If God planted a ministry in your heart…

God can move the mountains that are in the way.

There are so many ministries that God planted in people – but that haven’t begun – because we (members of church) put our faith for financing, encouragement, prayers, and other support in leaders of a church.

Please read that again.

If God has laid a ministry on your heart and you don’t find the leaders of a certain congregation to be in prayer with you, encouraging your God-given talents, believing with you that God is calling you and that He calls each of us in His timing to do work He’s prepared in advance for each of us to do,

I pray you prayerfully consider that it’s (probably way past) time to look  UP  instead of looking for support all around.

 

Sometimes leaders of a church or organization will not share (and I cannot understand why) the dream God’s given you with the rest of the congregation and a reason I think this is sad is because God only knows who else shares your passion but since the elders, preachers, pastors, teachers, deacons, or select committees won’t share what you’re feeling God doing in you with the rest of the church, others with the same message on their hearts are not even aware of the ministry God’s growing inside your spirit.

 Please don’t let that steal your joy or your faith. You know the opposition wants to kill ministries before they’re even born. What a horrible trick to use churches to extinguish God-ignited passion! We’ve all been tricked.

(Maybe your hope has been in the wrong place.) Stay in prayer.

If God has given you the dream of a ministry, you KNOW that He is MORE than capable to provide everything that is needed to carry that job out; including bringing you to the very contacts He knows you need, providing the money you need, and the land, buildings, and supplies. HE is The God of the impossible and all HIS resources are overflowing! You can have a body of believers praying for you from all over the world!

You can trust God to lead and provide better than anyone else.

Trust HIS timing even when (you or) others seem to think something is not happening fast enough. Trust Him to align your steps, asking Him to guide you every day.

If church leaders tell you that the money is already budgeted for the next year – or ten years… maybe their faith isn’t what it needs to be. It’s possible that the leaders’ lack of faith that God will provide for ANY ministry He plants in someone is something He will make them aware of eventually. Maybe right now they aren’t able to see beyond what they can see. (It is also possible that God is not using a certain group to provide financial support  – but even if they truly believe the money donated at that location is to be used in other ways, the leaders can STILL provide much support including sharing what the ministry is about and actively praying with you and for you.)

Sometimes everyone seems to struggle with having little faith. (God’s been reminding me to be kind about this always no matter who I’m talking with because some days the struggle of little faith is within me.)

God works with us all at different times and in different ways.

 

If God is calling you to begin a certain ministry, keep trusting God, asking Him for confirmation, provision, wisdom, and guidance.

Maybe God wants you looking to HIM for support that ONLY HE can give.

It’s just a thought – and it’s one He’s brought me to after seeking, asking, and knocking for answers.

This letter is to encourage you to look beyond what you can see (and who you can see) and to keep praying for God to lead in ways and open doors that ONLY He can open anyway.

Your friends cannot open doors God has closed and your enemies cannot close doors that God opens for you.

You can know that I’m already praying about the ministry He’s planted in your heart (maybe it was planted a long, long time ago) and it will be exciting to hear what He does in your life! It’s not too late.

It doesn’t have to be a leap of faith. A tiny, baby step of faith is a great beginning.

 

Trust in The LORD with ALL your heart and lean NOT on your OWN understanding; in ALL your ways submit to HIM, and He WILL make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

What Does it Mean to Walk by Faith? ~Guest Post by Dena Johnson

[This article first appeared on crosswalk.com here: http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/what-does-it-mean-to-walk-by-faith.html August 14, 2014. Guest Post by Dena Johnson.]
 –

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Those words seem simple enough.

However, I am learning that fleshing out those words, that simple concept, can be a much tougher assignment. It requires tremendous courage and strength. You must be willing to be misunderstood and even abandoned. You must be willing to give up any semblance of control of your life that you thought you might have. You must be willing to look like a complete fool.

But, it is a journey of tremendous blessing and reward. It is a journey that is exciting, life-altering, and mind-boggling. It is a journey that will allow you to see and experience God as he was meant to be: in all his fullness and grace.

Walking by faith and not by sight requires you to go to a place you do not know, one that God will reveal as you walk in obedience. Just look to Abraham as an example (Genesis 12:1).

Walking by faith means that you continue to cling to the dreams God has planted in your heart, even when you’ve been thrown away, taken to prison for crimes you didn’t commit. Just look at all Joseph endured (Genesis 37-50).

Walking by faith requires a strong determination to follow God’s plan regardless what life throws your way. Look to Daniel to discover how to have the resolve not to sin (Daniel 1:8).

Walking by faith means you have the courage to stand up for the hurting, broken, and down-trodden, to face death yourself for the good of others. Look at Esther and how she risked the death penalty to save the Jews (Esther).

You just may have to play the part of a fool. Think about Noah building an ark for a flood when it had never even rained on earth. Think about Abraham clinging to the promise that he would be the father of many nations even though he was childless at the age of 100. Think about Moses standing before the Israelites in the wilderness telling them they would eat meat until it disgusted them but having no idea where that meat would come from. Think about Joshua marching around the walls of Jericho as God had told him to and wondering what good it was going to do.

If you choose this path, you must be willing to get out of your comfort zone, to run from the Americanized brand of Christianity that so many of us have known our entire lives. You must be willing to let God take your world and turn it upside down, shake it up, and start all over again. You must be willing to let God out of the neat little box that you have put him in, to let him show up as he sees fit.

Maybe it will be a calling to do something you never dreamed before: foster or adopt children, leave your job and become a missionary, trade in the worldly comforts for heavenly treasures.

