Exploring Motherhood and Purpose

Dillon at the park about to go down the big slide. He loves it, even though he looks kind of alarmed. I promise.

To be honest with you, I wanted to write about exercise, about addictions, and why fitness models make it hard to live in the midst of those two things. But Monday, when I sat down to write, I couldn’t get anything out. All I kept thinking about was this conference I went to this past weekend, the hardships of the week before, and what I had been processing in regards to myself and this job of mothering I find myself doing daily.

Then, this morning, as I sat down to study the Bible, I read a verse that caused my head to spin (in a good way). And I decided to write about it – to write about motherhood and an aspect of it I have been struggling with recently. 

Now, before I share the head-spinning verse with you, I have to do some unpacking of the context so that the verse makes even the slightest amount of sense. (Please know that this “unpacking” does not do the passage justice, since Romans 9 is perhaps one of the most difficult passages of the entire Bible to understand and is full of all sorts of tension that must be balanced out using a whole group of other verses so that wrong conclusions aren’t drawn. All of that to say…go read it yourself and pick it apart and don’t rely upon my short summary below to adequately explain the whole thing. ALSO, if you find it offensive, email me or reach out in some other way, I’d love to discuss it with you.)

Okay? Okay.

In Romans 9, Paul (who once killed followers of Jesus Christ because of their faith) is explaining that there are some people on this earth that will become Christians and there are some that won’t – and that God is the creator of both of them. Not only this, but he foreknew ahead of time which ones would be and wouldn’t be Christians, and that he’s actually really purposeful in that. And, He’s still good and just in the whole thing, even though it’s all hard for us, as humans with limited knowledge, to understand – and in our lack of ability to fully understand we might look at God and think He is unjust, but He’s not because He is God and without Him we wouldn’t even be living or breathing so really He has the right to do whatever He pleases. (Again, please go read it, and wrestle with it…it’s a hard one…a really hard one on a lot of different levels.)

Then, in verse 21, Paul is continuing in this line of thought when he writes this:

“Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”


Outside of trying to prove the point I mentioned above (that God has the right to do whatever He wants since He designed and created life itself), this verse says something quite amazing. It tells us that God created Christians for “special purposes” – for something outside of simply living in accordance with our own desires – outside of normalcy. He created us for something beyond the ordinary.

So why is this a big deal to me right now?

Because sometimes motherhood can feel ordinary. It only takes a couple of weeks of changing diapers and a few days of cutting up strawberries to realize that every day as a mom looks somewhat similar and, when your kid can’t even talk, you begin to wonder if you even have any purpose outside of hygiene, protection and food.

And, for me, even those purposes feel too small at times. (Even though we can all agree that hygiene, protection and food are all big deals, right?)

I mean, over the past few months I have really struggled with how to make this stay-at-home mom thing work. I have found my mind and heart to be so excited about different community organizations, the YMCA volleyball team I play on, the idea of what my counseling career might look like one day, and what I hope one of the ministries at our church turns into. I have found myself lusting after more time to work on these things, more time to write, more time to paint, and I have found myself less amused by the time I spend with my son at the park.

If I’m being really real with you, I would tell you that I’ve been missing the point, really.

Instead of realizing that my son is a HUGE part of the purpose I have been given, I have been thinking that my son gets in the way of the purposes I have been called to pursue.

I hesitate in writing this (and inside I HATE that I have been feeling this way) because the last thing I want to do is write something on the internet that will one day upset my son, but I write it because I know I’m not alone AND I know that the BIGGEST blessings in this life also come with challenges and that the challenges are rarely because of the blessing itself, but because of the heart and ugly places inside of the person/people receiving the blessing(s). (*See note below for more.)

And this is me. This is where I am. I haven’t been seeing things clearly. I’ve been buying a lie.

There is no doubt about it that the Lord has created me to engage in a lot of different activities outside of the home – I see it in my DNA, I see it when I read the Bible and am affirmed in different aspects of ministry, and I see it in the way the Lord has created my mind and what it is drawn to – and there is nothing wrong with that. I think all moms have differences in specific calling and giftedness. BUT right now, I am in a season of being a full-time stay-at-home mom, and that calling has tremendous purpose, even if I have a hard time seeing it sometimes. Even if I have a hard time feeling that way. 

Why? How?

Because regardless of where I am in this life, God is the potter and I am the clay (Isaiah 64:8), and that is good news because regardless of where I am, I have been created for “special purposes”. Because I am a Christian (by God’s unmerited favor alone – not because I am good enough, by any means), I have been created to bring glory to God – to point people to him, which is a really big deal (Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 5:16). 

So, if you find yourself in a similar place – at home with your little ones wondering if you’re making any real difference in their lives, if you’re at work doing a job you’re not crazy about or feel ungifted in, if you’re doing both, or if you’re somewhere else completely different but are still struggling with feeling purposeless – know you’re not alone.

And know that if you are a Christian, you do have a purpose EVEN if you don’t feel like you have one right now. You were made for “honorable use” (Romans 9:21, ESV). You were made for “special purposes” (Romans (9:21, NIV).

And that’s both incredibly simplistic and hard to comprehend all at the same time.

I didn’t make it up. It’s true, and it’s amazing. So, accept it and exhale. I know for sure I’ll be trying to do so.



*Please, please, please know I love my son beyond words can express. I love being his mom, and I feel incredibly blessed that I get the opportunity to call him my son – to even have a son, in fact. I’m not seeking to minimize that AT ALL and IN NO WAY is this post meant to communicate anything in the opposite direction. My intention is simply to be honest for the sake of encouraging those who might find themselves in a similar season. Sometimes it just feels nice to know you’re not alone, and sometimes, I feel the weird calling to expose my own sick heart and yucky-ness for the sake of promoting the universal fact of human brokenness, struggle and sin (It’s embarrassing sometimes, but it is what it is, I guess.) AND God’s grace in working through it all.




The Fiddle Leaf Fig, Someone-Somewhere, and How They Have Changed My Views on Trendiness

This post has been a LONG time coming. It’s been a topic of discussion for me and pretty much anyone else who would listen to me talk about it for over four months now, and has been a stress factor for me for over six weeks or so, as I have sat down multiple times to write this post until I had to give-in to the truthful, yet anxiety provoking, “You-should-be-studying-instead-of-doing-this” dialogue in my head.

