Weakness on Display



When you hear the word “weakness”, what comes to your mind?

The state or condition of lacking strength?

A personal defect, deficiency or failing?

Helplessness – unable to help oneself; powerless ?

Flaw, shortcoming?

These are all definitions of weakness.

In its essence tome means:




Weakness is not a popular word for many.  Nor is it a fond word in my vocabulary.  Coming from a childhood where independence was a daily lesson learned,   weakness is a hard option – at least to ADMIT.   My parents raised me in a faith filled home but also with a work ethic and a strong push towards self -sufficiency.  I obviously leaned heavy in the wrong direction.  Rather than lean into the grace and strength of God, when I came to the  fork in the road between His sufficiency for me and the one that said “you can do this on your own” – I chose wrong.   And proceeded to try and manage my life doing it all myself.  And painfully so!

Although I have made some progress, my default button is to occasionally revisit the self sufficiency road.  And to become discouraged when it no longer works for me as it has in the past.

Hi, my name is Joy – and I am weak!

On any given day I could land in any of the weakness camps but the ones I land in the most are the condition of lacking strength or  feeling like my weaknesses are a defect or deficiency on my path in life.  Things that hold me hostage to what I want or need to accomplish.   Personality flaws.  Limitations.   Things that I can’t muster “ability” to change.

In my early years I found ways to cover up those flaws with the determination to be strong and independent and held tight to them for a significant portion of my life.   It became something to prove.  To myself. My family.  Other people.   A perceived problem that needed to be fixed.  I’m not sure when or why this took root in me – but it did.   In a society that frowns upon weakness, I found ways to stand above them.  Or believed the lie that I could.  So much lost time that I could have experienced peace rather than pressure.

Proving myself is not what God wanted from me. I put expectations on myself that God had NOT placed on me.   Getting my act together and pulling myself up to be strong wasn’t the answer.  But it’s what I believed in the early seasons of my life that God expected.  Pull it together Joy.  Do better. Try harder.  Stop giving me reasons to be angry!    We’ve been here before.

I’ve done all the things I believed were expected from me.   Rather than show weakness I’ve been a “doer”, a people pleaser, an approval seeker.  See – look at me.  I can do it!!!    Whatever it is.  I . Can. Do. It!  Never mind that I wasn’t always supposed to.  I could!!  And that’s what mattered.

I’ve traveled across the country with no job or money, knowing not a single person.  I’ve moved to multiple cities and started over on my own. I’m not afraid to leave the country or try new things or go to “unsafe places”.    I’ve managed to do all the necessary things in my life on my own.  No problem. Yet when it comes to the “inner” workings of my life where it matters most – I don’t have it.  It has been a war within.    My flesh is rebellious against losing control.

Don’t get me wrong.  God has placed certain abilities in me and has given me a tremendous amount of strength – but taken too far sometimes becomes an idol of self sufficiency.   A cover up for times that I really am weak and don’t want to say so.    Rather than rest in the strength and grace of God’s sufficiency, I have pushed through to prove my own.  And in turn missed out on the blessing of finding a different kind of strength. Better than mine.

Many years ago on a mission trip in Panama I remember having a conversation with two dear ladies on the fact that I had spent my whole life depending on myself.  My strength, my abilities  and that I was so ready to learn how to fall in to the arms of the one who calls me to be dependent on Him.  What would that even look like?  I am unsuccessful  in fulfilling my own needs outside of the tasks for living.  Sometimes I don’t even know what those needs are-just that I am deficient.

These questions and nudges were sweet whispers from a loving God who wants to provide rest for my weary,  independent, approval seeking soul.  I  became restless with my life and its constant struggle.  All the things I was doing to try and rise above were no longer working. Keeping it together was unfulfilling-not to mention impossible.

A slow, painful unraveling and years of transition began to take place.

Oh  the opportunities that have come over the years to teach me that I am weak and need Him!  On many days I am SO WEAK!  Too weak to take another step, too weak to do all the things I desire to do with my family, too weak to pursue my dreams because it requires energy that I just don’t have, too weak to dive in to the ministry that has my heart but not my time.  Weak in my prayers some days. Weakness in how I respond to circumstances surrounding my children  or other situations that I’ve never been in.  WEAK!  And with those realizations the enemy comes fast and frequent to remind me of my shortcomings.  You will never be where you want to be, God can’t use you, why would he use a weak and inconsistent person like you?    So many lies  that my rational mind know  to be false but so easy to listen to when it becomes a routine voice that shows up at just the right time “IN” my weakness.  The time I am most vulnerable to the lies and too tired to fight them. Maybe he’s right I begin to think. What am I even trying to do.  I can’t handle it.  And its true – I can’t!  Not on my own.

From finding myself as  a single mom, to depending on him daily for my finances, my job, my body to function, (emotional breakdown from years of stuffing my pain )  there are few areas that God has not required me to have utter dependence on Him.

The most recent need for dependence….acceptance of my own mental illness and its limitations. My fight with antidepressants.  My fight with feeling like I could rise above the need.  The question on repeat…. “I’ve overcome so much in my life God  why can’t I overcome this??? “ I could not!  I’ve spent the  last few months slipping away in the rebellion of ignoring my need rather than stepping up to the reality of my illness.   For months feeling like I haven’t had the words to pray, been the person I needed to be for my family,  or to do the work I need to do, and refusing to submit to the truth.   Trying again and again to find ways to manage. The lie that says I need to get it together.   That I CAN get it together.  Change my diet, take supplements, exercise, all the right things and all good things. All things that are in my control.   But not the one thing that I need in my life that is beyond my control.

So my options become retreat or surrender. Continue to fight for my way or let God do what only God can do.

I finally got to the place of feeling completely defeated, empty, unable to do for myself, even the good and right things.  I SURRENDER GOD.  I surrender to your way.  I surrender to my weakness.  And in my surrender He shows up.

Every day I get a new opportunity to trust God at his word.

Some days I have layed down in defeat.

Some days I have surrendered.

