Rethinking My Dreams

March 8, 2011 § 10 Comments

What is not going “your way,” but God’s way? Share what God is doing in His way. I can’t wait to hear about what He is doing for you.

Grace-full Accountability…

February 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

We open our hearts to one another. Share the hard things. The stuff that we struggle with. The things that leave our souls raw. The things we know are not quite right, but are not sure how to change. Some of the raw places are of our own making and others are wounds caused by the clash of our soul against another. She wonders how? How can I change this? How can this stop being a repeated dissonant chord in her relationship?

Her story reminds me of a similar chord I have longed to stop hearing in my relationships. So I tell her my story of how the dissonant chord was partly of my own making. How changing my reaction to the note he played made the chord harmonious instead. I had a choice to trust God and play the note He called me to play or the note my heart longed to play. My story told of the wrestling in my spirit and working it out the raw painful choosing of His note over mine. Yet choosing His note, changed the melody completely. As I obediently and unwillingly played the note my Father called me to play, his notes began to change too. Suddenly the chaos than ugly tune we were playing through our own raw reactions was transformed by God. As if joined by the Holy trinity itself, the tune began to work, healing and redemption followed. It was how God showed me to stop repeating that dissonant chord.

My story finished, just a story of how God changed me – a hopeless, helpless, rebellious, and sin-diseased woman – and help me make beautiful music in my relationships. She listened to my story, but not sure if my story could work in her story. Uneasy and unready to accept that maybe God was ready to change her that way too. She said thank you and waited. Waited to meditate, pray over, and decide. Is this what God is calling me to do?

Later she called and thanked me. Not because I am some amazing example to follow, but because my story shed light on a way to make the chords in her relationships more harmonious. She was able to see a new way, a new choice that she was unable to see before.

Grace-full accountability. Filled with knowing we all need God’s grace and it is only by His grace any of us are able to choose to play His notes and not our own.

What are your thoughts about this kind of accountability? I would love to hear from you. Grace and Blessings to you all!

Accountability…

February 10, 2011 § 9 Comments

Deep down that word makes me cringe. It makes the inner rebellious child in me stand up and say, “I don’t need anyone to tell me what to do.” It is hard for me to swallow the truth that I need help.

The bottom line is that I like to think I have it all together and I don’t need someone to speak truth in my life except for God.

There I said it. It is ugly. It is pride. I don’t like it about myself.

So for years I had this debate going on inside me. I knew I needed someone to keep me accountable, but who? How do you decide? How do you open up the ugly parts of yourself to someone? I feared rejection, I feared the ugly would make others think less of me. I feared my response when I didn’t live up to the accountability.

So essentially pride and fear kept me from obeying God. As I searched for and prayed for someone to help me. Someone I could do accountability with, God started speaking to me. Here is what I discovered:

Accountability is either specific or organic. Specific is you come to a friend and say, “Please hold me accountable for _____________ .” Then set up times to get together and talk about it or text each other.

The organic kind is sticky, but it happens when you and a friend are chatting. It happens in sharing the stories of your lives together. It must be wrapped in grace and left as a present. Your friend may not accept that present. Your story may be too raw or fresh, but if shared with love, given as a gift in grace, then you can leave that gift with him or her to open and use as he or she feels fit. If your friend does not use your gift of accountability and falls headlong into sin you lovingly speak of God’s grace. We all need it. Grace to get out of the pit we dug, grace to redeem our dirty messed up lives.

Accountability is God’s grace. It is His way of helping us avoid the pits of sin we are apt to fall into. I discovered that my fear was really pride. That my pride was sin and sin is exactly why I need accountability.

Tomorrow I will share a story of organic accountability. I hope you tune in to see what happens.

Do you have an accountability partner? How do you work that relationship out? Is it organic or specific? I would love to know your thoughts. Please leave a comment.

1,000 Gifts continued

February 7, 2011 § 6 Comments

“It’s my dun mommy,” his voice louder than necessary as he points to a plastic cap on his coat. “I shoot bad duys [guys].”

“Shhh, it is OK to pretend to shoot bad guys, but we need to use our indoor voice,” I encourage and quietly pray no one heard him.

