Monday, March 31, 2014

I Use to be an Actress


I use to be an actress.

I took one of the lead parts in a very highly and sought after role. 

I was shortstop for the Psalty Psalters in Kids Praise 8: Play Ball! Musical.


At our Church.
When I was 8.

At that point in my life it was quite a highlight!

I remember one of my most important lines, which I might add got a lot of laughs..."Psalty, when I get bigger can I be 'tallstop?" 

Adorable...I know!

My acting career took many forms after, but that was perhaps, my most memorable role.

It's funny the things you remember, isn't it?

Every major tale in our life has a reason behind the story. Every day, every event, every incident is loaded with purpose, opportunities...building blocks that shape our character and point of view.

I started writing out a timeline of the highlights of my life from as far as I can remember to the present. 
I tried picking a few key moments in my life that stood out for whatever reason. 
I started with good, happy, memorable moments and then went on to work on the more sad or difficult moments. 

Being a Psalty Psalter was one of my more memorable moments. It definitely made the cut on my timeline.

Some of the other good moments included family vacations and holidays, playing with my cousins at my grandmothers apartment (who remembers the rainbow red shoes!) where we would swim all summer and come in for grilled cheese sandwiches and Tang! 

Other memorable events included reading so many good books...Babysitters club and Nancy Drew...and of course the most kindred spirit of all heroines, Anne of Green Gables. I loved watching movies...old classics and musicals like Summer Stock with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. 

As I grew older my life's romance took center stage with all its school girl romanticism. Life led into great highlights...life long friendships and college, graduation and marriage, pregnancy and babies.

All of those events had significant meaning and purpose, especially in hindsight.
In hindsight, I could see the hand of God. 

Many of those instances were God showing His faithfulness.
Many of those instances were God calling me to be faithful. 

In each of those highlights I learned so much about who I was, what I desired in life, my gifts and callings. 

I learned early on how important family was through holidays, traditions, vacations and those imaginative, fun filled summers.
The books and films I loved gave me ideals and dreams for a better tomorrow. 
My love story taught me perseverance, endurance, and faithfulness.
My friendships, marriage and children have taught me loyalty, forgiveness and grace. 

I smile as I think about the years ago, when a little girl with long black hair and big brown eyes stood up on a stage in front of over 100 people and delivered lines with fun and ease.

That little girl didn't think much about how others perceived her or worried about what others may say?
She didn't care about being recognized or respected. 
She didn't care about getting praised.
She wasn't worried about the future and if life was going to work out how she planned and hoped it would.

That little girl with the long black hair and big brown eyes was living in the moment. 
She was living in the excitement of being shortstop on the Psalty Psalters team.
She was reveling in delivering her lines with innocent charm.

That little girl with the long black hair and big brown eyes knew she was special and had a gift.
She knew she had a purpose and a calling for that moment. 
She didn't know how far or where that gift would take her and she didn't care. 
All she cared about was using it for one purpose..to bring praise to her God and King.

What did that moment teach me? 

At that young, tender age He was preparing me to speak. He had gifted me to stand in front of many and deliver lines from a book with ease and conviction, so that years later, I could stand in front of crowds of any size, whether in my home, small group, church or internet blog, and deliver His lines, from His book, all to bring praise to my God and King.

I encourage you to make a timeline of your life and see how God has positioned you and what he has taught you through all those memorable events.

What highlights of your life created callings and purposes for His kingdom?


"Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 NKJV


You are His beloved,

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekly happenings...

Today my post called, He Calls you Faithful, was featured on Laura's blog, Missional Woman where she hosts the Faith Filled Friday Link up. 

Missional Women

I have been writing and back in this blog thing for only a couple of weeks and to be featured and encouraged in this way is humbling. My only desire has been to share what He has been doing in my life and to encourage others with my story. 

Thank you for reading, for commenting, for sharing. Remember He calls you Faithful.

You are His beloved,                  

                                                                                           

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Working in Your Gifts

A few months passed and my thoughts kept coming back to this article. 
I couldn't be disconnected any more. I had to plug back into who I was created to be. 

It was 3 o'clock in the morning and the house was quiet except for the faint and steady breathing from my husband who peacefully slept beside me; completely unaware that his beloved bride and best friend was drowning in a sea of tears, fears, anguish and grief next to him. 

I grieved the loss of my passions.
I grieved the loss of my dreams. 
Mostly...
I grieved the loss of the years where I failed to live for more than pure survival.

For years I battled and fought against depression. 
I blamed hormones, diet, lack of sleep, raising babies.

I went through seasons of sadness.
Seasons of being overwhelmed.
Seasons of being angry and unsatisfied.

