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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bye 2014

Another year has come and gone. New Years always seem to force people to reflect on what happened throughout the year as well as look ahead to change in the upcoming year. This year I began with my ONE word being peace. Peace is defined; FREEDOM from oppressive thoughts or emotions.  For me I looked at this word as a means to finding some type of balance in my life. I accepted a job at the end of 2013 working with girls who had been rescued from sex trafficking. I had no idea how quickly I would get attached to those girls or how my passion for this injustice would fuel me. I spoke for the ministry I worked for as well as ran a program called Fields of Hope. For a year this job was perfection. I loved it and couldn't wait to get there each week. However I began to feel this uncomfortable stirring in me over the summer. I could feel God leading me to step down and move in a new direction. I remember many phone conversations with close friends asking them for prayer because I did not understand why God would fuel a passion within me and then move me out of it. What I didn't understand was that it was God calling me into a place of peace.  My heart was divided and because of that chaos surrounded my heart and thoughts. I needed for God to lead me.  I needed Him to direct my steps moment by moment.  I was living week to week missing soccer games, date nights, writing and other ministry opportunities because I was consumed with task. Even with the girls I worked with I missed moments with them because I was fixed on the task at hand rather than the beauty of their healing. I remember sitting in the floor at work one evening and as I began to look around the room it was like it was slow motion and tears begin to fill my eyes because in that moment I realized that it was my time to walk away from that season. I believe that God stirs our hearts for change and yet we cling to the comfort or we release our grip and embrace the greater that is hidden in what we can't see.  It's our fear of not being able to see Gods hand at work that often causes us to stand still. 2015 is here and after multiple car troubles, financial stress, quitting a job, leading teen girls and having girls of my own (and puberty), speaking more, learning to clean eat, embracing my dreams, writing more, my dog almost dying, our roof leaking, my microwave breaking, my dishwasher breaking, friendships blooming and so much more.  I can now look and see where God was in every circumstance & the result was peace of mind, peace of my soul and peace of trusting Him with full and complete abandon. I still go and see the girls and I have contact with those who have left the program as well as beautiful friendships within that ministry and I continue to spread awareness and speak for them but it's different. I had to get out of the way in order for God to blow my mind. It is our surrender that moves the heart of God and our obedience that moves His hand and then suddenly dreams are birthed and passion is created.  Peace is a word that has been a hard one because my family stays under attack and I have to be intentional with where my thoughts go. There were times this year I failed and I walked in defeat and yet other times I reminded the enemy that he has no power. Freedom comes from believing God and responding to that belief. Today I encourage you to no longer look at the what if's or the perceived failures of 2014. You are still alive and God still has a plan for your life. He wants your whole heart. Will you praise Him today? Will you cling to the truth that He is sovereign? Will you walk in obedience? We choose the direction based on our response to what He is stirring in us. Freedom or frustration awaits you in 2015 but before tomorrow comes love loud. Dream BIG. Forgive. Listen with intent and believe that greater things are waiting in 2015! 

Proverbs 3:26 For the Lord will be your confidence- 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Christmas or not?

How many times have you heard the phrase "when it rains it pours"? I have said that to people tons of times. These last two weeks I feel like it's been raining cats and dogs. I broke my finger, my dryer broke, my dog was really sick, I still can't find my black cardigan, my car needs a few things done, Richard has some physical things going on, I'm sick on the couch and I haven't bought one gift and I haven't crumbled just yet. Now I am not saying that I haven't got teary eyed or even looked up and said God why a few times but inside I am still standing, barely but I am standing. I came across this verse in Psalm 139 last week and it has been the words that have sustained me. 

Psalm 139:10 "EVEN THERE Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.

Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I love sitting around my kitchen table with friends, I love sitting on my couch and watching cheesy hallmark movies alone, I love talking to my kids about their wish list as we make Christmas cookies with music in the background. Christmas to me has taken a turn within my heart and it's taking me into to a deeper understanding of what "EVEN THERE" symbolizes.  We all have moments where we can barely grasp our current circumstances to seizing the moments of memories and victories in our lives. I keep looking at a Christmas card on my table that simply says Merry on the front. It's full of glitter and bright red colors. The word Merry is defined; very happy and cheerful : feeling or showing joy and happiness; causing joy and happiness
I love that it says causing joy. We say Merry Christmas because it's what we are suppose to say this time of year. But to cause someone joy or happiness is an intentional gesture.  Look around you and yes the chaos of all the stores is sometimes overwhelming but tucked away in each place are moments that are waiting on someone just like you to bring cheer, joy and change.  EVEN THERE represents every moment and every circumstance we find ourselves in whether good or bad. This past Sunday I went to a Christmas party at one of my sweet friends house and I only knew a few people there so I went in with a few butterflies. I walked in uncertain of what to expect or even how to act. As I walked through her beautiful fixer upper farm home I could feel the warmth. She explodes with such hospitality that I don't think anyone could walk out of there feeling like a stranger. I laughed, I even gazed out her window just thanking God for that specific moment and her dear friendship. I believe that for so many people it's not about the gifts however I believe that because the world likes to rush the holidays we find ourselves syncing to the beat of chaos.  Our hearts desire to slow down, our families dream of it and the beauty of it all is that we get to choose.  This week is winding down and the sleigh bells are being hung on Santa's sleigh and the wrapping paper is being slung across your floor you get to choose to find laughter. You get to choose to find those pockets of peace and joy beautifully wrapped within those moments YOU chose to create. You can change the world simply by choosing to change the environment you are in.  Be a world changer! 
Merry Christmas 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

FREEDOM is ....

This past Monday I joined a fitness challenge group with a good friend of mine that I have known for several years. I love the accountability and encouragement throughout the day. I have learned so much about my body over the past several years and I am in a brand new season. I love eating clean, I love who I am on most days and more than anything I am embracing what God says about me over what the mirror tells me. The area of struggle for me is exercise. I despise it in every way. I do however like working out with other people especially when the other person also hates it because we can complain and grunt the whole time together. There is something about surrounding yourself with people who are in the same place as you are in but still desire change.  Some will either keep you in that place or their desire to move forward will push you out as well. No matter how bad I hate working out I have found that my endurance is strengthened, disciplined is encouraged and I feel good from the inside out.  It is my disobedience that shackles.  The same goes in my spiritual walk. When I choose not allow my heart to be stretched I can quickly find myself becoming stagnant in all areas of my life. Whether in my marriage, ministry friendships and the way I see my body. I have learned that bondage isn't something that occurs over night it's a slow grip of the enemy lurking in my areas of weaknesses that slowly wrap the chains of doubt, laziness & other immobilizing fears to keep me from moving forward. God never intends for us to stay in the season we are in because he knows we will get stuck or too comfortable.  When we serve in an area and it suddenly becomes a chore a heart change needs to happen. When we look at our spouse without a deep desire to love them fully a heart change needs to happen. When we look at our jobs as a paycheck a heart change needs to happen. When we are lazy with our time a heart change needs to happen. You see God never intends for you to NOT need His guidance or strength, we just often choose to leave Him out of the equation. We throw our hands up and blame Him instead of becoming desperate for Him. Today I encourage you to slow down and look within the areas of bondage in your life and know that when you admit it the chains loosen and when you surrender it they will fall. Freedom begins when you no longer choose to submit to the authority of the enemy through disobedience but instead submit to the authority of the one who can set you fully FREE! 

