Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Home for Christmas

I loaded up my kids and made the 8 hour drive to my mom's house to bless her for Christmas. Not just with our presence, considering my grandmother passed in April. But with 10 helpful hands willing to help clean, move, organize, whatever was needed.

First, I had to push through the stuff that had accumulated in the few months since my niece and I had just cleaned, moved, and organized back in April. And though my husband had tried to warn me, and my sister had tried to advise me based on her own experience; I just knew I was different. I had a plan.

After my 7-year-old proclaimed that the room we were excavating to find some misplaced thing could be featured on TLC's "Buried Alive," I had no response. But I still had a plan. My son and I spent the day cleaning and organizing the kitchen, putting down shelf paper, and putting things in easy reach. We took an hour break to go eat, and when we returned, we discovered that in that short time, my mom had already started to cover the organized stuff with the clutter of the remaining stuff that we were still organizing. Surfaces and spaces that had just been cleaned, in just 60 minutes, looked like what it had before the hours we spent working on it.

And then came the teachable moment for me! I had come with my own agenda. But when you really want to bless someone, you find a way to meet them where they are and provide what they desire to receive, not what you plan to give. And I'm not talking in terms of money or material possessions. If you're going to bless someone, then do what they want to do, not what you think is best.

I spent the next two days making fruit cakes in the Christmas tradition of my grandmother, learning how to make caramel icing from scratch, and wrapping Christmas gifts for the senior citizens of our home church which we started doing when I was on the children's choir. We had a great time.

And in the end....that was the end goal. It wasn't about me. It was about her. I'm glad we came!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pause for Perspective

Yesterday, I had an encounter with God's point of view. I had to make some hard financial decisions and return many Christmas gifts I had purchased a few days before. So I was having this ongoing discussion with God in my car about this situation.

While I was standing in line at one store waiting for the manager to do my return, another lady was also standing at the counter. She was there for a job interview. When the cashier inquired what position she was applying for, she said, "I'll take anything you have. I just lost my husband to leukemia and I need a job."

Right then and there, it broke my heart in two. While we both waited for the manager, I struck up a conversation with her. I asked how she was doing, and if she had any kids. She said she has 3 children, with the youngest just 5-years-old. The more she talked, the sadder I became.

She said that the kids were holding up under the circumstances, but a lot of that was due to them being occupied by school during the day. She added that nights are the hardest for them.

As I left the store, I concluded my earlier conversation with God. "OK Father, I see. It's all about perspective." I thought of those dear children, who probalby couldn't care less about getting toys or clothes or anything material for Christmas. But they probably would have given everything to have their Dad back this Christmas season.

So as you run around finishing up your shopping, take time to remember what Christmas should be about. The things that really matter. And please take time to pray for the Taylor Family.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Will you believe God?

One of the hardest things to do in life is find a church home. Since I've been married, we have moved out of state 4 times. So each of those by necessity required a church move. But this is the first time that we have felt God leading us to change churches while in the same city. It has been a very interesting experience. We didn't "fall out" with anyone. We wholly believed that God said that season was complete and closed. So this is what God showed me with this situation.

Yes, there are genuine church hoppers out there: people who only want to go to the newest place on the block, or leave when the gospel begins to address sin areas in their lives, or fall out with people and so they take their proverbial ball and go home. These are the folks who won't commit to any place, but they just go with the flavor of the day.

Many people find it more convenient to hide behind the legitimate issue of "I don't want to be a church hopper." In reality, there really is something deeper going on. There are many Christians who are just going through the motions on Sunday. Some have attended a particular church all of their lives. They cannot ever see themselves attending anywhere else. However, if you look at their spiritual lives, they are stale and stagnant. Others know in their heart that God has told them to move, but they are looking for ways to negotiate with God because they will miss the relationships. Or there are so many biblically bankrupt churches on the landscape, that they don't even know where they might start to look for a new church home.

I think the root of all of this is fear. Most people stay where they are because they are scared to leave. That is not necessarily because God hasn't revealed it to them, but honestly because they are scared to be without a church home, not to have their name on the roll at some church. They cannot imagine it any other way. But that's easy. That doesn't take any faith. You just go along with the status quo. Change is difficult. I get that!

