(If you're looking for the "She Speaks" Scholarship information, scroll down to my 4/13 blog entry! And thanks!)
Have you ever felt like you just missed the bus?
Like life is passing you by and you forgot to "get onboard?"
I actually witnessed this literally the other day. On my way to work I was behind a city bus as it completely passed a scheduled stop. There was a young man waiting and I watched him stare incredulously as it drove by. I almost laughed at the look on his face - but didn't of course!
He most definitely "missed the bus!"
I could almost feel his frustration and helplessness as he watched the bus round the corner and vanish from sight. He might've been on his way to work — or a job interview. Perhaps he was going to visit friends. But one thing was clear: he was going to be late, if not miss his appointment altogether. He was going to have to adjust his plans.
Life moves so fast sometimes, doesn't it? It's easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. So many things to do, not enough time. And then our plans change. Sometimes through no fault of our own. Like the young man who missed his bus.
It's during these times that we can lean on the Lord. He understands when we feel frustrated and helpless. He wants us to trust him. We need to remember his "plans to prosper... and not to harm... , plans to give... hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
When we get too busy, we lose sight of our priorities and what's most important: our faith, our family, friends, our goals, ourselves. God may then orchestrate a situation that forces us to slow down, regroup and breathe. I know I need to slow down when I feel like I'm getting sick and have no energy. I can almost hear God telling me to rest and focus on him. "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him." (Psalm 62:4-6)
Other times, I can sense the Lord telling me to wait. This is especially difficult for me. I want to make things happen — now! Patience was not one of my virtues. And I know I have missed out on the "prosper" part of his plan simply because I could not wait. Thankfully, I have learned how to trust the Lord and wait. More often than not, he has something better coming along. One of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Why is that so hard to do sometimes?!
So today let me encourage you to slow down. Take a deep breath. If you don't know what to do — simply wait. Trust that God knows what's best for you. The obstacles you face today may hide God's blessing for you tomorrow.
Missing the bus may be just what you needed.
More favorites scriptures:
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
~ Lamentations 3:25-27
For in this hope we were saved.
But hope that is seen is no hope at all.
Who hopes for what they already have?
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
~ Romans 8:24-26
Once upon a time there was a sweet little girl who loved to talk. She was also the oldest of four children and took this responsibility very seriously. It was up to her to protect her 3 little brothers, wasn't it? They needed to do what she told them. But more often than not, they did not need (or want) her protection. And they definitely didn't do what she said! She was sort of a bossy little girl and maybe not so sweet after all! So she grew up wishing she was an only child (true story!).
The little girl grew up in the 70s and 80s facing many of the same challenges every kid has to face. Obey your parents. Do your homework. Make friends. She didn't have any problems making friends. She was an agreeable, easy-going girl. But ask her to speak in front of her classmates and she froze up with fear. A million humiliating scenarios would run through her mind: tripping in front of the class, forgetting what to say, the kids laughing at me. And most importantly "How do I look?"
Needless to say, over the years the little girl had to speak in front of a group of classmates. And it never got easier. So life went on and the little girl grew up. She would marry, have children — and divorce. At one point during her life, she joined a direct sales company where she HAD to speak in front of people. So she would talk about the product: jewelry (what woman can't talk about jewelry?!). And she would tell her story. How she was raising two children as a single mom and earning extra income selling jewelry. She would also share her faith. This particular company was founded on biblical principles, so it was okay, right?!
Well, as you might have guessed, the little girl is me. As I grew my Premier Designs jewelry business, I began feeling more and more comfortable speaking in front of women. I began to hear God's calling in my life to continue to share my story — and my faith.
I did not always walk with the Lord over those years. My relationship with him was almost non-existent during different times in my life. Oh, I always "believed" and prayed — especially when I needed something or after making another bad decision. But I always felt like I wasn't "good" enough for God. How could he love me? I was a mess! So when I would "mess up" - I vowed to "be better."
Well, good news! God doesn't expect us to be perfect! (whew!) He forgives us when we mess up. He loves us in spite of our mistakes. That's why he sent Jesus to die in our place, for sins he knew we would make. But God does expect us to trust him - and obey.
I am trusting God today. That he will continue to work in my life and lead me to share his word. This website and blog are part of that plan. I still need to do my part. It's been a couple of months since my last posting. Unacceptable! hehe Seriously though, I strive to obey and struggle with trust. Life gets busy. My to-do list gets longer. Things need to go my way! But like Paul, I am "...forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me..." (Philippians 3:13-15)
God has opened a door for me recently but I need your help to walk through it. There is an annual conference specifically designed for women like me, www.shespeaksconference.com. Women who feel called to share their story and God's word. I am hoping to attend this summer and am launching a fundraiser. Will you prayerfully consider sponsoring me? If you feel compelled to support this effort, please click here to email me and I will send you the information. OR click on the document below - it has all the details!
