Saturday, October 6, 2018

"Out of Order"

Then he said, “I beg of you, my Lord Jesus, show me grace and take me with you into your everlasting kingdom!”
 Jesus responded, “I promise you—this very day you will enter paradise with me.”
Luke 23:42-43 TPT

Today my only biological sibling, my little sister, Sis', should've been 51...I was going to say, would've, but honestly today I feel like she should've been 51. Not that I don't trust God's plans, I just miss my sister...and though she took her life during the heat of a battle with this life, I know that God is sovereign over all things...and that night, that dark spring night back in 2002, she had no armor to put on...she had no weapons to fight with...she had no more strength to take on another day of war against herself. Many times I have thought to myself, "oh I wish I would've been there...I wish I would've known...I wish I would've stopped having expectations of her that she couldn't live up to... I wish I would've been a better big sister."

Instead of drowning in the cruel distractions of questions that can't and won't be answered until I join her in Heaven, God called this day my "Out of Order" day...His plans are only to give me hope and a future, so today He whispered, "hang an out of order sign on your bedroom door and take a walk down memory lane with Me." So, what does a "Daddy's girl" do when He asks her to spend the day with Him??? Right I argued with thought I was going to say, she listens to God and hangs the sign, didn't you? Well, no actually I started with every excuse that comes to a mom, Nona and wife. "Lord I can't do that my kitchen is a wreck," "I can't do that I need to go grocery shopping," or "I can't do that I need to work out." Finally, when all my arguments were met with Him reminding me "it's ok to take a rest day, trust me, all those things will still be there when tomorrow comes." Then He shared this sweet nugget with me from Mark 6:31b

So Jesus said to his disciples, “Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where you can rest a while.”

You guessed it, here I am...enjoying a "Sabbath" of sorts. While I was relaxing in His word this morning, during my morning gift of just lingering with Him and His promises, He took me to Job 11:13, "“If you would prepare your heart,
And stretch out your hands toward Him;" This is the NKJV...but as I was writing this He took me to the MSG translation of Job 11:13-20...

"Reach Out to God"
13-20 “Still, if you set your heart on God
    and reach out to him,
If you scrub your hands of sin
    and refuse to entertain evil in your home,
You’ll be able to face the world unashamed
    and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.
You’ll forget your troubles;
    they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
Your world will be washed in sunshine,
    every shadow dispersed by dayspring.
Full of hope, you’ll relax, confident again;
    you’ll look around, sit back, and take it easy.
Expansive, without a care in the world,
    you’ll be hunted out by many for your blessing.
But the wicked will see none of this.
    They’re headed down a dead-end road
    with nothing to look forward to—nothing.”

I get now why God asks us to go deeper with Him...He isn't trying to drown us in rules, NO quite the contrary, He's giving us His grace, He is giving us direction that will bless us...and others. While my usual reaction to this date is one of sadness and should haves, could haves and would haves, He is asking me to "come away with Him..." To let Him make the plans and me just put one foot in front of the other. 

Today instead of drowning in a pool of tears, don't get me wrong I have cried several and I have sobbed into my Saviors arms, I am choosing to walk in His memories of 2 sisters He grew together. So here goes I am letting Him guide me with this new journey, without Him...well without Him I couldn't do this.

God reminded me this morning that He placed us side by side for a reason. I remember being by my Sissy's side for many of her huge moments. She was the exact opposite of me and for a good portion of our childhood that was very evident. We may have battled to the death of a couple of our stuffed animals, and I bribed her not to tell on me many times with things she didn't have that I did, like a radio, or tv or clothes...but let someone say a word against either of us, or one of us feel the crushing pain of being hurt and we forgot every thing we ever did to each other. My little sister was my battle comrade and I was hers. She was quiet and didn't speak up for herself, even when she had a right to...according to the worlds views. We weren't raised with the knowledge about God, we weren't raised in a family where we started our days in God's word, or even to say grace before each meal. Not that we were raised in satan's house, our parents just had not learned about how to live with and for God, so they didn't raise us with this important piece of wisdom. 

But all these years later, after God has gotten a hold of me and I realize that though she didn't know why, she had no desire to have a battle of words with others, instead she would walk away...silently. Though she had no idea she was living according to what Jesus said, she was. Though God has and is teaching me about how regrets can shape and corrupt my life, for most of my life I have lived in a state of regret mostly because of my inability to walk away silently. I am learning though, in fact it is actually becoming my reaction when someone hurts me, and I start to lash out in anger. I don't know if it's because my sister was the youngest, and she always had a big sister by her side growing up, but I do know that God created her to know how to respond. In fact my mom will tell you that I always had an answer for everything, she would say, "why can't you be like your sister, she knows when to be quiet and let it go?" When I was younger, and before I met Jesus, I would shout back at her...I would need the last word.

