Monday, August 5, 2013

What I have learned

If I had to sum up 47 years of living and all I have learned, I could do it in two simple points.

1. God is love. Pure. Holy. Unadulterated love.

2. His faithfulness is beyond human comprehension ~ never will He leave me or forsake me. Period.

Get ahold of these two truths and all they encapsulate, see all of life and its circumstances, good and bad, through these lenses, and you've got it! Plain and simple. He loves you and He will never leave you. Period.
That's all I've got, exactly 47 years of living on this earth and this is the best of what I have learned. Everything else pales in comparison.

Blessings upon blessings,

Michelle (child of God and so thankful!)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Woman I Know

There’s this woman I know.  You would love to meet her too, I know you would.  She really is like no one else I know.

You see, if you knew the pain she has been through, the heartache she still carries, you would not expect her to love so unconditionally and deeply.  Some women with that kind of pain become bitter and hurt others.  Not her.

If you knew the losses she has experienced you wouldn’t expect her to give so freely.  I mean, ‘give you the shirt of her back’, kind of giving.  Women who have lost that much can often times hold on to what they have with a fervency like no other.  Not her.

If you knew the betrayal she has lived through you wouldn’t expect her to forgive and trust with wild abandon. Women who have been through that kind of betrayal tend to refuse to forgive and never trust. Not her.

If you knew the mistakes she has made you wouldn’t expect her to say, ‘yes, you are right, I did that, I am sorry.’  You might expect her to make excuses, to defend and blame.  Not her.

This woman, she loves, I mean, really, really loves.  She loves when her daughter gets pregnant out of wedlock.  She takes her in, loves on her, does everything she can to take away the shame.  Even when that daughter turned her back on her just a few years earlier.

This woman, she prays and prays.  She is there for her daughter for anything she has EVER needed.  Even when that daughter has no clue what a treasure her mother is. 

This woman, she has babysat countless times.  She has sent her daughter and husband away on weekends and honeymoons and stayed with the children.  Often times, she paid for the time way too.

This woman, she loves her grandkids with a fierce kind of love.  I mean fierce!  Not the, ‘oh, look at pictures of my grandkids’, kind of love.  No, I mean the chase them around the house, tickle them, play cards and color with them, make ice cream floats with them, kind of love.

This woman was born 70 years ago today.  She is a treasure, I’m telling you, you would LOVE to meet her.  I’ve known her my whole life.  You see, nearly 47 years ago she became my mom. 

Let me introduce you to Norma Jean, my mom.


Happy Birthday, Mom!  I love you so much and am so proud of who you are.  Thank you for loving me.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013


My friend, Kelly, from Generation Cedar has hit the nail on the head yet again.  Please read and share and repent.  If you have questions about some of the points she makes, please seek out Godly counsel (which may not be in your church) for answers.  Don’t just shove this under the rug because it pricks your heart.  Please.

On Mother’s Day, Abortion, & the Church’s Part

This approaching Mother’s Day  has brought about such mixed emotions. I read, with belly full of squirming life, the horrific details of the Gosnell trial in front of us, and am painfully aware that the abortion industry knows no bounds, and is becoming a bloodier and more murderous force, cloaking its audacity with “compassion for women”, all the while slaughtering them.  (Click here to read the rest . . . amazing!)

Friday, April 19, 2013


People like me, we jump really high with our dreams, emotions and hopes.  But we also fall really hard.

Some people, the ones I thought I am supposed to be like, they sort of float somewhere in the middle.  They have good days and bad days, for sure, though they are rarely so far up in the clouds that they forget the law of gravity.  No, that’s reserved for people like me. We have super-great, amazing days and horrible days.

I used to hate that.  Why couldn’t I be like ‘those’ people.  You know, the calm, not overly excitable and not so emotional folks?  They seem to float through their day with ease.

Why?  Because God made me this way. Crazy, passionate, jump off the cliff, whole-hearted.  I’m either all in or I’m not.

Realizing this and embracing it was one of the first steps to peace with myself.  The next step is realizing all of life has balance to it.  You simply cannot live at one end of the spectrum every day, though I suspect I will try to figure out a way to do this before I die.  If you are a ‘high-jumper’, the coming down is always the hard part.  It needs to balance out.

Those other people, you know the ones I always tried to be?  They’re really not that different.  The have joys and sorrows too, they just don’t  hit the ground so hard that they need someone to peel them off the cement.  But neither do they often breathe the thin are at those at those high altitudes that make one all silly and giddy.

I am not at all saying one is better than the other.  God made both.  Us crazy-passionate people need you wise, level-headed, count-the-cost folks.  Someone has to remind us to breathe, to slow, to brace ourselves and to help peel us off the cement.

Just like you need us to challenge and encourage you to dream and jump, and take a chance.

What about you, are you a ‘high-jumper’?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Interview About Our Home Business

My dear friends, Gloria and Julia, The Resourceful Gals, asked me to do an interview about what it is like having started a family business.

You can read about it here,

Featured Resourceful Gal - Michelle!

It was a fun interview in which I shared my struggles, advice and heart.  Hope you are blessed by it.

Thanks, Gloria and Julia.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I am so excited to announce a new blog that I absolutely love! The two women behind this new blog have a special place in my heart.  I have the utmost of respect and love for these gals.  I wish I could convey to you how wonderful they are.

They have supported, encouraged and prayed for me many times.  The type of people you know that you know, would lay down their lives for you.

On top of that, the wealth of knowledge they possess between the two of them is mind boggling!!  They have decided to share this knowledge in the form of a blog and I am sure you will want to check it out.

Let me introduce you to my dear friends, Gloria and Julia, better known as the “Resourceful Gals”!!

We're a mom-and-daughter team that enjoys a wide variety of hobbies and crafts... and we're all about being resourceful. Saving money, time, effort, and energy is our goal. We've been blogging for years (Julia has been blogging since 2008) but just recently (March 2013) decided to combine our talents to share in one special place... and this blog was born!
Read a little more here
about Gloria & Julia.
A few of our favorite posts so far are....

Mason Jar Lamp Tutorial

The BEST Homemade Pizza EVER

DIY No-Sew Curtains

Simple Sprouting

Brunettes Bars

Homemade Soft Pretzels

See what I am saying???!!  Amazing.  Have fun, oh, and you’re welcome. Winking smile

Friday, March 29, 2013

What He Did

As I was falling asleep last night, this verse quietly and gently drifted into my mind.   THIS is what HE did.  For me, for you . . .

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Meditating on this today.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

When You Are the One Envied

This one hurts and hits a little close to home.  You see, The Evil Twins not only hurt the person who struggles with them, they also wounds the ones envied.  I know, I have been on the receiving end.

Dear Sister who Envies what I have:

Here’s what you don’t know.  You have no idea the pain and struggles I go through on a sometimes daily basis.  You don’t walk in my shoes, you just admire them from afar.

