Friday, February 28, 2014

Whatever Your Little Heart Desires

"May He grant your heart's desires and make all your plans succeed." ~Psalm 20:4

I read this verse this morning on my phone as part of a daily devotional I am doing -- Top Verses to Memorize.  I certainly like this verse, or at least what it seems to be promising at first glance.

God will give you whatever you want.  
He will answer every prayer.  
He will fulfill every wish.  
He will make all your plans succeed.  
He will give you the desires of your heart.  

That's what it says, right?

Well, not exactly.

We need to dig just a little deeper to understand what the Psalmist David is saying here.  

Before we jump to any conclusions about having God wrapped around our little fingers, we should probably turn to Psalm 37 and read what David wrote there, too.

"Trust in the Lord and do good.
THEN you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you your heart's desires.
Commit EVERYTHING you do to the Lord.
TRUST Him, and He will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
BE STILL in the presence of the Lord,
and WAIT PATIENTLY for Him to act.
Don't worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes."
~Psalm 37:4-7

Did you catch that? 

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires.

That first little part is rather important.  Let's read it again, just to let it sink in:


You see, God DOES want to give us the desires of our heart.  But He first wants to be the desire of our heart.  For only as we delight in God and treasure Him and want Him above all else will we truly be satisfied.  If we are looking to the things of the world to make us happy, we are going to be very unhappy indeed.  The world will only fail us.  Sure, we may have fun for awhile.  We may appear to be on top of the world.  We may think we have it all, and then some.  But really, we have nothing if we don't have God first.

Matthew 6:33 reminds us, "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need."

Jesus gave us a pretty stern warning later in Matthew, "If any of you wants to be My follow, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  Is anything worth more than your soul?  For the Son of Man will come with His angels in the glory of His Father and will judge all people according to their deeds."

Yeah, Jesus isn't exactly a genie in a bottle that we rub and are granted 3 wishes. 
Thank goodness, though, because I am sure I had more than 3 requests this morning alone.  
And God heard every single one of them, whether I muttered them under my breath or screamed them at the top of my lungs or just thought them in my head.  

While I may not get everything I want, I much prefer a God who listens to everything I say and truly hears what my heart of hearts is really wanting (whether I know it or not)...a relationship with Him, to please Him, to bring Him joy, to glorify and honor His name.  That is after all why I was created...

I tend to forget that quite easily though.  I get caught up in what the world tells me I need, what I should want.  Then I run to God and ask Him for this and beg Him for that.  And I get upset if He doesn't give me the desires of my heart.

Instead, I should be working on the desires of my heart, making sure GOD is my one, sole desire.  That I delight in Him above all.  That I truly want Him more than I want anything else.

Back to David and what he shared with us in Psalm 73:

Whom have I in heaven but You?
I desire You more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
He is mine forever.
Those who desert Him will perish, 
for You destroy those who abandon You.
But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.

So while I got excited this morning reading this verse about God granting me the desires of my heart, I was also reminded that God should be my desire.  For only as I put Him first and find satisfaction in Him will my heart's desires be fulfilled.  

Won't you join me?  Together, let's do as David encourages in Psalm 37.  
Let's delight ourselves in the Lord...

And then, my friend, I promise you, God will indeed give you whatever your little heart desires!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What's Your Name?

Coralyn!  Kellah...I mean, Kyiah!  Ugh, whoever you are...

With three girls whose names all start with the C/K sound, I admit I am guilty of calling my children by the wrong name.  And yes, we did the C/K thing on purpose...  And yes, if we have future children, they will most likely have a C/K name (wouldn't want them to feel left out or anything) But even if they all had names with different letters, I am pretty confident I would still get mixed up.  Tell me I'm not the only one!

As I was shaking my head today, after calling my girls by the wrong name yet again, I had this neat thought.  God knows my name and your name and everyone's name.  All 6 billion names of all 6 billion people on earth.  He knows our names because He created each and every person.  Not just that, He hand-crafted us, designing us in a special and unique way.  He has a specific purpose for each and every one of us.  He knows every single detail of our lives, before any of them actually happen.  He knows the number of hairs on our heads.  He knows our wildest dreams and our darkest fears.  So of course He knows our names.

And unlike all earthly parents, He NEVER calls us by the wrong name.  He NEVER gets us mixed up or confused with someone else.  He ALWAYS knows just who we are and just what we need.  He ALWAYS knows our hearts and minds, even when we don't.

Not only does He KNOW our names, but He calls out to us, by name.  He invites us to spend time with Him.  He welcomes us into His presence and delights when we stay there with Him.  As we enter His throne room, He motions to us to come right up to Him.  And so with this strange, bold confidence we go.  We climb up into His lap.  He puts His strong, loving arms around us.  We lay our head on His chest, and then we hear Him whisper our name.  And then, looking us in the eyes, He says our name again and follows it with, "I love you."

