The Day I Touched the Sky

A photo by Eli DeFaria. unsplash.com/photos/qKXnwCIaULI

The other day I spent some time on some much needed “knee mail.” I confessed my broken heart to the Lord. It was messy and let’s just say I could’ve invested some money in Kleenex stock. Yes, the tears came way too easy and I was overwhelmed. What could possibly cause such a deep emotional response from within?

I let my heart touch the sky and released my pain.

In the last four months I lost both my mom, 91, and dad, 94, to Alzheimer’s disease. We were personally involved in their care for almost three years. I don’t know if you’ve been down this road but it’s hard, specific and each parent required different care.

The details were love-driven but the sentiments were often lost in the details and mostly confusing to my parents. What we experienced as a family was challenging and difficult. But I sit here today to encourage you, if you are looking at a similar situation, there’s peace available to you by the measure of God’s grace that goes before you.

I have many stories I’m collecting in a book which will someday help someone, I just feel it. Role reversal in families is often hard, isolating and intense. However, I learned the most about peace of God who offers this peace by going through it. There are seasons in life only experienced by going through it.

“We do what we have to do.” says every mom.

With any big decisions, and we all face them, wouldn’t it be helpful to have a manual of knowledge with all the answers? You know it would. Wouldn’t it be comforting to know you could just “tube it” to get the answers you needed? The world as we know it is asking “Dr. Google” for everything. I am reminded we do have such a resource to help us figure things out what life sets before us.

We do what we have to do because the Holy Spirit helps us.

Jesus said (in His last few hours on earth) it was best and good for Him to leave so the Helper could come and be our advocate. It is good for man to release what he can’t do and find the Help to cover what man can’t do. That’s not to say you don’t have a part in God’s business, you do. You simply trust God has you covered and He is working out things according to His best plan for you and you do the next thing as He leads. God peace protects you from making wrong decisions. I am grateful today HE is my Shepherd and knows what I need, even before I have need of it.

Yes, He’s so good at being God and our good, good Father.  He anticipates needs before you have any needs. Think about this: God who has NO needs meets ALL of yours. And He knows every one of your needs and is at the ready to meet you and show you. So let us fix our eyes, look to the hills, look up and live a vertical life. Let’s reflect His countenance, and meet Him in the morning and again remind ourselves in the evening. Could it be said if we simply live with God, we won’t be fighting the will of God?

Life is a great teacher and I’m taking many notes. (By the way, I heard a preacher say once there’s a special gate in Heaven for us note takers!) With God’s help, He makes the ways of faith known to you and for you. It’s His grace goes before you and secures your mind. It’s His peace assures you when everything isn’t going okay. There’s comfort in sharing with friends and receiving godly counsel. Encouragement can come in many ways, and God loves to use you to help people too. Hard times teach you to lean upon Him and look to Him to help point the way for others in healing and keeping peace.

Keeping our head up is the challenge, as well as fighting discouragement plus trudging through life on our own strength. There are other times when God loves to grow us through situations which cause us to trust in Him in no uncertain terms, with the eyes of faith. When we believe He leads through adversity by His character, then we see the wonder of who God really is. Only God can give this kind of holy assurance to help us let go of the things we can’t control. And nothing can replace such kind of peaceful assurance!

How have you seen God’s peace in your life?

Resting Joy

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I often wonder about a lot of things and I find myself coming to the same conclusion each time. Now I’m not talking about the cure for cancer, or the national deficit, or the latest bargain price for broccoli.  This isn’t a post to tell you my vote for President.

The two words “I’m busy” make me wonder and create a contradiction in my soul. I also wonder how many busy signals God hears. I’m busy blogging, writing, editing a book or two, writing another book or two, recording some radio stuff, cleaning, eating sleeping, and exercising. I get it. Me too.

I run to God constantly but sometimes I am distracted with problem solving on my own. Then when this happens…it’s as if there’s a tap on my little shoulder.

“Please rest in Me.”

