God's Definition

Wow…6 days! 6 days and I will be in Guatemala.

This weekend I purchased the last of my supplies.

Bug Spray…check.

Long Pants…check.

Passport…check.

One thing I wish I could say I was taking with me is the Spanish language. This “poor Mexican”, what my husband calls me, wishes I soaked up every word my great-grandparents and grandparents spoke.  We’ve been watching some Telenovelas (Spanish soap operas) to help me recognize the words again but as always I’ll understand better than speak the language.

All kidding aside, to say I’m excited is an understatement.  The last few days and the rest of this week I’ve been preparing my heart, asking God His definition of contentment. Asking Him what his definition of loving others looks like.

One of our Team Leaders with Food for the Hungry wrote this beautiful post.  Seeing the images like these that she posted of her last trip showed the realness of some of the communities we will be going into.

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I am humbled to be a part of this journey with some rock star bloggers such as Raechel Meyers, Darrell and Allison Vesterfelt, and Sarah Matheny.  Follow our trip as we discuss our travels, the work that Food for the Hungry does and opportunities how you can get involved.

Until next time. (Hasta manana!)

Seeing the World Through His Eyes

[quote style="boxed"]Wherever we find ourselves, we can make a difference – Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma[/quote]

In 13 days I will be on a plane from Nashville to Guatemala.  Nerves are kicking in.  Praying for safe travels there and back as I leave my family for 5 days.

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One thing I know is that this experience is exactly what God has planned for me.  To see the world through His eyes.  I don’t know the needs of those we will be meeting or the children that we will meet but I know they each need to be loved and given justice to those that are suffering.

Psalm 146:6-9 says,

He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

Ken Wytsma says, “People are hungry for justice”. So is God.  It’s evident in His Word as Jesus was concerned for the poor. It was also given with His death and resurrection. It is time to not be blind to the issues around us whether foreign or domestic.  We are to be the hands and feet of the One that we are not worthy to stoop down and untie. (Mark 1:7)

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I am excited to be on this journey with these guys.  I’m sure each of us is wondering what experiences God has for us when we arrive in Guatemala.  The stories we will tell.  Follow us on this journey as we begin to prepare our hearts and our minds to all that God has for us and those that we will meet.

Until next time…

A Scripture and an eBook

Are you one to write goals when a new year starts? Maybe you want more meaningful friendships or to get out of debt.

For years I would take some of my closest friends and ministry partners and we would write down everything we wanted or needed God to do in the New Year.  We use Habakkuk 2:2 as our bases:

“And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” (ESV)

Then we would all meet at my house and lay hands and pray over them.  It is amazing to go into a new year in agreement but what is even more amazing is to meet the following year and see all the things that God did as you crossed them off your list.

If you can, I encourage you to do this. There is nothing like starting out a new year writing the vision down and “running with it”!

This year I have fallen in love with a very simple eBook from Amy Lynn Andrews called Tell Your Time – How to manage your schedule so you can live free. My Twitter friend Sarah Mae, whom I hope to finally meet at her Relevant Conference, was talking about this being on her reading list.

I bought it and read it on my Nook tablet that I received for Christmas from my awesome husband and read it in an hour.

Without going too much into the book, I want to ask you some of these questions:

What are the major roles in your life?

Mine are Self, Spouse, Parent, Employee/Owner, Home Manager, Dreamer (the last one she encourages to put down)

What kind of ______ do I want to be?

Self, Spouse, Parent, etc.

If you ask yourself those two questions and write your roles and what you want to look like in those roles, you will find who you are and what you want to become.

I encourage you before the first week of 2012 comes to a close do one of these two things (even both) – Write those things down that you know only God can do.  Those wants and needs that keep you up at night.  Those dreams that seem impossible.  Write them down, make them plain OR purchase the eBook Tell Your Time.  There is more that Amy talks about to accomplish those two questions that truly made me see things a little clearly.

Let’s start off 2012 with a vision of what God has for us and God will (and has) give us everything we need to complete that vision.

Go BIG for God.

What are some of your goals?

Dream the Impossible Dream

Good Monday to you! I’ve missed writing to all of you lately.  Life has gotten busy and some days I don’t know whether I am coming or going.

