Remind Me Oh Lord…

This blog site that you’re reading is the place where I stepped out in obedience to the Father several years ago to share my journey of discovering that He is enough, even if our worst nightmare becomes our reality. So when I woke up around 4:00 am this morning unable to go back to sleep because of the overwhelming truth that someone I loved so very much took her last breath on earth yesterday after giving birth to her precious baby boy just a few short days ago and another friend’s daughter is fighting for her life in an ICU unit without any family by her side because of this crazy battle against COVID-19 (Corona virus) that our entire world is facing right now, I had to get out of bed and fall on my face before Him and beg Him to remind me. To remind my broken heart that He is The Healer even if the healing doesn’t come this side of Heaven. He is the Peace that surpasses understanding even if my story isn’t turning out like I had imagined. He is my strength even if my grief feels as though it will consume me. He is the supply of my EVERY need in EVERY situation. Him and Him alone. It is on days like this I am thankful for a God that will remind my shattered heart that I can trust with everything in me that He will take what the enemy meant for evil and use it for good…the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20). I pray He will continue to remind me on the days ahead, that may be filled with more than my human heart can bear, that I can always trust that He is enough, EVEN IF…

Here are a few of the promises the Lord whispered across my soul today. Maybe there is someone who is reading this that needs to be reminded of these promises as well…

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Isaiah 41:10-13 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

1 Chronicles 28:20 Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Psalm 73:23-26 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Here is the song He so sweetly sang over me this morning…

 https://youtu.be/uredD03NHc4

 

 

Beautiful Chaos

Well considering that I started this blog the end of November to give you a glimpse of our year, I would say God had already given me the perfect title before I knew how long it would take me to complete it. He gave me the words this morning He wanted ME to realize so that I could finally finish giving it to you. When I began to grasp all that has filled our days this past year I am blown away to think what the Lord has allowed us to be a part of and experience together in this merging of our lives, family and ministry.

Michael and I celebrated our one year anniversary September 1st and as of today our days together have been filled with weddings for three of our children, MANY family birthday parties, birth of our newest grandchild, an abundance of revival services for Michael and opportunities for me to speak at multiple conferences and retreats…in other words we have experienced grace upon grace upon grace!

I wake up each day in awe that the Lord is allowing me to live this life filled to overflowing with tangible grace! Unmerited favor that I have the honor of loving this amazing husband of mine, my children, bonus children, children-in-loves and the cherry on top are my breathtakingly beautiful grand-babies! Unmerited favor that reaches up, grabs my hand and calls me Gogo. Unmerited favor of watching the beautiful souls that I birthed (and those gifted to me through marrying Michael) become the amazing adults God designed them to be.  The unmerited favor of  doing ministry with the love of my life as we take the gospel to the world knowing that Jesus Christ is The Power that saves and The Redeemer of all things! It’s a year that has been filled with the most beautiful chaos.

But what God so sweetly reminded me of this morning that makes it beautiful is to look back at all He did in and through us…a schedule filled to overflowing with divine opportunities but in the center of God’s grace, filled with His power, it never felt chaotic. I can’t help but think about the truths penned by one of my heroes of faith, Corrie Ten Boom, “Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.” Oh sweet friend, she couldn’t have spoken more truer words! It is in the emptying of ourselves that God will fill us to overflowing of all He is! His strength. His peace. His joy. His grace. His mercy. His power!!  He will be the very source to fulfill all He has called us do. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. He is the calm in every storm. He is a keeper of every one of His promises. He is all we need in every situation. He is I am!!!  He is enough. Even if…

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12

Soak in these powerful truths that resonate to my soul through this powerful song!…

You tell mountains they must fall and they fall
You tell oceans to be still and they’re calm
You tell sickness it must leave and it’s gone
In my weakness God I know You are strong
You are the One above it all, I stand in awe
You’re the God over all I know
No higher name, no greater throne, You stand alone
You’re the God over all I know
Over all I know
You tell broken things be healed and they’re whole
Sing it in faith, You tell fear it has no place it must go
You tell death it has no chance, it won’t win
And if You are for me, God, what can come against?
I believe it Lord, I have seen it
I believe it, I have seen it, My God is over all
I believe it, I have seen it, My God is over all, oh yes, yes
I believe it, I have seen it, My God is over all
I believe it, I have seen it, My God is over all!!!…

