Where is This Secret Place, and How Do I Get There?

It seems for most of my life I have prayed that He will keep me in the secret place of the most high, no matter what situation I have found myself in…I have prayed this over:

My babies…

My loved ones…

Myself..

My home…

My pets….

My jobs

My clients

I have taught Psalms 91 as my answer to freedom from anxiety, fear, you name it.  

I know He is talking to the Israelites in this passage and there are those that say I am taking scripture out of context to make it mine.  

What about when it’s mixed with faith?   Over you and yours?  That which belongs to you. 

Here’s something to consider.  What if I just made the words from Psalm 91 up based on my faith of who I know Jesus to be?   Would God honor those words?

Sometimes we strain at gnats and swallow camels.  (Yes, that is a scripture too)

Without faith its impossible to please God.   Even when we are clumsily clanging around our room of faith, boldly claiming our inheritance, and maybe even be a little off on our stand…I believe Jesus is so personable and so delighted at our steps of blind faith that he will be there and perform for us what we believe him for…why?

Because He loves us so and loves it when we look to Him for that which we need and believe Him for.

He who [a]dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].

In the New Covenant the Most Holy Place has been made open through the sacrifice of Jesus. He is the veil through which we pass to come to the most intimate holy place with God. When our trust is in the blood of Jesus the way to His presence and all His resources freely opens to us, and this happens as we trust in our heart.

Your heart is the real you.  Your spirit.  It is the doorway to the inner chambers of God. 

That is the secret place!

When we enter into the secret place God reveals Jesus to us. He shows us what is ours, He ministers to us, He comforts us and gives us all the promises of Psalm 91.

To dwell in the secret place means to live in a place of continually drawing near to Jesus through constant  communion. It is a place where you talk to Him in the morning, at night, and throughout the day, without the motivation of being recognized by people, only the pure desire to know Him.

It means to engage in fellowship with God and then never leave. Consistently coming before Him in sweet communion with our Lord, moment by moment.

This is what you and I were created for: to live in daily fellowship with the Father and to be empowered by His Spirit to bear His image to a lost and dying world.

We make walking in this place with God so complicated.   It’s not!

He desires you, and only you.  Your heart.  You were created to walk and talk with him daily, the same as Adam and Eve….that was the original plan.  When they sinned, the plan was formed for a redeemer (Jesus) to move sin out of the way and restore our relationship with God…

So now we have that access.  Can you imagine.

Walking and talking to Him all day long?   A relationship.  Not rules and regulations. 

How many Christians have this knowledge but don’t apply or make themselves aware of this privilege every single day?

No doubt about it.  My many clients right now are seeking this new relationship.  Even though, they have been a believer for years, now, when the fire is getting hotter, they realize they have not cultivated a real daily relationship with a very real Jesus…

Yes, it takes work and perseverance.   Are you up for it?

We are in troubled and scary times.  If we don’t apply these truths we will deal with anxiety and fear.  And who knows when this onslaught of evil will stop…but if it does, we know that the end times will increase the fear.

Whenever I am overcome with the current happenings, I pray Psalm 91 and feel a release from fear and a boost of faith that God is in control…an assurance that my loved ones are covered and surrounded by the blood line of Jesus because of faith. 

Just a note that there are not rules to this.  Jesus is freedom to be our human selves…yet we walk in the spirit every minute.  We are not weird looking or making weird gyrations to try to impress with our spirituality.  Remember HE made you and knows you inside out.  You can look very normal and sane and be at your most spiritual because HE dwells in you….

That, my friend, is the secret place!!

‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].   I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!For [then] He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.[Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Only a spectator shall you be [yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High] as you witness the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, there shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the serpent shall you trample underfoot. Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never] He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.’

Hey, if you are reading this and you don’t know who this Jesus is I am talking about, pleaseeeee message me….This is not a fairy tale.  Its real and I can ply you with miracle stories of His deliverance and presence in my life and the lives of others!!

 Don’t miss out!

What in the World Are We Looking For?

world1

Our souls are relentless in their pursuits.

 It seems we are always searching, seeking, and running after something. We seek relationships to satisfy our longing for intimacy. We pursue careers to make it in this world. We search for significance or purpose through various means.

 sad

We must keep a close eye on the direction of our souls (mind, will, emotions). They often have a mind of their own.

Misguided pursuits that have one goal in mind, to satisfy misguided desires that were never meant to be fulfilled. Many feel the only way to satisfy these desires is to yield. They foolishly believe to give in, is the end of the struggle.

But even then, they quickly discover that the surrender leaves them and they succomb to something they quickly regret.

I have a client I’ll call Maddy.   She was constantly searching for meaning to her life.  But she doesn’t understand why nothing she tries ever brings satisfaction.  In and out of relationships, jobs, marriages, and so many other things, she finally reached out for help.  She was so lost and confused.  She had struggled for years, but when she finally reached the bottom of herself she sought help.   Today, she is finding so much purpose to her life and has been set free from that nagging dissatisfaction she lived with for years.  How?  She realized that Jesus can fill her empty self.

The answer is, simple, really.  

And I always feel the simpler we make understanding spiritual growth in our lives, the easier it is to apply it to our lives.

gods-will

I’ll be honest, I once had an addiction to ministry….yes, you read that right. I would spend all of my time developing and teaching bible studies and ministering to people every time the church doors opened and had my own outreach outside the church building.   The problem, though,  was that my personal life had so many serious marital  issues that I was frustrated with and needed to confront, but just couldn’t find the energy to do anything, so I searched for something else to take up brain space.   I convinced myself that as long as I was in service to the Lord  He would take care of my life.   I was so spiritual I ignored my marriage, and ultimately lost it.

 Unhappy-Person

Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, friends.

 I got my accolades and validity from people and not the Lord.

 and I became addicted to it….

 It was a back and forth struggle. One part of me loved indulging in it, but the other part knew it was not a wise use of my time. I repented several times in my failings, but finally lost most of everything I was ignoring.

 You see I wasn’t using faith….I dismissed my dislocated busy-ness by saying it was for the Lord,

 As if He could only use me and no one else.

 Burnout

I think any human has the capability to become hooked on anything. We generally assume addictions are limited to those who abuse narcotics, drink alcohol to cope, gamble their money away, or view sexual content on the internet regularly.

Addictions can come from any angle. They wrap tightly around us until we are enslaved to them. Why are they so powerful? Because they give us a sense of fulfillment or pleasure−although short lived. They start off seeming innocent, but the more we come back for more, the more we become imprisoned.

Romans 6:16 reads, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey…..

 Slaves is a strong word. A word that we don’t like to identify with our own lives.

 Have you noticed how easy it is to identify the problems of others? We thumb_colourbox1908348      may see an area of weakness in their personality and we inwardly identify the changes they need to work on, especially if it is not a problem in our own lives.

 As a person who does not usually get easily angered, I can quickly identity the wrong in someone who is angered or irritated easily. It’s so easy for me to judge them because it’s not a weakness for me. It takes brokenness and humility to turn inwardly and admit my own enslavements, and then turn to God for help.

Broken-Chains 

Are there areas of enslavement in your life that you want to be free from?

 The answer is simple.   We were created with a vacancy,  an empty place, within our hearts that was only…ONLY meant to be filled with God.  

 That’s it!   Not complicated!

 We try to fill that emptiness with everything we can find to satisfy us temporarily.   It will NEVER work.   You will ALWAYS come to the end of yourself and realize you still aren’t happy or joyful or fulfilled….and you move on to something else.

 Jesus-By-My-Side-342x200   Our most lonely place is when we are missing our loving creator, our King, our Jesus and we need to sit with Him and talk to Him about our hearts and what we need.

 Service to Him will follow that relationship of intimacy that will so fill you to satisfaction you can’t help but want to share it with others.  

 Service follows relationship.   No amount of service, if you don’t have the relationship of intimacy with God,  will ever satisfy you.   You will wonder why you feel burned out and disillusioned.  

 Because you were walking in an illusion of thinking “things”  “people”  “service”  (fill in your own word) will satisfy.

 Maybe you like all the things that fill your life right now, and you see no need to examine their place in your life.

 The thing is, we will never come to a place where there is no need for change and growth.

 There is always room for cutting off, turning away from, getting to the root of things. Our pride, selfishness, jealousies, evil motives, and the like require a daily examination…I have many such talks myself.

 You will only get as much of God as you want.

 jesus6    It’s up to us how close we draw near to God. The less we want, the less we will seek. The more we want, the more we will seek.

 Our actions will reveal our pursuit.

 

 

Beware…5 Ways to Discern a Wolf

Wolves2   Wolves come in all manner of disguises…in our relationships, as well as in our places of worship.   Sometimes truth gets blurred and manipulated and  lines get crossed in our relationships in all walks of life, but, in my opinion, even more so in the body of Christ.   

Because we are dangerous to the enemy.  

normalThings once seen as black and white, may start to appear more gray. It may seem harder to recognize what’s true or what’s false. What’s light and what’s dark. 

As a Life Coach I see this same thing happening in personal relationships.  We can get so needy we ignore the warning signs of a true wolf, and yield to the deceptive manipulations and convince ourselves that what we see right in front of us won’t apply to our lives.  So we let them in.   And it doesn’t take long for the teeth to come out. 

 wolf4  Friends, there is a real enemy who prowls around seeking someone to devour.    He’ll stop at nothing to gain new ground. He and his forces have quoted God’s words since the beginning of time, twisting it, trying their best to manipulate truth, and their main goal is to deceive and lead astray. 

He knows how to spy out needy women or men who have not learned to let Jesus be their everything and they long to fill those empty places with another person, rather than the One who was met to fill those needs. 

titi  There is an invisible V (for victim) on their foreheads that turns into a neon sign when a wolf is near.  He sees it and comes in for the kill.

 The wolves know who God is and they “shudder” in fear at His name.  They know that God alone will be victorious and no matter what traps are used today to try to distract us away from Him, in the end, they will not win.  But for us, if we don’t obey those warnings, we will find ourselves in the pit of pain and confusion.

 Many times the wolf disguised in sheep’s clothing knows God’s Word better than we thought, crafting and twisting it so much, we might even find ourselves feeling confused over what real truth is anymore.  You can always identify this type of wolf as a religious spirit.

 So how can we protect ourselves–and discern what is happening when we meet a wolf? 

 

Alone_in_the_Crowd_by_Cunny1988-600x450   Know the real and you’ll know what is false.

How do you do that?

wolf  1.Watch

 

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Matt. 7:15

God reminds us in His Word to “watch out,” “beware,” to stay awake. He knows and understands how difficult it can be to fight this spiritual battle. Some days we get weary, or we get so busy and distracted, we’re not watching anymore for ways we might get tripped up.  But he tells us, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Cor. 16:13 

He desires the best for us and knows how important it is for us to live aware. He freely gives us his strength and protection to stand strong each day, he will never leave us defenseless on our own. 

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR OWN WEAKNESSES AND NEEDINESS. 

 wolf5 2.   Know What is Real

…and you’ll know the fake too.

 God’s Word is clear, it says they’ll be known by their fruits. Not by how charming they are.  Not by how much money they have. Not by how many followers they have. Not by how many books they have written or the great things they have done.

They’ll be known by what fruit exists in their lives. Is there love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control? What do they say about who Jesus is? We may have to look more closely than what is on the outside. What is in their heart?  How do you discern it?  I have learned if something is too good to be true, it usually is.  See what I did there?  (it usually is deceptive. )

 Eventually, the truth of who they are will be brought into the light. 

 “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.” 1 Cor. 4:5 

 0006948_abide-with-me_1000 3.  Know Jesus Intimately

 “For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” 2 Cor. 11:14-15

 Sometimes deception may be hidden well, but if you have a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus and His words you will know when something isn’t right.  

 

Obey that feeling!!

 

Press in close to God. Spend time in His presence. Pray, talk with Him, listen to His voice through His word. Staying close to His side, living under the protection of His armor and covering, helps us to know when we’re staring straight into falsehood.

 Pentecost_by_purple_whirlpool 4. Trust Your Counselor, Holy Spirit

 God gives us His Spirit to guide us in discernment and wisdom. 

 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…”John 16

 

He tells us “I have told you ahead of time,” so that we will be prepared and watching.

Walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

We don’t have to wander through life blindly, unsure of what’s true and what’s not.   

 

When feeling unsettled or sensing something is just not “quite right,” we can press in close to Him, knowing He’s faithful to guide us.

 wolf3  5.  Choose Friends You Can Trust 

Use caution in who you listen to and choose to take guidance from. Sometimes when we’re in a place where it’s hard to see clearly we need trusted friends to bounce things off of.      Learning to listen to one another and take into consideration what the other might be sensing or discerning can often have great power in saving us from a lot of pain and trouble up ahead.  

 “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Prov. 11:14

Standing strong together, on Christ the Solid Rock.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

4 Myths You May Believe About Your Calling

Thinking business woman looking up on speech empty bubble isolat

As a Life Purpose Coach I believe that we are all called, have gifts and talents, and are incredibly loved by our Creator.  Everything that we encounter in life prepares us for the next season in our calling.

 I also believe that everyone of our gifts are as important as the next persons.   We are all working towards the same goals and each and every one of us are highly loved and valued by Jesus!

 Jesus-By-My-Side-342x200 What I’ve discovered over the years is that many women have an incredibly difficult time discerning what that calling is. The trials of life and the many mixed or misunderstood messages they have heard from various teachers have left them feeling like they never measure up to what God has for them to do.  For these struggling women, certain myths about calling are getting in the way of discovering what God truly has for them.

 If you’re feeling lost trying to discern God’s calling for your life, consider these myths that may be tripping you up.

Myth #1: It’s About You  sb_passiveagressive2

The process of discovering your calling may necessitate some serious self-reflection, but make no mistake: It’s not really about you. Calling is not about self-fulfillment. It is a discovery of your preciousness, your beauty, and your gifting…..a plan set up for you from before you were born to fulfill….and the revealing of it is directly related to what you have experienced in your life through every trial and every experience, both positive and negative, to prepare and train you to be able to see others come to know who He is through your life.

Calling is a revealing and fulfillment of God’s will for your life.

Many people experience a special sense of satisfaction that comes from exercising their God-given gifts, talents, and passions, but that sense of fulfillment is a byproduct of being in God’s will, not the goal.

womanatthewellbylizlemonswindle    To discern what God’s will may be, you do need to look inward. You must seek to “know yourself” in order to discover God’s unique creation in you.   Sometimes we can’t see outside of ourselves and being in community with other’s who know you can help to get a better picture.  This is why we need each other.

 And sometimes we miss the obvious– thinking it couldn’t possibly be important enough to be a calling.  I have had women come to me in their season of child rearing, crying because they just don’t feel important to God because He has not revealed to them a calling.   And there beside them stood their children.  

 hannah2  Do you know raising children is one of the highest callings there is?   To raise a child to love and honor God with their own lives is the calling of a Mother.   Yes, one  day those babies will be on their own and you will be free to pursue other gifts and callings, as each season of your life reveals more and prepares us for the next season.

 

 fear   

Myth #2: If It’s Uncomfortable, It Can’t Be Your Calling

Nope, not even close.   Figuring out your calling isn’t an instant ticket to a smooth life and career.  As a matter of fact sometimes we get so stuck in our comfort zones of dysfunction, we would choose to stay there, because at least it is familiar, right?

 Knowing what you are meant to be doing is really just the beginning of what may be a long and arduous journey of hardship and defeat. Some of the most successful, inspired people throughout history have  pursuit of their paths that has included feeling like a failure….but rest assured,

 Not one of your failures is wasted…it is all a part of the plan, and what makes the difference is that you

 DON’T GIVE UP!!

 

sad  For most of my life I struggled with what I was doing, even when I was very busy doing “the work of the Lord”, the way I saw it…,

God is never finished with us and even while I was so busy, make no mistake, He continued to reveal to me those places I kept hidden that needed to be healed.  I fell flat on my face many times.

I faced plenty of hardships and failures at work and in my personal life. These challenges helped me grow and learn more about God and more about how God created me to serve him, eventually leading me into Life Coaching much to my surprise.   Now that I am a Life Coach and have been for many years, I continue to enter into places of so much pain I sometimes question where He is taking me now.

Your calling is most of the time a stretch assignment. Moses is a great biblical example:

Pentecost_by_purple_whirlpool  He had no doubt about what God wanted him to do.  God spoke to Moses through the burning bush, giving him clear marching orders about his next steps.

 Isn’t this what we all kind of wish for when we’re searching for our calling?

But Moses’ calling didn’t sound all that great to him:

 “But who am I that I should go?”

 004-moses-burning-bush  Moses questioned God, voicing the fear, 

 

“I’m not important enough.”

 But God answered, “I will be with you.” Then, Moses continued pressing back, asking, “What if they do not believe me?” 

 “I’m not impressive enough!” 

 In response, God provided him with miraculous signs. But it still wasn’t enough for Moses, who came back with the worry, “But I am slow of speech and tongue.” 

“I don’t know what to say.”

 God assured Moses that he would speak through him.

 Moses was called to a task God designed for him, but it clearly didn’t feel good.  He tried every way he could think of to convince God that he was the wrong man for the job, and then finally, when that didn’t work, he came right out and asked God to “please send someone else.”

