Monday, December 26, 2011

"And the Gift Goes On"


Thank you for coming with me these past few months on a pursuit to be women of Truth!  As this year is almost finished, let us keep up the energy to be women who seek Truth; namely the Savior Jesus Christ. 
Have a blessed holiday week! 
See you in 2012! 
Rise up, women of Truth, and shine! 

Dear friends, have you received the King of kings into your life?  TODAY IS THE DAY! 
Do you KNOW Christ? He already knows you (Psalm 139). This is the day you can give your life to the Risen Savior-Christ Jesus the Lord.

John 3:16-19
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil."

Romans 10:9-10
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
" That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
If you need to talk to someone about this question, please e-mail me.
I'd love to talk with you about this amazing life changing decision. The decision to believe God and believe in His Son Jesus as Savior and Lord of your life is the MOST important thing you could ever do at Christmas time and any other day....ever.
May the LORD bless you all and keep you this season and always!  Amen.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What Are We Waiting For?

While life seems to fly by, I still have big dreams that come to my mind each and every day; dreams that seem so close, but still too far to reach just yet. It is aggravating and yet exciting.  Most of my dreams are something that can be accomplished while still doing the ministry I am already privileged and blessed to be working.  Some of the dreams I hope to see come true are pretty big....meaning that I would think I'd need lots of folks to help me achieve them. Some of them are as simple as playing piano in my home everyday without interrupting neighbors who I can hear even when they sneeze/cough. ha!  Several times I have checked myself to see if some of these dreams that keep rising up inside me are dreams/aspirations that would be God honoring and things that would be of encouragement to others.  Most of those dreams/aspirations are still with me after a bit of soul searching. So the next question is: what's keeping them from becoming reality?

Many times I will make excuses why I am not pursuing these dreams I have purposefully kept disclosed from this blog post.  Mostly, my excuses are; "well, that dream is too expensive for me to pursue" or "I don't have the time or availability right now since I am a stay-at-home mom who works daily to train up my toddler" or "I am not gifted in several areas that are needed for me to accomplish this dream".  Some times these excuses are true and logical. However, I shouldn't give up trying all together just because of these circumstances.  Even though I may not currently have what I think is sufficient funding or sufficient talents for my dreams to come true, I need to remember I am a work in progress. I do believe God. I believe He has given me many aspirations and dreams to pursue for more than just the feeling of accomplishing them someday.  It is the journey....the process to achieving those dreams that I think God wants me to experience most of all.

OKAY, now I must say to all who might read this, women....what are we waiting for?  All of us have dreams and great goals we desire to see fulfilled in our lifetime. Many of us have placed them aside for another date (far away from today) when we're "talented enough", "educated enough", "wealthy enough", "organized enough", "sane enough", "available enough", "rested enough", and "confident enough".  I am not bringing this up to make you feel worse about your unfulfilled dreams. I am taking a moment to share the battle within me and I truly believe that many women out there feel and fight this same battle I do. So, really, what are we waiting for?

Life isn't going to stop for us. We must trust in something higher......Someone higher than ourselves in order for these dreams to be realized. This achievement of dreams can't wait til things "go our way". The world continues to turn, we get older.....more mature (I like that description better than "older") each day whether our dreams are achieved or not.  We must embrace the "now".  We must embrace the pursuit....when? Now. Even while we are still working too many part time jobs, while our kids are still at home, while our kids are looking into what colleges to attend or whether to join the military before college, while our husband is pursuing his own dreams, while our fiances are looking for the place to settle down with his new bride, while our current employment is giving promotions or cutting jobs.  THE TIME SHOULD BE NOW.

My husband and I work to minister to the college students of West Chester University in West Chester, PA.  We spend much of that time encouraging and challenging them to be the best they can be in the here and now.
Several years ago I spoke with some college gals, not necessarily gals that were frequently involved in our ministry, and we were having a great discussion on how they viewed their mom now that they were coming into their adult years.  It was interesting that many of them spoke about how their mom was so loving and kind and supportive of what they were doing in school. They spoke of how involved their moms were in their kids' school activities, church activities and extracurricular activities. However, one resounding thing those college gals said in their own words was they wished their moms didn't stop pursuing their own dreams while their daughters grew up in their shadow.

These college girls I spoke with told me how they wished they could have seen their moms pursue their dreams, deal with failure, show their daughters what it REALLY looks like to trust God no matter what happens. They spoke about how they wished their moms would not shy away from showing their daughters what it looks like to be more passionate about what God has given them to do/about honoring Christ with their whole lives than being the best, most attentive/helpful mom to their children. I hope that made sense.  These girls were so grateful for such loving mothers, but were frustrated that they didn't have much of a reference to what a godly woman does to pursue her OWN dreams and see them become reality. These college girls knew how to treat people with respect and mind their "p's and q's" in public because they had wonderful, loving moms. However, they didn't know how to deal with failure very well. I don't believe they struggled with these things ONLY because their mom's didn't show them how to pursue their goals and except failures that come along the way. I think that it contributed.  These college gals were not blaming their moms for their struggles either. They just stated how they wished they could see their moms truly passionate and excited about their faith to the point that even family activities took second place to knowing God better and trusting Him more fully.

As a mother of a toddler, I really want to strive to keep my pursuit of knowing God, of honoring Him above all else with my heart and my mind.  I want to be a lover of the Living God, a follower of Christ FIRST before my role of a wife, a mom, a young women's minister, a daughter, a grand-daughter, a musician, a friend, a sister, a cousin, an employee and a citizen.  I want my son to watch how my husband and I live.....I want to refuse to place something else or someone else as more important than my desire to know Christ more each day and seek to honor Him each day.  Of this goal I have just mentioned, my parents have given me a great example to follow. I choose to do the set a great example for my son in my word and deeds.

JOIN ME IN BECOMING A WOMAN OF THE TRUTH AND MAY WE  RISE UP AND HONOR GOD ABOVE ALL OTHER THINGS. Let us worship the Living God with all our talents, with all our strengths, with all our thoughts, with all our words. Let us show our families the love of God by loving God deeply each day. In doing that the love of God will overflow out of our lives and bless others around us WAY more than we could ever bless them using our own strength, talents, gifts and ideas.

Let's look at a passage in the Bible real quick.  It is a passage of a sermon Jesus Christ gave to a crowd of folks who were following him around wanting to know what he thought about......well, everything. ha!  Here's a small portion of the sermon Jesus gave.  I am going to show it here in the paraphrased version.  You are welcome to go to and read it in the English Standard Version for a translation instead of a paraphrase if you would like. But this paraphrased version is written more in our own common language and it helps break the text down a little better for me.

Matthew 6:22-34 (The Message----a paraphrase version of the Bible)
  22-23"Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
 24"You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both.
25-26"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
 27-29"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
 30-33"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
 34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."

My favorite part of this passage (at least for these days) is,
"Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."

Wow, that statement in the end of those paragraphs is awesome. As a little girl, my parents helped me memorize that verse (Matthew 6:33) in the King James Version of the Bible. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  And since the time that I have memorized that verse, I have seen the promise in this scripture come true......not just once, but multiple times. God's Word is faithful.  It is never old and out of date.  God's Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Warmth From Within

Wherever you are, if you are north of the equator, you are probably experiencing some cold days now that it has reached December.  Most likely all the leaves on the trees have fallen (except for some of the those, what I call stubborn trees that hold their dead leaves until Spring).  The world around us looks very different when the leaves are gone. The sky is bigger since their is not much blocking the view. Things in our surroundings become more exposed when the leaves are gone. And to add to that depressing thought, the air is colder and sometimes down right unbearable!  ha ha! 

Although my world isn't full of green foliage and warm weather, there can still be a warmth that stays stoked within me.  During the wintertime, it is a great opportunity for all Christians to bring joy, good will, peace, warmhearted encouragement, laughter and love into our world.  We also need to dig in deep into the love of God as we are going to need it in order for ourselves to get through the drab winter months.  Reading the Holy Bible each day will be a great way to keep our fire glowing hot with God's hope, His love, His joy and His peace.  God's Word calls His people the temple of the Living God.  So, as we go from shop to shop, from school play to school play, from Christmas party to Christmas coffee, from sport to sport, to work and back home again, let us remember that we are (those who believe Christ as their Savior) His temple; that we take Christ wherever we go. He is the one who gives us the strength to bring His love, His peace, His hope, His joy to all the different places we go.  Let's dig deep into the heart of God this Christmas time and throughout our whole winter months.

