September 25, 2012

Trophies, pride, healing, and success...

Dictionary.com defines "Trophy" as a memento of success, a memorial to a victory, a monument from an enemy's defeat.

I personally do not have any physical trophies. I never conquered golf or karate or volleyball or drama (well, drama is to yet to be decided!), or any other sports or accomplishments. 


Trophies make people feel accomplished, almost special, set apart from other people. I guess that's why people polish their trophies and put them in obvious places so that others see them; therefore, leading them to good conversations about the memories surrounding their moment of victory.

About a year ago, God showed me I had a trophy room and I visited it often, (like almost daily) depending on who I was talking to or what I was writing for. I was shocked at the newsflash of my trophy room! God could definitely see my house, and I did NOT have a room full of trophies! 

But...God showed me I had a heart full of trophies.

"Excuse me?!?!?" 

How could that be! I mean people knew my life! It had not been pretty at all! The abuse. The men. The drinking. The drugs. The junk. I couldn't possibly have a trophy room in my heart! I mean really! 

People knew I used to be an addict. Was angry. Abusive. That is totally nothing to be proud of! 

Except...that I clearly was NOT that person anymore! I had come a long ways! I had survived many obstacles! In fact, it's a miracle I even survived all that! It's a miracle my body was able to have children! It's a miracle I could even function after such a horrible childhood, full of abusers and alcoholics and "innocence stealers"!

In fact, it was pretty amazing I could even share such a horrible testimony of brokenness, because clearly, I was a survivor and an overcomer, and because I followed God, and because I did x,y,z, I definitely survived!  I couldn't possibly have a trophy room! 

Dictionary.com defines "Trophy" as a memento of success, a memorial to a victory, a monument from an enemy's defeat.

I built a memorial in my heart of every single victory I overcame, every obstacle that I had walked through. Every painful memory had been rehearsed and refined throughout the years. I knew the stories by heart. Every detail. Every person involved. I knew what the looks on people's faces would look like as I described every detail. They definitely thought I was an overcomer...a surviver...a miracle...a strong woman.

After I realized my heart had trophies, I repented to God. I prayed that He would fix it, and help me destroy the mental trophy room that had become my idol and my encouragement when I felt like a nobody. 


Sometimes we "trophy" the wrong things. It's totally o-kay to be proud of an accomplishment, but be careful it doesn't become an idol or a trophy.


June 29, 2012

Shadows...


Shadows are all around us.
Some shadows are dark...
lurking in the corners...
intermingled with cobwebs.

(picture from the web)

Some shadows dance on the ground...
as the sun plays peek-a-boo...
through the trees.


This shadow is a reflection
from the pendant on my wind chime.




The shadow is much more beautiful 
than the pendant itself.




As I look at the beautiful shadow
glistening on the door,
I'm struck by the thought
that we, as Christians,
have much in common 
with this shadow.

 

You and I...
we're plain and simple...

...yet when we allow Jesus to shine through us, we are illuminated into something much more beautiful. 

It doesn't matter if we don't "measure up" in the natural; it only matters that we allow Jesus to work in and through us, so that HE can cast HIS beauty upon the world around us.  

I really don't think it's even about letting our own light shine...but about letting HIS LIGHT shine through us!

Just BE...
 the 
unique
 YOU 
God 
has 
made 
you 
to 
be!

June 28, 2012

Beauty and Perspective...

I love "beauty"...
I love watching flowers bloom...
Little buds spreading their petals...
Totally enclosed...
until they come to life...


I love the sun...
the way it shines through the trees...
casting shadows of perfection on the earth below...
I love the warmth on my face...
as the wind gently blows...


Even when it's overcast and grey...
I see the beauty...
Lately, that is...
I think I'm in love with the sun...
and the clouds...


I love pictures that capture a well trodden path...
The path that is worn from many footprints...
from those who have gone before me...
I love imagining the journey of those people...
with their dirty and dusty sandals...
who paved the path beneath my own feet.


I love to find the beauty...
in the things others may not see...
the hidden tree branches that have fallen...
the rotted old tree that still stands tall...


