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Monday, December 3, 2012


I have had numerous conversations with people this week about being in the word. This time of year brings about chaos. From family, work, church, friends Christmas parties to squeezing in holiday traditions. We celebrate the birth of our Savior and yet without even realizing it we tend to feel so far away from what represents our hope. Yesterday I filled in at church with Revolution kids and I was so blessed watching and listening to those sweet kids worship in their own ways. From clapping, jumping to yelling to even some screaming they were writing those songs on their little sponge like hearts. The video was talking about needs and she said "God knew our greatest gift was to be rescued and so He sent Jesus". I can't seem to get that out of my mind this morning. So many of the people I am surrounded by are struggling financially, or their marriages seem to be slipping through their fingers and there is no visible sign of hope to them. For some it’s the chaos of what this season brings like credit card debt, remembering a death, depression and even anxiety.  For believers we celebrate Christmas as a season of hope and yet for so many it doesn’t represent that at all. 
 Isaiah 40:31 says this..

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

 I love the very first part of that verse it says IN the Lord.  That strength we need to push through this season is found IN His word. Those pages are a direct path to the heart of God. It is our direction, answers and healing. It brings comfort; it teaches us and ultimately shows us that our struggles and the battles of this life will one day be over.  How exciting to know the end of the story and Christmas is where it all began for you and me.   This season is an opportunity for those around you to see you draw from the very reason why we celebrate.  Don’t let gifts, annoying family members and things you CANNOT control keep you from experiencing your Creator like ever before.  He wants you exactly where you are today. Rest in Him. Pull Strength from Him. Seek Him. YOUR rescuer is on the way. 

Psalm 18:19
He brought me out into a spacious place;  He RESCUED me because He DELIGHTED IN ME.



Friday, November 16, 2012

fuzzy and frazzled.. who cares just SHINE:)


Today my daughter was writing in a friend’s birthday card and she used a pen that reminded me of my childhood. It’s one of those fuzzy ones where you twist it and then boom the hair goes all over the place. How often do we feel that way?  When tragedy or unexpected circumstances shake us up and we are left hair sticking up and frazzled all over the place.  I want you to know that it’s OK! We are women and God knew we would struggle with fear that is why He told us over 300 times to fear not. He knew we would struggle with our thoughts and that is why Paul told us to take every thought captive. He knew we would run out of time throughout the day and not get everything done. We are not perfect and yet we strive to please those around us.  I want you to know you are free from any expectations that this world has placed on you.  Slow down, breathe and know that God is still God even when things are spinning out of control.  It’s time to shine even when you don’t think you can! It’s time to shine even when your house is dirty! It’s time to shine even when your kids are driving you bonkers! It’s to shine even when you are in a job you know you weren’t created for. It’s time to shine even when you have no money in the bank.  Ladies we are beautiful and it’s because of what’s on the inside of us.  Hope and Joy bubbles up and flows out of us in those crazy situations. God shines through you!! Let that sink in…  It’s time to give everything to your Creator. Put down that guilt, and that shame and walk in the truth of who He says you are. Release control and SHINE! SHINE! SHINE! Your story is going to bring healing to someone and may even ignite a dream inside someone.  I refuse to be quiet about what my Jesus has done within me. This world is going to shake you up and may even chew you up but know that God holds this universe in the palm of His hand.  Girls! Ladies! It’s time to change the world …… Let’s SHINE!

Psalm 89:15 blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the LIGHT of Your presence, O Lord.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

shifting gears...

Tonight as I was cleaning my house from top to bottom I realized something about our hearts.  The problem with my style of cleaning is that I usually go from room to room and by the time I am finished I am exhausted and I have piles and messes in every room.  Tonight I decided to change it up and start at the back of the house and literally not move until the room I was in was complete.  I finished so much more than usual and I didn’t feel as overwhelmed as when I started.  I thought about how we leave messes all throughout our lives without ever really dealing with the issues of the heart.  We chase happiness through things and then after a trail of credit card debt and wanting more we move on to the next thing that will satisfy our craving.  We want to feel love so badly that we jump from relationship to relationship leaving more scars all over our hearts.  We desire to feel whole and complete and yet our hope is in things that cannot satisfy our hearts nor heal us.  For 2013 I have chosen HOPE as my one word.  The word hope means … confident expectation.  We expect God to heal, protect, guide, free, move, lead, speak and reveal Himself to us and make our dreams come true. When we go to Jesus with a heart that is filled with such confidence and expectancy imagine the possibilities.  We usually spend most of our time questioning His sovereignty because we can’t seem to see Him.  I go through each day praying for many of those things I listed and yet something inside me doubts His ability to do them.  I question the Creator of the universe and really for what?  Is it because His timing doesn’t match my timing? Does His plan seem out of line with what I want to happen? YES AND YES!! God doesn’t place expectations on me He simply loves me where I am and calls me into deeper intimacy.  What is it that you HOPE for? Do you long to live out a dream that involves you boldly stepping out of your comfort zone! DO IT!!! Here is what I know… Jesus is our Hope and through us we bring Hope to those around us.  We give them small glimpses of Jesus and how He loves.  I can hope that I lose weight. I can hope that my dreams come true. I can hope that I can share my story but I also can look through the lens of hope from His perspective and see that it’s not about the outcome that really matters it’s the hope of what is to come through my Creator.  He is my hope! He is my future! He is my everything! This year my one word was believe and I am overwhelmed with how far I was pushed in the areas where I didn't believe.  Now it feels like my heart is shifting gears and I am about to go full speed ahead.. God let me dream and wait with CONFIDENT EXPECTATION! 

Psalm 25:5
       Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.
      All day long I put my HOPE in you.

 Psalm 130:5
        I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my HOPE.

Lamentations 3:25
      The LORD is good to those whose HOPE is in him, to the one who seeks him;

Micah 7;7
      But as for me, I watch in HOPE for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

 Romans 8:25
      But if we HOPE for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

mirror mirror on the wall you a big fat liar...

