Tag Archives: freedom

At the Barn 2013

An afternoon at the barn.

Hosted by Emily P. Freeman and her husband, John, her sister, Myquillyn (also known as The Nester) and her husband, Chad, and their parents, Gary and Brenda Morland.

A small gathering in Winston-Salem, North Carolina that promised to be full of stories, music, and conversation to encourage awakeness of mind and soul to living art and Christ-honoring vision.

That was the invitation.

One that I was all too excited to accept.

Even though I only have what I’m more often referring to these days as barely a hint of a vision. The hazy beginnings of a dream that I’m not at all certain of, but that I’m [often imperfectly] trusting the Lord to unfold.

atthebarn1

When Saturday came, I was nervous. But I also knew there was something in this. Something I needed to see. Something I needed to hear. Something I needed to experience.

And The Barn did not disappoint. It was altogether lovely. In a quiet and thoughtful and peaceful sort of way.

Though I’m not convinced I executed my attendance perfectly.

I met two women from Virginia on the sidewalk right before the doors opened and they readily welcomed me into their little group. They were friendly and delightful and made the day so much more fun! But I could have mingled more. I could have talked more. I could have shared more. I could have asked questions more.

But instead. I listened. I watched.

And you know what? It may not have been perfect. But it was good.

atthebarn2

It was good to be an observer for an afternoon. Of people. Of beauty. Of art. Of Christ.

It was good to be a fully engaged listener without the pressure to process out loud, to figure everything out, to respond immediately (or even at all).

As I was getting ready to head out, I stopped Emily to say thank you, but I told her I couldn’t quite put my thank you fully into words … because I couldn’t quite express the depth of my gratitude for this afternoon of soul awakeness.

And do you know what she said? “That’s okay. You don’t have to.”

And the same freedom that surrounded the entire afternoon event was somehow wrapped up in that statement.

Because this afternoon wasn’t about a “supposed to” or a “should”.

atthebarn3

It was about leaning into the truth that we were created in the image of this Creator God. And when we make art with our lives – not just of the traditional variety, but when we do the things that make us come fully alive – Christ comes out and is glorified.

And I came to The barn desperate for that freedom, desperate for that truth. And in a season of life where I feel as though I’m clinging to Christ out of sheer weakness and total desperation more often than not, these words were perhaps the most needed and most beautiful:

“You can’t get too desperate for Christ.” – John Freeman

The afternoon At the Barn gave me soul space that my too-full calendar and over-committed self have all but pushed out.

Space to breathe, to listen, to intentionally lean further into Christ, to acknowledge some desires He’s placed on my heart, to just sit with those desires and to pay attention to them, to ponder, to reflect, to give them back to Him.

Space to be reminded of my eternally secure identity (an image bearer of the most High God), to be reminded of my purpose (to glorify Him), to be reminded that being is more important than doing, but that some of the doing allows Christ to come out of us because He’s designed us to reflect Him well through our unique expressions of art … in A Million Little Ways.

And for that space At the Barn, I am grateful.

{Giveaway} Let Hope In

**11.16.13 Update: The two randomly selected winners are #4 (Rebekah) & #10 (Meghan). Congratulations to both of you! Check your email for details. :) Thanks to everyone else who entered…you can find the book here!**

Last month, I had the great privilege and opportunity of participating in the launch team for Pete Wilson’s new book, Let Hope In.

Let Hope In

If you missed my full review, you should definitely go check it out here. Word on the street is that the review was pretty helpful, but I’ll let you be the judge of that for yourself.

I won’t restate my whole review here (because you just clicked over and read it, right?), but in short, I still believe this book is powerful and freeing. For me and for you.

Because over and over again, its message points to the hope and truth of the Gospel.

In every past hurt and future unknown, the cross of Christ is constant.

And it is only in the person of Jesus Christ that we find the hope and freedom, the healing and wholeness, the grace and forgiveness, that we so desperately seek and crave.

“He [Jesus] clearly says, “In me.” When you immerse your current reality into my reality, that is where peace is found.” (p. 74)

Our hope, our future, our being, is secure in Him alone.

