God is in the details

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This is a blog I posted two years ago but I felt was worth repeating.

When Suzie Eller gave us our prompt for this weeks #livefree Thursday “The Adventure Begins” I had to smile because I thought I was on the slow track to one adventure but realized last week that God’s adventure for me is so different, so out of my comfort zone, and yes, so awesome. This is not how I would have reacted 2-3 years ago-adventures into the unknown carried denial, fear, and yes, I have to admit, some disobedience to what God was calling me to do. God has done a work in me to prepare me for this moment in time.

I am still in a period of preparation but these preparations suddenly have purpose. I’m not sure what the end  of the journey entails but I know God is there. I am facing this journey and time of preparation with a faith I didn’t think I would ever have. To be honest, I’ve always been a “that’s ok I’ll stay right here and watch” kind of girl while you went on your adventures. But slowly and with much love and grace God has brought me to where I am today.

How am I SO sure of this? Just a quick look at the last 3+ years that I have been participating, and later serving with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies- God has been all the details, just for me!

In Dec 2012 I was full of anger and resentment-what was the P31 OBS study that popped into my inbox?

Karen Ehman’s book “Let.It.Go.”!!

Once I Let.It.Go I realized I still had stress-what was the next P31 OBS?

Tracie Mile’s  book “Stressed Less Living”!!

Life was less stressful so now what?

Lysa TerKeurst’s book “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God”!!

OH NO I said Yes to God-now I’m a Small Group Leader-I can’t do that!! What am I going to do?

What was the next P31 OBS study?

Rene Swope’s book “A Confident Heart”!!

I had more Godfidence but honestly I craved sweets and TV more than God.

What was the next 2 P31 OBS studies?

Lysa TerKeust’s  books “Made to Crave” and “Made to Crave Action Plan”!!

I started to Crave God more but questioned how to live God’s Word.

What was the next P31 OBS study?

Wendy Blight’s book  “Living So That”!!

So I started Living so that my life reflected more of Jesus but gosh I had a lot of baggage and labels holding me back.

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Derwin Gray’s book “Limitless Life”!!

The labels fell away, I was ready to serve God, with all my heart-so many good Godly things to be involved with but getting SO worn out and yes, a bit overwhelmed and resentful.

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Lysa TerKeurst’s book “The Best Yes”!!

Now I was ready to make Best Yes choices but which ones? I needed to pray more effectively but how do that?

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Max Lucado’s book “Before Amen”!!

I learned the power of prayer but still struggled with my mouth. How do I know what to say and what to just commit to this new prayer life?

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Karen Ehman’s book “Keep It Shut”!!

So now I’m keeping it shut, wanting to serve more but still some what fearful about the unknown.

What was the next  OBS Study?

Lysa TerKeurst’s book “What Happens When Women Walk in Faith”!!

I wanted to walk in faith, really I did but there was something I couldn’t  put a finger on. Some things were holding me back.

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Suzie Eller’s book “A Mended Heart”!!

I had hidden hurts that I wasn’t even aware of and Jesus did an amazing work healing my heart. Now I was ready to serve but where do I start-I had so many distractions…oh I’ll just start cleaning my desk and then I’ll start!

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Glynnis Whitwer’s book “Taming The To Do List”!!

Ok, Ok I hadn’t  quiet tamed that to do but I was getting better but gosh Thanksgiving was coming, then Christmas, people pulling every which way….what’s a girl to do??

What was the next P31 OBS Study?

Lysa TerKeurst’s book “Unglued”!!

So I did all these studies, grew in ways I can’t even begin to describe. Sometimes feeling a bit in adequate as I did lots of studies, served God in several ministries but feeling like there was something more.

What was the next P31 OBS study?

Lysa Terkeurst’s book “Becoming More Thank A Good Bible Study Girl”!!

I’m ready, want to use my past to the Glory of God but am I really hearing from God, I don’t want to hear Him wrong and I don’t want to start yet another thing I won’t finish. More importantly, does God even know who I am?  Well right now we are in a break from P31 OBS and I am participating in the first ever P31 Bible Study Class. What is it?

