Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Love and Seek even when in Doubt

   A couple weeks ago we had a teaching at our church gathering on "doubt". It was asked if anyone in the congregation ever struggled with this issue and nearly everyone had a hand in the air, and the others  that didn't raise a hand, well.... they are dealing with another issue called "honesty"!         We've all struggled with doubt at some point in our walk with God and if we are truly being honest we've struggled with it more than once.
 Anyone who has known me for awhile knows that I deal with chronic pain in several areas of my spine due to an auto accident several years ago, and fibromyalgia. There have been days throughout this 12 year struggle that I have awoke in the morning to feeling as if a semi ran me over in my sleep and I don't know how I will make it through the day. And, many times plans will have to be altered or canceled altogether because no matter how hard I try or how much I pray, relief just doesn't come. The nights when I can't sleep because the spasms are so intense and I cry out to God for relief and it just doesn't happen, doubt begins to set in and take hold and I wonder if God even hears me. And if he does, why isn't He responding?
 I hear of struggles that others are going through as well and my heart breaks for them because I know they too, no matter how things appear on the outside, I know when things are looking bleak, doubt is sitting right there, ready to pounce.
Right after hearing Rebekah speak on this topic of doubt I was reminded of a teaching at a women's gathering on Matthew 11 . It says here that "while imprisoned John heard of the works of Christ" and he sent word to Jesus by his disciples to ask, " are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else"?
 There is such a desperation in Johns voice! And he was Doubting! I believe John believed Jesus was going to rescue him from prison and as his wait became longer he  began to doubt if Jesus was the Messiah! John! John the Baptist! The very one who in Matthew 3 we learn baptised Jesus! John touched Jesus in the flesh! Baptised Him! He witnessed" the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him!"v16  And he heard the rumble of Gods voice say, "This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased"! v17
 John experienced all of this, he touched, he saw, he heard and still later......he doubted!
 I can sit and think, Oh my how could he ever doubt after all he experienced? But, then again, I should ask myself the same question.
 I don't know why relief doesn't come when I am suffering with spasms and pain, and I don't know why others receive healing and I am still waiting for mine. But, I do know that God has given me the strength to get through those times and I am still here to serve Him. I still know where my life was years ago without Him, and where I am now with Him. I still remember all the strength He has given me to get through some of the most trying times of my life and the lessons He has taught me through those times. I know as long as I am on this earth I will not completly understand His ways of doing things, and I'm good with that, but I will never stop trying. Proverbs 8:17 says-" I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find Me".
I am in a place of resting right here in this verse- Loving Him-and Seeking Him. I believe if I never falter from these two things doubt will lessen it's hold, and the guilt from doubting will go away, others expectations and opinions of me will no longer matter. And  I am being completly honest here I admit sometimes this is my greatest struggle. When others make comments about what I "should be doing" or if I had more faith God would carry me through that and I could do more. If I don't show up at this event or that event it's assumed I'm either less social or loving and faltering from my faith or my walk with the Lord is weak or immature. Many times that's when I sit back and doubt God, because after all, if these other Godly people are getting the strength to "do" all this why am I not?
This is where my faith is put to the test, Do I believe or don't I? Do I truly believe that this unconditional love He has shown me is real?  I choose to rest in Him and Him Alone! Am I here to please others? Or my God, that I have come to know?
I choose to believe in what He has already shown me- He knows me- He loves me- and He will give me all the strength I need for each day just like He has been doing, walking hand in hand, side by side, with me, All the way, even in the pain, I feel Him! He is real!
The next time I am in the middle of a struggle and doubt comes knocking I will rely on God to help me remember and still believe!
I pray all of us will sense His love so so close today and that alone will carry us, no matter what the day may bring, even if it's doubt.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Altars of Remebrance