When I sat at my laptop to write this blog post I sat wondering what to write about. I’ve been doing that a lot lately and most of the time I close it up and walk away with nothing written.  It can get frustrating.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of other blogs and devotions lately and they all have been having one common word…dreaming. Something I have been doing a lot of lately.

Dreaming about the future. Dreaming about my marriage. Dreaming about my kids. Dreaming about my career. Dreaming about ministry.

Dreaming is good but action is so much better.  The toughest part with action is trusting in the unseen.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

So I encourage you today to dream.

Dream the impossible dream. Dream the biggest dream. Dream the best dream.

And when you are done dreaming then wait and…

Keep trusting God Keep believing God Keep listening to God

He will always be in every dream.

Parenting Moments That Inspire

What do you think about when I say the word Inspiration? When I think of inspiration, I think of words like motivate or create.

Webster’s dictionary defines the word Inspire as to fill with influence; to fill or affect with a specified feeling or thought.

Part of our job as mothers is to inspire into our kid’s a sense of God’s presence. A sense of His purpose and influence in our everyday moments. Once they grasp His presence they will begin to see who they are and their potential in all that God has for them.

To read the rest, head on over to The Better Mom today!

God's Promises

A promise. We hear our kids tell us, “I promise mom” or our husbands say, “I promise to do such and such”.

A promise.

Now imagine God looking at you and gently saying….”I promise”. It brings tears to my eyes to think me;

A woman

A wife

A mother

Receives a promise from God.

To know that for us He is not just keeping a promise, but many promises. I encourage you to meditate over these scriptures this weekend.  Let your heart soak in them and then thank Him for His promises.

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Matthew 11:28-29

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Isaiah 40:29-31

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Philippians 4:19

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:37-39

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Proverbs 1:33

"But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”

John 14:27

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid."

Romans 10:9

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Give It All

One of my favorite verses is Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I love this scripture because Jesus reminds us that not just some things but ALL things are possible. That if we take the limits off God, He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20)

Our hopes Our dreams Our needs Our wants Our family Our friends Our finances Our health Our home Our grace

What we find is Him in the midst of it all; His outstretched arms ready to wrap us with them in His love and mercy.

Give Him your hopes Give Him your dreams Give Him your needs Give Him your wants Give Him your family Give Him your friends Give Him your finances Give Him your health Give Him your home Let Him shower you with His grace.

Because with God all things are possible.

Take the Limits Off

As I was reflecting today on yesterday’s post, I saw on my desk the logo of this website, Beyond Brave.  I realized I am in a moment of not just being brave, but going Beyond Brave.  That this ordinary moment will take extraordinary faith to move forward, to persevere. I hold on in knowing that my God is bigger than my circumstance. That nothing is impossible for Him.

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 (NIV)

I encourage you to take the limits off God.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)

Take Him out of the box and let Him work in you and through you.

Keep up with the challenge of just worshiping Him this week.  Keep Him at the forefront of your mind.  Let Him know that you need Him and watch how you fall more and more in love with Him every day.  And in that love, you will begin to see the world through His eyes.

Ready to Fly Like the Arrow

Some days I just don’t want to endure, I want to persevere. These last few weeks I have endured some things in my life that I have had to give to God.  I have had to lay them at His feet. Through prayer and fasting, I know we will persevere through it all!

I love what Oswald Chambers says in My Utmost for His Highest:

“A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, “I can’t take any more.” Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly.”

Don’t you wonder sometimes in circumstances if God still has you in a position of stretching or if He is close to getting you to the “purpose He has in sight”?  I do.  There are days when I have actually said, “I can’t take any more” or “I don’t have the strength to go through this again”. But I have to rise up my faith and not have it as some weak and pitiful emotion, but as a strong and powerful confidence built on the fact that I know Him.  That although I may not understand what He is doing, I can trust that in a little while I will fly like that arrow.

Maybe you are in the midst of your own circumstances; feeling as though you can’t be “stretched” any further. Then pray. Seek God’s face and know Him.

John 17:3 says, “This is eternal life, that they may know You…”

Oswald Chambers says, “The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering.”

If we would take this perspective, life would become one big romance with God – an amazing opportunity of seeing magnificent things all the time.

Rise up your faith. Continue to walk in your circumstance knowing that we will be flying soon.

