Delighting in Obedience

6 Feb

I am participating in Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study, Made to Crave” written by Lysa TerKeurst. I have done this study before in Jan 2012 at church with a wonderful group of women. I have lost weight since I started that study but because I did the study half heartily my old lifestyle habits crept back in and although I still weigh less then I did in Jan ‘12 my eating habits and time with God seriously lacked self control and consistency. I had book knowledge but not a compete heart change. I had reservations that this could REALLY work for me.

Fast forward to Jan 2013 when God led me to Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies. I find it amazing that God would orchestrate the last three studies just for me. I know you are probably chuckling at that, chances are with 43,000+ participating with this study that some of you feel exactly the same way. At the end of last summer we did “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst and I stepped up and said yes to God by joining the Proverbs 31 OBS Volunteer team. My reaction in the days that followed alternated between “YEA” and “Say WHAT?? Did you REALLY do that?”. I knew God had called me to be part of this ministry but my heart and head had little confidence that I could do it. Well, don’t you know the next study was “A Confident Heart” written by Renee Swope and with that my volunteering started and my God-fidence grew too.

While we were doing “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” my health started to fail. From Jan ’13 to Aug ‘13 I was exercising every day and making fairly good food choices. Suddenly, I was had frequent headaches, pain in my stomach (which I had for a long time) increased, pain in my legs and arms, extreme fatigue and unexplained wt gain. Because of the headaches my Oncologist called me in, three months before my scheduled apt, to make sure cancer had not returned. Thankfully it had not but this presented a question. What was causing my symptoms? I couldn’t exercise anymore, I needed daily afternoon naps, honestly, some days after my husband goes to work I have to go back to sleep. This is not me. Once I am up, I’m up-I don’t go back to bed until it’s night time. My Oncologist sent me to an Infectious Disease Dr since I had a history of tick borne diseases. It took several months of testing but he determined that I have a immuno globulin deficiency and basically I have no immune system. He sent my records to the office that would give me the only course of treatment for this illness–it was a no brainer that the insurance would approve the treatment and I would be on the road to recovery. I never heard from this infusion company-after several calls to the Drs office , over the course of three weeks, they finally put me in touch with the infusion company, unfortunately, my insurance did not approve my treatment. Because I have been in the Word so much more and my heart is confident that God has a plan I did not panic with this information. My constant mantra was and still is that God has a plan in all of this. The Dr advised I see an Allergist/Immunologist for a second opinion. I couldn’t see what an Allergist had to do with all this but I felt I had no choice but to go. Right before going to the Allergist we started the current OBS Study “Made to Crave”. God knew EXACTLY what I would need, when I would need it. The Allergist did allergy testing (I thought I knew what I was allergic to) and many more blood tests. She also showed me how the first Dr had coded the diagnosis wrong and explained why the ins company denied treatment. To my surprise she found I was allergic to dairy, beef, pork, deer, elk and goat. Now some of you may snicker at the last 2 or 3 on that list but here in AR we eat all those meats and I LOVE them all. Who knew that people who get tick borne illnesses often develop these allergies? God knew! He also knew that MY allergists is involved in a long term study on this exact health issue! She also confirmed I had an immune deficiency and we are currently waiting for approval from my insurance for my treatment, which will be lifelong.

So what does this have to do with obedience? In doing Made to Crave I am learning that bringing my eating habits under control is not an act of depriving myself of things I love as much as it is my God calling me to focus on him and to live in a state of obedience. On page 91 in Made to Crave Lysa tells us this journey for her is about having an undivided heart. Mine too and the root of my undivided heart is my lack of obedience and self control. She goes on to say on that same page:

“I can either be loyal to honoring the Lord with my body or loyal to my cravings, desires and many excuses for not exercising.”

Lysa also quotes 1 Corinthians 6:19

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body”

I read this chapter as I was learning about my allergies and that I would need to give myself weekly Ig infusions for the rest of my life.