Pete outlines the fullness of this truth in four choices:

Choice One: Choosing to Transform Instead of Transfer

Choice Two: Choosing to Be Okay with Not Being Okay

Choice Three: Choosing to Trust Rather than Please

Choice Four: Choosing to Free People Rather than Hurt Them

And through each of these choices, we are encouraged to let go of who shame tells us we once were or who we think we should be according to our own standards, to lean into Christ, to understand our identity in Him, to trust Him, to walk with Him, to experience the richness and fullness of His presence, to breathe in His grace, and then to pour His love back out onto others.

Here’s how Pete himself says it…

{note: if you’re reading via email or a feed reader, you may need to click over to the actual post to see this video.}

Yes, I am a part of the launch team for this book, but this is a message I firmly believe in sharing. Because this message is literally life-changing!

And because I believe in it so much, I am super excited that the publisher has so generously offered to provide TWO copies to giveaway in this space!

To enter for a chance to win a copy, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me why you want to read this book. Or just say hello! Just be sure to use a valid email address, so I can get in touch with you if you’re one of the winners.

You can comment until midnight (EST) on Friday (November 15, 2013), and then TWO winners will be chosen randomly and announced/contacted on Saturday (November 16, 2013).

And just for the record, you can also order the book (or read some other reviews) here.

Let Hope In

When I first heard about Let Hope In by pastor/author Pete Wilson, I thought it sounded like a solid, Gospel-centered, and timely message for this generation – any generation, really – about hope, a message of truth that I wanted to be a part of sharing, but I didn’t think it was necessarily for me because I just couldn’t identify a particular hurt from my past that was stopping me from living fully in the present.

Let Hope In

But I was wrong. My perspective was too narrow.

My past is no where near perfect. It has its own set of hurts and regrets. But beyond that, over and over again as I read, I saw just how relevant this message is for my present circumstances and how necessary this message is to continue walking with Christ in the unknown of my tomorrows.

We’ve all either experienced some sort of pain in our past or we’re going through something in our present or we’ll come across a new hurt in our future.

But the one constant, the one thing that remains central in every such hurt (and just for the record, every joy, too), is the same: The cross of Christ.

“God has come in the person of Jesus to set you free. There is no story in the world like the story of redemption, and it can be your story.” (p. 53)

So, this message of hope and freedom as only found in the person of Jesus Christ? It’s for everyone.

My life seems to be a mess more often than I’d like these days. But what I think I’m realizing (yet again) is that the mess is just part of my flesh and every time it’s in conflict with the Spirit (which is often), it’s going to get messy. But it’s in that very place where God’s strength is made perfect and where His grace abounds … in the weakness, in the uncertainty, in the sometimes getting it wrong, in the mess.

And there’s such a gift in this realization, even in the mess, because it reveals just how desperate and in need we really are. We have to understand the reality of our mess – our hurts and sins – to see the radical beauty of God’s continual presence with us made possible only through the cross.

“He is not like us. He is faithful even when we’re faithless. We can trust Him. Especially in our brokenness.” (p. 72)

I’m dealing with perfectionism-driven insecurity affecting at least a couple of different aspects of my life right now, and this book has not only helped expose some of that, but also directed me towards the freedom and courage to move beyond it. To walk in victory over the try-harder, perform better, pretend more mentality. Before its grip is any stronger or its roots are any deeper.

I’m not saying it’s an instant fix and I’m not saying there won’t still be some struggle, but it’s a step towards leaning further into Christ and trusting Him more and finding my identity in Him, and that’s stepping in the direction I want to go.

“He [Jesus] clearly says, “In me.” When you immerse your current reality into my reality, that is where peace is found.” (p. 74)

And reaching that? Walking in healing and wholeness from that? It’s only in and because of the person of Jesus Christ. Our hope is in Him alone.

In the book, Pete takes us through four choices:

Choice One: Choosing to Transform Instead of Transfer

Choice Two: Choosing to Be Okay with Not Being Okay

Choice Three: Choosing to Trust Rather than Please

Choice Four: Choosing to Free People Rather than Hurt Them

And through these four choices, we see that this message…

It’s about letting go of the pain and regret from the past and letting go of the worry for the unknown future.

