I Fell Head-long Down a Flight of Unrelenting, Cement Stairs


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When Greg and I were first friends and actually neighbors in  our adjoining apartments, he was attending an event one day  that he needed support from friends while there.   I decided to  go to the event just to support him.   I spent much time on  presenting myself because secretly I was interested in getting  to know Greg a little better, if you know what I mean.   I had on  lovely white slacks and was coiffed just so.   I lived in an  upstairs apartment and cement stairs led down to my car.   As  I hurried out the door towards my car, somehow I stumbled  heading down the stairs and fell head long down a flight of  very hard and unrelenting stairs.

 

 I was stunned and shaken when I reached the bottom and,  true to my nature, I looked around to see if anyone saw me and then jumped up and ran back up the stairs in denial that my whole body was in pain.   I hurriedly checked the mirror to make sure my hair and makeup was still in place and my clothes were still presentable and then rushed off to the event, ignoring the ache in my leg and that my body shaking.

I entered the building and took my seat to observe and when Greg saw me he came and sat with me.   I acted so together as I smiled.  But the minute he looked at me he wanted to know if I was okay…..we looked down at my leg with the white pants and there was blood seeping through.  I leaned over and pulled up my pant leg and had a large goose egg on my shin and it was bleeding.   I was embarrassed and said it was nothing and that I just fell down the cement stairs between our apartments before coming.  He looked at me like I was from another world.  Greg still tells the story.

 This was typical behavior for me at the time.  I was so good at covering the real me and hiding my imperfections and my clumsiness in most any situation.   I had been through a time of great suffering and pain and was still in hiding from my true self.

 Restoration Comedy Mask 1

 Have you ever struggled with the fear of showing your true self to the world?

 Do you back off of things you are gifted in and you know it’s  because of insecurity?

 Would you be surprised to find that most everyone struggles to  reveal their true self instead of  a masked version of themselves  that they feel is a bit more acceptable?

Why do we hide our true selves?  Are we afraid that no one will like us if they knew who we really are?  And, yet, most of us love it when someone reveals their real selves and all of their imperfections because we then start to feel  more “normal.”

 

I had this recurring dream once.  

I would be rushing to get somewhere…didn’t matter where…shopping, school, parties…and I forgot to get dressed and my make up wasn’t on…fear would grip me in the dream and I would be terrified.  I would be putting on eyebrows, and mascara, and whatever but it would never quite stay on me–it would just slip right off; my clothes kept dropping off.  I would find myself in the midst of people totally undone and without makeup or proper attire, terrified and looking for a hiding place but none could be found. People ignored me and everyone would just look at me as if I was not even there.  There was nothing about me that made a difference.  I was ugly.  I was unacceptable.  I had nothing to offer if I didn’t look the part, according to my own perceptions.  I would wake up from these dreams in a cold sweat.

  hiding

 

 These dreams revealed to  me my deepest insecurities  born out of being violated as a young child sexually  and for all my years after the violation I tried to paint  a  picture of a very together girl that had a perfect life.  But inside I knew I was ugly and unworthy and full of  shame.

 

It took a lot of energy to keep my true self hidden and I was always drained.

It takes courage to step out into self discovery and the pain of facing yourself. 

Many choose to walk this way for the rest of their lives rather than be courageous enough to face their hidden pain and let it go.

We fear failure and not being good enough or that we won’t fit in.

I believe on our deepest levels we are actually afraid of who we could be.   Who we know deep down that God has created us to be….so much more than we could imagine and we know it in our spirits!

You are a precious child of the most high God!  Keeping your light hidden only robs the world of what God has gifted you with.   As a Life Purpose Coach I am convinced that He has a plan for each and every one of us.  But not all walk into that plan.  Some  resist it because of fear.    1209389_575103479218871_301732771_n

 You were born to shine forth His glory in this world.    That glory is on the inside of you.  As you let that  glory shine you give others permission to do the  same. 

 Think about how you are one-of-a-kind. You carry a  voice… a resonance. You have a message. The way  you do things is totally you.

 

Focusing on this uniqueness will help you to succeed in life. To grow to love your story. To find joy in the freedom of being you.

It’s when you discover your uniqueness, that you’ll be open to become who you were meant to be.

The real war is in becoming your truest self. 

I know this struggle too. Many years I wandered, trying to find who I really was and where I fit in.

But through many years of self discovery in my journey with Jesus I have to say I am absolutely amazed at how much the struggle to reveal the real me has stopped and I am more comfortable and confident to be who I am called to be.

If you are a regular reader of my blogs you will see I have endeavored to be transparent and vulnerable with my own story…as humorous as it sometimes is… in hopes you will relate and also realize I am no different than you. (Well, maybe some of you aren’t as clumsy as I am.)  

It is through this very transparency that my healing has come.  It is through this vulnerability that others have been able to relate to my story, and feel the courage to share theirs.