Here I am in a season of busy activity and it seems super unproductive to take a siesta or halt to a stop with all this activity around me. I’m used to doing for myself, producing, and meeting deadlines. I’m used to feeding and dressing myself, but one idea I’m not good at is resting. So why would I need to rest now?

I found myself saying, “I’m too busy to rest.”  And the conflict comes down in my soul.

Then….I came to my senses through the help of the Holy Spirit. Needless to say, I repented of my wrong thinking, refocused my mind and put my thoughts back on Him. And now I can see more clearly, I’ve learned that rest is more than a season. Rest is an attitude I am adopting into my life permanently.

I don’t know if you have thought about rest in this way, perhaps you have been too busy. I believe God planned rest from the beginning of time and created a whole day intentionally for rest. I know you’ve read this over and over in Genesis, but I realized it was the very component I needed. To help you be more productive, more focused, and more intentional with your time, you might need rest to be more than just a season.

So I ask you, what would it take for you to stop the whirling world you live in and give yourself a long soaking rest in God? I get it…I thought I was too busy also take a long time to rest. Then once I experienced true rest, it’s now a part of my life I can’t live without. Try it, even if you think you are too busy.

God is trying to reach you in your busyness. And this just in…He wants to be MORE than a crisis manager to you. He specializes in perfecting the very details which seemed to go unchecked when you are busy. I let him manage my task list, my clock, and my seasons from now on. It’s important to Him, and I can rest on Him knowing He knows more about my needs than I know myself.

“Who you spend time with is what you value the most.”  – John Gray

I get it. I know. I see. Rest isn’t just a suggestion from our Creator. Rest is a place to center your will back where it belongs, in His rest. He gets it, He sees you, and He knows you need it.

Take my word for it, it’s worth it.  I dare you to try God in this too.  It’s better FOR you than you know.

Living a life of stillness in this busy world

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Friends, let’s be honest on this day, today.  My  heart is heavy with stuff.  Yeah, I try to put it all together out there for others to see, flawless and whole.  But that’s not me.  I’ve been honest with myself and have taken a long look at what my life what it is about.  In this busy life we call ours, it’s really becoming a management of one urgent crisis or another.

My shoulders are heavy and tired and weak.

“Lord, I lift my burdens to You alone and I lay them down at your feet.  Will you give me some simplicity today?”  I prayed those words the other day.  I simply put it all out there for God to hear.  Liberation came in just in the confessing and I realized that I was trying to do things on my own.

Immediately, I was convicted of some false insecurities that continue to rise up (in my soul and spirit) and drag, weigh, and bear down upon my mind.  My problems, my cares, my duties, my hopes, my dreams were anchored in my own efforts.  “Wait…I thought to myself…I have freedom in those areas.”  Or at least I thought I did.

In the confessing, I realized I was trying to create a comfortable life for myself and my feelings.  On top of that, I also realized that I was covering my life with right “to-do’s” or tasks and such but I was forgetting about the one important thing needed.  Can we just be honest today?  Aren’t there those days we all face, where it takes this kind of realization to see where you need to grow in your simplicity of managing life?

What I heard back from God, (yes, I know it was His voice) was “Will you just walk with Me?”.  

There were a lot of tears involved in the process.  Then I remembered a season in my life that I used to cry often everyday and all day.  My life was full of regret of a list of things that I never accomplished.  My next thought became one of rejoicing because of a major shift and many changes that have occured in the recent years of  my life.  I don’t live a life of regret-filled days anymore.

I rejoiced in the fact that those days of regret are over and now I can choose to adopt the pace of God, my Father, in the life of my today.  If I could let you into my brain for a moment, there’s a stillness that needs to happen inside of your thoughts that causes you to choose your best life in considerations of what you have around you, the blessings in life instead of the regrets of life.  (I am realizing this lifestyle goes deeper than your task list or the things you think about any morning like…”I’m behind on so many things!” kind of thinking.)

Now I’m getting stuck in the multiple list of thoughts that come rising up in a woman’s mind especially when she feels behind, unfulfilled and a list of unmet needs are left open in her life.  Okay, now back to the choosing.

