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Thursday, October 20, 2011

He is Enough

Some days I am completely content with my life, In addition to all my basic needs being met, I have a loving husband, sweet baby girl, a great job, fabulous friends and family who are my biggest fans.  I smile and sigh and thank God for my beautiful life.  I need nothing else to be happy, just Him.  Ahhh, thank you Lord Jesus.

Then my mind starts to wander to all my "wants" and my "gotta haves". It's like the devil realized I was taking a break.  And BAM...Don't you want a shiny new car?... BAM BAM....Your house needs a paint job....BAM BAM BAM...I can't believe you have to go to work and leave your baby again...Contentment heads right out my older less energy efficient windows. 

It is clear to me that if we have shelter and food, we are blessed beyond most.  Please believe me when I say I recognize that and I'm truly grateful.  Sometimes if feels like the devil's attacks are working.  Sometimes it feels like I can't control my greed as soon as I get rid of one thought, the next pops right into my head.  To be perfectly honest, I'm jealous of two types of people. The ones that are content with what they have and the ones who have more.  I strive to be happy where I am and sometimes I win the battle and sometimes I slip up.  In our society, it is hard to NOT notice all the marketing in all of the media telling us we aren't "good enough" if we don't buy their product. 

I believe we must have faith that GOD is enough, not the things we have or wish we had.  Just God.  If we had nothing else, just Him, we need to remember that's all we need.  He will get us through the hard stuff, trust me, I've seen it happen. 

I read a blog recently that made me look at my wants in a new horrific light.  In this world, there is so much need.  Not wants, but true needs.  For food, clean water, shelter, the basics.  Here's the amazing part, some of those people are praying not for their children to grow up and become wealthy and successful but for them to love the Lord.  Thats it, thats how they know they will be okay in this world, if their children just have faith in God the know they will turn out alright.  How amazing.  They get it.

It all comes down to perspective.  We must realize that our collection of stuff does not matter.  How we love God and show our love to ourselves and others is what keeps us on the right path.  Not the new thing we think will make us "okay".  I believe the shiney new things can sometimes block my view of God.  I get so caught up in the wants that I forget my most basic need is Him.  So today I trust in Him.  To meet ALL of my needs, and He will give me the desires of my heart.

Psalm 37:3-4.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Today I organize...really, this time I mean it!

Today I organize, there I said it out loud.  I'm going to be a more organized person. I WILL be able to find things right when I need them, I WILL be able to remember important dates, and yes I WILL even be able to make my life more efficient.  I struggle for years with remembering birthdays, checking off ALL items on my to do list and I admit it, keeping my home office under control.  I will be honest with you, it is not about laziness.  I, by nature am not a lazy person.  It is more about dedicating time to it.  In this past week, I have held a garage sale (which netted me $45, really?!?!!)  I worked at my day job at least 40 hours, managed to prepare meals and clean up the dinner dishes for seven days straight, given my two year old a bath nightly, supported and helped coordinate my husband in his endeavors, grocery shopped, worked on potty training, laundry, cleaned a bathroom or three, held a bible study, made homemade marshmallows and made it into the office two days this week.  To be honest, that's just the stuff I remember.  Here's the problem.  If you look around my house, you would think I watched soap operas and ate bon bons.

God is leading me to big things, but I must be faithful in the little first.  There are so many opportunities I have to be there for family and friends.  To show so many people God's love, but you know what?  I am not organized enough to make it happen.  I miss opportunities simply because I run from one thing to the next.  Without purpose.  I want to live on purpose.  I want to know that everything I'm doing is being done for God and with His plans in mind.  Even when I'm scrubbing the toilet.  So to that end, I'm off to the shower.  Intentionally going into the office for the Lord.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Finding God in the Middle of the Summer