My desire is that I will learn to be quicker in my surrender.  I am in a place in my life that I can no longer ignore my utter dependence on Gods sufficiency – HIS STRENGTH-  to meet me in my weaknesses.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore, I WILL BOAST all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  

Boast? Boast about my weaknesses?  I’ve spent my whole life trying to cover them up. Fight against them.  Rise above them.  Prove something.  Boast?- NEVER!!

But maybe there is something to that….the hidden gem in the minefield!

“Authentic faith doesn’t seek to cover up all its imperfections and weaknesses. Rather, it understands that our imperfections are the very placesGod chooses to reveal himself to and through us.”  Lisa Bevere

My struggles remind me of Paul in the bible.  We don’t know the specifics of his struggle (the thorn in his side), nor do I think God intended us to.  But I think  we can all relate with his desire to have the “uncomfortable” thing removed.  Whether it is illness, weakness, whatever your thing is, I think a lot of us have something we wish God would take away or change or fix.  Something that just doesn’t fit right with us.

Paul asked for the thorn to be removed and God said NO!!  Many times in my life I have asked for things to be different and God says no.  Not because he wants to deny me but because He has something so much better.

I love both of these translations of 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

ESV.  Many are the opportunities to feel weak which in turn lead me to have to look at my glaring pride in the face.  The pride that says I can,I should,I used to!  How exhausting.   (And very much the conversation in my head on any given day).  So to keep me from being conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamaties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

MSG.  Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.  Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees.  No danger then of walking around high and mightly!  At first I didn’t think of it as a gift and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need.  My strength comes into its own in your weakness.  Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen.  I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.  It was a case of Christs’ strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.  I just let Christ take over!  And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Reality check!

Do I see my issues as a gift for my good?   Until recently, no.

Am I content in my weaknesses?  Usually not.

Do I boast in them or try and sweep them under the rug?  Sweeper all day long!!!

Good cheer over limitations.  I am so anti-cheerful when I butt up against my limitations!    God has full hands working on my sanctification….

What if I were to allow him to reveal himself to me in those moments rather than push him aside trying to do it on my own in pride?  Story of my life.  I’d like to break the cycle.

Hopefully one day I will be eager to  boast in my weaknesses because I know that in them God will be made known.  To be OK with being weak because ultimately it has made me stronger.  That his grace will be even more evident in my life.  I know that I can keep moving forward despite my weaknesses because it is in these very momentsthat he chooses to show up for me again and again.  He is faithful!  Even though I continually revisit patterns that DO NOT WORK!!!

The truth is,  my real value is not in others seeing me as perfect, but in others seeing God’s grace revealed in my imperfections.  I think I stole that from somewhere….. but it’s still the truth.

So who wants to join me on this journey of celebrating their weaknesses?  Not many I’m sure but here are some questions to ask yourself.


What are the limitations that the enemy tries to use against you?

How are you fighting against them instead of allowing His  grace to flow into?

Are you choosing to retreat or surrender?

Weakness is not failure.    It’s an opportunity!



I Corinthians 1:27- But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  Not in my strength but his.  So I boast!! For I have many opportunities for God’s power to rest on me.












image battle

My heart is weak

It fails me again

No strength inside

To pull from within

Darkness tries to overcome

I try desperately not to succumb

I want so much to be strong and brave

But hiding and comfort is what I crave

The battle is fierce and lonely and some days too hard to bear

But I can rest in the assurance that God you are always there

This battle within heavily demands my attention

And is more in this moment than what I can mention

I have this faith and Your truth to believe

So there are things in me that need to be upheaved

No longer allowed to take up precious and limited space

But these things in my life need to be displaced

No room for the past and the lies I have believed

Only your faithfulness and love that I have received

What is it within me that I cannot see?

That has this strong,  unrelenting grip on me.

I beg, I plead for answers that will show

Oh Lord please tell me which way I should go

Your word says I have all that I need

So why can’t  today your words I heed?

I’m desperate for a hope that has quietly faded

Not lost or forgotten, just heavily jaded

I choose in this moment to trust once more

That when it is time you will open the new door

For me to see your plans fuller and true

An unfolding  story that will come into view

You God are my only hope for a life lived with purpose

Help me dive deeper than the  things on the surface

To live in the fullness of your mercy and grace

Instead of the pain of this unsteady race

Fill me today so that I can in strength keep moving

And live another day trusting in your approving

For you are the only audience for me

And fully in your presence I long to be

Fill me today with your  magnificent hearts desire

And fill my dark places with a renewed holy fire

Not Enough





The most played mental tape of all time in the minds of women!   (In my humble opinion)….

These words can show up quicker than a two  year old’s temper tantrum in the middle of target. They can sneak in and steal my joy before I even know that they have entered the room.  Sometimes so quietly and subtly I don’t even recognize what’s happening.  Until I’ve succumbed to the lie.

Other descriptors of not enough….

Deficient, faulty, incompetent, incomplete, lacking, unequal, unqualified, inadequate. Not good enough for a particular purpose.  I cannot tell you how many ways that all of these words have played out in my life.  Over and over on repeat.

Some variations of how “not enough” shows up for many of us…..

You don’t have what it takes.

You aren’t good enough.

You are ……..
You are not…..

You will never be….

Did God really call you to do “that” because you are not “fill in the blank”.
My husband didn’t wanna stay…
She’s younger….
You dont look a certain way..
You don’t have a certain skill…
She has better……
Her family is so……
Her kids are…..

The list is literally endless.  And sounds a lot like comparison!!

Whether you are mom, friend, coworker, leader- it doesn’t matter.  We are all influenced by these negative messages. They may look different or sound different  but we all have the tapes.

I HATE these words and all their variations.  They create a disturbance in my body that can only be described as  paralyzing, unsettling. They can unnerve me in the most inopportune (inconvenient or inappropriate) times and usually when I’m hoping for the most confidence I can muster up.  These words can show up in the mundane moments of my life as well as the areas that I try and step out in faith to what God is calling me to do.  There are no limits to when they come.  But when they do, I lose my joy and my peace……when I listen to them.

