encouraging god’s people

A Little Longer

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It has been a little while, but I am jumping back in with Poetry Tuesday. This week’s Poetry Tuesday feature is A Little Longer by Jenn Johnson and Bethel music. I love this song. I often think of how we approach the Lord this way, asking what we can do for him when he just wants our company. Enjoy this weeks post and be sure to check out the video as well.

Be Blessed my friends!

A Little Longer

VERSE:
What can I do for You
What can I bring to You
What kind of song would
You like me to sing
‘Cause I’ll dance a
Dance for You
Pour out my love for You
What can I do for You
Beautiful King

CHORUS:
‘Cause I can’t
Thank You enough
‘Cause I can’t
Thank You enough

VERSE:
What can I do for You
What can I bring to You
What kind of song would
You like me to sing
‘Cause I’ll dance a
Dance for You
Pour out my love for You
What can I do for You
Beautiful King

BRIDGE:
Then I hear You say
You don’t have to do a thing
Simply be with me and
Let those things go
They can wait another minute
Wait this moment
Is too sweet
Please stay here with me
And love on Me a little
longer
‘Cause I’m in love with you

BRIDGE 2:
So I’ll wait here at Your feet
It’s where I want to be
Your voice I’ll follow
Jesus You are
Everything to me
And I’ll pour out my life
Worship at Your feet
Love on You a little longer
‘Cause I’m in love with You

 

 

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The Power of Transparency

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When I was in my twenties, I was afraid to let people see who I really was. I thought if people found out about the real me that I would be judged, turned away, or even made fun of. I was worried that if I put away my mask and my pretending that I would be left all alone. I was locked and chained into a life of pretending. I was held in bondage by fear. The fear of rejection and the fear of who I truly was. After all, what if she were not enough? What would happen if I showed my true self and was left with nothing? So for years I pretended, put on a mask and let the fear of being found out rule my life.

-It had escaped me that the very thing I feared most would be what set me free.

It had escaped me that the very thing I feared the most, being real and transparent, would be the very thing that would set me free. Free to be me. I have a group of friends and we say that a lot. Free to be me. It is worth repeating and that is what transparency did for me, it set me on the path to freedom. My path began around the time I first heard the poem “Our Deepest Fear”. If you have never read it, then I highly recommend that you do. It’s about being authentic. It’s about being transparent. It’s about being all the God has made us to be and letting our own light, and God’s light, shine through us. I still remember the first time I heard it. I cried. I wanted that. I wanted to be all that God had created me to be. I wanted to be real and to stop pretending. Then I made a decision that changed my life. I would start to do my best at being myself. I started taking steps of faith. I prayed and first asked God who I was. I started being completely real and transparent with myself and with Jesus. He loved me enough to save me, so I figured it was a safe place to be transparent. As I started my journey of transparency with him, I begin to laugh at myself for not doing it sooner considering Jesus knew everything about me already. Time went by and I began to become more comfortable being “real”.

-Instead of being judged and rejected, I found myself being loved.

Then one day I was put to the test. A good friend of mine called me. She was going through some struggles and was about to make a bad decision. She was unhappy in her marriage and was sharing her struggles with another man. “He is just a good friend” she said to me. I told her it was dangerous to be sharing her struggles with a man other than her husband and that she should end the relationship. She restated that he was only a friend and wanted to know why I felt so strongly that she should end the relationship. It was in that moment that I felt the Holy Spirit rise up in me. I had a decision to make. Should I tell her the truth? Should I be transparent? I felt the Holy Spirit say tell her. Tell her your story. You see,  just a couple of years before this, I had an affair. He was our best friend and when my marriage was in trouble, I turned to him for help. We talked. We shared our struggles. And then, we fell into sin. It was hard, but I shared my story with my friend. She was the first person I had talked about it with since it all had happened. I was shaking on the other end of the phone because I was so afraid she would judge me. Instead she cried. She cried and then came over to my home and hugged me. Then we prayed for her and her marriage. She ended that relationship, talked to her husband, and worked on her marriage. After that, we became best friends. I had never really had a best friend like her before. I had friends, but I had always kept them at a distance. I was completely transparent with her and she loved me more than any friend I had ever had. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I had shared my biggest, darkest secret with her and not only had she loved me in spite of it but more because of my sharing it with her. It was a life changing experience for me. Since then, I have shared my story and my struggles many times. It has almost always been the same result. Instead of being  judged and rejected I have  found myself being loved and have had many people come along beside me to help instead.

Those experiences have made me realize just how much power there is in being transparent with one another. Now, we should be spirit led. I am not saying to be an open book all the time, but with those that God has put in our lives, we should be real. Everyone should have a place and relationships where they can be completely open, transparent and authentic with one another.