I said I would write…I never said how often (I say with a sly smile on my face). 
We have had a wonderful whirlwind summer so far.  If summer were to end tonight and tomorrow would be fall, I would still say we lived it to the full. 
So here I sit, trying to get back into my words.  Words make me feel like I’m home, whether it’s writing or reading, its comfort to me.  We have already been so busy that it is nice to have the feeling of home, both literally and figuratively. 
Thats the beauty of faith.  Our God is everywhere in our lives.  He was in the airport sharing in my daughter’s excitement at seeing the airplanes.  He was at the water park while my husband and I cruised around the lazy river.  He was definitely at our church’s Vacation Bible School this past week.  I’m thankful for all the ways that our God shows us He’s with us even when life isn’t rolling at a normal pace. 
Just because our routines have changed around and we feel so disconnected from our “normal” lives, doesn’t mean we can’t feel God’s presence in everything we do.  I try to remember to keep my constant communication lines open with Him and I am amazed at the miracles that I’ve been able to document so far this summer.  We must remember that God is in the little things like a cup of coffee in the quiet as the sun comes up, the lapping sound of water after a long day at the beach or the smell of a bonfire on a Saturday night.  Our God enjoys all of those things just as much as we do. 
Remember to thank Him for all your moments, even the ones where your ice cream melts.  (PS – the answer is you HAVE ice cream!) 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Faithful When It's Hard

I had the honor recently to be a part of the planning committee for a close friend's baby shower.  It reminded me of how thankful I am for so much.  We had a lovely time.  Everything fell into place perfectly.  The food was awesome, setting up was a breeze, the guests were gracious and the mama to be was just glowing and beautiful.  It was truly a memorable occasion.  All babies are miracles.  In this particular case, we had been praying for this couple for a very long time and having a baby was a struggle for many years.  It always astounds me how God works and answers prayer.  He always promises to be faithful to us.  We just have to be faithful to Him.  Remember the story of Solomon.  He had so much going for him; he had the Lord's blessing from his father, King David.  He was known around the world for his wisdom and great wealth.  Yet he failed to remember to continuously be grateful and faithful to his Lord, our God.  He loses it all.  When you are going through a tough time, it is so hard to praise God and remember that He loves you.

I have said often, "God has a plan." and quote my favorite verse "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  He didn't just say this to some people; He said this for ALL of us.  We all have a special plan for our hearts.  I'm still hoping one day mine will include standing on a stage in front of tens of thousands singing my heart out but we already talked about that. 

So when we are going through things we don’t understand, God is with us.  He loves us and wants us to be happy.  We live in a world of sin, and bad things happen to good people. However, God has a plan to give us hope.  Remember He already won the war.  We need to act as though we are already living in victory.  It was hard to understand that God’s plan will prevail and not know whether that included a baby for her and her husband.  Faith allowed us to do our best to comfort her; prayer and constant submission to God’s will helped her and her husband to get pregnant with our sweet baby who we will meet any day.  When things do not go as planned, you must remember that whatever happens, God’s plan is better than any concoction we could come up with on our own and we will ultimately be happier and more faithful with His plan.  Have faith and trust that God will pull you through no matter what your situation is.  Know that God has already won; that sin is defeated even when you are going through it.  We read the end of the book first…the good guys win!  Have faith, your season will change and God will show you so much more than you ever prayed for! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Teaser - need your feedback!

Here is an idea I'm trying out.  I need motivation, as most of you know.   I need a push, right off this timid little cliff I stand at the edge of.  Frankly I've been writing for so long that I ought to have 17 books published by now.  Yet, not one has been finished.  So I'm setting a goal, an accountability goal for all of you to witness.  I've got a couple books I'm working and this one really makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  So, I thought I would give you a sample...a teaser, if you will.  However here's the catch, I need your feedback in order for this to work.  Let it rip, a no holds barred kind of feedback.  So here goes nothing!

"The wind blows fierce tonight.  God is angry.  I always associate the wind with something God is telling me.  Its when I don’t listen that the wind whips around angrily.  It is, ironically enough, a dark stormy night.  Something bad must happen...its just perfect for a horror flick. I can almost hear the director yelling..."roll tape!!"  I wonder what I could have done wrong to cause such a scary night.  There are afternoons where the sun is hugging my shoulders and the wind wraps around me like a soft silk scarf.  I know god is nuzzling up against me, loving me and sharing how much He loves me.  Then there are times when I feel His tender nudge in the wind.  The one that says don’t forget to do the right thing.  Then there are nights like tonight where I feel His anger.  I sense the thick pungent sting of guilt.  There is a tiny boy scout in my stomach practicing his nautical knot tying.  As the wind blows through my thin jacket I feel it, God is on to me..." favor...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

