Getting Away With God: TOYS Linkup and Guest Post by Paula Wiseman

Paula Wiseman is wildly successful. Not because she has a growing blog. Not because she’s written several novels. Not because she’s been published like a millions times. No, Paula is successful because she’s figured out who she is and how God wants to use the unique qualities that He has given her to glorify Him. You MUST check out Paula’s website and browse around. She has been so successful in so many different genres that she will inspire you no matter what track you are on. Best of all, Paul is aware that she is His Bride, and she tells us about a time that He whisked her away on a special getaway.


In 2008, I was at a critical spot in my faith. God and I were wrestling through some major issues. (I suppose, in truth, I was the only one wrestling. He was patiently waiting for me to get it.) I felt like the father in Mark 9:24 who cries out to Jesus in desperation over his demon-possessed son, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” I knew there are gaps in my faith, but I wanted a deep, intimate, intense relationship with God. My husband, Jon, suggested a beach vacation. So I went away with God.

I went alone. No computer, and absolutely nothing I ‘needed’ to work on. Just me, some books I’d been wanting to read, my Bible and my notebook. (And my cell phone- I can’t be totally gadget free).

Sun, sand and ocean- my favorites. I was ready for a Damascus Road experience with God. In fact, I walked out to the beach when I arrived and said, “God, what do You want to tell me?”

It wasn’t quite as dramatic as I envisioned, but no less true. He said two things. (Now when I say ‘God said’, I don’t mean I heard Him with my ears. What I got was a distinct, fresh thought in my mind.) God said, “You are worthy because I chose you.” I’ve got a lot of emotional baggage and struggle with self-worth issues. God knows this about me and He wanted me to understand my worthiness rests with Him, and not me. Because of that, nothing I do or don’t do can change my worth. He imputes that worth to me just as sure as He gives righteousness and salvation.

The second thing came as I watched a mother hold her little boy’s hands, helping him jump over the incoming waves. God said, “I will not stop the waves, but I will never let go of your hand.” He knows that any time I read His word, especially in Psalms, that the descriptions of waves or floods always mean some of this emotional turmoil I battle on occasion. Apparently, the battle will never end this side of heaven, but He will never abandon me, never leave me to fight for myself, never let me be swept under.

I bought a bracelet in a souvenir shop as a reminder. It lasted a few months. So I bought another. It broke too. I’m on my fourth bracelet. The promises, however, remain unbroken. I am worthy because He chose me. He will never let go of my hand.

JourneyTowardsEpiphany

<a href="http://journeytoepiphany.com&#034; target="_blank"><img src="https://journeytoepiphany.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/holy-ground1.jpg&#034; alt="JourneyTowardsEpiphany" width="125" height="125" /></a>

Won’t you join me on Fridays for a new series and linkup called, “Take Off Your Shoes, You’re On Holy Ground!”? Each week a post will be shared about the significance of a place and you will be able to share as well!! Just 1) Write a post about how a place has ministered to you. 2) Add your post to the linkup. 3) Add the button to your post. 4)Visit and encourage your neighbors!

 

Belief Undefined

Believe.
Definition vague.
Ambiguous.
Full of empty, meaningless words.
I’m certain this word once had substance,
but I’m unsure of its current resting place.

I say that I Believe.
but..Do I?
How can I do something which I can not define?
After all, what does it mean,
this “believe”?

Just believe!  A popular slogan demands.
You got to have faith! Even the most ungodly suggests.
Believe Whom?
Have faith in what?
How carelessly we toss around
the very words that save our lives.

Trust.
Have confidence in.

Do I trust You, God?
On rare occasions, perhaps.
Do I have confidence not only in Your ability,
But also in Your yes answer?
…and Your no answer?

There are plenty of days I don’t “feel” like I believe.
or Have faith.
Does belief have a feeling?

Faith without works is dead.
Does faith and belief prove itself in action?
Is it works to think faith can be proved at all?
James didn’t think so.

I move small mountains,
Is this proof that I have faith?
Or is this only evidence of His mercy?
Is it His roar coming from behind this lion cub that I am?
and I am foolish enough to think my ferocity has scared away the enemy.
I bring a cake to a neighbor
because I want her to know Jesus.
Do I know Him?
I make it my determined purpose.
Knowing Him, that is.

Whatever belief, or faith is
I hope that I have it.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for.
I hope for faith. It is the anchor of my soul.
Faith now has substance;
Substance in small mountains,
Moved by His roar, and my trust in Him
as I hide my tear wet face in His mane.
Substance in frosted, sprinkled cupcakes
given to freckled crinkled noses.
I believe.

“I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.” ~C.S. Lewis

Thanks to my new friend Rachel for reminding me of this wonderful quote!

and to Holly Wagner for the inspiration about lions!

Even in Our Darkest Hour, Life. Is. Good. New Glarus Series

If you need to catch up on the New Glarus Series, check out the New Glarus page

Life was not good.  Things didn’t work out for T. and me.  I was never good enough, and his personal choices finally caught up to him.

