Thursday, February 12, 2015

You are Part of God's Dream

God has big dreams for His children. 

He dreams that we would all live in love. {John 13:34-35}

He dreams that we would live as one body in Christ. {1 Corinthians 12:20}

He dreams of a land filled with great fruits. {Galatians 5:22-23}

He dreams of His children living for eternity with Him. {John 17:3}

What dreams has God planted in your heart?
God gives us dreams, too.  When we were children, we dreamed big dreams.  As we got older, we squashed our dreams for so called reality.  We try and think practical.  We place restrictions on our dreams for fear of failure and rejection.
But what if the reality is that God desires for your dreams to come true?  Ever wonder where your true dreams came from?
We are God's helpers in making His dreams come true.

God purposely uses you and me to help His dreams become realities.  He certainly doesn't have to.  He is mighty enough to accomplish things all by Himself.  However, He loves us so much and wants us to be a part of His dreams coming true.

What if the dreams He placed in your heart are avenues to help His dreams come true? 

What dreams have you let die?  If you could do anything right now, what would it be?

Ask God to lead you in turning dreams in to realities.  Remember....

God can do more than you can even imagine!
{Ephesians 3:20}
Catch those dreams, my friends!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Beauty in brokenness

{This beautiful canvas was created by my friend, Angela.}

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a friend.  I am shaken, but I know Jesus is good all of the time and my friend is free of all worry and pain.  She is with her Savior in full peace.

I am honored that I am able to refer to her as my friend.  She lived her life in a way that honored and glorified God.  She was not ashamed of the gospel! 

Angela survived two heart transplants and cancer in between the transplants.  Her story was not one of valleys, but rather mountains.  She looked to God and His faithfulness.  She recognized that she was blessed and kept by her Creator.  Yes, she endured much yet this is not what defined her.  Her definition was that she was God's daughter and His love. 

As I sat and listened to a man sing Chris Tomlin's song "I Will Rise", I happened to look over at Angela's mama.  She had her hand up praising Jesus.  My heart broke and it was convicted at the same time.  This woman's baby girl no longer walks this earth.  She will not be able to embrace her or touch her beautiful body until she goes to be with her Creator.  Yet, she was giving God glory and praising Him.  What beauty in such brokenness.

As I watched this, I questioned my faithfulness to my Lord.  How often do I grumble rather than praise?  How often do I forget to look to God because I am wallowing in self pity?  My heart has a lot of work to do.  However, I am confident that God doesn't give up on His babies.  He loves us just the way we are.  He loves us even when we are a turtle and inching our way towards His safety and protection.

I want to be more purposeful with each day.  I want to see God's beauty in the mundane of life.  I want to honor Him more with my words, thoughts, and actions.  I want my desire to praise Him to come through in all areas of my life.  This is how my friend lived each minute.  God was always at the beginning and end of her thoughts and actions. 

I thank God for allowing my heart to know Angela.  She is the definition of a woman after God's heart.  Her husband said something during the service that summed up his beautiful wife.  He said, "Looking at Angela was like looking at Scripture."

May our lives look like God's word in each and every moment He gives us breathe to walk His earth.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The wound of my heart

I woke this morning feeling off.  At first, I couldn't tell what was wrong.  I went through a mental checklist-
  • Our family is safe and healthy.
  • I'm not angry or upset with anyone or {to my knowledge} is anyone angry or upset with me.
  • My husband and I are in a great place.
  • Our kids' hearts are peaceful - nothing is nagging at them that requires my mama heart to feel weighted down.
I could not put my finger on my sad heart...

until I sat to work on my Bible study.  I asked God to reveal to me what in the world was causing my heart to feel like it wanted to burst with tears.

I realized {thank you Lord} that my heart was feeling sad about my biological father.  There are times my heart will ache for the love he never offered me. 

It has been almost a year since he died and every once in a while I will get a jolt of the reality of it.  You see, I NEVER once heard the words I love you or I'm proud of you.  I never knew what it was like to be a daddy's girl or feel like a princess.

Please don't feel sorry for me or pity me.  I certainly don't.

The reality is that it hurts sometimes, but it doesn't define me.  I have come to fully know that God adores me and I am worthy and beautiful because of His love.  His love and my worth are not dependent upon human love.  The lack of my earthly father's love has no bearing on the love from my forever Father.  Just because my father could not, would not, or whatever not share love with me doesn't mean that I am less than what God created me to be.  All I have to do is open my eyes each morning and look around to see how much He loves me.

I don't share this with all of you so that you can think I'm brave, amazing, godly, or whatever title some may say.  I am human and have faults just like everyone else whom God created.

