Possible.

Doubt.  I have never been one to doubt God.  I do believe that He can do all things.  I have seen healing, restoration, and amazing transformations.  He is God!

But there have been areas of my life where I have doubted God’s hand.  I guess I didn’t really doubt that He was capable, but I didn’t think He cared about those areas of my life.  Have you ever felt like that?

The past few months, all of that has changed in my view of how God works in our lives and where He shows up. I made the decision in September to take the step on a journey to better health.  I am a big girl and I always have been.  But to be quite honest…I didn’t think that was important to God.  Why would He care if I was fat?  It wasn’t a priority in my life because I felt that serving Him in ministry was much more important.  But God did something in me over the summer.  I distinctly remember hearing Him say to me that ‘He needed me to be healthy to do the work He was preparing me to do.’ Really?  I fought this long and hard, but every step in every direction was leading me down this road.  But I still doubted Him.  I had tried over and over again to lose the weight with no success.  Why was this any different?

I love the gospel of Mark. Over and over again you will see where the people were amazed or astonished.   When we are this amazed at something, doubt is present. One of the Greek words for amazed used in Mark is ekthambeo (ek-than-beh`-o).  The definition is “greatly astonished, awestruck.” ( Mark 9: 15, Mark 14:33)  Another Greek word used is ekplesso` (ek-place`-so).  The definition here is “to strike out, to strike with panic, to amaze, thunderstruck, astounded.”  (Mark 6:2, Mark 7:37).   To be that stunned with amazement, there must have been some doubt in their hearts about who Jesus was and the power He had to heal.  This was ‘knock you off your feet’ amazement!

It’s been almost 4 months since the beginning of my weight loss journey.  And God has shown me amazing things about HIM and about myself.  I have had those moments of ‘knock you of your feet’ amazement!   I am down 51 lbs.  I have a long way to go, but really? Did God just do that?

NO WAY!  AMAZED! COMPLETELY ASTOUNDED!

Here is what I have learned.  God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever imagine!  (Ephesians 3:20)  Never in my history of losing weight have I given it to Him.  I have always done it in my own strength.  And the reason I doubt…is because I doubted myself due to my past failures.  God never fails!  If we give it to Him, failure isn’t an option.

“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)

So very true.  When we try to do things in our own flesh, we will fail every time.

Every.  Time.

It’s 2017 and for the past few years, I have had a “word of the year”.  For 2017 that word is…

POSSIBLE.

It is possible to have a healthier lifestyle.
It is possible for God to heal that relationship.  
It is possible for God to heal disease.
It is possible for God to give you the job of your dreams.
It is possible for God to cure cancer.
It is possible for God to give you financial freedom.

In what areas of your life do you need to stop doubting and give it to Him?  Let’s make 2017 a year of possibilities!  I am definitely looking forward to the journey.

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD!

Faultless to Stand…

I love the old hymns.  I grew up singing them and they have had an impact on me as I have walked with Jesus all of these years.  I remember when I decided to become baptized and make Jesus my Lord and Savior, the hymn “Just As I Am” was being sung.  I also remember the first time I sang harmony with my mom at a Sunday evening service.  It was to the song “In the Garden”.  To this day, it is still one of my favorite hymns.  But the most precious hymn to me was my grandma’s favorite, “Because He Lives”.  Every time I hear it or sing it,  I have such fond memories of my grandma, Ava.  These hymns are engraved on my heart.

Recently, I was reminded of a phrase that you can find in a newer worship song and in an old-time hymn.  The hymn is “On Solid Rock” and the newer song is “Cornerstone”.  The phrase that really has stuck out to me is…”Clothed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.”  When we are clothed in his righteousness, we are faultless.  Really?  How many of you make mistakes?  We all do!  And do we carry those mistakes around with us?  Are they weight that brings us down daily?  I know that is true for me sometimes!  But faultless?  The definition of of faultless is free from defect or error.  I love the following synonyms as well — prefect, flawless, impeccable, accurate, precise, exact, correct, exemplary, unblemished and irreproachable.

