Waiting, Writing, Waiting, Writing…

April 13, 2011 § 9 Comments

Have you watched the movie Facing Giants? Here is a short scene I want you to watch:

God has given me a vision. It is a big one. One that I cannot make happen myself. One that I have to trust God to do in His time and in His way. At times this dream seems unreachable and things don’t seem to fall into place like I think they should. Doors are not opening up, rejection notices come, my e-mail box remains empty. When I start to despair I remember this scene. Am I trusting that God will bring the rain? If I am then I must prepare my fields.

My dreams for sharing Him with others through the written and spoken word are huge. I know that God can do it through me and that I cannot do it myself. I am humbled when one person says my writing blessed him or her. I am honored that God would use me to point other to Jesus. Oh that all our hearts would burn for Him.

So while I wait for the rain, I write. I submit. I fail. I succeed. I wait. I write. I speak. I fail. I succeed. All of it is for God’s glory. All of it is to bring praise to Him. All is because He loves me enough to give me breath and words and thoughts. All for Him.

So as I am praying for rain for this ministry, for articles I have submitted, for the book I am writing, for speaking engagements, for women struggling with infertility, for others struggling with dark times, for us all to be more like Him, will you pray with me? Will you pray that I will obey and wait and write and prepare my fields? I can’t wait to see the God’s sized harvest God is going to reap through this ministry. I am so glad that you want to be a part of it.

How can you help me?

1. Pray (I have submitted three articles. I am waiting to know if the editors have accepted them. I am also working on one more and finishing my book)
2. Tell your women’s ministry director about me. (I would love to come and speak at your church)
3. Tell your friends about me and my blog.

Now how can I pray for you? Leave a comment or if you need to click on the contact me and send me an e-mail. I would love to lift you up in prayer.

Doubting

March 7, 2011 § 6 Comments

“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25) I imagine Thomas said these words with tears in his eyes, arms crossed, and maybe with a foot stamp at the end just for emphasis.

I find myself shaking my head at this man who refuses to believe until he touches and sees for himself. I mean seriously his other 10 or so friends testified to the truth. Was he jealous he wasn’t there when Jesus appeared first? Why wasn’t he there? I often wonder. I shake my head and think, “I would never be like Thomas.”

Funny thing about those “nevers” I almost always break them. Things I thought I would never say or do, I say or do them. When I take a serious look at myself, as much as I hate to admit it, I am like Thomas in many ways.

I doubt the things that God has clearly called me to do. This ministry from the blog, to the articles, to the guest posts, and the speaking engagements, I doubt. I wonder if I am reaching anyone. ANYONE….Bueller….

I realize this is ridiculous. I am encouraged by people nearly daily and God keeps opening doors of opportunity that I could never have forced open even if I wanted to. The bottom line? I want things to go on my schedule and I want my ministry to be successful according to my eyes.

So I doubt. I doubt when my blog stats are low. I doubt when my blog stats are high. I question when I don’t have a speaking engagement. I doubt when I do. I come off a month when several doors have begun to open, but I have yet to see if these doors will stay open or slam shut. I must wait and while waiting, doubt starts whispering to my heart. I start to cross my arms and tears develop in my eyes. Like Thomas I say UNLESS God shows up the way I want Him to I just can’t believe it and I stamp my foot for emphasis. Yes, I look a lot like my two-year-old throwing a fit on the floor.

I have been content in the past. I know it will happen in God’s time in His way. This is His ministry and if I reach one person I have done what He called me to do. If I reach hundreds of thousands I have still done what He has called me to do. He knows the timing, the plan, the direction. I don’t need to doubt that. I just have to get busy doing the next thing and leave the results to Him.

What are you doubting today? I would love to hear about your doubts so I can pray for you.

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Mommy Nearly Failed…

February 4, 2011 § 13 Comments

The tears started to flow. I felt terrible. I had forgotten. The full parking lot told the story.

TODAY WAS MOMS AND MUFFINS!

The day when I am supposed to get up early and get the kids to school early so we can eat muffins or donuts and hang out together. I had completely forgotten.

I had excuses…Ranging from it was originally scheduled for Thursday, it is always on a Thursday – the snow and ice earlier this week had caused it to be rescheduled – to I have too much to do today – drivers license renewed, police report to get from the fence incident earlier this week, and and and. The the excuses rang hollow when I saw the tears in my girls’ eyes. We HAD to go.

I was working at the 50's themed book fair later...Didn't get a pic this year 😦

So I swallowed my mommy pride, tucked my tail and made a mad dash for the building while avoiding icy patches so we wouldn’t fall. I felt terrible as morning assembly had just started and instead of sending my girls to their teachers to take part in the assembly we ran to the lunch tables to eat together. The thing is that I did make it. We got to eat muffins and donuts. It was brief, but it was also God’s perfect timing…WHY?

One of L’s little friends came in to school. Neither of her parents realized it was Moms and Muffins and so she was in tears because she didn’t get a muffin. So I got to add a “pretend” daughter to my brood today. In fact, in order to make it more special for R, we decided she and L could be pretend sisters all day at school. With the muffin in her tummy and the idea of a pretend sister in her head she had a BIG SMILE! No more tears.

