A Lot Can Happen in Three Years

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Three years ago when I stepped out of the radio studio I had no real clear goals other than the fact that I wanted to reach the lost with the Gospel, be involved in connecting with people, and help to build God’s Church all over the world. At the time, I knew what He had laid on my heart to do concerning the nations, and I’ve held Africa in the deepest recesses of my heart.

I didn’t know what the next step would involve, but God simply asked if I would trust Him in my next move.  Yes, I said move.  When that word first came to my awareness, I was a bit shocked.  I had been asking God to use me in a bigger way but was thinking (although very limited in my finite mind), I imagined a new plan would come to fruition someday.

I also believed that I would write books someday and several would be published for many to read. I never knew HOW or WHEN these dreams and trips would come to pass, but currently, as I sit here typing this, I see things unfold that I once could not even articulate.

Today on the fresh heels of Thanksgiving and returning from Africa, I am even more grateful and in awe of what has occurred in the past three years.  I have no magic formula, but over the years here is what I have learned:

Give yourself the space to dream again.

Get involved in your local church.

Do wholeheartedly whatever is before you.

Don’t have any agenda, but serve willingly.

Wait for God to open doors.

Submit to leadership.

Trust God because He is always in control when we are not.

There is no wasted experience; God uses everything.

God makes a way where there seems to be no way.

Have faith.

Be courageous.

Stay the course.

Be faithful.

Always remain part of something bigger than you.

Stay teachable.

Surround yourself with wise advisors.

Do nothing from selfish ambition.

Keep stretching and growing.

Continue gratitude.

Rally others to journey with you.

Bloom where God plants you.

Believe God for who He says He is.

Bonus: Obey God, He will not lead you astray.

Now I assume you are thinking, this makes a fancy pants list and all, but why should this work for you?  Or perhaps you have different goals than I.  Both could be true.  When you consider the infinite plans that God has for all of us, it’s easy to think small about what God can do through us.

The biggest truth I have realized over time is we rarely know the details of the journey when we start; like Abraham, we often go forth not knowing where we are going. But when you keep your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and the covenant promises, He will always take you to your destination.  Whether you come kickin’ and screamin’ or run willingly to Him, either way, God always knows what journey is best for each of us.  He is the only One who knows us better than we know ourselves and has gifted each person the uniqueness that makes us who we are.

He is good at being our Judge, our Father, and but also our Friend.  Some additional thoughts about following God are (and it’s important to remember these things too!)

God’s plans will…

Take longer than you think,

Cost more than you think,

Hurt more than you think,

BUT GOD AND you are…

Braver than you know,

Stronger than you seem,

Smarter than you think,

And loved more than you know.

Recently I was shopping with my husband and he purchased the above saying on a wooden sign. I asked him why he wanted to buy that for me and he said, “I will not always be with you, but I want you to remember these things.” The Lord also encourages believers in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  As if you are the only one, God steps into time, to author your story, and to develop you with a unique plan all your own but He loves it when you partner with Him in the grander scheme of His plans.

When you don’t know what to do, take the next step and trust God. Sometimes it looks like you are going in a different direction than you thought, but obedience is worth it. And when you grab ahold of the Father’s heart for you, then you will realize you are loved more than you know.  His heart will lead you no other way but the right way.  Follow, trust, and take heart.  Oh and hang on, it’s wild out here!

 

Six Words To Get You Through

A photo by Wilson Lau. unsplash.com/photos/MvjO-aMRwkE

It was 20 years ago when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I’ve watched him struggle to a decent level of health with many medical complications as a result of his diagnosis. There have been some good days for sure, but as a wife and help-mate, there have been more days that I wish we could do over. Instead of harboring regret and resentment, I’ve learned that every marriage has “those” days when it’s cloudy and the skies are not singing a sunny attitude.

Change in attitude came by faith in his simple prayer one day, “God, help us to be optimistic about all things.” I realized what I had leaned on to get me through the hard years was more than the disappointments that life had to offer.

