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Lessons Learned 2014

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Zechariah 4:6
So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.

I crave expectations and goals, and I get a high when I can check one off the list.  Not too long ago, I completed four months of work to create a beautiful list and portfolio of projects in anticipation of a deadline.  The timeline should have allowed all projects to be wrapped up in a neat bow...but one thing after another stalled progress.  In spite of my greatest efforts I left one project dangling.  I simply could not make it happen no matter how hard I tried.  My expectation of praise for the volume accomplished was quickly replaced with the words, "I'm disappointed."  My spirit was crushed, but I had to hold my head high and know that even though my best was not sufficient, I had given my all. 

I left the meeting, sat down at my desk, and my eyes met with a scripture taped on the wall...Zechariah 4:6.
2014 ha…

Missing the Feast

I am following through with a commitment I made last night.  God has been all over me about putting things in my life ahead of what he calls me to do.  This blog is one of them.  There have been so many times over the past few months that he has laid a message on my heart, and I would scribble down a passage thinking I would get back to writing it "when I have time."  I should have learned by now that is a beautiful four letter phrase that lives in a fairyland.  The point is, there are several scraps of paper, and several more draft posts that got started and haven't been finished.

Our ladies class on Wednesday night at church has hit home so many times.  Last night's lesson was from Luke 14.  It was the story of the great banquet.  Many guests were invited, and many gave excuses as to why the could not come.  One had bought a piece of land and needed to go see it.  One had bought oxen and needed to try them out.  One had gotten married.

The man ordered his servant t…

He Will Not Let Go

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Deuteronomy 31:6  (NIV)
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."

I've started to have people asking when my next blog was going to come out.  I've always let God lead the timing.  My entries have been few and far between this year.  It's not because he hasn't been speaking, and thankfully it hasn't been because I haven't been listening. 

In April, I started a series of medications to control my constant dizziness and vertigo that left me feeling even worse than before.  While my heart has been filled with stories to share, my brain simply would not give me the words I needed to convey the deep love and protection sent from my heavenly father during this time.

There have been lots of days that just getting through the day was an accomplishment.  My 10 minute commute to work many mornings included listening to a song that brought much comfort, Laura…

The Details, Psalm 139

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Psalm 13913For You shaped me, inside and out.
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath.
14 I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.
You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;
Your works are wonderful;
I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.
15 You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You
As I took shape in secret,
carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb.
16 You see all things;
You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb;
Every detail of my life was already written in Your book;
You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it.
17 Your thoughts and plans are treasures to me, O God! I cherish each and every one of them!
How grand in scope! How many in number!
18 If I could count each one of them, they would be more than all the grains of sand on earth. Their number is inconceivable!


It's my birthday, an…

Are You A Good Listener?

A doctor's appointment I had earlier in the month rocked my world.  The hearing issues and vertigo I've experienced for the past few years and treated as inner ear were diagnosed as a rare form of migraines.  I don't have headaches, or at least not what you would think of as a migraine.  Instead it presents as vertigo, ringing in the ears, ear pressure and pain, and muffled hearing.  I am chronic at this point, meaning there are symptoms occurring at least 15 days out of every month.  Truthfully, I can't remember the last symptom free day I had.

My hearing, according to the 45 minutes of testing, is in the normal range for someone my age.  The problem is my brain simply isn't getting it.  I'm really struggling with that concept and how a medication that is supposed to calm an overactive area of my brain can help fix my muffled hearing...which really isn't muffled at all.

I am discouraged the treatment is trial and error, with a "goal of 50 percent imp…

God Margin

Every now and then, I get to substitute teach for our ladies at church.  In the end, God always gives me a lesson that is for me than it is for them.  Wednesday night I shared with them from Judges 7, the story of Gideon.  The Israelites were outnumbered 4 to 1 against the Midianites.  Judges 8 talks about how they looked innumerable, like a swarm of locusts. 

God promises Gideon he will hand over the Midianites to Israel.   He cuts Gideon's army from 32,000 to 10,000, telling Gideon that if he gives the Midianites over at this point, the Israelites might just think they had a hand in the win.  He cuts the army again from 10,000 down to 300.  Outnumbered 450:1 God tells Gideon they are now ready for battle.

We also talked about the space Priscilla Shirer refers to as "God Margin," the space between God's plan for our lives and what seems to be our resources to accomplish this plan.  God Margin is a very uncomfortable place for us.  We don't like God Margin, we l…

Turning Over the To Do List

Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (NLT)

It has a prominent place on my desk.  A little note pad labeled "To Do List."  I'm a list maker, and a list checker.  It gives me great satisfaction to cross something off at the top and make a new line for another project at the bottom.

One morning this week, a morning I was very tired and overwhelmed at the list before me, God gave me the verses above.  It was a great reminder he gives us strength in our times of need. 

Then Saturday evening, I found myself curled into a ball in a world spinning out of control from a pretty nasty vertigo attack.  Its not exactly how this girl likes for God to get her attention, but sometimes I think he has to put us …

Forgetting to Shout

I was concentrating on the microphone shaking in my hand.  Solo singing isn't in my comfort zone, especially since I'm never quite sure how things will sound in my world.  More than two years after ear surgery my ears still play tricks on me.  There was one thing I heard clearly this morning.  The message in the words I was singing. 

We will remember, we will remember, we will remember, the works of your hands.
We will stop, and give you praise for great is thy faithfulness.

As we walk through life's lonely valley, we will look back at all your have done.
And we will shout, our God is good, and he is the faithful one.

In that moment, I saw the hard times of my life before my eyes.  Once you get on the back side, its easy to rejoice in his goodness.  We say thank you, and move on.  Until the next trial...

How often is it in that moment, to look at the mountain we are facing, and cry in despair?  We often complain about our situation.  We fail to recognize the power of God in t…

Laughter

How quickly time flies!  It seems like a few days ago I was posting my New Year's blog.  Today is the first day of February.  How did that happen?  Maybe its because I've had plenty to keep me busy at work.  Maybe its because grad school started back the week I had the nasty stomach bug and I have been playing catch up every since.  Maybe its because routine hasn't happened in our house since before Christmas, with the kids going to school only a couple of days each week due to the cold weather.  Regardless, its time that isn't coming back, and the only option is to move forward.

About two weeks ago, in the midst of the chaos, God started dealing with my heart about something.  This lesson didn't start with my Bible.  It started with a gentle whisper to my heart.  A fantastic day laughing with a car full of teen girls and playing Phase 10 with some adult friends made the whisper grow louder.  The first sermon spoken by a teenager just called to the ministry echoed …

New Year's Resolutions-The Aftermath

1 Timothy 4:14-16
14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Saturday I took a road trip to meet my mom and claim my long lost children.  They've been with one set of grandparents or the other since school let out for Christmas break.  God has often used my driving time to talk to me, and today was no exception.  As I drove along he reminded me of the delights of the heart he had fulfilled for me this past year. 

He also quickly pointed out to me these desires were given for a purpose, and were meant to be used. 

We all set New Year's resolutions, and it seems its about this time every January when the reality of accomplishing a goal sets in.  Quite f…