But let me humbly suggest that sometimes God is trying to grow you, to take you out of the predictable and plant you in a new field. You miss out on your blessing because you are afraid to trust God, to really believe that He can change your situation.

But what if you would believe God and trust His plan and not your fear? What if you would dare to believe that He sees your situation and will not allow you to wander in the desert for 40 years? Because ultimately, that is our fear! What if He doesn't deliver us? Then we either go back to where we were or we stay adrift.

It is a hard road. I'm a witness. It can be scary. You can feel isolated, and many times you question whether you made the right decision. But just maybe.....God is up to something and He is putting the pieces together to do an even greater thing. If we would just join Him in His work, in His plan.

WOW! I can't wait to see what God is up to in our lives. And I hope that you will trust Him with His plan for yours as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

That Every Kid May Know

With an estimated 380,000 orphans before the earthquake last year, even more children in Haiti now find themselves struggling to survive and make sense of tragedy in the world. I want to remind these children that in spite of their situation, "God sees them, God loves them, and He does have a purpose for their lives."

Leeway Artisans published my book, "10 Things Every Kid Should Know About God," to help children understand what having a relationship with God is about. In just a year's time, we have now teamed up with five translators to make this award-winning book accessible to children in Haiti in their own language.

I had a friend that was going to Haiti on a missions trip to work with kids in Vacation Bible School and at an orphanage. We realized that we could have a greater impact if we sent books in Creole. And within two weeks of our confirmation to start the project, four others eagerly volunteered their time to help. It was amazing to see God bring all of the pieces together.

The project is expected to reach completion by early November with a goal of sending 1000 copies of the translated version by year's end. Donations are currently being received as the project gains momentum.

"This project is a great opportunity to serve," said Gueber Lamour, one of the translators. "I was moved by the willingness of others to dedicate themselves to provide educational tools to a nation unrelated to them in many ways. In fact, my support is a token of my gratitude for what they are doing for the children in Haiti."

Initial support for the project has been overwhelming with nearly 20% of the goal reached before any public annoucement was made.

It just resonated with people. It moved me to think about how much God loves these children in spite of everything that has happened in their country. This book is just a small way of reminding them that they are not forgotten by us, nor by their Heavenly Father. I hope that God blows us away and enables us to send thousands of books to Haiti.

The Creole version of "10 Things Every Kid Should Know About God" is available for just $7 each book. For more information, visit

Thank you for your support and please remember to pray for the children of Haiti.

Monday, September 26, 2011

God says "Move On"

OK....maybe it's just me, but God has really been speaking to me this week in very specific ways. And each time I am just amazed to the point that I have to write about it, to share it, just in case someone else needs to be encouraged, someone else needs to hear that same Word from the Lord.

Recently, my husband and I had been praying over a situation. On more than one occasion, we have had to agree with God that we are like dumb sheep ready to run off the cliff at any moment without guidance from the Shepherd's hand. Therefore, we had been earnestly seeking God and asking for direction.

We felt in a number of ways this weekend that God had made His answer plain to us. Then today, it was as if He were putting an exclamation point on His answer.

Part of my Bible Study assigned reading today was Exodus 14:12-15. The Israelites speaking to Moses said: "Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." this time I was about on the edge of my chair with anticipation, knowing I had one more verse to go. What was God up to? What was He going to say?

Verse 15 says, "Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to MOVE ON!" (emphasis mine)

I had to be like one of those teen girls on TV...there was no one else around so I had to slap my computer and say "Shut....Up!" Then I cracked up laughing at God's way of saying, I've already given you the answer. When are you going to stop asking me for direction and MOVE ON!

I got the message. Absolutely! So I'm moving! I just feel that this Word isn't just for me. What situation is God saying to you, "Stop crying out to me! I've already answered your prayer. I've already shown you what to do or which way to go, now MOVE ON."

My prayer is that you will not waste another day where you, don't look back, but make the first step toward your Promised Land.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Oh that you would bless me...

WOW! and WOW! I hope you have had some encounters with God in your life that takes your breath away. I was so wowed by God this morning that I had to share it.

Typically when I get ready to start a new personal study, I go into the Christian bookstore, look through the titles, read the back covers, and kind of try to find something that fits some area of my life I'm currently dealing with or something that I think I need to work on. And without fail, (except's a long story), the study I pick seems tailor-made for me. Now, if that alone doesn't make you say "WOW! God"....Think about that. Some of those studies were printed years in advance and yet when I read it, it speaks to me as if God Himself penned it to speak directly to me.