Did you hear Him?

Listen again.
God loves YOU!

John 3:16 is a pretty familiar verse.  So much so that we often race over it without stopping to think about the implications for us personally.  Today, I want you to slow it down.  Put YOUR NAME in the blank and read it again, like you've never read it before...

God so loved ___________ that He gave us His only Son that _____________ can believe in Him and not perish but have everlasting life.

It gets even better.  As you believe in Him, God adopts you into His family.  1 John 3:1 tells us, "See how very much the Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are!"

Romans 8:14-17 goes on to share this amazing promise for us as God's children: "For all you are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.  Instead, you received God's Spirit when He adopted you as His own children.  Now we call Him, "Abba, Father."  For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.  And since we are His children, we are His heirs.  In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory..."

I don't know about you, but that is pretty overwhelming to me.
God loves me.
God has adopted me as His child.
God lets me share in His glory through Christ.

So, I may not be the best mom in the world.  I will continue to call my girls by the wrong name, and it will only get worse as we have more children in the future.  But every time I make that mistake, I am going to remember that God knows my name, that He KNOWS me, that He LOVES me.

And if I listen closely, I bet I will hear Him calling my name, bidding me come and sit on His lap.
Don't worry though, His lap is big enough for the both of us, for all 6 billion of us...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kyiah Hesed {3 Months}

How is it possible that my baby girl is 3 months old already?  Seriously, time doesn't seem to ever slow down.  Only speed up, faster and faster.

I want to make the most of every day I have with this precious girl.  I am realizing more and more than we are never guaranteed tomorrow, and so we must make TODAY count.

Enough about that though, and back to the star of the day - Miss Kyiah!!!  She's "talking" now and smiling and laughing.  I love that she is starting to interact with us more and not just stare back at us.

She hasn't rolled over yet, probably because she doesn't like tummy time and cries when I try to get her to do it.  I don't like hearing her cry, so I don't force it.  And honestly, with 5 other kiddos (3 of them are just here for daycare), I don't have time to mess with cranky or fussy babies.  So, I hold Kyiah a lot.  And that's okay.  She may not roll over as quickly as her sisters did.  She may not crawl as early as they did - well, Coralyn never really crawled on her hands and knees but always did more of an army crawl.  She may not walk as soon as they did, but I'm okay if she waits until she's 11 months (Coralyn was just 10 and Kellah was just 9).

She does, however, seem bent on getting her first tooth before either of her sisters did.  Kellah had 4 teeth at 4 months, so that might be quite the feat, but Kyiah is working on her first one (and has been for several weeks)!  She drools all the time and I need to do better at getting a bib on her (especially if my mom is going to be around).

Kyiah is a pretty good sleeper.  Most nights she will go from 8-2 and sometimes 4 before waking up to eat!  I am so thankful for this because it took Kellah 13 months to figure out how to sleep through the night!

She is following in her sisters' footsteps of being little.  At 3 months, she still fits into her newborn sleepers.  They're just now getting a big snug, so I might have to break out the 0-3 month bin soon!  I did the "official" step on the scale while holding the baby and then put the baby down and weigh yourself again trick today.  According to that, Kyiah weighs about 9.5 pounds.  So she's gained about 3 pounds since she was born.

Kyiah seems to be an answer to our prayers for a chill baby.  She's pretty laid back and relaxed and can certainly sleep just about anywhere, in any position.

I love her big blue eyes that seem to try to take in everything around her.  She's quite alert and doesn't like to miss anything.  I've prayed that she will be attentive to the needs and feelings of those around her, that she will stand up for what's right and be a loyal, steadfast friend no matter what the cost.  I pray this carries over in her relationship with Jesus too, standing strong for Him even when no one else does.  We pray she is a reflection of His loyal, steadfast love for us.

I never thought I would have a daughter, let alone THREE!  I am so blessed though and wouldn't want to change anything!  As we celebrate 3 months with Kyiah, I am giving out extra hugs to all three of my precious girlies today.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

One Year Ago Today

I remember sitting in my bedroom, trying to get to a quiet place where the girls couldn't find me.  I remember shaking as I held my cell phone and dialed Ashleigh's number.  I remember asking lots of questions.  I remember the excitement and anticipation and fear rippling through my body as I gave her the information to put into her computer.  I remember that moment in time like it was just yesterday, even though it was ONE YEAR AGO TODAY.

Yep, hard to believe that ONE YEAR AGO I became a distributor for It Works Global!

