Good morning! I am sitting at my desk, drinking coffee, and catching up on my newest edition of Charisma magazine. An article by Dr. Steven Greene spoke to me in a mighty way about something that has been plaguing my mind lately–my blog.
When I set out to start it last March, it was in pure obedience to God–and it still is. A labor of love for sure! But lately, I am realizing more and more my inadequacies and mistakes. This is where I get real with you:
—I still struggle with the technical side. I would love to update and change my website, but I’m not sure where to start.
—I long to broaden my audience, but again, I am way out of my comfort zone and not sure how to do that.
—Just putting my words out there is a struggle for me. I am most comfortable with a pen, paper, cup of coffee, and just sharing my thoughts with Jesus. Well, if I’m with close friends and family I do open up. A lot. 🙂
This is where God used Dr. Greene’s article to bless my troubled spirit. It’s okay that I (and you) have limitations! I really, really needed that reminder. In the article, “Virtual Reality,” Dr. Greene speaks of the Apostle Paul, take a look:
“He was aware of his personal limitations, feelings, and inadequacies. In his weakness, he showed the strength of the Lord. In his journey, as a follower of Jesus, he gloried in what he wasn’t. He took pride in what he couldn’t do. He failed–and told everyone about it” (Dr. Greene, 8).
So, my friends I am going to glory in what I am not: a website developer, IT genius, master of the written word, Queen of social media, and I could add several other categories to the list.
What I am is an awkward introvert sharing the hope and love that Jesus has gracefully shown and given to me. As long as the Holy Spirit guides me, I will continue sharing what I am led to write. Just as much as I am changing from the inside out, then I need to expect my blog will be transformed in the same way, in His time and with His provision.
Day by day.
Piece by piece.
Step by step.
I am submitting to the process, His process, and you know what? It is painful. My flesh wants to be perfect, to know how to do it now, and to have the dinner on the table by 6pm. But God…
I am keeping my eyes on Jesus and pressing on for His will, not mine.
Thank You Heavenly Father for seeing my heart and who I can be only through You.
Thank you, my dear friends, for being a part of my journey and encouraging me. 🙂
All the glory to God!
Image of “When I am weak then I am strong” by SixEight Church, Vancouver, WA
Image of “Mornings with Jesus” by Living a Beautiful Life
Dr. Steve Greene. “Virtual Reality.” Charisma Magazine. August 2018.
It has been an interesting week and a half, coming off the “high” of an awe-inspiring and awesome vacation to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Stepping where our founding fathers made important decisions, that shaped America into the great country it is today, left me exhausted with a touch of melancholy. I don’t know if it was the jet lag, fatigue, or just mild depression, but my feelings were all over the place afterward.
During that time, one word kept coming to my mind: legacy. Every corner we turned, place we visited, and artifact we perused was entrenched with legacy.
While standing on the back porch of George Washington’s Mount Vernon, looking out over the Potomac river, I imagined our First President, mulling over the day and collecting the very thoughts that led him to be known as the Founder of American Democracy. Washington’s dream (and legacy) was of a free and democratic country; liberty and justice for all. “While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him…” (Mount Vernon.org).
My daughter took this picture
While seated in the front row of Ford’s theater, looking right at the balcony where Abraham Lincoln was shot, I imagined Lincoln enjoying date night with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. President Lincoln loved the theater and found rest there. Unfortunately, rest was not granted him. A disgruntled Confederate soldier assassinated the very person that, as President, used the power of the office to preserve the Union. And, in freeing the slaves through the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln left a legacy of freedom. “I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper,” he declared. “If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.” (American Battlefield Trust).
Those are just a two examples of the places, people, and monuments that inspired me on my trip. One of things that kept being woven into the legacy’s of much of what I encountered was faith in God. Only God truly knows the hearts and minds of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but my heart believed them to have been men of faith or at least in my mind, according to their actions, they were.
The broken road of war, devastation, slavery, and one king leadership led these men to seek freedoms and rights that many take for granted today. Abraham Lincoln’s beginnings were quite humble. He was born in 1809 to two illiterate farmers. His mother encouraged him to read the bible to further his education. George Washington grew up as the third child of a middle class family. He completed only seven to eight years of schooling. What he didn’t learn through school, he learned through life experience. Both of these men didn’t choose their beginnings in this life, and neither did you and I.
