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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Glorious!!


I was glancing out my window this morning after being in the Word and the lyrics of David Crowder’s song “Everything Glorious” played in my head thanks to a Facebook friend and the Spirit!!!

WOW!! It’s pretty remarkable how God can take a little bit of this and a little bit of that and place it all on a brilliant beautiful platter of love before I start the day. I just have to take time this morning to capture and share this moment.

I surely don’t do this enough. Taking this time to say thank you and share surely increases the joy in my heart…I think it must all be part of His plan.

As I glanced out my living room window as the late winter sun was rising it shone on my neighbor’s tree which seemed to be glistening…glowing in a sense. I realized part of the reason it was so brightly shining was that it was undergoing a transfiguration of sorts…it’s the end of December and finally cold enough for the leaves to change and they were bright yellow like an aspen’s leaves are in early October. Only the far side of the tree that did not touch our fence line was changing and glowing but the leaves were so bright yellow that they seemed to light up the entire tree.

My eyes could not help but be drawn to it…as just prior I read the Message 2 Cor 3:18…”All of us! Nothing between us and God; our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.”

Oh isn’t this true? The more we die and allow our leaves and our own desires to change, the more we become transfigured, allowing God to enter our hearts, minds and souls. The NLT says that when we do this; we “brightly reflect the glory of the Lord.”

I just have to delight in this moment this morning and say…God, you surely make everything glorious and I am Yours!!! Please keep showing me your heart and your ways and help me to continue to take pause and capture these glorious moments!

Friday, December 19, 2008

O Christmas Tree (O Tannenbaum)


I just got finished hanging the boys Christmas ornaments that they made at school this year on the Christmas tree and filed away JDs 12th or so poem consisting of some of the lyrics of ‘O Tannenbaum’ and his colorfully decorated picture of a Christmas tree and I felt warmth cover and cuddle my soul…

It must have been God’s love because I then instantly remembered a time when I was in elementary school and sang my first and only solo of ‘O Tannenbaum.” It was a huge thing that night for my family and for me…I remember it fondly. Although I think most definitely I must have been chosen only because I was able to memorize the lyrics and could stand still more easily than some of the rowdy boys in my class…

Hmmm…as I put the decorations away I made some hot tea and basked in the love I was reliving and experiencing…as I revisited the lyrics that I once sang as a child.

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Thy leaves are so unchanging;

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Thy leaves are so unchanging;

Not only green when summer's here,

But also when 'tis cold and drear.

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Thy leaves are so unchanging!


O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Much pleasure thou can'st give me;

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Much pleasure thou can'st give me;

How often has the Christmas treeAfforded me the greatest glee!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!Much pleasure thou can'st give me.


O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Thy candles shine so brightly!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Thy candles shine so brightly!

From base to summit, gay and bright,There's only splendor for the sight.

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Thy candles shine so brightly!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

How richly God has decked thee!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

How richly God has decked thee!

Thou bidst us true and faithful be,And trust in God unchangingly.

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

How richly God has decked thee! !"

As an adult this has a whole new life-giving meaning to me. All I can think to say is…”WOW!” “YOWSA!” “BOOM…O!!!” I am singing this song now much older and more touched by the circumstances of life; but most importantly more touched by the God who made me!

Just last month I felt God totally prepared my heart and the material that I shared at the Epic’s Women’s Event and it was all about being hand-crafted by God and during that time God drew my attention to trees---and in a roundabout way; a way that only God can communicate…He was telling me I was a tree because I was made in His image!!! And not only am I a tree…but we are all trees making up a giant forest for God
I hear the lyrics and have to agree…

Yes, in my own nature I am unchanging…I seem to want to keep doing things the same way that I have always done them; because it is comfortable for me and it is what I know…but also…and maybe more of why this is included…I am made in the image of God and He is unchanging…His love for me never changes. I cannot do anything to make Him love me more and I cannot do anything to make Him love me less.

Yes, just as my own children bring me pleasure; I too bring great pleasure to my Heavenly Father…

Yes, when I surrender to my God and allow Jesus to love through me…His light shines and therfore so do I..


Yes, God has richly decked me…and every other tree of His!!!

Yes, I agree…thou bidst us true and faithful be, and trust in God unchangingly!!!
O’Christmas tree! O Christmas tree! How richly God has decked thee!!!

I so enjoy our eclectic Christmas tree full of ornaments I’ve made, Justin has made, my boys have made, and that others have made for us…I will never look our Christmas tree the same...
I just might have to break out in caroling each time I glance at it…because the love and the joy of our God has filled up my heart! Why not carol all 12 months of the year?
I also think it is just so awesome that my husband decided to make it a tradition and for the 3rd year in a row He made a movie video procession of pictures of the family setting up the tree. Oh, how I think God must take such pleasure in setting each one of us up in this life and getting us ready to shine and be decorated in only ways that God can do!!!
Hmmm…. and I wonder if the reason we put gifts under the tree is to celebrate and remember His gift…His ultimate gift that is for everyone! Have you opened it and received it yet? He has great reason and has chosen each one of us for a unique purpose…oh may we not wait to receive this free gift.

Merry Christmas…may all you trees receive His gift and His continual blessings!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Joshua!


At 8:08am just 8 years ago; God gave me and my family a precious gift. He was to share his birthday with Jesus but God brought him just early enough to be home and hearing carolers in the neighborhood by Christmas Eve…

As I remember today and the gift of my first born son, Joshua; I can’t help but remember the gift of a precious baby boy we all have been given…and with that we are able to receive the gift of faith!

What is faith? How can I have it and you have it but our neighbor down the street does not?

Just as my son is a gift from God…my faith and your faith is a gift from God. Some days my faith may seem great and other days my faith may seem small. But it does not matter how my faith may feel or seem…I know it is there because God has given it to me.

I am never self-sufficient in my faith; my faith is a constant process of daily renewing my trust in Jesus.


I wake up each and every morning praising God for who He is and I clothe myself with His love, His mercy and His grace. I am fully aware of God’s love for me. For I am His and He is mine; bought with the precious blood of Christ.

God lavishes me with His love daily; and I cannot do anything to change His love for me. I cannot do anything to make God love me more and I cannot do anything to make God love me less.

I am confident and unashamed because of the love He lavishes on me daily and there is no condemnation for me who is in Christ Jesus.

I remember Christ and all that He has done for me personally—privately and also what He has done for all of humanity; and I have faith that He will do it again and again! Nothing is impossible with Him!

I humbly come to God with an attitude of complete dependence on God. I never cease asking for what I trust He has put on my heart.

Because of my faith I am encouraged! Whether my circumstances are good or not so good; I bring my requests to God every morning with great expectations, knowing full well, that He hears me and longs to answer my prayers.

I hear my God saying, “Your faith is great and your requests are granted; because of your faith you and your family are blessed.”

Thank you Father for my son and the gift of faith that You have also given him.

God bless you Joshua.
I pray and ask God to continue to grow your faith and bless you immensely.
Happy Birthday; my precious son!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tangled Lights...


Have you untangled any Christmas lights recently? I was untangling two of my son’s toys for him the other day and had trouble un-wrapping the strings that became entangled. As I was untwisting and getting my cold fingers in between the strings I thought of how twisted our thoughts can be at times and how God has quite a job in uncoiling our heart strings when they get entangled. You see as I was untangling I realized I had to focus on just one of the strings…if I crossed over and focused my attention on the other I got mixed up and lost what progress I had made in untangling the strings.

Don’t we do this in our own lives? I mean with real people whose lives cross our paths. Do we not tend to lose focus when our eyes get attracted to someone else’s string that just happens to be crossing our path? Do we tend to question ourselves or what we are doing when this happens?
I was reading in Matthew 20 about the vineyard workers and thinking about how easy it is for us to compare our wages like the vineyard workers did; or compare our toys; or compare our blessings; or compare our…you fill in the blank. It is very easy to get entangled with all kinds of wrong thinking when our focus is directed away from what God has specifically designed for us. We can so easily try to gauge our achievements by comparing our string with someone else’s string.
I think the enemy enjoys smirking as he watches us get entangled. If we are busy comparing and watching what God is doing for someone else; we totally miss out on what God has for our own lives. If we focus our attention on what someone else has done or hasn’t done to receive God’s blessing we are totally missing the point and therefore; miss the opportunity to rejoice and praise God for His specific amount of love, compassion, and grace that is allotted for each one of our hearts. Why do we think that He sometimes does not have enough to go around? Do we sometimes hold back from blessing others because we think it will take away some of our own blessing?
We cannot do anything to make God love us more or AND we cannot do anything to make God love us less. Each one of us has the opportunity to receive His free gift…He does not withhold His gifts or His blessings from anyone! He has great plans and a future full of hope for all of us…and it is no comparison!
Untangle our hearts Lord; fill us with your gifts and help us gaze our eyes on the specific task and assignment that You have specifically designed for each one of us! Help us untangle any mess that is before us and help us stay focused on our specific string…our specific assignment which You have created specifically for each one of us!
As for tangled Christmas lights…I found this link that describes how to untangle Christmas lights...hee hee…can’t believe this was online... http://www.ehow.com/how_2150847_untangle-christmas-lights.html Sometimes I wish life’s messes came with four easy steps.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What about asking?

