trusting In god’s plans
One more time mommy…. how often do we here that when our kids are small? As I sit here watching my young adults sing and do the dishes together one more time, I am thankful for having them all under my roof for one more night. When they hand you that infant in the hospital, they don’t hand you a manual or tell you all that is in store for you. Out of all the stages that my kids have been through, I think the young adult years have been the most interesting and the most intense. If you are anything like me, being a mom is a major part of who you are. Now as my kids are flying the coup and venturing into their own lives, it feels odd not to see them everyday, not to know what their plans are and to realize this is the beginning of the next stage, the next season. Yep, and here come all the mixed emotions…. happiness, sadness, excitement, trepidation, nostalgia and sometimes even remorse over not holding them a little closer, a little longer, smelling their infant head one more time, telling one more bedtime story, or taking another trip to the playground. But alas, time does keep moving on, and in all honesty, I loved the toddler years, but am happy to not repeat them. So for now, the last night of the Jacobsen six being together, I think it will be one more dance party, a few more hugs and maybe another episode of a favorite show until we are together again.
If you are mom like me transitioning your kids into adulthood, then know you are not alone. If your kids are home with you now, give them another hug, kiss them on the forehead, tell one more story, or bury your nose in their infant hair another time, for sure enough the moments will be memories in the blink of an eye. Be Blessed my friends, and say a pray for me as I make this transition into the next season.
So having the flu or being sick at all pretty much sucks. I have been sick this past week and that has made me realize just how not in control of life we really are. It has also given me a significant amount of downtime to think about life and how much of it that I sometimes take for granted. It made me think of how I look at life. A few weekends ago, Leif Hetland came to our church and talked about the Father’s heart and love for us. He also talked about our viewpoint in life. He did a great visual using two chairs. Chair one being the kingdom view of life, with the focus on being what God is doing, and chair two being the soulish view of life, with the focus being what God is not doing, how we feel about something or what the enemy is doing. It really impacted me. How often do I sit in chair one versus chair two? How often do I have a small, selfish soulish view instead of a kingdom view? I have thought a lot about it this week in between, the coughing, the running nose, and well you get the point.
While trying to accomplish things from the couch and with a foggy head, I asked God to help me have a kingdom view. I was looking at our bills and trying very hard to remind myself that the Lord has a different perspective than I do. One of the bills is rather large for us and is due in two weeks. After praying, I just felt the Lord say call them and ask for help. So I did. The lady who answered was very kind and immediately said “oh we can absolutely help you out. How about a four month plan to pay it off?” I said yes and was on and off the phone within five minutes. I just sat there for a moment and just chuckled. Maybe things don’t always happen in my timing or how I want them to, but God has a plan. If I sit in chair one with him and ask about his kingdom view, my life has a lot more peace and rest in it. Maybe the biggest problem in my life is not my bills, raising kids, work, or figuring out my priorities list, maybe my biggest problem is spending too much time in chair two, with the small and soulish view of life, and trying to figure it all out on my own. Maybe if I slowed down and spent more time with the Lord and asked for his kingdom view, I would spend less time worrying and feeling life’s pressures. I hope, from here on out, it doesn’t take the flu to slow me down enough to rest and visit with my Father in the Kingdom seat. From now on, I hope that I don’t wait to slow down. I hope that I take the time to rest and to spend time with the Lord in the Kingdom seat.
If you are stressed, worrying, or feeling life’s pressures, take a deep breath. Don’t wait to slow down, stop right now and ask for the Lord’s kingdom view.
Be Blessed my friends,
This past summer, August to be exact, I had the honor and the privilege of being called to Cameroon. Five of us went on a mission trip to train church leaders in Restoring the Foundations ministry. This was my fourth mission trip in the past two years. I have come to learn to expect the unexpected and was very exciting to go on an adventure to Africa.
We left on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning right after our church service. We arrived thirty six hours later in Buea, Cameroon. I could say so many things about this trip but that would take a small book, so I will share some of the highlights and a video that I put together.