Crazy how much has happened in the past year:
*I became a distributor on February 9.
*We moved to our new house on February 24.
*We found out we were pregnant with Kyiah at the beginning of March.
*I turned 30 on March 9.
*I reached the Diamond level and earned a $10,000 bonus in August.
*Lawrence finished grad school and got his Master's in Elementary Administration.
*Kyiah was born.
*I went to Florida for the It Works conference, taking Kyiah with me.

Much more happened, of course, but I still find it hard to believe that a year has passed already since I joined the It Works family (that's exactly what it is too)!  Time has just flown by so quickly!

That's the funny thing about time, it passes no matter what.

So why not make the most of the time we're given?  That's one of my husband Lawrence's favorite scenes from the Lord of the Ring movies.  Gandolf's wise words to Bilbo were moving and inspiring, but we must do more than listen to them.  We MUST take them to heart and live them out in our own lives, making the most of every single day.

The time is going to pass no matter what.

I would hate to look back and realize I have regrets.  I would much rather take a risk and go for something, set a goal and strive to reach it, dream a dream and work to fulfill it.

And that's what I have tried to do over the past year.  Along the way, I've grown as an individual in many ways.  Hopefully, I've helped others do the same.

I do know that I have met new people and made new friends.  People I never would have met if not for It Works.  Friendships I never would have made if not for this crazy wrap business.

I do know that I've learned so much about the human body and nutrition and the ins and outs of true health.  I have seen numerous friends and family members and even strangers benefit from the NATURAL health supplements and wellness products It Works has to offer.  I have watched lives change as people invest in their health, and that is so extremely rewarding and exciting.

I also know that I've helped my family financially and enabled others to do the same.  I've celebrated with friends and team mates as they earn bonuses, get their commission checks, put wrap cash in their bank accounts.  We are all working to pay off debt, make special memories with our families, and give to others in various ways. We believe this blessing is meant to be passed on.  We want to make a difference around the world - in big and small ways.  We want to create a legacy for our children.  We want to live more and give more.  We want to make the most of the time we have been given.

Maybe you're like I was and have watched others post about It Works.  You see the before and after pictures and are skeptical.  You think it's a gimmick, just a quick fix.  You doubt that the wraps really work.  I understand.  That was me.  Before I saw person after person after person have results before my very own eyes.  I have too many pictures of too many people to ever deny the effectiveness of the wrap ever again.  I've also come to realize that the wrap is way more than fitting into a pair of jeans or a dress.  It truly is about health.  I just LOVE how the wrap can do everything from help boost someone's self-confidence to help a couple finally get pregnant after years of trying everything they could think of without any "luck" to help alleviate someone's back or joint pain to help someone lose weight and go off medications and so much more.  And that's just the wrap!!!!  We have an entire line of NATURAL supplements and skin care products too!  I could write pages and pages about what those are doing for people!

Or maybe you're like I was and think the money It Works distributors is unrealistic.  You think it sounds too good to be true.  But, let me just tell you, IT'S NOT!!!  And if not for It Works and the money I made as a distributor this year, our family would have been hurting financially.  We might have had to go back on WIC or follow a bean and rice diet.  When half my income from daycare was unexpectedly taken away, our budget had some holes, big gaping holes.  Thankfully, God had brought It Works into our lives at just the right time.

Perhaps you're like I was and think you're too busy for one more thing or that you wouldn't do well in It Works because you're not a salesperson.  As far as the time excuse goes -- we all have 24 hours in a day to use however we want, and if you want something, you can make time for it.  I know distributors who started when they were working full time jobs and going to grad school and being a wife and mom.  Good news is that they now get to stay at home with their kiddos full time, after just a year or a little more in the business.  And regarding the salesperson excuse -- the products really speak for themselves; you don't have to be a salesperson at all.  This business is truly all about relationships.  And I LOVE that!

So, here's the deal.  A year has passed.  You've watched me for a year now.  I watched my friend Ashleigh for that long.  Man, I wish I would have joined her sooner. I am so thankful my friend Melissa took the leap of faith and joined It Works, because when I saw her do it, I knew I could do.  The past year certainly wasn't what I would have planned for my life, but it's so much better!

As I reflect on the past year, I want to invite you to join me in this crazy, amazing journey THIS YEAR.  The time is going to pass anyway, so why not make the most of it?

Why not take a risk (it's only a $99 investment to start and you make your money back right away)?
Why not see if It Works can make a difference in your health, in your finances, in your life?
Why not go for it?
Why not?

Give me a call.  Let's talk.  I'd be more than happy to answer whatever questions you may have.  Goodness knows I had plenty of them before I made the decision a year ago.

Let's join together this year and make it our best one yet!!!  Let's make the most of the time we are given!

