Friday, May 31, 2013

He is Greater Still~





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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Who Would Have Thought?~

They caught up to me as I rounded the corner near the church nursery.
Three young girls, faces all aglow, excited and full of hugs.

"Ms. Stacy! Ms. Stacy! Look! We have something for you!"

As one of the girls handed me the beautiful card they had made with me in mind, the other two wrapped their arms around me in a bear hug.

"It's your Mother's Day Card!" one proudly announced.

"Yay! Happy Mother's Day!" another chimed in.

"Happy Mother's Day!" all three said in unison.

"Thank you, girls!  It's beautiful, just like all of you, and I absolutely love it!"

"Well, it's Mother's Day, and even though you're not reeeeeeeeeeally a mom, you're still a mom to us."

"Yep!  You are all of our moms."

"That's right.  We are all your kids and your the mom of all of us."

Then, one precious girl, jumping up and down, her eyes sparkling with a new revelation she just couldn't wait to share yelled out, "That's it! You're our HOLY mom."

With that comment, onlookers in the hall, smiled and chuckled out loud.
The girls all seemed to agree and hugged me some more.

"Yeah! You ARE our HOLY mom because you tell us about Jesus."

"Thank you, girls.  I love my card and I love each of you more than you know."

"We love you, too."

More hugs, and then they were off as fast as they had arrived.

I stood there holding their card, wiping a tiny tear from my eye, completely humbled by their words.
A HOLY mom.
What a title.
To be a spiritual mom to these precious children.
Is there a higher calling that that?

All my life, I wanted nothing more than to be a mother.  To have one of my own to hug and hold, to teach and inspire, to nurture, guide and protect. God in His infinite love for me, went above and beyond my dearest desire, and gave me instead a whole world of children. In my position as teacher, and now, Director of Children's Ministries, I have been given the greatest calling of all:  teaching precious young hearts about Jesus.

A HOLY mom.

I smiled as I made my way up the hall toward my office.

"Thank you, Lord.  Thank you for these precious children.  Thank you for their mothers (and fathers) who faithfully bring them to church and are nurturing them to walk in Your ways.  Thank you for the privilege of sharing in their lives. What a joy to be the one to lift their eyes heavenward to gaze upon You.  What a delight to be the one to pour Your love into their heart.  What an awesome, humbling, honor to be the one they look up to as their "Holy mom".  Lord, may You equip me for this calling.  May You fill me with Your Spirit and empty me of all that isn't You, so when they see me, all they see is You.  I love you, Lord.  Thank you for giving me the dearest desires of my heart."

 A HOLY mom.

Who would have thought?


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Letting Go to Take Hold~









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Monday, May 27, 2013

Especially Then~






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Friday, May 24, 2013

Every. Single. Time.~








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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Honoring Our Promise to Pray~

Have you ever heard a prayer need,
promised to pray,
and then,
never gave the request another thought,
much less,
whispered a prayer heavenward?

I have.  (And yes, I am ashamed to admit it.)

Prayer. 

An opportunity to

   stand in the gap,

       seek wisdom,

          bear a burden,

                share a sorrow,

                     uphold the weary.

And yet, praying for others is something we sometimes simply forget to do.
(Ouch...I know.  I feel it, too.)


This past week, I was given this beautiful bracelet.  Enclosed with this precious gift was the following note:

Jewelry 4 Tara

This jewelry is made in honor of my daughter Tara who suffers from a traumatic brain injury.  Each piece of jewelry will have Tara's birthstone: an Amethyst, and a pearl, the one gem made through pain and discomfort.

Please remember Tara and say a small prayer for her each time you wear this jewelry.


Each morning this week, as I proudly placed this precious prayer reminder on my wrist, I prayed for Tara. 

But, it didn't stop there.  (And yes, I am happy to admit it.)

As I went about my day,
spotting it on my wrist,
hearing the angel that dangles from it brush up against my laptop,
or receiving a compliment about its beauty from a co-worker,
reminded me to stop and say yet another prayer. 

Right then.

Right there.

Right now.

All. day. long.

A visible reminder.
Something tangible to keep this need in the forefront of my mind
and a prayer on the tip of my tongue.

A beautiful invitation to come boldly before the throne of grace on someone else's behalf.

Who is in desperate need of prayers spoken by you?

How will you remember?

What can you place before you as a constant reminder?

What will stop you in your tracks
sending you from the busyness of your day to the throne room of Heaven?

Lord, help us to be faithful. We long to honor our promises to pray. 
May we be intentional and seek out reminders,
reminders that bend our knees downward
and lift our pleas heavenward,

lest we forget.~

(Dressing for my day found me remembering this post from June 28, 2012.  As I slipped on this precious bracelet I slipped into God's presence and prayed.)






