My Annual “Single on Valentine’s Day” Post

I think I started writing a thought for singles on Valentines Day probably, I don’t know, 10 years ago? I usually share something I’ve learned about the true meaning of love, doing special things for other people, loving God, loving others, loving self. I recently saw a post about Dairy Queen honoring singles on Valentine’s Day with our own special Blizzard. Everyone is hoping on board the happily single train! And no doubt, there are a lot of things that a single can do to make Valentine’s Day special. But that’s not what I’m going to write about this year.

Last week I attended a Bible study in which a woman who has the gift of prophecy spoke a word into my life. I’m still pondering the meaning of it, and that’s what I’m going to write about this year.

She said, “You’ve outgrown your singleness.” I’ve never in my life had anyone say that.

Usually people say something about how I’m not trying hard enough, or how I am isolated where I live, or how I must be too picky, or they can’t think of anyone who is good enough to introduce to me. That’s the nice side of what is said. I’ve had some really mean things said to me too.

I’ve learned how to tune out their comments, but this new positive comment . . . I’m not quite sure what to do with it. She did clarify and say that she wasn’t meaning that I was going to get married – just that I had outgrown my singleness and that I need relationships to keep growing. She said some other spot-on things too, but I’ll keep those for another day.

What does it mean to outgrow singleness? To need relationships in order to grow?

I’ve come a long way on my own. I’ve grown as a person and I’ve grown in business. I’m still growing. I know the growth could become exponential if I had other people in my life sharing my vision, even one other person would make a huge difference in the growth.

This year I’ve officially started my Life Coaching business. I’m starting to reach out to others to share what I’ve learned. I’ve outgrown my singleness and it’s time to start reaching beyond my own growth, for the growth of others.

What about you? Whether you are single, dating, married, or in something complicated, have you outgrown you? If not, what areas do you still need to grow in? What areas do you have strength to share with the world?

We all have needs, but we all have something to give too. This Valentine’s Day, outgrow your singleness. Reach out to the world around you. Love. Be loved.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Walking by faith in pretty shoes

Over a year ago I was at a new friend’s house when I happened to notice a lovely pair of high heels in her office. “I love those! Are you selling them?” I asked. The answer was no, and my heart dropped just a little. I do have a weakness for pretty things!

A year later my friend texted me, “Do you still want the shoes? I’m selling them in my yard sale.” YES! I told her to put my name on them, and I would come and pick them up.

I’ve had them for a few months, but I haven’t had a chance to wear the shoes yet. I’m saving them for Easter. Today, my friend sent me a picture she had made playing around when she first started photography projects. My shoes were the featured centerpiece.

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Now, onto my life lesson.

Sometimes we know what we want and what would work out great for our lives, and we ask the question, “Can I have that? Is it for me?” And God says, “No.” We still like what we like, and want what we want, but sometimes the timing is just off.

I completely forgot about those shoes my friend had until she texted me that day telling me they were available if I wanted them. I may have forgotten, but she remembered, and it made both of us happy to re-home those shoes!

That’s the way so many things in our lives are. For years, I’ve longed for certain things . . . Love, a family of my own, financial security, a place I could feel at home, a sense of belonging. When the answer was, “No,” over and over again, I pushed all thoughts of those things I hoped for out of my head. I didn’t think about them because I felt they were out of reach, and they were, and are.

Tonight I was at a Bible study where a prophetic word was spoken over my life. It was a confirmation to me about the direction God wants me to go in my life. The timing hasn’t been right, but the desire has been in my heart. I know the time is coming closer and that my life is going to change again. My heart is ready for what God has in store. When I get that “come and get it” text from God, I will go, and I will receive my blessing!

I don’t know when or how the next step will happen in my life; it’s a walk of faith. God has the shoes and the walking path ready. I just have to take a step and let Him lead the dance of my life. When walking by faith, I know I’ll be wearing beautiful shoes!

I have to go back to the theme verse for my publishing business, Our Written Lives:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of “her” that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”

God has given me the power to be a witness. Now it’s time to expand my tent, strengthen the tent stakes and go forth with JOY.

