Possessing Canaan


About seven years ago, I was sure God promised me something specific. When I found His words tucked away in the pages of Jeremiah, I just knew He would send me back to my hometown in Virginia. For it was the place I longed to be.

Yes, a holy confidence was instilled deep in my soul as I read, “I will gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you… I will restore you to the place I deported you from.”

As to the prophet’s message being for God’s chosen people, Israel, that mattered naught. Because in the Spring of 2010, God whispered them into my spirit. No doubt Jeremiah’s words were meant for me. Because there was absolute certainty. Oh yes, I knew God would send me home.

Naturally, I told more than one person about the promise. And when it actually came to pass a mere six months later, I was elated. Because His words were proven. What God promised – to me – came true.

Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day…  Joshua 14:12

This verse from Joshua stirs me nearly every time I see it. Because God made a promise to Caleb, too. Something specific. Yes, he was to receive a certain tract of land and eventually, it happened. Not within six months, though. Unfortunately, he had to wander the wilderness forty years along with a disbelieving nation.

But Caleb did believe God. When all others didn’t, he did. He knew God could give them the land. He had absolute certainty. A holy confidence must have permeated his soul. Because he was only one of two who believed.

And so after a forty year trek, Caleb was finally able to utter those moving words…

“Give me this mountain.”

From Caleb’s story, we see that what began as a promise turned to reality. God’s words proven. In contemplation, I feel Caleb’s mountain can be interchanged with promise. Because he didn’t just lay claim to a piece of property that day. No, He claimed God’s promise. One specific to him. One version of the Bible says it like this…

“Now give me this hill country the LORD promised me on that day.”

Yes, Caleb believed what God said. His reward? A particular portion of the land. A mountain, no less. And so after four long decades, Caleb’s dream – or promise – or mountain – was realized.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

The very first promise specific to me came from this passage in Jeremiah. God used the prophets words and I was assured. Alas, because of my single-mindedness, all I could see was the promise of Virginia. And I set my hope in my homeland. But in doing so, I neglected to see the deeper promise housed within the message…

Yes, God promised something more than just a different zip code. Something weightier. Something that affects me infinitely more than moving to Virginia ever could. Or would. Or did. I just couldn’t see it in 2010 when I set all my hope in my native soil.

And yet, it’s there. A promise I couldn’t see till years later. For only now can I know what God intended by sending me home. See, it was an answer to a heartfelt prayer. I had prayed to know Him. I determined it.

Yes, my determined purpose was to know God.

Funnily, hindsight allows me to see my hometown (my personal land of promise) was not really the promised land after all. Really it was more of an exile period. Because once I settled, I descended into a black hole of sorts.

But it had to happen that way. Because only by obtaining that which I wanted most in life could I learn the truth. That it wasn’t a land my soul longed for. It was God. And truly, He was and is my real promised land.

That realization couldn’t occur until I discovered my home didn’t satiate me as I’d so hoped. That’s when I was forced to really place my hope in Him. Perhaps for the first time.

Because home didn’t work. It didn’t free me from what ailed me though I thought it would. No, my hometown didn’t cure me and it for sure didn’t fill me. Thus, I finally comprehended truth. I needed God. Not a land.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.           2 Corinthians 3:17

In 2010, God promised to return me home. But in obtaining a land that didn’t satisfy my soul, I was forced to turn to Him. And that’s when I uncovered an even deeper promise through the passage of Jeremiah.

Turns out I was a prisoner. Before Virginia, though, I didn’t realize I’d been in a cell. Oh, many things made up my bars. Regret, a covered up past, and shame just to name a few.

But somewhere along the line, I realized what God really offered to me so long ago within that very first promise. A homeland that led me to God really led to more. Because ultimately, it was freedom God promised through the words of Jeremiah. I just couldn’t see it.

Yes, it seems that freedom is my next dream – or promise – or mountain. Freedom from all the junk that confined me for way too long. It’s there for the taking. I just have to claim it. And for a time, I had the faith to do so.

Like back in 2010. Oh, so bold. I had no doubt my God would deliver on His promises. And the woman I was in 2011 was no different. That’s when God made a new promise. Yes, a holy confidence was instilled in my soul. He would do it!

