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A Year in the Spiritual Life... Discover Your Purpose

A Year in the Spiritual Life... Discover Your Purpose: August 2012

Friday

God Don't Make No Junk





This is a guest post on Keeping It Personal dot Com. I hope you enjoy, and will continue reading on that site as I unpack the quote you see above and talk about who God made us to be.

Be blessed! - Dayna


Remember the t-shirts in the 80’s that said, “I’m perfect, ‘cause God don’t make no junk?” Bad grammar aside, the saying was brilliant and I am proud to say I rocked that shirt much longer than was cool, especially since mine was an iron-on appliqué. I had an inordinate amount of self-esteem as a kid, and…

…wanted the world to know it.

Yet somewhere along my way, I lost that confidence and began to question myself. In my head I heard “who do you think you are?” over and over. Eventually I listened to that voice so much that I forgot the answer.

Read More....








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Thursday

The Journey From the Bottom of the Totem Pole to Living Your High Calling

Detail of Totem Pole Credit: Creative Commons via Flickr 

What is your “High calling”?


I say it is this: To live your best life for Jesus out loud wherever you may be.

Are you a busy business professional? Then live your best life out loud for all the other busy professionals to see.

This may mean praying over your lunch in the break room, or choosing not to pass the buck when you make a mistake, or giving credit where credit is due, even if doing otherwise would advance your career.

Are you a mom and home maker? Then speak life into your kids. Pray over them. Teach them to love Christ. Show them they are valued and lead them to a greater relationship with our Father. This is your high calling.

Are you an artist? A Musician? A Singer? A Writer? Then live out loud! Use your talent as an amplifier of God’s love and purpose for you.

Whatever you are, wherever you may be there is ministry to be done: a high calling to live.

Everyone Has a High Calling! 


I am not saying "be obnoxious" when I say “live out loud”. I am saying be alive! Be a light on the hill. Shine where you are. If you think you have no real calling then you are mistaken.

You may never be an apostle, or a preacher. You may never preach to pigmies in another land, or have your songs heard by millions on the radio, but that does not count you out!

God has a purpose for you and it starts where you are.

When Jesus was preaching to the 5000 on the hillside that day, the disciples came to him and asked “How are we going to feed all these people?” Jesus replied, “Well, what have you got?” (Read it in context here)

He started with what they had: five loaves and two fish.

Start where you are. Live out your best life for Christ. As He blesses it, you will see multiplication like never before.

God Read my Mail!


Some years ago I was pretty angry about being the “low man on the totem pole” at the church where my husband was on staff. We had made plans as a family for an upcoming Saturday, but had been told during a Wednesday night service that we would be required to be at the church working all day, on his day off…for no extra pay. The attitude of my heart was horrible. I felt indignant. I felt used. I got upset.

When I walked forward to get prayed for (because I truly needed prayer in that moment) the visiting minister turned into a postman as he delivered the “mail” straight from God. He said this:

“God does not start anyone off at the bottom to work their way up. He starts us off at the top and our top expands outward.”

The minister did not know what we were just told. More importantly, he did not know my heart. But God did. That word was for me... directly from my Father. It is for you today.

If you feel like you have no “ministry” then stop and look around you. What have you got? 

That is what Jesus wants.

Live your high calling now, out loud, for the world to see.

Join the Conversation:


Have you ever felt like the low man on the totem pole? Leave your comments below. 


Like what you read here?  More great content is available several times a week, but I understand how busy you are. That is why I offer a free newsletter that sends you an email of the same great content straight to your inbox! You won't have to worry about missing a thing. I will never share your information with anyone, and if you sign up today, you can get a free copy of my children's eBook The Gardener and the Sapling: A Modern Parable. Click the link below and subscribe now!


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For more great articles on living your high calling, visit http://www.thehighcalling.org 

TheHighCalling.org Christian Blog Network 

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Wednesday

Discovering the Yes of Your Purpose

Blogging Through the Book

If you have not joined us before now, every Wednesday I, along with other wonderful bloggers, blog through the reading of a book. We are blogging through the book The Gospel of Yes by Mike Glenn. If you would like to join us, purchase the book here (affiliate link) and read along! Then share your thoughts on each chapter. 

Not reading the book? That is okay too. We each take our own point of view and share what we loved about the book chapter by chapter and then share it with you. This way, you can join the conversation and learn more about God's yes for you! 


Chapters 8 and 9

The Gospel of Yes is kicking my rear. 

I mean it. 

Statements like "You can hold onto your anger, or you can hold onto Jesus, but you can't do both." (page 112) make me examine where I am in my walk with God. Am I trying to hold onto my anger and hurt more than I am holding onto Jesus? If the answer is yes, then I have some repenting and some real praying to do. 

Forgiveness is one of the central themes of the Gospel. We, in our sin, needed forgiveness, yes, but forgiving others is also necessary. Forgiving ourselves, forgiving others, this is what it means to be like Jesus. He forgave the men who were in the middle of killing him. He forgives us too. What a great example of the grace God wants us to walk in. 

I know what it is to be wronged. I know what rejection feels like. 

I bet you do too. 

You have a choice, live in the pain and swim in Lake Shoudawouldacoulda, or forgive and walk in the beautiful trails of Freedom Park! 

I know what I choose: I choose the freedom of forgiveness.  

"...Your future need not be held hostage to your past. There is another choice, God's choice, which is forgiveness." Mike Glenn The Gospel of Yes

So what does that future look like? God knows. The good news is that God sees you as He made you to be and not just as you are. The really good news is He will take you anyway, JUST as you are. 

Discovering The YES of your Purpose

Everyone searches for the meaning of it all. At one point or another, we all look for our "yes". Some of us find it right away, and others let the bustle of a busy world throw us off the trail of self-discovery and into the bog of existing. 

Mike says this: 

"The faith pilgrimage begins with God's declaration of who you really are and why He made you. The rest of your life is a journey that is given meaning and direction by God's determination of your identity and destiny." (page 115, The Gospel of Yes

You have a destiny in Christ. You have a purpose. There is more to you than the day-to-day existence that you silently rail against in your heart. It is not found by burning a bra, or occupying a movement, but by bumping into the person and experience of God. 

