February 28, 2013

Five Minute Friday - ORDINARY

Wow... what a fun and crowded house over at the Twitter Party (#FMFParty on Thursday nights!)  - much 'louder' than last week! ...it was a much needed party for me, let me tell ya!  This week has felt like it is dragging on and today was a tough one to get through.  It's always nice to enter in to this crazy talented, amazingly full of God Flashmob of a sisterhood (and brotherhood?)... and yes, I resisted the urge to hashtag all of that! ;) So... here comes the prompt from Lisa-Jo.

First - the fine print if you don't know what FMF is!  Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at one minute past midnight Friday morning (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes: Five Minute Friday - ORDINARY...


 After a long week, and a longer day... the word prompt comes at me and I shrink back.

I am surprised at how this one word, "Ordinary" no longer invites me in... it no longer wraps itself around me and welcomes me to get lost... to blend in... to not expect...

And this, my friend, is a GOOD SURPRISE!

My OneWord has shown up big today - in both good and bad ways.  But the most - well - surprising way is this: that I no longer desire to hide.

Ordinary is a lie... I refuse to believe in it!
No - I choose instead to lean in to Extraordinary!

Natural fades, and pales in comparison, in the light of Supernatural.

I realize now that this shift happened for me unexpectedly when I was speaking it over her!  I have spent all of her years telling her that she is anything but ordinary!  She is incredible... that God created her for something special... that He made her to be Awesome, and she IS!  As I wrote about last week, I followed What (my) Mama Did on purpose and I have whispered destiny and identity into her heart from Day One.  Not just how pretty she is - but how smart... and how good He is.

Today she experienced loss. A sort of waking up before the dream was done... she's still in a fog. Unwilling to embrace or even acknowledge her emotions.  It is nothing life threatening - but oh how the enemy can twist and turn and make a lie feel true!

So tonight, I left the Five Minute Friday party early, and I cuddled up close.  We counted gifts, yes - even in this... and I reminded her once again - that she is EXTRAORDINARY... that God is SUPERNATURAL... that when we follow His lead, we can't go wrong and when we lay down a dream... He weaves us a new one!

We will lean in to Him, lean on each other, we will offer out slippery Grace, and we WILL live out the Dream that HE has for us...


Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On!

Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts!
Click here to read what others have to say about "Ordinary":
Five Minute Friday

February 26, 2013

The Flow of Grace

As I was counting gifts the other day... because this is now a habit and I count on, on good days and on bad... I was writing #886, about how I was able to not allow a friends' tendency to fear the worst effect my faith or stop up the flow of grace when the thought came at me fast and furious and caught my breath for a moment:

"Grace should be slippery... running through hands! There is no clutching it tightly."

Grace is not meant for only us... one can't really be stingy with it!

It is so much easier to extend Grace when we are mindful of two things:
#1.  That we are desperately in need of it ourselves and
#2. That none of us 'earns' it... no not one.

I have gone through seasons of religion; times in my life and in my walk with God that I forgot how free Grace is meant to be.  I felt somehow that once I received grace for salvation, I was working to earn it for any time after... any sin that ensnared.  Oh - I wouldn't say that.  I knew it was not good theology, but to be honest - the religion taught me to approach sin with a sliding scale and a few under the breath snide thoughts.

MY sins were clearly covered by grace... yours were probably even covered... or at least you were trying to get them covered... but (insert stranger or random person I may have known here)... well... c'mon?  psh... really!?  Some kind of price MUST be paid. True repentance must be uttered loud enough for us to hear - or at least see that it is heartfelt!  There HAS to be consequences...

How quickly we forget that the price has been paid... repentance is not up to us to judge... consequences are between the repentant and the Lord... not for us to decide on!  I think the consequences for us not extending grace are harsher than for 'them' (us) falling in to sin.

A few weeks ago, a friend commented that I was 'brave' in my writing... in my sharing of myself across the screen to readers who don't know me.  Funny... rarely, in all of my life, have I felt brave!  It was a true compliment and one I am leaning in to... this trying to be real... to stay transparent... to let go of my perfectionistic tendencies and be brave... take risks... risk failure (or judgement or fill-in-the-blank).  The comment came after I had gone back and forth with how to share a very real struggle without sharing a story that is not all mine to tell.  I walked the edges of it carefully and felt a great release in the letting it go; putting it 'out there'... then we experienced another right hook... boy - is it me, or do they just keep on coming?

So... after much prayer... I blogged about that.  It was real and raw and honest... it stirs up so much in me just to go back and reread it myself, that I must admit I feel a bit naked... yet I know He covers me.  What I really wanted to share in that post that I don't know if it really came across is this:

Grace is best given away, when it comes up from within us... overflowing out of what we've been given.

Grace is free... it is, as Eugene Peterson wrote in The Message 'aggressive forgiveness'... it's what the most broken shattered pieces of you need... and what those around you are not even daring to hope for.

So when the Lord said Grace is slippery and it should run through our hands... I felt that. I felt those words! Flashbacks of kitchen floors and tears and brokenness... of how my emotions went from fighting off fears of failing at this one thing I felt I was gifted at... at this one call I felt sure I was doing well... to pouring out Grace to create a buffer zone.

