Journey With God

Beautiful Places, Beautiful Faces

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Been a few weeks since I posted. I hoped you missed me. 🙂  Here is something that I wrote a few weeks ago on my last day on the Betel England Mission Trip.

Tea House View

I am here today at Warwick Castle having tea at the tea house in the conservatory. England is beautiful. This place is beautiful. I hear the lovely sound of the fountain in front of me, the sound of peacocks, and the sound of happy families enjoying their Saturday adventures. Ahead of me are beautiful gardens and the Avon River. It’s a bit chilly, but I wanted to sit outside. Two peacocks walk by and the whole scene is like something out of a Shakespeare sonnet. The only thing missing is my kids and hubby.

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Today I just wanted to reflect on my week in Betel and on this leg of my journey in life. I have always wanted to travel. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to travel. I have always wanted to walk in the places where great people have walked and England has been on my list since I was a teenager. As I sit here today, I think, wow, I am here, but I could never have imagined it would be like this.

Better than a holiday, I have spent the week with truly great people. Beautiful people. People who carry something that I want to carry. They carry brokenness, transparency, humility, and an incredible hunger for God. They carry His love and His grace. This place that I am sitting is beautiful, but not nearly as beautiful as the people that I have spent my week with. They have left me full and transformed. I know that I will never be the same. For as much as I served them and ministered to them, they have returned tenfold, ministry and servitude to me. Words cannot begin to describe my gratitude.

As I sit here, I think about the journey of life. I think about how what we want and ask for are often not nearly God’s best for us. What he has for us is so much more than anything we can imagine. The scripture in Jeremiah comes to mind. It has been spoken many times this week, but today it has a fresh new meaning to me. It means trust Gods plans, because he knows me. He knows my heart. His thoughts of me are good ones. He wants to touch me in such a way that I a left wanting nothing more, but still have hope for the future. His plan is beautiful.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord,
thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

As a young girl, when I dreamed of traveling and coming to England, I never could have imagined that I would come to minister to people. I also never could have imagined that I would be the one who was truly ministered to. Life’s a funny thing. I often wonder how often God smiles at us and says oh my child, if you only knew… I’m grateful that he has those plans for me. I’m grateful he has taught me to trust him. I’m grateful for this place. I’m grateful to be used for his kingdom. But above all else I am grateful to be his child and to have his journey for my life laid before me.

So thank you Betel, thank you England, and most of all thank you God for the plans you have for me.

Restored sign

My friends I want to encourage you. If you are in a leg of your journey that is hard and you don’t know what lies ahead, just keep on trusting God. Let him lead the way. And though you may not be able to see it right now, in the not too distant future you will look back and it will all make sense. So hold on and know that Gods plans are good ones. Be blessed my friends.

Peacock

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It’s Just One of Those Days

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Ever have one of those days? You know. The kind where nothing seems to go right? Where you are just trying to make it from one hour to the next. Or maybe minute to minute. You may even say that to yourself, “Yep, it’s just one of those days”. I want to encourage you, that you are not the only one who has days like this.

When I was a young mom, with three toddlers, I had lots of days like this. Days that the house was cluttered with kid stuff everywhere, dirty laundry, dirty dishes, and messy babies. I would wait for hubby to come through the door so I could have a break. Sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn’t. He may have had a bad day too and now we both needed a break. At the end of these days, I would go to bed feeling like a complete failure. I use to think that as I got older everything would change and that life would get easier. In some ways, life has changed and become easier. In some ways, life hasn’t changed at all and has become harder. I have come to realize that as much as some things change, some things stay the same. Even though my days look different and are filled with new challenges, like being the parent of young adults, the dirty dishes and laundry still seem to find ways to multiply. No matter how much time goes by, I am still me and I still have bad days. I still get overwhelmed. I still get frustrated. I still get a really bad attitude. However, along the way I have learned a valuable lesson. God never changes.  No matter how much time goes by, God is still God. Along the way is when I realized it.

-My bad days don’t surprise God.

God already knew about my bad days. The dirty laundry, piles of bills and endless parenting doesn’t surprise him. Neither does my bad attitude. He knows exactly where I am and he is there with me. He chose to give me this life. That’s right. He knew about my weaknesses and failures and he still gave me my husband. My kids. My friends and family. He knew I would have bad days. He knew I would yell at my kids and my husband, and sometimes kick the dog. Yes. I confess. I have kicked my dog.

