Friday, August 17, 2018

Drop the Mic...




Sometimes the first 2 words of this Truth are the hardest for me to actually do. I am a talker, I love to talk to everyone...I mean everyone!!  But the last several days God has been downloading this into me...it's been a busy week of learning & sharing for me. 

I know that I have shared that after more than 5 years of asking God to move us to Texas, He answered with a resounding "yes" this June. I love love love Texas, though I miss some that I love dearly. I have already found that the "lonely pit" does follow me where ever I go, if I choose to sit back and "wait" for God to bring those He has for me. I have to admit I was already wondering where are my friends are? Those He promised to surround me with...but God, He reminds me that I still have to move...and I still have to reach out. So, this week I stepped out when He asked me to. 

Of course as soon as I replied with a "yes" rsvp, the enemy jumped up from his comfort zone and did what he does best...began dividing. First with some distant relationships, then with some in my own home. It didn't take a whole lot of coaxing for him to get a rise out of me and before I knew it I was listening to myself battle the same old demons that he uses to keep my focus off what God is doing and back onto myself. But God, He knows the plans He has for me, and He hears even the silent prayers of my tears...so He was quick to remind me that the changes He wants to make are going to mean some deep changes in me. He also reminded me that sometimes the best reply to satan's distracting ways is "perfect silence." This is exactly what God was asking me to do...however, I was wallowing in self pity and in my "old" way I chose to rise up and shout truth at those I love most. Which, as I am sure you realize, didn't go over very well with those I love. In fact, it caused the exact division satan was hoping for. Not only that but it caused me to lash out inwardly at myself and say things to me that I would never say to another person...not out loud anyways. 

The day after the blow up I had registered for the Pink night out at Gateway's NFW campus. This was my first women's event with the new church God has us at. My sweet sister M had offered to pick me up and secretly I was so glad...it meant a ride of wisdom with a woman of Christ who's wisdom I knew would be God given and filled with truth. She shares His truth so gently, yet so transparently that I can totally receive it without a battle of the defenses that usually comes when my flesh doesn't want to hear something hard. But God, He had even more for me. When she picked me up I pretty much crumpled into the seat of her car into tears and vomited the chaos of my hurt heart all over. She listened, she then shared we were picking up another friend of hers, one I didn't know. Usually my stress level would flare up at the thought of not being able to hear exactly what God gave her...but this time it was almost a relief. In my spewing of the drama and pain we passed the exit to her friends house...she shared a bit of what God gave her, "it's not always about you." This gave me a bit to chew on while we back tracked to find her friend. We made it to pick up Mrs. K, she was waiting outside. Instantly I felt comfortable with her. She looked like someone I would have put into the "nothing like me" category before. But as soon as she spoke I knew that she was like me in one way, God was the most important piece of her life. It wasn't long before God shared a word through this beautiful young woman, "not everyone needs to know everything." Oh was that truth a shot between the eyes for me. We arrived with just enough time to get a seat, but in the delay her hubby could only get 2 seats together, with 3 of us, I knew that God had a plan, but what it was I didn't know. M came in after parking the car and when she came to our row, she saw that I was about 4 seats down from theirs and came over to me and said, "let's just move these ladies stuff down one, so you can come sit with us." So that's what we did. 

As worship began I was so thrilled to finally get to see Rita Springer, I was introduced to her music at the first retreat of M's that I had attended and that song had me face down in worship to Poppa. Each song God whispered that same message, "shhhhhhhhh" I almost brushed that message off, until He blatantly shouted, "DROP THE MIC!!!" I stopped immediately and opened my journal, and wrote those exact words down, along with the title, "Rhema word." Little did I know that God was going to share that exact direction so much through out the rest of my evening...actually throughout the rest of my week. During one of the songs God whispered to me, "lay your hands on M..." I fought that direction for several moments but my hand lifted and laid itself on her shoulder and instantly I could feel the mercy, joy and peace pour down my arm into my heart. I didn't have any clue that me laying my hand on her was for me...not her. 

The message of the evening from God to me was to lay down my life for others...to go deeper, I would have to let go of my comfort zone and move forward into what God asks me to do. Not that I have to allow the enemy to convince me that I have to fight the battles in my life, no quite to the contrary, I have to allow God to fight those battles and ...you guessed it, I have to "drop the mic." I have to let go of not one, but all of my emotions and also realize that other's choices, decisions and even their faith, is NOT about me and it is NOT for me to fix. In reality God just wants me to get out of His way and let Him grow them like He grows me...without any input from me. So while God will use community for my loneliness He will also use it to teach me self control. If I let go of my judgement and my opinions and allow Him to speak through others and to others, then the changes He's making on the inside, well they will start showing up on the outside...He calls it "bearing fruit." 