Every day girls and women stand before mirrors all over this world and allow it to dictate their entire day.   If we have a bad hair day, a big zit or we look bad in an outfit then our day reflects just that.  We are rude, treat others badly and we often work hard covering  up with layers of smiles and fake excuses simply because we didn’t like what we saw that morning.  I have heard for many years now that I am God’s masterpiece and that He created me with a purpose but often in those moments where I stand before a mirror it speaks louder than that promise I have tucked away in my heart.  Here is what I am learning.  It is my choice to take that thought captive and walk in that truth.  We can speak truth and we can write it down but when we take that truth write it on our hearts and start walking in that truth is when things begin to change.  Paul knew that in 2012 you and I both would struggle with thoughts and that’s why he reminded us to take EVERY thought captive and make it obedient to the truth of God’s word.  You have dreams that are shattered because you let the mirror speak louder than the dream that was birthed in you by your Creator.  You allowed others to dictate you simply because you wanted to see them when you looked in the mirror.  You have hid from being you simply because the mirror told you that you weren’t good enough.  You have changed who you are simply because you don’t want to be reminded of who you use to be.  I want you to know that God loves you even when you run, hide, change or even doubt His truth.  It is not too late for you.  You can start with a step of surrender.  Your past isn’t too dirty, its time to let go and truly embrace that God created you with a purpose and even more that He loves you more than you could even imagine.  I dare you to be you!!  If that’s being weird then BE WEIRD! People can’t see the real you when you are busy trying to be like them or someone else.  I dare you to dream again and to walk in the confidence that God wants to use you to change this world!  Your dream isn’t stupid nor is it out of your reach because the maker of this Universe holds EVERYthing in His hand!  I am going to be me and chase my dreams with ALL I have so join me and let’s leave the results of to Jesus. 


2 Corinthians 10:5b.. “and we take captive EVERY thought and make it obedient to Christ”





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Sunday, November 11, 2012

take the plunge!

You know that feeling when you have been lying by a pool all day and you’re hot, sunburned, and thirsty and you suddenly remember that the cold and refreshing water of the pool is right beside you and so you take the plunge and refreshment happens.  I got that feeling this weekend as I watched around 300 girls worship with their WHOLE hearts at our Pearls are for Girls event.  The messages I received on twitter and through facebook were unbelievable! One of the moms who came gave her life to Christ!!!! Psalm 138:1 says “I give you thanks O Lord with my WHOLE heart”.   My heart is bursting with such joy tonight. I loved planning and praying and really anticipating what God was going to do but today I have done nothing but rest in the complete sovereignty of my Creator.  He fashioned this day from looking like a regular Sunday to a spiritual marker in my life.  I have expanded my dreams and deepened my commitment to follow Him no matter what.  Who would have ever thought that this girl’s conference would push me deeper and leave me renewed?  When a passion is birthed within you by God then you can’t sit still you have to do something. It’s like a pregnant woman craving that one thing and she won’t quit until she gets what she wants.  Satan wants to choke that dream out of you and send people and things to distract you but remember that the craving isn’t going to go away. God loves and pursues you with such intensity eventually you’re going to have to stop running, realize that He is BIG and surrender to a cause bigger than the instant gratification of self. I have put off my calling so many times with the hope of losing more weight, becoming more equipped, or even doubting my purpose and yet in the midst of all that my craving and desire to do what I am called to do has intensified times by a 1000! Tonight I begin a new journey, one that is completely out of my reach but in the hands of my Savior.   God I give you my praise! God I give you the areas of my heart that no one else sees! God I want nothing more than to be used by You! God you are BIG and I am choosing to rest in this beautiful season of renewal! Here I am…. USE ME! Ladies its time to rise up and declare those strongholds as instruments that point you to the unbelievable strength of Jesus and then sit back and allow Him to set you FREE and use you beyond your wildest imagination!!!!!


Dream BIG!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

breathe and don't puke....

I am learning what it means to slow down, relax and what the word no means.  I have lived such a busy lifestyle for so long that slowing down even a little is making such an impact.  Last year we launched our church and every day was exciting and I wouldn’t change not even one second of the process and journey we have begun but I realized that at the end of the year I had missed so much.  I missed the joy of hanging ornaments on a tree even though it was fully decorated. I missed the joy of cooking both thanksgiving and Christmas goodies even though it was done. I missed the joy of preparing cookies for Santa even though we did. From September through December I missed the beauty of simply living.  I missed an entire month of thankfulness and an entire month of celebrating the birth of my Savior even though I participated in both.  This past year my one word was BELIEVE and honestly I struggled with unbelief more than I ever have.  It had nothing to do with Jesus and who He is but EVERYTHING about who I am in Him.  I spent so much time doubting and questioning the things I knew without a doubt I was called to do. I allowed insecurities to choke my dream.  When I would find myself in the midst of unbelief Jesus would ALWAYS end up shocking me.  A few weeks ago I was asked to speak to our students and I of course said YES!! I began preparing and I also felt something stirring inside me. I was afraid to speak, I begged God to let me out of it and when the night arrived I had a panic attack.  I remember my sweet friend praying with me before and her words seem to bounce off of my heart and I heard nothing, and felt nothing.  I wanted off the stage and afterwards I hurried home.  I remember laying in my bed literally crying myself to sleep and also begging God to change my dream. I didn’t want to pursue speaking to girls/women any longer if it meant going through that.  Around 2am I woke up and heard God say “Holly I chose you”.  I got up and for about 3 hours listened to my Creator speak to me. He said you asked for me to enlarge your territory and I am. I didn't understand.  He overwhelmed me with His words of encouragement which is my spiritual gift. He poured over me with new vision, new excitement and new passion! I literally was in awe.  The next morning I felt refreshed and renewed.  That following Sunday we had a huge meeting to discuss all the details about our upcoming girl’s event and our student pastor told me I would be speaking at the high school we partner with.  I immediately felt weak in my knees and began talking myself out of it. I was SCARED OUT OF MY MIND!  I had just had a wonderful night with Jesus and I found myself in UNBELIEF all over again. As Thursday approached I could feel God stirring in me the newness that He had just filled me with.  When the morning finally arrived I could feel the prayers of everyone surrounding me.  I got text after text filled with such sweet encouragement and verses that warmed my heart.  When I got to the school I had an incredible team of ladies that came to support me.  I kept telling myself breathe and just don't puke! I didn't even have one ounce of a panic attack and as the microphone was handed to me I looked out at ALL those girls and my nerves vanished! I walked away with such a peace in my soul like I had never known. I believed Jesus for the first time (funny how it took entire year to happen).  I am beyond excited for this weekend and because I have chosen to slow down I am enjoying each day leading up to our event. I am praying with a full heart for every area, every speaker, every volunteer and BELIEVING that life change is going to occur. This morning I came across this sweet verse and my heart literally skipped a beat. Psalm 138:8 The Lord will work out His plans for my life-for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me. What a beautiful reminder that He NEVER leaves me.  He knew from the beginning of time I would struggle in this season of my life and yet He would also send constant reminders that He is sovereign and in complete control.   So today I sit waiting with great expectation of what is to come.  This weekend is our Pearls are for Girls event and hundreds of girls will come pouring in and I BELIEVE with all my heart that incredible things are going to happen. Also on a side note it’s Nov 6th and my entire house is decorated for Christmas… I am determined to enjoy the upcoming holiday season one day at a time!