I'm already excited about what YOUR story is going to be A YEAR FROM NOW because of a decision you make TODAY!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

You're Asking the Wrong Questions

Two questions have been rolling around in my head the past few days and weeks.  They have been weighing heavily on my heart and really bringing me down quite a bit, if I am truly honest.  However, I love that I serve a God who invites me, all of us actually, "Come to me, you who weak and weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you.  Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29)

And as I have responded to this most gracious and wonderful invitation from the Creator of the Universe, the One who keeps the planets in orbit while designing each and every one of the hundreds of millions of snowflakes that fell yesterday, I have indeed found rest.  For not only is this Almighty God powerful and strong beyond my deepest understanding, He is gentle and loving and kind.  He knows the number of hairs on my head.  He knows everything thing about me, truth be told.  My thoughts.  My fears.  My hopes.  My dreams.  Before I ever say anything, He knows what words will be coming out of my mouth.  He knows when I sit down and when I get up.  He knows when I go to bed and when I wake up.  He has hemmed me in behind and before; He is WITH me, each and every step of the way, holding my hand -- IF I will LET Him.

The past couple days I have not only let God hold my hand, but wrap His arms around me and pull me close to His chest.  I can feel the warmth of that embrace and my soul has been revived.

You see, I was asking questions.  Lots of questions.  All in all, though, they pretty much boiled down to these two questions:

Who am I? and What if I can't do this?

I think many people today are asking the same questions.  Far too many men and women, young boys and girls, don't know who they are anymore.  They struggle with their identity -- who they are, what they're supposed to do in life, and how their life is significant among a sea of people.  It is certainly easy to get lost in the crowd.  That's when we have to stop.  We getting caught in the hustle and bustle of life and letting people trample us down in the streets.  We're tried of running the rat race.  We're weak and weary and just want to give up.  Throw in the towel.

Then as we hit rock bottom, if we stop and take just a second to listen, we hear it.  That gentle whisper.  That tug at our hearts.  Don't ignore it.  Don't brush it aside.  Please, please, please stop and listen.  Hear what God is saying to you. Yes, YOU.

"Come to me, you who weak and weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you.  Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Once God has your attention, He's going to turn the tables and start asking you questions.  Ironically enough, He tends to ask us the same questions we've been asking Him.  The answers, however, are far different this time around.

Yesterday, I blogged about the first question: Who am I?  
If you're like me you find yourself asking:
"Who am I that God should use me?"
"Who am I that God would want to bless me?"
"Why am I so special?"

The answer revolves more around who GOD is than who you are.
Let me say that again, a different way.
It's not about YOU.  It's all about HIM.

You see, we can ask God all day long, "Who am I?" and He can tell us how much He loves us, how He uniquely created each and every one of us, giving us special gifts and abilities, how He delights in us, how He wants the best for us, how He has a plan and purpose for our lives, how He is working in us to make us more like Him, how He has chosen us to be His children and longs to have fellowship with us every single day of our lives and then for all eternity as well.

The problem is we don't believe Him.  We tune Him out.  We listen to the world instead.  We let Satan's lies creep into our hearts and minds.  We're bombarded from every angle and thus we just give up and stop asking who we are.  We just accept "I'm nobody."  "I'm not special."  "I'm not important."  or whatever.  I wrote earlier this week how we have to combat those lies with the TRUTH of God's Word.  Only when we do that can we have victory and not only realize who we are, but more importantly WHO GOD IS.

Remember how I said God turns the tables and starts asking us the same questions we've been asking Him.  So when we want to know, "Who am I?" God doesn't always answer our question. Rather, He asks us the same question, "Well, Who am I?"  See what happened?  It's not about YOU.  It's about HIM.

So, just as God has been challenging me, I now encourage you -- don't look at yourself, don't ask "Who am I?".  Stop looking in the mirror and start looking in the Word.  Get your eyes off yourself and start focusing on the One who made you.  He's asking you, "Who am I?"  He even gives you the answer too!!!

I love how God has many names.  There's not just one answer to His question, "Who am I?"  He reveals Himself in many ways because He knows that each one of us is different and at different places in our lives.  And then He meets us right where we are.  One name might stick out at a certain time in your life due to your situation, and another name might be more significant to you several years later when you are at a different place in life.  I love that.  And best of all, no matter who you are or where you are at in life -- God is God.  Yes, He reveals Himself in different ways at different times, but He never changes.  I don't know about you, but I find comfort in that.

Go back over those names again.  Read through the list.  Write down one or two names that jump out at you, that speak to you about where you are right now.

You've been asking God, "Who am I?" and now He's asked you the same question.  Let His answer shift your perspective on life.  It's not about YOU.  It's all about Him.  And that changes everything!!!

That truth also prepares us for the next question God has for us, the same one we were asking Him. "What if I can't do this?"

