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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

Because of me, He died on the cross.

Easter is near and we love to celebrate by dressing up and going to church.  We color eggs and hide them for children to find.  We give them chocolate and tell them that we are celebrating the resurrection of Christ who died on the cross for our sins.  We have read all the bible stories, saw films but we have never really experienced it ourselves.  Ever wonder what you would do if you were there.

Proceed to the past:……………..I am walking among a crowd of people, my feet hurt from the sand burning through my sandals.  Sweat is running down my body from the heat of the sun that is bearing down on my heavy clothing.  “Where are we going, I ask.”  To listen to Him, the teacher,” someone replied.  I had never met Him, the one they call the teacher.  I had heard tell of some of the stories that were going around.  Some say that He can perform miracles, making the blind see and the lame walk again.  And the one I like best, is the one about casting out demons and sending them into pigs that run off of a cliff.  So, me being curious, I walk with the crowd.  We arrived near a lake and all the thousands of us; men, women and children sat down to listen.  “What’s his name,” I ask. “Jesus,” someone replied.  “Where does he come from?”  “He comes from Galilee.”  I watch  and listen to this Man from Galilee.  It is getting late and I’m getting hungry.  I didn’t know that I would be gone this long or I would have grabbed something to take with me.  Jesus had performed a few of the miracles that people have been talking about and he talked about a better life if we would follow him.  I don’t know where he’s going, but if it is a long way, I think I’ll stay home.  I’m not sure that those miracles weren’t staged.  About that time, he tells his disciples (that’s what they are calling those twelve men that hang  out with him all the time), to see what food they can find in the crowd.  They come up with some fish and some bread in a few baskets.  The next thing I see, is Jesus breaking the fish and bread and putting them back into the baskets.  Then he instructs his disciples to feed the crowd.  “No way,” I think to myself.  Before I knew it, my stomach was full.  I look around and I can see that all the thousands that are here, have eaten and the baskets are still full.

Needless to say, I’m now a believer.  So I follow Jesus from then on.  I see him betrayed and turned over to the government.  The chief priests and elders accuse him of saying He is the King of Jews.  They have nothing else to go on but that.  Pilate thought that was unreasonable and gave the crowd a chance to free him or the murderer, Barabbas and they chose Barabbas.  “Crucify Him,” they yelled.

I watched as they whipped Him, tearing gashes into His skin, blood running down.  My voice cried out but there was no sound.  Then they took branches like those of the mesquite tree and made a crown of thorns and placed it on His head.  They pressed it down so hard, that I could see the blood running from the holes that the thorns made. He was weak from pain but they did not let Him rest.  I followed as He dragged his cross down the pathway until He could go no further without help.  My eyes teared up as I saw those that laughed and ridiculed Him.  My heart ached with those that loved Him.  I watched as they laid Him on the cross and drove the nails (more like railroad nails), one in each hand and one through both feet; a total of three.   We that loved Him stayed until He spent his last breath.

I followed as they placed Him in the tomb and placed a boulder in the opening so nothing could get in.  Sadness surrounded us, leaving a hole in our hearts for the loss of this man named Jesus.

I wasn’t there but others were and they told us about it.  The large boulder was removed and Jesus wasn’t there.  Then they told us how Jesus met with his disciples, He had risen from the dead.

John 11:25-26  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Him, whom I never met, but left me His words to live by, is forever in my heart.

 

 

 

A blog of a different kind: A peek into my heart in a moment of brokenness and loss.

That moment

The breath is knocked out of you and you lay flat on the ground if only metaphorically. The punch radiates a pain deeper than any fist could unconvincingly comprehend. You feel all life leave your body but find that your heart is beating and your lungs are filling all while you try to figure out how you are still living and breathing when your entire world has just been ripped out from the very ground your feet stood upon.

Day Two

A moment where my chest fills with a hot fire as I try to breathe the anxiety attack out. Slowly and with a patience not seen by human eyes, my lungs burn with the rage of the beast racing through my veins. “One, Two…,” my eyes slam shut trying to wish the anxiety from making my bones a home, “Ten.” I force a soft smile into my lips, pressing with all my might and I force a relax into my eyebrows as I turn to face my responsibilities of the day; while hoping and praying they can’t see the anxiety, the pain, the brokenness and the hurt that is trying to sneak out of my eyes through a glassy sapphire wave. My body, feeling out of control and pain lurking slowly through every inch as the beast rages, trying to show itself to the outside world, begging to be acknowledged. This moment full of chaos and a world that doesn’t need to know and certainly should not see the weakness, hidden deep in a smile on my lips somehow deceives and everyone interacts never knowing the war thundering deep inside my skin.