Where did this leave me?  I was a 29 year old woman, who had never been out on her own, and now I needed to be the sole provider for myself and my 3 year old son, J.  I was, by nature, a helper, a second in command.  My resume consisted of my working at a church, selling retail, working at another church, and selling Mary Kay cosmetics.  I wasn’t exactly a hot commodity on the job market.

My parents helped me to buy a small trailer near the church.  My church family helped me when I was honest enough about my needs.  But…I was cryptic.  For one thing, I wanted to be in control of my own life.  For another, no one likes the person who cloaks their needs in a prayer request.  Our basic food groups were milk, cereal and ramen noodles.

My married friends, with the exception of Steve and Sue, quietly exited my life.  My single friends didn’t have children.  I felt like I fit no where.  There was no one to turn to, except Jesus.

I remember once, when someone dear to me reacted to my pipe dream of making it “big” in Mary Kay.  They wisely answered, “Are you sure?  Because I don’t see you doing that.”  It wasn’t that they thought I couldn’t do it, it was that they knew me better than I knew myself at that moment.  I gave myself out of a business.  After all, who could tell the dear elderly lady that she couldn’t have a lipstick at cost?  I certainly couldn’t.

One day, my pastor called me asking if I would work for the church.  I was relieved.  I was disappointed.  I was grateful.  I adored working at the church.  I had a constant support group loving me toward wholeness.  I was in a positive and warm environment, and I found the work tremendously fulfilling.  But it still wasn’t enough to make ends meet.  Every demon in the county seemed to be whispering, “T. was right.  You can’t do anything right.  You can’t even take care of yourself and J.”

I often found myself flat on my face before God.  In actuality, this was one of the best times in my life.  It was a Wilderness of sorts.  Everyday, I waited on God for manna.  Everday, it came.  Everyday, I asked God why I wasn’t able to make it on my own.  Everyday He answered, “My grace is sufficient.  I don’t want to to make it on your own.  I want you to depend on Me.” Often, I would have to scour the car for loose change to get a gallon of milk or gas, which ever one was most necessary at the time.  But we always had what we needed.  Always.

It was during this time that my parents invited J. and me up to Wisconsin for a much needed trip to New Glarus.  I packed my little man into the backseat of my 1988 Chevy, and slid in through the passenger side since the driver’s side door was broken.  It was a far cry from the Lexus and Porsche that used to be parked in my garage.

“I must be the most proud woman in the world, otherwise why would I need to be humbled so greatly?”  I wondered.

Three hours later, I pulled into my parent’s long black driveway, remembering the horror of Sue’s accident. Shaking the memories away, I pulled J. out of the car, his chubby little arms encircled my neck and his rosy cheek pressed against mine.

Mama knows how to present food like no one else.  She had an alfresco lunch complete with linens and china, waiting for me under the locust tree.  The lacy shadows flickered on the dark green carpet of grass.

“Welcome to your day at the spa!”  She announced.  J. ran to give her a hug, and I collapsed in the chair.  There was cool cucumber salad and homemade macaroni and Wisconsin cheese.  Mozart blasted through the house windows, and J. and Grandma played Zorro with an oversized black scarf and hat.  The comfort of home wrapped around me like a warm blanket just taken out of the dryer.  And even if it was just for the moment.  Life. Was. Good.

For the next installment click here
Linking up with the talented and beautiful Jen.

Blogging Neighborhood Bible Study – The Importance of Words – Genesis 1:1-25

I’ve recently started a ladies’ Bible Study in my neighborhood.  So…I thought, “Maybe we should have a blogging neighborhood Bible Study!”  Won’t you join us each Tuesday?

Reading textGenesis 1:1-25

Meditation Verse: Psalm 19:14 May the words from my mouth and the thoughts from my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my defender.

How in the world do I get that verse from reading about the Creation story, you wonder?  I’m glad you’ve asked!  Genesis 1  is full of clues about the importance of words.  After all, it was because of the power of God’s Word that He was able to create everything from nothing.

Hebrews 11:1-3 (MSG) 1-2The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.  3By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.

Psalms 33:6-9 (GNT) 6 The Lord created the heavens by his command,
the sun, moon, and stars by his spoken word.
7 He gathered all the seas into one place;
he shut up the ocean depths in storerooms.

8 Worship the Lord, all the earth!
Honor him, all peoples of the world!
9 When he spoke, the world was created;
at his command everything appeared.

God’s Word is powerful!  Hebrews 4:12 & 13 (Mess) – God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

Proverbs 18:21 – 21 Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

The question I must ask myself is, “Whose words will I put in my mouth today?  Mine?  The world’s? or God’s?”

The Spoken See-Saw

God spoke His Word.

The world became.

He said.

He saw what He said.

He named it.

And called it good.

Light.  Dark.

Water. Land.

