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Write the Vision

I have given you this gift and it is your way of connecting with me and the world. Don’t worry about the critics and those that don’t understand you. Write what is on your heart. It is beautiful to Me. Don’t try to impress with your writing. You will move mountains if you let me take control of it. You will speak and preach but it will be based on your writing and something I give you. Come to me often and let’s get this started and flowing again. I never wanted you to give up writing. Stop being afraid of people knowing you and your heart. Your heart is beautiful to me. Stop bringing books into the prayer room. Just bring yourself, My Word, paper, pen and prayer shawl. Start writing and I will give you and show you My heart and your ministry.

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I was just in Sam’s Club earlier this week and a man that I used to go to church with came up to me and said, “so I heard you were preaching now. Have you quit your job and started your church yet?!?” I said, “I am not trying to start a church. I am only trying to be obedient to the Lord and what He has called me to do.” He responded, “Oh we know what you are doing!” I smiled and gave him a hug. Said goodbye and Merry Christmas and left.

What?!?! Yes the Lord knows my heart, but sometimes I wish people did. I can’t be responsible for what people think or say but I can be responsible for my own stuff. There is a reason why the Bible says to write the vision and make it plain. So here is my vision that evolves daily but most of what you read here is the same you would have read 5 years ago:

I have never said to anyone ever that I wanted to start a church. I do believe in being faithful to the church God has place you in and I believe in supporting the vision of leadership and helping to build that Body of Christ there. Pastors are that leadership. If you aren’t supporting the Pastor(s) of the church you are set in you are in rebellion.

I have said to every pastor that I have had over the last 8 years that I felt called to preach. Some have given me opportunity and some have not but they all have known it. That is okay because it is God’s timing. He can open doors if He is ready. He can close doors as well. I want to preach because one day I was called! I was called in the middle of a Bible study with a group of ladies. It was later confirmed for me by the Lord during a joint Wednesday night Service that our church held at the Cramerton Presbyterian Church. My pastor at the time was teaching and discussing his own mother and her call to preach. I felt something I have never felt before and I can’t even explain it…it was a solid knowing and it was mixed with a while lot of holy fear.

When God puts a call on your life – you know it. I want to preach because of that call and because sometimes the Word burns in my bones and I feel like I might just explode from the inside. Maybe God will have me preach in a jail or on the streets or in the nursing homes. It is a knowing no matter how much or who comes against it…you still know. I felt the same way when I was called to Africa for a season. It hasn’t happened yet but I know someday it will because God spoke it into my spirit and He is not a man that He should lie. I don’t know when or how or all of the whys…I just know I am called to preach.

Preaching however doesn’t necessarily equate to being a pastor although I guess all pastors are called to preach. (Aren’t we all called to do that?) I am not preaching so that one day I can quit my job and make a “profession” of preaching… although many days I would love to retire and just be about other things. I think that and then He uses me right here in my own little world. I only want to serve the Lord. I want to do it His way…not my way, or my friend’s way…Just His. I found during my time of leading Bible studies that I was drawn to the ones that no one else seemed to want around or in their “groups” and they were drawn to me. The peculiar ones. The peculiar ones are very faithful. I believe that on Sundays we hear what the Lord has said to the pastors and I want to have a Bible study again like I once did on Monday or Tuesday because it is then that I want to hear what God has said to the rest of the Body— since He is speaking to all of His sheep. What has He said to you this week?

Just because I am to preach doesn’t mean that I don’t still believe I have a call to prayer ministry. It goes together and I believe in prayer more today than I ever have. There is actually still nothing I want more than to be a part of a community 24/7 prayer room. There are some of those out there but not in my community. Our communities need to be saturated in prayer. I believe all other ministry begins with prayer and ends with lack of it. I feel like God is going to use me in many areas but the Holy Ghost has drawn me to toward three specifics – prayer, healing, knowing the Word. I believe that preaching and teaching are part of discipleship and we are called to make disciples. I am a disciple of Christ and I am being “made” into a disciple by some very anointed Pastors and teachers and I pray one day I will look and sound just like them, not because of them, but because they look and sound and love like Jesus Christ. I can identify with Maria Woodworth-Etter and with Anna of the Bible. There you have it – straight from my pen. My “stuff.” Now you know.

Write the vision and make it plain : )

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Letting Go

Always toward the end of a year I evaluate. What have I learned this year? How have I changed, if at all?

This year I have come to a realization that as hard as I’ve tried to hold on I have lost several relationships and a couple of dreams that were very precious to me. Friends that were once close and likeminded are now acquaintances at best. Oh, I loved them so dearly and felt so invested in their lives. It is sad to know I have to just let go. This year I’ve also had to release a dream and a part of my business that I thought I never would have to see go until I decided it was time to. In this life we all need the graceful gift of good-bye.

Letting go is hard for me and for most of us, whether it’s letting go of a loved one, a dream, an expected outcome, business, etc. Life in this world seems to take people or things from us that we want to keep. I have asked God to help me to learn how to let go of them in my heart, so I won’t continue to feel such a hurt from the loss.

How do you let go of things or people you don’t actually want to give up? For me, I’ve struggled a lot with this. Although, I am introvert by nature, I highly value and am committed to the people in my life, even the ones who are on the fringe are important to me. I didn’t know it, but in my heart I was afraid of losing people and parts of my life. I needed to learn how to face the fear of loss and let go of people or anything else that I was holding onto out of fear.

What God has helped me this year to learn is to pray about it all. Pray about the relationships I lost. Pray about the things I lost. I would say to the Father out loud over each of those, “I let go of …” even before I actually did. I also waited on Him to reveal anything or anyone I was not conscious of that I was holding onto out of fear. As He revealed these people or things, I tried to respond. Sometimes in many tears but also in the most honest and sincere way I knew. Then I would say again to Him, “I let go of …”

As I did this I began to notice a difference in my peace of mind. The fear and feelings of being upset started dissipating. My vision concerning my own life and life around me broadened. The tunnel vision I was plagued with was gone.  I discovered what I thought was hurting and diminishing me was not that at all. That was a delusion. Do I absolutely need this person or thing to validate me, make me secure, happy, etc.? If the answer was yes then I believed a lie and that lie was causing me to fear. Sure, people or things can make us happy and give us a certain level of validation, security or whatever your need may be, but they can’t be the source of it. The Lord Himself is the source. Everything and everyone is a precious resource granted to us. Everything, even relationships, on this earth are the things seen as in 2 Corinthians 4:18: While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

I began to see the privilege God has granted me. I was graced to journey with some awesome people and do some awesome things for a season, but now that part of my life is over and my journey continues. God has given me(us) a future and hope. We are being transformed and the world around us is changing. Just because something or someone was right for me in the past doesn’t mean that is still so.

I also discovered thankfulness plays a role in letting go. One night in the midst of one of my pity parties the Lord showed me what was a sign that said, “Thank You.” I closed my eyes and saw it again. I believe part of letting go is to be thankful for the people and things that made us happy and helped us to learn, grow and become more of our true self.  It’s the acceptance of everything and everyone we have been given, everything and everyone we once had in our lives, but also being thankful for the possibilities and hope and people that lie ahead.

The missionary and martyr, Jim Elliot, summed it up like this, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Corrie Ten Boom’s wisdom is also helpful. “I have held many things in my hand and I have lost them all, but whatever I have placed in God’s hand, that, I still possess.”

This year as I head into 2015 I head in with one of my greatest loss challenges right before me. It will be a time of prayer and fasting for me because surely if God has allowed such He has something much greater in store. I pray I learn to count all loss as dung as in Philippians 3:8: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,