God’s Steady Heartbeat, 2020

There is a steady heartbeat I hear. It is strong. It is steady.

In these moments of serenity I see my God going before me. He sits with me by still waters. He prepares a table amidst my enemies. One word from his lips quiets the accuser.

There is a steady heartbeat I hear.

I know many of us have had a year of heartache and trials. Many have endured through injustices while others have whispered dreams out into the open, hoping this year would be the year of unfolding.

It is the time of year where people wind down. Some cannot wait for the year to end. Others are indifferent or thankful for what is.

Every moment matters to God. There is not one second lost on our behalf or on the behalf of those we love. Now is not the time to settle in or give up. God is a miracle worker and not one moment is forgotten in his hand. These last few weeks are of high importance to him as he works on our dreams and whispered prayers. Or perhaps words have barely formed from our lips as we have wept. God has seen every tear and knows what is written on our heart.

Let us not give up what has yet to happen in 2019. Let us enjoy our favorite holiday beverage (coffee anyone?), sit back and see what God will do. As we pray, as we go to the front lines of intercession, the Lord has made a table amidst it all for us. He has done this for us to learn to enjoy and walk in the victory that is ours even if we have yet to see it.

As this year winds down, enjoy it. Walk from victory into 2020.

There is a steady heartbeat I hear. It is strong. It is steady.

Dog Lessons

This dog sure has given me a lot to keep up with this week! He was digging himself into a hill of mud while barking at the neighbor dog that he could not get to (instant bath even if I had no time for it). Then it was head in a trash can one day, stealing bread out of a bag the next and yesterday it was squeezing himself into the area with cat food and gorging himself.

Yet, he comes back after having done all that and looks at me like this:

Did you know that no matter what, you can come to God like this and ask for help? Too often we rob ourselves of the mercy and forgiveness that is ours when we choose not to go to God anymore. Put pride, stubbornness, guilt… Whatever it may be aside and come back to God. He won’t push you away. He loves you and only has the best in mind for you.

Do not be like my dog though. He will go right back out onto that mud Hill (I had to go get him off a couple times after that muddy incident) and get messy all over again. He will keep trying to get to the trash, head covered in wrappers. He needs to change and those changes come slow because I cannot always be there to guide, offer discipline and teach him new ways.

But God is always there. Yes, there are consequences to our actions but he is not there with a lightning bolt. He is ready to meet us when we are willing to change. He offers mercy and grace despite our lack of understanding or our lack of desire to follow him. He fondly looks upon us when we look up and ask for his forgiveness, his help.

Be Unafraid

When life looks uncertain God is taking care of you. You do not need to be afraid. He has coordinated your victory before you get there.

Raise your head. Set your shoulders straight because of hardships. The enemy views you as a threat. Your worth is immeasurable.

Love is unafraid.

Take more ground rather than retreating back. You are a force to be reckoned with because of God within you. He makes your path straight. You are surrounded by him.

Dear Reader, God has got you.

Be unafraid.

Get Out Of The Way

In our instant gratification type world, the process within our lives can often be a struggle. We doubt our faith. We doubt our actions when results do not occur quickly or within the time frame we might expect. Why are we so quick to doubt or even begin to complain about the process? Are we just whiners? The world does not revolve around us.

I feel that most often we desire results without much work or sacrifice. We think that we must feel a certain way all of the time or that certain things must be in order, otherwise God is not good. Are you kidding me? Have you looked at the life of Jesus? He was outcasted, slandered, ignored, considered crazy, betrayed, lied about, and murdered for other people’s wrongdoing. Do you think that Jesus thought that through all of that, that his Father was not good? Absolutely not!

God is good and he wants to give us good things when we ask him. What we get caught up with is the fact that we often think that we know what is better for us than God does. Too often we want someone else to be blamed for our sin, our apathy and our selfish desires. All of this decreases joy because we are the ones choosing the opposite of it.

My prayer is that it would become normal to ask God to have his mind and desire what he wants, rather than getting caught up in selfishness or pride, thinking that we know best. It can be so easy to cast blame if that is what is normal. In our culture it is normal and has come to be accepted in several large circles. Those in leadership are applauded when they do so.

But do not applaud so quickly. Ones own pride comes at a price. Sin comes with a price. It is too heavy for one to measure.

Let us return once again to repentance. Let us return to asking, seeking and knocking without complaining after “too much time” has passed and you have been outside the door waiting.

God is good. He has the best waiting for you if you get out of the way.

