Category Archives: faith

silence.

Despite always being surrounded by a plethora of friends (or people who seem to not hate me) I’ve always kind of had a loud mouth. I’ve always said what was on my mind without any any real regard for what repercussions might arise because hey, it’s the truth, even if it sucks, so don’t shoot the messenger okay?.

Regarding this personality trait of mine, my husband recently referred to me as both a “firecracker” and a “loose cannon” in the same day. I asked him if that was a compliment or not.

“I’m not sure,” he replied. And my stomach twisted a little bit.

Up to that point, I would have liked to believe that maybe this flaw is just part of my seemingly unending charm ( :D ) but that all changed when I was having coffee with a sweet, deeply introverted friend of mine a few months ago. When discussing our personality differences in this area, she said, “I just don’t ever want to speak unless what’s about to come out of my mouth is more beautiful than silence.”

And that kind of wrecked me. As Spider-Man teaches us, with great power comes great responsibility and similarly, with the ability to speak your mind also comes the discernment to know whether or not what you’re about to say is worth a damn.

As a boisterous, loud- (and typically foul-) mouthed, extroverted spirit through and through, it’s been really hard to feel comfortable being myself in this way lately, if I’m honest. Whenever I get fired up and feel entitled to spout off about something, a bit of shame creeps in and keeps me from doing so.

Is this a correct reaction? No, but every time you change, it’s going to be met with discomfort for a while until it isn’t foreign anymore.

Today a friend of mine shared some bible verses with me that really convicted me in this area so, of course, I’m going to share them with you so if you’re like me you can feel bad about yourself too.

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:29-32

Yeah I’m the worst. But I’m working on it.

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prayer.

A long time ago, someone told me that the most powerful thing you can do is say to a person is, I’m praying for you, and mean it.

Because it’s so easy to flippantly say that you will pray for someone and then just don’t. As a matter of fact, I’d bet that that happens way more often than not.

So today when I got a text from a friend who lives, like, a million miles away, telling me that she prayed for me this morning, despite me not even asking for it or knowingly exhibiting red flags for needing prayer, it really brought me joy. Because I knew she meant it.

It really does have power.

And so I texted back a heartfelt THANK YOU and pleaded for more. Because why not?

If anyone else wants to pray for me, please do; I’m currently in the process of weaning myself off of caffeine and man –

it is a HELL of a drug.

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joy.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. – John 10:10

“As soon as we pay off our student loans, then we can really enjoy life.”

“As soon as my son passes the ‘terrible twos’ and stops throwing tantrums over dinner, we’ll be in good shape.”

“As soon as I learn how to master every chore in the most efficient way possible, then I can really relax on weekends.”

These are just a handful of “if, then” statements I’ve muttered to myself over the past few years. There are plenty more, but they are all essentially the same in that they don’t allow me to experience joy until certain stars align. I get myself so focused on the THEN, that I feel like I can’t possibly enjoy the NOW.

I was thinking about that this week as I was preparing the discussion for our monthly small group and the above scripture jumped out at me. It is Jesus speaking and, in most teachings, the “thief” he refers to Satan. And certainly I think this still applies. But there are plenty of other thieves that Satan employs in our lives that come to kill and destroy the abundant life that God has promised:

  • work stress
  • financial woes
  • health issues
  • comparison
  • mean people
  • and many more.

The thing about that scripture is that there isn’t a waiting period. It’s not like, “As soon as Lindsay gets back from vacation, then the thief will steal her joy with a pile of demanding emails.” Or, “As soon as Lindsay’s paid off all her student loans, then the thief will attack her with a four-digit hospital bill.” The thief doesn’t play that game.

But thankfully, neither does the Savior. He doesn’t say in that verse, “As soon as Lindsay goes on vacation, then I will give her an abundant life.” Or “As soon as Lindsay can figure out how to tithe on the regular, then I will rain money on her head.”

It is automatic. Abundant life is automatic.

Joy is automatic.

We just have to quit waiting for it to show up.

Sure I haven’t paid off all my student loans yet; but I can afford my rent and I can buy groceries at Publix.

And sure my kid is in his terrible twos; but being his mama, I’m also his absolute #1 favorite person in the whole entire world.

And the scoreboard of my life is currently LAUNDRY-49, LINDSAY-0, but I have clothes on my back to keep me warm (regardless of their state of cleanliness and/or wrinkledness).

Joy abounds RIGHT NOW. Be glad in it.

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community.

