Tuesday, August 6, 2013
It's official! I've moved!
Come see my new place! :)
Posted by Shelly at 10:42 AM
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I am jumping up and down with excitement over some new things happening! But until I can share, can I ask for your patience? This non-techie girl who sometimes spends more hours per day in her pjs than she should is attempting to start a new website where eventually this space will find a new home. And while you're being so generous with your patience might you also offer up some prayers for me? :)
It would be my honor to pray for you, as well. Leave your request here or connect with me on
Much love and blessings,
Posted by Shelly at 2:16 PM
Monday, July 1, 2013
As I approached the big 4-0 last year I found myself once again pondering questions such as:
Who am I? Am I enough? Am I doing enough? What have I done with my life that has made a difference? Where do I go from here?
We should ponder these types of questions, I think. But our answer to any of them is not found in the pursuit of titles and positions or college degrees and careers. And certainly it is not found in a different spouse or a new sports car (think mid-life crisis)...
Posted by Shelly at 7:15 PM
Friday, June 28, 2013
I sit on the floor of a bookstore and I am overwhelmed as I pour over titles and covers and table of contents and skim chapters and pages of so many books I lose count. Thousands of souls lay bare in front of me. Bare and exposed and powerless to withdrawal their words, authors stare at me from back covers.
To imagine my own book on these shelves one day is terrifying. I picture my words here...available for any stranger to read...to love or to hate.
I feel vulnerable.
This writing is an exposing of one's most inner thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and fears. It is an uncovering, a confessing, a revealing.
My heart beats fast and I am afraid. Afraid to succeed. Afraid to fail.
A familiar voice tells me I will never be good enough and I can never work hard enough.
And then I remember our reflection verse this week in our current Online Bible Study. I remember Martha and Mary and I remember the one thing.
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42.
As I dig a little deeper I discover what my heart already knows. There are many matters that cause us to be anxious and distracted from the one thing we were created for. There is only one thing from which all other things are birthed that is required of us. It is the better choice and it is good, beneficial, and worthy.
It is to sit at the very feet of Jesus. To surrender. To exalt Him above everything else in our lives, no matter how pressing or important or necessary. When Jesus calls, we must accept His invitation.
As I consider my current project in light of this scripture my thoughts change. This writing is an exposing and all those other things, too, but it is more.
It is worship and it is sacrifice. It is intimate and it is personal but it is not mine.
As I sit at the master's feet, as I chose the one thing that is required and good, then will His purpose pour out of me and then will His glory be revealed in my story and through my words, whether they ever find their way to those bookshelves or not.
As you surrender those things that are causing you anxiety, whether it is work or ministry or tribulation, and find your place in His presence, you will have chosen well.
As you lay down those distractions and cease striving and doing and working to prove yourself or make sure everything is just right, and instead sit at the feet of Jesus, you shall hear His word as Mary did.
Verse 39 says, "And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word."
As Mary settled near Jesus, she heard his word. She positioned herself close enough to understand every word He said and she heard Him.
I want to do everything I can for God. I want to lead Bible studies and write books and teach and encourage others and fulfill my purpose. I want to understand and know and hear Jesus. But it must all start by sitting at His feet. We must find a place near Him and dwell there. His presence is our starting point. It is the place from which everything else we do must begin.
Can you lay down those distractions and surrender your anxieties today? Can you cease for a moment and spend time at the feet of Jesus? I'm praying you can. I'm praying I can. Let us sit together and listen for His words.
Father, your word says as we draw near to you, you draw near to us. We choose to draw near to you today. We long for your presence and desire to hear you speak to us. Help us to lay down whatever might be keeping us from you. Give us courage to trust and strength to obey. Have your way in our lives. Be glorified in all we say and do. We choose the one thing, the better thing. We choose you. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Linking with Melissa Taylor and a community of women for the last week of our current online Bible study, Stressed-Less Living, by Tracie Miles. Click here to find your way there.
Our next study, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst, starts July 28th. Want more info? Click here.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Won't you join me in counting my blessings today? Today I am thankful for:
- The strength to hold my tears in when my littlest left for church camp this morning! And even more thankful for his thumbs up as the bus pulled away :)
- Divine connections and friendships through OBS and Proverbs 31 Ministries
- The opportunity to attend She Speaks again next month (I'm a 2011 alumni)! Woohoo!! (Don't know what She Speaks is? Click here!)
