HER OWN SPACE IN MY HEART


Haylie Anne.
Her name means Hero of Grace.

Baby girl would be 32 today. I imagine she’d be a mix of my other two daughters—beautiful, kind, tender hearted, loving, aggressive, God loving—an amazing vibrant woman.

30 years ago I held her for the last time. Sometimes it seems like yesterday.

After she died I wanted another baby so bad, my arms literally ached. One year later I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. It was then I realized, each child has their own space in my heart. He had his place and it was overflowing. Haylie’s place  was still empty. Over time I learned to let Jesus fill this space in my heart.

Today, August 11th, I woke up to that tug of emptiness. Come Jesus.

As I sipped my cup of tea, I reflected on her and the last 30 years—I cried. I am always amazed that there are those moments that I still cry. But then, sweet Jesus reminds me of that place in my heart owned by her. And whispers “it’s okay.”

I am honored that I was chosen to be her mother. This “Hero of Grace” swept through my life and changed me forever. And I am grateful.

The three most dominant things that were gifted to me by her life and death are:

One:  The awareness that everyday—every person—my family, is a gift to enjoy to the fullest. I never know about tomorrow, so I won’t waste today.
Two:  Only Jesus can fill and heal my empty brokenness.
Three:  To live with passion against the enemy of my soul. After Haylie died I was angry at God. I saw myself shaking my fist at Him. In His faithfulness He addressed my anger. He gently said “Why don’t you shake your fist at your enemy, where it will do you some good.” Since then I am beyond passionate to stand in faith for what I believe in, to fight for my family’s destiny and not give in—not one inch, to the plan of darkness that comes to kill, steal and destroy.

In so many ways I have been given beauty for ashes.

Isaiah 61:3 says
To comfort those who mourn
To give them beauty for ashes
Joy for mourning,
Praise for heaviness;
They will be called trees of righteousness—the planting of the Lord, for His glory.

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Look at all this beauty—all these trees! Thankful, I am.

Today please be encouraged to seize the day! Hug your kids, hug your parents! Tell them you love them! And please give Jesus every empty place in your heart. Lastly, stand in faith for your family’s destiny—it’s worth it!

 

 

 

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POTENTIAL

 

Do you ever grapple with the truth about your potential?
Take a look at my garden in its current state. Beautiful, right?

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I know it resembles a tremendous amount of weeds, but take a closer look. These “weeds” are all flowering plants that died last year. I am in the process of removing the old flowers off of the dead plants. Why? Because each flower pod contains seeds. 

In fact, each pod has enough seeds in it, that when sown, will produce 20-30 flowering plants. Therefore, each dried up plant has the potential to produce about 150 new plants.

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It’s a really long process of retrieving the pods and separating the seeds. There’s no rushing it. Believe me, I’ve tried and end up losing valuable seeds.

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The above photo shows the abundance of pods and seeds retrieved in a six foot space. Imagine their potential!

To the natural eye this garden looks useless. Only the Gardener sees its potential. With the proper process, these seeds will produce a beautiful, extravagant garden.

We are all in process. It may be a tedious and sometimes long process but well worth the effort.

Today, please be encouraged to know that you have great potential. Parts of your life may resemble a lifeless garden but Jesus, the Master Gardener, knows your potential.

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

FORGET ABOUT YESTERDAY

You know those “Red Sea moments” in life where God miraculously saves the day—the times when you faced a dead-end and He, out of nowhere, makes a path for you? And as a bonus destroys your enemies?

We’ve all had them. And yes, they are monumental times to reflect on and remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness.

Today, I am challenged to forget the yesterdays, even the good ones, and to look forward. Sometimes we hang on to yesterday’s victories a little too tight and they become a hindrance to moving forward in the tomorrows of life.

Isaiah 43:16-19 tells of the miracles God did in parting the Red Sea and destroying His people’s enemies—one of the greatest miracles recorded in the Bible.  But the very next verse (18) tells us to forget all that. Why? Because it is nothing compared to what is ahead. Verse 19 is a breath of fresh air, it says He is going to do something new.

I am craving something new. Expectant with the unknown and the excitement of tomorrow.

What about you?

Isaiah 43:16-19,
I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.

But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Jesus was the something new that God was going to do. Yes, a much greater miracle than walking on the dry ground of a parted sea, and the destruction of an evil army.

Jesus—the Redeemer of so much more—the redeemer of everything. The redeemer of our very heart and soul. Jesus the author of something new.

Today, be challenged to forget yesterday. Invite Jesus to work the miraculous in your heart, soul and life—therefore redeeming all your tomorrows.

 

A Heart-Style of Thanksgiving

I love the Thanksgiving holiday, one of my favorite traditions is what my family does after the meal. We go around the table and express what and who we are thankful for.
(This post is reblog from a few years back. Sorry for not posting very often, but I do have a good reason! I’ve been consumed with working on my book, Thirsty Heart. And I have great news! The book and the Thirsty Heart Study Guide are in publication and will be ready for purchase in the next few months! Now back to the rest of the blog…)

God in his immeasurable goodness takes thanksgiving to the highest level. It’s not about a meal—it’s about thousands of meals. It’s not about gathering yearly, but gathering daily. Especially, it’s not about telling each other and God how thankful we are once a year, just as we’ve finished an abundant meal. 

