Friday, October 30, 2009

A Note via A Blog

Last week, I learned that Susan Kelbold shared her story with O Magazine. I could relate. If I could send her a note, it might read something like this...

Thursday, October 22, 2009
Dear Susan,
I know it took an amazing amount of courage to come forth with your story. Seven years ago, my family was affected by murder and suicide. I have only been able to publicly speak about it this year. God has brought much healing to our extended families and I am now sharing my testimony and story; it is always difficult, but not as hard as the first time. Thank you for sharing your story. I could so relate to your described feelings about how others perceived you (law enforcement, community members, victims’ family), your internal struggles as a victim, and the apologies you offered. I understand from Good Morning America's interview with Gayle King that you felt that you could not do a TV interview, but wrote the article for O Magazine instead. You did so much with your article. I applauded your willingness to vividly share, your call for awareness, and vulnerability to the public. One line said, "Dylan changed everything I believed about my self, about God, about family, and about love." It is my prayer that God will bring complete healing to you, you will come to know Him in a very intimate way through this, and experience His all-sufficient love even when you don't hold the answers. Today, as Oprah's November issue hits the stands, we should offer you compassion as we did to the families of the Columbine tragedy 10 years ago.
You have mine,
A Survivor

When I went to pick up a copy of the magazine to read the story. These front page articles caught my eye: Who Are you Meant to Be? My answer is Rev. 4:11. And, How to Talk So People Really Listen, I would site 2 Timothy 2:2. It was a good $5.00 investment to be reminded of the Author and Perfecter who holds answers to all of my questions and confirms all of my steps.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good to the Last Drop

Thanks to so many of you who have inquired about this past weekend’s speaking opportunity at the Women’s Retreat in West Virginia. God moved in a mighty way throughout the entire weekend. Here’s the story…

Friday, God Filled My Cup
Have you noticed the days are getting shorter? Not only do the days pass by more swiftly, but there is less and less daylight in each of them. My how time passes was my exact thought as we drove 2 hours to see one of my younger brothers earn his junior black belt. We shared a milestone despite time and distance. As we drove home in the early-setting darkness, I got comfy, slid off my shoes as my oldest younger brother of 30 years, shared his heart. The season was about to change.

This past summer, he met my desire to share my testimony with a great deal of anxiety, hesitation, and even frustration. You have to understand, until God healed and changed MY heart, neither of us was openly, let alone publicly, comfortable to share that our dad committed murder and suicide. Now, in autumn darkness, headlights illuminated our way. My brother shared how after the previous Sunday’s sermon, Living in the Spirit - Not Flesh, he went to the altar. Not quite done with him, God tugged on his heart to openly share, on a Sunday morning to a full congregation, the story of what our dad did in the flesh. What a milestone! What a God moment!

I know of my own painful, agonizing, gut-wrenching experience of sharing our story publicly from earlier this summer…only to be met with fireworks as I left Michigan. On my late night drive home, after getting lost, somewhere over Canton, Ohio, I saw fireworks overhead and was reminded of an earlier-heard quote by Sarah Young, “When your joy in Me [Christ] meets My [Christ’s] joy in you there will be fireworks of celestial ecstasy.” That moment was a bright and shining celebration of being obedient to the Lord.

As my brother talked about how God worked to change his heart, we had the opportunity revisit the summer’s conversations…some very heated! He understood the urging that the Spirit can have on your life and the need to obey. Just then, my husband interrupts and points. “Look over there. Did you see that? There were fireworks!” Are you serious, “It is October” I said, but immediately I knew that didn't matter. In a dark sky, on an autumn night, near an interstate, God again showed me His celestial ecstasy in our sibling healing…we shared the same bright colorful Joy. Are you surprised to know my brother finished sharing his story with us by telling how the next afternoon brought a call from his Pastor rejoicing that someone in the church was saved, citing my brother's testimony as an impetus? A stranger, but not to God, gained his sight and welcomed His Light into his life from our family's darkness! Praise God!

Saturday, My Cup Overflowed

So the next morning I drove in the twilight to West Virginia to speak of King Hezekiah’s tunnel and share how God helped me find a way to overcome my walls of shame, embarrassment, and resentment to bathe in pools of blessing.
The Spirit washed over me with ease - I just shared.
My words were from healing– not just hurt.
There was no anxiety or wrenching – just Truth.
God spoke to hearts – just used my mouth.

Sunday, I Got a Refill!
I never expected more on Sunday. But, I serve a generous God! What a bright day...full of bathe in His Presence after seeing Him the past two days. As we sat down, looked at the bulletin, the text for the Sabbath’s sermon was Exodus 3:1-10 where God called Moses to be barefoot…no excuses!

And since it is Tunesday on my blog...
Fill my cup Lord,
I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of Heaven, Feed me till I want no more
Fill my cup, fill it up and make ME whole!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

And the Oscar goes to...

So, I wrote my first skit today...a comedy monologue. A women rushes in to the church fellowship like a whirlwind to join all her friends for a time of spiritual retreat and renewal. She is frazzled, frustrated, and in a frenzy. She plops down with a huge purse and begins to frantically search for her lipstick to freshen up before the guest speaker takes the stage. And thus, it begins. She pulls one purse out of another purse out of another purse out of another and so on, as she in excruciating detail shares the morning's chaotic events of her life. Yes, I may be barefoot, but I do have that many purses! "I'm a tellin' ya the truth, I know my lipstick is in one of these bags," she insists. Upon finding and applying her beauty, she sits covered up by a mound of baggage. Moral of the story: We can not truly be all that He has already designed for us unless we are willing to dig through our baggage and find what makes us shine for Him.

