Friday, August 4, 2017

Little Pot Syndrome

So, my dear hubby decided to surprise me with roses a couple months ago. Isn't he a sweetie? However, instead of buying me cut roses, which would fade away in a week or so, he brought me a miniature rose bush - so "they wouldn't die." I'm sure you know the type, a cute little rose bush, snuggled safely in a small throw-away container. It's meant to be planted.

Well, all this time (I'm in a brown-thumb season!) and I've still not found a place to plant it. It's sitting on the banister of my front porch...struggling to survive this hot, Georgia heat. You see, this little bush wasn't intended to stay confined to a pot. It has so much more potential than what I'm allowing it. *Sigh*

I was thinking about myself, and you. Sometimes we wonder why we're not reaching our purpose and potential. Why we're miserable in life. We have greatness inside us, God has great plans for us too, but we're struggling to survive. Why is that?

While I'm sure there are many reasons, don't you think one reason might be because sometimes we're afraid of change? We're used to this "little pot" we're in, the way we've been doing things, yet we continue, struggling to thrive in what we consider the safe confines of our comfort zone. We're not intended to be in a pot.

We each have been created according to a plan, carefully and skillfully drafted by God - before we were ever conceived:

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

We'll never be completely satisfied and fully thriving until we are doing that work (purpose) He instilled within us to do from the very beginning. 

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

It's not always going to be easy, we come into this world as babes, but we grow, fall, we change, and we move on. We don't stay confined to a pot. It's crippling! 

It's the same way in our spiritual walk. God has things only we can do. It requires us getting out of our comfort zone and taking what may seem and feel like a huge risk on our part. The truth is, as I'm finding out is the case many times, is what we feel isn't really that at all. God wants to nudge us out of our pot and into action fulfilling His purpose. 

"What's the answer?" you might say. I'd look at you, with my own set of yet-unconquered fears and say, "Give up the pot." 

Give up our safety. Our comfort. Our desires. Be willing to step out, to move from where we are - even when we're a little bit (or a whole lot) afraid of what might happen next and even if it feels a little (or a whole lot) yucky or messy at the moment. Even my tiny rose bush will have to acclimate to it's new spot. We will too! 

Scary? Maybe so. Worth it? Certainly!!! Every time. God has never had a plan that failed. He is a Master Designer and knows every ounce of potential you have inside you (and me) because He put it there. You didn't arrive on the scene with certain gifts and talents just because. He put them there for us to fulfill His purpose in our lives and without moving in that direction, we'll continually struggle to live life abundantly and flourish. Let's not be content to stay in the pot when we can be so much more. 

If you find yourself struggling, be sure you're not stifled by your own will and being contained to a container that's too small for the purpose which God intended for you. Join me in breaking free from the "safety" of our little pots. There's more to life than our own little spheres. God intends for us to spread our roots and connect so we can be fruitful and effective for His glory and honor. 

Now, I've got a rose bush to get out of a pot. Who will join me?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Brain Fog, Truth & Promises

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise..." II Peter 3:9

Shout out to all the wonderful people who have issues with "foggy brains" today. Bless your (our) hearts! Isn't God good anyhow!?

More often now than ever, I have those moments when my brain just won't catch up, catch on or catch anything for that matter. Those days when I feel like a complete goofball when asked a question, put on the spot or have to remember an important number. Debit card number. Huh? Phone number. Umm... Anybody else out there brave enough to admit there are times when those common place numbers and names escape your field of grasping? Lol  (I'm learning that it's much easier to just stop and laugh at myself than to get upset. That makes it worse!)

Anyhow, enough of that.

I lay in my bed with my eyes closed this morning, asking God, "Remind me of the promises you've made me. Tell me one more time again about myself in Your eyes. I need help remembering today." Don't we all suffer from the occasional "forgot who I am" moments?

Suddenly, I was humming the tune to an old song I remember singing as a child:

Roll back the curtains of memory now and then
Show me where you've brought me from
And where I could have been
Remember, I'm human and humans forget
So remind me, remind me, dear Lord

Wow! That was waaaaaaay back there...but today I was reminded again. Maybe God did it. I think sometimes we just need to be reminded of the TRUTHS life can cause us to temporarily forget. They supply us with hope and ignite our faith (and memory) once again.

Who & Whose we are.
What we've been promised.
What He's capable of.

I don't think there are more important things to remember than those. Those facts are much more important than my phone number or alarm code. While I'm definitely NOT an expert in this field, nor do I have this "concept" working to perfection in my life, I think it's something worth thinking about. They affect our lives on so many levels. From spiritual to emotional and even relational. How can we be productive and victorious in life when these truths and what we've been promised get clouded from our view?

Remind me, God.

If you've forgotten some of those important promises of God, if you've lost the sense of who you are, your purpose, or maybe even Whose you are. Let this post serve to jog your memory. The Bible is full of instances to remind us, stories of others who have forgotten also, and promises that will refresh our hearts, souls...and minds. If you're a friend to someone who has lost their way, take a moment to remind them of things/promises they might have forgotten and about who they are. You might just be the match that brings light and clarity into their darkness once again.

As I lay in my bed, with my eyes shut, waiting on God...He began to drop a few promises into my heart that I'd forgotten. He reminded me of some important information that I'd allowed to get stuck near the back of the filing cabinet of my soul. (Promise. Purpose. Shouldn't be stuck behind the "Z" file people!) Later, I was reading a text I had received earlier in the week...and once again God jogged my memory. Oh, how do I allow these things to be forgotten?! Oh, yeah, back to the song lyrics...I'm human, and humans forget.