Trying to strike out on our own is futile. The universe is first too big and secondly too broken to find purpose in without first knowing the Maker of the Universe. 

God says "I knew you before you were in your mother's womb". We are no mystery to God. He made us and He sees everything. Our hearts, our hurts and our outcomes. What He wants from us is to see Him. His heart, His healing, and His desire for us. 

This is how we discover the yes of our purpose: We encounter Him. We get to know Him. 

"He goes ahead and calls you to join him in his divine work and as you encounter him, God reveals your identity." (page 116) 

Your calling is uniquely yours. No one else's. He formed you with the intent in mind. "I knew you before...."

God chose Abram (a man without children) to become the father of nations. God chose Saul (a killer of Christians) to become Paul, who evangelized the known world, wrote most of the New Testament, and stood before kings and slaves alike proclaiming the love and freedom of Christ.

God chose you too. Before you were born. God chooses you now, after you have made mistakes and life has happened. He chooses you where you are so you can become who He called you to be.

Like Abraham, like Paul.

This is God's yes to you: There is a purpose, now let's marvel as we go on the journey to discover it!

Join the Conversation: 


Have you ever felt disqualified to do something because of your past? Leave your comment below!



Blogging Through the Book is a group of bloggers who literally blog while reading the book. It’s different than merely reading a book and posting a review. We have a chance to read and share our thoughts in our community. Click HEREto find out about other blogger's perspectives on these chapters and join the discussion!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Tuesday

Ministry Highlight: Builders International with Director Ryan Moore

Ryan and Laci Moore 
As a girl I wanted to be a missionary to Russia. That did not work out, but Russia is just behind the United States as the second largest readership of this blog.

My body may not be in Russia, but I have an impact there. Why? Because this is my mission field.

Missions have always been a part of God's plan for the redemption of man. Jesus told the disciples to Go! Go to all the world. This is the Great commission.

There are men and women all over the world who leave their homes, their loved ones, the comfort of their indoor plumbing and the luxury of a convenient store on every corner to carry out this commission every day.

But missionaries face obstacles. Governments, superstitions, lack of finances and even facilities. This is why I am so excited to introduce to you Builder's International (BI) and Ryan Moore, the director of BI.

I had the privilege of meeting Ryan and his family several months back and I am so glad to share you their heart for missions.

From time to time I highlight a ministry I believe in and Builder's International is just such a ministry. Like me, you may have had a heart for missions when you were younger. Perhaps you feel called to go, but feel like you have nothing to offer.

BI offers non-traditional ways to help serve in the missions field. Keep reading the interview with Ryan below to see how you can become a missionary if you know how to swing a hammer or run a construction crew.

Thanks from the Moore Family from Ryan Moore on Vimeo.


Dayna (D): What is your background in church? In Building?

Ryan (R): I am an Assemblies of God preachers kid. Raised in church my entire life. I have a B.S. in civil engineering from Lamar University, served in the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineer Corp for 6 ½ years. Then became a missionary with Assemblies of God to serve with Builders International.


D: When did you feel called to the Missions Field?

R: (My) First inclination was during a missions trip as a kid to Guatemala. Then, 4 years after high school, feeling led into ministry, I registered at SAGU. A couple months before going there, we had a missionary at the church my dad pastored, during lunch after service the missionary shared his experience growing up on the mission field. One of the things he told us about was how challenging construction projects where for his parents. From that conversation, I felt lead into construction missions, dropped my registration at SAGU and applied for the C.E. program at Lamar.


D: What does BI do?

R: Short answer: Plan, promote, and implement construction project for Assemblies of God partner fellowships around the world.


D: Why is church building so important?

R: Think of church in the USA, now pretend that there is a pastor, a congregation, people being saved, and a community in need; but they have nowhere to meet. This is a huge hindrance in the churches ability to minister to the community. A facility is simply a vital tool to help a church fulfill it’s missions to reach it’s community.

We actually focus more on Bible schools, than churches. That is because these facilities are used to train pastors, which have an exponential effect in our efforts to reach the world with the Gospel. Within our fellowship, there is a church planted every 45 minutes, and a minister trained every 50 minutes. That means that we have a shortage of over 1,100 ministers per year to lead the churches and sustain this new growth.


D: What is your favorite thing about BI?

R: The gratification of helping people in need around the world, as well as meeting graduates of some of the schools around the world who are doing amazing work around the world.


D: What kind of results do you see when a new church is built?

R: I think the story of Global School of Theology North West in Rustenburg, South Africa tells the story perfect. What the video at: http://youtu.be/nV72KuvPbFM

When a school is built, it continues to create ministers that reach people in places that we may never go as the American church.

A good example of a church story would be in Haiti. After the earthquake, we helped rebuild a church in the community of Meilleur, Port-au-Prince. Their building was very small before the quake and was destroyed, we built a new 60’x80’ church for them. At the church dedication in February, there were over 500 people from the community there. This new building gave them a new presence in the community increasing their ability to minister.

Here are some pictures (at the very bottom are a couple of pictures of their old facility)

D: Do you have 1 moment that stands out in your mind above all others (that you can share) which tells us about the needs of the people you serve?


R: One (of many that really stand out) is when I visited a temporary earthquake refugee camp in Haiti with a group of pastors from the United States. The majority of the people in the camp were kids, every one of them short on food and water, no public sewer and an awful place for a human to have to exist. As we walked out of the camp (after singing some songs with the kids and passing out candy), a couple of the pastors who had not been in a 3rd world country began to break down and weep. There are still people living there because they cannot afford to leave. Builders International has been in Haiti helping to rebuild grade schools and churches since the 2010 earthquake. Here is a video update on our work there.


D: I recently did a series of blog posts about priorities. How do you balance ministry with family and spouse?

