FAITH

I Need You! Launch Friends (Only 10 Spots Left!)

launchteam
launchteam

It's almost here! ONE MORE WEEK and we will be able to preorder my first book!

AND...we will begin registration for my online devotional on Facebook and YouTube, too! Nervous....

But I couldn't do any of this without an incredible team of 100 friends (ONLY 10 SPOTS LEFT!!) to help spread the word. Here are the kind of friends I'm looking for:

  • Someone who loves the WORD.
  • Someone who loves the internet and may be a tad addicted to social media.
  • Someone who can write a review on the By Faith book page and Goodreads.com.
  • Someone that has never done a book launch or has done 99 of them.

Here's what doesn't matter:

  • Your age! I don't care if you are 18 or 80, we all need the Word.
  • Your numbers! Those pesky social media followers. You don't need to have 100,000 Facebook followers.
  • Your location! The beauty is doing this from the comfort of your home.

As a By Faith Launch Friend you will get:

  1. A free, electronic copy of the book in advance of the launch date, April 4th. (PDF)
  2. A private Facebook group with me and 100 of our closest friends and get access to behind the scenes surprises and gifts.
  3. A free online bible study of By Faith. For 20 days you’ll receive a short video of me teaching through this study series (dare I say, scared and nervous about this one!)
  4. Other fun things because it just wouldn't be a party without friends!

I can't wait to share my heart with you about this book. Telling you how hard this was wouldn't do justice. Writing it was tough, but walking through it was probably one of the hardest things I've done.  It makes me hopeful of the lives and circumstances that will change through it!

10 SPOTS LEFT!! Hurry and fill out the application now until March 14th.

APPLY HERE

Interview with Nicole Unice

When you hear Nicole Unice speak you will feel her passion for women, especially moms. She is truly a gift to the body of Christ with her love for teaching, helping all kinds of people connect with God and with one another. Today, she shares with us about fear, freedom, and how we are a gift to others when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

So grab a cup of coffee and tune in. We promise you will leave here feeling encouraged as you look at your day, today, differently.

It’ll be worth every minute, I promise!

IN THIS EPISODE

  • How scripture can resonate with us as we nurture children
  • As we get closer to the heart of God, we get free from our fear of rejection
  • The more we belong to Christ the less fear we have of belonging somewhere else
  • The gift of vulnerability
  • How much influence women have
  • Ask this question after reading your Social Media for a month
  • How to look at the day in front of you differently
  • Talks with us about her new book – Brave Enough

PERSPECTIVE

Be vulnerable enough to show your moments that you fail and how God continues to meet you.

LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

NicoleUnice.com

GetBraveEnough.com

Brave Enough: Getting Over Our Fears, Flaws, and Failures to Live Bold and Free - Available on Amazon Now!

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

ENCOURAGING VERSE

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

FAVORITE TAKE AWAYS

"If we focus on what we don’t have and what we think we deserve, we will miss the great creative ways that God is reaching out to us every day."

Boldly pray, “God, I give you all of me. Will you give me all of You? My eyes are open to see your work.”

Interview with Joanne Kraft

My guest today is a woman who knows what she’s talking about when it comes to mean moms. Joanne Kraft is a phenomenal writer and speaker – but she didn’t get there overnight.  She is a mom of four incredible kids and has spent most of her time learning from them on how to be a mean mom.

She is the author of Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical and her recent book The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. She’s been a guest on Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and CBN. Her articles have appeared in ParentLife, Today’s Christian Woman, In Touch, Thriving Family, P31 Woman and more. Joanne and her husband, Paul, recently moved their family from California to Tennessee and happily traded soy milk and arugula for sweet tea and biscuits.

I can’t wait for you to hear the wisdom Joanne has brought with her today. Let’s do it!

IN THIS EPISODE

  • What a mean-mom looks like.
  • Your child’s independence.
  • How to teach your kids to lean on the Lord.
  • The legacy you want to leave
  • The role dad plays
  • How to rock your husband’s world.
  • How to deal with regret.
  • Why God gives us our children specifically to us.
  • How to forgive ourselves.

PERSPECTIVE

For the mom who wants to throw in the towel.

Joanne shares a story she has never told anyone before.

WEBSITE LINKS

www.joannekraft.com This is Joanne’s website where you will find links to her books, articles, and inspiration.

On Facebook

On Instagram

ENCOURAGING VERSE

James 1:2-5 “Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

CONVERSATION

What part of the interview, if any, changed your perspective? Do you struggle with disciplining your child? Why/why not?  Do you carry guilt with you for long periods after the discipline was given days, weeks, months ago? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Interview with Jennifer Deshler

We met through mutual friends and since then she has been a blessing to my life. Jennifer Deshler is an encourager. She loves seeing other women succeed in life and flourish in their career.

I know you will love her story.  She is a single mom to a teenager and has been for 14 years.  She talks with us about leaving the corporate world to become an entrepreneur. How God has done some work on her own heart and the faith she has in Him.

You will love this strong, beautiful, Jesus-loving mom.

Get ready because she is going to preach!