The amazing women's pastor for the NFW campus in her total transparency had shared such an important message God had for me that evening...He never promised there wouldn't be storms, He only promised He would always be with me and never leave me in those storms...and that the happiness, joy and fun times I wanted came with community. I had to allow God to surround me with women that would point me to Him, that would challenge my self pity and self doubt. I had asked Him to speak to me and in His perfect faithfulness, He had spoken boldly and honestly through a total stranger. He wants to surround me with women who will let me be me, who will pray for me and who will not allow me to hide behind the wall of shame that satan is trying desperately to build. The wall God has been tearing down piece by piece, tear by tear, word by word. In the same way that He wants to surround me with those mighty sisters, He reminded me that He created me to be a mighty sister for them. His word, not everyone needs to know everything, well that was hidden deep in the message and even in the party time after. 

I walked out of the sweet words from God into a hallway filled with women, most of whom I had never seen or met..but God in His perfect way walked me right into a sister that I had not seen since one of the retreats several years earlier. She is one that I love, dearly. I can't describe the joy of seeing her sweet face!! She saw me and squealed at the same time as I did!!! We both wrapped our arms around each other over and over again!! I can't even begin to explain the feeling of "home" I felt just being in her presence! She was there by herself so she hung with us for the rest of the evening. I was soooo glad to get to catch up a little with her...and I told her we had to make a plan to hang out!! She suggested lunch and I said, "sounds great!!" At the end of the evening we hugged and promised each other we would definitely get lunch asap.

After dropping Mrs. K off at home, with a slight hang out time in front of her house till her family got home, M and I headed to my house. On the way she shared what God had given her, I knew it was God because He had been whispering this to me for quite awhile...but before this it fell onto my deaf ears. She shared with me one of the most difficult things God had asked her to do in her life and also how much it had actually changed her life...even if the first 6 months were the hardest, now several years later it had made all the difference in the world. I realized that moment that God's plans don't always line up with my desires, or my fears...in fact His plans will cost me something...but in the end the gain He's offering is so much better than anything I could ever imagine. I know that GOd used her to bring peace to a relationship in my life and I also know that though He doesn't want me to share everything with everyone, He placed her perfectly in my life and has plans to work through her to create the clean heart I keep begging Him for, in me. She told me that she has been compared to sandpaper at times, this is a feeling I understand very well...but in my life she is like a fine grit sandpaper, while I am considered a coarse grit sandpaper...this truth brings me so much hope, just knowing that God is going to be softening the grit of my sandpaper...if I can abide in Him...and "drop the mic."




Tuesday, July 17, 2018

huh?


     A Time for Everything 

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
 
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
 
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
 
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
 
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
 
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
 
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Today I found a notebook. It is a spiral notebook so I figured it must belong to one of my kids. Mostly because I really don't use spiral notebooks, I have several journals that I take notes in. I opened it up to the first page and was surprised to see my handwriting...it was titled, "Move Pt 2" and was dated from 4/25/18. I was intrigued by the next line which simply said, "Ecc = huh?" I started to read on and tried desperately to figure out why I was writing in a spiral notebook and when. As I read I realized this was after my little girl had asked me over and over what was so great about Texas. Every reason I gave her just made her dig deeper. I knew that though it was my little girl asking me the questions, God was digging around in my heart and wanted to show me where it was according to His purpose. He already knew what was so great about Texas, and wanted to show me why Texas, for His plans, not mine.

I read on to realize that this was part of the message He's been downloading into me for the last several months. The answer to His question, "Where are you finding your pleasure and happiness?"

I believe many times as people we search high and low for happiness and pleasure. From the newest gadgets, with new homes, or even people, we strive to get our next fix of happiness and pleasure. The problem isn't with having the things, or people, the problem lies within us. As I have gotten closer to God, I am learning that God is the answer to any question I have. Whether it's why did you take her out of my life, or where my happiness comes from. God has the answers.

I have struggled with addiction to food for a good portion of my life. When God gave me the answer for this struggle a few years ago, I was shocked to see how easy the changes were in my eating habits. Though I didn't know that He was the strength in my ability to stop smoking cigs, and giving up the massive quantity of pills the drs would throw at me to "help" me, I now realize it was ALWAYS Him. When I tried on my own to give up anything that brought me temporary pleasure and happiness, I would fall back into them quickly. But as God walks me out of these struggles I realize that they are just masking what He's asking me to do...surrender ALL of me to Him. 

So as I have walked and continue to walk with Him through surrendering each piece of me that doesn't look like Him, I am learning that though it may hurt for a moment, the wisdom is for a lifetime. If I keep moving in the direction He's leading me. Recently I was surprised to hear about some I dearly care about are walking a path of seeking pleasure and happiness in places, things and people. Instantly I want to "fix" them, but God. He knows that there is a season for everything and He knows that being the flesh we are, we will search high and low to find relief from the pain or heartache in something, someone or even in what drs say will help us find our "happiness" again.

I have much experience in this area, I have walked the "easy" path too many times to count in the past. I have looked for my happiness and pleasure everywhere except where it is, on the other side of the struggle. It's hard to walk through the pain of loss, or hand over the things that we have held onto for our happiness. But the only way to the other side is through the heartache and loss. Not that everyone makes it to the other side in the same manner, or the same timing...only God has perfect timing.  But when we are looking to something, anything out side of God to find that peace...we will only find temporary relief. Because God is the ONLY place to find the indescribable peace that we are each searching for.

