A Wedding, a Baby Shower and a Funeral

Within a month I will have attended all three of these life events. These reality checks should be mandatory once a year for every human being. Why? Because they remind us of promises and futures. They give us perspective on our choices, and what we are sowing and reaping. And, if our hearts are beating at all, we will cry at all three.

Take weddings for example. The bride and groom’s ardent affection make me remember when love was new and the wounds not yet inflicted. I need to remember the helplessly giddy feelings—and cry. Am I still willing to give my heart to my husband with abandon?  But their beaming faces also make me smile because I know, with God’s grace over time, those fresh, gushing promises of forever love and good behavior will turn into more than they could imagine. The wish for “happily ever after” will become a deep reservoir of victories and defeats, little deaths and resurrections, a history of two lives being melded into one. Love is transformed from shallow rapids in a stream into deep still waters.

Baby showers are bittersweet too. Reading the fear and panic on the faces of new moms, or moms again, remind me of just how fast time flies and just how faithful God is. You only have to be a few miles down the road to realize that the sweet cuddles are gone in a moment. Did I stop long enough to enjoy them? Did I plant the seeds of loving God in my children? The messes, questions and hopes of those beginning years will soon be whispers in our memory. God really is big enough to be God to our children, not just to us.  And He will be their God even in our bad moments and failures.

Fortunately, this funeral celebrated a woman who loved God. So we did “not grieve as they who have no hope.” It was a refreshing change to celebrate a life well-walked with Jesus. It caused me to pause and reflect. Am I living in such a way that people know I love God? Not works. Just fruit. This woman had a beautiful display of fruit in the testimonies of others’ lives.

In contrast, the last several funerals I’ve attended have been for unbelievers or spiritual fence-sitters. It is amazing how we speak with gymnastic prowess around death when hell is very real.  None of us can bear the thought of eternal separation from God, yet those people chose separation from Him in this life.  Here is a hard question. If you don’t want to be with Jesus now, why would you want to go to heaven and be with Him forever?

When I die, I  don’t want the speakers to be hanging on some tightrope that I am with Jesus based on some long forgotten church experience. I told Chuck, “If I go first, you tell the people at my funeral that there is no question about whose I am and where I am. I am with my Lover and I had just talked to Him the day I died.”   Chuck laughed and shook his head. “I know honey, I know.”

Life well in Christ so you can die well Christ.

Don’t sleepwalk through your life. Examine, reflect, celebrate, change course. Plant God and harvest His life.

Don’t work more, worship more.

I am reading this AMAZING book called, Compelled by Love, by Heidi Baker. She and her husband are lovers of Jesus and they pour out their lives to orphans in Mozambique, Africa. She says the poor and orphaned have taught her how to love. Talk about a paradigm shift.

Beyond her degrees, Powerpoints, and fundraising back up plans, she said that they have entered into the Life of Jesus — only. If God doesn’t show up, there is no food. If God doesn’t show up, there is no healing. If God doesn’t show up, they have no protection. So they worship… in everything. And God often responds in miracles and wonderful outpourings that many of us would have trouble believing. But her first goal, her first action, her first response is worship. She knows that the Presence of God is the only way she can live in the pressing need all around her.

Last night, I sat on my bed reading her God stories and just cried.  Cried over the goodness of God. Cried over the way I get distracted and faithless.  Cried over the groan and ache I have for more of Jesus, and yet –I still want my stuff, my way, my comfort.

Then I turned the page and saw a quote from Mother Teresa. She was asked how she managed to face the overwhelming needs day after day. She said:
“My secret is very simple: I pray. Through prayer I become one in love with Christ.

Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depths of our heart.”

At first I read this and was so comforted. But then I looked at the “overwhelming needs” of my day. And I wanted to throw up.

Am I feeding the poor? Caring for orphans? Am I doing something besides being distracted by the lies of my culture (more stuff, more bills, more beauty products)  and seeking entertainment? (Do I even pray about my  “friends” on Facebook? )

Will I invest even one honest season of worship in His presence without all the Christian trappings and just look for His face?

I would love to tell you, Yes, Yes, Yes. But I’m not so sure I can. What I can tell you is that I closed the book and began to pray. First I confessed my willingness to settle for the “pressure of the world” rather than seeking His power in my world. I thanked Him for the blessings of food, shelter, and abundance. When compared to most of the world, I live like a queen. And I can be as demanding and as ungrateful as a queen also. So I thanked Him for His grace and patience with me.

