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Women in His Presence

Remarriage

Often times I wonder what remarriage will look like if it’s in God’s will for me. In a marriage of any type, there is a rhythm that develops over time. It is a muscle memory of how things are done. Not major things, but simple things.

1. What sitting on the couch looked like when watching TV.
2. Morning routines
3. Night time routines
4. How we greeted each other at the end of the day.
5. The way we shopped for groceries.

Sometimes these little things worry me and I wonder will these “muscle memories” pop up because I did them a certain way for so long.

Walking this evening, God gave me a peace about these worries and remarriage. These routines that I’m worried about are like religion.

Religion focuses on tasks and rituals that become muscle memory. The commitment is in the physical action and not in the emotional/spiritual commitment to God’s truths and principles.

I need to realize that if it is God’s will for me to remarry, then it will mimic a relationship with Jesus Christ. That marriage will be able to override these worries because it will not be based on routines or appearances. The commitment will not be seasonal. Instead it will be a relationship that will involve mutual commitment, respect, loyalty, and a growing emotional intimacy that will be God centered.

This model of marriage will reflect what God desires to have with us. A connection that is emotional, intimate, and active.

1 Samuel 16:1
The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

Random Submission

Walking on a trail awhile back, I noticed something odd out of the corner of my eye. As I approached the object, I realized it was a pretty big snail shell sitting on top of an ant pile.

Several thoughts and questions went through my mind.

1. What kind of snail is that? I’ve never seen one that big in the suburban “wild.”
2. How did it get there?
3. Is this a really clever geocache?
4. Is it alive?

The last question was the one that really had me wondering? If it was, then it was in a pretty bad situation. Any attempt to escape the mound would result in a stirring of ants that would eventually flood out and eat the snail.

Instantly, I could relate.

Every once in awhile, we find ourselves in these random yet scary and uncertain situations. We haven’t planned for them and we can’t plan our way out of them.

So what do we do? Submit

The snail shell is a great illustration of that. It literally looks like it is kneeling. Submitting acknowledges that we are literally facing (face to the ground) a peculiar situation. However we are choosing to be in a position in which a spiritual shell of protection can be placed on us.

The snail shell has three protective layers:
1. Periostracum-Outer protective layer
2. Ostracum-Central layer
3. Inner smooth layer

Our spiritual submission shell has three protective layers as well.
1. Father
2.Son
3. Holy Spirit

Choose submission over trying to control a situation you can’t get yourself out of.

Psalm 145:14
The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.

To God be the Glory

Esther Everyday Moment

What would I be without you Lord?

Everything is beautiful in your presence                     The Everyday.                                                             Even the Mundane.                                                Is beauty in your presence.

Sitting still in silence,

You remind me.                                                     Surround me.                                                         Protect me.

What would I be without you Lord?

Everything is beautiful in your presence.

In the MIdST

This morning I was looking back in my journal to previous entries. Lately, I have been rolling over in my mind how awkward this holding pattern in my life is.

It’s interesting how engrained planning out our life is.
Be a good person.
Make good grades.
Go to college, so you can get a good job.
Do good work, so you can buy a nice house.
Be a good wife, so you can have a good marriage.

Follow these steps and it will all be good.

Although, these are all good things and it is good to have a plan, the reality is so different when God has a different plan for you.

I think plans should have this disclaimer: Be flexible and attentive to God’s guidance. Walk out that plan, but be ready to step off the beaten path when he calls you. Don’t get so fixated on this plan that you aren’t allowing God to take you where he really wants you. Have your Bible handy, this is a hike.

For me being in the MIdST means I’m out in the water in a boat. I can see the shoreline, the people, the buildings lined up along the coast, and just where I’m suppose to dock.

And then, suddenly, a mist has formed and all that I was seeing is now hidden from me. Why? Because I’m so focused on the land I’m trying to reach, that I take my eyes off of God. I’m rowing really hard to get to that dock that I think I’m suppose to get to  and now I can’t even see it or how to get there.
What I’m needing to do is put my back towards land, relax, and be excited about being in the presence of God as he rows me to wherever he wants me. He has a GREAT plan and wants to surprise me.

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Let God row the boat. 

Luke 5:4-6

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

To God be the Glory

 

My Testimony

I’ve always felt that I didn’t have a clear testimony. I’ve always thought a testimony had to be a sudden miracle or personal transformation.

Looking at my Bibles that I have had since becoming a follower of Christ, they tell a different story.

My first one on the left is used, but when I look inside, the pages reveal the hunger and curiosity I had when my personal relationship began with Jesus Christ. Inside was this burning fire to know HIM more, learn his wisdom, and know how I should be shaping my life.

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It taught me how to STAND on God’s truth and conformed my mind.

The second one has definitely been through the fire and more. You can see from the outside and inside the scars, broken dreams, and uncertainties I had taken to Him. This Bible has seen many things and has been what I had clung to in order to endure the fire.

