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Monday, November 25, 2013

I need reading glasses... there I said it.

1 Corinthians 3:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. now I know in part then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

If there is one item I have learn to have a love/hate relationship with it is definitely the mirror.  If I wake up struggling with my body image and get dressed and look in the mirror and it suddenly tells me how big I am or how I don't look good in whatever it is I hate it but if it reveals something in my teeth or nose before speaking to someone or if I have i something in my eye that keeps me from seeing I love it (well love isn't the exact word but I am thankful in the moment).  I am coming to realize that I need glasses. I use to be able see things from far away and now as I near the age of 39 I find myself tilting things at an angle or holding things back at a distance so I can see without a blur.  I will at some point break down and do the whole reading glasses thing and start reading and seeing things with much better clarity.  As I read this verse in 1 Corinthians I realized that the way see things in this life whether it be in front of a mirror or in front of circumstances that seem beyond repair we can't and will not see things clearly until we first see Jesus clearly. He is not your punisher instead He is your redeemer. He is not waiting on you to once again screw up instead He is waiting with open arms to love you beyond your comprehension. I looked at this verse and three words popped out at me. The first word is dimly; it simply means limited or insufficient amount of light. Dim means skeptical, pessimistic attitude. The second word is fully; it means completely in a full manner and third word is known and it means to be recognized.  As I replaced those words with the actual definitions I read the verse as this...

For Now we see in a mirror with limited or insufficient amount of light with even a skeptical or pessimistic attitude. BUT then face to face. Now I know in part that I shall know completely even as I have been completely recognized.  

We allow the things that blur our vision to take root to thoughts and then before long our attitude and actions follow. For some it is giving in to that addiction once again that has you consistently around the throat. For some its the dirtiness of your past. For others its the circumstances you have no control over that seem to continually strip you from seeing the FREEDOM and HOPE that Jesus wants you to so clearly see. Lean in,  He wants you to know that nothing ever surprises Him and that He loves you regardless of your current season. I love the very next verse it says this in (the message) verse 1But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.  WOW!  We cannot see the big picture nor are we suppose to. To trust steadily simply means that no matter the outcomes you don't let it disturb you upset you or move you from the feet of Jesus because you are planted firmly. To hope unswervingly means that when the world looks to the chaos of your life, the consequences of your sin or the things that could and will knock you down that those around you do not see you falling apart they see you clinging to Jesus which is our Hope. To love extravagantly means you love without restraint. You literally blow peoples minds with your generosity. When you only see whats in front of you then you can't be thinking kingdom minded it becomes all about you just trying to exist.  I was watching a documentary on you tube about human trafficking and afterwards I sat there in shock. I cried, and I could feel this anger rising. I work with girls weekly that have been rescued and when I watched this video it hurt worse because I now have names and faces attached to this horrible thing that is modern day slavery.  I closed my computer and I could hear God say go read Psalm 111:7. I immediately grabbed my bible and this is what it says; The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; God so sweetly whispered into the depths of my soul "Holly its my hands that are faithful and just and I am using your mouth and your hands as my instrument to bring change." I was speechless. I was so focused on the big picture and that overwhelmed and swallowed my efforts up. But zooming back and seeing God and knowing He isn't surprised by the evil of this world is what pushes me to daily give of my hands and words. We encounter people everywhere we go and we honestly have no idea the back stories that follow frustrations.  I challenge you to embrace the truth of these verses. Your hands are His hands so serve and love with all you have. The end of verse 13 in 1 Corinthians says "and the best of the three is love". The only way people are going to truly see God is through your love. Do you love your husband without restraint? Do you love your parents, church, co-workers with elaborate measures. John 13:35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Today hold the mirror up to your heart and just like it tells me whats in my teeth or nose let it show you how you are trusting, hoping and loving today. Be encouraged and love without restraint!! 

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Friday, October 25, 2013

cheating on my pumpkin spice latte...

This morning as I sipped on my peppermint mocha coffee I felt as if I was cheating on my pumpkin spice latte.  Last night at lifegroup I talked about seasonal treasures in our lives and how many treasures are meant for only a season.  For instance candy canes are only meant for the Christmas season, and candy corns are meant for fall. You can buy both peppermint and candy corns year round but there is something about eating them in the season they belong in.  We adjust our lives to whatever season we are in whether it is through clothing to the activities we choose to do.   For example fall means football, bonfires, colder weather and pumpkin everything and we adjust our lives by pulling out our football gear, buying boots, carving pumpkins and we buy out the pumpkin spice creamer section at Target because it is only here for this season.  What about when friendships end?  What about when you lose your job? What about that dream that you were so passionate about suddenly doesn’t seem so attainable? Are those seasonal things? YES! God tells us in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a time for everything.  It is ok to be angry even mad at times but there is also the time you let things go, move forward and allow God to work in you and the circumstance that brought you to that place of your anger. He will use every emotion, every response, every thought to bring you into a more intimate relationship with Him.  I love this verse in Colossians 3 (the msg) “you’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.” 
Just like when summer comes you don’t see people in full coats, gloves and boots nor do you see people walking around in the winter with bikinis on. We adapt to the climate and dress accordingly.  We love to get new clothes for each season because it makes us feel a since of newness as we enter that season.  We attach old memories, past mistakes and pain to the different seasons of our lives and we then allow those seasons to keep us in our old “clothing” so to speak. This verse says throw it in the fire which means you can’t get it back out and put it back on.  If you have been redeemed guess what your old self is NO more. We can choose to allow our thoughts and actions take us back into those dark places or we can choose to walk in the light and truth of God’s word.  Its time to replace the triggers you have through smell, hearing, touch etc that remind you of who you use to be or pain that has come your way.  It is so easy to smell something, hear a sound, or see something and it takes you back you to a past sin and you immediately feel dirty, guilty and then shame sets in. Instead of focusing on the details of that day or season in your life allow that to be a NEW reminder of your redemption.  Look at the verse again “stripped off and put in the fire” what a beautiful picture of being made new. Fire is mighty because it can destroy in an instant. When I was in high school my house caught on fire and we lost so many things such as pictures, clothing to my childhood toys. I still have a doll that has fire damage on it and when I see her I am taken back to my childhood instantly. I am able to touch and see something that what was salvaged in what seemed so devastating at the time in my life.  Even though I can still see those marks on the dolls face it no longer takes me back to that day when we began to sift through all the damage instead it takes me to that place of my tea parties in my room with just her and me. I can almost smell smoke of that fire just sitting here. I can also remember the coldness of the hospital room where my dad laid dead on a stretcher.  I can go back so easily to my teenage years of desperately wanting to fit in and be wanted. We all have memories and images that seems to be forever burned in our brains but God wants you know your worth and to know that FREEDOM exist. I want you to think about this image in your head.. You are standing before God with all those horrible thoughts, memories, images, regrets etc. and one by one layer after layer you allow Him to take those things that have kept you from experiencing a deep intimate relationship with Him. Let that sink in… It requires a level of vulnerability and surrender in a way that makes you feel naked.  I love the second half of that verse  “every item of your new way of life is custom made by the Creator with His label on it.“  You see you are no longer defined by those triggers or by the sin itself you are defined by the Creator.  Today as you go through this beautiful fall day look intently at the leaves and see gorgeous colors of fall, feel the wind as it blows at the perfect speed to remind us that winter is around the corner. Experience the pumpkin creamers and apple ciders that are perfect to the taste.  Fall may remind you of death or it could mean a past sin that you were entangled in, or it could be a season of renewal.   I don’t know what fall or this season of life you are in reminds you of but I do know whatever the season God has given us senses to see, touch and feel His presence no matter what.  Maybe it is time to replace some triggers…

