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Friday, December 17, 2010

More Thoughts on Contagious Love...



Can you say? “I am loved!” “I am one who God loves.”

I am giggling a bit as I type this…picturing a little girl twirling about in her fancy dress proclaiming not only her beauty but how loved she is. Or in my house there are no little girls twirling in dresses; but little boys proclaiming their exquisiteness in their own unique ways.

Why do we sometimes shy away from proclaiming this? I’m guessing we either don’t feel loved and worthy or we don’t want people to think we are conceited and full of pride.

Where is the balance…the middle ground of proclaiming God’s gifts to us?

Can we all speak with such boldness and stoutheartedness like Mary when she said, “From now on all generations will call me blessed.” (Luke 1:48) I love that my NIV Bible commentary addresses this stating,

"When Mary said, "From now on all generations will call me blessed," was she being proud? No, she was recognizing and accepting the gift God had given her. If Mary had denied her incredible position, she would have been throwing God's blessing back at him. Pride is refusing to accept God's gifts or taking credit for what God has done; humility is accepting the gifts and using them to praise and serve God. Don't deny, belittle, or ignore your gifts. Thank God for them and use them to his glory."

I am also so tickled that one of the fisherman, Jesus’ friend calls himself, “The disciple whom Jesus loved.” (This is referenced 4 times in the book he wrote titled, John).
Do you know what it is to be loved? I thought I knew what love was…but it wasn’t until I met Jesus that I really knew what it meant to be loved.

Honestly, I sometimes think our culture is a bit twisted with the meaning of love…we can get so caught up in it…starved for it and even thinking that we don’t need it. All of these perspectives are unhealthy.

How does someone who knows and believes that he is loved act? If you are considered beloved, how do others describe you, but even more importantly, how do you describe yourself?
Acting out our belovedness (I know I just made up this word) is contagious!!! And this is the kind of fever I want to catch.

So to help catch this…I thought it would help to learn a bit more about John. I was recently reading what John, the beloved disciple had to say about Jesus and who He is to us and what His love really means. May you beloved, be blessed in what I found and reflected on:

John 6:35: He is the Bread of Life…say with me,
My spiritual hunger is sustained with Jesus.”
John 8:12: He is the Light of the World…say with me,
“I will not walk in darkness with Jesus, for He makes any darkness I encounter full of light.”
John 10:7-9: He is the Gate for the sheep…say with me,
“I am safe and protected with Jesus.”
John 10:11-14: He is the Good Shepherd…say with me,
“I am known and loved by Jesus.”
John 11:25: He is the Resurrection and the Life…say with me,
“I will always LIVE with Jesus.”
John 14:6: He is the Way, the Truth and the Life…say with me,
“I have a secure path with Jesus.”
John 15:1: He is the TRUE Vine…say with me,
“I have a prosperous, fruitful life with Jesus.”

We will act what we believe and we will believe what we keep saying to ourselves.
Hoping you catch Jesus’ contagious love this Christmas.
And proclaim it…shout it out in your own way!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Contagious Love


My husband picked out some new shirts for baby Jacob while we were shopping the other day, this is one of them.


The other is now packed and ready for Jacob to wear home from the hospital because Daddy picked it out with his older brothers in mind.


After showing the boys the new shirts for their little brother I couldn’t help but join their contagious giggles; as my boy uttered, “It’s so tiny!”
Later I caught my oldest son cradling the shirt and pretending he was holding baby Jacob in his arms. His actions were contagious and my other son joined in, pretending to rock and cuddle baby Jacob too.
I took a snapshot of the moment in my mind as well as captured the whisper from my Heavenly Daddy which said, “Just as these boys will love and cradle and encourage Jacob, I have and will continue to love and cradle all of you!”
I wanted to just sit there and snuggle and freeze frame the moment; wishing the moment could last FOREVER!

Hmmm….these are contagious moments of love.
What are we doing in this life that is contagious? I’ve been reflecting a lot this week about all of the great things that God has done for me. Specifically, how God has erased the shame which was burned on my heart during the days of my youth and my dad’s abuse; and replaced the void with His love, joy, hope and peace…and so many other wonderful gifts. Most importantyly the gift we remember this month which He sent to all of us—baby Jesus.

Today is my eldest son’s 10th birthday…he was due on Christmas day 2000 but surprised us all by coming early. With his birth and now my third son due just a week before Christmas, I have thought a lot about the birth of our sweet savior Jesus in some unique ways. Even though they are not my words, I have easily taken Jesus’ mother’s words as my own. I’m not pregnant with a savior, but I am pregnant with a son…a boy loved and cherished by God.

There was a time that I was afraid of having children, as much as I dreamed of having them, I thought the abuse from my past would ruin them and the skeletons buried in my generational closet would haunt them as much as they haunted me. I did not want to pass these horrors down to a precious child…
Since knowing God and His son Jesus, I have found healing and wholeness one piece at a time and I can claim Mary’s words as my own, for it is true….”From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me.” (Luke 1:48).
Do you know you can claim these same words? Do you know Jesus? His love is contagious. He has also done great things for you and He wants you to know both Him and these wonderful things. He is the reason for this beautiful season!
I have been thinking so much about Jesus and reflecting on both who He is and who He says I am.
You see Jesus too suffered great trials like abuse—first before His ministry even began Matthew Chapter 4 tells us how He was tempted and tried in the desert and after that He began to do some specific works and a few men began to follow Him. These average men, fishermen to be exact, were convinced that following Jesus would change their lives forever. Jesus did the work He was born to do…to teach and preach the good news; as well as help and heal. My heart just melts knowing that Jesus was there to teach and offer healing to those hurting and suffering.
Have you ever been sick? Has your heart ever been broken? Have you ever needed healing of some kind? I know I surely have and Jesus came to help us—to heal us—to love us.
Do you know how loved you are? Do you live like one who is loved?
I hope you have the opportunity to catch God’s contagious love this Christmas and then spread some around for those near you to catch as well.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Preparing To Open Gifts


I thought the third time was going to be the charm when I was up late into the early morning hours with contractions keeping me from a blissful sleep. Yet, it’s just another tedious night of consistent uncomfortable contractions, the third false alarm. The contractions are consistent but they have yet to be painful enough to signal my cry towards the hospital.


God is preparing my body and family for the big day. My due date is now 11 days away and my mind is cluttered with various details pertaining to baby, the holidays, birthdays (my oldest son’s 10th birthday is just days away), and schedules.


To pass the time, I’ve been checking items off of my list left and right and slowing down the pace of my heart, body and mind. Partially due to the physical limitations with this expanding belly and also my own sanity, I’ve been saying no to that request, finishing this job, and wrapping up that commitment…all to prepare my heart, mind and home for our precious new gift.


It’s nice to have something concrete to release myself from all sorts of expectations; and the fact that I know God has prepared all of this in advance for me to do (Eph 2:10) drives my heart to be like Mary was described in Luke 2:19 “…treasure up all these things and ponder them in her heart.


Slowing down to embrace the God given treasures of your life is good practice even when you are not 9 months pregnant.


I don’t want to forget this…not this moment and not this truth! For God, surely gives us one gift after another. (John 1:16) Surely there is a gift waiting to come forth once these contractions take over with gusto and there will be another and another until the final gift with Him for eternity. (Just to clarify, I’m not talking about more children—but one blessing after another which God promises).


I don’t want to sit here and whine and complain about the discomfort I am feeling for this short time, or be distracted by any other discouraging thought…but take it all in with great anticipation.


You may not be pregnant anticipating the day of your newborns arrival, but there is a gift awaiting you in the horizon too. Let’s roll up our sleeves, put our minds in gear and be totally ready to receive the gift…whatever it may be. (1 Peter 1:13).


Maybe we can open them together!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Uncomfortable Seat Belts

I am feeling like a rookie juggler these days struggling with rhythm and balance. I'm pursuing my normal day to day duties as a mother and wife as well as working hard to use my God given gifts in this world to make a little extra money. As well as, preparing for my third son to come into this world in about 4 weeks.

Juggling along, I'm also noticing the seat belt I strap into each day is getting a bit snug and uncomfortable. I cannot deny it...my heart is overwhelmed and I ‘m struggling to not crumble as I want to utter the words, “What am I doing?” Stress.

