Life Verse

"Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me"

Psalm 51:10

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I've been in the wilderness for the past few months. Not literally, but in my heart and mind.  I was spiritually hungry, thirsty and tired.  I felt physically weak.  At first, it was not such a great place to be, but in the end, it has been a blessing.

It started right after I got home from the 2:1 Conference.   I was high with excitement and encouraged.  I was ready to take on the social media and blogging world.  Then I settled into my normal life and started questioning myself.  I felt completely inadequate as a wife, mother, homeschooler, blogger, friend and Christian.  Had I been wrong about feeling God's calling to blog? Essentially, I gave up.  Of course, this was not the objective of the conference!  It was Satan attacking me with lies in every area of my life.  He was trying to drive me into my weakness, which is the depression that I've struggled with since I was a teen.  I'm not sure why it happened at this time, but I do believe I needed to go to this barren wilderness to find my purpose.  I was driven to desire God more and that is a good thing!!!

A few weeks ago, my pastor, Brady Boyd, hit the nail on the head during his message on the Sermon on the Mount.  He had a great quote, "God loves you to much to give you a platform before He privately confirms our identity."  That was it!  I was meant to go to 2:1.  God wanted me there, but He was equipping me.  He never meant for me to come home and be a superstar blogger the Monday after the conference.  He put very specific people in my life that weekend to nurture my journey, not to discourage it.  I have spent much time in prayer, meditation on His Word and counsel from other godly women.  I was able to really reflect on my purpose during a Christian family camp earlier this summer and even through the children I have been working with at church.  It's been a difficult, but amazing time of growth for me.

I am running out of this barren wilderness into the lush, vibrant life that I know He has for me. I feel that God has prepared me to send me out to be a voice and an influence.  I hope that you will join me on this journey and be blessed.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Evaluating what I believe

Remember Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, Krystle Campbell and Sean Collier.  My heart and prayers go out to their families and to those still recovering from their injuries. What happened was absolutely pure evil.  I cannot fathom how any human being could do this to others. My heart is with Boston, a city that I have been to many times and love.  I rejoiced with them when the terrorist was caught.

So, why in the world did I find myself on my knees praying for the life of Dzhokar Tsarnaev to be spared last night?  First off, I wanted him to be alive to tell authorities what their motive was and I want him to face the justice system.  I had another reason, though.  As long as he is alive, there is hope for him.  It's too late for his brother, but it isn't too late for him.  What?!  Am I some sort of crazy person?  No, I'm a Christian.   A follower of Jesus.  I believe in redemption after repentance.  I have lived redemption.   I am not a sympathizer to extremist terrorists.  I HATE what they did and they deserve Hell.  So do I.  So do you.  We all deserve Hell due to the Fall and human depravity.  Satan still influences and torments this world, but God has overcome.  I have to step back and examine what I believe as a Christian.  Jesus died for all of the people that God created.  We are all sinners. He died for the sins of the adulterer, the prostitute, the liar, the bully, the abuser and the killer. I don't condone the sin, but I believe they are eligible for forgiveness.   As long as we have breath, I believe that God can do a mighty work in us.  If I didn't believe that, I'd be a hypocrite.  Jesus would have died in vain.  I have to believe that forgiveness is possible for all who seek it from Him.   I choose to look at people as Jesus would look at them.  He grieves the loss of life and the terrible sins of this young man, but He also created him and loves him.  He can still be made new. I thank God for His grace and mercy in my life.  Repent. Jesus is Alive and He can change you.
I pray for the victims and their families.  I pray for physical and spiritual healing.  

And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him .  Colossians 1:20-22

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out. Acts 3:19

For nothing will be  impossible with God. Luke 1:37

Jon Egan wrote the song, Overcome, in the aftermath of the deadly shooting at New Life Church in Colorado Springs.  It is a reminder that God has overcome.  We have hope in Him no matter what the circumstances of our life.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Worship with Abandon

Psalms 29:2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

I used to care a lot about appearances.  I've gotten over it in the past few years.  One of the areas that I was very self conscious about was expressing myself during worship.  I grew up with the dusty old Baptist hymnal, usually mumbling along with the sound of the organ. I am thankful for Fanny Crosby and her beautiful hymns, but at the time, my worship was passionless.  In college, I was introduced to the newfangled idea of clapping to praise songs and there was a (gasp!) drum set on stage.  In my young married life, we have tasted different levels of worship in the different communities that we have been a part of.  Each church seemed a little edgier than the last when it came to the worship portion of the service.  We now go to a church that is all about worship.  It's not about the band up front, it is not even always about the music.  It is about surrendering yourself to Jesus and giving Him honor and praise with abandon in all areas of your life.  I have never felt so free, so connected to my Lord.  I now know what it means to truly worship.  I don't feel ashamed to lift up my hands in praise or desperation.  I can't help but to abandon my inhibitions when it comes to Jesus.  I clap, I dance,I cry, I  pray, I lift up my voice.   I just want to be open to my Father.  I listen more carefully when I pray, read scripture and look upon His creation.  I am more thoughtful to how I can show Jesus to those around me.  It's all worship and it's all about letting go.  I have abandoned my old thoughts of worship and I have embraced this new, authentic relationship that I have found.  I'm alive and so is He!  Praise Him!

