Monthly Archives: January 2014

God Goes Before Us

Ocean view

Oh friends do I have a story to tell. I wish I could share ALL the details, but for privacy reasons I won’t. But here’s the thing….the specifics don’t really matter.

Because really THIS, this is a story about God. A story in which without Him, none of it would have been possible.

I know I posted once already today but I can’t even think straight because I am so overwhelmed by God’s provisions and goodness……it just HAS to be told.

As I was getting out of the shower yesterday morning a thought came to mind that I needed to do something very specific for someone I know.

I think best in the shower (maybe it’s because it is the only time in the morning no one is awake to want or need something from me) 🙂 and this has happened before….often people are brought to mind and I figure there must be a reason I should pray for them right then.

It was an interesting thought and one that I didn’t act on immediately, for various reasons, but mostly because I was busy focusing on getting myself ready for the day. (Because in my selfish head it is all about me)

But God planted a seed at that moment….one that wouldn’t sprout for a few hours, but it was there.

Several hours later I was contacted by a friend in regards to the person I had thought about earlier that morning. That friend’s message spurred the very specific thought I had and I shared it (although it seemed just the slightest bit crazy).

We discussed it and decided to act.

A message was sent and I was pretty sure that our idea would be turned down.

And then the response. Oh the response!!!

Oh my goodness here is where it gets good friends…I am in goosebumps over it still. God is just SO good!!

A prayer had been issued out that morning for the VERY THING that had been brought to my mind hours before.

THE VERY THING.

Even more incredible to me is that because of the timing, I know that the prayer had not even been spoken before God placed the answer on my heart.

Can you feel the magnitude of that?

God loves us so much that He answers the prayers of the faithful before they have even left the lips of the ones praying.

He was already working out the details……none of us knew it at the time, but He was already in it!

Even greater than that is the fact that none of this would have been possible if so many other God-filled things had not occurred in the past year.

God knew a year ago that on January 14th 2014, He would give me a message and my friend a message that would help answer a very specific prayer that would be lifted up on THAT exact day.

God goes before us. Can you see that?!

And today I am reminded that it is my job to be open to hearing His still small voice…even if it seems like a crazy thought because He is working out the details of something magnificent.

I am selfish by nature, and I don’t always act on something when I hear it. Thankfully this time God worked in a couple of us to bring everything together. But what a reminder to me to remain watchful and then act!!!

I think I am being called to share this message, even though it lacks all the “details” because God is the only detail that really matters. He makes ALL things possible and yesterday I was blessed to be a witness to how amazing that can be.

Be listening friends, be praying, and ask God to guide you in fulfilling His plans!

Photo Credit: ankakay

 

You Are Loved

Dad & Karlena

I love the picture above. Our photographer Heather captured it this fall when we had our pictures taken.  When I see it, I see my sweet little princess and her daddy.

What you might not see in this picture that I do, is how fiercely independent Karlena is.

Oh ya’ll (I know I am not Southern..but this is a ya’ll moment for sure!) she is only 3 and it is so bad!

She will only let me help her on HER terms.

If I ask her to hold my hand because it is icy, she runs ahead and shows me she is fine.

She insists on peeling her own Halo oranges…even if she has to do so like this to avoid getting juice squirted in her eyes…

Karlena Halo Oranges

Nope she doesn’t need my help, unless of course she does and it is her idea – but you get the point!

And tonight as she stomped into the door after work, carrying her own bag and declaring that everything was “mine”….I had a glimpse into what God might see in me at times too.

I shouldn’t be surprised at her behavior, because haven’t I done it myself so many times?

“God I’ve got this….it’s MINE”.

“No I don’t need to tread slowly because I am going to be fine”

I race on ahead and when I slip and fall….well I wonder where was God?!

But as frustrating as Karlena can be at times, I love her fiercely too.

How could I not love her – look at her!!

Karlena princess

And when I look at her in her pretty, purple, princess dress I imagine that is just how God sees us. Beautiful. (<==== Click to Tweet)

You see even though God knew we would sin and throw fits, we would run to unsafe places and act disrespectfully….He loved us so much that He sent His ONLY Son to die on the cross for our sins.

That ya’ll, is love 😉

So today I want you to remember how very special you are. How much God loves you, fits and all! (<==== Click to Tweet)

John 3:16-17   “16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” 

I am joining Holley Gerth today for her Encouragement Challenge.  If you need an extra dose of love hop on over and read even more encouragement!

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150

A Love of Words

Cassette Recorder

I have been a storyteller all my life.

Maybe not always a good one, as evidenced in some old home movies that my parents shared with us kids over Christmas! But telling stories, sharing about my life is something I have always enjoyed doing.

I have memories from long ago of an old cassette recorder that my parents had and let us use. This memory had remained pushed back into the recesses of my mind until this week.

I started thinking about what dreams I had as a child for my life, and while I couldn’t remember what those might have been, I did remember this cassette recorder.

