The God of Moments & Movements

12183916_10156134068180447_215396812733050334_o

I cannot believe it has already been one year since we took this photo. I’m just sitting here having a small praise-party. Let me tell you a little bit about why this photo– out of ALL of my photos– is so important.

In this photo, Jonathan and I had just come “home” for our once-a-year visit to our families. I stared out the window on our way into Bean Town and prayed, “God, please break my heart for what breaks your’s.”

So naturally, I was absolutely wrecked. Tear-stained insomniac. I lay awake several nights crying for New England. My own home. Jonathan and I both kept saying, “How have we just always come home to ‘visit’- like it’s a tourist attraction?” We knew our eyes had been opened.

We felt a beautiful season in our lives coming to a close in Texas, but we had no idea how to go about it or what God wanted.

Jonathan encouraged me to pray for the things God had laid on our hearts. We began a process of laying those very thoughts and ideas God gave me- back at His feet.

I prayed for a church whose heart was broken for the things that break God’s heart. I pleaded with God to even let us get part time or full time jobs in any field… just to get back to New England to start sharing Jesus’ love! 

Kind of funny, how we bargain with God on the very desires he puts in our hearts, isn’t it?

Three months later, I found myself online, and I just stumbled across a church right in Concord, near my hometown. It was called CenterPoint Church. I had never heard of it. I kept repeating the name – wondering why I didn’t know them. Turns out they were First Baptist Church of Concord, under a new name.

I really didn’t think anything of it, but I reached out to them- and the rest is such a blur!

We found ourselves the second week of March, back in New Hampshire, meeting CenterPointers, sharing meals, smiles and hugs. They grew on our hearts immediately. Here at CenterPoint there is buzz of conversation, topics such as: “My life has been CHANGED since I met Jesus!” and “God’s spirit is really stirring here! He’s doing a new thing…” and my favorite: “we long to see the day when every man, woman, and child in New England has the repeated opportunity to hear the gospel.”

We just knew this was where God wanted us to serve.

One year ago today- I prayed a prayer that I was convinced would take years to be answered. See sometimes, God puts a desire on your heart long after a moment or movement has taken place, because that is the time when you are needed. Not before, not after. Right now.

Being Brave in the New Year

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 11.38.16 AM

Interrupt Anxiety with Gratitude…
Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. THEN you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Some very key people in my life have needed me to open my mouth and to help them through some things. I grabbed God’s lifeline and for these various events, friends, gatherings, encouragement-sessions, what-have-you… I found the strength to speak out against what plagues me… because others were hurting, too.

Have you EVER met ONE Christian who can do all those things? I have not.

God has told me that every disease that plagues us doesn’t melt away instantly, although he is the Healer. Some, he uses to define you, shape you… so you’ll share with others.

I broke down and cried right in the middle of leading the congregation on Sunday. As my heart wept, my voice cracked and I backed away from the mic, down to a whisper in total weakness and brokenness. To me that’s not a failure… but a victory. I claim it as victory when the Holy Spirit moves on the hearts of his worshipers and whispers gently, I don’t love you in bits and pieces… but gave my life to save you. You’re everything to me… would you give everything back? Stop holding all your fear and anger and hurt inside. Let it out. It’s okay to let your guard down with me. I am the Lord your God.

I’ve definitely been walking through a season of dark depression and unexplainable anxiety.

The word cling in the dictionary means:
a : to hold together
b :  to adhere as if glued firmly
c :  to hold or hold on tightly or tenaciously
2a :  to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence
2b :  to remain or linger as if resisting complete dissipation or dispersal

I’ve written God’s word all around my home, office, and car- to encourage myself! This morning I spoke at a breakfast study. I encouraged the other ladies to do the same: posting encouraging scriptures all around them, to see God in every situation. That’s why I’m posting my thoughts from our study today.

See.. if you put good IN…. good will come OUT.