What came first, the Truth or the lie?

What came first:
Legitimate printed money, or counterfeit?
The expensive name brand purse, or the cheap knock-off?
Correct spiritual doctrine, or false doctrine?
The Truth, or a lie?

It’s a question we’ve heard for years. What came first, the chicken or the egg? I’ve always known the answer to that question. The chicken came first.

Genesis 1:20, “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

The chicken came first because “IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED” chickens and then they “brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind.”

It’s a funny example, but the principle of originality always goes back to the same question, “What came first?”

There can be no counterfeit money without legitimate printed money holding value. There can be no cheap knock-off purse without an expensive name brand purse first making the product and giving it value. There can be no false doctrine unless there is first correct and powerful spiritual doctrine. There can be no lie unless the Truth is there first.

Many people today follow beliefs that are based on a “second” thought or teaching. Millions of people put their faith into prophets and books that came hundreds of years after the Original Book, God’s Word. False doctrines claim to be from God, and even point back to the Word of God, but they don’t line up.

All you have to do is study the original to know the real thing! Why settle for a cheap knock-off when you can have the Truth? Why settle for “religion” or “tradition” when you can experience a relationship with God for yourself? The price has already been paid.

When you have God’s precious gift of Truth, you don’t have to go for the fake to appear you’ve got the real thing. You don’t have to go out of your way to make people think you are a holy person. When you are living right, you just live.

A real relationship with God is available for you today. What came first? God’s Word or man’s interpretation, exposition, or creeds? Go back to the original and you will find the Truth, the Way and the Life.

Isaiah 55:1-2 and 6-9, “Every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. . . . Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LordFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”


Since posting this blog, I have had what appears to be a scammer trying to sue me for using the following picture on this blog site. I have included proof of purchase of the correct image license for using this photo below.

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The Bible & Art

I’m not the greatest artist, but I’ve always had a love for art. It’s fun. Art was my favorite class growing up in school. It didn’t matter what we were doing, I enjoyed it.

As an adult, I moved away from art and started focusing more on writing. I learned I could better express myself through writing and I was pretty good at it – though not the best. I still continued to paint on occasion, but I started using the computer as an outlet for creativity.

This year, however, I am returning back to some of the simpler days when it comes to my Bible reading time. I know I learn best when I hear and write information down, so as I am listening to the Bible read aloud via the net, I am handwriting a focus scripture.

Along with my handwritten scripture, I am creating a doodle art to reinforce the message of the scripture. It’s not the greatest art, but it helps to stick in my mind.

I’ve been sharing these doodles on my Facebook page, but I wanted to share them here on my blog as well.

I want to encourage you as well. Step out of the box when it comes to meditating on the scripture. Do what works for you, and something that you will enjoy. Reading the Bible doesn’t need to be a chore on your to-do list, but something that feeds your spirit.

May God bless you and take you into a Brighter Day today!

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God Answers Prayer? Yes!

I’m not quite sure where to begin this post. I have re-written the first few lines at least five times now. Does God still answer prayer? Yes! I have had a lot of answers to prayers lately. These obvious and miraculous answers to prayer are a boost of faith after a season of seemingly unanswered prayer.

I would love to tell you all of the details of what God is doing right now, but I can’t because #1 I don’t know all of the details, and #2 the answer is still in development. I can say that about two weeks ago, God began to show me a glimpse of an answer to a prayer I began praying approximately 17 years ago.

10612800_10154627971750010_3626049024218939040_n17 years ago is a long time. I was 15 years old then, and my faith was strong. I experienced many answered prayers back then. I had many dreams and visions, and many spiritual battles and times of intercession where I would pray in the Spirit for other people.

I never saw any “answers” back then. I always felt as if the Lord used me for intercessory prayer and for seed planting. It was someone else’s job to tend to the seeds and harvest them.

But the 17 years later, the fields are ready for harvest (John 4:35). Though the answer is still in progress, I can see that after 17 years the seed God used me to plant is still alive.

You may be waiting on a prayer from long, long ago. Don’t lose heart. Keep praying and believing. God hears your prayer and sees your faith. Miracles still happen, and God is working. I am amazed at what is happening right now. I am looking forward to the day when I can testify about it!

