Go Back to Where You Lost Your Keys

Go Back to Where You Lost Your Keys

I talked about some things on the Jamie Ivey podcast recently I hadn’t intended.

Turns out, when you feel comfortable in a space with a Jesus girlfriend, you open up old wounds.

It feels like a zillion years ago, but it was actually only 6, that I wrote about some of this in my book, {w}hole, the first and only of all my books to go out of print — which feels weird, too, since it’s more about my life than any of the rest.

I refuse to read into that, by the way. :)

I have a tendency to be before my time, and maybe this book was, maybe the Church wasn’t as ready in 2011 as we are now to finally stop keeping all the secrets.

My father lost his church, lost his way, and so did I. Church people hurt us both and we both hurt church people. We are all the Church so we hurt, all the way around.

The truth is, when church people throw stones, we hurl them at ourselves.

It will make better sense to you if you listen to the Jaime podcast, or if you want, you can read the story in part, HERE. But the basic gist is this: the Church was a place that wounded me. And yet it was the very place God used to heal me and show me the beauty of His face.

Truly, it is as St. Augustine once said, “In my deepest wound I saw your glory, and it dazzled me.”

Because I am simple and overloaded by information at the same time, I like to bottom line things…break them down into everyday illustrations so they feel easier to take in small bites and sips. Maybe you can relate to this or maybe you will find I am too simple for you. If it is the latter, I totally understand.

But this church wounding would be difficult for me to both understand and digest, so I needed to find the illustration that helped. I found it, unexpectedly, the other day when I was talking to a friend who was struggling with a hard life something that’s solution to me was crystal clear.

“Go back to where you lost your keys,” I say to her. “Where did you lose them? Retrace your steps, find them, so you know where to go from here.”

Of course, her actual keys weren’t lost. Maybe because I have teens who drive now and hear myself saying these words so often “retrace your steps…where did you lose your keys…” that the words roll off my tongue, even now in illustration. I just knew that the place where my friend became lost in her life, where things broke her in the heart, is where she would need to begin to heal. Lost keys gave a simple, everyday visual.

It was the same for me, with the Church.

I’ve had some counseling, both in my master’s studies, and on the couch side of the desk, but I’m no licensed expert. But I am degreed in what Jesus has taught me. I know what I have lived.

In order to heal from what was broken from the Church, I had to go back to the Church and start there. Staying away permanently wouldn’t help. (Short reprieves are fine and sometimes, necessary.) Shying away from community to self protect wouldn’t solve my inner woundings – it would only increase my loneliness and put me at risk for isolation.

Pain didn’t let me have enough sense to know this. Jesus had to do it, behind the scenes, or I would have said no. He had to use sending me off to speak to the very Church people I was either angry towards or afraid of, thinking I was just obediently using my gifts, when actually, He was doing surgery on my diseased heart, saving my life.

Every unexpected kindness. Every smile and gracious, affirming word. Every immaculate Holy Spirit moment beyond any capability of my own. Ministry that my human pessimism couldn’t kill and didn’t end in disaster. Jesus showing up in my deepest wounding and dazzling me to the deepest core.

He took me back to the place I lost my keys, gently helped me re-trace my steps, and moved me forward. My life has never been the same. But He knew: I had to find my lost keys first.

He knows the same about you.

  1. Go back to where you lost your keys.
  2. Ask Him to dazzle you in your deepest wounding.
  3. Go from there.

p.s. I love you. Jesus loves you most.

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!

Dear Parents: Hand Over the File

A Quick Note…

Hi friends! I welcome us all back from the July break to a parenting series I’m doing for the month of August – one I pray will be meaningful and encouraging to your soul, if you come here as a parent, yourself. Even if not, may there be a nugget you can take away, as parenting parallels so much of life.

Please know: it is not from any pedestal I share, but from deep in the trenches with you.

God, help us all as we seek to guide young lives to become great warriors for the Kingdom! 

Find me at church a few weeks ago, not singing during worship.

