In Case You’re Fresh Out of Amazing

lisawhittleendorseFOA.001If this title resonates with you, we are kindred. I remember the first time my friend, Stacey Thacker, told me about her new book and what it would be called. Immediately, my load felt lighter. Someone had seen my life and understood.

I had the privilege to receive an early copy of this book and give an endorsement. I need you to know I don’t do this for every book. I have to either love the book or love the author, and in this case, I love both. Stacey can write. But more than that, I trust Stacey’s heart. This, my friends, is of much higher endorsement.

You’ll read below an excerpt from Stacey’s book, Fresh Out of Amazing. Trust me, if this is you, you will want to get it. (p.s. I’m not sure I know anyone who isn’t fresh out of amazing, by the way.)

Stacey is giving away 2 FREE BOOKS for you lovely, interested people. To win, head over to my Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments on this post, and BOTH OF YOU get entered to win! (Random pic, winner to be notified.)

And please come back here on Wednesday. I have something important to tell you, and it has to do with being fresh out of amazing, myself.

Love ya’ll.

_________________________________________________________________________

“If we had a Christian magazine for the fresh-out-of-amazing woman, Martha would grace the cover more than the Kardashians do the cover of People. We would shake our heads at her and say under our breath, “I’m not surprised” as we put our groceries on the conveyer and glance sideways at the cover so our kids don’t see us. We find ourselves bothered and drawn to her peculiar struggle.” Part of us wants to celebrate Martha because she invited Jesus and his friends into her home. She served them. That is beautiful and right isn’t it? Yes, of course it is.

“But. Martha’s story has a but. Every story has one. For example, I am passionate about walking with God and doing what his Word says, but many times I don’t do those things. Daily I find myself in messes of my own making. Praise the Lord that something is working in my favor, and that something is the grace of God. We are about to see that same grace at work in Martha’s story.

I really wish we could push the “pause” button, step into the story, put an arm around Martha, and say, “Girl, I understand, but let’s not be here in the kitchen like this. Let’s not have a but interrupting your beautiful welcome of Jesus.” Yet here it is: “But Martha was distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40).

Right there in her kitchen, with Jesus sitting a few feet away, busyness was beating Martha up one side and down another. Consumed by all she had to do, Martha was about to have a moment. She was probably in the kitchen stirring a pot of something wonderful, and she was getting herself all stirred up too. Martha was about to blow a fuse, and she was going to tell one person in particular all about it.

She went up to [Jesus] and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me” (Luke 10:40).

Martha not only interrupted Jesus as he taught, but she asked him straight out if he cared about her: Don’t you care, Jesus? Don’t you care? Then she told Jesus what to do. Yes, she did. Have mercy! Fresh-out-of-amazing girl done told Jesus to tell Mary to help her. I die a little at this point. Do you know why? Because I sound like her just about every other day around 5:00 p.m. when my kids are hungry, impatient, and ready for dinner. I slam all the doors, I crash all the pots, and I blow my fuse too. I tell everyone within a room or two of my voice all the things I’m doing all by myself. I tell them I have had it. I mean had it. Only one Person can help me when I am at my breaking point, and that person is exactly who Martha went to with her problem: Martha told Jesus. “

His response tells us Jesus was looking past her hospitality and straight to her heart:

‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her’ (Luke 10:41-42).

I think Jesus saw that Martha’s heart was to serve and love those in her home. The problem arose when that became her primary focus instead of connecting with Jesus in the moment. Martha’s fresh-out-of-amazing moment took her to the feet of Jesus, but instead of savoring his presence, she pouted. Martha was busy, but she didn’t have to be burdened.”

Did your heart catch a little with that story? Do you know why? Martha is like us. She is our people. I’ve learned a thing or two from Martha recently. First, I need to tell Jesus when I’m fresh out of amazing. Second, a heart full of duty is no comparison to a heart full of devotion. I’m not talking about Mary’s devotion either. I’m talking about Martha’s heart being in the right place when she was doing what God created her to do—welcoming Jesus to her home.

“Friends, when we are fresh out of amazing, Jesus cares. His heart for us is tender, just like it was with Martha. He speaks our names once, twice, or more in order to reconnect our souls to his. Jesus will help us.”

The simple truth is we need to let him.

*Excerpts taken from “Fresh Out of Amazing: Opening Your Heart to God’s Unexpected Invitation” by Stacey Thacker. Available wherever books are sold.

Twitter & Insta: @staceythacker

Stacey_716-0 (1)

Announcing: My Next 3 Projects!