In my Dwelling Places devotional, Lucinda Secrest McDowell, explains it like this:
“We don’t get to choose our beginnings. Some start out in the rocky soil of poverty, family crisis, or disability. Others are born into a rich loam with resources and people to nourish and care. Most of us fall somewhere in between. But we all have to find our way….”(McDowell,266).
How did your life begin? My life began in a lower to middle class family with both of my parents and two sisters. I am the middle child and the one that always wore the “referee” hat. 🙂 I was raised with Christian parents that always shared their faith with me, loved me, and prayed for me. Praise God for that because I know my teenage and young adult years produced a gray hair or two for them.
As stated above, we can’t change our beginnings BUT we do get to change our ending, our legacy, and/or how well we finish the race set before us. That is why, when in Washington D.C., I found such inspiration in the places and histories of these two men: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Despite their humble beginnings, they committed all of their resources, lives, and character to becoming the change they wanted to see in their lives, and in the world around them.
From a biblical perspective, Apostle Paul is a brilliant example of this. He began his life as Saul, persecutor of Christians until a life changing personal encounter with Christ. Through this encounter, he was transformed and became a new creation in Christ named Paul. The fierce intensity he had against Christians became a fierce intensity for Jesus, the gospel, and churches. He couldn’t change his beginning but , through Christ, he changed his legacy.
“Because we do get to choose whether or not we will finish well: “No matter what season of life we are in, what developmental stage we are passing through, or what struggles we are facing, we can pause and intentionally choose who we want to be.”
“That dwelling in the presence of God is forming you into a person of fruit and virtue and legacy. You don’t need to be better than everyone else, just better–deeper–than you used to be”(McDowell,266).
I am so incredibly thankful that I am not defined by the beginning of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have a loving family and had an incredible childhood, but I am also a sinful person that took the broken road several times in spite of being saved and redeemed through Christ. Thank God that He kept pursuing me, loving me, and being with me.
Oswald Chamber’s reveals my heart when he says this:
“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
“I will never leave you…”— not for any reason; not my sin, selfishness, stubbornness, nor waywardness.
To sum this all up nicely and put a big red bow on it, one of the biggest things I got out of my trip to D.C is this: Does my day to day life, the things I am most committed to, relfect what I want my legacy to be? Through much reflection and prayer, yes, because everday I am committed to putting Jesus first. I humbly reveal this about myself:
Jesus IS my heart now. He has taken this sinful, broken person and changed me into a new creation. He continues to do this daily, every time I seek Him. I seek Him first in all I do. I want my legacy to be simply this: she had a heart for Jesus and a love for others.
What about you? What is your legacy going to be?
All glory to God,
American Battlefield Trust. “10 Facts: The Emancipation Proclamation.” Sponsored by the History Channel. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/10-facts-abraham-lincoln
Fire Bible: Global Study Edition. “Hebrews 13:5. New International Version. Life Publishers International. 2009.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon. “Washington Quotes.” Mount Vernon.org. https://www.mountvernon.org/library/digitalhistory/quotes/4/
Chambers. Oswald. “My Utmost For His Highest.” Discovery House Publishing. Updated edition, 1992.
Hello! This week my family and I are spending some time together in Washington D.C. I love history, and I have always wanted to go there since the Jazz band from my high school went during my Sophomore year. I couldn’t go for the crazy reason that I didn’t play an instrument. Oh, and I wasn’t in Jazz band. Go figure! 🙂
Finally, a few years later, it’s happening. Woo-hoo!! We plan on visiting Arlington National Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian Museums, Washington monument, and, of course, the Vietnam and Korean War monuments.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the Vietnam War Memorial in person. I’ve only seen the traveling one, and that one left me speechless. The grand appearance and sheer magnitude of all the tears, stories, and love that has been shared at this sacred site will certainly weigh into the emotions I feel as I search and find my mother’s first husband’s name on the Vietnam Memorial.
I am also very much looking forward to visiting the newly opened, “Museum of the Bible.” Apparently they have a Virtual Reality tour that allows you to tour the lands of 34 of the most famous biblical sights. “Soar across the Sea of Galilee and climb the stairs to the temple of the Mount all without leaving your chair at the Museum of the Bible.” Wow!