Turns out, when you have a bowling ball burden resting square on your chest, pending a big decision by one of your kids, discord, a conflict, a timing issue, and things that look a bit of a mess, sometimes the mouth is too overwhelmed to open.

We have a good family.

But the first mistake people sometimes make about good families is assuming that people who love their family hard, play hard and post fun pictures about it sometimes have nightly dinner like the Cleavers followed by Bible memory quoting before the 2 hour prayer sessions, capping off the night with Walton-esque goodnights.

The second mistake is to assume they never have problems.

I won’t spend the time here on why this is the craziest wrong assumption because I think deep down we all know just how crazy it is, but just please hear it again one more time, loud and clear:

No family is perfect. Every family has problems. Pictures are snapshots, the end.

But back to me at church, that Sunday a few weeks ago.

As I am there with worship music playing around me, heavy with the burdens, silent before the Lord with my mind going over and over all the many things, I want relief, release, resolution…all the issues to be solved immediately and perfectly and in the way I think. I am overcome with the sheer complication of several big issues at once and trying to process as I do in my typical intuitive, linear way of how all the things must become solved, one by one…with every thought, becoming more and more overcome by the totality of all the things I can’t fix or solve and my frustration over this.

And I sense God speaking to my heart: Hand over the file.

 It is an odd visual, but I let my mind go there – picturing a file with papers all stuffed in it, hanging out, an unorganized mess, much like my thoughts at the moment…shoving it into His hands and saying, “ok, here, have it. Do something with it. I can’t anymore.”

Standing there in the middle of church, it’s exactly what I do.

Hand over to Jesus my entire pretend file of all the parenting burdens and mentally walk away.


I don’t know what are your parenting burdens.

I don’t know what conflicts you have in your home, where there is discord or complication or something that looks like a complete mess you aren’t sure how to ever sort out.

But what I can tell you is that Jesus wants the entire file, and He can handle whatever is in it.

So why not today – you take all the things, pile them in that file marked, “For Jesus”, give it to Him and walk away?

Parenting is a constant handing back to God the job that requires His management.

Sometimes we just forget and try to do the job, ourselves.

With you.

Love you.

Love Jesus most.

Always His,

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!

How To Speak Up For Jesus Without Being That Christian Jerk

It’s late, you’re on social media and at that crucial point of decision.

Do you type the comment or do you stop yourself, walk away and leave it alone?

It’s a tough call to make in a tough age of tough talk surrounding tough issues.

For the believer in Jesus Christ, we find ourselves in a hard place that at times is difficult to maneuver.

On one hand, we don’t want to dishonor the name of Jesus by getting into a heated battle of words. This is the right goal, always, first, foremost and forevermore.  A Christian jerk is rarely, if ever, heard.

We don’t want to add to the vitriol and stir up already rough waters.

But on the other hand, we have this nagging thing inside of us that is telling us we need to be more vocal about our faith.  We can’t shake the feeling that in our effort to not become that Christian jerk, we have become Peter — watching from a safe distance instead of honorably standing with our God. (Matt. 26:58) This doesn’t feel good – this shrinking back from the faith we say we love.

“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” (Hebrews 10:39 ESV) 

Shrinking back, staying silent, is not an option for a follower of Jesus Christ. Neither is being a mouthy Christian jerk. Jesus spoke up for us in the ultimate way on the cross; how much more do we owe Him our going on record? He was rejected, but it was never because He was a Christian jerk. Everything He did was perfect. We won’t be, but we can model our efforts in maneuvering these difficult when to speak/how to speak moments after Him.

  • We must understand the difference between opinion and Gospel conviction. Anyone can spew opinion. Opinion has divided families and hurt hearts and carried wrong motive even before a word was spoken. Opinion hears something it doesn’t like, feels urged to argue by way of quick reaction, and dives into conversation just for diving in sake – driven by the prideful idea that its voice is the most important. More often than not, the opinion wants to silence and even make a fool out of a differing opinion and is offended when others do not agree. Self drives opinion, and the characteristics are easy to identify because it usually results in combat and turmoil. On the other hand, Gospel conviction is a deep groaning for the Truth of the Word to be made known, in order for people to come to know Jesus as the Answer. It weighs response and feels burdened to let people know the better way, but not because it’s a personal vendetta to win. Gospel conviction may still be received poorly, as some people will always reject Jesus. But when we speak up for Him with the heart of Gospel conviction, the tone we take can still draw people to Him.