So my near fail was another example of God’s perfect timing. He knows. He knew I would nearly fail today, He knew R would need a “pretend Mommy” and “pretend sister” for the day. He knows. He is weaving time into a magnificent masterpiece all pointing to His glory and honor!

He uses our imperfections to reach others for His glory. We only have to let Him use them instead of trying to hide them away. His glory shines all the more brightly when housed in our cracked earthen vessels. We “mud people” make Him more glorious when we allow our flaws to point to His glory!

May His name be praised in my near fail, in the smile of my two girls, and in the dried tears of sweet R.

How has God used your failures or imperfections to bring Himself glory? I would love to hear how you are allowing God to redeem what is broken.

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Three Empty Chairs

February 1, 2011 § 4 Comments

My blessings have been prodding and poking the painful places in my soul lately. As God is apt to do He uses their naivety to shed light on things I would prefer to leave in the dark. He shakes me awake through them as they open their hearts to me…

“Mommy, I want another baby in this house.”

“So do I my child, so do I,” I whisper to myself and then I pray again for a miracle. Either in my body, on my doorstep, or in my and my family’s hearts.

For all would be true miracles of God…a baby in a womb as good as dead;
a child who needs adopted with no strings attached, no painful search, no doubt he or she is ours;
or God’s work in our hearts changing the longing to contentment, not contentment to wait or the hard fought peace that comes while we wait for God’s miracle, no the heart change that knows and rests knowing the miracle is in the changed heart.

“Three empty chairs mommy. Who can we invite to fill them?”

Who to invite to our three empty chairs? Three…yes three empty chairs. Three babies who were only held in my womb not in my arms, but there is more in that number…Yes who to invite to fill our chairs? God our Father, God the Son Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit. Three separate, yet all one. The perfect trio to fill our chairs, calm our longing hearts, and to sit with us while we await our miracle.

While you wait for a miracle from God, who are you inviting to wait with you? I would love to pray with you. What miracle are you waiting for? Click the comment link at the top of this post.

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You all are blessings to me!!! Thank you for stopping by!

Ratatouille

September 8, 2010 § 2 Comments

Call me crazy, but I love food and I love to try different things. My kids have watched the movie Ratatouille more times than I can count and I decided I wanted to try to make it. Mind you, I didn’t want to make the difficult gourmet version as Remi did on the movie. No I found a simple recipe for ratatouille in the crock-pot. Yes, I said crock-pot. Did you hear that? It was all the true foodies around the world are groaning that I would put fresh vegetables and spices in a pot that is bound to cook them until mushy. Was it mushy? Yes. Was it delicious? The answer is yes. Did my kids hate it? Well, I got mixed reviews, but the kindest response I received came from my seven year-old. “This isn’t my favorite, mom, but I am going to eat it anyway.” That is code for, “I don’t really like it, but I will swallow enough so that I can have dessert.” The dessert was a baked strawberry pie for those who wanted to know. It was a pretty good motivator for her, but my other two sweet children, well that is another story completely. Without including all the details (I would hate to incriminate anyone), I can find something better than ratatouilledaddy had to dole out some tough love. In the midst of the post tough love debriefing daddy said, “Who made this food? Right mom. Would mom or I make you eat food that wasn’t good for you?” The answer was given, “no.” The food was begrudgingly swallowed with the appropriate about of water to wash it down, and our meal continued.

However the question was still ringing in my ears. As if God Himself was looking at me saying, “Angela, who brought you to this point in your life? Who gave you air to breathe; who makes your heart beat; who has provided food, shelter, clothes for you?”

Gulping I look up into His eyes. His eyes are tender, loving, but also full of sadness. “You,” quivers my tiny voice.

“Will I allow you to go somewhere I do not go with you? Do I not deliver you from trials, do I not hem you in? Then why do you struggle against what I am bringing into your life? Why do you seek your way, when My way is better?”

Yes, why must I have it my way? Maybe it is possible that I am high-strung a bit…Ok, I was on the debate team in High School. I like being right, to have it all together, to orchestrate my day, week, month, year, life. Admittedly I can be self-centered and God doesn’t really go for that. In fact the last time I checked the universe doesn’t exactly revolve around me. Nope, it is God who has it all spinning in the right direction. If I were to drop dead tomorrow, the sun would still shine. All my scheming and planning are exercises in futility. So why am I compelled to continue? I am a sinful selfish creature and I often do not trust God. Oh, I say I trust Him. I sing songs about His faithfulness, but then I get angry and bitter and frustrated when He makes ratatouille instead of pizza. Am I the only one?

Here is the amazing thing: God loves me anyway. God tells me in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” So God is there before I am. He is ahead of me, He knows what will happen and He is there. He isn’t only two steps or more in front of me, He is also with me. Always. He won’t desert me or forget me or leave me hanging in the wind. No, He is there. So I don’t have to be afraid or discouraged. I also don’t have to try to keep all the plates spinning in my perfectly choreographed life. God already knows where I am going, He is there. He is also with me now and He will never leave, even if I don’t want ratatouille.

A Song of Praise

August 18, 2010 § 2 Comments

Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.”

