Transforming Culture Starts with Me

Jesus, you are worth it all. Every nation every soul.

Jesus, you are worth it all. Every nation every soul.

Let it rain, let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven let it rain, let it rain.

Let it rain, let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven let it rain, let it rain.

I can hear the sound of rain coming to America again.

I can hear the sound of rain coming to America again.

These lines are on repeat in my spirit. Almost anytime I tune in my spirit is singing these lines.

These were part of the worship by Lindy Conant at Rise Up in Washington DC. Realizing my spirit is still singing them makes me remember the moments and weep. It also makes me rejoice. God is moving in America in the hearts of His people and the hearts of those who don’t know Him yet.

In the weeks leading up to this event I felt led to start a Facebook group. I shared ways to pray and prepare our hearts for what God was doing through posts and live videos. It was a stretching and rewarding experience.

Rise Up was a historic event for me and for our nation.

Rise Up morning session

Rise Up afternoon session

Each one has a part to play. Each one starts from wherever they are with God this moment, the moment they say “Yes, Lord. Anything you ask.” Each “yes” is another step in the shift of our culture, the expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven here on the earth.

It’s time to walk out the changing of history.

We must rise up. Day after day. Situation after situation.

I’m continuing the Facebook group and opening it up to anyone who shares the passion to rise up with the Lord. I am being transformed so I can transform culture. I will share posts of mine and others I find helpful. I will do videos of things the Lord reveals to me. The rest of 2017 I will focus on being very intentional. It is crucial to steward the seeds God has planted through Awaken the Dawn and Rise Up. I invite you to share what the Lord is revealing to you in this season.

It’s fun how God works. This morning as I prayed and felt I led to continue the group. I saw how it fits with my heart and purpose for my blog. I remembered that I had the goal of creating a Facebook community to encourage you on your journey by October. Up until yesterday I didn’t see any way to possibly make that happen. The idea of taking the group that had focused on praying for Rise Up didn’t seem to fit with my blog. It didn’t seem like it would work. He made my dream happen without me realizing it, just by me saying “yes” to sharing what I felt He was telling me.

How is He asking you to rise up?

Where do you need to take a brave step?

Simple Ways to Make An Impact

You say I’m an equipper but how am I doing that? I’m not leading women’s ministry anymore. I didn’t even get a Bible study started. I want to be obedient. I want to be making an impact. I sense I’m supposed to do something big.
I don’t know what it is exactly I want to do or feel I am supposed to do. 

As I was in this place during worship asking God what I was supposed to be doing and feeling I didn’t measure up I watched my son worship with flags and dance. I watched as my son handed his flags off to another young man who had gone up front to worship. I watched as he encouraged this young man to flag, to wave the banners in praise and worship.

You equip equippers. You have taught your son to take what he knows and pass it on to those around him.

Say “Yes” in small things

Serving the Lord, partnering with Him, fulfilling our calling – none of it is as complicated as I often make it. He wants relationship. He wants my yes in small things. Small things add up to big things.

Have the conversation

I just read of a woman who went to Ireland to share the gospel because she felt that’s what God wanted her to do. As far as she could tell it was an unfruitful trip. Years later it was reveal that through a conversation she had with one man he developed a passion for the Lord and was a key figure in a revival in Ireland.

Be faithful

Washing dishes. Doing laundry. Giving your best at the same old job. It may seem a futile effort, certainly not of spiritual much less eternal importance.

How we treat our responsibilities matters. People are watching. They are touched by our example of doing all things to the glory of God. Us loving well, staying faithful, being patient, having peace.

We are all called. That doesn’t mean if we’re not Billy Graham we’re missing our calling. We simply do what God has placed before us for His glory and He is pleased. I’m saying simply, not easily but I think that’s another post.

What has He placed in front of you?
What everyday things you do please the Lord? Ask Him.

Getting to the Root of Feelings

I feel sick inside.
I have for days.
I’m working on a project very dear to me.
Something I feel God calling me to.

But I feel sick inside.

I am finally learning at past 40 to pay attention to how I feel and that how I feel physically and emotionally are connected. Maybe that’s blatantly obvious to you but I didn’t know that, not in experience anyway, not for me.

In learning to pay attention to how I feel I am also learning to take the time to figure out where the feelings are coming from. God told me this project would stretch me. The good news with that is He will show me a part of Himself I have not known before that He couldn’t show me without the stretching.

My spirit is excited.

My soul is uncomfortable.

So this sick feeling has been bothering me all week. I’ve taken moments here and there to reflect on why I’m feeling this way.

