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Monday, December 30, 2013

REFLECTION



Another year is drawing to a close.  Good and bad.  Happy and sad.  Joy and sorrow.  Laughter and pain.  I believe it does us all well to reflect back on all that has happened.  Learn from our mistakes so we can grow and not make them again.  See what good happened and where God worked for us.  Was it a year you wish had never happened?  Was it a year you were thankful for? What can you do differently than last year to grow closer to God and walk in the path He has for you?

Lots of questions - few answers.  Its hard sometimes, isn't it, to look back at what transpired in the last year?  Some of us will be happy with how our lives have turned out so far.  Others of us will be glad this year is closing and a new one is beginning.  Its like reading a really long book and you just want this chapter to end! You are ready to turn the page and see if there is something good happening for the main character in the story - YOU!  

I have been keeping a journal for the past 9 or 10 years.  Its my way of getting my feelings out, a way of remembering what happened in life and how I felt.  I've pulled some of those journals out and read bits and pieces.   I can see in the beginning a child like mentality - it was all about me.  What was wrong in my life, what I wanted.  God, what about me?  I'm almost embarrassed to read some of them.  Yet, I can see my growth in Christ thru my writings.  I can see situations where I struggled and God came through.  When you are in the midst of situations in your life, you can miss the little things God does for you.  But, if you sit and REFLECT on the year or years past, you can see where God has moved and what He has done for you.  I am glad I started writing all those years ago.  Its a great reminder of who God is and who I am not.   I am broken, scarred, battered and bruised.  But God is a healer.  A potter who is working the lump of clay that is me.  I am constantly being prodded and shaped by his loving hands and I can see that as I reflect back on the year.   Hes working out those cracks, replacing the broken pieces and smoothing away the rough spots.  If I didn't look back and reflect on all He's done for me, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to look forward with anticipation of what is to come.  

Isaiah 40:31  "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint"


Hope in - means to trust in or look expectantly to.  As I reflect back and see where I've been, I can HOPE IN the Lord - I can look expectantly to where He is taking me.  What a great promise!  What joy that brings to a heart that at times can be heavy laden. 

I encourage you to look back - Reflect.  But, in your reflection, don't become downtrodden.  Instead, reflect on what was good, what was bad, what made you happy and what saddened you.  Learn from those things and then with a hopeful heart, look ahead to what God has in store for the new year.  Set goals for your relationship with Him.  Put Him first in all you do and see where He takes you.  Trust me, you will soar on wings like eagles!  This race before us is long and can be hard at times - but knowing with God I can soar - that gives me HOPE!



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Window Facade


I was watching a movie yesterday and the characters were window dressers at a popular department store.  They each had a window and competed to see whose window was better. At one point in the movie, the woman looked to her co-worker and said "I'm like a window - a facade.  I create perfect images for others to admire".  Wow!  I quickly jotted that down because it is so true of so many of us.

We think we are expected to look a certain way, behave a certain way, have the right family, home, drive a certain car.  What we are doing in our lives is creating a Facade that we can never measure up to.  We buy the latest styles and dress ourselves to match what everyone else is wearing.  We go into debt to have the perfect house so that it appears we have it all.  We drive certain cars because they look better than what we can truly afford.   Have you ever invited someone to your house and then told your family "Don't talk about this...", "Don't say that...", "Don't embarrass me".  You want your family to be someone they are not to impress the guest.  Have you ever went out to buy a new dress just to impress a man on a date?  Worn something totally out of character for you?  You are building a facade - giving a false impression of who you truly are. 

I am guilty of this.  The whole summer before my 20 year class reunion I worked out every single day.  I was trying to get into better shape so that I could show everyone that I wasn't who I was in high school.  I was fit.  I wasn't an ugly duckling anymore.  I wanted them to notice me.  Its funny how the "mean" girls noticed me right away.  They said it was because of my smile or my eyes.  The guys didn't' know who I was.  The window coverings had been changed and they didn't know me.  What I realized was they didn't see me then, and they weren't seeing ME now.  They were seeing a facade.  Who I am is in that smile and in my eyes, not in the dress I wore or the size I am.  I have lived much of my adult life trying to look a certain way.  I achieved it once - but it was fleeting.  I eventually had to stop working so hard on keeping up appearances so that I could live my life.  I want to be known by the size of my heart and the love that I give and not by the size of my home or the designer clothes I wear or the number on the scale.  I am me.  I accept who I am because I am "fearfully and wonderfully made".  God knit my innermost being and knew me before I was even born.  Nothing about who I am or what I look like is an accident - I was shaped and dressed by God.  So are you.  Lets try to live this next year true to ourselves - no facades.  Lets accept others for who they are, not for what they look like.  Because who they truly are is underneath the window dressing.  I don't want to live trying to create perfection for others to admire.  I want to live loving who Christ created me to be.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My one word



Words have power.  Meaning.  Depth.  Can elicit change. I have been thinking about my one word.  What word do I want to live by in the coming year?  What word describes who I want to be?  I'm tired of making New Years Resolutions...its the same old thing year after year.  We generally resolve to do better on what we didn't do last year.  Lose weight, save money, be a better husband/wife/friend, be a better parent, etc.  Don't you get a knot in your stomach, a grumbling in your soul, when someone says "What's your New Years Resolution?".  I do.  Because they tend to get forgotten and become unreachable.

So, this year I have decided that instead of setting myself up for failure by making a list of resolutions I won't keep, I will choose ONE WORD to live my life by this year.  One word that will change my outlook on life, on me, and on those around me.  One word that will give me focus and direction in my walk with the Lord.  Because, ultimately, if I focus on Him, and live my life the way He wants me to live it, then all the rest of the "stuff" I resolve will eventually fall into place.  Living in God's will for my life is all I need to resolve to do. 

So, what is my word? I've thought about it and honestly, I haven't been able to pick one yet.  I want to pick a word that will help me align myself to Gods calling on my life. I'm still hoping God will help me narrow it down.  But, what about you?   Will you make a laundry list of resolutions that you know you probably won't keep? Or will you think about and pray about one word that you can focus on - one word that will give your life meaning this coming year?  Here are a few you can think about:


When I choose my word I will let you know.  I want to be held accountable.  I'm excited to see what word I choose and excited to see how that word will change my life this coming year.   Let me know if you choose a word.  I will encourage you along the way...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

when the rain comes



It happens.  The rains come.  Sometimes its a gentle rain and you are Calm. Peaceful. Soothed even.  But then the storms come.  When buckets of rain falls on your head and you feel like you are going to drown.  Nothing is going right. Things are falling apart and you feel like if God doesn't stop it soon, you are going to drown.   You wonder why God is sending these storms in your life and you have two choices:  you can drown in them or you can learn from them.

