Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Morning in the Prophetic

I woke up singing this morning.

Blow, mighty breath of God
Move upon this place
Blow, mighty breath of God
Come and move in power and grace.

It seems my spirit was communing with God before I even opened my eyes.

The last week and a half, though, has been challenging. There are things, spiritual things, contending for our future and the plans God has for us. We must be willing to fight back and overcome in the strength and power He has given us.

After my walk/jog this morning, I spent a very prophetic hour with my mom on her front porch. I am blessed she is such a woman of God. She read from her notes from a meeting last night a word that came forth from Chuck Pierce that spoke to my spirit and confirmed what I had already been feeling:

That which stopped you in the last season will be overcome with grace in this season. God is forming a new identity in you.

She then read some other words that she felt like were for me and I thought I would share in hopes that they encourage you as well.

There are things that you need to know before you can move forward, but don't push. Wait on Me, says the Lord, because everything needs to be in order and in perfect timing. Refuse to get frustrated when things aren't moving along as quickly as you would desire. Take a deep breath, rest in the assurance that I am in control, and trust Me. Everything will be all right. ~Marsha Burns (Isaiah 40:31 "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.")

You are somewhat discontented. There are just some unsettled feelings you're having. You aren't exactly sure why, but nevertheless the feelings are there and you are having a hard time shaking them off. You have been going at a pretty fast clip and one of the reasons for your discontentment is you haven't taken time to gather your thoughts. Take some time off, not time off to do other things. You don't necessarily need a change of scene, you need some quiet time, times of prayer and reflection on ways I am leading. You need to align yourself up with me, and not on the things going on around you. ~ Bev Robinson (Mark 1:35 "In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.)

Here you go again. You fell into the same old pit again. It makes you feel like a reprobate when you slip on the same banana peel again. You know better, right? The Lord says, "I love you. You are still my choice and delight. There is no condemnation and no punishment for those like you who are mine forever. Only a little discipline (not punishment) is necessary for you. Because you really want genuine repentance, I say unto you stop circling that same mountain again and again. Stop. Turn north instead to the good, the beautiful and the land for which you have longed, but thought you would never possess. Don't let the giants intimidate you. You will defeat them one by one. Only avoid the banana peels. You are mine and I am yours! My grace will always be sufficient for all that comes your way. ~Bev Robinson (Deuteronomy 2:3 "You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north.")

And one more...

I hear the Lord say, rise up My people. Weave for yourself new garments in this season, for the kingdom of God is at hand. The glory of that kingdwom shall become a covering to you and to those with whom you walk. So cast off the old, forgetting those things which are behind, run the race quickly to that which is ahead. Come into this newness of time and into this season with strength, joy and peace. Most of all come with a glorious expectation of My goodness, My presence and my power. For, surely, I am the Lord your God who forgives all of your iniquities, heals all your diseases, and provides all those things necessary for you. So arise to a new position of faith today and call those things which are not as though they were. Retain your joy and I will say again rejoice. For I have not left you, I have not forgotten you or forsaken you. And it is true that I will be with you always to lead and to guide you, to empower you and to teach you the things that pertain to the kingdom of God. For such is the time and such is the season. Come forth, My beloved, and be what you have been called to be, says the Lord. ~Bill Burns

I am reminded also of a couple of posts I wrote in January. I love how God continues to speak to me through past words written on this page.

Be encouraged today to rise up! Accept God's grace to overcome and push through whatever obstacles are seeming to block your path. Arise and go over, and be what you have been called to be.

Blow, mighty breath of God
Move upon this place
Blow, mighty breath of God
Come and move in power and grace.

Linking with Jen and Shanda today


Monday, September 19, 2011

CHS 20th High School Reunion & My 39th Birthday

(Photo by James Howard Hefley)

Today is my 39th birthday. Tomorrow begins my journey to 40 and since I'm a writer, I decided to write about it. You can read about my 20th Reunion and see more pics on my other blog: BECOMING 40.

Please pray for me. I am working on a schedule and some sort of plan of action to help keep me on track and complete more assignments. Seriously, I need help. lol :)

Happy Monday, my friends!


