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My One Word

I have been reading MY ONE WORD by Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen.  On Christmas Eve morning I began reading Chapter 3 ~ Pick Your Word.

I found it very fitting that I at Christmas Eve Mass, God gave me MY ONE WORD.  At first I thought it was DAUGHTER because the opening reading was from Isaiah 62:3:

You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

As I heard that Scripture being read I clearly heard the word DAUGHTER.  However, it must have been the LORD using it to get my attention.   Before the Gospel reading, EMMANUEL was on my heart and mind.  Father Ed’s homily helped me to know for certain.

Father Ed opened his homily asking “what can we do to grow?”  Today is born for us a Savior!  Salvation was born 2000 years ago and again today in 2012.  Salvation lives within us.  Salvation is not a what, it’s a Who.  God is with us – Emmanuel.

Mary and Joseph are the first witnesses of the Who of Salvation.  Salvation was born through Mary and Joseph.  Yet Salvation lives within us now, in this year, Christmas 2012.  This Christmas calls us to live lives that proclaim “God is with us!”  He is with us through caring, merciful, compassion, generosity, and kindness.  We too are giving birth to Salvation through these loving actions.  We see them daily and sometimes we take them for granted, such as a parent tending to a small child, showing compassion.  God among us, transforming us into God’s very presence  for us (being His hands and feet.)

As the Christmas song states “do you see what I see?”  All through the centuries people have been compelled to announce this to others.  Christ is Born! For us a Savior is Born!  We make known that message very clearly by the way we live each day.  Our own priceless gift this Christmas Season and everyday is to bring Christ’s presence to others.    The greatest gift we will ever give to another person – our parents, a child, our lover, our boss, our employer, our neighbors or our friends – is Christ’s presence.  The gift of Christ’s presence also invites us to allow God to live in our lives, to open our hearts to the presence of God within us.

The story of Christmas never grows old.  Perhaps because it tells us of God’s great love of us.  God loves each and every person, with an everlasting love.  Your presence is important to God and everyone!  Believe that!!!  Every one of us are precious!

Father Ed’s homily hit every point I thought of as I was praying for MY ONE WORD.  I want to bring Christ’s presence to others.  i want to be kind, merciful, giving, compassionate.  I want to be those things not only to my family and friends but my co-workers, my boss, my neighbor and the stranger I meet.  I want to be those things not only when I feel good but when I don’t feel like it.  I want others to know God’s absolute, everlasting love through me and my actions.

EMMANUEL ~ GOD IS WITH US!

OneWord2013_Emmanuel

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Blind Spots ~ Guest Post

Meet another one of my lovely and awesome She Speak Sisters, Lee Merrill also known as LeeBird 🙂  I just love the encouragement I get from Lee and her gift of prayer.  Thank you my friend for standing in for me today. 

My middle son is itching for his driver’s license. Every chance he gets, he commandeers the keys to my Mamaw car and adjusts the seat, steering wheel, and mirrors to his personal specifications. Truth be told, he’s turning into a good little driver. He’s careful and considerate of other drivers and doesn’t drive too fast like his big brother does.

The other night, Logan eased into the middle lane of the freeway and asked, “Mom, am I in that car to the right’s blind spot?”

“Hmm, I don’t know, Logan, but it’s always smart to be careful. Just keep an eye out for the cars around you.”

When I drive, I try to be mindful of my blind spots, but I’ve never really thought about being in someone else’s.

Makes me wonder…how often does God shake things up in our relationships to reveal the blind spots.

  • One minute, you’re married for life, and the next, your husband threatens to pack up and leave.
  • A friendship worthy of BFF status suddenly becomes strained, awkward, and downright sad.
  • No matter how hard you’re working, your boss seems suspicious of your every move.
  • The loss of a parent brings out all the ugly in a family dynamic.

What do we do when God sheds light on things about our relationships that need to change?

  • Calloused attitudes, ingrained and ignored
  • Selfish motives, justified as pursuing a dream
  • Gossipy conversations, disguised as venting
  • Kindred spirits, morphed into co-dependency
  • Buried wounds, unhealed and concealed

It all boils down to this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV).

The Lord wants our earthly relationships to reflect the beauty of a vibrant relationship with Him.

For that to happen, our commitment to Him must be priority number one.

