Tuesday, August 31, 2010

She Sparkles

Receiving an email from Cindy makes my day. I fell in love with her just by clicking on her blog. It's called She Sparkles. It's fun and sparkly and girly. So is Cindy.

Running into her in a crowded room at She Speaks made me smile. Big. Running into her anywhere, even on the world wide web, makes me smile.

Today take a minute to smile and go meet Cindy. She sparkles.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Long Days

I am staring at my calendar wondering how in the world I will get it all done. Again. My tasks seem to out number my minutes and it leaves me a little panicky.

Oh, I’ve prayed and I will continue to pray over my calendar, obligations and commitments. I will find a way and I even know that God will make a way when there seems to be none. But I’m still nervous.

Besides the laundry, groceries and cleaning, there is now homework and swim team and conference calls. I don’t want to forget my conference call again.

There are also the added duties that the Labor Day holiday brings and the birthday factor that fall brings to our family.

Can you say overwhelming? I’m trying to not say it. This morning I took it to the Lord. Yesterday in church the pastor used this verse. It spoke volumes to my chaotic, list-laden heart.

“The fear of the LORD lengthens days.” Proverbs 10:27 Living Bible

Doesn’t that create space in your life? It created a huge gap in mine. I need for my days to be lengthened on more levels than one. I’m asking God for a long life, yes, oh yes. But this week I’m asking God for long days.

I’m praying for His strength, energy and courage to tackle all that awaits. I’m asking for His perspective, provision and protection as I do it. And, I’m asking the same for you sweet sister as fall is officially under way.

So let’s take care of first things first, seek the Lord and enjoy our days. What would you do if your days were long enough?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Freeing Boundaries

“In a minute, I’m cleaning out my closet,” a child yells from her bedroom. Normally Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus would ensue but not today. Not now.

I have just asked her to come set the table for dinner. She says she will in a minute when she’s done with her own indisputably good agenda.

In my frustration I question my failures as a parent. In my heart I wonder if God ever feels the same way about me.

I struggle with boundaries. I struggle with implementing them, maintaining them and accepting them. Sometimes boundaries are required to protect us. There are some situations in my life, especially with relationships that require boundaries. When I feel betrayed, hurt or overwhelmed by the demands of a friendship, I must implement a boundary in order to function with healthy emotions. Then I ask God countless times why I can’t just pick up the phone and talk with my friend like I used to. His answer is always the same. Although it might be a good thing, an acceptable thing, it is not a beneficial thing to me right now.

With back-to-school season and all things routine, I find myself asking God if I should volunteer at the book fair, silent auction or fall festival. Last night I found myself praying about how many days a month to spend at my children’s schools. When I didn’t hear angels singing after my prayers, I paused. It seems my desire to help my children adjust to their new schools and my inability to say no have crossed some boundaries.

I know what God has called me to do this year. I know what He has asked me to be about. I know the sacrifices and time necessary to fulfill His purpose in my life. Yet I still ask Him if I can start His work when I’m done with my own good work.

Last night when I was asking God permission to say yes, I found my prayers changing mid-stream. Instead of asking my Father’s permission to say yes, I began asking for my Father’s strength to say no.

Although boundaries often stifle me, I saw last night how they were not only put into place to protect me but to help me thrive, excel and complete what God has called me to do. He wants my success as I go about His business. I would never want His purposes in my life hindered because I’m too busy doing my own good things to go about eternal God things.

Boundaries were never meant to stifle us, they were meant to free us to pursue our passions unfettered by emotional baggage and heavy obligations. Girlfriends run hard and listen because God Himself is singing over you.

“You are the one who determines my destiny.
 Your boundary lines mark out pleasant places for me.” Psalm 16:5b & 6a

“The LORD your God is with you,
       he is mighty to save.
       He will take great delight in you,
       he will quiet you with his love,
       he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Love and Links

This is the result of my no tech day unplugged. Sheer delight.

Here are some more friends from She Speaks that I first met in the bloggy world.

Kelly. She is a faithful bloggy friend and a faithful prayer warrior. I loved, loved, loved meeting her and hugging her in person. If you need some encouragement, visit Kelly today.