Truth is still truth, promises are still in tact, God is still God and we are still who and what He says we are...even when we have a temporary brain lapse. 

Just because...we all need reminders on those forgetful, foggy-brain days and those days when life can get somewhat overwhelming. Be encouraged today~

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Race

Run the race
No matter the ride
Strive each day
To win the prize
No matter what is seems
Keep walking - even limping
The victory will come
If you just keep on - winning
Day by day
Moment by moment
Don't quit, don't give up
He's holding you - your Father
Don't be discouraged
The race is almost over
Get up
Arrive a conqueror

"I press toward the mark for the prize 
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 3:14 

It's On the Table

I've spoken a lot about the "messy" parts of know, the ugly parts we can't seem to escape from quickly enough, the parts we don't scrapbook or post to Facebook or Instagram. The parts that aren't Pinterest pretty! We've agreed that each and every one of us have those awful-feeling days and moments in our lives - yet they probably look different for each of us.

I was reading today, one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible and one verse poked at me really hard, Psalm 23:5 -

"Thou preparest a table before me 
in the presence of mine enemies:"

What?! The word "enemies" here translates to being cramped, be in affliction, to be in distress, to be in trouble, vexed...I had never looked at it that way before today. It wasn't necessarily someone who was provoking me. 

I thought about how my mind, emotions and feelings play tricks and get the best of me at times. Yes, God is working on this with me - daily. When they aren't "for" me, they're against me...thus, I think it safe to say I can label them as enemies. 

When these things (thoughts, emotions and feelings) get off track, as they often do, life can feel mighty messy. However, I can still take rest in knowing that even in those moments of shifted focus and weakness, God prepares a table for me. I can be at peace even when everything within me is screaming, "This isn't a time for peace. I don't like this season! Everything is crazy and upsetting!" Yet, I know my God. 

Although at times I forget and become blinded to this truth, He can do anything, whenever He gets ready. So, preparing a table for me to sit down at and get exactly what I need to be victorious isn't a problem for Him. Goodness, if I can just remember that! Everything I could ever need, He supplies. It's on the table!

Who prepares a meal for someone without sitting to enjoy it with them? When I prepare a meal for my friends and family, I want to sit with them, to enjoy the time together, as well as the food. I want them to feel safe and to stop everything else and just be present. I think God longs to do the same thing with you and I. 

During messy parts of life, He beckons you and I to get our eyes off of our "enemies" and join Him at the feast He's prepared in our honor. A safe place too. Truth is, sometimes I fail to look beyond my situations and circumstances. Anyone else have a problem with that? True statement though: one thing God won't do is MAKE us sit at the table, we have a standing invitation though.

The banquet room is always ready...there we can find peace and safety - even in the midst of our enemies. He longs for us to sit and share what we're feeling with Him; for us to cast our cares upon Him. There's always a seat there with my name on it! Yours too. This table is a place of refuge. Of relationship. Of healing. Whatever we have need of, it's on the table.

Let's pull up a chair today, forget about the "messy" that makes us feel weak and brings confusion and lack of focus into our lives. Our enemies have no reservations at this table! What a blessing.

Let's enjoy peace, rest and all the goodness God longs to share with us. I invite you to join me as we look into His eyes and receive rest for our wearied souls. Hope. Everything we need, we can find in Him. Our enemies aren't welcome, my friend, but everything we have need's on the table.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of this world
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Friday, July 21, 2017

It Can't Stay Forever

We're all in one, a season. They are inevitable and perpetual. Spring, summer, winter fall...spring, summer...catch my drift here? Never-ending. 

Wasn't God kind to create this world with variety? I love the spring, when flowers pop nervously out of the ground to greet us with bright, colorful smiles after a bleak, harshly-cold winter. My favorite season is fall, when the fiery hues are vibrant and the leaves crinkle loudly under my boots. And...there's summer. That's all I'm going to say about that! Seasons. Although we each have our favorites, aren't we thankful that we don't get stuck with just one?

Yes, we're all affected by seasons in "life" too. Some of us experience empty nest season while others have rambunctious toddlers, brimming over with energy, running throughout our homes. Still, others have tweens and teens who are in the closing years of their adolescence. Some of us are in a long stretch of marriage (for me it will be twenty-six years this next week), while others are just beginning and are in the "newly wed" stage trying to figure it all out. may know exactly what you're doing and where you're headed in life, while I am filled with much uncertainty. You may have conquered all sorts of tests and trials while a friend may be floundering trying to figure it all out yet. A co-worker might be experiencing extreme health issues while you're in a healthy period of life. One person may be fretting about the lack of security and peace of mind that comes with having a place to call home, while another might be settled securely into their place of safety. We're all in seasons. I don't mean to drag on and on, but do you see what I'm saying? I hope so.

No matter where we find ourselves today...there is HOPE. That thread we're all so desperately trying to hold on to. THIS SEASON won't last always, my friend, remember the phrase, "this too shall pass"? Today, I'm thinking of one verse in particular:

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

When we wait and "keep on keeping on" no matter what life brings our way or what season we find ourselves in...we SHALL...girls, it's going to happen!!!

We SHALL renew our strength...
when we've experienced weakness and hopelessness.
We SHALL mount up...
when we've been down and in the depths of despair.
We SHALL run...
when we've wanted to break down and hide.
We SHALL walk and not faint...
when we've felt like giving up and throwing in the towel.