R: This is easier to talk about than to practice, but here are my thoughts. When my mind gets going thinking about work to be done or an unfinished task, I get very wrapped up in it. Loving the work I am a part of at Builders International is a blessing, but I have had to create physical limits on my working to protect my time with my family. I go to every soccer practice and soccer game, leave the office NLT 5:00pm every day, limit annual international travel to 2 months per year and no longer than 2 weeks at a time.


D: If you had to list your top 5 priorities what would that look like? How often do those change?

R: 1. Relationship with God 2. Relationship with Wife 3. Raising Children 4. Church and church family 5. Living a life that builds others up


D: What are your short term (1 year) goals for BI?

R: We have detailed list of goals and targets that I am not sure how to share. I think this will be best….
Our short and long term goals revolve around finding the right staff, funding the work, involving more volunteer construction teams, locating field construction missionaries and finishing more projects that impact lives with the Gospel.

D: How can people help?

R: Giving, going, praying


D: What kinds of roles or jobs does BI need to fill?

R: BI operates on volunteer labor. We have intern positions available as well that include work abroad for engineers, architects, construction science majors as well as marketing/graphic arts. A priority position we are currently looking for is field construction foreman. This is someone who will live for a couple of years in a given location, with experience in construction internationally, to lead the work on site.


D: What skills are you looking for in someone who wants to go into the field to help?

R: A big part of our work is with short term volunteer construction teams. These trips are typically between 1 to 2 weeks. Construction experience and tradesman are a huge help on these teams, however, ANYONE with an able body and willing soul can take the adventure of a lifetime and come help us build.

For more on opportunities and how to get involved, contact Rob Kinney in the teams department at Builders International. rob@buildersintl.org


D: What does a typical commitment to a "job site" look like?

R: No two job sites are the same, we help with everything from simply a site visit/due diligence review to acting like a construction company and handling all of the work. In Haiti, we have construction equipment, a full time construction superintendent, a Haitian crew, and utilize many teams each year from the states to complete the work. In other places, like a project we are helping in Bangladesh where we must keep a lower profile, we help raise funds, apply for grants and promote the project, but do not oversee the actual work.


D: How do you apply to BI?

R: IT starts with a call to BI and then looking over the requirements for missions application at www.wideopenmissions.org


D: Is there a vetting process and if yes, how long does it take? (from application to field how long can an applicant expect to wait?)

R: Yes, the length of time depends on the type of volunteer. A career missions application/itineration cycle takes a good 2 years. However, a MAPS Associate only needs to fill out minimal paper work and can be cleared to work in the field in a matter of a few weeks. There are several other options that fall between these two.


D: If people cannot physically go to another country, are there other ways to help?

R: 1. Participation in “The Foundation” is a great way for those who believe in our work can help make projects happen all over the world. For details go to: http://buildersintl.org/donate/

2. Attending our annual Vision Casting fund raiser, this year in Branson, MO. For information and details to this by invitation event, contact Julie Zietlow,julie@buildersintl.org.

D: How can people donate to BI?

R: Click here for the link to give to BI securely.


D: My blog is about finding your purpose in Christ. What can you share about purpose and the journey to fulfill God's call on our lives?

R: According to Eph 2:10 we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works that He planned in advance for us to. Finding our purpose starts with full submission to God, until that happens, there is only work, eat, sleep, repeat. Once we submit to God and truly seek his will, one step at a time He will reveal it. It takes time. It may mean moving to Africa, it may mean keeping on doing what you are doing, but with purpose. From the time I felt a call to construction missions work till the day I made it to Builders International was over 10 years.

D: Do you have to raise a portion or all of your personal salary through offerings or fundraising?


R: Like all other Assemblies of God missionaries, we have to raise all of our missions budget. This budget covers our salary and all work expenses. This is accomplished by church and personal donors both on a monthly basis and with special offerings. Those interested in partnering with us personally on a monthly basis can do so HERE.


You can follow Ryan on Twitter or FaceBook.

Join the Conversation: Have you ever wanted to go on a missions trip? Leave your comment below! 






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Monday

Confessions of a Crazy Mom!

 Tore up from the floor up! This was the "good" picture. 

The Dog Days of Summer Are Over


Yesterday I was lauding the last day of summer and excited that my youngest was headed back to school.

This morning, as I drove my baby (she is 14) to her first day of high school I bawled like a baby. I do this every year, and I had hoped that this year would be different, but alas, no. 

Water works ensued!

This is not a good look on me. I ugly cry. My face scrunches up, my lips pucker out and my nose turns red. I have no make-up on and other than brushing my teeth and washing my face I basically rolled out of bed this morning. (NOT a good look!) 

Add undone hair and I look like a blubbering drunk realizing she is about to be arrested. 

I have friends that think I am crazy! I probably am. They pump their fists in jubilation as their kiddos step onto the bus and out of their hair until Christmas break. In my head, I think that is how I will feel every time. Then, I don't. I do this. It is not a pretty sight! 

But I do not want to talk about the "look" as much as this: time. 

Time is short. 


They are so young, these kids of ours. We know that soon they will face a world that is not as supportive as Mom and Dad have been. They will face hardships, and heart aches. They will build new friendships and let go of others. They will learn new things and be challenged beyond what we think they should. This is all before 3:30 p.m. every day. 

No matter what age your child is, NOW is the time to parent them. 

I know you are a parent, but parenting is another bag all together. It takes focus and determination and faith and prayer and well, the list could go on and on. 

In the short time between now, and that day when they strike out on their own, love them by leading them. Love them by teaching them. Love them even when they push against you or scream "Leave me alone!" 

This time is like having a garden. In this season we plant, we pluck up weeds, we graft, we prune, we train, and we watch them bloom. The harvest of all you sow into them will come later. 

This makes me think of a show I recently watched on TV about a family of homesteaders in Alaska. There, due to the weather, they have an extremely short growing season. They have to grow what they can when they can. It is the same as parents.  

These last 14 years have flown by for me. If you are a parent I know you get how fast time can move as you watch your child grow. Parent or not, the lesson is this: there is the law of sowing and reaping at work in you right now. There is a short growing season. Choose wisely what you plant and you will reap the benefits in due season! 