 Alone_in_the_Crowd_by_Cunny1988-600x450     Your discomfort doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re on the wrong path.

 

Myth #3: Choosing Wrong Can Thwart God’s Will

 gods-will   I know women (and men too) who seem to agonize endlessly over every major choice in their lives, calling included, because they’re afraid of choosing wrongly. It’s good to want to make the best choice you can, but at some point you just need to make a choice and go from there. If you find yourself worrying excessively about your calling, ask yourself whether this is really about discerning God’s will or whether you may be trying to control God’s will.

 Your choices are important, but, when you are seeking Him with your whole heart,  no choice you can make is outside of God’s sovereignty.  Seriously…it is NOT that easy to miss God.  Do you think He is not able to transcend your humanness, and lead you right into His perfect will…even when you think you are the one making the decisions?

If you had asked me 20 or 30 years ago where I would end up, I never would have foreseen the course my life would take.    I now look back and am just amazed by God’s providence over all of it.

jesus-and-me 

Myth #4: Your Calling Is Settled

 Discovering your calling isn’t something you do once, or even twice. It’s not something you get to check off of a list and move on from.

The life of a Christian entails a constant process of discovering your calling. Just because God has called you to a particular purpose at a particular time doesn’t mean his plans for you are the same in every season….each season of our lives has a new calling that builds on the last one….nothing stays the same forever.

Looking back at my own life, I can see God shaping and shifting my calling over the years.

 Each chapter of my life God continued to call and lead me through one season to the next.   Some of the things that happened to me to bring me to this place today is astounding, painful, challenging, and sometimes unbelievable.   In every phase my calling has looked and felt different, but God has been a consistent foundation throughout.  And even when I was in total denial about my own issues that needed work, His will was accomplished in other’s lives through my calling.   Astounding to me.

 Who knows what the next chapter of life will bring?

0006948_abide-with-me_1000Everyone’s calling is going to look different—and each season will bring a new process of discernment. Just remember, God is in control. He loves you and me, and his will for us will always bring us closer to him.

May you begin your discernment journey with courage and humility.

 

Me    Of course you know that I am a Life Purpose Coach.  So, I would be remiss to not invite you to contact me if you need help in this season of your life to discern where God is taking you.  You may feel stuck in this chapter and need a mentor to challenge you and help you to move forward.   Just call or email me from my web page and we will chat!!   

Boundaries! 7 Ways to Stop Fixing People and Empower Yourself.

922705_559351900752675_116486065_n  Having no boundaries in your personal life will strain personal relationships and the accumulation of frustration and miscommunication as a result of no boundaries will  ultimately create resentment that will lead you into very toxic relationships.

Person-under-doormat    No boundaries can also keep you in that victim mentality.

Here’s the truth – if you don’t create clear boundaries for yourself in all of your relationships, you can’t expect the people in your life to know what you want or don’t want.  Healthy boundaries allow for an equal partnership where both the power and responsibilities are shared.  Especially in marriages, but this mindset will affect everything you do, from friends, to work, to church, to children.

Boundaries help us define who we are and provides us with a definite sense of self. People who learn how to set personal boundaries thrive because they have created a level of personal control within their life, whereas people who do not set personal boundaries tend to be stressed and overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do the things they want.

sb_passiveagressive2Most people have a hard time saying the word NO.

Inevitably, until we set personal boundaries and learn to say no, the quality of our lives  will suffer in so many ways.

freedomWhen we learn to say “No” more often, or just learn to say “Yes” on our terms, we free ourselves from the burden of pleasing others therefore allowing ourselves more time and freedom to do what we feel matters most .

Examples:  

  • Your adult children ask you for money and you go ahead and give it them against your better judgment even though they don’t take responsibility for their own budgeting.

  • Your coworkers delegate tasks to you that they should be doing, but you do the extra work because you want to please them and be liked.

  • Your husband tells you that it’s your fault he lost his temper and was abusive and you take on the guilt for his choices and actions.  

  • Someone from your church asks you to volunteer for a new project, and out of guilt you say “yes” when you really should say “no” because your schedule is already overloaded and you are exhausted.

 

Sound familiar?

 

All of these scenarios reflect a lack of boundaries – limits that can help you avoid unnecessary stress and enjoy the peace God wants you to experience.

 

relationship difficulties You may tend to respond to other people’s needs at the expense of your own and then suffer from the chaos that comes from a life without proper boundaries.   I see it often in coaching. 

 

Do you want some ideas on how to  start setting boundaries in your life and start enjoying peace?

 

  1. Shift your focus from your circumstances to how you respond to those circumstances. 

 

God will empower you to change your life for the better if you change the way you respond to your circumstances. While you often can’t control your circumstances, you can always control how you respond to those circumstances as you surrender them to God and follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance to set the appropriate boundaries. Doing so will honor both God and you, because it will please God to see you living with the respect He intends for you.

 

  1. Keep in mind that taking control isn’t the same as being controlling.

Setting boundaries isn’t about trying to control other people; instead, it’s about being clear about what you will and will not accept in your life in order to claim your God-given spiritual authority and guard your heart from harm. You never need to feel guilty about setting boundaries with the people in your life.  Jesus did it all the time.  He had very strong boundaries.  No one deterred Him from His mission.  People will actually have more respect for you when you are strong and firm in your boundaries.

 

  1. Distinguish between helping and enabling others.

Consider whether or not you’re actually helping the people you’re trying to help. Helping is doing things for people that they are not capable of doing for themselves.

 

doormat     But Enabling leads people to depend on you in unhealthy ways – AND is doing things for people that they could and should be doing themselves.

 

Recognize that when you’re enabling people rather than helping them, you’re creating an atmosphere in which others can comfortably continue their unacceptable behavior. Even though you intend to help, if you’re enabling you’re actually hurting other people, and yourself, in the process.  You enable them to not take responsibility for their own lives.  Thus draining yourself.

 

Recognize that setting boundaries is vital in order to fulfill God’s purposes for your life. Instead of letting other people distract you from living the life God intends for you, claim the spiritual authority God has given you by setting the boundaries He leads you to set in your life.

 

254865_440342676028286_2145415378_n   Pray for the confidence you need to overcome whatever fears have been holding you back from setting proper boundaries in your life.

 

The more you learn how to apply biblical wisdom to your life, the better you’ll be able to set boundaries that will help you accomplish God’s will.

 

  1. Stop your own negative behavior.

Ask God to help you identify specific negative attitudes and behaviors in your life that are contributing to a lack of boundaries and the resulting stress. Then decide to stop your destructive patterns and pray for power from the Holy Spirit each day to replace your unhealthy attitudes and behaviors with healthy ones.

533101_323586567703898_2131335984_n Don’t waste time or energy anymore on trying to get the other people in your life to change; that will never work. Instead, focus on simply changing yourself, with God’s help.  You will never get someone else to change their behavior.   You have to change.

 

YOU are NOT the savior of anyone.  Jesus is!!  womanatthewellbylizlemonswindle

 

Seek the support and encouragement of some caring Christians whom you can trust to help you on your journey to set proper boundaries in your life.  Or get yourself a Life Coach to walk the journey with you a while to show you how.  (Contact me if interested!)   dixie1

 

  1. Nip excuses in the bud.

Don’t tolerate any more excuses from either yourself (about why you’re not setting boundaries in your life) or other people (about why they want to step over boundaries that you’ve set for them).

 

Ask God to help you stand firm so you can make real and lasting changes in your life. Say “no” clearly and without guilt whenever you sense that you should say “no.” Doing so will give you the freedom to say “yes” to activities that the Holy Spirit convicts you to pursue.

 

You will feel so empowered!!  birdcage

 

 

  1. Trust the voice of the Spirit.Pay attention to how the Holy Spirit speaks to you about boundaries. Listen for the Spirit’s guidance about boundaries every day in prayer, and be sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings in every situation you encounter. In some situations, the Spirit will restrain you from taking action, and in others, the Spirit will urge you to take action move forward.

 

Yield everything to God. Live to please God alone, and don’t worry about pleasing other people. Let go of everything that holds you back from fulfilling God’s purposes for you, including: unrealistic expectations, negative emotions, and Satan’s lies. Trust God to give you peace and guidance to change your life forever!!

 

Contact me at dixie@reflectionsofgracehome.com to set up a coaching call!

 

 

When You Have One Foot in the Grave….Lori’s Story

Just to be transparent with you, I am in a different season right now fraught with change and uncertainty and letting go.   That’s why I haven’t written in a while.  

In this life our journeys take a turn that sometimes come out of nowhere, it seems, and knocks us out for a while.   I am starting to very slowly see through the veil that this is another lesson, another level, a gateway into a deeper level with Jesus.  Though I feel the breath has been knocked out of me and I am very tired I know from my spirit that Jesus walks this valley with me. 

And, yes, I will write more about my story soon. 

Which brings me to Lori’s story.  I have known Lori for about 30 years.   I have watched her and admired her devotion to family and motherhood and God.    I knew her Dad, a mighty man of God,  and loved him very much.   I have been following Lori’s journey through breast cancer and praying along with countless others.  

Then yesterday I read this on Facebook and instantly knew her story is a wake up call for me and all of us.   Not that we will get cancer, but through her valley of trial, and what she learned there, brings us a message to look at our lives and evaluate what is most important.   For our walk on this earth is very short compared to where we are going.

carnival-masks   We get so caught up in our ‘masks’ of who we think we are, or we only show what we want people to see; not the real us.   Vanity takes over and we live this kind of pseudo life of insincerity.   I so admired Lori’s bravery to reveal it all in this trial so that others could see into her world and maybe find hope.

The church was meant for family, for realness, for loving support and transparencies….so that we can grow and heal and know we are not alone.   

Peter 5:8-9 says “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

What is the Holy Spirit assuming about your life? That you are under spiritual attack. This is not a passage about nonbelievers; he’s talking about “your brothers and sisters.” Peter takes it for granted that every believer is under some sort of unseen assault. And what does he insist you do? Resist the devil. Fight back, take a stand.

Lori took a stand and has won her victory.   But the lessons were many.

Thank you sweet Lori, for allowing me to share your story.

lori with hair  “Twenty-nine radiation treatments ago I was overwhelmed thinking that I would never be standing with one foot hovering over the finish line. On Monday, I will get my last radiation treatment. On Thursday I am having my port removed. I have spent half a year tearing up my body to rid it of cancer and the next half will be spent rebuilding it.

 I still have a long road of recovery ahead, but I face it knowing that I am cancer free.

 I know it sounds odd, but I am grateful for everything that I have gone through.

Grateful for the pain?

Grateful for the worry?

Grateful for a disease that ravaged my body and tried to kill me?

lori3  Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. I am grateful because it has changed me in more ways than taking away (just trying to be real here) half of one of my most magnificent physical features. 

 The fact that I feel grateful is in itself due to the lessons that fighting cancer has taught me.

 When you are diagnosed with cancer, everything stops while you concentrate on beating it. You don’t have the energy to participate in all of your normal activities and your treatments take precedence over everything else in your life…a job, family activities, church, or any other pursuit that normally occupies your time. You try to keep things as normal as possible, but basically your schedule is at the mercy of your disease.

 

At first, I thought that the world was going to crumble if I had to step down from all of the things I was in charge of. Amazingly, the world did just fine during my sabbatical. My husband and kids survived. My house didn’t burn down. The church, the PTA, the cub scouts and all those other things soldiered on. I learned that I don’t have to control every…single…thing.  1209389_575103479218871_301732771_n

I don’t have to stress myself out to make everything my version of perfect. One day it hit me that the same God who I was trusting to heal me was also capable of taking care of the everyday worries in my life. As I began to hand those worries over to Him, I also realized that if I were to leave this earth, He would be there to take care of all those that I left behind.

 lori Cancer certainly causes you to face your immortality. We all know we are going to die…someday. When you are diagnosed with cancer, that far off someday is suddenly smacking you in the face. Death itself, doesn’t scare me. I know where I will spend eternity. I am not afraid of what is to come. For me, facing death was more about worrying over what I was leaving behind.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a peace that God would watch over my family, but I was still sad because I had so many more things that I wanted to do with my kids. There were life lessons I wanted to have the time to teach, memories I wanted to make with them, and my own life experiences that I still hadn’t shared. I was angry at myself for all the time in life I had wasted on things that just don’t matter in the bigger picture.

Cancer forced me sift through all the unimportant things in life, causing me to recognize the things that truly mattered…. Ironically “things” didn’t even make the list. I was actually able to clean out my closets and get rid of those clothes I have been holding onto for 15 years because one day the stars might align and they will once more fit me and come back in style all in the same week.

 As I begin to purge the stuff in my house, I also took stock of the stuff in my character. I realized that I had held on to grudges, bitterness, anger, hurts, and worries, much the way I had held onto my Members Only jacket from Jr. High.  mind-clutter

It was time to let it all go.

When you have one foot in the grave, what this one said about you or that one did to you really doesn’t matter so much.

 With the sweeping away of emotional cobwebs comes clarity. Suddenly it occurred to me how much energy I had wasted being worried about what other people think.

How many times had I not embraced life because I was afraid that someone would say I was too old or too fat or too anything to be participating in something I really wanted to do?

 Losing my hair was a wakeup call for me. I thought everyone would stare, but the truth is, most people don’t take the time to look beyond themselves and really see those around them. It only took a few times of walking through the grocery store bald, to figure out that no one was looking at me.   

bald lori

Mind blowing!

Never again will I forgo an opportunity to swim with my kids or enjoy a gorgeous day at the beach because I am afraid of what people will think of my body. Never again will I allow myself to be shy because I am worried someone won’t like me based on my outward appearance. I also vow to stop avoiding cameras.

I have a ten-year gap in the photo album, where there are no pictures of me. I always made the excuse that I am the one who takes the pictures, so I am never in them.   lori2

 

The truth is that I didn’t want to be in them. We haven’t posed for a family portrait since 2008, because I don’t like the way I look. When I faced my darkest days of cancer, it hit me that if I were to die, my kids wouldn’t have any pictures of me. As they grew older, their memories might grow foggy. They might even be unable to remember their own mother’s face.

 lori donna    I have a picture of my mom and me that she hated because she thought she looked old. When I look at it, I don’t see wrinkles, I just see love. I could continue to be the phony girl with a profile picture on Facebook that was taken in 2004, or I could just say, “Screw it, this is me, love it or hate it I don’t care, I choose to be real.”

 As I look back on this journey, I see that the healing I received wasn’t limited to the physical. I like to think that in my battle with breast cancer, a tumor was removed from more than my body.

 I feel like a cancerous growth has also been removed from my spirit and for that I am grateful for everything that I have gone through. So thank you, cancer. You invaded my body with sights set on my destruction, but you lost!  Broken-Chains

 

Not only were you defeated, but what you meant for bad, in the end made me a happier person. I am not the woman I was a year ago and that suits me just fine.”

gi-letting-go-butterfly11

Will You Go Deeper With God?

Jesus-By-My-Side-342x200

If you look for Him, you’ll find Him.

 If you keep looking for Him, you will find him even more…..

 If you don’t stop looking, he’ll invite you in deeper and deeper, fuller and fuller and farther and farther.  There is no end  to the depth of relationship you can have with Him…

 He invites you.

 0006948_abide-with-me_1000Do you notice the welcome sound of His voice?

It sounds like a whisper at first….

 It is a walk through the forest in the dark…all you can see is your feet, but not the path…but knowing He is there.

 We don’t have to know where we’re going, just that Jesus is taking us.

 lantern_forest_by_retrolex

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

Can we go on this wild and crazy adventure with an invisible, yet so very real God?   Do you want to?

 There He is

1506500_619449268111523_2092771554_n He stands in front of you
arms open,
ready to hug you,
ready to feel your complete innocence, purity and beauty.

 Will you believe He sees you this way?

Will you by faith receive His deep love?

 jesus-and-me By keeping an eye on the One above our trial, we remember how all things work out under His authority.  How He will never leave us. 

He promises and it is so….

He calls.  
Will you open your heart?  love

It’s another invitation.

Abba waits…

He doesn’t need strong; he loves weary, tired, broken; he can handle it.

Do you see him waiting to rescue and love you every minute? 

309148_275390375904036_1522969089_nIn every weary and heart-wrecking task, God waits to rescue you time and time again. 

Will we accept his invitation?

 He knocks,
in a way where it nags your soul to answer the knock, the calling….

You know you should, but can you? Can you open up?

Surely, it is an invitation, but will you permit it to be so?

Can you trust Him?

 Still, Holy Spirit of our  heart, He is pushing you just a little to step out.

Will you listen or ignore?

Will you forgive or forget and pretend it never happened  this time?

 He wants to finally unclutter your heart of it’s hurt, bitterness, fear, anxiety, the list goes on,  to make room for his fullness.

Will you pretend busy-ness this time, again?

or be free?   It is a choice.  Broken-Chains

 The invitations– they never end for those with eyes to see and those with ears to hear.

 It is a symphony of the most desired harmony of humanity.  Love!

 Yet, if you are busy, you’ll walk right past it.
If you are worried, your mind will not have space to receive it.

For we worry about the things we can’t control. 

If you are distracted, you find anything to do rather than hear his whisper.