Wherever we find ourselves, the Lord SHALL ________. You fill in the blank with your situation or need...whatever your season. 

Whether it be strength, health, finances, restoration, peace, security, etc.; we can be assured that in His time...HE SHALL. This season won't last always! 

If it seems unbearable, if you feel you're about to break under the heavy load, if you're discouraged today or if it feels like you're missing out while others are carrying on...hang in there. We're all in different seasons. Your season hasn't come to can't. He sees. He knows. We're not alone or on our own. 

Repeat it with me today...HE SHALL BRING IT TO PASS! It can't stay forever.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

How Great Thou Art

This week, my hubby took me on a surprise excursion. What fun! The road led us past corn fields, grassy meadows and into the foot of the mountains. I love nature. I am amazed at the creativity of my God and sometimes wonder how exciting it might have been to be there in the beginning when He spoke it all into existence.

Standing across the way, I took it all in from a viewing deck. I stood speechless at the awesomeness of another one of God's creations we'd just discovered. Little River Falls. 

The falls roared so loudly...I thought about the strength of the waters cascading over the rocks. I thought about the tumbling of the current at the bottom of the falls where it all came crashing together. I noticed the quiet, softness of mist rising through the air as the warm, sun rays made it sparkle like bits of glitter scattered about here and there. 

I thought about the Lord. How He is the strongest force to be reckoned with - hands down. Almighty! I thought about how He is also such a compassionate shepherd. Gentle. 

We traveled up the mountain a bit more and stopped at one of the overlooks. The same falls but from a much different vantage point. I couldn't hear the roar or feel the cool mist but it's beauty was still undeniable and again I stood in awe. 

Standing there, taking it all in, I sent a whisper heaven-ward, "How great Thou art!" Nothing can match or even compare to the greatness of my Lord. Absolutely amazing! I can only imagine how David must have felt when he penned the words:

"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;"  Psalms 8:3

He is the Almighty. Yet, He created such intricate details for us to enjoy. It wasn't enough to give us a world to live in, He made sure we'd be awed by it. Isn't that just like my God! He went to the "nth" to show us, just a little bit clearer, of how much His heart passionately cares for us. 

"What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" Ps. 8:4

The same great, big, amazing God that created this masterpiece I was enjoying created you and I. Us! Weak, frail, limited human beings. We're sinful, we doubt and question His ways far too often. Yet, He thinks of us constantly and loves us beyond our wildest imagination. And...wait for it...He desires relationship with us! 

This great, big, awesome God, wants you and I to remember we're the works of His hands too. He created this beautiful world, filled with sites like Little River Falls, for us to live in and enjoy, but He created us for His dwelling! What?! I cannot begin to fathom that!

Simply in awe today...the only reply and praise I have in my soul is this: I am so deeply humbled by the opportunity to be His dwelling place; my heart shouts loudly from the hills...Oh God, how very great Thou art!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Only Me - Part 2

It's  been over a month since I posted I'm the Only Me You Get. Life gets busy, life happens, and it can be like a roller coaster at times. With a grimace on my face, I read the title of my last post once again today. The thought was certainly accurate, yet I've been feeling much differently since then. Why? Because my FEELINGS are sometimes way bigger than the truth! I know, it's not supposed to be that way. They cast shadows on what I know to be true. Still, although I know this, my perception can get cloudy at times. You too? Sometimes it's easier to write something like Poor You, If I'm the Only Me You Get.

I'm afraid I'm not the only "feel-ist" who deals with ugly episodes of lies and tricks. How can I be so sure? First, most of us reading this post are probably females. Secondly, we will all experience times when we're feeling  insecure and weak. Thirdly, we go through different seasons spiritually, as well as, physically. Sometimes those seasons leave even the strongest ladies feeling unable to cope on every level. Key word: FEELING. Wonder Woman? Not I!

Ladies are "feelers" and if we're not constantly on guard, we'll get tripped up by the exact characteristic God intended to be one of our strengths. Yet, which one of us diligently keeps our guard up all the seconds in every day? I'll be honest, I fail miserably at times...feelings win. Then, the lies and savvy tricks overwhelm me. What, you too?  I look at myself and think, "Girl, you did it now! How'd that happen?" In those moments it would be easy to give up. "What's the use?"

I read something the other day that spoke to my soul. "You'll never hear God say you're more trouble than you're worth."

Even when we're weak and feel like a failure, when we feel we can't hold the shield up for one more second, when we think it's over and we've lost the battle...God still stands guard. He is still the Victor and He's not afraid of our feelings. Most importantly, He'll never say, or think, we're not worth the fight.

There are moments in all our lives when we're ready to give up on ourselves. There are paths we walk that will test our stamina and our determination. There will be days when we have to ignore what we're feeling. Though we may fall, He will pick us up - again and again. We learn and grow. In those character-building moments, the Lord holds us and gently teaches us to trust, rest and hope in Him. The valley is never a waste when you have the Champion on your side!

No matter how we  may be feeling today, where we might find ourselves on this pathway, we can be hopeful. It's OK to feel weak, to need help, to need bandages for skinned-up knees at times. It's completely alright not to feel like Wonder Woman, or ourself for that matter. Feelings don't always tell us the truth, but God does. He says we are His. We are special, strong and brave...and we have what it takes to Him. We can lift our heads and proclaim, I'm not my feelings! I'm more than a conqueror...and the only me you get."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I'm the Only Me You Get

First, I must admit that I'm very picky when it comes to shoes; very rarely do I find a pair that I like enough to purchase. Even on "good feet" days, my favorite shoes are flip-flops! I think they should be acceptable shoes for all occasions. OK, I know, they're not. 