My brother, sister and I would make recordings of our everyday life. We would sing and tell stories and laugh at how silly we thought we were.

It was an innocent time and we believed that our words mattered.

Our words were burned into those cassette tapes for all eternity (or until we erased them), but you get the point. Those tapes defined me, they were a reflection of my humor and joy, my love of music and storytelling.

But somewhere along the way, in the trials of growing up an awkward and nerdy teenager, I stopped believing that my words mattered.

In fact, at some point, I started believing the lies that I wouldn’t ever be good enough. I would never measure up and be popular. I would never make the cheer leading squad or the school musical.

I didn’t have anything special to offer.

Have you believed those lies? Can you remember a time when you felt you had a voice but don’t know how long it has been since you felt that was true?

Last week I put words to my God-sized Dream.

It was terrifying to me but I received some wonderful encouragement. Women shared that they felt the same way, they had unspoken dreams but they were being brave and taking the first step by speaking them out loud.

Oh the knee-knocking that was happening last week! 🙂

But finally taking that step and putting words to my dream was invigorating.

I could feel my “voice” coming back. That love of words that was stuffed away deep inside of me was growing in my heart.

I DO have a voice, and it matters – if to no one else – it matters to God. (<==== Click to Tweet)

So I speak because of Him! I speak on behalf of Him and I praise Him because He created me with this love of words. It was there all along, I had just forgotten about it.

I loved this excerpt from Holley’s 40 day devotional “Opening the Door to Your God-sized Dream

“In many ways, God-sized dreaming is more about an attitude than an action. It’s living with an ongoing yes to whatever God asks of you.

It means choosing faith over fear

It means moving forward instead of holding back

It means believing God can accomplish his purposes for your life – no matter how hard things are right now.”

God has given me a love of words and has called me to share them.

It causes me fear at times and I wake most days feeling unworthy of the task.  But I am holding on to the truth that He can accomplish His purposes in my life, regardless of how I feel about it! (<==== Click to Tweet)

There is freedom with that simple truth and I am thanking Him for that today!

What were the childhood desires of your heart? Can you see that God was equipping you even then to pursue your God-sized Dreams today? 

Linking up today with other dreamers over at God-sized Dreams – if you blog we would love to have you come and join us in the fun!

GSD Link Up Picture

Photo Credit: Nuscreen

Five Minute Friday – See

5-minute-friday-1

I am linking up with Lisa Jo again in 2014 for Five Minute Friday.  A time when we commit to writing for just five minutes, and then link up with a community of writers who are doing the same. Will you join us?

Today’s word prompt is: SEE

It was 2010 and I thought I knew where we were headed.

Sure there were big changes and leaps of faith, but we felt confident that God had a plan and we moved forward with great anticipation.

A new job, a move away from all that we knew, a new church and new neighborhood. So much change but I felt confident that we were right where we were supposed to be.

And then in the winter of 2011 the bottom dropped out.

Unexpected unemployment – times two. Reality came crashing down around us and all I could see was darkness.

Hope was out of my reach, I only saw despair. Convinced that God had deserted us, or we had heard Him wrong in the first place I slipped into a deep depression.

How could this have happened?

But then, light.

Courage stuffing down the fear, my husband made some big decisions and a new business was formed.

I could only see the negative. I was convinced that it wouldn’t work, that all was lost.

My husband, he saw opportunity, and He trusted God had a greater plan all along. 

It didn’t come easily at first, and has never been without a lot of hard work and determination. Today we are no where that I thought we would ever be. This successful business a part of our family, working together as a team now.

God provided immeasurably more than I could have ever imagined.

I couldn’t see it then, in the thick of what seemed like hopelessness.

But today my eyes have been opened to the many ways that God was at work all along.  I can only fall on my knees in thankfulness and praise Him for all He has done.

“I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see….”

Encouragement for the New Year

Capable

Photo Credit: QuotesEverlasting

As I sat down to write this post, hopefully the first of many, to offer a little encouragement here in the mid-week, I started to think of a word that would do just that.

Capable is what came to mind.

ca·pa·ble

adjective \ˈkā-pə-bəl, in rapid speechˈkāp-bəl\

: able to do something : having the qualities or abilities that are needed to do something

: skilled at doing something : able to do something well

How many times have you reminded yourself of how very capable you are?

If you are anything like me you may focus on all the little failures in your life, the reasons you aren’t capable and forget to look and see how amazing that you are.

Each of us was created with talents and abilities. Some of us have a nurturing spirit, others a gift for writing or singing, others are organized and some wildly creative.

While none of us are perfect, we are each capable of making a positive impact in the world around us!

Today instead of focusing on what someone else is doing better than you are – start by naming one thing that you do well.

It can be hard to name our strengths. But it is a good exercise and we need to remember that when we use our God-given capabilities, we are honoring Him.

So today I want you to say out loud – I am capable.

