Monday, August 23, 2010

Do You Need a Talking To?

Don't you just love it when God give you a spiritual "talking to"? It's kind of like when a teacher would call you out in front of the class and point out something you were doing that you weren't supposed to? Or is it?

My God is so tender and loving. When He admonishes me, it is so direct (cause He knows that is the kind of girl I am), yet so loving and kind! This morning as I was praying about my day and some areas where I have really been struggling to accept the actions of other people, He once again, gently spoke to remap my thinking.

"Do you know the plans I have for ___________? Could it be that you are secretly wanting them to fail?"

"OH NO GOD! That isn't what I meant at all. It's just that why do things work out for those that seem to constantly be doing wrong or messing up? It just doesn't seem fair!" (Do you detect my little bit of whining there? I didn't until I just typed it!)

"My baby girl! Was it fair that I let you come back to me after the things YOU did? Is it fair that I am making a ministry out of YOUR failed life? You do not know the scheme of my plans. You do not know how I am going to gain glory. You don't know that I have planted you here for a VERY SPECIFIC purpose. Sometimes the gain of those who don't deserve it can be the gain of those who do."



Sometimes God has us planted in places we don't understand. I think of a plant I have sitting in my kitchen window. You know I haven't even really planted it yet. It is sitting in a mason jar of water. I can't tell you HOW long it has been there. But I have left it in that jar, partly because I am ADD. But the other reason is that I am looking for JUST THE RIGHT pot to put it in. I want to keep it in the window. I want to see it every day as I wake up. But, I want to find just the right pot that is made especially for THAT plant.

The roots on that plant have grown, just as my roots have been growing...but... it isn't root bound yet. There is still room to grow.

Are you looking at other people and thinking it isn't fair that they seem to keep screwing up and STILL reaping rewards? Is there someone you know who is really making some BAD spiritual choices, and deep down, it "gets your goat" to see those choices seem to somehow pay off for them? Or maybe you feel like you are ready for your pot?

Remember, Isaiah 58:8 says, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither your ways my ways,' declares the Lord." He has a bigger plan. We have no idea the scheme of things in His plan.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Boldly Love On God at the Next SHINE Event!

Hello ladies! Where in the world does time go? Man, how did this month fly by and I haven't even sent out an update about the next SHINE get-together! I know with this late notice, many of you may not be able to make it... but "consistency" is the area God is working on in my personal life.

So get ready to have a great time with our wonderful sisters and SHINE!!!

This month we are going to meet at my house... GOD HELP ME!!! Or maybe I should say, "GOD HELP THEM!!!" My house is ... well it is my house, my mother would probably flip her lid if she thought I was going to invite company into it. And to be honest, a few of you may think, "What was she thinking!?!" when you come. is life and this is me and I am trying to do better and it takes time... yadda, yadda, yadda! No more worries, just do what God is wanting me to do!

Ok, now that that is out of the way:O)  This month we are going to learn how to BLOG: Boldly Love On God!!! And yes, that is going to be the lesson; but.... I am also going to be giving a little Blogging 101 lesson as well. For our activity this month I am going to help any of you that want to, set up your very own BLOG!!! What better way to Boldly Love On God than to share your testimony!! A blog is the perfect way to practice.

There is so much I want to tell you all, but this isa crazy busy week! So, I will leave it at that! I will have at least 3 computers available and any of you who have laptops, PLEASE bring them. I have wifi and you can get online and get those creative juices running! The event will be Saturday the 28th at 5 pm at my house. If you have to work or can't make it right at 5, don't let that stop you. There will be so much going on, you can drop in whenever you want.

There will be some LIGHT snacks. Don't know what yet, this is one of those can't wait till payday kind of weeks, so I am going to be creative! It may be bologna sandwiches or it could be something fancy. I just haven't decided yet! Just come expecting to have a good time and enjoy the presence of good, godly fun!

I love you all! If you POSSIBLY can, it is always nice to know who is and isn't coming. It just helps me plan a bit. So.. RSVP's are great, but if you don't get to it, don't EVER let that keep you from coming on and joining us!

God bless you.. remember to BOLDLY LOVE ON GOD this week!

Friday, August 20, 2010

What to Wear? The Daily Saga

It doesn't matter how full my closet is, it seems like every morning I enter the same saga...WHAT TO WEAR? Maybe part of the problem is that I have too many blouses hanging in my closet, or not enough pants to have variety. It might be because I feel too fat, or look too slouchy. Whatever the reason, it seems the "what to wear" dilemma  faces me most every morning.

