July 29, 2014

Because Joy comes in the Mourning BEFORE the Morning

We wait for dawn. We wait for change.  And for this moment we will endure. We will tolerate this dark place until day breaks and THEN joy will come.....
SOME of us stop moving and cease to exist.
Because for some? We endure with passive acquiescence.
Surrender to this moment and lose hope that morning will EVER come.
Perhaps we've missed it.

What if Joy is not as elusive as some may believe.
Maybe joy is found HERE.
In the mess.
In the pain.
In the struggles.
In the tragedy.
Because here in this moment? God IS.
He doesn't cease to stop working in the middle of our most difficult circumstances.  No, friends, He is MORE present, more involved, making a way....
HE IS AT WORK.
Miracles have a way of riding in to save the day. And the art of CELEBRATION is seeing Him in the darkness---before the dawn. Seeing Him at work before you see your miracle.  Evidence that He has not forsaken you. He. Is. There.
And where God is? There is peace. There is joy. There is GOODNESS.  We can choose surrender to the suffering or we can choose to rejoice in the midst of suffering believing our God is greater than whatever it is we are facing.
Joy is a CONSTANT.
Joy is a CHOICE.
Joy comes in the mourning BEFORE the morning.
why wait for daybreak:) celebrate TODAY.

July 23, 2014

To Have a Friend }{ BE a Friend

"To have a friend ya gotta show yourself friendly."



I've said it so often to my children I might as well frame it and hang it so they can see it on their way out the door. :p
Words of wisdom not just for the short people but for the young and old alike and everyone in between. The goodness of God is contagious. Be confident in WHO God made you to be. Sometimes you got to be the one that takes that first step. If you're sitting in the corner waiting for a friend to come and ask you to play in the sandbox you may be waiting a very long time



GIVING of yourSELF and your TIME will *ALWAYS* pay back GREAT dividends. You may never know HOW or WHY or WHAT God is doing that we can see beyond the immediate. After all...it's not about US anyway. It's about HIM reaching others through US. People need people. We weren't meant to live a lonely and isolated existence. But sometimes you gotta be the one who's willing to cross that bridge and BE the friend that someone ELSE needs.

July 22, 2014

When Hope Shows Up

Your feelings are valid. Despair. Sadness. Grief. Shame. There is SOMEthing that transpired that brought you to this point. But there is something that transpired that TRUMPS every grief, every bit of sadness, every shame.......
Jesus stepped in. Mercy took over and GRACE intervened.
You can hang your head if you want to.
But when GRACE stepped in and collided with our humanity, our sinfulness, our shame, our grief, our disappointments----he was offering something GREATER.
"God has sent me on a mission.
I have some great news for you.
God has sent me to restore and release something.
.......................And that something is YOU.
I am here to give you back your heart and set you free.
I am furious at the Enemy who did this to you and I will fight against him.
Let me comfort you............
For, dear one, I will bestow beauty upon you where you have only known devastation.
Joy, in the places of your deep sorrow.
And I will robe your heart in thankful praise.
In exchange for your resignation and despair."

Take off your mourning clothes. When HOPE entered the scene He traded them for garments of PRAISE.
He lifted your face and offered you a better way.
He doesn't see devastation. He sees HOPE.
He doesn't see grief. He sees JOY.
He doesn't see SHAME. He sees His blood.
He doesn't see despair. He sees FAITH overcoming every grief and grabbing HOLD of His promises and rising above every last thing that would keep you from rejoicing in His work making all things perfect and redeeming every last bit of it for YOUR good and to HIS glory!




But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. Psalm 3:3

July 21, 2014

Fixing What's Broken

It *IS* what it *IS*.Time heals all wounds.
.......that's what *THEY* say.  Whoever *THEY* are.....What do they know?

It is what it is....yes.  But it is not what it shall BE.
                                                         .......and THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

and for the record----*TIME* does not heal all wounds.  Forgiveness, perspective, gratitude, understanding, maturity and grace will mend what's broken.  And those things take time.  Time doesn't heal wounds.  It is JESUS who can heal all wounds.  He has the EXACT measure of grace and peace we need for every moment, every hurt, every disappointment, every season of our lives.  

Hebrews 10:20-21 Now may the God of peace (who is the Author and giver of peace) STRENGTHEN, (complete, perfect) and make you what you OUGHT to be and equip you with everything GOOD that you may carry out His will; while He Himself works IN you and accomplishes what is pleasing in His sight. 



He paid an EXPENSIVE and EXTRAVAGANT price for YOU and in that redemptive work provided a WHOLENESS for you in your entire being.  
                               WHOLE. ENTIRE. COMPLETE. LACKING NOTHING. 

