She Is Free

Calming The Storm Within

I was talking on the phone one evening a couple months ago to a mentor and mother in the faith who said these words to me,

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"The accuser is NOT the author of your life story and legacy!”

Boy, did I need to be reminded of this truth.

Once again, those words shook me awake to the reality of just how easy it is to entertain a negative, toxic thought for too long until it grows into a viable life option. It was only when I confessed out loud the sneaky whispers that the enemy had planted in my mind (that I'd willingly entertained and actually considered!) that the turnaround came.

This can happen to any one of us. These thoughts start like a small seed and, if left to germinate, grow into a plausible reality. The moment we bring them into the light, they're robbed of their power. I don’t know who needs to hear this today, but the accuser does not get to derail you, destroy you or take you out. Allow Jesus to be the author of your legacy as you continue to live a life enfolded in His arms. He will never leave you, forsake you, accuse you or lie to you. Trust Him. 

When we don't deal with the storm inside of us, It's virtually impossible to confront the storms churning outside of us. 

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In Mark 4:35-41, after a huge day of teaching, Jesus and His disciples pushed off into the darkness to go to the other side of the lake to an area where pig farmers lived, a place considered unclean according to Jewish custom. On the way there, they were confronted with a demonic storm, but all the while Jesus slept, completely peaceful within, aware of His authority and unafraid of what was churning all around Him. "38 But Jesus was calmly sleeping in the stern, resting on a cushion. 39 So they shook him awake, saying, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are all about to die!” (4:38-39) The disciples lost their minds, allowing fear to take over. How often are we just like them, running around the boat of our lives, mad at Jesus for sleeping, yelling extreme statements like, "We're all going to diiiiiieeeee!!!!! Don't you even care about me, Jesus?"  I've been there.

I was there 2 months ago. 

As my mentor reminded me that the accuser is not the author of my life story and legacy, I woke up to the demonic storm coming at me. The words straight out of Jesus' mouth to His disciples after he calmed the storm leapt off the page and dove straight into my heart, “Why are you so afraid? Haven’t you learned to trust yet?” (4:40b)

Haven't you learned to trust yet?

In that moment, Jesus and I went to a scary place together. A place I had been trying to avoid for years. A place where I hadn't yet learned to trust Him. It was only then that peace and healing could come as I recognized my lack of trust and my deep need to rest in the bow of the boat with Jesus. You see, there was no storm in Him, but there was in me. He knew how to calm the storm within me so that I could then confront the storms that churned outside of me. 

Partnership with the Prince of Peace, even in the midst of chaos, confusion, destruction, pain and trial, will cause us to walk in and live from a place of rest, authority and confidence even when it doesn't make sense. This is the peace that surpasses all understanding that the author of Philippians spoke of, and it is your portion.

So if you're ready, ask yourself, "Why am I so afraid? Have I learned to trust Jesus in this area of my life yet?"

Take some time to pray, journal, turn on some worship (try "Surrounded" by Michael W. Smith - for real, click the link...) and re-read Mark 4:35-41. Ask Jesus to reveal the truth to you, and why you can always trust Him fully with your life. 

Pain, Lies, Love, Truth & Freedom

If you haven't already heard, I released a brand new She Is Free Book Video Series last month to accompany you or a small group of women who you'd like to walk on a journey to freedom with. Maybe you haven't purchased the She Is Free book yet, so, in just a moment, I'll give you a taste of what it's all about. Maybe you'd like to buy a bundle of books and shoot this post to a group of friends, inviting them to gather together and start a book club! Whatever you do, my heart is to resource, equip and activate you to walk in the fullness of freedom Christ has for you.

Friend, here is what I've learned; pain has a way of either telling us something or destroying us depending on what we do with it. The moment we consciously surrendered to a loving God in the middle of our mess, trusting Him to hold just us as we are, even with baggage from years of compounded pain, our hearts begin to heal.