Maybe it won’t be that clean and neat and socially acceptable. Maybe, like me, your world will be turned upside down by the pain of adultery and divorce. Or, maybe you will be faced with infertility or addiction. Maybe you will have a prodigal child that completely changes the direction of your life. Or, maybe you’ve experienced the loss of a child—a hurt like no other.

I don’t know what your shake up might look like, but I know that if you will give it to God—throw up your arms in surrender and ask him to use it to change your life—he will honor your request. He will take you on a journey, teach you to walk by faith, entrust you with some of life’s most treasured moments.

He will build a faith in you—faith that moves mountains and moves God’s hands. He will teach you to live this life with abandonment, giving you a freedom to walk in all his fullness and grace. He will prepare you to be used mightily in this life for his glory.

Perhaps you’ve already experienced your life being turned upside down, toppled without any control. Perhaps, like me, you’ve found yourself wandering in the wilderness, watching his fire direct your every step by night, a cloud lead you by day. Perhaps you sense you are on the edge of the Promised Land, just waiting for him to give the command to take possession.

And yet, you are tired and weary. You’ve lost friends who don’t understand how you can continue to cling to a promise that is so obviously dead and gone. You are so close and yet feel so far away. You are struggling with temptations to just settle, even though you know it is less than God’s best. You simply don’t know how much longer you can stand.

You are not alone. I see God raising up a remnant of believers, those he knows will be obedient. He is looking for those with clean hands and a pure heart, those who will choose obedience even if it costs them everything this world has to offer. He is looking for those who will throw caution to the wind, believe that he has an abundant life (John 10:10) waiting if we will follow his ways. He is looking for those whose hearts have been purified, whose faith has been strengthened by the trials of this life (James 1:2). He is looking for those who will cling to his promises even when it seems there is no hope.

Be strong and courageous, my friends!

God has specifically chosen you to be a part of this remnant, those who will allow him to take their lives and mold them into what he wants. He has chosen you to have your faith tested and tried, and he promises that the fire will only purify you—not burn you. He has promised that he will be with you every single step, walking with you, carrying you, supporting you. He promises that he is still in control even when life seems to be spiraling wildly out of control.

He is teaching you to trust him so he can do something bigger and better than you ever dreamed possible (Ephesians 3:20-22). He is teaching you to let go and trust him with your heart, your soul, your life (Proverbs 3:5-6). He is teaching you to walk every single day in the spirit so that he can do even greater works in you and through you (John 14:12). He is preparing you to be a beacon of light and hope to a world which desperately needs to see Jesus.

I don’t know where you are on this journey of walking by faith, but I encourage you—beg you, plead with you—to wave the white flag of surrender. Let God take your life, your pain, your loss and use it for his glory. Ask him to do an amazing work in you so he can do an amazing work through you.

Get out of that boat and step onto the water…and never take your eyes off him. It is a decision you will never regret!

Thank you, Dena Johnson, for these incredible and powerful words.  Thank you for your permission to share this encouragement.  You know I needed it.  May this bless thousands of lives!

“One thing I like about you is…”

Relationships are important.

A marriage relationship is important and tough (probably tougher than any other relationship ever in the whole world, in my opinion) and totally worth the work.

I’m always looking for simple ways to help relationships be as close and as healthy as they can be.  My husband and I have just started doing a few new things for our marriage and we’re noticing this one could be helpful in possibly any relationship.

Here is one experiment we’ve just started a couple weeks ago (and we’re both loving it!)

Every morning we have decided to say (out loud to each other) something good we have noticed or something good that we like about each other.

“One thing I like about you is _____________.”

We get too busy in life sometimes, ya know?  With work, school, church, kids, housework, bills, finances, volunteering, rough times, health problems, and a billion more things we can forget to nurture important foundations and critical relationships.  It’s not that we mean to; but it’s just that life happens and sometimes we let moments go by that need attention.

(Sweet note: The look on my husband’s face as he speaks is so beautiful and something that’s been hiding for a little while.  It’s really nice to see the thought behind his words as he says something kind about me and to me.  Sometimes he’s just remembering good things from the past and those are good to hear also.  I can’t help but think he may be feeling the same way as he hears me speak good things about him, too.  It’s heart-healing.)

This is proving to be a great idea.

One thing it does is it helps us THINK about the positive things during each day (and night) because we know we need to tell each other something we like about each other every day.

(And the negative stuff seems to constantly already be lurking around and threatens to remind us of things we DON’T like about each other… Not sure about you but we’ve had ENOUGH of that!)

Another important result of this experiment is that we’re BOTH getting to HEAR some positive words in the morning.  (Yes, it must be genuine and yes it can be something from the past or present.  Actually, it could even be something positive we see in the future.  Getting to hear blessings spoken over you is powerful.)

Our kids just told us they’d like to be included in this in the evenings.  Good stuff can be contagious!

We ALL probably hear WAY too much negative stuff about ourselves (even from our own thoughts) and this is damaging to our brains, hearts, self esteem, and probably in a hundred other ways I’m not thinking to mention.

If you have a great marriage, that’s wonderful!  Maybe this can just be icing.  (And maybe you’re already doing this.)  But many of us have a tougher time in marriage and my husband and I know this can help lots of people so we wanted to share this idea.

I believe absolutely EVERY person could benefit from hearing something good every day that someone notices about him or her.

Here’s one from me to you today:  One thing I like about you (yes, you) is that you’re beginning to realize your value; you’re a very worthwhile person and you matter.

Her Dreams

Some people know what they want to be when they’re kids.

