The Gift of Purpose

Have you ever felt useless or unimportant?  Ever felt like you don’t matter?


We all have–you are not alone.  This tactic of the enemy is a common one, but it’s a lie–a trick–an attempt to weaken us and make us ineffective.  We all have had at least a moment of being unsure of where we fit in or what our purpose is–but feeling worthless is an absolute and complete lie we don’t have to accept!

You have purpose–You were hand-crafted and meticulously designed with a deeper and greater love than we can even comprehend!  You are loved, cherished, and treasured–God rejoices and signs over you! (Zephaniah 3:17)

Ever believer has a unique and perfectly designed plan from our Creator and we are priceless and an irreplaceable part of His Kingdom.  From the largest, loudest mouthpiece to the smallest supporting ligament, each and every one of us matter and we are important–not just as a group, but me, you, and every single individual person–we matter!

Don’t let the enemy steal one second of your peace and joy–rest in the assuredness and strength of God and let Him show you how much you are loved.  Serve Him with gladness and let Him lead you and guide you to your perfectly designed place in His Kingdom–you are needed and necessary and incredibly loved!  


Heavenly Father, please guide us to our purpose.  Flood our lives with Your love, Your perfect peace and Your complete joy as we serve You and Your people.  Show each one of us where we belong and teach us to use our gifts for Your glory!  Lord, use me as You build up Your body and help me attain the full measure of the fullness of Christ!  In His name, Amen!



To equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  (Ephesians 4:12-16)

Resurrection Power

I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 1:19-20)


Easter week is a special time to focus on Christ and remember what He went through and suffered for us, as well as a wonderful time to rejoice over His resurrection!  We celebrate Jesus and remember that because of His great sacrifice and resurrection, we are forgiven, we are washed clean, and we are declared righteous—not because of anything we have done or could ever do, but simply as a gift to reunite us with our Creator and make us holy—thank You Jesus!


I want to understand the incredible greatness of God’s power–this same power that raised Christ and is available to every believer.  I want to live with this power working in me and through me!  Inside every believer, we have an endless supply of life changing, world changing, death defying power, and yet we so often live in defeat and despair because we allow the Spirit to become dormant and quiet inside us, drowned out by the noise of this world.  The Holy Spirit must be so frustrated with me and with so many other believers as we wallow in silly, changeable things rather than take up our sword of the Spirit, armed with truth and knowledge and faith and fight!  Fight for our mental health, our physical health, our friends and family who are lost and hurting, and a dying world!  It is so much easier and comfortable to live in my tiny world and never look up and out—but God is calling every believer to a world changing, life changing faith and strength in Him and I don’t want to miss it!

So I’m wondering, where is the power to change lives and change the world that we see in the New Testament?  Those believers were simple people, fishermen and women who were scared, normal people until the power of Jesus’ resurrection!  Filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, the same power that raised Christ from the dead, they changed the world!  And this power is still available to us today.  It hasn’t diminished or changed–our desire and our focus has!  Where is the hunger for God’s word and a desire to be changed by it?  Where is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so great that thousands of lives are changed in a moment and then the revolution spreads throughout the world and changes it?   
The life changing, resurrecting, lift giving power is available but we have to live it and use it!  We can’t just play church and go about our lives in a comfortable fog, ignoring the pain and hopelessness around us—every single person who calls themselves “Christian” MUST begin to actually follow, mimic, look like, sound like, and imitate Christ and be changed from the inside out! 
The Holy Spirit is in us and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in us!  He is here and waiting for us to jump in and be part of something amazing and world changing—it is time to stop bickering among ourselves inside beautiful stained glass sanctuaries and pristine fellowship halls that keep the hurting world out.  POWER is found in the Holy Spirit and the world needs Him—needs to see Him in us and needs to feel that love!
God is a God of abundance, but too often I wallow in mediocrity.  God is a God of love, yet too often I sink to irritation and annoyance.  God is a God of peace, yet too often I am in turmoil with worry and fear.  God is a God of forgiveness, yet too often I squirm in guilt and self condemnation.  NO MORE!  My God is bigger and stronger and more powerful than anything this world or the enemy can throw at me and I refuse to live a moment longer accepting anything less than His unequaled, unending, limitless power reigning in me! 