  • We must first establish a legit track record of love. People will listen to those who speak up for Jesus when their record speaks for itself in a positive way. On the other hand, the reason the preaching of many Christians falls on deaf ears is because it hasn’t been backed up by a life that has earned respect, therefore, it is just noise. We’ve got to establish a legit record of loving people before we can speak into their life. Have we listened well? Have we gotten involved in the hurts and needs of others? Have we treated people with kindness? Does our life align with the character of Christ? If no to these things, then let’s get busy. We have work to do. Let us become the people who others respect before we start adding to the conversation.


  • We must become a student of speaking. I think this a point many of us miss. Speaking up for Jesus is so important and carries huge Kingdom importance, yet we barely give our training for this a second thought. I write about this in my book, Put Your Warrior Boots On, that we must yes, go on record for Jesus, and equally, have the wisdom to know when to speak. (A practical 9 points to consider for this is in the book.) One does not negate the other and in fact, the two go beautifully together and Jesus requires us to be responsible with both. We need to pray that God would give us the wisdom to know when to speak and learn from the Word what speaking up for Him looks like so that we learn from the perfect model how to do that which doesn’t come natural to the human tongue.


The world needs level headed, Jesus-filled, heart-led believers to point the way to responsible, civil conversations, both on and off the Internet.

No more self-focused opinions resulting in the label of a Christian jerk.

But a legit track record of love leading to the voice of steadied Gospel conviction.

It’s what Jesus would do.

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!

3 Ways to Stand Firm While Others Fire Arrows

You’re so strong she says to me in a weird voice, like I’m some kind of nature’s freak.

Yeah, everyone is strong until they aren’t. Everyone does well in life until they don’t.

But when the arrows start coming – the hard things in life…the character assignations…the conflict with family over faith…the strong better be not be caught resting on human laurels.

It will take feet firmly planted. A standing firm in a Jesus strong kind of a way.

If you want to know how a person gets strong, don’t look at their DNA. That kind of strong will only take us so far. Look, instead, at what kind of shoes they are wearing – spiritual shoes, meant to endure the combat of a life and death battle for keeps. Well, at least that’s what Ephesians 6:10-12 calls it (Look it up in the Message translation later. You’ll see.).

Those standing firm while other fire arrows will be wearing the warrior boots.


Warrior Boots of Standard

We stand firm when we know what we believe and we tell the truth (to ourselves and others). I’ve come to realize lately, with all the noise on social media, that there is a vast difference between giving opinion and truly knowing what we believe. Many words do not equal depth of conviction. I wonder if all of our loud opinions aren’t, in fact, a cover for a lack of groundedness in what we truly believe. We stand firm, too, when we raise our standard of truth in our life. Complete and total truth, first to ourselves. We can’t be strong if we aren’t free. And we will never be free if we aren’t honest with ourselves. There is no life like a life of a clean conscience. This is the standing firm life.


Warrior Boots of Strength

When we rise up and go on record for our faith, people can fire arrows but our witness emboldens us to withstand them, through the help of God. Action leads to strength and that strength then leads to more action. Warrior boot wearers won’t settle for a passive faith. It is the active faith, the bold faith, that qualifies the Jesus follower to stand firm in the face of difficult times without wavering. This is the Jesus strong life we all crave.


Warrior Boots of Trust

There’s no way to stand firm in this life without trusting God, completely. We know this, but at some point in the process, it often breaks down. Trust is not just something we fall into or happen upon. It’s a choice. We choose God. We choose to trust Him over the way we feel. We choose to believe what He says and set aside what we see that might look different. We decide to follow Him for the rest of our life, no matter who or what or when or how. Trust is more than just an intention. It is a life-long follow through.