Though I want to fix those I love and give them the peace they are looking for in food, sex, or even drugs...I can't only God can. I do however get to help in what this world calls a "not so practical" way...I get to pray for them. For me this is the highest honor. 

So please if you're seeking happiness, a good mood, or energy and pleasure anywhere but from God, know that I am praying for you. Praying that you will find the happiness and pleasure in the perfect peace from God that He will carry you through what ever it is that has you searching in things of this world in. One more thing before I sign off...

When you get to the plateau of whatever you're using to make you feel good, and you get to the place where you think you will find happiness...if it's not of God, or from God...and you hear yourself saying, "huh?" please, please reach out for the ONLY One who will love you and Who knows the depth of the hurt and ask Him to walk you through.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Unpacking...




I am in the midst of chaos...mostly because I moved from one state to another a couple months ago. It feels like I just moved yesterday...everyday. I had prayed for about 5 years for God to move us to Texas...but for the last 3 of those years I was double minded about this move. I wanted to move forward with God, but felt stuck where I was because of the decision of one person, that disrupted the entire world we all knew. But God, He hasn't nor will He ever, leave me in the pit of self destruction...and when He said move...I finally realized it didn't matter how much I wanted my life back, it was not His plan and where He puts a period I can not change it to a question mark. I fought hard not to leave the state that my grandprincess was locked in a tower of silence for the last 3 years...but God's plans are to bring me hope and a future...so here we are, Texans. She is still locked away in her own tower, I pray she's happier than the last time I saw her...I know she knows God and even though they don't allow her to learn more about that love, God will protect her faith, even though I can't. So He has asked me to trust Him and pray for them, as I move forward which is a huge step in my faith. 

The last almost month, I have not even known where my laptop was to sit down and try to share all God's done in my life through the retreat I went to in March. There is so much left unsaid...but God will move through me in His perfect peace...and in His perfect timing. So, I wanted to jot down a word that He gave me recently, until He starts to share a message from the retreat He blessed me with for my 52nd birthday.

When God took me to my first retreat with MYRRH Ministries all those years ago, He showed me where He would take me when He took me out of the exile I was in...Texas. The people here in the south are just different. I know that is true of every part of the country. The south, however, is truly my land of milk & honey. I have been in the desert for so long that when I made it here, I was met with a similar view...until I got to the town God had for me. Where there was rock and cactus, there is now grass and trees. When I smiled and shared a "hello" with a stranger there, I was met with either a shocked look, or just ignored...it wasn't very often I was met with a smile and joyful, "hello"...but here, well I am surprised with the reactions, they are not shocked, and do not ignore...but more often than not, I receive a joyful, "Hello."  I won't say that those from the desert never had a joyful, "hello" response, but most times they didn't. I don't look at them and think negatively, I just recognize that I wasn't where God wanted me...I was where I wanted to be. Or rather, where I was planted as a child.

More than just the reactions to a hello, Texas is a land of growth for me. God brought me to the "Bible belt" knowing what His plans are for me. The reality is I still have to act on His direction. I can't sit in my house and whine about what should be, could be, or would be...I have to make the choice to listen to His guidance and move according to them. This is just what I am finally starting to do here in my new home. 

I love The Passion Translation's, John 10:9-11

I am the Gateway. To enter through me is to experience life, freedom, and satisfaction. A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expectlife in its fullness until you overflow! I am the Good Shepherd who lays down my life as a sacrifice for the sheep.

There's NO denying God's plans in this beautiful paragraph. God didn't strip me away from the desert exile to take me away from an abundant life, no He rescued me from the daily pain and double minded arguing with myself and Holy Spirit. He knew that the position of my heart was keeping me imprisoned in a life of "what if" or "if only"...in the prison of bitterness and anger that had taken over my life. He knew that nothing I could do would save me from the enemy in myself. He sent His Son to save me from the wretch that is buried in me...the pieces that kept me away from the abundant life He has for me. 

Today, I still have unpacking to do and I still have people asking me "are you unpacked yet?" At first I slipped back into myself and felt "less than" because I am not on their time schedule...but God, He reminded me that He uses others to keep me moving sometimes...so now I look around and say, "no not all the way" and look up and say "thank You Poppa, for not leaving me in my pit. Give me the desire and energy to keep up with Your steps and plans."

I am very happy to share that the TRUE forgiveness God was asking me to receive for those hiding my grandprincess in her HIGH tower, is complete. I have taken my shattered heart to my LORD and He gave me a new one to live in...I don't understand why He asked me to accept this journey, but I know that He is healing my shattered heart and only He can give me the life of abundance He has for me. So I will not question, I will simply enjoy the gift He has given me and continue to pray for everyone involved. After all, LOVE is NOT an emotion, it's a way of life.

Breathed...not spoken.


This weekend while I was enjoying worshiping and singing praise to my LORD, this picture flashed through my mind...





Instantly I was distracted from praising and worshiping by the same thought I had when I saw it for the first time..."I look terrible..." This thought took my focus for a moment...but God took this opportunity to remind me who I am. Not only did He remind me of my lineage, but He also whispered, "I see the real you...the princess I created." With this whisper He brought this picture to mind...when I first saw this one, I felt beautiful.