I keep thinking about this season and all of the asking we are doing. I see vivid pictures of my children and other children I see out and about in the stores and the restaurants asking for things…and my heart starts to resonate a bit with the frustrated parent I overheard threatening her children on the toy aisle yesterday, ”ENOUGH…STOP ASKING, or you won’t get anything!!!”

If we cease asking and cease giving will that settle all of this? I wish I could say that my sweet boys have never thrown a tantrum because they did not get what they wanted…I wish I could say that I have never thrown an adult-sized fit of my own when I did not get what I wanted…

Does this mean we stop asking and we teach our kids to stop asking? I realize I ask for things everyday-it doesn’t matter the season!! I come every morning presenting my requests to God and frankly, I’m going to keep asking…keep knocking and keep seeking because I think He likes it when I ask Him…and why would He want us to keep asking?

Do you think that maybe He could be changing and transforming our hearts through each moment we find that we have faith enough to ask?

Jesus said himself…”Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for?”

I just wonder…is there anything wrong with asking? No matter what the request and no matter what the answer is…

Could perhaps our persistent asking help us recognize our God at work???

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Keep Expecting Great Things...

I have confidence because of some One …and with Him; some One has confidence in me!
I can trust because of some One… and with Him; some One can trust me!
I can rely on some One…and with Him; some One can rely on me!
I have assurance because of some One…and with Him; some One can find assurance in me!
I can believe because of some One…and with Him, some One can believe in me!
I have devotion because of some One…and with Him; some One can see devotion in me!
I have found loyalty because of some One…and with Him; some One finds loyalty in me!

I have found this to be true..
I have faith in some One…
I have hope because of some One and therefore...
I can expect great things from some One!!

Just as a child expects great things on Christmas morning, God thank you that you remind me over and over to expect great things from You!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Recalling What I Learned When I Was 10...

There is so much that I could do today and tackle my ever running to do list. Not sure where to begin I beckoned to hear from Jesus and asked Him what to do. I swear I heard the word “Rest.” So thinking that maybe I was just hearing my own voice out of my overwhelming state I beckoned again and heard nothing. As I grabbed my cup of coffee and my to do list my eyes came across a picture drawn by a student for me this week…and I instantly remember tears coming to my eyes that day and hearing God remind me how an adolescent hands knows how to love, knows how to express gratitude, knows how to rest in Him and allow love to flow throw him…
AAaaahhhh…you see this 10 year old boy drew me a picture of God’s beautiful creation and gave it to me…as if to say thank you for being here today and brightening my day…it beckons me to draw near to my God and say thank you for being here.
I was remembering telling God thank you for helping me recall some pre-algebra concepts that these 4th graders were working on (WOW!!)…so thankful that God reminded me and equipped me also with the red ink in the teacher’s edition as I reworked some of the problems on the white board.
I also feel drawn to say thank you for my needs…thank you for the pain…thank you for the joys…thank you for everything that tugs on my heart and makes me yearn to know You better. Please keep showing me how to love…please keep showing me how to express my gratitude…please keep showing me how to rest in You and allow You to love through me…
I think I knew at one time how to do all of this…maybe back when I was an adolescent myself…and some days I think I forget what I learned when I was 10.
There were definitely some powerful things God was beginning to teach me when I was 10 even with my home filled with atheism and no church on Sundays…you see my heart resonates with Mary’s heart…He had taken notice of me…a lowly servant girl and has done great things for me!! My spirit rejoices in God my Savior!!!

Oh, I am choosing to rest in Him today…not going back to bed and climbing under the covers or snuggling on the couch and grabbing a blanket…but instead grabbing my best friend’s hand and resting in Him as I walk through the motions of today…something I cannot do alone-PRAISE YOU FATHER!
Hmmmm….I think I was hearing God right!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New T-Shirt


I bought a new t-shirt…it says Levi’s on the front and it as only $4.99 at Ross. I love that store and just as I laid out my clothes for the next morning and climbed into bed to read…the phone rang…it is odd for me to get calls this late at night…but what a joy to hear the voice of my dear friend!!! I’ve found lots of deals with her in the past and she so shares with me so many of my passions…I rested well after conversing with her and was reminded of my common bond with her and my new t-shirt this morning as I read…
I promise not to neglect the Temple of our God! My heart echoes the words I read this morning in Neh 10! I know that my body is God’s temple and it is on my mind to take care of this body of mine…both physically, spiritually and emotionally….thank you Lord for my girlfriends who I am able to exercise with, share my heart with and pray with…
I’m thinking of exercising as soon as I am done here and then getting ready and putting that new t-shirt on. What is it about a new shirt that makes us feel good? A verse popped in my head as I was thinking about this…”You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by your deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:22-24)
Oh Praise You Father!! Everyday I can be reminded that I am new!! I am new because of You and what You have done for me!! I am not my old self…and even when I make mistakes…I am learning from them and I am not the same as I used to be…I am being made new in the attitudes in my mind and I am being continually shaped to be more like You…I can stand upright and blameless—because of YOU—not perfect but covered because of Your grace.
Thank you that I can put on a new shirt every morning…and it is free!! Thank you for constantly reminding me—thank you for the girlfriends you bring into my life that remind me—and help me not to forget these dear things that You constantly whisper to me!!! I love you Lord…may I continue to find these rich treasures in this practice of growing in You…may I practice this ongoing review of who I am in You. Give me Your patience and concentration to keep in line with Your will!
Now where is that shirt so I can begin this day!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Reflecting on His love...


Oh this is your calling! I heard this from others after speaking this weekend and felt encouraged and then ran to my God! What are we to do when God calls us to something? In reading about Gideon in Judges this morning; I began reflecting on my own life and how I feel the desire to encourage those around me…first my children and husband and others that I know God puts in our lives to encourage.

I cannot focus on all of that—for it is overwhelming. Praise God we can take these emotions to God...and I did just that. I sensed God nudging me to just look at myself and my relationship with Him and everything else will fall into place...hmm the jingle is coming..


Seek first...the Kingdom of Heaven...and all shall be added...


As I reflected on what I read this morning. I found it interesting that when God called Gideon to be His hands and feet; the first thing that he needed to address was idol worship. I was thinking about what our idols are this present day...what do we measure ourselves to...is it God or something else?


Later, as I was taking the boys to school; I heard my son’s friend commenting on how much my son reads…he asked how many hours of reading he had as the school has the kids keep track of the reading hours and rewards them for reading 100-200 hours by the end of the year. It was apparent to me right away that the boys were comparing their reading hours.

Oh, don’t we even do this as adults…do we compare and see if we are measuring up? Oh Lord, I so do not want to allow myself to stand next to anyone but you. I don’t want to feel either encouraged or discouraged because I put myself up against someone else…I had to encourage my son and remind him to focus on himself and what God wants him to do… and as I reminded Him I reminded myself.


God is speaking to me about something great here…you see whether I sense that someone in my life is saying, “What you did was awesome!” or “That could have been better,” or “I love you” or “I hate you” or “I believe in you,” or “I don’t believe you,” or “I so understand you,” or “I don’t understand you.”

I don’t want to be either filled up or depleted by any of this chatter…I only want what matters in my little sensitive and intuitive heart to be what God has put there. All the chatter can be distracting—it can surely distract us in hearing what God wants to say and I don’t want to miss what He has to say…because I know IT IS GOOD!!!

Sometimes I feel like a child…and I know I am God’s child; still a fairly new one that needs to hear how much He loves me. And although God may often use His other children to tell me they love me…I want to know His love and stand confident in this love every day regardless of what I hear from others.
Then, maybe, I will not need to ask my friend how many hours he has read. For, whether I have read little or alot it cannot change how much God loves me!