As if that wasn’t enough, they have exhibits on, “The People of the Land: History and Archaeology of Ancient Israel” and “Jerusalem and Rome: Cultures in Context in the First Century CE.”
Sorry, I’m a little excited. This trip has always been a dream of mine.
Because I am going to our Nation’s capital, I thought I would re-post my blog, “Some Gave All.” It is a very heartfelt message for me, and I pray to you as well. 🙂
I was brought to tears a few minutes ago while listening to “Some Gave All” by Billy Ray Cyrus.
All Gave Some, Some Gave All
Some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some Gave All
My heart is filled with love and pride when I think of all the brave men and women who died while protecting and trying to uphold the rights to freedom. Memorial day is a national day of remembrance in honor of all of the amazing men and women who died while serving in our county’s armed forces. These women and men are brave, patriotic, and honorable.
My mother’s first husband was one of “the few, the proud” –a Marine. Corporal Jackie Lee Denny was just 19 years old when he died during his final mission in the war. Here is an excerpt from his page on the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial website:
CPL Jackie L. Denny was a rifleman serving with G Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. At 0725 hours on February 4, 1971, CPL Denny was on patrol with his unit in the vicinity of Thang Binh in Quang Nam Province, RVN, when he triggered a booby-trapped 81mm mortar round rigged with a pressure detonator. Denny was fatally injured in the blast. His unit was then taken under enemy small arms fire from their southwest. They returned fire but they were unable make visual contact with the enemy firing on them. They requested an aerial observer over their location who arrived on station at 0740 hours and remained overhead until 0825 hours. A medivac (medical evacuation by helicopter) was called at 0730 hours to retrieve Denny and was completed at 0830 hours. A later sweep of the area uncovered another booby-trap, a 250 lb. bomb rigged with a pressure detonator. [Taken from coffeltdatabase.org and 5th Marines Command Chronology for February 1971]
My mother, Sue, became a widow at 19 years old and my sister, Melanie, lost her father at six weeks old. I do not recall my mother talking much about the hardship and pain she must have endured at such a young age. I can only imagine how much harder that pain must have been because of the protests and unwelcoming attitudes that greeted the servicemen that came back from the Vietnam War. Jack was a very brave man. He enlisted to fight when many people were leaving the country rather than be selected to serve. To all I say, “Welcome home, Vietnam Veterans.” Thank you for your bravery, service, and selflessness in a war you didn’t start and duties you were told to carry out.
I cannot think of “Some Gave All” without thinking first of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “And if you ever think of me, think of all your liberties and recall, some gave all.” Jesus died and gave all to show His own love for us (John 3:16; John 15:13), to reconcile us to God (1 Peter 3:18), and to give eternal life to all who believe in Him (John 3:36). There IS glorious, awesome freedom in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3:17
“Now the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (NIV).
Are you experiencing the Life and Love giving freedom of Jesus? He is waiting with open arms to love you. If you are ready to trust Jesus with your life, pray something like this:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I encourage everyone (new believer’s as well) to keep seeking God, praying, loving others, and spreading the JOY of Jesus to others. Love God, Love people!
Keep praying for our troops and their families. Freedom isn’t free. God Bless America!
Click on “Some Gave All” for a song honoring the sacrifice our servicemen and servicewomen.
Good afternoon. What a beautiful day it has been! Yesterday, the first day of August, was my niece, Candice’s birthday. May God bless her today and everyday, she is a very special lady!
Ahhh…August. Pretty soon, the days will be getting shorter, the leaves will be changing, and the cries of children everywhere will be heard when school starts back up. In reality, though, I think kids crave the routine of school and once one day leads into another, they settle back in and enjoy it. 🙂
Our lives are so busy that it’s a wonder we can keep up with it all! It is so easy to miss the connections between family, friends, and even our neighbors as we hustle around getting everything done! Carpool, homework, appointments, church, drama class….and then…?
Did you miss it? That gentle nudge…of the Holy Spirit…
-Urging you to find a quiet spot to pray.
-Compelling you to turn off the TV, slip away, and read The Word.