The day’s trials compounded turning into minutes and then hours and finally, after begging and pleading, one completed day. Escaping to the security of a bright blue glass house speeding home and safely pulling into a concrete sea of driveway that should bring no comfort to an achy body and raw war torn heart; but security is exactly what it brings and for a brief moment safety and concealment lodged the brokenness allowing a peace to cover and conceal the overwhelming pain.

2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

A broken promise; a dream interrupted and awakened by a lie; hope tasted but stolen leaving a deep thirst that can only be quenched by one living water, The Living Water. A hope that we pray is not lost on childhood. A desire that lingers because it has been faithfully felt. An insatiable taste that cannot be forgotten but will be chased and sought after long after the bitterness subsides. We pray that the life breathed deep into his lungs was engraved on his heart, “JESUS.”

To never say goodbye, to walk away where choice was thieved right out from under you; in a moment you found yourself holding your breath, taking the heart and cracking the remaining portion in such a way it cannot possibly be put back together.  It devastates the age to come and disrupts and temps the glory to pass what could have been. The ache we feel is unconvinced of hope but seems to hear a slight whisper that temps by knocking the heart to turn toward the beat; the whisper heard through a door slammed shut; the whisper, a breath, for the future that holds a promise of life, for true life that will be lived and lived through thriving from living water.

To Deliberate

My mind races to the birthdays never celebrated, the blanket I had yet to get embroidered, the t-shirt with Fergie across the back that he chose but will never wear, the movie I promised but was waiting to see, and the cereal bought but not eaten; my heart cries out for the moments where he pushed the boundary a bit more and snuggled up under my arm instead of just finding a way to touch my leg. My love grows deeper as I feel the hurt of the lost moments of homework and grocery shopping and talk of his new name and future game days.

A failed moment that brings a flesh to its knees and a heart to its shattered-ness; a moment that suddenly calls wisdom out begging the soul to crave a different kind of success; a moment that seems to beg you to choose withdrawal and defeat or maybe, just maybe a push forward out onto the water; step by step moving forward toward The One True King and your eyes never breaking from His.

We never planned for this journey to end this way and we never envisioned more loss, more heart ache, but our flesh doesn’t seem to see what our souls long for and strive in each moment to achieve. Our flesh misses the future promise of serving the King of Kings and that promise, the promise we must grab onto and chase with our complete soul, clasping onto the assurance of serving Jesus and walking in His truth and His light. Our lives are about so much more than our eyes can see and our flesh can touch and we must pursue an existence that is solely devoted to our deep identity in Christ that is based on Him and founded in His will!

The Future

Sweet boy…sweet boys, our hearts ache for you in this world but will always pray for you and long to see you in the next life as we hang out with Jesus! We love you with a love we have never known and long to grow deeper in.

We love you with a courageous love and an apologetic flesh!

Blessings, Stacy

Count Your Blessings

It was the holidays and I was grocery shopping.  In front of me was a freezer filled with turkeys and I couldn’t make up my mind on which one to take home.

“Ma’am,” came the voice behind me.

“What,” I questioned as I turned around to face a young man with his hand extended towards me.  In the palm of his hand was a folded bill.  My brain fast forwarded and I thought he must have picked it up off of the floor behind me.  I was just about to tell him that it wasn’t mine when he said, ” This is for you.”  I paused and looked at his youthful face.  I had never seen him before but the light shining from his eyes told me that he was blessing me with this gift.  I accepted the folded bill and gave him a big hug and told him “Thank you.”

“Merry Christmas,” he said and walked away.

I never saw him again.  I went on with  my shopping and it was several minutes before I unfolded the bill.  It was a hundred dollar bill, enough to pay for our holiday dinner.  Not only was I blessed that day, but my whole family was; and yes the giver, himself:        Proverbs 11:24, “One man gives freely: yet gains even more”       I had to learn to receive as well as to give.  When giving, you are following God’s plan.  When receiving, you have been given a gift from him.