I’m so excited…in a grateful, honored, still pinch myself that this is what I get to do with my life kind of way.

(p.s.Sometimes writing books still seems like a dream I fell into rather than dreamed up (well, because it was) – one others may be more qualified for but none more passionate about, I can promise you that.)

I’m releasing 3 new books/projects with Harvest House Publishers in 2017, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

 

IMG_1635Currently, I’m in the midst of writing my forthcoming book: Put Your Warrior Boots On: Walking Jesus Strong, Once and For All. In case you haven’t noticed, the world is in kind of a mess. I have been praying and thinking long and hard (like it keeps me up at night sometimes) about how to live in the mess better, and I believe God has given me the how-to. Put Your Warrior Boots On is an equipping and strength-inducing book. It is a what-do-we-do-right-now book. It is a book to help we, the followers of Jesus, live with a better strategy – not one of reaction and hopelessness and fear, but one of real, true strength. I want us to be steady, ready and sure as we walk in this world gone crazy. (p.s. Yes, we can be.) I want us to stop trying to brave ourselves into it. (Seriously can’t wait to talk to you more about THIS and share what I’ve learned about it because I think the shift in perspective may help you as it has me.) I want us to be consistent in our relationship with God instead of riding the spiritual roller coaster, once and for all. I want us to walk in His authority like He’s told us to do – with effectiveness in the world and tunnel vision on heaven. We are here and the world is not getting better and we can’t keep wishing things were different – we have to change up how we live to be solid and sturdy, no matter what comes our way. We need this, right? Man, how we need it.

I want you to know: it is with the softest of hearts and the deepest of love and the strongest of speech I write it. It is proving to be very much like writing I Want God, in the sense that the urgency is a second skin I’m wearing, the revelations from God are swift and piercing, and I find myself eager to hear what He has to tell me, every time I sit down to type. I cannot wait to share more as the release date approaches, as I believe there has never been a more important time to release a book like this. Release date: April 1, 2017

 

IMG_1638My second book is a different kind of book for me, and I’m so excited about it, too. It’s called 5 Word Prayers: A 40-day Devotional, to help kick start our prayer life in a way that is both doable and powerful. (We don’t need to talk about how ABSOLUTELY VITAL prayer is, especially right now in this crazy world, right? Like…prayer is everything. For real.) For years people have been asking me if I would write a devotional book, and for years I’ve thought about it but never moved forward. I’ve long believed that with our prayers, it’s not about word count but about heart intent. The documented prayers of Jesus are short. The older I get the more I realize that prayer is not me saying as many words as I can but listening and being with Him in communion, where our hearts unite. For this reason, this devotional book. This book will not only provide daily 5 word prayers, but it will also include a short devotional written about each prayer to help it really seep down deep. I have lots of love and belief in this book, and I hope you will be as excited as I am about it. Release Date: Fall of 2017

 

IMG_1644And last but absolutely not least…with the release of 5 Word Prayers will be the release of a super fun companion adult coloring book by the same name. I know ya’ll love these things. I know they are flying off the shelves like crazy. And I believe in this case, each coloring page and accompanying prayer will be something not only you can fly your creative flag with, but also meditate on and maybe even frame and hang on your wall as art or give as a gift to someone else. You should know I’m hardcore committed to these coloring pages being beautifully and meaningfully graphic. So I hired the absolute best, most talented freelance artist to draw the sketches. She just so happens to be my baby sister, so she shares my DNA. I still can’t even believe I was able to hire her – she works in an art gallery and draws sketches all day FOR A LIVING, and I begged her to squeeze me in. (Family has its privileges.) So you know…this project is going to be fantastic and is truly a labor of love. Go ahead and plan on it being one of your Christmas gifts for someone in 2017. Release Date: Fall of 2017.

Well, there it is. These are my new projects. I hope you are as eager to get them as I am to get them to you.

So many of you have spread the word about I Want God and as a result, helped change lives. (For real. You should hear the stories.)

So many of you are faithful readers to the messages God has put on my heart to share. I wish you knew how humbling this feels and how much responsibility it brings to my heart, and how seriously I take it.

I think you and I are on the exact same page. I believe we share the same heart.

If you, like me, want to live with a better strategy, want to walk Jesus strong instead of walking tentative, defensive and reactionary, want to be the steady and sure believer of Jesus that He can use in this world in these crazy days to influence the rest of the world…if you, like me, sometimes feel like prayer books make me feel more intimidated about my prayer life, like I don’t measure up, love the idea of 5 powerful prayer words to pray every day for 40 days to better communicate with God…and if sometimes you just like to be a little artsy but are intimidated by Pinterest :)…these books are for you.

