When Your Beautiful Day Turns Suddenly Gray!

What a season I’ve had.
It’s been so busy but beautiful!

I launched a discipleship system called Journey to Trust to come
alongside women and guide them into a deeper relationship with
God and it’s going great!

I’ve had lots of speaking engagements and God
gave me inspired messages to share.  I prayed and laughed and
cried with women in cities all over the midwest.

It’s been wonderful.

Have you had a season like that, busy but beautiful?
Maybe God has moved or whispered or have you had a break through.
It makes you think he must love you more than most.  🙂 

Right after Elijah has one of the biggest God-moments in the Bible,
we find him hiding in a cave, fearing for his life (see 1 Kings 19:1-9).

What?

Don’t judge. That happens to me.  A lot.
I have an encounter with God at an event.
I experience God’s presence and pleasure in worship.
I pray with a woman and she is set free!
I have a conversation with an event planner that’s a perfect fit for my talks.
My hair turned out perfectly.  (remember, don’t judge)
Life is so good!

Then I get slammed! 

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What Does Mother’s Day Stir Up For You?


Do I say, “Happy Mother’s Day!” or is
“I’m sorry this day is on the calendar,” more appropriate?

Time has mitigated the intense pain of my mom’s death
but Mother’s Day is a sharp reminder of her earthly departure.
I miss her touch, her laugh, the smell of her perfume and
the way her hands enhanced every conversation. 

She never cooked or gardened or scrap-booked,
but she taught me how to solve problems,
contend for big dreams, and be kind to others.

She was my lifeline when I was discouraged and
my anchor when I was successful. 

She held me close when I was small and
she let me go when I was grown.

Now that she is gone, the very presence of her absence
is a constant reminder of how much I miss my mom.

Everywhere you turn, there are reminders of Mother’s Day.

Maybe your family makes a big production out of Mother’s Day.
There will be cards and chocolates and bouquets.
Your day will be full of people swapping stories, laughing and hugging. 

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Old Memories and New Legacies

What do you do with old memories? 
Turn them into new legacies!

I have outlived my mom by 27 days.
I don’t mean my mom died 27 days ago.
I mean she died when she was 61 years, 5 months and 16 days old.
I have eclipsed her life span.

In thinking about her,
remembering all the accomplishments she achieved
and all the people she served so well in her tenure as an educator,
one of the questions rattling around my brain is
how will I be remembered?

I know, I know,
61 is hardly considered old anymore.

However, I have more years BEHIND me than AHEAD of me.
Now more than ever, I want to make them count.

Time is whizzing by.

It seems like just yesterday that I was chasing children,
frantically trying to get places on time.
I was consumed with feeding, watering, and caring for other people.

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Do You Wonder If God Sees You?

Are you in a season of wondering if God cares about you or even sees you?
Do you think he led you into a wilderness and forgot where he left you?

Whenever I launch a new series of talks, a service, or book, I have a moment or two when it feels like I might have misread the signals God sent. That I am all alone and forgotten. That I will die in the wilderness.

Then God shows up in some extravagant way to reassure me that I am not forgotten at all.

When Almida said she had a present for me, I was giddy with excitement.

Almida is an interesting woman. Her wisdom, life experiences and prayers have been my life line for decades. Russian by birth, she escaped the Nazis by walking across Europe only to live in a refuge camp for months before getting a sponsor in the US. She made a living as a tailor until she married an entrepreneur who made a boatload of money as a building developer. Her husband, Willy, died at 41 in a plane crash leaving her devastated. Her grief was compounded when Willy’s business partner bankrupted the business, essentially depleting her resources and retirement.

She’s adjusted to life’s exciting twists and unpleasant turns by trusting God with an unwavering faith.

Almida is now 86, and resides in an assisted living facility. The pain in her hip is her constant companion, making an outing to any store a major ordeal. She’s frugal by necessity and was never a big believer in “good behavior” gifts. It wasn’t my birthday and Christmas was long gone, so I couldn’t imagine what gift she might have for me.

A piece of advice?
A photo of us?
A prayer? 

“What do you mean, you have a present for me, Almida?” I asked.

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Eat dessert first!

You’ve seen the tee shirts, right?
Life is short.
Eat dessert first. 

I am all about dessert first. If there are no children around to corrupt, it’s always dessert first for me.  I can doggy bag a sandwich or chicken breast, but that dessert will never taste as good coming out of a takeout box as it does on the plate in the restaurant.

The whole idea of dessert first is to go after the good stuff first. If you’re intention is to get it at the end of your meal, eat when it will taste the best.

