Tuesday, April 1, 2014

When Your Miracle Walks Beside You



Last Friday was a difficult day for many bloggers.  Those who tossed their hat into the (in)courage ring, hoping and praying they might be one of the five chosen for a permanent position on their writing roster.


I can’t imagine what a difficult decision it was for those at (in)courage.  475 applied, and only 5 could be picked.  


The "no" emails went out on Friday morning. {And yes, one wiggled it's way into my inbox! Darn!}


Later that day, a friend’s words got caught in my ears. She was explaining her sadness over receiving one of the no emails, “I had so hoped that this was it…”


I couldn’t place exactly how I was familiar with the phrase, but I knew I’d said the very same words.  Many times.  In prayer, in tears, in conversations…


And then yesterday I remembered...  


It was the story of the walk to Emmaus.  Two disciples were walking and discussing their sadness over the crucifixion and how hope seemed lost.


The chief priests and our rulers handed him over 
to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 
but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.
And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.”


They had hoped.


Had.  (Past tense.)


Oh, that point when hope is gone.  When it’s past tense.  When the thing you think is it, turns out not to be…


It’s simply heartbreaking.  

Here’s something I noticed. Those disciples?  They were in the process of walking with their Miracle.  (Present tense.)


Jesus was walking with them, talking to them even, but they couldn’t see Him.  Not until the time was right and their eyes were opened.

I prayed those verses back to God at times when it felt like my dreams were shattered. It was the only thing that gave me comfort. Now I know, just beyond those times, God had so much in store for me.

I was walking beside my Miracle, not always aware of it.


Despite a broken heart, is it possible you could be walking beside your Miracle?  Deep in the midst of His presence, even though hope might feel lost?  

For you, sweet friend, who hoped {past tense}, He is there {present tense}. Right now. Every step of the way.

___________________

"I've learned that God sometimes allow us to find ourselves in a place where we want something so bad that we can't see past it.  Sometimes we can't even see God because of it.  When we want something that bad, it's easy to mistake what we truly need for the thing we really want. When this sort of thing happens, and it seems to happen to everyone, I've found it's because what God has for us is obscured from view, just around another bend in the road.
-- Bob Goff,  Love Does (affiliate link)

Photo Credit: marfis75 via Compfight cc

Thursday, March 20, 2014

When God Sends You Flowers



It had been one heck of a day.  One of those when it just didn't seem proactive enough to take it to Jesus.  

One of those days when, even though you know we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, you’d like to give that flesh and blood a real piece of your mind.

You don’t feel like making nice-nice for one more minute.  Because enough is enough. Because, in that moment, even though you’ve seen how powerful prayer is, it would feel a lot better to do something more immediate. 

Immediate feels like the only answer. 

But you can almost see the enemy erupt in cheers, so you stop.

Piling your pain up high, you take it all to God.  But if you're honest, deep down a nagging question lingers, “What will He do about it?”  

A few minutes later - calm enough to step foot into the grocery store - that’s when it happens.

“Ma’am?” says the voice of a girl.

“Yes?”

“My friend and I decided to do random acts of kindness today….and I wanted to give you these.”

She places the yellow flowers in your hand.

They come complete with a sticker, “Random act of Kindness”

They are just what you need.

You smile big, knowing there was nothing random about this act of kindness. 


"I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
Psalm 16:8 (NIV)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

For Those with an Interesting Story



A couple years ago, I stumbled upon the website of a Christian speaker.  I clicked on the link encouraging readers to write in and ask for prayer.  Brand new to this wild adventure with God, I typed up an email and explained just a tiny bit of my story, as well as a small part of what God had recently been up to. I requested prayer for the immense fear I was feeling.    

And I’ll never forget the opening words I received in return.:

“What an interesting email.”

Interesting.

Ouch.

I’m not sure how she meant it of course, but to me, at the time, it sounded like the pressured response of a husband, who feels he must comment on his wife's new haircut.  

Only a haircut gone so very wrong.

“OH!  Just look at that hair!  Um, WOW!”

I was just crushed by it.

The words were set on repeat in my mind.

“...interesting email.”

"Well, look at that life - the tiny bit you shared! Um, just look at that! It's so, well, interesting!" Is not at all what she said, but it's what I heard.

Nearly shutting me down.

For sometime after, each time God would call me to take another step further into my faith journey, the words would creep up on me, “...interesting email.”

Here’s how the enemy translated those two words:

Not good enough for God to use.
Too broken.
Settle back down and be happy with where you are.
Who are you to step out for God, little Mrs. “Interesting?"

I didn’t tell anyone about the email, because what if the enemy was right?  Just, what if?

Yet, God kept me going.  Sending me confirmation after confirmation that He could use even the most interesting of stories.

And now I can say I’m so glad.  That’s not to say I didn’t get down.  Didn’t have days, sometimes weeks, that felt like they might break me.  But had I believed the enemy, I would have missed out on so much.

What words are set on repeat, in your life today? What lie is the enemy trying to shut you down with?