-Stirring you up out of bed on Sunday morning to fellowship with Jesus and His church?
That my friend was Jesus, inviting you to hang out with Him, get to know Him, and allow Him to speak in your heart at that given moment. Richard Blackaby explains it like this, “He is the One who pursues the love relationship with us. We do not naturally seek God on our own initiative. Everything we are experiencing from God comes in response to His invitation” (Experiencing God, 55). Did you miss it?
In today’s world you can equate that to your Father: messaging you on Face book, texting you that He loves and misses you, or Instagramming you the address of where you can hear His Word and fellowship.
Would you ignore the text of your best friend? He desires to be that. Your confidant? He wants to hear every concern, joy, hardship, and dream.
In the bible, very frequently, we see God inviting the Prophets, Disciples, Patriarchs, and many other’s to have a relationship with Him. It is through this connection-and the time they spent together-that God could reveal all He was, all He is, and all He can do. Moses experienced this with God, take a look:
“Time and time again, God invited Moses to talk with Him. God initiated and maintained a growing relationship with Moses. This fellowship was based on love, and God daily fulfilled His purposes through Moses” (Experiencing God, 56).
What would have happened if:
Moses didn’t take his father-in-law, Jethro’s, flock out to the far side of the desert and tend to them. He could have been lazy and said , “Nah, I got your daughter, Zipporah, already. I’m good. No need to impress you and keep my good reputation. Besides, It’s hot. I’ll take care of them tomorrow.”
He may have missed God’s personal invitation. An angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush when he was tending his father-in-law’s flock on the far side of the desert. This is where the LORD first revealed His holiness to Moses. “God spoke to Moses through the unique experience at a burning bush to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways” (Experiencing God, 56).
Our heavenly Father wants to build a relationship with us and “His desire is to get us from where we are to where He is working” (Experiencing God, 56 emphasis mine).
Did you miss it?
I pray you didn’t. I don’t want you to miss anything our Heavenly Father has for you! I get it though, it can be hard to stop what you are doing and heed the call.
What would you do if Jesus was standing right in front of you, extending His hand, and inviting you to hang out with him, “Come, sit on the bench with me. How are you, my child?”
In all honesty I go through the same thing. Last Wednesday, July 25th, I was not feeling well all day. The Holy Spirit gently reminded me to keep my commitment and go to bible study. I am a co-facilitator of my ladies bible study small group and it was our celebration night. Yay!! We had just finished “Word Writers: Philippians” by Denise J. Hughes, an amazing Bible study, by the way! Her “Word Writers : Ephesians” book is great as well.
Because I heeded the Holy Spirit, I was blessed in several ways that evening. First, after I walked into the sanctuary, I was enveloped in so much love, hugs, and acceptance. The ladies at my church are so welcoming that it feels like coming home. 🙂
Secondly, I felt a special awareness of the Holy Spirit while I was speaking to the whole group of ladies. Let me explain. During our celebration night, a member of each table may share something they learned, were blessed by, or any other special way they were touched by the bible study. I spoke from our group and when I shared, I felt as though the Holy Spirit was very present with me and was revealing a part of me that may be used in the future. It is really hard to put it into words, but I still feel touched by that moment.
Finally, while I was sitting at the table, the Holy Spirit revealed to me, in detail, what my next blog would be about. I quickly wrote it down, so one word, idea, or impression would not be lost! That was last weeks blog “Darkest Before Dawn.”
I was so blessed and my heart was so full on the way home from church. I would have missed such a sweet time with my Savior if I had not been obedient to the Holy Spirit.
Listen to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit. Spend time with Your Savior. God only knows what you may be missing and I promise you this:
Spending time with Jesus will change your life!
To God All the Glory,
Blackaby, Henry and Richard. Claude King. “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God.” Revised and expanded edition. B &H Publishing Group. 2008.
August image: mycutegraphics.com
Jesus Text image: Christian group’s phone Jesus text
Spend time with Jesus image: peopleandthoughts.com
God is first and foremost in my life.
my husband Steve, daughters Suzanne and Savannah,
my AMAZING family and friends,
the majestic beauty of the Pacific Northwest,
traveling and camping,
a GREAT cup of coffee with my morning devotionals,
and my Sumner Family Church family. :)