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.

I Don’t Know How to Be Your Mom (but I love trying)

photoI birth these little humans, and I don’t have a clue who they will be.

I imagine beauty and t-ball and laughs and real live dolls like the ones I used to hold and dress up when I was little, except they aren’t plastic and can’t be handled any old way.

But none of them are as expected.

They are better and harder and more and here and what will I do with them now, I think to myself, as I hold them and fall in love.

They can’t tell me and I know it is so: that I will have to try to figure this mothering thing out with buckets of God’s help and something inside I am counting on being there that people call intuition.

I am scared. But I am in love, and that is stronger.

I struggle…through sleepless nights and cries I can’t figure out and mistakes I make before I realize it and that accusatory part of my brain that tells me stuff I do wrong by the second.

And I pray. A lot. Especially during rocking moments in the middle of the night when I smell their heads and can’t keep my eyes open because it’s a time I used to be sleeping. I tell God I’m not sure I’m good at this but thank you for letting me have a shot at it, anyway. (He already knows: a mother is what I’ve always wanted to be.)

And they grow. They get smarter and cuter and more human every day and I marvel at the inches and the steps and the words and that despite how I have no clue what I am doing, they are becoming more of the people they were meant to be.

They start needing me less, and I notice. They brush their own teeth and climb in and out of cars and before I know it, one of them is driving and I have somehow become his passenger.

It’s life, I know, and it’s good for them to grow, but it’s hard, too, because even though people say words like don’t blink, no one tells you exactly how to hold a newborn with a red, pinched face one minute and the next, open your arms and let that newborn go. I don’t know how to do that, even though it is exactly what I am doing on a daily basis.

And so, today, I admit something to my children that I am sure they already know.

I don’t know how to be your mom, my babies, 1, 2 and 3. I don’t know how to tell you wise things I’m not sure I have even learned, put my self aside to help you be better, hold on and let go, all at the same time.

I don’t know how to tell you about God in a way that does Him justice. I don’t know how to explain love in a way that tells of its complication or sounds as good as it can be.

I don’t know how to lose my flaws fast enough for you to not notice what they are or share with you in words how desperately I want you to have a good life and become so much better than me.

I don’t know how to let you love someone else or explain what it feels like when I cook you a meal and you eat and we are both full and for a split second I feel like I’ve done something well.

I don’t know how to tell you how much becoming your mom changed my life and no matter how many moments my mood is bad or days my pace is hurried, I could never hold you enough, smell you enough, have enough days with you in my arms.

And so, even though I have never, not since day one, known how to be your mom, I know this: I will never, ever get over the joy of getting to try.

**************************

(Here’s to all the mothers who don’t know how to be moms and the babies in our arms who give us the chance to try. If you relate to this post, breathe, say a thankful prayer, and pass it on to other moms who don’t know, either, but find the joy in trying. Happy Mother’s Day, friends!)

It Might be the Way God Wants to Heal You

IMG_7437I spend the first few years of speaking begging God to please send someone else out on the stage.

I will be a writer, I say to Him. But I don’t need to be in front of people. That’s for people who need attention. That’s for people who need to be heard. I sit at my desk, everyday, a faux sense of humility, up to the roof.

And then something happens. One day, on the carpet of my office floor, I say yes to the surrender. Yes, God, I will speak. Yes, I will go. Yes, whatever you want me to do. There is a mini-breakthrough, when I realize that sin often comes in the form of refusal and I decide not to refuse God, again, despite the fact I still don’t really want to go.

He begins to send me out to speak even more. I begin to get used to it.

Between the speaking (and my everyday home life, too) I write more books. I make those important ministry connections with the right people in our small Christian bubble. Women of Faith emails me to tell me they are interested in potentially having me as a speaker on their stage. And I am happy, because the ministry climb is happening as they tell me it’s supposed to. I am a type A, driven woman, and this all perfectly makes sense.

Thank you, God…you ask me to speak and I humbly say yes and now you explode my territory because I am so very faithful. Look at me. I’m doing it, God, see me doing it,? I ask, like a little girl on a bike in front of her dad, doing tricks.

Months pass, Women of Faith fades into the past without the formal invitation, and I keep speaking, asking God to see me doing it feeling like it’s all just a spiritual favor of sortsgoing into all these places and serving all these people and pouring out when what I really want to be doing is staying at home all comfortable and safe, hiding behind my writer desk. I’m doing it for you, God, I tell Him. Remember that, ok?

One spring day while I am in the midst of speaking on the subject of becoming whole, He sends me to Idaho, honestly nothing more than the next place on my speaking list. It’s a beautiful place, and I feel lucky to get to go but mainly for scenery reasons. I have never been to this place and I know right away it is something different because I feel it in my bones. I dismiss it as the mountain air, the vibe of the women, the new and different travels. Nothing more.

