Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday in the Word

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As you trust in Him. As you trust in Him. As you TRUST in Him. Are you getting that? Maybe I should say it you TRUST in Him.

God is trustworthy. He can be trusted. He knows what is best for us...even if we don't agree with Him. He knows what we need and He knows the best way to get us to that point. We might not always agree with His tactics...but if we're honest, when we look back on tough situations that God has brought us through, we know that His way was the best way.

So as you trust in Him, He will fill you with joy and peace. Oh...wait a minute. That's not what it says. It says He will fill you with ALL joy and peace. Not just joy and peace but ALL joy and peace. And who doesn't want that? Who doesn't want joy and peace...and all of it, to boot?! Well...actually...I can think of some people who might not want it. There was a time that I didn't want it. I was comfortable in my selfish little world throwing pity parties on a daily basis wondering why everyone else was so hard to deal with. Because, didn't everyone get the memo? It is all about me. It's about my mood and my feelings and my emotional health. It's about my troubles and my desires and my struggles.

It's all about me.

Or at least that's how I acted. And it's how I treated others. But it wasn't what was wrong with everyone else. What was the common denominator? ME. So the truth is, it's not all about me. Or you for that matter. It's all about Jesus. And it's all about Love. It's all about receiving the joy and peace of Christ so that we can pass it on to others. But how can we do that when all we can see is ourselves?

Hmmm.This isn't the direction I was planning on going with today's Wednesday in the Word. I wanted to talk about trust and all that God has done for me in this last year. But this is what came to the surface, so I'm going to leave it. Because I think God had a different message planned for today. I'll share my lesson in trust with you tomorrow.

And may you allow the God of hope to fill you with ALL joy and peace...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Belgium...on a personal note.

Yesterday I shared with you the day to day movement of the New Beginnings Ministry. I shared with you where we went...what we did...even what we ate. I shared with you the outer layer of my trip to Belgium. What you would have seen had you been a fly on the wall watching us buzz all over Belgium doing our best to obey God. But today I want to share with you about the inner layer...what happened behind the scenes in my mind and in my heart during the trip as well as the days and days and days leading up to it. God is not one-dimensional. He is a multi-tasker to the fullest. What may seem like a trip to Europe...a visit to a church...or a simple sharing of a testimony...becomes much, much more when placed in the hands of God.

This whole Belgium thing became a reality about a year ago. I had almost a whole year to prepare...mentally, spiritually, financially. Our team met regularly, making plans, working on fund-raising, reminding about Passports and airline tickets, talking about what to pack and what to wear and what to expect. We even met for a french lesson that turned out to be quite humorous! We met regularly to touch base with one another and to make sure we were all on the same page. And we were. We were all on the same mission...each of us bringing something unique to the table. We were a team. But we were also individuals. I was an individual. And God had big things in store for me, too. And as I look back over this last year I can see those things...clearly. And I am amazed...and grateful...and blown away by His goodness.

Fear. Most of my life I have operated on fear. I was a nervous little girl. My stomach always hurt whenever there was a situation I was uncomfortable with. And I was uncomfortable with a lot of situations. This fear carried on through to my adult years. And it got worse after I had kids. I was afraid of everything. You know, things like flying...and speaking in front of people..two of the main things God was calling me to do on this trip to Belgium. He was pulling me completely out of my comfort zone. Left to my own devices I would never leave my little house. I'd garden and craft and write and cook and take care of my family...I'd be perfectly content to live my little life under my little roof and call it good. I'm serious. But...God had other plans. He didn't allow me to walk through the battle of depression for nothing. He allowed me to walk through it...with Him right by my side even when I didn't even know He was that I could learn from it, grow from it and then share it with others.

