Thursday, November 12, 2015

Get up!

So in my prayer time lately I have been asking boldly for God to speak to me.  Then I have been trying to learn to actually sit and listen.  I don't do sit and listen well.  I never have.  I can sit and talk or move about and try and listen but I never really just sat in stillness and listened. 

In the stillness of the last few mornings as I sat at my table I would hear a whisper….John 11.  So I would read it and move on.  Then I would ask again and I would hear John 11 and I would read it and move on.  Finally after a few days of this I realized that God was indeed trying to speak to me. It's funny how we can ask for something and He can give us what we ask and we don't even see it. 

I would like to say I know exactly what God was saying to me in this passage but I don't.  But I have picked up on a few things that maybe He is saying to me and maybe He wants to say to you. I mean you know the story. Lazarus dies.  Jesus doesn't go right away.  Mary and Martha both say "if you had been here it wouldn't have happened".  Jesus is moved and He weeps. Then a miracle happens.  Lazarus gets up.  Jesus says "take off the grave clothes and let him go". 

Maybe in my reading this God was reminding me that He is here.  I mean Lazarus had been dead four days.  That can seem like an eternity of pain.  I know what its like to feel pain. I have been Mary and Martha in my moments of pain saying "if only you were here God" and "where are you in this". But the truth is He is here.  He is working.  Even when we think the timing is wrong we need to remember His timing is perfect.  The enemy wants to convince us God is not good and that is when we have to stand on the truth of who He is and what we know in spite of whats going on.  Our feelings will deceive us Every. Single. Time. my friends. It's time that we press past what we are feeling and acknowledge His presence in our circumstances even if we can't feel it or see it. 

Maybe He was trying to strengthen my faith.  I sit and ask everyday for things but do I truly believe He is going to answer.  When I am asking where have you been God am I trusting in His timing? In verse 40 Jesus says, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" What do I really believe about God and His power?  Do I believe He will come through for me?  These are all questions we have to ask ourselves especially in times of struggle.  This is all going to work out some day.  It might be 4 days, 4 years,  or 40 years….we don't know but we do know the end of the story.  It ends well for us. We have to keep pressing on towards eternity.  He will work it all out.   

Maybe He is saying its time to get up! I wonder if I'm still walking around in my grave clothes?  Maybe its just time to get up.  Trust Him.  Move forward.  Forgive.  Live.  He has a purpose for me right here and right now.  I don't know about you but I don't want to miss it because I am still sitting here wearing my old self.  I want to put on the new self and get up and move on. 

So today won't you join me???  Let's remember He is here. No matter what we go through today He is right here beside us.  He is a "with" God.  Let's have a strong unwavering faith.  No more following what we feel but standing on what we know.  And if He has said get up then let's get up.  Take off the grave clothes and move on!

Be blessed my friends!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dare to Dream


There is no other word I can come up with.

I used to be a dreamer.  

A BIG dreamer.

Then life happened.  Things didn't turn out as expected.  People didn't cooperate.  I quit dreaming.  I became bitter.  

I became jaded.

I knew the desires of my heart and could not figure out why God wasn't giving them to me.  Girls this is a miserable place to be.  

So I want to share with a few things I have learned about broken dreams, bitterness, and healing:

First, God wants us to have dreams and visions about the future but they happen in His timing not ours.  Thats a tough one to swallow especially if what you long for is a good thing and you really can't see any real reason why it would not line up with God's heart for you. I know the pain of this one.  This is a dangerous place because we either keep believing and having faith or we become bitter.  

In 1 Samuel chapter 1 Hannah desperately wanted a child.  This was a good longing.  There was only one problem….her womb had been closed and she had become bitter.  The beauty of this story is we know the ending.  She has a son. The problem with our dreams and we really can't see into the future to know if they happen.  

We wait.  

We wonder.  

We don't know the ending.

I dreamed for many many years of a missions experience with my man.  I remember where the seed was planted.  I was maybe about 23 and we had lunch with a missionary couple from Papua New Guinea.  I listened intently to their story and I was immediately sold. I was ready to go into the unknown.  Sell everything.  Live in a hut.  I was READY….he was not.  I begged.  I pleaded.  He said no and I stopped dreaming.  Then I started going alone.  He was super supportive.  He sent me with his blessing but he would not go along and after every experience I longed even more for him to share it with me. I got a little bitter (ok I admit it I got a lot bitter). And finally after my last trip out of the country to Colombia I left go.  I decided to be thankful for his gracious support of me and to go when I could and to pray for our hearts to be one.  

I realized in my big dream to serve God- God was more interested in my heart than my willingness to go and He wanted unity in my marriage.

Guess what happened???  Just like Hannah at the point of letting go God gave me my dream.  I leave in less than 2 weeks to go to Ghana, West Africa.  Not alone but WITH MY MAN!!!!!

So remember I said that dream started when I was about 23…well I'm not anywhere close to that age any more.  This dream took literally years to be realized.  Its in God's timing.  Not mine.  

So my question to you is what have you given up on? Are you bitter?  Do you need to let go?  I can't make any promises how things will turn out because even though that dream of mine was realized in God's timing some of my dreams are still out there. But I decided I am going to dare to keep dreaming. 

I want to err on the side of faith.

I want to be the girl that dreams again.

No longer jaded.

No longer bitter. 

Full of anticipation in the wait.

Second, even though some dreams need to be put to rest,  some need to be resurrected.  I am resurrecting my dream of writing a Bible study.  I love the story of Hannah and I have spent two years studying those two short chapters in first Samuel.  And even though I'm terribly afraid of failure I have dreamed of writing about it and I decided unless God closes the door I am going to push on boldly.  

Girls don't let Satan steal something that is yours.  Your dreams are yours.  Don't let the enemy destroy them!

Finally, I dream of a place for women to grow and flourish.  A community where they can come together and be encouraged and resurrect their dreams.  Is this something that interests you?  Check out the Refresh and Renew Conference coming in October.  I think you will find this is a place just like that!


P.S. I am looking to do some teaching on Hannah this fall and spring.  If you are interested in hearing more and are looking for a speaker for your next event contact me!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

3 Things To Do When You Don't Know What To Do

My life has spiralled lately.

One minute I was going along spinning my plates and keeping everything in somewhat perfect balance and the next something happened and all of the sudden my plates toppled.

For the last 5 years I had cared for my grandmother and an uncle with cerebral palsy.  I visited daily.  Did all the dr. appointments and grocery shopping and took care of bill paying and looked in on them to be sure they took their medication.  

I will admit as the responsibility increased it had become more difficult to keep all my plates spinning but I did my best and hoped that in the end my kids would be learning valuable lessons about caring for people even if they weren't learning reading, writing, and arithmetic.

In the beginning of January as I stopped by for a daily visit and I noticed my uncle was not feeling well.  Without going into a lot of detail he was very stubborn and did not want to go to the doctors.  The next day he was worse and I brought in reinforcements, a.k.a. my brother, who convinced him to go to the doctors the next day.  That night in the middle of the night my grandmother called me and told me he had fallen.  We rushed in and called an ambulance and it was at the hospital emergency room that we learned he had the flu.

I will spare all the details but what ensued was overwhelming. He went to the hospital and was discharged into a nursing home.  After filling out all the paperwork we cleaned out his apartment.  My grandma then decided to move to the home also to be close to him.  He never fully recovered and passed away about three weeks after getting the flu.  This devastated my grandma and we moved her back to her apartment.  We planned a funeral and between all the signing papers in and out of the home and all the planning and now worrying about my grandmas emotional state I went into survival mode.

Sometimes things happen that we fully expect will happen we just don't know when and we don't know the depth of what it will take to carry us through and sometimes things happen so unexpectedly we don't have a second to think about how we will survive.  

