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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Prep-Phase Day 17, 40 B4 40: Who will you 'offend' today?

(I am praying and fasting on and off for 40 days b4 my 40 B4 40 countdown to my 40th bday. I want to see God move in those last days of my 30's. I'm choosing not to pout, I'm choosing to pour out!)

According to the media, lately, and well for years now, I could have really offended some people this week.

I went with my husband and girls to get my hubby's hair cut. He only has one guy that can deal with that thick mop on his head, Pat.

Pat has been diagnosed with cancer. There is nothing anyone but God can do but pray. It's a done deal in the eyes of doctors. However you would never know it by how he looks on the outside. Tan, fit, trendy clothes and European eye glasses. White teeth and a great personality.

As I sat in the shop waiting, the opposite walked in, "John". John was loud, gruff, super macho with the language to prove it. My hubby got him to talk about his job and he ate it up. My girls and I witnessed a very intense and interesting conversation about motors-peppered with some spicy lingo. (I never say anything when that happens, I just use it as a learning tool later. And a vocabulary builder! ;) We homeschool, everything counts. That's a post for later, maybe.)

I knew absolutely that I was supposed to pray with Pat before we left. I was pretty pumped. Not everyone is like me or has to be, but this is my thing. I'm not shy, at all, ever. (I found out that shyness is actually pride- it still doesn't mean that God made us all the same.) So when we got up to leave I shook Pat's hand but we didn't let go. Our eyes locked and I told him we had been praying for his healing, praying for a miracle but most of all praying for his soul. He thanked me and I asked if I could pray for him now. He agreed!  By this time "John" was in the chair next to me with his bib on ready for a cut. I didn't even think- I just put my hand on his shoulder and said, "John", do you mind if I pray for you, too? Sure! Alrighty then, away we went, to The Throne Room. Petitioning the Father on the men's behalf. My girls and hubby joined in. It was quite the thing. The presence of the Lord was in the barbershop. They both thanked me. Tears.

They were not offended that I had offered to pray, they liked it.

Today we delivered cookies to all of our closest neighbors. What started out being planned as quick drop-offs turned into a major prayer vigil at 2 houses! One of our favorite retired neighbor's wife is in rehab and not recovering, so the girls and I prayed. Not just for her, but for him. The Lord showed up in the foyer. Tears.

He was not offended that I offered to pray, he liked it. 

Then on to a new neighbor I hadn't met yet. As the girls and I were interviewing her and she us, we found out that we both knew who Dave Ramsey was. I gave her our "debt free" testimony and asked her what her plan was. Her eyes lit up. She said that she had been praying about finances. Her Christian friend had said that she felt like our neighbor would get some confirmations today. Our neighbor said she just knew we counted as one of them! She knew she was supposed to continue on with the financial plan to get out of debt. I encouraged her to tithe to a ministry since she had not found a church yet. We prayed and God showed up on the front porch. Tears.

She was not offended that I offered to pray, she liked it. 

People are hurting, they need a touch from God, whether they are a believer or not. You may need a touch from Him.  I'm not hurting at the moment, but I need a touch from God. He created me to need Him, want Him, desire Him. We are all that way by divine design! The best way to get over the dumps of whatever you're walking through is to go 'offend' someone and pray with them. And if you don't feel the time is right, intercede, offer to pump their gas, pull down their trash can on trash day, clean their bathroom. Do the hard stuff.

The more uncomfortable and awkward it is for you, the more they need for you to do it so they feel love.

His love.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins one to another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

They will not be offended that you offer, they will like it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Prep Phase-Day 7: 40 B4 40 ~Are you a Faithful Fairy?

  I have had some amazing things happen in just the first 7 days of my Prep-Phase for my 40 B4 40! If this sounds weird, go here:

The first amazing thing is that I started reading the book Revolution by Y.P. Yohannan (Gospel for Asia) with hubby and it is just killing me of my selfishness, fast! In the first couple of chapters I read how this man from India surrendered his life to the Lord and shortly after, he had a similar anxiety attack about what on earth could he do for the billions of people on earth that needed a Savior. I had to cry and smile at the same time, boy, this was familiar! I can't wait to dive deeper into this life story of one who has given everything to get the gospel to the unreached people groups of Asia. His view of my American opulence is making me pretty sick, but in a good, gut-wrenching way. Heavy stuff and written from a perspective I've never heard. Thank you, Lord, for leading me to this book at this pivotal point in my life.

