Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chapter Five: Control

Releasing Our Sticky Fingers

"All of us want to hold on to the illusion that we are in control of our least a little bit anyway..."

The title alone of this chapter immediately grabbed my attention. I know this is one of the (many) areas I struggle with. 

Hi, my name is Shelly.  I have control issues.

But seriously.....coming from a woman's perspective (cause that's where my expertise is, ya know...)....we all have ideas and dreams of how we think and hope our life is going to go, and we think we know how to make it happen. 

I have an idea of how I think my kids' lives should go.  How they should do things, how they should dress, what they should say, who they should get the idea.  And I think its certainly okay to (and we should) have expectations and dreams for our children, but ultimately God is in control.  And we are not.

Our daughter is graduating next weekend and I know that things are going to be a little different. :)  Although she is still living at home, going to a community college, she is becoming an adult.  The hard part for me will be giving her the freedom to make choices and decisions.....even when they are not the ones I think she should make.  This is new for me.  How do you watch as your child makes a wrong choice and you know there will be consequences?  I know this is a part of the process, a part of life, character building, a part of who she will become and how God will use her.  Lord, help me to trust You with Your daughter.  Help me to release my sticky fingers.

And sometimes things just don't work out like we had planned.  Sometimes they do!  But sometimes they don't.....

Paula tells of her personal experience with skin cancer.  This really hit home for me.  5 1/2 years ago while pregnant with my baby boy, I received some similar, unexpected news - I had melanoma.  (Read that part of my story here) 

That was definitely not supposed to be part of my story. 

Or was it?

I believe that God will bring something good out of every bad situation or circumstance in our life.  He can't help it!  He's a good God.  Did He cause my cancer?  No.  Will He use my story for His glory and to draw people to Him?  Yes, I believe He will.

Today, I attended the funeral for my niece's twin boys who were born prematurely at 23 weeks.  My great nephews....Ayden and Evan.  Not how we imagined or hoped things would go.  Definitely not according to our plan.  Does God have a plan?  I just KNOW that He does.  As Starla said in one of her comments to a previous post of mine, I know that God is going to bring greatness out of this sadness.  Somehow.  Some way.

Paula quotes advice she received from a friend, "You have to realize that your dreams aren't going to materialize in the way you have hoped - even the ones you thought God gave you.  Some will turn out better than you could ever imagine.  Some will go belly up.  And hardly any will match the picture in your mind."

It's not always bad when our ideas or expectations don't materialize.  Not everyone will get cancer.  Not everyone will lose a child.  But we each have our own trials and tribulations....our own character building....our own story. 

And we each have our triumphs where God shows up and shows out.....and things are BETTER than we had hoped or imagined (even though they weren't part of our 10 year plan or vision board with accompanying pictures). 

When our oldest two children were 13 and 9, God decided we needed another one!  Not part of our plan....but definitely better than we expected or could have planned for ourselves! :)

God sees the big picture and He knows what He's doing.  Too often we ducktape our fingers around our circumstances and try to make things happen, fix things, or change things (because we know better). 

Rinehart exposes two faces of control:
  • one looks anxious, overbearing, just plain trying too hard ( talking to ME?)
  • the other is more a story of avoidance and self protection (again....)
Often our hurts and/or past experiences influence our future decisions, our plans, our goals and our we attempt to build our life.  If we can just do this, or avoid that, things will be fine and dandy.

Paula states that often the pain in our life "just sits there fermenting, expressing itself as control...."

"Most often, our need to stay in control springs from inner vows we do not know we have made:
  • I will not hurt like that again.
  • I will never be loved the way I long to be.
  • I am really all I have.
She goes on to say that control "masquerades as strength, but it's really not........We try to get a life by arranging the pieces as best our limited vision and wounded, misbegotten hearts can do.  God may be a prop in the play, but He is not the director."

If I am going to trust God with my life, (and that of my children) I have to trust Him with every part of it.  The happy times and the sad times.  I have to trust that He already knows and that He has a plan. 

