Intentional Living: Getting the ball rolling in my right direction

You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it. Ephesians 5:8-10 (The Message)

I celebrated my birthday just recently, 41. I should point out to those of you who are not so enthusiastic about aging, I stopped freaking out about my age somewhere around 28 or 29. I have been encouraged and mentored to understand and embrace that age is simply a number, and I choose to embrace it rather than fear it! I had a wonderful surprise from a dear friend in the gift of a spa day and it was truly something I needed. Not only was it something I had needed to do for a long time, because let’s face it: most of us women, wives, mothers, tend to do more for others first and doing anything for ourselves comes secondary. I can’t even remember the last time I had a manicure. Well, I was so excited and thoroughly enjoyed my spa day, got a facial, a massage, and participated in several other services offered that day. It was soothing, relaxing, comforting, and empowering. Some of what I experienced in this time of meditation, relaxation and reflection has continued to bubble in me this week. I found myself coming face to face with the reality that I am not content with my life at this present time and I found myself considering for the 900th or so time, what I truly want to do with my life to find fulfillment, to know in my heart I am doing something that is worthwhile. I know what I am good at, I know what I am capable of, and I have found myself locked into one mode for a very long time now. Do what must be done, do what is necessary and when life pitches me a curve ball-adjust, re-focus and hit it dead on with all I’ve got. When faced with the choice to sink or swim, I have chosen to swim. I am proud of what I have accomplished thus far, but the stress, the demands, the necessity of it has left me more and more unhappy. I tell my children all the time, go after your heart’s desire, do what you love most and don’t give up-you can do it! Those words stick with me and are turned back on me, because I find I am not swallowing my own advice wholeheartedly.

There was a time when I had a vision of what I wanted to do with my life, beyond marriage and children, I knew what I was gifted for and I knew what I wanted to pursue. Because of how life has hit us, I have chosen an alternative route because as I noted before, it was necessary. I knew I was not the type of person who would step into one career and do it for the entirety of my life. I love to be challenged, and I love to experience something new and interesting, because I get bored once I feel confident about the experience I have taken on at any given moment. I get it, I am ready to take from the experience what I have learned and how it has grown me, and see where the road takes me next. I don’t want to settle-simply because it is necessary, it is comfortable, it is the “right” thing or what God wants me to do, or because everyone around me is saying they think it is the smart thing to do. Well, I believe there is a delicate balance between what God wants me to do and what I want to do with my life. I don’t think God would place that desire in my life, unless He intended for me to fulfill it. As I walked away from that spa day and as the days have passed, I am more certain now than I have ever been, and I am energized with what I dream to do. God has a purpose for me, and this is my time to pursue it. I know it will take work, I know it will mean disappointing some people in my life who think they know best for me, but here’s a hard truth they will have to swallow---this is what is right for me. As I have prayed over it, talked with God about my desire to step out and make the most of my life and pursue true happiness, it is crystal clear to me that this is it. If I don’t do this now, I will never do it…I know that now, and the fear of shriveling up into some other woman I don’t want to be is lurking in the back of my mind. I will not be her, I will choose to be the person I have always dreamed of being, the person God has always purposed me to be.

God has been so good to me, I am very blessed and so thankful to have my family, my amazing friends, an incredible support system of Christ-followers in my life, and I would not be the person I am today without the mentoring and encouragement that I have received. I believe I have done some good in this life, but I believe there is more to be tapped into and I can’t wait to see what happens! There comes a point in every person’s life I think when we can choose to get comfortable, get by, be satisfied with the status quo or….we can do something truly inspiring and amazing! I can’t wait to see how this year unfolds. Please pray for me to move forward undeterred, and with confidence in knowing this is my time to find my “shine”. I believe I have lived my life with great intention, but now I want to be able to look back and say I really and truly lived my life with GREAT intention!

