Jul 10, 2013


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I had a very vivid dream last night that I was skydiving. But, it was like skydiving + pretty Olympic-style diving mixed together. There were about 30 other people learning to dive with me, all in perfect unison, and I kept jumping way farther out than everyone and I was all sorts of off. I was the only one who couldn’t seem match the flock. We were practicing in a big foam pit and the teacher kept telling me to point my toes and try again.

The most vivid part of my dream was that I wasn’t embarrassed or frustrated by my lack of perfection, despite the perfect synchronization of everyone else in the room. I got up and joyfully — gratefully — happily tried again. I was humbled and grateful to be taught to fly right.

There’s no secret decoding needed for this dream. I have been humbled as of late. Except in real life it has been hard and I’ve cried and I’ve been hurt and seen my ego rear its ugly head. My heart has been challenged and God has been not-so-gently showing me that He wants more of me. A lot more. And I haven’t written about it yet because I don’t have everything figured out. I’m still learning how to dive. But, my fear is turning into flight as I let go and let God show me how. He is changing me. Again.

Pride = about me. Humility = about Him.

God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6 NIV)

Five years ago I was lost and scared and also thought I had it all together. Through so many challenges that seem to come in tidal waves in my life — Ari and I healing our marriage through great humility and acceptance of our faults (and therefore deep forgiveness of each other’s faults), giving birth to Grace, wading through the waters of Postpartum Depression, trying to figure out what my new identity is as a mama, family sickness, and so many other things – I’ve watched God ignite change in me that I never expected. And He is not done and hopefully never will be. I am still very much on the prideful end of the spectrum than I am on the humble end. That’s the humbling part of this. I have most definitely not “arrived.”

I never see these tidal waves coming and then suddenly they wash “me” away. The shore of my heart is left cleaner and fresh and sparkling and ready. But, the tides keep changing and waves keep crashing and slowly but surely, the shells that are carried from the deep blue get smooth and turn to sand. Amazing how the cycles of nature reflect God’s work in our own lives. God, your creation is so beautiful. Thank you for the ocean and these waves in my life. Just when I think you’re done with me, I start to smell that intoxicating salt air again.

lara casey water

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:3-11 NIV)

It’s the “He emptied Himself” part of this text above that gets me. He emptied himself. He made himself the lowest. He gave up everything. He gave His life. He could have just come to earth and made Himself king on a throne, but He humbled Himself to show us how to live. He is not just sitting in a cloud-carried palace in the sky; He knows our pain and that the very hardest thing for us to do as humans is to die to self. So, He did it for us to show us the way.

And so I’ve been asking myself lately, “How do I LIVE this? How do I dive into the life God wants me to live and pour myself out for others like He wants me to? How do I fly right? How can I die to self every day??”

Head >> Heart >> Hands. Our thoughts direct our hearts which direct our actions. With my head and heart in all sorts of new territory lately, I’ve found myself diving into uncharted territory. I’m still in the middle of this tidal wave pouring into my heart, so bear with me here. I’m thinking this wave will keep pouring for a while. And I’m starting to welcome it. When we seek God and ask Him to show us His way, there will always be more waves to wash the shore clean again and, each time a new wave crashes or water laps against the shore, the topography changes, the coast is nourished and new treasures are brought from the sea.

In reading Jen Hatmaker’s Interrupted and her most recent book 7 (which Ari just finished also) and praying and reading the Bible, our lives have most definitely been interrupted in many ways.

I’ve been thinking so much about my own excess. Excess of resources, comfort, food, clothes, and just stuff. I feel like I’ve been letting go of stuff constantly since the tidal wave of Grace’s arrival, but I also keep accumulating more stuff. Bit by bit, God is showing me His heart in this and changing me. We’re working on changing our lifestyle and drastically re-structuring our budget, giving, household and the way we look at our resources.

