These writings are for the imperfect person searching for more of the Perfect God.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

An unlikely friendship

It was me and her.

Both bound to our hospital beds.  
Both bound to our suffering.
Both bound to each others words of encouragement.

And yet smack dab in our boundedness, we never did see each other's face.  

She was an elderly woman; a woman possibly in her 80's.  Yet a constant companion in this cold, sterilized, hospital room we both found ourselves restricted to.

Her calming voice, her unwavering hope, her gentle kindness, her quiet presence; they each consistently pierced through my aching body and divinely flowed Gods healing ointment into each hurting reservoir of both my trembling heart and my severely fragile spine.

Because friendship doesn't discriminate.

Genuine, undiluted, pure, joy-saturated friendship is the kind that's formed in spite of age.  Developed in spite of bank accounts. Originated in spite of social class.  Birthed in spite of political taste.  Conceived in spite of social status.   Produced in spite of personal preferences.

In spite of.

It was on this day, day four of unspeakable pain, day four of night and days seemingly to be endless, day four of staring at pain pumps, hospital equipment and numerous blinking gadgets, that I had learned to re-walk in this new body, this new frame, this new inner backbone now surrounded by two 15 inch rods and 24 screws in 12 vertebrae's.

Gripping onto my own personal flotation device of this silver warn down walker, I took one foreign step at a time.  Every muscle, every tendon, every vertebrae, every bone in my back moved differently.  Felt differently.  Functioned differently.  Operated differently.  

Differently was now a piece of me.  It was now a description of me.  It was now me, I quickly understood at a core level in this hospital stay.

And after about ten mentally and physically exhausting steps, I collapsed back into the blue stiff sheeted hospital bed only to be warmly embraced by the nurturing and healing voice of my bound-together roommate.  

Always eager to share a word of hope, a whisper of love, a cheer of you-got-this; all while suffering quietly in her own pain.  In her own suffering.  In her own affliction.  

She made it her passion, her desire, her joy to become my biggest cheerleader during those dark nights and torturous days.

She'd listen attentively to hear even the slightest of a faint groan slip from my tired lips and without hesitation, share a bible verse. Hum an old church hymn.  Ask if I knew how deep Gods love was for me.  

As tears would slip down my cheeks with the overwhelming gratitude of this angel at my bedside, I didn't have the strength or the mental capability to say "yes, dear one. I know.  But, please keep telling me.  Keep telling me.  Keep telling me..." I'd whisper in the confinement of my immeasurable grateful heart for this precious woman.  

A woman, who's face I never knew, soon taught me the meaning, shared the definition, expressed the purpose of this beautiful God-designed gift called friendship.

There was a new night staff on day-four of my hospital stay.  A night staff unaware of both my current limitations and my general situation.  And, as it was, a few hours prior to the switch of staff, the catheter was removed so that I could begin making progressive steps towards going home. 

Just around midnight, on this particular night, I first had an opportunity to test out my new catheter freedom.  Yet, almost immediately, I recognized the night-time staff was uninformed to my inability to not only walk, but to get myself out of this rigid hospital bed without assistance towards the bathroom.  

I distinctly remember having to share, in descriptive detail, what it was I needed help with-- which was basically the raw essentials of everything.

It was my first visit to this restroom and unbeknownst to me, it would be my last. 

As the nurse gently positioned me in the restroom, she shared she'd be directly outside the door and to simply call and she'd promptly assist me back into the bed.  

Almost instantaneously, I recognized I needed to leave.  The pain of being out from a laying position was just about unbearable.  

And so I called for her.

Nothing.

And so I called again.

Nothing.

I called one more time.

Still, nothing.

At this point, panic began to set in and the sweat began to pour down profusely.  Not only was I overcome with paralyzingly anxiety, the pain was on the tipping edge of being unendurable.

So, I tried one last plea of yelling out her name with every remaining bit of untapped strength within me.

And yet again... nothing.  

My eyes bounced fearfully to and fro, back and forth, from the walker to the five feet journey towards the medal handle on the closed restroom door.  After closely examining the impossible conquest, I distinctly remember hearing God directly whisper into the trembling heart, "I do the impossible, Joy."