I could look at this from a fleshly point of view and whine and moan over never, ever eating a hamburger or a hot fudge Sunday again and having to give myself weeky infusions for EVER OR I can look at this as a call from God to be obedient. To add self control to the fruits of the Spirit that God has blessed me with. The former is definitely the old me, the latter is where I want to be. I stopped eating the foods I am allergic to and also my much loved coffee last Friday, as it was not mixing well with the antibiotics I will be on long term, and I am amazed at the blessings I have received. I have not had one craving and I don’t miss those foods at all. Did I REALLY just say that? God has blessed my obedience to him with taking away my cravings. I also realized yesterday, when I looked in the mirror, that my face is changing, it’s not puffy, my face looks younger-how cool is that?! I am much more comfortable with the Allergist and the Infusion company she recommended. The infuson company called me the day after my Dr referred me to them. What a blessing. If the first Dr had coded my illness correctly I would not have gone to the allergist and, while the treatment would have helped my immune system, I would have not known about my food allergies and my stomach would still be giving me pain everyday. I haven’t had stomach pain since this past Saturday. It was a daily constant for a LONG time.

I  also started exercising in Jan–doing Praise Moves at church once a week and now I have added Leslie Sansone’s Walking DVD to do at home. On days I don’t want to exercise I tell myself I need to do it to because God is calling to be obedient by honoring his temple in my body. I do it and HE gives me the strength to complete the 21 minute routine. I always feel empowered when I finish. My life verse is Philippians 4:13 “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength” In all things, I can be joyfully obedient to God not because I have the strength to do it but because God gives me strength. I know this was long but it’s what was on my heart to share!

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Is God #enough?

12 Dec

This is my second blog post on our current Proverbs 31 Online Bible study of Renee Swope’s book “A Confident Heart”. Writing does not come easy to me so for me to write a blog I need to be inspired from the depths of my very spirit. I haven’t felt this kind of inspiration with this study so I have taken a back seat and let others write and I have been so blessed reading the blogs of my OBS sisters. I don’t want you to think that because I haven’t written a blog that I haven’t gotten anything from our study, quite the contrary, I have grown so much in this and the last study, “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” that sometimes I don’t recognize the woman I’ve become-in a good way. My daily walk is transforming right before my eyes. With this topic, though,  I could not keep my hands off the keyboard-my spirit is telling me you HAVE to share so here goes.

Is God #Enough? Absolutely, without a doubt, 100%

YES! YES! YES!

In case I didn’t make that clear YES! YES! YES! You might want to ask “How in the world can you be so sure and secure in knowing that God is #enough? Well, I am going to share one thing that happened a while ago and three things that happened yesterday that have absolutely reminded me of how God is #enough!

I am disabled and unable to work-my husband works two jobs so we can make ends meet and some weeks it’s a big stretch for those ends to meet. Late last year or early this year, I can’t quite remember  when,  God placed it on my heart to step out in faith and make a monthly pledge in support of Proverbs 31 ministries-not much-just $10 a  month but honestly, that $10 was a lot for us to commit to on a monthly basis but I did it because I felt God was calling me to do so. Within days of making that pledge we were blessed financially in ways that only God could have orchestrated. I didn’t make the pledge to be blessed but to be a blessing to P31 because they have blessed me so much in my walk. I’ve grown as a Christian woman more in the last   year then in any since I accepted Jesus in 1991. God honors obedience and when we heed to His nudging on our hearts it blesses God and He blesses us-You can not out give God. I have to tell you, there are some pay periods where we get to the next paycheck and there is $10 or less in our account but our bills always seem to get paid-it’s just REALLY close.

