Category Archives: And God Says……..

Forgiveness

I had a dream not too long ago. It was during the time I was having a hard time forgiving myself for something I did that hurt many and brought shame to my family.

The dream was about my dad, who has been in heaven since 1983. In the dream, The Lord showed me a time when our family was on vacation when I was young girl. My dad was a bit of a daredevil, not too risky, but an adventurer. We were standing on the edge of a mountain side and he threw a huge rock over the side just to see how long it would take before he heard the rock hit the ground below. While doing this, he lost his footing and his balance, and almost went over the edge himself. What a devastating tragedy it would’ve been for my family to have lost my dad when I was ten years old…..we were indeed blessed to have him alive until I was 19. The dream revealed to me how much this really shook my dad up. In the dream, my dad admitted he was being careless, and his carelessness was indeed a bit selfish as it would’ve cost us having our father and my mother having her husband, and he apologized.

That event really did happen in the real world of our lives many many years ago when we lived in Alaska, and my dad was in the Air Force. We were on vacation when this happened. I know how scary it was for us, but I never knew the impact it had on my dad. It made a real impact on me how important it is to God that we understand how on this earth when we make mistakes–and sometimes we make extraordinarily huge mistakes–that they affect not only ourselves, but others, more importantly sometimes our families. It is important that we forgive ourselves. But it is just as important we forgive others for their mistakes and how it has affected us. God takes real issue with this.

We forgive others so God will forgive us. Truthfully, who are we not to forgive others, when God has forgiven us of so much. Forgive, so bitterness does not take root and defile many.

Family is everything…….

Learning to Let Go


Learning to Let Go

Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5, 6.

It was early 2015.  I was in a season of fasting with the upcoming election campaigns.  The Lord began showing me many things through dreams and visions.  All in all, God is sovereign and he does not delay in his return as some might think. His delay is so more people will be saved in the great harvest of souls that is soon coming.  He is raising up a remnant to go forth and spread the gospel of his truth and love.

One early morning, about 3 a.m., I woke up and knew the Lord was there. I began praying in the spirit. I then lifted my hand to the heavens and started singing, “He leadeth me, He leadeth me, by his own hand He leadeth me.  His faithful follower I would be, for by His hand, He leadeth me.”  God was leading me on a new beginning, a new level and I purposed in my heart I would hold on to his hand and never let it go.

The Lord knows the end from the beginning. Isaiah 46:9, 10:  “I am God, and there is no other, I am God, and there is none like me.  I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”

God is still working.  One step at a time.   He often reminds me of the time when my daughter had married her first husband. It was February 2009.  It was as if the marriage was doomed before it began. He asked me for her hand in marriage.  I said, “Not now. Not yet. I don’t believe either of you are ready.”  With the first major “mama had to put her foot down” after him asking for her hand in marriage, her with her stubbornness and him with his arrogance, they decided overnight to get married at the Justice of Peace.

Isaiah tells us God will make the crooked places straight and the rough places smooth. Well, this never quite manifested in their marriage. Their first major knock down drag out happened on their honeymoon…..and thereafter every week for roughly three months. Every week, I got a phone call.  Every week.  One time, he brought her home with her stuff and dropped her off with me and said, “I’m done.” To say it was tumultuous was putting it mildly.

Then Easter came.  I was one of the keyboard players at our church in Arkadelphia, AR. During Holy Week, we gathered at a different church during the lunch hour to worship God and celebrate new life in Christ through the power of the resurrection from the grave.  I was completely worn out. I was so stressed, I couldn’t even speak about what was going on.  I felt as if I would have a breakdown.  I must have looked completely spent, because my pastor said he was very concerned about me.

I went home that day and sat on the back deck of my mother’s house.  I cried out to the Lord, admitting I had made many mistakes with my daughter and confessed my sins.  I then admitted to God I simply couldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t stand seeing what was happening to her but she wouldn’t leave him.  I was so exhausted from constantly being pulled into their situation I was struggling to give my son the attention he needed. I told God I was letting her go.  She was grown.  I still loved her completely but she had to make her own decisions now and by those decisions she would have to live.  I knew I would always be there for her but I simply couldn’t handle being tossed back and forth emotionally and mentally.

At that every moment, the Lord spoke to me in an audible voice.  He said, “You will have all the desires of your heart. You will have all your hopes and dreams.”