Six words that have gotten me through struggles like cancer and hard days since are:

“You’ll get through this, have faith.”

Life is full of many scenarios and simply said we didn’t “sign up” for trouble. Like it or not everyone has good and bad “stuff” to contend with. Problems aren’t specifically set up for the result in disappointment but rather problems present opportunities to see God get you through…by faith.

There’s a choice in how you respond to life and when holding to a positive attitude, it can get you through the toughest of days. Let’s break this encouragement down word by word. In those six words, I found these treasures:

1. “You’ll – You will: Remember, yes you, reading this right now…aren’t singled out. The world is not against you. No one is out to get you. You can’t control every circumstance that comes your way, but remember you CAN choose how you respond to it.

2. “Get” – You get: Don’t buy into the lie that a bad situation has come because God is upset with you or you’ve done something wrong. God is for the good and right in this world. Whatever the situation is God can reach down and help you. He is always on your side, in a good mood and you get to ask Him to intervene!

3. “Through” – Get you through: there is an end to suffering believe it or not. “This” too shall pass. Healing comes for the hurts and wounds. Tomorrow is a new day, there’s newness every morning. Even when it seems endless, storms don’t last forever. Pray continually and don’t stop once the clouds clear!

4. “This” – You and “this”: There are many events that come into our life that the Enemy uses to marginalize, isolate, and segregate us from hope and God’s love. Satan knows when we have loneliness, rejection, and oppression, we become weak and closed off. Our numbers tank spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. When we want to run from our conflicts or storms that’s when we should be reaching out for comfort and support through together strength with friends, spouse, church, and family. There’s strength in numbers. No man is an island and as humans, we weren’t built to go through life alone. Even in paradise – the Garden of Eden – God said “It is not good for man to be alone.”

5. “Have faith” – You MUST have faith: Jesus said you will have trouble in the world but John 16:33 ecnourages our faith by taking part of His heart, to overcome whatever has come to plague yours. When having faith it strengthens you to the end! Help is surrounding you, to navigate you through. There is a difference in talking about what faith is and believing God is your help and strength by faith. God is who He says He is!

Through it all, we count it all joy.  But how can you be joyful?  The truth is numbers don’t lie, but they often don’t tell the truth. Consider the joy that Jesus had as His reward on the way to the cross. What I know about crucifixions, the process is the most cruel way to die, but yet Jesus went joyfully. The process of life is often full of handling cruelties and torments of this world. But remember, you too will get through, because there’s joy to be gained by going through it with Jesus.

Hope that helps you this week as you are going through some tough situations. I would like to pray for you so please let me know what your situation is and I will!

Learning Joy In Rejection

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I’ve told the story before about a giraffe named Gerald who dreams of being a dancer with the other animals in the jungle.  Gerald has the desire but his ability to dance like the others isn’t quite up to par.  His knees are crooked and his legs are thin.  All the other animals mock him when he approaches the jungle dance floor.  His swagger  (as they say in jungle-eeze) isn’t zig-zaging like the others.

Gerald took lessons, studied the moves, more grooves, and eventually developed his own style. One day, on jr.audition day, Gerald showed up prepared to zig and zag in a confident direction.  After many hours on the dirt floor, he perfected a secret move all his own and still wasn’t chosen.

As he lumbered off in a dejected fashion, the lonely lanky spotted giraffe felt rejection from his “wanna-be’s”.  Downcast, he met up with his cricket friend who chirped “Gerald, you just need a different song.” Gerald’s heart lightened a little as he took the cricket’s advice.  He retreated to his own little jungle corner to let his heart dance free.

Soon, Gerald was prancing and sashaying once again.

Suddenly, a crowd gathered in amazement and recognized Gerald could dance after all.  All he needed was his own little space be brave and bold, freedom to unleash his rhythm by the light of the moon.

It might seem strange to you to tell you I think about Gerald often.  I know how this kind of rejection feels.  What the story doesn’t tell you is Gerald had a lot of doubt going into dancing.  So much doubt he wanted to give up.  He wanted to do anything else instead of dancing.  Gerald also had a big heart to teach others to dance but he couldn’t lead out because he felt unqualified.

