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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

dependency... OK I GET IT!

How many times have you been let down by someone?  I can remember times all throughout my life where I depended on people for happiness and for a level of peace.  I remember as a little girl watching and looking for my dad to show up at my dance competitions or pageants and when he didn’t show up I would have such a knot of disappointment in my stomach.  I do however remember being at a clogging competition at Carowinds in Charlotte and as I walked on stage I didn’t notice my competitors, my friends, or even the judges.  I saw a man standing at the very back alone and leaning against the pole.  As I looked with such intent I realized it was my dad! I was so excited that I remember clogging as if it was the only time my dad would see me. I won first place, in fact I won overall that day.   I would have done anything for my dad to notice me growing up but even deeper I truly wanted to depend on his word.  He would say he would do this, be here, give that and in the end I would always be disappointed.   I created a level of emotional dependency on him and yet nothing ever came through to give me a peace of mind that he wanted to be a part of my life.  Over these past few weeks I have had to depend on everyone for everything.  For food, transportation, getting in and out of the bath tub, washing my clothes, handing me this and that you name it.  It has frustrated me and yet given me a deeper understanding of what dependency on my Creator needs to look like.  I shared yesterday about trusting God and the level of trust that I need and still lack in my own life.  Today I am reminded of how dependency on God literally brings not just peace but PERFECT peace.   In Isaiah 26:3 it says this ..

You will keep in PERFECT peace the mind that is DEPENDENT on You

for it is TRUSTing in You.

My peace of mind goes deeper than just dependency it points back to my heart fully trusting God.  I find it so hard to trust God when I can’t seem to understand or see an outcome and yet that is when dependency happens. Dependency means a: (1) determined or conditioned by another : b (1): relying on another for support.  For me to depend on God truly determines everything I think, do and say because I am relying COMPLETELY on Him for support. But in order for me to do this I have to shift every thought, every response, every desire, my attitude, my dreams, my calling, my family, my kids, my frustrations, my anger, my finances (the list could go on and on) basically every area of my life needs to be dependent on Him. Just yesterday Richard and I took Rachel out to look for her perfect birthday party dress. She is having a princess celebration for her 10th birthday and she wants everyone to come dressed up in fancy dresses (she is such a diva).  After so much time and effort of me struggling to get ready we pull up at the first store and as she gets out she closes the door with her finger in it. She begins to scream and cry and her finger and nail begin to turn black, so we proceed to get back in the car to hurry home for an ice pack and pain medication.  Needless to say we didn’t dress shop.  I sat down so mad at the situation and asked why in the world did God not stop that from happening I mean doesn’t he know that I don’t have any other free time before her party?? Within minutes my friends were praying for her (and me) and sending me pictures of dresses that we could borrow. (yet again dependency).  I was in complete awe as the night came to an end and this morning as I read that scripture and God spoke clearly to me.  He wants me to press so deeply into Him that when circumstances try to pull me away I am attached so tightly to Him.  Think of a cookie cutter and how it presses into the dough, when pulled back it becomes the shape of that cutter. That’s how God wants our hearts to be in Him. His hands are our mold and as he shapes us He creates such a dependency on Him for us to have the PERFECT peace of mind.  When broken ankles, hurt fingers, broken relationships, rejection or whatever you may be facing today happens be encouraged that as those things pull on you God has your heart so tightly in His hand and He isn’t going to disappoint you.  When you see God’s hand clearly in your life that’s wonderful and exciting but when His hand becomes blurry and maybe invisible at times know that He is just drawing you in for a deeper level of dependency!  His ways are always PERFECT!

Monday, March 26, 2012

are you on empty?