Yes, scripture in Psalm 37:4 tells us when we delight ourselves in the Lord, he will give us the desire of our hearts.  Of course, when we delight ourselves in the Lord, our desires become more like his desires for us.  Even so, when God takes the time to audibly speak that to you—this word resonated with such power!  Psalm 5:4 says wickedness cannot stay in the presence of God.  I felt the presence of God with so much power.  I pondered how after all I had done wrong, could God still tell me I would have all the desires of my heart and all my hopes and dreams.  Because……God desires his good for every part of us.  He desires our whole heart.  He doesn’t want us to hold anything back from him.  In this case, our children is a gift from God. We are given them for a short period of time and he expects us to raise them in the way he says they should go. God trusts us with that. He also tells us he will reward our efforts—even when we make mistakes.  He desires to be the Lord of our lives—of my life, your life and even my daughter’s life.  I had to let her go for God to be able to do the complete work in her he desired to do.

Am I still “there” for my daughter?  Yes!  Absolutely!  But she is a grown woman and she had to learn how to live her life on her own without mom always being there to tell her what she should do.  God is able.  After all, God raised us, right?

During this season in early 2015, the Lord asked me what I wanted him to do.  He said, “Just ask.”  I listed the many desires he had developed in me of seeing people and nations set free from bondage and walk in the light of his salvation. He listed as I rambled on and on. Then he said, “Where much is given, much is required.”  Well, well, well.  Profound silence.  It’s that moment when you realize your desires have become God’s desires for you.  But…..he wants all of you.  He must have all of you, an undivided heart, to accomplish his purpose in your life.

Today, I remind God often saying, “Remember, you said you would give me all the desires of my heart and all my hopes and dreams.  Well…..”  Me and God are good that way.  Does that mean God will give me anything I want.  Probably not.  Actually some things I may want may well not be God’s best for me, and actually that’s what I really want–God’s best for me.  For clarification, God is not someone who sits waiting to grant us every wish, like that of the perverbial genie in a bottle.  God created us to be in a relationship with him.  With any relationship, it’s a two-way street.  My goal is to be walking with God on the same side of the street, going the same direction with him. As most of my desires are for the welfare of others, I do have many of my own desires, hopes and dreams that stay tucked away in my heart and firmly seated in God’s keeping hand. Of course, they evolve and change.  Such is the way of God. Although HE never changes, the world around us does, therefore, we need to be pliable to be usable by God.

Until then…..We continue to  “Dream a little dream, dream a little while, hmmm, hmmm”  (I really wish I knew the name of this song.  I think it’s a Steven Curtis Chapman song. It’s been stuck in my head for 15 years.  So…..if you know what that name of this song is, I would appreciate you letting me know so I can get it out of my head and sing it in its complete form.)

Learning to let go.   It’s a process that will continue until we are with him in heaven.

Blessings……..

If I Love You More, Will You Love Me Less?

(Originally Posted 1-13-2018)

If I Love You More, Will You Love Me Less?

“Do you love me?” I was asked.   “Yes,” I answered.  “How much?” was the reply.  Without hesitation, my response would be, “Okay, what do you want now??”  I heard this often as my kids were growing up. A common colloquialism indeed.  Can love by measured?  Or, is love simply the act of being?

Paul makes the statement “If I love you more, will you love me less?” in 2 Corinthians 12:15. He was preparing to visit the church at Corinth for the third time after false apostles criticized him for not having supernatural experiences and doing miracles as they did. He did not want to have to defend his apostleship and position of authority with the church, but he did so by recalling the miracles he had performed in their presence and also noted that during each of his stays, he was not a burden to the church at Corinth because he always found a way to support himself.  He goes on to say he would gladly spend all he has for them, including expending himself completely for their growth, understanding and steadfast devotion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Can love be measured?  Or, is love simply the act of being?  Spending time, space, money, words, deeds or perhaps even in our silence love can be shown. Love is a testament to our faith in God and in our service to him. Love is seen in how much we do, in what we spend and extend of ourselves, and this is not always shown in the amount of money we spend.

However, just as the church at Corinth was young at that time, our kids too tend to measure love in dollars and cents, especially if they are involved in extra curricular activities at school or in the community.  Life can become a real juggling act, especially when you have more than one child, all going different directions. My children were at one time both involved in soccer, my daughter for three years. Then she advanced to cheerleading and my son to Taekwondo. Then there was my daughter’s first high school prom—all while being in band and choir. Oh my.  All of which were expensive and time consuming. Even as much as we struggled and with the little support I received to help raise them, we always found a way—even when it meant me working two jobs. But I never complained and I never saw it as a burden. We don’t mind going the extra mile for those we love. Sometimes, when we give more, more is expected and the great wealth of what we expended on them gets lost in their desire to have more.