God So Loved the World...He Made Me a Rock Star...kind of

"Ms. Farrell, its time." Opening the door from my peaceful dressing room, I step into the excitement.  I can feel the wind blowing my perfectly coiffed hair as I walk quickly down the back hall towards the stage.  The cool air tingles when it hits my hot cheeks.  I barely notice all the people around me, I'm focused on the crowd chanting my name.  People with headsets whisk by me announcing my arrival.  When I approach the arena, one last make-up check, one last wardrobe check.  I bow my head, say a quick prayer for God's blessing and strength.  The stage goes dark and a deafening roar encapsulates the entire arena.  It again grows silent...quiet enough to hear a match lite.  The lights come up and the arena comes alive, the music escalates. I'm staring passed the spotlight into the crowd.  So full of energy and passion I explode into song and the entire arena sucks back as if in a vacuum and for a moment the crowd's electricity is paused...then  it implodes.  Screaming fans and music lovers are all singing and dancing along.  I can feel the warmth of the spotlight surrounding me.  It feels like a giant hug from God.  I close my eyes and take it all in.

When I open my eyes again, I'm laying in my bed.  My hair tied in knots and my mascara is running down my face.  No, I didn't wipe it off before bed...don't judge. 

This is how God loves me.  He loves me enough to make me feel like millions of fans are screaming my name...even when I'm in my penguin jammies with bedhead like nobody's business.  He is my biggest fan.

And there's nothing special about me, He loves all of us this way.  His love may feel like an award winning film red carpet release, or like a rocket shooting into outer space.  He could love you like finding your new favorite sweater on the clearance rack.  For those of you with children, you probably get the best seat in the house for knowing that kind of love.  However, that is just a fraction, a tiny sliver of the way it feels being in God's love.  His love is bigger.

John 3:16 says that
God so loved the world, that he gave His only son, and whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
  That scripture amazes me.  He allowed His son to be put to death.  He did this because of His love for YOU and me.  So we could be with Him forever.  And the best part of that scripture is that it says "God so loved the WORLD."  Not "God so loved that "sister super christian" down the street."  or "God so loved the people who go to church every Sunday".  Nope, it says "the world".  I encourage you to remember that.  Mistakes and all, God loves every one of us.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Are you really happy? A lesson from my two year old.

Every once in a while, my two year old daughter, Grace, puts her tiny little hands on my cheeks.  She searches my face then smiles.  "Are you happy, mama?"  When I smile, she nods knowingly with a big grin.  My two year old has the soul of someone who has lived a full life and has the wisdom of the ages to prove it.  She amazes me for so many reasons however this one inspires me.  Every time she does this, I think to myself,  "Are you really happy?"  Regardless of my life's circumstances, Grace reminds me what true happiness is.  It has nothing to do with whether I can afford that new pair of shoes or a fancy new car, it has to do more with deep in my gut.  My joy does not have to be based in my circumstances. 

We as a culture collect stuff, we love to go out and buy stuff.  For every holiday, every special occasion even if that special occasion is Tuesday, we love us some stuff.  But once we have that, "I'm gonna die if I don't get this" thing, how long does that feeling last?  Toys get worn out, cars lose their new car smell, gadgets are outdated before they leave the store.  After you've had the "stuff" awhile... really, where is your joy? 

So what happens, of course, is that we find something else to pin our hopes and happiness on.  "The next big thing".  Our neighbors got a new fancy car, WE need a new fancy car.  The devil just keeps spinning that in our heads and in our guts:  "You are not good enough unless you have..." 

I hear conversations like this a lot lately.  Where we all know we should not allow objects to fill our happiness void.  Yet I admit, I can still do it.  I have spent the last three months learning not to allow my joy to be based in my circumstances.  When bad things happen, I pray for the strength to be happy regardless.  When we don't allow the devil to win, he will eventually retreat.  I do not want my life to be filled with stuff just to make myself happy.  I don't want to spend my life craving something that once I have for it a while, I need something else.  I want that void to be filled completely.  Jesus died to give us that.  I'm learning to remember, none of that stuff will fill the void left just for God.  Like my own little God shaped hole that He fills completely.

