Help…

As many of you know I am an advocate for wellness, a seeker of healing in body, mind and spirit. The mind and spirit have so much influence on the well being of the body. I’ve spend years diving into mind strength, emotional healing and spiritual growth. This journey started almost 10 years ago as my health was wavering and so was my emotions and spiritual walk. You see, when all three are weak, it’s a recipe for a health disaster. I became very sick, doctor after doctor, test after test, no one could help. As I read through the doctors notes, after requesting medical records, comments like, “difficult” patient showed up frequently. I’m sure I was difficult… no answers, no direction, just sick, hurting physically and mentally…

My journey to wellness started with spiritual growth. I took this amazing bible study class called, “Breaking Free”. Layers of my past were mended and the journey to health began. Over the next 10 years I dove into many bible studies, journalizing and worshiping. Healing continued. About 2 years ago I felt a draw to learn more about the power of the mind and what part we have in our wellness journey through our thoughts, and my health continued to improve. My body has been my biggest struggle as I’ve been REALLY healthy, and REALLY not healthy over my life span. I’ve ran numerous races, half marathons and did a triathlon. I was a college athlete and was very strong physically. I also have been 40 lbs over weight, completely lazy and neglected my body by NOT exercising at all!! This yo-yo journey with my body as been a mess. Although I’m well (not taking any medications, only supplements, and have no “conditions”) I know I need to work on getting into a healthier routine with exercise and eating. I’m better than I was, but still need improvement. I’m a work in progress. We all are.

I have felt a call to help people, and encourage others in their emotional healing, mind strength along with spiritual strength. This is what I do, encourage, guide, help. I’ve many times considered going back to school to get a degree to practice medicine or become a counselor. Maybe someday. I’m 43, I’ve got plenty of time… right?

Here is the hard part. All this education, all this time I’ve spent diving into books, resources, learning from my own experience and others, I can’t help my own daughter. She is 18 years old. We have been taking her to doctors since she was 3 months old. Skin issues, joint pain, stomach pain, vitamin deficiencies, anemia, muscle pain, headaches, allergies… The weirdest symptom has been her sensitivity to water on her body… it’s evident to me she has a compromised immune system and major inflammation. On and on we go, test after test, doctor after doctor, medicine after medicine, vitamin after vitamin… I believe we have tried everything from anti-candida diet to allergy shots, MRIs to lab tests for every Auto Immune DisEase under the sun… We’ve done emotional work, counseling, dermatologists, allergy specialists, neurologist, sleep studies, raindrop technique, Chiropractors, Naturopathic doctor. The ND was the closest to getting somewhere. The dietary changes and supplements helped for awhile.

My point, I’m tired, I’m hurting, she’s hurting. As her mother, and a wellness advocate, I feel like a failure, I just can’t come up with an answer for her, no one can. I’ve prayed for her for healing, I’ve went to healing services on her behalf. I’ve interceded over and over and over. What can I do? What can SHE do? What?

I know God has a reason for this, maybe it’s to direct her as she is going into the medical field. It’s so hard, she’s been well for 6 months in a row for her entire life. She lives a roller coaster wellness ride. I hate this. I want to fix it. I want to “find” the cure, I want someone to find the cure, I’ve prayed for immaculate healing, just make it go away.

I’m the one who tells people to NOT claim disEase, that your thoughts can reverse your health, that emotional release can bring physical healing and yet here I sit…. empty handed, feeling defeated and helpless. It could be so much worse, I know, she could be fighting for her life, and maybe part of me feels she is, that this “thing” might consume her if we don’t figure it out. It’s a fear, I’m being real, I could pretend I’m not afraid, what good does that do. Maybe I’m playing God, maybe I want to fix her… who wouldn’t want to fix their kid! I just want her to live like other kids. I don’t want advice anymore, I don’t want another suggestion, I just want her better. I want her well forever. I hate this.