My sweet girlfriends, you know who you are, keep an eye out for a women’s Bible study/small group at my house coming in the Fall of 2013! I am so excited to watch God unfold His amazing blessings through one of my greatest passions—leading, encouraging, mentoring, loving and living life with women from all walks of life. We need each other, I have watched as God has truly blessed me and you over the years with this wonderful time of ministry and fellowship. I can’t wait to get started. Join me in praying and consider participating!

A little inspiration...please!

Illness has knocked me out for the past week or so, but I am slowly climbing back on the horse and riding my life journey one day at a time in this new year. Rough entry, but I am kicking it as best I can after the respiratory crud beast hit our home. It is a new year, new promises, new adventures, new goals to attain. How will the majority of us approach it and enter it? I am hoping we all take a few steps back and get a nice running start, because the fact is it ain’t gonna be easy. The majority of us are facing what seems to be overwhelming odds and the state of our economy is no help. We aren’t making much more than we were in 2012, and for most of us those raises we got that go into effect this year, are pretty much gone thanks to what’s happening with our government and the decisions they are making supposedly in our best interest. A lot of us are facing unemployment today or with prospects limited in the job market we are facing underemployment in a job we didn’t want to take but had to for the sake of some form of a paycheck. Ryan and I have been so dismayed and disappointed in the turn that our churches have taken in recent years, the approach to such limited vision, staying within safe boundaries for the sake of pleasing the majority, and so few taking a risks for the sake of the Kingdom as God intends and His Son demonstrated in His life on this earth. It is just a whole lot to process, and leaves me feeling helpless and in need of some serious motivation and encouragement. We saw “Les Miserables” a couple weeks ago on a Friday night. Fantine’s song, “I Dreamed A Dream” has always been my favorite of the story. How close to the heart is her story to some of us? How many of us have had a dream or two for our lives, and years later, life has left us battered and so beaten up, that we aren’t sure the dream is still alive in us or quite possibly it has been killed completely and we’ve given up? As I wept and sang the song with her in the film (quietly of course so not to disturb anyone in the theater-not easy!), I realized, I could think of several people who are in some place similar to this heart ache she was experiencing. How to climb out, to go on and not sink into the depths of such helplessness? The way is certainly going to be difficult, and will require a lot from us, so here is the beginning of comfort and when we know we can pull ourselves up to stand….God is here. God is for us, so who on this blasted earth can ever be against us? How can we lay down and die, when we have been reborn, renewed, revitalized by the Holy Spirit, by the decision to be a Christ-follower? 3 of my favorite verses have truly become life verses for me in the last 2 years. Find them, read them, post them, and know that they will bring you written, visual and mental hope as you embrace them and burn them into your heart and soul:

Jeremiah 29:11 I know what I am doing –I have it all planned out—plans to care for you, to not abandon you, to give you the future that you hope for!

Ephesians 3:20-21 God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need.

I stumbled upon a favorite song today that came up in my listening playlist online. Chris Rice, “Come to Jesus”. What a great contrast to the song I mentioned previously. When life is at its darkest, we can be at our finest because of Jesus. When life has beaten us to a pulp, when we are on the ground and hanging on by the very edge of sanity, when we feel we’ve lost all hope of ever being saved….Jesus. We can come to Him, He is there, He is our Way, our Hope, our Eternal Life and Salvation! We have it in us, each one of us to find that strength, that reason, that dream we dreamed, it does not have to end here! I have some dreams, some old and some new, that I have hope to work toward this new year. Because of what Jesus did for me, what He endured, I will choose to press on. Because I know and worship a God who loves me more than can be humanly measured and that I don’t deserve but thankfully can receive freely, I shall move forward. Life, people, our churches, our government, so many things and man-made entities are going to fail us and disappoint us, but God will not. I am thankful for that. I hope you will join me this new year in aspiring to step out of hurt and disappointment, and to live a life that is truly what God intends for us. It can be better, it should be better, it will be better.

my Ebenezer...

“…Thus far the Lord has helped us.”-1 Samuel 7:12 There are moments in my life when I look back and can see how God in His perfect yet my...