Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Video for You

Last weekend I went to a women's retreat at a church I love in Harrisburg, PA.  Julie Meyer was the special guest and she led worship and shared a message both days.  She sang a beautiful song that I have been singing over and over since I heard it for the first time on the opening night of the retreat.  It's called "I Am Hephzibah".  I tried to find it on You Tube so I could listen to it again.  Although I couldn't find a video of her singing it, I was so blessed to find the song done by church during their Sunday morning service.  I love their expressions of worship through singing, dance, scarves and flags.  I wanted to share this video with you.  I think it will encourage you.  It is well worth the 10 minutes.  I've had it on about 10 times already myself! 

You [Judah] shall no more be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land be called Desolate any more. But you shall be called Hephzibah [My delight is in her], and your land be called Beulah [married]; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married [owned and protected by the Lord].
Isaiah 62:4 (amplified)

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Impossible Dream


Today I read a scripture passage that I've read before, but today it was as if I'd read it for the first time.
It's tells of Abraham and the faith he had when God told him, at nearly 100 years old, that he would father a child and that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky.
Here it is...

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Romans 4:19-21

A promise from God that could have tempted to be an impossible dream.
 Impossible, if Abraham was focused on how he was to 
accomplish it himself.

At times I have taken that temptation and run with it.
  I think of dreams I've had in the past that I knew were from God at the time they came.
  Those dreams from God are His promises.
Promises that I've sometimes deemed too impossible to realize because I can't figure it all out.
I think, How is this going to happen?
  What do I need to do to make it happen?
And I look at the circumstances.

So the dream gets lost.

Well, today while reading that scripture "for the first time", I see that I, like Abraham, don't need to do anything but believe that what God promises, He is able to perform.

Of course I have a part to play in prayerfully seeking Him for His plan and to obediently follow His lead, but He's the one doing the performing of the dream, not me.

What He promises, He is able to perform.
We just need to believe that He can do it.
Because, of course, nothing is impossible with God.

Dreaming an "impossible" dream?
Believe and find rest in the fact that the One who promised is also able to perform.  

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday? 
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What's Your Dream?


I woke up with these words in my head a of couple months ago and they haven't stopped calling.

What's your dream?

I've been a wife for 15 years and a mommy for 9 years and I love that.  And if you asked me what I do, that's what I'd say. I'm comfortable with that and it's a safe, understandable answer.  It's who I am.  But, is it?  Is that who I am or is it merely what I do?  Of course that's who I am to my husband and my boys, but am I something more?

  And I feel something stirring; I hear God calling,

What's your dream?

Me?  Well, {sheepishly} I don't know.

  But, if I allowed myself to really ponder that question, things, visions start to bubble up from deep inside.  Big things.  Things that don't fit into a safe and comfortable pat answer to the question, What do you do?  Things that seem reserved just for those specially chosen few.  
 Things that seem like I could never do...but for God. 

So, finally, I learn to ask,
What's Your dream for me, God?
What did you have in mind when you created me?

And this is where I find myself these days.

It's new territory for me, or at least territory I haven't roamed in a very long time.  But I find myself more open to dreaming after dealing with fear.
  Fear says, You'll never be anything more than the mess you are right now.  Your situation will never change, so don't even bother.

But once I stopped listening to fear, I started hearing the dreams of God.  Dreams long forgotten and covered up with disappointment and pain.  Others that are new to me, but feel like they were written before my days began.  
And my spirit leaps and hope springs up.

I'm listening...
and dreaming.

Might I ask, 
What's your dream?
Pose that question back to God and listen for answers that make you come alive.

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday? 
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.

Friday, March 16, 2012

March It Out


I woke up early the other day and read this...

That one fear.
Take these days of in-between, one season closing out as another season beckons, these days, to march into victory.

Well, last Friday I put fear on notice.
But today I go deeper...naming that one fear, shining a light on it and rooting it out.

Join me?
What's your one fear?
Care to march around it these last weeks of March and see it come down?

Here's how I'm doing it:

1.  Name it.
In what area of your life does fear most act up in?
  For me it's provision.
Will my and my family's needs be met?
  My husband has his own business so there isn't a regular guaranteed paycheck.  This past year especially has been a struggle for us and although we've seen God miraculously provide, there have also been unpaid bills and other challenges.
It's been a tough time.
So, this area of fear taunts, your needs will not be met and what you have you will lose.

2.  Speak to it.
Look up every scripture you can on it.  Read these truths daily to renew your mind with the truth of God's Word.  Write the scriptures on cards and carry them with you to pull out when you feel that fear start to rise up.  Soon the wrong thinking will be replaced with right thinking and out of a right mind come right words.  And words have power to bring life or death to our situation.

3.  Give thanks
Giving thanks to God in your everyday makes Him bigger and makes the fear smaller.
  Psalm 69:30 says, ...I will magnify {God} with thanksgiving.
  Last year I joined with Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts challenge to keep track of all the gifts God has for me in each day.  It felt good to have that focus, but honestly, I've fallen away from keeping that list and having that focus and I want it back.  So, I pick up my gratitude journal again and decide to fix my eyes on what God's doing in my everyday.  I'll encounter God in the thanksgiving and there with Him I'll find joy.

4. Prayer
Is there a person in your life that brings out the fear in you either by their actions toward you or in the things they do and decide that directly affect you?  Pray for them daily; that God would love on them, give them wisdom and direct their steps.  Trust them to God's hands.  Daily I've been praying for God to give my husband and I wisdom with our finances.  We've been taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, so that helps.  And since my husband's business is the main channel through which we bring money into our home, I pray these things I mentioned above for him.  Entrusting him, and myself and the boys, to God's care.

