Be Still And Allow The Master To Work

My mind lately has been going a mile a minute.  There seems to be a lot of “things” happening around me, but I just can’t seem to put my finger on what those “things” are exactly.  What I do know, is that I am coming into a season of growing…again.  I have behaviors that I desperately need to break and that God wants to “chisel” off of me.  I’ve spent the last few weeks working out what it is that God is wanting me to do to work on breaking those behaviors.  What keeps coming to the forefront are a few things.

  1. I need to do a Tongue Fast again.
  2. Extremely limit my time on Facebook.
  3. Unplug from things and set strict time limits.
  4. Sit outside, in the quiet, and listen.

I did a Tongue Fast a few years back.  For me, that consisted of not speaking and only writing everything down that I wanted to say.  If I was happy, I had to write it.  If I was mad, I had to write it.  The purpose was to SEE the words that I would normally speak.  By seeing what I would say, it made me think about whether it was really worth saying.  How many words had I wasted because they were hastily spoken, without thought?  It’s time for a refresher of seeing the words again.  James 1:19 tells us, Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, SLOW TO SPEAK, and slow to get angry.  I need to slow my “speak” down.

I need to limit my Facebook and other electronics time drastically.  These things are doing nothing but wasting time and affect my emotions and attitude towards my family and others.  I have a tendency to be reactory when my anxiety about something is triggered.  By constantly having Facebook or other media in my face, I keep myself in that heightened state of anxiety and tension.  Which in turn makes me short with others and quick to get angered.  It leaves my mind in a constant whirl and makes it nearly impossible to find stillness.  Scripture tells us to “Be STILL and KNOW that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  How is that possible when we leave no room for stillness?  Which leads to my last point…

Nature is very healing.  There is a rawness to it that when we sit and observe, we see that life isn’t as complicated as we make it.  There is a simpleness in the ebb and flow of each day.  That simpleness gets lost by the noise that we allow in.  Most of the excess noise is nothing more than a distraction from the simpleness that God wants with us.  Just to sit and listen.  Only then will the calm & peace come.  It’s time for me to be still.  This process of molding and shaping is going to be painful.  It may be my most painful yet.  I will be forced to face things about myself and my past that I’ve wanted to ignore.  That stillness with God will become more important that anything else.  Only in the stillness with Him will my true healing and change begin.

When was the last time you were able to truly “be still”?  Something to really think about.  =)  Be Blessed!

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Home Town Missionary

Do not imagine that you will be anymore spiritually effective on the mission field that you are in your own home town. Indeed, you will find it a thousand times more difficult!  – Ian Thomas –

 

When you hear the words “Mission Field”, do you only have images of 3rd world countries?  Do you see your hometown as your mission field?  Anywhere we are at the present time is a mission field.  Let’s not forget that.  We are to be the light to the world.  That includes our own home front.  So, what kind of missionary are you?  The people closest to us should be our first stop.  Your life is your biggest testimony.  Let’s reach out to them and see where God wants to take us!  =)  Be blessed!

I’m God’s Snoodle!

Ephesians 4:17-31.  This passage of scripture is going to be my focus for the week.  I had to chance to have lunch with a great mentor.  I guess it really wasn’t a chance as much as made time for.  It was a much-needed talk and accountability.  The scary part was how she managed to repeat nearly word for word something that my husband had told me a few years back.  They were both right.  If I get downright honest with myself, they were right.  Every time I get close or when the anointing falls, I run away and hide.  I am terrified of the greatness that God wants from me.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying how awesome I am, but when we are walking in obedience and function in God’s will, His greatness will come forth.  It overwhelms me.  When I decide that I’m going to walk in His will completely, the “what if” questions begin.  What if he asks me to talk to someone who is difficult?  What if He wants me to be more vulnerable?  What if He asks me to go into the ugly trenches where it’s dangerous?  What if He wants to change me?  What if He wants me to change my destructive thoughts?  What if He asks me to forgive?  What if He asks me to completely surrender EVERYTHING?  Just what if?

Guess what?  That’s exactly what He’s done.  And of course my first reaction was “Oh, crap!”  So, where do I start to heal and start to rebuild?  I’m starting with this passage.  I’ve added emphasis on a few parts.

Ephesians 4:17-31

17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. (God is not a God a confusion.)  18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

25 So stop telling lies. (This includes the lies that I tell myself)  Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (I need to apply this one to how I talk to myself!)

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  (FORGIVE myself & others!  Don’t hang onto baggage!)

Should be pretty easy right?  Just need to remember to take it one step at a time and not try to fix it all overnight.  Today is a new day and a new start.  And the best place to start is to truly forgive myself, repent and choose to see myself the way God sees me.  As a Snoodle!  I need to be the Snoodle God made me to be and not trying to be a different Snoodle.