When this whole Belgium thing started and I came to the realization that I was going to have to fly and speak in front of people...two of my biggest fears...I was terrified. And every time I talked about it or thought about it I would feel sick. The nerves would flare up...the stomach would hurt...the jitters would settle in...fear. There it was, rearing its ugly head. And with that came anxiety...horrible bouts of anxiety. Heart pounding...ears ringing...hands shaking...sick...anxiety. Fear. Doubt. I was trying to be brave on the outside...but on the inside I was a mess. But over the course of this past year God did a work in me. A BIG work. HUGE in my book. By the time I got on that plane I was nervous...but not afraid. And when I stood up to tell my story on that Wednesday night in Belgium...into a microphone...with an interpreter!...I was calm. I was ready. I was prepared. I was one with God and following His lead. What was there to fear? Right? If God is for me, who can be against me? He sent me to Belgium for a purpose. And it was time to do what He'd called me to do. So I did it...confidently...with Him right by my side.

At first I thought something must be wrong with pride had welled up or something because I wasn't nervous. But through prayer and asking God to take away any pride I might be feeling, I realized that I had been being prepared for such a time as this. It wasn't pride. It was preparation. It was God. I was completely in His will...and there was no room for fear. Fear is not of God. And at that time I was walking so closely beside Him that fear didn't stand a chance.

Fast forward...and I am home...and I am going to church. My pastor called me up to tell a bit about what God had done while Belgium. And when I got up to speak I didn't have an ounce of fear in me. I thought about being afraid...the devil tried to plant fear within me...but I refused it. I didn't play into the fear. I didn't agree with the fear. I thought about it....refused it...and moved on.

I make it sound really simple to just deny fear don't I? Well I have to say that at this point, it actually was. Thanks to Jesus. But learning to deny fear has been a process. A HUGE process...a hard process...a long process...years. A battle. It's not ever been easy for me to deny fear and anxiety. Caving in to it has always been my M.O. I caved because I didn't take hold of my power in Jesus to overcome it. We have such power in the name of Jesus. We have strength and peace and self-control. In Jesus we have grace and mercy and love. When we accept Jesus into our hearts we receive ALL of His goodness. It's in us. We just need to learn to tap into it. We need to learn to live in live in Him.

Fear. It no longer controls me. Yes...I get fearful. And anxious. Terrified even. But these feelings no longer overtake me. They no longer control me or my actions or my thoughts. Fear tempts me...but I am aware of it now. And when this happens I tap into Jesus...I draw on the power and the gifts He's given me...and I conquer the fear. I conquer the enemy of my soul. And when I do this...I am the name of Jesus. And the best part of all of this? YOU can be victorious, too! If you have Jesus in your heart, you have every bit of power that I have to overcome anything...fear, anxiety, depression, addiction, eating name it, you can conquer it with the help of Jesus.

On the other hand, if you do NOT have Jesus in your heart, maybe it's time to invite Him in. He's freedom and love and goodness. He's got good things in store for you, too.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Well, I've been home for just about a week so it's probably time I give an update on my trip to Belgium. It's taken me this long to recuperate as well as process all that happened while I was there. It was quite the whirlwind trip with not a whole lot of down time. Between running from ministry to ministry opportunity and then filling our little bit of spare time with sightseeing, we were on the go all the time! This is gonna be lengthy so you may want to grab yourself a cup of tea and sit a while!

Friday, Sept.10: We arrived in Brussels, Belgium around 8am. We were greeted by our host pastor and his associate and piled into vans to be taken to our home away from home...Operation Mobilization (OM), a hostel-like establishment for missionaries. It was a friendly place with coffee and tea available 24/7, Internet access and comfortable bunks. We settled in easily and then took a walk in downtown Zaventem.

Eventually we realized we were all utterly exhausted from the trip and being awake for over 24 hours and decided to head back and take a quick nap before meeting the pastor's wife for dinner. They say not to nap but we couldn't help ourselves. And trust me, it did NOT affect our getting to sleep later that night!

Saturday, Sept. 11: Drove an hour and a half to a small church in Mouscron, Belgium. They were having an outreach concert and barbecue that they invited us to be a part of. It turned out to be a lot of fun...very friendly people, lots of trying to speak French and singing and praising God. The event ended around 11:30 or so and we headed back to the OM. It was after 1am by the time we got back and after talking and settling down a bit I don't think we got to bed until 2am or so.