Once, my soul sister gave my husband and I some money saying God had reminded her of the things we had done for her.  But wait a moment; we did those things to help her out because we loved her.  I felt we had not earned it and didn’t know what we were suppose to do with it.  It was then that I learned that you don’t have to earn, but you only have to receive.  God blesses you because he wants too.

Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings and see what God has done. (from the hymn that we grew up with)  Try it.  I look back over the years and I can’t count them all.  There was the time I was riding my bike and changed directions and the car behind me went into the ditch to avoid hitting me.  The time I jumped out of a moving car, flipping me into the air and I landed flat on my back.  The time I had whooping cough, chicken pox, and diphtheria at the same time, getting over it only to settle in my ears and head, spending 7 days in the hospital, getting a shot every 3 hours.  Blessings for my family, through their illnesses, my husband when he was diagnosed with Melanoma stage 4 and how he survived.  Blessings for the struggles, the joys and the rewards throughout the years.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t name them all.

Look back and see the gifts you received from God.  Maybe it was just a smile that brightened your day.  Some of you have suffered more hardships than I can imagine, some of you have received one success after another.  No matter what your circumstances, a blessing from God is a gift of his love for you.  Keep your eye on Him.

Look back also on the times you blessed others and how refreshed you felt.  Sometimes, the voice inside you told you to do something and you thought it was silly or that the other person would think you were crazy.  I just know that if you hesitate to answer the voice you will always wonder.  I’ve learned to obey.  It may be just a small thing, but that doesn’t matter.  It’s what that person needs at that moment.  Searching through some of those times, one of the most precious ones that I remember is the time it was so cold out and my husband and I had stopped to eat breakfast at McDonalds.  While we were there, a homeless woman with long shaggy hair, wearing a knit hat, long overcoat, gloves with some fingers  hanging out, sat down at a table with her back toward us.  She got some hot water in a tin cup and pulled out some crackers from one of her bags.  I went to the counter and paid for a sausage biscuit and hot coffee and asked the clerk to give it to the lady and not to say where it came from.  Well, when asked, the clerk told her where it came from and pointed in our the direction.  It will forever be burned in my memory the picture of the lady in shabby clothing that turned to me and had the face of an angelic host with the sweetest smile.  (That blessing I will have the rest of my life.  I hope to paint it one day.)

Corinthians 9:7  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossing to the New Year

Joshua was the servant to Moses, he was one of the 12 spies who went into the land of Canaan and only 1 of 2 who believed they should go and possess the land. Joshua dreamed God sized dreams.

December 17, 2017

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 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.”

2017 is coming to a close and I find myself battling a deep sadness. As I look to the future and those promises 2018 already holds I find myself tempted to quiver backwards in fear. My head wants to fall and darkness wants to find me huddled in a corner. I have a choice to make.

I love the book of Joshua and the story of a man who was always trying to seek and find God. Joshua was the servant to Moses, he was one of the 12 spies who went into the land of Canaan and only 1 of 2 who believed they should go and possess the land. Joshua dreamed God sized dreams. The Israelites instead pulled back in fear and followed the 10 unbelieving spies. The next 4 decades saw Israel wandering the desert as the original Israelites passed away and Joshua was being prepared to follow in Moses’ footsteps.

Here in Joshua 1 God is giving Joshua his marching orders so to speak. Can you imagine: Moses, your leader, has passed away and now the entire community is being turned over to you! The weight of this had to press on Joshua’s shoulders, there had to be fear knocking on his heart as he faced the promises of his future. There had to be a moment that he was tempted to run and hide. Joshua, a true mighty warrior, was told by God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, to be strong and courageous multiple times while giving him simple instructions that will make Joshua successful.

I picture this remarkable warrior quietly taking in all God has said as he stands next to the Jordan River. The sun is setting and the sounds of the rivers ebb and flow soothes his mind and eases his heart as he faces his future. I see his face wrinkled from a life hard lived in the desert; his eyes softened from meeting with God and longing to walk closer and deeper with Him. I see the stars finding their resting place for the night and the moon settling in as Joshua worships and adores The Creator of the entire universe. Joshua faces his future head on knowing that God is with him wherever he goes.