Every time a lie creeps in to tell you that you are not good enough – respond with “I am capable. God created me that way and today I will celebrate all He has done in me!”

And then start living in the freedom that reality will bring you.  It might not be easy at first, but I promise it will be worth it.

Because you are worth it!

I am linking up today with Holley and joining Coffee for Your Heart – 2014 Encouragement Challenge. Join us each Wednesday as we dish out some love to one another.

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The Podium

Podium 1

Photo Credit: Andy Nguyen

When I was in the 6th grade we had an assignment to read a book and then write a report from the perspective of one of the characters in the story. For the life of me I can’t remember what book it is I read, but I think it had something to do with a young girl and her brother that was kidnapped and the effect it had on their family.

I wrote from the perspective of the sister and how her family was changed because of her brother’s disappearance. For some reason my teacher asked me to record my speech. I had to dress up in character, memorize my report and then I went down to this local Owl TV station and was videoed sharing my report.

It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

Around that same time my mom started bringing me to the Christian Women’s Club breakfasts.  We would dress up all fancy, go to the country club and eat a fun meal and hear a woman share her testimony of faith. These meetings were very influential in building my faith but they also placed in me a desire to do the same.

I wanted to be that woman, the one with a story to tell. The one who shared why her faith in Jesus made things better. I dreamed of standing behind a podium, making a difference.

To Continue Reading join me over at God-sized Dreams where I share the rest of my story! And then link up your own post with us as we talk about naming our dreams.

GSD Link Up Picture

Five Minute Friday – Fight

5-minute-friday-1

I am linking up with Lisa Jo again in 2014 for Five Minute Friday.  A time when we commit to writing for just five minutes, and then link up with a community of writers who are doing the same. Will you join us?

Today’s word prompt is: FIGHT

The fight for control has always been something that I have struggled with.

I have this delusional belief that I actually have control of my life at times…that I can manage it all and don’t need God showing me the way.

During these times I am typically faced with an “opportunity” to test that belief and it usually brings me to my knees once again in surrender.

You would think after so many times around the ring I would give up the fight?!

But I am stubborn by nature, hard headed for sure, and there always seems to be some fight left in my.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I was working on some plans, considering how I would be a part of a few different things that I had agreed to earlier in 2013. Things that I am passionate about and want to be involved in.  Things that I have felt called to and have a heart for.

But yesterday, in the middle of all my planning, I felt God say “NO”.

I can’t say I often have such a strong feeling about things like I did yesterday. I know to some it may sound crazy but it felt like a weight, for just a moment, on my chest. NO

I wanted to fight it, wanted to protest and say that there is a way to manage it all. I’ve got this thing covered God – don’t tell me No!

But as strong as I felt the No, I also felt that fighting it would be disobedient. And I didn’t want the fight…I wanted to listen.

And so I sent a few messages to a few wonderful ladies telling them that I had to take a time away.

There is freedom in giving up the fight for control. I’ve felt it. And while I don’t necessarily agree with the No, I have accepted it and can live in the freedom.

That is glorious indeed!

Do you struggle with the fight for control??

One Word 2014 – Balance

One Word - Balance

I am not one to make resolutions. For me it is a quick set up for failure. I almost never keep or meet a resolution and become more discouraged in the process.  Then I heard about this idea a few years ago where you choose one word that you want to permeate your life in the new year.  It isn’t a resolution, but a word to focus on in all areas of your life.

Over the past few months it has become painfully clear to me that the area I most struggle with in my life is balance.

Finding balance between home and work, mom responsibilities, my creative time and quiet time with God….the list goes on and on for me.  I haven’t been balancing everything well and tend to find myself tired and stressed out.

I am an early riser in the mornings. I like to have some time to myself before everyone else gets up. But even in that area, I don’t always use my time well. Should I read the Bible, exercise, get an extra load of laundry done or read a chapter in the book I am doing for a book club?

Should I stay at the office and work late so that I am not stressed at work? But then I am sacrificing quality time with my kids during the few awake hours that they have with me. I can not do it all. I just can’t. But I can work at finding a better balance so that I am not feeling guilty or regretful all the time.

I don’t yet have the answer to how I will find this balance. But I felt strongly that this is something that God wants me to work on this new year.

And as in all things, I look to Him first to help guide me in this new way of thinking.

From time to time I will be sharing how things are going – what new things I am trying, those things I might have to give up to help create more balance and I will even share with you the ways that I have continued to fail! 🙂  Because change doesn’t happen overnight, I don’t expect to wake up on January 2nd having it all figured out.

And if history is an indicator – I have to work at something and fail multiple times before I am finally ready to try something new.  My stubbornness is not my best quality! 😉

So there we go – my start to a new year of seeking and finding Balance.

Do you have a One Word for 2014? If you do I would love to hear it!! And join us over in the One Word 365 community where you can find encouragement from other people that are trying to live purposefully as well!

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