Do your clothes talk to you too?
Are they constantly telling you, you need something new?
Mine do.
They say I don’t have anything to wear;
Even though they know my closet is far from bare.
They tell me I just don’t look quite right.
Although, if I had something new, I might.
You need to go to the mall, they say.
You’ll find something there to brighten your day.

Do your clothes talk to you too?
Surely I’m not the only one who hears what my clothes are saying.
Really, I know it’s a dangerous game they’re playing.
And yet, when I hear them, I tend to believe
All the old tricks they have up their sleeve.
Why do I listen to all these lies? When will I decide to open up my eyes?

Do your clothes talk to you too?
They do?
Well, just listen. It’s time we made our way out of this prison.
There is a way. He has a plan;
New clothes for each and every man.
Garments of salvation are waiting just for us,
For He will clothe us in robes of righteousness.

So put on your garments of splendor and finally try something new.
Let’s not worry about our clothes; for what He says is true.
Let’s clothe ourselves with gentleness and patience, with strength and dignity,
Compassion and kindness and even humility.
In these clothes our souls are free to rejoice,
For we will have made an excellent choice.
Now, in our new clothes, we can laugh at all the days to come.
For we will be clothed with Christ, God’s one and only Son.

Learning to Live in the Garden of Grace


Going through Falling in Love Again with Your Lord, I was wracked by the idea that I am not in love with the Lord. I saw that I am in awe of Him and what He has done for us. But I can’t say I love Him with all my heart, mind, and strength. I was devastated over this. I started to FINALLY make a connection to an email we received some time ago from another woman in the ministry confessing that she has been crying over the fact that she has to live with this flesh on earth. I never understood this. I often thought of the email because I couldn’t comprehend the sadness about it.

I finally understood why she was so sad. During the lessons I began to cry out to the Lord and became so sad over the fact that I live in this sinful flesh. I felt this sadness because I knew I should absolutely want to love Him more than anything. I was brought to tears over a flesh that is self-serving, worldly, and consumed with this life.

I kept telling the Lord, “How do I know I really mean it when I say I want you to be my all in all? I don’t feel like I do; I don’t feel like I mean this.” I was so frustrated at this. Every time I would say out loud, “Let me love you above anything and everything,” I kept also saying, “Do you really mean this?” But I started to confess too, “Father, everything is pointing to me not meaning this, but give me the grace to feel your love. Abba Father, make your love more real, more tangible, more believable than anything my eyes have seen.”

I somehow kept missing the fact that I keep trying to do this all on my own. And I keep trying over and over. But then it hit me, if I could do this all on my own this would completely take away what Christ did for me. If I could do this all on my own it would take away the cross. If we were even a smidge capable of loving Him more than anything else, just in our strength then the Lord would not have sent His only Son. Jesus knew we weren’t able to do this. 

After feeling so discouraged, today I went into my alone time with Him and He showed me something so sweet. During Lesson Two, “Earnestly I Seek You,” we read: “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song of Sol. 2:16). Almost immediately I was reminded of the Scripture I placed on our wedding invites: “…I found him whom my soul loves” (Song of Sol. 3:4). I thought to myself about how many times I read this and thought of this Scripture about my relationship with my husband but never in the context of my relationship with my Lord. In that moment I felt my heart warm for the first time with a sense of excitement. It seemed very personal to me. I felt as though I was reading a special note He had left for me to see. It felt very real. Shortly after I went on to read in the study:

The more you draw near and get to know God the more He may surprise you. He is so much more loving than we expect. He has greater plans for you than you have for yourself, but His ways are not our ways…He is God. He is your God. He knows what is best for you. 

When reading the words above, I could feel such a sense of joy surfacing in me. I need to get out of the way, and trust Him with my heart. For me, I no longer want to just be in awe of what He has done for me, I want to be in love with who He is.

All for His Glory


Well, I read the first page of our new lesson this morning and had to stop because these thoughts came immediately to me. Don’t give up! Don’t give in! If we give up, Satan wins. Why are we depressed and despairing when we see our sin? Again I have to confess this must be my pride. My flesh is still deceiving me into thinking there is some good in me apart from Jesus. My flesh is trying to get me to believe Satan’s lies that I’m okay; I’m not as bad as another; I’m not a murderer or thief or a prostitute. Or am I? Or are we? God’s Word says the answer is yes. That is precisely who we are apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Jesus told me if I have hate in my heart that is the same as murder. In fact He says, “and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Mat. 5:22). The book of Hosea is intended to show us who we are, spiritual adulterers. And the Lord says He will not give His glory to another (Isa. 42:8), yet my flesh works like a thief to steal His glory for myself.

This is why the Son of God had to die. This is why royal blood had to be shed! Instead of living in shame, despair, hopelessness — we have to look up and out. “I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psa. 121:1-2). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).

The flesh is one of our mortal enemies. Let’s not grieve any longer that she exists. Instead, let’s celebrate the triumph of Christ on the cross. Our sin has been dealt a mortal blow! “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:26). “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph. 1:13). We have been adopted, chosen by God before the foundation of the world. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…” (John 15:16). I am exhorting my own soul and hopefully my sisters’ along with me to stop identifying with the flesh. Stop looking within for salvation, hope, goodness, and righteousness! Remember? Charles Spurgeon wrote that there is nothing more deadly than self-righteousness and nothing more hopeful than contrition.

Our God has made a way where there was no way. We were under wrath, justly condemned to death because we are guilty of high treason. But our Judge had mercy. “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (Psa. 103:10) because another stepped forward to take our place. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Jesus, out of His great love, willingly endured the wrath of God that we deserve so we could be set free. What will our response be? Continuing to live in the filth of the flesh? Continuing to yell at our children or giving the cold shoulder to our husbands? Continuing to believe the lies of the enemy? Or will we choose by faith to believe the truth of our Savior? It’s not about how we feel. Just because I don’t feel like the Holy Spirit lives in me doesn’t mean it’s not true! “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” God’s Word is true and we have to choose to believe it by grace through faith. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). The Lord has graciously granted us new life. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

Let’s see this gift anew today. May the love of Christ be our motive from here on out for everything we do and say. May His life, death, and resurrection compel us to turn from our sin and labor to put our flesh to death by the power of the Holy Spirit and no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died for us. “And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor. 5:15).

I love you all. And I know more than anybody that is the grace of God in the life of this introverted, judgmental, prideful, critical, angry, hopeless, and fearful woman (my old self that I must work to put to death). I thank the Lord for bringing us all together! I praise Him that I’m not in this battle alone. We are one body in Christ. “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, Barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:11). Praise be to God for His amazing grace. Life can be so terribly hard and heart breaking. But this world is not our home. Christ is now preparing a place for us and He is coming back for us. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). I’m so thankful His mercies are new every morning!

Learning to Live in the Garden of Grace