Anyone who knows me knows that if you get behind the wheel of my car it’s more than likely going to be on empty or past empty. It’s a joke between all my friends and I will wait to the very last second to fill up my tank. I am not sure why I wait because I don’t actually hate pumping gas. I guess I look at it as slowing me down or interrupting my day. These past few weeks have been a huge interruption in my life. My broken ankle continues to get on my last nerve because I am bound to a chair at home and on my crutches with sore arm pits if I choose to go out. The first week I was at home I soaked up my time with being in the word and really heard some incredible truths from my Creator. I was in awe of His presence and my heart was definitely on full. However this past week I have really struggled. I didn’t get into the word for two days and my thoughts reflected it. I battled food more this week than I have in a year. I realized that in just two days I allowed myself to become empty. When we fill our gas tanks up we feel so accomplished and we are able to go all over the place and then as soon as our tank starts getting low we watch where we are going as well as begin to complain about how expensive gas prices are. I found myself that way this week. Last week I was on full and I was ready to conquer the world. I booked two speaking engagements, praised God for rest and really enjoyed spending time in His presence. But little by little I backed off and realized that even though I had more than enough hours in my day I kept choosing to spend my time with Jesus a little later and that turned into two days without it.  I began to desire food more, look at myself differently and allowed negative thoughts to consume me. Before I knew it I was on empty Sunday morning when I arrived at church.  I walked away truly understanding yet again how God is so gracious and always ready to pull my heart back into His. Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear I WILL HELP YOU.” God’s love is unfailing and His grace is never ending!! God’s strength is what pushes me daily to make healthy choices. I used to be driven by what others thought about me and driven by a number on a scale but now I am driven to find myself in the presence of my Creator and truly take care of the body He has given me. I may not be skinny but I am on a journey that has literally changed my entire outlook on body image and life in general. God’s name is so full of power and it draws the ugly places of my heart out in order for Him to cleanse me fully. In Hebrews 12:29 (The Message) He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn and He won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God Himself is fire!” WOW.. He has transformed my thoughts, transformed my heart, pushed me to see myself in a new light and He still isn’t finished with me?? As bad as I hate stopping to pump gas I do love being on a full tank because I don't have to worry about running out or not going where I want to go.   When I carve out time with my Creator and really pour my heart into His word that is  what fuels me and in return I can know and embrace His sovereignty.  I can also trust that His power will continue to mold me and burn within me a new desire to serve Him fully, love Him wholeheartedly and push me to surrender to Him daily. So today I leave you with a great song that is being played over and over…FILL ME UP! J
                                   click on the link and be encouraged!!!! Fill me up...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

do you know the answer?

Last night in our student ministry a panel of people were given some pretty deep questions by the students. Some of the questions were "why does God hate gay people?", "how can I respect my parents more?", "How far is too far?", "Sex… I am curious about it?. I was a part of the panel and I as I sat there looking around at the students faces I saw such a desire to KNOW. We desire answers. We desire truth even when our lives seem to be going in the opposite direction. I am surrounded by many people who are experiencing heartache, financial issues, divorce, marital issues, broken dreams, kids in rebellion, car problems, loss of job the list could go on and on. One of the things I seem to struggle with is coming up with the perfect answers. When we are faced with these issues ourselves or trying to point others in the direction of comfort its hard knowing what to say. I believe truth opens up our eyes to our own inadequacies and it doesn’t fulfill a desire or a dream so we turn away from it to create our own version of truth. What I am learning and have learned in the past is that anything that counteracts God’s truth is a lie. We tell our kids to not tell a lie and yet we believe many. Satan fed lies to Eve in the garden and then stood with Jesus trying to tempt him with a load of bologna and yet we read God’s word and see satin's craftiness and we have fallen to his charm many times. God’s word speaks truth to the depths of our hearts and we choose how to respond to it. I have heard God say clearly to me to do something and found myself months later repenting and asking for a new opportunity or a chance to make the wrong a right. Last night those students wanted to know right from wrong in the form of a funny or an awkward question however they wanted to KNOW. Just yesterday I thought about how many people cry out to God when they are drunk, or in the midst of tragedy. God designed us with a longing for Him and we seem to only cry out when we are in the midst of a season of extreme brokenness. What if we desired Him in the seasons of extreme JOY or when things are going our way completely?? God’s word should give us the comfort we know to understand He is FOR us. He created the universe with speaking it into existence. He knows when there is NO money in your bank account and He will provide. My husband is going through a series now at our church about Jonah and over the past few weeks I have heard so many stories of women and men who have spent so many years running and in when they finally surrendered in obedience some incredible things happened and some circumstances got worse. WHY?? This question would fill their minds and doubt would set in and suddenly a lifestyle that they had just walked away from would begin to entice them with such craft. Who does that sound like? When we are able to sift through the lies of our enemy and cling to only truth we have that is ONLY found in our Creator those seasons of extreme brokenness or extreme joy leads us into a deeper relationship with Him. Where are you today? Are you crying out for healing, a relationship to be restored or are you living on cloud 9 with money in the bank and a hottie by your side?? We can’t understand the sovereignty of God but we can believe that He is sovereign. Be encouraged today and know that when God allows you to go through the different seasons of life He wants your heart fully at ALL times. When we drift and are enticed by satan’s lies He will do WHATEVER it takes to bring you backJ His love for you is unfailing. His love for you is everlasting. His love for you is PERFECT without blemish. If you are searching for answers or truth I promise as churchy as this may sound it’s the truth... God will only fulfill the desire that you long for and bring your heart into completion!

