Perspective

In 2013 I was tired of working my bum off and still coming up short on money at the end of the month.  I was tired of watching my friends make money and wondering if I could do it too.  And, as a new mommy and full time teacher, I was just TIRED.  I needed that natural stress relief and energy/detox stuff I was hearing about.  So I made a decision to at least TRY!  I will never forget the day I got online to enroll.  I kept getting error messages and I couldn’t get the order for my starter kit to go through. Just as the thoughts began flooding my mind, “what if this is a sign?”, “maybe I’m not supposed to do this!” my sweet friend and amazing enroller, Jacki, messaged me and said these words, “The devil must really not want you to do this since you’re having all this trouble” And there it was.  In an instant my perspective shifted and instead of letting the difficultly defeat me, it spurred me on.  One moment of buying the lie and letting what I could only see in that moment could have caused me to give up on what has fueled the biggest dreams of my life. The truth was God did want that order to go through.  He did intend this path for me.  Without it, I wouldn’t be writing, I wouldn’t be home with my babies, I wouldn’t be influencing an amazing team of dreamers and my husband and I wouldn’t be working towards creating a ministry center.   Do you understand the chain of events that can unfold from one single YES?!  One yes to what God is calling you to do creates a domino effect, a chain reaction toward the upward spiral of hope He has planned for you.   This tapestry will be seasoned with trials, no doubt, but as you persevere through each one His vision for your life will become clearer and clearer.  There have been many times I let the lies defeat me, many times I gave up on myself and my dreams, many times I walked away instead of walking through.  But that day, that moment; I chose hope.  I pray that when your defining moment comes, whether you realize it at the time or not, that you choose hope.  I pray you choose truth and I pray you choose to make your dreams come true!

1 Peter 5:8, 2 Corinthians 4:18

Sank You

I have always believed we can learn so much by watching children. In fact, it is one of the reasons I became a teacher. I just never realized how great a lesson one could teach you, until today. Now that I work from home, my son only goes to child care a few days a week but we always make that drive time special. Each morning we pray and sing songs and each afternoon we talk about his day. Today was no different. We started out by thanking God for the sunshine and the great time we had on vacation this week. We remembered to pray for Grandmas and Grandpas, cousins and our dog and to thank Him for things like trucks and tractors. But my three-year old does something else each time we pray that today touched my heart in a distinct way. He thanks God for his biggest fears. This kid is fearless when it comes to heights, heavy equipment or airplanes but is terrified of the hand dryers in public restrooms, hates elevators and is not a fan of escalators or using the potty. About a month ago, I noticed he would thank God for these very things as he prayed. “And sank you God for elevators and escalators and hand dwyers and the potty”. At first I just thought it was really sweet, but as he prayed it today my eyes filled with tears and God spoke to me in a very real way. Thanking God for our current circumstances creates a cord of hope that connects us to His ultimate desires for us. Sometimes God changes our situation and other times he offers the strength to endure it. Either way, our current struggles have been lovingly planned by a Father who will never let us bend so far we break. I spent years going back and forth in this constant struggle of viewing every problem as an attack or at the very least an obstacle. Life became me versus the world and at times even felt like God versus me. There were times I even began to look at problems as punishment. When my son was born, anxiety issues I had dealt with my whole life were suddenly magnified and on many days I found it hard to breathe. I knew God was big enough to take that feeling away and my prayer was that he would, in an instant. I kept praying and waiting for the magical moment when God would just say “storm be still” and all that was raging within me would be no more. That was not the way he chose to deliver me. From that dark and frightening place, God chose to draw me near to his side; to come to know him in a new and more personal way. He became my very breath, my strength to rise and my song. The cord of hope was extended and the journey to the me he created me to be began. My struggle did not end in an instant and my circumstances were not suddenly changed; I was. I began looking at things differently and learning from the trials in my life. As my perspective changed, my situation changed. Years later, I can look back on times of trial and realize God was doing something there. For some situations, I still have no answers but I trust in the One who does. As my son thanked God for his four biggest problems in life, I began thanking God for mine. I started visualizing what blessings might be born from brokenness and started speaking those blessings out loud. I thanked Him for the things that irritate me and the things I still wish I could change about myself. That act opened the door for God to begin working in those areas. The cord of hope grew. What if one day, I looked at everything as one more love knot in the tapestry God is weaving in my life? This journey to our ultimate home in eternity could be so much more vibrant if we only let love win. If we learned to be grateful for our faults, fears and failures and let God use them for his glory what an impact we could make with our time here on earth. This one step, this one lesson from a three year old will be my starting point. “Sank you God…”

