Keep Growing, Keep Learning

I’m really excited about the recent release of my newest book on the Holy Spirit,

In Step With the Spirit!

I’ve had lots of really good feedback & people expressing how much this book is helping them to walk with he Spirit! This is massively encouraging & I LOVE IT!!
At the same time, I find myself going through some soul searching related to my walk with the Spirit.  Just because I write books about the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean that I’ve learned everything about this journey & I’m an expert. That’s a dangerous pitfall & I sense the Holy Spirit alerting me to this trap while beckoning me to nestle into the Spirit’s presence more & deepen my roots into our intimacy like never before. To this end, I’m wholly committed to walking in daily integration with he Holy Spirit, deeply rooted & abundantly fruitful! I hope you’ll agree to this adventure with the Holy Spirit in your life, taking your own steps with the Holy Spirit!

Improving Some More

I’m sitting down to eat lunch as I write this & enjoying a tasty lunch. My lunch is comprised of Swiss cheese, triscuits & leftovers from last night’s delicious stew. As I’m eating this stew, I notice that it tastes better than it did last night, which is often the case with leftovers.
When I was growing up, I wasn’t much of a leftover fan until I had an epiphany. One day, I suddenly understood that when something is given a bit of time to culminate, it often turns out better than the initial product.
So when we want to grow & Improve, consider what it says in James 1:4, “Let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect & complete, lacking nothing.”
Never underestimate the important ingredient of time when it comes to the final product of growth & improvement 🙂

What I’m Learning

Recently, I had some travel challenges that were similar to something I went through last year. This year, I handled stuff with lots more agility & significantly less angst. The things I did better with included booking an earlier flight instead of nail biting at the last minute. I booked my luggage in increments rather than the whole trip so I don’t think my luggage will go missing for 5days, smile. I also was more proactive with finding a hotel & not looking frantically for something at 2am. There are a few other things I did better on as well, so I’m happy to see that I can learn, grow & improve. I’m equally quick to acknowledge that I don’t know everything, so I continue to stay in learning curve mode. Refusing to learn is dangerous, full on. 
These travel lessons seem applicable to daily living as well:

  • Don’t choose stress when it’s not necessary. 
  • Carry heavy stuff in little increments so it doesn’t get overwhelming
  • Take opportunities to rest, trusting that ultimately God is in control 🙂

Do a Good Job

Having my kids home for summer break is wonderful & challenging. I certainly enjoy their company & they have super fun personalities. As their mom, I’m also responsible to help them grow into healthy, responsible & productive adults – or at least encourage their decisions to move in those directions. 

Funny thing about this parenting gig: seems like heaps of what I tell them needs to flourish in my life as well. I find that my parental coaching has lots of application in my life & maybe this whole parenting thing is God’s parental efficiency plan. I most certainly don’t want to parent from a place of hypocrisy so I’m pushing myself to do well & live up to the stuff that I want to see my kids exhibit 🙂

Less ‘cussing

In the last several weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to explore the ups & downs of concussion recovery. This is a different adventure than recovering from other physical injuries I’ve had. A concussion is an injury to the brain, so it takes awhile to get the neurons back online & return to one’s normal routines & responsibilities. I’m definitely making progress, but typical to my personality, I’d like to be moving along more quickly. In the meantime, these are some rich benefits I’m experiencing in this journey:

  • relying on the Holy Spirit has helped me with my independence struggle
  • this weakness has facilitated greater fellowship with the Holy Spirit in a real time context & not just hindsight
  • I’m less prideful & more compassionate 🙂

Less “concussing” but still learning 🙂

Pentecost is this Sunday! Waiting not so patiently

Waiting doesn’t seem to be one of my strong suits.  Frankly put, I’m often impetuous, sometimes impulsive and infrequently patient.  So the idea of chilling out and waiting for something is not appealing to me.  And yet, this is exactly what Jesus told His followers in Luke 24:49, “‘ . . . , stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.'”  Thankfully, the disciples followed Jesus’ directive and I’m grateful to read about the fruit of their patience and waiting in Acts 2 – the Day of Pentecost.