This is what Paul was talking about. Even though there were those who tried to discredit him for not “performing” like others or as others thought he should, he proved himself to be diligent in raising up this church in Corinth in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ, founded on his truth and doing so without being a financial burden to them. He gave all he had and asked only their obedience to Christ’s teachings in return.

If I love you more, will you love me less?  What is in your heart?  Do you measure love by how much a person spends on you? Or by how much a person spends with you, doing life and going through the ups and downs with you?  May we all love one another without reproach or expecting something in return. Love isn’t love until you give it away.  Peace.

Serve One Another As Unto The Lord

(Originally Posted 1-9-2018)

Serve one another.  The very act of service that leads some to believe it is in it truest form living as an indentured servant—enslaved to the very act of giving to others without receiving in kind.  In fact, we all serve to some extent.  What always boggled my mind is the thinking that those who serve are beneath those who do not, or in most cases will not.  Unfortunately, we often times cannot see the forest for the trees.

Teachers, for example, serve every day. They give and give and receive little in return.  At least as far as monetary compensation.  They have the greatest influence on our future society and world and receive the least amount of pay for this great investment in our future.

There are many who work in the area of waste management.  For those who work in this field, the title has evolved today from what was once referred to as the neighborhood “trash man.”  This work holds a great risk to one’s health and proves a definite challenge to those in risk management to ensure the health and well-being of those who are willing to work at all hours of the night so we can have the pleasure of a clutter-free, smell-free and waste-free home.  Again, not a glamorous position to hold, yet one of a great service to our communities around the world.

When I was going through college several years ago, I worked in a school cafeteria where my daughter attended school.  There in-lies some of the most caring and wisest people I’ve ever met with all the glamour of a star in the making.  You know what I’m talking about—sporting the unique fashion trend of a wearing a hairnet.  Talk about the “bedhead” look.  Yep.  We had it goin’ on!  Good food, service with a smile and kind encouraging words were expected and required with very low pay, hot steam in the face, skin cracking and sore backs from leaning over the sink scrubbing pots and pans.  All so our children, the bright stars of our future and their instructional caretakers and staff would be properly nourished each day.  Along with our custodians, I do believe these are some of the most overlooked and under appreciated people in our schools today.  But each one carries the level of servanthood perhaps we should not underestimate.

Although I continue ongoing education so I may better myself in all seasons of life and so me and my family will not live in poverty, I’ve never thought of myself as too good to do the seemingly worst job.  I was born to a blue-collar family.  We worked and we worked hard.  From farming, to serving in the military, to working in a garden to literally provide the food we ate—and yes this was only about 30 years ago, and owning and operating our own businesses.  We have a strong work ethic.  We have also had more than our share of ups and downs with losses that were devastating.  However, I’m so very thankful to have been born into a family who has a strong moral compass and was taught early to trust God for who we are and all we need.  All in all—God gave me a servant’s heart.  A heart to help others.

I remember after my divorce and God’s love broke through my broken soul and skeleton of a person and began to fashion me into who I’ve ultimately become today, I told God, “I want you to heal me and heal me as soon as possible, because I do not want to spend the next 30 years trying to get over this.”  God is faithful.  God will move, change us and grow us all in love, mercy and grace as much and as fast as we allow him to do.  God has used many people in my life to help me, for all of whom I am eternally grateful.

I remember many years ago I was watching TBN.  I saw Jan Crouch walking on the banks of Jordan.  She was talking about the darkness of depression and how debilitating it was for her but how God delivered her and healed her.  I sat and listened intentionality and with stark, profound clarity, I realized she was describing what I was feeling but never knew how to put into words.  She talked about the Lord telling her to go to church one day. Even though she didn’t feel up to it, she went anyway.  At the end of the service, the Lord prompted her to go to the altar to pray for a young woman there.  She described how she felt so displaced and inadequate to help her, but she went anyway.  She then described how the Holy Spirit lifted her up and she began to experience breakthrough like she had never experienced before.  She then said, she never understood it before, but you have to give what you need.  Indeed, a clear presentation of the law of sowing and reaping—all from a servant’s heart.