Psalm 34:8 (the Msg) Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dream a little Dream by Sharie King

I am starting something new on my blog this week.  I am only going to be blogging once a week and from time to time I will have guest bloggers. I love connecting with other women who cheer me on and also dream BIG themselves.  When I began praying for who I would first ask I knew I had to start with Sharie.  We met over 4 years ago outside of a coffee shop. When I first would meet up with her I would listen to her pour truth into me and now our coffee dates are often 3 hours full of truth, laughter, dreaming and maybe even tears.  I love this lady and I am so thankful she is in my life. She is an incredible speaker and has a heart for girls and women of all ages. She is definitely a world changer and I am so honored to call her my friend.  You can check out more of Sharie's blog post at

Dream a Little Dream

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc
photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopincc
Have you ever found yourself waking up thinking, “Don’t forget this dream.”  Sometimes I still forget them, but on a good day I remember so my husband and I can have a good laugh.
I’ve shared many of my dreams (the kind I have when I’m asleep) with my husband, but the other day I realized I hadn’t shared some of my childhood dreams.  I wanted to fly, to swim with dolphins, and even to be Princess Leah in Return of the Jedi.
The other day I was reading Genesis 1:26, “Let’s make man in our likeness- so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky.”
This was the first time I read this verse and wondered, “How did Adam and Eve rule over fish of the sea and birds of the air if they didn’t have some sort of super-ability to fly or swim.”  They didn’t have submarines, boats, hang-gliders, or airplanes, so practically how did they any kind of interaction with these creatures? But, what if Adam and Eve, in their perfection, had some abilities which mankind lost in the fall?
I’ve always been that girl who has an affinity to super-hero shows.  I’ve wished I could have special powers and abilities so I could make a difference in the world.  I thought, “If we had super-powers, imagine what could we do?”
The sad truth is God’s power lives in each one of us, but we forget it’s there.  Scripture says, God is able to “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”? (Ephesians 3:20-21). When we received salvation, Jesus invested in us by sending the Holy Spirit.  We have access to God on a daily basis, but we forget he is there just like we forget the dreams we try to remember when we are waking up.
Beth Moore once wrote, “Satan doesn’t have to get us blatantly thinking satanic thoughts to have victory over us.  All he needs to do is get us looking at life from man’s perspective rather than God’s.” I am convinced we each have had dreams of what God could do through us, but we don’t follow them because they seem impossible.  We let Satan convince us that the dreams God gives us are unattainable or too great for us.
But, what if we all pretended we were little children again and let ourselves believe in the impossible? I told you that one of my dreams as a little girls was to fly.  I believe that one day when I meet Jesus he will look at me and say, “Well done good and faithful Sharie, now would you like to fly, or perhaps you’d like to ride a dolphin across the sea with me.”   And I would respond, “Would I?  Yes, LORD.”
If you put your fears aside, what kind of hopes would spill out of that heart of yours? I bet God’s waiting for you to access his power that’s at work within you.  Imagine what God can do through you today.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

just move the cord around...

Have you ever been so convinced something was going to happen that you prepared fully for it and then everything went wrong?  For instance when you prepare for the birth of your child there are baby showers, painting of the nursery, and gathering lots of diapers.  Then on a regular day you get up thinking that the day had come for you to deliver your precious boy or girl and suddenly you begin having pains and before you know it you are in the ER and the end result is death. All the prayers, preparation and excitement ended in such tragedy and there was nothing you could do.  When I was a freshman in college I surrendered my life to the Lord and really began dealing with my past and also my relationship with my dad. We began talking more and he would randomly send me cards in the mail with a little money it and it would make my day. I remember being only a week from graduating and my dad had called and we talked for a few hours on the phone. We talked about life, about love because Richard and I were married and expecting our first child.  He was making a cradle for her.  He had decided to come up a day earlier for my graduation and stay with Richard and I and I was so excited. I told him I forgave him for the pain he had caused over the years. I told him that he was going to be a wonderful grandfather and I told him I loved him and we hung up.  Two days later he was killed.  I could not believe it I mean I had planned for him to come up and stay with me, I told him I had forgiven him and the end result was death?  There are times in our lives where tragedy hits and we are left breathless, speechless and completely numb.  When we have that crushing blow that leaves us paralyzed in fear we tend to question God to why something like this could ever happen.  I remember the night we had receiving friends for my dad and so many people came to see us and to say how sorry they were. I laid in my bed with Richards arms around me and he was silent and I sobbed like a baby. It hurt so badly both emotionally and physically. I was screaming out to God with my tears because I could not wrap my heart or mind around why.  I needed my dad to know me and be with me on this side of the cross. Loving him, showing grace to him and allowing him to see me the way Jesus had redeemed me.  I chased so many guys and other things growing up desperate for their affection and completion because my father had not given me what I needed and I wanted him to know that my completion was no longer in what he hadn't done for me but what Christ had done in me.  This morning as I was ironing Richards’s clothes I kept getting frustrated because the cord kept hitting the fabric that was coming up on the end of the ironing board. I almost just let Richard wear wrinkled clothes haha.   I then moved the cord to the other side and the fabric was no longer touching the cord and I could iron much easier. That’s the way I believe we often live our lives.  You see before college I walked in anger, frustration and rejection because I had a hole in my life and I needed it filled and the fabric aka pain and shame that led me into such a dark place and that was what defined me and it kept me from living life with joy and freedom. When I gave my life to Jesus it was like moving that cord around the table aka the cross and seeing life in a whole new way. I saw my dad differently and I began to embrace Jesus’ love and that led me out of the shame from my past. I was able to love people differently and it was all because I no longer saw the junk I just saw the cross.  The word breakthrough defined by Webster is this; an offensive thrust that penetrates and carries beyond a defensive line in warfare. The enemy intends for the circumstances like I described to break us down but God intends for a breakthrough to happen.  I believe God is saying I am going to thrust through your pain and carry you. Just like Richard that night holding me without a word reminds me so much of the arms of God holding me. Sometimes God’s silence is so powerful because we lean in that much more with the intention of hearing and feeling His presence in our lives. God wants you to hold on just a little longer because relief is coming and I AM is bringing it. I don’t know what you are in need of today but I do know that no addiction, relationship, position or dream will ever fill that place of a need in time of desperation.  Lean in deep and pull back slowly because when you do the imprints of God’s heart will mark your words, your life, decisions and circumstances.  There is a new season coming and change is about to BREAKTHROUGH don’t you dare give up.  You can prepare for life all day long but in the end God is sovereign and His ways are perfect.  Death is real, pain is real, addictions and fear are real but God takes anything that the enemy meant for evil and makes it good.  I will never know why my dad had to die but I know that my God is peace. I know that God is what sustained me. I know that God is my redeemer and I can talk about who I was and how God led me into freedom.  I can encourage girls to walk in forgiveness towards their fathers showing honor and allowing God to do the rest.  I have no control on anything in my life other than my surrender and obedience to my Creator.  It is time to share your story with the world.