Sunday, Sept.12: Headed to service at our host church around 8am. What an amazing church. The diversity was unbelievable. The church is known for being a "church for all nations" and they aren't kidding! So many countries represented...Nigeria, Venezuela, USA, France, Italy, Congo, Ireland, England, and the list goes on. As I looked around at all of the beautiful people I whispered to one of the people I was with about how great it was...but I was at a loss for words. I just kept stuttering about how it was...was...was...and she simply states, "Like Heaven?" Yes. Like Heaven. Exactly. After service they treated us to a delicious lunch before taking us to the "Filipino church" in downtown Brussels. We drove through the crazy streets of Brussels, many of them reminding me of driving in San Francisco. We were dropped off in front of an unassuming building and led through the door. We entered into an old garage type building and then up some stairs to a back room. And there it was...their tiny little church. We enjoyed their worship and prayer and then my friend Tina spoke her message. Afterward we had an altar call and prayed for those who wanted it. It was a powerful time. God showed up in a mighty way and before we knew it we had to pile back into the vans and head back to our host church where we attended their Sunday night French service. After a very long day we finally headed back to the OM at around 10 or so.

Monday, Sept. 13: Monday was our first free day and we decided to head over to Grande Place for some sightseeing. We indulged in Belgian waffles, Frites (Belgian french die for by the way!) and then took a seat at an outdoor cafe for a cup of cappuccino. The best cappuccino I've ever had I must say. What a treat. We were there for 4 hours or so and then decided to head back to the OM for some rest. Of course, by the time we get back to the OM we start giggling and talking and checking email and going from room to room and bunk to bunk pestering each other and laughing, A LOT, and the next thing we know it's 2am! So much for rest!

Tuesday, Sept. 14: Another free day. We head to Fort Breendonk, a concentration camp in use from 1940-1944. It was very interesting...very mind-blowing...very sobering. It's just so unbelievable what humans think they can do to one another, isn't it? Once we left the camp we decided to find somewhere to eat. And can I just say...finding a place to eat isn't as easy as it is in the states. It's not like you can just bop on through a Taco Bell drive thru. They have a few fast food McDonald's. And a place called Quik Burger. But we are in Belgium! We don't want to eat fast food! I'm not sure why but many places were closed. we drove and drove and then it began to rain. We ended up in Brugges and found a strange little Dutch restaurant to eat at. And as a side note...did you know that you have to pay to use the restrooms in many places in Europe? 35 cent! This could have broke me! Anyway...we headed home in the dark and the rain. Once back at the OM more talking, laughing, tea sipping, room wandering ensued and we eventually fell asleep around 1am.

Wednesday, Sept. 15: This is the day I'm scheduled to speak at our host church. Fortunately, we've got a slow morning so while some went for walks and some took naps, I decided to take some much needed quiet time to focus on my message. I knew for the most part what I was going to share, but I didn't have it organized in outline form yet. So I sat in the quiet on my cozy bunk with my bible and my notepad and let God lay it all out for me. Around noon that day we decided to go for a sightseeing drive. We ended up driving past the NATO building in hopes of a tour but they weren't having them that day. So we continued to drive around the city admiring the ancient architecture and beautiful sights. Belgium is a beautiful country. And the weather was perfect...gray and dreary most days, a little sunshine here and there, and even some rain. My favorite! Trust me when I tell you I was disappointed to return to 100 degree days here! We headed back to the OM to freshen up a little before the Wednesday service. Once changed and cleaned up we piled back into the vans yet again and headed to church. When we arrived I was informed I'd be speaking through an interpreter. Huh? I can barely speak on my own! Let alone through an interpreter?! But I have to say, it went well. I am told he was an excellent interpreter and that I was fortunate to have gotten him for my first time. My message went well and I was hardly even nervous at all. I felt confident that God had prepared me and that I was going to share what He wanted me to share. So there was no need to be nervous, right? The whole time I was speaking there was a young lady sitting directly in front of me who was just completely broken. She cried the entire time. It took all I had to keep talking and not just stop in the middle of it all and run to her. But I didn't. I finished what I set out to do and then went to her afterwards. We talked and cried and prayed and then I gave her one of the devotional booklets I'd prepared. It was the first time I wished I didn't have to leave Belgium...wishing I could meet with her for coffee during the week...speak encouragement and goodness into her life. But...reality set in and I knew that I just had to let her go and trust that God would continue His work in her. And I know He will. On the way home we went to a local frites stand for fries and gyros then headed back to the OM. Again, we stayed up too late and had a blast doing it. I don't think we got to bed before 2am once while we were gone. What do I think I am? A teenager?!