Did you know trees are working hard in the winter, too?  Trees are growing their roots deeper into the earth as they sit dormant during winter months.  They aren't just taking a nap, but prepping for the next fruitful season.  Let us be like those trees and dig down deep into the Word of God while the outside may look gloomy.  We can go looking for nutrients for our souls daily so that we are still a great place of encouragement and hope for others around us.  Even in winter, trees, while bare of their leaves are great houses and hotels for many animals looking for refuge from the weather.  We can learn from that too.  Just because things don't look completely vibrant doesn't mean that they are not being a blessing to someone while they wait for the warmth of spring.

"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." -Colossians 2:6-7

Question:  What other verses do you know that are an encouragement to you about this topic/idea?  I'd love for us all to share a verse that speaks to this idea of being active in our hearts; pursuing God even when things on the outside don't seem so good. 

Let us get real and stay real throughout this winter season, dear friends!!  We need to shine like stars to the world that we have a hope that doesn't fade, a life in us that is abundant, a joy in us that can never be snuffed out and a love in us that is too deep for us to measure.  We know that the "that" is a "who" and His name is Jesus Christ.  All praise and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ for rescuing us from darkness/spiritual death and bringing us into the light/life everlasting!  Amen.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Going Steady

Remember that phrase "going steady"?  It brings back memories of ninth and tenth grade.  haha!  I remember talking to my friends about who was going steady with who.  Good memories.  It was a big deal back then when a girl said she was going steady with a guy.  It meant they were serious.

"Going steady" according to Wikipedia is also called courtship.  WHOA!  In my little world as a teenager, I would have never put going steady and courtship as meaning the same thing! If I knew that, I probably would have found another way to describe peers who were exclusively girlfriend and boyfriend. As an adult, I understand it now and this intro about going steady leads me to my thought for this post.  hee hee!

For several weeks now, I haven't been posting on  my blog simply because I have been trying to figure out what to write about. I have had so many things that I have wanted to say, some of them quite challenging and deep. Others are just silly stuff that may not go along with the goal of this blog.  More than anything, though, I haven't posted on my blog because I didn't feel like I had enough time in my days to really seek the Lord; read His Word, meditate on it and journal about it. I feel when I do those things daily, then I write more effectively. However, that statement leads me to my next thought.

If you are reading this blog for the first time or just began reading it last week because I gave you this web address and if you don't really think you're quite into the idea of reading the Bible at all, much less on a daily basis, it's OKAY.  I hope you stick with me and finish reading what I have to say.  Give me a chance. ha!
My time in studying the Bible has been off and on lately instead of a steady devotion to my time with my heavenly Father. And honestly, I don't like living that way.  I want to be a gal who reads God's Word daily, who takes time to digest what I read and find ways in which to let those words that I've read sink into the depths of me and eventually be lived out in my actions, thoughts and attitudes.  I didn't post a blog basically because I felt that you all would be able to discern my lack of deep study of God's Word by how I wrote. Honestly, I felt very convicted these past few days about this silly struggle.  I realized the struggle derived from pride.....the negative/sinful kind.  And from that I realized some other important things. You ready? Here it goes.

Who am I to judge when I'm "good to go" in posting a blog?  I mean, seriously, my blog is titled GET REAL, WOMAN!  Good grief, why did I think I needed to wait to write something??  I don't know.  Mostly pride is what I figure it is. I wanted to look good in your eyes. I have NO clue who reads this blog. I just know you are reading it from all over the world, in countries that Christianity is not very popular or even almost illegal. And because I knew what countries people are reading this from, I've been very cautious on what I write. BUT that shouldn't be my concern. I serve a living God!  He is able to do whatever He wants and share His love and grace with the world however He wants. I, in my finite and very mortal self, cannot stop that or change His strategy. I just need to be obedient to the clear message I received from Him four months ago which prompted me to start this blog. I just need to write when I know I should and let God use it, if He wants, as a way to help bring others to know Him better or to know Him for the first time.

All that to say, going steady in my faith with the living God is more important than anything else. Get ready.... It's more important than having three square meals a day, than having toilet paper in the house, than having a toothbrush to get the fuzz off our teeth each morning and night, than having a car to get places, than having a husband who cares deeply for our needs and even blesses us with things we don't need, than having a family that is consistent in staying in touch with us, than having a job to pay the bills, than having a savings account to help us in emergency situations, than having a beauty that attracts others to us, than having a healthy family, than having all A's on our transcript, than having the latest fashions, than having a retirement plan, than having life insurance, than having relationships/connections with any one human being.  We NEED to go steady with God. We need to long for His fellowship, His wisdom, His protection, His guidance, His hope, His peace, His joy, His patience, His might/strength, His grace and some many more blessings He brings that I won't be able to list them all in this post.

Let us get real, women!  Why do we hold back our passion for Christ when two thousand years ago His passion for us lead Him to the cross to die in our place, to raise from the grave victorious over death/sin/eternal separation from the heavenly Father.  I'm telling myself this too just in case you think I'm preaching only to you. If you are not a believer in Jesus, PLEASE DON'T CHECK OUT OF THIS BLOG POST SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU DON'T AGREE.  You need to see that Christians are still very human and still have to make a daily choice in whom they trust, who they look to for guidance, who they believe is HIGHER than themselves.  It's daily.  It's hourly. It's a lifetime of choices to follow or not to follow.  Funny though, that we Christians have every reason to follow Christ.

Christ saves!  He restores!  He forgives--unconditionally!  He rescues us from darkness--confusion, abandonment, abuse and straight up wickedness!  He brings us into His marvelous light--hope, peace, joy, salvation, eternal life, abundant life here on earth, grace, understanding and wisdom!  So many more reasons to trust Christ and be passionately pursuing Him and His fame on a daily even hourly basis that they can't all be mentioned here unless you want to keep reading for hours and hours and unless I quote hundreds of scriptures that speak of His great blessings to us.

My heart cries out tonight to go steady with the Lord Jesus.  Quirky is a good word to describe the image in my mind that I just created with that statement. HOWEVER, we need to be steadfast in our pursuit of Him. He is near. Philippians 4:4-5 tells us this. CHRIST is near----always.  Our pursuit of Him begins as soon as we turn to Him and look into His Word and pray, listening for His heart about the things in our lives we face everyday.
Here's a familiar verse:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones." -Proverbs 3:5-8

We as Christian women need to be as passionate about knowing what Jesus thinks about us and our lives, about knowing how He wants us to live and about knowing His Word/hiding it in our hearts...... more passionate about those things than finding the best buys at the stores, cutting coupons to save money for our families, getting our kids to school on time, buying our kids toys and clothes and/or beautifying ourselves each day with cosmetics, clothes or both.  WHEW! That was a long sentence that probably could've been it's own paragraph, but I don't have an editing staff for this blog. Sorry if my writing is driving you crazy. I pray that you get something out of what I'm writing about regardless of my bad grammar.  Ha!

FOCUS........ Okay, I just hope you feel inspired to be true and passionate followers of our God and King.  This post I've just written was inspired by a verse that has been resonating in my mind this whole past week while I have been fighting fear and pride with this blogging opportunity. Here's the verse as a closing thought. Peace to you all this week. I love you all and I don't even know who you are. I will be praying for each of you this week. Pray for me that I continue to seek Christ and trust Him with all my heart and lean NOT on my own understanding. Thanks. God bless you and your family.

"You [the LORD] keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you., because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. " -Isaiah 26:3-4

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Friends, I am placing the link for a YouTube "video" that presents a visual aid to one of my favorite songs of all time.  I've been listening to this song everyday in my car this week as I drive around running errands.  It is so inspiring.  It helps me put myself in the right place; knowing I am the one rescued from darkness and that God is the One who is my rescuer.  It reminds me to add to the beauty that God has already put all around me; adding to His beauty in an act of gratitude to Him.  I hope you are inspired and strengthened.  Love you all!