How exciting is that?

I am on a mission to proclaim the freedom into the world that deep relationship with Jesus provides for those who want to pursue it and to help them find their voice–the very thing He is calling them to.

I am passionate to help people uncover obstacles that have held them back and to walk with them in a new journey they never knew existed for them and one that  they love.   I would love to work with you in Life Purpose Coaching in uncovering more of “you” and the uniqueness you have to offer the world. 

535697_353910861338135_812640802_n My friends, you are made unique for a purpose.  Finding your voice starts by being fully alive, inviting  people in and having relationship with them by being truly you.

 It is letting go of the fear that holds you back once  and for all and free falling into the arms of a King who  adores you!

 Give yourself permission to be free to love you and  people wherever you go in life, in what you create and  in your business.

Be who you were created to be, find  your voice and go change the world. 

Does Fishing for People Mean I Have to Stand on the Corner and Yell, “Repent?”

 

526890_497796150276836_1535264190_n  One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of  the  Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon,  also  called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into  the  water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called  out  to them,“ Come, follow me, and I will show you  how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at  once and followed him.”  Matthew 4:18-20 NLT

 I don’t have the gift of evangelism.  My husband does and he loves it!  I love people and have a shepherd’s heart, but I am not one to focus on evangelism.   I am called to share daily Kingdom living with those who are interested, and I write,  and I have the gift of counsel through the Holy Spirits guidance. 

It took years for me to get over the fear that someone was going to make me stand on a street corner and cry out like John, the Baptist, saying “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”  

One day I was caught up in a crowd of people in  an amusement park and I found myself slip into a different perspective of the people, who, quite frankly, seemed to be cutting off my air as they pressed in around me.   I had to purposely focus on breathing to avoid taking off running and screaming to get out of the park.   But as I stood there in the line of humanity I felt myself rising, somehow, to a God’s eye view of the multitudes.  It was like I was still in my body in the sweltering crowds, but another part of me was lifted up into the heavenlies.

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 It was really pretty amazing. 

 I perceived in the spirit what God sees when He  looks down on earth and the very expansiveness of  the amount of people He sees and I knew He knew  each one by name.  And for a brief moment I  experienced His kind of love for them.  That is how  I  knew it was Him.  I didn’t know these people from  every nation that seemed to be surrounding me.  

It was pretty much blowing my mind.   I felt very, very small as I looked on with Him from His vantage point.  I thought of how our small groups we hang out with think they have it all figured out and have all the answers … and I saw how absolutely bazaar it is to think we have God, the universe and all the people in it,  figured out.

Only God knows each and every heart.  Can you even imagine?

“So Lord”, I said.  “What does it mean to fish for people?  I don’t think it means to grab them and scare them into repenting!”

And as is His custom with me, He began to teach.

The common image of a fisherman in our day is of a man with a fishing pole casting a lure into the waters of a stream or a lake. However, such was not the case when Jesus called his disciples.

They caught fish with nets and by experience they found that their best fishing took place at night.

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 We know that this is true by looking at Luke 5:5, when  Jesus told Peter to cast his nets on the other side of the  boat he said, “Master we have toiled all night and caught  nothing never-the-less at your word I will let down the  net.”

 How did they fish at night?

 They used a very powerful and effective method.

 Light!

 Fish were attracted to light!   Now I was onto something!

 Just as fish are attracted to the disciple’s light, God wants people to be drawn to His light shining through His people. The light of every believer is the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.

Paul stated in his second letter to the Corinthians (4:6-7), “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power of God may be of God and not of us.”


We are not the light —we merely reflect the light of Jesus. 

Now let’s look at what kind of man Jesus was while He walked this earth.  I have heard it said that Jesus was not strolling through the Israeli countryside offering poetry readings.

He was on a mission to rescue a people who are so utterly deceived most of them didn’t even want to be rescued.

I saw that Jesus talked  straight.

Sometimes he’s playful; sometimes he’s fierce; the next moment he’s generous.   As He is so are we in this earth!  This is the beauty of his wonderfully disruptive honesty—you can count on Jesus to tell you the truth in the best possible way for you to hear it.

Could this be one of the reasons why we struggle to spend time with Christ or to listen to his thoughts on our life, world and relationships—because he’ll tell us the truth?

What would it be like to have someone in your life that knows you intimately, loves you regardless, and is willing to be completely honest with you? Yes, it would be a little unnerving, certainly disruptive—but doesn’t part of you also crave it?

 Jesus heals a leper.  He doesn’t ask Him if He is saved first.

What?

He forgives a prostitute.  He just told her to go and sin no more. 

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 Wouldn’t you want to know more about this man?

 He dines with tax collectors and in that day and time  that was taboo for “righteous” folk.  Would you be  intrigued?

 Jesus wasn’t concerned with His reputation.   Why  isn’t he?

 Jesus doesn’t seem to care what people think. But  we know he cares very deeply about the right things.   