Can’t wait to share them.

Love you.

Mean it.

Thanks for letting me share my new projects…and my life…with you.

What the World Needs Now From the Christians

IMG_1568In this crazy and getting crazier world, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the world really needs from us, the Christians.

It doesn’t need more of our words, in most cases. We’ve said a bunch. 

(Pause here, followers of Jesus. I feel tender towards us. Because I know, we really want to help and we don’t know what else to do sometimes but say something to make things better and right. We say what we want to do and want to believe, even when our flesh fights us to act on it. Saying fills awkward spaces. Saying gives alternative to moments that feel hopeless. If we can just offer something through our words, we think. We think. And p.s. yes, God has used our words in many cases, thankfully. I have to believe this. I’m a writer. Hello.)

The truth is, we have good hearts and intentions, most of us. We really want to meet needs. We really want to reach out and show the love of Jesus. We get sidetracked and selfish sometimes, mind you. (Don’t make these out to be small words. We have been known to massively mess things up.) But deep down in our core, we want to help.

It’s just that words alone are not what the world needs to turn them to Christ. We know this, right? We’ve tried this speech giving.

Instead, what the world needs is steadfastness: preaching the same, loving the same, doing the same, being the same, no matter what. A ministry of sameness. The gift of stability. We are used to big waves and floating around and in 2016, who is not looking for an anchor?

I know. On one hand, the world preaches change. I, myself, preach it, too, as the alternative to destructive patterns and ruts. Hope requires belief that yes, even if …. in our past, today, we can change. (Psst. I believe it.)

But one day, my friend gave me a compliment that caught me off guard and taught me the value of sameness: “Lisa, thank you. I feel like you are always the same person no matter what, and I admire that.”

At first, I didn’t like it. The compliment felt small. It felt stifling, like I was a person of little growth, which everything inside beat against in rebellion. I want to change and get better. I have. Age and Jesus have done great things for me in the maturity department. I didn’t want to be known as always the same person.

But then I realized that this sameness was not about the unwillingness to grow. It was about being a solid, consistent person to count on. And I knew, then: that was it. That is the thing we need to see. That is the thing the world needs now from the Christians.

Consistency.

Preaching the same message, over and over, again.

Loving the same, no matter the race, the issue, the preference.

Doing the same things that build character, even when they feel small and redundant.

Being the same person so people know where to go to find the Anchor.

My fellow Jesus people: this is what the world needs. Not our braggadocios storytelling. Not our angle to arm wrestle non-believers over or hold loud Jesus pep rallies cheering about His goodness and the next minute we’ve thrown down the pom pons because Jesus has disappointed us. But to be known by our sameness: the ones to love and the ones to live holy and the ones to stay faithful to Jesus, no matter what. Our life needs to say: you know where to find me. This is where I am and where I’ll always be — this is where you can find me at any time, on any given day. You can count on my consistency. People will know they can count on Jesus by how consistently we live.

  • A consistent person will be sure.

Sure of what we believe. Sure of what we know about God. Sure and unwavering. Most people aren’t sure about anything, so we have to be different.

  • A consistent person will be tireless.

Yes, we are human. When we try to lead from our flesh, we will become exhausted. But when we lead in the Spirit, we are replenished, consistently.

  • A consistent person will be specific.

We can’t beat around the bush, be passive aggressive with our faith. The world needs clear direction and teaching – for us to be specific with what to do and how to survive unstable times.

  • A consistent person will be selfless.

We can’t do this life thing if we are not, because eventually, selfish people can’t maintain a servant (aka, Jesus) lifestyle. It’s not about us. It’s not about our words. It’s not even about our story, for the sake of telling people about our life. It’s not about popularity. It’s not about followers and being accepted. It’s not about getting things off our chest, pontificating our opinions, writing and speaking for a particular response. Just be the messenger. Just be wise. Just be about God.

The world doesn’t need more of our words. It needs more of our consistency.

Maybe it’s time to change our goals.

My FUN NEWS that may include YOU!

IMG_0617I’m so stinkin’ excited I can’t stand it.

Today is the day I get to tell you about what’s been brewing in my heart that may well involve YOU.

What I have to tell you is about laughter and rest and community and prayer and someone cooking for you, 3 amazing meals a day…communion, affirming each other, and throwing a big old Jesus party in the end.