The greenery that managed to find its place...
among the broken cement and brick...
Some say it should not be there...
Yet I say, 
"Good job! You managed to thrive!"
It beat the odds.
Made its own path...
decided not to follow the crowd... 


 And then...
there's 
THIS 
kind 
of 
beauty!!!



Wow!
Breathtaking!
Amazing!
Yet I wonder...
do people see it?
Or is it just me?
It's so complex...
and profound...
one-of-a-kind...
unique...
a masterpiece, I say.


I see potential...
I see beauty...
I see hope...
I see life...
I see inspiration...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Beauty is all around us.
Each one of us.
Every day.
In every place.
It's in perspective.
It's in the view.

Your trial is beautiful...
not because of how it looks today...
but because of what God can do with it...
tomorrow...
and the next day...
and next year...
and many years after that.

Your weakness is beautiful...
not because of how it looks today...
but because God can make it your strength...
one day...
if you let Him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's all about perspective...
It's all about the view...


June 26, 2012

Persevere...

For so long, I felt like this.
Growing, but stuck.
Entangled.


My path felt like this.
Rocky.
Unstable.
Unsecured.


The path to freedom seemed...
always unattainable.
Just out of reach.
So close...
but yet still so far away.



I still had hope...
because I still had Jesus...
But the light of freedom
seemed so far way.


At times, the path would clear.
The sun became brighter.
Freedom seemed possible.
Hope was more evident.


But then I would get stuck again.
Entangled more.
It was getting harder to get free.
BUT I KEPT TRYING!
I KEPT SEEKING JESUS!
I KEPT CRYING OUT FOR FREEDOM!
FOR MORE!


My view got brighter.
My vision cleared.
Life seemed a little sideways.
BUT life was better.
Brighter.
More hopeful.
I kept pressing in.
I kept pressing through.
I had to.
I could taste freedom.
I could smell freedom.
I wanted to touch freedom!



 The path has not been easy.
Nor has it been fast.
But Jesus is the leader.
I'm just diligently following.
Life is good.
Resistance is still there.
Jesus is bigger.
All the time!!! 


Say "Yes" to God!
Where HE wants to take you...
is better than where you are...
and it's beautiful...
and full of hope...
and peace...
and joy... 

It's good!

~Heavenly Father, I pray for those who seek freedom. Freedom from the past. Freedom from the chains. Freedom from addictions. Freedom from themselves.  Freedom from the lies that have kept them entangled and stuck. 

In the name of Jesus, I curse the spirit of rejection, despair, depression, lack, and destruction off of each one of them, and command those spirits to go.  I pray that You would fill them up with peace, hope, joy, and love today. Your love Jesus! Your comfort! Your amazing grace! Thank you Jesus. In Jesus name, Amen~

June 25, 2012

ALL victories are tested!!!

All victories are tested...


One of my Pastors has been telling me that for a few weeks now. I didn't understand what it meant until yesterday.


I am free! I have been healed! My life has totally changed in the past few months! Set 100% free! Anxiety and depression GONE! High Blood pressure GONE! Weight loss happening! Weariness GONE! Broken heart HEALED! Guilt and Shame GONE! Sexual addiction GONE!


I was on a "high" for the month of May! I was unstoppable! I was confident! I was praying for people left and right! I was contagious! I was happy! I was victorious!


June came... and so did the tests!


Worry came. Anxiety came. Temptations came. Issues came. Illness came. 


"What is going on???" I would cry out.


At first, I was super strong and full of faith, but when illness didn't go away immediately or "bad news" didn't immediately turn to good news...my soul grew weary.


I kept declaring GOD IS GOOD! GOD IS FAITHFUL! I AM FREE! I STILL CHOOSE TO BELIEVE!


But my body was getting weary from being sick. My heart was growing faint from unanswered prayers. Temptations would creep up and I began to wonder if I really was free. Depression tried to come upon me again. I began to look at the circumstances in the natural and began to sink... quickly!


BUT I CHOSE to believe that WHOM THE SON SET FREE IS FREE INDEED!


I CHOSE to claim the promises of God!


I CHOSE to turn away from worry, strife, anxiety, and sin.


