Sunday, March 21, 2010

Has her struggles too

Has anyone besides me had difficulty since the fast in January? We went through three intense weeks of fasting, and at first, it was difficult but by the third week I was feeling a closeness that I wanted to last. Since then my work has really picked up, and my ministry time has been cut drastically. For so many years, I have excelled in my career because of the gifts and talents He has given me, and I'm fortunate because I have really enjoyed my career investigating insurance fraud. But my heart's desire is women's ministry. It is where I find the greatest satisfaction, the greatest reward, and the greatest joy. Being able to listen to women, minister to women, and fellowship with women is a blessing to me. (There is great irony in that by the way.)

Pastor Rick spoke this morning on how to change the atmosphere of the body of Christ, and he said that one way to know we need a change is there is a lack of revelation, a lack of God revealing Himself to us. That's where I feel like I am. I feel like I've hit a wall, and I don't know if He is going to reveal Himself to me directly or if He will use someone else, but I'm ready. I'm waiting. I'm ready to receive. This is a whole new level for me. How can I lead a ministry when He isn't giving me what He wants me to do? How can I minister to hurting ladies if I can't be available? How can I be effective for Him in this condition? I don't want my ministry, my calling in life to be about the job. Does that make sense? I want to feel His presence, feel Him leading, and see what His desire is for this ministry. Without Him in the middle, in the front or in the rear there is no ministry.

It can, if allowed, cause great panic to a Christian who is used to trying to please God, who is wanting to be in His will. When we realize it's been a day or two or even weeks since He last stirred their hearts, it is saddening. This is kind of where I've been for a couple of days. Then in the quiet of the moment, there is a verse I remember parts of, words or phrases, but I can't remember it all. I go to, and I choose The Message version, and I input the words I recall. Then the results:

    Psalms 139: 1-6

        God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
           I'm an open book to you;
              even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking.
           You know when I leave and when I get back;
              I'm never out of your sight.
           You know everything I'm going to say
              before I start the first sentence.
           I look behind me and you're there,

            then up ahead and you're there, too—
              your reassuring presence, coming and going.

           This is too much, too wonderful—
              I can't take it all in!

This is why it is so important to memorize scripture. He communicates to us through His word to us when we need it the most. In these verses I realize that even though He may be silent He is behind me and up ahead. Another wonderful verse to complement this is, "We are assured and know that all things work together and are for good to and for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose." Romans 8:28

I have to remind myself that sometimes His silence isn't about me. Remembering, He's working on others and through others to make it a benefit to all those who love Him.

So, I will wait for His guidance. In a Beth Moore study I did there was a quote, "God is never late but He misses a few good opportunities to be early." ;> He is an on-time God, and I trust that. I trust Him.

Some may see this blog is a bit self-indulgent, but I want to be real. Should a lady in my church decide to read my personal blog, I don't want her to see a pious liturgy. I want her to see a real woman facing the same struggles she does, and I want her to receive encouragement knowing she's not alone.

His Daughter,



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Loves to cheer, but also needs encouraging from time to time.

When Erin was 18 months old, she started speaking in complete sentences, and she hasn't stopped since. She also potty trained early. I remember one night sitting on the sofa watching TV with Patrick when I see Erin toddling down the hall and into the nightlight-lit bathroom. I got up to check on her because there was no reason she should be in the bathroom without an adult, after all she was still in diapers. I walked in to the bathroom, and there Erin was sitting on the toilet with her diaper on the floor. I asked her what she was doing, and she said, "Pottying." As I stood there with my mouth agape, she did her business, pulled on her diaper and jammie, and went back to bed. The next day I went to get big girl panties, and officially started potty training. I have to tell you it was a lot of fun working with Erin potty-training her. I'd cheer and chant, "Go, Erin! Go, Erin!" She'd sit there grinning ear to ear bouncing up and down as I chanted. She'd get done, and I'd reward her with more praise and accolades. She ate it up. She loved being praised. She loved being rewarded by hearing her name in a chant, cheer or song. I think about how easy it was to parent her as a small child, and I miss those days. As a matter of fact, I thought I had the parenting gig down until #2 came along.

My son is totally different than Erin. Pearce has known what he wants out of this world since he was at least two years old, AND he knows how he wants to get it. He is determined, head-strong, strong-willed. But is he any less deserving of encouragement or praise? No. His reward, his encouragement comes in a different form. His reward is being outside, being with his daddy, being with the guys, but it is also in hearing how awesome his work is and how much I'm proud of him.

Who couldn't use a personal cheerleader from time-to-time? There are days when I wish I had a music box on my desk that when opened would say, "You're a good mom. You love your kids. You take care of your kids. Your kids are going to turn out just fine." We all need encouragement from time to time.