I’m tired of doctors being horrible to us. She has had some of the worse experiences with doctors, the worst one telling her “If you want the boys to like you, you might want to use the cremes on your eczema.”… I don’t know but the girl has had HORRIBLE experiences with doctors, therefore putting a real bad taste in our mouths for anyone even giving a shit about her well being… or seeing her as just another number walking in the door. I’m sick of it. I hate it. I just want it gone so she can move on. I worry about her claiming sickness over her life as she doesn’t know any different… I look at my girl today, she’s been home sick for 2 days this week, dropped 10 lbs(she’s already a size 2!), rash everywhere, can’t eat, stomach and back pain, weak. And off she goes to school today, straight A student, working as a waitress after school, always caring and loving on her friends…. People just don’t know the struggle she has. She says she stays busy so she doesn’t have to think about it.

This is a raw area in my mom journey as my girl is heading off to college next August. I want her well for what comes next in her life. I want more than anything for her to claim health over her life, with positive thoughts and spiritual strength. At the end of the day though, she could still be sick, this is the part I just don’t understand.

We do not get the privilege of understanding God’s reasons or will over our lives or others lives. All I can do is offer it up to Him and give it to Him over and over and over. I pray for her restoration, for healing of body, mind, spirit. We continue with tests and advice from doctors as she flares up… we continue….

This brilliant child of ours will move mountains regardless of her physical health, she already has. Press on child, press on and trust in His reasons. Your health may be a struggle but your brilliance and spirit can’t be touched, signed sealed and delivered by the King of Kings. Keep fighting, claim freedom over it, I believe healing is possible.

If I might ask you to offer up healing prayers for my daughter I would greatly appreciate it.

Love, a tired mom

Fatherless

As many of you know I have recently been to Africa, and though you may be tired of hearing about it, I’m quite certain the revelations from this trip will continue well into the next 365 days.

Straight up, Ethiopia rocked my world. It rocked my world in many ways, hard and good. My brain and my heart have been reset and have been opened in a way I never would have expected.

Leading up to this trip I felt like the Lord gave me a “heads up” that my father would somehow be part of this trip. It didn’t make sense to me at the time, yet it sure does now.

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The first full day we spent in Ethiopia was with Glory to Glory church. They worshiped in a tiny concrete building with plastic chairs on a broken concrete floor. I remember looking at the stained walls and the open building to the outside world. People were gathered inside the building and outside the building. Some awaiting food afterwards as we were to serve the people. It was a very humbling experience to face famine head on. Poverty here was so much more than the material positions we think of, this was famine of the heart, the spirit, which is what poverty truly is for each of us. They were starving inside, I saw eyes of emptiness, and it was hard. Though there were empty eyes, I also saw and heard beautiful praise, beautiful hope and beautiful faith, and eyes that shined. I had to let the good out weigh the hard, it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The praise and worship wasn’t in english, yet I felt the Spirit moving so heavy, He surpasses language barriers, that’s for sure!!

After church we went to a local soccer tournament that was started up by ManUp and Go many years ago(this is the organization I went with). To see the kids playing and so many children watching was beautiful. Many of the kids came up to our team, immediately wanting to communicate with us and also asking for gifts or money. Big gulp, NOT giving to them was difficult and thinking of “what do I have to offer them that would be lasting” was a challenge. Many of them went to a local school around the area and some did not. I spoke with them the best I could. Language was a barrier, but the Spirit was not.

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One young boy followed me around speaking to me, laughing at how different I was, and playing hand clapping games with me. I thought the one thing I can do is teach them a simple game of different handshakes, and they loved it. Finally this young boy approached me along with another person on our team. We began asking this young boy where he lived and about his family. He explained that He was fatherless and lived with his mother. “No papa.”, he said. My heart immediately connected with him.

This was the first time dad showed up on the trip.

I explained to him that I to didn’t have a papa. I offered to pray with him and he accepted. This was what I had to offer, something much more lasting than a handout. I was able to point him to his Heavenly Father who will always be with him. For the remainder of the time he followed me around the soccer area. Every once in a while he would say, “Me, No papa, You, No papa.” There was a sparkle in his eyes when we would lock eyes. We had a connection in suffering, and somehow, my suffering gave him hope, hope that he can get through this.

That day in Ethiopia was Father’s Day. I dreaded that day for many years. I learned how to celebrate my husband and avoid being titled “fatherless”, but with my husband not there I had to face it head on. I was given a moment to use my hurt to help. Only God can do that.