Then I began to pray for the poor and orphaned— in my life. Men and women who are poor in spirit, the people who in live life without the Father’s assurance. They (we) all need to be fed and comforted just like the abandoned ones in countries thousands of mile away. Then my heart turned to just speaking who He is, and how much I need Him and love Him, that He is the answer to all.

He is our greatest ache and groan.

Finally, I just sat in silence. And His presence came.

What did it feel like? Peace. Enveloping, warm, full of light. Peace. Peace that doesn’t always make sense or add up. “Peace that transcends understanding.” But a blanket of “I love you” just draped around me.

His Presence changes things. Our worship stirs His heart and then He stirs ours. He rights our view of our little world when we are reminded, again, it is His world. He is the loving King of all with not only the power but the desire to be God to us and for us.

Today, don’t plan a little more or work a little harder. Worship a little more. And watch God move.

Sweetly Broken Abortion Healing Retreat

“I thought I was over it.”

“I’ve never told anyone.”

“I’m afraid God is punishing me.”

“How can I make this right?”

“How can I forgive…?”

We know how you feel.  We have been there too.Through the fear, nightmares, denial, anger and regrets.

BUT we have passed through to a new place called peace, and true forgiveness.

We are still sad about the fact of our past, but we are no longer held captive by it.

God has shown us there is beauty in our brokenness.

We invite you to a tender, honest and safe weekend to
hear about how to walk forward in freedom.

What you can expect:

Time to process

Time to worship

Time to hear truth

Time to be honest

Time to sort out what’s next?

Teaching and materials by Jana Spicka.

2 night’s lodging at a lake house in Louisville, TN.

Check in at 5pm. First session at 7pm.  Check out Sunday at 11am.

Four meals and snacks. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday morning. (Friday night dinner is on your own before first session.)

This is an intimate gathering for 9 women.


Loving What God Loves

It never fails. After an event as powerful as Unhindered 2012, I began to unpack the car,  my heart, and my notes. “Ah” comes the familiar sigh, as my eyes glanced over the post-it notes I used as speaking cues.

“I forgot that verse.”

“Oh I didn’t show that slide.”

“Wow Lord, I didn’t tell them that story of how You came through for us.”

I had coffee with Chuck this afternoon and ran down the list of what “I didn’t say.”  I wasn’t sad or disappointed. I didn’t feel shame. I was just stating the facts. And yet…

“What did I talk about?” I asked him laughing, recalling the Spirit’s mighty presence surrounding the women.  Chuck’s blue eyes and response burned right through me. “You told them exactly what God wanted them to hear!”

(Lord, thank you for this redeemed co-heir, partner, coach, friend and husband.)

“Well then, I just need to write out the rest of what I left out then.”  And he ardently agreed.

It matters because God is telling a powerful story. When you registered for the UE, you weren’t connecting to me. You were responding to the Spirit of the Living God.  So for the next several days, let’s see what else He has to pour out.

Today the pressing topic is God’s utter satisfaction in you.  I heard from women afterwards, and even on my team, the concern and fear that God is displeased, disappointed, frustrated, or “tired of my sh#@!”  When the presence of the Lord is so strong, we often see our shortcomings, deficits, ruts and rebellions all the more clearly. But God.

It is God’s glory  that exposes, overshadows, and covers our human-ness. It is His glory that stirs something in us to ache for “farther up and farther in.”  And it is our inward groan for “more” that should be our greatest encouragement.

The only reason we long for someone’s  total embrace of our true selves,  total acceptance of our good and bad sides,  total filling of a perfect love, and total forgiveness for the seen and unseen sin, is because deep inside we suspect we are more than we appear. God is not like us, but we are made in His image and our spirits hunger for the reality of Him. Dead people don’t worry about sin. “The love of Christ  compels” us to be like Him.

We have an internal hard drive that runs best when we are living out of His embrace, acceptance, fullness and forgiveness. So if our enemy can convince us or distract us by believing less, desiring less,  enjoying less, then he has us right where he wants us: Doubting the Love of God.

The best thing you can claim today is God’s perfect, joyful, continuous, unconditional delight in you. Not because of who you are, but because of Whose you are.

The Infinite God of Endless Delight.


A Great Light

I was adding ornaments to my tree this morning. I had to laugh. They look like miniature disco balls. But they also looked liked mosaics. Broken shards delicately placed together to form a whole new piece of art.  And when the little white Christmas lights hit them, “Voila!”