"HEAVEN, ALL VICTORIES ARE TESTED!!!"


Every time I text my Pastor with another circumstance, he would respond with the above words, along with the encouragement that God IS FIGHTING for me and my family!


Needless, to say, God and I conquered a week of hell and uncertainty! During those times of trials, I did not understand what my Pastor was saying. But he continued (along with other friends!) to assure me that the circumstances were simply smoke screens to try to get my focus off of God and back onto worrisome, depressed thoughts.


Yesterday, I realized what he meant----> "ALL victories are tested!"


My healing and my freedom were tested in those trials. I found out that God was still faithful. I was still free. God was, and continues to be, in control. God was STILL holding my world in the palm of His hands........no matter what the circumstances said!!!


My victories WERE tested...and they stood the test!!!


Thank you Jesus!!!

April 20, 2012

Spoiled "manna", worry, & fear

Do you ever look at your circumstances and even though your needs for today have been met...you soon begin to doubt that your needs for tomorrow will be taken care of too???


In Exodus 16, God not only gave the Israelites miraculous "manna" & provisions, but also where God gave them instructions for gathering and receiving it.  


God's instructions as written in Exodus 16:4-5

4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

 Simple enough, right? Go get manna for each day, except on the 6th day, get enough manna for two days.  


So this foreign substance miraculously begins to form on the ground (verses 14-15), and the people questioned each other, saying, "What is it?" 


Moses explained it was the bread God had given them to eat and explained how much they were to gather. In verse 19, Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning."


Needless to say, some people kept some of their manna until morning, only to find it spoiled and filled with maggots. (vs. 20) 


-----------------------------------------------------


Can you relate? At all? Or are you the one who totally, 100% trusts God to do EVERYTHING He says He will do. Can you take God at His word? Do your own doubts and fears resemble those of the Israelites who kept some manna for the following day? Do you ever wonder "how, and why, and when God???"


Yesterday, I shared how God provided toilet paper for me through my friend. He ALWAYS provides for me like that and remains SO faithful to me. Yet this morning, I found myself wondering where my next pack of toilet paper will come from when this runs out. 


REALLY?!?!?! Hello Heaven! It's no wonder I lose my joy so quickly! The more I study this journey of the Israelites, the more I see myself in the words on the pages of Exodus.  I used to laugh and deny I could EVER be as...ahem...SO ungrateful!...as the Israelites were!  Now I'm beginning to see more and more why I am on this journey in my own wilderness!  I pray I will NOT spend 40 years here though because I would be totally ancient by then!!!


Anyway........(babble, babble, babble...)


Oh Jesus, help me!  I'm gently reminded of Matthew 6:25-27


25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?


God IS SO trustworthy! I KNOW this! I've SEEN this! I've LIVED this! God is SO faithful! God IS my Provider! He NEVER leaves me without what I NEED!


So Heavenly Father, I pray the words from the boy's father in Mark 9:24, 


"I DO believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"


It's IN the presence of God that our fears and worries will lessen. It's IN the act of worshiping and praising God, that our focus is shifted from looking outward and inward...to upward...where it belongs :)

April 19, 2012

Toilet Paper, "manna", & other provisions

Manna as defined by Dictionary.com: the food miraculously supplied to the Israelites in the wilderness. (Exodus 16:14-36)


If you read Exodus 16, you will get the full version of this amazing story of a God who provided manna and quail for His people.  For the sake of time, I am going to give you my paraphrased version and relate it to my life and my journey.


God did amazing things, even performed miracle after miracle, from the time they left Egypt. God helped them win battle after battle. They journeyed. They got tired. They started complaining. They were forgetting the promises of God. They couldn't see beyond the circumstances in front of them. All they could see was their misery and their struggle. I'm sure they just wanted their Promised Land...yet it seemed no closer than when they left Egypt. They murmured. They doubted their leaders, their promises, and their God.


"Oh God, why didn't you just let us die in Egypt? It has to be better than this!!!"


Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever had to fight for something that, after awhile, really didn't seem worth it. It seemed too hard. Too tiring. Too many tears. Too much pain. Too...too...too...


