Call 911!

BREAKING NEWS: I was hit in the head yesterday. Am I ok? Yes – and I didn’t even have to visit the ER! Ok, I wasn’t physically hit in the head –  I was hit much more powerfully. The Lord jiggled my mind spiritually. And you know what He told me? He reminded me that I had become so entrenched with the craziness of life that I had neglected my WordPress blog! I’ve done a terrible thing, I know. So, I’m going remedy this dilemma and revive my blog. And you know what? It feels GOOD :-).

Have you heard that time is a good teacher? Well, I don’t necessarily believe that time is the teacher. No, I believe that time with God truly does the teaching. My spending time with God is the most important thing to me. Now, let me elaborate on what I mean by “time with God.” I am not implying that I close myself up in my closet at 5AM and sit facing the wall for an hour while trying to converse with God and abstain from falling asleep. No, that doesn’t even come close to describing my time with God. So, when do I hang out with the God of the universe? Drum roll…ALL THE TIME because He’s with me all the time! His address is my heart. He and I go everywhere together. My time with Him never ends. When do I converse with Him? All the time! I’m a very talkative person, and let me tell you, I converse with God all day. He’s not only an amazing listener, but when He speaks, it’s spectacular. His voice is more precious than anything. It is more incredible than hidden treasure or an unlimited chocolate supply! You see, you can spend time with God and converse with Him anytime, anywhere. One way you can spend time with God is by diving into His Word. The Bible is God’s LIVING Word! Yep, He’s in there! He’s inside every page! Many times, God speaks to me through His Word. He’ll speak to you, too. Read Psalm 139 next time you open your Bible. It’s my favorite Psalm and I hope you’ll know why when you read it.

So, let me retreat to the “teaching” aspect I mentioned before. My time with God has taught me copious lessons and riveting principles. But, most recently, spending time with Him has shown me just how powerful and vast His love is. God continually drenches me in His love, mercy, and compassion. When I feel I cannot go on – when I feel I cannot pick myself up even one more time, He lifts me out of my despair. His hand pulls me out of the mud and mire and He caresses my face with his holy, loving fingers.

I don’t know what you’re going through. You may be reading this with puffy eyes stinging from a night of tears. You may be reading this with a splitting headache due to a drinking binge from last night. Friend, I don’t know your story. But, I know God adores you. I know He can lift you out of ANYTHING. He is your redeemer! He is your deliverer! Grab hold of his outstretched hand. He won’t drop you. He won’t condemn you. He wants to saturate you with all that He is – and all that He is is all that you need!

“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’”
2 Corinthians 12:9a (NKJV)

Do You Trust Me?

Do you have any pets? Maybe you have a dog or a cat, or even an iguana! Well, if you have a pet that you love and are very attached to, we can relate with each other. I have a gorgeous, sassy little dog. She is sugar and spice and everything nice (and I make sure to tell her so every day :-)). Her energy level is usually full throttle – she absolutely has to have supercharged playtime daily. Her toybox (yes, she has a toybox ;-)) overflows with toys of various shapes and colors and she never gets tired of any of them. Yep, this little dog keeps me on my toes, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. There’s one particular thing she does that’s not only adorable, but is also a way in which God speaks to me quite often. One thing she loves to do is roll over on her back and expose her cute fuzzy tummy with the hope that her tummy will get a rubdown. Seriously, she could be in the middle of running around in circles like she drank an entire pot of coffee (don’t worry, I don’t let her drink my strongly brewed java), yet she will instantly roll over on her back if she thinks there’s a belly rub in store for her. Well, I read somewhere that when a dog rolls over on its back willingly for its owner, that is proof that the dog genuinly trusts its owner because, when a dog is on its back, it has let down its guard. Wow, it makes me feel wonderful that my dog trusts me that much! Well, somtimes when I’ve pondered my dog’s trusting actions, God has spoken to me and reminded me that we, His children, need to trust Him fully and let down our guards. We need to surrender all to Him and trust Him – trust Him with our everything. If my dog can trust me so much that she extinguishes all inhibitions, rolls onto her back, and breathes in deeply the air of peace, knowing at every moment that I will protect and defend her, how much more should we trust the Lord and believe, with utmost certainty, that He is who the Bible says He is and that He does want the best for us? We need to breathe in deeply His peace and stand upon His promises as His beloved children. Please rest assured in your heart today that you are loved and cherished by the Maker of the universe, by the Lord of Lords, and know that when you surrender all to Him, He will bless you with an overflow and abundance of His goodness. Let go and let God.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Freshly Baked Goodness