This month I've been working my way through the Beth Moore study, "Believing God." I've already had several times when I had to remind myself that I don't know this woman, yet she is speaking truth directly into my situation.

Yesterday, I met with one of the translators who is working on putting my kids book into Haitian Creole. (If you don't know about that, check out the book's Facebook page or see my website in a couple of weeks). She made a comment to me as we were talking about what moves my heart as it relates to this project of providing biblical truth to Haitian kids in their own language. She said,
"It is like the prayer of Jabez. God is going to enlarge your territory."

I open up my Bible Study today and the Scripture is "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." 1 Chronicles 4:10

I think I almost fell out of my chair. This study went into its 10th printing in September 2010. It was originally printed in 2004. That means that 7 years ago, God knew that on Sept. 23, 2011, I would need that word of confirmation. WOW!

To add to my gratefulness to my Father, who lavishes His grace so richly upon me, I was overcome yesterday to just sit and think that when I was in 5th grade writing in that green spiral notebook, God knew that one day that would lead to having a book translated into Creole. I could not have imagined, but not only did He know it, He ordained it from the beginning of time.

Praise and Glory to His Name.

That is my WOW Moment! What's yours?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bed, Bath, and way Beyond

There are times in my life that I'm sure when people drive by my car that assume that I'm having some kind of fit. My hands are waving, my head is jerking, my shoulders moving, and they can't hear a thing because my windows are up and so are theirs. And when I'm in my car, I'm not even trying to contain my praise. It's just me and God as I get my praise on.

But recently, I found myself in a situation hard to contain. I was shopping in Bed, Bath, and Beyond, just listening to my MP3 player. Had it on shuffle, so there were all kinds of songs playing in rotation. But then Fred Hammond came on. And if anybody has seen my music collection, you know I'm a big Fred Hammond fan.

But this was one of my favorites, and I had not heard it in a while. It is called "No Greater Love." It simply says, "There is no greater love than the one you have for me Lord. Your mercy, so tender, erasing my transgressions. There is none greater."

That word "transgressions" got me. In a recent Bible study I came across the definition of trangressions as a "deliberate act against the law of God." WOW! That's the stuff that I do, that I know it is sin when I do it, and I still do it anyway." And He, God, chooses to erase that, to blot it out, to exterminate it, to obliterate it, because of His love for me.

I could feel that praise coming on as I thought of what God had done for me, and instead of humming along, I was beginning to sing, and I just had to thank God for what He had done in my life.

I ended up in my car in the parking lot, with the song at full blast, and then it got to the chorus and it just tore me up. "Your love for me is forever. To me there is none greater. Your love kept you hanging there. Your love kept the nails in place and let the blood flow down and reach all the way down and grab me and hold me. Your love let the spear pierce your side. Your love kept me on your mind. No greater love. Your love let them mock your name, and spit in your face, and crucify the Lamb of Glory. To me there is no greater love. Your love kept you hanging there, separated from the Father, just for me."

Needless to say, by then the tears were flowing, the snot was running, the hands were praising, I was just overcome with gratitude with what Christ had done for me. And sometimes you just have to get ugly with your praise, a little undignified, and thank God for who He is and what He has done and continues to do.

What an awesome WOW moment!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Give it away liberally

My children got on me Sunday because they said "I laughed too loud in church." I have to admit that when something is funny, I laugh from the gut. I can't help it. I believe that we should be as free in our laughter as we are when we mourn. So I laugh freely.

Likewise I give my smiles away liberally and try to do the same with words of encouragement. I'm learning more and more to affirm my children and my husband, to be intentional about looking for ways to say thank you, or to compliment a job well done, not matter how small. And whenever I do that, I see their faces light up with satisfaction.

I had the chance to be on the receiving end last week when I went to Louisville to tape a training video. John Bennett, the preschool and children's ministry director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, invited me to be a part of a new website KBC is launching.

I met John less than a year ago, but he has become one of my greatest advocates. He believes passionately in my work with children and the book I have written to help parents disciple their children at home. He never misses an opportunity to encourage me, to "speak life" as it were into me personally and over my ministry. I appreciate the folks like John in my life who believe in me enough to trust God for what is not seen as if God has already brought it to completion.

