Monday, January 26, 2015

Brahma Calves and Arm Bars



We used to raise Brahma cross cattle, and one year a rodeo company wanted to borrow some calves for tie down roping (calf roping). If you have ever watched a roping at a branding, or at a rodeo, you know what happens. The horse and cowboy chase, they throw a loop and if they are lucky it lands around the neck of the calf. The horse stops, the calf falls down to be treated, branded, etc.

But this time something different happened! The calves felt the rope tighten and they turned around to run back up the rope towards the horse.

If you know anything about calf roping horses you know they love their routine and they don't appreciate things like misses, stumbles or falls. It can unravel them if something completely wild happens! 

The whole rodeo went awry! The horses balked and bolted, the cowboys tripped and cussed. The calves chased. Snorted. Ducked their heads and tried to bunt anyone who got in their way.

I always cheered for the calves, and this was one time they beat the odds. They did the unexpected and changed everything!

One thing, no one ever used Brahama calves for roping again. And those horses took a few head to calm down. And those cowboys never assumed that a run would go the way the others in the past had.

Our son loves jiu jitsu. He has practiced it for years, and is a yellow belt.  At his new gym his Sensei has brought out a fighting spirit, a determination, a real passion in him.  He is practicing, sparring and fighting like never before.

He is also learning to gauge his opponents, and use their habits and weaknesses against them. Most people who learn a tap out technique like an arm-bar tend to use it as often as they can. It seems unbeatable. Own the arm, own the body is what we learn.

But you also learn that if you get caught in an arm bar you need to move towards your opponent. To make room to counter their move. Moving towards the pressure instead of pulling back gives you room to move. To escape. 

Like running up the rope, rolling into an armbar or other hold can give you a space to make a new move.

Now I know you are wondering, how does this have anything to do with our walk with Jesus?

Lately, for me, a lot.

Like a Chinese finger trap, the more I struggle against certain things the more they seem to cling, to grasp, to tighten up on me.  The more I pull back from them the more they hold me tight.

In leaning back I am struggling against my pride, my sin, my __________________.  And I am struggling against God.

But what if I lean in. Relax. Let God show me the next move and the path away?  Instead of losing my cool. Or feeling like fighting. Struggling with frustration. With people and their agendas. 

Instead of giving all my energy to fight against it, what if I just surrender my struggle and let God show me His way?  His path and not my own?

Human nature encourages us to go the easy way. The path is wide there. Paved. Poisoned. Filled with traps. Deadly.  Human nature tells us to fight against this. Fight against that.

God tells us to let Him fight for us. God tells us not to worry. God tells us to trust. To do as He guides us to.  

To run back up the rope. To roll into the attempted arm-bar. To pray instead of argue. To choose grace over revenge.

To be like water and wear down the stone by persistence instead of brute force. To pray for hearts and hands instead of shouting and wielding fists.

To stop being mad at early mornings, instead cherishing the quiet moments before the wild ones awaken.  To stop being frustrated that they won't do it my way, but to be glad for the efforts of genuine heart and love.  To treasure the moments by moving into them, instead of pulling back and away to the next thing on the list of things to do.

What are you pulling and fighting against?  What are you struggling with alone?  Go up the rope! Roll into the arm-bar. God will show you the way once you stop struggling. We have to be still for Him to fight for us. Be still sisters. Be still brothers. And when He says SHOUT! walls will come down!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Guest Post: Fast Food Faith or Feasting with The King

We are a busy bunch aren’t we? Our plates our full, and we say yes to a plethora of activities without ever checking in with the One who fills our plates with good things.
I am not equipped to live this life apart from God.
Neither are you.
I cannot be the woman, wife, mother that God wants me to be apart from prioritizing Him having His way with me, IN ME.
My default is self, and I grab the reigns for this ride of life because (I believe) if I don’t who will? I buy into the lie that I am the one who needs to take charge and my God grows smaller as I push Him off His throne of grace and seize the day.
I charge into the day, having read a few words from the Bible and getting on thinking I am good with God, and I am all set for the day. Then I find my fuse short, my day long and I wonder why I feel a rumbling hunger in my soul, unquenchable angst of the heart.
I have no desire for Him, unless I spend time in intimacy with Him.
Like food, we acquire a taste and appetite for more of that which nourishes us and tastes good! Time with God nourishes us and tastes good. It provides for us what we need to get through the day with energy and zeal. But I confess, that the taste must be aquired, and there are a number of  forces competing for our attention.
The question becomes, do we want more of Him or more of Self? I have lived a good part of my life allowing self to reign. I think sometimes we kid ourselves into believing we are too busy for God, or sometimes we allow other things to squeeze out our desire to prioritize spending time with Him. We don’t say we are too busy for Him, we are to pious for that! No, we just get through the day like a stray dog begging for scraps, instead of recognizing our place at the King’s Table.
How can we who have this One Faithful Loving God ready and available to us, yet settle for fast food faith that doesn’t satisfy?
Are you spiritually malnourished or nourished at His table?
Take time to sit at the King’s Table today, will you- you won’t regret feasting with Him.
Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love. Song of Solomon 2:4

Special thanks to Dawn from http://enthusiasticallydawn.com/ for guest posting for me this week. Please stop by her blog for more great posts and poetry too!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Expectant Believer

I keep coming back to the Message Bible describing Joseph of Arimathea as an "expectant believer". He lived expectantly, on the lookout for the Kingdom of God.