I Want A Divorce

Have you ever heard or read something that just stopped you in your tracks? Well that very thing happened to me last week and in that moment I heard those words spoken they made me just stop and soak each one into my mind and then into my heart. And then as I repeated them over and over and over again they began to wash over my soul…You know those words that make something rise up in you and know that they may have been spoken by the person on the screen or written by the one who penned that book but you realize that it was God who was the author of each word that He knew you needed to hear. Words He uses to challenge us. Speak to us. Move us. Change us. And that’s exactly what I experienced when these few simple but powerful words moved from her lips to my ears… “What if we could divorce ourselves from how we feel”? WOW. Just WOW.  Think about that. DIVORCE ourselves from our feelings. Walk away. Leave. Breakup. Disconnect. Separate. Sever. Well you know the definition of divorce but think about that in the context of that question.

What if we could solely live based off of God’s truth and not let our emotions dictate our response. Can you imagine how different our lives would look if we were led by the Spirit instead of our emotions? If we responded from grace-laced wisdom instead of a spirit of offense. If we loved our spouse in such a way that it was a living testimony of a 1 Corinthians 13 kind-of-love instead of a “love” based off of how they make us feel if they meet our expectations.  What if we lived like we believe God’s promises when life’s disappointments come instead of allowing them to rob us of our joy and peace for minutes, days, weeks, months and sadly even some for a lifetime?

Oh sweet friend, what I have experienced when I choose to be Holy Spirit led instead of holding the hand of my ever changing emotions, is that it produces a supernatural change within me that eventually connects my head (where I make my decision to trust Him) to my heart and allows me to live out a Holy-Spirit-immersed life that meets my greatest needs in a way nothing in this world ever will or ever could. Moments that are filled to over flowing of His tangible grace. Those bring-me-to-my-knees moments that I experience when His peace seeps its way into the deepest crevices of my broken heart. Those moments…those choices of surrendering my will and grabbing hold of His which allows Him to transform them into a lifetime that testifies to the world of His goodness. His faithfulness. His love. Those moments that bring me to this place where I have decided that I want a divorce! I do not want to be married to my emotions any longer. I want to forever be held, loved and connected to my Father’s heart and let Him have it all! Because dear friends, He deserves my all. He is my source. He is my enough, even if…

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

But then God…

We all have a story and oh how I love to listen to the stories of other people that use theirs to reveal God’s glory. Some chapters are full of love, some overflowing with joy from beautiful moments that light up the face of the storyteller. Some are full of immense pain and grief just in the remembering that bring an onslaught of tears and pangs deep from within the soul who survived that dark season. But what I want to share today is that no matter the details…the good, the bad or the gut wrenching, there is nothing more beautiful than when these words move from their mouth into the very depths of my heart, “BUT THEN GOD”… Those moments that we can say I thought all hope was gone BUT THEN GOD reached down His merciful hand and pulled me out of the deepest, darkest hole I’ve ever known. Those moments when we believed our prayers to bring our prodigal home had fallen on deaf ears BUT THEN GOD rescued them with His relentless love. Those moments that take our mustard-seed size faith and allow that “BUT THEN GOD” encounter with The Risen One, to grow our faith into one the size of a great Sequoia!