But what I also like about John is he doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He doesn't just verbally encourage me. He provides opportunities to promote my ministry and for that I am grateful.

Yes....I like to laugh loudly, smile liberally, and look for ways to encourage. It feels good to be the giver and likewise to be the receiver. So let's do a little of both. Encourage someone today and I hope that what you send out will come back to you multiplied.

PHOTO CAPTION: John stopped by my booth at the Children's Ministry Expo 2011 in Lexington, KY to give me a word of encouragement.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Planting Seeds

My daughter and I had a great experience together last week. We went to Princess Camp. Can you believe it? It was a camp to teach little girls that they are daughters of the king.

I am tremendously blessed that I get to share these opportunities with my daughter as well as invest in the lives of other little girls. I taught led the 4 and 5 year old class. That was an adventure within itself. Let me tell you.....girls, girls, girls.

I loved the fact that we learned etiquette things like how to set the table, and yes even my class mastered setting a proper princess party.

Throughout the week we also learned Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the Spirit, and how a true princess puts this Scripture into practice. We learned to "Sparkle for Jesus" and tell everyone how much God loves them.

My favorite part was that throught the whole week, it was small things that planted seeds in the hearts of these little girls that will prayerfully shape their lives in the future. There is power in being affirmed at a young age, and being told that you have worth, and value, that you are loved, and treasured.

I hope we all do that in the lives of the girls we come into contact with. Speaking affirmation into the life of a child has immeasurable consequences. Proverbs 18:21 says, "The tongue can bring life or death." Oh, if we would believe God's word, and put it into practice.

If we could help our children to see that they are made in the image of God, that true beauty comes from within, what an impact it would have on the choices they make and the paths that their lives will follow.

I AM a true princess, and I have a royal purpose. That is likewise true for my daughter and we were blessed to be able to attend Princess Prep School.

For more information on this awesome experience, visit

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tears for Breakfast

Children can really show you the heart of God. And sometimes the lesson God wants us to learn, we have a hard time receiving, but He loves us enough to keep loving us.

One Sunday, we were eating breakfast and jabbering as we were getting ready for church. My youngest son was noticeable quiet. Now, for those who know our baby boy, then you know that he is usually a ball of energy.

So I asked him what was wrong. He answered nothing, but I could tell that was not true. Finally, as he sat down beside me, I put my hand upon his and asked him again to tell me what was wrong. I could see the tears welling up in his eyes as he tried to hold them back and in a nearly inaudible whisper, he said, "I had a bad dream."

And this is what he said: "In my dream I was following God, but the Devil came along and told me to follow him. I listened to him and I did follow him. But when I followed him, he led me off a cliff, and I fell off the cliff. And now God is not in my heart anymore."

Now for those that know me, now, both my son and I had started to cry. I just pulled him up from the table and into my arms and hugged him tight, reassuring him that it was just a really bad dream, and that God is still in His heart. Sometimes a dream is so real that it is hard to distinguish where the dream ends and where reality begins. But that is why we can't depend solely on how we feel, and we must go back to what God says is true in the Bible. I wanted to reassure him that God is with him even when sometimes we do choose to follow the devil.

Later while listening to K-Love radio, I heard this passage from "Jesus Calling," a book by Sarah Young. It summarized exactly what I wanted to affirm for my son. "You are Mine for all time--and beyond time, into eternity. No power can deny you your inheritance in heaven. I want you to realize how utterly secure you are! Even if you falter as you journey through life, I will never let go of your hand."

It is a message that I know that I will have to reinforce for my son as he grows in his relationship with Christ. But it was also a message I needed to be reminded of as well...that God is with me, that He chooses me, that He knows me, and that He still loves me.

I hope you know that today and that you feel the power of His presence in your life.

To read the entire "Jesus Calling" devotional, look up the reading for March 10. The Scripture for that day was Psalm 37:23-24 and Psalm 18:30.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

My WOW Moment today really is something that happens almost every week. When I go to work out, I'm amazed at what a fascinating creation the human body is. I think I started thinking about this one day when I was mentally zoned out so that I could get through my cardio workout.

The Bible tells says of us in Psal 139:14 that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." The New Living Translation puts it this way, "Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex." That is what strikes complex the human body is.