However, now that my counseling exams are over (PRAISE THE LORD), I finally have the time to tweak it and finish it, so here you go.

Here are my totally random thoughts on the Fiddle Leaf Fig (yes, the indoor plant) and the person who made it cool. (Random, I know, but just hang with me for a bit.)

During the months of May, June and July, I was on the hunt for the perfect Fiddle Leaf Fig. (I would call it hunting, but my husband might call it obsession.) I knew we needed a little something green to add some more color to our overly navy and cream living room, and I knew I wanted that green to be in the form of a plant, but I also knew that we weren’t really “plant people” and that anything we bought would die, so I bought a fake one – one that looked really good online but in person was puny and crooked. (I mean, look at the picture.)

I put it in one of our guest rooms where it is rarely seen.

That night, as I was expressing my feelings of Fiddle Leaf defeat to my husband, my husband looked at me and simply said, “You only want this plant because someone, somewhere decided that the Fiddle Leaf Fig was THE indoor plant to have. Someone, somewhere decided it was cool.”


And then it started happening.

From that moment on, I began noticing that, in fact, every interior designer that I followed on Instagram ALSO loved the Fiddle Leaf Fig. It was on my feed constantly, and it seemed to be everywhere I went including a trendy new restaurant in Dallas, a boutique hotel we stayed at recently, and at the nursery – where it was severely over priced.

I mean, check this out…


And my favorite…


My husband was right.

I didn’t creatively think of the Fiddle Leaf Fig. I just followed the current trend right into obsession – and it was all because someone, somewhere decided it was cool. 

As I’ve been reflecting on it, I think this is the way most any trend is, regardless of category. Look at fashion, for example. The mid-thigh short (for men) has come back full-circle since the ‘80s. In the realm of home decorating, mid-century modern is “in,” just like it was in the middle of the 20th century (wink, wink), so everyone is redecorating. Oh, and remember the word “tight” or “tite” when it was used a synonym for cool? It’s not really a cool word anymore, but “basic” is. It’s a synonym for boring…and it was trendy as of a couple of months ago. (Sigh.)

As I’ve been reflecting on it, I’ve decided that my husband’s observation has kind of ruined my life. Everywhere I look, I now see people wearing the same things and instead of seeing a “cool trend,” I see the influence of Someone-Somewhere. And it’s really been bothering me.

For example, the other day I was walking around Target when a group of young adult females walked in. Instead of noticing their pretty smiles or admiring the fact that they seemed completely surrounded by friends (a good thing in most situations and the things that I would have noticed before this Someone-Somewhere realization), I only noticed the striped shirts and the white sneakers.

And I felt defeated and thought to myself, “Someone-Somewhere is a really powerful person and when did we start giving him or her so much influence in our lives?”

I guess the answer is that we always have.

I mean, let’s just look at our recent “hair history.” When I was in middle school, it was cool to wear butterfly clips. Every day, I would spend 20 minutes delicately placing pieces of my hair into them and then I would spray the heck out of them with hairspray – so much so that the clips would stick to my fingers when I went to take them out of my hair at the end of the day. Gross, right? But, Brittany Spears was doing it. In high school, all of the girls “scrunched” their hair. For those of you younger than me, that means you would lather up your wet hair with gel and literally scrunch your hair as much as you could until you had a crunchy mess on top of your head. Totally weird – but it was totally “in.”

There’s also a reason why people used to get married in bright blue polyester suits and ruffled white shirts but don’t anymore.

So why am I so annoyed?

Well, first off, I think I’m just annoyed by what my new perspective means about me, personally. I think I used to equate trendiness with creativity (*see note below), but now I’m seeing trendiness as the opposite. And if I wasn’t wearing black distressed denim, a camo t-shirt, and some white sneakers while writing this post, I could simply sit back in judgment of others and laugh (just kidding, obviously) – but no. I’m wearing things that might be considered “trendy” – things that Someone-Somewhere heavily recommended – so, in reality, I’m simply a follower, and, worse yet, a copier. And I hate it. I mean, really hate it.

Secondly, I’m annoyed because all of the ways I have tried to justify listening to Someone-Somewhere have failed me. For example, a few months ago, one of my friends told me, “Hey, it’s okay. I think it’s important to wear things that make you feel comfortable with yourself.” Yea, but then why am I no longer wearing the Jincos that made me feel comfortable (especially the ones that I LOVED and spent $100 of my own money on) in middle school? Or why can’t I bring myself to wear the dress I bought for a formal eight years ago to the fundraiser I’m supposed to go to next month? It just doesn’t add up. The other common thing I have heard is this: “It’s important to feel pretty because then you will probably perform better, and, in fact, you’ll be setting a positive first impression which can go far.” I can handle the second part of this statement, and I simply chalk it up to “just the way things are,” but the first part of the statement still bothers me. Why did I used to feel pretty wearing butterfly clips in my hair, but, today, those same clips would just make me feel dumb?

Ultimately, all of my rationalization has led me to this conclusion: I still deeply care about what others think about me – especially when it comes to the way I look. AND, in fact, I find some of my worth there.

How do I know that? Because I’m not going to stop wearing “trendy” things. I’m not going to wear a neon windbreaker suit unless it comes back in style (please…no), and I’m going to keep wearing my white sneakers even though everyone and their dog wears them because I have to be considered “cute,” “well-dressed,” “fashionable,” or whatever because if I am not considered these things, I will probably feel worse about myself. 

So, why am I sharing this?

I actually don’t know all of the reasons. I know part of this rant is because I believe that motives are important and that we can get lost in our pursuits unless we examine them often. But I think another reason is this: I need a change of heart.

As a believer, I know the rightful location for my identity is in the Lord. It’s not in having a house that’s well decorated or having a certain type of jeans, but the struggle is definitely real. I know, too, that my worth is not determined by how I look. I mean, God pursued me when I was trying to completely run from Him. He led me to the truth of the Gospel – that He loved me and that He wanted me to be His, that He sent his His son to die on the cross because there was absolutely nothing I could do on my own to earn salvation, and, yet, He wanted my sinful self to know Him and to experience life with Him. He led me to Himself so that I might experience His love. He found me – and you – worth all of that. 

So, why do you wear what you wear? Why do you buy the things you do? What is Mr. or Ms. Someone-Somewhere trying to sell you? Are you buying it? Does it make you worth more?

