Thursday, February 26, 2015

Joy in Visiting

Click clack, click clack. I love the sound of a keyboard humming along with the flow of words. Or the feel of pen on paper scratching out letters that come from my heart.

I can get lost in my own little world of words, thoughts and dreams on paper. Sometimes retreating there when things are tough too.

It’s so much easier to just send someone a quick text, message or note letting them know I love them then taking the time to go visit.

God has been impressing on me lately that this gift and passion He’s given me can be used as means of escape for me all too often.

There is a LOT to be said for a face to face visit with people! We are made for fellowship. Face to face time!

I really love people as well. I enjoy time connecting with them and getting to know what makes them tick. Finding out their God given passions.

I want to be truly present in each moment. 

Not thinking of the next task, but soaking in each moment with people. People God puts in my path for his glory. Then our joy will be complete.

I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete. 2 John 1:12 (NLT)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pure Excitement (and a little fear)!

I signed up for the She Speaks Conference in July. (Happy dance!)

She Speaks is a combination of spiritual inspiration and practical application for writers, speakers and leaders. There will be so many amazing teacher's there to work with us as well.

I have prayed for months for a big directional sign. God has been giving me subtle hints the whole time. I just needed to slow down long enough to see them.

But with this immense excitement comes a little fear. I’m very much a country girl. I truly live “in the sticks” and enjoy it. Large groups of people can feel pretty overwhelming to me. Even thinking about traveling to North Carolina already has me saying “We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto”! Or in my case it would be South Dakota, but you get the idea.

I would normally consider myself a fairly brave person but traveling across the country by myself to a very large place is a little unnerving.

I even tried to rationalize to God that maybe this year wasn’t the right time. “Next year Lord, I’ll be ready next year.”

Another Compel writer reminded me of Ephesians 3:20 and I’m going to hold on to this scripture as I prepare. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

That’s something I can really sink my teeth into and hold onto when doubt starts to creep in. When the enemy tries to tell me I’m not equipped for this I will tell him that God has called me to this and through HIM I can do more than I could ever imagine.

The other part that is unsettling to me is how I’m going to pay for it all. I know God is calling me to go though so have decided to step out in faith and trust him to provide.

It’s hard to believe how real this makes this dream as well. I have loved to write for a long time but I’m well aware of my lack of formal training. I pray that I don’t feel like a fish out of water in the midst of so many professionals.

I think what I’m looking forward to the most is being among so many writers, speakers, leaders and people that are following God’s call on their life. Just being able to rub elbows with people who hunger and thirst after God is a huge blessing.

A conversation I had with one of my son’s not long ago made this all come together for me. I was informing him of my desire to take my writing more seriously. We discussed that having dreams that are only accomplished through Christ are dreams worth having! God sized dreams remind us daily to surrender them daily to Him.

I would really appreciate your prayers as I prepare for this conference and the new directions the Lord is taking me.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stand Up!

It’s time to take a stand.

As Christians, myself included, we have become way too complacent. Living out our comfortable lives with our fish symbol stickers and our perfectly orchestrated worship hour. Trying hard not to rock the boat. Living an “abundantly” moderate life. Showing up just enough for church to be counted among the “good”.

 I don’t think respect for people and letting our beliefs be trampled all over have to go hand in hand! I can respect a person and still not compromise my convictions.

The Bible tells us the devil prowls about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  We are to be vigilant and watchful. Resisting him steadfast in the faith. Knowing that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV)

The picture of the 21 brave men of the cross murdered on a beach by terrorists for refusing to denounce their faith will forever be etched in my mind. They were steadfast to the very end! They didn’t have faith in their fish stickers on their car. They were vigilant in the name of Jesus. 

Now don’t take this as an assault on any other faith.  It’s not! This is not a call to “arms” but a call to our knees. It is simply time as Christians that we stop hiding our heads and thinking that in an effort not to offend anyone, we are run down by the enemy.

Apathy is what the enemy is hoping for. If he can catch us off guard and not being watchful for his sly tactics he can shake our faith.

Satan is after our faith.

He will bring persecution against faithful people in an attempt to destroy their souls.

Matthew Henry’s commentary says, “You must moderate your affection to worldly things, or else Satan will soon overcome you.”

We can get so caught up in the comforts of our cushiony lives that we don’t even see Satan coming. He just wriggles in ever so camouflaged by the little lies we allow ourselves to believe. The lies that lethargy of faith has no consequences.

If any of you want to walk My path, you’re going to have to deny yourself. You’ll have to take up your cross every day and follow Me. If you try to avoid danger and risk, then you’ll lose everything. If you let go of your life and risk all for My sake, then your life will be rescued, healed, made whole and full. Luke 9:23-24 VOICE

I’m guilty of shirking back when the cross bumps into my comfort zone. God forgive me for that! Lord, help me brave and be willing to risk my easy life for YOUR sake.