God will turn us on our heads and shake out every ounce of pride and selfishness hidden in our pockets.

God will shake the foundation of any earthly relationship competing for the throne of our hearts.

God will do whatever it takes to make us holy.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (I Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV).

Lord, thank you for all the shaking up going on in me. As much as it hurts to deal with heart hurts and relationship woes, I understand the purpose for the pain. I want You to reign in me. I want to crave You like a desert dweller craves a cool drink. I want my relationships to have Your fingerprints all over them. Carry on, Lord. All for Your glory and the good of Your people. AMEN

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 To connect with Lee you can find her at:

Thank you so much Lee, it always amazes me when I can say thank you to God for the pain I am in, knowing it will bring me closer to Him.  Leave Lee a comment thanking her for her thoughts today and her beautiful prayer.  Be sure to check out her Prayer Gifts website.

 

 

 

Wendy Blight Visits…..

I am thrilled to have Wendy Blight stop by for a visit on my blog today.  There are not enough words to describe the special place she holds in my heart.  Her book Hidden Joy literally changed my life.  If you have deep hurts that are causing you to live with bitterness, anger and maybe even hatred in heart, I encourage you to read her book.  Wendy has a special message today:

Veronica, thank you for inviting me to be a guest on your blog today.  But even more, thank you for being such a blessing in my life.  You have a beautiful servant’s heart, and I am so thankful to call you friend.

As I prayed about what to write, the Lord laid on my heart a woman who feels unworthy, unimportant, average, and most of all without purpose. At one time, that woman was me.   What is my purpose God? How could you ever use me?

But as I journeyed with God through some painful years, years I believed would never have any value in my life, He taught me very powerful Truths.

For those of you sitting in the place I just described, this post is for you.  May you never forget God created you with a special purpose.  He says in His Word…

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
~Psalm 139:13-16

God says in Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, 
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.

Sometimes we hear a voice whispering in our ear:  You are unworthy. God could never use you. But Jesus tells us in His Word that words like these have one source and one source only.  They are spoken by the evil one, the one Jesus identified as “the father of lies” in whom there is no truth.  He seeks to steal, kill, and destroy all that is God’s and all that is good.

You, sweet friend, are God’s child.  As His child, you are good.  Satan’s goal is to keep you from believing this and prevent you from being the wonderful creation God created you to be.

Please, please do not listen to him. Instead of believing lies, believe TRUTH from the One Who says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Hear Truth from God’s Word today:

You are LOVED

with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)

You are PRECIOUS and VALUABLE

your name engraved on the palm of His hand. (Isaiah 49:16)

You are WORTHY

for He gave the life of His only Son, Jesus Christ, for you. (John 3:16)

You are FORGIVEN

you need only repent of your sin. (Acts 3:19)

You are REDEEMED

the old is gone and the new has come…in Christ you are a new creation! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

You are SAVED FOR A PURPOSE

one which He specially created for you. (Ephesians 2:10)

Will you believe with me today that God created you for a great PURPOSE…one that only you can fulfill?

If you don’t know that today, promise me you’ll spend time in these verses and ask Your Father in heaven to make them very real to you! As I close this post, I am going to pray for each one of you that God brings here today…pray that this is a day you will have an amazing God moment…where you KNOW that you KNOW He is working in your midst, listening to the cry of your heart. He desires to heal your hurt and bring you back to wholeness.

I am praying for you!

And if you have a story or truth you would like to share on this topic, please leave a comment today.  From the comments left, I will choose a winner to receive a signed copy of my book Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner:  The Transforming Power of God’s Story.

Veronica, thank you again for allowing me to be your guest.  I pray the Lord uses the words He laid on my heart to bless and encourage someone today!

Blessings,

Wendy
www.wendyblight.com

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Thank you so much Wendy for guest posting today.  For all the visitors here today, check back later in the month for a follow-up to this post from me.  God’s timing is always perfect.  At the exact moment that Wendy sent this to me, God had just whispered to me my own special purpose.

Hidden Joy IS life changing, grounded in scripture, written by someone who knows exactly what it means to be fearful and have shattered dreams.  Wendy’s journey to healing shows that God redeem any shattered dream and making it so much more.  I don’t just believe in it, I am living proof, so I too will be giving away a copy of Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner:  The Transforming Power of God’s Story.  Leave a comment for Wendy and she will pick TWO winners to receive a signed book!  Thank you all for visiting today.

