Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized

Who ya gonna call? Who ya gonna trust?

During our stay in Houston as we began to live in and use the Tsunami, we experienced a hot water problem – there wasn’t any!  Now, the Tsunami has a super cool and spiffy instant hot water system, so we were looking forward to experiencing it. But it wasn’t working like it should.

So, we went to tell the boss lady, Marilyn and Al, the guy in charge of getting the Tsunami ready to go about this problem. They called a certified service tech to come out and take a look.

About an hour later, Rudy the certified service guy arrives and begins doing the appropriate testing and diagnostic work to figure out what is wrong.  He can’t quite nail it and there are two steps that must be taken to eliminate possibilities and hopefully resolves the issue.  These two steps involve the purchase of parts.  Expensive parts.  Parts that need to get replaced anyway but may not solve the problem.

Visualize, in a small office Robert and I, Marilyn and Al and the service guy, Rudy.  As Rudy explains the situation and his analysis and as Marilyn and Al realize there are expenses involved and then possibly more expenses involved, a little tempest begins to brew.  Rudy wants to sell the parts he has in his truck. Marilyn and Al know they need to get this fixed for us and yet they know that they are also spending other money on our Tsunami.  Robert and I are thinking, “Hey, we should be able to buy the Tsunami with full working hot water” so we don’t really want to pay either.  The room is full of talking and discussing and a few sparks begin to fly because this involves money!  Robert and I are quiet as the other three keep going round and round.  Finally, Robert and I look at each other with the look no longer requires words.  The “look” means, “time to pray.  Much prayer. Much power.”

So, with our eyes open and continuing to listen to the brewing conversation, we separately and silently begin to pray for God to move in this situation.  I’m not sure Robert’s specific prayer, but God led me to pray in a particular way.  My prayer went something like this, “Jesus, I don’t want us to pay.  I think Marilyn and Al need to fix it, but I know they are already doing so much for us, so I don’t want them to get gouged.  Jesus, I also want to go home tomorrow and not have to stay any longer trying to solve this.  Rudy, help him to fix it if we can get him parts that aren’t a fortune.  Lord, please move.”

Al and Rudy leave to go out to look at the hot water thing again.  Marilyn gets online to find the parts while muttering, “I can find these parts cheaper.  I’m not paying that much.  I’m already putting so much into this motor home…blah, blah, blah…”.

Robert and I are silent.  Not saying a word.  Not really moving.  Eyes wide open and praying.

In just a few minutes and a few clicks on her keyboard, Marilyn begins to say, “No way.  Uh-uh. I’ve never seen this website before.  I’ve never heard of this company.  Look at that, this part is only $xxx instead of $yyyy.”  She dials the phone, talks to them, confirms the $xxx price and it’s so much lower than the $yyyy price.  She orders the part and then tells the company, “I don’t know where ya’ll have been or why I haven’t heard of you before today, but I’ll be using you a lot.”

Robert and I look at each other and laugh.  God moved. Marilyn got the part inexpensively, Rudy will come out tomorrow morning and do his best to fix it.  God has resolved today’s issue.

The part comes the next morning.  Rudy comes out to fix it; it doesn’t fix it.  Robert and I decide to go run a couple of errands while Rudy does more diagnostic work.  We get in the borrowed car, give each other the “look” and we begin to pray, “Lord, we really want to go home.  Please help Rudy to find and resolve the problem so we don’t have to stay.  Please may no more parts need to be ordered and no more expenses incurred.”

We receive a call while we are out running errands and guess what?  Rudy fixed the problem and the Tsunami is now ready for our first road trip!

Lesson:  We are often in situations where there are problems, confrontations and even conondrums. We feel we are not in control. We have fear, doubt and stress. We want to protect ourselves.  So, we try to get our way, even if it’s “fair”.  We try to bring resolution, or get the situation turned in our favor or we sometimes even just decide to take the hit and walk away.  The truth is that, we are using our human mind and human possibilities and we aren’t thinking of God.  We are trusting in ourselves or trusting in others.  But, we need to be trusting in and calling on God! God can do anything!  God can make a way where there is NO way! As His child, I know He has promised to take care of me.  So, I am learning to call on Him and trust in Him; He has never, ever let me down!!

So, who ya gonna call?  Call on God – He can do anything.  Who ya gonna trust?  God because He is always working everything out for our good! Sometimes I forget and it takes me awhile to call on God.  But, as I grow to know Him more, as I remember and record all He has done for me, I am able to more quickly,  more often and more confidently call on my God for help!

Next week: I will introduce you to the concept of the J-Wave and how we are learning to ride it! Our motor home being a Tsunami is not a coincidence!  Have a wonderful upcoming weekend!!

Psalm 27:7

Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
    Be merciful and answer me!

Hebrews 4:16

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized

Frog kissing and decision making

48Before I begin to tell you about our frog kissing adventure to find the Tsunami, I want to answer a question  we are repeatedly getting.  “Where are you going?”