I would love your prayers and financial support. Even if it's just $10! It's a tax-deductible donation to help me pay for the weekend conference. I am trusting that the Lord will provide!
Thank you in advance :)
P.S. Here's a picture of me and my three brothers. I'm glad I'm not an only child after all!
Now that the 2011-2012 football season has finally ended (congrats to the New York Giants!) - I wanted to reflect on the phenomenon that occurred during the season: TEBOWING!
It seemed like everyone was 'Tebowing'! There is even a website dedicated to Tebowing, aptly named Tebowing.com. So what exactly is Tebowing? Well, it's a action verb: "to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different."
Isn't this what God tells ALL of us to do? Romans 12:2 begins, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world." As Christians, we are commanded to be different. But the world tells us to follow the crowd. Everybody's doing it so it must be ok, right?
I have struggled with this my whole life. Wanting to fit it and feeling the pressure if I didn't 'go with the flow'. Not that I put up much of an external fight. The conflict I felt was inside. I knew that some of my choices weren't the right ones but it was often easier to 'blend in'. I would then feel guilty and torn up about those decisions. In hindsight, I was insecure and seeking the approval of others.
What I admire most about Tim Tebow is that he consistently seeks God's approval - not the world's. His focus is on pleasing God. So, how do we please God?
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess. 5:18)
It seems Tim Tebow is constantly thanking God - if all the images of him 'Tebowing' are any indication! I imagine his prayers are peppered with words of praise and thanksgiving. Whether he's just thrown the winning 80-yard pass in overtime or his team is suffering a 45-10 loss, I bet Tebow is counting his blessings and thanking God.
It took me a few years, a wonderful counselor and lots of prayer before I finally found my 'voice' - so to speak. I started to gain the confidence I needed to make unpopular choices. I began to value what God wanted me to do, rather than what the world expected.
It's a conscious choice and can be a struggle (depending on the day!) - but I want to be different. I don't want to 'conform' anymore. I want to give thanks in all my circumstances.
You may not find me 'Tebowing' anytime soon, but you can bet I'll be praying!
_In honor of my first 45 years on this planet, I though it would be appropriate to share some of the things I have learned. So, here goes - in no particular order!
• Laughter really is the best medicine
• AFV is the greatest TV show in the world! (I can literally watch it for hours)
• Monday morning is not the right time to ask 'so what do you want to do when you graduate?'
• The world disappears when you look into the eyes of your brand new baby
• Be prepared when you pray for patience - God will give you opportunity to practice it!
• God hears our prayers
• Be thankful for EVERYTHING
• God really does loves me
• Grown up daughters become best friends
• Age is just a number
• I am fearfully and wonderfully made
• Hearing a baby laugh = instant good mood
• God's timing is always perfect
• Learning from my mistakes = growing up
• People may disappoint us but God won't
• Time spent with good friends is time well spent
• People don't care if your shirt came from Goodwill or the Gap
• When I give back to God he blesses me - ALWAYS
• Count your blessings instead of what you don't have
• People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care
• It's not wrong, it's just different
• Family is ALWAYS more important than work
• Real men love Jesus
• Nobody will notice when you wear the same jeans 3 days in a row.
• Fish sticks and french fries are ok for dinner… 3 days in a row (it was a rough week!)
• Never leave home without earrings
• Ice cream is ok for dinner
• The digital camera is the greatest invention EVER
• Sometimes people just need you to listen
• Good manners count - please and thank you IS important
• A mother's love is unconditional
• My brothers aren't so bad now that we're grown up
• Sending a card 'just because' can make someone's day
• Keep an umbrella in the car at all times 'just in case' (I don't 'do' wet hair!)
• People are watching you - be an example
• An overdrawn checking account does not equal the end of the world (even up to 6 returned checks!)
• It's ok to say no
• It's ok to negotiate with a salesperson - the worst they can do is say no!
• When cutting your son's hair with clippers, don't start straight down the middle!
• People need kindness - say hello, smile, ask someone how they're doing
• Hugs are free
• Babies are more resilient than they look - goes hand-in-hand with...
• Eating needles from a real Christmas tree will not hurt the baby (they pass right on thru!)