My prayer for you, for all of us, is that we never forget one of my favorite truths in scripture found in Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” This scripture that has been like a firm foundation on many a battlefield that I have stood on these past 10 years and always reminds me that He will never waste anything! He will take what the enemy intended to use to destroy us and turn it into a “BUT THEN GOD…” chapter in our story that He will use in the saving of many lives!! WOW! JUST WOW!!! It still brings me to my knees in awe that He will use us in the saving of lost souls when we give Him the pen and trust Him to write our story and use it to reveal His glory! A story that is being written by The One who sees what the world would call hopeless and He sees it as an opportunity to do the miraculous. The Author of The Story who healed the lame, gave sight to the blind, opened deaf ears and took the keys from death and hell as He arose from the grave on the third day!!! If you haven’t surrendered your life, your story, to Him I pray today is the day that you can say, “All hope was gone BUT THEN GOD changed everything when I called on His name”…if you do I believe you will find, like I have, that He will prove over and over again that HE IS ENOUGH, EVEN IF…

 

To Choose or Not to Choose…

I have come to realize when we are faced with choices that even not choosing something is still choosing. That may sound a little like the whole “Who’s on first” with Abbott and Costello bit but when it comes to the choices God has placed before us it becomes a serious matter. It becomes a matter of life or death. Heaven or Hell. Living to the full or living in less than. It truly becomes the decisions that impact our entire lives and all of eternity.

I have found that when we CHOOSE Him to be our Savior, CHOOSE to seek God in prayer, CHOOSE to worship Him with full abandonment, CHOOSE to study His word…no CONSUME His Word, for the sole purpose of wanting Him to save us, to change us, to heal us…Knowing it must start with us first. Not our kids. Not our spouse. Not an audience. Just letting Him reveal in us what we must CHOOSE to surrender to Him, it changes EVERYTHING…because HE changes everything!

I am the only one I can choose surrender of. My will is the only one He gives me control over to release into His hands. I am the only one who can choose to let Him restore me.  Redeem me. Revive everything that’s dead in me. Revival, my precious friend must start within ourselves first before we can impact the world around us.

I can share my story with the you and it may move you, inspire you or maybe even give you hope knowing if God could use me, He can definitely use you but God is the only One who has the power to transform your world like you’ve never dreamed possible. You need only CHOOSE to surrender your will for His. But please know that the truth is sweet friend, I have found Him to be the ultimate gentleman. Yes, He is pursuing you with a relentless love. He does love you fully, wholly and completely even though He knows your deepest, darkest secrets. He even paid in full the price for every sin you’ve ever committed and have yet to commit BUT He will not force Himself on you. He wants you to CHOOSE Him today. He wants you to fall in love with Him as deeply as He is in love with you. He wants to have a love affair with you.

Arms wide open, hands reaching out for Him…no pen in your hand…let go and let Him hold the pen in His hand. The Author who will write the most amazing love story you’ve ever read. He will write the story of your love for Him, His unconditional, never-failing love for you! That love story that has the power to impact The Kingdom for generation upon generation to come!!

Just call on His name…Jesus. His name is the only name that will live forever. His name is the only name that has the power to save! We are nothing without Him but can do anything He has called us to when we are filled by the Holy Spirit…the same power that raised Christ from the dead!! So let’s rise up and CHOOSE Him. Let’s rise up and CHOOSE to walk out, in faith, all He has and be a force that makes all of Hell tremble!! Let’s CHOOSE to believe we are an advertisement of who our Savior is! Let’s CHOOSE to reveal to the world that He is enough, even if…

“I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling—that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones! I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to you through faith. Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you! This is the mighty power that was released when God raised Christ from the dead and exalted him to the place of highest honor and supreme authority in the heavenly realm!”

-Ephesians 1:18-20 TPT

In Over My Head

I would say that for many years I found such comfort when life was predictable. You know when everything seems to be going as you had planned. The kid’s schedules go as clock-work. Nothing comes up to throw the budget out of whack. Everyone is healthy. The marriage is all butterflies and rose petals. Life is good. I would guess that most of us would agree that we find this sense of peace when we feel like our feet are on the “shore”.  We feel safe and secure when we think we are in control. The truth is that it’s easy to find security in what, in reality, we have no control over. Let’s admit it, He is in control of all things…not us. Never have been. Never will be.