There has to be season that as you are emptying your life of what it isn’t, and there is a choice to rejoice in what it is.  In the choosing to accept the rejoicing, the living, the owning your life, the doing of life, you must celebrate with what you have, and begin believing that anything is possible with God in the middle of it all.

There I said it, not simply said, because life isn’t like that.  At all.  It’s complicated, full of tensions, stresses, and problems.  But when we confess that we can’t do life without God, then that’s when the miracles start happening.  In that way of thinking, you have to admit there is more than what God has intended FOR you and designed you for and you MUST surrender the controls over to HIM.  He knows what is best and right and good FOR you.  He knows how big your tiny shoulders are.  He knows your capacity for loads and He hasn’t forgotten your to-do list.  He put the passions inside of you to accomplish what He has designed you for.

He hasn’t forgotten where He has put those things.  Have you forgotten where your strength comes from?  I did.  I honestly thought…”okay God, I can do this (believing that I had to do what He has called me to do on my own.)  That’s not right honestly, because I need God to accomplish what HE has put inside of me to do and what HE wants to purpose in my life.

Simply said, I need Jesus every hour of the day to live.  Honestly, this IS the life I am in (and I don’t know how it is with you).  I need Him to carry me, to help me choose what I need to be doing, to carry out what He wants me to do, and most days I am overwhelmed simply by His goodness in my life.  I am complicated, full of tensions, and stresses just like you.  Challenges come and go, but I can’t live or exist as His much loved child without Him.

These are the things that are on my mind today.  What’s on yours?

 

Facing off with Fear

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A year ago I prayed a simple prayer that reversed a lot of negative feelings into positive ones.  This past year has been one full, absolutely brimming and chocked-full of spiritual stretch marks. What knowledge I’ve gained isn’t really about the answers but about the process of trust and how I’ve learned to apply trust in God in the face of uncertainty and fear.

Living free in this deep spiritual knowledge has brought me long the way in my healing. It took a lot of courage to get outside of the box.  God has all the courage we need to make life changes. Courage is basic to living free and is composed of three parts:

…fierce hope, fearless faith, and God sized love that takes our breathe away.

How do you start this kind of ripple effect that can propel you out of your state of feeling stuck and towards building momentum with God in a positive way? You simple lay your soul before God and ask how you need to change. In praying, a few simple words, you are opening yourself up to what takes more of the Holy Spirit to accomplish.  The Holy Spirit has been waiting to have His way in you. You have to make the first move to step out to find out. If you have to, even use your hands to reach out, stretching them towards heaven.

There is a part in a movie, “The Croods”, that hits me every time. If you haven’t seen this movie, watch it. It’s all about breathing in courage and conquering fears one step at a time. The story line is of a caveman family where the dad leads a survivalist trek across unknown territory.  At first he is fearful to step out, but finally musters up the courage he needs but never knew he had until he uses it to save his family.

Here’s the deal, the Crood dad has to go way out of his comfort zone to find it by conquering fears.  The good news that he finds that he has the ingenuity, the where-with-all strength, a sound mind AND along the way, he gains confidence!  I’m inspired by his tenacity to hang in there when the going gets tough.

Often, courage is not found until you have to use it.

Since we all face off with fear at some point in our lives, we tend to think that each fear builds momentum to work against us.  Often, we hide behind what we term our inadequacies and those insecurities stops us from moving out of our comfort zones. Friends, let’s just get real for a few moments here.  The best way to live free is to breakthrough in the face of fears and do it anyway.  What you find at the end of your fear is more courage than you could ever need.

It’s one thing to know freedom, but it’s a whole new level to live free, and trust God in the unknown. Sometimes, the unknown looks daunting, uncertain, and like a whole bag of fears and tears.  Trusting God with these areas allows God’s answers to invade your circumstances.  Your praises of His faithfulness will always open the door to what He has for you!

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

There’s nothing to fear when the Lord is near!

