Leadership has been a regular topic of conversation between my father and I since I was about 8 years old. I remember sitting on his knee after a friend in the neighborhood treated me poorly and didn’t keep her word. I was in tears and instead of scooping me up, telling me it was going to be okay, and leaving it at that, my father scooped me up, talked me through how to make things right with her, and helped me learn that I can create boundaries and communicate to others what is acceptable in our relationship and what is not. These were some of my first conversations centered on leadership that I can remember. And they haven’t stopped since.
Anytime I hit a wall in a relationship - professionally or personally, anytime I run into an obstacle I don’t know how to overcome, anytime things get sticky or fragile and I can’t risk being too clumsy in my approach to solving a problem, I ALWAYS call my dad. I have avoided so many “fatal” errors in my life and my different leadership roles because I called my dad before I made a rash decision. I sought council instead of flying by the seat of my pants. I’ve saved myself so many headaches and have learned so many invaluable lessons in leadership… I’ve been a much better leader to people because I called my dad first.
Getting ready to write this article, I had a million leadership “lessons” I could have shared from my father’s wisdom. He’s been in leadership positions professionally for almost 40 years. He’s learned a lot and I’ve gleaned from that field time and time again. Initially, I figured I’d write something about, “How to deal with conflict resolution,” or “Team building,” and how those things factor into work AND home life… or something of that nature.
However, I felt the Lord pull me in a direction I really didn’t want to go, to be quite frank. But I realized that it was something I desperately needed to hear at one point in my life and maybe there are some of you that need to hear this right now. So here goes…
Leadership After Failure.
Have you ever been in a leadership position - in any capacity - and done something so spectacularly stupid that you almost (or did) burned your life to the ground?
“Where do I go from here?”
“God will never allow me to lead again.”
“How could He ever entrust other people to me again?”
“That’s it. Those dreams are gone now.”
“I threw away everything and there’s no getting it back.”
“Will anyone ever trust me again?”
“Should anyone ever trust me again?”
All those thoughts ran through my head on repeat several years ago after I had a metaphorical loose thread on a sweater that I kept tugging at and tugging at until the entire thing unraveled - my entire LIFE unraveled. I had a problem I should have handled differently. I should have sought help other places. I should have seen the signs. I should have reached out to the right people. Instead, I stayed hidden, dealt with it the way I wanted to, and ignored God while trying to do His work. I was trying to lead well in His name at home and at work all the while suffering and inadvertently inflicting more suffering upon myself and those around me.
I hit a wall. My world caught on fire - a fire that I started myself - and I was standing in the ashes of my own indiscretion, selfishness, and inept leadership.
Listen to me. I was getting out of the shower a few days after my spectacular failure and I was reeling in the aftermath of that failure when I heard the Lord say, “Did David lose his anointing after Bathsheba? Did I remove his crown? Did I take him from his throne? Did I choose a new king?”
I stood in that bathroom and cried. I couldn’t believe what the Lord was saying to me! How was he possibly so generous? I sinned against Him and others and, yet, He did not take away my anointing - the thing He purposed me for and set me aside to do. He did not remove my garment of praise and return to me a cloak of mourning. He still had a job for me. His will and purpose was not swayed by my sin. But why was that? How could He still hold me so dear? How did He not see me as despicable? Here’s what I think…
Because my spirit was broken and my heart contrite before Him.
I wasn’t blaming anyone else for my failure at this point. The whole world knew and there was no hiding anymore. I failed. I wasn’t hiding from Him any longer either. He was all I had to hold onto and I was hanging onto the hem of his cloak for dear life believing that just His nearness could make me whole again.
The Lord can do a lot with that, sweet friend.
In the coming months, the Lord did an unbelievable and miraculous work in my life. He brought so much healing to me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. He brought healing to my family and our future. Hope was set before us and we could see it clearly when our eyes were on Jesus because all of our hope was in Him. Leadership looked different for me for awhile. Things changed because of failure, that was true, but my purpose remained. My anointing retained. My calling the same. The Lord helped show me how to lead well after the fire. And a lot of conversations with my dad helped too.