The latest manifestation was –“you don’t speak well enough”.    “You aren’t cut out for this”.  Words whispered,  not by a person, but a subtle voice in my head. We were in the studio recording the very first Truth Republic podcast. (For those who aren’t familiar with it – The Truth Republic is a ministry making Jesus known by equipping women to fulfill their calling.)

Exciting right?   Yes!  On so many levels.  But not so much for me individually.   While the concept is great, and there is so much value in this avenue of resources, from the moment it was placed on the calendar this sense of dread came over me. And I don’t even have a huge part in this particular bucket so I should have been relieved.  And it isn’t “video” so I thought I would have been more relaxed.   The closer it got the harder it got.  Until I was overwhelmed and just wanted to run. Or throw up.  Or do anything else that was way less invasive to my being.  Yes these are real thoughts that I experience.   This is real anxiety that I deal with when it comes to certain things-mostly speaking in public in ANY format.  In part because of the lies that I’ve carried my whole life.  And an enemy that would like nothing more than to silence me.  Silence my God given voice to change and influence the world.    I  KNOW that God says I’m enough because HE  is enough.  I KNOW that I have abilities and can do hard things.  (I’m raising 2 teenage girls alone to prove it).  🙂   I KNOW that there is value in what we are doing as a ministry.

So how do we silence these useless voices?  How do we combat them  in a world where there are SO MANY avenues telling us we don’t belong, we don’t fit, we are not enough?  We hear it in the home, in the workpace, in our communities.  We see the messages flash across facebook and instagram.  But the reality is that “people” are not our enemies.   The enemies of our life are not our boss, our spouse, our competition.   Our enemies are self doubt, insecurity, fear, inadequacy, and my own personal favorite… “perfectionism”,  the loudest scream of not enough because it is impossible to please.  It is never happy.  Never satisfied.  You don’t measure up.  You’ve missed the mark.

There is an epidemic of women who can’t see or don’t even know their value.   These women are amazing and gifted and talented.  They have so much to offer this world but just cannot see that the enemy has been lying to them.  They have been blinded by what they “don’t” possess rather than the many things that they do.   They’ve bought the lie that there is someone else better equipped.  Me too!

I even hear it in the voices of my children – already -that says I’m not enough!  I don’t have what it takes.

We are measuring by an impossible and invisible stick that constantly changes with culture rather than by our identity in Christ.

The only way that I know to combat these lies are with a different voice. The truth of  Gods word and what God says that I am. WHO he says I am! He says I have the keys to the kingdom. The kingdom has power, and love, and wisdom, and purpose.  Which means I have power, love, wisdom and purpose.  Everything that God has belongs to me. So why am I still measuring against things that don’t really even matter?


The enemy says…I am nothing.
God says..I have been washed, sanctified, justified and CHOSEN.

The enemy says…I am inferior.
God says…I am uniquely designed for His purpose.

The enemy says….I’m not smart.
God says…I have His wisdom.

The enemy says…I have no strength.
God says….I have His  power.

The enemy says……I feel defeated.
God says…In all things we are more than conquerors.

The enemy says….you don’t look or act like them.
God says….you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We have a choice as to whether we will listen to the negative voice that plays and believe it or fight it with everything we are made of.  And believe me I know the fight is HARD.  Especially when it seems to be a constant, sometimes daily battle with remnants from our past mistakes compounding the present culture’s messages.  You don’t measure up.  You never have. You never will.   Don’t even bother.

If you are a women who does not or has not struggled with this – you are in the minority!  But in my experience most of us have.  I have seen all types of women who struggle with this.  From the stay at home mom to the corporate leaders of large companies.  The ones who have “perceived” perfect families and lots of money to the ones that have BA’s, MBA’s, PhD’s, doctorates or any other thing you can have on paper but it doesn’t calm the lies within.   To sit down and have a conversation with them it is apparent the struggle is universal.  In all types!  Over and over I hear it manifest in different ways.  Over and over I hear them in my own head!!

When I hear some variation of how I’m not enough it truly depletes me! It makes me want to retreat into the safety of my comfort zone-the very one I’m trying so hard to get out of.  While it’s good to have this place to go, it doesn’t have the ability to take those negative voices and strip them of their power.  All my comfort zone does is give me a place to retreat and stew on them in my head a little bit longer. I have grown up with these thoughts.  They have become my internal dialogue.  I have nurtured them and babied them and accepted them as truth. No more.

I need the truth of God to help me combat these lies, not lay down in peace with them.

I need deliverance from them!!!
Not a way to live with them.

What are the tapes that the enemy is playing for you?  What would you do with your life if you didn’t have these negatives on loop in your brain?  What is it that you KNOW God is calling you to that these mental futilities seem to keep overriding the realities of it?

You don’t have to accept your default behaviors or your default tapes. You can change them!

The enemy does not want you, yes YOU- to step into the fullness of your God given purpose. He does not want you to tap into that inner strength, the inner warrior that God says you are.    Maybe you are still trying to figure out what your purpose or calling  is and these words are constantly bombarding you, paralyzing you into staying still rather than stepping out in faith to try because you believe that you don’t really have what it takes.

If you have a call to use your voice-the enemy will surely try to silence it. 

I want my fear of living a life “without” purpose to far exceed the fear that the enemy tries to whisper that says I’m not enough to “have” a life of purpose.

This piece has been really hard to write because it digs deep into so many other things that tie into this notion of not enough.  It’s a  personal struggle that I’ve battled.  Sometimes these words have led to shame, regret, depression, anxiety.  Sometimes I win the battle.  Sometimes I lose.  But I keep getting back up.  Determined to squash these lies.  Sometimes I have to walk the hard stuff and do it anyway. Even when I’m afraid.   Take the step and see what happens.  I believe that shedding light on the problems and encouraging others that they are not alone in these thoughts can take away some of the sting.

In a book I’ve been reading on anointing the author says…. “Gods anointed weapons of choice for women are words!”


That would indicate that we are in a war.  And we are!  We are in a war for our minds and the negative things we allow to take up residence there.   But we are not left alone to fight.  God has given us everything that we need to live this life.  Armor, tools, words, His word, His spirit, His power.


