Happy Mother’s Day to ALL Women

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Happy Mother’s day to all women!

You might respond, “All women aren’t mothers”.  I beg to differ. 

One definition of “mother” describes the word as a verb meaning to “bring up with care and affection”. 

Yes, some women bring up children in the traditional “mom” sense of the word.

But ALL women raise up other people through mentoring, coaching, leading, and loving. 

So, beautiful one…. no matter what form your mothering takes – celebrate yourself and the powerful nurturing spirit your God and Creator lovingly breathed into you.

Happy Mother’s day… to YOU!

Settled

If your heart hasn’t settled on the truth that God is good, He loves you, and He is more than enough – you are likely to settle for less than the beautiful and abundant life God designed just for you.

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

Feel like you’re in a Spiritual War Zone?

Well, that’s because… you are in a spiritual war zone!  It is a fight.  But when we’re in Christ, we fight from a place of victory because THE BATTLE IS ALREADY WON!

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord and in his great power.  Wear the full armor of God. Wear God’s armor so that you can fight against the devil’s clever tricks.  Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places. That is why you need to get God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil, you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing.

 So stand strong with the belt of truth tied around your waist, and on your chest wear the protection of right living.   On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong.   And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows that come from the Evil One.  Accept God’s salvation as your helmet. And take the sword of the Spirit—that sword is the teaching of God.  Pray in the Spirit at all times. Pray with all kinds of prayers, and ask for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready. Never give up. Always pray for all of God’s people.

  – Ephesians 6:10-18  ERV

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Precious In His Sight

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Because of my faithful God, some sweet friends and mentors, and my Amazing Church family speaking into my life – I am beginning to see that the parts of my story I used to view as curse, can actually become a blessing to others when shared from the viewpoint of God’s relentless grace.    So this was written for and performed as Spoken Word poetry at Christmas With The Arts this year.  I thought I would share it here, too, just in case some piece of my story helps you see God at work in your story.

PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT

Children…. Music…. Memories….
So many beautiful things about this season
And some funny things too
Like the things we do – songs we sing
Without really knowing what they mean
Like the profound mystery
Of what really is in that fruitcake we eat
Then there’s Rudolph – nose shining brightly
What are those games the other reindeer play?
Basketball, soccer, Monopoly??

But it’s not just Christmas songs perplexing me
Other songs, too – church songs even
I’ve basically been in church
From the moment I was breathing
“Red and yellow black and white 
They are precious in His sight”
You’ve heard that one – Right?
Strange as it seems
Understanding those words
for me has been a lifelong plight
The words didn’t match up with what was in my sight

In my Sunday school to my left… my right
What I saw was white, white, white
And yes more white
Something didn’t seem quite right
But I was young – perhaps didn’t understand
Just ’cause we’re all precious to God
Maybe it doesn’t mean we live
And worship on the same the same block??
But there wasn’t time to figure that out
‘Cause getting ready for kindergarten
That’s what I was all about
I loved to learn, already starting to read
Figured – just like home and church
School kids would love on me

So on that first day dressed in the very best
My sisters handed down to me
I skipped across the playground
Excited about the friends I would meet
But things played out a little differently
You see, I experienced a facial injury
When I was maybe 2 or 3
Had severe deformities
Of my mouth and teeth
Only close friends and family
Could understand when I would speak
So my dreams of new friends were shattered
As laughter began to shriek

And relentless bullying was there to stay
From k5 to high school graduation day
Thankfully, home and church
Provided a safe place respite from the hurt
But even knowing Jesus – the pain remained
As kids laughed, mocked, even spit in my face
And I suffered oh so silently
Not a word to church, teacher, family
After all… didn’t Sunday school songs say
Christians should be happy -“Turn the other way”?

