WORKBOOK IN THE WORKS

WORKBOOK IN THE WORKS

I currently have three workbooks available through Amazon and am working on the next one. I thought it was going to be on 1 & 2 Corinthians but I’ve been re-directed to do this one on Galatians.

This first series are six-week studies. I believe once I do begin a workbook for books such as 1 & 2 Corinthians, the format may change some to accommodate the length of those books and the depth of the topics they cover.

 

WORKBOOKS cropped

 

 

W1P1D2
Sample page of current format. 

 

I haven’t been blogging as much lately as I have had a lot going on. I am in the middle of heavy edits on my manuscript for my first full book as well as writing a 365 day devotional. That doesn’t include the new workbook. All is coming together however in His perfect plan.

Check out the workbooks. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. Get blessed!

 

Beauty in the Wait

Beauty in the Wait

There is beauty in waiting on God. There are many lessons learned while waiting on God. There are many opportunities while waiting on God. The wait is a time of refreshment and renewal. The key to benefiting of all there is during a waiting period is to listen for His voice even when He is quiet.

Abraham took Isaac up the mountain in obedience. If you read the story in Genesis 22, you will see that God called on Abraham, gave him direction and Abraham followed the direction. It doesn’t say that while he was in the middle of his journey he questioned God or what he was instructed to do. We see his faith when Isaac asks him where is the lamb for the burnt offering. His answer was simple – God will provide.

Wouldn’t it be something if the story went a little different? If Abraham had stopped a mile into the journey and turned around, questioning and doubting what he was supposed to do? I see it as a scene from a spoof movie: Abraham, head down with pursed lips and a serious look on his face, one foot stomping in front of the other, coming to an immediate halt then pivoting on his toes to head back to their tent. A quarter-mile back he changes his mind again, another pivot and he’s headed back towards the mountain. What if his entire journey continued like this? Back and forth, back and forth. He would eventually reach the mountain but it would take quite a bit longer than if he had just made up his mind to begin with, which is how the story is actually told.

In scripture, he immediately obeyed and began to do something that I believe we overlook. He began to gather the necessary items he would need to accomplish what God told him to do without God telling him exactly what those items were.

He gathered the wood he would need for the burnt offering. He gathered his son, their donkey, a couple of traveling helpers. The knife. All the things needed to perform the burnt offering God instructed him to perform. He didn’t go shouting it out to everyone around either. He kept quiet.

We live in an era where everything is immediate. We also live in an era where God is unchanged. He is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. We are fortunate enough to have the Bible and all of its information at our fingertips to learn from.

Reading the story of Abraham and Isaac again this morning, I realized something about God. He gives us instructions. With those instructions, we have choices. When we choose to obey, there is a time of preparation. A time of gathering.

God didn’t talk to Abraham while he was in the middle of traveling to the place he was told to go, at least the Word doesn’t mention it. God didn’t tell him specifically to chop wood and take two of his helpers, a donkey and a knife. These were things Abraham did in preparation for what God was about to do in his life.

I believe Abraham knew he wouldn’t actually have to kill his own son because of his answer to Isaac when Isaac asked where the lamb was. Abraham said God would provide his own lamb. If Abraham knew he wouldn’t have to follow through, why did he even start? Why did he even gather the items needed for a burnt offering? Why didn’t he just say, “Well, God, I know you aren’t going to have me kill my own son so I’m just going to hang out here at the tent and go on about my business. You know, the let’s not and say we did kind of situation?”

He didn’t spend time asking what if either. He didn’t ask – What if I get all the way up there and go through with it then God jumps out and says, “Haha! Just kidding. You weren’t supposed to do that!”

He trusted God had a greater purpose and that all would go as planned. He knew God wouldn’t have asked him to do something unless there was purpose behind it. So he exercised his faith and followed instructions.

I have spent the last two months on this journey myself. I’ve never been in this kind of situation before. I can’t speak about all of it yet but I can say this much. The company I worked for is closing down and began phasing out positions in January. I was the second to be let go in April. I knew it was coming so it wasn’t a surprise and I knew God had, and still has, a plan for my life and my husband’s life. The only instruction I received from God at the time was this: Read in the Word as much as you can and pray more than you ever have. Seek Me daily.

