Friday, June 3, 2016

What Are You Waiting For?

Have you ever felt like there were a thousand things that you should be doing, but you didn't know where to start? What if each time you prepared to start heard a voice saying, "Wait!" What if you had multiple dreams that you felt God gave you, only to have someone else complete the idea that you thought God had prepared for you. Would you give up? Would you continue to listen? Or would you try to drown out what you thought you were hearing for fear of disappointment? Or maybe you would do all of the above?  

I know that sometimes listening means more than seeking others thoughts about things. Sometimes, it means that complete silence is necessary to hear exactly what you tried to hear amidst all the noise of your everyday life. The lyrics of the song Heart of Worship come to mind as I listen in the silence...

When the music fades
All is stripped away 
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that's of worth
That will bless your heart

Isn't that what we all desire?  To bless the heart of our Lord....can you hear him in the noise?  Or does it sometimes become necessary to have silence?  Sometimes, I don't really want to hear what God is trying to tell me for fear that it may not match the plan that I had created for myself. But, I know that God's plan is far greater than anything that I could imagine. How many times have you run from something when in fact, you should be running to it? God knows the deepest desires of your heart. God created you for a specific purpose that only you can fill.  Psalm 37:7 says, "Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act." Don't try to run ahead of God, because you will only make things more difficult for yourself. Let God prepare the way for you. You know the old saying, "Good things come to those that wait!"  Let's take it a step farther and say "Good things come to those that wait upon the Lord!" Isaiah 40:31 says it like this, 
"But they who wait upon the Lord will get new strength. They will rise up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weak." Let God prepare your way and give you a God sized vision for your life.    

What are you waiting for?


Thursday, June 2, 2016

In Another's Eyes.....

Can you imagine what this world would look like, if every single choice that we made was based on someone else's opinion of us? What if we were only allowed to live by what others thought of us? How many of us would just go along with what was said about us......just to keep the attention away from ourselves?    

How many of us currently live our lives this way? Do we worry about what our clothes look like? Our hair? Do we worry that we aren't pretty enough? What about our homes and our vehicles? Do we worry that we just don't measure up? Do we have a job that is fulfilling God's purpose for our lives? Or do we work just to pay the bills? Do we worry that we aren't good parents? Why is that we feel like we are never enough?         

There are so many standards that the world tells us are important. But the most important standards come from the Lord. In James 2:8 it says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." God doesn't give us the right to judge one another. We were placed on this earth to love one another. In Romans 13:8, it says, "Owe nothing to anyone---except for your obligation to love one another.  If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God's law."  

For many years, I have measured myself through another's eyes. I have judged myself based on what friends, family and others said or didn't say about me. I have made decisions based on these same things. I accepted all words as truth, even those that I knew weren't truth. I have come to realize through many trials, that my life is a sum of all the choices that I have made both good & bad. My life is not here to be chosen by someone else. My life is not to be directed like a bad movie. I have a say in what I decide is best for me. I have a voice. Some might say that I have always had strong beliefs about many different things. These beliefs however, were never something that I was willing to allow to be measured through another's eyes. So, I've kept my thoughts and beliefs to myself. But, as I look ahead to the direction that God is leading me, I believe that my thoughts & beliefs will become an important part of my life.            

Everyone one of us has a choice to make each day. We must choose each day to be our true authentic self. We must not become what the world demands us to be. We must become the person that God created us to be! I believe that our primary mission is not only to love one another, but to love ourselves completely. We must accept that the world will always paint a different picture of what our life should look like. We must trust in the Lord.   He will make our path straight and lead us into the life that He has already promised us. "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11  

If we must choose to see our life through another's eyes.....let it be the eyes of the Lord!  


Saturday, September 14, 2013

God's Amazing Presence.....

As a lover of Jesus, I am always looking for ways for HIM to show me HIS presence.  But, what happened yesterday......totally blew me away.....  Yesterday, September 13 was the day of my Grandmother's burial and memorial service.  When my Grandfather passed away nearly three years ago, both of my cousins said something at my Grandfather's memorial service.  So, I had prepared myself to say something this time at my Grandmother's memorial.  As the past week had gone by, I had tried numerous time to sit down and write something....but to no avail.....I could never find the right words.  So, as the day approached yesterday...I continued to ponder different things that I could share.  When I spoke with my cousin before the memorial service, she said she wanted to say something but hadn't been able to figure out what to write down either.  At that time, we decided we would go up together and trust that God would tell us what to say.