The story didn’t mention how Gerald was faithful to his craft.  There were lots of practices he only watched from the outlying and surrounding undergrowth as the other animals gracefully swayed.  Gerald watched in wonder at their magical skill.  He longed to be included and seen by them.  But shamefully, self-doubt kept coming against him.  Opposition came in the jeers and taunts of his so-called friends.  Provocation came from his inner critic.  He was discouraged and just wanted to give up.

Why does this story move me so much?  It has a happy ending like most children books do and Gerald found the courage to recover a dream.  For me, it also speaks of how we should never give up uncovering who God created us to be.  If you are honest with yourself, wouldn’t you admit you want to belong somehow?

The search for purpose sometimes leads a person to unexpected places.  Michael Hyatt says to do “what makes you cry” in life.  What I’ve found so far is dreams are full of hard work and lots of practice.  There’s lots of pieces to making a dream work.  There’s even more work to get someone to notice your dance in a jungle full of excellent dancers.

So why should we try?  If Micheal Hyatt were here now I would ask him, “What’s the point?”  It doesn’t matter if you are a musician or not, please watch Victor Wooten’s talk. His lessons about life, success, creativity, learning, passion, permission and smiling are profound.

In using my creative confidence, I still have some lessons to learn.  Like Gerald, my dance doesn’t look like others, but mine is a worthy and weighty move .  I have also learned to not lean on feelings but to dance anyway.  Taking action on an idea requires applied practice and a dedication to stay the course.  Dancing takes courage, skill, and ability.  It takes guts to put your best foot forward.  It’s risky, hard and you may lose.  But… you will never know discovery unless you try.  It’s never to late to be what you might have been.

What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.

Speaking metaphorically, life is a dance.  We all have a unique design made by a God without rival.  And when an incomparable God has placed His uniqueness within, it’s our best response to practice and sing in the octave He gave you.  There’s no two dancers the same, each are unique in every way.  And finally, God just loves it I show up for practice, even with my deficiencies.

So where are you in this dancer’s world?

Joy at the Cross

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I’ve been thinking a lot about mothers lately mostly because I am watching the health and mental capacity of my mom decline.  The once vibrant mom I knew is slowly fading with dementia day by day.  It’s like a slow death.  So I asked the Lord to bring me joy FOR her.

Joy is difficult to realize when you lose someone you love dearly.

However, there are some situations when it’s easily accepted.  For instance, at the end of person’s life with the natural progression of old age.  We often ask for early release unto death with the suffering by pain and with the terminally ill.  Over the years with technology and advances in modern medicine, we’ve even grown accustomed to watching pain close up too.

How can joy ease the pain of death?  I think about how Mary, the mother of Jesus handled it.  The Bible relates her standing at the cross where Jesus died.  She had support system that included, John the beloved, and two other Marys.  Onlookers to this event had a front row seat to watch the immense pain-filled suffering of Jesus, and watch her response as his mother.  I would have been wailing if it were me.

I’m grateful she handled it gracefuly.

The Bible doesn’t talk about her emotions a lot, but I assume she cried.  This tragic event would be in addition to all the other times a mother weeps for her children from her kitchen, on her knees, or while sharing with other mothers.  Mary was a normal human and full mothering emotions after all.  Did she use self-control?  Did she weep for days when Jesus died?  Was there any consolation for Mary even knowing Jesus was going back to the Father?

There had to be some comfort for her, afterall, Jesus predicted his death many times.

I’m also reminded as a mother that watching your child die, at any age, is never easy.  I know, however, Mary was highly favored and entrusted with the care of Jesus unto death.  I would agree joy is part of God’s design which can be activated in very tough and joy-less situations like death, grief and loss of a loved one.

