What We All Really Need

I’ve been steeping in the gospel of John these past several months. As I’m nearing the end of the book, the account of the crucifixion and resurrection are filling my mind. But I’ve been interested by how much these closing chapters reflect the opening chapters.

Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and brought before authorities. Then He came before Pilate – one of the bloodiest governors of his time. Pilate questioned Jesus about His claim to being the King of the Jews.

Jesus responds:

 For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. John 18:37 NASB

At the end of His earthly life, Jesus takes us back to the  very beginning of His ministry; His birth.

For this I was born…

He came. With a purpose. Wrapped in flesh.

The One who was with God in the very beginning (John 1:2), came.

Not just for a visit.

Mary wrapped her arms around what she would never fully be able to wrap her mind around.

He made His residence here. Having masterfully created The Beginning, Immanuel came at the very tiniest of beginnings. To identify with His creation. To be their representative before His Father.

We were His purpose; His Father’s purpose.

Satan introduced humanity to death. Christ introduced humanity to life – eternal life. Life that was born in humility and lived in obedience.

We need this pure, spotless, perfect LIFE.

And Jesus could never have died in the flesh had He not first been born in the flesh.

And for this I have come into the world…

He didn’t have to come. After all, He didn’t belong here.

Those whom He dwelt among knew there was something different about Him. They begged Him to prove Himself, though He already had. They cried for a show of power, but He knew that time was yet to come. He waited; they waited. 33 years.

He was, and still is, Life – Life that is Light to all humanity (1:4).

33 years spent living the life we should have lived. 33 years obeying the One we should have obeyed. 33 years of undeserved ridicule and humility.

His own did not know Him (1:10-11).

Time after time John records in his book Jesus telling the disciples and the multitudes and even His mother that His time had not yet come. He was waiting. He was obeying. He was living the life we should have lived.

His life replaced ours in the sight of the Father. And His death and resurrection are ours; we are the manifestation of the miraculous.

He came to live; as important as His death was, He is encircled on either side of death by life. And that life was lived for our sake. And He lives now so that we can be born. Born new. Born to eternal life (1:13)

He came to live more, I think, than He came to die.

Life was always the purpose.

He came to shine a light into darkness. “The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin; the light of the world is Jesus.”

We need this eternal Light to scatter the darkness that surrounds us and to lead us to His eternal Life.

to testify to the truth…

He was born, to live the truth, not just to speak it.

He came to be the standard by which we can discern what is right and wrong – what is truth and what is lie.

He is the Word – the only true Word (1:1).

Every word, every action, every expression, every movement, was motivated by truth and righteousness and love.

He came so we could behold His glory – full of grace and truth (1:14).

We need the truth He embodies, through His Word and His example; to be our standard and our example of true Life.

Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.

If we abide in lies, whispers of Truth are unrecognizable. If we abide in The Truth, The Way, and The Life, then nothing rings clearer or is more precious than the gentle beckoning of our Good Shepherd.

Those who had even the smallest understanding of Christ on earth were those who first chose to believe the truth that He proclaimed and lived. And then hung on His every word.

We need, oh so desperately, to hear His voice. Amidst the piercing yells and shouts of our enemy, the world, and our own sinful desires, we need that constant and loving call of our savior. And the call is clear to those who are listening for the distinctly familiar tones of the One they love (John 10:4).

None of this season of celebration is of any consequence without the truth. We celebrate because the Way, the Truth, and the Life came. Was born. Walked and talked the Truth. Died in love. Rose in power and new life.

He who has no beginning was born of a woman and born again from the grave, so that we might be born again in His New Life!

I’m reminded that the more I get to know Him, the more I will love Him, worship Him, trust Him, and follow Him.

And that is what we all need to live an abundant life in the midst of a dark world – the way we can continue to shine the Light that He began to shine all those years ago.

Merry Christmas!!


When Needs Go Unmet

It’s shoe box time around our household – Operation Christmas Child is underway. I love this opportunity for our family to help a child who is experiencing the needs of basic survival. I’m so thankful for organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, which seek to reach the world for Christ by also meeting very basic needs of survival.

But, as much good as this organization and many others like it do, humanity will continue in a state of need. We may not experience the need for a meal like the poverty stricken. But there are profound needs that all of humanity has in common, no matter their income.

We all need love. We all need relationship. We all need peace. We all need a Savior.