So this Easter week, as I remember the sacrifice and celebrate the resurrection, my prayer for myself and every other believer is that we would be completely changed and so incredibly full of the Spirit that we simply can’t be stopped!  That we would unite as the Body of Christ, His beautiful bride, and show a hurting, dying world that there is hope, love, healing, forgiveness and an eternal joy that only comes through Christ Jesus! And He is coming back for His bride!

Lord Jesus, help me live with Your power in my life.  May Your love and peace be so evident and strong in me that others see it too.  Empower me and equip me to not only be changed, but to create change around me and may Your Word go forth and thousands upon thousands be transformed by You!  Fill me and transform me Holy Spirit and use me to Your glory!!

Happy Resurrection!

Prayers of Healing

I am so excited about my first book!  All glory and praise go to God who has blessed our family in such amazing ways!  The last few years have been full of illness and health struggles, but God has brought tremendous healing and peace beyond all understanding…He has also amazed us with miraculous and immediate healing!
Our health struggles have been incredibly scary and hard, and they aren’t over yet, but God has strengthened us with such incredible peace.  We are still in a season of waiting…waiting for test results, waiting for the doctors’ decisions for the best treatment plan, will Connor need surgery?  When will it be?  We don’t have these answers, but even in the uncertainty, we have peace!  God is with us and will never leave us nor forsake us!  He has always been faithful and He always will be.    
These prayers started as my personal cry to God for healing for my son, Connor, and also for me as I have struggled with fibromyalgia and chronic migraines.  Throughout it all, God has consistently worked all things out for our good.  While I would probably have chosen an easier path given the choice in the beginning, I would not give up a single lesson, blessing or encouragement that God has given me through it all… so even in the trial, I am grateful!  Grateful for His goodness, grateful for His peace, and grateful for His strength!  
It has been such a blessing for me to put this book of prayers together, and my hope and prayer is that this book would be a blessing to someone else who may be suffering, either in their own struggle or going through it with someone they love.  I can’t guarantee complete healing, only God sees the complete big picture and He alone knows what is best.  I have seen God do miraculous, jaw-dropping healing in an instant and I have also been learning many lessons of faith and trust while we wait, but either way, God is good and worthy to be praised and there is growth that happens through it all.   

This book is available on Amazon.com and also at my estore on Amazon’s Createspace at the following link:

 Prayers of Healing

No Matter What…

No Matter What…
·         I will choose to praise God!  
He has never let me down and even in the struggles and in the pain, I know He loves me and will comfort me, protect me, and He loves me!  So even in the darkest, scariest times, I will praise Him- not because life is easy, but because He is worthy!
·         I will love God!  
He loved me enough to send His son to die in my place before I even knew Him- so no matter what is going on around me today, I will love Him.
·         I will love Others!
I will share the love of God with others because God loves me and His word tells me to!  So even when I am hurting, even when I’m scared, even when I don’t want, in His strength, I will love those around me!
  •          I will choose to rejoice in today!

This is the day that the LORD has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24).  I do not rejoice because my life is easy or only on the days that I “feel” happy, but I will rejoice because God is love and God is giving me the opportunity today to rejoice- so I choose to rejoice!
In seasons of blessing it is easy to forget how much God cares and how much I need Him.  In seasons of waiting, God renews my strength and my wisdom; and in seasons of trial, God comforts me and brings peace beyond human understanding—and in all things, no matter what, I will choose to trust Him and praise Him because He is faithful, He is trustworthy, and He is worthy to be praised! 

Father, thank You for loving me even before I knew You.  Thank You for always being my refuge, my comfort, and my rock.  Help me and strengthen me to serve You, trust You, and praise You no matter what my daily circumstances are!  In Jesus’ name, amen!

Our Words Matter

I have been thinking a lot about the current uproar with Duck Dynasty star Phil Roberts and the controversy over his suspension with A&E.  Our family loves the show and we love the biblical principles the family lives out for the world to see.  While I do believe the Bible and agree with the stance behind what he said, the way it was said was certainly unfortunate in my opinion–but I understand others may have a different view. 