The crazy thing is that I can honestly say that it’s been in the seasons of life when my worst nightmares became my reality and I was in way over my head, in the midst of the deepest waters, that I have felt the presence of God like I had never experienced before. It’s been when I was so “deep in” and thought I might be swallowed up in that storm that I found myself crying out to Him knowing I did not have the answers that He became so real to me. It was in the most painful seasons that I had to admit I could not save myself.  It has been in those moments when I surrendered control to Him that I have come to know I can stand on the promises of my Jehovah-Mephalti because He was and is My Deliverer!! I can say I have tangible evidence that He is my Jehovah Jireh- My Lord who provides. He is my Jehovah Nissi- The Lord my Banner. He is my Rescuer. He is my Redeemer. He is my Breath. He is The Great I Am.

The more you ride into battle with The One that holds a 100% victory rate, you won’t hesitate to mount up over and over again!! When the scripture you’ve always said you believed becomes the truth you experience, it will fuel your faith like nothing you’ve ever imagined! His presence in the midst of those battles are the very thing that has taken my desire of playing it safe and has now transformed them into a desire to live in a place where I HAVE to depend on Him at all times. Why would I ever want to live in “less than” when I can truly LIVE in the ALL God has for me?!

I’ve come to realize that He did not design us to play it safe. He wants us to live out our faith boldly. He wants us to know He will never leave us nor forsake us. Oh how I want to live out my faith with a courage like Peter that is willing to get out of the boat and experience the miracle of walking on water. I want to live with a faith like Noah that is so big and so bold that I would build an ark before the first raindrop had ever fallen.  I can’t do that by playing it safe. I can’t do that without surrendering my agenda, my life, my all, to my Savior. I can’t do that unless I am in over my head.

Lord, I want to live a life that is a living testimony to the world that You are enough, even if…

 

Choosing Thanksgiving

As I was spending time with the Lord this morning I was so overwhelmed in the most beautiful way as I reflected on all that God is doing in this sweet, grace-filled season of my life and couldn’t help but sit there thanking Him for His great faithfulness.  This is the scripture that began to come into my mind over and over again…

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I have to say it is so easy to give Him thanks today because my life is filled to overflowing with His goodness, grace and joy but today God reminded me that it’s been in the choosing to have a heart of gratitude in the most painful seasons that I have learned more about who my God is and that He has used that very thing to radically change my life and transform me into a woman that longs to be in His presence each and every day. Those seasons have taught me to never take one moment for granted and soak in all the beauty that my life holds. So today I want to share something that came up on my timeline that I wrote to a team at church that I was leading at the time, in hopes that if you are walking through a time in your life that makes it seem impossible to raise your hands in praise and thank Him today, it may encourage you to do it any way. Sweet friend, you can trust that He is good even when life doesn’t feel good. He is worthy of all praise even when you feel there is nothing in your life that is praise worthy- because HE IS. He is faithful. He is a keeper of His promises. He is our comforter and lifter of our head. It’s when I chose a heart of thankfulness that my eyes were shifted from my circumstances to my Savior and I am believing for that very same thing for you today as you choose thanksgiving…

11/12/14
Lately I have been reflecting over the many different seasons we may experience over our lifetime. Of course we all have gone through our childhood & adolescent season with so many memories that may bring a smile to your face or maybe tears in your eyes but still a snapshot of where we have been; who we once were. Some are in the young adult or newly married season of life…full of change, hope, love and dreams of what lies ahead. Some have entered into the season of parenthood for the first time. That season where sleep is rare but the very smell of that perfect bundle of joy wipes away the exhaustion and fills you with a love that inspires you to become the most amazing parent your sweet little one could ever need. Some are knee deep in that season of raising children that are quickly becoming and acting like teenagers. Days that are so busy you are not sure if you are coming or going. When they may say things to you in that tone of voice, you never thought YOUR child would ever use. But when life allows, you find yourself with your soul mate and beautiful kiddos cuddled up on the couch underneath the warmth of a cozy blanket, silly movie on the screen and more love than you dreamed possible and you have to just stop and soak into your soul that this is your life and in that moment life is good. That next season seems to arrive quicker than you had ever dreamed possible but then it happens…you are packing up his clothes sending him off to college and then you wake up and it’s his wedding day. So much emotion in every tear that flows down your cheeks. Tears that your baby is no longer a baby. Tears of pride, knowing that they are becoming the man or woman you have prayed for since they were in the womb. Tears of knowing nothing will ever be the same but yet so excited to see their future. There are those that may be in that season where the nest is now empty and a joy you never dreamed possible actually becomes your reality as you hold that new grand baby.