I had one of those broken yet enlightening moments a few months ago. I was wrestling with clean sheets and mattresses, putting fresh sheets onto my kids’ bunk-beds (no easy task mind you!). The physical struggle I was facing in the midst of this task triggered the recognition of an internal struggle as well. The truth and emotions of that recognition trickled down through my mind and into my soul.

I have needs that rarely get met, especially in this season of life.

God designed me to be more introverted; I need time alone for reflection and contemplation. But in our large family and ministry lifestyle, it is rare for me to get those moments. God also made me to appreciate order and structure. But again, because of the nature of our family life, chaos reigns more than order, no matter how hard I try. God also gave me an active mind; I love to learn and study and grow in knowledge and understanding. But since most of my days are spent with my children, “The Cat In The Hat” is my poetry, the alphabet my literature, and counting to ten my higher reasoning.

Just as I was brought to tears by this recognition, God began to direct my mind. He challenged my resolve for obedience, even when my needs go unmet.

He challenged my perspective of my needs: are they truly needs? do my needs trump others’ needs? can I still serve Him from a place of personal emptiness?

He challenged me to completely trust Him and His power to help me meet the needs of others, even when I feel my needs are unmet.

Here’s the thing – if we all waited to act in the interest of others until our needs were met, then no one could be used by God to meet the needs of another. No one would ever have a need met.

Paul had something similar to say to the Corinthian church:

“For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by and equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack.” 2 Corinthians 8:13-14

We all have needs, but are also (because of Christ’s work in our lives) capable of meeting others’ needs. Because of all He has given to us, we have something to give to others. And it’s going to look different for particular people and particular circumstances.

Here lies another paradox of Christian living: the intensity of our own felt needs wanes when we are more concerned about the needs of others.

Pastor Matthew Barnett, founder of the Dream Center in L.A., has spent decades ministering to some of the most needy people in our society. He has found that one of the most powerful steps toward their recovery is serving others. He encourages them to serve out of their pain – that a key component of transformation is getting out of ‘self’ and giving to others.

In Pastor Barnett’s words:

Everywhere that you look there’s a need. Find a need and fill it. Find a hurt and heal it. Look around for a lack in any situation and be the person that fills that gap.


Just as Christ’s pain was our gain, so our struggle can be used for the gain of the body (of Christ).

So, here’s the heart of what I have been attempting to communicate:

We all have needs, but they must not define us. It’s okay, and necessary, for us to communicate our needs to others – to the body of Christ – so that they might help meet those needs in our lives.  However, we can not use our own unmet needs as an excuse to ignore the needs of others. Just as Paul exhorted the believers in Corinth, we must give and receive in turn. It’s the symbiosis of being part of the Body of Christ.

I think adopting this attitude is what separates a ‘person with needs’ from ‘a needy person.’

Whose need occupies most of our concern?

Children, as you have most likely observed, do a great job of communicating their personal need. It’s in their nature to be selfishly focused most of the time. But that is not the maturity that our Heavenly Father desires for them or us. (Colossians 1:28)

That’s one of the reasons I love to pack shoe boxes with my kids. It’s a tangible way to get them thinking about others; to broaden their perspective of the world and what ‘need’ really means.

It’s not too late for you to pack a shoe box too! There are a few days left. Click on the Operation Christmas Child picture above to find out more.

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Our Need – Part of A Perfect Equation

Brace yourselves for something scary ………. MATH! AHHH! Okay, Okay, so not so scary – though many of you still might want to leave the room screaming right now due to your great dislike for the subject. But I have to admit, I’ve always been kind of partial to math. It’s so clear-cut, black and white, absolute. Two times two always equals four.

Hang with me for just a moment in the math realm. Remember that old multiplication rule – two negatives make a positive?

It’s true in math, but also in the Christian life.

I’ve been focusing on the idea of need, and being at ease in our need, on my blog recently (take a look at need as a mom and The Needy Person in Your Life for more). As I was thinking about this post and what aspect of need I was going to address, this equation formulated in my mind:

Failure x Need = Praise

Nothing reminds me more of my need than my failure.

Failure has been haunting me this week.

I recently tried, put forth my best effort, but still fell short; in an area I feel called and gifted. I guess calling and gifting aren’t always a guarantee of success, are they?

But for some strange reason I am at peace with my failure. It’s weird, I know. But I am almost, kind of, sort of……. Celebrating my failure?!

