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Growing In Tenderness

Recently, as I was driving I was thinking about how people that claimed to be Christians did acts that blatantly went against God’s Word and character that inflicted the hurt on others. Then I started thinking about how I was just as wrong as they were because in my response to them I was blatantly going against God’s Word.

As I was going about my day reading this and that it finally came to me. For a Christian that is not displaying God it is a display of how far they have grown apart from God being the authority in their life. So even though they might do everything that displays they have this perfect relationship with Christ the truth is it is just a display. When God tried to speak to them through the Word they would reject His authority so their authority would not be overruled.

As much as I wanted to be a fan in the stands shouting, “Yes! You tell-’em God”, it was hard not to see myself in the mirror doing the exact same thing I wanted to cheer God on for showing me in others.

So instead of making sure everyone knew that I was wise and my thinking was superb, I got down on my knees with a humble heart asking God to soften my heart more to truly love like He does not to love how I think He should.

As His Word saturates my heart I find compassion springing out for others instead of a rod. 

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Gift of Being Anxious

How many times have you stood in anxious thoughts and you pray waiting for God to come in with his superhero cap to save you only to find yourself still standing there in your anxious thoughts? 🙋‍♀️ That is an all caps ME!!!

This weekend I realized that my on the demand prayer for God to save me like I visualized was not truly the purpose in God allowing me to have those anxious thoughts in the first place.

God is or was allowing anxious thoughts that created fear because He wanted to hold me up by His hand 👫. As we walked together. Me in prayer telling Him my burden that came with my fear. Him there strengthening as He helped me to face this fear I had as I grew in those words inscribe in what we call the Bible. This allowing me to come to a point of great faith and to trust Him more.

As I came to this realization I felt sadden for all the times I wanted to stunt my intimacy with the Creator of the universe just so my flesh would not have to suffer even though my soul was going through what my flesh was avoiding.

Today, when the anxious thoughts come I hold the true gift in the moment of what the anxious thoughts bring so I can become more of that God fearing woman I have been after for some time.

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God Fearing Woman In Progress

In my infant days of walking with Christ I would hear the words a “God Fearing Woman” that jingled in my ears and made me want to jump into being those words. But there was one problem. I really did not know what it meant. I mean it is not like you can go to the Bible and look the word up and find the definition for a baby that just babbles. However, regardless of not knowing I just kept striving everyday to obey what I knew God wanted from me.

With countless sermons heard and articles read, it took over a good 10 year plus time, I finally fully grasp what being a God fearing woman means. Now don’t think all the articles and sermons did the trick because while they helped and kept me moving forward the truth is just this weekend as I was spending time with God it all FINALLY made 💯 sense to me.

So here it is….To fear God is to begin with His wisdom and the knowledge of Jesus Christ that comes from the Bible is a look in how all this is to be played out. (See my verse I found this down there 👇 😁)

Y’all as I type this I feel stupid, like yeah, duh, Wendy, it is pretty obvious. That is very true. But how many times have you ran across a scripture and realized you were not living according to what it said even though you have heard sermons and read about it? Maybe you were doing your best to live out what you know you should. Then one day you come across a scripture that pulls it all together and ceases all questionable thoughts and actions you have been struggling with for a while even though you were still walking in faith with God.

Today, I stand ready to give a confident answer to anyone that has this same question I have had for years. So bring them on God. 😊

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Ingraining

How do you handle trials in life or just growing in your Christian walk? One of the things I do, when I am in trails or find myself in complacent growth stages, is I write verses down on notecards and carry them around. Sometimes I have set times I take them out and read them. Other times I read them when needed throughout the day. The more I read the verses different things stick out and I end up marking the verse up in a different color pen to point out what I see. Then be it a day, week, or month they resonate more in me. 

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Missing Parts

Do you ever read a verse and remember just parts of the verse then wonder why your prayers are not being answered? For example on the below verse I remember “Be anxious for nothing but in prayer about everything let your request be known to God.”

