Passion



Passion is a gritty kind of love, tough and

optimistic enthusiasm that overcomes negativity and inconvenience to make it

through to the end. (10,000 Reasons Overflow)


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Recommended reading... and my 2013 reading list

Since it’s the almost my birthday, also known as New Year’s Day in some parts of the country… a lot of people make resolutions. Part of resolutions is that people start them crazy. Like trying to run a marathon at sprinting speed, and unless you’re a Kenyan, you’re not going to make it. You’re going to drop out about one mile in, if you make it that far.


I’ve been praying about fasting, and what I should do, how I should start… I’ve prayed and decided that I won’t be juice/veggie fasting starting in January. I will be starting in February. I would like to pass on some books I would highly recommend, and I will tell you what I have planned for 2013.


Excerpt that I typed out from
You're Already Amazing in Chapter 10
By Holley Gerth
The first book I’d like to recommend is “You’re Already Amazing” by Holley Gerth. You can get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and probably any store really. I can tell you, this book is so great! It helps you to realize the greatness God has created in and for you! It helps you to overcome lies that the enemy speaks to you or that you speak to yourself.  I typed out so many of these amazing affirmations... they are all over my house :)

Because I love my family, and I love this next book, almost everyone in my family got this one from me this Christmas… 1000 gifts by Ann VosKamp… sooooo good. One way to make sure that you have joy in your life is to be thankful! This book was recommended to me by my friend Jessica! She’s amazing and I was so thankful! You know what’s funny, I had already purchased it on my nook, but I ended up getting it in the audible version so I listen to it on my way to and from work.

I love love love the book The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. This is a fiction book that is so good, I think I read it in a week (which pretty good for me, I’m super busy). It’s told from a dog’s perspective, which I thought would be really weird, but it’s not. There were things that we just don’t see but others see… it’s really good!

Two of my faves that were written by people who are just plain inspiring… The Poor will be glad by Peter Greer & Compelled by Love by Heidi Baker. Read them. You’ll want to change the world (if you already want to change the world, these will make you get your running shoes on to start!)

All that is Bitter and Sweet by Ashley Judd. This one I ordered because I love biographies and I really like Ashley Judd. This book was amazing! I thought it would be about the Judds, but it really is about Ashley’s life and the impact on the world she makes with PSI (Population Services International).

If you are looking for a great daily devotional, I would recommend Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I have this on my Nook, I really enjoyed this devotional and feel like every day when I would read it, Jesus really spoke to me.

I also really like the book Live Loved by Max Lucado, it’s a compilation of a bunch of his books. Knowing you are loved by God gave me such bravery to go and love others.

So… are you wondering what is on my list to read in 2013?

The “do what you can” plan by Holley Gerth. 21 days to making anhttp://youversion.com/y area of your life better. I’m excited about this! This is going to be a good year for me, and I think that I might be reading this one more than once, and working on many areas of my life. (it’s not available until Jan 1, but you can preorder on Amazon and Barnes and Noble)

Greater by Steven Furtick. This one scares the poop out of me! Last time I read a Steven Furtick book (and everyone I know who read Sun Stand Still) fell under spiritual attack. But I’m not afraid of the enemy, he’s a defeated foe.

Praying Circles around your children by Mark Batterson. This one has come highly recommended by many.

I am also doing the Youversion reading plan 5 x 5 x 5. It is 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, 5 ways to dig deeper. I’m pretty excited about this, and it will give me plenty of flexibility to read other books in the bible and to study the bible more.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chosen


I was working today…
I was working on me.
I’ve already read the book “You’re already amazing”, it’s a great book.
Today, I knew I needed to work on somethings about me.
I knew I was up for a battle, and like any beautiful, intelligent, Jesus loving woman, you know that you never go into battle without the proper shoes… and a bunch of also Jesus loving women praying for you.

So I read, and I opened my heart.  And I read, and I spoke, and I prayed, and I listened. 

There was a section I needed to work on…  
What is the lie I’ve believed? (I never feel chosen, I feel like I don't matter)
What is the truth God wants me to believe instead? (I am chosen)
Scripture that shares this truth?

First I am going to tell you a secret about me.  People think I’m so knowledgeable about the bible. And I will tell you… I do know and love the bible, but I’m no pastor… sometimes when I can’t find something but I know a word in the scripture I am trying to find, I use the “search” function on biblegateway.com.  I know… you’re thoughts of me have now just deflated like a balloon that was let go after being filled up.  Well, I’ve always said “it’s important to know where to get the information that you need, because you’ll never know EVERYTHING”. And... never underestimate google :)

So I looked up the word chosen.  Because the truth that God wants me to believe is that I am CHOSEN.

I looked up 2 Thes 2:13-14
13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m not a biblical scholar.  I have no idea of the context of this verse (and don’t go ruining it for me).

