Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Has a Love Letter from Your Father

The Lord has been sending sweet verses my way lately. I write them down on 3*5 cards that are spiral bound, and I keep them in my purse. I can pull it out and meditate when I have a moment, and some of these verses are the ones that came together for this letter. I do not quote the verse verbatim, but I try to convey the heart of the verse and how He speaks it to my heart. Hope it blesses yours too.


Dear Sweet Daughter of Mine,

    You are and forever will be my baby girl no matter your age or size, no matter your stage in life. You are mine. You are forever in my hands, in my arms (John 10:28). I won't fall asleep holding you: I will keep the sun off your face: I will keep the moon at bay so you can sleep. I will protect your very life. I am fierce when it comes to protecting and guarding you (Psalms 121:1-8). When you are anxious, I will hold you and quiet you down with my love, and I'll sing over you much like a new mother sings a lullaby to her baby. --Do you hear me singing over you? If not, stop a moment and listen. -- I take great delight in you and in doing for you because I am your God, your Father (Zephaniah 3:17). When you lie down, you don't have any reason to fear. Your sleep will be sweet (Proverbs 3:24). When you are troubled, I will surround you with my songs of deliverance (Psalms 32:7), can you hear them?    

Sweet girl, these things you are going through are temporary, and I promise you will get so much more out of these trials than you can ever imagine (Romans 8:18). What you see with your eyes is not what I see with mine. I see the growth that will come and has come through your life as a result of rain from heaven (Is 55:8-11). And when it seems more than you can bear, remember, I'm still here (Deuteronomy 31:6).

I am here to fix your broken heart. It isn't damaged beyond repair. I promise. You don't have to keep yourself bound to the pain any longer than is necessary if you will allow me to have it and to do with it as I see fit. You can be free of it today, just give it to your Daddy to handle. Will you? I'm ready to produce in you beauty for the ashes in your life and gladness to replace your mourning and sadness (Is 61:1-3). Is it no wonder that laughter is to follow weeping and dancing after mourning (Eccl 3:4)? I created you to have an abundant life (Jn 10:10), so arise, my love, feel my breath I give to you freely (John 20:22).

    My beautiful daughter, I want to see you dance! When I restore you (Psalms 23:3) I want to see you twirling around, moving and swaying with the song I've given you to sing (Psalms 30:11-12). I want to hear you sing. I want to hear you sing the new song I've given to you (Psalms 40:3). I want you to fill you with joy (Psalms 4:7), and I want to give you every good and perfect thing (James 1:17) for I am


                                Forever Your Father

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Says, “You Have Something on Your Face”

My beautiful, smart, strong-willed son met the disciplinarian of elementary school on his second full day of school. Yes, the SECOND DAY OF SCHOOL! He did not get taken into her office though. She told him he wouldn't like going into her office, but she lectured him in the hall. Hopefully enough to make a good impression on a certain kindergartner. I tell you this because as part of his punishment at home, he lost his electrical privileges – no TV and no CD player for most of the weekend. On Saturday, he was outside playing when I called him into supper. Pearce made a bead line straight to the bathroom – BTW, THIS IS NOT THE NORM. I met him coming out of the bathroom. He had changed clothes trying to hide the evidence, but it was still splattered all over his face and hair and smeared on his arms and legs.

"Pearce, what were you doing outside?"

"Nuffin. Just playin."

"Why did you change clothes?"

"I was hot and sweaty."

"Pearce, did you get into some paint?"

Pause. "Yes, ma'am."

"What did you paint?"

Another pause as if wondering what to confess to. "The gate."

We went and ate supper, but he barely ate a thing. I put him in the tub and scrubbed and scrubbed, but the paint just wasn't coming off.

My husband lay down in the bed with Pearce that night and started asking questions about his "paint job." "Son, did you paint my four wheeler?"

