Build Something Together

IMG_3463This morning I had my first actual day off in a long time. Well, both Tommy and I did. We have been working around the clock for the past 6 weeks to build Unforsaken Treasures Resale Shop to support our mission, to help women renew their minds in the Word of God and to help women and children locally and globally.

Well, since it was our first morning off in a while, as I was doing my morning devotions on my back porch I realized how badly my lawn needed mowing. So I told Tommy, that was first on my list today. He gladly offered to use the weed eater while I mow.

As I was riding in circles listening to the soothing sounds of the white noise of my John Deere, I would every couple of minutes pass Tommy going the other way weeding. He would smile at me and I would smile back.

He finished weeding and grabbed the broom as I finished mowing and as I was doing the last few rounds, talking to God I said “Thank you Lord for a husband I can build things with.”

We truly built our Resale store together with my friend Patty and her husband and family and several volunteers. It was a lot of work, but never anything I wished I wasn’t doing. I enjoyed the journey and I still am as I’m now training my manager and volunteers to run it

Even more than building the store together, I’m thankful that God has allowed Tommy and I a chance to build a family together and a home together and a mission together. Tommy always says, “People have hobbies that take up their time. Our hobby is Jesus.” We’ve built our lives around Him and on trusting in His Promises in His Word and we’ve never regretted one second of it.

Tommy and I have been married for almost 25 years. Our first couple years before we knew Jesus were built around ourselves with tools of selfishness and greed. Once we met Him, He changed our hearts. We slowly began realizing that the scripture is so true, “in Him we live and move and have our being.” Now, Tommy is right, serving Jesus is pretty much our thing!

I thank God we love to build together. There’s a country song that says “I’m proud of the house we built.” I sing that song often when we are working together taking care of the gift God has given us of a home.

If you are married and you are struggling in your marriage, may I suggest you sit down together and talk about, “what’s our thing?” If it isn’t about loving God and loving people, maybe make a few shifts and see if things don’t turn around. I don’t know, seems like a good idea to me. It’s worked for us so far! In Jesus’ name!

 

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He Gets That from You

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Yesterday we had a huge turtle in our backyard. He was so sweet and obviously lost. He was breaking my heart as he kept trying to walk the perimeter of our privacy fence trying to figure out where he got in so he could get out. Every time he would reach the end of the fence he would turn around. I truly couldn’t see how he got in either.  He just sort of showed up. It was hot and dry out and I knew we better help him get outside the fence to get back to water.

Jake and Sara were home. They both were outside and I showed them the turtle struggling and they both were determined to get him out. Of course Sara and I nominated Jake as the one to do it. Quite honestly, Sara and I are so much alike in our God-given ability to delegate out things that we know we can do, but prefer to supervise.

My Jake was quick to accept the task. As he walked out to the turtle to pick it up from behind, the turtle kept trying to run away from him and hide his head back in his shell. We giggled and sort of did an impression of the turtle’s voice as to say in a 120 year old man voice. “ok, youngster, you don’t see me, now turn around and walk away.” He was so stinking cute.

Jake kept walking towards him and then he looked out at Sara and me and said in a concerned voice,  “He’s so scared, I feel bad for him.” My heart smiled. I thought to myself, my 24 year old young -man, son is so compassionate, he can feel how a turtle feels. I stood there and thought, he’s going to be a good daddy someday. 

Yes, compassion is a God thing. The Word says in 2 Corinthians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father or our Lord Jesus Christ, The Father of Compassion….” I believe compassion is a learned thing, but I also believe compassion is a blood-bought thing. Jake’s compassionate heart, comes from Father God, who is the Father of ALL compassion.

Was Jake born compassionate? Oh, heck no. When he was 2 years old I felt like that kid lived in time-out some days while he learned that it was not ok to scratch and hit the kids I babysat.  Is Jake compassionate today? Oh, yes. He’s loving and kind and gentle in his words and actions.

I silently whispered to God, “He gets that from You.” You know how we say that as parents? When our kids are acting great, we say, “he gets that from me.” And, when they are acting out, we say, “he’s just like you.” lol….

Well, the truth is, I know Jake gets this from his Father. He gets it from his Heavenly Father. All through the Word we read, “Jesus had compassion on the people.” He healed out of compassion. He ministered out of compassion. He fed multitudes out of compassion. Jesus was filled with compassion, because He gets that from His Father, our Heavenly Father.

Need to become more compassionate? Spend time with God. The more time we spend with Him, the more we begin to look like him. That’s been what I have witnessed at least.

So, if you are wondering if we saved the turtle, the answer is yes. That old man was placed outside our fence and Jake watched him first almost turn back to return, then realize he was heading in the wrong direction and he walked off. It was a sweet visit we had from him yesterday. It gave God a chance to show me again how sweet my Jake’s heart truly is. Yes, He gets it from You, God.

