Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I would love to have you come out if you can!
I'll be speaking on:
"New Beginnings~Leaving Shame Behind"
Here is the link to the church:
FCC of Otsego
The Tea starts at 1:00pm.
Contact: Rhonda at: firstname.lastname@example.org
for more details and RSVP.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I received an email this past week from a reader that was really ministered to by this post from two years ago. She said that she has shared this message with several women and that it has helped herself and many others to avoid this pitfall in marriage.
Originally posted April 6, 2007:
Isn’t it cute? Don’t you just want to pick it up and snuggle it?
This lion cub is a metaphor for what sin can represent to us. It starts out seeming so sweet and cuddly and safe, but when it grows up- and it will- it can destroy us.
I have sat with a few different women who were involved in an adulterous affair or on the threshold of one. They would tell me how wonderful this relationship is, that it makes them feel so good and how could anything that feels so good be wrong?
Ladies, any time we are entertaining the thoughts of another man and how much we enjoy spending time with him and look for ways to connect with him- it is dangerous!We have to recognize that satan doesn’t come in like an attacking lion- he comes in like a sweet, wonderful, playful little lion cub. He says to us, “What harm could it do?”
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. NIV
There’s nothing sweet about sin. It is bitter all the way to the grave.
Unforgiveness and gossip are just as dangerous. Our words can seem so harmless, but they can lead to bitterness which can harden our hearts and render us lifeless and devoid of the fruit of the Spirit; peace, love, joy…
For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin." NIV
1 Peter 5:8
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. NIV
Ladies, I woke up at 4 AM and this was stirring in my heart. I knew I was to share it with you. I pray that these images will stick with you and remind you of the fact that when the enemy is tempting you with sin that seems so sweet- it’s ultimate goal is to “grow up” and destroy your life.
Thankfully, we have a Savior that died to set us free- then He raised up from the grave and gave us victory over the sin that satan wants to hold us captive with!
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. NIV
Saturday, April 25, 2009
We can't get around it, life changes.
Situations that take our comfort away.
Change SHAKES us up!!
Here are some of the things that shaking does:
1. Shaking can bring us down to our foundation.
Much like an earthquake- picture people wandering around dazzed and confused among the rubble left by an earthquake. Everything was shaken to it’s foundations. They’re walking around like…where did everything go?
Have you ever felt like that? I’ve been there!
Suddenly, everything that we knew as normal and comfortable has crashed down around us and we are left grasping for something to hold onto.
It’s times like that –that this verse is a life line.
God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
3 Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
Because we have this promise:
6 "I the LORD do not change.
Your life may have just crashed around you.
***You may have just found out that your husband is into pornography…or a loved one an alcoholic.
***Your husband may have come home and said…the company is closing I’m out of a job- we may lose the house.
***Whatever the change is…the LORD does not change.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."
He Wants to walk you through this-will you let Him??
2. Shaking (caused by change) can also mix us up.
When I bake cookies I bring a whole bunch of ingredients together that…if left alone would not taste very good, but when you mix them all together and bake them- choc chip cookies!
Sometimes shaking (from a change) causes us to mix up with people around us more.
It can bring families and old friends together.
Change in our life can greatly affect our circle of friends.
Our circle may look quite different after a shaking in our life.
Sometimes the people we thought would be there forever are no more...
Anyone ever felt lonely?
I have gone through some changes that left me very lonely.
But, those are the times that my relationship with the Lord became so precious to me.
He truly became my All in All during those times.
Goodbye is a necessary life skill.
It may not be forever, but healthy people understand that relationships go through seasons.
3. Sometimes change that brings a shaking exposes the parts of us that we have hidden away- or weren’t even aware were there.
Could be a weakness or a treasure.
Just like after an earthquake, people wander around and find people’s belongings exposed.
Shaking can expose parts of us that may have been hidden, but are suddenly un-earthed.
But- know that if it is un-earthed…it is because the Lord wants it to be.
He wants you to bring that weakness or treasure to Him and ask Him what He wants done with it.