I wanted Grace to saturate the situation, so the lies of the enemy could not stick.  You are more than the mistakes you make!  Grace is free... as I smooth your hair, and wipe away mascara and wounds that run deep... it is slipping through my hands and I pray it is seeping into your soul.

There is nothing you can do - nothing you MUST do - to earn back Grace.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  It's already been paid for and if I believe it was paid for and it is free for me... surely it must then also be free for you! He stretches out His nail pierced hands, and let's Grace just slip right through.

We are called to extend Grace... to be Grace!  I pray as this truth washes over you, that you will find the Flow of Grace increasing in and around and through you...

Don't clutch it close... but with open hands and grace soaked hearts, let it slip through your fingers, and drip from your words!

Speak Life.  Be Love. Shine On.

February 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday - What Mama Did

Last night was an UNUSUALLY quiet night at the Twitter Party over at #FMFParty... I don't know why it was so slow, but I am praying for each of you! I know for me - this week has proven a test and in some moments, I think I was winning... and in some - well, not so much!  So - in the spirit of what we are about here on Five Minute Fridays... here comes authentic writing... unedited, and unplanned out! (My how I am getting to LOVE this approach!)

Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at one minute past midnight Friday morning (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes: Five Minute Friday - WHAT MAMA DID...


Well - this is tricky as I just recently posted about how my Mama literally saved my life.  How after a traumatic birth, and weeks of no physical touch, it was her love - her skin pressed to mine - that pulled me up and over and instead of the death sentence I was given... she brought me home, cherished!  You can read that post here.

But today... I will tell you what my Mama did that she was unaware of, and how it has been a guide to how I live my life.

Me & my Mama on the right with my Daddy and my sisters! 10/2012

From my very shaky beginning, my Mama spoke into my destiny.

No - we were not church goers and we didn't read the Bible... there was not a lot of God Talk in our home however my mother knew for certain that God had a plan and a purpose for me.  She spotted it early on and called it into being.  She would tell me of my birth story with all sorts of dramatic flair.  She planted in me a greater awareness that I was saved not just FROM death... but FOR life... for something.

She always said it was because the Love of God flowed through me.  Funny... how 'churchy' that can sound coming from the unchurched.  I didn't know enough to think that was a high calling or something to shrink back from.  I shaped my life and my decisions... my choice of friends and right or wrong... all based on Love.  By His Grace, He lead me... even when I didn't yet know Him!

Being the baby of the family - I admittedly was spoiled... and I must say that I am not so sure that my sisters were spoken over in quite the same way. They were loved and cherished the same - of course.  But I think I edged out the blessing of having purpose sown into me from my very beginning!

So at the ripe old age of 21 - falling in love with my (now) husband, I also fell in love with Jesus.

Jesus... who is the very definition of Love... and I allowed Him to love me... to teach me... to correct me when my own love fell short!

Do I fail? Yes... sometimes daily!

But the good news is that it is not MY love that I am called to let shine forth... it's HIS!  And when I purpose in my heart to seek after and soak in His Presence - His love gets all over me... and fills me up... and naturally - supernaturally - He spills out!


So I learned early on that importance of word and encouragement and knowing that there is a bigger picture to our lives! I learned from a young age that the daily parts of our lives must not detour us from the eternal call...  can you hear it? That call to let Love flow through you? I wrote last week about how we must ALLOW ourselves to be loved... once we learn (and relearn) to do THAT, His Love is Joy and Grace and Laughter... it's Romance and Compassion and Healing...

His Love is a verb and each of us were created to put action to it!

Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On!

Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts!
Click here to read what others have to say about "What Mama Did ":
Five Minute Friday

February 20, 2013

What is it about this kitchen floor?

Where do YOU find yourself broken and in a heap?

Oh - wait... this is assuming we are being real here and we are going to be honest enough to admit that - from time to time - we are, in fact, broken... (and in a heap!)

When the going gets tough and you want to run... when it seems you can't quite keep centered and upright, and the voices coming at you are pulling you down and sowing fear and doubt and feelings of failing at that one thing you thought you were good at... where do you go - and who goes with you?

In the past - for me... I would retreat.  I have always been one to choose my words carefully and when I felt that something careless may just slip out unplanned, in anger or fear - my default was to shrink back into seclusion and think things through!  It felt 'smart' (safe)... it felt wise and deep and grown-up and mature... but it also felt lonely and thanks to my persistent, loving, smarter and wiser Honey - he, along with God, have taught me a better way.

Now when I want to run... and feel myself stumbling backwards... steps uneven and rushed... footing unstable... soul and heart slamming around - I resist the impulse to run; to close the door to my room and my heart, and pull blankets up over my head! (OK - sure - sometimes I get as far as covered in layers in the dark... but He won't allow me to wallow there for long!)

For me - I run to my 'spot'... my seat in the living room where my journals and Bible and gorgeous views can be held close... I spend time with Him... and then with them - those precious ones I do life with on a daily basis!

This week... and last month... and for much of last year... we faced eucharisteos, one after another they came at us hard.  We lived our life out loud and on purpose and sowed Truth the best we could.  We prayed for and planned on an easy road... (I know, I know! Well - I know now...)  But where do you run when Romans 7 just keeps manifesting?  How do you reach out to a broken heart, all walled up and unwilling to be honest... with themselves, with you... with God?