So fast forward to yesterday-In Melissa’s OBS blog she asked us to post in the comment section our God is #enough statements. I did and this is what I posted:

Even though my daughter has not spoken to me since Aug 09, she has moved without giving me her address or phone number God is #enough to fill my heart with joy: Jehovah Shalom-The Lord is my peace
Even though our finances are a mess and we live paycheck to paycheck God is #enough: Jehovah Jireh-my provider.
Even though I am disabled and live with chronic illness and pain God is #enough: Jehovah Rapha The Lord who Heals me.
Even though I fall short in my walk daily God loves me unconditionally and is #enough: El Roi: The God Who Sees me.
Even though I grew up with a father that was troubled, was abusive and not a good example-God is #enough: Abba: My papa!
Thank you for this exercise Melissa after listing these I feel peace because God is #enough:Jehovah Rohi: The Lord is my Shepherd

When I hit post and shared my God is #enough statements I suddenly felt such a peace-I knew in  my heart God was and is #enough for me. One of  my biggest struggles  is with our finances. It’s one of the strongholds that, previously, the evil one would hold against me but no more. I have been feeling a tug on my heart to double my pledge to Proverbs 31 for a few weeks. Yesterday I got Tracie Miles Blog Post about why she does what she does at P31 (http://traciemiles.com/why-i-do-what-i-do/)-it was a call to consider financially supporting P31 so even more women could be touched by everything they do. I felt compelled to comment that I felt a call to double my monthly pledge and to share why so others might be inspired to do so. I made it public so now I was 100% committed to doing it. So that is the second thing that happened yesterday-first I was blessed by peace and a real knowing that God is #enough by posting my God is #enough statements and secondly publicly declaring my committment to double my pledge.

The third thing that happened blew me away! As I stated earlier, my  husband works two jobs because I am disabled and salaries here in AR are some of the lowest in the country. He loves his part-time job at a wildlife refuge for lions, tigers, bears and other assorted furry creatures so  much that if we could afford it, he would work for free. Last night they had their annual Christmas party and they blessed my husband with a Christmas bonus….much, much,much more than the extra $10.00 that I pledged to add to my pledge to P31. I said it before and I am going to say it again. YOU CAN NOT OUT GIVE GOD! When you feel God calling you to step out in faith to bless P31  or your neighbor or a stranger you see at the store please don’t listen to that nay saying voice that says “I can’t do that” and listen to the Holy Spirit inside you that says “Do this-I’ve got your back-I am #enough!”. Whether financial blessings come your way or not the feeling you get from being obedient to God is worth it and guess what you WILL be blessed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this I pray you have a very blessed Christmas and an even more blessed 2014!

A heart fully surrendered to God

24 Oct

I was raised in a church, was part of the choir, served on the altar as an altar girl, was active in the youth group but my walk in church as a child was religious and not spiritual. By that, I mean we did things out of tradition, not Spiritual hunger. It took many years of making some really poor choices and hard lessons for me to learn that my walk needed to be based on a close relationship with Jesus, God’s son and not on traditions that were made up by man.