2012, all good. Bold and expectant. 2013 brought more of the same. But somewhere after that, I threw away my confidence. Delay birthed doubt. And eventually, I just stopped
believing God for the promises. And there are many.
Yes, God has sweetly whispered to my spirit. He’s made promises – specific to me. One after another… beginning with Himself. And freedom. But so much more. A whole mountain chain of dreams. How could I forget them?
Today, though, my God reminded me. The promises remain. And just because my faith faltered, He has not. That’s when I felt my heart beat anew. A holy confidence inspired me to lay claim to what He said I should. Yes, I prayed like I haven’t in a long, long time. It was fervent prayer. Believing prayer.
And I told God I believe Him.
And as I laid claim to the promises, it was as if I echoed Caleb’s cry. “Give me now this mountain!” Or dream. Or promise.
Thus, I am confident. And expectant. Because a new dream, which is really an old dream, will soon be realized. I have faith that He will do it. Because my captivity is coming to an end. The bars of unbelief that stunted my prayers for much too long have been broken.
In fact, I think they’re already gone.
Because I believe Him.
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I just love how God works. I love how He confirms things. See, I wrote out His promises today one by one. From 2011 and 2012 and so forth. And I prayed over them like a woman on fire. And this evening, he blessed my prayers with a rainbow.
His bow the symbol of his promise to mankind (Genesis 9:13), but tonight it seemed like it was just for me. Like God was saying He heard my prayers. And that my next mountain – or promise – or dream is within reach. Yes, it’s right there before me. Because I can see what He wants for me.
Beyond the freedom. All I have to do is lay claim to it. To boldly pray, “Give me now…”
Like Caleb did. For sure, his words are stirring. Because he spoke of more than just a mere mountain. It’s a promise he referred to. The promise of God.


See, God made a specific promise to Caleb. Same thing with me. A promise proven over time. But there’s more promises to be had. As countless as the stars. More mountains and more dreams. But not just for me.

More for you. Specific to you. You just have to believe Him. Let a holy confidence settle in your soul. And then, with absolute certainty, claim His promises. Like Caleb did.

You can start there. Repeat after him…

“Give me now this mountain!”

“Today I am setting you free from the chains that were on your hands… Look- the whole land is in front of you. Wherever it seems good and right for you to go, go there.” Jeremiah 40:4

You’re not me…

At times, my son would belt out, “You’re not me! You don’t know what I feel. You don’t feel like I feel.” Or something very similar. And rather than feel empathetic to his plight, I always feel angry when he says this. Because I’m the mom. Obviously, I know I am not him. And obviously, I don’t feel exactly as he does. I know this. I guess my ire is induced by the fact that he doesn’t realize that I do in fact know. I know. But as I was reduced to tears this morning while applying my green eye shadow, the same thoughts coursed through my mind. “You don’t know how I feel!” To no one specifically… just a silent, desperate cry to my bathroom walls. “You don’t know!”

I’ll soon descend to the basement for an all day cleaning fest, so the eye shadow is definitely not a necessity. But today, I feel vulnerable. I had my hair cut shorter yesterday, and with my neck exposed, I feel like I need a mask. And not just because of the extra skin that’s visible, but I feel as if my heart is on display, too. I’m wearing it on my sleeve, and so, the mask is to cover not just a new vulnerability… but a dull ache in my heart. Inexplicable, indescribable, heartache. I don’t know why. Just tears and sadness. And loneliness. More so than usual, as I was choked up and tears spewed while I was on the phone with my employer this week. I can assure you, this was a first. All I could do was mutter, “Oh, good grief,” followed by a curt, “Bye.” He must have been dumbfounded. And perhaps, embarrassed by my emotional display. A bit of drama on my part?

I am weary from my groaning; with my tears I dampen my pillow and drench my bed every night. My eyes are swollen from grief; they grow old because of all my enemies.” Psalm 6:6

The truth is, I am depressed. And since this is something I come back to (over and over again), I can actually sense the darkness before it envelops me now. But for the life of me, I can’t seem to escape! I just let it surround me rather than run for my life. And because I get depressed, there is shame. Because I know. I know! I have no earthly right to feel as I do. My two aunts who lost their children would tell me so. My friends who see me with a great husband, an adorable child, a great property and the best job in the world would tell me so. As a matter of fact, it was Thursday evening that my brother said, “You’ve got it made, you just don’t know it.” He was referring to my job. And he’s quite right. But inside, I’m screaming, “You’re not me! You don’t know what I feel. You don’t feel like I feel.” Just like my son exclaims to me. And just as I feel indifferent to his plight, so would my brother be to mine. Because the truth is… I am blessed. So blessed. And yet, I am depressed. I feel lonesome.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Facebook is one of the loneliest places in the world. Because for the one who begins to feel sorry for herself, she can be thrown so deep into a pit, she can barely see out. And with each glance at the images of happy, filled lives, more and more dirt gets heaped on top of her. And with each visit to Facebook, she can begin to feel embittered by what she sees. Can anyone relate to this? Is there anyone out there who feels like I feel? Is there anyone who has every blessing – someone who God has graced with a wonderful life – and yet, bitterness abounds? I feel there is. Because as much as this blog, this journey to the center of my soul, is just that (a journey to my innermost being), I feel there must be others just like me. And that, just as I am discovering the truth about God and me, there are those who are discovering the truth about God and themselves right alongside me. There must be.