I want to pray for you and your kids. 

Father, help us as parents to redeem the time as best we can. Give us wisdom in what to sow into our children. Help us see the overall picture of who you want them to be so we can prune and train them into what you desire. Thank you for trusting us with such a magnificent gift. Lord, bless and keep the hearts and minds of our little ones. Let them always look to and trust in you. In the name of Jesus, Amen. 

Join the conversation: 


Crazy picture aside, (and I am sorry for that by the way!) are you a cryer or a fist pumper when it comes to sending the kiddos off to school every year? 


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Saturday

A Friend that Sticks Closer than a Sister

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

When Friendship Dies

I had a friend, who I thought would be with me through thick and thin.

It was more like mediocre and thin.

I thought we were like sisters. We finished each other's sentences.

We laughed at the same things, we even disciplined our kids in the same way.

Things began to change about a year ago when I began pursuing God more and she pursued Him less. Running in opposite directions we covered a lot of ground that created the gap between us. I reached out one day, and there was no one there.

Instead her marriage was on the rocks, she was a partying machine, she was angry at me for dropping our friendship, and bitter with God.

I cannot tell you how sad I have been about the whole situation, because loosing someone is hard. She may be alive, but I mourn for her and our dead friendship nonetheless.

A Friend That Sticks Closer than A Sister


As we pursue God with all our heart, our soul, and mind things will change. Spending time in the Father's presence will create a new creature with a new heart and a renewed mind.

If I am honest with myself and with you, it was a friendship that was not healthy for me spiritually. We fed off of each other more than we fed off the goodness and instructions of God. I was too wrapped up in what she thought,and in what she said to have room to pursue or listen to God.

I understand why this friendship needed to die, but it leaves me sad too.

But I have hope.

I have Hope that God has a plan and a purpose. There are moments I feel sad about this friend, but then I think of all God has given me in exchange.

I am happier, healthier, stronger, and firmer in my faith. My marriage is even better, because I spend less time running around with her and more time in my home with my husband. My kids are not ignored because I spend more time with her than I did with them.

Why am I telling you this on Sister to Sister Saturday?

Because you may have a relationship right now that you know needs to change. (You won't have to think about it, this person's face is probably already in your head as you read this.)

As you try and draw closer to God, there are things and sometimes people you have to leave behind. He is a holy God and He longs to make you into the image of His son.

I do not want you to concentrate on what you will lose though. I want you to concentrate on what you will gain.

Matthew 10:39 "If you try to save your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will surely find it." (CEV)

Join the conversation: 


Have you ever walked away from a friendship before? What did you learn from that?  

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Friday

Religion, the Election, and God

Vice President Biden and VP nominee Paul Ryan Photo Credit:CC

Religion versus Relationship

I often encounter people who do not have favorable opinions of "religion". 

I want to tell you something: neither did Jesus.

When He talked to everyday people he was kind and compassionate. To the prostitute he was forgiving and gracious. 

When He encountered the religious people, those who shunned the poor and the lonely, but walked around as if they were better than everyone else, He called those people "vipers".

Paul, encountering Athenians who loved religion (though they worshiped false gods) he found it necessarily to point them back to God.

Religion is the system of ritual, not real relationship with the God of the universe. Relationship is a one-on-one knowing who Jesus is, what He did for you, and trusting in Him for everything you are.

Ritual and religion do not move your heart to compassion for the needy, they do not heal you from your brokenness, and they do not free you from your pain. Only God does that.

The Case of Religion Today


I heard on the news last night learned men debating on who was a better Catholic, Paul Ryan, who is the presumptive Vice Presidential nominee or Vice President Biden, who is on the 2012 democratic ticket with President Obama.

The arguments for one man or another were based on political view points and whether or not those view points lined up with the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church.

Neither man scored perfectly.

No one would and that in part is why I believe the argument is moot.

I will  not debate with you who to vote for. That is not why I write this. I write this because I want you to realize two things.

First, "man" will always mess up the sauce. 

God has a recipe for relationship with Him. It is this: 
a. Recognize you are not perfect and need help to live 
b. Call on Jesus and ask Him to forgive you for any wrongs you have committed
c. Live in God's grace while striving to "sin no more"

When we try to add a bunch of hoops to jump through before we can have a relationship with God, we count what Jesus did as nothing. When we add a bunch of self righteous rules afterwards we get stupid debates and divisions like the story from the news.


The second thing I want you to know is this:

God does not use religion to give you purpose, God uses Jesus to give you purpose. 


God's desire for man has been the same sense the Garden of Eden: to have a relationship with mankind. When sin slithered in and stole the hearts of man, God set in motion a plan to redeem those hearts. Jesus was that plan. In Christ we have freedom and we have purpose. Our purpose is now God's purpose: to point the way back to Him to all of mankind.

We do not do this by walking in ritual and religion, but dwelling in relationship.

You may use your talents as a singer to point the way to Him, or your talents as a writer, an artist, an accountant, a speaker, an encourager, or whatever God has gifted you with in order to fulfill your purpose.
But without relationship there is no point. 

I know this may seem harsh, perhaps even a little unlike me, but I cannot stand when people point to God to justify their bad behavior, as I saw last night on the news.

I believe we should account for faith when we go to the polls, but if we focus on politics and religion more than relationship with God then we miss the point.

Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's (your vote) and unto God that which is God's (your heart).

Join the Conversation: 

 Do you agree or disagree that religion (faith) should be a part of political discussion?


Like what you see here? More great content is available several times a week, but I understand how busy you are. That is why I offer a free newsletter that sends you an email of the same great content straight to your inbox! You won't have to worry about missing a thing. I will never share your information with anyone, and if you sign up today, you can get a free copy of my children's eBook The Gardener and the Sapling: A Modern Parable. Click the link below and subscribe now! 



