I Want More People to Give Their Heart to Jesus

I’ve written 6 books now, and in every book, I’ve hoped for someone to read it and get saved. To date, I’m not sure if that’s ever happened.

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I asked Jesus into my heart when I was a young girl, and it was for real. I loved Him deep my whole life, though I had my fair share of running away. But I innately knew even then He was everything, and I always wanted people to know Him like I did.

When I was a teenager, my youth group took a trip to Canada, and there I had my first experiences with leading people to the Lord. It was a beautiful, holy experience, I’ll tell you, albeit a bit over the top. God bless my youth pastor who had to quietly take me aside to discourage my exuberant, “I got another one!” as I walked wide grinning with new converts towards our group across freshly mowed lawns of homes as we went door to door witnessing. Turns out, my Jesus passion translated a bit cultish. (Turns out, I was so excited I barely cared. :)

When I started writing 5 Word Prayers it was clear to me that this being a devotional book, some would give it to friends as a gift and those friends might not know Jesus. And if they didn’t know Jesus, they wouldn’t understand all the Christian words.

I mourn this, but sometimes as a writer sitting behind a screen spending so much time exhorting my own, I forgo opportunities to tell non-believers living all around me about Jesus. If I’m being completely honest, I think the Church in general is forgetting a lot about this Gospel call these days, self-focused as we are and afraid to speak anything with too much Jesus.

So I decided to do something in 5 Word Prayers I’ve never done before in any of my books: I included in the back the prayer of salvation. It is, by far, the most important prayer in this book. For 11 pages I thoroughly explain, define and lead the reader through a decision to follow Christ and then the next steps to take in the aftermath. I truly believe: they are the most important words I’ve ever written in my life.

I am asking Jesus that people will accept Him as their Savior through these words. I would love it if you would join me. My heart can barely contain the joy at the thought.

And because I believe so strongly in discipleship, my team has created a place online at fivewordprayers.com for those who do pray this prayer of salvation to click “Yes, I prayed the prayer” where they will be sent some links to free resources to help them grow in their newfound faith. (It tells them exactly where to go to find this online, in the book.)

I just want more people to give their heart to Jesus.

I’m believing through this book and your prayers, they will.

Lord, let it be.

 

 

Jesus Isn’t Pressuring You

I’m supposed to be promoting a book right now, and turns out, I’m as bad as I thought at doing what people tell me to do.

Because all I want to talk to you about is something off script.

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My dentist tells me last week he thinks I’m clenching my teeth, and I’m sure he’s dead wrong. “I don’t think I do,” I tell him, quite sure. “Well, pay more attention. Maybe you just haven’t noticed.”

Since then, I noticed I’m clenching my teeth. I do it, in fact, all the time.

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I buried my father less than 6 months ago, barely kissed him goodbye then turned to a camera and smiled because there was a book that had to come out and it needed my attention. Then another one on its heels, and I’m supposed to be ready to go, again.

The day I filmed my video trailer for 5 Word Prayers I had taken the red eye home from California. Some things, makeup can’t fix. Every bit of the weariness showed on my face.

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I don’t know from where your life pressure comes. I don’t know what you are smiling through. I know some of you are paying off debt right now, and that is an enormous task. Some of you are still buried by it, not knowing even where to start, suffocated by the strain and worry.

I know some of you have problems with your kids.

Some of you feel the pressure to be married and have that family. Some of you feel pressure to please that person or those people, maybe parents that cause you to feel you must always perform, or a church or followers, if you are a pastor or lead a ministry.

Some of you are cleaning up. Literally, cleaning up your yard from the hurricanes or figuratively, cleaning up from the mess that just blew into your life.

We are all dealing with many things right now. Hard, complicated things.

And I just want to say to us today: we have to stop trying to soldier through, handle it, pretend it away, and skillfully take it on. We have to pay attention to our hurts and how they are quietly manifesting in our life. Most of all, we have to give our hard places over to God.