 
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fear Not~

"Joshua, it's ok, now. You can take your fingers out of your ears."

Several years ago, I was given the awesome privilege of serving as a Nanny for a wonderful young couple who had been blessed with three small boys. One son attended a Christian preschool in the mornings. One day, when I arrived around noon to pick him up, I walked in on this conversation between his teacher and one of his fellow classmates.

Noticing I had entered the room, the teacher shared with me that the school fire alarm had been malfunctioning, sounding numerous times over the course of the morning. It was obvious by the look on Joshua's face, and of course the fingers in his ears, that the alarm was getting to him.

"Joshua. Finish coloring your picture, Honey."

Joshua, who had no intention of using his fingers for anything other than preventing the loud, shrill sound of the alarm from penetrating his small ears again, just sat there.


"Really, it's ok, Buddy. I think the men have fixed the problem. I don't think we will hear it anymore today."

"But what if there's a fire?" he asked.

"Honey, the fire alarm isn't going off because there is a fire in our school. It's just not working right today. It's ok, though, because there are some men here fixing it. There is no fire. Our school is fine. "


"But what if there IS a fire?" he asked again.


"Well then, we will simply do what we did earlier today when the alarm went off and we practiced our safety drill. We will go outside where we will be safe. It's ok, Joshua. There is nothing to worry about. Finish your picture, Sweetheart."


Still, Joshua sat totally immobilized by the fear which had gripped his heart.


"I don't want to die in the fire!!!" he finally screamed.

Walking over to Joshua and gently taking his fingers out of his ears, the teacher knelt down beside this scared little three year old and looked him right in the eye.


"Don't worry, Joshua. I'm right here. I promise I won't let anything happen to you. I'll take care of you, Joshua. I promise. Teacher is right here with you."


For the first time since I had entered the room, a look of peace flooded Joshua's face. It was ok. He didn't need to worry. Teacher was here and she would take care of him. He was safe because she was right here with him. Joshua reached for his blue crayon. Soon, he was back to work coloring his picture and sharing in conversation and laughter with his classmates.

As I'd witnessed this scene, I'd realized I am a lot like Joshua. I have a tendency to let the cares and worries of this world grip my heart, leaving me paralyzed in fear, unable to enjoy all that is going on around me. I become consumed with fear and allow it to steal the life (not to mention the joy) right out of me.

As I watched Joshua, I was reminded of a acronym I once heard for the word fear:



F - false



E- evidence



A- appearing



R - real

This was certainly the case with Joshua. Joshua was fearful of a fire that didn't exist. I, too, am fearful of things that probably don't exist either, or most likely will never even happen. Yet, even though what I fear is not usually real, the fear itself most definitely is!

Maybe you are like Joshua and me. Maybe you also struggle with fear. If so, how can you and I learn to escape this fear, once and for all, and live in the freedom and abundance of life that Christ wants us so desperately to experience?


It's quite simple, really. Joshua found his peace when he realized his teacher was right there with him and would take care of him. We can partake of this same peace by keeping our heart and mind fixed on our Heavenly Father, who promises to never leave us, nor forsake us.(Hebrews 13:5) Even more than this teacher could ever hope to be there for Joshua, our God IS there for us. We don't have to fear ANYTHING in this life, because our Father is with us.

I have heard it said that the phrase "Fear Not" is found 365 times in the Bible. 365 times! That is one time for each day of the year......or each day of our life. Obviously, God wants us to live a life free of fear.

Fear tries to take us prisoner, causing us to think irrationally and respond unwisely. We need to remember that most fear comes from Satan. The Bible tells us that God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but rather one of power, love and a sound mind.(2 Timothy 1:7) Only when we choose to keep our focus on Christ, knowing and believing that He is always with us, will we be free from the torment of fear. As we rely on Him to take care of us and to work all things out for our good and His glory, we will be able to let go of fear and instead take hold of the power, love and sound mind freely available to us through Christ.

Daughter colors a picture of herself
{Photo Credit}
The choice is up to us. We can either choose to sit around with our fingers stuck in our ears, fearful of what might happen, all the while missing out on what IS happening, or we can rest in the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father, embracing and thoroughly enjoying each and every minute of our life


Now..... where did I leave my crayon?









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Sunday, May 19, 2013

It's All About my "Who"~

Lately, I have been having a lot of trouble differentiating between my "who" and my "do".
Actually, this game of spiritual tug-of-war has been being played out in my life for as long as I can remember.

I am a pleaser, wanting to please others, so they in turn will be pleased with who I am.

I am a do-er, doing whatever I think is expected of me in a way that I think it is expected to be done, so that people will be pleased, and in turn be pleased with who I am.

No pressure there!