I live from paycheck to paycheck. I started my business in September and to be honest, I spend more money on my website every month than I even bring in sales. I know God wants to use my art and other talents and SOMEHOW have them be part of my business, but I don't have the "go" yet from God. I feel like I'm wandering aimlessly around and around and around, going no where really quick, with little to no direction.  


I believe God is the one who gave me the ideas, but He also has to give me the business mind, the resources, the right connections, because in the natural, I have NO CLUE what I am doing.


I'm getting weary. Along with everything else going on in my life, I can easily get overwhelmed with the details, and usually "shut down" because I don't know what else to do.  


I KNOW God has a plan far BIGGER and GREATER than I can EVER imagine or dream, but I don't know what it is! I don't know how to get there! All I know is to keep doing what it is I'm doing and pray I won't miss the connections He wants me to make...waiting for His timing to see His promises fulfilled for my life.


I am living on daily manna. Literally. Well, not like "Israelite manna", but "daily provision manna". I step where God wants me to step. I move when God wants me to move. I "be still" when God tells me to be still.  Most of my time is spent in preparation: physically, spiritually, and emotionally...and right now, God says, "This is where I want you."


Ugh! I want to be soaring! Going forward! Moving! But God says, "Be still my Child...be still."


I fight the urge to grumble and complain. Not because I'm unhappy where I am at. I just feel like I 'SHOULD" be doing something...more...significant...with...my...life.


This morning, I looked at my toilet paper roll stash and realized I only had two rolls left. Not only that, but I am running out of dishsoap and guinea pig food. 


"Really!?!? Is this really the story of my life? For real? Do I have to do this EVERY month? My son's birthday is next week and...blah.blah.blah!"


Complain. Grumble. Murmur.


"Oh, those Israelites! If only they would have just "gotten" it, they wouldn't have stayed in the wilderness for 40 YEARS! I would have learned not to grumble and complain so much!!!"


Um...yeah...maybe I would have!?!?


Yikes!


I allowed my worries to swallow me up for a little bit this morning, but finally decided I could do nothing but trust God to provide. 


I praised instead. I "won" back my day because I chose not to worry about something I could do nothing about at the moment.


"O-kay God, I will be still..."


And I was. And it felt good.


Fast forward much later...


5:00p.m.--My friend shows up at the door with toilet paper for me. It was on sale. She was thinking of me. 


Uh yes! That's the God I serve!


The "wilderness" can get tiring at times. But God hasn't left us out here alone! Just keep doing what He's asking you to do and trust Him to do what He said He will do!!!  Be on the alert for complaining murmuring coming from your own heart and keep your eyes open for the miracles and manna from heaven.


Most of all, keep your focus on God! He really hasn't dumped you "out here" to rot. He's taking you on your personal journey that only you and He can go on...to prepare you for what is yet to come!


He is good...all the time!

April 18, 2012

You WILL make it!

I write.
I write a lot.
I go to hit "publish".
I push "close" instead.
Some things are private.
I wish I could share.
I wish I could give you hope.
You are not alone.
You're not the only one struggling.
I wish I could tell you my story.
I pray I can one day share.
But for today...I cannot.
I can tell you that God is FOR you!
Not against you!
He HAS a plan for YOU!
It's good.
You WILL make it!
Today!
Tomorrow! 
And the day after that!
Call out to Jesus...
He's there.
He's here.
And we're going to make it!
I'm praying for YOU...
will you pray for me?

April 12, 2012

Gaining focus...

Possessing your Promised land...


Requires action...
Walking forward...
One foot in front of the other...
Making required changes...
Becoming a participant, not just a spectator...
Living, moving, and breathing...
Seeking, remaining & abiding in God's presence...
Falling down...yet standing back up!
Stumbling...yet never giving up!
Pressing on toward the goal!
Persevering in...through...& despite!


"But I feel..."
"DESPITE my feelings, I press on..."


"But it's hard..."
"I CAN do ALL things through Christ!!!"


"But I can't do this..."
"I AM MORE than a Conqueror!"


"But I'm so weak..."
"God's strength is PERFECT in my weakness!"


