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Monday, December 28, 2015

I got this....

I woke up at 1:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep.  My  mind was racing and my thoughts were all over the place.  I was told recently some things that I didn't want to hear.  The words broke my heart and saddened me. In the early morning hours I realized I finally knew what Jesus feels when we say similar things to him.

I got this. 

I can do this on my own.

I don't need you.

I can make my own decisions.

I KNOW we do that to God.  We treat him like a Jeanie in a bottle.  We sit him on a shelf and tell Him we will call on him only when we need something, otherwise, we GOT THIS.  

We want to forge our own path.  We want to do our own thing.  Make our own choices.  But, if we need something, that's when we call on Him, expecting him to be there ready to hand out what we need.

Being a parent is hard.  You raise them up for years to have them one day leave and say they don't need you any more.  That they can make their own decisions.  They start to put others ahead of you and expect you to just understand.  If you are a parent and have had this happen to you, you may know how it feels.  Yes we want them to stand on their own, but we don't expect them to hurt our hearts in the process.  But, having children means your heart is walking around outside of your body anyway.  Its easy when they are young, because you are obviously needed.  But, as they age and mature, it become more and more apparent you are only needed for certain things.  Otherwise, they don't want to hear what you have to say.  They don't protect that heart of yours that you've given away to them.  

I imagine God sitting in Heaven, feeling much like we do as parents.  We watch our children forge their own way.  We watch them walk away from us saying they are grown and can do it by themselves.  They put us on a shelf like we do God, as if we are there only for a rainy day.  How God's heart must hurt when we turn away from him.  I know He patiently sits and waits.  I must patiently sit and wait.  We tell God he's too demanding.  Its too hard to follow Him.  He has too many rules.  Too many expectations.  So, we walk away.  But, we want him there in the background for when things get rough.  Oh how it must hurt him.  Now, I know that hurt.  Its kept me up at night.  
 

I guess the lesson here is as that change we must change.  The great thing though is that God never changes.  That is why He is God.  We let them go as He lets us go.  We say things that I know grieve our Father.  Maybe now I will think more about Him and my actions because of what I'm going through with my own children.  But, just as God does, I will sit and wait.  I will continue to wait but in my waiting I will move forward with my own life.  I will see what is ahead for me and see where God wants me to go, what He wants me to change and what He wants me to do.  Its a difficult season and I'm thankful God is patient with me. 

For now, I will try to rest in knowing I'm in good company on those nights when I can't sleep.  He is with me.  He knows what I'm going through.  He knows how I feel.  That's what is so great about God.  There is nothing we experience that He hasn't experienced, so he knows how we feel.  Its a new season for everyone.  Painful - Yes.  Impossible - No.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Blank Pages


If you know me well, you know that I journal almost every day.  I buy a blank journal every year.  

The blank pages left are few.  Another year is winding down.

Another year of being single.

Another year of writing (or not writing)

Another year of financial sameness and struggles

A year of loss - 2 very special people in my life went to be with the Lord.

A year of realizing who your friends truly are (or aren't)

A year of realizing how very important family is.

A year of helping others and thinking less of myself

Its also a year of growing spiritually, of growing closer to people, of learning more about ME.

It was a year of trusting God in my struggles and seeing Him remain faithful to me.

It was a year of Him sustaining me.

His grace is a sustaining grace.  His grace is enough.  Jesus is enough.  

He gives me just enough grace to get through each moment.  It sustains me.  It meets me where I'm at.  

I ask myself "What about next year?  What am I willing to do for God next year?  Where am I willing to go?"  

What has this year been like for you?  Journaling is a way for me to document what happened in my year so I can go back and see how God showed up.  Its humbling and its raw.  I write what I am experiencing - good or bad.  Someday when I'm gone my kids will find my journals and there will be things in there that may shock them.  They will see what I kept hidden from them.  They will know I was more than just mom.  I felt - I experienced hurt, anger, resentment, disappointment, struggles and pain but I also found Joy and peace and my faith grew thru all of that.  Each year tells a different story and at the end of each year I look forward to the blank pages in front of me.  I love January 1!  Not only is it my birthday but its also the day I get to write on that first blank page.  I know I need to work harder at changing my story.  I need to do more and each year on day 1 there is always hope and excitement to put behind what was wrong and press forward to a clean slate...
 