Then He said, "I see who you are, I see beauty when I look at you. I see your heart of love for me, the joy in your heart as you lift praise up and worship with singing and dancing. The enemy wants you to see yourself as ugly while you worship me. He knows you will become self conscience again and worry about how you look. When you look at yourself through his eyes you see what he wants you to see. Look through My eyes and see the beauty from ashes you are." I wish I could explain the freedom in this bit of truth. I smiled wide and sang louder and more joyful. I knew God had a great day of directions planned and He started with the first worship, to get me started with my heart in a position to hear just what He had to share. Not just hear it and forget it, but let Him really etch this truth in my heart. 

This weekend God shared a truth with me that I have never even thought about.  I have read these verses and heard these verses many times in the past...but never with the same meaning as God gave me this time. This time, He made transparent a much deeper truth through the amazing prophet, Pastor Tim Beal. God has spoken so boldly through this teacher, who's willingness to share God's message is so evident. Every time God has blessed me with wisdom through his teaching. So thank you Pastor for your heart to not see anyone left behind. 


Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. 
Genesis 1:24 NLT

Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
Genesis 2:7 NLT


When I first glance at these verses I see the beginning of life. That God created the living creatures and He created man. I have not really looked deeply into these. I just believe that God created it all, us all, and called it all good...This weekend Pastor Tim brought these to life and brought truth to how God loves us so much. He truly set us apart, right from the beginning. Now I hope I can share what I have learned with you and I pray God will speak through this shared wisdom.

In Genesis God outlines how He is the Creator of all things. He started in Genesis 1:1 with these words...In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth. From there each day for 6 days God adds to His creation. Speaking everything living thing into existence...everything except people. Let that sink in. I am not saying that God didn't create us in those 6 days, I am saying that He didn't speak us into existence. For us God chose to get down into the dirt and shape us from the dirt...and He could have just said, "now breathe." That wasn't what He chose. Instead it says, "He breathed the breath of life into him..." This truth dug down into the deepest parts of me where it planted itself preparing to become a harvest not only for me...but whoever heard that message...whoever hears this message.

In my notes that morning I wrote, "God speaks and His voice transforms (creates) God speaks life into everything living creatures. But He breathed His OWN breath into us for life." From the beginning we are set apart from everything else He creates. He made us in His Own image and He gave us His breath. Wow for me this was a great eye opener. I don't know if I ever really thought about just how much love and detail God put into creating me...He looks at me like I look at my kids...proud. He doesn't see the 50+ year old double, hanging chin, no He looks at me singing and dancing and handing my heart to Him and He smiles and looks around to those who surround Him and He points at me and says, "oh the joy in my beautiful princess!! I love her!!!" He beams like I do with my kids. 

He doesn't look at the outside, no He looks deep into me and knows who I really am. He sees the surrender in my heart and the excitement in my actions. Because I choose His Son, and to believe in Him without seeing Him, I am covered by the blood of Jesus. He sees me through Jesus. In Jesus, I am completely covered by God's grace. He has forgotten all my sins, period. Grace erases sin, and receiving grace is easy. However, walking in it takes some learning. We get so used to worrying about what others think, we forget that none of that matters. We forget that in this broken world we are all searching for the same things, happiness, love and purpose. I think it can be easy to get so lost in the chaos in our own little bubbles, that we forget that others are going through stuff too. That's just what the enemy wants. He knows that if he keeps us distracted in our stuff, we will be too busy to help others and extend the grace they need. He knows if we get the chance to extend God's grace to someone, an "invisible" God will suddenly become "visible" to them in their stuff and that will disrupt his entire schemes.

Today, let's disrupt satan's schemes. Let's stop looking around and look up. Let's praise with everything we are, and bring joy to our LORD. So, if you're busy looking around during worship, maybe you should be looking up, letting go and lifting praise to God. After all, He chose to breathe His very own breath into us, when He could've just spoken us into existence.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

What's in a picture...



Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.
1 Timothy 4:11-14 MSG

These verses right here, in the Message translation...these are not mere words on a page, for this next messenger for God. In her early 20's most probably think she's about 15 years old. I did. I honestly thought she was about 15 years old and at the retreat with her mom. I never in a million years would have even considered that she was one of the women that had been given a word to share at the retreat. Can I just be transparent? I am not one with lots of fancy, sophisticated, elegant words. I am simple and I love that God made me pretty up front. I couldn't imagine what this innocent child could share with me on the 23rd anniversary of me turning 29 (my 52nd birthday.) In my mind she didn't fit the "usual" speakers mold. My failure to remember that my standards are not THE standard. That God uses each of us who choose Him and are willing to step out in faith, regardless of who we are. He doesn't look for what we look for in this world...He looks at the heart and He looks for the willing. She just shared her first question and I knew she was both willing and wise. 