The ones I loved the most, the ones I was called to be more for in this life:
They were the ones who I hurt.
They were the ones who saw me merely going through the motions of life.
They saw me tired, insecure and sad.



This was not how I wanted to live my life.

In my heart I wanted to be so much more for them. 
Please understand I wasn't "down" every day...
I was a fun, loving mother and wife.
But deep inside, I sensed something was off.

There were days where I just didn't feel like giving anything.
And those days cancelled out all the good ones.



Friends, on a side note...Hormones are real and they can debilitate greatly; 
I am certain that they heightened all of my uncontrollable feelings.
When they are not leveled, life is most definitely not balanced.
See your doctor so you can get them balanced. 
Get on a eating and exercise plan, visit a counselor, talk to a friend...don't walk this alone.



But this was more than hormones levels.
It was more than a lack of sleep and small, needy children. 
There was a void. 
An emptiness. 
It was deep...Soul deep.

I tried to fill it, but it's hard to fill something that leaks.
Its hard to fill something when you don't know what to fill it with. 

It's like putting a square peg in a round hole...
nothing works and it seems impossible to fill the gaps. 

I resigned to telling myself that maybe this was 
"my lot in life,"
the "thorn in my side,"
the "cross" I had to bear.

Religion talk.
Lies.

You see, grace doesn't require me to fill anything. 
Grace empties me so I can be filled. (Psalms 107:9)

Grace doesn't say, "too bad, deal with it." 
Grace gives us "confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" Hebrews 4:16 NIV.

Grace doesn't say, "Carry your own burdens." 
Grace says to, "destroy speculations and every lofty thought raised up against the knowledge of God...take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" 2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB.
One commentary defines "speculations" as reasonings; "Whereas 'thought' expresses men's own purpose and determination of living after their own pleasure" (James-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, www.biblehub.com). 

Grace doesn't simply say, "take up your cross and bear it," grace says, 
" for by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made Holy" Hebrews 10:4.

God had already made me perfect.
He didn't need to repair me.
He didn't need to stitch me up and say "that's as good as it gets."
He made me perfect in Jesus' sacrifice for me on the cross. 

All of my "reasonings" were futile and I was trying to live 
for my own purpose
 and not His. 

I already had purpose. 
I had callings and gifts.
All I had to do was remember them and use them they way He desired me to.

In those true callings and gifts I found my purpose.
In my callings and gifts I found freedom.

"And by that will we have been made holy 
through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all" Hebrews 10:10.

In recognizing my purpose and gifts
 I could walk more securely in my calling as a wife and mother.

In recognizing my purpose and gifts
 I could freely love and live abundantly.

"God is able to bless you abundantly, 
so that in all things and at all times, having all that you need, 
you will abound in every good work" 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV.
 The New Living Translation says that 
"you will always have everything you need and 
plenty left over to share with others" (emphasis mine).

He has blessed you with gifts and talents and a calling to use those blessings and work at them,
 building them up for the purpose of advancing His kingdom.

Don't let your dreams, desires, and passions ebb away in the flow of life.

Dont let life:
the struggles, the pain, the suffering,
 steal the gifts he has given you. 

Don't allow 
the monotony, the mundane and the melancholy
rob you of His riches. 

Don't lie down 
to the weary days and the wishful thoughts,
 but work to perfect your gifts and callings.

Work out your Salvation - Philippians 2:12
Show your work as valuable - 1 Corinthians 3:13
Devote yourself to your work- Nehemiah 5:16
Establish the work of your hands - Psalms 90:17
Give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord - 1 COrinthians 15:58 
Let your works bring you praise at the city gates - Proverbs 31:31

Then finally, enter into His rest. 

"Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you...Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them so that your progress will be evident to all" 1 Timothy 4: 14-15 NASB.

To read the article that undid me, click here.

You are His beloved,                     


                                                                        

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

30 Something and Lost


I sat at my computer, tears streaming down my face. 
My children were playing...somewhere.
I honestly didn't know what they were doing. 
I read the article over and over and over again to try to process the words...
the ideas...the audacity. 

I couldn't do it. 
I didn't even know where to begin or how or... 

I shut my computer off 
and pushed the feelings, the fear, the fierce foreshadowing 
that had me in a choke hold  and I walked away. 

I simply couldn't handle any of it. 


Everything I ever worked for was to obtain those titles. 

My goal was to be awesome!
I wanted to be a combination of June Cleaver and Lorelai Gilmore.
I wanted to bake cookies with my babes and raise them up well and Godly and secure and at the same time I wanted to be fun and spirited.

That's how I became distracted. 