Wendy Blight’s book “I know His Name”!!

In just the first two chapters we have covered Elohim, my God who created me and El Roi, my God who knows me. He created me for a purpose, He knows my strengths and weaknesses. He will guide me but what if I want to quit?

What is the next P31 OBS Study?

Nicki Koziarz’ book “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t  Quit”!!

My God loves me SO much that he orchestrated all these studies to gently lead me to this moment in time when I am ready to take an adventure into the unknown. He created me, He loves me, He guides me, He is already where He is leading me.

God has been with me every step of the way, I have no doubts he will continue so I am looking to this adventure with faith and not fear. Oh I know the enemy isn’t happy, he’s already tried to attack my health but guess what Abba daddy has taken care of me. It’s not my battle, it’s His. That frees me up and so….The Adventure Begins…and I’m so excited!!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

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Honoring God-Part 3

Honoring God with our Testimony

Today’s blog is Part 3 of a 4 part series on Honoring God in our lives.

There are parts of my life I would just love to close the door on and never revisit, never let anyone know about, but that is my plan, not God’s plan. God’s plan is better than my plan. I am glad I am not alone in the “Sinful past I would love to forget club.” Here are just a few God has used despite their sinful choices.

Moses committed murder and fled. (Exodus 2)

David lusted, committed adultery and then murder ( 2 Samuel 11)

Paul, before he met Jesus, committed many murders against Christians (Acts 9)

The Samaritan woman at the well. (John 4)

The word of God tells us:

2 Timothy 3: 16-17 ESV “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

It is written by men but the words written have been inspired by God. God could have chosen to leave out the sinful pasts of these people but he chose not to do that. Why, you ask? I believe if we didn’t know the sinful parts of the lives of those that went on to do great things in the name of God, and for God, we may feel like we can never be useful to God because of the sinful parts of our past.

If I don’t share my past, the good, bad and the ugly, I can’t help guide those struggling with the same sins to move away from those sins and towards Jesus Christ. Yes, as I revealed in my testimony on,  Faithfully Following Ministries Truth over Lies mini-study blog, I have done some very sinful things in my past BUT through the grace of God and my relationship with Jesus none of those things I did in the past define me now. Today I am a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). I am a blood bought daughter of the King of kings that serves Him in many ways. I look back at the woman I once was and sit in awe of the woman God has grown me to be today.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Gen 50:20 ESV

We honor God, in our lives,  when we live lives that trust that when we reveal the secrets of our past, and share how God has transformed our lives, others who see and hear us, will know that they too can be saved, transformed, and used by God for good.

We honor God in our testimonies when we share our lives before and after we saw the need to call on Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. When others hear of all that God has done for us, it gives them hope and that, my friend, honors God in our testimonies.

I pray for our chickens!

You read that correctly. I pray for our chickens, every night, and in the morning thank God for protecting them from predators. In fact, I walk around their night house and then the pen, every night, praying for their protection.

Philippians 4:6 says:

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be know to God.

I am a thinker, honestly, an over thinker. Can I get a “me too”? I can over think something to the point that I am paralyzed and do not move forward. Our chickens are just one area I got stuck with over thinking. We bought our little chicken coop almost 2 years ago but didn’t get any chickens until about a month ago. Part of the wait was building an enclosed pen for them because there are too many birds of prey to allow them to free range the entire yard. The main issue was reading too many books and articles about taking care of chickens and asking friends, with chickens, how they take care of them. Truth be told there are as many ways to care for chickens as there are varieties of chickens. I was on information overload!!

Bill, with a little help from our “bonus” grandson and a little help from me completed the chicken pen, we bought containers to feed and water them, food, and bedding. Our friend, generously, offered us 4 of their laying hens as they had some chicks and needed to thin their flock. We were all set. What I didn’t anticipate was the worry I would have at night that something would get into the pen and eat our chickens. We weren’t able to bury the fence two feet below dirt level and an electric fence was out of the question. Was I feeding them correctly? Would they get mites or lice? Seriously, the first week the thoughts that would go through my head, at night, were troubling. I must be doing something right as our chickens, based on their variety, should be laying about 13 eggs a week and we are getting 20-24 a week. There are no lice or flees and they are happy and healthy.

