Watch Out for the Impending Black Shadow!!!

Standard

My heart is SO TENDER in this season!  I just love Thanksgiving for two reasons –Thanksgiving

1)  I have such fond memories of going to my Aunt’s house in Dearborn and going to the Thanksgiving Day parade!  As a child this was such a WONDER for me!!  Even as I type this my heart can’t help but smile as I think about sitting on the curb with my little hands wrapped tightly around a cup of hot cocoa, the only thing that was keeping me warm on that freezing cold morning! To get a good seat we had to arrive early and sit on the cold concrete and wait.  I didn’t mind!  I loved the atmosphere created in those moments, the anticipation of the parade and the ultimate coming of Santa at the end!  As a child was there anything better?!?!?!  I DON”T THINK SO!!!!!

As an adult I mourn the changing of this tradition, but there are new ones in it’s place.  Once again this year I will run the Turkey Trot in downtown Grand Rapids, but this year I will run with not only my man and my Aunt, but most all of my nieces and nephews are joining in on the fun as well!!!  For these people I call family I am SO GRATEFUL FOR!!!!

Which brings me to the second reason why I LOVE Thanksgiving . . . .

2)  I believe that for a followers of Jesus this is such a HUGE CELEBRATION!!!!!!!!!!  We have more reason than ANYONE to be thankful!!  But it’s more than that . . . . . we are the only ones that know WHO TO BE THANKFUL TO!!!!!!!!!!!  I teach my Middle School students to be thankful . . . . but to whom are they thankful?  There is this vagueness about having a thankful heart for all they have!  But for me . . . . . I know to WHOM I AM THANKFUL!!!!!  This is the day I set aside to CELEBRATE MY THANKFUL HEART TO GOD!!!!!!!!!!!  No, this is not the only day I’m thankful . . . . but the focus of this day is the thankfulness I have towards Jesus for all He’s done for me . . . . to the Father for the unbelievable LOVE that He lavishes me with and to the Holy Spirit for His unending presence in my life!!!!!!!!!!!

But where there is a focus on God . . . . evil is so close!!!!  I am watching as our enemy is slowly and methodically ruining Thanksgiving . . . . . he is stealing the focus, killing the priority on a thankful heart and destroying the precious time that families have set aside to be thankful and celebrate all that God has done for them!!!  Instead this precious holiday is being overtaken by the dark shadow of consumerism and the Body of Christ is getting sucked into it as well!!!!  The Big Black Shadow of Black Friday shopping has now oozed into Thanksgiving Day and all the dinner plans are now set around when the stores open and people want to get a jump on their Black Friday shopping!!!

ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So what can YOU DO to make Thanksgiving special?!?!?!?!  How can your Thanksgiving me special for you, your heart and Jesus?!?!?!?  There are so many awesome things to do to make Thanksgiving special . . . . check out Google and find some new traditions for you and your family that will usher in thankful hearts to your celebration and the rest of your year!!!  Be a trend-setter!!!!  Don’t hold back . . . . . Jesus didn’t hold back for you!!!!!

So as we get closer to one of my favorite holidays, and you still have time to make some purposeful decisions about the day, I  want to CHALLENGE . . . . . ENCOURAGE . . . . . . and CHEER YOU ON to keep Thanksgiving HOLY and SET APART in your heart, your life, your family and as much of your world as you can!!!!!!!  As followers of our sweet and precious Jesus I want us to stand up to the world and let them know that we still VALUE Thanksgiving!!!  That we are a THANKFUL PEOPLE and we are going to THANK OUR GOD FOR ALL HE’S DONE FOR US!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Let’s enjoy this day set aside to THANK HIM . . . . . and you can get your shopping rush on Friday!!!  There will still be plenty leftover . . . . Jesus will take care of YOU when YOU PUT HIM FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!

Today I am thanking God for YOU!!!!  Thanks for stopping by and letting me share what God has on my heart!!!!  Much love to you . . . . HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!   =  )

Advertisements

Why is Beauty so HARD?!?!?!?!?