I sense a truth resonating within my heart…for I know that if my life is intertwined with His, He will help me stand confident and unashamed and I won’t sink when I hear devastation and I won’t rise falsely on deceptive highs. For, I know my consistent conversations with You, God brings about John 15:11, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Oh, tell me…tell me Lord…I so do want to hear. May you fill our lives with your love so we can speak nothing but loving encouraging words to one another—and remove the desires we may have to compare ourselves to one another. Help us grasp this and help us teach this truth to our children. Whether my friend has read less or more than me…it does not matter…for God loves us both!!! May we all know, reflect and rely on, the love God has for us! (1John4:16)

Thank you for Your Love!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Journey through the trees...as a tree?


Probably because there are still so many unplanted trees sitting in our backyard I felt my eyes gazing upon so many trees on my walk yesterday (And Arizona is not known for its trees...I remember seeing many more when we lived in the NW). Then I read Psalm 104:16 "The trees of theLord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted."


Oh do I desire to be a well-watered tree with fruitful branches Lord...I praise you that in reading Your Word I find more and more reason to praise You...in reading Psalm 118 alone, I composed this:


With God I am Free

With God I am Fearless

With God I am Helped and have a Helper

With God I am Strong

With God I am Full of Joy

With God I am Victorious

With God I am Lively

With God I am Protected

With God I am Thankful

With God I am Answered and this means Understood

With God I am Glad

With God I am Rejoiceful

With God I am a Shining Light

With God I am Loved and able to Love


Giving thanks to You Lord...for Your Love Endures!!!
I am honored to be on this journey and I surrender to this journey.
I am Yours! Plant me, prune me, water me...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Reaching Our Candy Land

God just brought some things full circle for me. I heard my boys up a little earlier than normal this morning and they were talking about something. A little while later they came running down the stairs with their voices full of sunshine, “Good Morning Momma!”
My oldest exclaims, “I’m going to do something special this morning…I’m going to baptize JD!” Then JD pipes in, “Yeah, I want to go to heaven and eat all the CANDY I WANT!!!”
I chuckled inside and made a note to myself remembering a conversation I had the day before; and talked with my boys over breakfast about baptism and living for Jesus. I love seeing God’s Spirit move in, around and through my children…I think God does this to remind me that He loves me! Hallelujah that this is how I started my day!! Praise you Father, you are truly WONDERFUL!!
I remembered a conversation I had with a friend the day prior about desiring to be with God more than we desired to have that candy on Friday night…I myself had way too much sugar Friday AND Saturday…hee hee. We were discussing the increasing challenge from our Pastor to read, study, and reflect on God’s Word every day.
In addition, in my own studying yesterday I was reading and meditating on the Israelites struggle to reach the Promise Land. They so often faced tough times and instead of trusting God and pushing through they whined and complained and wanted to take the easy way…even the way back into captivity. I know that my thinking can so be like that…and want to just wiggle my nose and get to a place of paradise so that I can eat all the candy that I want or be where it is comfortable. Sometimes I know that I cause myself to stumble in front of my own Promise Land (whether candy is involved or not). I know that reaching this Promise Land is not going to be free of struggles and battles and yet, I can so easily get discouraged when I face them.
I find great comfort in knowing that just like God led the Israelites; He is also leading me. Just like God knew the Israelites were prone to have thoughts to turn back when they faced opposition; God knows the same is true for me today. And I believe He is allowing some of these tough things in my life to sharpen and strengthen me.
Yesterday, I thought a lot about being comfortable and seeking my own Promise Land…and how I must be currently going in the right direction because I am feeling opposition and battling negative thoughts when negative thoughts is something I felt I was over a few years ago. I so know about taking my thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ (2Cor10:5). I have a few studies under my belt that focused on my freedom found in Christ and being aware of my thought life…yet just like the Israelites needed to be reminded. Especially when I face bumps in the road and am more prone to think negatively I need to be close to Him so He can dust me off and place me back on my feet.

Instead of my thoughts leading me down a path of death (complaining, whining, arguing)…my thoughts can be like Christ and speak life (encouragement, love, forgiveness, acceptance). My thoughts led me to His Word, to Christ, to my Helper (John 14:16) and I am choosing to not lose heart or grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time I will reap a harvest if I do not give up (Gal 6:9).
The Israelites are not the example to follow…although they do make me feel normal—and illustrate the reason we all need Christ! I know Christ is our example, He faced the desert and opposition and used God’s Word to fight His battle and in addition He did not complain or talk negatively when He suffered— He walked victoriously through every situation! And if I am abiding in Him…He can help me do the same!
I need to let that sink in…
He walked victoriously through every situation! And if I am abiding in Him…He can help me do the same!
*I think I will continue to talk to my kids about this and model the way of continually seeking Him in His Word; because I KNOW following Christ is so much more than reaching heaven and getting to eat all the candy you want!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Climbing



Visuals…I love to get good pictures in my mind…they help me. Visuals from God especially help me focus and further grasp what I feel the Holy Spirit is communicating to me. It energizes me and sometimes gives me what I need to keep going!!! This may seem weird; but I do sense that the Spirit—who lives inside me because I asked Jesus into my heart, prompts me at different times. Sometimes to either do or say something or sometimes it is to just make me aware of what I am thinking and stir in me to think a new thought.

I love to be out in the world, and in His creation—the beach and the mountains are the greatest places that I feel His communication. I remember this past summer hiking with my girlfriend around Couer d’Alene Lake and we were talking about how far God has brought us individually and even in our relationship. We try to talk weekly and pray with one another. We’ve shared both hard times and really great celebratory times together. While we were walking up this hill and really feeling the ‘burn’ we were amazed to see 2 deer cross our path about 20 feet in front of us…I instantly felt Habb 3:19 come to my mind and felt God speaking to me at that moment and had to agree out loud, “He is our strength—he makes our feet like the feet of a deer and enables us to go on new heights.”

I sense God is taking me higher and with that comes some extreme opposition from my flesh but also from forces that I cannot see, which I know are in opposition to God’s plan for me. Yesterday while teaching physical education to the elementary school kids I reflected back on the day and realized that what kids I remembered were the ones I already know and have a great relationship with; I also had a a few kids stick out in my mind; either the ones who were great helpers and what some may call the ‘teacher’s pet’ or I also cannot get out of my mind the ones who were defiant (there weren’t many for the 30 or so minutes I had each class) or just the class clowns with always something smart to say…the ones I couldn’t help but label ‘in need of attention.”

I thought of how God loves all of us as I thought of these kids and that it is frustrating to grow up in life being in the middle and feeling no attention is given to us and then at other times feeling relieved that there is no attention shown to us—we can get really comfortable sitting here unnoticed.

But, I felt the Spirit shifting my thinking just a bit and thinking of myself as the student and God as my teacher…where do I want to be as far as being noticed by the Teacher? He is desiring to take me on to new heights and I want to agree with a full eager heart…make me a ‘teacher’s pet’ because I desire to not be neither hot or cold…Rev 3:15-16. Give me a heart that acts regardless of what the class is doing and may my motivation always be to give You the glory…my sweet loving God…I want to climb for You!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gazing as His bird...


In the crispness of this fall morning it is silent as my eyes are drawn to a bird atop my neighbors’ chimney.
There he or she is—God’s creation—basking in the sun; fluttering his wings; shaking his tail; nudging his beak within his feathers as he gazes up at the sun almost thanking it for its warmth.
Then tip toe down off of the chimney prancing down to the edge of the rooftop. I’ve never seen a bird prance like that before…he looked so confident but delicate. Then one last glance up at the source of its warmth before it leaped and spread his/her wings out to fly and glide off the rooftop…
In a weird sort of way I grew fond of this bird in a such a short time...I saw something about myself in this bird this morning. Like this bird—I am His creation—I too enjoy basking in His warmth; I too feel like I can shake off the dust when engulfed with His love; I too nudge myself to acknowledge Him and thank Him for who He is and all He has provided. Then, I too am able to jump and glide effortlessly through each moment…confident and sure…not confident or sure because of anything I can do or have done; but confident and sure because my God has gifted me with faith and His Spirit.
Off to bask in His love and glide through this day…

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Smile!