You have no idea what we have experienced as a family, the pain, the trauma, the agony.  You are so blinded by what you perceive as gifts, that you don’t see the mess behind them.  There have been times of such devastation that I thought I simply would die from pain and fear. 

Just because I have nine children and homeschool does not mean for one second that I don’t have daily battles. You have no idea how much I have fought self-hatred, insecurity and self-doubt.  So many days filled with feelings of failure and fear that I was messing everything up.  You have no idea how much time I spend on my knees or face just so I can get up and do it all over again.

This marriage?  Yes, it is beautiful and wonderful, but we are flawed and human and have a sin to contend with just like you do.  Even the most blessed of marriages take work and dying to self, daily.  You don’t know the battles that we have fought with each other and against each other.

The opportunities the Lord has given me to use the gifts and talents He has put in me?? I don’t know why, He allows me to do and experience these things.  You don’t know the self-deprecation I battle when He chooses to use ‘me’.  Really??  Me???  I really am just a girl, trying to do my best to honor and glorify my Father, just like you.  Only He and I know the depth of yuck in my heart, you really have no idea.

Another thing you might not know, when you make those comments or give those looks or have that tone, the envy and jealousy in you makes me feel dirty and ashamed.  Like it is my ‘fault’ I have this or that.  Those comments take something that the Lord intended for a gift,  and I become ashamed of it. 

I feel compelled to tell you, ‘well, it’s not all that good, my husband . . .  or my kids . . .’ anything to deflect what you are saying. I feel guilty and feel the need to counter it with something not so good, even to the point of feeling like I need to make something up just so you will feel better and not think so badly of me for the good I have.  Crazy, isn’t it?

Not only are you miserable because Envy and Jealousy are making you that way, they are sliming me too!  Both of us wounded.  It’s all perspective!  Our perspective of what the other person has is usually so off.  We never see the whole picture.  Only bits and pieces.


A Woman Just Like You (with different gifts and different baggage)

Think about it from another perspective for a second.  There is always someone who has it worse off than you.  Perhaps your marriage is hard, but you are not dying of cancer.  Maybe you can’t have children, but you’re not going through the heartache of watching your children enjoying the ride on the train to hell.  Maybe you don’t ‘get’ to have a job or an outside ministry, but you also don’t have the baggage and spiritual battles that come with those.

I really believe this quote is true.

“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.”  Regina Brett

Remember, you are only seeing a small glimpse of someone else’s life!!  I promise you, it is NOT all rainbows and roses!!  Envy and Jealousy seeks to destroy you and me and relationships. 

Father, I pray for great discernment for each of us.  Show us when we are listening to the lies of the enemy.  Show us when it is his voice, the voice of Envy and Jealousy.  Give us grace to repent and walk away in the freedom you have provided.  In Jesus’ Name.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Evil Twins and Comparison

Envy, Jealousy and Comparison all play really well together.  They feed off each other and help one another grow, drive the roots deeper into the heart, seeking to destroy and suffocate.  Sounds lovely, doesn’t it.


Envy, Jealousy and Comparison are really just fruit, bad, rotten fruit, but fruit, none-the-less.  If there is fruit than there must be a root.  I want to share a bit about some of the major ‘roots’ to these evil companions as I have experienced them in my own life.

I believe some of the major roots to Envy and Jealous have to do with a

  • deep lack of knowledge of our value
  • who we are in Christ
  • insecurity
  • lack of contentment
  • a lack of trust in God
  • (there is more, of course)

Let’s think about it for just a minute.  When I know that I know I am a treasure in the arms of Christ, that I am valuable just the way I am, that nothing I do or say changes that value in the eyes of the ONLY ONE who matters, I have no need or lack that sends me looking at others and what they have and what they do.  When I am comfortable in my own skin, I don’t go looking for someone else’s skin to try to fit in.

When I really understand who I am in Christ and because of Christ and that I am chosen, holy and dearly loved there is no ‘lack’ that needs filling.  I don’t look at what others have and long for it because I am so ‘fulled up’ (as my grandson says) that it doesn’t matter what you have or do, I know I am something special and it becomes enough.

When I begin to be thankful and content with who I am and what I have, I have no need for anymore.  The only way to a life of contentment that I can figure out is to be radically thankful for all that I do have

When I become so content with my lot in life, my gifts, my talents, my calling there is not need to compare to others.

Also, when I learn that I can trust my Father, even in the things I ‘think’ I lack, I stop looking to the other side of the fence for greener grass.

When we compare, we almost always will come up short in some way or another.

Instead of trying not to be Envious or Jealous, it seems more profitable to address the root. 

Saturate your mind with the Word of God. Read over and over chapters like, Ephesians 1 and Colossians 1. 

Meditate on all the verses that tell you who you are in Christ. 

I remember when we first got saved we would hear teachings on renewing our minds on who we are in Christ and I am ashamed to say that I blew it off, it seemed way to ‘elementary’.  “Come on, I know who I am in Christ”.  I now wonder how many years of struggling I could have avoided had I heeded this simple ‘elementary’ teaching. Sigh.

Be radically thankful!  Our dear sister, Ann Voskamp writes beautifully about this.

Do you see any of these ‘roots’ in your own life?  Have you overcome some of these?  Care to share a piece of your journey?

Monday, March 25, 2013


Escapism: The tendency to escape from daily reality or routine by indulging in daydreaming, fantasy, or entertainment.

One thing that irritates me to no end is technology.  It is a love/hate relationship.  I think it is incredibly useful but also has the potential to destroy ‘family’ as we know it.  I am seeing our family be distracted with technology more and more as we all have smart phones and have reasons to be on the computer.  I am not sure what to do about it, but I am taking notice and don’t want to be slack in this.

I have noticed, for myself, that not only is technology, in the form of the internet, blogs, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, a giant timewaster, but I think it is actually becoming an acceptable ‘drug’.

Sound crazy?  Hang with me for a minute.   Drugs (and the abuse thereof) are used, in part, as an escape.  When life it too much or one doesn’t know how to handle life, they need to check out in some way.  Drugs, money, shopping, food, whatever the vice, the ‘need to escape’ is there.  Of course, there are a multitude of reasons that are the root of this abuse, but the need to be loved and to fill the empty, broken place are probably the most prominent.  I want to focus on one the things we use to ‘escape’.  (The Lord should be sought as to the ‘why’ we run to these things.)  Most of us are not getting drunk with alcohol, or high on drugs, but there are other ‘drugs’ that help us to escape.

Maybe this is just me, but have you ever just mindlessly clicked from blog to blog or Pinterest idea to Pinterest idea? Click, click, click. You should be making dinner, looking at your children when they speak to you, educating them, doing the laundry, . . .  It is so much easier to just click, click, click, and escape the responsibilities.  Or maybe you are just plain overwhelmed and don’t know where to start . . . click, click, click.

