Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Paid In Full

I am very excited to get to finally write this blog. When Dan and I felt led to begin the ministry there was an expense that we knew we had to do. I don’t need to get into specifics, though some of you know, but it was a large amount for us. It was such the large amount we wouldn’t even have the payments on it if we’d financed it. Not that I’m suggesting that, Dan and I are firm believers in living Debt free as much as possible. (Romans 3:8) I could teach on all of this but go read a Dave Ramsey book, and grab ahold of it! The decision to do this or not to do this thing was one we talked about, prayed about, and sought wise council on. I’d be lying to you if I told you the choice was easy. It would have been so easy to run the other direction.

I remember one day jogging and hearing the Lord ask me, “Why are you looking at the giants in the land?” I knew that taking on this faith step was such a big deal to me that like the Israelites I was seriously seeing the money as a giant and contemplating not stepping in places where God wanted me to step.

We did finally take the leap of faith, and I am very excited to say that within the next few days due to several small miracles and some wisdom that debt will be paid in full. Looking back I can see that this act of obedience though was so stretching to me was in fact something God led us to do.

I wanted to give this testimony. I know many of you are thinking why I am being so vague about it. I’m not trying to be vague, but just trying to say that when God leads you to go down paths that may stretch you, make you cry, and are extremely uncomfortable. . . just know He will make a way. He makes a way in the wilderness even when you don’t see it in the natural. We had to step out of the boat, and yes when the waves hit me I had moments of fear, but faith grabbed ahold of me, and picked me up!

Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Keeping Your Eyes on the Goal!

Dan has been reading a book on entrepreneurship and business and in that book the author was talking about making a vision board. He was encouraging people to put on it all those things you are striving towards and believe are your destiny. He encourages people to get specific with ideal salaries, businesses, cars, houses etc. He encourages people to get the board out and study it. To keep it up somewhere where you can see it and be reminded of it. While we know we’re going after a God first, then a God given destiny and not just stuff. What the guy is saying is very Biblical. You need to keep the vision before you, and keep it fresh in your mind. Studies have proven time and time again that the word of God works.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 “2 And the LORD answered me:
“Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.
3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.”

So I did. I googled images and made myself a board. It was amazing as I worked on a collection of dreams and pictures how much I could feel God directing me. It was amazing that once I saw that before me things in my life felt as if they were beginning to click better than I’d seen for a long time.

On Saturday the girls, Dan and myself went miniature golfing. I enjoying going put putting but it’s something I’ve learned to laugh at myself about. I’m not good at golf. I kept hearing Dan tell the girls to keep their eyes on the hole. You know it’s funny but when I started doing this, my game got a little better. It still wasn’t great, but when you keep your eyes on the goal the rest of the stuff just seem to fade in the background.

I want to encourage you all to make your own vision boards. I want to encourage you to get with God and find out His will for your life. I want to encourage you to keep your eyes on Him first and then the goal. You have to know where you’re going. If you see it in front of you, then I promise you things will begin to click.

I was tagged in this video on facebook. When I saw it I cried. I think many of you are in similar places now so watch it and be ministered to like only the Holy Spirit can minister

Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Found My Boots

Several years ago I decided I really wanted a pair of calf length boots. However I didn’t think it would take me so long to find a pair that I liked and would work. Every boot season I would start looking for ones I liked and trying them on, and every season I would end up without a pair. Sure there were several reasons behind this: sometimes price, sometimes my big calves, sometimes I just didn’t see something that made me swoon. What is so funny is that I was so convinced eventually I would find a pair I liked and that fit me right, I even put down to write the blog “I found my boots!” years ago. It was in my blogs that I think about and have in the corner of my head. I wanted a pair and knew I’d eventually find them.

Last week I decided to look at one store I hardly ever go to. I figured its February and just maybe I’ll find something on clearance. As all bargain shoppers go I wanted the perfect pair and I didn’t want to pay much for them. There on the clearance was the most perfect pair ever for only $20. I quickly found that out of 5 pairs left they had my size. I quickly tried them on only to find out that they didn’t fit. Again, my calves were too big and I was going to have to put them back. Maybe it sounds weird to some, but I just felt like I had to try on a size bigger than I’d normally wear. So I did and they were perfect. Sure angels weren’t singing because I found my boots, but I could imagine they were. I love my new boots! They are beautiful.

Many people give up on the things they want because they just get tired of the circumstances. Sure I wrote that I was going to write this blog probably three years ago, and honestly I wondered if I ever would. However today I can. If you are a fan of the works of the writer Donald Miller there is a scene in his book, A Million Miles In a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story Where he talks about kayaking in the middle of a lake and realizing one night when he could no longer see the shore or where he was going. It talks about this is the place in life where people typically give up. It was the place where people start blaming their spouse and the world. His words are so true. It seems to me that few people want to endure anymore. Maybe the story of my boots seems simplistic to some, but I endured and three years later I got the prize.