So in about second grade
We moved to a larger town
Where faces as white as mine
Were no longer the only ones around
And in a diverse community
Now – up close – I could really see
That all (“red, yellow, black, and white”)
Are truly precious in God’s sight
Well, all “others” anyway – is what I believed
I still had a “blind side” when it came to me

As time went along things appeared fine
At least —-              on the outside
With help of intense orthodontistry
And quite a few years of speech therapy
I looked and sounded almost like a normal teen
But there was that pain…. Deep and unseen
Saturating every part of my reality
“Blending in” didn’t stop the bullying
I still thought I was worthless
And attracted what I believed
I still sang “Red, Yellow, Black, and White”
But didn’t feel precious in anybody’s sight

Fast forward to adulthood
For a while everything looked quite alright
Education, great career, & husband in my life
But behind the door of my heart – closed tight
Remained so much pain  – so much strife
As I worked hard to feel loved and get it all right
But expecting anyone or anything
To complete me besides God
Blocked me from receiving & giving out
His perfect love

While smiling on the outside
I suffered silently
Depression – thoughts of suicide
Sad old friends who wouldn’t leave
I was beginning to think
That maybe church and God
Were really just a cruel and senseless façade
So my “church hop” progressed to not going at all
Or watching “mega church” from my comfy couch
But my Sunday school upbringing
Still called out to me
So I had to go back to church
– For Easter at least

So a couple years back in the spring we received
An invite to what is now this Amazing thing
I looked around –could almost see
That song I used to sing
“Red and Yellow, Black and White”
We’d found a loving family with big vision in sight
That reflecting our city’s diversity
Is the true heartbeat Christ

But as for me…  “Precious in His Sight”
I still struggled with that lyric
I sang the words but for me… I really couldn’t hear it
The brokenness and pain
I worked lifelong to keep hidden
Were now rising to the surface
Becoming visible – unbidden

But even when I could no longer hide my mess
These amazing people stood by me
Continuing to bless
And I learned ‘though heaven-bound
I wasn’t really free
‘Til I experienced – not just sang of –
God’s amazing love for me
And as with this church I began to do LIFE
“Restoring Hope & Loving People”
Became more than just words for (one day)
Our building’s sign

Because  I stand here restored
And loved back to life
No pretense of perfection
Scars revealed only to be healed
So today… today…  I look around and see
Much more than Red and Yellow, Black and White
They…. No we… TOGETHER 
Are so precious in His site
and now…. that Sunday school song –
I finally understand it right
Thank you, my Amazing God,
   We ARE precious in Your sight.

 

 

What was Your Favorite Gift This Season?

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“God, my heart is steady. I will sing and praise You with all my being.” – Psalm 108:1

For me, my favorite gift of this season – of this year – was nothing tangible. (Although it is represented by a cute little necklace I found at the hospital gift shop where I work).

I’ve seen a post flying around Facebook asking people to describe their 2015 in one word. Well, I’m a writer… so it is difficult for me to even say “Hello” in one word. (And since Adelle and Lionel Ritchie both needed an entire sing to say “Hello”, I really don’t feel bad about that). So I will use two words to describe my 2015… and they also describe my favorite Christmas gift this year:  “Growth” and “Grounding”.

The word “growth” speaks for itself I’ve been stretched and challenged and changed this year like never before. And I needed to be stretched and challenged and changed!  I feel like I’ve lived most of my 40-something years sleepwalking through life and now I’m fully awake and loving it.

But the word “grounding” may need a little additional explanation. I’m not referring to the grounding of being sent to your room as a kid or getting the car taken away as a punishment.  Rather, I’m referring to the process of becoming grounded and centered in the peace of God in such a way that I am no longer pushed over by the strong winds of the messiness of life or situations. Rather, I now bring the strength and the peace of God into those situations.

Although some situations in my life look the same as they have for years, thanks to the faithful leading of my Amazing God and the people He’s surrounded me with to help me grow, I am facing everything with a strength and unwavering deep-down peace like I’ve never known before.  This is the first Christmas season in years that I have actually enjoyed rather than endured through a fog of depression. And that, my friends, is a beautiful gift!

Wishing you Peace that passes all understanding,

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When You’re in the Battle Line…

And no, I am not talking about the lines for Black Friday shopping.  That is one battle I’m choosing not to fight this year – LOL!

However, if you’re breathing …. sooner or later you will experience a battle for your very soul.   The enemy in this battle will try to rob you of your joy, peace, and maybe even your sanity.  But the good news is:  You don’t have to go into that battle unarmed.  And when you put on the whole armor of God, not only will you survive what you never thought you could – you will also conquer and become a glorious story of grace.

So, I would encourage you….  If you feel like you’re in a battle line today, do not be passive.  Instead, actively engage in worshipping God – not only praising Him, but also declaring words of truth over yourself, your heart, and your situation.  This quote from Holley Gerth says it well:  “Worship is an act of War against the enemy of our hearts.”
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