I have to trust that He is ever present, holding my hand, whispering softly the words that I need to hear, molding me, equipping me, making me, loving me.

Because He is.

Is there something in your life that has happened that wasn't exactly how you planned it?  How has it affected you and your relationship with God?  With other people? 

Are you allowing control to masquerade as strength and cover up the places that God wants to expose and heal?

Are you missing out on God's plans for your life because you have your own plans?

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" 1 Corinthians 2:9

Ask God to help you peel off the ducktape.....release your sticky fingers.....and truly become the director of your life (and mine).  Pray for me, and I will pray for you. :)  I need all the help I can get.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Running Behind...

Hi friends...Thought I'd stop by for a quick update on what's going on around here!  Totally missed our Let's Talk Tuesday, but hoping that we'll be back on track with everything for next week.

I've been a little crazy with Senior stuff for my daughter, Brooke......we had a senior day trip to Splashtown on Friday, and I was the one in charge so I was a little stressed last week with last minute sign ups, wondering if we would have enough chaperones, etc!  But it turned out to be a great day!  Then on Sunday, we had Senior night at church.....very emotional and amazing evening.  Last night we had her last FFA banquet and tonight is Senior Awards night.  This is her last week of school....graduation is June 4th and her graduation party at our house is June 5th.  I'm going to crash soon.

Today I also took Logan to get his shots and registered him for Kindergarten.  He was such a big boy so daddy bought him a new fishing pole. :)  He handled it much better than I did.  I didn't get a prize.

My last bit of news to share for this post is the hardest.  My niece was pregnant with twin boys and delivered last night at 23 weeks.  Both boys, Ayden and Evan, are now in heaven.  My heart breaks for Shawnna and Aaron.  I don't know what to say or do, so I'm praying.  And crying, alot.  It's during these times that we want to question "Why?!" and get an answer.  But I know that we will never have one until we get to meet the boys in heaven.  And I know that somehow, someway, God will bring something good out of this.  Please pray for peace and comfort, and that out of brokenness will come healing and a closer walk with Jesus for everyone.  

I will be posting my thoughts and some discussion questions for Chapter 5 of our book study soon.  Until then, thank you for your patience :)

Remember to listen.  God is speaking.  I'm praying that through the noises and distractions that come with each day, you (and I) are able to quiet our spirits and hear what He is saying to us. 

Be Still and Know by Steven Curtis Chapman

Be still and know that He is God

Be still and know that He is holy
 Be still, O restless soul of mine
 Bow before the Prince of peace
 Let the noise and clamor cease
 Be still

Be still and know that He is God
 Be still and know that He is faithful
 Consider all that he has done
 Stand in awe and be amazed
 And know that He will never change
 Be still

Be still and know that he is God
 Be still and know he is our Father
 Come rest your head upon his breast
 Listen to the rhythm of his unfailing heart of love
 Beating for His little ones
 Calling each of us to come
 Be still


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Standing Firm

(Today I am participating again in Rachel Olsen's devotional here to read other bloggers' thoughts and insights on the topic of STABILITY! :) )

And he shall be like a tree firmly planted (and tended) by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf shall not fade or wither, and everything he does shall prosper (and come to maturity).  Psalms 1:3 Amplified

 When I consider the word stability, many different things come to mind - financial stability, a stable home life, emotional stability, etc.  But I believe we can and should also have stability as a follower of Christ, a child of God, which should rest not in our external circumstances but in our relationship with Jesus and our obedience to hear and do what God speaks to us on a personal level.    For some, that may appear the opposite of the world views of stability.  For example, our seasons differ, one may be called to stay in one place their entire life while another may be called to pioneer many different things in many different areas throughout their life.  Or one may encounter various trials or storms in their life, including their finances or marriage, appearing to be unstable.  But I believe that as our seasons and circumstances change, we receive from God the tools and the grace we need to complete whatever task He has called us to or to handle whatever obstacle we face.  The stability in our relationship with Him will be displayed and apparent no matter where we are physically. defines stability as:

  • the state or quality of being stable

  • firmness in position

  • continuance without change; permanence

  • steadfastness; constancy, as of character or purpose
As I ponder these definitions, I am reminded of the scripture from Psalms at the beginning of this post.  We shall be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water.  The verse immediately before this one says "...his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night."