That doesn’t seem like a lot of instruction (especially when it’s something you already do) when you are facing no job, no income. Really? Can’t you tell me where I’m supposed to work next? Are you going to have ravens drop big bags of money out of the sky? Can’t you sit down with me and use little green army men to demonstrate every strategic move in my life so I can just go with it?

God has been quiet on this journey and it has driven me crazy. He’s never been this quiet in my life, especially during the times I’m seeking Him in prayer. Unlike Abraham, I have been the one during this season to pivot and turn back and pivot again. I’ve had to work through doubts and fears. It wasn’t all for waste though.

During this time I have learned many great lessons about who He is in my life. I have seen the strength of my faith and I have seen the weakness in my faith where Christ is made strong. He has built me up. Even though He has been quiet, He has not left me. My relationship with Christ and God and the Holy Spirit is deeper than it was before. I’ve seen Him, yet again, provide.

He has been training us and encouraging us for greater things, for the plan He has for our lives. We see the strings attached to each event that for all appearances, wouldn’t seem to work together for His good, but they do.

We have prayed all along, Lord, open the doors that need to be opened and keep closed the doors that need to stay closed according to Your plan for our lives. We both have a desire to serve Him and be a Christ-like example to those around us. I haven’t always succeeded at this and there are still a couple of conversations I need to have with some individuals and I trust God will provide those opportunities.

I told my husband during the days that this season has been the hardest, “I know in the end all will be amazing and there will be such a great testimony of God’s grace, mercy and favor in our lives which is why I can’t understand why I’m having days that are this hard to comprehend and trust. I know better.”

God didn’t want me to just draw closer to Him, He wanted me to see who I was in Christ. I’m a conqueror. I’m a warrior. I stand back up when I’m knocked down. I don’t give up. I trust God ultimately. I have put myself at His feet. I have removed some pride in my life that needed to be removed. I am more humbled than I was before. I don’t give up because He never gave up on me and He never will.

2 Chronicles 15:7 (KJV)

Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.

 

 

 

And for my next trick…

And for my next trick…

WARNING: This is going to be a lengthy post and I’m making it longer by telling you this. I’m not one for long blog posts but I see no way around it for this one. I’ll try to keep it interesting.

For the past year my husband and I have been on a ketogenic diet. I don’t like calling it a “diet” because it’s more of a way of life now. We changed what we eat and don’t plan on going back to the regular “healthy” way of eating, you know, what that food pyramid says you should eat? Pffft.

I had some health issues that caused weight gain and when diet and exercise were no longer doing what they should have done, I prayed and searched until I found something that worked. This past year I have lost 40 pounds. This works. Keto works. I won’t go into all the details about this journey in this post but you can read all about it here in my post, The Healing Powers of Bacon.

I share this to tell you about what has been going on the past few months. Losing weight means new clothes. Honestly, I still had a closet full of clothes that I had kept because I never gave up on the fact that I could lose weight, regardless of what the doctors said. I was a normal weight before and I could be again, that was my mind-set. Besides, all things are possible with God. I even bought a few pieces of clothing over the last few years that were too small because I refused to believe I would stay where I was at in life.

I’ll just be honest here. I HATE shopping. I am a woman and I HATE shopping. I can’t stand to look and look and go back and forth between the dressing room and the racks and back to the dressing rooms a million times to find a couple of things I’m satisfied with. I have NEVER liked shopping, ask my mom…it was the cause of many arguments between her and I. During the years I was dealing with the health and weight issues, I REALLY hated shopping.

I know this makes me sound like a horrible person, but I’m all for uniforms, in every aspect of life. It would bring me such peace and joy to open my closet and see nothing but the same uniform for each day of the week. I wouldn’t have to spend brain energy on deciding what to wear. I wouldn’t have to give a PFFFFFT about how I looked because we would all look the same. That is beautiful to me. No exerted energy on something I care nothing about. No wasted time in the dressing rooms. No gas spent driving to store after store to make sure I had shoes that complimented my outfit and accessories that popped! It stresses me out just to write about it. Blech. Kudos to you ladies and gents who love it and look fabulous all the time.