Do you ever feel the same way? Does stress rise up in you as you seek to do your best each day?
Some days are just hard…some days are just so full of discouragement without even being able to pin point the exact source. Some days my head falls to the pillow in utter exhaustion at the end of the day and I am tempted to wonder what good I brought to the day. It’s these days I easily succumb to the lies and feelings of defeat, forgetting all the good God brought to me and all the ways He equipped me to succeed the hours prior to my slumber.

I’ve been struggling to keep the balance lately and have had some hard days…the days that I just want to cancel every appointment, every responsibility and hire it done while I take a long nap. I realize right there in my emotions my desire to give up and I know that this is not God’s desire for me.

His burden is easy and His yoke is light and He desire for me to not throw off my confidence and to find rest in Him.

My body is in need of rest and nourishment from Him continually, not just physical rest but spiritual rest and rejuvenation.

As I try to sort it out I hear and see things that I must only attribute to my Lord. He is beckoning my heart to cry out to Him….beckoning me to draw near to Him and ask for help…desiring for me to seek Him and rest.

I heard Him today as I stood in the grocery line watching another mother juggle her own tasks at hand with a little one in tote that was fighting to sit still in the grocery cart. The toddler sat buckled securely in the grocery cart and even though he was too young for words, he was communicating very clearly that he wanted out of his situation. He was tugging at the belt, looking with desperation at his mommy and then even pointing adamantly towards the strap of confinement.

I identified with the toddlers frustration and remembered what I pictured after reading in Genesis 37 and Psalm 105:18 about Joseph being shackled into slavery. Oh, how Joseph must have felt strapped in too and Joseph must have also struggled with emotions of wanting to give up.

I continued to watch this quiet spoken toddler fidget as the mother calmly put her hands on the child and snuggled and kissed him.

God must have done the same and comforted and snuggled Joseph when he was stuck in bondage and sold out by the very ones placed in his life to love him and care for him.
God must be doing the same for us!!!

Sometimes we are not ejected from our current uncomfortable situation as our desire for a remedy undoubtedly increases, causing us to fidget like this toddler. Just like this boy was not immediately taken out of the seatbelt, neither are we rescued instantaneously. Just like this toddler resolved to quietly sit through the moment, we too learn to sit still and endure.

During these times that we are learning to endure, may we see the loving hands of our Father reaching down to comfort us and give us the strength to keep going—to endure.

And when we can’t see or feel Him near, may we keep crying out and asking Him to reveal Himself and His love.

May we remember His miracles, and may this encourage us to keep living close to Him through whatever seatbelt in life may be confining us.

May we remember to Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” (Psalm 105:4)

Do you see Him reaching down to snuggle you close today or are your eyes fixated on an uncomfortable seat belt?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

FREEDOM

I heard the stomping of his little feet come down the stairs just before I heard his little voice, “You forgot the medicine.” I was thankful my little guy reminded me and I just smiled. Taking medicine in our house is not something we have to do on a regular basis; but the medicine bottles have sure been cluttering the counter lately.



I was surprised at how willing and energetic my boys have been to take their prescribed medications; this week it is an antibiotic and last week it was ibuprofen for a bruised rib. When it tastes good, I understand—but showing such enthusiasm even when it’s just swallowing a pill, I was a bit perplexed.



Puzzled over the lack of struggle to give doses of medicine, I asked my son, “Why are you so eager to take your medicine?”



His answer was so simple and insightful. “Because the doctor said to take it.”



As the words left his mouth and my ears digested his wisdom, I heard the Lord whisper,


“It is that simple, I am here to help you.”



Then my boy, as if to make sure I understood what he said, added, “I want to feel better Mom, so I want to do what the doctor says.”



Do we do enough of what the “Doctor” of all doctors says?



I heard some other wise words while studying this week that anchored in my heart with Veteran’s Day approaching. I heard Beth Moore say something to the effect that we are all wired for a need to know that there is someone larger than us, someone that can SAVE US!



With Veteran’s Day this week, we are celebrating, remembering those who have exemplified such bravery and served and died for us. As we remember and say thank you, I’m also remembering another who has served and died for all of humanity to save us…his name is Jesus.



My thoughts have drifted more than once this week towards thankfulness and the freedoms we have not only in the USA, but in our hearts and lives for eternity when we choose to believe in Jesus.



As we say thank you to the men and women who have chosen to serve, may we also say thank you to our God and His Son Jesus who died for us.





It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. (Gal 5:1)



May we take our hearts of gratitude one step further and look intently into all that the Doctor ordered…Our God’s orders which gives freedomnot forgetting what we have heard, but doing it. (James 1:25).



Like my son said this week, may we desire to do what the Doctor says.
May we believe that it is that simple.


May we believe that He is here to help us.


May we believe that nothing is too hard for Him...Him who brings us FREEDOM!


Thank you Jesus.

And thank you to the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the spirit of freedom!



In memory of my grandfather, who served during WWII.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Still and Thriving...

I’m glancing out my window and not a thing is moving. The stillness has captivated my heart.

I have to admit, nothing in my life these days seems to be still. Whether it is Jacob kicking and jabbing away in my belly (I rejoice in his movements), or the ever flowing to do list that unravels every day, if I was prone to motion sickness—I would have it right now.

Really though, when have I ever not felt this way? Okay, maybe on vacation or when I am intentional about scheduling in some still moments, but a mother’s heart, a women’s heart is rarely still on its own.

When the hand of God is on us beckoning us to be still do we listen?

I admit this is hard for me, I am doer and more times than not I could be characterized as an overachiever.

In my overachieving, I am often not able to hear His voice whisper, “Be still.”(Psalm 46:10)

I’m thankful for the still trees outside my window sill reminding me to be still. The still branches draw me in further as I reflect on the prior week, I was not very still. Rather the opposite seemed to occur, tempted to be shaken to and fro with things seen, heard and felt.

When Justin glanced my way, indirectly communicating that he questioned my comment sent my heart in auto-protect and my mouth opened with a knee jerk reaction which I later regretted. I heard God whisper then, “Be still.”

When a customer's frustration got the best of him and he let out an outburst of profanity, the blood went rushing through my veins and jumping to respond my mouth opened.
I heard God whisper then, “Be still.”

When my adolescent boys cried out with whines of their childish desires, I was quick to put out their fire and again opened my mouth. I heard God whisper then, “Be Still.”

I’m know this to be true, but I am learning that being quiet and still ushers in God’s divine work. And His work is always best.

But what happens when the wind blows? What happens when life around us is not still? I see the leaves and palm branches outside my window move then too in response to the wind. I noticed myself asking my God…"What then?"

I pictured instantly how the trees when rooted deep within the ground do not fall over and God's Word says they bear much fruit (John 15:5-8). Then I remembered the dinner conversation earlier this week with my boys.

Justin chaperoned a field trip with my son’s class to the Biosphere2, part of the University of Arizona's research center where they study the Earth, the Earth's living systems and the Earth's place in the universe.









Our dinner conversation one night was full of all that they had learned and experienced seeing the ecosystems under glass. One thing that captured my attention was when they described that trees were initially not doing very well in the Biosphere. They explained that scientists realized they were weak and began to topple over because there was no wind or storms present in the ecosystem.



In order to make the trees stronger, the scientists turned on fans to imitate wind for the trees.

“There is purpose in me allowing the resistance and storms in your life. Your learning to respond is character building…I am making your stronger. Be still and sway with the wind.”
I sensed the wisdom of the Lord filling my heart.
Could it be that the storms of this life are helping us to thrive?

I may need to sway a bit this week in response to any storms that God allows to come my way, but my heart wants to work on being still and knowing that He is God. (Psalm 46:10)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Remembering & Practicing What I Learned

I’m eating a bite of my son’s Kit Kat bar (yes, I am one of those mom’s who raids the Halloween candy when no one is looking) and taking a break to remember.

I just learned how to load more than one photo to my blog. I feel like such a dork and know that I am revealing my naivety to this social media world. I’m hanging in there though…

These last few days and usually every weekend (sometimes my weekends are 3 and 4 days long) I try to take a break from the social media world and soak up the love in the physical world around me.