Have you ever been to an unbelievably remarkable bakery? I’m talking about the kind of bakery that takes your breath away when you walk inside. The captivating aroma of all the breads, pastries, and sweets gently tickles your nose; the sights and smells make your stomach growl and your mouth water; and the incredible atmosphere of the place seems to wash all your worries away the longer you’re inside. Well, now that we’ve established just what type of bakery I’m talking about, let’s talk about the food! This type of bakery makes each and every scrumptious doughnut, loaf of bread, chocolate-covered pretzel, etc. by hand – everything made at such a bakery is unique, not some assembly line production. Hence, you know that when you and a friend each order a sticky bun, your pastries aren’t exactly the same. Doesn’t the knowledge of your order being hand-made, stamped with the signature of the baker who formed it, make eating it so much more special? Well, as wonderful as that sounds, I have something even more wonderful to fill you in on. The God of the universe hand-made you! He formed you in the secret place of His dwelling, knitted you together perfectly and intricately, and stamped his signature of approval all over you. From the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, His fingerprints adorn you. You are absolutely unique. You didn’t ride on an assembly line and get packaged like a box of crackers. NO! God made you precisely the way He, and only He, envisioned. You’re His masterpiece. Sometimes we all feel like we lack something – like we’re not this enough or that enough. But, let me tell you something: You have wonders inside of you. God has placed glorious talents and marvels within you and He wants you to radiate with His divine light. If you feel like your flame is slowly fading or you feel too depressed to even care what it is you’ve been placed on this earth to do, fall at the feet of Jesus. He knows exactly why you’re on this earth and He knows all the beautiful things He has equipped you with. He made you; He knows everything about you. If you’ve fallen down, that’s ok – He knows how to pick you back up. And He wants to pick you back up – He wants to pick you up in His arms and illuminate you with everything He has in store for you (and what He has in store for you is more amazing than you can even fathom!). Please know how valuable you are to the Father’s heart. Know that He loves you and wants the absolute best for you. You are His spectacular creation!

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument].”
Jeremiah 1:5

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
Jeremiah 29:11

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

I like sunshine, swimming outside, frozen yogurt, and freshly brewed iced tea. I like feeling the warmth of the sun tickle my face when I take my dog for a walk down a tulip-lined sidewalk.  But, I know that there’s another time of year that has to occur before I can bask in spring and summer’s comfort and ice cream cone goodness. It’s called…winter. Yes, winter has to come every year and freeze me down to my toes. I can’t help it but always make a connection with the winter to spring journey and the valley to mountain top journey. Of course, if you absolutely love winter, you don’t feel the desperation and discouragement I feel when I’m snowed into my house and three blankets can’t make me feel warm enough, but for the rest of you out there that have an allergy to frigidness, I’m sure you can relate with me. Don’t you sometimes feel like February will never give way to spring? I know in my heart that spring and new growth will come, but it’s just so hard to see that through the lense of snow and ice and barren vegetation that winter provides. But, I am thankful that God always teaches me during this time. He teaches me that, even though I can’t feel that spring (the mountain top) is coming, even though I feel like winter (the valley) is going to blow cold air on me forever, spring is coming. Maybe you’ve been going through a very long winter – a deep valley that has crushed your spirit. You feel like your life has hit rock bottom and snow is all you will ever see. I know what this feels like – believe me, I do. But, what we need to remember is that God is in our winter – our painful valleys – just as much as God is in our spring – our joyful mountain tops. He never leaves us, no matter how cold and desolate we feel. Winter will give way to spring. Your valley won’t last forever; you will reach your mountain top. And God will be with us every step of the way. I don’t know what your winter is composed of, but I do know that God is with you even when He feels far away. And He wants you to enter into spring as much or even more than you want to. Please don’t lose heart. Flowers WILL bloom up ahead. Keep trusting Him; keep leaning on Him. He won’t fail you. He’s never let me down and He won’t let you down either. He can and will turn your winter into spring.