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

FALL has arrived...

This morning I noticed that leaves were falling from the trees. Not just one or two but A LOT at one time.  I was reminded that fall has definitely arrived!!   I sipped on my pumpkin spice latte lite and enjoyed watching nature step into this next season.  I wish we could transition like nature does.  With a simple breeze leaves know to fall to the ground to prepare for the coming season.  I feel like that we spend most of our time waiting on that next season yet we never prepare for it.  We ask God to blow our minds and fulfill our dreams yet we choose not to act in our gifting. We allow our struggles and circumstances to swallow up our hope for what is to come.   God allows us to be on the mountain top and experience incredible views from blessings, to watching our dreams become real, or even seeing His word so clearly and living it out with such boldness.  He also allows us to walk in what seems to be the darkest valleys where we can’t see, hear or feel His presence in our lives. Tragedy is there and uncontrollable circumstances that choke the very life out of us.  What I know is that God is still God in all seasons. He is real and His desire for us to draw close to Him is the pull and transition from mountaintop to the deep places in the valley.  Fall is here and soon winter will come blowing in and we will wish fall was back and that spring would hurry up and nature will do its thing and trees will die and before you know it they will be blooming once again with the most beautiful blooms.  Our hearts are no different. You have been placed within this season for such a time as this and soon those dead limbs inside your heart will fall and NEW life will begin. We have to walk in the NEWness that God has called us to walk in and that’s our call to remain in Him.  It’s easy to walk alongside Him when you can see the most amazing view from the top of that mountain but when it’s dark in the valley we usually pull away and question His sovereignty in our lives.  I encourage you to hang on and to press into His heart because when that valley comes (and it will come) you will be resting in the presence of your Creator. He can and will carry you through you just have to surrender and exhaust all your own efforts.   We can’t understand the ways of God but we can understand that He is God and His ways are beyond what we can even imagine.   When fall arrives I want to soak it up. From the fair, to carving pumpkins and making my house smell like pumpkin spices. I truly enjoy every single day.  I believe that God wants us to prepare and enjoy whatever season we are in and hold tight when the seasons of what seems like darkness is surrounding you. God is light and He can see what’s around the corner and knows that whatever the results are He will get glory and pull out some incredible blooms within our hearts.  We have to think about those that surround us. God may be using your circumstances to draw someone to Him. They need to see your JOY in the midst of heartache and tragedy.   Frustration, anger and even numbness most definitely can set in but you can’t fake JOY.  You have an incredible opportunity to make God real. My prayer for you today is that you hold tight to His promise that He will never leave you or forsake you.   Let Him SHINE today in the midst of what seems like total darkness and know a beautiful bloom is on its way…….



Ecclesiastes 3:

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, .
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

hands off...

Yesterday afternoon I was thinking about all that I have to do before our Disney vacation.  I made a list and called Disney to make sure I had everything taken care of. She laughed and said “ma’am you made all these arrangements back in March, come down here and enjoy your vacation”.  I laughed and as I got off the phone I thought to myself how I daily make “to do” list and when I don’t complete it I end up frustrated and have an even longer list for the following day. I realized that we set ourselves up for unrealistic expectations.  We have our own agendas in place every day rather than listening to the heart of our Creator.   He holds each day in His hands and He doesn’t need our help shaping our days.   God wants nothing more than for us to walk in victory and yet our perspective of victory is often living in bliss.  Victory is overcoming something, defeating something and walking away often tired, beat down and almost to the point of giving up.  God shines in those moments because His power is made known in our weakest moments. When we have NOTHING else to give He gives us exactly what we need to walk away victoriously.  I am reminded of a Psalm this morning .

Psalm 28:1-2

    Lord, I call to You; my rock, do not be deaf to me. If You remain silent to me, I will be like those going down to the pit. Listen to the sound of my pleading when I cry to You for help, when I LIFT MY HANDS towards Your holy sanctuary.

We have all found ourselves at some point just like David asking God to do something in what seems like a desperate situation.  My favorite part about this Psalm is the beautiful picture of total surrender. “WHEN I LIFT MY HANDS”…. What a beautiful picture of saying God I can no longer do this on my own.   When soldiers surrender they take their hands off of their weapons and walk with hands held high saying we surrender.  In our lives we have our hands in everything trying to accomplish daily task, to trying to please God or trying to overcome something.  We can do so many things and still miss God’s voice. We can find comfort through food, shopping, addictions or our busy schedules and still miss God’s voice.  We can’t see God’s hand at work in our lives if we are busy using our own.  To do list aren’t wrong in fact I love to make list. I have chore list, what I need to pack list, school supply list and a work list, oh and a church list. I mean I love to write list.  The funny part is that those list daily go unfinished and what I am learning is that in the midst of all the “to do’s “ God just wants my heart fully positioned with my hands held high walking in surrender as He shapes my dreams, molds my future and relentlessly pursues my heart without any expectations. He simply wants ME.