Personally, one of these big changes in my life …took away my
Suddenly I was left reeling with the thought “Who AM I??”
Eventually, I realized that the Lord didn’t want my identity wrapped up in what I DID…He wants my identity to be "His child."
4. One more thing that shaking does is causes us to grab on to something.
What do you run to when life starts shaking and change is happening?
I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
My heart breaks for those searching for hope and happiness but looking under rocks to find it.
We are far too easily satisfied.
It's like drinking from a mud puddle when there is a beautiful flowing creek just over the hill, but instead we hang out in the mud puddle.
*** Help is not at the bottom of a bottle.
*** Help is not "being in a different relationship."
*** Help is not in finding a new hobby.
*** Help is not found anywhere but the Lord.
How long will it take before we recognize that the God who created us,
longs for us,
longs to fill us,
to give us hope and joy?
No one will ever love you like He does. He created you for the pleasure of KNOWING you.
Sometimes we are struggling and miserable because we are trying to ignore His voice.
Give it up.
Fall at His feet.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin.
16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Let go of that thing you’re holding on to…
8 "Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
And what if God wants you to change someone’s life? What if you have something that someone else needs and it will be life changing to them?
What if God is shaking you up to raise you up
for the plan He has for your life?
What is in your heart?
What opportunities have the new changes in your life made for you?
Do you have a dream that will change a life?
Now may be the time!
It might just be time to embrace this change instead of resisting it.
How do you embrace change?
By asking yourself; what can I learn from this situation?
Asking, how can I use this for Your glory God?
Praying…Heal the hurts in my heart Lord, so that I can use this shaking to bring peace to hurting hearts.
That is why Jesus came; to heal our hearts and bring relationship between us and the God who made us.
He loves you more than you could ever imagine! Give your life to Him...bring Him your change and let Him do a mighty work in you!!
Will you be a woman that changes the world?
Or at least the world around
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Florida or Michigan will be hanging with the girlfriends tonight!!
If one falls down, his (or HER) friend can help him up.
Monday, April 20, 2009
This is a guest post from a 17 year old that has been writing a book about her life and the feelings she experienced as her parent's divorced. I asked her if she would write an "article" for us and she graciously agreed.
Lizz and her family are dear friends of ours and I'm so blessed to see the beautiful young woman she is becoming.
Here is part of Lizz's story:
Since the very beginning of time, God said that “it is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18) yet all around us couples are divorcing. So many people think that when they divorce the only people they’re affecting is each other but in reality the situation is so much greater. Husbands and wives are forced to face losing a spouse and children are forced to face losing a parent.
When I was four-years-old my father cheated on my mother and I. He chose to be with “the other woman” over us. After my parents were split up for three years, he divorced us. I say that he cheated and divorced both of us because that’s what it felt like. He may have only violated he and my mother’s vows, but he wasn’t leaving just her.
Like my mother, I felt hurt and betrayed. I couldn’t understand why we weren’t enough for him. What did this other woman have that we didn’t? Was there anything that we could have done better? Did he even love us anymore?
Very soon after my parents split up, I came to the conclusion that my father didn’t want me anymore. He wouldn’t have left my mother if he still really loved and cared about me. He would’ve stuck it out, for me. So I decided that if Dad didn’t even want me, who ever would? And from that moment on, I no longer cared. I wasn’t going to even try to make people like me because I thought no one ever would. I became somewhat of a “lone wolf” (just like my dad), I put up walls to protect myself and keep everyone out so not to get hurt again, and my natural instinct became pushing people away and sabotaging every good relationship I had, for the most part. Overtime I became so used to “not being wanted” that eventually I no longer wanted to be wanted. I became the strong person. I was the rock that no one could shake. No one, especially Dad, would ever know that deep down my heart was deeply wounded from just the one “small” decision of whether or not to split up and eventually divorce.
Unfortunately in our house we didn’t talk much about Dad and him possibly divorcing my mother. I still believed in all my heart and soul that my parents were going to get back together. And when my mother was suddenly marrying a different man, I knew that at some point the divorce had been finalized. But no one had given me any warning. I wasn’t ready to move on but I was being forced to against my will. I had no choice but to move on with Mom.