Here's my situation: My foot and heel has been so irritated the last couple weeks (plantar fasciitis with a heel spur) that I have had trouble wearing any shoes, so my hubby graciously took a half-day off of work and so we could go shoe shopping. Isn't he a keeper!?

Anyhow, after browsing through multiple shoe stores, pressing down on the heel pads, inspecting for perfect arch support, and trying on several pairs I thought might be "IT", we ended our shopping day without success. I did enjoy my time with my wonderful hubby though and I suppose flip-flops (or bare feet) will be my option for the moment.

While I was shoe shopping, I kept thinking, "I needed shoes specifically designed for my foot shape. Not a generic pair of shoes from a plain, ordinary, rectangular box that is supposed to fit most any foot that is shoved into it." NO! I needed to be Cinderella...I needed something that would be a perfect fit. Just the right arch height and support, the perfect amount of cushion on the heel, not too tight, etc. You know, a perfect fit!

Later on, I was thinking about all those shoes and about how God specifically created each of us with different abilities, talents and traits. We're each suited for a specific purpose that only we can fill. That's right, each one of us are intended to do something that only we can do, we have a purpose that only we can fulfill, and God planned it and made us uniquely on purpose. Yeah, that's a lot of "purpose."

I'm the only ME you get. And you are the only YOU we get. 

"...called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, 
but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began..."  II Timothy 1:9

God doesn't work with one-size-fits-all projects. It's true, He specifically designed us, from our mother's womb, to be a perfect fit for the job, purpose, or calling that He has anticipated for us to do. He has instilled within us all we need to fulfill His plan - we have a "holy calling." It's not actually about us, it's not about our plan; we're a perfect fit for His plan. I'm the only me He made. There are no duplicates. Nobody else can fill that hole.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Eph. 2:10

While it might sound a bit arrogant or confident (whichever way you might choose to view it), and maybe repetitive, please understand it from this perspective:

Shoes...they're replaceable. We're not. 

Shoe designers try to imagine what people will like and search for in a good shoe. God already knew, designed and fashioned us exactly how He anticipated us to perfectly fulfill His purpose. 

While we may change throughout our life time, God's doesn't change His mind about His purpose for my (and your) life - it is unchanging. I am not replaceable. What if we lived our lives boldly for the Lord with that thought in our minds? "I'm the only "me" this world gets! Lord, help me be effective and fulfill your purpose."

It might be difficult to find a shoe to fit properly, but we can hold our head up and know that we fit the plan of God perfectly, because He does all things well. Our shoes might not fit without cramping our toes, but we can be confident in knowing He made us and has worked within us so we will fit perfectly into His plan and fulfill His purpose. 

I might walk into 100 shoe stores in search of the perfect shoe, and walk out empty-handed, reverting to my favorite pair of flip-flops; but without a doubt I can be OK with that, because I know shoes are replaceable. Yet God always gets it right the first time.

Join me today! Dare we say it? Or believe it? YES!!! Let's settle it in our mind that God has a plan for our lives. Let's remind and encourage each other that we're designed for a Holy plan - to be all we can be and use everything He's instilled in us for His glory. Let's make up our mind to give our all and not settle for the flip-flop mentality.

Somebody say it with me, "I'm the only me you get." 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Endless Apps from an Unlimited God

Photo credit:

We've all seen commercials and advertisements for "Endless Apps." We all want unlimited amounts of something every once in a while - not just appetizers - it might be money, vacations, time, health or any number of other things.

Endless. Continual. Unending. Unlimited. Nonstop. 
Unchanging. Everlasting.

Gravity. It keeps us from flying. It keeps us anchored to this earth. Spending limits. Credit cards aren't endless passes for us to shop until we drop. Speed limits. Even if there were none, vehicles can only go so fast. The strongest man in the world knows there is a certain point when he can lift no more. You see, nothing here on this earth is really "unlimited" when we stop and think about it. Funny thing is, even Endless Apps and unlimited refills are limited by how much our bodies can actually consume. 

Believe it or not though, there are some things we can obtain in this life that are endless. Unlimited supplies DO exist. While I might be limited in my ability, strength and time; I have a God who is unlimited and the "apps" He offers us are always unlimited - endless. 

His graces is always enough. (II Cor. 12:9) His mercies are new every morning. (Lam. 3:23) His truth never ceases. (Ps. 100:5) He has an unlimited supply of strength. (Is. 26:4) He is able to supply every need. (Phil. 4:19) He even offers eternal life (John 3:15) and everlasting love. (Jer. 31:3) 

When God is in control of our lives, we can always enjoy the thrill of "Endless Apps." He is unshakable and unstoppable. In Him we will always find strength, peace and sweet rest. We can be assured that He is more than able to supply, that He has unlimited access to whatever we are in need of, and is able to show up on any scene at a moments notice...merely at the mention of His name. He can move mountains and make a way out of no way. Oh goodness, there are more perks than I can even begin to write about, even if I wrote every moment for the rest of my life. Talk about endless!

