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All In

I said, “I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
    while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,
    not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
my heart grew hot within me.
Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.

Psalm 39:1-4

It has been a long time since I have written here. To be honest, it's been a long time since this old blog has been viewable to anyone at all. The first time I hit publish on an entry here was nearly thirteen years ago. It had been two weeks since I had stood under the funeral tent and watched his mother, my dearest friend and mentor, grieve for her child. It left me undone and I didn't know what to do with it. So, my fingers found their way to the keyboard. And God met me there.

The keyboard became our meeting place - mine and God's - for many years to come. 

Many of you who read here for the first time came to read the story of Miller Grace, my baby girl who lived but a few days and left a mark on me I've never been able to hide. You read raw, unfiltered, incredibly sad cries of a grieving mother and I'm still not sure why. I only knew I had to breathe and fumble my way toward healing. After some hard knocks and dead end roads, I was reminded again that healing only came from God. 

And every time I turned the music up, opened my Bible, and put my fingers on the keyboard, He showed up.

No matter the season. No matter the heartache. No matter what. He did.

A few of you recognized my family in different states and said hello. Others quoted words I'd forgotten I'd typed in the dead of night. And some of you dared to find my inbox and share your own raw, unfiltered, incredibly sad stories with me. You invited me in. Some of you became my very sisters and we watched God work like never before and we lived to tell about it - on the LifeWay blog of all places. My life changed. My heart changed. My goals changed. The whole wide world changed.

And the further I followed Jesus, the further from shore - from home - He lead me.

But I'm a Second Guess Girl.

He's never stopped calling. And I’ve never stopped following. I've just focused on the waves more than I've focused on His eyes. I've let the doubting voices near me drown out the One who made me. I am my own biggest critic and the enemy has played on that in ways far bigger than all my words could ever describe. 

Maybe you’ve never heard of this blog. And if that’s true, I succeeded at what I was trying to do: run, hide, blend. 

That’s over.

Prayers prayed over a decade ago, downright cries and pleas to God to use ALL parts of my life for His glory have not only been answered this year, after all this time, but they have FALLEN on my head in ways that just break me. I've been trying to walk this thing out with grace, but it steals my breath to realize what God is doing, how very intentionally He's put pieces into place over the last decade while I have basically run like a chicken with my head cut off trying to do all and be all.

Jeremiah 2:20 ESV says it like this: 

“For long ago I broke your yoke    and burst your bonds;    but you said, ‘I will not serve.’
Yes, on every high hill    and under every green tree    you bowed down like a whore.”

Reading those words broke my heart. I’d served and bowed for everyone, but Him.

I have known what is mine to do all this time and I’ve refused to leave my net (Matthew 4:20) and follow until now. 

Just as our Father was with Israel all throughout Scripture, He steadily, consistently kept the truth before me and waited patiently for me to decide to follow Him.

I've written and taught and spoke about the faithfulness of God so many times and yet, I had reached a point where it was painful to go back and read the words I had written myself, to look truth in the face.

We look like crazy people when we follow Jesus. Our actual life has looked so crazy, doing the best we can, for so long, that I think I thought I could appear less crazy if I tried to "be normal" instead of continuing to "rock the boat."

God has been so faithful and sure this entire time. While I was spinning, He was holding all things in place. 

God had to allow me to be so miserable others could see it, but I had done my level best to hide it all this time.

I do not know what God has in store. I don't know what He wants to accomplish here, but I also know He shuts my mouth every single time I try to ask. (And you know what a feat that is.)

He's hemmed us in behind and before and while we know it's true, to have soul after soul look me in the eye and confirm it again and again? I can't.

I can't, but I am not afraid anymore because HE CAN. And He has and He will.

I'm stubborn as a mule and keep trying to keep my cool, but my chin keeps quivering. The love my Father has lavished on me and the absolute GRACE He's shown by pursuing my soul all these years is overwhelming at best. In the fullness of His time, He has thrown open the doors, saved me from myself for His glory, and called me out in ways that just shut my mouth and bless my weary heart. 

Even I do not have words.

Lord willing, though, I'll find my voice again. I'm getting some strength back in my legs and I can't wait to see where God leads us and who He has waiting for us there.

Four years ago, the Lord called our family to go to Ekklesia. It took two years for this stubborn, second guess girl to go. From the first morning, we’ve been home. We traded our patent leather and smocking for gardening gloves and hula hoops. We’ve had the opportunity to go into dark places and find folks just like us. Seeing my children’s faith come to life in the form of serving their fellow man has changed everything. Seeing those in darkness come to light, to be embraced and never judged? It looks like His Kingdom coming, His will being done. 

Our faith grew feet and we can just never go back to the days of being fat and sassy, sliding in five minutes late to the back pew. 

We just can’t.

We’ve sold out. We’re all in.

At least I thought we were.

As it turns out, there’s more I can do.

We've seen the enemy try to attack Ekklesia already this year and, really, that's when this flame ignited again. God is at work at Ekk on the Hill. This is war and we know who wins. I'm ready - as I'll ever be - for battle. I’m honored beyond words to realize this fire that has been shut up in my bones has a greater purpose than I could have known. 

I’ll be leaving my beloved, comfortable, tenured teaching position to assume the role of Women’s and Next Generation Coordinator at Ekk on the Hill this Summer. No one could appear to be less qualified. No one has more reason to stay where she is. No one could fight a calling harder. No one’s faith is smaller than mine, but nobody’s God is bigger either.

And He has made this CLEAR.

And I?  I’m going with Him. At last, I’m going with Him and I’m all in.

I’d love to have you walk with us. And I’d love to tell you more about what He’s been doing this Sunday.


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