OH, and by the way, I abandoned my quest for the perfect Fiddle Leaf Fig. Instead, I bought a faux palm. My friend, who has some inside sources, told me they were going to be the “new thing.” And I love it and stare at it often.


* I do think there CAN BE creativity in trendiness. For example, Someone-Somewhere who decided that we should wear faux leather pants is probably a truly creative person. I’m just questioning my own creativity in following their lead. I also think that you CAN take creative liberty in following someone else’s lead, which would also fall into the creative camp. These are the moments when I feel most okay about the influence Someone-Somewhere has on me.

How Einstein Helped Me through My Eating Disorder…Kind Of

einstein picture
I did not live when Einstein lived, so I obviously did not take this picture. I got it from a YouTube video called “Albert Einstein Explaining E=mc^2.” (P.S. The video is in his own voice which is pretty cool.)

I was once told an interesting story about Albert Einstein.

Ron, my 71-year-old friend, once told me that Einstein had a laboratory of white walls. As Einstein lived life, both inside and outside of his laboratory, he would think, making note of important thoughts by scribbling them down on the surface of one of his walls. Eventually, as one would expect, his walls were covered with random thoughts, equations and notes. One day, while in his lab, Einstein began examining his walls. Slowly, he began taking equations from one wall and piecing them together with other random notes from other walls until he had a simple theory we like to call the Theory of Relativity.

I like the story, because I think this is how life goes. We all have our white walls. We all try to figure out life. And we all do so by piecing together the things we have experienced with what we know or what we’ve heard from others.

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine asked me how I overcame my eating disorder. Honestly, I think it has been one of the biggest “white-wall experiences” of my life.

Overcoming an eating disorder is by no means a linear, step-by-step process, as rarely anything in this life truly is, but there were several pieces of information that made the whole thing make more sense to me. As time went on, I kept examining my white-walls, and eventually the facts that I had scribbled fit together, giving me strength and wisdom to fight the battle well.

So what were they? Here you go…

One: We all have a “natural healthy weight.” **

In our media-filled world, it is so easy to think that there is only one way we as females are to look (which as we all know, changes by the decade). When I was in middle school, it was Brittany Spears. You know, the skinny but some-what athletic look with a huge emphasis on the abs. Today, it seems to be either the super-thin Taylor Swift body type or the totally toned look of Kayla Itsines with a huge emphasis on the gap between one’s legs.

When I was in the trenches of my eating disorder, I was exhausted. Working out for an hour-and-a-half each day and restricting the food that I was eating kept me malnourished and cranky. It also kept me scared. Each dessert was a potential pound gained and each weekend away from exercising was a potential downfall. The anxiety was crippling and the inner emotional chaos was tiresome.

When I was out of college and I really started studying the idea of “intuitive eating,” I discovered just how influential genetics are to body weight. I also learned that trying to fit my naturally size [fill in the blank] body into a size zero jean was just not supposed to happen. If I wanted to run that course for the rest of my life it would mean non-stop stress and mental consumption. Learning that I had a natural healthy weight that could be maintained in natural and healthy ways was freeing…eventually.

Two: God created our bodies to be able to distinguish between hunger and fullness, and if I eat within hunger and fullness, I will be the size/weight I’m supposed to be. (Meaning, I would achieve my natural healthy weight.) **

This very simple idea was HUGE for me.

When I was in high school, my sister was a guest speaker at a conference on body weight and exercise. The basic premise of her whole talk was eating within hunger and fullness, a practice I had totally abandoned. You see, when you have an eating disorder, you learn to ignore hunger until you don’t even remember what feeling hungry feels like.

After college, when I got serious about my eating/over exercise issues, I clung to this truth. I began paying attention to hunger and fullness. (Which our bodies were designed to indicate through growling.) If I was hungry, I would eat. If I was full, I would stop. And something amazing happened: I gained weight until I stopped gaining a pound. Three-and-a-half years ago my natural healthy weight was reached, and my weight has not fluctuated and my jean size has not changed since.

Today, I try to make healthy decisions (both in the realm of food and exercise), but I ultimately eat everything in moderation. If I want pizza and I haven’t had it in a while, I’ll go for it. I eat one dessert almost every day, and I don’t freak out over bread. I’m telling you – it’s incredibly freeing.

Three: My identity is in Christ, and it’s permanent.

As humans, we walk around with an assortment of identities. Some people place their identity in being a mom, a working professional, a wife, an entrepreneur, a musician, or all of the above. For a long time, I placed my identity in what I looked like and what others thought about me. (I can still struggle with these things from time to time.) However, over the past seven years, I have come to appreciate my identity as a Christian more and more because it means that ultimately, my identity is wrapped up in Christ.

The problem with finding my identity in how I look is it’s fleeting. It’s not going to last forever. For some people, the “perfect” body can and will last until they are in their 60s, but rarely do you ever find a supermodel who is 80. Placing one’s identity in how they look is temporary. Our looks and our bodies (and most everything else in this world) will eventually fail us – it’s a proven fact.

One thing that lasts into eternity, however, is my relationship with God.

Knowing that I’m accepted by the one who’s opinion really matters has motivated me to not build my life on any foundation that is temporary. You see, God accepts me regardless of my performance (Ephesians 2:8-9), there’s nothing I can do to change the way he feels about me (Romans 8:35-39), and I seek to remember this daily.

Four: It was worth it.

Any addiction, or addiction-like behavior, only comes to an end when the addict decides that the addiction is worth giving up. If you’ve heard my story in full, you know that this moment came for me when my niece Macy was born. Instantly, a little girl was in my life, and I knew that she would be watching me. The things I idolized she would potentially idolize. The things I deemed important would probably influence her.

I did not want her to watch me struggling with food and exercise. I did not want her to think that she was defined by how she looked. And it suddenly became worth it. It was worth the extra pounds, it was worth the bigger jeans, it was worth letting go of my “super fit” image.

If I wanted Macy to be defined by anything, I wanted it to be the unwavering, never-ending love of God. A love that’s not dependent upon her performance or failures, but a love that rejoices in her unique personality and imperfections. The last thing I wanted her to do was obsess about her weight or external appearance because she saw that I did.

A lot of times we pass on our vices to the next generation, and sometimes it’s just not worth it.

