Even If…

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These last few months the words resonating in my heart are, “Even If.”

We have had many changes in our life recently and I hate change. My body reacts even when I tell myself everything is fine and all the changes have been for a great purpose and plan.

One of those changes involved us leaving a church of the last five years and follow the Lord in His leading to our next. We knew that we were called but not the why, to our calling.
I told the Lord, even if I don’t have the answers, I will listen to your voice. So in faith, we stepped forward in the plan for our life.

Even though leaving the team of people we had grown to love hurt my heart, I had to obey what I knew to be true and serve my God and husband first. Even if it meant uncomfortable change and new people, a new place and a new level of finding my self in the midst of ministry, I had to say yes.
Even if it means admitting that I took on roles at our previous church that were not my own to take on, in order to try to fill up the restlessness within me.
Even if it meant stepping into a new realm of vulnerability. Even if.

I know there are many purposes for following the Lord in the Even If seasons of our life.
I know that God has done many amazing things in the last 4 months and He has not even touched the surface. But in this process, He has stirred a call I had felt at 15 years old in youth group. Life happened and the leading faded but was never gone. I had begun a collection of paintings in the last few months and titled them “Women of the World.” Little did I know I was painting the very call within my heart…
The call to serve with mission teams.

Here the thoughts would rise up as the stirring would come, but then so would the excuses. Most of which was linked to how I am doing in this season physically. But the thought would not leave that I was called to go and serve.
The stirring rose afresh as I sat with the new church congregation and heard about the heart of serving in Baja Mexico at the Door of Faith Orphanage.
I had every excuse, but the tugging kept coming.
We had no money in savings and the trip was coming fast. I have been in an unbelievable flare physically. We just received additional fees to add to a huge bill from hospital tests and then a few days before DHS sent a bill for overpayment when we were foster parents. This doesn’t account for all the other life needs on hold at the moment.
But mostly my heart I didn’t want to hurt over leaving the orphans and I felt as if I had nothing to offer.
I felt that with my physical limits Dan would have to go and he has absolutely told me over the years this was NOT his area of calling. All these thoughts and excuses rushing my head and I still felt my heart-tugging… EVEN IF. Even if there is no way, God can make the way. Even if there seemed to be too many obstacles, God is able to move those obstacles. Even if I have my doubts…HE is faithful despite them.

So I prayed. I said, God if you truly want me to move in faith as your word says, faith without works is dead, then I am going to be as Gideon and request that you show me without a doubt that it is you that I am hearing and not just my over compassionate mama heart.

These were my conditions as I spoke to the Lord:
I need Dan to go with me. I will not ask.
I need the leader to come to me directly who I have not yet met and tell me that He feels I am to join the team.
I need the provision.

Service was over and Dan leans to me and says, ” I feel like I may be called to go on the mission trip.” I kid you not my mouth about fell to the floor. I may even have laughed out loud. You have to know this is absolutely a tugging from God. He would have not been opened to the idea otherwise.
I was stopped by a friend and visiting after church. I looked over at Dan and He was talking to the leader. Dan called me over and as I was introduced, the team leader said, “God highlighted you to me, I feel you are called to go on this trip.” (paraphrasing as I can’t remember exact words). At this point, I knew and I just nodded my head and said as much.
Now we are waiting on provision and believing for the plan to unfold as we walk out the little hiccups of life in the planning process. The trip is coming fast!
With my lack of knowing where the funds would come from and a time crunch, we had started a go fund me even though I felt so foolish in doing so, I said again…Even If.
The fees for the passport came in first at the Go Fund Me site as well as the cost of plane tickets that were mailed to us. I saw how it was exactly what we needed when we needed it.
We are over halfway to our goal and I know the rest is already accounted for. We are praying for the paperwork we need to move forward will come quickly as Dan had to order his birth certificate before getting a passport. We are on a time crunch. But of course, God already knows this.

I am excited. I know there are many purposes for following the Lord’s leading. But I am still reminded to hold fast to those words… Even If… because often His call does not match my human understanding. Even If I don’t see it, I can rest assured that HE knows it. Even… If.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

Beyond the Limits​

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Definition of Limit: a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass. Synonyms: restrict, curb, check, place a limit on, cap, keep within bounds, hold in check, restrain, put a brake on, hold, or freeze.

We all have done it. We have all dreamed of something big and so far beyond our reach. However, many like myself, first see the limits and often won’t pursue farther than the dream. I have had seasons where it hasn’t mattered if the limit was imagined or real. I would just stand frozen, looking at the desire of my heart and not know how to pursue it. I look at every angle and then get perplexed on what in the world to do.