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Wednesday

A Mess in a Dress: Getting Past Your Past


Wednesdays are turning into one of my favorite days! We are Blogging through the book The Gospel of Yes by Mike Glenn. This means we can read it together chapter by chapter and discuss it here like a book club. It is not too late to catch up with us. You can get a copy of the book here. (affiliate link)

Chapters Six and Seven


My grandmother used to look at me on Sunday mornings as I ran around the church in my Sunday frock, and say "that girl is a mess in a dress". She said it with affection and humor, but it was true on so many levels.

I was a mess when God said yes. To be honest, I still am a bit of a mess. I have issues. I have a past.
I am also willing to bet you do too.


If you are letting your past hold you back from experiencing the fullness of God's yes, then you are missing the point. There is freedom and recovery in God's yes: freedom from what is holding you back and recovery from what has hurt and scarred you.


"We all have a past. Even though we find new life in Christ, no one starts from zero. Your life and mine, like any good story have a prequel." Mike Glenn, The Gospel of Yes, page 90


I have shared with you my prequel: I was an adulteress, and God healed my marriage. I was a child of divorce and God wanted me anyway. I have a story and it is messy because life is messy. We are messy.

God is not afraid of your mess. Jesus doesn't judge you because you have a past. The woman caught in adultery in the Bible was brought before Jesus. He said "Go and sin no more." No judging, no condemning. He just spoke life and sent her forward.

"Jesus in not unaware of the mess you are in, and he knows better than anyone that you can't fix it on your own. The mess you are in is why he came. And now that he is here, it makes no sense to waste any more time. So get started. Jesus will start wherever you are. " page 97

 What Makes the Gospel Great? 


The Gospel is great because it is the story of God choosing us in our brokenness, in our messiness, and Jesus revealing the love of the Father to us.

This means God chose you. From the beginning He chose you. You have a purpose, you have a reason for being. Just existing is no longer an option. You now have heard God's yes! Embrace it. Let it begin to change you. Renew the way you think about yourself, about the world, and about God. This yes from God changes everything!

This yes takes your mess and begins to make something beautiful in spite of it. From the inside out we are becoming something totally new!


"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) 

You do not need to "fix" anything first. The truth is you can't. Only what Christ did for us can fix our brokenness.


Get Over Yourself! 


I know how to hold on. Tightly. I held onto my pain, my hurts, my past for a very long time. I hid behind a fake smile on Sundays so no one at church would know my pain. I was not fooling anyone. I certainly was not fooling God. 

I believed that God could heal and could change lives, just not mine. By believing God was good enough for everyone else but me I was making the gospel void. I made God to be a liar. I was wrong! 

If you are holding on to your past hurts and brokenness, get over yourself. I mean this in as much love as I can muster. Really. Let it go. God said yes and He wants to heal you from it all. He wants the chains to fall off and your new reality to be freedom and joy, not bondage and pain. 

God says "yes" to you. Say yes to Him. 


"Our lives may begin in a mess, but they end with a Divine Yes!" Mike Glenn, The Gospel of Yes page 100

Join the Conversation:


What was your "prequel"? Share a part of your story with us. Leave a comment (it can be long or short) with us. Click on "Add a Comment" below.


Blogging Through the Book is a group of bloggers who literally blog while reading the book. It’s different than merely reading a book and posting a review. We have a chance to read and share our thoughts in our community. Click HERE to find out about other blogger's perspectives on these chapters and join the discussion!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Tuesday

The Big Picture

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Sometimes I do not get it. 


To be honest, I sit here wondering "how"? 

How will God use me? What will that look like?

I know part of it looks like this blog. Part of it looks like my family. Part of it looks like Girl's Ministry at church. Part of it looks like the Praise and Worship team.

But what does the "Big Picture" look like?

I think Moses had a similar question.

He was a Hebrew raised by Egyptians. He knew he was different. He knew God had called him. He thought he knew what that looked like. He got it wrong.

He thought people would understand he was made to be their leader. They did not get it.


"During this time Moses was born. He was a very beautiful child, and for three months his parents took care of him in their home. Then when they were forced to leave him outside, the king’s daughter found him and raised him as her own son. Moses was given the best education in Egypt. He was a strong man and a powerful speaker. When Moses was forty years old, he wanted to help the Israelites because they were his own people. One day he saw an Egyptian mistreating one of them. So he rescued the man and killed the Egyptian. Moses thought the rest of his people would realize that God was going to use him to set them free. But they didn't understand." Acts 7:20-25 (CEB)

Moses heard the call of God on his life, but he was trying to do it all himself. Even the people around him realized that would never be enough.

In ourselves we are are not enough. God is more than enough. With God, all things are possible.

His grace is sufficient. 


So I will be patient. I will let Him work His great work on my heart. I will listen and obey. I will wait until His timing is perfect. I may not get it, but when I am ready, when I am humbled, when I am undone by a burning bush experience, then He will fulfill His purpose in me.

Until then I will be like Paul. I will press. I will strive. I will move forward. Toward the goal. Toward my Father.

I will be like Isaiah. When God asks "Who will go?" I will say "Here I am, send me."

Join the Conversation: 

Do you ever wonder how God will use you? 

Like what you see here? More great content is available several times a week, but I understand how busy you are. That is why I offer a free newsletter that sends you an email of the same great content straight to your inbox! You won't have to worry about missing a thing. I will never share your information with anyone, and if you sign up today, you can get a free copy of my children's eBook The Gardener and the Sapling: A Modern Parable. Click the link below and subscribe now!



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Monday

Ten Ways to Face and Overcome Disappointment

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Disappointment is inevitable but no fun. 

Recently I, along with many other people, faced a real disappointment when the multilevel marketing company we were affiliates for (Zeek) closed its doors under a S.E.C. and Attorney General investigation.

Cumulatively millions of dollars were lost by everyday  people in what has turned out to be a "Ponzi scheme".

Some people were depending on the income this company "promised" to live off of. Some people had dreams of one day quitting the nine to five and changing their lives.

No matter what level of affiliate, small or large, I can say today we all face some serious disappointment.

There are people who have left bitter, angry video responses to the CEO of the company. There have been fear laced messages left on blogs and message boards, and the Attorney General's voice mail cannot keep up with the calls.