“We’ve always done it that way” has never been an effective argument for me. Ever since I can remember, I have questioned the status quo (and have usually been overly dramatic about it — *flashback to me making a scene about the interpretation of my semi-progressive bible illustrations in 3rd grade by climbing a kumquat tree and refusing to come down*).

I truly believe that we humans were created by and in the image of a communal God, one whose strongest desire is to connect to each and every one of us and then watch us foster relationships among each other that emulate that kind of connection.

I’ve found as I’ve gotten older that it is both harder and easier to make those kinds of relationships work. It is more difficult because we are an overcommitted group of beings, we humans, having jobs and hobbies and obligations and whatnot, that suck up the majority of the 24 hours we are allotted each day. However, it is easier because, thanks to smartphones and tablets and computers and other gadgetry, we are always connected to everyone.

Like, almost literally everyone.

So why not capitalize on that connection we have? Why not embrace it? Why not try and use something modern to build relationships we’ve always been created to engage in?

Yesterday I wrote about how doing life on the internet can be a bad thing. Today, I’m going to do the opposite.

Because we ARE so overcommitted with everything, building relationships tends to be something that people just don’t have the time for. This goes for both friendships and romantic relationships and I’m here to say that, hey, don’t knock it till you try it. I mean, seriously. I’ve heard people dog on online dating, but several of my close friends have pretty great marriages thanks only to the internet.

(Okay, guys, I know that SOME people are creepers on the internet, but to push back on that, I’ve gone on enough dates with creepers who asked me out IN PERSON, soooo maybe the internet isn’t the cause of the creeps?)

Over the past year and a half I’ve been working at my church as the online campus coordinator, which basically means I’ve been tasked with creating a church community that isn’t confined to the four walls of a traditional brick-and-mortar church, but can be experienced on the WWW.

Tonight I saw some fruits of this past year’s labor when three people (who had never MET each other) and myself willingly got onto a Google Hangout while also simultaneously watching a church service online and, despite being nowhere near each other geographically and not ever being acquainted in person, we engaged in fun dialogue (both via webcam and chat), sang some songs, ate some snacks, and went to church.

Together.

Because internet.

Like, how cool is that?

Was it different from going to church in a building? Of course. Was that kind of the point? A little bit, yeah. Does that make it any less of a community than an in-person one?

I’d argue no.

So what if we’ve always done church one way? Can it not be done another way? Can it not be done in a way that transcends societal norms and also honors tradition?

Uh, yeah! And it’s awesome!

Feel free to comment below if you’re interested in this kind of gig. Because guess what — this is the internet. And, just like at church, everyone’s invited.

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when we make ourselves bleed.

It is Sunday and I don’t normally blog on Sundays but I foolishly downed a grande Starbucks iced latte this morning so I’ll be awake and vibrating until Tuesday so MIGHT AS WELL EXPEL SOME FINGER ENERGY, AM I RIGHT? (The piano is getting slaughtered as soon as I’m done with this.)

Failure and grace are on my heart today, because:

  • I just got done writing an apology letter to a mother in our congregation for our streaming platform being down this morning during her son’s baptism.
  • Dan had to apologize for not being the husband/father I needed him to be on Friday.
  • And a few days prior to that, I had to send an awkwardly phrased apology email to a mentor whose blessings on me I have not exactly honored.

There have been a lot of “I’m sorry”s floating around my head this week, thrown both at and from me. A lot of disappointments. A lot of failures.

It’s easy for me to forgive Dan because he’s so silly and wonderful. But my mentor forgave me (for probably the millionth time) and I’m crossing my fingers that this mother will also forgive me. However, even though the reality of their forgiveness is within my reach, I still find it hard to forgive myself.

Last night I went to dinner with some ladies from our church. My friend Kimberly told us a story of her son’s experience at a local water park. There is an area that has big, floating lily pads with a rope suspended above them. The idea is that you can jump from lily pad to lily pad and use the rope to help you across.

Kimberly’s son decided to make his way across by only hanging on to the rope and not touching down on any of the lily pads. When he got to the other side, his hands were blistered and bleeding.

“Why didn’t you stop when you were hurting?” she asked.

“Because I didn’t want to fail,” he said.

WHAT.

Whenever someone forgives me for wronging them, it’s like I look down on their grace like her son did those lily pads. I dismiss it and choose instead to cling to my shame as punishment — a thick, tough, splintery rope — and mentally beat myself up. In a sense, I make myself bleed because I’m so upset that I failed in the first place.

Is it failure, though? Is it?

To admit you need help? To admit you made a mistake? To step down on a lily pad? To apologize to someone and say, “I missed the mark and I’ll try to do better next time,” and to let their grace be enough? 