Well, we are going nowhere right now!  We will be living at the USI RV Park on 33rd street, near 96 and Hillside.  We will move in there on 9/27.  Robert will continue to operate his business, Diamond Home Design and do what he has been doing – kitchen and bath remodeling/construction.  I will continue to do a little personal training (just trained a client yesterday in the Tsunami and she said it was quite roomy and comfie!) and food educating and cooking classes under the KP Ministry business name.  We will continue life as normally as possible while residing in a home on wheels in about 380 square feet!  Come up and see us ok?

Ok, so with our “sticks and bricks” home (rv lingo for a regular home) sold, it was time to begin serious looking at motor homes.  As we researched extensively online, reading blogs and websites related to living in an RV full-time and purchasing a motor home, we began to form a vision of what we thought would make sense for us.  So, with our criteria mostly established  we began to look at these things called motor homes.  We started locally by touring them at dealerships in Wichita.  Each time we went in one, we learned something.  There is and was much to learn as you are not just buying walls, plumbing and electrical, but you are also buying an engine, a chassis, a generator and an inverter and all your furntiure and lighting too! What?  I didn’t even know what half that stuff was when we started!  So, we became immersed and nearly obsessed with learning and looking. Our hope was to find one and own it a few weeks before moving.

Once we got passed the research phase and into what I call the consideration phase.  God began to teach us a new way (new way to us) to make decisions.  Let me briefly describe what this entails.  First, He has called us to use the mind He has given us and operate in wisdom.  In one of my favorite devotional books, Jesus Calling, the author refers to the human mind as the pinnacle of God’s creation and it’s primarily purpose is to use it to know God and His Word!  Second, He has called us to listen to the Holy Spirit, our Wise Counselor.  It is in the use of both our minds and the counsel of the Holy Spirit that we are to make decisions.  Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Message translation says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart.  Don’t try to figure everything out on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do and everywhere you go.  He’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume you know it all.”  So, before we went into each motor home , Robert and I paused to pray for the wisdom to use our minds and the courage to listen to the Holy Spirit.

We looked at a lot of motor homes and traveled many miles to do so. The ones we traveled to see looked like princes online but when we got there – FROGS. Big fat, slimy frogs.  In frustration, at one point we really thought we were supposed to go purchase one in San Antonio, TX.  But, God stopped that purchase dead in our tracks and we are thankful (that is a story for another blog).  At one point we thought we were supposed to buy locally and not go to all the risk and trouble and time to purchase out of state.  But, once again God stopped that from happening too!  How did God stop us?  Through the caution of the Holy Spirit.  When in a listening (aka quiet) state with eyes and ears and heart and mind and will turned to Him, you will see and sense and know what the Holy Spirit is telling you.  The hard part sometimes is that it may conflict with the logic of the human mind, at least temporarily!  So, which one, my human mind or the Holy Spirit, has the “override” button?  In other words, if these two  don’t fully agree, which one do we make our decision in accordance with?  The Holy Spirit.  The verse above tells me I can’t figure everything out on my own!  That I should listen for God’s voice wherever I go.

Example of the Holy Spirit stopping us

We found a great, high quality, right sized and well priced motor home.  The owner was motivated to sell.  We went up to look at it.  We toured it and while all the important mechanical stuff seemed right, the interior seemed worn for it’s age and it was kind of well, not so attractive inside.  But, we thought with our human mind, “what a great price for such a quality vehicle. We probably won’t find everything we want in our price range and if it’s not so pretty, then so be it.”   Robert began to talk more seriously with the owner and work a little harder on price.  Meanwhile, I went back inside and really looked and prayed.  As I walked through this motor home, I just didn’t get the seal of approval and ease in my spirit.  I couldn’t put my finger on it at first and then I could.  I stepped out and asked Robert to come back inside with me.  We prayed and talked and felt a caution; so we left and told the guy we were seriously interested but couldn’t commit. Once in the car, we realized that when we are making decisions in agreement with God then we will have a certain peace and joy.  Neither of us felt this.  We just felt – good deal.  See, it wasn’t the right one for us and it certainly wasn’t God’s best for us.  With our human mind, this motor home made sense – it was close to home, priced right and of good quality; it didn’t agree with what God’s voice was saying.  So, we had to pass.

Example of Holy Spirit leading us

About a week into our search, we found online the Tsunami.  When we first looked at this we were wowed and felt like it was perfect for us.  It’s the same way we felt when we found the little house we’ve lived in for the past two years.  Wow, this is perfect for us.  And like this little house, when we saw the Tsunami, we thought, “nah, it’s too beautiful.  It’s too…well, it’s just too…” Also, the truth was the price was above our upper limit.