This past weekend called for my specific attention with Fall Festivities intermixed with 3 sick boys. Between batches of homemade soup, restful naps and doses of antibiotics we still managed to squeeze in some precious family time.

I can so easily succumb to confines of my laptop and get lost writing and networking abroad with other servants of the Lord that I admire yet barely know via Facebook and other mediums. I find time in the social media world so inspiring and great, yet I do know the importance of loving the little and big men right within the four walls of which I live…for God uses them to encourage and inspire me like no one else.

So, reaching outside the screen of my laptop I embraced these beautiful gifts these past few days. Before the illness began the boys helped me make pumpkin sugar cookies for their parties at school:



I love doing things like this with my boys!!!

They are still ALL BOY though…
The next day my son lost his tooth just in time for his costume ensemble.

Here my oldest is looking so serious…getting ready to carve the pumpkin after the boys sat around asking Dad what different weapons would do to a pumpkin. The conversation was so over my head and there was no way for me to add any of my girlie ways to the conversation…I just smiled and took in the way that God has wired my boys.

AAAaahh! Taking it all in, practicing what I learend and remembering it all. May we take time to do this more often and soak up the love.
"I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago."
Psalm 77:11

Monday, November 1, 2010

Something New...

I am tempted to write a bit more about the water balloons…hee hee; for yet again this morning we opened the door to more latex debris sprinkled throughout the neighborhood lawn. It is clearly the latest neighborhood obsession…but I am choosing to move on.

I am thankful for the promises in God’s Word that encourage me to embrace something new!

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19

What is God doing new in your life right now?

I am being challenged and stretched these days and I am not just talking about my expanding almost nine month pregnant belly. These past few months I have been taking on some new responsibilities for a ministry that my husband and I have been involved with these past couple of years.

Has anyone ever heard of a “Social Media Network Administrator?” That’s now a new hat I get to wear throughout the week. I am stretching it out for size these days.

It sounds so official and techno savvy—but really it's not. I am thankful for my husband’s training background and techno savvy gifts because he has been helping me embrace this new endeavor with great gusto!

Basically, I am beginning to use the gifts that God has given me to write, encourage, inspire and unite. I am learning new terms such as wiki tiki or tiki wiki and that’s not a childhood rhyme.

God is using this world of social media in ways I never imagined or thought possible. I’m grateful for God’s provision and the way He has orchestrated such a ministry to flow from His hands onto the key pads of my laptop.

Such a great thrill to learn something new and know that I will need to rely on Him to guide me every step of the way.

Are you using your God-given gifts? Do you need to rely on God for something new that is springing up in your life right now?

How are you surviving in this social media world? Am I the only one who sometimes feels like I am walking into a dark room with a tiny little flashlight trying to find my way?

I would love to hear what new things God is springing up in your heart and home.
Please comment below and if you are receiving this outside of my blog, come visit me at www.jgirlsjourney.blogspot.com and feel free to post your comment there.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cleaning Up The Mess

Still at the hose filling up the water balloons was our nearly two and a half feet tall friend. I just smiled again and marveled for a second at the thoughts I had a couple of days ago.


I asked God a question, “Is there something else you want to say to me about these water balloons?”


As fun as our little friend was having, I still felt the message to me this morning was

"Let go…move on."


I read in Exodus 14 where the Israelites were beginning to grumble about their situation. Their fearful hearts desired to remain in bondage rather than be in the current situation, rescued and moving forward with God.

What a place to live...rescued and moving forward with God! Are you living this way?


The Lord’s words in Exodus 14:15 were resonating in my heart,”…move on.”


Moving on can be scary at times. Moving on or keeping ourselves in a forward motion leaves a lot of questions and unknowns in our minds…especially if we don’t have faith to believe that God is bigger than any of our circumstances.


Whether we are facing extremely high hurdles or little itty bitty ones today, I believe God wants us to trust Him to carry us over the hurdle.


When I came back home from taking the boys to school this morning, I saw my little water balloon friend’s Daddy cleaning up the yard. He was winding up the hose and picking up little pieces of latex balloon that had been sprinkled throughout the lawn.

I pictured, our Daddy….God cleaning up after us.

He brings people into our lives, those who bring knowledge and understanding.

(Jer 3:15).


He surely cleans us up our messes and blesses us!

(Jer 33:6-9)


Girlfriend, I’m thanking God for continually cleaning me up and for bringing you into my life to encourage and inspire me along the way.


May we hold onto these promises together and move on!


Let's go and do something outside of the social media world today and physically hug someone who has brightened up our path along the way...AND MOVE ON!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Water Balloons in October?


I opened my front door this morning to see little guy’s bright eyes and adorable smile beaming with delight. He was proudly gripping a water balloon and the sun was just coming up beckoning him and the rest of the neighborhood kids to trot off to school.

Not knowing whether I or my own two boys needed to dunk, I just smiled back at him as I felt the cool Fall breeze against my face.
I felt God whisper to the recesses of my heart...
”Oh, don’t all of my children desire to hold on to something as I bring about change.”
My mind drifted to my heart’s cry earlier that morning beckoning me to embrace some change going on in my own home and heart. In addition, the wrestling match I had with one of my boys’ who desired to wear one of his favorite shirts that was clearly now too small for his sprouting frame.

We all have growth spurts from time to time. Are you in one now?

Don’t we sometimes desire to hold onto a season just a little bit longer?

What is God calling you to let go of today?
What does God want to clothe you with in this new season?
Is it time for swim trunks and water balloons or jackets and sweaters?
Do you need to lay down the water balloon and grab a hold of your sweater?
I am asking myself these questions this morning.
I’m ready girlfriend. Are you?
I'll see you girlfriend bundled up and ready to embrace this change…this new season.
For even if it doesn’t seem like it and even if our hearts desire to hold onto something good… God is surely bringing us to a place of abundance. (Psalm 66:12).
Even if it doesn’t quite feel like it yet...let's embrace the truth!
Let’s run with the new Fall breeze.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Victorious Movements

Wiggle, swoop, jab are the seemingly constant joyful movements occurring inside of me these days—and I LOVE IT!!

The motions remind me of the life God is growing inside of me and who cannot get excited about that. It naturally reminds me that everything is okay and progressing along as it should.

This pregnancy has also made me aware of how easily I can run down roads of anxiety and worry in my mind. Fearful of what might happen, and all too aware that I am ultimately not in control of this life.

I recognize that there are all too many things in this life that can happen causing the tides around me to rise. Causing me to fear and be anxious. Thoughts like these leave me feeling defeated at the end of the day.

God calls us to live differently.

I love what Psalm 44:4 says that God decrees, “VICTORIES!”

I’m choosing to remember this and when I sense worry or anxiousness rise up inside of me. This week I want to focus on laying down the anxious thought and grab onto His decree of VICTORY!

I’ve seen how quickly time flies by; with my oldest boys approaching 8 and 10 and my 15th wedding anniversary approaching next summer.

I do not want to waste one more minute doubting…one more minute fearful of what might happen.

I want to live every moment victorious in Christ.

I’m taking on the challenge, aware of the choices I need to make and also aware that there will be moments that I will fail and fall flat on my face…yet again. Just like, I did yesterday when I succumbed to the stress after my misjudgment of time and made my family late and the poor attitude of one of my adolescent boys sent a bit of rage erupting inside of me.

Oh, I hate it when I lose my cool and allow the waves around to sink this valiant vessel God created me to be.

Rather than get down and dwell on the past moment, I’m going to remember what God has decreed and know that He is here to help me.

Just as little Jacob stirs and jostles inside of me—so is God moving and grooving to the beat of His eternal drum!

For, it is God who is working in me…and I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
(Phil 2:13 & 4:13).

May we encourage each other to make the minutes of our day victorious!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Things to Treasure


I just got back from dropping off the boys at school and had an unplanned impromptu coffee and prayer time with a couple of girlfriends.

So great to sit and chat and thank God with girlfriends and then to encourage one another through the daily grind of life. I was even unexpectedly challenged to take a look at my own heart and tendency toward waywardness because a girlfriend was brave enough to share her own challenges of the heart.

How often do we get the chance to be comfortable and genuinely share our hearts in this life?
My body craves this and desires to be a catalyst for environments like this…oh the things I treasure in this life!