Am I? Am I abiding in Him in such a way that I am expectant of His presence, of His promise, made real? Am I phoning it in, or taking the easy skimming way? Am I expecting to see Jesus in my life in real ways, or am I 'hoping He has time for me'?

In a world of negative, of looking for the worst, we need to be expectant more of God. It is an active faith, a living faith. One that seeks. One that searches. One that lives.

I am learning, slowly, that this walk of faith has so many layers. We talk about going deeper like we would the ocean, assuming there is a bottom. A depth where we stop. I think there is no bottom. The deeper is like going deeper into space - we keep going and going. Closer and closer to Him to be sure, but how can there be limits with a limitless God?
I rest in my faith, right now I have to.  No rock of 'a map'. Just Him. And taking the next step even though I can't see the one after. (and the planner in me HATES that sometimes, most of the time. But we are learning to trust.).
That not having a Plan B or Plan C, but going all in for Plan A terrifies and thrills me. Win, lose or draw I'm going with God. He has this. And I just need to saddle up and ride.

As our Pastor Kevin Weatherby of Save The Cowboy says, you have to choose to tie on hard and fast to Jesus. We can have a looser dally for somethings, but our faith needs to to tied on. Don't let go. Don't lose your stirrups or drop the reins.

And the post that got this one going is found here: http://www.joannfore.com/intimacy-with-god/ 
Stop by and have a read. And be blessed. Don't miss the great conversations happening in the comments.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Seasons and voices






So far I've written and deleted this post twice three times. I wanted to write a sweet tie up to our journey with Jo Ann and the amazing #VoiceBloggers.

But that isn't what God wants me to share today.

And the more I struggle to NOT share it, the more deleting and retyping I have to do.

Not everyone is happy when we find our voice. They don't like their comfort being upset by growth. By change. By something new.

Some are happy for the change. But not for us. They see our voice as something to use. To manage. To own. They are watching for us to fall back on old habits. Their quiet cynicism a sharp barb. They expect us to fall. We are fallen people.  

So they wait. 

And watch.

And sharpen their barbs.

I KNEW you couldn't keep it up. A tiger can't change it's stripes.

I KNEW you'd lose your cool.

Can't you just________________for once?

They miss the transformation. They miss the change in our hearts. The voice is only part of what we have found. 

I will mutter. I will growl at inanimate objects. I will probably take a computer crash personally. That isn't my transformation. That isn't my voice.

I will see where my voice is not needed, and speak love as I leave.

I will refrain from going to an argument I've been invited to, and speak peace as I walk away.

I will brush away the cynical barb and instead of tossing it back, I will give it to Jesus.

These stripes are mine baby. No one really cares if a tiger is black on orange or orange on black. 

I wrote a poem last week.  This is part of it:

I don’t know where we are going, or when, limbo is so strange.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t miss this adventure for anything!
Praying for broken hearts and praising in the hallway.
On the other hand we have much to be thankful for.
Thankful for what makes us stronger, what passes us by.
On the other hand I fight against that which I can’t change.
It’s futile, I know, running back to a closed gate.
On the other hand sometimes I can be a hard learner.
We are told to praise in the hallway, waiting can be so hard!
On the other hand He never said not to make windows.

I am not a pretty church girl from a poster. 
I'm standing in the hallway dreaming of a chainsaw to make some windows. 
To cut a new door. To move this thing along. 
I wanted to use my voice like a chainsaw the other day. I am so thankful God stayed my hand. Quieted my voice. Stilled my heart.
I wanted to know why I was no longer wanted. Why I was reduced to thanks for your interest. Why I wasn't worthy of more information. Better communication. I wanted to stomp my feet and toss some barbs of my own.
Ugh. Ugly, no? Yeah. But I didn't. That's the transformation. I didn't.
I accepted them for where they were at. I asked the questions. I left the answering to God. 
And walked away.  Unfollowed the page. Restricted their access to my life. 
Guess what? They haven't noticed. And guess what else? That's okay.  It isn't about me. It's about them. And God. And God working on them. 
Mostly though. It's about me. And God working on me. 
Come over and see what the other amazing #VoiceBloggers are sharing today on our last link up with Jo Ann. Don't worry though, there are more amazing things coming that we will do together! Promise. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Paper tiger teeth