Linking with sweet, amazing Jen, proud to be part of the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood...and beautiful Shanda for On Your Heart Tuesdays.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Choose Joy

This morning at 5:30 A.M. I lay in my bed anxious to check the topic for today's 5 Minute Friday post. As I scanned the page my heart sank. The topic... JOY, but the inspiration for its choosing left me already struggling to find such. 

Sometimes it's hard to choose joy.

But that's exactly what Sarah has done. Found at the top of her blog, the words, CHOOSE JOY, courageously encourage all who visit to do so.

Choose joy.

In the midst of pain, in the midst of sorrow, in the face of death.

Choose joy.

Sarah chooses joy, because she knows it is not found in her circumstances. She has been sick for a very long time and received information this week that her body is shutting down. Hospice has arrived and a friend is updating her blog as she rests. I am continuing to pray, my friend, Gitzen Girl. :) You can read her story here.

I first linked up with Sara in July 2010. What a fun idea of bringing everyone together to create. A gracious host, an encourager of gifts.

Not to be confused with temporary happiness, joy is found deep inside, wrapped in the knowing of our Savior, the everlasting love of God, hope in the One Who never changes.

Our source of joy never empties...never runs out...never changes.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

I pray that joy continues to fill and overflow Sara, whether God chooses to heal her on earth or in heaven.  I am sad to think of her leaving, of not being able to read her words or see her pictures, but I find joy in knowing God has made known to her the path of life, and at the end of her life, her joy will be made complete.

I pray also for each of you. That you might know joy as Sara knows joy. That you might choose as she chooses...keeping before you the truth that this world is not our home but a temporary place on our way to a land too wonderful to imagine...a place where tears are wiped away and love is consuming and we are whole.

A place in His presence.

A place where our joy is complete.

In honor of Sara, I am linking with The Gypsy Mama and The Mom Creative.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

After the Fire

This morning around 9:30 A.M. our daughter left for a babysitting job. By 11:30, there was news of a fire and mandatory evacuations in the area she was located. Needless to say, I kicked into mama-mode. I updated my facebook status with a prayer request, called my husband and started praying. As I prayed, I found myself asking why. Why the outbreak of so many fires recently?

Over the last several weeks, Texas has had major fires and loss of land, property and lives. With the current drought and weather conditions favorable for acceleration, even a small spark could mean widespread devastation very quickly.

Please, God, no more fires. And not here.

News of containment brought relief to my anxious mama heart, but I knew God was speaking to me of another fire...

I am guest posting today for Jen at Finding Heaven. Please click here to read this post in its entirety.

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Choosing To Be Filled Again....and Again

Did you read my post yesterday? We had a powerful, emotional, hope-filled, proud to be an American service at church and I wrote about it here.

Recently I committed to posting scriptures and encouragement every morning on my facebook ministry page. Today was the first day to do so. I also had a few other things on my plate for this manic Monday. I literally hit the floor running from the time the alarm clock sounded. I was at the track by 7:35 for my second day of training for my first 5K (yes, you heard me correctly). I decided to run my first 5K in preparation for my journey to 40 on my new blog (also launched today) Becoming 40. - you can read more about my adventures in running (aka... walking fast) as well as some other light, funny tidbits on aging gracefully. Aaaand the last major thing on my list for today was to clean my closet. This was, of course, in addition to all the normal WAHM stuff like breakfast, clean-up, laundry, running the kids to school, more laundry, picking one kids u from school, picking another kid up from football practice, dinner and more clean-up.

That was a busy introductory paragraph. But I said all that to say this.

In encouraging, entertaining and taking care of everyone else, I forgot to encourage myself. Yes, I read a few scriptures, said a small prayer with my kids before school and sang along with tunes on our local Christian radio station, but it was not enough.

I empty myself out every day. By the time I get in the bed (which is usually very late), I am completely drained. If I do not pull away from everything first thing in the morning and spend some alone time with God, time to praise, time to refill and time to get empowered for the tasks ahead, my day goes downhill quickly. It's not possible to run on empty, so about mid-day today I was wanting to pull the covers over my head and not do or think about anything.