Joy. Joyful. Joy has such a presence in this bloggy world. She prays for and encourages this little community while drawing others straight to the heart of Jesus. I love that about Joy. She spreads joy!

Have a wonderful day and please pray for these precious sisters today. They have a message burning in their hearts that God has moved them to share. Pray He gives them the pathway to do it.

Happy Thursday!

“Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
      Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” Psalm 96:3

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Facebook Fast

Figure out what God is doing and go there. That’s what my longtime pastor friend encourages.

So yesterday when I saw my pastor and his wife on MSNBC being interviewed about our church's National Facebook Fast, I decided I should be doing a better job of not only participating but also promoting the principles in Kerry Shook’s latest book, Love at Last Sight.

In honor of the fast, I’ll keep it brief and go get face-to-face with someone. Take a moment, look around, recognize what God is doing and go there. Today. Love somebody without technology.

I’m going to phone a friend I miss and schedule a face-to-face time we can catch up in person. I’m going to call the friend who I was supposed to meet for lunch and weep with her because her beloved pet is very sick. I’m going to be intentional to pour attention into those closest to me today.

What will you do without technology today?

So Jesus explained himself at length. "I'm telling you this straight. The Son can't independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing. John 5:19-20 The Msg

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Loud Grace

Obviously I’m going to need some grace as I try to build community this year. Here I am in a new place physically, professionally, spiritually and emotionally and I plumb forget one of my most favorite events of the week.

As a follow up to She Speaks, I am participating in a series of conference calls for writers. Last week’s call was so encouraging and overwhelming and did I mention encouraging? The ladies are so wonderful. Connecting over the phone was just like connecting at the conference only without the face-to-face. I just know this group is a treasure of information, love and support. We only have six calls and I'm savoring every one of them already.

I anticipated the call all day. I planned on listening in as I watched a child audition for swim team. As seven o’clock approached, I was taking my child who is a "character" to the bathroom for what we call here in this house a talkin’ to for the second time. In an hour.

I plumb forgot about the conference call. I plumb forgot it was Monday or seven o’clock or that I was at swim team tryouts for that matter. All I could see was red. I was way too busy talking myself out of a tizzy and way too busy giving my "character" a talkin’ to to remember where I was or what else I was supposed to be doing.

The first day of school and unfamiliar routines have a way of doing that. I’m growing in the area of my life called discipline and organization. I must write everything down and carry that list with me. I must plug it into my phone and set an alarm, a loud one. I must extend grace to myself when it all gets to be too much. And I must extend grace to my "character" when he requires all my attention, even attention I planned to spend somewhere else.

I thought extending grace was an appropriate theme for my day since what I was trying to do was learn how to boast about Christ better and more effectively. The Bible is clear. Our weaknesses speak louder than our strengths ever could. I need loud grace this week. I’m having a moment, ya’ll.

Where do you need loud grace today?

[God] said,“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. . . So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. 2 Corinthians 12:9 & Hebrews 4:16

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Beginning

Today is the first day of school. It was a little more hectic than I had anticipated because all our buses were late but I relished the extra minutes it gave us all to talk at the bus stop. Because I’m the rockin’ mother that I am, I didn’t even snap a first day picture. But I do have the memory tucked away where it counts, in my heart. And for all who are curious, I’ll try to take a picture this afternoon or tomorrow morning for posterity.

So many of you commented and emailed this weekend asking for prayer. Lots of you are going through hard, hard stuff. This life is hard. The one thing I realized in all of your requests is that we need community. We all need a safe place where somebody will wrap Jesus arms around us and hold us tight until we can stand on our own again.

I’m praying for each of my children to find community here in Montgomery. A great friend or two in their classes, somebody to look forward to saying hi to each morning, loving teachers and fun learning are some of things I’m praying they find at school this year. I’m praying the same for me. I want community here too. I want some go to friends who are close in proximity. You know the type, the friends who pray for you, support you, love your kids. Above all, I’m encouraging my children to be friends like this, to be people of character.

These friendships don’t happen over night but they are started one hello at a time. So say hello to someone today. Reach out and do something kind and someday real soon you just might find yourself in community with others.