A short time ago, before my Grandmother passed away she had prepared the scriptures and the songs that she wanted to be used at her memorial service.  After we had sang a few hymns and heard a few different passages of scripture, we were asked to come forward.  Katelyn and I both knew it was time, but not having anything planned was a little frightening.  Moments before we were asked to go up there, something incredible happened.  Pastor had read the entire Psalm 46.  Earlier that morning as I sat and read my devotion, I read the bible verses that were associated with it.  Sometimes, none of the verses touch me and so I find a verse that is related that I feel works better.  That is exactly what happened yesterday morning.  I didn't like any of the verses and so as I ponder what my devotion was about....I heard God say, "Be still and know that I am God."  So, I looked the verse up and came up with Psalm 46:10a....which just happens to be the verse that I posted on Facebook.  Right before we were asked to come up front, Pastor read this and I began to weep.  I knew then what I would say.  I spoke of how amazing it was, that I had picked that verse today and so had my Grandmother just weeks previously.  What happened next surprised even cousin Katelyn, who took my hand as we stood there together...spoke about a Psalm that she had used the past week to stay calm and get things taken care of that she needed to at college in order to come home to my Grandmother's burial and memorial.  The Psalm that she referred to was Psalm 121, which was the first passage of scriptures that Pastor had read to us as the service began.  We were both in awe.....God had used both of us...along with my Grandmother to show a connection to God and to give us comfort.  It was incredible enough that God had given me that verse yesterday morning, but to have given Katelyn the other scripture....just makes God so much more real.  I am blessed as I know many others were that God used at our Grandmother's memorial.  Thank you, Lord.....for amazing me yet again!



Thursday, July 11, 2013

What Would You Choose???

Would you walk away from your dreams in order to be obedient to what God is asking you to do?  Do you believe that God has your best interest at heart?  Do you sometimes find yourself knowing what is best for you....only to realize one day, that you really didn't seek God?  At some point in all of our lives, we make choices that are what we want and not necessarily what God is directing us towards.   

Recently, I had to step back from a decision that I had made.  It wasn't a bad idea.  It wasn't even something that I shouldn't do, but it was MY idea.  It was MY plan.  It was MY future all wrapped up in this pretty picture that I had painted in MY mind.  I had fully decided to embrace this plan and was headed full everything I had to MY future.  What I didn't think about....was how this was going to affect EVERYONE else in my little world.  I didn't think about how I would no longer be available to give to my family what they need.  I was only thinking about how this would make ME look, how it would make ME feel, and who I would become after I completed this plan.  I never really stopped to think about what I would be taking away from kids or my husband.  

I don't really know what happened on Sunday, but something changed in me.... I guess maybe God opened my eyes.  Actually, I believe it was a conversation that I had with someone else that changed my heart.  The strange thing is....they said nothing to me about my plan, they just listened, was the look in their eyes.  The only thing that kept going through my mind Sunday night was, "what was I thinking???"  I had convinced myself that this decision was the best thing for EVERYONE, but it really wasn't. It was only best for ME! 

So after a few days of contemplation and prayers and soul searching.....I am going to step back from my decision and CHOOSE to do what is best for my family and trust that God will use it for good!  I know that His plan is so much better than mine, but sometimes setting aside dreams is really hard.  So, I will walk away again....just as I have done in the past, trusting that God has much better plans, then the ones that I keep trying to create for MYSELF.    

Have you ever wondered why you can make such great plans and even totally begin to embrace the plans?  Then all of a sudden, you experience something that wreaks havoc in your mind and you know it is completely, the wrong thing.  I could have prevented all of the heartache and pain, but once again.....I wanted to do it MY way.  There were warning signs along the way, but the fact that everything went through.....should mean that God was blessing me, right?   Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, this time.  God was giving me an opportunity to CHOOSE obedience!  God wasn't forcing me to listen.  God wasn't even making things impossible or difficult.  God opened every door and then threw 1,000 red flags at that I would have to ignore each one, in order to do it MY way. Something in me, wanted so badly to run and do it anyways.  I kinda think that is what I was doing all along.....running from God.  I didn't want to hear that this wasn't what he wanted me to do.  It made sense in my mind.  It solved so many of the things that I thought, were what I needed.  I wanted to believe, that it was exactly what I was supposed to be doing.  I think that I have known all along that it wasn't the right time.  I have faced opposition and struggled to justify why it was the best idea.  But, in the isn't all about ME!  So, I am choosing to trust God and to be Obedient!  