The Bible is full of scriptures on endurance. God’s pretty big on it. I suppose it’s not always popular to talk about it. But you’re not going to run the fullness of the race of life without it. A Christian Faith Filled life isn’t typically a sprint but more like a marathon. You have to endure to the end even if it’s uncomfortable.

Philippians 3:14 (NIV) I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus

I want to encourage you all to press forward to both the small goals and the big goals in life. You never know when that next sale, destiny, doorway, breakthrough will be around the next corner. He who preservers and endures will get the prize.

Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Is Your Mess God's Fault?

Dan’s been in Canada with his family for the last week, so I’ve been getting glimpses of single parenting here on the home front. My hat is off to all you single parents out there. I’m so glad that Dan will be coming home soon. I don’t know how people do it. Yesterday my youngest, who I refer to as Jr, and I had a bit of a scuffle in the morning. She had to get her clothes out for school, and I discovered that instead of putting her clothes back in the proper drawer like she was supposed to be doing she’d just been randomly shoving them in the drawers without paying attention to what goes where. It’s an issue we’ve had with her on numerous occasions. I’ve organized those drawers and reorganized them. I realize no kid is perfect, but we had to get to school. So I took out every article of clothing in her drawers and put them on her bed. When she got home she had to organize it and put it back into the drawers.

She was looking at me crying as I did this, internally I was getting so upset. I felt horrible. I realize she needed to learn a lesson, but I could tell she was thinking “Why are you being so mean mom?” I wasn’t trying to be mean but to teach her a lesson.

When I went to sit down and spend a few moments with the Lord, I asked him “What could I have done differently?” “Could I have handled that better as a parent?” and “How can she be mad at me for this? This isn’t my fault but her choice?” I felt so internally conflicted about the whole situation.

That’s when I felt the Lord whisper to me, “Now you know how it feels when my children make bad choices and then they blame me for the consequences.” Suddenly it was as if a light bulb went off. I knew God was right. How many times do people do just that. They use their free will do what they want, and then get mad and blame God when things happen. It wasn’t God’s fault just like it wasn’t mine when Jr got in trouble about her clothes. The actions were the result of poor choices.

Free will can sometimes be seen as a tricky thing. Does God have mercy and favor on poor choices. Yes, he does. Later when Jr came home and after I explained to her what I wanted her to do and she again wadded everything in a ball, and again got in trouble, on the third attempt I did come and help her. I knew by this point the task just seemed to overwhelming. But I made her do most the work. She had to learn this lesson. God is often the same way with us. He’ll help us, but He’ll also allow our poor choices to teach us not to make the same mistake again.

Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Don't Shut The....Snap!

The weekend Dan graduated from college has become one of those family stories that I won’t likely live down ever. It’s become one of those stories we sit around after dinner and laugh about over and over again. It was a quite the humorous weekend.

Dan and I were newly married living in an apartment that really was the back end of a house. It wasn’t the best part of town. We had a mutual secured and gated courtyard but that area was rough. There was a porn theatre around the corner. His parents and my parents were coming in town for his graduation. My parents were running late, and I sent my in-laws and Dan onto where he had to be and waited on the steps of a neighbor’s house for mine.

When my parents showed up, my mind was on trying not to miss Dan’s graduation and I accidently left my keys on the steps of the neighbors’ house. I didn’t realize my mistake until we were all going back to our apartment after the graduation. So, we managed to figure it out that we could use Dan’s keys until mine showed up. However the only problem was the next day we had to get Dan’s big mold’s heavy chunky molds out of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and now I didn’t have keys to my car. Being a blessing my parents decided to stay overnight and allow us to use their car the next day, hoping we figured out how to get keys to use mine.

The next day Dan and I braved downtown Pittsburg traffic, got his molds and lugged them through traffic to the car trunk and took them back over the bridge to our apartment. When getting the molds out of the trunk at our apartment, I put my mom’s keys to their car in the trunk. Those molds are big and heavy. I was trying to get them out. Once I got the one I was carrying put it in the apartment, I saw Dan standing over the trunk.

“Don’t shut the ….snap!” He shuts the trunk to my parents’ car. So now we have two cars, and no keys to either of them.

Next my mom gets on the phone to the AAA people so that they can come out and break open her trunk, she’s getting mixed up in trying to explain to them where I live. Finally in exasperation she says, “It’s around the corner from the porn theatre!”

“Oh, our drivers know where that is.” Nice. (Insert Sarcasm Here) Sigh.

AAA comes out and breaks open her car, and while we’re waiting my neighbor comes by. “Hey lady did you leave your keys on my steps yesterday. You know this is not a good neighborhood. You can’t be doing that.” He brings me back my missing keys, and inevitably all worked out.

