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Piece by piece

I sat down at a table with two of my favorite people, both of which seemed to genuinely want to joy in the process of putting together a puzzle. I really could not wrap my brain around a puzzle being quote unquote “FUN”. I finally understood why when I say, “Let’s go for a RUN! It will be so much fun!” Bernie gives me such a grave look of disapproval followed by a big, “NO!!!!!”

This puzzle came in a zip lock baggie with no picture or indication of how many pieces it contained; this puzzle looked to be older than the millennials and they were enthusiastic to take the puzzle on. They both were patient in separating the pieces, pulling the edges aside and finding their connecting pieces. They made piles of like pieces and then began to twist and turn each piece to see if they could find its connection to the bigger picture.

I sat and tried to muster the joy up to participate but all I saw was pure unharnessed chaos. There were no rules except that each piece had its own place, and the more you tried to make them fit the more they rebelled and did not join the one you held. The more I watched, the more I saw this incredible metaphor for life and I learned some amazing lessons that night sitting watching them put together a puzzle with no direction.

I love competition and as we sat placing pieces into piles we began to each have our own calling that sprung from our lips with each victory that pursued from the connection of two pieces. “WHEEEEE” I yelped as I got one to connect to another. “Whoop” she sang as they clicked into the picture, another “Whoop” as she found another and yet another “Whoop” as the pieces seemed to easily find their place. Bernie’s ability to piece together the pieces with their rightful place was really irritating but also intriguing. I watched as her and my mom took each piece and looked for its rightful place. I questioned them, “What happens when you guys spend all this time, hours, only to finish with one or two pieces missing?” They both laughed at me, “You don’t focus on that one missing piece.”

“Whoop whoop,” rang from my mom’s lips, a long pause, “Whoop!” came from Bernie’s tongue. I watched, “This puzzle is a lot like how I feel about life!” They both laughed at me. The more I watched the more I came to understand the proverb that says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Along with the proverb that says, “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?” (Proverbs 20:24)

The more I watched, the more the puzzle felt like life, we try and try to force pieces to fit. We cram our way through doors that really are not open or find a window we can jump through only to find it is a piece of our puzzle we twisted and turned only to realize that it really did not match the picture we are trying to paint.  I watched as they found pieces that clicked into place and as they found their match words of praise flowed from their mouths, “Whoop whoop!” “Weeee!” and “Whoop!” How amazing those words could ring from the lips of the flesh and how much more do they ring as we step into the places where our pieces click and our Father in Heaven yells words of joy as we fit into the places He has created specifically for us! “WHOOP WHOOP!” He sings as we step into His purpose and His calling. “Weeeee!” as we love on those that desperately long to see His face. “Whoop!” as we simply fall to our knees and pour praise from out of our hearts and into His ears.

That night I had to drag my mom to bed, “Mom, let’s go to bed,” I paused, “I don’t think a puzzle, just like life, was meant to be figured out in one night!” I laughed as I finished the thought. The truth is though, that God doesn’t give us the whole picture; that would be too easy; no He give us breath and then allows us the grace to begin to put the pieces together as He leads us. It takes more than one night, it takes more than two nights, and no matter how much my future oriented heart longs to know 10 or 20 years into the future He simply reaches out His hand and asks me to trust Him to click the pieces into place. As He connects us to the next piece we will hear a “Whoop and Wee” that will create excitement to keep trusting Him for the entire puzzle.

We finished that puzzle and wouldn’t you know there was a piece missing and I was the only one who seemed to have a problem with the fact that puzzle was lacking.  In life we need to surround ourselves with individuals that see us for the whole picture and don’t need our lives or our puzzle to be perfect. All those that worked on that puzzle all week only saw the complete picture, that puzzle wasn’t lacking, there is beauty in the imperfect.  Imperfection only allows room for God’s glory to show even more! Let Him have control of your entire picture and focus on stepping into the piece you are on.  Don’t force it to fit, let Him turn the pieces. He will piece it together into the bigger picture and one day you will see how all those little pieces were masterfully created and painted by the Master Artist Himself!

Blessings for an incredible God filled Week!

Stacy

Whose Armor are you wearing?

There is an incredible story I’m sure you know so well; the story where a shepherd boy faces a giant:

1 Samuel 17

King Saul and the Israelite’s made camp in the Valley of Elah where they stayed on one side of the valley on the hill and the Philistines camped on the opposite side of the valley on that hill.  The lines were drawn and a champion, a scary deep toned giant Philistine, comes forward every day for forty days challenging Israel.  He wants just one of Saul’s men to step forward and fight him to the death and whoever wins, wins for their nation and the loser would be the winning nation’s subjects.  No man had the courage to face him, not a single warrior from Israel.  They listened to his challenge and hoped against hope someone other than themselves would come forward to put their life on the line. Not one of the soldiers had enough courage to try.

Jesse’s sons are there, part of the warriors camped on the hill, and he sends his youngest, David, to check on them.  David gets there and hears the challenge the terrifying Philistine yells.  He begins to question the situation and word gets back to King Saul of what David has said so he sends for David.

David has now been summoned into the King’s presence and he makes his case that he is not just a young inexperienced shepherd boy who doesn’t know how to fight!  No! He serves God and God has saved him from not only the paw of a bear but the paw of a lion and through those battles God trained his young heart how to fight like a warrior, how to be brave and bold in God’s victory and power.