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It taught me how to KNEEL and hold tight to the only One that could save me.

The last one is my newest one. I didn’t want a new one. It was hard to let go and start over when I had been through so much with the other Bible. But, it had been damaged and I needed one. Picking it, required much thought. I had to like the cover and what was inside. It had to “calI” me too. The cover shows its newness, but the inside shows where I left off.

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This one I can tell is going to teach me to walk in faith, WALK out my calling, and SPREAD the fire  

(Side note: I’m writing and laughing to myself because it’s like I’m writing about a relationship with a guy. Which I guess is a good thing when Jesus is my guy and the Bible is how he talks to me.)

So, looking at these three Bibles side by side, I realize I do have a testimony over time. The enemy has tried to crush my heart, silence my spirit, and steal my calling. But, I have come out with a heart still able to love, a spirit still full of joy, and a calling being confirmed.

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I can testify….
Let God be the Glory

Daniel 3:24-25 NIV
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”
They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”
25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Women in His Presence

This weekend I was blessed to participate in an event hosted by Living Proof Ministries. The intent was for women who feel called to communicate the gospel through writing, teaching, and speaking to be poured into and mentored for a day by Beth Moore. The event also had in its presence Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine, and Jennie Allen who were part of a Q&A panel at the end of the evening.

The close proximity to these women in such an intimate setting was an experience I’m sure will never happen to me again. Each of these ladies at some point in my journey has mentored me from afar whether on stage, TV screen, Bible study, and/or book.

It is easy and available for men within a church setting to be mentored and encouraged in their calling for Christ. But, as a woman, it seems to be a struggle. I have had no shortage of “spiritual” mothers within the church and they have been integral in my life. Finding a woman who can guide me on how to be a better student/communicator of the Word is a rare find and a deep desire. This seems to be a common struggle for women who are hungry to be students of the Word and communicate it. Interestingly though, mentors were the common denominator in Beth Moore’s life and the other panel guest.

Many times, I was awed being in the presence of these women. Not because of idolization, but because in their calling they are constantly walking in the fire. The battle I have faced the week before a speaking event is brutal and in the moment I ask myself how these women do it. I know the answer is because of Jesus and I know these women know how to go to war and lean into God. And for those reasons, I just wanted to touch them.

I can imagine what that woman felt like who just wanted to touch the hem of Jesus’s garment. Again, not in idolization, but knowing they are like the apostles. They are closer to Jesus than I am. Jesus is available to me in that same way, but I know to do what they do they have invested more time and intimacy with Him.

They are Women in His Presence.

As amazing as that was, one of my favorite parts was meeting women who God perfectly orchestrated me to meet through a last minute email, elevator ride, or wandering the desert (AKA the Galleria), for fifteen minutes when it should have taken just two minutes to find our way out of there.

The conversations that revealed our similarities, differences, and fears we share when we step out, was most precious. These are Women in His Presence, like me, who are navigating through this calling and trying to figure out how can I communicate the gospel? How do we do that responsibly without having gone through seminary? How does that balance with life? How do we balance that with work? How do…..????

I’m a firm believer that women’s ministry events draw women in to be in His presence. But, the speaker or activity is really just the bait. I’ve experienced where he really goes to work is with the women we sit beside, across from, run into, and meet. Once again, He did not disappoint and proved He is ALWAYS in OUR PRESENCE.  Blessed am I with Sisters in Christ: Allison, Laura “Nicole”, and Brittney.

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Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters Colossians 3:23

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. Matthew 9:20

Winning Vs. Victory

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to participate in a high school alumni softball team game. While I was in high school I was blessed to be part of a two time state softball team and enjoy in the blessings, trials, and the joy of competition, and winning. Above is a selfie of myself and two teammates. (April, myself, Robin-Taken by April on the left)

It was neat to see Robin, one of two seniors in 1993 who did quite a bit if our coaching and leading us to our first state title, now coaching our alma mater softball team. It was also a blessing to see my teammate April doing double duty from the dugout as a mom while playing the game. It was also a blessing to see beauty from ashes as I was able to participate for the first time in the alumni game only because going through a divorce led me back home.

In reflecting on those moments, I realized that we were not only winners but victors. As we have all moved along in our own paths, we in some shape and form sow into others.

As a Christian, there is the concept of winning people to Christ. But, sometimes that requires us to sow into others through personal testimonies. While the walk in the Lord can be joyous, it can also be very challenging and filled with losses. It can seem by outward appearances when things don’t go our way, we are losing. In actuality, a victorious testimony is being written by the hand of God.

Victory is a different kind of win. It is eternal and cannot be signified by a one-time trophy or medal. It is ongoing. It is transforming into the image of Christ. And most of all, no matter the circumstance, it multiplies.