Here is something I hate about shopping, especially during the transition period while losing weight and having no idea what size you are going to need. This has happened to me more times than I will admit…

Grab an armful of clothes, head into the dressing room. Look around to make sure you see nothing suspicious like a hidden camera or something or somebody peeking over the top of the partition. Try the first shirt on, yuck. Try the second one on, yuck. Try the third one on and it’s a little snug on the arms. You pull it down further anyways thinking the rest will fit fine.

All of a sudden, there you are, in the dressing room, stuck like Houdini with amnesia…no way out.

That moment of panic as you struggle, holding back a scream for help and praying you don’t tear a giant hole in the armpit of the hell you are in. This is the moment where turning in circles seems to be the only option as if the minute amount of wind you will kick up in your pivot will miraculously free you.

A full 360 and you find yourself in the same position as you were before. Stuck. Helpless.

I’m laughing as I write this thinking back to my teenage years when my best friend and I were shopping (ha, I know) at the drugstore for some makeup. She had one of those handbaskets and tried putting it on like a backpack laughing and saying, “Look Misty, I’m a turtle! I’m a turtle!”

Then that moment of panic set in when she realized she was stuck as she had it halfway off, one arm jutting awkwardly above her head, the other somehow crossed in front of her. Talk about going to hell in a handbasket.

I laughed so hard I hit the floor with my knees. A middle-aged woman a few feet away began chuckling and couldn’t stop. She was trying to but she couldn’t. I can only imagine what she thought of the two sixteen-year-olds laughing hysterically in the middle of the store, one in tears from the laughter the other about to cry out of panic.

That moment of panic. That moment of being stuck. That moment of trying to go back or forward and neither is option. You can’t get out the same way you got in and you can’t get in the same way you got out.

That is where I have been the past few weeks.

Not just in a shirt but with EVERYTHING.

I’ve been in this weird transition where nothing is familiar, nothing fits right, nothing looks good and I just want to spin in a circle so fast that the remnants bust at the seams and fly off.

Here I sit. A full 287-page manuscript staring me in the face screaming, “Edit me already, would ya!?” It is my nemesis during this time. I have a resume to die for but showing nothing that I actually want to pursue. A resume that most people don’t achieve until they are ready to retire and I haven’t even hit 40 yet.

A resume shows what one has accomplished, it does not show hopes and dreams and goals. You know, those things that people think you are crazy for even believing you can do until you actually do it and then they say “Congratulations”…yeah, those things. When I reach the stage of my life where I employ people, I am not going to only request a resume but their first interview, will solely be them sitting in a plain room with a piece of paper and pencil with a question at the top that says, “What are your dreams, hopes and goals?”

This morning, as I struggled in my awkward position in current life, I came across a video a friend posted on social media of a Monarch caterpillar transitioning into the pupa stage. As I stood there, turtle-like, watching this caterpillar turn into a pupa, a soft shell-like covering where it was going to hang out for a while, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “You were a dragonfly. Now you are becoming a butterfly.”

And the tears started.

The peace washed over me.

The calm overtook me.

The smile came.

The joy bubbled up.

I watched this video of the caterpillar wiggle and thrash to get it’s “shirt” off that was too tight. Eventually it did. Once it was shed, it became still again (on the outside), peace settled over it as it waited to become the butterfly where once again it would wiggle and thrash, shedding another layer before opening its wings and taking flight.

EGG

The first stage of a butterfly is an egg. It is small and inside this egg is where a tiny caterpillar grows. They are typically found on the leaves of plants. Most importantly, the mother butterfly that laid the egg, laid it on a plant that it knows it will eat. Each type of caterpillar only eats certain plants so the mother butterfly must know which plant to lay the eggs on.