As we face the crossing of 2017 to 2018 we have a choice to make. Maybe you are like me and you find yourself looking at the promises of 2018 and wanting to run and hide, maybe there is an excitement in your lungs as you take a deep breath and jump head first into 2018, or maybe you have no feelings at all about crossing into yet another new year. Whichever camp you fall into we can learn lessons from Joshua and listening to what God tells this strong warrior.

First, we need to listen to what he calls Joshua, “Strong and Courageous.” God reminds a man who has seen war to be strong and courageous multiple times. We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings who can come against us? Whom shall we fear? We are strong and courageous. We are warriors for God and He placed this identity in us.

Second, The Word needs to be on our lips and we need to have our noses in His book. If Joshua follows this God says He will be prosperous and successful. The more we meet God through His story the more our hearts mold and refine to look like Him. Our tongue is an incredibly powerful tool, James chapter 3: 1-12 tells us how powerful it truly is. Out of the mouth comes the things of our hearts and if our hearts are focused on God and His Word we pour out power for His glory and His Kingdom. Success and prosperity may look different than your knee jerk thought. It will be pure and heavenly. It may be a little backwards from our fleshly thinking. God tends to do things backwards. For example a King born in a barn and lay in a manger.

Lastly, God tells Joshua He will be with Him wherever He goes. There is great comfort in knowing that God is with us always. So those moments we are scared, those moments fear tries to sneak in, those moments that we hold the promises God has promised we can find deep comfort and relief knowing God is holding us close (Psalm 91:4).

So as this New Year, 2018, sneaks its way into our present, watch the stars rise and the sun set with a smile and deep trust in your heart knowing that God is right beside you and you are strong and courageous. As you meditate on His Word and follow Him you will prosper and find heavenly success for the Kingdom.

Blessings as 2017 closes and Merry Christmas!

Stacy

Let there be Joy

Are you having a hard time finding something to be joyful about?  I can understand why.  There is so much bitterness and hate being shown through the media today.  In reality, there is much more goodness being done, that we never see.  Seeds of violence and hate are being planted everyday.  It’s up to us if we are going to reap the harvest; or are we going to weed them out.  Our country’s  foundation is based on one Nation under God.  Our roots are strong, they have been growing for centuries.  Now, however, there are those that are taking their axes and are chopping away at our branches; one by one.  Not only is it taking place in our government, but it flows over into our families.

Why are we arguing about things that happened in the past that we had no control over.  Our nation today, is not perfect, but it has come a long way.  Our nation has gone through trial and error to make us better.  Right now, we are bringing the past into the present; therefore making us start over again.  One step forward, two steps back.  Let’s put the joy back into our nation and our families.  What can we do today, that would make our nation better.  Our government for one, can forget their differences and work together to solve the problems.  We did not elect them to fight among themselves.  And, all the powers out there that are trying to make a statement against each other need to look around and see what they need to do to make things better, not worse.

How about our families?  Do we have strife and hate among us.  What can we do about it?  Why not take a step back and look not only at the person that we are dealing with, but take a good look at ourselves.  Are we hurting inside from something they did and we want to hurt them back or get even.  We do not have to agree with them or even like them; but we do have to forgive them; not for them but for us to heal from the hurt and move on.

Let’s put the joy back into our nation and our families.  Let’s let the past go and move on.  We have a lot more going for us than against us.  We need to remember that and step forward selflessly into the future!

We Three’s  Shirley Perry

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.  Ephesians 4:31

 

 

 

 

 

Faith in the Face of the Winds

The physical knocked him into fear because his eyes saw something and his body felt that pressure of the atmosphere and he lost his focus and began to sink. Fear and Faith cannot exist in unison.