I have done this countless times. It can even lead unbelief to rise in me because the Word of God is just not showing to be powerful in my life. But what I have learned is usually if the Word of God is turning void in my life I have not read the scripture in full.

Like in this verse God tells us to be anxious for nothing instead we are to pray, pray repeatedly on the matter, and thanksgiving goes with it. Then when we do these three things God is able to do His part. But if we leave half out we are only leaving a part out that is crucial to the process.

When my unbelief is becoming bigger than my belief this is one of the things I do I revisit scripture and read them daily. As I read them parts of the scriptures that I left out in my life start to become clear to me, allowing correction to take place and my belief to grow.

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Conceived

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1 Samuel 1:12-18

In my last blog, called “You are Right Where You Should Be”, we talked about how Hannah came to a place of extreme distress, in which she was brought to her knees to align her desire with what God chose.

If you missed it, you can click here to read it.

Now we are at a place in 1 Samuel 1:12-18 where we read the depth of Hannah’s prayer. Remember Hannah is in the Temple praying to God and Eli the priest is standing a far watching Hannah. As she prays Eli thought she was drunk.

eucharist-body-of-christ-church-mass-161081.jpegImage you being a calm and peaceful man with not a lot of drama in your midst. Things are taken care of in an orderly fashion. Then here comes a person whose life has gotten the best of them. The pain makes him or her say things with extreme intensively. Not holding back what is going through their mind and heart. As they speak the words loud sounds and cries follow. The crying can be uncontrollable. A place where the person feels all the reasons for living has left and they have no strength to go on.

May I ask, what would your reaction be if a person came to you acting like this?

Has life every gotten to you like Hannah in 1 Samuel 12-18? While you wanted to do what Hannah did instead, you held it in. Or did you release it God?

Many times we want to hold it in. Not wanting others to see us not having it all together. Embarrassed to visibly fall apart. Pride having us believe there is nothing wrong with us.pexels-photo-568027.jpeg

Maybe you think, well I am at a place in my life where I am past that. Yea. I understand. Recently, I too thought the same thing. But then the pressure of deaths, both of my kids wanting to give up on life, and trying to just pay bills, weighed me down. For some weeks, I walked around portraying I had it all together. As the pressure built up inside of me it brought me to a place like Hannah. Crying fiercely for God to hear my prayers. Once I had gotten it all out, I was relieved.

I asked myself why don’t I do this more often? Why do I hold back?

What got me, out of everything that was happening, I noticed when I hold back I miss out on conceiving something much greater than me. Let’s look at Hannah’s prayer to understand what I am talking about.

Verse 17

Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.”

When we come to a place where we cry out like Hannah, do we come to a place for God to conceive something new in our life? The only visible sign Hannah had to show contraception had taken place was she walked away in peace (vs 18) The same person the priest was asking how long are you going to make yourself drunk?pexels-photo-415380.jpeg

Did you catch how God took Eli from believing she was drunk to praying that God grant her request?

Sometimes what you are praying for that has not come through is not being answered because you have not become desperate enough and God has not put the person in your path to be the extra weight needed to get that prayer to God.

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One thing we can say from this story is that prayer moves obstacles that are bigger than us that we can do nothing about. Answer the questions below and response to someone else with a prayer for them.

  1. Are there desires in your life that you have been waiting a while for God to answer? Share one.
  2. Does the desire and your circumstances every make you get distress? How do you response to the distress?
  3. Have you ever considered that coming to a place of distress that led to you pouring your heart out to God is bringing your closer to your desire?
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Right Where You Should Be

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1 Samuel 1:1-11

1 Samuel 1:1-11 is the start of the story of Hannah. If you have not read this before click on 1 Samuel 1:1-11 above to read before going on.

