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January in the Glasshouse

Dearest Daughter of God,

Take a deep breath.

No matter what circumstances have led to this moment, let them go, breathe them out, and step into the glasshouse.

‘His house is my shelter and secret retreat.

It is there I find peace in the midst of storm and turmoil.

Safety sits with me in the hiding place of God.

He will set me on a rock, high above the fray.’

Psalm 27:5 (VOICE)

the glasshouse

Come in out of the weather. Let me take your coat. You won’t need it. Not here.

Breathe deep, Daughter of God. You’re safe.

The Master Gardener has long been at work in this place – replanting, pruning, and nurturing those long thought to be dead back to life. He is gentle, humble, and full of love and grace. No one is too far gone for Him. Here, He will nourish and restore.

He longs to speak to you through the fire lilies, through the fountain overflowing with Living Water. Even the rocks sing His praises in this place.

Here, His Presence is as tangible as the mist. Can you feel it settle over you now?

Storms still rage outside the glasshouse. Frost still clings to its frame. The scorching summer sun still threatens drought, and autumn’s chill desires nothing more than to trade lush green foliage for its signature auburn, amber, and maroon.

Some daughters may wander outside the glasshouse for a season, to experience the world beyond. A world that tries to strip our blooms and break our branches with arid heat, but the Master Gardener always invites us back home. The door to the glasshouse is never locked. And yet, sometimes, we can look in and wonder why all we see are windows? Sometimes, we need to feel our way back inside, led by nothing but His calm kind voice.

You shall hide them

in the secret place

of Your Presence.

Psalm 31:20 (NKJV)

Welcome to the glasshouse. We’ll visit together each month, hand in hand. I pray this will be a time of reflection and slowing down, if only for a few moments.

So, wherever you are right now, whisper these truths with me:

‘I am loved by God’ (Jn. 3:16)

‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made by Him’ (Ps. 139:14)

‘I am called to be a light to this broken world’ (Mt. 5:14-16)

love & light

Some flowers are created to reflect light around the glasshouse and help produce greater heat through this process, supporting the ecosystem as a whole. Similarly, we are called to reflect the light of our Heavenly Father.

‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’

Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

What does it mean for you to let your light shine? What do you believe the Lord is calling you to in this season? You can be sure He loves you and is for you, and has created you for such a time as this. So, with Him behind you, what is your next step? How will you let your light shine?

Here, at DOLL Ministries, we long to nurture women of all ages and equip them to thrive as Daughters of God in biblical womanhood. Exciting projects are in the works, and in all these things we aim to be intentional and to keep coming into God’s Presence for guidance and strength.

Is this something you crave?

Well, our REVIVE event may be for you. It will be on Saturday 7 September. Save the date and more information will be coming soon.

And if, like me, you also like something tangible to nourish your soul, our annual magazine will be releasing in February, filled with articles to inspire and equip. If you would like to be involved in future volumes, with articles, short stories, or visual graphics, please express your interest to liz@dollministries.com

Before I leave you with your own thoughts as you linger within the glasshouse, do you have a prayer request? If so, please respond to this email. We would love to pray for you. You can also connect with us here.

Sending you so much love and prayers. And I’ll see you next month in the glasshouse.

Blessings,

Liz Chapman

DOLL Ministries

www.dollministries.com

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Believing the lie

For thirty-something years, I lived under the incorrect assumption that I didn’t have a green thumb. Growing up, my experience of gardening had been limited to pulling weeds. So, in my young-adult life, I never bothered with a garden because for me all it represented was hard work for little return. Because weeds always grew back.

I believed the lie that I was no good at gardening. I firmly believed I would kill every plant I touched, so it was best for everyone involved if I didn’t even try.

What changed this for me was when my husband collected fruit trees from a family friend’s deceased estate. Everything had to go and there were numerous well established yet potted fruit trees that no one had the stubborn determination to shift – cue, my beloved husband. If there’s one thing he and I have in common, it’s our stubborn streaks. So, he set to it and dragged each hefty pot onto a truck then off again and into our backyard. We ended up with an apricot, lemon, and pear tree, and two nectarine and fig trees. We even inherited some Australian native wisteria, Hardenbergia comptoniana. What I was pleased to discover was that with a little effort, we could harvest from many of the well-established trees. Some remained in pots, others were set in the soil, but all of them did surprisingly well considering they lived at the house of a woman who thought she could kill a cactus.

Since that day, my son and I spent countless hours in the garden. He’d happily pick flowers for me –  which was so sweet – and would even choose a small potted plant as a gift for me when our family visited the Bunnings garden centre or a nearby nursery. I started showing him plants like mint that he could help pick then hold in his dimpled hands, sniffing its fresh sweet scent. He’s not afraid to get dirty and, most importantly, he doesn’t associate nurturing new plants to life with hard work, but rather the joy of getting all muddy, wielding the garden hose, and making a good old mess. And hopefully, at the end of it all, we will enjoy some sweet homegrown fruit and herbs.