Untitled design (1)Jesus blood has made us faultless where we can stand before HIM!  How amazing is that!  What hope that brings to us in our sinful lives that Jesus has made us perfect, flawless, impeccable, unblemished, irreproachable…FAULTLESS before HIM!  Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one sacrifice HE has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (NIV)

 

I love how God puts lyrics of old hymns and new songs on my heart to remind me of HIS amazing grace!  I am thankful for the sacrifice that my Jesus made so that we can be faultless and perfect before HIM.

Balance in 2016

A new year resolution has never been a great option for me.  By February, I would always break it and be back to my old habits.  Last year, I tried something different.  I had a word for the year that stuck with me and reminded me what the year was all about in my relationship with God, in my personal life, and in my relationships with others. The word I chose for 2015 was AWAKEN.  It was a year of all things new in my life.  I had a new job, I was able to be home with my kids so much more and my relationship with God was definitely renewed…awakened.  As I reflect on 2015, I am grateful for what God has done through me.   But I also am looking to 2016, because I know there is more that needs to be done.

A few weeks ago, I didn’t have a word yet for 2016.  So, I began to pray that God would show me the area that I needed to focus on.   I have seen His hand in many things this year and I wanted to make sure that I was focusing on what HE wanted.  It didn’t take long for God to show me my word.  I was going through a study that really had me focused on several areas of my life.  I needed BALANCE.  I wrote the word down with some scriptures and tucked it away.  God showed up again and again with that word.  I heard Him and listened.

Since then, I have really focused on what the word BALANCE means for me in 2016.  I know some areas where I need that balance, but I also know that God is going to show me so much more than what I expect.  Colossians 3:17 says,  “Let every detail in your lives- words, actions, whatever- be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”  (MSG)  That is where I begin my journey of balance for 2016.  No matter what I do — healthier lifestyle, ministry, finances, relationships, job, hobbies, responsibilities, anything—it will be in the name Jesus.

So bring on 2016!  I am ready to see what incredible things God has in store.

Snapshots of Worship

I had the wonderful opportunity to sing this weekend in the worship choir at The Creek. There were so many things that made my heart leap with joy as I shared in the weekend with my brothers and sisters in Christ.   Let me share of few of those snapshot moments.

Snapshot #1:  One of the joys I experienced was serving  with my daughter in the choir.  It makes this momma’s heart so extremely full when I see the love of Jesus in the hearts of my kids.  She was standing behind me on the risers so she wasn’t in visible sight, but every once in a while I would catch a glimpse of her with her hands raised and singing her heart out to Jesus.  Love it!

Snapshot #2:  There was a  sweet older couple in the front row.  The gentleman had his arm around his wife as they stood and sang praises to their Lord.   It was adorable!  I made sure after service to speak with them and they had been married 67 years.  It was truly the sweetest thing and knowing after all those years, they still valued worshiping together.

Snapshot #3:  One of the most powerful moments is when we were all singing, “Forever” by Kari Jobe.  It was so incredible- the choir, the band, the congregation – together in one voice. It gave many of us goosebumps!  It was like a small glimpse of what it will be like in heaven.   If it really is anything like that, I can’t wait to get there!

Snapshot #4:  We had a few baptisms this weekend and of course those are joyous moments all by themselves!  But this weekend, I had to look away so I wouldn’t cry.  A father baptizing his teenage son and afterwards- the son hugged his dad and didn’t let go for several minutes.  I am getting choked up just thinking about it right now.  I kept looking over and looking away quickly because it really was overwhelming.  It was so beautiful!

There are so many more snapshots such as powerful preaching on the persecuted church, Global Outreach event, the body of believers praying and taking the LoFAIRYrd’s supper.  The Holy Spirit was certainly present!

So why am sharing these moments of worship that I experienced?  Well, it reminded me of a few things.  First of all, the importance of being in corporate worship.  It amazes me how some don’t see the importance of attending church on a weekend.  I am not saying that we can’t experience the presence of God in our personal worship, but there is something there as a body of believers that is POWERFUL.  We are a force to be reckoned with!  And Satan doesn’t like it!  (Acts 2:42-47)

Secondly, worship is so much more than singing a song.  I love to sing and worship songs bring a whole different level of worship that many of us experience.  But this weekend I was reminded that worship is more.  It is the fellowship of the believers, it is younger and older people connected to God,  it is His Word spoken, and it is the celebration of new lives transformed in Christ.  It is the presence of the Holy Spirit!