The morning after we saw the Tsunami for the first time, I pulled it up online to look at it again.  Between 7:00 p.m. the night before and 8:00 a.m. the next morning the price had been lowered by 16% putting it right at the top end of our budget.  But, we thought, “No, it’s in Houston.  That’s risky and a lot of work to go get.  This can’t be the right one. Plus, we haven’t seen a lot of these Tsunami’s and that seems risky too.”  But, to even see if it could be right for us, I called.  The woman on the other end of the phone was brisk but nice. I asked her to send me the details.  She did and included an invoice in case I wanted to present it to the bank to for financing purposes.  When I opened up the invoice, she had made a typo in the price.  Robert called her and said, “Hey, you’ve made a typo in your price.”  She said she hadn’t.  Robert insisted that she had.  She insisted that she hadn’t.  So, we sent the paperwork to the bank.  Later, she called back and realized she had made a typo in the price.  The typo had lowered the price now to a full 20% off the initial price we had seen.  She said she’d honor it.  We began to realize that the Hand of God was working in our favor.  To make a long story short, God was leading us to Houston to buy the Tsunami.  Here’s a short list of how He did that:

  • The price was lowered 20% to fit right into the top end of our budget.
  • This company was the only company that provided a one year warranty and 4 new tires included in the price.
  • We had kissed a lot of frogs and it was exhausting.  We drove and drove and drove and spent HOURS looking at all kinds of motor homes that looked good online, but when we got there were absolutely horrible.
  • We consulted with our bank and afterwards, reviewed our excel spreadsheet with the motor homes we were considering and all their data points laid out for comparison and the Tsunami did stand out as one of the top three best choices.

So, God was showing us that what had at first seemed ridiculous – a motor home out of our budget and 600 miles from home was really becoming possible.  So, we prayed and felt as much human  wisdom as you can feel buying a motor home, sight unseen, 600 miles away from someone you don’t know!  We called her back, said we wanted to come down and planned to purchase the Tsunami.  Now, here’s the short list of some of God’s favor once we took the leap of faith and followed His voice to do what seemed a little crazy to our human mind.

  • She asked for only a 5% deposit to hold the Tsunami instead of her usual 20%.
  • She insisted we stay 3 days and live in the motor home on their property and they would teach us all about it. See, we knew nothing about living in a motor home! She also put one of their cars at our disposal while in Houston so we wouldn’t have the cost of renting a car once we got there. All of this would be free of charges.
  • One morning before heading to Houston, Robert and I wondered if the bed would be comfortable since the Tsunami is a 2005, making the bed 9 years old.  90 minutes later, she called Robert and said she wanted to put in a new bed for us and would we want a sleep by number or a tempur-pedic?
  • We found a review online of Tsunami’s and realized that this motor home was one of the highest quality ones to be found and it had more features than we knew.
  • Once we were down there and walked into it….the joy.  Pure joy and peace.  We felt at home right away.  It was as beautiful in person as online.  No frog here!

Lesson: Learning to make a decision with this kind of unity and prayer with Robert has been one of the most amazing experiences.  Learning to follow God’s voice and the Holy Spirit and let our thinking  take a back seat to God’s voice was a little unnerving. As we followed God’s voice, His choice for us became clearer and then began to make  total sense to our human mind. If we hadn’t taken that step of faith and taken that risky  trip to Houston, God wouldn’t have been able to fully reveal to us the wisdom of the Tsunami nor would we have received all the blessings of the Tsunami.

On many occasions in the past we have seen God  bless us not only with what was practical, but also with our hearts desires. He has done it again with the Tsunami.  I wanted a certain kind of very rare bedroom floor plan – the Tsunami has it.  Robert wanted certain mechanical things like a big horsepower engine and he got them.  I cook a lot and the Tsunami has a residential size refrigerator and a dishwasher – very, very rare things in a motor home.

We don’t know everything. Our minds are limited.  But God knows all and sees all and will lead us to what He has prepared to give us and where He wants us to go; we just need to allow His voice to override the limitations of our human mind so we can take that  step of faith!

Believe in His word. Believe in His voice.  It will make the step of faith easier to take!

Tomorrow: Praying in the heat of the moment and seeing God answer instantly. I promise it will be a much shorter blog than today’s!!

(the picture above is of the living and kitchen area in the Tsunami.  Decorations are not mine!)

Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized

The whisper came clear as could be

Sometime in Jul004y, I started hearing a whisper from God, “Prepare your home as if you were going to sell it.” I listened and my interpretation was as follows, “This home is my gift to you. Honor Me by keeping it in tip top shape all the time.”

Meanwhile, in my devotions two themes were developing.  Little did I know how important those themes would be in the month of August and into early September!

The one theme was to stay behind God.  Follow Him.  See, as many of you know, I am enthusiastic and historically more of a ready, fire and then aim kind of person.  So, I just assumed and interpreted the scriptures as God holding me back and teaching me a new pace.  Cool.  I know I need that lesson.  I was reading in the book of Ezekiel at the time and in one of Ezekiel’s visions there are these heavenly beings.  This particular heavenly being’s spirit is in a wheel underneath their body and where ever the spirit leads they go.  They are neither ahead nor are they behind.  Additionally, the Israelites followed the Ark of the Covenant.  So, I was taking in that lesson and checking myself and slowing down and not getting ahead.

The second theme was that of a tree planted by a river.  Specifically, Jeremiah 17:7,8 which says, “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.  They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.  Such trees are not bothered by heat or worried by long months of drought.  Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit.

