What Are You Hiding From?

If you're a Jesus follower, you are meant to shine. It can be easy to think that hiding in the shadows is humility, but it really isn't. God doesn't any get glory from you hiding your light. 

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.

If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand.

Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives.

By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 MSG

Destiny Key: Take some time to ask God what lies you're believing that are holding you back from shining brightly. 

It's time to come out of hiding! It's time to shine!

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When God Calls an Audible

Do you know what I mean when I say that sometimes God calls an audible? For those who aren't into sports, let me explain.

 
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The kind of audible that I'm talking about is the kind that happens in American football. It's a change in the offensive play called by the quarterback at the line of scrimmage. This means that the coach and players have laid out a clear plan for their play, but at the last moment, the quarterback switches it up. 

When an audible is called, it would be detrimental to the outcome of the game not to go along with the change. If the players aren't willing to be flexible, things get messy really fast.

I grew up as a missionary kid in Mexico and Guatemala. Life was one big adventure, and we never really knew what was going to happen next. We would set out in a hurry to do something, only to have to stop and wait due to circumstances that were out of our control.

Most of the time it was "hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait." One of the phrases I remember my parents saying the most is, "Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break."

It's kind of like driving on a crowded interstate. You have to hurry up and merge, only to sit and wait, then hurry up again. In the end, you might have to suddenly take another route to get where you really need to go.

When you're going along in life, and God suddenly calls an audible, go with it. He knows what He's doing.

Destiny Key: The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

 
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What Do You Do When Life Isn't Fair?

Our culture seems to be obsessed with equality, but in reality, fairness evaluations are just bizarre. They are all about comparison and self-pity and low self-esteem. If you've ever seen kids fighting over whose portion is bigger or better, you know what I'm talking about. You might even have been that kid.

As a mom I am convinced that it is best to parent each child individually, according to their own needs. Life is not fair. Period. We do our kids a disservice when we help them to think otherwise. 

 
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I'm so thankful that life isn't fair, because if it were I would have to have all the same skill sets as everyone else on the planet.  Can you imagine if you had to go to college to get every single type of degree available to be had. Or what if there was only one degree type, and every person had to get it so that no one else felt left out? That would be really boring.

I have been to a country where the end goal was to have everything be completely equal. The thought is that no one should rise above the rest, but that everyone should contribute equally. It simply doesn't work out well. The end result is the government deciding every person's career path so they can assure that society is evenly provided for. This means that if the government decides you should be a teacher, you don't have any choice in the matter. You just have to do it for the good and overall "fairness" of the whole.

Each person is unique. We each have a specific personality with a gift mix all our own.  We each have unique needs with different love languages to give and receive love.

God is the best Father, and He is really good at giving each of us exactly what we need at just the right time. We can rest in Him.

Key Idea: Everyone ends up poor and losing when we make equality our highest goal.

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 12:1-3

As dearly loved children of God, we really do not need to worry if someone else is getting more than we are. We have a really good Father who really loves us, and that makes it completely normal for us to be filled with peace and contentment instead of striving and comparison.

Breakthrough Must Be Preceded by Action

God has a great purpose for your life. He wants to use you powerfully to impact the people all around you. But in order to step into His purposes for you, you have to actually take a step.

Every time we step into another level with God, it is preceded by a choice we make. For instance, the Bible says that those who look to Him are radiant and their faces are never covered with shame. (Psalm 34:5) The state of shining and being free from shame is preceded by looking to Him.

In Jeremiah 33:3 He says, Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. This shows us that if we want to get wisdom from God, it has to be preceded by us calling out to Him.

If you want to be free from deception, you have to precede it by taking the action of obeying God's Word. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22) 

 
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If you want your life to be filled with stability instead of drama, it will be preceded by putting Jesus' teachings into action. Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:24)

Even the times when God tells us to be still, require action. When God tells us to be still, He is not wanting us to be apathetic, but to do the hard work of trusting and waiting. Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10)

Destiny Key: How many times are we waiting for God to do something that He's already given us the power to do? Ask Him what action steps He wants you to take this week.

When Your Future Is Foggy

The Christian life is a journey along a narrow road. While the road is straight, a lot of the time it's hard to see very far ahead. We get glimpses and impressions of what lies ahead, but in order to discover what's really there, we have to keep moving forward.

I regularly hit patches where I realize that everything I've been doing up until that point, has simply been preparation for what's ahead. All of the digging in to learn new things and the relational stretching isn't really about those things in themselves, it's about where God is taking you on the journey.

