But say the word

but say the word blog seedlingOur church recently went through 21 days of prayer & fasting. It was such a powerful time of intentionally pressing into God. It’s astounding how God shows up when you press into Him. Throughout the fast I found myself drawn to Luke chapter 7. This chapter begins with an incredible story that jumped off the page at me. Isn’t it amazing when God’s word does that? As Luke 7 unfolds we see Jesus entering a town called Capernaum and a military man in need of a miracle.

“When he had concluded saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. A centurion’s servant, who was highly valued by him, was sick and about to die. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, requesting him to come and save the life of his servant. When they reached Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy for you to grant this, because he loves our nation and has built us a synagogue.” Luke 7:1-5 CSB

This Centurion would have been a military leader, a person with power & authority, who was clearly well respected and very generous. The report that the Jewish elders brought to Jesus was that the Centurion was “worthy for you to grant this.”  I love how Jesus is in the business of turning everything that we humans place value in, utterly and completely upside down. The characteristics of the Centurion that impressed Jesus were not his contributions to the nation but rather his humility and faith.

“Jesus went with them, and when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, since I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. That is why I didn’t even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under my command. I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Luke 7:6-8

luke 7_ 6b-7 seedling blogAhhhh I love so much about this interaction. First of all here is the Centurion, a man of authority who understands rank and hierarchy, and what is the very first word he sent to through his friends to Jesus? He calls Jesus Lord! Y’all this is HUGE. By publicly calling Jesus Lord the Centurion is humbling himself under Jesus authority and command. Then he goes on to honor Jesus even more by acknowledging he is not worthy to have Jesus come under his roof, but rather if Jesus will simply say the word, he was confident his servant would be healed.

Wow that simple phrase “But say the word” echoed in my heart for days after reading this. I just couldn’t shake it. My mind would drift throughout the day to this beautiful story and the stunning faith of the Centurion. There is more than astonishing faith packed in that little phrase. There is reverence, worship, conviction, and hope.

My journal pages a few days later literally says “Lord I can’t get this story out of my mind.” That phrase “But say the word” was haunting me like we had unfinished business. I don’t know about you but I am desperate for that kind of faith & boldness & confidence. So I wrote the phase at the top of a new journal page and just began to write every single enormous mountain in my life. I’m sure you have those too! You know the ones that deep down in your heart you know God can totally make happen but your words, actions, and thoughts don’t always reflect confident faith.

I wrote things like:

Lord, But say the word and this relationship will be restored.

But say the word and this debt will be gone.

But say the word and we will own our own home.

But say the word and there will be greater intimacy and understanding in my marriage.

Y’all I wrote BIG heavy burdens as well as HUGE goals and dreams. After I wrote about a dozen I prayed them out loud and I could feel something happening inside of me. Like this little seedling I could feel my faith growing.

seedling blog““Jesus heard this and was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found so great a faith even in Israel.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant in good health.” Luke 7:9-10

Well of course the servant of the Centurion was healed. But his healing is almost an afterthought in this story compared to the themes of humility & faith. Jesus affirms the faith of the Centurion to the point of saying there is not greater faith even in Israel. Wow! This story inspires me to humble myself before my Lord and walk in bold confident faith. It challenges me and shed light on areas I really haven’t been walking in faith, so that I can surrender those areas or issues to Him.

What does your “Lord, But say the word” list look like? I hope my journey through this passage inspires you to have some profound “But say the word” conversations with God. I’d love for you to share in the comments!

Friends this is my prayer for you & I this week, “Lord we have some giant mountains that are right in front of us. We can’t see around them, we can’t figure them out, and we overwhelmed by them. Lord we come to you by faith believing that if you will but say the word these situations will completely resolve. Lord we are submitting these situations & circumstances to you. In Jesus name, Amen!”

10 Gratitudes, 10 Fears, 10 Truths

Last Fall was one of the most difficult seasons we have ever been through as a family, yet in the middle of it God gave us this incredible tool that I want to share with you today. My prayer is that this tool will be something you can use to draw closer to the Lord, to process deep emotions in a healthy way, and to walk in gratitude and truth with renewed hope.

But first, let me give you a little background. Y’all last Fall was rough! We had some pretty hard things at work, my husband is a Pastor, and potential changes at church were causing division and heartache. At the same time we got the call that I had a tumor in my right breast that needed to be surgically removed to determine if it was cancer (spoiler alert by the grace of God it was not cancer, more details on that here: Holding onto Him). All of this stress was affecting our marriage, our eating habits, our ability to be intimate, and especially my husband’s sleep. Insomnia plagued Adrian night after night, which in turn caused me to awaken often in concern for him, so neither of us were well rested.