The man who should be stepping up, the man who is experienced in battle, the leader and king of Israel gives David his blessing to go and fight the Philistine.  Saul, a warrior, a manly man, who is a head taller than other men, takes his armor and places it on David, a young man not yet fully grown into his feet or his chest.  I have to think Saul truly had good intentions in this moment to take care of the only brave man standing on Israel’s side, the only one who is willing to face this dangerous threat to Israel.  He wanted David to walk into battle with the best armor available, his armor, because he wanted victory for David, victory for Israel, victory for himself.

Here’s where it gets really good:

This skinny lanky shepherd boy respectfully allows the king to place the armor on him and then he tries to walk around in them; but he couldn’t walk right.  The armor did not fit him.  This young man then does the unthinkable, he turns to the king of Israel in verse 39, “”I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.”  So he took them off.”  He then stands on the armor God had given him, his God identity, a staff, 5 smooth stones in a pouch, and his sling and he goes out to face the giant knowing and trusting that God is with him and that God will fight for him.

He finds victory that day in the armor God designed just for him.

Every day we face the unknown, we face challenges and giants, we face joys and fears, and we face choices.  Sometimes the choices aren’t so easy and life gets confusing.  Every morning we get up and we step into our armor.  We step out into battle.  You know God has designed you with a purpose and has armor that fits only you!  He has wired you in His image and given you an identity in Him!  You are not an accident and the King of Kings has armor that fits you perfectly.  This world is going to offer all different types of armor some will fit a bit, others not at all, and still others might fit for a time but you may grow out of them.  We have to stay close to God, like David who knew God was with him always, and allow Him to put the armor onto us that fits just perfect.  We have to be brave enough to hold tightly to Him and allow His voice to be the only one that matters, the only one we listen to, the only one we allow influence over what armor we wear.

We have a job to do in this world! We have to stand up and run, chasing Jesus, and allow Him to grow us and build us into the warriors He has for us to be.  Our identity should be founded solely in who He says we are!  Let’s take off the armor that doesn’t fit and allow Him the control to place the right armor on us that will allow us to go and love like Christ!

Blessings,

Stacy

Is Time the goal?

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”     Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

Time passes and seasons change, life moves on and moments fade; true joy becomes a memory and the life making moments find a way to end.  We beg for those times to stop, freeze, and hang onto us as if it is a secret never to be told.  We long for just one more second to be lost in the beauty of pure perfection that life sometimes gives. The idea that the future can exist without those exact moments happening again burrows deep into a restless heart that is trying to grow deeper in faith. This idea rustles through my soul that the future will soon be the past and my thoughts will be drawn deep into the game of remembering and longing for a repeat of the moment that seemed to bring such fulfillment, such joy.  Time, uninterrupted unconditional time, is my love language and I find myself hanging onto time in hopes of never losing love.  So a future where time is stopped, those moments where my heart feels the most eternal deep love it can here on earth, had become a goal to hold onto; something I will never obtain this side of heaven.

Those perfect moments temp my present, daring me to try to stop time; but no matter how my heart begs the only thing that I’ve found when dealing with time is the promise of constant momentum and ultimately an ending.  The endings often bring a sense of loss, joy enveloped with a sadness, profound brokenness all wrapped in the throbbing of perfection that one moment recklessly held.  Those moments we need to hold tightly onto as we move forward on the road that promises more; more laughter, more holiness, and more deep unconditional love; but is it the time we should grab onto?

Many of the moments I long to grasp and hold onto tightly, to stop and stay in, are made on a road.  A road is always moving forward and always seeking a new adventure.  It never seems to be satisfied, it just keeps moving and gives way to undivided time and peace in the presence of those closest to you.  It promises journey and life at every stop all while beckoning you to keep moving forward and never stopping for far too long.  The stops only provide those heart quenching details that build the road into even more of a friend and dare you to dream of all the incredible things that lie at the next exit.  Those detours are just moments that pause the movement of the road but never pauses time or the deepening of the friendship the road holds.

Over the last eight months time has been the thing I keep begging to stop, the thing I find myself longing to hold onto and desperately white knuckle gripping.  I wanted to stop time to control the ending, to make certain this life doesn’t end in loss or pain.  A few days ago, in a moment of time, I learned a tender truth I almost missed as one of our soccer players clung onto my shoe; time is a friend, a conduit, that brings the most beautiful heart-full joys into your life but time is not the thing to try to hold onto, no it’s not the thing that we truly want to possess; as I looked down and saw her hand gripping my shoe enjoying the time she had with me I felt a tug on my heart, we should be holding onto those that time allows us to be with not gripping the vessel that allows us to be with them.  That husband that not only promises the world but delivers, yeah hang onto him; that friend your heart is intertwined with, hold tight to her; that mentor who loves you without any strings and who does in fact stop time for you, she is a keeper; that young girl who listens to your every word and sees someone she admires, what an honor to hold onto her;  your little one whose grin shines and their big brown eyes light up when you walk through the door, grab onto them steadfastly and close;  your mom who moves heaven and earth just to be with you for a second, she might just be the one you should white knuckle; what about your hero that believes in you and pushes you to be all that God has for you to be, maybe hold him tight too.

God is a God of relationship and He longs for you and all your time, wrap your arms around His waist and fall recklessly  into His tender embrace!  Let Him hang onto you!

All this time I have been longing to stop time, to halt it in the real and the raw, but the truth is the real and the raw lies deep within your relationship with Jesus and the relationships that He has blessed your life with.  Time allows our roots the unwavering ability to grow and grow deep in Him and through Him we find true fellowship and unconditional love and grace from those He gives us.

