What’s Next?

Never A Dull Moment – Wrap Up from the Beach

My gracious… LIVE for 8 minutes. Not sure anybody’s “got time for that,” but it’s been awesome reading through “Never A Dull Moment” with so many of you! I pray God uses what He’s put before us mightily for His glory and our good! Happy Sunday, Facebook Friends! I’m off to catch up with the fam by the beach!

 

 

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The Warrior Princess

Never A Dull Moment – Week 4, Day 6

Gracious! This scene never grows old! I chose the longer version to share here because it strikes me more like our own enemies. They swoop in out of nowhere, frightening and intimidating, attacking us and those we love. They are scary… legitimately. BUT GOD says we are His daughters and the victory is already won. Our part is to BELIEVE HIM, to stand firm in the full armor He’s provided, raising our shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, KNOWING that our enemy is defeated.

“I am no man!” I am a Warrior Princess, Daughter of the One True God… and so are you!

A Value Proposition

Never A Dull Moment – Week 4,Days 4 & 5

NADM Tears

Did you miss me yesterday?!  Whew!  Taking care of an injured kiddo is NO. JOKE. Especially when she is just enough like her Momma that she is stressed and worried about all manner of things that have no bearing on her actual reality.  Bless her heart… I have passed along the Martha gene.  Jesus, be a fence… as my good friend Mary Anne would say!

Today’s post is a perfect illustration of how God always knows better than I and has things firmly under control, even when I think they’re spinning wildly and commence fretting over them.  You guys know me well enough by now to know that not posting yesterday really upset me!  I didn’t even sit down to record a haggard looking video with Facebook LIVE… what a slacker!  Ugh.  I prayed and took deep breaths and had enough else to do to get through it relatively unscathed and then this morning, I sat down to my personal quiet time.  BOTH resources I use regularly wrapped up Days 4 and 5 in a perfect little bow.  One of them even focused on Revelation 21, the same text I referenced in “Tears!”  God whispered in my fretful little ear: “See?  Stop. Worrying. I was well aware that posting would not happen yesterday… it wasn’t meant to.”

[LONG deep breath]  That God… He’s something else, isn’t it He?

So… on to the combined post!  Here’s the thing, friends: “Loving God” and “tears” comes down to a value proposition: how do we know our worth?  Where are we seeking love?  Who or what are we expecting to dry our tears?  If our answers are ANYTHING or ANYONE other than Jesus Christ, we are going to be sorely disappointed.  And not just disappointed, but perfectly set up for the enemy to knock down.

Understanding and KNOWING that God loves us is crucial to our being able to love ourselves and others.  Think back to “Writing Down the Whispers” and “Daddy Do”… this world is FULL of distractions, disappointments, and ups and downs.  Without a deep recognition of God’s love for us, we just won’t make it victoriously.  We’ll probably trudge through.  We might make it with minimal scarring.  But our lives won’t be what God intended.

For this life to be what God intended, we have got to “know that we know” that we are loved and operate out of that love.  We have got to know that we are worthy because God SAID we are worthy: worth loving and seeking and sending His One & Only Son to die for.  We have got to KNOW that He knows us and sees us and is in control.  We’ve got to know that tears are not only a part of life, but OK too because God sees and care about every one.

Isn’t that the Good News?  God loving us so much that He came to wipe our tears with His own hands, to wash our feet, and take our sins and teach us to pray?  Isn’t the Good News that the Creator came and now knows exactly what it feels like to be the creation?  Isn’t it about God understanding us and saving us?  He has always cared so much about our tears that He bottles and records every one.  In Jesus, He came to experience and know our sorrows – to cry His own tears.  And even though we missed His first coming, one day, He will take our faces in His loving hands and gently wipe all of our tears from our cheeks.

Don’t let this life – don’t let Satan – steal what has been given to you.  Anchor yourself firmly in the love of God and the hope of Christ.  Pray everyday to know and understand a little bit more about the boundless love the Father has for you.  And when the tears come – as they always do – lift up your face to the One who made it and ask Him to wipe them away.  He is faithful and He will do it.

Much love, my friends.  I am sad that our daily journey is coming to a close.

