Thursday, May 28, 2015


I'm moving.  Please check out new blog posts at my New Blog site.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The little things

As I read the scriptures though, there is a consistent theme of God wanting to be in the small details.  I think about how He wanted the ark made, or the temple, or the tabernacle.  He cared about the very intricate details.  He cared so much, that he took the time to spell out every detail in His Word.

Like the colors of the thread
You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim. Exodus 26:31
Or the rings that hold the bars
Overlay the frames with gold, and make gold rings to hold the crossbars. Overlay the crossbars with gold as well. Exodus 26:29

And the loops of yarn
Put loops of blue yarn along the edge of the last curtain in each set.  The fifty loops along the edge of one curtain are to match the fifty loops along the edge of the other curtain. Exodus 26:4-5

He cared enough about these small details to speak it out in His instructions to Moses.  That really catches my attention. 

There are so many things that I think "I want to ask God for this..." They are the big things, things I know that I can not do in and of myself. I realize that without Him these things would not come to pass.  In the scheme of this vast universe, even my giant things are small to Him.

The truth is God wants to be in the small things.  He cares about our big things, but He will also take time to pour Himself into even the smallest parts of our life if we will ask Him, if we will let Him.  If God cares about the color of the strings on a curtain, the design that is created by man, how much more does He care about the masterpiece that He created?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Mercy, Grace and forgiveness

Realizing the difference between Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness is important.  There are times where we look at forgiveness and think that because we act differently that we have forgiven.  However, sometimes that is just a lie that we tell ourselves  that opens us up to a stronghold in our life. 

There are times that we mistake mercy for forgiveness.  We pretend that because we have not taken revenge or because the person has not received what they deserved that we have forgiven.  We need to give mercy, but it is not forgiveness.  Mercy is a covering, but that is not forgiveness.  God's mercy keeps us from the death and life separated from Him that we really deserve.  We can cover someone's mistake and not forgive them.  In the Old Testament the lambs blood covered the people's sin when it was sacrificed, but it could not forgive them. 

Other times we mistake grace for forgiveness.  We go about trying to "bless those who persecute us." Again this is Biblical, but  it is not forgiveness.    Grace is God's unmerited favor.  God pours out his blessings on the just and the unjust.  The unjust have not received forgiveness.  We can bless people without forgiving.

Forgiveness releases people from their sin and wrong doing.  Christ's blood not only covered our sins, it opened the door for forgiveness.  Sin is gone from God's sight when He looks at us, to be remembered no more.  We can have mercy and grace but not forgiveness in our heart.  However where there is forgiveness there will be mercy and grace. 

Friday, March 13, 2015


I like to make plans, I admit sometimes they are last minute, but I like to plan things out, have tasks to complete and see something put together.  But a lot of times I frustrate myself in the planning process instead of just trusting God's plans and allowing them to happen.  I know that His plans are greater than mine.

Jeremiah 29:10
Proverbs 16:3
Proverbs 16:9
Proverbs 19:21

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Taking Notice

The other day I met an interesting young woman who was good at taking notice.  Our conversation was interesting as she attempted to analyze my handwriting, then attempted to analyze me.  Many things she said were quite accurate, and not easily known.  Other things were way off. 

What stuck me about our conversation is that she said she knew she always had the gift, and thinks that most people do, but that she second guessed herself until she really took time to develop it.  As we talked, how she described this gift was much like Patrick Jane in the Mentalist television show.  She watches people, she reads the body language and subtle ques.  I made that comment that most people could do this, but we are too busy to take the time.  She agreed and attempted to encourage me where I was.

I was sharing this interaction with some friends, they asked if it made me feel creepy or ill at ease as she shared these things.  It didn't, because I know that most people who take time can read the things that she was able to see.  I was able to share with her my Christian viewpoint, and I believe that is why the door was really opened.

Later I was having another conversation with another group of people about how we have to minister to the people in front of us.  Discussing the importance of doing the small things with excellence.   I wasn't talking about outreach, like going out in to the streets to set up a give away or something, but really taking notice of the people that God places right in front of us.  Seeing the need and meeting it, or attempting to meet it in the best way we can.

 Luke 9:48 (TLB)  and said to them, “Anyone who takes care of a little child like this is caring for me! And whoever cares for me is caring for God who sent me. Your care for others is the measure of your greatness.”

As I look at Christ's ministry all through the Gospels, He never purposely set up a fish giveaway booth to feed the people.    He didn't feed the people at His convenience, He was however moved with compassion as He went about His daily activities and meet the need, even when inconveneicned. There are many organizations that are set up to meet the need at their convenience.  There is a place for nonprofits and governmental agencies, but Christ called the Church to stand up and take notice of the lost and dying world around us.  Instead most of us live oblivious to the real needs that surround us.

God didn't ask us to set up a feeding ministry, He called us to be the Light.  We have to go out and take notice of the people around us, to illuminate the darkness.  The young parent that feels overwhelmed, the single adult that lonely, the working executive that is depressed.  These people are in our path daily, but most of us don't take time to notice.  we are too busy to be inconvenienced, even though it is our cross to bear.  Christ is the answer to all problems.  We want people to read "Our Book", but we are not willing to stop and read them.  We are not willing to stop and hear where they are at. To look beyond the "OK" response to how they are doing and develop a relationship and take notice of the need.

Maybe we can't solve world hunger.  But we can feed the one.  Maybe we can't stop homelessness, but we can help the one.  Maybe we can't prevent all suicide, but we can reach the one.  Maybe we can prevent child abuse, but we can be the loving arms that helps bring healing.  We may not have the physical resources to meet every need, but we can be the one taking notice.  We can be knowledgeable of the resources in our community.  We can be the hands and feet volunteering in those places to meet the needs. 

It is time that the Church stands up and starts taking notice.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

If you fear...Remember

There is nothing to fear but fear itself ~ Franklin D Roosevelt

He must have been a believer because other than the reverential fear of God we have nothing to fear. 

 When we find ourself fearful over a situation or thing, it is because we have taken our eyes off God. 

We have allowed the circumstances surrounding us to become bigger in our site than God is.  The truth is there is nothing bigger than our God.

If you fear the unknown
Remember that God knows everything
If you fear the dark
Remember God is light
If you fear being alone
Remember God will never leave you
If you fear speaking
Remember that God will give you the words
If you fear intimacy
Remember God desires to draw close to you
If you fear heights
Remember God is higher than the Heavens
If you fear rejection
Remember God chose you
If you fear death
Remember that in Christ, death has lost its sting

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I Just Simply Love You {Acceptance}

Imagine for a moment, that "I just simply love you" that was the thought that came to me as I was walking on the treadmill this morning.  I admit I was looking at the over-sized card that my husband bought me for Valentine's Day, that I didn't appreciate.  I hung it up,  as a token of my guilt for not being appreciative so that I would spend thirty-minutes a day looking at it while I walk.

It's funny how God uses simple things to speak so profoundly in to our lives.The thought though wasn't from the card, although I do feel a little guilty when I look at it because of my response to my spouse (Maybe a little more now).    It was as if God was speaking "I just simply love you." I realized in that moment (As I should have when my husband gave me the card), that it is not in the grand gestures that love speaks, it is in the simple things. That simple statement literally overwhelmed me.

I do not have to perform for God's love.  He just simply loves me.  I do not have to be perfect for God's love.  He just simply loves me. When I can't compare with the talents of others, He just simply loves me.

There is nothing that I can do to make God love me more.  When I was a wretched, unforgiven sinner, God simply loved me.  When I prayed and asked for forgiveness, and for God to save me from my sin, God simply loved me.  When I fail Him, God just simply loves me.  When I do my very best, God just simply loves me.  God's love is the most profound, and yet most simple form of acceptance.  Despite me, He just simply loves me.

He just simply loves me, not because of who I am.  He just simply loves me, because of who He is.  He just simply loves me because He sees me through the perfect blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.  He doesn't see my failures, my sin, and how far I still have to go.  He simply loves me, because He is love. I don't have to do anything, because He did it all.

I don't believe in a perverted grace that says I can take what He did for granted and live as I please.  But as I stood there looking at the words "I Just Simply Love You" I knew that I  am loved.   I am accepted.

JPEG image-2CCA02FF19CA-1 This blog is prompted from  Tuesday at Ten! The Tuesday blog Link up where you have 1 full week to use the prompt word to your liking!  Whether it be just writing a story behind the prompt word, or being as creative as you wish using photos, poems, art, or graphics – whichever creative way you choose. You have 1 week to write and link up your blog at the bottom of the page so that others can link up with you. Be sure to visit your “link up” neighbor and spread the joy of connection!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Looking back or moving forward

Delayed Promises or God's Timing

Genesis 40:14-15 (NLT)  And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place.  For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it.”

For two years after Joseph interpreted the dreams, he continued to sit in prison.  It had to be discouraging for Joseph to know that he had shared what God had showed him for the baker and the cup bearer, and yet Joseph was still in prison, for a crime he didn't commit.  He received God's favor, but part of him had to be discouraged to still be imprisoned after so much time had passed.  He might have felt alone and forgotten, even as he was trying his best to serve God.

He might have gotten upset at the cup bearer for forgetting what he had promised to do.  Or maybe he related to him on some level.  When don't know 100% of Joseph's story, only the highlights.

As I thought about this,  I wondered how often do we make promises, and then fail to follow through on them, I know that I have made promises with the best of intention at the time, and then forgot when the time came.    

Or how often are we on the receiving end of a delayed promise.  Where others make promises and they don't deliver. 

On the flip side of this story, the what if is there.  We know how the story ends, but Joseph didn't. 
I realized sometimes we need to look at those delayed promises for the hand of God.  What if the cup bearer had kept his promise, and Joseph had been released.  Without interpreting Pharaoh's dream he would not have become second in command and he could not have saved Egypt or Israel in the time of famine. 

 We can never know the what if's in our life.  The things that God orchestrates behind the scenes for our benefit, or the benefit of others.  It is easy to become inpatient in the waiting, to be disappointed at the delayed promise, but what if, the delay is because God is working His perfect timing.  What if?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The lie I believed - The fear that keeps me from stepping out

I hear a lot about people failing to live up to their full potential, failing to step out in to their true purpose.  Usually it is tied to fear of failure or fear of rejection.  I have tried to say that has been what holds me back, I mean if I couldn't identify it, it could just be the subconscious mind and I am afraid to admit it.  The truth was I really didn't know what was holding me back.

I am not afraid to fail, I know (and I know it is cliché, but I really know this) that I can do all things through Christ.  I know that God is for me, and that if it is something that I am suppose to be doing, that God will help me succeed.  That doesn't mean that I have never failed, I have failed at things.  Things that I took upon myself to do, that had nothing to do with God, or that I thought I could do on my own without Him.   I know that God's grace covers me, and that in my weakness His strength is shown.  I really don't fear failure.  If God brought me to it, He will bring me through it.