All of us lead. Maybe at work, at home, or some other sphere. And I’m convinced we all start a fire in our leadership at some point. Maybe it’s a spectacular fire and you burn the whole forest down. Maybe it’s small and easy to stop the spread. Maybe your fire took out the entire west coast. Whatever your failure looks like - a spectacular one or a minor blunder - we all have to figure out leadership after the fire.
So what do you do after the fire? How do you lead well? Here’s a few things I’ve learned…
Leadership is difficult and can be scary. It forces us to grow, challenges us to mature, and leads us to places we sometimes don’t want to go, but, as Jesus lovers, leadership is a beautiful gift. It’s an avenue that grows us into His likeness. So press into it. And when failure comes, because it always does, remember this:
Failure is an event, not a person.
Failure does not define you, degrade you, or defeat you when you are in Christ Jesus.
“For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:2
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
“For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
WRITTEN BY: LYNDSAY TERRY
Read more from Lyndsay @ www.lyndsayterry.com
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As quickly as our lives have slowed down, so many of us have somehow found a way to busy ourselves again, filling our days with non-stop information, interactions, noise, and to-do lists.
FOCUS seems a hard thing to discipline ourselves to do when everything moves at the speed of light and the entire wealth of information the world has to offer is one google search away. We've been conditioned to want instant gratification and accept nothing less than "right now". Our attention spans have shortened drastically. Is reading more than an short article or the max amount of characters in a tweet a challenge for you sometimes? I practically fall asleep every time I attempt to read a regular book!
FOCUS feels distant and BLURRY feels more realistic. Can you relate?
It's hard to be a Mary in a world built for Marthas! But, sis, we were made to put aside the day's work for a time - it will be there when we are done - and sit at the feet of Jesus. We were made to give him our whole hearts, our whole minds, and our whole attention everyday. Have you taken the time to do that yet?
We aren't looking to drop some wisdom on you today - we are looking to point you to the Giver of all wisdom. Today, we are hoping to give you space to FOCUS on Jesus through some scripture for reflection, worship music for soaking, and a prayer to pray today.
Top 40 Worship (August 2020)
SCRIPTURES FOR MEDITATION
1 Corinthians 10:31
MEDITATION PRAYER (Rebecca Barlow Jordan)
Lord, quiet my heart and still my soul as I wait on you during these moments alone. I recognize you as a holy and majestic God - one who deserves great praise and glory. All of creation testifies to your awesome and unique works. There is no one like you, no other god worthy of honor.
I want to focus on You, Lord, and to shut out all the distractions of the world. For these next few moments, it's just you and me, God. You are Spirit, but you are a God who knows us so intimately. I like to imagine you as literally sitting here beside me, because of your promise that you are Emmanuel - always "with us."
As I think about the truths in your Word, may the meditation of my heart be sweet and honoring to you. I am not trying to clear out my mind. I simply want to empty me of self and fill me with your Holy Spirit.
I long for your presence, Lord. Narrow my thoughts to include only those things that are honorable, truthful, beautiful, pure, and praiseworthy. I ask for your wisdom to apply these truths to my life morning, noon, and night - literally all through the day. For you are worthy to be praised all the time.
I remember your great faithfulness in the past and am so grateful that you shower fresh mercy and grace on me each morning. I rehearse your goodness through answered prayer and personal reminders to me daily of your love for me. Even when I feel alone or distant from you, you draw me back into your presence when I purposely slow down and draw close to you. I treasure your Word and want to chew on the truths you reveal to me today. As I pull apart each piece and relect on every principle and word of instruction, I'm asking you to guide me and teach me what you want me to know.
Is there a promise here for me to remember? Is there an action I need to take or a sin to forsake? Is there more for me to understand about your character? Help me to personalize your message to my heart today. Your Word is powerful. I celebrate the strength and wisdom you will give me as I learn to honor and glorify you more.
I need you and love you, Lord. And I ask you to speak through your Word and in these quiet moments together. Whisper or shout into my spirit, whichever you want, and whatever I need the most. But most of all, just receive my praise as I focus my thoughts only on you. I'm listening and anticipating as I read and meditate on your beautiful Word.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
Sisters, we want to encourage you to join us on the Community today. We'll be there ready to hear what God is sharing with you as you focus and turn your ears and eyes on Him today. What is He teaching you? Where is He leading you? What is He showing you?
How can we partner with you as you passionately pursue Him today?