I’ve recently thought about going back to school to further my education –education on life that is. And I think I want to go back to Kindergarten. I’ve heard someone say once that all you ever needed to know you learned in Kindergarten.
I watch the little hearts of these five year olds and sense their desire for approval and support. They hesitate to share what they know one minute and then exclaim with great confidence the next minute. I so can relate to that! I see simple truths clicking so quickly with my own five year old son and can’t help but pray for his little heart.
Lord, please guard his little heart from this cold-dark world. Enlighten him at just the right times and empower Him with Your Spirit to love-love-love all who cross His path even through seasons when the coldness and darkness seems to be all that is present for a time.

Just as soon as I pray for him; I feel the Sprit nudging me to do the same…I am 7 times the age of those Kindergarteners with 7 times the number of stories and 7 times the number of hurts and experiences and 7 times the number of discouraging moments and so could be prone to crawl inside my own little cocoon. Yet, all the glory to my God…my heart is still just as tender as those 5 year olds and at times my heart seems to be just as vulnerable and at the same time just as light and free because I know YOU love me!
Lord, please help me to rely on You…specifically Your Holy Spirit that dwells within me. Help me to always be quick to forgive this fallen world and love-love-love!
May the desires of my heart be more and more like Your heart and less and less from the selfish heart I was first born with!
While thinking about Kindergarten; and praying for my son’s heart and mine...my son ran up to place a sticker on my shirt. The sticker was a caterpillar that had the word “Smile” on it!
I instantly felt God smiling and loving me. It wasn’t anything mystical or anything that I felt—no direct audible message to my ear and I didnt' see Him standing next to me. But I felt His Presence in a way that I cannot even express in words—I instantly thanked Him and embraced my son in the process!!! (Isn't it so like God to love us and then cause us to love others?)
Only God can transform me and you like that smiling caterpillar on the at sticker…and even though this process takes a lifetime and is full of ups and downs… there is not a human-sized cocoon that we must enter first. Only God is able to empower us with His Spirit and equip us for freedom like the butterflies flying from flower to flower are able to experience while we are still at this phase of life living as hungry caterpillars.
Sometimes I feel like I am wandering in this world so hungry for love and acceptance and when I look to His Spirit to fill this emptiness He so comes through for me!!!

Only in Christ can we be freed in surrendering….God alone can offer us freedom in the act of surrendering!! It makes no sense; surrender and experience freedom? Yet I think my Kindergartener is beginning to grasp this concept...you know somethings I think we grasp concepts better with our heart than with our head.
I don’t know about you…but I have a desire to go back to Kindergarten and learn a few more things…and hear my God with a five year old heart.

Praise you Father that my son knows about You and knows that You love Him! I know he hears Your voice affirming Him now when he is only 5 and I can’t wait to see the man he will become because of Your love that is continually pouring into his heart!!!
Help me to love like you love…and thank you for continuing to heal this heart of mine!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Taking The First Step


Dear God,
How have I been doing? I feel like what I have desired to do in my head and in my heart I have not been able to do with my hands. And my head feels so foggy and it seems to be seeping into other places and I need it to stop…I need some clarity. Please help me take this step to clear the fog and may I keep going regardless of outside forces.
I am referring to the act of specifically allowing time for my hands to meet the keyboard. A change of schedule sometimes makes things…well out of schedule. I have missed processing my thoughts and please forgive me if I have allowed my passion for writing to wane because of some things that have occurred or maybe because of what someone may have said or done this past week or just allowed my passion to wane because I have had two kids at home while on Fall Break.
Whether I write for the audience of one or many; I know my writing makes my joy complete and my goal is to glorify You. Thank you for empowering me to take this step today to write again; for I feel the fog has lifted.
Thank you Lord for speaking through my dear friend who had no idea I was seeing the fog…when she simply said “Sometimes it just takes the act of taking that first step to lift the fog.”
You are the reason behind my writing…thank you for calling me Yours.
Sincerely,
JGirl

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

J who? J why? J Praise?


I love mornings where I can sit and watch the sun come up and then watch the rays shine through the trees. We also have a windmill in the yard that I noticed slowly starts to spin faster as the morning wanes by.

While glancing out the window gazing at the sun shining on the trees I felt my Lord whispered “Jehoshaphat.” This brought me back to some scripture this morning that I remember reading one morning while camping in the mountains with our friends. It was a déjà vu moment for me as I read on in my Bible and the notes I made in the margins.

I so remember God speaking to me up in the mountains just about four months ago when I read about Jehoshaphat in 2Chron 20. I really felt like God was speaking to me again from these passages; and this is what I felt like He was whispering to me through His Word…
When tragedies big or small come; whether it is a bad hair day or a day where devastating news come from any area of my life; God is standing in my presence. I can and God wants me to cry out to him in my distress and He will hear me and He will save me. Just as a loving mother will run to the cries of her newborn baby, so will my loving God run to my cries.
Through my circumstance God is telling me “Do not be afraid or discouraged!” “This battle you feel you are under right now is not yours but MINE!”

Even though there are things that I may feel God nudging me to do and of course I will be blessed in obeying His commands; yet I am not fighting the BIG FIGHT…this battle is not mine to fight; but God wants me to take my position as His daughter and stand firm and see the deliverance that the LORD will give me! Hallelujah!!
I think I need to hear that one again…it is in verse 17…”You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you!...Oh (Fill in your name)…I filled in mine. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”

I so desire to sit back in awe and watch our LORD win the fight! Will you pop some popcorn and sit back with me and watch this story unfold in your own life?

So what is our position and what did Jehoshaphat do…I was so blessed in remembering this…our job…our focus…our position…our duty…our joy is in bowing to our God “faces to the ground” and upon arising may we sing praises to the LORD! May we have faith in the LORD…so that we will be upheld; have faith in Him and we will be successful! The Lord has given us cause to rejoice…may we be blessed in doing so!! Verse 30 talks about the peace that Jehoshaphat’s kingdom found in praising Him in the valley….the Valley of Beracah (the Valley of Praise)…May we too praise Him in all things at times when we are resting on the peaks and highs of life and also the lows and valleys of this life.

I never realized the importance or the call I had as His daughter to praise Him in all things; yet as a young mom and still young in my faith I would do this daily. Whether it was a good day or a bad day with my sweet babies I had time everyday where I played my favorite worship/praise music and I held them tight and danced in my living room with them praising my Heavenly Father for anything and everything I could think of!!! My boys are much older now and we still love to praise and worship together…and every time we do my heart feels lighter and more full of joy.

I think I will take my position…how about you? Will you sing praise with me?? I’m ready to pop my CD’s in and dance with boys.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rock On! With Our Lord, We're Unshaken!

Just the other night I watched my brother play in a concert, he has been playing the electric guitar for quite a few years now and recently started playing with a group of kids his age led by a few adults who have taken to teaching them…and encouraging them in their musical pursuits.

It was such an awesome thing to watch! My brother is approaching 15 and is exuding many of the qualities of a teenager. He even had a red hair piece put into his hair to add to the rock-band persona. As I watched him play I felt like his second proud mother! I had flashbacks of holding him as a baby and remembered him as a toddler dancing the night away as my little ring-bearer at my wedding almost 13 years ago…

My brother played so well, and just looked so natural. As I watched him, I also watched my own boys and nephew as they only took their eyes off of him to imitate and play their own air guitars. Their smiles from ear to ear and participation with the music exuded their love and support.

Afterwards we hung out with my brother for awhile and I talked with my mom and she shared the day’s events leading up to the concert and how nervous and insecure my brother was and that he even had second thoughts about playing—after talks of being so excited about it weeks earlier; I was shocked! My brother--insecure about playing the guitar?? He is so good and sometimes—like a normal teenager, talks like he knows he is so good. How can he be insecure???

Hmmmm….as I asked that question to myself in my own head I felt myself resonating with that. Aren’t we all insecure? I felt God agreeing with me as He knows I so often am talking to Him about my own insecurities.

I remember talking to a friend recently who spoke to a large group of people and it is not something that she is eager to do; but she told me how God gives her the strength every time. ..this led me to think about something recently that I was pondering about my own security…
I used to battle with insecure thoughts constantly; and it still tends to rear its ugly head and the enemy so knows how to push my buttons. I don’t think it is any coincidence that the times of my greatest struggle with insecurity were also my greatest memories of being used by God. God gave me the desire to speak up in front of hundreds—almost thousands of people when He wanted me to speak and He covered all of my insecurities. God is so grand and led me to scripture that speaks of His great love for me and my ability to be secure in Him. God alone is strong enough to suppress my insecurity whenever it seems to surface in my life.

