Friday, October 21, 2011

Where in the World is that Proverbs 31 Lady?

Bombarded by social media sites, blog rankings and the local P.T.A., women (and men) today face the temptation of becoming people pleasers and sometimes fall into the trap of performing for popularity or acceptance. Even in the church things can get a little mixed up.

Before you report me to the Pastor, let me explain...
To read this post in its entirety, please visit me and Lana (like Banana) over at ilovemy5kids where I have the honor of being her guest today. Hope to see you there! :)

Happy Friday, friends!


Monday, October 17, 2011

From This Place

I sit, pretending to be be far removed from distractions and responsibilities. Really, I have just placed my old plastic outdoor chair near a neglected back corner of my home. A place I have not lingered before so its seems new. From here my eyes scan acres of property, noticing and listening.

Three horses to my right stand grazing while their donkey companion plays and rolls creating a cloud of dust on the parched Texas ground.

In another pasture, my daughter's horse stands tall resting under a shade tree.

I notice the ease and grace with which these creatures move. Confident and strong they rest in who they are.

My ears tune to the birds singing a melody of praises as they celebrate.

The wind blows giving rhythm to the leaves around me.

I marvel at the variety of activity witnessed from this place.

All of creation purposefully existing at once.

Living, thriving, resting.

Knowing, accepting, being.

And I, another small part of His great design, sit writing.

I have found my place.

Give me strength, Oh my God, to live and thrive and You.

To know, accept and be who You created me to be in this place prepared for me.

Sisters and friends, I pray that you stand confident and strong, resting in the place created for you. There is a place for you. And you are not here by chance.

"My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret and intricately and curiously wrought (as if embroidered with various colors) in the depths of the earth (a region of darkness and mystery). Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days (of my life) were written before they ever took shape, when as yet there was none of them." ~Psalm 139:15-16

Linking today with Jen at Finding Heaven.

Monday, October 10, 2011

On Your Way to Your Greatest Place of Victory

Not too long ago I updated my fb status with these words:

Today I am thankful for bumps in the road...because when I hit one the rear a/c comes on in my Tahoe. So don't be discouraged if you encounter a bump in the road...something really cool may be about to happen.

I was, of course, being silly and serious at the same time.

It is true that my rear AC has some sort of short in it and comes on when we hit a bump. For those bumps, we are thankful.

But there are also times we encounter bumps (delays, setbacks, etc) on our spiritual journey to wherever it is we feel God has called us or whatever task He has asked us to complete.

It's during these times we learn to trust Him more. It is also during these times that we find out what we really believe and how our beliefs hold up under pressure or temporary disappointment.

For these bumps, I am also thankful.

I read a devotional last week in the DayStar Newsletter by Alan Bullock that echoes these sentiments. I hope these quotes encourage you as they did me:

"There are times when we have to garner great courage and push forward toward our destiny with determination, move past our setbacks by faith, and pray through our difficulties just like those in the Bible to reach our heavenly destination and receive the answers to our prayers."

"Before Joseph reached his place of leadership under Pharaoh, which enabled him to save his family from starvation and extinction, he learned the principle that 'We often experience detours on the road to our dream-release and sphere of influence before the final arrival at our place of greatest victory.'"

"After the rooster crowed three times, Peter had to learn the principle that, 'He could not allow his fears and failure to distract him from his call can purpose.' Remember, our destiny is often determined by our daily choices and decisions that we make to persevere...Peter had to push past his failure...and move beyond his soiled reputation. When he did, he became the man God used to reach the Gentiles and shape the spiritual landscape of Israel and the church."

Wherever you are on your journey, know that God is working in you and through you for greater purposes. Rejoice and give thanks in all things, knowing that growth and change are essential to maturing in Christ.

You are on your way to your dream-release and your place of greatest victory.

And if you hit a bump, remember, a cool, refreshing breeze may be on its way. :)

Linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven

Friday, October 7, 2011

Undercover Journalist, Smart Glasses & A Green Scarf

The past couple of weeks have been less than productive as far as writing, or rather, progress on my current book project. I know it's times like these I just have to keep pressing forward. I often find myself feeling anxious and questioning if I am in the "perfect will of God." I know that being anxious is evidence of worrying about the future and I know what the Word of God says about I am determining to live in the present while trusting Him for what is to come, whatever that might be.

I read something yesterday in one of my small books I keep around for motivation. It said, "God is not a magic 8-ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have a decision to make. He is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the way of obedience, and invites us to take risks for Him" (Kevin DeYoung).

Sometimes living a life of faith requires us to step out of what is familiar and comfortable and believe God for something we could not do on our own. That is risky. At the beginning of this year I determined to be FEARLESS, trust God with the impossible, and step out of the boat.

Part of that was attending my first Writer's Conference in July. It was amazing and I came back full of confidence and motivation.

But something happened.

I think one of the great philosophers of all times has spoken to me once again and shown me the error of my ways (I am talking about Dr. Seuss, of course).

"You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly purch. And your gang will fly on. You'll be left in a Lurch. You'll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you'll be in a Slump. And when you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done."

I'm not sure what a Slump is by definition, but I'm pretty sure I've been in one for a few weeks.