But my experience of garden life lately has caused me to question what other lies I have believed about myself. What limitations have I placed upon myself because I believed a lie that has been ingrained in me from childhood experiences? What lies do I believe that the enemy has whispered over my life? Lies like you’re not good enough, God can’t use you, you have nothing to give, you might as well not even try…

Perhaps it’s the lie that what I’m writing now could not possibly help another human being. Or that recording these discoveries is self-indulgent, rather than a testimony to the work the Lord is doing in our family’s life.

What if I continued to believe the lie that I was simply no good at gardening? I would miss out on the joy of watching things grow and propagating and germinating and finding peace in that natural space. Then again, perhaps lacking the art of gardening isn’t the worst lie of these to believe. But how could other lies affect our family’s future? What if we chose fear over faith? What if we were too afraid to step out and take that leap into the unknown and believe that God will provide for us? What example would we be setting for our children?

Call it maternal instinct, but I am determined, and I refuse to believe any of these lies. Instead, I will rest in the truth of God’s Word which says I can do all things through Christ. And that, my dear friend, includes gardening.

For if you embrace the truth, it will release true freedom into your lives.

John 8:32 (TPT)

* photo from Unsplash

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Wounded and On the Run

Turn your wounds into victorious scars.

The North American bull elk is a spirited animal known for its strength and stamina and its ability to run for many miles, even after having been shot and wounded by a hunter. Known as blood trailing, the hunter tracks the elk, finds it and kills it.
In her breakthrough book, Wounded and On the Run, Wendy draws on the uncanny parallels between wounded Christians and the elk. Sharing her deeply personal story with courage and vulnerability, she reveals how the hunter, Satan inflicted decades of wounds involving shame, trauma and hurt within the church. This kept her running for years, until she found the power of the redemptive blood trail of Jesus, turning her worst pain into her greatest calling.

The story of my decades of wounding came from inside the church rather than outside of it. Yes, the hunter of your soul isn’t scared of using church folk to wound you in your most vulnerable places—this is perhaps one of Satan’s worst crimes. But this is not a book about shaming Christians into a confession of their guilt, and casting more shadows over a subject that can often be ignored by the church. The purpose of sharing my story is to shine light where there has been only darkness.

In Isaiah 58:9-12 (NKJV) it promises, ‘… If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.’

I’m extending my soul to yours, dear friend, because I believe that we are called to build and not tear down. To raise foundations, not to destroy them. This book is a sacred place for your wounds to turn into scars. Because scars are good. They’re a way of knowing that what a person is saying is true. It shows someone else you’ve been through something and come out the other side.

In John 20:25 (NKJV) Thomas says to Jesus, ‘…Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ Jesus had risen from the tomb and His body was fully restored. So, why would there be any scars? Jesus understood that it was better to show your scars rather than to hide them, so He showed Thomas his scars. However, He went one step further and told Thomas to reach his finger in so he could feel them. Thomas wanted to see Jesus’ scars before he believed what the other disciples said was true, but Jesus wanted Thomas to reach in and feel the scars that told the story of what he’d been through. ‘… Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side’(John 20:27 NKJV). Jesus was not ashamed to show His scars and we shouldn’t be either. Like Thomas, I want you to reach into these pages and feel Jesus’ scars, because it is His scars that will bring your healing, not mine. 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV) reminds us, ‘… by His wounds you have been healed.’

When my daughter was small, she wouldn’t show me her wounds. She’d cover up the cut or graze with her hand and tell me that I was not to look at it. I would tell her that I needed to look at the wound if she wanted me to help her. Reluctantly, after a lot of negotiating and maybe a promise of some ice cream, she would finally reveal her wound so I could clean it up and dress it. Now she’s an adult, I asked her why she would never let me look at her cuts or grazes. She said it was because she was so frightened by my reaction. I have to admit, I could be a little over-dramatic whenever my kids hurt themselves. Like my daughter, we too can hide the wounds we’ve experienced, but all God wants to do is to help us.

Whether it’s the shame or guilt of something we did or something that was done to us, we run and hide because we are scared of God’s reaction when we reveal our wounds to Him.

Hiding our wounds and running away has happened since the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3:9-10 (NKJV), God calls out to Adam and asks where he is. Adam replies, ‘… I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ Adam and Eve suddenly became aware of their nakedness after their encounter with the serpent and were scared of God’s reaction, so they hid among the trees.

Listen, dear friend, whether it was something you did or something someone did to you, God isn’t going to overreact. He wants to take a look at your wounds so He can help you. I think we forget that Jesus was wounded long before we felt the sting of rejection, betrayal, or disappointment in our lives. In Isaiah 53:4-5 (NKJV) it says, ‘Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.’ 

Did you catch that? Jesus endured the breaking so we could become whole, and this was done for us through His suffering and humiliation. You think that there is no hope for you, but there is. Jesus leaves the ninety-nine to look for the one. The Father is standing by the gate, scanning the horizon and waiting for the prodigal to return home again. You can’t keep running and bleeding out like this—you need to rest and be healed. I know, it sounds a painful process to go through, my friend, but the hunter of your soul isn’t far behind and he is already reloading his weapon for the next shot.

Do you keep on running? Or are you ready to surrender and let grace pave the way? If you want to turn the worst pain into your greatest calling, this book is for you.

Wounded and On the Run officially releases 7 October 2022. Pre-order now!