So where is the joy in death?  Mary witnessed death with intensity.  No one expects to be crucified, a brutal and cruel death nor leave this world in such a way.  So where’s the joy in watching death slowly snuff out life?  Jesus explained how joy works in his last meeting with the disciples and I think he explained it specifically for mothers to grasp ahold of.  Here’s his final word on death:

“The Disciples’ Grief Will Turn to Joy”

John 16: 15-33  Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”  At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”

Jesus saw they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

Wait a minute, did Jesus just say joy is completed in death?  As hard as death is to watch, it’s even harder to accept the reality we will never see our loved one again this side of heaven.  But encouragement comes with joy, because we know one day we will join them again in Heaven.  Jesus encourages us further for days filled with trouble…

“I have told you these things, so in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I believe Jesus was saying there is joy found in death, and this joy completes our peace.  Joy, through death, comes in knowing where our final destination is.  There’s an eternal Home waiting for our arrival and for many of us, a lot of loved ones are waiting for us to arrive!

There’s joy in knowing there is an end to pain, suffering, and a place where automatic joy begins.  So when watching someone die a slow painful death, for me joy paves the way for my faith and gives me assurance that I too can have joy here right now.  Joy has become my sacrifice of praise and helps my heart to understand there is joy complete when peace comes.

Let this kind of joy be yours as you suffer through a death or difficult situation.  The opportunity to choose joy is only given this side of  heaven.  Heaven is already abounding and full of JOY.

Jesus gives us joy but He IS JOY too!

The compassionate heart of Jesus amplifies joy in our lives.  God knows how valuable and helpful it can be, as joy becomes our reward for going through all situations.  You can have the attitude of joy in your heart with great rejoicing on your lips even in death.

 

When You Need To Love

To every girl who has ever wanted to be a mother…

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One of the biggest pieces of momma guidance my mother ever gave me was, “If everything in life was as easy to do as the dishes, then we wouldn’t have any problems in this life.”  Ironically, she always proclaimed (what her mother probably said too) as she was washing dishes.  As she was doing life she was giving life.  Okay now maybe I get it now.

If I were to tell you one piece of advice to help you be a good mother, I couldn’t contain it into one word (except I can but I am going to make you read all they way through the post to get to it).

What mothers need today is…(because mothering is risky!)…

To the mothers who gave life to your first child or another child, I celebrate a new life with you.

To the mothers who lost a child, no matter the age, I cry with you.

To those who are in the trenches, aka dirty diapers, constant plates of cold food, wearing stained shirts on a daily basis, I appreciate you.  Go get yourself a cup of hot coffee, it helps.

To those who walk the hard path of handicap and/or special needs child, infertility (complete with month after month of frustration) with pokes, prods, many tears and disappointments, I walk with you. (I don’t know how you feel, but would guess it’s more than you bargained for.)

To those who are foster moms, adoptive moms, mentor moms and spiritual moms, I thank you from the bottom of my heart – you’re doing what someone else could have done but didn’t.  We NEED more moms like you.

To those who lost their mothers, I mourn with you.

To those who have an empty nest, or your little birdie is flying off to college soon, you’re going to be okay, even though it feels like you can’t breathe right now.

To the mom who had to hold the hand of cancer (this year or ever in your life), you are brave, a woman of valor even if it was to hold a hand and help someone limp through it.

To the mom who is pregnant with new life, I anticipate with you.

My best advice to you, if you are a mother or want to be, can be contained in one word, however please…take this to heart.  You won’t get today back so…

love…(yes, you will have trouble in your mothering life)!

Love is risky and sometimes without reward but it has a value and a worth that is measured unlike gold or silver.   For some of you it’s all you can do to hold it together.  I feel ya, and might know your pain.

No matter what season of life you are in, love is the common chord in which holds your world together.  You can know all the wisdom in the world, build the biggest spaceship, solve cancer, and cure ailments but “if you have not love” then…

even if you have given it all away, given up all you wanted, or ever dreamed of and “have not love” then…

Love… is what Mother’s Day is all about.  We, as moms, love you, right now, right where you are. Even if you don’t see it, we work hard for you for a little hug.  We sacrifice for those few words once said…”I love you.”  One thing we don’t do is assume.  We need to hear that we are valued, appreciated, and worthy.  I know…we are needy like that.  Might I just suggest that you are too?