It is an invitation for those who want more.  Those who:

 Who call out more.
Who long more.
Who ask more.
Who need more.
Who desire more.  530443_10150790377567355_563857079_n

 

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13

 

dixie1  It is a never ending quest to know this wonderful God of ours.   It is not about religion or performance.  It is about you seeking and finding, more than you could ever dream possible.  He will be all that you will ever need.  Everything thing else He brings into your life will be the outflow of His extreme love for you.  If you want to know more contact me through this web page and sign up for coaching.   You will not be sorry.  ♥

2 Steps to Ponder When Our “Picture” Cuts Us Off From Reality

Thinking business woman looking up on speech empty bubble isolated on white background

I have always created pictures in my mind of the outcomes I want to see that weren’t what was really happening.   I created pictures of my situations in life in my mind that were not reality and I lived that way off and on until only just recently.    I thought I had a handle on it, but still found residue of this ability I had so carefully constructed in so many areas.  

The mind is a powerful thing, and is the source of all our battles with the enemy.

How many of you know that God heals us and corrects us in layers?  

Like pealing an onion…one layer at a time.  We can’t handle it all at once.

 

1 Corinthians 13: in the message says:

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

  I wrote about my ability to create my own reality in my first book,

51u5NRnNcGL “Climbing Out of the Box.”   (Which you can find on Amazon)  

It started when I was a victim of incest as a child and I learned to remove myself from what was happening and would create a happy and safe environment to dwell in that wasn’t reality.   I was forever being disappointed when my picture didn’t line up with what was really happening.   It was a way to cope.   As an adult it is an easy and tempting thing to slip back into and I have to be on my guard most of the time.   But I am a grown up now, not the child victim.  

 The problem comes when we convince ourselves that we need a certain outcome — and that it has to happen on our  timeline, in the way we’ve pictured it.

 sb_passiveagressive2When we try to control outcomes, and make them fit our pictures, we cut ourselves off from the loving protection of God  and let fear begin to rule our thoughts.

Fortunately, in any given moment you have a choice to change.

 

You can choose to reconnect with the reality of overcoming our circumstances instead of living in a false reality,  thus enabling the enemy to continue to cause us pain in lives.

 mind-clutterHere are some  steps to follow to remind yourself of your  powerful connection with Jesus so that you may begin to walk in the power to overcome that He has provided for you.

Step 1:

Be determined to see your circumstances with God’s eyes.  Ask Him for His eyes to see clearly…not what you have created for yourself to see. eye

What are you saying, out loud or to yourself, that’s disconnecting you from your power?  

thumb_colourbox1908348Identify your story. 

Once you’ve identified your real story, take a moment to get real about how it makes you feel. Recognize the way your words and beliefs block the manifestation of what you are praying about to begin to occur in your life..

What is the number one negative story that you have on repeat in your brain, and how does it make you feel?

Your honesty is what will open  the door for you to remember and accept the power of God to change your circumstances or enable you to accept the place you are at in this part of your season.

Once you’ve identified your story, immediately say out loud: “I am more than an conqueror in all of my circumstances”    You, my friend are a child of the King of Kings.

You have to let go of your fear.  1209389_575103479218871_301732771_n

 Step 2:

Turn it over to the Lord of your heart, Jesus,  and be patient.

Talk to Him with certainty and thank Him for giving you a clear picture of your life and a clear picture of what He wants to accomplish in you.  Be patient within His fruit of patience.

 Try not to control your picture, but let Him create a new picture for you.   Your sign from Him will be crystal clear if you’re going in the right direction.  He will show you His will for you right now.   And remember that if it’s not clear, it is time to trust Him and be patient and learn what waiting on Him really means.

 There may be some personal fears you need to clear up, or perhaps faith you need to strengthen, before you can get it.

 When you try to control an outcome or even a time frame, you cut off your ability to be patient for the outcomes and disconnect from all the infinite possibilities that could occur.

 potter-pottery-art-handicraft-indiaSurrender to the Lord  and remember that nothing can take away your true power that is yours in Christ and His love and peace within you.  Let Him mold you into who He has created you to become.

 What would happen if you chose to be thankful and content in the place you are in right now?   

 Or if you are in a really trying, and grief filled place right now, asking Him to strengthen and hold you up while you navigate the waters of pain?    He promises to surround you with Himself every minute of the day.   And nothing ever stays the same.   You can endure until change comes within His strength.

 But you have to invite this to happen..

 or you could ignore it….

or forget that it is yours….and walk in defeat and fear.

 

brokenchainsIt is all a choice on your part. 

 

“God Told Me You Had a Gun”…..Lisa’s Story

praying-womanRecently, my ladies bible study group has been discussing the many aspects and types of prayer available for us to pray.  I really prefer the words, “talking to Jesus”, over prayer.  It becomes so much more personal to me when I think of prayers being a continuous conversation with Jesus every day.  It enhances my intimacy with Him and my awareness of just how interested He is in every part of my life.  And it isn’t just me speaking all the time…..He gets to talk too!  And most of the time, I write down what He says, and go back and read His words from time to time as a reminder.

We are never more anxious to receive from God than He is willing to provide.  Let’s quit acting like we are bothering God!  Beth Moore said, “Prayer is accepting a royal summons to the throne room of the king for breakfast with your dad.  He says, Come here child, I’ve got something to give you today.   And it’s just what you needed and sought and you are so relieved.”    gods glory

We don’t know what the direction will be but we know our father will give it.

When you have this kind of prayer intimacy with God, you will learn to recognize when He is wanting your attention and wants to teach you new avenues of prayer, such as warfare against a very real enemy.

So, I am going to tell you of my experience with “Lisa” a number of years back that I find amazing still, even today.   I have written of this experience before in my blogging, but I have even more revelation to it now and am still just as amazed.

 This is the story:

For weeks every time I grew contemplative or was talking to Jesus,  a picture of a hand gun would materialize in my mind.  If I was walking by a television and a program was on where a gun was being shot, I would jump as if I was the one being shot at.  A picture of a gun on a billboard would seem to be pointed right at me.  gun shop

 

The eerie feeling just wouldn’t go away.  

 At first I thought my imagination was working overtime but somehow I knew this was a puzzle I obviously was missing a piece to. I began to live every day in expectancy of finding out what this gun consciousness was about.

At the time I was leading a weekly women’s bible study and doing some lay Christian counseling as a result of reaching out to the community with my bible study. 

His gentle Spirit was teaching me how to totally rely on Him during these times for I felt so insignificant in the enormity of so many problems that women and men face.  I never wanted to do anything without His help and in my own reasoning’s as I felt inadequate within myself.  I felt it was imperative that I set “me” aside and listen to what the Holy Spirit would say in how to handle each one. 

Sometimes, I would be perplexed at what He would have me say to a woman and even more amazed when I would see her set free in areas of her life to move forward.

One particular woman, whom I will call Lisa, was a real challenge.  I learned many things as I counseled with Lisa on a weekly basis.  This middle-aged-woman had many problems and desired the Lord’s healing and direction for her life.  I would just listen to her many issues and offer support and pray for her.  Sometimes I would simply counsel her in the many challenges she faced in her sad life.

The counseling went on for many months with Lisa.  Then the visions of the gun began.  As I prayed and asked God about it I started feeling that the gun issue was somehow connected to Lisa.   

I couldn’t help but start to get nervous when she would come to our meetings carrying a backpack, wondering if the gun was in her backpack and she was going to go crazy and shoot me.   I listened to her intently in our private meetings to see if there would be a mention of guns but there never was. gun

I thought about the gun almost continuously for at least 3 months while I spent time with this woman. The feeling really began to shake my faith and I wondered if I was being warned by God to stay away from Lisa.   I noticed every gun shop in any place, in any town, and it seemed like they were on every corner, though that wasn’t the case.    

I continued to pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal to me what this meant.

One night I had a dream that someone was in my front yard with a gun and it was night.  Lisa pulled up in a car and got out and this unknown person shot her and she fell dead on the lawn.  I was horrified but went to her and began to pray earnestly. 

To my amazement she was raised from the dead.  Needless to say, I prayed all the more for Lisa after this dream and wondered where all this would lead. Jesus-By-My-Side-342x200

Counseling her became a strain on me and I had to fight fear as this revelation became more pronounced.  I has this sense of  awareness and just “knew” that Lisa owned a gun and as I saw her growing more despondent I gave way to much prayer on her behalf (and, truth be told, mine too!)

Then one evening the most astounding revelation happened.  I was teaching at my bible study and was quite tired as the staff took over with passing an offering basket to pay for overhead costs of the study.    I sat on the stairs in front of the group of ladies preparing myself to pray for those who would come after the meeting was dismissed. 

As the offering basket was being passed I looked up just as I saw Lisa drop something into the basket that wasn’t money but something else, but I could not tell what it was.  After the meeting was all over and most of the other women had left Lisa walked over and sat beside me on the steps.

“Did you see what I dropped into the offering basket?” she asked.  I told her I had seen her drop something but didn’t know what it was.  She got up and went over to the offering and took the mysterious object out, walked over to me, took my hand in hers, and dropped a bullet into it. man-holding-bullets-hand-two-30433144

I just sat and stared at it with my mouth hanging open.

“This is your bullet isn’t it?” I whispered.

“Yes, it is for my gun,” she replied.

“God told me you had a gun,” I told her.

“I know” she said with resignation.

Lisa then began to tell me her story.  The reason she brought the bullet and gave it as an offering was because of something that had happened the previous Thursday night.

She had felt totally despondent.  She had taken her revolver, and the one bullet she kept for it,  into the closet with plans of taking her life. standing-bullet-1138905_960_720

She said as she sat on the floor of the closet she lifted the gun to her head and pulled the trigger.

It would not go off.  She tried for half an hour to get the gun to discharge the bullet, but, mysteriously, it would not. 

She then broke down and cried and Jesus spoke to her heart, revealing that the ladies of the bible study were praying and the prayers had broken the bonds of death that had a deep grip on her.  

She literally could not kill herself because of the power of God and the power of obedient women to pray.  God’s overwhelming love then flooded her as she sat in the closet and broke and wept before the Lord for hours. 

She declared her life was totally turned around at that moment.

women prayingAs I thought back to that  same Thursday night, I remembered that was the night I had met with our staff to pray for the ladies of the study and I was again overwhelmed with the image of Lisa and a gun.  We all then began to pray in earnest for Lisa, especially, and someone even mentioned a spirit of death over her.   

I remembered feeling a relief as we prayed that night and believed that whatever it was with the gun and Lisa, it was taken care of in the spirit that very night.  The gun awareness seemed to vanish.

I realized when I spoke with Lisa that while we were praying for her, it was the same night and at the same time that she was in the closet trying to pull the trigger. 

I have often wondered if we had not prayed what would have happened to Lisa.

I think back to this time often and use it in teaching obedience when we feel the urgings of God to seek His face on another’s behalf. 

And how to wait and trust when He is revealing something we need to see as we are praying.

I have been talking to Jesus for 45 years now, and I am still learning so much more about the many facets of communicating and obedience in the spirit realm of communication with God!

Do we ever stop learning?  I think not.

As His children He wants to teach us true Kingdom living.  He wants us to know how much He wants to use us, move through us, love through us, and reach others through our obedience and transparencies. 

woman-571715_640In our obedience to live in Him and obey when He impresses us to move on what He shows us, we can witness mighty things happen in the here and now.

When He Whispers My Name

jesus-womanGod longs for you to know that He is more than enough in your troubled times.   He desires you to rest and fully embrace that where you are is exactly where God plans for you to be. 

Even in situations like you have never faced before.

It  has taken me so long to be able to write again.   I was frozen in time it seemed–for the last  3 months of 2015.   But the last 2 weeks I could feel it rising up within me again and now I think I can verbalize somewhat of what I have learned in the very hard and trying year of 2015.

I have learned that when I feel like my faith has been shaken to the core that I become~

~stunned and “shell shocked”…

sharksThat it’s a tumultuous venture, this walking by faith. At one time or another, you encounter the completely unexpected followed by the unthinkable.

 

And when it happens, the impact of it brings you to your knees, able to utter only one desperate word – “Why?”

It’s an intense battle when you’re that overwhelmed. First there’s shock and anger, then comes denial, 

 “This can’t be what my loving Jesus has planned for me – not me, not His beloved child.”

 thumb_COLOURBOX1908348You wonder why God doesn’t see that you need a different outcome. Perhaps if you just go slow and lay out the alternatives for Him – each and every one of them – you’ll help Him figure out how to reverse what’s been put in motion… 

But…..

 He whispers my name~~and I feel His presence~~and it is more than enough.

  • When I finally realized that our steady income from investigations was gone for good due to California laws, and if we were to survive in life it would be a miracle…..

He whispered my name…akiane-kramarik-jesus-painting

…and said that I was to take no thought for tomorrow for He would sustain us as a mother sustains her babies life by giving it sustenance from her own body.   He would be our life giving force.  From that day forward we watch daily as He brings in the finances we need from various sources.   He never fails and I have found I can just rest in it and not have to be hyper-vigilant and afraid that maybe today it won’t happen. 

Philippians 4:13 Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

  • When my precious daughter had a ruptured appendix and I stood over her bed, helpless, watching her in agony as a result of poor medical care, and fear wanted to grip my heart and squeeze the life out of it;

fear

He whispered my name…

..as I stood there over her bed I felt His hand on my shoulder and his voice in my ear saying, “Dixie, I have this, she will be okay.”

I John 3:22 We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him.

  • When the horror and shock and fear came when my ‘adopted’ son was in a freak accident, while intoxicated, that took someone’s life ….the father of my grand kids…and I had to tell my babies that their daddy was going to prison. 

  • As I sit in the court room weeks on end gripped by anxiety, unable to breathe– and watched the judge, moved with compassion for a lone veteran gripped with PTSD, miraculously lessen his sentence…  I felt Jesus in the fire with me and with him…and I knew God had a plan.


mary-w-jesus-2He whispered my name….

His plan has unfolded, in the midst of the pain,  in opening huge doors of prison ministry for my adopted son and has brought healing to him in areas that was never able to be reached…but in the midst of the deep valley He has found a very real Jesus.

426__550x413_jesus-and-peter-walking_on_waterI Corinthians 9:8 God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.

  • When my father, (who molested me for years) on his death bed, told me he could not forgive ME for exposing  “our” secret to my mother and that I ruined HIS life…and Mom’s life, before she died.   Realizing there would be no closure with my abuser before he left this earth– when my picture was always of his saying how sorry he was for his crime against me and my little girl.  There I was, sitting in his hospital room, with, strangely, no one around, next to his bed, while he told me he could not forgive ME


Jesus-By-My-Side-342x200Jesus whispered my name
~~ I felt Him in the chair beside me and felt His breath tickle my ear as He whispered, “Dixie, I’m right here and I am not going anywhere.  Just lean into me.”    I knew I could endure the pain and shock of it all.  It was the last conversation I had with Dad. Jesus’ presence got me through the funeral of confusion and distress at being so removed from all feeling,  just numbness,  as my husband performed the ceremony.  

Matthew 21:22,23  But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.

  • When I read my parents trust sent to me after my dad’s death, and realized that in 2006, my mother and my father stated that they, in full disclosure, and with full knowledge did NOT want their daughter, Dixie, to have one thing that belonged to them; I felt the ultimate abandonment and full force of their anger towards me for stopping my father from molesting again after he molested my daughter.   I was the black sheep of their family and was pretty much hit with it on their deaths.   I had to admit to myself, finally, that I didn’t want their “things” but what I had wanted was their love, and would never find it here on earth.

487580_424694517593102_1292768395_n (1)He whispered my name~~ “Dixie, you have a new name that I have given you.  I will be both mother and father to you. I take the sting away of their earthly rejection. This is the end of years of torment for you and though you didn’t hear what you needed to hear from them, you will hear it from me and I am more than enough for you.”

Ephesians 3:20,21 God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

And you know what, HE IS more than enough.  Better.  No comparison.

God wants you to know that He is so much bigger than all the desperate and tragic situations in this life. He wants you to know He is always with you and for you.

His blessing isn’t found in what He gives or takes away. You find it as you abide in Him. 

545570_417758148257124_357419294_n (1)Ask Him to align your heart with His. Believe His Word. Trust Him. 

Count it all joy.

In my journal to Him, He speaks to me too…in one recent one Jesus said to me,

“Don’t count on what you feel but continue to allow me to fill you where you are lacking and believe Me when I say, I know what you lack, and I am more than enough for you…..I am doing a work you cannot see!”

 

Embrace Him as your absolute EVERYTHING.

 

He is, indeed, all you’ll ever need.

 

He whispers your name~~

The King is Enthralled by Your Beauty…My Cinderella Story

 

cinderella_2015_movie_hd_wallpaper_desktop_a8sy2Today I want to address women. 

Men, don’t stop reading because I think you can learn something from this story when it comes to us women, so read on if you dare.

Sometime between the dreams of our feminine youth and yesterday, a treasure has been lost it seems in so many of us, if not all.  And that treasure is our hearts, and how we were created to be.  God has set within us a femininity that is powerful, tender, and alluring.   

ella_and_the_prince_in_cinderella-wallpapers (1)I think every woman secretly longs for that Prince to come riding in to rescue her from the woes of life.  In unveiling the mysteries of a woman’s soul, I find that we were all created to long to be desired.  We all long for romance and intimacy.  He created us that way.  It is nothing to be ashamed of.  