Here is an excerpt from the introduction of my book - She is Free:

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"I’ve heard it said, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you,” but what I didn’t know was destroying me. Ten years of serving Jesus on my resumé, knee-deep in three kids under the age of three, married for seven years, and yet I was completely unaware of how deeply loved I was by my Father in heaven. I didn’t know there was no need to perform, serve, and achieve for love and acceptance or that I could live from a place of deep love and acceptance. I was one of the greatest Christian performers around, yet I wasn’t getting paid for my efforts. I was desperate for the real thing, for someone to let me fall apart and see me in my mess and not walk away. What I didn’t know was that Jesus was right there all along waiting for my great unraveling. Not only that, He didn’t walk away; He gently and steadily led me into healing and wholeness.

How often have you heard this phrase, “The truth will set you free!”? Many times it is out of scriptural context. This line by itself is used in movies, churches, devotionals, and countless conversations around the world, but the truth alone can’t set you free because it depends on what truth you’re holding on to. Is it your own truth? The world’s truth? Your neighbor’s truth? Buddha’s truth? The government’s truth? Pop culture’s truth? What about the truth of your past and pain? Or the shocking truth of your present reality that hurts more than anything? All of these “truths” will fade away, yet there is One whose truth is eternally unshakeable because He is truth incarnate, the word made flesh. This is the truth that we can align our lives with to live in freedom.

So Jesus was saying to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciples. And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin].” (John 8:31–32 AMP)

Scripture tells us that if we hold to Jesus’s teaching—know it, walk in it, abide in it, and follow it—then we are truly His disciples or His students. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19; 8:28; 12:49) so holding to His teaching and following in His ways is also holding fast to the Father’s heart and ways. Once we meditate on and align ourselves with His truth, then we will know it and the truth of His goodness, love, and salvation that rescued us from the penalty of sin and death (John 3:16–17). This my friends is the truth that will set us free.

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One thing I’ve learned on the journey thus far is this: our spiritual freedom is found as we learn the truth about the lies that have held us captive. These are the moments in which love breaks through the darkness and the blinders begin to fall off of our eyes, revealing the sweet freedom that is ours to walk in. There are spiritual forces at work that try to lure us into their world of lies. The Bible is very clear on this. In Ephesians 6:12, we’re told, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Once we buy into those lies, they create an atmosphere or subculture around us from which we live, operate, and see our lives. Imagine the lies we partner with (whether knowingly or unknowingly) are like a dirty, scratched, and damaged pair of glasses. Glasses are supposed to help us see more clearly, but if the glasses are smudged, scratched, or dirty, our view is skewed. Lies do this; they cause us to see ourselves, others, and our lives without clarity.

Oftentimes, what’s going on outside of us reveals what’s going on deep within us. Whether it’s the news, social media, circumstances, our spouses, children, leaders, friends, the driver in the car in front of you, coworkers, or that person walking down the street, any of these can push our buttons and squeeze our lives like a toothpaste tube. It’s when we are under pressure that we see what is within us. Is it anger? Control? Fear? Unforgiveness? Or is it peace, love, joy, patience, and the like?

What if I told you there’s a way to break free from the lies you’ve found yourself living in, that there’s a way to step into the truth that is wrapped in love, enabling you to create the culture of the kingdom of heaven inside your heart and around your life?

In some seasons it feels like a fight to step into spiritual freedom, and in other seasons there’s a beautiful ease in aligning ourselves with what is already ours in Jesus. I want to share with you how I’ve done this in my own life. It’s an ongoing process for each and every one of us and, of course, a very personal one. It’s a journey I hope we can share together. I believe I can help as a fellow traveler on the path of freedom."

I'd love to share in the She is Free journey with you.

There is so much more we'll cover together in this book, from how I hated my mom, to forgiving and reconciling with her, to stepping out from under the heavy blanket of shame I lived with for years because I thought I deserved it. We'll talk about anger, fear and the insatiable need we have at times to control things, people or circumstances. It's raw, vulnerable and practical. My hope is to provide you with the right tools to dismantle the lies that have held you captive.

You can be free.

Keep Showing Up

There's no magic potion to walking in freedom. Most days it's just putting one foot in front of the other, as we discover more of our inheritance in Christ, being renewed by every revelation that we unearth in the richness of HIs great love.