Y’all. When I was scheduled to write on the topic of “focus”… I should probably just spend time telling you all the things that focus ISN’T. All the things that mess with your focus. All the ways to lose focus. Because, let me tell you, I am no expert in this area.
In September 2017 my life was a wreck. My husband and I were working hard at rebuilding our marriage into something beautiful after we had just about run it into the ground, I was trying to rebuild my relationship with Jesus after I had spent too much time neglecting it and running from Him, we were trying to make new friends in a new place, a new home, and a new church. September 2017 was kind of a mess and yet, that is the place and time the Lord spoke so clearly to me: “Write.”
Excuse me… come again? “Write.” I was in the middle of a staff meeting at my new job. We were in the middle of prayer and I heard the Lord as clear as a bell, “Write.” I remember thinking, “about what?” And immediately the Lord said, “Full portion God.”
He gave me the name… of a book. My book.
I tried to shake that thought out of my head right away. I was the worst candidate to write a book on anything, especially concerning spiritual things. Don’t get me wrong, I am a deeply spiritual person, but I was a deeply messed up person at the time and I knew God must have been confused for a minute there because I could have sworn he told me to write a book about Him. But He really did tell me to write and I couldn’t ignore it. We were praying and as soon as I heard “full portion God” I pulled out my pen and paper and started furiously scribbling all of the thoughts flooding into my mind. I still have the notes from that moment. The Lord just pricked my spirit and my mind took off running like my life depended on it. I went home and, in secret, began to write.
I didn’t tell anyone because I was embarrassed. I was a colossal screw-up. Who did I think I was to write a book for the Lord? I was not smart enough or good enough or holy enough or experienced enough or any other kind of "enough" there was to be. It just wasn’t me and I knew it and so did everyone else. So I couldn’t tell a soul. Too many people knew my history and I couldn’t face the ridicule that would spew out over me if anyone knew I was writing a book. So I wrote in secret for a couple months. Here and there, whenever inspiration would strike, I would grab my laptop and write.
In January 2018 my husband and I were just beginning to teach a class at our church on the gift of prophecy when we found out we were pregnant with our third child. We could not have been more ecstatic and grateful and hope-filled. We wanted to have a baby and we could not believe how easily it happened this time around as it had been a struggle before. Just two days after we found out we were pregnant, I woke up to spotting and fear. The day progressed and things just got worse. There was no stopping it. We were losing our child we had only loved for two days. The baby we had already been dreaming of holding and kissing and loving was slipping away and I could do nothing but watch and wait and groan in pain, both physically and emotionally - the greatest pain my heart could know.
About a week later, I knew I needed to get back to this prophetic class with my husband. I needed to be immersed in the presence of God and actively listening to his voice and direction. I was scared someone would say “I’m sorry for your loss” or “how are you doing?” and I would lose it, but I went anyway. I just needed it and I couldn’t explain how or why, but I knew I did.
That first evening back, the Lord gave a friend of mine a prophetic word that he didn’t understand, but oh my gracious, I knew exactly what God was saying…
“I see a blank sheet of white lined paper. And it’s coming into focus, the way you would focus the lens on a projector. Laser-like focus,” he said. I about jumped out of my chair when he said, “laser-like focus.” He had no idea the Lord had told me to write. And I knew the Lord was saying, “I gave you an assignment. You better set your sights on your paper with a laser-like focus to obey me.”
It was not the message I had expected or even hoped to hear that evening. I wanted to be scooped up and held. I wanted to hear “Your baby is here in my arms,” or “You’ll be pregnant again in [fill in the month here].” I wanted to hear about my baby or the hopes of another child… not about this book. And yet, the Lord was speaking to me about the book, not the baby.
Listen to me, sweet friend. Sometimes the Lord is going to speak to you about the book when you are focused on the baby. Your heart and mind and soul may be wrapped up in the baby because that is where the trauma is, that is where the heartache is, that is were the wounding is. But friend, that may not be where His focus is. And I know that can hurt to hear because we want the Lord to be focused on the things WE are focused on. But that is just not how it works. His thoughts are above our own. His ways are above ours. He is on a whole different level.