Before you allow your mind to fill up that God shaped hole in your heart, ask Him, "Is this need something you put on my heart, or can you fill me up?"   He will fulfill all our needs in an unbelievable way.

He fills my needs when I look at Grace and she is holding my face smiling and nodding.  "Are you happy mama?" 

"Yes, sweet Gracie.  I AM happy. Thank you for teaching me"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Let go and let God. Wait, what? You mean I'm not in control? Hmmph

Sometimes God amazes me. I stand in awe of His kingdom. Think about just the clouds in the sky, the patterns they make, the colors they reflect. Think about the tiny pink apple blossom buds that are popping up by my house (now there's a miracle right there, I thought winter will NEVER end!). Look at someone you love dearly in a new way. Maybe just the strands of their hair or the shape of their hand...tell me that creation was random.

The point to my romantic ramble is this: I did not want a blog, I had no idea what I would write about should I finally succumb to writing a blog. Then, when I DID write a intention for content was nothing like what came out yesterday. Proving more to me that I AM NOT IN CONTROL.

You know the person who sits in the passenger seat while you are driving, and puts their hands on the roof and screams "The cars are all stopping!"? Yeah, I'm that girl...just ask anyone, they will tell you...I'm annoying.

You know the person who asks you to help them, say clean up the living room then after you have finished she goes behind you and straightens the way she likes it? Yeah...that's me too. Sorry, just ask my husband, it's irritating.

Suffice it to say, I'm a control freak. It would be rather lovely to have things my way all the time, but that's not Gods way. I'm pretty sure that the lesson I've been walking around in the desert like the Israelites is to "Let go and let God!"

Obedience is key here, yet another of my fabulous strongholds. Gods small still voice will help you through life, but you must settle your heart and listen.

There are a couple of key points in that statement. You must settle your heart. Matthew 6:6 states "And when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to the father, who is unseen. Then your father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.".

This says a few things to me. Number one, go somewhere where you will not be distracted...turn off that tape recorder in your head. But it also makes it clear that God knows our hearts so there's no need for dramatic prayers and flowery words done out loud so others hear. Just go somewhere quiet and talk to your God. You will know somewhere in your belly what Gods wants you to do. Whether it's forgive someone, pray for someone, or start a blog!

It's amazing when you pay attention to what God has been trying to tell you, everything falls into place. So sorry fellow control freaks, we don't run the show. However, here's the good news, when you "let go and let God" prayers are answered in a way that you never imagined and couldn't be more satisfying.

Thanks to you all for the warm welcome to blogging!



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Today is the day!

Do you ever wake up some mornings with the fire in your belly.  No, I'm not talking heartburn, I'm talking excitement!  Purpose!  Well today was that day for me.  I have been writing for years, never sure what God's plan was for my work. 

Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 

I have known for a long time that God wants to use the gift of writing for His purpose for a long time, so hear I am, Lord!  Send me!  I am a full time working mother of one amazing two year old, Grace, and wife to a hard working husband, Dennis, who is following his dreams and encouraging me to follow mine.  And by encouraging I mean harrassing daily... 

At any rate, we are given special talents that God wants us to use and share with the world.  For years I thought that meant I had to move to Africa and be a missionary because I had a gift of being friendly.  Clearly misguided (although some of you do feel the call on your life to be a missionary and Africa) through prayer and waiting on God, I now know that I was meant to share through my writing.  Which is extremely relieving because giant bugs and heat are not my thing.  I need coffee and retail therapy for survival. 

My heart has always been in words, from a child I was writing books and reading books.  God gave me a passion. God gave you a passion too, He wants you to use it for Him.  If you aren't sure what your passion is, come with me on this journey.  We can walk together as I prayerfully work through the passion God gave to me and help you find the excitement and gifts that God gave to you.  I encourage you to pray, seek His wisdom and read His word.  He will reveal to you guidance and step by step, we will living out our purposes.  FYI - I'd be careful following too closely to me, I've been known to be clumsy.  Wouldn't want you to get hurt.