Outside pressures and circumstances that have been present for some time seemed bigger today and attempted to overwhelm. Financial pressures, decisions that need to be made, deadlines, concerns for friends and family, the search for a part time job, the need of a new, faster, more efficient computer, teenager stuff...just to name a few.

The difference between yesterday and today is that today I put my eyes on the tasks before me and looked to my own ability to complete them. When I take my eyes off of Him, my faith begins to shrink and my feet begin to sink. I know this from experience...time and time again.

Want to know what I encouraged my readers to do this morning? Exactly what I didn't do.

Today, put your confidence not in your own ability, but in God's.


And the scripture I provided?

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever....Psalm 138:7-8.

I am thankful His mercy endures forever. I am thankful tomorrow I can start over.

Tomorrow, the same circumstances and pressures will most likely still be there, but even in the midst of trouble, He revives me. He fills me, empowers me, and offers grace.

So, tonight, I am off to encourage myself in the Lord. Putting my eyes back on Him, I choose to believe His promises and accept His grace.

I choose to be filled once again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Linking with my sweet friends, Jen @ Finding Heaven and Shanda for On Your Heart Tuesday. If you have time to browse, be sure to hop over and read some other great blogs. And don't forget to check out my new blog and see my big, frizzy hair from my Senior Year Prom, 1991. :)


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday & A Tribute

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. We will not fear. Psalm 4:1-2

At the beginning of service this morning, the congregation rose, hand over heart, eyes fixed on our American flag displayed proudly at the front of the stage. In unison, voices pledged allegiance to the red, white and blue and sang of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

A Tribute to lives lost ten years ago, on the day that forever changed America and left hearts aching

In the middle of crisis, the fierceness of the storm, the heat of the battle, it is easy to give in and give up. But the victory comes with digging in heels and drawing strength from the inner depths of your being, strength you never knew you had, strength that overcomes the greatest evil...His strength in our weakness. We continue to rise above this tragedy and pray for America to remember who she is, to take her rightful place, to once again stand for truths upon which she was founded ...and to trust in God.

A Tribute to Fallen Soldiers, a moment of silence and prayer for hurting families

A Tribute to active/retired soldiers abroad and in our own congregation

Below is Retired Sgt. Brian Fleming - our guest speaker.
He gives a powerful testimony of one soldier's journey from being blown up twice in Afghanistan to using his story to bring hope to others and his voice to tell of the love of Christ all across the world.

We are the United States of America. We are the land of the free, the home of the brave.

God Bless America!

Linking today with Michelle at Nebraska Graceful

and counting gifts with Ann at A Holy Experience

76 freedom to worship
77 men and women who risk their lives for our freedom
78 the ability to forgive
79 courage to press on
80 hope to become better
81 love that covers and heals
82 His strength in my weakness
83 gentle reminders that keep things in perspective
84 grace for this journey
85 mercies new in the morning

Friday, September 9, 2011

(More Than) 5 Minute Friday, in real life, & an On-Line (un)Conference

(Please continue praying for Texas and all those affected by the wildfires and working to put them out. Send Your rain, God.)

I popped over to The Gypsy Mama for the normal 5 Minute Friday post and was surprised to discover this. It sounds really amazing and I can stay in my pajamas…bonus! Maybe you can come, too? I'm thinking...pajama party?

In keeping with their theme, in real life, I decided to share a few of the first thoughts that come to mind (this could be dangerous…). You can read more of the same here., and link up, if you'd like.

The phrase in real life implies that maybe some things in life… aren’t…real? This got me t’ thinkin’ (sorry, sometimes the Texas in me sneaks out)…and to brainstorming (like writers sometimes do). Here’s what I came up with:

In fake life?, get real, for real, uncover, lies, cover-up, pretend, in plain sight, taking off the mask, not always perfect, too good to be true, put on a happy face, behind closed doors, hiding, fear of, out in the open, the real me, the real you, what you see is what you get, closed, open up, share

Boy, did that open up a can of worms.

Aren’t we all in this real life together? Why the temptation to hide behind masks of perfection or cover up hurts or put up walls or be someone we’re not?