I’m not saying that my nine-year battle ended in an instant, but the truths above created a formula that eventually, by God’s grace, led me to freedom. I still love working out and eating healthy, and I believe that everyone should do both, but there is a line between healthy and unhealthy and it’s not dictated by a weight, muscle mass, or pant size.

As I continue to run this race, some days are harder than others, but overtime the struggle seems to get easier. For those of you struggling, the first step is the hardest, but freedom is possible. There is hope.

** “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works” by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D., & Elise Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A. was a helpful resource in helping me think through noted topics

What I learned from Alcoholics Anonymous and DJ Tanner

The mister and I arrived to Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago. After traveling across the country two times amounting up to over 80 hours in the car and living out of three houses, two apartments, and six hotel rooms in a 2-month time span, we were more than ready to be back home where we could do laundry regularly and sleep in our own bed. (Being able to find the bathroom in the in the dark is wonderful, too…it makes life easier, especially on my overly bruised legs which are sick of being hit by random things in the middle of the night.)

Since we have been here, I have been reflecting on this past year.

I remember one year ago when we first moved into our little place in Cambridge. I remember feeling so optimistic but also a bit nervous about what the year ahead would hold. I was excited to be back in Massachusetts, and prayed over our time here. I prayed that the Lord would grow the mister and I as individuals and that our marriage would be strengthened. I prayed that the Lord would use me, and that I would be willing to follow Him regardless of whether or not it seemed easy. I wondered about what our days would look like and who we would become friends with. I thought about being a student again and wondered what that would like like as a married woman. Last time I did the school thing, I was a single young adult.

Most of all, however, I wondered what people would think of me. Would they like me? Would I be accepted? I hoped so. I mean, I deeply hoped so. And this bothered me…continually…

Last year humbled me. I saw social anxiety and old insecurities resurface in ways that were both alarming and internally exhausting. Idols had taken a hold of my heart, and I was paralyzed by self-concern. At the same time, I wrestled with why I was struggling and tried everything I could to jump off of the people-pleasing, approval-needing, train I was on. I battled and I fought, but for some reason, I just couldn’t break free.

Today, as I sit here in the same place I sat one year ago, I can honestly say I am in a better place. Although I think my people-pleasing, perfectionistic, and approval-wanting desires might always be something I have to wrestle with, today I care less about what others think of me than I did a year ago. I am not struggling with anxiety, and I feel at peace about the year ahead. My thoughts do not continually go back to some image I am trying to maintain, and my heart feels more free.

So what happened?

As I reflect on the past year, I can vividly recall three events that the Lord used to dramatically reshape my thinking and reorient my heart. They were not things I sought out for change, but they were things the Lord knew I was going to come across – and I am thankful that He put them in my path.

CO711 – This random set of numbers and letters is the description number for the group process class I took this past school year. As part of the class, we had to split up into small groups and practice doing group therapy. The only premise was that we had to be the clients, and we had to be real with each other. (In case you don’t know, I’m studying to become a counselor…that’s why I take weird classes like this.) Anyways, in the group everyone opened up about their lives and the things they were struggling with, which means I opened up, too. Toward the end of the group, one of the group members encouraged me with something – and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

During our last session, one group member turned to me and said, “Lindsey, my hope for you and for me is that we would make God our glory instead of ourselves.” I was baffled. What did he mean? What does it mean to make God your glory? I spent the summer reflecting on the statement, and after many attempts to wrap my head around the meaning, I came across Psalm 62:7:

“On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”

Making God my glory means making Him my security, my hope, and my strength. It means placing my identity in Him – as someone loved and cherished – and finding my purpose in Him and who He created me to be. It is the opposite of self-exaltation and fame for fame’s sake. It means banking on Him instead of myself. It means focusing on Him and his grace instead of my own achievements. It means laying down my own efforts to gain recognition and, instead, trusting Him when he says I do not have to earn self-worth. It means abandoning a life focused on self for a life focused on Him.

Although I knew that finding my identity in Christ was huge, this summer I engaged with the idea in a new way. I began to dream about what it might look like. I began to hope for it.

Alcoholics Anonymous – For my addictions class, I had to attend an AA meeting, and it was mind blowingly powerful. In a world that preaches self-reliance, AA seems to stand out. As I sat in the circle and listened to people vulnerably confess their inability to heal themselves, I was reminded of my own tendency to white-knuckle my way through life. I thought about my own disabilities – my inability to hold my tongue at times, my inability to calm down in certain moments when I get angry, and my inability to stop thinking about myself too much. I reflected upon my own powerlessness and my desperate need of the Lord. I left the meeting feeling encouraged but also challenged to seek God instead of myself (and my own idea of what goodness looks like). I felt motivated to stop chasing the world and what it wants of me and began praying that Lord would help me fix my mind and heart on Him.  As the leader of the group blatantly said in his testimony, “[You] have to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and focus on [your] relationship with God.”

It was a stunning experience.

Full House Documentary –  A couple of nights before the mister and I left for Boston we were watching a Full House documentary with my mom. I listened as the narrator covered each character one-by-one and explained what the different stars are known for and what they had become. When they got to Candace Cameron-Bure (DJ Tanner), they made one statement that caused me to reflect upon my own life. Some narrator who was wearing big glasses looked at the camera and said, “Candace is probably equally known for her faith as much as she is her career.” As we drove back to Massachusetts, I could not get the narrator’s words out of my mind. Although I can’t say that I know all of Candace’s stances on theology, and I’m sure we don’t agree on everything, I appreciate her. I appreciate the fact that she stands out in the midst of an industry that praises moral relativism and fame. I admire her boldness and honesty in the midst of people who disagree with her. I mean, it takes a lot of strength to stand up for what you believe in when what you believe is not popular. It’s a lot easier to sway for the sake of acceptance.

Candace reminds me that it is possible. It is possible to delight more in God’s never-ending love and less in the world’s temporary praise. And for someone who can struggle with seeking acceptance over God’s glory, this is both refreshing and challenging.

Last year was a whirlwind, but I’m thankful for it. Last year proved to me that I am so incapable of being the person I want to be alone. I desperately need the Lord’s help. I need his refinement, his gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) reminders, and his comfort. I need his help. I need his assistance if I ever hope to fix my thoughts on Him and the things that really matter in this life.

When I look back on where I was a year ago, I am thankful. I am thankful for a God who is powerful enough to change minds and hearts and for a God who is worthy of our praise. I am also thankful that He uses the weirdest things to shape us.