Who I Want To Be

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Being an introvert has probably been one of the things I have struggled the most with. Growing up I didn’t know how to communicate that I needed space. If I was overwhelmed by people I didn’t know how to communicate my feelings or my needs.

As an adult I realized very quickly that I had come to be borderline hateful of this part of me. I was told quite a bit as an adult that there were no introverts in heaven. This inadvertently led me to believe that there was something very wrong with me. I could never figure out what hidden sin was causing this for me to continually struggle with needing space and time behind the scenes.

One day I realized that God had designed me to give him glory while alone so he could be seen better in the crowd. The part of me that was needing space led to great reflections, writing and creative arts. I see and feel things in a different way and solutions come when I am recharging alone. To hate this part of me or communicate to someone that they are “wrong” is to deny a part of God. God had written introversion in my DNA not to remain by myself but for the benefit of myself and others.

When I realized that it was imperative for me to be alone to be the best me with others, I began to accept who God made me to be. He loved this part of me! Slowly I was able to let go of who I thought I should be and embrace who I was in alignment with Holy Spirit. Without God I would be like a broken compass always questioning myself.

Today I still remind myself that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Most of the time I don’t feel guilty for needing space. I often have to say no in order to get rest and proper self-care in. I will start my day alone or quietly leave a room to breathe. When I do this, my mind is alert and my soul refreshed. My creative side is able to flow freely and I feel the most alive when this happens.

A beautiful thing occurs when you can accept the “flaws” people have pointed out about your personality. Freedom to be yourself leads to confidence. Accepting how God made you (your heavenly design not your sinful one) and getting to know yourself rather than how others tell you, is important to live a victorious life. Obviously if there is known sin, repent and change. But if it has to do with your heavenly design stop trying to be someone that you are not. Be who God designed you to be. Place him back on the throne instead of others.

Extrovert or introvert, you are wonderfully made!

When God Takes Away

Have you ever felt like God was taking things away from you?

The past year has been a life-changing year. My heart has been broken and wrecked in ways I never thought possible. Unimaginable things have occurred, both good and bad. We are still staring evil in the face. God’s gaze is my focal point.

Through it all I have asked God, “what are you doing?” My entire mindset has changed. My view on my career, personal goals and “plans” have all changed. I technically do not have a “plan” anymore and that is a good thing considering “planning” is usually what I do. I plan and make goals and then feel fulfilled after it is done. This year was the first year I felt incomplete after accomplishing some big goals. It led me to make some drastic changes. It made me realize that I was placing too much of my worth on accomplishments rather than on God alone.

This shift in mindset has not been easy. Letting go of huge loves of mine has not been easy. Completely pursuing God’s promises has not been easy either because His plans have been different than my own. He has taken a lot away.

He has taken certain things away in order for me to be ready to embrace the best! He gives far more than I could ever imagine.

The beautiful thing about God is that his plans are better than my own. Even though I am in the waiting I know that his intentions are good. In the letting go and letting God it has opened the door of heaven over me and my household. In the process peace has made it’s home permanently in me. No matter what circumstances I face it doesn’t knock me over like it once did. Because of this, letting go of all I’ve known for more of him is worth it. It is hard because dying to oneself is never easy. But his ways are better.

What has he taken away so that you may receive the best?

The Peace Within. Do You Have It?

Are you anxious about anything?

The past several years could have easily been years full of anxiety and sleepless nights. The more that difficulties have come the more that peace settles in my soul. I didn’t used to be this way. Anxiety used to rule my day and caused many sleepless nights. Fears used to dominate everything I did.

Not anymore.

Peace resides in my spirit. I still grapple with injustice. I will never understand evil acts against those I love. I have to process through every stage of grief. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed after a long day fighting for precious ones. But peace resides within me. It is the reason I can and will get out of bed. I trust God. He knows my name and cares about the ones I love more than I do.

I know that the mighty Lions roar of justice and victory is coming.

What do you need prayer for? What victory are you waiting on God to help bring? Please write in the comment section or send a message to me directly and I will pray for each one.

What My 3.5-hr Haircut Taught Me

I had already had to cancel my dinner plans and my semi-damp hair was only half cut. An hour had come and gone. The only thing that was complete was a magnificent hair wash and the back of my hair trimmed. If my layers and bangs were to be next I figured I would be in that seat for at least another hour. That hour turned into more than two.

As I sat in the chair and my student stylist meticulously cut every strand, I accepted that this was a much needed time to slow down. I chose to take deep breaths and let it be. There was something so freeing to just sit and let someone else tend to my hair (it had been since December 2017).