Lord, whatever you want to use this weekend, Your Word, a skit, an analogy, or my own testimony (that I still have difficulty sharing), it is YOURS! Make me shine a beautiful shade of whatever brings You glory...I prefer Black Honey by Clinque.:)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mathmatical Mantra for Tunesday

Today is Tunesday and I have been waiting for days to share this song with you. Math has never been my strong suit, but I am so excited to be living out some eternal equations as I prepare for my speaking opportunity Saturday:

My Faith (in God) + My Trust (His Plan) = Peace (His Gift)...
Lack of either on my part can cancel out the sum.
His Peace > My Anxiety.
His Peace = My Desire

Listen to My Desire by Jeremy Camp on this do the math! Notice in the video how hands start closed in faith and trust. Then, the shift...hands are open, lifted up, exposed. Love that! Then, in the end, the hands again are in prayer again...thanksgiving?! Then, it all ends in the arms of peace! My favorite verse in the song and my mathematical mantra is:

All my life I have seen
Where You've taken me
Beyond all I have hoped
And there's more left unseen

How exciting is that!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Prep, Print, Post, Pray

This week I am preparing to speak at a Weekend Women's Retreat in West Virginia. Yippeee! I feel like Cinderella getting ready for the ball...a dream come true...turning the not so glamorous parts of my life into something for His glory. Speaking of which, Cinderella had bare feet issues, too, didn't she? The focus of the weekend is Psalm 18:28 "Enlighten My Darkness!" I will be sharing some of my own testimony and the story of King Hezekiah's Tunnel. So, I thought I would make short daily posts this week to invite you along for the journey. Today's preparations consisted of looking up some key scripture about the tunnel, enjoying a long talk with an inspiring mentor and friend, professionally printing some visual aids, designing business cards, and finding a really cool blog post about the tunnel! But the most enlightening part about today was finishing my study on Titus where Paul tells Titus not only to "initiate" good works, but "maintain" them. So, back to our beloved girlfriend with her one shoe on, one shoe off dilemma. I hear, "Be bold, take a step, take off the other glass slipper, don't hold on, don't hold back." Bold & barefoot...and I pray that I stay that way!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Is there a chill in the air? Or is it just me?!

Being the mother of an imaginative preschooler, I know my cartoon characters. For those who can relate, what does Thomas the Tank Engine, Elmo, and Bob the Builder all have in common? They all demonstrate spiritual truths. Seriously, take a look.

Thomas the Tank Engine seeks to be "very useful" and help other trains different from himself...Thomas is like the Good Samatrian. Elmo follows the golden rule and loves one another...everyone, all the time, anywhere, no matter what. Bob the Builder fixes everything! You know the song..."Can we fix it? Yes, we can!" Bob has the faith of a mustard seed and is the ultimate optimist. Isn’t he? Yes! He is!

Are we? Do we have spiritual optimism? Can we? Yes, we can! But today, I share a caution.

Obviously, our sufficiency isn’t through Bob the Builder, but through Christ. I bet we can all state the ever popular verse, Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” I see that verse a lot...Posters, greeting cards, home d├ęcor. But where is John 15:5? John quoted Jesus. Jesus said, “without me, ye can do nothing.” Tucked behind the vines and branches, it doesn’t get the same popularity does it? No, it doesn't. But is holds so much meaning.

God has provided a speaking opportunity this coming weekend at a Women's Retreat. I will be sharing about God's work in my life this summer and my Bible Study of King Hezekiah. As I gather notes, get anxious, make outlines, harness my creativity...I get nervous. Who am I to share from God's Word? Will they like it? Is it entertaining? Thought provoking? Scripturally sound? Cold barefeet set in before I started preparing Saturday. However on Saturday, He saw fit to provide 3 affirming e-mails about gifts that others see in me and led me to read, "When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient: to be adequate without My [Christ's] help. This is a subtle sin - so common that it usually slips by unnoticed" by Sarah Young in my devotional, Jesus Calling.

It greatly excites me that God provides different verses for different situations; only He can empower and humble us at the SAME TIME! So, when we need to know that “Yes, we can!” – God empowers us and gives us Phil 4:13. But, when we are too sure of ourselves and are tempted to abuse our gifts and abilities in the name of the Lord…He humbles us with John 15:5. In my attempts to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, and go it alone, I am glad He said, “No! You Can’t!” His Word warms my feet!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Tunesday!

Let's start a new blog tradition...Tuesday Tunes! Each Tuesday, I'll post a new link to a song with a few thoughts. Then, you can share you comments about the song, artist, or leave a thought on the blog. Think of it as just a little way to add some of His Word to your day! So, it is Tuesday! Take your shoes off, sit back, and listen to Kari Jobe's tune You are For Me.

Yesterday morning...a Monday...I made a simple, but hot breakfast for our 3 year old, Jeremiah. I know! A Monday and NOT cereal...I was off to a great start, right?! With sleep in his eyes, bed wrinkles in his cheeks, and hugging himself in his pjs, I served him breakfast and he asked, "Where is your spoiled egg, Mom?" I couldn't help but laugh, "Jeremiah, it isn't a spoiled egg, it is a boiled egg. Mine is right here and Mommy would never serve you spoiled eggs!" He relaxed, launched into the breakfast blessing, and thanked God for the "boiled, not spoiled eggs." I smiled and just shook my head...preached to this morning from the pulpit of a preschooler!

Sometimes we define the negative in our own lives before we even talk to God about it. When, in reality, God is always for us. Even when it seems hard, challenging, and even impossible, we have to remember that God is always for us. What does that mean? It can mean that what we might see as negative, isn't always in God's eyes. If God be for us, what (or who) then can be against us, negative, challenging, or even spoiled? Let's remember to seek His definition of what is going on around us before defining it ourselves. Seek Romans 8:31.