Cheers to another school year!

“Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” – Psalm 105:3-4

The Beauty of Psalm 5

Psalm 5 is absolutely beautiful.

The Psalm provides a stunning picture of David’s vulnerability and need for God. The Psalm is a prayer – and throughout it, David reminds himself of truth and praises God for his steadfast love (v.7), His ability to provide refuge (11), and for the blessing God brings to those who trust in Him (v. 12).

My favorite part of the Psalm, however, comes in verse 8. Here, David cries out to the Lord for help:

“Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me” (ESV).

This prayer resonates with my heart.

My enemies may not be physical people, but I have some enemies.

Comfort tempts me to stick to my own schedule, my own plan, instead of submitting to God. My idol of acceptance lures me to alter who I am or what I think so that others will accept me more. Anger tries to convince me that relief is found in release, instead of remembrance of truth and words of love. Lies and negative self-talk seek to make me feel bad about myself – to disorient and distract me from the truth of who I really am in Christ. Security tries to convince me that money matters more than surrender, and discontentment aims to fill my mind with pessimism. Anxiety plays with me so that I seek refuge in myself, and my own clinched fists, instead of trusting God. Fear tempts me to stop moving so that I am stuck in places that are old, stale and dry. Loss begs me to despair.

You see, my enemies may not be people, but I have enemies. And sometimes they are fierce.

I’m thankful for David – for his truth, his boldness, and his confidence in God. You see, I think David got it.

“But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house.” – Psalm 5:7 (ESV)

David didn’t do anything to deserve God’s love. It wasn’t based on the good he had done, the skills he had been gifted with, or the successes he would have in the future. In fact, David did a lot of really bad things. He committed adultery, he murdered an innocent man, he lied, and, at times, he was gripped by passivity to the point of being an absent father and king.

Yet, David was covered by the grace of God. He rejoiced in the love of God and that love gave him the security he needed to cry out – to pray for rescue.

How easily I forget.

As Christians, we are not alone in fighting our enemies. We have a God who loves us, and because of that, we can boldly approach Him.

“Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.” – Psalm 5:8 (ESV)

Cry out, remember, and trust. He can help. Exhale.

Exercise and Motives

It’s snowing in Boston…again.

In fact, it hasn’t stopped snowing. We have officially received over 60.8 inches within the past 30 days, breaking the record for snowfall set in 1978 (http://www.wcvb.com). It’s been insane…and cold…and wet…and kind of annoying.

You see, I’m from Texas, which means a multitude of things, but mainly, it means I’m used to warm weather. It also means I’m not used to snow blocking my sidewalk, burying my car, or keeping me indoors for hours on end. I’m not used to my gym being closed or having to put eight layers on before I venture outside. The struggle is real, y’all. And if I’m being honest, it’s awful.

Because of the things mentioned above, I have been running the stairs of our apartment complex for exercise. It’s gross outside, my gym is closed, and I need something to do, so why not?

This morning, I rolled out of bed, did some laundry, and then contemplated what I was going to do with the rest of my day. School was cancelled again, but I still had a couple of hundred pages to read for my class tomorrow. On top of that, I was incredibly tired and did not feel well. Still, out of habit, I veered toward my athletic shorts. As I contemplated running the stairs (again), a feeling of dread began to drift over me. As I put my shorts on, I stopped to think:

Why am I doing this?

Sure, I need exercise, but I don’t feel well at all.

I pushed forward and put on my tennis shoes.

Okay…really…why am I doing this?

I mean, I have worked out every day for the past two weeks. Do I really need to exercise today when I don’t feel well, and I am behind on school work?!

As I reached for my ear buds, I heard my sister’s voice inside of my head telling me exercise won’t save me, and I took my shoes off.

As many of you know, I struggled with an eating disorder and addiction to exercise for nine years of my life. Because of this, I have had to set up some pretty stern boundaries around exercise and food. With food, the rules are decently clear – eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, and focus on food with nutritional content understanding that moderation is important. With exercise, however, my boundaries are extremely motivationally based, and are therefore a little hazier.

I mean, motives themselves can be hazy. Why do we do the things we do? Are we doing them for ourselves? For others? Or a mixture of both?

Anyways, this all leads me to my point…

Motives are powerful.

They lead us to make decisions about whom to date, whom to hang out with, what activities to pursue, and how to spend our free time. They help us decipher which colleges to attend, which jobs to take, and whether or not we should have kids. These things are good, perhaps, but they can also push us in some weird directions, if we are not careful.

Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why are you dating that guy or that girl? Why are you hanging out with that group of friends? Why do you spend your time pursuing the activities that you do? What is your goal?

During my recovery, I realized my addiction to exercise and my obsession with calories was rooted in my desire to be accepted. I wanted others to approve of how I looked, and I thought that if I felt accepted by others, I would feel okay about myself.

Basically, I realized that wrong motives can turn good things into bad things.

I think to some extent we have all realized this.

Ice cream is great until we seek it for comfort and we eat too much. Pushing our kids to do well in school is the right thing to do, but then we realize we are doing it because it makes us look good, too. We date, which is normal, but then we realize we are dating some guy, even though he’s not the best, because we are fearful of being alone.

It happens. Motives move us.

I don’t know where you are. You may be making wonderful decisions based upon relatively good motives, and are enjoying the freedom that involves. But I think I’m safe in saying, most of us aren’t there. In fact, many of us are probably doing things in order to be accepted, loved, comforted, appreciated, affirmed, or praised and feel trapped because we fear losing the acceptance, love, comfort, appreciation, affirmation, and praise those things bring us, if we were to stop.

Again, the struggle is real.

Every day I have to remind myself that I’m accepted by the one whose acceptance really matters (Galatians 3:26, Psalm 139, Psalm 27:10, Ephesians 1:13-14). I have to remind myself that He is a God of comfort, (John 16:33, Romans 15:13, Philippians 4:6-7), and that He provides life (Isaiah 44:1-3, Acts 17:25, John 1:3-4).

Two things last forever: the hearts of men and the word of God.

Your motives may lead you to seek a variety of things thinking that they will save you – they will give you acceptance, true meaning, or whatever.

The problem is the things won’t last, and they won’t fix you.

Your Lamborghini is going to break. Your hair will gray. Your skin will sag. Plastic surgery will stop working. Your money may lose its value. Your kids will grow up.