Thank you, MobileDayspring, for putting this together so that people like me could find it on YouTube and use it on our blog.  Blessings to you.


Monday, November 7, 2011

A Beautiful Difference

This is a neat photo. I took it while my son and I were taking a walk in our neighborhood's park this past week. As our feet were swishing through the leaves that covered almost every inch of ground in the park, we came upon this scene.  The camera didn't really capture what our eyes saw.  We saw the one green leaf in this photo was THE only green leaf within 20-30 feet in every direction.  I thought surely there could be something to learn from this. I have a few thoughts about this photo, but they don't seem that good to share just yet. So, it's your turn to participate in this blog. Let your creative side work a bit here.

Please leave your thoughts and responses to one or both of these questions in the comments section of this post. Let's see how many DIFFERENT views of this photo can get posted this week.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Wow! I just want to say that I am totally amazed by the response to this blog!  Whether you like what I write about or not, today Get Real, Woman! has been viewed more than 1,000 times since my first blog in the beginning of August 2011. That's amazing!

Women have been reading this blog in several countries: United States, Germany, England, Spain, Russia, and Turkey.  I don't know the names of you who read this blog, but I get to see from where in the world you are reading my blog.  It's exciting to think that friends from all over the world are reading about being a woman of Truth.  I will continue to attempt to write quality posts for this blog.  Please don't hesitate to leave comments, questions or push-backs to the topics I bring up. Thanks again for reminding me that I am not alone in my pursuit of being a woman of Truth in my every day life.
Hope you have a blessed day and as always........GET REAL, WOMAN!   

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Knowing Versus Knowing

Ladies, how often does a gal you know act and speak to you like they know you well and you find yourself frequently thinking something like, "she doesn't really know the real me"?  It has happened to me many times in my lifetime of 31 years and I don't think it's just me who relates to this question. I believe that here in the United States the depth of women's friendships are getting more and more shallow. Since I'm writing to women, obviously I'm only going to address women, but I do believe it is both men and women in our nation struggling with the lack of deep and supportive friendships and/or relationships with the opposite sex.

Reasons for this lacking of depth in our friendships/relationships probably are too numerous to be thought up and listed in this blog. I am going to talk about two possible reasons for this. They were the first two reasons that came to mind when thinking of this topic. Is the lack of depth and support because our culture is so fast paced these days and we Americans choose not to deeply invest in friendships/relationships simply for the reason that we "don't have time"? Or maybe the reason we Americans choose to neglect deep and devoted friendships is because it is too vulnerable of a position.

Most of us might think that a deep friendship is too risky because another human being will have a voice into our circumstances and the freedom to give positive feedback or unload negative criticisms. It can be a "scary" thing for many people to allow someone else access into their personal life and I don't just mean access into their life on social networks on the world wide web. I mean real personal interaction.  I'm just going to say that stating our problems on websites and blogs and or building friendships through those websites and ONLY those websites is not really very vulnerable and "personal".  Face to face relationships is when people prove who they say they are and what they say they feel on those websites and blogs. When we Americans let our lives only be filled with online friendships and no real face to face friendships, life becomes (in my opinion) very shallow. The many shallow friendships happening in our nation these days lead to many people feeling over-burdened about their life's circumstances and feeling isolated even when they are surrounded by folks they consider their friends.

Some of you might say that you don't struggle with this, that you have deep and abiding friendships with other gals in your town or city, that you don't know what it is like to struggle with feeling lonely in a crowd. However some of you ladies know that your symptoms of depression you've had lately and your feelings of isolation stem from your lack of going deep with those women God has placed in your life.  Some of you gals out there realize that you need to be more vulnerable, but it is just too much work on your part and so you stay in the friendly acquaintance playing field and continue to avoid the late night chats over coffee in your friends kitchen, the long walks through the neighborhood talking about everything under the sun, the road trips to see your friends' family members who are ill and need support. Although we acknowledge our lack of depth with people, it is rarely the case that we choose to step out and change that situation.  We have found a way to exist, to cope with the shallowness. And it is so sad. I do this very thing myself many times.  What a powerful force of women we could be if we overcame that struggle and learned to truly embrace each other, cry with each other, love each other deeply, challenge each other to be better, rescue each other from shallow living and together truly live.

Sometimes we will blame our problems and stressful days on exterior things such as the weather, our family's choices of behavior/actions, or our job circumstances when really all we may need is a deeper and more honest group of friendships with the gals we know who can help us see inside ourselves and help us grow to love the person God made us to be. Some of you might really relate to this statement. If so, I'm grateful because then I'm not alone in this struggle. Many women are striving to look strong in the eyes of their bosses and clients by leaving behind their human support team...our friends, and it is wrecking us as a culture instead of bringing us the success we thought it would. We were not made to stand alone on this earth. We need other women in our lives each week, or perhaps in our lives every day. We gals in the U.S. (as a whole) struggle to make enough time in our days to really invest in those that God has specifically placed in our lives. Why that is, I don't really know, but I do know it isn't a good thing.

Ladies (talking to me, as well), God has put certain women in our lives to be more than fair weather friends, but our dear friends----friends who encourage and support us; friends who we can encourage and support; and friends to be pals with---in the times of celebration and times of grief.  How many of us have that kind of person and/or people in your daily life?  How many of us have "true blue" friends for the "every" day of our lives.

Women have a great power of encouraging and building others up by using their words and their actions. However, women also have a great power of twisting that spirit of encouragement into manipulation and negative criticisms. There is so much comparison and criticism going on among women that the idea of pursuing a deep friendship with a fellow "daughter of Eve" (like The Chronicles of Narnia puts it) seems crazy. I mean, most of us women would think her to be a little crazy the gal who tries to keep a friendship alive all the while the comparisons, criticisms, belittling observation are flying. If only we women would daily ask our Lord and Savior for the strength and the gumption to use our abilities of observation, comparison and criticism for good instead of selfish gain.

Women, in general, have a difficult time figuring out how to use their skills of observation for good purposes. If we women did do that, it would really strengthen the friendships we have and make our whole world of family life and work life more positively impacted and encouraged. Our culture has gone so long with the lack of strong and devoted friendships that it almost seems negative to have someone around weekly who has "the right" (as a friend) to speak into our lives, "the right" show us our strengths and weaknesses and watch us make successes and failures. We just continue to use that crazy confused mentality as a reason why we don't pursue deeper friendships.  We don't want others seeing our flaws, telling us their opinions of how we should live, showing us different ways of doing life, displaying gifts and talents that we don't possess but wish we do.  It's a crazy and twisted cycle we women have put ourselves in. I'm exhausted just thinking about all the silly things we women use as excuses to keep ourselves distanced from transparent friendships.  WOW.  Maybe I'm just speaking for myself, here, but I HIGHLY doubt that.

Lately I am working on being a kind of friend that I would want others to be for me.  I am learning, again, what it IS to be a good friend.  It is definitely a commitment. As a little girl, I think I did a decent job at being a friend who was "all there"; who was 100% committed to my friends.  As time has passed and as I have faced much more struggles, stresses and complicated situations in my adult years, I have began to put the value and importance of being a devoted and committed friend on a back burner of my heart and mind.  I don't believe that was a good thing, just in case you haven't caught that by now.  haha! 

As we grow into adulthood, there are many changes that seem to force us into a more serious perspective of the world around us.  And it is a good thing to view our world with a sober mind. However, I don't think that it is ALL good. As adults, we almost need more of those amazingly transparent, deeply devoted and innocent friendships than we had as kids. Even if some of us can only say they had one deep and awesome friendship in our childhood, it is something to be considered now as adults. We need to still be willing to open up our hearts and minds to those friends we have now. It will help us in life in so many ways. I won't list them, but you know how many areas of our life can be strengthened and encouraged when we have a dear and devoted friend to share it with. All you ladies out there with husbands, I am talking to you, too.  You (me, included) need a woman in your life that is a deep and devoted friend and we don't need to just depend on our husbands for that friendship support.  If you have more than one dear friend, then praise the Almighty God because that is truly a blessing!!  If we continue through this life without a deep friendship.......a "bosom friend" as Anne Shirley of Green Gables would say, then we are bordering on the type of pride that is dangerous and sinful before God. To think, as women, we don't need a gal in our lives to be our friend since we are married to "our best friend" is....well, I don't know how to say it........selling ourselves short.