Psalm 22:5-Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Hebrews 4:12- For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

what you wear determines everything.....

I am one week and two days into what feels like months with this messed up ankle and foot of mine.   I went for my re-check yesterday and I had everyone praying for me to be able to get into a boot.  I went in pretty confident that I could convince the doctor I was on my way to recovery.  I wiggled my toes, moved my ankle a little and she looked at me and said it looks pretty bad and it looks like you will back in a cast for a few more weeks.  I honestly found myself in the same place I did the night I broke it with asking the question WHY? I had an absolutely incredible week with God and I have rested but I can’t really do anything BUT sit and that drives me bonkers!! I have heard everyone say “God just wants you to slow down”.   The more I read my bible I truly felt myself pursuing the presence of my Father more than I had in a while. I love spending time with Him, I love worshiping Him, I love sharing His love with other people and yet this week His voice is what I desired more than anything.  I realize that His word is what brings forth truth and that truth is what holds everything in my life together. In Ephesians 6 I read about putting on the FULL armor of God and I found myself so encouraged.  I took my journal and drew out a cute little picture of a girl and took different colored pens (told you I had too much time on my hands) and colored each piece a different color.  I then took each piece and broke it down and really thought about what the relevance of each piece signified in my own life.  I keep thinking about verse 14 -Stand, therefore with truth like a belt around your waist….   I just recently had to start wearing a belt because my pants ARE FINALLY TOO BIG. I honestly haven’t worn a belt since like college.  The belt often drives me crazy because it is uncomfortable and yet it keeps my baggy pants from getting on my nerves.  I realized that the belt of truth does the very same thing.  God’s word can be so uncomfortable because it points out the areas of disobedience, pride or selfishness among other struggles in my life.  As I look down at my new lime green cast I am reminded of all the stuff I can’t do. I can’t run, walk, drive, work among other household things I need and should be doing. Yesterday was my daughter’s 10th birthday and Richard and I took her to dinner and to Claire’s to get a few things.  She chose subway at the food court in our mall. After we ordered my husband pulled me up to the table in my wheel chair and I couldn’t get close to the table. I continuously dropped food on me, and the floor. I was so frustrated to say the least. I thought about God’s armor and when I allow one area to be left off so to speak I am setting myself up to be attacked and there is no protection from the enemy.  I have been forced to sit this week and I laughed because the first part of 14 says.. to STAND.  Because of one broken area in my body everything else suffers. When I don’t soak myself in God’s word and put on the belt of truth then my thoughts reflect defeat. When I don’t take my thoughts captive I find myself asking for forgiveness for an attitude, or action simply because I didn’t prepare myself for battle.  As you face this day read the verses below out loud and allow God to prepare your heart for today’s battle.   Today’s outfit determines everything!

Ephesians 6: 10-17

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

mild or wild?