Unconditional is hard to find in this day and age, but it does it exist.  It may be rarer than a unicorn but when you find those who forgive your humanness and hold you tight in their unconditional grace, because their hearts long and look so much like Jesus, those are the ones you should grab onto and hold with all your might!  Those relationships that shine Jesus in every direction, the ones whose hearts beat with His rhythm, those individuals who always point you back to Him and show you His deep compassion just simply by the way they look in your eyes, those relationships are the things you should be hanging onto, not time.

There is a season for everything under the sun and God uses time to be the sunshine to grow and nurture those relationships that push you towards Him and becoming more and more holy so that one day your heart will look like His.  So hang on tight and allow time to be the vessel that deepens your heart into Him and allow His love to pour through your relationships.

This week take time to love others, grab onto them in those moments with the love of Christ and go out and enjoy the ride He has for you! Let time grow you deeper into Him! Hold tight…. it’s one incredible timeless road.

Blessings,
Ferg

Business of Holiness

Replaceable

What a word.  

What an idea.

Our society is in the business of replacement.  You get a new iPhone and a newer more advanced one is in the works of being released. Your boyfriend makes you mad there is a better guy just around the corner.  Your friend is not quite the perfect fit with you, well that girl over there looks like she might be more fun and obviously has it all together. You make a mistake at work and next thing you know you are carrying a box of your personal items down the hallway as someone new is settling in decorating your office.  

What a truth.

Growing up I remember being told, “If you don’t use what God gave you, you will lose it!” and “If you don’t do what God has for you, it’s OK He will have someone who will do what He needs done!”

Fear raged in my bones. Perfection became the goal because I did not want to miss one moment with God and I did not want to fail Him.  I longed to be a player in the game and to never sit on the bench because of a mistake or a choice that was not of Him.

Belmont Baptist University was a moment in my young adult life full of success, pride and ultimate failure.  God gave me everything I ever longed for during that brief moment. I got to work the Christian Country Music awards, I set up and tore down stages, I got to see my Hero on the Ryman Auditorium stage sing, I stood on the Ryman stage and felt history fill my lungs, and I watched a city alive with music and heart give life to dreams that had been dreamt with blood and tears, joy and hope.  Every moment was incredible and then I left my dream. I walked away from the dream of one day being a tour manager. I was homesick and I felt a tug back to art and the one place my soul longed for…HOME. I could not handle the alone-ness of a booming city or the idea that I would trade a husband and family for a life on the road. I searched the Word and I begged God for relief and then I felt Him gently allow me to come home.  Looking back I truly thought I missed it, I thought I allowed my homesick tears to make the ultimate call and I thought I was replaced on a future tour bus and ultimately as a Kingdom worker. I came home and when I did those words echoed in my ears, “God will put someone else in your spot.” “You are not worthy to work for the Kingdom!” “You missed the mark and now you are benched!” “You are replaced!” “Art is your consolation prize.”

Have you ever felt that way?  Benched? Failure? Mediocre?

Have you ever felt like maybe God benched you because you simply did not measure up or you were just not strong enough?  You had to settle for the consulation prize?

Have you ever felt like no matter what you did you simply could not compete on the field God was playing on? You simply fell into the mediocre category?

Jonah was a man who knew God.  He had a relationship with Him and he blatantly chose to run the opposite direction from the place God commanded him to go, the city of Nineveh.  God could have simply called up another prophet. Let’s be honest, it may have been easier on God to do this but God is not in the business of easy, He is in the business of holy and He did not simply call up the next guy in line to do the job of prophesying to Nineveh; instead, He provided a great big fish to swallow Jonah up and get him back on the right track.  Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of that fish and then finds himself thrown up on the shore.  Jonah then walks in obedience to God by going to Nineveh and doing exactly what God asked.

You see, when we are in God’s family, when you belong to Him, He is in the business of holiness and not exchanging us out for another willing individual because that might be easier.  He doesn’t want to leave us mediocre or on the bench.

I always wanted to be a tour manager.  You know traveling down the road late into the night, hanging out on the bus, eating horrible fast food, setting up the stage, staying in hotels watching the TV late into the night, being the encouraging motivating voice before the show, and then hanging out backstage with my heart pounding with pride as the band killed it on stage!  

January 2018 as we barreled down the road headed to a soccer tournament in Paris, Texas God revealed to me the gift He had placed on my life.  I had put Him in a box and He showed me that desire in the true form it was always meant to be. I am a tour manager, I get to step out of a bus after a long drive and walk onto a stage that is a green turf field.  I get the honor of pouring into a group of girls and coach a game that is deep in my . I get to ride a bus late into the night with two dozen tired rock stars and learn the game of coaching from the best of the best.  I get to encourage from the side of the stage as the concert rages, all 80 minutes of it. You see God doesn’t “replace” you! He promotes you and encourages you into His calling of making disciples and loving others. I was never meant to manage a singer or a band on a bus touring the country.  No, I was meant to learn, mentor, encourage, co-manage and assist in coaching a team of girls on the stage of a turf field while God allows me to plant seed after seed into their vulnerable young hearts!

You aren’t replaceable…Let me say that again, “YOU ARE NOT REPLACEABLE!”  God has a plan and a purpose for you and sometimes it takes a big fish and three nights in his belly to get back on track but God won’t give up on you, you are HIS and He is in the business of holiness!