To summarize these themes I was learning to follow God to stick with Him and not get ahead of Him.  I was also learning that as I grow in Godly knowledge and He transforms me I will be able to withstand life’s situations, challenges and circumstances because I trust in Him.  God wants me to believe Him, take Him at His Word and trust Him and know that He is working ALL things out for my good (Romans 8:28).

So, back to this whisper, “Prepare your house as if you were going to sell it”.  We were in the midst of doing just that one day in mid-August.  We decided that we needed some storage solutions for one of our bedrooms.  So, we went out to invest in storage solutions.  Low and behold, we pull up to one store and parked in front is a huge motorhome.  We got out of the car and Robert and I looked at each other and just started laughing.  We were reminded of the seed God planted in 2011 when He asked us to downsize to get free and mobile and He gave us the vision of a motorhome. We had kind of, mostly forgotten that. (remember from yesterday God is sequential..) So, here we are preparing our house “as if” to sell and then God plants an enormous motorhome in our path as we are about to spend more money on this little house He put us in only temporarily!  It was evident and clear to both of us and that’s why we busted out laughing.  I’m not even sure we had to say out loud that we were not going to invest in storage solutions for a home we were clearly not going to be in long!

We continued to pray and felt complete and total peace that preparation was leading to sale.  On August 14th, I put in a call to our realtor, Betty Jett to let her know we would have our house ready to put on the market in early September.  Betty Jett responded, ” No way.  I just got a call on your house last week.  This person saw it when you had it up for sale last fall and was unable to purchase at the time.”  Really?  Seriously?  Nah, that won’t happen.

Well, it did.  This lovely lady and her husband put a contract on our home before it even made it to the MLS!  That happened on a Saturday.

That Sunday, I was in church and just thanking God for how He works.  I was so appreciative of having the house sold because the stress of showing a house, wondering when it will sell and how much it will sell for is not a lot of fun.  But, God in His mercy and grace knew that other challenges would come and He could take this one off our plate.  I was praising Him and thanking Him.  During this time of praise in church, God had a few words for me.  Let me share.

He, in His wonderful humor said to me, ” All this time, you thought I was holding you back.  Go reread those verses.  They don’t say stay behind, they say stay with me!  See, you aren’t getting ahead of me, I was preparing you to keep up with me.  Put on your spiritual running shoes, we are moving forward!” I laughed and I cried.

The second thing He said to me was, “You will be mobile, but don’t worry about where you are going just yet.  I’m getting you and Robert in position.  Remember Noah?  He built that Ark, but it sat on dry ground for a bit.”

Lesson:  Keep listening. Pay attention. String the dots together.  God will tell you,  then His word and circumstances will bring you clarity and confirmation. Pray with your spouse and read God’s word together.  Share what He is saying to each of you.  Robert and I experienced incredible unity on this.

Hint:  We will be living in our new Tsunami motorhome beginning on September 27th!

Next:  Kissing a lot of frogs to find our motorhome and making decisions in a new and powerful way.

Spiritual Growth, Triathlon Training

Let go! Walk into a new thing!

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In October of 2011, I was sitting at the kitchen table doing my devotions and God told me to let go of triathlon. I asked Him to repeat that and of course He did. He wasn’t speaking out loud, but He was telling me,” Daughter, in your workout room, there are pictures, medals and trophies from triathlon and athletes you admire hanging on the walls – this sport I gave you to learn about me through is becoming an idol (replacement god, something I am loving just a bit too much) and I need you to go back and take all that stuff down for awhile and put it away. I know you are injured right now and I can’t tell you whether you will return or not to this sport. But, remember what I did for you through this sport- I helped you learn to swim, brought you a coach ( who turned out to be like the brother you never had), I helped you understand that if you swam in cooperation with the water it would be much easier.  I showed you that in life, when you cooperate with me it will be much easier. I gave you a great job as a triathlon coach and blessed you with many wonderful athletes. I gave you the discipline and talent to go from never being an athlete to competing rather competently in your age group. I provided you the funds and blessings to have all the first rate equipment you needed and to travel to great places to race. I placed in your heart the audacious goal to qualify for the World Championship race in Florida.  You believed in Me enough to go for it and I brought you there didn’t I? That dear daughter, was the last race I brought you to. I brought you to the top race in your sport. That is how I roll dear daughter! Only the best for you. So, now, I’m doing a new thing. I’m taking you new places and I need you to let go of triathlon to go with me on this new journey. I need to be number 1 in your life. Remember this triathlon journey we have been on? I promise you, the next one will be just as exciting and challenging as everything I blessed and challenged you with in your triathlon life.”

I cried. Both in sadness and in joy. I looked back at all God had done and wondered how could I not  let go of triathlon to go into this “new thing”? I decided God was making me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I got up in that moment of commitment and packed up everything as He had told me to and determined to go forward into this “new thing”.