Perhaps when we find ourselves in pain we should stop, step down on a lily pad, and apologize instead of making ourselves bleed unnecessarily.

And then, we move on, more aware of the reality of love and grace and mercy and redemption than we are of the lies of shame and guilt.

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introducing nineveh.

At the moment, it’s 4:02PM on a Tuesday afternoon. I’m sitting on my couch — not inside a cubicle — while my baby peacefully naps in his crib and one of my cats does so behind my head.

Friday was my last day at my job and Sunday was our last day at our church. Many tears have already been shed and more are coming, no doubt, as the final pages of this chapter of our lives turn.

I suppose that, at this point in time, it’s safe to go ahead and blog publicly about what’s next for our family and to give Nineveh a proper introduction. And so — here goes.

We are moving to Naples! (Florida, not Italy — though the culture is so different down there it’s almost as if we are moving to a different country.)

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. Lindsay, you must have failed Geography because Naples is not central Florida and that’s where you originally said you were headed.

First of all, that’s mean. I never failed Geography. I managed to slightly pass it thankyouverymuch. Second of all, yes, we realize that Naples is not central Florida. So here’s the Reader’s Digest (does anyone still get Reader’s Digest?) version of why we’re headed to So Fla:

Once Dan and I came to the realization that we had to move in order to build a better family life — ideally including me being the primary caregiver for Dax as opposed to him being in full time childcare — we chose central Florida because that’s where my family is. Dan and I were pretty pessimistic about finding a situation in which I would be able to stay at home with Dax, but we wanted to give it a shot. If we didn’t find anything, we knew we could at least count on someone in my family to care for Dax during the day. So Dan blanketed the central Florida area with his resume and we waited.

We had a few churches contact us for interviews and we even visited some. All of the churches we looked into were great, but none of them offered a situation in which our family dynamic would change to be more what we envisioned. I was getting pretty discouraged by this until Dan got an email from a man named Don using a nondescript email address.

In the email, Don said he saw Dan’s resume online and asked if he’d be interested in an opening for a youth pastor. Dan said yes, and the two continued to discuss the position. After a few emails, Dan finally asked Don where he was from. When he said that he was the Director of Ministry at a church in Naples, both of our hearts sank.

Don requested a lunch meeting with us and we agreed to go even though we both thought there was no way we’d end up taking a job in south Florida. It’s good practice, we thought.

But then, the lunch meeting went really well. Which led to a Skype interview with a handful of staff members that also went really well. Which led to an onsite visit and interview that went extremely well…

What came out of all of this is nothing short of amazing, providential, and praiseworthy. Not only was Dan offered the position, but I was also offered a job coordinating the church’s online campus — simulcasts, social media, and BLOGGING!!!! — that is set to launch this summer.

The best part of all of this? The, like, super-duper God part?

Apart from staff meetings on Tuesdays and church on Sundays, I get to do this job completely from home. And, those times I have to be onsite, Dax gets to come with me and hang out in a fully staffed nursery at the church so I can still be near him.

As you can see, there is no way we could have been any more blessed. God has provided for us in a way I (maybe we) never thought possible. And we are stoked.

We have applied to live in a condo down there; once that’s approved, we’ll move in and then start working!

This does not make the pain of us leaving Tallahassee and the community we have here any less real, but it does give us peace about the God we serve and the callings He has for our family.

So. Now I need your help.

What the heck do we do in Naples? Besides go to the beach, I mean?

Ready, GO!

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things (people) i love thursday! (april 25, 2013)

This week is our last week at our church so I’ve done a lot of crying. I don’t really have any other words to say about this week (it really has kind of sucked) so this TILT will be kind of short. But also kind of personal.

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PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE ME SMILE AT SOME POINT BUT WILL LIKELY ALSO MAKE ME CRY THIS WEEK:

  • Dan.
  • Dax.
  • Eric.
  • Emily.
  • Shana.
  • Levi.
  • Lori.
  • Savannah.
  • Beka.
  • Ashley.
  • Evan.
  • Suzanne.
  • Libby.
  • Rori.
  • Sydney.
  • Sarah(s).
  • Zack(s).
  • Sammie.
  • Kelby.
  • Kyle.
  • Liz.
  • Hannah.
  • Karen.
  • Mary.
  • Lindsey.
  • Hookers.
  • Caleb.
  • Nora.
  • All the students/leaders in E3SM.
  • All the kids in E3Kids.
  • Everyone else at E3.

And I have to stop because I’m crying in my cubicle. See you all Sunday. One last time.

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