I would often lean towards fear of rejection, and while there was some things I could connect with on that, I really do not have a problem if people don't like me.  I know that my worth and value is not tied to the opinions of others, and that there will just be people that don't like me.  I know that my worth and value come from my Creator, and that He accepted me long before I took my first breath.  Again, I realize its easy to say that, but God did that work in me a long time ago.  I just know what I know.  I can listen to constructive criticism, and even blatant hatred comments.  I will even see if there is some truth in them that I need to make changes in my life.  I can give it to God and let Him work on changing me.

But what I couldn't see was what was holding me back and why.  I was reading Instinct The Power to Unleash your Inborn Drive by T.D. Jakes.  About midway through Chapter 10, I have a Ah Ha moment.  It is not the fear of failure, or even necessarily the fear of rejection, although closely related.  It is the fear of lack of support.

As I have talked about before I was raised in a dysfunctional family, where my parents provided for me, but were not really supportive in terms of helping.  They stood behind me, regardless of my mistakes, but I didn't have that support that said "If this is too hard, I can show you how or help."  When I needed help, really needed help I didn't know if I could ask for it and receive it.  That is where the rejection comes in to play.  To many times the support I received was not what I needed.  I made a promise to myself that I would never need anyone.  God and me, that's what it would be.

People who don't know me well can see that I am a very task orients, type A personality.  I like to work in groups, but I excel when I am turned loose on a project.  I love to learn and I am a good teacher.    I would rather look it up on Google than need human support.  How I managed before technology, I don't remember.  I like policy and rules because they are black and white.  I like numbers because they are concrete.  I thrive on helping people because they need me. What I am not good at is needing people for support.  I am not good at asking for help.

I should have clued in to this earlier, but maybe God knew I wasn't ready for the task at hand to overcome it.  Almost a year ago, I had a conversation with my then boss.  I  was having problems, I was overwhelmed with what was in front of me, and I was slowly drowning.   I told her then "I have an amazing team.  I know that I don't utilize them enough."  My failure was not utilizing the people that God had blessed me with on my team.  I had people who believed in me, and had no problem with helping.  They just needed me to communicate my need.

I have long known that the dream within me is bigger than I can do by myself.   I know my dream is from God.  I know Satan doesn't want my dream to happen, because it would rock his world and take down strongholds he has. Honestly on the few occasions I have stepped out, the response has been minimal.  That is discouraging to someone who has a hard time asking for support.  Like once, I sent a letter to every church in my then small community - 248 churches.  I got  ONE response, and it wasn't even from my church.  When I sent out a second request, I got one face to face encouraging meeting.

I believe Satan has kept me from identifying what held me back because he was afraid.  However, God knew when I would be ready for that revelation.  He knew how to bring me to a point to see that it is a lie from Satan.  Yes, there will be times that I face resistance in the natural.  Yes, there will be people who are not on the same page as me, but God's will shall prevail.  He shall bring it to pass, despite my childhood insecurities.  He will take what Satan meant to destroy me and use it for His glory.  God will bring together the right people, and let me use the skills and talents that He gave me to bring out their strengths and talents to further His kingdom and destroy the work of the enemy.  I don't believe the lie anymore, and it will not keep me from stepping out as God directs.


Last Wednesday in praise and worship I had a vision of a fenced corner of a plowed piece of land with small seedlings. I could only see a small portion of the land and a small number of pants.  They were cute and green, but small.  I kept straining to see more, pressing God to reveal what it meant.  The only other thing I was able to see was one plant rapidly growing.

As the night ended, I realized that many seeds have been planted.  Some I know about, others I do not.  But the seeds were planted on good ground.  They took root.  There were no weeds in my vision, although I know there have been plenty of weeds in my life.  There is life in me, and what God wants to do will come quickly when the time is right.

I also realized that it is a picture of the church.  We have been through a difficult time over the past three months, and longer.  But there are seeds that remained and were planted in good ground.  We can't see all that God is going to do through this situation, but there is growth.  God will bring the harvest.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Football and Faith

February 1, 2015 , we celebrated Jersey Sunday, aka Super Bowl Sunday.  Everyone was invited to wear their favorite jersey.  I am not a die hard football fan, so I don't have "a team" and I was headed to work, so a jersey really would not have been appropriate.  It was cool to see people representing their different teams, some I recognized, others I didn't.  One of the pastors reminded us all that we are all playing on the same team, and God is our captain.

God spoke to me that only on His team can He play offense and defense at the same time.  In the rules of football, the team with the ball is offense, and the team without the ball is defense.  While there might be defensive moves made by the offense to protect the ball, they are still the offense. 

But on God's team, He is on defense.  We are called to be also.  Our goal is to stop the enemy team from reaching its goal.  We are called to violently attack the gates of hell.  We are to take every opportunity to bind the enemy, to stop him in his tracks.

But God is also on the offensive team at the same time.   He is trying to help us get to the goal which He has called us too.  He is working to get everyone to the goal, to be saved and have a deep personal relationship with Him.

Who are we missing

1 Corinthians 3:6 (NKJV) I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

God awoke me with another vivid dream, which left me worried.  I knew God was speaking to me about something deeper than what I was seeing.  I woke up again repenting and praying God would redeem the time.

I work in a hospital and if someone  needs placement (like rehab or hospice or another hospital) the referral is generally sent online.  Often times  person will start the referral, call the facility liasion and then another person will follow up.  Many times we are waiting on additional information or insurance authorization.  We have the ability to leave notes for the next person to read and indicate also what were waiting on so they can follow-up. Generally the liaison and  co-worker are following up on that discharge plan, timing, and communicating with both doctors and patients. In addition, we try to check in with patients every three days, so the scenario in my dream was very unlikely. 