We planted a garden and have been going to the farmer’s market, stopped using paper towels and I’ve been doing hours and hours of research on everything from organic farming to green living to tomato staking. And we have a long long long — I repeat, LONG — way to go. And here is a lot more to this that what I’m writing — this is just a peek into where my heart is.

But, let me be very clear about these new convictions in my heart. It’s not about following a set of rules that will lead to holiness. It’s about my personal relationship with God and what He wants us specifically to do. Your excess and giving and change may be completely different than mine. It’s not about following rules; it’s about acting from the heart. It’s not about being better than someone else; it’s about being the best version of ourselves.

lara casey garden
Photo by Faith Teasley

The goal: pour ourselves out for others like He did for us. When we have excess it means we’re taking resources away from someone else who needs them. Our excess is showing us how much we have to give.

We’ve started praying and talking more about adoption these last two weeks. We don’t know what God wants of us – whether adopting ourselves, supporting others in adoption, being foster parents, teaching and mentoring orphans… we’re not sure. But, I know it’s something. I’ve found myself up late at night many nights praying for children who have no homes, reading adoption profiles of disabled and older children and waking up in tears. My spirit grieves for the children and I think of these words:

But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.

Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46 NLT)

My motivation is not about eternal punishment, but my love of the Lord. If you’ve gotten this far in this post, I know what talking about my “love for the Lord” may sound like. These kinds of words and phrases used to turn me off and still do when I don’t feel the heart behind them. So to make this a little more real, let me explain:

Say you opened your mail one day to find a bill for $100,000. It’s not a mistake. You spent it all on things to make you “happy.” You can’t pay it and you keep spending, trying to fill a void that cannot be filled. The police knock on your door and say you have to pay now or be taken to jail forever. Stripped from your life, no time to say goodbye to anyone, you are taken to prison. Forever.

A day in prison turns into a week which turns into a month then a year. A very dark year. You worry about your family. You cry all day every day. You feel like you could wither from devastation and the knowledge that this is your life for the rest of your days. You feel hopeless and angry and like there is no way out.

Photo by Faith Teasley of the Elberta peaches in our garden.

And then suddenly your door is opened and you are let go. You are truly free. Someone has paid your bill. And brought your whole family to you and given you a beautiful second chance. Your jail record is completely erased, no guilt or shame follows you home as you are welcomed back with open loving arms. You are free indeed.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

Guys, that’s how I felt. I spent all of my heart on things that didn’t matter. I didn’t even realize it until my world started to crumble. Then, God — through pain and challenges and many dark days — came and changed everything. Every single thing. He set me free.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Cor 5:14-15)

His love compels me.

SO, that is why I love the Lord with all I am. He literally saved me from a life that was going nowhere fast. And so the deepest desire of my heart is to show everyone – my mailman, the wonderful women I work with, Grace and Ari, my neighbors, my clients, strangers who comment on my Instagram posts, the old man who walks around the lake at the same time we do every morning, the UPS guy… EVERYONE I can possible come in contact with that God is real and good (even and sometimes especially in challenges) and I could not possibly have orchestrated this change in my heart myself.

I did not make this happen. He did.

I love Him so much for how He has changed my family. So much I can’t even begin to describe it and I want to love Him back with my life. With my actions and the fruit of my work. I’m sitting here at my desk feeling my blood run through my veins just as fast as this tidal wave has crashed in on me and I just want to jump through my screen and pray with you (yes, you) as you read this for whatever is holding you back from diving in too. The water is warm and crystal blue. (By the way, if there is something I can pray for you for please leave a comment here and I’ll do it.)

I hesitated to write this post, knowing it would not be perfectly wrapped up in a pretty bow. So far, you’ve gone skydiving with me, endured a tidal wave and gone to jail : ) How’s that for a Wednesday!? My hope, however, is to simply share with you that He can change everything and make you new. Welcome the tidal waves. Welcome the teacher’s instruction to help you soar. Welcome the new even though change is hard. I’ll leave you with these words that say it all:


(2 Corinthains 5:17)


  1. Cyn on July 10, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    What a lucky girl Gracie is to have you and Ari. Love the openness of this post – and love your kind heart. xo

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      I love you. Thank you. I am so grateful for family. And you! Can’t wait to see you in a couple weeks!