Jesus is not pressuring you to handle things, in fact, quite the opposite.

He doesn’t want you to make it all right. He wants to make you alright.

We need Him so much.

That’s all I have to say.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” I Peter 5:7 (NLT)

Pre-Order 5 Word Prayers!

Prayer Doesn’t Have to Be Intimidating

Do you find yourself frustrated in your communication with God? Does a thriving prayer life feel completely out of reach?

The strength of your prayers lies in your heart intent, not your word count. Discover a new joy in your conversations with God!

If You’re Crazy Discouraged in Your Prayer Life

The best books I’ve ever read were not written from experts with cardboard words, telling me to try it their way… (Though some of those have sold millions.)

…but the ones written by heart bearers with scarred knees, coming from the place of me, too, and here’s what from the ground I’ve learned.

 From the ground looking up, we are redeemed from our ignorance. Where we used to sit from high pedestals and preach lofty words, now we sit among beggars and beg loudest of all. And we become the loveliest, most trustworthy people.

I never felt lofty in my prayer life, by the way, completely the opposite. All I’ve ever known is praying words that felt true, but sometimes they didn’t feel like enough. I marveled at the really good pray-ers, the ones who seemed to get it right all the time, pray perfect for 8 straight hours, have the prayers answered because they followed some kind of formula I wasn’t on to.

I’ve been praying since I can remember talking. But I’ve always wanted to pray better.

So you can imagine what it feels like when I get a book on prayer a few years ago, a really popular one everyone is raving about, ready to school myself in the fine art of communicating with God. I sit, pen in hand, poised and ready. 56 pages in, I shut the book and never open it, again.

Overwhelmed, discouraged, frustrated, to name a few. I can’t follow this extensive list of to-do. I’m a hair-on-fire, juggling 10 things every hour, woman with more jobs than I need and less time than I have and this prayer book isn’t helping me want to pray more, it’s making me feel like I want to go to bed and sleep it all away.

It is exactly there, in my bed, that God meets me. I’m not counting, but it’s the first time I remember ever praying a 5-word prayer: I love you, Jesus. Help.

It’s no strategy, I can tell you. I’ve honestly just got nothing else.

And there I feel the precious spirit of God, meeting me right where I am, small and simple and unformulized as me and my prayer may be.

I uncover this, personal and anew:

Prayer is not about word count; it’s about heart intent.

The truth is, sometimes life leaves us speechless. In those moments, God hears the groanings of our heart.

So I don’t make this blog too long or redundant what I’ve already written in another place…the rest of the important things God showed me about prayer are in the intro of the devotional book, which I hope you will take the time to read, because they have profoundly changed me. It’s free for you, today, if you are interested. Just click HERE.

You should know: my scarred knees are not from being the perfect, fervent prayer warrior, on them all the time: long sigh, full disclosure, sometimes I still wish.

But they are from the ground having fallen more times than can be counted from an imperfect life, including an imperfect prayer life, not always consistent, not knowing right words or any words for that matter, when life has done a number on me and left me quite speechless.

It’s the place from where I write this devotional book. I hope you won’t mind.

I love you.

I love Jesus most.

Always His,

 

 

Pre-Order 5 Word Prayers!

Prayer Doesn’t Have to Be Intimidating

Do you find yourself frustrated in your communication with God? Does a thriving prayer life feel completely out of reach?

The strength of your prayers lies in your heart intent, not your word count. Discover a new joy in your conversations with God!

A 5 Word Prayer For Parents As The Kids Go Back to School

There they go again, or for the first time, or for the last. Maybe it gets easier but I’m 15 years in since my first son went to pre-school, and I still find it awkward that they go off and leave me here to my silence.

Don’t get me wrong…it’s nice. I can work, again, and people who work from home know: come August, we need the house to be quiet so we can get some blessed things done.