 What does Jesus’ scandalous freedom in living and relating to others stir up in you?

Jesus sets before us a deeper, truer view of holiness.   

We are in a world full of darkness.  We are the light of Jesus where He has placed us in the this world.   The fish are attracted to light.  The people are attracted to the light of Him in us.  

“What is it you have that I don’t have”, they say.

And you reel them in as you simply introduce them to source of the light.

Profoundly simple, yet so profound.

All those external “rules of men” do nothing to promote a genuine holiness.  But they do make people Pharisees.

By the truckload.

Remember, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20).

The only possible way that can happen is through an internal revolution, a changed heart. When we have a heart like Jesus’.  Bingo!  Open door to share Him in all of His uniqueness. 

The more you fall in love with Jesus’ genuine goodness, which is true goodness, the more you will absolutely detest the counterfeit of a false piety and a shallow morality. And the more they will swim around the light and grab the bait!

As they did with Him. 

I’ll Call Her Hannah

303161_414645191931368_893377415_nI’ll call her Hannah.  

Sweet girl, but she walked in that day with a cross between terror and distrust on her face.  On that first day she came she brought reinforcements.  Her protection sat in a car across the street in case she needed to make a quick getaway.

I greeted her with a hug and she was shaking and determined to not talk.

amazing graceShe sat at my table overlooking my flower garden staring at the Amazing Grace plaque I had nailed to the fence, and tears just waiting to be released.

There had been other attempts from other people to help her heal from a childhood that had lied to her and robbed her of her innocence; a childhood that had picked her up and spit her out into the emptiness to fend for herself; a place she had locked herself up within a cage of torment, but was safer than venturing out into the unknown…and so that no one would see or notice.  But those well meaning attempts to help her were not welcomed nor were they successful because according to her she did not trust them nor did she think anyone would love her if they knew her secrets.

And now here she was at my table, eyeing me with suspicion and maybe a little of, “what makes you any different than the others.”

For the first session I did most of the talking.  I explained that for this to work she had to do the work.  She had to talk.  She had to give me something.  She would drop her head and tears would flow down her cheeks and we were left with silence.

I felt Holy Spirit prompting me to just wait, not be in a hurry.  So, I waited and became comfortable with the silence as the weeks turned into months.  Sometimes we sat there for 5 to 10 minutes with neither of us saying more than 2 words.  I refused to speak for her, though it was tempting to break the silence and uncomfortableness.

I just loved her.  Peace

I eventually began to share with her what a precious daughter to the King she was.  I told her He rejoiced at her loveliness and none of what happened to her defined who she was meant to be and would be one day.

I told her God had a plan for her and He was enthralled with her beauty.

And He wanted to heal her from the past.

Week after week, we made little progress it seemed.  Many times she would start to tell me a secret and would take at least a half hour to get out only part of the secret and then she would collapse into sobs.  I assured her it was okay and that we would tackle these obstacles together.

Then one day she finally started coming on her own– without the reinforcements.

She eventually started to trust me and slowly…very slowly…began to open up with her dark secrets.  Sometimes she would only get out a sentence and then crumble again into tears.

She loved to say, “I don’t know” a lot.  I told her she could say anything but “I don’t know”….and she broke the habit of hiding behind those words.  She really did know.

She had tried to hurt herself many times, she finally told me.  She felt ugly inside and couldn’t imagine Jesus wanting her as she was so undesirable. She felt dirty and caged and covered it up as best she could.

10440802_696494227073693_7724385406213002777_nWith each new disclosure, her trust grew, and I began to see a new beauty emerge.  After many months, week after week of spending time just sitting together and her slowly revealing her childhood to me, she began to change more and more.  She eventually gained an empowerment that was solely from the Holy Spirit.

64658_465671946828692_1306119874_nShe confided to me finally that she loved my hugs.  I gave them even more freely then.  I sensed that the little girl inside of her had not received many in her life time…and every time I hugged her she cried.

She would melt in my arms. 

She won her way into my nurturing heart.  But I knew that without His grace reaching down into her heart, revealing to her the value He placed on her, I, myself, could not help her.

Because I had been in that very place myself as a young woman and I knew that without His intervention I had no strength to pass on to her.

But God had plans for Hannah.

After 8 months of our weekly sessions she showed up one day at my door with a smile on her face, anticipating my hug, and I saw no fear.  There seemed to be a break through.  She began to open up more and more and started making herself accountable to me if she was tempted to do something that she knew was destructive.  She began sharing more details of her abuse and her feelings and fears that had entrenched themselves into her very fiber.

And with each disclosure came more healing.

Oh, she tested me a couple of times.  She wanted to see if I would walk away.  But I didn’t.  I am not the walking away type, and by this time I knew God was working in her in a big way and had great plans for her.  I confronted her and loved her through it.

She learned that forgiveness is real.