But these last few years, God is showing me the peace in just silently walking away, while I ask Him to shower them with blessings. In Proverbs 11:12, Mean-spirited slander is heartless;
    quiet discretion accompanies good sense...I am reminded that always having to have the last word, well that is only going to end up hurting someone and in the long run it ends up hurting me. Jesus used God's truth when He was tempted by satan in the desert, He didn't use hurtful, angry, or bitterness to try to battle the liar of this world. So the farther I get in my walk with Jesus, the more He is arming me for the attacks the enemy and his minions wage against me. I am learning that I don't have to have the last word to the person, but I can take my desire to have the last word to God and lift their name up with a genuine request that He bless them. 

My little sister lived this way for pretty much all of her life, she was a little more bold about speaking her mind as she got older, but it was really just her being honest. She grew to be very blunt, her filter was still there, but her big sister wasn't. I can think about the hours we would spend playing barbies, riding our bikes, or skating around and around our driveway...I also have a memory of trying to protect her from the darkness of a babysitter who would linger in the hallway, or offer to play hide n' seek with us...I was there the night she found the only man she ever loved in their marital bed with another woman and her child...I had to tear her off him as she ripped her fingernails off in his chest while he protected the other woman...I remember many nights of her protecting her big sister in bars as I drank myself into a crazy stupor and then danced on the edge of safety. She battled against the devil as I fought suicidal attacks and she refused to let me give into them, even slapping me across my face when I screamed one night in hers about letting me die!! I was at her weddings, both of them. I was at the birth of a child she placed for adoption and also her youngest child while she sucked on one toostie roll pop after another because she was craving a cigarette so bad. She was there during the birth of my daughter and also was the only one there when I carried and gave birth to the boy God asked me to be a birth mom fact she's the only one, besides me, that met him and held him...she carried him to the nursery. 

God had us side by side for most of 34 years...and for the last 16 years and 5 months I have not had her by my side. The woman who would physically fight a man in my defense...she took a 10 mm handgun, loaded it with a hollowpoint bullet, grabbed her Bible and a pen...wrote, "please forgive me God, I can't take the pain anymore," sat down at her kitchen table and put the gun to her chin and pulled the trigger...with that single act I lost my built in best friend, confidant, protector, and more than only little sister. No one could've ever convinced me that my little sister would take her own life, she was not a suicidal person...she was way to tough for that. But the wars raged and she couldn't fight them alone anymore...she didn't really know God, only that He could save Heaven.

For a long time after that I felt like I had to make excuses for her taking her life, I would say she shot herself, but I know she is in Heaven because...and at one of the retreats I went to with MYRRH Minstries a friend reminded me that my sister is free, I don't have to protect her anymore...that she didn't leave this world to get away from anyone but herself, her broken mind. 

I started this post out with Luke 23:42-43 in The Passion Translation...these Scriptures were the perfect reminder for this big sister on a day that I should be celebrating the birth of my little sister who took her life...regardless of how far we are away from God, it only takes one breath, one whisper of His Name, to bring Him back to us. 

I miss you, I am sorry you felt so alone... I will be by your side again, when God calls me home. Thank you Sis' for making your last breath, Jesus' Name...Happy Birthday to you, my Sissy.
your big sister 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder...

My daughter recently taught me about "Snapchat" filters. She had taught me about them a couple years ago, but I tend to fill my phones memory up, which means apps that aren't really "necessary" will be deleted...and "Snapchat" was one of them that went first. When she began teaching me about it this time I got so excited to see the difference in the pictures of me with a filter, believe me there is a HUGE difference. I am not a stranger to filters with the cell camera, my daughter taught me all kinds of tricks going back more than 10 years ago. From the angle of the camera, to how to create a softer look, honestly I used to always make sure my "beauty" enhancer was set to the maximum level, at all times. There wasn't a picture I took that didn't have some kind of "help"... ever. I learned how to take a picture from above me, that it cuts the double chin and hides most of me...which brings me to exactly what God's been working on me with lately. Things I think I'm hiding, maybe I am actually hiding, from the world anyways. They are not hidden from God however...never could I hide one single thing, not one. He reminds me of this in Psalm 139:1-3... 

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down, 
And are acquainted with all my ways.