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We Not Me

me and God

I’m reading an amazing book right now by Paula White titled; “You’re All That”. It is an amazing book about your identity in Christ and remembering who you are, and Whose you are. There is a part in the book where it calls for you to do an assessment of self. You analyze your feelings about everything from family to your value systems.

I was cruising through the self-assessment rather quickly until I hit the word Trust. The word trust always seems to trip me up a bit. I know I have trust issues. It’s a fact. It is symptomatic of my inclinations towards anxiety when I’m off my study and prayer game.

You know, when people say, “I have trust issues.” Most of the time, they struggle trusting others because they know what they struggle with in their own thinking. They just haven’t gotten real enough with themselves yet to stop projecting.

I started writing about my difficulties trusting things and people in my life, mainly because of my difficulties trusting my own thoughts about things and people. I began to journal.  I kept making circles and bubbles and writing more info in the bubbles. This is how I brainstorm, and this is usually what happens when God is getting ready to download something to me.

I realized when I don’t take my thoughts captive immediately like the bible teaches to,  my thoughts can get irrational and then my ugly feelings jump on the crazy train. Pretty soon, I’ve worked myself into an anxious frenzy that it takes a few minutes of fighting my own selfish nature with through  prayer, affirmations and the The Word of God to bring me back into peace again.

I wrote, “anxiety is a trust issue.”

Then, God said to me. “Until you remember, Who it is you are placing your trust in, right?”

I thought, “Yes, Lord. I don’t trust myself on my own. But, I’m not on my own anymore right?”

Then, God said; “Mo, You are never alone, not ever, again.”

The truth is…that old girl, I was evaluating isn’t even alive anymore. I died with Christ. My sinful old nature was crucified with Him. That old girl I really don’t trust, she’s dead. She’s been for years. I am now alive in Christ. Christ lives in me. He rules and reigns in me. I am a slave to righteousness. I don’t have to trust her anymore. She’s gone.

Ya’ll, let me preach a little here!

I knew I needed a fresh dose of trust scriptures, so I opened my phone up and googled, scriptures about “trust”. The first scripture that popped up was of course from my main man Joshua:

Joshua 1:9 New International Version (NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I heard God say, “Mo, it’s We now, not me, ever again.”

That’s it! Proverbs 28:26 says, “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.”

Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.”

Oh, my goodness, I felt the peace that passes all understanding come over me. It was almost like God was trying to show me that it’s ok, that I don’t trust my own understanding apart from consulting Him. We aren’t supposed to. It’s ok, because I don’t ever have to rely on my own understanding or my own trusting of things on my own anymore, It is up to God now to direct my path and my thoughts and my decisions and my future. God takes amazing responsibility for those He has saved and sanctified.

It’s not me anymore, it’s We! It’s God and me.

Trust issues can only be healed once and for all, remembering that you are Unforsaken. He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

Your days of fighting your own fights are over.

Your days of making your own decisions without God are over.

Your days of worrying that you are going to mess it all up once and for all are over.

Trust issues are healed in the “We, not me” realm.

Anxiety is voided and cancelled when we can take captive our thoughts, immediately and make them obedient to Christ. We make them obedient to Christ when we stop forgetting that it is We, not me.

This self-evaluation thing is kind of fun. When you self-evaluate remembering that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, Co-Heirs with Christ, royalty and wearing robes of righteousness, sitting in Heavenly places next to Jesus, you can score yourself pretty well. After all, you’re part of a team. It’s We, not me.

 

 

 

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My Life’s Work

untitledWhen most people talk about what their life’s work is, it usually involves a business they have opened that they have spent years preparing for. Sometimes they will use this phrase after they have written their thesis, or have received some sort of accolade or community award or something. This morning, I was meditating on what my life’s work is, my loved ones and family.

As I stood in the driveway like I do every morning, praying over my family as Tommy walks Eli to the bus stop, I watched my bluebird who lives in my front tree, do his morning driveway cross from one tree to the other. I watched my dog Tyco stand guard under her tree, and count Eli’s feet as they step up the steps to the bus, as she stares down the 3 squirrels that come out each morning to torture here and tempt her to lose her position. As I watched Tommy walk back from the bus, I thought; “this little home right here on this little street, is my life’s work.”

My Sara woke up and came out and asked me to help her make a quick batch of brownies for a “teacher appreciation meeting” she forgot she had. We whipped them up quick as she got ready for school, then she sat down with Tommy and I for breakfast and she opened up about her leadership meeting she was at last night at church. She shared with us her love for outreach, and how she feels God leading her towards that area of ministry. If my physical heart could have grown the way it felt like it was growing emotionally for me at that point, it probably would have exploded out of my chest. I mean, my girl, wanting to serve in the same capacity she watched me serve for years, through trials and persecutions, joys and wins. She really is choosing to care for the least of these, even after growing up in it her whole life? I couldn’t say enough thank yous to Jesus in my Spirit.