Or Facebook, do I need to check it a bazillion times a day?  Why do I?  Because I really ‘care’ what is on there or because I just want to escape my reality and dive into someone else's. (I could do a whole series on the evils of Facebook!)

Smart Phones have upped the ante.  We don’t even need to flip open the lid on our laptop anymore.  That’s so old school, we just need to start sliding our fingertip across the screen, and bam, we are transported to another place. Not to mention they are always with us, in the restaurant, while we are driving, at the coffee shop, on the playground, at the dinner table.

I absolutely have to use the internet, Pinterest and Facebook for our business, but I must honestly admit that I also use it to escape. I have not figured out the balance yet. I am an all or nothing gal.  I’d rather throw the computer and smart phone in the pond than have to find that balance, but I can’t.

The following verses have been speaking to me as I seek to find that balance and they are very convicting.  I’m still working these out ladies.

Pr. 14:1

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

I wonder if a modern day translation could read, The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with click, click, click of the mouse. (Or her rapid-fire thumbs on her smartphone)

Ephesians 5:15-17

 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,  redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

Perhaps, ‘do not be drunk with wine’ would be translated today as ‘do not use technology to escape’??

Not trying to be disrespectful in anyway with the Word of God, I am just seeing yet another way in which I have been ‘unwise’ and have not been redeeming the time and have actually been getting “drunk” or “escaping”.

What about you?  Do you find yourself using an ‘acceptable’ “drug” to escape reality?



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Struggling To Be a Whole-hearted Mama

I’m struggling, lately, with keeping ‘my head in the game’, ‘my heart at home’, staying fully engaged, or however you might describe it.

Even though I am all things ‘pro-family’, one of the biggest battles of my whole ‘motherhood’ is keeping my heart turned towards home.  It seems to be one of those weaknesses that the Lord has not chosen to take away.

It ebbs and flow, and certainly, season in life play a role in the struggle as well.  I have ‘seasons’ when my children and home are seemingly my only focus.  It is in these times I feel like a whole-hearted mama.  Not perfect, but all there, fully engaged.

Then there are times when I am so distracted with life, my own pursuits or even God-led pursuits, that I sense my heart so far away from home.  I hate this feeling.  I feel the tug, but don’t seem to know what to do about it.  It’s a very ‘lost’ feeling.  It’s like I even forget how to do the ‘mama’ thing.

Lately, I feel the tug to turn my heart towards home more, (yet again) and I am making great strides.  The business that we have (our home-based family business) demands A LOT of me, and we really do feel that the Lord is leading it, which means I need to figure out how to do both.  Well, not that I need to figure it out, I need to trust Him to teach and lead me.

For me, it starts with recognizing and repenting for getting so swept away.  I used to take on so much condemnation at a time like this, but now I know He loves me and forgives me and it is not about me striving or trying harder, but humbling myself before Him, crying out to Him to teach me how to do the ‘mama’ thing again.  I ask Him to change my heart, turn it towards home.  I praise Him for loving me and shaping me into the mama He created me to be.

It is easy?  Nope.  I haven’t figured it out yet, but felt like I needed to share my heart and my struggles. 

Do you have similar struggles?  Perhaps we can pray for each other, just let me know, I’d love to know I’m not in this alone.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Evil Twins

That’s what I like to call ‘Envy and Jealousy’.  They are so evil, and I hope to help you recognize them clearly when I am done with this little series on, “The Evil Twins”.

Envy: painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage; feeling discontent because of what someone else has.  Actually disliking another because of it.

Jealous: hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage.

I personally have experience on both sides of these Evil Twins.  I have struggled with Envy and Jealousy myself, and have been the one that others have envied or were jealous of.  Neither is good.  Both places are miserable.

Envy and Jealousy seek to:

  • Divide and isolate
  • Condemn and rob one of all joy and gratitude
  • They cause us to accuse and be bitter towards God, others and even ourselves
  • They make us mean and ugly
  • They cripple us from functioning as the Body of Christ, to love and encourage
  • We ‘spin out’ focusing on what others have and we miss what we have

Ladies, we need each other.  The older I get, and the more I embrace who I was created to be, the more amazing and wonderful I realize we women are.  We were created to be in relationship, to need each other.  But here’s the deal, we simply cannot love each other the way we were meant to as long as Envy and Jealousy have a place in our hearts.

Imagine a world in which we are so content with who we are and what we have.  A place where we trust our Father to provide for ‘our’ needs, and we are are not threatened by our sister’s successes, strengths or gifts, but where we  actually celebrate them with her.   I know this might sound like something we need to wait to experience until we get to heaven, but I don’t think so.  I think we can have just a little bit of heaven here on earth.

Join me on this journey of exposing The Evil Twins??  I’d love to hear from you along the way.

My Prayer

I see so much deception around me, from very strong believers.  I know that I know that there are certainly areas that I am deceived in.  I know I have been in the past and it is just as likely that I am now, I just don’t know it, thus the name ‘deception’. Winking smile

My prayer. Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

He is so good and so faithful.  I can trust Him with my heart and trust Him to show me and lead me.

I am in awe.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What He Taught Me

Last weekend I was a featured presenter at the Women’s Expo in our area.  I was to speak from the stage eight times.  I had done this same thing about a month before in another town.

I shared how amazing the experience was and how the Lord was allowing me to do and live dreams that were long since buried. I felt so alive and sure this is, in part, what I was created to do.

So why the anxiety over doing another one?  He was so faithful at the first. I learned beyond a shadow of doubt that it was all HIM that I was able to speak and share my heart, and that I was called to do this.

Weeks before, I found myself realizing that at this Expo there would be people I knew.  Fear of man whispered, ‘what will they think?’ And the need to be accepted and loved by others, old lies began to resurface.  What if I messed up, what if I am wrong and this really isn’t God?  What if . . .?

I had a TV spot a couple days before that I was unusually nervous for too.  What was up?  This kind of thing is right up my alley!  This is another whole lesson, I will share in another post.

The first day I battled anxiety, read fear, the whole day.  Each time before I would go on stage, the battle was intense.  This was very unusual for me.  Brian was even concerned from the moment I woke up that day, my face was heavy, I just couldn’t get ‘happy’ and I was so tired.  I wasn’t me.  I made it through the first three talks, but didn’t feel good about them.  Everyone else said it was great, but I knew deep inside that I was battling, and it didn’t feel right.

The second day, woke up the same, heavy, down, and dragging.  The first talk was ‘okay’, but I was drained and very discouraged.  How on earth was I going to do four more talks?? 