A little over a year after the wedding, Mom gave birth to another child. She had two children from her first marriage (my younger brother and I), had gained a stepdaughter through the second marriage, and was now having a third of her own. I was crushed. Even though Mom was once again married, I was still hanging on to a final shred of hope that she would get back with my father. I’d seen how quick and easy a divorce could be, so why couldn’t she divorce again? But I knew now that she was having a child with her new husband that she would never walk out. My parents would never, ever get back together. And that’s a hard concept to accept.
Obviously divorce is tough on all of the parties involved. But unfortunately the one who is filing for the divorce is usually only focusing on getting out of the marriage. In these situations you have to think about more than just that. You have to think about how the decision is going to affect your children. When I was younger I spent a lot, a lot of years hating my father and saying that he ruined my life because he didn’t think about me when he finalized the divorce. It took me about eleven years to stop thinking that way.
Divorce is something that the child has to carry with them for the rest of their life. Where the parent can move on and marry someone else, a child can’t change who they share half of their DNA with or who they lived with and were partially raised by as a child. Someone else may step in and be a father/mother figure in their life, but there will always be something missing: their other biological parent, even if they do spend every-other weekend with them.
It is especially hard on the child when they still have memories of having a family that consisted of both of their parents. For example, I was four when I moved away from Dad with Mom; my younger brother on the other hand was only four-months-old. I’ve had to deal with problem after problem that was linked to the divorce. He hasn’t had to deal with much of anything. All he knows as a father figure is our stepfather. I can still remember back to the days when it was just Dad, Mom, and I spending time together as a family of three. My younger brother will probably deal with more issues once he’s older and understands the situation better, but he hasn’t so far.
Even though my parents haven’t been together in thirteen years, it’s still hard on me. I know they can and never will be together again but that doesn’t stop that want or desire for them to be together to go away. I had such a hard time dealing with them splitting up that I became an insomniac. I have abandonment issues which were only made worse when my father was deployed overseas due to The War on Terror. For many, many years I dealt with depression and suicide. Because of the depression I have suffered from memory loss. I felt like I lost my entire childhood and had to grow up overnight because I had to act like a grown up and understand everything that was going on in my life. And the list goes on and on. I’m one of the lucky teens to have begun to deal with these issues so early on in my life. Just because I turned out okay, doesn’t mean that every other divorced kid will.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t meant to criticize divorced couples/families. This is only meant to shed some light on the other people involved when making such a huge decision about whether or not to divorce. I’ve been through it and it’s not fun so I don’t take divorce lightly. No one else should either.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about a hundred years old-and that Sarah's womb was also dead.
20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,
21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
What is "against all hope" in your life?
What seems "as good as dead" in your life?
Maybe its time for some audacious faith!
Webster's definition of audacious:
1 a: intrepidly daring : adventurous
Let's be bold women of faith, believing Him for the impossible!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
On Thanksgiving Day, 2007, I started a ‘thankful journal’ for our family. When dinner was done, we would read a family devotional (i.e. Gotta Have God for Boys or something like that) and then we would go around the table and list three things we were thankful for that day.
We followed this faithfully until harvest season this past year and got out of the habit and we JUST started it up again. Flipping thru the book, it’s so fun to see what we have to be thankful for, and how our boys have changed. For example……..
DS4 (son #4) said he was thankful for Daddy, Elmo (my mom), Papa (my Dad), tractors, my Tigers (a cat)
What you have to understand is that when he says he is thankful for Daddy, my husband gives a huge silent cheer,
when our son says ‘Elmo’, my husband says ‘she’s mean’(all the boys say “noooo! Oma is nice!”),
when he says Papa, my husband says that is ‘okay’,
when he says Tigers my husband says ‘Tiger is a stinkin’ varmint’.
It will go like this thru the whole ‘thankful for’ list.