Psalm 107:1-3 (the msg) Oh, thank God He’s so good! His love never runs out. All of you set FREE by God TELL THE WORLD! Tell how He freed you from oppression..

Monday, October 7, 2013

to pause and collide or yield and bloom?

Thundering is so powerful. It reminds me of God’s power every time I hear it. When I was younger I thought it was God bowling or moving furniture around and it would also scare me to death at night. I would lay in my bed even into college and early into my marriage and I would get saved over and over again.  I realize now I put the power in thunder and the damage it could have caused rather in the One who created it. My whole life I have leaned on people to lift me up, validate, direct and give me wisdom to push through circumstances in my life. I misread the power of God and therefore I watched others live out ginormous dreams and see God in His entire splendor.  It wasn't until about 7 or 8 years ago that I began to truly see God for who He was and not who my Sunday school teachers told me He was.  I experienced Him.  This morning it was storming really loud. The rain was so thick you could feel the power behind each drop.  Both of my girls left their raincoats in the car and so we had to run quickly to the car to keep them from getting soaked.  The traffic was so thick that both school lines were so backed up.  On the way home I decided to take a detour through a neighborhood to make it home a little faster. I came to a yield sign and instead of slowing down looking back to wait for any cars coming around the curve I chose to just to pause. Without even glancing I began pressing down on the gas and wouldn't you know it around the curve came a car flying and I was forced to pull over into the wet grass to keep him from plowing into me. I yelled “stupid idiot” and immediately could feel the Holy Spirit say ‘really an idiot hmm who was suppose to yield back there?” ouch!  Webster defines the word yield as this; to surrender to relinquish control, to give oneself up to an inclination, temptation or habit.  It was so clear to me in that moment that God is always calling me to yield my desires to His. He calls me to love, to speak words of life and to walk in obedience always yielding to His word and yet I often just "pause" because I need a desire fulfilled now.  When I was driving this morning I saw that sign and yet I chose to pause rather than yield because I “needed” to get home and that almost cost me a collision simply because I chose to ignore the sign.  God has clearly laid out truths in His word for me to follow and to yield to.  In Esther she chose not to yield to her fear, insecurities and weaknesses in order to step into the presence of the king with the hope of saving her people. In reality she chose not to pause but to surrender and because of that her people were saved. She chose to step up yield and step out.

 Esther 4:16 “Go gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king THOUGH IT IS AGAINST

After I read this and I realized that the call was not only for her to walk in complete surrender it was a call to the people she desperately wanted to save to also press in deeper and walk in obedience. She asked them not to eat anything and to fast.  They were yielding to the daily needs of eating in order to hear God in a time of desperation.  Just like Esther our choices trickle into the lives of those who depend and need us to lead well.  What about those who lead us and ask us to pray and fast out of desperation? ouch for me again!  We tend to get so caught up in chasing after what we think are the BIG things God is calling us to do that we choose not to yield to the daily small things He is laying out for us to do.  He says love Him and love His people. Two things believers hang their hats on right?  But then we sit in a restaurant starving and when the waitress gets the order wrong we choose not to leave a tip because there is a point to prove.  Husbands what about your wives? She needs to feel loved and pursued by you and your response is money or what she isn’t doing. What about people who wronged you, talked about you or hurt you in some way. Instead of yielding to God’s grace and forgiveness you have allowed bitterness, resentment and pay back to take root in you.  That picture of surrender and yielding to God’s truths suddenly look a lot like my choice to just pause this morning which almost caused a collision.  We make decisions daily based on what we want and need rather than how we can walk in complete surrender to the Creator and when we find ourselves in a place of pain that was caused by our disobedience we throw our fist up at God.  Today God has called you to see Him clearly. He is radiant! He is powerful! He is full of love and He is for you!  Maybe today you are standing in the midst of drought and you haven’t heard from God in so long and you desperately need to hear His voice.  Lean in and just be still.  As I drove back home I looked at the leaves and because it was overcast the orange and yellow on the leaves were stunning and that much brighter. Maybe you are in a season of overcast and God wants to use you to shine that much brighter.  His power is made known in your weakness.  Don’t yield to the desires of your flesh today because they will always lead you down the road of disobedience where a collision is awaiting.  Walk in God’s truth constantly yielding your dreams and desires to His plan, His ways and timing for all areas of your life because I believe that sometimes our biggest blooms come from the biggest droughts in our lives. You think that dream or passion is wilting away but God is pruning and readying it for the perfect timing. Don’t you dare give up on that dream, your marriage, your calling or healing because a bloom is coming!  Look for those “Esther” moments today and step up, yield and step out because God is always faithful even those moments when we choose to  pause.  

Monday, September 30, 2013

pass or fail?

I have never really like taking test except for the ones I knew the answers to.  I would come into the classroom with such readiness and confidence to show off my knowledge to the teacher.  I would finish in record time and walk with a smile on my face to the front of the class while those who had not studied or didn't know a thing would look at me with such envy.  However I have also been in their seats before. I didn't study or understand and I would stay up half the night preparing (more like cramming) and yet still I would walk in the classroom with my head hung in shame.  I would take the entire time needed for the test and then I would walk to the front of the classroom at the very last second because I couldn't have the teacher or professor grading it in front of me.  Examining my heart has been no different. God’s word highlights the good the bad and ugly of our hearts and it causes us to change.  The word test means; critical examination or evaluation and the word examine means; to test the condition to inspect closely. We don’t want anyone that close to our hearts.

Lamentations 2:41/42 Let us test and examine our ways and return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.