I will call her Tiny m. When Tiny m began she asked us if we were editing our lives to fit our "perfect pic" by deleting and changing what we "deem" not good enough and enhancing what we thing is worthy? I can't remember her exact words, but for me she was asking was, "Do you take the time to Photoshop your pics to your life with the exact look you want, before you upload or share them with the world?" I could hear God asking me, "What and who do you place your standards against? Are you looking at yourself through who I say you are, or who those looking through the clouded eyes of their own standards say?" Tiny m shared her testimony about God teaching her about how comparison is the "thief of joy." She reminded us that it's easy to get caught up with others in this foolishness. Creating just the perfect you and life, with the special effects and erasing tool. Creating what we think is the "perfect us" according to what we are taught are perfect. 

In 2 Corinthians 10:12 NLT translation, Paul says, "Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant! 

Now check out the MSG translation of 2 Corinthians 10:12...We’re not, understand, putting ourselves in a league with those who boast that they’re our superiors. We wouldn’t dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.

We don't have to try to be like anyone else. God has created each of us unique, unlike anyone else. This is the most freedom filled sentence I have learned in a long time. It speaks to why others have one thing and I have another. It answers why God says "yes" to one persons prayer and "no" to someone else's. If we are constantly focused on what God is doing with someone else or allowing ourselves to copy their path, we will miss what God has for us. Then we are living to be like them, not living the life of abundance God has for us. Instead of appreciating our differences we do our best to be like anyone who we "deem" good to us. The flaw in this is that what we see as good is only the outside, their photoshopped perfect picture. Which is not attainable even for them, without erasing and changing, or posing and positioning things perfectly. Life isn't like that. Life is real. Life is dirty. Life can be hard. In any and all of these truths we struggle and rather than letting anyone else know that our lives are NOT the perfect pictures we share...we hide behind the editing tools. We pretend that we have the perfect life and that we have no flaws, no hard times. The reality is that we all have hard times, we all have wars going on in the supernatural and we are all created for a specific purpose. Trying to live in some one else's made up perfect life, well that will never work. Though we try with all our might, we will never add up to their photoshopped life.

For me this created the painful "recording" of words I used against myself for years. Every time I looked at pictures others would share I would hold my pictures up to them like they were the standard for beauty, or happiness. With the opposite end of the filters I would see my own pictures and only see the flaws, each imperfection spotted instantly and how much I lacked. I found myself "adjusting" my pictures to fit what I called beautiful and happy. I looked at the natural pictures and didn't think they were good enough. Comparing the me that God created for Him, to others He created for Him is like telling God, "you did not do good enough." 

When Tiny m boldly started speaking to a room mostly filled with women that were probably more her own mom's age, any thought of her age, well that disappeared for me. She held herself elegantly, her voice never cracking, as she shared the important messages so many of us forget with the wisdom of a woman who loves Jesus. 

She's in the generation of social media. While my generation was only exposed to the judgement of those around us, they are exposed to judgement from all across the planet, with social media and the internet. They not only get judged on the internet, they also are told exactly what is beautiful, what is acceptable and what they should look like. So while I had a maybe a couple hundred girls to emulate, they have millions. Most of those millions are not natural, they are edited to fit this world's standard of beauty with some sort of photo editing tool. 

Tiny m in her wise words shared one of the most important things I have heard, "Don't say things to yourself that your wouldn't say to another person...if I wouldn't say it to my own daughter, I should not say it to myself." This wonderful piece of truth is so important in the transformation my Poppa God is making in me, my heart and my life. That recording of lies that I have played in my own mind for so many years, the things that people have said to me and I have chosen to let define me. The words of death that I have spoken over myself, for at least 5 decades. Those are lies. Those lies do not define me. Allowing those lies to play over and over are keeping me at war with myself...no one else. 

This mighty woman in a young package had just broken through a barrier I had been holding up for years. She reminded me that no one can make me feel any way, that my feelings are mine. It is my choice to look around instead of at God. If I am comparing myself to others and what they have or what God is asking them to do, it's like telling God, "I don't have it and I want it." Like me saying to Him, "look at what she looks like, why couldn't I look like that." Like I am ungrateful for God's amazing handiwork. Like I am saying God's standards aren't good enough for me. When really I am basing my standards on "transformed" pictures of perfection. Pictures that have been softened, trimmed, cropped and even had things added. They are not real. They are just what the person wants me to see. It honestly is just their lack of confidence in picture form. I think some fail to remember, that eventually if they meet these people, they will not recognize them.

So this young woman, this wise young woman, God used to reach a spot in my heart that has needed to be swept out for a long time. I had stopped editing my pictures a while ago, I am a Nona so I have a phone filled with pictures of my kids and grandkids, no room for apps to make me beautiful. I was however stuck in the vicious cycle of comparison. A cycle that kept me living of the world, instead of just in it. God worked through her and shared His truth, He reminded me that He sets the standards, and each of us has to line up with His "plumb line" nothing else.

 In the MSG translation of Galatians 6:4-5 it says it like this...  Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

"That's pretty clear. Stop looking at others and simply look to God. I will lose every time with comparison." So in this world of instagram, facebook, and twitter...I have to put aside my standards and simply seek God's truth. God created me for Himself, not for any other reason. When others are searching high and low for the next "beauty maker" I will be searching God's word for what makes me His beauty.