Re-gain your focus. Put your eyes on the prize. Grab a hold of the outstretched hand of Jesus. Wipe the sweat from your brow. Tell your pity-party to take a hike. Get back up! Fight the good fight. No one can walk this journey for you! 


God has promised to go before you and behind you and beside you. God has promised to carry your burdens. God has promised to strengthen you. God has promised your destination, but you still have to walk forward. You have to possess it. You have to want it. 


You have to do your part...whatever it is God has asked you to do. The instructions for each of us may be different, but it will require an act of obedience on your part. Are you supposed to "let go" of something so He can give you something better? Are you to lay down your offenses and forgive? Are you supposed to trust Him and keep your mouth closed instead of taking matters into your own hands? 


For me, I'm learning to believe God IS who He says He is...not just for everyone else, but for ME!  Will I TRUST, and THEN OBEY what He asks me to do?  Will I TRUST God is who He says He is, and that I AM who God says I AM despite how I feel????


So I am going through my personal journey of TRUSTING GOD, BELIEVING HIM, & THEN OBEYING HIM DESPITE MY FEELINGS. 


What action is God calling you to today?  Will you walk another step toward YOUR Promised Land by CHOOSING to obey?








March 9, 2012

Thank You, Lord, for what You've DONE!

I have note cards hanging around my house. They hang in my view where I can easily spot them. 


One friend told me once, "You're discouraged?!?! Just go read the notes in your bathroom!"  Those notes, too, are in, ahem...view when I sit.


The problem is that they have become too familiar. I read them, yet I do not see them. I say the words, yet I do not speak the words. 


Motions...just words...routines...habits...they're there...but they're not.


Today, I read the last line of one of these cards: "Thank You, Lord, for what you have done, and for what you are going to do."


I stopped...after "...what You have done..."


My facebook status this morning said something about "choosing to rejoice!"  I don't like to rejoice. I don't even like to make myself rejoice. I don't even like to pretend to rejoice...


...but I do it anyway...


Or do I???


As I sat...ahem...in view of this note card in my bathroom, my heart skipped a beat, and a giggle slipped out, as I stopped at and repeated the words..."for what You HAVE DONE!"


I've been so busy worrying and claiming blessings over the things God hasn't YET done, that I have forgotten to rejoice and thank God for what He HAS DONE! 


I have SO much to be grateful for! Right now! This day! This second in time! God has done SO MUCH in my life and I'm still worrying about what He hasn't done! Ugh! 


I may not be able to escape the "wilderness"/desert experience I'm in right now, but I sure can determine how my attitude is in the midst of it.  One of the biggest reasons the Israelites stayed in the desert so long is because they grumbled, complained, and murmured so much!


I have gotten pretty good about NOT complaining when I hit a rough patch in life, but I haven't quite mastered the art of gratitude and rejoicing during my rough patches.  I don't think I will ever "master" it, but I also know that I can appear grateful without really being grateful.  


The Lord sees my heart, and even though I may outwardly be "fooling" people (including myself) that I'm not complaining, I'm not able to hide from God.  See, my heart is still speaking even though words aren't coming out of my mouth.


"Why hasn't _____ happened yet? Do you see what's going on God? We have a deadline here! Hello? Are you listening to me God? What about abc and xyz? Etc."


Outwardly, I smile, I read my Bible, I quote scriptures, I give, I'm patient...blah blah blah! Inwardly, I'm still looking at everything God still hasn't given me! (Even though He's provided miracle after miracle almost every day of my life!!!)


If I began listing EVERYTHING God has ALREADY DONE for me for the past 36 3/4 years, I would seriously have NO time to consider anything else but the goodness & faithfulness of God!!!


I really thought that because I wasn't verbally complaining, that I really wasn't complaining, and then couldn't figure out why I didn't have joy! It's time to get honest and really evaluate your heart attitude. Are you REALLY grateful? Are you REALLY serving? Are you REALLY seeking? Are you REALLY obeying? Are you REALLY giving? Are you REALLY being humble? Are you REALLY loving?


We can outwardly "obey", while inwardly "rebel"... God wants to deal with "heart issues"...


