September 30, 2013

Heart of Flesh

I'm ugly.

Not physically. Well, I might be physically ugly as well, but that is not what I am referring to. I am talking about where it really matters--the heart. 

I came to a harsh reality last night--I do not love lost people. I say I do. You know, in my small group and within my Christian circles. I mean, that is why I do children's/youth ministry...because I am "passionate about sharing Jesus" And, that isn't a lie. I am passionate about sharing Jesus with students. But, why? And, what about those who are over 18 years of age? What about my neighbors? Or, the person who is acting like a complete ass at the grocery store (Yes, I know I just used Jesus and ass in the same paragraph. And, now in the same sentence. Don't judge me!)? Am I passionate about sharing Jesus with them? Honestly, no. Often, I am too offended by their non-Christ-like behavior to want to share Jesus with them. 

And, that is the irony, isn't it?

Because of their non-Christ-like behavior. While I walk away, shaking my head, displaying my own non-Christ-like behavior. Ugh! 

Jesus came to "seek and save the lost" (Luke 19:10). What if Jesus had shook his head and walked away from Peter, Matthew, John, the woman at the well, the adulteress in the street, What compelled Him to eat with sinners and tax collectors? What compelled Him to spend every waking minute teaching His disciples and commissioning them to carry on His work? 


Jesus loved the Father and He loved us. He wasn't passionate about saving those who were lost for His own glory or because He knew God's way was better. He was passionate about saving the lost because He loved them. His heart broke for them because He knew they were far from God. 

I want a heart like His. I want my heart to break for the lost and for the injustices in this world. I want a heart that longs to seek and save the lost--no matter how far out of my comfort zone that pushes me. 

Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours--then, give me the passion and courage to act upon that brokenness. Give me a new heart and put a new spirit within me. Remove from me my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen!

"Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity"
-Hillsong United

September 20, 2013


I am becoming discontent and I do not know what that means. Yet, I know exactly what this means--God is getting ready to do something big. I know this because approximately 7 years ago, I began to feel discontent and 2 years later...I was quitting my job and starting college to become a youth pastor.

God is moving. He is stirring my heart. He is shaking up my view of Him and His Word and His church. I want to stay planted, firm in what I what I think I my comfort zone. Yet, to stay would be detrimental. Yes, to my call and my future, but more importantly--to my relationship with Him; the very thing that propels me forward in this life on earth.

So, I wait. In eager anticipation of what God has planned.

Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening....

September 19, 2013

Then Sings My Soul

Week two of my Senior year and....I feel like I am drowning. Not a quick undertow drowning, but a slow-keep coming up for air-screaming for help-drowning. Between work and school and the various things I am committed to--you know, like being a mom and homeschooling and stuff like that--I am overwhelmed.

But, God is so cool. I threw out a very quick, haphazard plea for help last night that went something like this: "Ummm...OK, God. I just remembered that I have not asked for Your help. I know we talked about this before (see this post) so, can You please do whatever You can?" And, this morning--my employer sent me a text and said she decided to work from home today. Therefore, I get to work from home today. Which really means...I don't have to work! Yes. My God is so cool!

As I was getting ready this morning, I was reflecting on just how intimate God is. I was not conscious of any real words or music going through my mind--until suddenly, I paused and heard this:

"And let the life of God, fill me now. 
Let Your healing power, breathe life and make me whole. 
And let the peace of God, let it reign."
-Hillsong United

My soul was singing. That is what I call it when I wake up with a Worship song on my heart--especially when it is not a song I have been listening to recently. The Bible says:

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. 
We do not know what we ought to pray for, 
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."
-Romans 8:26

While they may not have been 'wordless groans' exactly, I believe the Spirit was interceding. I knew I had been overwhelmed, but it did not occur to me to pray for peace. However, I realize now that peace is exactly what I needed. Like Peter, I had taken my eyes off of Jesus and focused on the waves--and, I was beginning to drown. Until...I fixed my eyes upon Him once more. " still." He calms me. 