Blessings,

Stacy

New Roots of Deeper Trust

“See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19

I sat and shook my head as God made clear He had a new word for me.  I always felt as though January 1st was a day full of cliches and resolutions never to be fulfilled but on January 1, 2018 God tugged at my heart over and over with Isaiah 43:19.  I felt the whisper on my heart, “NEW! 2018 is not the end of your 2017 run, we are just getting started and you are going to see “new” everywhere!”

We had a new normal as life fell apart and my husband and I learned to be just two again.  Everywhere I looked I saw new, a new friendship, a new calling, a new chapter, a new hope for the future.  I have always assumed new was positive, this year taught me different, new can be amazing as you walk into new friendships or new callings, but sometimes new can be hard and it can hurt.  New involves a beginning and growth usually takes place in the middle.  Growth involves stretching and pain, often challenging us to fall face first into His deep embrace.

I sat on the turf that day in December, an ache radiating through my veins as I tried desperately to find a way to make it through the next couple of hours.  Alone, very alone, and to be honest I wanted to feel that coldness for a moment.  I wanted to know the deep ache and hurt that alone can bring, it almost felt as though I had a friend in those moments of alone-ness, a place to hide before I faced the reality of what this new might bring.

Hours later in the safety of calm, I wept as I came face to face with the feelings the loneliness had masked.  I wept as I tried to make sense of moments and words my heart was having a hard time translating.  I wept as my words tried to explain this new pain it did not understand to ears that would listen.  I felt the loss of control as my tears fell desperate for some hope.  Chaos strangled my heart as she tried to help me fall fast into a relief that only hope spoken could provide.

Four days later:

The room was cold, the assistant sat in the chair that found sanctuary behind a desk that barricaded her from us.  We waited, an uncertainty filled the room, a confusion that seemed to desperately try to convey hope.

That word has a lot of enemies and it was about to provoke an anger and hatred deep in my core.  “….Cancer….” came from the doctor’s mouth.  I had already read her as she had walked into the room knowing full well what she would say but now the air held the heaviness of the uninvited guest that just bombarded my family.

New, another new journey, a new enemy, a new emotion evoked deep in my soul.

God is so funny though I could feel the tender pull of the Holy Spirit.  I felt as though the season with the word new was ending.  This ending was different, I could feel that something new was coming that was deeper than new, the nudge was so tender and sweet but I couldn’t see past this step, I just felt the tender tug.  I felt left in the dark as the Holy Spirit seemed to take my heart and gently prepare it for something new, something big, something I didn’t expect.

Mom started chemo on a Monday.

She sat down in a chair that first night after hours of newness, I could see the weight of the day sitting deep in her eyes as she sat strong and firm trying not to permit the tired ache to overtake.  I felt the burden, I felt the anger well up.  I would do anything to beat this uninvited guest!  The tender peace my heart fought that night throbbed in my veins burying the anger.  The flesh wanted to be angry, but the heart juxtaposed that anger and was full of God’s grace and faith that He already had this.

The whisper becoming stronger… new is just the beginning of something deeper.

January brought with it a new high school soccer season and a stronger tug.

Tournament 1…

We sat in a cold locker room.  The floor was unsympathetic and the air seemed heavy and crowded with doubt.  We began speaking to them on trusting their teammates and being positive on the field.  We talked about what trusting our teammates looked like and asked some hard questions about if they truly trusted each other or not.  We saw the spark that game, the heart began to play to the game.  The weekend was marked with moments of pure tenacity and grit clouded by moments of chaos that seemed to be fueled by an insecurity and loss of confidence.  The tender tug was growing.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:7-8

We talked about trust, trust and more trust for our girls, our team.  Moments seemed to come that pierced my own awareness that I only had head knowledge of the word and not true heart knowledge.  God gently tugged and asked me to trust Him and the incredible individuals He hand chose to impact my life.  Trust Him that He holds my mom.  Trust Him that the cancer will be eradicated from her body.  Trust Him that He is the one in control and that He will be my strength all ways, He has the victory.  Trust the people He has carefully chosen to place in my life with a new level of vulnerability and love. Trust the day to day that His hand is in even the very small things we might overlook as insignificant.

Trust, what a simple word, such a hard concept, such an important action.  To trust someone is to place a deep faith and hope in them.  It means that you allow them a place, a profound vulnerability, to know you in a new way.  Trust is giving up control and resting in a peace you may have never known before.   To trust someone is learning to be courageous and find a new strength as we wait expectantly for that relationship to grow and stay strong, providing an unconditional love this world rarely holds.

Monday morning a chair waits for her and medicine that will attack the enemy we so desperately long to defeat.  Another round, another moment, where my flesh throbs to protect her and longs to fix this for her.  His hand is wrapped tightly in hers and He will whisper softly to her as the medicine courses through her veins. I watch her trust Him through the hard; His eyes hold a gentleness as He sits beside her through every second of chemo.  Her faith is Daniel sized and her trusts rests solely in Him.

Trust, I thought I understood that word intensely in my chest, I’m learning I have a lot to learn as I allow Him the control, the grip on the moment to moment of everyday life, the hold on my heart as it fights insecurity and loss of control.