An Old Tree Stump

I have some exciting news!!  Welcome to the very first “Fabulous Friday with Cheryl.” Fridays will now feature one of my bestest friends, Cheryl.  We have jumped into some adventures over the last couple of years ~ adventures that have thankfully turned out to be incredibly funny stories even through our own stupidity.  I am so excited that she has joined me on this adventure.  A few words that describe Cheryl.  Generous ~ Kind ~ Loving ~ Caring ~ Laughter ~ A Smile that Lights up a Room ~ Inspirational ~ Beautiful ~ Endearing ~ Jesus’ Light Shining ~ A Friend that Gives Everything.  If you have Cheryl in your life, you have more than a friend, you have a sister forever!  Please help me welcome Cheryl!!!

When I was a little girl, long ago, and needed time to myself, I would walk down past the stinky chicken coop into the garden, through the tall rows of corn and the tomatoes, finally past the potatoes and squash I would go. There it was, just past the hog fence, which was not the most pleasantly smelling place to sit, yet there in a small line of trees was a very large tree stump.  That was my favorite “alone” place.

I would crawl up onto the old stump, and talk to God.  I would cry out to Him “Why is this happening?  Why doesn’t anyone love me?”  I would yell, stomp, scream and cry. As usual I felt as no one heard me.  But then I would hear a voice in my head that would say “Are you done now?”  He would say “My child, I have never left you, I am always here!”  He would then dry my tears and want to see me smile.  He would say “look at those silly pigs playing in the mud!”  I would giggle until it was time to go back to the house.

I really believe that God met me there in the middle of that line of trees on the big old tree stump.  Why as an adult do I not feel free to find a safe place to yell,  scream, cry and ask God “Why?”  It may not be that old tree stump out by the hog pen, but it could be a room, a car or even inside my head.  I don’t allow myself to feel these emotions, in denying them I have hopes of being normal.

But what if it is normal to feel these things? What if it is normal to ask God “WHY?”  His Word tells us to come to Him as little children.  What if we all had an old stump that was waiting for us through the garden right past the fence of the hog pen? What if we took all of our troubles to Him even if it means yelling, screaming and asking “WHY?”  What if we were real with God?  What would happen?

I think I would be much happier with myself, my life and my choices if I were “real” with God.  He is still with me every step of the way.  When I remember that  ~ I smile!  What makes you smile?  Do you have your own version of an old tree stump?

And He said “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven…”  ~ Matthew 18:3

Guest Post ~ Ear Wax and Hard Hearts

I need a break.  I need to spend some serious quiet time with my Father.  I need to refresh myself and listen for that still and quiet Voice.  For the next several weeks you will get to meet many of my friends.  I am excited to introduce you to my friend Holly Solomon Barrett.  Please leave her a comment, thanking her for her willingness to guest post today.  

I’ll admit that I never thought I’d blog about ear wax. But then I never thought God could teach me a lesson using ear wax either.

So a couple of years ago, I had a head cold and ear infection and went back to the doctor for a re-check appointment after finishing my medicines. I felt much better but was still having trouble with my ears being “stopped up” and feeling very pressurized. It’s not uncommon for me to have to have my ears flushed out every year or so due to excess wax. (I know it’s more than you wanted to know…but that part is vital to understanding my thoughts for today!)

No surprise to me, when the doctor looked at my ears again, the right one was plugged up with wax. So we went through the whole procedure of placing drops of a warm softening agent in my ear and then flushing it out over and over again with water. This time the wax was particularly stubborn. Both the doctor and the nurse flushed my ear canal numerous times, checked and re-checked my ear, and finally dug the last piece out with a small instrument.

And by “dug” I mean pried, scraped, and pulled it out! Ouch!

As I lay there with the softening agent dripping into my ear for the second time in one afternoon, I wondered if this is sometimes how my heart appears to God. Small, closed, and stubbornly wrapped around something He wants to remove.

What lengths does He have to go to for me to respond to him? How often does He use the softening agent of scripture to help loosen my heart’s grip and I refuse to listen? Or maybe He allows the Spirit to flush my heart and mind with conviction and I continue to turn a deaf ear. Until finally He uses the circumstances of life as an instrument to pull my heart and mind towards Him.