That evening I dove into the Word. My daily devotion said this:

Psalms 68:5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.

This is His holy habitation, to be a father to the fatherless! I was able to point this young man to Abba. We are all sons and daughters of the one true King, Abba. How beautiful that the Lord took a broken place within me and gave a child hope through it.

Today is my father’s birthday. So this is a present for him. In my loss, I was able to connect with this young child and give him hope in his Heavenly Father. Without my loss, I would never have been able to. God is so much bigger, so much smarter, and so much more everything.

Happy Birthday Dad, I miss you, I love you, be seeing you.

Blessings.

Miracles

I wonder if you’ve experienced a miracle. I also wonder how many unseen miracles happen in a day? I look back over my life for the last 42 years and can name many, some involving my own life, some involving healing miracles, some involving redirection to safety and so on. This last one, it’s hit me hard. It was my child’s life.

Over the past few months I have felt an urgency to pray protection over my children, asking the Lord to send legions of angels to protect them. I didn’t understand the urgency, in fact I felt it was weird that I was asking for angels, this isn’t something I’ve done much of in the past, yet I listened to the whisper and I requested just that.

Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? Matthew 26:53

This past Saturday I was eating continental breakfast at a hotel with a friend talking about life, softball and my recent trip to Africa as we were preparing to take on day two of our softball tournament. My daughter was unable to play the night before as she was working. It’s a battle with coaching 18U, the kids are at an age where many have jobs and other responsibilities to balance it all out. My daughter was driving up Saturday morning to meet us at the fields for the tournament. While I was eating breakfast one of her friends said, “Abby’s trying to get ahold of you.” I explained I had left my phone in the hotel room and her friend offered her phone to me and said I should call her.

When Abby answered I could tell she was rattled and crying. She said, “Mom, I’ve been in an accident, I’m okay, it’s not big, just can you come get me?” I grabbed my things and rushed out the door driving to the location she sent me from her phone. She was less than 15 minutes away from me. So I sped to her as fast as I could. As I approached the location spot I saw 1 police car with lights on and my daughters car out on the edge of a field. She was standing in her softball uniform by the car talking to the officer. As I walked to the car I notice the tires were destroyed, the window was cracked and the passenger airbag was deployed. I ran to her and wrapped her up in my arms to insure she was ok, this was NOT a small accident.

Abby had fallen asleep at the wheel. She explained to me that she knew she should have pulled over because she was struggling staying awake and felt bad she didn’t listen to her instincts. All I cared about was she was ok. She had no visible markings, no scratches, no bruises, not even a sore muscle.

The police officer asked me to come with him away from her. He directed me to the back of the car. He pointed out to me her path. What I could see from the ending point was first she missed a tree, then she missed a sign. He informed me that I needed to recognize the path she took and how ‘lucky’ she was to not have rolled the car. He said, “She should have rolled it at least in 3 different places. But it didn’t.” He looked like he saw a ghost. He then informed me, “THIS doesn’t happen, I’ve seen this too many times where the end result was not good.” I took it in the best I could, then called dad to take care of the towing and such. Abby and I then headed to town for the softball tournament. I was rattled, yet I had to put my coaching hat on for the rest of the day. After the tournament was over I felt like we should go back to the site of the accident. I encouraged Abby, her sister, dad and I to go see the path, that was the one part the officer said that stuck out to me. I had to see the path, all of it.

I decided to start from the beginning this time. Abby fell asleep at the wheel, her car left the road and first missed a tree, then the sign I saw early from a distance was much more than a sign. it was a sign marking a culvert. Her car went OVER the culvert, not around it, over it. There were rubber marks on the concrete from her tires. After driving over the culvert her car then road along the edge of the ditch. At one point we noticed there were only 1 set of tire tracks. Her car didn’t roll. From start to finish her car traveled almost 300m-400m off the road. She didn’t wake up until she was at the last 100m.

How does a car drive OVER a culvert? How does a car drive on one side without rolling? How does a car drive along a ditch and not flip over? How did she sleep through it all? And why didn’t her airbag deploy?