Then what?

Motives are powerful – and sometimes they push us to find meaning in things that were never intended to provide it.

What are you banking on? Why are you banking on it? Will it last forever?

For nine years I believed looking a certain way was the answer. I thought it would give me meaning and the acceptance I was looking for. Today, I can still struggle with believing that lie. But the truth is no matter how hard I try, no matter how strong the motives…

Exercise can’t save me. It was never designed to.

***Special thanks to Pete Briscoe and his sermon over idols for reminding me to think though my own.***

Cambridge Living and the Art of Balancing it All

Please excuse my outragiously large key collection. I'm a fan of keychains.
Please excuse my outragiously large key collection. I’m a fan of keychains.

In case you missed it (we’re not THAT cool, so you probably did)…

The mister and I arrived to our home in Cambridge, Massachusetts on August 14th. I think we expected a little down time before school started, but from day one things have been pretty…um…insane.

In the past 3-and-a-half weeks we have been to IKEA 4 times (I will never go back again), unpacked what seems like 800 boxes, started school, attended 3 major HBS events and over 9 dinners, and have hosted a little shindig in our home. We’ve met people from Argentina, South Africa, China, Denmark, Russia, the Ukraine, and all sorts of other places! It’s been utterly chaotic.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love our new friends, I am thrilled to have our own place, and I actually, for one of the first times in my life, feel as though we are right where we should be (which is amazingly peaceful). The transition has just been a little more difficult than anticipated.

Things have been moving fast, and the mister and I have been trying to figure out how to balance it all.

Recently, this dilemma has led me to ask myself a couple of important questions:

Who am I? And what type of person do I want to be?

Now, before I keep going, I need to let you in on one thing: Caleb’s grad school is HIGHLY social. (I cannot emphasize this enough.) Every night there are at least two events or gatherings that people can take part in. On top of that, it is highly recommended that you participate in most (if not all) of the events because you don’t want to miss out on building relationships. Business school is all about networking, right?

Anyways, it keeps us quite busy and makes us feel pressure to run faster than we want to – or faster than we probably should.

Okay…back to it.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a big event for Caleb’s school. Since we had been going like crazy for two weeks straight, and had several other events that same weekend, Caleb and I decided that it was probably best to decline the offer and rest a little bit.

I freaked out.

“What if we don’t make friends?! What if we are left out of the next event?! What if we become loners?! What if life moves on without us?! We are SUPPOSED to go to everything.”

Caleb calmed me down, and I started thinking…

Who am I? Who do I want to become?

Here’s what I came up with:

Who am I?

  • I am a child of God, meaning I am accepted by Him. He doesn’t look at me and say, “Lindsey, you need to get your act together and do ‘this or that’ so that I approve of you.” He approves of me already. He chose me before the beginning of time to know Him and walk with Him. God, the King of the Universe, accepts me. That’s big. (Ephesians 2:11-22; Romans 8:38&39; Ephesians 1:3-10)
  • I am loved by a good God. The God I follow is worthy of my trust. He holds the world in his hands and works within it for his glory and the good of those who love him. If God is for me, who can be against me? He’s in control, he’s good, and he loves me. What should I possibly fear? (Isaiah 41:10; Romans 8:28-37; Lamentations 3:25; Proverbs 19:21)
  • I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a peer, and a student. I am a woman trying to figure out how to walk with God, love others well, and spend my time wisely.
  • I am a woman who forgets all of these things often and ends up making the things of this earth god. (And may I note that every time I do this, I end up being let down.)

What type of person do I want to be?

  • I want to be someone who loves those around me well and isn’t concerned with being friends with a million people. Friends are a gift. My family is a gift. I can love a small number of people well, but beyond that, I’m incapable. (James 1:22)
  • I want to be someone who lives with a sense of inner peace because my hope and identity are placed in Christ, and not in this world or the circumstances it brings. (Romans 5:1; Colossians 3:15; Romans 5: 2-5; Proverbs 10:28; Romans 15:13)
  • I want to be a restful person, or a person who isn’t stressed out because I have too much on my plate. I want to have enough time to breathe and seek God so that I can enjoy others without thinking about myself, or my to-do list. (Matthew 11:28-30; Luke 5:16)
  • I want to be a good wife. I want to carve out time so that my husband and I can enjoy each other, build into each other, and both seek the Lord through his word and prayer. I want to love him well, and in order to do so I must have time and energy.
  • I want to be free. Free from addictions, obsessive worries, and idols. I want to trust the Lord with everything within me. (Galatians 5:1; 1 Peter 2:16; Galatians 5:13; John 10:10; Philippians 4:6&7)

So what now?

The truth is, I can’t do it by myself.

Jeremiah 17:5&6 reads like this: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an inhabited salt land.”

The person I want to be requires prayer, thought and effort. It takes relying upon the Lord’s grace to silence the idols of this world (acceptance of others, people’s praise, worry, control, money, worldly and temporary success, and popularity), and remembering that God can be trusted and He knows what’s best for me. It’s remembering that the world can be deceiving, but in Christ there’s life that is true and thirst quenching.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7&8

My point in all of this is this: sometimes when life starts moving quickly, you have to stop and reflect on the type of person you want to be.

We only get one shot at this “life-on-earth” thing, and if we aren’t careful, we’ll keep sprinting until we’re completely lost. We’ll keep moving along with the world around us listening to its tunes, and eventually, we’ll lose track of who we really are and what’s important to us.

Life keeps moving whether or not we are prepared.

Stop. Exhale. Think.

Who are you? What type of person do you want to be?

Cambridge is great. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here and am so thankful for the path the Lord has allowed us to walk down. I love our friends and the process of making new ones. I’m grateful for my school and for Caleb’s and for the ways in which God has already provided for us here. Peace is a wonderful thing, and I am affirmed through it that we are right where we should be. This doesn’t mean, however, that it will be free of struggles and hardship. My prayer through it all is that we will be true to who we are (to who God created us to be) – and that we will be open to Him. I know He’s going to use our time here to mold us and shape us. May we depend upon Him and trust Him in the process.

Here’s to the next two years, to God’s grace, and the peace that only He can provide!

Rich Mullins, “Ragamuffin,” and Why I Want to Go Barefoot

Photo creds to newsfeed.time.com

Last night, the mister and I watched a movie about the life of Rich Mullins called “Ragamuffin” – and I’m hoping it was life changing.

