Monday, March 21, 2011

Rest For My Soul

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16 (NASB)

The Lord gives us many choices, but He does not leave us to our own devices to decide which path to travel. He has given us the Holy Spirit as a Counselor and Guide. He has given us His Word, which shines a light unto our path. He has surrounded us with Godly counsel – those who have traveled a greater distance than we have and are available to share wisdom. The Lord goes before us and draws us to Himself.

When we stand at a crossroads, we do not stand alone. We have the freedom in Christ to ask where the good way is. Through Christ, we can approach the throne of grace and ask for the Lord’s discernment. He will answer and provide the counsel that we need. Heed it, and we will find rest for our souls.

The Lord’s way always bring peace, even when everything around us looks chaotic. When we seek His will at every turn, we can walk through a war zone feeling peaceful, content, and comforted by His love. Most certainly, we will not enjoy every experience that we face, but even when life is not pleasant, it can still be peaceful.

Application of Jeremiah 6:16 is for every aspect of our lives from daily task prioritization to deeper issues involving relationships and wounded hearts. When we lay everything at His feet – all of it – we can find rest for our souls! I don’t know about you, but I desire to live with a fully rested soul!

Stand – be still. Slow ourselves to the point of stopping so that we can sincerely seek and listen for His will.

Look – search out the way that the Lord has for us. Look for it with intention and purpose.

Ask – recognize that we do not hold all of the answers and seek counsel from the Holy Spirit, from God’s Word, and from Godly people in our lives.

Walk – Once we have received instruction, walk in it. Do as instructed; obey the Lord’s leading.

Find – as our journey continues, we can find His blessings that await us and enjoy the rest that He brings to our souls.

What crossroads do you face today? How will you proceed? In your own strength and wisdom or by His power and might?

Father, give me the strength this very day to humble myself and seek Your ways above my own. Allow me to find the rest that only You can bring to my soul.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Here's Hoping!!

Oh, girls! God has just laid an amazing opportunity at my feet!

I have been dreaming of and hoping to attend an incredible conference (She Speaks by Proverbs 31 Ministries) over the summer, but finally resolved – just this week – that this is not the year for me. Finances are simply too tight with Taylor’s graduation and college tuition right around the corner, the struggles that Chris has had, etc. I know that God will provide in HIS perfect time and I will wait on Him.

In my e-mail this morning, I found a blog post from Lysa TerKeurst about the She Speaks conference. I have to tell you that I almost didn’t open it, fearing it would deepen the disappointment of what I would be missing. Something made me click on the e-mail and guess what! There is a scholarship contest for the conference! Woo hoo and praise the Lord! Entry into the contest requires a blog post telling about the conference and reasons why I would like to win the scholarship. It’s due today! TODAY! Oh, my! (Lord, I do praise You that it wasn’t due yesterday!)

Many of you know that I feel a direct call from the Lord to write, teach and speak. Whom He calls, He equips and gives opportunity to use such equipping for His glory. The Lord has confirmed His call repeatedly through His Word, through the people in my life, and in the opportunities of His mighty hand. I have to share a brief story: John and Bobbe Fischle, both writers and both beautiful, loving people, attended our church for a time. The Lord pressed into me to share my calling with them. Bobbe asked to see my work, which I had never shared with anyone outside my home so my knees were knocking! She and John read it during their quiet time and encouraged me to continue writing and to pursue publication! After picking myself up off the floor, I became a real writer in my heart of hearts that day upon receiving their beautiful encouragement. It was a gift from the Lord Himself.

Last fall, our church Elders blessed me richly by sending me to the LifeWay Women’s Leadership Forum. I pushed myself way, WAY out of my comfort zone and shared the Lord’s call on my life with Chris Adams the senior women’s ministry specialist in LifeWay's church resources division. I stood in line to see her, which was something like waiting for an autograph from Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. It was actually more fun to speak with Chris! She highly recommended the She Speaks conference. She Speaks Conference Information

This is the conference of conferences. Not only does it offer strong, practical training for speaking (from developing a message to keeping an audience engaged to increasing speaking engagements), but also encourages and equips writers to emphasize their unique writing voice and work toward being published. Appointments are available to pitch a book proposal to some of today’s top Christian publishers. The conference does more than offer tools, but also equips attendees to put those tools into motion, learn from others in the field and get to work for God’s kingdom! It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Oh, how I would hate to miss it!