I speak. The weekend is beautiful. I know God has been there. The prayer team, an army of dedicated women, has been in my speaker room to pray. They are serious, the coordinator tells me, and I find out it’s true. Prayers like I’ve never heard before. Care for me, way beyond hostess baskets and putting me up in a comfortable room. I cry, thankful God has come. My small retreat room is full of Him.

Too soon, it is time for me to go. My flight calls me and my mind shifts to home. The women want to say goodbye to you first, Lisa, the coordinator says. Is that ok? I agree, and we head out the door and into the elevator.

It is about the time I step into the frame of the open door housing the women in the midst of a session, that the woman up front with the mic sees me and says, Oh, good! Lisa is in the back, ladies…can you say bye to her and thank her for her time with us this weekend? I smile, awkwardly (goodbyes and attention are two things I hate), and stand frozen in the doorframe as my 300 new friends turn, stand and clap. I am floored. Embarrassed. I’ve never had a standing ovation before. I feel small and silly. And then, suddenly, I break.

Tears, the inconvenient ones I never asked to come, show up madly and plunge down my face. I feel loved. I feel cared for. I feel safe, and this is weird and new (because speakers never really feel safe, you know. Our job is to help you feel safe with us.)

And right then and there, standing in the doorframe, crying like a mess, God speaks to my heart:

All this time, you think you are doing this to serve Me and help them, and all the while, I am using the Church to help heal you where they once broke you. I am restoring your faith in the Church at each and every event. It’s a reciprocal healing, Lisa. I’m using this to make you whole.

And I realize. This is all a gift. I’m not the gift. The people are. God’s purpose in this is.

And it changes the rest of my speaking life because I start seeing people as gifts and God as the reciprocal Healer.

***********************

Sometimes, the way we do not expect, God uses to heal us.

The finances we cannot figure out…the things we think we give up for Him…the ways we believe we sacrifice to serve: so often, it’s mostly for us.

To think that He goes to such length to save us – often, save us from ourselves – that He will use the very thing we don’t want to be our healer…is a humbling, amazing Jesus reality that most of the time we resist but need more desperately than we know.

************************

Some years after I never got the formal invitation from *Women of Faith, I finally got the courage to ask God why that never worked out.

Because you wouldn’t have ever learned to love people, I hear Him say.

Ouch. But He was right.

I would’ve subconsciously believed I could bypass that step because I had already arrived. I would not have taken the time to look into eyes or cry with people or pray over them in the same way. I would have cared too much about perfect speeches and well crafted ryders and making sure my accommodations were just so because that is what I was used to. I would have thought I was somebody, not in the way we are somebody because of Jesus, but in the way I was somebody more than everybody else.

I wouldn’t have learned to love people like only He knew I was capable.

And you, my friend…it is the same for you.

He knows what you are capable of.

He knows what you will settle for.

He knows how to heal you with the very thing you don’t want.

Thank Him for this, today, and do yourself a favor and let His way be.

p.s. I love you. I truly do.

(*This has nothing to do with Women of Faith or any such organization, whatsoever. You know that, right? God has done great things through great people on those stages because God can do anything through any of us. This is about me, my need to grow and change, and the fact God needed to use a different way to make that happen.)

Why Moms Desperately Need to Have Something Of Our Own

photoI watch her, the youngest one with curls, readying her first day of school backpack.

It is just the right color, with just the right coral monogram, to fit just the right back of a young lady almost 12 years into life, I often still can’t believe is my own.

I ask the right mom questions in my head, silently: Did we spend enough time together this summer? Did we laugh enough, talk enough, play enough? Did I memorize her face enough that when she’s gone from me every day in school for hours I will be able to remember every second how sweet it is?

I’m not sure I like the answer.

I have learned by watching my friends a little farther down the parenting road: the different level of tough it takes to send a kid to college.  I know…this is only 6th grade and not 12th, but everyday that reality feels grossly close.

My friend posts a picture of her daughter about to walk into freshman orientation and the caption underneath which says, “there goes my life” and I know this is just a statement to say I’m sad she’s growing up, but I also know it is the way many of us feel when our role of mom changes with growing bodies and we aren’t needed the same way we once were when they were small.

We spend so much time pouring into our kids.  Good time.  Precious time.  Right time.

But in the process, often, we forget us.  The one God created as a person, not a role.  The one meant to do great things in life, great things for God, including yes, being a mom but not exclusively.

And it makes me feel pressed to speak to my other mom people and say to them in a way that fully understands, we have to have something else of our own before our kids go off and leave.

Not because it will change the level of love we have for our kids.  Not to diminish our role as mom or not see it as important.  The truth is, for most of us, being a mom is in the top 3 of our most favorite roles, ever.

But because we need to let our babies go when it’s time.  We need to not pull at their heels like they used to do to us when they were little, project our regrets of not being enough of a mom when they were always around onto them, cause them to feel guilty for leaving us.