For us... as a family - we have found ourselves broken and spilled out, all piled up in a heap on the kitchen floor.  Yes - the kitchen floor! At 2am... and at 8pm... in the summer, and the winter, too... we have started upright and arguing, and ended tear-smeared and broken... sometimes you must re-break to have healing be complete.  Oh how we don't want that... but so often - for true healing... whole healing... broken - yes, again - is what is needed!

I am sure there are some metaphors as to why we end up here... in this kitchen... on this floor.

Crumbs linger here... community gathers, life happens, and this room is the place where we all migrate to be together... relaxing on the loveseat (yes - in our kitchen!) or working at the computer... one doing homework, one watching sports, while the other is cooking... feeding... nourishing...  Things stack up dirty... plates are chipped, cracked... messes need wiping up.  

We talk about days and dreams and what is coming at us... we talk about yesterday and tomorrow and what we can't see yet.  Yes, I am sure I could draw deeper meaning for why, on a Monday night, we are once again draped and overlapped and clinging on to this life we live as one family unit of 3... of three in One.  

The floor is cold and hard... much like hearts wounded, and it breaks us.  Yet it comforts us to feel the strength of it - the surety of it's holding us... the knowing that whether fists pound, or souls leak... whether dreams die or hope is stirred up... our foundation is sure... and grace and forgiveness wraps around us in the midnight hours as we bow down low and offer up confession and seek out mercy.  As fear and regret mingle with defiance and denial... doubt creeps in and up and into thoughts of cutting, of loathsome self-talk, of hatred... Romans 7 words spill out and didn't we just sit in another room and read through Romans 5?

We did.  We did...

"We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.  There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next…  All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.” (Taken from Roman 5 in The Message)

So we remember... we remind each other of this 'aggressive forgiveness we call grace' and we shout in whispered promises that grace wins, hands down...

...and on the cold hard kitchen floor, with frozen feet, and runny noses - we cling to hope... we cling to each other and our broken bared souls... we reach for necks and arms wrapped around, we smooth worries and hair, and rub temples and offer Home.

...and we grasp for Grace... and we find it... every. time.

Praying you find it too my friend, for whatever you are needing it for today!

May I encourage you to run to Him and accept His gift of aggressive forgiveness... His Grace!  He's standing in wide open spaces - with arms & hands outstretched, nail pierced. And He's lovingly waiting for you to run into them... into Him!

(I will see you there!)

February 16, 2013

Full On & All In Series (so far!)

This week, I began a new series entitled, "Full On & All In" that stemmed from a conversation I had with the Lord.  I am pretty sure I will be adding to this series, but for now I wanted to offer links to Parts 1-3...

I know they are a little long, but I believe there is Truth in each of the posts that can position you to experience Him coming at you - 'Full On' and Truths that will help you to grasp that yes - for YOU... not just for me... He is ALL IN!

So - here are the links to the series posts so far:

Part One - He's Coming - "Full On and All In"

Part Two - Full On & All In

Part Three - Full On & All In plus a Challenge

I would love to hear your thoughts on this series... if it rings true to you, what it stirs up in you, and what He is saying to you through it!  How have you experienced Him - Full On coming for you... or showing you that He is All In with you?

Happy Saturday!
Speak Life! Be Love! Shine On!

February 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Beloved

As much as I wanted to stick around the #FMFParty last night, I had spent a large portion of time sitting in front of this screen this week and I was exhausted.  So I chatted it up a bit, admitted to never seeing Gone With The Wind (I know, right?), and yes... we even discussed Nutella - just a little bit. But then I called it a night... I woke up with a song running through my head and my heart and it comes as no surprise to find our word prompt this morning!  So here I am - while the coffee is brewing, I thought I would wake up with ya'll instead of falling asleep!

Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at one minute past midnight Friday morning (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes: Five Minute Friday - BELOVED


The song that I woke up singing is an older Lincoln Brewster song I believe... but it has always called to the depths of my heart... I love the image - the Truth...

"You dance over me... while I am unaware.
You sing all around but I never hear the sound.
Lord, I'm amazed by You..."

Ah yes!  He IS Amazing!  He is so in love with us - that whether we see it... whether we hear Him and feel Him or even acknowledge Him - He dances over us... He sings to us... He is the Lover of our souls and He romances us with every breath!

Beloved... can you even believe that that is what He calls us! And not a collective 'us' - but YOU... and Me... individually - He romances us!

Beloved... I read once that it is mentioned, depending on your translation, up to 100 times in the Bible.  We are our Beloveds and He is ours!  I remember reading that if you have ever wondered what you are here on this earth for - this is your answer! Beloved... it's not just a term of endearment - that is our job description! To Be Loved.  This, of course, lends itself to the 'mandate' He gave me a few months back: Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On!

We must actually ALLOW ourselves to be loved.  For some, this may come easy... for others - that is a great risk.  One that can stir up old wounds, and cause you to pick away at old scars.  For some of us, we have spent years - decades maybe - building walls around our hearts in order to stay safe.  We've built fortresses for our hearts but in the end, we come to realize that if everyone else is locked out... we are locked IN!