When we ask God that question, we are focused on our shortcomings, our weaknesses, our fears, our doubts.  We are looking at all that is going on around us and all too easily we get discouraged and overwhelmed by all that could go wrong. Like Peter when he got out of the boat and started walking on the water towards Jesus during the storm, we take our eyes off God and focus on the wind and the waves.  We get scared that we're going to drown and we do begin to sink.  We forget that the One who made the wind and the waves, the One who can say, "Be still," and the sea will immediately be calm at the sound of His voice, is right there on the water with us.

We can laugh at Peter and his lack of faith, but it's not as funny when we realize how often we do the same thing. We ask God, "What if I can't do this?"  
"What if I fail?"  
"What if I mess up?"  
"What if this is too hard for me?"  
"What if I make a fool of myself?"

They seem like legitimate questions.  We want to be responsible and realistic as we make life decisions, after all.  We don't want to go out on a limb or be crazy or get in over our heads, right?

Well, remember how I said God takes our question, "What if I can't?" and asks us the very same thing.  Somehow, when God presents that question to us, "What if I can't?" it suddenly seems absolutely absurd and ridiculous and even blasphemous to ask such a thing!!!  God can do anything.  Nothing is impossible for Him!  How dare we think that something is too hard or difficult or big for Him!  How incredulous to entertain the question, even for a second, "What if God can't do this?"  Of course He can!  He's GOD!!!

And yet, we don't believe He can.  At least we live like we don't believe Him.  That's what we're doing when we doubt and fear and worry and question, "What if I can't do this?"  

Remember, it's not about YOU.  It's all about HIM.

You CAN'T do it.  Not on your own.
It IS too big and hard and difficult for you.  By yourself.

Good thing we're not on our own.  Good thing we're not by ourselves.
God is with us, working in and through us to accomplish HIS plans and purposes.
And when God sets out to do something, He never fails.  NEVER.
He never quits.  He never gives up.
No obstacle is too big for Him.  No mountain too high.  No valley too low.
Nothing is too hard for Him.  Nothing too difficult.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible for Him.

Scroll back up and look through that list of His names one more time.
Soak them in.  Let them take root in your heart of hearts.
Remind yourself that THAT GOD -- the One whose names you just read -- is with you.  Right now.  All day, every day.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  And if that God -- the One whose names you just read -- is for you, then what can stop you?  More accurately, what can stop HIM?

Now, go ahead.  Ask Him, "What if I can't do this?"
I dare you.

You didn't do it, did you?
I hope not.

Because remember -- It's not about YOU.  It's about HIM.
Don't ask "Who am I?"
Instead, focus on the GREAT I AM and who HE is.

And with that in mind, stop asking, "What if I can't do this?"
Turn your eyes to God and rephrase the question, "What if HE can?"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why Not You?

God's been working on my heart something fierce as of late. He seems to be aligning the stars such that I keep hearing and seeing the same words and thoughts over and over again in different places from different people.  It's almost as if God answered my ridiculous prayer that He would just hang a big, flashing neon sign so I could know for sure what His will is for me.

I've been thinking quite a bit about dreaming recently.  Not just dreaming, but dreaming BIG.  As in I hope to earn a $15,000 bonus by March 31.  And since that apparently isn't big enough or far enough out there or humanly IMpossible enough, I have this dream of earning another $25,000 bonus on top of that.  The money in and of itself is not my dream, but rather what that money represents.

Paying extra on our house every month so that we are completely debt free (not even a mortgage, which is all we have left).  Paying someone else's rent or mortgage for a month, for a year.  Buying groceries without fear of going over budget, getting all organic items, letting the girls get something "fun" for the week (like the package of gum they seem to want every single time we're in the checkout line).  Buying someone else's groceries.   Saving for a new car so we can pay for it completely in cash.  Paying someone else's car payment.  Buying someone else a new car and handing them the keys with all the completed paperwork.

Those are all pretty practical things, even the car if you stop and think about it.  Transportation is a pretty basic and important part of life.

I am human though and even with my frugal nature, I want to "have fun" with the money too.  Go get a pedicure without feeling guilty or selfish.  To do that though, I would need to bring along a friend and pay for her.  Go to our city's fall festival and let the girls ride as many rides as they want (to a point).  Again though, we would need to invite another family to join us and pay for their kids' tickets.  Go to Disney World on a family vacation (with 3 girls it seems inevitable) and pay for our friends to come with us.  Go on a cruise with my parents and pay their way (goodness knows they've paid for enough suppers out and other special treats in my 30 years).  Go on an anniversary trip to Europe, but bring another couple with us so they can have that second honeymoon experience too.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.  Money isn't going to buy me - or anyone - happiness.  Money isn't going to fix my problems.  Money isn't going to suddenly make life perfect and peachy and a bed of roses.  There will still be laundry to wash, toilets to clean, meals to prepare, and diapers to change.  There will also be a sense of relief as I know my girls will be able to go to college and graduate debt free, that we will have the funds to care for aging parents (when the time comes), that we won't go broke if the transmission goes out in the car, that we can pay the bills without fear of our account being overdrawn, etc.