In this life…this real life…there are hurts. There is happy and sad. There is beautiful and there is ugly. There is abuse, failure, success, lies, mistakes, regrets, victories, anger, sin, love, hate, tempers lost, divorce, jealousy, expectations, affairs, rebellion, cliques, impure motives, joy, disappointments, accomplishments, and on and on and on.

You get the idea.

Let’s talk about the real. Let’s be real. And let’s help each other.

It’s all good (except when it’s not).

And that reminds me of one of my favorite books, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, by Dr. Seuss.

“Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest…Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t. I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you…”

But do we stop or give up because real life happens? No.

“…on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak.”

I hope you know as I write these words on my blog, God is speaking to me, healing me, correcting me, exposing me, re-directing me… loving me. I invite you to come along and pray that you find some of the same through what you read. Sometimes my arms get sore and my sneakers leak, but God never changes. I am happy to be sharing my journey with all of you.

Isn’t that part of our job description anyway?

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing (I Thes. 5:11).

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Heb. 10:23-25).

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace (1 Peter 4:8-10).

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Col. 3:16).

Happy Friday, friends! :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Top 5 from the "Yes to God" Webcast

First and foremost, friends, please remember to pray for my home state, Texas, and all those affected by the wildfires as well as those risking their lives to fight the fires. We need rain and we need a miracle.  I know that even in the midst of this, God is bigger and He is still good

Last night the webcast offered by Lysa Terkeurst and Ann Voskamp was about saying "Yes to God." God has been speaking this for some time to me. In fact, I just wrote a guest post about it yesterday before the webcast that will be published soon.  More specifically to me, it has been about saying yes to Him while saying no to those things that might distract me from His purposes or keep me from His presence.

I loved getting together with my girlfriends all across the world. It was like having one big chat session, especially with the twitter feed - although my (undiagnosed) ADD contributed to missing several statements spoken on the left while trying to keep up with the written conversation on the right. I should probably take advantage of the opportunity to review the webcast. If you missed it (or need to see it again), it is available on demand on Lysa's blog.

I decided to list my top 5 favorite nuggets from last night:

  1. Before we say yes to God's work in the world, we need to say yes to who He says we are in His word. ~Ann
  2. Keeping company with God is what's most important, not how much we accomplish. ~Ann
  3. Christ is always our first yes to God...there is no yield in our lives until there is a yes to the Lord. ~Ann
  4. The name of God - YHWH - is the sound of breathing itself...Make every breath a yes to God. ~Ann
  5. Peace isn't the absence of dark, it's the assurance of God's presence in the dark. ~Ann
And since I usually have a hard time limiting words (except when I'm trying to meet my word count goal for the day, of course)...it is no surprise that I have one more to my list...technically making this my Top 6 (but we'll leave the number out so I don't have to change my title LOL):

Lysa talked about intentionally pausing in the moment and acknowledging God throughout our day. This has been my quest in pursuing God. This was a great reminder for me as it has been key in learning to "Hear His voice above all the noise," as my tagline states. I pray that I will not forget this. That I will remember when life is busy and frustrations are high and stress is squeezing and things are harder...that I will pause and acknowledge God...that I will remember He is good and He never changes.

"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32

Were you able to join in on the webcast last night? If yes, what were you favorite take-aways? And if not, please feel free to comment on my faves :)

Also, remember there is still time to watch the webcast on demand today and tomorrow at LysaTerkeurst.com.

Although not my usual Imperfect Prose Post, I am still joining today with Emily at Canvas Child and Ann for Walk With Him Wednesdays.


Monday, September 5, 2011

It is Good to Draw Near

For some time now I have felt God's invitation to come closer...an invitation to know Him more...to fellowship and worship all throughout the day. At times I have to just stop and kneel beside my bed, even if only for a few minutes. And some nights, like tonight, sleep is no rival for time in His presence. My body is tired but my spirit is doing cartwheels.

This morning our Pastor finished up his most recent series with a message titled Seeking God's Face in Prayer and Worship. He spoke about how the church as a whole has become quite efficient in seeking the hands of God when in need or want of something, but are neglecting the Giver Himself.

God is urging us to get to know Him. He desires that we wade out a little deeper.

James 4:8 assures us that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us.