Now, if you’re like me, Rich Mullins is a foreign name to you. I didn’t grow up listening to Christian music (in fact most of my life I’ve found Christian music to be super cheesy and poorly written) and none of my friends did either. The first time I heard the name Rich Mullins was actually in the summer of 2007, while on staff working at Sky Ranch Camps. One of my co-counselors was deeply inspired by him, and she listened to his music often. So, basically, until last night, I knew nothing about the life of Rich Mullins. In fact, the first thing I said when we bought the movie was something along the lines of, “Wow! It sounds like he lived a pretty edgy life. I always figured he was some straight-laced, cookie-cutter Christian.” Judgmental, I know.

Without going into too much detail, or ruining the movie for anyone who’s interested in watching it, Rich lived a life dominated by haunting memories of verbal abuse, heartbreak, alcoholism, and desperate loneliness. He had a battle to fight with his past, and he always seemed lost in his present.

So why can’t I stop thinking about his life today? Why have I, within the last 18-hours, downloaded two of his albums? Why can’t I stop singing his songs in my head? (Maybe it’s because he never wore shoes, and I want to be cool like him and never wear shoes either….no…well…kind of.)

It’s because his story reminds me that struggling isn’t always a bad thing. Rich never lived a perfect life (in fact, he was almost opposed to rules), but his mind was continually on where the Lord had him and what he could do to be used by Him. His ambition wasn’t in money, fame, or “religiosity” – it was simply in knowing he was loved by God and showing others that they were, as well.

So as I sit here today, I’m awe-struck. I mean, I wish I was like him (in the most feminine way, of course). He genuinely cared about others, and he genuinely didn’t care about “success” on this earth or what others thought of him. He walked around barefoot most of the time because he had given his shoes to someone in need. He was a multi-millionaire, yet he only let his accountants pay him the average American salary each year, so that he could give the rest away. When he died, he didn’t even know how much money he had made. Better yet, he didn’t even care.

I know some of this may seem like some emotional rant, but seriously – can you imagine living this way?

As I stood in line at Subway this afternoon, I prayed that I would see those around me as precious people made by God. I prayed that I wouldn’t get caught up in financial gain or in being perfect. I prayed for half of the mindset that Rich Mullins had.

In America, it’s hard to not get caught up in the rat race. The big house, the cute clothes, the financial “security”…it’s all alluring. Unfortunately, it’s hard to give up. If I am being honest, I think I’m losing the here – and I hate that. I mean, let’s be honest. Who the heck cares? What really matters? I mean, REALLY matters? It’s not my education, though it is good to be able to think intellectually. It’s not my car, though I’m thankful for it. It’s not my ability to perform socially, though being polite and respectful is of great importance. It’s not some future dream I have for a flexible job, creative kids, and a secure life, for I was reminded last night that most of the time our dreams are too shallow.

It’s knowing that God loves me and allowing that love to free me to love others and Him recklessly. The only things that live forever are the hearts of men and the word of God. That’s what matters.

“Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere around you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.” – Rich Mullins

This may seem like some “high” I’m on, but I hope it’s not. I pray that even though I’m continually being lured in by comfort and “normalcy,” by the grace of God I can resist and live life in a way that’s focused on what really matters.

I watched the movie, and I hope it changes my life.

Growing and the Personal Saga of the “Person I Was”

Well friends, it’s been a while.

The truth is, every fiber of my body has been longing to write, but finding the time has been difficult. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been traveling quite a bit. Two weekends ago the mister and I were in San Antonio, Texas, this past weekend I was in Carrollton, TX (my hometown), this weekend I’ll be in Fredericksburg, Texas for a college friend reunion trip, and after that it’s Houston, Dallas, Europe and eventually Canada. On top of all of this, I’m sprinting to finish all of my course work by the end of May so that I can have some sort of a summer. All of this to say, things have been moving a bit too fast…kind of. (When you live in the West Texas desert, excitement has to found somewhere!)

Ok. Enough excuses. Here’s the reason I’m writing today:

Over the past month, the Lord has been stirring in the deepest parts of my heart exposing areas that desperately need His help and freeing me from one of them. Because what He’s taught me through his word and the guidance of others has been so impactful, I’d love to share a part of the journey with you.

As a lot of my previous posts have hinted at, my past isn’t the prettiest thing in the world. Middle-school insecurity turned into a high-school drive to be valued and accepted by my peers, which led me down a not-so-great path. I unintentionally hurt myself, my friends at the time, and a lot of other people, I’m sure. Although I’m ten years older than I was then, and am a much different person, I still experience (or experienced) daily pain over who I was then and the embarrassment that comes with it all.  (NOTE: Some of you may have known me in high school and may have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. If you’re interested in the full story, feel free to ask me. I’d love to share it with you.)

Senior Picture
One of my senior pictures taken in 2004. (Too bad it’s not “Throwback Thursday.)

A few weeks ago, our church in Midland started a series called “Scars,” which examined the concept of suffering and explored ways in which one could heal properly from painful experiences. It was powerful, to say the least.

Through it, I realized that I had failed to fully heal from the “person I was.” I had accepted my new identity in Christ years ago, and had grown quite a bit, but I had shoved the rest under a rug thinking that it would just disappear. The problem was it never did. For years, without being totally aware of it, I had carried around the burden of my past – the burden of the “person I was” – with me everywhere I went. Each time I was reminded about my upcoming high school reunion, I cringed. Every time a friend mentioned something about my old peers, I felt uneasy. I wasn’t free.

One day, I was reading a book about the life of Paul, and something clicked.

Paul (who before he was a follower of Jesus was named Saul) was a killer of Christians. If the gospel of Jesus was on one side, Paul was on the opposite. He believed that keeping the Jewish law was the best thing a person could do and to do anything else was heresy and deserving of death. Not only this, but he was climbing up in the ranks of Judaism as a Pharisee and delighted in the power and the social status that came with it. He was loyal to religious customs and was diligent in destroying anyone who tried to change things. The message of Jesus was doing just that – and it drove Paul to extreme measures.