Now, I know that we all learn about how the body works in health class, but have you ever really stopped to think about the skill and craftsmanship that went in to making you.

When I'm doing my workout I have to remember to hold in my abs, move my feet (without tripping over myself), do some kind of motion with my arms, and in all of this most of the time I have to remind myself to not hold my somewhere in there, I'm also breathing. But those are the things that I'm thinking about me....things that I'm aware of that my brain is communicating to my body to do.

But think of all of the things that my body does that I don't consciously tell it to do, and if I had to consciously tell it to do, I would have been dead a long time ago. Somewhere in that brain of mine my heart is being told to beat, my lungs are being told to process the oxygen and carbon monoxide reactions that are going on, my kidneys are doing there thing, blood is being pumped to my body, and lots of other stuff is going on that I could not even begin to enumerate that keeps this ole girl stepping.

So each time when I work out, I leave in awe of what God did when He created the human body. And then I also feel extremely blessed that I have the physical strength and ability to work out.

It is really the common, every day sort of things in our lives that God leaves His fingerprint, if we would take the time to look for His presence and His blessings in our lives.

So tomorrow it's Zumba! Yippee. Love it. And I will get the opportunity again to witness God's handiwork in the creation that He loves and has called by name. ME!

Psst....guess have the same opportunity. You are one of God's miracles as well, fearfully and wonderfully made. Just breathe that in and see the awesomenes that is you and then give thanks to God who made you.

Now that's a WOW Moment!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Crisis of Faith Part 3

When last we met, I had encountered a crisis of faith when I failed to be offered a job that I desperately wanted and more so believed that God had for me. My reaction caught me by surprise because I immediately began to question God. I wished I had not even made it past the first round of candidates.

But in the weeks following, God reminded me who He is. Not just who He is in my life, but who He IS, His character.

As I went back and forth with God, struggling between what I felt and what I knew to be true in my experience with God, He slowly drew me closer. I knew from the beginning that though I felt distant from God, it was I who had left His presence, not the other way around.

In the meantime, I was about two weeks away from going to speak at a conference that had been set up months in advance. I was asked to present three breakout sessions using my book "10 Things Every Kid Should Know About God" as the backdrop.

This is how God worked. In the time I had to prepare for the conference, He really reminded me of why and how I had come to Christ. I remembered why the Gospel message was important, and what new life in Christ really looked like. He reminded me of how much He loves me, how He has gifted me, and how He has used me.

At the conference, there was such an outpouring of love and support from those who attended my sessions and the folks I interacted with at my booth.

In the weeks leading up to the conference I kept having this overwhelming feeling that God was saying to me, "Just Trust Me!"

After the conference was over and I had a chance to process the weekend, I felt awed and humbled. It was truly a time that I could say that God had used me. That He had spoken through me to encourage His people, and many, honestly, as I spoke, I was being encouraged myself.

Two days after I returned home from the conference, I received an e-mail saying they had heard good things about my session and would I come to speak at another conference coming up in Nashville. I was floored. I just started laughing when I opened the e-mail and thanked God that He showed He is always faithful, always trustworthy.

Have you ever had one of those moments where the words are coming out of your mouth to encourage someone else, but God uses those say words to encourage your own heart in a particular area? Well, that's exactly what God did. As I made myself available to be used by Him to minister to others, that entire weekend God was ministering to me. And by the end, I was on a super high.

I have such a passion for ministering to children and God reminded me to just trust Him. I still can't see around the corner, what's coming next, what God is doing, but I know that He loves me, I know Christ lives to make intercession for me, I know that God is faithful and always provides just what we need, not always what we want.

So I'm learning to be still, to wait on Him, to trust, and to praise Him in the in-between time. In that time where you are between where God has you while He is teaching you, and where God has for you when you are prepared to fulfill the next thing He's called you to. But I've also been reminded in this in-between time that God is much more concerned about my relationship with Him and who I am in Christ, than anything I could accomplish in His name.

So I came through the crisis and as always God used the trial to give me even stronger faith. It wasn't easy, I wasn't very happy about it, but I was reminded today of these Scriptures--Romans 5:3-4, "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope in salvation." James 1: 2-4 says, "When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Crisis of Faith Part 2

If you read my last blog, then you know just a few weeks ago, I was experiencing a true crisis of faith. I'd come to a turning point in my spiritual journey and I had to figure out did I really live my life as if I believed God's Word.

