Love Recklessly

God has been teaching me to love like He loves. Recklessly. With abandon. Without regard for His reputation in religion.

Our church has a weekly prayer meeting. One night we prayed for North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. The emotion for him and his people that rose up in me was from God Himself. God LOVES him! He LOVES the Korean people! It was completely overwhelming.

While I was in DC at Rise Up we prayed for mothers who lived with the fear of loosing their children because of the color of their skin. Again the emotion was completely overwhelming. God cares about how they feel and what they experience.

Love Recklessly

He was showing me that unless I connect with how someone is feeling, step into their shoes, feel their pain, my prayers can only go so far. By allowing myself to be vulnerable, uncomfortable, even pained I can pray far more effectively.

Jesus didn’t just imagine our situation. He identified with us fully, becoming human and facing every trial and temptation we face. Being Jesus to those around us means we must be willing to do the same.

I thought I was getting this. I was missing a piece. Judgement.

Judging keeps me from loving.

One year ago our community was searching for a 16-year-old boy who didn’t make it home. The roads can be bad and it’s dark so they were out looking within hours. Unfortunately the story didn’t end well. David Grunwald never made it home. His life was ended that night by a group of guys his own age. This senseless, horrific event rocked our community. Rocked me. Entering into the Grunwald’s pain is easy. They were robbed of their son and so much more.

The young men who committed the crimes involved? It’s easy to stand in judgement.

“I don’t know what to do. They’re having an affair.” I heard from a friend.

I immediately entered their pain. I was feeling the betrayal, the confusion, the accusation against them, against God. I prayed for hope and strength, perspective and faith.

Then God reminded me that Jesus loved the adulterer. He loves the betrayed and is close to the broken-hearted, yes. He loves the sinner, too. The one choosing sin – He loves, He died for. How reckless!

He was challenging me. Would I be willing to enter the pain of the adulterer? Would I love them and pray for them? Would I step out of judgement?

What about the young men that beat and killed David? Am I willing to enter their pain? (I’m not suggesting excusing their behavior. They need to be held responsible for their choices. That is a governing issue. I, we, the church, are commanded to love them. Getting there is a big step. Once we get there then we have another question. “What does loving them look like?”)

Judgement quote by Tony Robbins

Judgement takes me away, sets me apart. “I don’t see how you could do that?”, “What are you thinking?”, and worst “I would never”.

Love draws me in. “What has been going on?” “What is causing you pain or pressing you so you feel the need to escape or act out?”,  “What pain have you experienced to make that choice?” or “How can I help?”

For so many situations I can’t get these questions answered. Asking them brings me out of judgement.

When Jesus met sinners He did not condemn them. He also did not excuse their behavior. He did release grace to “Go and sin no more.” He called sin sin. He gave forgiveness where there was repentance. He died to provide the opportunity for forgiveness – before any of us repented.

God work in me to love as You love. To see as You see. Not a love that is blind and says anything goes. A love that sees everything and recklessly loves anyway.

6 Steps to Enter into Rest

I can’t decide what to do.

Worse I decide what to do then don’t do it.

After weeks of this sad cycle I decided to pull out a tool the Lord gave me a few years ago. Key concepts for the word Father, because living with Him is key.

FATHER

  1. Focus

  2. Authority

  3. Thanksgiving

  4. Hope

  5. Encouragement

  6. Rest

Here’s how it went:

Focus:

Father, I want to focus on You. I find myself focusing on tasks, emotions, questions. Worse I find myself avoiding focus with distractions like checking email or Facebook. I choose to focus on You. You are good, gracious, faithful. So, so faithful. You love me. You called me. You say I am enough.

Authority:

I take authority over my thoughts and emotions. I am powerful. I choose what I think. I choose what I do. I choose what gets my time and attention.

Thanksgiving:

I am thankful for all You are teaching me. I’m thankful I am not who I used to be. The process is longer and harder than I want and I often forget to look at the progress in the middle of the process. I choose to thank You for the process. I thank You for making the process as long as it needs to be for me to be transformed, to take me from glory to glory.

Hope:

Focusing on You, taking authority over my thoughts and emotions, and choosing to be thankful has renewed my hope. You are my hope. You working in me. You so faithful to complete me.

Encouragement:

I encourage myself with Your faithfulness.

Rest:

I rest in Your goodness. Your faithfulness. I rest in knowing I hear Your voice. I rest in knowing whenever I say “yes” it will be worth it, no matter how uncomfortable it may be right now.

There you go six steps to enter into rest.

I still have to walk it out, I still have more ideas than I can do in a lifetime.

I also have hope and peace. I can rest.