It’s about the freedom of walking in our identity as found in Christ alone.

It’s about walking in victory over sin. Yes, as believers we still make mistakes and sin, but it no longer rules us. Its power is gone. And that doesn’t mean we don’t repent of the sins we commit. We most certainly do, but then we walk in the freedom of what’s already been done on the cross, knowing that we’re forgiven, we’re covered, we’re redeemed.

It’s about walking with Christ and trusting Him more and experiencing the beauty and fullness of His presence.

And it’s about fully receiving this freedom and grace, so that we can love others well.

“You can’t breathe out what you haven’t breathed in. Breathing grace totally hinges on your moment-to-moment dependency on God.” (p. 154)

This message of hope and grace – it blows me away!!

But isn’t that just God? Isn’t that just grace?

It’s shocking and surprising and stunning.

And for some reason, maybe because of this recent battle with insecurity, it hit me with a such a freshness and newness and I am undone and overwhelmed.

I come away from this book grateful and humbled and amazed. Knowing more deeply that I am loved. I am forgiven. I am free.

“The goal here is to fully trust God in this moment. To trust in his grace. To trust that you are forgiven. To trust that this very moment, as imperfect as it might be, is actually a gift.” (p. 130)

So why do I think you should read this book, too?

Because read prayerfully with a heart seeking Christ, this book is a burden lifted.

It’s one more step on this road of walking with Jesus Christ in grace, in freedom, in fullness by choosing Him and trusting Him and hoping in Him.

So much truth. So much freedom. So much Jesus.

“All of Scripture points to one man, one God, not because he gives us everything we’re hoping for but because he is the One we put our hope in.” (p. 196)

So yes, this message is solid, Gospel-centered, and timely.

And this message is for you.

But this message is also for me.

Because this message is for everyone.

Let Hope In.

—–

*for the record: I was a part of the launch team for Let Hope In, which means I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. this post reflects my honest thoughts on how the book impacted me and why I believe this message is important and worth sharing.*

Fully His

“…rescued by hands bleeding grace. Are we ready to see His face? On the great day.”
The Great Day, from The Story

fully his

As I entered this holiest of weeks, it was from a place of mental and physical exhaustion. The last few weeks have been over-scheduled, and I have been running on near empty trying to tackle the commitments and responsibilities competing for my time and attention. And truthfully, being pulled in so many directions has left me feeling more than a little defeated … as if I’m failing at almost everything.

My calendar is filled with some really great things, and while in some ways I’m noticing a lack of discernment when it comes to commitments, in other ways, there’s just not much I can realistically say “no” to in this season.

Under the weight of it all, even my times of rest seem rather ineffective.

I have a lengthy list of things to-do at all times, but don’t have the energy to address most of it, so I do the bare minimum of what’s required to get through the next day, and instead of acknowledging that something is better than nothing, I then continue to feel guilty for all of the things left undone … the areas where I’m failing.

The cycle is endless.

But the words from the song that struck me in such a fresh and powerful way on Sunday morning seem even more powerful now:

“No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.”

No guilt in life.

THIS is the power of Christ in me.

Even if I have failed at much (and I have), the resulting pervasive feeling that I am a failure … it’s not of Him. It’s not living in the Spirit, walking by faith, or claiming the truth that I am His child.

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Romans 8:6 (ESV)

So in this Holy Week, as I reflect on the cross, the suffering, the death, the burial, and the resurrection of my Lord and Savior, I will be imperfectly purposeful in remembering that He is my peace and my freedom.

“For the words of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV)

Freedom is mine not because of anything I’ve done, but because of Who He is and what He has done.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”
Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

So I let go of the failure. Because I am free.

It doesn’t make my schedule instantly manageable, it doesn’t make a shift in priorities easy, and it doesn’t make my responsibilities disappear.

And because it doesn’t come easily or naturally, it’s a message of truth that I must preach to myself over and over again.

It’s the truth of the Gospel.

I am free from the guilt and free from the failure because this life is mine by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

I don’t have to prove my worth. I am simply free to stand in it.

Fully alive. Fully justified. Fully His.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”
Galatians 2:20 (ESV)