Now, it may be easy to say, "Well if you're a real Christian, then you must believe God's Word." And although ordinarily I would agree with you in a general way, I would ask you to go a bit deeper in your analysis.

As Christians, we say, "Heaven is my home, and this earth, we're just passing through." Really! Then I would say that if we Christians really lived our lives like Heaven is our home, then why do we spend so much time trying to store up treasures here, than in Heaven where we intend to spend eternity.

Or closer to the subject at hand, we say, "Let go, and let God." But then most of us set about putting into motion Plan B.

And that is where my struggle was. I know that God is faithful, that He sees everything, that He will take care of His own. But in my situation, I had to ask myself, "If I really believe God is faithful, then shouldn't my reaction to this situation be different. If I'm going to say I trust God, then shouldn't that belief transform my reactions to the everyday missteps, failures, blunders, disappointments that I face."

I had to go back to a lesson that God had taught me many years ago. In spite of how the situation had worked out, I had to take time out to remind myself of what I knew to be true about God. He is a provider. He is not able to see a need and not provide for it. He cannot lie. His purposes will always be fulfilled. He loves me with a love that will never end.

And as I mediated on these things day in and day out, I had to see my situation from a different vantage point....not from where I could see, but from where God could see. And just by changing my perspective, it changed my response.

Now, I'm here to tell you that this was not a one day turn around. It took me about two weeks to speak truth to myself. And sometimes in those very dark times in our lives, we have to know that if we have accepted Christ as Savior, then the Holy Spirit lives in us. He teaches us spiritual truth and He transforms us from the inside out. So in those times, I choose to just take my junk to God and tell Him honestly how I feel, and ask all of the questions that I have, and sometimes that means literally just crying to Him. And then when all of that is done, I trust that the Holy Spirit has translated all of that and spoke to God on my behalf, filtering out the nonsense. And then I trust, that if I come before God long enough even in my broken state, His Spirit will comfort me, and His Spirit will speak truth to my spirit and help me to move from darkness to the place where I can again seek God, pray, praise, worship.

As a sidenote....when we say we are too busy to read our Bible, or do anymore than just attend church on Sunday and wait for the pastor to spoon feed us...we miss out on the many truths that God has put in His word to encourage us. One that I came across once in my personal study is Hebrews 7:25 which says, "Therefore, Jesus is able once and forever to save those who came to God through Him because He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf."

Don't miss that. Jesus Himself, our Savior, our friend, our Redeemer, He lives to go to God for me. Is there any greater advocate that I could have on my behalf than the Son of God to plead my case, and stand up for me. WOW! If that doesn't give you goosebumps I don't know what will. That blew me away when I first read and truly understood and embraced it. So that was one of those truths God had to speak to my Spirit in the darkness. He had to remind me of who He is and what He sacrificed that I might be able to come to Him as Father.

But in His greatness, He didn't stop there.

You'll have to stop by one more time to see how the story got even better. In the next edition, I'll tell you not just what He said to me, but what the amazing things He did!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crisis of faith--Part 1

I've been on a spiritual journey now for about the last two years or so. It started when God began to awakening in me this sense that there was more to being a Christ, to following Christ, to having an intimate relationship with Him. I knew I was missing something and my heart longed to draw closer to my Savior.

I was introduced to a book called "Jesus on Leadership." If you've never read it, pick it, get some friends and do a study together. It WILL change your life. Then Matthew West put out a song called, "Motions" and the song turned my life upside-down. I realized I was doing a lot of good things for God, but I wasn't really looking to God to doing any God-sized things in and through my life.

So my hunger for God grew and I kept asking myself the questions of what did it really mean to follow Christ, to be sold out to Him, to die to self daily? What would my faith story looked like if I truly lived out and beleived God for all the things I knew to be true about Him and the kind of life He wanted me to lead?

So God has been challenging me, and growing me, and pruning me. And I have just tried to be as honest and transparent with God as I could be.

And then a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to apply for a position. I've been a stay-at home-mom off and on for the past 11 years...and totally at home for the past 7 years. But now that all of our kids are in school, it made sense to start looking for a full-time job. The decision to live on one income was a sacrifice we had chosen, but it had started to really strain our finances. The job would literally change our lives.