Regardless of our opinions of what he said and how he said it though, we as followers of Christ have a great opportunity before us to come together and show the world what it really means to love and follow Christ.  Society is looking at a Christian man, his beliefs, his words, and his actions.  What a powerful reminder to every believer to prayerfully consider our words–what we say and how we say it– and the importance of our message to a hurt, lost, and dying world. 

We are called to be salt and light.  We are the light of the world and the messengers of hope- real, eternal hope.  But if we can’t get the world to even listen, how effective can we be?  How do we spread the message and good news of Jesus- the real, biblical Jesus- not the Jesus the world thinks they know but don’t- how do we get them to listen?

We are called to speak in love, with grace and mercy and compassion.  We are called to BE in this world and be part of this world, but we are not to be OF this world.  We must be relevant but we must be different.  We must be involved, but we must remain holy.  We must love others as Christ loves us! 

The only way we can do this is with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in us.  The world must see Jesus in us and must hear Jesus in our words.  We must flavor our world with love and joy and hope and compassion.  We must illuminate our world with hope and peace and point them to the only true source of everything good- Jesus!  The only name with the power to save!

At this time, right now, with the words of a popular Christian man in the limelight of society so in the forefront and in the minds of so many, we as Christians can all use this time to consider our words and our attitudes behind them.  We must stand firm on the Word of God and live according to it, but we must also remember that Jesus came to heal the sinners and free the captives.  He came that we could have life eternal.  If our message alienates and prevents those from listening who are the very ones we are trying to reach, how effective can we be? 

I don’t have the perfect answer, just the perfect God who has offered His Holy Spirit to fill us and equip us in powerful ways we could never understand.  I know that the current controversy has made me think and I pray that we all as followers of Christ would ask God to show us how to use our words to reach others and not push them farther away. 

Father, help us live as a holy priesthood, pure and blameless in Your sight while also loving the people in this world who don’t yet know You.  Help us show them through our actions and through our words how much You love us all and want us to know You.  Help us lead people toward You and may nothing I ever say or do cause someone to go further from You.  Use this time in our culture to draw people to You in amazing numbers and set Your people on fire, full of Your Holy Spirit to do Your Will!! In the name of Jesus we pray-Amen!

Enjoying the Light




He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to
enjoy the light. 
(Job 33:28)

 

 
I  have been in the pit and I will not go back! 
I will live to enjoy the light!!

 

In 2011, my son was healed after a challenging time of life threatening medical issues.  We witnessed true miracles and at the amazement of doctors and nurses, he recovered and came home and we rejoiced!  However, when the answer to our prayers came and true miraculous healing was given, rejoicing and relief was followed by a very dark, deep pit that almost engulfed me.

Once home, life went “back to normal” –my husband went back to work and family returned home—life as usual resumed.  But what should have been a time of rejoicing and praise was marred by my inability to re-join normal everyday life.  I had “shut down” during the hospital stays and near death experiences in ICU and had been going purely on adrenaline and auto-pilot.  God’s strength had sustained me, but now I was home and I didn’t know how to fix what was now broken in me. 

Thankfully, God lifted me not only out of that pit but took me high above it to a place of peace and rest in Him and I have been learning to enjoy the precious gift of every moment of life.  He has deepened my faith and taught me to trust Him in much more deeper ways than I could ever have imagined!   

 It has not been easy though and I am now dealing with my own health issues due to fibromyalgia, and the ugly pit of depression is trying to rear its ugly head.  Each and every day is a battle to focus on the positive and to allow God to continue holding me and teaching me through this– and this is a battle I must and will win!  The grace of Christ truly is sufficient, and in my weakness I am made stronger through my dependence on Him– and for that I am so incredibly grateful!

 We have known all along that since the doctors didn’t know what caused his previous medical problems, there was always the possibility that something could happen again.   A few weeks ago, just after Thanksgiving, my son again faced life-threatening medical issues and spent 5 days in the hospital.  But thankfully, through God’s grace and the selfless gift of blood donors, he is home and getting stronger by the day! 