Tommy started packing up his briefcase for work, telling me his schedule for the day, and I just started washing the brownie dishes. I said to him, “This is my life’s work.” It is the joy of my heart to have an open home for my nephew’s and nieces to hang out in until later in the evening when mom and dad are due home from their out-of-town appointments. It is my life’s work to make Rice Krispie treats and watch TV with all of them last night until I went into bed and thanked God for all of those precious souls in my living room.

It’s my life’s work to make Sunday dinner and host my family for spaghetti and meatballs. I loved watching everyone’s face last night as my nephew Kurtis and his wife Angel walked in with their new baby so we could all take turns holding him and taking pics and handing them presents. It’s the joy of my life to encourage Angel as a wife and mother as Tommy disciples Kurtis as a husband and a father.

It’s my life’s work to watch my children grow. It’s my life’s work to encourage my husband in his plans and purposes, It’s my life’s work to care for this home that means so much more to me than four walls and a foundation and roof. This home is where my children have grown up. They have dug their roots deep in Christ and are growing strong in Him the same way those old Oaks are out front.

I know most people would think it would be books or ministries started or community projects that would be my life’s work. Yes, those are precious to me and I thank God for each thing He has allowed me to work on under His leadership. But, those things suffer in comparison to what really matters to me. My life’s work is my tribe that I do life with. I am grateful for every day that God gives me with them.

My life’s work is watching my family discover thier life’s work. Nothing better than that.

 

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The Seed

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I started my day at 3:30am today. Yes, I know, that is the time that a lot of people go to bed. I guess God figured that 7 hours was sufficient for me today since I fell asleep at 9pm on the couch. You know, usually I like to blame the 3am wake ups on the devil, but today it was obvious God just wanted to talk.

Non-profit world is such a blessing to work in. I absolutely love my job, mainly because of the missions that we support. Of course, our main mission with Unforsaken Women is to teach women how to renew their minds in The Word of God daily, but we also strive to help women and children daily through our several outreaches.

Well, non-profit world also has many challenges. The biggest challenge for me, is fundraising. You need money to help people a lot of the time, but the truth is most people and businesses that we run into, are more apt to give of their “stuff” and “time” than their cash, so non-profits have to be very creative with how to actually meet the monetary needs.

This morning, the budget was heavy on my mind at 3am. I have a few new fundraising ideas, and of course, 3am isn’t really when those ideas can be implemented, so I knew I better get up and get quiet with God so He could tell me how to sort out my thoughts. I love how The Word says in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together. Says The Lord.”  I’m so grateful that God helps me reason things out. He is such a peaceful mind manager.

I looked out my back window, and God reminded me of a fundraiser that I want to have. Well, quickly I was ready to run to my journal and start taking notes, then I literally heard God say, “Mo, slow down. I’m not done.” Oh friend, I do this so often. I bet you anything I have half way managed many of the projects that God has given me, because I haven’t listened long enough to His whole plan.

God told me to slow down, then He said, “All you are responsible for is the seed.” I immediately went to study out “seeds” in the Word. The first place God took me was Isaiah 55:10-11New International Version
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sewer and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

When I read this, I thought, Even though God said, I’m responsible for the seed, He even provides the seed. I just need to trust.

So much in life is about what we learn in Psalm 37:3, “Trust in the Lord and do good.” We have to trust God that He is in total control, then we have to do good with the gifts, talents and treasures that He bestows on us. You see, everything is God’s. I have to trust that God gave us these ministries, He is going to lead us in the management of them. We have to be good stewards of the seed and plant it in fertile soil, but ultimately we have to remember that God gave the seed, and He is the one that brings the harvest, we are only called to put it in the ground and take care of it.

And, the cool thing is, that fundraiser may just be a seed. It may not even be a big money maker, but it will not return void and I am sure it will most definitely have a part to play in the ripple effect of God’s amazing plans for this ministry though.

I feel very excited about the ideas that God gives me in ministry. I feel so honored that He calls me friend. I am convicted to spend more time sitting and listening and not just jumping up the second He says one word. I have to work at hearing His whole conversation with me.

We are only responsible for the seed. What seed has God provided for you to plant. Get digging my friend. It’s going to be an amazing harvest.

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Today! Right Here! Right Now!

Matthew 6:31-34 ESV

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble

Every year that I live here on Earth and I learn more about the heart of God I realize that life is precious. We say life is precious usually one of two times, when newborn babies are born and we are in awe of the creativity and extravagance of our Lord, and we say life is precious when people are faced with mortality.