I feel like there is a meter inside measuring my insecurity/security…I think extremes of either one are dangerous. I never want to be so down on myself or oh so sure of myself. I can easily pull out all sorts of books and make my lists of things to do; some things that God even wants me to do to stay balanced in this—yet I just seem to hear Him constantly whisper His desire for me to be connected with Him. When I am His friend; just like any other friendship; I am able to listen to His wisdom and advice that speaks to me secure words of who I am in Him.

Not always, but often I feel God nudging me to do some things that are a little uncomfortable, and I tend to feel a little insecure about myself before I do them—whether it is speaking in front of a large group or just going next door to talk to a neighbor. I am learning that stepping out and following these promptings that seem a little less than desirable at times…I am blessed and have the opportunity to stand in awe of my God and His love for His people.

How about you? Are you secure? Are you holding back out of insecurity? Are you feeling imprisoned by insecure feelings or shaken by any particular circumstances? Get into His Word and break free from those chains that bind you and wrap yourself in His love!

One of my favorite truths, from Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

I also found it interesting that in my search for the word “security” in the Bible, the word was only found in the Old Testament and mostly pointed towards people’s longing for security and safety. I wonder if it isn’t found in the New Testament because God’s plan is for us to find our security in and through Jesus. Hmmm…may we look to Him who can and desires to secure us in every way! May we live secure in Him and then love all with this secure love…I think we all could benefit from being touched by others with this secure love. I know my brother-just a regular teenager has benefitted from others in his life who have loved him and encouraged him to rock on--may we rock on an be rock-stars for Jesus!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pondering...


Just pondering this morning; desiring to say from my heart, "May I live in awe of the Lord our God." (Jer 5:24).

This is what God whispered to me this morning...

"Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls."

You can hear Him say this too; in His Word...Jeremiah Chapter 6 verse 16


Help me Father to live and love out of this resting soul of mine--the soul You have created.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Focus...

Just a couple of weeks ago my husband and I were out shopping for a new camera. We were looking at all of the different options and one of them being the optical zoom. I remember my son being particularly fascinated with looking through the camera and focusing on things and then zooming in and out.

I felt God nudging me to remember this moment this morning as I was feeling Him prodding me to remember to stay focused on Him. My prayers this morning included this particular cry, “Oh Lord, may my focus be on You Lord and what You have for me!”

The word focus has been resonating in my mind and I went searching through the scriptures for this word and I found that focus also means: center; the heart…and there in the old and new testament were these words “Love the Lord Your God with all your HEART, with all your soul, with all of your mind.” It is found in Deut 6:5 and Matthew 22:37.

The word is referring to our literal heart in the Greek and I just picture that camera focusing in on what stirs us to act…it is at the center of all we think, feel and do in our day. I so need to be aware of where my heart is and constantly need to take my heart issues to the Lord.

Often times I’ll be honest, I think my heart is doing okay…but when I think about and definitely when I think God is convicting me to think about my heart I realize that there are things connected to my heart that I definitely struggle with…one definitely being my thoughts. And any negative or critical thought s that I have about myself or anyone else definitely communicates a heart issue…

So what am I thinking…I’m not telling (just kidding)—but honestly, the depth of what I am thinking I cannot even put into words and that is between me and God and I can tell you that we talked about it this morning. But I will share that God is definitely bringing me to a place where I can firmly be planted in the soil of His love to grow and prosper regardless of anyone else around me.

Psalm 139 states that He hems me in-behind and before, He has laid His hand upon me; and I do feel like He has gently and lovingly hedged me in with a protective covering of His love. Just as in my flower bed I cannot place the flowers too close together or the roots get entangled and soon one of the flowers gets strangled to death and dies…so I too must have space between me and my fellow sojourners. He has a particular plan for each and every one of us and although He allows are shoulders and lives to touch in beautiful ways…He does not want us to be seeking life and joy from anyone else’s portion of His soil but He wants me to focus on His particular soil set apart just for me. (And yes He has a part set just for you too!)

I am remembering a recent girls’ trip this year where some girlfriends of mine went for a walk on the beach and one friend in particular asked God to bring dolphins So they could see them on the pier. I missed seeing those dolphins because I chose to go have my own walk with the Lord and had the most incredible time with God and was so excited that He sent me ladybugs without me even asking for anything in particular—I just asked for some time with Him. Well you can imagine when I connected back with my girlfriends I felt a little silly—dolphins are much more exceptional than ladybugs in most people’s book and I began to compare my ladybugs with the dolphins. Why? This is such a heart issue and I’m sure it had to break God’s heart because He sent those ladybugs just for me and yet I was left longing for dolphins…

You know God is so gracious and at a future visit to the beach He blessed me tremendously with a spectacle of dolphins and this time I was with my family and I got to share with my boys a great lesson of being careful to not allow our hearts to yearn for what He has for another. My oldest son recognized this right away….when He said, “Yeah mom we shouldn’t covet.” (Why do children seem to just get the simple truths so easily and I feel it takes months of repetitive learning experiences to get it?)

This lesson also repeated itself again in my son’s lives as my youngest son is growing so fast and learning so many new things; so often I see him afraid to venture out because he sees his brother can do so many more things than he can because he is older. I am trying to teach him to not pay attention to what his brother can do; but to focus on what he can do…he looks up to his brother so much and often leans on him for support…but I see little glimpses of him growing and pushing up through the dirt and God is hemming him in; teaching him and just the other day he said with such conviction as he was trying to do something that his brother has already mastered, “God loves me, I can do it!” Those are powerful words from a five year old…words of extreme FOCUS…words that have stuck to my heart!

Praise you Father for the reminder to stay focused on You and Your love for me…

”You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.” (Psalm m119:57-58).

Thank you for reminding me that “You love me and I can do it!”

Monday, October 6, 2008

Rah! Rah! Sis-Boom-Ba!



Open the barnyard kick out the hay…we’re the girls from the USA!! Oh, this totally makes me smile as I have memories of singing this with the schoolgirls in my neighborhood as a child.
Cheering and memories of being a cheerleader have been on my mind this week (although I much more enjoyed playing the sport and getting in there to play I loved cheering and still love being an encouragement to others). I had a dear girlfriend remind me this week to be my greatest cheerleader—she was encouraging me to seek within myself my own encouraging words. I don’t think that I seek complete affirmation from others but it sure does help at times and I truly want to live where words from others whether positive or negative don’t define me. My God defines me and I want to live that truth out in my life…
In meditating this week on this I was reminding myself of my most precious girlfriends who encourage me and love me and also remembering my freshman years of cheerleading…I was relating to the days of feeling so empty and insecure inside and yet had the make-up on, my hair done and my cheer uniform on with the smile and cheer voice yelling as I encouraged others whether I was at school, at the pep rally, or wherever!!
I was trained in school spirit and taught how to best display leadership as a young teen; yet was dealing with such emptiness inside my own heart. I hate to admit it…but I so see the possibility of portraying it on the outside and not exemplifying it on the inside. I know I need to seek to empty myself every morning and be filled with Him and when I don’t do this…the day has potential for disaster.
Christ draws us to be filled first on the inside…I am sure of it! His Word talks so much about emptying ourselves and filling us with Himself. His Word is given to us and heals us it says in Psalm 107…and right now in studying the Psalms of Ascent the entire message is to pour our hearts out to God allowing ourselves to be emptied of our fleshy desires and then seeking Him and asking Him to fill us with His love and goodness…
I so desire this!!! I want to be transformed from the inside out and feel I am definitely on this journey with Him and can honestly say when I seek Him I am different every day and ever-changing…being transformed to be more like Him. I am Free in Christ and His Spirit is in me…(2 Cor 3:17). I love the next verse; it reminds me of this weekend and getting to spend some precious time with some dear girlfriends…verse 18 says, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” I am remembering the heart-to-heart…REAL conversations that filled my living room this past Saturday night and picturing the masks on our faces and our willingness to be vulnerable and allowing our true selves to be revealed…these girlfriends are brave and free with me (YOU GIRLS SO ROCK FOR HIM!!!)—they know what it means to ask Christ into their hearts to reveal not only to themselves but to others the radiant glory of our Lord. They are and I too am by no means perfect…but Christ lives in them and our hearts are surrendering to Him and I believe He has called us together to continue to encourage one another in this.
I know this is deep…BUT I felt God was tying these things together for me…this girls’ night was not just a deep pore cleansing for our faces…but a reminder for us girls to keep seeking Him to fill us…admitting our pride, our susceptibility to having harshness in our hearts and our need of repentance and cleansing from Him—as much as we need to care for our complexion and our nails we need even more to care for our hearts and in the overflow of that the hearts around us!
Oh Lord, we surrender to you transforming us...I praise You for these precious girlfriends who cheer me on in the Lord…please help me to keep cheering myself on towards You and as I do that may it naturally encourage those around me.
In the spirit of cheering I yell this one out to the Creator of me who has already fought for me and has already won the game…thank you for the blood and the FREEDOM found in its covering...I love you my Jesus! I am yours!
Go Go! G…O…F…I…G…H…T Win!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thank You