• I am right where I'm supposed to be
• Don't multi-task when making dinner (don't ask! hehe)
• Our children need to make their own mistakes
• A movie marathon on a beautiful Saturday is ok!
• Love is a choice
• When God shuts a door, he opens a window
• Counseling works
• God's word is real
• Broken hearts heal
• It's ok to ask for help
• All we have is today
I'm looking forward to what I'll learn in the next 45 years!
_The conversation with myself went something like this:
"Should I go back in and ask her?" I wondered.
"Nah, she will be offended and I'm certain she wouldn't need it." I reasoned.
"No, she might. You never know. I'm just going to do it."
I had stopped at Pizza Hut to pick up dinner and noticed a young woman bouncing her baby. She was standing beside a booth with two other children. As I walked back to the car with my pizza, I remembered my son's bouncy seat in the car. I had planned to give it to a friend along with a box of Austin's outgrown baby clothes. But when I saw this young woman, a thought popped in my head: I wonder if she needs a bouncy seat?
And so began my internally struggle. Like a tennis match, my thoughts went back and forth. Should I?
Or shouldn't I?
Over the years, I have learned to recognize God's voice. He often speaks to me through my random thoughts. Those times when I think about an old friend and consider calling or writing. I believe that is God's voice. He also speaks to us through his word: the Bible. I can read a particular scripture and think, "Wow, God is totally telling me to _______ (fill in the blank)."
My challenge is the ACTION part of listening – doing it!
It's never easy to step out of our comfort zone and make the first move. Whether calling an old friend to say hello, volunteering to help an elderly neighbor or... approaching a total stranger.
So, we may say a little prayer – or promise to help out next time. What keeps us from actually doing something - now?
Fear of rejection? The young woman will think I'm nuts.
Taking the time? I needed to get home with dinner.
Laziness? It was raining and I was already in my car.
We can come up with any number of excuses.
So with much trepidation on that rainy, Friday night I LISTENED. And made myself go back into the restaurant and approach this young mother.
"I know this is going to sound crazy but I am trying to listen to God. I think he's telling me to talk to you. I have an 8 mo. old who has outgrown his bouncy seat. It's in my car. Do you happen to need one?"
With tears in her eyes, she replied, "Yes, that was God. The only thing we need for the baby is a bouncy seat. But we're on a budget and haven't been able to get one."
My eyes began to fill and I was left speechless. Oh, the power of God. And how he works when we listen - and obey.
I recently shared this story with my Sunday School class and came up with an acronym for LOVE: Listen. Obey. Value. Everyone.
Let God use you to be a blessing to someone!
DO IT :)
_2012 - a new year. A time for reflection and a time for purpose.
Time for setting goals for the future (I don’t like saying ‘resolutions!’) and reflecting on the past. And while it’s easy for most of us to reflect, it’s not so easy to make those goals. Personally, I struggle with that dirty ‘P’ word: procrastination. I imagine a lot of us do.
Why is it so hard to begin? I make a ton of plans in my head and visualizing has never been a problem. I can ‘see’ how I’d look 20 lbs. thinner. And I can picture speaking to women’s weekend retreats and Bible classes. It’s the ‘DOING’ that trips me up. Have you been there? Do you struggle with starting a project or beginning something new?
__For me, starting something new is a challenge because I have to step out of my comfort zone. Making specific changes (goals and plans) requires me to change – another dirty word! Instead of looking at change as scary or uncomfortable, my ‘goal’ (!) is to look at change as opportunity. Opportunity to make a difference in the world. Well, in my little section of the world anyway. Beginning with my family and my friends. And eventually – in God’s time - reaching women who could be inspired by my faith journey.
So as another year begins, I am determined to make the changes necessary to realize my goals. My fear now is that I will be reflecting on 2012 in 12 months and be in the same place I am today! Totally unacceptable... and definitely uncomfortable.
Setting goals is like putting wings on your dreams. Specifying my goals in writing will help me stay focused and make them seem real and actually attainable. This is going to require discipline (ugh! Another one of those words) and ‘on purpose’ choices. Our choices should move us toward our goals, not away from them.
I'm a big fan of 'to do' lists. Mostly because of how I feel when I check off an item on that list. That sense of accomplishment. Do you get the same feeling? I am committed to making smaller, mini-goals that will help me accomplish my bigger ‘opportunity’ – and I have now put it in writing!
I am excited about writing down my smaller goals to support the bigger picture. Writing this blog is the first step to one of them: encouraging women.
Now about those 20 lbs…