It Is Well With My soul

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Have you ever been in God’s waiting room? I am in the process of waiting for my new book, The Covenant Keeper to be printed. Because of technical difficulties, it has been a long process. However, that is not the only “waiting” I am doing.

It just seems many things in my life are shifting. I have heard the Lord speak about a new season, a new direction and my heart has said yes to His nudging. This means I have pulled back from some of our usual meetings and am waiting for the new thing.

Waiting…. Waiting… Waiting… Waiting for the new. As one friend put it, “You are in the waiting hall of the Lord. One door has closed and the new door has not opened as yet. And so you wait….”

This morning as I was “waiting on the Lord” I heard him ask me, “Is it well with your soul today?” I stopped for a moment to take inventory. Did I feel peace? Anxiety? Fear? Joy? After checking, I realized that yes, it is well with my soul.

You see, God’s waiting hall is not a place of emptiness where nothing is taking place. It is a place of preparation, of taking off the old clothes of the old season and being ready for the new outfits, the new mantles of the new season. A place to stop, take inventory, and learn to trust Him all over again for the new.

Earlier this week I felt anxiety over several things. I knew I was still in that waiting hall and I wanted out! Yard work to be complete, emails to answer, projects to complete, the book, the ministry, my life. And why were my new flowers dying, for heaven’s sake! I was ready to move forward. Ready for the new door to open. Yet, there was nothing I could do but wait. After venting all of this to my long-suffering husband, I realized the things that caused me to feel the most anxious were the things I could not control. After a few frustrated tears, His peace came and BJ was quite relieved. (BJ did buy me some new ferns to replace the dead flowers.)

 

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THANKS, HONEY!

 

This morning my prayer was, “Father, why was I so anxious earlier this week?”

His answer, “Look at your flower beds.”

That was a strange reply. Then I noted that all of my flower beds had distinct borders. Gently the Lord spoke, “You don’t enjoy flowers that might get outside of the borders. That would feel out of control to you. And neither do you like for circumstances in your life to be out of control, outside of the borders you have created in your heart or mind.” Ouch! I began to see the earlier anxiety had come from situations in which I was not in control. My children’s choices, the publication date of my book, our ministry, and so many other projects. I realized, yet again, that in order to walk in peace I had to learn a new level of trust. This is a lesson I have walked out over and over and over again but one I frequently forget.

Trust. Simple trust in the most trustworthy one of all. My Father.

So in taking inventory this morning, I smiled and said, “Yes, I trust you all over again. You have never failed me and you won’t start now. It is well with my soul.”

Will this next season require swimsuits or snowshoes? I don’t know, but I do know my Father is preparing me for either one as I wait in His waiting hall. Whenever the new door opens it will be the right door, the right time and I will be ready. Yes, “It is well with my soul.”

 

Trust. No Borders. My Next Room?

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Spring!

The first thing the Lord did when He created man was to place him in a garden. So many times Jesus spoke of farmers, crops, and flowers. One of my favorite scriptures is from Matt. 6: 28-29“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

 

I have been quite busy working in my garden and loving every minute. There is something about digging in the dirt that brings fulfillment to my heart and fullness to my soul. Psalm 23 that states, “He restores my soul.” For me, one of the best ways for my soul to be restored is to have dirt under my fingernails. Last year was such a busy year for us and by the end of 2017 I was quite burned out. I seemed to have lost the joy of everyday life. Talk about a dry spell. So the Lord in His mercy has had me to pull way back on many things, re-evaluate everything I was doing in ministry and just rest. No, not sleeping, but finding rest for my soul.

How would the Lord restore my soul? My body was fine. My spirit seemed to be in touch with the Holy Spirit. But my soul? Dry, tired, no joy and even a feeling of sadness. I needed restoration.

Matt. 11:28-30. Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

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I began to ask, “Lord, how do I walk with you, how do you do it?” I thought I needed to be at every meeting, in touch with every person I knew, take care of all the problems of my children (ouch!) and the list goes on! Talk about two big issues.

Number one: Who is in control? I quickly discovered it was not me!

Number two: I had a big case of FOMO-Fear Of Missing Out!!!

As I surrendered Number One to the Lord and am learning to release others to him and to say “No” to other things, BJ is still traveling to many meetings and prayer assignments. I am staying home, planting flowers, digging in the dirt.

The second one seemed to be a little more difficult. I had a big case of the “what if’s.” What if no one remembers me? What if I miss out on the Big Thing? What if everyone is there…. And no one misses me? You see, we all want to be invited to the party! No one likes to be left out.

