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It’s Never Too Late

I turned 59 two days ago. It is hard to believe that I am that old. In my mind, I am still in my twenties. I still love to do silly things. I love being spontaneous. I love going on adventures. I love listening to the music of my youth. I still have dreams and aspirations. I still want to do so many things. I can get kind of freaked out when I dwell on my age because I am definitely closer to the end of life than the beginning.

I was reminded recently—while studying the story of Abraham and Sarah—that good things can still happen when you are old. So, hopefully this post will be an encouragement to those of you out there that are in the same age category that I am in. I have known this story for a long time, but God always manages to show me new things whenever I study.

To refresh your memory or if you are hearing about this story for the first time, it begins in Genesis 17. Abraham was 100 years old and his wife, Sarah, was 90 years old. They thought their child bearing years had come and gone. Abraham is told by God that they were going to have a child. Abraham then falls face down and laughs. He also says to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a 100 years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of 90?”(verse 17) God goes on to tell Abraham that He was going to establish an everlasting covenant with his son. God even tells him to name him Isaac.

Then we go to Chapter 18 of Genesis, when three visitors come to visit Abraham. Sarah is listening at the entrance of the tent and hears that she is going to have a child. Sarah, thinking that she was way beyond capable of getting pregnant and having a child, laughed. She thinks to herself, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?”(verse 12) (If I were told at the age of 90 I was going to have a child, I would do more than laugh!)

Then God asks Abraham why Sarah laughed and says, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” (God knew she was listening at the door!) God goes on to tell Abraham that He would return next year and Sarah would have a son.

There is a reason why I have to share this story. When God impressed on my heart that I needed to write a blog, I laughed. I told him there was no way I could do it. I didn’t feel like anyone wanted to hear what I had to say. I still have to remind myself that this is what He has called me to do. I want all of you out there that are getting older or are in impossible situations to know that God can do the impossible. (Even when we think He can’t.) There are tons of stories in the Bible that prove that theory! There are also tons of stories from people we know that prove that theory. I want to encourage you to believe that God can do the impossible in our lives. He has done it many times in mine.

This story hits home to me because I still want to do so much for the Lord. There are still so many dreams that seem unattainable to me. I want to write a book or a devotional. I want to help people with my story and what God is teaching me. I want to move out of my comfort zone. But, I don’t see how that is going to happen. I can’t see how I am going to do it. But, God has put that desire in my heart and I am going to trust Him to do what seems impossible to me. (I am way out of my comfort zone sharing this with you.)

I have shared my dreams and had someone laugh at me. It hurt. But, it also fueled a passion deep within me. I have also gone through phases of giving up. I have asked many questions of the Lord. Lots of whys, when, where, how and what? I have begged and pleaded. But, I know that sometimes He answers and sometimes He is just waiting. (That’s the hard part!) I just want to tap my watch and say, “You know I’m not getting any younger, Lord. We need to get moving here!” But He just wants me to trust. And, that is exactly what Abraham did. He trusted. He trusted God to come through on His promises.

Thank goodness God is patient with our questions and our doubts. Exodus 34:6-7 “ Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin.” He is nothing like any human being we know. He is perfect and good. He does no evil. He listens and He cares. What bothers us, bothers Him. He rejoices over us! How often do you see someone rejoicing over you? (I love picturing Him doing that!)

I want to go back to the Abraham and Sarah story one more time. There is one more gem to mention. I learned about this from the Beth Moore study called “The Quest.” God confronted Sarah about laughing at the entrance to the tent. She tried to deny the fact that she laughed, but God knew she did. He confronted her and she was afraid to admit the truth. I am assuming she thought she was going to be in trouble. God confronted her, but didn’t condemn her. I think that is quite interesting. How many times have you or I been afraid to admit the truth because we thought we would get into trouble? I know I have many, many times.

Sarah states in Genesis 21:6 “God has brought me laughter and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” God told Abraham the child was to be called Isaac, which just so happens to mean “he laughed.” Do you think there is a concept that God wanted them to learn? Every single time they said Isaac’s name they were reminded that they laughed at God when He told them they were going to have a child.