Thank you Tiny m for your amazing faith. For a willing heart to stand in front of a crowd of women who were not only strangers, but most of which were old enough to be your mom. You reminded me to speak life to myself, to remember that I don't set the standards for me, God does. You also taught me that age is only a number...wisdom comes when we accept it from God, not in how long we have been on earth. Thank you. 

This wise woman right here shared with the wisdom of a woman who is way beyond her years. God definitely gave me a great word for her in the beginning of  this blog. She is the representation of those verses. 






Thursday, April 5, 2018

even in the storm...His "collector of friends"






I know I left off at the beginning of M sharing her message, but I want to say that since beginning to sit and write about M the enemy has been rallying his marksman and the flaming arrows and weapons of mass destruction have been coming from every direction. I have learned as my relationship with Jesus gets closer and my wisdom becomes more His than mine, that certain things can not come from God. Things like attacks, or sickness. There is NO darkness in God. Where He is, there is light. So when I see the beginnings of the foolish attempts of the enemy and his minions start my way, I step out of the way and stand behind my God Who is the Almighty Creator, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. I know He has me and He only asks me to be still. I share this because I know that M is a mighty prophet and that my "yes" to God asking me to share His message about His Princess, puts a target on me that otherwise wouldn't be here. The enemy will figure out that I listen to God, not him, not anymore. That doesn't mean he won't still try, and he sure does.

Right now I am doing the "Armor of God" study by Priscilla Shirer. This week is the belt of truth week. Perfect week for it, I have had a couple battles with the enemy already. Until I had a visual of what "girding your loins" meant, I tried to picture a simple belt for the "belt of Truth." The reality it is more like a "safety" belt that the delivery people and maybe weightlifters use to keep them safe from injury. I know that it's name brings an entirely different picture to mind now days, but it's the very first thing we need to go to, to wear or wrap ourselves in, the "belt of Truth." It's the very core of who we are, it's our foundation. It keeps everything else stable. If I don't put Truth on before I look at any situation, I can be manipulated by untruth, or close to truth. Just like Eve in Eden. The enemy uses just enough of the truth to make us believe, the rest is all fluff and junk. This has helped me stand firm through a couple of very painful battles this week. Battles that kept me distracted for a bit and also still, well digging into God's word to find answers to the pain and offence I had chosen to both pick up and then cling to for a moment. Only for a moment this time...that's a step forward.

So here I sit, ready to share a message about M and ready to bring you to my memory and share what God shared with me. Battle weary, but excited to introduce you to this amazing woman. She loved me at my lowest and she loves me now. She has never steered away from truth with me. God seems to have her tongue, or at least her words. She has said some honest things that I may have taken wrong, if I didn't know her heart was buried so deeply in our Savior that it was Him speaking to me. She has walked through things no person should walk through, yet instead of turning away from God or allowing this battle to steal her faith, she came out of the fire shining brighter and loving God more than ever before. 

God gave her a message for friendships and I believe He added more in the months after she was first scheduled to share this message. It blossomed into a message from the Lord about our reactions and actions when He says "no" to a prayer, instead of getting an automatically expected "yes."  My notes are pretty centered on what I know that God spoke to me, so these may be different for you, if you were at the retreat. M if you read this and say to yourself, "what, I don't think I said this?" Please just know it's what God shared with me in your courageous message. 

So she started with that question, "what do you do when you get a no?" My mind wandered and I thought, I think I do ok...but Poppa He will not leave me in that pit of deception. He instantly reminded me of the way I react when someone shares a truth I don't want to know, or hear. I know it's God because there's no condemnation in His voice, even has a tenderness to it. As I watch M share her message I hear her voice quiver at times, but even in those moments when it seems anyone else would be crumbling, she's standing firm in her belt of Truth. Little memories leave little trails down her cheeks at times, and in those moments she knows we all have her, we stand with her, under her, to her side, to her front, above her, all around her, protecting her with our love, God in us and standing guard for our sweet sister. Our prayer is to simply allow her to share the message God has harvested in her. 

At the beginning of the retreat the evening before J and I were chatting before it started and God stopped me on something she said, it was something she was speaking over herself. He stated unedited, "what you speak over your life is what will happen. stop speaking death over your life and speak life into every part." When she finished I shared God's whisper to me and then my new cousin sister, said "yes exactly." For me, God meant it did matter which words I use, it does matter if I want Him to use me in His Kingdom both here and in Heaven. Ouch. Then during M's message He confirmed it when He told me that my life and words matter if I want to speak for God...wow, throat punch. He didn't kick me, but He got my attention and it wasn't like I was angry or wanted to make an excuse, I wanted to make the change because that is becoming my hearts desire. I want to speak for God, I want to write for God and I want to live for God...I want others to want Jesus because they see Him in every part of my life. Because of Who He is and Not because I say how much better my life is, because the truth is my circumstances don't matter. Not for my faith. I can't just have faith when times are good, or bad, I need faith every time. 