Heart’s Desire

Sometimes it is easier to pour out my fears, weaknesses, sins and shortcomings to the Lord than it is to place my hopes and dreams in His hands.  It is easier to believe God forgives, heals and rescues than it is to believe he blesses, accomplishes and favors.

It is hard to believe these desires of my heart will come to fruition.  After all, what have I done to deserve them?  Yet His words says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  This passage isn’t directing us to dream up any want we can think of and expect the Lord to grant it like a genie in a bottle.  What it is saying is the Lord actually places His desires for you within your heart.  When your eyes are fixed on Him and you are walking this life journey with Him, you will begin to desire the things that are pleasing to the Lord.  And because you desire the things that please Him, he will surely bring them to pass.

What are the deepest longings of your heart?  What is your heart cry?  What do you desire above all else?  Sometimes these deep desires are difficult to even put into words.  Maybe it is for a loved one to know the Lord, a child to find grace, or to find that special one to share your life with.  Perhaps it is a goal, a vision for ministry or a dream for your family.  Whatever it is, give it to God. If he gave you the desire, give the outcome of it back to Him and allow him to work it out to completion in your life.

How do we know if the desire we have is from the Lord?  Does it bless him?  Honor him? Bring life, hope and joy to others? If it is something other than for selfish gain, it is likely from the Lord. After all, He created you.  He gave you your talents, gifts, likes and dislikes. He gave you a unique personality that would long after the path he planned for your life.  Think back to when you were a child, innocent and uninfluenced by the world.  What did you want to be?  What brought you the most joy?  So many times, those desires get washed away by the harsh reality of the world we live in. This broken land robs joy and steals dreams.  It tells us we’re unworthy, unlikely, and undesirable.  But God says we are chosen, holy and dearly loved.

God says he will carry out his plans in our lives. We only must believe God has the power to do what he has promised.  When God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations, Abraham had a choice to make; trust God’s word or believe what was his current reality.  He chose not to consider his own weaknesses; “his own body, already dead or the deadness of Sarah’s womb”, rather he chose to be strengthened in his faith.  “He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”  That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Abraham chose not to look at the obvious; his old body, his old ways, his current circumstances.  He chose to look to the One who made the promise and was able to accomplish anything.  The deep beauty of Abraham’s example is grace.  Abraham did not work for God’s blessing.  He didn’t earn merit badges by being a good church member or going door to door.  He was highly favored because he believed God.  For “to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt”.  “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace.”

Let us look then at the desires God has placed in our hearts and look only unto Him as the one able to accomplish them through us.  For we know that “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given us”.

Psalm 37:4, Philippians 1:6,  Colossians 3:12, Romans 4:20-22, Genesis 17:5, Romans 4:4, Romans 4:16, Romans 5:5