Yes, I drift back into desiring to train and compete. But as time passes, I drift back less and less and less. And as time has passed He is showing me, leading me, preparing me for the “new thing”.

Over the years, I can tell you God has asked me to let go of many things that were hard to let go of, but each time I have let go, I have never ever regretted it. In fact, a few times I have wondered why I hung on so long!

About a year after I put all my triathlon stuff away, God permitted me to put it back up.  Why?  It serves as a visual reminder of all that He has done so I can remain hopeful, patient and confident in Him as He leads me into the new thing! Now, instead of an idol it is an altar that confirms who He is and how He rolls!

I  believe that whatever it is we are hanging on to isn’t nearly as good as what He wants to give us!

Let’s make a commitment today to release what we are hanging on to. He is a loving and trustworthy God. Let’s agree  to take a step forward with Him into the “new thing”!

 

Ephesians 2:10

10 For 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.

Philippians 3:12-14

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Spiritual Growth

Remembering who you are

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I’m not sure about you, but I have days when I am confident, hopeful and rocking and rolling in a groove and then I have days where, well, I am not confident, hopeful or rocking and rolling yet alone in a groove.  I find on the not so good days I have forgotten who I am!  See, I am a Child of the Most High God.  I am blessed and highly favored and my God is with me, empowering me, guiding me and protecting me.  That is the truth, so I’m working on more consistently operating from this truth.  I was combing through my “God” articles file and I found the writing below from 2009.  I cleaned it up a bit and I’m posting it now to help myself and you remember our true identity in Jesus Christ!

The apostle Paul wrote a huge portion of the New Testament. In nearly every single book that he wrote Paul’s opening verses state with clarity and authority who he is.  Check out a few verses from a book he wrote called Galatians.

 Galatians1:1 This letter is from Paul, an apostle.  I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.

 Galatians 1:10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.  If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

 Galatians 1:15 But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace.  Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good news about Jesus to the Gentiles.

 Do you hear Paul’s clarity?  Paul is clear about who he is and why.  He is clear about who God is and who his Son is.  Nothing grey here.  Paul has amazing clarity of who he is despite his own dark past. Paul really knew how to be a good Jew! He was a Priest and very highly educated. Perhaps because of his knowledge, Paul knew only too well how difficult following the law was and how easy sin is! Paul, prior to God divinely showing him that Jesus was the messiah was a persecutor of Christians. He was one of the prime influences for the stoning of Stephen. Paul says this about himself:

 Galatians 1:13…I violently persecuted God’s church.  I did my best to destroy it.

Paul sees both who he was and who he now is! Recently I read the following statement:“We see ourselves through our past and God sees us through our future”.  Does Paul seem guilt ridden or hindered by his past?  Does he sound like he’s nervous about how people will see him or accept him in his new role as an apostle because of his past? Absolutely not.  Does Paul place his identity in his past or in his present and future? Paul has clarity and knows he has a past but he sees himself as God sees him – through his future!!  Why? Because Paul lives in the truth of who he is and whose he is.  He is a child of the one true God, saved by Jesus, his sins are forgiven, eternal life guaranteed, Holy Spirit received.

 Gods’ word is full of promises for us, and statements about who we are because of Jesus.  God’s word is our truth and our reality. God’s word tells us our future. If we would just begin to ask God to help us comprehend this we could begin to know who we are with the same kind of clarity that Paul demonstrates in the verses mentioned above!

“Now with God’s help, I shall become myself.”  Soren Kierkegaard

 My prayer is that God will keep showing us through His word, who He is, and who we are in Him. I pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us and teach us God’s word so we can know whose we are and who we are at all times! Not just intellectually, but into the very DNA of our being. I pray that we can let go of our past identity and fully embrace the new identity that Jesus purchased on the cross for us.  I pray that in each moment of our life, we will have the same confidence and clarity that Paul expresses in Galatians as we move ever forward into the marvelous future God has planned for us since before we were born.

Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized

What Gumby the deaf and blind Great Dane taught me

20130621-204741.jpgYesterday, I had a couple of meetings scheduled at a local Starbucks. As I selected an outdoor seat, there was a woman sitting with this gorgeous 125 pound Great Dane, Gumby. He had a harness on that told me his name and also informed me that he was both deaf and blind.

As I watched them, I could see her immense love for him and her dedication to him. I could also see his trust in her. He had to. He was somewhere he couldn’t see, surrounded my a world he couldn’t hear. Reliant on her to guide him and keep him safe. Gumby was lucky to have her. His fate could have been death or ending up with a caregiver that didn’t care. She talked about how he had recently gone from seeing some shadows with one eye, to now not being able to see anything and how hard that was for him. She said that today he would be a little bored because he wasn’t going to doggie day care and would be spending the day with her! Wow, she loves him, cares for him and is clearly trying to provide him with the best possible life.

She has a big responsibility. Gumby has to have “big” faith and trust the she will do what is best for him!

Gumby is lucky, his caretaker is a good woman with his best interests at heart! He doesn’t have a choice of who to trust, he has to trust the person who adopted him. We however, do have a choice. Who are you trusting in? And to quote Dr. Phil, how is that working out for you?