It wasn’t too many years ago.  I moved me and my son to Oklahoma with new, great expectations of the new beginning to a great adventure the Lord was taking us on.  Had I known just how hard it was going to be, I likely would have told the Lord “No.”  I came with great faith but only just enough money to support us for a few months.  I stood on the scripture found in Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  I called in the great harvest of all the good seeds I had sown.  I stood on my knowledge and understanding of my relationship with God that he would never leave me or forsake me and in fact, he spoke to me and added to it, “To the end of the age.” So, I knew I was on another challenging but great journey with the Lord.  Within days, the Lord provided me with a job.

That would go on for about three years.  Then, my job began to phase out.  This was 2013.  I had just started school of ministry.  I finally took that step of fulfilling God’s promise to me of making me an ordained minister.  My faith was strong as I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.  At the beginning of that year, I had a terrible car wreck that totaled my car and damaged my neck and right shoulder.  I had to resort to transcribing with my keyboard in my lap, yet my faith continued strong. I was determined not to allow anything to be taken from me.  One July 1, 2013, I was laid off.  Electronic medical record keeping had taken many of the accounts and there was no longer enough work to justify my employment.

Wow.  I moved me and my son to a land I did not know, people I did not know with no family I could reach out to for support of any kind.  This was hard.  I must have sent 50 resumes for work, but nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I was to the point I had to have a break or I was going to be evicted.  By this time, I had exhausted all provision I had.

Through a neighbor, I was introduced to the pastor of the local Salvation Army church.  She asked me if I would be willing to teach piano for their youth.  I was excited!  I finally had a break—even as small as it seemed. Doors even opened for me to clean a few houses. What is always amazing about God is that in all things God works all things together for our good.  It was at this very church I had my first opportunity to tell my story to the women’s group.  This ultimately opened doors for me to tell my story at their headquarters homeless shelter chapel, and eventually allowed me the opportunity to stand behind their pulpit and preach.  In all things, God is good.  All. The. Time.

Eventually, I was offered a full-time position managing their bell ringing ministry for the holidays.  Have you ever seen someone standing outside a store ringing a bell with a kettle you put money in that is hanging on a stand during the Christmas season?  Yep.  That’s what I did in Broken Arrow.  For three years I operated this ministry for them.  I absolutely loved it!  It was not only full-time work, I was able to work with people from all different backgrounds.  The common thread in everyone—we were all willing to work—we had a mind and a heart to work.  If you’ve never done it, this job is not for the faint-hearted.  It requires standing on your feet for hours at a time, and remaining cheerful and pleasant while the cold wind and even rain beats on you making you feel as if a thousand knives are cutting away at you.  At the end of the day, you feel as if you had been run over by a bus—back hurting, hips aching, wrists tired—and all you did was stand and ring a bell.

My day would start at 7 am and end at 10 pm for six days a week.  If I wasn’t working in the field, I was in the office answering the dozens of phone calls of the organizations who wanted to be scheduled to help ring the bells for this fine organization.  We would rally together each morning for a few encouraging moments to motivate the servant’s heart in remembrance of “It’s not about us.”  It was at times exhausting, but I loved it.  I saw the spirit of man at its strongest.  I saw the love of the season shown in the simplest expressions of Hi!  Merry Christmas!  Peace to you!  All from people who I know had very little to give—except the heart of a servant from within themselves.  I must say, you cannot put in a box and buy from a shelf the gratitude of those who were given an opportunity to serve and give day in and day out.

I took the time to talk with each one every day.  I heard about where they come from.  Struggles they have come through—some they are still working through.  I saw the smile on the face of those who were given life through the ability to give a smile to someone else—some who may not otherwise receive a smile throughout their day, and even some who could care less to ever understand the plight of another’s condition.  I saw great excitement when towards the end of the season, those who stuck it out and continued to give as unto the Lord were rewarded with bonuses.

I’ll never forget the tear-filled eyes and facial expression of a woman who came from almost nothing, who had little self-esteem beset upon her from the many life struggles she encountered, but with that little seed of faith within her, she stepped out and just “tried” each day.  She worked earnestly trying to “find her place.”  When she finally received the ultimate “Red Kettle” award for ringing the biggest kettle, she jumped out of her seat with excitement.  This was same excitement I saw from my son when he was ten years old and he finally made a basket for his team in basketball—he literally jumped three feet in the air!  This woman’s self-esteem grew so much throughout that season of bell ringing, she soon thereafter found stable, year-round, full-time work.  Yes. The seasons I operated the kettles ministry was very rewarding.