I pray that the persecution our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering all around the world will be a wakeup call to all of us! We can’t sit idly by and just hope our comfort zone is never touched by those same forces.

Our indifference to the evil in the world won’t make it go away. Our own strength won’t make it go away. There is only victory found in Jesus. Not some pie in the sky kind of victory either. Real, eternal victory!

Jesus promised struggles in this world but I honestly wasn’t prepared for the struggles I hear about every day. Not just in foreign, far away countries either. The evil that is encroaching into my own, safe, little world is heartbreaking at best and completely crippling at worst.

Even still, God is in control. He is still the God of promises. He promised Peter in Matthew 16:18 that He will build His church on the rock and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.

Evil may think it’s getting the upper hand but God has already won!

Lord, come quickly please! Rescue your people. Build us up in the faith so that we can proclaim with conviction that we too, are people of the cross! Amen

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Life Lessons in the Dressing Room

Ok, how many of you women out there love shopping?  

I went jeans shopping the other day and the devil tried to run absolutely rampant with my thoughts and emotions. You see, I’ve gained some weight back. Yikes, that’s not fun to put on paper for the whole world to see.

In the past I’d been down the road of “not caring” at all and ate with abandon and didn’t exercise at all. Then I headed down the road of “control”. I figured if I could control how much I ate and how much I exercised, I’d get the results I wanted. The problem was I did get the physical results, but my heart was a long ways from whole!

I’ve been trying to find balance in my life and knew I’d gone WAY too far with obsessing about food and exercise. Somehow I thought freedom from that was full abandon. I wasn’t finding myself obsessing about what I ate which is good. In what had been my “mottos operando” for quite some time, I figured if not obsessing a little was a good thing, not caring at all must be even better. Wow, I can’t believe I was right back where I started. So frustrating!

So, in that little dressing room, trying on jeans that have fit in the past but now didn’t, I had a revelation. First, God really does love me even when I struggle with loving myself. I don’t think he sees the cellulite, stretch marks and baggy skin. He does, however, see my heart. He saw the enemy coming after it right there in that tiny room with too many mirrors!

I felt Him call out to me and remind me that I’m a daughter of the King. There is no condemnation with Him. Only mercy, grace, and conviction.

You see, part of my revelation that day was that there’s a balance to this life. I would probably tell you that freely if we visited but I don’t think I really believed it.

I just knew the opposite of being in bondage to so much control had to be complete abandon. NO!

God spoke to my heart walking out of that dressing room. I’d found freedom from obsessing about food, exercise and my body image.
I GET to take care of my body/health. It is a gift from the Lord and I WANT to steward that gift well.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

What I’ve also realized is MY best is not the same as YOUR best. I’ve been stuck in the comparison trap for way to long too. Time to crawl up out of that pit.

God loves each of us right where we are. Whether or not we make the choice to take care of our health. You can’t earn His love in any way. You can’t starve yourself and he’ll love you more. You can’t exercise yourself into the ground and expect any more love from the Father.

You also can’t just turn completely away from obsession and swing to the other extreme of abandon and find more love. Peace is found in balance.

It’s just accepting that God loves you, for YOU. Not your jean size. Not a number on the scale. Not a false sense of freedom. Just YOU!

This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.                      
1 John 4:10 (NLT)

Friday, February 13, 2015

When Seasons Change

I'm excited to be linking up with many talented bloggers for Five Minute Friday!  Every Thursday night a prompt word is given and writers take 5 minutes and write what's on their heart. It's a free write. No editing, no over thinking and no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. 
Link in the sidebar.  Everyone is welcome to join the fun!

When life comes in seasons. We are children and care free one moment. Then young adults seeking out our future the next.

When you blink and open your eyes again you’re young couples starting out on the road of life together. There are big dreams. Plans of many years together that seem like an eternity.

When you think pregnancy will never end and as it does you’re sure you’re not ready for this new season change.

When you’re babies go off to school for the first time and you fight back tears and try to put on a brave face for them.

When life has a way of feeling like one day dragging into the next and all you see is piles of laundry and a never ending to do list.

When you wonder how you’ll ever survive these late nights waiting up for teens who are spreading their wings.

When you drive away from the college dorm and sob uncontrollably once you’re out of sight of your son.

When your amazing husband reaches across and holds your hand and tells you, “You did good mom!”

When you’re facing empty nest and you wonder where the years have gone.  Wasn’t that just yesterday I started this journey with my wonderful man?

When you fall to your knees and praise God that He has always been the one constant in these ever changing seasons.

(Daniel praising God) – He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. Daniel 2:21 (NIV)