For most of my life I placed my trust in myself. I realized at 39 that I wasn’t doing the best job of this. When I looked around, I saw that many people weren’t really doing any better than I was. I am not talking about the outward stuff of jobs, career, vacation, cars and money. I am talking about that veneer that I had to create to cover up my lack of peace and self-esteem to show myself and others that I was “ok”, “happy” and worth something. I wanted deep security, deep satisfaction, peace, contentment and happiness. That’s what I wanted and what I was absolutely missing.

I realized there had to be a better way! So as if on auto-pilot, like somewhere deep inside knew where to go, I went back to church. I pronounced that Jesus was my savior and I would trust Him to guide me and take care of me. Over the last 12 years, I have, step by step, learned to trust in, follow and obey Jesus. It would be a ridiculous understatement to tell you that Jesus is doing a much better job of guiding my life than I was!

As I get to know Jesus more I am gaining, bit by bit, a deep security, a deep satisfaction, peace, contentment,  tremendous joy, lots of hope for the future and confidence in His plan for me. Whatever I have had to let go of, whatever ways and behaviors and choices I’ve had to change to line up with what the Bible instructs, have been worth it.  He has never asked me to let go of anything that I have missed!  Jesus knows what is best for me and I trust in Him…more completely each day.

Gumby really touched me yesterday as I watched him calmly trust her. I realized that I want to more calmly and even more fully trust Jesus. He has proven himself trustworthy time after time after time!

 

Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized

Three ways to kick Fear to the curb

FEAR
False Evidence Appearing Real

Fear keeps us from moving forward doesn’t it?  Fear keeps us stuck in our past. Fear keeps us from letting go. Fear keeps us from moving into new freedoms, new ways of thinking, being, seeing and doing that would release us into the bright future God has planned for us (Jeremiah 29:11)! Fear gets us stuck in a rut. Fear stops us in our tracks. Fear is an immobilizer.

Fear needs to get kicked to the curb. Fear is the opposite of freedom.  Fear is the opposite of faith.  Joyce Meyer, one of my favorite Christian authors and speakers writes, “Sometimes we think of fear as an emotion, but it is actually a spirit. In fact, fear is one of Satan’s favorite tools, and he particularly loves to harass Christians with it”.

Fear is not what God gives us! 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love and self-discipline.”

So, how do we kick fear to the curb? Here are three ways to send the spirit of fear packing and get yourself going!

#1 Power of the Word

In Ephesians 6:10-17 Paul tells us how to fight fear and all kinds of other spiritual battles.  He describes all kinds of armor to put on.  Everything Paul lists is a defensive armor (protection) except for one thing, the last thing he lists. Paul tells us the Word of God (the Bible) is a sword!  Paul states that God’s Word is our best offensive weapon against fear!!

#2 Memorize the Word

The Bible tells us in 365 different verses “Do not be afraid”…that’s one for everyday.  I think God knows how big a battle fear is for us and through the Bible (the Word) He is giving us the power to kick fear to the curb! You can easily find these verses by looking them up online at Biblegateway.com or in a printed Bible. In a printed Bible there is usually a reference in the back for finding key words.  Look for them.  Find one that  speaks to you. Memorize it.

#3 Verbalize the Word

You’ll be amazed at the power of God’s Word as you speak it’s truth into your life. Yes, speak it out loud!  Speak it out loud in the shower, in front of the mirror, in the car.  Whisper it as you head into a difficult conversation or a challenging opportunity. Look your husband or wife or best friend in the eye and tell them your verse! Share the power with them, ask them to believe with you the promise in the verse.

I have fear.  We all have fear. But we don’t have to live with it! It takes some bravery to see it, accept it and determine to not allow it to immobilize us or keep us stuck. Remember, that fear is false evidence appearing real and God has given us what we need to kick fear to the curb.

P.S. SPECIAL BONUS: When you find your Do Not Fear verse(s), you will also find that as God tells us to not be afraid He also reminds us that He IS with us!!

Spiritual Growth, Triathlon Training

Don’t miss an opportunity

For several years I arose at 4:30 am in the morning to go swim under the leadership of a great coach. Here are a few life lessons and training lessons I learned during those years that have changed my life.

1. If there is someone placed in your path that can teach you something you want to learn or improve at, then by all means be a good student. Here’s how:
A. Show up for the lessons. Every time. All the time. Not just when it is easy, comfortable or convenient.
B. Do what your teacher says. Don’t think you know better. Don’t think you can’t. Don’t look around at what others are doing. Just follow directions.
C. Respect their knowledge by treating them with respect. Be quiet when they are teaching. Show up on time. Do your homework.
D. Ask someone to teach you if needed! If we are good at something it is likely because we enjoy it. So asking someone to teach is probably something they will be very receptive to. Understand if they can’t and seriously consider any referral they give you.

2. Don’t presume that this teacher will always be there. Don’t hesitate. Don’t delay. Start learning immediately. They could move. The good Lord could call them home. Carpe diem!

