Friday, December 31, 2010

God Has a Plan

"I must always keep this in mind because, for some reason, God doesn't seem to want to do things my way or in a time frame that I would choose. So to leave some things behind, we need to learn that God has a plan and to trust His plan" Lysa

Yup, that's it! God has a plan and it may not look like anything I can think up. I think about Abraham and how God told him that he'd be the father of many nations, but Abraham couldn't picture it. It was impossible! he was old, I mean OLD, and so was his wife Sarah. How in the world were they going to have a child to start this whole father of many nations thing?

Have you ever been there? Oh I have! I think the more impossible, the more improbable the more you have to trust God. It seems to me that every day the dream God has given me becomes more and more impossible. But I need to be careful to not try to make it happen it my way and in my own timing. Abraham did! The nice thing is that he was called God's friend, he messed up by trying to make the plan happen in his own strength. But of course God still used it because Ishmael did father a nation of his own.

A couple of other great points from this chapter.
Lysa talked about holding onto things like a security blanket. I really got excited when I read that part, because I blogged about it before I read that part.
People don't like fake perfection. I have tried to look, act, even believe that I have it altogether when I so don't. I need to remember that I do not need to act like anything except what really is.
I need to thank God in advance of what is to come. I need to believe, chose to embrace, leave behind what needs to be left behind, and TRUST God.
I must leave something in order to move ahead.
Sometimes God shatters my perception of what I thought was going to happen. That's okay!
God does have a plan. Not just a good plan, not even a really good plan, but His plan is perfect!

The chapter ends with "Are you ready to venture to your own unique and exciting places? Commit to leave your agenda behind, take God's hand, and hold on tight...the journey has just begun." Lysa. Oh I am so excited!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Powerful First Step/Your New Name

First off I need to pick up the pace. I am writing about chapter 2 and I read chapter 6 last night. So I guess I need to rethink how much I blog about each time. By the way, love, love, love this book!

A Powerful First Step, is a short section that made a big impaact on me. It even changed the way I pray. This line struck me, "Experiencing life change is not a matter of chance, it's a matter of choice, choosing God's way instead of your own." I have prayed for a second chance, a do-over, in areas where I know I messed up and want to try again. I changed my prayer language after reading this, actually right in the middle of the prayer. I started to ask God for a second chance, stopped myself, and changed it to "another opportunity to make a choice".

A choice! I have to stop looking for chances and start realizing that I really need to be making choices. I want to choose not to let fear rule. I want to choose to show love when someone hurts me. I want to choose forgiveness, letting go of bitterness, and speaking up when I feel God is prompting me. I want to take the opportunities to make choices, and to make ones that are Christlike. So that is the way I pray now, to have the opportunity to make a choice.

Your New Name relates how Abraham, formerly know as Abram, had his name changed when God confirmed His promise to Abraham. First God told Abram to leave his homeland and go where God lead him. He left and years later God came back to Abram and confirmed His promise to him that he would be the father of many nations. Then He told him his name was changed to Abraham. God made the promise, came back and confirmed it, and then changed his name. Abraham went through his leaving phase and he was given his new name.

Lysa says, "When you go through the leaving phase, you are asked to leave much behind. But you don't walk from this place empty-handed. You are going equipped with a new name." So looking forward to that new name God has for me.

I have really enjoyed the personal Bible study sections at the end of each chapter. They make me want to read God's Word more, the book more, and to really reflect on what Lysa asks me to think about.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Line in the Sand

"You see, looking behind you and ahead of you at the same time is impossible." Lysa TerKeurst

That line hit me hard when I read the first section of chapter 2 "A Line in the Sand". God doesn't call us to hold on and bring it along as we grow, actually we probably wouldn't actually grow. He expects us to let go of the comfort blankets in our lives and grow up. Sometimes those comfort blankets are good things and sometimes they aren't. The comfort blanket can be the wall that we have built up. I know that I am a master brick layer. I have built and even rebuilt walls in my life. But it's time to stop looking back at those walls, I can't see anything through them anyway. It is time to move forward, let go, leave behind, and step out.

Lysa also says that we need to leave our past behind, draw that line in the sand, and go forward. Forward with God! Like I said before, stop looking back and not only looking back but falling back. I don't just look back, but sometimes I fall back to that wall. Oh, and if I see that a hole has been made in the wall, either by me or by God, I will try to fill it back in. But I don't want to do that anymore!