....I'm excited to see what the next blank page holds for me

Monday, November 9, 2015

What are you waiting for??


You can't be good enough.

You can't be nice enough.

You can't do enough good things for others.

You can't claim to believe there is a God - because even Satan believes there is a God.

The only way to eternal life is thru Jesus.  He's IT....

You must confess with your mouth that Jesus is Christ, son of the living God.  You must believe He is Lord.  You must repent of your sin and you will be saved.

He is the only way to Heaven and eternal life.  What are you waiting for?  Is your life of sin so much fun that you just can't give it up?  Colossians 3:5 says "Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust evil desires and greed"...

Are those things so fulfilling and fun that you are willing to risk eternity to keep them?  Is your life so full of promise and hope living YOUR way that you are willing to turn your back on a life of love in Jesus?  Many are afraid that to become a Christian they will no longer have fun.  Life will be boring and full of rules.  They say "I don't' want to give up what I'm doing now (even though it may not be working), to live a life of freedom in Christ".

There is so much freedom in Christ!!  Freedom from condemnation.  Freedom from guilt and shame.  Freedom from hate and disappointment.  Christ is all and in all.  

Romans 8:1  "Therefore, there is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus; the law of the spirit of LIFE set me free from the law of sin and death"

If you are in Jesus, you are free from death.

Jesus loves you.  Hes waiting at the door of your heart.  He wants you to ask Him in.  I'm asking you:

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??  

Tomorrow is not promised.  Many of us know people who died suddenly, who left for work and never came home due to an accident.  Could that be you?  If it is, do you know if you will spend eternity in heaven or hell?  

If you want to talk and know more, contact me.  I want everyone to know Jesus.  It scares me for you to know your eternity may not be sure.  


He did this for YOU.  For Me.  Who can turn their back on that sacrifice?  He is the ONLY WAY to everlasting life.  The ONLY ONE!!!!  What are you waiting for??

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How do you worship?


Sunday night I took my son to his first Rock concert.  Tesla.  Styx.  Def Leppard.

It was awesome.  The music was loud, the energy was electric.  Fans were screaming, dancing, raising their hands in the air.  No one cared what they looked like - they were "worshiping" with the music.  I too enjoyed the music, but at one point I found myself looking around and thinking some different thoughts.

2 Samuel 6:14  And David danced before the Lord with all his might...

Psalm 149:3  Let them praise his name with dancing...

To the many concert goers, these men singing these songs are Gods.  They love them.  They worship them.  They follow them and their music.  They pay lots of money to hear their songs and go to their concerts.  We don't worship God with our money like we should. We don't give him the honor and praise he deserves.   I wonder why don't we worship God with the same fervor I witnessed at this rock concert?

We go to church and we are embarrassed to raise our hands.  We cross our arms and barely open our mouths to sing the verses of the songs.  We are worried about what others will think if we lift up our hands to heaven to worship the King of Kings.

Why???

Why can't we go to church and display for the one who made us whole the same excitement and fervor we see at rock concerts?  These people at the rock concerts are unashamed of their outward show of worship, yet we sit in churches on Sunday and stand because we have to, and sing when we don't really want to.

I've found myself guilty of it on occasion.  I will worship freely when I'm alone - in my car, at home, in the shower.  I will raise my hands as the spirit leads, but at times in church when in corporate fellowship, I will hesitate.  What will the people behind me think?  Will they think I'm weird?  Will the people I'm sitting with think I'm different?  Why do we care what others think?  Why can't we be unashamed to worship the Lord with singing and dancing, raising our hands to worship him, to lift him up?

I know that watching this display of worship at the concert definitely opened my eyes.  It made me see that our priorities have gotten a little skewed.  We raise our hands in stadiums watching our favorites teams...when a home run is hit, when a touchdown is scored, when a buzzer beater goes in the hoop, and when our favorite band plays our favorite song.  Next time I'm at church, I want to worship with abandon the one who died on a cross to give me eternal life.Watch this video and tell me He doesn't deserve more than we give Him...  I want to lift my hands in surrender to him, opening myself up to receive all he wants to give me.  And I won't be ashamed! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fear or Regret?


Life is full of ...