"If you have really experienced the Anointed One, and heard his truth, it will be seen in your life; for we know that the ultimate reality is embodied in Jesus! And he has taught you to let go of the lifestyle of the ancient man, the old self-life, which was corrupted by sinful and deceitful desires that spring from delusions. Now it’s time to be made new by every revelation that’s been given to you. And to be transformed as you embrace the glorious Christ-within as your new life and live in union with him!” Ephesians 4:21-24 TPT

The truth is, we simply have to keep showing up to our own lives, taking responsibility for our heart, emotions, thoughts, and actions with Jesus and with one another. There's an old song by Sara Groves called, Just Showed Up For My Own Life, and it couldn't explain better what it takes to walk in the life that we already have in Jesus.

Spending my time sleep walkin'
Movin' my mouth but not saying a thing
Hopin' the changes would take
By workin' their way from the outside in

I was in love with an idea
Preoccupied with how a life should appear
Spending my time at the surface
Repairing the holes in a shiny veneer

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up
For my own life
And I'm standin' here takin' it in
And it sure looks bright

I remember first hearing that song years ago and feeling wide awake to the possibilities; that freedom was actually possible. I also began to understand that community was designed as a context for transformation. The authors of Gospel Centered Community say it like this, “The agent of sanctification is the Holy Spirit. The tool of sanctification is the truth of the Gospel. And the context of sanctification is community.”

I love family dinner. Something crazy and profound almost always takes place at the table. The table represents a place of conversation, connection, learning and communion. We change when we keep showing up to our own life and to the table with others.

We have a choice every single day. Here is an excerpt from my book, She Is Free.

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"Family dinner in our house can get pretty crazy. There’s laughter, stories, interruptions, prayer, life decisions, jokes, inappropriate behavior (the phrases “butt cheek” and “booty” come from our youngest more times than I’d like to admit), tears, discipline, encouragement, and, of course, food. The table is a place where we engage as a family. Our children get to tell stories and discuss what’s important to them, as do we. We talk about our highs and lows of the day and encourage each other as we go around the table. We teach our kids that interrupting doesn’t bring honor and that some behavior is not for the table. Sometimes, a poor attitude or poor behavior will keep one of our children from coming to the table until they are ready to engage. They know that there is always a place for them there; they are a part of the family.

In order to step into the fullness and freedom of what God has for every one of us, we need to cultivate a willingness to approach His table and engage with family. There will be laughter, tears, encouragement, confrontation, life decisions, and, most of all, a safe place for you to be yourself in the presence of God. At the table, you will learn your identity as a son or daughter of the Most High God. But you have to choose whether you’re willing to come to the table to engage in your personal transformation.

There will be days when you’ll feel like it and days when you won’t. Many times we disqualify ourselves from coming to the table because of pride, insecurity, weariness, lack, apathy, fear of failure, or a host of other hurdles. Before you go any further in this book, you have to decide that you’re worth the journey. Even if you don’t feel like it, you just need to keep showing up—keep coming to the table. Too often we dream about life in the palace but are unwilling to walk out of our prisons. We are deceived into thinking it will be embarrassing to admit our flaws. Pride will continue to torture us in captivity until we lay it down and humble ourselves before God, admitting that we need Him.

In light of this truth, ask yourself, “Do I really want to be free, or do I just like the idea of freedom? Am I willing to do what it takes to get free, or do I want someone else to do the work for me?”

We all desire freedom, but it’s often more complex than a simple yes or no answer. Freedom means something very different to each of us, depending on the landscape and shaping of our lives. How was your relationship with your mother and father? Were they both around? What about siblings? Did you experience abuse or trauma growing up? Shame? Fear? Anger? Discontentment? Anxiety? What about walking through dark seasons that have stuck to you like they still own you? Broken relationships? Loss? Pain? The sad reality is that everyone can identify with something on this list, however incomplete it may be. As we each look back on our lives, even if we had two loving parents, a white picket fence, and a healthy church environment, the enemy has still tried to weave a tangled web of lies to keep us in bondage and make us believe that we're cut off from our relationship with God. The good news is that our God has given each of us a way out of that bondage. The question is, do we actually want to partner with God to do what is necessary to live free? Or are we content with putting on a show for the rest of our lives? It’s up to us.

There is no question that God wants you to live a free life, but He respects your free will enough to allow you to choose. There is always more ground to take, and once the ground is taken, it’s time to pour it out and give it away to others so that they may attain the measure of freedom that God has stored up for them as well. As freedom germinates, grows, and blossoms in your life, by its very nature it must bear fruit and reproduce. You will begin to transform the culture around you."