 
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It's like this: You walk along in faith, doing the next right thing you know to do, then all of a sudden you get a moment of clarity. The mist lifts, and you get a little glimpse into what God is up to. 

God's purposes for your life are so much better than you can imagine, and He has the passion and power to bring them to pass. Your job is to co-labor with Him by quieting your heart so you can hear His voice and by obeying quickly. 

Destiny Key: If you are in a foggy spot on the journey, don't give up. Keep pressing in and moving forward. That's what faith is all about. 

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

 

How To Handle Rejection

Have you ever been betrayed? In order to be betrayed, you have to have loved and trusted someone deeply.

It is stunning to me that Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him, but it did not hold Him back from including Judas in His inner circle and risking His heart.

I think that if I knew ahead of time that someone was going to betray me, I would not even introduce myself much less bring the person into my inner circle.

Jesus is so different from me. He blows my mind. He keeps His love turned on towards all people 100% of the time.

For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. (John 6:64b NASB)

Jesus' life illustrates this truth: even if you do everything absolutely perfectly, you will still experience rejection.   -Tweet This

Perfection does not equal acceptance from the people around you.

You might even say that the more Christ like you become, the more you may experience rejection.

Jesus walked in confidence because His sense of self worth did not come from His companions.

When the Jews wanted to kill Him He said,  “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing. (John 5:19-20 NASB)

Jesus' identity was completed wrapped up in what the Father thought about Him and in living according to His Father's wishes.  

You won't be healed of your rejection by analyzing the source of your rejection but by looking at the source of your acceptance. -Bob Sorge

Your Father loves you with the same exact love He loves Jesus with. Make living your life in Him your highest aim and the acceptance or rejection from people will lose its hold on you.

Any pain you have stored up in your heart from betrayal belongs to you. You can choose to own it and to let it go. Choose to let it go today!

I bless you to live in peace.


Here is a true life story movie about a brother laying down his life. It is a "wow" story. I checked this out for free from our public library, but here is the link to check it out on Amazon:

Moving Beyond Admiration

If you’re like me, you want to be wise and avoid making foolish mistakes as much as possible. To do this, we need to remember that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is literally the starting point for living well.

The fear of the Lord is a beautiful thing. It causes us to run to God, not away from Him.

These days there is such an emphasis on doing whatever makes you “happy.” This is worldly wisdom and is complete foolishness. Living for momentary pleasure outside of God’s ways is a recipe for disaster, not a happy life.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

If you want to live in God’s favor, you must live in radical obedience to Him. Whatever He asks, decide to obey Him.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

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God knows what we need more than we do. We cannot afford to do things our own way. He gave us the Bible as our guidebook for life. Dig into it. Get wisdom.

Don't just be an admirer of Jesus. Follow Him. This is how you fear the Lord.

Destiny Key: If Jesus is your Lord, you must say “yes” to whatever He asks you to do. Saying “No, Lord” is an oxymoron.

 

Good News

I was in my living room close to the window that looks out over my front yard when my husband looked down at his phone and gasped. He had just gotten the news that a friend had just passed away in a freak accident. We were stunned.

The fact is, the older we get the more people we know and love are slipping into eternity. In the past year, a handful of people I know personally have exited this life. You might have lost more friends than me. 

School shootings, winter weather car pileups, and heart attacks. You just never know when your number will be called.

There is coming “A Day.” None of us know which moment will be our last. After we die, each one of us will stand before God alone. We will not have a friend or spouse standing with us for moral support. We will not be able to cast blame for our life’s choices on any other person.

If you are in Christ, you will have Him standing with you, and He will be your Way into your heavenly home.

Psalm 1:5 speaks of people who are NOT in Christ.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

Psalm 1:5

  • Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, When that final day comes, unbelievers will not be able to enter God’s throne room with their heads held high.
  • Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. When we are all gathered into our heavenly home, those who have rejected Christ will not be able to join us.

It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. Hebrews 9:27

If you have not surrendered your whole life to Christ, please to do it right now! Give Him every single part of your life. He knows how to take care of you much better than you ever could take care of yourself.

Once you are in Christ, you can live with a completely clean conscience. Jesus made the way for you to be able to hold your head high and have complete confidence as you get to know your heavenly Father intimately.

Jesus' blood changes everything. When you've been washed clean by it, you never have to live under a cloud of guilt again. This is the Good News!

