Oh, Mama Mary! Did You Know?

mary


The virgin birth of Jesus  touches me in a very female  way in relating to sweet Mary  as a mother.  Any mother  beholding those scenes of  recent Jesus movies of Mary  watching her beloved Son  tortured and murdered on that cross can’t help but feel the deep emotions and horror that Mary felt as she watched and fell at His feet sobbing.

It really happened!

No words to describe it!

So many questions.

We don’t know much about her.  We know she was young and poor and a devout believer in God.  And at the time of the angels announcement of her pregnancy she is in love with Joseph.

 What God asks Mary to do will change her life forever.  She was just a teenager.

Gone are the happy dreams of a beautiful wedding; gone are the days of sweet anticipation; gone are the carefully-thought out plans for the wedding feast; gone are the hopes for “the most beautiful wedding to the most wonderful man who ever lived;” gone are all her girlish hopes of a quiet life in the home she would personally decorate.

She will be married, but not before rumors spread through the countryside. There will be a wedding feast, but not the way she planned. She will have a home, and it will be filled with children, but over her family will rest an uneasy cloud of dark questions.

It will all happen, but not the way she expected.

7_mary-gabriel“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary quite simply did not know what to make of it. It’s as if someone you’ve never seen came up to you and said,

“Good news. This is your lucky day. God has chosen you for a special blessing.” How do you respond to that?

 “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY!”

But that’s not the half of it. Without a pause, Gabriel proceeds to tell her something that–to use a 20th century term Mary almost certainly wouldn’t have used–blows her mind. He tells her she’s going to have a baby. And not just any baby. She’s going to give birth to the Son of God.

She only has one question, a technical matter she would like cleared up: “How can this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” This is a perfectly natural question. Mary is betrothed but not formally married. She has never had sexual relations with any man. How then can she become pregnant and bear a son?

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.”

The key point in Gabriel’s explanation is that what is about to happen to Mary will be the result of the direct intervention of God.

The Holy Spirit is the agent of the Virgin Birth; overshadowing is the means of the Virgin Birth; the Son of God is the result of the Virgin Birth.

7296601_f520NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD

In the history of the church Mary has often been portrayed as a kind of misty, other-worldly figure. If you look at some of the great paintings of Mary, they make her look so peaceful and beatific that you almost forget she was a real person. But Luke makes it clear that she was very real, with very real doubts, very real questions and very real faith. Nowhere is this seen with more clarity than in Luke:

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Mary said Yes. Yes to God, Yes to the impossible, Yes to the plan of God.

 

And all these things were just the beginning. Mary could not know what the future would hold. Before it was all over, she would experience heartache, opposition, slander, confusion, anguish, despair and loneliness.

In the end she would face the greatest pain a mother can endure when she would watch her son die on a cross. She was changed when she conceived Him through the power of the Holy Spirit, but, I believe, nothing could have prepared her for that horrific night of watching her first born baby boy, who only loved, die a tortuous death. 

10363854_377819679023936_7543693983379870990_nShe would never forget it and it changed her….but, then again, not as much as three days later seeing Him come back in all of His glory!

What a story!

Mary didn’t know the full cost of saying yes that day. But having made her decision she never looked back.

 

When God said, “Are you willing to believe the impossible?,” Mary said, “Yes I am!” Without that Yes, there would be no Christmas.

A WOMAN GOD COULD TRUST

What about your ‘yes’?

Mary said Yes to shame and glory; she said Yes to God’s power; she said Yes to the impossible.

If somehow Mary could be here today and we could ask her, “Was it worth it?,” she would say “Yes”, I am sure of it.  Because now she knows that because of her obedience we are free– because she allowed God to use her to bring our Savior. 

So then, how do I relate to Mary’s example in this century?  What can I learn from her today?  How can I live my life through her example?

 

♥  She is a model of openness to great possibilities.  Can I be open to great possibilities in my life?  Supernatural possibilities?

♥  She is a model of faith in the face of many natural doubts.  Can I believe God when the natural way of things look like there is no other way?

 

It’s still true that “Nothing is impossible with God.” That’s as true today as it was 2,000 years ago. It’s also true that somebody has to say Yes or else the impossible will never happen.

I have no doubt that some of you reading this…

Are carrying heavy burdens today.

And Christmas will be lonely this year.

  • Some of you are facing a financial crisis that looks hopeless to you right now.

  • Some of you are out of work and don’t have a single lead on a good job.

  • Some of you are looking at a marriage that seems worse than hopeless.

  • Some of you are estranged from members of your own family.