In my dream, someone needed place, I sent the referral and the ball got dropped. The patient was ready to be discharged and there was no insurance authorization when I left.  A week later when I returned, nothing had been done.  No one had talked to anyone, no one had followed up, the patient was left waiting and not getting what they needed to move forward in their treatment.

I thought about all the missed opportunities where I have failed to share Christ with others.   I know there will be people in Heaven because I shared Christ with them. I know there will be people who will say, if you hadn't shared Christ when you did I don't know how my life would have turned out.

But how many people did I miss?   Times where I told myself that someone else would do it.  Times that I told myself that there would be another opportunity. Times where I tried to leave that conversation to the preacher.  Times where I had no reason to believe that a person had a personal relationship with Christ, had a perfect opportunity, and yet did not take it.

In the kingdom we all have a part to play, some plant, others water, what happens when one fails to do their part? 

How many times have we missed a soul because we said "someone else will do it, or has done it?"  

How many people have missed the last opportunity that a person might have to know the love of God?

Who are we missing by failing to love the hurting, and failing to shed Christ's love in the broken places?

As I finished praying God brought to mind this scripture in Joel 2:25 That He can restore back the years..."  Praise God that He cares more about the lost than I have.  I don't want to wake up one day, and stand before God and answer for those who fell through the cracks of the kingdom because of a failure on my part. 

Leave Me Alone God

This verse jumped out at me as I read through Mark 5 this week.  I have been seeking more of God's presence, and here were crowds of people pleading with him to go away and leave them alone.  It is easy to have a sense of righteous indignation when you can't possibly be in that situation.  I immediately thought "How could they?"
God quickly reminded me of times in my own life, where I also wanted Him to leave me alone. 
  • Times when I was choosing to watch something that He had already showed me was inappropriate.
  • Times when I chose to have a drink, even after I had decided to set that down for Him years before.
  • Times when I spoke words out of anger, hurt, or just bad attitude.
  • Times when I pushed an argument with someone I love, just because I needed to be right.
  • Times when I wanted to stay in my own self-pity so I hung on longer than I should have to negative thoughts and feelings.
  • Times when He woke me up early to spend time with Him,  and I went back to sleep.
  • Times when He would prompt me to say something to someone, do something, or go somewhere and I ignored it.
  • Times when He convicted me of something, and I did it anyway.
I realize we all have our times.  This list could go on forever, with specifics. I am so thankful that even when we chose to ask God to go away, He still is there when we cry back out to Him.  He promises us, He will never leave us or forsake us.  He is waiting for us to make that promise to Him. 

God's masterpiece

We are reading a devotional by Mark Batterson, Draw The Circle in our Monday night Women's Meeting at church. As the speaker shared from Chapter 2 "Established by God" and hsared her perspectives on the chapter and how it applied to our lives, we moved in to discussion about how pottery must go through a process.  It is molded and shaped, dried out, then placed in a hot kiln, and it can burst if there is too much moisture left when it is fired up.   

God takes us through processes much like the clay.  Through our experiences, He is trying to mold us and make us into what He has purposed us to be.  Often times we are resistant to the process, and He has to keep molding and shaping us.  He has to keep the moisture in us so that we don't harden our hearts in the process. 

When we finally submit, He has to take us through the drying out phase.  Getting rid of all the flesh can be a long process.  There are so many things that can impact the time frame - our physical environment is a big one.  So many times we want to hold on to the ways of the world, while God is trying to get the world out of us.

Then God is ready to paint our lives.  He so wants to reveal His glory in our life.  That is what we were made for, to magnify Him.  But then, once again we have to go through the heat, to make sure that it is fused to us. 

I remembered making porcelain dolls at my husband's grandmother's doll shop.  She and the other ladies that frequented the shop were amazingly talented.  Grandma "walked me through" making several dolls.  AKA - I picked the green ware that was already shaped into the doll I wanted.  I cleaned it, sanded it, etc.  She cleaned up my mistakes.  She fired it in the kiln.  I painted it, she again cleaned up my mistakes.  She fired it again.  It seems like there were several firings and painting cycles.  Then she put it all together for me, and I called it the doll I made.

As we had the discussion, I just kept thinking about how long the process was for ceramics from start to finish.  If we are God's masterpieces, why couldn't we just be a painting?  Paintings aren't easy, but they are quick.  You still have imperfections, but God reminded me that when I paint, I cover the imperfections, the potter removes them.

God's work in us will last our lifetime.  Even as we are fulfilling the purpose He has designed us for He will continue to work on us, in us, and through us.  He will keep smoothing out the rough edges, taking us from one level to the next.  He never promised it would be easy.  He never promised there wouldn't be hot times, and dry times, and lonely times.  He promised He would never leave us.  He promised it would be worth it, for we are God's masterpiece.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Run, hide, and take

I woke up Monday morning with my heart racing a mile a minute from a vivid dream.  My husband and someone else were running away from someone.  they took off out the door and were on foot.  In the home where we were, there was also a young woman with a young child, which was my child but not one I recognized.  I gave her the child and proceeded to try to find a hiding place.  First I tried under the bed, but wouldn't fit, then in my closet which I determined would be the first place they would look, then in another closet.  All the while those looking for us were fast approaching.

When I awoke, I had a strong sense to pray for those who are running and those who are hiding from God.  I also felt repentant because I realize that at times I have tried to run and hide.  The I felt overwhelming thankfulness that God so gently tries to woo us with his love and favor.