By the time I was done, my hair was frizzy and all I could think about was what I would eat for dinner. Who am I kidding? I think about the next time I’m going to eat all day. You wouldn’t know it if you looked at me but I love food. Food was all I was worried about so I had not understood what the 3.5 hour cut was symbolic of in that moment.

The next day I was having coffee with Jesus. He reminded me about my 3.5 hour hair cut. Just like my student stylist was meticulous to get every angle and cut right so was God with every detail of my life. The dreams planted in my heart at birth take a lot of time. Thankfully God places everything and everyone at the perfect moment.

He is meticulous.

There are moments in life when things take too long and we sit back with tense backs and irritation. This must not be! God wants us to sit back, take a deep breath and let him take care of us no matter the circumstances. He wants us to enjoy those moments. He wants us to trust him.

If I can trust a student stylists first time cutting hair, I certainly can trust God with my dreams.

I plan on going back to that beauty school. I do not plan on making a fuss about my first visit. It was worth every penny I spent on a 3.5 haircut because of what it taught me.

Dreams take time.

God is meticulous.

He is getting every angle done right.

Just Be

One of the things that I’ve realized more fully is the busy state of Americans. Anytime that I go overseas I struggle greatly upon returning because our culture is not my preference. Busyness, programs, sports, cellphones, money and a lot more all dictate our time. I promised myself that I would not succumb to it again.

But here I am strategically trying to figure out how to change.

What I do in and of itself is not bad but longterm it definitely takes a toll. I long for the days of solitude where I sent letters in the mail and I knew my neighbors well. A phone would be for emergencies or to catch up with a friend. As much as I would love cellphones not to consume people’s lives, here I am writing my blog on one (there is a balance to everything I suppose). Busy has become a badge of honor and I am over here ripping it off yet failing to overcome it.

There is a song that Kim Walker Smith sings called, “Just Be”. It has become a soothing way to start my day for the past week and a half. All I want is Jesus. Everything is right, good and safe with him. In his presence everything either makes sense or there is a reassurance that someday I will understand.

No matter what load I carry, Jesus is all I need. He is all I want. When the load is heavy and I feel like it will overtake me (I see a flat version of me under the boulder even though I know that image is not a true one) I take a moment to let Jesus come and fill me again with his vision and hope.

Click the link below to listen to the song:

“Everything else can wait

I’ve come to seek Your face

So everything else can wait

I’m here for You

I want to

Just be, here at Your feet

Just be, here on my knees

Here in Your presence I am complete

Jesus, you’re all that I need.”

He is more than enough. When we do not understand what is going on or when we cannot see in front of us, He is all that we need.

Take time to slow down.

Put your phone down. Embrace the one’s you love more than the time spent with your phone in your hands or your eyes looking at a screen.

Write a letter and send it in the mail. Bake a meal as a family rather than getting fast food. At your meal sit down and talk about your day. Keep phones, TV’s, and devices turned off in order for connection to occur and love to grow. Look your children and spouse in the eyes as you talk and laugh. Make family your first priority.

Busy is not a badge of honor but loving Jesus and loving others well, is.

Slow down long enough to be filled with new breathe.

Lord, help us.

“Everything else can wait”

Leaning In

Will you lean in?

Every Sunday my favorite thing to do is pray with kids. During prayer I place my hand on their heads. If a child is new I will always ask permission first before doing this.

On one particular Sunday morning as I laid my hand on one child’s head they relaxed and leaned in. I went around the classroom and one child after the other leaned in. The response of leaning in is not a new response but having as many children do so like they did, was.

This action of leaning in conveys trust. In the context of the heart it often can signify surrender and the action to receive. For others they simply hunger for more of God.

As I witnessed these children do this it dawned on me how important it is for us to lean in. When we lean in we are expecting more. We can expect more because we know that God wants to give more.

How many times have we ignored God? How many times have we rushed prayer or decided that enough time was spent with him?

Greater treasure awaits us in the quiet moments of waiting, listening and leaning in.

God is a good God. He always wants to give us more. He loves to give good gifts.

I have to wonder what have we missed out on for being too busy or rushing our time?

What is even more extraordinary to me with children is they know and will lean in no matter what is going on. They will lean in when they are happy. They will lean in when they are sad or hurt.

How often do we stop leaning in when things are good and we don’t feel the need for God? Or maybe it is the opposite and instead of leaning in when things get difficult, we blame Him instead?

Whatever season we are in we become the inconsistent ones. God remains faithful. He is always ready to help and to bless us if we are willing to receive from Him in those still and quiet moments.

Lean in.