Standard

I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan where we currently are experiencing the snowiest November since sometime in the 1800’s.  The bonus to that is I teach Middle School by day, so that gave me two glorious days off of work for snow days!!  (THANK YOU JESUS!!!)

I tell you about the snow so you understand how THRILLED my heart is to be heading to Florida in less than a week from this post!!!  WOO HOO!!!!!!  AS I type this I see that tomorrow it’s going to be in the 80’s there!!!  Oh my Michigan friends . . . . please don’t hate me!!!  ;  )

The reason I tell you this is because I’m heading down to speak at a CHRISTmas women’s event at Real Life Church in Clermont, Fla.  I can’t wait to serve these women on Dec. 1!!!  But getting ready for this event has been more difficult than I anticipated!!  Trying to decide what to wear to a Women’s Christmas event on Dec. 1 in 80 degree weather is too much for this freezing Michigander to handle!!!!  I keep asking anyone that might be able to help me to know WHAT I SHOULD  WEAR?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I think I have that figured out . . . . . as least I sure hope I do!!!!

But in addition to that I have been using a dark brown and a navy blue eye shadow for years and it’s time to replace them.  I figured I would get the same colors and be done!!  After all . . . . . HOW HARD CAN THIS BE?!?!?!?!?!

I go walking into the mall, arm in arm with my man ~ (yes, I thought taking him along was a good idea, because how long could this really take?!?!?!)  I had a recommendation from someone about a certain eye shadow that she loves, so I went searching for it.  I started at Macy’s, nope.  The gal there sent me towards JC Penny’s, nope, not there either.  Leave Penny’s let’s try Bare Minerals.  The woman there didn’t want to HELP me . . . . she wanted to SELL me stuff!!  Back to Macy’s to see Rachel . . . . we are now friends!  Rachel says I have to go INTO JC Penny’s.  Off to Penny’s to try again.

If you are anything like me I hope you can sense the frustration and the impending MELTDOWN that is coming!!!!  This shouldn’t have been this hard!!  But I felt like I was trying to find a needle in a haystack!!  Evidently I was looking for a MIRACLE!!!!!

I have to be honest.  This hunt was not pretty!!!  I felt in over my head on a topic I felt totally intimidated by!!!!  With each stop at a makeup counter I felt like I had to re-explain what I was looking for, without sounding too pathetic!!!  I had NO IDEA what I was really looking for!!!  And since I didn’t know what I was really looking for I felt like no one could help me find it!!!!

Beauty . . . . . the quest for it can be so hard and complex!!!!  It can be so daunting as we try to find the perfect item that will make us look less like what we see in the mirror and more like the woman we are LONGING TO BE!!!!!!!!  The woman Jesus sees me to be.  So much of the struggle lies in the fact that I can’t see past my own faults, failures and foibles to see they beautiful and amazing woman that I truly am!!!!

We are told that we are made NEW in Christ!!!  The old has passed away and the new has come!!!  In Christ I am a NEW and BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING CREATION!!!!!!!

Someone needs to tell that woman in the mirror that she has been replaced by someone SO MUCH MORE AMAZING than who she believes herself to be!!!  She needs to realize that Jesus has come to RENEW HER . . . . REBUILD HER . . . . RESTORE HER . . . . . .REDEEM HER!!!!!!  Someone needs to tell this woman in the mirror how LOVED AND BEAUTIFUL SHE REALLY IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Earlier this week I sat next to a friend of mine that does not have long for this world.  Each day is an unexpected and precious gift to her family.  She is dying from cancer and is so very close to being swept up into the waiting arms of Jesus!!  When I sat next to her the first words out of my mouth were, “You look GREAT!!”  Looking back, who says that to a dying woman?  I know, it sounds crazy, but she really did look great!!!  But in reality she looked more than great . . . . she looked BEAUTIFUL and RADIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!  As I think back to that night I smile as I picture her with her bald head rapped in a scarf, eyebrows painted on, her smile sweet on her lips!!  I’m here to tell you that woman was BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!  Tears as I think of her pure beauty!!!!  From the inside out!!!!!!

