Tag Archives: Lydia Thomas

I Struggle Promoting Myself

I struggle promoting myself.  A little over a month ago, I self-published my very first book: The Field.  Initially I talked about it quite a bit (for me, at least), but I’ve sort of stopped promoting it.  Like it’s not worth promoting or something.

Here’s the thing: we all know it’s not the best thing I’m ever going to write.  I have overstated that.

What I have not stated enough is that I believe in what I’ve written.  I believe in the themes of restoration, grace and spiritual warfare my book promotes.  I believe I have tackled these themes from a distinctly feminine point of view and have created strong female characters.  I believe that there is a need for this book that I have written, both for its themes and characters.  I believe that this book will speak to many people who read it.

Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a copy of The Field here through June 30th, 2014 or purchase your copy today.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Unlovable

I wrote a poem this afternoon, thinking about stuff.

Unlovable

our generational curse

bequeathed to us by matriarchs

who pushed the bounds

and found the limits

too far

and too late

Unlovable

our burden to know

and feel like frauds

if we don’t let others see

and experience our unlovable-ness

too big

for just ourselves

Unlovable

we become like them

like our foremothers

constantly pushing and proving

to ourselves

Unlovable

and yet we’re loved –

a complete mystery to us

it’s wrong

it’s all wrong

it’s so wrong

for we are

and always will be –

can never be anything but

Unlovable

they prove it, too

don’t they?

when they make mistakes

loving us

and we learn it again

as if we could ever forget it

we are

Unlovable

 

Tagged , , , ,

Reasons I Love Christians

It’s kind of popular for Christians to hate on other Christians.  It’s kind of popular for some Christians to be fed up with and disgusted by those other Christians, who are too stuffy, too judgmental, too hypocritical and aren’t loving enough, gracious enough, compassionate enough.  It’s popular to expect perfection from Christians, and we get angry at “those Christians” who are falling short and making “the rest of us” look bad.

Let me be honest and say, I am guilty of having been in both parties – hating on other Christians AND being one of “those Christians” everyone loves to hate.  It comes with the tension of having Christ living in me and still being human.  Sometimes I go to extremes, rather than walking in the balance God has called me to.

So today I wanted to give you SEVEN reasons why I love Christians:

  • Christians are not perfect.  Just like their human counterparts who do not identify with Christ, Christians mess up and make mistakes.  They sin.  It could be something the world views as normal, such as gossip, or something less-accepted, like adultery.  Sin gets in the way of our relationships with God and others.  The beauty of the gospel is that salvation is not based upon what we do or do not do: it is trusting that Jesus was God’s acceptable sacrifice for our sin.  We don’t have to be perfect, because He was.
  • Christians have a lock on accountability. Our society is plagued by the god of self; as in, we answer to no god but ourselves.  Christians understand we will be held accountable to God for our actions.  In the meantime, many of us seek the counsel and guidance of other Christians in the areas we’re struggling.  We answer to more than just ourselves. (I want to make a note on this: It is not my business or responsibility to hold other believers accountable unless they ask me to do so, it is my business and responsibility to make myself accountable to believers who are sharpening me in my walk with Christ).
  • Christians understand transparency and vulnerability. Our society doesn’t like the idea of vulnerability; after all, it literally means to leave yourself open … to whatever.  As people, we are expected to be impregnable.  And we certainly don’t hand anybody anything that could be used as ammunition against us.  And yet, Christians are bound by the fact that none of us has it all together, but because of Christ we can have restored relationships with God and each other.  That means we are free to love each other in spite of our faults, and be loved in spite of our faults. 
  • Christians are motivated by love.  Okay, so you don’t like the guy who shouts at you to repent every day on the street corner.  You don’t like the protesters outside of the abortion clinics.  You don’t like church discipline.  Here’s the bottom line: any Christian (by that I mean someone who trusts Jesus as Savior from sin and Lord of life) I know is motivated by love for the people they are trying to reach.  It may not seem like it (because why are they shouting?) but I promise you it’s true.  That guy downtown?  He wants to see you come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and be restored to a right relationship with God so you can enjoy Him forever.  Those protesters at the clinics?  They just don’t want to see you make a decision that will negatively impact you physically and emotionally.  Those elders who put you under discipline for moving in with your boyfriend/girlfriend? They want you to understand the implications of violating God’s design.  I get that it comes off as abrasive sometimes, but these people don’t hate you, they’re not angry at you, they’re trying to help you. Why? God loves you, and they do too.
  • Christians agree to disagree among themselves.  There are a lot of people who love Jesus and have accepted Him as Savior and Lord because of His death and resurrection who have VERY different opinions on what the Bible means.  There are some things that unite all believers in Christ, but there are some minor things that are not as important that distinguish denominations and local bodies.  It is EXTREMELY rare for a local body to not interact with other bodies in their areas.  I know First Baptist McKinney joins up with other churches/denominations to serve McKinney frequently, even churches that they don’t line up with 100% on doctrine.  Churches get along peacefully with each other for the most part. 
  • Christians are unique.  We all have different personalities, ideas, gifts, and talents, but what is so amazing is that we bring all of the different things we have to offer into our local bodies and our local bodies to our communities and our communities to the world … and together, we make up this universal organism called the Church.  Totally a God thing, by the way, but it’s awesome how He works it out!
  • Christians are movers and shakers. We are trying to reach the world with the good news about Jesus, and it’s common to see us volunteering to serve people, starting organizations to better serve people, being active in government and influential in policy formation and change, starting movements in the church and obeying God’s call to go to different parts of the world and minister there.  We’re not trying to brainwash or indoctrinate, we’ve got good news, and we want our lives, not just our mouths to tell you about it!