It’s just that we have gone to great lengths to satisfy that longing in all the wrong ways.

The longings God has written deep in our hearts actually reveal to us the life He wants us to live.  For so many of us, those desires have gone unmet and long neglected.  Many of us live in fantasy worlds of addictions and men to try to fill that unmet need for escape into being valued and desired.  We try to numb the aches in our hearts.  But our hearts are still there crying out to be set free and to find the life we desire.  

Jesus is the only One who can fulfill our deepest need and longings whether we are married or single.

Last week, my granddaughter Savanna and I experienced a disappointment together when we traveled to a place that we had planned to go, and found we could not continue with our plans due to extenuating circumstances.  As we left to return home, we both began to share our love for Jesus with each other and decided instead of being sad our plans were thwarted, that we would go see Cinderella instead.  

What a plan, right?

Then as we arrived, we challenged each other to see the story in a different light.  We would watch it with the idea that Jesus was the Prince in Cinderella’s story and she would be us.  And the wicked stepmother and the 2 evil step-daughters would be Satan and his evil spirits trying their best to convince Cinderella she was not beautiful, desirable, or loved…but instead a worthless woman who would never amount to anything.  

Hmmmm…how many women really, deep down, feel that way?

Do you long for your own Cinderella story?

Who doesn’t long to rise from her humble past, discover the best in herself, and be appreciated by a true, lasting love.

Yet, her own efforts to fill the yearning often ends in tatters.  And no man can rescue her.

The Cinderella fairy tale provides a powerful allegory for women’s deepest hopes and dreams and the God who longs to fill them.  For all of us who have wrestled with disillusionment, abandonment, our own limitations, and the lies that whisper we’re not beautiful, there is someone who longs for us the same way we long for Him…and if we learn to follow his lead every promise He’s ever made proves true.

Cinderella was a beautiful woman with great potential, but she was bound by an environment and wickedness coming against her, and that constantly put her down and tried to reduce her to nothing! 

One day the Prince knocked on her door.

il_fullxfull.522314485_19nlWe know about the Ball, the Prince and her Slipper.  The Prince never forgot her; she was unique.  He did not give up his search until he found her.   

There are a lot of women today living like Cinderella, bound to situations, living in insecurities and addictions that are robbing them of their peace and joy.

Maybe you have met the Prince of Peace, but you have fallen into emotional bondage or other traps of the enemy.

There is HOPE!

akiane-kramarik-jesus-paintingJesus, the Prince of Peace, knows where you are and how long you have been there.  His desire for you is that you walk in the freedom of His presence and provision and an intimacy with Him that has no end.

I believe that women today are waiting for something external to come along and transform their lives.  We may venture into the world, travel, go to college, or make money.  But underneath it all lurks a wish to be saved, a deep yearning for dependence on a rescuer.  These largely repressed attitudes, I believe, are holding women down because they don’t yet know we already have a Prince standing before us…waiting for us to take His hand.

There are so many parallels in the story of the Prince seeking her out with fervor.  He could not go on until he found her.  He had eyes for only her, and when He saw her He knew she belonged to Him.  

dancing cinderellaHe swept her off her feet.   

We can see this as the church itself in more general terms.  For we are the Bride and He is the Bridegroom, and He longs for intimacy with His Bride.  He seeks us out for relationship with Him.  But we are so busy trying to find that one thing to fill our deepest longings that we miss Him standing there with His hand outstretched for you…and that He is that ONE thing.

But in an even more personal light, as an individual, He has eyes for only you.  Can you even imagine it?

sho123234LARGEAt the end of the story, both Savanna and I were amazed, since we were looking at it from a Jesus-as-our-Prince viewpoint, that when the slipper fit her foot, and the Prince took her in His arms, she knew she was to go with Him…her heart’s desire.  

And there standing on the staircase was the wicked stepmother with a look of shock on her face.  She was looking through the bars of the staircase.  It was the appearance of Satan bound behind bars, defeated once again in keeping the Princess from her Prince.

And the two evil step-daughters?  They were running around trying to look like the perfect sisters all along, chattering and looking like fools…just as the enemy always ends up looking.

Cinderella turns and with a look of fulfillment on her face, simply says to the step-mother and the 2 step daughters, “I FORGIVE YOU”…. 

Powerful words of freedom from the enemy.  No more lies.  She now knows who she is and knew that this was the plan all along for her life.

The King is enthralled by your beauty.”  Psalm 45:11

A few months ago I went to a classical concert with a friend.  The orchestra was lovely and I enjoyed the music but soon became bored as I need more of a visual to entertain me.  Don’t judge me.  I just do.

I decided to close my eyes and let my imagination run with the music. 

And there I was in a beautiful ball gown entering the gates of glory.  My Prince was standing there in the most beautiful tuxedo I had ever seen.  It was white and shimmered like tiny diamonds sparkling off water.  He had eyes that drew me in.  Our eyes met and there was a depth of  love I had never experienced before…as I stood there breathless and in awe. 

He only had eyes for me.

I walked over to Him and His arm was reaching towards me and He smiled.  I took His hand and He swirled me into a waltz that seemed to consume every inch of my being. 

maxresdefaultWe danced around and around and He lifted me higher and higher until we were dancing on mountain tops and over the seas.  The crescendo of the music kept rising to the plateau of complete immersion into Him as it swirled around us.

“Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.” Psalm 149:3

 As He motioned for me to look down with his head, there before me was the throne of God glistening with the colors of the rainbow and shooting off ceaseless jewel colored rays of piercing light that overflowed into the atmosphere around us.  I looked into His eyes and the love that filled my every longing was there and that was all that mattered.  I rested my head on His shoulder and felt safe.

His fragrance filled my soul.

I became lost in HIM. 

Oh, the joy of it. 

“The LORD your God among you is powerful — He will save and He will take joyful delight in you.  In his love He will renew you with His love; He will celebrate with singing because of you.”  Jeremiah 3:17

1506500_619449268111523_2092771554_nHave you met your Prince in this way yet?  He is standing right there.  Open your spiritual eyes and behold Him…….

 

Sugar Coated Anger….15 Ways to Recognize Passive Aggressive Behavior!

7699943_f260My belief has always been, when the dark and hidden areas of our minds are exposed to light and truth, the darkness has to go.  Light and darkness simply cannot dwell in the same place. 

So, as a Life Coach, I endeavor to ask the right questions that will uncover areas in ourselves that will ultimately answer our questions and set us free from bondage.  Or to help us see the truth within relationships that perplex us, that also sets us free from the actions of others.

Sometimes our communication and conflict management patterns can be out of whack.  

This can be for a variety of reasons based on our background and learned behavior.  Those patterns can change with some insights, skills and relationship help.

And if you want it to change. 

You have to want it to change. 

It is always about a choice, isn’t it?

So, if this post helps you see your own passive-aggressive behaviors, you will understand why others find it difficult to be around you, trust you, and respect you as you would like to be trusted and respected.

passive-aggressive-spouse (1)You confuse them.  People move away from folks who purposefully confuse them — if they are smart.  It can be such a drain.

Or if it answers your questions or rings a bell in some of your relationship conflicts with the other people in your life who have these traits this will help you realize you are not really crazy–and it is not you!

Just becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that our behavior patterns change overnight.  The minute we become believers of Jesus Christ, our hearts are born anew.  We get brand new hearts, alive unto God.  And we are saved by His grace, not by our own goodness, but by His. 

But our souls, (mind, will, and emotions) have to be renewed on a daily basis by a continued pursued relationship with Jesus.  His spirit helps us to change and it is never ending growth.  We have to learn how to recognize old coping skills from the past and allow the Lord to show us how to move past them and find our security, comfort, and value from Him alone.

So, I am offering you a list of what you can look for in a passive aggressive person, or to even recognize some of the traits in yourself.  If so, I hope you find it home-hitting and immediately revealing and you start the journey to correct it.

passiveaggression1If these traits describe you as you usually are, I invite you to sit up and take notice.  You likely do not even realize you are doing these things.  Once you read them and ponder your own behavior, you may finally understand why you are having difficulties having the relationships you most want, at home and at work or in the church.

More good news, the more willing to work on yourself you are, the greater your chances of having the life with others that you crave.  When you realize how you are pushing them away by your crazy-making behaviors, you can change things within yourself. When you are trustworthy within yourself, you will be perceived as trustworthy by others.

Although men and women express their passive-aggressive behaviors somewhat differently, generally, you are behaving in passive-aggressive ways if you are regularly:

1. Unwilling to speak your truth openly, kindly and honestly when asked for your opinion or when asked to do something for someone.

How this shows up in communication is being “assertively unassertive”.  You say “Yes” (assertive) when you really mean “No way” (unassertive).  Then, you let your behavior say “No way” for you.  People become confused and mistrusting of you.

2. Appearing sweet, compliant and agreeable, but are really resentful, angry, petty and envious underneath and your actions are just off enough to the point that those close to you sense it.  It makes those around you annoyed and confused.

sb_passiveagressive2People who do not get along with others are interested only in themselves; they will disagree with what everyone else knows is right.  A fool does not care whether he understands a thing or not; all he wants to do is show how smart he is. Pro. 18:1&2 NLT

 3. You fear direct communication because you fear rejection. You then often push away the people you care about because you don’t want to seem in need of support.

relationship difficultiesAll the while, you are afraid of being alone and so you want to control those around you so they won’t leave you.  Very confusing!

4. Complaining that others treat you unfairly frequently.  Rather than taking responsibility for stepping up and speaking your truth, you set yourself up as the (innocent) victim.  You say others are hard on you, unfair, unreasonable and excessively demanding.

5. Procrastinating frequently, especially on things you do for others.  One way of controlling others is to make them wait.  Ouch!!  I know that speaks to so many of us.  You have lots of excuses why you haven’t been able to get things done.  You even blame others for why that is so.  It’s amazingly unreasonable, but you do it even though it destroys relationship, damages careers, loses friendships and jobs.

And, you tell others how justified you are in being angry because, once again, others treated you unfairly.

6. Unwilling to give a straight answer.  Another way of controlling others is to send mixed messages, ones that leave the other person completely unclear about your thoughts, plans or intentions.

Then, you make them feel wrong when you tell them that what they took from your communication was not what you meant.  Silly them!

depositphotos_21157319-Man-telling-spooky-story7. The silent treatment.  Passive aggressive behavior is recognizable by the disconnect between what is being said and what is being done. Nothing highlights this more than the famous silent treatment. Silence generally signifies agreement but not in this case.  When you are on the receiving end of the silent treatment, you realize that the other person is far from agreeable.  They have a big problem with you and just to allow themselves the victory, they have no intention of telling you what that is.

There are 2 other common versions of the silent treatment.  One is to answer the question ‘What’s wrong?’ with ‘nothing’, when there certainly is something wrong.  The other is to answer any question with just one word.  This is intended to signal that there is a problem, without you having to say it.

8-Examples-of-passive-aggressive-behaviourBoth expressions say “You poor confused person. You’re not worth talking to.”  But the real reason for their behavior is that they have not, cannot, or will not take responsibility for their own behavior.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:1-2 ESV

8. Frequently feeling inadequate but covering it up with superiority, disdain or hostile passivity. 

bully-free-workplacesWhether you set yourself up to be a self-sabotaging failure — “Why do you have such unrealistic expectations of me?” or a tyrant or goddess incapable of anything less than perfection, “To whom do you think you are speaking?”  You are shaking in your boots from fear of competition and being found out as less than perfect.

9. Often late and/or forgetful.  One way of driving people away is to be thoughtless, inconsiderate and infuriating.

And, then, to put the cherry on top, you suggest that it’s unrealistic to expect you to arrive on time, or, in your words, “think of everything”.  Being chronically late is disrespectful of others.  Supposedly forgetting to do what you have agreed to do is simply demonstrating your lack of trustworthiness.  Who wants to be around that for long?

Pro. 16:7   When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them.

10. Making up stories, excuses and lies.  You are the master of avoidance of the straight answer.  You’ll go to great lengths to tell a story, withhold information, or even withhold love and affirmation in your primary relationships.  It seems that if you let folks think you like them too much, that would be giving them power.  You’d rather be in control by creating a story that seems plausible, gets them off your back, and makes reality look better from your viewpoint.

11. Constantly protecting yourself so no one will know how afraid you are of being inadequate, imperfect, dependent or simply human.

12. Complaints of injustice and lack of appreciation

13. Dragging your feet to frustrate others.  Again, a control move somewhat like procrastinating, but the difference is you begin and appear as though you are doing what you said you would do.  But, you always have an excuse why you cannot continue or complete the task.  You won’t even say when it will be — or even might be — done.  Do you know anyone like this? 

people-running-scared-clipart-1044249-Royalty-Free-RF-Clip-Art-Illustration-Of-A-Cartoon-Fearful-Man-RunningEverything is viewed as an attack on you.  When something doesn’t go your way, it is seen as unfair or an injustice.  It’s all about how the world impacts you.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1-20 ESV

14. Disguising criticism with compliments

At first, passive aggressive people may seem pleasant and warm.  They often appear to be complimentary.  It is only after they have left that you realize that the compliment was actually disguising a cheap jibe.

15. Always getting in the last punch.

Passive aggressive people love to throw the last punch.  So much so, that even when an argument has been reconciled, they slip one last insulting remark into the conversation. This remark is often more subtle than the ones which went before but it is still an insulting remark which allows them to feel victorious.

gods-willWe belong to God.  It is time for us to step into maturity and begin to face truth about the strong holds in our lives that hold us back from producing His fruit in us. 

The answer always lies in Jesus.  Our renewed minds will flow out from Him if we are willing to admit the truth of our actions to ourselves and then to Him.  It is not in our own power but in His.  In our weaknesses He is made strong, but we have to be willing to get out of denial and face our truth.  He will help us with the rest! 

loveLove is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

Life Interrupted

life-interruptedMy 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_colourbox1908348God 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-seaBut 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.

PeaceI 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

Just Shoot Me Now! 2 Ways to Heal Shame Wounds

hidingYears ago I was at Santa Barbara City College to witness my friend’s graduation as an X-ray Technician.  The campus was teaming with people that day for there were many students getting various degrees and licenses in their particular fields.  The event was outside and I sat down on the cold metal chair and then realized I had a while to wait so ventured off across campus to find the restrooms.  

I wore a long skirt that day.  After using the restroom hurriedly, I started the long walk back to my chair.  The whole way there people were staring at me weird.

Some had smirks on their faces and some looked away in disgust.  I couldn’t figure out what their problem was and one time I even shot a dirty look back at some guy, like he had a problem or something.  I passed many people on the way back to my chair and they all looked away when I would smile at them. 

When I finally sat down I felt intensely cold metal on my back side and glanced back.  My skirt in the back was completely tucked inside my underwear and my entire back side was exposed to all the ‘millions’ of people that I passed on the way back.  No one had the nerve to tell me! 

Just shoot me now!

I find it very funny now.  Add it to my list of escapades that have provided many chuckles in my story telling on myself. 

But back then I wasn’t as healthy, and had not dealt with much of my denial and secrets of years past born out of being a victim of childhood sexual abuse.  I sat there the whole event cloaked in shame and embarrassment.  I felt exposed and uncovered the whole day and I felt like a child inside with no self esteem who just wanted to run. 

64658_465671946828692_1306119874_nShame is an emotion in which the self is perceived as defective, unacceptable, or fundamentally damaged.  Shame is often confused with guilt, which is a related but distinct emotion in which a specific behavior is viewed as unacceptable or wrong, rather than the entire self.

Brene Brown says, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” 

Shame is darkness to our soul.  We need to learn to recognize it and then let it go into the light of His presence in us.

People who experience traumatic events, mostly in childhood, are prone to shame, particularly if they blame themselves for the event.

Shame gives you a desire to hide, disappear, or even die.

Have you ever done anything you’re not proud of, like feigning a headache to get out of a dinner or snapping at your partner in a heated moment?  You mess up, like we all do, and when it happens, you probably feel guilty and convicted to make it right.

Guilt is a normal emotion that people experience when they believe they have caused harm or actually done something wrong.  We all make mistakes and those mistakes often affect other people, therefore we feel guilt. 

Or there is unfounded guilt, the worst kind.  We could come from a family that used guilt to manipulate us all of our lives.  Such as, “Okay go the movies son, but if I am dead in my chair when you get back, just bury me out back.”

Now that evokes guilt.  Any dutiful son would cancel his plans so that he won’t be responsible for causing Dad to die.  The motivation is guilt.  But that son will carry anger in his heart, and left undealt with, will be with him through adulthood.

Or how about going to see an elderly parent.  The first thing they say to you is “Where have you been?  Why haven’t you come to see me?”  More guilt, instead of rejoicing that you are there now.  The guilt can be so horrible it makes you not want to visit them at all.

But, If your feelings of guilt cause daily anxiety or are out of proportion to the actual mistakes you have made, you might be suffering from an even more toxic emotion:

Shame.

Shame is what I felt that day I was exposed to the world.

Shame is commonly confused with guilt.  People who experience shame often feel bad for every little error they make, and are in a constant state of fear of making more.  For this reason, they feel fear around authority figures, judge themselves harshly, and have a low sense of self esteem.

Guilt says I have done something wrong.

Shame says I AM something wrong.

553486_415888875110718_1880467937_nShame is toxic.