This is why – because of my inadequacy, any fruit that came from my labors is undoubtedly a result of God’s work, not my own. That I can say with confidence.

And I can say it with a thankful heart too. I am so relieved that my efficacy is not dependent upon my stellar performance, but completely reliant upon the activity of the Holy Spirit. I can produce nothing good without Him. It’s His power at work in me to produce what pleases Him (Phil. 2:12-13). And that’s true of all of us who are ‘working out our salvation’ – who are growing into the people God desires us to be. We all are dependent upon His power at work in us.

Our need for His constant help, direction, and strength keep us aligned in humility.

So, getting back to the equation:

My failure serves to remind me of my need. My need to be resting in His power and resource, not my own.

The wonderful thing about need is that it reveals the greatness and beauty of the One who can and does meet those needs. It reminds me that my deficit is His fullness.

Because we need sustenance,

He is our Provider.

Because we are hurting and broken,

He is our Comforter and Healer.

Because we are hopelessly lost,

He is our Savior.

Because we are weak,

He is our Strength.

Because we live in chaos,

He is our Peace.

Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond our need. In moments of insecurity, uncertainty, or danger how can we possibly concentrate on anything else?  But our need puts us in our proper place – complete reliance on God.

Our need reveals more of God to us than if we had no need. Because of our need, God is able to show off more of who He is!

Then, my need overflows in praise and glory to the One who meets my needs and is at work despite my failures.

I believe God allows us to become acutely aware of our deep need so that we can become intimately familiar with His power to provide.

Since we function in continual deficit, He can be who He is – All in All. Our lack brings Him  glory when we simply let Him provide what is lacking. In our weakness He is strong. Then we can boast in Him, not in ourselves.

Can you see it?

Failure x Need = Praise

It’s a perfect equation!

God is the only one who can multiply negative upon negative in our lives and allow us to somehow end up praising and glorifying Him. He works all things together for good for those who love Him! (Romans 8:28).

**For you fellow math nerds out there (my dad a brothers and husband, to name a few), I realize that in the realm of abstract math ‘absolute’ goes out the window. I’m just using common principles as an illustration ;)**

~I’d love to hear how God has turned your need or failure into something you can praise Him for. Leave a comment below – it will encourage us all!~

How To Deal With The Needy Person In Your Life

Anyone else hate being the needy one in a relationship? Yeah, me too.

It makes me feel weak, unstable, vulnerable, and lesser. I much prefer to reside in the ‘have-it-all-together’ camp – which can also, I’m ashamed to say, cause me to look down on those who don’t.

Admitting my needs, whatever they may be, is frightening and humiliating.

But that mental attitude steers us far off the path that our Creator wants us to walk.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our Creator and the events of His creating lately.

I wonder about Adam’s first moment of awareness. Was it like a shock of lightning coursing through his body, overwhelming him with smells, and sounds and sights, which gradually became discernable as the initial intensity faded? Or was it like a slow wakening after restful sleep, a haziness that eventually wore off, blink by blink?

Either way it must have been an indescribable experience for Adam to receive the breath of God and burst into existence and awareness – not as a baby, but as a grown, thinking, speaking adult.

I wonder what he first beheld. Was it the luminous sun bringing warmth to every bit of his skin? Perhaps the aromatic and diversely colored plant life? Maybe the frolicking animals in constant blissful motion? Or, was it his Creator, in all His shining glory – the Giver of Life, the Eternal Word who made all things to behold?

That thought almost makes me weep. How achingly beautiful and perfect and glorious that moment must have been! When Creator and created first met, in perfect relationship and love.

But the Bible tells us that God recognized something was ‘not good’ – though He had proclaimed the rest of creation to be so.

It was not good for Adam to be alone.

But, wait a minute, Adam wasn’t alone. After all, He had the best selection of pets ever, and more importantly, he walked with God Himself!

But there was no one else like Adam. No one above all earthly creation, yet a little lower than the angels. No one he could have a completely unified relationship with – as a peer and equal.

I wonder if Adam recognized his need too? If not, he was about to.

God paraded all the animals in front of Adam, giving Adam the responsibility and privilege of naming them. But none of them satisfied Adam’s need for a comparable companion.

By this point, Adam must have begun to see the problem – the problem God created. The problem God was making Adam abundantly aware of. The problem God then solved for Adam.

The account of Adam and Eve’s creation intrigues me. Of all the observations we can make from this account, I’ve been riveted with just one lately:

God created humanity in a state of need. In a state of dependence.

