Archive for May, 2015

Sometimes

May 10, 2015

*A Tribute to my mom who moved to heaven April 12, 2013*

Sometimes…

photo(2)Sometimes I know it’s raining before I even look outside because my hair curls up & looks like a chia pet. Genetics. Thanks Mom.

Sometimes I think about you telling the corniest jokes on the planet & I can hear your laughter & tears over what you think is the funniest thing ever (one of your faves: A 3 legged dog walks into a bar in Dodge City & hobbles over to John Wayne & says, “I‘m lookin’ for the man who shot my paw.”). Seriously. It’s not THAT funny. But thanks Mom.

Sometimes while I’m checking out at the grocery store & the cashier tells me her whole life story, I think about how it used to annoy me as a child. But now I love that the same thing happens to me. I treasure other people’s stories because YOU taught me how to listen. Thanks Mom.

Sometimes when I am having a busy day at the hospital & a new mom starts crying, I grab her hand, sit on the foot of the bed & cry with her. All because I once saw you wash & braid an old lady’s hair at the end of your shift. I learned empathy from you. Thanks Mom.

Sometimes the days are easy. Sometimes they’re hard. But unlike “sometimes”, I’m ALWAYS grateful that because of your trust in Jesus I know I’ll see you again. And for that I say, “Thanks God”.

remembering

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Peace! Be Still.

May 8, 2015

Anxious. That was the state of my body, soul, and spirit.

My heart raced, my mind wondered, and tears couldn’t even flow (they were probably too nervous to even try and leave the tear ducts)!

In the span of two weeks, needs were brought to my attention that were “too much”. My heart hurt hearing the emergent needs of some of my friends, and my heart of mercy wanted to fix it. But that’s exactly what I couldn’t do, AND it’s exactly what I shouldn’t try and do. Mercy is a beautiful gift. It’s Holy Spirit given and anointed. However, it’s easy to cross the line into pride when we start thinking we’re the ones that can rescue.

We can’t. It’s that simple.

ONLY GOD CAN.

Sunday morning I woke up, and immediately wanted to go back to sleep.

I just wanted to make the aches in my body go away. I wanted the racing in my mind to go away. I wanted the rapid heartbeats to slow down.

redjournalI grabbed my journal along with two pens, one red and one black. It was time to have a serious conversation with the Lord. I needed Him to tell me what this was all about and how we were gonna fix this thing!

I sat on my porch for THREE HOURS! I had my Bible, journal with pens, my phone to play praise music….all the things I could possibly need in order to hear God clearly.

So I thought.

I read through John 6. My personal miracle story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 led into the next miracle of Jesus walking on water. I’ve read that story numerous times, but it was God’s Word that read my heart on the porch that day.

I had asked Jesus, “How can I take You at Your word? I thought I could really say to this mountain, ‘MOVE’, but the mountain hasn’t moved, Lord. I feel like my world is falling apart and I can’t see You. How do I know You’re really there?”  And in the red letters, the next line I read was, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

When the disciples had the storm swirling around them, they didn’t recognize Jesus at first either. Yet when they did, they took Him into their boat, and IMMEDIATELY they were taken to the shore where they were heading (another piece of the miracle).

walkingonwater

However, even in my journaling the anxious feelings didn’t flee. Even with Jesus saying, “It is I; do not be afraid” my heart and mind continued on their race to nowhere.

I looked at my phone. It was time to go to church. Ugh. All I wanted to do was crawl back in bed.

I only went to church that night because I am helping out a church plant, and I know what a big deal it is for a church planter to receive a text that says, “I’m sorry…I’m not going to make it.” It’s devastating, and I didn’t want to be a part of that.

So, I begged God for a word the entire walk up to the door of the meeting hall.

When the worship team started leading us, I felt a shift in my spirit. Every single song brought tears, and I didn’t know why until we started singing You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music. Ah, I get it Lord… Words like “You call me out beyond the shore into the waves….” echoed in my spirit.

Fear was the root cause of my anxiety, and God started peeling those layers back one at a time.

castyouranxietyThen the pastor started preaching. My skin was covered in chill bumps, and my heart convulsed within me. There were SENTENCES the pastor said straight out of my journal. He had no idea I had been dealing with anxiety. But God did. And He gave Pastor Jeff the words to speak straight to my heart to reaffirm to me that He heard me during our time on the porch. He was there all along.

And what I love about how God works is that He goes the extra mile. While that part of the story is amazing enough, it doesn’t stop there. I went to another church plant’s life group this past Wednesday night. Guess what we talked about?  Yep, you guessed it. The miracle story from John 6:16-24. Jesus walks on the water….

Ok, God, I get it. You’re real. You care. You love me. AND You want me to “epiripto”  (“hurl violently”) my cares on you because You care for me.

When Jesus speaks, the storm has to listen. You won’t be overcome, and He will deliver you to the shoreline. Sometimes there’s a process involved, but He’s saying, “It is I; do not be afraid.” You and I can ask Him to get into the boat with us. Who better to invite than the very One who calms the sea with His voice!

So, today no matter what you’re going through, if you’re a believer in Jesus Christ speak these words to your storm: “Peace! Be still.” The wind and waves must listen.

peacebestill

Finding Jesus in a Parking Lot

May 6, 2015

Burdened.

Too much.

Overwhelmed.

How could I be feeling like this? I had just attended a three day women’s event at my church where I listened to the “best of the best” bring incredible insights from the Word of God, and gifted musicians who brought us into the presence of the Lord where we experienced “on earth as it is in heaven.”

But what did I have to show for it besides a bruised heart to go with my slumped shoulders?

Stress had manifested itself physically, and was matching externally what was hemorrhaging internally. I had reached my limit, but didn’t know that’s what the numbness and tingling was from. The electrical pain I was feeling started deep in my soul, and radiated out into my very finger tips.

I was shutting down.

abide2I had missed two weeks of observing the Sabbath. Twenty four hours a week consecrated to God. Holy. I had been absent from abiding with my Father. John 15:5 in the Amplified Bible says, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

I had done just that. I had cut off from vital union with the Vine. Jesus. And I had become a “shriveled up grape” crippled under the pressure of my own weight along with seemingly “noble things for the kingdom” (unending prayer requests from friends, service projects for hurting warriors, and even this three day women’s event).

When I got home and tried to take a nap, adrenaline continued to course through my veins. I couldn’t settle my spirit. I knew I needed Sabbath rest, and I needed to do something that would feed my soul. I decided to get crafty and make a prayer notebook, and get organized! Yes, that’s something that makes me happy. Hobby Lobby and The Container Store each have pieces of my heart. And those pieces can be found in the aisles with Mod Podge, designer scrapbook paper, and well…anything with glitter.

So, I hopped into my car, and prayed the whole two minute trip to Hobby Lobby. I turned off my car, and proceeded to pray out loud, telling God how overwhelmed I was, etc. Then my prayers took a different turn. I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me areas in which I needed to repent.parkinglot

That led to me having church in my Mazda! That led to an encounter with the Lord that I had missed during an incredible conference. That led to me being reaffirmed in knowing that NOTHING can fill me like Almighty God, and NO ONE else can touch my heart like He does.

One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 9:6 and if often quoted at Christmas time. It says, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Yes, the government shall be upon HIS shoulders. That’s why His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30). He is the only One with shoulders big enough to carry the world (and so much more). When we start thinking WE can do the same, we’ve stepped over the line into pride. A righteous burden can become an unrighteous burden if we’re not careful.

I may have gone to church for three days in a row, but it took me parking my car and sitting still to find Jesus.

 bestill