Matthew 6:27 says:

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

Not only wasn’t I adding a single hour to the span of my life I was robbing myself of sleep. God loves us so much that he wants us to come to Him with ALL our concerns, not just the big ones. I pray continually daily-it’s more like a conversation. I pray for a good parking place, for him to guide me in my steps and words, to be more aware of who he would like me to interact with daily, if I see someone and God lays them on my heart and, yes, I pray for our chickens. Every night and I thank God for His protection when I go feed them in the morning. Does this guarantee that nothing will come against them-absolutely not-but what it does do is give me peace knowing I let God shoulder that burden for me and I am doing the best I can for them.

God keeps me in perfect peace because my mind is stayed on him and I trust him.

You WILL stop!

No used to be such a hard word for me to say. I have lived a life of being very over extended. Doing a lot of Godly, good things-being the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s what we, as Christians, are supposed to do. Right? So why was I tired all the time, our home went without cleaning for months, laundry piled up, meals thrown together and I was dog gone tired. That was not the way it was supposed to be.

I contracted Lymes Disease in late 2007 and it slowed me down quite a bit but I managed to keep doing good works for Jesus and neglecting everything at home. I didn’t have any kind of regular time in Gods Word or prayer. I was totally running on empty.

In Aug 2013 I started to feel really, really fatigued. I was in charge of the nursery and Nursery Sunday School at church and if a child even looked like their nose was running I would get really sick. By December I had to give up ALL my face to face volunteer work. No nursery, no food pantry, no volunteering at the local free clinic, no cooking meals for CR, among other things.  I was able to continue volunteering online with Proverbs 31 Ministries. I spent most of my time in my recliner-resting. I found the biggest ministry I could take part in I was able to do from my recliner-I could pray for others. I became a Prayer Warrior, something I still do today.

Eventually I was diagnosed with an immune deficiency from my bodies constant figh with Chronic Lymes Complex. I had to give myself weekly infusions until I started a homeopathic remedy that jump started my immune system.

During this time I was living a big fat NO from God. No volunteering.  It was very difficult at first, I was so used to doing and not being. I’m not able to work a regular job since a motorcycle accident in 2004-being able to do volunteer work gave my life meaning. Gradually, as my immune system mended, I was able to add back some volunteer positions. Lesson learned, I was very careful as to what I added back.

I had to learn to say “No” to a lot of good things in order for me to live my best yes for my husband, home and my health and in all honesty to give God my best.

Saying “no” to good things is now comfortable for me, however, I still find myself saying “I’m sorry, I can’t because……” I still struggle with needing to give an explanation why I need to say “No”. As I sit here writing this I think I will just say, “I’m sorry, I am not able to do that at this point in time.” and leave it at that.

It’s hard!! Those I’m saying “No” to often will say “but it will be fun fellowship-it’s just 2 hours”. Yes, that may be true but it will drain me for what I have scheduled for later in the  afternoon, that evening or tomorrow. Some thing I know God has called me to do. Chronic Lyme’s  Complex still rears its ugly head when I have 3 or 4 days of constant activity. In fact, I’ve been in my recliner since Sunday night because of activities I did this past weekend. Pain and fatigue certainly make no a necessary word! I need to listen to my body!

It does get easier to say no. When I’m asked to do something, I pray, “Lord, is this what YOU would have me do?” Sometimes it’s clearly yes, sometimes it’s clearly no, and others times I’m not sure, then I wait until I’m sure. I’m a work in progress-my will gets in the way. It is getting better though, one day at a time!

 

Bubbles of a different kind….

This week our #livefree prompt is “breaking out of my bubble”. Honestly, I had no clue where to go with this.

I have been living in a bubble my entire life.