Fear of the future
Fear of the unknown
Fear of failure

Life is full of ...
Mistakes we've made
Chances we missed
Opportunities passed up

Do you live in Fear or do you live in Regret?

A lot has happened this summer.  I've reconnected with old friends, made new friends, put my heart on the line and then retreated in hurt and disappointment.  I've been ridiculed and hated, I've been supported and loved.

Do I live in fear?  or do I live with regret? 

Fear tells me I will never go anywhere.  Fear tells me I will never be loved.  Fear tells me I'm not good enough to do what God is calling me to do.

Regret reminds me of my failures.  Regret reminds me that I'm not moving forward but standing still.  Regret is at the door when I am too fearful to take the next step and then I see what I've missed.

What can I do to turn this cycle of fear and regret around?  I turn to the one who makes all things new.  I turn to the one who is telling me to step out of the boat. 
When the winds were strong and the waves tossed him too and fro, Peter kept his eyes on Jesus.  He knew who held the power to calm the storms...the one he was riding in and the one brewing inside of him.  Jesus said “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
When I'm fearful and regretful, I need to look up, fix my eyes on Jesus, and step out of the boat.

God doesn't want us to live in fear or with regret.  He sent his son who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live free. Fear and regret keeps us in bondage. IF we fix our eyes on Jesus, we will find we are able to conquer much more than we ever thought possible. We will be able to take those chances that cause regret.   We will have the strength to make the decisions that we keep waiting to make. 

I'm in a season of change.  I can fear the change, or I can regret not fixing my eyes on the one who can calm the storm inside of me.  If I'm walking with Jesus, if I step out of the boat, I know he will sustain me.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Grief and Hope



Many things happen in our life to bring us grief.

Loss of a loved one.

Loss of a pet.

Loss of a relationship.

Loss of hope.

Grief presents itself in many ways.  But it feels the same.  Its a pain in your chest, a knot in your stomach, a sadness in our eyes, a light that has gone out in our soul.   

2 Cor. 12:9 states  My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

At some  point in everyone's life, we experience grief.  I'm on the cusp of it myself.  Tomorrow afternoon I will have to put my beloved Sandy girl, my Corgi of 14 years, into my car and take her to end her life.  How will I be able to do that?  How can I put her in my car knowing it will be the last time?? I've been crying today, and I know tomorrow I will be a mess emotionally.  The grief has already started for me and it will get worse before it gets better.   So, as I grieved this morning, I was reminded of the verse in 2 Corinthians.  God's grace is sufficient for me in WHATEVER I'm going through.  Whether its the loss of a pet, or the loss of a family member.  Nothing will keep him from me.

Whats on the other side of grief?  HOPE.


Hope is a wonderful thing, something to be cherished and nurtured, and something that will refresh us in return.  And it can be found in each of us, and it can bring light into the darkest of places.

God shares his hope and his love with us through the people in our lives who touch us.  A kind word.  A loving hug.  A word of encouragement.  Even someone who lets you cry and is just there for you.  

I have hope.  I know that brighter days are ahead.  I know that peace that passes all understanding will envelope my heart.  It may take some time, but it will come.  And with hope new life springs forth.  Like a flower pushing through the earth to reach the sunlight, so shall my hope push through to shine bright again. 

God is so good to us, even in our grief.  He knows how we feel because he experienced it.  He watched His Son die a brutal death so that we could live.  He shed a tear and the earth trembled.  And Hope Rose Again!  

So, if you are experiencing grief remember God is there.  He knows what you are going through and he understands.  But Hope comes with the morning.  Be patient.  He will never leave you or forsake you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Regret






Have you ever felt like the person in this picture?

You did something that you regret and there is nothing you can do to take it back.  A do-over would be perfect but instead you put your head in your hands and hide your shame and embarrassment.  

If you are a follower of Christ, this is what sin should do to you.  It should crumple you.  It should make your heart hurt to know that you disappointed your father in heaven.  You disappointed yourself. 

I've been here.  Many times in my life.  I've done things I'm not proud of and the thought of anyone ever finding out terrifies me.  Just like hiding behind hands, we hide behind masks.  If we let people see that we are broken and sinful, what would they think of us?