  One of my favorite books is "Hinds Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hunnard. In this story we meet a character named "Much Afraid". Much Afraid begins a journey with the guidance of a couple companions given by the High Shepherd to the High Places. Along the way Much Afraid meets with many challenges with fear, honesty, humility, only to name a few. Through this journey Much Afraid carries a satchel, and each time the Great Shepherd has shown her a great lesson, Much Afraid places a stone of remembrance from that place into the satchel to remember the great thing which have been done inside her, lest she forget.
  How often is it when we are going through struggles in this life do we find ourselves asking, "God are you really even there"? Do you care? Do you even hear me? Forgetting all the Lord has done. We can take for granted all the blessings that have come our way as if they never happened.
   I still see that little girl that was once me. I see her smile less face, I can still feel her loneliness, her confusion her pain. God rescued me from those wounds. I will never forget!
  I can still the blood and grass as I laid on the ground that night as the man shined his light in my eyes telling me all was going to be okay and help was on the way. It wasn't my time to leave yet, although strangely enough I felt ready and at peace. I will never forget!
  I can still recall the nausea of near death on that night when I was told it would be okay to get high and I believed his senseless lies once again and it nearly cost me my life. I won't ever forget!
  I can still remember the cold upon my bare feet and the fear in my heart as I walked two miles in the middle of the night with the gash on my head still oozing with blood after being hit once again by a man who promised to love me and protect me all the days of my life. God rescued me from that, and I will not forget!
  I don't ever want to forget those years of despair and hopelessness wandering aimlessly to nowhere and everywhere all at the same time, looking for someone, anyone who believed I was good enough just as I am. They all wanted something- even my own dad saw what he thought was my only worth. He was wrong! I won't ever forget!
  The Lord has blessed me with so much.
  Our world was broken, broken beyond our ability to right the wrong and make it right again. But, God loves us to the extent He could not bare the separation, could not bare even the thought that we would have no hope of ever being in communion with Him again. So much so He paid the ultimate price, a price so high no one could ever know the magnitude-His being-brought to earth in flesh and blood to bare the weight of the greatest human error, or was it simply the first? Sin is sin after all and had this been the only sin-His love would have done the same. This kind of love is way beyond my comprehension- Yet, still I won't ever forget!
 Time and time again, God moves in a way in my life to show me that He does indeed hear me. My prayers go right before Him, before His throne. And then, just like the Israelite's wandering in the desert for 40 years, I get in a place of absorption and pity and I question His very existence. Don't ask how, just simply our human condition. That in itself is the very issue-the human condition. Freedom isn't found there, it can only be found in our depths, the real me, the me inside that makes me, me. Where Jesus is. The me God knows, and has known even before I came to be in this shell we call the human body. Spirit! That is who we are, that's who I am, and I never want to forget, I can't ever forget.
  He knows me, and all He wants from me is me. Me, in the simplest form, not who the world wants to see with all it's expectations. Just me!
 He wants me to come to Him with my troubles, my concerns, my joys, the things I find funny, the things I find troubling. He just wants it all and He wants the truth, silly to think we can fool Him with our pretenses anyway.
  All this time I struggled wondering why it wouldn't go away, wondering why the memory would taunt me, blaming Him for the unhappiness within and In one real moment when all that pain came pouring out with the truth that maybe deep down I hadn't forgiven him, but I so wanted to, I hated carrying it, the weight alone was too much, it alone was burying me. One real moment of absolute truth, it opened the door to allow Him to heal. I can't forget, I don't ever want to forget!  My question had been answered and there was no other way this could happen, absolutely none! None other than my Father in heaven heard my voice and He answered and brought me freedom I couldn't give myself. This is my remembrance stone, lest I ever forget!
  I hope the next time, and there surely will be a next time, I am in despair and I am troubled and I begin to entertain the thought that maybe this whole Jesus thing isn't what we all think it is and maybe God really doesn't hear my prayers, I will think back to all He has done and my remembrance stones will come flooding back to me and I will immediately fall back into the truth and I will lean upon the faith He has given me and pray for patience to wait upon Him to answer knowing He will answer.
  Lord, help me to never forget!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Leadership- Lessons Learned Thus Far- Part 1- How the Journey Began

Its been five months since I took on the role of Ladies Ministry Director at Compelled Church. I place I really didn't see myself going as I headed to the Proverb 31 Ministries conference three years ago, where this journey first began. My every intent in going to the conference that year was to improve my skills as a writer. But, God had a different plan.