Drowning in them - doesn't sound like a good choice, but it happens.  We get discouraged, downtrodden, lose hope and we can no longer lift our heads.  We feel as if this dark time will never end, that we will never see the sun shine on us again.   I'm sure you've been there - in the loss of a child, in the flood of a home, in the depth of despair when you don't know where the next meal will come from to feed your family, when you can't find a job after weeks or even months of trying.  All you want to do is give up and let the rain waters take you away.  But God told us in Jeremiah 29:8 "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and to not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Hope - the one word you can grab hold of during your storm.  God gives us hope.  And when we have HOPE, that is when we learn from our storms, instead of drown in them.  In Psalm 107:29 it says "He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love"  Even when its raining hard and we feel like we are about to lose it, God is there with us.   He is waiting to calm the storm.  He will guide us to our safe haven because he loves us, but He wants us to have FAITH in Him.  In Luke 8:24-25 it speaks of the disciples and their fear in the storm "Master, Master, we're going to drown" Sound familiar? He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples.  

When we go through these storms in our life - leaky roofs, broken sinks, car troubles, no job, whatever our storm may be, God is saying to us "Where is your faith?".  We all doubt - I do.  I did yesterday when water poured in from two different spots in my ceiling.  I didn't think I could take any more...but I can.  And I will.  Because through it all, God is there and He's saying "Stacie, where is your faith?" "Stacie, I have plans for you! Plans to not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".  God tells us in His word that He will never leave us - no matter what storm we are in.  So, have FAITH.  He will see you through, and at the end of it, when the rain stops and the sun shines again, you will see the rainbow of hope.  God sends these storms to see where we are weak and where we are strong.  Those leaks in my roof are the weak spots.  Time to fortify them, strengthen them.  In our storms, he sees where we are weak and helps us fix the broken parts.  It makes us stronger.  So, stand strong in you storms and have Faith - God will never leave you!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gift of grace



I've been a little lost these last few days...not sure what to write, not sure what I'm feeling or even what I'm learning.  Its a crazy time of year, 6 days before Christmas.  There are cookies to bake, presents to wrap, cleaning to do to get ready for the big day!  As I was reading a bible study this morning I came upon the picture above.  Fitting for the season.  We all await the day we can open the gifts others have chosen for us.  Yet the greatest gift I feel I have received is Gods gift of Grace.  

Grace is given to us freely and we are meant to give it away as freely as we receive it.  See, God gives each of  his children SPECIFIC gifts.  During this season of the year, are you "giving away" your gifts the way God intended?

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

 Whether it’s serving or teaching, encouraging or leading, showing mercy or giving generously, when we exercise those gifts, we become “faithful dispensers of the magnificently varied grace of God” (PHILLIPS).

Do you give the gifts God has given you away?  Do you forgive? Do you honor others? Live in harmony with each other?  Accept one another? Kind and compassionate? Encourage and build each other up? Love deeply from the heart?

Hard questions aren't they?  When we really sit down and consider all we do and all we say, are we giving away as much as we've been given?  Honor others - that means put them first.  Hard to do? Only by God's grace can we practice being second.  Live in harmony with one another - sounds simple enough.  No drama, no slammed doors, no arguments or raised voices.  It starts in our homes.  Something to ponder.  Accept one another.  Know that everyone, even you, are flawed.  Sold "as is" means you buy it knowing there is something wrong.  Same with our friends and family - we agree to accept as is and love as is.  Practice it.  If we can do this in our homes, especially our church family, what a joyous time of year it could be.  Encourage and build up - you've heard the saying "If you don't have anything nice today, then don't say anything at all".  Jesus challenges us - be nice, and say it.  Speak up - it will change you and the bless the person you are encouraging. 

Grace - it comes in all forms.  The few mentioned above are mentioned in the Bible.  Lets practice giving more away this season.  It was given freely to us and where it came from there is an endless supply.  Give it away and more will be added to you. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Leave it at the Cross




 I've recently experienced some of the above phrases...from myself and from someone I love who feels this way.  It really spoke to my heart that this is something that I need freedom from and I want to help someone else along the way.    I think we all at one point or another do something in our lives that makes us feel as if we are "Not good enough", "Not pretty enough" or "Not smart enough".  We all sin and not one of us is perfect, yet we tend to compare ourselves to others who seem to have it all together on the OUTSIDE.   We carry what we've done around with us - we wear it like an overcoat and it weighs us down.  We compare ourselves to others without knowing what their story is.  We all sin - no one sin is greater than another - yet we look at our sin and think that we must wear this coat of shame even though God has offered us a cloak of righteousness.   Why do we listen to the father of lies instead of the Giver of Life?

When Eve sinned her eyes were opened, and for the first time she pulled back a little in shame - and we as women have been doing it ever since.  We look in the mirror and instead of seeing the "Image-Likeness" of Christ, we see shame, guilt, filth.  Since that day in the garden we have tried to be good enough for God, for others, and we continue to come up short in our minds.  But god clothes us in righteousness.  He takes away our dirty rags and gives us robes of righteousness. 

Shame is different than guilt.  Guilt says I've DONE something wrong while shames says I AM something wrong.  Our shame can make us pull away from God and from others before they reject us.  But God shows us love, mercy, grace, hope, promise of a future.  We are all broken and flawed, but God loves us as we are and has taken our shame from us. 

Today I pray for you and for me, that God helps us see that He has already paid the price for our shame.  We need to lay our dirty rags at the foot of the cross and put on our new coat of righteousness, paid with His blood.  Carrying around all that shame and guilt says that what Christ did wasn't good enough for US, and so we need to continue to punish ourselves for the sin He has already forgiven.   Our sin is removed as far as the east is from the west - He sees it no more. We are clean in His sight.  What Christ did on the cross was enough.  Today, leave it at the cross.  Its too heavy for us to bear so let Him take it from you.  Walk in your righteousness today and when you look in the mirror see:


Monday, December 16, 2013

Come Thirsty



John 4:1-42

Jesus wanted a drink.  He was tired and hot and thirsty so he went to the well to get a drink.  And then she showed up.  You know her, the woman at the well.  The woman who had been married 5 times and who was now with another man.  The woman who was never satisfied so she kept doing the same thing over and over, hoping to find something to quench her thirst for love, for acceptance.  You may know someone like that - it may be you.  You keep working longer hours to find that satisfaction in your job, or your bank account.  You work out longer and harder to look the way the world expects you to look.  You keep dating the wrong guy or the wrong woman because no one seems to fill that dry spot in your heart.