 

Mary Gave Her Best

Today is Good Friday. What an incredible time this is to know that Jesus was put on the cross and that every drop of blood was for you and for me. He died for us and three days later resurrected from that empty tomb. As you noticed I haven’t been writing much, if at all, this week. Because doing that Thank You letter hit me and it showed me where my priorities are. That it wasn’t about what Google Analytics said, how many followers I had that week or how many people retweeted my posts. That this journey that I am on is about my children and on this Good Friday of 2011 I can’t help but think about Mary.

In the movie, Passion of the Christ, Jesus has just been beaten and whipped and is now walking down the Via Dolorosa. As His mother asks James, in the movie, to “help me get near him”. What I want to show you next is graphic, yet such a poignant moment as we journey through motherhood:

What brings me to tears is when the adult Jesus stumbles and the child Jesus does the same and she runs after each and says “I’m here”. As I journey through motherhood I realize that my purpose in this season, in this moment, is to be the mother God has called me to be to my children. He designed me in such a way that was only for them.  He saw fit for me to mother these children. What an amazing opportunity we have. That we can pour into our children what God put into us to give to them. Wisdom, knowledge, guidance, direction, all of it and when they stumble and fall, that we are there for them to pick them back up and point them in the direction they should go.

I don’t know where this blogging journey will lead, but I know what my priorities are. That I give a 110% as a mother. That I have been given the privilege to mother 4 amazing kids and to lead them to an amazing God that no one like a mother can do.

Happy Easter!

My Thank You Letter

On Monday, I challenged you to write a Thank You Letter to God for your future AS IF you are already there. Here is mine:

God thank you for giving me Jose. You gave me a wonderful husband and my best friend. Who has made me smile and laugh. Who held me when I cried and encouraged me when I’d fall. When you gave me him, you gave me your best.

Thank you for allowing me to be my children’s mother. Thank you for entrusting me with them. I hope I did a good job for you!

I thank you that David is doing all that you called him to be and that he’s name stayed strong through the test of time. That his love for you continues as the one he was named after.

Thank you Lord for Michael. Thank you for healing his mind. That no weapon formed against prospered. Though he was small at birth, that he has done such big things for your name.

Oh Lord…do I thank you for Gabby. Or should I say giving me the wisdom to mother Gabby! J May she continue to love you and sing praises to you as she walks in all that you called her to be.

I thank you Lord for Hannah. She has been such a gift. To see her walk in the dream that you gave me as I was pregnant with her, I only can look up to you with tears in my eyes and say…thank you! You have ordered her steps to do amazing things for your kingdom and I thank you that you let me be a part of that.

Thank you that our debts are paid and the business is doing well.

Thank you God for the privilege of ministering to women. Those that are wives and mothers, young and old. That I hope I did all that you asked me to. That the books that I wrote were a blessing to those that read them. That the words that I spoke were not from me but from you. That lives were changed and hearts renewed.

Thank you God for all that you allowed me to be a part of.

As I write this letter, I began to see my priorities. Let me make one thing straight, God will always be first in my life. This letter showed me that my husband is my first priority. That I can say these things now and to make sure I say them in the future. Second, are my kid’s. Not just one or two, but four opportunities to get it right!  I might not be perfect, but with God’s help, I’m surely going to keep trying. Tears are streaming down as I continue to be reminded of my job, my position in this world. That these four kiddos can and will do amazing things for God and if I miss those moments because of busyness then I didn’t get to enjoy the journey of motherhood. I didn’t get to enjoy all that God needed me to be for them.

Seeing all this makes me understand where ministry is at for me…an added bonus.  That if I can look at the five people in my life and see that their needs are met, then everything else I do in this life is just an added bonus.

Add your own Thank You Letter as a comment or link up from your blog. Can't wait!

Don't Leave Courage Behind

Today I wanted to give you scripture (NIV) that will give you the courage to continue living your dream and vision for your life. May it be a blessing and speak into your heart!

Deuteronomy 20:1-4 When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: "Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. 4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory."

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Deuteronomy 31:23 The LORD gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: "Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you."

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Joshua 10:25 Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight."

1 Chronicles 22:13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

1 Chronicles 28:20 David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Isaiah 43:1 But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear ; do not be frightened."

Take Courage

2 Chronicles 15:8 When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the portico of the LORD's temple.

Ezra 7:28 and who has extended his good favour to me before the king and his advisers and all the king's powerful officials. Because the hand of the LORD my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.

Ezra 10:4 Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.