Monday came…

As I sat in the chair across from her, the room began to fill with more precious fighters.  The chairs held hearts and dreams hooked to IV drips.  The room held emotions so thick your heart had no choice but to absorb the pain, the hardship, the hurt; but it also held a hope, an overwhelming saturating hope.  The enemy, cancer, doesn’t have a chance as it sits trying to overtake these strong warriors.  I have never been surrounded by such incredible strength as I sat overwhelmed at the fight taking place before my eyes.  As we left the room to fight the fight at home, my heart was bombarded with an incredible trust.  She has a long path ahead of her full of pain, sickness, and change but the hope that radiates off of her weak frail body is entrancing and calls for a trust so pure and so determined my heart can’t help but fall deeper into an unfailing faith.

If we place our trust firmly in Him we will find a peace that passes all understanding.  We will discover a hope we have never introduced our hearts to.  We find a security that only He can provide even in the midst of life’s most difficult and uncertain storms.  To allow Him full control sounds like we are giving up our freedom but that is just a lie the enemy hopes we buy into so we fight Him for control.  Placing our trust deep into Jesus is the most freeing act we can do.  We will find that every moment can be faced head on bravely as we trust the one who knows all things!

I challenge you to look to Him and allow Him to grow your faith deeper in trusting Him with even the smallest moment, the smallest hurdle.  He will place individuals in your world as amazing examples of what true trust can be.  He will scoop you up close and show you a world of hope you may have never even imagined existed.

Blessings,

Ferg

Confidence through His eyes

Sometimes I feel broken, you know that feeling where because your life doesn’t quite look like the picturesque dream the world says it should be so therefore you must not be enough feeling; yeah, that feeling.  That picture is not my life and I feel like my brokenness makes me less than whole.  I worry that we failed  and we are too broken to even be acknowledged, to even be taken seriously, to truly make a difference.  The struggle with imperfection and failing is a constant battle.

But then sometimes God whispers a sweet nudge reminding me that just because my reality is not what the world says is enough, that reality is not His reality and it does not make me less than.  Sometimes God’s plans look very different from we want or expect. His plans may not be what the world says is enough, but they are so very good and when we step into His plans we see how He sees us and the wholeness He provides!

I woke up to the sound of the text dinging my phone, “Who in the world could be texting me as the sun comes up?” I thought to myself.  I ignored the ding for a time, but ultimately my curiosity got the best of me and I rolled over. It was someone who holds my heart in a special way that I can’t find the right words to describe how amazing she is;  she had been talking with God and in the middle of her quiet time He placed me on her heart. The simple fact that on this particular day God tugged at her to reach out showed me how deeply He cares for the small things, how deeply he cares for each of us.

See, I was incredibly nervous, the kind of nervous where your heart seems to jump out of your chest while your lungs hold a breath in the deepest part and your body seems to bounce around uncontrollably while your brain scrambles in hopes of not blowing the entire thing!  Yeah, that is exactly where I was, crawling out of my skin scared. Fear had taken over and I desperately pleaded that I would not disappoint or fail my friend that entrusted October 6th in my hands.  In the grand scheme of things this day was small but I felt the weight of coaching well heavy on my shoulders.  For weeks I had been bending God’s ear about doing this day well; I did not want to fail.  This day felt as though I would find my coaching voice or I was never going to amount to anything as a coach.  It felt as though there was no in between.

Her text demanded a trust that I tell her what was going on and I couldn’t help but oblige.  She knows me well and her heart for God only draws me into a deep trust where I can’t tell her no.  I told her how I was fearful of disappointing my friend along with the failure that could occur on the field.  She gently poured words of wisdom and advice into me all while pointing me back to Jesus.

The funniest thing happened as we talked, I began to visualize Jesus standing with me on the sidelines that my feet would soon fill.  He had on our team shirt along with His face painted to support me. His face held a pure smile that His eyes could barely contain and He had a bright yellow foam finger with my name printed in black written LARGE across it all while His fist pumped through the air, yelling every exciting encouraging word His mouth could contain as He watched me coach from the sidelines.  A crazy picture, I know, but for the first time I saw Jesus as my cheerleader! A huge fan that when His eyes looked at me He saw someone who He absolutely adores. This idea, where the most important man who has EVER walked on this earth, looks at me and all He sees is, someone He truly loves and adores overwhelmed my heart in such a way that I could not hold it in, my eyes filled with blue waves that overflowed running quickly down my cheeks.  Her text, a moment my heart truly needed, opened a door in my heart where for a moment I could see myself through Jesus’ eyes.

It’s hard for me to think I deserve that type of adoration, that type of unconditional insane crazy  love. I typically only see my failings, my flaws, my shortcomings, but for a moment that morning I saw something a little bit different.  I saw a moment where Jesus sees me for who I am in Him and ultimately for who He is making me to be.  I was filled with a deep confidence that no matter if I failed or found my wings I had the best fan and cheerleader standing beside me longing to simply cheer me on and for me to keep my eyes focused on Him!  He was the one I was coaching for and His approval was the only one I wanted or needed.

He stands with each of us, t-shirt on along with a bright foam finger with our name on it, cheering for us!  He is your ABSOLUTE BIGGEST cheerleader and fan! When He looks at you all He sees is this beautiful soul that is made in His image and He LOVES you!  His eyes soften at the simple mention of your name and His heart jumps for joy as He thinks about your sweet face. He can’t help but smile when you focus on Him.  It’s hard to think that someone could love you with a grace that is so deep and true, but He does and He is always in your corner.