Here's the great thing: He invites us to join Him in this unlimited way of life. I suppose I need to say this though: the only thing that limits Him is you and I. Not that we can put Him on a leash or hamper His abilities, after all, He is all-powerful; however, He is a gentleman and will do for us only what we allow Him to. That is His only limitation. His resources are infinite. His power undeniable. His love boundless...let me just leave you with this:

Choose to live limitless.
Enjoy endless apps from an unlimited God.

"Endless apps" anyone? 
It is ours just for the taking. It's a gift from God to us. (Rom. 6:23) He's waiting to give liberally to everyone who asks. He is no respecter of persons and knows no limits. 

What a glorious opportunity you and I have. It's better than any weekend splurge at the local restaurant. It's eternal. It's our promise. How's that for "Endless Apps?" 

Get started today...
read Acts 2:38-40 - experience
"unlimited apps" from a God who 
loved you enough to die -
so you could live 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Summertime Lesson

I stood at my kitchen sink this morning. Glancing out the window, something caught my attention and suddenly all time stood still. God was giving me a summer-time lesson on life.

Right outside that window is our pool; but that's not actually what caught my eye. It was actually the sight of tiny ringlets of water ripples forming across the surface of the water. I just stood there perplexed, and continued to watch; then it dawned on me what was actually causing those formations. Raindrops so tiny that they weren't even visible to my eye...yet they were there.

A few moments later, I looked again and there were more and more tiny ringlets forming as a gentle - now visible - light shower of raindrops fell. I stood there for a few moments more and thought about prayers for refreshing rains to fall in my soul. 

"Repent ye...when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;"    
Acts 3:19

Ouch! Sometimes I do it without even realizing it. I get all wrapped up in doing life; things are good and I can easily say, "It is well with my soul!" We all love those moments in the journey, don't we? Moving right along, and everything is just peachy we might tack on to the description of our days. 

But then days come when, all the sudden I find myself struggling. It gets really messy! It's probably a bit (or a lot) of pride, but I try to do the Biblical thing and encourage myself in the Lord. You know, I attempt to handle things on my own. Don't we all do it at times or am I alone on this one? I tell myself, "OK, you need to shore up here. Don't be distracted! Don't fall for that trick again. Be wise! Shake yourself off and get up and go on. You should be more grown than this!" We know all the right things to say I suppose. However, were we made or expected to be so independent? 

We all must mature in our Christian walk, but do we ever really get BIG enough to do it on our own? No, as awful as it may sound, I'm (we're) needy at times. Our Father made us to be dependent upon Him and each other. There are indeed times when we're not supposed to "handle it on our own." Yet, I admit, it's hard at times to open up and admit I'm struggling. Even though it's more-than-alright to do so.

When I run to the arms of my loving Savior; He never turns me away. I repent and ask Him to forgive my stubbornness and wash my heart clean once again...I ask for that refreshing rain to fall gently into my heart and renew my mind. One of the beautiful things about God is that He is always faithful to do so. 

There's truly nothing like being in His presence! There, as I open myself to Him, He restores. I suppose I imagine those refreshing rains kind of like the gentle rain that made those tiny ringlets of ripples in our pool this morning. It was a beautiful reminder of God's gentle touch, His unconditional love and faithfulness toward me. I am reminded that I need Him, that I cannot - and am not expected to - do this on my own. 

Beautiful, refreshing ringlets...always available for me and you. Sweet refreshing rains in the presence of the Lord. It is well with my soul!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Being Still...

"...but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; 
but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." 
I Kings 19:11-12 

I was enjoying a quiet day on the home front. With nothing of much importance on the all-mighty To-Do List, I was able to slow down and be quiet for a few moments longer than usual. It was a gray, cloudy, day with storms forecast for the afternoon hours. Home alone. No noise. No distractions. I was being still. 

I had snuggled onto the couch when I heard it. I'm sure it wasn't really quite as loud as it seemed, yet the little bird seemed to be blasting its song over a megaphone for all practical purposes. In the quiet, stillness of my day, this feathered creature immediately got my attention. world stood still as I enjoyed its sweet song.

I began to wonder how many times we miss important God-whispers because there isn't much quiet, stillness in our days. The more advanced and modernized we become, the quicker we can do things, the more we expect to get done in a single day and the faster we seem to go. Truthfully, we leave very little time in our days in which to set aside for quietness. I mean, how many times have we made or heard the statement "There's not enough time in a day..."? 

The truth is, if God gave us more hours in a day, 
we'd probably still not find time to squeeze 
"being still" into our day.

Sure, God can speak to us as we're zipping full-speed-ahead through our days. He speaks in the loud whirlwind and we might hear Him, but what if He chooses to whisper in the quiet stillness? Will we ever hear His call in our rushed state of mind and being? 

After it quit singing, I continued to sit quietly, thinking about what we might be missing out on? Are we drowning out the voice of God with media? Radio? Television? Games? Cell phones? Pandora? Playlists? Movies? Are we missing His voice because we're busy as a bee, scuttling to and from this event or that extra-curricular activity, working over-time, or running endless errands? 

Are we missing His tug because we're too busy and 
our world is just too noisy? 

I wonder how God must feel when we continually crowd Him out of our days. I know we cannot make time stand still, but I am challenged to do better. I'm challenged to make myself be still somewhere in my day so I can be intentional about listening for His voice. Won't you join me?

Try it for seven days. Let's see what a difference it might make in our lives? What exciting things would we have to share with one another if we took this challenge seriously and made it a lifestyle. Just a side note for others: If we don't answer the phone on the first ring tomorrow or show up on time for the next PTA or staff meeting, we might just be practicing the art of being still - before the King

I'll catch up with you later~

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When God Says "Enough!"