Shame can strip away the joy and freedom that you deserve to experience in your walk.

Shame most often stems from a wounded part of you that was convinced in childhood that you weren’t enough.  Though this is not the truth, it may feel that way, as beliefs that you carry for decades become your reality.

Shame can play a very powerful and negative role in your life, but it doesn’t have to.  God can heal your feelings of shame and you can start living a happier and more empowered life. 

One of the most powerful techniques to healing shame is to practice self compassion.  We need to love ourselves.  How do we do that?

  1. We begin to treat ourselves and talk to ourselves with the same kindness, caring and compassion we would show a good friend or a beloved child.  We find out what God says about us as His precious children and begin to confess that over ourselves in spite of what we feel.  We will eventually begin to believe it.  It will sink into your mind and renew your mind to truth rather than what you have believed all of your life.

When we practice this, it helps us to feel less isolated and alienated from others.  The more shame we feel, the more deficient we feel and in turn, the more separate we feel from others.

  1. Now say those words out loud to yourself.  Take a deep breath and really take in those words.  How does hearing yourself say those words out loud make you feel?  Can you feel your faith grow in your own value in the Kingdom of God.  

The more you practice this the more you will believe it.  Oh, there will be triggers, (like my skirt incident), that will bring back those old familiar feelings, but pay them no attention…pull out those scriptures and start saying them over yourself again.  Sing them over yourself if you feel inclined.  Get them into your spirit and renew your mind!

brokenchainsYou deserve to be free to allow God to lead you into a life of freedom you truly love and to feel worthy of having it.

dixie1For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Eph 2:10 NLT)

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!   Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.”  NLT(Psalm 139:13-15).

For help with shame issues I would be honored to coach you into freedom.  You can contact me on this web site from the home page.

Hello, Fear. I’ve Been Expecting You…Five Tools to Combat Anxiety

dixie1My journey over the past two years has been one of disbelief, then shock, then denial, then fear, then acceptance, and finally, faith.

But maybe that is wrong. 

Faith had to always be there or I wouldn’t be sane right now.  I have watched God sustain us on very little work for my husband for at least the last 2 years and before that we slowly watched our work source disappear due to California’s changes and cutbacks.  We literally live with no savings and only Him to provide for us.

(You can read about this journey in my new book, 50 Ways to Meet Your Lover, in the “Warfare” section of the book.)

Manna from Heaven.

Well, not literally Manna…yet.   

But envelopes on the door step.  Acquaintances walking up and handing us money.  The givers, giving as my husband speaks at various church gatherings.  And my own income from coaching keeps me floating.  It is so supernatural I can’t even tell you where it all comes from.   

My journey as a Life Purpose Coach is amazing too.  God seriously brings in the clients and it has been this way since the beginning of this career.  When my clientele gets low, I pray and ask God for more and He sends them.

All you have to do is let God know you are ready to reach out to people and He will send them.  No stress in that one.  He just sends them.  So, be watching or you will miss the opportunity.

thumb_colourbox1908348What one usually fears, at the root level, is a kind of death. We fear a death of a part of ourselves, the death of a job, the death of a move, death of an income, death of ourselves….and the list goes on.  When we think of certain big transitional periods in our lives, we often experience a lot of change.  Change invokes the death of something in our minds…the ending of something.

A change usually requires some letting go of old thoughts, behaviors, people, situations, and ways of being.  And then we can experience the new and fresh.  But if we let anxiety take over we become paralyzed and defeated.

The truth is that we won’t actually die, but somewhere within our psyche, we feel as though we are LITERALLY going to die.

Once we get past that initial fear and insert a healthy comforting tool, we can move towards the new.  We must, in turn, accept what we most fear.  You have to ask yourself…what is the worst that can happen?  

And within that answer comes reality.  I won’t die!

Here are 5 tools for you to begin to gain ground in this fight against fear.

1.  Admit to yourself that you are experiencing anxiety because if you deny it…it only gets worse.  Face it head on.  Make a decision to not react to it.  Instead focus on deep breathing.  Focus only on the breathing and Jesus.  Picture Him right beside you and breathe in His all encompassing peace, and breathe out the anxiety and fear.  Make sure the breaths are from your diaphragm and not your chest in shallow puffs.  Take a deep full breath in through your nose, making sure your belly expands on the inhale, and out through your mouth, and the belly contracts.

2.  Listen to sweet worship music and focus on the words. Drown out the fearful thoughts.

3.  Whisper the name of Jesus…the bible says that at the mention of that name, every knee has to bow, in heaven and in earth….this means that when you say His name, the enemy of fear can’t stay around…it has to leave…

…fear and perfect Love cannot dwell together.

 4.  Learn to train your mind to be on guard against the thoughts that come from–THE VOICE–and that voice usually comes from our enemy or just our own minds (and past voices that spoke negativity into our lives) where the enemy has planted his imagery of death.

 5.  When you feel the thoughts coming of impending doom, immediately start the breathing, the name of Jesus, and a favorite verse you can say over and over again.  And if you need it, put on that music!

Shoulder-Angel-and-DevilTwo thoughts cannot dwell in your mind at the same time.  One or the other has to go.  I choose to eradicate the fear thought.

Trust that, no matter what, within your new heart lies the ability to get through anything.  Trust Him–He will walk you through it.

So, that is how I have gotten through this death of the old in my life.  I still don’t know what the outcome of all this will be.  But I do know Jesus has a plan and it will unfold when He is ready to show it to me. 

Meanwhile, I can’t afford to let my mind wander into the unknown valley of fear for it will lead to a certain death of my peace.

426__550x413_jesus-and-peter-walking_on_waterThis is a battle with the principalities and powers of the air, the warfare for my life and the fight is not mine but His.  As long as I envelope myself in Him He will not let me sink into that raging sea.  

It is not complicated though we try to make it so, don’t we?  

There is no formula, no works, no traditions, nothing that we can fall back on that will move us out of anxiety and into the peace that passes all understanding…except His love.

He is Love itself, and He promises that He will NOT ever forsake us.  

….for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not,  [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]  Hebrews 13:5b Amp.

I will announce the winners of the free books on my next blog.  Read the last blog about the release of my newest book, 50 Ways to Meet Your Lover, and comment if you want to enter the drawing!

 

50 Ways to Meet Your Lover!~~ New Book Launch!

50-ways-to-meet-your-lover1-e139710312732150 Ways to Meet Your Lover, An Invitation Into a Captivating Daily Walk of Intimacy With Jesus, the Lover of Your Heart and Soul

My new book is launched today on Amazon!  Free book giveaway drawn from comments on this blog below!

The story of my life has been the story of a long and passionate pursuit for God.  He always came as the King in my story, and it was always to rescue my heart so I could live as a woman fully alive and completely captivated by my King

545570_417758148257124_357419294_n-1My most Intimate Stories Written For You. 

Because of a long childhood shrouded in pain and abuse, I pursued my King with all my heart from my earliest years because, somehow, I knew that He held the answers for my worth as a valuable human being.

Did you ever think Jesus could occupy the role of your lover?  Well, this book shows you 50 ways to do so.  What do you long for Jesus to do for you?  What places in your heart are crying out for healing and restoration and beauty?  Have you lost hope?

I see my journey through life as an adventure; a wild, passion-filled, full of love, full of many valleys and deserts, kind of adventure.  I refuse to see my life as mundane and I refuse to allow myself to think of myself as a victim of circumstances.  I don’t care how  hot the fires of a trial may be.

The reason we identify with fairy tales in some deep part of us is because they rest on three great truths: The hero really has a heart of gold, he is usually a Prince or a King, and his beloved possesses hidden beauty and greatness fit for royalty.  I want you to have a glimpse of Jesus’ golden heart.  I want you to know you possess greatness and honor.  This is how He sees you.

1506500_619449268111523_2092771554_nThe King is enthralled with your beauty! Ps. 45:11

This Jesus, this playful, fun, extravagant, and total lover of our deepest desires is enthralled by our beauty.

Imagine it!!

50 Ways to Meet Your Lover, is what I humbly share with you as we pursue this King, Prince, Friend, Redeemer, and Lover in a very real and personal way.  I hope you find it spiritual, deep, honest, transparent, vulnerable, inspirational, and humorous.

If you want to know how much you are loved by God, and if you want a closer walk with Him, I pray that my walk–with all of its peaks and valleys–can inspire you to know these very things, and truly give you joy and laughter along your own personal adventure with God.

I’ve written this memoir-driven devotional — with chapter by chapter daily stories from my own personal walk with Jesus~

~  in soul searching stories of discovery

~  find the real you : explore what feeds your soul

~  discover vulnerability and transparency to heal

~  understand how your personal story can be used to get you to the plans and purposes of God in your life

~  be inspired with faith and hope in never being alone on your journey

535697_353910861338135_812640802_nLet’s Celebrate!

FREE BOOK GIVE AWAY!

I WILL DRAW A NAME AT RANDOM FROM EVERYONE WHO COMMENTS  BELOW IN THE COMMENT SECTION OF THIS BLOG.

THE DRAWING WILL HE HELD A WEEK FROM THE DATE POSTED.

THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON MY NEXT BLOG

(I will notify you for your address)

 

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

stairfallWhen 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 was 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 1Have 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.

hidingThese 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.    

2You 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_nMy 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_nOne 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 Spirit’s 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.

1It 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.

25276_347990456355_4322645_nWe 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. 

309148_275390375904036_1522969089_nWouldn’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. 

 

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.

 

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).

 

 

 

 

I Was Floating, Hovering High Above My Body

1510622_841945859154537_781370328_nI have shared the following story before, but I find it so astounding that I want to share it here again.  My audience is much larger now and since I am on the subject of angels working in our lives it seems appropriate.  Kendra is my daughter in law and her baby girl is my sweet granddaughter who is now going to be 17 years old in a week.  When my son brought Kendra home to meet me for the first time she was still on crutches for her crushed and broken leg.  Here is her story:

“When I was 2 months old, I had a double hernia operation on my ovaries and my mother was told by the doctor that I would never be able to have children.

November 21, 1988: I was 17 yrs. old and a Sophomore in high school.  I was driving my Dad’s 1977 Chevy Monte Carlo “tank” home from school, along with my cousin and her friend.  I decided to take the back road home.

After letting my cousin drive some of the way to her home to drop her off, I had to readjust the front seat, since she was quite a bit taller than me.  Then her friend and I proceeded on our way and we passed a chicken farm and came along some old train tracks still embedded into the road, which I remember confused me as to where I was supposed to drive exactly.

We were surrounded by huge agricultural fields of broccoli, cauliflower, etc. When we came to the stop sign at the intersection, which was only a 2-way stop back then, I stopped at the sign, looked to my left…saw no one coming, then looked to my right…again no one.

It was at this time that my driver seat came unhooked from the locked position and rolled back from the steering wheel.  I started slowly rolling out into the intersection.  Because I was wearing my seat belt, I couldn’t reach the brakes to stop myself, nor could I reach the gas to get out of the intersection.

I began to panic!

I looked to my left and all I saw was the silver hood ornament of a Ram’s head, attached to the front of a giant, white, Dodge Ram van.  It hit me going an estimated 75 mph (from the police report).

My head crushed through the side window; then my face slammed into the steering wheel.  My face was full of shattered glass and my jaw was broken.  My left arm was also broken in the impact.  My left foot had been impaled completely through by the parking brake, and my right leg was snapped in two, with the bottom of my foot, now facing me.

I was hanging from the car as it spun several times; the road ripping the top of my head apart, before it finally came to a stop.  The front driver side wheel had been ripped off, and the ‘tank’ was smashed up like a giant steel accordion.  The front driver side door was jack-knifed open and we had landed in an irrigation ditch, which was quickly filling up with drainage water from the nearby agricultural fields.

The lower half of my body was crushed in the car.

I fought with all my strength to try and escape, but it was no use.  I was trapped.  My friend who had not been wearing his seat belt had somehow ended up in the back seat, and was also trapped.  I remember him screaming at me to stop trying to pull myself out because my leg was nearly cut off below the knee.  I was losing so much blood.

It was a terrifying situation.  I was either going to drown in the irrigation water, or die from losing so much blood.  I was so weak and cold.  I remember going in and out of consciousness, fading in and out.  I tried desperately to hold on to the arm rest and the bottom of the car to keep from going under the water.  As the water finally reached my head, the last thing I remember was my friend fading off in the distance telling me to hold on, but I couldn’t.

I let go.

Just as I did this, I remember having a feeling of complete relief.  It is very hard to explain.  I felt no pain, no suffering.  I didn’t have a care in the world.

I was surrounded by pure love.

There were so many beautiful colors and a sense of warmth.  I could feel many people around me.  They were talking to me, but not with their mouths.  I could just feel and hear them in my head all together.

I was floating, hovering high above my body.

I could see myself lying there in the rising water.  I couldn’t hear him but I could see my friend screaming at me, trying to reach me from the back seat.  I could see the car, completely totaled.

Then, I could see and feel a woman with short black hair, wearing all white, put her arms around me and hold my head up to safety.

In unspoken words, she conveyed to me that I must go back; that it wasn’t my time yet.  I said to her that I didn’t want to go back because my Dad would be so angry because I destroyed his car.

I laughed and said, “My Dad will kill me”.

As I looked down to my lifeless body below, I could see firefighters and paramedics putting a neck brace on me and using the Jaws of Life to cut me from the car.  There was blood all over the car, along with dirt, grass, broken glass, pieces of metal and pieces of notebook paper flying all around.

The woman told me that I must go back to have my daughter.  I was confused.  I wondered what daughter she was talking about.  I couldn’t have a daughter.  I couldn’t have kids.  The doctors told my mom that when I was a baby.

Again, she said, I must go back.

But I didn’t want to go back. . .back to the pain and suffering from the accident.  I was feeling so good.  But the voices surrounding me with love and warmth convinced me that this was not my time to die.  I had to go back.

I felt as though I was racing through a fast tunnel of light, people on either side of me flying by very quickly.  I had flashes of every detail of my life before this point, going through my head. . . then suddenly I awoke with a loud crash and a gasp of breath.

There was a young man in a blue jumpsuit, telling me his name was Eric.  He told me that I had been in an accident.  They had just brought me back.

I had been clinically dead for several minutes.  I was in an ambulance, heading to the hospital.  It only took a couple of minutes to get there.  I spent the next several hours in surgery.  I was awake during the whole process.  They had to do a spinal block because I had eaten french fries.  They were afraid I would vomit during surgery.

I watched them moving my body all around but couldn’t feel it.  I heard them say the word “amputation”, and I started yelling and telling them not to cut off my leg!  They had to tie my arms down, and they gave me something in my IV to relax me.  I woke up several hours later in the recovery room.

Before I even opened my eyes I felt to see if my leg was still there, and it was.  I had sustained several injuries including over 1000 stitches, two broken ankles, shattered, compound leg fractures, a broken arm, broken jaw, three broken ribs and many lacerations and bruises.

When I finally was able to get my own room and have visitors, I had an African violet delivered to me. There was no card, and no one could tell me who it was from.

When I spoke to my friend about the woman who had held me up out of the water, the one who had kept me from drowning; I asked who she was because I wanted to thank her.  He looked at me in confusion.

He said that there was no woman.  He didn’t see anyone like the person I had described.  No one had come to help me until the paramedics and ambulance showed up.

It was then that I knew she must have been an angel.  

I wondered if this was all just a dream.  Just a hallucination, as some people think.  But I had this sense of peace.  I was no longer afraid of dying.  I knew in my heart that it had really happened to me.  I was in the hospital for weeks with months of rehab.

Years later, in October of 1996, I was working as a CNA (nurse assistant) and I felt really faint all of the sudden.  I had tunnel vision and literally saw stars.  I passed out in a patient’s room.  When I awoke, I was surrounded by nurses who said they bet I was pregnant.

I went to the doctor and took a pregnancy test.  It was positive.  I ended up going to two other doctors and taking a home pregnancy test to make sure.  It was true.  I was pregnant.  Later I found out I was pregnant with twins, but one didn’t develop in the womb.  During childbirth, there were many complications and the baby was born not breathing.

But the doctors and nurses saved her, and just as the angel said years ago, I gave birth to my daughter, Kathryne Delaney.

After she was born, I sat there in the hospital bed, waiting for some complication, something to go wrong, for me to die and go to heaven now. I had to come back from heaven to have her.  Now I have.  Now I’m done, right?

Wrong.  As the years have passed by I watch her grow and wonder what great purpose God has in store for her.

She was a miracle baby. 

As a side note: The driver of the van, along with several other illegal aliens fled from the scene.  Only one person from the van stayed.  He was thrown from the van after crashing through the front window, breaking his jaw.  The rest were caught three years later and deported.”

Is Kendra’s story not amazing?  

If only we would live in expectancy for His constant intervention we would experience true kingdom living at its best.  I believe that in true relationship with Jesus, we enter into a realm of the supernatural that becomes a natural way of living and we open our expectancy for angels to attend to us.  This is how God intended for us to live.  I pray every day the Jesus would live His life through me, His daughter, and accomplish His purposes in my life.  Sometimes that will bring angels. Here is a picture of Kendra and Katie today!