When we meditate on the Word day and night and our delight and desire are in the law of the Lord.....our thoughts begin to line up with His, our faith increases, we begin to believe the impossible, our heart is renewed, we have joy and peace in the midst of our difficulties.....then will we be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water!  This doesn't mean that our external circumstances immediately line up and become perfect or that all of our problems magically disappear.  But that whatever circumstance or problem we face, we handle it all the same, believing what the Word of God says and not wavering from His truth, standing firm.  That is stability.

"I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved." Psalm 16:8

I pray that whatever you may be facing today, that you are able to cling to your Father, holding on to His Word for your life, and standing firm in your faith.  That you will be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water!  That you will be ready to bring forth GOOD fruit in your season!  That your leaf shall not fade nor wither and that everything you do shall prosper and come to maturity!


Happy Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday to all my friends out there! :)  I was thinking this morning how awesome it has been to make so many new friends lately!  Other women from all across the United States and even other countries!  You have all blessed my life and I hope to continue getting to know you better as well as adding to our circle! I know God has a plan! :)

Book Study Announcement:

For those of you following along in your book(Strong Women, Soft Hearts), you must know by now, that this book is DEEP.  It really is.  And a chapter every two days, I feel, just isn't enough time for it to sink in for me.  Now, I can read a whole book in less than 48 hours, but to truly grasp what God is saying to me and to really STUDY, I think I need to slow down and meditate on each chapter a little longer.  Plus I will be able to post a link to the video that Jessica and Angie share on The Bloom Book Club site (they are also having delays).  So our schedule is changing a bit.  I will be posting a review of the chapter and my thoughts or what God has spoke to me regarding such once or maybe twice a week.  So check back often!  If you follow me on facebook, you will see my post there, or I think you can subscribe by email to my posts right here somewhere on my blog (still haven't figured out all this technical stuff!).

Rachel Olsen  of Proverbs 31 Ministries is hosting her monthly blog devotional carnival again and today is the last day to submit a post, so I'm hoping to get to do that again.  (But I have purposed NOT to stress out if it doesn't happen! LOL)  If you want to participate, it's a great way to meet new people and also read some inspiring blogs! 

So I'm off to spend some time in the word with my Father :)  Check back soon for a word on Stability (for Rachel's devotional carnival) and a review of Chapter 5 in our book study (Control: Releasing Our Sticky Fingers!  This one is kicking my booty!!).


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let's Talk! Tuesday

Hi everyone!  And welcome to our first Let's Talk! Tuesday!  If you're not sure what I'm talking about it here

And feel free to take my button to your blog!  No, I wasn't smart enough to make sister did it for me!  Thanks, sis! :)

If you want to join in on the conversation today, leave a comment or email me and I'll add a link to your page below....

Click on the following blogs to read more!
1. Faith, Family, Fitness and Fun!
3. Run, Work and Save

My random things for today....

1.  My daughter got her first job today!  She is graduating from highschool and now has a summer job at a Veterinary Clinic!  Her future plans include becoming an Equine Vet.  I am so proud of her!

2.  Lately I am one big ball of emotions.  Seriously.  One child graduating, one starting highschool, one starting kindergarten.  I told my friend today that I need therapy.  I may.  But that's another post.

3.   New York City needs me to visit again soon.

4.   My clothes are shrinking. (see #5)

5.  I had a salad for dinner.  ( it was wrapped in a flour tortilla and smothered in ranch dressing.  Big deal.)

6.  I still need a pedicure.

7.  Seriously dreading swimsuit shopping. (see #4)

8.  Excited about our trip to DisneyWorld in July!!

9.  I just received my first free book to do my first book review!  Now I have to find the time to do it! LOL

10.  I  L*O*V*E  Bananagrams!

And now I'll drink my coffee and let you do the talking! :)


Monday, May 17, 2010

Chapter Four: Losing Heart

Rinehart talks about how everything that makes life worth living - laughter, love, courage, sacrifice - is born in the inner depth of our heart. It is from where our passion comes. 

When we lose heart, we lose our passion.

We become strangers even to ourselves.

She quotes Frederick Buechner -

"....we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little instead come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing."

Our fear of rejection or fear of being hurt again or whatever fear lurks deep inside, becomes the driving force behind our loss of passion and causes us to hide our true selves.  Thinking we are "protecting" ourselves, we deny ourselves hope and pretend we have no expectations.  That way, we are not disappointed. 

A sad existence.  And definitely God's best for our life!

I love the analogy she uses on page 51-52 from Anne Lamott.  She compares having your tonsils out (a wound to the body) to pain and disappointments (wounds to the spirit).  In order for healing to take place, one must use the muscles around the wound in order to begin to get relief and start the healing process. 

Is pain real?  Yes.

Will we encounter disappointments?  Yes.

BUT!.... we continue living, hoping, expecting, knowing that God has good plans for us!

As David said in Psalms....

[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living!  (Ps. 27:13 Amplified)

Purpose to regain your passion!  Allow God to awaken those places in the secret chambers of your heart that have been hidden.  Allow Him to restore your hope. 

Rinehart states that "if we do not let ourselves hope in God, we will turn in another direction....depending on ourselves or putting our hope in other people."

"Hope that is pinned to God, rather than to people, has a buoyancy to it because it is grounded not in our own illusion of how our story should read, but in the character of God."

And two final quotes from this chapter that I couldn't leave out.....

"Only when the heart can hear, can we receive the experience of being loved, the joy of belonging to the Father,...and pain is often the megaphone that awakens."

"In the inner chambers of your heart, God steps past all your talent and hard work - all that you think He values.  He goes straight for the messy, broken places in you because it's there that you can truly discover Him."

I am praying for you today....that you (and I) will allow God into the messy, broken places.......that you allow yourself to hope again, to embrace life, and to LIVE.......that you will know, today, the joy of belonging to the Father, and in those broken places, you truly discover Him......


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chapter Three: Pain

The Crossroads of the Heart

There were some technical difficulties over at The Bloom Book Club tonight, so the video won't be posted until tomorrow, but I thought I'd go ahead and post my thoughts.  Be sure to jump over there tomorrow to hear what Jessica and Angie have to say! 

This chapter is not really a fun one.  Not that any of them are FUN....but the last two talked about awakening! and desire!  That's exciting, don't ya think?  Well, this one.....talks about the reality of pain, and how that sometimes, no matter how hard we pray or how many positive things we speak, things don't always work out the way we planned. 

"The whole notion that some part of the pain of life is unavoidable is not an easy idea to confront.  Especially for Christians.  We tend to see our lives as a series of hurdles, which, if we trust God and jump high enough (oh my.....been there....), we can get through without scraping our knees.  If we miss a hurdle, though - or come through bloody and bruised - we must have done it wrong.  We have failed in some way.  Or worse, God has failed us."

Ever felt like that before?

I have.

But it's not true.

God never fails.  And He is not surprised by anything that happens in our life.  He already knew before it happened.

"It may take us a while to catch our breath, to ride the wave, and to trust that God has something in mind - something good - that we would never have dreamed."

Indeed, the Lord will comfort Zion,
He will comfort all her waste places.
And her wilderness He will make like Eden.
And her desert like the garden of the Lord.
Isaiah 51:3

We are not promised that things will always be perfect or that we'll never encounter a storm, but we are promised that we'll never have to go through it alone.

" start to realize that some sorrows in life will never go away.  You learn to carry them with you in ways that enrich rather than debilitate your life, in ways that make you wise.  But the dark and knubby places in the fabric, the tapestry of your life, remain."

"There are inevitable losses in life.  But there is one thing you do not have to lose - your heart."