Many of us try to run from God.  We act as if there is somewhere we can go that He can not find us.  We run from the purposes and plans He has for our lives.  We run from the responsibilities that He wants us to take.  We run from His will for us.  Sometimes it is a short run, others spend their lives running away from God.

Others run from God chasing after something or someone else.  Sometimes I think, we don't even realize that we are running until we hit that point of desperation where we have caught what we thought we needed to obtain and realize that the happiness we sought is not there.  God did not call use to seek after other people.  He did not call us  to seek things.  He called us to seek Him.
Then there are those who know they will get caught, so they have the presence of mind not to run, but instead they try to hide.  Sometimes we hide in the busyness of life preoccupying with things that God did not call us to.  We pack  our schedules with so much that we don't have "free time" for God to speak to or use us.  We are  too busy hiding in our own agenda to allow God time to do His will in our life.

Other times we hide because we are afraid of what He might place on us, that it is too big .  We hide from His voice, because we know if He speaks we will be called to obey.  We fail to realize that it is not in our strength, but in our weakness that He called us because it is Him working through us that will accomplish what he lays before us.

Lastly there are those who think that they are being kind  and helpful, but in reality Satan is using to keep others from their destiny.  These people don't run and hide, they take on the responsibility that is not theirs. They take on things, sometimes with the right heart, but it keeps others from having to step out of their comfort zone and do what God has said they should do.  Sometimes, their heart is that no one can do it as good, but as John Maxwell says if someone else can do it 80% as good as you, than its okay to delegate. 

It is time as Christians that we stop running.  That we stop hiding.  And that we stop taking everything on so that people can start walking in the destiny God has for them.

I shared this blog at as part of Inspire Me Mondays.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

High Walls

Growing up I was always fascinated by the houses with the big brick walls surrounding them.  The idea of who might live in them, what kind of life they might live, and the mystery of what was really behind that tall wall that driving by or walking by I could not see over.

Listening to Proverbs17:19 a portion of the scripture just kept calling out to me.  Anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster.  I realize that in Old Testament times that there were walls built around cities to protect them from being invaded and that this scripture likely refers to those in the city only placing their trust in the structure around them for protection, but God spoke so much more to me through it.  Even as I tried to ignore it, I just kept hearing those words, as if the other words in the verse and chapter did not exist. 

As an adult, I have learned about a different kind of high wall.  These walls were also built for protection, but for self protection.   Like the walls we build because of hurts caused by people we care about, and even those we don't.  The walls that we build to keep people out, because we don't think that they can really handle who we truly are.  The walls we build because we just know that if we are disappointed on more time, that it will destroy us.  We build those walls to keep others out, but we don't realize that our walls limit us.  We end up being caged in by the very walls that we build to protect ourselves.

I admit, I have walls.  I didn't realize how closed off I had become.  I didn't realize that not everyone is as intrigued by walls as I am.  I first realized the walls protecting me in a casual comment made by someone that I was intimidating.  When I questioned my family, they told me I could be and that I often came off as trying to be even to them.  Ouch!  It is my personality, and although I have learned to temper it and build up the other parts of my personality, I am still a very dominant choleric (Find out your  personality temperament here).  I think a lot of the time while God was trying to tame this lion, I was busy building walls to avoid hurting others or being hurt.

I also loved old graffiti walls.  Those that told a story of what had happened in that area, the people who had been there. I loved the old time advertisements that were painted on the sides of buildings.  There was something about the history told by those scenes that captured my attention.

Other people's walls have always intrigued me, and as a counselor, I love to pull down those walls and learn about people's history.  I am not intimidated by the walls, I find them a challenge.  To learn what hurts caused them to build up the walls, the stories behind the graffiti and to help them see that it is so important to let others in.  It is through connections that past hurts can be healed. 

Over the past few months I have realized that something I have so openly taught to others, also applies to me.  We each have our own individual gifts and talents, personality and history that we need to share with the word.  Walls don't just keep others guessing, they keep the beauty inside the walls from being shared as a gift to the world.  I don't want disaster to come upon me because I have trusted only in high walls.  I realize that having other people in my life brings protection.  People who will call me out when I am doing something i shouldn't, who will encourage me when I am down, and who will challenge me to put forth my best in every situation.

We have to put our trust in God and in people.  Sometimes it is those that you least expect that can breach the walls and really get through to you.  Those who will take the time to hear the stories you thought no one could handle, and love you anyway.  Those who would let you be you, in all your uniqueness and pull on your talents and gifts, not for selfish reasons, but to help you become the person that God wants you to be.   Those who would speak life in to the dead places, and dare you to dream again.  Those who would brick by brick help you tear down the walls as you make peace with yourself and the past that caused those walls to be built.

I am so grateful to those who have been beside me these past few months.  God blessed me greatly when he brought Rapha Center into my life and connected me with such a wonderful group of women.  I had no plan to let those walls come down, but God had other plans.  Thank you for being part of His plan!

Let Go

2014 was a year of letting go.  At the beginning of the year, I set my focus on Letting Go. At the time I did not really understand what I would be doing, but Letting Go was what I felt God wanted me to focus on, however that might look.

I began the year looking at my past and working through letting go of the lies and misconceptions that had shaped my life.  God revealed deep seeded feelings that shaped who I had become but that were grounded in untruths.