The second thing that totally ties in with my heart this season is our new Faithful Fairies!
Since I homeschool, I figured that it was imperative (and unavoidable ;)) that I include my girls in my quest to skinny up my reserves of fat, american blessing. A friend found 'Kindness Elves' here:
 and I thought, what a great thing to do! The elves are not mischievous, they are kind and loving!  Another friend thought it was great, too, so she crafted these for us, I named ours 'Faithful Fairies'  and she has 'Candycane Angels' for her girls. They all invite our children to do selfless acts each day until Christmas. It is a nice take on the Elf on the Shelf. Which really looks fun, but for the direction I'm going this season and since we don't do Santa, 'Faithful Fairies' seem a better fit for us.

Here is the letter the Faithful Fairies showed up with this morning:
Good Morning Shea and Claire! 
We are the "faithful fairies". It's so nice to meet you! We are fairy sisters-we just don't have our wings yet! Will you help us earn our wings by serving others this Christmas? We will give you kind suggestions on how to serve and love others.
It's up to you to follow through!
We are here to help you!
How about today we begin our letters to Khushi and Muskhan? (Girls our girls ages that we sponsor through GFA). How fun!
The Faithful Fairies

After much squealing, the girls came up with other things the Fairies could do this week with us. They are thrilled! Thank you so much for making these for us, Kris!!!!!

I'm pretty pumped about all the fun ideas I have for these fairies! I'm thinking I will add a new bible verse to the daily suggestion from the fairies to help us focus on humility at Christmas.

Any ideas for my Faithful Fairies?

What does your family do to keep the gimme's out of Christmas?

Have you read Revolution? If so, what is your take?

Have a Miraculous Monday!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Prep Phase-Day 1: Going nowhere fast? Come with me!

I can't really say I'm going nowhere, I'm definitely going somewhere and that somewhere is straight to 40 in 80 days! But lately, I have felt like I'm going nowhere fast- spiritually. Kind of in a spiritual rut. Is it too early for me to have a mid-life spiritual crisis? I am very happy with my life. I have a great husband and great children. Everything is just, well, great. I feel really spoiled. I feel itchy. I feel like my cup is brimming over with no saucer to catch the excess. I feel fattened up on blessing.  I need a change, not in the direction of my life-I have peace that I'm on the right track, but in the direction of my heart, my spirit. It doesn't have to be huge, but I want it to move me. I want God to move me.

I just got back from a pre-birthday trip to NYC. I loved it. Every time I go I love it more and I see something different that will stick with me forever. This time it was a man on the subway asking for money. He was tattooed with prison ink, announcing he was a felon and couldn't get a job. There was no way to ignore him. He was LOUD and if you've ever ridden the subway in NYC, no one talks, hardly at all. They are all in their own world. I can't blame them. When you are used to seeing 10,000 different people a day, if you said 'Hey there!' to all of them you would never leave the train! He was almost impossible to ignore, yet it was possible. There in my face, this man was laying out his heart and I diverted my eyes and ignored him along with the 50 other people. I thought...he could be lying and just lazy. As he continued his plea, I felt God show up in the train car. My heart got heavier and heavier, my eyes stung as the Holy Spirit spoke so softly to my heart-"It doesn't matter how he got where he is, he is here now and he needs Me." I panicked. I couldn't get off that train fast enough. I raced up the stairs to let the icy air cool my red-hot face and cried out to the Lord, "Oh God! What do I do?! There are millions of desperate people in this one city and billions on this planet and I'm just one girl!" 

 He gently reminded me that He had given me a small plan a few months ago. There was something I could do.

Option 1: I had read Facebook posts from a girl who was turning 30 and every day for 30 days leading up to her birthday someone somewhere did something wonderful for her. Wow! How nice!

Option 2: I also read a blog about a different girl turning 30 and on her birthday she did 30 selfless acts for random people. She hauled her kids and husband all over town in their mini van to drop off goodies, visit the nursing home, hide gift cards at Starbucks in the napkins and pay for the person behind them at Mickey D's.