 

Side Thought: Many people wonder if God even hears their prayers. The Bible has the answer: God hears the prayers of the person who worships Him and does His will, but does not listen to the prayers of wicked people (John 9:31, Psalm 34:15, Proverbs 15:29, +more). 

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Curds & Honey

Last night I stumbled upon a Holiday Scripture Writing Plan. I’ve never seen one of these before, but I liked the idea and decided to start early. ScriptureWriting.jpg

Along with writing out Day 1’s verses, I added my own Bible journaling aspect to my writing. If you’re not familiar with Bible journaling, google it – there are some beautiful pieces out there.

The verse that stood out to me was Isaiah 7:15. “He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.”CurdsAndHoney.jpg

I’ve been a part of an amazing Bible study based on the book Good or God, by John Bevere. So the concept of “good” has been in my mind a lot lately. In the process of the study, God has opened my eyes to a few situations I deemed “good” but were actually deceptive. I was pretty shocked at the revelations.

So when I read verse 15, the word “good” stood out to me, but of course “curds and honey” also stood out . . . The verse is talking about Jesus, and I honestly don’t ever remember reading it before.

What do curds and honey have to do with anything? And what do they have to do with refusing evil and choosing good? My thoughts stayed on this scripture and I woke up this morning thinking about it again.

What do curds and honey have in common?

Curds are the curdled part of soured milk. Gross. But it’s also what makes stuff like cottage cheese and cheese curds. A lot of people like curds, but it takes some bad, some discards, some souring, some “evil” to make the curds.

And honey? Bees are involved, and they sting. There’s also wax and a hive and danger and a process to obtain the honey and make it “good” to eat. There’s “evil” (or negative) involved.

Evil might seem like too strong a word to use when talking about curds and honey, but you get the point. There’s a negative aspect to producing something good and beneficial.

If we aren’t willing to go through the process, to withstand the evil days, then we will not stick around to enjoy the good. As well, if we focus on the negative or the process, we might not choose to see the good. Even once the process is complete, there is still “refuse” (a part to throw away) and a part to enjoy.

Today, look past the sour, the sting, the danger and the smell. Refuse the evil and choose the good. Eat curds and honey. Enjoy the day.

 

Keep the Oil in your lamp!

Matthew 25:1-13 is the story of ten people who waited on the groom to arrive before they went to celebrate the wedding. Five were wise and stayed ready, with their lamps full of oil. Five were foolish and were not prepared when the groom arrived. Most people are familiar with the story being called “the parable of the ten virgins.”

 A few details stand out.

  • In the Bible, oil represents the Spirit of God.
  • The people in the story were referred to as virgins, meaning they were pure.
  • The people were responsible for keeping their lamps full and ready.
  • Ten people were waiting and watching for the groom’s arrival, but only five were ready.
  • The groom’s arrival represents Jesus’ return.

I was thinking about this story today and conviction struck the core of me. If the people in the story represent the church, or believers, only half of us are ready for Jesus’ return. If the oil represents the Spirit of God, and the lamps represent our souls, then we must be filled with the Spirit of God, or we will not be ready for Jesus’ return. Those who were ready went with the groom, but those who were not ready were locked out.

Are you filled with the Spirit of God? Does God know you intimately? If not, be wise, go now and get the oil in your lamp. Keep it full. Get ready. Jesus is coming soon. Be ready to go with Him. Know Him and be filled with His Spirit.

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Being a Christian and THINKING about the Refugee Crisis

The Refugee Crisis . . . I’ve heard so many people say it is unChristian to not want to bring them in. This post isn’t arguing one way or another, but like many of my thoughts, I simply want to challenge you to think about it from another angle. One that is both compassionate and practical. (Side Note: I realize not all the refugees are terrorists. I am NOT saying they are.)

The whole situation reminds me of a couple my parents know. They are very good hearted people who had a desire to reach out to homeless people. They would go down to the parks and minister, and occasionally they met one or two, or five, that needed a place to stay, so they opened up their personal home to them.

