You Haven’t Failed.


Sometimes life can make you feel like a loser.

It doesn’t always pan out the way we thought it would or should.

And it’s easy to look at the goals and dreams God has placed in your heart and wonder if you’ve screwed everything up through the wrong choices, trusting the wrong people, or by just not being, you know, enough.

But instead of asking if you’ve failed, ask yourself if you’ve grown in your relationships this past year.

Ask yourself if your trust in God has grown.

Ask yourself if you’ve made progress in becoming more of the son or daughter that God wants you to relax into.

Sometimes the toughest seasons are about letting down your guard and remembering that you and I are not God.

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! 

The Message

Romans 8:5


As people, we measure success by tasks completed but God measures success by love increased.


Which can be really difficult to wrap our hearts around.

I went through an amazingly intense season several years ago.

God took me through about 9 months of teaching me about the gift of discernment.

And when God teaches me stuff, it’s not usually in a nice, college lecture type setting.

It’s always in a very life-in-the-trenches-so-you-can feel-this-and-have-some-tactile-experience sort of way.

Okay, yeah, it was pretty much like boot camp.

But He taught me that I was powerful.

And I watched as afterwards, my prayers moved mountains.

My words helped set people free.

I could change the atmosphere in a room, just by walking into it.


It was incredible.



I kinda felt like Bruce Almighty.


And then the seasons changed.

And God was no longer teaching me about His power in me.


He started whispering about my humanity.

The things I wanted.

The things I needed.

The things that irritated me.

The situations in my life that had brought me to my knees.

And I suddenly went from being the most powerful I had ever been in my life to feeling the weakest.

Driven into the proverbial wilderness of life.

To figure out with God, what was going on in the hidden places of my heart.


And this change of season has not been an easy one for me.

Time and time again, I’ve had to fight the thought that I’ve failed.

That somehow I’d fallen from grace and just royally screwed everything up that God was doing in me.

That He was throwing His hands up in air and you know, just done developing me.

Meanwhile, I plummeted from the mountaintop straight into the valley, to learn how to embrace the divine while my feet still remained on Earth.


To add insult to injury, there’s quite a few people around me who are stepping into their destinies and God-given dreams this season.

And you know, I’m happy for them – sorta. 😉


So where am I going with this today?

I dunno, maybe just a reminder to you and me that God really, truly does know what He is doing.

And that you haven’t failed.

Whether you’re on the mountaintop, in the valley, or somewhere in between.

He is helping us to become more aware of His love for us and to heal us so that His love flows more freely out of us.

And while our eyes have been focused on task-based success, His eyes have always been on you and me.


Love you friend,


You can get Joyce’s book, Scattered, Finding God in Your Story, here.

Scattered, Finding God in Your Story

Joyce Ackermann



I am so loving the word “no” right now.

I would sing it like a choir boy if I could.




“No” is the word that God gave us as freedom from distracting thoughts, over busy schedules, expectations to be something we are not.

I’m not talking about character issues.

I’m talking about feeling anxious all the time.

I’m talking about being afraid that we are not being who others think we should be.

Maybe even, who we think God wants us to be.


Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

(The Message)


Stingy and lavish.

So the moral is we should give more and not less right?


I don’t think that’s what it means.

Plus it’s all followed up with “God loves it when the giver delights in the giving”.

I think it’s about our motivation.


It comes back to heart.

I’ve had moments where I have given lots out of a stingy heart, because it was what I thought was expected, and I’ve given little with all of the love I had within me.

God was way more excited that I was excited about the little than the lot.


Geez, if I’m honest, I can’t remember the last time I was excited to give of my time or my money or my prayers.

I just got in the habit of giving because it’s what we Christians do.

But this burnt out girl is learning, it’s not enough to just give.

God wants us engaged in our giving- from hearts that overflow.

He’s asking us,

Why do we do what we do?

Do we give because we want to?

Or because we think it’s expected?


Which brings me back to my Sesame Street rant on why I loooove “No.”

“No”, protects our hearts and our motivations.

So if we are going to have and keep big hearts towards people, we have to be able to have and keep our big “no’s” towards the things that would cause us to feel less than delighted in our giving.