Jesus Knows Me

Never A Dull Moment – Week 4, Day 3

NADM Jesus Knows Me

Don’t you love this?  Not “Jesus loves me, this I know…” but Jesus KNOWS me, this I love.  Makes a little bit of a difference!

I became fascinated with the fact that Jesus seemed to read the minds of the crowds and the Pharisees a couple of years ago when I did a verse by verse study of the book of Luke.  The next time you read through the Gospels, take note.  I guess it shouldn’t really surprise me.  Clearly, He is God and God certainly knows us inside and out, our specific spot on eternity’s timeline, the motivations of our hearts, our needs before they are expressed and on and on.  Seeing it work out “in the flesh” is just shocking though.  That’s not how human beings normally operate.  But, then again, Jesus was no ordinary human being.

His “mind reading”  happens often and it always gets me thinking about the implications for us.  We talked through one application in today’s reading: even though He KNEW what the Pharisees were thinking, Jesus did the right thing, without regard for His own safety, much less His popularity.  You’ve been there and so have I: those times when you just know how something is going to turn out or be received.  The choice is: do the right thing or take the easy way out.  I pray we always follow Christ’s lead.

The mind reading Jesus also prompts me to check my heart’s motivations.  If Jesus in the flesh “knew their thoughts” how much more does His Spirit within me know mine?  Gulp.  I, of course, am being a little dramatic, but seriously.  Be reminded by the experience of the Pharisees in Luke 5 that Jesus is well aware of our thoughts.  He knows why we do what we do.  He knows if we are doing the right thing out of love and obedience to His word or a desire to please man.  He knows if we are trying, in some warped way, to earn His favor, grace and salvation.  We can’t do it and when we try, we get ourselves into all sorts of trouble.

Let Luke 5’s paralyzed man also be a reminder: simple FAITH is all that is required of us when interacting with the God of the universe.  ALL the man did was stretch out his hand.  Jesus didn’t even have to say another word and “[the man’s] hand was completely restored.”  The healing was not proportional to his efforts.  Don’t ever forget that part of the story.  Just do what’s asked.

Just follow His lead.  Just let your heart love Him and watch the motivations, the actions, and the results fall into place.  He wants to give you the kingdom.  He died to make a way for you.  His heart is to completely restore yours – whatever parts need restoring.  HE KNOWS YOU.  Don’t you love it?

Writing Down the Whispers

Never A Dull Moment – Week 4, Day 2: Daddy Do

Sometimes I feel like I say the same things over and over again, but I always need to be reminded of how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is for me. TimeHop (my favorite app!) was my reminder today! I wrote “Writing Down the Whispers” a year ago, but it fit so beautifully into our recent focus and with today’s reading that I decided to NOT overcomplicate things – YAY ME! LOL!

Today, my prayer is that you will KNOW down deep in the marrow of your bones that GOD LOVES YOU! He loved you before anyone who declares it to you verbally even knew of your existence. Jesus DIED for you before you were even a thought to anyone on this planet… because He loves you (Romans 5:8). Anytime we are moved to say “I love you, Lord” it is only because our Lord loved us first. I once heard Beth Moore (Bible teacher, speaker, lover of the Word) say that whenever she declares her love for her Father she says, “I love you too” because whatever prompted the love in her heart is an expression of God’s love for her. So true.

Know you are loved, my friend. No matter what you are walking through. No matter how you feel… KNOW you are loved with an everlasting, perfect love. When you question it, simply say, “Daddy do! Yes, He does.” And whisper back, “I love you, too.”

Speechless Ministries

I never claimed or promised to be a prolific blogger.  In fact, my tagline in Living Real magazine SAYS “… sometimes blogger,” but almost a year is quite a long time in between posts.  Here’s the thing: life gets crazy.  Words get thought and forgotten.  I imagine lots of things and, heaven knows, I say plenty, but it doesn’t all get logged right here.  Today though, in my journaling with the Lord, I felt prompted to write – really to share with you – what HE spoke to my heart.  So, there’s nothing super special about this day except that maybe what God whispered to my heart needs to be whispered to yours as well…

O Lord, this day and these feelings.  It started out “weird” and has progressed to that “sad” and “lonely” place I sometimes go. I could point to many things that may be the cause, but none of them seem…

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Navigating the Rapids

Never A Dull Moment – Week 3, Day 5

Well, honestly, this whole journey has been a lot more about navigating the rapids as opposed to charting the course.  I decided from the beginning that when I was given an opportunity to speak or perform somewhere, I would take it as an invitation from God and simply say, “yes” unless there was some concrete reason to say “no.”