It wasn’t long before their home was full of homeless people that they were personally supporting. They didn’t have enough money to do it, so they ended up having to move away. They couldn’t even afford to take care of themselves anymore. It’s a sad story. The homeless people didn’t change or get better. They went right back to the streets because that is where they want to be.

As much as we love people and want to help them, we can not force them to change or assimilate. The refugees need help, for sure, but they have no desire to be American. They will not assimilate. We must be careful that we don’t open our personal assets, or one day we will find ourselves without a home and with no resources to even care for ourselves.

Think about the Revolutionary War – British soldiers were taking over people’s personal homes. People were required to allow others to live with them – to provide for them – to feed them.

Would you open your home to a refugee family? What if the government’s way of providing turned into telling us that since we have an extra room we had to offer it . . . It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened. It still happens in communist countries.

Take a look at the way China has been – they micromanage how many children people have. They force abortions. Talk about getting personal.

Do you want to live in a boundary-less country? Do you want to live in a boundary-less life? What if you had to live with the people you work with? That would be much easier than living with terrorists. I’m not saying all the refugees are terrorists.

All I’m saying is THINK. Stop with the idealism and be practical. You go first. Open your home to the homeless. They are less violent than potential terrorists, and they speak English and are already a part of American society, though in a sub-culture.

Proverbs 25:28 KJV
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Proverbs 22:24 KJV
Make no friendship with an angry man;  and with a furious man thou shalt not go:

Pick Up Your Cross

457802d6329c8dc6304e8618650ea949This past week I had an amazing encounter with the Lord. It was one of those times when I clearly saw God directing my steps and changing my path. It wasn’t what I expected, but He is a Good, Good Father and He knows how to get us out of situations that are no longer beneficial to us.

As I was getting dressed that day, I prayed the Lord would take care of the situation quickly. I didn’t want it to drag out. There had already been too much drama. I dreaded going in. I didn’t know how it would all unfold, but I hoped it would turn out better than my gut was telling me it would.

As I was driving into what I felt would be a stressful situation, I had a song come to mind. It was Crucified with Christ by Phillips, Craig and Dean. I had the CD with that song in my car so I turned it on and had time to listen to the song one time fully before I arrived at my destination.

As the song played, the Lord began to speak to my heart . . . When you pick up your cross and follow, you know you’re walking to Golgotha. You know it’s about to get worse, but you still deny yourself and keep walking. The cross is heavy and you’re already in pain, but you keep walking straight toward death, ready to enter more pain and ready to forgive.

I thanked the Lord for going before me. I prayed He would order my steps. I had no idea exactly what to expect. The person I was going to talk to had shown two very different sides of himself. I didn’t know which one I would be encountering. I prayed the good side. I prayed the good side was the true side.

I wasn’t there even 15 minutes and the situation became volatile. There was nothing that could be done, but to leave with grace.

I know the situation was steeped in a spiritual battle. We don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, but with spiritual wickedness in high places. When a circumstance becomes unstable, confusing and full of lies and accusations, the enemy is present. The enemy of our souls comes to kill, steal and destroy. There are many “good” people out there that allow themselves to become a conduits and voice for the accuser and father of lies.

We cannot be surrendered to Christ and still maintain full control. There are many “good” people who say they live for Christ, but are doing it out of their own strength. Human strength is not enough to overcome the enemy. Unless we are willing to pick up our cross, lay down our lives, and allow Jesus full reign, we are fooling ourselves. We must be born again of water and Spirit or we will not see the kingdom of Heaven (John 3:5).

Living for the Lord isn’t about it being easy. The cross is about death. We must die so He can live through us.

Stay encouraged as you go through your battle today. Jesus was mocked, spit on, falsely accused, tortured and tormented. In pain, He picked up His cross and walked to the hill of death. He knew the worse was coming. Humiliation, more pain, rejection, the broken hearts of his friends and family. He suffered. He died.

And then He rose again, conquering death, hell and the grave!

What is your Golgotha today? What situation is God asking you to walk into? It may be volatile, dangerous and confusing. Keep walking. Keep following Him. Allow Him to direct your steps. He goes before you. He is with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. You may have to die, but you will rise again in new life!