I have felt the euphoria of school starting back and felt the pain of it, too, because of the dumb growing up thing. I’ve sent the bedhead boy to kindergarten with the shirt tucked neatly into the crisp khakis because I dressed him…and sent him to college in boxes without a first day picture because I wasn’t there to take it, or else I still would.

I watch my friends go to the lake and jump in and post pictures to celebrate that first day of kids going off to school so they have their me-time back and hear others lament that their babies are gone so please somebody pass the tissues.

It’s all awesome and hard and weird and natural and the usual parenting drill we know full well but will never fully become used to.

All of us want to parent well. None of us are ever convinced we do. Maybe that’s why those precious few moments we actually feel we’ve done it right we want to document on Instagram because, yeah, it feels good to be proud of a few things now and again.

So for my parents who are sending the kid(s) off for the first time (including my homeschooling warriors who do it all from home)…and the ones who this is your last…and the ones who are at the there they go, again, stage of somewhere in between…I feel you all and offer this 5 word prayer for us:

God, help us parent well.

…when the days feel long and we want to hide or pull our hair out or react poorly in a way that will require a huge I’m sorry later.

…when the days are short and we are extra clingy to a child who shouldn’t have a job of nurturing us when that is a job You ask us to turn to You to do.

…when the grades don’t rise to our expectation, our child gets cut from the team or comes home from school with tears and asks us to tell them something to ease their heart when a mean kid has said something cruel.

…when we want to give up and throw in the towel…when we are frustrated and spent, ourselves…when we face the unknowns that are ahead that only You know right now that we will desperately need Your strength to endure.

…when the world preaches and shoves and tries to sway and we must fight with everything we have to raise warriors grounded in the Word of God.

…when we don’t know how to parent at all. We need you, God. Parent us so we can parent them.

Help me parent well as the kids go back to school this year, Father. I will need it this year.

And help my friends parent well, too.

We trust You. We love You. This school year is Yours.

Amen.

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So. I have something SUPER EXCITING to tell you. I’ve been wanting to talk to you about it for awhile but it hasn’t been the right time. But THIS FRIDAY, September 1, I will be talking about it in a personal email and on all my social media sites. So make sure you are signed up for my email updates HERE or connected with me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

If you loved this simple, yet meaningful 5 word prayer, today…and if, like me, life often leaves you speechless and you don’t always know what to say to start a dialogue with God…it is something you won’t want to miss.

p.s. I love you. I love Jesus most. See you Friday.

The 3 Best Parenting Things I Know

The awesome thing about parenting is that when you keep at it, you eventually get somewhere.

I know this getting somewhere sounds far off for some and like a cruel joke for others who may feel right now like you are spinning your wheels – I’ve been in both places and all I can say is you’ll just have to trust me on this and mostly, just trust God.

And please — I don’t say this as if I’ve arrived, because look, I’m not stupid enough to boast about anything that I’m always at risk to royally mess up.

But I’ve been at this blessed parenting thing for nearly 20 years and if I haven’t learned anything, goodness, I should probably have been raking leaves for a living instead of attempting to slay dragons in my home in a hat that says Mother.

Since I told you I’ve dropped the idea of PC parenting and why I’m sure it’s a bad idea, I think it’s only right I tell you a few things I think are good ideas and do work, in the hopes I may encourage you on your journey in this mad, wonderful world of all things kids.

(Sidebar: *I hope by now it’s understood that anything I list will come after the prayer, Bible reading and nurturing of our own relationship with God that is by far the best parenting thing I know, will always know, selah and amen. Love God first and then your kid. You know this, yes? :)

1. We need to be straight up and honest with our kids.

I’m a horrible liar, so fortunately or unfortunately for my kids (and I think it’s been a little of both), this one came with the territory. But let me say: this is not the same as confiding in them as adults, giving them non-age appropriate information, not being wise in our disclosures in the name of being honest. What I’m talking about here is speaking to them practically and honestly about life and reality, as their age dictates and we discern. Even terrible liars like me have been known to become spin masters a time or two in the attempt to appease our kids.