All of us have gifts and talents that can be used to bless others. Can we lay aside the, well frankly, arrogant attitude we get sometimes that says we don't need another woman to really know us?  Can we lay aside the attitude that we are too busy and too tired for the amount of time and vulnerability it takes to maintain a good friendship?  Can we stop that?  The greatest enemy of our Almighty God wishes that we would think that we can be strong on our own.  We know we need deep friendships. Let us be willing, starting today, to be better friends to the women our loving God has placed in our lives. Let us be willing to let others speak truth into our lives. Let us be willing to listen to those truths and look into God's Word and let both encouragements and guidance help us become strong women whose characteristics look more and more like our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

So, I now have been more inspired even as I write these words.  I commit today to being a better friend, a more available and a better listening friend to the ones God has placed in my life. And I commit to allowing others to really know me instead of just know about me.  I desire to learn from this realization and be a good friend who is a devoted friend; one who is willing to "be there" for the other in a moment's notice; one who is willing to listen before dishing out their opinions; one who is creative in finding things to do and places to go together to strengthen the bond.

Will you join me in this commitment?

Let's start knowing each other instead of just knowing each other.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The New Fisherman's Tale

There was a fisherman alone in his boat far out in the deep ocean caught in a great storm. His boat was wrecked badly by the storm's waves and was minutes from sinking. The man scrambled to get all of his lifesaving gear strapped on himself and managed to get his life jacket on and his inflatable raft secure in his grip. In just a couple of minutes the boat's top deck was coming closer and closer to sea level.

Soon, the man was alone in the ocean, storm still raging and he was treading water still struggling to pull the cord to inflate his raft.  Waves were beating him down so badly that he didn't have much time between hits from the huge waves to pull the cord properly to get the raft open.  He lost all of his other gear that he hoped to have on the life raft once it was open.  Again a wave hit his body, this time harder than the others and knocked the wind out of him. Alone in the water, strapped to his life jacket, the man was unconscious face down in the water. The storm was relentless and before he could "come to", he breathes in too much water and is no longer breathing. His heart stops beating. He drowns.

Suddenly a boat appears seemingly out of nowhere, the storm is violent but this boat seems to be unaffected by the weather and the waves. A man of great light and peace steps out of the boat onto the crashing waves and walks to the lifeless man in the cold and raging waters. The mysterious man gathers the breathless man up in his arms and walks back toward his boat. Immediately the lifeless man begins to breathe. His heart ignites to a normal rhythm. The mystery Rescuer is now to the boat and placing the now alive man into his boat. The new man opens his eyes. The storm is raging all around him, but he sees a man unaffected. This man is of great light and peace. Drenched and shaking from the cold, the fisherman with new life speaks in astonishment.

Who are you?
"I am your Savior," the Prince of Peace proclaims.
Lord, I was dead and you brought me back to life. I will live each day to honor you for this gift of new life you have given to me.

As the Savior's boat made it to land, the storm had subsided. The new man stepped onto the beach in total amazement. He had never thought he would see land or life again when his boat sank to the depths.
"Master, what shall I do first in this new life you have given me?" he asked the Rescuer.
And the Savior replied, "Go and live for Me to show others who I am so that they may be rescued from darkness and brought into my marvelous light as well." And the new man looked up to see his Savior in radiant light walking back out onto the ocean unaffected by the weather or the waves. Turning to the docks to go home the new man saw his own boat completely restored and tied to the dock. He said to himself, "Fishing will never be the same again."

Each day from then on as he was out in the deep ocean doing his job, the new man-- the old fisherman, would hear His Savior's voice on the waves reminding him. "Son, I will be with you wherever you go, always, and even to the end of the age."

*This is a short story I wrote in response to my husband's and Michael Kelley's explanation of what really happens when we come to faith in Christ.  My husband and Mr. Kelley say that when Christ saves us, we aren't just in great distress like someone floating in a lifesaver on the ocean needing someone to pull us out of the cold waters.  When the Savior comes to our rescue we are dead in spirit and Christ saves us from death and darkness and gives us life....eternal life and abundant life on earth.  Christ saves our souls, thus saving our whole lives!  PRAISE GOD!  And then Christ asks us to live for Him and live our lives telling others about the Savior. This is so those who haven't accepted His salvation may have new life as well.*

Friday, October 21, 2011

Letting Our Guard Down

Keeping this post as short as possible, I will just say a few things on this topic only because I am so passionate about it that my whole thoughts on this idea cannot be contained in one blog post. Many of my thoughts are not original. God's Word and Christian Bible studies I have worked through are the main sources of my inspiration.
Here I go!
Autumn is a great season, full of beautiful weather, colorful foliage, hot apple cider, candy, parties, campfires, football games, road trips and more candy. However, it is also a time that I think our entire country goes into a frenzy of celebrating or at least strongly focusing on death, sorcery, scary movies/t.v. shows, devils, goblins, zombies and everything else that's scary, deadly or just.....well.....dark.  Why is that?

Even many Christians who, during the other 11 months of the year are "all about" things of hope, peace, light and LIFE, will suddenly turn into people obsessed with going to the scariest movie showing in the theaters or decorating their houses with witches, goblins, headless scarecrows or zombie creatures decorated immaculately with blood and stitches.  To me, this is not funny.  This is not even something that I am able to look past each October. It grates at me.  There, I said it.  I am very bothered that many of the Christians in America find happiness each Fall in surrounding themselves with decor, television shows and movies that the sole plot and purpose is to make wickedness and evil deeds look really good.

I know, I know........most scary movies have "good guys" in the story line and the bad guys are clearly bad, but it seems that the bad guys in the t.v. shows and movies get more of the attention and they somehow become the "cool" character of the movie.  It seems that the more blood spilled and the more suffering a character goes through in a movie or t.v. episode, the better the show and the higher the ratings.  People seem to crave violence in their entertainment and in the season of Halloween that craving seems to intensify greatly.  If we Christians allow things of darkness to fill our minds, it will begin to affect our thoughts and views. Over time it will work it's way out into our words and actions.  I'm not saying that if we as Christians watch a scary movie that we will inevitably go out and murder someone just like the bad guy did in the movie we watched. I'm just saying that when we let things that are against God's character consistently into our minds, sooner or later it will affect our lives on the outside.

Remember the statement, "you are what you eat".  What we put into our lives will come out of us at some point whether we like it or not.  So, why can't we discipline ourselves to flee from thoughts that are against God's character and run toward thoughts that promote life? As Christians, our life is not our own anymore; it is the Lord's. We owe him all gratitude and praise for what He has accomplished on the cross and for defeating death in order to give us new life. Our entire lives, including the thoughts we think and what we let our eyes see, should be an act of thanksgiving and worship to God. SO, I'm not saying stop watching movies that have villains in them.  A good story always has to have conflict.  I'm just asking myself and you, who do we side with when watching those movies?  Since we have been rescued out of darkness, hopefully we are people who stand on the side of what is right and good.

It is beyond me that Christians who have tasted the goodness and greatness of God in their lives because they accept the amazing grace of Christ can suddenly let their affections and adoration and attention go toward things of the darkness. God's greatest enemy is the Deceiver--Satan.  He is described in God's Word as a lion prowling around seeking someone to devour. God's enemy exists only to kill, steal from and destroy God's people simply because we have the gift of eternal life and have been saved by Christ  That being said, why would we as believers in Christ, the Light of the world, be so enamored by things of such wickedness every time Halloween comes around? And strangely as soon as October 31st has passed, come November 1st the frenzy is over and we're all onto a new frenzy of Thanksgiving holiday decor.  Why are we Christians swayed so much by our worldly culture?  Why are we not so greatly affected by God's Word when we read it each day?  Why are we not so greatly convinced to be more like Christ our Savior and King. Especially after we read and hear about His amazing love for us that God would send His only Son into the world to save us from our sin, giving us the opportunity to believe in Christ and have a relationship with the God of the universe?