Distracted from the Truth.
Distracted from who I was following.
Distracted from God's purpose for my life.
I shifted my eyes away from the One I was following and 
looked up to ideals and desires that I had placed above my line of vision.

My ideals seemed to be good and Godly, 
Yet, instead of looking up and getting closer to heaven, 
I found myself looking up and getting further from the His Kingdom.

Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness..."  

I became disoriented.

I started to look around.
I started to watch others around me.
I started to compare.

I couldn't measure up. 
So I did what I had to do...I started pretending.

I wasn't pretending for anyone who was perhaps watching me...
I was pretending for myself.

I was fighting for my own, self righteous ideals.
I was proud of my ideals and I could not let them go 
even though I knew in my heart that those ideals were suffocating me. 
I could not face the fear of what 
my struggles and failures would do to my life 
if I didn't attain them.

I became distressed.

I couldn't see past the walls I had built around myself.
I had to keep everything together and within those walls.
I was overwhelmed and depression lingered all around. 
I lost the vision for direction in my life.



In the book of Numbers, the children of Israel had once again complained of being" taken out of Egypt to die in the wilderness" (21:5). And the Lord, tired of their constant whining, sends fiery snakes that bite and kill them. Of course, they come back to the Lord and beg Moses to plead with God to take away the snakes. 

"And the LORD said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten when he sees it, shall live'" (Numbers 21:8)


I wonder how many couldn't see it?
How many lost their vision?
How many were so overwhelmed with the slithering, life stealing serpents at their heels that they could not look up past the sting of fear and failure.

I was trying desperately to keep it all together.
I was doing good deeds. I was working hard.
I was loving and serving my family, my friends, my church.
I was serving and holding and pursuing and romancing my husband. 
I was teaching and disciplining and training and playing and blessing my children.
I was being a Proverbs 31 woman.

My ideals were not worldly.
My ideals were good and even God given.

I am called to do good. I am called to work hard. I am called to love and serve. I am called to pursue and romance. I am called to teach and train and bless.

My loss of vision resulted not in desiring to do those things well, but in desiring to do them all; 
without grace, without guidance and for my own pride and glory.

I became disconnected.
Disconnected from God.
Disconnected from myself. 

I disconnected, not because I had too many responsibilities in my life;
I disconnected from God, because I disconnected from my inner being.
I disconnected from who He created.

I disconnected from that girl of years past.
That girl who found pleasure in beauty and singing.
That girl who found meaning and truth in books that would take her 
to centuries of old and places of wonder.
That girl who would write stories of what she was living and learning and dreaming.
I disconnected from the girl who longed to be a loving wife and mommy, 
who would kiss and serve and hold for pure pleasure and joy and life. 

I disconnected from that girl and I lost her.
I couldn't even remember who she was.

I became someone else.

I didn't have time for beautiful, I wanted order and perfection.
I refused to lose myself in a book while soaking in a bubble bath. 
I didn't have time for any of that. 
I was too busy reading the stories in the lesson plans to write any, 
let alone live any.
I didn't want to play with my children or hold them.
I was irritated with their childish ways and tired of constantly serving them. 

In all my desperate attempts to be and do and have, 
I lost my purpose. 

I lost everything I was created to be,
everything I was created to do and everything I was created to have.


I walked away from my computer that day, because for the first time in so many years, 
I caught a glimpse of everything I had lost and everything I was missing.
For the first time I questioned what I was doing and if it was worth anything.

I became paralyzed in fear.
The fear of what if...

And so there I was, 30 something and lost.

I walked away that day in complete fear and despair; 
but by the Grace of my loving God, 
He didn't give up on me, even though I had given up on myself.


Tomorrow I'll tell you a little more about that article and its life changing words.



You are His Beloved,                    








Monday, March 24, 2014

Created for Greatness



"You were created for greatness."
"You are a warrior for Christ."
"You are going to advance His kingdom."
"I can't wait to see the purpose He has for your life."
"You are a light in a dark world."
"He is going to use you in amazing ways." 


I tell these things to my kids daily. 

Whether they understand these truths or not, they hear me speak it over them so much that I believe one day they will KNOW these truths. 

My 8 year old sometimes rolls his eyes and says, "I know, I know...I'm a light in a dark world." And my 5 year old says, "I don't want to be a warrior, I want to be a princess!" 
And she is...God's Princess. 

I believe these truths for my children's lives, yet, I wonder...do I believe the same for my life?

Was I created for greatness? Was I created for more? 
Will He use me to advance His kingdom? 

The answer is that yes, we, " who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28) were created for greatness. Ephesians 2:10 says that, "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."

We are His "masterpiece" or His greatest work.