CATERPILLAR

Once the egg hatches, the caterpillar spends its days eating. That’s all it will do is eat. The plant where the egg was laid, becomes its food. It feeds on this source that protected it from the beginning. The caterpillar grows so fast during this phase that it will molt its skin several times because the skin doesn’t grow but their insides do and need room to keep growing. It wiggles and struggles and removing its exoskeleton each time. It has to reach a certain length and weight during this phase.

PUPA

Once it has fed enough and stored up energy as a caterpillar, reaching its ideal length and weight, it changes into a pupa. This is where it sheds its exoskeleton once last time and becomes this pod looking thing hanging from a plant/branch. During this time, it appears as if nothing is changing. It looks like it’s just hanging out there. This is where it most vulnerable because it has no defense mechanism in this stage. While to the outside world it looks as if nothing is happening, EVERYTHING is happening on the inside. EVERYTHING is changing on the inside. Once all the changes have taken place, it begins to break out of the chrysalis (the casing it was hanging out in).

BUTTERFLY

Once the butterfly breaks free from the chrysalis it rests for a bit. Their wings are close to their body, they don’t immediately fly…they adjust to their new form and surroundings. Eventually, their bodies begin pumping blood into their wings, strengthening them, getting ready for flight. Once they take off, they are experts at flying and their only mission is to product “fruit” (reproduce) and lay eggs on another plant so the cycle can begin all over again and new butterflies will emerge.

 

 

I know what God whispered to me this morning. I know His voice. I understand. I’ve understood all along but I’ve had my moments of panic and thrashing and trying to bust my way out of the things that He is having me shed. His grace and mercy are plentiful  and He’s good.

I’ve spent much of my time in prayer and in the Word, feeding on everything I can. Last night, I said to my husband, “I have been so hungry today, like I just can’t get enough food!”

It manifested in the physical. Today I woke up with peace. Today I transitioned into the pupa stage, the chrysalis. Everything I’ve munched on the past few weeks is changing all that is on the inside.

I find it interesting that butterflies go through a COMPLETE metamorphosis whereas dragonflies, another one of my favorite beings, undergo an INcomplete metamorphosis. They don’t have a pupal stage. They don’t have the stage where everything on the inside changes and is made new, different, preparing them for flight.

A dragonfly serves its purpose as does a butterfly but the butterfly completely changes from the inside out. There is an extra phase it goes through to perfect it. Let the process happen. Enjoy the journey and trust God knows what He is doing. He’s the mother butterfly, the plant, the source, the food, the blood that will pump through your wings, the leaf from which you will take flight.

 

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOCUS

FOCUS

Focus. FOCUS. focus.

Focus is one of those words that if you say it over and over again, it begins to sound very strange.

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, FOCUS means:

  1. a :  a point at which rays (as of light, heat, or sound) converge or from which they diverge or appear to diverge; specifically :  the point where the geometrical lines or their prolongations conforming to the rays diverging from or converging toward another point intersect and give rise to an image after reflection by a mirror or refraction by a lens or optical system

    b :  a point of convergence (see convergence 1) of a beam of particles (such as electrons)

  2. a :  focal length

    b :  adjustment for distinct vision; also :  the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image

    c :  a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding • tried to bring the issues into focus

    d :  direction 6c •  the team lost focus

  3. one of the fixed points that with the corresponding directrix defines a conic section

  4. a localized area of disease or the chief site of a generalized disease or infection

  5. a :  a center of activity, attraction, or attention •  the focus of the meeting was drug abuse  •  put immigration into focus as a hot topic for commentators

    b :  a point of concentration

  6. the place of origin of an earthquake or moonquake

  7. directed attention :  emphasis   • The focus is on helping the homeless.

 

I personally like number 6…moonquake. So much fun I can have with my last name. I feel like I’ve been in a moonquake…being shaken and thrown all over the place, in and out of focus. All those rays of light mentioned in the first definition are hitting in the same place all at once burning a hole into the ground. This isn’t to say where I’ve been is a “bad place.” Where I have been is bringing me into perfect focus.

I haven’t been blogging much because my focus has been elsewhere. Blogging is not my first agenda. It’s part of my agenda but not the main focus, at least not for now. I think, at least for the next month or so, I’ll be posting once a week while I finish up some other projects. We’ll see.

