The Song of My Rag Tag Soul
By Lysa TerKeurst

“…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together will all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled up to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)

God has had me on such an amazing journey for the past seven years.You see it was 7 years ago that I knelt beside my bed in a hotel room and told God that I wanted to live a life completely and utterly surrendered to Him. Through my tears I asked Him to reveal to me what He required of me? His reply, "Radical Obedience."

I had been obedient but only to a certain point. I was good but I was not holy. I had faith but had no desire to be put in a position to really have to practice it.

So, I pulled out my Bible and read it with fresh eyes. Eyes that desired to see more than just words. Eyes that desired to see God Himself. I wanted to walk, breathe, live, and maybe even have parts of me die in order to get past just being a good Bible study girl. I was so full of knowledge and yet completely starved of experiencing God Himself.

Francis Frangipane wrote about this condition, "Right knowledge is vital, but we want more than just knowledge. We want the Presence of the Almighty to fill the vacuum of our doctrines with substance, the very substance of Himself."

So, the adventure started. I began praying the dangerous prayers and asking the unsafe questions. I shifted from “bless me” to “expose me.” I admitted my ugliness and confessed my unwillingness. And I dared to admit that I was not a woman of faith. For if I was completely honest, I lived a life that required no faith at all.

I cried. I hurt. Finally, finally the Lysa that so desperately wanted the world's acceptance, accolades, ease, answers, cover-ups, and half-hearted faith, died.

For the first time ever, I tasted life. God Himself was there. The more I saw Him, the more I was compelled to give Him everything. Francis also says, "The more we see God as He is, the more compelled we are to give Him our all."

My friend, giving my all has found me many days in the very fibers of my carpet crying puddles of tears while asking, "Are you sure God? I am scared. I am so not capable. If I were You, I'm not sure I would trust me with this."

Passionately pursuing God in absolute obedience led me to pull away from some friendships. It led me to a fast from TV for over 2 years. It led me to come to know about a war-torn nation full of crying orphans. It led me to hearing "mom" said with an African accent. It led me to deep places of questioning. It led me to be on the Oprah show. It led me to endure some of the harshest criticism I've ever known by people who don't understand. It led me Hollywood. It led me to understand that even having a national platform is very empty in and of itself. It led me to a place of desperation for God.

Now, after seven years of radical obedience, I wish I could give myself an “A” on this lesson and move on. But I must be honest. I find myself again in the midst of God's sweet presence saying, "I have been obedient but only to a certain point. I have been good but I am not holy. I have faith but still struggle with the desire to be put in a position to really have to practice it." And so the journey continues.

One thing I do know is that a few years ago the world was asking, “Is Jesus real?” That's not the question any longer. I'm convinced the question the world now asks is: "Does Jesus work?" Oh God, that my life could answer this question with a resounding yes, is the very beat of my fragile heart, and the song of my rag tag soul.

Dear Lord, help me know You in the deepest ways and taste and see that You are good and can be trusted in every way. Give me courage to live the life my soul was designed to live. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

Visit Lysa’s blog

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
In your journal, write about something that God has been asking you to give up in order to spend a little more time with Him.

Ask the Lord to help you see the joy beyond your sacrifice.

If any part of this resonates with you, post a comment on my blog and let me know about it.

Power Verses:
Psalm 36:5, “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (NIV)

John 5: 39-40, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (NIV)


Blogger Rebecca said...

Leave a comment if something resonates? Um, it all does, especially the part where you say that if you had to admit it, you lived a life that required no faith at all. That sounds like me. Things are safe. I want what you have. To taste life for the first time again. To pray the unsafe prayers. To ask the hard questions. To have to die to myself in order to gain more of Him. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post!

Yes, He has asked me to give up something. It's so silly but so important in my relationship with him. Being a stay at home mom I don't get the "daily scoop" from the coworkers like I used to and find myself hooked on morning news. Twice now He's asked me to put that aside and do my devotions. He put it on my mind a day ahead and yesterday it was easy for me to turn the tv over and focus on my time with Him again. The results were that immediate high feeling of walking hand in hand with Him that I am still on today. Thanks Lysa for leading us to a deeper relationship with him. These past few months I have found myself stepping over that "safe" barrier and into trusting Him. I am beginning to understand it feels a lot like Peter must have felt stepping out onto that water and walking. thanks so much for all of you who put this website together and share with us daily.

Blogger Ann said...

This totally resonates! Our Life Group (small group) at church is just starting to read "Naturally Supernatural" and an accompanying devotion, which completely challenges us to step out of our comfort zone and pray challenging prayers. Blessings to you as you continue to press on to the prize in Christ Jesus!

Blogger Joyful said...

Lysa, this devotional continues to speak to my heart. I read it on your blog post at the first of the year and I have re-read it SO MANY times and shared it with others. I think what grabs me the most is the way you come back and reflect on the same thoughts again at the end as you did at the beginning - and I say with you, I have been obedient, but only to a certain point. I have been good, but I am not holy. I have faith, but often have no desire to be put in a position to really practice it. If I was to be completely honest, I live a life that requires no faith at all. Wanting to join you in praying dangerous prayers and asking unsafe questions. Our life with Christ is a journey. God is using your message to invite me to surrender to His call and walk in faith.
(Have you ever read Beth Moore's poem, "The Journal"? I think of it every time I read your "Song of My Rag Tag Soul".)
Praying for you,

Blogger Erran Gilchrist said...