Although I originally signed up for sessions in the writers block when I arrived I found the schedule before me to be mostly leadership courses. We were told errors had been made on some of the schedules so we were to feel free to jump into our sessions of interest.

After initially registering for the conference I found out my eldest daughter; who lives in Illionois, was attending the same conference so we both decided to check-in for the early-bird session, which also was on leaderdship. Are you seeing a pattern here? Honestly, at the time, I didn't see it, I just believed it all to be coinsidence.

This conference turned out to be phenominal! Every session I took fed my spirit, by the end of the first day I felt God changing my hearts desire, not taking away my love of writing, just placing something else before it, but I still would not have been able to tell you what this something else was exactly.

On the third day of the conference I visited the prayer room. With over 800 women in attendance and everyone saying to make sure to make a stop in this prayer room , I was surprised when I walked in to find only one woman sitting in prayer. I didn't know she was with Proverb 31 Ministries until after about ten minutes or so she quietly came over to me and sat in the seat next to me and asked if she could pray with me. As she prayed she shared with me what she felt the Lord was laying upon her heart for me, and I won't go into every detail but it was about a change in direction for my life. As we spoke further we both began to notice the similarities in our pasts and the direction we were headed spiritually. The both of us knew our meeting was not coinsidence but a devine appointment set by God.

That final evening Renee Swope gave a message about Living Beyond the Shadow of Doubt. The message was all about living in the fullest of who God has created us to be, to not focus on the things we don't believe we are capable of but to move forward with faith in God, our Father who has our backs. After writing down all the things I felt might be holding me back like still believing in the lies told to me in my past about my worth, and failures and bad choices and so much more baggage I had seemed to be holding onto without really even realizing it, I let go! I laid that piece of paper at the foot of that cross. I allowed myself to fall into my Fathers arms and I let Him love me.

Lesson #1- I have learned to not receive what negative people say about me. My one and only true identity is in who God says I am. My past nor the people in my past have any power over me, nor do the people in my present who choose to label me or judge me without knowing me or my heart. In leadership you find yourself in this vulnerable place where you and the moves you make can be scrutinized by everyone around you. The focus has to remain on God- His words- His voice in our hearts and remaining true to His call and who He says we are and continuing on the path and toward the vision He gives.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Proverb 31 Ministries hosts the "She Speaks Conference" every year. This is an incredible opportunity for speakers, writers, and/or ministry leaders to share and learn new and fresh ways to express and lead others to the heart of God. Due to the generosity of Mr. Cecil Murphy, the ladies at Proverb 31 have been given the opportunity to offer several scholarships to this years conference. You too can try for one of these scholarships as I am doing with this post. You can find out more information through this link, http://www.shespeaksconference/ The challenge for one of the scholarships is to tell a story. Doesn't sound like too much of a challenge, right? Afterall, we all have some story to tell. Here's the catch- the story can only consist of 6 words! Thats right, SIX, words! This is my story- MAMA'S EYES, LOVING, GENTLE, ACHINGLY MISSED.