For example, I thought that my parents didn't care as much about me as they did my older siblings because as I child I was taken to every performance they had - band, sports, church, whatever we were there.  Other than graduation, I really don't recall my parents coming to any of my events.  In my mind, it was unimportant to them.  My childhood self could not see what my adult self knows, my father couldn't be there.  My mother was working nights.  Could she have rearranged her schedule? Yes, but reality was she was working.  It had little to do with me and more to do with the decisions that each of my parents made.

There were many feelings that God revealed to me, their root, and then helped me to process.  He knew I needed this, because I have always said that feelings were irrelevant.  Although I still believe that, I also realize that they can shape how we respond to situations, even when we choose not to acknowledge them.  Just because I chose not to acknowledge feelings of shame, did not mean shame did not exist in my life and did not mean that shame based feelings had not shaped my life.

Around Feb. or early March God woke me up from a dream that I still remember (which is unusual for me).   In the dream I was arguing with my Pastor.  He was telling me I needed to quit my job, I was telling him all the reasons that I couldn't.  It didn't dawn on me that God was preparing me or even just speaking to me about His will, but all my excuses went out the window when I was fired in May.  What transpired over the next two months was nothing short of God's miraculous hand.  While I had to let go of everything that I thought defined me, I found a peace in God that I had not known before.  God took care of all the details, and I rested in Him.

Letting go, and truly surrendering to God has been the biggest leap of faith and the biggest blessing in my thirty years as a Christian.  The idea of not working full time, had never crossed my mind.  I have loved every job that I have had since I began working at age fourteen.  I have defined myself by hard work, integrity, being content while I was working, and good customer service.  Not working, I had to let go of those definitions and God had me start to look at who I really am.

Letting go of "my ability" to provide is also something that never crossed my mind.   From an early age, I made a promise to myself that I would never have to depend on anyone.  I knew the only ones I could count on was God and myself.  Even after I was married, I wouldn't bring myself to depend on my husband.  Being fired, meant that while I was fighting for  unemployment and searching for a job that I had to depend on him.  Even now, God has not lifted that dependence.  For most this seems like no big deal, but to me it is a massive step in letting go.  God let me see that I could depend on other people.

Then God placed me in the situation that I dreaded most.  A group of ladies, whom I didn't know where we needed to share our past and our feelings.  I don't really have a problem talking about my past.  Although a lot of it I am selective in who I share with, I have shared most every aspect of my life with someone at sometime over the last fifteen years.  However, I did not have to share my emotions and feelings.  For the most part it was I share and I leave.  Although I might see those people again, we are not necessarily going to discuss what was previously shared.  Or I shared in close relationships where I had time to build trust before sharing the deepest parts of what I have been through.

Honestly, I would have rather let go of the group, than let go of the control I had in sharing and telling my story.  Having agreed to focus on Letting Go, I knew that this was something that God wanted me to be part of.  I am so grateful that I did not let the enemy talk me in to letting go of the group.  I feel so much lighter having shared.  I learned so much from the other six women that were in my group.   I received so much prayer and encouragement, I guess that over the years I forgot what it was like to have women friends that just pour in to you.  Letting go, was just what I needed to do.

So, although I am 29 days late, I wanted to wrap up 2014 by writing about Letting Go.  Sometimes change is hard, but in order to receive new things we must open up our grasp on the things that hold us back.  We must let go to receive the new.  I am so grateful for the new opportunities, the new doors, and the new realities that I have found this year in the process of letting go.

Monday, January 26, 2015

the Esau generation

Genesis 25:27-34 As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoors man, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”)
“All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.”
“Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?”
But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.

Esau was quick to give up his future blessing for the immediate reward of what he wanted. That is a direct reflection of our society today.  

It is reflected in the lack of nutrition in fast food, we want it quick and are willing to forgo the health risks that poor nutrition offers. 

This is reflected in short marriages and speedy divorces.  We all want love, but affairs offer a faster return without the work.  We throw away a moment of pleasure instead of working for a life time of happiness.

It is reflected in television shows, where problems are solved in thirty minutes and drama is completed in an hour.  We expect the same results in our own life because we have lost touch with the reality of what life really takes.

We live from paycheck to paycheck or paycheck to credit card wanting the life that our parents spent years saving and planning for, because we think we need it now.

We have get rich quick schemes, pills to melt away the fat overnight, extreme exercises, cheat codes for video games and hacks already built in.  All these things trick our minds in to thinking that we can get a reward that others work for without any effort.  It makes us think of the immediate reward instead of the long tem consequences.

Except salvation, God's blessings require effort on our part.  We seek Him, we will find Him.  We obey Him, He will bless us.  There are many kingdom things that we will forego if we decide that we want to live in NOW Chritianity.  We will find ourselves frustrated when the answers to our prayers don't come after the first time and we have to wait on God's timing.  When the obstacle in front of us is not removed immediately because God knows the process He wants to take us through requires we go through the obstacle. 

God is the God of the now, but His ways are higher than our ways.  His timing is not our timing.  He orders our steps, it is our responsibility to walk in them and wait on Him. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Focus of Faith

Sometimes our walk of faith doesn't look much like a journey of faith as we are walking it out.  I have experienced this personally and have heard others talk about how they had so many doubts and fears as they embarked on the journey God placed before them.  Then I hear that they could have never endured what I have been through or I think how great someone else's faith was through a particular trial.  We don't always see the day to day struggle of faith being walked out. 

