Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Whew...accomplished that task and continued to clean and organize once again trying to simplify my stuff, house and priorities. Fortunately our children did not get much for Christmas and the only toys they got were a small Lego and one big Nerf gun.....
In about 12 days our life will take on a new direction and when I look at what it brings I am a bit nervous and scared. I will share more on the new adventure soon but for now I will tell you that it is taking a toll financially that we did not anticipate. I know that I should not fear and that I must Trust and have Faith that all things are working together for good and so I will continue to press in to HIM and do what I can to simplify on my end!
So...in simplifying I shared with my dear husband what I was going to do in order to help save money and simplify our fast paced life here in the wild west. With eager anticipation and a sigh that means "oh no what is she up to now and what am I going to have to endure as she is on this simplifying adventure?" HEHE......And so I revealed my grand plan. NO MORE STARBUCKS! AGGHHHH!!!!
I love Starbucks and have even found a way to simplify a peppermint mocha in order to keep costs down but as you all know it still is an arm and leg and I am running out of arms and legs (my children lost theirs long ago and now it will be mine)...HEHE...JK, JK...we all still have our limbs!
This is not a New Years resolution this is a lifestyle shift. It is going to be like healthy eating and working out or memorizing scripture (which I am embarking on and will tell you about in two posts). This is going to be a discipline. Actually it goes beyond my Starbucks addiction.
It is really about need vs. want. What we need vs. what we want. You see I am a lazy mom. I often stop by Starbucks or Tim Horton's to pick up a quick snack for the children or if we are out and it is in the evening...lazy me drives through a restaurant to pick up fast food. This certainly does not fit with the lifestyle we are trying to live or the values we are trying to instill in our children. They then begin to expect treats and eating out and don't understand when we say "NO".
So...Good By Starbucks and hello Betty Crocker! I am once again going to bond with my kitchen appliances, coffee beans and water bottles along with a family size lunch bag.
Do you have any ideas to share on how to simplify or snack/dinner ideas for the crazy family here in the wild west?
Saturday, December 25, 2010
As the years passed and my children became older (3 was the magic year I think:) I realized that 1. They wanted to invite ALL of the people they knew. I loved this about my children because I believe that no child should be left out. It is not a nice feeling to be in kindergarten and not get invited to birthday parties that your other classmates were being invited to. and 2. That if they invited ALL of the people they knew they received far to many gifts and did not appreciate the gift nor play with the gift in a way that showed gratitude.
|2010 Charity Birthday Collection for the Dream Center|
|2008 Charity Birthday Collection for the Women's Shelter|
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The season of togetherness started on November 19th as my mom and I joined a wonderful group of women in Rapid City South Dakota. This was a truly moving experience as I met with and old friend and she shared her friends. An instant connection with them. A beautiful connection. A refreshing and deep connection with them. A connection that seemed like I had been friends with them too for 16 years. A connection that allows me to be me authentically with out fear.
As this season progresses I am so happy with the togetherness it brings. I love togetherness and often you will find many people especially women at my house celebrating. Celebrating who we are and and encouraging each other to become who we are designed to be. As women we long to be known. We long to be connected. You see in the beginning we were created to be a helper. To help Adam. To walk beside him. Yes beside him. A complimentary relationship.
Our heart longs for intimacy. We long to feel safe in relationships and have the desires of our hearts known and embraced. We want to be able to be our true selves, authentically with out having to be on guard. We want to know we are lovely and that we are delighted in. We want to be irreplaceable. We want to live an adventurous life full of joy.
Often we live in fear...scared of revealing our true selves. Scared of rejection, scared of pain of fallen relationships, scared of loneliness, scared of not being in control. Our deepest heartaches come from relationships.
And so as I have journeyed toward understanding this wiring in me, the burning desire to connect women has welled up in my like a volcano and has slowly festered over the years. And as each year passes and I surrender to my Maker, He reveals to me my beauty and your beauty. Now my volcano is erupting. My desire is pouring out and running like a mass. It is amazing to see how the fear of rejection and loneliness has left and I can fully embrace my beauty and be me authentically.
What is most exciting is sharing this with you, with other women. I have seen this unveiling of fear in many of the women I have invited along my journey. I will share with you stories...I love stories as they are what sews together the quilt of life one different piece at a time. Piece by different piece we are brought together to form a beautiful work of art!
As you know from the post Friday, December 3, 2010 titled Knock Knock....I am busy with parties....parties that I am invited to and parties/gatherings I will host. What I love most about these is the togetherness is brings. The last gathering was our first annual Christmas purse exchange. 14 women came together and delighted in each other and handbags. The idea was to purchase a handbag fill it with purse pleasures and wrap it...and viola...a Chinese gift exchange would ensue. Me, and my Tas Philas Amy and Patti invited women we thought would enjoy meeting others and who could possibly be desiring to connect.
Strangers were strangers no more and personalities were revealed through the choice of hand bags purchased and chosen to keep.
Friday, December 3, 2010
As I sit here at look at my December calendar and cautiously peek into the New Year I am gently reminded as to what this past year and all of the years past have meant and brought to me.
The Holiday season is in full swing here as I am sure it is for many of you! I began December with the first party of the season last evening. For some reason it seems to be the year for jewelery parties. I have been to a few the last couple of weeks and will even be hosting one. My man keeps wondering how much more jewelery a girl could need. I am not sure I can answer that for him....
As I arrived at the party and was so wonderfully greeted by all of my Tas Philas (best friends)and introduced to strangers who are strangers no more I felt warm inside. I instantly thought "This is what it is about.....meeting, sharing, edifying and encouraging each other!"