Friday, August 17, 2012

stop fighting.. He has this!

I often wonder how hard it would be to train for the Olympics. I am sure they eat, sleep and breathe whatever sports their participating in. I recently set a goal for myself to be in a size 16 dress for my friend’s wedding. I was in a size 24 when I set this goal and I often would laugh because I really didn't think I would walk down the aisle in that dress.  Brittany is one of my very best friends and I never wanted to disappoint her and tell her I couldn't be in her wedding simply because of a dress. She came into my life when she was only 13 and God allowed our relationship as youth leader/mentor to deepen into what is a genuine friendship just 10 years later. Both Brittany and her husband are on staff at Revolution and they are incredible. She chose me to be her matron of honor and I wanted this day to be all about her and not my insecurities. After breaking my ankle I was terrified to step on the scales and yet I had not gained a single pound back. As the date grew closer I turned up the heat. I began doing Jillian Michaels level two (WITH REAL BOY PUSH-UPS) with my sweet friends and I watched every calorie. About a month before the wedding I tried the dress on and IT FIT!!!!! This victory would have made anyone be so excited and don't get me wrong I was ecstatic to say the least. The day of the wedding my anxiety was out of the roof. I knew I had to walk in front of at least 200 people in a dress. I remember going into the restroom and getting down and saying God please fill me with confidence to get through this wedding. Everyone was congratulating me on the weight loss and telling me how incredible the dress looked, but if you have ever struggled with body image or food addiction those compliments mean the world but when you are insecure the demons usually speak louder. I had to literally quote scripture in my head all day long. From 5:30am up until I pulled into my drive way at 10√≥clock that evening. Then Monday rolled around and suddenly there was no goal in front of me, nor any desire to work out.  I felt physically exhausted from the emotional marathon I ran in my head just 2 days before. I fell flat on my face and nothing was going to stop me….I ate ALL day.  Satan began telling me "I knew you didn't really find freedom" over and over I heard this until this morning I said ENOUGH not audibly but I screamed loudly in my head. I began this day in the presence of my Creator and not ONCE have I struggled today. I feel renewed and I feel confident in the power of my Creator. I don't fight He fights for me. God whispered so gently into my heart and said "Holly, (ahh He said my name) take one step at a time, not one day but step" I realized that grace is something that is poured out when I simply look to Him. I am excited that I have lost 60 pounds. Today if you are stuck, numb, or even angry know that satan isn’t fighting you he is fighting your Father! The very ONE who spoke the world into existence. Your struggle brings out just how powerful He is and you can walk in FREEDOM!! Be encouraged today and SHINE-

Joshua 23:10 Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he has promised.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

would I really pass by?

A few days ago I went to see the dark knight rises for the second time.  I had a free movie ticket and we were killing time so we decided to go see it again.  This time I knew where things were going and who was who and all the surprises were behind me, so I looked intently into the detail of the scenes. I noticed so much more this time around such as the seemingly obvious things that I somehow missed the first time around.  This week I was in Luke 10 and I re-read the “good Samaritan” parable and this time around I paid closer attention to details.  This time I focused on the people who passed by him. 

Luke 10:30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

I realized that we pass by people almost every single day in some capacity.  The people who hurt us the most, we declare some type of revenge even if it’s as simple as the silent treatment or maybe even a no text back policy.  There are also those people who rub you the wrong way. They say the obvious things or the wrong things at the wrong times, and they often point out your flaws publicly. So in return we shun them in public, make them feel dumb by not laughing at their jokes, nor do we invite them into our inner circles.  We truly miss the picture of the “good Samaritan” when we fail to see the people who CHOSE to pass by and even cross the street to avoid the situation.   A priest was the first mentioned and as Christ followers we have a picture in our heads of the only way of serving is to somehow go to that sweet little kid living in a third world country whose hungry for both food and affection. This is beyond true and I am so thankful for the missionaries who pour out every day of their lives as full time missionaries.   But If I am going to be real with myself I also know that there are people who I have in my life that I want nothing to do with, I don’t want to be their friend and yet I know they are desperate for friendship.  How can I say that I am the “good Samaritan” when I pass by daily?  Think about when we order food and the waitress fails to smile and we are so quick to complain.  What if she was beaten before she got there and she has no smile left to give?  If I knew that would I still pass by?  What about that co-worker or family member that literally drives you bonkers. What if she or he feels so rejected by others and even contemplates suicide because the depression seems too much and they need someone to invest in them. Knowing this would I still pass by?  No matter how much I focus on the men who passed by my heart takes me back to the man who got messy for the sake of saving that poor man who was beaten and yet he CHOSE to touch him both physically and emotionally.  Jesus did the very same thing for me.  When I was at my lowest place feeling dirty and so out of His reach, Jesus saw me and without blinking got in the midst of all the dirt, the pain and the gross areas of my heart and began to pour His love and grace over me and because of that I began to heal.  I want to see past the friendships, past the family members and those around me that I choose to see and really SEE people just like Jesus.  I want to see messes as a way to give hope. I want to hear crazy stories in order to connect with someone and show them the Creator who is madly in love with them.  I want to experience a level of serving like never before.   I must keep my eyes open for the people right in front of me and allow God to show me what it truly means to be just like Him. 

Who needs you right now?  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

in between the loads....

Over the last few weeks our couple’s life group has been studying the book of James and in the past I have always pulled out the importance of guarding my tongue or how to treat those around me.  As we read through chapter 5 I couldn’t get pass these 2 verses.