In Mark 8, some people were in community with a blind man. Mark 8:22 says they brought the sightless man to Jesus and begged Jesus to give him a healing touch. Don’t you want friends like that? Friends who lead you straight to Jesus and beg Him to give you a healing touch. Don’t you want to be a friend like that?

Jesus puts spit in the man’s eyes and laid hands on him. Then Jesus asks him if he sees anything. The man says he sees men walking around that look like trees. So Jesus laid hands on his eyes again. Then the main realizes he can see clearly.

I love this story because the beginning that we don’t get is that this man is part of a beautiful community of Jesus loving friends, friends who take their sightless friend to a Jesus who doesn’t give up after one touch. Friends who I doubt would’ve let Jesus give up after one touch.

I want friends like this. I want to be a friend like this. Imagine if we were all friends like this. I think we would all belong to the community for which we are searching.

Above all, remember that you have a friend in a Jesus who won’t give up on you after one touch. So keep receiving His touches, looking hard and freely giving them. Share how you have received or given a touch today.

“So Jesus laid hands on his eyes again. The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty focus.” Mark 8:25 The Msg

Friday, August 20, 2010

The End

I read in a couple of different spots this morning that waiting on God always results in others coming to know Him.

This thought made me happy. Actually, so happy I wept real tears.

You can peruse almost any post from January 18 to April 30 on this blog and see how I waited on God. Every. Single. Day. I waited for a diagnosis. I waited for a complete pathology. I waited for surgery approval. I waited for staging. I waited for a treatment plan. I waited for treatment. I waited to see if it worked. I wait to see if it’s still working.

During this time I also waited for my house to sell, waited to buy another one and waited to move.

Since we moved, waiting hasn’t been as time consuming. While we still wait, we also happen to be hurriedly living life. Returning from She Speaks marked a new phase of ministry for me. It seems to be a hurry-up-and-wait phase.

I know these things that I am to do. Yet, I must wait to hear God’s voice before completing them. This has been difficult for me. I don’t like to jump into something new without a total vision package. I like to begin with the end in mind.

This morning God set me straight. The end will always be others coming to know Him. If waiting produces a greater reach for the gospel. And if waiting on God’s perfect time always works out well, perfectly. Then waiting isn’t such a bad thing.

And in the translations I was reading today, waiting and patience are used interchangeably. So, I think it’s safe to say that practicing waiting is essentially exercising patience. And that, my friends, is a very good thing.

The Message says that God waits to deliver us so that He can give us space and time to change. That got me to thinking. Maybe all this craziness in my head is an indication that something needs to change. So today I will quiet the crazies in my head and focus on waiting strong while asking God if there is any way I need to change. And in the waiting, I’ll thank Him for giving me the time to do it.

Are there any circumstances in your life that God is using to cultivate patience? Share here and I would love to pray for you today.

“God isn’t late with His promise. . . He is restraining himself on account of you. . . because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change. . . Interpret our Master’s patient restraint for what it is: salvation.” 1 Peter 3:9 &15 The Msg

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Nitty Gritty

Yesterday was one of those days. You know the ones.The days that start out with the car not starting and end up as you realize you’ve missed two meetings. The days where plans spiral out the window, alternate plans go haywire and efforts to save the day get sucked down the drain. The days where the kids clean up one mess by making another one and play together by jumping on top of each other and screaming. It was a day where every single person that talked to me was either tattling on someone for touching/looking at them wrong or accusing me of doing a poor job of whatever it was that I just so happened to be doing.

Yeah, one of those days.

At She Speaks, Lysa encouraged us to let “our reactions determine our reach.” She challenged us to react in truth not out of emotion. Yesterday I just gritted my teeth all day. I had me some emotion, ya’ll.

These were the first written words I saw this morning.
We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. Colossians 1:11-12 The Msg

Not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. That’s the kind of strength I want when I’m sticking it out. I stuck yesterday out. Today I’m asking God to transform my grit into a strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy.

As my mind entered into an emotional frenzy yesterday, I realized the Lord was being gracious enough to reveal some patterns in my life I had asking him to show me. I learned that my emotional, inward response to quarreling children and judgmental strangers was an angry seeking to fill emptiness. I stood in my pantry wanting to eat.