One of my long time Tas Philas whom (because life is busy) has been distant said to me "how have you been?" My reply..."I am wonderful!" Her reply "you are always wonderful and so happy and so good.....I want to be you."
I was surprised by this. Surprised because at that moment my life whizzed through my head. You see my life was not as bad as some but it was riddled with bondage. Bondage that was packed in a suitcase that I carried around with me. The longer I carried it the more angry and bitter I became because it was a lot of work to carry this baggage. Along with the fact that no one wants to deal with a big bag in their way because it tends to trip them up as well.
I instantly replied...."OH NO...you don't want to be me." That was a reaction. A reaction my knowledge of her story coupled with my story. What I wished I had done is breathe, think, and let the Spirit move in me. I know my response would have been....You can be like me.
I am this way because a baby was born in Bethlehem 2010 years ago. He was given to us so He could live amongst us, feeling what we feel and showing us His amazingness, only to soon die so we could have life. You see my Life has been transformed because I gave it to my Saviour Christ Jesus...
I am not the girl hauling the baggage around anymore. He sweetly whispered to me...."Leave it at the foot of the Cross and I will take care of it." What an relief. I am free. Free from the bondage that weighed me down. Free to be me. Free to be redeemed and transformed because a Baby was born in Bethlehem.
And friends...know you can be like me! You can have what I have. Jesus offers it to everybody. It is yours for free. When He knocks on the door of your Heart you can let Him in. "So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Luke:9-10.
So as you celebrate this Christmas season remember that it is a celebration of Christs birth our Saviour. He came so we could have abundant life.
Will you allow Christ to take care of your baggage? Will you let Him into your heart?
Thursday, November 25, 2010
As I moved into adulthood I have very little memories of Thanksgiving. What I do remember is it was the transition from fall, pumpkins and the horn of plenty to snow, snowmen and santa. I began understand that the Christmas tree went up the day after Thanksgiving. A difficult task when you have to shop the sales on this day as well.
After I married Thanksgiving took on a different meaning. It now occurred in October. It is difficult to put up the Christmas tree on the 13th of October:)
Although my family has no real traditions (except putting the tree up the day after Thanksgiving, or at least the Saturday after Thanksgiving because we don't have Friday off) Thanksgiving took on a new meaning for me this year.
For Thanksgiving in October I was able to spend it with my dear friends family. It was so warm and welcoming and the children played video taped each other. After taping they would bound up the stairs in excitement and ask us to view what they had recorded. The laughter would come and off they would go to once again capture their excitement.
The adults enjoyed company and conversation, memories and laughter. It was relaxing and felt so comfortable. Our hearts were warm and happy and we were wrapped in love.
This November Thanksgiving was a day of blessings. The Lord wrapped himself around me and reminded me how much He loves me and showed me how real He is and how True His promises are. I had an interview at Woods Homes (a children's mental health treatment center) for my practicum placement. I have been praying about this for a while. He faithfully answered my prayers.
I had an amazing conversation with a friend and sister in Christ about sharing my friend Jodi's Bible study she wrote titled Believe Truth
so you may
*Be Who You Really Are
*Savor Life here and now
The events leading up to this day also solidified in my heart what Thanksgiving would now mean to me. I was able to spend time with friends and family in South Dakota. I met new friends and was blessed with an amazing connection and surrounded by loving women. I was able to pray for women who needed to meet with Jesus...AND I was able to see Beth Moore live.
She brought the Spirit of God with her to Rapid City and lives were changed. That I am thankful for!!!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
As you all know I am a philanthropist...(see the previous post and a few before that) and because of my love of people I am always trying to find reasons to have people gather together. Some years pass by and I missed the opportunity to gather with my beloved friends during the holiday season. This year I was sure I would plan more effectively and efficiently so I could host that jewelery party and that Chinese gift exchange and that cookie exchange and that pot luck but WOW is time flying and I again find myself running out of time.
This year however is a special year. My transition to Christmas will come right around November 23rd....as it usually does but I have already put away the fall pumpkins and am preparing to be ready for the tree by November 19th. You see this year I am flying to the states to be with my mother for her 60th birthday. Not only will we be together for her birthday, my eldest son will join us and we will be with my brother and his family. I will also get to see my dear friend of over 16 years (university days).
But most exciting of all is I will see and be a part of Beth Moore's Living Proof Live event in Rapid City South Dakota on November 19th and 20th. I have been under the teachings of Beth for over 10 years now and I never dreamed I would actually be at let alone volunteer at one of her events AND do it with my mother on her 60th birthday.
So my friends stay tuned to hear how time for two days will all but stand still for me as I embrace and bask in His presence with my mom, my dear friend Jodi, Beth and here team and many women who will be seeing HIS face shine upon them.
What a beautiful way to transition to Christmas!
How do you transition to the Christmas season??
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
As a child I had a dream. I guess one would say I wanted to be a philanthropist. I always thought maybe a sociologist was my calling. I had a keen interest in the well being of people, especially their behavior. My dream was to save the broken and less fortunate people from their demise....It was a desire from my heart and a well thought out desire. It was burned (and still is)deeply in my heart.
Most amazingly though is the journey that I would go on because of this desire. It is a journey leading me to discover what being a philanthropist really means. It is a journey of discovering LOVE from the inside out. It is a journey that has shown me how to die to myself and my selfish ambitions and choose to replace ambition with affection.
As I look at LOVE and the desire to love with abandon I have been allowing the idea of loving my neighbour as myself to resonate deep within my soul. WOW! Loving my neighbor....that means laying aside all prejudice and fervently praying that God would give me a heart for the whole...yes all no matter race, belief, language spoken, social status etc.