I read this verse, and do you see that part where it says “first fruits”.  Yes, FIRST.  Not last on picked on the playground.  FIRST. 

Now, you know that when the last person accepts Christ in the book of life, we all get to go Home.  (and Dear Lord, I’m ready).  Someone has to be last.  Now, God doesn’t love me anymore than He loves that person but He chose me to love Him… and He called me to SHARE in the glory of Jesus.  That means (in my feible little mind) that He trusts me to go make disciples like He says in His word (Matthew 28), and that I know that His love is in me so that I can pour it, spill it, hug it, drill it (as in a well), cook it (people gotta eat you know) all over others so that they will come to know Him.

I was telling my friend Sheila about this revelation I had, and I was crying.  Seriously, doesn’t (if my crazy revelation is true – and you love Jesus too) make you just want to “GO!”.  Let nothing get in your way, you are CHOSEN by the Creator, the Beginning and the End, the Author of Life, to go spread the Gospel, The Good News, the Greatest Story Ever Told, the Love like no other to everyone you know. 

Don’t get me wrong, we will mess up, but He loves us, and forgives us… and He’s in us to keep going, for His glory so that others may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10).

I thank God for those women who prayed for me today.  I am loved.

I am chosen.


(I’m also thankful for cute, water-proof shoes, and a jacket, it was freezing where I was!)

Thoughts on 2012

When I look back on 2012, here are some of my thoughts…


Every year I make the New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. I have learned never to pick a number, because it makes me feel like a failure if I didn’t achieve it (even if it’s two pounds because I think “how hard was two pounds”). I have learned in almost 40 years (yes! I am going to be 40 and I don’t mind saying it!!) that I shouldn’t do things to make myself hate me.

Do you remember last summer? I donated my clothes that were not within one size of what I was currently not wearing. I would look in my closet at my rainbow of sizes and hate myself because I couldn’t believe that I had gained weight. I’ve even eliminated friends who made me feel bad about myself because they would send me pictures of “success stories” in People magazine (who does that?!?) to motivate me. I went to the doctor’s office a month or so ago… and I lost 10 pounds since April. I was like “that’s not that much” but the doctor said “how would you feel if you GAINED 10 pounds?” so true! 10 pound loss is good. Perspective :)

I can say as this year closes, I weigh less than I did last year. That’s good. It might not be 50 pounds, but I lost weight and I have made better choices a little at a time. I know that it can’t be some crazy “throw the baby out with the bath water” changes, they need to be changes that can be kept long term.

There are so many things that making small changes in my life that have paid off! I decided to read the bible in a year. I have always failed at this in the past. I have NEVER finished! I’m happy to report that I will finish! I am actually a couple days behind at this very moment, but I will have it completed by the year’s end! A small change, which was for my benefit! I have learned so many great things that are in the bible, I have even been almost knocked off my chair at moments by the Word of God. It’s been so amazing completing this task. I had even taken on separate challenges with this by reading other books in addition to my “scheduled” reading. It’s been pretty cool to accomplish not just to check the box of completing this task but of how much I’ve learned!

As the year closes, I look back and think that this has been a year well lived, not easy, not always the perfect choices, but I have learned to love myself more, to love others bigger, and to love Jesus greater!

I loved loving...

2 John 1:4-6 4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.




Thursday, December 27, 2012

Endless possibilities for greatness!!

The day kind of got away from me today. I meant to work on the book and my big project but I just didn't get to it. Took Phyllis's car in to be looked at... Holy moly!!! I miss our quality made Toyota!!! A known problem on Phyllis's car because ford did a redesign in the next model year (I did my research). Oh well, we've got the money :) and we are lucky to have good cars!

It's funny how time can get away from us if we are not deliberate in how we spend it. Relationships are like that too. Friendships, romantical kind. We must invest. Spend our resources (time, money, emotions) wisely so they will grow. 

I think so much about the past year and how thankful I am that God pursued me. I think of how much I've learned to depend on Him. How much I've leaned on Him. How thankful I am that He has not nor will He ever give up on me!

Tomorrow is a new day full of endless possibilities for greatness!!! Can't wait to see what God has in store for me!!!  I'll be spending my day with Him!!

Sending love!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ramblings for today!

I hope that you got my little card from yesterday!  Merry Christmas... I loveyou!  HA!  were you thinking "I wonder who that's for?" it was for you :)  You should know that you are loved!

Yesterday was nice, I was thankful to have it be uneventful :)  that's always nice.  Normally I take my tree down Christmas night, but I was tired and just didn't feel like it... and like all chores, they are always there. 

So today, I worked a little, then I took down the tree, cleaned house (it needed it), got the donation pile ready... I always do one last donation before the end of the year, since I am off work it makes it a good time to get it done. 

I also finally got the last of the plastic on the windows, sheesh!  it's about time!  that front window is the worst... I always dread it, that and the one over the kitchen sink!  I don't know why I don't do them first!  Get the worst out of the way!