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Teaching her daughter life experiences
  • How her choices resulted in opinions from others
  • Single parents rely on God a little differently
  • Being enough
  • Married moms help by speaking life into that single mom
  • The hardest part of being a single parent
  • The rewards in parenting
  • Watching your child thrive
  • How to stand on God’s Word
  • Be vulnerable in the hard moments

PERSPECTIVE

There are 10 million single parents. 80% of those are single moms.

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Romans 8:28

Jeremiah 29:11

Deuteronomy 31:8

Jennifer’s Website

On Facebook

On Twitter

ENCOURAGING VERSE

2 Corinthians 6:18 “and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

MY FAVORITE TAKE AWAY

No matter how unsure the future looks, God’s got it all mapped out – Jennifer Deshler

CONVERSATION

What part of the interview, if any, changed your perspective? Are you a single parent with a story? We would love to hear from you. Share with us what are the highs and lows?

Interview with Tami Heim

Seven years ago, we met over coffee and, as they say, the rest is history. Tami Heim has not only been a friend, but a huge influence in my life. She is the CEO and President of Christian Leadership Alliance. She is a mom to Zoe and grandma to two. But, God wasn’t finished.

Her and her husband, Dale, just recently adopted a little girl from Haiti. I have had the privilege of meeting Sania and she is one of the sweetest little girls you’ll ever meet.

In this interview, we talked about the adoption process, the perseverance it took, and the joy it brings.

I can’t wait for you to hear her heart today!

Join us.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • How her Pastors tweets kept her captivated with Haiti
  • How a church leader asked a question that would change their life forever.
  • From being in the delivery room with her first grandbaby to filling out adoption papers at the same time.
  • The hard process of adoption
  • How the No’s became Yes’s
  • How a prophetic word changed the course of the why
  • What brought Tami to tears
  • How parenting is different the second time around

PERSPECTIVE

Parenting in the NOW moments

WEBSITE LINKS

Christian Leadership Alliance

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Instagram

ENCOURAGING VERSE

Hebrews 12:1 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”

MY FAVORITE TAKE AWAY(S)

If we try to say why we couldn’t do what God’s invited us into, we would be so selfish.

God showed us what it is to go to the very edge of impossible.

Even in our inadequacy, God makes up the difference. - Tami Heim

CONVERSATION:

What part of the interview, if any, changed your perspective? What if God wants you to pursue adoption?  We would love to hear your story.

Interview with Lisa Whittle

One minute you are watching your toddler walking and the next, they are teenagers.  Some say its overwhelming and some think it’s the best part of being a mom.  It’s all a matter of perspective. My friend, Lisa Whittle and I talk about parenting our 7 teenagers and share with you our experience.  We talk about the highs and lows, the good and the ugly not just from our kids, but within ourselves.

Lisa is an incredible author and an amazing speaker. When you first hear her you know she is a natural leader and bold thinker. Her refreshing, bottom-line approach appeals to audiences across the nation as she points them to a passionate pursuit of God.

Don’t miss her latest book, I Want God.

Hearing our conversation, I think, will leave you encouraged and inspired to continue being the mom that God has called you to be.

You will not be disappointed!

IN THIS EPISODE

  • The three hardest things with raising teenagers
  • Knowing your kids weaknesses and helping them to build it as a strength
  • Lisa’s light bulb moments
  • Four things you need within yourself while you are raising teenagers
  • How standards are important
  • What you need to have when parenting gets intense

PERSPECTIVE

What to do when you want to throw in the towel and feel like you are not “doing this” right.

LINKS AND RESOURCES

Lisa’s Website

Book: I Want God

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Instagram

ENCOURAGING VERSE

Romans 5:5  “and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

MY FAVORITE TAKE AWAY

"Have a stubborn resolve to parent until the end" - Lisa Whittle

CONVERSATION

What part of the interview, if any, changed your perspective? Do you struggle with keeping a balanced life? Share with us what changes you might make after hearing Linda. I’d love to hear your perspective on ministry, marriage, and family.

Fear of Belonging

I am at this conference about how to connect with others in a digital world. It’s in Franklin, TN, so of course, I stop in for breakfast at Merridee’s before it starts and have their egg and cheese croissant and a cup of coffee.  Observing the room, I overhear the table next to me, full of retired men; tell their “corporate” war stories. Around them are young and ambitious men and women with their MacBook’s, ready to take on the world. To think two different generations, two different ways of doing business, and two different ways of communication, sat in that restaurant.  I get up from my table and head over to the conference.  Listening to a full day of incredible speakers, I heard words like:

  • Show the raw and authentic you
  • Every story has a purpose
  • Come from a place of Yes
  • Don’t try to be something you’re not
  • Be transparent
  • If it’s not your genius, it’s not your job.
  • Fear blocks who you are
  • We struggle with a fear of belonging

Oh, that last one grabbed my attention.

Yes!

I wanted to shout, YES!!

christian

I wanted to stand up and scream, me, me, I admit it, I struggle with that fear. I struggle with the fear of belonging, the fear of not being good enough!

Instead, I did what everybody else did, stayed in my seat internally shouting, AMEN!

Sure, I ashamedly admit to feeling rejected or inadequate. Not qualified enough or not wanted.  Feeling replaceable or insignificant.