To examine our ways may mean that the bitterness that is hiding behind that fake smile may be exposed or that secret sin or insecurities that we often hide behind “church work” may also be exposed.  We hide behind so many things including religion and addictions and we miss such an intimate relationship with the Creator in fear of what He may expose. We often view God as a punisher therefore we never really embrace His pure and unfailing love.  His word doesn't expose to embarrass or bring shame that is what the enemy does. God makes you new and exposes those areas to bring change in you as He molds you to look like Him. He wants your heart no matter the condition and that includes those dirty areas that you think are hidden. He wants you to see Him as your Father who never is disappointed in you.  Last week I received about 5 messages from ladies requesting prayer regarding their marriages because they are hanging on by a thread and it seems as if there is no hope but I refuse to believe that lie. God is the God of restoration, reconciliation and passion. In this verse it says “return to the Lord” and return means to go back in thought or practice or condition. For husbands go back to the Lord and love her like Christ loves the church. That means pursue her heart. Give her flowers, leave her a note, take her on a date and let her know she is the only one for you. For wives put your husband in front YES in front of the kids. He is yours to place yourself under for protection and direction. He can’t lead you if you won’t follow.  Encourage him, pray for him and stop nagging him.  Let him know that he is the only one for you.  When we return to the Lord we are returning to the ways of our Creator.  Showing grace, walking in forgiveness, serving with our whole hearts and walking in the truth of His word without fear.  It is seeing yourself the way God sees you and its walking away from addictions and not looking back.  Fully seeking His presence no matter the outcome of our prayers will push out those fears that led you into bondage to begin with. Let God examine you today not with a grade in mind with a pass or fail mentality.  Let Him remove all those regrets that led you to shame, or those thoughts that have or will turn to disobedience. God wants to redeem you and allow you to walk in the fullness of Him.  The last part of that verse is my favorite because it is the sign of surrender. It says in 42 “Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.”  Whether it is your marriage, addiction, finances, insecurities or some secret sin you are trying to overcome you will not be able to do it.  Its time to lift up your hands in complete surrender and position your heart for examination and know the change which leads to freedom will come.  Galatians 5:1 It is for FREEDOM that Christ set us FREE.  This is an open book test so to speak.. open God’s word and open your heart and let change begin!! Be encouraged and walk in freedom today!  

Monday, September 9, 2013

don't prepare for defeat....

Colossians 3:3
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ with God.

How many of you love to play hide and seek? I think there is a rush of energy you get when you are hiding and you don’t want to be found.  However, secretly I personally think we all hope someone finds us but it’s not until the very end when the finder is yelling "OK I give up" and then you start making noises or yelling hints.  My husband is the ultimate hider. He always finds the best spots and never gets found.  When my girls were younger their hiding spots were always so predictable because it was usually the same spot over and over so in order to keep the game going Richard and I would look everywhere but that same spot and then all of sudden they would start giggling or making a loud beeping noise so we would find them.  You see I believe that as believers we often do the very same thing. We play this game of hiding from the Creator. We think that addictions and relationships are great places to hide our pain, depression, fears and past mistakes because we feel so lonely and ashamed or need some type of instant relief.  But after a long time in the darkness you eventually need to be found. In Colossians 3:3 it says this; For you have died, and your life is HIDDEN with Christ in God.  When I gave my life to Christ my life should no longer be visible because my identity as I knew it is no more and I take on the identity of Christ which means His character.  My actions, my thoughts, my responses, my love, relationships, friendships etc should no longer look like me at all.  How can we prepare ourselves for a reflection of a God that is perfect in every way? A God that stands strong in the midst of battles and never fails to love people fully? This seems out of reach and almost impossible for us to walk in.  As women we spend so much time getting ready for our days. We make coffee, breakfast, pack lunches, pick out multiple outfits, put our make up on, and change our outfits depending on our moods and so on.  We are creatures of habit and routine.  I often wonder why I start my day with defeating thoughts & then before I know it I am walking in that defeat.  I wasn't prepared for battle.  In Ephesians chapter 6:10-18 God gives us a beautiful picture of how to stand firm without faltering to the ways of the enemy. We aren't called to be perfect but hide in the One who is.  His truth is what sustains us in the middle of an attack and His truth is what carries us to His perfect peace.  Think about those who go to battle. They don’t stand at the battle line unarmed or without some type of protective gear and weapons. They would be unprotected and vulnerable when the enemy attacked. Then why do we walk around unprotected when we have been told in the word that satan is on the prowl waiting to attack at any moment.  If we know our addictions, weaknesses and vulnerabilities are the very things that keep us away from the presence of God we have to stop clothing ourselves in those things and be ready to take those thoughts that lead us astray captive beat them until they are unrecognizable and apply truth in its place.  We don’t get up in the mornings and actually put on war gear so to speak and put swords on our belts or in our purses but we do fix our hair, apply make up, and get dressed and put shoes on. Let those every day things be our constant reminders of God’s protection.  I am going to really start preparing my day with these truths in mind.  God help us to fully prepare for our days by fully dressing ourselves in You. Let us be so hidden in you that we walk in your love wholeheartedly and no one notices who we are they just see YOU! Be encouraged today and let whatever your outfit of choice is be a reminder that you are wearing the WHOLE armor of God. 

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[d] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[e] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[f]

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Save the drama for your mama

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints- 1 Corinthians 14:33

One of the things that women desire most is peace. We want to know that things are going to workout, that our dreams are going to come true, addictions will be no more, our bodies look good, and that we are going to get the job of our dreams. The list could go on and on.  Peace actually means; quietness, internal calm and my favorite definition of peace is this;  freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.  We are emotional and we all know it. We respond in fear, panic and sometimes if we are being honest drama queens. We want the world to know how big our problems are. We need for people to understand that we aren't over dramatizing because to us its our reality.   After reading this verse I looked deeper into two words that caught my eye. Author and confusion.  The word author means creator of. Confusion means to bring ruin; to make embarrassed; and to disturb in mind or purpose.  God is not the creator of unfiltered emotions, negative thoughts and emotions that often bring about actions that inevitably lead us into ruin that result in shame and yes embarrassment? wow! Our thoughts always lead us into choices. We choose to walk in the direction of our beliefs regardless of whether or not they line up with truth. Because we desire peace this internal calm we chase outside temporary reliefs. In my own life I have been faced with circumstances & situations that have knocked me down and instead of looking to the author of peace I chose to move into an emotional downward spiral  and allowed food to be something that I truly believed would instantly bring me a moment of peace.  I would feel full for only a moment and then I would  be filled with guilt and embarrassment. GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR of CONFUSION.  Satan intends for you to live a life of ruin through panic and drama. He knows if he can keep you constantly in a state of  CONFUSION  and emotional chaos you will never be able to fully live out your purpose. Remember confusion means to disturb in MIND or PURPOSE. He is out to derail you! God is however the author of your peace.  He intends for you to live your life with an internal calm trusting that He is in control and fully FOR YOU. He wants you to be free of oppression and He no longer wants your emotions to dictate your destination. Today look at your "go to" things.  Anything that replaces God is an idol and those things need to come down in the areas of your heart and your follow through. Know that the enemy takes every shot at you  to surface your weaknesses and then he goes beyond the line of attack to make sure you are suddenly immobile for Christ. Our emotions WILL keep us from seeing God and experiencing His plans for our lives.  Christ however takes your weaknesses and the things that keep you up at night and on your face before Him and transforms them and weaves them into His power so we can live victoriously for Him and in Him. Today is a new day know that your Creator wants to calm that raging war within you and bring calmness to your weary soul. Believe that!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fish out of water