I don’t even want to post this blog because I know there are those who immediately want to give their advice. I know they mean well, however, I’m not needing outside advice. I know the state of affairs I am in. I know the entire story which my husband and I have not been able to share openly yet. People have good intentions though and want to look at every thing through rose colored glasses and tell you what to do when your circumstances look bleak. If they don’t know the entire story, they can’t give you Godly advice!

That would be like me telling a brain surgeon how to rewire a person’s cognitive thinking. Can that even be done? See! I know nothing about it other than there is a brain, there are different areas of the brain and there are those that operate on the brain. I’m not qualified to give advice in those matters. I don’t know the entire story.

What is frustrating is God has not released me to share the entire story but I know why as well. Because if I could, I would. If I did, I would be seeking answers elsewhere and not from Him. I also know, when all of this is done and said, what a great testimony we are going to have from it and the glory and honor we will be able to give to God because of it.

I don’t need answers from anyone else other than God/Jesus/Holy Spirit right now. He WANTS me to seek Him in all things and seek Him FIRST. On top of that, we have Pastors who know the entire story and have spoken into our lives through the Holy Spirit. They are our covering and we reverence them and the words they speak into our lives. A good Pastor is your shepherd and there is a reason for it. Too many times I see people seeking answers from EVERYWHERE and jumping from one thing to the next because they follow whatever, whoever and don’t understand the orderly way God has called things to be done.

There have been questions the Holy Spirit has led me to ask openly and told me to pay attention to the way people answer. Notice I said the way they answer, not what their answer is.

I have learned a very important lesson in this. People avoid the question and put their own understanding on it. They will read more into the question than what it is. They will become so spiritual that they miss the point.

Here’s a very simple example. Pretend you are shopping with a friend for a new dress. Men, if you are reading this, pretend you are shopping for a dress shirt and apply the same circumstance. I have a feeling the men will understand this better than the women.

Q: What color dress looks better on me? Red or Blue?

A: Well, how does the red dress make you feel? What about the blue?  The red speaks spark! It’s fierce! The blue is moody. Do you want to be moody?

The question was what color looks better not how they made me feel.

It is a very simple question. It is not complicated. It is not about feelings.

The Bible is our two-edged sword. If we stick to the Word, we prevent ourselves from becoming overly spiritual and getting off in a ditch with our thinking and with our advice.

I had someone ask me a question, this was a year or two ago. The question was along the lines of what I do when I’m struggling with a situation. My answer: I seek God in prayer and in reading the Word. It has the answer for any and all situations.

They didn’t like that answer. They thought it was a cop-out. This wasn’t the first they had come to me with their troubles and asking for advice. Each time they asked, my answer was the same. Get in the Word. They eventually stopped coming to me for answers because they were not looking for God.

They were looking for everything else but God.

Back to the definition of focus…2b hits the nail on the head right now: adjustment for distinct vision; also :  the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image.

When you are adjusting the lens of a camera, you twist it back and forth slowly and can watch the image go in and out of focus until you hit the exact spot where the lens creates the clearest image.

Better yet, think about the last eye exam you had and the part where they cover one eye and flip different lenses on the mechanism they have shoved onto your face. Then they do the other eye. Then they do them both together. It takes some time. It takes some flipping around, back and forth, seeing which combination works best so you have the absolute, most clear view of things before you.

I thank God for this time, this transition, this focusing, this point in time where all the rays of light from my upbringing, training, education, experiences are coming together to create that point of vision God has placed in my heart. Not only for me but for my husband. For both of us, together. He’s one eye, I’m the other. God is about to put both lenses in front of us and the focus will be so clear that we laugh and smile and thank Him for being able to see so far in front of us!

Definition 2c says “a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding • tried to bring the issues into focus”

Oh, how good God is! I don’t know what you have going on in your life. I don’t know what struggles you face. I don’t know what despair you have. I don’t know what mountains are before you. I do know this – get in the Word. Pray and seek Him. I promise there will be answers. I promise the joy will come. The rejoicing will happen. His glory and mercy will overcome. 