I Thessalonians 5:23-24 May God Himself, the God who makes everything WHOLE, make YOU whole, put you together-spirit, soul and body---and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ.  The One who called you is completely dependable.  If He said it, He'll do it.

To *EVERY* thing there is a season and a time and a purpose to EVERYTHING under heaven.

What season are you in? There is PURPOSE in it.  There is a time for things to be broken.  Let them be broken.  There is a time for what lies in ruins to be rebuilt. For things to be fixed and healed.  There is a time for crying.  So cry.  There is a time for laughing.  Then laugh from the depths of your spirit!  There is a time to dance.  So raise the roof.  Let it rip and dance with everything inside of you!  There is a time for being quiet and and allowing the Holy Spirit to just speak.  So stop talking, stop being busy, stop frantically trying to figure things out and just listen.  There is a time for speaking.  There is a time for learning and there is a time to take responsibility for what you've learned and share it.  And yes, there is a time for dying. "Why look for the living among the dead?"........ Leave what's dead behind.


Know what season you are in and be FULLY present in every season you find yourself.  In it all......God is at work.  Know what it is He is doing in that moment and allow the spirit to guide your every thought, every step and every moment through that season.  You will find redemption at work in it all.

July 18, 2014

When God Knows Better

"I NEVER WANTED TO DO ANY OF THIS ALONE!"


I have shouted these words, cried out these words, and whispered these words under my breath a number of times since my husband died.
Within moments He reminds me very clearly and lovingly every. single. time, "You were never MEANT to do any of this alone."  
And all at once I am reminded of His sovereignty.  I was never meant to........
in those few words I see it.
His foreknowledge.  He knew this was coming.  He could see things I never could have imagined.  He was preparing me.  Building faith in me.  Perfecting and finishing all of those things He intended for us while Justin was here.  

How can I not see His Hand in all of this?
In every detail leading up to and even in his passing?  

All of it was EVIDENCE that God had gone before me and was standing WITH me.  

I was never MEANT to go this alone.
He knew what was coming.  Would He not see to the details of tomorrow as much as He was seeing to the details of today?  How many things were ordered in such a way that I could have never manufactured on my own.  


Can I not just trust my tomorrows to Him?
Knowing that He sees things I cannot see.  He knows things I cannot possibly know.  And He is able to work every detail, every circumstance, no matter how much heartache I might have to face, to my good and for His glory.  After all, that's what it all comes down to.....my life is not my own.

Whatever it is I face He is not such a God that He would abandon me to do it on my own.  He will prepare me for my tomorrows and sustain me through my every day into every GOOD thing He has planned for me. He knows what I need for each moment and is MORE than able to meet my EVERY need.
Seeing Him in THIS moment.......no matter what I may find here......that's a gift.  


In ALL of my days.
In the mess.
In the struggles.
In the sinfulness of my humanity.
Goodness isn't an elusive dream just up ahead that I am relentlessly pursuing.
Goodness is HERE.
NOW.
It follows me. Wave after wave of GRACE and GOODNESS.
These moments need God-perspective.
If only we could see God Himself in this moment here....it would take our breath away.
God is good.
And every moment God IS.........is GOOD.

July 12, 2014

I am ENOUGH because He did MORE than enough

Defeated.
Battleworn.  
Feeling unworthy.
Unwelcome.
Insufficient.
Inadequate.  

DEFEATED.  



Somehow feeling that everyONE else was entitled to more GRACE but I had used up my allotment and was a DISgrace.

I have disappointed Him so many times I imagine He TOLERATES me at best....but to enthusiastically welcome me with open arms?
That's for the woman who has her act together, her home in order, one who embodies grace, one who doesn't have any "red on her ledger".

Then almost as if I had said all of these things to Him, He responded with these words:
"Haven't I done ENOUGH? what MORE can I POSSIBLY do to SHOW you?" 

I felt ungrateful.
"ENOUGH?  What you've done is MORE than enough."

He pursued ME.  Heaven....came near to ME.
Before I ever knew of Him.
After all He went through to settle my account.
It was MORE than enough....so that what I had to offer WAS enough.
.........and I have refused His grace.
I have refused His hand.


I remembered Jesus' words to the woman at the well, "If you only knew....."
If she only knew who He was and what He had to offer....

everything else would fall so SHORT of what He could give.  

All I have to offer isn't enough but what He offered me was SO MUCH that I would never ever be found lacking.  What He offers is ADEQUATE.  SUFFICIENT. 
All He had to give was all He *COULD* give.
He accomplished it all *there* on that cross.  
All He asks is that I come just as I am. 
His GRACE will match what I have to offer and ---all at once--- I. AM. ENOUGH.




July 11, 2014

Pick a Conviction and COMMIT

Pick a conviction and commit!!!

I am sure that I am guilty of faithless decisions on occasion but this I have learned.
Be spirit led.