You may not know this, but we measure ourselves with you.  We don’t like that about ourselves but we do.  And if you could just walk a mile in our shoes, we only want what’s best for you.  We want the best for you over our own needs.  There are some days that inadequacy gets the best of us, even on those days we feel silently weak.  We want to be brave and courageous, and it’s hard to do this mother thing day after day.

I wish my mother would have told me how hard it was going to be as a mom.  On the other hand it’s best she didn’t say a word, except love me when I was the most unloveable, very needy for a hug, and gave it all away without condition.  She wasn’t perfect, but I can say she wanted more for me than she ever had.  It’s not until you are older do you appreciate the nurturing kind of love a mother gives so readily.

To experience this you have to have love, lost love, and hold to a love that “bears all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” (1Corintians 13).  To know an endless love or a deep love, or a love that doesn’t pass away, makes a difference in your life.  Now that I am older, I am beginning to get a fuller picture of a love in which I am fully known.

So this Mother’s day, I have more “faith, hope, and love” that abides, endures and bears a love that brings a life of renewal more than once a year.  Pursue love, friends, it’s risky to find it, to enjoy it, to let it be the greatest, but it’s the biggest and best to give love when it’s the hardest.

After all, you are here because of love.  Don’t forget that.

 

When you need rest

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I wasn’t sure what to expect in this season.  I received an open invitation to a season of rest and was, quite honestly, afraid of it.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.”

Why would a person be afraid of resting?  Could it be that there was something to learn in this season too?  Most people crave a break from the normal routine, but an odd feeling of unrest was rising up within me.  It was a battle to open my mind to the idea of resting.  But God has proved a worthy point in this season too!  The very thing I was afraid of was the very thing I needed to realize.

Rest is a gift from heaven.  The Holy Spirit whispered…”what if I could show you an easier way…”  My mind immediately spiraled into a “oh no, (regretful sigh) I’ve been doing this wrong!”.  Ever found yourself in a proving season that you are pointing inward instead of outward?  I have and that’s NOT a fun place to dwell.

Let’s talk in analogies here.  Imagine you are making a pizza with all the wonderful toppings on it and then baking it to perfection with the cheese all melting perfectly golden.  You slice it up to individual slices and then serve it.  You watch the taster just sigh with delight, and know you have hit their cheese nerve of delicious-ness!  It’s so wonderful, you know how to replicate this delicious delight plus how to serve a wonderful pizza product.

Rest in God is like that perfect sigh of delight that you want to replicate in your life.

But how do you get to this kind of rest?  Think of the pizza and it’s many slices.  The gifts inside of you are like those pizza toppings.  The crust and the sauce are like a foundation of faith in God.  The Holy Spirit adds the cheese, to help with those divinely placed gifts to grow and give the delight to you and back to God when you are doing what He has designed you to do.

God has placed His design upon your life a long time ago.  Maybe you are in tune with those gifts or not.  Fact remains there is divine “something” inside of you and you long for that to show in your life.  I’ve had those same longings to know and show God’s working in my life too.

Is what I write here the cheese?  Is this what God has called me to do?  Or is there more?  Yes, and yes.  I believe there is MORE of God to discover and how it’s proven in my life is something only HE can do.  So when I was faced with the thought that I might of missed or messed this design up, well, then I recognized I needed to rest my heart on His.

I needed another dose of holy confidence and assurance that this season was the place of rest for my pride and to go gently unto Him again with all my stuff and lay it down.  Rest assured that entering His rest is nothing to be afraid of nor reject.  It’s His perfect design inside of you, a longing to align with His heart FOR you.  You can’t mess up His work because He is more than that.

God’s work is bigger than your human efforts.  He works in the supernatural realm, which means outside of your human effort, or outside of your way of thinking, or outside of your realm of human influence.  God is at work in your life in all and every one of your life seasons.  No matter what you need, even when you don’t know what you need, you can have rest and He wastes NOTHING!