I want people to like what I’m doing, for it to make sense, for it to make an impact. In part I am nervous that none of those things will be true.

What struck me yesterday was that I have gotten feedback that all of them were true and I felt sicker than ever! What is wrong with me?!

God why do I feel this way?
Remember what I told you about this project?
Yes. I cared too much about what people think so that’s part of what the project is about. I commit to run every idea past You. Doing what You lead me to do not going after production or impressing anyone. But what about feeling worse after getting good feedback?
There’s one you’re trying to impress. One who can’t even see your work. Since you’ve made that one most important all the other feedback is empty. Including Mine.
Ouch! Papa, I’m sorry. You approve and say I’m enough. Praise from any person doesn’t matter. Sometimes not getting it hurts, though.
It does.
I grieve the hurt of not getting the feedback from one and rejoice in the feedback from many. Especially You.
You’re learning to serve an audience of One.
Is there anything else You want to say to me?

I see your hurt and I care. I’m proud of your growth. Your “yes” to stretching.

Is there an area God is stretching you? Have you asked Him what He will be for you there?

Is sorting out your feelings natural for you? Do you struggle through like me?

Total. Complete. Failure.

Failure.
Total. Complete. Failure. 
These were the words ringing through my head. The words crossing my lips. The emotions feeling far too real.
While it was terrible to be there. I thankfully don’t live there anymore.
It was only a week or so ago but I’m not really sure what the circumstances were. It may have been not getting my baby to nap. (My other were sleeping well on their own by this age) It may have been engaging in a fight with my teenager. (Who’s the adult here?) Whatever it was I’m sure it was fueled by lack of sleep and unrealistic expectations. There’s always those.
I used to live there – my biggest critic, always ready to condemn. Thankfully I don’t live there anymore. I am still my biggest critic but the critic doesn’t get to beat me up like they used to.
Now I can see it’s a lie. Even if I have failed at something I am not a total complete failure.
I’ve learned to identify lies (some more quickly than others) and replace them with truth. This was a practice I learned doing Beth Moore’s study Breaking Free. It’s a very powerful study but somehow I knew I was missing something. It wasn’t working. Progress was so slow.
A few years ago I did Supernatural Mothering by Ashley Brendle and learned to bring God into the equation. Doing Breaking Free I had brought scripture into the equation. I would identify a lie and find a scripture that said the truth. As hard as I would try I felt I was trying to cover the lies with truth instead of replacing the lie with truth. Doing Supernatural Mothering I learned to reinforce what scripture said by asking God what He wanted me to know. The things that He spoke to me in those times have been the most transformational for me. It’s powerful to know the God of the universe still speaks to me. He speaks to my silly questions.
I say “God, I feel like a total complete failure. I can’t do this.”
That’s not the truth so I renounce the lie that I’m a total complete failure and I repent of believing it.
Then I ask, “What is the truth?”
He says, “You’re precious. You’re growing. You are never, ever identified by your behavior. You are My daughter, righteous by the blood of Jesus.” No failure there.
“God is there anything else you want to say to me?”
“I love you. I long for you to understand how much.”
Have you ever tried asking God to tell you the truth? Asking God what he thinks of you? He says His sheep know His voice. That must mean He speaks.
If you’ve never tried I challenge you to just say, “Jesus, what do you like about me?”
I trust you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
I’d love to hear what He tells you.
(The post What’s in My Heart is an example of replacing lies with truth with my children.)

Dealing with the Unexpected

This week marked 23 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart.

In the past year, we’ve commented many times about life not being what we expected. This week we reflected on more ways life has not been what we expected. We concluded that in many ways we didn’t even know what we expected and in other ways what we expected was not to be.

Some unexpected things brought joy.
  • Having a baby in our 40’s when we had three teens
  • Meeting strangers who become family in the grocery store
  • People faithfully giving and supporting us
  • Immediate deep connections with new friends
  • Opportunities to serve as a family
We concluded we did expect:
  • to do it together – whatever life brought our way. Here we are 23 years down the road more connected and committed than ever.
  • to love our kids and have lasting relationships with them.
  • to raise responsible adults. While we have not arrived it would appear we’re on the right track.
  • God to be faithful and He has.
Unmet expectations can derail us.

They open opportunity to accuse God or people. They also open opportunity for grief and growth.

  • Losing a son
  • Getting carbon monoxide poisoning
  • A failed business through no fault of our own
  • Strained relationships
  • Projects taking years longer than planned

Unmet expectations are really a fork in the road, a decision point.

Will we stay disappointed, hurt, or grow bitter? Or will we run to Father God with our hurts, confusion, and questions?