I am in a season of change. I often feel like nothing will be the same and I honestly am not sure I like it. Do not getme wrong, most of my changes are good ones. Some however are not so good. All change for me is scary. I prefer to keep things the same. I am comfortable there, I even find comfort in the slimy, miry pit that God has rescued me from. Sometimes I start making my pit homey. I add my pictures to the walls as I cling to the things of this earth for my comfort. I get satisfied with life that is less than victorious. LIfe that is not full of purpose or meaning for eternity, but life that is comfortable.

I am thankful that God doesn’t leave me like that, in the miry pit decorating muddy walls. Instead He rescues me from myself. There are times He shakes my world. He changes the road I pictured long and straight takes a sudden bend. I call out to Him and He rescues me from my pit. However life outside the pit is now on a firm rock. I love it, but I also fear it. On this rock I do not have my comfortable sin. I have firm places to set me feet sure, but the sun is also brighter out here. It hurts my eyes. I have to be willing to let go of that past. Let go of the sin or just the way things used to be, so I can cling to the Rock. Jesus.

The amazing thing to me is that once I truly let go and accept the change God is doing in my life or circumstances, He does put a new song in my mouth. Can you see the psalmist and me? We are in the pit we are crying to get out, but once change occurs I struggle at first. God puts me on a rock, then gives me firm places to step. The journey isn’t over from the pit to the rock. It has just begun. As I walk in that change and accept the change from the pit to the rock, God changes my heart. He puts this song of praise in my mouth. Why a song of praise? First because God deserves the credit for rescuing me, changing me, bringing me a firm purpose and direction. Second because I need Him to remind me He deserves the praise. Honestly, it is easy for me to claim the praise for myself. I want to think I pulled myself from that pit, I figured out which rock to stand one, and I have discovered the firm paths. In reality it is God. God rescues me from the pit of my sin, my circumstances that are holding me back, and even myself. Finally God puts this song of praise in my mouth so others hear.

Yes I said others hear. I realize not everyone sings on key. The song is a metaphor for the praises God deserves from us. Did God work out circumstances so that you got the job you currently have? Praise Him. Has God freed you from addiction? Praise Jesus. Has God worked in ways only He could to provide you with money and groceries. Thank God. However the next line in Psalm 40:3 is quite important. God isn’t asking us to praise Him in the shower or in our hearts, He is asking us to do it out loud so others can hear. He is asking that we tell our stories. The stories where God did amazing things like rescuing us from the pit of ourselves, from the pit of addiction, from the pit of complacency. When we do share those stories the end of Psalm 40:3 says, “Many will see, and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.” Our stories of change, of pit rescues, of redemption, even of victory through painful times, can help others put their trust in God.

Father, help me to sing a song of praise to You that others will put their trust in You. Amen

Timing is Everything

August 5, 2010 § 1 Comment

Have you ever looked back over a day or a month or a year and been in awe of God’s perfect timing? How He orchestrates our lives with such minute detail? Have you ever wondered what would have happened if – I was earlier, later, or went a different direction? Maybe things would be different, but most likely God planned it that way. He planned what seemed like random chance. He set in motion what seemed chaos, but turned into something amazing. Psalm 75:2 says, “You [God] say, ‘I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly.'” God appoints the time. Let’s see how I experienced this in my life.

Last week I was at the Proverbs 31 ministries She Speaks conference. It is a conference for Christian women who feel called to speak, write, or lead in women’s ministry in some capacity. There I had the opportunity to meet with publishers, writing experts, and even a literary agent. I was only guaranteed one appointment. So I carefully and prayerfully chose three people with whom I wanted to meet. I was pleased to find I had appointments with my top two choices. However, I soon discovered that I could ask to meet with other publishers, if there were available appointments. My heart thrilled, but I hated rocking the boat. I watched Sheila, the sweet woman in charge of publisher appointments, running to and fro. I almost didn’t ask. However God was prompting me. So I asked, and waited patiently as Sheila double checked with the publisher if I could take the final slot of the day. The sweet publisher agreed to meet me at 7:45 PM.

So I met with the publisher. She liked my proposal, gave great ideas to make it better, and was not on time. So I ended up thirty minutes late to my peer writing critique group. Once again I had a decision to make. Do I boldly find someone to help me figure out how to get my writing critiqued, or do I just call it a wash and go back to my hotel room? Once again God stepped in and a friend helped me find Julie. She was in charge of the critique groups and because my appointment went late, she critiqued my article. That is important because she mentioned my article to the editor of the Proverbs 31 Woman magazine, Glynnis. Glynnis told me, (through Julie), to submit my article to their magazine for possible publication. It was God’s perfect timing. Only He could orchestrate that day so perfectly. Only He could turn a disaster (being 30 minutes late to a peer critique) into something encouraging. Only He could embolden me to “rock the boat” to set this chain reaction into motion. Only God.

The next time you are running late or someone is making you late, look to God. He knows. He is orchestrating your day for His purpose. Give your frustration, your anxiety, your anger to God. Rest in knowing He knows and has plans for you, even when you are late. You never know what God is setting in motion.

How has God surprised you with His timing? Tell me about it.

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