The Invitation

White, pristine and clean, the dress is laid before you. You stand in awe, afraid to touch it, afraid to crinkle the pressed edges. It is perfect. A dazzling white, so bright it nearly hurts your eyes. You breathe in deep. It is here for you. The act of putting it on seems preposterous. You feel so unworthy. Perhaps it is all a dream. You rub your eyes. No, it still lies before you. There it is; sparkling and perfectly splendid without flaw or stain. There must be some mistake. This cannot be meant for you. Would there be but one imperfection? Just one snag in the fabric or one stich left undone then perhaps it would be more fitting. Then maybe you would be able to put it on. Second hand, second rate, second best would be more fitting for you. Not this. This is meant for a princess. You shake your head and think, “not me”. Yet here it is and here you are. It lays ready, waiting. The choice is yours. One more deep breath and a silent gulp then you dive in. You touch it. The satin fabric slides across your fingers and the diamonds are cool and smooth to the touch. Your heart races. Your breath catches in your chest and in one quick flash you pick up the dress. You pull it close to your chest and tears begin to stream down your face. You start to sway just gently to the rhythm. A new rhythm; slow and steady, one you have never known before this moment. You gently slide it on. It’s a perfect fit. It envelopes you like a blanket. It is soft and fitting like a warm towel after a bath. You turn and catch a reflection. Could it be? You see yourself. You truly see yourself for the first time. You see what He has seen all along. Perfection. His splendid creation. Suddenly, you no longer see for the tears welling up in your eyes. They form puddles then burst, overflowing and spilling onto your soft blushed cheeks. The tears run free, down your face and onto the dress. You gasp for fear it will ruin the unblemished fabric. Yet, that is not the case at all. Every place a tear falls, the fabric dazzles even more. It is shimmering, glowing so bright now that you can barely glance at it. Yet, you know you never want to take it off.

It is time. He is waiting.

The reality is too much. Your feet feel like lead. You want to move but the weight of this moment is overwhelming. Staying here though seems no longer a choice. Not after this gift. Not after accepting it. This is such an extravagant purchase. It was bought at such a high price. The only thing left to do is to meet the Giver; the One who sought out the dress so long ago. It is time to meet the One who lovingly designed it and painstakingly prepared it. He is the One whose nail-scarred hands touched every stitch and whose blood washed away every stain it used to bear. Now is the time. Trembling and nearly without conscious effort one foot moves before you and somehow your body follows. You take one more step and it becomes easier, smoother now. The weight no longer holding you back, you raise your head and begin to smile. You breathe in this moment and in a burning flash you throw open the door and run. The shackles and chains fall with every pounding step and the dress begins to feel like wings. At full speed you run until you see Him and stop dead in your tracks. There He is. The One. He’s been waiting. He smiles and instantly you realize what this was all about.

Love. Wild, unending, crazy love.

His love pierces your heart and you gaze at him in awe. There is nothing between you now. There is nothing between you and His love. There are no requirements, no prerequisites, and no deposits to make. Anything that was keeping you from His love was laid down the moment you put on the dress. What is left now but do embrace it? You take one final step forward. He wraps His arms around you. It is not a hug. It is like the part of your soul you were missing has found your body. You are home.

You melt into His embrace and suddenly you are new. You don’t even remember who you were before this moment or why you were so hesitant to put on the dress. Now, you are only His.

His daughter.
His princess.
His treasure.

The embrace becomes a dance; smooth and steady. A dance you will sway with forevermore. This rhythm is perfect. It moves to the beating of His heart.

You are home.

Roadblock

road_block

With a new year at hand I have been focused on goals; personal goals and business goals. I desperately want to be debt-free this year. God revealed to me this morning that I have been so focused on the end result that I have neglected to take the necessary steps to get there. In order to achieve any goal we must take action steps to achieve it and clear any road blocks in our path. He showed me an unresolved sin of jealously blocking my path. I have set myself up in comparison to others and feel inferior and unsuccessful when my accomplishments fail to meet theirs. He reminded me that my path, the path He set for me long ago, is completely unique. Comparing myself to others will only hinder the progress of my journey. How can I take forward strides on my path if my eyes are focused on someone else’s? “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” Clearing the stumbling block of sin from our path is the first step to achieving our goal. Not only did God remove this sin of comparing myself to others but I found myself lifting these people up in prayer. I want to see each of us succeed and be blessed by seeking God’s perfect plan. We are all His children and in this business we are all one team. We are all running the race set before us and are subject to the same pitfalls and spiritual attacks. God wants to bless each of us with that which he purposed for us long ago. Only the Holy spirit can reveal these things to us as we stay connected to Him. Today I allow God to clear my roadblock and begin to take the steps to achieve the goal set before me.

James 3:16, Hebrews 12:1, Ephesians 2:10