Growing bitter imprisons us.

Running to God opens the door for healing, grace, and new perspective.

What unexpected things has life brought your way?

When you have unmet expectations which path do you take?

Love and Trust are Not the Same

No email again today.
I guess it’s a blessing – a confirmation that I correctly assessed the situation.
We speak the same words with such different meanings.
It hurts too. Not to be important enough for the hard work of change. That they don’t value themselves enough to pursue healing. It grieves me. It makes sense. If they don’t value themselves how can they value me?
So what do I do now? Jesus has bore my sorrows so I give it to him.
Jesus this hurts. It feels like rejection and manipulation. I think it even feels like betrayal. I’ve trusted someone willing to break my trust for their comfort and say it’s my fault. I don’t want to be foolish enough to set myself up for that again. I also want my heart open to love everyone as You do. Guard my heart without hardening it.”

He responds:

Love and trust are not the same.
Love is unconditional and unearned – a completely free gift.
Trust is earned and must be rebuilt when it’s broken.

I wonder:

Is love holding the tools to rebuild? Keeping the door open to trust again when effort is made?
Trust has boundaries. The tools must be used properly. The effort has to be made.
I can love if the tools are never touched or even thrown away – if an effort is never made.
The relationship could look very different if there were trust.

What about you?

What do you believe about love and trust?
How do you go on loving someone it’s not wise to trust

My Life: December 2014

 Here we are the last day of 2014. Final post of the year.
I pray your year has brought you closer to God and family.

I love this time of year.  I love holidays and time with friends and family. I love reflecting on the blessings and lessons of the past year.  I also love dreaming and planning for the year ahead.

Looking around:

The trees are still up. Yes, trees. My daughter set up both small trees, the smaller of which ridiculously has three sets of lights on it.
Gifts have not found homes.20141231_094629
We expanded the living room, thus shrinking the dining room. Not sure when we’ll recover from that. Yes the love seat and the table are touching. Yes we need to use that side of the table.Shrunken Dining Room
The rest of the house is showing we have been in holiday mode and chores are not being done.
Time with family and friends has been especially precious.

Looking back:

A year of building,  working,  struggling, learning, growing
So many things to be thankful for, so many things to regret.

Preaching to myself. I am not my failures. I am a work in progress.
Preaching to myself. I am not my failures. I am a work in progress.
Lessons learned and lessons to continue walking out.

Favorite posts:

I share about losing a son and "seeing" him in heaven.I share about losing a son and “seeing” him in heaven.

Fire of Grace:

A prayer we prayed on our building site before we broke ground.
Fire of Grace: A prayer we prayed on our building site before we broke ground.

Looking ahead:

I love to set goals, make resolutions, daydream of ideals. I haven’t had time to do that. I haven’t had success in living them out. I haven’t even had success in being encouraged to keep trying. So I now try to focus on progress.
I sense God has a different strategy and I have to let go of the fact that it is not crystal clear for me to write-up in some idealistic way on New Year’s Eve.
I have a few plans for 2015.
My One Word for 2015 has to be Authority. God won’t let me get away from it.
I plan to use Dr. Caroline Leaf’s 21 day Detox plan to intentionally renew my mind.
I plan to keep writing My Life posts.
I have more to share on Ready. Set. RUN!
God is calling each one to be fully what He designed you to be. Get ready to run.
God is calling each one to be fully what He designed you to be. Get ready to run.

I’m stepping out to lead a women’s group at my church. I am looking forward to God using the amazing team of women I am working with to help me grow. That is one lesson I am learning and learning to walk- relationships are vital to my growth.

How is your house after Christmas?
How do you prepare for a new year?

Courage Is a Choice

Courage Is a Choice
Courage is a command; therefore a choice, not a feeling.

Courage is a command; therefore a choice, not a feeling.

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9 KJV

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. – Phl 4:13 KJV

My Life June: Lessons in a New Land

My Life June: Lessons in a New LandWatch, I will bring you to a new land, an unknown land. I will speak to you, declare over you your song. I will speak in the midst of you, at your very core. I will build you a garden, a place to seek me and feel my embrace. I will take your valley of trouble and open through it an eternal door of hope. You will sing again. Sing your song for me. You are free.
Hosea 2:14,15 My version

Christian:

I have been feeling this new and unknown land is a wilderness, not a very friendly one either.

He has a purpose though. This new land is a training ground for my destiny.
This new land contains a garden, a very special place to me spiritually.
He is speaking His plans for a hope and a future. He is singing my song, like the women of this tribe sing a child’s song. I don’t fully hear it yet. He sings anyway.
My Lighthouse

He is giving me gifts, like my lighthouse.