Just need to say thank you to God for His Word...
"One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life." (Psalm 27:4)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

FREEDOM


God continually shined down His love yesterday…I know He does everyday…don’t misunderstand me…I know it is always there; but YESTERDAY HE SHONE TO ME!!! I saw the sun’s rays in new ways, my kids exclaimed of His love and even brought home craft magnets of the sun that they made at school, my girlfriends cried out His love, my husband expressed His sweet love but most profound was expressions of His love found in His Word…I could post pages of what I wrote from studying from His Word in Deut 16, Exodus 12, John 10 and 1Cor….so much that I am still a little overwhelmed with His love still this morning….I am thankful for some upcoming time off to allow this teaching to soak in.
Oh to be overwhelmed with God’s Word…I woke up this morning and read with fresh eyes Isaiah 40:8
“The grass withers and the flowers fade,
But the Word of our God stands forever”

Have you ever been overwhelmed? I know in the Word it talks about people being overwhelmed with a lot of things…whether it be their sorrows or their amazement of Jesus I intend to go search that out in the Scriptures more; not to just say that I did; but because God has stirred my heart with this thought of overwhelmant (I know I made up this word J)
I don’t know if I am the only one…but I know that if I am overwhelmed it is my first innate response to shut down. Praise God I don’t stay there but when I am overwhelmed I usually tend to procrastinate which then leads to more and more reasons to be overwhelmed…it takes sometimes an act of God to get me to sit down and figure out a plan to get things organized (which is so crazy to me because I love order and organization) so that the overwhelming situation can be broken down and manageable.

My husband and I recently attempted to organize our study and that project turned into a greater mess; because you see we somehow managed to move the clutter mess from the study into another room and at the end of the day we found that 2 rooms now needed to be organized.
How does that happen? Sometimes I think I am tempted to do the same thing when accepting God’s love for me; specifically, I mean… take what I know is true about His love for me and then procrastinate. Is this makings sense? I think I jump ahead of accepting His love and think that with accepting this love that I will need to do x, y and Z for God…but I put off x, y and Z for whatever reason. I know the truth is that He loves me and died for me and saved me and that it is by His grace alone that I am saved Eph 2:8-9…I cannot do anything to earn His love…it is free! I just have to accept Him…and His free gift of love!
I was reminded of FREEDOM when listening to Nicole C. Mullen’s song “Freedom.” She sings: I’m on a journey…I’m looking for a plan, to rest my burdens, far from this tyranny….Up on Golgatha, hanging upon a tree. They say the God-man died for my liberty. He heard me crying from my captivity. And so he came down; came down to deliver me….FREEDOM!
Sometimes I wonder if we forget that with accepting His love and all that it means to accept His love for us…we are blessed with Freedom. Are we shying away from TRUE FREEDOM or….Do we shy away from His love because we know we will be compelled to love back and that means work of some kind in our puny little minds? In John 14:21,23-24 we read the hard truths that those who love Jesus will keep His Word and make our home with him. What does this mean? God speak to us….I think I know but it may be different for everyone.
Yesterday my son came home from school and shared with me some things that edified God’s hand was at work in his little heart. Just as I am teaching my boys as best I can—and I know I fail and I don’t do it perfectly—but I am so trying to instill in them a heart of obedience for our God…doing the things that we know God wants us to do and then reaping a life full of blessings…a life full of FREEDOM!!!
This picture of my son pretending to be the statue of liberty this summer while we were camping with friends reminds me that God is forever nudging all of us to accept His love, obey His commandments so that we may live full…abundant lives….LIVES FREE IN CHRIST!
So whatever I have to do Father…help me to obey; give up whatever I need to in order to accept your love fully. Help me to combat the lies with your truth…because I know a life without your love is just not what you intended for me—for it is nothing but empty. Help me to accept Your gift of FREEDOM and live out this FREEDOM in my daily life!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Good Morning Sunshine!


“Hi Sunshine!” These are words that I often hear come out of one of my best girlfriends when I see her or answer her phone calls. I so feel God’s love radiate through her when I hear her voice. Since I’ve been thinking of His love for us I have also been reflecting on those in my life who clearly allow themselves to be a vessel for God’s love.


I so want to be a vessel for Him and I realize that in order for God to be able to love others through me; I need to allow Him to love me first! I used to think that because of my past I was never going to be able to love or be loved in a healthy manner...but I know many who don't share the same past as me and they too are hungry for love; hungry to be known; and hungry to matter to someone. All the same things that I have hungered for and at times still find myself hungry for...


I did not grow up learning about Jesus in my home, but without even hearing about who He was; I felt a desire to know Him at a young age. Since an adolescent I have been on a journey to find Love….and to His glory I have found His Love! Thank you Jesus!

I find it daily and know this love because it is found in God’s Word! I love reading the Bible for a lot of reasons…but probably the greatest joy in reading the Bible is finding the treasures of His love for me in His Word. I often pray His Word and insert my name like this because so many Bible teachers and authors have encouraged me to do this...


With God, I am patient, with God, I am kind….or God is patient with me, God is kind to me”1 Cor 13:4-8.


“The Lord your God is with ME, He is mighty to save. He takes great delight in ME…” Zeph 3:17.


“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, Your unfailing love for ME will not be shaken…” (Isaiah 54:10)

I could go on and on…there is such a hunger in my soul to grasp His love for me….How about you? Let’s pray this one together…

Lord, I pray that I (Insert your name )would be rooted and established in Your love, and that I (your name) would have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that I, (your name)may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:17-19)

Hallelujah He has and is so willing to give us His power to know His love…even if we don’t sense it at a particular time in our journey, for whatever reason. (I so...feel His prompting to write about this later)…we can know His love because of Him and His glory, Amen!
You GIRLFRIEND...you who look to Him are radiant... (Psalm 34:5).

Have a great day Sunshine! May you know and sense His love shining on you today!


Monday, September 29, 2008

Blowing Some Kisses

This week I was swept off my feet by my Prince. I'm not talking about by husband-but by my Savior-my God. Do you feel like He is your prince charming or your knight in shining armor? Do you feel any kisses from your King? Do you grab a hold of them and let them stick and ponder the fullness of His love?
My oldest son blows me a kiss every morning when I drop him off at school and I blow him one right back; yet this morning I realized something...he does not run off after I blow my kiss; he stands there waiting to see if I catch his kiss and stick it on my cheek. He wants to make sure that I am clearly embracing his love-his thought out effort in blowing me a tender kiss. He doesn’t want to walk away until He sees that I have caught it.

In that moment I felt God whisper “Are you catching my love?”

In this world we live in with news inundated with natural disasters and economic disasters and if I can be honest...the disasters that are real to me in my own home and in the homes of those I love...it is so easy for me to forget that I am a princess who is deeply loved. But,since admitting my old ways of disaster and accepting Jesus as my King I know I am a princess-His princess with a particular purpose regardless of the circumstances surrounding me.
We are His daughters and we are so cared for and loved beyond what we could ever imagine. In the book of Psalms alone there are 27 references of our God’s unfailing love for us…yet how often have we felt like we have either failed and lost this love or more over that someone has failed us and we don’t deserve this love…It can be so difficult to wrap our brains around this truth. We must be in the Word to hear these truths...sometimes I know I need to hear them several times a day...and so be it if I need to hear more of His love :)

Oh sweet King please keep blowing us kisses and help us to stop and catch them and place them on our cheeks—better yet engrave them on our hearts.