One day I knew God was going to move Hannah out of the area.  I just knew that she could not stay where she was and continue to grow.

And it was time she left the nest and flew on her own.  Oh, I would still be there, but I knew it would be a different role.

And I had to face my own issues of letting go.

Sure enough she was offered an opportunity in another state to start a new life.  I told her God had told me she would go and that it was okay, it was time.  After a year of coaching she was ready to go into the face of fear and go out on her own.  I wasn’t prepared for the deep sadness that overtook me.  We had become very close.  And those last few weeks before her departure was hard on both of us.  We would sit and talk about all the opportunities God was going to open up to her with excitement and within moment our eyes would well up.

We planned a birthday lunch on the beach.  We went together like Mom and daughter.  I bought her a heart necklace engraved on the back so she would always be reminded that I am close in heart and that Jesus is even closer.  We sat at the beach and talked and talked.

Boy, what a change from that first day of sitting at my table as the clock ticked.

I couldn’t help but remember back a year ago when that pale faced, young girl, showed up at my front door shaking and terrified, not able or willing to utter a word to me.  And now I was looking into the face of a young woman glowing with promise and she had a huge smile of gratefulness and unabashed love on her face; A woman with hope and excitement about her future.

Don’t tell me miracles aren’t for today.

Hannah is one.  378095_526317080764178_826390852_n

Don’t tell me coaching backed by the Spirit of God doesn’t work.  It is revealed in an awesome display of His glory on the faces of those who bravely submit themselves into His trust when they come to be coached.

I wrote a poem for her before she left.  I don’t know if it was as much for me to let go–as it was for her to leave.  She has given me permission to use it here…to share with you…to give you hope in whatever you face.

She came in tears

shredded and spent

sorrow and guilt

hope lost for comfort

destitute

The journey began

into new awakenings

A Princess you say?

alone and shattered me?

hope?

a melody began to play ♫  

1506500_619449268111523_2092771554_nHer Prince  appears

 

“Dance with Me”  He whispers

“Come put your head on My shoulder

let Me hold you

breathe with Me

I’m healing all your wounds

and taking you on a journey

are you willing to go with Me?”

 

adventure and abandon to Him awaits

 

I am taken with your beauty“, He says

My love for you knows no bounds

 

and the true Princess emerges from the abyss

and dances into her new life with Him

and the past has lost its hold on her……forever

 

Church and Fast Food…What Do They Have in Common?

drive thru We are so fast paced in our country.  And we have incorporated this into our relationship with God.  We are a fast food nation.

We want instantaneous answers, overnight transformation, speedy growth.  We want drive up and drive through service.

But God desires to speak to us daily through His word.  He wants to have direct conversation with us.  When we only rely upon others to feed us on Sunday mornings, we are relying upon the processed word; what we are being fed by someone else…not the pure word that God speaks directly to us.  It is great to share the word with others and hear their insights, but if that is all you rely on and don’t commune with Him yourself and listen to His voice for yourself, you are eating processed foods, spiritually, and it is not enough to sustain you or show you how to walk in the Kingdom every day.

Now, physically speaking,  the healthiest natural organic foods are whole foods… not processed foods.  

organic-vegetables2Our bodies need choice fruit and vegetables straight from the vine.  Processed foods make the body sick.  They lack vital nutrients and contain impure additives and dyes that have no value to our bodies. Though filling, they are toxic and do nothing but promote disease.

It takes work to go get good, healthy food.  The planning and cooking and just the overall inconvenience of having to take the time to eat it.  It is so much easier to run by the drive through and eat something that tastes good and fills us up, but is killing our healthy cells.  We can deny it for a while, but when we get physically sick we either let our addiction for fast food kill us or change our ways.

In the same way, it takes time and persistence to walk with Jesus every day and to pursue Him with all your heart.  Going to a building on one day a week and thinking that is enough for true Kingdom living is deceiving ourselves.

It is not enough!

The collective body of Christ is sick from eating processed foods, spiritually speaking.  They have been doing it so long that they do not know how to eat and drink freely from Him…to meditate with Jesus, to spend time with just Him.  They think just going to a church institution will be enough.  But then they wonder why they go back to a defeated, mundane life the rest of the week.  

drive through churchWe eat fast food on Sundays and then wonder why we are starving and miserable the rest of the week.  Yet any minute of the day He is standing there waiting for you to listen to His whispers in your heart.

It takes an investment in time, deliberate focus and purpose to eat well.  As it is with our body and natural food, so it is with our spirit and spiritual food.

The pursuit to find any formula that can be applied to produce His righteousness and provide me with New Testament church life or even grow my trust, is foolish.

It will fail, time and time again, until in the end we come to realize that this reality only comes through a growing friendship with Him.  The more I know Him and the more I see His hand at work the more free I will be to trust Him and live in His kingdom.

Any time we choose to follow someone else’s formula for success, or an agenda no matter how well intentioned, we will end up living by our own limited wisdom.