I went up to my dressing room for some time alone.  Brian had brought my bible. I sent up a panic prayer, ‘Lord, your word is my strength and food, I need You.’  I began reading Psalm 27.  I was distracted and had to keep bringing myself back to it. I began reading it out loud.  The more I read, the more my shoulders began to stand tall.  I was feeling stronger.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
 When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
 Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

I realized I had been fighting with the enemy this whole time and he is defeated!  That is why I was so tired, I was battling a defeated foe.  It was like a light bulb went off, he is defeated, why am I fighting him!!??

 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord

I began to see myself, high upon a rock, lifted high above my enemies!  Why on earth was I fighting?  There was nothing to fight.  I already won!  I began to praise Him and thank Him.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

My heart was so strengthened!  I literally felt the heaviness leave me. My face felt different, it was lighter, I could smile.  By the time I got back down stairs I was totally revived and renewed.  Ready to ‘knock it out of the park’.  I had confidence (in Him) and strength to go and shine for Him.

While I was physically tired because of the long hours, my spirit was soaring and I was able to give it ‘my all’ the rest of the weekend.  It was so beautiful to experience.  I love how He teaches and leads us in every single situation of life.  It was a big lesson for me.  I praise Him for the first four talks that were so hard and the stuff I was battling.  And I praise Him for the lesson up there in my dressing room. 

I am not saying there is not a place and time for some serious spiritual battling.  What I am saying, in this situation, the spiritual battle was recognizing the fact that, in Christ, I already win!  I spent way too much energy fighting and rebuking and repenting.  What a waste of precious energy.  How about this.  ‘Nope, not fighting you, I win, the Lord is my Strength, I am high above upon a rock and my head is above my enemies.  I will be of good courage and go forth, in faith, in the power of HIS might.  Period.


Friday, March 15, 2013

REST: 5 Minute Friday

Rest, sweet rest.  This is something I knew very little about for years and years.  It nearly destroyed me, this ignorance.  I would push and push, just trying to do something to earn the air I was breathing. 

Rest, such a waste of time.  Surely it is only for the ‘lazy’ folks who just don’t know that there is stuff to be done.  After collapsing from severe exhaustion, I began to hear His voice, gently calling me to rest.  But, but, how?  How do I just stop?  How do I just ‘rest’?? 

Learning to rest has been one of the most painful yet exhilarating lessons of my life.  I struggled and fought with everything in me to learn to rest.  Funny, I struggled to rest.  I laugh now, but it was so hard.

Once I realized that drivenness is not a good character quality but an evil spirit, one to repented of and gotten rid of, peace came.  Rest came. 

You see, Jesus does NOT drive us, He leads us.  Satan drives and pushes and never relents.  Not so with my Jesus.  He is gentle and loving and knows how far to take us and when to lie us down in green pastures.  Yes, once that enemy was gone, rest, true, deep rest filled my soul.

Now, even in the crazy busy there is rest.  Rest has precious little to do with inactivity, at least for me.  It has so much more to do with my soul being at rest in Him.  Oh, I still physically rest, but the inner rest is far sweeter.

Linking up with sweet Lisa Jo for 5 Minute Friday.  Join us, it is so fun!!

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Here’s What I Said

This past weekend I had another opportunity to share my heart with hundreds of women.  I was asked way back in September to be a speaker at the West Michigan Women’s Expo.  I was shocked and thrilled at the opportunity.  I knew immediately it had precious little to do with our business and all to do with touching women’s hearts. 

The work the Lord has done in my heart through preparing and doing this weekend is so cool.  He is teaching and training me, I can tell!  More on that later.  I though I would share my notes from which I spoke with you all.  Of course I added things here and there, but you will get the gist of it.  The response was overwhelming and as I read emails and comments I am brought to tears and so humbled that He would choose me to be His vessel.  So here it is.

Welcome to West Michigan Women’s Expo

I’m Michelle Grzybowski with

{re}imagined just for you.

This is presentation is . . .

So excited to be here, it feels like such a privilege and gift to be able to have this platform to share a little bit of my heart, so thank you for being here!

When Denise asked me to speak at the Women’s Expo I was so excited and yes I did a happy dance or two at the prospect of being here

You see, I LOVE Women! I think we are the most amazing creatures and my heart is to encourage and inspire women! So I am just a wee bit excited to be here.


I’m going to tell you a little bit about me and our business and then we will get to the demonstration.

IMG_4529 (2)

My name is Michelle G. and I am married to an incredibly loving and patient man! And I say patient because he not only bears with me and my crazy ideas, but he also encourages and picks me up over and over.

People like me may jump high but we also fall hard and he’s always there to pick up the pieces

After nearly 25 years we have figured out that I’m a jump off the cliff person and he offers parachute so yeah, he’s Patient! You could pray for him because sometimes I’m a full time job!

Here is our family,


We have 9 children, 8 still living at home. 3 grandchildren

We have homeschooled pretty much from the beginning, oldest few years

We are a very close family and all of the children are involved in our business in one way or another

From Tech support,

to woodworker

to creating some of the things we sell at our sales

to helping with the home.

I’d like to tell you it’s a perfectly working well-oiled machine, but it is not and we are just fine with that! We learn and grow and mess up and try again together and that’s all that matters.

Amazing Women

Like I mentioned, my heart is for women, I adore the men in my life, but it’s the women who intrigue and inspire me.

Women are amazing!

But here’s what I have found in my own life as well as the women, I come in contact with and maybe it’s true or you.

If I were being honest, I think we struggle with some common issues

I think we often times feel like we just don’t measure up, I call it the never good enough syndrome

We think we need to DO MORE, BE BETTER, TRY HARDER.

This often leaves us empty and tired, exhausted really, it did me any way. Actually, it made me very sick but that is another awesome story of Gods’ redeeming love.


Our value becomes about what we do and how well we do it and because we never seem to do it “good enough” we beat ourselves up, we are so hard on ourselves. We may struggle with self-doubt, and insecurity. I think we can be our own worst enemy.

Maybe our value is wrapped up in being a mom. I know mine was for a while. ( I have nine children, homeschool, bread, socks match. It wasn’t so much about impressing you as it was about proving that I was somebody special)

Or your job. Or where we are financially.

Or our appearance. . . Pretty enough, thin enough

Or keeping up with the Joneses.

Clean and organized house.

How about this one, what our children become, if they are ‘successful’ in our eyes.


Ladies, the Lord has done a deep work in my heart over the last several years and I’m here to tell you.

And listen to me closely and I dare you to believe me as everything in your head may be screaming. NOT TRUE!

Here’s what I’ve learned

I am Enough! I am good enough! And so are you!

Right here and right now. We are good enough!

No amount of doing more, being better and trying harder is going to change your value in the eyes of the ONLY ONE WHO REALLY MATTERS.

Ladies, I’ve learned that I am dearly loved right and that I am a treasure in the arms of Christ, right where I am at, flaws and weaknesses and unwanted facial hairs and all.. (did I just say that out loud?)