His ways will help you out of the darkest places by the light of His love.  What I have found in the uncertainties of life, there’s a strength that shines brightest when faced with the unknown.  Love and fear can’t co-exist.  We lose so much to fear when it renders us powerless.  So remember…be encouraged, you’re not alone!   You have nothing to fear, Love is here!

 

Knowing God’s Will In Five Easy Steps

hand in his will

Is it possible to know God’s will?  Do you recognize when an opportunity is really “yes” by God?  In a recent chat with a friend over coffee, we discussed the courage needed to walk through a door that God was opening.  How can you tell for certain that God has giving a green light or a red for “don’t go!”

“You have a green light until God turns it red.  Go until God says, “No.” Pretty Simple, really!”  ~ Graham Cooke.  Do you agree or disagree?

The Bible gives us some helps to encourage us in faith leaps.  There are ways to know God’s will.

1. His “yes” will keep in you in church.  If an opportunity takes you away from attending church, you can be certain it’s not God leading you away.  God’s Word tells us not to neglect meeting together for worship (Hebrews 10:25).   You don’t need the four walls to worship, but you DO need to remain connected to other believers to be encouraged in faith and unity to build up the body of Christ.

2.  His “yes” will keep you in His Word.  He won’t lead you to fail nor abandon you to go it alone.  His “yes” would never result in a personal compromise or cause you to be disobedient.  His “yes” would never go against what has been promised.  God can’t lie, or contradict Himself.  Now, the devil twists the truth, and tries to get you to doubt what you carry.  The enemy is out to steal, kill and destroy and he dislocates your ability to be used by God.  Plus he will do anything to get you to doubt that you are hearing God right!   Don’t shrink back in fear! (2 Timothy 1:7)

3. His “yes” will keep you close to Him.  We have such a relational God and knows every one of our personal details.  His “yes” always requires more of Him to accomplish and faith to experience Him in a bigger way.  If God is calling you to do something, it will never be outside of His will for you.  Many times that looks like we are being stretched and strengthed.   God is not going to give you something that will alienate you from Him or lead you to believe that you no longer need him. Hebrews 11:6 says: “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.”

4.  His “yes” will line up with the gifts He put inside of you.  God will equip you to what He has called you to do.  Never forget that He is the best skills trainer we know.  And that means letting Him develop what He has put inside of you.  You were made in His image, and our creative God loves to have His way with you.  Often that requires us to step outside our comfort zone to discover the God-given abilities He has crafted on the inside (Ephesians 2:10).  When things get tough (and they will) remember God measures not by man’s standards, but God looks at the heart, and sees you with His heart of love.

5.  His “yes” will always be a “yes”.  We have a good, good Father who is always on your side and in a good mood.  If you ever thought He was out to get you, punish you, or spank you, well…you have a skewed picture of who loves you.  His “yes” is His will for you and when you sense that this is “too good to be true” remember Luke 1:37 ” For nothing is impossible with God.”  Remembering the context of this promise to Mary, the mother of Jesus, she was found highly favored and annointed to be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world!.  That was her chosen role in the history of Christ, and her purpose and destiny.  God has the same important role for you to carry too!  What looks impossible is possibly setting you up for a miracle!

Many times an “yes” from God is often missed because of fear.  We make decisions on two ideas according to Dr. Caroline Leaf, either faith or fear.  I choose faith, although sometimes I miss the mark too, it’s the goal of God to grow us and carry Christ-likeness.

Micah 6:8 says it simply, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion), And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness].” (AMP)  

Remember His “yes” works FOR you!  God’s grace goes before each one of us and faith always trumps fear!

In each and every season

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“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”  –Corrie ten Boom

Ever found your soul just down right parched?

Three years ago I was in spiritually dry place that I couldn’t quite speak about. It was a particularly difficult time in such a personal way.  God dealt with some issues that left me looking upon Him and the faithfulness that only He is.

