Decisions. Decisions.

life, matters of the heart

I was recently forced to re-evaluate a certain area of my life and it was quite uncomfortable. Everything I’d lined up to do made perfect sense and fit the mode of a well-crafted plan. Still, something wasn’t quite right.

So I quieted myself for a couple of days, went back to my prayer closet and discovered this: I was about to make a huge mistake. OUCH.

So much time and effort had been spent devising the “new thing” that it was starting to become apart of my normal world. How in the world was I going to gain back the lost time, investments, and the chunk of my heart that felt extremely disappointed? Would I ignore God’s prompting and pridefully keep going in the same direction? Or would I surrender and consider this fact: GOD sees the bigger picture.

It’s safe to say, I’m choosing the latter and not because I’m so strong. It’s because God is so powerful. His spirit is empowering me to put my cute and fancy planner down and truly consider that his view is different from mine. He sees the danger I would navigate. He sees the turmoil I would experience unnecessarily. Most importantly, he sees that his Glory will not be magnified through my unwise decision. My life is not my own. Things are truly about HIM!

Why is such a dependence okay? Because I have had first-hand experience of trying things in my own strength. And I can assure you I was like the ship without a sail, the car without a steering wheel, and the bike without handle bars. I think you get the picture. Lol.

I can laugh now, but I surely remember those times of my blatant disobedience and how hard it was to dig myself out of the pits I dug for myself. In fact, I would still be in those many pits if it had not been for God accepting my final words of surrender.

I’m thankful for the grace of God then and I’m surely thankful for his grace now as I weigh the matters of my own heart today.

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I wrote this in response to another pivotal moment in my life as I weighed some extremely hard decisions. I truly believe you’ll find it useful for your own journey. CLICK HERE.

Word of the Week – Psalm 91

life, matters of the heart

How often we run from living in the “shadow” of others.

We can be inspired to live under the “shadow” that truly matters as we navigate these challenging and uncertain times.

Take a listen to this week’s “Word of the Week” — CLICK HERE

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One Powerful Word…

life, matters of the heart

The “rush” to be first or the urge to get it done “all at once” or “immediately” is a tempting choice. If you can relate, watch the video below about the power of the word #Wait …

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#HeartWork #Wait #Temptation #Patience #Endurance #Surrender #FaithInGOD #2020

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Traveling Light…

leadership, life, matters of the heart, relationships

Change may be on the horizon for 2020. If you can relate, keep reading.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” – Genesis 12:1

I can imagine that many of us will have to “drop” some things during this season as God continues to refine, prune, and mold/shape us for the sake of his will and Glory. These are not always the most comfortable moments as some long-term commitments are all of a sudden becoming modified or non-existent and more casual pursuits are evolving into something more permanent. God has a way of showing us just how strategic he is when our comfort zones are turned completely upside down.

photo of person wearing converse all star sneakers

I’m sure a lot went through Abram’s mind in Genesis 12 as he packed his family and belongings up and traveled on a road that was unfamiliar. Keep reading further and it seems like Abram’s journey was a day-by-day, moment-by-moment kind of excursion. All he knew was that God told him to leave the old places behind and this was enough.

How can we “travel light” – knowing that God’s leading to something different is enough for us as well?

people crossing the street

We must take separation from the past very seriously.

This is sometimes tough, especially when we’ve felt attachment to certain things. But there was a reason God was calling Abram out of his native land. He wasn’t just forfeiting a two-story home, sprawling backyard, and wrap-around porch – figuratively speaking. God was ultimately calling Abram unto himself to worship. The separation was not about hate or neglecting folks, but it was a nurturing of a deeper dependence on God who wanted to purposefully multiply a nation through him. Abram’s former environment just wouldn’t do.

How are our own former environments not conducive anymore? How do they hinder our spiritual growth or serve as idols. “Traveling light” becomes a lot less complicated when we are wholeheartedly disconnected from the very things God desires us to leave behind. The disconnection voices something so wonderful and beautiful: God is enough and the journey that he allows is enough.