Snoodle

If you’ve never watched A Snoodles Tale, please do.  I attached a link to a transcript of it.  I have yet to find a simpler way of addressing seeing ourselves the way God sees us.  We are meant to soar, but we can only do that if we are willing to put the wings on that God has given us to use.  Guess I need to go and dig mine out the closet and at least look at them.  They’ve been buried for too long.

So, are you wearing the wings God gave you to wear or do you have them tucked away in the closet too?  Something to think about.  =)  Be Blessed!

Standing Unshakable & Saving Lives

Have you ever been shaken?  Has the foundation you were standing on ever suddenly gave way, making you unsteady and unsure of your footing?  The same thing can happen and does happen in our walk with Christ.

We are facing tumultuous times.  It is a time when our faith is being put the ultimate test.  Not only is our faith being tested, but more importantly our true devotion to Christ.  Sure we have faith when we are short on money for our bills for the month or when a hardship in some other fashion comes our way.  What happens when your core beliefs are tested?  Will you be shaken then?  Will you cave and go along with what’s “PC” so as not to offend anyone?

Hebrews 12:26-27 says, “When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: ‘Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.’  This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.”

When the shaking comes or is coming, will you be able to stand unshakable?  God warns us that the we can be certain if we are listening to the right voice and not rejecting what He is telling us.  If we back up a verse to Hebrews 12:25 it says, “Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking.  For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven!”  The only way to know for certain is to be listening to the right voice.

Right now there seem to be many voices all speaking about a lot of things that blatantly go against God’s word.  His word is getting twisted and warped and the enemy is using this to create a lot of confusion.  Our foundation, as a country, is shaking.  What we need now is those with true unshakable foundations to rise up.  Satan is at work and God’s army needs to put on it’s armor and go to battle.  We are to do this as the BODY of Christ not just as individuals.  We need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to fill each and every one of us as we march forth.

The best place to start is by setting time aside to sit in the quiet and just listen.  God will speak to your heart and direct your steps.  It’s time to solidify those shaky foundations and stand firm, individually and corporately.  Set aside all our selfish motives (1 Peter 2:1-3) and be obedient to the One who called us.  Walk boldly with the power that Christ gives us.  Lives are at stake.  We can no longer sit in our “country club” churches, punching our spiritual time cards and keep putting off the job we were so obviously given to do.  Mark 16:15.  And then He told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to EVERYONE”.  Not just the ones who happen to make their way inside our doors, but EVERYONE.  They’re standing on shaky ground and don’t even know it.    Unity in the body is what is needed.  Let’s get to work!  =)  Be blessed!

The Bucket List – it keeps growing…

I have started a bucket list.  I have come to realize that it might be slightly important to have one.  Mainly just to keep me on track with a goal.  Crazy as it sounds, I think that Tevis and I would enjoy having one together, but I figured I would start my own first.  So what is it that I would like to do???

1) My first one would be to take piano up again and refresh my skills at it.  I miss playing.  If I would be honest with myself about it, I really did have a great time playing.  I loved it when I competed in the IMTA (Indian Music Teacher’s Association) competition.  I also feel like I could then be of some use to my wonderful husband.  Why I have been avoiding it is beyond me, but I love the piano.  What a beautiful instrument.

2) Travel to several different countries.  Mainly: Ireland, England, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, and Italy.  I’m sure I will come up with more as time goes by, but these are ones that i would love to see.

3) To learn at least 2 other languages.  I’ve already started this one with Korean.

4) Lose a lot of weight.  Stupid for a bucket list, but hey, I’m the one making the list.  It needs to be on here.

5) Take a 10 second (or faster) car down the track.  I love speed!  The faster the car the better.  I WILL get this done at some point in my life.

6) Adopt 2 kids (possibly 3 if we are unable to have another of our own).

7) Speak before a large crowd of people.

8) Record an album with Tevis.

9) Publish my book.  haven’t decided on which one but I want to make sure at least of them gets published.

10) See my son perform on stage in a play at least once.  I honestly believe that he would be great at Theater.  He is so animated.

11) See my daughter publish her first manga.  I know she is more than capable of doing this.  I just wish that she would believe in herself enough.

12) See my husband record his first album.

13) To fulfill my purpose according to God’s plan.  This is a lifelong thing.

14) To walk more in the confidence that I should have.

15) To write my first screenplay.  Whether anything happens with it or not, I want to at least get it written down.

16) Have the songs I’ve written recorded.

17) Publish my poetry.

18) Start a restaurant.

19) Send Destiny to study abroad for a short time.

20) Build a hot rod.

21) Live abroad for an extended period of time.