Will you let Him deal with yours?

February 11, 2012

"Who do YOU say I am?"

Many months ago, God took me to Matthew 16:15 where Jesus asked His disciples this question:


"But what about YOU?", [Jesus] asked. "Who do YOU say I am?"


That verse, which I had read many times before, suddenly penetrated my heart, revealing that I did NOT believe God was who He said He was. 


Through years of disappointment and unanswered prayers, I resolved in my heart that God did not love me and did not really care about me.  I talked the talk. I walked the walk. I declared God's promises. I prayed. BUT I did not expect God to answer my pleas and heart cries for my life.  


I could tell you who He was for YOU, but I did not believe that He could be that for me.


I could pray prayers for you, and expect that God WOULD answer because He loved YOU...


BUT I couldn't receive the same for my life.


Disappointment...


It's a part of life.


As I started being honest with God on that day about who I REALLY thought He was, God began to reveal who He REALLY was. My healing didn't come overnight. I went through many weeks of struggling as the lies I believed about God began coming forth, and as God began to replace those lies with HIS TRUTH.  


The Israelites took 40 YEARS to take a 2 week journey across the desert into the Promised Land! 40 YEARS!!! Around and around the desert they went, wandering aimlessly, getting more and more bitter, lost, complacent, and ungrateful.


God continued to show them He was faithful and could be trusted! God continued to provide miracle after miracle for their protection and provision! God continued to give them victory in EVERY battle they faced! God continued to encourage them NOT to be afraid!


YET THEY STILL doubted! THEY STILL complained! THEY STILL grumbled! THEY STILL chose to worship other idols and gods! THEY STILL found disappointment! THEY STILL were afraid!


I've heard the definition of Insanity defined as "doing the same thing while expecting different results."  Now, while this phrase has been way-overused, I see it also being way-overused in my own life.


What if part of our "Desert experience" is defined as "thinking the same things about God while expecting different outcomes from Him"? Just a thought as I quickly write out this post.


Or what if God continues to provide for us and answer our prayers in original, creative ways, (as He did with the Israelites) yet because it's not what WE EXPECT, we assume He's doing nothing...therefore, adding to the lie that God really doesn't care about us or our situation... Again, just another thought.


If you don't think God is "for you" and doesn't care for you, then you aren't going to be able to see clearly when He provides a way out of your desert experience.  You will assume, as I once did, that you are meant to stay here forever, and that this is all life holds, because this is all you deserve... (Just another thought!)


I believe God wants to rearrange your thinking about the way that you think about Him. I believe He wants you to really "get" the truth about who is REALLY is, and who He REALLY wants to be for you. I believe He wants the lies exposed that you have believed about Him (and yourself!) for so long. I pray that today as you read this, that God will penetrate your heart, the same way He did mine months ago, as He asks you...


"But what about YOU? who do YOU say that I am???"

February 9, 2012

What guests are you entertaining?

Access to our "Promised Land" usually isn't an easy path. It usually is a road with twists, turns, curves, bumps, & pot holes here and there. 





Life happens. Whether you're a Christian or not, good things don't happen just because you will them, wish them, or declare them into existence. Growing up with years of childhood/adolescence secular counseling, I was told that my life and attitude was determined based on how I thought/felt/spoke about things, i.e. my circumstances, future, etc.


Basically, I learned I couldn't always control the world or circumstances around me, but I could control the way I handled what came my way.  Positive affirmations, taped upon my mirror and spoken every morning, were to increase my self-esteem. Intentionally seeking to forgive past offenders would lead my "inner child" to a more peaceful existence as a fruitful and fulfilled adult.


My point is, no matter what side of the fence you are on, God or anti-God, we all agree that faith and words alone cannot always "heal" us or move us forward.  Although there are times that God, in His Sovereignty, chooses to instantaneously deliver us from our own lonely desert, most of the time, we have to walk out our journey.


His healing power, through the Word of God, renews our mind, our heart, and our spirit, but no matter how much healing is poured out upon us, eventually, we will have to walk...forward...one step at a time...closer...to the place He wants us to possess.