Mother's Day 2011 001Then the devil departed from Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.  Matt. 4:10 NLT

Therefore, angels are only servants–spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation. Hebrews  1:14 NLT  

 

Angels? Are They Really Here Today?

angel“Are not the angels all ministering spirits, servants sent out in the service [of God for the assistance] of those who are to inherit salvation?” *

My husband was so excited to go hunting with his buds to Nevada.  He was to ride in a small engine plane that fit 2 to 4 people from the Central Coast to Elko, Nevada, across the great Sierra Mountains.  It would be just him and his pilot friend in one plane.  They were to meet others there who were also pilots with their own planes. 

I felt uneasy about the trip and told him so and he assured me it would be fine and that he was going anyway.  I knew I would not be able to stop him from going so I just surrendered the whole trip the Jesus.

He made the trip there okay, with only a few “concerns”  he said. 

However, upon their return, at 12:05 midnight, I was awakened by the Lord.  I knew instantly something was not right with Greg and his pilot friend. 

I also knew in my spirit I was to start praying Psalms 91 over them.  I didn’t feel fear, but urgency.

When I got to the part in Ps. 91 that says He will give His angels charge over him and “they will lift him up in their hands, so that he would  not strike his foot against a stone,” I could see in my spirit the plane in front of a huge mountain, heading right for it! 

Then I witnessed, in the spirit, 2 large angels flying up to the plane and taking the wings of the plane and literally lifting it over the mountain until it cleared.  I kept praying until I felt a release and fell back to sleep. 

Hours later that night I heard Greg come in.  The minute he came into the room I sat up in bed and asked what had happened.  He looked shocked and asked how did I know anything was wrong. 

I told him I was awakened at 12:05 am and told to pray.

I said that I saw angels lifting the plane over a mountain.  It was like the breath left him and he sat down to tell the story.  The pilot decided to take the less traveled route over the great Sierras instead of the coastal route the other pilots chose. 

It was pitch black out and as they approached the mountains Greg looked up and saw they were heading straight into the side of the a sheer cliff.  Some kind of down draft had pulled the tiny plane down and the pilot was struggling to steer it upwards.  He said they were so close to the wall of the gigantic mountain, heading straight into it,  that he put on his sunglasses (at night) so he would not see when they hit and he knew he would die.  

Then all of a sudden, at 12:05 p.m., he felt the plane being lifted up by some unseen force and the pilot started circling over and over until it was caught up in some kind of wind and, literally, lifted over the mountain. 

This was exactly the same time God woke me to pray and I saw the angels.

Angels?  Really? 

warrior angel 2Oh yes, I believe in angels.   

Why? 

The bible tells us they are here to minister to us who are heirs of salvation.  That is me!  I am an heir.  Do you know Him?  Then you are an heir too! 

The bible also says that sometimes we will entertain angels and not even be aware of it. Do you believe it?  All things are possible for those who believe. 

Do we live expectantly?  Are we living in the gospel of the Kingdom?  There are angels in this Kingdom just for us!  Do you believe?  What an exciting way to live.  Let’s open our spiritual eyes!

I don’t know about you but I want to use all of the benefits God has provided for us and I know angels come with those benefits.  Remember, we have not because we don’t ask for it.

A few years later, after the plane incident, Greg was given a brand new Harley that he had prayed for.  (Another miracle)  He hadn’t rode in years as he used to be an outlaw rider in his pre-Jesus days and gave up the Harley as it was then his god. 

When he gave his life to Jesus, he gave it up and hadn’t ridden in many years.  God gave him a brand new Harley to show him He now trusted him to keep the balance, and then he gave him a ministry to Harley riders.  

SONY DSCHe was leaving one day to go on a 3 day ride hundreds of miles away.  As I was praying for him I  could hear those blasting pipes warming up for the take off.  Again, I was praying Psalms 91.  I went to the window as he was leaving the street and, again  in the spirit, I saw those same 2 angels, one on either side of that Harley, holding on to each handle bar, and their whole bodies (beings?) were flying out behind the Harley as he flew down the street.  It seemed they were hanging on for dear life.  I laughed and felt such a peace that he was not alone.  I also laughed at those poor angels being assigned to Greg and the work cut out for them.

In the coming weeks, I will share some faith inducing stories of angels at work in my life and in the lives of others; all because I believed God.  I welcome your comments.

* Hebrews 1:14 Amplified

Loving Those Words, “Mom I’m Home.” …. A Mother’s Day Story

A few years back I wrote about how Christmas conjured up images of days gone by with my babies.  Modified a bit to relate my thoughts to Mother’s Day this week, I want to share the story with you once again.

THANKHEAVENFORLITTLEGIRLS-2Tears of longing well up in my eyes thinking of those days gone by, since my babies are not babies anymore.  It was the happiest time of my life. 

Now, I have beautiful and crazy loved grandchildren, and can watch my children experience the same feelings I did as history once again repeats itself.

When Jason and Heather 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, believing that they would know this is how God is too.  He would never leave them or forsake them as they grew into adults.

Beginning with that first step at around one years old, when a mom has that sense of uneasiness, that already they are beginning to move away from us. 

I sensed it. 

I was like any other Mom when their adorable baby takes that first step.  You just know they are the smartest kid in the world.  But deep down was this feeling of dread; that each step was away from me into discovering a whole new world, until one day, God forbid, they would leave and start a life without me there.  But we quickly push those thoughts from us convincing ourselves that was a million years away.

When they were small my determination was 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!! 

Then my babies started school.  And 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 they didn’t want me to be too hovering or clingy.  

Every day when they would come home the instant they opened the door they always said, “Mom, I’m home.”    

Brother and Sister Running… and I would breathe easy once again because my babies were mine again, at least for that day.

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 would still have weak moments of reverting back to their earlier childhood on occasion and when no one was 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 kids’ 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, as well, because it was a time they were trying to find their bearings in a life they didn’t expect, 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.

Then they left.  One day they were just gone.  Does anything ever prepare us for the empty nest engulfment?  

And oh, it was so painful to let my babies go.   

A hole is left in your heart and 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 then that it wasn’t where I lived that was their home…

It was the fact that home is where I am .

They are 37 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.  He sees the real us, our heart.

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.  Someone I love is coming!

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.  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.   

IMG_0758“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

Jason and Heather today……..

 

 

When Feelings Lose Their Power

 

 

waterfall I lost life as I knew it over the course of one year a while back. Of course it was a slow build up to that year, but denial has a funny way of making you blind to what is coming.

(The complete story of this trip into the wasteland of my soul is recorded in my last book, Climbing Out of the Box.)

Through years of denial, spiritual abuse, and unresolved childhood abuse issues, my life broke apart in huge chunks and floated away on a sea of despair.  I lost my marriage, my home, myself, my church, and my children moved out…and did I mention I lost myself?

…all within a few months of each other.

Then I entered the wasteland of devastation and loss and an overload of “feelings”.

How can I describe the feelings?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was like being on a huge merry go round, holding on for dear life, trying to look like I had a grip but my vise gripped fingers were sliding off with every whirl.  It twirled faster and faster until my hands did lose their grip and I was flung off into space with magnitude force into nothingness with no idea where I would finally land.  When I did land I felt like I was smothering in feelings and couldn’t breathe; Kind of like being buried alive.

  • Grief

  • Despair

  • Fear

  • Anxiety

  • Sorrow

  • Emptiness

  • Anger

In the years that followed I was alone with myself and thought I would never recover from the empty shell that was me.

My feelings became my faithful companions until I finally started talking to God.  Boy did I have the questions.

The most fascinating thing to me was that He never left.  He stepped back, though, to give me time to come to the place of realizing all my answers were in Him.  He is always so patient with us.

As I called upon Him in my solitary place, He began to heal my frayed and broken heart.  I was ruled by my feelings at the point of quiet desperation and had been since the beginning of the dirge into blackness.

PeaceHe held me and let me weep when I finally pushed my arms up to my “Abba, Daddy”, in brokenness.

And then the healing began.  I learned so much in the next few years of exile.

One of the things I learned was that my feelings didn’t have to rule me or dictate to me how to act for the rest of my life.

When we call upon Him in our feelings of abandonment and reach deep into our still, quiet heart, where He dwells,

  • Our fears lose their power to control us;

  • Our “out of control” anger loses its power to devastate anyone lying in its wake….and

  • Our depression loses its power to consume us.

Our feelings lose their control over us.

That still, quiet center of us, where He resides, is where we are aware of His presence the most.  Learn how to quiet yourself and find that spot of uninterruption and you will find His voice.

  • He centers us.

  • He is our anchor.

When we call upon Him, we find the power to let go of our resentment and ask for forgiveness.  We can also forgive ourselves and be free.  We can let go of the past and move into the stillness of living large in the here and now.

And then we learn to trade in our profound shame for vulnerability with others, for in Him we are safe; and we trade in our fear of being embarrassed, to finally being transparent.

Our feelings provide the fertile ground of captivity for us.

If we listen to them they will kill our creativity that God wants to use.  They will squelch our love for others and undermine our knowledge of redemption and grace.

What if we just decided to stop listening to our feelings, and started listening to what God says about us; and start focusing in on His still whispers of direction and love?  What if we make a conscious decision to believe we are really hearing His voice and just do it…by faith?

And accepting our feelings as real, for they are very real, but not necessarily true if they become our dictating force and despair.  They can betray us in portraying Gods words as not trust worthy.

It is like a drop of soothing, healing water to accept that our feelings are real, but can be deceptive outside of God’s truth about us.

1510543_680314828697735_1831250127_nI think our shame would dry up and our love would explode and the world would never be the same  again if we can get to this place of truth and freedom.

“Church Lady”…or Devoted Lover?

allthatineedI love the church.   If you know Jesus then you are the church too;  One of the many members of the Church, the Body, of Jesus, who is our Head.  But I was brought up spiritually in a church building for many years, and I loved it. 

Somewhere along the way I lost the mentality that I was there to grow in Jesus. 

Oh yes, I was taught that I was the temple where Jesus lived, but I was also taught I had to be in a building to truly walk with him.   It took me too long to realize that being a ‘church lady’ didn’t mean I knew anything about the heart and passion of God.

Oh, I yearned for it, so put on the face that I already had that passion filled relationship with Jesus, and had the pious face down pat, as if I had it together. I had the Christian-ease language down pat, too.    For many years I was very involved in just about everything that was happening in the church building.  

I was involved in potlucks, gospel sing alongs,  committee meetings, bake sales, car washes, retreats, conferences and any other spiritual sounding activity that was advertised in the church building. Then I started a women’s ministry and it grew and grew.  I absolutely loved it.  I had a place and felt loved and accepted.  I loved the people, the busy-ness, and the routine.  I was really good at doing church and I looked the part, too. Busy-Woman-1147825

I had a good heart. 

I was so drawn to God and yearned to serve Him and thought that is what I was doing.  But over time, more serving, and more ministries later it all became a checklist or a substitute for a deeper passion.

It became a “doing” instead of a “becoming.”

I still love the church.  I just missed the whole point God was yearning for me to see for many years.  If you have read my book, Climbing Out of the Box, you will see where it led me.  However, I digress.

Somehow I loved becoming the church lady and mistook that title for becoming godly. 

It felt so good to be in the church clicks, though. And I saw others left out of those groups to which I turned a blind eye.  

So, I busied myself in  those good works of bringing food to the sick, planning baby showers and helping at funerals, and teaching Sunday school.  It can feel so good to be needed that it can become a substitute for a passionate pursuit of God.

Don’t get me wrong; Service, fellowship, and giving are wonderful and a part of the calling for every believer, but serving and doing do not equal a relationship with God.  They do not get us closer to the mark,  and sometimes can become a wall we hide behind. And so we pretend we know what we are talking about and every Sunday we sit in a pew, staring at the backs of heads, listen to a sermon, and go home.

And wonder why that gaping hole in our hearts is still there.

Every Sunday morning parents hand their babies over to the good people who work in the nurseries.  Then they go serve in hundreds of places within the building.  They may never even make it to the service, but it is okay because they have been to church.  Some have hidden there for years.

So many of us are “doing” like crazy.

Not many of us are “becoming.”   Women Bow And Pray

My coaching business over the last few years has been full of women and men, who were dying on the inside.  Service and hospitality was not cutting it for them.  Hearts are broken and lives are hurting.  They longed to know that Jesus really loved them—somehow they missed that part while they were busy doing.  They are worn out with good works without realizing how to have a one on one with Jesus. 

Yet we keep signing up for one more thing. 

Hoping we will find Jesus there.

When we get the church lady thing going it is easy to pretend we have it all together.  I did.  Everyone thought I was so together and many wanted to be me.  I dressed fashionable, and had a sweet smile on my face.  My kids were impeccibly dressed, and we were the ‘perfect’ family. 

But inside; well that was another story.  

My marriage was falling apart.  I had been molested as a child and had not told a soul yet.  I had not even begun my healing and was convinced I would go to the grave with my secret.  So, I had to get even more busy to outrun the ugly truth. 

I had no self esteem.   376692_405449249517629_858305305_n

Soon I learned I could fill that need to be validated by being in the church clicks and there was always a need for one more worker to keep it all going. 

I became addicted to ministry to fill my gapping hole of need.

Ministry took the place of a passion filled relationship with a very real Jesus.  It wasn’t until I lost it all did Jesus finally break into my religiosity and reveal Himself  personally in all His glory. 

And when that happened?   I was doing nothing in the church– I had lost it all.  It was in the wilderness of my life that I met Jesus face to face…when everything and everyone else was gone.

Only Jesus didn’t leave.

That is when I learned that I am the Church.  You are the church.  We are all the church body.  

Getting off the merry go round of hiding behind our good works is about laying down all pretense and facades.  It is about stepping outside the lines you have drawn around your spirituality and seeing what God has for you.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When we only ascribe the term ‘church’ to weekend gatherings or institutions that have organized themselves as ‘churches’ we miss out on what it means to live as Christ’s body. It will give us a false sense of security to think that by attending a meeting once a week and work ourselves to the bone;  then we are participating in God’s church.

But if the church is something we are, not someplace we go, how can we leave it unless we abandon Christ himself? We can’t.  We may join other believers anywhere, but it doesn’t define our personal love relationship with Jesus.

If we think only of a specific congregation as our part of the church, haven’t we separated ourselves from a host of other brothers and sisters that do not attend the same gathering that we do? Are we not called into the market place?

If you have hung your spirituality on inward files with neat little answers for every situation, hang on, because God is probably getting ready to blow the lid off of your box. 

You may need to allow Him to restructure your thinking a bit of why you do what you do; with all the strong essential elements of your faith still there, just rearranged to reflect to you more clearly the heart of God.

Scripture does encourage us to be devoted to one another not committed to an institution. Jesus indicated that whenever two or three people get together focused on him, they would experience the vitality of church life.  Out of that body life, of course comes service.  But if that is what defines your relationship with God, you will soon become a “church lady” too…..Or maybe a “church man.” 

I pray that we all are renewed in a passion for Jesus no matter where we find real fellowship with other believers; a genuine concern for each other and a willingness to serve the world with God’s love, which can only come from, not service, but relationship with Jesus Christ. Out of that relationship we will be His hand extended to a lost world.  praying-woman

Soul Clutter—5 Ways to Get Rid of It!

Clear-out-the-clutter_Self- You know what clutter is, right?  It is the stuff we put on the table thinking we will put it away later.  It is the closet full of shoes we never wear.   It’s the clothes hanging in our closets year after year and we know we will never wear it, but, hey, maybe we will.  And what about those cupboards jammed full of stuff we may someday use.

It is the same way that clutter comes to our souls. 

Remember we are spirit, that part of us that is alive unto God, the real us, the us that will live eternally.  We have a soul, which is our minds, will, and emotions.  And we live in a body.  We are triune, just like God. (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). 

Clutter comes to our souls—our minds.  It is the stuff that we shove down thinking we will take care of it later. 

Or we ignore it because it is too painful to give up or face. 

Or we fear it will change us somehow to give up that part of our thought life to Jesus. 

Soul clutter is the collection of emotional, relational, and spiritual issues we have been stepping over and ignoring.

Clutter can keep us tripping and stumbling around for a life time. 

So, what are some of those things that clutter our minds?  Mind-clutter

Insecurity?

Gossip?

Rejection?

Fear?

Legalism?

Bitterness?

Unforgiveness?

Body Image?

Addictions?

Insecurity?

Anger?

Obsessions?

Judgement?

The List goes on doesn’t it?  I am sure you can add a few of your own to this list.  As you meditate and come up with a list of your own clutter that is hindering your walk with God, what do you do with it?

Here are 5 things to do.

1. Acknowledge the presence of each thing that God shows you that you are harboring in those secret places of your heart.

It might require you to do some real soul searching and it is okay to give yourself time to work through the issues.  Surrender is the key.   See each thing resting in your cupped hands.  Then imagine Jesus walking up behind you and putting His arms around you, cupping His capable hands under yours.  Then drop that thing into His hands, and watch Him walk away with your issue.  Now breathe in the freedom!!

2. Don’t isolate, but reach out to someone you trust and feel safe with to confess your faults and perhaps pray with you as you work into letting it go.  

You don’t have to be alone.  We were created to stand together and grow from each other.     I would suggest a Life Coach if it is something you need more concentrated effort in.  

3. Talk to Jesus about it.  

There is nothing more comforting than to just be honest in your conversation with Jesus and know that He already knows you inside and out, and is there to heal you as you confess your faults to Him.  Dealing with clutter in your soul requires His power to overcome your weakness.