I tried to tell you earlier that I'm passionate about this.  I know my views are not in any way popular opinion, but I really feel like I needed to post something about this.  It is very dangerous for us Christians to go a whole month unguarded in our minds and hearts simply for the sake of holiday traditions and holiday peer-pressures.  Now, I love to dress up in costume.  It is so much fun. I just don't see the point of dressing up in something or decorating my lawn with something that looks like something that is powered or created by the arch enemy of the Almighty God, my Savior.  Let the costume parties come and let us have a wonderful time dressing up in costume, enjoying delicious food, friendships and wonderful weather, but let us be wise about what we choose to portray and what we choose to exalt. As Christians, we want to honor Christ in all we do because He is worthy of all our praise.

Friends, we must be careful what we let seep into our minds and hearts.  We need to daily announce to our soul in whom is our allegiance.  We need to daily speak to our Redeemer and acknowledge He is mighty and powerful above all else and that only because of Him do we have new life..........rather, life at all.
Read the Bible, it never turns out well for things or people that go up against the God of the Universe. Those who trust in the Lord and make Him their Lord and King of their whole self are the ones who are blessed.
Psalm 97:10
"Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked."
Proverbs 4:23
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

I don't believe it is wise to imitate the characteristics and personality traits of the enemy of our Lord and Savior.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Power of Spoken Word: Part 2

What I'm about to share is definitely not an attempt of mine to make myself look godly or good. I just wanted to share how I view the power of words.....and for this blog I'll focus on just the power of spoken words. All throughout my years in grade school I had a great group of dear friends and I am still so blessed to be considered their friend to this day. My friends and I had a great time together throughout junior and senior high school. We had some rough times too, but overall, I am so blessed by all the good times we had and that they are still so encouraging to me even seventeen years later. Okay, back to the thing that I was about to share.  It might seem a little crazy, but it's true. 

Throughout junior and senior high school I really tried as the silly, goofy, and oh-so-redheaded self that I was to get my classmates to see Christ in me. I tried to bring God and my beliefs about him into my everyday conversations so they might see in some small or big way that Christ had made a big difference in my life. I did not attempt anything crazy to get attention, but I prayed alot that God would help kids see the love of Christ in my words and actions.  I tried to be brave (failed miserably in that most of the time) and tried to speak up about what I believed when given an opportunity. The key word here is tried. Many times I would choose to just blend in with the crowd in my attitude and my way of communicating. Regardless of my victories or failures in being a personal witness of my changed life, I knew that God was amazing, that He had rescued me from an empty existence, that He loved all people of the world far beyond any one person could or ever would.  And because of those things I knew and believed, I wanted others to know it too.  And I still want that for my friends......I want that for....well, everyone for that matter.

Many times I (and also several of my Christian friends) would get into random discussions with classmates about religion.  Most of the time my Christians friends and I would not start the discussions.  I believe God just worked it out that I was (we were) in the right places at the right times to hear schoolmates' thoughts and questions about religion and faith.  When it came to religious discussions, I wasn't great at saying many profound thoughts. I just tried, whenever the opportunity would open up, to tell them what I believed and how much it changed me. Thankfully I had several friends who were thinking just like me and desired to see their classmates come to know the love of God personally. 

Trust me, I'm getting to the reason why I titled this blog what I did. Thinking back to my time in junior and senior high school, most of the time I didn't see much evidence of anyone's life being changed because of my choice to show with my life that I loved God and that He loved us. But I do believe the statement "you reap what you sow".  Even today, I am curious what God chose to do with all those days of my junior and senior high school years when I attempted to share what I believed with those around me. I wonder about what my choice of words did for and/or to my friends, teachers and classmates who heard.

Questions I have about that time: Did the comments and spoken opinions I shared with people around me build up those who heard them?  Did my words sow seeds of negativity that over time have grown into a self esteem problem in some folks?  OR do words even have the power to do anything like that?  I might be getting a little too crazily picky and weird about this whole thing. If so, hang in there with me and keep reading.  heehee!

Either way, I know that the positive feedback, encouragement and leadership that people (friends, family and anyone else) have given me throughout my lifetime has seemed to stick in my mind and heart.  I grow in confidence when people speak positively into my life....into my circumstance.  And even positive criticism is in that same group of speaking positively. My parents invested tons of encouragement in me and it has taken root, grown and produced fruit. Let me share a current example of positive words taking root in me. A friend of mine just told me last week when I answered her phone call that she wanted to start calling me Becky Who is Blessed.  She said she wanted to encourage me that God loves me and will provide for me and because those things are true...I am blessed. Now if I don't respond to that by being strengthened and motivated in some way then something is really wrong with me.  haha!  Anyone who gets a word like that would 99.9% of the time walk away standing a little bit taller, see the world as a little bit smaller and view their obstacles as a little less daunting.

I totally know that I'm not the only blessed person. duh! All of us who are God's people are blessed just to belong to Him.  I know that's alot of church-y wording, but it's true. God is King....the Creator of the Universe and if we choose to be fully on His side, believing in His Son Jesus Christ, then we are blessed simply because we are His. All that to say, my friend's encouragement has really taken root in me for the better. She probably doesn't even know that yet. I have really been encouraged by her quick greeting  when she called me the other day.

So, now here's the question part I'm asking myself AND all of you.  Are you ready??

What words are we going to sow this week?  What words from God's Word have we let be planted in us this week so that they can grow in our hearts and minds strengthening us for life's challenges; allowing us to know God's amazing grace, His power, His sovereignty, His hope, His peace a little bit more?  Will we see words as more than a means of communication?  Do we give any weight to what we say?  Are you attempting to plants seeds of hope, life, love, kindness, truth, grace, patience, peace, gentleness into people's hearts?  I'm asking myself these things too.

We need to be daily aware that we WILL reap what we sow.  It has been proven throughout all the history books, in non-religious and the Holy Bible.  What we put into something is what we'll get out of it.  If we invest a bunch of negativity and condemnation in our words to our family and friends, we will not get much true help from them in return when we find ourselves down in the dumps or struggling.  If we build up our family and friends each day and pursue to speak words of encouragement and life into their daily routine, there will be a return someday of kindness from them.....maybe not directly to us, but it could provoke them to pursue a lifestyle of speaking kind and uplifting words to those in their life.  It's so neat to think that we all have the opportunity to be a tiny part of a positive change in someone's perspective of life and perhaps even their perspective of God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Blessings to you all.  Get Real, Women!  Rise up, shine and speak words of life to all you meet and I will pursue to do the same! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is That Really the Attitude You Want to Wear to Dinner? You Might Want To Go Change.

Struggling seems to have been my mental status for most of today.  My attitude was so easily swayed and/or manipulated by the circumstances of the day.  I knew the answer to why I was struggling, but I seemed to ignore it all day until this evening.  Brodie and I prayed together tonight after putting Zachary to bed.  It was a sweet time to talk to our God, thank Him for His many blessings, elevate Him in our hearts as our God and King, ask Him to help us with our heart attitudes, our needs and our struggles. So much peace and confidence in our Maker came into my mind and heart after that prayer.  Why we didn't pray together earlier in the day, I don't know. However, I'm so glad that we did pray together tonight.  What a blessing it is for me to have such a great husband who has a strong desire to honor God with his whole life and a desire to bless me with loving prayer support.

So, back to earlier today. I had felt all day that I shouldn't be having such a struggle with my attitude especially since we just got back yesterday from a weekend long collegiate ministry retreat. (By the way, it was really good time.) The weekend was inspiring and encouraging and an all around good time catching up with friends who live far away on the other side of the state. However, after all that positivity, I still greatly struggled today to think positively.  I titled my blog (a really long title, sorry about that) the way I did because it is what I know someone would want to say to me today if my attitude were an actual piece of clothing. They'd ask, "Is that attitude you're wearing the one you REALLY want to wear to dinner (or insert whatever place I was going today)?  Maybe you should change first."

My loving husband didn't say anything about my attitude today, but that's because I fessed up to him earlier that I was really struggling today and that I felt I could not get out of the "let's be blah all day" attitude I was in.  But it is interesting to recap the day.  All I can say about it really is that it's no fun and also that I know it isn't a very healthy way to live.  It is so tiresome to be prone to negativity all day long.