More than anything I want girls and women to discover who they are in Christ. I want them to chase dreams that seem so out of reach.  I also want that for myself.  When you set out to find yourself you will always come up short because you compare, try and fix and step in the danger of envy and jealousy.  I heard a beautiful truth this weekend from Lisa Allen at the True Beauties revival. She said “comparison gives the other permission to determine your worth”.  What an incredibly true statement.  As women we often recognize all that we don’t have and all that others do and we begin chasing those things in full pursuit of becoming who they are.  God not only hand crafted you in the image of Him and called you His masterpiece, He also designed you with a specific purpose.  I can’t walk in the fullness of singing I sound like a dying chicken but I can encourage, motivate and lead people.  A few weeks ago my family along with some friends made a trip to the beach.  A friend of mine was fishing at night and when he caught a fish he brought it over for all of us to see. It was gasping for air, jerking back and forth so hard that he dropped it and after floundering about in the sand he grabbed it took it back and through it in the ocean.  I suddenly realized that is me trying to live my life my way. That is me falling into food addiction. That is me falling into the comparison trap.  That is me trying to find purpose. That is me chasing dreams alone.  But just as Paul threw that fish back into the ocean to live again, to heal from the wound of that hook God cast us into a massive sea of grace that covers, restores and heals us as we see our need for Him. What a beautiful picture of redemption.  John chapter 4 is the passage about the women at the well. It is about an encounter that forever changed this woman’s life.  The word moment means: a: a minute portion; b: a comparatively brief period of time and the word encounter means: to engage in conflict with; to come upon face-to-face to; come upon or experience especially unexpectedly.  After reading both definitions I realize that I no longer want just a moment with God I want to encounter Him so much that it shakes me up and moves me out to run and tell others about His goodness and power.  This women didn’t just have a brief moment with him she encountered Him and because of that a conflict surfaced (her past/present) and she experienced Jesus face to face and He unexpectedly but completely changed the course of her day and most importantly her life. WOW!  We get so afraid to be ourselves in the presence of God because change hurts, healing often stings and because we strive to have it together we would rather just come into God’s presence on our own terms.  Ladies that’s just a moment! When you stand before God just as you are that moves the hand of God to transform your thoughts, unlock truth and ignites dreams within you.  Just like that Samaritan woman you no longer see your past you just see God and you want everyone around you to know it and to taste the hope you have been given. I love verse 22-24 in the message version of John 4;

23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply andhonestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

Are you living moment by moment in desperation of mountain top experiences with the Creator? You will never be satisfied. Encounters bring about change, conflict often surfaces but victory always will follow because you are no longer focused on reaching the mountain tops are getting out of the valley it’s a relentless pursuit of just being you in the presence of a Holy God and leaving the results, dreams, healing and redemption to Him. Get lost in Him and you will never be the same. It’s time you encounter Him!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

What has your attention?

Today is Monday is August 26

I sent my daughters back to school this morning. Rebekah started her junior year with excitement and a wee bit of uncertainty. Rachel started middle school with a stomach full of butterflies and a face full of make up. She is starting a new journey of finding out who she is becoming and Rebekah is in the middle of a season really beginning to walk in a new confidence. She has become the preppy girl who loves her pearls. Rachel is discovering make up and that real cuss words do exist.  This morning as I prayed over them they giggled and tears filled my eyes.  So much can change in a year. I look back to where I was a year ago. In a full time job entering into year 2 of our church plant and really seeking Gods voice in my life and begging Him for change.  One year later I am unemployed, entering year 3 of our church and I am desperate to hear Gods voice. 

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God

The word dwell actually means-  keep the attention of/live as a resident and richly means - in full measure. 

When we allow Gods word to live in us and to have our full attention we then begin to walk in the fullness of Him. It's a beautiful picture of letting His word fill us up in those seasons of drought, numbness, anger or fear.  It's Him we need not direction, or answers or healing. What if the healing doesn't come? What if the relationship you dreamed of doesn't really exist? What if that dream you have chased doesn't come true? Our response to the word defines the direction we then take. Satan intends for evil to triumph and to bring about addiction and behavior and defeating thoughts to get the best of us. It's Gods word dwelling richly in us that alters that and brings forth Joy and surrender when you can't seem to do it yourself.  Today as you look at your life ask yourself this question.  Does The truth of Gods word  have my full attention? Because ultimately what has your attention has your heart.  In my life I have taken Christ off the thrown many times and replaced His truth with food and shameful thoughts and 
then my actions followed accordingly.  The bible can be so intimidating and full of words that aren't used in my vocabulary thats why I have to break down the words and its like it then comes alive to me. The Creator of the universe wants to talk to me. He is constant. He is always ready to fill me up so I can walk in the Fullness of His goodness no matter how bad things seem.  When I was in New York a few days ago I literally realized that I was begging God to speak to me  in one of the loudest places ever. I kept trying to hear His voice but I was so consumed by other things that I couldn't. I had to literally clean out some thoughts, offer up repentance and take away the noise that filled my heart and mind.  My full attention wasn't on God it was on begging Him for direction and asking for answers.  I thought it would be like time square and the answers would be obvious but instead He continues to direct me toward His word and Him alone and that is my direction.

Be encouraged!! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Are you ignoring me?

Have you ever wanted to hear Gods voice so badly that you literally found yourself listening as if your life depended on it? I have cried out to God and now I am waiting for Him to speak. Today as I washed dishes I looked out and the bird that has been living in the bush in front of my window has now had 4 beautiful little baby birds. They chirp so loudly it reminds me of a young toddler saying "mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy" over and over until the mom finally says WHAT in a stern but attentive voice. All the birds have made it out of the nest but for some reason for what seemed like a lifetime one small little one stayed on a very high branch surrounded by sticky and sharp leaves chirping with all it had. The others were trying to fly and jumping from one branch to another all the while the mom was so busy going back and forth and out and in with food that it was as if she was ignoring this poor little bird. I stood there with tears in my eyes and said God why aren't you speaking to me? I need you to guide me and just like this bird You are ignoring me. I walked away and hours later I walked back in and the chirping was gone and all the little birds including the mom were all in the nest and peace was among them.  My heart melted as I watched this mom who had worked all day gathering, feeding, responding, jumping etc rest with her babies close.  I blogged the other day on how God never stops and yet today I felt this overwhelming heart cry that God wasn't listening to me. I rode down the road today silent in my car praying out loud and even looked at bumper stickers, road signs and billboards for a sign from God and yet got nothing. I know my calling. I know what  I love to do and what I am passionate about.   I have been unemployed now for 7 months and its time for the unemployment to stop coming in and I need to know the direction I am heading. Its weird the peace I have. I have no worry,  or anxiety but I just think that if you want to walk in obedience God should say here go this way.  I realized tonight as I sat alone  in my laundry room manually turning each cycle (because the stupid thing is broken) that God is my direction. Wait what? That simple? Yes it is. He is my provider. He is my strength. He is my future.  I seek Him and I find exactly what I need to walk in wisdom NOW. I use my time wisely and leave the results to my Creator. Gods blessings come and I often stiff arm them because I feel like I don't deserve them. I have literally transferred my feelings from my past and projected those onto God. The one who redeemed me without any strings attached.   Redeeming love is a reoccurring theme in my head these days and I believe some of you can relate to my day. My request seems very small to your current desperation and I am sorry for the whining but I need you to know that God does hear us. From the smallest of request to the gut wrenching cries within. He is responding, preparing, refreshing, healing and doing things we can't understand. Just like those birds,  cry  out to Him with all you have and as long as you need to but after you lay your request and tears out then find rest in Him. I am in a place of total surrender once again and there is nothing I can do but trust, listen with intent and keep my eyes fully on Him. Be encouraged! He is listening. 