Beloved... there is no where safer than in the midst of His love.  No one in whom you can place your trust but Him.  Can I encourage you to let down those walls?  Allow His Love to wash over you... cleanse you... redeem you.

I remember an earlier encounter with the Lord where He had been prompting me to read the book of Hosea.  I was not raised in the church and when I was a new Christian, I devoured the Word.  I had already read that... I knew all about it! I put Him off and pushed it aside... wanting something 'new'...  He had been asking me to read it for months when at a conference, I found myself laying on the ground at the alter, holding hands with the Lord.  He lovingly looked into my eyes, after simply loving on me for a bit and He said, "Beloved, NOW will you go and read the book of Hosea?"


Ah sweet friend... I did not want to rush off - but you KNOW I ran home to soak in the truth of that book! Hosea was told by God to marry a prostitute... He was called to love her despite (fill in the blank!)... many things shifted within me as I read those words and those truths. But Hosea 2:14-16 changed the direction of my relationship with the Lord!  I was on the verge of becoming religious... Oh, He was my Master, for that was certain! But His call to me... (to YOU)... is so much deeper... so much better!

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her.
I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor (troubling) as a door of hope;
She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
"And it shall be, in that day," says the LORD<
"That you will call Me 'My Husband,'
And no longer call Me 'My Master'..."


Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts!
Click here to read what others have to say about "BELOVED ":
Five Minute Friday

February 14, 2013

"Full On & All In" Part 3 - A Valentine's Challenge!

In the first post of this series, I talked about how I had been blindsided and knocked off balance... how I was dizzy and tired of fighting and how even though I knew better... what I REALLY thought I wanted was to reward my despair with a nap!  I told you I would let you in on how the Lord coaxed me out of a nap and into a dance and how that mere act of worship shifted me from the inside out and brought me back to center! Balanced (somewhat!) and standing tall. (We will get to that! Just bare with me for a moment!)

In the second post, I walked you through a visual or two of what it looks like to have Him coming at us - Full On and All In!  I hope you could relate to that and reflected on a few of your own experiences that brought a bit of realness to what He is speaking here!

For today - I wanted to talk about that gloriously skipped nap... and present to you a Valentine's Day Challenge!

I have struggled here on this blog a bit over the past year or so... I am all about being real and transparent and vulnerable... there is a call to be authentic and power when we are raw and open... however, there is also this (not so) little thing called Honor and sometimes just because a test comes at me, it doesn't mean it is MY testimony to share!  Sure - I have one within it... but some things are not my story to tell.

I will say - as I have said before - our world was knocked off center as a family a year ago... it was dark... and scary... and doubt and fear and feelings of failure just moved right in like they owned the place!  I can not say enough how thankful I am for the consistent powerful steadfastness of my husband who is and has always been like Jesus with skin on to me... he has the Father's Heart and it beat strong and fierce through this last season especially.  He chose the higher road at every turn.  He pulled me up alongside him and we chose Grace... we chose Mercy... we wrapped our family in Forgiveness and Honor and slowly... ever so slowly - we saw Restoration unfold.  So... I only share that to let you see my frame of mind and fragility of heart... we made it through! We actually (as only God can do!) were closer and stronger for it!  Whew... wipe the sweat from the brow, and let out a sigh of relief, and sit back and relax.

But really... are we ever truly 'out of the woods'?  Ironically - this year, I am embracing "Surprise!" and leaning in to living more adventurously... This must include risk... so no magic bubble of protection, no invisibility cloak... no safe/out of the woods path for this girl (or for any girl, really!)

As parents, we are never done... even though my girlie is nearing a new season of independence and college life - it doesn't get easier... just different! And so last month - after a turbulent year of tests and trials... we were thrown a curve ball that was not at all related to previous struggles and yet - it came with so much force, it sent me spinning back down to the darkness.  Those familiar spirits whose job it is to whisper lies were speaking loud and clear and what I really wanted was to take a nap!  Seriously... just close the curtains and pull the covers up over my head... drown out the voices and the problems and escape.  I knew sleep was a better option than what was happening - which was words were coming out of my mouth that I DID NOT want to agree with!  I was spewing negative thoughts and declaring failure... my flesh was weak... exhausted, really... and I just didn't want to fight it all.

As I headed for my room... the coziness and safety of a space where peace dwells... I felt agitated and uneasy... that is when I heard God whisper to my heart... He called for me to worship.  "Just come to Me.  Spend some time focused on Me and I will take care of all that is heavy on your heart."  Oh - it sounded good... I wanted it to be true... but it seemed too easy in one way - and too hard in another!

Easy - just give it over to Him...  Hard - leave it there!

I was tired... cranky... and just needing to stop the words from coming out!  So I ignored Him and went to lay down... pushing aside my Bible and my list of one thousand gifts... "Yeah - not today" I thought!

But I was restless and the thoughts would not stop!  I could not silence the tape that kept playing over and over in my mind.

Now - this is not my first rodeo... I know what to do and what works... I know WHO to run to!  Again - I heard Him speak to my heart. "...you seem to forget that I am ALL IN with you!  If it concerns you, it concerns Me!  There is no shadow of turning with Me... I am All In and I am coming Full On!  I've got this... I've got you!"