Mark 6:51 Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed,

The Effects Your Courage Will Have On Others

Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

The Rewards of Having Courage

Hebrews 3:6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

Isaiah 35:4 ... say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Act As If You Are Already There

This week I want to talk about one of the most effective yet unconventional way of something that is so simple…write a letter.  But not just any letter. By the end of this week, Friday, I want to challenge you to write a letter thanking God for your future AS IF you are already there living it. Write a letter thanking Him for prosperity, health, promotion, productivity and the pleasures of life.  Tell Him how grateful you are for the accomplishment(s) that have come forth. Make it as vivid and tangible as you can.  The more you place yourself in this conceivable future and live life AS IF you were already there, with humility and gratitude of course, the more likely you are to rewire who you are and the goals you set for yourself.

I see so many times other people take on tasks or make decisions that affect their future only to find themselves going backwards in life or delaying the journey God has them on.  Then question as to why they are where they are or why did it take so long to get there.

We tend to get in the way of our own selves.

By writing a Thank You letter to God with all the plans and visions we have of ourselves AS IF we are already there, will keep us focused on those tasks and decisions that we make.

For example, I love to bake and there were times a few years ago that I would have loved to have opened up a bakery. But I know that’s not what God’s plan for me is. (Read my About page to find out a little more) I could take cake decorating classes or receive the knowledge one would need on how to work with fondant, but I would only be delaying where God has me going. Me getting in the way of me. (Those of you that know me, could you really see me behind a stove baking all day? Yep, I call it a hobby now.)

To refocus, I now have a letter that reminds me of my life AS IF I were already there.  It helps me in my decision making process. Where I can look at this letter and say Yes to something that is going to move me in the direction towards those accomplishments or No because it will cause my eyes to be off the prize. The prize being Jesus Christ.

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:18 NIV

I wonder if someone like Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson, did something like this or what about Kim Cash Tate? Did she see herself one day speaking for Women of Faith? Or what about Tammie Head? Did she think that one day (in April 2011) she would release her first bible study?

What if we begin to see ourselves living AS IF and act as if we are already there?

God, I Thank You

Have you been still this week? When I found myself sitting in silence it was hard some days not to think about what needed to be done for the day.  I found myself wanting to pray out loud or make requests that He needed to hear again in case He forgot.

Wednesday He began showing me in my stillness to just Thank Him.  Thank Him for what He brought me through.  To thank Him in where I’ve been and where He has me going.  He brought up past circumstances…God, I Thank You. He reminded me of decisions I made that were not His decisions…God, I Thank You. He showed me the ordinary moments that took extraordinary faith…God, I Thank You. It was in the thankfulness that my stillness turned to praise.

Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.   Psalm 103:1-5

What’s the difference between praise and thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving – being thankful at what God has done historically in your life.

Praise – the acknowledging of His perfections, works, benefits and excellences. You are focusing on who He is.

We have to live a life of praise.  It doesn’t mean singing a praise song, it means that learning to praise Him activates the fullness He has for you.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalms 100:4

When you thank God it opens the gates. It begins to remind you of what He has done. When you praise Him it takes your focus off you and puts it on Him.

Did you spend time in the stillness of God this week?

What did God reveal to you?

Whose the Passenger in Your Car?

You DO in the overflow; you are STILL as you fill up. – Pastor Maury Davis, Cornerstone Church Nashville These words spoke so clear to me this weekend that I wanted to speak them to you as you start a new week.

How many of us are so busy every week that each day only brings a longer to-do list that we can’t seem to catch up from yesterday? Are we constantly going, going, and going, that we seem to not know if we are coming or going?

God did not create us for busyness; he created us for relationship with Him. He created us for our own good not his. God lacks nothing but rather has everything to give. It was and is the most loving choice that could be made to create mankind in order that He may share with us His perfect love. And, in our busyness, I’m afraid we miss that sometimes.

We are constantly doing. This week focus on being still so that your spiritual-tank can fill up. Set time aside each day this week to just sit still. Sit still and in the quietness let God speak to your spirit.

I loved what a friend of mine had said, “Talk to Him in the car as if he was a passenger driving with you.” It’s that simple. God is so in love with us that He wants all of us. Every day He wants our time, our attention, our devotion and our fellowship so that He can fill us up with His love. And as we are filled up we can begin to DO in the overflow.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19