3. Let the teacher know you appreciate what they are teaching by telling them how it is improving your life, the skill or the talent. Those that teach, encourage and motivate pour out energy and simple words of appreciation provide a lot of fuel to a teacher so they can keep teaching!

4. As you are learning, expect times of great progress. Expect times of immense frustration too. Anything we are learning and growing through will take time. There will be good days, bad days and break through days. Relish and record the break through days so that on bad days you can look back and see how far you have come.

5. If you are learning with others be open minded….often you will make a new and wonderful friend or business contact. What you are pursuing, the people learning beside you are also pursuing. Enjoy the journey together!

During the height of swimming early in the morning I achieved some accomplishments in the water I never dreamed possible. I shared a swim lane with 5-7 others and together we became a mini swim team. Each of us helped the others improve. Sometimes I was given goals by my coach and I would roll my eyes in disbelief and doubt at their absurdity. But, about 99% of the time the challenge was on target and I achieved the goal! With a good teacher and a team to learn with….you will be amazed at what will become possible and then achievable!

Sometimes we can’t find a teacher. Sometimes, we must determine to learn on our own for awhile. I encourage you to not lose faith or hope because you can’t yet find a good teacher. Do as much as you can while you wait for God to provide you a teacher, in His time He will!!

Remember, the best teachers give their best to the most teachable students! You don’t have to be the best in the class. Just strive to be the best you can be and stay confident in the teaching and allow the process to bring you through to your potential!

This blog is a tribute to my great friend and swim coach- thank you from the bottom of my heart !

Spiritual Growth

Don’t quit quitting!

 In the very wee hours of the morning of the second Sunday of Lent 2013, I was awake, wide awake. I was angry at myself, sad, and asking God to yet again forgive me.

See, on Friday night, I had wine  – 2 glasses of wine. I had these glasses of wine after months of not having wine.  I forget the number of days I had been wine free, somewhere around 140 days or so. Wait, let me back up a bit.

 Years ago, perhaps in 2004, 2005 or 2006, as I was reading and doing devotions one evening before going to bed, God had spoke to me.  He said, “Daughter, the hole in your heart that you keep filling with wine.  I would like you to stop filling it with wine.  I’d like you to permit me to fill that hole and you will never thirst for wine again.”  I heard Him loud and clear.  I believed Him.  So, I quit drinking wine but not for long.

Wait, let me back up just a bit further than that. Long ago, in perhaps 1997 or 1998, I realized that I was drinking too much (I was not yet a Christian).  That what was once no big deal was becoming something I wasn’t necessarily in control of.  I quit drinking for 6 months.  Then, one day in a blink, I began to drink again and didn’t stop.  Because of God’s grace and favor this wine thing never really got out of control; but I was soothing myself and medicating myself with wine and would continue to do so.

 So, really since about 1997 I had been struggling to quit drinking wine.  Each year that passed I drank less and less and less.  Yet, I never wanted to give it up forever.  I’d quit for a while and think that because I had quit for X amount of time that my relationship with it had changed.  Once I started again, I would realize that nothing had changed.  It was a long, painful, shameful and very lonely struggle. I had a hole in my heart and soul that ONLY God could fill and yet I kept putting wine in the hole!

 Now, back to the wee hours of the second Sunday of Lent 2013.  God spoke to me. He knew I was feeling remorse, confessing, vowing to quit again.  (See I promised Him in the spring of 2012, that no matter what it took, I would keep trying to quit until I did quit.) God told me that this wine thing was “in” me, it was part of the sinful nature I was born with and that He loved me anyway and that He could and would heal me. He asked me to just acknowledge that I couldn’t quit on my own. To admit that after all these years of trying I couldn’t do it no matter how badly most of me wanted to.  UGH.  Really?  Yuck.  I hate this. He said,” It is what it is and it’s sin…but I love you, I can heal you and you can choose me over this wine. Just admit you are powerless to quit. That’s all I ask of you.”

 Well, I can tell you I’m not crazy.  It’s true, I couldn’t do it or I’d have done it!  So, it was humbling and painful and shameful to admit that I couldn’t. I told God, He was right, I had a problem with wine, I couldn’t quit on my own, I didn’t have the ability or the power. The next morning, I awoke and I knew in my heart, in my body, in my mind and in my soul that what had transpired between God and I earlier was huge and that I was to never be the same.

 We went to church.  I cried.  I cried as I told the Lord again that I had a problem I was powerless over and that I would do whatever it took to be healed.  Our church, St. Mark United Methodist Church, has an altar call each week for those who, among other things, need prayer.  In front of all these people I didn’t know (this was only our second Sunday at SMUMC) I went forward. I was a crying mess.  But I knew that altar was where I needed to lay this down.

 I left church that day, knowing that the burden had been laid down and I was even more certain  that something had indeed changed and would never be the same. See until this healing encounter, I had always held out hope that I could keep wine in my life “normally”.  Now, I genuinely did not have that desire or hope.  I was simply done with wine.  I was healed. I was free; but I was still cautious and fearful that the voice of wine and the desire for wine would return.