So, in a effort to un-slump myself, I spent a day alone (actually I've been spending a lot of days alone in this season) and went for a photo shoot and a professional journalism task . I sat outside of a nearby Starbucks with my notebook, pen, camera, briefcase and my smart glasses (you know, so I could look like I was doing something important, like say...a job) and took notes as I participated in a little People-Watching.

It can be quite entertaining.

I journaled about individuals and groups as they passed by or sat briefly at the table next to me. It's important to find ways to activate your imagination and thinking. This is a fun exercise. Want to read some of the things I wrote?

Sitting outside Starbucks and each time the door opens I am reminded that a white chocolate mocha is waiting for me inside. But I must put work before pleasure (because I am an important journalist, remember?).

So many varying activities going on around me.

An interview to my left. On my right, two girls and their laptops, a table with two friends sharing coffee, and another table, one woman sitting and one standing, getting in a few last words before life pulls her away.

An employee from a nearby shop sits to eat his sack lunch. I suspect he may be people watching as well.

Where is it that everyone is going?

A newspaper, abandoned and free, waves to those passing near.

A toddler splashes in the outdoor fountain, squealing joy as her hands touch the cool water.

An ATM stands erect, conveniently placed for those too busy to visit the bank.

All around me life reflects minutes, hours slipping away.

I pretend to check messages on my smart phone but really I'm just browsing updated facebook statuses.

The newspaper has garnered the attention of the man with the sack lunch. It is re-purposed as a placemat for a diet coke and what I suspect is a ham sandwich.

My sunglasses are sitting on a book on my table and I can secretly watch people behind me.

I'm undercover.

I have my camera and snap an occasional picture - because that's what bloggers sometimes do. I wonder how many of my new subjects are wondering about me?

The sack lunch man puts the newspaper in the trash and heads back to work.

A mother walking, holding her young son's hand makes me miss Logan.

After writing for a couple of hours, I reward myself.

Before heading home, I find a green scarf and remember I have birthday money left in my purse.

Happy Birthday to me, again. :)

Happy Friday, friends!

Write on fellow writers.

And don't be afraid to take a risk.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Fearless (repost)

Having computer issues (and working on some other issues) so I am quickly republishing a post that started my year off many months ago...and reminding myself and you that He is with us...even when our knees are knocking...

Fear can be crippling.

And, if you let it, it can steal your destiny.

This plundering thief, if given the power, has the potential to disable your spiritual authority, take your vision, prevent you from speaking/writing/singing or whatever it is that you are supposed to be doing, and bind your feet together, prohibiting any progression toward fulfilling your purpose.

Scripture assures us that fear does not come from God.

For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. ~2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

and the same scripture in the Amplified Bible:

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

So if not from God, then from the enemy of our soul. From the one who hates every fiber of our being and wants nothing more than to prevent us from doing our part to further or increase the Kingdom of Heaven.

It's the voice that says you can't do it. The voice lurking in your thoughts trying to convince you that you aren't good enough and God isn't big enough. The voice that says if you try, you will fail. The voice that laughs and says you'll never make it, they won't accept you, you're not smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, rich enough, you will only get hurt ...

Truth is, some of those things may be true, but they do not matter.

Ever heard the phrase "Do it afraid"?

All throughout scripture we find many examples of ordinary people, like ourselves, who were called to do extraordinary things. Just like us, they had a destiny, a little (or sometimes a lot of) fear, and a choice.

Open the pages of your bible and listen as God encourages Abram over and over to be not afraid. Walk with Joshua and hear the Lord say "Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid..." "Do not fear them..." "Do not be afraid" over and over and over....

These mighty men needed to be encouraged and reassured that they needed not be afraid because the Lord their God would be with them. This tells me they were afraid. And more than once they pushed through the wall of fear and stepped into the freedom of trust and fearlessness to obtain the victory that was already theirs.

They didn't wait until they were not afraid. They stepped out with knees knocking and trusted that God would do what He said He would do. And He did.

We are not offered the luxury of unending days, but with each new dawn we are are drawn closer to the end of our seasons on this earth. Life as we know it, is short. There is not enough time to wait until we are not afraid to do that thing which God has been telling us to do.

"Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom." Psalm 90:12 NLT

As I write this, I gain strength and can feel courage rising from inside. By faith, I declare that I will FEAR NOT. For my God is with me. I have a destiny and I choose to move forward, not waiting but pushing through whatever fear may try to hold me back. I am behind because I have allowed fear of man, fear of failure, fear that all my messy places will show - because they will - to keep me stationary and render me immobile. But man's opinion is of no value to me. Without the risk of failure, there can be no success. And God can and wants to work even in my messy places.

So for the New Year, 2011, my word is FEARLESS. God has given me a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. And I chose to walk in it.

And even when fear is present, I will do it afraid and trust and watch God do what He said He would do.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 ESV

I pray that you will find the courage to step out and answer the call that you have heard, probably more than once. And hear God whisper to your soul, "Do not be afraid. For I am with you."

FEARLESS. That's my word. And that is how I will take one step at a time closer to my destiny this year, hand in hand with my Father.

What is your word for 2011?
linking with Jen today...