When I look back at the things that God has done, I smile. I laugh. It brings me so much joy. At the time, I thought there was no way in the world things were going to work out. I laughed at the mere suggestion of Him asking me to do something that was different or hard. I remember shaking my head several times over things he asked me to do. “Really, Lord. You want me to do ________? I can’t do that. There is no way this is going to happen or work out. I just can’t.” He has been so patient with me. He has loved me and waited for me to come around.

I am writing this post as much for me as I am for you. I need to be reminded and encouraged that God is not through with me yet. There are things He wants me to do and I want to do them. You know what really makes me smile? Time with Him. Watching Him work. Learning and listening to Him. I love Him so much! I just want more and more of Him. I want to laugh with Him and see His face smile down on me.

I hope I am an encouragement to you. God isn’t finished with us yet! There are still things to do! God is working and I want to be part of that work. Thank you for reading my post. Keep believing this verse. Genesis 18:14 “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” Give Him your impossible situations. I know how hard it is, but I wouldn’t want anyone else in charge of my life!

Until next time….  

Wrestling with God

I have been in a wrestling stage of life lately. When I say that, I mean there have been some issues that I have been wrestling with God over. I have been at my wits end. I have been paralyzed with emotions. I haven’t been able to write. I have been dealing with so many things that have made me crazy. I am in the “fake it till you make it” mode.

It seems like whenever I am in a difficult stage of life, Satan pounces on me with many lies. He knows how to get to me. So, I have to fight back with God’s word and what it says. Sometimes just reading scripture makes me feel so much better and it gives me the ammunition I need to survive. And also one of the best ways I know to fight the enemy is to do a Beth Moore Bible study! I felt led to start “The Quest” study a few weeks ago because it is geared towards intimacy with God and who doesn’t need more of that!

One of the ways to gain intimacy with anyone is to ask questions. That is how you get to know someone better. Now, I have always been a person who asks a lot of questions. I like to get down to the nitty gritty. I want to know answers. I want to know people. I like hearing people tell me things about themselves. I am one of those people who strikes up conversations with complete strangers. Ask my kids. They have seen me do this many, many times. (I can see their eyes rolling right now!) I just like to talk–I guess– but I also like to listen. I like to learn. I like to understand. So, when I come across things that are perplexing to me, I go into crazy mode to find the answer.

Beth points out in the beginning of the study that God wants intimacy with us. He wants interaction with us. He wants us to communicate with HIm. He wants us to verbalize our feelings even though He already knows what they are. He wants us to get things out in the open. He wants honesty. Now I don’t know about you, but sometimes that is hard for me, especially when I am really mad and hurt. I have to remember who I am talking to. I am talking to my Father who is good and loving and kind. I have to see myself as His child whom He loves.

“Who you increasingly believe God to be and, in His light, believe yourself to be is not only fundamental to intimacy, it is fundamental to victory.” Moore So, I have been  asking myself questions as well. Who do I believe God to be? How do I believe He sees me? My answers to those questions help me connect my identity to Christ.

Here are some gems I discovered about God that I wrote in my journal. “You will be with me wherever I go. You are my God. You will strengthen me and help me and uphold me. You have redeemed me. You have summoned me by name. There is no one else like you. You are pleased to give me the kingdom. You give me peace. You don’t give as the world gives. You don’t want my heart to be troubled and You don’t cause me to be afraid. You have me in the palm of your hand. There is no one else like you. You are righteous and just. You ride across the heavens to help me. No one else knows me or loves me like You do. You are faithful. Your are devoted to your people. You are full of blessings. You keep your promises. You watch over your children.” I could go on and on and on. He is so wonderful!