How many mornings have you left out the door with a pile of clothes on the end of your bed that you spent 30 minutes putting on and taking off only to find you have NOTHING to wear? I know you all aren't like that. Some of you are decisive and can rattle off your entire wardrobe "menu", and others of you, one I can think of in particular (smiles, cause you know who you are), that will pull out whatever is clean and hanging in front of your eyes. No matter what, our wardrobe in generally important to us all. From the jewelry we wear to the shoes on our feet... we take great care to look good. I don't know many ladies who don't WANT to look good.

I received a promise verse at the She Speaks training that I went to a few weeks ago. My goal is to memorize it, and you would think I would have/ could have done that by now.. but anyway. I have been chewing on this verse for a while now and it just hit me tonight how much I spend on my physical wardrobe in comparison to my spiritual one.

The verse was Colossians 3:11-12, "Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."

What am I wearing? Mercy? Kindness? Humility? Gentleness? Patience? Forgiveness? I must say, I don't look in the mirror every morning looking to see if those things are in the right place like I do my wardrobe. Are they looking good on me? Or a little sloppy? Am I accessorizing kindness by handing the  lady at the drive-thru an extra $5 so she can buy her lunch? Am I adorning my hands with gentleness by tenderly kissing my sleeping children on the foreheads? Am I sliding my feet into humility as I let the man behind me in the grocery store go first because he looks like he has had a bad day? Am I throwing forgiveness over my shoulder and stuffing all the hurt into God's designer bag to carry for me?

If only, I made it a habit to spend the same amount of time, put the same amount of care, invest the same amount of money into putting on these spiritual clothes!

Are you having trouble figuring out what to wear spiritually? It shouldn't be a saga, it should be a delight. You know, I think every little girl wants to be a model at some point in her life, but very few of us have the ability (or the beauty) to do so.. but we can all still be models. Be a model for God. Walk down the runway of life with your head held high and strutting the beautiful clothing from the ultimate designer. Talking about BRAND NAME!!!

When you wake up in the morning, clothe yourself with more than just those trendy, or comfy clothes hanging in your closet. Put on your tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. Then, look in the mirror and see the shining star God has made you to be. Strut your stuff girl! God is watching, and so is someone who needs to see Him through you!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Progress..Where Does It Need to Be?

Progress! It is a good thing. Yet, so often we are so down on ourselves that we are blinded to our own progress. Do you think maybe it is because we are striving so badly for perfection instead? Do you think that we are looking so deeply for perfection that the progress just becomes oversight?

Let me just give you an example. I have been so discouraged that my posts to SHINE haven't been more frequent. I know I have a busy schedule, etc., but I just feel so inconsistent. I want to do it ALL right. So as I was looking around on the blog to make some the changes that need to be made, I realized that I have made 65 posts since 2008. That doesn't seem like much, but the cool part of it was that the number has increased. It hasn't been a lot... but it has been more each year.
2008= 20 posts
2009= 24 posts
2010= 25 posts... and the year isn't over yet.

You see, God so generously showed me that I AM MAKING PROGRESS!

Now, there are a million things that I need to grow in. I need to be more disciplined. I need better motivation. I need more energy. I need to be better organized. Oh yes, I have made progress in each of those areas, I see now... but I haven't attained a level I where am content yet. And, each of those areas spill over into my spiritual life.

Here is something God showed me the other day. We get so busy trying to do EVERYTHING that we never focus on one thing long enough to master it. We are all so should I say, "spiritually ADD," that we hop from one area to another without ever finding victory in any.

The one area I think God wants me to work on is consistency... isn't that funny considering my worries with this blog! However, I prayed that God would show me the one area that needs work where all the other areas will fall into place... and CONSISTENCY was it for me.

So, here is my request as well as a challenge for you. Please lift me up in this area. THE REQUEST: When you think of me, see me, see a post, see the word SHINE anywhere... lift up a prayer that God will help me find consistency. THE CHALLENGE: Ask God what the one area is that you need to focus on. Then, when you figure it out, post it here so that we can keep each other lifted up in prayer.

I would love for us all to look back at this post at the end of the year and be able to use it as a measuring tool of the progress God has done in our lives! What is your need? Let's lift each other up and remember that it isn't about perfection, it's about the progress!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Trying to Get There

I never thought I would be someone who enjoys quiet time so much. Usually I can't stand it, because I like having someone to talk to. Imagine that! Me a talker! (Smiles and snickers!) But today I felt an unusual drawing to just really focus on my quiet time with God. I have grown to love this alone time; because I do have someone to talk to... and He talks back!

As I was talking to God this morning, I poured out my heart of the things I know I need to work on. Certain areas of my life just seem to get in the way of being the woman I want to be. Un-organization, un-discipline, impulsivity... the list goes on. As I was praying about where and who I needed to be in Christ, I said to Him, "I'm trying to get there Lord. I'm working on it!"