In the same way I have been cleaning out junk drawers and closets this week and organizing and getting the baby’s room ready I want my life to be full of the same. Where I am constantly being challenged to allow God’s Spirit to clean out my heart and lead me, much like the Psalmist’s words in Psalm 139:23-24

“Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in a the way of everlasting”

In the same way that I sat soaking up the completeness of the work done in the baby’s room this week; may I sit and soak up the Lord’s work in my own heart and be brave enough to share it with those around me.

May I be ready for not only baby Jacob to occupy his room;
but ready for any good work that the Lord has for me to do. (2 Tim 2:21).

Like I plan on teaching my sons…may I first take it to heart and welcome you girlfriend as well…
We are loved, we are precious and we are treasured.

May we not fear a little cleaning up around our home or heart…but treasure them!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Remember When...


I forgot something important the other day. At a time when I was younger I would have had to run home to do what I forgot to do…or my day would have been ruined for sure.

Not sure what to think of the fact that I felt more inclined to keep going than risk being late.

My forgetfulness was not something that would cause great upset for anyone else. It definitely was not going to disrupt anyone else’s day on the planet nor keep the earth from spinning in orbit as usual.

Still…forgetting to brush my teeth is pretty profound. Can I blame it on pregnancy?

It was well into the afternoon and I was out of the house and a sense of panic came over me.
My anxiety was quickly replaced with laughter as I pictured God allowing me to forget to brush my teeth.
He often reminds me of a lot of things…don’t forget to write that note to your little guys or call that girlfriend or send that text to your hubby…certainly He had purpose in allowing me to forget to brush my teeth.

Was this a funny way to remind me of what’s ahead with a newborn again?

I remember being a brand new mom a decade ago and there were days when jumping in the shower or grabbing my toothbrush was not even possible until I was ready to get into my jammies for the evening…only to realize that I never got out of them all day.
Please tell me that some other mother out there can relate.
As I was driving fully aware of the fuzz on my teeth and anticipating a run into my children’s school to excuse them for doctor’s appointments I was distracted by the DJ on the radio. She mentioned something about a good way to show love and appreciation to someone is to say
“I remember when…” and then share a memorable moment you had with them.
She explained that this was a good way to communicate that you genuinely care about someone…your spouse, a co-worker, a friend, a family member.
The idea was to communicate that you care about them and appreciate them and you remember the moments you shared together.
Really, haven’t we all at times gotten caught up in our own busyness that we forget to make deposits into the relationships that brighten our lives everyday? Speaking words of love can so easily be silenced and forgotten in this fast-paced, social-media-soaked world.

I had to chuckle to myself again thinking that a great way to show love to those around me would be to surely remember to brush my teeth. (tee...hee...)

Because there was no time to run home, I ingested a few mints and kept a safe distance as I talked with those beloved people I ran into at the school, the doctor’s office and the grocery store before I made it back home for a good brushing.
This idea of remembering is sticking with me; as I know that God calls us to remember. I actually found that the word: remember is in the Bible 162 times and the truth of Psalm 143:5 resonated in my heart….
The words of the Psalmist David speaking to God,
I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.”
May we start our days communicating our love…telling God that we remember when…
Oh, and remembering to brush is always good too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Steps


WOW!


Where has the time gone?

I’m about 32 weeks along in my pregnancy and I have to say I really thought I would have written and blogged so much more about it along the way.

Rather than look back and be sad that my time was spent on other things
(some necessary and some other not so necessary);


I’m going to choose to look ahead. I don’t want to dwell on the “could have been,” “should have been” or” what might have been.”


I’m not going to wait for the perfect writing piece to come to my mind before I share and publish it on my blog. I’m going to just do it! Just write and reflect and continue to make my joy complete!


So here goes nothing...
Back at it and I am a little perplexed this morning thinking through some thoughts, some ideas for one of the last chapters in my book that I just feel led to alter and change drastically.


I am trusting that God will reveal the specifics to me at the just the right time.

Today my thoughts match the weather and mood depicted in the sky. Literally while driving down the road there was sunshine and blue sky to the East and dark storm clouds to the West.


I sensed the heat from the sun rising in the East and the coolness from the clouds in the West moving closer, encroaching to meet the sun in the middle. It was a bizarre sight with the road I was travelling on seeming to divide exactly the two scenarios in half.


Bizarre seems to sum up my life these days.

Do you ever have time to stop and think about your day and your life? Do you ever feel that you are living in your own realm of bizarre? Are you ever confused about the direction of your life?

These feelings are rising up inside of me today.


I'm feeling a bit confused about where God is taking me in this journey we so creatively call life. I feel a bit of His warmth and love and peace like the sun to the East and yet the thrill, anxiousness of a unknown storm approaching from the West.


I know and sense life in J-girl’s home is about to change in a matter of just a few weeks. In more ways than just embracing our new bundle of joy. I’m just waiting on God to reveal the exact place for me to stand in His love through it all.


Basically preparing myself to hold on tight for the ride! I know it's going to be good!


Do you ever feel that way…I mean, are you ever unsure of where life’s next turn will be; but still sensing a major shift in the road up ahead?


As I sit reflecting on this day, and all the things that are before me to get done today, I’m thankful for God’s truth that He upholds me with His hand and He makes my steps firm. (Psalm 37:3)


Friday, September 3, 2010

Blessed


So thankful for God’s gifts. I was reminded this week of how God desires to continually do new things in our hearts and lives. As I turned the calendar this week to a new month and enjoyed a walk realizing the temperatures are dropping a bit (at least in the morning) to usher in a brand new season.
I spent some time reflecting on my walk this week thinking about all of the new things God is doing in my life ever so quietly at this time. I recognized that the new things…a new job, a new baby, a new passion, a new thrill….were all things that were birthed of old. They were new, but not really. For instance, a job…I’ve had one before; a baby…done this before; a passion…felt this stirring for awhile; a thrill…clearly been thrilled with life before this particle moment (thank you God for newness AGAIN & AGAIN).
Do you ever feel this same newness stirring in your own heart? Do you hear the Lord’s words, “See I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:19).
It is springing up in you and I pray that you perceive it; as I never want to miss something new from the Lord. That is what good friends do; they help us notice the things that are springing up in our lives…or bursting forth. I am so thankful for the handful of encouraging friends that God has blessed me with; for they speak truth and encouragement continually in my life. These special girlfriends gave me this necklace a few weeks ago; reminding me to see what God is springing up in my heart and life. What a treasure…I continually see glimpses of my loving God through the kindness and love of my dear girlfriends and I am forever greatful that they encourage me to ‘put on my new self!’
Thanks girls for continually reminding me of His love and that we are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:24). I feel so undeserving of such friendships; for I know I can always love better and when showered with such love I am reminded of it even more. Yet, I accept this gift from my Lord and I honestly pray that every girl in this world may experience this treasure of friendship; I know I cannot be this kind of friend to all (as much as my heart wants to...it's just not possible).
Yet, all of this is possible with God and a little choice of our own--may we be the type of girlfriend we want to have; for someone else in this world is also in need of a girlfriend.
Can't help but humbly whisper...I am blessed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ouch!