Thursday, Sept. 16: This day is quite possibly the highlight of my trip. We were invited to visit the office of an amazing ministry, Breaking Chains. Breaking Chains is a ministry located in Antwerp that helps women find freedom in Jesus and from the prostitution industry in Belgium. Prostitution isn't legal, but it's accepted. And it feeds the disgusting industry of human trafficking. I could go on and on about this issue and I just might in a later post. But for now, I will recommend that you do your own research. I have learned quite a bit about human trafficking over the years and know that I need to be a part of the solution. What makes a person think that they can treat another human in such a horrible, degrading, disgusting manner is beyond my comprehension. All I could do was cry, cry, cry as I watched this video and listened to the "handler" (a so-called man who sells women like pieces of property...a "handler" like the women are animals? Are you kidding me?) talk in an undercover interview. He made me nauseous. And all I can say is...there's a special place in hell. I know that's not very nice. But it's how I feel. Breaking Chains holds a special place in my heart and in my prayer life. Also too, because so many of you gave so generously, I have a bit of money left over in the Belgium Fund. I've been praying about what to do with the rest of it and I believe God wants me to send it to Breaking Chains. God is good, isn't He? **We headed back to the OM to freshen up and get ready for a concert at a small Italian church in Brussels. This was a small church held in an old building in the middle of the city. It was also a very conservative church, with some of the older women wearing doilie-like lace pieces on top of their heads. And would you believe that it had only been very recently that the men and women were allowed to sit together in the pews? Then imagine us loud and crazy Americans coming into the place...we were like fish out of water! But the service was nice...and the concert went well. We had an altar call and I prayed for two beautiful young women, Jessica and Emmaline. They were sisters and they stole my heart. (If you're reading girls...hello!) Afterward two beautiful women, Mima and Antonella, my new best friends, fed us the best meal we ate while in Belgium. Oh was so delicious. Squash and leek soup with crusty bread...veal cutlets, salad with vinaigrette and marinated tomatoes as the main course...a slice of melon to cleanse the palate and then a buffet of Belgian desserts to choose from along with a delicious cup of coffee. We were in heaven! And the people were so nice. SO nice. Again the language barrier was a bit of a challenge but between their broken English and our broken french, we did OK. This whole day was amazing and full of good things. I felt blessed...

Friday, Sept. 17: Time to move to our new hostel. We were sad to leave the OM...we'd gotten quite comfortable. But our time was up and we had to we did. We settled in at the new place then headed to Grande Place for another visit. We wanted to shop for souvenirs, eat waffles and frites and indulge in one more cappuccino at a sidewalk cafe. It was a fun night...and very cold. But worth it. Grande Place is beautiful.

Saturday, Sept. 18: Saturday we headed off to Namur, a small town about an hour outside Brussels. What a cool little town. If I ever get a chance to return to Belgium I will definitely go back to Namur and explore! We were assigned the nicest "tour guides", Vincent and Claudia, the sweetest couple ever. They showed us many historical points of interest in Namur...took us for a ride down the canal in a water taxi...tolerated our broken french and then escorted us to the small church we were going to be visiting that night. They were holding a concert, Hope for Wallonia and we were blessed to be a part of it. We sang and shared testimonies and prayed and God showed up BIG time. It was a great night.