He persists in describing his gun and shooting bad guys as most two-year-old boys are apt to do. The problem? We were at the DMV getting my license renewed. At least we weren’t at the airport. I am praying he is out of that stage before we go on our next plane ride. I somehow doubt it, but we made it through the DMV without having to speak to anyone packing real heat. And so begins my list of things I am thankful for…

176. Little boys and their imaginations!
177. No one called the cops when J was talking about guns and shooting at the DMV.
178. No one was hurt when they slid into our fence and knocked over the gas thing.
179. We never lost gas at our house during that time.
180. For the reminder of the bread and the cup. Reminders that I can touch and taste of what God did for my spirit.
181. Singing songs in the car with my kids on the way to school. My van turns into a rolling worship service.
182. Listening to God’s word on http://www.biblegateway.com with my kids. They understand more than I realize.
183. My little L’s probing questions.
184. An article that a magazine is considering publishing. It is opening opportunities for my kids to see God working and learning patience with me.
185. That God chose that our joy in Him is our strength.
186. My 6th grade girls are growing and changing to be more like Jesus.
187. The mercy and grace my kids and husband give me.
188. The opportunity to work with Bronson Ma to design my logo, business card, etc.
189. Learning lots of new things
190. The book fair at my girls’ school…We got several new inexpensive books. We LOVE books!
191. My husband’s gentle reminders to make things right.
192. Coffee with friends
193. Dinner with a family, our kids play so well together.
194. Watching a friend’s child to lighten her load
195. New friendships
196. 17 hours of snowing here in Arkansas! NOTE: Only an inch or two accumulated as it melted while it was falling, but it was BEAUTIFUL
197. Superbowl Sunday…I LOVE football and we didn’t do anything special…Just watched with the family and it was WONDERFUL!
198. E telling her Sunday School class mommy’s birthday is this Wednesday and exactly how old I will be! 😉
199. That Jesus would die for a wretch like me.
200. God confirming His perfect plan for me each step of the way.

What are you grateful for? Leave a comment. Then consider signing up to get my blog in your RSS reader or your e-mail. Just sign up in the right hand column. Remember you will get a confirmation e-mail if you sign-up for e-mail…So check your trash if it doesn’t show up. Thanks for stopping by!

The End is Near Part 1

October 4, 2010 § 2 Comments

Woodcut for "Die Bibel in Bildern", ...

Image via Wikipedia

“Almost there,” inwardly I cheer myself on as I near the end of my run. “This is the end, I can do it.”

Now don’t go thinking I run a marathon or anything. I have only recently began running again and towards the end of two miles I have to convince myself that I can make it to the end. As I am working out I love the cues that I am nearing the end. As long as I know it is just around the bend or near that next tree, then I know I can make it. When it comes to life, knowing that the end could be around the corner awakens me from the mind numbing monotony of day-to-day life. If I am not careful, I let dishes, laundry, bills, screaming kids, things that break get in the way of truly living life. Recently while reading 1 Peter, I was reminded that, “The end of all things is near.” 1 Peter 4:7

This is Peter’s wake-up call to us all.

His encouragement to end strong.

His call to arms.

Then he lays out instructions for what we are to do in view of the end. The end of all things. Now I realize this end was promised nearly 2,000 years ago. That doesn’t seem very “near” in our human understanding. The point is are you ready for the end? I want to be. I need to be. So I am going to hunker down in 1 Peter for a while. In the next four or so posts, we will look at what we are called to do in view of the end.

Oh Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not want us living in mind numbing monotony. Thank You that You have plans for us. Forgive us Lord, for living on auto-pilot not allowing You to change us. Help us Lord to live with the end in view. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Big Picture

September 17, 2010 § 1 Comment

I love to know and understand the big picture. Even my kids crave to know, “why do we have to pick up our toys?!” I try to paint the rosy picture of a house tidy and organized, so when you wanted your teeny-tiny Strawberry Shortcake and her itty-bitty less than a centimeter across plate of cupcakes, you would know where to find it. In my mind that huge picture is a thing of beauty, a goal to aspire, and yet often out of reach with three children. Not to mention that my twin sister stole my organizing gene. I seriously was born without one, but she has enough organizing mojo for three people. Big pictures give us a great goals to achieve. Most often the big picture, like an organized house, takes lots of smaller goals to accomplish. It is many times overwhelming and confusing to determine what the first step is. For me, the organizationally challenged mom, figuring out what the first step to making my dream a reality is a mystery. I cannot even fathom all the steps it would take to get me there.