We can be sure Abram needed strength for the journey as we do too. He found this in God’s presence – in moments of worship and intimacy with the Lord who was not only the God of his transition but also the God of his heart.

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev. (Genesis 12)

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How will you be traveling “lighter” into the new month? Into the new year?

What if life as you know it is turned upside down?

Gain strength for the journey – CLICK HERE – Resources + Books + Bible Studies

A Christmas I’ll Never Forget: A Broken Marriage Engagement + New Direction in Life…

life, love, matters of the heart, relationships

Some events in my life I’ll never forget as their impact have changed the direction of my life – forever.

One of these events in particular took place during the Christmas season of 2005. I know that seems like a million years ago to some of you reading this. I was young, passionate, zealous for the things of God, and about to make one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

I’d been “on and off again” in a romantic relationship with someone for about five years at that particular time. When he proposed marriage with one of the most gorgeous rings I had ever seen (most who saw it would agree), I thought that this could perhaps be “it.”

macro shot of solitaire ring on flower

I accepted the ring but soon after began to feel uncomfortable. I couldn’t sleep and began to question my choice for a variety of reasons. Still I kept up the facade. I continued to wear the ring as I made some “loose plans” to set a date for the wedding. One might think I would be happy, but I was truly miserable. I remember this feeling like it was yesterday because these were the days leading up to Christmas.

egg nog bottle near cupcake red berry fruits and ice cold drinks

When I should have been enjoying eggnog, Christmas lights, and most importantly honoring the birth of Jesus — I was privately suffering and pondering my complicated history with my ex-fiancé.

This blog post is in no way an attack against him but a reflection of my own choices and behavior. I take full responsibility. #Slander

So Christmas day finally arrived. I was grouchy and moody for no apparent reason. My mom even gently confronted me about my behavior before our traditional family dinner. I knew that I needed to make the hard decision to call off my marriage engagement. I had prayed long and hard and found no peace in the idea of spending the rest of my life with my ex-fiancé. This decision wasn’t like casually picking out a new pair of shoes – this was serious.

close up of shoes and bag

It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done to date. Some people in my life questioned my choice. I was criticized. Someone even tried to convince me that I was acting irrationally.

But what I learned in the moment were key lessons that I still carry with me today:

  • Don’t stop praying and inquiring of God’s throne when unsure about something. It’s better to tarry and wait for God to answer than settle for something that only “appears” to be a good thing.
  • God has the final say. I had begun to make my plans as life seemed to be “aligning” itself with my goals, age, etc. But the perfect will of the only true and wise God stands.
  • God had a very specific purpose (and husband) for my life. I met my husband of 13 years soon after my broken engagement. I answered the call to teach/preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and even established a consulting organization to help at-risk women in unhealthy or complicated relationships.
  • My biggest “gain” was not a new relationship, things, or opportunities but it was more of God himself. God’s love for me is unprecedented. He truly leads me like the patient and kind shepherd that he is. #Psalm23

I can imagine that you are a real person like me – all of your plans have not come into fruition. Some things you set out to do have gotten lost in the challenges of U-turns, pit stops, and delayed progress.

Read more about how God can use these circumstances in your life for good in my latest book, Life Redirected.

CLICK HERE 

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Jason and I (May 2019)

Words You Need to Ditch Right Away

life, matters of the heart

What you see in the mirror always seems to be inferior – even on your best day… Perhaps you are this woman. If so, keep reading…

There are many words that we can use to describe ourselves. What we say has a significant impact – more than we sometimes realize.

 Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,

And those who love it will eat its fruit.

For instance, when someone informs me that a certain thing can’t possibly happen for them, I cringe a little because I know that this short four letter word – can’t –  is setting the tone for their next steps if they’re not careful. I absolutely believe in the sovereignty of God as his ways and timing for our existence are in his hands. However, I know that any one of our days has the potential to move beyond the “can’t” word of our speech.

four woman at the conference room

Consider the following biblical passage:

Luke 13: 10-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

A Woman with a Disabling Spirit

10 Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

What if this particular woman had believed the “can’t” of her life?