Miracles. Plan a simple miracles. A friend and I were recently discussing what this had to have looked like in the spiritual realm. The amount of angels, the amount of protection, the amount of redirection, the amount of peace she was in to NOT wake up and try to course correct! As insignificant as the driver side airbag not deploying seems, it in and of itself is a miracle. Abby has had numerous concussions. I’m not sure where we would be if that airbag opened. Her last concussion that happened over 2 years ago affected her for 6 months, recovery was awful and she really struggled to get back to normal life.

The miracle rattled me, the path rattled me, the sheer greatness of God rattled me. He saved her. Why? I look to the parents that have lost children, I look to the friends who have lost loved ones in accidents. Why? I don’t know why. I don’t know why he takes some and leaves others. I don’t know why my own father died suddenly at 53 and my daughter was saved. I don’t know, but I trust. I have to. I have to believe His reasons, His plan, His purpose for her life, for my life, and for the lives lost.

She has been given a story. She has been given another chance and for that I am forever grateful. I choose to sit in His plans for all things. I could lose someone tomorrow, I could also see a miracle tomorrow. I am choosing to look for the miracles, small and big and find comfort in a God who saves all of his children, some are saved here and some are saved to His ultimate protection in heaven.

As I contemplate the sheer path it reminds me of our path in life. So many times we coast through life and sometimes we go off the road, sometimes we fall asleep and sometimes we manage to ride on one side of the car not knowing if it might roll and sometimes we drive over an impossible culvert.

I challenge us to REST in his abilities on our path, in His saving grace, in his protection and trust in all He has for us even when it seems impossible.

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:6

Blessings.

 He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 

– 2 Timothy 1:9

Unhindered Prayers: Part 2

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There are certain parts of our past, our story, that we struggle letting go of, we hold on to them too tight. There are certain things that we see in our daily lives that cause us to be hardened because of our past. One of the most difficult ‘things’ for me has been unfaithful men and alcoholism. I’ve seen it destroy families, I’ve seen it sever relationships with parents and children. 

This past month I went on a mission trip with ManUp & Go to Ethiopia and Uganda. What a blessing this trip has been. So much revelation, so much love, and wonderful connections with the beautiful people of Africa.

The last few days in Uganda we visited the Masese Community. A middle age man approached me on the street asking for money. In preparation for this trip we were educated on the importance of giving a hand ‘up’ not a hand ‘out’. Giving a hand out many times causes more harm than good, when what is needed is to be empowered with opportunities to create ways to provide for themselves and their family in a more permanent way instead of a one time hand out. We were called to encourage them in their walk with Christ. Believe me, this was so hard, I wanted to give to everyone. Yet God laid it on my heart to offer prayers instead of money. Talk about taking me out of my comfort zone, I struggle praying in my own church in front of people! So here is my experience of praying with this man pictured above.

I offered to pray with him instead of giving him money and he accepted. In the prayer I asked God to protect him and his family, I asked God to bless him with income, to bless him with abundance, I asked God to give him guidance and for him to know his Savior better, and much more, yet I can’t recall everything I offered up. After I was finished praying with him we parted ways.

One of my friends on the trip asked me if I saw what he had set down before we began to pray? I didn’t see anything. What he sat down was a small bag of alcohol. Somehow I didn’t see it AND I didn’t smell it! Considering my own history with alcohol I was pretty amazing I didn’t recognize it. A few minutes went by and the man came back over to me, and a translator came with him, she explained to me that he didn’t have a family(he wanted me to know this part) and he had many children with many women. At this point I was starting to see him stumbling as well, he was drunk.

My brain, my heart were reeling! “Wait! I just prayed for a man who represents the exact thing I despise!?” He represented what had hurt me so badly in my past. God showed me a very hardened part of my heart, that I “thought” I had let go of. Part of my unsettlement, I believe, came from my own struggles with drinking and promiscuity. I have judged myself as well, and maybe, just maybe, I saw my darkest places in this man and it unhinged me.

In the moment, somehow the Lord blinded me from this man’s failures and from judgement so I could pray unhindered prayers for someone my flesh would have judged otherwise. God showed me His abilities through me when my flesh was out-of-the-way. He showed me his love, for ALL is people, the broken, and the ones I have struggled with forgiving the most.