 Seeing as Option 1 is probably not gonna happen, I picked more of an Option 2. I just think mine is gonna be really different.

So, for the next 40 days before the 40 days before my 40th birthday (got that?) I will be in the prep phase. Praying, fasting, and asking God for direction on how to handle my last 40 days of being 39-my 40 B4 40. I'm so excited I could pop!

 There ARE some things I can do!

I can choose to fast on and off and pray for 40 days in the prep phase for God to reveal His plan for me to give myself away to others instead of selfishly focusing on new wrinkles, lost dreams of the past and disappointments surely to come if no one throws me a big 40 surprise party! ;) Face Forward!

I can choose to open myself up to the Holy Spirit's direction and ask my Father to do what only He can do through me for the 40 straight days before my birthday. Open, listen, hear, act. He may or may not give me a road map. He may or may not give me anything. This could be really interesting, or really boring!

Will you pray for me and with me for the Lord to use me to bring people to Him through creatively blessing them? Would you pray that God gives me grace to be consistent and dedicated in my prayers, fasting and blogging? Would you please pray that I can clearly hear His voice and heart through this and see people through His eyes?

I have NO IDEA what to expect but I do feel like this is a game changer for this season of my life.

Would you like to join me in this challenge? I'm looking for cool stuff to happen even before my 40 day countdown begins on January 12, 2014. I will share periodically what I learn in my devotions during the prep phase and then will try to daily share my experiences during my 40 B4 40.

I'm going somewhere now, baby, come with me!

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.- Jim Elliot

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

No More Burning Bushes Just Hot Feet

I'm all about being free. Nothing stopping me from doing what God is calling me daily to do in my life. Notice  that I didn't say I want my LIFE calling. It is very rare that someone will get a LIFE calling. It is extremely likely that we ALL have a daily calling. I used to beat myself up that maybe I wasn't hearing God about what to do with my life and why in the world I wasn't in "full time ministry" yet and how I messed up hearing His direction and being really disappointed in myself and in my life. Have you ever felt this way? Condemnation equals misery. I wasn't miserable for some hidden sin, I was miserable about how to serve God! Talk about pride.

 My focus has shifted from lifetime direction to daytime direction. I want to hear and know His voice today. Being so selfish makes this an extremely overwhelming task sometimes!

There is a place I can go where direction is clear and where self direction has no place. The Word. God's complete truth. I don't have to question it or compare it or waste time wondering if Adam and Eve had a belly button (this is called distraction).

I want His word to tell me exactly what my "greater call" is and how it should include that I have a right to be selfish, that people owe me love and respect, that I should be honored, that I should get to choose what I do with my time, that I should get all the stuff my little American heart desires, now!

Of course, it gives clear direction to the call on my life and says the complete opposite: My sheep hear my voice (John 10:27), train your children (Proverbs 22:6), train younger women in the faith (Titus 2:4), put others above yourself (Phil 2:3), seek first MY kingdom (Matthew 6:33), do not hold on to worldly possessions (Matthew 6:19) and hardest of all...lay down your life (Matthew 16:24).

 I don't need a burning bush I just need some hot feet! There is a lot to do here and most of it should consume my day. Not in a legalistic way, I'm not earning anything. Salvation was a free gift. I desire to do these things because of that gift. I just use what I do have: today.  If I can painfully push my agenda aside and lay at His feet for a little while, He will direct me, today. When I do this, I am open to hear that still, small voice that renders the possibilities of my day in Him limitless!

Please don't expect a burning bush of direction, there was only one, so no more excuses. We now have the Holy Spirit of God in us to direct us. Expect small, gentle whispers to your heart. Expect amazing things to happen when you obey the whispers. Pray for discernment and the grace (provision and favor) to obey. Even if it means confessing your sin to someone for accountability. Get that sin out of the way so you CAN hear Him. Make that phone call to someone you trust.

Have you ever felt the "urge" to do something and then wimped out because it would be too weird or too much trouble? Or have you ever purposefully distracted yourself so you could ignore it?

When you obey, it takes the lid off of the jar of potential for your day, for your life. Even YOU have the dynamic potential to obey His voice and change the course of eternity in your life and the lives of those around you.