We are meant to speak ladies…and on so many things.  Speak out.  Speak up. Speak life.  Speak love. The power of life and death are in the tongue.  Let that sink in.  YOU have the ability to KILL/tear down or build up with your words.  So why not use our voice to build up OURSELVES as well as others? Go to battle for MYSELF just as hard as I would battle for someone I love.  With the same power and fervency that we as women can have when protecting our own.  Speak life into the deepest parts of ourselves that need to be reminded that we have value, purpose, a unique voice and that we are SO ENOUGH!  And stop listening to the negative thoughts that are killing us and our purpose.  We have the power to CHOOSE!!!!  We have the weapons to win!

We need to SPEAK some things in the presence of Jesus about  words/lies that have occupied space in our spirit, in our minds, families, generational blood lines, etc.  that have no place anymore.  They need to go!!!   (Steven Furtick’s sermon Dysfunctional Comfort…..)

Your voice is needed.

Your voice matters.

Our voices can change the world!

I’m tired of living this limited, weak willed, fearfulness that the enemy tries to keep me wrapped up in.  I’m ready for the warrior to rise up within me that God says that I am and take back the territory lost to those lies.   So much waisted time that I could have been using my gifts and talents and sharing my voice with those who could benefit from my experiences/lessons learned rather than cowering down in fear of not being enough.  And the truth is – I won’t be enough for some people.  I may be “too much” for others.  But none of that is relevent when I realize that I have a purpose and a voice unique to me that was created to speak life.   There is a calling on my life to lead people to the truth of Jesus and to help them discover their own purpose.  And to recognize the roadblocks in that process. Even when I’m currently working out those same roadblocks in my own life.   So this is a way of speaking encouragement and dispelling the lies that we believe that say we are not enough.  Or at the very least for you to know that you are not alone in those thoughts.

What will it take for us to be a generation that rises to the occasion rather than cowering down to the same enemies (whatever those may be for you) that have kept us bound and “small”.  We need to stand up and fight against these lies.  We have great purpose ladies.

Where will you use YOUR voice?

You are enoughYou are SO enough!  It’s unbelievable how enough you are!

God help us to rise up and claim what you say we already have with CONFIDENCE.  And believe who YOU say that we are.  Help us to recognize our identity in you and  not in the standards of this world.


We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE to the obedience of Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:5)

*My grace is sufficient for  you. For my power is made perfect in weakness.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

*For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)



just be

I have, on more than one occasion been labeled as “a woman who gets things done”.    And while this is true sometimes, (and believe me I’ve worn it like a badge of honor), it can also be a defect in my personality.  A taking of something good and turning it into my identity.

The need to perform.  DO.  Check off the list.  Prove my worth and my value in my “abilities”.  “I GOT THIS!”

In my last post I talked about my tendencies to procrastinate, to be stagnant when I have too much to do and easily “numb out”.  All true when it comes to being fruitful in “my calling” – because its hard.   But this is something entirely different.  This is an internal struggle with myself to “prove” something by the things I choose to “get done” or “do.

God has had to do a lot of work in me on this one because it has been evident in every area of my life.   My independent nature follows me in my work, in motherhood and in my relationships.   It is easier for me to carry the load on my own rather than be vulnerable and ask for help or to rest and allow God to do the work.   Its easier to DO than BE.  To check off the list than “feel” what I need to feel.

I wrote before about getting out of your comfort zone.  Get motivated, get off the couch, do the hard stuff.  Yes! We need to move forward when we’ve heard from the Lord.  But for some of you,  getting out of your comfort zone may be a call to do “less” – and that too can be uncomfortable.   “Busy” is not a spiritual gift.  God may be calling some of you to take a step back. A season of rest, of listening to his voice, being intentional in the FEW things he is calling you to rather than your endless to do list.  And for those of us who are “doers”, this can be extremely uncomfortable.  It requires stopping long enough to hear that voice inside of you that quite honestly sometimes you avoid.  You don’t want to deal with the pain.  You don’t want to do the work of processing the loss.  You don’t want to work past the insecurity. It’s too hard. You would rather keep busy and avoid it.

I get it!

I used to be wide open.   NONSTOP! I was a stay at home mom of two little girls,  two years apart for 11 years.  Busy right? I also volunteered at a pregnancy clinic, served on our care team and spent lots of time on the missions team at my church that I adored!!!  I poured myself into everything that I could do to help.  I rarely,  if ever,  said no to a need.   I loved every part of it.   I was “doing” so much “for” God  but not really spending enough quality time in his presence on a regular basis.  Too busy.  Always assuming that the good things I was doing was my calling.  And they were all good things.  How could they not be?  All these experiences have turned out to be “pieces” of a bigger calling.

But I was missing the point.

And then my world came to a screeching halt.   Everything I knew, everything I loved,  in a matter of moments was stripped away.  The life I knew forever changed.

Divorce, heartache, shame, lots of disappointment.  For obvious reasons I backed out of every single thing I was doing. EVERYTHING.  Not just church world, but my whole life.    Even though it was a necessity, over time I began to see that God was teaching me to BE still.  A very foreign concept to me!!!   I didn’t know how to stop.  How to rest. How to trust God to do FOR me.    On so many levels I believed the lie that I was in control.   And if I dropped the ball, everything would fail.

Thank God I don’t have that kind of power!!!!

In that very long season, a dear friend of mine could frequently see me wrestling with SO much fear and insecurity.  I would tell her how I wasn’t doing enough for others,  I wasn’t volunteering, I was failing as a mom because of all the things I couldn’t “do” or give them because of my own limitations and pain.   All things pointing to the illusion of self & control.  What can do?  What I should do?  She presented me with a gift that, to this day,  still sits in my most frequent view.

It says…and only says….JUST BE.