Other’s will pursue wholeheartedly their life, dreams, and ambitions, but then stop as limits rise up against them. They had momentum for a season, but the wall rose up and they stand immobile, not sure how to move beyond that limit in front of them.

Then there are those victors. Those people that seem unstoppable. Everything they put their hand to is golden and all falls into place for them. Or does it?  I believe most beyond the limit people, are just that, they live beyond their limits. They have things that rise up, they have things in their way, they have things that could hold them back, but they have learned how to move forward, taking steps into the further and pushing on harder, not because of those limits but in spite of them.

I want to be one that propels forward with expectation and boldness. But first I had to identify those limits that were restricting me, that kept me within my bounds, and held me frozen. I had to identify not only limits for my own self but for others as well that may rise up in the face of pursuit. I am sure that I will not cover all that everyone would face, but recognizing the vast walls before us is key to overcoming and moving beyond the limits that hold us back.

Moving beyond the limits we place on ourselves:

1. Qualification:  This is the biggest struggle I personally have faced over the years. I never felt qualified or validated to finish my pursuits. I would start something, and see my failures more than possibilities. Let’s face it unless one is touched by the divine, and everything they do is perfect, most have to work for what we want to become, or accomplish. It takes hard work and faithfulness. I finally have learned that we are often called to do that which we are not qualified for. It is in the faithfulness, living beyond what we see, and honing our craft/skill, that shines far beyond what we lay down unfinished by giving up and staying frozen out of lack of discipline.

2. Opinions or lack of support: Often we look to other’s approval to validate that what we have to contribute is valuable. When other’s mock us, ignore us or roll their eyes when we share our vision, we can feel like what we have to put out there has no worth. It is very important to know who is your true supporters, and believe it or not, your support may not come from your closest circles. You see, many people in our lives, don’t see the hard work behind the scenes that we are putting in. They may only see where we have been, not where we are going. They have preconceived notions about our ability and our reach. This is not always the case, but if you share your heart and others are not supportive or even silent, perhaps you should hold your treasure a little closer to your heart, and protect it. Pursue, strengthen and equip. Show those that doubt that you are able and move beyond their limits. You see they can not support that which they can not visualize themselves.

3. Pride: Society has us constantly aware of how we are perceived. Nobody wants to appear foolish, unqualified, unsupported or exposed. So many times, I have stepped away from my passion because I have not been able to do what other’s expectations of me were. I walked in embarrassment, rather than the truth of my calling. Going live was one of my biggest challenges. I have such a low opinion of myself at times, that seeing those lives have left me embarrassed, even though I know personally others have been encouraged. If I let pride and vanity stand in the way of my calling, I am never going to reach my destination meant for me.

4. Fear: There are so many ways fear can limit us in pursuing that on our heart. Fear of failure, fear of time wasted, fear of unknowns, and fear of others, etc. You name it, there is probably a fear in the face of it. I have found one of the best ways to move beyond fear, is to identify it, and walk through it. Fear often only holds us back, because real or perceived, we allow it to. Think of every fear you have had that you have overcome. What did it take to overcome that fear? For me, it was action. It was the doing, no matter what. It was stepping out of what was safe and comfortable and saying, I will move beyond this limit. It will not hold me. Fear will not be the force that keeps me from the plan for my life.

5. Time: This is such a trial in the pursuit of callings and dreams. Because the truth is, we all face a certain amount of hours every day, and we all have responsibilities within those hours. However, when you have a passion and a dream, you must etch out some time to hone the skills, and pursue that dream. Otherwise, like me, 20 years later, I am still looking at the undone. I put the kids first, which was great, it was my season, I put the church first which is great it was my season, I put so many things first and in the seasons that is okay. But looking back, I could have definitely etched some time in to pursue things that would lay a foundation for my now. If you have it on your heart to write, but there is just no time, record your musings and thoughts on a voice memo on your phone when you are doing other tasks. Keep those thoughts on record for a day, when you have more time to actually write it all down. Think of that which you truly want, and seek where you may be letting time be wasted, or how can your time be extended in a day. Yes, time can be a limit, but only if we don’t see the possibilities of conquering. Sometimes it is just an evaluation of how your days are being spent.