I pray you see yourself through His eyes, through His love for you, through the adoration His heart holds for you.  The view is absolutely incredible and if we find ourselves on that mountain top and trust Him for our true identity we might just find Him in a new profound way that will ultimately lead us deeper in relationship with Him!!!!

Imagine seeing yourself through His eyes and how that will change everything you do and say.  Imagine how you will approach things with a new-found unbridled confidence that will give you the courage to dream His dreams and chase His heart!  Imagine only living for Him!  I pray you see Him with His fist pumping through the air cheering you on today!

Blessings,

Stacy

Caught in a Memory

Do you ever get caught in a memory?

Do you ever get caught in a memory?

You’re driving down the road minding your own business as you sing along to your favorite song. The light turns green and as your feet presses on the gas and lets up on the clutch you feel yourself jolt and your breath catch in your chest. A memory streaks across your mind stirring up emotions you thought were buried deep below the waves. Their little faces cause your eyes to fill with tears that overflow and overwhelm your heart. A memory you thought was buried, one you thought you could escape, but the day, the way the sun hit off the clouds and the air filled your lungs with the sweet smells of summers end, all barreled at you and before you realized it you were drowning in a sea of feelings because the memory took you captive.

Moses was an incredible leader and follower of God who never got to walk into The Promised Land. He raised up another leader who would eventually lead the people of Israel across the Jordan and into the land of milk and honey.

All through Exodus we see the nation of Israel on a hard, long, painful journey in hopes of entering a place God promised them. They walked in shoes that became filled with memories of torment, abuse, slavery, and fear. Memories of how God saved them by parting the Red Sea, sending manna and quail, a pillar of cloud leading them by day and a pillar of fire by night. They followed Moses, sometimes grumbling and fighting the journey, as Moses listened and followed God trusting Him for The Promised Land.

In Joshua 1 we see Moses has passed away and God tells Joshua to get up and be ready; that he will be the one who takes the people across the Jordan.

I picture Joshua standing in the night air next to the rushing water as he listens to the calm night sky whisper as the wind rushes through the brush. I can just see his face as he contemplates all God has told him and as he wrestles with this new calling. “Strong and courageous,” two words branded on his heart, on a warriors heart. Joshua is a mighty warrior and does not take those words lightly, they weigh on him. I picture him standing by that river remembering all this nation has been through to get to this moment. His hands lifted in worship as he focuses on his loving Father. This warrior is ready to walk into The Promised Land knowing God is with him.

God calls them to move and the most incredible thing happens! The Jordan, during flood stage, stops! God STOPS the river and the entire nation walks across on DRY ground! This is the second time God has them walk on dry ground where it should be covered with water, once at the beginning of their journey into the desert and here at the end of the journey as they leave the desert. We see in Joshua 4 they make it to the other side and God tells Joshua to choose 1 man from each of the 12 tribes to collect a stone from the middle of the Jordan where the priests carrying the ark of the covenant stood as they crossed. They were to stack the stones in order to be a sign for future generations to see that this, this place, was where Israel crossed the river on dry ground because God STOPPED the river.

A memory, a stamp in time, marked by a memorial to evoke an emotion, to evoke worship. Joshua took remembering serious, he did what God asked. Israel needed reminders of God’s power and His works.

We need to be struck by memories. We need to get lost in the embrace of what God has done and trust that those memories will only strengthen our trust in a deep way so that we can fall further into His chest and trust Him for all the unknowns of the present and the future.

This time of year begins one that is filled with hardness for my little family as those memories surface, sometimes from out of nowhere, but as I lay here listening to the night whisper His unmeasurable glory, I’m reminded to remember and hold those memories dear even when they hurt, even when they bring tears, even when sadness seems to overtake. I’m reminded to worship the Creator for the good and the bad knowing He uses everything for His glory. Those hard roads can lead us into a place that is filled with milk and honey and only makes our stories sweeter! Those memories glorify a good good Father and show His faithfulness and how holy He is. So as the weather teases us with the promises of hoodies, football, and pumpkin spice everything let us fall head first into worship as we remember all He has done for us!

Blessings,

Stacy

Surprised up in the Clouds

I had only flown at night once and it had been my very first flight. The memory of that flight is tainted with emotions of fear and uncertainty wrapped tightly in anxiety, so this flight, the one I was fixing to board that would land in the dark, made me a little nervous.

We boarded, walking the narrow aisle, she found us a spot where we placed our luggage in the overhead 18-17; she didn’t have to, but she let me have the window seat and I began my routine:

  • Bible ready to read Joshua 1:9
  • Seat belt firmly tightened
  • IPod set to my take off song
  • Text my mom and Benjamin that I love them
  • A prayer on the tip of my tongue
  • A deep breath ready to face this flight

The plane backs out getting ready for take-off and we taxi to the runway. My thoughts brought to Joshua 1:9 as the plane jumps bounding towards the sky; my heart  skips a beat, or maybe two.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

 

He always reminds me that He has got this. Whatever “this” is He already has it and no matter what, it is taken care of because He is there with me protecting me, pushing me, loving me, and growing me. As we climbed higher and higher I got a glimpse of a sunset painting the tops of the clouds. I watched in awe as the colors blended flawlessly, one into the other, highlighting the sky with pinks and oranges against the blues and purples. I guarded those precious moments, the few minutes where I saw the Master Creator paint the horizon line with such perfection and splendid beauty. It was breathtaking and my ribs could not keep my heart’s excitement encased. It was a sight I will not soon forget but then God did one better. The sun went down and darkness flooded the night sky, a deep blue velvet cascaded over the earth far below me threatening to overtake but lights began to appear; tiny bright white lights, red tail lights, still silvery street lights, and big gold building lights all lit up the ground far beneath the plane. Two songs playing in my ears as I begged God to make me different, changed, to grow my faith and help me stand up and move out on the water to chase Him. The verses rang deep in my ears striking my heart stirring a gratefulness and enthusiasm my flesh could barely contain.

