That Inner Voice: Do We Really Pay Attention? Can We Really Hear And Understand God The Creator?

God tells us in His Word that we can call unto Him, and He will answer us, tell us great and marvelous things we don’t know. (Jeremiah 33:3)

There are times it amazes me just how clear I hear and understand God in my spirit. Over the years, I have learned to trust that quiet, near silent, inner voice. It’s different than intuition, independent from my own purposeful thoughts, and it’s always accurate. I just need to stop and pay close attention.

Years ago, I heard that sweet inner voice speak to me about my diet, and to avoid certain ingredients. I have been sincere in my efforts to be faithful to that, though I don’t always obey.  For the most part I am mindful of what I allow myself and  my family to eat. If God has told me to avoid certain things, I am sure it’s not just me they aren’t good for.

The brilliant thing about God is that He often uses science to prove things about Himself, so in this, He has proven Himself through scientific research. The ingredients He told me to avoid, science has since proven to be harmful to the human body.

Tomorrow , I will be testing something else that I have been hearing in my spirit over the past few years.  Something I have not paid close attention to and have not wanted to look at up close. I’m going to have medical tests done. While I hope I am wrong in my recent accidental findings that match things I have often experienced, it will confirm just how clearly I hear my Master’s voice.  It will reveal if I have been foolish to not pay attention sooner to the whispers I haven’t wanted to hear. It will also reveal if God had another purpose for me to avoid those specific ingredients,  a purpose that directly relates to what I will be tested for soon. God has a purpose for everything He has said, still says, has done, and continues to do.

I will continue here  in the following weeks with the results,  with the content of the whispers I haven’t wanted to hear, and the ingredients He told me to avoid.

I have no doubt that all true wisdom comes from God. Do you agree? Do you have any stories about things you have heard clearly from God?

Decisions, decisions.

Big Fat F: Flying Through Life with Faith

I’ve had my current job for just over two years.  Some things have gone on that have made me question whether I belong there, and so I put out a few feelers regarding other opportunities.  Lo and behold, one of them was offered to me.

opportunity 2

Great, right?  It’s a chance to do something new, a chance to get out of a work environment that has been rather problematic of late, a chance to get into a position with room for advancement, all sorts of good things.  I accepted the conditional offer and, in the past few weeks, I’ve been waiting on the results of all the checking and cross-checking that goes along with this particular job.

Except in the past few weeks, it has also been laid heavily on my heart how very beneficial it would be for me to have flexibility for my family.  My kids, while generally pretty …

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Memoir of this Mom

1-sad-girl-bad-love-relationship-quotes-photo-images-wallpaper-fanzwave-netThere are a handful of days that I try to make/take time to reflect over my life, to remember where I came from and remind myself of how truly blessed I am.  Mother’s Day is one that is significant for me.

20 years ago, I had just emerged out of an abusive first marriage. Emotionally I was weary and spent, physically I was angry and and defensive. I believed I would never marry again, and certainly I didn’t think I would bring children into this world where they would only find pain and suffering. I talked with a close friend about having something permanent done, so I would not even be tempted to have children. I continue to thank God that she talked me out of that, encouraged me that someday I might change my mind, would regret that decision. I thank God that I listened to those important words of wisdom and concern.

rose18 years ago, my life direction had changed in a  drastic way. I had hit the rock bottom of rock bottom, and surrendered everything to God. I could not trust myself to make any sort of rational decision, so I turned to Him, and asked Him where He wanted me to go, what He wanted me to do.  After seeking Him, I received confirmation to enlist in the armed forces. On Mother’s Day of 1995 I distinctly remember all of the moms at church being given one red rose . I too was given a red rose. I started to give it back, and a friend said to me, “That isn’t a mistake, it’s a promise from God. One day, you will be a mother.” I began to seek God about a husband of His choosing for me, and started to form a plan to adopt one day if it wasn’t His plan for me to remarry.

scan005415 years ago was one month away from marriage to the man God brought into my life.

14 years ago found me to be pregnant with our beautiful daughter, the fulfillment of 2 promises from God: a daughter and my becoming a mother.

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Today I am blessed to have 4 beautiful children. God has blessed me far more than I could have imagined, or dared to hope for. My life is nothing like it was 20 years ago. There is a joy and fulfillment I never believed I would experienced at that time.

76808_502024327455_4146625_nI can look back over my life and see where God has been at work, where He orchestrated each moment, and worked in events and decisions.

I am grateful beyond words.

God took my worth-less-than-nothing life, and He gave it value and meaning nothing else could come close to giving. No career, no amount of hard work or striving could ever compare to the uniqueness and fulfillment each child has given to me.