One night I had enough of it. I was literally angry at the insomnia and the emotional turmoil we were feeling and knew we needed God to intervene. Before bed that night we prayed together and I felt God leading us to praise God and acknowledge 10 things we were grateful for. The number 10 stood out to me so vividly and I think the quantity was significant because it caused us to put in the work emotionally. We can easily share two or three things we are grateful for, but 10 made us really dig deep. We each praised God and acknowledged 10 gratitudes while lying there in bed before drifting off to sleep.

Around 2am Adrian woke up and was rolling around in frustration, which of course woke me up. Instantly I felt God leading us to surrender 10 fears. I had no idea where that idea came from except the Holy Spirit. The phrase “surrender 10 fears” was imprinted on my heart so vividly in that moment. I was barely awake myself and was most certainly not in the mindset of working through an exercise like that. However, we were both so defeated by this insomnia that we would do anything. ANYTHING! So I shared with Adrian that I felt God leading us to surrender 10 fears and my deeply sleep deprived husband obliged. Adrian shared as many as he could but only got to 5 or 6, then I took a turn. Y’all surrendering 10 fears in the middle of the night when you haven’t slept well in weeks is very VERY hard. I was lying in bed with tears dripping down my cheeks onto my pillow. We surrendered fears to God that night that we had never acknowledged and certainly never shared out loud.

As soon as we finished surrendering our fears I felt God leading us to declare 10 truths. 10 truths we could hold onto. 10 truths that would carry us through that moment. 10 truths that would combat every lie of the enemy, every crippling thought, and every fear. In bed that night we dug deep and pulled from scriptures that we have memorized. We believe God’s word, the Bible, is the ultimate source of truth. We also drew truths from knowledge & life experience. Again the number 10 was so significant because it pushed us. We weren’t just throwing a single Bible verse or rational fact at the problem, we were going to war!

There is so much power in gratitude, in surrender, and in declaration. SO. MUCH. POWER.

We are emotional, spiritual, and physical beings and each of those areas are interconnected & interdependent. If you think for a minute that issues you are having emotionally are not affecting you physically or spiritually you are sorely mistaken. This crippling insomnia was deeply rooted in not only the physical but the emotional & spiritual. After working through this exercise Adrian was able to fall back to sleep for the first time in weeks.

In the weeks that followed I couldn’t get that experience out of my mind. I began to regularly work through what I titled my 10/10/10 Exercise. This exercise made such an impact on me that I began to use it often during my morning devotions or times of journaling. After using this exercise for several months my husband and I decided to use it with a group of couples we were speaking to during a workshop on Spiritual Intimacy at a local conference center. Wow! I fought back tears watching couples sitting knee to knee and digging deep, working through painful fears and walking in gratitude and truth.

I wanted to share this simple tool with you because it has made SUCH a huge impact on our lives. You can walk through this exercise mentally or out loud as you’re going through daily tasks or lying in bed like we did. OR write them down, create 3 columns on a blank piece of paper or print out this pdf form I created to walk through the exercise 10 10 10 printable.

TIP: I highly recommend going through each column completely before moving on. For example acknowledge all 10 gratitudes before moving onto fears, surrender all 10 fears before moving onto truths.

Step 1: Acknowledge 10 Gratitudes
I like to work through my gratitudes like a prayer “Lord I thank you for…” or if you are not a Christian you might say “Today I’m grateful for…” Think of everything you are grateful for big or small. It could be as simple as being grateful for warm socks, or money to pay bills, or for your family, etc.

Step 2: Surrender 10 Fears
I also like to surrender my fears in prayer “Lord I surrender my fear of …” I believe that as we surrender these fears to the Lord it releases the power they have over us. Our fears once surrendered now reside in the capable and mighty hands of God.

Step 3: Declare 10 Truths
As I declare 10 truths on the go, I will draw from scripture I have memorized or rational facts. It’s beautiful how God will bring certain truths to my heart exactly when I need them. But my favorite way to declare truths is when I make the time to dig deep into God’s word and actually write the verses down. Often I will sit with my bible and look for scriptures that combat the fears I’ve surrendered. The truths you declare don’t necessarily have to be associated with the fears you’ve surrendered but I’ve often found myself drawn to ones that do. Don’t be afraid to Google key words or use Bible Gateway to search for verses.

TIP: It is very powerful to not only write down the fears I am surrendering & truths as I’m declaring them but to actually read them out loud. Romans 10:17 says that “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Reading it out loud engages our faith in the process in a powerful way.

GOING DEEPER: Working through this simple 10/10/10 Exercise with your spouse or together as a family (parents & children) provides a powerful outlet for communication, understanding, intimacy, and discipleship. I highly recommend it!

As you work through this exercise please let me know if it was helpful and what you are learning. Your feedback is invaluable! I pray that God will use this simple 10/10/10 Exercise to breakdown the stronghold of fear and release you to walk in truth & renewed hope!