In late Nov. 1990(could have been 91-I’m not sure) my sister Amy took me to an Aglow International Conference in Orlando, FL-it was there that I responded to an altar call and asked Jesus to come into my heart. I would love to tell you that I immediately changed, grabbed onto my Bible and the Word of God and lived a life glorifying God but sadly that is not what happened. When I came home I had no one to disciple me-I didn’t even know I needed to be discipled.
At the time I accepted Jesus, I was married to an abusive alcoholic. I was bound and determined to “fix” him so as many times that he left and went to live with his mother after a really bad, violent, drunk, I took him back thinking that if I just loved him enough he would change. That didn’t happen-you can not love someone to change, only God can change a person in that miraculous way. While I was married to this man, I made many poor choices that affected my daughter as I have written about in previous blogs. She no longer talks to me and that initially devastated me but now I know that God is using this time to mold me and show me that it is HIS love that matters most. In the old testament we are told how Abraham was asked to sacrifice Issac and because of his obedience, his willingness to sacrifice his only son, God spared Issac and provided another sacrifice.(Gen 22:1-14) I know in my heart by accepting this time away from my beautiful daughter that this is a sacrifice I am making to God. This is a sacrifice I willing to make in order to fully accept and live in God’s unconditional love. It has been a long journey-this journey to accept God’s unconditional love but one that I no longer regret. It took a women’s conference in Nov 2010–yes almost 30 years wandering in the desert-to let the wall that separated me from God’s grace and love to come down. Today I know my redeemer lives in my heart, loves me and because of that love that he so freely gives I serve HIM in anyway He asks. I used to do things because I was asked to do it. I thought it was expected of me. If I didn’t do it-who would? I feared that if I said no someone would not like me or gossip about me. Now I know if those things happen that I need to pray for those who persecute me.( Matt 5:44) Today, all that matters is “What is God calling me to do?” I am a sold out yes girl for Jesus. Does that mean I am fully confident and equipped to do what he calls me to do? Absolutely NOT! I have come to understand that God does not call the equipped but instead equips the called. The only thing I need to do is say “YES LORD” and he does the rest. Each day, through His Word, love, Holy Spirit guidance and the wonderful women He has put in my life I am becoming more and more equipped to do what He has called me to do. My sweet sister’s don’t let 30 years of knowing about God happen, you can KNOW HIM now, if you will let him. Bask in His unconditional love-there is nothing that can separate you–nothing you’ve done in the past, your failings today nor those you and I will undoubtedly do in the future-nothing can separate us from the love of God.(Romans 8:31-39).
He loves you! If you do not know Jesus in this way please take a moment and ask Him into your heart, Believe that he died on the cross for your sins and Confess that He is Lord of all and I promise He is waiting with open arms. He loved you before you were even born and still loves you today. Won’t you accept His unconditional love today? I am so happy I did and would like to be the first to say “welcome home”. If you asked this today would you please comment and let me know? I’d love to partner with you in prayer as you begin to know the love of God in a deeper way. God Bless you today and always!

Prince of Peace

5 Oct

This past week in our Proverbs 31 OnLine Bible Study we have been studying Mary, the mother of Jesus. In doing so, we also delved into the meanings of some of the names that describe the character of God. The one that stands out to me is Prince of Peace. My husband and I are a long way from being perfect or being characterized as the perfect example of a “Christian” couple but we both have a tremendous love for Jesus and that love for Jesus has enabled us to have peace in our marriage, hearts and home. I can honestly say that, while we do not agree all the time, we never have ugly fights. I know this is not anything we can do in and of ourselves. Before Christ became the center of my life, I was a very contentious person. If something ruffled my feathers everyone knew it and I would not let anything go. I thank God that my husband has a deep love for me and would not feed into my temporary insanity. He would not allow my ugliness to affect our marriage. Now, I am able to let things go and know, in my heart, that God is in control no matter what circumstances look like. I did not realize until this week that the reason for this is because I have developed a deep relationship with the “Prince of Peace”. I am created in His image (Gen 1:27) and I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinth 2:16) so it occurs to me that if I am created in His image and I have the mind of Christ that IF I keep my focus on HIM then I too can experience the characteristics of God. It is only because I have the Holy Spirit dwelling in me and I have Jesus interceding on my behalf that I am able to reflect the character of God. Many times people who have come to our messy, lived in home, whether they are repairmen, friends, or family they make a point to say “I feel so peaceful and calm here” or “I sense peace in your home”. That is definitely not anything that we have done, in and of ourselves, but it is because we are adopted into God’s family and we are heirs to His eternal kingdom. As a child, my home life was very volatile, my dad was very unhappy, contentious, depressed and angry a lot of the time. I had a very poor example as to how to act and live my life. Now, as an adopted child of God, I have an amazing example to follow. I am not perfect but I know because my Abba father is the Prince of Peace, I can live in peace and have a home that gives peace and comfort to all that come and have a wonderful marriage with my husband because our marriage is an entwined cord of me, Bill and Jesus. I am so grateful that when people come to our home the first thing they notice is the peace the feel and they do not notice the dust bunnies hopping by or the dust on the piano that is sadly so thick sometimes that I can write my weekly memory verse in it or love notes to my husband. John 14:27 tells me “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” I live at peace because “The Prince of Peace” calls me his own and that is more than enough for reason for me. 🙂

A21/P31-30 Days of Prayer

3 Oct

I have been asked by Proverbs 31 Ministries to partner with the A21 Ministry to pray for 31 days to make an big impact on bringing an end to human trafficking. Today, along with the prayers given I have been asked to pray and share my prayer with you all.