I was created on purpose with a purpose and so were you! Did you hear that? You were created ON PURPOSE with a PURPOSE. You are of great value.

You see, you are already amazing! You are loved, you are valuable just the way you are!

Is this just me, or can anyone else relate??


And our want to hear another lie I find so many women fall for?

“I’m Not Creative”

Who here has ever thought or said. “Oh, I’m not creative”-----“I could never do that I don’t have a creative bone in my body”—raise your hands.

It’s a lie, Ladies, and let me prove it to you.

Think about this, each one of us was created in the image of God. He created ALL things. So, guess what that says about us, we are creative!

It just might look differently than someone else.

Or maybe life and circumstances have buried it so far down,

Maybe it was never developed or fostered in you.

But I want you to know, you do create. You are creative.

We create babies.

Homes for our family


Memories- did you ever plan a vacation, you created a memory.

Maybe you gather flowers form your garden and place them just so for others to enjoy

He has given you gifts and talents to share with others, you have a purpose.

You are valuable!

You are loved!

You are amazing!

Okay, on to {re}imagined just for you.

What is so cool about this is that it was a ‘public’ forum.  The Lord enabled me to proclaim HIM in this venue that is definitely not Christian!  I was so excited, I do not know if I will EVER have that kind of platform again and I wanted to take full advantage of it!!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

I Need Your Help!

I am not even sure how many read my blog right now, but I am crying out to who ever does.  I have a dear friend/cousin whose heart is broken right now.  She has lost her son and the details don’t matter, but what does is I don’t know what else to do but to weep with her and storm heaven for comfort for her and her husband.

If you have ever hurt, have ever been wounded, have ever felt alone and completely and utterly hopeless, I am begging you to lift them up to our Father.

Would you?  Lift a sister, a brother??

A thousand thank yous.


No Chains On Me

Ladies, I am telling you that our God is a healer, a deliverer, a restorer!!  I know some of you are still in that ‘fiery trial’ and it is hard to believe that you will ever experience freedom. I know what that feels like.

Can I, just for a moment, be that voice whispering to you from the other side, He is faithful.  You will be singing and dancing in the freedom He has given you

This will be your declaration soon,

I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.  (Psalm 40:3)

I cannot stop singing this song, listen to the lyrics, so powerful!  (Video posted below)

No Chains On Me”  Chris Tomlin

This is the dream, a dream for the world to see You
A dream for the world to know You, to love Your name
Lift up a shout, lift up a cry to shake the ground
Shout and the walls are coming down
Yeah, we're running after You
Like a rolling stone, like a runaway train
No turning back, no more yesterdays
My heart is free, no chains on me
God, You raise me up, up from the grave

The cross before, I'm on my way
My heart is free, no chains on me
Now is the time, now is the time for freedom
Abandoned by cold religion, my heart on fire
We hear the sound, the sound of revival coming
The sound of Your people rising
Yeah, we're running after You
The walls are coming down

I am seeing this in my life, watching the chains fall and the walls come down. I am in awe of what He is doing.  The pace, at times, surprises me.  Like a rolling stone, like a runaway train!!

He is no respecter of persons.  Your time is coming.  Wait on Him and hope in Him.  This is His desire for each of His children, freedom.  The journey is different for each of us, but freedom is His heart for you!!  My ‘fiery trial’ lasted for over 10 years, so do not despair!!

Praising Him for the freedom that is on its way in your life.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
 Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord. (Ps. 27:13-14)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Whoa Nellie!

For years, there have been things in the past that when I talk about ‘giving thanks in all things’ I clarify, when I am being super transparent, that I am just not sure I can bring myself to thank God in/for them.

I always feel a bit of a ‘ping’ when I do this, but some things wreaked so much havoc in our lives.  The depth of the trauma so deep and so painful, I’ve teetered on giving thanks for those situations.

I would sort of waffle on that fine line of accepting the things that happened and actually trusting my Father enough to thank Him in all things.

I feel like I was able to forgive those involved.  I thought I totally accepted the situation, but did I really?  I recently heard myself say again, ‘I just don’t know if I can “thank” Him for that’.  ( I know it was not actually from His hand, but the enemy’s hand, but God allowed it)  As I said it, something just didn’t feel right.  Why don’t I thank Him?  Do I not trust Him to the uttermost?  There was unrest in my soul over it, but I felt closer than ever to saying, ‘Thank You’.

Today, reading a quote from Ann’s One Thousand Gifts Devotional

{That which I refuse to thank Christ for, I refuse to believe Christ can redeem.}

Is that what my refusal to thank Him for says?  That I don’t believe He can redeem it?  Whoa!  If this is true, and I believe it just might be, well, it feels like a dagger to my heart.  Of course I believe my Jesus can redeem all things.  When I see what He has done in my life . . . are you kidding me?

I have repented for having unforgiveness towards my Father, for accusing Him, for not trusting Him. I have thanked Him for every.single. painful circumstance in my life.  Sweet freedom and refreshment comes!

Have you been able to thank Him in ALL things??  I mean ALL things?  It’s hard, isn’t it?  I know.  It’s called radical obedience.  His Word says to ‘give thanks in all things’.  Notice it says “ALL”.  Praying for you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Any ‘Locals’ Out There?

Ladies, I would like to offer a pair of tickets to the West Michigan Women’s Expo that I am speaking at to one of my ‘local’ readers of She Looketh Well.

Anyone out there interested in attending?  Leave me a comment and I will enter your name in the drawing.

If you could share our new website with someone else who is local to the Greater Grand Rapids area, that would be awesome too! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Balance? What’s That

Like I shared last time, the Lord has been bringing about so much healing and restoring me to who He created me to be.

One thing that I have ALWAYS struggled with is, balance.  I am a very passionate person.  He created me this way, yet I have fought it for so long

You see, just like many things, each gift we have can be taken too far and when used improperly can cause problems.  For instance, being passionate is a wonderful quality.  People like me tend to be the ‘get it done’ type of people.  The ones willing to try new things and throw our whole selves into what ever we are doing.

BUT, the negative is we also can easily fall prey to drivenness, performance and perfectionism.  Where we push so hard we make ourselves sick and hurt those around us.  We push, and we push hard.  We don’t know when to stop, because we ‘need’ to be doing. We expect everyone else to be like us and push just as hard as we do.  You can see the damage the negative side of this could do, can’t you?

The negative side of ‘passionate’ has a great deal to do with how sick I was.  Since being healed and delivered, I still ‘fight’ with being passionate.  I mean, why can’t I just be balanced, you know, each day the same, even keel, just evenly going through my days?  Why do I have such crazy times and then down times?