As I was reading the story of Hannah, I could not stop thinking about how Hannah was right where God needed her to be, even though it seemed different with the difficulty of not conceiving a child. Her husband was married to two women. During that time you were not highly looked upon if you were not producing children. Her husband’s other wife was not having a problem at all producing children. While the reading does not say exactly how many children she had, it did state on the day of sacrifice the husband gave portions to “all her sons and daughters”.  family-outdoor-happy-happiness-160994.jpeg

Possibly, you might think…well the husband just wasn’t into her like the other wife. You know what I am saying? But verse 5 and 6 we are told he loved her and showed favor to her by giving her a double portion of the sacrifice over the other wife. It shows us it was not a connection problem at all between the husband and wife, it was God himself closing her womb.

Can you image being with a man that loved you like no other, desiring children, and you sit with what you feel like is nothing? What kind of feelings would that produce in you? Jealously, mad, sad, and in some sense that something is wrong with you. Society has taught us to look a certain way. When the image we hold does not match to the image society has, feelings of not being enough bombard our mind.

man-couple-people-woman.jpgWhat is amazing in this story is that in verse 6 it tells us her haters came after her bitterly. They did not just come at her saying, “ha ha you cannot have kids and I can”. These rivals went extreme with their attacks. It was not done in a calm manner, using kind words. It was forceful. Making sure their point was loud and clear. Using words that were considered harsh. Their motive to doing this was to irritate her. In that moment they wanted her to remember no matter how she displays serving the Lord, that same Lord closed her womb while they were living large in comparison to her.

Perhaps in your mind you are getting this idea that this was a one-time occurrence. This occurrence happened year after year. (verse 7)

Truth be told the occurrence got to Hannah. What human would it not? In the Bible there was this one time that it was noted how her husband noticed and asked her why are you letting this stuff get to you? Hannah never responded to her husband. In his moment of what I believe was frustration and hurt for his wife he asked her, “Aren’t I enough?”

In this one sentence of “Aren’t I enough?” I felt like Hannah in my problems and God saying to me, “Aren’t I enough, Wendy?”. “Wendy, don’t you have enough right where you are?” “Aren’t you thankful for what I have given you?”

Truthfully, I am. But there are times that a part of me is sad because what I have been desiring for years is not coming forth in my life.pexels-photo-127420.jpeg

There came a point in Hannah’s life the pain became too much. It was no longer just a desire, a thought, an ache, or want. A time had come where she became “greatly distressed”.

When I read what I am about to share at the end I found encouragement and hope in those moments when I get greatly distressed. The reason is because that is what brought Hannah on her knees with a heart that poured out to God. When she did it aligned her desire up with God’s desire so God was able to make reality a dream she had for years.

pexels-photo-725910.jpegGod wanted her first born son for something greater beyond Hannah. He had big plans already in place for a son she had not even conceived. But in order for His plans to come to fruition, He needed Hannah to consent to giving up her first born to the Lord first. When Hannah came to a place realizing it was no longer about her wants and desires but what God wanted, then God was able to proceed on with His plan and open Hannah’s womb.

I don’t know where you are in your walk with God or pain. Aside from where you are, I will share that when I read this text I was in pain like Hannah. I have people coming after me bitterly. I felt like my womb to dreams was closed. I ended up reading the passage several times. Each time tears were gushing out my eyes. I felt like Hannah. I found myself on my knees saying not my will but yours in what you have called me to do.

When I was done what I realized was that I carried guilt and shame for where I was. Replaying in my head if I had not agreed to this with that person, then I would not be here. If I did not do that or purchase that, then I would not be in this debt situation. If…that word that can be followed by all the reasons you would not be where you are. When we read Hannah what I realized was Hannah was right where God needed her to be. Had the years that led up to the prayer for a child never happened, then she would have never came to a place of being a part of God’s great story.

My friend I don’t know where you are. I don’t know what lies have been told to you about your situation. One thing is for sure God does not make mistakes and you are exactly where He wants you to be, to bring forth what He needs in your life.

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As we continue our journey on to a New Year New You there is no better way to encourage yourself in your faith walk like encouraging other believers. Share with others what you are going through by answering one of the following questions.