Will you stop and snatch the love our King has for you? Can you let God love you and then allow Him to love others through you?
Oh Lord, please help me embrace this and live this out…thank you for reminding me that you desire for your sweet kisses to stick!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Live!"


My girlfriend just called and left a voice mail for me, “You are probably out and about…”

I was actually, out and about taking a walk enjoying this cooler almost Fall weather. Just prior to that I was reading and remembering the days of old…oh I mean the days of my youth. The days, when I would go for a jog; and work through my emotions—pound them out on the pavement with each stride and each breath.
I took up jogging when I was 12…I ran my first race while in 6th grade and came in first…even beat the boys in my sixth grade class…and I’ve loved to run and exercise ever since. I’m sure the early years of running, playing basketball, cheerleading and teaching aerobics have taken their toll on my knees and now my jogs are more frequently just walks or jog-walks I like to call them. My physical therapist recommended that I jog for 10 minutes and then walk for 10 minute increments to keep from re-injuring my knees.
Exercise makes me feel better and it is just a great time to process and think through things. I realize how much I think…so much that I think about thinking.
All of me cries out in the moment I realize this…STOP IT!! And I sense God is saying this too!
I feel like God has placed before me recently some big things to work through and process and I’ve come to find out that he doesn’t want me to figure it all out. He wants me to trust Him and walk with Him.
He wants me to LIVE…I sense God speaking to me and reminding me of all that He has freed me of…all the weaknesses of mine that His grace covers and tenderly speaking “Live!” Ezekiel 16 speaks of this and how tenderly God speaks to Jerusalem…and how loving He was in their unfaithfulness. Oh Lord, help me embrace Your grace and therefore be gracious to others you bring into my path.
I know I fall short…we all do! I may be desiring to run and do all I can for God…my heart yearns to serve and love Him; but all my body can with stand is 10 minute increments of jogging and walking…no marathons will be run by this servant…and yet He knows that and is telling me ever so tenderly… Live!
Oh Lord, may You help me focus on what I can do and help me not to long for what I am no longer able to do…please help me Father…help me right here and right now to…Live!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

White Ladybugs?


It’s been difficult deciding what to post; I’ve been journaling so much on my own and processing through a lot with God. I’ve been participating in a very in-depth Bible Study titled Seeking Him and it is all about revival. It has caused me to journal a ton and reflect on my heart, my ever still broken heart. I am convinced that it is meant to stay that way to some extent while I am here in this broken world to remind me that I am in need of Him every second of every day.
Old thoughts, old wounds, old journal entries, old lessons have been on my mind as I read His Word with fresh eyes and ears today. Whatever season this is I am embracing it because I know He is here with me; I am His and He has freed me from my chains. (Psalm 116:16).
I admit I am not feeling the joy as powerfully today; but am still praising Him for all that He has done for me! I am remembering several of His gifts and one of them is the ladybugs he gave me this summer. He reminded me of them just a week ago while up north visiting some friends when with my boys when we spotted a white lady bug. I never knew there was such a thing…such a sweet treasure I thought, just like diving into His Word everyday finding something new that I never knew before while still clinging to the promises that I know in His Word.

The ladybug reminded me of God’s gift to me this summer seeing them on the beach every time I visited, whether it was early in the summer, late in the summer, Southern California or further north in Oregon…I saw them and thanked God for them. It seemed fitting to see a white one at the end of this season…it was different and so bizarre...for me the white symbolizes His holiness for me and my own heart surrendering to His will. Something I am so trying to focus on right now.

These past few months I have dealt with hurts, hurts from life, hurts from others and hurts brought on by myself. They seem to have risen up at different moments; but it seems to be a pretty constant thing this past season…sending me to my knees—well actually face down on the floor. I have been reminded of my need to pour out my heart out to my God and my need to stay in the TRUTH of His Word allowing Him to meet me with love and grace and cleanse what is mine and allow me to leave what is not mine to hold at His feet--all so that I can be free in Christ!!!

I was running on the beach this summer and then had an irresistible urge to take off my socks and tennis shoes and walk in the wet sand and allow the waves of the ocean rush over my tired feet. The beach was a little busy but I felt as if I was there all alone with my God. I pictured the water washing over me cleansing me and making me pleasant in His sight—this truly is the only way He can look at me…thank you Jesus! I was having my own little praise and worship time…when another older grandpaish man walked by…I instantly thought “Wow, if my dad was still alive that looks like him…” and there right after that thought was My God’s wonderful whisper…”Just as you have grown to forgive your father…surely you will forgive others who have offended you.” I wept there on the beach and thanked God for again making Himself known!!
He is so right!!! And not only can I forgive others, I can forgive myself when I have messed up because He forgives us all and died for us all. Then I saw something kind of peculiar…1 ladybug on the beach…it looked like it was drowning in the water…kind of stuck…then I saw another a few steps away….then about 30 more steps another and then maybe 50 steps away another…I began to collect these ladybugs and let them rest on my tennis shoes I was carrying. How peculiar I thought…I’ve never seen a ladybug on the beach…there are no plants around for them . I decided to take them back to the condo I was staying at and put them on the patio where there are lots of plants for them to rest on…
I began to think of the ladybugs and the children’s book titled “The Grouchy Ladybug” and how they eat little aphids and keep plants healthy. If I were a plant…Oh, how I sensed my own need of some ladybugs, I am growing at what feels like at an exponential rate right now and I think there are little aphids (possibly employed by my enemy and yours…’the evil one.’) I really could use some ladybugs to clean me up and do some work on these leaves of mine.
I felt my God nudging me…I am larger than these ladybugs and can do WAY more than they can and I am right here with you; please just ask me to help you.
God gifted me with 7 ladybugs total that morning…one for every day of the week! And yes I have challenges, struggles and difficulties in this life but I am NEVER alone…He is always right here with me and wants to help me grow! Surely He will gladly send some ladybugs to help me grow….
Just when my tears started to flood my eyes a bigger wave came in…and I saw a large whip-like strand of seaweed come in…I did not want to get tangled in it and I heard Him whisper with a voice of authority as if He was commanding me like a Bodyguard would dictate to his assignment…KEEP WALKING!!!

Oh, isn’t that just what it is all about, there are all kinds of things to entangle us in this world and the enemy is forever trying to snare us on something…but God is also there, speaking His truth into our lives and holding our hand as we take each step and grow into the flowers…or women he has intended for us to be!!!

I so need to be reminded of this…and praise God for his gifts…I have never been more in love with my Savior. And now more than ever I am especially fond of His creation…particularly lady bugs! Lord, please keep the waves coming...as you remind me of Your Presence and Your love.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our Source of Hope


Can't resist posting this. Look past our neighbors big conversion van and see what we thanked God for yesterday...When Justin got home from work he called us all outside to see this rainbow which appeared over our neighborhood and seems to be landing in our backyard.

He is our source of hope :)

Anytime that I awake before the alarm clock, and without the beckon of one of my boy's voice ringing in my ear, I choose to believe that God wants me up and wants to spend some time with me.  Earlier this summer, I remember saying "Yes," to God as He nudged me out of bed to see something similar painted in the sky.

 I believe He wanted to rise me out of bed a littlle earler that morning just so see His piece of art work on his divine canvas.  I don't remember the exact words I read that morning in scripture, but I was reminded throughout the day of His promises, and of his great love for me.  He wanted to spend time with me and show me something.  He wants to spend time with you and show you things too!  He wants us to remember His love--and take it with us into each day. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Focusing on Honest Expectations


I like going into a situation knowing what to expect. I love surprises but I am definitely one who likes to be prepared and ready for any situation. I like to know what is expected of me and those I love when embarking on a new adventure. And yet, like the rain that came this morning I love and can embrace the unexpected. It rarely rains here in the desert so when it does it is oh so pleasant.
I sat pondering and reflecting on God’ Word again this morning while watching the rain fall in my back yard and noticed another unexpected thing…a beautiful flowering plant rising just above the fence…and God spoke so profoundly this morning and it had all to do with honesty and expectations…specifically the expected end that He has promised for me even amidst life’s frustrations.


How easy it is to be distracted by life’s frustrations? Either by frustrations we have brought on ourselves or just simply being frustrated with a particular person or situation. I felt like God gave me the perfect picture of life and the 2 choices I normally see in everyday situations…and yet He quietly places a third more holy choice that He desires for me to choose.