Whatever the enemy is whispering, whoever he is trying to work through, shake it off, and keep going.  God has things you simply won’t believe on the other side.  Hide the Word of God in your heart. And ask Jesus what He thinks about you.

As I walked with God, I began to see His translation of what the enemy hissed:

Not good enough for God to use.

Too broken. 


Settle back down and be happy with where you are. 


Who are you to step out for God, little Mrs. “Interesting”?  

God can use a cupbearer (Nehemiah) to the King to rebuild walls - so if He is calling - Go!

Oh, friend, I've seen it played out in my life over and over, no matter where you are right now, or what you are thinking might disqualify you, God can use you to do mighty things.  No story has been too "interesting" - in fact, from what I've seen - the more interesting - the more glory it brings to God!  Just think of Moses, the woman at the well, and Paul, to name only a few. 

So, if God is calling, GO!  Don't waste time doubting because of anything in your past or listening to lies that say you're somehow not good enough.   God loves those with interesting stories!    

Photo Credit: Gueоrgui via Compfight cc
Graphics: Living Joel 2:25

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Winter Eventually Ends


Crikey, do I love Spring.  You know that all out joyful dance Snoopy does?  That’s how it makes me feel to see the first buds on the trees and the daffodils start to poke their way up.  

I’ve always loved Spring, but it took going through the worst Winter to truly be able to see it’s beauty.


Amy Grant once asked Minnie Pearl what her favorite color was.  “Black,” Minnie replied.  Amy thought it odd, until Minnie explained, “Without black, nothing has any depth. It's when you mix black with every other color that you can create fullness and shape.”


That’s how I feel about the green of Spring.  Without having seen the black, I never would have known just how green the grass really is.  


I remember that particular Spring, following the darkest winter, and thinking, “I’ll never take this for granted again.” Winter tried it's best, but it didn’t crush us.   


If you’re still in the dark of Winter, and you’ve yet to see the flowers show signs of life, never mind the green of any grass, you are who I’m writing for today.  It may be hard to believe that joy is on it’s way, but it is.  Some seasons may last longer than others, but none of them last forever.  God has you.  He sees every tear you cry.  Not one is wasted.  And out of this, will bloom so much good.  It will bring Him glory unimaginable.


“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)
  
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:” 
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)


Linking up with Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart series.  Won't you join us there?

Friday, February 28, 2014

Because You Are A Trailblazer



Dear Trailblazing Dreamer,

You’ve been on my mind a lot lately.  Every time I think of that word - trailblazer - I think of you.

The one who is leading the way.  Risking it all, by stepping out in boldly.

Carving a path where there is none.

Maybe the first one in your group of friends to do so.  To break the mold of “pretty faith” - revealing the beauty in the broken.  Showing how real His promises of redemption are.

Or perhaps you are the first in your family to take Jesus at His word.  To step out when He called.  To risk strange looks, laughter, or even being shunned.

It’s hard, tiring work at times.  Especially at the end of particularly difficult days, when you’ve weathered other people’s doubts and fears {not to mention your own}. When it’s all you can do to make it to bed, completely spent, when you start to wonder.  “I hope I'm on the right path..." because this is harder than you ever could have imagined.

But you wake up the next day, only to start again, not knowing where you’re called, simply recognizing the call and trusting you’re never alone.

You were on my heart when I wrote for God-sized Dreams.com today.  You can click here to read it.

Please know, I am praying for you.  

How can I be in prayer for you this weekend, trailblazer? 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Maybe He's Building Your God-Sized Dream Right Now


When God dropped the God-sized Dream website bomb on me, (that I was to start it - and trust the support would come - rather than wait for someone else to start it) I couldn’t believe it for a number of reasons.

My protests went a little like this:

1.)  This was not the God-sized dream I was expecting - not in my WILDEST dreams - and hello, I’m a wild dreamer.

2.)  God, I don’t lead.  Like, at all.  Ever.  (Unless it’s into a Dunkin’ Donuts...then I'm all, "Fearless is my name! I'll lead the charge!")

3.)  Who in the world is ever going to jump on board?

There is a funny thing about God-sized dreams.  The dreams God gives us, we are not enough for, on our own.  Away from Him.  He takes us through the situations we need to go through, to build up exactly what we need.  Also, He brings the right people to work alongside us.

But, here’s the scary part.  

It didn’t happen automatically - at least not for me.  First, I had to lay it all down.  Like every single fear - even my biggest ones.  And say, “Even that, Jesus, even that...I trust You with it all...I will go wherever You lead.”

{And some of those fears, I’d prayed for deliverance from for years.  So I don’t say that lightly.}

But when God moves, look out.

Look out.

Without me even realizing it, He had been creating relationships that would help with the God-sized dream He was growing in my heart.  

The year prior, I’d met and was {e}coached by, not just a God-sized dreamer, but Holley Gerth, the one who literally wrote the book on God-sized dreaming.  {Long before I even realized she had a book coming out on God-sized dreams!}

The same year, God also saw to it that I’d become friends with Gindi Vincent - someone who, again, unbeknownst to me, was about to have her book published.  The title?  “Learning to Lead

To quote a dear friend, Delonna, “Whaaaaaaat?”