One of my favorite worship songs right now is “Holy Spirit”.  The bridge is exactly how I felt after this weekend.

“Let us become more aware of Your presence,

Let us experience the glory of Your goodness.”

Thank you to all who made the worship experience this weekend a joyous one.  And thank you Jesus for your awesome presence in my life and in the lives of so many others.  To God be the Glory!

The Security Blanket

Do you remember Linus from Peanuts?  Do you remember his security blanket?  HDraw-Linus-Van-Pelt-Step-7e rarely went anywhere without that blanket. He felt safe and secure when his blanket was near, but if it wasn’t around…watch out! Linus would have a serious meltdown!

Do you have something in your life that is like a security blanket?  Do you have that  one thing that makes you feel safe and that you just can’t live without or you might have a meltdown?

Security blankets are often about the insecurities in our lives.   I have struggled with insecurities my entire life.  I have been insecure about my jobs, my talents, my weight and looks, my housekeeping, my role as a parent and my role as a wife.  The list could go on but all of these areas have plagued my mind with insecure thoughts for years.

Satan wants us to feel insecure about everything in our lives because when we feel insecure, we don’t put our hope in Jesus. Jesus is the ONLY security blanket we need!  When we put our hope and trust in the Lord, our selfish insecurities disappear.   Nothing else will fully give us that sense of security.  Jesus is our rock, our firm foundation! Psalm 62:6-8 says, “Truly he is my rock and salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  MY salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.”

So let’s throw away that old security blanket.  I know, I know– that’s easier said than done.   TRUST Jesus.  Put your HOPE in Him.

strip-3

Wait For It…

I sat there at a red light…waiting.  Usually, it doesn’t take too long for this particular light to turn green and give me the arrow to turn left, but this day was an exception.  I just sat there waiting and the line of cars behind me was getting long.  Finally, impatience set in for some the cars behind me.  They started pulling out of the line and trying a different direction.  There was one that started honking at me to go.  I was getting a little frustrated.  My kids make fun of me when I get frustrated when I drive, because I start yelling at other cars.  My kids will say, “Mom, you know they can’t hear you.”  Yes, I know but it makes me feel better!   Finally, after sitting there for what seemed like forever, I got a  green arrow and continued my drive home.

We spend a lot of time in our lives waiting. On an average, we spend 45 to 62 minutes waiting everyday.  In a lifetime, we spend 6 months waiting in line and 20 weeks waiting on hold.  That’s just crazy to think about!  No wonder we don’t have much patience when we are waiting.  It seems like we are doing it all the time!

I am not much better at waiting on God.  How many time are we expecting God to show up in a situation and you feel like “anytime now”?  Do you “honk” your horn at God to go?  One of my favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   This verse has given me hope in those times of uncertainty, but I admit- there are times that I pray that God would just get on with whatever He has planned for me.  I become impatient and want it now.  A lot of times we are so impatient that we try to do it our way and it just doesn’t turn out.  That isn’t how God works.  His timing is a bit different than our timing.   He wants us to lean on Him and do it His way because it is the only way that will bring glory to Him.

There is example after example of waiting in God’s Word.  In fact, the word wait or waiting is mentioned 106 times in scripture.  The Bible is full of stories of people having to wait on God, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David and countless others.  And some of them didn’t always handle it the best way, but they remained faithful to what God promised and in Hebrews 11, they were commended for the faith.  We can say that we have faith in God or trust in His ways, but to have faith in God includes having faith in His timing.  

timing2For the past year, I have been living in His time.  A lot of things have changed in my life and I wanted to make sure that I took the time to heal and be at the feet of Jesus – reconnecting with Him and listening to His plan for my life.  It has truly been a blessing and there have been days where I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, but I know that God has truly strengthened me in ways that only He can.  Isaiah 40:31a says, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength…”  There is nothing more true than that in my life right now.