DS3 said Daddy (silent cheers again), plant potatoes, so I can be a good farmer
DS2 says Daddy (can you see the pattern, notice no Moma!), my bird (he had rescued a baby bird fallen from the nest), all eating dinner together
DS1 says Daddy, we had field day today, fun playing with Isaac
Daddy says my boys, my asparagus patch and Moma (hooray for a ‘Moma’ vote!)
Moma says spent the whole entire day with my boys today, my super cool new camera, & we have clean sheets today.
They are little snapshots of our life, they also help us know when we started getting the asparagus in, when we planted potatoes, when we harvested the pumpkins and so forth!
I also keep little extra notes on some days, for instance, he heard Moma’s tummy growl and looked at me and said “you have frogs in your tummy”.
When they saw all the lilac branches being trimmed off, one of the boys gave me a hug and said “it’s okay, Moma, we’ll get you a new one”.
On DS3’s first day of school, we asked him if he made friends at school that day.
“No” he shot back, as if we were totally clueless, “we made FROGS! Not friends, FROGS!”
As I said, we fell out of the habit. When we are back to it, I imagine it’ll be like it was before. The boys watch for my last fork full of food and literally race to see who can get the ‘books’ (Bible, Devotional, journal) to Moma first. The devotion helps sparks some good conversation, and see into our boys lives at school and what they struggle with. And the thankful journal keeps our spirits high; on a down day it helps to find three things that went well. And flipping thru it, it helps remind us of God’s goodness to us.
Try it, start collecting your families lifetime of thankfulness to treasure.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Check out Something NEW!
Who or what dictates what kind of day you are going to have?
I spent a few years allowing the emotions of my day to be hinged on how my husband talked to me and treated me.
If I felt loved and accepted by him, it was a good day.
But if I felt I had let him down or he was angry or disappointed with me about something, it was a bad day.
I lived my life through his eyes. My security came from him alone.
I struggled with this until I learned that my esteem and security were supposed to come from my God. In fact, the way that I was living was putting a huge strain on my husband and our relationship.
I put him in a position that God never intended him to be...my all in all, my everything.
I found out that God wanted to be My Everything, and in fact it was wrong to put any person in that position in my life.
I let him and others dictate the mood and atmosphere of my life and home.
One negative look or comment could send my emotions spiraling down.
Thankfully, I was in a Bible study that set me on the right track. God's Word taught me that my joy needed to come from my relationship with Him and that nothing and no one could take THAT joy away.
I learned to walk close to God and let His Word be my barometer.
1 John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
I was God's child, His precious daughter. He loved me enough to send His Son to die for me. The more I learned about the Lord, the more I loved Him and understood His love for me.
This very insecure woman found security in God her Father. He became my All in All...and continues to make that so real to me everyday.
However, I still have days when I need to remind myself that my joy
comes from the Lord and nothing or no one can take that away. I choose to walk this life...it won't happen by accident.
I need to fill my cup with the Lord and His goodness so that I am not draining my husband and friends...wanting them to fill me. Blaming them for my bad days.
Lord, help us to find our joy and security in You and You alone. The other relationships in our life are so meaningful and rewarding, but they are not what sustains us, that is reserved for You.
Help us to run to you first Lord, fill us, and let us pour Your love into our families as it overflows from out hearts.
I'm praying for our marriages,
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Yeh, me too! It is a very painful thing to deal with. And for some reason, it so often happens when we are motivated to do something good for others. Our motivation is to help them and for whatever reason, it gets taken out of context and ends up flying back in our face.
I am watching this happen to some people that I dearly love right now. People that are doing everything they can to help others, but are being attacked for it on every side.
Of course we know that our true enemy is satan, the father of lies. He twists and manipulates things to get people in as much strife as possible because he knows quite well that if we are arguing with one another- we will be distracted from God's will and purposes.
Jesus gives us such a beautiful example to follow. As He is brought before Herod in court, he is mocked and falsely accused.
Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious
law stood there shouting their accusations. 11 Now Herod and his soldiers began
mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Then they put a royal robe on him and sent him
back to Pilate.