I am excited to serve at Blessed Hope tomorrow, I made french toast casserole, it soaks up over night, and then I'll bake it up tomorrow!  Excited to serve with Vicki but will miss Lindsay! 

It's so nice to have a clean house... tomorrow I will clean the basement :) getting rid of more stuff! 

I did love the snow that fell today, though it wasn't fabulous driving in it, but I was thankful I could pull my car in the garage :) and my neighbor used his snow blower and did the sidewalk and driveway, and I did all the neighbor's front walk and porches.  Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor

I got a lot of things done (like finally deciding where I wanted my wood carvings from El Salvador and hanging them).  I super love days like today!  I often wish I could work 4 10 hour days so I could always have an extra day to clean, run errands, and just in general take care of life!  I love this time of year, it's nice to be bunkered down, just wish I had someone to snuggle with...  oh well that will come I guess. 

It was a great day!  tomorrow I am going to work on my book stuff tomorrow!  I hope you had a great productive day!

Sending love!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Again... it's all about choices... this time how we think!

It’s a weird thing, when I’m sad, and there doesn’t seem to be a good reason I pray about it. I pray that God will find that hurt in my heart, and that He will work in me and I will trust Him to heal that hurt.


I’ve been crying for 3 days. The reasons, all seem kind of insignificant but they sure do feel like real reasons because it hurts like… hell. Not a place I would ever choose to reside. So I do what I can to make my way out of there.

Yesterday, it was the moment that the things that I said I needed weren’t there (after I was asked what I needed, it didn’t even matter, it all worked out), then… I knocked over a house, I spilled my tea, and I was just having a hard time shaking the feeling that “I don’t matter”. Someone even asked me at church if I got bad news wondering why I was crying, and then she walked away when I said “no, my life is bad news”. I couldn’t decide who I was sadder for, her or me, because she didn’t seem to care, and I actually felt sorry for her. I guess the busy-ness of preparing for the holiday was more important to her in that moment, than the love that comes with that season.  Thankfully, I have some really great friends who rallied around me, hugged me, prayed for me, and in general just let me be a mess, left me truly thankful for my church family.

Today, I read this… while reading… Perhaps the opposite of faith is not doubt. Perhaps the opposite of faith is fear in the book 1000 gifts by Ann Voskamp. I love this book, it was truly a gift when my friend told me about it.

I prayed… what am I afraid of…

I am afraid of being forgotten, or not mattering… It’s something that I have battled for as long as I can remember. I will often walk away before I am left… because then it seems like it was my choice, that I wasn’t forgotten. I know that life is not about me, oh, I know it, but when you come from an “outside” family. Meaning, you’re the one that is not part of the main family. I am part of a great step-family, but a lot of times, I think I’m forgotten. Or my mom’s family, I’m a cousin, not a brother or sister, so I feel like I’m an afterthought. Even if that’s not how any of them treat me, it’s how I sometimes feel.

This year, I had such a great time buying gifts, my gifts all mean something, even if it’s a gift certificate because I tried to get people what they wanted. I gave all the women bracelets from Haiti, I picked out the colors particularly for each person. I feel like that bracelet is a little part of me, something that I believe in, and that each one of us can be a part of something much bigger than ourselves. That in their gift, they are making a difference with their life. I also gave some family members the book “1000 gifts” because it’s so great! The book is so great! I wanted them to be blessed by the book. And the last of one of my favorite gifts… the Metro CD. The songs are amazing, and I don’t know how one could listen to them without being moved by the Heart of God.

In these gifts, I wonder if my family will think that I’ve lost my marbles. I know that not everyone loves Jesus like I do, or at least they don’t show it like I do. But these gifts were thought of, and a part of my heart that I wanted to share.

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

You see, I guess I’m also afraid of not being accepted, that people will think I’m stupid… then they will choose to exclude me… ugh. It's so dumb.

Fear.

Fear is dumb.

It’s not real. God tells us not to fear. Fear is not from God. And while I’ve been spireling into craziness, I put my hand up to the dark voices, and said “just go” to the author of those lies.

The people I am spending the holidays with, love me. Even if they think I’m a crack pot for buying them Jesus gifts, and gifts from Haiti. I am who I am, a lover of the Savior that came for all of us. He is the reason that world stops for a day. No matter the race, religion… stores close, it’s one of the two days a year that people feel like they need to go to church. They know who I am. They know that I know, that I belong to Him.

So I am choosing to BELIEVE that I am loved. I am choosing to BELIEVE that I belong. I choose to believe that I am not forgotten. I choose to believe that they will love the gifts I got them because they know that I thought about them, and they matter to me!

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m choosing to live in hope, joy, love, and peace! And choosing to be sparkly!

He was born so that we may have life!