Before I went to bed last night, I had a little party. Offense came to visit and invited Self-Pity. Before long, Disappointment and Sadness came along. By the time I went to bed, Mr. Depression and "Poor Me" had joined the life-sucking get-together. We had a sleep over.  


When I woke up this morning, they all wanted to hang around and party some more.  I thought about it. I really did. After all, I definitely know how to entertain those guys! I've been doing it for years...yet somehow, I knew I just wasn't in the mood for a back-to-back pity party.  


Instead, I was firm in my mind that I was NOT going to entertain these guests today. See, in the past month, as I have been spending time with God, I have found that there is no room in my Promised Land for these visitors. Part of the reason the Israelites stayed in the desert for so long is that they entertained Self-pity, grumbling, murmuring, complaining, disappointment, and unbelief rather than to follow the directions of the Lord through those leading them.




I know how to stay depressed! I know how to live in unbelief, regret, disappointment, and in lack!  I can tell you what every side of this mountain looks like because I've spent my life going around and around, yet never really getting anywhere, but more confused and lost. I know how the desert winds blow in distractions, mirages, and detours with the sandstorms of life.




I'm ready to live on the other side of this desert. I'm ready to live in full view of my blessings and inheritance of the Lord. I'm ready to bathe in the freedom God has promised me....


It requires more of God's Presence IN ME!


That means telling my unwelcomed guests of pity to flee! That means inviting Rejoicing, Thankfulness, Praise, and Delight to my house for a time of refreshment and renewal.


INTENTIONALLY praising God for the amazing, wonderful, glorious blessings in my life!!!


DECLARING that my feelings are NOT the final answer! They do NOT define me! 


PROCLAIMING that God is STILL FOR ME; not against me!


---I can't do your "work". You can't "do" mine. I can't take your journey. You can't take mine. 


BUT I CAN take my journey!
AND YOU CAN take yours...









February 4, 2012

"Action"

I don't "do" new year's resolutions, but I do "do" a "word" for the year. I ask God what His "word" for me for the year is. One year, it was "trust". THAT was a hard year! This year, God gave me "ACTION!"
  
I'm tend not to be an "action" girl. I tend to be a "dreaming" girl, a "starting" girl, an "introspective" girl...but not too much of an "action" girl. My feelings have usually "won" out in the past. If I don't "feel" like doing something, I usually won't unless I HAVE to. (ex. going to church vs. cooking supper for my son). My son HAS to eat, but we'll survive if we don't make it to church one Sunday.

Long story short, the month of January was a total loss training month for me. From January 1st on, I was met with scenario after scenario that totally tripped up my emotions! I rarely left my house. I went a little over a month without going to church or Tuesday prayer meetings. I didn't hang out with friends. I slept ALOT! I kept myself in my own little bubble because I didn't "feel like" doing anything!

Amazingly, I watched quite a bit of Christian television, listened to Christian teachers, read my Bible often, and spent quality time with God.  I wrote in my journal almost daily. Even if I didn't "feel like" spending time with God, I KNEW that was the only way out of the pit I dug for myself. On some days, I only opened my Bible to read one verse, and then shut it again. Then I would follow with listening to a Christian teaching program on TV. 

God spoke. Not too much made sense, but I KNEW He was speaking. I KNEW He was pointing out verses to me, so I would write them down. I didn't know what they really meant or how they fit into my life, but I KNEW God wanted me to write them down.  I did. 

Today is Saturday, February 4, 2012. Those verses God had me write down from January 1st until now, are NOW fitting together.  

God is calling me (and you) out of our Egypt...out of the wilderness...out of the desert! God is calling me (and you) into action so that we can experience and possess our Promised Land that God has for us!

ACTION!!!

I woke up on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, and declared, "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" I had been in this "funk" for well over a month, and I was DONE- D.O.N.E.- DONE!!! 

I forced myself into ACTION! I got dressed, declared God's promises over my life, and determined I was going forward!!! It hasn't been easy by no means! It hasn't even been comfortable! It has been challenging, BUT God has an inheritance for me...my PROMISED LAND...and I WANT IT! I NEED IT! I DESIRE IT! and I MUST go after it in order to possess it!!!