I have been blasted so many times by the enemy because of my fearful thoughts. I know God did not give me a spirit of fear. Fear is from the enemy. Moore states, “Fear is the consummate robber.” She goes on to explain the distinction between a thief and a robber. “A thief works by stealth and a robber works by threat. A pickpocket is a thief. At the time of the crime the victim is oblivious. A robber, on the other hand, confronts and threatens. He wields a weapon, be it literal or psychological. Sometimes the robber follows through on the threat. But what he is banking on is the success of the threat.”

When I read those words it helped me make sense out of my fears because I grew up with a “robber” as a father. There were physical or psychological threats on a daily basis. I didn’t realize how much of a robber he was, until I read those words. A light went off inside me. (I had a “AHA!” moment) My fears made so much more sense to me. My Dad got away with so much because we didn’t know how to stop him. How do you stop someone who was so good at masking his behavior to others? He made us all crazy and full of fear!!! When you grow up with someone like that as your Dad, it messes with you.

Beth states, “Fear and faith fight for the same space. Each is territorial. They cannot be roommates. They will not coexist.” For years, that battle between faith and fear has been going on inside me. That’s why my body has fallen apart and my mind has too. I have had many ups and downs. But, I am determined to not give up! I am not going to allow what has happened in my past to dictate my future. I will not let Satan have that victory in my life. I want to please the Lord and I want faith to rule in my life.

I am learning that it is okay to ask questions of God. It is a great way to build intimacy with Him. Sometimes I get answers and sometimes I don’t. Jesus says in Luke 11:9, “So I say to you; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Sometimes I am pounding on that door!) I also just realized that the first letter from ask, seek and knock spells ASK. How have I not seen that before? So, I think maybe God is trying to tell me something. I know I settle way too much for the way things are instead of asking for things to change or for me to change. (Usually I am the one that needs to be changed!)

I think this is a profound statement by Beth Moore. “The human soul was fashioned to prize discovery above luxury.” I can honestly say that is what I prefer. I want to discover all the wonderful things about God that I possibly can. The older I get, I just want more of Jesus! I would rather have revelations than answers. I want Him to reveal things to me. I want spiritual change.

I want all of you to know that I find no satisfaction in talking about my Dad the way I have to. I only share this because I am lead to. I don’t know many people in my immediate circle of friends that were raised like I was, but I know that there are a lot of hurting people out there that need help. That is why I write. I want you to know that I care and I want to help. Following the Lord is the only way I have survived. I could easily have been a statistic without Him in my life.

I want you to know that God sees you and He sees me. Hagar beautifully states in Genesis 16:13 “You are the God who sees me.” An angel of the Lord pursued her after she ran away from Sarah who was mistreating her at the time. God sees what is going on. He knows what is happening. Because of sin and free will, we all suffer under the hands of evil people. There is no way to get around it. But, we do have someone to turn to. Someone who can help us get through the difficult things in life.

I know how hard it is to keep moving forward day after day when you feel like dying. It is the most miserable feeling in the world. I have had many, many days like that. I recently read about a pastor in California that ended his life because he suffered from depression and anxiety. I know all too well what that feels like. My heart breaks for his family. If you know someone who suffers with both or either one, please pray for them. Please pray for me.

I have had to take medication, been diagnosed with PTSD, gone through intense counseling, EMDR therapy, exercise and eat healthy. I have poured into books and Bible studies and spent hours with the Lord. I don’t regret any of it. It has brought me to where I am today. Have I felt like giving up? YES. But I have a determination to seek the Lord like crazy and I am blessed He made me like this. 

I have realized that there aren’t clear cut answers for so many things. I will never understand why people are evil and cruel. But, I realize that I need more of Jesus in my life. More of the Holy Spirit to give me the ability to live my life. More revelations! More time spent in His word. More focus on Him because He truly is the answer. Just recently, I had to ask myself if I wanted an answer more or if I wanted Jesus more. I finally was able to say that I wanted Jesus more. (Sometimes it is really hard to have an inquisitive mind.)

I have always kind of felt guilty about all the questions and wrestling that I have done. Beth made me feel so much better when I read this: “In the very same breath Abraham brought questions, he breathed faith. Feeling conflicted and confused is not the same as faithlessness. It takes faith to wrestle with doubt.” THANK HEAVENS!