James 5: 7/8 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 

As I read this over and over my heart seem to press down on the “early and late rains”  that would come and it hit me, what about the time period in the middle when nothing seems to be coming?  I have been in seasons of my life when I literally thought God had forgotten I even existed and l truly had given up on ever hearing His voice or chasing my dreams.   I would read my bible, pray, and seek His guidance and still nothing seem to be happen and then out of nowhere God would pour out His direction or  bring some type of  healing.  It was always just what I needed in that moment.  I thought about the farmer and how he had to sweat and plow and work for hours when he knew that nothing was going to happen that evening or even the following day.  We want instant results and yet God has called us to wait patiently.   Last week I was in one of those I want to clean out all the closets and wash all my clothes/blankets moods.  I literally gathered up 8 loads of stuff from blankets, to towels to sheets and all our dirty clothes and decided to take them to the laundry mat.  I think I was more excited about sitting and just waiting in the quietness of my car.  I had just come off an incredible week and my heart was so full and the thought of getting uninterrupted time with my Creator made my heart skip a beat.  It didn’t go down quite like I had planned. As I loaded all of the clothes and added laundry detergent and adjusted the settings my back had sweat running down.  I couldn’t just put them all in a row NOOOOO I had a few here, one there and a few on another row and I would forget where I was and have to open like 10.  I was so flustered that I decided to not sit in the coolness of my air conditioned car but instead I would enjoy the BRAND NEW dollar tree store that had just opened up down the road.   I went in and killed literally 45 minutes doing nothing.   I went back to the laundry mat and as I began to change over my clothes from the washers to the dryers I was so disappointed that I didn’t take advantage of that time in between the loads and then it hit me. God knows my hearts desires and my struggles.  He placed within me a passion, He hears the depths of my cries when I am in a season of dryness, He knows my finances, He knows my desire to overcome food addiction and yet instead of handing over all of those at one time I hand Him one at a time thinking it’s too much for him to handle.  I stood there looking at these massive washing machines and all at once I was able to clean all I had brought.   I was able to accomplish 8 loads of laundry AT ONE TIME!   The farmer doesn’t choose a crop to nurture and hope that when the rain comes only that particular fruit or vegetable will grow instead he gives all he has to every single crop in his fields.  In our minds it’s a never ending cycle of not getting what we want and waiting while we hurt in a season and we desperately need a touch from our Creator.   Waiting patiently means you trust Him no matter what as you diligently prepare your fields.  If you are dreaming of doing something then you pray and use your gifts where you are and allow the bloom to happen in His timing.  If you desperately need His touch of healing in your marriage, finances, past scars or even lost and broken dreams you have to keep pushing through because the rains are coming and you don't want your fields to be unprepared.   When dryness happens it’s an opportunity to press into the heart with such intensity that His love being poured over you is the very thing that sustains you.   In 1 Peter 5:7 it says… casting ALL your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. I love that it says ALL your cares. God wants all your “laundry” at one time.  This includes your struggles, your dreams, your fears and all the other areas of your heart that keeps you from waiting with expectancy and patience.  God wants to do amazing things in you and through you! Its time to let go and allow Him to do some cleaning out and preparing of your heart for the rains to flood you like never before!

Monday, July 23, 2012

a week at camp

Last week our students went to Crossroads camp at Gardner Webb University.  We arrived on the scene with a ton of staffers jumping and cheering as we pulled into the parking lot.  They immediately engaged our students with conversation and games.  I have never seen anything like it before!  Most of our students had never been to any type of a camp and for that to be their first experience was simply AWESOME! Throughout the week they played games, engaged in group activities and each morning and night we would have incredible messages and worship and each night would end with our group time.  The beginning of the week was mostly Josh pulling out what they had learned from that day, but by the end of the week I was amazed at what God had done in each of their hearts.  From wanting to go deeper into His word, to understanding that the holy spirit is in them, for them and with them to experiencing life change, to truly embracing that God chose them and loves them with a relentless love.  Each student walked away changed!  In the past I have gone on student trips with the mind set of helping and assisting students as they walk through these changes but this week I walked away with my own life change.  I remember Thursday night standing at my seat after participating in the Lord’s Supper and tears rolled down my face.  I stood before Jesus without shame and guilt. I stood before Jesus without one thought about my body or food addiction.  I stood before Jesus without any expectations of how I should be as a pastor’s wife.  I stood before Jesus without any desire for anything other than to just be in His presence.  Carl Cartee was singing a song about being broken and allowing God to shake our foundations and I whispered those words and I meant it. You see God literally wants our hearts more than anything else because when He has our hearts He has our struggles, desires and obedience.  I have struggled for almost 4 years with my own calling.  I know I am called speak to girls and for the first time since I knew that He was calling me I stood there and I felt completely free.  I heard God speak to my heart and say get ready and I could feel my heart beating out of my chest.  I also watched a ton of students stand to their feet and embrace the cross for the first time in their lives and I also watched Clayton literally stop in the middle of preaching one night and 9 more students stood up to embrace Jesus.  I also watched students stand up and embrace a calling to full time ministry and I was blown away by how real God made Himself known this week.  I have just now started processing all that I learned last week and God continues to show me things and glimpses of my next steps in obedience.   This morning my Rebekah was at the computer on Crossroads website watching Clayton and I just smiled.   I am blown away by this past week and I can’t even imagine what’s going to come out of all the life change that occurred.  Over 8000$ was given in offering THAT IS CRAZY!  As I begin a new week I am positioning my heart and holding on for dear life!!! Thank you Crossroads worldwide for walking in obedience, lives were changed because of it!
Today I am reminded of this verse in Habakuk.  
Habakuk 1:5
5 The Lord replied,
“Look around at the nations;
look and be amazed![a]
For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe
even if someone told you about it.

God you amaze me. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

SILENCE isn't always golden....