I say all of that to share with you what God has spoken to my heart in hopes, that even if it doesn’t speak to your heart, it may allow you to understand others that come into your life that are walking through a valley so deep they are not sure they will survive. The reality is that there are so many different seasons that we never asked to be written into our story. There are so many details within each season that are anything but what we had dreamed of as children. Some find themselves in a season that instead of living the dream of finding a prince or princess that “completes us”, they never show up. Your story may have taken a turn that instead of living “happily ever after” you were signing divorce papers. Or maybe you find yourself in the doctors office and the doctor gives that devastating diagnosis that you know will change everything. That did change everything. That moment that a new season ushered itself in before you gave it permission. A season that would rob you of growing old with the love of your life. This is the season I find myself in and it is why I am sitting here typing these words so very carefully and cautiously. What I have come to realize, is that even the most bitter parts of this season, God has used to make my life sweeter. He has taken moments that were filled with feeding tubes, meeting the basic daily needs of my frail, precious husband and replaced them with laughter when I go back and read his journal and see his words written in his, shaky yet priceless handwriting, that he loves me and that I am “one smokin’ hot fox”, I’m “his eye candy” or the entry that thanks God for healing him and in the next he writes “Bring On the Rain”. God has used this season to draw me closer to Him. He has used each and every hurt to transform me. To bring me into a place that I WOULD NOT TRADE FOR ANYTHING! He has brought me to a place of total surrender. A place where I trust Him no matter what. A place that I know, that I know, that I know He thought of me and you when He had Isaiah pen these very words…

Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.

Today I am thankful for this place I find myself. The place where I can say from experience, He is enough, whether in drought or plenty. He is my Hope in the valley and on the mountain top. He is my source of joy during times of weeping or in times of dancing. I pray that no matter what season you find yourself in that we can see that He is Good no matter what circumstances surround us. He has already gone before me and knows every breath that I will take. I spoke these words to Grayson earlier this week and as the day went on, as they kept resounding in my thoughts over and over again, I knew that God placed them on my heart more for me than for Gray…”Daddy’s journey is complete here on this earth, just as God had planned before time began, but He is not finished with us yet, so let’s finish as beautifully and full of passion and grace as your daddy did. All for the glory of God”.
So it is my hope that you will be a part of this season of my life. A season where lives are changed for all of eternity because He used us to make a difference in His kingdom. A season that brings tears of joy as we are allowed to be witness to the broken souls that find healing. A season where serving others is far more rewarding than the riches of this world. A season where He makes us brave enough to bare our souls to those we love and trust that they can see our heart that desires to be a light in this dark and lonely world. So when you read these words from my heart, I pray you do not think I am painting a picture of our family that is marked by tragedy because we are not! We are a story of Triumph (and so are you). We’re a spectacle of love-against-the-odds and irrational hope and unlikely joy. My family – out in front where you can see them, and also behind the scenes where you can’t – lives a fairly never-ending dance of joy and sorrow. I will tell you honestly that holding onto happiness has been the most difficult thing we have ever done. Some days, it’s a fight to the finish and some days it’s as natural as breathing, but every day it’s worth the work. That is why you see this, as-real-as-they-come chick, flitting around most Sunday’s hoping to make a difference in EVERY life that passes my way…because I can. And as long as this body will move I will not stop! All for the glory of our God because He is enough, even if…

May I never forget…

I was searching for a document on my computer today and I came across a journal entry of mine from January 2015. I honestly don’t remember why it was on my computer at work since I typically only journal in a notebook but this I know…God knew I needed to read these words today. He knew I needed to be reminded of what HE has done in my life and how He has so beautifully answered petition after petition that I have laid at His feet. Those petitions that were raw cries from a shattered heart. He wanted to whisper to this tender heart that even on the days that I fail and life is a little messy, He will meet me right where I am.