David and I have discussed the possibility of having one more child,  but, we both feel satisfied and, for lack of a better word, done. I reminisced last night on how amazing it felt to have life apart from myself growing within me, how wonderful and different from every other experience that has been. I miss feeling mine and David’s combined flesh and blood  growing in me, dancing free from my control, even stretching their limbs against the safety that encased them. There will not be any other experience that can match that.

I truly love and appreciate how God made man and woman to come together to be intimately involved with the continuance of the creation of life. There are few things more Awe-inspiring.

Today, Mother’s Day will include our youngest being dedicated to the Lord. Perfectly timed.

Being a mom is a good and perfect gift from above.

Within Us

“Greater is He Who is within me, than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Wanton Disregard for Safety

One of the phrases I heard so often on worship teams and at churches was “We have to get into the presence of God.”

The impression I got was that God’s presence was a difficult place to attain, a challenging state to achieve, where all the music goes right and everyone is caught up in worship. That experience was the goal, and apparently it was rare, but we were going to try for it anyway.

For the “W” entry in the A to Z challenge, I want to talk about the term within.

This understanding of worship that I mention above seems to follow the Holy of Holies model.

If we look into the Old Testament and the laws about the setup and rituals of the Tabernacle of God, we find that there were three main sections to the place of worship. The Outer Court was the largest, where…

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Fading Words

Harnessing the Power of the Story

Tonight ideas fill my head

They dance around like fireflies

Voices and the words they said

Characters live out their lives

As faith without some work is dead

So words unwritten often fade

And now it’s time to go to bed

But there has been no progress made

So now I hope tomorrow proves

To be a more productive day

So long as I recall this truth:

For what we love, we make a way.

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What My Mom Helped Me Learn

My mom has helped me learn some things that I now have the opportunity to purposefully make sure my daughter gets from me.

Deborah turning 4 Incidentally, when my mom came o1) Always have her back. Even if I don’t agree with her or she doesn’t handle things the way I would, never make her feel as though she has to deal with things alone.

2) No amount of money or possessions can replace a sense of being cherished or belonging.

3)  I need to be approachable.

4) Listen, even when it drives me crazy to hear about her friends I’ve never met. It’s important to her to be able to share it with me. Also, that keeps me informed and interested. I know who is dating who, who just moved into the neighborhood, who I should be aware of,  and what their ages are.

5) I need to be involved without being controlling.

6) Make time just for her, just because I want to spend time with her. I enjoy her company.

7) Help her find a sense of purpose by telling her what her strengths are, and what I admire about her.

8) Praise her and compliment her; critique things she does without harsh or mean criticism of her.

9) Teach her skills that will help her fit into society in a healthy way.

10) Help her value herself so she will make decisions that will be healthy and beneficial.

11) Don’t say negative things about her behind her back. When I share information out of frustration or as a prayer request, she knows about it and what I have said.

12) Don’t side with someone who calls her a liar. She isn’t always completely truthful with me, but I have never, ever known her to lie to someone, outright. And, even if I thought she did lie, we would deal with that in private and she would apologize to the person face-to-face. I will not take sides against my daughter.

13) Teach her the “why” behind each piece of instruction, guidance or advice.

14) Make sure she knows I separate her from her actions, decisions and mistakes. She is not what she does.

15) Let her wear my shoes and clothes sometimes. There is just something uniquely bonding about this with my daughter.

16) Don’t attack her for, or say harsh, mean things about, what I view as faults. My view is only one perspective, but she gets her cues at self-confidence from me.

17) Make sure she knows beyond any shadow of doubt, every single day, that I love her, cherish her, and my life is better because she’s in it.

18) I am careful to not expose her to things she’s not old enough to be able to process with an informative maturity. Raising children is like growing plants in some ways: I wouldn’t throw a rose-bush out into a blizzard just because I was tired of it being in the house and it’s too expensive to buy it food and soil. The same with my daughter: there will be no cut-off time for her, we won’t force her out of the house by a certain age. My hope is that we will help her become confident and prepared when the time comes for her to begin a new phase of life apart from us. I’m in no rush for that day, but I also won’t hold her back from embracing it.

19) Give her a healthy view of marriage. I think this is one of the best gifts my husband and I can give to our children, especially our daughter. As she sees how her dad treats me, and how I treat him, she will be able to discern the right relationship for herself. It’s so important for her to understand God’s perspective in marriage, because the world’s perspective brings no peace, no comfort, no health, and no longevity.