Are you waiting on God?  Don’t give up!  God has more in store for you than you could ever imagine!  Psalm 27:14 says, Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord”. There are two words in that scripture that I want you to really remember, “take heart.”   What does it mean to take heart?  It means to be encouraged, to have hope, to be bold and confident, to not give up.  Don’t give up on God!  God has perfect timing- never early, never late.  It takes a little patience and a whole lot of faith but it’s worth the wait.

 

Healing Hurts

For the past few weeks, I have been preparing to write this blog entry.  I have tried to hand write it out, but it just doesn’t seem to be coming together.  However, as I sit here and just pour my heart out through my fingers hitting the computer, I can feel God’s strength as He gives me the message that I have for others.  I think it is definitely something that He wants, because I can’t let it go.  So, here I am ready to be obedient to what He is asking me to do.

Almost 19 years ago, I was in a serious car accident that almost took my life.  I rear-ended a parked semi truck on a four-lane road within city limits.  I won’t go into the gory details, but I can tell you after 2 surgeries, 99 stitches, 3 skin grafts and several months of therapy, I was lucky to be alive.  I stayed conscious through the initial moments of the accident.  I honestly don’t remember feeling much pain, but I do remember seeing the horrific laceration on my right arm.  Even after spending 5 days in the hospital, I honestly don’t remember experiencing very much pain while I was there. I am sure that it had something to do with the “wonder” drugs that were being pumped into my body. Still, it wasn’t until I came “home” from the hospital that I really began to feel the affects of the accident.  I had difficulty sleeping as I had to keep my arm elevated and sleep on my back at all times.  I also had jammed my right leg from slamming the break, so it was uncomfortable to walk for awhile too.  If I would happen to hit my arm ever so slightly, excruciating pain would send waves up my arm.  The pain sometimes was unbearable.  But after some time, sleepless nights and tears, healing began to take place.

There are other kinds of pain.  Emotional pain can take many forms; the grief of loss, overwhelming stress, depression, job burnout, heart break, trust issues, anger, worry and so many more.  This kind of “heart” pain can become as debilitating as physical pain and sometimes even more.  So what do we do to heal from this kind of pain? Often times we don’t.  We tend to treat our wounds in ways where we don’t have to face them because it is just so painful.  Maybe we mask it with alcohol, food or even become so overloaded in our jobs or responsibilities that we don’t have the time to “deal” with the pain.  Have you been there?  I know I certainly have been there more than once.

HEALING HURTS.  That is a fact from a physical and an emotional hurt.  No matter how difficult it may be to heal from both, we have to endure more pain and struggles. Healing takes time.  When we have a physical hurt, we don’t have much choice sometimes to take that time to heal.  I know after my accident, I couldn’t do a lot of things I had done before.  I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t take a shower, and I couldn’t dress myself.  I had wonderful support from my family that helped me get around and take care of myself.  But after time, I was able to function on my own normally. It is the same with our heart hurts.   We cannot do it in our own strength and we don’t have to do it alone.

Jesus Christ is our Great Physician.  He is our healer!  He will carry us through those times of hurt and pain.  I have been there too many times, and each time He is right there ready to pck up the pieces to whatever is broken and make me whole again. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals those who have a broken heart. He heals their sorrows.” (New Life Version)  I am so glad that we have a Savior who cares and loves us so much!

Today, I have full function of my arm.  Sometimes, I forget that there is a large scar. The pain isn’t there anymore. But the scar is a reminder that God spared my life.  And because of that, God has been able to use me as a wife, mother, servant and so much more.  I am forever grateful that I have been able to do all of those things.  There will be reminders of the hurt.  Remembering reminds us where we have been and how God has used our hurt in our lives and in the lives of others.  That brings me comfort and hope.  My prayer is that I can one day look on those past hurts and be grateful to God for bringing me out of that and praise Him for what He has done since.  David praises God in Psalm 108:1,  “My heart is fixed, O God; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises, even with my glory.” (ASV)  Our hearts will be fixed by the only one who can…the one who created it!