Tag: healing

Driving out Darkness: Prayer and Planning

Of all of the many things I could blame for not loving my life, I think the number one thing is pretty easy to spot. I’ve spent a lot of time building up walls over the years, walls so thick that not even my kids can break through them. Walls that desperately need to come down if I’m going to live a life that truly values connections with others. They need prayer to knock them down.

But these walls are my cozy, safe place. I’ve spent years cultivating my own life within them. I know this space, these walls, this life. What I don’t know is what separates me from the rest of the world. Who wants to tear this trusty barrier down?

Well. I do. Because I want to love people well, and I can’t love others if I have huge walls built up. It’s scientifically impossible. And to live life to the fullest, I need those connections.

But all I can do right now is pray for those walls to come down. I have no other practical steps to take, and maybe I don’t need them. Maybe all I really need is the willingness to move forward.

Maybe that’s all we really ever need.

my next step

My plan for the next week is to pray for these walls to come down. That’s it. Well, that’s most of it.

I’m also reading The Lifegiving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson (affiliate link). What began as a search for practical information on how to create an atmosphere of love quickly became this confession. I can’t love if I can’t break down these walls. And I cannot break down these walls in my own strength. I need God to move in a big way.

My One Word for 2017


The empty page called to me: write it all out. All of the frustrations with last year. All of the hopes and dreams you hold for the new year. Write!

I wrote a long list, at least a page long. It took a couple of hours, but at least I was done. Most of the resolutions listed included vague goals like read my Bible more or be a better friend. That list lasted maybe a couple of days at best, and at fourteen years old, I already knew that resolutions were a waste of time.

Five years ago, I started reevaluating my parenting. I saw a need and realized that unless I changed, my parenting wouldn’t. Instead of a long list of vague goals, though, I picked one word that embodied the person I desperately wanted to become: intentional. I did not become intentional in a year, but I have become more intentional over time. The words that followed (obedience, shalom, prophetess, and abundance) also shaped my character and habits.

Last week, I shared about my year of abundance. In many ways, I was surprised at how much abundance came from my relationships rather than my comforts in our home. Comfort in the home only comes when we are comfortable with ourselves, and that’s something that only happens when we’re around others who breathe life into us.

It’s a perfect segue into this year’s word: dreamers.

I have fought this word unlike any other. In all honesty, I am afraid to dream or to watch others dream. And at the same time, my husband and I are, in fact, dreamers. We have spent years dreaming with nothing to show for it, and our dreams have led us to a cynical sort of planning for dreams to fail.

But when the Spirit pressed this word onto my heart, I wanted to cry with relief. It feels as though we’re being called to dream again. So why the struggle?

Reality flooded in. That cynical voice inside of my head spoke up and spoke loud. Dream? You dare to dream after all that’s happened to you? It’s better to stay inside and forget about dreaming. Keep your head down. Yes, that’s much safer. 

But then a quieter, stronger voice whispered, Yes, dream. Keep dreaming. Keep walking forward. This is the hard path that leads to life. 

And it has. We are dreaming again. We are loving others again. Finally, after years of betrayal and hurt, our wounds are healing. Once again, we are working with a church plant, but this one bears little resemblance to the last. Here, we are heard. We are valued. We are not pushed or prodded with guilt but appreciated and loved as friends.

2016 was rough, but it brought us to the place where we can dream again. And I am thankful for that.


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