Meet the woman at the well. She went later in the day, after all the other women went to the well.  This way she wouldn't be judged, or pushed aside. She shows up and there is a man there - and he asks her for a drink of water.  Well, she knows what that means.  In the past it meant "lets talk.  Lets get to know one another".  She pushed back  - "How could a man like you ask for water from a Samaritan woman like me?" (John 4:9)  He could because He is God.  He isn't concerned with race or gender.  “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

John 4:10  "If you only knew the free gift of God".  She had been solicited before.  She knew gifts had strings attached.  But not this one. Not this time. You know what I mean - someone gives you something and you wonder "whats the catch".  What do you want from me in return?   But God doesn't work that way.  What he offers is FREE!!!

She came to the well for water, and was offered LIVING WATER!

“But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14



She was willing to settle for less, but Jesus wanted her to have more.  He wanted her to experience living water, He wanted her soul to come alive! He wanted her to experience TRUE JOY!  We have to set aside what our bodies want and listen to our hearts.  We must learn to satisfy our soul and not our physical self.    “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).  So often we go down paths that lead us to a dry desert.  We think what we are doing will quench our thirst for life and we end up more dry and depleted than ever before.  Life is sucked out of us to the point we don't want to lift our heads and face another day.  But we have this offer:

John 4:14  "But whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst again.  The water will become a spring in him".  Whoever DRINKS.  Going to church, carrying around a Bible, listening to Christian music - those are all good things.  But unless we DRINK of the living water, we will remain dry and thirsty. We can't just carry the Bible, we have to OPEN IT and read it.  DRINK.   When we listen to that Christian music we need to let it seep in and start to fill those dry spots with the living truth.  We need to WORSHIP God thru the song.  When we go to church we need to get plugged in.  I've heard people say "I'm not getting fed at this church".  To be fed you have to do something - Hand to mouth!  Get involved. Serve.  DO!

No person or thing of this world can supply the water of life.  Only God.  We try though don't we?  We spend money we don't have trying to fill a need in our heart of acceptance.  We date people we shouldn't date trying to fill that emptiness in our hearts that only God can fill.   We drink to escape.  The list can go on - and you know what that thing is for you.  But only GOD can give us life.  Only God can fill those dry places in our lives with his Living Water.  So DRINK.  What is stopping you? Its a free gift, freely given to anyone who asks.  Go to the well today.  Its the perfect time of season, don't you think?  As we come upon Christmas, instead of seeking gifts and things to fill you - go to the well and drink of the living water that was sent as a child to fill our hearts with His living water.  DRINK today and LIVE!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Step out




I sat down this morning, grabbed my notebook and pen and started writing.  This idea popped into my head about walls.  We all build them in our lives - around our heart.  I was going to write all that God was showing me about the different walls I've put up in my life and about 4 pages later I realized that there is SOOOO much more I could say about each one - and so many others I didn't mention.  So, I'm gonna save what he showed me this morning, build on it and I will share it later.  Because what He showed me is so important that it deserves more than just a morning blog. 

See, God told me about a year and a half ago that I needed to tell my story.  Well, I laughed.  Seriously.  In church he said "Tell your story" and I smiled and giggled.  Right, ok God, sure.  To whom do you want me to tell and how do you expect me to do this.  I'm JUST a mom, JUST a paralegal,  JUST a nobody from small town Indiana.  So, I dismissed Him.  Well, one thing I've learned about God, He doesn't go away quietly!!  About 6 months after that He said it again.  "Tell your story".  I actually looked around me that day - again I was at church, listening to the sermon and I turned my head. Then I shook my head - "Are you kidding me?  Don't you know I'm a nobody?  Who cares about my story?"  Again, I went on my merry way and ignored God!  What nerve!!  Have you ever done that?  God told you to do something and you laughed at Him?  Thankfully, God is a patient God and not quick to punish for disobedience.  Instead He waits and gently prods when He sees fit.  This past May I was part of a local women's conference and was talking to our guest MC and I happened to tell her one little snippet of my story - and she looked at me and said "You need to be up on that stage.  I see you speaking to other women someday".  Inside my heart skipped a beat because that is a dream I've had for many years, but I've always thought "Who am I?  Why would anyone want to hear from me? I'm a nobody".   Then God said "I told you to tell your story".  Isn't He funny?  I'm sure he was saying "I told you so".  But my fear and my doubt kept me quiet and hidden.  
God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that you could ever ask or think! (Eph. 3:20) And He will make a way, where there seems to be no way!

Have you ever experienced God tugging on your heart, telling you to do something that is out of the ordinary for you?  Telling you to step out of your comfort zone and stretching your faith?  Its scary!  But its exciting as well.  Because God isn't calling the great, He's calling us to make us great!  He takes the little we have and makes it His.  So, today, if you feel God is telling you to do something you wouldn't normally do, DO IT!  He will get some awesome glory from it!  I can't wait to share what God is doing in my life...but its not ready yet.  Its only just begun.  But, I'm finally listening to Him and ready to go on this journey.  So, that blog I was gonna write this morning will have to wait - because its only just begun.  Instead, God wanted me to challenge you - today, listen to that still small voice and instead of laughing at God, or blowing Him off because you don't feel good enough to do what He's asking, just step out from behind your wall and take a step of faith.  You will be amazed at how awesome it feels to be walking in God's will for your life!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Run and Fleeing from Mrs. P!!







We've all read the story of Joseph.  His brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites who in turn sold him to Potiphar.  He was treated like dirt by his brothers, but God has other plans for Joseph.  Plans to prosper him.  Sounds like a favorite verse of mine - Jeremiah 29:11.  

Well, back to Joseph.  Potiphar had a wife who was a BAD girl!!  Mrs. P had an issue with lust.  She saw something she wanted, and she went after it.  Know anyone like that in your life?   Someone who will do whatever it takes to get what they want, regardless of the rules?  Well, Mrs. P thought Joseph was good looking and she wanted him!  She noticed how handsome and well-built he was and she was tempted.  Ah, there's that theme again.  Eve was tempted and now Mrs. P.  Eve wanted that juicy fruit and Mrs. P wanted Joseph. 

In Genesis 39:7 she says to Joseph "Come to bed with me!"  What did Joesph do?  He refused.  He responded “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9)  Notice he didn't call her wicked, just the sin against God.  Important to see here that we aren't wicked, our sin is wicked.  God loves us and he loved Mrs. P.  He just didn't like what she was doing.  So Joseph ran.  Over and over she solicits Joseph and repeatedly he runs.  Eventually he just stays out of the building!  But, as is common with Satan, Mrs. P finally found a chance to grab hold of him.  When everyone in the palace was gone, she grabbed hold of his garment and said Come to bed with me!  Joseph ran, leaving his cloak behind!  Poor Joseph.  First his coat of many colors was taken, now this one!!  Poor guy has a problem keeping his shirt on!  