Oh girls . . . . how do we define beauty?!?!?!?!  Pretty sure it’s not at the makeup counter at the mall!!!  Pretty sure it’s not trivial words spoken from men!!  Pretty sure it’s not found on the clothes rack!!!!!!  Pretty sure it’s not found in the next diet book!!!!

Beauty . . . . . .

Our beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as our hair, jewelry, clothes, but it should be an UNFADING BEAUTY from our inner self . . . . this is where our truest beauty should come from!!  (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Yet some of us feel as though our lives are way too messy for beauty!!!  But Jesus promises us that from the mess of our ashes our beauty will arise!!!  Our past does not need to define us, we don’t need to get stuck there, but from our past is what Jesus uses to draw us to Him and draw out our beauty from the depths of our hearts!!!

So what does beauty look like in us . . . . . it’s begins with our minds and what we think on . . . . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about these things.

Oh yes . . . . these are the things I want my mind, heart, and soul to dwell on!!  I want my beauty to come from the deepest part of my heart that is held tightly by Jesus!!!  Not a fleeting beauty . . . . . but a beauty that will LAST!!!!

So . . . . . . yes . . . . . I did find some new eye shadow.  But it doesn’t do anything to change the core of who I am or who I want to be.  But it did make me stop and think about my own beauty and listen to Jesus a bit more on this topic!

I hope you will take some time with Jesus today and ponder your own beauty.  Take some time to listen to what your sweet Jesus has to say to you about your own beauty, how He sees you and what He has to say to you!!  I’m thinking you might just hear Psalm 45:11 come from His heart to yours!!!

Packing for the Trail

Standard

Well here I am, my second snow day.  Some may call me spoiled . . . . I call me BLESSED!!!!  =  )  And LAVISHLY LOVED BY GOD!!!!!  =  )

This has been some great time off!!  Today not only was it a day off, but we also had no power.  God has a way of getting our attention when He wants it.  So I stayed tucked in bed . . . . .. yes, it was those fleece sheets again!!  (see yesterday’s post for more on the sheets)  I just curled in to the heart of God and listened to Him urging me forward in my journey.  I was surprised by the stubbornness that He was met with!!

I don’t want to press forward!!  It’s too hard!!  Too scary!!  Requires more sacrifice, discipline, strength and resolve than I have!!  It’s too far to the other side!!  I’ll never make it to where you are calling me to go!!  Lord, I have lost my “want to” and I don’t think I want to go anymore!!

OH MY!!!!!  When I type that all out I feel SO SILLY!!!!  Not only do I KNOW BETTER . . . . . but I AM BETTER!!!  Not in my own strength . . . . BUT BECAUSE OF JESUS!!!!!

So . . . . today I started with this prayer . . . . Lord, CHANGE MY WANT TO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After a good dose of Bible, prayer and time with Jesus I have found my feet to be on the path to where He is calling me to!!!

So what the path to following Jesus look like . . . . death to self, life in Christ . . . . sacrifice . . . . listening and obediently following . . . . . remembering WHERE I came from . . . . remembering WHERE I am going to . . . . . remembering WHAT HE CALLS ME TO DO ON THIS JOURNEY!!!!!!!

2 Cor. 4:1, 16 urge me to NOT LOSE HEART on this journey that can be tough!!!!  But forward with Christ is the direction I LONG TO GO!!!!!!!!!

So here are the things I am packing with me for the trail . . . .

1)  Memory Verses . . . . each week I’ll add some more to my heart

2)  Intentional Weekly Plan . . . . . I have to listen to God for instructions along the way and WRITE THEM DOWN

3)  Daily Celebrations . . . . . I’m going to note where I am successful EACH DAY . . . . celebrate obedience

4)  Journal Daily . . . . not just a record of events, but the journey of my heart

5)  Prayers!!!