Colossians 4:5/6 

WALK in WISDOM toward outsiders making THE BEST USE OF YOUR TIME. Let your speech be generous and always seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer each person. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

One thing remains...

It seems as though everyone goes to the beach to relax, renew and to see the beauty of Gods magnificent power in the creativity of the shore line. The waves roll in non-stop. Some are huge and some are so tiny they dissolve before they even hit the tips of your toes. I love to sit at the edge where the water rolls in just enough to cool you off but not knock you down or cover you with the salt water and fill your bathing suit with wet sand.  When you pull away from the every day chaos it's easy to see God and often hear His voice.  I listened with such intent this week. I prayed for direction as a new season approaches. I prayed for my church and the leadership. I prayed for my husband and my beautiful daughters. I prayed for my friendships and the ladies who I pour into as well as my mentor who pours into me. I read through 2 chronicles and took so many nuggets of truth away and wrote them on my heart.  I am overwhelmed by His goodness as I saturate myself in His word and really embrace this concept of walking in the  FULLness of God.   A few things really stuck out to me this week. Late one night we sat on the beach in the sand and watched for shooting stars. The sound of the waves crashed into the shore line so loudly all the while worship music was being played and sang. It was def a God moment.  Another moment that happened was yesterday when Kelsey and I decided to sit literally at the edge of the water in our bathing suits that were covered in clothes and towels that covered our heads to block the rain from hitting our faces. I kept staring into the water and finally  I got up and just went running into the ocean.  I haven't been swimming in the ocean in like 5 years so this was a big deal. I laughed and told Kelsey that it was my YOLO moment however I found myself begging God to not let me get eaten by a shark.  I jumped over waves and laughed so hard every time I would get knocked down. As I walked out of the ocean in the pouring rain I took a deep breath and knew it was def a God moment. Another moment was this; each morning I would get up and sit on the deck with my friends.  We would first sit in silence as we read Gods word and then we would all share what God had taught us individually. On Friday morning  I saw sun beaming through my blinds and because it had rained for 3 days prior I thought it was be good for us to sit on the beach and do our bible study time. It was just enough sun peeking through the clouds and yet just enough breeze. It was actually borderline chilly. I sat there watching all the different birds.  Some would walk so fast down the beach looking for something frantically.   Some would fly without stopping because it was as if they had somewhere they had to be. This one bird showed up behind me with the most beautiful white feathers alone and just walking across the sand. Not rushing or acting as if the world was getting on its nerves.  It was def a God moment.  You see God never stops working, healing, speaking, redeeming, loving and so on. He is constant. I realized in all of those moments from early morning sunrises to late night talks God never stopped being God. I can unplug from the world and yet He created it with such beauty and creativity that it never stops moving.  We often seek Him to the point of shaking our fist at Him because we think He isn't responding. We shut down and run to addictions when we think He isn't fulfilling us. We move away from our callings and walk in disobedience because we think God isn't moving fast enough.  Be encouraged today that your God is constant. He loves you with such intensity that He wouldn't dare leave you where you are. He is your redeemer. If you are walking in shame from your past today He can redeem you and make you new. If you are mad or numb to God's voice He wants to breathe new life into you.  Today things can change, slow down,  speed up or even bring about chaos that seems so overwhelming. There is one thing that never changes and that is God.  

James 1:17/18 Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Silence is golden

How many of you know people or have known people who always want to tell you all that is on their mind. They complain, they argue, they look for the negative and before you know it you are feeling like they are and you walk away defeated and drained? I read a passage in 2 Chronicles this morning about the Queen of Sheba and it says at the end of verse 1 "she told him all that was on her mind" . I laughed because I could totally picture this woman standing before Solomon in all his wisdom and splendor bobbing her head and pointing her finger at him. I also imagine him with a small but present smile on his face as she questions him to death.  Our responses and reactions to people like this are so vital. When we participate we enable. When we respond we fuel. When we speak only in truth we silence them. After Solomon answered every question it says in at the end of verse 4 "there was no more breath in her". What a funny picture she had nothing to say.  I believe that when we are in check with our own obedience and pursuit of the Lord we respond accordingly. Solomon had been blessed from his hard  work and from His obedience. We often stop working on what God has called us to do simply because we don't like or think we can do better in other people's lives. Today I encourage you to walk in tune to the heart of God and keep your eyes and ears on His truth alone so when people come at you there is no room for defeat because silence (on their part)  is simply golden.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

To live fully in Him

It has been such a long time since I have sat down and poured out my thoughts. I stopped at the end of the school year because I really wanted to soak up the fullness of my kids. I have had the best time with them by the pool and trips to carowinds among other stops along the way. I have heard them laugh until they have cried, argue until one of them apologized and I have watched each of them bloom into a new season. Rachel is wearing a little make up and obsessively dresses to impress as she moves closer to starting middle school while Rebekah is moving into a season of becoming even more of a leader. She is about to be a junior in high school and is turning 16. She is seeing friendships differently, and soaking up Jesus like never before. I am watching them step into to their callings without even being able to verbalize it just yet.  I believe God called me to step away from the computer and ease up on social media this summer because yes He wanted me to see my girls but He also wanted to remind me of what it looks like to live fully in His presence. To see Him even among the chaos. To rest in His presence when things are seemingly out of my control. To see the sky and immediately begin to thank Him.   I have experienced a renewal deep within my soul like never before in my life.  I believe that walking in the fullness of God allows our lives to to change, renew, get rid of, add to and so on because He truly wants our lives to be fully positioned to embrace the fullness of abundant living.  He is fully in love with you and He just wants you to surrender everything and fully live in Him!!! I am learning to NOT question His plan but to fully live day to day in thankfulness! The girls start back to school in just a few weeks and that means its back to writing for me. God prepare my heart<3 

Ephesians 3:19 says this "and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled with ALL the FULLNESS of God."