How did Jesus respond? I know how I would have wanted to respond...I would have defended myself. I would have told them the truth!
But in the book of Matthew, Jesus shows us God's response to accusations and lies being spoken against us.
But when the leading priests and other leaders made their
accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. 13 "Don't you hear their many
charges against you?" Pilate demanded. 14 But Jesus said nothing, much to the
governor's great surprise.
Our natural response is to say something...to explain the truth and defend ourselves. That is why the governor was so surprised at Jesus' silence.
It's just not natural to remain silent in such a situation!
This is a powerful key to leadership.
Don't let the lies and accusations of others affect you.
Instead, He knew His purpose in this life. He knew that the heart of man could be evil and yet He chose to love those who He had every "natural" right to loath.
He even goes a step farther than not responding...He chooses love and forgiveness.
When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals-one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
What an incredible example of leadership for us to follow.
Sometimes the very people that are pouring pain into our lives are the ones God wants us to love~ even as they are hurting us.
Hurting people, hurt people.
Healthy people love.
1 Peter 2:15
It is God's will that your good lives should silence those who
make foolish accusations against you.
Thankfully, God doesn't expect us to do this without His help.
When I am faced with a situation like this I have to go to the Lord in prayer and plead for His help because my natural response is not always love. I have to follow hard after Him if I want my actions to reflect His love!
I believe that the Lord wants His women to be leaders in this area.
Follow hard after your God...
Lead soft with love!
Some of you have asked for this leadership button.
To put it into your sidebar:
1. click on layout
2. click on "add a gadget"
3. go to "html" gadget and click the + sign
4. paste the code and save!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Whether you consider yourself to be in a good marriage
or a bad marriage,
it can always be better!
1. Communicate. Talk…take the time to talk to one another without complaining or blaming your spouse.
2. Listen to what your spouse says…with more than ears. Watch their expressions and body language, it may say more than words.
3. Respect each other’s differences. God made us individuals- and we should be thankful for that. Chances are you found some of these differences endearing before you were married. Appreciate the person God made your spouse to be.
4. Just plain respect each other! All of us have a deep need to feel loved, appreciated and respected. If you feel your spouse is completely undeserving of respect, chances are you have some bitterness in your heart that needs to be dealt with. Forgive your spouse and choose to respect them, it WILL change your whole relationship!
5. Publically praise and respect your spouse. If we are not each other’s biggest fan, who will be…could be the wrong person.
Avoid ever making jokes at the expense of your spouse!!!! You two are ONE, you are tearing your own self down when you make fun of them.
37 Jesus replied, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: 'Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.'
6. Respect your financial situation. Times are tough for many folks these days. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page with spending. NO sneaky spending sprees ladies!!
7. Make fun! Have a sense of humor. Play together, laugh together! When was the last time you shared a laugh with your spouse?
8. Make love! Develop intimacy. Ask your spouse what they really wants but may be afraid to ask! Be willing to be each other’s fantasy, get over your insecurities…you’re married- this is what it’s for!
Monday, April 6, 2009
He holds victory in store for the upright,
He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for He guards the course of the just
and protects the way of His faithful ones.
Don't you just love Him?
With all that is going on in this world today, it is so good to know that the Lord is on our side!
I love this song and hope it brings your heart to the place it brings mine, to faith and trust in Him.
Chris Tomlin "I Will Rise"
2 Cor 4:17-18
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
It doesn't look so much like spring here in Michigan, but the tulips pushing their way through the cold soil promises me that it's coming!!
This month I am giving away the book by John Piper, "Pierced by the Word"
It's an awesome book with 31 meditations that will bless your heart and soul!
And, "Praise and Coffee" label coffee!!
You're going to love it!
ALSO, our good friends at Bayview Cards are giving you a beautifully handmade box of cards!
~> To enter the drawing, just post a comment to THIS post telling me something that you are thankful for.
~> Please make sure that I have a way to contact you, or stop back on the 10th to see if you've won to claim your gifts.
~> If you have one of my "Praise and Coffee Giveaway" buttons on your blog, let me know and you will be entered twice.