When I was a little girl the only 2 things I knew in my heart I wanted to be were a mommy and a wife.  (I’ve been a wife twice.  I guess I was an overachiever with that dream.)

As my oldest child and I were talking today we remembered all her friends who came to her giant slumber party several years ago called me “Mommy” because I asked them all to use sippy cups because I didn’t have water bottles with lids for 20 kids but I had enough sippy cups.  We didn’t want to spill on the carpet.  Some of her friends still call me Mommy because of that.  (I told them their moms may not appreciate them calling someone else by the Mommy name.  It’s cute though and they were just being silly and being the awesome, cute kids that they are.)

~
The thing I can’t stop thinking about is this:

What if there’s a child who needs a mother’s love and care in Alaska and God knew this was His plan for my life a long time ago?  Maybe the reason I didn’t know yet was because I wasn’t asking Him what HIS plans are for my life.  I was just doing what I wanted to do.  Maybe also it’s that He just reveals each next step to us in His timing whether we ask or not.  My husband and I can look back over 35 years and see how God’s been preparing us both for this very thing.

What if there are a hundred kids who need care?

I know there are.  And this is everywhere.  Every city.  Every place.  God leads people and uses us where He wants us.  Our family specifically feels called to move to Alaska for this work.

 

When someone tells you her dreams in life, although they may seem smaller than others’ dreams, her dreams may just prove to be bigger than they looked at that time.  (Being a mommy and wife are AMAZING things to be even if some don’t realize this.  Being one or the other is amazing, too.  And no, I’m not saying to purposefully be a single mom.  I’ve been there (though not purposefully) and it’s TOUGH!  My heart goes out to single moms and dads.  You guys are doing a very important job.)

Just sayin’ when people share what is most important to them, even if you think they’re not the super most important “career” choices many others are working toward, pray with them and help them see how God will use these dreams in their lives.  He’s got a plan for each of us.

The talents and dreams put in our hearts are there for a reason even if we can’t see the whole picture when we’re young.

Prayers for the Alaska homeless teen center are always welcome here.  We don’t know everything about how to do this work but we can look back and see how He’s been preparing us for this over 35 years.  We will keep following as He keeps leading.  We know He’s preparing the way even when we can’t see all of it yet.  We are excited to see who else He’s calling to this mission work.

 

[Note:  Yes, God hates divorce.  But God does NOT disown you if you’ve been divorced.  God uses EVERY part of our story for His Glory.  You don’t have to believe me.  Ask Him to do this with your story.  He will.]

[Another Note:  When people laugh at your God-sized dreams, be kind. Sometimes we all forget to dream big. Sometimes we forget that there is a big God over all this and it’s not actually random at all.]

Stayin’ Alive

I’m stuck.  I mean I’m not really stuck.  We’re just waiting on God.  Actively waiting on Him – but we’re waiting on His timing all the same.

We know waiting goes against life in 2015;  GET it NOW.  DO it NOW.  BE it NOW.  We COULD try to MAKE it happen but we’ve lived and walked with Jesus long enough to know that when we try to make something happen on our own, especially something like this, things just don’t go well.  And we could fail.  That’s okay.  We’re not afraid of failing.  If we fail, then at least we tried to do what we feel led to do to help kids.  (What is worse?  Failing?  Or not trying at all?)  Our goal is to help homeless teens by giving them a safe place to live for a while, teaching job and life skills, and leading them to have closer relationships with Jesus.  If we are trying to do God’s Will, He will go before us and make a way when we can’t see a way.

Some people are laughing at our faith. (That’s okay.  If people laughing at us was gonna stop us, we’d have had to stop as soon as we started telling people about all this that God’s put on our hearts.)

Some know this is for real and are praying with us. (Thank you!  This means SO much to us. Thank you!)

Some HOPE all this is real. (Guess people will have to watch and see what God’s doing. Fly or fall, we’re in this and there’s no going back.  God opens doors no man can shut and He shuts doors that no man can open.  We’ll keep walking in faith toward this homeless teen shelter work He’s been leading us to unless He shuts the doors and steers us another direction.)

We know it’s real.

I keep thinking about people wandering in the desert for 40 years and can’t help but think, “Isn’t that what so many of us do all our lives? We wander.”

I mean, sure we make plans and do stuff. We go to school and to work. We’re part of a church. We have a family – or not. Some stay single. Some get married (some, a few times.)

 

But we wander.

 

I wonder if our wandering isn’t so far from the stories about people wandering in the Bible:

“Hey, believe God is doing this.”

“Nope.”

“Okay, then. Have a good life – or at least as good as YOU think YOU can make it as you wander around aimlessly.”

Then – after all the doubters are gone from this generation, God will do great works that you’ll always wish you’d have gotten to see.

Today I prayed something like, “God, I’m feeling afraid; a little discouraged and intimidated by this homeless teen center quest You’ve got us on. I mean, we can’t quit and don’t even want to because this is the most amazing work You’ve ever done with our lives, but at the same time, the magnitude of this work seems so far beyond us and our abilities – and it is, FOR SURE – and the heartaches we’ll hear about are already breaking our hearts. Would you please send some encouragement?”

I was walking through a thrift store looking for fleece shirts for my family while I prayed this when I hear a song I’ve never heard before in my life.

Not joking. The song sings, “Baby, you got what it takes.”

That made me smile.