Life is tough and arrows headed our way are a sure thing.

But we can stand firm in the face of them.

We just have to be wearing the right kind of boots.

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!

What We Most Need to Know About the Life We Live Now

Spoiler alert: The life we live now is not our best life.

No matter the pitch and hype speech, and despite the fact we can and should live the best life we possibly can while we are here (this I believe with my whole heart and why I would even write any of my books, I mean, really)…the earth life will never be our best life. The end.

Our real best life is the one we will have with Jesus in heaven.

But if we are reading this now, we are not yet there. So while we are still here, there are some things I think we need to know.

  1. We are not alone.
  2. We desperately need Jesus.
  3. We don’t have to feel ready to walk through this life strong.

I can’t say it better than what I already said in Put Your Warrior Boots On, Chapter 8, I Am Ready


“We’re doing great things, you and me. Doing hard things. Doing things we aren’t proud of (and some we really, really are). We’re loving people well and sometimes treating people less than. Losing our temper, forgetting to take hold of the battle for our mind and watching it slip from us. We’re making progress and then falling back and feeling worse. We’re crazy broken every day, but still holding on to hope in our core because Jesus.

We’re eating food that makes us happy and carrying the weight that makes us sad. We’re ending community over the table, which is the forgotten best thing, and oh, those consuming cell phones. We have pets we love and gardens we tend and places we drive and meals we cook and laundry we wash and schools and jobs we go to.

We have private pains in our hearts over loves who’ve gone to heaven and people who hurt us here on earth. We have broken relationships and friends who get it and send the text just in time.

We’re doing well with God and then before we mean to, leaving God out of things completely. Praying like mad or going days without prayer at all. We have worries, so many, even when we know we shouldn’t. We have bursts of faith that surprise us.

We have weak bodies, strong bodies, old bodies we don’t recognize anymore. We’re winning things, losing things, holding on to things too long, and letting go of things too soon. We’re crying because we are sad, crying because something turned out better than we hoped.

This is the life we live now.

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

My friends, sorting through this hard and beautiful and imperfect life means we are human and we are not yet with Jesus. It doesn’t mean we aren’t ready to walk Jesus strong, despite the world’s mess. For the believer in Jesus Christ, we are ready, right now, through the imperfect, despite ourselves. Now is the time to lace up the boots and walk strong. We have important things to get done.

This is really the deal of life: not feeling ready but choosing to walk anyway; important things needing to get done that will require us going ahead by the power of God. As believers in Christ, it is how our whole life will be. So the good news is we can stop wasting time wishing for the magical moment we feel ready to take life on—to put on the warrior boots and walk strong. Life with the reality that our feelings never dictate what we do is a foreign concept to most of us, but it’s the way of holy release.

Jesus never asks us to feel ready; He asks us to be ready. His way is readiness of the mind, heart, and soul.

I don’t know the circumstances in your life that make you feel not ready. I suspect they are truly hard, likely some harder than mine. I won’t pretend to have the pat answer to help your particular heart pain feel better—there are things so dark and hard in this world that only God knows the depth. I won’t throw out Christian clichés and ask you to just trust God because it sounds good. I ask you to trust God because there is no other option.

What I can tell you today is that our circumstances do not need to be made right for us to walk this life out strong. We don’t need to understand them or make them make sense. Most of us have tried this route and wound up in exhaustion. We don’t need to brave ourselves into ready because brave is off the table. We just have to make the decision right now that walking Jesus strong in warrior boots is what we want and living the life declarations we’ve talked about is what we will do. We need no other information to make this decision than what we already know.

Because of Jesus, no matter what, you’ve got this…I’ve got this… even when we feel like we don’t. Even in our weakness, there is work to be done. We are ready to walk in warrior boots because we choose to walk this life out strong. We determine in our hearts that it will not be about the circumstances, but the commitments. These are things a health crisis cannot change. These are things even the deepest, darkest of loss cannot take from us. These are things by the help of the Holy Spirit we can fully be and do.