Those words changed something inside of me that day.  For days, weeks, months and now years later they are still a reminder for me to slow down in my doing.  The proverbial “stop and smell the roses”.  I’ve learned so much about being still.  More than I wanted actually.  God gave me a rreeeallllyyy long season of sitting.  And waiting.  And listening.   And undoing.  And breaking.  And remolding.  And quite honestly sometimes He still takes me back there and i have to decide to “let” him speak to me there or push past and get on with my list…

There were times I was grateful that my plate was utterly empty because I was weary and burned out and needed the years to heal and for God to show me that my value was NOT wrapped up in how much I could accomplish.  That his love was not contingent upon me completing every task or fulfilling every obligation that had assigned as important.  I had been doing so much that I couldn’t hear the whispers of his love for me.  I couldn’t feel, or be present because I was too busy (likely so I WOULDN’T feel). It was all about me and my “abilities” to do it all.  And when I couldn’t “perform” or be validated in some way, I didn’t know how to BE.  Enter yet another identity crisis! (I experienced a few over these years).   Not only had I lost my husband, my home, what I planned for my family and my daughters,  my dreams, I had lost my sense of purpose or knowing who I was without all those things.

What if instead of the endless bombardment of things to do that circles around in our brains and leaves us utterly exhausted and unfulfilled,  was replaced with purpose, intentionality and boundaries.    What if we were specific about the things we allow to take up space in our worlds. What if we leaned in to what God is calling us to and prioritize around the most important aspects of our lives. Leaving the unimportant undone.  So as to leave space for Him to move.  The eternal perspective of our lives rather than the earthly one.   Our hearts and souls versus our calendars.  Because the reality is, all the things we strive to accomplish in the natural will always need to be attended to.  It is never ending.  Its brutal sometimes.   And its exhausting!!

I can hear some eyes rolling right now saying yeah right – how do we do that when we…… ?  (insert your own reasons-there are many).   I know.  It’s likely I have all those things too.  But  I promise you that when you trust God to fill the gaps between doing and being – God WILL fill the gaps.  Can you put down your  busy comforts long enough to test him in this?    He’s calling you.

“Come to me all who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you REST”.   Matthew 11:28

REST!!  Just BE.  With ME.

There is something supernatural that happens when I lay down my physical perceived needs (to do’s) and spend time with God and rest.  Seems counterproductive but its true.  God doesn’t NEED our help ladies.  Lives wont fall apart because we don’t give everyone everything that we think they need.  Sometimes others will have to be disappointed to allow space for God to move in your own life – AND theirs!  He has called EACH of a us to a unique purpose.  We have to sit still long enough to hear what he has to say about it. Press in and take advantage of the time that you may never get again in THIS season.   Why are we so eager to move past the often prayed for events of our lives  as if there is some proverbial goal line?

This is not a preach to you moment.  I am reminded as I write this,  that I am not an expert at following this advice even with all that God has shown me.   I frequently fall back into old patterns and rely way too much on my calendar.  In fact,  as I sit here my mind is spinning on all the things that I need to get done.  My body is aching and fighting off something-I just want to lay down.   My house is a mess.  My laundry is overflowing.  My car needs to be cleared out from a whirlwind trip that I took with my daughters last night in which I was up at 4am driving.   There are conversations that need to be had.   Phone calls to make.  Bills to pay. And I have to work – multiple jobs. And I’m a single mom.   The cycle doesn’t end.  The needs are great.  But I have to be intentional about choosing what’s greater over what’s good. There are always good things we can be doing.  Most of what we do as women  are “good things”.   But what are the GREAT things that God is calling you to.  Where do you need to make space for Him?

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed in my spirit and it’s a call for me to stop and spend time with the only one who can fill me and fuel the deepest parts of me.   The one who reminds me what’s important and necessary.  The one who reminds me that my value is not in my “getting stuff done”.  He is perfectly capable of running the universe.  His voice is the only one who can silence the “doer” voice in me.  And allow me to just BE in His presence.


“Don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries for itself. Matthew 6:34”


What seasons are you trying to rush through? Where can you stop striving and just allow God to whisper to you “I’ve got this – you only need to rest”.

Do you hear the Lord asking you to press into Him to equip you for what’s coming next rather than take on one more thing that will consume your time? To be prepared.

Do you need healing from divorce or breakup so that you don’t jump into one more relationship with old wounds and repeat the same negative cycles?

Are you grieving a loss?

Are you pouring into everyone else but ignoring your own self care?

Are you saying yes to everything and everyone so as not to disappoint but in the process disappointing yourself yet again for not having boundaries? Or sticking to them?

Are you pushing past sickness rather than resting because you “don’t have time” to be sick.  (Ding ding ding)  Yet the constant rush is what brings you to this place to begin with?

Are you in a season that you feel is unimportant or unproductive and you want to move past it because you feel like its “not enough”?

Or insert your own season….

God is present in every one of these scenarios!   Waiting for you.  Wanting to reveal Himself to you.  I have found myself in most of these.  And when I look back I can see the trail that God has left to get me to this very moment in time.  He used,  and is STILL using the smallest details.  The most insignificant days.  And the  hardest disappointments..  Those disappointments can be turned into His “divine appointments” – if we let them.

He will use every piece, every season,  for His purpose.  Your purpose! Don’t miss it!  Don’t try and push past it.  He is writing your story right now – today.   There is nothing wasted, nothing lost.  No rush!

Be patient.

Be present.



Exodus 33:14

The lord replied, “my presence will go with you , and I will give you rest.

Psalm 46:10

“BE still and know that I am God”

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd


He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he refreshes my soul

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake

Even though I walk through the darkest valley

I will fear no evil, for you are with me

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me

You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies

You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows

Surely, your goodness and love will follow me

All the days of my life

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever







The Unfruitful Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone Quotes - A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but n


1 – “ a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint
2 – “the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress

Similar meanings:  ease, pleasure, satisfaction, relief, convenience, creature comforts, bed of roses.

This is a word that has swirled around in my head about as long as it took me to start this blog.   The words comfort and complacent are written NUMEROUS times throughout my journals.  A clear (albeit slow) indicator that it is a problem that God has been trying to address with me.