So, I took a deep internal breath, wiped away a few crocodile sized tears and begged God to hold me up and supply my frailty with a considerable dose of both His supernatural courage and His extensive power.

With everything in me, I slowly pulled up onto the walker and took one gradual and steady step at a time, keeping a secured, fixed and locked gaze on one thing and one thing only -- that silver medal bathroom door handle.  A handle, today, now permanently stitched far into my memory.

While keeping a white-knuckled grip on the steady walker with my left hand, I reached far for the silver plated handle with my right hand and firmly pressed down until the door snapped open just enough for me to use the walker as a moveable force to drive open it completely.

As the door creeped opened,  I unhesitatingly yelled from a depth of great and deep seeded fear -"Help!" 

My new friend, my sweet companion, my faithful encourager-- the very voice that had sustained me these last horrific four days, said piercingly into my heart,

 "Joy, if I could, I would help you.  But I, too, can't walk.  I can't get out of my bed."

Taking approximately four more numb steps towards the empty and well lit hospital hallway, I knew I had reached the end of the untapped strength and simply had to let go.  Had to release the fading grip.  Had to stop the search.  

Without the slightest of exaggeration, the millisecond I released my ten fingers from around the walkers worn-out cushioned rubbery grip, two nurse staff ran directly to my side as I collapsed onto their secured arms, instead of onto the cold hospital tile.

Rescued.

Although It's now been close to three years since that March 7th evening, God continues to reveal deep truths and life-altering revelations from this single night.  This single event.  This single moment.

You see, this gentle friend; she was a gift straight from Jesus. She was a source of constant encouragement, of anchored hope, of boundless grace, of you-got-this moments which sustained me during the darkest, grimmest period of my life.

This sweet new friendship taught me, on that late March evening, that friends encourage.  Friends motivate.  Friends give.  Friends advise.  Friends cheer.  Friends assure.  Friends applaud.  Friends comfort.  Friends surround.  Friends love.

Yet, as beautiful, as treasurable, as priceless, as valuable, as God-designed as friendship is; at the end of the day, however, when we're going down, it's a Savior we need.  It's a Deliverer we require.  It's a Rescuer we expect.

Because friends, as God-designed as they may be, they too can't walk.  They, too, can't get out of bed. 

But, what I didn't share, is that it was this new friend, this faithful companion, this kind heart who called the nurse to my aid from her hospital bed side, that late March evening.

Yes, she knew she wasn't my Rescuer.  She knew she wasn't my Deliverer.  She knew she wasn't my Savior.  But she knew she had access to the One who was.

And here lies the simplicity and description to authentic friendship. Knowing they, us, we are not the Savior to our spouse, to our children, to our family, to our best friend, to our hospital-bound companion.  None can take this role that belongs to only One.  

Yet, we have a responsibility to step in the gap, as a powerful, committed, devoted intercessor to one another; and from our own hospital beds of life, call on the One who Was, who Is, who Always will be our Savior, our Deliverer, and our Rescuer.

Because it's only here, in the gap of our limitations, where we'll experience the beauty, the purpose and the treasure of this precious gift called friendship. 
"Then I will rejoice in the Lord.  
I will be glad because He rescues me.
With every bone in my body I will praise Him.
Who else rescues the helpless from the strong...?" 
Psalm 35:9-10


"He will rescue the poor when they cry to Him; 
He will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.
He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and He will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to Him." 
Psalm 72:12-14

Saturday, October 14, 2017

God of This City

2008ish was a difficult, trying year.  My marriage was on verge of dissipation, my faith was near shipwreck and my unpredictable emotions often left me thoroughly exhausted. What was up was down- and what was down was up.

I was secretly lost, painfully tired and shamefully broken; and not a clue on how to obtain rest.

Yet, through my prone to wander heart, God gently reached directly and fearlessly into the mess, impressing on my heart to allow His Word to read my soul. To sit under His life-giving teachings. To glean from His matchless insight.  To draw from His unfailing love.  To gather His boundless hope.  To obtain His immeasurable wisdom.  