Surprised and shocked, Pearce said, "No, sir. I wouldn't do that." And then he confessed to another item he painted. Come to find out Pearce had also painted some of the driveway, the house, and a few other things.

"Pearce, did you use the paint in the white can or the black?"

"Black." Patrick looked up at me and said, "That one's oil-based." (For those of you who don't paint, the oil-based paint does not come off.) Pearce wore his paint to school for the next week.

He is so clever. I know he's just being all boy, but as I was thinking about this whole incident it paralleled sin in a Christian's life. Our sin starts with one thing like Pearce's conversation with the disciplinarian, but often leads to another which can sometimes seem totally unrelated like Pearce's paint job.

Then we try to change or "fix it," so we don't get caught, but God always sees. We are wearing the flakes of sin all over our face but our clothes look fine. We think what we are showing the world is nice clean clothes, but people in the world aren't stupid. They know. They see. They see us wearing our sin and trying to hide it. How are we any different than they are? Instead of trying to conceal our sin, why don't we confess it and be honest. Got a problem with honesty? Got a problem with eating? Got a problem with spending too much? Got a problem with keeping someone's trust? Got a problem with being critical? Got a problem with being exclusive and judging others? Trust me, everybody else knows. It's all over your face. If you don't think so, look at your girlfriend, can you see her sin on her face? Living a life that is pleasing to God, living a life that is transparent showing "warts and all," and learning how to receive forgiveness and overcome – now that's what the world needs to see more of. That's what our government needs more of. That's what our churches need more of. Let it begin with me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Has More Words from your Father

This past week, I've had to deal with some things, and some of it involved my pride. I tripped on it.

Spending time with God in the quiet seems to be more and more difficult to find which means I need it more now than before. He is always so faithful to stay, to love, to be by my side. These are the words He spoke to me, and the words I read to the ladies of Calvary's Women IN Ministry. Apparently, some of them were dealing with their own stuff and needed a word like I did.

Dear Daughter of Mine,

    You are my precious daughter, and you are the apple of my eye (Ps 17:8). Everything you are going through or dealing with I know about because I have hemmed you in from the front and the back (Ps 139:5). That thing you carry in your heart, that problem, that burden, that situation – do you not realize I can do more, immeasurably more than you ask (Eph 3:20)? And no matter what is happening, I want you to behave as I would (Phil 1:27). You need to imitate me, your Father (Eph 5:1). It's easy to get hurt or be hurt, but if you are doing my will, sweet child of mine, then it's not about you, it's about me, and I can handle it because you aren't fighting against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12). Girl, this battle isn't yours. It's mine (2 Chron. 20:15).

    Just keep your focus on me, sweetheart. It's not easy being the daughter of the Almighty King. I understand. It requires you to look after the needs of others and serve with humility (Phil 2:4) and not complain (Phil 2:14). I want to hear you building others up, being compassionate, and forgiving (Eph 4:28, 32). You need to trust that the reward is great; after all, you are an heiress (Rms 8:17) to me, Your Father, who has cattle on a thousand hills (Ps 50:10) – that means I'm loaded. I can meet your needs (Phil 4:19). You need to realize and believe I'm going to work it all out for your good and my glory (Rms 8:28), so don't be anxious for anything just be grateful and talk to me. I want to hear you, to give you peace, and to guard your heart from being hurt (Phil 4:6-7).

    You are my daughter, and even if you don't know where you are going in life or in this ministry, I do. I will lead you and guide you even when you can't see around the next bend, and when things seem dark, I know what is going to happen, and I am preparing the way (Is 42:16). And even if you think you know the plan, trust me, I'm the One who has laid out your footsteps (Prov 16:9). I won't leave you, precious one, or abandon you (Heb 13:5). You mean too much to me.