That, my friends, is what the experts call emotional eating. In that moment I realized I have a choice. I could stand in my pantry looking for something to smear organic peanut butter on or I could victoriously shut the door and remind myself of the truth.

Instead of beating myself up for getting caught in this cycle for so long, I stopped right there in my pantry and praised God for showing me I have power to change this bad habit. I can accept emotional turmoil as an invitation to pray. I can quit gritting my teeth and respond in thanksgiving that God allows me to see sin as sin. I can trust that my endurance will give way to joy that spills over into thanksgiving and victory over emotional frenzies.

And that’s how God works. He invades our grit with his strength producing joyful endurance, transforming self-destructive habits and ending vicious cycles.

It doesn’t mean I won’t grit my teeth today but it does mean I can look past the emotion of the moment and celebrate the victorious joy I know endurance will surely bring.

As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. . . God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He's set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating. Colossians 1:10, 13-14 The Msg

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Link Love

I am still processing so much that happened at She Speaks. So much. I think I am going to pack some of you in my suitcase next year and take you. Some of my real life friends. Some of my blog friends. Seriously, there were some of you I couldn't help but think were made specifically for this conference. Some of you who have an unmistakable call and gift that must be shared! You will be hearing from me, my friends. I mean that.

Part of the most fabulous part of the conference was meeting women who "get" me. I was fortunate enough to be part of the most awesome speaker evaluation group. This group of ladies was the most incredible group. The one word that comes to mind when I think of them is brave. 

Each one stood up on trembling legs and shared. They shared stories of things that should never happen, much less be repeated. They shared stories of vulnerability that made me weep. They shared their stories for one reason. So other hurting women can see they don't need to stay shrouded in darkness. Speaking our secrets brings healing not only to ourselves but to others. I have no doubt that many will be healed through the triumphant stories of these ladies.

When I stepped off the plane, I met Shelly. Beautiful, bubbly Shelly. She has six, yes six, children. She's a farmer's wife, although she doesn't dress like one. She's a talented, funny and busy woman who I'd drive out to the country to hear speak or to get some fresh corn. I'm just sayin'. Shelly sure helped me to feel at ease walking into the hotel. Thanks, Shelly for being such a leader in our group.

Then there's Andrea. I'm not sure why I don't have a picture with Andrea. . . but I fell in love with Andrea when I first read her blog. She is kind and sweet and well, I just felt like I'd known her forever and can't wait to get to know her better.

Our group was led by Lynn. Lynn engages you instantly with her smile. Her larger-than-life personality energizes and inspires all she touches. She is working on her first book and has a dynamic ministry to teenagers.

Thank you to each woman who touched my heart with your courageous story and answer to the call. I know there are more blogs so if you stumble here, leave a comment so I can share the linky love.

He whose walk is blameless 
       and who does what is righteous, 
       who speaks the truth from his heart 
Psalm 15:2

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another First

Last week I experienced yet another “first” in my cancer journey. A good friend of mine from high school was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer called ocular melanoma. That’s eye cancer.

My first loved one to receive such a diagnosis since I’ve begun this journey. It’s different now. Hearing news of a cancer diagnosis feels different now. I have the wisdom of an insider and that makes hearing the news even more difficult. More vivid. More emotional.

Facebook seemed to carry the bad news quickly around her inner and outer circles forming a strong support group. Somehow I missed the postings coming from my friends. When my mom called to tell me, I lost my breath and orientation on the earth. I felt like the air had been sucked from where I was sitting, although I was sitting outside at the time. Even though there was plenty of fresh air, I couldn’t breathe and hot tears spilled down my cheeks.

My reaction would’ve likely contained the same emotions before my own diagnosis but this felt different. Surreal. Anger and grief surfaced as I felt what she must surely be feeling all over again.

I called our common bestie from high school and began asking questions. The crazy truth about Facebook is that although it puts you “in touch” with people you love dearly and have missed like crazy in your adult life, it still doesn’t put your in their everyday life. We all live states apart from each other now. We don’t talk on a regular basis. Details are few and far between.

The truth screamed once again, “There is nothing to do but wait. And pray. And wait. And pray.”