Blessings all,

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Intimacy with God

I had often heard others speak of intimacy with God. But, it wasn't until this wintry day a couple of years ago that I was given a glimpse of the depth of this intimacy God wants with us. Things in my life were not going terrible but, it was a time when there seem to be several nagging things happening all at the same time and my thoughts were focused on the many, what seemed to be, unanswered prayers, I'd been praying for years. My prayers for healing, loved ones to return to serving the Lord, financial breakthroughs for families, broken marriages and wayward children seemed to be falling upon deaf ears. I knew in my mind this really wasn't true but I was discouraged. Some of these situations appeared to be doomed without the Lords intervention and my heart was heavy. Several months prior during a time of prayer this saying came to my mind, " hear me with your eyes"! I repeated this over and over and wrote it down in my journal. For months these same words repeatedly came into my prayer time, "hear me with your eyes". Then several weeks later, "hear me with your eyes, see me with your ears" ! My heart quickened as I sought out my journal once again to jot down this phrase or what maybe was a parable. Did Jesus still teach in parable's? What did these words mean? Ever since I was a little girl I have been fascinated by birds. I just love watching them and the fact that their existence depends totally on God's daily provision just is amazing to me. On this gloomy wintry day traveling through the long twisting drive that led to my mother's apartment, within the senior community, my daughter and I were engaged in conversation when out of the side of my eye I saw something red flash by us. I reached to turn the music down, as I slowed and swerved slightly to the right side of the road. I looked up into the bare tree branches, searching in the direction of this red flash of color. There it was! The biggest and reddest cardinal I think I've ever seen! Oh, he looked so magnificent against the dark black and grey bark of that barren looking tree! But wait, whats that? Oh, wow here comes another one, and she sits right next to him. For a female she looks almost as bold in color as he, but you can tell she is the girl. My eyes are glued and my heart is beating so hard and so fast and my spirit man knows my Lord has something to say! Just then from the same direction as the first comes yet another and another cardinal! Both take their place near the first two and before they even get settled two more come to join them. I'm also a amateur photographer, and my thoughts are racing between knowing this is a moment of significance to thinking how much I wished I'd brought my camera. Then out of nowhere I spot this bird of bright yellow with an orange beak picking his place on the branches of the tree right next to the cardinals! At this point I am praying, Oh Holy Spirit, give me understanding of what You are showing me, when more of these yellow birds come join the first. I sat in complete amazement gazing at this site, feeling incredibly blessed to have been driving through there at that moment to see it. Right then in my spirit I hear " this isn't by accident, this is for you". For me? What does that mean? I'm still gazing into the trees when I hear my daughter tell me to drive away, "an old man is trying to open my door"! Sure enough when I look back an elderly man who lived in the community must have thought I was pulled over for him and he was trying to get in our car. I politely waved to him and proceeded on our way. Throughout the rest of the day I thought about what I'd seen and prayed continually for the Lord to give me wisdom. It was several days later when I opened my journal right to the page with the phrase given to me in the months prior. I'd not even considered the two could be connected. But, as I read the phrase again the vision of all those birds came flooding back to my mind as if I was seeing it for the first time. The revelation of all of this didn't come to me in one full swoop, but little by little the Lord spoke into my heart, showing me what it was He was speaking to me. The first thing being just how personal our Father is- God could have used any number of things to speak to me but he chose something He knew would get my attention, something he knows I love to watch. The birds! I had been asking to hear His voice in response to all the many situations I'd been praying for when I first heard " hear me with your eyes". Here I was driving through a place that appeared lifeless and barren when within the wisp of a second God brought magnificent color. This was exactly how I was seeing these many situations I was praying for, lifeless and barren, without hope. God in His great desire for us to be intimate with Him showed me how deep he knows my heart, how deeply he knows me. He spoke to me through allowing my eyes to fall upon His wonder. Even in the middle of all that appeared to be barren and hopeless, just as the situations I had been praying for, my faithful Father brought gorgeous color, full of life! The Lord revealed that even though some of these situations looked as if they were dying, just as the ground below the winters cold, there lies life just waiting to reveal itself in the spring. We may not always see what the Lord is up to, but if we look around us, we can always see and hear His heart for us. Open your eyes today and hear God's voice and allow Him to show you just how deeply he loves you and wants for you to seek intimacy in our relationship with Him.

I hope and pray my story has inspired you to seek and serve the Lord. If you would like to dig deeper with more stories of inspiration, hop over to the Proverb 31 Ministries site where you will find links to many blogs full of encouragement for your faith to grow.

If you happen to be a writer, speaker or ministry leader "She Speaks" is the conference you don't want to miss.

What is the She Speaks Conference? The opportunity to surround yourself with the love, wisdom and experience of Godly women running after the heart of God who desire to share all they have learned thus far on their journey, to help others be the mothers and daughters to walk in the fullness of all God has for us.

Curious? Check it out- just maybe the Lord has a seat there with your name on it!

Maybe you can win a scholarship to attend- click the link below.