Adam needed everything God had created for sustenance and Adam needed Eve, though he had every other good gift from God – and he had a completely unhindered relationship with God Himself!

This was all true in a place and time of absolute perfection! Need was realized even in sinless relationship between God and man and between man and woman.

God created the need, revealed the need, then met the need.

So the question I ask myself, and I ask you too, is this:

What’s wrong with being needy?

God made Adam to need. God made Eve to need. God made us all to need. Can we attempt be at ease in that reality?

As much as my independent personality, mentality, and society is disgusted by the thought of being needy, there is no denying that we were made to need.

Adam needed a relationship with God and all the sustenance He provided. He also needed human relationship – someone to relate to as an equal, someone to touch, someone with whom he could more fully mirror the unity of the triune God, someone with whom he could create.  These were needs that could only be satisfied by another human being.

But for some reason I doubt they felt bad or had a complex about their neediness. They were happy to have their needs met by God and by each other.

God created Adam alone on purpose. God gave Adam and Eve physical bodies that needed continual sustenance on purpose. And He allowed sin on purpose. (More on that later)

But why?

Why did God create us in such a way that we need and depend on Him and others so much?

As I’ve spent time steeping in these thoughts and in the Word, I’m realizing that acknowledging our need produces several godly characteristics in our lives. It produces first humility, in recognizing that we are wholly dependent on God and His people (the constant reminder that we are not God – though Satan desires us to believe we are God). From there it produces thankfulness, endurance, selflessness, love – just to name a few.

These traits ultimately help us have a right perspective of God, ourselves, and the rest of humanity.

It’s an interesting paradox that the more I am comfortable with my own need and letting others help meet those needs, the more compassionate I become toward others’ needs. The cycle of giving and receiving is empowering.

So here’s what I’ve decided:

I’m the needy person in my life.

You are the needy person in your life.

And that is perfection.

We don’t always express our needs or help meet others’ needs in a perfect way, but the fact that we all have needs is precisely what God intended.

If you’ve ever felt like me, like you cannot betray a sense of need to anyone because you look down on ‘neediness’ and feel like you have to be the strong one in your relationships, can I encourage you to join me in rethinking our need? Can we find rest in the midst of our need because we have a secure relationship with The Provider? And can we allow others to need too? Can we be as willing to receive as give?

Let’s begin to deal with the needy person in our lives (ourselves) by remembering this:

“Nothing is complete of itself, but requires something outside in order to exist.”

A.W. Tozer

I Have Too Many Children – Confessions of a Humbled Mother

I have too many children to care for their every need.

Too many messes to keep under control – I clean up one and they make five more.

Too much naughtiness to keep in constant check. I don’t have enough patience to calmly meet their wrongdoing with perfectly executed and effective consequences. The disobedience and correction never ends. I don’t have enough strength and fortitude to keep from throwing my hands in the air some days.

There are too many boo-boos – every single day. I don’t have enough compassion to tenderly nurse my children through each big and small wound, inside and out. Sometimes I don’t care like I should. My empathy muscle needs a serious growth spurt.

They have too many young hurts; hurts that will multiply, intensify, and I can never satisfy. I don’t have enough insight to know their minds and hearts, to understand them wholly and be certain they are living in truth.

There are too many of them and too few hours in a day. I don’t have enough individual moments to give them each day, the way that I long to. I’m not with them all each step of their way.

I don’t have enough wisdom.

I don’t have enough love.

I don’t have enough gentleness or selflessness or grace.

God knows I try, and every day I fail.

But in all my not-enough You, God, are more-than-enough.

And I’m glad that I’m not enough, otherwise my pride would run away with me. It would take control, create, and perfect my children in my own flawed image.

My children keep me in constant need of You, and I keep them in need of You too.

That’s precisely where you want us.

Because You, Constant and Loving One, long to meet all our needs.

I have too many children to be their everything. They depend on me, so I depend on You.

Even though I love my kids and try to raise them in a loving, caring and Godly manner, I still fail. We all do. It’s a daily reminder that we are needy.

It’s also a daily reminder that in so many other areas (uuuggghhh) I am needy too. We all are. That’s the way God created us.

I’ve been contemplating and studying the idea of our need and look forward to sharing with you what God has been teaching me over the next several weeks.

Join me in learning to be AT EASE IN NEED.