Thank you, Lord for blessing me with the gift of choice!  Thank you for allowing me to mess up and still loving me anyways.  Thank you for always protecting me from making mistakes by giving me the ability to see your red flags....even when I would rather pretend that's not what they are.  Thank you, Lord for guiding me on the best path for my life.  Amen


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Where do you CHOOSE to live???

Are you a dreamer?  Lately, I have come to realize that I have a tendency to live in my head. I have learned over my lifetime that when things are difficult and I don't know what to do, I play hundreds of scenarios over and over in my head....the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Do you find yourself focusing on the future?  I believe that many of us cling to Jeremiah 29:11, which says,  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I believe that the next two verses(11-12) are just as important.  "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  It is important to know that God doesn't have plans to make you miserable, especially when you are in the midst of trials and tribulations.  God plans to give you hope and a future.  As you learn to seek God in the middle of your struggles, you will also learn that He listens to our prayers and He answers.  The answers may not always be what we hope for and sometimes His answer is, not now.  But, God really does know what is best for each and every one of us!

Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in God's plan for the future that we forget that the here and now is just as important as the future.  Do you realize that the PRESENT was at one time, the FUTURE?  How crazy is that!  When we are so focused on what may happen or what is coming in the future, we forget how important it is that we should embrace each minute of each hour of each day, because these are the moments that God had planned for our FUTURE.  Every day that we get on this Earth with our family and friends is a blessing and a gift!  

When all four of my kiddos were little, each evening before their bedtime we would all sit around in a circle on one of the bedroom floors and sing songs and then everyone would share something that they were thankful for, that day.  My three oldest kiddos are all teenagers now and we still spend time together each evening before bed, but the time is different now.  We spend it reading the bible and praying together.  I'm having a difficult time accepting that a month from now we will have an 18 year old, 16 year old, 14 year old  and 9 year old.  I really don't know where all of the time went.  From those innocent nights that we shared together when they were little, to the time that we spend together now.  They all seem to be quickly approaching adulthood, at least the oldest three are.  I feel like these changes happened over night.  I know that they didn't, but something has triggered in me.....and I don't want to lose anymore moments.  "This is the day the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24   I want to focus on each day, because it is another day that God has given me on this earth to share with my family and friends.    

Do you focus on the PRESENT moments so you don't miss the joy that each day brings? Here are some of the ways that I plan to be more intentional with my family:  take 15-20 minutes of 0ne-on-one time with each of my kiddos daily, pray individually with each of them daily, create moments of joy during the day, have a fun activity at least one time each week, remember to notice the positive things that each person does, instead of always pointing out the negative things, read with them, spend time playing games, and take walks. There are so many ways to find joy in our daily lives.  It is just a matter of being intentional and being purposeful to embrace each moment as it happens.  Are you ready to create more joy in your life?  Another way that you can be intentional is by creating a thankfulness journal.  You could take time each evening, to write down things that you experienced during the day that brought you great joy.  What a blessing that would be to go back and read a year or so later...especially if you were having a bad day!  Remember, that every PRESENT moment was once a FUTURE moment.  Where will you choose to live in the PRESENT or in the FUTURE???  I pray that God will bless you in both your PRESENT and in your FUTURE!


Friday, May 3, 2013

The Power of Words

What power do words play in your life?  Have you ever stopped to think about how the words that a close friend shares can affect you differently than the same words from an acquaintance or even a spouse?  Why do the same words mean different things from different people?  In Proverbs 16:24, it says, "Kind words are like honey--sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Our words can have the power of life and death.  It may be hard for you to believe that the tongue can have such a great power over someone's life.  There may be something that seemed so minute at the time it was said, but you hold on to it for years....because of what it meant to you.  Maybe it is a comment that your grandma made about choices you were making at the time or it may have been something personal that a close friend shared.  Words play such an important role in all of our lives, whether we realize the power they hold or not.      