David was a shepherd, a king, an adulterer, a murderer.  Don't you think he probably, at one point or another, experienced regret?  In Psalm 25:11 he writes "For the sake of your name Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great".

I think we too often strive so hard for perfection that when we fail, our regret can overtake us.  One thing I've been trying to remember is this.  God's love is unconditional.  He loves me no matter how good or how bad I am.   God will show us our sin to change us, not to shame us.

I don't want to live with regret.  I want to live with hope.  I think the few moments of regret should teach us something.  It should be a gentle reminder that we are changing.  That the old is gone and the new is being born in us daily.   Hebrews 8:12 says "I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more".  When you have a regret, take it to the Lord.  Confess it and give it to God.  He will begin the process of healing in your heart and mind if you open yourself up to him.

I want to change my picture.  Instead of head in hands, I want this picture:

I want the light of God shining down on me.  I want to know that He has made me stronger.  I no longer have to hang my head in shame over my sins, but can stand on the shores of his limitless grace and mercy, basking in His glory and love.  

What are you regretting today?  Do you still think about it and let it consume your mind?  If so, I highly recommend you get on your knees and place it before God.  Repent and ask His forgiveness.  Ask him to make you new.  David sang in Psalm 51:10 NIV "Create in me a pure heart O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

I like the message version of this verse:


Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
    scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
    set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
    give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
    shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
    or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
    put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
    so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
    and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
    I’ll let loose with your praise.


That says it all....

Amen?  Amen! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Broken Pieces

I woke up Saturday morning and sat down with my first cup of coffee.  It was nice enough outside to sit on the porch, which is my favorite place to be.

I look around and see new life springing up all around me.  Things that were dead a few months ago are growing and flourishing.

I hear the sound of new life in the singing of the morning birds.

I feel a cleansing breath as I inhale the air blowing through the trees.

God takes what is old and broken and makes it new.  He puts it back together.  

I am quickly transported to a time in my life when I thought I had it all.  I was in love, I was as healthy as I'd ever been, life seemed great.  The problem with that is, it was an illusion.  I was living in sin and God loves us enough to reveal that sin and gives us the opportunity to turn from it.  Repentance.

That was probably the most painful time of my life.  My heart was shattered, my life was crumbling, and I began to build walls around my broken pieces.  Why?  To protect myself, to keep others out and to hide my shame.  

The facade I created was one of a woman who was strong, independent, self-sufficient, and I also became a woman incapable of loving anyone.  Don't get me wrong, I was able to give love - and I did.  I gave lots of love to my kids, the youth in my church, the Lord.  I served and served gladly.  But, I didn't let others love me and I didn't love myself.  And most importantly, I was unable to accept God's love for me.  

God showed me this weekend that I never let my heart heal.  Instead, I left it broken and built a wall around it, so no one, not even Him, could touch it.  God showed me that in my brokenness, I've become bitter, scared, hard, judgmental and untouchable.  I've been trying to DO everything right in HOPES that God will see and will bless me...but He doesn't care so much about what I DO for Him as He does about coming to Him and loving Him in my brokenness.  

Sunday, after a time at the altar, laying it down at His feet, I went back to my seat.  I was alone on Sunday.  I'm always alone.  As I closed my eyes to sing, I felt an arm go around my waist.  I opened my eyes to a beautiful young lady who had climbed over rows of seats in a dress to put her arms around me.  I didn't know her.  She didn't know me.  But, God knew I needed to feel His around me and she was the vessel. 

I was moved beyond tears and as she stood beside me, arm around me, I let the tears fall.  Tears that let the brokenness be revealed.  Tears that let God know I was tired of holding onto my shame.  Tears that let God know I was ready to change...not by works, but by Faith.  She laid her hand on my heart and prayed "God, soften her heart.  Soften her.  Bring down the walls she has built so she can let you in to heal her.  Let her feel your love.  She is beautiful Lord and she is worthy".  
Today I begin a new day of walking with God...a broken vessel that He is turning into a masterpiece.  I've talked and walked this way for a long time, but I never really truly believed it.  Today, I'm finally letting God in.  Letting Him heal.  Today, I'm going to feel.  And try to learn a new way of life - one that has less shame and more grace.  