 

How we perceive things is often done through the lenses of the world. We look through the lens of experience and often the lens of emotion. We so often forget the heart and even more often forget the reality that God is so BIG and so MIGHTY and beyond our eyes is a world that is more vast than we can even imagine (Ephesians 6:10-12).
Over the last 4 years we have been on a roller coaster ride. We lost our baby before we ever got to hold her, before she ever breathed her first breath, before her eyes ever gazed into mine. That miscarriage was the hardest thing we have ever been through and every year on that day the world keeps turning and we plaster a smile on our faces and face the day knowing that our little one is with Jesus. After that we tried to adopt, you want to go on a wild ride, sign up to adopt through the system. The next 2.5 years was full of heartaches and pain, empty promises and lies, several possible placements, and two little boys that continue to hold our hearts as they tackle life each day without us.
We never got to adopt our legal risk boys that we were told were adoptable and it is a daily reminder that we are not promised tomorrow with our loved ones. June 2016 we closed our home (terminated our license that gave us the ability to foster and adopt) and began the process to heal from the hurt of yet another failed placement and the weeding of the roots of bitterness and anger that longed to take hold of our hearts and minds.
Perception is often limited to a small amount of information.
Our situation and what we have gone through hardened our hearts in one way and softened and refined them in a completely different way. I have a deep empathy and sorrow for the children who are in the system knowing that no matter what, their voices could be drowned out or ignored, that the trauma they have endured at the hands of adults will leave a lasting effect and wound that only God can heal.

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Our prayers changed last December, our hearts were still for adoption, and I asked God to bring the child or children He had for us to adopt to our doorstep. We still did not understand why any of the previous summer had to happen. We just decided to trust God with our future and our comfort and the loss of all our dreams of a family and find contentment in just being a family of 2. The phone rang in June 2017 about a possible private adoption of two wonderful little boys. Luke and I had become comfortable with being just the two of us with our pugs and truly felt contentment in seeking God through the call He placed on us to serve and teach others. We prayed and sought God’s will instead of our own selfish desires or seeking counsel from others. Fast forward to today and here we are walking through each step allowing God the room to do all that He pleases. We are trusting Him to move us forward and praying that our eyes stay focused on Him.

Matthew 17:26-32
26When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

Peter cried out to Jesus for Jesus to call him out on the water to Him. Jesus does call Peter and Peter bursts forth over the boat and out onto the water. He doesn’t sink and He is focused on Jesus. Suddenly Peter sees the wind and becomes afraid. Peter had to take his eyes off Jesus in order to SEE the wind. I picture Peter standing firm on the water’s surface with eyes longingly gazing on Jesus until the wind pushes his body and this is the moment his eyes SEE the wind. The physical knocked him into fear because his eyes saw something and his body felt that pressure of the atmosphere and he lost his focus and began to sink. Fear and Faith cannot exist in unison.
The hardest part of this whole thing, in some respect, was choosing to focus on Jesus and the call and not allow the fears of the world to knock us off-balance. We have to trust God and allow His perception and His calling to be the only thoughts and desires that matter to us. We have to care more and worry only about how He sees us and if we are following Him. Others opinions and perceptions over our actions and lives do not matter. Let me say that one more time, “Others opinions over our/your actions and lives do not matter.” This is not a grace abuse free card, this is not an opportunity to push your agenda card or a seek the fleshly desire you think you need card. This is a seek God and His heart with all you’ve got card; if you do that your life, your mind, and your heart will be transformed and the race you are on will look different.
One of the strongest winds that blew us and continues to whirl is our friends and families’ opinions along with the thought that they could get hurt again. It was and is a burden on our hearts; thinking we could be the cause of more pain and wounds to our friends and families can be paralyzing. It was incredibly difficult to think that those who do not know the story or the circumstances that surrounded the closing of our home would view us or judge us with assumptions about our motives and our hearts. There is a deep anxiety that tries to take root that we have to come to our village and ask for support and help.
We do not know what the future holds for our family but we are firm in standing on the waves together with our eyes focused on Jesus because we know He holds our future.
There are so many questions we have been asked through this process. If you know Luke and I we are typically prepared for anything that is thrown at us and we always try to avoid conflict along with flying under the radar. Attention is not something we handle with comfort or ease.

James 1:27 ”Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

My heart tends to take root in the idea that it is NOT okay to ask for help. I should be able to handle anything emotionally, physically, or financially on my own. This thinking is wrong, God created us for relationship. We have a deep yearning for relationship with Him and we are told to love others. Part of loving others is taking part in their burdens…not just the emotional ones, not just the sin ones, not just the joyful ones. Following Jesus sometimes requires asking for help and then allowing the Church to be God’s hands and feet. This process has taught us that God uses all details, small and big, to refine and mold us to look more and more like His if we allow Him.
There is only one who knows our hearts, and I mean truly knows our hearts. He is MIGHTY, He is our PROTECTOR, He is SOVEREIGN, He is the heart we chase and seek! Go out and seek Him knowing that His attention and opinion is the only one that truly matters. Don’t let the winds throw you off-balance and distract you from where you should be looking and who you should be seeking!