I feel like I've been busy pulling teeth from paper tigers - the words, lessons and false messages of my past ambush me in the strangest ways. Less than before for which I am so thankful to Jesus. But still when that acid hits my stomach and the FIGHT defense comes up so fast I hardly know what to do.
And I instantly regret it. The outburst. The frustration. The hard face and harsh voice. It seems all my life I have failed in those areas, like God gave me a short fuse and said, "Okay have fun with that!" knowing it would take me 30 some years to figure out I need to stay away from people with matches. And lighters. And other open flames. Even if they are family. Even if they are friends. Even if they say they mean well or they are doing God's work. And I need to stop lighting them when I feel frustrated and want to blow it all up. BOOM.
Sharing my story, well honestly parts of my story, has been done to share my healing journey not because I did anything special but because God did. To share my beliefs that we need to speak up. To advocate for those with no voice. And encourage them in finding their voice. And then listening when they do. Giving them ownership of it. Building them up like the walls in Nehemiah and guarding them.
I'm a much better encourager than a sharer. There are two kinds of unhealthy responses to sharing our hurts: the drama lovers. They want the details, every blood smear and tear drop. They don't want to hear the healing but have you relive the hurt. For their entertainment. The others are the 'get over its' when they hear you have a story their response is: It's in the past, let it go. Move on. Leave that ____ behind. They don't care to get messy. Or involved. They want you as is comfortable for them. Not you.
God brought me through. I'm on the healing path. I'm an encourager and advocate. I'm a reforming (daily? minute by minute more likely) ogress. I love passionately and lean on my Lord, unworthy and yet completely redeemed and loved. Yeah it makes me cry. And yeah I fear moving forward with story, sharing and *gasp* community where all the vulnerabilities come out. But God moves me and I'm learning to go. Sometimes dragging my feet, sometimes making excuses but I go.
I am thankful for this community, for these women. We laugh together, create and pray. It is a huge blessing to me. A life changer.

~  ~  ~

This post was originally a comment here: http://www.joannfore.com/online-study-9  Jo Ann said in her reply it was a post on it's own. So I decided to give it some wings and let it fly!  This is raw. This is real. This is right now.

Want to know more about this story, and the stories of other women who are Finding Their Voice?  Join us at JoAnnFore.com for the ongoing study of her amazing book When A Woman Finds Her Voice.

Join in for the blog prompts, leap in for the study, join us on Facebook, read posts by the encouraging and real #VoiceBloggers and be encouraged. Be real. Be loved.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Guest Post: Carey Scott, Lord Help Me

For the Lord watches over the righteous and listens to their prayers… (1 Peter 3:2)

Sometimes praying for your husband is hard to do.

You have thoughts in your head and emotions in your heart, but the words don’t come.

Other times, you get tripped up with details. Am I praying enough? Am I saying the right things? Am I asking too much? Can I even ask God for this?

And sometimes, you feel like your prayers aren’t acceptable. You believe, based on your past choices or current struggles, God won’t listen to you. Instead, you’re certain He is angry and has turned His back.

Anyone?

Oh the enemy does all he can to discourage and destroy your prayer life. Why? Because he knows its power, and he doesn’t want you to discover it.

Without a doubt, your husband needs a wife that prays.

Think about it. Each morning, he walks into a world that continues to move farther away from God. Morals are flexible. Sexual temptations are everywhere. Family values are considered old-fashioned. And the sanctity of marriage looks much different today than even a few years ago.

We can’t hide in a bubble.

We can’t live tucked away from the world.

But we can pray.

We can always pray.

Prayer can change a heart, shift a circumstance, and bring victory to a situation. It’s one of the most powerful weapons you have in your arsenal.

And while scripture assures us God knows the desire of our heart even when our words lack eloquence… sometimes we just need a little help.

I wrote Lord Help Me: 32 Ways to Pray for Your Husband with that in mind.


My book offers 32 different prayersall backed with scripture – surrounding four important areas: his career, his relationships, his faith, and his character.

You’ll find sample prayers on topics like:
  • Safety as he travels
  • Financial wisdom
  • Leading the family
  • Modeling godliness to his children
  • Being a godly husband
  • His salvation
  • A Christ-centered identity
  • Protection from sexual temptation
  • Taming his tongue
  • Integrity
  • Contentment
  • …and much more
But wait! There’s more! (Read with cheesy infomercial voice)
~ At the beginning of the book, my husband shares his experience of being on the receiving end of a wife’s prayers, and how it’s affected his life and our marriage. I think it will really encourage you.
~ There’s a prayer just for you to prepare your heart for this journey.
~ Each section ends with “My Thoughts” offering a few of my personal experiences, struggles and victories in our marriage.
~ You’ll find “Your Turn” challenge questions throughout the book designed to help you better focus your prayers.

