When It Falls Apart, Trust His Heart

I just have to show you the church sign I passed yesterday afternoon.  “Faith in God includes faith in his timing.”  I sped right past that and did a good Christian “Mmmm-mm, Oh-that’s-a-good-word” thing we all do.  Then I came home to the email that said our long awaited and fought for building move was off.  What did that sign say again?

My friend texted me and asked “how are you doing, honestly?”

“Really hopeful. And I need a good cry,” I said.

Listen this isn’t my first rodeo. Or even my 10th. But you know what, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been in a rodeo, when you fall off the bull, it knocks the wind out of you.

But here comes God.

Holy Spirit stands over you while you are sprawled out and breathless, flashes that reassuring smile, offers you a hand (or a sign), and says “Get up and let’s keep going. There’s things to do.”

You know why we get up? Because when He starts sharing His dreams with us, when He starts asking us to risk and fail and keep risking, you know there is adventure on the horizon.  He is on the horizon.

He is the before me, behind me, hand upon me God.

So risk and failure seem a little less daunting. What is more frightening to me than the falling is the thought that the bruises of my falling down would keep me from running after His dreams.

What if  He has a better place, a bigger place in mind? What if I have been playing it safe and small because I lacked the faith to really go after it?

What if you and I both actually believed God when He says:

“I got this.”

So yeah. I’m up. Dusted off. Had a good cry. Breathing again. And I ain’t quitting. He’s too good for that.

At New Wine Church we have these beautiful offering declarations we borrowed from Bethel Church. The Lord brought back to mind a few lines from the one we prayed this past Sunday morning:

Repentance from poverty,
small thinking, and envy.
Courage to recognize opportunities
and make wealth.
Abundance to bless the world
and the prudence to save and invest.
Revelation to pass on wealth
to our children’s children

Bring it Jesus.


 

 

 

Go Higher

I must have looked like a crazy woman to the shoreline walkers. First I paced back and forth. Then I stood still and stared. Then I would pace again. Stare. Repeat.  This is how I process stuff at the beach when my brain is working on something too big for me.  I was praying. Sort of.  Lord what about… And Lord what if… And Lord I can’t figure out…Lord what are you going to do about…Lord when will…  As I said, praying, sort of.

For the life of me, I just couldn’t figure out an answer for burning in my soul. My list of issues were close to home.
• Facing fear in certain relationships
• Parenting in this season
• Helping my aging parents
• Overhauling my health

But my list also extended to further reaching problems.
• My friends’ mothers dying from cancer
• Grief over trafficking, immigration, etc
• Frustration with the church
• Our planet drowning in plastic

That’s not even everything on the list! No it’s not drama. So don’t say it.  It’s real world. It’s life. And sometimes it presses too close.

I wonder what the Holy Spirit does in these moments.  Watching me, watching you, try to figure out things that we were never meant to figure out alone.

In one of my pace and stare cycles I said out loud, “Lord, why aren’t you answering me?”

“I already have,” the Spirit said.

“When?” I shot back. “I’ve been out here forever pouring my heart out to you. You haven’t said anything.”

“Crystal texted you earlier.”

I stopped mid-pace. I grabbed my phone and looked at my text from my friend Crystal. She sent me a song link and said, “this reminds me of when you heard this at jazz. [jazzercise]”  I had even responded fondly with: “This is one of my favorite pre-Jesus songs. He’s always calling us home.”

Can you believe that interchange happened a hour before my prayer meltdown?

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Confidence in Transitions

Sometimes known as the Squeeeeeze, we call transition lots of things. In limbo, out of rhythm, off your game. Then there’s my personal favorite, out of my comfort zone. We are so certain the deep unsettled feeling is a bad thing we conclude we must be doing something wrong.  But what if the deep unsettled feeling is a good thing? I had a moment in the ocean about transitions that might help us navigate the arduous and sometime unwanted process.

By it’s very nature, transition means movement. Moving from one place to another. In work, family, relationships, even faith every area requires forward motion. To be fair the only thing worse than transition is stagnancy. Standing water, or stagnant, is foul and infested. We desperately need movement to keep us fresh. The Lord used waves to stir up my standing waters.

I go out into the ocean about ankle deep. Feeling pretty confident I step a little deeper because I have a sense of control. But pretty soon I feel the familiar pull on the sand as the water retracts. If  you are beach savvy at all, we both know there is a battering line you must cross, the line where the waves break before crashing onto shore.  If I try to stand or swim  near that line, I will be beaten to death. But if I jump over  the wave, or better dive under it as it is crashing over, I can “pass through” the line and the water calms a bit. By the way, it’s also deeper beyond the break.

(That’ll preach all by itself. Keep going. Don’t let the pressure of the coming waves paralyze you. Jump higher or dive under and you can pass through to deeper waters.)

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Are you BAD or BIG?