The invitation to this Kingdom is to follow a person.

Jesus doesn’t give us the way; He is The Way.

He doesn’t have life; He is The Life. 

He doesn’t just speak truth; He is The Truth itself.

Everything about His kingdom begins and ends in Him and we experience that through a growing friendship with Him.

To grow in this life, I am continually cultivating my relationship with Him.  I intentionally spend time with Him as I grow in my awareness of His working throughout my day.  I have a running conversation with Him about everything in my life and express my desire to follow His will at every turn.

I try to saturate myself in the word to learn how He thinks and acts.  And it is important to join in what God is showing others by what I read and listen to, and the conversations I have with others I gather with on this journey.

This means letting go of the lies of shame and the demands for performance that drive us from him and find our security in His devotion and love for us and let that transform us.

For me, it has been great freedom to realize that I never had the power or wisdom to accomplish God’s purposes in my life, and how losing confidence in my flesh actually freed me to live more dependent on Him and more grateful for His working. 

What a joy to wake up in the uncertain adventure of life and not be distressed at what might happen today, because He is with me!  I can’t explain how wonderful that freedom is.

How could fast food Christianity ever produce this?

The pattern in everything is this:

The greater joys are obtained through struggle and difficulty and pain—things you must force yourself to do when you don’t feel like it—while brief, unsatisfying, and often destructive joys are as inviting as a big old feather bed and down comforters.

God, in great mercy, is showing us everywhere, in things that are just shadows of heavenly realities, that there is great reward for those who struggle through and persevere (Hebrews 10:32–35).

He is reminding us almost everywhere to walk by faith in a promised future and not by the sight of immediate gratification (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Each struggle to overcome becomes a gigantic flag to us saying, “Look ahead, past the struggle itself, past the temptation of the puny, vapor joys to the great, sustained, substantial Joy set before you!”

See your Father pointing you to the reward he has planned for all who endure to the end. (Matthew 24:13). 

Transpose it from reluctance to a reminder that God is calling you not to indulgence but endurance.

Then lay this weight aside and run with faith the race he has set before you.  God will meet you with the grace you need (2 Corinthians 9:8).

jesus and meAnd the thing is: This light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17–18)

Do You Want to Be a Celebrity? …..5 Things to Consider!

jesus-christ-widescreen-wallpapers-04Are you frustrated and feel as if God isn’t using you the way you think He should be?  Is it not happening fast enough?  Do you watch other ministries and find yourself envying their positions and wish you could be them?

I always thought that because God had called me to write and teach that I needed a growing audience to validate that calling.  I was so driven to find myself a platform or audience worthy of my calling and found myself sorely frustrated that God wouldn’t bless my efforts the way I thought it was supposed to happen. 

It just wasn’t fast enough. 

It is exhausting promoting yourself. 

Where do we draw the line in losing ourselves and our energy in self promoting, and just allowing Him to get our gifts and talents out where He purposed for them to go? 

50-ways-to-meet-your-lover1-e1397103127321Here I am at the cusp of another book being birthed to the multitudes.  “50 Ways to Meet Your Lover”  is in proof stage now and in a few weeks will be ready to be presented to the world.  

This is my 2nd book and I have to say I have learned a few things along the way. 

I have given myself permission to breathe…. and trust Him to guide me to the next step.

These are some of the things I have learned in the last few years of trial and error in my writing and teaching.  This is not an exhaustive list because I am certain there are still many things He will open my eyes to!  

 But allow me to share a few points that I have learned now:

1.       Being seen as a celebrity in any sense of the word is a deceitful ploy of the enemy.  We have been brought up to admire and envy people who have celebrity status.  Many times celebrities in the church world perceive their value as a human as usually based on a need to be recognized as a person of value. 

Jesus let His disciples know that His kingdom works very differently.

2.       It is often true that those who make such big jumps into perceived celebrity often get twisted by them, and end up crushing others when their influence exceeds their personal character.  Perhaps that’s what Paul meant when he warned us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, whether we aspire to a place of influence or already have it and think it gives us a place above others.

climbing-out-of-the-box-by-dixie-r_-diamanti-300x300-e13971033881703.       Whatever we do for God must be just that.  For Him.  What He does with our works or service or gifts is up to Him.  We want our message out there, of course.  But according to His purposes, not our own perceived purposes.   When I wrote “Climbing Out of the Box”, I had to give it to Him.  I still do.  And even if my story sets one person free from a life of abuse and into freedom in Jesus then it will have been worth it.  And, to date, it has set many more than just one free.  

4.       Instead of looking for what we don’t have, Luke 14 invites us into responding to God’s working right where we are in life.

Rather than having to make something happen by our own wisdom, the path to God’s life comes by loving the people He has already put before us, applying our gifts to their needs and trusting the rest to Him.