Safe

Secure

Avoiding the unknown

I was driving to a medical appointment a few days ago and took the time to seek God on this topic. God revealed to me that sometimes, no matter how safe it feels, you can’t stop yourself from breaking out of your bubble. God, Elohim, the God who creates, is doing a new thing.  The pressure from within can’t be held back. The Holy Spirit grows so deeply within you that you HAVE to break out. He gave me a few examples of things breaking out of the safety of their bubbles for new and much greater things. All go from nothing spectacular to amazing creations.

A baby growing in the comfort of the womb until it grows so much it HAS to leave that comfort zone and be propelled into the unknown. It has gone from one cell to an incredibly complex creation with amazing potential.

A catapiller gets wound up in a cocoon, at first it’s small and comfortable but as it grows and changes it can’t help but burst forth into the world-forever changed. Not truly knowing its new self but awesome and beautiful.

A bird lays an egg. Inside is a gooey, slimy substance but in a few weeks amazing changes happen. The gooey, slimy substance grows into a bird, even though it’s not fully developed, it has to burst forth from the egg to continue growing. It becomes a beautiful bird.

A seed goes into the ground and bursts forth into a plant. The plant slowly grows and then it has buds that, when the time comes, burst forth into beautiful blossoms.

Sometimes it takes a few weeks and sometimes it takes years for a bubble to burst and for the changes to become apparent. But burst they do and always a new and better thing emerges.

I was born of a sinful nature. I received Christ and became a new creation. I slowly and steadily grow in my relationship with Elohim, my creator. The Holy Spirit in dwells in me, the old me loved safe, loved comfort, loved knowing. The new me, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is growing so much so that I am bursting at the seams. My bubble is bursting and instead of being fearful of the unknown, I am trusting my God, who dresses the flowers in the fields and provides for all their needs, to equip me for the things to come. Better things, more beautifully productive things.

Many things have happened recently that confirm its time to move forward, break out of my bubble, trust that God will guide my steps to becoming more.

Imagine the smile that came across my face when I received gift yesterday. This amazing confirmation that God will be with me as I walk forward in faith.

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Yeah, Elohom loves me that much!

The time for growing, out of my bubble, has come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Into the deep

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Into the deep….these three simple words fill me with excitement and fear all at once.

I grew up in a home where there were many challenges. My parents did the best they could with what they had but because of some of the challenges in our home I was forced to grow up quicker and have much more responsibility  than a child should have. Because of these challenges I wasn’t able to learn how to be a friend and have friendships on a life long deep level. I knew many people but felt very much alone. I didn’t know what it meant to be there for someone like Jesus tells us we should.

I have 4 sisters and 2 brothers and as each of us left home we scattered all across the country. My brother, David, moved to CA and seemed to be doing well-he loved music, writing and playing his guitar and had a pretty good job in Silicon Valley. On Fathers Day, in 1978, when David was just 25 years old I got a call from my mom that he had taken his life. None of us saw it coming but listening to songs he wrote and recorded on cassette, after his death, it was obvious there was something seriously wrong. I wish I had heard those songs, I wish I lived closer to him, I wished I had said “I love you Davy” one more time. After his death I remember hearing several of his friends say that my brother had called them to hang out that night but they didn’t have time. There are many “what it’s” but we will never know.

At the time, I was not going to church, I didn’t have any friends where I lived and I was lost. I couldn’t listen to music-it reminded me of Davy. I just sort of moved through days. I vowed, though, that if anyone ever called me and needed to talk or for me to hang out that I would never say no. I didn’t really have any friends so this opportunity didn’t happen. I didn’t have any friends, I lived a very isolated life with my ex husband so nothing ever really happened with that desire to be a friend in hard times.