Merry Christmas!  lovetoyou!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I will love Him, every day, not matter what.

My heart is breaking. It just is.

For a lot of reasons.

I know that people feel bad that I’m crying, and I just can’t talk about it. There are some things that just need to be worked out with me and God. In the tears, I will raise my hands, and praise Him. I will latch on like I’m hanging on the edge of the cliff. I will hold on for dear life. Because I am. I am holding on for my own. I am holding on to His for my own.

Do you know that I am thankful for shopping at Christmas time? Yeah yeah, the reason for the season… blah blah! I LOVE GIVING GIFTS!!!!! I do! It’s one of my love language. I live the verse, it’s better to give than receive. Because I really do love to give more than I love to receive (Acts 20:35).

I hate Christmas carols on the radio. I haven’t listened to any stations that play Christmas music. But I love that my church takes Christmas songs to a new level! I love the songs that I’ve sung in church all my life.

GLLLLOOOORRRRIIIIIAAAAAA!!! In excelis deo!

Oh Come all Ye Faithful! Joyful and Triumphant! Come let us adore Him! Oh come let us adore Him! OH COME LET US ADORE HIM!!! CHRIST THE LORD!!!!!

I can’t help no matter how heartbroken I am to raise my hands to the Christ child! The One sent because of Love. True Love. Maybe I feel lonely, maybe my heart is broken, maybe I’m not an alcoholic but I could find myself in the bottom of a bottle of wine, or to write a note to someone I shouldn’t, but you know what I’ll do? I’ll praise Him. I know that it’s hard but God is here, and He has lead me here, and here I stand saying just as Katie said to me “I love You, every day. No matter what.”

I wonder why it has to be this way. But it doesn’t matter. I love You every day, no matter what.

The days that seem impossible to get through… they are impossible without God. Hour by hour, minute by minute.

When I think that I’ve lived years longer than I ever thought possible. That’s right, I thought I’d be dead by 31. I never thought I’d see the day of my 32nd birthday. If you know me, you know that I am not scared of death, death has lost its sting because of a baby that came that cold winter night, when there was no place for Him, He came. He came for me, He came for you, and He’s apparently not done with me yet. He has things (great things!) for me to do in His name. I have no business being able to be used by God, I am a mess, but thinking back, even in the hardest of times, I have lived an amazing life because He has allowed me to. I’ve seen the world, maybe not the whole world, but I’ve been to Europe (Austria, Hungary, Paris), I’ve been to many places in North America (many states, Mexico), Central America (Haiti, El Salvador), I’ve seen the land of South America (Sao Paulo, Brazil). And you know the greatest moments in my life?



The day when my daughter talked about how she has a relationship with God. The days that I’ve seen her off on mission trips to Colombia. I wasn’t even scared, I was so proud. When I saw the picture of her in Colombia holding a beautiful girl. OR when I’ve seen her dance for The King of Kings.

The days that I’ve seen kids or friends come to Christ. When I’ve seen them break free from the bondage that has held them so tightly.

When I’ve felt the kind of love I never thought I’d feel in my life.

When I’ve experience real life love and grace, in receiving it, so that I could be better at giving it.

I’ve given many a gift, I’ve seen people light up when I’ve given them a gift, but the greatest gift I’ve ever given was to give love to someone who never thought they deserved it. When they thought they were such a mess that no one could ever love them or they would never be forgiven or ever be loved again. And I’ve opened my arms, and hugged them.

I have been through a lot of things in my life, a lot of hard things in my life. But in everything that has happened in my life, God has worked it out, He has shown me love, He has proven over and over why I am not the 4th part of the Trinity. (Romans 8:28)

I will come before Him, even in my heart break, Joyful and triumphant, I will adore Him!

I’ve seen Him work in my life, over and over.

I will love Him, every day, no matter what.

Here I am God, send me. (Isa 6:8)

To whom much is given, much is required. Luke 12:48

Being beautiful

Yesterday I was at one of my favorite places and I got up to go to the bathroom, and as I walked past someone and as usual, I smiled at them (that’s what I try to do), I had just walked past and they said “you’re beautiful”. I actually turned around because I wasn’t really sure what I had heard, and they said it again “you’re beautiful”. It made me smile all the way to the bathroom and I thought to myself “well, there is something you don’t hear everyday”.


I was listening to a podcast today and it was talking about how we have so many titles and if we could pick one a title of all that we have, which one would we prefer. You know what title I’d prefer?

Beautiful

That’s what I’d like my title to be.

I don’t want to be thought of like a super model (because Lord knows that won’t happen). I want to be thought of as beautiful because of the light that shines from me.

I remember when he’d say “you’re pretty”. I wasn’t called pretty much in my life. Cute sometimes, ugly often, and surely I was told I was “too” something many times (and not in a good way), so hearing I was pretty was quite a change. Sometimes I feel cute or pretty but rarely do I feel beautiful.

I want to feel the way that God made me, He made me feel beautiful. He didn’t make me ugly.

Today I was in this really cool antique store, I didn’t necessarily love all the things in the store but it was cool. There was some really neat stuff in the store, there was this amazing long bench that I would love for… I don’t even know where but I loved it! I wish I could have gotten it!

I was walking through the store and happened to look over into a mirror, and I thought, wow, I do feel beautiful! I think a lot of it has to do with that I feel so great while I am in the city. It’s not like I had some fancy outfit on, just normal jeans, barefoot shoes, and a sweater. I had spent the morning with my great friend for breakfast, and then headed off for a toy delivery, and then a cute shop in the city, and I was on my way home when I stopped in that store. I don’t know what it was, I just felt so beautiful. 

That’s what I want to be, I want to be beautiful.  Heart open.  Full of love.  Giving freely.

Just as God created me to be.

Beautiful

Song of Songs 4:7 You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you




Friday, December 21, 2012

Full of love and covered by grace

I woke up this morning a mess!


I’ve pretty much crying all day for one reason or another.

I’ve almost puked more than once, but I said… almost! I’d like to make today lucky day 13!

I’ve cried over heart break, mine and others. I’ve cried over trying to make someone happy but somehow failing miserably.

I’ve cried, lastly, by the overwhelming grace, love, and provision of God.

I was driving past Toys R Us today and seeing how packed it is. I remember… I remember the Christmas’s we had in the past… I remember that the first Christmas Phyllis had, she got one toy from me. A baby doll. That’s right, one baby doll.

I remember so many birthdays for years and years that I used my birthday money to pay for my tabs on my car because I didn't have any other way to pay for them.  I'd actually be stressed out if I got presents for my birthday instead of envelopes because i wasn't sure how I'd pay for them.  It's the liof a young mom. I can remember how hard it was to pay car insurance for one car, however, now I have two cars and a home owner's policy every month, and while I always think "wow that's a lot of money" I soon after think "thank You Jesus for Your provision".  Or how about the time that I literally put $.83 of gas in my car so I could get home and knew that the next day I'd have money to fill it the rest of the way, and now, I fill my tank all the way every time, even when gas was over $4/gallon.   I can remember not having money in January and barely breathing through February because I used November and December’s limited money to pay for Christmas.  And this year, we are so blessed.  All bills got paid, and presents bought, and there are no worries (anyone who thinks they don't have money for tithing, my life is proof that if you give the first of what is His back to Him, there will ALWAYS be enough, a lot of times, extra).

I wonder often what God has planned for me, but today I found myself so thankful as I was praying about toys. And then I felt stupid praying about toys. That is not the reason for the season, and God said (I know it sounds weird that God speaks to me) “people are going to hear about Me because of those toys.”  I might do much, but I do whatever I can. 
 
I feel like sometimes the things I do are so insignificant. I mean I know that God gives us all different gifts and they may seem like they don’t matter, it is when we stop looking at ourselves, I think that is when He does the best work through us. Whatever it is Lord, I’m here, send me. To the ends of the earth, or down the block. I’ll go.

I am so amazed by the grace of God. Just so amazed.

I find myself thinking about how incredibly thankful I am this Christmas. I think about how far in my life God has carried me. I think about how easily God could have said “you’re not good enough for Me” and He would have been correct. But instead He sends His son, as the ultimate sacrifice. To save a world. A condemned world. That I caused. By my sin. And He still loves me.

That just blows me away

Thank You Jesus.  I love You.

1 John 4:8-10 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.



loveyou



Ugly sweaters

I think Ugly Sweaters are dumb.


There I said it.

I do.

I doubt you’ll ever see me in one of those ugly sweater contests or even think about it. Maybe it’s because I try NOT to dress like I look like a mess. Maybe it’s because I was called ugly a lot as a kid… and that’s probably why I never believe anyone when they say I am beautiful (but thank you for those of you who have made me believe that I am beautiful).

No one looks good in those sweaters… Most ugly sweaters are not flattering… and even thin people look a little chunky in them… so it makes me wonder… what on earth… Because most people are always saying “does this make my butt look big” HOPING someone will say yes. (sarcasm)

I have a hard enough time looking presentable… I would never intentionally put on something that is called is labeled as “ugly”.

I just don’t get it. Maybe you can explain it…



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Love is a crazy thing.

I heard on the radio today a song and one of the lines said "I'd rather have one moment with you than two by myself". How true is that?!? Especially of its someone that when you're with them time stands still. I've had that in my life and it's amazing.

I was dreaming about the city. My heart beats a little faster (and not because I'm scared) when I'm in the city.  I love all aspects of it. I love the liveliness of the downtown area, I love those who are in need of love. I love the city and I always have. 

I woke up this morning at 1am thinking about El Salvador and the people there. Mostly the muffins. I thought about their sweet faces and their warm smiles. I remembered how it took time for them to really warm up to me. It was so different than Haiti. In Haiti it was instant hugs from the children, in El Salvador it took time. Like we had to almost earn it. Thank goodness for suckers. Haha! But really try had to feel like we could be trusted.

Isn't it crazy how love grows in our lives. I can't remember the moment I fell in love not the exact moment but I remember being in love. I remember at some point trusting enough to let love be in my life. 

People in our lives are like that. We have to earn the right to be heard in their lives. In order to really trust us, we've got to earn it. We've got to be real and honest in order for them to trust us to love them.  

Love is a crazy thing. 

It's the greatest thing.

I'll never be sorry I loved.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's all about choices

I heard this song for the first time on the way home from Indianapolis, I have no idea how long it’s been around… it was on my daughter’s play list.




I had a fabulous weekend (thanksgiving) but started getting the puke/nervous stomach on my way back. And I remember thinking… this is not my year, it certainly isn’t ending the way I thought it was going to. It still isn’t… but then I remember I am not the fourth part of the Trinity.

This year did not come without it’s challenges, that’s for sure.

The beginning of the year I was in the doctor’s office making sure I wasn’t having a heart attack or a stroke.

Love lost

I changed jobs in June

3 mission trips

Poor choices
2 months of puking because of stress

Unneeded drama

I remember at one point screaming “I didn’t ask for ANY OF THIS!!!!” and just bawling my eyes out. What a mess! I had enough. I remember thinking “no day I had as a non-Christian” was harder than it is right now. And I honestly thought about leaving it all behind. I had days of knowing who God is, knowing He is worthy of all my praise. No matter what. And thinking I’ll raise my hands, but I don’t know if I believe it. I wondered why God had left me. My light was barely smoldering. I had even said “someone stole my light bulb”. I thought during a song called “Not dead” that I was. But I am not the kind of person who gives up. So on my face I went, crawling, reaching, with all my strength to Him. I looked in the mirror and saw a shell of who I was. I smiled, but was sad.

At some point I could have been this verse:

As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly (Proverbs 26:11)

I thought of just scrapping it all. Thankfully I knew enough to send out an Army of Prayer Warriors to intercede on my behalf.

And at some point something broke through. It wasn’t the kind of break through like football players who run through a sheet of paper at a football game. It was at the moment that I said “I believe You when you say And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) I had to change things in my life, and one of the things that had to change was the way I looked at things.



During all the time I was feeling like a giant pile of mess, puking, I never stopped reading His Word, I continued to do the things I had the strength to do, and the things I didn’t have the strength to do, I leaned on Him (But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:9)

Things still are not easy. I still have moments when things are so overwhelming that I have a hard time taking a step. But thankfully those days are fewer and further in between the renewed Joy I have. One thing I did learn was to listen more.

I’ve also learned to give me. I’ve learned to love more. My friend Katie, in the middle of a mess told me this: I love you every day. No matter what. And in those words, I learned to accept grace and love like I never had from a human being and I learned in that very moment how to give it like I never had.

I had the choice to return to the vomit of my old life or return to the Arms of the One who loves me like no one else. Thankful for His forgiveness, mercy, grace, and love.

Luke 15:10-32 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”





Monday, December 17, 2012

Music of my heart

Music can have such a lasting effect on me, even when a song is written for one thing, and I might feel the emotion that the writer meant to portray, however, I can hear a song and I may think of something else. There are always parts of songs that ring true to our hearts even if the whole song doesn’t.


Yesterday I was on 75 coming home from Courage and the song by Adele came on “Sky Fall” I remember the first time I heard the song, I remember thinking, this is the kind of sing that's " I could lose it all, and I’d still be ok. I remember thinking its the kind if song that says "no matter what comes up against me, it’s you and me against… whatever… or whoever". You know those kind of songs that are more of a battle cry but yesterday, when I heard it... It was something different, it was complete contentedness (I don’t think that really a word, but go with me). I was thinking, wow, whatever happens God, if the sky falls, if it crumbles, we will stand tall, face it altogether…

No matter what
You’re here
No matter what I try to hide
You see it
And You love me
You call me closer
The more I pull away
You’re here
You never leave
Whatever happens
The choices I make
You’re here
You love me
I don’t know why
But You’re here
You love me

It seems so simple, and the more He loves me, the more I love Him, the more He pursues me, the more I want to pursue Him. The more I stand by Him.  I feel so content in His love.  I know that no matter what happens, He loves me and never leaves me.

The media and a whole bunch of people have determined that the Mayans have predicted that the world will end on Friday, and I have to tell you that I wouldn’t mind if Jesus came on Monday. I mean, I sure did a lot of planning for Christmas, and just went shopping for Joy to the D! but how fabulous would it be to worship with Jesus face to face on His birthday!! I wouldn’t be sad.

I'm thankful that no matter what, He loves me... and never leaves me.

Matthew 28:20b And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.



Monday Ramblings...

I am starting to feel like I am getting my sparkle back. I spent the weekend doing things I loved.


On Saturday nights I go to church and often serve doing words and then I usually stay for the music portion of worship and then I go home or go and visit with my friends. This week was SOOO good that I actually stayed for all of the second service.

Before that, I had a fabulous day (you can read about it on Saturday’s post). On Sunday I went down to Detroit to Courage church, and as usual, Chilly brought the Word. I found myself dreaming, big dreams of doing great things in the name of Jesus. It was such a vivid daydream, I could smell pancakes cooking, and see the building, and the smiles of God’s people. It was pretty awesome!

I have these bracelets that I took off about two months or so ago, I just couldn’t wear them, it was just too hard, but I believe they will be on my wrist soon. I think one thing that has helped me get my sparkle back is that I live in the moment. Whatever moment I am in. I forget to check the time, I listen more, I find myself praising Him more, even if just in my head, I find myself smiling more. I don’t think about things so much, I don’t deep dive into the things that could go wrong, and plan my escape plan, I just live in the moment. And the tough moments, I seek God. I reach out to Him, and to others.
I see friends who look like shells. Their sparkle seems to be missing too! Christmas is a hard time of year.  Knowing how much better I feel because I have reopened my heart to love, God, others (still no man but that’s ok, God has someone fabulous for me) I wish that I could tell people to live in love, don’t live in fear, don’t be afraid of the things that could happen, live in the love that God has brought you to. Let love lead you. Let nothing get in the way of true love, fear isn’t real. Just love, at all costs. Because God always works it out. He always does. I’m so thankful He has called me to love, and I will never be sorry I loved, even when it hurts. Love is the best!

I am so shocked about how much God loves me, I am so shocked about how He uses me, even in the smallest of things. I love that He has given me such a heart for prayer, it reminds me so much that I cannot do anything without Him, it reminds me that He is control of it all. All of it.

Pastor Chilly asked us what we would should be losers about… what thing should we lose to get closer to Him? I’m praying about losing the dreams that God has given me, to not be afraid to take steps towards making them happen. Being obedient in whatever God calls me to do, to be faithful in the small things that He trusts me to do. He is always faithful. He calls me every day to love people. I will love. When it’s easy, when it’s hard…

Luke 7:36-50
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[c] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
"You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Sunday, December 16, 2012

You must have a dream to have a dream come true!

I dream of a day that I walk up the stairs of an apartment building where I can smell pancakes cooking or I hear some mom yelling at her child, "come on get your clothes on we have to get to church."

I dream of driving up to a building that I drive by now that is empty. That has no windows. Where the wind blows bitterly threw. You know that kind of wind that makes you bury your face into your hand knit scarf.

The current building walls are buckling from the water that has seeped in will be replaced by color and frames of school pictures.

The current floors are peeling up but to would be filled with match box cars and Barbie doll shoes because the peeling lineoleum is replaced by warm carpet.

The empty first floor apartments is replaced by a small store where families can go and get milk or eggs or a cake mix for family birthday party or maybe an apples for school lunches.  A place where the children can stop in and say "hi" and be loved or maybe even a little help with your homework. A place they can come with their awesome report cards and their first time on the honor roll for a big hug and a free candy bar, or encouragement for a "you'll do better next time just come down here when you need help".

I dream of such a place where people learn about Jesus by the way they are loved not by what is preached at them. The children hear the craziest stories in the bible and say "that can be true" but someone shows them the word of God and shows them the Truth.

Maybe you think this dream is silly or won't come true but I think it's God inspired, and I believe it can come true. I believe that while i am faithful in small things, God will be faithful in ALL things!!

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24 NIV)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Our days are filled with love, if that's what we choose

Making ornaments

Making fish faces

 What a great day! I slept in until 8 or something, then I got a bunch of stuff done, then off to get some shopping done… and then my friend picked me up and we celebrated my niece Ava’s birthday! We went to Roma’s for a special day! And then we went to Belle Isle Aquarium for the first time that it’s been re-opened, which seems kind of crazy that this the first time I’ve been there. I was very excited! Maybe even more than them! About 3 of the tanks in, a great gentleman walked up to us and started telling us about all the different fish, and a lot of the history of the Aquarium, the fish. We even ended up getting a special tour of “behind the scenes”. I wonder how that happens. I think that when I love others I have some special beauty that glows from me. Not what I look like but my spirit. And honestly, it was sooo awesome! I love loving.

It was such a different day than the day before.