As I felt the tugging on my heart to pour out this idea of LOVE, loving with abandon and loving my neighbour as myself it became evident to me that this began to happen for me when I accepted that I could love because HE first loved me. I began to see more clearly that people longed to be loved. People want to have a place and want to belong. They want to feel accepted, wanted and LOVED. That is what I was wanting...I wanted unfailing LOVE.
Proverbs 19:22 says What a man desires is unfailing love, better to be poor than a liar. HMMMM...a liar, Yes I would lie to myself if I believed for a minute that my greatest need is anything but LOVE. You see nothing could fill my empty heart except LOVE.
Where do I see philanthropy in action and LOVE at work...
I see this in my husband and his relationship with his employees. You see my husband does not see himself as the "boss". He sees his employees as his team mates. They are there to work as a team in the best interest of the company. When we attend business dinners it is always awesome to hear what a philanthropist he is. The comments are always along the lines of "He is the best manager I have ever had", "I could not do this job if he was not such a great manager", "He takes care of his people"...and the end result because he does have a real heart and authentic love for his employees...a soaring business and a team of people who feel like they have an important place and are cared for and loved for who they are. They also feel valued for what they have to offer as an individual to the welfare of the whole!
I also have seen that need to be loved through the women in the Bible Study I lead/facilitate. There was a woman who after 34 years her marriage fell apart. Her health both mentally and physically was not well and she was questioning what love really was, she courageously attended the study and opened her heart to us. As another one of the women reached out to her in her broken state, she began to feel a love that was amazing and moving, real and authentic. This relationship has blossomed and it is amazing to see the power of LOVE when people feel accepted and wanted and cared for.
This was seen through my dad. He is not well due to an accident. My very dear friend was praying for him. He of course would not know that except her sister works with him and had mentioned to him that her sister was praying for him. He was moved in a way that was astounding. He said to me "she is praying for me...me. That is unbelievable". Yet because of this connection, a connection built on the love of people, and because she loves her neighbour as herself, my dad feels loved. He feels valued and important. He was moved in a way that only happens when someone has an authentic heart for mankind.
This was seen through a story one of the women in our Bible study shared. Her story was about the season in which she found herself purchasing more wedding gifts than she had ever imagined purchasing in a lifetime let alone a season. She knew these young people but was not sure why they would choose her as a guest. In questioning one of the young people regarding her invitation to his wedding the answer she received was simply that her and her husband over the years had extended a warm welcome in their home to teens. They loved these teens unconditionally just as they were and it was this acceptance that left a lasting impression on the lives that were touched in their home.
This was seen through a homeless youth. Not only was this teen homeless there were other issues such as addiction. He has attended outreach programs but has been non committal and often elusive. However the counselor at Youth for Christ built a friendship with him, making an effort to spend time with him and including this youth in his life. When this youth shares his story he tells that the friendship with this counselor was instrumental and had significant value to him. But more striking is that this youth clearly identifies three people who daily prayed for him. They truly loved him and were his friends and it was their prayers that made a difference.
I hear this need, this desire in the voices of the people in our community. A young, transient community that is growing at an astronomical rate. People feel lonely and disconnected. They long for relationships. They long to feel accepted and loved in their new community.
Are you a philanthropist, authentic in your love for people. Are you free of prejudice? Are you free to love your neighbour as yourself? Are you willing to extend your hand to people for the sake of LOVE.
People, when loved authentically are free to open their hearts to the ONE thing we all desire- a relationship based on LOVE.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Is tells us in the Word that the enemy comes to steal kill and destroy. Not shortly after I had this amazing release and was experiencing absolute freedom of the bondage I was in the enemy got me.
Later on the evening of Wednesday I behaved in a way that was sinful. Yes...His Word says we are all sinners and fall short of the Glory of God. And sin I did. Not only did I sin I revelled in it momentarily. Remember also that the enemy masks sin making it look right. At the time I was in the midst of this sin it seemed right.
Later that evening as I confided in my supportive friend (I was actually revelling) I found myself trying to justify myself....YIKES! After hanging up the phone I realized I had sinned enormously. Can you believe it! I just had the most amazing day wallowing in His glory, living in freedom due to my obedience and now I found myself begging for forgiveness from my Maker....
Again His Word reminds us that when we confess our sins to Him he forgives us. I am telling you, I need His mercy daily, His forgiveness daily. Most amazingly is that He went to the cross for our sins and we can lay them at His feet and He still loves us and will work in and through us!
The next day I had to confess my sinful behavior to my dear friend. The email went something like this....
"I am so stupid...Yep the big S word. As always when I am thinking I am being so cool and proving a point I get Thwarted as so I have been.
I was sure it was my job to pour coals and send down fire on that person. James and John wanted to send down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans who would not receive Jesus. HMMM....well after talking to you last night it came to me. It is not my job to "show" anybody anything or bring down fire. That is Gods job and I am not God."
And His disciples James and John saw this, they said "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" But He turned to them and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." Luke 9:54-55.
God is God and He will thwart our inequities. (look what he is doing to me all in one day) I sometimes have selfish ambitions Grrr UgHhhhhh and sometimes I frustrate myself because I am a slow learner. But I got this one now......"
Thank You Lord that you are a forgiving God. A God of mercy and grace poured out daily on me and all your children.
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness Lam 3:22-23
Gods Word says something regarding the matter of me thinking I could pour coals on someones head and it would be good. You will find it all throughout Scripture. It can be found under loving your neighbour, judging others, forgiveness, Christ like behavior....the Bible is full of Truth and I was not behaving in Truth.
Although it is normal for us to feel anger toward sin and injustice it is not our job to judge the other person in their sin. Whatever happens now is Gods miracle work. (words of another person that I liked)
YEAH! My Redeemer Lives!