And, as much as I'd normally advise against this, I sat with the Bible on my lap; cleansing tears dropping from the overflow of my numerous imperfections onto His matchless perfections, all while whispering back to Him that wherever He opens His word, wherever He lands my eyes, this is where I'll camp out and study.  Read and Digest.  Consume and absorb.  Cling and surrender.  Obey and trust.

So, I blindly opened it.  Having no rhyme or reason to where it opened, I settled in and snuggled up for the long haul.  Smack dab in the middle of the Old Testament. 

I was fascinated by the stories which often involved conquering, defeating and obtaining cities.  "Cities" began to be a running theme, a continuing thread, a repetitive word God hand-stitched as He breathed life into His healing Word and into my parched heart.

Repeatedly and undeniably, I'd hear Him whisper, "You, Joy, are a city. Each time you read about a city I cared for, I rescued, I found, I restored, I redeemed, I rebuilt, I provided for, I protected, I looked after-- I'm referring to the city of your heart."

And although the heart within was unsettled, wounded, fractured and divided, this I knew with every fiber of my being- He was sharing I was His city, and He was rebuilding the ruins.

The word city soon took on an entirely new influential meaning in those early days of healing, and I began to find myself waking up before the 5:am alarm to receive His instruction hand chiseled deep within the city walls of the heart.

But it wasn't until a February afternoon while pulling into a California parking lot, I fully understood the impactful meaning and the life-altering definition of the word, city.

It was on this particular car ride where satan sat shot gun and aggressively exposed all my fears.  Disclosed all my failures.  Unconcealed all my deficiencies.  Bared all my shame.  Displayed all my regret.  All.

The hope I had been receiving through Gods word of being His city, a city for which He cared, loved and promised to restore; was now strategically replaced with the enemy's convincing lie that I had done too much.  Wandered too far.  Sinned too often.  Yep, it was simply too late for me, I heard loudly and crystal clear that February afternoon.

No longer being able to drive, I pulled into the nearest driveway of a store parking lot.  Struggling to put the car in park, I placed my head back on the head rest and experienced a washing-over of intense hopelessness.  "Maybe it is too late for me.  Maybe God doesn't give second, third, fourth and beyond chances.  Maybe this time, He's done rescuing me.  Maybe this time, I've worn Him out.  Maybe this time, I've exhausted His grace.  Maybe this time..." I began to repeat and believe.

And without the slightest hint of hesitation, as if this were out of a meticulous movie scene, the song "God of This City" rung loudly through the car speakers, piercing straight into the ears of my heavy heart.  

I had never heard this song prior to, yet immediately heard the word "city" sung like an angel hand delivering me a divine gift of perfectly timed hope.

My thoughts unhesitatingly drifted from satan's deceitful words and were now fastened on God's truth through the gift of this new song.

🎵"For greater things have yet to come, 
And greater things are still to be done in this city.
Greater things have yet to come, 
And greater things are still to be done in this city.

There in no one like our God.
There is no one like our God.🎶

For greater things are yet to come,
And greater things are still to be done in this city."🎵

The chorus repeated and repeated and repeated ... 
until God received my full attention and positioned my heart to look up and secure His make-no-sense grace while effortlessly responding in return, "I hear you, Father.  It's not over for me.  It's not too late.  In fact, it's just begun.  Nothing is wasted.  Nothing.  Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done, in this city."
Grace.  It's a beautiful gift, isn't it?  An inexhaustible gift.  In the muck of exhaustion, in the quicksand of brokenness, in the flooding waters of relational chaos, in the web of negative thinking, in the fog of doubt, in the pit of despair-  grace shines its radiating light onto tomorrow's resurrection.⚓ 

You can be assured of this precious sister, God speaks this truth directly into your loved heart, while in the presence of the enemy of your soul, moment by moment:

"I  turn your deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water.  
I bring the hungry to settle there and build their city.
They sow their fields, plant their vineyards, and harvest their bumper crops.
How I bless them!"
-Psalm 107 35-38

"I, The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. 
You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes."
-Isaiah 58 11-12

My eyes may have never locked with yours.  My path may have never crossed yours.  But I know something about you.  You haven't done too much.  You haven't wandered too far. You haven't strayed too many times.  You haven't fallen too hard.  You haven't messed up too deep-  for Your Maker, Your Creator, Your Father to not relentlessly, intently, joyfully, passionately and limitlessly rush to your aid and administer forgiveness, and healing, and grace, and love, and kindness, and rest into the former dry land of your beautiful city.  