Indulge me. I’m being transparent.

I bet Eve was content with what she had until that dumb ol’ devil had her comparing herself to someone who had more. Convinced her that something was missing in her life and that ‘apple’ would make her more “like God”.

A foolish comparison, but all comparisons are.

If we are honest with ourselves, we do it all the time.

If I only I was like her.

If only I had a husband like hers.

If only my children…

If only…

We need to understand comparison will always leave us feeling like we are lacking something. We try to do more and be more, but it’s never enough. Can I get an Amen?!?! I’m preaching to myself here, too!

Comparison leaves us feeling insecure and makes us ask ourselves, “I wonder what’s wrong with me?”

Hmmm, last I checked God’s word didn’t change.

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, - 1 Timothy 4:4

Here’s what needs to change – the way you think of yourself.

Stop believing the lies that the enemy wants you to believe.  If the devil can cast a shadow of doubt over God’s masterpiece-you-then he wins.

How?

By keeping our mouth shut. By watching everyone around us doing their “thing” while we sit quietly doing nothing.  We become master to our flaws instead of master to the One that made us flawless.

When God asked Adam and Eve, who had told them they were naked or in other words, “who told you that something was wrong with you?” God acknowledged that there was someone casting shame on them – and it wasn’t Him.

We have to stop believing the lies.

We are good enough. We are forgiven. We are beautiful.

Not only that, but…

We have work to do. Work only we are qualified to do. Work that God put in us for such a time as this.

And, you know what?

We are qualified to do it.

His Masterpiece

The other day I received a text message from one of my best friends. Her oldest graduated from high school and over the summer will be getting ready to move to Chattanooga where her daughter will attend college. I texted her back how excited I was, but I knew deep down she was sad to see her go. Then my cell phone rang.

No more texting. We needed our voices. We cried together and I made her promise that she would walk this very same road with me too, very soon.

It’s moments like these that you remember everything is for a season.

Continue reading at Perspectives: The Mom Experience - His Masterpiece

Giving God Control

How many of you remember the ViewMaster?  If you were a child of the 70’s and 80’s you remember it being one of the coolest toys out there. You could see different places and stories coming to life, all in 3-D. To get to the next screen, all you had to do was pull that lever down and it would show you the next scene. Scene by scene, each one telling the story.

Every scene giving you a glimpse of what the future held and how the story would end.

view-master
We want our life like that. A life where we can go from scene to scene knowing what's going to happen next or being prepared for the good and the ugly. We want to see the house where we will live, if our bank accounts stay dry or are they finally “running over”?  We want to see what our kids end up doing in life. Do they end up being a Christ-follower or do all our prayers go in vain?

We anxiously want to pull the lever. We want to get to the next scene. We want to see what God has next for us, yet wanting the option to look ahead so we know if we are doing this thing called “life” correctly.

Oh, but by faith.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”. The one word we wrestle with the most is that word certain. Some of you reading this right now I am sure had plans for your life to go a certain way. Instead you got answers you were not hoping for or things didn't go the way you thought they would.

Here is my challenge to you today. If you want to have a faith that is certain, a faith that looks into the ViewMaster and only sees the scene in front of them, and a lever only God can pull, then here are five things we need to do to give God total control:

Giving God Control

Timing. God gives us hopes and dreams for certain things to happen in our lives, but He doesn't always allow us to see the exact timing of His plan. Although frustrating, not knowing the exact timing is often what keeps us in the program. There are times when we might give up if we knew how long it was going to take, but when we accept God's timing, we can learn to live in hope and enjoy our lives while God is working on our problems. When you look at Hebrews 11, you see familiar names, like, Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, Samson, and Rahab. What did they do? They became certain of one thing – God’s timing is always perfect.

Faith. We need to give God a 2 Corinthians 5:7 kind of faith – “We live by faith, not by sight”. All those times things didn’t go our way, know God’s plan is greater.  Know that He may have said no to what you long for and instead has something greater for you. Faith takes the limits off of what God can do.

Patience. Patience. Patience. Let’s not be like our kids and ask for things expecting them to happen now. We live in a now society. We want things now. We want our prayers answered now. We want to get out of debt now. We want to get healed now.  God doesn’t work in the now, He works in the waiting.

Trust. Trusting God is simply believing that He loves you, He’s good, He has the power to help you, He wants to help you, and He will help you. Christians are called believers, but many times, we are more like unbelieving believers. We trust our friends, the bank, the stock market or the government more than we trust God and His Word. In John 15:5, Jesus says that apart from Him, we can do nothing. We need to lean on Him for help with everything in our lives.

Pride. When we realize that we can’t fix a situation ourselves we begin to understand how little control we have over what happens to us in life. Humility must remove the prideful independence of our heart. Removing the worldly illusion that we are self-reliant, a master of our own destiny, and in total-control.

When life isn’t going the way we planned it, may it be a reminder that we are reliant on the Lord for all things. The truth is every breath we take is by the grace of God. Every good thing we have – our friends, the clothes on our back, the food on our plate, the money in the bank – is a gift from God.

Let Him surprise you in the next scene.