May God Bless,

Friday, November 19, 2010

Brokeness Is Opportunity

Pastor has been teaching on the subject of Brokeness at our church, and last week taught on the book of Ruth. We learned about the bitterness that crept it's way into the heart of Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, through the loss of her husband and her son's. Naomi finds herself in a foreign land and in her mind, she is all alone, with only her two daughter-in -laws. She chooses to return to her homeland and even though her daughter-in-law's intend to follow her, she has other plans. She is wanting to go on her own. I believe Naomi's concern for her daughter-in-law is sincere and she means the best for them and their futures. But, the fact that she is making this choice to make this journey alone sticks out to me. How many times in our brokeness and grief do we make that same choice? To go it all alone!
Loss of a loved one is so very hard. It can change who we are, how we react to others, it can change the very way we look at life and/or God! But the greatest mistake we can make is to try to go through it alone and not see the opportunity God gives us through this experience!
I have wrote of the passing of my mom last year, and I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that nothing can fill that void left by the absence of her physical presence in my life. Nothing! Except God!
A mother's love is a most unique love, I believe the closest to Godly, agape love, we will ever experience on this earth. When a loved one is no longer here it leaves a big gaping hole in your heart.
A place only our heavenly Father's love can fill.
I thought I was doing what was best for me after my mom died by just staying busy and keeping my mind off of her and the fact she wasn't ever going to be here again. I was choosing to go "alone" on my journey through grief, kind of like Naomi.
After a full year had past I found myself falling into a deep depression that confused me. Why was I grieving so bad now when she'd been gone a year already? I didn't understand God had been waiting for me to fall into His arms the whole time, wanting to comfort me and guide me through this journey. He was waiting for me to come to Him that He could reveal to me the opportunity He was giving me to learn more about His love. Only God knows the extent of our grieving, only God knows the size of that void left within our hearts and God is the only one who knows just how to fill that gaping hole, and bring us closer to Him all at the same time. It's hard to imagine anything good coming from something that hurts so much, but God not only show's us this in His word in the book of Ruth, it's also shown in the book of Job. Loss is hard, one of the hardest things I think we have to deal with in this life but God can and will bring good from every loss if we let Him. No, our loved one won't miraculously reappear, but one day we will be with them again. And, until that day comes we can learn more about our Father's love by asking Him to walk with us. Asking Him to show us how to love more like Him and to bring us into opportunities to show that love to others.

He promises to always be there, to never leave us nor forsake us ,just as Naomi finally realized, we have to let Him in and choose to walk with Him and let Him show us the way. God brought restoration to Naomi's life. First, with Ruth's refusal to part from her, then by restoring her heart, by showing her His love. God still heard Naomi's voice, even through her pain and her bitterness.

I am so thankful the Lord loves me so much, He wouldn't leave me to myself.
I pray you experience the revelation of Gods love for you today- it will change your life forever- and you will never be the same!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Mother Daughter Relationship

I don't know how many times in the past several years I have listened to well meaning youth leaders talk about "letting go" of our kids once they become teenagers. They claim more time with their peers and young adults is what they really need at this point in their lives. One thing I've noticed is that the majority of the youth leaders suggesting this way of parenting have yet to parent through the teenage years themselves, and yes, maybe they know kids, but where did this gained knowledge or wisdom on parenting they are claiming come from?
One would hope their guidance and teaching would come from the Bible. But becoming more distant in your teens life is not what the Bible teaches. I am the mom of five great kids. Four of those kids are now aspiring adults who now manage their own daily lives and choices, the fifth child is just beginning to maneuver through the final stages of those teenage years into adulthood. Now, I've learned a lot of things through the years of raising those first four, yet I will never claim to know all there is to know about the right and the wrong ways of parenting. But, this stands out to me; you cannot have a close relationship with someone who is not there, you cannot speak wisdom to someone who is not there to hear you, you cannot guide someone if they cannot see you leading and God has called every parent to be and do every one of these. Do I believe the teenage years are a time to make sure they have opportunities to put into practice those things you hope you have instilled in them thus far? Most certainly! A child needs those opportunities. But, God's word teaches us that "we", the parents are to be their greatest influence, all the way through to adulthood. It doesn't teach us that we are to be this main influence only unto adolescence and then toss that responsibility to their peers, teachers, or even youth leaders. It is our responsibility as parents to see them through this journey into adulthood. There is a great article on this topic of influence at named "The Primary Influence In a Girl's Life". Although the article is speaking specifically about the mother/daughter relationship I really think it applies to boys as well. I hope you'll enjoy it. Proverbs 22:6 " Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it." NAS

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Symptoms of Grief

Psalm 94:19 "When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,

Your consolations delight my soul."