You see I was enjoying my cup of coffee glancing outside watching the rain saturate my backyard and I noticed that my fence line was evenly divided into thirds…on the far left third of the fence there was nothing-zero-zilch growing; on the far right third of the fence there was this peculiar form of dried up twigs between two large round dowels serving as support for an apparently dying tree; but right smack dab in the middle was a beautiful branch covered with green and beautiful fuchsia flowers. I was drawn to focus on the lush vegetation in the middle just as I am drawn to my King and His Word. I got a great big hug and kiss from my King as I gazed and a message that came loud and clear.. (If I could insert a picture of a megaphone I would—God was sending me a cheer loud and clear through this visual and His Word…particularly Isaiah 52, Jer 29:11 (KJV) and Psalm 62:5 KJV).

This is what He spoke to me:
On the left you see there is nothing and this is you my dear child when you are not honest with me or yourself. When you avoid your true feelings and emotions you are dead to the world. I cannot speak to you and breathe life into you and you choose to live in a state of non-existence. For whatever reason you choose to ignore what I am nudging you to acknowledge in your life and you are alone; without hope and without a relationship with me or with others…it is like you are walking through life invisible. This is a sad and lonely existence if you want to call it that. This is when you ignore what frustrates you.


On the right where there is a sad “Charlie Brown” type of a tree that is struggling to stand and this is you my dear child when you are not allowing me to care for you. You may be honest and doing all that you know to do; but you are failing to come to me. I see you pouring your emotions out on your dear friends and spouse—exhausting them to no end--but you never come to me. I see you giving and serving because you think it is what you should be doing as a ‘Christian.’ But, dear child, you are forgetting what words I spoke and are written in John 15 that you cannot produce anything without me. This pathetic thing on the right is you my dear child struggling and trying to live by your strength. This is when you share with others what frustrates you and this is you with no patience and grace and speak to your offenders with little love…you are so unaware of your own grievances and offenses….thinking you are a beautiful twig standing with empowerment from the wrong places.

Yet, right here in the middle is a beautiful thing. This is a picture of you my dear child when you are honest with me and share everything with ME…everything about you that I already know. This is when you allow my Spirit to guide you in your everyday activities, thoughts and feelings. This is when you, my dear sweet grows so beautifully and are fruitful; allowing me to love and speak through you. This is what happens when you clothe yourself with my strength and my love; when you live knowing and expecting that “I (God) alone” knows what is best and will guide you to what is best. This is when you do not focus on what other are doing (good or bad) but you focus on ME and what I want you to learn. This is when you put our relationship first above anything else. Isn’t it written to seek me first?

Oh Lord, forgive me for the times I have run off ahead of You and succumbed yet again to my emotions; either ignoring them or failing to bring them to you first. Please help me to seek You alone and live with the hope that only You can give me. Help me to not look to the right or the left; but to stay right here in the center…the center of your will…Your good pleasing and perfect will for me—the one with an expected end. Father, I will wait for You…please clothe me with your strength so that I may have courage to be honest with myself, honest with You and honest with others and may my expectations come from You alone.

Thank you Lord for using Liz to remind me of the words to this song:
“In Christ Alone”
In Christ alone my hope is found;He is my light, my strength, my song;

This cornerstone, this solid ground,Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My comforter, my all in all—Here in the love of Christ I stand.


In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,Fullness of God in helpless babe!

This gift of love and righteousness,Scorned by the ones He came to save.

Till on that cross as Jesus died,The wrath of God was satisfied;For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—Here in the death of Christ I live.


There in the ground His body lay,Light of the world by darkness slain;

Then bursting forth in glorious day,Up from the grave He rose again!

And as He stands in victory,Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;

For I am His and He is mine—Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—This is the pow'r of Christ in me;


From life's first cry to final breath,Jesus commands my destiny.

No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,Can ever pluck me from His hand;

Till He returns or calls me home—Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Random Thoughts And It Is Done


There’s a lot of usual Saturday play going on in our home today with lots of re-organizing projects. I thought I really enjoyed the act of organization but right now I am finding myself extremely impatient and just wanting to snap my heels together and have it all whimsically carried away in a tornado and placed neatly back in order.
It’s been a busy year with Justin taking classes and keeping up with the boys activities and Dad’s desire for camping and Mom’s desire for the beach we have conveniently ignored the piles here at home. And now Mom and Dad not only have their piles—but so do the boys.
I felt God tug on my heart as I carried one pile of stuff to its home in another room. Bit-by-bit and piece-by-piece it will all get done just as step by step I take my walk with Him. It is truly a journey but not a journey without a destination. This journey with Jesus surely has a destination—Hallelujah!! I just had to praise Him for the encouragement and pressed on.
Then, I found this writing that Joshua wrote recently about tornadoes and dust devils….praise God for time to organize, breath and embrace His love.

Monster Tornadoes

Monster tornadoes are very dangerous. Once a monster tornado even tore down a whole city. Monster tornadoes are very big. They go faster than a race car. It could take down a human’s plan. It takes down human’s houses. It could pile up cars and trucks. But now it is done.

Dust Devils
Dust devils are kind of like tornadoes. But actually they are made from air and dust. The air and dust form a dust devil, but how? When the air moves across the sand it mixes with the air and the dust so fast that is creates a dust devil. Dust devils can be cool. But now it is done.

Our Journey…I guess it can be similar to a tornado or a dust devil. Walking and talking to God, but how? Reading the Bible and praying His Word. Watching and talking with those more learned and asking God to show us how. We live and breathe with the love and hope He gave us since and to His glory He gave His only son Jesus. God has said before…“It is done.” When He created this earth, when He created man, when Jesus died and rose again…will we here it again? He is making a new home for us in heaven—will He say it again…oh how I anticipate with joy to hear Him say again...it is done!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Captivating Thoughts


Hee Hee…Today I look out at the sky and see clear blue skies. No clouds for God to speak to me through. I just had to chuckle inside. Isn’t that just like me to go back to what was familiar to me? I realized I made a decision at that moment; one of many choices that I make every day.
I could easily be disappointed and frustrated and even put myself into a depression because God would not be able to speak to me like He did just a few days ago. Thankfully, I know He is so much bigger than that and know He is capable of speaking to me and able to fill me with joy and hope in so many ways—not just through the presence of clouds.
This choice seemed easy but what about more difficult things and brokenness which we all experience in this journey of life. I recalled speaking to someone over the weekend that was just feeling down and discouraged. Life just seems for whatever reason to bring one heartache after another. Just when one struggle and trial comes and goes another is right there bringing doubtful thoughts to fill the mind. What do we do in these circumstances? It is easy to get discouraged and be tossed back and forth.
It’s as if God is whispering “focus.” What do we focus on? This person I talked to was unable to focus on anything else but this feeling of attack.
My soul cried out 2 Cor 10:5! Father, help us not give the enemy this much attention or a foothold in our life!
Girlfriends, can we please focus more on God and His great and wonderful plan for us Jer 29:11…and the fact that He has overcome death for us!!
I feel the passion and fervor rising within me. I am so aware of the enemy’s attacks and so know that he has tried throughout my life to hold me down with stronghold after stronghold—but my Jesus saved me!! And I could be wrong; and when I get to heaven I may find out differently; but I think I want to live every day knowing that the enemy had to pass by God first (He is our Father you know). God is in control and if I am facing a struggle I will embrace it and seek to find out what my God wants to teach me through this circumstance rather than steer my heart to how discouraged I am by snare after snare.
I don’t know why God allows some things to happen; and I’m deeply distressed when I hear of and see the brokenness in this world. Believe me I have my own struggles and the enemy has had his way with me quite a few years back. The brokenness my heart has experienced to some seems insurmountable ; but although I am still a work in progress— God has freed me of so much!
I choose everyday to allow the joy of the Lord be my strength and rather than focus on all that the biggest ‘loser’ (the enemy cannot win) is trying to do in and around my life…I am clinging to the unbeatable ‘winner!’ For God not only saved my life and sealed me for redemption in heaven when I die; but He also saves me each and every day…I will walk in victory; taking every thought captive to Christ and praising my Father for the present need of Him in my life even in the darkest of times.
Clouds or no clouds it’s going to be a joyous day no matter what…there is always something to praise Him for in this journey!
The picture posted above is of my great friend’s oldest daughter skiing on Couer d’ Alene Lake in Idaho this summer….I love you Joey…thanks for encouraging me to live in His Freedom!!! May we raise our children to do the same. “Way to go Logan!!!”