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,[a]and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I will one day ride an elephant.

I recently wrote 5 things I want to do in my lifetime.

1.write and publish a book
2.go on a foreign mission trip with my husband and our two girls and speak to teenage girls all over the world
4.go to Israel
5.ride an elephant and wave like a princess

As I looked back over that list this morning I smiled.  I could literally visualize myself riding on an elephant with my friend Blake laughing so hard that we almost fall off the elephant. It is also that time of year again where little children get the catalogs in the mail and they circle and mark everything they want. From big doll houses to the best Nerf gun they also visualize themselves playing with whatever it is they want so badly. I believe that we often find ourselves staring at the things that enslave us and we no longer can see ourselves walking in freedom.  When we allow our hearts to be hidden in our addictions or fears those things begin to dictate our days and we continue to walk in that bondage never fully seeing Jesus.  Our hearts become a breeding ground for pride,shame and other forms of enslaving emotions and thoughts and our identity becomes this chase of constantly wanting more and then emptiness sets in.  If we are honest with ourselves and trace our dreams to why we want them to happen we find pockets of a deeper longing.  God created us to desire Him and to want His presence in our lives above anything else but He isn't a bully.  When an alcoholic gets to that rock bottom place He can usually muster up a small amount of strength to say no for the first time and then the second time he has a little bit more courage until he no longer finds himself staring at a bottle but instead surrender that is laced in victory. It takes us completely giving up sometimes to really see God's power but also really positioning our hearts to fully believe Him.

.John 7:37/38

On the last day, that great day of the feast Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

As I read this my heart visualized a huge waterfall falling over a mountain.  The rush of the stream pouring into this pool of water that moves quickly without ever stopping or drying up.  What a picture of God's power in our lives.  It says that Jesus cried out and that moved me. I have stiff armed the power of God in order to pursue a feeling of relief because honestly I didn't believe that He could bring my heart relief completely. I can also point back to times in my life where I could feel Jesus crying out to me to turn away from something or a place of self hatred so He could tell me just how beautiful I truly am.  When we allow His words to penetrate our hearts it shines on the areas of doubt and lies and it doesn't cover them it yanks them out so it can fully take its place. The Living water represents the Holy Spirit in our lives from the moment we choose to accept Jesus as truth in our hearts. This continuous flow of God's love and grace and power will pour out without ever stopping. Doesn't that change your perspective on those areas of defeat in your life?  God doesn't intend for you to fight to keep up a pace that will always lead you into a place of failure.  Its His spirit that sustains you in your weakest moments.  To believe means to accept something as true.  As I sit here I am asking myself and I also want to challenge you in the areas of unbelief within your own heart this morning.  Do you truly take God at His word? Do you believe what He says about you? He isn't going to bully you into a deeper relationship with Him but He is crying out to you because He knows that His living water will satisfy a longing that is deep within you and you will NEVER EVER EVER thirst again.

Be encouraged today!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What an absolute mess...

Today is Veterans Day and both my kids are out of school and my man is also off of work.  My plan was to take all the fall decorations down and then start putting all the Christmas decorations up. My plan didn't go quite so smooth. I began removing pictures and other fall things and noticed dust and trash behind couches along with a few cob webs. So I changed our planned a little and began giving my girls some deep cleaning chores. I was overwhelmed at the dirt. I thought to myself I clean and sweep almost daily but it wasn't until I began removing things I saw even more dirt.  Now when we begin to put up Christmas decorations I can know that it's clean and it will feel and look better. As I thought about all the cleaning going down I began to think about how easy it would be to leave the stuff hidden. The guest coming for the holidays wouldn't see it and yet it would still remain. Isn't that just like the dark places of our hearts. We allow things to sit and gather dust and then before long it stinks and the way we look at things becomes distorted.  We have to have every thought protected, every area of our heart surrendered or cob webs will form and our dreams and our passion will begin to fade. Just this morning as I began to pray for this weekend and all the girls that are coming I also began to feel very insecure about my body and my weight which I haven't struggled with in a very long time. I eat healthy I exercise (not everyday) and I truly no longer feel bound by food. Those thoughts actually stopped me from praying and I stood and looked in the mirror with disgust. I went to the kitchen got my phone and I had a text from not one but 3 people saying they had me on their hearts this morning and we're praying for me. In that moment I just began to praise God for allowing me the opportunity to speak truth and suddenly those thoughts had subsided and were no more. I had to attack the thought and remove it in order to fully shine. God has such huge plans for everyone of us and yet we need a daily cleansing to ensure no sin creeps up.  Sin only allows us to coast and just remain but repentance and surrender allows us to move forward and it deepens our faith and passion. Our view of our circumstances change because we aren't weighed down by the things that haunt or keep us from shining. In Psalm 51:7-15 (the msg) says it so beautiful and gives us such a clear picture of Gods redeeming love. 

7-15 "Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing. Don’t look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health. God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don’t throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails! Give me a job teaching rebels your ways so the lost can find their way home. Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways. Unbutton my lips, dear God;  I’ll let loose with your praise."

I love that it says this. "so the lost can find their way home".  Wow! Your surrender and your mess can bring about life change in others! Today allow God to move things around in your heart and allow Him to cover it with the beauty of His grace and then watch what happens next! Those around you will see Jesus so clearly simply because you chose to let the light in. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

yes you really are....

The past few weeks I have talked to so many women about the regrets of their pasts and how it continues to taunt them from time to time.  I have some things I want to share about finding delight in our Creator and I will in a few days but today I wanted to post a guest blog from a sweet friend of mine Holley Gerth. Her books have changed my perspective on not only myself but also my dreams.  My prayer for each of you today is that you let her sweet words sink into those places within your heart.  Thank you Holley for being you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Let's NOT take a trip down memory lane

This past Monday Richard and I took Rebekah to visit two colleges in Charleston SC. The scenery alone would make anyone want to go there. The people are friendly, the food is good and the beaches are beautiful. Rebekah was already sold before we even finished the campus tour at College of Charleston. She has such a magnetic personality and she craves community and that is what she saw all around her.  While we were there Richard wanted to hit some good food places and so shrimp and grits were a priority along with a good crab cake. We ate in this cute little place called the Hominy Grill before we left.  The service was incredible and the strawberry jam was to die for.  I am a clean eater most all the time but I decided to step out and eat the special of the day. It was a pork belly sandwich with a fried egg and some magical sauce poured all over it in between two huge pieces of homemade bread.  I took the first bite and I think my knees got weak. It was so delicious and I just ooh'd and ahh'd over and over.  After the 2 or 3 bite I just took the bread off and begin enjoying it that much more because all the (extra carbs) fluff was getting in the way of the middle.

As I reflect on that yummy sandwich this morning I also looked at a particular verse in Isaiah just like a sandwich. Not that the outside is fluff but the meat is such a beautiful truth that should be written on our hearts and constantly reflected on.
Isaiah 43:18/19 "Remember not the former things not consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a NEW thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it." 