Then I was on an aisle all by myself when a woman walked just 2 steps past me and we spoke a moment about finding the right sizes. I said something about colors I hoped to find. She said colors don’t really matter as much. I agreed and said I know warmth is what matters most and told her that we’re moving to Alaska. She told me she goes fishing there sometimes. I said we feel God’s moving us there to take care of homeless teens.

THEN she told me they’ve made friends with a family in Alaska who also felt called by God to do work there (and have been now for a couple years) and they have 2 sons who homeschool and she’d like me to call her to have another family to talk with.  ((Thinking out loud about grammar stuff… Yes, I end sentences with prepositions sometimes.  I don’t even mean to.  The important thing is that it won’t keep me out of Heaven.))

(Coincidence? I think not.)

Ummm… so this brought another smile.  And some much needed comfort to my heart.

A little while later I’m thinking of dangerous situations we may encounter with people and animals in Alaska.

Not even joking.  The song Stayin’ Alive played over the speakers.

This made me laugh!

God is good and He hears our prayers. (And the even cooler part is that He answers.)

 

~~~

We are asking for prayers for finances, houses, buildings, donations (including desks, beds, clothes, money, vehicles, food, books, and everything else I’m not thinking to mention,) volunteers, and for God to keep leading us as we keep walking through the doors He opens.

Thank you and may God bless you so big that you can’t help but see Him.

 

More Than Bathroom Signs

Just because something feels right or good doesn’t always mean we should follow it or do it. It may be good to ask for more direction or read the signs before moving forward.

For example:

When you walk down the hallway where the bathrooms are at the nearest Chili’s, which I’ve done a hundred times over the years, the women’s restroom is on the left and the men’s is straight ahead.

But when you walk down the hallway marked “Restrooms” at Jason’s Deli, the one on the left is NOT – I repeat – NOT where they keep the women’s restroom.

It may be best not to ask me how I know this. Let’s just say I pay more attention to signs than I used to. (I may – or may not – have been in the restroom when I witnessed, through the crack in the stall door, a man washing his hands in what I thought was the women’s bathroom.)

If you’ve read this blog before then you know I’m talking about more than bathroom signs.

One time, about 3 or so years ago, I sat in my house and shared a fear with a teacher from church that I felt God was leading me to speak on stage one day and I was kind of afraid and didn’t really want to do this. (Give me a room full of 2 or 3 year olds and SURE I’m great and love teaching but a room full of adults; Yikes!)

Without hesitation he said, “Yeeaahh, but if He’s not…”

And I quietly repeated that I really feel He’s showing me (and He has been tugging on my heart for some time) this is something He’s doing with my life.  “But I think God’s doing this with me.”

Again, ALL he said was, “Yeahh, but if He’s not…”

That doesn’t seem like a very wise response when someone tells you that she feels God is leading her to something (whether she’s afraid or not.)

You’re probably already thinking there are at least 20 better pieces of advice or responses that could follow that.

~~> I believe the very best advice may be this encouragement when people open up and share with you what they believe God is doing in their lives; “That sounds amazing. Ask for more confirmation. I’ll be praying, too.” <~~

The problem I had with this experience was that I listened to a man (and someone I respected at the time) over what I kinda already knew to be true. And I believed that I probably “heard” God wrong for a few more years.

The only reason I can see to tell people they’re wrong about God Calling them is jealousy or maybe ignorance about the truth that the Holy Spirit actually does what God says He does in the Bible and that He actually DOES live in us and He actually DOES guide us every day. He actually interprets for us when we talk to God and aren’t even sure what to pray.

If you feel God is leading you to something, please pray for more confirmation and ask other believers to pray with you, too. I believe many of us miss out on Supernatural and Divine work that God’s got for us simply because we are listening to other people tell us it’s not possible that God actually works in ways He says He does.

God can take things we think are impossible and make them completely 100% possible and real. And He does this with everyday people like you and me. Believe His Promises.

Think about this:

If people tell you God only uses teachers, preachers, and Bible scholars, then maybe they’re missing the fact that Jesus chose regular people to walk with Him and perform miracles. He could have chosen anyone, right?

God’s got a plan for your life no matter who you are or what you’ve done.

Ask Him for more confirmation. And I’ll be praying, too.

 

A Different Kind Of Prison (Abortion)

When I was a kid we didn’t talk about abortion or what that really was. People didn’t talk about smoking or drugs or drinking or sex before marriage or lots of other things very much either.

I know I’m a little naïve and I know that many would call me a “late bloomer” because I matured slower than some other people. But I know that if I didn’t understand what abortion meant and the full weight of the sin that it is, then others probably didn’t either.

I praise God that I was never faced with this decision and I think it’s probably a true Hell on Earth.

I’m very sorry if you’re living in this Hell and I want you to know I love you and that you’re not alone even though you have probably felt alone for a while.

This Hell is not just for girls. (Other than Mary, Jesus’ Mother, there are not girls who experienced immaculate conception.) There is always a guy involved. I know there are guys who have helped decide abortion was an “answer” and who carry this guilt and live in this Hell also.

I believe this kind of “solution” left you trapped and not quite as free as it seemed like you’d be.

There are things people may not want to think about (even if you’re the only one who knows your secret sin.) Just as you wouldn’t want someone who sexually used a child to hold your child, there are people who wouldn’t want someone who killed a child to hold theirs. I know this is understandable and I believe it should be honored. That being said, please read to the end. There is healing and hope.

Well-meaning Christians may tell you that you’re going to Hell – BUT the Bible says a sin is a sin. There are not big and small sins.

{He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:7-8}

And as far as I understand, there’s only ONE sin the Bible says is not forgivable; Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

{“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. [The Unpardonable Sin] Matthew 12:31-32}

~~~~~~> To those who would point fingers or throw stones at someone who has had an abortion, (or for whatever sin)

Do you really think that sins we THINK are “smaller” drove the nails into Jesus’ Hands any more gently?