Have you ever wanted something as bad as Mrs. P wanted Joseph?  Ambition? Money? A man or a woman?  Job?  The list could go on.  There are so many things that we could want so badly that we are willing to do anything to get them - even sin against God.  Have you ever "grabbed" and "took" like Mrs. P did with Joseph?  When we don't get what we want, the temptation to reach out and take is very strong.  But remember, God gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want.  Hold on, be patient.   Joseph did what we should do.  HE RAN!!  He didn't even try to wrestle with her to get his cloak back.  He just left it and left the building.  Why?  Because staying to get that cloak would have kept him within arms reach of that temptation.  We need to be more like Joseph and less like Mrs. P.  When faced with the temptation to take what we want, when its not God's best for us, we need to run.  Leave behind anything that could trip us up and run the other way.  Run towards God and his outstretched arms.  You know he's waiting for you to turn around and make the right decision.  I admit I have made many mistakes in my life.  There were times I wish I had turned and run, but I grabbed and took instead.  God has loved me through it and gently scrubbed that dirt and hurt away.  Lessons were learned and scars were formed.  I think its time for me to start running more towards God and away from the things that tempt.

Today I challenge you to look at your Mrs. P.,  the things that tempt you.  Will you grab and take or will you run and flee? 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Come out of hiding



I started an online Bible study this morning.  It is written by Liz Curtis Higgs  called "The Bad Girls of the Bible"...I LOVE that title!!!  Makes me feel "less" bad about myself knowing that there are bad girls in the Bible!! haha  Well, the very first bad girl was Eve. Yep, you read that right - Eve. 

Eve had it made - handsome husband, free food, beautiful home, freedom to roam in the Garden.  But she gave it all away because of one word - PRIDE.   When she was being tempted by the serpent, she didn't call on on God to help her, she didn't hide in God's word and God's shadow.  No, she listened.  Her downfall wasn't her appetite for the fruit - it was her PRIDE.  Her pride that she could handle it on her own.  Sound familiar?  Sound like something you may have done once or twice or a hundred times over in your life?  Been faced with a temptation, an opportunity to sin - an opportunity to do something that you normally wouldn't do or you know is against the rules?  You think, "God, I love you and thank you for loving me unconditionally - so if you could just turn your head right now - I got this.  I'm gonna do this on my own right now". 

 Liz writes:  When is smart not smart? When God says “don’t,” and we say “do.” When God says “stop,” and we say “go.” When God says, “I love you,” and we say, “That’s nice, but if you don’t mind, I’d like a little time off for bad behavior.”  You relate to this statement - I do.  I've done it before in my life - God loves me so He'll forgive me.  Yes, He will - but as children of God he sets a higher standard for us to live by.   He will always love us, but boy, don't you wish we thought of the consequences BEFORE we take that time off for bad behavior?   So, Eve ate - and told her husband to eat and he did.  And their eyes were opened - just like the serpent promised.  But, what he promised they would gain was not anywhere near what they learned.  He promised them knowledge - well, they got that - knowledge that they were naked and exposed.  They made coverings for their body out of fig leaves - but we all know what happens when a leaf is removed from the vine of life.  It shrivels and dies.  Very symbolic of what sin does to us - it separates us from the living water, the vine of life.  God.  It causes us to shrivel and die inside.   When we sin and start to feel that separation from God what happens?  We feel exposed.  Naked.  Uncovered and unclean. Shamed.  But, the hope is that just like with Adam and Eve, God calls to us.  Where are you?  Where have you gone?  Isn't it awesome to know that God provides a way to cover our sin?  He covered Adam and Eve.  He clothed them in the garden - and he clothes us now.  With His righteousness.  With His blood.  

When God calls to you, don't hide in shame.  He comes in love with grace and mercy.  He comes to clothe you with righteousness bought with the blood of His son Jesus.  We hang out heads and say "Can you forgive me?" and he raises our heads and days "Yes, it is done".  Shame is replaced with righteousness.  

Where are you right now?  Shamed? Hiding from God? Ashamed of something you have done? Fearful?  God came looking for Adam and Eve to FIND them.  Not to punish them.  He is a loving father wanting to show them how much He loved them.  And He is doing the same for you and me. Bet you've figured out something - we are all bad boys and bad girls.  We all sin and feel shame. But God wants us to come out of hiding and feel His love for us.  Listen for God's voice. Sense Him moving in your life.  Come out of hiding.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Just Me....


As I was driving into work this morning, I was listening to the radio and the song by Laura Story "I Can Just Be Me" came on.  I've heard it before, but today I really listened to the lyrics and they really spoke to me.  For most of my life I've tried to be the person people would accept.  When as a little girl your daddy leaves you, it can tear something down deep in your heart.  The one person who is supposed to love you and protect you walks away, it can cause a fear that is overpowering.  Maybe something has happened in your life to cause that gut wrenching fear - fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of failure.  I just want to be me.

What does that look like?  Who am I?  Am I what I tell myself in those quiet moments when I'm alone?  Just a mom, just a girl from small town Indiana, just a divorcee, just a paralegal.  Or do I tell myself I'm brave, I'm loved, I'm accepted, I'm gifted, I'm talented.  This song is my hearts cry to God when I want to tear myself down with my own words -  "I've been doing all that I can to hold it all together, piece by piece"...
Have you ever felt that way?  Ever felt that if one more thing goes wrong, or you get disappointed by someone ONE MORE TIME, you are going to break into a thousand pieces?    Jesus went through all the pain of rejection and disappointment that we go through. When you feel that way cry out to Him "Be my healer, be my comfort, be my peace".  

The verse at the end of the song that really speaks to me says "cause I'm so tired of trying to be someone I was never meant to be".  Living in this broken and shattered world causes us to do this at times, don't you think?  We try to be who others want us to be in order to feel that love and acceptance.  Yet, when we are alone, we cry out wishing they would accept us for who we truly are.   Broken sinners who get it wrong more times than we get it right.  Loved in spite of our failures.  Treasured because we are his sons and daughters.   This is my vow to myself for the coming year - to be me.  To be who God wants me to be, who God says I am.  To accept others for who they are and to love them in spite of their failures.  Because we all fail.  We are all needy and broken.  So "Be my God so I can just be me"...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

TRUST



Do you trust God?  Do you believe he knows what he's doing?  There are times in my life when I felt like He was indifferent...or even absent all together.  I look back now on those times and can see His hand in the situation, but when I'm in the middle of it, I feel like He has abandoned me.  He didn't abandon me, I lost faith and trust in Him.  I was the one who left, not Him. Do you know what I mean?  Have you ever been there?