And so I prayed. And I sent her an email. And I prayed. And I prayed. And I still pray.

I did receive an email back from her. She is still waiting. They don’t know much.

It’s the same old cancer story. Same song. Second verse. Wait. Pray. Hope. Believe. Pray some more.

And in this pattern, I wondered. I wondered why having the privilege of praying for my friend doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything. The reality is that I have the awesome honor of taking her, her precious husband, her six sweet children and her beautiful extended family before the King of Kings. I have the ability to pray like an “insider” because I’ve stood where they’re standing. I’ve waited on an appointment with a specialist. I’ve not known the size, stage and complete pathology of a tumor in my body. I’ve wondered if a treatment plan could be formulated that would work. And I’ve agonized in prayer over my future and that of my family. I have access to the only power that can save her life. Yet, I still feel so helpless.

This feeling urges me to pray more. Pray harder. The desire to help pushes me to stand stronger and dig deeper.

Because all I know how to do is cling to Jesus when I am too far removed to cling to my friend.

My friend has been preliminarily diagnosed with ocular melanoma. She is currently waiting on an appointment with a specialist in Philadelphia. If you have any experience with this eye cancer or know anyone in Philly, please leave a comment or email me. I will forward your comments and information to her. Above all, please pray. Our God can move mountains.

Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Romans 12:12

Sunday, August 15, 2010

One Special Sunday

In honor of Sunday, I thought I'd share the specialness of a Sunday a few weeks ago.

We had a beautiful summer Sunday and two very excited children.

Hunter got baptized.

Alyssa got baptized.

My mom was there. 
It was a very special day.

That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country. Romans 6:3-5 The Message

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Am Not

Since returning from She Speaks, I have been reading a devotional called For the Write Reasons by Marybeth Whalen.  This is a book written for writers. Specifically for those writers who long to share the message Jesus has placed in their hearts.

I am on day 6. I have wept over the three page devotional each day. I thought at first it was because Marybeth captures one particular aspect of writing for Christ so perfectly each day. She does but that is not why I have wept. I thought that I wept because I am gleaning so much from all of the talented and experienced writers who contributed to this book. They have but that is not why I have wept.

I determined this morning that I have been weeping because my heart is asking this one question, “Who am I?”

Lord, who am I that you would give me this love for words. Who am I that you would trust to string words together that someone might actually want to read? Lord, who am I that you would allow to speak for You, a holy God? Who am I?

The Lord answered me the same way He answered Moses many, many years ago.
You are not but I AM.

And once more, I was reduced to tears. I wept because the I AM is all I need to share my story. I wept because the I AM has chosen me. I wept because the I AM has sent me to you. I wept because it’s not even about how much I love Him. It really is all about how much He loves me. And you.

But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go?…
And God said, "I will be with you…And…you will worship God…I AM has sent you.”
Exodus 3:11a, 12a, 12b & 14b

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Deer Standeth

As I was running today, I learned a lesson from this deer. Remember the lessons learned from the deer not too long ago?

Today, I saw one lone deer standing in the middle of the sidewalk in the heat of the day. The deer was slowly making its way across the street. The only way things move in the near 100 degree temperatures with an even higher blistering heat index and about 98 percent humidity is slow. Yep, it’s like running in a sauna.

Anywho, this deer was standing right in my path. As it turned its head slightly, it caught sight of me and took off running. I saw the split second deer in the headlights look and then bam! It took sprinted into the woods. I use the word sprint because it was about fifteen feet that the deer had to cover to get just inside the tree line. It was more like a leap, really.

I slowed down (remember, hot, humid, need reason to slow down my run even further) and peeked into the wooded lot. The deer was about three feet inside the trees standing still as a statue. The deer had literally just leaped to a spot where it could camouflage itself from anything it considered harmful and stood still waiting for the threat to pass.

I immediately thought of this verse. “I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” Psalm 57:1b

Isn’t that how God calls us? He calls us to slide just out of harm’s way under the shadow of his wings until the disaster has passed. As I continued to read this verse, it struck me how His protection is unfailing. His faithful protection of His people is so that His purposes will be fulfilled, so that people will see, know, hear of His love.