I recently was asked to contribute to an online magazine regarding freedom from body image and food addiction. After submitting the article I began to reflect on the journey that led to those chains falling to the ground. I have a joke about Natalie Grant being my bff and everyone who knows me knows my obsession :) I realized that her opening up about her eating disorder literally pushed me in the direction of identifying my own issues. I was a youth leader in my twenties and struggled with body image and didn't know that food was even an issue yet. Growing up the church was always silent about struggles. So to hear someone share such truth and transparency truly changed me in that moment. I am now 37 years old and I walk in the newness of my Creator. I still am obsessed with Nat Nat (that’s what I call her) and in three weeks I will be sitting second row!! I am not excited at all!!!!!!

Below is the article :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

we are God's play doh

Play-doh is something that has been around my entire life. I remember as a child my mom would make homemade play-doh and I would sneak and taste it.  Kids love molding and shaping all sorts of animals and shapes.  Its texture is soothing and it even can release stress.  It increases fine motor skills and it is perfect for killing time with kids of all ages. It is used for great object lessons and it comes in all sorts of colors.  As I was thinking about all the things play doh is used to make or shape I thought about how frustrating it is when people mix all the colors.  A beautiful pink can suddenly turn into a dull brown.  Once the colors are mixed you can’t just pull the colors apart you have to buy new play doh.   Often times our dreams and the desires of our hearts become play doh in the hands of others in our lives and before you can even see the dreams blending and taking on a new shape or idea of its own the dream is suddenly something you wish you could have accomplished.  The people we surround ourselves with have so much to do with the shaping of our dreams. We allow words to push us in the direction of our dreams or simply push us in the opposite direction. We think because someone else thinks an idea is crazy or out of reach that it must not be from God when really the craziness of an idea should assure you that God is completely birthing that inside you! Nothing about God ever seems to make since because His ways are far beyond what we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20).  Our insecurities also play a part in shaping our dreams and because fear is a beast we have to stand guard.  Fear is out to kill your dreams NOT push them into reality. I was reading in Isaiah 64 and it says in verse 8 Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” 
I want you to take a second to think about all the crazy things you have dreamed up in your head and after you talked yourself out of it how badly you wish you could have gone back and went through with it.  God is shaping your hearts to be more like His. He is shaping your thoughts because He knows that fear keeps us from so much.  He is shaping our dreams in the center of our being and passions and excitement comes in the form of our gifts that He gave each one of us. I am finding daily that when you allow your obedience to collide with your surrender CRAZY happens.  Maybe your dreams seem so out of reach at this point. Maybe you don’t have a dream. Maybe you are numb because nothing in your life seems to play out like you had intended.  I promise you that God has placed within you a beautiful gift and He wants to use you beyond your wildest imagination.  Start today by loving people with your words or serve people by giving your time and attention to their needs.  Begin seeking God with ALL you have even when you don’t feel like it.  Surrendering is NOT a sign of weakness it’s recognizing that God’s power is greater than your own.  God chose you!! Let that sink in... HE CHOSE US even with all the stains of our past and the brokenness of who we used to be.  We become like the play doh that has been mixed and instead of God saying we are useless He touches us with His hands and suddenly we are made new!! New dreams are formed within us and we must stay within the potter’s hands in order to see those dreams within us come alive.  Who has your ear? Push through the chaos of what you can’t do or the circumstances that maybe choking the life out of you and know that God has you safely in the palm of His hand and the shaping and molding are happening even now! Breathe…..



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

distance doesn't make the heart go fonder.....

Today was my first day of exercising since my ankle injury back in March.  My friend Heidi had so much to do with my motivation. She would cheer me on and push me beyond when I literally thought I would collapse.   I mean the day I broke my ankle we were doing level 2 of 30 day shred and doing BOY PUSH UPS!! I was devastated and knew that I would have to endure major setbacks I also knew that I would most likely gain a lot of my weight back.  Today 4 months later I have not gained one pound in fact I have lost.  I am down 54 pounds since last year and I am more motivated than before the injury.  This morning at 6:30 am and I was so excited to reunite with Heidi for a powerful workout and it was that exactly!!! Jillian Michaels kicked my tail to say the least.  I had to start back at level 1 and I had to do modified push-ups and I couldn’t do the full out jump rope/jumping jacks but I gave it my all and now 3 hours later I am already soreJ  Before I left this morning I was putting on my cute hot pink tennis shoes and self-talking myself all the way to the car I realized that we often treat Jesus like exercise.  I thought about how motivated and dedicated I was to working out before my injury. I mean we hardly ever missed a day and I would even organize my day around my working out time with Heidi but as soon as something happened to set me back my whole life changed and fighting the temptation to NOT overeat became harder, the fight to NOT become numb towards God was hard and the fight against my thoughts of NOT caring also became harder. You see Just like I was in a routine of exercise our hearts have to be positioned daily to spend time with our Creator because when things hit us or knock us down its His word that sustains us.  I was given endurance, strength and God’s promises to lean on to bring me back to Him rather than indulging in a bag of oreos for a way out.  I also know that when you step away from intimacy with Jesus your thoughts, your words, your responses and the way you live daily are impacted and before you know it you feel disconnected.  This morning I was groaning and hating every sit up and yet a few months ago I was smiling and loving how far I had come.  What changed?  It was distance… God never moves and yet we often feel numb, angry, broken and away from Him. We MOVE and we stop moving towards the heart of our King. He desires our intimacy and daily pursuit of Him and we have to fight through the busyness of our lives, the pride that keeps us pursuing the things of this world and really seek Him with all we have.  I am so excited about this new season of exercise because my heart is ready and I am ready to finish what I started!! God thank you for allowing a broken bone to teach me how important it is to daily pursue you and to walk so close to you so that NOTHING can keep my heart from yours!!