When I went through my divorce in 2001, it was a very lonely time for me.  People in the church that I attended pointed fingers at me, were angry at me and very judgmental.  I felt even a little bit of disconnect from my family.  The life I was supposed to have lived was now ending and I was beginning a new chapter.  I had 2 small children to take care of, I was alone and I lost my church family.  That first summer after my divorce was a blur...I tried to find acceptance in new friendships and in the process felt more alone than ever.  These friends didn't love Jesus and at that time in my life, I didn't feel like Jesus loved me anymore.   I began my life of singleness and my life became very lonely.  I withdrew into myself and kept a lot of things on the inside.  I finally got to a point one night in the middle of the night that I found myself on my knees crying in physical pain because of the deep hole that was in my heart.  I hit rock bottom.  Because of disapproval from others, I had pushed everyone away and found myself more alone than ever.  I was heartbroken and crying before God that night - Where are you??  Why does this life hurt so much??  On my knees, broken, I was able to look up.  I wish I could say from that day forward life began to get better.  It didn't.  But, I knew I was not alone.  I knew that God was with me.   He knew what I felt, how alone I was because He had felt that too at one point in His life here on earth.  Everything we feel God has already experienced....brokenness, sadness, abandonment.  He was the only one who could lift my head and say "I understand.  I'm with You".  

Psalm 16:11 David writes:  "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

When things around us feel out of control, when we feel scared, empty, alone, abandoned, we need to remember the lyrics of the song posted above:  He is with is, He is with us, Always....Our God is with us.  I've had that song in my head for the last few days, so I decided to share it with you.  God put it on my heart for a reason - so maybe someone out there needs to know that God is with them.  Share this with them.  Maybe its you.  The holidays can be a very lonely time of year due to divorce, death, hurt feelings, abandonment.  But we must remember that God knows what He's doing even when we feel like He doesn't.  Its a heart thing, not a head thing.  He knows what He's doing and HE IS WITH US.  It all comes down to TRUST.  Do you Trust God??

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Peace


Watch this video - it tells the story of the writer of the song "It is Well with my soul".  As I listened to this, I was brought to tears.  This man lost everything!  Everything...yet wrote a song that spoke of God's peace in his soul.  

During this Holiday season, when someone says "Peace be with you", what does that mean to you? Have you ever really stopped and thought about God's peace?   In the Bible, he references his peace like a river.  Well, rivers can be calm and soothing, but they can also be wild and rapid!!  Have you ever thought of  peace in a wild and crazy life?  Does it even seem possible?  With God, it is.  In my study this morning, I read several verses in Isaiah about Gods peace.  The one that really stood out to me was Isaiah 48:17-18

     "This is what the Lord says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:  "I am the Lord your God,     who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  If only you had paid attention to my commands, YOUR PEACE would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea"" 

 If I had only paid attention.  Well, that's eye opening right there.  There are so many places in God's word that He instructs us on the way we should live.  When we don't live God's way, we have chaos and trouble in our lives and we wonder why?  If we live as God instructs, and go the way He tells us to go, we will have peace.  Peace that nothing will take away - "whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul".

If you live each day wishing for peace, but are troubled on every side, consider this - Beth Moore wrote as a side note in the Bible study I'm doing "You must believe, bend the knee, and learn how to receive".  God doesn't want to see His children in turmoil, but until we are willing to bend our knees before Him and release our troubles to Him, He can't bestow His peace on our hearts.  What is holding you back from receiving your peace in Christ?  What do you need to surrender to Him that you are holding onto?  Get on your knees and give it to Him.  Then peace like a river will wash over you. 

 Further scriptures to reference:  Is 9: 6-7, 26:3, 32:17, 53:5, 54:10, 57:2, 60:17 (found in my Breaking Free Beth Moore Bible study)...take some time and read Gods word today

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Satisfaction



Satisfied...what does that mean to you? Think about that word and consider what would make you satisfied:  Food? Water? Clothes? Riches? Love?  Are you ever truly satisfied?  Answer honestly.  As I ponder this thought, I wonder if I am satisfied.  Am I satisfied with the life God has given me? Am I satisfied with the way things turned out or did I have a different plan?

We all dream as children of things we want to do, places we want to go, having a family and someone to love us - you know, the white picket fence, 2.5 kids (how does that happen??), dog, good job.  We envision this life and think that is what will satisfy us.  But, those are all just things.  Things that can be removed, taken away, destroyed, lost.  What do you do then? When all that is left is a hole that needs to be filled?

In Isaiah 55:2 its says "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good".   This verse is perfect for this time of year - when wallets are stretched and hearts are aching and our eyes are focused on the wrong things.  We try to buy all the things that we think will make us happy, satisfied.  But, we know deep down that what we long for are springs of living water, food for our souls.  God wants to fill us up with His love, His mercy, His grace and yet we rush around trying to buy things to fill the void in our lives.  When you are thirsty, you have a physical reaction.  What ends that thirst is a tall glass of water.  When we are spiritually thirsty, we have a physical reaction - we become grumpy, cold hearted, angry, bitter, frustrated...oh the list could go on couldn't it?  You know what I mean - you've seen it in the grocery store when someone grumbles because you got in their way.  Or when your co-worker is in a bad mood and you say "you must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed".  Those are the physical reactions to an unsatisfied soul.  

How then, do we get satisfied? What do we do?  We spend time with the one who can fill us up - Jesus.  Jeremiah 31:25 says " I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint".  God is there, waiting for you to let Him in.  Revelation 3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.  If ANYONE hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me".  Did you read that?  ANYONE!  This offer is to anyone who is hungry and thirsty.  Anyone who is lonely.  Anyone who is saddened.  Whatever state you are in, Jesus says if you ask him he will fill you.  He is the true living water that will quench your soul thirst.  John 4: 13-14 says:


In the next few weeks before we celebrate his birth, think on this - am I satisfied?  Will spending all this money and all of these gifts really satisfy me, or will spending time with Jesus fill that void in my heart?  I'm not saying don't buy gifts, what I'm saying is - will they satisfy what is aching in your soul?  Seek Him, ask Him to enter and fill you and He will.  
 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Freedom



Bondage is a horrible thing to live in.  Feeling chained down. Broken.  Disconnected. Hurt. Sad. Lonely. Misunderstood. Unforgiven. Unworthy.  Invisible.

This time of year is a time when we celebrate the birth of our savior.  The Messiah who came to free us from our bondage.  But, when you are chained down, its hard to lift your head and feel set free.   Jesus said in John 8:34 "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin".  Well, thanks Jesus... that's comforting to know!  But, we know its true.  We say something mean to someone, or we do something that disappoints another, we live in that feeling.  When we sit at home alone feeling sorry for ourselves because we are tired and alone, we are living in our sin.  We are chained and broken.  As a slave we have no permanent family, but a son or daughter does.  So, Jesus didn't stop at verse 34.  No, read on, there is hope!!