And guess what? Most everything, all the meetings, went right along without me just fine. Does that mean I’m done, not important? Not at all. You see I have found peace working in my garden. The Master Gardner is right there with me, enjoying the beauty He created and I help to grow.

When the time comes, if it comes, I will be back out there, going and doing. But my prayer is that I will be wiser than before, I will pray to hear if I am to go or to stay.

If I go, he will direct me, I will walk in joy and fellowship with others and love the busyness of it all, especially the opportunity to teach, share and pray with others.

If He says stay, I will be content to stay, be quiet and be still and KNOW that He is God. You see, that is where my soul will be restored. That is where I will find his rest. That is where I will find Him: In the garden looking, smelling and enjoying the lilies. I will be walking in the unforced rhythms of His grace. In my garden.

 

 

Pioneer!

This morning Billy Joe, and I had such a sweet experience with the Lord. I was reading Dutch Sheet’s new book, The Way Back, which starts with the song, ”Pioneer” by Nancy Honeytree Miller. As we listened to this song several times it touched my heart as deeply today as it did when it was recorded in 1993, and has become the theme song of our ministry over the years.

You see, I married a pioneer.

Pioneer by Nancy Honeytree (click to listen)

About 20 years ago I sat and wept in my driveway. We were comfortable in the church we had planted 15 years earlier. Yet the restlessness in our spirits was evident as we prayed. A feeling of transition yet again permeated our souls. Uncertainty was looming before us. God was calling us to new and uncharted territory. Again. At the time there was no paradigm for a prayer network prayer ministry, but it seemed this was where God was pointing. PIONEER. This song defined our hearts, our souls, our lives.

Gary Nored

Since the 70’s we had heard and pursued a call from the Father to come out of the comfortable and step into new, uncharted areas. But in those uncertain times one of the best gifts God gives to pioneers is other pioneers who have also traveled the unfamiliar territories. They become your life long friends.

We were pioneers in the early 80’s when we stepped out of the Methodist pastorate to plant a new kind of church called Charismatic. A few other pioneers joined us.

We were pioneers in the mid 80’s when we, along with three other pioneer families, took our children out of public school to bring them home to educate them ourselves.

Now we were being called out to raise up a prayer network of intercessors to pray specifically for reconciliation and revival in the state of Mississippi. This song gave words to the strange, unsettling yet sure voice we had followed since our commitment to the Father back in 1971. Stepping out into this new, unknown place, his everlasting arms were sure, solid and held us firmly. Again we found a few pioneers on this new trail too.

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And just as the song described, settlers came behind us and built it better and faster than we could have. There are now many huge Charismatic churches in most cities. The homeschool movement has exploded in our nation. There are numerous prayer networks that are doing it bigger and better and faster than we could have imagined. Most will never know our names, nor the names of countless other pioneers who pursued the call along with us. But these settlers needed and used the paths we had charted in order to build their highways. Isn’t that the way of the Kingdom? Filled with pioneers and settlers, both essential.

The words of this song continue to ring true today, just as the same call continues to resonate within our spirits. Still not sure of what to say when people ask, “Now, what is it that you do?” because there is always a new horizon ahead. We are pioneers, and settling is hard for a pioneer, even at seventy years old.

Now ask yourself: Does this song touch that deep place in your spirit? Do you hear the distant rumble on the next horizon? Are you yearning for more, feeling the transition but unable to define it with words? If so:

You, too, are a pioneer.  

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You are the one to cut the new path now. You do not know where or what you are seeking, but The Father does. He sees, knows and is pleased, always smiling and guiding you to step out deeper into the unknown.

As old pioneers, we are your cheerleaders. We want to give you a hoist up and champion your journey. We want to shout, “Go for it!  Step up higher so you can see farther. Run to find the new thing Father is doing. Cut the trail so others can come behind you. Make the path clear, because they will need this road you are forging to build their highway or maybe even a runway.”

Keep pressing on. You are the pioneer.

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14 (NKJV)

Pioneer by Nancy Honeytree  (click to listen)

 

 

 

60 Second Vacation To Change your Day

 

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I do it me self!

Those are the words I heard from my sweet three-year-old granddaughter, Paisley. She is all about independence, from putting on clothes, bath time and buckling her own seat belt. In reality I was there to help, still in control, at least most of the time.

Watching her struggle to put on a tee shirt, getting it all twisted up was precious. Finally becoming frustrated, with big, tearful eyes I heard that sweet little voice cry, “Memaw, I need help!”

And over and over during our week of babysitting, quietly the Lord reminded me that I do the same thing. “I do it me self!”