“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:19

Rendezvous of Love

Sometimes, when I’m feeling jaded, downcast, restless, or I’m simply in need of an altered perspective, I  step into a gondola and float down the glistening waters of memory. As the water swishes past the sides of my boat underneath the puffy clouds of the past, I recollect and reminisce about various years, events, or even mere moments. I suppose the February dissonance – that time when winter and spring are fighting to reign  –  has been the cause of my recent memory regurgitation. Anywho, since I’m quite the foodie (you probably know that by now ;-)), it’s not surprising that food-related memories often flash through my mind. One certain memory that brings joy to my heart involves my mom (she and I have always been very close and I thank God everyday for my relationship with her). When I was younger, I was involved in sports. After various athletic endeavors, she would routinely take me to the local coffee shop where I would order a vanilla bean shake topped with whipped cream accompanied by a shortbread cookie. It was such a treat after working so hard. I always looked forward to these special rendezvous with her. We talked and talked and just knowing that she made such an effort to arrange these special times together made me feel remarkably loved. So why exactly have I invited you into my gondola and shared this memory with you? Because I want to remind you how important it is to be a blessing to people. My mom could have just picked me up and drove me home, but she chose to make our time together special. She chose to display her love for me in a unique way to let me know how much she cared. I will never forget those trips to the coffee shop and the laughter-filled conversations afterwards. It is incredible how much good one can do by implementing kindness into another person’s life. Because my mom took the time to show kindness to me, I have learned to show kindness to others. She helped me to realize how God wants us to pour love into other people’s lives. By doing so, we are showing people what Christ looks like. My mom has always shown me the face of Christ with her love, her wisdom, her compassion, her grace. Because God’s love illuminates my mom’s heart, I love the Lord also. Surrendering my life to Christ is the best decision I have ever made.  See how much power there is in blessing others? If you have ever thought “What can a kind gesture actually accomplish?” or “Can I really make a difference?”, think again. Please know that you can make a difference. You can shine Christ’s light into someone’s life and that light will guide them to Christ’s loving arms. To the world, you may be one person; but to one person, you may be the world.

“Generous people will be blessed.”
Proverbs 22:9a

“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” -Ernestine Ulmer

This may sound strange, but I love to eat cookies for breakfast.  Wait, don’t alert the health police just yet! I make these cookies myself and they’re quite healthy. They look like regular peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, but their ingredients are very different from what you’d expect: ALA Omega-3 peanut butter, wheat germ, pure honey, stevia powder, and the list goes on. They’re cookies that make you feel like your indulging in a “ships to your hips” treat, but in reality, they’re filling your body with goodness. Ok, back to my story now. I LOVE waking up to these yummy sweet treats in the morning. One giant cookie with two cups of strong, bold coffee is just what I need in the AM to revive me from my zombie state (I am NOT a morning person). But wait, there’s more to my breakfast time delight. Yep, the most important part of my morning is…*drum roll*…the Holy Word of God! This glorious holy Book makes me bouncy in the morning, too :). I love reading God-breathed Scriptures – words energized by my loving God – to help guide me throughout my day. It’s more vital to my breakfast than the cookie and the coffee combined! Ingesting God’s Word is like filling your car up with gas. This morning, I read Isaiah 26. Part of this chapter is as follows: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4). See what I mean? It’s incredible! These words spoke wisdom to my soul this very morning. They reminded me that if I trust in the Lord – my strong, unwavering Rock – with my whole heart, He will grant me perfect peace. Wow! That’s good stuff! I encourage you to dive into the Scriptures yourself. Pray that God will guide you to the Scriptures that He wants you to read as you flip through the pages of His Word. His Spirit lives in those pages. The Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1-2).

In closing, I want you to know that I am praying for you today. I know God has great things in store for you and that His blessings for your life are beyond what you can even comprehend. Call on the Lord; yes, call on Him. You will never ever be disappointed.