Reveal Your heart to me today Father, have Your way in my life! Give me Your eyes for my day and the lives around me. I surrender to Your direction. Please bless me with quick, hot feet to obey Your whispers. 

Psalm 37:23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in EVERY DETAIL of their lives. NLT

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Taker and The Receiver

We had a close call today. My girls have been sick with a bad cold and my hubby thought the best cure for that was to take them fishing with him to test out one of his new motors.  He asked the girls to stand in the yard and wait for him to back the van out so he could attach the boat. As he backed out, he happen to notice my 5 year old angels' blonde head bobbing in the rear view mirror and hit the brakes just in time. Apparently, she was being chased by a bumble bee and decided the only way to escape was heading straight for the driveway.

When they walked in, they all stared at me quietly while I finished up their PB&J's. I could sense something was wrong and asked. Everyone was quiet, especially Daddy and then everyone started speaking at once. It took me a minute and then my tears came. Then my baby's tears came. She realized what had happened and couldn't quit crying. I told her over and over again how glad I was that she was safe and how God had plans for her. Tears fell down her beautifully soft and pink chubby cheeks as she said she thought I would be so mad at her. I explained that my tears were not of anger, they were actually happy tears that she was in my arms safe. I told her over and over again how much I loved her and how much He loved her.

I visited a friends church today, far from home. On that ride I was praying in the Spirit and the Lord spoke to me and said basically that Satan is a taker, but he cannot take anything from God's children that God has given you: not money, not time, not a house, not a husband, not a car, not a child, not a life. (However, you can choose to give them up). When you belong to the Lord, your life is not taken (even by God), you are received by the Father at His appointed time.

 We will never see His big picture until we get to heaven (maybe) and I certainly have questions about why my friends have lost ones so dear to their hearts and mine. I just know that since the bible is true, He concerns Himself with the very number of the hairs on our heads (Mth 10:30, Luke 12:7), and His thoughts for us outnumber the grains of sand (Ps. 139:17-18), and all of our days are written in His book before one of them comes to be (Ps. 139:16) and nothing can separate us from Him (Romans 8:38-39), then I have no choice but to believe He is who He says He is. That He loves me no matter what happens and this earth is not my home.

I need to refocus, again. This earth is NOT my home. I really sweat the small stuff, sometimes to the point of sin. Fear, worry, regret, discontentment, anxiety, they all get the best of me sometimes. Can my Father really forgive me again for the same sin this 50th time of doing it? Will He really come behind me and put His strong arms under mine and lift me to a standing Yes. Grace. Undeserved. Out of debt. Paid in full. Zero balance. White. Clean. Me. How? Jesus. Blood. His blood never runs dry (1 John 1:7).

I sit here with wet eyelashes so thankful for the little blonde ladybug on the bottom bunk, snoozing without a care in the world and I wonder...will she be able to understand just how much God loves her~so she can truly enjoy her life before she's 37? I hope so and I believe it's His will that I show her how.

Teach me, Father. I'm so hungry to know. Thank you for another opportunity.  Words cannot express how very grateful I am to You.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Swirled Thoughts and a Pure Heart

Thursday night, our Sunday School teacher who we've been filling in for -who is also one of our good friends- was in a terrible wreck. He stopped at a red light and was rear-ended with such force that his truck was shoved 100 yards down the road until it was stopped by a pole. The other drivers' car was stuck up under his truck. The truck bed was mangled and bent toward the sky. He had to be cut out with the Jaws of Life and then Bay flighted to a hospital in Tampa. Miraculously, the only injuries he sustained was a pretty bad concussion and a tiny 1/2 inch cut on his right wrist.

Friends that came to the hospital that night said that his conversation kept looping with the same 5 questions, over and over and over again. From what I understand, with any type of severe head trauma, this looping with short term memory loss is a common part of the healing process. Not only are thoughts swirled around, but the filter sometimes disappears from the mouth, too. Amazingly, some of his statements were,"Is everybody OK?, Did I hurt anybody? Who was in the car with me? I am not a drinker. Would you pray with me?" (or something to that effect). Our teacher had no filter! He only spoke what was in his heart, his spirit.