 

I’m considering doing a class or webinar about this tool. I would love your feedback, possible interest, and questions.

How do you enter into rest?

2 Ways I’m Praying When Life is Busy

Life homeschooling three teens with an infant is busy. Making time to pray can be tricky. These are two ways that are working for me in this season.

1. Songs

Songs are almost always running through my spirit like a soundtrack. In this season certain ones are prayers for things that concern me or I feel the Lord wants me to pray about.

  • Over the situation in North Korea I sing Reckless Love by Steffany Gertzinger
  • For a friend overcoming cancer God I Look to You by Jenn Johnson
  • No Longer Slaves by Jonathan David & Melissa Helser – Verse one for me, verse two for my children
  • Let it Rain – Jesus Culture – for America
2. Typing

On Facebook there are many people and issues that need prayer. I find that if I just type “praying”. I don’t. I may think of them. And I may not.

If it’s something I care enough to type “praying” then I take the time to actually type a faith filled prayer. One I really believe God wants to answer. Then when I think of them again I already have prayed and it’s easier to pray again.

How do you pray when life is busy?

I’d love to hear from you.

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?

Arise! Shine! Your Time Has Come!

My heart and my spirit are so full with what the Lord is doing I don’t even know how to put it into a post.

So I’m doing something different.

I’m giving you some videos to watch and links to follow.

Rise Up

Register or learn more The Call

Awaken the Dawn! What’s Behind the ‘Holy Spirit Woodstock’ Coming to DC

Awaken The Dawn: The Story

I am traveling from Alaska with my daughters to be part of these events in Washington DC.

The Moral Outcry

If you believe abortion is wrong go to The Moral Outcry and sign the  petition. Share this. I am not condemning women who have had an abortion. I believe they are victim, too. I believe they have been deceived in so many ways. There is grace and forgiveness for everyone, for every sin.

For my sons and daughters, for your sons and daughters.

I will rise up.

What are you seeing God doing?

Will you arise?

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.

Why? is the Wrong Question

There are so many things happening right now that make me want to ask “Why?”

  • Global threat of nuclear war from North Korea
  • National hurricanes and forest fires
  • A family in my community lost their five daughters in a house fire
  • A friend had to put down their beloved dog

All these things and so many more can cause me to look to heaven and ask “WHY?” It’s fine to ask why, it’s almost involuntary.

Why is the wrong question. It’s a distraction. It is disempowering.

Why keeps us stuck when we don’t get an answer. And when we do.

When we don’t get an answer we stay stuck:

  • trying to reason it out
  • in bitterness over not getting an answer
  • using mental energy of continuing to ask

When we do get an answer we can:

  • go back to being comfortable
  • go back to not thinking about it anymore.

While we may feel comfortable we’re still stuck.

God did not design us to stay comfortable. He wants us to be at rest in Him not comfortable in our own reasoning. Resting in Him is always on the move expanding His Kingdom, spreading peace, hope, and love.

I can and do ask why. If there isn’t something I can do different then I move on to the next question.

The better question is “What do I do now?”

  • Pray for North Korea to be saved. God wants none to be lost. Agree with Him that Kim Jong-un can be saved and lead his nation to salvation in Jesus Christ.
  • Pray, give, help. God has different answers for each one according to their gifts and situation.
  • Believe in the goodness of God. Ask for ways to shine His light in the darkness.

Do you ask “why” when hard things come?

Try asking “What do I do now?” How different does it feel?

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.)

2 Set-Ups for Failure

I wanted a response. I wanted feedback.

I set myself up for disappointment and failure. Twice.

“I think I’m supposed to lead or organize prayer for the ladies, especially the youth, going to DC from our church.”

I said this to my husband as he was in the final steps of his routine to get out the door. I had chickened out for hours the evening before and a couple more that morning.

As I felt disappointed because I didn’t get a response I thought of a story Cheri Gregory shares in Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity where her husband told her he couldn’t read her mind. She realized she could learn to figure out the feedback she wanted so she could ask for it.

Set up #1:

I set myself up by making a statement instead of stating what I wanted.

Set Up #2:

My timing wasn’t good either. Even if I had asked for feedback I would have been disappointed that he didn’t have time to give it to me right then.

We had a full day yesterday and a late night. This morning over coffee – after chickening out a bit more – I told my husband what I realized.

  • I wanted feedback but didn’t ask for it.
  • I was hurt.
  • It wasn’t okay for me to be upset with him for not knowing what I need if I don’t tell him.

This morning when I did ask for feedback I was blessed and encouraged by his belief in me, my gifts, and my calling.

Do you ever set yourself up for failure?

Do you expect key people in your life to read your mind?