Psalms 150 Praise the LORD! 
Praise God in his sanctuary; 
praise him in his mighty heavens! 
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; 
praise him with lute and harp! 
Praise him with tambourine and dance; 
praise him with strings and pipe! 
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Green Living Bible

I quietly creep out of my room and into the living room.  The sun is streaming in and the dust particles are dancing through the beams.  My grandma is sitting in her chair, reading her Bible.  Just where I knew she would be.  Her green living Bible is in her lap and coffee is at her side.  She's been up for awhile, first making a big breakfast for my grandpa.  She was such a good example of a helpmate.  Next, she got her coffee and headed to the chair by the big picture window.  She would pray and spend time reading.  It was like this every time I visited.  I could count on it.

When my grandma died on March 17, 2005, I knew that the Bible was what I wanted to have as a memento of her.  I opened the worn, cracked cover and saw a dedication on the front.  She and my grandpa had been given this Bible as a gift on Dec. 25, 1975--the week I was born.  I felt like I was meant to have it.  This Bible has been such a blessing to me.  My grandma did not only leave a spiritual legacy to me through her actions, but through her Bible.  I love reading the notes she has written in the margins.  There are also prayer requests from when she must not have had paper to write on.  She has taped favorite devotionals from the Upper Room.  The verses that meant something to her are underlined.  It is such a gift!

She passed her Christian heritage onto me, not by lecturing, but by living. If I hadn't grown up with her as an example, I'm not sure where I would be.  I want to be just like her.  Thank you, Lord, for placing her in my life and for allowing me to still learn from her through her Bible.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Open Your Blinds!

I keep my blinds closed most of the time.  I am one of "those" people.  It drives my mom nuts when she comes to visit me. She can't stand how I live in the the dark. I am a private person and don't want anyone to "see" inside, so I keep my blinds closed.  The sad thing is that I am missing the amazing beauty on the other side of those blinds.

I also keep the blinds to my heart closed.  Little by little, I have been twisting them open and I've started to see the beauty on the other side.

I can't pinpoint exactly why I've been so closed off.  I assume it started when I was a young girl.  I had a working mom and a very busy dad.  I spent a lot of time alone and didn't have a closeness with my parents or younger brother.  I was also overweight and was bullied at school and in my neighborhood.  I changed schools several times too.  I went to three elementary schools, 2 junior highs and  3 high schools!  It was very hard for me to find a group to join and belong to.  When I went to college, I had intentions to join campus Bible studies and service organizations.  Unfortunately, I sabotaged myself and sought out relationships that kept me closed off from everyone else.  I missed out on discipleship and godly girlfriends.  That is one of my biggest regrets in life.

As a young adult in my 20s, I volunteered as a Younglife leader, but I was so afraid of opening up to those teenage girls, that I failed to mentor them. As a military spouse, I have shied away from social situations because I represent my husband and I am so scared that I'll say or do something wrong.  I have been afraid of taking leadership positions within the military spouse community. I have walked away from potential friendships, women's fellowships and ministry opportunities because I was afraid of what others would think of me.  I let the enemy tell me that my blinds needed to remain closed.  I had nothing to offer and  I was going to embarrass myself.  Satan wants me to imprison my heart so I can't be used by God.  It's his only weapon--to lie to me and make me believe that I am not worth knowing.

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

I am now 37 years old with a whole lot of life ahead of me and experience behind me.  I don't want to waste another day hiding behind the blinds, peering out the slats to see what I am missing.  I am not going to live in the dark anymore.  I have things to offer and friendships to nurture. I learned this recently when I went to a conference by myself.  Other women reached out to me and I found new friends.  I could have easily sat by myself and gone to my room to eat by myself, but I said yes and it was wonderful!  I want to be able to reach out to others like that.   I am scared, but how can I remain that way when I know God has a beautiful life for me on the other side of the blinds?  Sure, it may sometimes be cloudy or stormy, but He will protect me.  I will trust Him to lead me out of hiding.  I will be obedient and let Him use me.

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 5:16 NASB

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." John 8:12

"for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light" Ephesians 5:8

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

The view out my window--Pike's Peak