Tag Archives: determination

Free-Falling into Cushy Faith

21 May
Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames

Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you sometimes freak out over concern that a chair won’t hold your weight?  If you do, you’re either a very rare person or you’re struggling with extreme obesity.  The fact is that most of us sit all of our weight in chairs every day without a second thought, and the furniture holds us up just fine.  I believe that this “chair” principle is a perfect example of how life is meant to be lived when our faith in Jesus is genuine.

My situation recently got very scary.  I actually had good reason to believe that I had a limited amount of time left in which I would be physically capable of using my hands to work on a keyboard.  Every job I’ve ever had involved typing either on a typewriter or a stenograph machine or both.  With my elbows also problematic and my hands in bad shape, how many jobs fit my capability?

So between the chronic pain and the descent of a loved one into the proverbial bottom of the barrel, life has been extremely intense and stressful.  My response at some point was to simply jump off of the cliff I was clinging to and into the arms of God.

I’ll tell you right now that it’s safe to leap into faith feet first.  Jesus caught me.  In fact, He was with me through the entire ordeal and never left me.  What was missing was my complete trust that I can rest in the Lord as comfortably as I rest my tucas in my favorite reading chair.

My hands have improved tremendously, and I have two new employers who, together, are prepared to keep me working as a writer full time for good pay.  Wow!  And praise the Lord, right?  My loved one is the subject of prayers every day, and I’m trusting and resting in the Lord regarding the outcome.

Back From the Dark Side

20 May
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Jesus seems nearer as I read the new Testament through in a year. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where have I been?  Reserving my capacity for typing for my job.  My May 1st move was very tough on my health issues that affect my elbows and hands.  I could barely get any work done, and it just wasn’t right to neglect work in order to blog.  I still have to pace myself, but the intensity of the problem has vastly improved.

There’s a lot of technology available that types by speech, and I hope to use that someday, to take some of the pressure off of my hands.  Will that work, though?  Is it in my price range?  I don’t know.  So I’ve prepared a backup source of income; I’m an Avon representative.  Years ago I had success selling Avon — back when I lived in Wyoming.  It’s a great business opportunity, something I can vouch for by personal experience.  If my hands, heaven forbid, become gnarled, an Avon income will help!  Met some super-friendly ladies on my Avon “team.”  They helped me get pumped up, and I already have my website all set up:  www.yourAvon.com/stevie.

The kids and I are truly enjoying our new home, even though unpacking everything is creeping along at a snail’s pace because of my limitations.  Most of the apartment looks great, though.  Something about this new place of ours gives me the oddest sense of being back in my childhood home.  It’s pretty awesome.

There’s a lot to be thankful for.  I have an amazing new employer who needs lots to be written, and he believes in paying writers a good wage for their work.  Thank You, Lord!

My bedroom came complete with a three-way-mirror, and looking at myself full-length several times a day is serving as a great motivator to lose weight!  Not liking what I see.

The best thing that’s going on besides the joy the kids give me every day is my read-the-New-Testament-in-a-Year plan that I’m following through Bible Gateway.  It’s wonderful to start the day reading about Jesus.  I find myself meditating more on the miracles of God these days.

I’m able to blog again, which seems like another of God’s miracles.

My Wait That Led to Prison

30 Mar

 

One of the reasons it takes devotion and courage to walk out the Christian life is because waiting is a big part of it.  (Who likes to wait?)  Well, I intentionally waited with patience this week on some pressing issues; by the grace of God, to be honest, it wasn’t even difficult.  Frankly, it has been a special time lately such as I haven’t experienced in a while, as though God’s hand is on me, helping me behave.

My patience this week paid off – all of the issues that were such a problem in my new home were amazingly resolved.  So I’m reminded that waiting really is an awesome thing, if you’re waiting for what God wants you to be patient for.

I once waited for 12 years for the opportunity to minister.  It’s what I wanted to do more than anything, but the good Lord had spoken to my heart that when my (now ex-) husband says it’s time to minister, that’s the same as God saying so.  The day arrived when, indeed, the ex told me I had his full support to go out and share the gospel wherever God opened doors.

God had been inspiring me to write songs ever since I became a Christian.  Somehow, in no time at all, I became a part of a prison ministry.  It was absolutely an amazing time.  I was part of a team of terrific people.  The other singers had far superior talent to mine, but I had a sincerity that seemed to touch hearts.  Not only that, but when I went into the prisons, I felt the love of God poured out through me like a gushing river.  Being a love conduit in prisons was a season that I consider the spiritual highlight of my life.

It wasn’t just the prisons; waiting those 12 years opened a lot of doors.  I prayed about my mediocre singing, asking God to make me more of a blessing in the prisons.  And He blessed me to write some rap songs which I performed, to the shock of inmates across Texas; and I became a huge hit.

Then out of nowhere, God blessed me with a television show ministry for youth, which was a deep desire of my heart.  It was offered at no charge, and God blessed that effort, too.