Destiny Key: Absolute obedience to Jesus Christ is the only pathway to true peace. 

*On Tuesday, February 20, 2018, I felt an uncharacteristic urgency to prepare this post. I woke up the next morning to the news that Billy Graham had been promoted to heaven. I don't think that was a coincidence. 

How to Build Your Community

What lies do you believe that keep you from connecting with friends? I used to be held back from spending time with people because I was afraid of awkward silent moments. I felt like I was innately boring and wouldn't have anything interesting to talk about.

I found that one solution for this was to get together to do an activity. Working on a project together or playing a game can help make connecting easier.

Here are 7 tips to help you foster community and practice hospitality:

  • Practice smiling at people and looking them in the eye.
  • Practice making small talk. This doesn't come naturally to everyone, but it is the starting point for deeper conversations.
  • Don't wait until your house is perfect to invite people over for dinner. If your house is messy your guests will just feel better about their own home. You will be doing them a service.
  • Don't wait for someone to invite you for coffee. Take the first step.
  • Make a phone call or text instead of waiting for someone to call you.
  • When people make room for you in their lives, take it, even if it’s just hanging out with them and helping them with whatever project they are working on.  That may be all the time they have available, so honor it.
  • In order to make meaningful connections, you must be intentional. Get out your calendar and make a plan.

YOU are the solution to lack of community!

Strangers are just friends waiting to happen. -Rod McKuen

A man who has friends must himself be friendly (Proverbs 18:24a NKJV)

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Your Marriage Team

Thinking about getting married?

Here are some questions to ask yourself about the person you're considering:

1.     Do they love God more than they love you? As flattering as it may be to have someone adore you, it is vital that you not come first in their life. You do not want to be an idol. God will not bless idolatry.

2.      Do they have respectful, healthy relationships with their parents and siblings? The way they already do family relationships is what you can expect from them if you start a new family with them. Spend a lot of time with them and their family together so that you can get a good idea of what is in store for you.

3.     Do they have the same life mission as you? It will be very hard to accomplish your heart’s mission if you are tied to someone who is headed in a different direction than you are.

Already Married?

Once you are married, you have a lifetime to grow and strategize together in your life mission. Every family should take time to formulate their mission.

What does your family bring to the world to make it a better place?

If you find that you are not headed in the same direction as your spouse, bailing on them is not an option. You will need to find a new mission that you both can invest in.

God is completely committed to helping you have a bright future. He is so faithful to complete the work that He has started in you. It is hard to get off track when you have a sincere desire to follow Him.

He even takes your mistakes and weaves them into your destiny to make your story powerful. He redeems every messy situation to the core.

Think of a wall with a hole knocked into it. God doesn’t just slap some scotch tape and spray paint onto it. He does a thorough repair job to the point that the wall looks brand new. 

Destiny key: Don’t be overwhelmed by trying to figure out God’s will for your life. Submit yourself to God and your leaders, get into a place of peace and do what God is putting in your heart.

 

For I am confident of this very thing,

that He who began a good work in you

will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6


Check out my mom's message called A Marriage Behind Closed Doors. Warning: It contains mature content.

Do you desire a strong and healthy marriage? After over 41 years of marriage, Leanne shares from her heart the principles that have contributed to having the great marriage she has today. Through this inspiring message you will laugh, weep, and be intrigued by the truths and realities we all face in our marriages. Whether you're presently married, looking forward to marriage, or know someone who needs a marriage like this, you will not be disappointed by "A Marriage Behind Closed Doors!

Can a Godly Person Have Boundaries?

Boundaries indicate limits. They are the fence around you that keeps good things in and bad things out.  

I have a chain link fence in my backyard. We paid good money to have it built because we had small kids who we wanted to keep safe. We also wanted to keep the neighbor’s large dogs from walking right up to our back door and trying to come inside our house.

 Boundaries are not:  

1.     An excuse to be selfish or rude.

2.     A way to turn you into me.

3.     A way to control other people.

Making demands is a form of control. You cannot demand of someone and show honor to them at the same time.

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Phil. 2:3-4)                             

Healthy boundaries are:

1.     A way to be healthy in order to love God and others well.

2.     A way to protect other people from you.

3.     A tool to give you power to control yourself.

You do not get to control other people. You are the only person you can control.