Gracious Heavenly Father,
I am in awe at how amazing and mighty you are-that you called all things into being and continue to care for each and every part of what you have created. Above all the things you have created-people-my fellow sisters and brothers-are your most treasured creation. You have adopted us as heirs to your eternal kingdom (Romans 8:1) Some have not received this gift and not only have not received it but are persecuting your precious creations-men, women and children. I ask Lord that you will hear the cries of these men, women and children and bring an end to this horrendous way of life for them.(Exodus3:7) I ask that they feel your love despite their circumstances. I ask you to put a hedge of protection around all the A21 workers so that they can save as many as possible and work to change the worlds view on human trafficking. I ask that those who are responsible will be held accountable and be punished for their acts. I ask Lord that the hearts of the abusers be crushed, softened and turn to you. You took Saul,a tremendous persecutor of Christians and used him for mighty things (Acts 9:1-22)-I ask that you do this with these people who are persecuting men, women and children all over the world. Your Word tells us that you desire that none should perish( 2 Peter 3:9) -my flesh wants these persecutors to burn in hell but my Spirit tells me that your wish is that none should perish so I ask that as they are held accountable that the scales would fall from their eyes and they will turn from their wicked ways and turn to you, the one true God.
Lord, your Word says in Matthew 7:7 “”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” I am asking you Lord to put an end to human trafficking, I am seeking you in this and asking you to open the doors for each person involved with A21 to walk in bold confidence knowing you go before them preparing the way. I pray with no doubt in my heart that you are Jehovah-Elohim–the God of Power and might and Jehovah-Makeh–the God who punishes sin and Jehovah-Tsidkenu–the Lord -our righteousness and Jehovah-El-Olam–the everlasting God. You word is the same yesterday, today and forever and I am leaning on your word and promises today. Lord, finally, if there is anything you would have me do in addition to praying for the mission of A21 and all involved I ask that you show me and give me your strength and power to say yes to whatever you call me to do.
In your precious Son Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen

Past, present and future….

28 Sep

It wasn’t too long ago, a few short years, in fact, that I would go to a meeting 4,5 or 6 times a week and say “Hello, My name is Nancy and I AM an alcoholic and addict. In my past, I have been an adulterer, abused drugs and alcohol, treated my parents poorly, was a mom that made very poor choices, addicted to the need for a man in my life, suffered from depression and many more things…all things I see today that were tools of satan used to keep me away from being the woman that God had intended me to be. I too, like Mary, sometimes have these labels still attached to me by others who refuse to see the woman that God has redeemed through HIS precious blood.