Sun. Moon.

Air. Flora.

Sea creatures.

Land creatures.

By His Word.

Spoken.

He made them.

Made us.

In His image.

Like Him.

Do we dare think we look like Him?

We know we do not think like Him.

His thoughts are higher than ours.

But we can speak like Him.

We can create

with our words.

Or destroy.

Our choice.

We can bring life

or death

by our tongue.

Kind words heal,

Angry words cut.

Patient words encapsule

faith

in the waiting.

We speak.

We see.

What do we see?

Do we see children growing

strong in Him,

with confidence in who He’s made them?

All because of our words of life?

Do we see a man knowing

he is honored

and respected as the high priest

and leader of his home?

Because we’ve chosen His thoughts,

His Words?

May the words of our lips,

and the meditation of our hearts

be acceptable

to You

Our Lord.

What kind of world are you creating with your words today?

Prayer and Practice:  This week ask God to put a watch at the door of your lips (Ps. 141:3) and commit to speak the Word only. Say God’s Words over your life, your family’s life, your home, your health.  Apply your life to God’s Word.   Mark 8:8

 

Linking with lovely Jen at Soli Deo Gloria

 

 

He is Jealous for Me – Oprah’s Dilemma is My Delight

A friend recently tweeted something so simple, and yet so profound. He is jealous for ME. The more I thought about it, the more valuable and precious I felt. God is jealous for ME. He wants my love and attention, time and affection. He wants to KNOW by my actions, by how I spend my money and by how I treat others, that I have His agenda and best interest in mind.  I felt like a young woman being asked on a date by her ideal man.  Instantly, I’d been given flowers, and candy, and jewels and cards filled with sweet words of adoration.  We are called and encouraged to adore Him; He chooses to and desires to adore us.  Not the worshipful kind of adoration, the “I’m so in love with you” adoration.

In the middle of  my romance, I remembered something that made me want to weep.I remembered once hearing Oprah speak about why she is more “open-minded” and “universal” in her Christianity than she used to be. She said that she was at church one day and the pastor taught on God being a jealous God. She realized that this jealous God could never be the god she chose to worship. Because this God was a flawed God. Jealousy, after all is a flaw. It was at this point that she embraced the idea that there were many ways to the Divine.  God held out a gift to her.  The gift of head over heels, crazy love..a passionate love that proved itself through death in order to save her life.  She, at least for the moment, rejected it, for her own idea.

So, the same thought, God being jealous for me, brought me joy and her pain. The idea that God is jealous of things that steal my time from Him makes me want to put on a long flowing skirt and twirl. He cares for ME. He longs for all of my attention, and counts anything that distracts from Him as something He is jealous over. He is the lover of my soul.

Linking with The Wellspring with

 

Lilacs and Goldenrods

I went for a walk yesterday.  It has gotten ridiculously hot, (almost 90 degrees), so walking in the sun isn’t as pleasant as it should be in May. As I was walking, I passed a lilac tree.  I love lilacs.  This is the first house I’ve lived in, in years that didn’t have a lilac bush.  I almost knocked on a neighbor’s door to ask if they would mind sharing their bounty.  Seeing that I haven’t spoken to them since last year when I asked the same question, I thought it best to skip it.  On another day, and perhaps another blog, I’ll have to think about what I can do to show the love of God to my neighbors more regularly.

The whole walk thing reminded me of a Sweetest Day about 14 years ago.  For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about my time as a single mom lately.  I was working full time, and many of the wives at the office were receiving flowers for the holiday.  I remember feeling  a little insignificant because I had no significant other.

My daily tasks required me to run an errand in the afternoon.  The sun was shining and it was a perfect fall day.  I looked out my window at a field of goldenrod, glowing like the sun.  I heard a voice inside say, “Happy Sweetest Day!  I’ve not given you a single bouquet, but instead a whole field of flowers.”

Isn’t He wonderful?

God. Is. Faithful.

So…I was thinking today.  You know the Scripture that says that if you’re faithful in little He’ll make you faithful in much?

Well, I’ve been asking God to show Himself to be real in my life.  I know, I know, “Oh Ye of little faith…” but  I just love God, and want to experience Him.

I had an opportunity today, to experience God on an everyday level.  I couldn’t find something in my house, so I asked God to show me where it was.  Within 3 minutes I found it, (even though I looked for about an hour the day before).  I found myself thanking God for showing Himself to me even in the little things…which got me thinking…when God shows Himself faithful in little things, it’s easier to believe Him for the bigger things.

As a parent, we often say things like, “I’m not asking you to do anything that I don’t do…”  I guess that’s true for God too!  He doesn’t ask us to love others without loving them too.  He doesn’t ask us to forgive others without forgiving them also.  He doesn’t ask us to trust Him with big things, without first trusting Him in little things.  He. is. faithful.

Don’t be afraid to ask Him for little things, it builds faith that He can and will do bigger things!