I needed this to be true!  I could feel myself spiraling down further and further... and the only way I knew to go UP instead of down was to worship my way there!  So I emerged from the darkness of our lights-out bedroom that for once, offered no peace... I walked with purpose right by my husband on the computer, and my daughter and her friend consoling in her room and I cranked up the music.  I picked up some worship flags... purple and blue - because what I needed most at that moment was to remember that we are royalty and our Father is the King... and I needed Heaven to come near!

So I worshiped with all that I had in me... which to be honest - was not much! But - what little praise you may be able to muster up - He will drink it up and multiply it back to you!  As the song went on, my strength increased and I began to do battle... not for my daughter... not for the circumstance... but for my own heart. For I know - I win the battles before me when I bow down in worship and - again and again and again - offer up to Him this broken and beaten heart!

It's just that sometimes I forget that it's His anyway!  I gave it to Him years ago... but when I feel cornered or wounded - it can sure feel like it's mine again!  But when I find my center... the only way I CAN find my center - is through worship... and remembering that my heart belongs to Him on good days and on bad days and on every day, I can trust Him with it!  He proved to me that night... as He always does... that He really is All In with us!  If it concerns you, it concerns Him and He will work it out for your good when you are willing to once again offer up your heart!

(He DID work it all out for our good... there may still be a few loose ends - but the threat that came at us was more about smoke and mirrors and lies than it was about truth and future and destiny!)

Oh - yes... that Valentine's Day Challenge I mentioned?  For years now we have purposely made Valentine's Day all about Love - a greater Love... and not limited it to 'romantic' love.  Yesterday, I read this post by Brene Brown about Generosity Day (which just so happens to also be today!) and I wanted to send out a Challenge.  In addition to whatever Valentine's Day tradition you do with your Honey or your kids... or if you are a hater of this day and normally do nothing in celebration - may I ask you to consider stepping up and stepping out and letting someone know that they are loved?

It could be someone you know or a complete stranger... it could be someone single - or someone married... it could be a word of encouragement or acknowledgement, or it could be buying the latte order of the car behind you in the drive-thru!  It could be small or big - but if you are willing to risk it... it could Speak Life and Be Love to those around you! You just never know what a simple word or deed can tell someone who is trying to stop the negative tape playing over and over in their head!

Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On!

February 13, 2013

"Full On & All In" Part 2

If you missed the beginning of "Full On & All In" you can read Part One of this series HERE... 

(Go ahead... I will wait for you!)

Welcome back!

So I have been pondering... reflecting back over this life I have helped to raise up... sometimes clinging - yes... but at the same time, I am preparing my heart to let go on a whole new level.  This requires me to trust... to trust her... to trust that we have done all that we could do... we have lived this life out loud and laid down a foundation of truth that she will build upon and not flee from. 

Freedom has it's temptations and too many choices can be overwhelming - but I must choose to trust. I have to trust Him... that if He says He is All In with me... surely He is All In with her as well.  With each of us!

The first visual that came to my mind when I began focusing on this phrase that God spoke to my heart earlier this year, "Full On" was not that of God coming at me or even a crashing wave... those came soon after - but the first thing I 'saw' was a memory.

I used to pack up my things... my Bible and notebook, a diaper bag and all that that includes, jump in the van and hit the road for church.

I would drop my chubby cheeked toddler off in a room with other littles while I went to a Bible study to learn more about God... to learn from other Mom's and Wives about how to be a Mom and a Wife.  I treasured that season - then and now! But my girlie was so shy... so quiet with her words... she preferred to be by my side rather than anywhere else.  Still... it was our routine and she was getting used to it!

She would reluctantly leave my side and find someone or something to play with all the while keeping a nervous eye on me as I signed her in and hung up her coat.  I would wave and promise that I would return... she'd flash me a shy nervous little half-smile and shrug her shoulders a little.  It was as if she was saying, "I know I'll be alright... but I would rather just be with you, Mommy!"  

I knew she had fun - and was in safe capable hands.  But it was the end of Bible study that was always my favorite... I would say my goodbyes to all the grown ups and find my way back to where my heart was... I would turn the corner and open the door.  It wouldn't matter what she was doing... as soon as she caught glimpse of me - she would drop whatever she was doing and RUN to me.  Full On!  Yes... that!  FULL. ON.

It was pure bliss and love uninhibited... it was safety and security and unspeakable joy of hearts being reunited! Oh - how my heart skips a beat just in the remembering of it all! My breath catches as He reminds me - this is not only how He comes at us... Full On and All In! But we are His children - and oh how He longs for us to catch a glimpse of Him - and to drop everything that is pulling for our attention... how He longs for us to run to Him full on - not holding anything back!  Can you feel His eyes pulling for you to come... can you hear His heart, singing out your name?

Yes, my girlie is tall now and preparing for a whole new life... a new beginning of a new season is fast approaching and recently, I have been having flashbacks and comparisons... remembering bedtime giggles and spooning after storytime, praying in toddler whispers... "Will you tickle my back, Mommy?"s and "Sing to me!"s!  