"Leaving is usually an act of obedience and not a desire of the heart. It is hard. It causes you to step outside of your comfort zone and enter a life that requires faith." Lysa. My heart desires to move on but desiring is not enough. I need to take the steps to get outside my comfort zone and move forward with God, in faith.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Honoring God

This is the final section of the first chapter. There is a personal Bible study at the end of each chapter, but that is just for me. :) In this section Lysa writes about how God asked her if she would honor him in the everyday, in the unpleasant tasks. I guess I tend to think it is easy to honor God in the great things, in the spiritual tasks. Not that we don't honor Him in those, but will I honor him when the dog eats to much and I have to clean up after her? Will I honor Him when I need to do the laundry, clean the bathroom, clean out the litter box? Will I honor Him when I have to attend another meeting? Will I honor Him when I am filling out paperwork? Will I honor Him by seeing that these things are necessary? Not just mundane, but necessary.

Lysa states that when she decided to honor Him she was ready to step out into ministry. She declared in her heart that she was a woman in ministry, dedicated to serving Him, and started watching for His invitation to join Him. She didn't say that she took any reckless steps, she didn't try to make anything happen. She declared, dedicated, and waited. Oh, how I do not like to wait!  But she didn't just sit around either. She spent time with God; chose to have a good attitude when she could have reacted badly; and served others. In doing this she was honoring God.

It is hard to wait. It is hard to not snap at the person who is rude to you. Well, I'm passive aggressive so snapping at someone isn't what I usually do, although I can't say I don't want to. It's hard not to get an idea and run with it. But I want to walk in faith. I want to have the God breathed dream fulfilled. So I must honor Him. I can't just decide that I'm going to honor Him and that's it. No, it takes a daily commitment to honor Him, sometimes a multiple times a day commitment. I do fall short, but He knows I will. I ask Him to forgive, He does and then I commit again.

Lysa finishes the chapter with, "Keep being obedient, keep looking for the next open door of opportunity, and above all else hold closely to our Lord." I can't say it better than that!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Surrendering Inadequacy

It's been awhile, but I got totally wrapped up in the mythical word of Percy Jackson. I have always been fascinated by Greek Mythology. One of the perks of being a teacher is I can read kids' books and get away with it.

But I have been drawn back to reading What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. to quote Lysa "My friend, I don't know the circumstances of your life. I don't know the dream God has given you. Perhaps you don't either...yet. But I do know you have this book in your hands for a reason. God has a plan for you." When I was a girl I know God breathed a dream into my heart and I have embraced it, ignored it, and flat out ran from it at various times of my life. Well it's been over 25 years and I am still waiting for the dream to unfold. About 7 years ago I decided to stop pushing it away and embrace it once again. I would love to say that it has been easy and quick, but it has been heart wrenching and long, very long. See it hasn't happened yet and there are times when I wonder if it ever will.

This section is a page long, but it speaks to God using the woman who can surrender the inadequacies and circumstances to Him. Believe me this can be so hard. As awful as they are they are our own twisted form of a comfort blanket. Their thin layer of cloth seems to hold the inadequacies in and we think keeps anyone else from seeing them. But I doubt that they are as powerful as all that. Sure people don't see so much of the hurt and pain of our lives when we wrap ourselves in the blanket, but just seeing an adult wrapped up in a baby blanket might just be a clue that we have them.

I had, and unfortunately still have, so many inadequacies that need to be surrendered. As long back as I can remember I always felt inadequate. I remember on the playground in elementary school feeling left out, over looked, and just plain wrong. We lived on a farm outside of town and we didn't have lots of money. My dad wasn't a huge part of my life growing up. Boys didn't seem to like me the way they liked my friends. My middle school boyfriend, who I know is a pastor now and probably a great husband and father, broke my heart. One day he just decided to stop talking to me and told my friends that I should have just figured it out that we had broken up. So I wasn't even worth telling in person that he didn't like me any more.

That "relationship" tainted every one that came after, which weren't many. In high school and college I had no idea how to act around guys and ended up seeing each one that I liked end up with someone else. I grew up, became a teacher, and threw myself into my job. I gained weight, got frumpy, wore glasses (nothing wrong with glasses), and let my hair just go. I hid! I decided that the dream was dead and I had better just get used to it. Like I said 7 years ago I decided to embrace the dream again. It has been long and God has had to do some serious heart work on me.

