Wild About You

New Class Starting: Wild About You
Our community class is shifting and shaking.
It is open to any woman. Period. Churched, unchurched, curious, desperate, lonely, hungry, even skeptical.  You are welcome. Broken or overflowing, God is doing something unique and you have a place here.

New name just to pique your interest.  What does it mean to do life with this Good but Wild God? We are going after a life-giving Love and learning how to pour that out on others.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

New location: Fuse Church, 1501 Kirby Rd, Knoxville, TN 37909. It is right behind Red Roof Inn off Papermill Drive. (It used to be Baileys Fitness or 180 Fitness) Come around to back of the church for easy entrance.

New schedule: We will meet weekly on Tues until mid November and then break for the holidays.

New faces: This is a great time to join in since we will be adding a lot of new people. We will have worship, teaching and time to really connect on a heart level.


Continue reading

“Darling, if you want me to be closer to you…”

I never get tired of the hilarity and the absurd closeness of God. Try to picture this.  I have just come back from a mind-blowing week of listening to people who are movers and shakers in the Kingdom. (More on that later.)  My head and heart is like a whirring blender full of questions, resurrected dreams, and — numbness.


You heard me. Last week, I was so completely overwhelmed by the reality of God’s movement on the earth, so undone by the hugeness of God that my heart shifted into paralysis mode. I suddenly felt very, very small.  My efforts seemed so insignificant. My “risky” endeavors now seemed ridiculous and little.  Was I hearing from God at all? Did I have faith at all?

I told a friend at lunch yesterday, “One common theme from all the speakers was intimacy more than outcomes.”   Even my spoken revelation didn’t help me in this blurry moment. It did trigger a tough question in my spirit.

“Lord. Am I loving you well?”


The question surfaced in my spirit at the conference. Here in the quiet aftermath, it surfaced again.

“Lord. Am I loving you well?”

After my lunch, I asked the question out loud in private, as in, wanting Him to answer. I really wanted some grand ray of sunshine to pour down out of heaven, or an angelic chorus, or a neon sign. Anything. But nada. Nothing. Silence. And to be honest, His silence scared me.

All I could do was cry out to the Lord. So I spent the day praying, seeking Him.  As I was going throughout my chore list, I just kept saying the same thing:  “Touch me again. Tell me again you love me. I am listening. I will do whatever you want.”


So I reviewed my notes.  I tried to collect the stories I had heard at the conference. I worshiped and studied. Still, nothing. No response.

Finally, I threw up this simple prayer more out of frustration than faith:

“Jesus.  I believe everything you have ever promised me. I know you love me even if I don’t feel it. I am going to stand on the truths you have deposited. I am going to move forward in faith, with or without the warm fuzzies. I am not quitting. I stop comparing myself to others. I love you. No matter what.”

I buried my thoughts in my work for a little while. When it was time to pack up, I noticed this oddly familiar song over the intercom. I hadn’t heard that song since high school. Who is that? Seals and Croft? Wait, what are they saying?

Darling if you want me to be closer to you
Get closer to me
Darling if you want me to be closer to you
Get closer to me
Darling if you want me to love, love only you
Then love only me
Darling if you want me to see, see only you
Then see only me

The lady in the store looked at me funny when I busted out laughing. God knows that is one of the few albums I owned in high school. God knows I have hardly heard that song since high school. God knows how to capture my heart. Again.

 But trust me, I didn’t miss the instruction. Get closer to Me. Love only Me. See only Me.
That whole intimacy over outcomes revelation? That’ll preach. That’ll change your life.
I am still unpacking my heart and head. But this is a great guide. He is always, ever always, after my heart. And that is the model we are to follow. To be ever always after His heart.
It’s not the What that matters, it’s the Who. And when the Who is rightly placed, then the What falls into place. It’s not the great feats, signs and wonders, tremendous salvations, or heroic endeavors, that matter. It’s the Great God of Love being well loved by His people that matters. Those other things will follow.
Here is something the Lord told me on my last beach trip. “Jana, your obedience is precious to me. There are seeds I have planted in you that will only grow through your obedience.”  Sometimes “Yes, Lord” and “I love you” mean the same thing.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17



Rain, Weeds, and the Good Gardener

I’ve just come in from weeding in the rain. Me and Jesus had quite the conversation so I thought I’d share some of His perspectives. It seemed at every turn God whispered lessons and thoughts, parallels and analogies.  How good He is to take the most mundane task and turn it into a devotional time, which leads to His first whisper.

“I don’t want to do this. I’m tired,” I said.

“I know. C’mon, it’ll be fun. We’ll do it together, ” He said.

Together.  Ah  yes.  He reminded me He is here with me. And my weeds. God reminded me of this download about worship. In short, when we do everything with our whole heart, when we do it for Him, it’s worship.