I share my heart with you in hopes that you, too, will know that you are loved by God no matter what your story is.  Yes, we may feel down and weary sometimes but God's love is more powerful and all encompassing than our wounded hearts.  Human actions and rejections are extremely powerful, but I have good news.  God's love and opinion trump all human power.  He gets the final say - and He says we are worthy and loved.  We were created specifically so that He could love all over us and spend eternity showing us how special we are. 

If your heart has wounds, let the above paragraph speak to it.  Allow God to trump all of those hurts and hold you.  Life - people - can kick us and knock us down, but God can pull us up and cause us to walk with a spring in our step and a love song on our hearts.  Let Him pick you up, sweet one. He is holding out His hand ready to dance with you.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Your biggest critic

If I asked you to write down who your biggest critic is, I’m pretty sure I could guess the answer without even peaking.  If you’re anything like me, you wrote your own name. 

We tend to critique every single thing about ourselves.  We can pick out that one strand of hair that refuses to cooperate.  We notice a fat cell on our bodies that no one else can see.  We question our intelligence and we play the compare game.  At times, we are our own worst enemies. 

If you sit and really think about it, that is so disturbing.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  We would never allow, not for one single second, someone to bash our children.  Our mama and papa bear instincts would kick in and we would growl and show our teeth – even if just for our kids to see. 

God created you and He created me EXACTLY how He desired.  He didn't create us in a hurry or with someone else in mind.  He looks at us and sees beauty.  Why don’t we??

My husband and I were discussing a party we had to attend.  I immediately began thinking of all of the women who would be there and started digging myself a hole.  What if they are beyond beautiful and dressed to a tee and I am the frumpy Cinderella in rags?  I told him how I was feeling and he looked at me as if I had grown another set of eyes and turned purple.  

My husband told me that of course I would be the most beautiful one to him at the party.  He told me that he always thought I was gorgeous and he loves me more with each day.  Sweet, I know.  The problem, however, wasn't what he thought about me.  It was what I thought about myself.  

My sweet husband gave me a wonderful reality check.  He reminded me that I am beautifully and wonderfully made.  He encouraged me to see what he sees and, more importantly, what God sees.  

So the bottom line is...why in the world do we do this to ourselves??

It's that old stupid compare game.  I hate the game, never volunteer to play, but sometimes get sucked in and then lose every single time.  

Guess who the author of the compare game is-
the stupid, no good, squatty devil!!!  He WANTS us to feel inferior to others.  He whispers in our ears that we aren't good enough, smart enough, and pretty enough.  He magnifies other's qualities in our minds.  

Here's the thing....he does the same thing to others about US!!  Other people compare themselves to us.  Ugh!  It is a nasty and viscous cycle.

I don't want this game in my head anymore.  How about you??  Are you done with it too?  It only causes heartache and pain.  Let's make a pact to throw it in the stinky trash.  Every time it threatens to come out, let's kick it and believe what Jesus has to say about us.  He says we are loved beyond measure, His children, and created in His image.

We can beat this, friends!  We can choose to believe Jesus over satan.  
__________________ is beautiful and wonderfully made! {Fill in the blank with your name.}

Friday, January 16, 2015

Be encouraged-your legacy is not your past

Do you have a closet of skeletal bones that if the door was opened, you would be horrified?  Do you have past sins that pain you when you think upon them?

Yea, me too.  My heart aches at some of my past choices and sins.  Sometimes I think upon them with such shame and wonder what in the world was I thinking!?

When I feel the heavy heat of shame overtake my heart, I have to remind myself that Jesus' ways are not my ways.  His thinking is not mine.  He isn't seated on His beautiful throne reliving our disgusting sins.  He is filling His heart each moment with love for us. He is looking upon our obedience and desire to live for Him and saying, "That a girl!  I have faith in you, sweet child."

You may be reading this and thinking, "How on earth can you be so sure?  You have no idea of the sins I have in my locked up closet."

I know because Jesus tells us it's so.  Allow me to show you-

Luke 7:36-50 tells us that Jesus was at the home of a Pharisee dining when a woman who was labeled a sinner came in and wept at His feet.  She cleansed Jesus' feet with her painful tears and rubbed her very expensive fragrant oil on them.  The Pharisee was outwardly horrified and disgusted.  He asked Jesus if He knew what kind of woman was touching Him and how on earth He could allow it.