Yes.  As hard as working during the kettle season was, I loved it and I always hated seeing it end.

Serving is hard.  It requires giving of yourself.  Sometimes, it requires giving more of yourself than you ever thought to had, without expecting to receive.  That’s why scripture tells us in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do (whatever your task may be), work from the soul (that is, put in your very best effort), as (something done) for the Lord and not for man.  (AMP)

When we give as if we were giving to the Lord, the giving doesn’t seem to be as hard.  Be honest with yourself.  Doesn’t it seem easier to give to someone you love, rather than someone you don’t even know?  Of course it is!  When we rely on our own strength, our own understanding, our own expectations and our own perceptions of others, we will soon find ourselves asking more questions of “why” or “why not” rather than just accepting, receiving and loving.

Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.  Acknowledge him in all your ways and he will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5, 6.  Our perfect is example to follow is Jesus.  Jesus came to serve.  Let God show you the line to draw in your service to him.  Truly, we are not all called to serve in the same areas or tasks.  But we are all called to serve on the same battlefield.  The battlefield of pulling down those strongholds through showing God’s love to one another.  Do so with eyes wide open, willing to pray.  Then we will taste and see that the Lord is good.  Serve the Lord. Serve others.  Do all things as unto the Lord.

Pray Even When It Seems You’re Outnumbered

(Originally Posted 9-29-2017)

The Holy Spirit spoke to me so clearly today, “Pray, even when it seems like you’re out numbered.”

Could something so simple make a difference?

That word was so profound and so timely. He reminded me of the story of Jehoshaphat who was the king of Judah. He made unhealthy alliances, which was not God’s choice for him. He thought he was doing a good thing, but it turns out it wasn’t. He thought those alliances could help protect him from enemy attack, but he instead ended up going through great attacks from the enemy because of it.

Jehoshaphat turned away from this alliance and began once again to rely completely on God and trust him with the decisions and choices he made.

Sometime later, a vast army set out to attack the nation of Judah. Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord. Through a prophet, The Lord told Jehoshaphat, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but belongs to God.” Jehoshaphat was given further instructions to go out and face the enemy and that the Lord would be with him.

The next morning Jehoshaphat encouraged his people and said, “have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” They began to sing praises to God. As they began to sing in praise, the Lord sent ambushes against the army and the army was defeated–all without Jehoshaphat or his army having to fight.

This is what the Lord is telling us all. Pray. Talk to God. Rely on him to give you the answers, directions you need. Don’t listen to the voice of doubt or fear. TRUST GOD that HIS WORD will do what He sends it to do–even if it seems like the enemy is gaining ground or if you don’t see the answer right away–and watch God defeat the enemy sent to attack you.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. The devil is a liar and he’s working overtime on the minds of his people trying to steal your faith and trust in the Lord God Almighty, the one who is all powerful and able to turn things around for good for you!!!

God Says…..The Battle Is Mine

(Originally Posted 10-23-2017)

 

The Holy Spirit spoke to me so clearly today, “Pray, even when it seems like you’re out numbered.”

Could something so simple make a difference?

That word was so profound and so timely. He reminded me of the story of Jehoshaphat who was the king of Judah. He made unhealthy alliances, which was not God’s choice for him. He thought he was doing a good thing, but it turns out it wasn’t. He thought those alliances could help protect him from enemy attack, but he instead ended up going through great attacks from the enemy because of it.

Jehoshaphat turned away from this alliance and began once again to rely completely on God and trust him with the decisions and choices he made.

Sometime later, a vast army set out to attack the nation of Judah. Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord. Through a prophet, The Lord told Jehoshaphat, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but belongs to God.” Jehoshaphat was given further instructions to go out and face the enemy and that the Lord would be with him.

The next morning Jehoshaphat encouraged his people and said, “have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” They began to sing praises to God. As they began to sing in praise, the Lord sent ambushes against the army and the army was defeated–all without Jehoshaphat or his army having to fight.

This is what the Lord is telling us all. Pray. Talk to God. Rely on him to give you the answers, directions you need. Don’t listen to the voice of doubt or fear. TRUST GOD that HIS WORD will do what He sends it to do–even if it seems like the enemy is gaining ground or if you don’t see the answer right away–and watch God defeat the enemy sent to attack you.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. The devil is a liar and he’s working overtime on the minds of his people trying to steal your faith and trust in the Lord God Almighty, the one who is all powerful and able to turn things around for good for you!!!