You are only responsible for the things in your own yard. The kinds of things that are in your yard are YOUR:

  • Feelings
  • Attitudes
  • Beliefs
  • Behaviors
  • Actions
  • Choices
  • Thoughts
  • Values
  • Limits
  • Talents
  • Strengths
  • Desires
  • Passions
  • Love

You are not responsible for these in other people. You only get to control YOU.

It is not your job to keep everyone around you happy. You cannot afford to work harder on other people’s lives than they are willing to.

Boundaries are all about self-control. They are about having a plan so that you can be who you need to be, to accomplish the call God has on your life.

 An example of a good boundary with time is:

Don’t let other people push you to make a quick decision. Take the time you need to think things through. Tell the person you will get back to them, then be sure to show them honor by following through.

An example of a boundary with your words is:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. (Phil 2:14-15)

You get to choose what comes out of your own mouth. You do not get to pick what other people say. Let your words create life.

An example of boundaries with your attitude is:

If you're grumpy, send yourself to your room, go for a drive, or take a walk. You need to protect other people from you. This is a great way to preserve a peaceful atmosphere in your family. You can just tell your family that you need a time out.

Here is a clear boundary for your thought life:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. (Phil 4:8)  

What can you do when someone hurts you? Matthew 18 lays out the solution very clearly.

1.     If your brother sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

2.     But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

3.      If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

When you go to talk to the person who has offended you, your motive needs to be to restore unity, not to pick at the other person or try to make them be just like you.

Always assume the best about the other person. Say something like, “I am probably missing something, but I feel like (insert the feeling and specific incident). Can you help me understand the situation better?”

If you do not feel that the situation is resolved, pull in an impartial, mature mediator to help you.

If you still cannot get to a place of unity, you will want to bring the matter to your pastor or leader. 

Can a godly person have boundaries? Did Jesus have boundaries?

1.    Jesus often went away alone to pray even though the crowds were pressing in for His attention.

2.     He did not get off track with other people’s agendas for His life. He said that He only did what His Father was doing and saying.

3.     He said that He is the ONLY way to the Father. No one can get to the Father except through Him.

Key Idea: Ask Jesus to show you any boundaries you need to make or any walls you need to tear down.

 

How to Strengthen Your Influence

I am concerned that a lot of leaders/parents lose their platform of trust by not following through on their promises. They either say yes too quickly, or they say no, but don't follow through. 

Can the people in your life really trust you? Do your spouse, kids, team, and friends believe you when you talk to them? It's kind of like shooting yourself in the foot when you don't mean what you say.

If you tell someone no, and they push past your answer to do whatever they want anyway, there must be consequences. If not, the people under your leadership won't actually believe that you mean what you say.  

When you say something, mean it, and follow through. Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Don't leave room for confusion.

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Remember what the Centurion in Luke 7 said? It was amazing enough that it impressed Jesus!

For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” Luke 7:8

The Centurion was a powerful leader because he was a man of his word. When he spoke, his followers hopped right to it.

When the people under your care trust you, it makes it much easier for them to follow your instructions. 

Sticking to your word means that you will need to take a moment to think before you speak. Don't let words and promises just fly out of your mouth, or your promises will be empty.

Key Idea: Empty words are a sure way to undermine your influence. Make a choice to strengthen your influence by being a person of your word.

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Is Your Default Yes or No?

Is your default answer yes or no? Do your kids hate asking you for permission because the answer is usually no? It can be easy to quickly say no, instead of doing the hard work of listening carefully and coming up with a healthy way to say yes. 

When my 10-year-old daughter came to me and told me she had written a book, I could've easily said, oh that's nice, and gone on with my life. That was a key moment for me to see her passion and find a way to help her. 

I didn't know what to do, but I knew how to track down the people who did. I spent hours and hours and hours co-laboring with my daughter on her book. Now she's 12 and is working on her 3rd book, and her older brother is working on his second! He said he figured if she could do it, he could too. 

Of course, there will be times where we have to say no, but let's not let it be our theme. Negativity kills creativity. 

Key Idea: Don't be the kind of person who has a problem for every solution. Find a way to get to a YES!

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What to Do When You Don't Know What Else to Do

What do you do when you've done everything you know to do, but you still aren't getting your breakthrough? I'm talking about when you have really taken time to make sure that your heart and actions are obedient to the Lord, you've prayed, you've fasted, you've forgiven, and still there's no movement.

When you get to this point, there's only one thing left to do: STAND. You take your stand, and you don't let anything but God move you.