Sparkles. Colors. Reflections bouncing everywhere. Grabbing color from the tree and other nearby ornaments, it became so much more in the light.

You were made to reflect the light. Not be the center or source of light, but close enough to reflect and bounce and dare I say it, dance in the light.

No wonder then that Jesus is called the great light that has come into the world. No wonder the darkness can not overcome Him. No wonder we look and feel so much better when we are close to Him. He came so we could reflect Him. Brilliantly, beautifullly, eternally.

And just as an exclamation point to this thought, I came back to the tree a little later in the morning and the sun was shining on the tree…talk about glowing!

So shine baby, shine.

“Blessed is the people who know the joyful sound;
they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance.”  Psalm 89:15


Remind me…

Remind me who I am.

This has been a week of loving reminders.  God created or stirred, from all directions, a message of loving determination.  His determination to show me love.  From butterflies (in November?), to emailed heart photos, to texts with prophetic scripture, to even a powerful dream through another person, God has been ardently, annoyingly, persistently pursing me. Why annoyingly?  Because when I am mad, or whining, or feeling sorry for myself, His acts of affections draw me out of my drama. And sometimes, sadly, I want to STAY in my drama. At least it feels that way. But finally His love broke through. His continued reminders of past promises and His faithfulness today, His repeating of my pet name, His beauty for my ashes, these God touches broke down my walls.

My heart opened again and I breathed in His intimate tenderness. Oddly enough the whining and self pity slipped away. They can’t stand in the face of His grace.  It truly is “His kindness that leads us to repentance.” Here is the kicker…Right before I got ready to teach the WGR class, my friend handed me card, sheepishly. “He told me me to give you this, ” she said.

On one side it read: He told me to “remind you.”

On the other side were words to a song. I began reading them and casually dismissed them, ‘Oh, this is a Bethany Dillon song.’ But as I kept reading, a sob caught in my throat. I quickly left the room and went to the hall so I could cry in private.

In a moment I was transported back in time. I could see the sun, and feel the wind off the beach as I re-read them.  The written words were my words. Or rather, His words.

You sing over me, You sing over me

You wave your hands and dance around

Sing of dreams, desires all over me

washing, rolling, wondering over me

There’s no love better than yours

It was a song we had written together a year before. And the over-arching message of that beach trip was His delight. Could I, would I be willing to do life with the only measure being His delight?  It was the perfect touch after a hard week of questions and hurting.

How beautiful is our God?

I am putting the song below for your listening. Read the lyrics and soak in the truths. They are for you too. And my take-aways this week, among many, are listen and DO the prompting of God. Every one of these touches came from people who thought they were crazy to reach out. But God used them to help me. Finally, receive. Look, believe, receive the beauty, the tenderness, the truths of God. They surround us always. “There’s no love better than yours.”

My Pleasure

Here I am. Waiting. Listening
Wanting to feel your Holy touch
Need to hear your words flood my soul
Feel your pleasure Lord
There’s no sound, better than yours.

Here I am. Hungry, Eager.
Believing that you’re smiling too
Glad that I’ve come to be with you
You love to hear my voice
there’s no sound better than worship

You sing over me, You sing over me

You wave your hands and dance around

Sing of dreams, desires all over me

washing, rolling, wondering over me

There’s no love better than yours

We’re here again. Mingling. Meshing.
Loving the oneness of two
Drink in the wonder of You
I love your presence Lord
There’s no pleasure better
than yours

Jana Spicka, Real.Life Worship CD


Women Getting Real Weekly Class

This  is a great place to go deeper into relationship with Jesus and  other  women. Both seem scary we know. But this is a place where we talk  about  real life topics and look for God to show up in the middle of  our lives.

The class is for all ages and does not require perfect attendance. Or homework.

Join us in person at Fellowship Church on Middlebrook Pike,  Knoxville,TN every Tuesday night from 7:00pm – 9:00pm (childcare is  provided for those who register).

For specific details around the class please feel free to email us at info@womengettingreal.com.

We meet three weeks on and one week off. Dates of class are listed below. We are planning to Livestream at least once month. So stay tuned for those details. Be sure to sign up for RSS or Facebook alerts so you don’t miss out on “Monday Snack Time with Jana”, its a weekly vlog.