-There is power in transparency

There is power in transparency. Being transparent takes away anything the enemy has on you. It’s like telling the enemy to shut up. My Father already knows everything there is to know about me and Jesus paid the price for me. Being transparent sets you free. Free of condemnation, free of guilt, free of the fear of what others may think and free of embarrassment and shame. By being real and showing who we really are, the good, the bad, and the ugly, it creates an atmosphere for truth. It creates a place for others to be transparent and to be encouraged. Our own transparency helps us to not be judgmental but instead look at others through eyes of love and acceptance. It helps each of us to come along side and be there for one another.

Some of the effects of transparency:

  • Leaves no room for secrets and sin to hide
  • Removes the enemy’s footholds
  • Removes feelings of being alone
  • Gives you freedom to be yourself
  • Releases joy as you lay down your burdens
  • Develops an atmosphere of truth
  • Develops trust
  • Builds authentic relationships
  • Fosters unity
  • Develops spiritual community
  • Gives a place for accountability
  • Gives a place for helping and nurturing one another
  • Encourages others
  • Builds confidence
  • Strengthens our walk with Christ
  • Strengthens our walk with each other

I want to leave you with this. I almost always find that when I start sharing about my life, past hurts and things I struggle with, that others join in with their own struggles and stories. I have shared ugly things about my past and even my current struggles and instead of people turning me away or hating me, they have loved me more. It has also given them a place to share their own struggles and weaknesses. I think God wants us to start taking that leap of faith to be our true selves. To share what we have been through. To share what we struggle with, our fears, our hopes, our dreams, and ways we fall short with Him and each other. It isn’t always easy but, I believe, it is always worth it. I believe this is one powerful way that we move forward in our walk with Christ and with each other. Be Blessed my friends.


 

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Colossians 3:9-10 Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Discouraging Days

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Discouragement, at some point, strikes us all and if allowed will grip onto you and suck away life, joy, and hope.

If discouragement has a grip on you, know that you’re not alone. But also call it out for what it is, an attack and tool of the enemy. Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy. He will do that in any way he can.

Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy.

Discouragement steals our hope and if we lose hope, we lose faith. For faith IS the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. So if the enemy can steal our hope and get our eyes on the evidence of hopelessness he has hit us where it hurts. For when we lose our hope, we also lose our faith. At that point, losing joy, praise, peace, and thankfulness isn’t too far behind. You see we need our joy, our hope, our faith, and our praise. These are our tools and weapons against the enemy. We especially need our faith and praise. Two powerful weapons. If we have a mustard seed size of faith, the mountain has to move. God inhabits the praises of his people and where God is the enemy flees. If we let the enemy can take away our praise and our hope he deals a vicious blow.

I know it’s cliché.

So, okay. I know it’s cliché, but even clichés can be true. You have to praise God in your storm. Praise him no matter what the facts and circumstances are, hold onto his hand, and hold onto your hope.

Hope of a better day
Hope for the future
Hope for healing
Hope for rescue
Hope for freedom
Hope for substance.
Hope for encouragement
Hope for your faith
Hope for the promises of God

I encourage anyone who is dealing with discouragement, hopelessness or depression to first and foremost reach out. Tell someone. Bring it into the light. Don’t let it hide. Confess it to the Lord and to others. Ask for prayer. What I think you will find is that not only will it make you feel better, but you will also find others who struggle with the very same things.

Wage war on the enemy’s lies

After you confess it. Wage war on that lie from the pit of hell. Speak scripture and truth over yourself and to the enemy. Pray it out loud for faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word. Get with others who have had the same battle. Listen to their testimony and share yours, even if your are still in the battle.

Remember that Jesus paid for all things on the cross. He said it is finished. Nail those things to the cross and remind the enemy that you are bought and paid for and that he has already lost. Remind him that you are a child of God. That you are created with purpose. That you are important. That you matter. That you are set free, cherished, and loved. Then remind him who your Father is. Tell the enemy and yourself that you will not let your hope go, and that you won’t let go of the Father’s hand. And then just hold on and let God take care of the rest. Be blessed my friends.

For more on who you are in Christ read this post from the Identity Series:

Identity Crisis: True Identity


John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Matthew 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove from here to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God

I’m Chasing You

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This week’s Poetry Tuesday’s feature is “Chasing You” by Jenn Johnson and Bethel Music. I love this song and the video below. Chasing after God. What could be better? I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do. Be Blessed my Friends.

“Chasing You”

You hide, I want to find you
Go, and I will follow you
I want to be where you are

As You move, I’m right beside you,
Oh, I’m running after you
I want to be where You are

I’m Chasing You, I’m so in love
Captivated, I just can’t get enough
I’ll spend my days, Running after Your heart
Your heart, Your heart, Whoa

I’m Chasing You, with all my love
Captivated, I just cant get enough
I’ll spend my days, Running after Your heart
Your heart, Your heart, Whoa

Heart, You’ve won me heart and soul
And where You lead I’ll go
I want to be where You are

From the moment I rise to the moment I sleep
My affection is for you, and even as I dream
I want to know you, I’m after Your heart

This life, this love, was always meant to be
A wild, crazy adventure discovering
The thrill, the rush, the more of  You I see
The more it leaves me wanting
You’re everything
You’re everything

 

Fleeting Moments

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YWAM Family


Sometimes we don’t recognize the important moments until there are gone.