1) Worship is doing everything with Him and for Him.
“Got it. I’m not weeding, I’m worshiping. Here I go into the downpour,” I said, trying to sound cheerful.

Let me just say, I love walking in the rain. However. I did not want to pull weeds in the rain. So I debated whether the cool weather and soft soil would be worth the wetness. It was.

2) Sometimes the hardest step into the uncomfortable is the first step.
Once I got out there, it was actually enjoyable and the raindrops on my skin proved to be a mosquito repellent. Who knew? (Well, besides Jesus.)

3) Keep your garden watered.
The rain-soaked ground was so easy to work with. As I pulled up weeds and dug around my plants, the soil was pliable in my hands.  The weeds literally pulled up out of the ground with minimal effort. I had gone out couple of weeks ago but the ground was so parched that the weeds only broke off in my hand.

The Lord continued.

“See Jana, you have good dirt. It just needed a little rain to soften it up. And now the weeds come up root and all,” He said.  I pulled in silence for several minutes, but I was more and more aware of the all the weeds that had overtaken my garden.  I kept thinking about His comment of pulling up the weeds up “root and all.” I kept noticing the how soft the soil was because of the soaking rain.

“Kind of like repentance,” He added.



Continue reading

Countdown to The Launching

I. Can. Hardly. Wait.  The Launching is only 8 days away.  God has been so powerful during our prayer times as we prepare for this weekend.  Please! Set aside your to-do lists for this window of time.  It is such a sweet opportunity to bring God’s women together for worship.

The team of speakers have been seeking God’s heart for what each woman needs to move forward, to rise up, to truly live in Him. Did you come last time?  This is fresh revelation, fresh manna. We aren’t going to serve old bread to you. So grab your sisters and come.  Did you miss last time? The only thing you need to know is God showed up and we know He will this time too. So grab your sisters and come. Smile.

It is July 10, Friday night from 7-9:30. Doors open at 6:15.
And July 11, Saturday morning from 9-12. Doors open at 8:30.
Location is Bridgewater Place. It is very near Walmart. In fact you pass the building as you get on I-40.

Cost is only $10 and there are no drinks or treats. So eat before you come, or bring your own beverage.

Pray for this time. God is on the move. We are believing for God to deeply impact the women who come to then in turn impact this city.


Dare to Hope

As I was rolling in my sleep the other night, I prayed over the issues of our day. So many needs, so much confusion, so much potential for Revival. Then I heard this phrase from a song over and over. “I still have hope. You are my hope.” I woke up strengthened that God is still God. And still good. The world is still His. As I mulled over this phrase in waking hours, He whispered it to me in a new way, with Him speaking. “I, God, still have hope. You, believers, are my hope.” Oh that we would carry the light of Christ. Oh that the world would know the love of God through us, regardless of the changing whims of our culture. Listen. Be strengthened. Dare to hope.

Which is More Real? God’s Presence or My Feelings

C. S. Lewis has disturbed me lately.  So much so, that I find it is changing my thinking.  In The Screwtape Letters, the demonic general celebrates how easy it is to “twist reality” for the humans.  This simple technique has a dual effect. First, the attack distorts our feelings so that fears, arrogances, offenses, and injustices become larger than life, larger than what is even true. If we feel it, it must be true.  Second, this same attack reduces any spiritual sensation, any appreciation of beauty, or glimpse of Heaven to “just a feeling” and thus should be dismissed and disqualified. Pretty brilliant, if I may say so. If it is worldly and full of fear, it must be true. If is spiritual and full of hope, it must be false.

I have mulled on this for a few days now. And watched it in others.  When some of my friends discuss their angst, dilemmas or obstacles, there exists this faith-based steadfastness. I would be crazy to question or doubt their issues.  They believe whole-heartedly in the toughness of the situation, the hopelessness of it, the impossibility of resolution. It is God-less. He has no power or bearing on the situation.

But when I question these same zealous pessimists about hearing God, or believing His goodness, then their steadfastness melts. Suddenly any godly thought, or verse, or feeling of the Spirit’s movement they may have experience is minimized, dismissed or overlooked.

Let me give you a real life example that God used to illustrate this demonic scheme.


Continue reading

Why Bruce and Caitlyn are Both Welcome at God’s Table

I want to begin with a couple of disclaimers. No Christians, I am not judging. Yes gays and lesbians, I have homosexual friends and love them just the same. More importantly God loves us  all the same. That’s why Bruce/Caitlyn is welcome at God’s table.


God gave us free will. Pastor Danny Silk wrote “freedom is the language of heaven.”  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Everything is permitted, but everything isn’t beneficial. Everything is permitted, but everything doesn’t build others up.” (1 Cor. 10:23) This is a scandalous statement. It gives us all the sobering responsibility of choosing our lives and living with our choices. Free to choose, and free to produce results that have implications, good or bad.

