15 Apr

It Was Never About Me

Bible & Notes

Face down on the bed. I keep reminding myself to breathe and unclench my jaw.

Whose idea was this?!?!?! 

Bible open. Notebook open. Notes, lists, pens, highlighters all stacked around me.

What was I thinking?!?!?!?

Miles from home. I didn’t even drive here. There is no escape. None. I accepted the invitation to teach and now I had to teach.

This was no ordinary retreat. There was pain here, an open wound of a church trying to heal. The whys are unimportant, but the heaviness of following God when it is difficult and painful was evident. The pain of brother against brother — of infighting and backbiting — hung on their hearts, was evident in the tears in their eyes, and palpable in their sighs and heavy silences.

And all I had were a few words on a page.

I felt like Moses….Lord can’t you send someone else, I can’t speak well. Isn’t there someone, anyone…please???

I found myself drawn back to a passage in 1 Chronicles 28 (a small passage I’ve sorta been obsessed with lately). David is talking to the officials of Israel about building a temple and he turns to speak to Solomon. Father to Son. Man of God to man of God. And this wisdom packed passage just keeps drawing me back, but this day as I lay on my bed wishing for an escape from this task FAR above my pay grade I see words I haven’t noticed before.

Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work. (1 Chronicles 28:10)

For the Lord has chosen you…..be strong and do the work.

It was the whisper to my frightened heart I needed and my prayers began to change. I went from “why me” to “please show up….be here…be real…be the words of my mouth, the thoughts in my heart, the peace in the room….overwhelm us with you.”

Normally, when I prepare to teach I write it out. Every word. Every line. I’ve timed it. Edited it. Memorized it. Over and over until it is part of the fabric of who I am. This time. I had a few words on a page. That’s it. No script. No page after page of notes and highlights. I had definitions, a few questions and that was it.  I felt lead…I was positive that God hadn’t wanted me to do the extensive preparation this time. I used only what I could find on the internet (not all the resources on my shelves and computer) and kept it super simple. Although, admittedly I wasn’t sure why. Even as I sat down to speak (cuz a girl with a busted up foot can’t stand and teach, but that is a story for another day) I wasn’t sure where we were headed…..I didn’t even know my intro.

But when I opened my mouth the words came. When I looked at my notes I knew what was important and what wasn’t. As I outlined the weekend for this group of strangers-yet-sisters I began to tell how the Bible is like a puzzle and we can see the picture on the box, but it isn’t until we start putting it together piece-by-piece that we really know the picture, the colors, the texture, the details. And this weekend we were going to take Scripture apart to put it back together so that we can see God when we are done.

When it was all over…all the days…all the sessions. I exhaled and all I could pray in an amazingly tired and yet somehow excited heart….You showed up.

And that was the reminder this weekend…it was never about me, or my words. It was about the God of the universe showing up to love on His girls. It was about Him soothing wounds with laughter, it was about Him whispering to weary hearts in the context of a verse, it was about His girls seeing Him in each other. God had something for each of the women in that house….even me. I can’t tell you how much I learn when preparing to teach — I walk out the lessons in real life that He’ll have come out of my mouth to the women.

But this time He had another message for this girl who struggles with doubt, who sometimes wonders if she’s good enough to be loved, this girl who spent much of her life feeling unlovable and just wants to be liked….I love you, I’ll show up, I’ve called you to things bigger than you, I’ll never leave you….

07 Jul

What’s in His Name?

If you ask someone to describe themselves or tell you something about themselves, usually they begin to tell you about themselves. For instance,” I’m married to a hunky man. I’m the homeschooling mom of two little people. I am an amateur photographer. I’m a blogger, Bible study teacher and ministry leader working to help women find God and encouragement in everyday life.”

How many things did you learn about me, just from the labels or names in my life…wife, mother, photographer, blogger, teacher, leader, Jesus’ girl? Quite a bit.

There is a lot in a name. Our relationships. Our values. Our life. All defined in what we call ourselves or what others call us.