The smiles. The laughter. Holding your five year olds hand. The tickle fights. The late night talks. The one more story mommy. The five more minutes mommy. All of those moments along the way in the middle of the chaos, tears, sleepless nights and fears. They keep coming and time keeps ticking. Soon those moments are memories in a blink of an eye.

For the moms out there with babies and young children, I know that today it feels like toddler tantrums and sleepless nights will never end, but trust me, they will. Before you know it, it will be an adult staring back at you, and in my case, with my boys, having their chin rest on the top of your head.

I spent many days with my toddlers wishing away the time. Wishing for dad to get home, wishing for nap time to come, wishing for this week to be over and for the weekend to arrive. Wishing my kids could do more for themselves, like tie their shoes. Now they can…

All grown up.

I am officially a mom of two men and one woman. I am very proud of the people they have become and are still becoming, but I do miss their chubby little fingers wrapped around my finger, and their cute little voices calling out for “mommy”. However, I would not turn back time even if I could, but I do sometimes wish I had slowed down and breathed in those fleeting moments a little more. I wish I knew then, what I know now. That in a moment, in a heartbeat of time, my babies, my toddlers, my grade schoolers would be gone, never to return. But in this moment, as I am writing this, I also have a new gift. Best friends. You know the kind of friends that you know will always be there no matter what. That is now what I have in my children. Even when they are in another state or across the world, they are still only a FaceTime moment away.

I have new best friends.

I got to visit with them this past weekend after months of them being away. It’s amazing how they have changed and yet are still the same. The same smile, the same laugh, but yet more grown up somehow. It is really hard to put into words what it is like seeing your children, your babies, now starting to walk out their adult life. Some words come to mind. Love. Pride. Honor. Gratefulness. I feel a deeper kind of love for them. I am proud of them. I am amazed by them. I am thankful that I am their mom. But most of all I am grateful that God is still with us all, loving us, guiding us, and in these beautiful fleeting moments bringing us back together, even if it’s only for awhile.

The seasons are fleeting.

It is a new season for my children. It is also a new season of my life. A season that I saw coming and even a season that I have prayed for, but now that it’s here, it brings with it things I could never have imagined. A peace and a joy. A sadness and a difficulty. An excitement that I truly never expected. For as my children’s’ lives more forward, so does mine. I realize that more adventure awaits for us all. Both together and apart. That may be the most surprising part of all. Realizing that my children and I will now begin new adventures in the Kingdom together, not just as mother and child, but as brothers and sisters in Christ. I guess that is what we have been all along. Funny how time has a way of showing you things and teaching you lessons. So take it from somebody who knows. Breathe in those moments with your children. Capture them. Drink in the honor of being a parent. Remember that the moments are fleeting and that we, as parents, have a short time to pour into our children. To teach them the way they should go. To recognize that they have a call on their life. A moment in time to try our best to help them learn how to walk in that call. To steward them the best we can and rely on God for the rest. So friends, I leave you with these thoughts. Don’t stress about the things that don’t really matter. Hug more than you yell. Hold their hand. Have the late night talks. Pray over them daily. Speak over your children the things that you want them to be. Lean on God for guidance. For all too soon, you will have an adult staring back at you too. Be Blessed my friends.


Scriptures on the walls at the YWAM base in Charlotte:

YWAM pic 2Ywam pic

Overwhelming Days

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Do you ever feel overwhelmed?

Some days I feel completely overwhelmed. Torn between the have tos and I gottas, like, bills, laundry, and clean bathrooms, the I need tos, like homeschooling, writing, coaching, and answering emails, to the I want tos like playing games with my kids, being creative and starting a book.

Sometimes at the end of the day I haven’t even impacted that list at all and feel completely lost, overwhelmed, and frustrated. Today was one of those days.

Today was one of those days.

The noise and demands of my life was like a roar of confusion in my head. At that moment, I just had to stop and take a breath. The first thing I wanted to do was call my husband and complain. He is my best friend after all, and my go to guy. But then I heard the Lord’s voice say “I am suppose to be your go to guy.” At that point, I could feel all the emotion rising up in me and tears filling my eyes.

I heard the Lord’s voice say “I am suppose to be your go to guy.”