This is a journal from the day after this event as I was reeling, this is what I felt God was telling me, “Love abides, love is for all children, the lost and the seeking. Find peace in my Spirit. Know that I have a plan for all lives. Even the ones who hurt you. Make peace with it and release them to me.”

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8

All deserve his love, he came for the broken. I should know this because of my own brokenness he has restored. So I rejoice in His abilities through me, when my flesh was blinded and I was able to see broken through His eyes. Judgement is not mine to have. All are loved. All are his children, none more valuable than another. HE HAS A PLAN FOR ALL LIVES!

So here I sit processing all this moment had to offer me, releasing yet other layer to find true freedom and resting in His ever-loving arms. What I was able to offer this man was unhindered prayers, and THAT is the best gift I could have given him, ONLY by the grace of God.

Who do you need to pray unhindered for?

Blessings.

“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Heb 13:5

Unhindered Prayers: Part 1

Mark 11:24 ~ Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

I recently arrived home from a mission trip to Africa(Ethiopia and Uganda) with the organization ManUp & Go. To say my world has been rocked is an understatement. The perspective I have been given about life outside of America is very freeing and very hard. We here battle differently then there, yet we all are in a battle. Coming back from this trip wasn’t as difficult as my first trip to Guatemala, as I was able to see the blessing of organization and the systems we do have in place here, yet the evidence of the distractions we have here is unprecedented.

We have so many opportunities here to make a living and provide for ourselves and our families. I even saw with unfiltered glasses the biggest problem of all, we can do so much here that many times we overlook the need for God. It’s a huge problem, we become our own god, with our own answers, with our own ways and our own means. In this area of Africa they have little distractions and have many times no means to providing for their families so their relationship with the Lord many times is ‘deeper’ due to the NEED. The people of Ethiopia and Uganda are full of love and kindness, accepting us as we are, loving us as we loved on them. To share with them about Jesus was easy, they were seeking hope, and HE is hope. We here in America seek for wealth and happiness through things and stuff, and titles, and performance and awards, many times missing the very hope we need as well. The evil one is crafty keeping us busy on our path to success and many times we miss the many opportunities the Lord puts before us due to distractions and drive to seek “happiness”.

While there the distractions were removed, the titles were removed, the success path was removed which allowed me to see so clearly what God is doing.

There are so many stories I have but I think I’ll start with this one, Simon.

After our Women’s Conference in Uganda they did an altar call. With over 700 women there, the front of the church filled up fast with women coming to receive prayers. We as guests were asked to pray over these women. I will never forget this moment, the sheer power of it all, the praise, the prayer, the Spirit so heavy I could hardly breathe and the tears just flowed. While going up to the women and laying hands on them and praying over them, even though they had no idea what I was saying as many didn’t speak much English, one women grabbed my hand as I laid it on her. She pulled me down to her and said, “Look at my son, Simon! LOOK!” I knew this mean she was asking for prayers for him, yet I had no idea what I was to pray for, so I asked the Lord to help me pray for him. As I prayed for Simon and his mother I felt the spirit lead me to pray healing for him, he looked like a healthy 2 year old to me but I just had a feeling that for her to be so intentional for me to pray for him it must be healing. So I asked the Lord to heal him, body, mind, spirit, emotional trauma, and so on. I honestly don’t remember much of the prayer as it was just pouring out and I felt the Spirit heavy on me. After I prayed for Simon and his mother I went on praying for many others as the Spirit lead until we were done. After the conference we all went outside to prepare to leave, Simon’s mother approached me and said, “Look at him, he is blind.”

I didn’t see it when I was praying, he looked perfectly normal and here I was facing this child with clouded eyes and it was evident. God hid it from me, I truly believe that. He didn’t let me see his blindness as I wouldn’t have been able to pray unhindered prayers over him knowing. God took my flesh out of the way and let me see Simon through His eyes while praying. I remember feeling shook when she told me he was blind, as if I did something wrong, did I pray something I shouldn’t have, what if God doesn’t answer? All the “what if’s” flooded in and then my new sister in Christ Jeanette said to me later that day, “Girl, don’t waste your time praying if you don’t believe Him!” and it rattled me, I thought, how could I pray unhindered? God showed me that HE allowed me to intercede for this young child by blinding me from his condition.