Winning requires only one person or one team to enjoy in the celebration. Victory allows celebration all of the time, everyday, in every circumstance.

So no matter what the outcome of the battle you are in, you will be victorious if you allow God to coach you through the game instead of focusing on the outcome of the battle.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Phase 2: PerSERVERance

As a Christmas gift in 2008, I was given a special devotional book by Dr. James and Shirley Dobson titled, “Night Light.”

Today’s devo started out with an article from the Denver Post titled, “I’m Third.” To summarize, it was about a pilot who chose not to eject, but die, to ensure his failing aircraft would not crash into a neighborhood. Days following the crash, his wife found a card in his wallet that said, “I’m Third” which reflected his life of God first, others second, and himself third.

This impacted me very deeply because of a calling God has given me. It is something I struggle with everyday, and getting a front row seat to wickedness this past week, it has spurned a lot of questions that I had for God about this calling.

1. Are you sure you want me to keep praying? This is making me very uncomfortable for several reasons.
2. Can they even be saved?
3. Will you protect me from the ploys of the enemy?
4. I’m trusting you to not lead me into a path of destruction.
5. Am I hearing you correctly?

He has answered me before and after this dialogue with the word perSERVERance.

If you notice in the title, I have spelled perseverance as perserverance. It is intentional. I have come to realize by finding old scripture cards and looking at my “war room” chart paper that I have always spelled it with SERVER instead of SEVER. These two words have such a harsh difference that I couldn’t help but sense God speaking.

When I think of perseverance/severing, I think of pushing or pulling away, cutting off, and breaking through and breaking away. Either way, it is overcoming what hurts, hinders, entangles, and/or burdens resulting in a personal achievement.

When I think of a SERVER, I think of submission with strength and dignity. I think of grace, mercy, hospitality. I think of putting the other’s needs and interest first and finding joy in the hospitality and comfort that the servant offers despite the appreciation or lack of appreciation given in return.

In this Phase 2, A Call to Persevere, God is asking that I continue to pray for redemptive hearts and souls in a way that requires me to persevere with a servants heart and not persevere with a heart of self interest. He asks that, so he can use me to be a concrete illustration that models what Jesus did for us. If someone is not reading the Bible or in a church setting, then when or where do they see and experience Jesus?

It is through us. Not because we are Jesus, but because with a strengthening personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we are being molded into his image by the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. That gives us the ability to PERSEVERE through SERVING in grace, mercy, and hospitality and overlooking whether or not someone deserves good service.

1. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

2. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
3. The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. Proverbs 15:3

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. Luke 10:19
4. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you. Isaiah 35:4
5. Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

To God be the Glory

The Unexpected Gift

The Christmas of 2004, brought a change of events. I was 29 years old, freshly married and living in Kingsville. My brother Andrew was in his first year in college at A&M. (Insert pause for WHOOP)

For the holidays, I had driven to Houston from Corpus with my parents with three little kids that I didn’t know. They were cousins I had never met and never knew even existed. Their ages ranged from 3-7 and with an unfortunate event in their life, were being whisked away from everything they knew for necessary reasons with unfamiliar family.

You would think their circumstances would register in my heart and head when months later I got a call from my mom that they were planning on adopting the kids.
At 29, the idea of sharing my parents did not go over well. I adamantly objected with a list of why they couldn’t. Most of those revolved around me and the time they wouldn’t be able to spend with me or the future grandkids I thought I was going to be producing.

In the years to follow, I accepted the adoption and had no ill feelings towards it. However, due to other circumstances, I was unable to be involved with my family the way I wanted to. This resulted in not being at important events and birthdays of my adopted siblings. So even though we were officially siblings, the sibling bond hadn’t quite developed the way it had with my brother Andrew and I was pretty much absent in their life with the exception of major holidays.

In August of this year, I moved to Houston due to my approaching divorce.

Because of this move, I have been able to spend a lot of time with Kayla. We have naturally bonded into real sisters. I tell her my secrets and tell her not to tell mom. (Which I end up telling mom anyway.) She tells me I need to wear more make-up, especially eyeshadow. We can confirm whether or not each other’s outfits look good or don’t. I tell her my mistakes along with the wisdom learned from them. She is my adventure partner and at times exercise buddy. I get to occasionally catch her at her pitching lessons and I will do something different if it is what she prefers or makes her happy.

She is my sister.

The first time she laid her head on my shoulder I knew she loved me like a sister. It still catches me when she does it. It is such a simple form of affection but one that communicates that she loves me, feels safe with me, and needs me in her life.

It makes me realize how much I need her as well.

It is interesting how death brings life. About twelve years ago, she lost a parent and in this twelfth year since then is the death of my marriage. Two unfortunate events, that God has been able to bless with this unexpected gift of sisterhood.

Joel 2:25 NLT
The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.

To God be the Glory

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