I put aside all that I was doing. I went back to my bedroom and just cried out to the Lord and poured out all my feelings to him. I talked to him about my day and about my week. I talked to him about my feelings and my responsibilities. I asked him about his plans for me. I felt his voice say “trust me and my plans for you”. Rest in me. So I did. I rested. I felt his peace come into my heart, mind, and soul. I was reminded that I don’t have to have all the answers. I was reminded that it is okay to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. It’s what I do with those feelings that really matter. Do I let them defeat me? Or do I let them lead me to God? Today they led me to him, but somedays they don’t. Somedays I wrestle with them until I am exhausted. But even on those days the Lord is still there to help me pick myself up, dust myself off, and move on down the path.

Today my emotions led me to God, but somedays they don’t.

Days like today remind me that I am only human and to stop striving for perfection, but rather to remind myself that I am a beautiful creation of God, created to be loved by him and to rest in him. After all, he is the one who has given me these dreams, goals, aspirations, and desires. He also has given me my emotions. When I get overwhelmed I just need to remember that and remember that I don’t have to do it on my own. God is my go to guy. He will help me. He will lead me. And yes put others around me to lift me up and support me. SO after my time with the Lord, which was only about thirty minutes of my day, I had a whole new outlook. Then I did call my hubby to talk about my day. But it made a big difference that I went to God first.

If you relate, I encourage you to just stop what you are doing at the moment…

Take a deep breath.

Find a quiet place and talk to God.

It doesn’t have to be a long talk. Sometimes just five minutes can make all the difference.

Be blessed my friends.

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

Psalm 61:1-2 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto you, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

A Place of Belonging

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A place for you


God talks to me many times in pictures or visions. He will show me something and then over time give me more and more revelation. Recently the Lord showed me a vision of a beautiful table. The table was lavishly decorated with candles, greenery,  centerpieces, the whole works. The table had all kinds of food, meats, vegetables, desserts, more food than anyone could imagine. There were presents on this table too. It was a full bounty of wonderful food and gifts. There were also name markers at every seat. Also in this vision there were people sitting on the floor and under the table. They were eating scraps off the floor. They were not even looking at the table. They didn’t even realize everything that was up there on the table.

I think as Christians we often settle for leftovers or scraps because we don’t know or see that there’s more. I think that can especially be true for those of us raised in the church all of our lives. We have settled for less than what God has for us. Why do we settle for scraps off the table, when the Lord has made us a place at his table?

-There’s a place of belonging for you at the Lord’s table and in His family.

I think there can be many reasons we may not take our place. Maybe we feel unworthy, unloved, and rejected. Maybe we don’t even understand that there is a place for us at the table.
Maybe it is fear. Maybe it’s the enemy’s lies. How often do we let fear and lies keep us from taking our place? How many times do we not take our place at the table because we are holding back, because we don’t believe in ourselves, because we are afraid that we are not enough or that we are a misfit? Maybe the enemy has asked us over and over again “Who do you think you are?”. If you are like me, I have fallen in all of these areas. I have believed the lie that I am not good enough. I have believed the enemy’s lies and let fear have a place in my life. When ask the question “Who do you think you are?” I have backed off my God given place.

Whatever the reasons, the truth is we have place of belonging at the Lord’s table and in his family. If we, as a family, make a place at the table for our children, our friends, and loved ones, then how much more does God have for us? He has not made us beggars, just giving us enough to get by, but he has given us the full bounty. All we need is to ask, receive, and believe. We need to have faith. We need to believe. We need to trust God. And, yes, sometimes all of these include taking a risk. Having faith, is taking a risk.

However, the risk is worth it. We should not be settling for scraps. We should not settle for anything less than God’s best. We need to take our place at the Lord’s table. It is important to take our place. We need to fulfill God’s plans for our lives. I think we all know the story of Ester. If she had not taken a risk, stepped up, and taken her place, what would have happened?

-It is important to take our place at the Lord’s table.

I am not saying this is easy. I am just saying it’s important for us to take our place in the Kingdom. Maybe right now you don’t even know what that looks like. Maybe you feel lost, stretched thin, insecure, or out of place. But what I want to tell you is that even though we may feel out of place, confused, and insecure, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have us exactly in the right place for Him to fulfill our purpose and call. Maybe you are exactly in the place that God wants you. Trust him. Believe in Him and yourself. Ask for Him to lead you, and then follow. Ask Him to show you your place, and then step into it.

-The bigger your call, the more the enemy will attack you.

We all have a place at the table. We just need to look for it, take a risk, and take our seat. We need to recognize that the enemy tries to make us afraid and that he is a liar. We need to remember that the bigger our call, the more the enemy will attack us. He accuses us with that phrase “Who do we think we are?”. Who do I think I am? I’m a child of God. I am adopted. I have a place of belonging. I am loved by my Father. You are all those things too. Our father is good and has the perfect place for us. Next time the enemy ask who do you think you are. Tell him that. Be blessed my friends.

 

Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he has made us accepted in the beloved.

I Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Romans 12:4-8 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching; Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it in simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness.