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Changed Tomorrows

This evening my daughter received a blessing. I watched as she held the phone to one ear and scribbled furiously with her free hand trying to keep up with Grandma’s words. She interviewed Grandma Patti about her life for a school project. As I watched her writing and caught snippets of Mom’s voice on the phone, I knew what life details were being shared, and my eyes welled with tears. Mom poured into my daughter words of life and hope. And I rejoiced.

Annalise now knows how Grandma fell in love with Jesus, and can quote Grandma’s favorite verse, Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path. She also has snippets of Grandma-wisdom to carry with her. Things like, “You can’t change what happened yesterday, but you can make a difference tomorrow.” And one my siblings and I all heard a time or two: “It’s easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble.”

As Annalise shot questions at Grandma and Grandma talked away, I thought of the story in Joshua chapter 4 when God commanded Joshua to have 12 men, one from each tribe of Israel, take a stone from the middle of the Jordan River and set them up as a memorial to what God had done for them. Then when future generations asked what the stones meant, the Israelites were to tell them how God had delivered them into the Promised Land. Annalise’s biography of Grandma’s life will be like a stone along the Jordan River, a reminder of what God has done.

Other verses came to mind as well. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. And Joel 1:3 Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.

If my children do anything with their lives, the thing I desire most for them is that they walk in the ways of Christ and serve Him always. In that quest, they are blessed to have Grandma Patti’s story ringing in their ears;  a story of  broken yesterdays turned into changed tomorrows which will live on in the hearts of granddaughters that love and serve Jesus. Thanks Mom for taking time to love on my girls and pour into them a story of redemption and life-saving grace.

 

 

She Speaks Gems

Last weekend I attended the annual She Speaks Conference put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries in Concord, North Carolina. This conference is for Christian women who are called to write, speak, and / or lead for Christ. I learned so much that my brain is on information overload, but I am confident that God will help me sort it all and give me direction for the plan he has for me.

Sunday I had lunch with a wonderful lady from Virginia (www.confessionsofaformerbeautyqueen.com). We discussed what we had learned, how blessed we were, and how God brought us to She Speaks. She asked me what my next step would be once I got home. I told her, “Get on my knees.” If I am not Spirit-led, then it is all in vain.

Here are a few gems from She Speaks 2012:

*Pray more than you prepare. – Karen Ehman

*Lead from your brokenness. -Karen Ehman

*Live in the hear (yes I mean h-e-a-r) and now. – Renee Swope

*Don’t seek position, position yourself to seek. – Renee Swope

*God is more interested in your full obedience than your total understanding. – Renee Swope

*Is your calling to get a message out or to get a book published? – Glynnis Whitwer

*100% of your fears about writing will probably be realized. – Glynnis Whitwer

*Prayer + Passion = Purpose – Robin Phillips

*God calls you to speak because of you who you are, not in spite of you. – Liz Curtis Higgs

*Eat the fish, but leave the bones. – Lysa TerKeurst

*Instead of putting God first, family second, ministry third, put God in the center then build everything else around him. – Lysa TerKeurst

*To enjoy God’s favor, we must often endure Satan’s fury. – Whitney Capps

*Your story is not the message. The message is God’s Holy Word. – Whitney Capps

*Jesus didn’t use his divinity to protect him from his humanity. – Whitney Capps

I hope that one of these gems touches your heart today. Take it and share it with someone else.

Unlikely Candidate

I know I’ve been absent from my blog for a few months. Life got very busy last spring and I was occupied preparing for this weekend’s women’s retreat for the church I attend. I am speaking for 3 of the sessions.

A few years ago, while at retreat, the Lord spoke to me and told me that one day I’d be speaking to women. Little did I know it would be in that very sanctuary. I kept this to myself for a long time because it’s a bit outlandish, and I was uncertain as to how others would respond. I finally shared with my husband and he confirmed God’s calling. A few months later,  I shared with my mom and her response was positive as well. But my husband and mom were family. Could God really do this thing?

I prayed and told God that I was willing, but he would have to open the doors. Until then, I’d wait. God opened doors for me to occasionally substitute teach at the adult Sunday school class I attend. Although nervous, each time I taught got a little easier.

Last fall I visited with the chairperson of this year’s retreat committee. She told me that they were not going to seek an outside speaker, but were looking for someone within our church who could speak at retreat. My heart rate quickened. Could this be something God would have me do? I didn’t say anything to her about my desire to speak to women, but I went home and prayed. She had shared the theme of this year’s retreat and a few days later, God gave me a passage of scripture and a general idea for a presentation fitting the theme. I asked, “God, is this you? If it is, you’ll have to open this door for me. I am going to wait on you.” Some time later the chairperson called me and asked if I would be willing to speak at retreat. I began to cry and said, “Yes. God has already given me a message.”

So here I am, 8 months later. This weekend I will be the speaker for three sessions at our women’s retreat. This is new ground for me. The preparation, although led by the Holy Spirit, has been difficult. Things didn’t just fly together. I have had to rely on prayer through it all. But I think that’s a good place to be because when it is all said and done, I know that I didn’t do this thing. God did. I’ve struggled with my perception that the women attending will look to be moved and inspired at retreat. I’ve grappled with this and talked to God about it. He gave me this word of encouragement: my job is to just share my story; it’s his job to do the inspiring. He lifted my burden.

I was asked to write a bio for the retreat booklet. I’d not written a speaker bio before so I went to P31 Ministries and checked out some of their speaker bios. I noticed that every woman featured is slender, has picture-perfect hairstyles, dashing outfits, and look so put-together. They speak on a regular basis, are published writers, and leaders in ministry. I am nowhere near where those ladies are. They make a living at what they do. When I awoke this morning, I immediately thought of those women, and I said to the Lord, “Why did you choose me to speak at this retreat? I don’t fit the mold of an inspirational speaker.” God’s response: “That’s exactly why I chose you.”  The more I thought about it, I saw a pattern with God. He chose a shepherd boy to be a king, a fugitive and murderer to be the leader of the Israelites, a persecutor to become a member of the persecuted, and an unknown young teen virgin to be the bearer of a king. I guess God often chooses those who don’t fit the mold.

I would appreciate your prayers for me this weekend. There could be no greater joy in all of this than to be used of God to minister and encourage someone who attends this year’s retreat.

 

 

Carving With the Master

In August of this year, I finally saw one of my dreams come to fruition. An article I wrote was published in P31 Woman magazine. I’ve waited until now to share it because I had to make sure I wasn’t violating any contractual agreements that I have with Proverbs 31 Ministries. You can read the article by clicking on the links below.  If you enjoy this article, you can read more at www.Proverbs31.org. Just click on P31 Woman Magazine link.

Carving with the Master pg. 1          Carving with the Master pg. 2