As women we tend to let our thoughts dictate our feelings and our feelings lead us into this perception of reality whether real or not to us we act as if it's real.  We keep our thoughts locked in on what should have, could have happened and then we get stuck there and we can't see past what is surrounding us.  I want us to look beyond our circumstances this morning and really begin to see what's going on. The beginning of this verse says:
"Remember NOT". which implies we often keep our minds on something that has past. It also says "nor consider the things old". To consider something or someone literally means to gaze on steadily...WOW!  I am so guilty of this. I will see a picture of myself and if I see only my weight it's over & I am suddenly stuck there in my thoughts. I feel defeated and I will stop at nothing to retake the picture or to delete if from ever being seen.  I have "un" tagged  myself from many of photos on social media.  I have also gazed upon a dream so long that any no's that came my way sent me into a deeper stare with what I thought was someone attacking my dream and never understood it was all my pride. It's where and who we lock our eyes with that sends our hearts and feet to follow. The next part of this verse got me and I have read it tons before this week. "I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" Two things jumped out at me doing and springs.  The word doing simply implies an ongoing process. Which means I may get stuck staring at pride or envy or my weight or the lack of discipline in an area but Gods radiance and glory will draw me back in and set my heart in the direction of redemption and His holiness. The sunsets on the beach this past Monday literally took my breath away. I said how can anyone not see God in this. But I often have missed the beauty of Gods glory because of where my eyes were. This verse encourages me to know that God doesn't want me to stay where I am. He is doing something NEW daily in me and around me to pull me into a deeper intimacy with Him. The word springs means "rises up out of".  As I looked at this verse and understood that this NEW thing that is rising up has to rise up out of something right? So I began to look within my life and the areas that still lead me into defeat and other areas that I have found victory in and why. For years I wouldn't put on a bathing suit, for years I would binge until I was sick. I took diet pills, I purged, I hated looking in the mirror and I hated my body more than anything. What a place of darkness. It would be easy to remember and look back to those defeating days that often left me with such anger & pain within my heart. BUT out of ashes rises beauty. I look in the mirror now and see myself as yes overweight but it no longer drives my emotions because Gods word says I am beautiful. I have not binged in years because I realized that stuffing oreos in my mouth didn't fix my issues. I have found my completion and my worth in my Creator alone. My dream no longer drives my existence because I chose to just follow God and leave the results to Him.  You see sin and places of defeat in our lives will keep us in this place of memory lane until we choose to remember NO more.  You can't undo an image but you can replace the words that follow in your head with the truth of Gods word.  Today be encouraged to write continuous truth on your heart because that is the very tool of fighting the enemy. He will tempt you with old ways, he will remind you of who you once were, he will tell you that no one loves you, he will tell you that you are fat and so much more BUT the truth is that the enemy's loudest roar can't trump even  a whisper of our God.  You are beautiful. You are chosen. You are a world changer. You are forgiven. You are redeemed. You are set FREE. You are loved. You are His.  Fix your eyes on a God who makes ALL things NEW today and then believe it.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

do you really just want attention?

This past 
Friday night my oldest daughter won homecoming queen. She looked so beautiful and she was also very shocked that she had even won. She told me over and over not to get my hopes up because she wasn't going to win but let's be honest as a parent you hope deep down your kid wins.  After the football game we were bombarded with excitement through phone calls, text sweet words and hugs.  Several people said "weren't you the homecoming queen?"  I laughed and said no but that I had won Miss Huss back in the day.  Miss Huss was the school beauty pageant. I thought about the two and It hit me that she had won through the approval of her peers without performance and I had to compete to win.  What a sobering thought because I truly feel like I have performed my whole life just to win smiles, friendships and relationships so I could feel a sense of wholeness. I could barely keep up and that's why I believe food became my go to. It didn't talk back to me, hurt me from the surface, it gave me a immediate happiness and helped me to not work so hard to prove myself.  I was reminded this week about performances and how they mean absolutely nothing to my Creator. 

Psalm 51:16/17 (the msg) 
Going through the motions doesn't please You, a flawless performance is nothing to You.  I learned God worship when my pride was shattered. Heart shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape Gods notice. 

As I read this passage three things began to surface in me. The first is that a performance based relationship will keep you in a state of always seeking perfection and completion other than Gods presence alone. The second thing is that being desperate for God no matter what season you are in will always lead you into deeper "God worship" moments. The last thing is that living brokenness "heart shattered" lives is what moves the heart and hands of God. In fact it's what leads us to seeing His faithfulness over and over again.  If you aren't desperate for the voice of God start there. The word desperate is defined by Webster as this; done with all your strength or energy and with little hope of succeeding.  My whole life I have been desperate to succeed but only in the eyes of others never fully seeing Gods overwhelming grace and affection for me.  This year is closing out and my word is peace and I have never felt such peace in my whole life. The applause of people are silencing and the heartbeat of Jesus is growing louder. I am choosing to follow the footsteps of my King and not the footsteps of my dreams.  I am choosing to dwell in the beauty of Gods presence and saturate myself with His word. To saturate means you fill something completely with something else. God fill my heart with ALL of You!  Ladies in His presence the fear of brokenness fades and the courage of waiting, being still or stepping out is what will sustain you. Happiness is an emotion that is evoked by false pretense and its held in the palm of circumstances, love, friendships and often our dreams and material things.  Joy however is rooted in our intimacy with God.  To be blessed simply means; connected with God. We tend to let our happiness stem from blessings that have nothing to do with being connected with God.  I have found out that the level of approval you think you need is never enough but the wisdom that comes from letting God fill your tank not only brings you a joy that you can't contain but a life filled in fullness. We have to be in Gods word there is no other way to learn, gain guidance and fully connect to His heart.  Writing Gods word on our hearts sets up and positions our lives for deeper intimacy, a deeper passion and a growth that leads to world change. 

Jeremiah 31:33 
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LordI will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

It's time you stand before God with all your brokenness pain and all and know that when you have positioned your  "heart shattered" life before the God of the universe He will see you and He will restore you.  Let the cry of your heart be this today..

God I want you and nothing more!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cardigans, pumpkins and the lingering shame within -

October 1, 2014

Fall has arrived and the smell of burning leaves have begun to fill the air, pumpkins are being carved and boots are being worn. There is such anticipation for the changing of seasons. We begin to prepare months before and sometimes prematurely leave the season we are in. It's in the 80s today and when I dropped my girls off so many girls were dressed as if it is 60.  The fall clothes hit the stores when summer hits so I know the excitement behind wearing those fall clothes. Cardigans are one of my favorite pieces of fall clothing. You can change the look of any outfit with a simple cardigan.  
      A few nights ago we decided to go get a few pumpkins to paint. We sat in the floor with every color of paint & every size paint brush.  We all had a theme for an image in mind of what we wanted to paint. I was simply going to write BOO on mine. It only took me about 7 or 8 tries.  After I finally got it kinda like I wanted it I noticed that the other paint was lingering and not coming off as clean as it was the first few times.  This morning I looked at our pumpkins and that annoying lingering paint is the very thing that is bringing it character. It actually looks better. I believe that as women and girls we try so hard to wash away our weaknesses, our pasts our defeating thoughts to the point that we either give in to them or just stop trying.  We forget that God has a bigger plan and takes the shame and guilt that the enemy throws at us and uses it for kingdom building and instruments of change.  He grows us and sets dreams in motion by linking our surrendered hearts to the power of His healing hands. The smears across my pumpkin reflect the smears that once lined my heart. Years of pain from losing my dad not once but twice. Once by divorce and the other by death played a huge part of how I was shaped. I look back now and see that the ministry I am called to of pouring into girls and women of all ages stemmed from who I once was. Paul spent the entire New Testament pointing people to Jesus and away from who He was. The struggle isn't the issue. It's when we stay in it, ignore it that we find ourselves paralyzed in fear and marked with shame.  God is calling you out of that place this morning. October 1 means NEW month, NEW day & a NEW season.  You don't have to be that person you were yesterday or even five minutes ago. God searches the darkest places of our hearts looks for the lingering effects of past shame and sin and the struggles that haunt us and transforms them into instruments of change, hope and redemption for not only ourselves but for those who look to you. Stop running from Gods truth and embrace it with your heart positioned for change. If your marriage is falling apart pray for your spouse & honor Him & husbands pursue Your wives and let God do a work in YOU first. If your finances are overwhelming you, give to God what He gave to you and leave the results and provision to Him. If you need direction then get into His word and seek Him from a place of actively listening so you can actively follow through with WHATEVER He calls you to do.  In Acts chapter 9 verse 1 says "Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lords disciples."  Just like Paul was in the middle of sin Jesus reached into His heart and transformed Him from the inside out and God used Him to connect and draw people in by not rubbing his nose into what he had done but instead what His redeeming power had did in Him was then made known. Today is your day of change. What do you need to do? It's time you follow through... 