We all experience pain.  It's where we go from there that matters.

"Pain...takes place on an invisible level, yet it has the potential to actually shape the real stuff of a person's future.  It can numb and destroy your passion in life, but it can refine and bless as well."

What will you do with your heart?

Will you allow (or have you allowed) the pain to destroy your passion for life?  Or will you choose to be refined?

God wants to make your wilderness like Eden and your desert like the garden of the Lord.

Trust that He has something in mind - something good - something you would have never dreamed.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Would You Do?

Ok, you may get sick of me but I feel like I am going to BURST if I don't add a part two to chapter two!!  But I promise to keep it short ;)  Maybe.

I have to quote from page 31.....

"In this journey of move out of the stands and onto the playing field.  In the stands, you are just a spectator, watching your own life, a passive onlooker to a game where other people call the plays.  You are what someone else says you are.  It's the turtle story, where a hard shell protects all the live stuff inside.   But you can only stay in the stands so long without the soul-numbing sense that you are missing your own life.  The only one God gave you. To move from being a spectator is to step out on the field and risk banging up your knees a bit.  To experience the muddy, sweaty exhilaration of actually playing the game...."

And then she asks the questions.....

"What would you begin to do if you thought you could?"

"Would you want to live in a foreign country?"  (

"Or begin a ministry no one else had attempted?"  (Maybe...)

"Or write a book?"  (YES!!)

"Or plant a perennial garden?"

"Or ask your mother-in-law if there wasn't some way to mend the defeaning silence between you?"


Think about it.......


Chapter Two: Desire

Lord, all my desire is before Thee; and my sighing is not hid from Thee. Psalm 38:9

In this chapter, Rinehart describes how we are "painfully incomplete."  Our heart is a bundle of "longings, and desires.....holes in our soul....The holes are the places God has reserved in us for Himself.  The longings identify our real hunger.  A hunger that drives us to Him to be satisfied."

When the word desire is mentioned, often one thinks of the wrong kind of desire.  Desire can lead us to worldly things, but it can also lead us to God.  So not all desire is bad.  We were created as passionate beings by a passionate God.  "The majestic power of God that made the heavens and formed the earth, also reaches into the core of our being and shapes our very spirit."

As Zechariah said, "Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him."

That really spoke to me.  The same God who is also the Creator of the universe, maker all things, giver of life......formed my very spirit!  Often I feel guilty for spending time creating things, crafting, sewing. painting, scrapbooking etc, and feel like I should be doing something more "spiritual."  But God put those inside of me.  He made me in His image, a creative being.  The only time my desire for these things would be wrong is when I place them above Him.  In that case, they would have become an idol.

Rinehart also explains how some people give up, and are even encouraged to give up, their desires, and part of their "soul goes to sleep."  Then her next few statements wowed me! "When we are wholly His we will be more ourselves than ever." (She actually quoted that one from C.S. Lewis).  "It is the definition of joy to be able to offer back to God the essence of what He's placed in you, be that creativity or a love of ideas or a compassionate heart or the gift of hospitality."

There is also desire that leads us away from God and causes pain.  One example she uses is the desire to run off with the postman.  I think you can see the difference.  Desires that lead us to God, and those that take us away.  She goes on to tell us how we deal with these desires......

I could go on and on again with this chapter, but I'll keep it short and allow you to read the rest (this is only from the first couple of pages! haha). It is deep and has a lot of information.....I think I'm going to go read it again...... :) 

What stood out to you or spoke to you in this chapter?

If you still haven't received your book, don't be discouraged! My posts will still be here when you get it! You can go back and review any time you need to. And if you haven't even ordered one yet, click on the amazon link or find it at your local christian bookstore!

Have a FANTASTIC day!!!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Let's Talk! Tuesday

Since our book studies are running one day behind schedule (because I wait to watch the video and then post my discussion) I thought I'd do a random post today! I decided to call it Let's Talk! Tuesday!  (Doesn't that sound like we are just a group of girlfriends getting together to chat?!) 