So yeah.  Christians can be human and sin, but we’re not just sinners.  We are this crazy awesome bunch of people from all kinds of backgrounds with all kinds of talents that God has ordained to walk counter to cultural and societal norms that fall outside of His will and impact our world by telling it about Jesus.

I love Christians!!!

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Day of Small Things

“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.  ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! … The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it…  For who has despised the day of small things?  For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel'” (Zechariah 4).

This is a plumb line:

plumb line

This is the temple:

Learning not to despise the day of small things.  Small things often mean big things are on the way.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Abandon

Leave it all at the door.

And focus.

And refocus.

And focus again.

Until it He becomes clear.

Until He fills all my vision.

Until only He satisfies.

Personally, I’m only just now inching towards this abandon.  Where I leave behind my worries, my problems, my dreams, my desires and to know and worship Him.

Here’s what I think today:

You are my All in all, my One and Only who fills every part of me in everyway.  You meet every need, satisfy every longing.  You are all I need, be to me all I want.

You are all-sufficient, and everywhere sufficient.

You are here, inhabiting this space with me, Sovereign of the Universe.

Abandon.

Tagged , ,

Serving the Lord

“Serve the Lord with all your heart.  And do not turn aside: for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing” (1 Samuel 12:20b-21 NKJV).

This verse convicted me yesterday morning, because of how many times I am distracted by and pour my life into things that are worthless and unable to do anything for me or the situations I find myself in.

All because I’m not serving God with all of my heart.  I’m not giving Him all of me, all of my focus, all of my passion.  A lot of times I give Him a slice and call it good.

There have been times when doing what God was asking me to do did not seem beneficial.  There are things I’m doing now that don’t seem beneficial.  I have to do them, because God is asking me to do them.  It’s not really wholehearted, because there are many moments when I don’t believe it’s better.

Truth to be told, it scares me to give any one being my whole self, even God.  It scares me to believe Him for (humanly-speaking) impossible things this year.

And yet He whispers to me, “All of it, Lydia.  All of it.”

And so I will give it: I will give my worship with abandon,  I will give my trust for Him to provide things I cannot see or imagine, I will obey no matter what that obedience looks like.

And I will take it a step further:  I will believe that His way is the very best way.  I will turn my eyes on Him and let everything else fade into my peripheral.  And because I look to Him wholeheartedly, I will live a full, meaningful, beneficial life.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jesus Is God!

“I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ” (Mahatma Gandhi).

Gandhi started a thing.  (Actually, he started many things).  He started a very popular trend among non-Christians of pointing out how un-Christ-like professing Christians can be.  I’m not actually going to disagree with that point, because I think there is validity to it.  I disagree with the sentiment fueling this trend:  that in his humanity, Jesus was this chill, hippie-like figure who was all compassion and basically a judgment-free zone.  I also strongly dislike the fact that Christians have begun to allow the world’s view of Jesus to dictate Christ-likeness.  Since Jesus was compassionate and non-judgmental, we must also be as well.

Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here:  Jesus was compassionate.  Throughout his earthly life and ministry,  Jesus spent his time among the lowest of the low in His society, looking after them.  It seems he protected them from the religious leaders of His day who were all judgment and basically a compassion-free zone.  He gave up His rights as the Son of God in order to die an excruciatingly humiliating death for all sin, to make a way for people to know Him and His Father.  BUT I don’t want you to think His compassion and sacrifice were a matter of weakness or softness; on the contrary, He was the Only One strong enough to live life and die the way He did.

Because Jesus is God.  He possesses ALL of God’s authority and power and He always has.  Whether you identify with Christ or not, you cannot tell me that I must live a life filled with compassion and void of absolutes because that’s what your version of Jesus did.  Your version of Jesus might have lived that way; the Jesus of the Bible did not.

