A Lot Can Happen in Three Years

img_3824-1

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!

 

Can anyone hear me?

iPod nano

This morning, I woke up at 2 a.m.  I couldn’t get a thought off of my mind from yesterday.  I got up and made my coffee the same.  But this morning instead of sitting in the same place, I declared war on a space that needed a victory.  My voice.

In case you haven’t seen the movie The War Room, I won’t spoil it for you.  But if you have seen the movie, then you will know that we have things worth fighting for.  For me, it’s what I have wanted had for a long time.  And it’s something that the Enemy also knows the power of.

My voice.

I woke up with the thought that no one was listening to me, I was even screaming it in a dream.  I jolted awake at 2 a.m. with the thought that no one was.  I have come to realize we need to yield more voices to fight the good fight.  We are equipped to fight many things that the world throws at us.  We are stronger than we think we are, and we have it within us to fight for the things that are important to us.  The best weapon I know is the Voice of God by the Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word.

There is another thing that is important to me and worth fighting for.  The right to be heard and being a constant source or a place for a positive voice to speak in today’s mixed up world.  A voice that is taken seriously.  His Voice is what I’ve taken seriously and have allowed change in my life to be change around me.  A good voice that speaks truth into people’s lives. His sounds in my life remind me that God is still sovereign and mighty.  The Voice of Heaven calling out to His children to gather people in unity and love.  A sound consistently on repeat with words of love, joy and the ways of peace.

What are you reading?  What are you hearing?  What are you learning? Can anyone hear me?

Yesterday, I started out to run 6 miles, and I remembered a day when I couldn’t walk one.  I’ve changed this habit by putting one foot in front of another consistently.  I have adopted something helpful when I start out to take my mind off of the pain that floods my body and think upon a voice that super-charges my soul to run forever.  I tune into the voice of God.  I listen to podcasts that give a voice of truth which speaks volumes from my little iPod Nano.  Listening to great teachers that inspire me to grow in faith has helped me get not only physically fit but also spiritually fit.  I might as well listen to something that inspires me while trying to improve myself.

Yesterday, I had to slow my run to a walk so that I would listen better to the message flowing through my headphones.  I literally crept home as not to miss a word.  The Voice of Truth is always worth listening to.  This morning at 2 a.m..I had to confess to God that I wasn’t heard in a conversation between my husband and I yesterday.  I had to stop my words and ask the Lord if I was listening to HIS VOICE correctly in our recent rooms of conversations with each other.

I believe that’s why He woke me up at 2 a.m., to take another listen to His voice from my heart of love because Jesus and I, we talk and I listen too.  Part of speaking anything with your voice is tone, and if your heart is somewhere other than a place of love then, it needs to remain silent until you can speak with love with whatever you are wanting to voice.  I recognized that even though I am awkward at saying what I really want to say, I am awkward at listening too.  That is really the root issue of most people to people conversations and this morning God reminded me His voice of truth comes in the stillness, when I am best at remaining silent and at a slow pace.  The way to listen well is from a heart of love.

After writing and talking it out with God, I vowed to not be caught off guard anymore.  I will remain in a silent state when listening to God alone and work on improve my listening with a more open heart.  Not for the sake of wanting to be heard or validated by how it feels, but to know His heart of love for me in a deeper way.  I don’t need the world’s affirmations, validations or confirmations to know that one purpose set before me is to be a better representative of His voice, including and unto my own life.  Speaking of guarding, well I need to remain on guard of what goes into and comes out of my mouth but also what I allow into my heart and out of it.

May I always hear the question that heaven is asking all of us, “Can anyone hear me?  If so, then love everyone, in every way, and with every voice I have given you.”