I sensed God’s comfort in the stillness and knew that He was good even though it was hard to see forward into all that season held.  God comforted in one of the lowest places of faith and where His encouragement helped beyond words.  I remember everyday my heart was breaking…open.

God’s faithfulness is a quality that endures in every season.

I found comfort in speaking only a few words during prayer time but I had assurance and a sign from heaven that my cries were heard with His open and listening heart.  I was unaware of the preparation that God was working in my life.  Even though I was seeking Him in many ways, I had my moments where I wanted to give up and give into weakness.

But yet my trust in His faithfulness endured through a hopeless season.

When you seek, believe, trust and obey in each season, God’s faithfulness will lead you.  I’ve been thinking about David’s faith and I am so amazed at his endurance through all those up and down years of rule and reign as king.  From the outside, its looks like just a few hard years to develop such a strong, rich faith legacy that is captured on a few pages of Biblical history.  It took all of his life to seek, believe, trust and obey God’s ways and walk in the way of faithfulness and devotion to the Lord.

To live in God’s ways I’ve found no other way than to depend on His faithfulness throughout every season.  You know it’s easy to say that God is faithful when you aren’t staring into the face of cancer, house fires, and death.  It’s easy then, but when life brings uncertainties, trials and afflictions, you have to gather up the memories of faithfulness to bolster the hope and faith to get through.

I believe life is full of opportunities to develop deeper ways to know God.  What would happen if we asked God to reveal Himself in everyday and in every season?  Would it remove us from having problems all together?  Would each and every season be smooth sailing or as clear as glass in regards to decisions we make?

Our lives are full of moments and seasons that encourage endurance, perseverance, and faithfulness by seeking God’s face.  Living in the problems, trials, and struggles teach us about faithfulness.  If your season is dry right now, remember these things to help you find God in them and enable you to cling to an abiding faith in your journey:

You are not alone, God is with you and knows your needs before you do.

Believe God for who He is, a God of His word.

When you can’t see His hand, trust His heart of love FOR you.

Obedience to God by faith pleases God.

Dry seasons are hard, long and sometimes lonely, but I wonder if we would learn any other way.  In knowing that I am not alone, it lifts my hope to meet my faith.  Belief in God, coupled with trust, removes fear.  Experiencing His love by way of trials brings me closer to Him over any other method.  My faith is enriched each and every time I trust in God’s ways and as I walk in obedience.

God wastes nothing in your faith-building process, there’s strength to be received every season.  So consider this, in season and out of season:

Your need to control takes a back seat to His omnipotence.  Your need to understand is protected by His peace.  Trust in Him and fully surrender to His plan as He weaves His beautiful tapestry for your life.    You too can trust in the name of the Lord our God in every season.

The Promise That Parted a Chocolate Sea

chocolate buffet

I gasped when I saw it.  I didn’t remember that much chocolate could exist in one single buffet line.  I was mesmerized by the shiny and sweet-looking goodness.  The lines to scoop up plates and platters of the decatant desserts were endless and filled with eager chocolate connoissuers.  I wanted to be in those lines twice over.  I wanted it all.

Worse yet, I was willing to hide that I wanted it.  Who would know if I actually jumped in head first?  Consumption of every square inch of all that light and fluffy cake? No problem.  There was such a desire to take a dive right in front of that guy who looked like he need to wait at least five minutes to let his food settle.

Ever want something that bad?

Y’all don’t know what it’s like.  You don’t know the depth of food temptations that reaches the soul.  You couldn’t know or realize the intensity of it, unless you have been there and are fighting to stay free of it.

My grade school principal didn’t get it either.

The day that Mister announced my weight to the entire 20-student class of my private school was the most humiliating and demeaning set of numbers a chubby girl could endure.  I’m sure China heard his voice that day.  I SO wanted to jump ship and drown in a sea of pity.

Again, here was another demeaning amount of desserts set before me.

The nerve of people making chocolate into a flowing sea in a place where to get away from it I had to jump ship…literally.  I just stood there all numb like and such.  The powerlessness I felt in that moment was transcribed as a chocolate trance to find the end of the line and jump on board.  My heart was on hold and my desires were captivated.  I.wanted.every.lick.of.it.