Ouch! I don’t know if it was a result of just my clumsy self or the fact that my belly is beginning to protrude past the line of sight to my toes that I did not see the 10lb weight jump out and attack my pinkie toe…nonetheless I felt pain. I continued to hobble to the fridge for some ice and watched as my pinkie resembled a bit of the growth of my expanding belly as it began to swell and turn a nice shade of red.
Later that afternoon as I walked by the same 10lb weight I remembered the pain and from the recesses of my mind I heard God whisper, “Yes, slow down.”
That whisper quieted my soul to hear further, “I want you to rest, I want you to see that yes, I have things for you to share at times and now I have quiet moments reserved for just you and me.” I knew God was referring to my writing because I had been talking and praying to Him about my desire to finish this writing project. I have been a little frustrated with the lack of time I have had to write on my blog and edit my book since last May when the completion of my rough draft coincided with a positive pregnancy test.
I knew I was going to have some time off for summer with the boys home and it being the early part of my pregnancy I was really too exhausted to think much about my writing. Yet, now school is back in session and I’m now in my 2nd (also known as my get-up-and-go) trimester and I am ready and raring to go with my writing.
Looking back and realizing how long it has been since my last writing time; I was sad and questioned if I took too long of a break. I am so thankful for the painful moment which still leaves my pinkie toe bruised and sore which preceded the loving reminder from my Lord. Rest is good and necessary.
I definitely need my share of loving reminders and I get them from reading in His Word and quieting my mind to be aware of what is going on around me throughout the day. Just like my son communicated to me yesterday that he wants to save all of his lunch napkins with notes from me so that he can read them again and again; I too want to capture all of these ‘love notes from God’ so that I can read them again and again. And because I know that God loves all of those around me; I want to show them too…see “He loves…this is what He spoke to me and He is speaking to you…be watching so that you can see it too!”
When we are faithful and watchful we can see that God is watching and He is faithful to guide us. When I clearly needed time to rest and spend with my boys He guided that time for me and now that I am needing guidance on not ‘neglecting my gift’ and being ‘diligent in this matter’ (1Tim 4:14 & 15); He is also guiding me.
I am so thankful that I can relax and trust that God does everything just right on time. (Ecc 3:11) And I am so looking forward to moving forward…trusting that as this baby grows, the swelling in my toe will subside but the swelling in my heart to write will increase and Lord willing, I will finish and publish this book!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chillin' with my 3 1/2 Inch Company


“I know who is going to keep you company this week Mom!”
“Who?” I asked my little man who was staring right into my blue eyes just a few inches from my face.
And he exclaimed gladly, “The baby!”
The boys left just a few hours ago and will be gone for four days camping deep in the woods. And my son is right; just as baby is a big reason why I am choosing to skip out on this trip; he/she will be keeping me company this weekend.
Snug tight in my belly for another 5 ½ months me and baby are spending lots of time together. We spent the first minutes napping and then watching a movie. It was nice to just lounge and do nothing!
I’m taking advantage this weekend and doing lots of that. In addition, to a couple of other things, we are going to do some editing; I’m anxious to read and re-write the chapters of my book and yet I’m finding that now I am pregnant I’m a little extra emotional and I’ll need to run to the store for some more Kleenex before I begin.
I get teary eyed and overwhelmed with emotion when I think about how much my God loves me and all that He has done to demonstrate His love—but I know I don’t normally shed these many tears; so I am choosing to blame the added tears on pregnancy hormones.
Next, this baby is demanding a little bit more space and I had to break down and buy some maternity clothes and so we are going to spend some time re-organizing my closet. Putting away all my pre-pregnancy clothes for a few months in this very antique wardrobe treasure chest my husband bought me a few years ago and hanging up my new blossoming wardrobe. (It won’t be so glorious when I have to still wear it the weeks after baby arrives…I am not one of those women who bounces right back into her skinny jeans).
Then baby and I will be heading for a date with Grandma—my mom! We’ll see where baby wants to eat and then maybe some shopping and the theatre. Oooooo I can’t wait!!!!
In between that I am hoping to catch up on some phone calls and read some more of my new Francine Rivers book. I’m reading “A Lineage of Grace,” and it is FANTASTIC!!! I love how captivating eachstory line is—there are 5 stories and they are right out of the Bible….God is a great author and Francine does a wonderful job adding details that make you think deep.
So me and baby about 3 ½ inches of he or she will be chilling in the AC this hot summer weekend in AZ...keeping each other company. Between this growing belly and the occasional flip flops and poking sensations that I feel I can’t deny that he/she is here with me. As surreal as it may be and as tempted as I am to doubt that I am going to have another baby after all these years of questioning/praying/hoping…I am not dismayed.

You see, this past January I asked my close girlfriends to pray for me and our family; I knew that time was changing this late-20's body of mine that first bore children. I knew that I was content being a mother of two boys but Justin and I were praying about making things final after 7 years of trying to have a third baby. I burst into tears in front of my dear girlfriends as I spoke of the finality of this hope and realized that deep inside I did still indeed have a desire for another baby; yet I told God over and over that I never wanted to long for something that He did not have for me-so if the answer is no, I will accept it with joy!
Now 6 months later, and there is no denying that I am with child. As I lay quiet and resting this week, I heard His Word which spoke as a whisper in the deepest recesses of my mind and heart and I’m declaring this baby a miracle of God's power and love…
“This miracle will bring great honor to the LORD’s name; it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.” (Isaiah 55:13)
Makes me ponder the things in our minds that we try to deny or cast away in unbelief…never allow yourself to fall into the temptation of unbelief. For Jesus told his friends how NOT to fall into temptation; and His words are intended for us as well today…pray! (Luke 22:46).
Continue to forgive us Father for our sin of unbelief and help us to BELIEVE.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fingerprints of Love




Nothing too exciting here…just cleaning up around the house and beginning to edit chapter 1 of my book while the boys are away with Grandma and Grandpa for a week. I knew the editing process would not be as much fun as the initial brainstorming and writing has been. It’s funny how freeing it is to write and not worry about mistakes and concerned whether your thought was clearly stated and understandable; especially when a gal like me can tend to want to have everything as perfect as possible.

My husband and two boys have helped me break the perfectionist mold; but I can’t deny the fact that it likes to creep up every now and then. I’m left right now pondering just what exactly in life we have to get ‘just right.’ My new job, I know I need to be on time; they are big sticklers about timeliness but even with that you are given some grace. When my boys are in school we have to leave at the same time everyday give or take five minutes to get them there on time.

I’ll be honest if there are any stresses in my life they are wrapped around in some way shape or form my attempt at getting things ‘just so.’ Frankly, I’ve learned that God is the only One who can get things just so…the One who “churns up the sea so that its waves roar…who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth.” (Isaiah 50:15-16) The only One who does everything just right and on time is my loving God!(Ecc 3:11)

As I wipe up dirty fingerprint murals from my walls; I’m not sure if my boys lose their balance in this particular area of our house, and consistently plant their beautiful, grimy prints for support or if they are practicing their Picasso talents and attempting to paint a picture with the dirt and grime. All the same, I am just thankful for being reminded that although I can clean up this wall and make it look clean and new again—my God is at work completing all kinds of works inside of me.

One of these works that I know I need His help with is this book writing; but even more important than that is this little life growing inside of me that now has fingerprints of her own (or his own). As I am keenly aware of this life growing inside of me now; along with all kinds of other changes to my body right now I am also aware that my God…my heavenly Daddy is in control of ALL of it!

As my own fingerprints type away I can’t help but smile and rest in the glory of His presence for I know that I am sheltered by the fingerprints of God’s own mighty hands! (Isaiah 51:16)


And all who seek Him and acknowledge Him as God may see these same fingerprints too. Please feel free to email me if you want to know more about how to see these fingerprints in your own life...I promise I won't have you come help me clean my walls. The more I grasp how much my God loves me...the more I just desire for someone else to hear. God loves you!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Movin' and Groovin'


About the size of a plum...that's how big he or she is growing inside this belly of mine. I'm just about 11 weeks and just earlier this week I felt him or her movin' and groovin'. It was a swoosh-flip-flop kind of feeling and thinking about it again just makes me smile.

Before I found out I was pregnant I wrote Psalm 84:1 on my bathroom mirror and I haven't erased it yet!

How I long and cherish for the moments in my day where I am able to get away and be at home with my Lord...in His dwelling place. (His dwelling place, I know is anywhere and anytime; thanks to my sweet friend Jesus). In the same way I am looking forward to the moments I will have with this precious child. What a joy and privilege it is to walk this 9 month journey once again. And it always help to embrace this journey when the haze of nausea and exhaustion begins to lift.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hands and Feet


WOW! It’s not even lunch time and I just woke from a little morning nap. I’m baffled by this incessant need to rest and sleep that has overcome me this week. I’m thankful that I am sleeping so wonderfully at night; but this 8-10 hours just doesn’t seem to be enough. I was in my comfy jammies and ready for bed before the sun went down last night and I could not wait for my nightly motherly duties to be complete so that my head could hit the pillow.
This morning I asked God for energy to get some things done that I have put off this week because of my sleepiness. His answer in the moment was no as I couldn’t fight the urge to rest this morning after breakfast and my workout.