I tear up a bit and can feel my chin quiver when she asks me these very things, right here - tonight... live and at the age of 17... spooning on her twin-sized bed is trickier now - but oh how I would endure a kinked neck and sore back for days just to be able to say yes to this request!

Don't we all just long for that security... that same-as-it's-always-been stability... the comforts of home can look and be different for each of us - but we can trust that He knows just what is needed to help us feel safe and secure!  To hear Him pray over us... singing a song for us... to feel Him wrap Himself around us and hold us close!

I don't know about you - but I have learned more about how He loves me, in finding out how much I love her...  For her... without a doubt or an ounce of hesitation - I am All In with her... through good and bad... right and wrong... easy and hard... I come at her Full On and I am All In with her!  My prayer is that she knows this... that she can feel the truth of it - and that she can see that as much as it is true for me... it is truer for HIM! As much as I love her, He loves her more!  

I can say the same is true for you, my friend!  As much as you are loved... and please know and don't ever doubt that you are! - HE loves you more than anyone - any human - ever could! He is ALL IN with you, sweet reader...  and He is coming at you Full On!

I'd love to hear what kind of visual stirs up in you when you hear that phrase, "Full On" and "All In"?

Check back tomorrow for more on how He loves us... and calls us to Be Love!


How could I not include a song... a audio visual, if you will, of how He is Full On and All In!

(I pray you won't have time to maintain regrets either - when you think about the way He loves you!)

February 12, 2013

"Surprise, you have not arrived!" Guest Posting over at OneWord365

"It's refreshing when you begin to feel comfortable in your own skin and in who you were really made to be.  It's Freedom and Bliss and Terrifying and Exciting... it's Who-Cares-Anyway, and Definitely-Not-Me.

Then it's Peaceful Confidence in His Abiding Love, and finally - yes FINALLY, in His Abounding Grace!

Yes.  It is all of those things! I pray that each of you are stepping into all of that. But let me bring you in closer... let me rest my hand gently on your shoulder, and speak softly so that only we can hear..."

To read the rest of the story, come with me over to OneWord365 today

...and check back here tomorrow as I continue on with my "Full On & All In" series.


February 11, 2013

He's Coming... "Full On & All In" (A New Series)

It is something He whispered to my racing heart a month or so ago... it felt dark, uncertain... as if when you first come in to a darkened room from a bright outside.  My eyes were not adjusting fast enough... my heart was slamming around and I felt as if I was grasping for something secure to cling to.  My balance was knocked off center and I felt like everything was spinning.  Even though there have been months of peace in between, to be honest - this was yet another world-tilting hit that came right at me and once again, I did not see it coming.

The pull down was strong... it was a force and while I knew it was not truth... it felt strangely comforting - the thought of just not dealing... of just not fighting for air... maybe not drowning literally - but at least a nap, right? At least I could reward my despair with a nap?

But it is in the darkness, with the pull of the force of hell trying to capture the power of my agreement, that I heard Him whisper!  In all Love, all Grace, with Mercy dripping off His lips, He spoke to my heart and He reminded me of this.... He said, "My Darling... you seem to forget... but I am ALL IN.  There is no shadow of turning with Me! I've got this. I've got YOU."

As my will and my flesh began to argue these facts according to my feelings, He refused to even entertain my words, but interrupted and said, "I am ALL IN whether you feel me or not... whether you see Me, or call out to Me... I am not withholding any part of Myself.. You've got Me... you get ALL of Me... and you better brace yourself my love, because I am coming for you! I am coming at you FULL ON!"

I will be writing this week about Love and how He loves us - How He comes at us "Full On & All In"... I will share how He coaxed me up from a nap and into a dance and what that shifted in my heart.  I will share visuals of what this can look like: Him - coming at us.... coming for us!  How fitting that it is Valentine's week...

I knew this would be a series when I typed this comment out to my sweet friend Jennifer in response to a post she shared:

"He comes at us Full On and He is All In... and calls us to run towards Him in the same way - holding nothing back! I remember years ago studying and breaking off strongholds... then I discovered the verse in Nahum where it says that the LORD is a stronghold and I thought yes! This! Lord YOU be my stronghold! (That just may have been the beginning of my own reckless abandon to dive All In!)"  

Join me, won't you, this week as we dive in to what True Love looks like... and how we are called to follow His lead!

May Love call out your name this week... may Grace surround you, Mercy envelope you, and Hope wrap Himself around you and send you out to:

Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On!

February 7, 2013

Five Minute Friday - BARE

Finally!  Finally, I made it back to the FMFParty and this community of kindred spirits... (I even gave up Bunco... although that had more to do with Juicing/not snacking, than it did with writing I suppose... that didn't stop me from talking all things Nutella, and bonding yet again!)

Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at one minute past midnight Friday morning (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes: Five Minute Friday - Bare


I have found lately that this call to be Real... to be Transparent... to be Authentic... rarely does it get to be on my own terms, or in a place where it is always easy! No - it's EASY to be all of that when you are in the safety of people who already know you, or who at least already have an idea of who you are.  It's not quite so easy when He asks you to step up and be real to someone who has yet to really form a solid opinion of you!