You are a city on a hill that cannot be hidden, denied, unloved, forgotten, rejected, left and/or lost; You, are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)  Greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done, in your city.




Monday, September 25, 2017

Confessions of a recovering helicopter mom



Dear children of mine,

I have an innate desire to protect you from any and all opposing forces that may come your way in this messy life you are venturing into.  And, let me just put this out there;  whoever shared the parenting advise, while two of you were knee deep in diapers & one fresh into kindergarten, that it gets easier-- they were wrong. Dead wrong. 

Every moment, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade- botanical growth is being developed, and not just in your precious lil bones, but in the spiritual, mental and emotional places of the heart.

"Growing pains hurt," I remember repetitively whispering in your impressionable ears as I rubbed those aching legs and wiped those crocodile tears, night after night. 

But what I didn't know, was that I, too, was experiencing growing pains along side you. Pains which God was rubbing out within my own heart, night after night, all while whispering far into the roots of my mama soul-"growing pains hurt" as He gently wiped away every. single. tear.

You see, the growing pains I was experiencing, as your mom, was stemmed from deeply rooted fear.  Fear which fed the inclination to manipulate the system.  To get you in the right classroom with the best teacher.  On the winning team with the brightest future.  In the right peer group with the stand-up reputation.

But I'd forgotten. 

I'd forgotten it's not when you're on the mountain top of academic success, or the peek of popularity, or the summit of athletic victory where you'll find triumph. Where you'll obtain purpose.  Where you'll receive character.  Where you'll adopt compassion. Where you'll experience gratitude. 

No, in fact, it's when you're on the losing team.  When you're sitting in the difficult classroom.  When you're rejected by your peers-- this is where you'll find endurance.  Wholeness.  Empathy.  Love.  You will experience, first hand, an inner God-woven muscle deep within the heart, which can only be developed, only be matured, only be grown, only be fostered in such an environment, in such an atmosphere, in such a place as heartache, loss, disappointment, rejection, humiliation, defeat.

And this, my sweet child, this particular muscle developed in the hard-times, is the very muscle that will eventually place your soon-to-be strong, steady, equipped, empathic, kind, loyal and loving heart on the path towards life. The intricately, purposefully and personably designed path; freshly tilted, perfectly paved and hand designed specifically for you to walk in and serve your purpose in this generation (Acts 13:36.)

"When we run into problems and trials, we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope." (Romans 5:3-4.)

It's in the fire where gold is purified.  Where impurities are stirred, skimmed and stripped.  Where pure gold is set-apart from other medals and imperfections- resulting in you, precious one, being clothed and saturated in His wisdom, His strength, His beauty and His love.  (Proverbs 3:15.)

The fire, whether it arrives in the form of being on a repetitively losing team or a season of deep rejection from those who don't see and understand your heart, is a gift from Your Perfect Father.  Setting you apart, He purifies the heart within and gently leads you into your unfathomable, incomprehensible, unimaginable, inconceivable future.  God has called you for a specific calling, for a specific destination, for a specific purpose.  And let me just say, it is good.

Oh, but the pain of witnessing you fall. fail. Rejected. Disrespected. Ignored. It's seems too difficult for this heart to endure.

But, again, I've forgotten.

I'm not your ultimate parent.  He is.  He's simply chosen me to care and shepherd and teach and instruct and love and provide for his precious one's.  It's a lack of trust in my Perfect, Holy, Good and kind Father when I forget to Whom you really belong.  A Father who will never forsake you.  Never reject you.  Never leave you.  Never betray you.  Never hurt you. Never injure you.  Never forget you.  Never deny you. Never deceive you.  

Never.

He leaves the ninety-nine to find you. (Matt 18:12) You, sweet one.  Yes, you who's experiencing disappointment, feeling rejection, tasting defeat.  You.  And it's only here; in the fire, in the battle, in the loss, in the difficulties where endurance, strength, character and hope for the very purpose of your life, in this generation, will be found.