- My hubby's confirmed vacation for next month and friends who are generous with their lakehouse :)
- Fresh veggies from the garden
- The privilege of being a stay-at-home mama/writer/Bible study leader :)
- Books! I love books.
- Plug-in air fresheners.
- Cute hats on days I don't have time to brush my hair. Like today.
- Pretty dresses for only $14.99.
- Scrapbook paper and glue sticks.
- Cards in the mail.
- Second chances.
- Pumpkins growing by my front porch.
- Jesus. So thankful for Jesus.
- Transformation and change.
- Time in His presence.
- The Word of God, powerful and true.
Some of the things on my list are silly and light-hearted this week (because I like to have fun) but there is nothing silly about what God has done for me (and you). Jesus died so that we could have life and a restored relationship with our Father. We have access to the very throne room of heaven. We have the Word of God as a life manual and guide. We have power and authority in the name of Jesus to live a life filled with peace and joy. In Chapter 11 of Stressed-Less Living, Tracie Miles says, "What if we realigned our lives according to God's Word? What if we began to consider the Bible our only lifeline? What if we gave it the importance it actually deserved? Would our lives be different?"
Would MY life be different? Would YOURS?
Tracie challenges us to push the "Reset Button" in our lives and shares six simple steps to help get us started:
- Realign your life (according to the Word)
- Recognize your need
- Adjust your focus
- Be filled with the Spirit
- Be faithful to your prayer life
- Believe God is who He says He is
Maybe you can't push the reset button on your spiritual life because you've never pushed the "start" button. Maybe you've never accepted Jesus as your personal Savior. I have good news, friend. Today can be the day of your salvation! Stop whatever you're doing and pray this prayer from Tracie on pg 218:
"Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe that you are the one true God. I believe the Holy Bible is infallible and that every word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may have forgiveness for my sins and eternal life in heaven. I know that without you in my heart, Lord, my life is meaningless and without purpose.
I believe in my heart that Jesus was raised from the dead and sits at your right hand. Please forgive me for every sin I have ever committed in thought or deed. Please come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior today. I need you to be my Father, and I want you to be my best friend, fostering an intimate relationship with me.
I give you my life and ask you to take full control from this moment on. I am excited about the new life I will have in you. I pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."
If you prayed this prayer today, welcome to the family of God!!
(If you would like support and encouragement in your new relationship with Jesus Christ, please visit http://www.proverbs31.org/do-you-know-jesus/accept-jesus/)
Posted by Shelly at 3:25 PM
Thursday, May 30, 2013
I smile as I consider the possibilities.
Perhaps my own daughter, who will soon be twenty-one, once held this flower in her tiny hands. I can see her gently picking this fragile gift and then hiding it behind her back as she runs mischievously toward her Maw-Maw.
Or maybe it was taken as a token of remembrance during the celebration of the life of my grandfather?
No matter its origin or previous owner, this flower, has been picked for me today. It is a special gift and I leave it in its place in hopes that the next recipient of this time-worn concordance might find it there.
As I peer into the scriptures, the old flower and gift of remembering are not my only blessings.
Every time I open the Word of God and choose to meditate, reflect on, and study the words found here, my heart is overwhelmed at the goodness of God. Tucked within its chapters are nuggets of wisdom waiting to be discovered and promises ready to be received and lived out.
Our Memory Verse for Week 8 of our Online Bible Study is Psalm 22:4-5. It says, "In You our Fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed."
All week I've been meditating on these verses and I've focused on:
- Trusting and putting my confidence in God, and
- God's ability to save and deliver.
But today my eyes were drawn to the word "cried."
"They cried to You and were saved."
I tried to picture "our Fathers" crying. Is it a sob? A boo-hoo? An overwhelming stream of tears running down their faces? Because I cry. I know what this crying thing is like.
And what is their motivation? Sometimes I cry because I'm sad. Sometimes I cry because I'm mad. And other times I cry because I don't know what else to do.
To give me a clearer picture of what exactly is going on I dive deeper into the chapter and start from verse one.
As the psalmist petitions God and questions His absence during troubling times, He reminds God that when our Fathers of long ago put their trust in Him and cried out He saved and delivered them. In other words, "Why are you not saving ME like you saved THEM?"