Paul was feared by Christians. They knew that if they came into contact with him, their life would be in danger, and the gospel of Jesus would be attacked. Paul was fierce. If anyone was “too far gone,” it was him. Yet, in Acts 9, we see something amazing happen…

“But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem [to be tried and possibly killed]. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’” (Verses 1-4)

In an instance, Paul experienced Jesus and his life was dramatically transformed. Today, we know him as the great apostle of Christ, the founder of many early churches, and the writer of most of the New Testament.

So what’s my point?

As I was reading this book, I realized that Paul was not a superhuman. He was a man who was chosen by the Lord to do great things, but he was not divine. I’m sure he had struggles, not only with his day-to-day life, but also with his past. I mean, he had killed Christians, and then he became one. That had to have come with some baggage.

“I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” – 1 Corinthians 15:9


“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” – 1 Timothy 1:15

I don’t know Paul. I’ve read a lot of his letters, but I’ve never met him. I’ve never sat down over a cup of coffee to ask him about his story and his life, but it’s hard for me to imagine that he didn’t battle feelings of shame and regret over the Christians he had killed and the way he had mocked Jesus before he started following him.

In fact, since he was human, I’m sure he did.

My history and Paul’s is quite different, yet in some ways, it’s the same. We both didn’t know who we were, we both didn’t understand the grace of God and the path to true life, and we were both transformed by the same grace we didn’t know before.

For years, I’ve been holding onto the “person I was.” I’ve been holding onto shame, embarrassment and regret over the people I hurt and the way I misrepresented what life in Christ really looks like. Each day, I tried to shove the feelings and negative thoughts in a dark closet, and I tried to move on, but my attempts only left me feeling broken and burdened.

This past month has been extraordinary. I’ve experienced God’s grace in phenomenal ways, and although it’s been incredibly difficult at times, it’s been refreshing.

You see, I’m not the “person I was” in high school. My past truly is my past, and though it’s shaped me in big ways, it’s not my present, nor my future.

“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.” – Paul in Galatians 2:20

Paul came from a “checkered” past, and so have I, but there’s hope.

My name is Lindsey. I was once lost in trying to find my identity in everything this world had to offer, but today I know who I am. I’m loved by God, accepted by Him, and chosen to be used as a tool in his hands.  I can’t change the past, and I thank God for the way it has shaped me, but today I’m different. Today, I’m defined by Christ and his calling on my life, not by where I once was.

In times of doubt and shame, I must remind myself of this. I’m sure Paul had to do the same thing, too.

I don’t know where you are, but if you know Jesus, and if you’ve come to experience his grace and payment for your sins (which you could NEVER pay for yourself through good deeds), then you’ve been adopted. He loves you. He’s given you a purpose and He finds you valuable. You’re defined by Him, so don’t let your past or the pressures of this world tempt you to believe otherwise.

 “Forgiven, beloved, hidden in Christ,

Made in the image of the Giver of Life.

Righteous and holy, reborn and remade,

Accepted and worthy, this is our new name.

This is who we are now…”

– Jason Gray “I am New”

What I learned from “Ella Enchanted”

We ellaenchanted1315_l (2)all have our vices – our pits, sticky spots, or hang-ups. You know, those places that you keep falling into even though you try as hard as you can to get out of them?

For some, it’s addiction to alcohol or even exercise. For others it’s perfectionism. It can even be a variety of things mixed together.

Personally, I have many.

Several months ago, my husband and I hit a patch of conflict over how we were going to handle holidays once we moved back to Texas. With each statement shared and each opinion aired, I could feel my internal temperature rising. Seven minutes into the discussion, I felt defeated and unheard. I picked up a shirt, threw it across the room, slammed the door, and said a few things I shouldn’t have.

My anger had gotten the best of me.

I wish I could say that this was the only time I have ever thrown a tantrum in our relationship, but I’d be lying.

Here’s another story.

I have a friend who knows a friend in Boston, and I went to dinner with that friend. Now, “that friend” is super cute. She has a petite frame, a beautiful smile, and can easily pull off any pair of skinny jeans she tries on. As dinner progressed, I noticed that my mind kept shifting off of the conversation and into a mode of comparison. Thoughts like, “I wish I had hair like her,” or “How does she stay so fit?” began to take over.

We wrapped up dinner, and I felt annoyed by the fact that our time had been robbed by my dumb thoughts.

Again, I wish I could say that this was the first – and the last – time I have ever lost time to the negativity of comparison, but…I’d be lying.

My hang-ups are annoying, and if you’re being honest, I think you would say yours are, too!

Last week, I was watching “Ella Enchanted” with my sister-in-law (my husband’s little sister), and I was struck by a deep truth within it.

Ella, played by Anne Hathaway, is a cute little teenager/young adult living in a mystical land called Frell.  At birth, Ella is given the gift of obedience by a fairy and has to follow the commands, both good and bad, that anyone gives her for the rest of her life.

One day, Ella, falls in love with a prince named Char.

Now, Char’s uncle is the king of the land – and he is anything but nice. Driven by greed, Edgar tries to trap Ella into killing Char, the heir to the throne, so that he can be king forever.

On the night of Char’s coronation ball, King Edgar commands Ella to drive a dagger through Char’s heart as Char is proposing to her at midnight. Ella, trapped by the spell, is in a dilemma. Ella knows, at midnight, the spell with kick in, her body will take over, and she will be forced to obey, but in obeying she will kill the love of her life, and the rightful heir to the throne.

THEN something amazing happens…(watch the clip:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l24yOwR9saU)

Ella hears her late mother’s words and remembers that “what’s inside of her is stronger than any spell.”

She throws down the dagger, and rejoices in her freedom.

We are the same way, aren’t’ we?

We live our lives wrestling with things we hate.

I hate the fact that I don’t handle my anger correctly sometimes, and I hate the fact that I am quick to compare myself to others instead of thinking positively.

Sometimes, our bad habits become who we are – or so they say.

Ella figured out a truth that is worth repeating: What’s inside of us is stronger than any spell.

 “For we know that our old self was crucified with [Christ] so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:6&7).

In other words, we are free from the spell of sin. Christ’s death and resurrection has rendered sin as powerless in the life of the believer.

If you believe in Christ – his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead – you no longer have to be a slave to sin. You no longer have to do the things that you hate doing. You no longer have to play with your sticky spots or hang-ups.

Ella figured it out – and in the midst of her discovery, she fell to the ground and proclaimed a wonderful reality…

“I’m free. I can’t believe it! I’m free!”

Friends, we are free! May we never forget it.