  2. Rhiannon on July 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Love your heart. I’m so proud of you, Lara!

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      I love you friend. Thank you for being such a great encouragement.

  3. Abi Losli on July 10, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I love hearing your heart! I wish I could jump through the screen, too, and pray and laugh and do life with you and the rest of those lovely people in this community y’all have going on. Just wanted to pop in and say thank you for the word pictures (love having something to wrap my mind around!). Also I just love God’s timing because he is doing WORK in my heart and sometimes it’s hard and discouraging and all I can see is how far I have to go and how ugly my heart can be, but then I read things like “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” And I remember: I have been made new. The old uglies are GONE because Jesus is here and he is all about redeeming and restoring and LOVE. It’s beautiful and it makes me cry. So thanks, friend. I’m continuing to be excited and hope and pray with you from over here!

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      Yes you have been made brand new. What an amazing truth that we so easily forget. Brand new! I love you friend!!! Praying for you!

  4. Ashley on July 10, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Beautifully transparent. Thank your for sharing. You don’t know how timely. I have never met you but I love your heart! Cuts to the core. So brave to share, but this is what is needed in this superficial world. So glad there are women who share in the journey.

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      I hope we do get to meet in person at some point. I owe you a hug now : ) Thank you for this encouragement. Praying for you!

  5. Angi Hanzlik on July 10, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    I LOVE you Lara Casey! You are a devine messenger and have helped me, more than I could ever explain, through your words and kindness. You have found your calling and you are truly doing God’s work. Thank you!

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      Angi, thank you for this encouragement. I appreciate it so much. God is good!

  6. Angi Hanzlik on July 10, 2013 at 9:42 pm


  7. Lauren on July 10, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    I’m so glad you hit “publish” 🙂

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      Thank you for this! I was sincerely nervous. Thank you for this confirmation!

  8. Lauren on July 11, 2013 at 12:46 am

    I need a prayer & I just need one. That I find my purpose. That He will be in that purpose every day. I’ll pray for you Lara. God led me to you while I was in the middle of planning a wedding that was consuming and distracting. because I needed a Godly woman to look up to. I read your posts and follow you on instagram and one day I hope to attend your Make it Happen conference. Thank you Lara for your open posts & your prayers.

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      I am praying this for you right now. He is faithful and He listens to our hearts. Keep pouring your heart out to Him. Huge hugs my friend!

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      And thank you so much for praying for me. That is the greatest gift! I hope to hug you in person soon!

  9. Kathryn Duckett on July 11, 2013 at 1:11 am

    Amen! Amen! Amen. His love compels us! Lara, I will be praying for you and Ari that you are protected from discouragement as you are sharing the truth. That God gives you grace to keep your eyes fixed on Him!! I am just praising God for everything I just read, and I know there is a battle going on. I’m amazed at how many parallels I read in this post, similar things God is stirring in my husband and I. Pray we would also be faithful to share this love with everyone we come in contact with. Hugs to you.

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      Thank you thank you thank you! I am so grateful for this perfect prayer. I really need it. My heart has been sensitive lately. I am praising God for you!

  10. Steph on July 11, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Thank you for being so open & sharing! Love it.
    Please pray for my husband and I. And that God will continue to give us comfort and peace as we continue to grieve through the loss of our fertility ( a typically healthy lady in my early thirties-due to a chronic illness I had to have an emergency hysterectomy 1.5 years ago- and we did not yet have any biological children). We know God has tremendous hope, plans, and light for our futures and lives. However, some days are just tough to walk through this loss. So we would appreciate any extra prayers Lara.
    Thanks for your prayers!! I will continue to pray for you and that as you continue to find joy as He is continuing to grow you! {{HUGS}}

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      Oh Steph! I am definitely praying this for you right now. May God bless you richly with love and peace and comfort and joy. Praying so much!