You see, this is personal, but I share this because I know someone else feels this way.  Someone else has put up impassable walls in order to protect herself or himself.  But, when we do that, we not only keep others out, but we imprison ourselves.  I'm tired of living in a shell.  I don't care anymore what others think of me, because I know what God says about me is truth.  I'm worthy.  I'm worth it.  Today, I begin a new journey of discovering who I am in Christ.  Today, I begin to allow God to turn  my broken pieces into a masterpiece. Today I finally FEEL Gods love.  I've always known God loves me, but I felt I had to BE perfect to receive it.  Trying to be perfect is exhausting.  I just want to BE in Him.  

My journey to wholeness has begun. But, one thing I've learned, when something is broken, and you try to put it back together, sometimes there are cracks.  Its never perfect.  I have to take the cracks and let God shine thru them.  I need to let His living water fill me up and then seep out thru the cracks into others.   I can't be perfect - and He doesn't expect me to be.  How freeing to finally realize he isn't keeping tabs on me - he is just loving me. 

Today is a new day - and I have a lot to learn.  Be patient with me God.  And be ready to catch me when I stumble and fall.  My arms are stretched high, reaching for you.



Will it be easy? No.  I've lived behind these walls for many years.  Tentatively, like a child learning to walk, I step out with arms lifted high, taking one shaky step at a time, knowing that my Father will catch me if I start to fall. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Looking for Love


So many people are looking for love...

looking for someone to fill the empty hole in their heart.  To make them feel loved.  I was thinking about this during my "porch" time this morning and this old country song by Johnny Lee popped in my head.  I uploaded the song with lyrics so you can see what he's saying.  

One line stood out to me  "You came knocking on my hearts door, you're everything I've been looking for"

Jesus says "Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If ANYONE hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in..." Rev 3:20

Jesus IS LOVE.   He is the only person who can fill that void in your life.  That empty hole.   But so many people go from relationship to relationship hoping to find that love that will take away the emptiness, the pain, the loneliness, the fear.  The only true that will take away the hurt and pain is the love of Jesus.

I have been single for 13 years. Yes, I've dated in those years, but for one reason or another the relationships ended.  The only relationship that has stood the test of time is my relationship with Jesus.  He has always been there even when I turned my back on him.  He has never left me and he has always loved me.  I am who I am now because of His love.

As I sat and prayed for a few friends who are struggling right now with this issue of love, another song played in my head.  Chris Tomlin's Our God.  I pulled it up on my phone and sat and worshiped.  

Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
Our God is higher than any other
Our God is healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God! 
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
Then what can stand against?


No man or woman on this earth can love us more than Jesus loves us.  No one is greater than Him and he is standing at the door knocking.  All you have to do is ask him in, and he says He will come.   Its the easiest love to get, and it doesn't cost you anything.  He doesn't care what we look like, where we've been, what we've done.  

Today, if you are looking for love, look to Jesus.  His love is FREELY given.  And He will never take it away.  I am who I am today because of the love of Jesus.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Being Transformed


My beautiful purpose.  Knowing what God can and will do through me.  What a concept!!

I have a purpose. 

God CAN use me.

God WILL use me.

He knows my weaknesses and He can use them for His glory.

He knows my greatest fears and He will stand beside me and make me courageous.

God can TRANSFORM me if I allow Him to.

I believe and I am learning to walk in this truth - its time for women to rise up - not with a chip on their shoulder, but with humility, strength, purpose, conviction and bold perseverance, to be the women God has called us to be.

We are not 

    ....bullied by our fears
    ....insecure 
    ....chronically petty and jealous

Nothing is more BEAUTIFUL than a confident woman.  A strong, humble, God-fearing woman who knows WHOSE she is and WHO she is.

Who am I?

I am the daughter of the most High God.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am his beloved.  I am chosen.  HE CHOSE ME!!!!   I am not weak or fearful.  My life matters and what I do with it should matter to God's kingdom.  We need to be more mindful of where we spend our  time and resources.  We need to remember this exhortation from Eric Ludy  in his book Wrestling Prayer:

    There is absolutely no excuse to stay where you are at right now.  If you are weak, He can make      you strong.  If you are timid, He can make you brave.  If you are a pervert, he can make you pure. If you are selfish, He can make you selfless.  If you are a shepherd, He can make you a king.  If you are mediocre, He can make you a Mighty one of valor.