I know this would be a GREAT POST for Jan. 1 . . . . but I can’t wait that long to get going!!!  How about you?!?!?  Can you wait until then to start your journey that God is calling you to . . . . or do you need to start packing your bag today and get moving?!?!?!?!  If you’re on the trail, let me know!!!!  We are all going to the same place . . . . THE HEART OF GOD!!!!!!!  We may have different views of the same road, but we are all on the road!!!!

I would LOVE to hear about YOUR JOURNEY!!!!  Comment below and keep me posted as I keep you posted on my journey with Jesus as well!!!  WELCOME ABOARD!!!!!Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 9.48.33 PM

Come and Play Simon Says . . . . . sort of

Standard

Today was an AMAZING DAY for me!!  It started with that fabulous phone call in the dark of morning thwinter picat announces to my waiting heart that today is a SNOW DAY!!!!!

Let me tell you what this means to me . . . . . God has just given me the GIFT OF TIME!!!!!!!

THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!

I have ALWAYS SAID that TIME is my most precious commodity!!  I can earn more money, but I can’t earn more time.  But today, the challenge set before me . . . . . . what was I going to do with my time?!?!?!

As I lay curled up in my fleece sheets – yes, you read that right, I have fleece sheets!!  It’s like sleeping inside of a cozy sweatshirt every winters night!!)

Oh how quickly I digress . . . . . . those fleece sheets do that to me every time!!!!!

Back to my phone call . . . . I then began to ask God what HE wanted me to do today . . . . and then I drifted off to sleep!!!  I always think I’ll get up early and make the most of my day off, but sleep won out again this morning!!!!

Once my eyes peeked back open I began my request to God again . . . . what did HE want for me today.  I was surprised at His response!!!  What I expected to hear was a list of all these spiritual things that I should be doing!!!  You know like reading the whole Old Testament, memorizing the book of Psalms, praying for all my family, friends and the entire unsaved world by name, fast all day and if possible put on some sack cloth and ashes for good holy measure!!  (good thing I have a fire place)  I was ready for whatever He was going to ask of me today!!  I was already thinking ahead to how I would outline my day with all these spiritual activities I would no doubt be doing . . . . . . but I listened . . . . . and there was His still, small voice in my heart . . . .

Lean into Me.

I re-listened because it had to be more than that!!  And sure enough . . . . there was more . . . . .

Lean into Me, moment by moment, step by step today.  Don’t get ahead of me.  ASK ME ABOUT EVERYTHING!!!!!!  Don’t make one single choice before you ASK ME FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!

So basically today was going to be like a game of Simon Says and God is Simon.  I get that!!!  How hard can that be?!?!?!?!?!

GAME ON!!!!!!!!!

So here I am in the afternoon of my snow day and I realize as you are reading this you are laughing at how naive I can be at times!!!!!  Yes, I have realized very quickly that this version of Simon Says is much harder than I anticipated!!!!  This was a very hard request placed before me!!  I am working my hardest at this, but asking Him about every little detail is not my usual routine.  I usually take care of the softball decisions and let God handle the bigger stuff.  Today I am getting the fuller picture of what it looks like to NOT MAKE ONE SINGLE MOVE WITHOUT ASKING HIM FIRST!!!!!

Breakfast . . . . what to wear . . . . what to do next . . . . . what chores should I do (I was excited when He nixed doing dishes)  . . . . what blanket to grab . . . . . lunch . . . . . . where to sit . . . . . what to do next . . . . . what to do about my headache . . . . . . . do I write today, if so, what to write about today . . . . . .

I haven’t been 100% on the mark listening today, that’s for sure!! I don’t think I’m even close to that, but my heart is understanding more than ever what it looks like to WALK WITH JESUS, MOMENT BY MOMENT!!!!!!!!  NO DECISION IS MINE TO MAKE!!!!!!!!!!!  THIS IS NOT MY LIFE . . . . . I AM DEAD TO CHRIST, HE IS ALIVE IN ME, SO I MIGHT AS WELL LET HIM MAKE ALL THE DECISIONS OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!