  • Some of you have children who are far away from God.

  • Some of you feel lonely and far away from God yourselves.

 

The list goes on and on. But all these things have this in common:

gods glory They seem impossible to solve by  any human means. If human means  would have solved your problems,  they would have been solved long  ago.

 

 But, if nothing else, allow Mary’s  story to revive your faith this  Christmas season to the God of the  impossible.  He is not oblivious to your pain and your need.  Live in the realm of the supernatural because we are spiritual beings.

 

Focus on His capabilities and not your own.  He loves you and you matter!

 

Christmas is all about miracles. They happened 2,000 years ago; they still happen today.kids Bible story of Jesus born in Bethlehem

 

 “Mary did you know that your  baby boy will someday walk  on water? Mary did you know  that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child you’ve delivered will soon deliver you.
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Oh Mary did you know

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am.*”

 

*Mary Did You Know; Mark Lowry: wrote the lyrics in 1984, and the music was written in 1991 when he gave it to Buddy Greene.

Christmas Nostalgia

Through popular demand I am reprinting a favorite of readers for this Christmas season.  Enjoy!!

 

18082_414036048670059_1097203773_n This time of year turns my heart back  to family, and those warm memories  of when my kids were little and all the  excitement of the holidays and  watching their faces of wonderment  as we decorated the tree and  prepared for all of our family  traditions.   I actually conjure up tears  of longing for those days gone by  since my babies are not babies  anymore.  It was one of the happiest times of my life.

When they were little I never wanted them out of my sight.   I kept them so close.  I endeavored to build into them a confidence that I would always be there for them.  Beginning with that first step at around one year old; when a mom has that sense of uneasiness that already they are beginning to move away from us.  I sense it.  I was like any other Mom when their adorable child takes the first step.  You feel like they are the smartest kid in the world.  But deep down was this feeling of dread; that each new day in their young lives they would move a little bit farther away from me, until one day, God forbid, they would leave and start a life without me there.  Ouch!

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My determination became to  teach them about Jesus every  chance I could.  I would not  leave it up to their Sunday  school teachers, Christian  School teachers, or anyone  else to do my job of bringing  my kids to Christ and to the  best of my ability teach them  how to live.  I wanted them to know that whatever came into their life they would always have Him and He would direct their paths and be their constant companion.    They both came to me at around 4 or 5 years old and asked if I would pray with them to invite Jesus into their young lives.  What a joy that day was!! 

Hewlett-Packard

 Now, as a Grandmother I have endeavored to  be the same kind of example to my  grandchildren.  

 But I digress….


When my babies started school this is how it went:    Kindergarten and first grade when  they would return to me at the end  of their day they were always full  of joy to see me, we had a snack  together and they would play and  rest.    I would say, “I’m so glad  you are home”….and I meant it.

 The following years came and went with each new year they grew a little more independent.  At first they wanted to be where they could see me, but not too hovering or clingy.   Every day when they would come home the instant they opened the door they always said, “Mom, I’m home”, and I would breathe easy once again because my babies were mine again, at least for that day.

Brother and Sister Running Then came Junior High  School.; the time when I  became an embarrassment to  them if they were seen with  me in front of their friends.    And the time when you  wonder if aliens have  inhabited your kids.  One day they get up and they even look different.  Then they open their mouths and then you know for sure it is not them…and a part of you grieves.  You know that your babies are not babies anymore.  That time is past.  But wait, they still come home at the end of the day and yell, “Mom, I’m home” and for a moment all is well with the world again.  They still have weak moments of reverting back on occasion and when no one is looking they would lay their head on my shoulder or hug me, and my heart would soar once again.

And High School followed.   This was a tough time for me because it was when my own life fell apart.  To learn more about that you will have to read my book, “Climbing Out of the Box” and you will find it on Amazon.   The kid’s Dad had left us and so we were driven closer together in adversity by having to move out of our house and into a tiny apartment, but farther apart because it was a time they tried to find their bearings in life, and it seems like they slipped right out of my grasp.  It was painful in not only the loss of my life as I knew it but also I couldn’t pretend my kids were babies anymore.  And I was alone; double whammy.  Now, we all went different ways.  But they still came home at the end of their days at some point, and I would always hear, “Mom, I’m home”…..and for a brief moment I closed my eyes and hung onto those memories once again.


suitcase Then they left.  They flew out of  the nest.   And oh, it was so  painful to let my babies go.   All  you parents out there who have  had kids leave, can relate.   A  hole is left in your heart that it  takes a while to figure out how to function again without your kids always being in the back of your mind and how whatever you are doing might affect them.    They have their own life now.