Whoa.  This summer I am in my own personal crash course with the Holy Spirit. Several books have come my way which are blowing me up  in all the needed places, but put those books in the hands of the Living Spirit and  you have a cocktail called Rock My World, complete with a little umbrella. Wink. Seriously. It is in a word: Transformation.

One book is called Are My Kids On Track? by Goff, Thomas, and Trevathan. If your kids are little, get and activate it immediately. If you are thinking about kids, get it and work it in to your marriage right now. If you’re like me, and your kids are on their way out  door, go take a deep breath of Grace, and then immediately activate it anyway. It’s never too late to start doing something better.

These wise, insightful counselors and authors have so many tools for healthy emotional development and go so far as to identify, for each gender, stumbling blocks and and building blocks. I tell you, this book is a must read. You know why? Because if we don’t turn our stumbling blocks into building blocks then we remain stuck little kids inside grown up bodies. And we all know THAT person who “never grew up.”

One particular insight explained stumbling blocks for boys as B-A-D.  They said boys are most likely to go to Blame, Avoidance, and Denial. BAD. Believe it or not, there are building blocks to help them through this, as opposed to saying “boys will be boys” or boys are not emotional. Okay you got this concept? BAD, being aware  of when I am refusing to take ownership, when I refuse to engage in a solution, or even admit there is an issue.

Holy Spirit has  used this book to install a new alarm system. My heart starts pinging when I go to BAD.

The Holy Spirit took this pearl and added it to a beautiful concept from another book called Rising Strong by Brene’ Brown. As one of my Kate friends says: Love me some Brene’.  Brene’ asks some real world questions in the aftermath of when you fall flat on your face, when the worst thing does happen, when you fail in front of everyone. How do you get back up?  How do you rise again stronger and wiser and kinder to yourself and those around you?

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The Season of Hope

We had a fire in our fireplace last night.  Uhm. It’s mid April.  We pack and unpack our winter jackets. We wait and wait for the last frost to plant our tender flowers only to turn around and cover them for threat of another frost. Uhm. It’s mid April. So what’s the bottom line.

just. breathe. 

Ever since Resurrection Sunday my spirit has been buzzing with the same Hope that creation sings out day after day. We laugh about blackberry winter, and dogwood winter, and who knows how many more, but we all are Looking for Something. We just know that winter won’t last. Even the brave pansies and daffodils stand strong in their stamina and  say, “hold on, keep believing.”

where does hope come from? 

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When Women Rise Up

Co heirs.  Fully loved, fully seen, fully free. This is God’s plan for the sexes. If God were going to do a march on Washington, or our hometown, I doubt He would be wearing a penis or a vagina on His head. If you think about it, He legally could, since those are His designs.  But God is not about pushing one sex down to elevate another. In fact sisters, when we think that we can elevate women by pushing down men, then we have become the oppressor that we’re trying to escape. True equality is a God order. Men honor women. Women honor men. Both have their rightful voices. Both have a throne. Both have a charge and calling in the Kingdom.

We desperately need fathers. We desperately need mothers. In my world, I see as many mother wounds as I do father wounds. So to believe that “militant man-hating feminism” is somehow better than “old white man patriarchy” is a delusion because it still robs one gender of dignity. Of purpose. Of God’s design.

Yes.  I am a champion for women. For life. For truth, beauty and justice. Yes I LOUDLY protest the abuse of women and victimization they endure. Yes I LOUDLY live and challenge the way the church and world reduces women and dismisses them. I can’t tell you how sick it makes me to see all male elder boards and all male school boards and company boards. This is not the Kingdom either.

And, I know now, after seeking Heaven’s heart, that it is not the destruction of men but the redemption of men, and women,  that will usher in true freedom for us all.

Women. Rise up. Not in hate. But as Warrior Brides of the Most High God. Take up His truths to fight against the hurt and harm. “Your love is a fury all its own.” Stand and speak. But don’t confuse victory with venom.

And for the love of God. Be a woman. A whole hearted developed creature with a body, soul and spirit. Not just a vagina.

 


 

The Unveiling

I was standing on the shoreline in two coats, two hats, a pair of gloves and a shawl wrapped as tightly as I could around my body. It was 22° at the beach, a record low. Even though I came prepared for winter beach temps, this was a stretch for all of us. Especially the locals! But when you come to meet with Jesus, well, the weather has to take a back seat.  And meet Him I did. For about two hours, the freezing wind died down, the warmth of the sun on the water kept me from frost bite, and the glory of His presence took care of the rest. It was in these golden moments that He asked me what was in my heart to do? I told him I wanted to do another women’s conference. “Lord, I want to create a safe place for them to enjoy you and drink you in just like I’m getting to do right now.”

From that prayer comes The Unveiling.

For years we offered The Unhindered Encounters to help women see their worth and value and how to connect with the Lord. And two things I have noticed.

One, I have changed a lot since then. Our last Unhindered Encounter was 2013. God has done a lot of deposits and refining in me five years. So there’s more. Lots more.