Now tell me what's your favorite thing about Fall? 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Let your FAITH become an anthem of hope to those who have none-

We often look at the things in our lives that cause us pain, regret and even chaos as punishment from God. We blame Him for the seasons of our lives that don't feel good or stretch us into frustration and giving up. We question His motives, let go of dreams and walk in defeat because of it. Today as Fall begins I am praying you feel the seasons of your life shifting. No matter what season you are in God isn't shocked by it. He is isn't scared of the outcome and He isn't pacing over what to do. He has you and He is and will hold you as tightly as you let him. I remember when my girls were little they would get hurt and Rebekah would want all the attention in the world from me pretending to be hurt too to rocking her and spanking whatever it was that causes her pain. She needed the comfort of me just being there and on her team. Rachel would run to her room and cry and wouldnt want you to get near it. She would get mad if you tried to put anything on it and if it wasn't a pretty band aid well she wouldn't wear it. They both responded so differently.  As I look at how I respond to certain things in my life I often do the very same things to God. From wanting to gain teammates and support in some seasons and yet in other seasons we want no one around me including the truth of who God is or what He is trying to teach me.  Today you may be wounded and you need me to say that I am sorry and that everything is going to be fine. However if I am going to be truthful being "ok" may come in a different way. You see IN Christ holding to Him becomes enough and yet when we step away from our faith in pivotal moments we tend to crumble when things don't go in the way we need them too and we blame God rather than clinging to Him.  I have known for years that my calling is to speak into girls and women's lives about who they are IN Christ and even more about the freedom that awaits on the other side of those anxious thoughts that we all have and yet I have walked in bondage and refused to speak because of those insecurities and that paralyzed my dreams for a very long time.  I believe that as believers it's so important for you and I to keep our focus off of the dream, the circumstance , the season of drought and the pain and on to God Himself. Because it's IN Him that ALL things are made New and Its IN Him that all things work together for the good. Are you walking IN Him today? Let your faith be an anthem to those who have none. Respond in surrender not in fear. God has you and He has your life in His hand and He loves you more than you love that dream or that thing you so desperately need "fixed" it's time you press in & leave the results to your Creator.  

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sitting on the porch with pumpkin muffins and Nutella now that's peace!

When I was a little girl I loved playing with my sister. I was older and which meant I was wiser (right Tiffany) and so I would dictate our games and the things we would play. One of my favorites was pretending to be teenagers we were 8 and 10 and  I would be "Becky" who had her drivers license and she would be "Sherry" my younger but cool best friend. We had cool names and we were super popular, had cool clothes, and cool jobs at Mcdonalds. We would literally pretend like this for hours and as time would pass for our mom to pick us up we would still try to be in character when went home. Looking back those days on that farm with big cows, big trees, a big barn shaped my view of what peace was and I had no idea.  Today it's overcast skies and the once green leaves on my trees are now changing Into bright yellow.  Fall moves something in me. It calms me and I believe it has and continues to shape my view of peace.  This year I chose peace as my one word and little did I know I would spend this entire year seeking for it. Peace is defined by Webster as freedom from disquieting or oppressive emotions or thoughts.  I can't escape to the farm and pretend to be someone else (that would be weird) and fall will eventually be winter but I have discovered over these last few weeks that peace is not just a feeling of comfort or just a feeling of relief it's beyond that. It's hanging on the monkey bars as a kid with a grasp that is callousing your hands to the point of burn as you try and bring your strength from a place of determination that's inside you to your arms and then you just let go.  Our hearts are filled with passion and "Oh my God what are you doing" moments.  We beg God for strength to get from one circumstance to another and then after a while we just let go.  To me that letting go has brought me such peace this week. I have wrestled with God for over 2 weeks on something that I had to make a decision on and I didn't understand it and I still don't fully but the freedom of choosing bravery over disobedience has been the peace that ultimately brought me into a place of rest.  God and I had some tough conversations at my kitchen table at 3 am and I realized that the more I sought Him the more I fell in love with His word. It became about Him and not me. His word and His presence has been like honey to my ears and heart this week. I can't wait to be with Him and why is that? It's because I emptied out and I just need Him. When we have our prayers answered and our marriages, finances and dreams are all in tact it's easy to forget the God who gave all of that to us. His faithfulness is forever and wrapping our hearts around His faithfulness should move us to surrender. It should move us to look past ourselves and selfishness within and soak up the presence of a God who never forsakes. He provides. He heals. He loves. He forgives. He births dreams and He also protects. He protects you and me from things beyond what we can see down the road and because of that we have to to seek Him alone and nothing else.  This  past Friday I sat on the front porch of my sweet friends Niki's farm. We drank coffee, ate pumpkin muffins with Nutella on top, prayed over each other and we just talked.  My heart was so full when I drove away and as I looked in my rear view mirror a calm came over me and I thought wow that's peace.  God you quieted those thoughts that rage within me, you calmed my anxious heart and you cleared my path so I could walk in obedience.  I followed through and now I have no idea what my next step is but who cares because my next move has to be IN Him and I trust Him to lead me.  It's ok to come to Him with brokenness because He is the God who makes ALL things new. Many of you are on the fence with your marriages, jobs, body image, having sex with your boyfriend, cutting, addictions and so many other defeating thoughts that have covered your restless mind and today God wants you to hear that FREEDOM comes from seeking Him. Nothing else will satisfy or move you into peace but Him. Let go today and dive into His word with a surrendered heart broken or not because He awaits with exactly what you need. 

Psalm 143: 8 
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Its time you let go of the Rush and simply be YOU.. ALL OF YOU!