My waiting produced a whole heck of a lot of fruit during that period of my life.  It produced good results this week, too.

I think as Christians we’re always waiting for something, and that’s what keeps us moving forward in dependence upon God.  Is what you’re waiting for what God has in mind for you?  I think tomorrow I’ll confess here what I’ve been waiting for that God didn’t have in mind and about how now I have a new freedom for letting it go.

Philippians 3:20-21

New King James Version (NKJV)

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

You Can’t Tell Me This Isn’t Amazing

17 Mar

The conversation I’ve been having almost every morning for a while :

“Good morning, Lord.  Thank You for this day.  May You be glorified in the earth today.  Help me, Lord.  I need You.  Amen.”

(Didn’t listen to hear God said anything, though I would usually read at least one scripture.)

This morning represented a change.  This morning I really prayed and really listened.  And the whole day was very different.  Prayer really changes things!  I mean, I remained poised, loving, and confident throughout the day; but the change was deeper than that.  My insides had unshakeable joy and peace.

Here are the miraculous parts of the day:

  •  I took the kids to the park.  And the Good Lord knows that what I wish for Logan more than anything is some healthy play time with a man, a father figure.  And a man was there with his toddler and had this game where a nerf-like torpedo shoots up into the air, and Logan and 3 boys his age would try to catch it.  Logan played for a long time, and the man was really funny and completely non-creepy, I observed from a polite distance.
  • A person my heart needed to see a change in demonstrated tremendous change and even shared about an answer to prayer in her life today.

  • I found out that another person is going to help us pack up for our move (a person much younger, spryer than me and without osteoarthritis in her hands).  The reason this miracle can probably be counted now is because she doesn’t have a car — my daughter often gives her rides and will pick her up — and the person she’s helping is her boss (my daughter).  

My favorite miracle of grace:

            At the end of the day, I read a favorite devotional and got a huge affirmation from God.  Like a husband who hugs you and says, “You did good, honey.”  The March 16 entry from Streams in the Desert* was God’s arm around me and the words that He whispered in my heart. (*as shown below and as posted on 3/16/12 at this website:  Grace in the Morning.)

Seriously, you can’t tell me that the proof of God poured onto the earth, even in a single heart, isn’t amazing.

 

March 16

Grace in the Morning

“Come up in the morning . . . and present thyself unto me in the top of the mount” (Exod. 34:2).

The morning is the time fixed for my meeting the Lord. The very word morning is as a cluster of rich grapes. Let us crush them, and drink the sacred wine. In the morning! Then God means me to be at my best in strength and hope. I have not to climb in my weakness. In the night I have buried yesterday’s fatigue, and in the morning take a new lease of energy. Blessed is the day whose morning is sanctified! Successful is the day whose first victory was won in prayer! Holy is the day whose dawn finds thee on the top of the mount!

My Father, I am coming. Nothing on the mean plain shall keep me away from the holy heights. At Thy bidding I come, so Thou wilt meet me. Morning on the mount! It will make me strong and glad all the rest of the day so well begun.
–Joseph Parker.

***

Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.
Alone with Thee, amid the mystic shadows,
The solemn hush of nature newly born;
Alone with Thee in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn.

As in the dawning o’er the waveless ocean,
The image of the morning-star doth rest,
So in this stillness, Thou beholdest only
Thine image in the waters of my breast.
When sinks the soul, subdued by toil, to slumber,
Its closing eyes look up to Thee in prayer;
Sweet the repose, beneath Thy wings o’er shadowing,
But sweeter still to wake and find Thee there.
–Harriet Beecher Stowe

***

My mother’s habit was every day, immediately after breakfast, to withdraw for an hour to her own room, and to spend that hour in reading the Bible, in meditation and prayer. From that hour, as from a pure fountain, she drew the strength and sweetness which enabled her to fulfill all her duties, and to remain unruffled by the worries and pettinesses which are so often the trial of narrow neighborhoods. As I think of her life, and all it had to bear, I see the absolute triumph of Christian grace in the lovely ideal of a Christian lady. I never saw her temper disturbed; I never heard her speak one word of anger, of calumny, or of idle gossip; I never observed in her any sign of a single sentiment unbecoming to a soul which had drunk of the river of the water of life, and which had fed upon manna in the barren wilderness.
–Farrar

***

Give God the blossom of the day. Do not put Him off with faded leaves.

I Got Squeezed and Guess What Came Out

13 Mar

Last night I barely slept, a normal result of overdoing it physically, which I did the day before.  So today was tough because I’ve always been a person who needs those minimum hours of sleep.

This evening I made a “quick” run to the store without having said a prayer for hours.  The person in front of me at Kroger wasn’t buying anything except stamps and yet it took about 7 minutes for him to get finished up.  The pressure of my yucky day and of wanting to hurry out of there so I could get home and catch up on work that I got behind on had a squeezing effect, and what came out of me was, sadly, not pretty.