After January 2018, I lost focus. My eyes were locked on our baby. My eyes were locked on my pain. My eyes were flooded with loss. My focus shifted from God’s calling to just surviving one day to the next. And it went on like this for almost a year.
December 2018, just a week before Christmas, I found out we were pregnant again. I was so scared, so excited, so anxious, and so hopeful all at once. My focus shifted once again from survival, to planning and building a future for our expanding family.
The spring of 2019, I began a discipleship group with 5 other ladies… the nitty-gritty kind that forces you do deal with all of your junk and get right with Jesus. Well… I got right with Jesus, okay? With the encouragement (and harassment - ahem - I mean accountability) of my discipleship group, I started to write again. I was reminded of the calling the Lord gave me in 2017 and the prophetic word from a year before in 2018. The Lord had told me to do something and I had allowed my vision to get hijacked by everything happening all around me. I had allowed my focus to blur, to shift, to change, to move from the book to the baby.
This time was so different. A year previous, I had given up on writing because of the heartbreaking loss of a child and now here I was writing while carrying a new life inside of me. A new life breathed into this child and a new life breathed into me and this book. It was a strange sense of coming full-circle and quite literally rewriting my painful past into something more beautiful now.
My daughter, Abigail Rose, was born in August 2019. After she was born, I wrote here and there, but things really slowed down. I was focused on the baby again instead of the book. However, at the beginning on 2020, I asked the Lord for a word for the year - something to help direct my attention to what He has for me - and I heard, “focus.” I knew it was primarily about the book. I had promised the Lord I would finish he first-draft by May. And you know what? I did. The first draft is completed and I feel more completed. I know it’s not done, there’s more to do, but I feel a spiritual milestone in this place. A monument to a new level of spiritual maturity has been built by the hands of long-suffering and continued obedience.
This is a long story to bring you to this point…
What is your “book”?
What is the thing God has called you to do? Maybe it’s changing careers, maybe it’s homeschooling your kids, maybe it’s starting a non-profit, maybe it’s writing a book, maybe it’s sharing Jesus with your neighbor. Whatever it is, name it - out loud. Don’t let yourself keep it a secret anymore. Own it and call it out and get some accountability. You need people to account for your ability when things pull you down or the devil is being his liar self telling you all the ways you are the wrong girl for the job. You need people in your corner cheering you on, telling you the truth about yourself, poking and prodding you to complete your metaphorical “book” and obey the Lord.
What is your “baby”?
What is pulling your focus away from the thing God has called/commanded/asked/told you to do? It’s not always wrong to acknowledge the baby in the room. For me, of course I needed to mourn. Of course my heart and mind and focus was pulled toward this baby and the pain we were experiencing. And that is not wrong. But what I believe God wanted for me during all of that was to continue to chase after the book. To continue to obey, even through the pain, even through the tears, even though the heartache because the act of obedience is what ushers in healing and comfort and peace. The baby and the book don’t need to compete.
How can you obey right now?
Focus simply boils down to obedience. When we obey the Lord in the small things, it keeps our eyes focused in His direction and we can more easily and fluidly move in sync with His Spirit. If I had just kept my eyes focused on Jesus during that painful period of loss, if I had just looked for ways to obey Him in the small things, I believe I would not have lost sight of the book. I would have experienced more peace when I felt so much turmoil and more strength when I felt so weak.
Friend, obedience sharpens our vision to more clearly see the life God has intended us to live with the unique gifts, passions, callings, and purpose each of us possess. So if focus is a struggle for you, just look for one way to obey the Lord today. Just start there. He’ll bring it all into focus as you just commit to the next step of obedience in front of you.
Written by: Lyndsay TERRY
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That’s such a loaded word, isn’t it? There’s something about that word that makes everything feel so easy when you are in it and everything feel so difficult when you are out of it. In it, life is simple and out of it, life is endlessly complicated. In it, everything is bright and clear. Out of it, everything is dim and confusing. In it, you feel like a kid again and out of it, you feel like the cranky old man yelling at kids to get off the lawn.
