The lies we believe throughout our life never just lie dormant. They quietly percolate gradually moving towards the surface waiting for the perfect moment to beat you down.
Fear is a liar.
The fear that I am speaking of here is the kind that settles deep within our soul. It whispers one lie after another–
- You can’t trust God with your marriage because remember what happened with your parents.
- Your Heavenly Father delights in His children but sometimes you, annoy Him.
- If you are not on top of your mothering game your kids are going to turn against you and God. It’s up to you to make that difference.
- Remember what happened the last time you put yourself out there.
- Yes, you may have been saved by faith, but you need to earn those extra brownie points to really make Him happy.
Friends, you know what all those lies have in common? Each lie drives us into “task mode”. The message I walk away with is–Do more! Maybe He’s too busy helping others who have real needs. Maybe just maybe He can’t be trusted!
So I follow in the steps of Eve and I take a bite of the fruit. Because like Eve I believe I’m getting cheated out of something I deserve. Because like Eve I twist His grace and opt for self-induced rules. Because like Eve I don’t truly trust Him. Because like Eve I am prideful. Because like Eve I believe the lie.
Fear Is A Liar
I continued doing what I do best when the lies got louder and things started to fall apart. I tried to put the mess back together.
Here’s the thing though, at the core this is who I am–I’m a put things back together kind of person.
Ever since I can remember I’ve tried to make ugly things beautiful. I’m a leader. I’m an idea person. A counselor. An intentional mother and teacher. A compassionate person. But now these strengths were crippling me.
How did I get here? Into this broken mess.
I Believed the Lie
I believed the lie–Do more! God is too busy right now with other more important matters so I need to take over.
My friends listen closely, fear is a liar!
Drowning in the lies I quickly came up with strategies and detailed plans to execute. These ideas masked my fears and got the approval of the world. Work hard + be good = applause and acceptance. Add some creativity and intellect to it and I got an A+ every. single. time. In the missionary world. In the Christian community. In the mothering world. This formula works wonderfully and it got me some major brownie points.
When I think about it though, most of these things in themselves were not inherently wrong but they got thwarted along the way. I wanted my plan, the healing, the good parenting outcomes, more than His plan. I ignored Him and I relied on my own strength, giftedness and understanding. I got so busy serving Him that I forgot all of this, my children, my marriage, my ministry, my body, my friends, my writing, my plans, in reality, are His and are for Him.
When the Lies You Believe Beat You Down
In the midst of the excruciating soul pain, I struggled going to church, afraid to literally come undone in public. Some weeks I did go but most of the time I couldn’t muster up the energy to smile for the world. All week I walked around trying to make it and some days I faked it–it was exhausting.
One particular Sunday morning my soul was thirsty to be at His feet, alone. So I stayed home to worship and pray.
My mind quickly shifted to the negative. I was drowning in the shame. God, how did I get here? I’m a missionary, counselor, mother, wife, leader in my community, seminary graduate, bible study leader, mentor… I’m the one others come to for hope and healing.
Look at me now.
My soul wrestled back and forth with the questions and His faithfulness. With tears I worshipped.
In the middle of my prayer my body couldn’t take the weight anymore so next thing I know I was in the fetal position sobbing and yelling out in a blubbering mess,
I can’t do this!
I can’t make things happen.
I can’t hold things together.
I can’t keep our family together.
I can’t make my fridge work.
I can’t change how I was treated when I most needed love.
I can’t make my internet work.
I can’t make my car work.
I can’t make my son choose truth.
I can’t make my friend’s husband return to her.
I can’t make the pain go away for these precious girls who are victims of excruciating abuse.
I can’t make my son’s hurt go away.
I can’t heal myself no matter how many “right” things I do.
I can’t make things better.
I can’t change someone’s heart towards Jesus.
In that moment, lying on my living room floor I did what the depths of my soul cried out for–I called out His beautiful name.
Jesus! That’s all that came out.