I have been settling for the "desert", the "wilderness", for sooooooooooooooo long.  I've even wanted to go back to "Egypt"- the junk God's taken me out of- just so I don't have to go forward. I'm tired of a mediocre life. What about you?

1. Get DRESSED! - Ephesians 6 talks about putting on the armor of God. The belt of Truth, the breast plate of Righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, Helmet of Salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and love. Without "putting on" these spiritual "clothes", it's like showing up to work naked! You're not prepared! You're bound to get bombarded and end up going back home before you've even started! For me, because I do not work outside of the home, this also means I have to physically get dressed for the day, even though I love lounging in my pajamas all day. 

2. DECLARE God's promises! Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. What is your heart believing about your life? About your circumstances? About the situation staring at you in the face? SPEAK to the "mountain" in your life! When you let your circumstances tell you what or how you should feel, you are starting on the wrong side of the battle field! I don't know about you, but when I wake up in the morning, I am tempted to say, "UGH! I am sooooooo tired. I want to go back to bed. Another day??? Blah." When I do that, I set my day up for that kind of day. I set my mind to a defeated mentality. I won't have a good day. I will be tired all day. More than likely, I will go back to bed... So DESPITE what my body and feelings are telling me, I DECLARE "I'm going to have a great day because THIS IS THE DAY God has made! I will rejoice! BUT GOD I NEED MORE OF YOU!"  So I declare victory in my day, but I also declare my need for God's strength and power to help me get through my day :)

3. DETERMINE that no matter what happens, that God is STILL GOD! God is STILL in control. God is STILL good no matter what I see! Just because you get "dressed" and "declare", doesn't mean that the rest of your day is going to go smoothly, Especially, if this is something new you are doing! Throughout the day, you may have to continue to declare and determine (set your mind straight!) that you are going forward...you are claiming victory...you are trusting and believing God........  DETERMINE!!!

You and I have a Promised Land that God wants to bring you into. You have a choice NOT to receive it. You CAN stay exactly where you are at, and yet still live your mediocre life.  BUT...BUT...BUT YOU CAN HAVE YOUR PROMISED LAND- the land flowing with milk, honey, abundance, destiny, great joy, peace....-IF YOU DECIDE you want it!

DECIDE to move into ACTION to receive it!!! 

January 9, 2012

Got a mountain???

"I think I can..."

"I think I can..."

"I think I can..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The little engine that could...did!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you're not familiar with the story of the "Little Engine that Could", it's a cute little children's story about an train engine that was trying to climb a mountain. As the mountain began to peak, the little engine began to lose strength, stamina, and energy, thus causing him to lose his confidence in his ability to make the uphill journey.

Depending on the version of the written story, the little engine basically tells himself he can't make the mountain. Negative thoughts begin to flood his mind and he begins to believe the lies that he isn't capable of  finishing hit journey.

"I'll never make it."
"It's too hard."
"I can't do this."
"They were right! I'm not good enough."
"Why do I even try?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The way we think (and speak!) about ourselves does matter. 
The way we think (and speak!) about our situations does matter.
The way we think (and speak!) about the people around us matters.
The way we think (and speak!) about our future really does matter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next time you encounter a mountain in the path before you,
and are tempted to say, "This is JUST TOO BIG!!!"...

I pray that you would remind your mountain
just HOW BIG YOUR JESUS IS!!!

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt...you can also say to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done." Matthew 21:21
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And when the voices and your thoughts say...
"I can't do this!"
"This is too hard!"
"I'll never make it!"

...then you remind yourself that...

"I can do ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST
 who strengthens me!!!"
Philippians 4:13 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The "Little Engine that Could" finally DID climb that mountain!
He didn't give up! He spoke up and talked to himself!
He spoke to the doubts and said...

"I think I can!" He said it more than once!!!

He kept going forward! (Despite wanting to quit!)

He made it!!!!!!!!

and
so
will
you
IF
you 
DO
NOT
QUIT!!!

Trusting God

My son has been pretty sick lately. Even though he's an adult, I still worry about him. I probably get annoying as I ask the same questi...