For me M's word for me was that it matters the words I speak, the way I live, always not just at church. When God says, "no" or "not yet" it shouldn't trigger a toddler attitude in me. I need to be thankful for both "yes" and "no." She shared that this goes when we are seeking love, wanting to be fruitful or in any thing we are asking for. He can see the entire puzzle, we can only see a few pieces.

 When we are sitting on the edge of the bed our child takes their last breath, God knows us and He knows we may need a moment to catch our breath...but He will not leave us there in that moment. He will NOT leave us in that moment. He WILL take us to the moments of joy and memories of laughter and singing...and crying together. He's with us every moment that we are holding our breath waiting to get the answer to another pregnancy test...and He is there in the moment the negative sign comes up...again. That negative sign is NOT the final word, it doesn't mean a permanent no, it may just mean, not now.  M's courage and wisdom were thick with Holy Spirit and they moved many of us...most to tears. M shared her life verse is Jeremiah 29:11 ...I love the MSG translation,

This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

What I know is this, she has a pretty rocky path, I believe it's because Poppa God knew she could and would walk it...completely. So when she was sitting at the speakers table of a retreat center, 16 months after Jesus received her oldest daughter and her unborn baby in Heaven, making sure that we knew how important giving God every part of our lives is, God wasn't surprised and most of the people she's "collected" weren't surprised either. We knew that the enemy may have struck a hard blow but M's faith is too big to take. She has the heart for others and the enemy can not take that weapon from her. God buried that deep in her dna, it's her foundation.

As she brought out these verses in Mark 2:1-5

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

I instantly thought about my circle of friends...it was pretty quick I really have mostly social media friends, and my friends who live in Texas, and various other amazing southern states like Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Here in the desert, I have people I know. I have a few very dear people to me, and lots of others I know from my past...but mostly I don't surround myself. I can make excuses but the truth of the matter is that those I had made friends with seemed to move to Texas, or into town, or parts of my state...or we are in different times in our lives. 

Friends that would dig a hole in the roof of someone else's house to drop me in to be healed...that number is very small. While the enemy was trying to distract me with the quantity, God reminded me of the quality...M would dig that hole and not think twice. It's not about the quantity, it's the quality of friends. I need to let God surround me with the ones willing to step in the chaos and speak His truth boldly, without fear of my reaction, because they love like Jesus. They see the parts of me that God has already grown and transformed, they know my deepest desire is to live for God, become like Christ. They don't stop to determine if I am worthy of being healed, or loved they just love me. Not only will they, they would do it without hesitation. I needed to get with God and look into me to see if I would carry their mat. Again the enemy wanted to get in and try to convince me otherwise, but God reminded me I am not that woman anymore. I have repented and moved forward in change. Those holding onto anger or bitterness in the past, well I get to pray for them. Praying for some is the only gift I get to give them. I no longer get to see them, or talk to them. It is still a wonderful gift. 

M headed into the territory of why do some get "yes" and some get "no" to the same prayer...even at this moment my tears are flowing and though I have no idea of her feelings of loss, I know that my own feelings of loss have had me asking this question, many many times in the last 7 years...especially the last couple, so I can't imagine hers or any other parents feeling of losing their sweet child and grandchild. I only know that as God's wisdom flowed her sweet prayers did too, down her face, where Poppa captured every single one. He will use those to pour into her, when she needs them the most. 

She could have stayed in her bed and grieved for her loss, she could have gotten angry with God when other people's prayers were answered with a yes and she got the no. She knew that envy is created when we compare what we are living to what others live. She knew that it had nothing to do with her faith, or how much God loved her. She wasn't fooled by the lies the enemy tried to bring against her. She knew that this hurt deeper than any other hurt, ever. She also knew that God will not let His plans go. We can bury ourselves in the envy, but it will not change the circumstances.

 It can block my view of what God has for me, where He's taking me, if I let it. I need to turn to Jesus and refuse to allow the lies of the enemy to steal my peace. Not just in the wonderful perfect times, but in the times when God takes every single person around you away and surrounds you with people to speak His truth into your life in several other states, but not yours. Then takes T to Texas to work and whispers to me, "shhhhhh, be still." Even the hurt of a parent coming from about 1500 miles away to 30 minutes from your house and doesn't tell you they are in town...you have to find out on social media then have to text to find out. In every single moment, no matter how painful, we have to search for the Jesus. He's there, in the smile of the woman in front of you, in the friend who calls knowing you need to vent and hear truth, even though she's in a different time zone and needs to go to bed. He's there in the words of the worship music. Instead of watching the "show" the enemy is putting on, get on your knees and take it to God. He will bring what and who you need, to bring Him glory and give you instruction to His plan.

At the end of her message I could feel the release. It was thick, Holy Spirit was thrilled. I didn't ask her, so this is just what I sensed, it seemed like M was lighter, freer even. She took God's opportunity and opened her life and heart to sharing His message and growth with us, even through the rivers of tears shed that day.

I love that God brought this mighty prophet of His into my life and I know that she's gonna be an even bigger part in the near future, I dearly hope. She would not let go of what she knew God was giving me to do. She can't deny the desire God gave her to make sure that He is known, it is her breath. 

