The Lifter of My Head

I had the awesome priviledge of taking a little trip with my friend this weekend. Cheryl and I went to Birmingham, Alabama, to attend a leader training session for The Truth Project by Focus on the Family.  It was fabulous!  We stayed over Saturday night and attended worship at Shades Mountain Baptist Church where a former pastor of ours is now serving.  While the whole worship experience was wonderful, the music lifted me to heights I’ve not traveled in a while. Let me tell you about it:

If you read my last blog, then you know I’m traveling through a pretty rough valley right now — actually a series of valleys! Burden has been heaped upon burden, and I’ve been faltering under the load. At The Truth Project training on Saturday, God showed up, and in His hand He held a mirror. I looked long and hard at the reflection of my soul. It wasn’t a pretty sight. In God’s mirror, I saw that I had become insane.

What is insanity?  It’s losing touch with the truth. It’s saying one thing and living another. It’s knowing the truth but living the lies. According to Dr. Del Tackett, the director of The Truth Project, the enemy’s lies are so powerful that they can lead us into insanity. And I was going mad. I said I was okay; I said God would deliver me; I said “This, too, shall pass.” I knew the truth; I spoke the truth; but I wasn’t living by the truth.  Insanity.

Recognizing the illness is half the cure.  God and I worked through the diagnosis until deep into the night.

I was a bit raw from the purging and refining process — and a bit weary from little sleep — when I sat down on the pew Sunday morning.  But I was ready to move on toward the curing of my soul.  And, once again, God showed up. This time, however, instead of a mirror He brought a healing balm.

We’d only sung one song and then it happened. We sang a song that I’d heard before but only with my ears; this time, I heard it with my heart.  

Thou, O LORD, is based on Psalm 3, written by David when he was probably walking through his deepest valley. He wrote it on the run, when he fled from his son Absalom who wanted to depose King David and take the crown.*  His own son!  And this was just the current valley in a long string of valleys David had traveled. From his deepest despair, David wrote Psalm 3, a song of God’s pretection, His sustenance, and His deliverance — a song of TRUTH.  Psalm 3:3 forms the chorus of Thou, O LORD:

Thou, oh LORD, are a shield for me,
My glory and the lifter of my head!
Thou, oh LORD, are a shield for me,
My glory and the lifter of my head!

The LORD is my shield!  He is my glory!  His is the lifter of my head!  Oh, how that last phrase pierced my heart the first time I sang it. But the second time? It was the balm of God, slathered on my gaping wound and healing it! Through this song, God Himself reached down, placed the fingers of His right hand under my chin, and gently lifted it up, saying, “Lift up your head, my child! Look at me.  I am your Shield!  I am your Defender!  I am your Glory! This is truth; walk in it!”

Praise God who heals us of our every disease — even a season of spiritual insanity!Praise & hand of God

To the LORD, I cry aloud,

and He answers me from his holy hill.

I lie down and sleep;

I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

I will not fear…

(Psalm 3:4-5)


Enjoy the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing Thou, O LORD.

*For more on the background of David and Absalom, see my January 5 blog article, Lost Faith?
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Mercy Has a Face

Consider the statistics:

  • 1 in 3 girls becomes pregnant at least once before age 20.
  • 1 in 5 young women struggles with an eating disorder.
  • The number of girls seeking help from self-harm practices doubled last year.

Hurting young women in staggering numbers crying out for help.  What’s the answer?  Mercy.

Mercy Ministries (MM) is a Christian non-profit organization that offers a free-of-charge Christian residential program that helps young women between the ages of 13-28 who face life-controlling issues such as eating disorders, self-harm, drug and alcohol addictions, physical and sexual abuse, depression, and unplaned pregnancy.  MM provides these young women the opportunity to experience love, forgiveness, healing, and God’s transforming power.  It also offers transitional care, including life-skills training and assistance with housing, transportation, job placement, and school applications.

Having worked 8 years for the state of Tennessee at a correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls, MM’s founder and president Nancy Alcorn9_nancy_alcorn saw girls released from the facility only to return again – or die.  Nancy knew the only agent of true change is Jesus Christ and was determined to provide a sure hope and lasting healing for these young women. So in 1983, she moved to Louisiana and opened the first Mercy house in West Monroe.  MM operates on 3 guiding principles: 1) the girls come free-of-charge so that they’ll know they are loved and that MM is not making money off their pain; 2) MM accepts no money with strings attached, including any federal, state, or local government funds; and 3) all contributions made to MM will be tithed (10%) and given to other ministries.

How well does it work? Just a few months ago, an independent firm conducted an extensive survey to find out just how effective MM truly is.  What they found was staggering: a 94% success rate! That’s right; 94% of the girls who graduated from MM testified that Mercy Ministries changed their lives and that they have not returned to their old lifestyles or addictions.  These graduates can be found attending colleges, building diverse careers, working on the mission field, being godly wives and mothers — all the while sharing the message of freedom found only in Christ Jesus.

Almost 27 years after it began, Mercy Ministries (now headquartered in Nashville, TN) operates homes in Nashville, St. Louis, West Monroe, and Sacramento, as well as in Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Peru, and Australia. And Nancy’s not finished building yet!

Yes, Mercy has a face. It’s the face of Jesus Christ shining through the face of Nancy Alcorn, through all Mercy’s girls who’ve found freedom in Christ and who extend it to others, and through all those who have supported this life-transforming ministry known as Mercy Ministries. 

How about you? Does the mercy of Christ shine through you?

For more information on Mercy Ministries or to make a contribution, visit

(Information on MM was taken from the brochure Mercy Ministries: Lives transformed. Hope restored.)

A Nobody from Nowhere

“But, Lord,” I argued, “I’m a nobody from nowhere!”                 silhouette - small

How many times did I say this to God as an argument against starting a writing/speaking ministry? I’m a nobody from nowhere —  just a country girl who prefers bare feet to Pradas, a cookout on the patio to dinner at Delmonico’s, and a vacation camping in the Ozarks to a cruise around the Greek isles. (Okay, maybe not that last one!)

The truth? I was so fearful that it was not God calling me to write but my own flesh. I knew my pride; I battled it daily. I taught college Sunday School classes and loved it, and I think my students loved me. I relished in my women’s Bible studies and they seemed to enjoy them, too. I truly enjoyed the strokes to my pride they gave me.

How embarrassing would it be to write something, submit it, and then get rejected? Or, what if it was accepted, published, and then no one but my family and closest friends bought the book? I mean, who would want to read, much less purchase, something by a common Jane like me?

“No, God, I can’t write. I’m a nobody from nowhere.”

When I finally stopped whining, I heard God speak. “A nobody from nowhere? My child, that’s all I’ve ever used! Jeremiah was one of the poorest of Judah’s poor.  David was the baby of 8 boys and relegated to sheep duty. Ruth was a widow and an alien in Israel. Gideon was the least person in the weakest clan of Manasseh. Moses was a runaway murderer. Joseph was a young, imprisoned slave.  Abraham lived on the other side of nowhere. And Adam? Just a pile of dust.

“You see, my daughter, your focus is all wrong. This is not about you; it’s about Me. You may well be a “nobody,” but I am God. And I will be with you.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go…?”

And God said, “I will be with you…”

(Exodus 3:11-12)

When I picked my repentant self up off the floor, I knew He was right. I was too big in my own sight and God was too small. A “nobody” is “somebody” when walking arm-in-arm with God!

Let’s go, LORD!