 

 

Join The Launch Of Perspectives : The Mom Experience

Launch website
In April, I did some video interviews with 8 of my closest friends.  I had the idea of recording conversations with them as we talked about being a mom. Interviews of  a friend that just recently adopted, a friend that is in the midst of raising teenagers, a friend that is a pastor of a church, alongside her husband, and raising some incredible “PK’s”, and the list goes on.  The idea was to each day bring an interview on this website leading into Mother’s Day.  But, how many know God’s ideas are always bigger. On June 15, we will launch something that has been dear to my heart. As I have traveled to speak in different parts of the country, I have heard countless stories from mothers. Stories of tragedies and triumphs, stories of faith and perseverance either in a situation raising their toddler or of a circumstance they had no control over.

Hearing these stories changed my outlook. It changed the way I think, at times. It gave me a new perspective.

Just recently, a large church produced a video. They asked the question to several moms, “Describe yourself as a mother.” On screen, one by one, they said words like – perfectionist, doubts about my ability, struggle with my temper, I wish I knew how to, I wish I was more confident, and I want them to know how much I love them.

They asked the moms to come back, sit down and see what their kids had to say about them. With tears down these mothers’ eyes, they heard - my mom is - totally awesome, she’s fun to snuggle with, she’s pretty, funny, unique, and that’s why I love her so much. Words like she’s my heart because she’s the closest to me and my mommy’s my hero.

Perspectives will be a place that allows you to see things differently and the ability to learn from each other as we listen to what others have experienced.

Friends, I cannot tell you how excited I am about this.

Through story, my hope is we can give you a place that shapes your own perspective.  Sometimes the perspective we have over our own situation looks differently when we hear another’s perspective.

Either through a video interview, a podcast, or a blog post, you will hear story after story from real moms about a real God that makes Himself known in all of it.

Perspectives will be a place where stories will dare you to take the next step. Ever thought about adoption, but never knew the faith it entails? Maybe you’re raising teenagers and feel like everything the world says about them scares you or maybe you’re a brand new mom and doubt yourself.

But, what if there was a place where you could go that you could hear from other moms, real moms, which changed all that? A place where your everyday mom had fought a fight yet finished her race. What if real moms, with real stories came and shared what God did in their family, their finances, their whatever, yet you got excited and it grew your Faith in Christ because you left without a shadow of doubt knowing He could do it for you too.

This is the goal for Perspectives: The Mom Experience.

That you would leave differently than the mother you were before.  That you will feel dependent on Christ instead of yourself, because you have a confidence in Him.

The excitement is building because we want to bring you amazing stories of real moms – whether they are wives, professionals, celebrities, and everyday people – who have had life-changing encounters with God.

This is what Perspectives: The Mom Experience will be and it launches on June 15.

Sign up to be a part and get a sneak peek video interview featuring Lisa Whittle and be the first to know details about the launch.

We sometimes choose the most locked up, dark versions of the story, but what a good friend does is turn on the lights, open the window, and remind us that there are a whole lot of ways to tell the same story. – Shauna Niequist

[clickToTweet tweet="Join the launch and receive a sneak peak video interview from our experience raising teenagers." quote="Join the launch and receive a sneak peak video interview with our experience raising teenagers."]

We Need Him To Accomplish Life

Have you ever said Lord I don’t know what you have for me? Or asked what am I to be doing with my life, Lord?

I would wrestle with this question, but now - I just rest.

Rest knowing that He is control of it all. The outcome of my future, the legacy of our children, the tasks set before me.

My prayer lately has been that all the gifts and talents He has given me are never enough to get me through the task - that I need Him to accomplish them.

I want to be like Abraham who was called a friend of God (James 2:23). I want the Holy Spirit to be with me each day; walking side by side through every decision, every question and every doubt of who I am.  I want to hear His still small voice and be obedient to His Word.

Life is messy, it’s ugly, but there is a God that loves us even when we think we are unlovable.

He has never left me. I only left Him.

We may not know what God has for us or our future.  Sometimes I wish He would give me a dream like He did with so many in the Old Testament.  Then I realize that I would have little faith because I already know the answer.

Let's get honest, we serve a God that is smart and faithful.

Rest knowing that He holds you in the palm of His hand.

Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands – Isaiah 49:16

He knows your future.  He knows your best and your worst.  Rest in knowing that you may not know what the future holds, but stay faithful to Him and He will begin to show you.

Partake of His Word, chew on it, study it, and it will become a living Word to your flesh.

The unknown future of what your flesh wrestles with has to come to obedience to what the Spirit of His Word says.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; - Philippians 3:13-15

Lord, I may not know what is going on or what my future holds for my life, but there is comfort knowing that you do. Help me to trust you better, not more, but better. Thank you Lord that today I can walk not worrying about what lies ahead, but trusting you moment by moment.

The Did I Question For Moms

Raising Kids

Two of them are mine.

Two of them slept over.

This reminds me of the time when I heard someone say, “You only have 18 summers with them”.

With our oldest son, we only have two summers left before he heads off to college. I would be lying if I didn’t say I hope he stays close to home as we begin to look at colleges soon.