In Matthew 7:7, Jesus promises that if we seek, we will find and if we knock, it will be opened to us.

Again Jesus speaks in John 7:37 and invites those who are thirsty to come to Him and drink.

The psalmist in Psalm 73:28 proclaims that it is good to draw near to God.

To be near our Savior. To sit at the feet of Jesus. To rest in the lap of our God. To bask in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

No petitions.

No requests.

No pleas.

Just be near Him.

(A very abbreviated summary of my notes):

I. We must first seek God's face in prayer.
  • Relationship is dependent on fellowship. Jesus' relationship to His heavenly Father was directly related to his prayer life.

  • The disciples knew that prayer was key. In Luke 11:1, they did not ask Jesus to show them how to heal or how to do miracles or how to teach but how to pray. "...Lord, teach us to pray..."
II. We must seek God's face in worship.
  • As Esther prepared for her time with the King (Esther 2:12), she used oils and perfumes not of her own preference, but those that were pleasing to him. We, too, must prepare and worship in ways that are pleasing to the King, however we feel the Holy Spirit leading. It is not about our preference, but His.

  • In Matthew 26:8, Mary brings an alabaster flask of very expensive oil and pours it on Jesus as He sits at the table. Pastor James painted a picture of Mary breaking open the flask and emptying the entire bottle without hesitation. She was extravagant in her worship no matter the cost. Today, the majority of the church measures out a little here a little there, deciding how much we give God in worship. He wants us to come in our brokenness (break open the flask) and pour out everything we have on Him, no matter the cost.
It is good for me to draw near to God...Ps. 73:28

More posts on drawing near to God:
i am His
An Invitation, A Call to Intimacy
Unworthy but Invited to Come
My Soul Longs For You
Complete in His Presence

Today I am linking with Jen at Finding Heaven, Michelle at Nebraska Graceful and counting my gifts with Ann.

#66-75 of graces embraced and gifts undeserved but given anyway

66 lifting holy hands
67 knees bent
68 arms open
69 the weight of His glory
70 spiritual cartwheels
71 an invitation to come closer
72 the sound of sleeping beauties
73 staying up late and sleeping in on holidays
74 corporately reading through Matthew 1-4 on a Friday night in a little church in the middle of nowhere
75 overwhelmed in His presence and tears that flow freely

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finding REST in a Narrow Place

Joining today with Gypsy Mama and a community of others to offer a spill about REST.

Losing our football game last night prompted me to consider times of loss, adversity, disappointments, etc. Although defeat comes with a sting, it is temporary and can be a vehicle to victory. It is easy for me to jump on the encouragement train and speak words of wisdom to my fifteen year old, but what happens when I face similar circumstances or trials in my own life? We leave the football uniform hanging in the dressing room but the struggle to keep faith and stay strong catches a ride home with us.

Psalm 31:7 says "I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of my enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place."

God knows each stop we make on our journey and the things we face there. He knows us, even in adversity and remains unchanging. It is our faith that wavers and our belief that sways.

In Ecclesiastes 7:14 we are advised to consider that God has appointed times prosperity as well as times of adversity. "In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other..."

We often do not know even our own heart, the stability of our faith, the depth of our beliefs or strength of our character until we are squeezed, tried and put to a test.

The end of Ps. 31:7 says He sets our feet in a wide place. I believe as we go through these adverse times, these times that feel narrow and constricted, we are being formed, molded and refined. At the end of this uncomfortable place opens wide the enlarged territory for which God is now preparing us.

It has been a struggle not to resist this part of my journey. The last several years have felt like a long, narrow hallway, but I am catching a glimpse of an opening ahead. I am resting in His truth and trusting that He knows me, He loves me and He never changes.

In this resting, I have found a quiet place. A place of restoring. A place of refreshing. A place of hearing. A place of knowing. A place of communing. A place of growing and becoming and being.

I pray that you find this place of rest today, this quiet place, this place created that you might know Him more. And I pray that you realize the fullness of His joy, feel the breath of His Spirit and accept His love that never fails.

Can I pray for you today?

Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email (contact info).

*Although I took longer than the normal 5 minutes to write, I pray that this 5 minute read refreshes your soul.