 Now today, about 70  days later, I can tell you that I do not miss wine.  I do not think of wine.  I do not desire wine.  The hole in my heart and soul is now filled and healed. I do not know how except for the miraculous healing power of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and a church home that believes in the power of prayer enough to have an altar call where people can come to be healed.  See, the church had committed to praying for me for 30 days from the day I went to the altar.  I feel like those prayers were the prayers that sustained me during those initial days as I test-drove my healing! They were the prayers that gave my healing wings.  I can now soar like an eagle…free and healed.

 My shame is gone.  My struggles are over.  My freedom is oh so sweet. I am confidently respectful of my freedom and healing and I know that I am not responsible for it. My healing is from the Lord. I am so thankful that I can’t praise Him enough for this freedom.  Today, as I worshipped in church, I felt that I just couldn’t go another day without telling of what the Lord has done for me.

I was reminded  of the 10 lepers that Jesus had healed.  Only one of them returned to say thank you.  The other nine got healed and continued on their merry little way. This blog is my way of publicly returning to say THANK YOU.

 He can do the same for you!  He will do the same for you.  Don’t quit quitting whatever it is that needs quitting.  Don’t ever give up on receiving the healing.  If your healing takes time like mine did…listen and pay attention.  God taught me so much during the many years I struggled and waited to be healed.  I never gave up hope.  I never stopped asking.  Our God is faithful and in His perfect timing He will heal!!

(reminder, I am not on Facebook for the year 2013 even though I am posting this blog to Facebook. If you want to comment or share with me, please do that via this blog.  thank you!)

Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized

Can I share a secret with you?

eagle

Last night, I woke up remembering Isaiah 40:31.

Isaiah. 40: 31 MSG

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.

As the verse came into my mind there was one word that really, really hit me as the key to the entire verse.  The word?

WAIT. WAIT.  WAIT.  WAIT.  WAIT.

No, I’m not screaming at you dear reader.  But the Lord was getting my attention last night and shared a big secret with me!

I’ve been a “ready, fire, aim” kind of a person. If there is something that needs to get done, let’s do it, now! If there is a problem, I want it solved now.  If there is a question, I want it answered now.  If there is anything uncertain, I want it certain now. Shouldn’t all questions and things unsolved, unsorted and “unfigured” get solved, sorted and figured out as soon as possible?

I’m kind of being dramatic and funny.  It is true that in the past four to five years, my faith in God has helped me to settle down and leave things unsorted for a bit of time and that is an improvement.  But, waiting on the Lord is not what I have done well. Through this verse, God has motivated me to wait, but before I explain why follow me to another question before I wrap this up ok?

Have you ever been through a phase in life and although it was a very, very good phase (or even just a very, very bad phase. I’ve had those too) it just left you pooped?  Your energy just sapped and drained?  Perhaps because it was a big load to carry or the pace was accelerated or whatever.  I’m on the tail end of the recovery portion required after a phase in life like that. I’ll bet you can relate.

As I look forward and ponder and begin to seek God’s direction for my next steps, I look around at some men and women that I feel are a few of my heroes in ministry such as Joyce Meyer, Bill Hybel, Andy Stanley, Beth Moore, Louie Giglio, David Platt to name a few. How do these people run huge organizations, speak, travel and write prolifically?  Where on earth do they get the energy?  The strength?  The stamina?  The time? Do they sleep? How do they just not collapse? How do they do this year after year after year?

God shared their “secret” with me.  Their secret is waiting on the Lord.

When we WAIT on the Lord, He will give us fresh strength. 

We won’t need to dig deep and find strength that comes at a very high price.  The price of strength from the Lord is the cost of waiting.  I don’t think there is a cost in waiting on the Lord! What I believe He is saying is, “Wait on me to do what I want you to do and you will have plenty of strength to do it.”   Why would I want to get ahead of Him and not get fresh strength?

When we WAIT on the Lord, He will give us the ability to soar.

Can you see an eagle, high in the sky, wings spread just doing exactly what God made him to do? I am sure that the eagle feels great soaring in the sky, gliding on his wings aren’t you? When the Lord releases us to do what’s He has planned and prepared us to do we will soar. Why wouldn’t I want to soar?

When we WAIT, He will give us enduring energy.

It will be a supernatural, God powered energy.  It will be enough energy.  It will be so much energy we can run and not get tired.  Why wouldn’t I want that kind of energy?

When we WAIT on the Lord we won’t lag behind.

So many times I have felt like I’m just trying to keep up, trying to not get behind. God says that when we wait on Him, we won’t get behind.  Why wouldn’t I want the ability to know and be confident that I not behind?

Strength. Soaring. Energy. Staying on pace. These are each promises that God will fulfill for us when we WAIT on Him.

Why would I ever not WAIT on the Lord?

I am seriously motivated to wait.

I hope that you are too.

(remember, I’m not on facebook this year…so any comments or feedback, please reply on this blog page.  Thank you!)