The woman was labeled a sinner.  We are all sinners so I am led to believe that she had a very open sin that the town knew about.  The Scriptures do not detail her sin but if my guess is correct, I would say she was a prostitute.  I would bet she has a harried past and feels great shame and embarrassment.  I would also bet that many in the town treated her like yesterday's trash and looked down upon her.

Jesus explains to the Pharisee that those who are forgiven much, love much.  Jesus also tells the woman that she is forgiven.  He does not shame her or validate the Pharisee.  He actually calls the Pharisee out for being...well a Pharisee.

The best part of this story is told to us in Matthew 26:13-
I assure you:  Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.
Jesus assures us that our faith will be remembered, not our sins.  Our legacies will be based on our faith and devotion to Christ, not on our harried pasts that make our hearts heavy at times.
Isn't that an awesome balm for our hearts?!
While many of us wish we could erase our past sins, they are actually what have caused our hearts to be so devoted to our Savior.  Because we have been forgiven much, we love Him so very much.  He cleaned up our messes and threw His loving arms around us.  He welcomes us into His great Kingdom with open arms and a love that spins our heads with great devotion.
Be encouraged, sweet friends.  You are loved with a great fierceness by your King.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Word verification

I have had so much annoying spam, computer generated, or whatever they are - comments lately.  Because of these annoying people who create them, I have had to deal with my computer continually alerting me to viruses trying to attack my computer.

Why, oh why do people think it's cool, fun, hip, etc. to do this type of stuff??  It must be a sad life to mess with other people's things.  Growl, growl, growl!!

I have had to turn on the word verification for my blog comments.  I apologize for the inconvenience of typing letters and numbers to prove you are human.  In my case, I need more than numbers and letters to prove I'm human.  There are days I'm not certain I am human. ;)
Love to all of you sweet people...and thanks for not commenting with spam, robots, computers, etc.! :)

Muck is yuck

Our garbage disposal has been broken for quite a while.

 {Ok-I found out on Saturday that it wasn't really broken, it had just shorted out.} 

Because of the so called broken disposal, water backed up in our kitchen sink every time I ran the dishwasher.  I would have to sit in the kitchen for the hour the dishwasher ran and periodically scoop rising water out of the sink so it wouldn't overflow onto the cabinets and run down to the floor.

I became so used to the task that I didn't even mind.  I ran the dishwasher while I read through blogs, wrote, or read a book. 

On Saturday, we had a new sink, faucet, and disposal installed.  Yes...this girl did a happy dance!!  My step brother is a plumber and he kindly drove an hour and a half to install it all for us.  My dad joined him and we drank coffee and chatted.  Who knew that having a plumber over could be so fun!?

{My step brother is the one who showed me that our disposal really wasn't broken, just shorted out.  He showed us how to fix it if it happens to the new one.  If you ever need help starting a disposal again, I'm your girl!!  I now know you have to do more than push the red button on the bottom of the disposal. :)...}

Prior to the old disposal being removed, my dad stuck his hand down the drain.  When he pulled it out, it was covered in nasty muck.  Ugh!  It was nasty...and he told me so! :)

I began thinking of Psalm 40:2-3....

 Psalm 40:2-3:
{2} He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure.  {3} He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
Our lives can be so full of muck.  Our hearts can be filled with things that weigh it down and cause it to be unclean.  This muck can cause us to feel unworthy and unlovable.  It can cause us to be full of guilt and anxiety. 
Just like I was used to sitting in my kitchen and scooping water, we can become used to the muck that fills our lives and makes us feel yucky.  We begin to think our muck is normal.  We become immune to the weight on our shoulders and just try to get through a day.
Thankfully, God can clean out our muck and renew our hearts.  ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS ASK HIM AND THEN TRUST HIM. 
Psalm 40:3 promises that He will put a new song in our mouths and people will see our changed lives and trust the Lord.  What a wonderful declaration!!  Our old muck and new lives will cause others to trust in God. 
Who else but a Mighty and Wonderful God could, and would, use nasty lives restored to cause others to trust and love Him??  God takes all the dirty, grimy, nasty muck from our lives and fills us with beauty and peace.  And the good news is, He doesn't just do this once.  If we find that we are drowning in muck yet again, He lovingly washes us clean.
Do you feel weighed down by grimy muck?  Is your heart heavy with anxiety, fear, insecurities, pride, sinful behavior, lack of trust, etc.??  You don't have to live with it any longer.  Call out to God and tell Him you are ready for change.  Ask Him to cleanse you and show you a new way.  Once you do, breathe in the peace and trust that He has cleansed you and made you new.
Be free, sweet friends and enjoy your clean heart. <3 div="" style="text-align: left;">xoxo