our kids to listen half the time. How dare we have the audacity to help another human being?

I live in that place.

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But when we hush that voice and step out anyway, we aren’t depending on ourselves. We are trusting the God of the Universe to act through us.

And that is where our fear lies. What if He asks me to something that is hard? What if I have to give up something I love? What if He uses failure instead of success to reach others and change me?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -by Marianne Williamson

Incredible.

We were created to shine. We were born to make His glory known. We were fashioned to unleash the power of God.

Being inadequate is scary.

But never saying yes is far more terrifying.


The Two Words That Can Absolutely Change Your Marriage

Sometimes I don’t even know I need to hear the words.

Until he says them.

And then I’m like a sponge and I soak them up like my life depended on hearing them.

The whole family spent the entire Saturday knocking down dead trees, pulling up weeds and pulling down thorny vines tangled in our trees. We turned up the earth and planted tiny okra, pepper and tomato plants, already dreaming of summer. If it sounds exhausting, that’s because it was, but it’s my favorite kind of day. We were all working together and accomplishing something we all wanted: a garden.

We were dead tired and covered head-to-toe in filth, dirt in our hair and under our nails. I walked in the kitchen and that’s when I remembered my forgotten trip to the grocery store. I sighed because I had to go to the store and I couldn’t wait another hour.

I scrubbed my hands and put a clean shirt over my-not-so-clean body and my oldest and I headed out. I left my husband and other kids chopping wood to carry off.

I still had groceries to get and unpack, dinner to start, laundry to turn and a half dozen other tasks that keep our family of five running all week long.

The kids helped me unload food into the pantry and I hurried dinner along. It was nearly dark as we sat down to eat, and I stifled a yawn. And that’s when my husband leaned over and looked at me long and hard and whispered the words: thank you.

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And I patted his arm, his face ringed with the weariness of hard physical work and I said them back. Thank you.

Because sometimes? We just need to hear the words. Deep down we know our family is grateful–our kids appreciate the little things, especially when we don’t do them and our husbands and wives see more than we think they do.

But to hear the audible words–some days it’s the jet fuel we need to keep going.

And the words aren’t really dependent upon what we do–because sometimes dinner is a flop and the laundry spills over and the kids meltdown and husbands run late and life has a way of being perfectly imperfect.

But when you overhear him tell your daughter she looks beautiful on Sunday morning or watch him put his briefcase down, loosen his tie and read Junie B. Jones for the millionth time — stop — and thank him.

When you realize she turned off the alarm so you could sleep a few more minutes or remembered your dry cleaning for that important business meeting and changed the cat litter because she knows it’s the chore you hate the most–stop—and thank her.

Sometimes the very thing you need to hear the most is what you need to say to someone else.

When she’s impatient. When he’s angry. When she’s tired. When he’s busy. When she’s down. When he’s not…

When she’s up all night with the baby and you have to step over baskets of unfolded laundry, when you can see the stress of his job weighing him down–these are the messy moments when we feel invisible, unappreciated, overlooked.

These are the moments in our marriages that need a thank you the most.

Because they aren’t just words. Thank you sends a lifeline. It says:

I see what you do all day long.

It matters.

It’s important.

You matter.

You’re important.

I don’t see the mess.

I see your yes in it.

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Click to read more of our marriage story….

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Saying #Yes In My Mess

I’m a mom.

I have a lot of messes.

Currently: there is a science fair project involving 1000 paper clips most of which are scattered under my dining room table and an entire package of broken Girl Scout cookies on my kitchen floor. (One of these is more fun to pick up, by the way).

But there’s always been an internal mess too… struggling with who I am, what I’m supposed to do, wondering if I’m a good enough wife and mom…

After years of wondering if I was enough, I decided to say yes in my mess.

You just never know where your yes might lead.

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In 2010 when I introduced my family to the young African girl who I’d met on a Compassion Blogger Trip in Kenya a couple of months earlier, I didn’t know what God was going to do.

My life was a mess.

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And I’m not just talking about under the beds.

I was a home decor hoarder, I was ruled by mom guilt, my marriage was on the mend and I’d stopped dreaming.

I didn’t know God was going to take the broken pieces of my life– the inadequate and fearful me- my big mess- and ask me to say yes in it.

But He did.

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He didn’t wait for me to have it all together, to clean up my act, to finally arrive before He asked.

He looked at my wreck and asked me to obey anyway.

This is my story.

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And you know what’s crazy? More than two dozen rescued moms and miracle babies later — my life is still a mess.

My kids still misbehave, I still lose my cool. My husband and I still argue over stupid things, I still eat all the Easter candy I “put away for the kids” and there is still junk under my bed.

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I still get it wrong. I still have to apologize and ask forgiveness.

I am still messy me.

But I still keep saying yes.

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Because it not only unleashes other people to join me, but I’ve never felt more alive than when I say yes. We were made for more than just existing in our mess and complaining about it.

You have a purpose. You are destined for more.

You can say yes in your mess, too. Because life is messy. It’s imperfect and if we wait until we have the perfect family (picture) we will wait forever.

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If we wait until we have it all together to say yes to God, we won’t say it.