I know this post was a little lengthy, but I felt the need to share so much this time with you. If you are wrestling like I have been, hang in there! Keep talking to God. He will reveal things to you. Keep at it! Don’t ever stop! There is light at the end of the tunnel. I am experiencing that light right now and it feels so good!

Until next time dear friends……

Hello. My name is Laurie. I am a “Fixer”

I grew up watching a lot of tv. It was my escape. I had many shows I loved to watch, but one in particular that I would like to mention was “Bewitched.” I just loved watching Samantha twitch that nose of hers to get herself out of trouble or fix something that was wrong. I used to think it would be so nice to have a nose like hers. (Hey! I was a kid!) But seriously–sometimes–wouldn’t that be nice?   

Because I lived in an unhealthy environment, many of the decisions I made were also unhealthy. I didn’t see a healthy marriage between my parents, so I really didn’t know what a good relationship looked like. Thankfully, I became a Christian when I was twelve and had a church and Young Life that gave me great Bible teaching. I was also hungry for God’s word in my life, so I enjoyed learning and studying. I had a good foundation for my faith. But, because I was living a lie, I had a hard time being honest with myself and with God.

Of course l struggled with my self-image. I had red hair and freckles and got made fun of a lot  when I was little. The two phrases I heard a lot were: “I would rather be dead than red on the head” And, “Freckled face strawberry!” I had tight curls around my face that I absolutely hated. We didn’t have straighteners back in the olden days, so I put tons of Dippity-do and tape on them. (Anyone out there remember that wonderful product?) I would look at many of my friends who had beautiful long straight hair and be so envious of them. (You can see those wonderful bangs in my class picture above. I am right in the middle with the red hair.)

God blessed me with wonderful friends during high school and college. (He knew I needed them.) Because I was a leader with Young Life, I had a community of believers who were supportive in helping me grow my faith. I still treasure all the fun times I had with them. They were saving my life!

The biggest problem I had was the fact that I couldn’t see how unhealthy my desire was for my Dad to accept me and love me. I almost killed myself trying to get his approval. I didn’t see that I wanted him to love me more than I wanted God’s love. He was my abuser, but I still wanted Him to love me and give me his approval. I didn’t see how sick that really was. He caused me so much pain, but I still wanted to have a relationship with him.

I have learned so much since then and I am so grateful that God opened my eyes to see how unhealthy I was. I think I might have been able to see things better if I would have been honest with myself and with others. I never told anyone about my Dad and now that I have read and studied all these years, that was the worst thing for me to do. Satan wants us to keep things in the dark and not bring them into the light. Once the light hits them, they begin to unravel and Satan does not want that! He wants us to stay it in the dark.

1 Thessalonians 5:5 “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. “

Acts 26:18 “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

I believed so many lies. I thought my Dad’s approval and love was the key to my happiness. I thought if I could just get him to see things differently then he would change and my life would get better. I was placing my personal happiness on a person and I was so very wrong! I think we all have a tendency to do that! “If this situation or this person would only change…..then I would be happy.” My thinking was wrong for so many years. I was in a constant state of disappointment because of that thinking.

The person that needed to change was me! I needed to quit placing my happiness on other people and what they were or weren’t doing. I actually thought if my Dad would just listen to me, he would change. I was putting myself in God’s place. I thought I could fix him if he would just let me. Boy oh boy was I wrong! I look back and think, “Who in the world did I think I was? I can’t fix anybody. I can pray for them and guide them, but the real fixing needs to come from God. I mean…He created them in the first place and He knows them far better than I do. I need to back off and let Him be God.” Even if we have to step back and watch painful things happen to that person, we need to back off. And that is very hard to do when you love someone! 