I love you,  Mom.



Saturday, September 2, 2017

If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

*Written by my beautiful daughter, Faith.  In this, she shares her genuine, transparent and wise heart to inspire and encourage other teenage girls preparing for the new school year.  (She also hand drew each image shown below- yep, she's pretty amazing.) Enjoy His love flowing through her pen.  You'll be blessed.
High school is where your life begins to go full-force.

It’s the starting line to figuring out who you are, your future, and the type of crowd you “flow” with. 

High school also comes with many feelings and emotions. Excitement, anxiety, stress, all-time highs, rock bottoms, happiness, feeling loved, feeling rejected, loneliness… the list goes on and on. And no matter who you are or what grade you’re in, we’ve all experienced at least one of these emotions in our own ways, with our own stories, and through our own storms. 

As daughters of God, possibly one of the most common emotions is rejection. We enter high school at the start of the year after a rejuvenating and refreshing summer, feeling ready and confident in our faith to spread the gospel to our peers.  Suddenly, our eyes are open widely to the realization that realty did not read the script to the scenario we have placed in our heads. 


Being bold can be very frightening, for many reasons, but the biggest reason is because we know that, more than likely, people will have an attitude of rejection towards any subject that involves faith. 

Another fear could be persecution. The start of my freshman year, I wasn’t afraid to spread the love of Christ, also never knowing what it’s like to be persecuted. That quickly changed. Not only was I hurt, but I was confused. If God called me to be bold, then why would he be allowing this to happen? Why would he allow me to feel like I was entering a battlefield every day as I walked through those front doors? Why would he allow me to feel this rejected and lonely? 


It is hard to keep looking up at Him when the world is forcing you to look down with them.  But these verses I hold tight to:

-“Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Mark 13:13

-“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

-“If anyone would come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34

-“Whoever loves his life will lose it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:25


God clearly showed me with these verses that being a Christian isn’t easy. Every single day, we will have to carry our cross, we will be talked about, and life will be hard. Yet, our reward is far greater than our sacrifices, and sometimes our greatest victories come from our greatest hurts. 

We can be joyous through the persecution, holding that smile on our face, showing our persecutors love, because we know we’re doing exactly what God has called us to do. 

I can’t tell you that being bold gets easier, or that it gets more comfortable, or even that it doesn’t still hurt; because I’d be lying. Talking to people about my faith still makes me very uncomfortable, but accepting Jesus into your heart doesn’t mean you are automatically in a comfortable position all the time. 

Realize these hardships and don’t fade from God. 

Instead, cling tighter to Him, and ask what He wants you to do or see in the situation. God put you in this, He will get you through it.  Your bond, love, and trust with Him can strengthen significantly during this. 


It can also be challenging with the things that seems so minuscule in our eyes. I struggle with this, especially such as the way I dress or how I speak. I have to constantly remind myself that my body is a temple and perfected by God.  I don’t need to use it to seek the wrong attention from guys because God already loves and adores me, and He is all I need. 

We are the hands, feet, and yes, tongue, of Christ. What we say to others or even our light that we shine could be the only example of God in people’s lives.

You are not alone in your persecution; people all around the world are fighting through exactly what we are. Pray for one another. Pray that we'd have the strength not to shrivel back just because that’s what the world demands of us.  Instead, that we'd climb this steep mountain with our eyes locked on God. Pray for each other because we understand how hard it is to go through persecution.  God is worth it all.


In Love,  Faith

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

You don't have to.



You dont have to. 
Did you know that? 

You don't have to say yes, when you long to say no.

You don't have to go, when you desire to stay.

You don't have to sign up, when you're eager to resign. 

You dont have to lead, when you need to receive.

You don't have to smile, when your heart is hurt.

You don't have to perform, when you crave to be real. 

You don't have to be perfect, when you're starved for grace.

You don't have to be fake, when you're parched for transparency. 

You don't have to control, when you're overwhelmed with fear.

You don't have to 'do,' when you yearn to 'be.'

You don't need to accomplish, when you're desperate for rest.

You don't need to.

You don't have to. 

But we do, don't we? 