The last month has been a little bit of both for me. 

So what do we do when we hit these bumps in life and we just aren't sure what to do and how to keep our head above the waves?

Here are three things that have helped me tremendously.

1.  Don't keep trying to do everything. Do what has to be done and let go of the rest.  I took care of everything that needed done and I did school on a scaled down schedule.  I stopped writing and sending out my weekly newsletter.  I said no to extra things and I stayed focused on what was in front of me.  Just do the urgent and let others help you.  I had a tremendous amount of help and support and I am so grateful for those that were there for me.   The world won't fall apart if we let some things go for a time.  Why do we think everyone needs us to be everything anyway?

2.  Dig into God's word.  If there is ever a time you need to know His precious promises it is in times of crisis.  It is also in this time that you will be tempted the most to put time with God aside.  The enemy loves for us to be distracted by the urgent.  It is in that place that he can whisper in our ear that God doesn't care about what we are going through.  He does care and now is the time to show some resolve and cling to His promises.  Don't wait until the crisis has taken over to open your Bible and if your just too tired and overwhelmed then cling to just one verse.  Keep it in front of you.  Listen to a good sermon or audio version of the Bible. Do something proactive.  Don't let crisis paralyze your walk with God.

3. Determine to keep going.  Listen girls, life is hard.  Really, really hard.  We have to keep going.  Some seasons will present more challenges than others but we have to keep going.  There were times when all the responsibility and paperwork threatened to swallow me.  I wanted to give up.  I wanted to go to pieces.  It doesn't mean I didn't have some good ugly cries because I did but when I was finished I got back up and did what needed to be done.  We need to persevere friends.  In amidst the most difficult trial we need to determine that we will lean on the promises of God and we will keep going never losing sight that our troubles are only temporary.  There will be a day when we will not have any ugly cries but until that day comes….Just. Keep. Going.

I hope this helped you out if you are in the middle of a difficult season.  If I can pray for you in any way please email me!  It is an honor to serve you.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sometimes You Need to Find Yourself a Broom Tree

There is something I have been learning lately.

Something I think holds the key.

It holds the key to peace and to strength and to finding purpose.

What is it you ask….


Ceasing all my activity and my doing and replacing it with sitting and seeking God's presence.  

I always had this idea that I had to be "doing" something big for God. That it was in my "doing" that I would find Him and I would find purpose. Instead most of the time I found dead ends and burnout.  The harder I would try the more exhausted I would become. I had this misconception that seeking was doing.  I confused the two.  Little did I know that seeking is sitting.  Seeking is stillness.  Seeking is the place where my striving ceases.

It wasn't until I stopped trying and I just started just sitting in His presence that I found strength.  It's there in that quiet place that I can hear His still small voice.  

Theres this story in 1 Kings 19 about Elijah and a broom tree.  He's running and he's exhausted. He says he's had enough and he wants to die. Then he finds this broom tree and he lays down under it and goes to sleep.  He sleeps for a really really long time and when he wakes up an angel tends him and he is strengthened.  He then hears from God.

Not in the wind

Not in the earthquake

Not in the fire….

but in the whisper.

I don't know about you but I want to be so close and so still that I can hear God whisper.  

It's real tempting this time of year to come up with all kinds of things we are going to "do" and even though I don't think thats all bad I want to encourage you to make ceasing and seeking your goal for 2015.

Just sit in His presence.  

You don't have to "do" anything.  

Just be with the I AM.  

If you have been exhausted lately find yourself a "broom tree" and let God's presence strengthen you.  My "broom tree" is a chair at my kitchen table where I sit every morning and pray, and worship, and read my Bible, and sometimes just sit in silence. 

This my friends is also where I have found the strength I need to battle the enemy.  My greatest victories have not come through anything that I have done but from the strength I have been given through the One I have spent my time with.  

May 2015 be our year of ceasing and seeking!