And so I keep dreaming.  I start to feel the hope rising up within my heart. I sense the joy welling up within me.  I get excited.  I have a glimmer in my eye, a sparkle like a love-struck girl just getting home from a wonderful date with the boy of her dreams.

But then, even though I am doing my best to fight off Satan's attacks, I hear his lies and grow weary of plugging my ears.  My voice is hoarse from shouting back at him.  He doesn't seem to care.  He appears to feed off my weakness and grows stronger by the day.

You're just a stay-at-home mom.
All you do is play with little kids all day.
You're not even using your college degree.
And even then you were just a teacher.  You didn't even have a master's.  Heck, you're not even accredited to teach wherever you want.

You're just a wife, a regular ol' wife.
Not a trophy wife or anything special.

You're just another woman in the crowd.
You're not on the cover of any magazines or on any television screens.

You're nothing special.
So why in the world do you think you deserve to dream?

Who do you think you are wishing and hoping and getting excited about making a difference in the world?  Yeah right, like you can do anything worthwhile or important.  No one's going to remember you.

Why would you of all people get blessed in such a big way?
You're just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill girl.  You don't stand out.  You're not famous.
So give it up.

Lies.  All of them.  LIES.
They're subtle, but they creep in and suddenly they have such a tight grip on your heart and mind.  You begin to believe them. You tell yourself, "I don't deserve to dream. Why would God want to use me?  I'm just...."

You see it?  That little four-letter word.  It's the killer of dreams.

But like I said, Satan is good at what he does.  He's a master of deceit.  And so he doesn't try to kill your dream all at once.  Instead, he chips away at it day after day after day until you're too tired or worn down to dream anymore.  And anytime you start to get that glimmer back in your eye and you dare to dream once more, Satan just has to whisper that little four-letter word and your hopes and dreams fall crashing down on you, crushing your spirit yet again.


Who cares if you are "just" a mom?
What does it matter if you're "just" a wife?
We're all "just" another person in the sea of billions of people in this world.

AND YET, God can use you.  Yes, YOU.

I think He's trying to convince me of this.  Apparently reading Holley Gerth's book You're Made for a God-Sized Dream wasn't enough.  Hearing Lydia Diaz speak the exact phrases and pray the same verses on a team call didn't seal the deal.  Nor did having several friends share the same truths with me via text or facebook or email.  My hard head needed that neon sign, I guess.

And God, being the gracious and patient Father that He is, decided to go ahead and let me have that big, flashing neon sign.  Yesterday, I'm on facebook -- my connection to the outside world since I am at home all day with 6 children under the age of 4.  And what do I see:

That's right.  Why not you?  So what if you're just a mom, just a wife, just a normal every day person?  You don't have to be someone special to the world.  You're special to ME.  

And I want to use YOU.  

I am pretty good at using "common" people to do uncommon things.  Remember Abraham?  Remember Gideon?  Remember Joseph?  Remember Esther?  Remember Peter?  What about Paul, remember him?  Need I remind you of more examples of how I work?  Or do you get the idea?  I'm really good at taking the foolish things of this world and using them to show My wisdom.  I'm pretty good at using what the world considers a weakness to showcase My power and strength.

So, why not YOU?  Why again can't I use you to accomplish My plans and purposes?  Why can't I work in and through you to bring glory to My name?  What's going to stop me?  Not a little four-letter word, that's for sure.  You may be "just" a mom, "just" a wife, "just" a normal, every day person, but I am anything but "just" a regular ol', run-of-the-mill God!

I am the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.  I spoke and the stars appeared.  With one breath, the planets were spinning and in orbit.  At the sound of my voice, the mountains shake and the oceans roar.  

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  I know all things -- when you sit and when you rise, when you go out and when you come back in.  I orchestrate them all.  Before time even began, I have known all that would take place.

I am the God who sees.
I am the God who hears.
I am the God who provides.
I am the God who protects.
I am the God who guides and leads and directs.
I am the way.
I am the truth.
I am the life.

Okay, God.  I think I am at least starting to get the idea!  It's not about me.  It's about YOU.
I surrender.
I give up.
I trust You.
I lay my life in Your hands to do with as You wish.
You are the Potter, and I am the clay.
Mold me, shape me.
Use me however and wherever You want.  All for the glory and honor of Your name.