1 Chronicles 16:11 Look to the Lord and His strength;SEEK HIS FACE ALWAYS.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I hope this touches your heart as much as it did mine

 I have been waiting for the perfect timing to post a friends email I received two weeks ago. This girl is a new believer (2 months old). Her passion for Jesus has pushed me back to that feeling of falling in love with Jesus for the first time.  When she was 17 her father killed her mom and then killed himself. She has grown up being strong and it isn’t till now that she recognizes that it was God who carried her through some pretty deep moments.  Even now she is starting the process of forgiving her father and she is desperately clinging to God’s truth to walk through it.  She has been placed in my life and I am beyond excited to mentor her and really walk beside her in this new season of her life. I believe God has HUGE things for her life and as He strips her of things way down deep I believe that when people see her they walk away getting a glimpse of just how incredible Jesus truly is.   This is just the beginning of a beautiful journey of allowing her wounds to be opened in order to bring healing and for God to use her scars for His glory!!! Please pray for Bethany and leave her a sweet comment of encouragement- she would love it!! Thanks and I hope this touches your heart as much as it has mine.

Last night, after my Life group, I was sitting in the floor talking to Holly, the woman that leads our group, and her husband. They just so happen to be the Preacher and the Preachers wife of the church I attend. Sitting there, telling them what had happened the night before, how God has a way of being so incredibly real to me it’s sometimes hard to believe.  I asked Richard, “Does God do this to everyone, does he speak this clearly and this BOLDLY to everyone like he does me?”  I whole heartedly expected the answer to be yes, but he said no.  I thought really?? He doesn’t?? I thought maybe I was just more open and accepting and willing to hear him, that’s why I hear him so clearly.  Sometimes I hear him so clearly and things happen in such an obvious way there is no way I can deny it’s God, but I still find myself second guessing it.  Did that really just happen?? Am I really just a lunatic making all this up???? There is no way I am making all this up right?  I never even had an imaginary best friend growing up, my imagination cannot be THAT creative. Could it?  When I got in my car last night to head home, all I could here was Richard saying “no, He doesn’t”.  I kept wondering why if God can be this real and this clear to me why isn’t He this “in your face” with everyone else???  I picked up my super awesome spanking new book that Holly had just given me earlier. It is a devotional that she reads every day and bought it for me because it has really touched her life and thought it would do the same thing to me.  I picked it up out of the seat and opened the card that was inside of it. It wasn’t until we were half way through the Bible study earlier that I realized there was a card in the book. For whatever reason when I noticed the card, I didn’t open it and slid it back into the book.  But of course I didn’t open it when I first saw it, but after I had just asked God  “why, if You really don’t do this to EVERYONE, why are You doing this to me?” of course now would be the moment I open the card and read what Holly wrote “God has HUGE plans for your life!!!” When I gave my life to Christ, He made it very clear to me that he wanted to use my story for his glory. People have often times told me how well I have done with the circumstances I faced with my parent’s death.  I knew He no longer wanted me to take credit for what HE had done for me. Even when I didn’t know it was Him who was strong and not me.  I knew that my story wasn’t just your everyday testimony, so naturally I assumed that it could possibly bring people closer to the Lord by hearing it, showing them that even when we don’t realize he is holding us, he is.  I was cool with that; yea sure I’ll share my story and give all the glory to Him, no problem. But after I read that card I started praying. “But HUGE things?, what is that even supposed to mean Lord??? What are you trying to tell me?? Are you wanting me to be the next Joyce Myer or something?? Well if that’s what you want that’s fine, but I’m not cutting my hair that short lol.  Seriously though what are HUGE things????  I accept your will for my life and all of the HUGE things you want to do through me, I just wish I knew what all this meant.  Amen.”  Well this morning Chris had an appointment with an oral surgeon to have his wisdom teeth removed. While I was waiting, I started reading my devotional. I was so excited to dive into this devotional and read what God had for me today.
This was the devotional:
 “THE WORLD IS TOO MUCH WITH YOU, My child. Your mind leaps from problem to problem to problem tangling your thoughts in anxious knots. When you think like that, you leave Me out of your world-view and your mind becomes darkened. Though I yearn to help, I will not violate your freedom. I stand silently in the background of your mind, waiting for you to remember that I am with you. When you turn from your problems to my presence, your load is immediately lighter. Circumstances may not have changed, but we carry your burdens together. Your compulsion to “fix” everything gives way to deep, satisfying connection with Me. Together we can handle whatever this day brings.”
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand” – Isaiah 41:10

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” –Zephaniah 3:17

“A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”                                 –Psalm 34:19