I learned the value of encouragement when my mom was going through chemotherapy for stage 3 breast cancer. My sister and I looked for ways to keep her spirits lifted from goofy boob or hair cards to pictures of her grandkids wearing her cranial prosthesis (fancy words for wigs).

There are those in this life that encouragement comes natural to them. They don't have to look for ways. It isn't difficult. They see to the heart of the matter to find the silver lining and can lift the eyes of the one who is struggling to focus on the silver lining. That is an amazing spiritual gift. I have been blessed with one such lady in my life. She is on my women's ministry team. She had been through some amazing struggles and hardships in her life including the death of a child, and yet, she has the ability to see someone struggling, listen to them, pray with them and raise their eyes to once again focus on the truth, their Savior. And every Sunday morning, this amazing lady sits in my office and waits for women, for you who are discouraged to come through that door for her to listen, to pray and to encourage. Mrs. Lavahn is an amazing lady, and I am so thankful God blessed her with the spiritual gift of encouragement. She has blessed me immensely.

Mrs. Lavahn is one of many ladies serving in their spiritual giftedness. Are you serving in your spiritual giftedness?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Heard Chirp, Chirp, Chirp, Bahrrr, Snore, Snort

Monday night, I was exhausted, wiped-out, toast, and I just knew I was going to get a great night's rest. No sooner had I laid my head on the pillow, I heard a high-pitched, odd-sounding frog chirping outside. At first it was so high and loud I thought it was a bird, but it wasn't. What made it so annoying was the fact that it chirped consistently every few seconds (for the next three hours). So, I nestled down in my bed doing my best to ignore it when my husband put our miniature beagle in for the night. Apparently, Jade, our beagle, was not ready to go to bed because she started baying. Chirp, chirp, chirp, bahrrrrrr. Chirp, chirp, chirp, bahrrrrr. Somehow my husband was able to fall asleep with this symphony and began snoring. Chirp, chirp, chirp, bahrrrr, snore, snort. Chirp, chirp, chirp, bahrrrrr, snore, snort. All I wanted to do was go to sleep for crying out loud!
Have you ever wanted something so badly but didn't get it? That is where I was. I wanted to sleep desperately, but it was close to midnight before sleep came. Short of having frog legs for supper the next night, excommunicating the dog from the family and putting a pillow over my husband's mouth and nose, my goal of sleeping 8 hours was not going to happen that night. Needless to say, I was a little on the cranky side the next day.
Has God ever laid something on your heart to do, and you want to follow but there are so many different distractions keeping you from it? I am easily distracted at times. There are frogs, dogs, and husbands. There is work, kids and volunteering. There are headaches and fatigue. But the bottom line is God has called you to a purpose. Your purpose has to do with the spiritual gift He specifically chose for you. If you don't know what your purpose is then make it a priority to find out. And once you find out, employ it. Use it. I'm convinced that people who use their spiritual gifts in their daily life, in their work, and in their homes are more contented people. Why? Because they are working inside their giftedness which energizes them. Because they know whose they are and how He wants to use them. There's peace in that.
Sometimes we have to, we need to shut out the world, so we can have clear communication with God. Ear plugs might have been helpful that night, but what would have been most helpful is a room far away from the noises. He doesn't want to compete for our attention. He's the still small voice. Seek Him. You will find Him. Ask Him to search you and to show you the gift He has given you and how He wants you to use it. Meditate on His word. You can do this.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spiritual Gift Hang-Ups

Just going to give you fair warning, I'm going to be walking on some toes, and if you aren't wearing your big girl panties, you need to get 'em on. The reason I can walk on toes is because these are some lessons I had to learn the hard way about spiritual gifts, and if you can learn from my mistakes, more power to you.

Three Hang-Ups:

  1. I have to admit that I really didn't know what my spiritual gift was until about twelve years ago. I had been using it pretty much since high school. It was one of many things that made me stand out or different. But I don't recall anyone ever sitting down and teaching me anything about spiritual gifts, and Baptists really seemed to shy away from talking about the gift of prophecy and discernment.

    There was a time that I asked God to take away His gift of prophecy. It was physically and emotionally exhausting. He would put me in some crunchy situations, and people would wonder how I knew things that very few else did. I was given messages for people I didn't really know very well. I was given words for leadership in my church, and most frequently He did it at 3 AM in the morning. Please don't call me and ask me to give you the lottery numbers because it doesn't work like that. There were times the word I was given was hard to deliver. I just wanted out. I told God I'd take any of the other gifts other than mercy – no offense to my mercy friends; I just know mercy isn't me. But how vain was that? Have you ever tried to bargain with God? Do you see how ridiculous my request was? I might as well have asked God to make me naturally tan (not that He couldn't
    mind you. And for those who don't know me, I'm pigment challenged, critically Caucasian).