They did not. <~~~~~~

~
Dear mom and dad who have been grieving over your child and this sin that maybe nobody else knows about,

I know you’ve been thinking about it probably every day since “that” day.

Your child has a NEW body now. Your child is in Heaven. I believe this 100%.

Write a letter to your child. Writing can bring healing sometimes even when you cannot deliver the letter.

God’s got work for you to do. Ask Him how to honor your baby here and now in ways that may help others.

DO something to honor your child. This could be a scholarship in his or her name or if you never named your baby, choose a name for the scholarship in his or her honor.

What satan wants you to do is to keep your secret buried forever and he wants to keep you down SO THAT you cannot do good in this life for others. It’s what he does.

The truth is that you’ve been carrying this heavy weight around with you all this time. No wonder you’re grouchy. If I was keeping a secret sin like this I’d probably feel the same way.

God says to cast your burdens on Him because He cares for you. The Bible does NOT say cast your burdens on Him – unless your sins include abortion – for He cares for you.

I was led to write this because I recently watched a movie about abortion and I realize that people need to talk about this secret and know they have a safe place to pour out their hearts and that there is this MOST WONDERFUL and AMAZING GOD Who loves and forgives them when they repent. Repenting is not something everyone else can judge about you. Only God and you know if you’ve truly repented. If you haven’t, here’s a way to start. “Dear God, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I don’t even know what to say…”

{In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26}

God forgives you.  Now, YOU forgive you.
~
I have met some who chose abortion and seem like they are not sorry for it. That’s unfortunate because you have to answer to God for the sin and for the nonchalant attitude about it. I believe deep inside your soul, though, there is a place you’re grieving even if you never tell anyone else. God knows about that place. Talk to Him. Not sure He’s real? Talk to Him about that, too. He’s big enough to hear your worries and He loves you.

~
[NOTE: Do not send me hate mail. I do NOT believe abortion is okay in any circumstance. Abortion is NOT about a mom’s body. It is a child’s body inside the mom’s body that we’re talking about. I am PRO life and also PRO forgiveness.

If someone DOES have encouraging words to share, I know for a fact that there are many people who would heal a little bit from them.]

Everybody is broken.

Some people want you to believe that they are totally okay; that they have it all together.

(They don’t.)

Being broken isn’t a bad thing. God says He can use you when you’re broken.

EVERYBODY is broken in some way. God is the ONLY One who can repair the brokenness.

It would take a long time to understand why people react to stuff in life the way they do since each of us is broken in a different way.

Think about it.  If we were whole, with nothing at all ever wrong in our lives, we could always 100% of the time react in a healthy way.  But we’re just not always okay.  And so stress (even good stress) can affect our responses (even when we don’t really want it to.)

If you take time to look around you’ll see some of what it may look like in everyday life and a way you can help because you CAN help (whether you realize it or not.)

You can have a plan already in mind to be kind ~ ANYWAY.  Watch for moments because they’re sure to show themselves.

When your boss is moody – show a little more kindness and enthusiasm at work.

When your teacher is upset – turn in your assignment early if possible.

If mom is feeling overwhelmed – do a job or 2 that she didn’t even ask you to do.

If dad seems angry – take a few minutes to remind him how much you appreciate him.

When a student comes to school late or is disrupting class – use gentle, encouraging words (and remember she may not have heard any recently.)

If the checkout guy is slower than you’d like remember it may his first job (just like once upon a time it was your first job) – be more understanding and speak softer.

When your wife meets you with an icy look – be a little more gentle and help melt it.

When your husband grumbles – make him a snack and remind him of a specific thing you admire about him.

If your employee is having an off day – tell him you’re glad he’s there and he’s valuable (which may be perfect words to lift his energy.)

Even though God is the only One who can do the repairs, WE can STILL be people who help (INSTEAD of rolling eyes, stomping off, making a smartalecky comment, or all the other ways that are NOT helpful…)

Just because someone’s outsides look okay doesn’t mean the insides are okay.

If we’d quit trying to hide all the broken pieces, we’d begin to heal a lot quicker.  Jesus is The Answer. And everybody needs more kindness and love.

 

Some kids consider suicide because of low grades

You do NOT have to be good at everything.

The older I get the more I notice how so many people think they have to be the best at everything. I’m not sure where this came from or when it started – but it’s been this way a long time.

God could have made us any way He wanted to and He purposely made each of us with different strengths and talents so when did we decide that we need to try to be equal?

If schools (and not just schools but school is the main place that was on my mind) want to help kids be the best they can be why don’t we work more on the natural God-given talents instead of trying to make people be equally good at every subject?

Some kids (and parents and teachers) make this into SUCH a big deal that kids actually consider suicide because of low grades. Unfortunately some go through with it.

~~> When kids commit suicide over low grades… we’re focused on the wrong things. <~~

I'm not the only person who can see that this pressure is too much and this way of thinking is messed up!

WHY? Why has school become this? (Maybe it's not this way in every school but low grades are THE thing teachers have focused on all OUR lives so that's why I'm writing this.)

Almost NOBODY is going to be equally good at every subject. And THAT'S OKAY!

WHAT IF when we look at report cards, instead of working on the worst grade, we focus on the best grade?

Because if we help each other find and sharpen our God-given skills to the very best of our abilities, then it would change the world. We would all be doing what we are designed to be doing.