I have always dreamed of traveling the world. Two of the many places on my list are Paris, France and Africa. I could never have imagined that I would travel to both at the same time. Though, I also never would have imagined that I would only be passing through Paris and not even get to see the Eiffel Tower, but that is a story for another day. This story is about Africa. Cameroon to be more exact, and its beautiful landscapes, like Mount Cameroon, and it’s beautiful people.
We first arrived in Douala, Cameroon in the afternoon and were greeted by our wonderful hosts. There was a SUV to pick us up, a poem written just for us, and beautiful bouquets of flowers from their region. We were then taken over to a nice restaurant for dinner. This was just the beginning of what ten days of hospitality would look like.
Our first evening in Cameroon was spent having dinner in Douala and then heading up to Buea. Rush hour in Cameroon is like nothing we would imagine here in the states. The roads and traffic make I-95 look sane and slow paced. Since traffic is so bad, we stayed in the city for dinner to give a chance for traffic to die down a little bit. It was a nice dinner, and I ate goat for the first time. It was very good, and at first, I thought it was beef. The cuisine in Cameroon is rich and earthy, with many types of fish, greens and fruits to choose from. We were never left wanting for food, though some of the offerings, like Cameroonian plums, are much different than our food here in America. After dinner, we were off in the craziness of the traffic from Douala to Buea. The journey took several hours. Along the way we encountered multiple lanes of traffic, multiple types vehicles, such as taxi motorcycles sometimes carrying as many as four people on one motorcycle. We also encountered goats, cows, tolls, and fog (it was the rainy season). At last we arrived in Buea at the base of the beautiful Mount Cameroon. Since it was the rainy season, everything was lush, green, and in some places muddy.
Our time in Buea was very busy. It was full of teaching, prayer ministry, worship, and visiting. We taught seventeen pastoral couples, each from a different church, how to do Restoring the Foundations Issued Focused Ministry. They caught on quickly and were already very familiar with deliverance ministry. They all were very excited to add this powerful tool to their ministries. All together we had six long days of teaching. During this time, we got to know these couples well, and I fell in love with the Cameroonian people. I made a few friendships that I hope will last a lifetime and look forward to seeing them again this summer.
We had many opportunities while in Cameroon to pray for people. We were invited to the Mayor of Buea’s home. We got to spend time with him and his wife and pray for both of them. We also had the opportunity to visit one of Cameroon’s senators in his home and pray for he and his family as well. We also got to pray for and encourage many of the people who took care of us. We prayed for our drivers, the ladies in our house who cooked for us, and the many people who we met during out trip. It was and honor and a privilege to be used in such a way and I was blessed as much as they were.
We had many rainy days and many rainy nights where we went to bed to the sound of rain on the roof and African singing. We had a wonderful day out to see Cameroon. We saw the lava flow from where mount Cameroon erupted many years ago. We saw a beautiful waterfall that had once been a place where witchcraft was practiced and now is a place for people to come and pray. I had a nice little tumble down the hill at the waterfall and was thankfully caught by our driver who was looking out for me. I spent the day very damp, but it only dampened my mood a little. We saw the Atlantic ocean, which is Africa’s west coast, and that fact sort of still boggles my mind. But most of all, we just got to be with the people of Cameroon, here their stories, worship with them, and share life together in the beautiful presence of God. The first day there I had a moment where it really hit me. Here I am in Africa and the Lord is here with me. He is everywhere and the same everywhere. Sounds so simple, but yet the revelation was so powerful to me in that place. In gave me new insight to the scripture “I am with you always, even to the end of time”. There was not a day that went by on my trip, that I didn’t think and repeat to myself “I’m in Africa” over and over again…. I would think it “I’m in Africa” The entire trip was amazing. It was a dream come true. It was beautiful. It changed me. I grew in the Lord. I made new friends. I loved it and I can’t wait to go again.
Be Blessed My Friends,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.