But then they would come back to see me and once again I heard that welcome phrase when they would walk in the door; “Mom, I’m home”……I realized, at that point, that to them, it wasn’t where I lived that was their home…It was the fact that home is where I am .

They are 38 and 42 today and when I look at them I still see my babies. And they will flinch when they read this but, no kidding!   I think that is how God sees us.  Not by our age but because we are His children He always loves us as such.  Of course we have to grow up, even as our earthly kids do, and mature into an even greater relationship with Him.  And this is what I want for my kids.   My kids still say, “Mom, I’m home”, or sometimes, “Mom, I’m here”, always knowing that I will be overjoyed to see them at any time.

One day my life here on earth will be through and I will be in Heaven.  My vision has always been that on a given day in Heaven as I am going about my tasks that Jesus and I decide will be my calling there, everything will stop for me.   Suddenly an awareness will fill my being that something wonderful is about to happen.  I hear a distant familiar sound!  The anticipation and joy lifts me off the ground in awesome glory.   And then, I will hear it oh so clearly;   the voice of my children is as familiar as my own voice.  “Mom, I’m Home”….”Home” now being our real home, Heaven, where we were always meant to be after this brief life on earth.   Oh what joy will fill my heart.  
jesus and me
 We will never be apart but we  will all be home with our  wonderful Jesus and each  other.   “Mom, we are  home”….to dwell together for  all eternity.  This is our  heritage dear parents.  This  life with our kids is so short compared to eternity spent with them in God’s kingdom.  Tell your children about Jesus every chance you get for as they grow in Him He will be their stabilizing force!!  It is never too late, either, to share this good news with your kids if they don’t already know it.  There is a wonderful place we are all going to live after this life.   

“That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT

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 My children today!!

It’s Going To Be a Bumpy Ride….Saga of the Dysfunctional Family

Functional-Family-Convention-Slide-400x400 Yesterday was Thanksgiving.   My  big beautiful family all met together  at my son’s house.   Looking  around the table I had to laugh to  myself as I studied each one.  It you  have ever seen the sitcom,  Parenthood, that is what my family  reminds me of.   All talking at the  same time with drama abounding.

 Everyone of us there has had our  own personal struggles.  I looked at  those who have been divorced and saw pain like they never imagined.  I looked at the children who suffered through that pain through no fault of their own.  I saw those of us who have made poor choices and learned great lessons from those choices, and some who were still learning and stumbling along.  There were new people added to our clan that day by invitation that were instantly put at ease when they saw what a loud, raucous family we were.   And somewhat horrified at some of the subjects that came up and openly discussed and laughed at.  There seems to be no subject that is taboo when we get together.

As the mom and nana I found myself asking if I had done something different in my own messed up life could I have spared them all the pain.  Was I, in my youth,  at fault for their lives and choices and hardships. 

Can you relate?

Yet, I knew that I did the best with what I had as a younger version of myself.  Isn’t that all the  Lord asks of us?

As we passed the traditional candle around and talked about what we were thankful for this year you could see Jesus in their midst.  You could hear the growth in some and still see fear in some.  I could see those guests who were instantly nervous and could think of nothing they were thankful for, and listened to my grandkids who used to say they were thankful for Disneyland, but  now they talked about how thankful they were for family and that we were all together.

I don’t mean to pop your bubble, but we are all a beautiful mess.  There is no perfect family.

The bible tells us of many dysfunctional families.  Today I want us to look at  Joseph’s family.  joseph-in-the-pit

 You remember the story?

 Joseph grew up in a dysfunctional family.
His father Jacob had four wives.
He had 11 brothers scattered among  those four wives.
He had one full brother, the youngest  child of all, Benjamin.

 With all of that, there is bound to be  trouble–and there was.

Genesis 37:3 says that Joseph was his father’s favorite son—the son of his old age. It means he was the first son by Rachel, the woman Jacob always loved.

Joseph was always his favorite.
All the brothers knew it.

Jacobs family was a disaster waiting to happen and indeed it did happen.

His family looked like this:

1 father, 4 mothers, 12 brothers plus one daughter (Dinah).
And one favorite son.

Trouble is brewing right under the surface in Jacob’s complicated family.

Out of it will come Joseph who many years down the road will rescue the brothers who betrayed him. As the story opens, there is no reason—none at all—to see any of this in advance. At the beginning, we mostly see dark clouds on the horizon.

Here is his story in one paragraph.  joseph

 

 He was the favored son of his  father Jacob. When he enters the  stage of biblical history, he is 17  years old. Because his brothers  hated him, he was sold as a slave  and taken to Egypt. After being  falsely accused of rape, he was imprisoned with no hope of getting out. Because he correctly interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, he became the prime minister of Egypt. Eventually he welcomed his family to Egypt, which preserved the line of promise that had started with his great-grandfather Abraham.

And that brief summary only hints at the drama that surrounded his life.

And so now we look at you.

Your background is no impediment to serving God.  There is no excuse imaginable for you to blame your childhood for your behavior today.  Nor can you truthfully say that God will never use you because you are too broken.

 Joseph came from a family that was in many ways “out of bounds.” It certainly was not a neat, clean, one man-one woman nuclear family. He was born into a family where jealousy, comparison, and distrust were the rules of the game. It was not a happy family.

 Yet God chose Joseph and used him mightily.

Though Joseph was God’s man, he did not have an easy life.

 Here are some of the things his story teaches us:

 Trusting God when in the pit of despair.553486_415888875110718_1880467937_n

 How to deal with sexual temptation.

 How to redeem a painful past.

 What to do while you wait.

 How to see God’s hand in all things.

 How to make wise plans.

 How God awakens a guilty conscience.

 The marks of true repentance.

How to live for God in a pagan culture.

Overcoming lingering bitterness.

How to die well.

Not many of us come from perfect families.
Actually, none of us do because there is no such thing.

“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes”(James 4:14).

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

“What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)

The real problems we face are not “out there.”
They are always “in here,” on the inside.
That’s where we fight our greatest battles.

 

This world is a messed-up place, and the most messed-up part lies inside the human heart.

emotional-pain

 

 That’s one reason we know the Bible is true.  It speaks the truth about the human  condition. It doesn’t lie to us about our  “unlimited potential” or tell us that we are  basically okay the way we are at the moment.   It tells us we are okay and accepted into the  beloved lap of God because Jesus paved the  way for us.

 

What prevents us from simply accepting this and being awesomely grateful that nothing that has ever happened to us can prevent us from walking right into His perfect plan for our lives?

This is where the truth that Jesus spoke becomes so incredibly relevant. He didn’t  make us feel good and then say, “Just try harder and you will be okay.”

“For there is no difference” (Romans 3:22b).

No difference between rich and poor.
No difference religious and pagan.
No difference between Jew and Gentile.
No difference between young and old.
No difference between housewife and harlot.
No difference between criminal and choirboy.
No difference between American and Kenyan.

 

We’re all in the same boat, and unless God does something, we’re all going to sink together.  And He did!!  

Because of Jesus!

We are all broken people. Some of us know it, some of us don’t.

If you can relate, this story is for you.
If you come from a broken home, this story is for you.
If you don’t get along with your brothers and sisters, this story is for you.
If you were abused, this story is for you.
If your friends lied to you, this story is for you.
If you’ve done jail time, this story is for you.
If your family doesn’t understand you, this story is for you.

 

 Life isn’t easy for any of us, and for most of us it can be quite difficult. To say it another way, anyone looking for an easy life has picked the wrong planet to be born on.

 Since God Himself stands behind the universe He created, we should not be surprised to find His fingerprints everywhere, even in the tiniest details of life.

 Christ is the power to make life worthwhile. Note that I did not say that Christ “has” the power, which is true, but that Christ “is” the power, which is slightly different.

 Because Jesus Himself lives in us, He Himself is the power that gives meaning and purpose to life.

 The hero, Joseph,  arises out of the turmoil of a dysfunctional family. His brothers don’t like him. There is trouble on the horizon.

 Joseph proves you can come from a crazy, mixed-up family and do  amazing things for the Lord!309148_275390375904036_1522969089_n

Life Interrupted

life-interrupted My sweet 38 year old daughter was  struck with a ruptured appendix 2  weeks ago.   From the point she  went into emergency I was with her.  It was so frightening.  The ER  doctor sent her home on pain pills  without ruling out appendicitis.   It  ruptured and became an extreme  emergency. Everything in my life  stopped and took a back seat while  we sat long hours in the ER and  surgery; and I prayed nonstop as she writhed in pain…and after surgery as the road to healing began in the hospital and as she went home.  She needed me.  It was a scary and unnerving thing to watch my child in so much pain.  My life was just was put on hold.  Everything took a back seat.  Now that she is on the mend I now feel scattered and am having trouble getting back into things that were part of my everyday life, from writing to coaching and even exercise. 

 But, suddenly I realized I have grown spiritually, in finding God in the midst of the suffering.  There comes a recognizable depth of character when you come out of the fire of suffering, and when you are still in it you find Him in places you’d never thought you’d be.

picture of Linda  My dear friend Linda has been told her brain  tumor is back.  Her life will now be on hold  while she has it removed….again.   Since her  last surgery, while recovering, she has  obtained her Masters in Psychology, been  maintaining her own practice in  psychotherapy, is writing a book, and is doing  a host of wonderful things God has called her  to do.  Now, her life will be interrupted again,  indefinitely, to undergo another surgery on her  brain with the outcome uncertain in earthly  terms.  But not to God.  He knows. We are all  believing for God’s divine hand to reach down and heal her swiftly and easily this time with no side effects.   Linda would share with you how her suffering has put her in touch with a Savior that never leaves her.  Even while her life is on hold.  You can read Linda’s whole story of traveling this perilous road on her web site at: http://lindalochridge.com/brainsurgery/

 I just read Michelle Cushatt’s blog this morning. She is an author, experienced keynote speaker and emcee.  I love her writings and sweet spirit of thankfulness.  Now after years of fighting cancer and walking in God’s healing power she has just learned the cancer is back… and her life will now go on hold for extended medical treatment once again to rid her of the invasion on her body.  She is fearless and undefeatable.  You can read Michelle’s story here http://michelecushatt.com/red-sea-moments/

All around me I see people going through sudden and great trials…some have been hit very suddenly and their life has taken an abrupt turn and they just feel like the wind was knocked out of them.

 As I contemplated these things and wondered what God has to say in the midst of sudden trials and sudden fear I think I found truth. 

 The truth is , God sometimes allows us to be  placed in situations (sometimes difficult, even painful ones) where we can glorify Him; where His presence and power are displayed with clarity, and where fellowship with Him is the sweetest spot we could find ourselves in.

thumb_colourbox1908348 God wants us to experience His gift of  total reliance on Him…of letting go of our  own pride and self sufficiency….our own  power….and show us that in our own  weaknesses He is made strong….to bless  us by giving the gift of relying solely on  Him.

  In our  trials we find His presence. You  see, God’s blessings and healing and  perseverance come with His presence.  No  matter what trials we face.   It is His  presence, His Spirit that ushers in His strength, encouragement and power…..it is what develops His character in us so that we reflect Him in all that we do. 

 The worst part about not being OK when a sudden change comes to our lives is that once you are there, you tend to temporarily lose your vision. 

raging-sea But as Michelle explained in her  blog, when you run up against the  Red Sea, you feel blindsided.    There is no place to turn but to ask  for His mercy and grace and a  miracle.  

 You sometimes become profoundly  nearsighted.

You can lose the ability to see any further than that horrible not-being-okay feeling right in front of you; to believe that outside of all of it, just beyond the fear and the sadness and the failure, there’s another place.  That is where He is.

At that moment of darkness, it’s nearly impossible to see what you are capable of enduring…. if you can withstand it all just a bit more, if you can weather the winds and storms and the wounds and the worry, you’ll end-up stepping into that  place of peace, softly and securely, and you’ll feel the weightless lift of hope again.

 You will gain new insight into the unchanging Jesus, while your world is turned upside down.  You will see into places that never occurred to you while all was well and  they’ll all seem like wonderful love letters directly from the Lover of your soul; words of truth spoken directly to your heart, telling you that life is given by Him and He has your name written right into His nail scarred hands.

Peace I promise you He will…He is the great I AM.

 But in the meantime, before you get there, I  want to tell you one more important thing  about where you are right now:

 It’s OK to feel.  He knows you are human.    Tell Him your fears and worry and  everything that swirls around inside of you.    Talk to HIM!!

 He already knows anyway.  Acknowledge  that.  Bring Him into your journey and let  Him walk with you there.

It’s alright to admit your feelings to yourself, and to say it to someone else, too. In fact, doing so isn’t admitting defeat at all. It isn’t giving-up. It’s simply consenting, to fully feeling the reality of the despair and the pain of the moment.

So that you can move on.

As you do, just remember that you won’t feel like that forever.

One day, you’ll feel well enough to share your journey with someone else who is not so well, and you’ll perpetuate the hope that He gives to you in your own suffering.

So today, friend, for what it’s worth and for what you’re worth (which is immeasurable), know this:

 As dark as it seems, as difficult as it is, as much as it hurts… He knows right where you are and He has a plan that you sometimes just can’t see.  Hold onto Him very tightly in these times.

It may seem like it but it won’t last forever.  You may have to make changes.. but He said, actually promised, that He would not ever leave you nor forsake you.  

Take Him with you whatever comes.  He only wants His very best for you and will go to battle for you as you hold on for dear life.

Life is an adventure with a destination.  jesus and me

Change! The Word That Invokes Fear…

 

gods-will “How do I break this pattern  in my life,” he asked.

 “You have to step out of your  comfort zone, that familiar,  cozy place of dysfunction,  and be willing to purposely  change; make new  decisions.” I coached.

 With his head down, looking  up at me, and a smile on his  face, “Surely that should be easy, but I am afraid I will fail, ” he said.

Do you want to stay on this merry-go-round of failed  relationships?” I questioned. circus

 “Of course I don’t, but then again maybe,  just maybe, I use these failed relationships  as an excuse to stay where I am because I  really don’t want to change.” he confessed.

 “Wow, did I just say that?” he continued.

And on it goes.  Do we really want to change or are we just making excuses to stay in that old comfortable place rather than venture into the virtual unknown with God?

Change is hard.  I think we can agree on that.  

I, personally,  would rather try sleeping on a bed of nails than to change.  Even when I know it is what I am being asked to do by Jesus.

It is not an easy process and many times we fall flat on our face at our first attempts to make a change.

When you’re in the process of changing, sometimes you will fall back into old patterns and sometimes you’re going to lose your way and wonder why you’re trying in the first place.

So, here’s my reminder for you:

light and darkness Old stuff will come up. What matters is you recognize them as old patterns.

 Patterns that, if not broken, you will live in the  rest of your life.

 Before, you let these patterns run you – and you  let them run you blindly–but now it takes a  quality decision to focus on your goal for change.

 

Now that you see them, trust God to help you make the change.  Ask Him to remind you when you start to fall back.

Stuff will continue to come up. Old patterns die hard.  But seriously do you want to live in the same spot the rest of your life?

Then we choose differently.

Trust the King who made you to guide you and show you how to surrender that part of yourself that even you don’t understand and help you to change your choices.

I believe in you.

Most of us, can agree, that at some point in the day we come up against a battle. The battle between what we know we truly want to do (what is from our soul) and what our weakness desires to do (from our fears/ego).

mind-clutterIt can be something simple that brings about this “everyday struggle. An everyday struggle can be the choice to eat that delish and healthy steamed veggies and fish dish vs. eating the processed junk food. Or something perhaps more severe.

Perhaps your everyday struggle, is choosing that hit of the drug again versus going to that twelve step meeting. Or choosing between shining or hiding your truth out of fear. 

Once we begin to perceive our struggles as opportunities for Jesus’ guidance, the struggles become opportunities to strengthen your faith even deeper in that particular area.

We all have an everyday struggle that we face. Paul said in Romans 7:15

 “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong…I often find that I have the desire to do good, but not the power.”

This resonated with me so much. How many times have you had the desire to do good but felt you didn’t have the power to do it?

Verse 23 goes on to say, “But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” 

On a day to day basis we come up against those fears of “do I have the power to do this?” I discovered through my own journey, that when I comfort those fears with truth, the fears diminish and truth and courage rise.

What is that truth?   Love is more powerful than fear, always!

When a struggle or obstacle arises in our minds where the warfare takes place, I ask Jesus to: give me the strength to deal with this obstacle and struggle through His power and not my own. I ask Him to give me the words, the energy, the actions to do this with confidence and love and peace.  Sometimes I am instantly filled with that power, and the revelation that I can lean into Him and He will be my strength and my guide in this journey of change.

If you stop fighting it another plus emerges.  You begin to learn who you really are.  A divine daughter and son of the King of Kings and He is the one who propels you to great heights in the Spirit.

birdcage

 In accepting and  remembering who we truly  are, we allow our smallness  to diminish and our  greatness in Him to really  come forth.

 Then, you can step out in  faith and in truth not in fear  and insecurity. Love does  that.

You need not do anything to prove your worth, you simple are worthy. How amazing is that?

In remembering these truths, you are filled with energy, confidence, purpose, and the strength to move through the struggle and the obstacle. You are filled with all the power you need to continue to be willing to choose what is good for you.

Remember, you already have what you need. All the love you desire is within you through His power.

Feel it, remember it, move with it.

All struggles are opportunities for you to practice remembering who you really are and how to step back from the wheel and turn it over to Him. When you remember this truth, you are unstoppable, miracles flow, and everything becomes a beautiful journey with deeper growth and joy.

Today, remind yourself of who you already are. Strong, brave, powerful, divine.

Now go out there and change! 

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I Remembered How Small I Am


september_blog1_daybed_porch_swing_myhomeideas I recently was talking to a  client that was  being so  totally honest with me and  pouring  out her heart, that I,  too, began to identify  with  what she was saying. 

 Ever have that happen?

 This, in essence is what she  said to me,

 “I spend most of my regular  time believing  that God has a  plan for my life, but then I take  most of that time trying to  figure out specifically what that is.  Knowing that I’m supposed to share my faith with friends and strangers, but usually feeling too exhausted or irritable to actually do it.

I agree that God wants to do great things in my life, but I feel  like a failure because all that greatness seems so often submerged in mediocrity.  I am exhausted just trying to figure it all out.”

 I thought, ”Wow, this is me sometimes.  I know He has a plan for me and I know it is big.   But today I want to just do nothing.  I want to take a nap from all this greatness!!


Hmmmm… Maybe all of this striving, and  guilt, and frustration, is actually
 not what  God wants most.


 530443_10150790377567355_563857079_nMaybe, what Jesus desires for us,  more  than anything, is that we  recover a pace that  allows us to  breathe and receive.


 Could it be possible, that your most  pressing personal mission, is not  about you doing anything at all.

 Here’s a thought!  What if God’s  plan for your life right now, was not  that you save souls or change  worlds, but that you take a nap?

 I gave myself permission one day to  stop reading, and studying, and writing, and thinking, and doing God stuff, and I simply laid down in our backyard swing by my waterfall.

 I purposefully didn’t wrestle with any great spiritual truths, or any nagging questions about the future, or death, or my personal, God-designed plan; I just rested and let my mind wonder.  I “considered the lilies of the field” as it were.  

 I let myself become cocooned in the lightness of His presence without thinking I needed to be “doing” anything else.  I drifted in and out of a blissful sleep. 

 I could hear birds chirping and I enjoyed the fragrance of my Angel Trumpets blooming nearby.  

 And something really great, and quite spiritual, happened while I laid there.

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 I remembered how small I  am.

 I noticed the trees shifting in  the wind, and the sounds of  birds, and the shade of blue  above me.

 As I did, I was struck with the  thought that God doesn’t just  a have a plan for me,

God HAS ME!

 It could be true that God wants you to change the world and as a matter of fact, I am sure of it.  But more than that, God wants you to find peace in His presence…..

…to be able to rest in the questions and in the undone;

…To pause and realize that His greatest plan is not that you save anything.

You are the one being saved. 

 If you never went any further than today, I am convinced His highest for you is to have a love relationship with Him that surpasses all else in your life,  and to rest in that. 

 He is not a driving task master. 

 What Jesus wants to teach us is to live at home in Him.  This is not a theology to subscribe to, but a way to live all day, every day.

545570_417758148257124_357419294_n (1) Living with Jesus has absolutely  nothing to do with where you are on  Sunday morning at 10:00 and  everything to do with following him  through each day. He made all of life  sacred by coming to live in us and  becoming a part of everything we do.

 We sometimes over complicate things.  The reason people have trouble  discovering this reality is because they  don’t believe it is as simple as it really  is. Living in communion with him is  what he shapes in a willing heart as we  learn to relax in his love.

 Right where you are he can show you how to live at home in the Father, confident in his love, and at peace even in times of trouble

 If you are not at rest in God’s love for you, no amount of human contact will fill that void; it can only mask it. Let your loneliness draw you into a greater depth of relationship with him and then a new way of relating to others emerges.

 He is the Jesus who has given you freedom.  He paid the ultimate price so that you can be free to just love Him.   It is in that love that you find your place to just BE!    Any service for Him will flow out of that.

 So, lighten up on yourself.  I give you permission to enjoy your life and to have fun, and enjoy simple trust.  

 
nap Now go nap your way into that truth.

I am Invisible…..Do You See Me?

hiding She came with a hoodie  covering her bowed head  that day.  She was very petite  in stature and seemed to    draw her own countenance  within herself as she sat  downcast in my office with  tears streaming.  She had  been beaten down  emotionally by an abusive  and demeaning husband  who had a girlfriend and told her she had to live with it.

Unbelievable!  

She came defeated.  

She came with no hope. 

Her pain was palpable.

I was fairly new to coaching at that time and earnestly prayed for Holy Spirit’s help to reach this new client.   Little did I know she was the beginning of Holy Spirit showing me what kind of coaching practice He was calling me to.  

I was to learn to “see”.   eye

I prayed for Jesus to help me really “see” her.  Not just the outward appearance of defeat, but to see her. 

HER! 

Let me see her heart Lord!

And when I looked there it was.