But today...I feel angry toward sin and injustice and am finding it very difficult not to judge and bring down fire. Because "I've got it now...." (at least for a short time until I need a reminder from my Maker) I will handle this anger differently. I will stick to what I know (THE TRUTH) not what I feel (emotions).
You see my anger comes from a story my son shared with me yesterday. In Topeka Kansas there is a church that is judging and preaching against gay teenagers (actually all gay people). It is them who are bringing down fire. In John, Jesus tells the disciples that it is not for them to bring down fire, it is His job. This is where my anger comes in. I wonder if this church is acting in TRUTH?
The God I know does not belittle, condemn or judge.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved John 3:17
He chastises to mold in His image. He invites us to choose His love but He does not push us away. It is us who pushes Him away. This "church" is not inviting these gay teens to experience a loving relationship with Jesus Christ. They are portraying our God as a harsh unloving punishing God. If you live in TRUTH you know this is not The Truth the Way and the Light. He is a God of Love. A God of correction for freedom and abundance not fear and shame. He was sent for the lost sheep of the house of Israel Matt15:24
The result of this persecution by these people who call themselves followers of Christ (These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honour Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:8-9)......18 gay teenagers committed suicide.....and this "church" celebrated.
What amazes me the most is this man may think his cause is going to change gay people but the Truth reveals that only the Holy Spirit can wash us clean when we, yes we, CHOOSE to turn from our wicked ways and repent of our sins.
No one makes us choose Truth. We must choose it for ourselves. This man is not changing the gay people. Only Christ can change them from the inside out!
And Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.
So today because one week ago my Maker reminded me that it is not my job to heap coals or bring down fire I will be on my knees pouring out my unsettled heart begging that He reveal Himself, the TRUTH to the families of these teens and to the hearts of the teens in that place and that Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka Kansas will be dealt with by the almighty and powerful God. That the authority of Christ will be released in that place and the strongholds will loose their strength.
Are you walking in TRUTH? Or do you also find yourself judging and persecuting those who sin? Do you feel justified in heaping coals on the sinners head and bringing down fire on those who wrong you.
The TRUTH sets you free!! And it is yours if you choose it!!!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Copyright Amy Baxter 2009
Some of you know me and know I love to talk and share stories. Some of you also know there is always a story. Sometimes a story of celebration and sometimes a story of sorrow. There is ONE however that knows me to the depths of my being. You see HE created me for His good works. And this is where this blog adventure story begins...
It was a fine Tuesday morning at 5 am. I was off to the gym to run in circles with my two friends. The run was great and is always more fruitful when two or more meet. A few uggghhhsss and oooohhhhs but 40 minutes of sheer movement and the pain was over. A short amount of time to be in pain considering.
I arrived home and the phone calls began....the school district was calling for me to go to work. One call after another answering to hear the computer. OOOPPSSS...it is a voice not a computer. The head HR guy was calling me go to work. I (stronghold) considered saying yes but then that voice in my head (AKA God) said do not let the enemy convince you that you need to work (work=worth=stronghold). I will supply all your needs and give you strength to break a stronghold. I said no. FREEDOM!
The phone calls did not stop...I just did not answer. I was meeting with my Maker today. Obediently following Him. I went to book study. We are studying Fearless by Max Lucado. FREEDOM! (more on this later) After the time with the women(which is always refreshing especially when my Maker calls me out!!!) I went upstairs the church to do some business and had the great pleasure to meet one of the staff that I knew her name and knew she did amazing work for the church but did not know what she looked like...Margaret you are beautiful. I can't wait to spend time with you!!!
A phone call from Amy E in South Dakota. You see I am going to see one of my teachers, mentors and friend in Christ live in November. Not only do I get to see her I get to be on her prayer team and bring my mom with me. http://blog.lproof.org/
Beth Moore has an amazing hunger for the Lord and is contagious. I am blessed to be under her teachings. Again He supplies my needs for His purpose.
I then ran errands...went to the library and viola...a man that attends our church works there. He knew me by name...Wow! Just when you think no one is noticing you and you really don't matter...my Maker was at work still to remind me...I do matter to my Maker but to people in our church and in the community. It is the lay people (not only the leaders) that need to reach out and touch someone because it feels great to touch and be touched.
Then off to coffee with two of my very dear friends....I love seeing their smiling faces and the children's innocent love for life. Great conversation...again a blessing from my Maker.
Then home to meet my children. Drop of one at a friends and the other to piano. I sat in the car because I was needing Jesus. Yep a BIG BIG does of my Savior. So I reluctantly (out of fear) turned the key and listened to Shine FM.....ahhhhhhh I needed Him....
Then home dinner homework....A chat with my mom that was a bit awkward because there had been a disagreement last week. Again my Maker is at work. This time He was reconciling. His work is amazing.
A few emails and blog reading after the children went to bed. I have my fav blogs on the right of this blog and tonight I read Rachel Anne's Home Sanctuary. Her small thing for the day was to meet with Jesus (for 50 points...collected over the month for a prize...you should check it out, it is good stuff)
I received my 50 points today...I said YES to God...remember I said No to work which allowed me to say YES to God...
And because I said YES to God.....
THIS IS WHERE THE STORY BEGINS....
Can you believe it. Are you tired yet..that was Tuesday (in the short version) and now it is Wednesday.
I knew today was going to be a special day. Remember I said YES to God yesterday and He had something in store for me today!!!!
The day began with no phone calls to go to work. PHEWWWWW!!! I can clean my house. When you say YES to one thing you say NO to something else and I have said NO to housework far to long. Again for those of you that know me...this is a release of a stronghold as well...The gift of Imperfection has blessed me..(Joan C Webb's amazing book). Thanks Joan for getting me through my stronghold of perfection. You should see me now. If there is such a thing as a stronghold of mess....that is the one I am currently in.