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      And thank you for praying for me. I am so grateful!

  11. Kara Anne on July 11, 2013 at 4:26 am

    Lara, I’ve been missing your posts. I always check back and I was so thrilled that there was a long post today for me. Because I know that every time you post something heartfelt it really speaks to me.

    I have learned so much from this post. Thank you — for always teaching me something. I have had a very emotional two weeks too as I launched my new business and sorted out our new finances at the same time. The new burdens of being an ‘adult’ really struck me and scared me. I was so, so guilty and condemned that I could do NOTHING immediately to help lighten the load of my husband (who was and is paying the bills, but who was and is my biggest supporter of my dream business) and I felt… simply USELESS.

    But really, looking back, a lot of what I think I need is just… *stuff*. I have to learn to let go and humble myself to the Lord… Humble my plans, my dreams and commit my TIME to HIM. Because if He wills, what can I say? I cannot reject the best plan of my life because whatever He has conjured up and have in store for me will be beyond my wildest dreams and will fulfil and fill me up like no other plan I could ever imagine.

    Thank you for reminding me that I AM INDEED FREE. I am so blessed to be given a chance to explore entrepreneurship, to have a passion and knowledge in what I do now, and to have a loving, blessing Daddy God who is guiding me and only hoping that I WILL LISTEN AND FOLLOW.

    I wanted to add on one more verse (even though all the verses you quoted struck so many chords and I am highlighting them ferociously and writing down my reflections) because I think it applies to this too… “NOT AS I WILL, BUT AS YOU WILL.” – Matthew 26:39

    I pray that I be kinder on myself and to everyone else I meet, I pray that I humble my plans and dreams in front of the Lord and commit them all to Him together with my time, and I thank Him that He has set me free and made me a new creation. Amen.

    Bless you & your heart Lara. You made me stop in the midst of work today and really really look to Him.

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      Kara Anne! I am praying that prayer for you too. Such a wise prayer. And I love the verse you shared. Amen amen!! I live your heart. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I always get so nervous posting vulnerable posts.

  12. Beverly on July 11, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Lara, I’m grateful for your amazing metaphors and bold honesty. I’ve been in a season – for many, many months – where God has COMPLETELY stripped me of ALL that distracts my heart and mind (from my resume to my relationships). And it all began with a big move cross country, and a simple prayer to create a clean heart within me… SO dangerous. I did not fully understand what that meant at the time, but wow, I am living through the most challenging (often depressing) season ever. A complete heart change for my striving, fighter soul – and I feel SO far away yet stuck in the middle of the old and new, if that makes sense. Thank the Lord (which I do not do often enough) for glimmers of hope – that this is a preparation time, His timing is perfect, He has big plans for me if I will only step into the person HE created me – loving Him above all and resting in His Grace.
    Thank you for sharing your journey in faith and hope through your story.

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Oh wow. It’s those “dangerous” prayers that I hesitate on too but they always bring good fruit. They are scary because it means we are not in control. Thank you for this reminder to pray with abandon and trust that He loves us deeply in ALL things.

  13. Ashlee Thurlow on July 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Lara this has me crying and praying and doing I don’t know what with my life! You are so amazing and every time your come from your heart and core like this it changes and touches more people than you can ever know! Love you Lara & Gracie & Ari and all of the MTH ladies!

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      Huge hugs to you Ashlee!!!! Thank you for this encouragement. Praying for you right now to know how loved you are.

    • Ashlee Thurlow on July 13, 2013 at 1:51 am

      Thank you so much Lara! God has made some crazy things happen in my life this week! Thank you for the prayers!