"The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace."  
Psalms 29:11

I've written lately about the storms of life and such...about how life is hard and even ugly sometimes. For instance, some days we have to count the lemons until were able to count the blessings again. Then, there was the post about God not "saving the day" but He saves us through our days.  Oh, and I can't quickly forget the post written about being hidden in Him until the storm is over. I'm reminded through all this, that I CAN make it through those dark, ugly moments in life. Yes, they will come but I can overcome...and so can you.

Yesterday, my thoughts began to shift into another vein of God's faithfulness. I was thinking about Job and how God allowed Satan to make Job's life miserable on every level. It's hard to fathom how a God who loves us so deeply would allow us to go through those times in which we feel we'll never make it. Job was a man that "was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil." (Job 1:1) Yet...God allowed Satan to do anything to him, with the exception of killing him, to prove to Satan that Job was the real-deal. That seems so crazy, and even warped, to our human minds, huh? 

I think about situations in my own life and the lives of those I hold near and dear in my heart. I don't always understand exactly what the Lord is doing. Often times, it doesn't make a lick of sense in my mind. I know the scripture that says it rains on the just and unjust, but sometimes it seems like torrential downpours that just won't let up. A continual pounding for the faithful, devoted, child of God. How could this be? Why? Where's God at? Why won't He hurry up and answer? We're all good at questioning and crying out to God to ease the pain and suffering, aren't we? Lord, please answer our prayers! QUICK!

What if this time it's a case of God giving the devil permission to bombard us because He trusts us to be able to handle it? That puts things in quite a different perspective, doesn't it? There is still pain, we still fear, we still long for it to be over and behind us....but somehow we have to know that God has us in the palm of His hand even in the storm. He is not short concerning His promises and He always has His eyes upon us. That brings hope even in the midst of the storms, my friend. 

In the darkest, loneliest night, when our strength is all but vanished...

God suddenly whispers, "Enough is enough!" 

BAM!!! Just like He spoke in the very beginning of time and there was light; God says "Enough!" and the storm is over. IMMEDIATELY! The devil can't argue with that. He may be allotted a time to buffet us, but then his time is up. All the drama he conjured up during that time, is suddenly ceased and there is blessed peace. Not only is there peace, but God restores and blesses above and beyond. It's almost as if we're payed back because we made it through. Sweet restoration.

He didn't bless Job again with the same things Satan took away either, no God restored above and beyond what was taken away during Job's dark storm. He's no respecter of persons either, He'll do the same for us! 

When we feel we're in those times of intense pounding, when the storms seems to beat us down, while we may be assured that the enemy of our soul is on the loose, we can rest assured knowing God is present. He is in control. We just need to keep standing, praying and living like we know to do. And, if it is indeed a time when God has permitted the devil an opportunity to try us, we can be sure that there IS going to be a moment when He whispers, "Enough is enough!" and all will be well again. 

Indeed, friend, get ready for the blessings to start pouring down upon you instead. It's a beautiful ending to a season of dark, chaotic storms. This stormy season hasn't been the end of your story, or mine, it's merely the beginning of beautifully, planned, season of restoration - made possible by the Lord of the storm. 

Let's put our umbrella's away and dance together in the drizzle. God has said, "Enough."

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Just Write - The Gift

I love to write. I cannot keep from writing. When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about, listening and watching for something to write about. (I love college-ruled paper and black pens...and my trusty laptop which helps me write and edit with ease.) People joke with me and say, "Write about that!" 

I received a special heart-gift this week from a friend which included a book entitled, "Just Write." It makes me happy to write. When I have writers block, I'm a miserable creature. I have been blessed with an insatiable desire to write words. Yet, it doesn't matter to me if I ever produce a best seller. I'm not interested in a novel on the top of any readers list. I don't need fame, fortune, etc. - that's not what gratifies me. 

What I desire most when I write is for the words I pen to enter the heart of a reader somewhere out there and for that person's heart to be encouraged, inspired and turned toward God. Because, after all, the most important aspect of our lives is the soul part that will live eternally. I write to encourage and uplift those souls. (I write on some days to do that to my own weary soul.)

What makes writing worthwhile to me?

It's not about how many "likes" I get on Facebook or having someone "tweet" one of my originals. Although those things might be a tad bit exciting when they do happen, that's not what it's all about.  I often share the three steps I've come up with and use in my writing process, "1) Just write it, 2) click publish and 3) pray for God to let it reach whomever may need it."

When I follow those steps, God does amazing things. Just today, I received a text from someone who said, "Your post yesterday was for me, thanks." It's at times like that when I feel God is looking down on me with a smile or giving me a quick wink. Occasionally, I'll receive a message or comment on Facebook thanking me for posting and how it had been just what that person had needed that day. It's in moments like these that I feel blessed to be able to pen words and get my thoughts down on paper. When someone comments on my blog and says, "I didn't think of it that way. Thanks for sharing your perspective." It is inspiring to me.  Oh, how I love it when God allows the gift He's given me to bless the hearts of others. 

However, I know it's not all about me. If I never receive interaction on anything I write ever again, that's OK. It's about the gift. It's about the God who's given the gift. It's about sharing the gift. It's about that gift touching the life of a sister (or brother) out there who might be struggling and in need of some encouragement. It's about that sweet soul being uplifted and inspired to keep on putting one foot in front of the other as they walk toward God...whether I ever find out or not.  