John 8:36 "So if the son sets you free, you are free indeed!".  Wow, read that again!  If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.  What does that mean to you?  To me it means I am no longer held down, captive, in chains.  If I take my brokenness, my disconnect, my hurts, my saddness, my lonliness, my unforgiveness, my unworthiness to the foot of the cross, to the feet of Jesus, He says I will be free.  Don't you want to live in freedom?  Don't you want to feel loved and secure in the family of Jesus?  I do.  So, why then do I carry around things from the past that have hurt me and kept me bound in chains? Why do I let those things take control over my thoughts?  We can't change our past, but we can focus on our future, on our today.  


God has given us a gift - the gift of Grace.  Gods riches at Christs expense.  He took all of our shame, our brokenness, our emptiness, sadness, and he nailed it to the cross.  Why, if he did that, do we still pick it up and carry it with us every day?  Why do we live in bondage?  Rejoice in the gift of freedom Christ gave you.  He came to earth as a small child, he was ridiculed, beaten, bruised, spit at and tortured for YOU!  Celebrate the gift of grace he gave you and walk in freedom today.  I know I am.  Or I am certainly going to try.  I will make a conscious effort this week to lay all of my "stuff" at the foot of the cross and leave it there.  Its a continuous process because every day we are faced with new challenges, old thoughts, feelings and fears.  Each day, spend time at the foot of the cross and leave it all there, and then walk in the freedom Christ gave you.

If the Son sets you free, YOU  are free indeed!!!!  Amen

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Helping Hands


 Its that time of year when you  hope the good in mankind comes out.  The time of year when you become more aware of peoples needs, kindness is shown, and helping hands are extended.  I would hope that this would happen throughout the year, but its most evident during the Holidays.

Today, a friend was told she was being evicted because the pipes in her rental house burst because she didn't have heat.  She didn't have heat because the gas was shut off earlier this summer.  She works hard, very hard, and it just broke my heart to hear that someone would do that to her the day before thanksgiving.  My immediate thought was "Why won't they pay to turn it on and then have her pay them back?"  A few minutes after I got the text she calls me and says "Its all fixed!! They are going to turn the heat on and have me pay them!".  How stinking cool is that?  God heard my thought, not my prayer...just a thought!  He took care of her by speaking to the hearts of those who were evicting her and they reached out a "helping hand".

A little while ago, after hearing this good news, I was at the grocery store picking up last minute items for our Thanksgiving meal.  I was in line to pull out and traffic was stopped.  A car was stalled. In it was a mom and her small child. One man, then another, and then a third, all from different vehicles, got out and pushed the woman and her child to a parking spot out of harms way.  One of the men began looking at her car for her.  I sat there in tears because it was amazing to see strangers come together and lend a "helping hand" to someone in need.

2 years ago I took the boys to see a Pacers game.  It was December and it was cold outside.  As we walked to the Stadium we passed a homeless man sitting by the stadium.  Me, along with others, walked by him ready to go enjoy a game of basketball, seemingly not giving him another thought.  At the game I gave each boy $20.00 to spend on whatever they wanted as far as snacks.  As we left the game that night, we headed towards the car and noticed the same man still sitting there in the cold.  We walked a little ways and my oldest son looked at me and said "Mom, can I give him my money?".  I said "Kaden, its your money.  You are free to do with it anything you'd like.".  So, he turned and walked back to the homeless man.  He bent down and gave him the money he had in his pocket and asked him if he could give him a hug.  The man took my sons hand and hugged him and with deep appreciation said "Thank you".  I stood there proud and humbled.  Humbled that it took a teenage boy to make me stop and notice.  As we drove away, the snow began to fall.  My son began to tell me how concerned he was for that man and then he said "I wish I could go hang out with him and find out his story.  I want to know why he's homeless.  I want to know he's going to be ok".  We prayed for that man that night.  Kaden reached out a helping hand to him and I hope that the hug and the kindness extended by a teenage boy touched him more than the few dollars he received. 

There are lessons all around us.  People have stories.  They aren't where they are by accident.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget there are many out there who need a "helping hand".  I challenge you today to be more aware.  Open your eyes and your hearts to those around you.  I promise, when you help someone, you will be changed as much as or more than they are. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wonderfully Made



Above is a list of verses and phrases that tell me who God sees me to be.  Do I say those things to myself?  Do I believe them?  Do you? Do you ever feel like you don't measure up to the standards set by this world?  

Back in the 40's and 50's, Miss America was on average 5'6 or 5'7 and weighed between 140 and 150 pounds.  Today she is taller and 40-50 pounds lighter.  She is viewed as beautiful and women across the world sit and watch the Miss America Pageant and see themselves as failures.  We are far from it.  God says in His word we are Fearfully and wonderfully made.  We are made in His image so why do we look in the mirror and see less than who we are?

Today I want you to know that I think you are beautiful...If you are a guy reading this I think you are beautiful...God loves each and every one of us for who we are, what we are made of, the image we reflect.  We reflect Him.  So, today I vow to see myself differently when I look in the mirror.  Today I vow to remember when I start to feel lonely or sad that God loves me, that I am strong, that I am empowered by Him.  This past saturday at my morning bible study we read in James 2 about Favoritism.  When you think about favoritism, what is the first thing that comes to mind?  For me, it's beauty.  It seems to me that the women who meet the worlds standards of beautiful are favored over those who don't meet those standards.  When we say "Don't judge a book by its cover", we are doing exactly that daily.  We see a beautiful, fit, nicely dressed woman walk down the street and think "I wish I looked like that", or "I wish my legs were like hers", etc.  But what we don't' see is what's on the inside and she could be wonderful or she could have a very hardened heart.  When you see someone who doesn't meet your standard, do you walk the other way? Look the other way? Shun them because of their outward appearance?  Would you be more willing to talk to the beautiful person than the homeless person walking towards you on the street? Ever treated someone differently in church because they didn't match your standard of acceptable? 

This holiday season you will see lots of pretty wrappings - on presents, trees and people.  Try to look past what you see on the outside and look at what might be on the inside.  Because that is what lasts.  And if you have self-esteem issues, do the same for yourself.  God made you - you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  He loves you just as you are.  He loves me just as I am. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

God sized prayers


I wonder how many of your prayers aren't answered because you aren't asking?  Or how many aren't answered because you don't believe God can or will answer them?  Ordinary prayers get ordinary results.  God meets us where we are.  If you ask small, you receive small.  Once I asked BIG....really big.  I look back now and with tears running down my face I am in AWE of the faith of an 11 year old girl.  Let me tell you the story...

When I was 11 I fell out of a swing one sunday afternoon.  I was standing up on the seat, tried to sit and lost my grip.  I fell hard and broke both of my wrists.  This was just the beginning of a faith journey God sent me on.  I grew up in a church that believed in Faith Healing.  So I didn't even think twice about whether God could heal me or not. I knew he could.  I prayed he would.  This happened in the spring and within a month or so, I was able to use my hands again.  My left hand was normal, my right hand was a little wavy looking, but I still believed God had a plan. 