20) Make sure she has a firm foundation in Christ, while I encourage her in her own relationship with God, but don’t criticize when she doesn’t do things the same as me, or she isn’t passionate about the same things with God and church that I am. She is uniquely formed by God, and I trust Him to lead her in the direction that He has planned for her.

I hope I can pass on things that she will pass on to her own daughter someday, and so on, and so on…

My desire above everything is to bless my daughter. When a mother curses her daughter with negatives and harsh criticism, it affects every relationship and interaction she has, negatively. My hope is in blessing her it will do the exact opposite. I can already see some positive fruit from things people say to me about her, and how she is treated by her peers.

Set-Up To Fail

Have you watched the show “Everybody Loves Raymond“? In the episode where Marie, the mother-in-law, teaches Debra, the daughter-in-law, how to make meatballs, Marie purposely hides the wrong spice behind a label of the correct spice, and they end up tasting horrible. Debra was made to look incompetent. We laugh, but it has a ring of truth to it. We all know someone who has either experienced it, or has done it to us. Maybe we have done that to someone else.

Set-up to fail. The phrase alone packs quite a punch!

It’s something I have become more aware of in many aspects of life and relationships. I see evidence of it within our government, in the media, as well as in various personal relationships.

It feels lousy when I realize someone has done that to me. When I don’t meet certain expectations within a time-frame that just doesn’t work for me. When Grace is not extended if I make a mistake, forget, or can’t get to something. When an expectation is unrealistic.

I fail.

It seems to me that sometimes we think that God does that with us. When something good in our lives is removed, how often do we blame Him? When a promotion falls through, when a career ends, when illness, accident or disaster strikes, sometimes our very first thought is that God set us up to fail. Not in those words maybe, but the idea is the same. He gives good things, allows good things, just so He can take them away when we don’t do good enough… We get angry with God.

Except, He doesn’t do that. He doesn’t withhold good things from us just because we don’t perform well for Him or do enough “works”.

James 1:17

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father …

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Wounded Reality

thThere is a phrase in our society I have heard quite a bit. It’s “victim mentality.” I often hear, “Don’t be a victim.” “You’re not a victim.” There is a growing disdain for those victimized who don’t handle the aftermath the way society thinks they should: Jump back into life like it never happened. Forgive and forget. Act “normal”.

There is a complete phase of victim-hood that seems to get ignored: having been wounded.

Supposedly victims of rape, incest, emotional and mental abuse, and other things are supposed to lick their wounds and fit right in with everyone in society. They are supposed to heal their own wounds, invisible to everyone else so maybe that makes the wounds seem nonexistent or unimportant. If they are a Christian, they should expect that God will heal all their wounds without anyone else, they “just need to trust Him”, “need to have faith”. When it doesn’t work out “perfect”, then the wounded are accused they “don’t have enough faith”.  Maybe it’s not the fault of the wounded at all. Maybe the members of their church lack compassion. Biblical compassion.

I don’t expect much from the Godless world, they don’t know any better, but they do actually demonstrate a bit more kindness than we Christians sometimes do. I submit to you that within the Body of Christ , there are times we are wounding our wounded by placing unrealistic expectations on them, sometimes we even neglect their actual need. God created people to need people. So, why is the Church sometimes dismissive of the very real needs the wounded have? Why do we tend to see those wounded as whiners, “needy”, or ridiculous? Where is our compassion?

I don’t see this in every church, or even the one we are part of now, but, over the past three decades, I have seen this many times.

Physical wounds need the help of others to be stopped, repaired and healed. Someone applies pressure to stop the bleeding. Someone rescues someone from the vehicle of an accident. An ambulance takes the “victim” – wounded – to the hospital where an entire team and staff work to save the life, repair the damage and stop the bleeding. Careful instructions are given to the wounded victim, and follow-up appointments are made. Prescriptions and bandages are given.

Shouldn’t the Church be more like a hospital? What one-on-one care is given? Who stops the bleeding of the wounded heart, the mind and emotions? Who applies the healing balm? Who helps with the repairing, and the healing? Who gives the prescriptions of Scriptures, and bandages of prayers and encouraging words? Obviously Christians know the answer is the Holy Spirit. But, who are the willing vessels He works through?

I hope I am.

The last thing that wounded people need to feel is left alone to find their own healing. Church, The Body of Christ, is unique from everything in that we give and we get, as members. It’s when things are unbalanced and the giving is stressed, but the getting can tend to be neglected, or vice-versa, that it becomes dysfunctional. I think there should be a healthy balance of both hospital-like and service for God, but maybe my own expectations are too high. At any rate, I see such a need that my heart aches to help fill. I hope others see it, too.

When Trust is Gone

Trust does not come easy for me.