I’m convinced that will create opportunity enough for whatever God wants to give us and what He desires us to share with them.  Yes, marketing a book is necessary so that people will see it and buy it and see their lives changed by it.  But if it isn’t in His timing and it doesn’t sell fast enough, then I have to accept that He knows what He is doing.  He will make it happen.  Not me.  I just do what He tells me to do.

5.       Most of our questions to Him center around how to make ourselves known to the world and usually focuses on our abilities, wisdom, or connections.  He works so differently than we do.

We try to find that one key to open big doors, rather than allowing ourselves to live freely in what God has already given.

545570_417758148257124_357419294_n-1It’s easy to miss His whispers when we’re more focused on our own desires for ministry. He knows how to draw us into relationship with Him and it’s not by following someone else’s steps.  We are unique and what He does for one may not be what He does for me.  

In the end, we are only asked to follow him, not to build an audience or to produce our own transformation.

Whenever you are frustrated at God for not opening better doors for you, that might be a sign that you’re focused at the wrong doors.

I am learning that growth of simple relationship with Him is more trustworthy than the substitutes of self-promotion, manipulation and begging favors from others.

So how do you find ministry, find fellowship, or live transformed as you seek Him?

Simply accept the invitation to live deeply in Jesus and love those around you the way you are coming to understand how He loves you.  Listen when He nudges your heart.  Step out in faith in what He whispers to you. 

If you live in His space you will find His power transforming you, His Spirit connecting you to others and everything He wants to do in you will be fulfilled by Him.

If the disciples had set out to change the world outside of waiting on Him, don’t you think they would have failed miserably and become lost in their own reasoning and ideas to accomplish so large a task?

“We are intimately linked in this harvest work.  Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you.  Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me.  Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger.  Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help.  This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it.  It’s best to start small.  Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance.  The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.  You won’t lose out on a thing.”  -Matthew 10:41-42 (The Message)

Jesus knew the most amazing things could begin with a cup of cold water.

 

Embracing Change….Seasons of Letting Go

10367557_10204152674123406_6409664981275248726_nThe fog had just rolled out to sea and left a misty veil over the rocky shore as the girls and I arrived for our picnic.  We could see dolphins playing in the sparkly surf and the sea gulls were racing the pelicans as they dove down to the swelling waves for whatever food they could find.

We found our favorite picnic table, actually the only table in the area, to sit and enjoy each other’s company while we munched on sandwiches.  

We didn’t talk much….just watched the ocean and contemplated our lives. 

Of course, Savanna soon started entertaining us with her theatrics and imitations of Jim Carey, and Katie and I laughed.  

She always makes us laugh.  

1959291_10204131196226472_2989695635042233598_nIt is the end of the school year.  They are 17 now.  My mind whirled back to days gone by when we were sitting at this same table doing our bible studies for young girls.  Then I went way back to when they were 5, sitting at my dining table along with my first grandchild, Christopher, who is a couple years older than the girls. 

Christopher is now 19. 

I had been having bible studies with them for most of their lives but now, Christopher is on his own, and as teens, with the girls it is more of a discussion about what they want to do with their lives and how God has a plan for them.

Gosh, I loved those days.  They asked so many questions about Heaven and hearing God’s voice.  They would write prayers to Jesus and we would all just sit and listen to His voice.  

Some of their prayer requests were so funny….like the time Katie asked that we would pray that her dog wouldn’t slime her leg anymore.  

And they would thank God for Disneyland.  

Hewlett-PackardAnd the time Savanna said she couldn’t wait for the big sweeper to come.  I asked her who the big sweeper is…she said it was when Jesus came and He would sweep us all up into the air to go with Him.  Chris said no, it was called the rapture…and Katie said, “You know, when He wraps us all up and takes us to Heaven?”    

They would draw pictures of the armor of God, with Jesus in the middle and great warrior angels, and swords, and shields.

Their Papa and their Dads baptized them in a friend’s jacuzzi, where they made their first public dedication to Jesus with family and friends.

Whenever we would go to the beach I would pray for a parking place and God always gave us one, and now they think I have an inroad with God.

Well, I do…

But as I continually taught them, they do too!!

DSCN1264We spent many years coming to the beach together.  With the girls, because they were born on the same day, an hour apart, first cousins, they have always been more like sisters and very close.   

Now they are approaching the end of the school year, and soon to be out of high school to follow whatever God has planned for them.

I couldn’t shake a kind of nostalgia that day…my mind flashed back to so many days of fun and delight with these two.  I knew that soon they would have their own cars and would bring themselves to the beach and my times with them will change drastically.  Would they invite me?  Perhaps.  But it  would be different.  They will be different. 

Did anybody ever think of Nanas and Papas going through empty nest?

I thought once was enough with my two children.  Now, here it is again. 

There needs to be warnings about this!