I however could not say No to the gym and so I timed myself in order to accomplish something...before I left. This is when I met with my Jesus. Studying His Word. I finsihed after a long prayer time as the needs are much and the insatiable hunger for more of Him is strong.
Low and behold...ring a ling..nope not the school district...gym partner #1..."I am saying No to the gym so I can say Yes to other commitments" I was disappointed but figured I would be OK...(the enemy is trying to sneak in right here. He is being subtle and placing thoughts of rejection((one of my strongholds)) in my head). I carry on getting ready because gym partner #2 will be there so ....buzzz buzzzz..a text from gym partner #2...Can't make it to the gym today. Satan begins to attack hard. I begin to wonder what is wrong with me and what I have done to my gym partners. They may tell you I push them to hard but I knew that wasn't it. It must be something more. I must have hurt them. They must be offended by me. PS by the way...this is the enemy talking not my gym partners or me. EEERRRRRCCCHHHHH!!!!! Satan has no dominion over me. Get out of my head!!!!
RING RING...Ugghhhh!!! It must be the school district...Hello...And some woman begins chatting with me. I thought I knew who it was but I sure did not know what she was talking about so I courageously said..."I think you are talking to the wrong person" and she said I am...This is a person whom there has been a broken relationship. My Maker brought her to me today. He wanted to begin the reconciliation process.....it began today!! You see...at this time I would normally be at the gym but my Maker had a bigger plan than big muscles.
Oh Wait....He is not done yet and it is only 9:15 am. I decided I must go for a run. The enemy is not keeping me down. I needed some more of my Jesus. I needed to be in His beauty in the silence. He wanted to talk to me. I loaded the washer, dishwasher and dryer, pushed start, laced up and went for a run. I love it when I run in His beauty and He talks to me.
His conversation was one of chastisement. He called me out on my disobedience. For about a month now He has been asking me to take care of some business and in fear (Max Lucado...Fearless...)I have not headed His calling. Today on my run He answered my "how do I do this" prayer. He said to me....Speak the TRUTH in love not for your ambitions but for my glory. I will give you strength. Speak of a like spirit and mind. I am not a God of fear. Take up your cross in Me and I will see you through this. And I found myself running with my hand in the air proclaiming His power shouting out "the enemy has no dominion over me, the enemy has no dominion over me".
My friends what He has called me to do today is risky and scary and the enemy wants me to believe that it will destroy me (remember the enemy comes to steal kill and destroy). That is why I have not been obedient. But if I truly truly truly believe in HIM (and I do) whom then shall I fear???? I have laid this at my Makers feet. I have been face down regarding this matter and now I must move forward in faith obedient to His call. I must expect His mighty power to reign down to bring glory to His church, His kingdom.
His hand is evident each day in my life. This is a very very short version of a daily adventure for me. One would think my Maker is tired but He is not. He is alive and moving mightily and I invite Him to keep on moving me toward Him!!!
How do you experience Him each day. Do you truly truly believe that He is the almighty? The same yesterday today and tomorrow? Do you believe He is not a God of fear but a God that has come to set us free so we can have abundant life. Are you doing your part to experience His mighty power. You must be an active participant in this journey. You must listen and obey.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Sadly though many have tried to squelch the sound of this beautiful organ. Often this sound is misunderstood and abused and often we abandon our organ due to the pressures of those who can not hear and feel the peace and joy it brings. Yet we continue to long for that sound, that beautiful music. We carry on trying desperately to fill the emptiness, the silence, seeking and searching trying to make sense of the chaos around us when really all we want is to once again hear that deep and true rich sound bellowing from the organ.
And so we embark on a journey to restore the music, to heal the emptiness from the silenced sound and to feel the joy the organ brings when the Key Player is gentle and intimately touching each part of the organ. With each touch a sound the organ begins to pour out its beauty. The organs purpose is being sang and the listeners are being moved. This time there is more listeners and more people coming in order to see how the Key Player is producing a beautiful piece through the organ. Once again the one who owns the organ feels alive and and full. The music is freeing. Desire is awakened and relations restored.
May your organ produce beautiful music and your desires dance with the music as it speaks to the ears all around you!
Friday, September 17, 2010
Are you on the pavement?
Are you in turmoil?
Are you in a season of grief?
Are you in a storm?
Are you in a season of harvest?
Are you running down a road?
Are you in a coffee shop surrounded by people but feeling lonely?
Are you in a home sharing life with your friends?
"Running with a Friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
Are you running the race?
Are you running with a Friend?
He will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I was not "churched" growing up. My parents did not dress us in our Sunday best each week and take us to church. My dad was connected to a church but did not attend. It was 3 very distinct early years experiences that are burned in my memory. These memories are what I recall as the events that won my heart.
*The very first memory of church for me is of a white stereo typical church on the corner. It was just down from my uncles home (brother to my dad). I remember going there for Sunday school if we were at my uncles and sometimes going to my uncles just to go to Sunday school. I don't remember the adults taking us I remember them sending us....It was only two houses away so certainly we would not get lost.
It was through this church that I met Melanie and Martha. This was the church where my middle brother would memorize and recite the books of the Bible. To this very day I am proud that he could do that. I can not tell you that he is a believer or follower but I can say...God has resonated his heart and so the seed is still there.
Melanie and Martha would be my first people to influence me. I still have that very King James thou shalt Bible Martha, Martha Flamingo gave me in 1982. (I don't have it here with me so it may have been 1984)
These people would be ones whom I grew to look up to and who started my hunger. They were kind and gentle and loving and you could feel the Lords love radiating off of them.