We need to, yes, cry our eyes out for our feeling of loss but then be able to get up and move on in a way that never forgets the memories but doesn’t hold them up as gods only in love with the past.

We need to get on with a fresh mission in life. 

We will never stop being moms, thank God, but we also never stop the life mission God purposed for us as individual people.

And my daughter, the one with just the right backpack, will understand all this if she, too, one day becomes a mommy.

She will know what it’s like to give blood, sweat and (many) tears to a little body that grows big and outgrows the need to be taken care of in the same way as when she was small.

She will give her kids the moon and more and watch them receive it with open hands and take it with them as they walk out the door.  She will understand that the crazy is beautiful and the hard of raising them then letting them go is painful but good because it is exactly the way it is supposed to be.

She will find out what it means to get over herself for the better of someone she loves more  — be given a gift that isn’t really hers in the first place and what it feels like to have to give that gift back in a way that feels like someone has played a sick joke.

She will find out, either by understanding it early and preparing the best she can or by learning by fire: how important it is for her to find that something else in life that makes her blood pump and moves her everyday bones so that when the time comes that the door closes and a favorite role in the everyday walks away, she will have something else to keep her going.

~faith.

~a cause to become involved in.

~art.

~school.

~career.

~exercise.

~heathy adult friendships outside of the home.

photoOur heart may walk out the door and take the moon and more with them, but that doesn’t mean we stop living.

It means, instead, it is a fresh opportunity to start.

(p.s. Please someone…remind me of all this when my firstborn goes to college and I’m not being so smart or brave.)

My Amazing New Site…and What [else] Is To Come

lisafirstblog

When you want a big girl job done, call in the troops.

It’s what I did several months ago when I needed to re-do my blog.

And if techy things trigger your gag reflex and you are not a super hip 20-something who lives in LA, you might need a Julianna Morlet, too.

[She did an amazing job on my cyber home, don’t you think?  And people, this is not even her day job.]

So while Julianna continues to be a creative genius-website miracle worker, I will continue to do my non-techy thing.

Instead, on this beautiful site she has created, I will pound out words.  I will travel to places to speak them and hope that somewhere in the mess that is me, Jesus is loud.

It is an honor.

And that you, my committed friend, consistently comes here to read the words…or even you newbie to the site, who came here today to see if in the future you might want to?

That is an honor, too…one that deserves full disclosure. 

Because if you are going to continue to come here, I need you to know:  I’m on a passionate mission.

It has a lot to do with my new book, I Want God, releasing in July.  But even before it releases, this year more than ever before, I am focused on pushing us all to Jesus.

Which means I’ll continue to write see-through, offering honesty.  It means I’ll keep sharing bottom line truth about faith, the Church, and God.  And even when it stretches us, I’ll keep writing about ways we can be better.

And it means that together, we will keep being imperfect but not settle to be anything less than crazy God hungry, wanting Him more than anything we’ve ever wanted or known.

Welcome to the new site, with a more focused mission.

I hope you’re with me.

************************

*Your Turn:  1) Are you with me on this more focused and passionate God pursuit? What does that mean to you? 2) What do you think of the new site? Anything different you’d like to see? 

We Can’t Facebook, Tweet, or Blog our Way Into It

photo

In the morning, when the sun is bright and bird sounds greet me, Facebook and Twitter are already awake, offering thousands of words of God wants this from you, don’t give up and here’s why and here is how your life can be better.

Sometimes, my words join them in this scrolling sea of inspiration, for I want to be among those who encourages the struggling, if sometimes, it is just me.

But other times, those [same, good] words come off mostly sing songy and perfect for spiritual movie scripts and books of quotables but far away from the reality of living in the oft damp cave of humanity.

Because the truth is, life is not lived through words.  Life is lived and words come out of it.

[It’s why the writer has to be more than fingers on a keyboard, the word boss of clever one liners and fabricated passions: because try as we may, never lived experiences just don’t make for good true life stories.]

And if we really want to be the live-er, at some point, scrolling words can’t be enough and we have to stop writing what we want to believe instead of what has seeped into the core and we can’t help but spill words out of what we live and know.

Because it is possible to spend our life sharing quotes and good words but never living any of them.

[And yes, it’s also true: that sometimes we learn during the sharing and if we wait to fully learn we may never share at all.]

But we can’t keep saying God will get you through this hard thing so trust Him while we control every breath of our own life…You are special and beautiful in His eyes while we scamper to retain youth and achieve perfection in ourselves…Go hard and do things for God while we sit and watch and let other people live God experiences that make for amazing true stories.

We can’t Facebook, Tweet, or blog our way into a full life where we actually live.

So let’s don’t.

********************************

*Conversation: What thoughts/feelings has this post sparked in you?