I am a horder of comfort !   I love the path of least resistance.   This could be in part to  what I’ve developed as my default bad habits or the fact that I am a 9 on the enneagram chart.  Some of my traits according to that chart.

1 – I’ll do almost anything to avoid conflict
2 – I tend to procrastinate
3– when overwhelmed with too many things to do, too many decisions to make or the upsetting prospect of change, Nines can slow to a crawl.   Sloth is a word they associate with us “9”’s.    Great!  As if I need another label.

I have so much to do, I’m going to bed.”  Savoyard Proverb

I could have written that! It fits me so well.   Picture a turtle retracting into its protective shell!

Lately I have teetered on the border of idolizing my comfort.   I have chosen mindless activities rather than ones with meaning. It’s easier to watch tv and forget the world than to be vulnerable and write and to dig deep into God’s word for truth.  It’s easier to ignore a project so big and overwhelming rather than take one  intentional step at a time toward the goal.    It’s easier to pretend that your life is fine (this is just how I am mentality) rather than open yourself up to dreaming and risk possible heartache AGAIN.   Or to act as if God is really going to answer that prayer or longing, whatever it may be, with wholehearted expectation.

I have this ongoing conversation every single year around new years eve.  Am I going to stay in my cozy comfortable environment free from vulnerability or awkwardness? Safe.  Or am I going to venture out into new  things  and be open to the possibilities?  I wish I could say that this was the year that I chose new but instead I fell back into the old pattern of what was comfortable.   (In my defense – sort of – I hadn’t felt stellar for a few days so there was that). But still, the old record played over and over until I fell back on what I “knew”.  Safe.  Familiar.

In a sermon by Bill Johnson called “Difficult Seasons”  he said these words…

  “Some things that you hunger for you have “insulated yourself from”. We are so wrapped up in comfort that we don’t have access to what we’ve asked for”. 

Those words pierced my heart. So lets get real.  On a page from my journal dated August 25, 2018 this is what I wrote.


Ouch! How’s that for real?  I want so much more from the Lord but sometimes I don’t want to do the work that’s required to get the results that I desire.  I come up with a million excuses as to why i don’t want to do it.  Or better yet, why i can’t.  “I’m a single mom”, “I have to work”, “Can God really use me”?  “What do I even have to say”?  “It has already been done”.  But the biggest one of all…….You are not enough! (A whole blog post could occupy this topic)   What are some of the tapes that play on repeat in your head?

The rest of that entry goes like this…”You are tired from the fight so you’ve given up.  You’ve chosen the easier road – if you don’t fight you can’t lose.   Whoa negative Nancy!  I despise when she shows up.  In my flesh I have EVERY reason to feel this way.  I’ve spent the last seven years tredding the waters of divorce and learning how to be a single mom with many seasons of ups and downs.   Seasons of anger, frustration, heartache, fear.  Financial, emotional, spiritual.  Healing has been hard work and has taken a LONG time.  But there is a point that we have to stop drowning in how we “feel” and do what we’ve “decided” and what God has “purposed” in our hearts.  We will never  feel like we are ready for anything hard but we can make up our minds to not wallow in self preservation.  In other words, choose not to stay in our comfort zones.

The truth is when I give up on the fight that God has placed within me I miss out on so much more than what I hold onto in comfort.  I’m unfulfilled.  I’m discontent.  I’m restless. Unsatisfied.  Unfruitful.  We were made for more therefore God will not let us stay in this place forever.  (As evidenced by his constant reminder to me in my journals.)  We will never be stretched or grow in “ease”.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for more pain to grow. I am asking that he take what has already been done and push me out of the nest to teach me to fly!  And in doing so, bring hope to others in the process.

It is my privilege and honor to be involved in a ministry called  The Truth Republic that my dear friend, Carrie Williams, started a few years ago.  She felt God asking her to help women discover their own calling, equip them to walk it out, and to make Jesus known through the unique gifts that EVERY woman possesses.   She asked me if I would be a part of it.  I’d like to say my initial response was a resounding and immediate yes, but it was not.  I said no many times.  (Insert list of excuses).  But as God does, in His relentless love for us, He continued to pursue me.  He reminded me that my freedom is not just for me but for many who have yet to discover the same hope, love, and freedom that I have found.  Being a part of developing The Truth Republic has, not surprisingly, coincided with my own personal journey.  It has come with years of prayer, doubt, and insecurities.  Some of them I was keenly aware of, others I didn’t even know that I had.  But…I am going first, pushing past the lies, the doubts, and the comforts I know.  I am willing to DO the very thing that we, as The Truth Republic, are calling other women to. We are calling women to step out of their comfort zones, to be intentional, and to do the hard things so that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to others. 

It hasn’t been easy. 

So here’s my question to you.

What are you asking for in 2019?  What has God placed on your heart that you have not been willing to go after because it was going to be “uncomfortable”.  That thing that is going to require more of you than what you have presently been giving or think you are capable of giving.  That thing that scares you.  That  thing that you want to believe can be yours but just haven’t been willing to reach for it out of fear of failure or its just too hard.   What lies are you believing that are holding you back? We all have moments of discouragement and doubt about our calling.  I wrote the following piece several months ago in  a moment of complete discouragement.  And God in his faithfulness can meet us right where we are and turn it around for good.


Time, energy, resources, the love I dole out
Rationed like rice- in a bowl full of doubt

Thinking I can’t, wont give more of me or mine
Scared of the clock – so limited time
Will I have enough to go around
I forget that your resources continue to abound

My mind is on the ease, the comforts of life
The best way to abstain from strife
From pain and discomfort I desperately hide
Forgetting that it is only changed  when I abide.