This morning I am sitting at my table and its so quiet. I have a little worship music on in the background but its low and yet its as if you can hear a pin drop in my house.  I can hear the dryer turning, the fridge working and the neighbor beside us working in their yard but stillness is still very much present.  I truly believe its the intentional posture of our hearts and minds that not only allows us to move into a place of rest but also positions us to hear something from our Creator. To say I am obsessed with the book The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst is an understatement.  I have promoted that book so much that we can't keep them at our merch table at Revolution on Sundays.  I love seeing ladies walking out carrying them.  I believe this book is going to revolutionize our schedules, marriages, dreams and families.  I am learning to be intentional with my YES and it has helped me to also be intentional with MY moments with my family.  I am giving more eye contact to my girls when they are unloading their days (even if I could care less about who likes who or how a teacher drives them bonkers).  I sat at the dinner table last night barely holding my head up because I was so sick but I wanted to hear about Richards day and as he told me all about it my heart smiled because it was a moment for us. He works a full time job as a psycho therapist and also a full time lead pastor at our church. I now work two nights a week and so our date night is gone and we have to be so intentional with lunch dates, and moments just like last night.  Ladies its not how well you schedule its the surrendering of your schedule that leads to obedience and then to the fullness of your relationship with Jesus first and then the fullness of your family and other relationships. My friendships are fuller when I am intentional with my time with them. My dream becomes one step closer when I am intentional with my time. Because God gives us free will He also gives us the choice to fall into the beauty of taking one step at a time in Him or taking a lot of steps stumbling to the demands of everyone and everything around us.  I am reminded of Isaiah 6:8 this morning.

 "and I heard a voice of the Lord saying, "whom shall I send, and who will go for us ?" Then I said "HERE I AM! SEND ME." and He said "GO, and SAY... 

You see when we clutter our minds and schedules we miss opportunities because we miss the whisper through the noise. God doesn't always speak in a loud voice because He needs for us to quiet our hearts and minds, lean in and just listen for a while.  The word influence is defined by Webster ; act or power to change or affect someone or something without forcing them. WOW God has called many of you to speak, some to write, some to be a mommy to multiples, for you maybe you are a teenage girl who feels that pull to change your school. Know that the Creator of the universe has already chosen and equipped you to carry it out.  The word chosen is defined; an object of choice or divine favor. This simply means God has given you favor and will equip you with exactly what you need to carry out what He has called you to do. The Best Yes for you may mean you need to start saying some pretty tough NO's to things that are only keeping you from hearing Gods voice in this season of your life. 1 Corinthians 12:2 (MSG) says "You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols". Ladies we are influenced daily through social media. We want things to change in our own lives to the point that we seek out help from things we cant really obtain without feeling defeated or depleting our self worth because we can't carry out what others can.  This verse resonated with me so much because  I know that with my own struggles it started with the small desire for more that grew into an idol of worship.  Maybe today you need to sit down and allow the presence of God to rearrange the things in your heart so He can take the lead. He wants YOU, nothing more and from that moments will come that will fill your heart so full. From praying in the stillness of your home, kissing those kids goodnight, hugging your spouse just because, honoring a friend by having them over, sending that package of goodies just because or speaking up at school. All are things that require action and I believe that when you move into a place of surrender it will move you into a place of obedience which will unlock a passion inside you that will move you into action. Its time you let go of the RUSH and simply be you.. ALL of you. 


Friday, August 29, 2014

Jump ALL in!

I am currently at the Double conference with our Revolution church staff and I have learned something new about each of them. I have measured where we are as a church by the messages Perry has been preaching and I am honestly blown away. Our vision has been pumped into my brain since before we launched and the language and heartbeat of our church is service. We create opportunities for others to flesh that out and because of that we are growing. This trip has been a success for sure. Last night we wanted to go swimming in our indoor pool but because they were remodeling it the front desk offered to take us to the hotel across the street to swim in their indoor pool. We waited on the shuttle to arrive and then headed over there. As we were walking in the guys were talking about getting into the jacuzzi because of their sore muscles and sore necks. We walk in and the lady at the front desk proceeds to tell us that their pool is also under construction. We laughed and walked back outside so we could catch the shuttle back to our hotel to use the outdoor pool. We were all hesitant to jump in because of the temperature. We all stood there waiting to see who was going to go first and so it happened. I took my Flip flops off took a deep breathe decided that bravery was my best yes and I just jumped all the way in.  It was so cool and refreshing!! After I jumped the others (chickens) decided to follow me. 

As I laid in the bed last night I thought about all the truth I had heard throughout the day as well as what I have heard today and the way we view our churches and the communities that surround our churches are a lot like the pool situation. We build up this expectation of how "the church" is to look. We want others to accommodate and present other opportunities without any hiccups along the way. When we arrived back from where we had started last night and I jumped in I was immediately glad we swam there. The water was cool and it was lit up and the sky was beautiful! It increased my courage, pushed me out as a leader and it called the ones out of the pool to jump with little to no hesitation. That's what we as the church are called to do. We are all different and we believe different things on different topics but God will always be God and the cross & resurrection will never change. That truth alone should drive a passion that pushes us all to jump in & be ALL in no matter what season you are in or your church is in.  When I see others criticizing or tearing down their pastors I always ask do you support your pastor? More importantly do you pray for him? As a pastors wife I promise He needs it. Sleepless nights, endless text and phone calls and emails, continued passion for the people and on and on. He needs your prayers. One of the things I love about our church is the level of encouragement we receive. A card will roll in or someone will ask us to dinner and encourage us & it's always at the perfect time. Today ask yourself am I all in? If not figure out why then move forward. Perry said this "it's ok not to be ok but it's not ok to stay there".   The Kingdom of God is moving forward with or without us. That pool wasn't going anywhere. We could have chosen to just sit around it and enjoy the color or the view and yet never experience the fullness of it. God wants you to jump and go all in TO HIM first and then serve and love those around you.  

Thank you NewSpring church for your contagious smiles and serving with excellence. You inspire me. Thank you Perry Noble for dropping truth in a way that encourages in real and raw ways. You are one of favorite pastors. You have encouraged Richard and I from a distance and we are so thankful. To Revolution church next month is year number 3!! We are growing and hundreds of families are being fed because of your generosity. Two schools that are often neglected are feeling refreshed because you have chosen to love like Jesus. I love you with my whole heart and the best is yet to come! I'm dreaming BIG! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

God wants the raw,unfiltered & broken you!

Today I get on a cruise ship with my husband and our girls. We have never cruised before and the excitement and a hint of nerves are present in all of us. I know that God has something in store for us this week and I am most excited about unplugging from social media so I can fully listen to Jesus and also be fully present with my sweet family.  This morning as I got up and began to pray and think about all the things that I had left back at home either work related, ministry related, dirty dishes or things I need to do when I return I could feel the tension rising up in my neck.   I began to switch those thoughts with praise towards my Creator and something happened. I suddenly couldn't remember what it was I was trying to remember in the first place. Now I do have undiagnosed ADHD haha but it was different. It was as if God was waiting in the corner of that first thought to pull me back into His loving embrace just so He could whisper "rest, laugh and just enjoy Me".  I sat down at my friends table and started to sip my coffee and I read this beautiful verse 

"One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple."
—Psalm 27:4

To gaze on something means; to fix the eyes in a steady intent look often with eagerness or studious attention (Webster) 

When was the last time you fixed your eyes and heart fully on Jesus? Maybe you are there now and the intensity has you excited for what's to come, or maybe you are in a posture of surrender because you don't know what step to take next.  I have been in both of those places and the beauty of it is this,  it doesn't really matter why you are staring just keep staring. God said "seek Me and you will find Me when you seek me with your WHOLE heart".  We often need answers to our prayers, our dreams to come true,  our husbands  to fully follow the Lord, we desire deep and longing friendships along with so many more questions and yet our desperation often leads to frustration rather than Gods presence which leads us to completion.   We have to move from running to Him with our problems to gazing our eyes on Him & locking our heart to His heart no matter what comes out of it.  We often measure Gods faithfulness by the outcome of our prayers and perceived success but God just wants us.  He wants our raw, unfiltered & broken pieces. 

