I want to start with that question.
How much do you want it?
Did you answer alot? Good.
Now I have another question for you.
What are you willing to do to get it?
I am convinced that when we want something enough, we will do whatever it takes to get what we are after. If we don’t, then we don’t want it that much! And if we want something enough we will also do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to get it.
In the Bible, God promises a lot to those who believe in Jesus. A lot. When I look back at our 12 years as a Christian, I can see many, many of those promises have come true. I also see that Jesus has changed both Robert and me. I also see that while many promises are true in our life and God has blessed us; I also know that God has tested us and taught us. Each time we have been tested, we have been blessed. Each time God has taught us a lesson and we stopped doing what we were doing and starting doing “it” God’s way we were blessed. So, this has made us want more. More of God in our life. More living God’s way. Our life, as we have gotten closer to God has improved exponentially and that is a major motivator!!
So when we read the Bible and then looked at our life, we realized things had to change in order to experience more of God. Compared to how we were living, living in relationship with God and doing life His way has brought us much more happiness, joy and peace! We wanted the tsunami to change from American culture and this world crashing in on us to Jesus crashing in on us! We wanted it and still want more of it – a lot. A whole lot!
I will now speak strictly for me. The first “shift” was taking a look at how I spent my time. A good hard look. How much tv did I watch? How many hours did I train? How much was I reading the Bible? How much was I studying the Bible with others? How much time did I spend on facebook? Twitter? The internet? How much time was I spending alone with God? How much was I looking for opportunities to help others? What was my mind busy thinking? What was preoccupying me? I realized that in order to get more of God, I had to give up a lot of other things – perhaps temporarily. Perhaps long term. I didn’t know. I had to start focusing on God! Over the course of about 2 years, I really stripped my schedule down. Sometimes I wondered just how much I would need to cut out of my life! What I learned was God really wants to spend time with me and wants to be with me. This was stunning to me. Me? God wants to be with me? So, I began to tell myself, “The God of the universe is asking for your attention. You. He wants to spend time with you, so what are you going to do? You better spend time!”. And this is one of the big shifts that starting causing the J-Wave to roll in my life.
Once I began to say yes each time God asked me to let go of something that took my time and my interest, it got easier to say yes. And this caused a big shift. I believe with each yes the J-Wave built momentum!
This is my story. My experience. Your experience may differ! See God created each of us uniquely and He plans to relate to us just as uniquely. There is no one more inexhaustibly creative than God! If you will quiet yourself and look and listen in His direction you WILL know that God is asking you to spend time with Him and give Him your attention because He wants to spend time with YOU..yes YOU. What could be a better investment of your time and attention? The answer is unequivocably, nothing.
I pray that you will take the offer God gives below in Jeremiah 29:13 and that the J-Wave will gain momentum in your life!
Jeremiah 29:13 (the Message translation)
When you come looking for me, you will find me. When you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I will make sure you won’t be disappointed.
(How’s that for an exciting invitation?)
Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
I John 2:15-17 (the message translation)
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you don’t have the love of the Father (God) in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see and pride in our accomplishments and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.
Proverbs 15:14 (NLT)
A wise person is hungry for knowledge while the fool feeds on trash.
Tomorrow: Shift #2 – 11 yrs in the dessert finally ends
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!)
Sometime in July, 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.
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”!
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.
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.
Yesterday, 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!
Discouragement. Not one of the more fun human emotions is it?
Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Boy, that verse makes it sound easy huh?
We become discouraged when we begin to lose hope. Discouragement leads to fear (false evidence appearing real) and to doubt ( in self, in others, in God). Discouragement, fear and doubt are created when we color in options and outcomes for situations and circumstances that have not yet happened.
Discouragement is when we start to believe that God’s purposes and ways are too difficult or don’t make sense to us, His promises seem too late and His power seems to weak.
Discouragement is when we begin to doubt who God is, what He is capable of and how powerful He really is. Discouragement is when we begin to count on self more than God. Discouragement is when we don’t remember what God has done for us in the passt.
So, how do we win over discouragement?
1. Remember – remember what God has done for you in the past. Remember the circumstances or condition you were in and what God did in His power on your behalf.
2. Read and accept and pound into your brain the Truth in God’s Word. (Yes, I have to pound things into my brain sometimes and I’m thinking and hoping you are a bit like me!)
3. Remember that discouragement, fear and doubt are all emotions that are not grounded in truth, but are grounded in lies.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (msg)
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.
Psalms 18:30 (nlt)
God’s way is perfect. All the Lords’ promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection.
Isaiah 26:2 (nlt)
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You.