His truth was literally holding me together as He filled my mind with His truth–I delight in you. My grace is sufficient for you. I am for you not against you… (Zephaniah 3:17, 2 Corinthians 12:9)
I tried to put myself back together before my family came home but all I could manage was to stop sobbing. The puffy red eyes gave me away, and they saw me in my glorious mess. The mess of a mom I had become, the mess of a wife I was, my whole snotty messy self.
The only words that came out when my husband looked at me was, “I’m not strong enough. I can’t hold it all together.” It was the first time I was saying this out loud.
It was freeing, it was humbling and it was hard!
He looked at me with compassion in his eyes and he said with such tenderness, “Mari you were never meant to hold it all together. You don’t have to be strong on your own. I am here.”
That was Jesus speaking through Him. My aching heart needed to hear His words audibly through my husband.
My Daddy, My Abba
There comes a time when fear has to face the truth of the God you know.
I have struggled to the point of excruciating soul pain as God ripped apart my faulty foundation in the past years. I regularly fell prey to the enemy’s lies but I have always had God on my side. Even when I doubted. And nothing was going to rip away what I have with my Daddy, my Abba.
My childhood and young adult years have been filled with countless moments where my loving Abba held me and sang His truth over me. On various occasions His truth literally knitted me back together again just like Humpty Dumpty.
Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phillippians 1:6
It’s all I had to fight back–His presence and His truth. His Word is what helped me when the truth got blurry and I couldn’t distinguish it from the lies.
The Beginning Not the End
God has saved me from myself with His unconditional love. The listening ear, patience and love of my husband and close friends has been the healing balm to my broken mess. In so many ways, they were “Jesus with skin on” for me, reminding me of his gracious love and truth.
But this is only the beginning of Him rewriting my story. He’s not done and there is no place I’d rather be than here in this wilderness with Him by my side. Even if…
I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you there are days I want this chapter of my life to be over with because I’m ready to get to the abundant living. But I’m learning that abundant living starts right here in the desert land.
I will continue to unfold this chapter of my life as He sees fit, but for now my prayer is that this little offering of my story would encourage you to replace the lies with His truth as you lay down the fears, lies, shame, rejection, hurt, sin, and the condemning voices that whisper at the end of your day– You have not done enough. He can’t be trusted…
Those fears and feelings do not define you. They don’t define God. Only His truth can define you.
Honestly, I thought it would be years before I would be able to share any of this story with you, but this morning I felt a nudge as I prepared to unfold my “secret” project. I have been working on this project for the past several months, but it’s really been for the past several years because it’s closely interwoven into the healing process of my story. Really my story is the story of His faithfulness. How His healing truth kept me sane when my thoughts wanted to swallow me up alive.
Now for the “secret” project . . . Drum roll please!
Here’s the idea that has been percolating in my heart! It’s the perfect mix of my passions and my mess colliding: God’s truth, art, beauty, and giving hope to women.
This project was conceived from the brutal and beautiful journey God has given me. The Hope Project – 31 Days of Praying Scripture For Your Family. There are 31 scripture cards for each day of the month for you to pray at your own leisure.
At the beginning of the year I was talking to my husband about it and he encouraged me to go for it. I was sitting in “go for it” mode for several months with only a few cards designed. I let fear paralyze me as I believed the lies: You have no idea what you’re doing so stop here. What if this is a total failure and all the time and money put into this is wasted. What if you get criticized or called a heretic. What if…
Well, by God’s grace I finally decided to move past the lies and invited my artistically talented, smart and beautiful designer friend, Rea Holcomb, to help. She took my ideas, instructions and passion and came up with these beauties.
Tada! 31 Days of Praying Scripture For Your Family–There are scripture cards for each day of the month. The front side is a verse and the back side is a prayer for you to pray for you children, spouse and yourself.
These make the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Give it to that person in your life who has everything or is hard to shop for. You can frame them, give them away, clip them to your fridge, put them in your child’s mailbox, leave them on your co-worker’s desk . . . the possibilities are endless!
You can pre-order your very own set TODAY in my shop! Make sure to place your order before they run out. We will only be printing a limited number of sets.
This is NOT a .pdf file. It’s a physical set of 31 scripture cards that will come to your mailbox. We will start shipping on April 24th! If you order now, you will get $2 off. Just use the code: 2off01