Tuesday, June 29, 2010

His Season

Virginia welcomed me home on Sunday after an almost 11 hour drive to my amazing husband, our bright and beautiful red head, and a huge banner, "Welcome Home!" I not only felt welcomed, but loved. Thanks fellas!
The trip to Michigan, only two days into Summer, made me realize my season is currently Spring. God's Word reminds us that we should not be conformed to this world, right? Well, I don't even think I am of even of the current season. HA!

Things are just spouting up everywhere. Is that a "good thing?" I am just trying to maintain. Been there? Done that? And this is no shocker - the Enemy is trying to choke out Life in my season by multiplying weeds of frustration, distraction, and guilt. But, I long for time to come and sit (a.k.a. BE STILL), be barefoot (extremely and painfully truthful), and focus (pray) over the seeds that have been planted:

~ God is the Master Gardner and WILL show me how to have a green thumb! I need to ask.
~ My husband wants to cultivate right beside me. I am grateful.
~ My son needs my attention. He only grows once.

The rest of the "things," I am figuring out.

So, the world says this about Spring: "April showers bring May flowers!" How may times have I heard "that" one when I have introduced myself?! But, I believe that God is saying, "Seek me first and ALL these "things" shall be added unto YOU" in this season. Don't just try to "figure" them out.

Welcome Home? "Yes!"
Welcome Spring, Seeds, Spouting? "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
Welcome Seeking? "Always, my beloved."

For futher planting:

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Why did the Goose Cross the Road?"

Driving to Day #2 of our Speak Up with Confidence seminar was no child's play.

Most know the game where children sit in a circle and one child goes around saying, "Duck, Duck, Duck" as the other children await the honor of being chosen. Then, that one "special" youngster is selected by the all significant laying a hand to the head and yelling, "GOOSE!"

And that is just what I heard in my head as I slammed on the breaks, "GOOSE!" I couldn't help it. There was heavy morning traffic, the median to my left, and cars to my right. I had no where to go! I hit and killed a beautiful, huge, full grown Canadian goose. I slowed down almost to a crawl and had to keep on going straight, there was no where to turn, but as I looked in the rear view mirror, there where black, white, and grey down feathers fluttering all around the back of my car and onto the hood of the car behind me. Two other young geese anxiously turned around and trotted back in another direction.

"Oh no! Do you think I killed it?" I asked in shock and sadness.
"Yes, I heard a 'squish,' my conference sister answered in a whisper.

Are you one of the two geese that turn and go and find the way when life leaves no room, just obstacles? Or are you the the one who gets "squished!"

Do not be "squished!" It says that in the Bible, here I will show you...

"...I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. But that doesn't mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift." Ephesians 4:1-7 (MSG)

In the circle of life, God has called each of us, "GOOSE, GOOSE, GOOSE..." but not each of us is to just follow and be like the one before us. Sometimes we have to get there in different ways. I don't know your way. I really don't even know mine. But, if I follow God's Word and not man, I am less likely to get "squished."

If there is one thing that I have learned while being at the 2010 Speak Up with Confidence Seminar, it is that God has created some beautiful geese...truly beautiful...some from really ugly ducklings. I know. I am one of them. I no longer doubt my calling to speak, but I am learning how. Ephesians 4 tells us that we can avoid getting "squished" if we follow these signs:
~ Humility & discipline
~ Not fits and starts
~ Steadily
~ Pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love,
~ Alert at noticing differences
~ Quick at mending fences

Which one will you follow from here? You are not a Silly Goose, you are Chosen.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Matchmaking 101

As scripture from Ephesians 3 was read over me today during Day #1 of the Speak Up seminar, it could not have been a more perfect match:

"And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!"

This match ignited me.

God knows that I am not just a chosen speaker, but I need the right words to listen to, meditate upon, and inspire me. I am the one who really needs words...His Word. They speak to me like no one elses'. I am humbled that my very own story is quoted by the famous, my pre-published writing is even mentioned by established authors, or my attempts to share can even be applicable to the well-known. How does he pull things like that together I ask you?!

Do you find comfort in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6? Where God tells us,

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.

There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.

There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men."

I do. Let me show you a few examples:

This is me and my friend & seminar sister Tanya...same colored blouse (how does that happen?), same desire to speak God's glory, same home state of Virginia, same love for God's Word, and under the same authority of the Holy Spirit.


...this was Tanya's side of the room this morning (after spilling coffee on her bed while Facebooking, singing, and getting ready - all at the same time) as we left to go speak, minister, edify, lead, worship, praise, and bring glory to the Father.

And, this was mine.

No shocker for those girlfriends who know us!