So every Tuesday, I will post 5-10 random things about me or my day or whatever I want!  That way, you may get to know me a little better!  It's already late in the day as I am posting this, but if you would be interested in joining me starting next Tuesday, leave a comment and let me know!  I will add a link in my post next week so that other people who visit my blog will be able to jump on over to yours to read your random things!  Cool, huh?!  

And I would add one of those cute button thingees for you to put in your post, you that would say Let's Talk! Tuesday, but I have no clue how to make one! Sad, I know. ;)  Maybe I should take a continuing education class or something.

Another reason I'm excited about this post is that it's just fun!  I love ministering and encouraging with my writing, but sometimes I also like to just talk about nothing!  Or everything! 

Now on to my random things/thoughts (or whatever!)...for today!  Let's talk! Tuesday

1.  Today I was invited to my mother in law's group of women from the church (The Golden Girls) as a guest speaker.  It was so fun!  I met some really nice ladies and can't wait to get to know them better!  And I got to speak about our bible study!  Chapter one fit right into what they have been talking about!  Isn't God good??!!  I did get a lot of strange looks when I first came in and sat down at the table, though.  The Golden Girls is for ages 50 and over!  Since I'm only 37 29 (smile), I guess they thought I might be crashing their party.  (ha ha, just kidding!)  But we ended up having a great time, eating some good food and talking about the issues of our hearts.  Thanks, ladies! 

2.  The heat and low humidity today reminded me of my time in Phoenix. For several years, the ministry I used to work for put on a pastors and leaders conference there and I remember how hot it was (especially walking outside in my pantsuit!).  It also made me miss all of the friends I made there! :(  So if any of you are reading this, HI!! :) 

3.  My Tahoe got pampered today. An oil change and a car wash!  (both loooong overdue...)

4.  I need to get pampered.  (Must......get.....pedi.....soon....)

5.  A massage would be nice, too.

6.  I had to drive 30 minutes to get my makeup since it isn't sold where I live.  (ah the life of a small town girl....)

7.  I skipped breakfast.  Oops.

8.  I needed to clean my bedroom, but I just closed the door instead. 

9.  Got a sweet card in the mail from a friend. :)

10.  Thinking about watching One Night With the King tonight(can't believe I still haven't seen it).....after American Idol. :)

Happy Tuesday!!  Glad we had this talk!  Except I feel like I did all the talking for some reason......


Monday, May 10, 2010

Chapter One: Awakening



This book, so far, has tugged at my heart, probed and uncovered places that I either didn't know were there or would have rather kept hidden, denying their very existence.

I'm a little nervous.

The last 3-4 years of my life have been about discovery.  Discovering who I am apart from positions, titles, roles, expectations, etc.  Discovering the nature and character of God from God Himself, free from man's opinions.  Discovering what it means to be a follower of Christ, saved., reborn, set free, a daughter of the King.  Discovering His voice, His call.  Discovering His grace.  Discovering. 

And still, I continue on this journey.  A journey whose final destination is not found on this earth, but one that I do not have to walk alone.  A journey which leads me down hi-ways and dirt roads - some bumpier than others, brings me to crossroads and  intersections, exits and entrance ramps.....all leading me closer to Him, each place containing the possibility of finding something new or reclaiming that which was lost. 

Through this study, I am expecting God to awaken that which is sleeping or laying dormant on the inside of me, reveal and heal those things that may be keeping me from discovering all that He is, and bring me to a place of intimacy like one I have never known. 

I just watched the discussion video posted by Angie and Jessica here.  Please go and watch it, it will add a personal touch to your study and offer a different perspective to what you've read.  It also may challenge you to think deeper.  In addition, they have discussion questions here.

Some things that stood out to me personally:

"It's strange the way we meander through life, thinking we are moving forward, only to discover we have left our hearts behind" (pg 2).  (Are you just going through the motions, performing duties, just showing up?)