On paper, or online, my life can appear Charming and Blessed.  It is.  However, those who truly know me, know that I don't always remember this.  Laundry piles up, crisis hits, hearts break, (Nutella jars mysteriously empty), and sometimes... sometimes I am called to give up coffee for days. I can give over to complaining and looking for excuses.  It is in the midst of that, when He most often likes to invite me to stand up and let others see me laid bare.

Here's the thing... it's in sharing the Real... the Hard... the I-Can't-Believe-I-Survived-That's, that testimony is given.  Hope is held up high when we bend low and allow our stories to be spread wide open... bare.

There is a grace that comes when we are bold enough to be weak... to show scars... to sit shoulder to shoulder, and wrap mercy around a soul and say, "Yes - this: I have lived through... and you will too! Let me show you how He lifted me up... how He held me through... how His love is enough... HE is enough!


He is calling us to be willing to be laid bare for others... not to everyone, necessarily... but for some.  We can do this... we can follow His lead and tap into His love and live a life open and bowed down. You never know the power of your story and how it can impact someone else!  I encourage you to be real... speak up when He leads, and watch and see the power of testimony at work and then listen with your heart!


Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts!
Click here to read what others have to say about "BARE ":
Five Minute Friday

Sharing our Love Story today...

I was all of fourteen when I made a vow.  With my side ponytail and jellie flats... my bubble gum lip smacker and Madonna-playing walkman... I made a vow!  And I made it with all of my heart! I meant it with all the determination and strength that was in me.  I looked around at my parents and siblings and classmates and decided then and there, I was NOT going to meet the love of my life at fourteen.  I wasn't going to fall in love...

Click HERE to read the rest of the story!  I am guest posting over at Studio JRU today!


February 6, 2013

One Word 365 Check in... How are you living with your word?

So... we are about a month (plus) in and I am just curious to know... how are you living with your OneWord so far?  How are you seeing it come forth in your day to day life, and what (if anything yet?) is it teaching you?

What is OneWord365, you ask? Really?  It seems like everyone is doing it... but if somehow you do not know what this is about, it is a movement, of sorts.  A shift from making resolutions, to choosing One Word to focus in on through out the year!  You can click the button above for more information.

For many, myself included, the word tends to pick you more than you pick the word!

For me, "Surprise!" has showed up in - well - unexpected ways!

I was surprised, as I posted earlier, at how quickly I let myself bow down to Intimidation... I was surprised at the lack of fear when sitting in a room in the ER with my daughter... I was surprised at the heart/attitude problem that rose up in me while trying to be spontaneous... I was surprised by checks in the mail, and lovely bits of encouragement from new friends and old that came in via this blog, facebook, twitter, and in person over coffee...

I have been surprised in both good and bad ways already this year! Already! It's only February!

I can feel a shifting taking place in me... an excitement and an openness for the unexpected.  I can feel myself leaning in.  "Surprise!" is teaching me - or reminding me - that we were MADE for adventure!  We were make for risk... to take a chance, roll the dice, expect the best.  To go out beyond our comfort zones and have only Him - ONLY Him - to depend on! This will require a few spur of the moment ideas or outings... it will require me to stay present and be available at the same time!  It will require me to keep my eyes and my heart open... I am seeing that not only does God intend to surprise me, He intends for me to be surprised by myself; by what He has done and is doing from the inside out in me.  He intends for me to be a surprise, a blessing, to others as well!  Is that not just how He works all the time?  How much fun do we get to have when we partner with Him to bless someone else... especially when it can be a surprise?

This shift is more than just expecting good... God has been changing my natural bent toward that for years now.  He has transformed the way I think so that I no longer expect the worse or daily give myself over to fear or worry, however I only recently noticed that that is only covering half the distance! It's not enough to NOT think negative... it's not even enough to mostly think positive.  We can think and over think and yet never move forward to action!  That is where I have been stuck!

But not this year! No, 2013 is a year full of Surprises!

I'd love to hear what your OneWord is this year and how you have seen it come into play!

P.S. I ordered my OneWord Necklace from Between You and Me 

February 5, 2013

Silencing those Fears with Truth!

I am joining in with Holley Gerth and her community of God-Sized Dreamers again today, discussing how it's simply a matter of time in pursuing our God-Sized Dreams that we will round the corner and slam head on into Fear.

It is not limited to crazy huge dream chasing... we hold within us the potential to believe the whispering of fear and allow his jagged voice to lure us into darkness at any bend.  But it seems when we have set our sights on a dream that is more about Kingdom than it is about worldly success, well then - Fear sets its sight on us.

Fear can be relentless... full of lies and shame and 'why even try's... so when faced with fear head on, how do we respond? What is the truth that is bigger than fear?  

For me, it was in the taking the risk to write down the God-Sized Dream and put it 'out there' that I really was able to see that what I thought was my God-Sized Dream was actually not big enough... He had a bigger dream... a better vision... a plan still yet unfolding.   My dream is to write... to spend time with Him and then turn around and write out what I have seen and heard and felt and grasped... to share and stir up and hopefully create hunger.  In writing that first post on Dreaming, He unfolded so much more.

While it includes and involves writing, it is really all about community! It's about relationship and really - why am I so surprised by this? Isn't everything worthy relational at the heart of it?  Isn't all that we do that truly matters - personal... relational?  If my biggest discovery rests on how intimate and personal and relational HE is, (and it does!) then why should it surprise me that He desires me to follow His lead.