As I began to read those words I had written over three years ago, it was as if I could feel the pain that was real the day I had transferred them from my heart into words on the screen. But as I continued to read I was overwhelmed with joy as I realized all the answers God has provided since that day.  Do you find when you stop and reflect on what God has done in your life and brought you through that it brings you to your knees? As we trace back over the history of His faithfulness in our lives it can have the power to deepen our faith and fuel our courage to keep living out our lives knowing He is a God who never fails. When I stop and soak in all that He is and all that He has done in my life, it is impossible to contain it…I am in awe that God has brought me up out of that pit I was in and restored me in a way that only He can. I am humbled that the God of the universe will use our lives as evidence that He does trade our mourning for joy. He does restore the brokenhearted. He is a keeper of His word. He will meet our every need. I know that God is still working on and in this far from perfect “girl’s” life but I am His and He is mine and in that I will abide! May I never forget that He is enough, even if …

My journal entry from January 7, 2015:

The reason I chose “Abide” to be my word for 2015 is because for these past few years my life has been anything but calm. I could not use words like peaceful, restful, tranquil or serene. And as I began my search for ‘My Word” I had many that tiptoed through my mind but when I started to dig a little deeper into the meaning of abide, I could feel a calm in my soul. I felt comfort there. I could see myself engulfed in the arms of my Savior. Protected. Safe. Unrushed. Restored. This was a word that was not about the “doing” but about “being”. I believe that it is there in the “being” that God will restore me from years on the battlefield. We had been there on the front line, fighting for my daughter as addiction tried to take her from us. And yet while we were still on that battlefield another enemy would invade our home. An enemy that goes by the name of ALS, would be a battle that would change my family forever. I am weary from this battle. I am lonely after this battle. There are now pieces of me that are missing. But as I write these words I know that the victory is ours and it is because of The One I call Savior that I know, that I know, that I know, as I abide in Him, He will be the source from which my healing comes…

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15: 1-11 (ESV)

As I meditate on these words today, I find that they are weaving their way into my thoughts. Into my heart. Into my imagination in a way they have not before. I close my eyes and I can see a beautiful, strong vine. I see this vine with strong branches that extend from it. I realize that the branches of a vine can only bear fruit when it is completely attached and absorbing all of the life giving nutrients needed from the vine for this process to happen. “As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it ABIDES in the vine….WOW!

My precious heavenly Father, I come humbly before you today, with out stretched arms. My desire is to abide in You. To abide in Your love. To abide in Your Word. To be in that place where I can hear Your voice. Lord, may I take every word that You speak into my heart and allow it to connect  my heart to Yours. I pray that I will be a branch that will bear Your fruit. For I know that the branch is only an extension of The Vine and that without The Vine a branch can do nothing. I choose You Lord.  I choose to abide in You and as I do, the empty places deep in my soul are being filled once again…those places that You designed to be filled by You and You alone and for that I am grateful!  Amen

The Beauty that Remains

re·fine   rəˈfīn/ verb: to remove impurities or unnecessary elements from (a substance), typically as part of an industrial process.

As most of you know, I am entering a new season of my life. On September the 1st, I became Mrs. Michael Mason. I have a new name, a new address, new family members but more than those wonderful things, I also have been given a renewed hope, revived joy and a refined love! Oh what a sweet, sweet beginning to this new chapter that I am believing will be unlike any I have ever experienced.

One of the things I believe the Lord has shown me over these past several years, is that it is only after you walk through the “fire” that you can see AND fully appreciate the beauty that remains. When you know what it is to go through a season of grief and you’ve had to wake up alone day after day, year after year, that then your heart is overwhelmed with gratitude when you open your eyes each morning and you see your new love’s eyes looking back at you. Once someone you love looses their ability to speak, hearing those three simple words…I LOVE YOU…is like breath to your soul. You recognize just holding his hand is a gift that is far more valuable than gold.