I also know how hard it is at times. I know the enemy (devil, satan, evilness, etc) will attack and try to drag you down. FIGHT! Fight back! Use the Word against those thoughts, doubts and fears. Put on the armor of God. Don’t give in! Ask God for help! Keep seeking Him! Please don’t give up. Tell yourself right now there is only one option in your situation, whatever situation that may be, and the option is VICTORY.

 

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

 

A Moment in the Garden

A Moment in the Garden

Playing worship music and letting it drift through the house. Praying in the Spirit relentlessly. Speaking scripture out loud to remind you of God’s goodness and provision. Attending every church service listening for the Word God has for you specifically. Standing in faith. Seeking things out that line up with what you have been believing for.

These things only go so far.

Yes, they only carry you so far.

How can I say that? Because I’m as far as I can get by doing all of this and it has carried me to the garden.

What garden am I talking about? The same one that Jesus sweated blood in.

If you read the story of the events leading up to the crucifixion in Luke chapter 22, you will come to the place where Jesus went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane. This is where he prayed so hard his sweat dripped as blood. This happens after an angel appears to him and strengthens him.

This is Christ, the Anointed, in such distress that he is sweating profusely because he knows what he is about to endure. He’s so distressed over it that he even asks God to remove this responsibility from him if possible.

I’ve been meditating on this story this week among others. I’ve been in prayer for weeks over a few situations in my life. Wednesday on the way to church, I was aggravated, angry, frustrated, beat down, fed-up, and then some.

I told my husband, “I’m tired of praying about it.” What IT is will be revealed at a later time and this will probably make more sense, maybe.

I wanted to throw in the towel. I felt like a failure as a Christian for reaching that point because of a teaching that I realize now we get off in a ditch with: count it all joy.

I hear many Christians give this advice when their brothers and sisters are in the garden when really what they need is compassion and a hug.

I don’t know where it says Jesus was laughing in the garden. I don’t know where it says Abraham went skipping up the mountain with a smile on his face telling Isaac to “Keep up! This is going to be awesome!” I don’t see where Noah was celebrating the death of the entire world with the exception of those allowed on the ark. I haven’t read where Mary went running out into the streets yelling, “I’m pregnant! I’m pregnant!”, pushing her belly out for those nearby to feel the kicks of our coming Savior.

But did they count it all joy?

Yes.

They still had their moment in the garden though. They still had the moment of feeling the weight of their responsibility bearing down on them. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing people tell me, laugh it off, count it all joy, be happy, smile, and what not.

That is not what “count it all joy” means. James 1:2 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;”

If we continue in verse 3 it says, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her prefect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

It means that when we are working our way through tough situations, know that on the other side God’s glory will shine through.

When people tell me I shouldn’t be sad or have a moment of crying or despair, because I should “count it all joy” it makes me feel like I have failed as a Christian. It becomes a stumbling block to me.

I realized this week, even Jesus had his moment in the garden. There were other times he had a moment…he wept, he was angry, he had compassion, he showed love, he was frustrated…but the most important part…

…He sinned not.

He never sinned in these situations. We can have our moments of despair and crying and frustration and we can even tell God how we are feeling without a smile on our face.

That’s what He is there for. He’s our Father. We cry out to Him. We tell Him our heart.

When we tell others they should count it all joy, without compassion or understanding, during the season or situation they are in, we become their stumbling block and convict them of what they are going through instead of leading them to Christ in it.

Counting it all joy is knowing that God has it handled. In my situation that I’ve been praying about, I know that I know that I know that God’s got this but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t mean I don’t need His strength. It doesn’t mean I can’t grow in the things of Christ.

I reached a low point and said I was tired of praying about it and heard the Holy Spirit say, “but God’s not tired of hearing about it.”

He’s there ALL THE TIME. He’s LISTENING to every word we speak. He does not leave us, He does not forsake us and He’s working all things out for good. When we reach our lowest, He wants to be there and we have to let Him. It brings us to a point where He becomes our everything. We have to cry out for Him. We have to keep our relationship with Him and not turn away because we feel ashamed that we couldn’t keep a smile on our face.