Won’t you be like the deer today? Hide yourself in His safety until the storm passes whether it’s a cancer diagnosis, a stormy marriage, a missing pet or the pile of brand new back to school clothes you just dropped a little ball of cash on wadded up under your child’s bed that make you want to scream how totally unappreciative they are. I’m just sayin’.

Hide yourself until you can leave the trouble in God’s protective hands and praise Him in your response to trouble. And, if you have a little trouble you’d like for me to pray for with you as you hide, leave a comment.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
 for in you my soul takes refuge.
 I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
 until the disaster has passed.
I cry out to God Most High,
 to God, who fulfills {his purpose} for me.
Psalm 57:1-2

Monday, August 09, 2010

Linky Love

One of the best parts of She Speaks was getting to spend time in real life with those who I usually only talk to online. One of my favorite parts of the weekend was spending a bit of time with Renee.

Renee just finished writing her first book! If you don't know Renee, you need to take a few minutes to visit with her today. Renee and I first met when she came to Houston last year. Of course, I felt like I knew her from her daily radio spots with Proverbs 31 on KSBJ. After that, we communicated by our blogs for about a year and then in January of this year, we both had breast biopsies within days of each other. We began praying for each other then and throughout my cancer journey, Renee has been a powerful prayer partner and great encouragement to me in my walk with the Lord and in my writing.

When Renee was given money for one She Speaks scholarship, she said she immediately heard God say give it to Lisa and Kimberly. She began praying and seeking a way to make this happen since she was asked to hold a contest to give the one scholarship away. In a way that only God can, He supplied the extra monies to make that one scholarship two and Kimberly and I were both freely given scholarships to She Speaks.

Here Renee and I are with her precious Ethiopian princess daughter, Aster and my new friend Micca.
Today take a few minutes to bless Renee thanking her for her prayers and congratulating her on the completion of her new book. Also take a minute to meet Kimberly and Micca. You'll be encouraged, I promise.

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. Philippians 1:3-6 The Message

Thursday, August 05, 2010

At the Name of Jesus

She Speaks Prayer Room Series Continued

The prayer room at She Speaks is a little famous. Ladies talk about their experiences there all the time. I definitely wanted to make sure I took the time to visit before the weekend swept by.

Now, the prayer room isn’t so full of God’s presence because of the ladies who set it up, pray over it or prepare it as a sanctuary, although, they are special ladies who love Him. The prayer room is a powerful place where God’s presence dwells because the Proverbs 31 team and many other women set aside a place and invite a sovereign God to dwell. It is a quiet and holy place amidst a crazy, fast-paced weekend where over six hundred women are talking lots and moving quickly.

That said. I started Friday afternoon with a pre-conference session. Before the actual conference had even started, I felt like crying. Seriously. After one hour of instruction, I felt like I had no clue how to deliver the message that burns in my heart.

By Saturday morning the tears were very real and very near. Threatening to spill down my cheeks, tears were pooled in my eyes for most of the morning. Although, I loved the instruction I was receiving and these everyday women had given me much more than advice, I was feeling completely overwhelmed.

I took a chance just after lunch to steal into the prayer room for a few minutes. Now, I crept into God’s presence as a child in trouble might search for her daddy. The tears that threatened to fall were evidence of God’s voice in my heart.

Many of you know, I went to She Speaks this year to get direction. How do I make this dream a reality? How do I figure out what to write a book about? Where do I begin? What do I do next? These were some of the many spiraling questions I sought answers to.

Much like the way I told my daughter to clean her room for the tenth time, what God spoke to me was this, “You know what to do. Now go do it and come see me when it’s done.” This reduced me to tears for several reasons. I’m afraid. I’m scared to take a risk. I saw all the time I had wasted by not moving my feet. But, mostly I saw my fear and selfishness for what they are, disobedience and distrust of my beautiful God.

So I entered the prayer room softly, treading on eggshells. I was immediately engulfed by God’s sweet presence. I was reassured of this. “The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24)

My name was prayerfully placed by a name of God before I ever arrived at the conference. My name of placed by Jehovah-Tsidkenu, The Lord Our Righteousness.