When looking for the work of God it’s often left at the bridge of faith and put in the doorway of our minds.  We have a choice to believe it and receive it, thus believing that God has gifted you with His divine “sweet spots” of grace over your life too!  Faith is a gift in itself and has to be received supernaturally to believe God for who He says He is.

Now, I don’t know where you are in all of “resting” idea.  Having faith is a good thing, believing God for who He says he is a great thing!  The Supernatural way is the “more” things of God.  To have confidence in your faith will get you there, and will keep you where God wants to work in you and through you.  So don’t question His invitation when the seasons change for you, or look different than you expected.  Even in seasons of rest He is operating from His heart FOR you.

Rest in His confidence is a sweet place.

Resting on Him is a great pleace of trust, is good FOR us, and often missed as needed healing in our lives.  Rest is a choice that even God made on the seventh day of creation.  When I think about how intentional He was in setting aside an entire day to rest on what He had done in the previous six days of creativity, I realize that rest is needed to remain in a creative place plus the fact that rest is a HUGE part of His design for our lives.

Resting, assurance and confidence are sweet places to dwell on and in.  I think, no…I believe, I don’t have to be afraid of resting when it aligns with His creative design in me and around me.  Thank you God that you give us rest.  Yes I will come to You to receive the lighter burdens you have assigned for me.

 

 

Living your real life online

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We are on a stage with some kind of audience. With the current explosion of social networking there is a bigger “stage” to project our lives. Your stage is as mine and the choice to be real is the same. Our lives should be a reflection of Christ. So the challenge is to make each moment count making each tweet and status update matter.
I like to follow the Five “R’s” as my rule when sharing online:  Real ~ Relevant ~ Reaching ~ Ready ~ Responsible
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Being real in today’s world is a challenge.  We project that we have it all together. Now that we are saved, life as we know it is grand and problem free. Get real….nothing is further from the truth.  Being real with the personal struggles in our own lives is one way we can connect with those who need to know the answers. Don’t make judgmental barriers with those who need grace because you are afraid to expose your inner struggles with someone who might grow through yours. And drop the expectation that new Christians are supposed to act like mature Christians. Stop that!

Being relevant in today’s world is important.  We must know our culture without embracing the practices so that we can connect with those who are seeking truth. I think there is tremendous amount of opportunity online, with tremendous responsibilities to shine God’s light in a dark, obsessive, and possessive world by connecting in manners that are pure and encouraging. The boundaries are individual for each one of us.  We each have lines we can’t cross nor shouldn’t cross. Let God’s truth be your guide as you lead and engage people to Jesus.

Be reaching in your own faith journey. How to be the best witness to all 5000+friends on Facebook? Speak grace, speak the truth in love. Give godly encouragement and seek wise counsel. Be known for righteousness and truth. Don’t waiver on your beliefs, stand firm on your faith foundation. If the life you are living isn’t impacting those around you, it might be because your life doesn’t look much different than theirs. If you are of the sharing nature, your change will spill out to others who are reading your status updates, your tweets, your blogs.

Be ready with why God makes a difference to you. If God has truly impacted your life, you should be as excited as the latest shoe store sale or new nail color at your local salon. You don’t have to sugar coat your story with whipped cream and cherries.  Changed people change people (in cooperation with the Holy Spirit). God’s grace and mercy don’t need any more adjectives to taste delicious, it stands alone as a brilliant message.

Be responsible with your opportunities. God has changed your life, so what? Are we supposed to sit on that message and just count down the days until we die and go to heaven? No. God saves a place for us in Heaven yes, and counts our days to be sure. But He wants to build His kingdom here on earth and entrusts the gospel message with believers to bring others alongside to know Jesus too.  It’s not just about Who we are following but it’s also about who we are leading and who’s following us.

People are watching us that is for sure. We must stand for truth; let your truth shine out the Light. Light trumps the darkness every time. Plastic lives only build barriers.

How do you use your social network to connect for Christ?