And yet, I keep holding on to this proverbial rope, allowing it to pull on me and tug on me and toss me every which way but loose!

Until recently, that is. Now, don't get me wrong. I would love to be able to tell you I have finally won this battle once and for all, and that the "who" part of me was officially declared the winner. Sadly, the game is still being played out, but I am happy to report the "who" side is most definitely gaining ground, getting closer and closer to the red flag of victory.

I have known about Christ my entire life. But, through the power of the Holy Spirit, I have just recently been introduced to "Christ in me". I have always felt that who I am wasn't good enough. No matter what I did or what I didn't do, I was still just me - and me just never quite measured up. I knew all about God and could even quote scripture, chapter and verse, but I didn't know the author of this book, the very author of my life. Talk about being lost and not even knowing it. I just thought there was something wrong with me.

And there was. I was a sinner in need of a savior. I was searching for my identity in the approval and acceptance of others, when the whole of who I am is found only in Christ. I am made in HIS image. I have been adopted into HIS family. I am HIS daughter. My identity will never be found in what I do; it will only be found in whose I am - a child of the great I AM. What a revelation!

And yet, even on this side of this spiritual revelation, I still find myself playing Satan's game. At times, like today, the battle is intense. He is trying his best to keep this game of tug-o-war raging on. He knows when I finally grasp the freedom that is mine in resting in WHO I AM, the game will be finished. He knows once I realize it's not about me, but all about Jesus, I will be done playing this works-oriented, legalistic game once and for all.
Tug of War
{Photo Credit}

What about you?

Has Satan roped you into playing this game, too?

Do you feel as though you can never have a relationship with God or be loved by the Author of love itself because you will never be good enough?

Are you tied up in knots trying to please everyone
and do everything,
only to fail miserably,
time and time again?

When you look into your heart,
can you tell where your "do" stops
and your "who" begins?

Like me,
are you in the midst of an identity crisis?

If so, may I remind you of the truth that is setting me free each and every day?


There will never be anything you or I can do to earn God's love.  
He loves us simply because He loves us. 
Grace! Marvelous grace!

I am ready to let go of this rope.

I want my life to become so hidden in Christ that the only WHO people see in me is the reflection of Christ living in and through me. I am tired of playing Satan's game and more than ready to be declared more than a conqueror through Christ who loves me.

How about you?

Haven't you allowed that rope to blister your heart and hold you back long enough?

It's time to let go.

It's time to grab onto God's grace and discover who we are in Christ.






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The Wisdom from Above~





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Friday, May 17, 2013

I Pray it Does~






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The Beauty of Life~







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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Always Faithful~





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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Godlight~



Holy Father,
How majestic you are.
You paint the sky in darkness, 
sprinkled with stars,
then,
oh so gently,
one ray of sunlight after another,
you usher in daylight,
and the hope of a new beginning.

With you,
each day is a new beginning.

With you,
each moment overflows with hope.

You are the light of the world.
You dispel darkness.

May your love shine bright in me today.
Together, may we dispel darkness and
oh so gently,
one ray of hope after another,
usher in Godlight,
illuminating this world with the light of Your love.
In Jesus' precious name,
Amen~






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Sunday, May 12, 2013

More than a Mother's Love~

{My beautiful sister and my precious little nephew}







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Saturday, May 11, 2013

He is Faithful~












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Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Lion Roars and I Rise~

Like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet,

Like the incessant barking of a neighbor's dog,


     doubt demands my attention,

                                                  drowns out my dreams,

                                                                                     consumes my thoughts.

Like the buzz of a mosquito near my ear,

Like the vibrating bass coming from down the street,

     doubt irritates my peace,

                                               tries my faith,

                                                                                  drives me to my knees,

to the very place where I finally find relief.

Here, bowed low, doubt comes face to face with the Lion of Judah.

Here, truth THUNDERS and ROARS and doubt disappears like a vapor . . . . . .

Once again,

I hear the call of the King of Kings,

I hear the roar of His spirit as it rushes over me,

     filling me,

                        indwelling me,

                                                   equipping me,

                                                                          enabling me.


And I rise,

like an army, heading into battle,

like an eagle, soaring to unseen heights,

like a prayer, ascending to Heaven,

like a child, leaping into His father's arm.

And, I believe~





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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Greater Still~



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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Stepping Into "New"~

Ever try to hold onto something old? . . .

an old pair of tennis shoes, (so old they look as though you waltzed across Texas in them)

an old hairstyle, (one that "worked" for you then, but isn't necessarily working for you now)

an old hangout,
an old habit,
an old excuse.

As comfy and familiar and safe as "old" may seem, old isn't all it's chalked up to be.

Old keeps us stuck in the past, stuck in a rut, stuck as stuck can be.

If we want to experience our God-given destiny,
we have to be willing to step out into the new thing God is doing.