God qualifies those He calls.  He is with us every step of the way.  So, why do we walk around worried, meek, quiet, timid, and scared?  God calls us to be strong, courageous, bold, full of holy confidence!  If you want to feel God moving in your life, you have to spend time with Him.  Commune with Him.  Talk to Him.  Listen to Him.  Prayer will lift you closer to God than anything.

One thing I've noticed and learned of late is that many Christians are going through the motions, but the passion of Christ is gone.  We see Christians in other parts of the world losing their lives for Christ and we are apathetic to their plight.  We should be face down on our knees in prayer for them. I wonder, if someone asked you if you believed in Jesus, and your life depended on your answer, what would you say?  

Be transformed in your hearts and your minds today.  Be strong and courageous.  God is mighty and powerful and He chose you!  Walk in that power today.   

Deut 31:6 (msg)  Be strong.  Take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you.  He's right there with you.  He won't let you down; he won't leave you.

Psalm 62:7-8  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my might rock, my refuge.  Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Taking Steps

Walking.

Taking steps.

Its an action we do every day yet we don't really think about it.  Its also something many of us don't do enough of. 

My son sent me a text this week and said "Mom, download the Fitbit app and add me as a friend."  Ok, but I don't have a fitbit.  "That's ok, if you carry your phone it will still measure your steps".

So, I did, and he challenged me with a daily goal of 10,000 steps a day.  Not a big deal.  WRONG!  This opened my eyes to how sedentary my life really is.  I sit at a desk all day at work, sit in a car to a from work, then I come home, do a few chores and then I SIT!  WOW....what an eye opener!

So, its become a challenge to daily reach my step goal.  Which means I must get up and exercise in the morning and in the evening.  Move, move, move!!

 Yesterday morning, as I was out in the early morning fog, I was walking, stepping, moving...and praying.  God asks us to move.  He wants us to trust Him and know that He is walking beside us in our faith "walk".  I realized as I walked and prayed that I have feared God most of my life.  I have walked in shame of my past.  And because of my past, I feared that God was punishing me for things I have done.  But, I realized the only person punishing me was myself.  When I repented of my sins, God forgave me and remembered them no more.  I have walked around in my shame and walked around feeling like things haven't worked out "my way" because God was punishing me.  


With each step I took, I left something behind me....I left my fear of God and walked into his loving arms.  I left my shame behind and walked into his cloak of grace.  I realized that there are things God has called me to do that I haven't done because of my fear of failure, my fear of inadequacy.  So, I walked into the promise of His ability to do far more in and thru me than I am capable of doing.

Yesterday I left footprints behind me and it felt so good!  God is so good, and patient, and loving.  It was like scales were scraped off my eyes.  I saw that he has patiently been loving me as I have walked in fear of him.  Fear that if I did something wrong he would punish me or withhold my blessings from me.  I realized that no matter what I do, He is gently shepherding me back into his arms.  I walked, I prayed, I cried, and I worshipped.  

It was all started because my son wanted me to track my steps each day.  Little did he know that getting me walking and watching my steps would lead me to walking right into the loving arms of a father that for years I have feared.

What steps do you need to take today to leave your past behind?  What steps do you need to take to get closer your fathers loving embrace?  What things do you need to leave behind as you walk closer to him?  Get moving and start stepping today!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Your Love never fails


 I've been reading on prayer.  Why pray if God already knows what is going to happen?  Does prayer change God or does it change me?  Does it bring my will more in line with His or am I praying to change His will?

In my struggles to understand prayer more, I have come across one complete truth - God's love.  God doesn't withhold things from us because he loves us less.  He Loves us completely and His love will never fail.  Things we pray for may not be in His will.  He may allow hard times in order to teach us to lean into Him more.  

Truth - bad things happen.  We live in a fallen world.  

Truth - God loves us.  His love will never fail.

When we don't get the answers or results we want, we think God loves us less than others.  We think our sin is keeping us from His blessings or from His favor.  If you read the Bible you will see that God used BROKEN, messed up people to carry out his ministry.  He left it in the hands of 12 men who were imperfect.  Who sinned.  Men who denied him, doubted him, questioned him.  