*The second person to influence my journey was my uncle. Yep the one that lived right next to the church. You see...him and my aunt were born again. The sinful life they lived as teens was now thrown to the wayside and they had arrived. They knew (and still do) the Bible inside and out and for anyone that didn't well...I am sure you can decided what happened to those people. I was one of those people that did not know the Bible like they did. Unfortunately as a child I did not understand what shame was and so these people who were lovers of the Lord or at least the law would be my major influences in knowing Christ for the next long years of my life. It was here that I began to believe God was a God of meanness and shame. My uncle that claimed to be of the Lord would stand over me and use power and force to make me feel lesser and comply. Yes you got it....I did not want any part of feeling this way and if he represented God...no thank you!!!
*The third person to influence my life was my aunt. I will share her name with you because it is now as the Lord has spoken to me that I can see the beauty in the ashes.
There are two things I remember about her other than the green chair in her living room that I loved....
I remember that in her bedroom always beside her bed was her Bible and her study "stuff". She loved HIM and she desired to know HIM more and...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
A feeling , an emotion that grips us in a negative gut wrenching way. It is a feeling that holds us back from moving forward in a direction of peace and abundance. It is a voice in our head telling us we are not worthy…something negative is going to happen to us. It is a word that can take us in a spiral downward to a place of hopelessness and despair. It is a word that can impair us!
Fear presents itself in many forms…
Fear of REJECTION
Fear of LOSS
Fear of BEING UNWORTHY
Fear of HARM
Fear of POOR HEALTH
Fear of DEATH
Fear of BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS
Fear to TRUST FULLY
Fear of JUDGEMENT
Fear of CHANGE
Fear of TRUTH
Fear of WHAT LIES AHEAD
Fear to MOVE FORWARD
Fear is bondage that holds us from knowing God more intimately. It holds us captive to thoughts of unworthiness. These thoughts often thrust us into a place of despair. It takes us to a place of uncertainty when what we really long for is absolute assurance. Assurance that we will be loved, that we can pay the mortgage, that we will recover from our ailments, that we will live to be 100, that when we hurt we can share our hurt with the person who hurt us without being rejected.
But He was in the stern asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:37-41)
Friends I encourage you to embrace courage to run the race set before you not in fear but by taking a deep spiritual breath and rest on the assurances of the Lord. Fear is not of the Lord.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7)
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba Father.” (Romans 8:15)
Now and for all eternity we as believers in Christ Jesus can live not trouble free but fearlessly by His grace. The invitation is there for all even if they have never heard of God (Eph. 3:6). All people can embrace His offering for abundant life experiencing a life of freedom from fear. Do not allow fear to creep in. Rest in His promises.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalms 62:8)
But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
Friends do not give weight to your fears. We can not conquer our trials on our own. Cast all your cares upon Him and allow His power to overcome the fear that binds you. Allow Him to show you abundant life found only through a relationship with Him. We must stay true to and live by faith, holding fast to our trust in the Lord. If He is for us who can be against us?
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. (Psalms 27:1-3)
Who holds your heart? Who are you in relation with? Where does your faith rest?
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Dorothy is a girl who lives in a farmhouse in Kansas with her Uncle Henry, Aunt Em, and little dog Toto. One day the farmhouse, with Dorothy and Toto inside, is caught up in a tornado and deposited in a field in the Land of the Munchkins in the Land of Oz. The falling house kills the ruler of the Munchkins, the Wicked Witch of the East.
The Good Witch of the North comes with the Munchkins to greet Dorothy and gives Dorothy the Silver Shoes that the Wicked Witch of the East had been wearing when she was killed. In order to return to Kansas, the Good Witch of the North tells Dorothy that she will have to go to the "Emerald City" or "City of Emeralds" and ask the Wizard of Oz to help her.
On her way down the road paved with yellow brick, Dorothy frees the Scarecrow from the pole he is hanging on, restores the movements of the rusted Tin Woodman with an oil can, and encourages them and the Cowardly Lion to journey with her and Toto to the Emerald City. The Scarecrow wants to get a brain, the Tin Woodman a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, courage. All are convinced by Dorothy that the Wizard can help them too. Together, they overcome obstacles on the way including narrow pieces of the yellow brick road, Kalidahs, a river, and the Deadly Poppies. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wonderful_Wizard_of_Oz)
Like many of us life has thrown Dorothy a tragedy and continues to throw them at her as she journeys to the Emerald City to see the Wizard in order to get help. Dorothy ventures off with courage doing what is right in order to come that much closer to the one who is in power. In this story it is the Wizard.
Along the way Dorothy picks up a few friends. As they journey together toward the Emerald City all searching for something that has been missing in their lives they encourage and support each other overcoming the adversity that they face due to their circumstances.
What these travelers find on their journey is trickery and evil. Even upon the arrival to the Emerald City and the attempt to meet with the Wizard the Wizard tries to evade them. Yet another mishap reveals to them that the Wizard is himself a person not a powerful being that can solve their problems.
Through this journey they learn several important things. They learn that it is easier to journey when you have a support group to help you get through the tough times. They learn that no one can give them a brain, a heart or courage. They already have these things inside them they must just choose to believe. They also learn power does not come from man and man alone cannot fill your emptiness. Dorothy, the scarecrow, the tin man and the cowardly lion had the courage to keep going in order to find the ultimate prize.
Are you on your journey to find the ultimate prize? We as believers are offered the ultimate prize. We can have the milk and honey that God promises. We can enter into the Promiseland. It is there for us.
Courage is not being fearless. Life is full of fearful events and happenings. Courage is the attitude of facing anything recognized as dangerous difficult, or painful instead of withdrawing from it. Courage is not the absence of fear it is the will to move forward in spite of it.