The truth about God & me is that I love Him. To the best of my ability. And that despite an ever deepening relationship with my LORD, I am still plagued by a darkness. This is the truth. And so, I have to ask… Are you like me? Do you feel as I do? Because if you do feel the same, I know. I know. And believe it or not, I think there is purpose in it. There must be.

You know, God made a promise to me through His word. And it’s a promise we can all claim. God told me that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. The truth is, I already have seen it. If I could just believe it… if I could just live it… if I could just realize it. He says… Wait on the LORD, and to be of good courage, and that He will strengthen my heart. He tells me… Wait, I say, on the LORD! And so, I shall. Because when I find it… whatever it is that plagues me… I shall be free. And when I am truly free, oh, what a story I’ll have. Yes, darkness may descend today, but I have hope that He will shed His light.

And for now, I’ll let God quiet my cries. Because He knows. He knows. He knows how I feel, for He lives in me. And He knows why I do and say what I do. He assures me. Yes, He is not me, yet… He is part of me. And He knows how I feel. He knows. And in truth, that’s all that matters.

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Mark 14:3-9


Less is more.

I did something tonight. I trashed two blog drafts. There are still two more drafts that may be trashed. I’m on the fence about those two, because I still feel somewhat impassioned by what was written. I want to tell you why I trashed two drafts, and may trash two more. I think… no, I’m sure… that having four drafts sitting there ready for posting is evidence of a severe lack of faith on my part. Because I began a blog for one purpose only… I was certain God wanted me to. But, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to blog on a consistent basis. Thus, I wanted to have drafts ready… a security blanket, so to speak. So that if I am not inspired one day, there’s something there ready. But what does that say about my faith in God? He has inspired me again and again over the last two and a half years. I have ten full journals. Why now, would I be worried about a shortage of words? Can’t I trust God to inspire me daily, and to write from my heart when I am so moved? Apparently not, because I’ve stored up some words for the times when I’m dry.

And, oh, but I drive myself crazy! Here are some things you may not know about me. I am a bit obsessive. I am detail oriented… almost to a fault. And I love order. I want things to make sense. So, I began a blog… for God. But I wanted it to move along in a way that made sense to me. I wanted it to be chronological and easy to follow. But, God threw a few curve balls at me. First, He had me begin reviewing my old journals. And I ended up camping out on the first three pages for weeks. Then, He led me to something I was not ready for. He moved me to write about my past… the things I kept hidden. I didn’t anticipate writing about that for a long, long time (if ever). Well, that’s thrown off all my drafts. After what I wrote about this past Friday, the four drafts I have ready don’t even make sense! They’re not even fit for posting. I didn’t even want to read them… and they’re about God & me!! And so here I am, at a loss. What next, I ask.

I’ve been trying to write ahead (not trusting God to supply me with words) because I have somehow decided I should write five days a week. Orderly and consistent, right? But why do I feel the need to write every single day? Did God tell me to do that? So basically, I have taken it upon myself to set the minimum (five a week). Not only that… I want to post the blogs in the morning. And do you know what I’ve done? I’ve created pressure. I’ve created a deadline that I don’t think God intended me to have. Because a deadline causes me to force something that may not be ready for posting. It leaves no room for the Holy Spirit’s leading. I don’t think God cares how many days a week I post, or what time of day it goes out. See, quality is far better than quantity. And you know what? Sometimes, less is more.

So here’s what I’m going to do… I will not post a blog for the sake of posting it simply to fill a five day quota. Because if it’s not led by God, well, it’s just not worth posting. I will do my best not to write ahead. Because that doesn’t work. More of those writings end up in the trash than posted, anyway. And more importantly, writing ahead is not trusting God.

I will aim to post a blog only when I am moved or impassioned by the subject. I will not write fluff. And I will always tell the truth. Because the truth about God & me may very well be the truth about you & God.

And, this will be hard for me… I will try my best to write less, but with more significance. Because more often than not, less is more.

P.S. Some of you will get a kick out of this. Immediately after proof reading this blog, I changed the very first sentence to say “Last night” instead of “Tonight.” Because I had every intension of posting this in the morning. I actually went back and forth a couple of times before realizing what I needed to do. Because didn’t I just say I would not write ahead? Didn’t I just say I would post something when I was moved, and there may not be a post every day, and blogs may not go in the morning. I just said this, right? What is wrong with me?? So this goes against everything within me… after I type this sentence, I will publish this blog. At 10:00 at night! And there may not be one tomorrow!! This was so not the plan 🙂