I think there is no time for my dreams and my plans
Effort put forth is what these demand
They are not met in easy and pain free
But in stretching and molding by the God in me

I desire to see you God clear and true
But my comforts only blind me from you
I long to dive deeper in the oceans of your grace
But first discomfort I must displace

As I sit and cry about what I don’t have
I’m reminded of your faithful and healing salve
My sin, my debt has been forgiven and paid
And in return mercies and beauty you’ve laid

You say that you’ve given all that I need
Yet inside I feel wanting, I bleed
Not because you have not given enough to me
But because my comfort is all I see

Show me a better way my beautiful king
For you have given me every good and perfect thing
To live this life a gift to show your love
To go beyond the easy and above

For you did not come to sit in comfort and peace
But to give your life for the least of these
The beggar, the thief, the poor and blind
All given your love even when none returned in kind

Your precious children, red yellow black and white
All for their sake you shed light on the night
You shed blood of sacrifice and pain
So that all could know your glorious name
Your love, your joy, your peace your power
All in the struggle through the very last hour

No comfort you sought, no rest for your head
As you listened intently to the Father instead
Who called for sacrifice, unbearable pain
In obedience you died for our unending gain.

So please dear God help rid me of me
Your awesome story I desire others to see
Move me beyond my continual search for ease
Help me find what I need, only on my knees

To share in your love of kindness and grace
So that others can know you and see your face
To find freedom from sin and unmerited favor
For a life that they too can eternally savor

Let my life not be about the here and now of me and mine
But power glory and honor only to thine

My prayer is that this year will be the year you step out of your comfort zone and grab ahold of YOUR calling!  Whatever it takes!!

If you would like more information on the Truth Republic please contact me at joy@thetruthrepublic.com

It’s Time!


Day 742….the  approximate number of days it has been since I “entertained” the idea to start a blog……I don’t put things in to play very quickly, a true procrastinator at heart.   Needless to say, the fruit appears much later than the original ideas in my life.  Hoping to improve on that this year.

Getting started has been the hardest part for me.  My mind goes in five thousand directions in any given moment and i’m easily distracted from the task at hand.  Not to mention I am a single mom with many needs vying for my attention.   Anyone else???   Add in a pinch of doubt, insecurity and a whole lot of fear and you have a recipe to be paralyzed in the process. (Approximately 2 years worth).

The decision to start the blog was for a creative outlet for myself as well as a calling I believe God has placed in me which has slowly developed over time.  This was never my “dream”.   It has opened the door for a tremendous amount of vulnerability and questioning.  My desire is not to have a huge following or be the best blogger but to be obedient to Gods call to share insights, stories, and experiences that He has brought me through that will hopefully encourage and spur you on in your own life and faith.  Any they overcame by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony. (Revelation 12:11)  Testimony for those who may be asking is “a declaration or evidence used in support of something”.  In my case, the testimony of my faith, my struggles, my victories, my failures.  Christ uses our circumstances and our story to not only shape our lives but the lives of others.  We need each other.

Some people are called to preach, some to teach, some to write ( and a whole list of other giftings in between).  But we ALL have a unique voice that God has given us to use.  I’m not a fan of public speaking – it has always brought panic and discomfort to me.  But that doesn’t negate that I have things that need to be shared and “voiced”.  And even though i’m not a fan, I have stood before women and shared my heart – God’s heart – for all who would hear because God gave me the voice to do so.   We are all called to share– not to walk the journey alone. (Click on link for actual testimony). Nicaragua

So after two years of thinking, being afraid, praying, researching, stopping and starting, being overwhelmed and wanting to bash my computer in-i’m finally diving in. When better than to start fresh for 2019!  Hopefully it will set the course for the coming years.

So here it is – unpolished & unfolding.    My start, my beginning.  At least this part of my journey.  I hope you find hope and encouragement  and know that you are never alone.

Praying that 2019 will be a year filled with many blessings for each of you.  That God would meet you right where you are.

365 new chances to do what you love.

365 days of new opportunities to “begin”.

Happy New Year!!




I used to think I didn’t really have a good story – a grand testimony of major proportion like many I’ve heard. I grew up in church so there wasn’t really much “life before God”. I felt like I had known about who he was my whole life and in some ways I did. I knew “about” Him, I tried to walk the walk, I read my bible, I had a relationship– but I did not know Him intimately – all the parts of Him –until I surrendered my whole heart to Him in the midst of my greatest pains and disappointments.

I realized this week as I traveled to a foreign country that God has not only used my life but that he has written a beautiful love story with it. I just didn’t see it as such – until now. As I prepared to speak to these beautiful Nicaraguan women about “my life” – I could see that God has taken every hurt, every thought, every abuse and used it to draw me unto Himself. This is what I shared with them. No matter where you are in your life God SEES you. In this moment. Whether you are far from him or so close you can feel his breath-you are not forgotten. You are not somehow disqualified. He knows YOUR name. He knows YOUR pain. He sees YOU!

There is nothing special about me except that I am special to God – and so are you.
We have to stop seeing ourselves as less than and invisible because of our circumstances. “My life didn’t turn out the way I planned”. “This happened to me.” “God could never use me”. I’ve said them all. And this was certainly not the plan I had for my life but I am convinced that God can do more with my broken and shattered and rebuilt heart – than he ever could with my untouched, hardened original heart of stone.
No matter what you are facing today He is in your midst and writing YOUR beautiful love story.

When I first found out that I was going to speak to these women I thought what could I possibly say to women who live in extreme poverty and the most dire of circumstances on a daily basis that would resonate with them at all. Turns out God knew exactly what needed to be said for this very moment. That while my particular circumstances were different – the pain and abuses that we suffered were the same. The dire need for our souls to be set free from the lies of the enemy that tells us we are nothing, we have nothing, we will never be anything. That while we lived in different places and different cultures – we are all the same – women who suffer pain-of all kinds. Women with a need to be seen and heard and loved-not judged and used and thrown to the side. Women who GOD sees and loves and has not forgotten. These things cross all boundaries. There is no language barrier to Gods love. There is no distance too great for him to send us to remind women that they are not invisible. Even if it was just for ONE. It is not waisted.

Standing in front of these women was a full circle moment for me with the Lord. A story I was living became vivid and beautiful and healing all at the same time. A reminder that Jesus was with me in every single moment-holding me, leading me, loving me. All for his purpose and glory. To share with others His beauty and grace and love for ALL!! A grand testimony of HIS faithfulness in my life and His love story to me.

This is what I shared with them….