May my crazy story here be a reminder that life happens sometimes. You have to learn to laugh at yourself in spite of it all. Because “Proverbs 17:22 (NIV) A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Sure the above story is one of those that could have stressed everyone out, and it did at some points, but now it’s just a really funny story. Remember that when you have the opportunity to be stressed. Take a deep breath and laugh.

God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

But We Don't Use That Part!

The other day we were on our way out the door to church and my youngest daughter was reading the Ten Commandments and all of a sudden she piped up and said when she got to #2

“We don’t use that one.”

“What?” I questioned her. I think something’s had gotten a little twisted up in her cute little brain. I tried to understand where she’d gotten the idea we weren’t using the 2nd commandment and didn’t get very far. The best understanding I have come up with is that often when the girls have watched shows we’ve explained maybe certain things a cartoon is doing why we don’t practice it or celebrate it and what the Bible says on the matter. Somewhere she’d gotten the impression she could do that with the Bible too. I explained to her we couldn’t. The Bible wasn’t just some grand buffet that we could pick and choose the parts we wanted to follow and what one didn’t want to. I’m pretty sure she understands it now, though it may warrant for a few more conversations later.

Sadly many people like my daughter mistake that they think they can do that with the Bible. I’m always shocked at what people think they are justified doing because they really want to and then try to justify it by misquoting the word of God.

While my standpoint may not be a popular one here, we can’t just pick and choose what we like and what we don’t like.

Revelation 22:19 (NKJV) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

If I were being completely honest I’ll admit there have been times in my walk with the Lord that either I’ve had issue with something it said or I didn’t understand it. In those cases the answer is quite clear, ask the Lord for revelation on that matter. Seek other scriptures about it, and asking for wise council isn’t a bad idea either. The funny thing is, that every time I have issue like that with something in the Word, God is just setting me up to give me a deeper revelation on the matter. If you will seek it out. He’ll explain it to you.

Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Honoring one of God's Fantastic Super Fabulous Ladies

I had the honor of meeting Rev. Kathy Arbaugh-Patmon in 1995. I was a senior in high school about to embark on one of the most challenging years of my life to date. While I had only been baptized in the Holy Spirit for a small amount of time I was still very involved in my local Lutheran Church. Kathy came in as the new intern for that Lutheran church. She was finishing up her degree from seminary and I suppose you can say I was part of that assignment.

Though Kathy had her own daughter only a few years younger than I, Kathy and I struck up a very unique friendship. I was a bit of a spiritual misfit, that few knew at the time what to do with, and Kathy always believed in the calling and gifting of God on my life. She was sound wisdom in various points of my life. I was there when she graduated from seminary. The day she was ordained I traveled to her first church and sat there. I don’t know of too many Lutheran pastors who would have been open to getting a prophetic word on the day they were ordained but Kathy did. After the service she allowed me to prophesy what God had given me for her into her life, and was open for what God had to say.

Kathy’s first church was the first place I was ever invited to go and preach as a guest speaker. At that point I was finishing up my degree at OSU and she invited me to minister one day from her platform.

When Dan and I went to plan our wedding, Kathy was the one that I wanted to perform the ceremony. To which she did with gusto, and I am forever grateful she was part of that day and the reception three months later.

We have remained friends through various ups and downs in life. She never wavered in her belief that God was up to something big in my life. She was an encourager and prayer warrior. She often posted my blogs in her church bulletins, to where her church knew my name and never realized she actually knew me. Dan and I had prayed with her regarding her health, and given her council. This summer after meeting with her I knew her time on the earth was drawing to a close.

This December she requested I come and preach at her churches again (she had two in the Columbus, OH area). While I laughed and loved the idea of this charismatic coming back to preach in a Lutheran church, it was an honor to do it for her. We knew it was goodbye. I knew it was her final request of me. As I knelt before her and prayed with her, I remember saying to her, “I’m almost jealous. You get to go be with the Father soon.” I was trying to make light of a difficult situation, but she smiled at me and laughed. I had meant what I said. We all knew she was going home and soon she would no longer be in pain.

On Friday morning she went to go be with the Father. I know she is no longer bound to an earthly body that was failing her. I know she’s so much happier. I know she’s joined the great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) Her life was a life well lived for the Gospel. It was an honor to call her friend. It was an honor to know her.

Life is so short. I’ve watched now in the last 3 ½ years as I’ve lost 3 different pastors who have meant so much to me, leave this earth I believe way too soon. I will not focus on the why’s because there are so many things I may never understand. But I choose to focus on the imprint they’ve made on the earth. I choose to focus on living a life that would make them all including my heavenly Father God, proud. I choose to look forward. Please keep her family and church family in your prayers.

Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get Excited!