He doesn’t want fake.

He wants a real relationship with you.

Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

For the JOY that was set before him but yet he had a moment in the garden where he cried out to God! He knew the resulting joy of the situation and still cried out!

I know the joy that is coming in my situation. I know the testimony that is coming. I still had a moment in the garden. I was a mess earlier this week and then today, in prayer, with a second wind given to me by God, my Father, he had me laughing in the Spirit.

My situation looks the same as it did yesterday. Nothing has changed except I cried out to Him yesterday and today He gave me joy.

 

Luke 22:44 (KJV) And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Psalm 30:5 (KJV) For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

 

STRUGGLING

STRUGGLING

It’s been a busy week/weekend. My husband and I are in a very strange season of life right now. At least, it seems strange because we’ve never been in one like this before.

I don’t even know how to explain it with words which makes it even more difficult to maneuver because, well, I call myself a writer. A writer that can’t describe a situation. That should tell you how strange this season is.

The best I can do is to describe it as a surprise party that you know is coming but you have no idea what that surprise party will consist of or who is going to show up. Cupcakes or sheet cake? Games or music? Maybe both. Punch and water or cans of pop? Who knows! All you know is that a party is coming and if you have slight anxiety issues like I do, knowing it’s coming is making it worse.

I would rather be completely surprised than to know I have a surprise coming. I want something to fly at me out of left field and smack me right in the mouth. I can deal with that. I can react to that. I can live in the moment.

If that surprise is so large however, that I can see it coming from a mile away…I scramble. Picture a giant softball, like the size of the moon, flying in my direction. Really picture this now, you are going to laugh.

It’s flying at me and I’m standing in the middle of a field and I can watch the shadow of this thing inch its way towards me, blocking out the sun, the stars and the clouds. That’s the enormity of this surprise.

What am I doing? Running all over the field, hands flailing, zig-zagging across the grass like the largest alligator you’ve ever seen is after me.

Go ahead, laugh. I am. That mental picture is hilarious. Just to help, I made a sketch. Don’t question the mountains. Or the trees. Or my stick figure abilities.

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This is how I react to something that I have just a hint of or an idea of.

I would rather be facing the other way, playing in the sand and turn around just as the giant softball hits me in the face. I don’t like the wait.

This season though, I haven’t been running. I’ve been walking this out in a way I never have before. I’ve been steadfast. My flesh wants to run but my spirit says, “Wait, be patient.”

Those words have been with me since November of last year. Scripture has been put in front of me to encourage my wait. Lines in movies have jumped off the screen and flew through the air, planting their dagger into my heart. I hear His voice whisper, “Wait.” I was at the bookstore and turned a 180 on my heel to have the book, When God Says Wait by Elizabeth Laing Thompson, staring me in the face. I bought it, no hesitation. I’ve been reading it. I was already in tears by page 12 because of how true her words are.

I’m growing weary. I’m struggling. That aggravates me even more because I am a strong person. I have endurance. I have follow through. I can fight a good fight. But this season is teaching me and showing me things I need and it is difficult. Plain and simple.

I believe this is why so many people become complacent in life. They can’t handle the wait. They give up. They make things happen. They take an alternate route. They decide what’s best for them and go with it because it gives a false sense of security. Imagine what could have been had they waited.

I’m waiting on God. It might not be easy, I might be struggling, I may be growing weary, but each day He gives me grace and mercy to continue on. In my weariness, I seek Him more. In my struggle, I search for His voice. In my uncertainty, I know His Word and I know my God…He is not uncertain.

Even while there is a season of “waiting” going on in our lives, the other areas of our lives have continued on. My husband was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease the first year we were married (almost 10 years ago) called sarcoidosis. When diagnosed he was at the end of stage three on the cusp of stage four. Not a good place to be. We had doctors appointments every three months the first couple of years then it dropped to every six months and eventually annual appointments as his health improved. The doctor we see was originally at Vanderbilt in Nashville and now in Franklin. Either way a 2.5 hour drive for us there and a 2.5 hour drive home.