"The very struggles we would just as soon skip past become the ticket to gaining what we lack, as though God knew just the grist we needed to become what He had in mind" (pg. 2).   (Relationships are risky....not everyone is going to love us back, and most everyone will at some time disappoint.)

"Each of us wants to become.....a woman in touch with God and alive to all the possibilities that walking with Him can bring. It's just that sometimes we get mired in the very clay He dug us out of, tangled in the weeds of our own wanderings" (pg. 3).  (Life happens.  And it's easy to get our eyes off of Him, onto other things, only to find ourselves back in the place where we first started.)

"I find the temptation to shut down on the inside and settle for the crumbs under the table is one that every woman faces" (pg. 3).  (There is a whole sermon in this one statement!)

Each of these quotes either directly or indirectly relates to being hurt, wounded, disappointed, used, let down, etc.  With hurt after hurt piled on top of each other, never receiving healing, we become numb and our hearts become calloused, making it difficult or sometimes even impossible to experience the joy found in relationships with one another and with God.  We begin to consider the invitation to shut down.

Paula states that we can "build a monument to our woundedness, .....shape an identity around the things we've suffered."

When we do this, we cannot truly experience all that God has for us.  We become stuck in time, unable to grow or move forward, unable to hear, for it is....."with our hearts that we listen to Him" (pg. 16).

What have you given up or forgotten in order to eliminate or lessen the risk of experiencing pain or loss?

Are there certain areas in your life where you've built walls to keep others out?

Are you living a smaller version of the life that God created you for?

A relationship with Him is more than following a set of rules, making sure you do everything right, winning the talent show or out-perform everyone else.  I camped out there for a while. It's a lonely, empty place.

God desires intimacy.

He is pursuing us.

He has set His affection on us.

We must awaken our hearts.    

"We must have our hearts intact in order to make the journey of life well.  We must have access to the inside stuff - the longings and desires and dreams and vulnerabilities that make us who we are.  God placed those in us" (pg. 6).

Vulnerability can be scary.  Let us find our courage in knowing that He desires to walk with us through every circumstance, every hard place, every happy place and every place in between.  Ask Him to show you the places that you've closed off, refused entry or hidden.  Trust Him with the places that may still be tender and allow Him to mend your brokenness.  Allow Him to awaken your heart, stirring the dreams, desires and gifts that He has placed on the inside of you.  And embrace the journey that is set before you.

I could go on and on with this chapter alone, but I'll stop here!  

See you Tuesday night to discuss Chapter 2!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!!  :)

I hope that today has been a special day and that you know how important you are!

I have been blessed with 3 amazing children and a wonderful husband!  I LOVE being a mother!

I also have the greatest mom and mother in law a girl could ask for!  Happy Mother's Day to the both of you!! I love you with all my heart and thank God for you.

We had an anointed service at church this morning, with many people receiving Christ as their Savior and even more families dedicating their children to the Lord!  Pastor spoke on the responsibilities that come with parenting and how important it is to train our children in the ways of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6).  With so much influence coming from the world, we must instill Godly values in our home AND teach our children to build a relationship with their heavenly Father.  Pastor's text this morning was from 1 Samuel, as he told the story of Hannah and her sacrifice to the Lord.  After God answered her prayer and gave her a son, Samuel, she dedicated him to the service of the Lord.  Because of his mother's prayers, (which eventually changed the nation!!) Samuel grew up to become a judge and a great prophet, providing spiritual leadership to his nation during a dark period.  Like Hannah, we as mothers have a responsibility to pray for and dedicate our children to the Lord so that they, like Samuel, will grow up to become great leaders, able to hear the voice of God when He calls their name.

Today is the first day to discuss our book, Strong Women, Soft Hearts!  I am so excited!  The post on The Bloom Book Club will be put up tonight (I just checked and it's not there yet).  As soon as it is posted and I am able to view it, I will then post my thoughts here on my blog on chapter one.  It's soooo good!  Seriously, I have read it several times and have definitely left my mark!  (Do you write in your books, too?)  I know that some of you have not received your books yet, but hopefully you'll get them early this week!   