 The God who created the majesty of the stars, 

who created rainbows and butterfly's and jewels of every color 

considers us as His greatest creation. 
He didn't just make us without purpose; 
He created each of us with different gifts, talents, personalities and He planned 
great works for each of us to do in order to bring glory to Him, our creator. 


Each of our lives, our gifts and callings are unique and His desire 

is that we use all of who we are and what He has given us for greatness. 

He desires that we will put to work 

each of our talents for His glory. 

That was His entire reason for creating you and I. 


Jesus understood the Father's purpose. 

He understood God's plan was to bring salvation so that 

"[none] shall perish but have eternal life" John. 3:16 NIV. 

He understood He was going to die a brutal death on the cross to accomplish God's plan. 
He also knew that in the short time that He was given on the earth, 
He had to work in order to bring God glory, 

"As long as it is day, I

must do the works of Him who sent me...while I am in the world I am the light of the world." John 9:4 -5, NIV. 

If we are to be like Jesus, we too must understand and believe
 that we were created for a purpose which will accomplish God's great plan; 
and, we are to work at what God has planned for us so that we can bring glory to Him, 
the One who sent us.

What is God's plan?
Salvation for the world. 

What is His purpose for us?
To use our unique personalities and gifts as lights in this world,
 like Jesus, so that those who are lost will be saved. 

"Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: 'I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you. And I will will appoint you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD; that is my name, my glory I give to no other...'" Isaiah 42:5-8 ESV.

He has called us, He guides us, He gave all of us the covenant or promise of Jesus, 
so that we can be a light to those in darkness.  
ALL FOR HIS GLORY. 

It all seems rather simple, doesn't it? 

Yet, despite the simplicity, somehow many of us get tangled in the work of our calling. 
We complicate God's purpose for our lives because we let go of the hand that leads us 
to make our own way, for our own glory; 
only to find ourselves fallen into traps the enemy has set out for us. 

I'm guilty of that. How about you? 

A few weeks ago we celebrated my sons birthday at the downtown Aquarium. 
He had invited a couple of friends and of course, his cousins and little sister 
(tiny sister stayed with the grands for the day 
to free us up from chasing after a toddler as well!)

We of course had instructed the children to stay with us and not wander away. 
The girls were each holding hands and giggling, 
as the boys took the lead and my husband and I walked behind 
to keep them all in view. 

As we were walking, my Emma got distracted by something and let go of her cousins hand.
 She took just a few steps toward whatever had pulled her attention and then,
 just a quickly turned back and took hold of another little girls hand. 
Of course, the hand that she held did not belong to any of our girls! 
Emma quickly realized this and let go of the hand and looked around; 
disoriented by the crowd, she couldn't see where she needed to go
 or who to turn to.
She became distressed and fearful.  

Luckily, I had kept my eye on her and saw the entire ordeal. 
I quickly found my way towards her and took her hand in mine 
as we continued on to the next ride. 

In my life, I was like my Emma. 

I had a hold of God's hand and was walking along, 
being led by Him and secure in His hand. 

But, I got distracted. 
I pulled away to look for something else...something more. 

That moment of distraction caused me to be disoriented and led me to a path of distress and despair.  

For years I forgot my purpose in the callings and gifts He had blessed me with. 
Somewhere along the path of my life, 
I let go of His hand and I couldn't get a hold of the same grip I had before.

Even though I lost my way and couldn't see Him,
He never took His eyes off of me.

I wasn't completely off the path. 
He called out to me and I tried to get closer to Him. 
I recognized His voice. 
I knew His call. 

The problem wasn't that I was lost. 
The problem was that I was disconnected.
Disconnected from the source of my life, my purpose and my guide.

He has created each of you for greatness, but unfortunately, many of us become:

Distracted from His purpose. 
Disoriented by the world that surrounds us. 
Distressed from the lack of vision.
Disconnected from the One who positioned us.  

We must keep our focus on He who sent us and our hand in His that leads us. 

 if we lose sight of the work we are to accomplish for His glory. 

We can not be faithful to what He has called us to 
if what we are working for is not the work He has planned for us.

He created you for greatness;
Not because you are great, 
but because He who lives in you is 
"great..and greatly to be praise" 
Psalms 48:1 KJV.

Come back tomorrow as I talk about my distractions that caused disconnect. 


You are His beloved,                                                 

                            

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Weekly Happenings and I leave you with a Spoken Word Poem

It was a sweet week.

We schooled, we played, we even rodeo-ed!

Kids were in the "Cutest Little Show on Earth"
 


My husband was out of town earlier in the week and I was a little lonely.
 Those feelings of fear and insecurity came flooding in as soon as he walked out the door. 
In my loneliness, God spoke to me in my quiet time and I came to realize that my Jesus knows and understands my loneliness and He can take all those feelings and breathe life into them. 