Do you ever feel like that? Wondering why you can't get there? Why you have to work so hard at it? Do you feel like in order to receive God's blessings, to have the "rite" of passage into the desires of your heart, there is some huge thing you have to work to do to get there?

I so often feel like that. I feel like I will never "get there". There are so many things in my life that need perfecting. How can God use me like I am? How can He influence others for good when so many things about me are so bad? If I just had a little more motivation, discipline, passion! Why would God bless me with the things I need or want when I can't take care of the things I have now? I have to act right and be right for Him to give me the things in life I need.

God whispered...

That's right, I got quiet and He whispered to my heart. This is what He said, "Baby girl! Have you not learned this by now? It's not about what you do, it's about who you are. When I put Adam and Eve in the garden, what did I ask of them? I placed them where I wanted them, took care of them, walked with them, loved on them... not because of anything they did; not because they were trying to do anything."

It's amazing how clear things can be when GOD speaks them. I pondered for a while on that this morning. Here is what God is showing me. The only thing that kept Adam and Eve from God's blessings, provision, and ability to walk closely with Him... was their sin and disobedience. It wasn't the things they did to work hard at being His children. WE DON'T HAVE TO WORK AT BEING GOD'S CHILDREN... we already ARE. (Those who have accepted and repented of course.)

The only thing God wants me to do, is keep sin out of my life and be obedient. His blessings don't hinge on if I got my house cleaned up this weekend, or if I agreed to do that Bible study, or even if I went to church this morning. I CANNOT work for His blessings. Just as He did with Adam and Eve.. they are part of the package. He WANTS to take care of me. He wants to bless me.

Yes, God wants us to keep sin out of our lives. He wants us to be obedient. But even when Adam and Eve directly disobeyed God, He still took care of them. He still provided for them. For goodness sakes, He made them clothes! Where there new obstacles to overcome after their disobedience? YES! But what I believe God wanted me to see this morning is that MY WORK is not what is going to make or break His blessings on me. My obedience on the other hand, and sin in my life... that is a different story.

So, is my house being a mess a sin? No, it is a direct result of my un-organization. Should I think God isn't going to bless me and help me with the leaky faucet just because I have clothes piled up on my bed? Of course not!

So what is my point? Maybe we waste time trying to get there and forget about the actual journey itself. Do I need to learn to keep a better house? Yes of course. But is it going to keep me from being God's child and Him providing for me? No.

I am using my own personal example of things that bother me most; but each of you has that one thing that makes you sit and think, "Oh God will never help me with this until I do...." God wants to pour His blessings out on His children. He wants to take care of us. He wants us to grow in Him. But, He doesn't want us so busy with getting there, that we forget who He is and how much He loves us.

I don't know if this has helped anyone or not today. Sometimes when God speaks to me, I feel it so internally that it is hard to put an external explanation on it. But, I know God wanted me to share... and it's all about obedience, right?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Next Shine Event

Hey Ladies.... I am veering off the normal "inspirational" post to try to get some feedback. I am in the process of planning the next SHINE event. Originally I had intended on having another large event like in May, but I know this is a busy time with school starting and all. So I was hoping you all would help me brainstorm a bit on what you think would be some good ideas for the next few meetings.

What would you like to do, learn, talk about? Blogging has become such a trend, I was thinking about having an internet cafe type meeting and maybe show you all some tips on how to comment on blogs as well as maybe even start your own.

We of course will have our usual fellowship and devotional, but I think we all enjoy doing some type of activity as well... OTHER THAN EATING!!! LOL Any ideas or suggestions would be great! Just leave your comments below. The tentative date will be August 28th or 29th. You can leave suggestions on which day works best as well.

I love you guys and can't wait to see you. For those of you who only follow the blog and can't attend the meetings.. be patient... there are some cool things to come in the near future!

Friday, August 6, 2010

How Can I Get Where You Are?

Someone sent me a FLOORING message on Facebook.
The thing that was so flooring is that this person saw me so much differently than I see myself. But, the questions that were posed hit me deeply and I really feel it may help to share the discussion with you all. OF COURSE, I am not going to betray who sent me the message... but I want to share it because I think we all need to see what sphere of influence we have, sometimes without even
knowing it.

Here is what I was asked:
How can I get where you are? I mean, how can I get that feeling of total love and trust from God? Is it something you work at? Is it reading the Bible often and talking to God? Or is it a gift from God? I've always been close to God but I've yet to get that feeling that so many people I know gets....I want to be so much more like you but I just don't know how.