So for me, overcoming the fear of putting this (new-to-me) God-Sized Dream out on the world wide web came quickly - but I pressed Publish anyway!  And it's been several weeks now and I am seeing how He is at work in it all.

Between participating in this community here with Holley, and reading this post here on Storyline, well - I was so stirred up!  (Go ahead... click and read it! It's not too long, it's worth your time,  and I will wait!)

Yes! Yes, yes, yes!  Maybe 500 is a bit lofty for my budget and the size of my living room - but I am SO going to do this!  In fact, I had already planned a party, so I was feeling pretty good about it!

Fear came at me in two ways, just days before my Pinterest Party.  

First - it came speaking to my insecurities... no one will come... it's silly... people are busy... it doesn't matter what you try, you can't gather community... you've tried before, remember? ...it's not really a God Dream anyway.  (You see how Fear first starts out merely discouraging, but then he turns mean and gets personal!)

Secondly, it came speaking to my heart-motives.  You see - originally I had wanted just a few friends... small, simple, low key! Then I decided the more the merrier (possibly with that above blog post to blame?)...  and then when it seemed (for a brief moment) that I would have too many people coming, I began to back track and panic.  All of the sudden this dream party was too big!  What if personalities didn't click and there was tension.  What if it wasn't going to be fun - but more like work?  What about seating... and budgets and crafts, etc.  

I was mid-rant mid-thought about what a hassle it may be when the Lord reminded me that I am the one wanting to invite in strangers and create community wherever I go! So... that will mean that I can't control personalities clicking or even if everyone is having fun.

The Truth that silenced fear was that I am not doing it alone!

I am partnering WITH Him and creating an atmosphere... I am prepping ahead of time, praying ahead of time, and focusing on my newly claimed mantra:  Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On!

If I keep these Truths in the forefront of my mind and heart... Fear can not take hold! After all, perfect Love casts OUT fear, right?  I have read that somewhere before! (In fact, I love how The Message says it: "There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear." 1 John 4:18)

So if when fear comes a whispering to your God-sized Dreams, or simply to your daily living... tune in to the Love Who is All In... He is coming at you Full On and you are not in this dreaming/reaching/risking/life living all alone!


Click the button to read what other God-Sized Dreamers are saying about facing their fears!

P.S. My Party was a success... everyone had a blast, and I already have plans for an Easter Pinterest Party!

February 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday - AFRAID

I was so sad to miss out on the Twitter Five Minute Friday party (#FMFParty) once again last night!  I had a meeting to go to and it went a bit long... but my heart was in two places! Missed everyone last night... but I am still playing along today!

Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at one minute past midnight Friday morning (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes:
Five Minute Friday - AFRAID


Aaahhh yes... my first thoughts when I saw Lisa-Jo's prompt for today.  Afraid... it's like a gateway drug to Fear, Worry, & Doubt. Those are like old friends... familiar spirits from long ago... like neighbor kids or cousins who you grew up with and they may not be consistently involved in your life NOW - but back then... well, back then you would play games and stay out past dark... break rules and throw caution to the wind - no, wait... not that! Caution was a close relative too!

I come from a long line of Worriers and Doubters... it's as if we felt we were not accomplishing things if we were not worrying about them.  Even at a young age, early teen years maybe, I felt a shift begin to happen! I had surrounded myself with some positive people and I made the connection that they seemed to live a whole different life.  They seemed to be happier, and at peace, and Oh how I longed for that!

As a new Christian, I had an encounter that I don't often talk about. One night, Fear literally 'showed up' and tried to strangle me.  Hands around me throat, squeezing out breath, leaking out what little hope that had began to grow in me. Panic was rising.  My knowledge of the Word at that time was limited to say the least. I just kept thinking, "Oh God! Oh God! Save me... please Jesus!"

I was afraid.

Horrified, really.

Then I heard Him... Jesus whispered to my heart, "You need to SPEAK My Name!"

It was tough to gasp in air, but gasp in is what I did... and with all that I could manage, I spoke the Name of Jesus and immediately the encounter was over.  Fear was gone... I could breath again.  As I rubbed my throat, and sat up in bed, the Lord told me to read Exodus 12.  I had no clue where or what it was about, but I opened it up and drank it in! Slowly, my senses returned to normal and His Presence calmed my nerves, and held my heart... I was no longer afraid.


That night was the beginning of being set free from Fear.  God supernaturally changed my natural bent and while those old familiar 'friends' still attempt to stop by unannounced, I know now how to deal with them! Sometimes it is not enough to THINK about Jesus.  There is power in our tongue and when we SPEAK the Name, things happen! No matter what is facing us, we simply turn our attention and our heart to Him... and He is there!

Praying He has set you free and is continually in the process of changing your bent from fear to faith!  And if there is any doubt lingering, any fear trying to make itself at home... breathe this in:

Praying Joshua 1:9 over each of you today!

"Have I not commanded you?
Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous.
Be not afraid, neither be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you
wherever you go."
                       ~ Joshua 1:9 (Amplified)


Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts!
Click here to read what others have to say about "AFRAID ":
Five Minute Friday

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