I think at times we look at the journeys in the Bible, like those mentioned in Hebrews 11, the chapter of faith, and we forget that they too had human emotions.  We forget their great faith had its own ups and downs.  I was reminded of a few failures in faith on the pages I have been reading.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

This clearly credited Abraham with faith when he was called to go out to the place he would receive as an inheritance.  Did the writer of Hebrews skip over Genesis 12:11-13

Genesis 12:11-13   And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. 12 Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I[a] may live because of you.”

Abraham didn't even trust God to protect him on the journey that God sent him on.    He opened up Pharaoh to the curses of God by lying to him about his wife. I guess that takes faith!  And what kind of man offers his wife up to other men to protect himself?  Abraham took his focus off God and placed it on the circumstances. 

Genesis 12:3

I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Or there is Peter who walked on the water.  And then sank.  He had enough faith to get out of the boat, but he lost the focus of his faith when he took his eyes of Jesus.

It is much the same way with us. There will be times when we step out in faith, where we leave out not knowing where we are going or step out of the boat on to the water.  There will also be times where we take out eyes off God and start worrying about things that would be safe in His hands, but aren't meant to be in ours. 

Around March last year I had a dream, God was telling me to quit my job.  I didn't listen.  In fact, in the dream I was arguing with my pastor telling him all the reasons that I couldn't.  I did not have peace in my job, and apparently everyone else knew that too.  Fast forward to May, and I was fired.  I will admit it angered me, because what was said wasn't true, but it was also humbling. 

Has my faith been perfect.  Absolutely not.  There were days where I wanted to take things in to my own hands and yell from the rooftops about the injustice.   Or at least write an ugly letter and get things off my chest. There were days when I had a pity party.  There were days when like Abraham that I started worrying about what was happening to me.  One thing I did not do is take my eyes off Christ. 

God started doing a work in me that needed to be done a long time ago, but I wouldn't allow it because I was too busy helping others. Had I listened to God and done what He told me, it would have saved me a lot of anguish.  But honestly I am glad for the experience.   It has deepened my faith and dependence on Him.  I got to see Him work impossible things in my life.  The blessing have been amazing.  It also opened me up to things I had been to busy for before.  It also let me rest.  You don't realize how tired you are when you are going nonstop.  God has rearranged my life.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Resting in His Love

Tonight I got a glimpse of the love of God, so tangible and present that I know I am loved.  I am here in the dimmed lights of the living room watching my two grand children sleep.  My heart is so filled with love for them, it is overwhelming at times.  Is there anything more precious than a sleeping child? Imagine how precious we are to God when we rest in His love.

It wasn't an easy night.  Neither of the kids is feeling too well.  My grandson was fighting sleep.  I try to calm his soul, rocking him as he finishes his bottle. So much like God's children.  He says "Rest."  All we can think about is the million of things that we have put on our to do list, most of which God didn't call us to do. God also tries to calm our souls, if we let Him.  If we can just get still and quiet, we will find rest.

My granddaughter wasn't fighting sleep, she was just wanting her way.  She didn't like the time and wanted to stay up later.  She didn't want the big bed, then didn't want the baby bed, she wanted the couch.  She didn't want the red blanket, she wanted her blanket.  I admit, after listening to her cry "Mimi" for five minutes I finally gave in and she is now sleeping peacefully on the couch with her blanket, thirty minutes after I called night time.  Before she dozed off, she was just starring at me with those big brown eyes, all puffy from the tears.  I signed our special love language "I love you" her little eyes smiled and sparkled back at me as she finally fell asleep.

As God's children, we are much the same way.  We want things our way.  We want things in our timing.  We want  what we want, how we want it, and when we want and at times nothing else will do.  Sometimes God gives us our way, whether he gets exhausted in fighting with us and decides to let us go around the mountain one more time or if He just says "I love you too much to let this come between us. I'll let you have this one." 

What I see is that God's love is real.  I know that I can not imagine His full love for me.  I know that He wants us to rest in His love always.  There is so much that we take on and burden ourselves with that is unnecessary.  I know there are times that He just looks down at us, despite our fight and despite our wanting things our own way, and just looks on us with such love.

Matthew 11:28-29 (NKJV)   Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.   Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Hope of But...

Genesis 6:5-7 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”


Maybe it is the version I was reading, but I had forgotten how upset God was with His creation before the flood.  The word regretted just struck me.  The NKJV says he was sorry that he made man.  As I was focused on the regret of God, I then saw the hope in verse 8.

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

God loves His creation so much, that for one He altered His plan to destroy the world.  How many things have been diverted because of the but.  I think about the messages of the prophets, like Jonah to Nineveh or how Abraham pled for Sodom if there were just ten righteous.  I think of Joseph to Egypt and Moses to Israel and Paul to the Gentiles. 

How many things happened, or didn't happen because of the ONE.  It is so easy to discount the actions of one.  Especially if you are the one.  Noah didn't have to build a boat.  Jonah tried to run from saving the people in Nineveh.  Joseph didn't have to interpret the dream.  Moses didn't have to go fight the battle against Pharaoh.  Paul didn't have to break the code he lived by and minister to the Gentile.  But each one did.  They did despite the personal cost, the ridicule, the questions they might have asked.

Genesis 6 shows that there is hope in the action of one.  What if you are the ONE? 

The Lie I Believed: Don't Ask

Lately I have read several book that asked the question "What lie have you believed?"  Most of the lies I have seen or thought have long been dispelled in my life.  But reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge, the answer was there in black in white.  Starring up at me was the reality of the question I had left unanswered.  The answer to the lie I believed is "You can't ask for help." 