Tuesdays post was on the revelation of my life!! 
Seriously! 
God called me...a simple, regular wife and mom...Faithful! 
It still blows me away! 

"In that one instant...
in that one answer...
all the lies I have struggled with all my life...
the lies of not being good enough...
not being strong enough...
not being able to finish anything well...
GONE!"

With that...all you can do is worship Him! Which leads me to Thursday's Post on 5 ways to worshiping all day! 

"...if we don't take time to fill ourselves, we won't be able to fill others. "

As a mom and wife I am constantly giving of myself for others. 
I am serving, loving, kissing, caring for, wiping noses and tears and its never ending. 
I gotta fill myself with Him. 

If I want to be a joyful mama, I've got to be filled with joy! 
If I want to be a gentle and patient mamma...I've got to  pray for patience be filled with the Holy Spirit! But that's a whole other blog post! 

I missed my weekly bubble bath worship time this week! 
Maybe I can fit it in tomorrow night, though the kids are planning a Movie night with the works...popcorn, smores, pizza and the most anticipated feature of the year....


FROZEN!!


And so I leave you with this amazing Poem by Ann Voscamp and Amena Brown Owen read at the If:Gathering in February. This poem will change your life! I promise!

Let the words of beauty and grace fill you and overwhelm you and 
my prayer for each of you, my sweet readers, 
is that YOU will be set free from the lies that bind you and that you will step out in faith in
 The ONE and ONLY GOD; 
That you will throw off every thing that entangles you 
and run the race marked out for you...
the race that was planned and purposed for you. 
This is an Esther Generation and You were created for such a time as this. 

Have an amazing Weekend filled with His Mercy and Peace. 




"...Let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles. and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
Hebrews 12:1             



You are His Beloved, 



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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

5 ways to Worshiping without Ceasing



There is nothing more powerful and fulfilling than worshiping Jesus! And you know worship doesn't always have to include music or a church...(though music is many times involved in my personal walk), but you can worship on your porch, while exercising, sitting on your couch with your babies...anywhere. 

Worship is simply meditating on God. 
Meditating on His word, His promises, being thankful for His gifts.

 Some of my sweetest moments of worshiping my Jesus take place in the bath tub! 
The quiet serenity, the music filling the room, 
the aroma of bath salts and bubbles and candlelight.
 Other places where I worship include by the fire place on a cold day with my coffee and bible. Worshiping Him with my small group. 
Worshiping him while kissing my babies and blessing their sweet nights. 
I even worship while I do the dishes or mop the floors! 
You can worship anywhere, anytime, all day long! 



 5 ways to getting your worship on 
anywhere and anytime! 



1. Set aside a special area or chair in your home that is your special place to sit and rest in His presence. Have a basket with your bible, books you are reading or devotional, notebook or journal with highlighter and pen. 

Make this area lovely or practical...depending on your personality.
 Keep a candle close and light it or have your phone or bluetooth speaker nearby and click on some worship music. 
This makes time in the word easily accessible because any free moment you have, 
you can easily sit and rest in his presence, whether you open your bible, book or just sit and pray, you can easily take a moment and worship Him. 


2. Decorate your home with scripture and read and meditate these scripture or even, pray those scripture when you pass by them. 
Find lovely pictures or scriptures at places like Hobby Lobby or Etsy or if you are crafty, make some art! 
Fill your home with His word and promises! The great thing is you will not only meditate on these scriptures, but you will be committing them to memory as well.
 Even better, your kids will be doing the same!

3. While doing your work or household chores put on a podcast from your favorite pastors or teachers. You can find many free ones on youtube, church websites and 
ITunes or even a simple Google search. 
4. Write scriptures or prayers on index cards or post-its and put them in different areas in your home. I have cards taped to the inside of my kitchen cabinets, mirror in my bathroom, in my car visor...

5. Take timeout of your week and find a place to sit and rest in his presence. As I said, mine is my bath tub! I make it lovely and I rest in Him and take time to pray, sometimes I read, worship in song and literally soak Him up! Find a place where you can quietly fill yourself up. That place may be in your garden or front porch or  maybe it's at a quiet corner at the local coffee shop. 
Wherever it is, set a specific amount of time aside, make it yours, make it a priority and make it intentional. 



Remember friends, if we don't take time to fill ourselves, we won't be able to fill others. 




But [his] delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and [he] meditates on his law day and night.
 
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

    which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

    whatever they do prospers.

Psalms 1:2-3



You are His Beloved,                    

                                                                                       






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