I have been reading the book “Audacious” by Beth Moore. She said something that made me stop and take notice and reread over and over again. I just have to share it. “Any relationship that ultimately and absolutely cannot withstand your audacious love for Jesus will almost certainly be a snare to you. If you remain strongly influenced by it, it will trip you up over and over, fog your spiritual vision, cloud your mind with confusion, and keep you in a perpetual state of frustration. Any profoundly controlling relationship that curtails your right to love Jesus Christ with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength could cost you your calling. It could suck the air out of the lungs of the life you were born to live.” Read it again if you are struggling with a relationship that is controlling your life. This could cost you your calling!

Those words are truth! it took me 50 years to see that! You see, you just can’t put anyone or anything above God. You will be miserable. I know! I have been there! Only God can change people. We can talk till we are blue in the face, and sometimes that works, but most of the time it doesn’t. People need to want to change. And most of the time, we need to get out of God’s way in order for that to happen. We need to walk away. We need to pray. We need to trust Him to do the work. And we need to stay strong and not get sucked in when they say they need us or want our help. Refer them to a counselor or a pastor. Sometimes the healthiest thing to do is nothing. You can love from a distance. I learned the best thing for me was to stay out of God’s way. And when you are a “fixer” by nature, that is a hard thing to do! Beth says, “Bow down and don’t play God. Let Him do His job.”

She said something else that really got to me. “We humans desire most what we love most.” This made me think about my desires. I think most of them are pretty good, but when I love my desires more than God, I get myself into trouble. I become the fixer instead of letting God be the One to fix that person. I have always struggled with intervening and not allowing God to do the work. I guess I think He needs my help! (Ha Ha!) So for all of us out there who struggle with this, I have a great reminder for us.

“Look, I am Yahweh, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too difficult for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

One of my biggest problems my whole life has been believing that I can ask God for something. I learned when I was a child that I was better off not asking for things. I became self-reliant and a fixer. I was better off taking care of myself. “Don’t ask, just do.” (I still struggle.) But, I have been asking, searching, and knocking for eighteen years now and I have found that God answers—He shows me truth—and He opens the door—He acts!

“He is at work. That we, too, get to work with Him. That He surrounds us. Meets with us. Abides in us. Abounds with love for us.” Moore

I want to encourage you to ask your friends to stand with you while you seek the Lord. We all need people to support us and pray for us. We need people who will speak truth to us when we need it. Basically we all need a support group! We need to be honest with our struggles and love one another through them. Find people you can trust to do that for you. We all need help and encouragement throughout our lives.

I want to be a follower of Jesus until I take my last breath. I want to help as many people as I can along the way. Because of the power of Jesus in my life, I hope I will one day say, “Hello. My name is Laurie. I was once a fixer, but now I am free!”

Until next time…..

**If you would like to pray for me, I would appreciate it!

What Do You Want?

I have wanted a lot of things in my life. Most of them are like many things that most of us want. For example: money to pay my bills, healthy children, a healthy body of my own, job security, someone to love me, friends, a roof over my head, go on vacations, spend time with my kids, etc. Because I love to decorate, I have also wanted my home to look cute and stylish. I like for my yard to reflect a curb appeal as well. But, sometimes my wants and desires have a tendency to control me. I have found that my wants can easily become my obsessions. I can become a bit extreme over my desire for things to look a certain way.

You know how you have your to do list every day. You need to get certain things done. But, when you look at that list you think to yourself, “I just really don’t want to do that today. I would much rather not do it.” So you procrastinate and forget about doing it. Another example is: You know that you need to exercise and lose weight. You look in the mirror and you see someone who needs to take care of herself. But deep down inside you don’t want to change your eating habits. You don’t want to walk or run or lift weights. Same goes for needing to quit smoking, spending too much money, etc. “The fact is, we don’t always do what we need to do. And here is the primary reason: because we don’t want to.” Moore

We won’t accomplish a lasting change by needing to—it only happens when we want to. In my experience, it has also taken desperation for me to change in certain areas of my life. Beth Moore points out in her book Audacious,“ We will never love Him just because we need to. We will only love Him audaciously because we want to.” My wanting to know God is what has gotten me to this point in my life. For me the difference is: needing is a feeling but wanting is an action. It’s like I need to do something and in order for me to do it I have to want to. Are you tracking with me? To be honest, knowing the difference between the two is really helping me understand myself better.