I remember talking to “seasoned” moms or listening to mentor moms at MOPS meetings telling me things like, “enjoy them while they are little, they grow up way to fast, or before you know it they will be leaving the nest”. I remember thinking when they were 1, 2, 2, and 3 that the growing didn’t seem to come fast enough.

How I regret those thoughts. I look back and wonder if I did everything as a mother that God asked me to do for them. Did I give them a good foundation to build their own house upon? Did I instill in them a confidence that they are who God says they are not what the world around them wants them to become?

Did I do this?

Did I say that?

Did I love them enough? Did I show them love enough?

Did I…Did I...Did I…

It scares me to think if the answer is no, yet I see their eyes and hear yes.

Those two girls will be mothers of their own some day and they will have other moms telling them what they told me, that they grow up way to fast or to enjoy every moment when they are little, including their own mother. Then they will look and find their oldest with two summers left before he is an adult and may ask the same questions I ask myself today – Did I?

Our kids are the best things that happen to the hubster and me. Nothing as idols in our life, but an everlasting love for a human life that you carried, birthed, raised and will soon let go. You begin to see God’s goodness and faithfulness in it all.

Our kids mold us and shape us into the human beings we are today. They remind us to ask ourselves – Did I love enough? Did I encourage enough? Did I allow myself to dream big dreams?

They are a big part of who I am as a mother. I am proud of that. No way have I lost who I am or my identity, but if I can give four kids into this world that are bible-believing, Jesus-followers, that do the Word, then we have given the single most important gift we can give back to God – Christ-believers. If that is what I am known for, if that is what God put me on this earth to do, if that is where my identity is found, then so be it.

But God has more.

More for you and more for me. It is time for us to reach beyond ourselves into something greater. God has more for us to do. When much is given, much is required. God knows our hearts; He knows our passions because He put them inside of us.

We never finish the race of being mom or dad. We finish parenting at one point only to find us running a different race. A race we pursue with all our heart and soul only this time we have a team of people supporting us along the way.

Are your kids growing up way too fast?

Wednesday Wisdom - Trusting God

Let's get honest, sometimes the hardest thing to do is trust God.  When we don't see things going the way we want or it seems as though the money isn't coming in as fast, we tend to doubt and fear that God must not be aware of all that is going on.  We don't trust Him that He has everything under control.  Today, I hope these words encourage you to trust the faithfulness of God.

Three Things I've Learned About Faith

*I wrote this on Friday night and as I went to pick up one of our daughters from a fun night with friends, I missed a step on our garage staircase, fell and sprained my ankle. I went to the ER and now am in a splint and crutches for a week. Let me just say the devil doesn’t like this message – be warned! I have always loved people watching.  When I was a teenager, I remember my friends and I would just love to watch people walk by in the mall or on the streets of California.  Taking in all the outlandish outfits, crazy hairdos or how "that girl shouldn’t be with that guy". Twenty-five plus years later, it seems like my own teenage girls have caught the phenomenon of people watching.  I feel for them as people watching is now 24/7 in their lives.  Although, Mom and Dad hasn’t given into Social Media for them, it seems that in time they will be introduced into the way our world “people watches” from now on - all day, every day.

Recently I have had quite a few of you send me texts and emails asking me what have I been doing lately? - Is everything ok? You’re not writing as much as you use too. I’m not because right now where I am at - I am in the fight of my life.  No, there are no health issues. Praise the Lord!  Although I’m praying for friends like Michelle Cushatt battling cancer or even our own Pastor’s mother fighting a cancer all her own. Right now, Jose and I are in a midst of what I believe so many of us are fighting all our own.  We are fighting for God’s business.  We are fighting for this business that God brought us to Nashville from Denver 10 years ago.  Fighting for survival during the winter.  Fighting to stay afloat yet learning that whatever the outcome - God’s plan is bigger.

But, I do know this…God is in control.  I know without a shadow of doubt God will see us through, He always has.  Winters just plain sucks when it comes to construction. I’m a daughter of a Roofing Company owner and a wife of one too and one thing I’ve learned is that faith will always see you through.

As Jose and I walk through this season, it was just this past October that I was continuing to work at a high-end country club as an Event Coordinator, Marketing Director, Membership Director, Club Strategist, pretty much everything for the last 3 years.  See it was in this job that I got in the way of what God was trying to do three years ago when the economy went bad for everyone. The solution – find a job not wait and see what God wants us to do.  Then back in September everything was good. Debts were all but paid for, the teenagers had their things, and the business was doing great.  But I was struggling months prior. I was telling my husband how much I missed depending on God for our income.  How I missed depending on Him for our resources.  The paycheck I was receiving was a guarantee.  A guarantee that all is well. A guarantee that I never had to really ask God for anything.  I felt dependent on the paycheck and not on Him.  You have to remember this is a girl that has come from nothing but self-employed family – great-grandfather, grandfather, father, and husband.  It was as if I was longing for dependence on God.  No, I was longing for dependence on Him.  Now mind you this wasn’t what I call the "stupid" Christian that believes the money for the check that I wrote to purchase the car that is in the garage will arrive in my bank account. No, I’m talking dependence on Him as He orders my steps.