  14. Tabitha on July 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Once again you strike an arrow right at what I’m feeling and need to hear! Thank you for being open to say what God has on your heart, for it speaks to so many others who need to hear it!
    Lara, I promise to pray for you and with you on your journey and ask that you would pray for me as well. Pray that God would move mountains in my life so I can become a stay at home mom. Nothing is more important to me than being with my two girls raising them myself. I have a lot of “stuff” to let go too like my shopping addiction and obsession with stuff and I know God is speaking to me CLEARLY about this. I want to let that go so I can come into the full promise that God has for my life. I want to serve His kingdom and righteousness so I can receive the desires of my heart. Please pray that I will be content in the meantime, with joyful anticipation! PRAISE GOD!

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      These are such GOOD prayers! Your heart knows where it needs to go. I am so inspired by you! Take action on those prayers and let Him fill the voids. It may be hard but it will be worth it. And He will guide you to the path of being a SAHM in His perfect timing. I’m so grateful for your prayers and heart! Thank you for praying!!

  15. Hope Anchors My Soul on July 11, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    thank you for sharing this! What a beautiful testimony. It amazes me how, even though God’s renewing our heart and minds can be hard, there is this AMAZING peace! I’m so thankful to God for His generous love, mercy, and unfailing grace.

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      Yes it’s so weird isn’t it? That’s the peace that passes all understanding. Peace in trials. Peace in pain. Peace in opposition. God is good : )

  16. Natasha Gillyard on July 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    The authenticity that you choose to live out is so inspiring. Again, I am reminded of the wonderful freedom that come from God and the truly compelling love that He gives. Again, I am reminded that heartwork is so much more worthwhile than a legalistic list of things that “look good”.

    “When I am in the presence of love, I am completely undone.”

    Thank you for sharing your heart. *hugs*

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      Man I fight the legalism hard. I like rules. And then I get into the Word and remember the heart. Praying for you!

  17. Jaime on July 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Amazing words! And scripture that I need today! Thank you, God for Your divine appointments, big or small, this post was one of them! Life is a struggle right now. My job is a struggle. I am the Dir. of Ops for a small business and things are tough! It has been a “dream job” of sorts for me, which has kept me from leaving (partially) but the burden that comes along with it is getting too much to bear. I have been asking, praying, pleading with God to move or to move me (which is probably the scariest of the two prospects). The prayer I need is for God’s plan to be clear and for an overwhelming abundance of His strength to walk the steps He lays out for me.

    Thank you, Lara… For your heart, I truly hear your heart in this post. I stumbled on your blog probably a year ago and have been hooked! The first thing I noticed, your honest, passionate LOVE for GOD! And second, your talent (God-given) to Make Things Happen! A talent I surely have never felt I have, but something I have longed for. Prayerfully I worked through your goal setting post at the first of the year, and the PowerSheets when they first became available. These things do not come natural to me, but I have seen progress this year! I surrendered it to God and asked Him to use these things to make a change in me. I have learned so much, and grown so much! God is using you, woman! Keep sharing His word! Keep speaking His truth! Thank you for your obedience to God’s voice in your life. He has used to you, beyond words, to bless me! I am grateful!

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      Wow you inspire me Jaime! Because none of this was “natural” for me either. I grew up the shyest of the shy and spent most of my life up till after college running in circles. And I ran in a lot of circles after college too. Depression, career changes, never feeling like I was enough. God has slowly filled me with His confidence. Very slowly. I wasn’t brave like you in trying things that I knew we’re hard for me until recently. You are on the right path. You are brave. You are so strong! I am prying for clarity and direction and boldness for you : ) Love you!

  18. Brittany on July 11, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Oh I love this. Thankyou for being you and being honest and not scared of the journey. Because it is all part of the story, isn’t it? I’ve been going through some growing pains too – knowing I need to give it all to God, no holding back. Trying and learning and He is so patient. Lots of love & prayers, xo

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      I am praying for you in your growing pains. He stretches us to make us more flexible for His work. You can do this : ) Keep letting Him stretch your heart.