As soon as I closed my book I heard two girls talking behind the front desk. The girl was telling the other one about all the things that were going on in her life. She said “I know I shouldn't worry and let the Lord handle it for me but I can't help but let my mind race with thoughts of worry.” She had already started crying just talking about it all, she kept saying how stressed she lets herself become over everything that was going on. It was obvious she had a million things going on and was becoming overwhelmed.  I listened for a while and thought to myself that everything she just said I read in my devotional. I asked God  “Are you trying to tell me something, am I supposed to let her read the devotional???? I started thinking how crazy it would be to walk up to a stranger and hand her my book and say read this, not only that but then I'm caught red handed, eavesdropping on her conversation. She's going to think I'm a Jesus-freak fruit loop. “No way, I can’t do that! Lord you really don’t want me to do that, do you???”  Immediately following those thoughts, seriously no exaggeration here, the next sentence out of her mouth was... "I just try to "fix" things myself... it’s just how I am, I have a hard time letting go and letting God help me, even though I know I should." The second I heard " I try to fix things" come out of her mouth I had cold chills all over me... and then the words "There's your answer, Bethany" fell all over me, like a bucket of cold ice water. So I said “Ok Lord, I get it... I'll let her read it”
I walked up to the counter and said. "I know you’re going to think I’m a crazy nut, but I couldn't help but overhearing you talking, well actually to be honest I was listening pretty closely to everything you were saying. I guess there is no point in lying about it. I'm pretty sure, without any doubt, you're supposed to read this.” I handed her my devotional turned to today’s page, May 25.  This is my devotional and I think it's for you from God.   She smiled and said “ok”, but even through her smile I could tell she was thinking “I'll just read it to be nice”, “To ME?? From GOD????” “Probably not” but obviously she was going to read it anyway. She laid the book on her desk and started reading, no kidding, before she was even half way through reading it, I saw every ounce of air she could possibly grasp fill up her lungs. Tears started to roll down her troubled and weak face.  When she exhaled the amount of air, it was like I could see the weight of the world lifting off her shoulders, or at least that’s what it looked like to me. I felt like Jesus himself was standing beside of me, he was so very, very real to me.  His absolute, un-denying presence was so strong TO ME at that moment, I could have cried.  She made a copy of the page and gave me the book back and thanked me several times. I told her "my stomach is tore slap up and my nerves are shot all to heck. This isn’t something I’ve ever done before. I had the feeling God wanted you to read it, but when I heard you say “I try to fix everything”, I told the Lord he won, and I would"  As proud as I am of myself for getting up and doing what I knew He wanted me to do, this isn't about me. I am so completely taken back by God's love. He perfectly set that up for her. It was no coincidence that I was there at that very moment; It wasn’t just dumb luck that I happened to be sitting in that waiting room reading a book that I had never read before; And there is no way, in a million years, it was only a fluke that what was written for the day May 25 was meant perfectly for her.  It is not possible that all of those things “just happen to be”… It was God.  He knew exactly what she needed and He gave it to her.   Not because he had to but because he wanted to... it's crazy to think that he loves us that much.  I've been walking around on cloud nine since I left there, in complete and total amazement of His love for his children.  Throughout the day, I’ve thought about all of this, and the only thing I can even think or say is WOW!  What an amazing God he is, He meets our every need, even when we don’t think He is.  Reflecting on it all, I feel like God not only gave that girl what she needed, but he also answered my desire to know “Why, if he really doesn’t do this to EVERYONE why is he doing this to me, why is he so very CLEAR and BOLD to ME?”   Answer: I feel like He wants to use me, so he must be very clear to me about his will and desires in order for me to follow through with them. Example: Would you give confusing and unclear directions to someone if you intended for them to go somewhere?  No, you would give the exact directions to ensure they arrived exactly where they NEEEDED to be!!!  My Prayer: “Whatever this “HUGE” thing is that you have in store for me Lord, I’m down. Direct and guide me in the way that you intend for me to go. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.” Who knows, maybe God really does want to use ME for HUGE things; Maybe he does want me to be the next Joyce Myer (but I’m still not cutting my hair that short lol).  But if not, and this is the only time that he will ever use me; it will be more than enough. What happened today may not seem HUGE to anyone else, but to me it was so much more than HUGE. Today I caught a small glimpse of my God’s unbelievable, overwhelming, precious love. I saw Him perfectly plan and place someone exactly where they needed to be. I saw my God love someone so incredibly much, He was there willing and ready to help them carry their burdens even though their trust was not in him. Although they were trying desperately to “fix” it alone, he still yearned to help them.  All of that, not because he has to, but because he WANTS to. All because HE LOVES US!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I heard you had a million dollars...

This month is the anniversary of my father’s death. He was killed at his workplace. A shelving unit fell on him and it broke his neck.   I visited his grave a few weeks ago and I so wished I could tell him about things that I have learned over these past 14 years since he has been gone.  I have walked through some major battles with eating, approval addiction, hatred and bitterness among some other not so kind struggles. I have also learned that God heals broken hearts, restores friendships and allows the brokenness of our lives to become beautiful stories to tell.  I believe my dad would tear up and tell me he was proud.  Last night while standing in line for Rachel’s dance recital I met a lady who had worked with my dad for over 25 years.  She told me stories about how funny he was, and that he was always pulling practical jokes.  She said he loved us and that she saw where he was killed.  She also told me she heard my family received a million dollars I laughed and said I WISH!  I thought about that this morning as I was driving back from Rachel’s school.  The struggles that have surfaced in my life over this past 14 years and the restoration of my heart couldn’t have been fixed with any amount of money. I could have bought things, paid off debt, and allowed my kids to live a cushy lifestyle but really for what?  (Now don’t get me wrong that would have been amazing). But I believe that God protects the hearts of his people. He knew that in 2012 He would call my husband out of student ministry and place him in the midst of our city to lead Revolution church.  We are among poverty, prostitution, and complacency and I couldn’t imagine our lives any other way.   God’s sovereignty trumps any desire for money or comfort in my life. I want to be used and I desperately want girls of all ages to walk in the confidence of how incredibly beautiful they truly are.  This week I saw two verses that have rocked my world and they are below… 

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it

Hebrews 12:2  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I pulled a few things from both of these.. Last night that sweet lady went on and on about how my eyes looked like my dads.  I thought about the first part of the Hebrews verse “Fixing our eyes on Jesus”. I have spent my whole life desperate for my father’s eyes to be on me and for his love and there were times I would give my heart to boy after boy as a way to fulfill the emptiness inside.  Oh how I wish I would have fixed my eyes on Jesus.  God’s love is so deep it filters out all the junk we horde up in our hearts.  Our preferences for churches, our desires that we hide, our secrets, our complacency our negative attitudes all come from our eyes being fixed on something other than Jesus.  The other part of those verses I pulled the word endure. He provides me way out from all those things I just listed so that I can endure it.  That means it will be hard, I will struggle but I CAN OVERCOME IT.  I said I use to struggle with approval addiction. I use to struggle with body image and I use to hate but now because of extreme endurance and God’s outpouring of love and grace I can walk in freedom.  He endured the cross.  That was hard, painful and I am sure broke his heart in a thousand pieces.  The physical pain alone could break you. He endured and for what?  THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM.  We complain, give up, give in to sin, let go, curse God and walk away when things get so hard that we think we can’t stand any longer.  God wants you to experience Him even in the midst of torrential down pours in your life.   Today look at all the areas of your life that seem to be beating you down or where you feel defeated and know that JOY comes in the morning. Push through with endurance and know that God is sovereign and He hears your hearts cry. Rest in His presence and unfailing love and ENDURE!