I went this week to pray with a lovely friend of mine who is undergoing cancer treatments right now. She is amazingly strong and courageous and she gives every credit to God where her peace and strength is coming from. Her and I talked about the fears that try to creep in and steal her peace. We talked about the hopes of a quick recovery and a peaceful restoration period.

She’s a mother. She’s an amazing mother. Even through her treatments, she has always been given enough of God’s grace to sustain her through carpooling the kids to school, bedtime homework and shower time and tucking them in each night. She is fighting the good fight of faith and honoring God with her body by cutting out things that feed cancer like sugar and bread. She’s still exercising and doing what wisdom tells us to do to take care of our temples. I’m blown away by her faith and diligence. I am convicted to do better myself with food choices.

One thing that she mentioned was wanting to truly figure out why God chose her for this. She wants to honor Him by doing whatever it is after she is well, to glorify Him in it. She sort of confided that she isn’t quite sure yet. I looked around at her kids in their pajamas, coming in to kiss her goodnight, telling her they were finished with their chores, and ready for her to tuck them in. I looked at her porch swing out front that stares at a gorgeous lake where her family likes to spend a lot of time. I looked at the streamers that were hanging from the chandelier in the kitchen from a recent birthday celebration. I knew right then what to say to her. I said, “Friend, you’re already doing it.”

You see, even though she has been through 13 rounds of chemo and has two more to go and she is then beginning radiation, she never stopped staying present with her family. I said to her,  “This is it!” This is what God wants to teach so many of us. Be present in today. Be connected to the people who God has given you to be connected to. Get your eyes out of your phones and onto the people you are trying to get to say cheese to the camera. Take more mental pictures. Make every effort to live this life to the fullest, enjoying your loved ones, God’s beauty and His nature, and live a life worthy of the calling we have received.

Stop wearing ourselves out to get rich. Be content with what we have. Take more walks. Watch the sun come up and go down and thank God for each day that we witness it. Tell the people that we love that we love them and stop assuming they know. Stop pushing our kids to perform and just let them be kids. Be ok with not going anywhere some days. Eat at home and sit at the table and pray. I could keep going.

You see, all we have that is guaranteed is today. None of us know when our last day is. None of us know. This life is a vapor. Make today a day that you would be proud to be doing what you are doing, should Jesus decide to say; “Welcome Home my child.”

Life is precious. Be Present in Today!

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God is Not Done with You Yet!

There is no “arriving” in our walks with God. We don’t set foot into our destinies and then He says; “there you go. You’ve made it baby!” NOPE! I’d venture to guess and bet my life on it that until we make golden streets and pearly gates our abode and until we feast at the banquet with our co-heir and Savior Jesus we have not yet arrived.

Yesterday I started my next book. Did I think I would be starting a new book while I have two manuscripts in the works and monthly messages to write? No I didn’t. But, God!

The Lord showed me an area in which I am still giving too much of my authority over to Satan. He showed me that I still have a stronghold that has to be broken. He showed me how to break it, as I share with others how to break it. I’m so stinking excited I can’t get over it. Yesterday and this morning were filled with such supernatural revelation I felt like I could ask for the sun to stand still like Joshua and it would happen.

About a month ago did I feel like this?  Not so much. I was burdened with financial struggles, feelings of inadequacy in the ministry and wonderings if I was truly in God’s will doing television segments now. But yesterday!!!!

Oh friend. God isn’t done with us. He’s not done molding us. He’s not done helping us. He’s not done equipping us and heck no He’s not done using us.

I was getting out of the shower, praying for a few people and I felt Him say;

“Tell them I’m not done with them”

My friends, He’s not done with you.

  • Even though you are and have burnt out, He’s got one little ember still burning, you’ll be back.
  • Even though you feel unappreciated at work. He sees you. Don’t grow weary in doing good.
  • Even though you are getting older, there’s no age restrictions with God. As we get older, we get wiser, we get stronger, we get more courageous.
  • Even though people seem to keep picking others to do the things you feel God has called you to do, take heart, He’s handpicked your mission. You have no idea!
  • Even though you feel like the big wigs over you are making all the cash and the burdens are truly bore on your shoulders. Hold on friend. Help is on the way.
  • God doesn’t care about your sex, your weight, your color, your ethnicity, your inclinations towards certain habits, your “stutters and limps”! He loves you with a love that crosses human boundaries and can only be described as perfect. If God can speak though a donkey, He is just waiting for you to submit so He can use you.
  • He doesn’t care how inadequate you feel. He is adequate.
  • He doesn’t care how fearful you are. Perfect Love drives out fear.
  • He doesn’t care how many people have told you, you can’t. He says; YOU CAN and YOU WILL with me!

Brothers and sisters in Christ. God is at work. Get out of His way and let Him work in and through you. He’s just waiting for you to say, “Yes Lord, Here am I, use me.”

I love you. That’s why I gotta preach!

 

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