  1. What is one way you feel like God does not hear your prayers?
  2. Does no response from God make you feel like you are not in the right place? Explain.
  3. What type of growth do you see in your life from God not answering your prayer in where you are right now?
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New Year New You

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I don’t know what it is about a New Year starting, but it just feels like when those four digits switch from one year to the next, that I am given the right to leave whatever I did not like in the prior year and start things I do like in the new year.

It is crazy. In November, Thanksgiving is like the kick off for the family holidays. From that moment, all the way up to December 25, we spend planning grand events with family to make memories for years to come. Then immediately, the day after Christmas I wake up thinking about the New Year.

My mind immediate races with thoughts on what I want the New Year to hold for me personally. I donmental clutter stress overload overwhelm’t know about y’all but I am like a kid in the candy store with my ideas. As my ideas are fed by the sugar from the candy store I walk outside and go to the amusement park. At the amusement park my ideas jump on rides going all over the place.

I have a billion ideas running through my mind, okay maybe not a billion, I start to feel a little pressured due to time. I mean I have less than a week to get a plan in place to make these ideas reality.

By January 1 those ideas are usually not written down and surely not planned out.

How many of you do this? The excitement of the New Year has you busting at the seams. It makes you feel like you are going to be able to accomplish any and everything that you think of.

This year in this chaotic New Year mind game I do every year I caught myself. I had to ask myself, “Wendy, how many of those ideas are you really going to accomplish?” “How many of those are ideas towards the big goal you have?” “How many of those goals are just to say you did it?” But the one question that I asked myself that was the most important question was, “Wendy, how many of those ideas are part of God’s plan for your life?”

I could not answer.

a239715e10c34e3df5313612c16cb8f8--challenge-group-saving-moneySo here I am taking the month of January to seek after what God is saying He has for me and my family in 2018 so we can go after it with all our heart.

As I reflect in my own life, usually the goals I make for a new year that do not become reality are because they are not the ones God has for me. Instead of accomplishing just a couple of goals, I accomplished none of the goals. I am too busy chasing after all these other goals and trying to take on more than I can handle.

See when getting rid of the old and walking into the new it is easy to talk about. It is easy to even start. But to actually carry out what God has said He wants from you takes commitment. A commitment that requires discipline. Rejection. Missing out hanging with others because God is trying to work something new in you that takes your time to make the goals attained.

Truthfully, I knew what God wanted but fear held me back and all the other ideas that came were intriguing to pull me away from what I really wanted.

However, this year I have decided I will no longer chase after all the ideas that keep me running in circles that lead to nowhere. This year I am facing the fear and dread I have and going after what God has said to do.

Maybe you are someone that makes goals every year but they never happen. Then I ask you join this journey with us as we encourage and support one another to get us to our heart desires.

If you said YES then get your running shoes out, lace them up, tie a double knot, and get ready to chase after what you have dreamed of for years in 2018.

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Our first mission on this race is to take the time to open up so others know what they are going through there is someone else out there going through it to. So take a minute to answer just one question and response to one other person.

I can’t wait to read your responses.

  1. What is one New Year goal you really want to attain?
  1. How many of your New Year goals become reality?
  1. At the end of the year does it make you said that you did not accomplish what you set out to do in the beginning of the New Year?
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Finding Healing in the Midst of Bitterness 

The other day as I listened to a sermon the words jumped out to me: “It is when you are getting close to God coming through that we turn the other direction.”

Heard these words preached, posted on social media, in writings, and in songs more times then I can remember. But this time the words had my attention like never before. 
See God has had me in some really hard places over the last four years. So much pain came from those years. I desperately long to be healed of the pain. But more than not I find myself in anger over the time I lost. 
If those four years had not happened I would be:
-Employed with benefits. 

-Going into my third year of my Masters, which I just might have been in my last year. 

-Able to take vacations. 

-Have a savings.

-Out of debt. 