  19. Amanda on July 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you for always sharing what the Lord is doing in your life and in your heart. Your posts always hit the center of my being and the Lord always uses them to challenge me and confirm the own work He is doing in my life. The biggest lesson I am learing lately is what it means to die to myself. To give myself to others, expecting nothing in return. Its hard. Its painful and my ego always seems to get in the way. I am grateful for women like you have are honest with their own struggles and also the beautiful things the Lord is doing in their lives. It inspires me. It challenges me. And above all, it reminds me that Jesus is worth it all. Always.

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      We sure are in similar places. Every part of me fights what God wants for me daily. Praying for you in this journey sister!

  20. Emily on July 12, 2013 at 3:16 am

    Your passion for The Lord spills out Lara! I got goose bumps when you wrote about adoption. My parents did foster care for special needs kids and others when I was growing up. I have two adopted siblings because of their hearts to love on the least in the greatest way…by welcoming them into our home. Some of the hardest and best times in my life came through serving the foster children in our homes and I wouldnt trade it for a thing! I will be praying for you as God shapes your heart and desires into His.

    • Lara on July 12, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      Thank you so much. This is so encouraging. God bless your parents and family!

  21. Erika on July 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Oh, what sincerity this bleeds, friend. My favorite line: “I did not make this happen. He did.”

    I’m praying for YOU instead and that God will continue to put these words on your heart in preparation for your book and for encouraging yourself and others through writing it out, even when it’s scary.

    I love you and am thankful for your journey and your heart that God has used to show love and warmth to so many. HUGS, HUGS, HUGS!

  22. Brandi on July 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Amen girl! Thanks for this- I really needed to hear a lot of this- especially about the excess- and always scripture 🙂

  23. ann marie sanderlin on July 13, 2013 at 12:15 am

    shwewwie Sister, you sure can make me ugly cry. The Word of God – reading it here in your pretty font – well it felt like first aide cream was getting smoothed onto my scuffed up heart and frazzled nerves. I’m sending this on to my very best friend and she will cry too because it is encouraging and affirming. Shwewww – tears. Yes, I covet your prayers. And praying for you too. So thankful for you. xx MTH2013

  24. Brooke on July 13, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Lara, thank you for being who you are and sharing your stories with us. I came across your blog for the first time just a few weeks ago, and I know that God presented it to me at just the right time. I too have struggled quite a bit in my “adult” years. In high school I thought I had it all together, thought I was the “perfect” Christian that said all the right things and followed all the right rules. College shattered everything for me, and slowly I became painfully shy and self-conscious, with such low self-confidence that I sought affirmation in all the wrong places. I then dealt with depression, guilt, and shame, and for many years after college thought that if I continued to feel “guilty” for my actions, for my mistreatment of friends, that somehow that would fix the problem and I could move on. I have felt God making very small changes in me over the last 5 years. It has come very slowly, only because I was so stuck in feeling guilt and shame for who I was and I was unknowingly resisting God’s attempts to show Himself to me. Just in the last 6 months have I realized (or, accepted) that it’s not about me (!) and that guilt and shame are not of God, but of the devil, keeping me in a cycle of debilitating shame and isolation. I am now 29, and sometimes find myself regretting the years of my 20s that I spent going in circles, but then God reminds me, through his Word, friends, and blogs like yours, that He can work in me at any time, and that to look at the past with regret and guilt is pointless. There’s so many things I can do NOW! My life has been transformed, and I am so overwhelmed by His grace for me that I can’t even sit still. I am praying now for guidance in how I can serve Him better, make changes in my life to serve Him and others, and to love others in the fullest way possible.

    I apologize for the length of this comment, but I wanted you to know the impact that you have had. You are an inspiration, and God certainly has used you in my life, and in many others as I can see on this blog! Praying for your and your adorable family always. I live in the area, and hope that one day I might see you around town so I can say hi and thank you in person!