Through God’s grace and mercy I was delivered of my addictions on Feb. 27, 2000 and I have not had a drink or self medicated with drugs ever since that day. Yet, even though I had accepted Christ as my Savior in Nov. 1991, I was not able to live a full life in Jesus because I had not let go of those labels. When I finally got sober in 2000 I worked very hard at trying to make amends to my daughter, I had made some very poor choices that put her in danger when she was a child and although there always seemed to be something not quite right, I thought we worked through our past and were moving forward. Then in 2009 my daughter’s epileptic seizures got worse and were not able to be controlled with medicine. After many tests it was discovered she was having non-epileptic seizures due to repressed memories that had surfaced from her childhood. This devastated her and her only way to deal with the situation was to cut me out of her life. I have not heard her sweet voice since Aug 2009. I have tried to contact her, written her letters, and left voicemails to no avail. She has even moved from FL to CT and not given me her new contact information. When the holiday’s came and went in 2009 and I didn’t hear from Alma I fell into a deep depression, I didn’t want to live, I didn’t think I deserved to live but I couldn’t take my life because of my sweet husband, Bill, and remembering what it was like when my brother committed suicide-I couldn’t put my mom through that again. I suffered all of 2010-it was horrible and then in Nov 2010 my friend invited me to a Women’s Conference in Springfield MO. She said she felt compelled by God to bring me. When I got there I found out the topic of the conference was “God’s Grace”-I can not tell you exactly what happened that day but the wall came down and I fully accepted God’s grace. Today, I am not any one of those labels that are listed above. If you ask me who I am, I will tell you that I am the child of the King of kings and that makes me a princess! Sadly, in my daughter’s eyes I am still all those labels.
Through this entire time since my daughter stopped speaking with me God has been molding me into the woman I am today. I see that year of 2010 as the one where God had to smash the vessel that I was, moisten the clay with my tears, temper my heart with my pain and then I was able to be molded by HIS loving hands.
Today, I am an active part of Proverbs 31 OnLine Bible Studies, I have a network of Christian sisters I couldn’t have ever imagined that, even though they are states away, I can reach out to and guide and be guided in our walks with our Savior. I am the head of our churches Nursery and get to teach wee ones that Jesus loves them. We have a new worship leader who came up to me one Sunday recently to say “I just need to tell you what a joy it is to look out to the congregation and see your smile-you have a beautiful smile.” It brings me great joy to tell him it’s all because of Jesus. I used to feel really sad when I felt left out of activities that some were involved in that I was not invited to but now I find it pure joy. You see, today I know that everything that happens, everything I go through and don’t is because God is in control. If I don’t get to go somewhere or to be included in something it’s because God has a reason. I don’t have to know the reason, I just need to be content with the situation knowing that God is in control and He has my best in mind.
Today, I look forward to a future as a woman who is able to say yes to God without any reservations or concerns about what others may think. I have never felt Him closer and I have never been this at peace in my life. Recently the Proverbs 31 devotion was by Valorie Burton and it was called “Be Happy Now”, at the end there was a link to take a little test to see what your Happy Triggers are and I am happy to say that on a scale of 1-100 I scored a 73 which means I am a fairly happy person. A few short years ago that would have been a much lower score. I praise God daily for His presence in my life and his guidance in my life. I know as I continue to dig into His word and reinforce who I am in Christ that my life will only continue to get better. Even though my daughter has not spoken to me in four years I still have hope that she will because I have Jesus and it tells me in Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” and in Mark 10:27 it says “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” In my own power I can not heal the situation with Alma but as I keep my eyes on Jesus I know I have hope in the future to hear her sweet voice again.

If any of you lacks wisdom, ask!

21 Sep

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

Gracious Heavenly Father, Thank you for all you are and for all you have revealed to me this week through three verses of Scripture about the Prophetess, Anna. Your Word contains so much wisdom that in my haste I have overlooked. Lord, please forgive me for my haste, it’s my hearts desire to search your Word for all that you want me to know. Help me Lord to take my eyes off the things of the world so I can hear you more clearly. I praise you Lord for the example of Anna. Help me Lord in my desire to encourage women with their walk with you, to show them how amazing your grace and mercy are and that you do not require perfection for redemption. The blood of your Son paid the price of redemption for me and for them too. You love me and them no matter what! Guide my steps and words so that they see you and not me, they see you in the words I speak and not me. Let there be less of me and more of you. Hear my heart Lord as I bring their needs to you.

Show me Lord where my walk is lacking and guide me through those areas so that I may of greatest service to you.

Thank you Lord that you can use an imperfect person like me to do the work you planned out for me long before I was even conceived. Thank you Lord that even though I veered off the path you chose for me you welcomed me back not only with open arms but tears of joy. Thank you Lord for all the difficult times I’ve come through with you so that I can reach the hurting and lost with a knowing, caring, compassionate heart. Thank you for your grace, mercy and love.

In Jesus name I pray,
Amen