God sees YOU.

In this very moment of your struggle.  He knows your name.  He knows your heart.  He knows every hurt and need.

My story begins as a little girl full of hopes and dreams for my life.   I accepted Christ at the age of 10 – maybe more because my friends were doing it than of an understanding of “who” I was accepting.  I was raised to be a “follower”.  So I began to follow rules.  I believed growing up that if I did not do everything perfectly that God was mad at me.  That I wasn’t loved or deserving.  I tried to do everything right just to please people.  The problem with having rules to follow is that I was completely unable to do it on my own.  My will power, my strength, my desire to be good was not enough.  But I tried really hard.  And got really good at pretending.  And while I called myself a Christ follower I couldn’t have been farther from God.

When I was 18 I left home to be “an adult” but I was still very much a child.  I was sinful in so many ways.  All the things that I had promised God I would never do – became who I was-or how I identified myself.  I began to view myself as only valuable when I could turn a mans head.  The enemy began to lie to me in ways I wholeheartedly believed.  I became highly sexual, I used drugs, I drank and buried myself in the “party scene”.  All mechanisms to cope with what I had done.  But even during this time I tried to look on the outside like I had it all together when inside I was dying in my sinfulness, shame and regret.

My heart was broken repeatedly by men.  I had been raped, devalued, objectified, as well as “willing” to participate in sinful acts.  I believed that  If I became a willing participant-the aggressor- that I would be in control and therefore unable to be hurt again.  I became hardened, bitter, lonely and oh so afraid.  Ten long years of destroying myself all for the fear of pleasing men.  And an obvious inability to change.  All the while God was holding me and guiding me in ways I wouldn’t discover until years later.

When I was 28 I moved away from my past, my sinful surroundings, my constant reminder of my failures.  God was wooing me to come back and be set free – but I didn’t know how to find that freedom.  Again I “tried” in my own strength to start over, to be “good”, to sin “less” – and I failed.  Again and again and again I failed.

3 years later I met my husband and fell in love with a complete façade.  I thought “finally” – its my turn to be happy – this is gonna be good.  I wish I could say that it was good.  I was with this man for 13 years.  After the first 2-3  it became the hardest part of my life.  What was supposed to be joy filled became more bitter heart break.   In a relationship that God intended for both people to find joy and satisfaction in one another  became some of the worst years that I would ever know.  I was unrecognizable.  Invisible.  So I felt.  I was not seen, I was not heard, my opinions did not matter, my dreams were stupid.  My thoughts couldn’t possibly mean what I said or have any real value.  My faith was a punching bag for his amusement and ridicule and for pointing out how colossally I failed at it on a daily basis.   I was nothing.  Noone.  Even as a wife.  For years I prayed that God would change his heart.  I begged, pleaded, bargained – no change.  I learned to keep my mouth shut and my head down just to keep the peace.   During those years I learned to pray in a different way.  I began to ask God to change ME.  Help me.  Love me.  I was emptied of myself year after year.  Still no change.  At least not for good.  My husband began a deeper descent into the darkness as I was steady grasping for any ray of light or hope.  Until it became unmanageable and unsafe for my children.  The hardest decision I ever had to make was to leave that life – even though it was an unstable and volatile one.

In the months and years to come I would finally discover my true identity.

During this time there had to be an “undoing” in me.  Layers upon layers of lies that I had been told about myself that I had believed throughout my whole life.

I’m no one without someone.
Its my fault.
I deserve this.
I didn’t do enough.
I didn’t try hard enough.
I should have stayed.
I gave up too soon.
I’m not strong enough.
The list is endless……

All lies from the enemy that I had buried deep inside me.

But God!

In his infinite and merciful grace decided at THIS moment in time – face down on the floor, crying out to him, in the most painful days I could have ever imagined – to reveal himself to me in a way that I had never known .  A beautiful image in the spirit that I will never forget of Him saying I love you Joy.  I’ve got “this” and I’ve got you.  You don’t have to be afraid.

And so began my freedom in Christ and my journey to healing.  A moment that would forever mark me and change me.  At 44 years old  I finally met Jesus! Not just the bible school Jesus.  Or the Jesus loves me this I know Jesus.  But the lover of my soul – redeemer of every part of my life – real and tangible and present – Jesus!

Thankfully, I can look back on my life and see how he has used every part of it.  Every hurt. Every abuse.  Every single thing done to me and every single thing I willingly participated in. And He is using it to draw myself and others unto him.

So my words to you are:

I see you.

God sees you.

You are not invisible.

You are not disposable.

You are not forgotten.

You are seen by your heavenly father that loves  you more than you may know in this very moment.  And he is calling you unto himself.  All you have to do is say “YES LORD”.  Fully surrender it all to the only one – Jesus Christ – who has everything you need for this life.  I pray that you will say yes and find your freedom too.

Isaiah 61:3

To grant to those who mourn in Zion-to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that HE may be glorified.

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now NO condemnation in Christ Jesus.

He has borne our guilt and shame.

His word says that I am:

Redeemed, forgiven, loved, whole, a new creation, righteous, beautiful, a daughter of the king


November 2017


I used to think I had it all figured out
He could cause me no more pain, no doubt
That I had healed and left it all behind
No traces for anyone to find
Yet anger has a funny way to rear
Out of nowhere can quickly appear
The ravages of death so blindly take hold
Of resentment that has festered – old.
A promise of release if you just let it all out
But takes root deeper as I shout
Profanities, obscenities – no evidence of faith
Just unleashing of the tongue as we both lay in waste
My flesh feels overwhelmed by disgust
The only way to feel better is to release it I must.
Not by way of more tongue lashing or hate
But taking it to the Lord who is always at the gate.
Saying come to me child, let me carry this for you
There is nothing that you could every do!
Let not your heart be troubled by grief
Come to me for sweet relief
Of all your burdens and all your pain
For to live is Christ but to die is gain.
So die to your fleshly anger and die to your fears
Let me wipe away all your tears.
For you are more loved than you could every know.
Just trust in me and let it all go…..

April 10, 2017