4. Journal your journey.

Just try it!!   I write to Jesus when I am journaling.  It is an excellent way of opening your whole self to the God who made you and knows you and loves you.   As you pour out your heart to Him, He will speak back to you and you can write that down too!!   You are also exposing those dark areas in yourself that you recognize to the light that dispels all darkness.

5. Allow God to lavishly envelope you in His grace. 

Grace is the secret, and honestly, I have met very few people who really get what Grace is. I, myself, feel like there is so much more revelation there always.  Grace is so huge, when we really get a glimpse into what He has provided for us it is so overwhelming you want to fall on your knees and stay there in praise and intimacy with Jesus. 

Don’t keep beating yourself up. 

We are all prone to guilt.  Sometimes we are so given over to guilt we become paralyzed by the process and choke out the work God wants to do.   Let God forgive, heal, restore, soothe, mend, and strengthen you.  Someone said, “You cannot drink dry the river of grace or breathe the last of God’s gifts to you.”

I like that!     breaking_chains.208145743_std

Why have we listened to the noise in our heads for so long?  Why have we tripped over the same clutter for years?

Make a quality decision today to be free of these distractions that drown out His voice in your head. 

He says, “My sheep hear my voice”…..but if dogs are running around us sheep, barking continuously, how can we hear Him when He speaks?

When you pray that the Lord will reveal every hidden thing or thought in your life and bring it to the surface and be ready to deal with whatever needs to be done to get rid of it, He will always come in mercy to assist you and love you into freedom. 

Expect Him to be gentle and full of love.

Expect Him to bring healing.

Expect Him to come in great joy and rejoicing over you with love. 

Because that is who He is.

Finding Life Again– After Dead, Scary Looking Plants Are All that are Left…

1472885_10202755278189381_741907270_nYep, that is a real picture of my prized Angel Trumpet tree. 

Remember the show the Adams Family?  Remember how dead their yard always looked and they thought it was so pretty—the deader the plants were the better they liked it?  Someone told me after California’s big 3 day freeze in December in which all of my beautiful plants took a major hit, that my yard look like the Adams family yard.  I knew exactly what they were talking about.  

I get attached to my plants; mostly outdoor plants.   I feel close To God when I am out watering and fertilizing these amazing growing things.   When I look in the face of a flower I marvel how anyone could say there is no God.  How could such beauty be just happenstance?  Just saying………..

Anyway, being a Californian I know I am spoiled when it comes to weather patterns and, I can’t help it, but I get so upset when a freeze actually happens and in one night most of the plants are all killed.  We usually have year round flowers….but it feels like the Passover of the plant death angel to me.  I lie in bed at night picturing the scary looking “freeze” wind of darkness blowing over my babied plants and them all crying and dying.  I rush out in the morning to see if any survived only to sob when I see the brown leaves and drooping dead flowers. I tried putting a cover on the plants to keep them warm but the cover was frozen solid too.  No one can console me.  1551592_10202981468884007_1610862569_n (1)

Now, in my heart I know that it is just a matter of time before Spring will arrive and, though I may have to buy some new ones,  (because I don’t have the patience to cultivate them all over again to their original beauty), they will once again spring to life. 

The spiritual application of this process is truly amazing. 

Having been through major changes in 2013 and tremendous trials in my personal life, I can already see the fruit of the testing and life being born out of what I thought was the END of life as I knew it. 

How would I ever change if something didn’t change that was out,of my control and get me out of my comfort zone, (Like a freezing of all my security props).  

God knows us inside and out.  He knows if we stay content in our comfortable caves we would never move from there, even when we know it is not our destination.  We would just camp there because even if we know it is not God’s best  we know this place and it seems safer than when we move out into the unknown; until the freeze comes over night.

Sometimes we have to wait a long time to see the thaw and the blessing come into being. 

But we WILL reap if we DON’T faint!!

We lost our house in 2011 to Bank of America through a set of circumstances that was totally out of our control.  We were lied to until one day our home was gone.  We are now renting the home through a set of miracles that could only be God.  You can read the story in this blog space….just type in “A Sure Dwelling Place” in the upper right corner of this page. There are about 9 blogs of the whole story.  It will one day be a book, but God has told me that the story isn’t over yet, so to hold off. 

Then our Investigation business took a hit and work has practically stopped.   We believed God like never before for provision and discovered the truth of who our real provider is through the fear of not knowing where any of it would come from.   And yet, we never missed a bill or went hungry…ever!!

Then my husband went to the desert, literally, to take care of an ailing step mom, so he could be a care person and be paid for his time.  He was gone most of the summer.  

So many transitions were wearing us out. And the not knowing what was going to happen.  In times like those you remember Job and the enemy of our souls brings in fear of how long this can go on before we are overcome with misfortune.  We tried to just be busy about the Lord’s work in our lives and I worked hard to just believe. 

But, it felt like death to our life in general. And there seemed to be no end in sight.   The whole year of 2013 was a year of uncertainty and disappointment and fighting fear of change and wondering what that change looked like.

 I didn’t like it.

I need to be in control of something, Lord,” I told Him. 

No, child, you don’tLet me!”  He whispered. 

Just like with my plants,  it felt like during the night the destruction descended quickly and ripped up my life and left me drooping and brown and ugly…..feeling as if nothing will replace what I lost.

But then I began to really take a close look at what was happening to us. 

At the same time all these negatives were happening, our home ministries took off.   

Both of our bible studies are prospering.

 God increased my clients in my Life Coaching business and still is.  It seems people really are drawn to vulnerability and transparency in my life.    Who knew?

Greg began a local weekly community bible study….and is invited to speak at various churches.

 I was invited to do a weekly podcast on a station out of San Diego.  You can listen to it here:   http://e2medianetwork.com/reflections-of-grace-10-10-steps-to-healing-from-childhood-abuse-reaching-others-with-empathy-and-compassion/

My blog has gained a bigger audience. 

My book, “Climbing Out of the Box”, is selling more and more on Amazon and I am getting ready to publish another book, and maybe a kindle mini book.

How could I separate my private life from my spiritual life?  How did that happen?  They are the same.  He is providing through miracles that, honestly, sometimes I have to stop and think how is this happening?

 In the natural there is no explanation.

Now I know God has been saying that He is preparing each of us to be the vessel He wants to use in the life of another person.  But we will never be that vessel if we give up and hide in our cave of discouragement. Not only must we keep moving, we must move into a new realm. Our attitude must move from discouragement to praise. It is when we move past discouragement to praise that we begin living above our problems.

It is a choice.

It is a decision of excellence.

And He wants relationship with us!!   If we never had any trials would we know Him as our provider or our comforter?  

Would we?  

He wants to get personal with us and the sooner we relinquish the control of our life the closer we will grow to depend completely on Him!

Soon Spring will be here and my yard will look like this again.backyard-2012 002backyard2011 002

Soon, my life will blossom like my yard into the extravagance of His riches in glory!

Hey, Have You Noticed that Telephone Pole in Your Eye?

log-eyeHave you ever noticed that the guy who is obsessed with someone else’s “sin”, and can’t shut up about it, kind of stands out like a sore thumb?   Does it make you wonder if he struggles with the very thing he feels compelled to expose in others as his “Christian” duty?  You may not have even been made aware of it but now that he has taken up this daily “soap box” tirade, you really take notice of him, not the ones he feels compelled to judge and draw attention to. 

It makes you wonder why he is so obsessed with judging others in their comings and goings and never points out any of his own failings.  Could it be that he is harboring secrets, and he thinks if he can point the finger at others enough it will take the focus off of himself?  When in actuality it has the opposite effect. 

Now, you are looking at him. 

 Why is he focused on one thing particularly that he considers sin, when sin is sin and there is not one that is worse than the other?

  Okay, so now he has your attention; and your irritation.   I personally want to run from these types of people.   They judge and condemn others with the speck of dust in their eye, without even noticing the telephone pole in his own eye.  We all know these people, don’t we? They are the first to throw that rock of condemnation.  It reminds me of the guy in the bible who watched a man weep before God in repentance, and he thanked God he wasn’t as sinful as the other man weeping.

Luke 18:10-14 gives us the story:

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even  like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who  humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus warns us about the danger of despising and judging others.  Contempt is more than being mean-minded.  It springs from the assumption that one is qualified to sit in the seat of judgment and to ascertain who is good and just and who is not. 

Pride leads to illusion and self- deception. Humility helps us to see ourselves as we really are and it inclines us to God’s grace and mercy. 

I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isaiah 57:15).  9977_467688173299942_1040397805_n

I don’t think God can help us if we despise others. Pride in our hearts prevents us from hearing His voice regarding our own issues.

Then there is this story out of Matthew 7

“Don’t criticize, and then you won’t be criticized.For others will treat you as you treat them.And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own?Should you say, ‘Friend, let me help you get that speck out of your eye,’ when you can’t even see because of the board in your own?Hypocrite! First get rid of the board. Then you can see to help your brother.

Whoa, now that is heavy!!

The bottom line is that only God can see the heart and the reasons behind your actions.  No one is equipped to look at someone’s actions and judge why they do what they do.  Only God.  And He may be doing a work that you know nothing about.   When you judge your fellow man you are putting yourself in the place of God in their lives and that is just a dangerous place to be in, I have to tell you.  

Living blissfully and pridefully unaware of realities in our own lives that blinds us to ourselves,  is no way to live. It may not be fun to assess yourself and face your own sins or shortcomings, but it’s the only way to have a realistic picture of who you are in order to grow for the future.  I believe the bigger sin is when we give in to that religious spirit born out of pride and think we are the saviors of the world and can honestly judge the lives of people.

When we assume that people won’t change unless we fix them, as if we ourselves don’t need fixing, we show that our ultimate trust is in ourselves, not God.  When we don’t accept people because we don’t believe they will change if we do accept them, we admit that our ultimate confidence is in the conditions we place on our acceptance of them, rather than God.

We need to simply trust God to change others in His time, and if we don’t, we reveal that we think when we shame, intimidate and manipulate people into change that we are greater than God’s transforming spirit. 

Do we trust that God is working in the hearts of all people?  Or do we really believe that our pointing out their sin and shunning them will truly change them? 

Seriously?

Oh how glad I am that Jesus came to set us all free from feeling like we have to do His job.  He already did it—He has paid the price for it!!   If we focus on Him alone and how to press into true relationship outside religious judgment and pride, we can trust that He will do His work in the innermost hearts of all of us who need His cleansing fire every moment of the day.

In the Pit of Greatness…But I Have a Leak!

leaksI am beginning to see this pit I am in as a kind of  “holding ground” that promotes His work in my heart with great intensity.   Each time Joseph was thrown into a pit it placed him in a position to achieve higher Kingdom purposes.  I think that is what this is about.  The pit of greatness!!

 joseph-pit-slide

Is God saying…

 

“I want my sons and daughters to endure every test faithfully so I can strategically place them in positions to reach my people.” 

You know this rings true in your heart, even if your head wants to run the other way from, yikes, testing!!!

Are we willing to say, “Lord, I’ll gladly go wherever you want me to?   

 Do we pray, “Lord give me your eyes so I can see what is ahead?”  

 We say we hunger for this kind of faith, but do we really?  We don’t want to just occupy a space on this earth.  There has to be more, right?  We want Him to work His purposes in our lives, to impact the Kingdom of God.

 

But I know many believers who are afraid to dream  in faith; who would rather stay in their present pit than risk a move to higher ground,  For with that move comes testing.  

 That sacrifice of comfort that involves the unknown ahead, frankly, scares us to death.

 So we hang on to those familiar “friends” of  mediocrity and compromise.   We would rather stay with the destructive patterns and darkness in our lives than be willing to accept and  move out into the unknown in faith, Because we don’t totally trust Him to have our backs and take care of  us in what could possibly be ahead.   Or maybe we just fear pain.

So, we try to fly under the radar.  And we are ineffective in the Kingdom of God, so we won’t be a threat to the enemy, so we won’t get tested.  

Sometimes God has greater ideas and plans for our lives.  In fact, He always does.  More than we think we are capable of doing.

God has been  stripping away the old wineskins and creating  new ones in my life.  I wish I could say it has been fun but, not really.   I want to live a life of leisure and fun and accomplishments, without the testings of my faith.  But, wow, can I really have  genuine faith if I never have to walk in the dark for a while to see what I am believing for?  I think not.

It says in Psalms 119:105…

His word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. 

Sometimes all I can see is the lamp illuminating my feet step by step so I don’t stumble on a tree stump (which I have literally done and it isn’t fun), but I can’t see further than 3 feet ahead of me even with a flashlight.  But He promises to light my path even when I can only see my feet.

 We want the maturity and accolades but without the testings to mature us.  When you see someone that God is using mightily and find yourself envying their life, be careful.  Are you willing to walk in their shoes awhile to see what has been burned out of them with fire, to make them what you see today? 

OS Hillman said, “When God called the Israelites from their place of slavery they had to walk through the desert. There is no way to earn a living in the desert. So God provided manna each day for them. Sometimes He even brought water from rocks. They had to experience a new way of gaining provision that was not rooted in sweat and toil. God had to demonstrate His faithfulness as Jehovah Jireh to His people.”

This is where I am at.   We are more than provided for every day in this juncture of our journey of no work coming in.  And there is manna from Heaven.  That isn’t even a concern anymore because, truthfully, He has proven again and again He knows right where we are and He provides miracles of abundance every day.

But, interesting enough, I still find room to feel sorry for myself.  I still want security and assurance about the future.   I want to make plans.  I want to know if I will be living here next year at this time.  treasures-in-heaven

I want, I want, I want.  Yep, that’s me. 

So, I return to the love of my life,

Whisper the name of Jesus.

People whom I love and who love me deeply are not able to satisfy my longings for security.  Friends have tried to fill me, my husband has tried to fill me, but they couldn’t do it.

But, as Stasi Eldridge puts it, “I have a leak.”  My pipes are broken.  My needs of filling these enormous holes of insecurity can only be filled by Jesus.  I can’t put that kind of pressure on those that I love. He has to do it!

Just about everything I have learned in life has been the hard way.  You would think I would get used to it and just go the route I know best by now.  But in my humanness I still find myself feeling depressed before I realize I need to return to my Love, Jesus, to fill me up again.  He is actually the only One who was ever meant to!

Winds are Howling—Change is on the Horizon

Storm-Clouds-54

I wonder sometimes why others look at me and think I have it so together.  

“You lead a wonderful life, Dixie!”   I can assure you that I am far from wonderful.  Walk a few days in my shoes.

However, I know Someone who is wonderful.  Without Him walking besides me I would drown in my own delusions. 

Life is hard folks.  But we have hope!!  

If you are feeling lost or alone right now, allow me to take your hand and whisper a sweet, “I know”.  

The struggles.

The unbelief.

The fear.

I can relate to the fear that weighs you down at the whisperings of your enemy that it might always be this way.

You want to know what I want?

I want to sit there in my lack, holding my basket, and watch Jesus fill it to overflowing. 

I want to step out of my boat, and skim across the water to Jesus!

 

For too long I have wanted Him to calm the storms before I leave my boat.  

I have wanted the water to part into dry land before I put my foot in it. 

I have wanted Him to tell me where I am going before I depart on my journey.

But, not so, with Jesus, my friends.

He is looking for a church without spots or wrinkles.  Boy, do I have wrinkles.  Those you can see, and some you can’t see.

If we want to be mighty warriors we have to learn how to fight the mighty battles. Sometimes it might just be with only a lantern and a horn.

And sometimes He says to fight the battle by being still and waiting.

Most times it is believing what I cannot see; and always ever learning that it is Him that will fight for me. 

But He can only do the fighting as I surrender my control.

And I have resisted so.  I hate waiting, don’t you? Sometimes I have allowed circumstances to be my dictator.  And then I am loaded down with despair.

Do you just sometimes want to stop the struggle and surrender?  Surrender is exactly what He wants.  Just to let go once and for all. 

We get tired in our own strength, don’t we?

Yet, surrender is what He is looking for.  We cannot do it in our own strength.  As long as we want to try, He will stand back and allow you to try.  He is a gentle man.  He has all the time in the world. 

But when I finally give up trying to make happen with I want to happen, and just relinquish my plans, He comes walking towards me.  

I see Him approaching me with such love and desire on His face I come totally undone.  Once again, I am totally sold out to Him, no matter what is going on around me.

I don’t want my own concerns to obliterate the heavy loads others carry.  I want to see their hearts and their fears and help them get to the root of their pain and see it disappear as the light comes in and dispels the darkness.  I can’t do that as long as I am fighting for air myself.  So, I continue to hold myself to that standard of faith, to not look at my own issues, but the issues of others. 

Whew, it is not easy!

 

Each day is a new day with Jesus.  I have no idea how or where this life will lead me as we are in a part of our journey that not even a lantern would illuminate.   I can only see one step ahead of me, but you know what?  That is enough.  I have what I need today.  Tomorrow will take care of itself.

All I know is right now I have got to lean hard into His loving embrace.  I hang onto His arm tightly like a little girl.  I will not let Him go.  I would rather hold His hand through the howling winds and thunder, than be on a silent sea shore without His presence.

Awakening and owning isn’t about acquiring stuff, or a big name.  It is about embracing who we are in HIM.  