God brought the ladies who literally wrote the books on God-sized dreaming and on leading to support this dream He birthed in me.  He provided all I needed.

Not to mention, at the same time, He was also building a team of God-sized dreamers, who would grab hold of the vision and gladly jump on board - despite having a Gideon-type (which way to the winepress?!) leader!

God was creating the structure He was about to build His dream for my life on. And I didn't realize it. (<==== Click to tweet)  

(And I'll take it step further, I whined at times that it felt like nothing was even happening...)

Isn’t that just like Him??

Photo Credit: REVIVALthedigest

 



Linking up with the God-sized dreamers today...won’t you join us?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The New Age Post {I Didn't Want to Post}


I can’t tell you enough how much I didn’t want to write this post.  Nothing inside of me wanted to go “there”.


Kristin, a sweet friend, and sister-dreamer, recently wrote, “The Post I Didn’t Want to Write.”  She didn’t want to, but after something God brought to her attention, and broke her heart over, she knew she had to.


Something has been heavy on my heart for some time, but I’ve ignored it, put it off, attempted to reason it away, and still it comes back.  It’s about a time in my life I feel certain God will redeem and use for His glory. And I think part of it, is telling the story.


But, oh, right now?  Today?  Well, I’ll just be honest.  I don’t really want to.  


Terrible, I know!  


I don’t want to be judged, or thought of any less for it.  But we are not promised an easy walk.  I trust that if anything comes from this post, it will be a purifying fire, and surely never more than I can withstand.  {Because God is always good like that.}


So, that said…


Years ago, when God began to call me back home, I took a wrong turn, and ended up in the center of the New Age world. I spent the better part of almost two years headed down a dangerous path. I devoured anything a leading "new thought" publishing group put out. Started going to a Unity church. And generally did things I knew in my heart weren't right.  

It all started innocently enough. One book was all it took to "open" my eyes. Only, they were opened to things I was never meant to see.

{Does the story sound familiar? Satan still tempts in the same ways he did so long ago.}


Every time I’ve tried to squirm my way out of writing this post, the line from a 1990’s movie pops up in my mind, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled is convincing the world he isn’t real.”  


And nowhere is that one line more clear than in the dangerous New Age world.  A place where every good and pure and holy thing is counterfeited. Given a twist and tweak. Prettied up enough for Satan to hide behind, and then put out there, as traps for the unknowing to fall into.  

{And sometimes even those who know better.}  


It’s a world of false comfort, the enemy has concocted, to keep people from going to Jesus.  To keep people from true healing.  


I know because I got all tangled up in it.  Despite knowing better.  It still happened to me.


It’s feel good religion.  And at the time, I suppose, I wanted to feel good.  So, off I ran, believing it was all correct.  And what was wrong with everyone else that they couldn’t see it?

This was the third time in my life God had called me home, but just like the first two, as any traction was being gained, along came the enemy to snatch up the seeds.  {Of course, while keeping me blind to the whole battle.}


Only, this time, I didn’t just ignore or put off the call, I ran clear in the other direction.  


Into the whole “state of consciousness”, “metaphysical” world.  And I read about it, met others who studied it, and talked myself into the idea that there was nothing wrong with it.
 

Until one day, it was as if God said, “Enough.”  


I don’t recall that it was a specific day exactly, just that an absolute distaste for any of it began to rise up in me.  And over a matter of weeks, I no longer wanted to hear about it, or associate myself with any of it.  


God was coming for me.


The time had come to finally stop and get on track.  Time was wasting.  


And within months, He led me to my church, and instilled such a love in me for His Truth.


I’ve spent much time in prayer over that period in my life.  Repenting, accepting His forgiveness, and thanking God that He didn’t leave me there, to my own devices.  There’s no telling where I’d be now.  


It has me especially worried for those who don’t know better. I see people starting down that path - one they are virtually unaware of - and I know how slippery the slope is.  How quickly, “God” can morph to “Higher Power”, and how we can move from God being God of the universe, to "just put your mind to it and you can do it, no matter what".


Seemly small shifts that slide in under the radar.  Untruths, none the less.


At it's core, it’s all false.  It looks so good, but hidden behind a false message of, “There is no hell, it’s all in your mind - just think the right thoughts.”


And right into Satan's plan, so many people walk.


It’s been hard at times, to know I made the choices I did - to journey down those roads - when I knew better!  That I fell for all of that New Age madness.  And I wonder, “How God?  How can You use someone who has messed up SO, SO, SO many times?”  Surely there is a mess up limit somewhere.  But that's the story of His grace. And the amazing way He takes the broken, the most unlikely, and does the impossible.

And there is nothing that can ever come close to counterfeiting God's amazing grace. 


“But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, 
your minds may be seduced from a complete and pure devotion to Christ.” 
2 Corinthians 11:3 (HCSB) 

Photo Credit: Jan Tik


Linking up with the God-sized dreamers weekly link up today!