As a young girl, I searched for someone I could trust to bare my soul to. It was years of being alone and afraid before I finally found someone who would listen, and not repeat what I told them, who didn’t treat me nice to my face while saying horrible things behind my back.

Maybe you can imagine the disappointments I have experienced. I grieve the loss of trust more than the loss of loved ones.

Recently I became aware of someone bad-mouthing me, someone I thought I could trust. The hurt cuts deeply, down into my soul. What do I do now? Sometimes, I push people out of my life when the trust tests fail. If they treat me coldly after I share my heart with them, then I close the trust door and lock them out. If they tell others what I share in confidence, out they go. My intolerance for failed trust creates a wall of separation to protect me from making the mistake of trusting them again.

When I see signs of gossip, slander, back-stabbing and bad-mouthing others, I stay away.

As deep as intolerance runs, forgiveness fills the void intolerance creates. Because of Jesus, I have been enabled to forgive. I am able to be wise as a serpent, but gentle as a dove, withdrawing myself from future issues, now knowing the damage this person has caused, and will cause in the future. All I can do is withdraw my trust, let God count my losses of reputation, and grieve the relationship I believed we had.

Now, who will I talk with?

Fiddlesticks-Fanart The devil uses our tongue like a scythe cutting through hay, destroying trust, reputations and opportunities for God to work beyond what we can even imagine. There is a reason the scythe is often portrayed with the demonic.

I am desperate for God to build others up through my words. Why is it so difficult to find people who are like-minded and trustworthy?

I try to live by Proverbs 11:13 “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.”~ESV

I am so thankful I have God to hand my hurts to. He tends to them carefully and lovingly. But, how I wish people were easier to trust, and cautious to guard that trust.

James 3:2-10   “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 28_32_90---Scrap-Timber-Fire--Darlington--County-Durham_webAnd the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. …” ~ESV

Reflex Defense Mechanisms – The Ambitions of a Survivor

004 Years ago when my husband and I were shopping in a little store on Okinawa after having been at a Church serviceDavid accidentally dropped his huge, heavy Bible on my foot. Before I even realized what was happening, I swung my arm around and popped him a good one on his back. I was so embarrassed! He and I burst out laughing as I apologized profusely. However: the Okinawan people in the store did not share our humorous moment, and they looked pretty shocked which added to my embarrassment.

I have quite a few, what I call, reflex defense mechanisms (rfd’s). After a variety of tough life situations, I figured out how to adapt, and in most cases, overcome by using these.  I also have quite a few that I tamed over time. For the longest time, I had a sharp tongue that, at the first sign of danger or trouble,  swung into action and sliced with depth and precision. Now, I do my best to speak encouragement, healing and positive words into the lives around me.

In another constant rfd, more than just a reaction or reflex, I troubleshooted every possible situation I could think of and figured out how I would/could protect myself, stand up for myself, and escape. There wasn’t anyone to rescue me in my scenarios, just me frantically figuring out how to escape and survive. That was a result of PTSD.

I didn’t listen to what I viewed as unwanted advice, (because I already had it all figured out, you know). I knew what was best for me… God has also tamed that in me. He showed me in His Word how being stubborn stifled His Holy Spirit speaking into my life. He also showed me how many of my rfd’s kept me from receiving His help. If I thought I knew better than God… well, I learned the importance of listening to Godly advice from others, whether I think I need to hear it or not. I don’t want to shut out God’s Spirit speaking into my life, in any way, ever.

While I believed those rfd’s kept me safe, they didn’t, even though I certainly prepared for much of the worst!

I didn’t know that I could count on God to rescue me as I called upon the Name of Jesus. He rushed in like a flood, made a clear path for me to safely walk, and prepared a new future for me.

Now, I have peace of mind. I can, and I do, trust God to protect me, to help me survive, and if I don’t survive I know my soul will be with God for all of eternity. God is my Defender, my Protector, my Provider: He is my Rock. He has my back. He rescued me when I called upon Him, and He delivered me from my old life, made the way for me to live free and peaceful. Now, no matter what is going on, I have peace that lives inside of me, and I know I can rely on God. What a tremendous difference that has made! God sees ahead of me,  behind me, and He sees those blind spots that I’m unaware of. I know that whoever comes up against me will have to answer to God, He will hold all accountable for what has been done to me in my past or will come against me in the future, and I have let go of any need for revenge. I still have some rfd’s I may not even be aware of as God peels back those complex, calloused layers life has helped form. He reveals the hidden ones and removes their trigger points, bringing a healing and a restoration to replace them. I can leave it all in God’s capable Hands.

1Corinthians 2:9
“That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” ” ~New Living Translation