Today feel Gods pull and know that whatever you are moving away from doesn't compare to where you are headed. This Afternoon as I sail away from that dock I know that God is going to meet me and take me to places I have never been with Him. God here I am I'm fixing my heart to gaze upon You! Let's cruise!! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I saw a dolphin!!!!

The word brave is taking the world by storm. Webster defines it as ; feeling or showing no fear: not afraid.  I believe a generation of cowards (including me) are starting to move away from this life choking fear and learning to embrace a fearless passion to do amazing things as they experience all the beauty of Gods power. 

Yesterday I snorkeled in the ocean of West Palm beach with some co-workers and the fear of just getting out of the boat itself was gut wrenching. I had convinced myself I was going to put on a snorkel mask go under water and as I would take my first breath it would also be my last because a massive shark was going to eat me. I played the whole scenario out in my head over and over and yet here I sit typing away so you know I didn't die.   I did however see tons of fish, wrestled with seaweed, laid back and let the crystal water wash over my face and breathed in the beauty of this massive body of water. I even got to dig my hands into the silkiness of the  sand and rub it all over my face and arms to exfoliate. I realized that the boat ride over symbolizes many of us and how we live life.  I was sitting back relaxing and enjoying the waves, and the scenery around me and we are ok with that even when we know there is so much more beyond the surface of comfort.  As the boat would hit every wave I was reminded of Gods faithfulness. He wants us to exercise His power not just expect it to fall on us. He wants His word to penetrate our deepest fears and ignite a passion to move us forward in the areas of our lives that have stopped.  Are you really dreaming beyond this captivity of fear in your life.  Remember bravery is feeling and showing. We can feel brave and yet never make a move. I have a lot of brokenness lingering within me but bravery is what pushes me to experience moments that move me out of my brokenness.   Today is your day to climb out of the boat of regret and embrace this massive ocean of redemption!   

This trip has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. As we left  my heart was full as the wind hit my face.  I began to smile because I had experienced the creativity of God in a new way.  As we are riding along my co-worker yells "oh my gosh dolphins" and immediately I was ready to jump out and swim with them. I went from arriving at the beach at the beginning of the week scared to touch the ocean to wanting to jump out and swim with dolphins. We watched with anticipation as they would glide by and come out of the water. It's as if they knew we were waiting to capture the perfect picture. God Is just like that sometimes. He waits for us to take our next steps of obedience and bravery and then BOOM we have dolphin moments happen because we are ready for the next blessing and adventure to come our way. Learning to be brave requires us to exercise that courage that has been replaced with fear. Today I encourage you to write this beautiful truth across your heart so you can begin to feel it and then you can show it.  2 Timothy 1:7- "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands for God has NOT given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self control. " I am choosing to be BRAVE today will you join me? 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Lizards and crystal blue waters...

There are times when I sit and question every move God makes in my life simply because it doesn't seem to work out the way I had intended it to. There are also times where I am in such awe of God that the results to my prayers and His voice soothes the depths of my soul. I was reminded this morning about the story of Jesus being 12 teaching in the temple and honestly I had to laugh.  We idolize Mary as being the mom of Jesus and yes that is true and also incredible but she also was just a mom. I can't imagine the fear that she went through when she arrived back home and her son never walked through the door. Literally 3 days letter they go all the way back to Jerusalem (without a car) mind you and there He was teaching about His Heavenly Father.   She must have felt relief, anger and awe. Don't we feel that way at times towards Him.  Our minds create scenarios that sound perfect when we have them floating around in our heads and because we are the way we are if it doesn't  play out the way we intended don't we often feel slighted by God?  As women we have to move our hearts into a place of total surrender every single day in order to keep our minds from going crazy with envy, jealousy and often anger towards the results of our prayers and desires.  I am sorry healing didn't come in the way you thought and yet I know the pain your feeling is real. God wants you to know that He loves you and has your best interest in mind and that amazing things will rise up from your pain.  To you who is suffering from loss whether it be a divorce looming, a death or a relationship that is coming to an end, God wants you to know that He loves you and that out of this will come purpose and a deeper intimacy with Him so lean in. There is something about letting go of control that releases any expectation of not measuring up.  I am in West Palm beach this week for a human trafficking conference and my co workers and I are staying with a sweet couple.  She cooked the most incredible breakfast I have ever eaten and it was all organic. I am sitting outside looking at palm trees and about to head down to the beach where crystal blue waters await. A lizard is running past my feet and the best cup of organic coffee is hitting my lips with thanksgiving. This environment is a recipe for rest and growth but it all comes down to my perception. My co worker can't go to the beach because she has a cast on, she has a ton of homework and she has to stay back.  My
Excitement of dipping my toes in crystal blue ocean is something she can't fully enjoy until tomorrow when we are in a boat and she can know that sand won't creep into her cast.  God is with both of us and He hears both our heart cries and He is choosing to draw intimacy in a different way.  Our thoughts can cripple the intimacy with Him simply because we choose to sulk or complain about whatever is going on around us rather than just locking eyes with God & pressing into His heart with the intention of rest, strength, comfort, change and so on.  Mary couldn't find Jesus and yet as His mom she was in awe of Him. Today no matter where you are in life or even where you are actually sitting as you read this. From the desk, to the couch to poolside to the crystal blue waters. Get your eyes off the dilemma, the questions, the fears and begin to soak up the goodness of God. The trees, the birds, the water, the people who speak life into you are all ways to experience this goodness. You are loved by a Creative God so you better believe He will creatively love you! Be in awe of Him today:) 

Luke 2: 46-47
46 After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And ALL who heard him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

Deuteronomy 31: 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jesus is mine.

This past Monday I was in my team meeting for work. We were discussing the presence of God in our lives as well as within the ministry. As I sat there reflecting on what was being said the lyrics of an old hymn popped into my head. "Blessed assurance Jesus is mine". I began to mediate on these words and yesterday I took it a little deeper.  The word blessed means: happy, wonderful or praiseworthy; bringing pleasure or divine favor. The word assurance is defined by; having confidence, made certain and the word mine simply means something that belongs to me. As I look over the past 39 years of my life I have possessed many things from pets to friendships, relationships to material possessions but all have left me either from death, to circumstances, to no longer needing something.  As I allow the words of this song to sink within my heart knowing that I posses the one thing that will never leave me is what carries me and also sustains me.   When things get crazy in my life and the stressors begin to choke my joy it's the assurance that Jesus is mine that allows me to keep my head above water. Joy will surface when He is enough for me. I look around me and I see opportunities I see pain and I see fear all equally staring me down and it's up to me who I lock eyes with. This past week I was listening to a song on the bethel cd and I was moved to tears. It says this  "Finally ready now to close my eyes and just believe That You won't lead me
Where You don't go". When we trust God out of surrender and not fear we are able to fully walk in the plans He has for us.  There is nothing out of Gods reach. He redeems all things and makes all things new. Your love for Him doesn't dictate His love for you it only deepens the intimacy. I am currently at Ridgecrest writing and finishing up my book proposal. It has brought back painful memories, unlocked insecurities that I didn't even know existed and yet there is a peace that I can't explain. I know God has brought me into a new season and no matter the outcome He has filled me to the brim.  I'm sitting on my bed in my most comfy tshirt and running pants and I could honestly wear this everyday.  What I have realized is that I usually don't fix my hair when I am in this attire.  We can become so comfortable in our relationship with Jesus that we never exercise the power of God or move past a season of complacency simply because we chose not to move. Today as you look at what season you are in know that when this season comes to an end Jesus will still be yours. Rest in the promise that when all else fades His love and pursuit of your heart still remains.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Time hopping is my new favorite thing