Broken.

Buried.

Hopeless.

And something else…..I had to look close and with faith, but there it was;  A diamond that was still buried in the rubble, but there it was none the less–An inner beauty and a love for God.

diamond

And in the months that followed in coaching her I witnessed the Holy Spirit transform this buried treasure into a beautiful woman of God who allowed Him to set her free in a most profound way. 

It was amazing to watch and to think I was so blessed as to get to watch Jesus open this young woman’s eyes to who she really was all along.   This is what she wrote: 

When I first walked into Dixie’s home I was at one of the lowest points of my life. I was sad, confused, and hopeless. I felt like a complete failure in life. I had been medically discharged from the USAF after almost eight years of service and couldn’t find a job to support myself and my medical bills. I had also just discovered that my husband had been having an affair for about 6 months. He said he was in love with this other woman, but that he loved me too. So I was pretty much an emotional wreck with all the time in the world to sit and think about how my life was caving in on me. I couldn’t even remember the last time I laughed. I told Dixie I felt like I had nothing to offer anyone and Dixie told me she could help me discover God’s plan for my life. I really didn’t think I could handle sharing the negative pieces of my life with a stranger, but when I spoke with Dixie she was just so comforting. I felt like I was talking to my sister. There was a positive glow that radiated from her and I decided to give the coaching a chance. I’m certainly glad that I did! Early in the coaching I realized that Satan had been lying to me. He’d been keeping me trapped in my past and my negative mindset. The time I spent with Dixie allowed me to recognize my value and my worth as a child of God. I learned to surrender my hurts and mistaken thinking to God. I became aware that God loved me no matter what! I discovered that I had enormous strength through Him and started finding the passions in my life that I did!

She eventually left the area and moved away, and now has a beautiful little boy she delights in. 

Years later after her stint with Life Coaching, I was in the area she lived and contacted her to meet for lunch.   When I walked into the restaurant all I saw was a beautiful, light of a woman smiling ear to ear from one of the booths.  She radiated Jesus!  I didn’t recognize the transformation until she jumped up and ran over to give me a big bear hug. 

support_groups Amazing grace!

 Just Wow!

 Learning how to really see a  person is a supernatural  Jesus thing.  He is the  transformer.  It is His eyes  we ask for.  In the natural we  see the outside appearance  of a person.  But when we ask for His eyes, we see their heart. 

People long to be seen.  To feel worth it!

He will give us His eyes to really see to the heart of a person.  There are so many crying out to really be seen; lost in the world of darkness and pain and feel there is no way out.

Jesus is pretty well-known for his miracles; for beautiful, unbelievable, mind altering, nature-defying acts, and for his teaching; those incredible, wild, heart-piercing words that have shaped our very lives.


25276_347990456355_4322645_n
 Scriptures remind us that it was  Jesus’ vision, His divine eyes, that made  Him who He was then and who He is now.

 

 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of  Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called  Peter and his brother Andrew. They were  casting a net into the lake, for they were  fishermen. Matthew 4:18

 Do you think He really saw to their core and knew where He would take them?

 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”  Matt: 9:2

What?  What sins?  How did He know?

 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

The so called unimportant people.  How did He know they were harassed and helpless?  He also knew they were hungry.  Here come the loaves and fish to feed multitudes…..

When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Luke 13:12

 

309148_275390375904036_1522969089_n The woman who thought no one SAW  her.

 

 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the  Jews who had come along with her  also weeping, he was deeply moved in  spirit and troubled.  John 11:33

 

He saw their hearts.  He felt what they felt!

Over and over again, Jesus shows us that what we see, is as important as what we say, or even, what we believe.

It’s a supernatural gift that God offers; a blessing of the spiritual eyes, to see what other people can’t see, or sad to say, refuse to see.

Too often, we become selective in our sight, and we miss so many opportunities to reflect His character, and in the process, we miss seeing countless people who cross our paths every day; those who spend most of their lives feeling invisible.   Even when we meet with believers we many times don’t really see them.

 Maybe we have grown hardened, and voluntarily choose to close our eyes, to those we find distasteful or inconvenient or messy.  We don’t have time.  Perhaps you should read my disclosure of my attitude with a homeless man.  You will find it in the archives entitled, The Homeless Man and the Bottle of Tea.

But regardless of the reason, we need our vision restored.

If there’s a prayer the Church can pray today, that will bring revolution to the body of Christ, and life to the invisible people outside its doors, its: “Jesus, teach me how to see again.”

 2Won’t you who claim the eyes of Jesus, go  out there, and make someone feel visible  today?