Jesus says in Luke 6:45, "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."

I would hope something like what he said would come out of my unfiltered mouth if I got a good conk on the head, but it probably wouldn't. I know what I've said sometimes when I've accidentally hit my head on the kitchen cabinet door, and it ain't purdy. Little reminders of my imperfections also remind me that it's not only MY job to clean my heart and keep it clean. It's God's job through the power of the Holy Spirit to convict me to repent and turn from my sin, IF I'm willing to listen.  Sometimes (not all the time) in the midst of a sticky situation, I will ask God to search my heart and reveal my motives so I can truly deal with the problem (usually me!) so he can show me how to walk out the solution without my selfishness in the way. This is hard to do and I'm still learning! It's also hard to walk it out once he's shown you your heart and you actually have to deal with it! But it can be done. It has to be done. In order to have a relationship with him at all, I have to humble myself before him, open my hands to receive his forgiveness and walk in the power of his grace, trusting that through him he will help me make things right again. I ask, he leads, I obey.

Psalm 51:10 Amp.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me."

Once again, Father, I ask that you search my heart and show me if there is anything there that would keep me from you.

If you have prayed this prayer with me in sincerity, chances are, the Lord revealed, rather quickly, something that was hindering your walk with him. This is your cue!

I'm happy to say that our buddy will make a full recovery and has drawn our friends at church closer than ever before as a family. Did I mention that he is the coach of the high school baseball team? He took his entire team with him on a missions trip last summer to the Dominican Republic. His ENTIRE team got saved on that trip along with many others! He is one of God's lights shining in the darkness of forbidden territory.

One of my girls said, "Wow! God must have something really special for him to do now, like be a pastor of a church or something!"
My hubby replied," a baseball coach." :0)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Honor Takes the Form of Disobedience

We do chore packs at my house. It's a little plastic name tag holder that each girl wears with pictures of themselves doing each of their individual chores. As a chore is completed, the picture goes to the back of the pack.

My eldest was dillydallying one morning when she got a reminder from me to begin her chore pack. I got a "yes ma'am" followed by a happy skip out of the room. A couple minutes later, she reappeared with a huge smile and a nice tall glass of cold water to offer me. "Here ya go, Mommy! I wanted to honor you!" Pleased as punch with herself. Wow! That was really thoughtful of a 6 year old. How nice, you might say. Honor equals value. She knows I drink a lot of water and was showing me how much she valued me by bringing me a glass of water, unrequested.

Instead of feeling honored, I actually felt well... dishonored and disobeyed. I had simply asked for obedience. If she had done her chores first, then brought a glass of water, I would have been truly honored. I also could have expressed the joy that comes into my heart when I'm completely obeyed and then honored with a sacrifice on top of it. Now that would have been really wonderful! True honor to a fulfilled parents' heart after complete obedience.

 How many times have I gotten it backward with God? How does he feel when I begin to obey but choose to put if off to do a 'task' or 'work' of legitimate honor for him instead?

I Samuel 15 tells about King Saul. He was told to by God through Samuel to annihilate the Amalekites as punishment for what they did to the Isrealites when they waylaid them as they were coming up from Egypt. He was told not to leave one person alive and kill all the cattle, sheep, camels and donkeys. Saul came really close to completely obeying, however, he spared the Amalekites king, Agag, and the best of the sheep and cattle-everything that was good-in his eyes- he spared. God tells Samuel he is NOT happy with Saul and when Saul returns Samuel has some words with him. Saul explains to Samuel that he DID obey God and even brought back the best to sacrifice to him on the alter at Gilgal. Listen to Samuel's reply in I Sam 15:22,

 “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
   as much as in obeying the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
   and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
   and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
   he has rejected you as king.”

Works are wonderful if they come out of an obedient heart, not instead of an obedient heart.

Oh Lord! Help me to hear you today so I can obey! Give me the grace to see it to completion. I know you bless your children when we obey. How I long to be blessed by you and not by my own works. Fulfillment by my own hand is brief, but fullness in you lasts a lifetime. I feel my heart swell in my chest as I know you are doing a new work in my life. Thank you, Father, for loving me enough to change me. My day is yours...may my obedience honor you.