Ready to march in to freedom? 

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday?

We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.      

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Inspiration {fresh flowers}

I'm so ready for Spring, especially after a week of 60' and 70' weather.  While I've been poking around the web I've been pinning lots of pics that inspire me to embrace the colors and life of Spring.  Gotta love Pinterest and creating pinboards! 

Check out these beautiful pics of colorful flowers in non-traditional vessels. 

I think this one below is my fav.  Love the bright colors and the mix of flowers...even a succulent mixed in!  Plus I have a couple of these beautiful blue mason jars I picked up at the last Country Living Fair.  Ready to fill mine with flowers.

bright bold and beautiful via loving this life on pinterest

This picture is so pretty with it's soft mix of colors and candlelight.  The color scheme continues in the buttery vintage flour tin.  Set it on a stack of some thrifted hardbound books and place on the center of a table for instant prettiness.

marcus design via loving this life on pinterest

Such a pretty combo here with the peach and pink tones of roses in a soft aqua blue ceramic pitcher. 

rikshaw design via loving this life on pinterest

Consider using a great piece of art for floral inspiration.  Artfully arranged and placed in a drinking glass.

once wed via loving this life on pinterest

Gather together an array of bright flowers and succulents, place in jars and vintage glassware, and display on a slice of tree trunk.  Nice use of colors and textures.  Very cool.

the cutting garden on flickr via loving this life on pinterest

This display is very Spring.  Cut some just blooming branches from spring flowering trees and bushes and display in interesting blown glass vessels.  The craft stores sell lots of the artificial flowering branches this time of year if you don't have any in your yard to cut.

a low country wedding via loving this life on pinterest

Ready for Spring yet?

Friday, March 9, 2012

You've Been Served!


You ugly tormentor and hard driving slave master, it's time for you to go...time for you to die in this girl's life.  No more can you dictate the day.  No more can you wile away the darkened hours, keeping me awake with your lies.  

Fear, it's time for you to go.

No more will I succumb to your penetrating ways, to your evil forebodings.  You've decided the day for too long.  You've dictated the to-do's, the meditations of my heart, chosen the words choked out through tense lips.  You've resided in my body, tightening the muscles, wrenching the spine, locking the jaw, gripping my head like a vise, and stealing my breath away.

Fear, it's time for you to go.

Pack up your bags and fill them with your lies, your doubt, your anger, your cloud of despair, your broken promises, your lodged disappointments, your empty hope, your crushing shame, and your unrelenting control.  All these years we've spent together you think you've won, but you haven't.  The years will be redeemed and greater shall be my days.

But wait, one thing before you go...
This is my parting gift to you, a profession of who I am, a list so you won't forget, my declaration of independence, if you will.

Therefore, fear, you are not a part of my natural makeup.  You are an imposter and I am hereby serving you notice to get off of my property!

Fear, it's time for you to go.

Don't bother coming 'round here no more!!

And by the way, it is not I who live but Christ who lives in me, so if you have any complaints, take it up with Him!

I'm not answering your calls anymore! 

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday?
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.

Friday, March 2, 2012

There's So Much More


A couple Saturdays ago as I was cleaning the kitchen after a big pancake breakfast, I had music on in the background and I was singing and praying.  That's when I felt it.
  That Presence.
  Heard the still small voice of the Spirit.

  I haven't forgotten you.  I haven't forgotten about the gifts I placed within you.  There's still so much more for you.  Those gifts will be used...I desire to use them.  

  There's so much more for you, my daughter...believe...there's so much more.

Well, needless to say, I lost it.  Doubled over, not able to stand in the thick presence.  Weeping with the joy of someone seen and known.

I was reminded of the gifts God's placed within me.  Gifts that have gone with little use over the past few years.  Gifts that had a regular place and were accepted at one time in my church, have sat virtually unused, at least in a public church setting.

You see years ago I suffered tremendous hurt at the lies and accusations of sisters and brothers in Christ.  Words were spoken like barbs cutting extremely deep.  They hurt so bad because it was behind my back, I didn't see it coming, especially from those more "spiritual" than me, some of whom were mentors.

It was a tough time for me, and although I considered leaving the church, when it came down to it, I didn't feel like it was what I was supposed to do.  Believe me I was angry, I felt betrayed, and I cried many tears over it.  But, I learned to walk out forgiveness and I know deep down that that lesson was the good that God brought out of that very hard time.  He healed my wounds, but also went deep in me with a life lesson.
And truly I retell this as someone who has been healed and made whole and who walks in love and forgiveness with my accusers.

The glory goes to God for that.

But still I had lost my place with my gifts.  In fact, I didn't really want to exercise them because I was gun-shy, fearing the scrutiny from those who were jealous and gossiping.  And so, without knowing it I became an active participant in the quenching of the gifts that God placed within me.  

So, here I am 4 1/2 years later cleaning my kitchen and I feel Him calling,

 Come out, come out, don't hide.  I have need of you.

And my spirit leaps and purpose stirs up.  Because you see when you're not using what you've been given, something that's part of your identity, a little part of you dies.  And when it's been marred by gossip and slander, you doubt and hide.

  But the Lord says,
Come out.
 There's so much more for you.

I share this to ask, what about you?
  What are the gifts that God has given you?  You have gifts.  God has need of you.  There are things that only you can do.  And right now is the time.
  He has so much more for you.

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday? 
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.

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