                                    Your Father

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Has a Confession: I Jiggle When I Giggle

A couple of weeks ago I realized that I could no longer deny my adulthood. I am in full-blown adulthood. I know it must sound odd, but it didn't really strike me or cause me shock until I was introduced as this lady's Sunday school teacher and the director of the women's ministry at Calvary. Doesn't that make me sound…old? That's when it hit me. I've become her. I've become that woman I thought I would never be. I've become a woman who is a wife and a mother and is happy to be both. I've become the woman who has now stepped head-on into leadership. It's my turn.

Even though I'm starting my second year as the leader in women's ministry and as a teacher of women for some reason it just really hit me that I've become her. I've become the mean mom. I've become a mentor, and the one people ask for advice. I've become the woman with soft spots that jiggle when I giggle. (I am thankful I haven't become the woman who tinkles when she giggles…hehehe! I'm sure my day is coming though.) It feels as if I'm just now stepping into my stride, and to top it all off I turn 40 in September. (The number doesn't bother me.) Why is it that I'm just now hitting my stride in life? It isn't because my home is immaculate or that I have all my ducks in a row. What is it?

I realize now it is the rich tapestry of people and events that God has woven into my life that has prepared me for such a time as this. When He was creating me in my mother's womb, He knew He was creating me with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). He knew by creating me with ADHD that I would know I was different as early as third grade, and that I would float from one group of girls to the next searching for a friend that I wouldn't find until late junior high. By allowing me to be ADHD, He knew I would have to learn to get along with girls I didn't exactly care for. He knew by creating me with ADHD, I'd be able to overcome and learn to compensate therefore being able to complete many tasks and complex investigations making me successful in my first career. He knew when He was creating me in my mother's womb that He was creating me to be strong-willed. He knew my parents were capable of knocking off the edges, my husband would round off the edges, and my children would soften the edges. He knew I'd have issues with submission, and He chose my parents knowing my mom would ultimately teach me the most about submission not only to God but to my husband. God knew before the world was created who He was creating me to be at this time in my life. He has been weaving a vibrant tapestry in which I hope He is seen. This tapestry that has now culminated into a calling on my life to minister to women was known to Him before the world was formed. It is truly amazing to see how He taught me how to get along with different people at an early age, how to observe and use my gift of discernment in my career, how to submit to the authority in my life, and how to be a leader using the temperament He gave me. These things and so many more He now wants me to use in the ministry to which He has called me.

The great thing is He does it for every single person on the face of the earth. I unfortunately just figured it out for myself during self-exploration during a leadership class at seminary. I learned seven years ago that God doesn't waste anything in our lives. I just hadn't realized how He is able to weave things that appear to be so disconnected into something I would call my life, my ministry.

What is He preparing you for? What has He created you to be? What are you going to be when you grow up? Ask Him, "Search me and try me, O Lord. For your ways and your thoughts are higher than my ways and thoughts." He is faithful.


P.S. This is not to say that I have arrived because He has not finished with me yet. This was just one of those ah-ha moments for me to realize how He is using it all for my good and His glory.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Has a Lesson on Encouragement