Sunday, Sept. 19: Our last day in Belgium. And we were headed off to Charleois early in the morning. We were invited to spend the day at a french church...joining them for service in the morning, lunch in the afternoon and then a concert at 3pm. It was a good day...a long day...and a blessing. The pastor went on and on about how much it meant to him that we were there spending time with them...visiting them...praying with them...encouraging them...etc. Christianity is not popular in Belgium. As a matter of fact, it's one of the darkest areas, spiritually, in Europe. And many of the little churches feel alone and discouraged. So to have people come and visit and spend time and pray with them makes a world of difference. It was a special day...and a good finale to an amazing trip. ** We returned to the hostel around 6pm and immediately began packing. Somehow we had to pack all that we brought AND a ton of chocolate and lace into our suitcases!

The flight home was quiet and uneventful. We were t.i.r.e.d. It was an amazing 10 days in Belgium but we were all ready to get back home to our families.

Bottom line? God is good. SO good. And He was with us every step of the way. It was an amazing I am grateful to have been a part of. My favorite parts? In no particular order....

  • Namur, Belgium.
  • Breaking Chains...I left a piece of my heart with that ministry.
  • Frites. With tartar sauce!
  • Belgian waffles.
  • The Italian church...good people, good food.
  • Speaking broken french...inspiration to study my Rosetta Stone CD.
  • Spending 10 days with good friends...I miss them.
  • Laughing. Oh MY the laughing. I haven't laughed so hard in a long, long time.
  • God. He's good. He's faithful. He's in all things.
Thank you for your support, your prayers and your encouragement. This is really a group effort...I couldn't have done it without you and your help or without the help of my wonderful husband who kept things running smoothly at home. He held down the fort and took care of everything and then some while I was gone. I love you, honey.

And I love you guys, too...thank you again.

**This is the Cliff notes version so I may have left something out...feel free to ask questions and I will be happy to answer them!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday in the Word

The Starfish Story
by Loren Eisley

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Matthew 25:40

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

I'm sure many of you have heard this story of the starfish. It's one of my favorites and I was reminded of it while in Belgium. Sometimes the task of reaching others...of telling others about Jesus...of making a difference in the lives of others...can be very daunting. It can seem like a waste of time. It can seem like it's not making any difference at all. But if you stop and think about the one that it did make a difference to..? Then it's all worth it.

We just got a report this morning from a small church we visited in Namur, Belgium last Saturday night. A woman wrote to us letting us know that she was planning on committing suicide that day and as a last ditch effort for help she did a Google search for "hope". One of the search results that came up was Hope for Wallonia, the concert we were a part of that night. In her letter, she told us that before she knew it, she was at the concert, unsure of how she got there.

After the concert we had a time of prayer at the altar. Many people came up for, women, young, old. It was powerful. The Holy Spirit was heavy in the room. He was moving. And we got to be a part o fit.

We don't know who this woman was, exactly. But God does. God knows her. He knows every hair on her head. He knew her when He formed her. He has plans for her. And that night, He got a hold of her and her life will never be the same. Not only did she attend the concert...she also accepted Jesus into her heart.

One starfish at a time. One person at a time. Nothing is impossible with God.

*photo by Panhala

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'm home!

I made it home safely from Belgium. What a whirlwind of a trip! I came home with Belgian chocolate, Belgian lace and a COLD!! I will write an official post about the amazing trip when I'm feeling better and have had a chance to gather my thoughts. 10 days of non-stop running wears a girl out!

Bottom was an amazing trip and God is GOOD.

Thank you for your prayers...I felt them like you wouldn't believe.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Look out we come!

This is last day to get anything done, get anything packed, get anything ready...before I leave for the long awaited ministry trip to Belgium. Our flight leaves tomorrow morning at 9:45am out of San Francisco, but we are leaving town at 5am to beat the obnoxious commute traffic. And I do mean obnoxious. We want to take our time getting there...not rush and stress and freak out because of traffic or accidents and such.