Make your decisions with FAITH.
Hear from God and STICK TO IT.


wishy washy- double minded- inconsistent living and believing God CANNOT honor.
If we ask for wisdom He is faithful to give it. James 1:5
..........and just. a. few. verses. later.....it says
A double minded, hesitant, irresolute man is unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything he thinks, feels, decides. James 1:8
How many people do YOU know who's convictions and opinions change with the status quo or whomever they might be speaking to at the moment?
If God is faithful to speak, and we are willing to LISTEN, and His ways are JUST and RIGHT....then we would do well to PICK a conviction and COMMIT. Make your decisions with FAITH and STICK to them.....
a decision made with FAITH is one God can DO something WITH!

July 8, 2014

Destinations





God is committed to YOU!

He's committed to your journey and committed to the process. 

He will never bring you to a place only to abandon you half way.
He will ALWAYS finish what He started.

He NEVER leaves a job half finished.

He WILL perfect all that concerns you.

We respond to pain and inconvenience as if it's an eternal matter.  As if "this moment in time" is all there is.  But how quickly we lose perspective and forget that these matters are inconsequential compared to the work He is DOING.  

When He delivered the Israelites from Egypt 
*He did it with the END in mind.*
He wasn't going to free them from slavery and then leave them fend for themselves in the wilderness to find their OWN way to their promised destiny. 

He *SUSTAINED* them in the wilderness. 
He *LED* them *through* the wilderness. 
It He went to so much effort to rescue then would He not deliver them and then see it through to COMPLETION?
And so it is with you!!!

He is always up to something.  He is ALPHA and OMEGA.  The beginning and the END and *ALL the moments in between*
If He went to so much effort to SAVE you. RESCUE you. REDEEM you.....would He not take as much care to PROTECT and DEFEND the investment He's made in YOU?

He paid a HIGH price for you my friend!!!
Signed, sealed and delivered.....
You are HIS. 
He will PERFECT all that concerns you. Bring you into EVERY good thing He's promised you and not for ONE moment in your journey will He forsake you. 





Stick with HIM....He's got the end in mind. and it's ALL good.

July 4, 2014

Saying {YES} to God When we don't Understand

How OFTEN my children want a reason *WHY*.
My very FIRM and purposeful response is that I am not obligated to give a reason....their job is to TRUST that I see things they cannot see, know things they do not know and they would do well to just OBEY without needing to know WHY.    I could explain to them the logic behind my decision but oftentimes I choose NOT to....because I just want them to TRUST me, that I know best.  I want them to OBEY without reason whether they understand or not.  

Can you TRUST and follow a GOD who is not obligated to explain His ways to you?  

Can you follow when you are uncertain of what might lie ahead?

Shortly after my husband died, one of mine, (who was supposed to be sound asleep) came upstairs and asked me, "Does God answer EVERY one's prayers?"
I hesitated.
It was a loaded question. I  knew.
Why else was he still lying in bed, thoughts swirling in his head, heavy things stirring in his heart?

(The only answer I had to give him...."Answer with the WORD".)  


"Baby. His Word says, "This is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (*in agreement with His own plan*), He listens to and hears us.  And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him." 1 John 5:14-15

My words were more simply stated and to the point.  


He said, 'Then why did daddy die?"

*WHY*.......

so many unknowns.
So many things we just do not understand.

So many times we just have to TRUST.

My words echoed the words my pastors gave me when my husband died,
"This WORD is TRUE.  We hold on to what we DO know.  and we TRUST Him with those things we just don't understand."

The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions. Deuteronomy 29:29

He sees things you don't see and knows things you couldn't possibly know.  He can see the beginning AND the end and is present in all the details in between.  Can we not just TRUST Him even when we don't understand?  That He has our VERY best interest at the CENTER of His heart and ALL that He has planned for us?
Sometimes it will require obedience without reason.  Just obey.

Sometimes it will require doing the HARD thing when we see an easier way.
So do the hard ting.
Sometimes it will require doing life in a way we did not sign up for.  


You would do it well to do it God's way.
and leave those thing we don't understand to Him.  If He needs us to know His thoughts....He is so loving and gracious enough to reveal those things to us.  And if there's a reason He withholds understanding from us....it's with purpose and for a reason.  Through it all we are growing in faith and resolve to TRUST Him in *ALL* things and *WITH* all things.  With every part of our lives....knowing He has a HOPE and FUTURE.  Plans to prosper us and *NOT* to harm us. Jeremiah 29:11

To refuse those things which we do not understand is to refuse HIM.
To push His hand away and say, "No THANK you." ....without ever understanding His heart or His ways.



Can you TRUST a GOD who is *ALL* good in spite of what you see?  
There is SUCH GOODNESS up ahead for those who can answer a resounding *YES*!