Aw… that quote makes it sound so nice.  LOL!  Some of you know how I got into this whole thing now called Speechless Ministries, but I am betting most don’t.  Shortly after Caleb was born, Mom and I went to a Women of Faith conference, where I was first introduced to dramatist and author, Nicole Johnson.  She was truly my inspiration to perform like I do today.  I loved her and I had never seen anything like what she did!  As I hemmed and hawed around her table, Mom grabbed a set of scripts she had for sale and stated, “I’m buying these for you.”  Well, thanks, Mom.  What the heck am I going to do with a bunch of scripts?

I am a “waste not, want not” girl and those scripts just tormented me, frankly!  When the women’s team at my church began planning a conference, I approached my lead coordinator and good friend with this very confident proposition: “So, listen.  I have these scripts and there’s this one monologue about motherhood and if you have time in the conference, I would be willing to perform it.”  Plowing on… “I mean, it won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t have time or it doesn’t fit your vision.  I mean, don’t feel obligated to LET me perform or anything.”

Geez.  That’s just the kind of person you want taking the stage at your event, right?!  Thank God Angie is a sweet, kind friend who also gets the job done.  She’s the type that when she says it, you can go ahead and check it off your list… because it’s handled; the perfect person to get some folks in line and make stuff happen!  She’s also the type that knows when her friend needs a boot to the bottom!

Are you crazy?  YES!  You’re going to perform the drama! – Angie

Oh, Lord Jesus, help me!  WHAT have I gotten myself into?!

I have never been so nervous in my life.  Like, throw up in the sanctuary, dying, not talking to anyone (THAT nervous?!  Yes.), “HOLY COW!  Why did Mom buy those stupid scripts!” NERVOUS!

But I did it!

And someone from another church saw it.

And then the phone rang.

And she wanted me to come do a drama at her church.

And I told her I would pray about it… and resolved in my heart that I would never call her back.

LOL!  For real.

I hung up the phone and glanced across the room at Kevin, my husband, who also could be categorized as the type of person who gets people in line and knows when they might need a boot to the bottom.

No ma’am.  I know you and you need to decide right now that when that phone rings you are going to take it as a call from God and just say “YES” because if you don’t, you’ll never go anywhere.  And the fact that you’ve been asked to go somewhere means that you ARE CALLED to do this. – Kevin

Gah.  Why does he have to be all up in my business with all his wisdom and stuff, pouncing right on me when I was planning to confidently ignore this invitation and conveniently forget to call Melanie back.  Fine.  I called her back and told her I would do it.  There was just one problem: I didn’t have “dramas.”  I had one drama!  I didn’t have a repertoire.  I had one… drama.

Whew.  Thank God for those scripts Mom bought!

I picked another from Nicole’s repertoire, “Rocks” and the nerves started again.  Oh.  MY. WORD!  How did I get talked into this?!  What am I thinking?  Who’s going to watch Caleb?! What if someone else calls?!  I only have TWO dramas!  Throw up. Dying. Wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But I did it!

And I left that place and cried the whole way home.  And all could say to the Lord through my tears was, “Thank you… thank you… thank you” over and over again.  I may not be the best dramatist you will ever see or the greatest singer, most eloquent speaker or most insightful teacher, but standing on that stage I knew that I had been obedient.  I knew that no matter what had happened before or the moment after, for those 10 minutes on that stage, I was RIGHT in the center of God’s will for my life.  And you know what?  I would not trade that feeling – that blessing – for ANYTHING else in the world.

I am typing through tears as I think about it.  I was so scared, but I had determined that I would be obedient, that I would not miss out on anything God wanted to give me and He gave me more than I ever thought possible.