So an incident happened at work that was the last straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak after years of providing experiences for wealthy people, that included them getting drunk, hitting on married people, cigar smoking, and using their words in not so nice ways, it was time for me to quit.  What kind of witness of God and His kingdom do I have?

The holidays were wonderful. The kids made out like bandits. My mom came and stayed a week after Thanksgiving with us after losing dad this past summer.  The New Year looked promising and I was excited to see what God was going to do in 2014.

Be careful what you wish for.  When I said I missed depending on God.  He took it literally.

It’s as though we have gone full circle in where God had us three years ago - trusting Him.  Jose will quickly remind me though we are nowhere near where we were then, missed mortgage payments, bank accounts overdrawn, bill collectors coming from every direction.  We are fine and have endured some battle wounds; continuing to fight the battle of our faith until God gets all the honor and glory in His plan for our lives and His business.

via Creative Commons

So today I want to give you three things we have learned along this journey so that you can fight your own fight.  Finances are a subject a lot of us do not like to talk about or make public information, but remember how I told you about my love for people watching - every person we watch has a story. Every person has something they are going through, good or bad.  The more we become open with our story and make it God’s story, the more people we can turn to Christ as we tell others about our tragedies and triumphs, our battles and our victories, giving God all the honor and glory in each one.

1.  What is your motive? We have all heard on the news at least one time in our life about someone robbing a bank and the first  question the police ask is “what was the motive”? This is because motive explains human behavior. Everything we do is driven by motive. We hear a lot about passion and purpose which is inspired by motivation.  Where there is not motivation, these two things can’t exist.  But how does motive pertain to faith? Motive is birthed by our beliefs and convictions.  What is your motive for following Him? We know He can provide our loaves and fishes. We know He blesses those that hunger and thirst after His righteousness. But, Jesus, I think wonders if we are looking to Him not because of who He is but for what He can do for us? (John 6:24-27) He is the only trustworthy and reliable source of our faith – not His blessings, his provisions or His healings, but Jesus Christ Himself. So I ask you again as I have been stripped of this understanding myself – Is it in Christ or in what He can do for you that you put your faith in?

2.  Fight for your faith. Faith gives us hope, so if faith is lost, hope flees. Loss of faith leads to loss of hope, which leads to anxiety and despair.  Guard your faith carefully.  People will try to talk you out of your belief.  I never told one person, except my husband, that I felt as though God was dealing with me about depending on Him and not a paycheck before I quit my job.  Because here’s the thing….it’s crazy!! People would have told me I was hearing things that were not His Holy Spirit because at times, I admit, I thought that myself.  Fear and doubt are the two worst enemies that love to attack your faith.  You have a diagnosis of cancer, you just got laid off, your house burns down and you lose everything. When things like this happen it’s as though the whole world feels like its falling apart.  Then Jesus sweeps in and says, “I understand, I know you are afraid. Don’t be. Trust me”. In any situation we have a choice: fear or faith. Choose faith. Fight the fight of faith.  One thing as Christians, as followers after Christ, the devil is not after our money. He’s not after your house, your clothes, your children or your health. He’s after one thing – your faith. He knows if he can steal your faith you will be spiritually empty.

3.  Your faith will be tested.  Since January, God has me studying about Abraham and one thing that has spoken to me is how much he trusted God. Abraham trusted God with his whole heart.  Although Abraham never had the Bible to remind him of God’s promises - He was living them.  They were amazing friends. If you know the story you also know Abraham “helped God” in hurrying the process of His promise of having a child, he just forgot that God told him it was with his wife Sarah not her maid Hagar.  It’s funny how we get in the way and rush God’s answer to only find that we just delayed the process.  You may ask, what is that process? It is the process that says something about trials that clears our vision so that we can see what is truly important in life.  They help us remember that things are only things and never last anyway.  Only that which is Heaven will last, and that is where our focus needs to be. Then there are times we ask, “Lord, why are you taking so long? I need an answer God!” That’s when we need to remember that God is in charge and He knows exactly what He is doing. He will not delay forever, and when His answer comes, we will understand that it came just at the right time and in just the right way to bring our faith to maturity and all honor to Him.  The question is do you trust Him to do it?

Time and time again He has done it for me, my family, and through the generations before me.  He also did it for Moses, Joshua, Daniel, David, Job and even Jesus. When I find myself in doubt or fear, I now take a look at my motives.  I find myself blessed where God has us at.  We are not out of the woods yet, but we serve a big God that can do big things - it’s just not on my time it’s only on His.  I know without a shadow of doubt that He has and will see us through.  He will see you through. Just like so many before us, God keeps His promises.

What is your faith being tested with? How are you putting your faith into action?

Winners Never Quit

runner

Quitting is not an option for anyone of us.

(Guilty!)

We must decide what we want or need to do and make up our mind that we will do it; we will finish our course, not quit.

(Guilty!)

How many of us are in a season where you feel like you took a step of faith and things all around you seem to be crashing down? That you know in your heart of hearts you know or heard the Spirit in you tell you to take this job or ministry and it seems like all hell is breaking loose? Then you are exactly where you need to be.