But instead the opposite of everything I listed above is what is currently going on plus more.
Therefore, in order to break down the bitterness of what has been taken from me the Spirit finds ways to lead me into deep reflection for healing and to let go. 
I sit here now full of Jesus on the inside but empty in my surroundings. I wonder does Jesus really hear my prayers? Does He really see what I am going through? Am I that bad of a person that I made so many wrong choices to be where I am today? For the one that stands and boost how great their life is with little blemishes in their years, are they better than me to have not seen the life I have? 
One thing God has shown me is the things that I prayed for others He answered. Not only did He answer the prayer He used me to help the answer prayer come about. 
That sounds heavenly doesn’t it? I should feel some type of awe. But I don’t. Instead I say, “Lord, did you see how they person persecuted me? Remember Lord when they did . . . Because I do. Lord, do you not remember how they slandered me? Lord, do you remember when I could not get out of bed because the oppression weighted me down too much and they skipped with smiles living their life in my face?” His response is, “Wendy, I answered your prayer on their life.”
I just stopped pleading my case and just started repeating what He said…I answered your prayer on their life. 
Tonight as I am cleaning out drawers I came across this prayer spiral. I had committed a certain time to pray for specific things for certain people and places. 
When I first came across it I was like I am not even going to read that. But I found myself opening it up to see what I prayed for excepting to see how my prayers were answered like before. 
Instead, I saw how my prayers cause me to be rejected by multitudes because what God wanted to do they would turn the other direction instead of letting Him have His way. 
I found that mind boggling. How one prayer was answered exactly like I asked. One prayer was answered totally opposite. 
I thought back to this devotional I read by Joyce Meyer. It was in regards to everything works for His good. As I read it she pointed out that His good does not mean it eliminates the bad happening. It means that in that bad He is bringing good that you can’t see for His glory. Because of that in faith we can be thankful and praise Him while it is bad. 
One thing I have learned through it all is I might have many dreams and plans that God agrees with but my first obligation is to go where He tells me in faith to save souls no matter the pain I have to go through to save them. Just trust He has better to come but I got to see His work in my life not the pain of the past.

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The Growth in You

There are some days that living the Christian life comes with a lot of persecution. The blows from others are so consistent we start to wonder if the comments they are saying are true. Our worth is not feeling so worthy. While we know we are doing the right thing their is still this unexplainable feeling going on in us. It reminds me of this Olive tree we have.
We live on 10 acres and our land has been in the family since 1948. So to some it is just land with a run down old house. But for others it is a land full of stories and memories. This Olive tree is just one more story to the list of stories.
Where this Olive tree is located there use to be a line of trees. There were so many that they were crowded together. However, the days of tree clustering slowly started coming to an end once we moved out here in 1991. I think my step-dad made it his mission to clear trees out. This area where this Olive tree is was a location of one of his missions. 
He cut all the trees down. It took some time and I watched as the progress was being made over time. His mission finally came to an end. I looked out and there was this tall tree with maybe a couple of branches on it, which they were all sticking straight up. Only one branch had leaves and there was not very many. 
I asked, “Why didn’t you cut that tree down it looks dead?” He said, “That is an Olive tree and those are good trees. It was smothered from all the other trees so it was not able to grow. Now that the trees that were taking what it needed away from it are gone it will grow.” 
Every summer when it comes time to mow I have stared at this tree while I mowed. I have wondered why is an Olive tree all that. I have wondered if it was every going to grow like it is suppose to. I have pretty much sat in wonder of this Olive tree trying to see what my step-dad saw in this tree.
Now in looking at it I no longer wonder. I can see what my step-dad saw. Today it is a beautiful full tree. It produces olives and shares them with the ground underneath. I can not tell you how many little trees I have had to mow over. If I don’t get to them soon enough there are an abundance of them.
After a day of persecution maybe you feel like this Olive tree looked. Beat down and not seeing a lot of good in you. But the One that allowed you where you are sees a lot of good in you. He sees that where you are is clearing away all the things that are smoothering you from growing into full bloom. As they are removed the light is able to get in to grow such an abundance of fruit that it will be an overflow. 

God loves you like crazy.