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Stubbornness tends to get a bad rap, but if there was ever an appropriate time to be stubborn, this is it! 

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. Ephesians 6:13-14a NIV

To go deeper with this concept, check out the book Sit, Walk, Stand for an inspiring look at Ephesians and the believer's association with Christ, the world, and satan.


Bonus: I've included the following video of a great song to reinforce this concept in your heart and mind as you go about your day.

 
 
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If this post touched you, I'd love to hear about it. Don't forget to share it with your friends as well. 

Tips for Being Present

It is very easy for me to get lost in my own agenda and tune out the people I love. I don’t mean to be rude, I just get into task mode, and once I’m there, I can be hard to reach.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when I don’t have my to-do list straight in my head. I can easily get caught up in thinking about all the stuff I wanted to work on, even if I don’t plan on working on it that same day. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when I don’t have my to-do list straight in my head.

Tomorrow’s to-do list can easily creep into today.

Solutions to this problem are:

  • make a to-do list so that your head feels clear
  • set the list aside
  • realize that you don't need to worry about tomorrow's tasks today
  • focus more on the important people in your life and your connection with them, than on being productive

Key Idea: When it’s all said and done, family is more important than tasks.

 

Know well the condition of your flocks,
And pay attention to your herds.

Proverbs 27:23

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It Was the Very Wishy-Washy Time of Night...

Many nights at bedtime my mind kicks into high gear with ideas and strategies for how to best do all the things I want to do in life. I feel so inspired that I almost want to skip the whole night and get started right away on the next day. Other nights I start to feel bombarded with doubts. I think we all have a certain time of day that doubts try to creep in.

If I ever feel doubtful it is generally at night before bed. Things that seem like a wonderful challenge during the day tend to be much scarier at bedtime when I'm worn out. I am always the most vulnerable and discouraged at night when I'm tired.

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It is so helpful to know this about myself. I am able to notice when I'm feeling unsure of myself which gives me a chance to choose to set my worries aside and reconsider my life with renewed perspective the next morning.

I have also learned that when I'm feeling doubts creeping in I should never make any important decisions. I would never accomplish anything important in life if I didn't put off decision making until I have a peaceful perspective.

Each day has fresh grace from heaven and sometimes the grace for the day runs out just before it is time to close your eyes and recharge. Things generally are much clearer after a good night's sleep.

Merry Christmas

Christmas is the time when we remember the mind-blowing fact that God became a man! He loved us so much, that He chose to humble Himself and become one of us so that we could be in relationship with Him again. 

You see, the whole reason He created people in the first place was to be with them. He has not given up on His original desire. He really desires you!

As we take time with our friends and family this Christmas season, let's remember that our desire for connection with each other is a reflection of God's desire to connect with us. 

Emmanuel - God with Us

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How To Overcome Fear & Worry

Did you know that you can live in perfect peace? Did you know that fear and worry are tools of the enemy to keep you from your destiny? I'm so tired of the enemy tricking us into thinking that fear and worry are some kind of normal emotion.  

It seems to be so socially acceptable to worry about our kids or family members. But in reality, fear and worry are evil spirits that we can choose to stand against or agree with.  

We are in a battle. We need to see it for what it is and fight. Let's not agree with the enemy and let him have place to rule in our hearts.

We have to be aware of our self talk....the voices in our head. Every thought you have is not your own. The devil whispers lies constantly, and we have to practice recognizing them and not agreeing with them.  

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It is great to have a healthy friend or spiritual parent to tell your thoughts to. They should be able to help you decide where the thought is coming from.  

When we agree with God's thoughts towards us, we grow in peace and joy. When we agree with the enemy, we open the door for him to come in and destroy our peace.

Holy Spirit is our friend and helper. We need Him so much. As we take time to value Him and soak in His presence, He fills us up.  

The enemy will do everything he can to keep you from spending time with God. I bet everyone of us could come up with a huge list of reasons why we don't have time to spend resting in God's presence. It really takes practice.  

Quieting the heart does not come natural to everyone. You have to really set aside 15 minutes to practice. Put on some worship music that touches your heart and invite Holy Spirit to come.  

It's helpful to have a notebook to write stuff down. When you remember things you need to do, write them down so you can deal with them later.  

Write down things Holy Spirit whispers to your heart. If you take time to practice spending time with God, it will become easier. Getting to that place of peace and rest is vital. 

Key Idea: You do not have to agree with fear and worry. 