I think that is a decent start.  I would like to get to 50.  Not suer what my deal is with my lists having to consist of 50 things, but it feels like a good number.  So, what are some things on your bucket list?  I would love to hear about them.  =)  Be Blessed

The Potter & His Clay

Six years ago today, we had a beautiful little girl.  We named her Faith Elizabeth.  Faith because that is what it took and was going to take to walk the path that God was taking us on.  Elizabeth because we believed and prayed for that child.  Our Valentine’s Day will be forever changed because that is the day that we were induced to have a child that we knew God had taken back home.  Thankfully, labor took long enough so she was born on the 15th.

I had to have a blood transfusion before they would induce me because my overall blood volume in my body was low.  The day they put me in the hospital to have her, it so happened that it was a full moon, so everybody in Louisville was going into labor.  It was interesting to have a doctor come in and tell you that you had to wait to have your child because they had to take the women who had “viable” babies first.  I totally understood that, but it was still unsettling.

A week after Faith was born, I had to go back for a checkup.  This was one of the hardest things I had to do.  Needless to say, there were A LOT of women in for their checkup.  I sat there and listened to some young (late teens) mothers complain about how they had to get up every 3 hours to feed their babies and how tired they were and on and on.  I so badly wanted to point out to them how selfish they were being and how they should be grateful that their child was even alive!  And how having to feed every 3 hours is nothing.  Try doing it every 45 minutes with a premie!  (Hunter was a premie and would eat that way because it wore him out so quickly.  Can you tell I was angry???)  I finally got called back to my room and my doctor had been paged for a delivery so I had to wait.  Down the hall they had a mother having a Fetal Stress Test done, so for an hour I got to sit and listen to a baby’s heartbeat.  I left the doctor’s office broken and hurt.  I went and bought my first pack of cigarettes in 5 years.  In my mind, at that moment, it was either smoking or drinking.  So, I chose the lesser of the two evils, so to speak.

Over the next few months, I grew more and more bitter the more I thought about it and the things that I witnessed around me with new mothers.  I couldn’t understand WHY God would allow drug addicts, young teens, irresponsible people (the list goes on and on) to have babies.  I can honestly say that I was so angry at God that I hated Him.  I was mad at myself and Tevis.  Why was I having to go through this?  What good could possibly come from this?  I was at a pivotal point in my life where I had to make some decisions about the direction I was going to go.

It all came down to pottery.  Potters have to do a lot of work to the clay to make it into what they are trying to shape.  Pottery is made by forming a clay body into objects of a required shape and heating them to high temperatures in a kiln which removes all the water from the clay, which induces reactions that lead to permanent changes including increasing their strength and hardening and setting their shape.  Prior to some shaping processes, clay must be prepared. Kneading helps to ensure an even moisture content throughout the body. Air trapped within the clay body needs to be removed. This is called de-airing and can be accomplished by a machine called a vacuum pug or manually by wedging. Wedging can also help produce an even moisture content. Once a clay body has been kneaded and de-aired or wedged, it is shaped by a variety of techniques. After shaping it is dried and then fired. (Wikipedia)  

I was (am) a very bull-headed person.  I don’t like being moved from my comfort zone.  I like to be in control of things.  It gives me security.  What I learned through Faith’s death was I needed to be refined.  And for stubborn pieces of clay, they take some extra work.  Extra HARD work, because they are difficult.  They have to be broken down to be able to build back up.  Once they are finally workable and are shaped, the piece is then fired at temperatures between 1800 – 2500 *F.  That’s hot!  The product that you get in the end is one of treasure and durability.  But it has to go through the entire process to get that way.

I can now say that I am thankful for the trial that we got to walk through with her death.  The bitterness has subsided and I’m no longer angry at God.  I still have those nagging questions as to why us but I understand a little better for what purpose.  I have had the opportunity to talk with other women who have just lost or are currently walking through that same hurricane.  He gives us each our own storm so we can bring hope to others going through the same thing.  Though I am struggling this year with it, I know the good that can come of it.  I just have to let the process continue and trust that in the end, the piece of pottery I will become will be something worth treasuring.  The storms come and the storms go but God’s loving hand is always their even though we may not feel it at that moment.  He’s crying when we cry, laughing when we laugh and He’s still always there, cheering us on.  “Take another step my child.  Trust me.  Take another step.”  So, on I walk.  Praising Him through each storm He sends.  =)  Be Blessed!

A Beautiful Choir of Autism

I came across this the other night and it brought tears to my eyes.  Yes, I understand that they are on the higher functioning end of the spectrum, but too often we do not give these kiddos a chance to develop the giftings that God blessed them with.  These kids HAVE a purpose just like everybody else.  God blessed them (yes I said blessed) with these different abilities.  I am thankful that to see someone taking the time to develop these children’s gifts.  I love the quote at the end of the video.  “The only limits to what they can do are the ones we put on them.”  So true and that can even go for others as well.  Let’s not limit these children.  Let’s help them soar!  How amazing!