Check back later tonight for a review on chapter one and feel free to comment or post your thoughts!  I would love to hear what God spoke to you!  And don't forget to go to The Bloom Book Club blog and watch the video of Angie and Jessica discussing chapter one!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Aching For Pen and Paper :)

Not much writing this week, although my spirit is aching for pen and paper! :)  When I don't have a lot of time to sit and write or study, I jot things down randomly as needed, hoping to string them together when I have the chance!  With that said, here's what's been keeping me busy the last few days!....

  • Our daughter is a Senior (HOW did that happen and WHERE did the time go??) and this week she has been busy (WE have been busy) with her FFA (Future Farmers of America) organization at our county fair.
  • I am joining with The Bloom Book Club for a book study which starts this weekend!  For more info or to join with us click here :)  I've just received my second copy of the book (Strong Women, Soft Hearts) yesterday (I gave my first one away as soon as I got it!) so I've been reviewing Chapter one and it is reeeeaaaaallly good!  So if you haven't signed up already, it's not too late!  Whadda ya waitin' on??;)  (I am from Texas, ya know....)
  • I've just been approved to review books for Tyndale House Publishers and (note the two new buttons on my right side bar).  Is anyone else doing this or maybe done this before?  Advice and/or suggestions welcome!
  • Again, my daughter is a Senior!  .....and announcements HAVE to go out this week! (all ready except for stamps which will get put on tomorrow...yay!)
But I promise to write soon!  Maybe even tonight :)

Hope you've all had an amazing week!!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


(I was reviewing some posts again from 2008 and found some "words" that God had spoken to me.  And since it's kind of been a theme lately (here and in my journal), I though I'd repost this one.....)

Do you ever feel like God speaks a word to you? No like a long prophecy kind of word, but A WORD? Just one word. Well, the other day, I felt like He was speaking to me the word insignificant. I know. Not exactly something to jump up and shout about, right?

Let me back up a little bit.

My hearts cry for some time now has been "Empty me of me, Lord. Empty me of me so I can be filled with more of you." (This was in 2008 when the Chris Sligh song came out "Empty Me") "Less of me, more of You, Lord." Because you know, ME always gets in trouble. And I've had enough of ME.

So, as I began to meditate on my nice, exciting WORD from my Father, although I know what it means, I decided to check it out a little further anyway. Just in case I was missing something.

Insignificant - unimportant, small, of no consequence, lacking power or position, not worthy of notice, of minor status, a person without significance.



But, Lord. (How many times have we said that?!) You want me to be....Insignificant?

Light bulb. In order for ME to let ME be replaced with HIM, ME has to become insignificant to ME. Ok, that didn't work too well. I'm confusing myself. Let's try again. Remember the song "It's not about ME. It's all about You, Lord." That's what I'm trying to say. It has to be all about Him. Not about my accomplishments, recognition, popularity, position, importance to people, other people's opinions of me. Not even about my feelings being hurt, not being included, or about being right or wrong. So what if no one even knows my name. It's not about me.

When we are willing to become insignificant in our own eyes and the world's eyes, then we will find our significance in Him.

1 Peter 5:5b says "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

So the word "humility" in this passage means "having an humble opinion of oneself, a deep sense of one's littleness, lowliness of mind....." Sounds familiar.

I need God's grace, not His opposition.

Help me, God, to be insignificant to my own self, in my own eyes, so that I can find my significance in You. Help me to clothe myself with humility. Help me to not care about what other people think of me. Let me not put importance on my own accomplishments or what I can do in my own strength. Without You, I am nothing. Let me do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit (Phil. 2:3). Let me not trust in the stability of earthly things or in my own power and resources. Teach me to trust in You. Your resources and your power are far greater than mine! Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life! (Prov. 22:4) And with humility comes wisdom (Prov. 11:2). I choose to clothe myself with humility. It's not about me, Lord. It's about You. Empty me of me, so I can be filled with You. Less of me. More of You, Lord.

(I would really love for someone to show me how to put a cool signature here! lol)