Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Radiant face...

"Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame." Ps. 34:5

A radiant face.

That is what I want. I so want to have my gazed focused on Him, that I shine with His presence. With His love.

I want His heart to be my heart.
I want His words to be my words.
I want His mind to be my mind.

I want Jesus to guide my every action.

I want...

What does Jesus want?

I hope that as I focus more deeply on His word, my wants become His wants, because my heart draws closer to His.

So I guess the "I wants" above really aren't my "I wants" but Gods desires for me.

I am looking ahead to this weekend at She Speaks.
I am looking ahead to see what God's desires are for me.
I am looking ahead to cling to His every word to me this weekend.

I so want to hear and see what Jesus wants for me. Even if I don't get a clear idea of what that might be this weekend.

Pray for me that I might expect great things, from my great God!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another type of preparation...

Yesterday was the day for picking our new scripture memory for our Siesta Scripture Memory with Beth Moore.

I couldn't think of anything yesterday that would work. So I prayed some about it and let it be for the night.

I woke up this morning and realized I still had to come up with something. I wasn't sure what it was going to be. As I prayed, as I did my bible study, for the Siesta Summer Bible Study, I still wasn't sure, but I felt like God was leading me to remember that I am in a battle. I am at a spot right now where the spiritual preparation is necessary. The only way I am going to fully arm myself is to remember the scripture I have been memorizing and remember that the battle is on!

My friend Cindy gave me the advice to pray on the armor of God every day. I found a prayer that is rather long, but I typed it out of a book I had been reading. It is a declaration, a spiritual warfare prayer. I got interrupted a few times by my daughter, but I prayed my way through it this morning. You know what? The burden and heaviness that I felt yesterday and agitation I felt this morning lifted.

My load was lighter. My heart is calm. My spirit is joyful.

My day hasn't turned out exactly as I had planned, or exactly as I had wanted. But I have been able to spend some longer times in prayer, and in the Word. I only have my daughter with me, so when she is content to play on her own, with me either in the room or the next room, I have been able to come here to my computer, or settle in the kitchen at the table, in my "God spot."

As I have, God just brought the spiritual armor passage (in Ephesians 6) to mind as I was thinking about some other scripture to arm myself with, when I am faced by temptation.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
Ephesians 6:10-11

That's my scripture memory for the next 15 days preceding She Speaks. I think my next one is already picked out as well. I will switch to that on the Saturday of that conference.

Verse 12 is:
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

I think these verses fit, don't you as I head into (and all the women going or facilitating) the conference.

I will not only be memorizing the first 2, and switching to the next one, but also, I will be praying these verses for myself and everyone else attending. For, oh do we need to be reminded that we are engaged in a battle, even if we don't "see" it with our physical eyes.

May God open all our eyes to see what He is doing in our lives, and what the enemy would seek to destroy. May we be aware of the spiritual battle taking place around us and let us not just sit back passively and let it happen to us. But instead, may we take up the armor and the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. May we actively take captive our every thought, recognize oppression when it is there, and take care of ourselves in a healthy way, so we are prepared to hear God's voice speaking to us.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My cat... please pray

Update! Skitz came back last night right before I went to bed. Praise God! I heard the jingling of his tags on his collar. I went out with a flashlight and found him in the kids sandbox, and as soon as he saw me he headed for the door. Thanks for praying!

To those of you who aren't cat people, or animal people, this might seem a bit strange... but could you please pray for us?
One of our cats got out tonight. We aren't exactly sure when, but he ran for the hills when he did. Our female cat tends to stay near the house... but the other one likes to wander. They are both indoor cats.

I walked around the block and called for him. We left food out for him. My husband has to go to bed, as do I, and still no sign of Skitz. The neighbor boy is hanging around for a while and will keep an eye out for him as he tends to come right back up to our deck door.

Please pray that he is safe, and doesn't get run over, or something awful. Please pray that he comes back tonight or there will be some VERY sad people around this house tomorrow... and I don't mean just the kids. And pray that I will be able to get some sleep tonight and not worry about him.

Thanks so much


Things are moving. I am getting my talks polished. I have cut about all I can and am praying what is left is what God wants me to say.... and that I am prepared to stay within the time limits. I am going to be practicing on and off all day tomorrow to see how well I can get off the paper as much as possible.