That, my friend, is why I write. Why. I. Love. To. Write. The gift.

Thanks to each of you who have blessed me with a glimpse of how my gift has touched your life. It's always so encouraging. Also, I'd like to thank those of you who silently read. Keep reading, please! And to those who encourage me to WRITE and help support me in my endeavors...thank you. I am one blessed girl! Writing brings me such joy.

Until next time...I'm glad you stopped by. Keep your eyes on Jesus and share your gifts. You can do it! Together, we can make it. Jesus is coming soon! Until then...I'll JUST WRITE and share my gift with whomever the Lord brings onto this path. Blessings~

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

He Saves Me

We're all aware, we've all seen or read about it, the types of cartoons and stories where a super-hero flies in with a mask on and his cape fluttering in the wind as he enters a troublesome scene to "save the day." Yes!!! Who doesn't love a hero!?

Have you ever had that scene creep into the desires of your own real-life situations? Have you ever just wanted someone to sweep right in and save the day for you? I'm sure we've all been there at one time or another. Trouble is real. Grief is undeniable. Hurt is inevitable. Life can be tough!

We send prayers Heavenward in hopes of some relief. We trust God and expect Him to answer. We know He will. He's promised to take care of us, to see to our needs and to hear our every call. And...we stand upon those promises. We look for Him to sweep in and save the day. YET...

Sometimes He answers - and it's not what we thought it would look like. In the middle of our trying circumstances, He might not fly in and throw whatever "it" is far away in order to save us. In our difficult relationships, He might not go on the hunt for the "bad" guys and totally annihilate them on our behalf. He might not do any of those remarkable things we can imagine a super-hero to do. 

As I was thinking about all this, this simple thought came to my mind:

When God doesn't save the day, He saves me!

Need some Biblical examples? Consider Noah, he went through the flood. Moses, he went through all sorts of situations with the children of Israel. Joseph went through multiple occasions when he probably wished the Lord would have saved the day. What about Paul? There are many more examples, but in every situation, God was there for His child while they were going thru.

I'm reminded of the verse that sums it up so well. Words spoken by Jesus:

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." 
John 16:33

On our most desperate days, when we feel we can't make it another mile, our Hero tells us to be of good cheer. He gives us peace. He provides the strength for us to keep walking. He shines bright so we can see the pathway ahead. Let's be encouraged today - and tomorrow - and the next day. God might not always save us from our situations, my friend, but He saves us - every time.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Counting Lemons

"Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: 
thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness..." 
Psalms 30:11


They have a reputation for being sour. Tasting a lemon often results in a grimace on ones face. How many times have we sat across the table from a little boy or girl and laughed at their response to being "treated" to a lemon? 

We don't usually like sour things, do we? 

Sometimes I get side-tracked when things in life begin to go hay-wire. Do you? Maybe it starts with something seemingly small and even insignificant, which might leave me feeling small and insignificant. It shouldn't "break" me down; yet, there I am...responding to the sour taste in my mouth. Hey, I'll be the first to admit, I don't always pass the tests first time around. 

There comes a time, after what seems like continual flying lemons for days, when I feel myself start to weaken and buckle under the weight of it all. Ever been there? I'm sure if you're reading this, you have. It happens to us all at one time or another. The tears flow like rivers. Our hearts hurt. We don't understand. Maybe we want to fight, or perhaps run away and hide. I tend to do the latter. No, I'm not proud of the fact, that's just how I respond more often than not. The Lord's working on me!

It happens somewhere between a meltdown and when I begin to let the Lord step in to comfort me and help me look at things from a different perspective. Somewhere along the way I must choose to do something with those lemons which are making my day miserable and leaving me with a grimace on my own face...and like it.

During those weak moments, the enemy adds fuel to the fire - often leaving us feeling rejected and unloved. All lies! Yes, he's super-good at throwing out his own arsenal of lemon-bombs. It's the "kick 'em while they're down" concept. And, although we know better; sometimes we fall for his tricks - yes, in spite of knowing the truth. 

So what do you do with all those lemons you're left holding? We all know the answer to that age old question: we make lemonade. Or lemon something. Anything! Will it be easy? No, I'm not saying it will be easy-peasy to squeeze those lemons into something good. It takes time and effort to juice a lemon! Anything is possible with the Lord though. Right?! Somewhere between the meltdown and standing tall again, we must allow the Lord to wrap us up. He doesn't like for us to hurt or to think of ourselves as "less than" - especially since He's proven otherwise many, many times. 

I was thinking about the lemon Mary and Martha dealt with when Lazarus died. What a sour moment for them! Jesus came on the scene and wept with them, but then said, "Take ye away the stone." (John 11:39) Yes, He turned their sour situation into a sweet delight. He turned their grief and mourning into dancing, laughter and joy. He can do the same thing with our lemons too, my friend. It is His desire and good pleasure.

He'll never sit across the table from us and laugh at our response to something that seems to take our breath away.

What's better than lemonade on a hot, humid, summer day? Can't you just envision that large, cold glass of pale-yellow, refreshing, deliciousness? It can't happen without those sour lemons we'd rather not deal with! When it feels like there aren't many blessings to count...we can begin again by counting lemons.