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Many times overwhelmed, I continue to push on with my ‘to do list’ worrying, trying to handle tasks that are too big for me, thinking, “I have all this to do and I have to do it myself!”

Preparing the house for company, buying the groceries, cooking and cleaning. “I have to do all of this myself!”

Getting ready to teach a workshop, to speak at a retreat, answering emails. You’ve got it! Do it all myself!

Father, forgive me when I forget who is really in control and sends me help when I call. Just like Paisley, I am mistaken that I don’t need any help. But when push comes to shove, You are there. You’ve always been there waiting to help me.

So I stop for one minute. I take a 60 second vacation and connect with my Father.

The Psalms says “You show me the path for my life, and you surround me with songs of deliverance.”

When I get tangled up with the cares of everyday life, overwhelmed by circumstance,  He shows me the way out, the path He has already cleared for me.

And HE sings!

He doesn’t shout at me that I should have known better. He doesn’t say I told you so. He sings.

And as I stop for just 60 seconds, look to Him and listen for His voice, I hear His song: His song of deliverance. His song that releases peace in the middle of my turmoil. His song that says “I’ve got this one!”

I stop, take a deep breath and remember who is really in control. I still have much to do, but somehow the load seems lighter, my mind is not so troubled and my day goes a little easier.

In my heart I feel a strange sensation called ‘Joy’. I find myself smiling. And with the joy comes strength and energy. Rather than a burden, I actually enjoy the shopping, the cleaning. I get new insight as I prepare for the teaching. He really is my help in times of trouble, even in the small tasks of everyday living.

So today, in the middle of your busyness, stop, take a minute, 60 seconds, to breathe.

Breathe deeply, asking for his help and thank him for this one moment in eternity that you have connected with him. Acknowledge his presence and his help.

Thank Him for where you are and what you are doing. Shopping? Thank him for the provision you have so that you can shop. Transporting kids from one place to the next? Thank him you have children and the means to transport them. Cleaning toilets? Take advantage that you are on your knees and pray for some one who needs a little extra boost today.

Take a 60 second vacation. Stop. Breathe. Connect. And give thanks. It will change your day!

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Sunday’s coming!

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Resurrection day! He is risen!!

But this resurrection morning, I felt heavy. As a family we celebrate with a Seder meal on Thursday evening and all of my children and grandchildren try to be here. And this year was amazing, But now they were all gone, the house was quiet and I felt lonely. But why? Surely this is not what I should be feeling? Isn’t this the glorious victory, the climax of the story we had just celebrated on Thursday?

There, I’ve admitted it. I am ashamed to say it, but yes, as my mama used to say, I was down in the mouth.

As I sat with my first cup of coffee, a blog I usually read popped up. “Mmm, he doesn’t usually write on Sunday” I mused. So I read it.

It was as if this blog, “Wisdom from a Father” (Click here to read) was directed toward my leaden heart. He discussed how we lead up to Resurrection day with fasting and a strong focus on the cross, the agony of the suffering, and how our own sin is cause for this suffering. We sometimes get ‘stuck’ on Good Friday, but whole point of the narrative, even the entire Old Testament, is Sunday Morning, Resurrection day.

As I read his post, I realized I had a choice. Yes, Jesus died for my sin, my shame, my bondage, but the greatest message is He didn’t stay dead. Yes, He paid the price, but He did much more than that. He defeated death and brought us to complete victory, resurrection of our spirit and hope for our future.

I remembered a song by the Christian artist, Carmen. “It seems like Friday night, dark and hopeless….. But SUNDAY’S COMING!”

Hope began to rise in my heart.

Later at church, our pastor, John, read the story of The Resurrection what really hit me was the power of the resurrection. When Jesus rose from the dead, the entire earth shook with resurrection power. Not just the portion around Jerusalem. The earth shook in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia. And the Bible says, “The same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you!”

My heart exploded in hope! He Is Risen! The heaviness gone, and joy flooded in.

Earlier it seemed like Friday night, but Sunday’s coming!

I want to leave you with this sweet story sent to me by my friend, Brenda Malone.

There was a little boy named Phillip who had Downs Syndrome. In Sunday School the other children really didn’t pay him much attention, because his responses and actions seemed foolish to their eight year old minds. The week before Resurrection Day their teacher gave them all an empty plastic egg. They were to spend the week looking for things to put in the egg that reminded them of resurrection life. On Resurrection day the children eagerly awaited their turn to share the treasures they had collected. One shared a seed and the teacher was pleased. Another shared a butterfly, which delighted the teacher. Then came Phillip’s turn. When Phillip opened his egg, it was empty. Some of the children laughed. “He didn’t do it right!” said the little girl with the pretty pink bow. But little Philip hung his head and whispered quietly, “I did do it right. It’s empty because Jesus’ tomb is empty. That’s why we have new life.” Suddenly, the boys and girls got very quiet. They ‘got it.’ Phillip was right. The empty tomb was exactly what Easter was all about. The empty tomb. Resurrection. Jesus didn’t stay dead; he rose up to bring us all new life.