So, Beth asks this question in her book, “What do you want?” (World Peace? I had to say that because of the movie Miss Congeniality! Ha Ha! I am digressing. Sorry!) But, seriously what do I want? What do I want deep down inside to the core of my very being? Of course, I would love to be really spiritual and say JESUS! But, if I am honest, there were a few things that popped up before Him when I asked myself that question. I was so embarrassed because I thought for sure I would put Him down first. But, there are some issues that I would like resolved that came up first. (I am human.)

So, then I had to have a heart to heart with the Lord and say I was sorry because I put those issues before Him. God’s desire is for us to want Him—to want to put Him first. There’s a verse in Matthew that really magnifies that point. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 So, I had to look at my heart and be honest with God and talk to Him about where I was placing my treasure. I wasn’t happy with my answer but God wants us to be authentic with Him. He knows the truth anyway, so there is no escaping. “Lord, my every desire is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you.” Psalm 38:9

The fact is, the issues that I have that I want to be resolved might not happen while I am living on this planet. So, if I am letting them be my treasures instead of the Lord, then I am going to be very disappointed! I just need to let them go and place them in my Savior’s hands, and trust Him to deal with them. My focus needs to be on Him instead of answers to my problems. Oh how I yearn for answers, but that isn’t what is going to bring me joy. My focus needs to be on my relationship with the Lord. Knowing Him better. Listening to Him. Loving HIm. Walking with Him. Talking with Him. Philippians 3:10 “I want to know Christ.”

Psalm 73:25-26 “Who do I have in heaven but you? And I desire nothing on earth but you. My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.” 

Here’s the deal. Our flesh—our desires—when placed on the wrong things can get us into trouble. “My whole life was a bloody fight for wanting things that can’t coexist. The long and the short of it is, our wants can be really messed up. We can want things desperately, clawing and clamoring, that we know have the capacity to destroy us. The gratification of desire is so strong that we, with our eyes wide open, are willing to satisfy it today even if we dearly pay for ten thousand tomorrows.” Moore

I can relate to every word Beth says. Sometimes I can’t believe her feelings are so close to mine. Now—when I look back at those things I wanted that weren’t good for me—I could kick myself in the butt a billion times. Some of those things the Lord didn’t let me have because He knew they were bad for me. I have had to deal with the consequences of wanting things that weren’t good for me. A lot of the things I wanted, I thought would be good for me. But I found out later, they weren’t. One of the biggest desires I had was to have a healthy relationship with my Dad. I really thought it was possible, but my heart was deceiving me. I clamored and I clawed—just like Beth Moore mentioned—to stay in a relationship with him. Now I see why people stay in abusive relationships. I honestly thought I could change him or that he would see the light and change. I am not saying that people can’t change because they can, but it takes a heavy dose of the Holy Spirit and a person wanting to change. 

Our hearts can lie to us. Jeremiah 17:9 My heart has lied to me so many times. It has told me to do things that really weren’t what I was supposed to do. My desires have been for other things than what the Lord would want for me. I am not saying all our desires can be bad. But, if they are more important than the Lord, then we need to figure out why. I am in the process of doing that right now. There are certain things that I desire that are really good. They aren’t sinful or bad for me. But, if I place more importance on them than the Lord, then they can be an idol in my life and I simply can’t allow that.

This verse really speaks to me. “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desire.” Psalm 37:4 I am learning that I need to find my delight in the Lord, not in anything else. There are certain things in my life that I would love to see changed. They deeply affect me. I deeply want them to change. But, when I focus on them and they become more important than my relationship with God, I feel hopeless. And that is exactly what Satan wants. He wants me to feel that way because he knows that I will get discouraged and defeated.