When you feel like you can’t

Some days I feel weak. Some days I feel like I don’t quite measure up to who God has called me to be and what God has called me to do. I guess that’s just it: Mom, Missionary, Public Speaker, Cleaner, Hammy, Wife, Accountability Partner, Mentor, or whoever and whatever is on the list today. Perhaps you have felt this way too.

Don’t we all feel this way from time to time? There are those days that we feel like we don’t quite measure up. We have seasons where things go great and then we have seasons that remind us how much we need God on an hour by hour basis.

It’s only by grace that we can live a life of faith, but it’s certainly by God’s mercy that we can live well and excel while doing it. For those days when feel like you can’t, just remember that seasons of suffering and sorrow remind us that this world is not our home. I hope this helps in some small way.

I finished a long and arduous season of many emotions, plain and simple. It came from everything and hit all at once. Family, writing, outreach, home, parents, emotions, children. All of it, in everything. There was one verse that got me through.

Notice I said “through”. I took a page from Paul’s testimony through hard times.

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:19

God sends us through those “desert” seasons and by His grace I have traveled through many of them. I have days where I feel so in tune with God’s Spirit, and then there are those other days when I let fear control my thoughts. When fears assail me, I disengage from God’s strength to do this life apart from Him.

Thankfully I am learning to go to God for EVERY need through each and all seasons. I believe that God will and does and has supplied ALL my needs according to His grace and mercy, His glorious riches. No.matter.what day or time or year.

I have also found that my emotions are NOT dependable. Faith isn’t about feelings, Faith is about trusting that when I do run to God for everything and anything, all the things, those “all emotions” are feelings I can leave at His feet. I trust Him to get me through all things by what He shows me, be it by the wisdom comes through His Word, His people, or through His voice. I know I can trust Him on those days when I feel like I can’t make it through the next thought!

All that being said, I am so thankful for new seasons. For the new way of thinking of God, how He supplies and I don’t have to manufacture the good “Christian” answers. The new way of praying with a complete heart of trust, the new way of believing that having this trusting faith pleases my Father. The new way to do life, no matter what circumstances are plaguing me at the moment.

This trust has done a wonder in my life and it has ignited my heart and mind. I am thankful for the “through” abilities of a God who loves us, who is for us, and for reasons that are for His pleasure, work in ways that we can’t understand to leave us in wonder of His glorious riches.

When I see His character displayed in my life, I am fulfilled, satisfied, and made whole. My identity and value is in knowing that I am a part of the priesthood of the saints through all the seasons of life. We need the “deserts” to fully appreciate when God showers his blessings.

Thank you Jesus for deserts and grace to get through them but thank you also for the promise of Your holy words into our lives. ~ Amen.

What’s a time when God got you through something that you faced?

The place of Love

On any given day I am this child in my mind.  Hungry.

Hungry for more of God and His Spirit than ever before.

I ask.

I seek.

I knock.

I wait upon the Lord as He renews my strength.

With each day, each passing moment, I am this child coming to her Father, a loving parent, most loving Pappa, who listens to my whines, my heart cries, my tears, my language of praise, my heart’s love for her Daddy.

God lavishes His love and mercy upon those who seek Him.  He reminds me that He is with me still, that He has never left me nor forsaken me.  The Spirit reminds me of His abiding presence.

I will remain in this place of hunger.  That’s were my heart takes me content.

My heaviness turns into song.

My worries turn into trust.

My faith is enlarged.

The Impossible happens as I take His heart and let it be mine.

His greatest of these is Love.  As I remain in His love, I am remaining in the width, the strength, the depth, the wisdom of His mercy, His grace, His name for the beloved.  His character displayed…

the joy,

the peace,

the patience,

the kindness,

the goodness,

the faithfulness,

the gentleness,

and

the self-control

of God Himself, His character, His Spirit, His Presence, His Being in me and through me.

Remain in His love like a hungry child.  With God, only His grace satisfies.

Photo credit:  Paul Chasusa, brilliant photographer capturing life on the other side of the globe.