    • Lara on July 15, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Brooke! I feel like I could have written these words myself! I have shared so many of the same feelings and still do. I’m so grateful to know you and am praying for your journey to be filled with joy and the knowledge that it’s never too late for God to transform your heart over and over again. : )

  25. Sara on July 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I think this post is perfectly wrapped up! I love your heart!

  26. Megan Floyd on July 15, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Lara, sweet, sweet Lara! This is so beautiful to me. I’ve been thinking a LOT lately (okay, for years) about clearing clutter and simplifying and organizing… especially with young kids, it’s a continual process – there really is not an end. I was catching up on a friend’s blog posts and she mentioned that part of their attempt to be better stewards of their resources has been to basically look at EVERYTHING they have and use and gravitate toward to see if it’s about improving life or increasing convenience. Reading this post, that idea struck me again. There are SO MANY things we have that we’ve been taught make life better… but they don’t. They fill up the nooks and crannies and force us to stretch in a bad way. We can’t grow up; we can’t figure out how to really help and love others effectively (I can’t, anyway), because we’re growing out… Even in my 2013 process of simplifying what I expect of myself and what I allow on my proverbial plate, I’m more worried about figuring out how to add things (and not necessarily the best things) in later than I am about really growing along God’s path for me. I’m so very, very glad I took the time to stop by your blog today… this is such perfect timing, and encouraging even though it’s a little overwhelming to look ahead. haha Love you!!

  27. Carrie Joy on July 15, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Lara. Wow. What a post. First of all thank you for hitting publish on this post & challenging us all in a way that I know God wants us all to be challenged. And secondly, I want to ask for your prayers. I really hesitated on commenting but I feel the tug in my heart that it’s the right thing to do. Since getting married almost 3 years ago now I’ve been angry & running from God. Once married I discovered that I cannot physically be intimate with my husband without very intense pain. It has nothing to do with my past but everything to do with how my body was made. The first few months of my marriage I went thru a deep depression & had suicidal thoughts like I have never experienced in my life. I kept thinking my husband would leave me & that I wasn’t a good wife because of my condition. There is a lot of embarrassment & shame associated with everything that has happened, so I’ve had a hard time even telling my closest friends of my struggle. And because it’s an issue with how my body is made I have struggled with why God created me this way & why I have had to face such a hard thing. I look back on earlier times in my life when I shared such a sweet relationship with the Lord & how my faith & trust have changed. I don’t want to be angry with God but I keep running away hoping that if I ignore the situation it will go away but it doesn’t get any easier with time. I don’t know how to tell you to pray but I know that I was meant to share this with you today and reach out even as tears go running down my face . Thank you for asking for prayer requests.

  28. Emily on July 17, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Oh, Lara. I’ve got tears streaming down my cheeks and I know that He had me find the time to read this post just when he knew I would need it the most. I’ve needed motivation to keep living and serving and giving to and for others and this was just what I needed. This was just the push I needed to put on some worship music and spend some time in prayer.

    Thank you, sweet friend.

  29. danielle on July 21, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    so thankful for God placing you in my life!! being saved is one thing, living it is another. I am so excited to see all your post and updates-its like a virtual accountability partner 🙂 big hugs to you, keep pressing forward with God’s Word and His plan. Continue to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Love you!!

  30. Pam Parker on August 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Oh dear Lara! How blessed you are that you’ve arrived at this place now at your age, at this stage in your life. You’re opening yourself to God’s leadership and that has taken some of us much( much ) longer to do. I pray for you and your sweet little family often because I know He is using all of you for His good.

  31. Audrey @ In Shape Cupcake on August 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    This post…exactly what I needed this morning to start my day off. I want to go hug people and tell them how important they are to God. God has definitely blessed you, Lara! Your words are valuable! Now I’m reading Mark. And thanking the Lord for everything in my life right now. My heart feels like a balloon filled with love!

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