Monday, May 6, 2013

Skin is NOT in

Now I lay me down to sleep.... We can all finish that prayer. From very early on we learn as kids to pray for God to protect us, to bless our food and to help us in times of trouble. I am learning so much about prayer. Expectancy really comes from the depths of our faith. When we have little faith we also expect very little. When I pray for protection and then live in constant fear I am saying God this prayer is my daily ritual to you and my words are simply empty. I have walked in doubt before to the point of questioning Gods sovereignty in my life and because of that I may never know what could have happened if I would have just obeyed and walked in the promise of His yes and not the doubts and "concerns" of others.
In 2 Samuel 10:1-4 David is extending kindness regarding the death of Hanun's father. This is a simple act of kindness right? I mean when people die we go to the visitation to show the family support, if your baptist you send food and if your David you send your servants to offer condolences. This next part really allows me to see how important it is for me to surround myself with people who aren't quick to speak but are quick to seek God on my behalf. I use to jump and say yes to everything and everyone and after experiencing exhaustion, loneliness and defeat I am now learning to shift my "yes sure I can" to pressing into just Jesus and from that I am finding freedom from the bondage of what everyone expects from me. In verse 3 it says this "the ammonite nobles said Hanun their lord, "do you think David is honoring your father by sending men to you express sympathy?" 4 So Hanun seized David's men, shaved off half of each man's beard, cut off their garments in the middle at the buttocks, and sent them away." Oh my word!! I blushed for those poor men. Look how quickly things got out of hand simply because of the doubts and fear of humiliation those nobles placed in Hunan's head. In a world where "skin is in" this may be extremely hard for us to understand. Imagine with me if you will this scene where skin was not in and modesty most definitely was. Even in the new testament the pharisees clothed themselves with clothing that represented their holiness. They wore tassels that brushed the top of their feet to remind them of their deep commitment to God but the depth of their rule following also kept them from seeing the truth of who Jesus was. These nobles not only exposed those poor servants backsides they brought war on and over 40,000 died because of their empty and paranoid words. We have to seek God first in every single decision we make. The effects of our decisions will not only determine who sees Jesus clearly but also just how deep our faith is. If we offer up empty words or shallow prayers that usually reflects how shallow our faith is and sadly those are the steps we begin to take. It's time to change your thoughts " if I just pray then God will." Yes He provides and yes he heals He is the Great I AM! However He has also gifted you and equipped you to carry out the purpose He has for your life. Those steps often require blind faith. That means seeing nothing and just going for it. Today what is it that your so afraid of? God has called each of us out of darkness, redeemed us in order to carry out His perfect will. You have to trust that He is bigger than the insecurities that haunt you. Your insecurities give birth to weaknesses and before you know it you feel so far from becoming who you know you are called to be. We hide behind religious duties and allow other people to speak untruths to us. Your life is marked by choices and the words we speak or do not speak. That voice speaking to you even now telling you to pick up a pen to write, chase that dream that is within reach, surrendering and letting go of unforgiveness. There is so many words we can choose today and just like those nobles changed the course of history by causing bloodshed in war your words also carry so much weight. Maybe it's time you and I fell to our knees or even positioned ourselves before the throne with new words of surrender. I believe that God sees the posture of our hearts and bodies and delights in it.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (Philippians 2:9, 10 ESV)

His name should stir emotions and bring us to a place of constant worship and surrender. When we are faced with tragedy and pain it's in us to fall to our knees. What if we chose to get down on our knees with a heart fully abandoned to our ways and yet fully surrendered to His plans. Guilt and shame only comes from the enemy. It's time to move in the direction of Gods redeeming love. Let His words transform your thoughts and the way you view your circumstances. The season you are in is not by mistake even if someone else caused you to be there. God hears you and wants to carry that pain. Lets bow before Him with arms stretched out wide and hearts positioned as we lay every joyful thought and heart wrenching pain before Him and wait with expectation for change.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Don't just sit and watch-

Luke 5:17-26

17One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20When Jesus saw their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”21The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”22Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Verse 20 says that Jesus SAW their faith. In order for Jesus to SEE their faith they had to be DOING something. We seem to be ok with just watching miracles and dreams come true for other people's lives and only daydream about God doing incredible things in our lives. I don’t want to watch I want to ENCOUNTER IT! When Jesus healed Him it says in verse 25 IMMEDIATELY he stood and WENT. When Jesus did a work in his life it didn’t say he got up and stood around watching, NO HE MOVED and began his journey back home praising God. I thought about all the people He ran into along the way. Did he keep quiet as he scurried home as a healed man?? Absolutely not. Despite the obstacles surrounding him he was persistent because he needed to see Jesus. We allow so many obstacles to stand in our way of encountering Jesus. Man made traditions which is often legalism, the dirtiness of our past, our fears and the list could go on. For this man it was the crowd. People were standing around watching, and the Pharisees were ready for Jesus to mess up so they really had no real interest in encountering Jesus for themselves but these men were so persistent they had to get pass the crowd to just see Jesus! There is an old song by Barlow Girl that says "and I’ll stop this pretending that I can somehow deserve what I already have “. I know so many people who are ok with how their lives and have adapted to their circumstances. They go to work, they go to games and attend church weekly and yet they have no passion for JESUS and all the while question God's plan. I have been in that place myself and it was boring unfulfilling and got me no where. Where is your dream? Where is your gifting? I truly believe God can and will use you in the middle of your circumstances. If you think about it did Jesus really rock my world for me to sit back and watch? In 1 John 3:1 it says this " SEE what great love the Father has lavished on us that would be children of God!" The word lavish means, mark by excess more than a specific amount. You have been shown such lavish love and such an excess amount of grace how could we ever be silent.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