I’m praying for you today, that Jesus will come near—that He will persuade you by the power of the Holy Spirit that He has created you to walk strong, once and for all. I believe this, to my core. You aren’t ready for this and neither am I, but we are. Not because we have rallied ourselves to death or taken the “how to survive hard things” class at church or even because we have read this book. Because God. Because the Bible, which is everything we need for life and godliness. Everything. Every thing. God knew your hard last year. He knew your dark hole. He knew you could walk strong anyway.

So then, what to do in our limited, don’t feel ready life? Go on anyway. Look at God anyway. Don’t feel; believe.”

Enough said.

I love you, warrior in the making. I love Jesus most.

Always His,

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!

How Put Your Warrior Boots On is Changing People

Photo: @laurieglassel (Instagram)

Full disclosure moment: I am a skeptic and a hard sell.

It’s not necessarily my favorite thing to admit and a far less positive thing to be in life when it comes to well-intentioned people with good hearts that sometimes don’t get their fair shake from me. But when it comes to saving myself from a room full of unnecessary infomercial products the TV sucked me into buying one late night while flipping through channels, I’m your girl.

But when someone gives personal testimony about why they love something or believes in something or how something they bought or have in their home or on their bookshelf that they’ve read has in some way changed their life for the better, I’m listening.

The truth is, all of us love a first-hand witness.

I can tell you all day long to get your copy of Put Your Warrior Boots On: Walking Jesus Strong Once and For All. I believe in this message so strongly, and I hope by now you trust my heart for Jesus and my deep desire to help His kids. But I wrote the book. So, of course, I want you to get it.

So I thought you might want to hear firsthand from everyday friends who didn’t write the book but instead, read it – carpool moms, laundry doing, office working, college student, Jesus following – who were impacted by the words and in some specific ways. You can read many similar reviews at Amazon.com, but here are just a few…


“For years I have wrestled with fear, worry, and insecurity. As our teenage daughter went to high school, the fear ramped up as our eyes were opened to all that our kids are dealing with on a daily basis. My desire to walk out a faith and strong identity in front of our girls led me to this book.

The declarations in this book have challenged me, stretched me, and given words and actions to what I had been feeling. This book is an easy read, as you will not want to put it down when you start. The only problem I’ve had is not highlighting everything on every page. If you have ever struggled with fear, worry, or insecurity, I can’t recommend this book enough.” – Jennifer


“From the moment I started reading this book, I was captivated by Lisa’s words on each and every page! In all honesty, I don’t remember the last time I read a book that spoke such realness. I have marked, underlined and dog-eared more pages than I can count and have reread multiple parts because these God-breathed words are so powerful and convicting.” – Jess


“When I read Lisa Whittle’s I Want God, I thought it couldn’t get any better. But then I began to read Put Your Warrior Boots On and I must say, this book has wrecked me in all the best ways. This book comes with an urgent and timely message. Lisa has a special way of speaking right to your heart but also delivering truth (even when it hurts to hear). It is high time we rise up for the Kingdom of God and stop being so fearful of things. I also love that the book already comes with a study guide built into its pages. If you lead a small group or just want to use it for personal study, the question and reflection activities are very useful.

Don’t hesitate anymore. Pick up this book. It’ll change you. It’ll move you. It’ll inspire you to warrior up. Walking Jesus strong couldn’t come at a better time.” – Amanda


“‘Keep your mind clear. Raise your standards. Don’t leave your post. These are the heart understandings of a warrior boots believer, the ways in which we will become strong.’ Lisa’s book is a refreshing, pointed, and truth-filled call to strap on our warrior boots and live the kind of life God has called us to – one of abundance, not mediocrity. Her words challenge while her stories comfort and free us from the expectation that to walk Jesus strong requires bravery (spoiler alert: it doesn’t). With discussion questions, small group guides, and journaling space built in, this is an amazing book for your summer book club or Bible study – no extra books, studies, or resources required!” – Crystal

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!