I remember that fateful day when Mister boomed my weight to the world and my desire was then immediately anchored to my dark chocolate history.  OOOH the milky sooth coos from a chocolate milk carton of comfort was overflowing with each imagined dip of satiny goodness.  So I just….dove into my shame and swam in a sea of guilt and blame.

I almost choked back the tears of how wonderful it all tasted as a third grader.  That memory came back to me as I stood in line on that floating chocolate boat.  For a second I wanted more and more comfort and then something shifted inside that made me quickly drop the idea of just a skewered pineappley dipped chocolate treat.

I saw myself (in my mind) at 244 lbs, (my weight at the beginning of my weight loss journey) and I realized that I didn’t want to go back.  Even knowing that one treat would not add over 100 pounds back onto my body, I put the plate down.  I remembered where I used to be, I remembered how I got to where I am today, and I remembered all the work and tears it has taken me to get to where I am.  And I thought of how God wants more for me over my selfish desires.

I remembered why I started this journey in the first place, plus my promise to invite freedom into my life over lusting desires.

I remembered Mister.  That day, in the third grade, I traded my self-esteem for a lie that returned in a failed way of comfort for my hurting inner being.  What I didn’t know then (because I was a child), was that I believed a lie as truth.  It was in the third grade that I chose to let food have it’s way in me.

Once I stood there and saw the endless chocolate river I remembered my “why” and that I became a power-filled overcomer.  I thought of all the lust that has been cut out of my life.  I also remembered a promise that was made between myself and God.  I vowed that I would stay pure in the area of my desires for unnessary calorie choices.

I haven’t always kept my end of the bargain but He has.

The self-esteem that I lost as a third grader rose up strong, renewed and wouldn’t be sabotaged again.  You see, I could have eaten as much as I wanted to and gotten away with it but I am the one who has to live with me after I put the empty plate down.  I have to answer to God about that action, since He is my accountability partner.

Remembering this convenant action with my Rescuer helps me keep this promise true:

Hebrews 8:10 “This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Isreal after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

When I saw the brown river, all I could think of was my convenant with God that was written on my mind and heart.  Afterall, I am His “people”.  I remembered that obeying God was giving Him permission to control my desires in every area and having self-control in my choices.  I also remembered that I didn’t have to hand over my permission to a chocolate power anymore. Suddenly or not so quickly, I lost my desire to give my tongue to a lie once again.

Even chocolate with all it’s alluring power that flows in a river can’t break a promise between you and God.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about breaking a food rule, life is too short to keep my own list of wrongs when it comes to food rules and food was put on this earth to enjoy.  I’m relying on my relationship with my Deliverer that gives me strength and shows me out of every temptation known to man, even the ones dipped in chocolate.  Nope, I ain’t got time for that!

The gains of 2015

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I don’t know how to get into a summary of this year.  You see, “she” said it couldn’t be done.  Let’s just jump right into that thought.  I had connected with someone years ago on Twitter who was a writer.  I told her that I just wanted to discover God in my life and then write about it.  She said, “Everyone wants to do that!”  When she gave me that response, I assumed that “my name wasn’t on that assignment list”.  If everyone was already doing that there “would be no reason for me to attempt to even try.”  If I was successful in a similar venture, “then why would it matter, no one would read it anyway.”

Today, I know that these were all lies to get me to not believe in the way God has built me to operate.  At last, I’ve come to the conclusion I must accept this journey for what it looks like and what God has given me to make of it.  Many of you know that I have a dream of becoming a published author.  Now, I know that this idea falls in line with God and what He has placed on the inside of me.

I have come to accept that.  Now I’m learning not to criticize my own work.  Many of you have said my dream will come true, but up to this year, I couldn’t accept that it would actually would become my reality.  Therefore by not seeing the talent that God has placed inside of me I suffered from what is called “hope deferred.”  Admittingly, by my own denial of God’s handiwork.  I can see now that I wasn’t ready to accept it.