The same can be said for the things we want in life.
Go after them now. Don’t wait till the end!

My mother-in-law was just days away from retiring. Just days away from the trip of a lifetime to Hawaii with her hubz. Just days away from realizing all the things she’d waited for until the timing was perfect.
When the kids were grown.
When the house was paid for.
When the career was a wrap.

Then, poof, her man died of a heart attack.

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How to Escape Your Impossible Situation

Have you ever gotten yourself into such a mess that escaping the situation seemed impossible?  I sure have, more times than I can count.

If you have, too, I bet you’ll relate to this story. 

After an event where I was speaking, Eliza* approached me with a simple request for prayer to feel God’s love again. She had gotten into something she wasn’t proud of and her shame was heavy.

I asked if she’d confessed this issue of ugliness to God. She had, but the shame remained and the temptation to return to her junk was strong.

We prayed for her to experience the love of God. When we finished praying, I asked how she felt. “I have peace,” she replied.

“Peace is good, but you didn’t come for peace,” I reminded her. “You came to feel the love of God. To be free of the shame and truly know God loves you, right?” She nodded weakly.

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Sin Is Delicious … and Addictive

Sin is delicious. I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

I work with so many women who get caught up in things they never dreamed would hook them.

Prescription drugs. 
Alcohol.
Lies and deceptions. 

Overspending and debt.
Co-dependancy.
Pornography.
Abusive relationships. 

When I met with *Carolyn, she couldn’t even look up at me, but finally, she took a deep breath and started.

“I’m having an affair with a married man. We met at work and over the course of conversation and cocktails and compliments, I found myself taken in by him. At first, it was just so nice to be noticed. Not just for the way I look but for my brain and my ideas. He listened to my dreams and my problems. He helped me get promoted.

Now here I am. Three years into a relationship with a married man who will never divorce his wife. Hiding the truth from my family and friends, swallowing the pain and guilt, pretending everything is great. I’ve tried to break it off, but I keep going back.”

 

I stared at her. Why would a beautiful, educated woman get into this mess?
Because sin is delicious.

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Follow Directions To Get The Results You Want!

 

Are you an improvisor or do you follow directions to a “T”?
I lean toward following the directions just because I’ve had so many failed improvisations.

Like the time my party host said, “Just bring one of your fabulous desserts.”
I flipped through my favorite recipes and decided on applesauce spice cake.
Feeling adventurous, I substituted stewed prunes for half the applesauce.

Girls! Bad plan.

I mixed and stirred and smashed and whisked, but those darn prune skins held together in my batter like little black footballs.

I should have followed the directions.

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Goodness, God! What are you up to?

God’s faithfulness doesn’t always look like I think it should.

There have been many times that I looked to the heavens and asked,
Goodness, God! What are you up to? 
Can you relate?

 
Like you, I’ve had several callings or commissionings from God.
He called me to be his own.
Hurrah!
He called me to be a wife and a mom.
Hurrah, hurrah!
He called me into workplace.
Ok! Hurrah!
 He called me into full time ministry.
Yahooooo! Hurrah!
 
Even when faced with obstacles and obstructions,
I trusted those callings were from God. 
 
But … Though I am confident of the calling,
I still run into road blocks and detours.
I have to remind myself of God’s faithfulness.
 
The journey to trust God never ends.
 
Like all journeys, some parts are smooth and easy and

other parts or rocky and hard. 

Do you need a reminder that God is worthy of your trust?
 
Look no further than your Bible.
Noah was called to build an arc to escape the coming flood.
He trusted God for 120 years.
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Are You Confused About Prayer?

I was very confused about prayer when I first started to follow Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knew that I was supposed to pray but I wasn’t sure how … or even to whom I should address my prayer. I knew there were three persons of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but I wondered Which one do I pray to? I sure didn’t want to offend one person of God or bring down God’s wrath on myself for doing it wrong!

How could I get the answers I needed?

I was in a small Bible study group with some pillars of our church. When they prayed it sounded like they were reading from a hymnal! I wanted to pray like they did! However, I didn’t want anyone to know how ignorant I was! 

In the end, I had to ask for help. I screwed up my courage and asked the oldest and grayest of them to teach me about prayer.

She explained, “What one person of God knows, they all know. It doesn’t matter which person of God you address your prayers to.”

She suggested I start with a memorized prayer like the one in Matthew 6. I still pray the Lord’s prayer frequently, but since then I also developed a prayer model to help me keep my prayers fresh and fervent.

I call it the T.R.U.S.T. Prayer Model.

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