And still I resist.

But thankfully He doesn’t give up. He doesn’t go away and leave me to my own devices. Like my doctor and nurse, He returns as often as He needs to, reminding me that He loves me still…and so I choose to let go and allow His love and compassion and forgiveness to wash over me.

Relief.

“God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him. When I cleaned up my act, He gave me a fresh start. Indeed, I’ve kept alert to God’s ways; I haven’t taken God for granted. Every day I review the ways He works, I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.” 2 Samuel 22:21-25 (MSG)

©2012 Holly Solomon Barrett

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Holly Solomon Barrett is a daughter of the King, forgiven and freed, and grateful for the opportunity to serve the Father. Holly is crazy about all the women she meets but holds a special place in her heart for the women of Providence Road Church of Christ.  Holly is the Connections Minister at Providence Road Church of Christ where she currently leads G.E.M.S. (Godly, Encouraging, Ministering Sisters), the women’s ministry at PR. In addition, Holly also oversees the community transformation ministries, outreach ministries and adult education ministry at Providence Road.  For more information about Holly and her ministry, please visit her website.

My Thoughts or His Thoughts

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.  ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

Ever thought you knew more than God?  Thought you were smarter than Him?  If you are like me you probably are thinking “Yeah, been there, did that, have the t-shirt.”

Whenever I look back at the confusing moments in my life it’s easy to see He was there all along.  That His plan was so much better than anything I could have dreamed.  Yet each new “moment” causes me to fall back to thinking I know best, saying “Let me show You LORD how to fix it.”  I know how that line of thinking ends.  I get knocked down flat, finally uttering “Ok LORD You are in charge.”

I have entered a season of confusion. I want to fulfill a dream that I have had since I was a little girl.  Only in the last two years have I admitted I had a dream.  One that I believe was placed on my heart from God.  Yet I allow my thoughts of inadequacy, fear and rejection to stop me.  When things don’t go according to my plans, feeling like a failure, I want to give up.

“…and My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

How foolish we are to try to make His plans and purpose for us fit into our ideal box.  How much better would it be to openly embrace His ways, believing He has far better in mind than we could ever imagine.

I want to encourage you today to stand on His word.  When your “moments” take a left turn when you wanted to go right, trust His ways.  Sit back, enjoy the view knowing He will take you further than you ever dreamed.

Dearest LORD I want to boldly proclaim Your word into my life.  Give me wisdom to offer up to You not only my thoughts by my dreams and my future.  When I want to give up remind me of all the marvelous ways You have already spoke into my past and present.  Give me a spirit of joy and peace.  In Jesus’ Name .  Amen!

Do the Work

A dear friend posted the above statement yesterday.  It got me to thinking.  Three little words, how powerful they can be when we trust in Jesus.

As many of you know, I attended She Speaks Conference last week.  Let me give you a short version of the weekend:

  • Day One ~ I was encouraged and excited.  I knew there was a purpose for me attending!
  • Day Two ~ By the time I crawled into bed I had a heavy heart and many tears, with thoughts racing through my mind…
      • Thinking “Is this where God wants me?”
      • “Is this His plan or mine?”
      • “I am not as talented at writing as all these other women!”
  • Day Three ~ I woke up praying the LORD would show me a path.  Trusting He would show up in a huge way.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Whitney Capp’s talk was exactly what I needed.  Through out her talk, I kept hearing:  OBEDIENCE!

Returning home I had an overwhelming spirit of exhaustion.  I couldn’t get my thoughts to slow down long enough to journal.  I was stuck, feeling unworthy to have attended She Speaks!

Then my friend’s post:  Do the Work!  I realized my feelings of confusion and exhaustion were tied to the fact I wasn’t sure if I was up to doing the work required.  Often when we see all the details of a project before us, we get overwhelmed and discouraged, we allow the enemy to wear us down before we even get started.

Today I want to encourage you to be obedient to Jesus and just do the work.  Rely on Him and His Word:

Be firm and steadfast; go to work without fear or discouragement, for the LORD God, my God, is with you.  He will not fail you or abandon you before you have completed all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.  ~1 Chronicles 28:20

What stops you from doing the work?  Will this verse help you complete the work God is calling you to do?  Leave me a comment and share your thoughts.