  • I can’t go to the synagogue because people might criticize me.
  • I can’t expect anything different than what has already been happening over and over again.
  • I can’t believe any other words besides the negative words around me.
  • I can’t receive healing from Jesus.

That last “can’t” is tragic in itself. What if the woman hadn’t made her way to Jesus’ path (disability and all) when he invited her into his presence?

I’m intrigued with her ability to think beyond the “can’t” of her life. Her tenacity brought a revival in more ways than one:

  • Not only is her physical body revived but her spiritual self is renewed as she glorified God publicly and out in the open. #Revival
  • The usual dynamics of the synagogue and the leader’s rules are challenged by Jesus who is called to set the captive free on any day that is deemed fit by God, heaven, and the perfect will of the One who created time. #Revival
  • God is glorified in an environment where 18 years of suffering is transformed into a testimony of the goodness of a King who seeks and saves his own. #Revival

What “can’t” are you facing at the moment? How can you give it to God and allow him to handle it in his way, timing, and purpose? Is it possible to say – “I can’t, but I know a God who can?“

Life has a way of presenting “the impossible” – which gives us unique opportunities to put some faith-fueled vocabulary and phrases into practice:

  1. I feel weak, but my God is strong and working through me.
  2. I’ve been waiting awhile, but God’s grace is sufficient.
  3. I want to give up, but his love carries me day by day, moment by moment.
  4. This situation is out of control, but God holds my hand through it all.
  5. I’m just hanging on, but my hope is in the One who gives me life – forever.

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#DitchCant #SayGodCan #AccordingToHisWillWayTiming
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Accepting the Call to “Be”…

leadership, life, matters of the heart

Many of us will wear many hats, titles, and positions; but no other calling is more sacred than the call to just “be” in God’s presence…

There were so many pivotal moments in the New Testament Bible where Jesus was very much active – preaching, teaching, discipling, counseling, healing, and preparing for His destination to the cross. I’m so thankful for the service and sacrifice of Christ because without this truth – I, you, and the whole world for that matter would be without hope.

#ThankYouJesus

I recently did a teaching at a women’s event about Jesus’ busy life, His purposeful mission to bring hope to a broken world, and the absolute dedication He had to RESTING. When and why would Jesus, being fully empowered by Heaven itself, need to slow down?

Although Jesus was 100% God, Jesus was also 100% human.

beautiful boat daylight foggy

So we witness, over and over again, in the scriptures where Jesus would literally retreat to isolated places, mountains, different towns, boats, and moments of strategic prayer in a complete mode of trusting and depending on the Father to renew and refresh Him (Mark 1:12, Mark 1:16, Mark 1:35, Luke 5:15-16, Mark 2:13, Luke 6:12-13, Matthew 14:23, Mark 7:24, Mark 9:2, John 10:39-41, Mark 14:32).

So how much more should we accept the call to just “be” in a culture that constantly promotes the idea of constantly “doing” – especially during the holiday season?

How can busy folks like ourselves slow down during the frenzy of holiday gatherings, parties, shopping, outreach events, work overtime, and new year hustling?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Keep what’s important first – time with God and quality time with family/friends.
  • Resist the temptation to pack the calendar with Christmas events done “in His name” as every spiritual venture is not a direct connection to a deeper faith in Christ.
  • Adopt the courage to just “be” as we embrace a few quiet moments with intentional meditation over our favorite cup of tea/coffee and a willingness to pause and reflect on the miracle birth of a Savior.

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Have you checked out my latest Home Life Journal update? I share my reflections on making regular days count, the holiday season, and more – CLICK HERE. 

Everything We Need…

life, matters of the heart

I have been reflecting a LOT on Genesis 3 (CLICK HERE),  the fall of humanity, and the temptation to seek futile/worthless pursuits. I shared this reflection in a women’s Bible study a couple of weeks ago and it aroused a passionate discussion about God’s wonderful provision and care for us versus Satan’s lies and deceitful promises.

apple attractive beautiful beauty

The Garden of Eden in Genesis provided Adam and Eve with everything they needed. Yet Satan’s cunning and sneaky ways won the hearts of humanity that fateful day in Genesis 3 . Sadly, the consequences of sin entered the world in ways that bear witness to the state of our world today (crime, corruption, human suffering, family dysfunction, etc.).