He continues to beg and plead his case for the next several verses but something changes in verse 22.
I believe he receives a revelation. He shifts from words focused inward to now words of declaration and praise of the only One who has the power to save him.
"I will declare Your name! ...Praise Him...Revere Him....!"
I believe the revelation he receives is that our Fathers' crying out was not a confession or reminder to God of how terrible things were going for them (God always knows what's going on). It was a public declaring of God's sovereignty, a declaration of His power to deliver and save them no matter their circumstances. They gathered corporately and announced publicly that their trust and confidence was in God and God alone.
According to my Strong's Concordance, the Hebrew word for cried in this verse is zaaq and means to shriek (from anguish or danger). And when I read further it says it is also "to announce or convene publicly:- assemble, call (together), (make a) cry (out), come with such a company, gather (together), cause to be proclaimed."
Now, as I look back at our Memory Verses for the week (Ps. 22:4-5) I have a clearer picture and I know the place of desperation and surrender our Fathers called out to God. I understand it was not in self-pity or the "poor-me-syndrome" that brought their deliverance. It was not in questioning "Why" and "Where" and "How" that they were saved.
It was a gathering together and declaring publicly their cry of surrender to God. It was in the realization that nothing or no one else had the power to save them but God.
That, my friends, is our place of deliverance.
Whatever you are going through today, remember the psalmist in Psalm 22. Turn, as he did, to words of praise and declaration of our great heavenly Father who is the only One with the power to save. Let your thoughts rest on His sovereignty and the promises found on the pages of our Bible.
His Word is true.
His Word is powerful.
And His Word is relevant to whatever you are facing right now.
Let us cry out to our Father. Let us put our hope, our trust, our confidence in Him and Him alone. And let us proclaim together publicly that He is Lord!
He is still a God who saves!
Father, we come to you in surrender today. We declare that You are God! We praise you now and proclaim that there is no other like You! We know that no matter what we are facing or what we are going through at this very moment, YOU never change. We cry out to You in desperation knowing that You hear us. We choose to put our hope, our trust, and our confidence in You and You alone. Thank you that peace and joy are ours. We choose to receive them today. We trust that Your plans are so much greater than we can imagine. Our hope is in You. Thank you for the amazing and unconditional love You have for us, Your children. We love You! Your will be done in our lives. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
As I studied Matthew 6:33 this week as part of our Online Bible Study, God continued to remind me that everything I need is found in Him.
"But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." KJV
"But seek for (aim at and strive after) first of all His Kingdom, and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right], and then all these things taken together will be given you besides." AMP
"Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions...." The Message
"Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what He requires of you, and He will provide you with all the other things." GNB
We are commanded to let go of worldly cares and receive His divine care and provision. And to do this, we are told to seek Him first.
Let's get a deeper understanding of these two words by looking at some synonyms.
SEEK - try to find, search for, track down, dig for, probe for, investigate, explore, examine, inspect
Seeking demands time spent.
And when we spend time with Jesus, we begin to know Him.
Seeking produces intimacy.
An intimate knowing. A discovering. A deeply personal union.
Not only are we to seek Him, but we are to seek Him first.
FIRST - foremost, leading, principal, main, prime, head, highest; basic fundamental, primary, beginning, starting point
God has to be our starting point.
When He becomes our beginning, our primary focus, the starting point of anything that we do or ask or seek, a shift occurs.
Seeking causes a shift:
- from carnal to spiritual
- from natural to supernatural
- from earthly to heavenly
- from temporal to eternal
When we seek first Him, His Kingdom, His righteousness...everything we have need of is counted as ours.
Maybe life has overwhelmed you this week or even this day. I, too, found myself overwhelmed and anxious over some things the last couple of days. But when I began seeking Him and bathing my mind, my heart, and my spirit in His Word, a shift occurred. Although my circumstances remained the same, my thoughts changed and I found peace and grace in the middle of my messy places.
You can find it to.
There is nothing like His presence. Make the choice to spend some moments alone with Him now. Your Father is waiting.
(Synonyms taken from Roget's Thesaurus 3rd Edition 1998)
Joining with Melissa Taylor and a community of women as we seek God and His Word together in our current Online Bible Study: Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles. Click here to read more blogs in our blog hop.