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The next day we went back to the Women’s Conference to help with a feeding program. When we got off the bus we played with the kids for a bit and there was Simon and his mom again. I saw him and went over to them to greet them. As we were playing games with the kids Simon got down out of his mother’s arms and walked right up to me. I could see one of his eyes was tracking me and I scooped him up and hugged him and held him tight. His mother grabbed a translator and brought him to Momma Jeanette and I. The translator told us what she was saying, “Simon is seeing, God has answered my prayers! He is seeing better than he ever has!”

Glory to God!! This is what an unhindered prayer looks like. God didn’t have to show me this, yet I believe He did so I could understand what praying unhindered looks like. To truly believe Him and trust Him in circumstances. I know healing is multifaceted. Many times we pray for physical healing and a person may need emotional healing to get physical results too. I’ve spent years studying healing of the mind, body and spirit. All I know is God showed me something miraculous and let me be a small part by being a vessel for His great work and it didn’t require studying, it required faith and trust in His abilities, not my own.

So I leave this message with you to encourage you to pray unhindered prayers, believe Him, believe in miracles, believe.

Blessings.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18

Africa?

So this is the week, the long-awaited departure date to travel with ManUp and Go as part of a mission team to serve.

Let me give you a little back story.

Last fall I committed to traveling with ManUp and Go on a missions trip to Kenya. As we prepared our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits for this trip I was sure this was the time to go. My heart was set on spending my birthday in Kenya loving and serving and experience whatever the Lord had in store. What I wasn’t prepared for was the trip being cancelled due to the unrest in the country. I grieved this trip as weird as it sounds, to prepare your heart to go and let the Lord work through you to serve the widows and orphans was devastating when it didn’t come to pass. When the trip was cancelled we had the option to keep our funds in reserve and go on the Kenya trip the next fall. Due to the airlines guidelines on ‘when’ the plane tickets needed to be used up, the next fall Kenya trip was out of the time frame. There were a few trip options but they all overlapped previous commitments in my life. One being softball season, I’m a coach, and the other being during my business convention trip in which I had already paid for the tickets to go, and I was super excited to be ‘recognized’ for my business growth. I remember feeling this still small voice asking me to consider giving up my convention. I hadn’t even considered it. I’d been involved in this business for over 4 years and had never made it to convention. I was beyond excited to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate and be pampered for my accomplishments. Yet this voice still whispered to me to consider letting it go to fulfill what I originally committed to back in the fall.

What if THIS trip gets cancelled? My big struggle was looking beyond the first cancellation and making peace with it. I had so many negative thoughts going through my head. “Maybe I wasn’t ready, maybe it got cancelled because my heart wasn’t in the right place, maybe THIS trip will to get cancelled because I’m still not right in my heart?” Oh the negative assault was heavy.

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I called my travel partner for the business convention and explained that I felt I needed to cancel and instead go to Africa. I just had to go on this mission trip. She understood and I made a commitment to travel to Africa yet again. I battled with feeling as though I let my business team members down in not staying with my first commitment. Yet the Lord has given me great insight into seeing opportunities and not becoming so stuck in our ‘plans’ that we aren’t willing to budge. So I budged and chose to leave the celebration and awards and go serve.

I’m not blogging to get some kind of a ‘that a girl’ pat on the back, but more to share with you my vulnerable spot in knowing my selfishness got in the way of seeing a bigger picture. It took me quite awhile to even receive the idea because I was so blinded by my reward.

We leave for Ethiopia and Uganda in 5 days. So what do I take with me? What shouldn’t I be taking with me?

I take an attitude of love and compassion, I take an open heart and mind, I take the heart of a servant and I take an approach that God has this, all of it, the hard, the joy, the craziness, the unknowns and I am called to do but one thing, trust Him. Trust His protection, His abilities, His spirit within.

What should I leave behind; worry, stress, anxiety, fear, judgement, a hardened heart and a closed mind.