So we'll leave at 5am and get to the airport early, it takes about an hour or so to get there. We'll check some breakfast...and wait to board our plane. There are 11 of us going...and each and every person is crazy (in a good way!), fun and I know this is going to be a FUN trip. More importantly, each and every person going is chasing after God with their whole I know this is going to be an amazing trip. We originally thought we were going to get an itinerary...but we haven't received one yet. So we're going there unsure of exactly what we'll be doing. And that's's all about faith, right? We do know that we'll be visiting some smaller churches in the area (our host church is in Waterloo, Belgium), some homeless shelters and possibly doing some street ministry. Oh! Just got a phone call and found out that we might also be visiting a few rest homes. Bottom line...we'll be busy! I have a feeling it's going to be a whirlwind of a trip!

But until we leave, however, I have STUFF TO DO! I have to return a jacket I bought because I ended up finding one I like better. I have to pick up a few groceries and go to the bank before checks start bouncing! I have to pick up the devotional booklets from Kinko's...and figure out how I'm going to fit them in my suitcase! (this whole "under 50lbs." thing is totally stressing me out! Don't they know I'm going to be gone for TEN DAYS?!!) I also want to cook a good dinner before I go...I've bought a bunch of convenience food for Chris and the boys to eat while I'm gone so I want to do something healthy tonight! Send us all off with a good meal.

Anyway wonderful peeps...I better get going. I don't know if I'll be posting while I'm gone. One of my fellow travelers is bringing a laptop but I'm not sure how much it'll be available. So I will say goodbye for now...see you when I get back...and if I get a chance to post from Belgium...bonus! Please pray for us over the next 10 days...I know it's not necessary to ask, as I have felt your prayers from the beginning. And I am grateful. But would you keep 'em coming? Thank you!

Au revoir!

(uh oh...just heard that there are strikes going on in Paris and London (two places we might visit if there's time)...public transportation workers being one of them. Hmmm....toss that on the prayer list, too, would ya?!)

Friday, September 3, 2010

all this rest is wearing me out!

Wait. Did I just say "rest"? Rest? What's that?

Thank goodness I work for a nice establishment that, without batting an eyelash, gave me 3 weeks off before my trip as well as two weeks off including my 10 days in Belgium. Thank GOODNESS. And while it hasn't been "rest"'s been good. It's been necessary. It's been a blessing.

So while I've been "resting" (Can you see me holding up my quotation fingers? Can you read the sarcasm? Good...just making sure.)...I've also been packing and preparing and cooking and writing and thinking about writing and thinking about packing and thinking about flying and thinking about sleeping and thinking, thinking, thinking!!

Thinking. This is where I get into trouble. I think too much. I try and figure it all out and think ahead to make sure I've got everything covered. I think and think and think until suddenly I'm completely overwhelmed...completely worried...completely freaked out...and completely anxious.

If you've been with me here at Give a Girl a Fig for any amount of time you know I deal with depression. And so you may also know that it's the main topic I'll be sharing about with those we visit in Belgium. Sadly, and quite commonly, anxiety often comes as a package deal with depression. For many the two go hand in hand. (Like cute little best friends...or in this case, more like the creepy twins in The Shining!) Over the past few months I've been doing really good...keeping a positive attitude. Saying that I was excited to go and not nervous or scared. Words have power, right?

Well, this last week...this last stretch...hasn't started off so great. The past two days have been rough. I cried a lot. Doubted a lot. Quit a lot. Decided I just wasn't gonna go a lot. It has been a struggle to say the least. But then I finally got a grip and remembered to PRAY a lot. Duh. Why does it take so long to remember to DO that sometimes? As much as I love God and trust Him you'd think it would be my first reaction. isn't always. Many times I go along with the fear and the doubt. I agree with it and allow it to dictate my thoughts. For a while anyway. And then I remember...God is with me. He is for me. He wants good for me all of my days. He loves me and cares for me.

So I call on Him. And He answers...every time.

It's times like these that I'm reminded of the words of Jesus...

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:28-29

Thank you, Jesus...

So just a bit ago I realized I was working myself up into a tizzy again. I was trying to figure out all I needed to do and when I needed to do it and how was I gonna have time to do this and this and this and this? As I stood in the shower getting more and more crazy I finally just said, "God, I'm a mess! Please list out my day for me. What do YOU want me to do and WHEN? Set out my schedule for me because I am just making a big mess of it all!"