And.  If Bruce/Caitlyn calls on the name of the Lord, he/she will be saved. End of story. That is the beauty of grace. Was he/she a Christian already? Still saved and fully loved. That is the beauty of grace.

There is a charge to all of us.  Either the blood of Jesus frees us from all sin, or it doesn’t. God does not part and parcel forgiveness. There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain.



There is a confusion about the person and the action. Every person deserves dignity. Every action has a reaction. I can love the person and disagree with the choice or action.  In fact. I must be able to do both, or I have no freedom to love at all.

Let me bring this home.  One of the most damning lies that held me captive was the idea that because I had aborted my child I must agree, endorse, promote abortion. Yes I chose that. But my choice had very, very real consequences beyond what I could see in the moment.

After meeting Christ, I could not, would not, be an advocate of such a horrid thing. In every way possible, Jesus washed me clean. I am longer bound by that sin. And yet there are consequences. So grace for the person and consequences for the action. This is not judgement. This is reality. I may forgive you for shooting me in the foot, but my foot still has to heal and I may have a limp for the rest of my life. In His goodness, God will even grace me in my limp, but there are ongoing implications.

May I challenge us to separate the person from the movement?

Think of the woman who represented Roe vs Wade.  The powers behind that movement used her story, her wounding to advance an agenda. She is a person, who made a choice, who was used for cultural influence.

When people of that time protested, the argument centered around mean people judging a person. But that’s not true. There was an outcry of the social implications.

Think of Martin Luther King. Many denigrated his personal choices of infidelity. His choices had consequences. But as a movement, no one questions that he was after a collective social change.

All this to say, be wise in what you are standing for and arguing about. There is a social movement in progress.

Yes. Jesus saves. Jesus loves. Jesus forgives.

We are called to love as he loves. But while we are quoting verses about “not casting the first stone,” remember that Jesus told the adulterous woman to “go and sin no more.”

Just because Jesus paid for sin, doesn’t mean He endorses it. He calls us all to holiness, or,  “His way-ness.”

Sure many people do not believe in God or His standard. They think they get to decide what is male, female, marriage, God’s sovereignty. I get it. Everything permissible, but not beneficial. Remember?


Scripture speaks often about “doing what is right in our own eyes.” Every culture that has veered off to this path of Self reigning as final authority has not ended up so well. “There is way that seems right to  man and in the end it leads only to death.” I am not talking about wrath of God. I am talking about how we break our own souls by our self-centered choices.

Finally, I have been around long enough to learn a few things worth repeating.

1) Just because there is a “ism” or phobia or disorder slapped on it, it doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want. It doesn’t mean hands off. “Earth has no sorrow, that Heaven can’t heal.” Christians, are you praying? On earth, as it is in Heaven? Earth doesn’t tell the Maker how things roll. We hold the cure for every heartache.

2) Just because everyone else is jumping on the band wagon, doesn’t mean God is wrong, irrelevant, or mean.  A lot of harm is done by people who have more concern about fitting in than seeking Truth. Are you willing to stand alone if that means standing with God’s opinion? Are seeking His opinion more than Twitter or Facebook?

3) Just because you go public, doesn’t make it right. I have a lot of compassion for people who go into the public eye. Scrutiny is a maker or breaker of character. You and I both have seen people lose their way because of their fear of the public’s approval. Either gaining it, keeping it, or losing it.

I literally pray peace for Bruce/Caitlyn, now in the feeding frenzy, but also in the coming months and years from now when the implications become known.

I pray the peace of Christ on our culture that is so confused, self centered, and often deceived. We are making it harder than it has to be.

I pray for the endurance and stamina of the saints to stand firm so that their hearts will not grow cold. Now more than ever we must hold out the truth and hope of Christ. For everyone.

Come one, come all. Come to the table of the One who makes all things new. No plastic surgery required.


God’s Idea of Perfect…

I was typing an email yesterday and God just laid this in my lap.  We live in a culture of pseudo perfection. We attempt the perfect body, marriage, family, church, country. We  spend countless hours trying to achieve some shifting notion of “just right.” And, frankly, it’s killing us.

Yes, we are spiritually wired for perfection, but it is one of those “not yet” scenarios. When we are fully with the Perfect One, we will enjoy our perfect reality.

But in the meantime. What is God working on?


“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2

This jumped off the page for me! God has his own goals of perfection. He is not focused on six-pack abs, or 401K totals, or world issues, although He intimately knows and cares about those things. In fact, He graciously “gives us all things” and uses those things to shape us and reveal His love and nature.

But God is working daily to perfect our faith that we might believe in who He is.
All His love. All His power. All His availability. His Kingdom come, His will be done.

Is it possible that our greatest achievement in this life is how well we believed Him?

Perfect in Faith.

Is it possible that the goal is to become and accomplish all that He promised us only because we believed Him more and more with each passing year and circumstance?