  2. I was also given the gift of leadership. I was disappointed with the results of some of the things I lead though. One of the things I felt lead to do no one even showed up! I wanted to be this dynamic, charismatic leader that people were drawn to. I wanted to lead wherever He wanted us to go. I'd charge hell with a water gun if He wanted me too, but I had a lot of maturing in my faith to do. I know God has called me to Women's Ministry. Even though it makes no sense to me why He would choose me to do so, I know He has. This time my age, experience, maturity in my faith, and truly seeking God's heart has given me a new perspective. I don't set expectations. Churches have to be run like a business, but God's work does not. If 10 women showed up, then God knew those were the women who needed to be there, and there is a reason for them being there. He has led me to do a few things around my church with the women, and I have been surprised by the number of women showing up because it has exceeded what I thought might happen. Not only did the number exceed my expectation, but the Holy Spirit moving has been phenomenal!


  3. And recently, I've been asked to meet other Christians at the homes of those who are sick or have difficult decisions or situations ahead in order to pray for them. There are other ladies there, and when they pray there is POWER! WOOOWEEEE, there's power, and if I'm not careful, I find myself thinking that I sure wish I could pray like her in the manner and conviction of those ladies. Ladies, if I ever get sick I have a list of ladies who I want to come and pray over me.


Do any of these sound familiar to you? Or have I just exposed myself and my vanity?

In preparing for this study two of the books I read were Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow and You Are Gifted. He addressed my hang-ups, and I'd like to pass that on to you.

  1. To be the person God designed you to be. 2 Tim 3:16-17

    God doesn't want us to be ignorant, yet we have A LOT of ignorant Christians running around today. They don't even know they are given a spiritual gift. They aren't growing in their faith. It's frustrating to me sometimes. There are so many with poor self-esteem and are down-trodden because of choices they have made, but if they only took that same amount of time getting to know their Savior on an intimate level they would realize just how valuable they are to Christ.


    One Sunday morning, I took my son's elephant to class or small group with me. I asked his permission to borrow "Blue" for an example. "Blue" the elephant has been with Pearce since he was an infant. "Blue" goes everywhere. All the workers in the nursery at church and at day care know who Blue belongs to. If I were to put Blue in a garage sell, I might get 10 cents…maybe, but to my son, he is priceless. Blue got left once at church, and we didn't sleep for two nights! Blue has value because my son loves him, and the thought of putting him away to save will not even be considered by my son. Do you realize that God loves you like that? You are priceless. He loves you. He cherishes you. He wants a relationship with you. Consider this – 1. He loves you so much He has the numbers of your hair numbered. 2. He loves you so much that before you were born He ordained your footsteps and numbered your days knowing what you are capable of doing in each. 3. He loves you so much that before the world was created He knew you would screw up and make mistakes, so He sent His only, perfect Son to die for us so we can be adopted by Him. He is where we need to get our value. And He is the one who knows what we are designed to be.


  2. "He is the source of results, not us." Pg 37 This means that no matter how things may turn out if you are following where He leads then the results will be what He wants them to be which may not be exactly what we had in mind. He sees the big picture, the end picture where we only see a snapshot in time. So, you feel no one sees you using your spiritual gift and that it is not of importance, Sista, think again! The Bible says what we do of our own spirit and ability will be like wood, hay and stubble when it comes to judgment day, but the things we do in His name, in His power will be as gold and fine jewels (1Cor 3:10-15). So whether you are behind the scenes, helping the down and out, serving, or using any other gift you think is not important, you need to remember who gave you your gift. You need to remember God doesn't make junk. He doesn't make any mistakes, and He not only sees you using your gift but He knows your heart. And ladies, when our heart and mind are right in our service it is a sweet aroma to our Lord and Savior (2 Cor 2:15).


  1. "Understanding that my ministry is received from the Lord eliminates competition." Pg 37

    "Our reward is not based on the effect of our service, but on the source of it." Pg 39 WOW! What would church be like if every Christian who attended church used their spiritual gift in service to our Heavenly Father in the body of Christ? What would it be like if every Christian behaved as if they understood this principle when exercising that spiritual gift? Churches would be radically different. Our society would be different.

Ladies, we get so distracted, and our eyes move off of our Savior onto what others are doing and onto ourselves that our relationship with Christ Jesus suffers. We need to allow Him to lead us in the direction we need to go using the gifts He has given us to further His kingdom – that is why He gave us those unique gifts after all.