I am not telling you this because I want sympathy, or because I need you to tell me better ways to invest or spend my money. I am telling you this because I want you to understand I know what disappointment is and I can honestly and without apology say this: our response to disappointment matters.

Disappointment can create emotional and mental wounds.

So many times when we become emotional we also become doubtful. We lose focus on God and begin to look at the disappointment as the controlling defining moment in our lives. The problem with responding to disappointment emotionally is that unchecked emotions have a way of building up like a snow ball rolling down hill. The bigger our ball of emotions get, the less focused we are on God and the more self focused we become.

God is our source. 


God is called many names in the Bible: Jehovah Nissi (our God is our Banner) and Jehovah Jireh (our God is our Provider). There is nothing too big in your life that He cannot cover and nothing too small for Him to care about. He cares for you.

Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, and put on trial, yet still he said this:

"We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom he has called according to his plan." Romans 8:28 (emphasis mine) 

If Paul, who counted it all joy to suffer like Christ, can say this, then how can I complain about a little disappointment?


Yeah, but? 


If you are thinking, 'yeah, I know, but how do you get past feeling this way?' I understand. I have been there. Even Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen have been there.

If you are human (and I am betting you are) then you have faced disappointment and now you need to learn to get past it and press on to the next thing God has for you.

Here are a ten practical and spiritual things to remember when faced with disappointment:


  1. Everything in your life, the good and the bad affect who you are as a person. Only the things you give to God to change and work through glorify Him. 
  2. The psalmist said "I have never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging bread." God takes care of His kids. 
  3. When we give everything to God, He gives back. Pressed down, shaken together, running over.
  4. Doubts and fear will come. Meet them at the door with Jesus and they will flee! 
  5. God gives peace that passes understanding. He can quiet the roaring in your heart and the buzzing cacophony in your head. Just ask Him to. 
  6. You were bought with a price so precious (Christ's life) that there is no return policy. God will not abandon you now just because your circumstances got difficult and messy. 
  7.  This too shall pass. It may sound trite, but it is true. 
  8. God's mercy is new every morning. 
  9. Joy comes in the morning. (When you wake up!) 
  10. You are not alone. Find someone you trust and admire and share with them your heartache. Sometimes we need good and Godly council. 

Join the Conversation: 

Can you share with us your story of disappointment? How did you get through it? Leave your comment below. (Just click on "comments". (If you do not see a way to leave a comment, you may be using Explorer, try Firefox or Google Plus to get a better view)



Like what you see here? More great content is available several times a week, but I understand how busy you are. That is why I offer a free newsletter that sends you an email of the same great content straight to your inbox! You won't have to worry about missing a thing. I will never share your information with anyone, and if you sign up today, you can get a free copy of my children's eBook The Gardener and the Sapling: A Modern Parable Click the link below and subscribe now! 

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Saturday

Five Tips for Finding Your Way (In Life)

Photo Credit: Creative Commons courtesy of artneuveauinart.org 
“Cat: Where are you going?

Alice: Which way should I go?

Cat: That depends on where you are going.

Alice: I don’t know.

Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


Ever felt like Alice?


The next steps can be daunting.

Not knowing what is around the bend may seem worse than knowing if it was something terrible.

I understand. I think we have all had that moment.

Want to know the secret to getting past that panic moment; that horrible moment of not knowing and thinking, “what now”?

Be Still.

Not the answer you were looking for? I know. I don’t always follow this advice either, but since my Father said it, I know it must be right.

“Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalms 46:10 AMP

Life Can Make You Dizzy


When I was little I loved spinning round and round until I felt dizzy. The breeze in my face and the sound of the wind whipping around me as I sliced the through the air buffeted my senses. It was as close as I could get to flying. But, as fun as this may have been, there was one problem: I could not safely navigate the room or the yard (whichever I may have been in) after I stopped spinning.

It was only after I got still a while that I could safely move.

Sometimes that is what life is like. 

Crazy, hectic, spinning out of control and threatening to make us a little dizzy…maybe even a little queasy. When we get still, take quiet moments with God and just get alone with Him, then we can maneuver our lives with more grace and wisdom. Then the next steps don't seem daunting, they seem like a natural thing as we follow Jesus.

Five Tips for Finding Your Way 


1) Shut off all social media (phones, computer, TV)

2) Put on some quiet worship or classical music (I love this one right now!)

3) Ask God to begin to strip away the mental and emotional grime. 
4) Meditate on a scripture, just one; you do not have to be a Bible scholar. (Psalms is a good place to start)

5) Ask God to speak. Don’t pray in the traditional sense, but just listen. God will speak to your heart. (The Bible says He sings over you!)

This patterned time with God allows you to get still and gives Him the room to speak. Now finding your way becomes a matter of learning to hear and obey the still small voice of God, not striking out blindly in any direction that seems good at the time.

“He who has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him consider and perceive and comprehend by hearing.” Matthew 11:15 AMP

When we focus on the Way Maker, the way becomes clear. 




Join the Conversation
: Have you ever felt like Alice? What did you do?



Like what you see here? More great content is available several times a week, but I understand how busy you are. That is why I offer a free newsletter that sends you an email of the same great content straight to your inbox! You won't have to worry about missing a thing. I will never share your information with anyone, and if you sign up today, you can get a free copy of my children's eBook The Gardener and the Sapling: A Modern Parable.  Click the link below and subscribe now! 

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Thursday

The Secret of Godly Success

Self Doubt can be overcome! Photo Credit: Creative Commons
 “God doesn't require us to succeed, He only requires that you try.” Mother Teresa 

Selling Myself Short


I have been beating myself up lately. Picking on my ideas, and criticizing my goals. Who am I to want to write a book? Why are my ideas so important I want to share them with the world?

The answer of course is I am a child of God. Created for a purpose. I've been given a mission. I must try to do what I can to get the message out, because it isn't really my message. It is God's.

There is nothing new under the sun. God has been working toward one goal since the fall in the garden: the restoration of mankind into right relationship with Him. I have a small part to play in spreading that message so others can grow closer to God.