Fixing our eyes. Focusing our attention, but also repairing our vision. We are learning to see with Heaven’s eyes, looking through His lens of truth and love.

On Jesus. The only One truly worthy of our trust and adoration. All other ground is sinking sand.

The author. He is in all and over all. “All the earth beneath you, all my life before you.”

And perfecter. His intention, goal and plan is that we would be made perfect in the knowledge of him. Who can thwart the plans of God? Job asked.

Of our faith. “Help my unbelief” the man cried to Jesus.  What a blessing. What a gift. What a relief to know He is actively working to perfect our faith to believe Him more.

I am so struck by this glimmer of God.  I want to respond to what He is actively working on. My faith. I want my heart to be so steadfast, so held by His perfect love, that when I see Him face to face, we won’t be talking about what I did for Him but what I believed about Him.

Pay attention to your life. All of it. And know that Jesus is actively, wonderfully perfecting your faith. Because when you believe Him well, everything else changes too.










Is God Working The “I Quit” Out Of You?

God always plants a seed bigger than you can handle at the time. The dream, the adventure He is inviting you on is way bigger than you would “think or imagine” and is way, way outside your comfort zone. That is why it takes God to pull off a God-sized dream, life, or impact. The good news is He moves in small deliberate steps to prepare the soil of your heart and spirit. Over time, you grow in capacity to handle the harvest of the seed He planted.

You already witness this in the physical world.

Think about pregnancy. The seed is far smaller in the beginning than can be seen. But as it enlarges, a woman’s body must grow, must change to accommodate the fullness of the seed-now-become-human.

Think about compound interest. It is a modest sum at first, but as it rolls over and over in multiplication, it becomes far bigger than the original investment.

Think about drops of water. These seemingly inconsequential, isolated beings of water congregate and become raging rivers and deafening waterfalls that literally move mountains.


Think about about your dreams and callings. They are smaller than can be seen in the beginning, nearly inconsequential and easily dismissed. But in the course of time, God is stretching you out of your comfort zones. He is changing your shape and capacity to be able to carry His calling. He is investing and adding penny after penny, drop of water to drop of water. In time, He will move the mountains in your own mind and soul to make room for His plans.

One of my biggest mountains was called, “I quit.”

Continue reading

Beautifully Hard Lessons of Motherhood — Part Three

I hear this a lot.  “I am just trying to be a good wife and mother.” My advice? Stop.  Whaaat?  Yes, please stop trying to “be” someone based on the role you fill. A wife and mother may be holy assignments and job descriptions. However, they are not who we are. (Are you single? Your work is not the end goal.)

So many women have their worth totally wrapped around their children’s success or husband’s satisfaction, or even how the house looks. But if all those things went away, we would still have a woman standing there. Who are you really?

Who you are “are,”  first and foremost, is a child of God, enjoyed in Heaven, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and loved by Jesus. This reality trumps every other role we might fill.

Perhaps a greater quest is to be a good “you.”

Who did God have in mind when He created you? What needs to be transformed, taken off, put on to restore that image? This is the goal. When we  walk in our true authentic self, then we learn how to carry out our responsibilities as a wife and mother from a completely different place. We give to others the freedom we ourselves have received.


Honestly, so many of our hang-ups come when we compare ourselves to others. We think we can’t measure up, or our unique flavor is not acceptable, so we desperately try to hide ourselves or conform to fit some social mold. This is true inside the church and out.

To be sure, there is a standard. But it does not come from you and I. It comes from God alone. God is the One who tells us what kind of woman He desires. He is the One who tells us what we are working on. This journey is happening as we parent, as we do married life. So He uses our husband and children to reveal and refine the woman-in-the-making.

Sometimes we make it really hard, but doing a check-in with the fruit of His Spirit is a great place to start. The result of Him being in us, or His fruit, changes us. He is making us loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful, full of self control. We are all uniquely different, but all looking more like Him.

How do we cooperate? Keep Him first.

Obvious right? Not so much.  If our kids, regardless of their age, get the best and most of our attention, we are out of whack. If our husband’s opinion, or friends’ or church’s opinion, means more than God’s opinion, we are out of whack.

We are talking Creator to created. Who knows you better than anyone? Who alone seeks your good without selfish gain or need? Who alone knows how to satisfy your deepest longing to be known and loved?

It’s a pretty short list. Jesus alone.

Want to be a better wife and mom? Be with Jesus. Don’t just read about Him. Be with Him.

Hear me when I say, the world needs the you that God created. Not the sin-broken, fear-driven,  comparison-trapped person on a gerbil wheel trying to perform.

We need the free, empowered and empowering others, honestly loving, warrior that God created. Don’t settle for anything less.

Trust me. Our kids and husband will benefit when we do.

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” Philippians 1:6