John Piper, possibly one of the greatest theologians of our lifetime, has a saying, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.” While I have a million feelings and thoughts about joy, both personally and theologically, I just want to hang out in one place tonight while keeping that quote in mind…
"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Friend, that drive to be happy… God put that there inside of you. And it’s your job as a Jesus lover, a child of God, to FIRST and FOREMOST passionately pursue pleasure that is all-satisfying… that can only be found in Jesus Christ. Read that scripture again and soak it in…
“You make known to me the path of life…”
What questions do you have? What answers do you need? What decisions need to be made? Who are you really? Why are you here? What’s your purpose in life? HE will make known to you the path of life. He will answer those questions. He will direct your steps. He will guide you, lead you, walk alongside you. But you have to stick close. You can’t hear the voice of someone who is far away. You can’t follow along The Path of Life when you are on your own path doing your own thing. You need to be close to Jesus.
“In your presence there is fullness of joy…”
I want it. You want it. We all want it. We all NEED it! If you are a follower of Jesus and you could not be easily identified by others as a joyful person… you need to spend some more time with Jesus, sweet friend. In His presence, there isn’t just a little joy, some joy, or enough joy. It says in His presence there is FULLNESS of joy! I want to be filled to overflowing with so much joy it just leaks out all over the people around me until they are filled up too because of the presence of God in my life! Wowza! I’ve got tingles all over my arms thinking about the kind of JOY I have in the presence of God! Take notice: it doesn’t say “In your presence, sometimes there’s joy,” and it doesn’t say, “In your presence, there is joy if you [x y z].” There are no qualifiers in the statement. It’s just what happens when you step into the presence of God as His baby girl! As His beloved daughter! As His favorite kid!
“At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
In his presence, there is joy overflowing. And at his right hand, which symbolizes a special place of honor, there are pleasures forevermore. Eternal, everlasting, never-ending pleasures.
Listen. I don’t think the people of God can do the work of God and fully obey the will of God if we do not understand the position we hold in the Kingdom of God. If you feel like you have to earn it, you don’t understand what your salvation bought. Eternal life is just one part of the package. It’s a side-effect of an even greater work. Salvation found only in Jesus Christ restores you to your place as a sinless, righteous son or daughter of God. You were made for the Garden, we stepped off the Path of Life and royally screwed up the world, and lost access to the Garden which is a picture of perfect intimacy with the Father. What did Adam and Eve do in the Garden? Walk around every evening talking with God. In person. They had perfect communication with God. They were in perfect standing with God. There was absolutely no shame or hindrance between them and their Father. Joy was EASY to find. Joy was ALWAYS around because God was always around! They were FRIENDS with the God of the universe and HE was their dad!
That is what you and I were made for! Because of sin, we lost access to God who is our eternal joy! Jesus made a way back for us by sacrificing his perfect life on behalf of our sin-filled lives so that we could be God’s kids again… so we could go back to the Garden.
If you love Jesus and have been saved, but are still walking around like you are carrying the yoke of slavery to sin… girl, pick yourself up and dust yourself off! You are a child of God. You are the head and not the tail. The devil may strike your heal but you will crush his head. You live with the eternal, everlasting, never-ending, all-fulfilling, all-encompassing victory of Jesus over every sin in your life! If that doesn’t fill you with JOY I don’t know what will!
Pray that verse over yourself. You remind yourself that, because of Jesus Christ’s work on the cross, you have 24/7/365 from now until forever access to JOY. You tell yourself the truth…
So today, go find the fullness of Joy! Go be in the presence of God. Worship, read the Word, soak up His presence, spend some time in prayer… like more than 2 minutes. Get on your knees, lay facedown, whatever… just get in His presence and get your heart back in the Garden! Your joy will start spilling out all over! I promise!
“God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.” - John Piper
WRITTEN BY:LYNDSAY TERRY
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There’s a story in 2 Chronicles 20 that is one of my favorite chapters in all of scripture and it has dramatically altered how I handle crises in my life. I’ll give you the reader’s digest version, but there are so many beautiful treasures hidden in this passage that I really want you to make sure you go read this short chapter this week and let the Word of the Lord minister to you, encourage you, embolden you, and empower you to listen and obey Him.