The doctors still do not know for sure what is going on in his body and we are trusting that God will give his doctors wisdom and lead them in the right direction.  Thankfully, they do think they know the cause of his internal bleeding, have stopped it and think they know how to make sure it doesn’t happen again and for that we praise God!  While the doctors don’t know the outcome, we know God does and He will sustain us and uplift us with His mighty hand!!

I know this without doubt or fear because I’ve already felt it and seen it!  I know that no matter what, God is in control and will work all things for good.  So while I know we have more tests and unknown trials ahead, I can stand strong knowing God is already there and He is shining His light on my path-He will direct my steps and allow me to not only see but to enjoy the beautiful, warmth of His light!
 
I realize I have a choice.  I can focus on the fear, worry, anxiety, and doubt.  I can allow my thoughts to take me to a dark place feeling lost and alone–but those are lies and there is a much better option!  I can choose to silence the enemy and believe the words of my God who has been so faithful and has always been there for me- His Word reveals just how close He is and gives glimpses of the amazing light that is available for me– I CHOOSE LIGHT! 

 
I will walk in the light that gives me strength, the light that gives me hope, and the light that gives life–and I will not just walk- I will dance and live to enjoy the light!  Not because my circumstances have changed, but because Jesus, who holds my hand and never leaves me, says I can!  The enemy will try and pull me back toward that dark pit, but I refuse to go.  I refuse to listen to lies when I have the perfect truth to cling to–that is clinging to me and will never let me go!!

I pray for so many others who are facing pain and trials and approaching this Christmas with a heavy heart- I pray we will all learn to trust Jesus a little more and learn to live to enjoy the light! I pray for comfort and peace for every hurting heart!!

 Thank You Jesus for always holding me close even when I am fearful, you are there.  Help me walk, skip and dance in the light every moment of every day and help me enjoy Your light–enjoy You!  I don’t just get to see in the light-I get to enjoy it! Thank You!! Teach me to enjoy Your light!  As the sun warms my face may Your light warm my soul!  I love You Jesus, I need You Jesus, and I thank You Jesus that You are my light!

Trusting in the Darkness

I usually enjoy summer storms and love listening to the rain, but the other night brought severe thunderstorms with intense cracks of lightning, floor-shaking thunder booms, and sheets of raining pelting the house. Thankfully we were safely home and not out driving in it, but we were home alone since my husband is traveling for work. 

The boys and I watched the storm through the windows with interest and excitement until the lights began to flicker. We raced for flashlights and candles before the lights went out putting us in complete darkness. The only light available came from the almost constant lightning and the only noise was the thunder. 

Suddenly, everything became completely still and eerily silent. And I became very aware that we were seemingly alone with no help. No electricity, no lights, no Internet or telephone, no way to anyone for help other than our cell phones, which already had low batteries.
Thankfully the storm calmed, but we were still in the dark and I was very aware of being alone.  Before panic could take root and our imaginations could get too far with the infinite list of what-ifs, we turned to the only true source of comfort and security- the One true source of help- God who is our very present help in trouble!  

God gently reminded me that I was not alone and that I am never alone. My Heavenly Father brought such sweet peace and comfort and all fear of being alone left me, and anyone who knows me well, knows what a big deal that is! The boys and I had a fun time just talking for a little while and then we decided to go to bed early since it was dark anyway. 

We took our main source of light with us (because He never leaves us!)  and also our flashlights and calmly and without fear, laid down to sleep, trusting God to keep us safe. Within just a few short minutes, the power came on and we knew the storm was over! 

God is so gracious and loving to us! He is a Holy God and could condemn us eternally for our sin- each and every one- yet He gives us a way to be washed clean and forgiven. And He doesn’t stop there! Once we accept His gift of life, He continues to bless us with more than we can ever ask for or even imagine- peace in the storm, joy in the pain, and strength to face every moment with courage and victory! 
My faith grew deeper that night and I am thankful God allowed the storm and the power to go out so that I could trust Him and lean on Him completely! I am also grateful He let the power come back on! 🙂

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6)

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave younever will I forsake you.”  (Hebrews 13:5)


Daily Decluttering

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried<sup class="crossreference" value="(E)”> and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  (Luke 10:41-42)