Through a series of conversations and something I read, I believe the Lord showed me that I had the wrong idea of what balance would look like for me.  It will look all ‘calm and floaty’ for some, but not for me.  The comment that really made it clear was,

“It’s not so much about balance for people like you and me as it is about times of refreshing”  Or something to that effect.

You see, I thrive on the excitement, the chase, the thrill, the adventure.  NOTHING wrong with that.  But, the ‘balance’ to that will be taking times of refreshment, renewal, rejuvenation.  That’s where I blew it in the past.  I believed I was being lazy and unproductive and would push until I dropped.  I began to despise the passion and the needed rest.

Since seeing this, I have been enjoying and embracing who He made me to be and what I need.  I enjoy the ‘thrill’ without guilt and I soak up the ‘rest’ without any shame or guilt.  He leads me into the sometimes crazy, but then He leads me into the rest so I can recharge.  I love the ebb and flow.  I no longer resist who I am and what I need.

Sweet freedom, ladies, sweet freedom.  Do you resist who He has made you to be?  Do you wish you were like {______}?  Maybe you are fighting Him and you don’t even know it.  What is your struggle?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Amazing Article On Our Business


{re}imagine your potential with Michelle Grzybowski

Aemelia Tripp February 22, 2013


For Michelle Grzybowski, refurbishing antique furniture is more than just a hobby. “I’m living the dream!” says Michelle. She works with her family, restoring gorgeous antique pieces and encouraging as well as inspiring women through classes, antique markets, and expos, like the West Michigan Women’s Expo this March. “For me, it’s the people, it’s not about selling furniture,” she notes.

Many people ask, but Michelle decided long ago not to open a store. “I couldn’t just drop off the furniture. My heart has always been to encourage women as well.”

Michelle has always been crafty, but decided to start her business, {re}imagined just for you about two years ago with her husband and kids. . .

Read the rest of the awesome article at Women’s Lifestyle Magazine

Thank you, Aemelia, you did an beautiful job capturing my heart.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I’m Becoming ME!

I notice that I am becoming ME, who I was created to be, and guess what?  I like me.

I get all giddy when I see some new behavior or example of how much I have changed in the last couple of years, since my healing and deliverance.

The chains have fallen off in so many areas.  So many facets of fear, just keep falling off. I notice it in sometimes silly areas.

Like painting a piece of furniture some really fun color just because I love it.  Silly, I know, but what if it doesn’t sell?  What if nobody else likes it?  What if others think I was foolish for painting it that color?  See, those are old lies that still try to whisper, but no longer have a hold on me.  Fear of man, fear of failure, insecurity, self-doubt.

Purchasing Turquoise cowboy boots.  I mean, what self-respecting home school mama does that??  Not much practical about turquoise cowboy boots. Never mind that I LOVE them and they make my heart go pitter-patter.   I have never owned cowboy boots, never mind turquoise boots!  What will people think?  Too attention-getting?  They cost too much, am I really ‘worth’ it?  I mean, really now, a ‘gift’ for me??  So extravagant? Do you hear them?  Fear of man, insecurity, fear.  The “I somehow need to earn things” syndrome.

Waving wildly at the pizza guy on the street corner holding a sign.  Someone in the van said, ‘wave to the guy’. So I did. Wildly and with a huge smile.  Why not?  I think it is okay to enjoy life!  Life is hard and it hurts, often.  Why not lighten up a little, play, be silly.  Things I NEVER would do in the past.  Well, it’s not grown up and mature.

The children wonder what happened to their mama when she starts dancing in the kitchen, hands in the air, hip-bumping, singing, ‘that’s how we do it, that’s how we do it’.  The children reel with laughter. I continue on until we are all giggling.

Speaking the Truth with love and compassion, but also great boldness.  Taking full advantage of each and every platform the Lord gives to share HIS love.  To pray for the hurting even when it is uncomfortable or appears to be a bit bold.  I don’t care anymore.  I am not concerned with what someone else thinks, or if I will mess up or if I am missing God, or if . . . {fill in the blank}

I have been set free!  Free from so many lies.  In those moments when I can be a little crazy and have a little fun, why not??  I know these examples might seem like trivial things, but they really are not.  They are huge when you realize the freedom they represent.

So, I am far from perfect, which I will always be, but I like who He made me to be!  This alone is huge.  Years of self-hatred are being washed away.  Imagine a world, ladies, where we actually ‘love’ ourselves??  Not some vain, self-conceited, arrogant, ‘love ourselves’.  But one in which we embrace who He made us to be, and call ‘good’ what He has already called good.  What a sadness it must be to Him to have us hate ourselves. 

Repent! And renew your mind with who He says you are.  I promise, your whole perspective will change.

Next time, one teeny, tiny fact that lifted a HUGE burden.

What about you, sister?  Does any of this resonate with your heart?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Capture the Moment: Part 2

Last time I shared how I sense the need to Capture the Moments.  How life is a blur and how the moments can easily be missed.

Today I want to define, moments and capture.  Being a ‘words’ person, this helps me make it real.

Moments: a brief, indefinite interval of time, a particular period of importance, a brief period of time that is characterized by a quality, such as excellence or distinction.

I notice right away that ‘moments’ are brief, important.  I would agree that our moments here on earth, with our loved ones truly are ‘brief’ and oh, so important.

Capture:  to take captive, seize, gain possession of, to hold, preserve.

This is my desire, to take captive and preserve, if only for a short while, these precious moments that are so brief and important.

Some examples of what this might look like.

Stopping to watch four little children all bundled up in snow clothes traipsing through the deep snow behind the pond.  Smile, breathe it in.

Lingering long in his embrace.  Inhaling and noticing that familiar scent.  Purposing to feel the arms around you, feeling loved.

Noticing the beautiful landscape, how everything is covered in a thick blanket of freshly fallen snow.  Everything white and clean.  Beauty from my Father.

Watching as she tries out new skills in the kitchen, the sheer delight and sense of accomplishment on her face.  Pausing to capture this memory.

Seeing the grieving couple.  How, even though their hearts are broken, they love, hold each other up.  Years of being tossed about, yet their strength and love for each other is evident.  Letting the eyes fill with tears at such raw beauty.

Not rushing through the morning snuggles with the ‘baby’, who is almost too big to fit on my lap.  Cherishing these moments, they are so brief and fleeting.  One day the bursting through the door each morning will stop.

Oh, for eyes to see, and grace to stop, in this busy season.  I don’t want to miss any of it.  But I do, I choose to pass on by.  It is a choice. 

Do I, by the grace of God, choose to train my heart and eyes to stop, capture, seize and make my very own possession out of these fleeting and brief moments in time?   Or do I continue to let life whizz on by? I desire to stop,  S.L.O.W to soak up and savor the moments.

What are some ‘moments’ that you have purposed to capture?  I would love to read them, please share.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Capture the Moments

Life, being what it is, fleeting, doesn’t seem to stop.  Life doesn’t seem to care how important each moment is.  It just marches on and we are caught up in, whether we like it or not.