Here’s the cliff notes:
Judah (the southern kingdom) was about to be under attack by three enemy nations coming together to destroy them. King Jehoshaphat called for the entire nation to fast and pray together. God’s Spirit fell on a man named Jahaziel (whose name means “God gives visions” or “God sees”) and he prophesied that God would fight this battle for them, the location where their enemies would be hiding the next morning, and instructed that they needed to meet them at the battle lines and only hold firm while God rescued them. They obeyed and Jehoshaphat sends people to the front lines, not men with swords or shields, not warriors or champions, but singers instructed to trust God for victory and to sing praises to God. When they begin to sing praises, the enemy armies begin attacking each other until every single enemy fighter is dead. The Kingdom of Judah ends up taking three entire days to gather the spoils of war (money, precious jewels, etc.) because there were so many riches to be gathered.
In the New Testament, we see another similar story. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are thrown into prison, the inner dungeon with their feet in stocks so that they wouldn’t escape, after they were stripped and beaten severely. That evening they were praying and singing praises. Suddenly there was a massive earthquake that shook the entire prison. Their chains fell off and prison doors flung wide open along with all of the other prisoners’ chains and cell doors! They helped a prison guard receive salvation through Jesus and then his entire family and they were freed.
There are so many amazing things about both of these stories and so many treasures tucked into each passage of scripture for you to seek out, so please do that, but today we’re just going to talk about a few of them. Before anything else, I want to make sure we notice the response to the battle or trial that each of these three men took. First - prayer. They were met with the unexpected, the scary, the unovercomable, the impossible, the “end”, and they responded with prayer. The sought out God for direction as their first response, not last resort.
Ask yourself this right now: Have I been on my face before the Father seeking him out?
Jehoshaphat fasted. He even had his entire nation fast before the Lord. Have you considered fasting? Fasting is a denial of self to highlight our own brokenness and reliance on the Father. Fasting is intended to quicken our spirit to His voice and our heart to obedience.
The second response these men had to their trial: Praise. Notice it’s not the word for worship. It’s both the greek and the Hebrew word for praise - “humneō” which is a celebratory song (used in Acts) and “hâlal” which means to shine, to boast, and to act like a madman (that’s my favorite description - used in 2 Chronicles). They weren’t singing songs that were begging God to rescue them, to see them in the middle of their mess, to comfort them - at least that’s not what is recorded. What is recorded is that they were singing songs of celebration, boasting about God’s beauty and holiness, and acting like madmen while doing it! There was some joy to be found in those songs of praise! Not sorrow or fear or worry.
These were songs of declaration - not desperation!
Ask yourself this right now: Have I been weeping or rejoicing in my trial? Have I been declaring or despairing in my trial?
It was the praise that made way for the breakthrough! It was the praise that invited God to come and do what only He can do! And sis, you need a miracle right now, don’t you?
If that’s you today, I want you to boast about our God and make him shine right where you are, right this moment, whether you are alone in the car reading this, sitting in your living room with a horde of children, or wherever you find yourself right now. If you are ready for God to come and do what only He can do with the battle you face, girl you better start praising like a madwoman! You better start praising like you believe He is fighting on your behalf. You better start praising like you know He wins every war he wages! It's time to celebrate! There is a reward for that kind of faith! Jehoshaphat was rewarded with riches and treasures, Paul and Silas were rewarded with freedom and salvations. What reward is hidden in your victory?
Ask yourself this right now: Do I believe that God has a spoil of riches for me to receive through the battle I am facing now once I let Him fight for me?
When you focus on the praise, God wins the fight and rewards our trust in Him. What kind of great spiritual treasures are hidden in the battle you are facing? What precious truths and gems of wisdom are in the victory spoils of the fight you face? I can’t even begin to imagine what beauty God will bring from our enemy’s defeat, but I know it’ll take you more than three days to carry back all the spoils from the victory!
I want to leave you with some really solid truth so that when you are tempted to despair, you can arm yourself with scripture that will empower you to praise! Here are some of my favorite passages…
“But I promise you, no weapon meant to hurt you will succeed, and you will refute every accusing word spoken against you. This promise is the inheritance of Yahweh’s servants, and their vindication is from me,” says Yahweh.”
“A thief has only one thing in mind - he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect - life in its fullness until. You overflow!”
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
“Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish his love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love, even though it is written:
You can’t sustain what you don’t feed so start feeding yourself God’s truth! Pray and seek His face. Give him the kind of praise that makes him shine, boasts about Him, and makes you act like a madwoman. Start speaking God’s truth over your life and believe Him for the victory. If you are overwhelmed, tired, scared, or anxious as you look at the battle in front of you, then it's probably time to start celebrating the goodness, the holiness, of God!