I exercised a bit thinking that would get me going and while I was riding my exercise bike I felt the Spirit nudge me to notice these finger paintings on the wall…they are quite a few years old…at least 5 or 7 years ago when my boys hands were much tinier and much more fascinated with finger paints and I was into the delight on their faces as they got their fingers in the gooey paints.

The finger paints reminded me what I read earlier this week about this growing baby inside of me. God is developing his or her hands and feet in my womb this week. As I try to wrap my mind around this marvelous wonderful act, tears fill up my eyes.


To fully realize that God is doing a miracle inside of me right now is both humbling and inspiring. God knows exactly what these hands and feet will soon be getting in to and I pray that they become vessels of His love and Kingdom work.

Oh, Lord, may the light of your face shine upon us—specifically this precious new life you are weaving inside of me. I surrender to your work yet again, laying down my desires. The chores of this day will wait for Your proper timing. “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8) Obviously, you desire for me to rest while you do your wonders creating some precious hands and feet!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Surprising Expectations


Oh, I can’t believe I missed a whole month of not posting on my blog.
April was a busy month full of lots of writing and preparation. I was able to complete quite a few chapters from my book and now I only have 5 more to piece together (praying May will be the month to finish these up so I can edit over the summer). This month I also prepared for a conference with MTS (Mending the Soul Ministries); not to mention I started up an aerobics class 4 days a week…all of that led up to me being able to say… “I’m expecting!”
Expecting specifically baby #3 this coming December. The big news was found out first on Saturday, April 17th and I just had my first OB appointment this week; and so amazing to see this little tiny seed already have a heartbeat of 120bpm. I got teary eyed and filled with such joy as this little light shown right from the center of the sweet pea in my belly…thumping away exemplifying every bit of life
I’ve embraced a whirlwind of emotions since first realizing I’m pregnant, and I admit the least glamorous mood that reared its ugly head and tipped me off first to take a pregnancy test was a heightened awareness of my irritability. I tried to keep this ‘ugly head’ under wraps between God and I…and laugh about it whenever I could…hormones are really strange and unpredictable and if I could escape them right now I wouldJ
With God’s help, exercise, eating right and enough rest I know I can keep these mood swings at bay.
The same way I am keeping these moods under control by surrendering them to God—I am surrendering my fears. I am a bit older this time around than I was when I was pregnant with my boys. The risks of the baby having chromosomal problems increased when I skipped over that age of 35. As I listened to the doctor rattle off all the ‘could happens’ and all the tests to verify the chances and all the risks…the verses from Philippians 4 came to my mind….and as I’m typing this up right now; I got on www. Crosswalk.com and typed in the chapter and had to chuckle because 2 verses were highlighted in pink and 1 verse was highlighted in baby blue. (I’M NOT LYING!)
When I clicked to copy and paste it HERE in my writing, it would not carry over the highlighted part…so weird and I just have to think that God is speaking these verses over me and this precious baby: First highlighted in pink was this: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil 4:8-9) Then highlighted in baby blue was the following scripture “I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:13)
I’m clinging to God’s truth again and again; as baby and I rest in His loving arms. Pink-blue-boy- girl…I entrust these emotions and the health of this baby to God…He will meet all of our needs. (Phil 4:19)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Critters are Hungry


Clickity, Clack—slurp-chomp! My quick strokes on the key board were interrupted by noises coming from—my not so little any more—kitty, who was devouring my lunch that I left sitting on the table. Ugggh!!!
I quickly jotted on my grocery list “kitty food,” and proceeded to finish writing and then was reminded of what we thought this little kitty might have eaten…
Oh, the drama in a house with critters and boys full of wild imaginations. And the bigger the critter the louder their jaws go a smackin--why can't they eat like cute little ladybugs? Furby, my boys’ pet hamster was quite the escape artist in his early days and low and behold he was missing again…
My boys quickly came up with the culprit in his escape and investigated the cat’s belly…surely our cat who loved to lounge like Jerry next to Furby’s cage all the while staring and salivating at the hamster's every move.
I didn’t tell my boys; but I actually prayed silently that Furby would be found soon or if we did not find him--he would be dead in kitty’s belly. Now, don't send the pet police to my home please--I only don't want to find him dead in the corner of some dark closet space--I don't think I could handle the order or the sight.
Then to our surprise this morning…noises were coming from the cage. An unharmed--tail and limbs intact Furby was playing and eating safely in his cage. Dad must’ve found him I thought to myself but the boys mustered up again an epic adventure of Furby finding his way back home to eat. “He must be hungry!” My boys exclaimed.
All this drama made me actually grin a little and led me to ponder the question, "What am I hungry for?"
Now that I’ve retrieved my lunch back from the cat (yes, I still did eat what was left…I too was hungry). I chomped and chewed--like a lady of course-- and thought a little deeper beyond the food I was enjoying. I realized that down somewhere in my bones there was a deep-seeded hunger for healing, restoration, and redemption!
In my life right now, so many are having to endure--endure chemotherapy…endure emotional pain from the loss of a loved one-loss of a relationship…endure stresses from financial hardships.
As I reflect on these trials that all people endure during this lifetime, I am also nudged to remember...especially during this week leading up to Easter, the particular hardships and pain which Christ endured.
I’m clinging to Jesus’ words…and finding such comfort—such food for my hunger…”Yet, I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:32-33).
I feel a question rising up inside of me..."What are you hungry for?" And my sweet Jesus's words come to mind again, these words in ways I cannot explain...bring me peace and satisfy.
“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.” (Luke 6:21)
When I find myself running either free in a spacious place or in my own hamster wheel of life, I will remember where I call home and embrace my Father's Words!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Just In Time to Dream


“God does everything just right and on time, but people can never completely understand what He is doing.” (Ecc 3:11 NCV) This promise I've read in God’s Word, written in my journal, and now tonight at just the right time- they fill my mind and bring peace.
It's late...late for me to be writing; but the week has been full with my boys on Spring Break-in other words my writing time has been squeezed out by games, legos, baseball practice and more games-and I need to get this post written in time...I will tell you why in just a bit...

If you know me, you know that my God given passion is to connect women both to the heart of God and with one another. At first, God showed me this as I taught Christian aerobics classes, then by Mom’s groups and Bible studies and now there are all kinds of ways God is opening the door for me to utilize this gift of connecting and inspiring women towards the heart of God and the heart of other women.

In addition to speaking at various functions to encourage and inspire women with the redemptive life story God has given me, I also teach an Elementary Sunday School class with my husband; serve along side other servants at Mending the Soul; I have written 2 Bible Studies, and am now halfway complete with a book which God has placed on my heart titled “Ladybugs On the Beach.”
God has placed this book on my heart…a book inspired by my search of God through the scriptures and finding Him everywhere…including on the beach where I received the gift of many ladybugs. My desire is to be transparent in this life and allow people to see both the highs and lows of walking this life holding Jesus' hand. It all came together for me one spring day when God brought many ladybugs along with whispers of His love to me on the beach…and it ends—well you will just have to wait and find out!

When can you find out? I wish I had a date for it to be published but I don’t have the details yet and that is where I feel God reminded me of She Speaks; when I saw this scholarship opportunity offered by Cecil Murphy.

I first heard of SheSpeaks Conference a few years ago and dreamed of attending with a friend of mine who also enjoys writing. And then again last year I was reminded of it and could not find anything like it closer to me and asked the women who were attending my Bible Study last year to pray with me about attending last year and well—dare I use the phrase which seems to be becoming a cliche…’this economy.’ The amount for the conference plus airfare for me to get there is a hefty amount for my one income family right now; but I trust that if this is the next step…God will provide.

The She Speaks Conference is for speakers, writers and women ministry leaders and equips them to do the work God has placed on their heart. I am interested in all three aspects of this conference with recent doors opening to speak, write and cultivate a cohesive God-fident team of women which God has called to “bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted.” (Isaiah 61:1) God has wired me for this and I am so hungry for the tools to propel me forward.