Blessings!
Stacy

God of ALL

Early this morning I was spending time with God in prayer. My prayer turned from petition to praise and my head began to fill with things I am so thankful for. Something that I am so grateful for and continually give Him glory is the wildlife around my home. Watching nature always hits my heart with God’s Awww. Seeing creation is a reminder to me of our Lord, our Creator. We live in the country on the edge of a small community. We have three resident turkeys that wander the neighborhood, numerous road runners, sometimes deer, a large variety of birds etc, all created for His glory. Thinking on these blessings a scripture and poem came to mind.

“My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise His holy name forever and ever.”
Psalm 145:21

The poem I have always liked I found out today was actually written as a hymn and I have only ever known the first four lines.

All Things Bright and Beautiful

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

by Cecil F. Alexander

Later that morning, God gave me a blessing, a mother Bobcat and her two kittens showed up and played for a good while in our front yard. God, knowing my heart, gave me the most beautiful gift. Thank you! Thank you!

God loves us, He knows who we are because we are His creation in His image. He is gracious and compassionate. He shows us His love in many ways. God loves us so much that nothing is too big or too small for Him.

Here are the last four lines of the poem All Things Bright and Beautiful.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we may tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

May He surprise you today and bring you joy.
Blessings, Cindy

Excitement in the Calling

There is a particular excitement in the air. You know what I am talking about; that moment you feel God and He is so close and His wings cover you and hold you so tightly that your lungs want to burst out of your chest in excitement!

Tomorrow I get to sit down and speak. Exciting, right? I can hardly sit still at the thought of talking about Jesus! It’s funny, years ago I would have screamed and curled up in a corner crying at the very thought of talking in front of others; not because I was scared, but mostly because I truly felt unworthy, uninteresting, and OH… how I longed to be unnoticed.

God created a unique story for each of us and no one, not a single person, who has lived or will ever live will has your own very unique story. Isn’t that incredible?

You are a one of a kind and God has written a special story with your life that no one will ever get to hold; only you! Let that sink in for a moment…..

I climbed on a plane back in July to come home after one of the most incredible weekends of my life and as I sat in that seat and watched the clouds surround our plane and roll by I wrote. I had been praying and asking God what He wanted for our group, The Box. I had been struggling and was beginning to feel the pressure of time as our kickoff was approaching. I was longing to talk about the Minor Prophets and tell the stories of The Old Testament. I love talking about The Old Testament and I longed to get lost in the study and research of the text. As I began to write at 20,000+ feet high, what poured out of my pencil was how God wanted me to see myself in Him! One thing I wrote that surprised me was, “I am a speaker!” This was huge, no this was GIANT! I knew He was calling me to speak and I know deep in my heart this is the calling He has for me. To actually speak this and write this after ten years was momentous for me. It was alive and I was completely on board with this idea that God could use me for this calling that I was completely unequipped to pursue.

The calling He has placed on your life, that special thing, is special! It has purpose and He will use it to glorify Himself.

God allowed me to get an art degree and He fills my paintbrush with paint that fills the canvas to glorify Him and He gave my feet the talent for soccer and now allows me to coach the sport I have loved since I could kick a ball; but there is something so special about that calling He places on your life. I’m not talking about what you are good at or where your talents are, I am talking about that thing He shows you that He longs for you to do for Him. It may be parenting or teaching; it could be caring for animals or those who are sick or in need of healing; or it could be writing or simply serving others where you are at in this moment.

My excitement level to get to speak to others about Him is so on FIRE and it is truly one of the last things I ever wanted to do or even enjoyed. I am not a good speaker. I am the poster child for introverts and I am not enough when I stand before others but there is one who is and when He does, Oh man! Things happen!

I want to encourage you to embrace where God has placed you and talk to Him, confide in Him, worship Him. The story He is writing in your life is for Him and He will do amazing things through you and your weakness!

Blessings,

Stacy

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9