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3


 
 
 

When It's Time to Push

Recently I had a few days where I felt like I was pushing against a brick wall. I had all of these things in my heart to accomplish, and had been working towards them with diligence for many months, when I came to a spot where I smacked into what felt like strong resistance.

As I was driving down the road thinking things through, I passed a middle school football field. That was the moment when I was able to put my jumbled up, frustrated feelings into words. I felt like I had been pushing against one of those blocking sleds they use in football practice.

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Having that picture in my head brought me relief and peace. I realized that I was actually in a good spot. Sometimes to get something off the ground you have to push. Pushing is hard, painful work. The fact that it is time to push means that something awesome is about to break forth.

When I was in labor with my first son, there was a distinct moment when the pain became so strong, that I just wanted to stop, climb out of the hospital bed, and go home. I had been waiting for that day with all of my heart for nine months, honestly for my whole life. When the pain became overwhelming I just wanted to "stick a pin in it" and try again another day.

Turn back the clock another 23 years. When my mom was ready to give birth to me something crazy happened. When the time to push came, her doctor instructed the nurses to hold her off for what turned out to be several hours. This delay caused physical damage to my mom. She had to have follow-up surgery and ended up only being able to bear two children when she would have liked to have had more.

Sometimes you just have to push! Quitting is not an option, and delay is dangerous.

This is the moment when the resistance actually works for you. Great breakthrough is imminent if you keep pressing forward.

Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. John 16:21 NASB

I'm realizing that my biggest breakthroughs come when I keep pushing.

(Please do not take this as permission topush against God or against your leaders in a rebellious way. That is definitely not what I am suggesting. If you push too early, you will birth a preemie and go through a lot of added stress.)

Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,Rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19 NASB

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Looking for gift ideas? The Stick Family Book is hot off the press. It would be a great gift for anyone who likes to laugh, especially for reluctant readers! Check it out here

  The Stick Family Book  by Elijah Olson

The Stick Family Book by Elijah Olson

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How I Got Past the Pain from our Failed Adoption

Do you ever feel like your head is fractured?  Like the plates of your skull are literally pulling apart. That's the picture that comes into my head when I think back to the most painful holiday season I ever went through.

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A few years ago our family went through a very difficult season when we experienced a failed adoption. We had a toddler foster son living with us for over six months, and just before the adoption was due to go through, everything fell apart.

That season was one of the hardest times of my life. Parenting that precious boy felt to me like it must feel to parent a terminally ill child.

To some that may sound too dramatic or even insensitive to those who have lost biological children. All I can tell you is that is how I felt. There was so much uncertainty.  

Uncertainty is very hard for me. I like to "make a plan and work the plan!" Hourly we were waiting for word to confirm or deny that this baby would be ours forever. I guess I always had a sinking feeling that things weren't going to go the way we hoped.

I remember having days where I would literally daydream about escaping. I would imagine how wonderful it would be to just sit all alone in a dark, silent room for hours. It was like there was just too much noise and uncertainty spinning all around me, and I needed peace.

After we got the news that the little guy would be moving on, I spent the next few months just recovering and resting. The grief process just takes some time.

It was extremely painful because the authorities involved had told us to bond with him and get him to bond with us because he was going to be ours. I have a clear memory of him lying his head on my lap while I patted his back and called him my baby. He would repeat it back to me in such a sweet secure little voice: "my baby."

Having to send him off from our home when there was no way on earth we could explain to him what was happening felt like such a betrayal. It broke my heart. Our final days with him were right between Christmas and New Years.

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Looking back I can see how much the Lord held us during those devastating moments. He sent some wonderful people into our lives who loved us well when we really needed it. Though I felt like everything was falling apart, God was actually building strength deep inside of me. That incredibly hard time built perseverance. I cannot say that I lived in perfect peace, but I can say that I fought hard to stay in perfect peace, and it was worth the fight!

After a couple years of grieving,  I attended a church service with a guest minister. He shared about peace and took us through an exercise to let go of pain. That night was a turning point for me. In a matter of minutes I was able to let go of the deep pain that had been trying to swallow me alive.

A friend of mine wrote a book with the basics of the model that I learned that night. The book is written to kids and teens, but it definitely is usable for adults as well. This book can help you move past any kind of pain and grief.

TRUE PEACE ONLY COMES THROUGH JESUS.

Stayed Upon Jehovah,

Hearts are Fully Blest,

Finding as He Promised,

Perfect Peace and Rest.

-Francis R. Havergal