Keep showing up friend. You've got this because He's holding you through it all. You're worth it - and there are lives on the other side of your freedom that need what you have to give. Don't give up!

xoxo Andi

For more my NEW book She Is Free, get your copy at www.sheisfreebook.com

From Faker to Freedom Fighter

I’ve heard it said, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you,” but for me, what I didn’t know was actually destroying me.

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Ten years of serving Jesus on my resumé, knee-deep in three kids under the age of three, married for seven years, and yet I was completely unaware of how deeply loved I was by my Father in heaven. I didn’t know that there was no need to perform, serve, or achieve to receive love and acceptance, or that I could actually live from a place of deep love and acceptance. I was one of the greatest Christian performers around, yet I wasn’t getting paid for my efforts. I was desperate for the real thing, for someone to let me fall apart, see me in my mess and still not walk away. What I didn’t know was that Jesus was right there all along waiting for my great unraveling. And when it finally happened, He didn’t walk away; He gently and steadily led me into healing and wholeness.

From the outside, I was doing all the "right things", according to western Christian culture - serving in church, going to weekly services, reading my Bible daily, praying when and where I could, "getting over it", whatever "it" was, and moving on quickly. I may have been the walking wounded on the inside, but on the outside, I always had my hair perfectly done, make up on, and kids on my hips with a big smile on my face while walking through those church doors. The arrows shot at me from childhood and on into adulthood had me running like a steam train without breaks, neglecting the time it took to rest and unravel in the arms of the Great Physician who had the ability to heal my heart, mind, and soul. Instead I looked to humanity to meet that need, and they were utterly failing.

This roadshow was beginning to take its toll.

Throw in a traumatic season right before the birth of my baby girl and life had me walking into the darkest night of my soul; like the walking dead, I stepped into its menacing prison. I didn't know where else to go or what to do, so isolation, rage, fear, unforgiveness, shame and control became my protectors, my weapons. The trouble was, I was destroying those closest to me, my husband and three small children, not to mention my own rapid self-destruction.

Where was this so-called freedom in Christ?

I felt trapped—trapped in my thoughts and emotional pain, trapped in a cycle of living that had me questioning my sanity. Too many times I had confessed out loud, “I feel like I’m going crazy!”, and I was starting to believe it was true. I’m not sure if it was the postpartum hormones for the third time around or all the neglected pain that had accumulated over the course of my lifetime up until that moment. Needless to say, I was in turmoil, and something had to give.

I felt like a donkey led by a carrot on a stick, chasing an ever-elusive freedom always dangling in front of me, just out of reach. I had read about this freedom in the Bible countless times and had heard many sermons about it, but it seemed as though I was the donkey destined never to actually reach it. Maybe it was for everyone else but me. Countless moments of failure woven into my days solidified a fear in me that I might just need to live out my Christian life faking it, always putting on a show for everyone around me. After all, I had become good at it. I could keep hiding behind my sense of humor, believing this was as good as the Christian life gets. But the trouble was, I knew that wasn’t true. If the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead was alive and at work in me (Rom. 8:11), then surely that power was enough to pull me out of this pit.

I grew angrier by the moment trapped in my pain, yet somehow, something innate in me still believed in the greatness and goodness of my God and His ability to set me free. I knew that two choices lay before me: to completely surrender my mind, will, heart and emotions to an unseen God, or to succumb to the darkness I felt creeping in all around me. 

This book is my journey out of hell and into the arms of healing love - from faker to freedom fighter. And I want to share it with you...

Truth be told, I wouldn't have spent a couple of years of my life writing this book if I didn't genuinely believe that it would help set you and those you love free. It's a tool for this journey we call life, one that I wish someone would have handed to me in the dark night of my soul. When we're free on the inside, we can then carry this freedom to the world. This book is me giving the life and freedom I've found in the Father's loving embrace, to a world who desperately needs His love and freedom. Would you join me on this journey?

Freedom is possible for all of us... 

My NEW book She Is Free is now available for pre-order. Plus you will receive amazing FREE bonuses if you pre-order by October 3!