I am no Paul. I am no Peter. I am no Billy Graham, or Amy Grant, or Joyce Meyer, or any of the other people I admire. I am me.

And you are you. Made for a purpose. Born with a unique calling: to be who God made you to be and to share that with others so God gets the glory.

Encountering Resistance 

There was a man named Nehemiah. He had a job working for one of the most powerful men in the world. He was good at his job, he was even friends with his boss. Then he began to feel a tug. A call to do something big. A mission to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. He was changing. 

He  traveled thousands of miles only to find resistance. From officials, and from enemies. But he did not give up, he tried anyway. 

He gathered the resources and he worked 24/7. He recruited everyone he could to help. He became foreman of one of the largest construction jobs in history. 

And he nearly failed. 

Enemies worked against him. Rumors flew. He had to work with a shovel in one hand and a sword in the other just to get the work done. So what did he do? 

He prayed. 



Sometimes resistance comes from within: like the doubts I have experienced. Sometimes resistance comes from our co-workers who wanted the promotion you just got. Perhaps you are experiencing resistance from a family member who does not support your dreams like you want them to.

Where ever the resistance comes from you have to press through it. 

Do Not Give Up

So what you get knocked around a bit. What is a bruise in the grand scheme of eternity? Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. What you do now, this great thing you are doing, will reverberate through time. This will be a legacy that will live through eternity. What you do now is what matters! 

Whether you are trying to be the next great American novelist or just be a Godly parent, your purpose is worth working and fighting for. Like Nehemiah, you may need a shovel in one hand and a sword in the other, but do not give up! 

Keep pressing in and pressing on! Keep going! Don't stop! Don't listen to the detractors, shush the voices that tell you "you can't"! You can! You have a purpose, you matter! 

God's promises are yes and amen! He has a plan for you. He makes your paths straight and lines up your footsteps. Trust in Him and go, go, go! The real success is in the trying. 

Join the conversation: Do you struggle with moments of self-doubt? How do you pick yourself up? 




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Wednesday

Can God Use You?

We are Blogging Through the Book together using Mike Glenn's The Gospel of Yes. If you want to go through this book with us, it is not too late. Click here to purchase a copy. (affiliate link) 


Chapters 4 and 5

These are my favorite chapters so far. Mike Glenn gets to the heart of how and why God says yes, and I loved every page.  

I have heard it said that the Bible is nothing more than a collection of stories about God talking with and moving on the hearts and lives of regular everyday men. Rarely do we get God speaking directly to a king. God chose shepherds like David, scribes like Daniel, young women like Ruth, and old women like Naomi. In the New Testament we see Jesus pick fishermen, a doctor, an accountant. His profession was a carpenter. God chose normal, everyday people like you and I. He still does today. God chooses you to say "Yes" to.

Mike reminds us of the same thing in this book. He also reminds us that normal people have problems. 


We All Have A History

We all have a past. Something we rather no one know, much less talk about. 

I was an adulterer. After the sin was done and I had repented to God, I hid for years behind little and big lies so no one would know. My husband was unaware of the truth. He suspected something may have happened during a dark period of our marriage, but never asked me about it. 

God would not let my sin stand. He prompted me to tell my husband everything, not because God wanted to punish me, but because He wanted me to be free of the weight and the burden of that sin once and for all. 

He wanted to heal my marriage. 

Now this is my testimony: God is good, His promises are yes and amen, and there is nothing that He cannot do because I have seen Him heal my marriage after infidelity. He made that one of the planks in my platform when I preach and teach the Gospel.

It is my story, but it is also HiStory! 

Mike Glenn says this: 

"God will take the "nos" in your life and find a way to make them all "yeses"... He can take the worst day of your life and make it the first line of your testimony of redemption." 

The Surprise of "Yes"

There is a moment when we are surprised by what God can do. I have had this moment over and over. These "awe"some moments leave us a little breathless at God's goodness and His faithfulness. When we truly grasp that God is for us, then we begin to understand what His "yeses" are all about: love and relationship. 

God loves you and wants a relationship with you. 

Even if you have failed. Even if you feel broken and unworthy, God wants you. He loves you. He has a plan for you. 

This is the surprise of "Yes". There is nothing God can not do when we let Him say yes to us. 

"Despite all the human failures, despite the open rebellion of humanity against its Creator, God patiently and persistently weaves His will into the lives of men and women who are open to His presence." Mike Glenn, The Gospel of Yes

There is no "Big Stick" 

God is not waiting to punish you for your wrongs. He doesn't want anyone to languish in eternal damnation. He gave us the big "Yes" in Jesus. Jesus is the way God bridged the gulf between mankind and himself. Through Jesus is the redemptive embrace we have longed for. In that embrace is where our healing begins and our lives become changed. 

There are times when God could have said "NO!" to me. I am almost certain there are times when He could have said "NO!" to you. Yet, if you look, there was more grace and mercy in your worst moment than you deserved. That was God working on your behalf. 

The only piece of wood that matters to God is not a stick. It is a cross. That is His "Yes" instead of a no. 

Search Your Heart

 Search yourself and ask yourself this: "Have I said yes to God?" He said yes to you. Again and again. Surrender your life to Him. Begin saying yes to Him and the Yes of His grace will propel you to new heights in Jesus!  God can use you. He wants to use you. He has already said yes to you, all He is waiting for is for you to say yes to Him!

Join the discussion: Do you have a testimony of God's yes working in your life when He could have said no?

Leave your comments below. 



Blogging Through the Book is a group of bloggers who literally blog while reading the book. It’s different than merely reading a book and posting a review. We have a chance to read and share our thoughts in our community. Click HERE to find out about other blogger's perspectives on these chapters and join the discussion! 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Tuesday

Accolades for A Year in the Spiritual Life

I have struggled. 

Recently I have really felt discouraged about my writing, about this blog, and about the direction I was taking with it all. 

Last night, on my 18th wedding anniversary, my husband and I spent time after dinner talking about it all as we sat in the car at the beach. Then we prayed. 