Yesterday, I was telling Brodie that I am striving to live a life that is seeking truth.....more importantly, seeking God's truth in all aspects of my existence whether that be when I'm talking with my friends about make-up, fashion, cooking, decorating, parenting or keeping up with my toddler.  But still, even in just the day's routine, I need to be seeking what is true, more importantly... truly good, about my circumstances and how do I respond to daily circumstances in a way that is right.  In my opinion the right way is the way that is honoring to God. And seeing that definition reveals that I royally failed at looking for the good in my circumstances today.  Haha! (So glad God's mercies are new every morning.) It's when I put God and others before me and my priorities that I am living right.....right with God and those in my life.

I just remembered in my high school years at Super Summer there was an "I'm Third" award given out to a person from each "school".  The award, as you might already know, was for people who put, Christ first, others second and themselves third.  It's also worded; Jesus, Others, Yourself    J.O.Y.

Funny......J.O.Y. is what we get when we put our priorities in the right order.  There must be something to that when it comes to the things I struggle with recently.  If I make my priority to knowing God more, loving God in all that I do, it should lead me to caring for others more and in a better way.  By doing that I have put my life in the right order.  This is something I need to focus on this week.  I really want joy......J.O.Y.  I know that this way of life works because I have done it many times before. Obviously, I haven't done it too often lately or I wouldn't be blogging about it. HA!  Maybe this struggle of mine was meant to happen so that you too would be encouraged to pursue a life of joy.....J.O.Y.  For me, today, it was difficult to see it becoming a reality because I was in a dense fog of focusing on negative truths instead of positive truths. 

Soon, sometime this week, I would like my attitude to reflect a J.O.Y. pursuit so that someone could say, "I like the grace that you are wearing today".  Or, "that compassion you've got on today is's so YOU!"  Or, "You know, love looks good on you, girl. You should wear it more often. It really brings out your eyes." 

Love you, friends.  Be encouraged as I have been.  God knows we are weak and it's okay because He is strong.  Let us seek to know Him more, bless others around us more and keep ourselves in the "I'm third" position each day. And we will see what great things will happen when we live out J.O.Y.

Colossians 3:12-14
"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

Ah, I needed that. Thank you, Lord.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Power of Words: Part 1

Here's just a short thought that might spark a long conversation over the next several days.  Whenever I read stories in the Bible, I notice most people in the stories take very seriously all spoken word.  It seems that their words were living and once spoken into existence their words could actually alter the course of someone's life; either giving people a curse or a blessing. Again, this is just me working through a thought process that has been spinning around in my mind for many months now.  If my assessment of the ancient perspective of spoken words is correct or even close to correct (and I have not yet researched this in order to know if it is) then why does our world live so differently today?

At least in the Western world, there seems to not be much of an importance to the words that we say.  We say what we think, whenever we want to say it and don't often think that it has much consequence to speak critical, opinionated, kind or encouraging words to others. It doesn't seem to make sense that suddenly words would have no more "weight" like they did in ancient times. Why and when did this change?  And if it did not truly change, then maybe many of us are living in frustrating situations or in bless-ed and fruitful situations all because of a word that was spoken over us or directly to us somewhere in our lives by a family member, co-worker, friend, or stranger.  What if words really are living and able to alter the course of someone's life?  Doesn't God's Holy Word say clearly that all humans are made in His image....His likeness?  Meaning, we have the finite characteristics of His infinite ones.  If His Word is living and active...
Hebrews 4:12
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

.....then wouldn't we, God's creation, have the ability to have a finite version of that?

So many stories in the Old Testament AND the New Testament reveal to us that spoken word is powerful.  The Bible shows a person's spoken words can tear down people's lives in their present and their lives in the future thus altering their descendents lives as well. However, the Bible also shows clearly from the beginning to the very last verse that the spoken words of people can also anoint, bless, heal and redeem others.

This thought of mine is not fully developed.  I must give it more time to marinate before writing anymore. Forgive me for stopping short. Your thoughts to this topic are welcome while I publish these not-fully-edited thoughts.

Now, I'm really getting conscious of what I say.  Oh boy, this should be interesting, rewarding......or just plain annoying.
May you have a blessed day and may you find ways to bless others around you in WORD and in your actions. Peace.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Love Letters I Will Read Over and Over

So, here's a little history of me.  My husband and I were good friends for four years of college before we became each other's significant other. heehee!  We spent many days in those four years getting to know each other during the times we hung out with mutual friends.  It was always a great time hanging out with my friends and Brodie.  Brodie has said many times that he would have rather called me girlfriend instead of friend even after the first week of knowing my name. But, I have a little different story. 

I'll cut that story super short. Throughout college, he asked me out on a date three different times (and very well done, too), but I turned him down each time. Even though I felt bad turning down my good friend, I just did not feel I was supposed to pursue a serious relationship with him. I didn't want to even go on one date with him if I didn't think it would lead anywhere. I'm weird as you have already discovered. I know it, he knows it.....everyone who has ever spent five minutes with me knows it.

Here's where it gets good....well, funny. About two weeks before we became "a couple" I remember telling him very sincerely that I didn't have the desire to date him so I requested he not try and ask me out again.  Then I continued to tell him that I cared for him so much as a friend that I didn't want us to go our separate ways after graduation. I told him I'd wish he and his future family would live down the street from my future family because I didn't want to live far away from one of my best friends. HA! 

Two weeks later, we were at my friends recording studio and I was recording some songs I wrote. Brodie (my husband) was in the living room talking to my recording friend's wife while waiting for me to finish up a song. I remember walking down the hall to come join in the conversation where they were and seeing Brodie (with his back turned to me talking to my friend's wife) and a VERY clear thought went through my mind. "Man, I love that guy." (Speaking of Brodie, of course.) The rest of my mind went, "WHAT!?"  "Did you just say you love Brodie!?  How can this be? When did this happen?" Suddenly I was smitten.  I mean, SMITTEN. I couldn't fight it any longer. I knew that Brodie was THE man that God had set for me to spend my life with. No doubt.  It scared me to have no doubt about such an important decision. CRAZINESS!

So when I joined the conversation I was trying to keep my face from showing the new feeling I held in my mind and heart for Brodie. I don't think it worked because as I started acting all nervous and skiddish around him, he then proceeded to think that something was up too and began acting nervous and cautious as well. A few minutes later, Brodie looked at the clock and saw it was a little after midnight. He said something like, "Hey, Happy Birthday to me!" I looked up and said, "What?!" "Oh, man, I'm sorry. I didn't think you're birthday was today. Happy Birthday."  He reminded me that his birthday had just begun at midnight. What would have been no big deal on any other night was suddenly HUGE that I forget his birthday.  I was panicked. I was saying stupid stuff like, "I'm sorry that I forgot. I'll make it up to you." He asked if I was going to our friend Tracy's birthday celebration the next night since he wasn't planning on doing any party for his birthday. I said I was going and I asked if he had intended to go even though the folks there weren't aware it was his birthday too. He said he hadn't any other plans. Thus that next night we went.....separately.

After the party was over, we walked together to our cars. And I told him I saw him as more than a friend (those were my exact words). He was absolutely floored, speechless for several minutes that I had changed my mind. After a bunch of awkward silence and questions from him like, "So, if I were to ask you out, you'd say yes?" we prayed together. We stood leaning up against my car and prayed to God for guidance. To date or not to date....that was the BIG question. After four years of friendship, we didn't want dating to ruin our friendship.  HAHA!    Several days later, we didn't feel any differently than the night of the party and decided it was "cool" to date. And so here we are, nine and a half years later still loving each other.....probably even deeper than that cold January night praying together next to my car.

From then on, it was a bunch of letter writing since I went back to Pennsylvania for another semester with National Student Exchange. Almost every single day that I was away that semester, Brodie would write me an e-mail. I would eagerly await each morning his letter/e-mail, hoping to hear "You've Got Mail" when my computer booted up.  When I had read the whole letter, I'd surely read it again sometime later that day and maybe even again before bed.  JUST BEING HONEST HERE!  I was truly loving the man God had given me. I longed to know as much about him as I could.  All the while this was happening each day, God was whispering to me that His love letters to me were in His Holy Word.  He was daily and tenderly telling me to read His Word and see how deep His love was for me and all the world.  It was craziness! I was blown away by the human love and devotion of Brodie (my boyfriend) and it just thrusted me into a deeper level of understanding of the infinite, unconditional, fierce and holy love of God.