High above the city immersed in the BIGGNESS of Him, I saw how incredibly small I am, how incredibly small we are. That moment, overwhelming my soul and begging to escape through a wave from my blue eyes, was more than I could truly handle. A God this big, this immense, this colossal LOVES me. He loves a tiny individual, an imperfect individual that walks on a planet full of other tiny individuals and he loves each of us with an unconditional undying love that none of us truly can wrap our minds around. He adores and cherishes each and every one of us! I watched the hundreds of thousands of lights high above the darkness in awe that each one of us has our very own story, has our very own wiring, has our very own unique personality and He did that! He put it all in place with so much planning and affection! Not a single one of us is an accident! He is so BIG, so very very very BIG!

We are never alone, He is right by our side and He is BIG enough to be everything we could possibly want and absolutely everything we need.

That plane ride, the one I was so nervous about, was incredible as I sat high above the ground, deep in the clouds talking to God. Honestly I was sad when the wheels touched down and I was back on this earth, a deep longing ached in my chest begging God for just five more minutes where I could get a glimpse of His bigness.

He has plans for each of us that truly cannot be conceived and He longs to meet you right where you are at and show you just how much He truly loves you! He longs to take you on a ride too amazing for written words; jump on and hang on tight, you might just find that you see God from a new perspective high up in the clouds that brings you to your knees thanking Him for how BIG He is.

Blessings,

Ferg

Purposeful Wiring

Stepping into your purpose can be terrifying but you might just be surprised that you feel completely at home for the first time in your life. God is an incredible writer and He has a story for your life that is too good to just be written on paper.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8

 

My feet pushed forward as I adjusted the microphone, all while begging my gram to hug me for the amazing introduction she made. This was it, the moment I had been anticipating and avoiding for the past few years.  I had my Moses moment where I argued with God that He had made a mistake. The mistake that there was no way an introvert like me could stand in front of a crowd and mutter two words let alone speak His truth. The mistake that there was no way I was going to be able to put together two thoughts let alone an entire lesson that could glorify Him and serve others.  The mistake that I simply was not good enough or worthy to stand before these amazing women.  This moment, the one I had in my head that could either make it or break it, it was here and NOW was the time I would turn around and look out into the sea of faces, beautiful eager faces, who had come to find out about the Root of Jesus.  I should have been nervous or terrified but peace was deep in my bones as I turned around to face them.

As I looked out over the crowd of faces, focused and intent, I found an even deeper longing to serve and love them with every single thing I had until I had nothing else to give. I wanted to share who God is and how He could change their lives!  I wanted to move them for Him. The thing is that I couldn’t, because I am not qualified to do the job I stood on that stage to do, but I know He is.

As I stood before them and prayed, I knew God was up to something, something absolutely incredible, and I could not contain the words that were in my mouth. The words came out and the lesson that I had argued with God for weeks over, flowed flawlessly and fell upon welcoming ears.  They listened, they actually listened, I had prepared myself for blank stares and hollow ears but they were with me for each and every word.  That night as I stepped off of that platform and took off that microphone I was completely humbled and forever in awe of that life changing moment.

The minute we step into the purpose God has for us something incredible and unexplainable happens. All my life I have felt like I don’t quite fit. An outsider may argue that I fit everywhere, even most of my closest friends might argue that same truth, but the reality is I have longed and struggled to find a place I feel comfortable in my own skin.  I have learned to fit each moment for what it needs and in doing that I have never found one that allowed me to truly fit.  The moment I opened my mouth, saw their shining faces, and spoke, that was the moment I found a comfort I have not ever known. Finding our purpose, finding our place in the body of Christ, brings a new excitement and freshness to our walk.

Maybe you know exactly what I am talking about and you have found the shoes that fit your feet or maybe you are still confused and trying to find your place. Let me encourage you to step out and follow God right where you are at. He has you there for a reason and it might possibly be to prepare and grow you for that moment you step into something new, something designed with your exact wiring in mind. Eleven years ago I saw what He wanted to do with me and the journey to that platform on May 18th was anything but easy. He began preparing and growing me over those eleven long years through some of the hardest moments of my life. All along the way I knew He had a plan and I just needed to step forward and put one foot in front of the other while letting Him be in control. You see our purpose is a promise, even when we are unsure what that purpose is or what it will look like, because God knows and He always follows through on His promises. We need to step out and trust Him as we walk in the present moment and look forward to the future kingdom promotion and kingdom purpose He has set aside for us.

Each talk built upon the last one, much like a singer might build their playlist to build the crowd up for the finale.  Stepping back on that platform for my last talk took some courage. The circumstances were hard and honestly I had no clue how to handle the situation that lay before me, but God did! He took control as I prayed over that room and The Holy Spirit moved.  This time, this moment, was even better than the first. My skin felt completely like home for the first time in my life, there was zero hesitation, zero over thinking, zero regret. I had the time of my life as I talked about one of the greatest friendships that has ever existed and our root of grace. I did not want to step down that afternoon after talking about David, Jonathan, and Mephibosheth. I was finally completely comfortable in my shoes and my skin was at peace.  As I closed us in prayer, I could feel my heart sadden knowing I was going to take the microphone off and I was going to walk away from that platform not knowing when God would allow me the honor of talking about Him like this again. There was also a JOY bursting out from behind my ribs and straight out of my chest as I finally found my place. A joy that brings tears to my eyes and a soft smile to my heart.