6. Finances: Money or lack of, can be a very real challenge in living beyond the limits. We were a one income family most of our marriage and with 3 little ones and no health insurance for most of those days and a one year lay off where we lost everything, I can honestly say that finances were definitely a limit I put on myself. However, I am seeing the older I get, how those limits sometimes are also a mindset. I wanted to paint for years, but good quality canvas and paint is expensive, well while learning, I could have used cardboard, cheaper materials and practiced away.
I get it sometimes it is hard to even put bread on the table, and when our mind is around survival it can be hard to dream. BUT… there are resources. Get creative. Barter, research, visit a library, free education online, my unemployment offices have resources for learning and possibly ask to apprentice with someone skilled in your passions. I know many people that have had dreams with little finances and completely self-educated their passion and pursued to full success.  If something is burning in you to be accomplished, do not allow finances to hold you back. Become creative in the pursuit of living beyond the limit.

7. Physical: I know this one well. I have physical limits. However, I have been looking at so many others that live beyond their limit physically and are extremely successful. Sometimes when we have limits with our bodies or situations, we need to become creative. Just because something is in our way physically does not mean we can let it limit us and keep us frozen. It is just a new challenge to see how we can move beyond what we face and overcome those obstacles. I think of those I have seen with far more physical limitations than myself, rise above and do so much. Not only are they pursuing and conquering their dreams and passions, but they are true inspirations to others like myself, that get tempted to give up and just coast in life. I don’t want to be one that just gets by in this life any longer, but I want to thrive and bring others along with me.

Ultimately the dreams and passions within our hearts are for the taking. We just have to overcome and live beyond the limits placed on ourselves. This is how true victors become victorious. They do not let their limits get in their way.

 

Dreams: prepare in the waiting

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“There is just a moment between the mundane to the extraordinary. Don’t give up the pursuit before you reach what is intended for you: Press in faithfully and see what He will do.” SA

Where the God-given dreams are concerned there is a time to pursue in the waiting.
We are called to sow and cultivate those promises in our hearts. Those dreams will come to pass in their due season if we do the work in the waiting. If we try to hurry that which was planted we will end up with underdeveloped fruit that doesn’t reach its full potential.
If we give up and walk away we end up with a fruit that is rotting and laying waste.

I don’t know how many times I have had a dream for my future and taken action thinking it was for right now, only to find out I was in the wrong season of that dream and the actions I was taking were nothing spectacular. Literally, I have sat looking in the emptiness wondering how in the world did I miss it? Only to realize it was a dream not for that moment but for a time to come. I should have been preparing in the waiting instead of jumping ahead.

The dreams and passions that the Lord has placed on your heart and have been there for so long you may have even forgotten them or let them go, have not been placed there in vain. Often when we are dreamers, we see long before it is time to walk in that dream.

The Facebook LIVE  yesterday was about seasons and perfect timing built on Ecclesiastes 3. I shared how some of the things I was believing for, for over 20 years, are finally starting to gain momentum. Talk about seasons of waiting! I fully believe if I would have prepared and pursued the Lord more in the waiting, I would have walked in more confidence and joy, than I did when I let the enemy rob me of what was planted deep in my heart. NO MORE, I will keep walking with expectation, knowing the dream is being going to flourish at just the right time!

I urge you to meditate on the word and allow the Lord to work in your heart concerning the dreams that you are called to pursue. Don’t give up, don’t be discouraged in the waiting but keep working at it. When you, put the time in, it will be beyond what you, yourself could have imagined!

Ecclesiastes 3: 3- 15

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

 

 

Living in Thanksgiving

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We are getting ready to move from a home that has been a sanctuary in a dark time in our lives. The property around us is beautiful and we will be moving into town, where our views will not be acres of trees and greenery. I had always wanted to stay in one location and raise my children. We lost our home in the fall of the economy and this rental was our Godsend at just the right time and we have been able to spend the last six years here. So many great memories but the newest chapter of our lives as empty nesters has us moving.
It is in this transition that the Lord has shaken me in new ways to live in thankfulness.
He has me focusing not on what we ware leaving behind, but to be thankful in all that we are gaining.
Many times in the transition of life, I have looked at the have not’s instead of the what I have.
We are called to thank the Lord in all circumstances. When we walk out our lives living in thanksgiving, we walk in the plan of joy for our lives. Our sites are on all we have and not what we lack.
What if instead of a well of thanks for the big things in life, we walk in a well of thanks for everything in our life, big and little?
I can choose to rise each morning with thankfulness on my lips or walk in the negative.
It begins with the heart change. For out of our hearts our mouth will speak.
I want to be living in thanksgiving, not just a moment but a lifestyle.
I will rise and know I am blessed.
He is worthy of my thankful heart!
It is in the walking in it, that it becomes my everyday.
Living in Thanksgiving will become my habit, not my moment.

