let’s dance, stand, and run!

Today Dance Stand Run launches into the world! *insert dancing emoji here*

If you haven’t heard of Jess Connolly, she is a sweet daughter of God, wife, Momma, author, speaker, and business woman.

I first heard of her via Hannah Brencher’s Instagram when HB got Jess’ first book she coauthored, Wild and Free. I read the tag line “An anthem for the woman who feels she is both too much and not enough” and said SIGN ME UP PLEASE!

Since then, I’ve been growing in my walk through the simple act of following Jess on Insta. From the first day I heard about this book stirring in her heart, I was on board. It was so fun to read the book before it launched with a lovely group of women, and it is my honor to share it with YOU today.

I’m a kingdom girl! I’m not a slave to sin or a foreigner living in a world where I’m trying to fit in. I belong in heaven, but I’ve been sent to earth by God to believe and receive the gospel, and to be an ambassador of light, calling others out of darkness and into relationship with my King. I’m a kingdom girl.

What does Dance Stand Run stand for? 

Dancing in God’s grace, agreeing with our righteous standing before Him, and running on mission.

Jesus bled for this message. 

It’s not because Jess has some crazy super power. It’s that she leans into the power of the Holy Spirit in her weakness. Because of this, we get a book that is saturated in the GOOD NEWS. Which brings me to my next point….

Is this book for me? 

I honestly believe that if you’ve been a Christian for years or you are just beginning to walk with Him, this book is for you. I have been in the church my whole life. I was familiar with all the truths and the Bible stories in this book. But I was still able to engage with them in a fresh way that drew me deeper into the reality of Christ’s love! So whether this book would work as a foundation for you or a refresher, it’s worth your time. (Also, fun addition: there is a glossary in the back of the book for all those “churchy” words we use so often but rarely know what they truly mean. SUCH a beneficial tool!)

So engaging. 

Stories of pregnancy and pop culture references? YES PLEASE. I laughed, I cried. Grab your pens (you’ll want to process through this book, not just read it), a hot drink, and your girlfriends. Because this is the perfect book to grow in grace and truth AND laughter.

The headlines. 

Jesus is better than pretty little liars.

We aren’t becoming more holy; we are agreeing with the truth He has already written over our lives.

We can throw off guilt and dance in grace!

We are not here to belong; we are there to be used by God.

I get to call brothers and sisters out in love, but first and foremost it’s important for me to examine my own heart.

We get to pray, we don’t have to.

We don’t live in America, we live in the Kingdom.

We are not here to stress about our hot bodies, but to know we are loved and to pour out that love on the world.

We are safe to celebrate.

We are already runners.

We have been called.

Join me? Are you ready to dance, stand, and run? 

Don’t read this book if you are wanting to make your life look more tidy. It’s not a self-help book that will get you to your desired goal in 10 days. Read this book if you want a deeper walk and an re-energized mission with Jesus.

Get your copy here. 

Follow Jess here. 

Let’s talk about grace, holiness, and mission here.

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on the promises of growth and green fields.

You can find this post at it’s original home, and other favorite place to hang out on cyberspace, The Rising! 

big thanks to Phil Frigon for letting me use his stunning photos! 


Every spring in the Flint Hills of Kansas, when wind is unusually slow and the promise of summer introduces itself once again with each evening growing longer, the farmers burn their fields.

To someone traveling from either coast, it is both brilliant and mystifying. The smoke-filled sky at times would warrant for shelter. The smell would send you packing. Either it would look unsafe or it would be chalked up to Midwestern madness.

In all seriousness, though, it is an annual event and it is crucial to the health of our land.

The burnings are preventative and protective. Like a pruning. It helps to keep destructive growths from invading the invaluable prairies and reproductive fields.

I remember, just a few weeks ago, I was on my evening commute observing the fires around me on each side. I whispered with a smile, “It’s all going to be green soon.”

The fields were charred black, smoke filled the air, and I saw the promise of growth.

When I look at my own life, I usually see regression before I optimistically claim victory.

Consequently, every spring I usually fight a hard spiritual fight due to lack of focus, my increased desire to sleep for as many hours as I possibly can, and because of laziness in my quiet times. I mistake pruning for destruction, bad days for a bad life, and spiritual dry spells are wrongly defined in my heart as a withdrawal from the Father.

Job didn’t do this. In Job chapter 1, Satan has asked if he can try to divert Job’s faithfulness. He believes that Job only loves the Lord and lives righteously because he has had a good life. Therefore, he has in mind to make Job curse God’s name. Step one of the process has begun. Job’s whole family has been killed and his property had been stripped away. The evil one wanted and expected Job to curse God’s name, but instead he blesses it. After he had lost what some would call his entire life, this is how Job responds:

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

— JOB 1:20-22

He fell on the ground and worshiped.

Job could have chosen to tear his robe, fallen to the ground, and given up entirely. But he chose worship. He did not ignore his grief, numb his grief, or live in denial. He saw the reality of his surroundings and still chose a godly rhythm of grief and trust.

Because of the fields in Kansas and Job’s riveting example, we know that living a God-glorifying life is not stitched together by good intentions. I don’t find the presence of God by ignoring His Word, by staying closer to my phone than my prayers, by covering up hurts with busyness. Living life with bare-minimum risks means that we reap bare-minimum harvests.

“If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface, I must be ploughed and re-sown.

Hand over your whole self. Your whole broken self. Given-ness. Because this is far easier than pretending to be whole and not broken. . . .The heart has to be broken and plowed and resown if it’s going to yield. The change must go deeper than the surface.”

— ANN VOSKAMP, THE BROKEN WAY

What you and I must do is be proactive. Ask God to test our hearts with fire for things that will hinder the growth of His kingdom. We open our Bibles when we don’t feel like it and ask Him to show up. Because when we ask for more of Him, He never says no. Instead of slapping clichés on our wounds, we tear our clothes and expose the wound, so that His wounds touch our own. We can look great darkness in the face, because we know the Light is always near. The call of the Christian is not to always be happy about our life – but to keep walking daily with our God, trusting in His promise of joy and the fullness of life, in the midst of it all.  If our faith is a faith that only believes in the fruit we can see, it isn’t faith at all. Because what looks like destruction can be a resurrection of our hearts, our lives, our land. What may look like nothing on the surface, is new life being rooted in the ground. A pruning that is making all things better than before.

I’m praying that God would give us that same rhythm of grief and trust. I am praying and I am taking action steps. So that when winter seems like it is never leaving, we can look at the horizon and say, “My help is coming. It’s all going to be green soon.” On days when we don’t see the victory, instead of running away in fear we can bless the name of God with quiet trust. When we look at near-destruction we say, “He is making all things new.” And when we feel the aches ravaging on our own heart we have the hope to say, “He is here, even now.”

Because the storms will come – Oh God, let us fall on the ground and worship. We don’t want to ignore You, deny You, or curse You. We are here. We are not submitting to mediocrity in our Christianity – we want more of Christ. We are waiting expectantly on Your Presence to do something remarkable with these ruins. We acknowledge that we are not the point, we never have been. Ours is the victory, not all the answers. When we see charred black seasons in our lives, help us remember you are preparing a life worth waiting for in the tension. Let our lives be a set of praise hands toward heaven – You give. You take. Keep our palms wide open in worship.

 

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