Our modern English translations of the Bible leave out something that can change how you see God…how you come to God…what God is telling you. Many of us don’t realize the depth of God’s character or they way it is expressed in His names.

In most places my Bible refers to God as “God” or “Lord”.

I don’t read it as…

The Lord Who Sees Me

Consuming Fire

The Lord My Banner

God Almighty

The Lord Who Provides

…and so many others.

And the truth is. I want to. I want to read God’s Word and see ALL of who He is and who He reveals Himself to be. I want to learn to come to God…pray to Him with the names He’s laid out…the facets of His love, mercy, grace…HIM!

And as so often happens on this great journey God and I are on, I get the opportunity to share these discoveries!  This fall there will be a retreat. Filled with God — His names and character fleshed out so that His girls can come to a deeper, fuller understanding and fall deeper in love.

If you are local, please keep your eyes peeled for more information (mark your calendars for Sept. 21-23). Spaces are limited. More information will be available soon, and then registration will open!  Not local, keep coming back…you know I can’t wait to share my discoveries with you and tell you how God reveals Himself to me in the everydayness of life!

19 Jan

Good morning, ugly!

So, I’ve been grumbling for a couple of weeks. (we’ll get to why, in a minute)

And suddenly this morning, God took the things I’ve been reading, praying, studying and writing and brought them into focus. He quite literally shifted the lens of my life so I could see what was right in front of me.

In focus, it is ugly.

We’re talking U-G-L-Y….ugly.

We had the amazing opportunity to study “Growing Kids God’s Way” over the past few months. With witty and wise leaders and a committed and supportive small group we went through this book that literally changed how we are parenting. We are walking through the application phase of many of the challenging things we learned. Including first time obedience.

Our kids are getting it. We are seeing changes in them…and in us. The atmosphere of our home is shifting and we are enjoying the process (I know, who knew!?!?).

Then, this morning…the focusing…the ugly truth…the challenge.

Remember the grumbling? If you’ve seen me in person at all over the last few weeks you will…you’ve heard it…some more than once. Just think of the earful my poor hubby has had to live with. (some of you are breathing a sigh of relief…perhaps long distance friendships aren’t so bad, huh?)

A few weeks back the teaching team for our upcoming women’s retreat met. If you lay out the talents, gifts and credentials of the three women teaching at our spring retreat you’d see that I might be fit to hold the doors, set up the chairs or maybe introduce the others. My thoughts were I could teach the short, “easy” introductory session and leave the big messages to the big guns. I knew exactly how it would go down. Until it didn’t. Somehow, when the dust settled I was left with the Sunday morning session. I was the anchor.

And so the grumbling began.

I’m not worthy. Not talented. Not ready. Didn’t know this was what I was signing up for. And so many more, long, pathetic, whining excuses have come out of my mouth. Over and over again.

Is it coming into focus for you yet?

As the lens rotated this morning, there I saw it.

Saw me.

A child of God with a God-sized task laid out in front of her. What was I doing? Throwing a spiritual temper-tantrum — whining, stamping my feet, complaining, and throwing a little pity party. Where was my obedience?

Joshua 22 says to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

This morning, as I focus on God. I realize what He’s called me to is not about me…never was. Oh yes, I might learn something along the way (and if I don’t then I’ve missed yet another blessing), but God’s work is about God. And I’ve been called to such a time that I might be able to see God work in the lives of the women He calls to this retreat.

My job is to be obedient…the first time He calls. Not wander in my own desert until there is enough sand in my shoes that anything else seems like a step up.
My job is to read, learn, research, pray, listen, write. Rinse and repeat. Over and over again until it is time to open my mouth for Him. Then, as I step in to what He has called me to…He’ll show up. Even if I stumble over the words, shuffle my papers and forget the punchline to my opening joke, God will still be there. He’ll take my unpolished, overthought words and hand them to His sweet daughters with a heavenly bow.

My job is to answer Him. “Here I am!” “Yes Lord.”

The first time He calls.

Then hold fast to Him and serve with all my heart.

No more grumbling…

May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:171
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