I just kept saying YES and 12 years later, I’m walking through my devotional book with you and have two speaking events coming up.  I don’t perform Nicole’s stuff very much anymore because I write my own dramas now.  How faithfully God ministered to my heart through that process is a blog for another day.  I’ve led conferences and shared a stage with Laura Story.  I have a repertoire now!  😉  God keeps planting desires in my heart.  He keeps allowing the phone to ring.  He just keeps opening doors and giving me the courage to walk through them.  And it is the coolest, best thing.  As much as I pray I’ve ministered to others, the way God has ministered to ME on this journey is the best part.

What rapids are staring you in the face today?  What have you ignored that you know in your heart is God’s call?  Don’t let fear rob you of the blessings that God is waiting to give.  Isaiah 48:18 says, “If only you had paid attention to my commands (if only you had been obedient), your peace would have been like a river (not a stagnant, still pond, but a raging river, able to handle the twists and turns and make it over the obstacles in the way) and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Don’t worry about charting the course, friends.  Just resolve to navigate the rapids with the One who spoke the river into being.  The journey is the best part.

Every Day Is Easter

Never A Dull Moment – Week 3, Day 4

I LOVE Easter!  Today’s reading brings back so many great memories, but I have to share one that makes me and my much younger siblings CRACK UP every time Easter approaches.  I was raised Baptist, but I have always been intrigued by the formality and ceremony in other denominations – especially surrounding Easter.  I wish I could remember the exact year, but way back before kids, when I was still working full time outside my home, I had a friend who went to a Lutheran church.  Knowing my fascination with liturgy and having fielded a million questions from me, she invited me to the Maundy Thursday service her church was hosting.  I decided it would be GREAT to take my younger siblings with me!  You know, expose them to something different than they were used to.  I was clearly in “Mommy Practice Mode!”  Anyway…

We get there and it was a wonderful service!  Some highlights were the Pastor (priest?) washing the children’s feet and then the somber covering of the altar and other parts of the sanctuary in black cloth.  We were quiet, considering the death of Jesus and the sacrifice He had made.  Sarah and Zach were eyes-wide and enthralled.  Then, several people scattered around the room began to sing portions of the Psalms.  More accurately, they were chanting or speaking them in a low, sing-songy way.  Very interesting to us little Baptists in the pew and completely captivating.

Then, bless her.  A woman behind me, over my left shoulder, began reciting/singing Psalm 22:6.  I’m going to give you a moment to look it up…

Got it?

I don’t know what YOUR bible says, but what my age 10 and 12-ish siblings and me heard was, “I am but a worm…” in the low spoken/sung voice, ringing out above the total silence.  In true, well-practice Momma style, I whipped my head toward them – well, really, toward Zach – and shot them my best, “If you so much as make a PEEP, you are in BIG trouble” look!  LOL!  It worked!  Both, remained wide-eyed, but now with big smiles.  Holy cow.  The whole way back to Mom’s house, they chanted from the back seat, “I am but a worm… I am but a worm…”  The lasting impression I had hoped for was absolutely made… although not in quite the way I imagined.  Isn’t that the way it goes some days?!

We still occasionally let one fly around the Easter season or if, at any moment, things get a little too serious.  It’s actually been a while… time for a couple phone calls.  They are now 28 and almost 30, but I can still get a laugh with “I am but a worm…”  I know: super mature and spiritual, right?!

The POINT is this: Be JOYFUL today my friends!  Bust out an “I am but a worm…” if you must!  Don’t take yourself or your stuff too seriously.  Jesus came and lived, died and rose again for your FREEDOM, for your ABUNDANT LIFE.  Don’t let anything or anyone steal it from you.  Every day is Easter for those who believe!  Celebrate it!  He is risen!

And now you say…

He is risen indeed!