Well, long story short, after 3 interviews over the course of about 4 months, I was really hopeful. Friends and family were praying, offering words of encouragement, and some even outright saying the job was mine. There were Scripture passages that came up in Bible studies and sermons that felt like confirmation that this was where I was supposed to be. I prayed earnestly and felt very positive about the interviews. But then I didn't get the job.

To say I was devastated would be a gross understatement. And to my surprise, I went into a tailspin of a faith crisis. I couldn't understand what had happened....and not just about the job, I struggled to understand why I was responding the way I was.

I was so frustrated and confused with God...that I didn't even know where to begin. I felt isolated and abandoned by my faith. I remember sitting in my car one morning fighting back tears because I couldn't even afford to buy my son a cup of coffee at the gas station. And in that moment, I just looked at my life and thought...this is not really what I signed up...this is not how I thought my life would be in my 40s. After all, my husband has a Ph.D. and a I have a master's degree. We got our education, we loved the Lord, we were working to raise our children to know God.

I was at a lost. I was obviously missing something. Everything that was happening in my circumstances said one thing, but my experience with God said quite another.

Stay tuned to see how God spoke!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm not who I was

Brandon Heath has a song called, "I'm not who I was." I think the sentiment is exactly how I would sum up the perspective of my life when I look in the rearview mirror.

I was asked the question recently concerning how do I deal with difficult people. In the context, the person I thought of was a former colleague from some years ago. We had a good personal relationship, but seemed to have difficulties when it came to working together. At that time, I felt like my only recourse was to bring the situation to the attention of my supervisor, who actually did intervene.

But more recently, I have learned to deal with difficult people with a different perspective. Instead of looking at the person and wondering why they do the things they do, I turn the spotlight internally and ask the Lord, "Show me what it is that you want me to learn in this situation."

In one instance, I had someone who constantly bombarded me when I first arrived at church about issues that were quite trivial. Many Sundays it flustered me and it would get me so hyped up that those encounters would be with me all day. But after some time, when I stopped and asked God to "show me," this is what I learned.

Frankly, I learned that the situation really wasn't about her. In fact, even after I changed, it didn't change her actions. God was teaching me that I needed to spend more time in personal worship. He reminded me that the work I was trying to accomplish in His name could not be done in my own strength. When I learned to be prayed up and praised up before I walked through the doors, those encounters no longer had power over my day. It was a heart issue, but I had to invest my time looking into my heart instead of pointing the finger at someone else's.

So if I had to deal with that challenging co-worker now, my approach would be different. First, I would ask God to "show me what He wanted me to learn in that situation." Then, I would trust God to help me to show more grace, to be more prayerful, to respond with Christ's love in words and actions.

God is always willing to teach us, if we are willing to surrender to be more like Him.

My WOW Moment for today....I'm glad God has changed me and is changing me. I'm grateful that I can say with confidence, not boastfully, but knowing where God has brought me from.... "I'm not who I was."

So the next time you face a difficult situation or have to deal with a difficult person, are you willing to say to God," Father, show me...."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Christ-transformed Life!

Have you ever heard a song that literally changed the course of your life? I have. A little over a year ago I heard the song "The Motions" by Matthew West and it really did change my life. It reminded me that there has to be more to my Christian faith than just showing up on Sunday and doing "good" things.

I just felt like I was missing something, like God wanted a deeper relationship with me and that somehow I had gotten satisfied with my life as it was, comfortable with the status quo. I had gotten off track.

The song's chorus simply says, "I don't want to go through the motions, I don't want to go one more day, Without Your all-consuming passion inside of me. I don't want to spend my whole life asking, What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions?"

As I looked at my life and did an honest evaluation of where my walk with God was, I had to admit that it seemed stale. I wasn't growing, I wasn't being challenged in my faith, and though I felt like I was doing "good" stuff--I was giving and serving (and at that time I was actually leading a ministry), I didn't feel like I was experiencing God's best for me. As a matter of fact, although on the outside it may have seemed like I had it all together spiritually, on the inside, I wanted MORE. I knew that most days I was living my Christian walk in my own strength, and I really wanted to live a life that meant something more, that was fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So the song was the start...a spark to make me ask the questions, "What am I doing with my life? Am I really leading a life that has been transformed? And maybe, more importantly, if I had to stand before God in that moment, Would He say that I was living a life that had been transformed AND that was transforming the lives of others?"