I woke up this morning to find A Year in the Spiritual Life had been nominated for an Inspiring Bloggers Award. 

God is good. I love when He gives me kisses like this.  


What is it all about? 

It means that Lisa @ Life with Chocolate and Coffee likes what she saw here and nominated me for this honor. It means that I now have to share seven little known facts about myself and in turn nominate up to 15 more bloggers with the same award. My top 13 are below! 

I know that there are moments that stand out in our lives that we remember for their importance emotionally or spiritually. I hope this is one I remember for a long time, because it means so much. So thanks Lisa! 

I have always wanted to be "award-winning"! 


Seven Little Known Things About Me

  1. Since I am an open book this is a little harder than I thought. 
  2. I am trying to grow out my nails after 30 years of biting them. 
  3. I am afraid of spiders. 
  4. I miscarried my third child when I was 26. 
  5. I do not make friends easily. 
  6. Because people think I am annoying.
  7. I can laugh at that. 


Blogs I am Nominating















Now It is up to you! 

This was such an uplifting moment for me. We all need encouragement. Today, take the time to ask God who He wants you to encourage. Now go do it! It is up to you to love others as Christ has loved you! 


Join the Discussion 

Have you got a blog you want to nominate? Then leave a comment below with a link to the site so we can learn more! 



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Monday

True Confessions: I Laughed Loudly

Blake Weir as Jack Chesney, Kevin Dean as Lord Fancourt Babberly, and Marty Blair 
as Charley Wykeham Photo by Bara Photography, used by CC licence. 

Ladies’ Night Out


My church family is filled with women from all walks of life. I love that. I love even more that we got to spend time together this weekend.

About 30 women loaded into large vans to do one thing: spend time together and get to know one another better.

Crazy, right?

There was once a time in my life when I could not imagine deliberately hanging out with women. I considered this torture. It is amazing how much God can change things!

After a wonderful meal prepared by a few women in one of the ladies’ home, we loaded back into the vans, and headed into the city to see the AD Players’ perform “Charley’s Aunt”.

Now if you know me or have read “Turn Down that Noise” then you know how loud I can be. I have been shushed many times in my life, and some of those times have been over my laugh.

I vowed to try and tone it down while on this outing. I did not want to seem obnoxious. I do not laugh loudly to gain attention, it is simply my laugh.

The AD Players, specifically the cast of Charley’s Aunt, had something else in mind. The characters were wonderfully brought to life by the cast, and my favorite characters are pictured above. Of course the women of this play were delightful as well and you can see for yourself if you live in the Houston, Texas, area.

This delightful comedy is an old fashion mix of romance and buffoonery and I loved every minute of it. I laughed.

Loudly.

Many times.

I am not exaggerating in the least. At the conclusion of this wonderful play, the cast took their bow and thanked the audience. Then they took a moment to thank the woman stage right who especially liked the play (ME!) and promised that I was not a plant, though perhaps they should consider hiring me to come to more plays! Almost every woman I was with that night laughed at that.

To my delight, Blake Weir, who played Jack Chesney, came to the foyer of the theater to meet the woman who nearly made him and other cast members break character! I gushed.

The one thing this delightful experience taught me is to be myself. I thought I had learned that lesson already, but I guess I had not.

Why am I telling you this?


I am sharing this story because first the AD Players deserve the shout out for a job well done, but foremost I am telling you this because I know I am not alone.

I know I am not the only one that has tried to change who they are to try and fit in. I know I am not the only one who finds one of their personality traits annoying or embarrassing. If I can embrace my raucous laugh, you can learn to embrace your personality too! Be who God made you to be, love Him with all your heart, your soul and your might, and rest in the fact that you were designed uniquely for a reason.

If you laugh loudly, laugh joyfully. Be you.

Question: In what way have you tried to fit in before? Leave your comment below.


Like what you read here? Want to keep up with the latest? Then join our newsletter. Delivered right to your inbox this email will come anytime there is a new post on A Year in the Spiritual Life. Click the link below to join now!


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Saturday

Refine, Refinish and Restore

Refine and Refinish Me Oh God Photo Credit: Creative Commons
I was raised in church.

My heritage is generations of men and women called to minister, to teach, and to share.

I was taught to be mindful of what others thought. To mind my P's and Q's.

I feared missing the rapture and felt constantly torn between who I was and who I was expected to be.

I had moments with God. Glimpses of Grace. Touches of the Divine.

Encounters that shook me to my core. But we were like star crossed lovers, God and I.

Our timing seemed to be off.

I knew I was called, but I thought that meant I had to become another person.

The person I was? Not good enough.

The person I was? Too loud, too brash, too impulsive, too much of a tomboy.

There were moments I let hurt and offence rule my mind and soon I was taking the reigns away from God and living for myself.

Engulfed in self, I erred. I strayed. I walked away.

When my life fell apart I saw that as proof that God did not care- I used our distance as permission to spiral out of control. I was angry. Mad at God.

I was lonely and I had no idea how or if I ever wanted to reach out for God again.

But God, in His love and mercy was never far away. He sang His songs of Love over me. He called to me like a lover. He wooed me, seduced me with His faithfulness.

I repent. I cry. I surrender. I run back to my Father's arms.

I have moments with God. In the mornings my joy is full. His mercy is new.

I have peace. I do not fear missing His return because I feel Him now.

I begin to wake up. I begin to see He makes me new, refines and refinishes me like a fine piece of furniture. He brings out the grain that was there all along.

He shines me. He polishes. He favors me and sets me on display.

I am called, but now I know it is as easy as following my Love's voice: I know His voice and it is sweetness to my soul. I am who He made me to be. We are perfectly compatible. I trust Him.

Church is not the focus. People's opinions do not matter. He matters. I want my heart beat to be His Heart's Beat.

I want to be Me.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17 

Do not try to be anyone other than who you were designed to be. As we reach out and receive God's endless love and grace, we are changed: refined, refinished and restored. The same, but made new. Glorious and Perfected in Christ. 

What is your story? Leave your comments below.


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