It is about diving into the Word and focusing squarely on Jesus, in our UGG boots and sweatshirts, if we want (p.s. Mine will be off-brand).

It is about silencing the rush of life for a few days, making new friends in real life we may well have, forever.

All of this will happen, and this is how I know: I’m hosting my own retreat so I get to plan the agenda.

Yep. I am. HOSTING MY OWN RETREAT. (Enter gleeful squeals. Listen, I love being asked to go places and speak but there is something about doing my own thing that makes me gloriously happy.)

Who: Women. 18-up. COME ON.

When: January 7-9, 2017

Where: St. Francis Prayer Center, Stoneville, NC (near Greensboro) (www.stfrancissprings.com)

Besides the awesome stuff listed above, let me tell you why now, why this.

I have a new book releasing in April 2017 I haven’t told you about yet. (But I will. Soon.) I am thick in the writing of it right now, and I am so very excited about what God is speaking to me on the message of where we, as believers, need to be and how we need to walk in these very dark and difficult times. I truly believe the words in this book can change the climate of our lives: from nervous and anxious and freaking out to steady, ready and strong. There has never been a better time for this message, and I’m grateful to bring it.

I want to speak it to you, first. I want to share with you the entire book in several sessions…gather with you, some faithful supporters of this ministry, in an intimate setting. I need your feedback. I want to hear your heart. I want us to travel together through this idea of becoming steady and strong. The world needs us, warrior sisters. We need each other.

This retreat will allow me to get personal with you, like I always strive to be when I write a Facebook post or blog or post an Instagram picture. But I want more than that. I want to pour into your lives in a deeper way, meet many of you for the first time face to face, pray with you, connect you with other new friends who share the same heart, and teach you some things God has been teaching me, on a stool in jeans, not from a stage like usual. I crave this facetime and interaction.

And yes, we will do some other important things like video tape some sessions (YOU will be the audience – so fun!). But we will also go off script from a normal retreat and really spend some time listening to God. I don’t know about you, but I need Him desperately in this world gone crazy.

p.s. Last week, I told some of my closest ministry friends about this and some of have registered and are coming, too. I would tell you who but I fear you will sign up for the wrong reason. :) Oh, it’s going to be a big, big time, I’ll tell you that.

Now here’s the thing. The slots for this retreat are extremely limited. Like less than 30. I’m praying and believing they will quickly go. So get on the phone and text that girlfriend and sign up, today. For real.

Inevitably, some of your questions…

Question 1: Lisa…if I come, what will I get?

I’m so glad you asked. :)

Lots of cool stuff.

(8) teaching sessions on a not-yet-released book

Advance reader copy of my new book

Some new book swag

3 cooked meals a day (Please. Someone cooking for me? For this, alone, people.)

Beautiful retreat center to play and rest

Prayer, community, communion and affirmation

And for you writer types: here’s a big cool other reason to come: I’m throwing in **one bonus session on the nitty gritty of writing/publishing/no one ever tells you this stuff. A lot of you want to write a book, I know. This is your time to find out all about it. All your questions. Bring them. Anything. The not talked about stuff. We’ll dive in.

Question 2: Lisa…what is the cost?

Super duper affordable – that’s what. :)

Cost of the retreat: $200 for double occupancy (2 nights, 3 days and all of the above).

*Nearest airport, if you are flying in: Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO), Greensboro, NC

So, that’s my big news. I hope you’ll consider coming. I want you to be a part, and I would love nothing more than to see you there.

You in?

If yes, click THIS LINK RIGHT NOW to register.

p.s. See you in January! Truly can’t wait.

For When You’re Struggling Through an Imperfect Life

IMG_0700Struggling through an imperfect life. Doing great things. Doing hard things. Doing things we aren’t proud of and some we really, really are.

Loving people well. Treating people less than. Losing our temper, forgetting to take hold of the battle for our mind and watching it slip from us.

Food that makes us happy. Weight that makes us sad. Community over the table, which is the forgotten best thing.

And oh, those consuming cell phones. 

Broken relationships, friends who just know and make us feel loved. Sometimes, getting the flowers or the the card or the text, just in time.

Making progress…falling back and feeling worse. Crazy broken everyday but still, hope in our core.

Doing well with God. Leaving God out of things, completely. Praying like mad or days without prayer, at all.

Crying because we are sad, crying because it’s better than we hoped. Laughing over nothing and everything and the funniest things.