So in our fast-paced, microwave popcorn and warp speed living, let’s take a step back & consider some of the benefits of waiting for the Holy Spirit:

  • waiting in a community affords the opportunity to build relationships and grow in our fellowship with other believers
  • waiting enforces a healthy discipline on a personal level that defies instant gratification
  • waiting teaches us to let Jesus be the Lord of our time and how we resolve our desires
  • waiting to be clothed with power and the Holy Spirit is what our world desperately needs from us, as followers of Jesus

Take a minute to grab a copy of Heavenly Help and as you read it, let the Holy Spirit speak into your heart about Pentecost becoming more real in your life!

Avoiding Disaster

Cooking a turkey has the potential to be a dance with disaster. I know this to be true, based in years of practice & research. But this year is likely to be different, probably. I say this because of not only years of practice & failures but also because of preparation. 
I’m learning that I can avoid lots of disasters with a little bit of preparation. For example, Gideon in the book of Judges, avoided various disasters because he walked a path of preparation with God. Seems to me that God primed Gideon for his massive victory over the Midianites through extensive preparation: angel visitation, tearing down an altar to idolatry, fleece adventures, people screening & even eavesdropping. 

I may not always enjoy the preparation process but I certainly like the outcomes better than the results of poor preparation. Let’s be careful not to belittle the process of preparation 🙂

pre-prayer

Today is an important day for Saving Moses, as we are praying, planning & strategizing for what God wants to do with Saving Moses in 2016. Days like this are important & they are have very massive impact for what we do in 2016, as well as how we do those significant goals.

We have this annual meeting at my house, so there are things that I do to prepare: clean the house, get coffee / tea ready, my husband made fresh biscuits this morning for everyone, I’ve made some good plans for lunch & some other things. Suffice it to say that I’ve prepared for this meeting with logistical foresight, mostly. But the most important thing I can do for this meeting is pre-prayer.

Let’s always remember that prayer is foundation for all of our preparation, so let’s always pre-prayer for each day J

Getting Along

  
This past weekend, my husband & I attended a marriage retreat. Truthfully, I loath these kinds of things. I don’t like having relationship stuff discussed in such a public forum, it makes me uncomfortable & twitchy. But we all do things that we know to be good for us, even when we don’t like it (eating kale, jogging, going to bed on time, etc). 
Relationships can be challenging & being married can be outright arduous. Here are some takeaways I gained from this weekend, relevant not only to marriages but to relationships in general:

  • winning an argument often means that relationship loses 
  • forgiveness is essential & trust is earned
  • love is doing what’s in the best interests of the other person even when it’s difficult for me 
  • being safe in a relationship requires communication & attention

Happy Monday & here’s to healthy relationships!

Edges & Cutting

  
I did a home painting project last week & let’s just say there won’t be a professional painting career in my near future. My husband checked it out & immediately saw some obvious mistakes.  Of course I wanted more affirmation than his constructive observations but that’s for a different blog ,)

The challenge with painting is to “cut” the edges & have sharp, clean lines along the corners, ceiling, baseboards, etc.  It’s amateur hour when the lines are crooked or the baseboards are speckled. 

Sometimes I think we try to “cut” God into our lives with bright lines, rigid corners, clean baseboards & distinct compartments. If God were looking through the lens of life at my recent painting adventure, maybe God would applaud the bleed, messy corners & paint splatters. Perhaps God wants to bleed into more of or lives & get messy with us as we do our daily living. Don’t cut God out of any place in your life 🙂

Getting What You Want

Despite our best intentions, all of us can struggle with getting what we want. And what we want seems to flitter from stuff, to time, to clothes, to gadgets, to health, to relationships and lots more. I was recently giving God an earful about not getting something that I thought I wanted. Instead of getting my way, it seemed like the exact opposite was happening & there wasn’t anything I could do to change the situation. But what I could change was my attitude – and our attitudes can be a powerful tool when we make wise choices. 
On top of working through my attitude choices in my recent situation, I also learned that while I may not always get what I want, I can trust God to give me what I need 🙂