Then, it's as if He just whispered to me, drowning out all those lies from Satan, "Just you watch and see what I can do.  I am after all the God who can do infinitely more than all you could dare to ask or hope or imagine or dream.  Prepare to be amazed.  Just you watch.  Just you watch and see how I use you to bring glory to Me."

If can can use me, why can't He also use YOU?

Monday, February 3, 2014


If I could have even just a penny for every time I hear, "Help me, Mommy," or "Help please, Mommy," or "I need you, Mommy," I would be a millionaire.  Or maybe a thousandaire, but I think you get my point.

I have 3 young girls, ages 10 weeks, 2 years, and 4 years.  Granted, the baby isn't talking yet, but I still her, "Help me, Mommy" and "I need you, Mommy" all throughout the day in the form of her cries.  Be it she's tired or hungry or needs a diaper changed or one of the older kids is trying to "play" with her, Kyiah definitely lets me know she needs me.

I also watch 3 precious kiddos for my in-home daycare, Monday through Friday.  So from 7 am to 4 pm, I am "Mom" to 6 kids, all under the age of 4.

I hear a lot of "Help me" and "I need you."

I wipe noses.  I wipe bums.
I open containers.  I put the lids on markers.
I get toys down from the shelf.  I put toys away.
I press out playdough.  I stack blocks.
I hold bottles.  I fill sippy cups.
I make lunch.  I get the food on the spoon.  I put the spoon to their mouth.
I get towels to wash their faces.  I get towels to clean up the spills.

You name it, I do it.

Most of the time, it feels good to be so needed.
Other times, it's overwhelming and tiring.
Some days, I just want to escape and sit on the beach.  I don't want anyone to interrupt me.  I don't want to be needed.  I don't want to help anyone.  I just want to be.

Thankfully, our heavenly Father never grows tired of helping us.  He never grows weary of hearing us call out, "I need You!"

I can't even begin to count how many times I cry out to Him.  Usually that number coincides pretty closely with the number of times I myself hear, "Help me, Mommy" or "I need you, Mommy."

And that's just me.  There are 6 billion people in the world, and many of them are calling out to God in one form or another all day long.  He's busy answering requests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.  He never takes a vacation.  He doesn't even try to hide in the bathroom to get just 2 seconds to catch His breath.

He actually ENJOYS helping us.  He delights in answering our prayers.  He takes joy in meeting our needs.  He invites us to call out to Him, for any reason, at any time.

And he answers.  Every.single.time.

Today, as I respond to my toddler's "Helppleasemommy" (because she says it so quickly and runs her words together just like that), I want to remember how blessed and fortunate I am to have a heavenly Father who is answering my own "HelppleaseIneedyourightnow!" before I can even get the words out of my mouth!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Have you ever had someone lie straight to your face?

Has anyone whispered lies in your ear day after day, so much so that you eventually start to believe them?

What about lying to yourself?  Do you ever do that?

I think, as a woman, I have to answer yes to all three questions.  How unfortunate.

We have enough to deal with -- cooking, cleaning, laundry, dirty diapers, snotty noses, helping with homework, driving kids to and from sports practice and music lessons, paying bills, buy groceries, and making sure everyone else is taken care of 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.  We don't really need to add anything else to our already full plates, especially not the stress of being lied to.

And yet, we are bombarded with lies every day.  From the moment we get up, we are lied to.

"You're fat."
"You're ugly."
"You're lazy.  You should have gotten up early to go to the gym."
"You're not good enough."
"You don't have time for that."
"You're too busy."
"You don't deserve that."
"If _________ can do it, you should be able to do it too."
"You're not as pretty as ____________."
"___________ is a better __________ (fill in the blank with whatever may come to mind) than you."

The worst part is that we hear these lies so often from so many different sources -- magazines, TV, friends, family, enemies, strangers, ourselves -- that we have come to believe them.

We don't even recognize these awful, horrible lies as just that -- lies.  Instead, we sadly accept them as truth.

We must stop.
But how?

How do we go about seeing these lies for what they are and start teaching ourselves to listen to THE truth instead?  How do we train ourselves to shut out the lies and only let the truth in to our hearts and minds?

First, let's take a look at 5 common lies we hear and believe.  I personally struggle with dreaming.  I'm great at setting goals for myself -- work out, eat right, read books, write notes to my friends, etc.  But when it comes to dreaming and doing something for myself, I freeze.  I tell myself that I'm being selfish, that I don't deserve such things, that I need to be content with what I have and where I am at in life.  I was beginning to feel my heart shrinking as I let these lies suck the sense of adventure from my spirit.  I was watching the awe and wonder and hope slowly disappear from sight.  And so, when I saw that Money-Saving-Mom Crystal Paine had posted You're Made for a God-Sized Dream by Holley Gerth on her reading list, I thought it looked like a book I should read myself.