Summer break had started and I lived near a lake in Northern Indiana.  I remember my brother and I were down by the lake playing with the neighbor boys.  My brother and his friend Jeff were "spying" on my friend Lee and I.  I spotted them so I took off running towards them to "flush them out" of the bushes.  As I stepped off a sidewalk that led down to the lake, my left foot didn't make full contact with the edge and then I heard a loud snap! I fell and screamed at the top of my lungs as the worst pain I have ever felt coursed through my body.  I looked down at my foot and it was turned out, facing away from my body at a 90 degree angle.  My ankle was completely destroyed. A few men from the neighborhood carried me home and gently placed me on our couch, elevating my leg with pillows.  As I said above, we believed in faith healing.  I look back now and realize what a chance I took on God that day!!  My mom asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital or wait and on God and trust Him to heal me.  I looked at her and said I'm going to trust God.  So she called an elder from our church who came and anointed my head with oil and prayed over me.  Lots of people were there, praying.  

I don't remember if it was the next day or a few days later.  It was a fog of pain.  We had a big brown recliner and I remember my mom would sit and rock back and forth with her Bible, reading and praying.  Our neighbor Carolyn was there, praying.  I sat up and swung my legs off the couch and Carolyn knelt before me and said "God is telling me to place my hands around your ankle.  I'm not going to touch you, but we are going to pray".  As she and mom began to pray, I felt a tingling come over my whole body and Jesus entered that room.  To tell the story today still brings tears to my eyes.  To say that Jesus was there is overwhelming.  I remember being 11 years old and seeing Jesus standing before me, in white robes with his arms outstretched to me.  I started crying then because it was so amazing.  As they prayed, we watched my foot turn before our eyes. My Lord and Savior heard my cries and saw my extreme faith in His ability to heal me and He showed up!!

I couldn't believe what I was seeing - my mangled ankle straightened before my eyes.  Carolyn then said she felt God telling her to place her hands on my heel and move my foot gently forward (toward my body).  She hesitated for fear of hurting me. Really?  The foot just turned before my eyes with no pain!  She didn't touch me and at that moment I felt Jesus leave the room.   I will never forget that day for as long as I live.  To be in the presence of Jesus - to see Him and feel His touch.  Wow. 

We wrapped my ankle in ace bandages - enough of them to support it and began praying for complete healing.  A week later, while mom was at work, my brother and I were home alone when we heard a knock on the door.  Outside were the County Sheriff and the County Nurse.  They had gotten a call that I had been injured and had not received medical care.  This was a common occurrence for people in our church congregation.  So, that day they took Mike and I away from the home and to an Orthopedic surgeon in nearby Warsaw, Indiana.  I insisted before we left that they let me call my mom and she met us there.  The surgeon took x-rays and said the ankle was shattered and would need surgery and pins inserted.  We went to surgery and when he came out he informed my mom that no surgery was needed.  All he had to do was move my foot forward and it was set!!!  Exactly what Carolyn was told to do when we prayed!  Once again, God's sovereignty and omniscience was revealed to us.  God is the great physician.

This is such a testimony to not only trusting God and praying big prayers, but believing that when he tells you to do something, we need to move! So many times in life we are told by God to move, and out of fear of pain, of the unknown, of being uncomfortable, we don't listen.  Later we see why He told us to move and realize the experience we missed because we didn't have big enough faith.  Isaiah 53:5 says "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed."

Mark 11:23 " Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them."  That ankle was a mountain.  I believed and trusted God could move it and He did.  What mountain are you facing today? Do you believe God is who He says He is? Do you believe He can move it?  Pray big prayers and watch God do BIG things! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pride

I know a  few ladies who read this will know where this came from - this notion of pride.  In studying my Beth Moore Bible study this morning, I read of Uzziah, the King of Judah.  Uzziah's name means "The Lord Saves".  In the first 15 verses of 1 Chronicles 26 it shows how Uzziah served God and was brought to much wealth and power and then.......PRIDE came.  After pride comes what?  The Fall.  Uzziah was powerful and wealthy and smart and then he became prideful and approached the temple of the Lord - something that was set aside only for the high priests.  They warned him to leave, begged him...but it wasn't until God afflicted Him in that place with Leprosy that he realized he wasn't so powerful after all.

Uzziah lived the rest of his days with Leprosy.  His son ran the kingdom for him.  And when he was buried what was he known for?  He was known for having leprosy.  As I began studying this I thought "Where is this going? Why am I reading about this guy?"  But, it hit me full on in the face!!!

PRIDE!

We have all experienced it. We have all suffered from it.  There are times we are prideful and we don't' even realize we are being that way.  When we brag about things we have done, when we look at people less fortunate than us and make disparaging remarks about them instead of praying for them or lifting a hand to help them.  When we place ourselves above someone else we are being prideful.  Have you done it?  Does something specific come to mind?  Boy, lots of things come to mind for me and its humbling.  Something as simple as posting a status on Facebook and constantly checking to see how many "likes" you get is being prideful.  Telling people what YOU DID in order to obtain praise from them is being prideful.   Like the cartoon I posted, we all place ourselves on a throne in one area or another in our lives.  We think we are higher and better than we truly are.  

I challenge you today to find areas you are prideful in and look for a way to be more humble.  Help someone less fortunate but don't tell anyone about it.  Do the thing that makes you YOU but do it for the Lord not for the praise of others.  There are so many things that we are prideful about - I'm so guilty of it and until I read about Uzziah I didn't even realize it.  When our lives are over, will we be remembered for all of the things we did, or will we be remembered for who we were.  I want to be remembered for being loving, kind, compassionate, faithful, and humble.  What about you?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Around the Bend


Don't you wish you could see the future?  Don't you wish God would pull back the curtain and let you know what is going to happen next?  

God already knows what is going to happen next in our lives.  He is going before us, making our crooked paths straight....lining up the people, the opportunities, the circumstances that we need to straighten our paths and propel us toward our destiny in Him.  Do you trust Him? Do you have Faith in Him to do what He says He will do?  

I have journaled for years.  I write down my struggles, my prayers, what God has shown me in my quiet times for him.  One day I sat down and grabbed a journal, randomly, and started reading.  Its funny, because I was thinking "Who wrote this?? She is so sad."  "She is soo worked up over this situation!"  " Wow what a struggle"  "How stupid could she be!!!"  and then further in the journal I see hope "God took care of that guy!"  "God provided when I didn't see a way"  "God sure is amazing - I can't believe that happened!"