Kids are stressed out about how to correctly use adverbs and prepositions instead of being able to enjoy the confidence knowing they are strong in math.

Yes. We need to know how to write to get our point across but bad grammar and spelling will NOT keep you out of Heaven.

(Personally, I'd rather do just about anything than work on math because I'm just not good at math.)

And wanna know something? It's OKAY to NOT be good at everything!

If someone is stronger in math, then maybe we should feed that area of interest instead of being so wrapped up in their weakest subject.

Report cards do NOT measure your worth.
Report cards do NOT measure your value.

But many kids (AND many grown ups) go through life feeling like "less than" because a 2.0 grade average TOLD them to BELIEVE they are less than.

You are not less than ANYthing.

You are great! You have many amazing God-given gifts and if you're not sure what they are yet, ask God to show you. He will. They'll match your interests and usually they're the things you're good at without trying much. Your talents are directly in line with why God made you and what you were made to do in life.

Sure. Keep studying math because we need math in life but stop stressing out about a lower grade in math and focus more energy on your strongest subjects. God MADE you this way. It's OKAY to be better at spelling than math or vice versa.

In case nobody ever told you… you do NOT have to be the greatest at everything. You are very talented.

“Sometimes I don’t even know I know stuff until I say it out loud.”

Sometimes you just know stuff – just because you do.

That’s a God thing.

These things are called your talents.

Some of the most profound words my youngest child ever said was when she was about 10 years old.

“Sometimes I don’t even know I know stuff until I say it out loud.”

(When I remember her speaking about this epiphany it still makes me smile!)

I told her those are God-given gifts and to always be proud of them. He has given these to us on purpose and for a purpose. We need to ask God what He wants us to do with the talents He gave us. When we do this, it honors Him, gives our lives meaning, and helps us understand more about the reason we’re even here on this Earth.

I used to tell my husband, “I don’t like to learn.”

After years of feeling this way I realized something. I realized that actually I VERY much like to learn.

I like to learn about people and why they think the way they think. I like to learn why people react or respond the way they do to different things in certain situations. I find it fascinating to learn why people are the way they are.

Honestly, if we would work more toward asking God to reveal our kids’ (and our) talents and encourage, research, pray over those more than the school subjects we’re “supposed” to learn “just because that’s how it’s done” maybe more people would be doing what God intended for them to be doing in the first place and not find themselves in dead-end jobs at age 60.

Sometimes you just know stuff – just because you do.

 

Wednesday Letters

Wow! I am this week’s recipient of my youngest daughter’s Wednesday Letter! She brought tears to my eyes. It is a very sweet letter.

It’s due Wednesday morning but she turned it in early. I was surprised to see “Mommy” written on the envelope today.

My oldest daughter is a few letters ahead (but that isn’t a free ticket to miss next week’s letter.)  I still would like them both to turn in a Wednesday Letter every week. Extra letters are always okay.

“Wednesday Letters” is something I prayed about when we began homeschooling and feel God led us to start.

My oldest had had an assignment when she was in public high school where each student was required to write a note to each person in class each week.  This was something I was reminded of when deciding how our homeschool would look.

My kids pray over who they should write letters to and a letter is due every Wednesday morning from each of them.

The letters need to be uplifting, thanking someone for somehow touching their lives, maybe speaking life, or just, “Hey, I noticed when you….”

The reason they are due Wednesday mornings is because if they need to be mailed, the letters may have time to get to the recipients by the weekend (but even if they get there Monday, it’s a pretty cool way to start the week.)

The letters may be emailed, texted, mailed, but written is important. (IF for some reason they cannot be written though, then speaking them to someone on the phone or in person is still a great idea. We don’t want anything to get in the way of getting an encouraging message to anyone.)

This may seem small but it’s turning out to be one of my favorite things (and it’s not just for homeschoolers.)

I am praying this becomes something very big because we ALL could use more encouragement and more noticers in the world.

Being the recipient of this today has made me realize Wednesday Letters may become much more than it seemed at first. It’s truly touched my heart and made my week better knowing my daughter prayed and God put my name on her heart.

I pray this spreads like wildfire. The world is starving for all the blessings that have been left unspoken.

If you decide to write some Wednesday Letters we’d love to hear from you.

Everyone is invited.

 

It’s Not About Me

God’s led me back to a book I’ve been reading for a while.

The book is called It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado and it’s great.

It’s just NOT about me.  It’s about God and I need to never step in the way.  I even hate the way the blog and Twitter say “Follow” because do not follow me.  Follow Him.  He does NOT NEED me to help Him.  He allows me to help.

And so He’s worked on my attitude and reminded me who I am to Him.  I’ll do the job He’s leading me to do…  Alaska homeless teen place and writing online (NOT comfortable in ANY way) and encouraging people daily while also challenging them to ask WHY they do the stuff and believe the stuff they believe.

Know how I know it’s God?  Over 2,000 people have been to the blog.  I could not make 2,000 people do anything.  That’s how I know Who’s in charge.  And I can rest and have comfort in that.  He’s led an Australian newspaper to find the blog and they’re sharing some stories.  That is how I know He’s got this.  I just need to be His hands and feet and ask Him what He wants me to do every day. http://www.informedchristiannewspaper.com./

Sometimes I don’t feel like doing what He’s putting on my heart to do that day.

My youngest daughter was bullied in 5th grade.

I just found out yesterday how bad the bullying got in 5th grade and some teachers added to the problem.  (NOT all the teachers.)  And three boys and one girl specifically bullied my daughter to the point of her wanting to leave this world.  I did not know it got that bad.