God promises us in Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
When you fear rejection, financial troubles, job loss, not being worthy, tribulations, broken relationships, know that the Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever.
8:31-39 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
When you have the courage to take up the Cross and follow Jesus He promises to go before you. 2 Timothy 1:7 God has not given us spirit of fear but of power and of love and a sound mind.
The Lord led the Israelites on a journey through the wilderness to take them to the Promiseland. Each destiny on this journey had a purpose. The purpose was to reveal Himself in a mighty way so they would know that he was with them always and He was the all powerful. Their job was to believe fearlessly without questioning and complaining and focus their thoughts on their destiny….the Promiseland. The purpose of the wilderness journey was to align their hearts with His plan. They travelled in fear often wondering where their food was coming from, where they would get water, how they would get away from Pharaoh when all there was the Red Sea in front of them. It took COURAGE to believe that Yahweh would deliver them.
Following the Lord and laying all down to embrace something new the Lord wants to do takes COURAGE. COURAGE to listen, COURAGE to hear, COURAGE to obey, COURAGE to lay it all down to receive the joy of the Lord.
Like Dorothy and her friends who journeyed searching for the ultimate prize having to be courageous and face what lied ahead even when it was scary and seemed like they would never get to the Emerald City….We are called by God to trust Him and believe His promises to draw near to him intimately so He can give us Promiseland living.
Are you willing to have the COURAGE to follow the Lord knowing that His promises are Truth and in Him all things are possible even when He is asking you to go beyond comfort and complacency and stop complaining so He can fulfill His promises and give you the desires of your heart and abundant life?
Who are you journeying with. Are they enCOURAGErs? Are they speaking Truth to you and inviting you to walk closer to the Lord? Are they heading to the Promiseland beside you?
Saturday, August 21, 2010
One In A Million by Priscilla Shirer is my current study. This study takes the reader on a journey through the wilderness with the Israelites. A 40 year journey that is. A journey that should have taken only a few months!
I am also reading (yes it it that insatiable hunger to know more) Desire by John Eldredge. This reading has revealed to me that Desire is given and if we listen, hear and obey it is then that we are given abundant life and desire is fueled and alive in us!
So my journey has been that of desiring to experience God the way the Bible tells me I can and believing it to be as amazing as it says (yes my part of the experience is sometimes challenging, not easy)and fulfilling that longing, that desire for life as it was meant to be.
Through these two pieces (which I am in the middle of right now) I have learned that the wilderness journey is a journey in which God uses to reveal HIMSELF in a mighty way. Easy...I think not. Dry sometimes...yes. Empty sometimes..yup! But I remind myself that he allows these experiences of inner emptiness to show me that I can not fill them myself with money, status, material objects, love from humans, earthly resources etc. It is a filling I can only receive from HIM. He wants us to seek to fulfill our emptiness our hunger by searching the Word, spending time in prayer, and yielding to the Holy Spirit. He wants us to recognize this hunger as His gift.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied Matt. 5:6
For He satisfies the hungry soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness Ps. 107:9
During the in between times of God revealing Himself mightily don't grow idle. God is still working in you and in your life. Do not give the enemy opportunity to deceive you. Keep seeking HIM. Something mighty will happen.
As far as Desire....
I have many desires in my heart. If you can believe it spending time with my girls is one of them. I long for relationships. I long for people to be connected to someone who will share with them and support them. This blog thing for me is a God thing. The studies we do together are a God thing...(many of you have heard the stories 502 times so I will spare you 503 til next time:) HEHE) His Word says He will give you the desires of your heart and he knows the desires of your heart. He knew I desired for women to be connected. And for any of you who have blessed me with your time you knew my desire for connection as well:):)
Here is the amazing news...
I could not have this desire and have the other desires of my heart come to frutation (even though He promises me He will give me these desires) until He had my heart right where He wanted it.
And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So he humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Deut. 8:2-4
You see my friend...God knew my desires but He needed to humble me, purify my heart, thwart me if you will. When we set our hopes on Him not on "me" he fulfills our desires. Again not with out struggles. I have had a few struggles and still do....You see I will remain hopeful even in a broken world. It is through this hope that my desire is fueled and desire can not live without hope.
I still have desires...many...and I can't wait to see what He reveals to me as I continue my journey to Canaan..the Promiseland.
Will you join me? Will you follow the Lord as He leads you to the Promiseland??
Monday, July 5, 2010
As the calling on my life has unfolded I have had an aching in my heart for people to be connected, to carry each others burdens, to know that GOD loves them, to know that in HIM there is freedom.
Half way through Anointed Transformed and Redeemed: A Study of David authored by Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Kay Arthur I have shared hours with women in pain. Pain from a special needs child, pain from a strained marriage, pain from finances, pain from children gone astray, pain from broken friendships, pain from physical ailments, pain from the unknown. A pain that causes confusion. Pain that causes anger toward GOD. A pain that keeps us in bondage from experiencing HIS abundant love for us.
Through this time with women I also sense a longing, a desire to connect with others. A connection at a deeper level. A level of longing. Longing for understanding and unconditional love. A longing to be real and authentic. A longing to seek HIM and understand HIM intimately.
GOD is a faithful GOD true to HIS promises. As this time has passed I have seen HIM working mightily in and through these women as well as in and through me. It is amazing to see HIS glory and HIS fruit as we bow in obedience to HIM and HIS anointing on our lives.
As we journey through our life knowing GODS promises and clinging to them with all our might, with all our heart, there is often still a feeling of defeat. Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said.."LOVE is much more demanding than law." Is this what makes it so difficult to TRUST our GOD. LOVE is demanding. It demands us to die to ourselves and our selfish ambitions. Love demands us to put all of our anger and pain aside and look to HIM. HE is LOVE. It demands us to sift through the pain of our existence, of our past, of our present and lay it at HIS feet and heed his calling and anointing on our lives. It demands us to LOVE others as HE first loved us. We ask HIM to forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. We must forgive those who have hurt us.