We are on crooked paths and so we can't see around the next bend.   All we see is what is in front of us and wonder how are we going to get through.  God isn't calling us to just get through, he's calling us to trust Him and know that He will be there when we get around the bend.  If we just keep moving forward, sometimes blindly, and trust God is ahead of us making preparations for us, we will get around that struggle, that financial difficulty, that sickness, that divorce, that breakup, that argument, that job interview, and we will see what God has in store for us. 

So, trust Him and keep your eyes on the road before you.  You are not alone on it.  God is going before you, preparing your way.  He will never leave you nor will he forsake you.  You are His precious child and you will get around the bend!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Consider this




Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse that I shared with my high school girls yesterday at Bible study.  We are starting a study that will cause us to start to see ourselves through Gods eyes instead of our own.  I asked them if they had ever considered this verse. One had - Jaden.  Her brother was adopted from Ethiopia and his name is Jeremiah.  This is his life verse.  God has plans for Jeremiah.  But let us not forget he has plans for us too.  I think that we sometimes forget that not only are the orphans and the least of these are Gods, but so are we.

We can become so consumed and wrapped up in our circumstances that we forget to CONSIDER God. We focus on the problems or issues in front of us and they become bigger and bigger the more we think on them.  But, consider this:  My God is bigger than any problem.  He formed the universe.  He placed the stars in the sky and knows each one by name.  Is that obstacle you are facing bigger than My God?  God states in His word He has plans for us - so if you believe God is who He says He is, that He is Faithful to do what He says He will do, why then do you worry?  Why then do you consider your circumstances?  Instead Consider God!  Thank Him for working. Thank Him for the answer that's on its way.  Thank Him for being in complete control.  I am a firm believer that what we confess with our tongue will be what we believe in our heart.  If we confess there is no way out, that we will never get well, or we will never get out of debt- then we are stuck in bondage to what we speak.  If we confess that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus, that our God is bigger than our sickness, bigger than our financial mess, bigger than the job we go to every day - then God will honor our FAITH in Him and will be faithful to bring to us the promises He made in His word.  

For most of my adult life I have said I am living my mothers life.  My mom is a Godly woman and she is my hero, so please don't take that as a bad thing.  But, my mom was a single mom from the time I was 5 until I was 24.  She struggled financially, she struggled to put food on the table and to provide basic needs for my brother and I.  At the age of 31 I became a single mother of two children.  While I have much more than my mother did - an education and a decent job, I was still a single mother of two struggling to make it financially.  For years I have confessed "I'm living my mothers life".  Its been a mirror image almost.  A few weeks ago God spoke into my heart and told me to quit confessing my mothers life.  My mother has always wanted more for me than what she had.  She has always had FAITH in me and believed I could be more than I believed I could be.  But, I didn't believe it.  I saw my circumstances and the parallels of our lives and believed that was all I would have.  So, I confess with my lips that I am NOT living my mothers life.  God has plans for me and until I quit living the life my mother lived and open myself up to embrace what God has for ME, I will never move forward.  God has plans for me - plans to prosper me.  Plans for my future.  But, I was unable to receive those plans and walk in them because I didn't CONSIDER God.  I considered my circumstances. 

God has plans for us - but he can't reveal those plans and bring them to fruition if we continue to consider our circumstances instead of considering Him.  So, whatever it is you face today, speak life into your words!  Confess with your mouth and believe with your heart that God is who He says He is and walk in that truth.  God is faithful to fulfill His plans for us but we need to be open to believing and receiving what He wants to give us.  So, today, CONSIDER GOD   

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Worth


I have struggled with self-worth for as long as I can remember.  So many have tried to encourage me, lift me up and tell me I'm loved, but at the end of the day, the battle is in my head, in my heart...its one I fight almost daily.

Looking back, it started when I was 5.  My dad left.  He'd found someone new to love and walked away.  I don't write this to make him feel bad, its just the way it was.  Seeing his truck at someone else's house on my bus route made me feel unworthy.  Unworthy of his love and attention.  I didn't feel good enough for him.  Have you ever felt this way?  Felt like someone who should have loved you unconditionally turned their back on you? Ever felt abandoned or discarded?  Have you internalized those feelings of rejection and allowed it to change how you feel about yourself?  Let me remind you what God's word says about you and me.

I struggled with my weight since he left.  Most of my life I was overweight and sedentary.  I just didn't care.  If my dad couldn't love me why should I love me?  So, most of my life has been a struggle with what the world sees and who I am in Christ.  I finally got healthy after my babies were born.  I lost about 100 pounds, ran hundreds of miles and became obsessed with my size.   I ran marathons, half marathons, and spent a lot of time on the road.  It was something I thought I was doing for my health (and I was), but I look back now and realize I was running away from my past.  I was running away from those feelings of inadequacy - trying to prove him wrong.  I was worthy because I could run 26.2 miles.  I was worthy because I was a certain size now.  But, eventually, I stopped running. I realized that all of that running still left me feeling empty inside.  Who was I trying to please? Why couldn't I move past that struggle in my head?   As long as I could run lots of miles and tell everyone about it, I felt worthy.  If I could run 14 miles without stopping, I was worthy.  But, we all have to stop running.  Eventually we come to a point in the road where we have to make a decision.  I have to face my feelings.  In 1 Sam 16:7, it says "Man looks at outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart"
When this world ends, and I stand before my creator, he won't look at the size of my clothes...He will look at the size of my heart.  I may not be able to run all those miles any longer, but does it make me less worthy?  I may not be the size I was at 32, but should that change who I am in Christ? NO.  Too often we let what others think of us matter.  All that matters is that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Ps. 139:14).  I am loved. I am worthy.  So, if you have struggled like me, look in the mirror today and instead of seeing what is wrong with your outward appearance, look at your heart (you can see it in your eyes) and say:

" I am loved "
" I am worthy " 
" I am good enough "

Let me share with you a poem my oldest son wrote me on Mothers day this year.  It opened my eyes to see that he sees me not for my size, but for who I am.  May it bless you as it blessed me:

I see a woman
A woman who's height does not reflect
how high she is in love
eyes of blue are the sapphire treasure
that is lost in her sadness
Sadness that exists because
she feels she has all to give
and no one to receive.
Its as if she is standing on the highway
with a sign that says "I need to be loved by someone"
The problem is that the highway is too mainstream
It's filled with common things
She deserves uncommon
She deserves more than what she's expecting
You see, its not just about acceptance for her
She has just been accepted too many times
She wants to be marveled at
And rightly so
Many years she has been a candle in a closet
Her light hidden from sight.
She is becoming content with circumstances
NO longer
Soon, a blind man will see and see her.
He will be drawn in and captivated by her smile.
Soon, she will find love
But right now, she has not one but two.
Two loves that give back the love she pours out
they are her children.
Two boys that don't always show what they feel.
But still they feel.
They love their mother
They are constant.
They will love her till the day she dies.