Accepting gifts is one thing, using them is another.  It has taken several stabs at this blogging thing to realize a lot of what I am built to do and what ideas are NOT mine not to do.

All I can say is “me too”.  I sense I am not the only person out there searching for God’s plan in this troubled world we live in.  I have gained a lot of wisdom about a lot of things but things about the Internet, relationships, and loving people where they are, basically  are hard things to tackle on a daily basis, and I, like you, don’t have all the answers.

Once I realized that I was in denial and forgotten what I was capable of, I simply asked God what I was made of and why this the tendency to write was so strong within me?  Just imagine yourself asking the Lord that power-packed question!  All I got back is “Do you trust Me?” from God.  What I got from other people are these phrases about their own doubt.  “No one reads blogs anymore.” “Everyone wants to write about God.”  “What do you have to say that hasn’t already been written?”  I’ll let you figure those statements out.

Can you see how doubt is one of the biggest enemy’s of a writer?  I started looking at the people I was hanging out with and then changed my set of friends.  So before I go on and on about what I am not, I accepted this year that I am an honest writer that seeks to write about my faith, my faith process, and where God is in the middle of it all.

When looking back at my year, I see lots of gains and a lot of confidence.  I see a lot of growing and stirring.  Perhaps the biggest measure or gain that happened is found in the fact that I finally wrote my first book in four weeks time before going to Africa in October.  Now yes, there is a major amont of editing that needs to be done.  I also realize there will be changes to the orginial manuscript.  But I got it out of me and that was a process for sure.

A process worth waiting for (said with tongue in cheek) but by doing it showed me a lot of personal growth.  Just knowing that I can is HUGE to a writer.  You don’t know how many days I wondered if I ever could.  I’ve sent it to an editor who messaged me back to say “Congratulations, you have done what only 10% of people do.”  I said back to him, “What’s that?”  He replied, “90% only talk about what you have already accomplished.”

I was pleased momentarily.  There was a tinge of regret that it took so long.  By writing the book God reconciled my past issues with food and rejection.  I cast off a lot of shame, guilt, and self-blame in those pages.  Because of going through the struggles, I am more free than ever before and have a stronger voice for what I have been through.

Losing weight requires hard-work and focused dedication to a goal.  Writing about it requires the same kind of hard-work and focused dedication.  It’s one thing to only apply this to the physical side but a whole new realm to pursuing reconcilation with God about your past.

When I see what helps me, I want to keep on saying, “me too.”

I don’t have to share my struggles but its in our weakest places can we discover God in them.  My wrestling may be same as yours or completely different, as you don’t know the doubt and denial I live with.  But it does help to share in those times, where we can all say “I feel you.”

Life is full of those opportunities to quit and say “that’s not for me”.  Or we can choose to come alongside another and say “me too”.  It’s just that, a journey and any time we can connect with others and say “I feel you”, it opens the door for God to work His reconciliation power in us and through us.

That’s a good place to be and something I’ve been dreaming for.  What would you say your biggest gain of 2015 is?

 

 

 

 

 

When it feels like life is passing you by

writingdownHabakkuk 2:2-4 “Then the Lord replied:  ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald my run with it.  For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.  Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.  ….but the righteous will live by his faith'”(faithfulness as it says in the footnotes of my Bible.)

Ever feel like life is passing you by? Have you ever prayed for God to give you that “burning bush” to help you to know what direction to go in life? Five years ago I took part in class at church that changed my purpose and vision for my life. It is called Chazown and it helped me discover the spiritual gifts that God has entrusted on the inside of me.  Once I discovered what my gifts were, I was not sure what or how to work within them.

Finding your life’s purpose is a noble cause, and everyone is talking about it.  You have to know this about you before you discover what your life is all about, and it’s really more of a recovery versus a discovery.  In this life’s journey we are on, this process takes time and it’s important to delve deep into what your purpose is.