Walking with God, step by step, takes practice, skill and DEATH to our own wants, wishes and desires!!!  But today has been sprinkled with some very delightful times that I would’ve missed if I weren’t listening to His voice!!!!

We have all played Simon Says, and we knew the rules, we didn’t make a move until Simon said we could.  Girls, welcome to the new version of Simon Says . . . . . the rules are the same, and God gets to be Simon every time!!!!!!  So starting NOW . . . ask God what HE WANTS YOU TO DO NEXT . . . . . listen to what God says . . . . . . .  do it . . . without hesitation. . . . . .

And the winner of this game is . . . . . . . . . . .

Oh, you know the answer to that!!!  ;  )

Enjoy the rest of your day!!!  I’m off to see what God wants me to do next . . . . . .

What I’m Excited About Today

Standard

The day after Thanksgiving my fabulous prayer warrior and husband are hopping on a plane and heading to Orlando Florida!!  WOOT WOOT!!!!!  I have been invited to speak at REAL Life Church in Clermont, Fla. on Dec. 1 at their Women’s Christmas Event:

Real Women’s Christmas Event

Dec 1 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Ladies! Mark your calendars for the annual Real Women’s Christmas event, The Gift, on Monday, December 1st, at 7:00pm in the Main Auditorium. This year, author Gail Ramesh will be joining us as our guest speaker. Contact Christina Tennyson at cmtennyson@getreallife.com for more information. Childcare will be provided.

So what does this mean for me?  I am spending my days firming up my talk and trying to figure out what to wear to an event on Dec. 1 in Florida!!  As I sit here at my favorite coffee shop the ground is covered with snow and more is coming down.  On Dec. 1 here in Michigan that means two words:  BUNDLE UP!!!!  But what does that mean for Florida?!?!  I can’t even begin to think about short sleeves in this weather!!!  This is my biggest dilemma about this trip!!  And of course if I wanted something new, I won’t be buying it here . . . . we only have wool sweaters and thick fleece-lined leggings!!

I LAUGH as I type this . . . . with all the TRUE TRAGEDIES in the world this is really NO BIG DEAL!!!!!!  I GET THAT!!!!  However, I still have to maneuver through these waters!!  A wool sweater just can’t go with me to Florida!!

And yet God draws my heart to what really matters . . . . . as Mandisa says, it’s not the gospel of Vogue that matters, but our truest beauty that comes from the INSIDE, where Jesus resides!!!

My heart runs back to Psalm 45:11  –  (my own paraphrase)  My King is ENTHRALLED with MY BEAUTY!!

I love that the Word doesn’t say He WILL BE enthralled with my beauty WHEN . . . . . I lose weight, get my hair done, buy new clothes, get a make-over, change my eating habits, etc.  It says that He is TODAY, RIGHT WHERE I AM, ENTHRALLED WITH THE BEAUTY I POSSESS TODAY!!!!!

Girls, we have got to stop thinking we are going to be beautiful tomorrow . . . . . our KING is totally HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE WITH US AND OUR BEAUTY TODAY . . . . right where we are . . . . . just who we are today!!!!!  Enjoy His attention . . . enjoy His affections . . . . enjoy HIM as He enjoys YOU and YOUR BEAUTY!!!!!

So today I am going to spend some time with my favorite Book . . . God’s Word . . . and let that clothe my heart with the beauty of His Spoken Word!!!  I am going to let that be the lavish beauty upon my heart!!!  Later today I’ll have to poke through my closet and see what I can find that might work in 72 degrees and trust Jesus for the perfect outfit that will go with the TRUEST BEAUTY of my heart!!!!

If you are in Clermont on Dec. 1 I would LOVE for you to come and say hello – you can see what Jesus put together out of my closet and tell me if it works!! =  )