That’s really hard because it hits right at the heart of what people will think of me.


I know, it’s hard to say no.

We want people to think that we are the awesome people we know we are- but sometimes the most awesome and sincere and honest thing we can do is nicely say “no”. It keeps our hearts from resenting people and it keeps what flows from our hearts pure.

“No” gives us rest.

“No” gives us breathing room.

“No” gives us space to really discern our own hearts and God’s.


So, not that you need it, but if you were looking for someone to give you permission to say “no”, I’m saying it.  Say “no” to things the things that have been slowly killing your joy and your relationships with others.  Say “no” to the false expectation to be something you’re not.

Because here’s the best part, in the “no” we have more “yes” for each other and for a God that loves us enough to give us a word like “no”.







Falling In Love



There’s something about love that is both terrifying and beautiful.

A gift.





Seeing and well, being seen.

Surrendering to love is a scary thing.

There’s no self-protection to hide behind.

And no such thing as an emotional condom.


But I promise, God is trust worthy and he’s good.

I had a season where I was muscling through life,  wait, who are we kidding – I have a lot of seasons where I just muscle my way through life – which is pretty pitiful because I’ve got like no upper arm strength.

L7 Weenie – right here.


My M.O. is to suck it up and soldier on and then I’m exhausted and my spiritual walk becomes oh so not spiritual and no longer relational.

It’s all my effort and no God.


But I’ve got some pretty good peeps in my corner and a really good friend of mine felt like God was telling her to share this verse with me one night.


Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

Psalm 34:8 (The Message)

And today I’m passing it along.

Because he is really good.

He’s good, and he doesn’t just expect you to believe some words on a page without any experience.

He’s the God who created things like butterflies and oceans and hugs and raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. . .uh-oh, I feel a song coming on.

Come back to love.

If your walk with Jesus has become a little stale and you’re using phrases like “my walk”.  It might be time to fall in love again.


To quote Jason Gray:

“It’s gotta be more like falling in love,

Than something to believe in

More like losing my heart

Than giving my allegiance”

Jason Gray from the song, “More Like Falling In Love”


Photo Credit: “Ranuculus” by Pezibear is licensed under CC BY 2.o


Who is God?

What if the God you thought you knew wasn’t God at all?

Jesus called him Abba, which means Daddy or Papa in English.

Calling God, “Daddy” or “Papa” seems scandalous.  He’s the Almighty after-all, which I always understood to mean:

Harsh, unpredictable, ready to crush me if I pissed him off.

This last year has been forcing me to take a second look at how I relate to God the Father.

Who is God?

I was pouring my heart out to God a couple of weeks ago, wanting to know who he really was – his character.  Which all stemmed from a dream I had, where the Holy Spirit showed me I had this mouse of a reoccuring thought that kept eating it’s way through the fridge of my life.

I asked God for the revelation of what that mouse was – he showed me that I saw him as harsh and hard.  This led me to wanting God to rain down holy mousetraps so I could snap that bugger’s neck (so sorry for you animal lovers out there).

So, I’m there lost in worship and intermittently praying when God speaks ever so softly to my heart and reminds me of

Matthew 11:29 (HCSB)

All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.

Joyce, I am gentle.


I am always gentle with my daughters.

Never in my life had I seen God as gentle – I don’t know if I just fell asleep every time I read that verse or just thought it didn’t apply to me somehow.  I saw God more like Zeus, draped in a white toga and hurling thunder bolts at a moments notice.

And here he’s saying, I’m gentle – you’ve had the wrong image of me.

I’ve been worshiping a really false image of God for the past decade of my life.

Okay, so who are you really God?

I am love (1 John 4:8). 

Okay, yeah but then what is love?

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (The Message)

Anything less than that is not God.

So, what if we measured all of our experiences where we thought God let us down or was harsh with us by the definition of love?

We would find that those experiences were not God.

So, that was a couple of weeks ago that God began showing me that I don’t really know him like I thought I did.  And so he’s been taking me on this journey of showing me what love really looks like, what he really looks like.

This theme of God being a Father keeps popping up over and over again for me.

I think he’s trying to make a point.

I was at a conference this weekend – guess what it was about?

All about God the Father, Daddy, our Papa.