God Is Not Distant

Never A Dull Moment – Week 3, Day 3

NADM Stoop

My red NIV Bible says, “You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great (Psalm 35:18).”  Some versions use other words for “stoop down”: gentleness, humility, lowliness, help.  As a matter of fact, I might have gotten a defective Bible because try as I might, I cannot find “stoop down” in any electronic version I’ve checked.  But that’s ok.  The version I like the best, I think is still the one from my slim line, cool red Bible that I studied through my whole second pregnancy.  It was a gift from my sister the Christmas before Kep was born and it was while reading in this Bible that I first fell in love with Psalm 18.  Please, please stop and read the whole thing!  I wish I could show you the 3 last Bibles I’ve used – all different versions, each one with Psalm 18 marked and underlined and full of notes in the margins.  Psalm 18 outlines who God IS and what He’s done for us.  He guarantees us the victory.

It’s too much.

The idea that God would stoop… not speak or command or send angels or “make it so,” but STOOP to make me great still slays me.  Let it stop you in your tracks today too.  If you are distressed, call to Him (v. 6).  If you feel like you’re drowning or overwhelmed, feel His reach and let Him rescue you.  He delights to do it!  (See verses 16 and 19)

Lost & Found

Never A Dull Moment – Week 3, Day 2

 

NADM Lost & Found

Luke 15 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible.  I guess because I know so well what it is to be lost.  I know how good it feels to be found and to find that which is treasured.  I love how Jesus tells story after story of something valuable lost and the rejoicing that occurs when it’s found.  Even if it’s only one of His little flock, Jesus goes searching.

Wouldn’t any Good Shepherd?

Won’t He light a lamp, make a sweep, and search carefully for us like the woman who lost her silver coin? He will.

Doesn’t He watch for and receive those who have planned out their repentant speeches?  Doesn’t He even go out and find those who are too proud to come in on their own?  The Bible says He does.

I just love it.  I have been the Prodigal.  And, heaven knows, I have been the prideful older brother, pouting outside the party, refusing to go in because, in my estimation, God’s goodness was somehow “better” toward someone else than it was to me.  Gracious.  I love how the father looks everyday to see if his lost son is coming down the road.  He must have been watching for him, right?  Verse 20 says “while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him.”  You don’t see something far off unless you are looking for it.  Before the practiced speech was given, the father was running to grab his boy up… he was lost and is found.  Before the elder brother even had the chance to come to his senses, the father “came out and pleaded with him (v. 28)”… he was lost and the father went to find him.  Thank you, Father.

We don’t know how the other brother responded and, I think, it’s by design.  I think just like so many in Jesus’ audience, we tend to be more like the older brother than the prodigal.  I am.  I haven’t demanded my inheritance and run off to do God knows what in a foreign country, but I sure have looked around and decided that something wasn’t fair.  I think we get to decide how the other brother responds and what we decide makes all the difference in the world.  One thing is certain, no matter how long it takes, when he decides to join the party – when WE decide to join the party… to come back and go in – all will be forgiven, full restoration will be granted, and there WILL be rejoicing.

Oh how He loves you.  Oh how He loves me.  Oh how He loves you and me.

The Faith of a Child

Never A Dull Moment – Week 3, Day 1

Over and over again in this journey of “Mommyhood,” my kiddos have shown me some facet of faith in such a poignant, precious way that never fails to stick with me and inspire me.  No wonder Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:3).”  It’s that wide-eyed, loving belief and trust that little ones have that we “big ones” need so badly.  Life tends to squash it out of us, but we have to find ways to hold onto it.  My mind is wandering to the last little ones I observed this weekend: the “full out” toddler who wanted me to toss him high into the air and dangle him upside down and “gin” (again!) and “gin” and the fresh, new baby who fell asleep without a peep in Sunday school in the capable arms of one of the strongest women of God I know.  THAT is what child-like faith looks like: no matter how high we’re tossed, no matter how upside down the world looks or tired we get, we rest easy and we expect the best. We TRUST that prayers will be answered, that God’s got it… because we KNOW our God and because we EXPECT OUR GOD TO BE GOD.

Remember all of those things we considered yesterday about God’s character and all the many blessings He’s already given us?  Trust Him today to show up “gin,” to catch you “GIN!”  Expect it.  Rest in it.  Take anxious thoughts captive to it.  God does not change.  God does not fail.  God’s love for you is a done deal.  Nothing is bigger than He is.  Nothing is beyond His ability.  He’s got this thing called life and all the miraculous and good He’s done before, He’ll do “gin!”  Hallelujah!

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