Two, women are STILL grappling with beauty and worth and hearing from God. And, they struggle with believing Him. We aren’t supposed to say that I know. But I believe The Unveiling is two-fold. That we would see HIM for who He really is then we would be able to see ourselves better too.

So I laugh and say The Unveiling is like Unhindered on steroids! We are going to hit the real topics women deal with every day. You know me. It ain’t gonna be a sweet little women’s conference. But it will be full of His power. We are going after real breakthrough and freedom not just the “sit and listen and go home the same” mantra. My prayer is that you will come for the same reason I went to the beach — to sit in His presence.

Details: It is Friday night, March 2 from 7pm to 930pm  (I hope, smile). Saturday March 3, from 830am to 230pm with lunch included.  There will two breakout sessions and I am thrilled with the women who have agreed to partner with this vision — Crystal Freeman, Ashley Jones, Tammy Marshall and Alexa Sponcia. They are all rockstars. I am honored to do this with them.

The cost is $40. There is an early bird special of $30 valid until February 1st. The event will be held at Bridgewater Place which is right off Bridgewater Road and 1-40  near the Walbrook Walmart. You can register here.

So. The Unveiling. More of Him means more of the real you. The free you. It’s why we are using the tagline: Fully seen. Fully known. Fully adored.

Wow. I can’t wait!

Agreeing with Heaven

First. I am shocked by the long stretch since I blogged. Two. I HAVE been writing and developing material (more on that later) but it just hasn’t made it to this particular outlet. Three. I am so blown away by the power of God to answer our prayers. 2017 was a year of dreams and visions and revelations. He blew me up in May with a crazy callout to “go for more” and then He started pushing and pulling and leading me into More. Even if my knees were knocking. And 2018? Well this is the year that all that good, juicy stuff between He and I gets poured out. Whew. I may need a nap.

Here’s my overarching song for today. You know what beats the blues? You know what “fixes our eyes on Jesus”? You know what keep giving us energy to get up day after day, heartache after heartache? Our dreams, especially the dreams that He himself has revealed to us.

I tell you what..He’s relentless.  I was doing this dream exercise in one of our groups and I asked the women to just listen with Holy Spirit and write down 2-3 things they heard.  As I was waiting quietly, the Spirit nudged me and said, “you too.”

So I listened and heard. The answers came pretty quickly but the writing it down took a little more effort. The dreams were too big. Too much. Too audacious. Too embarrassing. Just TOO, dang it. The Spirit just kept pressing.

“Write them down.”

“I can’t.”

Write.”

“Okay, I’ll write two of them. Happy?”

“No. All three.”

I sat there waffling between faith and doubt. I wanted what He said. I just couldn’t see how what He said could come to pass.

“By faith.” He whispered reading my thoughts.

I finally wrote all three down. And I finally got all three out of my mouth when it was my time to share. A funny thing happened. Every time I spoke out the dreams the Lord shared with me, my faith grew and my doubts diminished. I was prophesying over myself and agreeing with Heaven every time I repeated what the Spirit said.

It’s been almost 8 months. God has been pulling the pieces into place. He is the Dream Maker. My job is be the Dream Keeper and stay in step with Him as He does what only He can do.

So with that said, do you know what His dreams are for you? Are you keeping them well? Are you paying attention when He starts pulling pieces together?

What a ride. Just start speaking them out. He will do the rest.

 


 

It’s a God-bathed world. And the devil hates it!

I just can’t take it . Every time something terrible, horrible, bone chilling happens, the same question rises up.  Where is God? And I tell you He is where He said He would be.

Right in the middle of the mess with us. 

One of the single greatest omissions of modern church thinking is the concept that we live in a war zone. It is our enemy who prowls around looking to devour, even to kill, steal and destroy. (1 Peter 5 and John 10) So when that destruction comes, why are we so surprised?

Are we so deceived that we do not know how and why to rail against the true source of hate and death? Are we so socially and spiritually numb that we do not see the war against God’s children?

God loves the world He has created.  The enemy hates it.

The enemy uses all manner of strategies to mar and distort all he can.  But God still brings comfort, healing, hope and peace regardless of the tactics used. God’s number weapon? Me and you.

Last night, the Lord woke me up. As I focused my eyes in the dark, I saw the brilliance of the moon in my house. I heard this phrase over and over in my spirit

A Great Light has come
and the darkness cannot put it out.

So now what?

Jesus did this crazy thing in the gospels. First He said, “I am the light of the world.” (John 12) And then He turned around and said, YOU are the light of the world. (Matthew 5) 

I don’t know about you, but I see a Great Light burning in the hearts of men and women who run to help in places of devastation and horror. I see God’s light shining through us as we love and bless when we could hate. I see a Great Light in the hearts of believers who carry His power and authority to stand and overcome the prince of this world.

I tell you worship God. It is our greatest weapon and the enemy hates it!

God is good. God in the details. So instead of blaming Him, let’s display Him.