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!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Awakening of Hope

For years I was afraid to hope.  Every time I did hope, it was crushed.  Hope seemed to die in me all those years ago.  I couldn’t handle the pain, the shock of each devastating event, so I just stopped hoping.

If anything good happened, it hadn’t started with hope in me.  I began to expect or ‘hope’ for the worst.  At least then I was prepared for what might come next.

Secret hopes from deep in my heart, I simply gave up the hope of ever seeing them.

It’s so sad to me now, to realize I lived that way for so long.  I didn’t even recognize that I was.  No wonder life was so hard and my heart and my heart unbearably heavy.  Yes, the circumstances all those years were excruciating and heart breaking, but when all hope is gone, what else is left?

I didn’t realize that I had laid down my hopes—it’s only now that I sense hope coming alive on the inside of me that I see.  Why does hindsight always seem to be so crystal clear?

When you have hope, you feel alive.  For so long I didn’t feel alive.  It has been happening, this coming to life.  Hope is springing up in places I thought were long since dead.

I sense the Lord awakening and watering hopes and dreams I buried along time ago.  I sometimes feel like I can’t contain them all.  I am humbled.  I am in awe.  I wait on Him.

Has hope died in you?  Has your heart been crushed so many times that hope was left there fatally wounded? 

May I pray for you?  Drop me an email—I’d be honored.  Don’t feel as though you have to bare your soul—just a simple ‘please pray’ is all it will take.

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:21-26)



Watch This Amazing Testimony

This was absolutely amazing and a delight to watch.  I dare you to watch it.  I dare you to watch it and look at your life the same when you are done.  (I am in NO way advocating watching Oprah, I came across this on a friend’s blog)

Pretty amazing, yes?  Our God is so awesome and awe-inspiring!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Letters to My Heart: Stress

I have written about the importance of ‘Preaching’ to your self and how it can change your whole perspective.  When the battle is intense, sometimes a good old fashioned sermon is what the heart needs!  Just ask the Holy Spirit, He is willing to oblige.

I have some events coming up that I need to prepare for.  In the natural, I might just be in a little bit over my head.  I know the Lord has called me to this, but my natural tendency is to fret, be anxious and stress over the details. He has shown me over and over and over again that He ALWAYS comes through, but I still fret over the details.

Here is the latest ‘Letter To My Heart’.  I purposely used general terms so you could apply it to your own situation.(just substitute your name)

Dearest Michelle,

As you face these upcoming situations, put no confidence in the flesh, don’t put any hope in ‘you’ doing this.  Michelle, it is Christ who strengthens you!  It is Christ in you, not you yourself.

So stand fast, dear one, the battle may still rage on, but you can stand fast.  You already have the victory—you are more than a conqueror, more than, through Christ.  God has given you the victory!

Be steadfast and unmovable no matter how intense the temptation.

Michelle, the best battle plan is simply to rejoice in the Lord!  Be glad in Him.  Choose it.  Find your joy in Him, whenever the winds of fear, doubt or stress come to blow you over, tell them to ‘be still’ and rejoice in Him, His goodness—faithfulness.  Glory in Him.  Joy comes from praising HIM.

You are going to be tempted to complain and grumble that the load is too big, that you are alone in this , that you can’t see your way through.  Don’t do it—just rejoice in Him.

Michelle, do not allow anxiety or fear a voice in your mind!  Not even one whisper!  But in every.single.thing offer up to your Father what you need.  Do it with thanksgiving in your heart because you know how faithful and good He is.

And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Finally, dearest one, choose to think on the Truth.

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

Your faithful Father will supply for all your needs according to His riches in glory.

He’s got this, sweetie, it’s all Him, you’re just along for the ride, might as well enjoy it. Smile


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Game Changing Habit

One thing, habit, if you will, that I think is a game changer for me is simply this,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Taken from Job 1:21
And said, naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
First of all, anything I have, came from Him. I brought nothing into this equation, it was all Him.
Secondly, He can choose to give and He can choose to take away.  No matter what it is, it is not mine to decide or make happen, but His.  I simply submit to Him and humble myself to His plans and purposes.
The phrase I hear echo over and over in my head, day in and day out, is,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
As I purpose to make the habit to humble myself and thank Him in all things, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord’, I believe deep changes are happening on the inside.  I am seeing it already. The peace, the rest, the joy, is all tied to this one thing, giving thanks in ALL things.
You have sweet potato hashbrowns every.single.morning, today, they are moldy . . . Blessed be the name of the Lord.
You hear the bickering, wait, it sounds familiar.  Ah, yes, they sound just like you! . . . Blessed be the name of the Lord.
You have been waiting for help with a project that needs to get done and you can’t finish it yourself.  You just find out it will be another week before it gets done. . .  Blessed be the name of the Lord.
How is it after several ‘pick-ups’ throughout the day, that after everyone goes to bed the house still looks like a disaster? . . . Blessed be the name of the Lord.
You sell lots of product, you sell no product. . . Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Your purchase on Amazon doesn’t go through, again, ‘card denied’.  Eight months without a paycheck continues to cause struggles. . . Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Three days straight of a painful migraine and debilitating nausea. . . Blessed be the name of the Lord.
A strained relationship, wounds from a ‘friend’, again. . . Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Being completely and utterly misunderstood, your heart judged by someone anonymous.  How do they not see my heart? . . . Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Should I go on?  You see my point, right?  Obviously these are ‘easy’ compared to some of life’s deep aches, but the principle is the same.  For me, by saying, “Blessed be the name of the Lord”, I am thanking Him, submitting to Him and allowing Him to work in the situation.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