Everyone grieves the loss of a loved one or friend differently. Some hold all their emotion inside and choose to not let it out at all, others may keep their chin up within public view and then let it all out in the quiet or while praying, and there are some who are consumed with the feeling of loss for some time and yet others who for whatever reason, seem to handle the death of a loved one with such calm that one might claim they are void of emotion.
Since my mama went to be with the Lord last year I think I've gone through each one of these different ways of grieving. Much to my surprise has been the effect upon me as the first year anniversary of her passing has come. It's been harder than I thought it would be. I have missed her every day, and some days the pain has been so intense.
Grieving, I am finding is an unpredictable emotion that can seem to be totally absent one moment and all consuming in the next, with no announcement of it's coming symptoms.
But, Jesus is faithful to His word that he would never leave us, and He brings consolation to the anxious and the grieving heart and the one thing that brings me comfort is picturing my mama sitting with Jesus with a smile on her face, knowing one day we will both be sitting there with Him, smiling!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Creation Museum was incredible!
The heart and work that went into the building of this just blows me away. The details, and the animation of the replicas and the way they seem to be looking right at you!!
We had a great time and really enjoyed the petting zoo where we got to see and feed a real zonkey!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Very Breath We Breathe

How often throughout our day are we aware of breathing? Of course we know were breathing, but how aware are we of doing so? You know the actual process........breathe exhale ......breathe in....... now let it out. Brings to mind a doctors visit, doesn't it? When you fear hyperventilating because the doctor is moving that stethescope just a bit too quickly for you to catch up! Or after we've been running or exerting ourselves we become aware of our breathing, but mostly because at that point it becomes difficult to catch our breathe. Another is at the end of life when your time left on this earth has become short and the number of breathes we take in a single minute are counted to determine when that time may come. But, normally on an average day we don't pay much attention to breathing, although it is the most important function vital to life. Without breathing our hearts fail to beat, and blood no longer flows through our veins.
Jesus is so much like the very breathe we breath. He is vital to life, yet for so many we go throughout our days being unaware of just how vital our need is for Him, until life becomes difficult, then we come as if gasping for air.
The days we are upon aren't making it difficult to find ourselves in times which can be like taking the very wind from our sails, so to speak. The pink slip at the end of the work day, late notices in the mail, children failing at school or even worse and into drugs and alcohol, ailing health. The list could go on and on, my point being, we don't have to look too far to find troubles in this life, Jesus told us in John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
How much different would our days be if everyday, every hour, every minute we were aware of our need for Jesus to make it to the next day, hour or minute? I believe God created breathing, the most vital function for our physical life, to be on autopilot, because, otherwise we would have to constantly be aware of our breathing, lest we die physically. Our spiritual well being isn't on autopilot though, we have to be deliberate in seeking Him. We have to be aware that our need for Jesus is like our very breathe. Without Him we face imminent death.
The following is from my devotional reading today and what stirred this thought within me about our breathing.
"Jesus" The very sounding of My Name, in Love and tenderness, drives away all evil. It is the word before which all hosts of evil flee.
"Jesus". My Name is the call for a lifeline to rescue you from temptation.
"Jesus". The Name banishes lonliness and dispels gloom.
"Jesus". Summons help to conquer your faults.
I will set you on high because you have known My Name. Yes! My Name-Jesus." Use it tenderly. Use it prayerfully. Use it powerfully.

It is my prayer that as we go through this day we will all be more aware of our need for Jesus in everything we do, as if He were the very breathe we breath. Inhaling more of Him and exhaling our cares and troubles of the day.

"As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God." Psalm 42:1

O' Lord I so need You, without You Jesus my life would be no more, like my body without air, I would fail to function. I thank You Lord that You are always with me, help me to let You in deeper still, help me to release every burden into Your care, that I may focus on You.

Love You Jesus,