I think we all could take the challenge of leaving things behind in our lives at times, and letting God lead and accepting that HE is ALL we need. Jesus is the greatest reward I will ever receive, and to go and serve in His name is an honor. Not every person is called to this kind of going. Some are called to go locally, within your family, your friends, your work, within the country and some outside of the country. We must be open to listening to what the Lord wants to do in our lives, and sometimes it’s at the most unexpected time or even dare I say, the most inconvenient time to my flesh, but NOT to my spirit.

So here’s to Africa… Seeing the Jesus that is already there and loving others right where they are at.

Blessings.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Table Turner

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[f]” Matthew 21:12-13

Ok. I want to share a vulnerable spot for a minute.

Growing up I was known for being loud and always speaking my mind, as a young child I didn’t grasp the consequences of my words much. I’m quite certain I was the definition of “Out of the mouths of babes”. In my teen years I went through some pretty normal rebellion and dare I say, I was a bit of a bully at times. These outbursts were always centered around my own insecurities, I can see it now, I couldn’t see it then. The amount of mercy I had was probably negative 10%. Selfish, insecure and flailing would be a pretty accurate description of my youth. I’m sure my parents felt like they were walking on pins and needles with me most days, never knowing WHAT might come out of that mouth of mine. I chose to take the road of conflict often. If anyone disagreed with me I would do my best to convince the world I was right, ALWAYS and THEY were wrong. I’d lose my composure, never hearing their point of view, or respecting their opinions.

I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life taming the tongue and my actions. It actually started about 15 years ago after I lost my dad suddenly from a heart attack. At that moment I saw suffering, anger, pain, sorrow from a new perspective. Mercy was taught, yet one of the toughest lessons of my life. I began to see people different, wondering what they might be going through and having compassion for others pain, something new, very new to this hard headed, bull headed, always right personality.

Layer after layer, and year after year the Lord began to change me, teaching me to stop before I spoke and listen instead of speak. It’s been years, and years of daily renewal and putting my pride to death. My husband has seen the transition with a front row seat, and I’m sure some days he is baffled by the transformation(not that I don’t revert back once in a while). I asked him once why he put up with me back then, his response was, “I always saw the person you are now within you.” God must have given him insight, because I doubt many would have ever put up with me for that long.

My reason for writing this is, I’m yet again in a new place. I’ve tamed my tongue and actions A LOT, and now God is calling me to a place of speaking out, leading and being a voice.

I’m terrified. Seriously I’m terrified of unleashing this tongue that now within conflict shuts down.

What I know is God is the only one who can have a healthy disagreement, a healthy conversation in conflict AND the only one who can speak HIS righteousness in love.

How in the world can you have an argument in love? It’s a new place for me, I’m quite certain I will fail miserably at times, especially if I don’t allow him to be my center.

Table turners…. I sometimes wonder if I’m being called to be a table turner, you know, like Jesus did when he was upset in the temple. Is he calling me to speak out when He gives me discernment that something is off? As weird as this sounds I can read people well, Really well (just ask my kids!). I believe it’s God giving me insight, and knowing when to act on it and when not to is the place I sit at now. The past few years I’ve chosen to NOT say much for fear of what might happen, or who might get upset, or will feelings get hurt, yet I believe we are not always called to be silent.

Yesterday I was confronted by a man who was insulting me and belittling me. He was full of anger and lashing out at me in words. He was questioning my integrity and character. The battle I was fighting in my mind was intense and all I kept thinking was, “Don’t go back there, just don’t go back to who you were.” At the end of the day I was able to walk away and not drop to the level of insulting and belittling him, but don’t think I wasn’t thinking it! I walked away wondering how do I shine the goodness of God in these moments? Even though he threaten me, I wasn’t shaken, I could feel that I was protected. He was trying to hurt me with words and it worked for a little while, but I left it at the cross thinking this man is deeply wounded and no one can get through to him but Jesus.

I haven’t prayed for him yet, but I’m thinking that probably needs to be my next step.

How hard is it to deal with conflict? Goodness, I think about how far I’ve come and what’s next. The only way anything good can come from these situations is letting Christ be your center. If I am prompted to speak up then I need to, and I have a feeling that is coming. The only way we can have healthy conflict is turning the driver seat over to Christ. There is a time and a place for disagreements and it’s definitely not apart from God.

How are you handling conflict?

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13 ESV

Blessings.