And when I asked those questions, I wasn't very happy with the answers. And I am grateful to God that He gave me the courage not just to ask the questions, but to hear the truthful answers, and then to have the boldness to make a change.

So that was the start, and now just over a year later, I'm still looking to God to change me from the inside teach me to be still enough to hear and recognize His voice, to be aware enougth to see where He is moving and jump in and be a part of what His mission is, to be sensitive enough to be moved by what moves Him, to be humble enough to see where I still need to surrender to Him, and to be willing enough to go where He leads.

Two WOW Moment Scriptures for today....when God speaks a Scripture to you in different'd better take notice....I read both of these Scriptures in my devotions this week, and they were used today in Sunday School. So I had to take a moment to recognize God speaking....

Philippians 3: 10, "I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering, becoming like Him in His death."

Matthew 22:37, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

Please don't be satisfied to go through the's never too late to take that first step to leading a truly Christ-transformed life.

To listen to "The Motions" Click to see video...

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Tribute

Today is my mom's birthday and she is 70 years old! She's not the techy sort so she'll probably never get to read this, but I had to take time today to write this tribute to her.

My mom sacrificed so much so that my brother, my sister, and I be provided for. She always made sure that we had the necessities of life, but also that we had a home where we knew we were loved.

I know that she prayed for us and still does. She made sure that we were in church and Sunday School and that she was also active in serving the Lord. Sunday School was the first place that the gospel seed was planted in my heart when I heard the story of the Prodigal Son. It would take me some time to see myself as the prodigal eating at the pig trough....but definitley my mom's influence contributed to me meeting my Heavenly Father.

At Christmas, my mom always had a present under the tree for just about everyone....and no I don't mean just the folks in my house. She has always had a generous spirit and literally there were so many presents under our tree, that they were not "under" the tree, but literally spilled out onto every surface in our living room.

My mom has to be one of the most selfless people I know, even more so that I. When the Bible says if your neighbor asks for your coat, give him your shirt as well, that's my mom. She would give you her last and never expect anything in return.

I am more than grateful that God has allowed my mom to still be here with us, to see the woman I have become, to share her life with my children. I am thankful that He has blessed her these 70 years.

Happy Birthday Mother Dear!!

In honor of my Mom and yours...I could think of no better tribute than "A Song for Mama" Click the link to listen.

PHOTO CAPTION: This is one of my favorite photos because it's me, my mom, Avis Travers, and my daughter Sydney.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Your Own Private WOW Moment

2010 was a mixed year for me...with some really high highs like getting my book "10 Things Every Kid Should Know About God" published and then some really low lows like losing my father-in-law very unexpectedly.

But throughout it all, God continued to remind me to just keep putting one foot in front of the trust Him even when uncertainly seemed present on every hand, and to praise Him in spite of the circumstances. This was not the first time God had reminded me of these things, but I certainly appreciated Him loving me enough to gently remind me again.

So...although I don't make New Year's resolutions, I will say that my goal in 2011 is to learn to be content.

We were given a homework assignment in church not too long, and I think recapping it is a great way to start off my quest toward contentment.

We were asked to write down what we were thankful less than 5 minutes, here is how my list it's my WOW Moment today....a Thank You God for what He's already done....


Salvation, my growing faith in Christ, God's grace and mercy, my marriage, my family.....

Lord I'm grateful for your presence in my life, that I get to walk with you and know you the Creator

For friendships, for gifts/abilities, for the joy of small things like laughing until you cry at something silly, for hugs and kisses, for getting to see my kids grow up, for being able to be involved in their lives, for a church that teaches your Word, for the opportunity to serve, encourage, and bless others

Thank you Lord for life, for health, for love....Thank you for safety, provisions, for the power of prayer to change things, Thank you for what you've done in my life, Thanks for keeping me, Thanks for hearing me when I pray and for picking me up when I fall

God did all of that and more for me in 2010, and though many times I whined and complained, I am even more Thankful that His love covers a multitude of sins, even my own self-centeredness....

So that's my WOW Moment today....I hope you will take the time to start a list of all that God has done in your life and then stand in AWE of who He is and have your own private WOW Moment with God.