So here was my answer:
I am floored! I struggle EVERY day! My first thought is the verse, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." There are some key words in that... ALL your heart, OWN understanding, in ALL they ways, ACKNOWLEDGE Him. Honestly.. some days, it is just self talk. It is a daily choice and I have to proclaim it over and over again. So I have increased that proclamation by praising and acknowledging Him on FB as well as as much as comes out of my mouth as possible.

There are days that I want to post the most negative things on here. Like, how can so and so claim to be a Christian and drag me down with their insane hypocrisy; or how I feel like a horrible mother cause my house is a mess and my kids have smart mouths; or how I would just like to strangle ...(that part was left out to protect the NOT SO innocent). BELIEVE ME... I am so far from THERE... whatever that is.

I have spent the past 4 years finding my happiness and value from one man to the next, giving myself over to "slipping" in the moment and wallowing in guilt for the next two weeks until the moment hits again. And then living the space in between each relationship, spending my nights bawling and screaming out to God wanting someone just to hold me. Does that sound like a feeling of total love and trust to you?

BUT... God has brought me SOOOO far over the past few years. I feel like I hit rock bottom and am slowly climbing back where God wants me to be.. but HE is SOOOO gracious. When I think I am at my worst... as long as I am willing, He seems to use me in the craziest ways.

I know I am babbling maybe.. but it is so hard to explain... cause as much as I love God, I fail Him over and over. But, you asked me about that feeling of total love and trust. I think that part of that has come from just spending time in Bible Study.. I don't mean "devotions" I mean taking even one verse and looking at the meaning of each word. That has helped me so much. I am seeing how LOVING God is more and more.

The other thing I do, is really imagine God as my DADDY.. not my Father, but my daddy. When I can't go anywhere else I literally imagine myself as a little girl and climbing up in His lap and letting Him just put His arms around me and hold me tight, rock me, or just lift me up above His head and twirl me around. I know that sounds a little silly, but somehow, when I think of God that way... which He REALLY is that way... it teaches me to trust Him and love Him more. The other thing I do is imagine dancing with God. I imagine stepping on His toes and dancing with Him. I imagine literally dancing with God.. carefree. It actually helps me release those things that are holding me down.

That may sound so silly to you... but all I know is that THIS imperfect, insecure, impatient, impulsive woman would not be able to face each day without the love of my "DADDY" and knowing that I would just be a screw up without HIS plan for my life.

I struggle with the battle between the FLESH and the SPIRIT. It is so hard on the days I feel bad to FEEL like I am a "worthy" Christian. Some days I feel like SUPER-SPIRITUAL WOMAN and other days I FEEL like I am the biggest screw up on the face of the earth.. .the key is FEEL. I have to make myself move beyond FEEL to KNOW. And I know that Jesus bought me with a price, He CHOSE me, and He cared enough about ME.. ME.. this crazy insane "fat" girl... to plan my future before I was even a thought in my mother's little girl desires to be a mommy one day.

I don't know if this has helped you or not. But.. .it is my heart. Remember, what you see on the outside and THINK people are feeling... may not be what it seems. I have found that some of the most "seemingly" secure Christians struggle with doubt and insecurity. Not one of us are perfect... if we were, we wouldn't need HIM!

I can't tell you how much I appreciate you thinking of me. God is opening up my world in such a REAL way. If I can do nothing else, I want to be REAL with others so that they can be prompted.. or comfortable to be REAL with God and each other. We have enough fakes in this world.

My friend told me this yesterday when we were talking about comparing ourselves to other Christians who seemed to GET what we don't... and this is what she said:

"The only comparing you should do is the person that you are now and the person you know God wants you to be."

It isn't what Suzie Homemaker is, or Connie Corporate, or Anna Amazing-mom, or Christina Christian... You see what I mean? Just be YOU... be the YOU that God made you to be! FIND THE YOU in YOU! FIND YOUR PLACE IN GOD!

I am only posting because there is no way for anyone to really know who it is. But... I really feel it is important for us all to remember that it is our EVERY DAY LIFE that is making impressions on others... good or bad. I just had a discussion today with someone who was so disappointed in some of the posts that were showing up from "Christians" on Facebook. But you know... even "Christians" are human and FB seems to be the place we vent without thinking about the effects.

Even as I read over my response, I think, "Maybe I didn't use enough scripture to back up my views like so and so would have." You see... it is like I heard this weekend from Lysa TerKeurst ...when Satan wants to discourage you by what someone else has that you don't... personality, skill, influence.. etc....YOU have to take authority and say to him, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" Don't let him discourage you like that. It is a matter of the mind and it is crucial that you let Jesus have control of your mind!

Sometimes I ramble.. but in it all, I hope you get the idea. BE YOU!!! That is who God made you to be. And, find security in YOUR DADDY! Climb up in His lap and enjoy His love and protection today!