Realizing this made me realize its ok to question God.  Its ok to doubt Him and wonder why things happen.  The one thing it doesn't do is change the one thing that remains:  His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me!!
 I love music.  Music brings me to a place of complete surrender to God.  This song by Kristian Stanfill and the Passion Band brought me to tears.  I sat, listened, raised my arms and closed my eyes and sat in the presence of Jesus this morning.  I share it with you hoping you realize what I did this morning...The Great Love of Jesus for ME!  Doesn't matter what I'm going through, what prayers I'm not getting answers to - the one thing that remains is Gods love for me.  


So, why pray? Because it aligns my will with the will of my Father.  Even Jesus struggled in the garden of Gethsemane - begging God to take the cup away from him - the imminent beatings and death on the cross.  But, in submission, "Your will, not mine, be done, on earth as it is in heaven".  That's my prayer.  Your will God be done.  But, through it all, I know that He loves me.  That will never change!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Chasing God


Psalm 23:6 (msg)  "Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life"

Wow!!  That verse in that version stood out to me today. 

We all know Psalm 23 - The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...in a way it has become the go to Christian verse quoted when someone is going through a hard time, is experiencing difficult circumstances and we don't know what else to say.  We even pray it ourselves. 

But, reading it in a new context, in a different version of the Bible, it shows me how much God CHASES after ME!

Yes - he chases me.  What an awesome feeling.  He has made a way for me of soft bedding and abundant resources - he feeds me and gives me living water "You find me quiet pools to drink from".  He is at my side, guiding and directing my steps, even when the way seems dark.

When I start to stray, he gently pulls me back with is Shepherd's crook.  When my head hangs in shame or in sadness, he lifts me up and fills my cup with overflowing blessings.

And He chases me.  He longs to be with me.  Spend time with me. Speak to me. Shelter me.

As a single woman, I've found that my eyes get downcast when I feel no one here sees me.  I have prayed for and longed for a Godly man to want to chase me.  For a man who longs to spend time with me.  Who will want to shelter me.  But, today - today God showed me I have that and have had it all along. 

I have the Prince of Peace, the Alpha and Omega, Mighty God, Lord of Everything, The Great I am chasing me, protecting me and loving me every minute of every day.  What more could I want??  Psalm 23:1 says "I dont' need a thing".

Taking time to sit down and re-read a verse with new eyes has given me new hope.  Hope that God knows what He's doing and while I wait, He is sheltering me, protecting me, and leading me. 

Feeling pretty blessed today!! And abundantly loved!

Friday, March 6, 2015

I may be weak


I've been in a situation where I've had to deal with difficult relationships.   We all go through it at one point or another in our lives.

As parents, we want the best for our kids.  We want them to have healthy relationships that build them up, that encourage them, that are positive and caring.  But sometimes they allow people into their lives that are toxic.  

This toxicity causes problems with parents, with siblings, with the other friends they have.  It brings them down and turns them into someone we don't even recognize.

I'm seeing it happen  - evil corrupts good more often than good changes evil.  Lies are told, secrets are kept.  Nothing about the relationship is healthy. 

What, as parents, do we do?  How  do we get our youth to see what we see? How do we protect them from the inevitable hurt we see coming?  

I don't have that answer.  I pray.  A lot.  I counsel and say the hard stuff that they don't want to hear- and it makes them mad and pushes them away.  "I don't' want to talk to you anymore".  "I can't stand you - get away from me".  or we get SILENCE.  Deafening silence.  Withdrawal.  

I sat down to journal this morning and Proverbs 3:5 popped into my head - as clear as if someone spoke it to me.

   Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean NOT on your own     understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

 God has the answers.  I think when we look at our teens and wonder what in the world they are thinking, God looks at us at times and wonders the same thing.  My child, if you would only listen to me, you wouldn't go through this pain and hurt.  My child, you may not understand what I'm doing, but TRUST me, my ways are not your ways.   My child, I love you.  I'm not trying to keep you from good, I'm trying to keep you from harm.  

God loves us MORE than we love our own kids.  He can see where we are going and what we are about to encounter.  He wants to guide us just like we want to guide our kids.  But, unfortunately, just like our kids, we don't want to listen at times.  We think we GOT THIS.  We can make our own decisions and do what we want and we will be fine.  Oh, as I look back on my life, I wish I could take back so many of MY decisions!!  And, as parents to teenagers, we see where they are headed and know that someday they will look back and wish the same thing - that they had listened to wisdom and truth.