So, I am going to be honest and talk to God again about the things that are really bothering me. I am going to ask Him to change my wants and desires if they are wrong for me. “Freedom is  telling God what we desperately want. Trust is asking Him to change our want if gaining it would poison us.” Moore 

I am going to leave you with a prayer that I am praying for myself. I know that God’s truth is what I need to live my life in victory. The same goes for all of us. May we focus more on Him and His truth than anything else in life. “The mindset of the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

“Increase my delight in You so that my desires start sifting and shifting until they align with the ones You hold tightly in Your hand for me. Your desire is to profusely bless me, not withhold from me. You are trustworthy. You will never respond to my full surrender by starving my soul and leaving me empty. Give me the wants You want because anything less will rob me.” Moore

Amen! Until next time dear friends……

(I got to meet Beth Moore last year! It was a dream come true for me! God blessed my socks off! Her teaching has really helped me heal in so many ways. Thank you Lord!)

Summer Days

This past Saturday, I had to drive over to an area of town that was close to where I grew up. Good memories of my childhood came back to me. During the summers, we played outside from morning till night. We loved being in the woods near my house. We built forts, waded in the creek, built tree houses, played softball and kickball and rode our bikes all over the place. My neighbors were my friends. At night, we played kick the can, ghosts in the graveyard, flashlight tag and capture the flag. We told stories with the flash light up under our faces to give us an eerie look. We stayed outside as long as our parents would allow us to. Those were the good old days! (I am sure many of you can remember those days!)

I think that is why I love being outside to this day. When the weather gets nice in the Spring, I simply have to be outside. I stay outside as much as I possibly can. I love everything about warmer weather, except the bugs and the mosquitos. (Why do we have to have mosquitos Lord?) I am outside right now—typing on my laptop. I love the breeze that is blowing, the birds chirping, the sun that is shining and those beautiful blue skies. You get the picture.

When I was thinking about all the wonderful things about my childhood, I began to cry. (I am a crier!) I thanked God that I had those good times to get me through all the things that were happening at home. He gave me all those summer days and nights to help me escape being in my house. He gave me friends to play and laugh with. He gave me neighbors, who let me hang out at their houses, so I didn’t have to be in mine. I had a lot of good times away from the abuse at my house and I am very thankful to God for giving them to me. “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love.” Psalm 33:18

I grew up a dreamer. I still love watching the good guy win and love watching movies that have happy endings. I am even one of those people that read the last page of a book because if it doesn’t end well, then I am not going to waste my time reading it. (I know! I get a lot of flack for that one!) I root for the underdog. I feel sorry for the teams that lose by one point. I also feel sorry for the teams that get creamed by the other team. I have a lot of empathy in me. I feel things for people. I have an innate ability in me to tell me when something is wrong. It is the way I am wired.

Throughout my life, I have learned that God is good. No matter what happens—that truth never changes. When I became a Christian, I knew that I had made the best decision of my life. I wanted to know Jesus and I also wanted my friends and others to know Him. I knew in my heart that He was the real deal and He was the only way I was going to survive. I have spent most of my life walking with Him and learning from Him. It has not been an easy life, but one I couldn’t have lived without Him in it.

“Nothing Jesus will ever woo us to lay down on His behalf is worth what we’d miss if we didn’t. If He wants your hands free, He has something to put in them. If He wants your feet loose, He has somewhere to plant them. If He wants your mouth shut, He has a new set of words to put in it. He’s not trying to cheat you or trick you. He’s not placing bets on you or playing games with you. He does not dispense grace with an eyedropper. He drenches us with it. He does not offer bare existence. He extends life abounding in blessing, power, passion, and purpose. If people told you God was stingy, they didn’t know their Bible.” Beth Moore

The other day I was journaling and I could hear these words spoken to me. “My sweet child,  look at your life. Your life wins. Your life proves that I can make something beautiful out of a complete mess. Your life show others that I am here. I am working and I never stop. I am at the center of your life and that is always a win!” I needed to hear those words because I was allowing a situation to discourage me. God knew it and He was stepping in to speak truth to me.