In the last 4 or 5 years I have made so much progressed and thought God was opening up the dream and I was so excited, scared, and so very ready. But the dream didn't open up the way I hoped and I will admit I still hurt over it. I struggle to believe that there even is a dream, and that I am even worthy of it if there is. It has set me back and I have fallen off the wagon in the last year or so. I have started to find myself hiding again, but I want to come out and embrace the dream again.

So I am trying to get back into working out, not my favorite thing, and I need to make a hair appointment. I am trying to spend more time with God and let His love wash over me and flow from me. I picked up this book and started reading it and decided to blog about it. I didn't mean to write all that above, but it just poured out. I guess by writing them down for anyone one to see is my way of surrendering them. I hope it is. I want to be used by God, to not only dream the dream He has given, but live the dream, and dream some more.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Map

"I felt so insignificant." Those are the first words of chapter 1 of What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. How many times have I felt insignificant? Too many to count. Kind of experiencing that right now, have been for awhile now actually. But I know in my head that is just a lie of Satan. Now just to get my heart to start realizing it.

Well, back to the chapter. There are subsections in the chapters and I guess to do it justice I have to spend some time on the ones that stick out. The chapters aren't long, but I think some may take me awhile to write about. The one I want to focus on now is God Will Fill in the Gaps. How will God use me? When will God use me? I know He will, He birthed the dream in me. But how and when can become an obsession of my thoughts. But He takes all of us through the waiting period. As Lysa put it "I experienced a waiting period, a time of growth, development, and perseverance as God prepared me. Lessons on patience, trust, surrender, and learning to take hold all preceded my stepping out."

Oh these times, this time, is hard to go through. It feels hopeless and endless. I start to wonder if God ever spoke to me. If I heard Him correctly, or just heard what I wanted to hear. Unfortunately I'm a thinker and these thoughts take up too much of my time. But Lysa continues "But even in this seemingly unimportant time of pruning and trials, God was preparing me for the next step. This "getting ready period" was not a waste of time It was an important part of fulfilling my calling. Though I couldn't see much fruit, God was getting my branches ready and healthy enough to hold all He knew was coming."

Can I get an Amen!? This is exactly what I need to hear, need to remember! It is not a waste of time, it is so very important. Like I tell me students "if it's easy you haven't learned anything. You've just reviewed what you already know." So this time is a learning time and I will be wiser, spiritually wiser, from going through this time and learning from it.

So when Satan whispers to me, and he will, that I'm not good enough. That God doesn't speak to me. That He doesn't really care about me. Unfortunately, I will listen and start to doubt but I need to remember that God is preparing me and leading me to all He has promised!

Next time Surrendering Inadequacy. Oh it's only a page long, but it's so very important! :D

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I curled up on the couch and read the introduction to What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. It was only about 3 pages long, but I got so much out of those 3 pages. I had to go grab a highlighter, I am NOT a highlighter reader, but I felt it was necessary. I reread and highlighted. Here's a bit of what struck me.
  • Every woman receives a dream from God that is uniquely hers.
  • Every woman faces obstacles that will keep her from God's best.
  • Discouragement, fatigue, and impatience set in. I am sooooo there!
  • Giants are in MY promise land!
  • Satan lies to me to try to kill my dream.
  • There are 5 phases of faith to pass through. I'll share them as I read about them.
I believe that God has given me a dream, not sure I'm ready to share that just yet, and I know that there are giants in my promise land. The biggest giant in my promise land right now seems to be LIES! I am a thinker and unfortunately I think about those lies. Sometimes I think about them so much that they seem to become truth.

I am very excited about reading this book and pray that God reveals His truth to me through it!

As an aside, Lysa Terkeurst is one of my favorites. She goes to the same church I do, Southbrook, and I have had the joy of hearing her speak. After I had heard her speak a few times I read her book Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. I really enjoyed it and have wanted to read another one of her books ever since.

My first post!

I love to read and sometimes have a couple books going at once. Okay sometimes more than a couple. I was at the book store today looking for Christmas presents. I didn't end up buying a book for anyone, the one I looked at was cheaper online, even with shipping. But I can't leave a book store without buying a book so I started looking for some thing for me to read, even though I am currently reading a few. I looked at fiction and saw a few good books, written by some of my favorite authors and then I looked at some Christian Insprational, that's what they call it. I found the Lysa TerKeurst books and looked at a couple of them. I decided to buy What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. So I will start reading it and then start blogging about it. I'm excited and a bit nervous about it. I will be writing about my thoughts and feelings as I read. I will try to be as honest as possible. That's the scary part.