The first chapter in the book caught my attention as I felt like God was taking me by the shoulders, cupping my face, and shouting at me through Holley's words.  She began by addressing lies that keep us from dreaming.

1. Dreaming is selfish
2. I don't have what it takes
3. It's too late
4. I don't deserve to dream
5. I don't have time

What about you?  Which of those lies have you believed?  For me, #1 and #4 struck the nail on the head.

Now that we know what the lies are, we can combat them with TRUTH.

I love what Holley Gerth has to say about dreaming and how it impacts our relationship with God Himself.  She writes:

Dreaming is a core part of who we are. True, not all of our dreams come from God and not all of them are His will for our lives, but the capacity to use our imaginations, to have visions, to nurture desires is inherent in who He has created us to be.

Dreams and desires propel us forward. In many ways, they keep us moving toward heaven -- they don't allow us to get too comfortable here, to settle in ways and places God never intended.  As long as you are alive, God wants you to go further, dig deeper, and draw closer to Him. And I believe dreams are one of the primary ways God makes that happen.  Every dream or desire you have that comes from God is an invitation for more intimacy with Him.  

Did you catch that?
You can stop feeling guilty about dreaming and hoping.
And if life has diminished your capacity to dream, here's your permission to start again.

Unfortunately, just reading this marvelous truth once won't free us from the bondage of the lies we have believed over and over and over again.  Oh no, we must wake up each morning and repeat this truth to ourselves  When we look in the mirror and hear the lie, we have to shut it up.  When we're in a group of women and start comparing ourselves to those around us and those lies start to creep in, we have to shoo them away, FAST.  When we're alone and the lies begin to surround us, we have to tell them to go away.  Whenever, wherever, and however the lies come back -- because they will, time and time and time again -- we have to immediately address them and remind them that they no longer have a place in our lives.

But the only way we can win this battle against our enemy. who just so happens to be a master of deceit, is to become masters of the truth.  Ephesians 6: 10-18 shows us exactly how we can defeat the Father of Lies.

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Did you notice that the very first piece of armor is the belt of TRUTH?  Everything else hangs on the belt, and thus everything depends on the foundation of truth.

When we hear the lie that we're fat or ugly or not pretty enough or anything along those lines, we need to look Satan square in the eye and let him know, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am God's masterpiece.  God took His time to create me this way and I am absolutely beautiful in His eyes." (Psalm 139:13-16)

When Satan whispers that we're not good enough or that we don't deserve good things, we have to shout back at him, "God delights in me and enjoys blessing me with His limitless heavenly riches.  Every good and perfect gift is from Him and meant to bring glory to His name." (Zephaniah 3:17; 2 Peter 1:3-4; James 1:17)

When hard times come and we face struggles and don't know how we will ever overcome the obstacles in our way to reaching our dreams, we can't let Satan convince us that we should stop dreaming, that we need to give up, that we should just throw in the towel, that we were wrong to think we could achieve something so big and wonderful.  We need to remind ourselves that we serve a limitless God and that our dreams aren't about us in the first place - they're about HIM!  And so we look Satan square in the eye and give it to him like it is, "You seem to have forgotten that I serve the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and if He is for me, no one can stand against me.  You seem to have forgotten that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate me from His love and that He always works EVERYTHING out for His good and perfect purposes.  His plans never fail, and He can do infinitely more than I have ever even dreamed or dared to hope or imagine.  So, I'm pretty sure He has this taken care of.  This hasn't surprised Him.  He's in control; not you.  Just go away and don't come back.  I'm resisting you and you need to flee, right now because God is drawing near, and there's just not room for you in my life right now."  (Romans 8; Ephesians 3:20; Jeremiah 32:17; James 4:7-8)

Satan doesn't give up easily.  And he will attack you with his lies day after day after day.  He will twist and turn the truth, trying to deceive you and get you to believe him.  He will try to wear you down and give in to him.  Don't let him!!!  Remember, the God of heaven's armies is on your side, fighting for you.  

He will never leave you or forsake you.  
He created you.  
He loves you.  
He wants only the best for you.  

So, go and run to Him. 
Hide in the secret of His presence.  
Shut Satan out and just sit in the shadow of God's wings.
Let Him wrap His strong, loving arms around you. 
Look into His face and listen to His voice.

You are made for more.  
Now is your time.
Let's do this together.

As you get up, God holding your hand in His, turn and look at Satan.  Give him a nice, smug look and whisper, "Liar, liar, pants on fire..."

Then, never glance back.  Keep on going forward, for that is where God is leading you.  

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