Paul said that when doors of opportunity opened to him, tough times often came with it.

1 Corinthians 16:9 – “Because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.”

Confidence believes that it can handle whatever comes its way; it does not fear what has happened yet.

When you attempt to do something and fear rears its ugly head you must remember that the whole goal of fear is to stop us.

Paul said he wasn’t moved by the opposition, but that his goal was to finish his course…with joy.

He not only wanted to finish what he started, he wanted to enjoy the journey.

Enjoyment is not possible if we are afraid all the time.

(Trust me; I’m knocking on my own door)

If we stare at our giants too much, the fear of them will overtake us.

Keep your eyes on the prize, not the pain.

I love what Paul says:

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 – “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Paul made up his mind that no matter what happened he was going to finish his course.

He didn’t get discouraged because he believed in what was spoken.  Look at 2 Corinthians 4: 16, 18:

16 – Therefore we not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

18 – So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I’m not denying the existence of problems, Lord, knows I’ve had my fair share of them, but we must not allow them to rule over use.

stare

Glance at your problems, but stare at Jesus. {Tweet That!}

Another example of this is David. He may have felt fear yet he never ran away from his giant, he courageously ran toward it.

Here is what David wrote (Amplified Version):

Psalm 56:3-4 – “What time I am afraid, I will have confidence in and put my trust and reliance in You. By [the help of] God I will praise His word, on God I lean, rely, and confidently put my trust; I will not fear. What can man, who is flesh, do to me?”

David was clearly saying that even though he felt fear, he chose to be confident.

Paul said we are each running a race and that we should run it to win.

Winning requires preparation, training, sacrifice, and a willingness to press past our opposition, our tough times.

It often requires failing many times, but continuing, always keep going, despite any opposition we may encounter along the way.

Are you tempted to give up something right now?

Don’t!

Finishing your challenge, finishing your race, will build confidence. You will trust yourself more and you will trust God even more and that is what is important.

Winners don’t always take first place, but they finish the race.

Finishing your race will build your confidence.

Confidence is faith in God. A belief that because He is helping you, you can succeed in whatever you need to do.

Remember, God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound-mind – 2 Timothy 1:7

Tomorrow, I will talk with you about Courage.  What is it and how do we get it?

What are you ready to give up? What are you ready to fight for?

Giving God Control

Giving God Control

On Wednesday, November 20th I did it. I quit my job.

As some of you know I’ve been battling wanting to stay home and be a stay-at-home mom again for the last 8-10 months.  My kids are growing up way to fast and these last three years of working full-time showed me that I was missing a big part of their life. With my dad passing away this year, it solidified my desire to finish this parenting race with a Godly home our kids would be proud to come back to. I also had this little “ministry” gig going since 2009 and put that to the side in 2012-2013. Life has just been a little unknown.


So let’s just say 2013 has been a “restless” year spiritually and mentally. 


I’m not going to bore you with the details of what led me to quit or how it all happened, but there is such a sweetness when God answers prayers on His time. {Tweet This}


SWEET


Sometimes He answers boldly or He may close one door only to open another.  It’s funny how we’ve been talking about Faith these last few weeks and now it’s time for me to put those words into action.


No, I don’t know exactly where God has me going but I know I’m only to rest in Him.  Wait for His answer; His timing.  How many know for us type A personalities that’s hard? 


So here I am in new territory.  Maybe you are too.  We may not know exactly how 2013 finishes, but God does.  We may not know how 2014 begins, but God does.  And there’s something about that that must give us peace in knowing that everything will be OK.  That if we take us out of the control and give Him total control, that God can do some pretty amazing things. 


Let’s not get in the way.


Be Brave in the When

[quote]"During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." - Acts 16:9-10[/quote]

How many wish God would speak so clearly?

I know I do.  Sometimes I pray that God would give me a dream or a vision to show me what direction to go in my life.  You know that prayer that you ask, “Lord, what am I supposed to do with my life?”  It seems that all you dream about are your to-do lists or things you can’t even remember.

Or maybe we ask God to show us which door to walk through.  It’s like we play Let’s Make a Deal with God and ask Him “Is it door #1 or door #2, Lord?”

makeadeal

Can you make it a little clearer for me?  Well maybe you can show me in a dream.  Then around and around we go again, never moving forward.

One thing I’ve learned is that God isn’t naïve.  There are so many of us, myself included, that miss this one piece of the puzzle.

Faith.

Without Faith we can’t see God working.  Now that’s a pretty smart God.

Hebrews 11:1 says:

[quote]"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."[/quote]

We can always go start something; a new business, a new book, a new blog, but if you’re a Christ-follower, it’s hard to do it without Faith. Now, it can be done, but the journey may be a little difficult.  We need Faith to believe that the right clients will come; we need Faith to believe that our words on paper or on our laptops will get into the right hands of those that need to read it.

So you may ask, “Ok, Michelle, what am I supposed to be doing with my life?”  Here is my answer:

[box]Habakkuk 2:2-3 -And the Lord answered me: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.[/box]

Every new year since 1998, Jose and I have written a list down of our dreams and desires, if you will, of things we need God to do or want Him to do in the coming year.  Since that time we have crossed off so many things off our lists. It’s what we call Faith in action.