I love that she is never afraid to share God's truth anywhere we are, she's the same. She is authentic and real and loves God with all herself....from leading her dear family and walking hand in hand with Mr A...moments that are theirs alone that God has been the center of...the cord of 3 strands, M~God~Mr A, the cord is unbroken, stronger even. The storm that the enemy thought would silence MYRRH Ministries, has ignited God's powerful fire instead. He can't get past God's truth with his lies, even if she had only been left with faith the size of a tiny mustard seed, that was too much. Her God sized dream, is still alive and flourishing. Sharing God's love and truth with any one and everyone that will listen...or gets close enough to one of the many friends she's collected as God's "collector of friends."






Monday, April 2, 2018

His "collector of friends" pt 1



One Who Knows Much Says Little...

 Friends love through all kinds of weather,
    and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.
Proverbs 17:17 MSG

This is exactly what Biblegateway.com says when I searched this verse for the Message version. I looked at this verse in so many different versions in the last few months. God has used it to transform so many parts of my brokenness lately. But for today the emotions are flowing and I am not going to let them blind the message Poppa God wants to share. I prayer specifically to surrender my hands and words to Him. This message is an important one. This one is one I have struggled to get still for, mostly because I have felt unworthy of doing it justice. Today God has asked me gently to sit and give Him my heart. So here I am. Please bear with me and I will do my best to stay focused and also share exactly what God wants to. I will warn you ahead of time that this will more than likely not make it into one blog post, it's too good. I don't want to overwhelm y'all with one super long blog post, so I have already prepared for more than one. God is good, as I type Bethel Music with Kristene Di Marco's "Take Courage" is playing. Here I go.



This beautiful woman right here...this amazing Godly woman. She's one of God's mightiest fighters. She's my M. I have shared about her many times. She's the chairman of MYRRH Ministries. Most of us know her as God's "collector of friends." She chases people for God, I'd like to say though that she's gentle and does run after them for Jesus. She is the one who God shares His first visions of the retreats with. She's a listener, first to God, then to others. She doesn't just listen like most people do. Most people listen to answer, she listens to hear. She hears what God wants her to hear though, it's not always what others are saying. She's humble, she's wise beyond her years. God has asked her to step up for a God sized dream, and He has not just said "ok here you go." No this has been a long time battle. With each season He walks her through, she shares the wisdom He gives her and collects more friends. I can't sit here and act like I talk to her daily, I only know the annual retreat M. She's much much more than the amazing woman I know. This is me being transparent. I do seem to be talking to her a bit more often since T is in Texas working right now. 

I think the word that seems to always come up to me about M is real. Google defined it several ways, the ones that define her...

Real...Not imitation, or artificial but genuine. Having NO imaginary parts

Don't get me wrong, I know how creative she is and she's not lacking imagination. She's just not pretend, NOT one piece of her is anything but authentic. With all the times God has asked her to share an uncomfortable truth with people, she seems to make sure she's completely hearing what God has for her...before she speaks a word, she speaks many to Poppa. This was only the 5th retreat I have been to, there were many more in the books before I joined this band of Saints. Many more people were collected by God's "collector of friends" in too many places to count, prior to her collecting me. Lord thank You for blessing me with being counted in among some pretty mighty warriors for You. 

So,  I shared the entire message on Biblegateway because I loved what it says before the verse itself..."One who knows much but says little." This sentence sums up M. The verse following expands on who she is. During one of the most difficult losses in her life she would NOT hear of canceling the last retreat. I bet she fought herself trying to run up there, just to make sure everything was just as God wanted it...but she was battling for the life of her girl. This was a battle that God knew would take her to her knees...before she would take His Hand and allow Him to help her up. He knew He was calling her daughter and unborn grandbaby to Heaven. While all the prayer requests and the praise that was lifted on this amazing strawberry blond Saint's behalf was spread far across the earth, He knew that she was complete and that her loss would bring pain to many...but He had a plan for her in His Kingdom.

M was unable to come share her message at that retreat. God also knew that she would get to share this word, but He was changing the time and location. I don't know if we can ever understand His complex, yet simple plan. I only know that about 16 months later, M would be sitting in the retreat center sharing her message...the one that opened my eyes to so much. 

As I shared the first morning of the retreat was my birthday. It was my 23rd time being 29. Sorry just had to throw that in there. I shared that I was surprised and blessed to tears by the beautiful sight I woke up to. The day light brought it all to life. Throughout the day I learned that several of the women had been helping M get the decorations up all around me, as I slept. She brought them for me. She started after worship the Happy birthday song and then had them present me with a banner, signed by many of the saints at the retreat. Can I share that in my 52 years the only time I remember feeling excited for a birthday, was when I turned 50. I hosted my own party and collected gift cards, well I tried to collect them, I only got 2. That one paled in comparison to the one I had at this retreat. There's No party like the Holy Ghost party came to life for me...God spoke so deeply into parts of me. I will share more about some of the beautiful highlights of my birthday in the posts to come. This one I really want to get back to God's message. Just wanted to share how much love and how she just exhales it...always. 

The first question in my notes from M's message is this, "What do you do when you get a no from God?" 

The next note says..."lean into M Poppa."