He Turns Fifty

My dearest husband,

Today you turned fifty!  I know it seems old, well, depending on perspective, it sort of is. Winking smile But don’t let that bother you, it ain’t nothing but a thing!  It matters not to me.

You are my bestest friend ever!  I am able to share my heart of hearts with you.  You are my biggest encourager and advocate.  There is NOTHING I would rather do than be with you!  We have so much fun together. You make me laugh so hard!  I have no idea how I got so blessed with you, but I will not question it.


I love this new season of life we are in.  I love the ones we have already been in, and I look forward to the ones to come.

I pray you know today and everyday just how very much you are loved and cherished, not only by us, but by your heavenly Father!  He chose you.  He loves  you.  You are precious in His sight!

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?  (selections from Isaiah 43)

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 3:12-14)

Let’s press on, my sweet, no matter what comes ahead, we have HIM!  ‘I love you’ hardly seems strong enough, but I LOVE YOU!  I really, really do!

Love Always,


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Monday, January 7, 2013

Preach To Yourself!

For me to change or keep the proper perspective in life I am going to need to do my share of preaching to myself.  Do you do that, preach to yourself?  Take a scripture and just really ‘drive it home’?  Need an example of what it looks like for me?

When I happen on a scripture or set of scriptures that really speak to me and I somehow want them deeper and deeper in my heart.  I want to ‘eat’ them, they are so good. I wish they could be tattooed to my forehead, I love it so much.

Well, that happened recently with Colossian 3:12-17.  Here is how I wrote out my ‘sermon’ to myself.

Dearest Michelle, (always talk to yourself w/love)

You, my sweet, are chosen, holy and dearly loved!  Put on therefore tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. 

Be forbearing with others, forgive them just as Christ forgave you.

And above all this, Michelle, put on LOVE!

Let the peace of God rule in your heart . . . and be thankful, woman.

Michelle, let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teach your children and admonish them in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs . . .  sing, Michelle, with grace in your heart to the Lord.  You have every reason to!

Dear one, whatsoever you do today, whether in word, or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God.

See, pretty simple, right? Just think of it as a ‘note to self’ of sorts.  It is just another way to meditate on His word, which we are to do day and night.  Read and preach to yourself frequently!  This is one of those cases where it is perfectly fine to be talking to yourself, I promise.

I cannot tell you much this changes the whole perspective of my days.  The Holy Spirit brings to mind parts of the scripture at just the right time so I can adjust my course, if needed.

Try it, I dare you.  Re-read the above but insert your name.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WORD of 2013!

I have noticed that the prayer of my heart of late has been for my eyes to be open to the wonders of Him.  I want to see His hand in my everyday.  I know He is there, I just want to see it. 

Maybe it is because my heart knows that when I ‘see’ Him, His hand and His love, joy floods my soul.  Peace overwhelms me.  When I ‘see’ Him the circumstances and storms of life seem less likely to knock me down and stomp all over me.  Also, the good days are that much better when enjoyed with Him.

That’s what I want.  To not be so easily knocked down.  To live each day with wide-eyed wonder of Him.  To be like a love-sick school girl, hanging on His every move.

. . . in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

While praying for a name for the new year, perspective kept coming to mind. 

Perspective:  a way of regarding situations, facts and judging their relative importance;  the proper or accurate view or the ability to see it.

You see, when our perspective is proper our hearts are at peace.  Even the most dire straits can appear less dire with the proper perspective.  Think about it for a minute.  Imagine a circumstance and look at it from two different points of view.  You will see what I mean.

When I realize that my life is in the hands of an all sovereign Father who loves and cherishes me, that everything in my life is by His hand and for His purpose and glory and my good, things don’t look nearly as bad.

When I realize that this life is all about Him and His glory, when I really see my life through this perspective so many of my self-focused ideas just fall away.

When my perspective is through His word and His love the fight for joy is less intense.  Don’t think for one second I think this is going to be easy.  Not for a second!  But I am so excited with what He is showing me.  2012 was a crazy busy year and it left this mama feeling a bit battered, weary and dry.  These past few weeks have been almost like a ‘retreat’ with the Lord.  He refreshes His weary ones, that is for sure.


So, do you ‘name’ your year?  Any scripture, phrases or words to start your year off?  I would love to hear them.