Unlearning

Sometimes, I’ve learned lessons that I need to unlearn. For example, I learned to be highly independent & have always been a “do it myself” person. While its good to be independent, it’s better to be inter-dependent. So my “unlearning” is teaching me to be less independent & more inter-dependent, particularly on the Holy Spirit. This idea sounds good in my thinking & feels right in my heart, but the practical execution & roll-out of this unlearning can get kind of tricky & a little scary sometimes. 
Some important ingredients that go with becoming more inter-dependent on the Holy Spirit include:

  • time & schedules: unexpected delays, mishaps & schedule busters never catch the Holy Spirit unaware
  • flexible: adapting to the Holy Spirit means that I don’t always get my way
  • trust: being uncertain or even insecure serve to remind me to be more trusting in God rather than getting freaked out
  • people: lots & lots & lots of lessons with this ingredient, to be sure

What are some things you might need to unlearn?

doubting & believing

This morning, I read the story of Doubting Thomas & how he didn’t believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he had physical proof for himself.  Despite what Thomas’ friends told him, he made the adamant position that unless he saw the nail prints in Jesus’ hands, put his finger into the nail prints & touched Jesus’ side where He was pierced, he wouldn’t believe.  Thomas’ belief had 3 pre-qualifiers, all based on physical evidence.

It’s interesting to me that we don’t read about any of Thomas’ friends getting cranky with Thomas for his unbelief – despite all of them following Jesus for 2+ years and seeing all kinds of crazy miracles.  But no one criticized nor chastized Thomas for doubting – maybe they accepted the truth that Thomas was on a journey of faith, not much different from their own journey.

Just because someone is at a different place in their journey of faith doesn’t give us the right to be critical of their lack of faith, anymore than we would want someone to criticize us for some faith deficiencies & shortcomings.  Let’s decide to encourage each other in our journey of faith & not throw rocks when someone is struggling with unbelief – indeed, faith works by love ,)

Comfy, Cozy & Upended

We all gravitate to what is comfortable to us, often at the expense of trusting & depending on God – pause & think about what that means in your life. 

For me, this means that I enjoy experiencing God in a sunrise, hearing the whispers of God’s voice in the Bible alluring me to come closer & losing my self in experiencing God on a snowboard or walking among prostitutes in a red light district in Asia. What isn’t comfortable for me is being intermingled with hyper extroverts, amped up on caffeine & red bull. It also stresses me out to have innumerable “weather conversations” without some deeper anchors & topics that get my feet in the dirt with substance & authenticity. 

Even though I like a conversation that’s earthy & grounded, often when I want to walk closer with Jesus, I have to leave the ground & boat, joining Jesus on the water – away from whats comfortable & cozy in my natural leaning. 
When we walk with Jesus, it’s not always where we are most comfy & cozy but rather upended & transformed. Let’s keep walking, even when it’s on the water, as long as it’s with Jesus 🙂

beep

Back in the dark ages when I was in high school, we had this film kind of thing in my US history class where the teacher would put on a cassette tape with a microfiche slide show & when the tape beeped, he’d advance the microfiche to the next slide.  Being the very intelligent & cheeky students that we were, we quickly learned that our teacher had a slight hearing impediment & we could fake the “beep” and he’d advance the film to the next slide, thereby finishing the pictures before the tape was done explaining what we were supposed to be looking at.  Needless to say, this was heaps of fun for us & quite flustering for him – oh the joys of being mischevious 🙂

Sometimes I think I try to do the same thing with God – beeping to move the lesson forward at a more rapid pace, so we can get finished with the lesson & move onto something more pleasant.  Beep.