You see HE wants us to rely solely on HIM. HE wants us to have the most intimate relationship with HIM because HE first loved us. HE wants us to stop trying to manipulate HIM, stopping trying to do it our way and relate to HIM the way he relates to us. HE is our FATHER. HE knows what is best for us even when we are unsure about our situation and we believe we can handle it on our own. Let HIM dwell in the innermost secret places of our hearts.
These women need each other. Need each other for encouragement, discernment and ultimately for HIS glory.
HE wants us to be in relation with each other to carry each others burdens. HIS WORD says "Whenever two or more are gathered, I am there". Is it possible that if you listen closely to HIS whisper and you obey HIM FULLY and WHOLE HEARTEDLY that HE will use you to be a Wounded Healer, a person who has experienced pain and can empathize and educate others about HIS unfailing LOVE and HIS promises. To share with others and acknowledge GODS ability to provide security for those who seek HIM first.
As we acknowledge HIS work in and through us and we are left in awe saying "Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family that you have brought me this far?" We are able to be healed/forgiven. AS we acknowledge that GOD is up to something good in us, something crucial to our spiritual growth we are able to embrace GODS healing and turn away from our sinful nature and devastation experiencing only his divine restoration. Through our healing others can begin to see and desire what you have. Through HIM you then can be that someone who offers healing to a sister in pain.
King David sinned. He did not wallow in his sin he repented and seeked the LORD. David had a heart for the LORD and GOD used him in a mighty way to see the fulfillment of HIS promises (2 Samuel 7:18-29). Allow GOD to use you in a mighty way! Be a Wounded Healer!
HE is the ALPHA and the OMEGA. The same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever! HE never leaves us or forsakes us! HE chose you! HE chose to LOVE you! HE chose to prosper you. Have courage to see the fulfillment of GODS promises and share HIS love with the wounded.
In HIM Authentically!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I love the chastisement he gives. I have recently experienced that when I heed the chastisement recognizing my sin and then repent he does make beauty out of ashes. He continues to whisper in my ear...TRUST ME TRUST ME...Michelle your doubting and letting insecurities fill my space....TRUST ME...and so I do and HE again honors his promises.
I have embarked on the next journey he has called me too. We have just begun Anointed Transformed and Redeemed a Bible Study about David.
A man anointed with a heart for GOD. Davids story is beautifully unfolding and speaking in a mighty way about allowing GOD to be in your every moment....A GOD conscious. Today I actually for the first time prayed for someone while they were in the midst of a storm (a tough meeting) only to see his promises fulfilled once again.
Please follow me on this amazing journey of obtaining some Rama and living with a GOD conscious.
I will share more on the stories of HIS faithfulness soon!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
A stranger could be a person whom we have never met, a person we have briefly met, a person we do not have a personal intimate relationship with, someone we do not fully trust.
We were all strangers once. We began our journey together to break free not so long ago. 13 strangers. Some knew each other more intimately than others. Some knew nothing about any of the people we would begin sharing ourselves with. We were strangers entering into a study that would require us to trust. Trust each other, trust ourselves and ultimately trust that GOD had divinely placed us together for HIS purpose and glory.
Not only was I a stranger to the women in my study group but I began to unpack the idea that I may be a stranger to GOD or HE a stranger to me. I knew I loved the LORD but did I trust HIM fully?
As I began this journey of freedom with strangers I began to understand the magnitude of trust and LOVE. As each week passed and as I was trusting GOD to work in and through me to bring HIS message to strangers I began to unpack the untrust and fear of strangers that infiltrated the core of my being....
Because GOD is faithful and chastises us to grow and trust HIM I was blessed with the opportunity to house 10 strangers in my home. My initial reaction was no.....no I can not have 10 strangers in my home. You see these strangers were "strange". Their life was vastly different than ours and I was certain they would be scarred for life if they entered into our world even if it was for less than 15 hrs (most of them sleeping hours).
Applying my Breaking Free knowledge:) I knew that this fear stemmed from my past and my trust issues with my family and my trust issues with GOD. WHAT??? Trust issues with GOD? That is not how it is supposed to be...I am supposed to trust GOD fully with all areas of my life....
And so answering HIS whisper and invitation to obey HIM and let HIM show me his grace, mercy, and love I began praying and crying out to HIM. I was still afraid...afraid of failure (not providing for this family in a way that would be comfortable), afraid of rejection and judgement (that they would find our lifestyle despicable), and fear that we would not glorify HIM. I shared with GOD these fears and HE kept whispering...trust me, I am working.
And so with much prayer and supplication...I began calling around for air mattresses:)
GOD is good! I had plenty of air mattresses for all ten of them. All of my fears were given to HIM and I felt a peace that passeth all understanding when our strangers arrived. A perfect peace in my imperfect mind surrendered to HIM.
Through this relationship with GOD and my desire to know him and trust HIM, HE faithfully showed me how HE works through people and situations to teach us more about HIM. The conversations we had with this family (the strangers) were profound and moving. Their story was amazing and their mission in seeking and living the TRUTH resonated in our home in a way that would have an immeasurable impact (an answer to prayer).
By surrendering my fearful thoughts to HIM I was able to see how HE was using this situation for HIS glory.
We may never see these strangers again, however like you and I who were strangers once too divinely brought together to enter into a trusting relationship for HIS glory, these strangers were brought to us to show me how to trust fully.
The blog of our strangers....
**you might even see a picture of us on their blog**