Lana, Amanda, Ava

Ava, Aunt Margie, & Lana

The past day or so has been rough. I was feeling kind of lonely on Friday morning. A song came on my playlist (Gavin De Graw, Not over you), and I found myself feeling so lonely. I found myself listing all the people I was missing.  It was really hard.  I took that loneliness and just started seeking God. I don’t always know what to do when I feel like that. Maybe I was having a weak moment, maybe God was calling for my heart. I don’t know what it was… but I started just praying. Stay focused Margie, let nothing move you… Keep walking towards to Me Margie… Keep reading My Word. Keep your eyes focused on me.

And then I heard about Conneticut. Ugh. That evil is just… I don’t even know if there is a word to describe it… maybe heart breaking. And I was trying not to cry. But you know me, I don’t do that very well. I asked God what I should do… what can we do in times like that…

We can love. We can love those in our midst. We can remember that there are soooo many that need God’s love. There are some in my midst, that need love. I thought about how I would ever answer God if someone did something like that had been in my midst, and I didn’t love them. How would I answer that?

There have been so many times that in my own loneliness, in my own selfishness I have walked away from an opportunity to love. That breaks my heart. I have to seek forgiveness and repent of that. I have love more.

About a year ago, maybe even longer… God called me to step down from any official ministry. He said “I’ve got some work to do in you”. God has given me quite a few awesome gifts, He is my provider, He is my SAVIOR, but one of the things He did, was that He took away my ministry. And that meant that in order to do what He wanted, I had to be completely in tune with Him. It meant that I had to pray, I had to seek the Names of Him. I had to not just talk to God, but I had to listen. And you know, that’s hard for me sometimes (a lot of times). I had to trust. He would ask me to do some of the craziest things, and I would think “that’s nuts, and they are going to think that I am nuts…” but I was able to be used by God and bless so many others! And the things He did in me, was crazy. I fell more and more in love with Him everyday. It made me a better lover of people.

And so in this time when evil is among us, I need to be in tune with God, I need to be in line with His ways, I need to love Him, so I can listen and love others.

ordering
Romans 12:9-21 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.Do not be conceited.

Lana, Aunt Margie, Ava
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
  


Do something! Go love!!!

I had been wondering... These Facebook posts about people bein heartbroken and disgusted by what happened in Connecticut....

ARE YOU GOING TO DO SOMETHING ???

Why did it happen? How could someone? 

People need Jesus! Are you going to do as He said and go make disciples? It wasn't a question! He didn't say "well if you feel like it" or "if you meet someone and you think it will be easy to swing them over to our side". Nope! He said "go".

I have friends who just went to start a church in Connecticut. And apparently they have the enemy shaking in his boots because he's sent frankenstorm to stop on of their outreaches and now he's sent pure hate. Do you want to do something besides put up a Facebook status? I hope you're praying but I would also encourage you to put your money where your mouth is.
http://www.reachnewhaven.com/partner

Today I saw pictures of a little girl who died of typhoid. It makes me so sad. Children need clean water. It is not something that should be an option. Gradec is raising money to buy land for the orphanage and we are now raising money to make sure the children's immunizations are up to date and typhoid is one of them. Typhoid alone is $54. 19 children. You do the math. It's a lot of money for that one alone. But we know that God will provide. Want to help?
http://www.gradecorphanagehaiti.com/ specify where you would your money designated.

These seem so far away. We must do something in our own backyard too. People in our lives need Jesus. They need to be loved. Kids are are hurt and lost! People need love. We have to do something or the kind of hatred that happened in Connecticut or even worse will happen in our own backyard! This is not the time to lock the doors and retreat because we are scared. This is the time to lean in-reach out to others. Love bigger!

Pray!!!
Listen to where God wants you and what He wants you to do!

Give!!! Present your offerings to God. Money is needed for outreaches and clean water! God takes your offering and He multiplies it! $5, $10, $100! We cannot out give God!!

Love. In addition to giving of our money, we need to give our love! Hug. Smile. Be kind. Forgive. 

Go!be!love!!!

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your  faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,  do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.    Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:3-13 NIV)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ending hatred with love

I can't figure out if I am sad or mad. I really don't know. I do know one thing, the world needs Jesus. 

The world needs me to stop being an ass because I don't get my way or someone makes a mistake. It needs me to be more loving, kinder, grace giving. It needs me to defend those who can't fight for themselves. Using love as the weapon I have. 
I think about how we are so quick to judge and by we I mean me. I tend to be always ready for a fight. I hate that about me. Hurting people hurt people. And so in my own life I will pray for healing that comes only from Jesus even if its hard so that I can love more. So that I can end hatred one person at a time. May it start in my own home and end on the day I pass from this world into eternity.
I heard this morning that God never brings us to storm without first bringing A Word. Doesn't that instantly make you think of John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 NIV). And then they said that He has given us the armor for every battle

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:10-20 NIV)

So if God is in me, He has given me everything I need to win this battle, it's time to go love!! That's the only way we are gonna win! End hatred.

Go get your gear!!!