Max Lucado said, “God says don’t worry about your future. He is the author of your story and He’s already written the final chapter.”
If you recount God’s victories in your past, you can KNOW there’s triumph in your future, just like Moses and God’s people did in Deuteronomy 6:1-13 (NLT):

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. {Then… what will happen?} →
“{THEN}: The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. You must fear the Lord your God and serve him.

Being brave. “The giant in front of you is never bigger than the God inside of you.”

Like the nation of Israel was promised the Promised Land, and they feared the people that lived there… we sometimes fear the very things that God has promised we’d overcome. (Numbers 13)

Sometimes we make a habit of telling our all-powerful God how powerful our enemies are.

Yet we serve Jesus… who stared death in the face and won. We have nothing to be afraid of. We can take his power into our daily lives, with us. Whatever struggles come our way we can know God will protect us, sustain our energy to complete the task, and remove obstacles– in his way and in his time.

I’ve come to realize that in life: I have got to live inside my head, with my perspectives. If I worry about where my life is going, I’ll feel like it’s going nowhere. However, if I grab a hold of my my life like an overcomer, brave & courageous- know the Lord my GOD is with me wherever I go… I can do anything- through Christ who gives me strength.

That’s why I decided for my Christmas gift this year, I wanted to tattoo this scripture upon my left forearm.. the arm I see every time I play or hold a mic:
Exodus 14:14 (NIV)- “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
the lord fights for you
Even when you’re just not doing all right… you can cling; adhere as if glued firmly: to God and His promises. This will enable you to be brave.

 

God’s voice tears down Anxiety

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 12.57.10 PM

I was learning from one of my favorite Pastors and leaders this morning in my quiet time. Steven Furtick from Elevation Church. He drew a connection I had never realized before. At the beginning of time, God spoke, and the earth came into being. He spoke, and it was GOOD.

In Isaiah 55 God says:
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me {He’s SPEAKING again!}, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.”

The parallel that Steven Furtick drew was this: What God speaks HAPPENS. It DOES.

For me, suffering from anxiety that feels like an ocean that I’m constantly treading water in: with no help from a raft or a life jacket… this fact from God about Himself IS a life jacket. No, better. It’s a huge boat with a life-line.

It’s the best news ever. If God SPOKE that I can listen to His words and promises because they’re TRUE… then I don’t have to fear.

If He promises protection… it WILL happen.

Steven said:
-Suffering from Anxiety & Fear? Combat it with the promise that God says, “He will.”
-Suffering from Insecurity? Combat it with the promise that God says, “I AM.”
-Suffering from Shame and Condemnation? Combat it with the promise that God says, “He HAS.”
-Suffering from Discouragement? Combat it with the promise that God says, “I can.”

This is from his sermon series and book entitled, “Crash the Chatterbox”.

I’m so relieved someone isn’t afraid to talk in a book or on TV about the fact that we as humans hear negative voices all the time. The battle, as Steven says, is the battlefield of our MINDS. We need to shut the voices of fear and condemnation UP!

I’m learning so much more from the explanation of this passage than ever before.

Sometimes churches are too nervous to approach the topic emotional and mental disorders. Regardless… the sheep are still suffering from it all the same. That doesn’t mean they don’t love the Shepherd. Those sheep are scared because afar off they can hear the wolves howling from the safety of their pen. That doesn’t mean they don’t know their Shepherd is strong and powerful enough to save them.

Why don’t we all as Christians tear down our walls of ‘fake’ and just level with each other: we all hear those wolves. We all get scared. A ton of us suffer from chemical imbalances that cause emotional and mental instability.

Now… that being said.. let’s take the Word of God and fight fear … together! Let’s hit these tough topics… like GOD does! He speaks of fear and anxiety all throughout his Word.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Draw Near to God, He is already Near to You

Screenshot 2015-07-08 12.34.26

Recently I thought I had too much on my plate. I exercised my ability to say “no”, and took my day off seriously. Looking to the future: I tossed the idea of cutting down my hours at work. I wanted to work on future details of our family, make our house a home, and visit my family back home more.

None of that was the plan, for now.

In a recent turn of events I was asked to take on more of a leadership role at the Church, with more responsibility, with pay cuts and budget cuts all across the board for our church.

