Wednesday, April 17, 2019

On Letting Go

Letting go is hard. Especially the things held closest to our hearts. Today God is reminding me it is possible to let go of stuff while holding on to the memories. To let go of ideals without letting loose of dreams. And that the only way to walk out a calling is to walk forward to Him. Whatever that may be. However that may look.
And I’ve now lived long enough to know “it,” the dreams I dream, the calling I answered, the life I want, will most certainly not look anything like what I think, what I expect, what I demand. But it will be lovely, it will be good, it will be right. And it will be what God wants. And even though it may not look like it, it will be exactly what I want. Because the things I really want, no eye can see. That’s the problem with looking at dreams with human vision. We see different from God. He measures eyesight by the size of our faith. He measures faith by steps of obedience. 

Today I remember where I see obstacles, God sees opportunities. Where I see looming mountains, God sees growing faith. Where I see impossible circumstances, God sees possible miracles. And where I see certain death, God sees new life. A better life than I can ever imagine. 
I’m facing tomorrow with an uncertainty so big, it tempts me to cling to this little bitty life I’ve built. And yet, I’m determined to shut my eyes, open my heart and follow my God to that unknown place of immense goodness, sure success, promised prosperity and daring destiny. Coming to God free from any expectations I once had, I’m free to accept the life He has always planned. 🙌🏻

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Good Mornings, Great Days

I recently shared about my struggle with a morning routine at
 Walden Community Church. As you can see by the smile on my face,
we had fun! I promised more here on the blog--and I may get up early,
but it still took me a week to show up here. Better late than never!
I was born in 1970 (You do the math.) almost three months premature. For six entire weeks, I lay in the incubator and kicked my leg. Morning, noon and night I kicked, fidgeted, never stopped moving. Doctors say it is what kept me alive, reminded me to breathe. Despising sleep helped me live.

Today, I have a love/hate relationship with sleep. I still hate it because all the things call me to come get them done. And although I don’t love sleep, I happen to be in a love affair with my bed. My bed is the.most.comfortable bed in the entire world. Just ask anyone who’s ever kept my kids overnight. Nobody wants to get out of it. I’m no exception. You see, I fight

myself to quit doing all the things and get in it and then I fight myself to quit doing all the sleeping and get out the next morning. Most.comfortable.bed has a supernatural hold on me; once I get in, I never want out.

Y’all, the struggle is real. Here are some ways I’ve waged war on it—and won a few battles in the process.

Step One: Utilize a Wake-Up Thought
“It’s PayDay!” my mind screams, punctuated with lots of enthusiasm, as my alarm clock begins its slow chime around 5:30 each morning. You see, I’ve been struggling. Struggling to stay positive. Struggling to get out of bed. Struggling with depression. Struggling with discouragement and struggling to really live this one life I’ve been given with joy. And as a real estate agent who only gets paid on commission, pay day is a very exciting day around my house. Pay day excites the mess out of me—especially at dark o’thirty in the morning, before coffee, before thoughts form, before reason functions and before realizing I’ve just played a (not so) mean trick on myself.

Although I (probably) won’t be making a deposit into my checking account most days, I will most definitely be making a faith deposit into an eternal account based on how well I hear God and hearken to His voice. Galatians 6:9 says, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. AT just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” And friends, I’m surely tired, have felt like giving up lately.

To combat the conniving depression calling me back to my bad, I tailored a practice by my friend and business mentor, Chad Goldwasser. He taught me about a Wake-Up Thought many years ago and I’ve used several through the years. Training my brain to think a happy, exciting, awesome thought when my alarm sounds rather than the grumbling, dread and negativity I’m prone to has revolutionized my mornings. The Wake-Up Thought is one way I can utilize God’s Word to change my mind. “Be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on new ideals and its new attitude,]” Romans 12:2 (AMP) says.

Positive first thoughts prepare me for powerful interactions with God and purposeful actions toward others all day. The thought of the holy harvest, the promised pay day that’s coming my way motivates me to make my mornings good in order to make my days great.

Step Two: Schedule Time with God
While the coffee brews, I break out my Bible. I keep mine on or near the kitchen cabinet and coffee maker. Because I’m naturally distracted and even more so at dark o’thirty before caffeine. There’s nothing fancy to reading God’s Word. Simply pick it up, focus, read, ask, listen. If you have questions about how I read the Bible, download my FREE Girlfriends Guide to #Godgoals. I use any of several One Year Bibles for my morning reading time. Find the ones I use under the resources tab.