God has brought me to a spacious-wide open place where I have been free to dream…I am
trusting that He is leading me to paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (Psalm 23:3) and maybe…just maybe this path includes She Speaks 2010.
I encourage you to do the same...dare to dream and embrace whatever it is that God has before you...He does everything just right and on time! Speaking of time...I need to get to bed...and if you want to join me and enter to win 1 of 3 scholarships just click here. Hurry the deadline is NOW March 26, 2010!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An Excerpt to Glorify the Reason Behind the Enthusiasm


Then while at the beach, after soaking my mind and body with some strong coffee and God's Word, I went for a run and with each foot-pound on the sand I was crying out to God with my desires and needs to be rid of the stress/emotions and just be FREE! Now, this morning as I piece together this chapter I’m not at the beach…it’s rather poetic that the rain is coming down with the window next to me fogged up and scattered with rain droplets. A concerto of rain droplets seem to be gathering on the rooftop—and just hours earlier I spent time reading and praying for a dear sweet friend who is walking through her own dark valley of chemotherapy this morning... JOEY I LOVE YOU!!!
**************************************************************************
I know the situation and hurt that I was experiencing before I walked on the beach with God that Spring day was not uncommon to any man and it was not something that would make the evening news—but it surely brought stress and emotions up inside of me that resonated with a time when my situation actually did make the evening news. Tragedy is tragedy no matter how you look at it.
And what a tragedy it is if we think that in our pain that God has left us…during the dark moments of this life I have learned to cling to what the Lord says in Isaiah 49:15…”I will not forget you!” In life’s busy moments it is so easy to go day-to-day and moment-by-moment and not realize that God is with us. For me it was not something that I grew up learning about and that makes me sad. Yet, for me—I have sensed something deep within me wondering and dreaming about an ALL Powerful God. I can remember being a young girl staring out the window on a lazy Spring day watching the clouds roll through and somewhere deep within me the words rose up “Why am I here? What am I here for?” I was just a normal kid and that moment where I pondered those words and even questioned where they came from—surely those words were not mine…but that memory is etched in my mind. I grew up never realizing that God was teaching me and leading me with cords of human kindness and ties of love. (Hos 11:4) And this I know is true—He does not just do this for me…I so desire for all to realize God’s healing hand in their life and may we take the time to celebrate these moments and honor God.
*I would love to hear about God’s healing hand in your life; please take the time to honor God and share this with me by posting a comment on my blog at http://www.jgirlsjourney.blogspot.com/ or email me via Facebook and I can post your story anonymously and maybe even quote you in my book ;-)
*Maybe you don't like to write but you paint like my friend (she painted the picture I posted above)...please share as you feel compelled to, in whatever way God leads you to share. Maybe a scripture or two that you have clung to during a past valley.
And my dear friends, if the rain is coming down in your life like it is literally in mine; and you are needing encouraging prayers to lift you up in a current dark valley; please don't be afraid to share that with me as well. I will pray for you and remind you and point out to you that God is with you; just as my girlfriend who is miles away reminded me this morning when I was sad that I was not there to hold her hand...I cherish her text "You r here. I hold you in my heart!"
God, thank you for carrying us in your heart!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Intimacy in the Dark Valleys

Intimacy in the dark valleys…is it possible? It’s Spring Break a time of rest and relaxation and I’m pondering the words penned by the Psalmist David and reflecting on previous dark valleys in my life. I’ve been quiet and have not posted much on my blog with time spent with my kiddos and only writting bits and pieces between me and God these past couple of weeks.
Right now I'm stuck on what is slotted as Chapter 7 of the book I’ve been inspired to write. Stuck for various reasons and I’ve been through more Kleenex than I want to admit as I write and rewrite.
I just can’t deny my God’s hand on my life…especially during the writing of this book. I got a phone call the other night from a dear sweet friend—she is like a sister to me and although miles separate us; we have never stopped connecting through phone calls and prayers and I treasure the vacations our families have spent together through the years. She just happens to be one of the first to encourage me to write and follow the Lord’s promptings to write this book…I want to be careful in not sharing too much of her story for her own privacy…but my dear sweet sister is facing her own dark valley right now and my thoughts and prayers are beyond overwhelming for her during this time and I am finding it so hard to see joy through my tears.
I’m yielding to the One who knows all things and has the power to do all things…my Lord I trust you during this dark time where my heart aches for my sweet sister. I praise you Father for somehow there is still a glimmer of faith, hope and love in my heart because I know You have accomplished all that consumes this heart of mine in this current dark valley…I SHOUT praises of You MY LORD even through these tears. (Psalm 138:8 NAS)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Smile BIG!


{Deep Breath} A breath of fresh air! It seems like so long since I’ve been able to really sit down to have time to reflect and write. I am resisting writing out again all the little things that have been happening recently in my life (mostly not to bore myself again) which have kept me from this moment and choosing to rejoice that I am here!
Alleluia! I’m feeling refreshed, partly because of my nice walk in the sunshine, partly because of the reading I did while lying in our hammock; but mostly because of the encouragement I read in God’s Word today and the dots He guided me to and helped me connect along the way. He surely has been guiding me to paths of righteousness because He loves me; (Psalm 43:3-4) and I write with excitement knowing that He does the same for all of us and I hope that my writing will help someone notice His love.
While lying in the hammock I realized that I haven’t swept the patio since our last rain storm; God reminded me that it was okay; that He had not done any cleaning up yet either…for the puddles were still there and stuck to the concrete was damp dirt and wet leaves. Somehow I seemed to hear God whisper that things are just the way they need to be. Will you embrace it? Will you let it be?
Tears began to well up in my eyes because I know I did not have the next memory flash before me without pure sweet intentions from my God. Just this morning I noticed a little girl on her Daddy’s shoulders walking towards the school in our neighborhood. I realized that this was a scene I actually had seen often; but my eyes were drawn to them and in particular to the Dad’s great BIG smile.
At that moment I was interrupted by a conversation between my boys on the way to school; but later that afternoon while resting in my hammock above the ground where God clearly had left some leaves to stick He also left a picture in my mind to stick.
I am loved! I am cherished! My Daddy desires to lift me up on His great big shoulders and show anyone willing to notice…I love her…look at her…she is mine!
I recognized as I could not stop the flow of tears that I have no problem telling the world about my Daddy…for I am one proud daughter of a King…but I am not used to embracing the love and being lifted up with my Daddy smiling proud. Complex thought I know…
The only way I know how to relate to this love is remembering being a little girl resting on my dad’s 6’4” shoulders and it was scary…so scary being so high off of the ground and frankly my dad scared me in numerous other ways…I know he loved me; but he also hurt me. I forgive my dad…I do; the Holy Spirit has filled me with forgiveness and love for him that I never knew existed and now…
I know that my Heavenly Father desires for me to embrace Him and His love like nothing else I’ve ever known! He has great plans for me…great plans like resting on His shoulders while He smiles BIG!
Oh, Father, please help me embrace this love and let me rest on your shoulders for all eternity…enjoying every single moment of it! I will forever show you off to the world and as you see fit place me on your shoulders so that You may smile BIG!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Not meant to happen today

I'm choosing not to be frustrated...don't know what happened?? The words were erased...typed up and then just like that...GONE! It's really nothing special but I know God has given me this joy for writing and even a need to write...sometimes you just do what you need to do in order to survive ;-) but I'm left frustrated just the same because the penned words are gone!!! Praise you Jesus that I'm left with your truth and the way I feel...

Hmmmm.....any other day I would just pen it all over again; but the time is short today because I have lots to do...so I will just have to continue another day. Plan B I guess :) And yes, I know this is true...some things--some writing is meant to be just between You and me. I'll share another time :)

MISSION Community Church | Beth Moore Simulcast

MISSION Community Church Beth Moore Simulcast

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Don't throw it away...


"Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." Hebrews 10:35-36
Looking forward to attending the "So Long Insecurity Simulcast" on April 24th. Let me know if you are interested in coming along.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Writer's Block

Forgive the scattered thoughts they come from a full brain today; I will spare you all that is on my list and heart today. But...what's a girl to do? I'm staring at pages and pages of notes...some in a neat bullet outline; even but I cannot connect the dots today. More bummed about this then the fact I didn't win Beth's Pop Quiz Drawing...so what's a girl to do to lift her spirits :)

Write out some scripture and just trust that God must have one more piece to share with me at a later time that will make it all fit together the way it is supposed to.