For many years I have battled with afternoon napping, especially when my 3 year old is sleeping peacefully. As an introvert, my bed and warm blankets offer warmth and solitude like no other place. However, I feel so guilty after waking, knowing I missed time with God. I'll skip the nap today, but it won't be easy. That's faith in action! Please pray for me to stay awake and alert. Thanks to the others who have shared from your hearts. I'm encouraged.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lysa - you have put into words my exact journey the last seven years. I too cried out to God and my life has been transformed. The trials and pains have been horrific (and brought me to understanding the "valley of the shadow of death") however the joy and peace of walking with Christ as a companion,not just a knowledge, is something I would not trade for anything. Thank you for sharing! We serve an awesome God!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for today's devotion, it really hit close to home.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lysa - THANK YOU for today's devotional. In December, I made a New Year's resolution to say "yes" to whatever God asks of me, no matter how scary or difficult. So far he's asked me to give a talk, start a women's support group & join a Christian singles' group (which is SO out of my comfort zone). I dare to question why He's chosen me...but I think I finally understand what "humble" feels like. Today, I could have sworn you'd found my journal & exposed me to the world. I am so thankful other women are experiencing the same trials & joys I am! Bless you for your honesty. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. This did resonate. I am a stay at home mom of 3. I struggle so much with finding this time. I squeeze in time to read these devotions each morning while they eat breakfast, but I sacrifice nothing - not cleaning, resting while they rest or those all important pick me up phone calls from my stay at home friends. It's time to get to my knees. I think I need to look at it as MAKING the time instead of FINDING the time. Thank you for your courage in exposing yourself.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This devotional certainly resonates and I know I need to get out of my comfort zone. But what is holding me back? How is this possible when your husband wants the comfort zone? Of course, God can change his heart or is that an excuse? Guess I have to figure that one out yet. That is all part of the faith experience. Thank you for sharing your heart.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This did resonate, being good but not being holy and not stepping out in faith,not even wanting to step out in faith.
I am just praying that the Lord will break my heart. You were broken and found yourself begging for God to give you more. I would like to be broken too, not hard-hearted.
But thank you for sharing your heart, God definitely spoke through you!!

Blogger Colleen Clapper said...

This devotion definitely resonates with me and I found it to be an encouragement "for such a time as this". I am presently writing a book and it's been blood,sweat, and tears. It's about grace through adversity. I have experienced our first daughter entering heaven, a baby (we decided to attempt to adopt) born with severe medical complications... returned to her mom due to a crooked adoption agency, a life threatening illness, a family accident, etc... I have been asked to minister in prisons, be a beauty queen in CA (even though I am a Chicago girl and a homeschool mom)and evangelize in California, etc... It has been a difficult but rewarding journey in that it's required me to be on my face before Him... again and again. I was just up praying... asking God if He was sure He wanted me to continue finishing the book. The warfare has been both intense and exhausting but He is asking me to be obedient. My prayer this past year has been to surrender all so that I may glorify Him with everything. Thank you for your obedience to Him and for writing this devotion! His timing is always perfect.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's amazing how relevant this is. I've found myself feeling like my relationship with God is far from where it should be, especially recently. On the outside, I may look like a good Christian girl, living an exemplary life, but on the inside, I know my heart's condition leaves much to be desired. Thus far through my short life I've had things easy, with not much to cause me to lean completely on God. I've been comfortable. I want to step out of my comfort zone, but I'm not sure how. Thank you for this devotion.
I think what may have resonated the most was the fact that after your roller coaster ride you found yourself praying the very same prayer again. I think I need to remember that in my walk with God, if i falter I should not get discouraged realising that I'm human. I should just continue to stive, pressing toward the mark...

Blogger Lysa TerKeurst said...

Thank you all for letting me know how this touched your heart and stirred your soul.

Sweet Blessings!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow! no accident i read this today and He's been asking me to give up what i know He has been asking me to and to fully surrender to Him. i am so guilty for not having done it yet. i need this reminder from Him constantly. thanks!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Song of My Rag Tag Soul !!!
Another 'aha' moment for me today while reading this devotion. I have struggled for weeks deciding to give up a job which requires me to be on call days, nites, many Sundays and Wednesdays. The job takes me away from my family (single mom of 3) and pulls me out of the fellowship of Christians at church regularly. My struggle is about losing the money to take another job with less hours. Your devotion spoke to me ... do I not have enough faith to trust Him for joy through the sacrifice. My oldest said to me, "Mom, so now YOU'RE not trusting God to take care of us? What's that about?"
Thank you for your words and for your wonderful ministry online.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oprah's 4 interviews with Jill Bolte Taylor were the first that Oprah did after Eckhart Tolle and they take everything Tolle talks about to another level. Oprah's copy of Jill's book, MY STROKE OF INSIGHT, was dog-eared and all marked up and kept reading from it the way she read from A New Earth and recommended it highly.

Oprah's recommendation was enough for me. I read My Stroke of Insight and I loved it too. This story is as inspiring as The Last Lecture or Tuesdays with Morrie - and even better, it has a Happy Ending!

I bought the book on Amazon because they have it for 40% off retail and they also had an amazing interview with Dr Taylor that I haven't seen anywhere else - Here is the Amazon link:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read "My Stroke of Insight" in one sitting - I couldn't put it down. I laughed. I cried. It was a fantastic book (I heard it's a NYTimes Bestseller and I can see why!), but I also think it will be the start of a new, transformative Movement! No one wants to have a stroke as Jill Bolte Taylor did, but her experience can teach us all how to live better lives. Her speech was one of the most incredibly moving, stimulating, wonderful videos I've ever seen. Her Oprah Soul Series interviews were fascinating. They should make a movie of her life so everyone sees it. This is the Real Deal and gives me hope for humanity.

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