I don’t wish for them to NOT find Jesus but I just don’t care to be the one God may use to show Himself through.  Ya know?

I’m human.  I have regular feelings and all that.

I live “real.”  My family lives “real.”  And we like it that way.  We will keep asking God what He wants us to do every day and for Him to use us to show His Light.

~Even on days we don’t really feel like it.~

Because

it’s just not about me.

Rotten Apple Peels

I love how God gives each one of us a different purpose. Like what if we were all created to peel apples?  Then there would be nobody to make the crust or the sugar or the pie pans or the oven in which to bake the pies.

He’s God and has given us all these different jobs so we’re not all slipping on rotten apple peels. That leads me to think of trash guys and composting and planting the apple trees to begin with…. See what I’m saying?

How do you care for the stuff and the jobs God’s placed in your care?  How do you care for the people around you every day?

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

When did we STOP cheering each other on?

What would your kids say YOU do?

So… sometimes our kids are the best people to describe who we really are. Sometimes the answers make us smile. Sometimes not as much.

What would YOUR kids say YOU do? Encourage people or mock them?

When did we STOP cheering each other on and start looking down on each other for trying do accomplish something?

The news is most of the time… I won’t even say the bad words that flash across my brain to describe the “news.” They make fun of people and “report” some of the very worst stuff. We’ve all heard it “AT LEAST three people were injured.” SERIOUSLY?! “At least?!” Like they hoped MORE were hurt?!!

When our kids are little and learning to walk we cheer for them (and even tell our friends to cheer) until they can walk on their own. We encourage.

Now, as alleged adults, we mock and some people secretly actually enjoy others’ failures. That’s a sad thing in my opinion.

Are we all so jealous of someone actually succeeding that we find twisted comfort in ridicule?

Sometimes it may take a few attempts before we finally get something right. Lots of inventors come to mind. I sure am glad they kept trying.

Do your kids see you encouraging other grown ups or making fun of them behind closed doors?

My writing is not for everybody. But it’s for somebody.

And if I can help ONE person heal even just a little bit by the “stuff” in my life, then I will have the courage to write. Even when people laugh, I will write.

A few years ago a friend told me she knew I was supposed to write a book. I told her she had NO idea what she was talking about.  I’m nobody.  Who would ever want to hear what I have to say? I mean, I’m nobody.

She then said the words that changed my heart, “Hurting people need to hear what you have to say.”

Okay THAT got me… I’ll write.

The thing that has stopped me for a VERY long time is the fear of hate mail or people just looking down on me. And I’m TERRIFIED of being online “out there” in cyber space where people sit behind the false protection and act like it doesn’t matter what ugly stuff is typed to someone else because it doesn’t really “count” because it’s just online etc. etc. etc. It DOES count and you are affecting other people’s lives whether for good or bad by the stuff you say and even the stuff you don’t say.  Anyway the number ONE thing that has stopped me from writing is that – I’m nobody. Not true. I am a Child of the One True King. (And so are YOU. Please live like it.)

So the number TWO thing is that I’m terrified of living ONLINE. Being open and sharing life is obviously not a problem for us, but doing it publicly like this… very scary to me.

I just gotta have faith.

And number THREE, I do not want fame or anything that goes with it. I am perfectly comfortable ministering to the few people God brings across my path and feel safer hidden away in my house NOT sharing with the world.

Famous people do not have privacy anymore. Privacy is NICE. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t fall all over myself if/when we run into “famous” people, I mean, until it is Jesus, because then, I Can Only Imagine how I’ll react! But just because someone knows about someone or knows their picture and people recognize them from movies or TV, most “fans” don’t actually KNOW them. Who they are. What they stand for. How they treat their family. I cannot figure out why people turn into goofballs and can’t speak correctly when meeting someone famous. Sure, it’s an honor. Absolutely. And it’s just as much an honor to get to meet the girl who is working at the grocery store to pay for college. Both are important and God planned and created them both equally valuable. One is just not “famous.”

So

Number 1. I’m nobody.

#2. Terrified of online.

And 3. Fame. Not for me.

But if that’s true; If hurting people DO need to hear what I have to say… then… I will write. I’ll write to share my faith.

My writing is not for everybody. But it’s for somebody.

And if I can help ONE person heal even just a little bit by the “stuff” in my life, then I will have the courage to write. Even when people laugh, I will write.

I didn’t know I was trapped.

As he drove by he yelled out his car window to me, “How’s the stopping smoking going?”

I yelled excitedly, “I’m FREE!”

Wait.  That was a weird answer.  Free?  I didn’t know I was trapped.

When we started talking about the fact that we were struggling with smoking and my husband wanted to stop so he wanted me to stop with him, people (especially at church) were uncomfortable that we asked for prayers about it. It’s just not the sort of thing church folks talk about (unfortuntately.)

I didn’t know if I COULD stop. I didn’t even know if I WANTED to stop.

After we asked for prayers a guy told me his sister-in-law had a book she swears by.

She drove to meet me within the same hour after I finally had courage to call her and she brought it to me. I was so humbled and touched. I was sobbing uncontrollably and asked her WHY she would stop her day just for me and bring that book to me. She said because she knew how important this was.

She stood there telling me she knew she would never smoke again.

I wanted to be THERE.

How could she possibly know that she’d never smoke again?

If you smoke, you keep smoking AS you read the book.

Crazy, right?  I read 1/2 of the book and have stopped smoking forever.