In the time since I’ve had one child from my first marriage, that won’t talk to me due to choices I made when she was a child, lived through and by the grace of God, over come addiction, 2 divorces, received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, married an awesome man that I love sharing life with, gotten involved with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study and grown an amazing relationship with Jesus Christ. I still struggle with friendships, I know a lot of people but there is a little voice that constantly says “They like you but you’re not good enough to be their BFF” I know that is a lie from the devil. I know it births from the fact that I have never learned how to be a friend. I’ve not learned to trust someone with my deepest thoughts but I am realizing that others trust me with their deepest thoughts. I have recently been able to help a friend who is going through cancer but even with that I know in my heart I should be doing more, but yet I don’t. I have comfort in knowing that she knows Jesus and trusts God has a plan for her and I am grateful to be able to be a part of His plan in her life.

I say all this because God in His infinite wisdom and I must say humor keeps putting women in my path that need more than I feel comfortable giving, some have deep problems I know God can heal but I was never discipled as a new Christian so knowing how to do that for another is challenging. Surprisingly, I am realizing lately that I know much more than I give myself credit. I have tucked His word into my heart and the Holy Spirit brings it to mind at just the right moment.  These women that come to me do so, I hope, not because they see me but because they see His light shining through me. They don’t know that it’s the Light of Christ drawing them to the peace they see in me, that peace that comes from Him. I want to learn how to share Jesus with grace, mercy and love instead of just wanting to shake them and say “Just grab Jesus-He’s the answer to ALL your problems”.

So, I, a girl who was a very “so so”student, who is so fearful of failing that I don’t even try new things , will be walking into the deep. I am seeking God’s direction. I know he has called me to write but he is calling me to do more. I’m not sure where the path will lead but I do know it will be way out of my comfort zone but that’s ok. Jesus will be walking right next to me-he will never leave me nor will he ever forsake me. He has plans for me and those plans require me to walk into the deep, trust, obey and follow Him with complete abandon.

Scary, a little bit but extremely exciting too.  Do you find yourself sticking to the safety zone or are you willing to walk into the deep?

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I’m seeking Him with all my heart and yes doing some questioning. The main question being “seriously, you want me to do that?” I had to chuckle this morning reading Bible Gateways verse for the day. God is always on time!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

He has plans for me, plans much bigger than I can imagine He’s there with out stretched hand waiting for me to walk into the deep. I’m stepping into the deep and grabbing the hand that will lead, equip and guide me.

 

God Change Me….

 

Healing well, inside and out!

Healing outwardly and growing inwardly.

My last post Judging …was a difficult one to share. It’s so difficult to admit publicly an area in which you struggle. I was not prepared for the amazing feedback I received in the comments, on my FB page and in private messages. We are fodder for the enemy when we conceal our sin and suffer in silence. When we put a voice to our sin we take his power away and activate the power within us, the Holy Spirit, that guides us to change. When I put a voice to my sin I am reminded:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out.”                                     1 Corinthians 10:13

There is absolutely no new sin. If I have done it, someone else has too. We need never feel like we are alone. By confessing it to one another and before God we allow God to take our mess and make it our message. We help others to heal and grow with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us as we are healing and growing at the same time.

So, now that we have shared and commiserated that we all have times when we judge, what can we do about it? Fall back on the old excuse, “Well, I’m human and I’m not perfect.” Perfect, no but progressing towards being better today then I was yesterday and looking forward to even better days tomorrow, yes.

The first step in eliminating a sin in our lives is to become aware of it. Then we need to enlist Gods help to change us.

“and Jesus said to them, ‘With man this is impossible but with God ALL things are possible.'” Matt 19:26

In and of ourselves we can’t change anything . We need God to guide us. When we ask God to change us, he makes a way. Since last week when I realized how nonchalantly I can judge others, when I catch myself doing it, I simply say to myself “God change me.” I want to see others the way Jesus does, sinners saved by his grace and mercy. At first I had to say this over and over and over but each day it gets better. I find myself filled with a little bit more joy and I am seeing others in a totally different light. The light of Christ.

Its been both humbling and awesome at the same time-humbling because no one wants to admit their sin. Awesome because God loves me so much that he patiently waits until I’m ready and then helps me grow. Hopefully, others are growing too by my sharing.

Oh, and my lip is healing very well!!