I dare you to try it this New Year.  Take a sheet of paper and dream BIG. Because here’s the cool thing - there are no limits to what God can do!

A vision creates a revelation.  Think about it, you don’t think your vision, you see your vision and then you think. Think, “Alright, God, how am I going to do this? How are we going to reach the lost, how am I going to raise some amazing teenagers, how are these debts going to get paid…how, how, how?”

Then he says Romans 12:3:

According as GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN the measure of faith

Your HOW is in your FAITH.

You see, God gets everyone started off the same way. He doesn’t give one person more faith than He gives another. He gives to every man or woman the same measure of faith. Then your faith grows according to what you do with it.

I’m afraid we have those that either hide this, so to speak, like the guy that was given the one talent (Matthew 25:25) or don’t use it at all.

Our Faith doesn’t grow if we don’t use it.

And when we use it, is when our How then becomes our When.

That’s Faith.

Become Brave in Your Faith

faith[quote]1 Peter 5:5-7 – All of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.[/quote] I love that last part of verse 7, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

As some of you know, I am in the midst of transitioning from an Executive full-time job to being obedient to the future.  I was talking with a friend of mine that I actually miss depending on God. What I mean when I say that is I miss Him feeling in the voids when it comes to our finances.  I miss those moments of sweet embrace knowing that God saw us through yet again.

I know, crazy, but I do. Especially looking back.

Why?

Because I had total and complete dependence on Him and not a paycheck. As scary or unknown the future looked like, I knew He was in complete control of our future.

Now don’t get me wrong. If we are in a position that we need to work to provide for our family, to put food on the table and a roof over our heads, then that is what we need to do and God honors that.

I’m talking about when you know God has put a desire in your heart that you know is what truly you are supposed to be doing, but depend more on the stability of knowing what is constant in your life instead of having the might (Isaiah 11:2) to take a step and trust Him to be your constant.

It’s as to imagine that God put something inside you, a calling, a gift, a story and you put it to the side.  You say to yourself, I’m just going to put it over here because I know this paycheck, this food binge, this prescription, whatever it is I need, allows me to know that everything is OK.

When we do this we disappoint Him.  God wants us to see Him bigger than that paycheck, that food binge, that prescription.  He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.  Not faith in the tangible but in the intangible.

[box]Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1[/box]

Today, I want to talk about 1 Peter 5:7. God says to cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.  I love what John Bevere said in his book Relentless.  He talks about as moms and dads we have a natural tendency to provide for our family.  To put food on our tables or take them to the doctors for good reports. Those are natural tendencies of being a provider.  John then explains how the word of 1 Peter 5:7 becomes active when we allow that natural provision to become a weight and how we need to put those cares upon Him. He says it this way, “to provide for my family was a valid and godly concern. However, if I had made this care my top priority, I would never have stepped out in obedience to God. That concern or care would have been the weight that would have greatly hindered my race."

Did you catch that?

How many want to finish their race with no weight, no concern, but a trust in Him to help you finish the race?

[box]Hebrews 12:1 (NLT) - let us strip off every weight that slows us down…. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.[/box]

If you are in that place where you’re not quite sure what your next step in life is or where to go from where you are, know you’re not alone.  My hope is that this has nudged you or served as a reminder to stay faithful to His desires. We may not understand all that's going on or wonder what's next; just know that you serve a God that is faithful and if God be for me, who can be against me.

What can I pray for you during your journey?

 

Breaking Bread with a New Vision

Image Credit: Randall Otis

“Are you kidding?” I said, “You want me to launch this blog today? It’s Tuesday, the worst day to launch. It has to be next Monday.”  “No today, because then I know it is about Me and not the numbers.  When it’s about Me and not about what the stats say.  When it’s about Me because you obeyed.”

So today I push GO.

Hidden behind these pages is not only a renewed look, but also a renewed vision, a renewed passion.

You will find words that will encourage and inspire for the sole purpose of women seeing themselves as God sees them.

Beautiful.

Courageous.

Loved.

Brave.

I know you have many choices out there.  A smorgasbord of options, if you will. But I’m not here to feed you milk and cookies, but a nice cut of meat and potatoes; a stick to your ribs message.

I’ve been blogging since 2009 and went offline last year.  I decided that working full-time after two years I needed to remove things or slow my pace down and focus on my family.  One of those was to stop blogging.  I did and honestly never regretted a single day off. 

Then June 2013 happened.  I lost my dad.  You can read more about him here. God began to stir my heart again.  This time in a way with clarity and purpose.  That everything that happened in my life, good or bad, God was there every step of the way.  He reminded me of my voice and how He gave me stories to tell and that I needed to tell them.

So from June until now I did a “Jacob”, I wrestled with God.  I didn’t want to get lost in the numbers, the who’s who, how many likes or shares that I got.  I didn’t want to get lost in writing with no purpose but only for the goal of reading one more comment or adding one more friend request. 

I didn’t want this to be about me, but about Him.

So here I am. 

Let’s break bread together.