Consider Jesus’ authority and power during His earthly ministry with me:

  • “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and money changers doing business.  When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned their tables.  And He said to those who sold doves, ‘Take those things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!'” (John 2:13-16 NKJV).
  • “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said … ‘Whoever receives one little child like this in my name receives Me.  But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea'” (Matthew 18:2,5-6 NKJV).
  • “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:17-18 NKJV).
  • “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth'” (Matthew 27:18 NKJV).

Dear people,  He is coming back again to earth, and if your version of Jesus is soft, I am afraid you will be caught off-balance by this: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.  And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns.  He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies in heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.  And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.  He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16 NKJV).

I am not here to give you a watered-down version of Jesus, a Jesus who makes you comfortable and complacent.  I am here to show you the Jesus of the Bible, and to represent HIM, not your version of Him.  I will point you to His compassion and love and grace, but I will also point you to His truth and authority.  You cannot have the Jesus of the Bible and only take one or the other.  Take all of Him, and endeavor to be like all of Him!!!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

In order to make much of Jesus in 2014, Jesus has to be who I’m focused on.

My path has been crazy the past several years, and I’m not yet where I tend to think I should be at this point in my life.

But when I fix my eyes on Jesus, when HE is who I pursue, everything else will fall into place.  I don’t need to worry about being in the right place at the right time, because if I’m following Him, I WILL be exactly where I need to be, when I need to be there.

As I began to focus on Him yesterday, God revealed that He has given me one final place of respite and growth before planting me in ministry.  I don’t know how long I’ll be here, but I do know what I need to do in this season.

Please pray with me that my eyes will remain on Him over the next several months, not where I am physically.

“We fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus/Look full in His wonderful face/And the things of earth will grow strangely dim/In the light of His glory and grace” (Helen Lemmel).

“But when I fix my eyes/On all that you are/Then every doubt I feel/Deep in my heart/Grows strangely dim/All my worries fade/And fall to the ground/Cause when I seek your face/And don’t look around/Any place I’m in/Grows strangely dim” (Francesca Battistelli).

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sometimes I Just Have To Laugh

Seriously, though.

Ever have one of those days that would have knocked you down a few years ago, but today it just makes you laugh?

That was my day today.

Today, someone told me I was “boring and plain” then asked me why I never wear any makeup.  (I was wearing makeup, and have worn it every time this person has seen me, but that’s not really the point).  I kind of laughed it off with this girl, because if you think what she said to me was unkind, you should hear the things she says about herself.

Thing is, I know what she said isn’t true. (The stuff she says about herself isn’t true either, but there’s not really anything I can do about that).  I know I am a beautiful woman.  And it’s not that I know have inner beauty that comes out when you get to know me (although, yes, I have that too),  I know because I’ve been told by people (other than my parents), and I know it when I look in the mirror most days.

I think people kind of assume that when women speak badly about themselves they are fishing for compliments.  I disagree.  I think most women really believe what they’re saying about themselves.

Why is it that girls are so conditioned to think so negatively of themselves?  Do we really not know how beautiful the female form is, in and of itself?  Who are we really to belittle anything God created, even ourselves?

I don’t need someone to tell me I’m beautiful.  I know it.  I’m confident about it.  I see it in myself.  More than that, I know that my Creator made me this way.  On my worst days, I might think I’m frumpy, but I never call myself ugly.  Because I’m not.

That’s why I had to laugh today.  There might have been a time in my life where someone saying that to me would have knocked me completely over, because I didn’t know, I wasn’t confident, and I certainly didn’t see it.

I don’t know what to do about these girls and women who are so deeply dissatisfied with themselves, they want to spread their dissatisfaction to others.  I guess just be kinder to them than they are to themselves, and hope they can someday accept themselves.

Oh, well.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Writing Is My Path, Redux

I’ve been told so many times in the past several months, believe it or not.  The good thing (for me) is that I don’t need you to believe that’s what I’m being told so much as I need to believe it.

Honestly, some days I do, and some days I don’t.

As I sit revising my first full-length book, I realize there are no shortcuts on this path.  It would be easy for the lazy person inside of me to go through, and having made sure everything is grammatically correct, send it out into the world.  The writer, the storyteller inside of me wants to completely restructure things to make them flow better.  Giving in to the latter takes more time, but it will make my work better.  And I realize this too is my path.

I think about how I used to be a voracious reader, how I challenged myself to read the greats.  About how during my college years, I developed a terrible habit of reading light, and how that turned into light writing because the writer I aspired to be changed.

I know this is not the path of ease, or success, or renown, but it is my path.  On one hand, I didn’t choose this path, on the other, I must choose it every day, because if I’m on any other path, something is always not quite right.

This is my first New Year’s Resolution for 2014.  I’m going to devote my year to writing.  It’s going to be my personal focus and ministry focus. In fact, I’m not taking on any personal or ministry (outside of person-to person ministry, that is) endeavors that don’t involve writing.

Writing is my path.

For the first time, I’m going to live like I believe that.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,