How to dream like a child

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Any dreamer knows that dreaming is important. It’s like giving your heart a permission slip to explore the “what if’s”. For me dreaming has become an important tool in letting go of the small.

Maybe you have found yourself in a similar situation, you dream, you keep your eyes on the prize or the goal. You become obsessed in thinking about the end results but you compare the process of making your dream a reality according to someone else’s dream.

Your dream isn’t yours until you own your dream.

Let me explain it like this. I’m spending some time with my little four-year-old grandson Avery. He likes firetrucks. He has lots of books about firetrucks and has many toy firetrucks to play with. He wants to be a fireman when he grows up. He has a dream of being a helper in the community. He even took a tour of his local fire station for a birthday excursion.

It was so cute, he and his little friends exploring a big shiny red truck with it’s super loud alarm horns. The firemen there were kind and explained the process of training and rigorous upkeep to maintain their job as a fireman. You have to be able to lift and carry 100 lbs. That seems a little daunting to me, but it didn’t phase Avery.

After he visited the Fire Station #29 he was even more enthralled with becoming a fireman. Now, he’s only four and didn’t have the adult comprehension of what that occupational goal has in store for him. He has still no idea of the process of getting to his life time achievement. Right now he’s a dreamer with a goal to be a helper and wants to drive a large red vechicle.

It’s completely understandable that our dreams quickly escalate beyond us. Life overwhelms us into thinking it’s hard to grasp a hold of how big a dream really is. Last year I found myself in a situation that I almost gave up on writing full time because I grappled with fear and doubt about how I would ever achieve such a lofty calling.

Lofty indeed, but only in my mind. That was before I owned my dream. Since that day, I realized my cure was in the process and then it was all made simple in my mind. That’s the way dreams work. They lure us in with our creative imagination and then like to help us wander about. We love to explore the what if’s and why nots. I am sometimes not practicle in my dreams, and that’s by my own admission.

I know this about dreaming. The cure for our souls is often found in dreaming. And once you own your dream you can wrap your heart around something that seems bigger than yourself.

A dream worth having has to be owned and aligned with the way you are programmed on the inside. Your dream can’t be compared to others, and the process of getting there will look different. For me, it’s probably not going to look all shiny, red and flashy like a fire truck. But my dream is going to help people.

God has given vision to my dream of writing a book about losing 132 lbs. Now it’s imperative, now more than ever, to own my story. My part in this is to tell of His glory through my cure, in how this larger than life dream is shaping up.

I’ll be honest with you. There are many days that it seems daunting. All the more reason to that I must own the importance of why I am doing this in the first place. To encourage you, to inspire you, to motivate you, to lead you to a place where you can accomplish your dreams too and because God told me to do this.

We are a continuing story of God’s grace that is becoming us as believers in Christ. My heart loves to explore the boundaries with God by my side. And when I do that I revert to dreaming like a four-year-old. Dreaming Avery’s way seems a bit more simple and less worrisome.

The picture you see above is Avery owning his dream. He knows that firetrucks are red, black, gray, and white with silver fixtures. He knows what it’s supposed to look like. But he dreams of his own dream one day that maybe perhaps he would like to drive a yellow firetruck. What would be wrong with that?

Own your dream little one. Own it and see where God leads you in that process. So what are you dreaming for this year?

Nothing is wrong with dreaming. It’s a like a breath of fresh air to the soul. By not putting boundaries around your dreams it expands the border around what God can do in your dreams.

I like that kind of expansion. I like holding hands with God’s limitless possibilities. I like hanging my heart on the work of the Holy Spirit to bring this book to life with peace and order. I like walking the long sandy beaches in my dreams and wondering while letting my heart wander.

It’s not that I am setting my self up for a disappointment, I’m just paying attention to the One who goes before me and helping in this curing process of dreaming.

I’m letting God own my dreams too and simply trusting like a child.

I would love to believe in your dreams too! Tell me…what you are you are dreaming for? Let God speak some life into them by sharing.