So. I dropped my plans and fell on my face before Jesus. He has been my Rock. I have peace. I have joy. I am brave.

I know God will make it possible for me to plan our future as a family, cook, clean, plan visits, have people over, take care of our pets, enjoy life… all while taking on this important calling. I just need to listen to His voice.

I’m ashamed to say in these times of turmoil… they are the sweetest times of worship for me.

Why can’t I seem to be this close to my Lord during the good times?

I realized today that I find the most peace and joy in the trials– not because God has changed, but because I have. Tweet this.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you {HE IS already close by}. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

7 Steps to Becoming a Happy Person Others Wants to Be Around

Screenshot 2015-07-08 12.46.46

The corollary to the principle “you see more of what you notice” is “you get more of what you notice. If you catch people doing what is right and complement them for it, guess what happens? They start doing more of it. This is not manipulation; it is influence. It too is contagious!

7 Steps to Becoming a Happy Person Others Wants to Be Around.

Millennials, Faith, Hard Work, + a Dash of Whimsy 

Writers have a lot to say about the age bracket known as “Millennials” in the blogosphere recently. Unfortunately not much of it is good.

Millennials are accused of things like wanting to change the world, but not wanting to put in the hard work to get there; or laziness; entitlement; or being completely “out of touch with reality”.

I see articles circulating that say things like “millennials tend to think that they are special, but if we’re all special, then who is left to do all this hard work?”

Somehow, I think any age bracket BUT millennials are the ones that are writing these articles. Anyone with me?

So let’s add a positive article on this topic to the blogs.

I remember being taught by many sweet Sunday school teachers as a child that “all things are possible with God”, or, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed: and you say to this mountain, move! then it will be moved Jesus’ name.”

***Let me add that my Sunday school teachers were probably a mixture of traditionalists, generation X-ers, and baby-boomers!*** 🙂

We should all think we are “special”- and be ready to change the world- just together. I’m talking young or old, people. If the church rose up and acted as ONE to feed the hungry, heal the sick, protect the weak… then I daresay the world would change.

I think some of the millennials may be on to something. BIG, huge, whimsical faith. Don’t let a mindset after Christ appear naive or immature!

Can I tell you a secret? Age had nothing to do with any of the miracles that happened in the past! {Tweet!}

Don’t lose your whimsy! Jesus had something to say about this: “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3

Bob Goff- bestselling author and non profit lawyer has a LOT to say about faith, whimsy, and radical love. And he is NOT a millennial!

Gideon was terrified, Noah’s big miracle happened at age 500, Joshua was in mourning, David appeared mouthy and young, Josiah was King at 8 (EIGHT, people!), and Samuel was a prophet before he hit puberty!

I think a teaspoon of Faith, a pinch of Hard Work, + a Dash of Whimsy if the perfect recipe (regardless of age) to follow!

~B

“I Can Count on You”…

No matter what you’re going through today…. is it possible part of the root of your fear | panic | worry | heartache | disappointment is that you don’t really  know if God’s “got this”? Circumstances hurt. Saying “I’m fully letting go”… ? Sounds impossible. I am still repeating this prayer right now. I definitely am not there.

But together… can we sing this and pray it? Even if you’re just trying to give it over….

I’m holding on to hope
I’m holding on to grace
I’m fully letting go….
I’m surrendered to Your ways
The anchor for my soul
Father You will never change

In every season, in every change
You are near
In every sorrow,
You are my strength
You are near

A peace in the storm
Your voice I will follow
In weakness I rise
Remembering You hold my world

I’m holding on to hope
I’m holding on to grace
I’m fully letting go….
I’m surrendered to Your ways

The anchor for my soul
Father You will never change

I love You, I love You

My great Redeemer,
My constant Friend
You are near
My faithful Father,
You took me in
You are near

I will remember Your promise forever
My Strength, my Defender
I can count on You
I CAN COUNT ON YOU-
Savior, My Hope and my Shelter
Your love is forever
I can count on You