He is in remission and has been the past three years. The most current visit, which took place this past Monday, he had a pulmonary lung function test and it was so good the doctor said, “He’s still in remission. With those results, better than remission.”

I don’t know about you but “better than remission” sounds a lot like “healed” to me.

We prayed in the very beginning that he be healed and from that point forward never asked God for his healing again. We thanked Him for it and considered it done. Imagine that, it worked.

Even in that however, we waited. The long drives, the waiting rooms, the tests, the drives home, all the while anticipating the word “remission” to come out of his doctor’s mouth.

So, I may be struggling and growing weary in some moments right now but I look back over the last ten years and remember the moments we grew weary in his healing. The moments we struggled and grasped at our belief in what we prayed. The times when I was alone and all I could do was let the tears fall and ask God, “You gave me a good husband. You wouldn’t give me a good husband to take him away, would you?”

Desperation overtook me in those moments but then the Holy Spirit, my Comforter, would overtake me right after.

We persevered. We overcame. We claimed our victory.

In this, we are persevering. We have overcome. We are claiming our victory.

I know on the other side of this, once that softball hits and causes the giant crater, there will be such a testimony from it. I hang on to that promise because testifying of who He is and how good He is, is one of my favorite things.

Play ball!

 

PUPPET SHOW

PUPPET SHOW

I am a day late in this blog post but not really. I knew there was a piece God was going to reveal to me and it wasn’t revealed until this morning during my prayer time.

Yesterday while I was praying, I asked God a question. I asked Him why it always seemed to be when we are a crying mess, slumped over on the floor, before He picks us up.

I immediately had a vision of a marionette doll.

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You know, think of Pinocchio before he became a real boy…held up by strings and only able to move when the puppeteer chose to move him.

I asked God what He meant by showing me this.

During my prayer time I have Pandora playing on the TV in the living room with worship music. When I asked God what He was trying to convey with the marionette, Break Every Chain by Jesus Culture was playing.

I heard the lyrics:

There is power in the name of Jesus

To break every chain

I began to see Jesus cutting the cords, one by one, on the marionette doll.

As one cord was cut, it was obvious the remaining attached cords took on more stress and had more weight to carry.

It wasn’t pretty either. Where it appeared the doll was held up evenly before, as a cord was cut, an arm hung down at a weird angle. Then a leg dragged the ground as another cord was cut, causing the elbow of the other arm to jut out at a weird angle.

Eventually all the cords were cut except one, the one holding the head up. The body of the marionette hanging limp.

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All of the weight of the body of the doll was being held by one cord which eventually broke and the doll fell to the floor in a heap.

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Then I watched the hands of God scoop up the doll, no cords attached

This is why we end up a crying mess, slumped over on the floor, before He picks us up. He’s breaking the chains.

He can’t pick us up until those chains are broken. Those chains control us and He has called us to live in freedom.

Romans 3:24 (KJV)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

We collapse under the freedom we gain when we are made righteousness in Christ.

Those things that held us in bondage and controlled us no longer have a stronghold over us. We are let loose.

Today during my prayer, he brought me to a place in the Word that confirmed my vision yesterday.

Proverbs 5:21-22 (KJV)

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

 

Only Jesus can cut those cords, break the chains. He is living water. He is a life-giver. We are made righteousness through his obedience to the cross.

We feel defeated when we find ourselves in a crying heap in the floor but now you know and have knowledge that it is in this place that God can pick us up and we are free from bondage.

No more chains.

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Get blessed.

 

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If you would like to purchase one of the three currently available Bible study workbooks, please click the image below.

A sample page of how the study is formatted is also below. I hope you are as blessed by these as I was creating them.

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SAMPLE PAGE.  ALL OF THE WORKBOOKS FOLLOW THIS FORMAT.

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If you do order a workbook, or have already, I would love to hear feedback. These are meant to simply get the reader into the word which is why there is no commentary, simply questions to help the user examine what he or she is reading and room to write your responses and thoughts. That was the goal God put on my heart when he gave me the task of creating these workbooks and making them available.