Once you realize the value of doing so, it’s also important to let your gifts develop within you.  Years ago after the class, I wrote this mission statement about what I wanted to do in life.  “To compassionately communicate truth in a real and honest way that impacts and serves others.  To be a voice and a catalyst for service, purpose, acceptance, redemption and freedom in Christ”.

It takes time to let God develop the gifts He puts inside of you.  We all learn differently and I learn with my heart first then my weakest part, my mind. 

How about you?  What’s rewarding for me personally is that I feel like my mission statement is finally being fulfilled in my own life.  Walking in your purpose comes over time.  I haven’t always been here though but God has given me some freedom to do what it is that He has put as deposit long ago.

My recent mission trip to Africa God unlocked something inside of me that I didn’t know where was lying deep.  It’s like the story of the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant across the Jordan River in the days of Joshua.  They encountered some really high water at the shores.  They didn’t understand how they were going to cross the river with its tide raging, waters higher than they could cross.  Joshua told them to put their feet into the water and they would be able to cross.  They had to step out to find out.  But once their feet hit the waves, they parted miraculously.  They stood in the middle until everyone crossed with no fear of the water swallowing them.

That is the purpose of this post today, is that we have to let God develop our gifts with no fear of where He wants to take them.  Your journey will look different that others and that’s okay.  Your journey could be longer than others that is also good.  We are slow learners and that is the best way to see the hand of God in your life.  You might wonder if you have gifts to even be developed.

You do.  Believe today that you are reading this for a purpose and God has plans for you too.  It will look simply different than others.  The place we get caught is comparing our gifts with those of others but friends, that only results in detours and roadblocks.  Celebrate the gifts that God has lovingly put inside of you. 

Are there are things that only you sense from the Lord?  That’s a good, and an awesome thing! He is telling you these things because HE ALONE knows what you are capable of.  And it’s okay that it doesn’t look the same or like the next person’s.  Envy of others only brings disunity but celebrating God’s handiwork brings unity.  We are all the body of Christ when it comes to the kingdom of God.  Take a step of faith and see what is in your inner being.  You will be surprised at what your gift looks like.  What’s the next step?   We will walk by faith and not by sight and will not be intimidated by the wall of water that looms on the shores.

So I challenge you to find out what your purpose is and once you discover it, let God develop it. If you go to this website, you will get step by step free instructions, including a spiritual gifts tests to help you determine your gifts and empower you to be all that you can be for God. Go ahead, I dare you. Check out this website and find out for yourself.

My next step is to keep close to the Giver, and keep trusting in His process. Keep to what He has faithfully shown as I look forward.

A Test of Good Faith

Several months ago I prayed that God would search my heart and reveal His truth in any area of my life that needed healing. It was the same time my heart settled down enough to finally right my first book. In four weeks I was able to organize my weight loss story and feel good about crunching out twelve chapters about that part of my past. Most of it had been written long ago, I just need to get the chapters lined up and add some zest and zing to each one of them.

I prayed that God would test me in this project and to bring His perfect grace to my story. You see when thinking about losing weight, the process seems more about what is accomplished on the scale or what size you wear. God’s grace has helped me get out of a pit of habitual sin and has brought me to a place of full restoration and healing.

In writing the book, I admitted some shame in the reality of lending myself to many bad food choices. It doesn’t feel good to say and it’s embarrassing to admit openly.

However in the process of writing it all down, God reconciled my unhealthy past choices to prove within my story that I am not that person anymore. He pointed out that true change is noticeable inside of me.

When I was at the end of my manuscript (the fancy word for chapters in order), I realized that I had let my faith be tested.

Confidence, spiritual growth, and healing power came in putting my story down on paper. The testing of my faith, has bolstered my life in ways I never thought I needed. Putting your faith to the test can make you uncomfortable but to experience God in a personal way it always moves you out of your comfort zone. If God is asking you to be a part of something that is way bigger than you, be assured it’s the testing of your faith that He wants.

You can do it….whatever it is…I believe in you!  Faith testing can be a good thing.