This past weekend I had the pleasure of going to She Speaks. It's a conference for Christian women who have a ministry in speaking, writing, or leading. This was my second year. Last year, I was very uncomfortable there, not because of anything they did but because of my own history and training. You see, these women have a heart for ministry that is focused on Jesus Christ, and they are genuinely glad to be serving in that capacity. Therefore, 600 women were smiling at me, greeting me, talking to me, and it made me very uneasy. People who smile at me on the job usual mean they have pulled one over on me, and I haven't done my job, and here there were 600 women in bright lipstick smiling at me! Unsettling. This year my mom got to go with me. I followed the Women's Ministry Track for the most part but added some of the speaking track because it is one thing for me to get up and speak in my professional voice, but when I'm in front of women, leading women there is another voice I have to use. So, on Friday night I had to give a 3 minute testimony to a group of 12 other speaker track women and on Saturday night a 5 minute teaching speech. When I concluded my talk on Saturday night, if the women weren't crying they were at least tearing up, and the instructor said she felt it was anointed and asked me to send it to her, specifically the scripture. So, if that small group of women could glean something from this, maybe you can too.
In 2007, my mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer that really bordered on stage 4. Her oncologist said she was in the fight of her life for her life and that he would be giving her the strongest chemo on the market and the largest dose her body could handle. From that point, God took me out of a very active role in my mom's life into a passive role which I hated. I don't sit well. I'm a doer. I'm a fighter. I am not a sitter, but every time I got up to move He would effectively sit my behind back down. When I finally got the picture, I prayed, "Lord, if you aren't going to use me the least You could do is teach me something. I don't want this to go to waste." (Be careful what you pray for!) He began to teach me how to encourage. You see, I had never been around anyone who had cancer. I didn't know what to say or what was appropriate. Fortunately, it was my mom, so if I offended her, she was still going to love me.
Then one day when I had hit a wall and struggled to put one foot in front of the other, the Holy Spirit reached out and encouraged me by personalizing the Scripture in my heart.
We all have people who God sends into our lives, and we don't know how to encourage them. Someone may be going through cancer, miscarriage, financial problems, eating disorders, divorce, abuse, etc. and He wants you to minister to them. We are so blessed to have the Bible. It is the only book that is living and applicable to all situations. What the Holy Spirit taught me and spoke to me is what I want to share with you.
  1. Memorize the Word of God. We are to bind the Word of God on our hearts. Some may have difficulty in memorizing, so get a small, spiral bound set of note cards. Put a verse on each card, and put the cards in your bag. You pull it out when you are waiting at the bank or in a fast food line, and you read it over and over meditating on it as you study it. Ladies, you've just had a sweet moment with Jesus in the middle of your day. I put verses that I use on a regular basis. I write down verses that might be for someone else, but I keep it because I know He will use it for others. I put my favorite verses there because sometimes I forget where they are located.
  2. Meditate on the Word of God. Once we are memorizing the Word of God, we need to be meditating on the Word of God. While we are meditating, we need to be lifting that fellow believer up in prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in how to pray and what you are to pray for that person. Ladies, He is faithful. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to verses for the one who needs encouraging. This is why memorizing is so important. The Holy Spirit may give you a word like "courage." You are to pray for courage for that woman in need of encouragement. Then start digging in your concordance or on http://www.biblegateway.com/ for verses along this line. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.
  3. Make it personal. Then once the verses have been given to you, summarize the verses and insert the person's name being sure to put the location of the verse in parenthesis.

As I prayed about this time, the Holy Spirit led me to verses to read over you. (At this point, I asked the ladies to bow their heads and close their eyes.)

This is from your Heavenly Father:
Sweet daughter of mine, I love you. I love you so much, child, that I have engraved you on the palm of my hand (Is 49:16). I have hemmed you in and my hand is upon you (Ps 139:5). Do you feel me? The tears you have cried were so precious to me, and I've collected each one of them (Ps 56:8). I even have the hairs on your very head numbered (Mt 10:30). Sweet daughter, you are the apple of my eye, and I want to protect you (Ps 17:8). If you will just acknowledge me and who I am to you, I will lay out your way for you (Pro. 3:6). Trust me, child, I will never abandon you (Heb 13:5). Do you hear me? I'm telling you, precious one, it's me telling you to turn to the right or to the left or to walk this way (IS 30:21). Girl, I have plans for you.
I want to be your hope, and I am your future (Jer 29:11). Trust me, child, when I say that I haven't finished with you yet. I'm going to continue my work in you (Phil 1:6). And there isn't anything you will go through that I didn't know about. NOTHING SURPRISES ME, and I'm going to use every bit of it to your benefit and my glory because you love Me (Rms 8:28).

Ladies, I hope that encouraged you. I pray that hearing God's Word spoken to you making it personal encouraged you, and it's my prayer that you will be able to use this to encourage others.