Life lived in relationship with God is about having a thankful heart—daily—in good times and in bad. Essentially, thanksgiving is a heart-style as well as a lifestyle.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 truthfully tells us,

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Have you ever wondered what God’s will is for your life? Here’s your answer—give thanks.

Why does God want us to give thanks for everything? Why is this heart-style His will?

One attribute I adore about God is His infinite wisdom. God knows everything beginning to end. The reason He wants us to live a life of gratitude is because He knows and understands what thankfulness accomplishes in our heart and life.

My biggest revelation about living a heart-style of thanksgiving is the fact that thankfulness in hard times causes our heart to stay soft towards God. When we are thankful, there is no room to blame God.

A few years back my family, to put it mildly, experienced somewhat of a car crisis. I prayed for a newer car for quite a while—expecting God, my provider, to hear and answer my prayer. The answer was long in coming—really long in coming.

God showed me that I must thank Him for not having a car. Thank Him for the season—thank Him for His grace in this season—thank Him for being good and faithful, no matter what I’m going through or what my life looks like.

Prior to learning thankfulness in that season, I found myself questioning Him, whining, grumbling and yes, complaining about my car situation. He showed me was my heart attitude was one of blame towards Him, not only blame but one of unbelief. Ouch, this grieved me!

You see thankfulness causes our heart to be tender and trusting—of faith. Instead of irritably wondering what’s going on—when will God come through and worse why and how could He do such a thing, or allow such suffering in my life—which would be unbelief.

A heart-style of thanksgiving releases us in to the abundant life Jesus came to give us. (John 10:10) Gratitude is in essence putting on rose-colored glasses.

A heart-style of thanksgiving causes praise to abound in and through us, changing our perspective on life. It brings Philippians 4:11-12 to life;

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.

Not only does thanksgiving cause us not to blame God—changing our unbelief to faith, but it releases miracles and brings salvation. Even Jesus Himself gave thanks to God, and every time He did—the miraculous followed. (John 6:11, John11:41, Luke 22:17.19)

The foremost aspect of a heart-style of thanksgiving is the very fact that it brings us into a deeper relationship with God and His Son. In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul says He’s learned the secret of contentment—the secret is not thanksgiving—it’s Jesus. Thanksgiving paves the way to make Jesus what He should be in our lives—the main thing—Lord of all.

Please be encouraged to make thanksgiving your heart-style, therefore causing your heart to overflow with the Love of God—Jesus Himself.

ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH

Do you ever get frustrated because you feel as if your prayers aren’t being answered?

Do you realize your prayers are answered according to your faith?

This revelation was a game changer for me. As you read this post, ask the Lord to give you a revelation of His Word regarding faith. In Matthew 9:28-30, two blind men came to Jesus for healing…

Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened.

Arriving at the understanding that your prayers are answered according to your faith can be encouraging or discouraging. Encouraging, because you may only need to make a few minor tweaks to your faith, to have the kind needed to move mountains.

Discouraging because you see your lack of trust in Jesus, and that your prayers aren’t really being answered—do to your own lack of faith. And now you know, it’s up to you to take courage and fortify your faith.

If it discourages you, do not despair—God’s grace is here and it’s enough to get you where you need to be. If your faith is weak, please know that making the choice to strengthen your faith and believe beyond a shadow of a doubt in Jesus’ faithfulness, is the most important decision you can make. Do it today! (Click here Fully Convinced to read how to strengthen your faith.)

Basically you need to seek a change of heart, and change your perspective about Jesus and His Word. You have to determine to believe that He is trustworthy and absolutely faithful.

When I realized that my prayers were answered according to my faith I was going through a period of sickness and decided to write healing scriptures on the mirror in my bathroom. Every time I walked into my bathroom, I could see the words on my mirror and I would repeat them to myself, pray them over my body, and thank God for His healing. As I did so, Matthew 9:22 came to life, it says,

“Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.” (NASB) 

I began to understand that my faith is the key. Jesus’ power—His victory on the cross has already purchased the answers to our prayers. His power is available to everyone—our faith is what accesses it. All of a sudden I found more and more scripture that basically said the same thing—let it be done to you according to your faith and nothing is impossible for those who believe.

“Because you believed, it has happened.” Matthew 8:13

“Your faith has saved and healed you.” Mark 10:52

“”Your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.” Matthew 15:28

“Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well.” Matthew 15:28 (MSG)

How would you like Jesus to say to you “What you want is what you get?” It is completely possible!

This is so exciting!

Be encouraged to seek Him—seek to strengthen your faith today!