So, take heart parents.  If you are struggling with a rebellious teen - take it to God.  He understands.  He deals with us daily.  We can be rebellious too.  He can guide your paths because He knows what you are going through.

As I was journaling, I heard the words "I may be weak"...it made me think of an Elevation Worship song "Give me faith".  Watch it below.  Let it be the prayer of your heart today.   


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS



Its about 6 weeks into the new year.  How are those New Years Resolutions coming?  Have you failed at them already?  or have you stuck to it so far?

Why do we make resolutions?  Its because we are in the pursuit of happiness.

If I could just lose 50 pounds, then I would be happy.

If I could get a new job, then I would be happy.

If I could find my soul mate, then I would be happy.

If I had more money,  then I would be happy.

All of those things are circumstantial.  All If...then statements usually are.  But, do we have to live our lives waiting for our circumstances to change so we can be happy?  Or can we be happy IN SPITE of our circumstances?

Tying our security and happiness to our circumstances sets us up for failure, but tying our security, joy and identity to God's love for us is an anchor we can cling to no matter what our circumstances say.

God says in His word:

Stacie is a forgiven child of God (Rom 3:24)
Stacie is a set free child of God (Rom 8:1-2)
Stacie is an accepted child of God (1 Cor 1:2)
Stacie is a Holy Child of God (1 Cor 1:30
Stacie is a made new child of God (2 Cor 5:17)

Stacie is a loved child of God (Eph 1:4)
Stacie is a close child of God (Eph 2:13)
Stacie is a confident child of God (Eph 3:12)
Stacie is a victorious child of God (Rom 8:37)

Insert your name where mine is.  Read God's word and see what He says about you.  I have yet to find in the Bible anywhere where God says my worth, acceptance, joy or happiness is based on my circumstances, but rather WHO I am in God.  That should give you great cause to worship today!

We have only one life to live.  Its not a dress rehearsal.  We don't get do-overs.  What are you doing with the life you have been given?  Are you living it waiting for something to happen to make you happy?  Are you stuck waiting for your circumstances to change?  

I didn't make a new years resolution this year.  Why?  Because I'm living happy today based on who God says I am in His word.  That is enough to make me happy.  Do I want things to change? Sure.  But, my happiness isn't based on whether those things change or not.  Whether I lose 50 pounds, get a new job, find my soul mate or get out of debt won't determine my happiness.  I am happy because I am the daughter of the most high King.  I am happy because God says I am love, set free, accepted, victorious!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Freedom



My youngest is about to get his drivers license.  His grandpa bought him a truck and its ALL he talks about - ad nauseum!!   This is, to him, the cusp of freedom.  The edge of growing up.  The freedom to come and go as he pleases (ha, he thinks!!)

Freedom.  What does that word mean to you?  When you hear it, what image does it invoke in your
head.  Its different for many of us.

Freedom - 
    *from an abusive husband
    *from debt
    *from a job we hate
    *from rules
    *from our sins

or is it Freedom in something?
     *freedom in new choices
     *freedom in forgiveness
     *freedom in our finances
     *freedom in our ability to love
     *freedom IN CHRIST

You see - freedom can mean something different to each of us based on our circumstances and the place we are in life.

I looked up the definition of freedom.  It means "the condition of not being in captivity or prison; The condition of being free of restraints, especially the ability to act without control or interference by another or by circumstance."

Kelland sees freedom as being free of my interference.  We sometimes see freedom as being able to make our own choices and doing what we want to do, without interference by anyone - especially God.  Or we can see freedom as the condition of not being in captivity or prison.

This picture spoke to me - the chains that bind us in the depth of our sin are broken thru the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  He set us free and therefore we are no longer bound by chains.  Chains of debt, unforgiveness, hatred, bitterness, loneliness....the list can go on. 

Today, think about freedom and what it means to you.  And maybe, just maybe, it will cause you to think on Christ and what He did for you.  If you are reading this and you haven't experienced the freedom that comes with knowing Jesus, contact me and I'll be happy to share with you what He has done for you so you can live in freedom.  

Romans 8:1-4 says:
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."