As I have struggled in this new land I thought the lighthouse was to remind me I was strong, I would endure.

It was. It does.

More than strong and enduring He sent me the lighthouse for another lesson, the one I didn’t receive so well the first time.

Lighthouses have needs.

The salt of the sea, the beating of the wind and waves wears down the strongest of lighthouses. Without maintenance their light would not continue to shine. They can no longer serve their purpose. No longer lead people safely to the shore.

I have been struggling to get in a good routine this summer. I spend quiet time with God almost every morning. I talk to Him throughout my day. We even argue sometimes. I don’t always like what He tells me to do. Sometimes I am slower to obey than others. I miss having a structured group to hold me accountable. I think that may be part of my missing maintenance plan.

Wife:
For Father’s Day I gave Brian the best picture of Josiah I could, like I had seen him.

Josiah Dances
Josiah Dances
I am learning to treasure my husband more with each new phase of our project. I also see in this new land I need to again submit to his training me– not like obedience school.
Hear me out.
He is gifted in ways I am not. He sees people and situations very differently than I do. It is very good.
I have been very happy to appreciate those things in him, even call them out and encourage him to use them more. In this new land God is telling me I need to learn to be like him. And Him.
I certainly don’t see why.
I mean – We’re partnered. Isn’t that so he can use his strengths and I can use mine? 
Sort of, but not when its an excuse for me not to grow, not to lean on my Savior to help me do what I cannot on my own.
For loving to learn I am not always a very willing student. Oh and knowing a lesson is so much easier than living one – but more on that later.
It will make a difference in our future. It will help me fix my broken filters, the ones that always hear condemnation and failure.

Mother:

Having children 12, 13, and 14 for me means they like to sleep in. I have been trying their entire lives to get them to sleep in, now when I want them up and productive they can sleep the day away. I really enjoy my quiet mornings though. If I don’t have something specific to accomplish they get to sleep. When there’s work to be done they get woke up and usually fed breakfast.
Karissa crossing
In bits of time here and there I am planning school for the fall. We will be studying world history and physical science with two other families. I am hoping the small group will provide fun for the kids and simplicity for me.
IMG_1559

Author:
I am blogging and waiting on direction. This season in the new land will produce things to write about I am sure. So far this is not the season to be producing anything new to market.

I always love to hear if you have read my books or would like to get a copy. I always have books on hand and sign each one I send.
Do you have a personal maintenance plan?
What things do you need to do your life well?

My Life, January

January has been a great time of getting refocused. I love the new year, setting goals and all that planning. This is the first year I think I have easily focused on the progress I have made rather than being discouraged by how far I have to go. My goals are much simpler than past years. I plan to keep growing. I have some good things in place, I am growing so I plan to just keep going.

Christian:
I am reading and rereading:

  • Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk
  • Jump Off the Hormone Swing by Linda Dillow
  • So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore
  • The Seven Desires of Every Heart by Mark and Debra Laaser
  • I am also doing the Supernatural Mothering Bible study by Ashley Brendle.

Wife:
I am blessed beyond words. We will have our 20th anniversary this summer. I am amazed. We are both committed to growing and serving one another and I must say it is wonderful. I am enjoying this season very much.

image
A historic picture. Our family with Holocaust survivor Peter Loth.

Mom:
We had the honor of meeting Holocaust survivor Peter Loth. His joy was wonderful. His hope so contagious. His story more tragic than I ever could have imagined. His book, Peace by Piece, I have not read yet. I am not sure how I will handle the horror of what he lived through. I know it will wreck me, in a good way, but I am not ready quite yet. My Love is reading it right now so it’s easy to just wait for him to finish.

I am teaching a class I called Story Time at our co-op. I have been enjoying the little bit of creative outlet. I’ll be sharing some of the lessons with you like The Empty Pot, A Lesson in Patience.

I am finally stepping out into homeschooling the way I have always wanted to educate my children. I found Heart of Wisdom’s site again and have been doing some reading on Lifestyle of Learning and/or Delight Directed approach. I longed to do this, and tried, but haven’t – not the way I want to anyway. I am making moves in that direction and feeling so much more free.

Author:
I am pondering and listening for direction about writing and marketing this year. I will be blogging at least once a week. Once a month about Grace, sharing about Story Time, devotion ideas, and a random monthly post or two.

I have the opportunity to do a second edition of Christmas is About Jesus. I would be adding More Time with God discussion questions and activity ideas to each devotion. I gladly welcome any feedback about this idea.

How was January around your house?