Listen girls, I’m not a prayer expert. My words aren’t more important than yours. God doesn't consider my prayers more holy. But so often, I hear from women who say they just need a little help.

And honestly, aren't we in this together?

The prayers in Lord Help Me are tools to guide you as you become a powerful praying wife.

 And now thru Thursday, January 23… you can get your eBook copy for only $.99

 After that, it will be available on Kindle for $2.99 and paperback for $9.99.

And, it’s your chance to own a copy before it’s available to the public. Oh, and please pass this along to your friends and family so they can get their copy, too!


Girls, my greatest hope and prayer is that this book gives words to your thoughts… tenders your heart… strengthens your resolve… heals your marriage… rekindles your love… awakens your inner prayer-warrior… and connects you to the only One who can answer the prayers you pray for your husband.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks Carey for joining us with such a powerful and encouraging guest post. And for sharing your book with us, a welcome addition to the titles of yours I already have. I appreciate and am thankful for your heart for your sisters in Christ, and for the families we all love.

If you want to read more visit Carey at: CareyScottTalks.com or catch up to her on Facebook!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Shut up, please

Yesterday I wrote about trusting God, letting Him take care of things. Trusting. Check it out here: Why I Don't Worry About Birds Anymore

Today I am linking up with the lovely #VoiceBloggers and Jo Ann Fore at: http://joannfore.com/unraveling-the-lies-we-tell-ourselves/


What happens when it is our own voice that hurts us most? How to we silence the inner bully, the inner critic, the fault-finding-keeping-track-of-how-you-fail record keeper?  This is where I struggle, and confess, do not prevail as often as I would like.

It is easier for me to speak up for someone else. To pray for someone else. To advocate for someone else. For me? Not so much.

I watched a TV show today, and part of the mystery was solved when they realized that on a video tape (yep old school tape!) there was a video ghost where the eraser heads did not fully record over an older event. So it showed up as a ghost. Not really there. Not really part of the current recording but still impacting it.

Those old voices that shout negative things at me, at us, are like those video ghosts. They are not really there.

THEY ARE NOT REALLY THERE!

Even our own voices, reading back to us our failures, are not really there. They are not current. They are not a part of the now we live in. They are a lie. And the devil loves to use them against us.

He would rather us be caught up in the past and hurting. Ineffective. Impotent. Not praying. Not living the gospel. 

He would rather we be worried about the old ghost soundtrack than hearing God speak to us in the now. In the people, and life, around us. In God's word.

Do these lies sound familiar? 

You aren't smart enough to read the Bible.

 God won't hear a sinner like you praying.

Get it together you pathetic loser, God doesn't want you.

You don't have a place in ministry, you were so bad/fat/wounded/homeless/scared/scarred before.

And the truth is you can read God's word. Anyone can!  And He is faithful and speaks to us. We are so blessed to have apps and Bible cases to carry The Word with us everywhere.

God sent His Son to save sinners like me. Like you. He loved us enough to leave heaven, to bear our burdens and DIE for us. He loved us enough to RISE again, washed clean of OUR sin, to open the door to heaven. 

God doesn't just want you. He desires you. He loves you. He seeks you. He truly knows every hair on your head, and crafted you in the womb. You are precious.

We all have a place in ministry. We all have a story to share. We survived. We can be a witness to those struggling on a similar path to ours. We can be a witness to those who would disparage anyone whom they think of as less than.

Don't forget, EVER, that you are beloved. Precious. Your voice has value. Your scars have value.

And on those days when we celebrate the small victories against the negative voices God celebrates with us. 

And on those days when they cause us to fight with our loved ones, when they cause us to be flooded with bitter, acrid memories, God comforts us. IF WE LET HIM.

I once asked someone why they disliked me my whole life. (I am not exaggerating). They didn't like how I looked at birth.  And that colored their entire view of me for almost 30 years of my life. And I tried to make them love me. I served them. I did my best. 

Mary was pregnant with Jesus. Herod was so afraid of the child he was willing to murder a whole town's worth of babies to kill one. He hated him before birth. He saw him as a threat.

We are in good company on this healing path. Jesus walked it before we did. He knows the negative voices (didn't the devil throw them back at him in the wilderness? Yep he did!). He knows the sound of disbelief from family and friends when we seek God's will in our lives. He walked that walk. He knows when we cry out to Him in our hurt. He hears us. 

I wanted to join in on the link up, and another one, this week. I was trying to write yesterday. Yesterday was not a good day for that. God knew better.  Today, however, was the day He wanted me to write.

Take heart dear souls, God is not only with us, but He has gone before us. He knows this path. Those voices. He knows, and in that knowing we can rest in Him. He can calm the voices, and fully erase the ghost videos in our mind.

We only need to let Him.

Are you willing? Can we pray together?