Dear God -
During those less-than-desirable
moments in life, when I'm not holding it
together too well, please hold me close
and help me deal with the lemons -
until you've stepped in and
made something better
out of them.
Help me to remember, I can
always count on You!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

One Thing I Desire

I remember during my elementary days, in Christian school, when we were supposed to choose a life verse. A verse that meant something special to me. I'll admit, at that point in life, I didn't have a special, personalized verse to hang my proverbial hat upon. Yeah. While I don't remember, my verse was most likely Philippians 4:13 - just because someone I liked had chosen that one. Not really a good reason to grab hold to a life verse, huh?

Somewhere along the way, as I was growing into adulthood, a verse began to wrap itself around my heart. It became special. I don't know if it happened all at once or whether it was just a slow-growing process. Whatever the case, I can definitely say today that I have a life that I hold onto tightly.

Psalms 27:1, "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple."

I love to go to church. I've found throughout my years that I have a deep love to be in the house of the Lord. As a young person, whenever we'd have tornado warnings or really bad weather, I'd always want to be at church. Yes, I felt safe in this big, open, sanctuary that would probably not be considered the safest place to be in such a storm. Why did I feel safe? If you would have asked me then, I would've said, "Because it's God's house." It seemed so simple to me.

I love working at the church. It doesn't matter what I'm doing, whether cleaning toilets, working in the office, helping decorate Sunday school rooms, mowing the lawn...I could go on and on. However, most of all, I love when it's church time. I love to feel God's presence! There's nothing like it. Often times I regret that we have to leave after a service where the sweet presence of the Lord was so undeniable.

I love to worship the Lord with my church family. Yet, one of my favorite times is when there's nobody there but me and I go to the keyboard to spend some quality time - just me and the Lord. There's something intimate about playing and singing unto the Lord when you're all alone and there are no distractions. I think David understood this. In those special moments I sing, tears fall and I just enjoy worshiping the Lord. He always meets me there. The beauty of the Lord. I never leave without my heart being touched and my spirit being refreshed.

I love to hear the Word preached. There's nothing like going to church and listening to pastor break down God's Word for me. My Bible is filled with notes scribbled in the margins, on the blank pages, the title page and...well, pretty much wherever I can find a spot. Sometimes I feel like I could sit for hours on end and listen. I find I wish there was "more time" to take it all in. There's so much about God I don't know and understand that I desire more. To learn of the Lord...nothing is more satisfying to this girl. 

There's nothing I desire more, than to be in God's house, and I never want to take it for granted. In the presence of God, that's where I want to be...I wish I never had to leave. Just to day, and I don't believe we're too far away...those who love dwelling in the presence of the Lord, will be able to spend eternity worshiping Him without ever having to leave His presence. What a day that will be!

The beautiful thing I've learned with this verse is this: as much as I love to be in the Lord's presence, He loves to have me there even more. That's just amazing to me. Oh, how I love the Lord - I want to seek Him daily. That's the one thing I desire. And's my life verse the way I feel it in my heart.

Do you have a special verse?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hide Me Till It's Over

"Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: 
yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, 
until these calamities be overpast."  Psalms 57:1

I recall the comment in the Bible, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." I think about how many times I've muttered that same phrase in the middle of the messy days of life. You know, things can get topsy-turvy quite quickly. 

I was reading in my favorite book of the Bible, which happens to be Psalms just in case you aren't aware. I read this verse (the one at the beginning of this post) and I suddenly laughed out loud. 

Be merciful, God! How many times have I cried out to God during ugly, uncertain times in my life. It's almost like we're pleading with God to deliver us, and take all the scary moments and monsters out of our lives. You know, the monsters under the well as the ones screaming loudly in our heads. 

Next portion: 
Lord, I trust in you! OK, we're all quick to say that one. Most of the time we believe that to be true too and we give it our best shot to be brave and "trust" God through it all. Please understand, I'm not making light of our attempts. We all grow in our trust levels at different speeds just as toddlers learning to walk. I can just imagine how silly my feeble attempts must appear as I try to convince God that I know He's got it all and I have no fear or doubt. Yeah, I find it's easier said than done at times, what about your experience? "I trust you, Lord," I I hold my breath and wait for a miracle to happen.

Continuing on...
Now, hide me until all this is over and I can deal with it all! (That's where I laughed out loud.) Isn't that just like us ladies? Isn't that how we view those difficult seasons?!

Help me Lord, I trust  you. 
Now, just hide me until it's all over!!!

Of course, I know that's my version, Steff's Living Version, and maybe that isn't quite how the psalmist was feeling it when He penned it, but that's how it popped into my mind anyhow. Yeah, the good Lord made me with quite a sense of humor...nevertheless.

Isn't it just like our loving God to be patient and allow us to trust Him at whatever level we might find ourselves in our walk with Him? He allows us to call out to Daddy for help! He knows how frightening it can be at times and He doesn't look down  upon us because we're frightened. Quite the contrary!

We know He can do anything; nothing is impossible with Him.  He doesn't stop there we give it our best attempt to do what He's asked of us, to trust in Him, He always goes one step further. He is so strong...yet so very gentle. He will willingly and lovingly tuck us safely under His wing "until". He protects us and allows us to feel Him near....because He's a good Father. I don't know about you, but there's just some days when I just need Him to hold me extra close. What about you? 

So, if you're in one of those "hide me till it's over" moments...just stay put. You're not alone, I'm there too and so are others. Let's join together and do what we know to do...abide in Him...and one day it WILL be over. We might not always see the way clearly, but we can simply choose to trust at our level. Until then, let's rest in knowing He is our refuge. And...He allows us to gather together, to hide out, and encourage each other until "this too" shall pass. It will! How do I know? Because, He is merciful.

Be blessed~