I tend to do that which I desire not to.  Saying yes, when a genuine desire is to say no.  Performing and appearing perfect, when a passion to be authentically real haunts the soul.   

It's become an epidemic in our society, particularly amongst us women, would you agree?  There's this continual voice within the heart repeating I have to be all things to all people to be all approved by all those I want to like me.  Love me.  Approve of me. Want me.  See me.

Over two million copies of the book "Boundaries" have been sold since 2015, and yet, the inability to say no, to set boundaries, to know our limits, to set proper guard rails, to break free from perfectionism are often weak and/or non-existent.

The problem appears not to be in the wealth and over abundance of knowledge and understanding of boundaries, but in the making, setting, and implementing of them.  

But here's the thing, if there's even a hint of believing the tactfully, deceitfully and strategically placed lie from satan that I'm not worthy enough, not valuable enough, not lovable enough, not beautiful enough, not smart enough, not perfect enough, not precious enough, not enough.... than there's no level or amount of boundary knowledge that's sufficient or capable of taking root.  If I don't believe I'm of any value, big or small, the-head-knowledge-boundary will ultimately fizzle to nothing once the opportunity to actually use them presents itself.  

And the truth, I'm not enough. But the One in me, IS.  

I remember my first experience as a social worker, driving through neglected Detroit neighborhoods, regularly visiting homes which were unkept, uncared and often unlocked.  The owners had very little to no treasure inside the home, therefore no reason to lock the doors, care for its surrounding and place proper boundaries around its perimeter to prevent unwanted trespassers.  

We often duplicate this in our own hearts, don't we? Seeing ourselves as something not worth locking doors for, placing proper fences around and/or establishing functional and safe guard rails throughout. 

Or maybe we go the opposite extreme and place multiple bulletproof deadbolts and sky rise fences around the perimeter of the cautious heart; and not because we feel 'enough' but because we feel fear. Fear of future pain, fear of future heartache, fear of future let down.  

Neither boundary-xtreme is healthy, helpful or Gods design; and yet we often vacillate between the two gripping emotions of shame (resulting in lack of boundaries and performance/perfection-based mentalities) and fear (resulting in excessive boundaries.)

The answer, the secret, the remedy? It's simple, really.  Yet, it lies not within us alone, but within Him by:

The One who says you are whole and healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
The One who says you are forgiven. (1 John 1:9)
The One who says you are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)
The One who says you are firmly rooted. (Colossians 2:7)
The One who says you are redeemed. (Isaiah 43:1)
The One who says you are restored. (Jeremiah 30:17)
The One who says you are His workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
The One who says you are an overcomer. (Revelation 12:11)
The One who says you are His child. (1 Peter 1:23)
The One who says you are His joint-heir. (Romans 8:17)
The One who says He knows you by name. (John 10:3)
The One who says you are a conqueror. (Romans 8:27)
The One who says you are holy and blameless. (Col. 1:22)
The One who says you are complete in Him. (Col 2:10)
The One who says you have no lack. (Psalm 34:18)
The One who says you have the power of God. (Eph 1:19)
The One who says you have the spirit of wisdom. (Eph 1:17)
The One who says you have the righteousness of Christ. (Romans 3:22)
The One who says you have a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)
The One who says you can do all things through Him. (Phil 4:13)
The One who says you are His vessel. (2 For 5:20)
The One who says He loves you. (Nehemiah 9:17)
The One who says He will never fail you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
The One who says He can't forget you. (Isaiah 49:15
The One who says He will fight for you. (Exodus 14:14)
The One who says He will search for you. (Jeremiah 29:13)
The One who says He sings songs of victory over you. (Zep 3:17
The One who says He delights in you. (Zephaniah 3:17)
The One who says He will never abandon you. (Psalm 27:10)
The One who says He will strengthen you. (Colossians 1:11)
The One who says He will be with you. (Isaiah 43:2)

Soak that in.

Because they're for you. Not just her, not just him, not just someone else more deserving.... for you beautiful one.

It's here our yes will be yes, our no will be no and our identity, our purpose, our worth, our very calling will be something we work from and not for; enabling our anchored  heart to radiate authenticity and to confidently, yet lovingly respond, "I don't have to."