You see, walking through the fire has a way of removing the things that really don’t hold the value you once thought they did and it leaves behind the breathtaking beauty you would have never understood or appreciated had God not allowed the refining. My love and passion for the Lord has been refined because of what Arvid and I walked through…it has allowed me to love Michael with a love I didn’t know existed until God brought me through that fire. NOTHING is EVER wasted when it is placed in the hands of my Savior. I love The Passion Translation of Romans 8:28…

So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.”

Satan wants to destroy us as we walk through the difficult, sometimes excruciating seasons of life. The enemy’s subtle, destructive way of doing this may be to simply still your joy, whisper in doubt, feed your anxiety, sell you the lie that it would be better if you choose the world instead of God…so many ways he operates that are all LIES.  But when we choose to trust God and operate out of His strength, His power and His truth, He will take those same things and strip away the “impurities and unnecessary elements” from our life (doubt, fear, selfishness, pride, lust, addictions, etc…) and what remains is beauty…all that remains is a reflection of Him. I am thankful that God has shown me that He is the beauty that remains when I empty myself of me and allow Him to have full control over my life. I not only believe but have experienced that no matter what our circumstances are He is a God of His promises. He is Good. He is Joy. He is Peace. He is Love. He is my Comforter. He is my Healer. He is enough…EVEN IF…

HE IS THE BEAUTY THAT REMAINS.

Psalm 27:4 Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house, finding the sweet loveliness of his face, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to live my life so close to him that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.

Psalm 34:1-4 “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”

2 Corinthians 12:9,10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Take It All Off

I don’t know about you but when I look in the mirror I have a tendency to see each and every imperfection that’s looking back at me. I see each line that wasn’t there 10 years ago. Every blemish that reveals I’m not 30 any more. So many things that are so far from perfection that it makes this girl beyond thankful for clothes and make-up. Can I get an “Amen” right there?!

You give me my make-up bag and an outfit that hides those many flaws and you will see a woman that appears confident and secure in who she is but is that really a true reflection of the woman you see when you look into those “cover girl” dolled up eyes?

The more women I have the honor of mentoring and ministering to, the more I see that this is a struggle that many of us battle each and every day. And not just issues with our body image but also with that woman we know inside and out that looks back in the mirror at us every morning and finds herself listening to the enemies’ lies that she’s not enough more than the truths from her Savior that truly define her.

The women that I have come to find the most beautiful, are actually the women that have chosen to take it all off and let me see them for who they really are and all they have walked through. It’s the women that have stripped themselves of pride and stopped trying to convince the world they have it all together when the reality is their family is broken and they’re falling apart at the seams and realize, in their own strength, they will never be enough but walk in the truth that their Savior is ALWAYS enough. They’ve taken off their mask that led to the misconception that they are flawless and don’t seem to struggle and choose to walk in the confidence that they have a purpose to fulfill that is as powerful as Mary, Ruth, Sarah, Esther or Naomi in His Story. They admit their weaknesses, struggles and battles they may be walking through–they get real with whatever “it” is in their life that makes them feel “less than”, battle weary and honestly, at times, like a complete failure and they step into the power that only comes from being filled with The Holy Spirit. The same power that rolled the stone away. The same power that conquered death once and for all!

Stop looking side to side, comparing yourself with other women that appear to have it all together. Comparison is a liar and a thief! Instead reach over and take your sisters-in-Christ hand and look straight into the face of Jesus knowing you were beautifully and wonderfully made for such a time as this! Be real. Be transparent. Be all that He created you to be! We are a force for the Kingdom to be reckoned with if we choose to stand together. We can be a beautiful light that shines bright into a lost and dying world and show them Who our Hope is!

I challenge you my sweet sisters to take it all off knowing that when we choose to live an authentic, transparent, fully surrendered life we will be blown away at what our God will do in and through us. There’s no amount of pretending that will ever transform itself into reality. It’s when we’re at our most vulnerable, admit our weaknesses and cry out to God that Jehovah Jireh, reveals that He is enough, even if…

“Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!” Proverbs‬ ‭31:30‬