 Sometimes, new requires 

building an ark in the middle of the desert, 

 dipping seven times in a muddy river, 

moving into a palace for such a time as this, 

interpreting dreams in a prison cell, 

stepping into a fiery furnace, 

leaving your fishing nets behind, 

touching the hem of a garment, 

giving birth to The One who came to give new life, 

dying on a wooden cross. 

It won't always be easy.
It won't always make sense.
It won't always be our first choice.

But, it WILL be
the very step we need to take,
to arrive at the very place we need to be,
to fulfill the very thing God desires to do in us, for us and through us.~♥





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Monday, May 6, 2013

Guard Your Heart~

I've heard it said that your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness. And, I believe this to be true. Think about it. Someone who is known for their dynamic leadership ability has probably also been labeled "bossy" once or twice during his or her lifetime.

My greatest strength / weakness?

I have a sensitive spirit.

Don't get me wrong. Truly, this has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. My sensitive spirit has opened the ears of my heart to hear God's still small voice. I am keenly aware of His promptings and I feel the rhythm of His movement in my life. I hear His truth, His affirmation, His singing over me and I take it all in, allowing it to re-create me into who God made me to be. I am His daughter and I hold my heart up high.

But,

I am also extremely sensitive to the voices of the world.
Words spoken by others wound my spirit and leave me second-guessing who I am.
Glances and overtures cause me to question my identity.
Words spoken in anger penetrate the very depth of my soul and stay there.
Sorrow and grief (whether in my life or in the life of those around me) weigh me down.

It's hard having a tender heart in a tough world.

And yet,

I realize my sensitive spirit is a gift.
It is how my Heavenly Father knit me together in my mother's womb.
It is who I am, and, it is good.

But, it also leaves me vulnerable to heartache, depression, doubt and defeat.

This morning, as I called out to the Lord, He was faithful to hear my cry and rescue me with words of wisdom from His Word.

My child, pay attention to what I say.

Listen carefully to my words.
Don’t lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
for they bring life to those who find them and healing to their whole body.
Guard

your

heart
          
   above all

               else,


for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:20-23, NLT

It was at if God's words were leaping off the page. Words I had read time and time again, now loomed bigger than life for the very first time. This time, it wasn't my eyes that read these words of wisdom and instruction from my Abba Daddy, it was my heart.

Every day words from all directions bombard my heart. If I am to survive their assault, the answer is not found in allowing these hurts to harden my heart, desensitizing me, leaving me numb and unable to feel.

No.

The answer is to this dilemma is found in allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me what is of HIM and what is not; to be an active participant in deciding what goes into my heart, and what does not.

While it's true I cannot control which words come at me, I can choose which words I let "enter" my heart.
It is up to me to stand guard against anything contrary to the Word of God.
It is doesn't line up with HIS truth, it doesn't need to go any further than my ears.

It. is. as. simple. as. that.

Heavenly Father,
It is YOU who created me; YOU who made me so very sensitive. Too often, I have questioned why. Forgive me, Father. What I have mistaken as a "thorn", a weakness, is indeed one of my greatest blessings. To be sensitive, to hear your still small voice, to be moved with compassion, to be tender-hearted - this IS a gift. May I remember YOUR counsel. May I be diligent to guard my heart. May my "weakness" be indeed, my greatest strength as I use it to help my fellow man and bring glory and honor to YOU.
In Jesus' name, Amen~






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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sometimes . . .







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Friday, May 3, 2013

Midnight Moments~








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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Silencing Foolish Talk~

Ever been the topic of discussion?
Ever been the victim of gossip disguised as an innocent prayer request?
Ever been mentioned in a way that is embarrassing, not to mention, untrue?
Me, too.

We humans love to talk. Sadly, our favorite topic of conversation is usually other people.

So, what do we do when we find we are the one being talked about?
How do we stand up for our self and defend our reputation?
What do we say back?

Speak no evil
{Photo Credit}
Nothing.

Yes. You read that right.

Nothing.

We hold our thoughts
and our tongue
and instead,
let our actions do the talking for us.

We keep
walking in integrity,
living humbly before our God,
honoring our Lord
with our words,
our actions,
and the day to day living of our life.

You might be familiar with the following quote:

“Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


How true this is.
However, the following (less familiar!) quote is certainly food for thought when it comes to persuading our self to hold our tongue.

"Who you are speaks so loudly, they can't hear what others are saying."
~ Me :0)


Think about it.

No matter what is being said, if your actions don't line up with the story being circulated, others will see. Soon, they will come to realize what is truth and what is not.
Your actions will do all the talking for you.

Peter put it this way:

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.
~ 1 Peter 2:15


It doesn't get much clearer than that, does it?






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