The life I was born to live is wrapped up in Jesus. Everything I do or say is wrapped up in my relationship with Him. Beth Moore beautifully says, “The person you are when you love Jesus with everything in you—with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength—is the real you. The brilliant you. The bring—it you. The breathtaking you. The born-for-this you. The person you were born to be crawls out of the shell of a heart cracked wide-open to the audacious love of Christ. When your heart, your soul, your mind, and might are engaged in a wholly invasive holy affection march your self into the nearest bathroom and look in the mirror over the sink. That’s you.”

When I write and share my stories with you—that’s the real me. I really didn’t see that until I started writing my blog. When I sit and journal, that’s the real me. I guard my time with Christ as much as I can because I feel like I am truly myself when I am with Him. I know that He wants all of us to feel that way when we are in HIs presence. He wants us to be who He designed us to be. So, I am going to ask you… What makes you look in the mirror and say, “That’s the real me.” What do you feel driven to do because of Christ’s love for you?

When I felt God’s nudge to write this blog, I thought there was no way I could do it. I battled with the Lord over it for months. I questioned and I doubted. But I knew deep down inside that it was what God wanted me to do. He gave me the strength, the words, the insight, the years of journaling, the books, the studies, the counseling and people to pray for me. When God asks us to do something, He will supply everything we need to do it! Philippians 4:19

I am driven by Christ’s love to do this. I have no formal training in writing. I only have real life training. I write because God gives me the ability to do it. There are many times when I type the words and go back, read it and think, “Where did those words come from? I don’t remember thinking that?” That’s proof that God can and will speak through us. I am telling you this to encourage you to step out and do what God has called you to do. He will supply everything you need to do it.

I also need to say that you will also go through phases when you doubt and feel hopeless because Satan does not want you to succeed. He wants you to quit. He wants you to get discouraged and give up! He has done that to me many, many times. But, we simply can’t give in to those feelings. We have to fight them. “If you and I are going to live and love audaciously, we’re going to have to quit answering the door when hopelessness bangs its ugly fist at it. It has no place in our lives. Hopelessness is a liar. A convincing one. We offer no welcome, no couch to rest upon, no meal to feast upon. We do not cater to it in any way.” Beth Moore

One of the reasons I study and read so much is because I need so much encouragement! (I need lots of it!) God encourages me to keep going and He puts things in my path to help me. I am ashamed to admit that I have wanted to quit many times, but then the Lord sends someone my way to tell me that they enjoyed reading my blog. I think to myself, “Thank you Lord! You knew I needed to hear that!” He has done that for me many, many times. God knows our needs even more than we do.

Even during the roughest days of my childhood, He gave me summer days and nights. He gave me the music of the sixties and seventies. He gave me Young Life camps and weekends in caves. He gave me the friends that I needed. He gave me a Momma who loved the Lord and made me want a relationship with Him too. He gave me my parent’s station wagon so I could go and pick up kids to take to Young Life club. He gave me Chinese fire drills, jobs to make money and laughter every week when we did skits and mixers at club. I have no doubt that His eyes were on me! He knew what I needed and He gave it to me.

I am going to leave you with another gem by Beth Moore. That woman has meant so much to me and my walk with Christ. She has gotten me through some pretty heavy issues. She speaks to my heart. I just want you to know that nothing that happens to you is ever wasted. God is growing you up to be exactly what He wants you to be. Unfortunately, it takes turmoil and trials in our lives to bring out our real selves. I pray that God will help you see who the real you is.

“He knows exactly what we’re made of and exactly what He invested in us. He knows the immensity of the treasures He tucked way down inside of us in a place that can only be tapped by turmoil. God knows precisely how He gifted us and to what unfathomable degree He empowered us through His own Holy Spirit. He knows to the minutest detail how thoroughly He has equipped us. God cannot be conned. He requires no proof to quell His own curiosity. Confusion is human, not divine. God knows exactly how real or pretentious our faith is.” Moore

Until next time……