God once again wants me to know that it’s not what I have done nor is it what I will do that qualifies me. It is what He has given that will fulfill my dreams. How can I not move forward in obedience? How can I not use my voice to share all that He has done in my life?

 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you… And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekial 36: 26a & 27

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Lessons in the Prayer Room

She Speaks Prayer Room Series continued.

“Go clean your room and don’t come out until it’s finished!” I wagged my finger at my daughter as I flipped the TV off and helped her off the couch. I wanted to start laundry and her room was a sea of dirty clothes. I’d been after her for several days and she couldn’t seem to simply pick the clothes up off the floor. I was exasperated. She was avoiding this one simple chore like the plague and the longer she procrastinated, the harder it became to start.

She got up and begrudgingly walked to her room. I breathed a sigh of relief, went about my business and gave her about ten minutes to get started. I was smiling as I walked back to her room to help her finish the work.

As I entered her doorway, I saw to my great dismay that she was sprawled across her bed talking on the phone. My mother brains threatened to explode all over her room. Once again, she had found a reason to put off cleaning her room. I looked at her incredulously and mouthed, “What?!”

Placing her hand over the mouthpiece, her little mouth poured out a series of justifications explaining why this call was urgent. She then hopped off the bed, hugged me and told me she’d clean her room when she got off the phone. As she breezed past me she smiled and said, “Oh and mom, I love you.”

I was left standing in the doorway with my mouth hanging open. In that moment, my mothering skills or rather, my complete lack of mothering skills slapped me in the face. I asked God, “Lord, how can I teach her? Obedience is immediate.”

The Lord replied ever so quietly, “Lisa, where do you think she learned this?”

Ouch! It’s true. I do not have the best track record of follow through when it comes to what my Lord has asked me to do. I am ashamed to admit this. What this boils down to is that my life has simply been one of compromise in many areas. I mean, I have cried out to the Lord telling Him how much I love Him. I have sworn allegiance to Him but when it boils down to action, sadly, I have fallen very short.

Instead of jumping up and going about His business immediately, I have stalled asking questions, justifying until tomorrow and spreading good intentions like melting butter on a hot piece of toast.

My friend Lysa brought a verse to my attention. I read the verse and her own experiences and felt the Holy Spirit tell me we’d be taking a journey. Did you know the Israelites, God’s chosen people, loved God with their whole hearts yet still tested Him?

“They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.” Psalm 78:18

Ponder that thought. God is providing for His people’s every need as they wander in the desert and yet they are still testing Him. They still tell God what they want instead of thankfully receiving what He’s provided and they still question Him.

I don’t know if you can relate but oh, how this sounds like me. But, we have hope. Listen to the next verses in this Psalm. I’m paraphrasing the next few verses so you can get the idea.

They remembered that God was their rock and redeemer but then they would flatter Him with their mouths… Yet he was merciful; he forgave them and did not destroy them… He guided them safely so they were unafraid. Psalm 78:36, 38 & 53

I can look back over all the instances of hesitation and procrastination and incomplete obedience in my life. My main reason for not immediately, cheerfully and completely obeying Him is fear. I am afraid. As I look back I can also see how God has been merciful. He has guided me. I know God’s word is clear those who love Him will obey Him. How can we not?

Sunday morning each lady took a promise from the foot of a wooden cross. My promise was this.

“We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments., ad his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 1 John 5:2-4

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Eating Elephant

The first in the Prayer Room Series. There was a prayer room at She Speaks that was this amazing and reverent place filled with God’s glory, goodness and presence. The Proverbs 31 team prayed over each name of the ladies in attendance and placed it by a name of Jesus. I’ll describe more details of my experience there in a future post but this was my response to God that I wrote early Sunday morning.


This weekend.

Truly one of the most powerful experiences of my life.

Before I left home, I had the image of eating an elephant in my mind. I have for quite some time now. Do you know the age-old answer to this question?

How do you eat an elephant?

One piece at a time.

Do you have a dream so big, so real, so dear to your heart that it seems impossible to accomplish?

I do. Over the last two years, this dream has been given the slightest hope. My dream has started having a fighting chance. As I began to believe my big dream could become a reality, I’ve pondered that very question.