This is something I have declared over my own life that I want to share with you. I hope it is just another tool in your tool belt to help you stand firm in Truth, sing praise, and watch God win your fight! Declare this over yourself today… I am declaring this over your life too.
I am made for supernatural life. In your presence, I have total joy and you reveal the path of life. Your Spirit compels me to greater levels of love and power. I am aware that you are with me and I release your presence in every situation and to every person I encounter. What you say is true forever. Miracles, signs, wonders, power, and love follow me as I move through trials into triumph. You win every war you wage and you are winning my battle today. I receive the spiritual riches you have won for me that will empower me to pursue you wholeheartedly. Thank you for the victory!
WRITTEN BY: LYNDSAY TERRY
Read more from Lyndsay @ www.lyndsayterry.com.
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I'm stressed. I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm tired. I'm way over my head and out of my depth. I'm a little scared, quite frankly. I have questions, so so so many questions. Why is this happening? When will this end? When will everything go back to normal? Will there ever be a "normal" again? I'm unqualified. I'm exhausted. I'm not smart enough. I don't have enough energy. I'm quick to anger. I'm impatient. I'm needy. I'm so so needy.
This is where I've been finding myself off and on for the entire year. Even before the "apocalypse" (I should stop calling it that...), I was overwhelmed and scared and exhausted and confused... and and and. My husband and I were facing some challenges in planning for our kids futures; what we wanted for them didn't line up with our financial situation. We were staring dreams in the face; what we were chasing after didn't line up with our availabilites. We were trying to build our life together; what we needed didn't fit inside our schedules.
Then... the apocalypse. The shutdown. The virus. The pandemic. The together time. The cancelled busyness. The free schedules. The family dinners. The phone calls. The homeschooling. The praying together. The Bible reading together. The movies together. The late nights and giggles. The extra snuggles. The memories. The yardwork (we had TIME, y'all). The new friendships. The rekindled old friendships. The donut deliveries. The happy meal runs. The grocery shopping ALONE (can I get an amen?!). The weight lifted.
The weight... lifted.
How in the world did I get the point that in order for me to chill out, calm down, slow down, and wind down, the entire world had to collapse in on itself? The country had to shut down for me to slow down.
If this was not the world's largest wake-up call... It's even a little embarrassing to admit to this, but I know so many other people who needed the world to end for living to really begin.
It's not that everything has become peachy. We are still on a global scale house-arrest. Schools are shut down. People are without work. Businesses are closing. Families are in crisis. People are sick. People are scared. BUT GOD...
"So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God's perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose." Romans 8:28 (TPT)
God is using it all, babe. That baby on your hip that won't stop crying... he's using that for your good. That burnt dinner... for your good. That lost income... for your good. That annoying 9 year old boy... for your good. That broken down car when you really need it... for your good. And... this may hurt, but... that child or spouse or parent that is ill... for your good.
If you give it to Him, He will turn it for good. And if it isn't good, He isn't finished.
This terrible virus that has shut down our world economy, over-taxed our healthcare systems around the world, provoked fear and panic in millions of people, and caused everything to come to a screeching halt... He is using this as a tool to lift our eyes to Him, to bring our families back together around the table, to cherish our friendships, to love our neighbors, to minister to the hurting and broken, to trust God for the increase when there just isn't enough, to partner with our church family for the Kingdom, to spend just a little more time snuggling or reading or singing together, to bring our finances under control, to read the Bible more, to learn something new, to focus on our children, to connect with our spouse, to grow in intimacy with Him.
There is so much beauty to find in the world right now. In the middle of chaos and sickness, there is order and health being restored to families who have had their priorities upside-down for too long. Our eyes are being opened to what really matters, what we should make time for, what we should not worry about or fear, who we should love more deeply, and to be filled with gratitude for what we have and whom we are with.
Lord, give us eyes to see the beauty you are bringing into our lives right now, in this very moment. Show us how you have provided, how you have protected, how you have blessed us, how you have loved us so well this week. Give us eyes to see all the good you are producing in the bad, all the order from the chaos, all the beauty from the ashes, and all the peace from the frenzy. We embrace every good gift you bring and we give you everything we hold dear. We adore you, Father. Amen.