Thank You, Lord. I am walking on the water--help me keep my eyes fixed on You. 

"But when I fix my eyes on all that You are,
 then every doubt I feel deep in my heart grows strangely dim.
All my worries fade...and fall to the ground,
Cause when I seek Your face...and don't look around--
Any place I'm in....grows strangely dim!" 
-Francesca Battistelli

September 11, 2013

Senior Year...

My Senior year at Crown College started Monday.

Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening...

August 22, 2013

Two Years Later....

In less than a month, I will begin my senior year of college. I would like to say that I no longer doubt and ask God to confirm my call, but--well, it is a sin to lie. As a matter of fact, it was only a few weeks ago that I asked God to confirm His call once more. And, because He loves me--He did.

There is not enough time to put into words all that God has taught me over the past two years; the word intense may be an understatement. In a nutshell, I have learned: I am broken. I am relationally challenged, and ministry....well, come to find all about relationships. Ummmm.....see why I question His call? :)

The past two years have been filled with good relationships and bad relationships. I have learned how to confront and be confronted. I have learned when to speak and when to stay silent (Well, sometimes I fail at that, but I'm a work in progress). And, most importantly, I have learned that NO relationship is as important as the one I share with Jesus. At the end of the day--He must be my everything. C.S. Lewis wrote:

"Every poet and musician, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him. For it doesn’t stop… you know. They sink lower – become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations."

The love of the telling! It is easy to do. I did it for years. I have spoken Jesus to my children, others' children, teens, adults, and everyone in between. Yet, often...I was more in love with the telling of Jesus...than Jesus Himself. What a dangerous place to be in ministry. It is the place I fear the most. So....

I am dedicating this year to God--Spiritually, Physically, and Emotionally. I am on a quest to be healthy in every area of my matter how hard that may be. Because...I want Jesus to be my everything and I want to be ready to go where He calls and do what He asks.

Time is drawing near....the clock is ticking....graduation is around the corner. For now...I will bloom where I am planted and I will absorb all the nutrients I can--until Jesus plucks me from this place and replants me elsewhere to bloom and grow. All the while...I will stay connected to the Vine that sustains me.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. 
The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, 
because you can do nothing without Me."
John 15:5

April 4, 2011


I try not to doubt this path that I am on, but there are days when I find myself wondering if I am really going where God is leading. I question whether God is really calling me to youth ministry or if that is just where I am comfortable.

Last year, when I felt as though God was calling me away from Youth Ministry and into Children's Ministry, my heart sank. I was obedient to what I believed God was calling me to do, but I could not shake the sadness that ensued every Wednesday as I approached the church. I was not surprised to feel that way as I had worked with the youth for almost 6 years and to make that kind of change was bound to create some sadness. I was sure, with time, the sadness would go away and, frankly, I was expecting that after some time my passion would dwindle as well. However.....

While the sadness has subsided, with the exception of a few rare moments, my passion has not decreased in the least. I still feel called to work with the youth, despite my current placement (or displacement:) and cannot wait until God brings me back to them. However.....

Even though I have still felt called to work with the youth and retained my passion, I still wonder from time to time if it is 'just me'. Am I just comfortable with them? Is this a self created passion or truly a calling? Thankfully, God is intimate and always knows when I doubt and need reassured.

Yesterday, at church, we had the privilege of listening to a choir of students from a correctional school. They were all there because of poor choices they had made in their lives and this correctional school was their last option. Many of them were there because this was the only place that would take them--no other school wanted them. And, as they sang Amazing Grace tears filled my eyes and I prayed for each of them. I prayed that they would understand the words they were singing and I prayed that they would make wise choices for their life--including the most important choice--choosing Him.

As I choked back physical tears, my heart continued to cry for them and I realized God was confirming His call on my life. Nothing moves me to tears or prayers like teenagers and as God made this revelation clear, the cloak of doubt that had been wrapped around me suddenly fell to the ground and I planted my feet firmly on the path He has laid for me.