Class Dates for Spring Semester 2011: April 5, 19, 26; May 3, 17, 24, 31
(new class location coming soon, stay tuned for details)

To hear audio from classes up until now check out our archived classes

It Leads Only to Evil

Talk about a wake up call. I was reading Psalm 37 and although I have read this Psalm a hundred times, I saw a line I had never seen. But first a little background. I was stressed out, striving and sick about it. I needed help and wanted answers, NOW!  Guess what? God doesn’t always have “NOW” on His clock, so I was really upset. I went to the scripture for comfort, for perspective. And sure enough Psalm 37 delivered both.

 “Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness
shine like the dawn
the justice of your cause like
the noonday  sun.

So rich is the word of God. Trust, delight, commit, shine. He will do this. The next passage is about being still and waiting patiently for Him. Yes, it was a comfort. It was a God perspective that I needed.

But then came the cold water splashing in my face. “Do not fret — it leads only to evil.”

Just look at those words. Say them out loud. Do not fret. It LEADS only to evil. It leads ONLY to evil. It leads only to EVIL.  I have never considered it before, but it’s true. Fretting leads to gossip, manipulation, deception, stealing, striving, quitting, settling, doubting, coping, addiction, etc.

This is not what God wants for us. Honestly it is not what we want for us but it is what our minds lead us to if we are not centered on trusting God. He promises us rest and hope, “For the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

Focus on the face of God and not on the circumstances. Allow yourself to feel His hands holding you instead of wringing your own.  Be mindful of your mind. Ask the Lord to keep you.

A Patient Expectation

Play along. Imagine you drive up to a restaurant. Even before you walk in the door, you are hungry. The door swings open and you are washed with a flood of aromas — breads, spices, warm and inviting. Your stomach agrees with your selection and urges you on.

Now you are seated at the table, and the server hands you a menu.  Your eyes take in all the possibilities. Choices, options, suggestions, pairings and combinations of flavors, textures and details.

Another rumble and you find you want to hasten the process. You just desperately want to actually be eating and not reading. You want the food to be in front of you, not on a page. Somewhere in this moment is the notion of sustenance, the notion of what you “need” to eat, what would be good for you.

But the first and primary urge is on what you “want” to eat. You desire the desirable.

So finally, the order is placed, your stomach is tense and waiting, waiting. You are so hungry you almost feel sick and then  you…

 get up and walk out of the restaurant.

 A feast is being prepared for you, and you left the building.

Your stomach is in shock. Your server is stiffed, and your body has been robbed of much needed fuel. You are angry and unsatisfied.

Now suppose you turn around and say, “the restaurant didn’t answer your request.”

When you come to the table of God, come with a patient expectation. Come hungry, and come with a willingness to believe that He is preparing a feast for you. He knows and responds to the desires of your heart and the needs of your heart to keep you well fueled. Come to the table. And wait for the meal to arrive. Don’t get up and leave and say God doesn’t answer you. Wait and expect. Ask and receive. Though it tarry, wait for it.

But as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” 1st Corinthians 2:9

Dare to Dream

If you think about it, God is the most creative, audacious, out there, fearless dreamer around.

Sound crazy? Then you need to get back in your Bible. You need to check out the headlines. You need to let yourself be awed by nature.

But wait, wait. The Bible is old and irrelevant. The headlines are full of mayhem and horror. And nature is on an auto pilot course to destruction.

Maybe. But maybe not.

A dream is a strongly desired goal or ambition. And the thing that most often keeps us from 1) acknowledging our dreams and 2) pursuing them is fear of failure. We have fallen flat one too many times, or had our hands smacked for asking. Somewhere in the living in this world of real life, we have lost connection with our True Life. We have lost permission to know who we really are and what we were really created to do— to achieve, accompish, enjoy, dream.

But if we, in our fallen state, have dreams, or wish we could, then where did we get that? I believe that every aspect of our make up is from God, is in His image. I believe that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have dreams and desires that They are presently working on.

If God dreams, and I assert that He does, then this opens up a can of heavenly whoopla. This stupifies our frail imaginations because we dream with an excuse in each pocket. We need some card to pull out so we can justify why our dreams drizzled. Not so with God. There is no fear big enough to cause Him to stumble.  In fact, His perfect loves drives out, casts out, mutes and silences fear.  And since God does not fear and cannot fear, what can thwart His dreams?

You ready? Ask Him what He dreams for you. And then instead of clinging to your shabby little piece of paper with your weaknesses scribbled out and your history of past failures itemized, grab on to His résumé of mind boggling achievements.  Past and Present, Now and Then.  Was, Is, and Will Be.

I mean really. If nothing and no one can stop His Son from the cross and resurrection, what can stop Him in us doing what He calls forth?

Amen and Amen.