You might ask, “Why mornings?” or “What if my best time to read the Bible is at night?” I’ve found life-changing and game-changing benefits from spending time in God’s Word first thing in the morning. Even if it’s not my main Bible study time, letting His Words hit my mind and heart before the world’s raging assaults my soul is crucial to having the strength to successfully navigate the day. “I must exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world,” says Lysa TerKeurst. Make the whispers your priority.

I read through my Bible each year, one morning at a time. Before my head hits the pillow each night, I read in my Jesus Callingdevotional by Sarah Young. You can find it under the resources tab too. Whatever way you choose to spend time in God’s Word, I encourage you to spend time first thing each morning and last thing each night. Let God lead your heart all day and refresh your spirit all night. Besides Scripture will most certainly give you better dreams than the latest Criminal Minds episode.

God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn[because]… the Eternal’s Word is your happiness. It is your focus—from dusk to dawn.” (Psalm 1:1-2 VOICE)

Step Three: Make a Routine
Your dark o’thirty routine will go much smoother if you make a list and follow it, trust me. I’ve learned to get out of bed and go straight to my workout clothes, put them on down to my shoes. Stumble to the coffee pot and press start, grab my Bible and unload my dishwasher while my coffee brews. I set my alarm for waking up my children. I wake them up and start their breakfast and the washing machine. I set my alarm for the time I leave for my exercise class and the time I start my shower to get to my first appointment. Routines get things done efficiently. I need one and so do you. You probably won’t be late anymore, but I still am sometimes. However, now I’m only late sometimes—not always.

Step Four: Put Accountability in Place
There was the year I joined an early morning prayer chain in order to receive a wake-up call. Ring three times, answer, hang up, pray. It sort of worked. There were all the times I joined early morning workout crews because I wanted to master the early morning. Most days I now wake up at 4:30 AM before my alarm goes off; often I get up before it sounds. I credit this to the 5 AM exercise class—totally effective.

Step Five: Prepare at Night
Lay out your clothes, set your Bible in place and make sure you have coffee. I’m always losing shoes. This prevents that. Preparation insures the plan runs smoothly. And smooth mornings make good mornings, which make great days.

Step Six: Stick to It
Even after the day you don’t get up or the day you go back to bed, start again. It’s worth it. You’re worth it. Your day is worth it. Your PayDay is coming!

PS If you'd like a pdf emailed to you walking you through the steps to create your own personal Wake-Up Thought, send me an email and I'll be happy to drop it to your inbox. 

What are some things that help you have good mornings? Please share.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Heart Homes and #Godgoals

Receive my Girlfriends' Guide to #Godgoals FREE when you subscribe in the sidebar or at the end of this post.
Rearranging furniture, dusting shelves, sweeping floors, changing lightbulbs and setting tables are just some of the items we check off when we are expecting company. Entertaining is fun. Preparing can be overwhelming...If we let it.

Well, I'm not letting it!

Some dinner parties have been packed with preparation that gives way to perfection. Others have been “do what you can” and “come as you are.” I've often joked that my life purpose is to make everyone else feel better about themselves—their mothering, their homemaking, their artistic endeavors, their entire life.

You see, although I thrive on competition and sometimes get lucky enough to land on top, I rarely rate myself an A. Whether you’re thinking I should rest easy on myself or you’re cheering for me to push harder, no matter. I love you all and welcome you to my space, my internetty home. You’re welcome on my messy house and empty cupboard days and on my A-game with dinner on the stove days.

Feel free to drop in anytime, hang out awhile and comment, share and involve yourself with my life. Whether I’m washing windows or spinning stories, I hope you’ll put up your feet, relax and unwind right here in the middle of growing laundry piles and never-ending grocery lists. 

Just like real life and lived-in homes, it’s gonna remain under construction, a work in progress. My world-wide-webby home will proudly declare, "Come on in, we live here!" just like my in-real-lifey home. We do life and sometimes life undoes us but no matter where we are or what state we're in, we always welcome you...Even when we're struggling to ignore the mess! (smiles) 

Sometimes it's not really the mess but the list of projects. I mean, if this blog were a house, it'd be all wall-to-wall carpeting and jewel tone wallpaper. Just know I'm working. If you find a broken link or have a crazy question, just let me know. Meanwhile, I'm brushing dust off these old words and updating yesteryear's decor.

And for those who really aren’t just being nice and really are excited to read my words, please subscribe to get these posts in your inbox. In exchange for your email address where you'll receive weekly updates from me and I’ll give you my FREE Girlfriends’ Guide to #Godgoals.

I’m not quite sure God’s agenda has my house spotless or my blog savvy, but I know He wants a special Book in my hands and a mighty purpose in my heart. 