Thank You, Lord.....for knowing when my heart needs encouraged and for always being willing to re-confirm Your plan and Your will for my life. Continue the work you are doing so I am ready to accomplish every good work you put in front of me. Soli Deo Gloria....

March 15, 2011

Healing and Restoration

Last year Amber asked me to walk her down the aisle when she married Kellyn. The request took me by surprise and completely off guard. Amber and I had not spoken much and frankly, I was still quite hurt by all that had transpired when she left our home. I thought I had forgiven her, but as the day of her wedding approached it was clear that I had not. I looked upon her wedding day with dread instead of excitement and even though I was happy for her--my heart was hard and I remained distanced emotionally. The big day came and went and we even got together once after the wedding when they opened presents, but I felt no connection. I made a few feeble attempts to stay in contact by texting her a few times, but truthfully--I just did not desire a relationship with her. Too much had happened and I did not see how we could ever recover.

In October I heard, via Facebook, that Amber and Kellyn were expecting a baby. I was happy for them and I think I even managed to send a "Congratulations"--also via Facebook. Sam and Jo were both really excited and kept talking about being 'Auntie's', but I just stayed quiet. Amber did not seem to want me in the picture or she would have called and, to tell the truth, I was glad she didn't. Even though I still thought of Amber as a daughter and I missed her deep within my heart--I was done.

Then, last month God began to speak to me about grace. He began to show me that when Amber lived with me I often showed more grace to strangers than I did to her--my own daughter. Yes! Amber was a handful; she was untrustworthy, obstinate and disrespectful. She hurt my family and I deeply, but she still deserved grace and compassion. How many times have I hurt God deeply? Yet, He still shows me grace and compassion. The truth is, I expected Amber to have the same walk with God that my other girls had--despite the fact that she had only been in a Christian home and Christian church for a couple of years. With every mistake she made and every lie she told I tightened the reigns on her and refused to let up. Eventually, it became unbearable for both of us. As God continued to reveal this to me, I knew what He was calling me to do--and it was not going to be easy.

I sent Amber a text and asked if she was going to be in town and asked if I could take her to lunch. She told me that she would be in town the following week and said she would like to have lunch, so we set the date. However, the day we were supposed to meet everything went wrong. I was struggling to finish a couple of assignments for school and I was having a hard time finding a time I could meet with her. Thankfully, she was very flexible that day and we were able to meet a little later in the afternoon. Looking back I can clearly see Satan's handiwork in trying to prevent the meeting, but God is so much bigger than that!

We met for lunch and were face to face for the first time in almost a year. I had Sam and Jo with me, so we had some lunch and made some small talk. Then, I asked Jo and Sam to wait in the car so I could speak with Amber alone. I looked her in the eye and explained what God had been speaking to me and I asked her forgiveness. She graciously accepted the apology and apologized to me, too. I told her that I wasn't apologizing so that I could be a part of her life, but strictly to seek forgiveness. However, I also told her that I was not opposed to being a part of her life and that I would love to be involved with her and the baby as much, or as little, as she wanted me to be. I was amazed at the fact that she seemed happy to have me in her life, but more so--I was amazed at how happy I was to have her back in mine.

We have spent several days together now. She came to town two weeks ago and we had lunch and went to a play after church. Then, yesterday she came to church and we went to lunch again and went to Walmart to look at baby stuff. After Walmart, Amber picked up Kellyn and they went to the movies with Sam while I went to small group. After small group Amber, Kellyn, Sam, Josh, Jo and I played Monopoly with Brett and Heather and for the first time since 2008 all of my children were together--laughing and playing. My heart was full.

I am truly amazed at the love God has given me for Amber. Our relationship is still under construction, but it is being built on a solid foundation of love, trust and forgiveness as God heals the wounds of our past and restores our future. I am in awe of Him--as always.

And--I'm going to be a grandma!

Lord, I am humbled. I love You.