I know I am so blessed to have lived so close to my grandchildren all these years.  It has established a wonderful bond.  But I did have to work at it.  I gathered them up every week and made them a priority.  I brought them to my house to learn about Jesus.  There are so many fond memories and laughs.  I made the time and effort and made them a priority and now I see the rewards. 

Hewlett-PackardPrecious children.  

Wow, is it ever easy to let go and accept change?  It  is just something I feel in my bones.  I know it’s coming and I can’t help but wonder…

“But, what about me?

What will I do now?”

After eating, the girls went down on the beach to search the tide pools and wander around looking for anything moving….just as they did when they were little girls.  I sat on the steps overlooking the beach and just watched.   I felt sad and wistful as I watched them and just loved them and prayed for them as I sat there.

I began to talk to Jesus.  

“Lord, how do I rejoice at their growth and change when I know it won’t be the same with me and them.  I don’t want to let go.”

“Watch them,” He whispered.

Now, watch the waves coming in and going out”, He said.

So, I did.  I watched the girls clowning around below on the rocks, and then I studied the sea.

katie-savyb.day2011 002“What do you see?”, He queried. 

“Well, I see beautiful young women who You are leading into womanhood, free enough to still be girls.  And I see the waves coming in and out, as always.”

“What is the contrast?”, He asked.

“They are changing.  The sea does not.  Year after year the sea is always the same.”  I contemplated.

That’s right Dixie.  Your girls, my precious daughters, will proceed in life walking on the years of prayers you and their parents prayed for them.  They will walk right into my plan and purposes for them. Yes, they will change as they grow up.  Letting go is My way, and though it tears at your heart, it is a good thing.  As you look at the sea you see unchangeableness.  That is who I am in your life.  I am always the same.  So, as you move through life’s seasons of letting go you can know that I never change and I will always be with you and I will fill those empty places that letting go brings to your heart.  I am your constant.  Look at the sea.  It is still the same as it has been since it’s creation.  I am still the same.  I will live through Katie and Savanna too.  They will know Me as you do, because you took the time and made the determination that your offspring, your generation will know Me.  I love them even more than you do.  Because you learned to let go of your concerns and surrender them to me, I have been free to work in their lives and will continue to do so.”

What do you need to let go of today?    10398043_10152036620927653_4472776731014361481_n

As We Prayed….Someone Knocked On Our Door

10363854_377819679023936_7543693983379870990_nThen the devil departed from Him, and behold, angels  came and ministered to Him.  Matt. 4:10

As my children grew into teenagers nothing prepared me  for the sudden lack of control a parent feels when our kids  start separating from us to  find their own way in the  world. 

Talking to Jesus about them got me through and I know  their angels were busy.  They were normal kids and got  into their share of mischief as they moved into  independence. 

Since they are adults now, I hear stories about their exploits as teens that are new to me and for that I say  thank you God for protecting them even when I didn’t have  a clue.

Our simple trust is that He is there and those assigned angels are busy every step they take.  I prayed many times for God to protect them in the foolishness of youth, and to allow them to learn from their mistakes, but to also keep them from being harmed along the way. 

One evening my son Jason had gone to a drive in movie with a group of teens.  Again, as in the story of Greg and the plane incident a couple of blogs back, I was woken up around midnight and had this urgency to get up and pray for him. 

The only words that I could get out was Psalm 91:3 that says “He will keep us from the snare of the enemy”.  I prayed, “Lord, keep Jason from being caught in a hidden trap or danger, and deliver him from the snare of the enemy.”  I prayed this over and over until he arrived home.  

warrior angel 2With a look of shock on his face when he saw me, he  wanted to know why I was up.  I explained that I  couldn’t sleep because God had woke me up and  told me to pray for him.  He had a very strange look  on his face as he disappeared into his room. 

The next morning he explained that as I was praying  at midnight he had left the car to visit the rest room.   As his back was to the door a bunch of gang  members approached him and hit him in the back of  the head with a large slat of wood.  Stunned, he turned, and as he stood there he was infused with supernatural strength and proceeded to fight off his attackers.  He threw them into walls and watched them slide down to the floor, (picture it). As he stood there waiting for them to get up they all jumped up and ran from him in terror.  He said when he walked out of the rest room he didn’t see them anywhere.

He was just one teenager and there were many of them.

I wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t been obedient to pray.  I know there must have been a band of angels in this case, posted as sentry’s all around that rest room giving Jason supernatural strength.  Or maybe he just thought he was doing the fighting and it was really a warrior angel.  Simple obedience when we are called to pray is key.

My step-daughter, Christina, was a new driver and she and her Dad had bought a Miata convertible for her to drive to and from school.  She was driving down the freeway one day with the top down and leaned over for a brief second to adjust the radio, and lost control of her car and over corrected.  It hit the dirt on the side of the road and flipped upside down on the side of the road, which was a slight incline.  The car just continued to turn over and landed right side up.  There was no explanation when the Highway Patrol came as to why the car continued to roll uphill and land right side up with her still sitting in the passenger seat stunned but unharmed.  Where was her head as it hit the ground upside down with no top on the car?  I instantly recognized the work of her angel keeping her sitting in that seat and not being thrown out of the car.