The boxes are almost gone from our recent move to a new town and our new home. A few pictures have been hung on the walls and it is beginning to look and feel like home. Our first few months brought a flurry of activity of unpacking, organizing, decorating, and settling in. Everything was exciting and new.  Then, somewhere between emptying boxes and learning our way around town, we stopped moving in and started living. Amid daily life, the mess and clutter began to settle in with us.  The dreaded clutter has already begun its sinister spread, quietly going unnoticed until it is too big to ignore. We have been in our new home for 5 months now and it is already time to declutter. Time to sort through the piles of paper and stacks of unused stuff; to get rid of the useless and make more room for the necessary. To clean out the distractions so we can more easily and readily find whats necessary and needed. It would be so much easier if I would just do a little every day.  As the old saying goes, it is easier to keep up than to catch up!

The ever-growing piles of papers and “magically” appearing clutter is a dramatic picture of what can happen in our daily lives if we aren’t intentional about our focus and our time.  We can easily and quickly fill up our “junk drawer” with projects and activities that keep us busy, but do little to grow our relationships or improve our lives. We can easily get lost in the clutter of life and lose sight of what matters.

If I am not intentional about how I spend my time, my time will quickly be used up by unimportant time takers. I will get the same 24 hours in a day whether I use them wisely or not. So how do I make sure I am focusing on the important details in my life and not the clutter? I must begin each and every day at the feet of Jesus.  The usefulness and quality of my day can be determined before I even get out of bed! I must be intentional to seek His guidance and be filled with His Spirit. Then, and only then, can I begin to see the important tasks ahead of me and focus on what really mattters.

As I go about my day, I must continually be a living sacrifice and allow God to direct and re-direct me, showing me my priorities. I must also be intentional to focus and give undivided attention to my family and friends. Laundry, dishes, and daily chores will always be a necessary part of life, but multi-tasking can deteriorate my relationships and cause me to be distracted. There are times to work, but there are also times to be still, make eye contact with my loved ones and give them my complete attention and focus. This is my goal for this week and I am excited to see how this grows and helps all my relationships with family and friends as well as developing a stronger relationship with Christ through deeper prayer.

Father, help me and teach me to declutter my life. Help me take better care of my home by decreasing and preventing physical clutter and help me to be a better listener and more connected with my family by decluttering my time as well. I desire to know the difference between what is unimportant and what is necessary- help me distinguish between the two and always focus on the latter.

Garrett’s Grandslam

Garrett’s second to last game of the season and he came up to bat with bases loaded. What a great hit, right over the 2nd baseman’s head into the outfield. The centerfielder threw it in to the infield who threw it to the catcher just a second or two too late- Garrett slid and was safe for a grandslam!! The whole team went crazy and hugged him and James high-fived the coach- we were all so incredibly proud of him! He even got the game ball! Just that afternoon, Garrett had talked about how great it would be to hit a homerun- “maybe even a grandslam” he said. Well, he did it!!

I think God gives us little encouragements and “God hugs” along the way to remind us that He cares and to encourage us with a smile and hope. Garrett has been practicing hard and hitting great, but the timing of his grandslam is from God!  God never left our side throughout everything with Connor. It has been incredibly difficult and emotional, but there have been smiles and joy along the way too, and peace beyond understanding. The nurse in the ICU that could one-hand clap and actually made us laugh for a moment; Garrett drawing on everyone’s faces and hands and bringing a smile to everyone; small things, seemingly insignificant, but God knows just when we need those things, and brings them at exactly the right moment- just to remind us He loves us!

Garrett has been so incredibly brave and supportive of Connor during this time. When the doctors were sure it was going to be leukemia, Garrett said he would give bone marrow without hesitation even though he knew it might hurt. When Connor was so weak he couldn’t even walk around or play, Garrett sat on his bed and played the Wii with him. Garrett has prayed for Connor every night and wanted nothing more than for Connor to be healthy again.

We are so proud of Garrett and the young man he is becoming! He loves his family and shows love and kindness to everyone around him and he always brings a smile to everyone’s face with his joy and humor. We are proud of his grandslam and will never forget it- but we are even more proud of his love of God and love of others! 

Way to go Garrett!! 🙂