-I am not defined by my bad days… I am not defined by my good ones either…

But he also gave me a way out of my bad days. He gave me his shoulder to cry on. He gave me his arms wrapped around me. He gave me his truth spoken to me. His truth. His truth is that I am not defined by my bad days. I’m not defined by my good ones either. I am defined by being a child of God. I am defined by His love for me. He also gave me the promise “I will be with you”. I can pour out my heart and tell God exactly what I am thinking and feeling. My feelings don’t surprise God. I can yell, scream and cry and he will not leave me. In fact, I just need to speak his name and he helps me. He helps me from minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day. He helps me, he cares for me and he changes me.

Now when I have a bad day, I think about the fact that this day will not define me or my family. It doesn’t mean that I am a big fat failure. It simple means I am human and in need of a savior. It will simply be one of those days that I need to lean even more on God. He has given me tools for these days. He has given me scriptures, affirmation statements, prayers to pray, and friends to call. But even if I don’t use those tools and let the bad day get the best of me, He also gives me forgiveness. He has given me the power to ask for forgiveness, to ask others to forgive me and the power to forgive myself. He gives second chances and brand new days. He gives me love and the assurance that it’s okay when I fall short. After all, God is the only one who is perfect and the only one with no bad days. Be blessed my friends.

Deuteronomy 31:8 – And the LORD, he it is that does go before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you, neither forsake you: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Hebrews 13: 5-6, 8 – Let your conduct be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

I Peter 5:7 – Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.

Jesus Paid the Price

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Blog Authority

Author: Tari Foltz

Woke up with this scripture and vision,

Romans 8: 31-32

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

Then I saw a shelf. Like a shelf in a grocery store. The shelf was packed with provisions. Each provision was clearly labeled. I saw items labeled Salvation, Authority, Healing, Power, Blessing, Anointing, Deliverance, on and on. There was an endless supply of each and more provisions than I could count.

But I saw people walking up to the shelf and only taking from the item labeled Salvation and then walking away. They were wishing they had more but were only taking that which was necessary to get into heaven. They were leaving the rest behind.

Then I saw The Lord and I started to cry. God was sad and intense grief filled His eyes. Everything on these shelves were bought and paid for and very few people were picking up the things that belonged to them through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

Then I heard the Lord say that He was delivered up for all of these things. That He suffered, died, and rose again so that in Him we have ALL OF IT. And HAVE IT FREELY.

And then I heard The Lord say, “Oh that my people would at least pick up their Authority”

After the vision, I had an overwhelming conviction to not waste a single drop of Christ’s Blood. The price He paid was too high to waste.

The Point of No Return

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Haiti Tree Journey

Many times in life we pass a point of no return. Whether it is good or bad there’s no turning back. No going back to the old ways. No turning back to how things use to be. No turning back to before we had the knowledge that there was more out there to be discovered. We are only left with one truth. We must press forward because it’s the only direction that is left.

Fail or succeed. The direction is forward. It’s the only way to get more. To become more. To see the unseen. To discover the unknown. To find the answers to the questions. To go to the next level. To quench the thirst. To feed the hunger. Forward. No looking back. Completely abandoned to this only option. The point of no return.

Through it may be scary. And it may feel like my feet will fail. I will press forward. I will not look back. I will take the next step. Then the next one after that. I will keep putting one foot in front of the other. Even the greatest journey starts with the first step. I can do this. You can too.

Be Blessed my friends.

The 16 Year Old Me

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Life is a journey

I’m often surprised in life with how things happen in ways that I never expected. For most of my life I have been a planner. In fact, by the time I was 16, I had my whole life planned out. I wonder how many of us do that? In Sunday school this week our Senior High students got to finish up a series on Godly Career Development with a panel of church members. Listening to them share their stories, I found myself chuckling at the way we, as people, try to figure our whole lives out when God has other plans for us. None of them had their lives turn out as they has planned as teenagers. It made me think about a recent visit at my parent’s house.

For Christmas we stayed a couple of days with my parents. We were reminiscing about Christmases gone by and how the years go by so fast. My dad was talking about how I am still his “little girl” when I now have two adult children of my own. He talked about his childhood and things he had hoped for and how happy he was to have grandkids. He told me he was proud of my husband and I for how we had raised our kids and thought we had done a good job. It was a wonderful time of fellowship for our family and got me to thinking about how all of the good things in my life are because of The Lord.