Thank you Jesus : Worship Song

More

33248955_10216228639453667_8634740846178074624_nBy Writing for joy: Instagram @awakened_arts

 

I was at church Sunday and the word that kept rising in my heart for a young man was more.
“More God?” I asked, and he replied in my spirit, “yes, more, more, more.”
God kept nudging me to share and I had no idea this young man was in the process of being taught about coming to Jesus at the moment by another.

I walked up to him and said God wants you to know that you can ask for more. That He wants to give you more. Just as you look at your little baby and want everything for her, this is how the father looks at you. He doesn’t want you to miss out on anything.

I went home and the thought kept pondering in my mind. More, more, more.

Ephesians 3:19-20
And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.

Just like this father looking at his tiny baby, our heavenly father looks at us. He wants the best for us, He wants his gifts for us, He wants more for us than we in our human minds, don’t think to ask for. 

I want to walk in my kingdom identity as His daughter, with His inheritance as my stepping stool to launch me into His work for my life. I want to know His love in infinite ways. God holds nothing back from me as His child, seeking Him first, He holds everything to give to me at the right time.

If I walked up to a stranger and asked for the inheritance to his life’s work, he would look at me with disdain and say, “who are you to ask such a thing?” 
But my heavenly father says… “YOU ARE MINE. All you have need of, ask. All that you can imagine, ask.
This isn’t about seeking the savior for what you get..it is about receiving because you have sought Him first and He is yours and everything that that entails. 

So as I say “yes Lord, I will receive your more, more more.”
He answers me,
 Now you have revelation it is time, live your life today by Kingdom standards, not earthly limits! ”

“Yes, Lord!”

He Says

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You believed for your miracle far longer than you ever imagined you would have to. You have yet to see the fruition of your faith. You called out to God in your trial, the struggle weighing heavy on your shoulders. You say, “God please, I can’t take this anymore. Where are you?” 
You are tired. You are weary. You ask, “Why am I still waiting?”
You look at your every fault. You look at your every lack. You see only pain and heartache.
“You say, I am done.”

He says…
“I hear you!  I see you! I have not forgotten you. I will cover you with my Grace and walk with you in this season. You have much to learn and you are more than able.

He says…

You will see the fruit of the promise, but you must stay steadfast. I am building a stronger you. I am building my child that does not waiver in the storm but stands strong, with my banner lifted high.

He says…

You will declare my joy in the midst of your pain. You will declare the promise before you see it. You will believe your promise once again with a great faith that you have yet to know.

He says…

Your faith will rise into the new places. Hold on to that which I have promised you. Don’t let my truth fall to the wayside. Seek me first and I will meet you. Call to me and I will answer you.

1 James 1:2-3

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

  He says…

You are not weak, for I have made you strong.
I have not created a child of fault, I created a child that is an overcomer.
I have not created a child full of lack, but a child that is more than able to do all that is required.

I have created a child I hold dear. My love is unwavering. I am a God of the impossible.

I am the God of miracles.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow I will keep my promises.

Now let your faith arise!

 

 

 

The Missing Pieces

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I was spending some time alone in worship and rest with the Holy Spirit. My eyes closed, just listening and then I had such a clear picture in my mind:

The Lord and I took a walk. My hand was in his and I was skipping like a little girl. He would twirl me around his finger in dance. We came to a brook and I saw myself sitting at the brook, my feet brushing the tips of the water. Jesus was next to me, and I leaned into him. While we sat in the stillness, the play and lightness were forgotten, my heart was hurting.
(This was a typical in a day for me, as long as I was distracted there was no time to hurt. But the second I stopped and tried to rest, everything would swarm in and be all I could see, robbing me of peace and rest)

At the brook, I began to tell Jesus every hurt, every rejection, every loss and every flaw.
He began to tell me all the lies that I was believing. Not in condemnation but in love.
I cried. He held me.

We stood and I held out a heart that had a bunch of holes in it. It was my heart and I was offering it to him, broken and not much. He took out His heart and took pieces from His heart and filled every hole in mine. He then placed my heart in His and put them both in His chest. He let me lay against His chest and hear the new heartbeat. He said, ” I will carry your heart. Lean into me and you will find your rest.

In Him, there are no missing pieces. There is only wholeness and freedom.
Some may look at this as a crutch. But I say to you if you have a broken foot, would you not use a crutch to walk upright?
I was broken, I am not afraid to admit that. The glory… He made me whole!!
I can walk with confidence in the shelter of my God, knowing He is my protector and shield. I can rest in Him. This is all I need.

Psalms 147:3-
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Be encouraged with this Song:
ONE THING REMAINS