No matter what part of your journey you are in God has big plans for you. As part of the body of Christ you have something that you were created for, wired for. God wants to use you to do mighty things for the Kingdom. We just have to trust Him and allow Him the ability to take us where He wants us. We have to follow Him and learn to lean deep into His chest as He grows us and equips us to serve Him fully. It really is all about Jesus and picking up our cross to follow Him. So step out today, trust God for each moment, word, thought, and action and allow Him the honor of complete and total control of your life. You may just find your skin fits you quite perfectly and feels like home!

Blessings,

Stacy

Mountain Pauses

“I lift my eyes to the mountains- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

 

We headed for a weekend filled with soccer and relaxing in the big city when suddenly plans changed. As we turned the car back towards home we found ourselves facing a completely different weekend;  I could feel God whisper, “pause” deep into my heart. I sat still not sure what He meant but whole heartily refusing to think about the weekend that could mean disappointment, a weekend that might not allow me to recharge or be an introvert, until a few minutes later when she half-jokingly says, “Part of me could just keep driving on into Red River.”

And PLAY

Sometimes I am not the best influence, or maybe I am, “Really? I know someone who has said I can use their cabin.”

Our minds playing with the idea of doing something so out of character, so adventurous, so brave.

To live in the moment, to stop the ache of future planning and the sting of the past hurts for a moment, a brief moment, to jump in without a plan and dare to simply follow God as He hits play;  there is the temptation of a possible freedom that my heart has never known. I trust her, so I jump in and dare to live outside my introverted, safe, strategic box.

PLAY…all the way to the mountains.

The air stung our lungs with the best kind of hurt. Our eyes surveyed the beauty as the racing river swept down the bank. The running water sweeping over the rocks. My mind connects to a memory, a moment frozen in time as our two boys held me close while at the same time trying to push me away as they courageously stood in the running water all those years ago. I could see his wet faded jeans and white sunglasses propped atop his head as his smile danced from the coldness of the river. His brother, a little more cautious, watching me and following my cue as I found solid footing in the river. A picture, a sweet work of art, rushed through my mind as we stood on the bridge watching the river rush by.

She indulged me as we walked the trail coming to a clearing that promised snow just yards away. Yards that just happened to be at a rough incline. She humored me as we climbed higher and higher daring our lungs to hunger for more oxygen. God’s fingerprints stained the mountain side with deep greens and pale yellows. My eyes, in desperation, could not take in enough of the view.

A lively declaration sternly pointed straight at me as she gasp for air. Immediately, healing filled my lungs as an enduring laugh escaped my lips. The words she said flooded my ears as my feet gripped the side of the mountain and my eyes couldn’t help but laugh along with my lips. It took me a few minutes to control the fun that escaped my serious side. Suddenly, I was at ease and immersed in the moment full of memories and somehow a promise of a future hope as God intertwined the present with the past.

We wandered down that trail as the sunlight danced through the aspens. Our feet sloshed through mud and strolled across the man-made snow that had escaped the heat that promised the end of a season.

My mind falling deep into another memory; one I had never spoken; one I held close, protecting it as though it were fragile. Somehow my heart dared to express the sweetness and sorrow that wrapped up a moment that feels like yesterday. She listened as my heart seemed to grasp a moment of clarity, a moment of healing. She simply listened and let my eyes flood with emotion. That mountainside offered more than was expected that morning.

PAUSE

Breathe in healing, laugh out joy, speak the truth and treasure the memories. The mountains have always seemed to be the place I run to see Him a little more clearly. A moment of peace as only His artistry could showcase. A moment painted with His paintbrush providing a new set of memories showcasing His incredible glory.

PLAY

Driving down an old dirt road squeezing time for every second it’s worth, begging the road to last just a mile longer, pleading with the mountain air to blow through the windows just a little bit more, and singing that song one more time in hopes that it won’t end.

Running away for an instant in time where you find yourself truly living in that moment begging the future to fade away.

Living in a moment, truly living in a moment with no agenda. She taught me that this weekend. To be spontaneous and dare to live in spite of the pain, longing for the healing, and daring to temp peace and joy to overtake and soothe the soul.

When we lift our eyes up to the mountain, when we seek His face with all our might, when we long to be in His presence worshipping Him, adoring Him we will find that He is our help and He is our refuge.

God has a plan, a good good plan! We have to trust Him for those times He tells us to PAUSE and follow Him when He says PLAY. We have to allow Him the freedom to grow us and love us and sometimes that means we have to take a chance. Sometimes that means we have to trust Him as He moves us to spontaneity. Sometimes He gives you an amazing gift by giving you a friend that reminds you to not be so serious, encourages you to step out of your box, and allows you the freedom to be who He made you to be.

So lift your eyes up to the mountains. He is there and He is so very good. He is our rock and our salvation. He will cover us with His feathers. He will fill us with peace and provide healing. He will provide you with moments to see Him more clearly and to simply relax and joy in Him. Listen and breathe in the PAUSE because the moment He hits PLAY you will be blown away!

Blessings,

Ferg