Today, as believers of Jesus Christ, we have hope for when we are tempted by Satan’s offers. There is a way of escape as we trust God for being everything we need.

Below are some application points to consider in the face of temptation:

  • turn to God immediately and honestly at the onset of your weakness and temptation to turn to things that go against biblical commands – He longs for you to lean and depend on Him in your vulnerability
  • be mindful of the impact of sin and the fact that disobedience has consequences
  • seek support from healthy communities of sisterhood, mentorship, or spiritual leaders
  • rely on spiritual necessities like never before – prayer, meditation, time in God’s Word, fellowship with other believers, fasting, etc.
  • express gratitude for what you already have as you await patiently for your desires to be fulfilled in a manner that is in alignment with God’s way and timing
  • remember that the “second Adam” – Jesus Christ – is your redeemer in every way as His death, burial, and resurrection made provision for you to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to resist temptation.

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#BelieveGOD

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CLICK HERE to explore the latest resources, books, and bible studies.

 

11 Things to Do as You Wait…

leadership, life, matters of the heart

  I won’t sugar-coat this reality: waiting can be a frustrating and sometimes intimidating process for any one of us…

personal organizer and pink flowers on desk

Consider these 11 tips:

  1. Reject a “false start.” Think of when Abraham and Sarah solicited Hagar to “help” them achieve what God promised them. Read more HERE.

  2. Enjoy the “right now” and the ability to appreciate what you’ve accomplished already.

  3. Believe that there is a “bigger picture.”

  4. Trust that God’s plans for you are good. We can’t “out-perform” God’s goodness and strategic purpose. 

  5. Avoid obsessing over your calendars. Yes, be wise and plan accordingly. But understand God’s timing doesn’t function in ours.

  6. Pray, ponder, and think before you act. Are you tempted to “rush” as a direct result of an emotional reaction to something in your environment? This can be a good and bad thing. Discern if you need a moment to cool down or if an immediate course of action needs to be taken.

  7. Resist comparing your agenda to someone else’s life and timeline.

  8. Rest. Turn off the phone, tv, and other noise. Simply take a moment to pause and rejuvenate.

  9. Realize your growth potential. No other experience can compare to the kind rooted in patience, endurance, and perseverance. 

  10. Prepare. Tweak the resume (and send the resume😊). Draft the proposal. Write the plan. Seek wise counsel. Enroll in a training session or course.

  11. Pray always. Surrender your will, emotions, and every part of you that is tempted to get unfocused.

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View the latest resources, bible studies, and books – CLICK HERE.

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Perfectly Imperfect…

life, matters of the heart

So, I’m noticing a personality trait in my daughter…

Last year’s home-school year had its fair share of challenges. Jordyn’s dad and I pulled our then 4-year old from traditional preschool after I officially retired from teaching. I created a routine at home that allowed her to be creative while still learning the basic foundations. However, I noticed certain practice activities frustrated her more. Big tears would form in Jordyn’s beautiful eyes if one letter wasn’t perfect or a coloring page did not appear as she planned.

closeup photo of assorted color alphabets

Fast forward to today, her Kindergarten teacher is noticing the same habits – frustration, tears, etc. Meanwhile, the homework practice of letters is turning into a chore as the unpleasantness of Jordyn’s tension is becoming more intense. She told me yesterday: “Mommy, I’m scared of writing.”

It was as if time stood still. I was shocked. And now the tears flowed down my face as well as hers.

I prayed with Jordyn IMMEDIATELY. Her teacher is lovely and agreed to be mindful of this in class as we work together to help Jordyn not strive for perfection but be “perfectly imperfect.” This will be a process – I know. But she’s worth it.

And so I pick up my pen, I mean keyboard again and I WRITE.

I will not worry about having the “perfect” blog, “perfect” amount of subscribers, “perfect” graphics, or “perfect” anything. I want to be an example to Jordyn. She is my muse and we will face being perfectly #imperfect together.

apple computer cup desk

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