So, while I can fool people, I can not fool God. For a good portion of my life I hid from God. I wanted to make sure that those who were on the outside of me and my life saw it one way...perfect. I fought for the darkest parts of me to stay in the dark. For a long time that worked, but God...He doesn't give up on anyone, even me. He wants all His children with Him...He doesn't want to lose one of us. So when I heard Him and chose to listen and give Him the broken pieces...He brought His perfect peace and began to show me that when I am hiding my flaws, like lines, extra weight, or the scars of acne, I am trying to hide the things that make His creation, It is like a slap in the face to my Creator, my Poppa, my Savior. This has been such a struggle for me to learn, it is something that I have picked up, over and over. God however will not leave me in that pit. He reminds me that He has a purpose for each of struggles He walks me through...that the struggles build my faith and faith builds my character. 

While those lost in this world will tell us that beauty is the most important thing...God teaches us a couple of things, first that beauty is in the eye of the Beholder...which for me, is God. The second thing He is teaching me is that beauty is more than skin fact the beauty He created in me is so much more than the human eye can imagine. He created me so He could reach so many different kinds of people...He didn't create me to simply be happy with looking at a beautiful woman in the mirror. He created me for Himself, He made me to fit in with Him...not the world. In John 16:33, He tells us that in this world we will have trouble, but Jesus has already overcome the world. That simple truth right there, well it is all the hope I will ever need...He overcame this world so that I can have an intimate relationship with that I will know that through Him I can do anything.

I know that I've shared about the journey He's been walking me through with letting go...He started quite awhile ago, but I finally understood a bit better in about December 2014, when He opened the door to the Biggest Loser challenge that began Jan 2015. He walked, ran and danced about 120 pounds off me in less than a year. I walked that road faithfully for almost 2 years, then stumbled a bit and slowly but surely a bit of the weight had crept back on. Actually, I had fallen back into the thought process that told me "it's ok to eat that, it wont hurt to have a bit..." or "why shouldn't you enjoy that, everyone else is" and even "well you already ate that, so you might as well have this too." At first the battle was easy to win, I simply asked God to take the cravings away...then I started to try to do this on my own, in my own strength. Before I knew it I was right back into my old habits. My jeans were tight, my belly was back a bit and I was feeling a lot like I did at almost 330 pounds, though I was far from it, my thoughts started attacking me again, quickly.

But God...He knew I had slid off His path again...He patiently waited until He knew I would listen to His whisper and He gently reminded me that having the weight off meant so much more than being was so much more comfortable for held a peace I hadn't known in a long time. It is less about the weight and so much more about living in God's will...He knows that I fall prey to thoughts that tear me apart, they shred whatever love God gives me for me and the words I then speak to me and over me, well they're words I wouldn't speak to anyone else. That is why He gently pushes me to keep moving forward...because He loves me...a whole lot. I finally surrendered and gave Him my battle with the food and I began working out favorite actually, Zumba in my living room. Then He one day I took a picture after working out and I looked at it and thought..."look how old I am???" Just then He whispered to me...deep in my soul...

He brought this truth to me again...

                        Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
Proverbs 31:30

Then He showed me what He sees when He looks at me...He did this in this picture...

This close up of my right eye...all the lines, the freckles and the age spots...I looked at it first and thought "how is this beautiful, look at all the other women that have no freckles, and no age spots...they have smooth skin with no sagging eyelids and they are not old looking???" Just then He whispered "look how much love is in that eye...the wisdom and empathy...the warrior and gentleness...the princess I created from dust. Those lines are lines that led you right to my perfect Grace...outer beauty is only skin deep...but beauty from faith, well that goes ALL the way through!!! Satan's minions are trying to distract, divide and destroy...but I have walked you into this battle to show you how much you have learned already...don't let the lies distract you. Don't let the whisper of comparison divide you and definitely don't let them destroy all that I have taught you!! Pick up your weapons...the sword of truth and put on your armor...the battle is won, don't be fooled!!"  

This reminder is just what I needed. God doesn't see those lines, freckles or scars as bad...He sees them as me.

So if you are battling the lie that you are not enough, that you don't look as beautiful as others, or seeing all the flaws that the devil's minions are trying to get your attention with...please stop, breathe in and go to this verse...

Don't be lured into the 3 D's...battle them with the whole TRUTH...take your struggles to God, put on the Armor of the LORD, pick of His Sword of Truth and then keep walking with Jesus...let Him show you who you are...let Him show you what you look the mirror of His eyes. We have enough to deal with without worrying about who looks prettier than us...or how many wrinkles we have...God's beauty is not skin is ALL the way through. 

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'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 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 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 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 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 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


     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 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


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 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 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" 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 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 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.