But God is God so He understands how this is a good match. The very generosity of Christ, that is sometimes over my head, displays how HE is the perfect match. He is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ALL at the same time! HE is the perfect match maker. He makes ALL things beautiful (Ecc. 3:11) - even hotel rooms and supply ALL our needs. And HE is matchless as His Word can not return void. We are all gifted differently, speak in variety, and minister in multiple ways; it is HIM who matches His words to our hearts...no matter our style. Just as He did for me today.

I am grateful that we are not all the same. He does not want a dozen cookie-cutter Christians caroling Christ. He wants each of us to "...bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created ALL this in the first place has been doing in secret and behind the scenes ALL along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves..." and in our own way.

So here I am.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Packing the Preparation for Presentation

Besides the pavement ahead, this was my view today as I drove through Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, AND Michigan in an 10 hour journey (with an undisclosed number of bathroom stops) to return to a Christian speaking seminar. As I zipped my suitcase at 6:35 a.m. this morning (with another undisclosed number of jewelry items and pairs of shoes), I printed out my 4 speeches, directions, and conference itinerary. The first speech is tomorrow at 3:00 in the afternoon, I thought. Then, as I handed my load to my husband, I was reminded of how a recent devotional helped me pack one last item for the journey...confidence.

Preparation is made up of agreement and claiming. Agreement is joining together my will with God's way. God's Word is true, consistent, and applicable. So, if I am in FULL agreement with what He says about me, then I am one step closer to being prepared for whatever lies waiting. I don't want to just know Truth (thanks to the Southern Baptist Covention for title of 1989 Texas State Bible Drill Championship 2nd Place Finisher), but to trust it. If Truth holds the first place of my heart, then I don't mind if my will is 2nd. But, if I don't agree with what God says about me, then Iam ill prepared for anything that takes place.

Claiming is affirming that God's way is my will. The popular verse, Change my heart O God, asserts that whatever changes He thinks are necessary will be accepted and maintained. FULL claim of my heart belongs to Him. I claim He is mine, and I am His.

So I agree that God has equiped me, called me, lead me, gifted me, favored me, chosen me, appointed me, blessed me, and most of all loved me. I claim that with so much invested in His creation, He will hover over me in the coming days to not only lead me in preparation, but in presentation, of every Word spoken in His confidence.

With the 604.6 miles already completed today, I know that the journey has just begun because of what I packed, how I prepared, and where I am placed.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rare Find

A newly discovered blog has blessed me with a rare find...a quote about being barefoot.

“Earth is crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
but only he who sees takes off his shoes.
The rest sit around it and
Pluck blackberries.”
~Elizabeth Barret Browning

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A New Class - "Corinthian Math"

As I sit in our room, my haven (minus the extra "e"), complete with prayer bench at the foot of our bed, I close the door in soft light and begin to type...

Father, it has been 100 days since my last blog post.
It has been almost 1 year since my commissioning.
It has just been 2 days since I accepted your ministry...in my life.
And, it has just been in this moment, I have mustered the energy to attempt to share my praise of You, O Holy God.

Last year at a Speak Up seminar, the head of Cornerstone Theological Seminary came into the conference room that overlooked a still grey pond and asked all of us, "green" public speakers, to stand. Each was to put a hand on the person beside her as we received our commissioning. Two hands embraced me. As with his past graduating classes, he spoke the motivating charge as Christ would in red and said, "Go!" Although simple, still terribly enormous. I took it with streaks and streams of tears billowing down my face, but with open palms and knew my life would never be the same. My calling was confirmed. HE was preparing to multiply in His time.

In little over a year, God has taken a girl who loves her shoes (and secrets) and transformed her into something complete barefoot (vulnerable) and brand new. He took one rough, tearful, voice crackling public speaking testimonial and turned it into 6 public speaking events this year, with one on the way Saturday. He took 3 years of solo Bible Study and opened a door to lead one weekly at 5:45 a.m. And he took an eager unharnessed desire to minister and focused who, what, when, where, why, and how. HE multiplied in His Time.

And just mere hours ago, as I e-mailed all 25 girls (with 3 more on the way) who attended our first new Young Ladies Bible Study meeting Monday, in a room where I only envisioned 5, I await their transformation and acceptance of Truth. HE will multiply in His Time.

Because Truth says, "God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.
As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God"
(2 Corinthians 9:8-11 MSG).

Have I mentioned that math has never been my strong suit? I tend to prefer a little "drama" from time to time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the answer to a multiplication equation (1 Barefoot girl TIMES the 1 True God) was "the sum," but with God factored into the equation, I think the answer is "ALL, and then SOME!"