keep your eyes open to who you might meet or what you might eat

I was in Target yesterday afternoon with Rachel and an older man approached me.  I had no make up on, my hair was on top of my head and I was doing the whole “Please Lord don’t let anyone see me” prayer in my head.  I was on the nail polish isle and here he came. His shirt was tucked in, his nails were nicely groomed, he was clean and wore a hat. He was at least 75 years old maybe even older and he spoke in such a gentle voice. He asked me if the shirt I was wearing was the church in the YMCA and I said why yes it is. He proceeded to tell me a joke regarding Baptist and I laughed and introduced myself to him.  His eyes were inviting and He began to tell me how he loved talking to people. At least 15 minutes past by and during that time I just listened to all his wisdom. I walked off from him smiling and wishing that I knew him.   I went in that place praying I wouldn’t see anyone I knew and then I left wishing I knew that sweet stranger.   God seems to connect the dots within our lives and in moments when we need that word of encouragement or that push to move in a certain direction. He also knows who we need in our lives in order for dreams to unfold and passions to be ignited. The people who surround you and I are not there by mistake.  God uses His hands and feet which ultimately means you and me to accomplish great and mighty things in His name.  The people who are currently surrounding you NEED you. They need to be lifted up and they need to hear a simple thank you and they need to hear truth. When you think about the concept of dying to yourself daily it can bring about some pretty uncomfortable thoughts especially if you are use to getting your way.  This week I asked Richard to go to lunch and instead of us meeting halfway he decided to come all the way to Gastonia.  Because he sacrificed 30 extra minutes of his time driving here I chose his favorite Chinese buffet (name shall remain anonymous) to show a little sacrificial love myself.  When I picked up a piece of my sushi I looked down and a mini yet ginormous scorpion type creature (bug) walked across my plate. We immediately got up and left.  They gave me my meal for free (how nice).  I lost my appetite however Richard declared “we will never eat here again” and so that sacrifice I made paid off.  I started thinking about that sweet man in Target and how I was so drawn to him and yet that BIG ugly bug in my plate made me get the heck out of dodge.  That sweet man had no agenda other than encouraging me.  That bug on the other hand acted as if somehow I was ok with it walking all across my food items.  We often push our own agendas and preferences and selfishness into our friend circles, the church body and even into our relationships and marriages.  The hurtful words, unrealistic expectations and pride will only drive wedges between you and the people you are surrounded by as well as keep you from moving forward.  We choose daily to respond to people with love or without love. When we are in a hurry most people don’t get the loving side of us lets be honest.  I am guilty of not trying to make eye contact and hurry in & out of stores. The Target incident stopped me in my tracks because I needed to talk to that sweet man because in that moment I needed to be encouraged without even knowing it.  Galatians 6:10 says this “Therefore, as we have opportunity let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”   I understand that dying to myself means I no longer get a say in how things unfold.  I am called to love, to serve and seek out people within the body of believers to love on and to lift up just like that sweet man sought me out in the middle of a store.  When non believers see this love they will be drawn in with such intensity because they will see the love of Christ played out simple, pure and untouched by the selfishness that likes to creep in.  Keep your eyes open someone needs you today.

Friday, April 26, 2013

unload your bags...

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Disney is one vacation I am good at planning. I know where to sit for the parades, when and where to find the princesses and other characters and the best restaurants. I research it read about and when it comes time to go I have an agenda and I am prepared. I remember being at Disney this past September and each morning I would pack down my girls backpacks with snacks, water, autograph books, candy and sunglasses. As they day grew long their bags would be filled with extra stuff they had purchased along the way. They would start asking us to hold their bags because they were too heavy. When we are following God with all we have its easy to read our bibles, share our faith and love on people. But when life knocks the breath out of us and circumstances are out of our control something happens to us and we begin to slow down to the point of hardly even moving. The bible says love the Lord your God with ALL your SOUL, HEART, MIND, and STRENGTH. The enemy has a strategy to attack all of those areas but even just one will WEIGH you down and keep you from running with endurance. I want to encourage you to allow God to fully strip you today of your pain, your past, your fear and rest in this simple truth that God loves you and He wants you to see the cross and all your potential that followed it. Sin is a word that plants shame and ugliness into our hearts and God searches the deepest places of our hearts sees the ugly and still pursues us. He created you with a PURPOSE in mind. I love the part of the verse that says “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” He knew the beatings, and the torture was before Him but said FOR THE JOY endured it! I hope today you find rest and know that you are covered with an everlasting love!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eye twitches and wrinkles

I was riding down the road this morning and when I came to a stop light I looked over and saw a man with so many wrinkles you could hardly see his eyes. His face was wrapped with a long cord that gave him oxygen and his face told so many stories and literally that 2 minutes at that stop light felt like forever. I couldn't stop staring and wondering about his story. Did he know Jesus? Did he have a family? What made him laugh? As the light turned green my radio was on and the lyrics said "then I saw your face and I was changed forever" just like this mans face literally mesmerized me I thought about seeing my Creator and understanding for the first time His holiness. Everyday I am face to face with people and in that moment I can let them get a glimpse of who God is through my kindness and gratitude or I can miss it. When we encounter Jesus we have to be changed. I am praying for that sweet man. I may never see him again and I want the rest of His life to be filled with rest because he looked so tired. This morning alone I have already come in contact with at least 10-15 people from Starbucks to target to the people here at the YMCA and I wonder if they saw something in me that drew them in. Did my presence make a difference today? God fill me up so much that the radiance of Your love literally is shone in my every move! My Jesus Calling said this today " If you gaze too long at your circumstances, you will become dizzy and confused.Look to Me, refreshing yourself in My Presence, and your steps will be steady and sure." I have researched eye twitching this morning and some of the common reasons were stress, not enough rest and caffeine. I am unemployed, called to rest in this season and I love coffee. I am doomed! haha I have literally had this eye twitch for a good month and I feel like I am winking at everyone hahaha. It's funny how something as small as an eye twitch can remind me that my eyes are to be focused on my creator. So today a man's wrinkly face, my eye twitch, my time in the word and my Jesus Calling has been woven together for me to SEE God in everything I do today and so others can get a clear glimpse of Him in me.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. (Exodus 34:29 NIV)

Monday, April 22, 2013

38 years old with arthritis?? Yep

My name is Holly. I love my family.My man is hot. I love the color green. I want to change the world. I love to get prizes. I am overweight. I have crooked teeth. I am almost 38 and this morning I was diagnosed with arthritis in my back. The doctor said "wow your so young for this to be setting in now." I literally almost laughed out loud. When I left there I was reminded that my plans may have nothing to do with Gods purpose in life. There is something about releasing control to the point of hoping and begging God to intervene. In Proverbs 19 it says this

"Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails."
—Proverbs 19:21

God has a purpose for every day of my life. He isn't shocked by the doctors news in fact He knew my genetics was wired with arthritis since my moms mom and her mom had it along with relatives on my dads side. It's usually in times like these when sin creeps up and we suddenly find ourselves in panic mode. We push ourselves to the point of exhaustion and then beg God for renewal when all along He said rest. We allow ourselves to be tangled up in toxic relationships and then beg God to restore and heal our hearts. We eat until we feel gross and then beg God for will power to lose weight. We shift our view and want God to become the "just fix this" God. How incredibly shallow. The depth of Gods love for each one of us is unfathomable yet so easy to embrace. When we encounter this love we can't be the same. We understand that He is our sustainer and His love completes us and makes us whole. Am I in love with my creator? Yes! Do I still plan and hope my dreams come true? Absolutely!! I now just see that the love of my Creator and the purpose He is carrying out through me is greater than what my mind can understand. I am in pain today with arthritis in my back. I don't like it. It's not suppose to be apart of the plan but God's purpose AlWAYS prevails and I am choosing to rest in this truth today!!!

And now, God, do it again— bring rains to our drought-stricken lives So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest, So those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing. (Psalm 126:4-6 MSG)

We will shout Hurrahs when the harvest arrives.... And IT IS coming and this makes so excited and thankful for the season I am in.