Often that is how it is with God-size goals and dreams. Maybe you know He is calling you to write a book and speak to teach others His word. You can even see yourself signing books at a huge conference and later on stage speaking to hundreds of people. Your heart swells because you want this ministry to honor God. However you are not a well-known anybody. You are not even sure if your friends want to hear what God is teaching you much less a group of five or ten. Your dream maybe more humble, more like a tidy house, or a fulfilling preschool ministry where you direct kids to the heart of God. Maybe God is calling you to a prayer ministry that will lay the foundation for a nation-wide revival. If you are like me, you are wondering how do I get from where I am to the dream or goal or ministry I know God has for me to accomplish? What is next?

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Meaning that God may light the next step, He may even light a small passage or path to your destination. However He doesn’t show us every bend in the road. Every twist, every intersection He is orchestrating to get us to our big picture. Instead, He gives us a small short-term guide. We know that somehow the road, He is guiding us down, leads us to the main goal, the big picture. He lights our feet and our path, but not the complete road to our big picture.

My problem is that God often has to wrestle with me to join Him on His road. The one road that will lead to the big picture, the goal, in His way. I sometimes think I can get there by my planning, my own decisions, my power. Oh, but let us not forget the road is often filled with twists and turns we cannot anticipate. Your husband gets relocated out-of-state or country, you get an unexpected diagnosis, your wife is pregnant and the doctors said it would never happen. Perhaps your parents are divorcing or you got laid-off. God’s symphony of life allows many twists and turns, many hardships and painful things, as well as unexpected joys, to come so that you will be ready when it is time for you to reach your big picture.

Father God give us all a picture for our lives. Let us all have dreams and goals that we can only attain through You and Your power. As we work to attain those big goals that are beyond our abilities, may we take the next step you are placing before us. Forgive us for trying to do it our own way LORD. We know You have perfect plans. Help us to rest in them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

So what big goal, dream or picture are you waiting to see God fulfill in your life? Share your thoughts and I will pray that the next step will be clear for you.

Identifying with Jonah

March 29, 2010 § 2 Comments

So, “Jonah was a prophet, ooo-ooo, but he really never got it, sad but true, if you watch him you can spot it, doodlie do, he did not get the point.”  So if you know Veggie Tales and you have seen their movie Jonah, you know the song I just quoted.  However, I often find myself acting in the same way Jonah did.  I clearly understand that God tells us to, ‘”Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”‘ Mark 16:15  So why do I often do as Jonah did and say I don’t want to and run in the other direction?  Below are some thoughts that came about while the senior pastor at our church was doing a series on Jonah.

How often does God have something for me to do and I go kicking and screaming?  “I don’t want to!” I stamp my foot like my two year old and cross my arms.  “Do I have to?”  I whine like my five year old.  Or even worse I arch my back and wail like my 8 month old.

“Daughter I have given you a story to share.  Share it.”

“But it hurts Lord, I don’t want to!”

“Daughter I have given you that story to bless others.  You prayed that those situations would bring Me glory.”

“But I do I have to share that story God?”

“Daughter I have given you strength beyond your capabilities, I have given you eloquence beyond your understanding, I have given you experiences bigger than yourself that you might share them with others.”

I arch my back and wail….

Then I wonder why God isn’t using me.  How can I be of importance to His kingdom?  What am I to do?  His answer is “go and tell.”  My answer is so often, “no.”

Father forgive me.  Forgive my stubborn stiff necked ways.  Forgive my hard heart that holds my experiences with You tightly.  Forgive my selfishness that doesn’t share Your river of life with those who are aching for it as in the dry and weary land.  Oh Father that I would have a heart like Yours.  That I would lay down my hopes and dreams, my plans, my expectations at Your feet.  Lord that I may say with Your Son, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”  That I would suffer for You.  Not because of my sin, not because of my hard heart, but because I am willing to say no to myself and yes to Your will.  Father prune my vine of the things that distract me from serving You.  Father I trust that as I die to my hopes, my plans, that I will grow like a seed to produce more and more fruit for Your glory and honor.  Sovereign One, as I release my grip on the direction I want and think my life should go, may I rest in knowing You love me, You have plans for me, and You are never out of control.  The pruning makes the plant more beautiful so I pray my life may be more clearly reflective of Your beauty.  The death to myself allows me to bear much fruit and allows others to see You more clearly.  Finally resting in the back seat as You control and direct my life gives me peace, endurance, and joy that in all things that Your name will be honored glorified.

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