I have a friend staying with me on Friday night, and am going to employ her help in trying to figure out what I am going to be wearing. I want to look the business casual, and still be very comfortable, so that I am not distracted by hurting feet, etc, while I am trying to talk, or take notes, or anything else.

I talked with someone from my church today who is also going to She Speaks, and we shared our talks, she shared about the book proposal she is doing, and we talked about what we were worried about, anticipating. It was so good to talk with someone and get and idea of what they were thinking as well.

In all of these things though, there is one more big thing I can do to prepare. Besides my talks. Besides practicing. Besides packing and making lists.

Focus on my spiritual preparation.

I need to be praying for those in my evaluation group. For the other women coming from all over. For the Proverbs 31 team who is leading the conference. So many of them are leaving their families, with their ups and downs and struggles right now, to minister to us, and I am so astounded by all they are doing.

Just today, after I came home from going over things with the other woman from our church, I got hit. I mean, I started feeling sick. I was so exhausted I fell asleep in the hammock in our back yard while the kids played. I haven't felt like eating since lunch, just bleh.

After supper, as the kids were playing inside, before I went out with them, I felt my mood go "bleh" too. I started swinging down. I started struggling with depression. It just "hit" me. Praise God, I had the presence of mind to recognize the spiritual attack for what it was. There was no reason for me to be feeling that way. There was no thing that happened that could have brought my mood down. It just suddenly happened like a change of the wind.

I prayed. Prayed on the spiritual armor. Prayed for the Holy Spirit to come in behind and fill me to overflowing with the sense of God's love. It was just a few moments in prayer that I had, but it was enough time for me to become aware of the unseen, to bind the enemy, to pull on the armor and protection of God, and to trust myself into His care.

It is something I am going to have to be more aware of, and more deliberate, purposeful in doing each and every day.

I need to be prepared spiritually. I want to let God do in my heart what He wants, to get me ready for this conference, and for the things He would show me before I get there, while I am there, and as I come home back to my "normal" life.

I want my heart to be tender and teachable, and able to discern God's voice speaking to it, to me. I want my heart to be open and fertile ground for Jesus to plant the dreams and visions He has for me. I want my heart to beat with the passion of God for those around me, and for sharing the unique message He has given me to share.

Tomorrow I get an unexpected day to myself. I get to be with God, without kids or husband. I get to take the time out to spend time with Him. I am going to have to clean and straighten up around here, but that doesn't mean I can't do it with an attitude of worship, and with a listening heart.

Please pray for me as I head into tomorrow. Pray that I won't get distracted by the things to "do," rather that I would be able to focus on "being" with my dear Father.

That is the best preparation I could ever make.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Performance Faith...

Life keeps going, even when you are trying to slow it down to get things done, doesn't it?

I mean, last week I was working hard on getting my talks ready, so I can start to really practice them and get "off the paper" with them more.

In the meantime the laundry piled up, the mail stacked on the table, the dishes in the sink, the kids needing to eat (my hubby too), errands needing to be run....

And then God.
Oh yeah... Him.

God was in the midst of all of it answering prayers, helping me through, and showing me some new things.

As I sat at my friend's house, in a "writing retreat" essentially, I realized both talks were WAY too long. I cut and cut, finally getting my teaching talk right around 5 minutes.

Then I looked at my testimony. Hmm. This one was not so good. The testimony was fine, but after experiencing how quickly time flew by on the other one, I knew that I needed to cut a lot of what I had.

I looked at the poem I had written over a year ago, that I wanted to include. Because it really shows the heart changes that God was doing, and the visions He gave me over the last year. But after reading it, and timing it, by itself the poem took 2 minutes to read. My testimony has to be at 3 minutes.

So, unfortunately the poem had to go. As I looked at the rest of my testimony, I realized that nothing worked... except for the opening.

I got up in frustration and paced the living room. Finally I sat down in Cindy's "prayer chair," and just cried out to God.... I can't DO this!

I didn't know what to write, what to keep, what to throw out... and asked God to show me.

Guess what?
He answers prayers.

Did you know that?

I was able to go back over to the computer, and looked at some ideas that Cindy had given me, and started to type.

Ten minutes or so later, and I had scrapped the whole talk. Except for the opening sentence. When I timed it... it was just around 3 minutes.

Surprise, surprise, surprise (imagine Gomer saying that!) :)

The next day, guess what? My whole teaching talk got scrapped, except for a part of the opening, and a part of the closing... and was re-written.