When I was a young mom I remember one Christmas that there was no money.  My kids were around 12 and 8  and I could barely pay the bills, let alone buy presents for  them.  I had them gather with me in prayer that God would provide a Christmas for us miraculously.  I told them that God would provide for  fun Christmas for them.

We believed together that God would send an angel our way.  One night around bed time there came a knock at the door.

praying-womanWe all three ran to the door, expecting.  There was a lady standing there whom we did not know.  She handed us an envelope with $200 in it and said it was from God.   I looked at the kids and then back at this heavenly messenger and all I could see of her was  her back as she hurried down the street and then she was gone.  

I bought Christmas gifts for my amazed kids and they will  always remember the Christmas that God bought our  presents.

If only we would live in expectancy for His constant intervention we would experience true kingdom living at its best. 

I was very intrigued by the concept of angels and their role in protecting my children. I had read in Matthew how the angels that watch over our children were special angels that always behold the face of our Father.

angel“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you that in Heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father who is in Heaven”  Matthew 18:10

These angels have special access to the face of God. 

Didn’t He say that if anyone harm a child, it would be better for  him if a millstone is tied around his neck, and he be cast into  the sea, than to have to face God’s wrath?  Oh yes, God is  very watchful over our kids and they have their own very  special angels that reports back to God.

There was the time I walked out into the front yard to check on  my 4-year-old, and witnessed him riding his Hot Wheel Trike  like a hot rod from driveway to driveway across the street.  

It happened so fast I didn’t have time to even scream. 

He was heading into a driveway with a hedge that blocked his  view.  There was a pickup truck backing out at the same time  and he was heading right into its path.  In a split seconds time I witnessed an unseen force grab the wheel of his trike and jerk it into the curb and stop his ascent into the path of the truck.  An angel stepped in at that moment to keep him safe

I had to leave my 2 year old little girl with a friend one day so that I could attend a seminar.  The friend was to pick Heather up that morning and drive to her home.  On the way, Heather was sitting on the passenger side happily eating a dry bowl of Cheerios. 

A car came out of nowhere and plowed into Heather’s side of the car, totaling the car, and sending my friend to the hospital on a stretcher.  It happened to be in front of a church, and my husband was called immediately to come.  When he arrived an EMT was sitting in the church holding our baby on his lap.  Heather was laughing and had totally charmed the young man. 

I was told that somehow, miraculously, she did not leave her seat upon impact, and was totally uninjured (that was in the days before car seats or seat belts were required and that horrifies me now). 

Her Cheerios were scattered all over the car– but she never left the seat!  And whereas a child is usually traumatized by this kind of accident, she wasn’t shaken in the least. 

When I finally arrived back home I had to examine her myself, of course.  There on her little back was one bruise in the shape of a thumb print where her angel held her in place as the car was crashed into.  I think God allowed the thumb print to be there to allow me to see His protection for my children.  There could be no other explanation.

When Jason was about 5 he began asking me about God’s angels and could he see them.  Not wanting to quench the faith of a child, I explained that angels were spirits and that normally we can’t just see angels unless God lets us.

Jason said he was going to pray and ask God to let him see an angel.  This kid had prayed for a turtle once and every morning for 3 days in a row a turtle appeared on our front door step.   I told him to please pray and tell God to stop sending turtles.  

I had no doubt if he prayed to see an angel, he would!

The next morning we were sitting at the breakfast table.  Jason asked me why I came into his room the night before.  I said I didn’t. 

He said, “Yes, you did Mom.  I woke up and was scared, and called for you.  When you didn’t come, I asked God to take away my fear.  You then came into my room, and in the light that was shining through my bedroom window I saw you in a long, white nightgown.  Then you sat on my bed and rubbed my head until I went back to  sleep.”

1011820_364063210399583_6120095683013378170_nI said, “Son, that wasn’t Mom you saw.  You prayed for an angel and God brought one to you when you needed  to be comforted, and He let you see her.”  His little face just beamed at the recognition of what God had done for him.

Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament.   They have all kinds of jobs to do and one of them is to assist those of us who are heirs of salvation through Jesus.   If you care to do your own study of angels and their purposes here are some places to look:   

•They are vast in number (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 5:11).

1510622_841945859154537_781370328_n•They do not die (Luke 20:36).
•They are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14).
•They are without bodies (Luke 24:39).
•They can assume bodily shape as people (Genesis 19:1-5).
•There is gender among them (Zechariah 5:9-11).

•They are wise, powerful, have personalities, are moral beings, and vastly inferior to God (2 Samuel 14:20; 2 Peter 2:11; Mark 8:38; 1 Peter 3:22; Hebrews 16).