We can’t love Him with our whole heart if we are asleep in our secure lives, can we? 

To love Jesus is about taking the risk to stand on the mountain top with lightening striking all around me. We can’t out love God.  To take a step towards Him means that He takes 5 steps toward you.  We were created for relationship with Him. 

I hate to say it but if I was so secure in my earthly life, with all that I needed, and I knew where I was going every day, would I really continue pressing into an intimate relationship with Him?   Would I be motivated enough?

I do wonder. 

And I pray I remember this time of molding on the potter’s wheel, always.  

 

But Lord, the Desert is Too Hot…and I am Thirsty!

488089_174658782681930_87433307_nWe all have had desert experiences in our lives at different seasons of time along our journey.   Some seasons of trial are short and some are very long.

He loves us so much that sometimes He allows us to stay in those deserts for a while to bring us back to Him.  When it gets hot and dry we start looking for Him for relief.  You know why?

He misses you and desires relationship with you.

Hosea 2: 6-14 says

“Therefore will I block her path with thorn bushes.  I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.  She will chase after her lovers but will not catch them.”

He does this to bring us to the end of ourselves and to get us to turn to Him in thirsty longing.  Then He begins to draw us to Himself. He often takes us aside from every source of comfort so that He alone can have our heart’s attention.

Then He says in 2:14

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.”

And it is here that we begin to experience him not as the God up in heaven, the big guy in the sky, the God of Sunday Mornings, but as the pursuer of our hearts; As our lover.

“In that day, declares the Lord, you will call me “my husband” and you will no longer call me “my master”.   I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.” (Vs 16-19)

This love is not something we struggle for, earn or fear.  It is bestowed upon us. 

He has chosen us. 

We are made for such a love.

Our hearts yearn to be loved intimately, personally, and romantically.  We are created to be the object of His desire and affection and He is totally and completely in love with us.

It is for each and every one of us.  God wants intimacy with YOU!  In order to have it you must offer it to Him and surrender yourself over to Him.

Part of my story, (you can find the whole story in my book, “Climbing Out of the Box” on Amazon) is that I was forced by extremely painful circumstances into five years of desert where I met Jesus face to face. In the first couple of years of my sweltering in the desert I experienced:

Anger

Desperation

Depression

Abandonment

Emotional Agony

Empty Nest

Financial woes

Heartbreak

Then out of my own depth of pain I sought Him. 

I began talking…and he did too. 

Outside of performance I was alone and free to pursue Him as my lover.   I started listening to Him again.  And He was faithful to show me how my own denials led me into the wilderness, and He allowed it.  He allowed it to show me the difference in true relationship and performance driven religion.     We took walks, drives, and had long talks together.

And when the revelation came that I did not have to do anything to make Him love me more than he did at that moment, nor did I have to DO anything but love Him, I was set free.

It is for freedom He has set us free.  (Galatians 5:1)

For the whole story of my journey click here:

“Climbing Out of the Box,
My Journey Out of Sexual and Spiritual Abuse Into Freedom and Healing. “

https://reflectionsofgracehome.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/dixiebook.jpg?w=76&h=114

 

Finding My Real Daddy

PeaceFor all of us whose longing for a loving Dad is so evident this time of the year.

Father’s Day is here once again.  To me this is the day that the little girl inside wants to come out and sit at her daddy’s feet and conjuring up memories that I invented on my own.  I imagined them.  I longed for a Dad that I could cuddle up on his lap and feel that total trust I had seen between Dad’s and daughters throughout my life time.  Or at least that is what I thought I was looking at.  But we never know one’s story do we?

I remember the toddler days of being a happy little girl with fat rosy cheeks who adored her Daddy.  He delighted in me and we swam together and played together and I was always on his lap.  He would tell me that I had beautiful blue eyes and they would twinkle just for him.  He was my hero.  Daddy worked in the oil fields and, according to my Mother, was a real “John Wayne” type.  I had his blue eyes, and when I looked at him, it was with adoration and trust.  That trust would soon turn to fear and confusion as my world exploded in incest.  You see, at the age of 7 my Dad began molesting me and continued for the next 5 years.  It took me 40 years to reconcile myself to the fact that I had a Dad, but he wasn’t the one who would bring me the comfort a little girl wants from her Daddy.

picking-flowers-391610_960_720 I write about this not too pleasant subject (an understatement) because every year on Father’s Day I meet so many people who never had a Dad.  At least not one who walked the walk of a real Daddy.  We don’t address this pain because it is easier not too and we get those uncomfortable looks of pity when you say you never had an earthly Dad you really feel like honoring;  Or to spoil someone else’s joy at celebrating their Dad on that day.  Most of the time we just shove down the pain and never talk about it.  But know you are not alone this time of the year if you didn’t have a Dad you are proud of.  God knows your pain and He promises to be your everything.  He has become that to me, so I know it is possible.  Let that be your hope.

jesus-womanThe Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.  Psalm 103:13 NLT

I determined as I grew and healed over the years that I would begin a new generation of honoring those I knew deserved it on Father’s day.  So, for my sons and husband and honorable family members I usually go overboard in honoring them for their unique ways of ministering to the families children throughout the year.  And more important I have learned that my true Father loves me with an unconditional love that I truly can say, “Abba, Daddy” too.

 jesus and boy So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”  Romans 8:15 NLT

He is the best Father there is.   It has always been hard to relate to Him, however, as a Father because I had nothing to go on intellectually when imagining Him as totally trust worthy.  But I had no problem at all with crawling up in the lap of Jesus and putting my head on his shoulder and letting Him breathe life into me.  I felt guilty about Jesus being my Dad as well as my best friend until this scripture became revelation to me.  Jesus speaking:

 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:7 NIV

father-and-child-google-images-300x150 Knowing and loving Jesus is all we need.  He can fill every place of emptiness in our inner man with Himself if we allow Him too.  So, celebrate Father’s day with Jesus this Sunday.  And celebrate with those who truly have loved ones they can honor on this day as a Dad should be honored.  And if you are an honorable and dedicated Dad celebrate yourself for a job well done!  It will pay many dividends throughout your generation and those to come.   

Happy Father’s Day.

Love Speaks Freedom~~Delivering Us from Our Addictions to Food

378095_526317080764178_826390852_nHe loves us!  Our maker knows us inside and out, and loves us with a love that transcends what we can even imagine.

In my life, everything I have received from God has come in simplicity.  This is because I try to complicate just about everything I have received from Him.   It took me a long time to realize what we receive from Him has to be by faith, period. 

It is simple, really.  

I struggled for years for acceptance by God only to finally see He was holding out His free gifts for me to simply just take hold of and use them.  That was it!

Anything we receive from Him is in His power, not ours.   We can’t work for it.   Just believe Him and trust Him to light up the path of our journey as we travel along.

When I first realized how easy it was to end my compulsion to food I thought it was too good to be true.    I actually felt guilty that it should be that easy because there is a multibillion dollar diet industry out there and how could I suggest that it can be done without paying thousands of dollars for the latest miracle diet.

Those of us who hate being focused on food, yet find ourselves daily focusing on food, and what we should eat at any moment in time, often ignore the obvious solution.  It is actually easier to tell ourselves the answer is “out there” rather than to just take control once and for all…because if we keep trying all the new things then one day we will find the magic solution for our food issues.  The problem with that is in the meantime we continue to grow in girth.

We actually use the hunt for answers to keep us from being responsible ourselves to give up our own power in exchange for His.  I was always on one diet or another.

We want to think we don’t have any power to do anything about the problem.  We just want to be fixed.  But when the answer is not where we are looking our attempts are doomed to fail.

God can uncover your body issues and show you where the stronghold lies.  The question is,  are you ready to look at it?  

Through years of being caught up in a stronghold of weight issues, believing I would always be fat, my body had indeed developed some serious health issues as a result.  The abuse of eating foods that were not healthy and bingeing to make myself feel better played havoc and left many symptoms.  

Finding freedom from my obsession with food was not about something that I do, but about finally realizing who I was in God’s eyes.  I am beautiful to Him.   He loves me.  I am worth treating myself really well. 

 It was about learning to lean into Him and have Him reveal what my body needed to get healthy and be free from feeling powerless to do anything about it.

With the hold of the past gone I slowly began to become more interested in getting healthy so I could be the best I could be.   

Being a life coach and working with people who revealed that their struggle with weight was just an outward expression of an inward emptiness,  was eye opening in my own story. 

I have witnessed so much suffering in people who are caught up in food obsession, and I have found it to be deeply rooted in our spirituality.  

As they begin to share their pain  and tell the truth about their lives they begin to be released from the old picture of their poor bodies and begin to see how valued and beautiful they are in God’s eyes, they begin to have hope for release from the stronghold.

That is what happened to me.   Through the recognizing of my stronghold, what began to follow was a new picture of me being free from the bondage.   I took an interest in what I was putting into my body and how each thing I ate made me feel.   I was shocked at the fact that most of my allergies were from what I was eating.

After visiting my holistic doctor and having blood work done he told me that it was time to take control or I would suffer all the ailments that plague most of our generation into old age.  I already had high blood pressure.    He told me to try going off all grains and sugar.  Not as a fad diet but to see if that contributed to my inability to lose and my allergies. 

I didn’t starve myself.  I began to focus on why I wanted to eat when I felt the urge. 

Was I hungry? 

Was I upset? 

Bored?   

Did I need to feel loved?

I let myself stop a moment and think of what I was feeling.   If it was hunger, then I allowed myself to eat until I was full.   Then stop.  And I didn’t eat any grains (which I thought I would really miss but I don’t, amazingly enough).   I started eating lots of fresh organic produce and I started juicing which I get a real kick out of and love the fact that drinking fresh organic vegetable juice puts vitamins directly into your body, bypassing the digestive system, and to the directly to the organs that need the healthy boost.

If I was feeling bored, sad, or just wanted comfort I learned to start talking.  Just start talking to Jesus about my need.  And, you know what?   He was right there to help me over that hurdle, filling my need as we talked together.  Journaling to Him really helped too….because He always answered me and I could write it down.  This was much more satisfying that the temporary high I got while eating.  

The most challenging part of this whole issue with weight is that unless it also addressed the part of me that wanted something I couldn’t name, the emptiness inside, it wouldn’t work.  

Jesus came to fill all of our empty places that we have tried to fill with everything but Him.

To be filled with Him works its way to our whole being, spirit, soul and body.   We are trying to fill that hole in our soul with food.   And it has created an endless cycle of defeat in our lives. 

Our greatest inmost desire is for the love of God, even though we don’t realize it most of the time.  The Hand of God carves out places in us only He can fill.   Oh what a day of rejoicing when we really get this.  He can fill us up when food cannot!!  He wants to flood your life with His unfailing love.

I had to learn to pour out my heart to God and acknowledge every hollow place.  I had to surrender my eating habits to Him every day.   I love what Beth Moore says in her series on Breaking Free from strongholds.

 “When you make a daily practice of inviting His love to fill your hollow places and make sure you are not hindering the process, God will begin to satisfy you more than a double cheeseburger.”    ….Halleluiah!!

Today, I have been practicing my new way of eating for 2 months, though it has been a slow evolving to this place of finally taking control.   I stopped focusing on weight and started focusing on being healthy.  I cut out processed foods and sugar as much as possible.  I stopped eating any kind of grain and found I do not have the problems I had when I was eating grains.    I make sure I do not get hungry by eating more frequently.  When I feel like I need to eat I ask myself if I am really hungry before I grab the first thing I see.   

I snack on nuts, fruit, and organic yogurt.   I juice and drink the juice twice a day.   I take supplements based on what my body needs after the blood work showed what I needed.  I try to remember to drink lots of water.  And I am now starting to be more serious about some kind of exercise.   I have to if I want to keep everything moving forward, including my joints and breathing capacity.   Currently, I like rebounding on a mini trampoline and am starting to stretch more.

Not wanting this series to be focused on the fact that I have lost weight, but on the complete freedom He offers for our taking, I do have to say I have lost 20 pounds in 2 months.  So I know I am onto something big and that always makes me want to share with others so you, too, can experience this amazing freedom.   

I am free from the stronghold of eating to fill that gaping hole in my heart that began so many years ago and controlled me most of my life.   I am through listening to “The Voice.” 

 I know that since God did it for me, He will do it for you too!!   I have no doubt.

If you are interested in being coached on breaking strongholds in your life in any capacity please contact me to sign up for Life Coaching.   You will be amazed at what Jesus will do in your life!!!   Coaching can be done from most anywhere.

http://www.reflectionsofgracehome.com/lifecoaching.html

Three Keys to Recognize “Mistaken Thinking”

72502_464513973611156_2101516539_nAs a young believer coming into a new group of believers I was so shy.   I kept to myself though I longed to join other young couples and make friends.  I would watch them gather together and keep myself apart from them because I felt so inferior.  I had nothing to offer them, I thought.  I just have to look good and they will think I am together.   It didn’t work.  I mistakenly thought they didn’t like me.  This was because I always believed I was flawed because I was abused as a child.  Then one day one of the young mothers told me that she would like to be my friend but that I was giving off the persona that I was better than them.  What?   All the time I was dying to make friends, they thought I was snooty because of my little act of sufficiency.    This was eye opening to me.   I decided that no matter how I felt on the inside I would “put on” who I wanted to be.   I started going up to people and act very friendly and welcome them to church, as if I was the director of customer service.  I would stand in the foyer and greet people as if I was appointed the job, which I wasn’t.   People started lighting up when they would see me and I made many friends.    I found out from many of them that they were afraid to approach me.

CartwheelYears later I found myself working frantically for God  to be more acceptable to Him.   I became addicted t o “ministry” to cover my own lack of self esteem.   I had learned to paint the picture of being a worthy person very well.  The busier I became in helping people the more accolades of praise and admiration they would lavish me with.  Their words filled the deep holes in my soul that I so needed to feel important—temporarily, just as any addiction does.  I didn’t understand Grace.  I didn’t really know Jesus intimately.  Oh, I knew He had redeemed me and I was going to Heaven.  But I didn’t know He loved me exactly as I am and wanted to fill those deep holes with only Him.     I was slowly sinking into a loss I was not prepared for.

Pharisee  I was caught up in legalism.   I thought if I worked hard enough God would find me acceptable.  Where did that come from?   Was it correct thinking?   I appeared righteous and spiritual, but inside I was ultimately failing to accomplish God’s purposes because my life was based on outward performance instead of inward change.  Being a victim of incest at an early age I always thought that I was less than everyone else.   I was miserable around people because I just knew they could see my flaws, thus, the constant working to prove myself worthy.

Quite often, from earliest childhood mostly, we are taught something born out of someone else’s insecurity, prejudice, ignorance, or our very own victimizations.  These things form the way we think about ourselves.  It is amazing how we can go a lifetime believing lies and living them as truth, based only on our past injuries.

Shoulder-Angel-and-Devil    Mistaken thinking can interfere with the plan God has for you on this earth.  It can keep you down.  It can keep you stuck in a strong hold that will blind you to God’s plan for you.  We need to unlearn the things we have believed all of our lives in order to get unstuck in areas we just can’t seem to move forward in.

What are some areas you have mistakenly believed and walked in most of your life, or maybe, all of your life?   Here are some examples:

  • I am unworthy of love.

  • God loves me only if I am productive.

  • I need to rescue people in order for them to like me.

  • I am an island.

  • Manipulation works.

  • Don’t trust anyone.

  • I can’t.

  • I am a victim for the rest of my life.

  • Never give up control.

  • People are cruel

  • Self esteem is based on good looks, riches, popularity, or power.

  • I have to be perfect.

  • I can fix people.

  • I must always play it safe.

God desires for you to know who you really are, and realize how deeply He loves, accepts, and appreciates you, so that you can live out the fullness of what all He has ordained you to be. God’s Word tells us that without being rooted and grounded in the love (and acceptance) of God, we cannot experience the fullness of God in our lives.

 

golden-keyASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO REVEAL TO YOU THE AREAS OF MISTAKEN THINKING THAT IS NOT OF GOD.

You will be amazed when you ask God to do this and be willing from the heart to listen to Him how quickly he will show you where your thinking is off.

golden-keyIN WHATEVER AREA YOU KNOW YOUR THINKING IS OFF, SEARCH THE WORD FOR WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT YOU AND HOW VALUED YOU REALLY ARE.  MEMORIZE IT AND WHEN YOU GO BACK TO YOUR OLD WAY OF THINKING, IMMEDIATELY PULL OUT YOUR TRUTH INSTEAD!

 Begin to say those scriptures whenever you are tempted to think in your old ways.    For instance, in thinking you are an island unto yourself and the only one you need in life.  The word says to not forsake the gathering of believers together for we need each other.  It is when we isolate that the enemy comes in to deceive us.  We were created for community, not isolation.  We need each other!

golden-keyDEVELOP YOUR INTIMACY WITH A VERY REAL, PERSONABLE JESUS! 

We are who we spend the most time with.  When you really know Jesus in every sense of the word, you become more like Him.  You begin to think like Him!!  Your old misconceptions will change.

PS:  Life Coaching can help you identify your areas of mistaken thinking and transform those areas into “right” thinking, breaking old patterns of defeat.   You might give it a try!     http://www.reflectionsofgracehome.com/lifecoaching.html