Yes, we never forget the cross, the pain, the suffering, the death. But we must not stop on Good Friday. No matter how dark your Friday might seem, no matter the depth of your heart ache, the tomb is still empty, resurrection power is still available, and Sunday’s Coming!

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Be blessed this day with Hope, Joy and His Resurrection Power.

No One Else like you-You are Unique!

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DNA STRANDS    –      www.Scitechdaily.com

A friend, Donald Jones, sent this to me yesterday. It was so encouraging I just had to share it here. Hope this blesses you as it did me.

You are unique!

Think what a remarkable, unduplicatable, and miraculous thing it is to be you! Of all the people who have come and gone on the earth, since the beginning of time, not ONE of them is like YOU!

No one who has ever lived or is to come has had your combination of abilities, talents, appearance, friends, acquaintances, burdens, sorrows and opportunities.

No one’s hair grows exactly the way yours does. No one’s finger prints are like yours. No one has the same combination of secret inside jokes and family expressions that you know.

The few people who laugh at all the same things you do, don’t sneeze the way you do. No one prays about exactly the same concerns as you do. No one is loved by the same combination of people that love you – NO ONE!

No one before, no one to come. YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE!

Enjoy that uniqueness. You do not have to pretend in order to seem more like someone else. You weren’t meant to be like someone else. You do not have to lie to conceal the parts of you that are not like what you see in anyone else.

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abc-machine-embroidery.com

You were meant to be different. Nowhere ever in all of history will the same things be going on in anyone’s mind, soul and spirit as are going on in yours right now.

If you did not exist, there would be a hole in creation, a gap in history, something missing from the plan for humankind.

Treasure your uniqueness. It is a gift given only to you. Enjoy it and share it!

No one can reach out to others in the same way that you can. No one can speak your words. No one can convey your meanings. No one can comfort with your kind of comfort. No one can bring your kind of understanding to another person.

No one can be cheerful and lighthearted and joyous in your way. No one can smile your smile. No one else can bring the whole unique impact of you to another human being.

www.Psycologytoday.com
www.Psycologytoday.com

Share your uniqueness. Let it be free to flow out among your family and friends and people you meet in the rush and clutter of living wherever you are. That gift of yourself was given you to enjoy and share. Give yourself away!

See it! Receive it! Let it tickle you! Let it inform you and nudge you and inspire you! YOU ARE UNIQUE!

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www.Pinterest.com

Author Unknown

The Author is Unknown but the CREATOR is Not! He is your Father God and He loves you just the way you are.

After all, You were His BEST IDEA!

Run away or Come Away!

Have you ever wanted to run away? I certainly have. We have an old children’s video about a lost puppy who is adopted by a family of rabbits. Any time danger came near, the bunnies shouted “Run away! Run away!”  This was so against the puppy’s nature, but he learned to run away at the least little scare. When things get stressed or hectic in my life, I often hear that same voice shouting, ‘Run away! Run away!” I feel panic rise in me, because I don’t know where to run. Or do I?

Recently when browsing through a Southern Living Magazine I came across this Go RVing ad:

“AWAY is a place that’s not on any map. But you know it when you find it.”

Go RVing ad, SLM, July 2015
Go RVing ad, SLM, July 2015

I heard the Lord’s voice whisper, “I’ve not called you to run away, I’ve called you to Come away!”

This ad is true spiritually. Away is NOT on any map, but you know it when you find it. It is that quiet, peaceful place in your heart where you feel and know. That secure, safe place where he speaks softly, “I’m here and I’ve got this.” It is simply taking a moment to STOP and acknowledge His presence, His love, His kindness, His magnificence, His majesty, His gentle peace. In this place you can stay a few moments or a few hours. In this place your spirit rises up to connect with His Spirit and He brings your weary or frightened soul into His peace.  In a busy mall or in a tranquil, fragrant garden, in a chaotic household where every other word is ‘Mommy!” or a by a crashing, rushing waterfall, he calls us to ‘Come Away!’

Life always has those moments of decision. I believe the Lord allows these times to come so that we have the option to choose his blessing of peace or the chaos. It gives Him great joy and pleasure when we make the right choice.

Will you choose to run away?

or Come Away?

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