The situation will end, and you will be out of there! You will receive victory. You may have some recovery time, but you will be strong again. Pick up your cross and follow Jesus! His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.

I’m praying for you today.
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A Prayer Request

I’ve worked a lot on my current manuscript lately, and I have to say it’s been a personal challenge. I’m writing about cosmetic surgery from a Christian perspective. The topic is personal for me, since I had an elective cosmetic surgery several years ago. I’ve wanted to write a book on the topic for a long time, but I just wasn’t ready emotionally to dig deep. Last year, I finally felt ready, I started writing and completed a huge chunk of the draft.

Power-Of-Written-Prayer-1050x700Then I hit a slump. With only three chapters left to write, I felt as if I didn’t want to dig deep any more. One of the chapters was what I’d consider the most important chapter of the book: how cosmetic surgery impacts family relationships. This chapter is a challenge for me in so many ways. It’s difficult because #1, I’m limited to write only from my perspective (I am not writing from my family member’s perspectives). #2, I’m protecting the confidentiality of other people whose choices have made an impact on my choices, #3 I still have some internal confusion and pain to work through.

So I stopped writing. I stopped doing the difficult work. I left the manuscript alone for months.

Yet there it was gnawing at me. I wasn’t getting any better ignoring it. I wasn’t working on the confusion and pain by pretending it isn’t there. I can’t run from my last chapter forever. So I finally started working on it again. Last week I spent a full two days working on two chapters. I finished one of the chapters pretty quickly, but that chapter about the impact of cosmetic surgery on family members . . . I wrote five pages and felt so overwhelmed by the greatness of the topic, I just had to stop.

So it’s been about a week and I haven’t touched it. And my brain has stayed on high-anxiety since I stopped working on it.

I talked to one of the authors I’m working with about the book and the chapter. We had been talking about his book and working on it for a while. But I needed to talk, and thankfully he listened. One thing he said really stands out to me, and that is that my book doesn’t have to cover everything. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive on the topic. It’s just a little piece of the big picture. One piece of the puzzle. It’s just a resource to open the door for discussion on the topic. It’s not the end all.

Just hearing him say that eased my anxiety a bit. Sure, people will read my book and they may have thoughts and ideas sprout in their own lives because of it, but my book is not the end all. It is not the source of all clarity.

In the Christian world, the topic of cosmetic surgery is controversial. I’ve encountered a few people who feel defensive over their surgeries and are unsure about what I’m going to write about it. It’s a topic almost no one in churches are talking about at all. That’s why I have to write about it. Maybe my book will spur some discussions, and maybe those of us who have had cosmetic surgery won’t feel so isolated and shamed over it.

One thing that has become abundantly clear to me in this past week is the picture of who I am writing for. I’m writing for sisters, daughters, mothers and friends. I want to offer my story and my research as a sister, daughter, mother and friend. In the process, I’m pouring out my life into the book. It’s painful at times, but I know if I can complete this book, and if the Lord is given full reign over it, and if His anointing is on it, only then will He be able to impact lives through the work.

We never know what will come of the work we strive to do for God. I am facing the same fear, frustration and doubt that you might face when you stand up to preach or sing in front of a crowd. My book will be going out to the world. I feel vulnerable. What will God do with my offering?

dsc0121Like other ministers, I have to say that if my book touches one life and brings that one life closer to Jesus, then it is worth it all. Even if I face rejection and defensiveness, and conflict and controversy, I know if I put the Lord first and allow Him to fight my battles, He will bring good out of it all. And that is what I want. I want God to take my life and use it for His glory. I want yesterday’s selfishness to become today and tomorrow’s gift to God.

At the altar, on my knees is where I have to be when I write. It’s there that He begins to whisper into my heart the words He wants me to write. And I find myself kneeling at the cross of Christ, offering my life, my book, for His service.

Please pray for me as I write. I want the words I write to bring God glory. I will take my writing to the leadership God has placed in my life and ask their opinion. I will re-write and write until the books is ready, a nurturing and nourishing meal for my sisters, daughters, mothers and friends.