What is He asking you today? Call that friend, send that email. Visit that neighbor. Start something. Say something. Step out. Take a risk.

Saying yes is the hard part. He does the rest.

Join me in saying yes in your mess today.

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To download the free, full size printable to add a “yes to your mess” click here. Add (hashtag) #yesinmymess and/or #rhinestonejesus and join the YES MOVEMENT on Instagram.

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The Gift of Yes (Pre-Order Day for Rhinestone Jesus)

So, I wrote this book.

It’s my story of saying yes to God–it’s imperfect, it’s soul-splitting, it’s funny (there might be a scary picture of me in the book holding a doll while also wearing an afro. So there’s that).

It’s the broken and the put-back-together story of my life. My yes to God.

I’ve spilled out the chapters on these pages- from the gut-wrenching shattering of my marriage to the hard hard days of motherhood to the sheer fear and unspeakable joy of wild obedience in my mess.

With every word, I tasted healing and I wrote it so you might, too.

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There are also sections on practical, intentional living that will inspire you to make every day matter with your family.

Several months ago on my Facebook page, we were discussing raising our children intentionally and I asked how many families had some sort of devotion time or read the Bible together. There were varying responses, but the overwhelming consensus was “Help, I don’t know where to start, what to read or how to keep the kids at the table.”

And because I’ve been there (and still am), I wanted to provide a practical, tangible way to get our families around the table to break holy Bread together and so I wrote a companion ebook: Saying Yes to God As a Family: 30 Lessons for the Table from Rhinestone Jesus

And today, if you pre-order my new book before it’s May 1 release, you get the ebook and  some pretty great thank you gifts for free:

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These 30 lessons can be done in 30 days or 90. There’s no pressure in this easy-to-use guide that encourages family togetherness, conversation, connection and fun around the table.

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It’s designed to be read on a mobile device or printed into cute colorful cue cards. We’ve been going through the ebook  for several weeks:

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There are icebreakers, reading passages, occasional memory verses and a corporate prayer to say together. And very cute unique prints are included at the end of the ebook to frame and hang:

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And this brand new ebook is free with your pre-order purchase of Rhinestone Jesus today!

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If you buy 2 copies of the book, along with the family ebook, you’ll also get the very popular and meaningful Love Mercy Prayer Bracelet. While everyone’s yes to God is different, our family’s yes looks like Mercy House.

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And we can only accomplish this great endeavor through prayer. It’s mostly a reminder to pray for the most oppressed people group in the world: girls.

And I’ve partnered with my longtime friend and generous supporter, The Vintage Pearl. There are a limited supply of these gorgeous “rhinestone” Jesus necklaces that would make a beautiful gift to keep or give for those who buy 4 or more copies of the book to share with family and friends.

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I wrote this book out of obedience to Jesus. And these words are for his glory. 

I used to live my life, trying to fit him into the gaps and small spaces. But when I began to fit my life into Jesus–that’s when I really started living.

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Just to recap this special pre-offer:

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Plus part of the proceeds from every book will go to the work of Mercy House.

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To receive your free gifts in the next couple of weeks, just follow these simple steps:

1.       Pre-order Rhinestone Jesus from any book retailer.   Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Christianbook.com

2.       Email your receipt to giveaways@tyndale.com. If you’ve already preordered it, you can send your order confirmation. (No links, please. This can be an order confirmation email, a pre-order cash register receipt or a screenshot of your order. If you want to send a photo of the receipt, please attach it to the email as a .jpg file.)

3.       In the email, tell me your name, email address you want the e-book PDF sent to, and mailing address—so we can send you all of these great gifts!  (United States residents only). This pre-order offer ends May 1, 2014.

 

And most of all, thanks for being a part of my yes to God.


The Invitation to More

“There has got to be more.”

These are haunting words.

I have said them. I have lived the hollow emptiness that comes with filling my life with things that do not matter.

I have looked at the mess of my life and longed for more.

More meaning.

More purpose.

More satisfaction.

More of God.

That can only mean less of me.

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And I found more in an unlikely place. It was saying yes in the middle of my mess. I quenched my thirst for more with my small yes to God.

When we obey Him, we drink from living water, it satisfies the thirst in our soul.

There’s nothing like it —  to witness the raw beauty of a woman who really lives into the fullness of wild faith. There is no really living without really saying yes. Without really taking one step that is is actually a leap. 

There comes a moment in every woman’s life when something she was tightly holding on to —- just slips from her hands. Sometimes it’s a dream. Sometimes it’s a place…  a person ….  a purpose…. Sometimes it’s the life you always thought you’d be living.

And you find yourself standing in front of the mirror realizing that the faith you’ve been pulling on every day —- doesn’t seem to be enough?

What happens when you look yourself right in the eye and realize:

I’m not living like just Jesus is enough for me. 

What happens when you realize that, really?  You actually want a lot more than just Jesus.

That’s the moment when the rhinestone falls, clatters, across the floor.

That’s the moment you find yourself invited into endless diamond fields of real faith.

The actual kingdom of God.

This book in your hands is your invitation to The Real More. 

-an excerpt from the foreword of Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough by my amazing friend Ann Voskamp.

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Coming May 1st.