I was reminded in my reading this morning we need to trust in teh name of the LORD and rely on God (Isaiah 50:10). Then a friend had shared Isaiah 45:3 and I read a little further in verse five..."I am the LORD and there is no other; apart from me there is no God, I will strengthen you!"

Oh I was hoping to get some more writing done today--but I will choose to say "Thank you Lord that I am 1/3 of the way done...I trust in You and know that in the proper time it will come!"

*Maybe there is a lesson...3 just flooded my mind as I typed...but I'm off to make a cup of coffee and step away from the keyboard for a while.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spirit Fingers


Are you in need of some cheering up? Or are you feeling like a cheerleader today? I am feeling like cheering today! Specifically a cheerleader for God—with specific cheers in mind and those ever present “spirit fingers.” Normally spirit fingers are seen raised overhead; but this time they are punching the keys on my keyboard. Yesterday I noticed a piece of paper just moving aimlessly with the wind directing its flight. Sometimes in life my steps can seem so similar…with me constantly asking myself, “Where am I going? What am I doing? I feel a pull here and passion moving there…but what is the next direction” I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I read John 3:8 this morning…for “The wind blows where it wants to and you hear the sound of it, but you don't know where the wind comes from or where it is going. It is the same with every person who is born from the Spirit." (NCV) I’m holding on tight and getting ready to enjoy this wild ride!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Clothed with Christ

Off to get ready for the day and thinking about clothing myself with Christ. (Gal 3:27)
Just simple thoughts that I am choosing to capture before this mind is full of many other things. How I need Christ to cover me—cover up the ugliness from choices made…the guilt…the shame. How beautiful to picture this clothing of Christ that both covers me and equips me for the day. The dirt is washed away by His grace and I’m instantly prepared for victorious moments that are sure to come today. No need to start the day defeated…I am choosing to have faith and believe God. God just told me…I am a warrior princess clothed with Christ.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mowing the Path


I was walking this morning and saw a situation where a father was “letting” his son help him mow the lawn. The young toddler was following behind his father with his fisher price plastic wheeled lawn mower wearing a grin from ear to ear. He stayed behind his father for awhile but he quickly got bored; I guess, and jumped out ahead of his daddy. The young boy reminded me of myself and how quickly I can get bored and desire some new fresh scenery. I thought about how God calls us His sheep and He is our Shepherd (Psalm 100:3 and Psalm 23). Often times we think we know what’s best for us and we want to go our own way; we get bored; or desire to prove ourselves. I watched as the little boy ran out ahead and then had to keep looking back to make sure he was far enough ahead of his daddy with the mower out ahead. I thought how exhausting that would be to live life that way…running to stay far enough ahead and constantly looking over your shoulder. I recognized my heart has desires similar to this young boy; a desire to lead, a desire to be useful and a desire to be safe. Thank you Father that I can follow in your footsteps, seek you with all of my heart and be secure, knowing that I can trust you to lead this heart of mine down the safe path.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ticked Enough...


I’m enjoying this wonderful month of February and anticipating more joyous celebration this weekend! I am juggling in my mind the desire to get some cleaning items off of my list before Grandma and Grandpa come over, write more details for Chapter 3 & 4 of my book, and get myself ready for a date with my Valentine tonight. At the same time; my heart is yearning to have time away to reflect and write and I am hoping to carve out sometime over the long weekend to do just that.
Real quick: I want to write my thoughts about Chapter1&2 that I read yesterday from a book I actually want to already re-write the title of “Hello Soul-Deep Security!” I am smiling at myself right now because I think it was the author Beth Moore who taught me to re-write God’s Word at times to personalize it…and well I want to personalize her title and embrace what I will saying Hello to rather than what I am saying goodbye to.
The first chapter is titled “Mad Enough to Change” and I agree with Beth and am also “seriously ticked” about the destruction insecurity causes along with other things. At the same time I am rejoicing that God uses this emotion to propel us forward to change when we choose to acknowledge it and His work in our lives.
I am ticked that I still stumble from time to time from believing insecure thoughts and relying on someone other than God for filling my security tank. I’ve seen my share of relationship falter because either I or someone else was shaken by Insecurity and it’s both infuriating and heart-breaking.
I am surrendering to the Spirit in this and determined to no longer allow any insecurity to have an effect on the abundant life Jesus died for me to possess. I am committed to listen and do what I need to do to keep insecurities free from my heart, mind and soul so that they won’t hurt, limit or even distract me from profound effectiveness for God’s Kingdom or fulfillment of God’s purposes. Nor will I take part in allowing insecurities to hinder me and snuff out the Spirit within me to make my gifts unproductive and useless. (Page 15). Oh every fiber in my being cries out, “Father, please help me!”
Oh, nothing like getting the blood pumping in your veins!! This girl has a fresh perspective and is trying on a new pair of shoes—and girlfriend…THEY FIT!!!

Seeking Soul Deep Security

Perfect timing!!! I’ve opened up the pages of my new book that I received in the mail on my birthday!! It’s my birthday!! I can remember getting filled with excitement when I was a little girl and my birthday would come near. Yet, at the same time I somehow convinced myself to temper my excitement as some unhealthy way to guard my heart from any disappointment.
Something was different yesterday morning when I raised my head off the pillow—besides being older. I sensed God was reminding me that this day was special…that I needed this day to remember that every day is special for all of us! I am loved today on my birthday just as I am loved every other day.
I had a brief moment of sadness realizing that as a child I lived like I was special for just a brief moment on my birthday. Somehow my birthday forced everyone to say that they loved me. For a brief moment I realized that as a little girl I would try to live off that one day of love for the entire year—and you can imagine how that played out for me.
Praise God that He has shown me the error in my thinking and I don’t have to count how many “Happy Birthdays” I got to see how loved I am or that I don’t have to wallow in disappointment because someone may have forgotten or did not have the time to send me a card.
I realize that knowing and allowing God to love me fills up every ounce of my heart and it keeps the waves of life from rocking this heart of mine. The highs just are not as high and the lows just are not as low…and frankly this is where I want to live!
I am loved and I know it because God says so and demonstrated it when He sent His son to die for me and the rest of the world. Because of God, I know I can live loved every single day and I know that I can attain what Beth Moore writes in her book “soul-deep security.”
I have to admit, I really was having a hard time with the title of her new book and really announcing on my blog that I was going to read it. I do feel like I am so much more secure now that I was even 5-10 years ago…and who wants to admit that their insecure??? I would much rather sit in a dentist chair than admit my weaknesses to my friends.
The truth of the matter is; that I am insecure and I have held onto this friend of Insecurity thinking that it is just a part of me and just a part of all of our lives. I recognize that in order to kiss this friend good-bye for good I have to fess up to befriending someone who frankly just is not benefitting me one bit!!!
Who wants to hang out with someone who gives judgmental glances and speaks only forced compliments that are read a mile away as a fake cover up of some really unpleasant discouraging thought? NOT ME!!
I am so ready to say goodbye to this friend named Insecurity!
There are parts of insecurity, frankly that I have really already chiseled away…like recognizing some hard painful things…like my self-conscious thoughts were really selfish prideful thoughts. It baffled me when I realized that the low self-esteem I had growing up as a child and into early adulthood was actually a form of pride and that whether I am thinking highly or lowly about myself…I am still just all too wrapped up in myself and that this preoccupation just needed to go!!
I admit I sometimes still get tripped up with this; but God is faithful and has helped steer me in the right direction when I admit my wayward thoughts.
Right now, I am so enthralled with this book and excited to see where God takes my heart—especially because I feel like I have opened up a new book in my life…a new project of writing my own book that He has placed on my heart. I feel so unworthy and so awkward just saying that out loud—yet at the same time there is something in my spirit that warns me not to squelch the joy and passion in my heart that God has put there and I need to say YES TO GOD and just DO IT!
I am praying that God will speak to me as I read through these chapters and help me say goodbye to the thoughts of self-doubt that I so often run across. For, I know that with God I filled with God-fidence…and He alone will fill my heart with God-Authored SECURITY; which will equip me to do all the things that He has prepared in advance for me to do. (Eph 2:10)
So thankful that friends have decided to join me in this journey! Can’t wait to see how God meshes together all of our stories in this journey of God-Authored—“Soul Deep Security.”