Here is the icing on the cake. I am still a newbie in my position as Director of Women’s Ministries for our church. The She Speaks conference also has a track just for Women’s Ministry leaders that helps them build a team and share a vision so that it becomes contagious. Such training would be invaluable for not only me, but also the women in our congregation and in our community.

I am already writing, speaking and teaching through doors and venues that the Lord continues to provide. I know that I can learn to be more effective for His glory and for the furtherance of His message. My desire is to give my Lord everything I have. This is why I have such a deep desire to attend the She Speaks conference.

Three tracks are available at the conference, and all three pertain to me. The more I learn, the more I believe that those Proverbs 31 gals created this conference just for me! Without the scholarship I cannot attend, so yes, indeed, I am praying to be one of two selected for this honor. It is in the Lord’s capable hands and I surrender all to Him, trusting in His sovereign plan.

Isaiah 45:3 “… In order that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.” (NASB)

Would you like to enter the contest too?  Please click here:  She Speaks Scholarship Contest  Maybe we can go together!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Simple Things

On Thursday, Taylor and I drove 4 hours to Colby, Kansas to see Christopher. I was feeling more than a bit foolish for planning such a trip – 8 hours of driving just to have dinner with someone seems excessive. But we are talking about my son here, so I decided that even if it were foolish, I was doing it! When she heard of my plans, my dear friend, Doreen said, “That’s a God thing!” That was just the encouragement I needed to shift my focus and see it as a gift from the Lord rather than an excessive outing. I’d love to share with you how the Lord blessed the trip (thanks for indulging me)!

The first blessing came when I told Chris I was daydreaming about coming to see him. His baseball schedule is a bit restrictive to say the least (it’s eat, sleep and breathe baseball around there), and at first it seemed like a visit wouldn’t work out. Then Chris said, “If you can just come a couple of hours later, Mom, I can spend some time with you.” It was music to a Momma’s ears! He looked forward to a visit too!

Several weeks ago, I was in a car accident where the vehicle next to me lost control and collided with the side of my car. Praise the Lord no one was injured! Last week, we finally got my car in for repairs and the insurance company provided a rental car. I received permission to drive it out of state and kept the wear and tear off my own tires and engine. Not only that, the little Ford Focus got nearly double the gas mileage of my SUV!

Taylor was originally scheduled to work on Thursday so I’d planned to make the trip alone. On Wednesday, a school project was delayed so she rearranged her work schedule and was free to ride as my co-pilot. Many of you have never met Taylor, but any time spent with her is just like a party! She’s fun and playful and, truly, there is never a dull moment when she’s around. We laughed, giggled, sang songs at the top of our lungs, and ate the required quantity of junk food for a road trip. At one point, when she didn’t know the words to a reallllllyyyyy old song, she sighed and said, “I’ll do the dancing,” and she bee-bopped down the Interstate. Just me and my girl, making a beautiful memory!

When we arrived and I saw Chris, he was smiling!! I’m crying as I write this because it had been months, literally months, since I saw a smile cross that child’s face. He has been in such turmoil since his world fell apart in October and all through Christmas break, I wondered if depression were setting in. I never imagined the hope that a simple smile could bring on an ordinary March afternoon. He was relaxed, and playful, and genuinely happy to see us. I thought my heart would burst, I really did!

Now what does a Mom do when she visits a child in college? First things first, she takes him out to eat and then to the grocery store. Right in the middle of the produce section, I received an enormous, unsolicited, 2-armed hug from my very tall son. He pretty much swallowed me up with his arms and I just let it soak in. God is SO good!

All in all, it was just an amazing visit. But wait, there’s more! The last thing a Mom does when she visits a child in college is fill his gas tank. We pulled into the grocery story gas station side-by-side to get fuel… and received a $.90 per gallon, loyalty-card discount on both tanks. That’s not a typo – we got nearly a dollar off the price per gallon of our gas. We don’t get deals like that in Colorado so I was shocked! I told Chris we needed to “get the ham sandwich outta there” before someone realized who we were and sent us a bill!

We made it home to our beds before midnight then it was back to work on Friday with a huge smile in my heart.

James 1:17
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (NASB)

Thank you, Lord!