How will I eat an elephant?

This weekend, the Lord answered me very simply.

In bite-sized chunks.

I’ll just put it out there. My huge, gigantic dream is to write a book.

I’ve wondered what I could say that would be a unique voice in this world. I’ve wondered if I even had enough words to stay on topic. I’ve wondered where to start and what to say. I’ve wondered why I believe what I have to say is worth publishing.

This weekend in the quiet presence of the Lord, He sweetly addressed my fears.

Did you know all the volumes that could ever be written could not record and store all the goodness of our God? Think about that.

As I pondered that thought, suddenly my huge task seemed very small. How could my life not contain enough words to fill one volume of God’s goodness? My life speaks volumes of His goodness, love, mercy, grace, redemption and forgiveness.

My one book will be one tiny act of worship in a giant God’s giant universe. I pray it will speak volumes of God’s goodness, love, mercy, grace, redemption and forgiveness.

And I will begin with one bite-sized chunk.

Let’s take just one bite of elephant together to make our dreams a reality tomorrow.

Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does… His word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in.! I can’t do it! Psalm 96:3 & Isaiah 20:9b

Monday, August 02, 2010

Six Hundred Eight

My weekend started with a phone call. Just as I was boarding the elevator to go down to the first session of the conference, I received a phone call. It was my oncologist’s office. The nurse told me that it is official. The radiologist completely agrees with the doctor’s assessment of my scans. I am officially “no evidence of disease” and that my friends, gave my heart a tiny sigh. The impact of this miracle hit me like a ton of bricks and lightened my heart to soak in the weekend.

Would you take a moment with me now to praise our God for what He has done? July 29, 2010 I learned my body was free of visible disease. I was diagnosed on January 25, 2010. That’s just six short, or very long depending on how you look at it, months since my diagnosis and the Healer has healed my body.

Did I tell you how I am the only breast sarcoma patient of my doctor at MD Anderson, the nation's largest volume sarcoma clinic, to not receive chemo? Isn't that an awesome and miraculous answer to all your prayers? Now, please remember that chemo is not off the table so don’t stop praying. But, I do feel the freedom of three months. And, I thank God for all my days but especially the next ninety cancer-free days!

How could I spend my days doing anything but telling of all His goodness?

“I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.” Psalm 89:1

And so, it was with the lightest of hearts I stepped off the elevator into the place of dreams. Let me describe the scene. It was like the best ladies’ retreat I’ve ever been to but on steroids. I’ve been to conferences where everyone wanted to go to get more of Jesus. When hearts are united to seek Him it is a powerful thing.

I love that feeling where you walk into a room full of ladies who are all worshipping their Rescuer. It’s this beautiful site and reverent feeling that makes you want to take off your shoes, not only because they’re so cute and pointy your feet are throbbing but, because you just know you’re standing on holy ground. A holy ground that makes you forget about everything, even your aching feet, and see only Jesus.

I’ve had the distinct privilege in my lifetime of gathering in a place like this at least once a year for the last twenty or so years. Ladies. Loving their Jesus. Seeking His sweet face. Beautiful.

This weekend was different.

I not only wanted to take my shoes off; I wanted to get down on my face because His presence was just that strong. There was a power in the united desire of these women to speak of God’s goodness to a hurting world. There was no doubting the bigness of our God this weekend.

Six hundred eight women gathered to get more of their sweet Jesus with the sole purpose to give Him away. That made all the difference.

Six hundred eight women all stood on shaky legs, typed with shaky fingers and spoke with shaky lips. Six hundred eight women all are telling their story. It’s the Story of the Ages but packaged six hundred eight unique ways. We all share the same story. It’s one of redemption, love, grace and forgiveness. It’s one that never gets old, no matter how many times it’s heard.

And although, six hundred eight women who all do what I do were at first intimidating and a bit overwhelming and for just a few seconds I did wonder if there were room for one more in this arena, I realized in just about ten seconds that all the voices in the world talking at once couldn’t sing of all the goodness of God and that it would be a lonely arena if not for the six hundred seven that were with me.

Yesterday as I was leaving, I prayed that there would six hundred eight more next year and six thousand eight hundred more in the coming years.

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26