I used all of that impatient body language that sends a clear grocery store line message, “I’m not happy with how slow this line is moving!”  For a punctuation effect, I did finally pray, saying aloud softly but with tension, “God, help me.”  (Yes, I realize that I looked like a crazy woman.  At least I was polite when it was my turn!)

No one has influenced my spiritual growth more than Joyce Meyer (but don’t let my bad behavior be a reflection on her).  She taught me that when you’re impatient with people, you’re failing to demonstrate the love of Christ.  (She learned this the hard way, too.)  So I didn’t allow the fruits of the Spirit to flow out of me in my brief encounter with society today.

I was thinking about this as I drove off toward home with my “YS 2 God” license plates.  And you wonder why Christianity has a bad name?  Well, it’s not all my fault – just partly.

Although I sometimes seem like a hopeless case, I’m not going to give up on my goal of allowing God to shape my character so that I’m a better reflection of Him.  After all, it’s not like I’m trying to get to the good character buried inside of me.  Instead, it’s getting me out of the way so that Christ can shine through that makes the dream happen.

By the way, it’s comforting to know that God’s not disappointed that ugly stuff comes out of me sometimes when I’m squeezed.  He doesn’t love me any less; Jesus already knew it before He died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins.  And He died for me anyway.  (The ultimate squeeze.)

Francis of Assissi, Tim Tebow, and Me?

9 Mar

‘We need a modern day Francis of Assissi!’ is all I could think about when I learned what an amazing witness for Christ he was.  This world-changer born around 1181 was a scoundrel turned servant of Christ.  He not only gave up great wealth in devotion to Jesus, he had a mysteriously powerful way with animals.  He exuded love and faith.  I could go on and on.

Enter a modern day witness named Tim Tebow.  I was slow in learning about him – just discovered the great witness for Jesus that he is during the NFL football playoffs in 2011.  He’s been impacting the world for a while.  He is a missionary, NFL quarterback, and he sponsors disadvantaged kids as guests to every football game.

You’ve probably heard of Tim Tebow.  After all, “Tebowing” is about as famous as “planking.”

I’m not going to put Tim Tebow on a huge pedestal because he’s only human, but I’m so very excited about the impact he is making on our world as a witness for Jesus.  He’s humble and has a sense of humor.

What I really think is that I, too, am supposed to make a significant impact on the world by behaving like Jesus.  Tebow stands out because he’s doing it right.  Although I’m striving to overcome my failures, in my corner of the world I lack the passion for life that would motivate me to eat right and exercise.  (Though I have decided to buy a bicycle and take up the hobby with the kids – and I’m extremely excited about that.)

Raising children is one of the greatest callings in life, I believe.  Am I really doing all that I can to train up the children in the way they should go, under the nurture and admonition of the Lord?  No, okay?  I admit that I’m not.  But Tebow encourages me to believe that I can make the needed change, with the help of God’s grace that’s already available to me every day.  The beauty that is Francis of Assissi can be the beauty that is me – because Jesus is the source.

I believe that God is helping me to be for him what I long to be.

She Cut Her Eyes At Me, And Now I’m Over It

8 Mar

I will now confess that I have dropped off the roll of every church I formerly attended.  Why?  I got offended, okay?  I admit it.  While I love the Lord and worship Him in my heart every day, I’ve found it so so difficult to again face the cold environment that I find in churches ever since I got divorced.  It seems that loving the Lord isn’t what church members are looking for when they decide to welcome you with open arms or turn a cold shoulder.

Are you also among the ranks of people who have stopped going to church because of offense?  I know I’m not alone.  Whether a rude woman cut her eyes at you or teachers were less than welcoming to your children – which I experienced at the last church I attended – it’s all too common for Christians to stray from the flock.

You know as well as I do that straying from the church does not necessarily lead to straying from God.  However, as I was reminded in a beautiful article yesterday (if I can find it again, I’ll add the link) that it really is important to have a church home.  I’ve been praying almost daily for guidance about where to attend church, but I felt no sense of direction.

Then yesterday happened.  Joyce Meyer Ministries had a huge prayer day in which their worldwide ministry read out loud and prayed for all of the prayer requests they received.  I told them about my church dilemma.  Let me tell you, Joyce Meyer has been a catalyst for the outpouring of God’s blessings in my life on numerous occasions, and yesterday was one of them.  All the matters I’d asked for prayer about saw an answer yesterday!

And I realized that I know where to attend church!  The answer was right in front of me all along, but somehow I didn’t see.  There’s a ministry that focuses on prayer, and it’s not a big “country club” environment in which church seems more like a social event than a worshipful occasion.  So the kids and I are going to drive less than 10 miles every Saturday night and join with other Christians to worship the Lord and to pray.  Since this direction is definitely a result of prayers and inspiration, I’ve decided that I will stick with this ministry, even if someone or even several people give me the brush-off.