It is so easy for the moments, the days, the years to get away from us.  You know what I mean, don’t you?  Each season in life is different. 

When you have a house full of babies, it seems the moments d.r.a.g on, am I right?

When your house if filled with teenagers, time seems to whiz on by.

I find myself in a very different season right now.  I have adult children, teenagers, and littles.  I also have a business and ministry that demands a lot of my time.  If I am not careful, time gets away from me.  The moments, they fly by and it all looks like a blur.  So much of life is missed when it’s all blurry.

The Lord has been speaking to my heart lately.  The word ‘moments’ keeps coming to my mind.  My days with the children are no longer defined by the minutes in my beautifully printed up schedule that has each and every minute accounted for.  Schedule??  That’s funny!

No, it’s different right now.  It’s the ‘moments’ I am after.  ‘Capture the Moments’, I hear whispered in my heart.  Stop and and grab hold of the moments.  Cherish them, delight in them.

I feel the need to ponder this.  Next time, let’s define ‘moment’ and ‘capture’.  Maybe look for ways to ‘Capture the Moments’

What season do you find yourself in right now? Is life a bit ‘blurry’?


Friday, February 15, 2013


I am joining Lisa-Jo today, for Five Minute Friday.  Today’s prompt was Beloved.

He calls me, My Beloved. On his phone, that is my name. He loves with an amazing love. This girl, the little girl in me who has only longed to be loved and accepted, well, he has been loving me whole for nearly 26 years now.

It was strange, I thought, that he would love me. I mean, he is so cool and man, is he gorgeous. But he did. He pursued me. I was afraid at first, had been wounded way too many times to fall for this one. I played hard to get. Well, not really that hard. I kept one of his first messages on my answering machine for weeks. I would play it over and over again. I couldn’t understand what his last name was, so I guessed and looked in the phone book for possible last names. I laugh at myself now. Such a tough cookie on the outside, but I was a melting marshmallow on the inside.

Through thick and thin, literally, this man has loved me. When several pregnancies had left their marks all over my body, he would touch them, I would recoil. He said he loved them because they were proof of the children we have together.

Yes, I am his beloved. I know it every day as he lays down his life for me, over and over and over again.

Five Minute Friday

Monday, February 11, 2013

Healing My Heart: Letters to My Heart

Something happens—a flash from the past—reminds me of who I was, and tries to convince me it’s actually who I am.  Hurts long since dealt with seem to burst my heart wide open.

In an instant I am that little girl desperate for love.  Seeking ‘normal’ in my broken world.  The rejections, the ‘used, tossed aside, left in a heap’ shame.  It all seems to be right there—waves of tears wash over me.  Chest heaving sobs I try to hide in the shower.  How can this be?  I know I’ve been forgiven—as far as the east is from the west.

I’m really just stunned by it all.  I share it all with the man who loves me.  It’s not new to him.  I’m embarrassed to talk to my ‘husband’ about this.  Oh, for a girlfriend to share it with, but really, who knows me better?  What will he think?

He prays and listens and wipes away tear after tear. Never once repulsed by my words.  He reminds me that I’ve been plunged beneath that flood and lost all my guilty stains.  I am new.  I am clean.  No guilt or shame has an audience with me.  Silence them with His great name.  In the name of Jesus Christ.

I need to sit with my Father—hear His voice.  Listen to what He has to say.  Let His life giving word breathe life and healing and hope into my bruised heart and battered soul.  What He spoke to me is the foundation of the latest Letters to My Heart.

Dearest Michelle,

First of all, always remember that your loving Father used those circumstances, that pain, the rejection, to protect you from what wasn’t for you and to bring you to His perfect plan for your life.  It had absolutely nothing to do with you being unlovable or no good.  There was nothing ‘wrong’ with you!

Michelle, you were chosen, actually picked by the only One who really matters.  When others tossed you aside, your Father was right there choosing you every time.

You are holy.  You have been cleansed and made whole and holy.  Pure and blameless!

You are loved.  Even if every earthly love fails, His love never, ever will fail.  The Lord of lords and the King of kings loves you with an everlasting love—a forever love.

He loves you with an everlasting love and with loving-kindness has He drawn you

You will and are being rebuilt.  You will go forth with dancing.  He is your Father.  He keeps you as a shepherd keeps His flock.

He has already ransomed you from the hand that was too strong for you.

Michelle, you are always loved, adored, accepted and precious in the sight of the one Who has created you.

Recognize that you have been set free.  Look at your feet, there lie the chains, the guilt, the shame.  You have only need to walk away from it.  Hold your head up, beam with love and acceptance as you walk away, clothed in His righteousness alone.  You are His girl.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No Eye Has Seen

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Oh, ladies!  I have just come back from an amazing experience.  I doubt I will be able to put into words all that this meant to me.  I can honestly say that it was quite a ‘perspective’ changing experience!


I was asked, way back in September, to be a ‘featured presenter’ at two Women’s Expos here in Michigan.  I was literally blown away by the offer.  I believe, ‘who me?’ was my response.  The plan was for us to have a very large display booth for our business and I would share about {re}imagining furniture, hand painted signs and creative repurposing from the stage three times a day.


I was told I could share whatever my heart desired.  I felt from the second I was asked that this was a platform to encourage women.  Yes, it would likely be good for our business, but my main focus was the women.

This past weekend was more than I could have ever dreamt of.  I felt His presence every single second.  It felt completely natural to be up on that stage sharing Him and what He has done.  After the sixth talk, the owner of the show asked how I was doing and it just came out of my mouth.  I said, “I think I am doing what I was created to do.”  I have always desired it, encouraging women, touching their hearts for Him, putting my arm around them and telling them of His faithfulness and that it is going to be okay.  But now I was living it.

I am completely humbled by this opportunity.  It wasn’t something I sought out, He arranged it all.  I knew it was Him all the way.  When fear would try to come in, He was there to strengthen.  When the doubts of ‘who do you think you are’ would whisper.  I heard, loud and clear, I am a child of God, here to do His will. 

When I wasn’t sure where to start or what to say, His Spirit was right there giving me the words.

At the end of each talk I gave away a book that I love called, “You Are Already Amazing”.  I would require the winner of the book to repeat after me, “I am already amazing”.  The tears and emotions that this simple statement brought confirmed the message the Lord had for them was spot on.  I also gave them a small hand painted sign that simply said, ‘Loved’ on it.  It was to remind them that were indeed loved.  (another part of my talk)

The super cool part of all of this??  I get to do it again in March, in my hometown of Grand Rapids, MI.  I could not be more thrilled and honored.


Perhaps I can share the heart of my message here, though it has been woven through just about everything I have written here.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Letters To My heart: Gossip (you may need this!)