It seems silly to think that I can't ask for help.  I know that there are people who want to help. I know that because God has blessed me with a wonderful group of people who are willing to help me.  But yet, when was the last time I asked.  I am very good at laying out the need, but I don't ask.  If someone offers I can accept, but I can't ask. And even some times when people offer, I won't accept the help.  I immediately think about the number of times I have struggled bringing in a lot of things and someone offers to help, and I say "I got it."  even as things are slipping out of my grip. 

You can't ask for help.  I have believed that actually asking for someone's help makes me needy.  That it is an inconvenience.  That it is demanding.  As I read the thoughts of the person who also believed that lie, I saw myself.  My thoughts were starring back at me.  I could see the lie I believed, even though I had never verbalized it or even thought of it as a lie. 

There was a positive side of not asking for help from people, I learned to depend on God from an early age.  I knew that He was bigger than any problem that I would face.  I also became very self determined.  When you depend on yourself, you have to push yourself beyond the limits, because we all have needs that are beyond our limits.  Independence was my motto.

As I thought back to when I first believed I couldn't ask for help, I realized I must have been very young.  I don't remember a time when I would ask for help.  As the youngest of five siblings, with a ten year age difference, I was very much an inquisitive child.  At some point, I must have learned to read people's annoyance at my persistence.  When everyone is busy with their own lives and problems the childish needs of the youngest were ignored.  I could read the inconvenience and how it upset people that I was persistent.  I must have decided to keep the peace by not needing anything, EVER.

Although I wouldn't ask for help, I learned to get what I needed by manipulating.  If I could get the attention, I could spin a convincing story so that others would gladly volunteer to do what was needed.  I could ask permission, but even then, eventually I learned how to get what I thought I needed.  As a preteen I knew how to lie, manipulate, or if necessary just take off to go where I wanted to go, when I wanted to go. 

Without asking I had two different guys at my beck and call to pick me up and take me where ever I wanted, regardless of what they were doing, what time it was, or who they were with at the time.  I never asked, just let them know the need persistently.  One friend would literally come and pick me up to take me to the bathroom when we were out at the lake or partying outside of town, even when he wasn't invited.  Reading that now, I feel very selfish to have treated someone who cared about me in such a way.  But yet, when you can't ask, you take.

I was there to help others.  If someone asked for help and it was within my power to help, I had no problem saying "yes."  I just never felt that I could ask for help.  I never felt that I could depend on someone to meet my need.  Despite that fact there were obviously people in my life that did meet needs, I couldn't ask. 

It is freeing to admit the lie that I have believed.  How it impacted my life is also eye opening.  I realize how difficult I made things on people.  People who wanted to have something to do, but I was unwilling to ask. Instead of allowing people to give, I became a taker.  I am so thankful that God placed gracious people in my life that were able to see beyond the lie and help me in times of need.  I think of coworkers, board members, and friends who really had to press, past me, to help.  They pressed past the "I can do it all by myself" and found ways to help me succeed, despite myself. 

I am thankful for my husband who has had to live with this lie for twenty-four years.  I think of how many times I became frustrated because he couldn't mind read my need.  I think about the unmet needs that I have had that were only unmet because I didn't ask. 

The hard part will be overcoming the lie.  Learning to ask for help. I love when people ask me for help.  Why do I think that others would be different?  People like to be needed sometimes.   Learning to be open about my needs. Others share their needs and people come behind them and support them. It is such a blessing to see.  I have encouraged others to ask for help, saying that it robs people of the blessing that comes from helping others.  Why did I not see that lie in my own self when I helped others overcome?  Realizing that even if the answer is no, its not personal.  Others have to set boundaries also.  Others have limits and abilities that may or may not meet the need.

Proverb 3: 27-28
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.
Do not say to your neighbor,
    “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
    when you already have it with you

Matthew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What if?

Reading in Matthew 1 and 2 tonight, the story of Jesus birth, I had a what if thought.  God has given people free will, which means that Mary and Joseph were both free to say no to the Holy Spirit - with the pregnancy, Mary could have said no.  What if God had purposed his son to come earlier in history, but human disobedience and unwillingness to surrender made Mary the first to consent?

And what if Joseph had said no? What if Joseph had said no anywhere a long the journey?  What if he had divorced her as was his original thought?  What if he had not listened to the angel?  What if Joseph had not listened to the angel of the Lord  to flee to Egypt?  Jesus might not have been spared, and prophesy would not have been fulfilled.  What if Joseph had not harkened to the dream with the angel of the Lord to go to the land of Israel?  Or if he had not heeded the warning from the dream to stay out of Judea?  What if he had not decided to go to Nazarene?

Praise God that they were both obedient, but what is time is prolonged because God's chosen are not willing to be obedient to His voice?  What if there are missed opportunities - could you imagine getting to Heaven and realizing you could have been the mother of the Son of God if you had only been willing to submit?  Could you imagine learning that God wanted you to be the stepparent to His Son, but you thought she was lying?

I want to walk in that faith.  To be willing to say "Yes, God it seems improbable, but I will."  "Yes God, it is going to rock my world, but I will."  "Yes God, people are going to say bad things about me, and think bad thoughts of me, but I will."  "Yes God, I will uproot my life to protect the plan You have, I don't know where I am going, but I will." 

I want to be that God focused.  I want to hear that voice or have that dream, and know that beyond my human doubts, God is speaking to me.  I want to know that God is directing my steps, even when they don't make sense. 

I want to see a world, where all believers are tuned in to the what ifs.  What if God wants to use me?  What if there is a gift inside of me that could alter history and change the world for His kingdom?  What if I have to set aside my agenda so that God can do a work through those around me?  What if we all said Yes, God."