And would you believe? (Of course you will...!) He did. Just like that. Man, He's good. SO GOOD.

Following His guidance will give me rest for my soul.... to DO it!

Be blessed today...God is good and He loves you!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

in the middle of it all...and a prayer request.

You should see my kitchen table right now...

I'm in the process of writing the small devotional booklet I told you about a while back. It's for our resource table while in Belgium. So on my kitchen table I've got my bible sprawled Jeremiah 29:11, mind you. I've got my notebook that I started last September when the trip to Belgium was first birthed. I've got a box of tissue at the ready because at one point or another I'm either sneezing from allergies...or crying about some major anxiety and God's goodness in the midst of that.

I've got my wallet out becuase I just paid a bill by phone and now I need my insurance card to call the towing company to haul Chris' truck to a repair shop. (Did it really have to break down this week? I guess better now while I'm here to help him than while I'm gone...)

I've got my cell phone, my house phone and the TV remote.

I've got sale ads and grocery lists and packing lists and sticky notes piled all around.

In the middle of it all, here I sit at the laptop. I've got email open, Publisher open, open and I'm ready to go.

If you would...keep me in your prayers today and throughout this next week. (Thank you to those who I already know are praying for me...I feel them.) While I am very excited to go, I am not excited to leave. Does that make sense? I'm not used to being away from my husband and my boys. I'm not used to flying. Or sleeping in hotel/hostel beds. I'm a bit of a this is an amazing adventure, an awesome opportunity and totally out of my comfort zone! But God is good...and He will cover me and protect me and continue to prepare me. He will watch over my family while I am gone and He will bring me home safely. Amen.

I'll leave you with the words of Matt Maher from his song, "Hold Us Together"...

This is the first day of the rest of your life
This is the first day of the rest of your life
'Cause even in the dark, you can still see the light
It's gonna be's gonna be alright.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday in the Word

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Jeremiah 29:11-14

* * * * *

In one week and one day I will be on my way to Belgium. I've been telling myself I wasn't going to do a countdown. Countdowns make me anxious. And nervous. And sick to my stomach. But...I almost can't help it. Especially since there is much left to do before I leave. I'm fighting the urge to list it all out here. I don't need another list. I've got about 17 of them here and there around the house!

Instead, let's focus on God's word. As I prayed about what to share for WITW, Jeremiah 29:11 popped into my it has doing for the last several months. Each time I ask God what He wants me to read or to share...Jeremiah 29:11.  Every time.

God did this to me a few years ago. He took a very common scripture...With God all things are possible...and He pummeled me with it. At first I dismissed it. I just sort of saw it as a cute little saying rather than a promise from God. I took it for granted as being something on a t-shirt or a coffee mug rather than God-breathed words for me to live by.

I think I've been doing the same thing with Jeremiah 29:11. I see it's on shirts and notepads and coffee mugs. I see it...and then I dismiss it. I mean, I believe it. And I appreciate it. But I never really let it sink in.

But today, as I prayed about what to share, and He brought it to my mind again, I realized that I needed to stop and listen and pay attention. I needed to sit still and let those words sink in. And as I started to do that I began to really know that God has plans for me. He's had plans for me since before I was born. He's had plans for me since the beginning of time. When He knit me together in my mother's womb He had things for me to do here on this earth.

It's the same for all of us. God has plans for each and every one of us. We're not here to just drive around and pollute the air and use up resources. We're not here to sit around dwelling on ourselves and our situations. We're here to persevere through our struggles so that we can help others persevere through theirs. I don't always get it. And it rarely makes sense to me. But I know that it's true. And I know that it's real. So I will do my best to really let it all sink in...I will do my best to live my life as He planned it. I'm positive that His plans are better than my own. I've done things my way...and trust me, it hasn't been pretty.

He knows the plans He has for you, too...plans to prosper you and to give you hope and a future. You just have to decide if you want to follow His plans...or continue to do it your way.