Lots of editing later, and I haven't even looked at them since Thursday. I figured that if I even opened their files, I would start wanting to edit. I am waiting on that till Monday.

So, two days of crazy writing.

In the middle of that, God showed me something else.

He showed me where my frustration lately with the kids has been coming from. He showed me what could be a problem with them for the next couple of weeks, and showed me what could become a problem as I wrote my talks.

He showed me the root of my frustration and honestly, anger, at the kids was perfection. Wanting perfection. Perfection would edit my talks to death, and brow beat my kids to the death of their sense of worth.

He showed me the root of my perfectionism was something deeper. Striving to do what was right and expected of me, made me feel that if I did something wrong, I was of less value. The disapproval was too much for me to even think of, especially to this very people pleasing person.

If I base my value on what I do, and try to be perfect at everything, I set myself up for failure. I will end up depressed, and with a give up attitude, because I can't be good at everything. I also set myself up for having a "works" based faith.

Performance faith.

I think that was what got me into the mess of the past few years. I just couldn't keep the perfect mask up any more.

The last thing I want to do is instill in my kids they aren't good enough unless they are doing exactly what mommy tells them to. I don't want to pass along the pattern of performance to them, so that they think all that matters is the outside picture of doing what is "right." Because that would be so wrong, and only last for as long as they could hold up that mask. But when they got tired, and the mask fell, it could be so devastating to them. I don't wish that on them.

God made it perfectly clear in my bible study this week, that I needed to not just deal with the outside anger and frustration alone... because that hasn't been working up to this point... but I needed to deal with the root of the issue.


If I don't deal with that, I am always going to be putting unrealistic demands on those closest to me.

So, in the middle of writing and praying and trying to figure out my talks, Jesus showed up.

He reminded me of what I have been writing about.

He loves me.
He loves me without condition.
He loves me not demanding perfection.
He loves me in and through my mess.
He loves me recklessly.
He loves me.

Maybe He will get that pounded through my thick skull, and lodge it deep into my heart.

Oh I pray He does.

I want to live based solely on His love. Then I can show it to my husband, my kids, my family, my friends. I want to be fully anchored in His love, so I can better love others.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sap vs. maple syrup....

Over the next week, I will be intensively working on my talks for She Speaks. I need to organize them and focus them.

My small group leader prayed for me tonight. His prayer was exactly what I needed. The analogy he used was perfect. He said in his prayer for me, exactly what I had been thinking but didn't have the words for at the time.

Right now I have so much information and ideas....

......I need to go through the "sugaring process."

Sap comes out of the sugar maple tree, but can't be used directly on pancakes, it needs to be refined.

Boiled down.


I have way too much information. The real message that I want to share, that I feel God leading me to share is getting lost in all the other stuff that is there. Maybe some of that other stuff is for me to learn, and store in my own heart for some other time.

But there is some stuff that I know is there for those who listen to me that weekend. There is some stuff that is for some others who might hear it before or after.

I need to spend this time organizing, straightening out, and clarifying what I already have written down.

More than that, I have to get concise. I have to boil off the water, and the impurities, to get down to the real, deep sweetness at the center of what God has given me to say.

I want to pure sweetness of God's word to be tasted. I want the Spirit to so speak through me, that no matter how my presentation actually goes, whether I get good "ratings" or not, God has been heard, using my voice as His instrument.

More than anything, I would love to have one person hear my testimony and see that God can heal and redeem anything, and can break the chains of bondage surrounding their heart. I want one person who hears my teaching talk to realize, not only in their head, but their heart that not one thing could separate them from the love of Christ, and that they are overwhelming victors in the middle of whatever junk they are going through... whether they feel it emotionally or not.

That would the message of each of my talks. Right there.


Hmmm. That is under the time limits of 3 and 5 minutes.
You think that would fly?

No. Probably not.
Oh well, it was worth a try!


But seriously. If I can take the scriptures I have and show those things, flesh them out some, and bring it back to the main point.

God's power in us brings us the victory.
His Spirit in us gives us the strength to stand in the midst of the pains and trials.
Nothing the world can throw at us will separate us from His love.

He redeems.
He saves.
He breaks the shackles binding us.

He sets us free to tell others of His wonderful deeds, and His reckless love for us.

That would be sweet!

The extra sap of overflowing thoughts and information boiled down to the pure, dark, sweet maple syrup of the truth of God active, through His Word, and in the lives of all of us.