Last week the staff from our church went to NewSpring to attend Unleash 2012. I along with two of my friends tagged along with them. Perry Noble is absolutely one of my favorite pastors on the planet (I mean next to Richard of course). I always listen with such intent because I know he is going to pull out some crazy truth from a passage I have read a 100 times.  This conference was on Thursday and when we left we all walked out of there just in awe of what God has already done within our lives and also within our church.  Revolution is less than 6 months old and over 110 salvations?? This can only be God!  God is using such broken people to bring about change in a dry and parched city. Just last week the volunteers gathered to celebrate, pray and get pumped up about our day and we clapped and cheered for a man who graduated from rehab just two weeks ago. He gave his life to Christ and now volunteers.  Saturday is Richard's day of getting into the zone. He works a full time therapist job so his nights consist of family time, meetings, life groups etc. He studies throughout the week and Saturdays it’s just Him and God to pull it all together. He has sermon series planned out through the summer. He works so hard and so I try and really honor his time with God on Saturdays. It’s turned into a mommy/daughter day and it’s been so good for my relationship with my girls. This past Saturday (just two days after unleash) I went over to a friends house to drop off Rebekah for a sleepover/movie night and I was going to take Rachel to see the new Lorax movie. I had it all planned out! When we arrived Rachel suddenly changed her mind and wanted to play with our friend’s son who is around her age. So that meant me staying and hanging out with the girls and so on. Around 9:30 I decided to leave to give the older girls some time and to also spend a little time with Rachel before her bed time. I started down the stairs and BAM I landed on my face and in seconds I felt intense pain that I can't even describe. I literally almost started throwing up.   I immediately knew my ankle was broken and busted into tears.  Everyone acted calmly and began attending to every need. Getting me pain medication, icing it, elevating it, calling Richard, and keeping my girls calm. It was like it was in slow motion. I sat there in complete shock that God would allow this to happen to me. Actually I was TICKED OFF. Just that morning I celebrated with my workout buddy Heidi that we had accomplished level 2 of Jillian Michaels 30 day shred WITHOUT modifications! Do you understand WITHOUT modifications! All the planking, sits ups, abs, etc we completed it all. I have gone from a size 24 and that night my sweet bride to be friend Brittany had brought to me the dress she ordered for me and it was a size 16!!! I walked into the bathroom and prayed ok God if it’s so tight I cant breathe please help me to not become discouraged or give up.  As I turned around and looked in the mirror this dress fit. I mean snug in a few places but IT FIT! I was dumbfounded. All my hard work was paying off. I was overcoming food addiction with a vengeance and then bam… I was now sitting outside the house on my badonka donk crying uncontrollably because God had done this to me.   Little did I know that God was about to rock my world.  Brittany sat down and began speaking truth to me. “Holly, stop thinking those thoughts”. I hadn’t said a word… “Holly you are beautiful and God wants to know if you want mild or wild”. I laughed and yet in that moment I realized that God didn’t push me down the stairs haha He just wanted to turn up the heat on this fight against obesity and food addiction.  Another friend drove me to the ER to meet Richard and I said Blake why would this happen and yet again God spoke to me through her and she said “Holly what if this is a way for God to prove to you that you truly have overcame this addiction in your life”. I cried again and we were silent for a few miles.  When we arrived at the ER the wait was grueling because I dreaded to hear the words and yet they still came. I chipped the bone on my ankle and I had torn ligaments in my foot surrounding my ankle.  I was so upset to say the least.  My sweet friend Heidi text me early Sunday morning and she had been researching workouts for us to do while sitting since 4am.  She was willing to sit with me and help me continue to exercise.  It’s now Wednesday and I have been in more pain and yet what I realized that it’s only been mild up to this point. This ride has turned WILD really fast. I sat in my chair yesterday and did 30 crunches, a bunch of leg lifts, arm lifts and I haven’t once thought about over eating. God has poured into me and I am seeing freedom take place in a whole new area of this addiction.  Perry had no idea that his crazy funny rafting story would benefit this thick chick with a food addiction and yet God has shaken me up! I have lost a ton of weight since this time last year and added daily exercise and nutrition into my lifestyle. He has placed around me an amazing support system to experience a WILD ride to the finish! I am thankful for this dumb yet cute hot pink cast at the moment. This has forced me to rest allow people to surround me and given me a whole outlook on the book I am writing.  Thanks to everyone for your constant encouragement, for speaking truth into me and allowing me to push through the pain in order to see this addiction in a whole new light as I conquer it once and for all. I am free… … yes FREE!

Joshua 14:11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out: I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God…