In my last post I wrote, "God is telling us everyday of His deep and abiding love for us. We just need to be listening and looking for His messages. Closer to home.....I need to be listening.  And once we who are listening and seeking have heard, we should be changed forever for the better because we have heard from the Living God!"

God is totally pursuing me.....pursuing you. He is wanting you and me to see how much He richly loves us. His Word is a great place to start to hear Him tell us of His deep love, but He is also talking to us about His love for us in so many other places.  Are we looking around for it?  Are we listening to His sweet voice? It be in a gentle cool breeze on a hot summer day, or a warm and intense ray of sunshine on a cold snowy afternoon?  God's voice telling us he loves us could even be in the car horn that blares at us getting us to stop when we are distracted by something and don't see the stop sign.  His love for me can be heard in the sweet voice of my little boy asking, "Mommy. a hug? a hug?" as he toddles toward me with his little chubby arms stretched out.  God's love can be seen in the homeless man we see sitting on a bench in downtown West Chester as he looks up at us walking by and smiles and says hello.  So many ways we can read the Love of God each day. Do we read it? Do we want to? And if not, why not? Our Creator is longing to relate to us and walk through this life with us. Will we let Him? Will we become smitten by the deep and assuring love of our awesome and powerful God?

"You've Got Mail"...
Deuteronomy 7:9
"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,"
Psalm 26:3
"For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness."
Psalm 40:10
"I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation."
Hosea 11:1-4
The LORD’s Love for Israel
"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them."
Lamentations 3:22-24
"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."

**I used to search for verses that speak about God's love for us and his people. There are pages and pages of verses that speak of His love.  The ones I gave here are just ones that stuck out to me and speak to me right now. I encourage you to take some time to see just how intently God wanted us to know about His love for us.  See how many hundreds of times the Bible speaks about God's steadfast love for His people.**

God is telling us everyday of His deep and abiding love for us. We just need to be listening and looking for His messages.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Profoundly and Amazingly Simple

It has taken all week to write another post because I was waiting for something profound to come to my mind to write. (Trust me, I know even if I came up with something profound to write, my grammar would be so bad that it would ruin the profoundness of it anyway. haha!! That's another reason why it took me nine months to decide to start writing a blog and sharing it with others to read. haha!)  However, the only thing that can always be profound to write is that God loved us (the whole world) so much that He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life. (that's a little version of John 3:16 for ya).

Why do I need to have something profound to say?  God has already said it. He still continues to say it; through His Word (the Holy Bible), through His people who carry His Spirit in them, through His beautiful creation.  God is telling us everyday of His deep and abiding love for us. We just need to be listening and looking for His messages. Closer to home.....I need to be listening.  And once we who are listening and seeking have heard, we should be changed forever for the better because we have heard from the Living God!

Hmmm, this gets me thinking.  Many times we "write off" the idea that God speaks to us.....the "normal Christians".  We might think that was just for the old folks in the Bible stories, or that's for the popes, priests, pastors and other super righteous people out there somewhere.  Personally, I believe God speaks to me.  My best way to hear Him is in my mind and through His Word.  I really can't explain it.  I am just grateful that Christ Jesus made a way for me to hear the Almighty God.  Because Jesus came and conquered death by rising from the dead, He made it possible for His Holy Spirit to come and live in each person who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives.  It's like having live chat on all the time with the Creator of the Universe.  It's like having an all access pass to the throne of God.  Whenever I want, I can talk to God, petition God, worship God through word, deed and song. And the cool part is...HE HEARS IT AND RESPONDS!

If you haven't surrendered to your Maker, the King of Love, the Almighty God, you are missing out on knowing the One who made you.  I, too, was missing out on knowing Him before I put my trust in Christ.  I urge you, to know Him today. Trust Him today. Be made new today. Go from living "in the dark" to walking daily in the light because you have the Spirit of the Living God inside you speaking to you, guiding you and showing you His ways.  It's all available by believing in Jesus Christ and confessing you need a Savior from yourself....your sins.  I made that decision as a ten year old. I made a decision to accept Christ's forgiveness for my sins, cleanse me and make me new from the inside out.  It's not like all my "issues" went away, but I suddenly had the Creator of the Universe's Spirit living in me to guide me and give me LIFE in my every day of living here on this Earth.

Come with me this week and seek Him who saves.  Let us seek Him daily, listen to His commands and guidance, move forward sharing His amazing Love with all who we know, honor Him by following His commands and guidance.  Let us be women of Truth because all around us there are people who need to see and hear and feel and know Truth.......Christ.  Jesus Christ said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" and He said no one comes to the Father (God) except through Him.  So, even on the days that don't seem to be very profound, let us live knowing the truth of that......every day is profound because we Christians serve a Living God!

My toolbar here on the post administration page continually gives me the option to click a button that states: SAVE NOW. So, this is what I ask God right now.  Lord, save now.  Rescue all my friends and even those I don't know from the dark and the grip of sin. Save now, LORD, and bring them into the marvelous light of the Son you love, Jesus Christ. Give them the strength to trust in You.  Amen.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Eat What's On Your Plate, Then We'll See About Dessert

Although our eighteen month old son isn't aware what dessert is and doesn't get to experience dessert all that often, my husband Brodie and I seem to frequently say to Zachary the phrase, "you need to eat what's on your plate first..."  For some reason, whatever food in view that is NOT on Zachary's plate seems much more enticing to him than what he has been given.  It's not just Zachary's struggle, I'm sure. Regardless of how old we get in this life, I think this is a pretty common response to the "portion" we've been given on our own "plate".

Lately, I have had a little bitty battle with what I'll call MyDreamsAreTooBigForMe Syndrom.  I have been dreaming of some things that seem to be just out of my reach and I feel completely powerless to achieve them.  Some folks would say, "Bummer.  So what will you do instead?" Some folks would say, "well, that's a great place to be, Becky.  That means if you can't achieve those dreams then it's a perfect moment to watch God make it happen.  He is the One who is able and all-powerful to make dreams come true."

I battled with these thoughts a bunch this week.  I still have those BIG dreams, but I am struggling to keep them in my mind as something actually achievable.  I struggle with thinking maybe all these BIG dreams I have aren't going to ever happen. This struggle in my heart and mind has caused me to begin to feel guilty for dreaming up all these dreams in the first place. And to think I've spent YEARS prepping and waiting for them to come about. Wow, I sometimes think, if they don't come about, I've wasted SO much much life.
Looking at this situation now, while writing is apparent that those moments of defeat were on the days that I didn't read God's Word much and didn't let the Truth of God's amazing grace, love and hope fill my heart and mind. 

Now, to tell you that when I DID dig into God's Word this week, it has been such a wonderful help to my soul in all this turmoil of differing viewpoints in my mind lately.  I was reading Psalm 119 this week.  I chose it because I needed a shot in my arm about the necessity of putting God's Word to work in our lives.  I know that I need to crave the words of my God more than I do.  Since He is the Creator of all I see and all I don't see, he is able to set me straight on what dreams are backed by Him and what dreams are not.  Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and this week, I must admit I didn't read the entire chapter simply because I was amazed by the first fourth of the chapter that I was jotting down notes in the margins in my Bible next to the text.  I was underlining and drawing arrows to certain parts of the text that were to go with the notes I just wrote. I was looking up other verses in other chapters of God's Word that were speaking about the same topic. Here are some of the verses I found that just brought me back to center.

The first verse I found this week which gave me something new to pray whenever I got myself all wrapped up in looking for dessert instead of finishing what portion I have been given on my plate is Psalm 119:36-37.

"Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways." -Psalm 119:36-37

Then I found another short verse in the same chapter that simply states:

"The LORD is my portion;" -Psalm 119:57a

At that verse, there was a little footnote. That note led me to one of my favorite chapters in Psalms.  What a blessing it was to read it in a new light this week as I struggled with being content and patiently waiting for my big dreams to come about.  Psalm 16 is where the footnote led me to read.  I will write out a few bits and pieces of the chapter.

"Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you." -Psalm 16:1-2

"The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure."- Ps. 16:5-9

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." -Ps. 16:11

To have the LORD, the God of the universe, the Most High God, as my portion and my cup....I should be thrilled.  I should be at such peace and rest in the fact that HE is my portion.  That I don't need anything else, anybody else, any big dream to be what or who satisfies me.  God can be my portion. When I surrender my "selfish gain" mode of thinking over to Him, He gives me life! (That's what His Word says...Psalm 119:36-37)  I LONG to be content like the Psalmist David was when he wrote this song thousands of years ago.  I want to be trusting that God will give me just what I need for each day.  I want to be content that His plan will prevail, but that it will prevail in His timing and not mine. 

May you have a blessed day. May we all find ourselves sincerely declaring inwardly and maybe even outwardly that the LORD God is our portion forever.
Love you all, dear friends!

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Just Had an Anne of Green Gables Moment

Most of my life....since I was ten, I have been a huge fan of the movie series Anne of Green Gables.  Without even trying, in my 31 years of living, I have noticed how my life's adventures closely compare with the stories and adventures that Anne had in that fictitious tale.  haha!!  I laugh about that alot. Her response to her world and all the silly predicaments she'd get herself in is so amazingly similar to my little life that it still shocks me.  I could probably write all day about the funny similarities I have with the character Anne Shirley, but I'll save that for some day a LONG time from now. ha!

All that silly introduction to say, there is a scene in the first movie of the Anne of Green Gables series where she is walking home with her teacher, Ms. Stacy.  In this scene Ms. Stacy is trying to get Anne to talk about the trouble that seems to have arisen between Anne and her best friend Diana. Anne shared how she was heart broken to have lost her best friend all because of a mistake she made.  Ms. Stacy told her (in some certain words) that tomorrow is fresh and that Anne can start all over with a clean slate instead of living with the remorse of her honest mistake.  Anne replied (and I'm not quoting) that she was encouraged that tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.   That little dialogue from that movie/story has stuck with me and I am reminded of it often.

Also, I often remember that as a little girl, my mom would remind me that God's mercies are new every morning.  This truth from God's Word has also stuck with me all the way through my life. Today, I encourage myself and you, my friends and sisters, that this day is's fresh with no mistakes in it. God's mercies toward us are NEW every morning, including this one.  I find that so refreshing!

In Junior High school I had such a child-like faith in God to lead me and direct me.  I believed God could do ANYTHING.  To be honest, now as an adult, I struggle with believing that every moment of the day. But at that time, it was easy.  I saw God was able to do great things and I looked for great things to happen.

Short story:
I remember one silly situation from when I was in eighth grade.  My youth group's Sunday morning Bible study teacher challenged us to read God's Word daily for at least five minutes.  So, I tried that.  It was a cool time for me as a junior high girl to read God's Word before I got to school each day.  Well, one morning, after my five minutes of reading, I took a few seconds to talk to God.  I remember telling him how I wished I could speak less negatively at school around my friends because I wanted them to see God in me, through words of kindness and love.  I knew that I rarely was able to achieve that goal.  So, I told God that morning; (remember..."told") that I was going to strive to honor Him in my words that day and not speak one negative thing to anyone for an entire school day.  Wow! Kinda lofty goal, huh? HA!

As I rode to school with my mom, I was gearing up for the challenge I set before myself.  I entered the building and walked to my locker, got my books, walked into my 1st hour class. So far, so good.  However, no one had spoke to me yet. Ha!  When I arrived in class, one of the popular guys in our school walked by to his seat and said something that was meant to make fun of me in some way.  Suddenly, feeling my face get red, I snapped back, "Shut Up!".  Immediately, my "promise" to the Lord that morning came clearly into my mind and my heart fell.

Throughout that first period class, I was feeling so bad for not even making it through the first class, let alone the first five minutes, without saying anything negative. (Looking back on this story makes me laugh, but at the time this was SERIOUS.)  I was feeling so rotten when I had promised God I would spend at least one day honoring Him with all my words.

However, somewhere in that first period class, my spirit got this comforting feeling and I realized that I failed at my goal simply because I tried to do it on my own.  If I had asked God to give me the strength and the love for my fellow man that day.  If I had asked God to be the one to speak through me.....allowing His love to penetrate my heart and overflow out of me so that others would naturally see and feel His love, THEN that would have been a more successful goal.

All this to say, I know that living my life in fear and anxiety of failing is silly, since without God's strength, love and daily help I am destined to fail at some point in my journey.  God is the One I can lean on, who I can always trust in to bring me through each day, helping me to make the most of every moment.  And since He is so able to help us, guide us and restore us, I know I can count on Him to be there for me each day.  Also, since He is the One who brings mercy into our every new day, we can trust that each day is truly new and fresh and clean, with no mistakes in it.  He has wiped the slate clean.

Lamentations 3:21-23 (The New Living Translation)
"Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning."
*Thank you, Mom, for always keeping this great truth fresh in my head. Even twenty years later, it's still sticking. 

Psalm 51:7 & Isaiah 1:18 are also great verses about this thought. You can use to quickly look up both of these verses. 

May our Lord bless you today with the knowledge of His presence, with the knowledge of His love, with the knowledge....deep in your spirit.....of His constant watch over your life.  May you be blessed to know that today God's mercies begin afresh.  Love you! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Third Time's a Charm

I have attempted to blog twice in the past 24 hours, but neither draft I wrote seemed right for this blog. They were both really honest about what I am working on these days and I'm not too sure just how open I should be in this blog.  I am struggling with writing about my weaknesses in detail only because it may come across as if I am whining about it. I want this blog to be a place of encouragement and uplifting dialogue....not a dumping ground for my negative thoughts. I hope that makes sense to you all.

I have never had my own blog before. And since that's the case, I also have never had gals from all over the country and somedays even from overseas reading my blog on a daily and/or weekly basis.  Because of that I am cautious to put out into this blog some things that I am wrestling with currently.  How transparent do I become in this blog? I truly believe that being vulnerable is a good thing only if it is the right timing for it. ha!

So, here's what I'm going to say today.  I am needing a deeper trusting heart, mind and soul in my God these days.  I find myself feeling stuck and immovable in certain areas of my life all because of anxieties and insecurities.  I know that there are self help books out there on helping a person gain self confidence and on helping a person learn to have more faith in God's plan, His mighty hand and His ability to restore our broken lives.  I get that.  I even have some of those books and read a few of them.  However, nothing is going to help me gain self confidence more than me finding the desire to "die to myself"; die to my hopes and dreams and to live for a higher for God's glory and renown. 

Now, for all you friends of mine that don't yet believe what I believe about God and His son Jesus Christ, it's okay.  You can still see that if we live just for ourselves and not for a greater cause it becomes consuming, and kills our spirit.  We become robotic in our approach to life.  To live for Christ's glory; to bring praise to His name each day is so rewarding and refreshing because to honor Christ is to love one another just as we love ourselves. Thus living for Jesus causes us to bless those around us basically because it is our response to the great love that Christ has given freely to us all.  However, I must say, that I live in such a state of anxiety sometimes that I can't even live out that which I just wrote. I become stuck.....worried and for who knows what reason.

So, I have been aware of my struggle for months now. I realize the craziness and I desire to break free.  Lately I've been reading the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. It is a crazy tale of Joseph's enduring trust in God even when he's been sold into slavery by his brothers, put into prison without any reason, brought into a household where the master's wife wants to get with him every waking hour and so many other difficult situations beyond those.  Through that whole story, the Bible says several times that the Lord was with Joseph.  It speaks about God's steadfast love being with him always.  Another thing I read was in Philippians chapter 4.  It speaks about thinking only about things that are noble, right, pure, of good repute, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy.  The only thing....well, the only person I can think of that....I mean, Who is all of those things is my amazing Savior Jesus Christ.

In my times of recoiling into my anxious thoughts, I should be thinking about Him, my Savior Christ. I should take time to acknowledge His greatness, His power and my amazing need for His grace. I should rise up, reach out my hands and allow my Savior to carry me out of those anxious thoughts and set me in a wide open space.  It says in Philippians 4:5 (second part) & 6
"The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 

Even now, after writing all this, my heart is pounding.  I am apprehensive to publish this, but here it goes.....