No Want

What would your world be like if you had no wants? Is it almost too hard to even imagine? But doesn’t a want free life sound inviting? Want, is so much a part of who we are—it’s part of our culture. But, it is not part of Gods culture.
Read for yourself…

Psalm 23:1 says

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

Psalm 34:8,

Blessed is the man who trusts in Him. Fear the Lord, there is no want to those who fear Him. Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

Philippians 4:19

My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

In others words, We have no lack—no need.

This is a really bold statement. Think about it for a moment.

The gist of this truth is that when we fill our heart and soul with Jesus and allow Him to be our Shepherd—our Lord, then all our wants and needs are met—we are full. We do not want or need anything else. Jesus is enough.

I’m not just referring to spiritual needs. No, this kind of faith meets all needs, spiritual, mental, physical, financial and relational.

Often times when you read verses like these you tend to think. “Yes, one day, this will be my reality. One day, (hopefully soon) God will supply all my need.” Or “When God gives me what I want, then I shall not want”

The problem with this mindset is that it causes you to focus even more on your want and need. When the fact is God has already come through. Jesus—the cross—the empty grave, have come through and made a way for these scriptures to be your reality right now. Believing this truth causes you to put your focus where it should be—on Jesus.

People who live by the standard of culture, or their own human nature, do not believe unless they see. People who live by faith, believe before they see, and take the Bible at face value. Bible believers know that it is against Jesus’ character to lie or be unfaithful. Therefore, if His Word says I have no want, and all my needs are supplied, then they are. Regardless of circumstance.

This truth is made fluid by living with the understanding that Jesus is enough. Enough for what? Absolutely everything!

Either God’s Word is true, or it’s not.

Please be encouraged to live a life of no want, by taking God’s Word at face value.

Link to the song “I shall not want” http://youtu.be/VRnFVMn0uZw

Hebrews 11:1

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.

What Qualifies Us for Parenthood?

I’ve been pondering the art of motherhood, and really struggled to put words together that would bless and encourage Moms (and Dads) this Mothers/Fathers Day season.

Why the struggle? Well, if you know me at all, then you know I don’t like to sugar coat, and I tend to way over think things. So my brutally honest and over thought out approach to life didn’t seem to be a good way to write about parenthood on Mothers Day. (I know Mother’s Day has passed, I’ve been trying to write this blog for a week now!). Nonetheless I feel urged by the Lord, to write about the subject.

I don’t feel urged to write about parenthood because I’m an expert, just the opposite.

My 33 years of experience have mainly taught me that I don’t know much about parenting.

I’m sure this sounds strange. But truthfully I only really know two things about parenting. Can you see why I was conflicted in writing about this subject?

On Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest we only see the pretty part of parenting. Where people look like experts, with no real struggles.

The real issues of parenthood press us to the point where we realize we are not qualified for this role in life. Because truthfully we don’t know what the H (heck) we are doing!

If I were to put a Mom resume together, I could list a thousand amazing things and still not be qualified.

So what qualifies us?

Jesus.

Jesus is our resume.

The number one thing I know about parenting is this:  I am the most qualified, the most accomplished Mom when I realize how much I need Jesus—when I trust my kids to the work of grace—to the work of the cross.

In situations involving our children, my husband and I can talk, fret and discuss the issue for hours, and we always reach the same conclusion. And this is the second thing I know—that Jesus is enough.

Yes, all my years of parenting humbly bring me to the truth of these two conclusions.

1. Jesus, not my skills or knowledge qualifies me, and you, to be an excellent parent.

2. Jesus fills in every gap, His love, faithfulness, mercy and grace are enough for every parenting situation.

Please be encouraged to give yourself a breaklife is messy. We are all in process. It’s not about getting through life perfectly. It’s about relationship with Jesus—living in His grace and love. He does not expect perfection just submission. And when we realize only He can qualify us—the pressure is off—we find rest and freedom.

Following are a portion of lyrics from a song I love, titled Touch the Sky, by Hillsong United.

     My heart beating,
my soul breathing.
     I found my life when
I laid it down.
Upward falling,
spirit soaring.
I touch the sky when
my knees hit the ground.

Treasure these truths…

1. We find life and it’s answers for parenting, and any other situation, as we lay everything down.

2. In Jesus there are no mistakes, His grace causes us to only fall upward.

3. We reach our highest when we bow our lowest.

Link to the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1RQciil7B0&sns=em

Here are some pics of my wonderful Mothers Day. We had a rooftop party, with good conversation, great food prepared by my kids and we might even of Danced! This is us on a good day. My kids are no where near perfect, but they are all masterpieces.

  My daughter beautifully set up the rooftop of her downtown Meridian apartment

 The cooks

 The gangs almost all here, my oldest son and his family didn’t make it    So cute

  The Boys explored

Most of the Forests are fearless

I got to dance with my sons and my husband  My baby!

  Baby Robin held by auntie Maddie, talking to uncle Trent

  The newlyweds

  Me and my love

  Robin and her Mama Kaila

 Five of my seven kids!

Thanks for reading!