Words can affect our lives in many profound ways.  The words that we use can reveal things about our character.  The way we choose to use our words to build up others or tear them down can reveal so much about the state of our heart.  When you are broken inside, it is becomes harder to build others up.  God wants all of us to be healed and whole.  He wants to mend the broken places in our lives.  Allowing God to heal what is broken will definitely change the state of your heart.  God has a special purpose for each of us and it is something that He has picked especially for each one of us.  In Ecclesiastes 5:2, it says, "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty with your heart to utter anything before God.  God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." 

Let My Words Be Few by Phillips, Craig & Dean     

Words mean different things to different people.  To one person words may be what they cling to for reassurance and love, but to another they are just what we use to get across our point of view.  For me words are the one thing that I cling to.  Through trial and error, I am learning when to speak and when not to speak.  I am learning that my words carry way more power, than I ever knew.  Anyone that knows me, knows that I am not a women of few words.....I like to talk.  In fact, I don't really know how to be quiet most of the time.  But, over the last few weeks.....I hit a wall.  I tried desperately to write, because it is the one thing that gives me great relief when I have emotions that are all over the place.  I tried at least a handful of different times.  In fact, this post was started on April 23rd(and was my 3rd attempt).  What I didn't realize then, was that the lesson that I was supposed to learn....was to let my words be few.  In order for me to listen and hear what God was trying to tell me, I needed to be still.  That is not something that I do very well.  Psalm 37:7a says, "Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act."  It was definitely a struggle not to be able to express myself through my words, but I knew that there had to be a reason.  With God, there is always a reason for everything.

Sometimes, we get so busy trying to fix things that we don't wait patiently for God to show us what path to take. The only way that we can find out what God's best for us is, we must seek him in all we do.  Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."  This may not seem like a simple task, but putting God in front of our own desires for our life, will definitely result in blessings.  Letting go of what we think our lives are supposed to look like and being obedient to what tasks God calls us to, will forever change the way we view our lives.  If God is calling you to be obedient in some area of your life, I would listen no matter how difficult or painful it may be.  I am finding that each time I walk through the fire that God uses to purify my heart, I am blessed even more!  God loves you and wants to purify you and make you whole!  Will you be obedient and allow God to change your heart?  


Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Two Brothers

What happens when doing the right thing....doesn't always seem like the right thing? Tonight, the story of the prodigal son was shared by Pastor Louie Giglio at the Burning Lights Tour, with Chris Tomlin and Kari Jobe. The story had a completely different impact on me, than what I expected. In the story of the prodigal son, both sons were given an inheritance. The first son saved his money and tried to please his father and did everything that was expected of him. The second son squandered his money away and basically went wild doing whatever he wanted. Then one day, when the second son hit rock bottom, he decided to come crawling back to his father. What happens next is what may seem surprising....instead of punishing the son for his bad choices, the father welcomes him with open arms. He even goes as far as throwing a party and killing the fattened calf. He invites the town to celebrate that his son has come home. The first son becomes very upset. After all, he has worked hard for what he has and he doesn't understand why his brother who as made all these bad choices, is now the one that is being celebrated and doted over.

Which brother are you? Are you the second brother that has made bad choices and needs to come home and be accepted and loved by God and your family? Or are you the first brother that has always been home, that has tried to make good choices, but desires to know that you are accepted and loved even though you weren't lost? I have to say that this story really hit me hard, tonight. Just because you make good choices and you haven't turned away from your family or God, this doesn't mean that you should be celebrated. Sometimes, it isn't about what choice you make, but about what you choose to do with the choices you make. My point is that we all have choices to make. Our choices are what makes us who we are. Whether you are the son that stayed or the one that wandered away, you must know that God is celebrating both of you! God celebrates when we come home, if we are lost. But, God also celebrates us for being faithful! You may not get the fattened calf, but you will be blessed for your faithfulness in ways that can not be explained, until you experience it. Don't harbor resentment and anger, because no one celebrated that you stayed faithful.....because God is always celebrating when you rely on him and trust in his promises. Nothing on earth can compare to what God promises to those who trust in him and are faithful. Believe the truths that God speaks in the bible about you and your life and you WILL be blessed!  


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