Written By: Lyndsay terry
A couple of years ago, my sis and I took our kids to a state park and did a short hike. It was only a mile long and it was supposed to end at this beach on the lake with shells and fossils. It sounded like something our kids would really get a kick out of and we both like hikes, so we hit the trail. By trail, I mean paved sidewalk for the first portion. It was idyllic... at first. Sidewalks. A pond on the right, the lake on the left. Beautiful docks, ducks swimming, birds chirping, people walking their dogs, and cute older couples snuggling up on a bench. I was enjoying this part of the hike.
We went across a footbridge and into the woods. It was warm and muggy and there were bugs. Honestly, we were getting to the point in this short hike that I just wanted to get to that beach and kick my feet up in the sand, letting the kids run around finding shells. I was anxious to just get there already. I may not be in the best shape of my life either so when my almost two year old was done walking, carrying him (I didn't bring a baby backpack... genius, I know) felt like I was carrying a 10 lb sack of potatoes on the hike... except it was more like a 25 lb sack of potatoes that wouldn't stop whining and accidentally kicking me in the side.
My four year old was amazed on this hike in the woods. He has grown up in the desert, we had recently moved back to Virginia, so seeing trees is new. Being surrounded by woods was like being on some alien planet. Some magical adventure. He wanted to stop at every tree root and try to pull it up from the ground. He wanted to touch every funny looking plant that we walked by. He wanted to look for rabbits, birds, bears, and monsters (which he firmly believed were real - and was unafraid). He was completely enraptured by the beauty of the woods. I was completely over it.
I know I'm a good mom, but this was one of my less than stellar moments in parenting. Instead of letting him take his precious time along the trail, I found that I kept hurrying him along, grabbing his hand to get him back on track and insisting we speed up. I knew what was at the end of this trail was better than the trail itself. I knew he would think this beach was even greater and more magical than the woods. I knew it was flipping hot and I was carrying his cranky little brother. I couldn't have been more impatient or silently irritated.
I'm not kidding you, God stopped me right in my tracks on that hike. I had turned around to explain for the fourteenth time that no matter how hard he yanked, those giant tree roots wouldn't come loose so he could use it as a sword, and before the words left my mouth, I heard the voice of God. "You think I'm hurrying you along in your life because the end is greater than the journey, but baby, I LOVE when you enjoy the small wonders on the way. I love when you take notice of all the hidden treasures I've put in the woods for you to find. Yes, we have a destination and yes, I will help you remember to follow the path we're walking together, but I want you to stop and look around from time to time. I want you to look back and see how far we've come. I want you to see the beauty all around you, even when you aren't there yet. Don't be in such a hurry. I'm not rushing you. I'm not irritated with you. I'm with you."
Honestly, I so love when God gives me a parenting lesson.
Sometimes, the trees feel overwhelming. I feel swallowed up by the shadows they cast and that path is a narrow walk. Sometimes the heat and the discomfort really get to me and I'm just ready to get where we're going already. Get me out of this place, Lord. Get me to my destiny because the woods suck. I'm miserable here. I'm tired of walking. This load is too heavy to keep carrying, Lord, and it keeps kicking me when I'm already tired. Everything feels like it's slowing me down and I just want to arrive.
If we slow down. If we decide to face those trees without fear. If we believe the shadows can't harm us, we'll see so much beauty in the journey. So much wonder in the process of destiny. He has hidden treasures in the dark places for us to find. He has made the path narrow so we don't wander too far to the right or to the left. He is with us. He isn't waiting on the other side wondering when we are going to get our act together and show up. He is with us. Emmanuel. God is with us.
That lesson in parenting the heavenly Father taught me changed the rest of the day. It changed the rest of the days following too. So let me just encourage you the way He encouraged me...
Baby, He has treasures and wonders hidden in the dark for you. Don't worry about showing up late. He isn't waiting at the end for you. He is with you. Don't be afraid of the darkness. It won't overtake you. It won't swallow you whole if you just grab onto His hand. He is with you.
Emmanuel. He is with you, baby.
written by: Lyndsay Terry
Read more from Lyndsay at www.lyndsayterry.com.
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