In that moment, I thought about my past plans and things I had strived for. The things that I had tried to make happen. I thought of the things I had done wrong and the things I had done right. I thought about how I had my life planned out at 16, leaving little room for God to make changes. I wondered what the 16 year old me would think if she could see her life now. I imagine she would be scared, happy and have her little mind blown.  Some of things she planned did happen. I have a great husband, children and a strong walk with the Lord, however, I don’t think any of it happened the way she thought it would. I think she would be very surprised at how it is all better than she could have ever imagined. As I thought about the 16 year old me, and who I am today, I was left mostly in awe of how God’s plans are always the best. Because all the things I have done right are really the times that I listened to the Lord, trusted him, and let him lead the way. And the things that I had done wrong, well, He has come in and cleaned up my mess. If I could go back and talk to the 16 year old me, I would tell her to trust more in God’s plan and His goodness. I would tell her how much she needs Him in her life. I would tell her that His plans are always the best ones and if she thinks her plans are better she is sadly mistaken. Because I have had the chance to walk in my own plans and have been left to my own devices. That woman, that person, is not a pretty one. She is a mess. But with God, she can be pretty amazing. Because everything I have I owe to Him, everything I am I owe to Him, and everything I want to be in the future I give to Him, because He is trustworthy. In this life I have learned what a mess I am without Christ, but how with Him I can be used in great ways, as a wife, as a mom, as a friend, and as the Lords hands and feet. Pretty amazing that God wants to use us no matter how small we are, no matter how selfish we have been, and no matter what we have done.

So I guess I am left with telling the present day me to, trust God. Trust in His plans and in His goodness. Trust that He has a perfect plan and that He already has all the answers. Know that He loves more than can be measured and holds all things in His hands. Yes, that is what I would tell myself and it’s what I am telling you. Be Blessed my friends.

Redwoods

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This spoken word is so beautiful. Spiritual community is about needing and depending on each other. We are better together. I hope you enjoy this spoken word. Be blessed my friends.

Going around again or moving forward?

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Here we are, already more than halfway through January in a brand new year. 2014 was quite an adventure for me. Lots of changes. A lot of growing. And a lot of letting go of my own will. It has probably been one of the most rememberable years of my life. I truly feel like The Lord started the year by saying, I want to take you on a journey, will you go with me? When I said yes to him. I heard the Lord say, “Just let go. Stop asking me how and why all the time”, “just know that I have all the answers and have had a path laid out for you since the beginning of time”. He truly has taken me on a journey this year. He has birthed new vision. I have trained in new skills. I have been on adventures. My oldest child has launched into his own path and walk with the Lord, and child two and three are about to be launched in just a matter on months. I have had to let go of some things that I loved, and give room for the Lord to heal old wounds and breathe new life on old dreams. All in all it has been a year with an incredible journey, restoration, and change.

I have always thought change is hard. But not changing and going around the mountain again is hard too. Sometimes when we come to a crossroads, it’s hard to decide, go on the known path, (again) or take a risk and try the new undiscovered trail. Sometimes as much as we hate going around the mountain again, it can also be comforting. Familiar. At least we have been here before. We recognize things. In uncharted territory, there are no familiar road marks. No part that says, oh wait, I know where we are. It’s all new ground. Total reliance on God. I think this is why we often resist change and new things, because it requires more trust in God. But there comes a time when going around the mountain has happened for too long. It is time to move on to new and better things. Time for us to step into the unknown and blaze a new trail. That is my prayer for each of you this year. That if the Lord is taking you on a journey, that you let him. That you face the unknowns, even if you are afraid. That you will even find excitement over the changes that the Lord is making in your life.

As we continue into a new year I am excited about my journey. It isn’t easy, but I trust the Lord. Change can be hard and even scary at times. But, in my life, not changing has become even harder and scarier. I don’t want to stay the same. I want to go where the Lord directs me. I want all that he has for me and my family. I want new adventures, the Lord’s adventures, no matter the cost. If this is where you are as well, let’s pray for one another and take comfort in the fact that we are not alone in our walk. That we have each other and that we always have a trustworthy Lord and Savior. Be blessed my friends.