Well, it keeps happening.  Opportunity to practice what I preach. (pun intended)  I cannot believe the difference this “Letters To My Heart”, preaching to myself, is making in my life.  I cannot believe the freedom I experience when I preach the WORD to my heart.  I love His Word and how it transforms.

Dearest One,

I know it stings, hurts actually, when others gossip and slander, especially when it is towards you and your own.

You are a child of the Most High, there is but one road, the narrow one.

First of all, separate that person from their sins. They are completely ‘lost’ in this situation. Recognize that this is just a scheme of the enemy. See it for what it is. See her for who she is, a sinner, like you. You have the same potential to wound and to be arrogant.

But you must bless and not curse!  You can and must choose to love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless them that curse you and pray for them!

Dearest, in the areas that you are yet blind, how would you want someone to treat you? Criticize and judge? Be harsh with you and think awful thoughts about you? No, you would want love and patience, to be given time for you to mature. So do unto others a you would have them do unto you.

Be like your Father, He is kind and merciful to the unthankful and evil, including you.

You must forgive, for there is no other option. Forgive and you shall be forgiven.

Do not repay evil for evil, nor try to avenge yourself, give that to the Lord you are His. He will work all things together for good in your life. You simply have need to trust and obey, for there really is no other way.

Dear one, do not be overcome by the evil intended to hurt, divide and destroy your joy and peace, but overcome evil with good.

Far better to allow this situation to conform you into the image of Christ than to ‘make them understand’, to try and clear you name or let them know just how wrong and awful they are.

This is where the rubber meets the road, kid

His grace is sufficient to enable you to obey his Word.

Love . . . Do good. . .  Bless. . .  Pray . . .  Forgive . . .

repeat after me. . .

Love . . . Do good. . . Bless. . . Pray . . . Forgive . . .

Love . . . Do good. . . Bless. . . Pray . . . Forgive . . .

Repeat as many times as necessary or when the ugly thoughts come flooding in!

Have you been ‘stung’ by other’s gossip?  Did you forgive?  You must, you know.  Doesn’t make you never want to say another thing about another person, ever?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Are You Doing It?

I can’t seem to get away from it, this concept of ‘preaching to oneself’.  The Lord has been speaking to my heart sometime about it.  It seems everywhere I turn He is confirming it.  On Facebook or in books I am reading or thumbing through.

Don’t worry, I’m listening and obeying.  Here’s the latest installment in ‘Letters to My Heart’.

We have got to preach to ourselves!  We spend so much time listening to the voice of the enemy or our own thoughts.  Where does that get us?  Overwhelmed?  Sad?  Lonely?  Hopeless?

What if, by the grace of God, the minute we recognize we are about to slide down that slippery slope, we stopped just for a second.  What if, again by His grace, we grabbed ourselves by the scruff and said,

“Self, stop this complaining and belly-aching, Hope thou in God!

The hand of the Lord is NOT too short for you and your sorry situation.

He is the Lord, the God of all flesh and is there anything too difficult for Him?

Self, have you not known?  Have you not heard?  It is He that sits upon the circle of the earth . . . it is He that stretched out the heavens . . .

Lift up your eyes! and behold who hath created these things, that brings out the starry host by number; He calls them by name, by the greatness of His might, for He is strong in power . . .

Why, O Why, do you complain and fear?  If He is for you who can be against you?  Nothing can separate you from His love.

Put your hope in God!  For you will praise Him—He is the hope of your countenance and your God!”

There, don’t you feel better now?  This one was a bit more ‘firm’ than the others, I guess it depends on the need.  Don’t be afraid to repeat as necessary.  If you are anything like me, it might just be ‘necessary’ several times a day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Embracing the “No”

I am continuing my journey to have the proper perspective, and the Lord seems to delight to show me example after example of how one little twist of my perspective can turn a situation around.

The example I am about to give seems extremely trivial, but the principle is the same.  Trust me when I say I have had to ‘embrace’ the many hard and gut wrenching “No’s” also.  Truth be told, I haven’t always fared that well.  It’s a process.

Brian and I were at a sale for our business and had purchased several things for a really good price.  All that was left that was drawing us were these 3 industrial carts.  They were an amazing price.  They would make our furniture storage and moving of it, so much easier.  I mean, way easier.  We waffled back and forth and decided to walk away, trusting that if they were for us they would be there the next day for less.  We just don’t have room in our operating budget to purchase things that simply make our life easier.  Unless we can turn a profit on it, we just need to wait.

I struggled the whole 24 hours to just trust God. I really, really wanted them.  I found myself having to take deep breaths to calm my tummy.  I would ask Brian if we should just call and get them.  (He is ridiculously good at waiting)  I couldn’t get them out of my mind, but I kept releasing it to God

I would say, ‘if these are not from You, I don’t want them.’  But I really wanted them.  Seems trivial, I know.

Here’s the deal. Do I really want something that is not from His hand?  I think of the Israelites, He gave them their request but sent leanness into their soulsWhat if the “No” is really a gift?  My almighty Father knows all, the beginning from the end.  Can I trust Him to only give me what is best for me and to bring Him the most glory?

I think of all the “No’s” that seemed so hard.  Sometimes cruel.  Looking back I now see the picture just a little bit clearer.  I would not be who I am today without those ‘No’s’.  I would not have the testimony I do.  I would not have the heart I do for those who are hurting.  I suspect I would be a shallow, know-it-all little brat!

The ‘No’ to keeping those babies we lost to miscarriage has caused me to trust Him in ways I never had before.  They have given me such a deeper appreciation for the gift of children.  My heart is infinitely more sensitive to mamas who have lost babies.  And that love and grace I experienced that February afternoon in the hospital after losing our second baby at 17 weeks, incomparable!  I would do it again in a heartbeat to experience Him in that way.

The ‘No’ to years of a prodigal coming home . . .

The ‘No’ to relief from serious, heart-wrenching situations . . .

The ‘No’ to finding a church all those years . . .

The ‘No’ to financial freedom . . .

The ‘No’ to health for so long . . .

The ‘No’ to . . .

You fill in the blank.  Ladies, His ‘No’ just may be the best thing for us!  Untold treasures are being formed in us.  He knows what is best.  And I have found, that often times, the ‘No’ might just become a ‘yes’ some time later, maybe just in a different form.

What ‘No’ might you need to embrace to bring you peace right now?  I am not talking about just sitting back and taking a whippin’ from the enemy.  I am talking about submitting to your Father, humble yourself under His might hand that He may exalt you in due time, casting your care upon Him, because He cares for you.

Father, may we always and only seek Your will for our lives.  May we have grace to surrender all our desires to You and trust YOU to bring them about in YOUR timing.

Two hours after posting this, we found out that the carts were still available and we got them for $50 less than we were willing to pay!!! Amazing!!