Let’s trust that God’s timing, God’s lessons and God’s pacing are all working together good things in our hearts, for God’s glory & our maturity – smile 🙂

learning from mistakes

When I was 19, I dislocated my shoulder playing intramural basketball in college & had surgery to repair my rotator cuff.  Being a very smart & savy 19 year old, who knew everything & was highly independent, I didn’t want anyone’s help.  I even remember my kind & patient roommate chastizing me about how I might possibly regret not letting people help me with my shoulder recovery.  God bless my roommate – she was right & I was wrong.

Now I’m in my late 40s and have struggled with my shoulder for almost 30 years, most recently dislocating it during a  snowboarding adventure.  Having acquired some tread in life, I don’t want to make the same mistake that I made in my late teens, even when it means being altogether uncomfortable and asking for help.

The Bible is full of great examples of people who learned from their mistakes:

  • Joseph & his brothers when they came to buy food in Egypt
  • Moses not killing Egyptians when he returned to liberate the Israelites from Egyptian slavery
  • Paul stopped persecuting the church after his Damascus Road experience

Maybe it’s only bad to make mistakes when they’re the same ones over & over & over & over & over again 🙂

real time learning

I used to coach basketball & it was one of the most enjoyable things that I’ve ever experienced!  The girls I coached were totally AWESOME!  They worked really hard, wanted to excel and win, they were smart & totally committed.  Getting to coach these athletes was nothing less than a total privilege for me that I relish more than 20years later!  As I think about coaching, it reminds me about how Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be our teacher, aka coach.  Here are some important things to think about with the Holy Spirit as our coach:

  • one of the best values of receiving coaching is real time learning – the Holy Spirit is ever present to coach us in our daily living
  • coaches see our potential when we’re mired in growing – the Holy Spirit knows how we are designed (our DNA) & knows the best ways to develop our potential
  • coaching happens with verbal communication, modeling & persistence – the Holy Spirit speaks with us, points us to Jesus as our example and never gives up on us
  • coaching has the best value with failure and defeat & the most enjoyment with success and victory – the Holy Spirit coaches us through failures and celebrates successes with us every day 🙂

I don’t know how

There are lots of things I don’t know how to do.  I can’t crochet, knit, sew, decorate, paint, computer program, repair cars or concrete, grow plants, . . . . . There are so many things that I can’t or don’t know how to do, that I could get overwhelmed with my inabilities & deficiencies.  But the bright spot is that I have a unique and perpetual direct line to God Who knows how to do everything & even more.

When you feel frustrated & overwhelemed with inadquecies, look out, look up and look around because God is readily available to help, just for the asking 🙂

some helpful encouragement

YAHOOOO!!!!!  I’m super excited because lots of the hard work that we’ve been doing with Saving Moses is starting to yield some fruit!!!!!  I have so many dreams in my heart for the work that we do with Saving Moses that sometimes I can get discouraged when I’m not making the progress that I’d like.  But today is a really good day for Saving Moses!!!!  We are making some breakthroughs with our nightcare centers, considering expanding to 2 more countries this year, getting some help with our marketing efforts and watching our efforts become increasingly effective!  I can’t give lots of precise details at this time, but it’s just encouraging to see how God is helping us to grow & become more impactful!

If you have some areas in your life that seem discouraging, please don’t give up praying for those things & continuing to trust God.  Gal 6:9 says that we don’t get weary in well doing because we’ll reap a harvest if we don’t faint 🙂

Smarty Pants

I’ve made some really dumb mistakes in my life – one of which was overvaluing intelligence. I think it’s almost humorous that I would say that because I’m still a massive advocate for education probably because I love to learn. Nevertheless, here are a few things that could be more important than being intelligent:
*character & integrity – people who are smart but lack character & integrity can be extremely dangerous!
*compassion – intelligence without compassion is very cold & sterile
*hard work – this seems pretty self evident
*forgiveness – when we don’t forgive, our world becomes increasingly smaller & smaller
These are just a few things I’m learning in my journey 🙂