This was not the problem of the mom I witnessed at the pool recently; however, at least on the day I witnessed her. I’m not sure what her son did, but clearly whatever it was had an air of entitlement she didn’t like. “You’re not God. You have a complex and you need to get over it,” were the words I heard her say, loud enough for the entire pool area to hear it. Now look – her approach was a bit harsh. But her child was in need of correction and rather than sugarcoat it, she spoke to him straight up. It might not be the best use of words, but I can’t help but think the world is in need of some more of that straight talk right now. As I sat there by the pool, I thought of some of the things adults say on Twitter that had their mom told them what this mom did, maybe they wouldn’t be quite so mouthy. :)

The point is, we need to be honest with our kids and stop telling them half truths to help ease them into things. We lead them on too much, placate them, and yes, even pitch to them unrealistic life opportunities that they then count on that don’t involve hard work and tangible efforts that do them a grave disservice. When they finally face reality they do so without the safety net of home (they are typically grown) and then it is a much harder adjustment. We must be wise in this, and we must also be truthful in how we speak to our children, at all times. When what they perceive doesn’t match what we tell them, it creates a crisis of faith.

2. We need to nudge our kids towards their own healthy self-esteem.

I’ve personally seen this happen with my oldest son, who we pushed to stay and do something hard his freshman year of college. My mother heart wanted to let him run away and get relief. But I knew that wouldn’t help him. And in the end, the growth and maturity that happened as a result was the greatest gift he never wanted.

On the opposite side of this, my girlfriend told me about how her daughter’s cheer team has some girls on it that were intimidated by a new cheer camp they were going to a few weeks ago and their moms didn’t make them go, even though the rest of the squad would be effected by it. The moms made up excuses for them so the girls could get out of it, and at the end of the camp week, this rough-around-the-edges young cheer squad learned an awesome, challenging new routine, and the girls on the team who went grew in leaps and bounds and were so proud of themselves. The ones who didn’t go were envious and wished they had gone because they saw the growth that happened for those who went, challenged themselves, and pushed through.

I know the trend in parenting is to let the kids decide what they want to do, if they do or don’t feel like it. But our kids need us to nudge them towards finding their self-esteem, not running from it. We parent well when we understand that honoring commitments and doing hard things makes for confident, well-adjusted people, and we parent our child with that in mind.

3. We need to be parents.

I don’t know how else to say it then to say it plain and straight. When we took on this role, we said yes to sacrifice and no to selfishness. We said yes to unconditional love. We said yes to long hours, hard work, being involved and staying involved (it pains me how many parents think they can stop parenting when their kids get to be older teens, at a crucial time), paying attention, overcoming odds, battling an enemy against us, hardcore prayer, nurturing, relentless pursuit, protection and provision, our own spiritual discipline, correction, setting our dreams aside for the dreams and goals of another. We said yes to guidance and wisdom and telling the truth even when it makes us not look perfect to our kids. We said yes to saying I’m sorry when we mess up and owning our stuff and getting right before God and leading them to the Father and instilling in them values and the love of Church. And we said yes to doing it all for the glory of God, holding them loosely while remembering they are His, and one day letting them go for the glory of God, too, and not making them feel one ounce bad about their physical going away. May we never forget our high call to be parents. There is nothing PC or easy about this. But there is also nothing more glorious or beautiful.

I’ve learned so much in my nearly 20 years of parenting and still, I know, so much more to learn.

But one thing I know: it will never be easy.

And then this: if I keep at it, eventually I will get somewhere.

Thank you, God.

Pre-Order 5 Word Prayers!

Prayer Doesn’t Have to Be Intimidating

Do you find yourself frustrated in your communication with God? Does a thriving prayer life feel completely out of reach?

The strength of your prayers lies in your heart intent, not your word count. Discover a new joy in your conversations with God!