THAT is freedom and I am SO glad I said I was having trouble.

That present from a stranger is and maybe will always be the very best present anyone ever gave me.  It was a simple thing, really.  But she knew the deep hell that smoking was.  She spoke love to me that day because she stopped what she was doing which showed me I was valuable in some way and gave me the key I desperately needed even though I wasn’t sure if I believed in it yet.

I’m convinced that this is what God means when He says we are to be His hands and feet.  She was an angel sent to me that day.  This I know for sure.

This book helps people who DON’T smoke understand more about WHY people smoke.  It also helps people who do NOT smoke be able to talk with people who DO smoke in a way we may listen better.

It’s NOT fun to talk about smoking especially to a non-smoker because they just don’t get it.  You know the looks people give that they are obviously “better than you are.”  Yeah, non-smoker dudes, THAT’S NOT gonna help.  So here’s the best tool I’ve found for just this kinda conversation. [The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr.]

Shoving pictures of dead lungs in our faces just doesn’t do anything.

You don’t get it.

It’s a TRAP!

A trap VERY cleverly designed with TONS of awful media, movies, ignorance, and tobacco companies supporting the chains and locks.

Showing a squirrel who is stuck in a trap a picture of a dead squirrel won’t help it get free.

My husband was able to stop with God and willpower.  That’s awesome!

Any way out is awesome.

I read a book.

HOW many people read a book and stop smoking?!  They do not advertise this book anywhere but word of mouth.  I am living testimony that it works.  It was the key to freedom for me. That was over 1 1/2 years ago now.  The funny thing is the book title. It’s easy to remember.

The book is called The EASY Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr. This is the BEST book for stopping smoking and getting free from the stupid trap that smoking is.  Forever!

This author went from smoking 100 cigarettes a day to ZERO and then wrote this book.  He figured out the answers.  PRAISE GOD!!

It’s sad when some people react to us like, “DUDE! Don’t they ‘know better’ than to say that kinda stuff?!” Our reaction is, “DUDE, don’t you know YOU NEED to talk about that kinda stuff?! You NOT talking about it COULD be stopping someone God has put in your path who needs healing, but because you are afraid to speak, you are not helping them.”

Enough

You’ve gotta be kidding!

Me?  I’m nobody.  I’m nothing.

Why would anyone want to read what I have to say?

I’m going to write a book?  Not me!!  Are you CRAZY?

I liked me. I really did. I do.

But I didn’t feel worthy of anything. My self worth was so low that I couldn’t see how God may choose ME for writing a book. Who am I? I was nothing. I am nobody.

One day a little boy asked his mom for lunch to feed 5,000 people.  His mom packed a lunch for all the people that day.  He had to use wagons to carry it all.  It’s a wonder that the fish didn’t spoil by the time he was able to serve it.  Fish should be kept at a certain temperature so he kept a close eye on it so he wouldn’t be reported like a restaurant with bad scores and a health risk.  Finally Jesus asked for his food and he said, “Here, my Mom worked for weeks to get this food ready for all these thousands of people.”

REALLY?!

Um, no.

A little boy.  Not a priest.  Not a preacher.  Not an elder.  Not a deacon.  Not even the wife of one of those.  Not the President of the United States.  Not a leader of the community.  Not a doctor.  Not someone in an elected office.  There was no board meeting.  There was no elders’ meeting asking everyone to vote on what-to-do-for-the-Jesus-is-going-to-feed-all-these-people-and-we-have-to-figure-out-how-to-do-it meeting.  It was one little boy.

Jesus used a little boy to share his food.  Jesus said to bring what little bit you have to offer and He will make it ENOUGH.

A LITTLE BOY brought his lunch and heard Jesus talking.  He offered his lunch to Jesus and surely he was just trying to help.  Surely the little boy didn’t think, “Hey, today I’m going to be part of a miracle so I should shower and put on a tie.”  I just think God uses us as we are.  If our hearts are open and we are listening, God can use us easily.

My problem was low self worth , not low self esteem.

They’re different.

Esteem

-to regard highly or favorably with respect or admiration

Worth

-usefulness or importance as to the world, a person, or for a purpose

I’ve recently met a woman who’s book inspired me to believe again.  Her name is Michelle Prince, author of ‘Winning In Life Now.’  Her book encourages people to work on what you need to work on NOW.

But still who am I to write a book?  Why would anyone want to read what I have to say?  I’m nothing.

I’ve been thinking and listening for a few years now and have realized that’s probably really a slap in the face to God. HE created ME. HE made me just this way for His purpose and I was not letting Him use me for His glory.

Write a book?  Me?  Okay, but just for the record, I think this is crazy.

Dear God, please forgive me for being stubborn and not believing that I was worth something.  Please forgive me for dragging my heels and for thinking that surely you couldn’t mean for me to write a book.  Please use this book to reach people who are hurting and help them heal.  Please help me write what You want it to say.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Some weeks and months I don’t write anything.  Sometimes because I think there’s no way I can help every person.  And that’s true.  I can’t help every person but if any one person can heal some because of me writing this book, then it’s totally worth it.  I’m gonna write it and trust God that it will get to the people it is supposed to get to.  My very favorite saying is “to the world you may be just one person but to one person you may just be the world” and to the best of my searching online for where that quote came from, it’s Brandi Snyder quotes I should give credit to.  I don’t know Brandi Snyder but the quote is absolutely too great!

Am I enough?  No I’m not.  But God can take the little offering we bring and MAKE it ENOUGH.

Bring what little you have to offer… loaves and fish… and God will make it ENOUGH.