If you have the desire to see God in your everyday, to hear Him in your darkest hour, to discover the thrill of knowing Him more or just to feel better about your housekeeping habits, download my free guide because you have #Godgoals.

Remember:  More than God wants our homes to be perfect; He wants our hearts' home in Him. Click to Tweet this.

"Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you." (John 15:4 The Message)

Let's reach our #Godgoals together!

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Sunday, February 03, 2019

Comebacks Require Setbacks

Falling down is inevitable. It's the getting back up that takes effort. 

My kids play sports. I've watched lots of games. I love how the parents all clap for the athlete that gets back up--even if the athlete has to leave the game, the audience claps. There's just something to be said for the toughness and determination of getting up again.

Maybe you didn't know I once had a blog. Maybe you did know. Maybe you forgot. 

It's true. This little blog of mine was once active, chronicling the life that happened around me, inside of me. Then some big things happened in my little world. I got cancer, moved cities, got healed, got depressed, quit writing.

I always knew I'd start again. I'm the Queen of "One day." And all the days are busy, all go by fast. But the lesson that cancer first taught me is that life isn't free for the spending. Life has a limit. Our days are numbered.

And, that's why I intend to spend the rest of mine chasing this crazy dream of putting my words into the world. On paper, in the air, to audiences. Whatever the opportunity, I've promised God to chase it. With shaky knees and a nervous heart, here I go again.

In case you're one of those who didn't know I once had a blog, you'll get the chance to know my younger self. Just look at the pictures...that baby, he's going to be a teen next week. And, that beautiful brunette, she's a freshman at Texas A & M. Whoop! (And being an Aggie mom is even better than being an Aggie...It's one of my favorite mom things so far.) The other precious girl is graduating in a few months. And that cute boy is working on his drivers license. 

And, I wish it were tidy. Perfectly stitched, no holes. I wish it were perfectly polished with designer appointments, but it's not. The photos are old and the words are a mix of then and now, words I'm afraid to read tonight because maybe they're not what I remember. But I will read them tomorrow because maybe, just maybe, they're more than I recall.

And this blog is just what it is tonight. Because the best place to get back up and start again is the place you were last standing when you fell down. Just ask any athlete. Even the ones that were carried off on stretchers will tell you, the best place to be is back on the field. 

 So, here I am ready for the next play.

After all, you can't have a big comeback without a setback. 

For the lovers of God may suffer adversity
    and stumble seven times,
    but they will continue to rise over and over again. 
(Proverbs 24:16 TPT)

Saturday, February 02, 2019

When you feel like junk

My friend guided me down her hallway, giving me the grand tour of her home. Suddenly, she stopped in front of a closed door. “That,” she said, “is the junk room. Enter at your own risk.”
I looked at her quizzically. I had a junk drawer, but I’d never heard of anyone having a junk room. Curious, I sneaked a peek. Unused pictures, extra furniture, piles of books, boxes of dishes and what looked like the pieces to a bed were strung haphazardly around the room. The room held the dining room chairs and table leaf that didn’t fit in their current eating area, the baby bed her daughter no longer needed because they weren’t finished growing their family just yet and a few special wedding gifts still in boxes because there weren’t room in the cabinets to store them. The junk room held valuable things, just not currently usable.
Then it hit me. That’s kind of how I’ve seen myself. Valuable to God, but not usable by Him. I felt as if I’d spent my life in hopeful waiting, just sitting in God’s junk room longing to be used. 
When I review my life thus far, I’m terrified that in all my efforts to prove to God how special I am, I’ve somehow messed me up so much my turn will never come, that I’ve rendered myself ineffective for His cause. And I wonder if God has cast me aside, forgotten about me or determined I can’t be used for anything right now.
In theory, I know this is a lie. God's Word says so. “Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago?” Isaiah 44:8
God doesn’t have a junk room and He surely doesn’t store His people there until He finds a place for them. The Bible is clear that He has prepared good things for us to do already. “For we are God’s masterpiece...Created…So we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10
He walks with His people preparing them for use in His kingdom. He gives them gifts, talents, passions and purpose. He certainly has a waiting room where He prepares us and a workshop where He heals us but, He absolutely does not consider anyone junk. And, He always provides a plan to use the passions we possess.
Maybe you feel a little useless or have spent a few years on a shelf gathering dust. Maybe, like me, you fear you’ve junked yourself up from the trying. If you’ve ever felt too messed up, too worn down, too passed over or just simply not enough, I want you to know you matter. We matter. We have a purpose. You have a purpose. Your passion has a purpose. God put something in you that must come out. God deposited Himself inside you and He must be shared. The world is quite literally, full of folks dying for someone to share God with them. 
How will you do that? God knows. All you need to do is ask Him.