Pets we love and gardens we tend and places we drive and meals we cook and laundry we do and those jobs in nice clothes, too.

People we hug and private pains in our heart, over loves who’ve gone to heaven and people who hurt us here, on earth.

Weak bodies, strong bodies, old bodies we don’t recognize anymore.

Winning things, losing things, holding onto things too long and letting go of things too soon or sometimes, right on time.

Worries, so many, even when we know we shouldn’t. Bursts of faith that surprise us but give us proof we truly can believe with all our heart.

All I know, today, is that we are all human and doing all of these things, no matter what pictures on social media we see or ones we dream up in our minds. We are beautiful people and difficult people, all at the same time, none who will ever be perfect.

And I’m just really grateful for Jesus.

One day we will start our real best life and all get better.

That’s honestly it.

P.S. Press on. I will, too. I love you.

‪#‎alwaysGodonlyGod‬ ‪#‎presson‬ ‪#‎weareallhuman‬

Dear Young Women: Please Prove the Good Guys Wrong

IMG_0268

Dear Young Women,

I’ve heard you say it: it’s hard to find a good guy these days.

I know. You’ve dated some jerks (or seen plenty around). They’ve jaded your belief that good guys do exist and caused you to inhale multiple chocolate milkshakes on weepy occasion.

Chasing them has made you wish for a different body. It’s made you paint your fingernails the color they prefer, change your favorite things, fall asleep with phone in hand, waiting on the text that may or may not come.

Liking them has turned you into some fire-breathing crazy you never wanted to be. But the jealousy struggle is real. It’s hard to cheer for other young women when they feel like competition and all you seem to notice is their everything better and your everything not enough.

Even sometimes, though I’ll mention this in hushed tones, you gave them your most precious thing…your young, beautiful, God given body…and they didn’t appreciate it like they should have because casual flings and boyfriends never do. You learned this the hard way. (Psst. Living in guilt is no way to live, at all. Please. God forgives and your future relationship can look different.)

About God. Well, yes, that’s kind of a big one. Somewhere in this mess you might have even forgotten about Him – forgot to trust that if there is to be a guy in your future (being single is not a bad thing, you know), He will help you find a good one.

This is not the way it has to be. There are some good guys out there, waiting on you.

to stop settling for pressure and disrespect.

to resolve your insecurities about your body (that, p.s. no man can never fix).

to realize that strength is found in integrity – the guts to say no.

to figure out that you both deserve and desire to be loved and cared for in life.

I should tell you something you may already know. That age old question: why do girls always want the bad boy? — the idea that good guys finish last? Yeah. It’s what the good guys actually think.

FullSizeRender

Every time I hear a good guy say this, a part of my heart dies.

Because for me, it’s personal. I used to be you, and now I’m older and mother two teenage sons, one who is about to start college, and I’m busting my tail to raise 2 good guys. (Not perfect, mind you. But solid, respectful, integrity-driven, good guys.)

And I want them to know the great girls out there waiting for them that I tell them about really do exist. (Trust me, you aren’t the only ones jaded.)

I want to be able to look them in the eyes and tell them it’s not true – that good guys don’t finish last but good guys win.

I want to. But I don’t know if I can because how can I argue with what, in culture, I too often see?

Speaking of culture: it’s got it all wrong. The bad boys in the movies are impossibly endearing. In the end, they are turned around by the girl’s love. Sigh. If only this worked. If only it were about our power to change someone else…love them enough for them to become good. It just never is.

So I think it will be up to you, young women. This is good, because I believe in us as females, so hard – our ability to discern and be strong and live by standard. I believe in our backbone and determination and strength. I believe in our desire for purity. I know we just want to be loved. I love us, females, and I know we have it in us to pick the right guys.

You’re worth a good guy. You know that, right? How you see yourself has everything to do with what kind of young man you choose.

I want you to prove the good guys wrong. I want what they say and think about finishing last not to be true. I want you to value your body and your mind and the things that make a man a real man.

To stay a virgin until marriage in a culture where the struggle is more real for young men (and you, too, I know) than we will ever fully realize – this deserves respect.

To walk away at the party when everyone else stays.

To see that integrity is the ultimate in manhood and strength, not muscles or fast cars or strings of females in a guy’s past.

To know that the guy who loves God and looks people in the eye and honors his parents and respects people and his very own body by being one of the ones who will still just say no is the man worth wanting, not a man of movie fiction.

You don’t have to settle and neither does he.

My darling girl, you are both a prize.