I downloaded the time hop app and I love looking back and seeing twitter & Facebook statuses as well as pictures I posted. It takes me back to that moment and it also shows me the growth I have seen in my life and others over the past several years. We tend to waste so much time worrying about the details of everyday life.  God wants to use those moments to grow us, push us and move us into a place of His leading.  When we are able to fully believe in His sovereignty then we can fully trust His leading.  It is so freeing to NOT worry about me and yet also a great realization of just how selfish I can become when my worry, anger and desires are centered around what I want.  Our attitudes are such great indicators of how healthy our hearts are and when we begin to hide behind a struggle and do nothing but talk about it, complain about it, give excuses about it we are pointing those around us to an idol rather than to a God who can deliver us from it. Over these last several years the one thing that has remained in my life has been this constant battle with weight and I had to position myself behind the very one who was going to lead me into a season of victory. I had to shift my eyes and heart and then my feet followed.  In Luke 1:45 it says “You are blessed because you BEIEVED that the Lord would do what he said”.  If I am trusting God to follow through with His promises there is no room for frustration no matter what season or part of the journey I am in.  In Hebrews 12:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever." He is an unchanging ever present God who never gets surprised by our anxiety, trust issues, worry, addictions and disobedience. However He will do anything to grab our attention & bring us back to Him so He can set us FREE to do what we are purposed to do. Yesterday time hop showed a picture of my girls from 5 years ago and they looked so young.  They are growing up so quickly and changing day to day. In the same way God was the same God 5 years ago as He is today in fact He is the same God who spoke the world into existence.  I just have to let His presence be made known.  I have to choose to seek Him. I have to choose to release all my hopes and dreams to Him. I have to choose to surrender control and let Him fully be my God.   

Holly Myers

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

You Look Better Without Your Mask

About 5 years ago I stepped into a season of transparency. I began to allow people into the dark places that lurked in me as well as the struggles and the pain of my past that haunted me. I knew Jesus was doing something but I didn't understand what it was until now.

When I was a little girl my addiction to boys triggered so many emotions inside me that left me at times feeling rejected and other times fully wanted.  I wore clothes to attract and left little to the imagination all because of a hole so deep inside me.  After I no longer felt a since of worth my addiction went from boys  into wanting approval from friendships and that carried me through high school and into my college years and early adulthood.  I was enslaved by the validation and approval from others. I would morph into who others wanted me to be so I could gain acceptance. I would dress however I thought would impress and that left me in a mess and I really had no idea who I was.

After the realization of this constant need for approval surfaced in me I began to really search for who I was and yet that addiction then turned to food. It consumed my every thought and made me so angry at those around me. I never got in a bathing suit and when I would eat out I would only order a salad to look as if I was healthy eating and then I would leave and binge.  People may say I share too much information and to those people I don't care because the freedom in sharing my scars has not only healed my heart over the years, but it has also given others the courage to take their mask off and embrace redemption.  I once was told by a pastor that "I shouldn't share such personal stuff" but I I pushed through those insecurities and the freedom I felt on the other side was unbelievable.

Look at David's story He was a man after Gods on heart and yet a murderer, adulterer, depressed and full of uncontrollable emotions.  His story continues to pave the way for many to walk out of sin, self righteousness and embrace redemption. What a beautiful picture of the cross.

I feel like some of you are on the edge, you want others to know the pain you feel but you worry about how they might perceive you.  God wants you to know that the enemy can't taunt you with what He doesn't control.  Handing your addiction, sin, fear, past or even your future over to the Creator releases a love like you have never known.

Last night as I was working, one of the girls kept asking me questions regarding my childhood and my life in general.  My heart melted because yet again I got to share what the enemy meant to for bad my Creator used as an instrument of change.   The problem with our struggles is that we become so consumed with them that we let then take over our hearts.  If we allow those struggles, or even good things to become our number one desire to the point of affecting our actions then it has become an idol and it needs to come down before healing and freedom can set in.

Jonah 2:8/9a "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs, 9A BUT I with a song of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you..."  As I read this verse I was reminded that when idols are present a sacrifice is made. When we are pursuing the things of God instead of God our intimacy with Him is sacrificed. When we pursue things that have nothing to do with Him we forfeit the grace that covers the very thing we need redeemed from. Your heart gives way to your actions and it tells the story of what's important to you.

What directs your path? Is it a desire for more or is it the need to be wanted? Or something else that has become a wedge between you and the sweet intimacy of Jesus? The beautiful thing about the grace of God is that once you surrender your life to Him you no longer have to be in a constant place of shame.  He freely pours out forgiveness to cover you and to set you in the path of righteousness and freedom. The sin of idol worship is something we hide our busy schedules behind along with the desire for more & then the distant between us and our Creator is often blamed on Him rather than our disobedience and sin.  Repentance is a churchy word but I believe that God has called us into holiness not perfection yet a daily posture of surrender.  God forgive us for worshiping things, dreams, people and so much more instead of seeing the beauty of You.  Allow us to see the things that have taken over our hearts so we can sacrifice those things and fully worship You alone! Take your mask off today and just be real.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mosquitos Suck

Today I asked myself this question, how many times have I been bitten by a mosquito? Oh I would say at least a thousand or more times over my lifetime.  I hate those pesty things. They look for fresh skin well fresh blood to suck. I can apply bug spray, wear long sleeve clothing and yet they always seem to find an exposed area to land.  I have two huge bites on the inside of my forearm currently that are driving me crazy. I have itched myself to death.   As I got out of the car this afternoon I was reminded of times in my life of how my sin & disobedience sucked the life out of me. It was as if the enemy looked for any weak area and then struck with a vengeance. I believe that our hearts go unprotected at times because we have great spiritual moments and then we rely on those spiritual markers to lead us and yet they never seem to sustain us.  We have to be always on guard and always in the word.  His word highlights those exposed areas and leads us away from places, people and addictions that could ultimately suck the life out of us and take us in the opposite  direction of Gods presence.  The beautiful thing about Gods love is that He makes it available every second of every day and His mercies are renewed daily as well. You may feel so far from God because of your own sin or the result of someone else's sin today but what I know is that God never moves away from us. He is waiting for you even in this moment for you to turn around and feel the embrace of His love, His redemption, His joy, His strength and more than anything His presence.  Freedom is waiting. 

Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool

2 Corinthians 5:17 
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Love is a Verb

People are constantly asking me for advice on relationships and marriage. I love being able to help women see God first and then their role as wife. For many women it's a constant struggle to submit and honor because they feel as if their husbands no longer show them love. I hear this constantly "when we dated he would bring me flowers, and take me out to eat and now he does nothing to romance me".  This morning I was reminded of a blog that Perry Noble wrote back in 2012 and it has stuck with me.  Perry is the pastor at NewSpring church in Anderson SC.  He is one of my most favorite pastors on the planet because his transparency.  After you read the blog (link posted at bottom) reflect on where your marriage is currently and also ask yourself what can I do to make things different. Ladies honoring your husband means you can't NAG or criticize their effort of pursuit and men date your wives and I promise you will see a difference. Simply put -Love is a verb!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jump In

I love being around people that are encouraging.  I know that my gifting is encouragement and that may be one of the reasons I draw energy from those type of people.  But I am talking about the ones who are always so full of life even when things seem so out of control. It's those people who strengthen my faith because I see them exercising theirs in those moments when it seems like the impossible is on the horizon. To refresh something means to make (someone) have more energy and feel less tired.  I love this definition because that is the very thing Jesus did while He was here on earth. Every bible story I have ever heard about Jesus was about Him reaching into the tired, weary, or thirsty and refueling them through healing whether it was physical, emotionally or spiritually.  Think about His name alone it should bring a smile to our faces.  As I was reading this morning I stumbled on these two verses out of Philemon and I was encouraged.  
Verse 6 
"and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.[a] 7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you"

"It says the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you"-Paul encouraged Philemon and was letting him know that heart change was happening because of how he was living out his faith.  I remember when I was a kid my sister hated the heat. She would whine and complain because she was so hot. I can hear her now crying without tears saying "I want some watttttteeeeer" (yes drawn out and all). I think about adults including myself who have been in that same moment of complaint, discomfort and because my attitude was bad it quickly spread and it changed the climate in the room. The same goes when you point people no matter the circumstance to Jesus. It's like you can feel the room shift and no longer are we focused on what we don't have or the healing that hasn't come but instead we see how big God is and how His love is the source of our strength.  Think about when you are on the beach what refreshes you?  Its not the cold drink that only holds you off for a while it's when you get in the pool or the ocean that does the trick. It's immersing yourself in the coolness that not only relaxes you but refreshes you.  Gods love is the same way. When your marriage is at the point of no return, your boyfriend or girl friend has ended what you thought was forever, your finances seem to only be getting worse or the diagnoses you were told you had has now set in and defeat and what ifs are consuming your mind and it's time you stop looking elsewhere or even turning to temporary relief.  He wants you to jump in I mean ALL of you because in the end your faith will be made effective, your intimacy will increase and those around you will walk away refreshed simply because you chose to trust in the power of your Creator over the thing that is making you tired and without energy to keep going. You are weak but He is strong! Be encouraged today :) 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wishy Washy

I can be so wishy washy. I get so into TV shows and before too long I am over it. The same way with movies. I have seen Rocky 4 a thousand times and yet now I will fast forward through the fight season until Rocky starts to win. I hate the the roller coaster of emotions.  I want to see the victory, or the girl get the boy, the family restored etc. I have always been this way. I hate for friends to be mad and for couples to break up. I want everyone's life to be full of happiness.  I have friends right now that are broken and are hanging on by what seems to be a last thread of faith.  Relationships are ending, healing isn't coming and chaos is overwhelming them.  In college one of my professors said that social workers are wounded healers and I believe that even more today. I want to fix the areas of peoples lives that hurt them because I have felt my share of heartache.  As I was reading in Romans yesterday I came across this passage and I saw this unwavering faith that Abraham had and I desire that.  Romans 4:20-22
"20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”

It says NO unbelief made him waver. It's crazy how our almost automatic response to our circumstances is unbelief.  We shift blame to God and question His sovereignty. Abraham used that time of waiting as a season of growing His faith. I can't imagine his thoughts about his wife of a very old age having a child. Year  after year passing and nothing happening and yet decades past and it says he was not partially convinced but FULLY convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.  Just like in the movies I hold on to the promise of the movie ending with happily ever after my faith should strengthen because I am holding on to the promises of what is to come.  The story your living isn't over. Death comes, brokenness happens but in the end WE WIN. It's about how we view God through this season because that is what deepens our intimacy with Him and strengthens our faith. Waver is defined "to move back and forth in an unsteady way".  So to have this unwavering trust with your Creator NO matter what is going on means you are choosing to stand firm no matter the outcome. It's a trust that you can't explain yet so sure of. Freedom comes from not knowing what will happen yet so sure and confident that Your Creator covers it all. He will not leave any loose ends nor leave you. He is for you! Today take a step back from what is sucking the life out of you and see the bigger picture. Your marriage can be saved, you do have a purpose even when you feel like your dream has passed and know that God hears your cry. Wait and then maybe wait a little longer, lean in like never before and trust just like Abraham because Gods promises will not return void.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

His Name is Jesus

I have recently started a new study by Beth Moore- the title is Jesus. It is a 90 day study and it is taking me through His entire life.  I decided to look up the definition and Webster defines His name as this; the Jewish religious teacher whose life, death, and resurrection as reported by the Evangelists are the basis of the Christian message of salvation —called also Jesus Christ. It says the basis of the Christian message of salvation. His name is the reason I am covered in grace and redemption.  It's crazy how much we love celebrity names and even more celebrity blended names. Just yesterday the news was reporting about "Kimye" which is Kim and Kenye west.  Rebekah and I laughed out loud because number one why do we care so much and number two we knew that name would  stick and that it will be all over magazine covers today.  We also allow our identity to be defined by the names that have been said about us.  For me growing up I had a lot of bad names spoken over me and about me. Some I deserved and others I didn't but because the weight of words are so heavy I carried it. I looked in the mirror and I saw those names.  It wasn't until I really embraced the name of Jesus that my view of myself began to change.  Remember the story of the woman at the well? She encountered Jesus and she never was the same. In fact she ran into the village where people knew who she was and what she had done.  She needed for others to know.  I remember running into a girl I went to school with growing up at the fair last year. I was so eager to talk to her because I needed her to know that Jesus had changed my life.  She had bullied me a good bit and she was also quick to apologize and let me know Jesus had changed her.  We tend to look at people and automatically remember their sin and yet Jesus looks and sees us covered in His beautiful grace.  The lady who checks you out at the grocery store without a smile may have come from an abusive home before she entered to work and she has no smile left.  The man behind the wheel whose driving so slow and seems not to care may be avoiding going home because he has no food or money to give his family. We seem to take things at face value and make our presumptions and then respond accordingly. Our complaints, attitudes and responses look nothing like the name we choose to carry as the basis of our salvation.  What about you and me? On our worst days we crave grace from others.  I had a rough few months adjusting to a new job and Jesus reached in showed me areas of change and yet all the while He reminded me of who I am in Him not who I use to be.  My worth has nothing do to with how unorganized, how overweight or How all together I am.  My worth is defined by a name that changed  history, a name that took who I use to be and made me brand new.  A name that is so powerful that demons have to flee and yet brings freedom to those who embrace it. That name is Jesus and today He wants you to know that He loves you more than anything. How would you define the name of Jesus today? For me... Jesus means - My ENOUGH. 

Psalm 8:9 Oh Lord, oh Lord how majestic is your NAME in all the earth.