Category Archives: Stones of Remembrance

It’s Not about Education…but Sanctification

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
With eyes wide open and gasps the women say almost in unison,

“Oh I can NEVER do that…you must be a very patient and organized person…” 

The temptation to broaden my shoulders and receive the compliment subsides with the realization of the opportunity to share the truth of my weaknesses and Christ’s power.  These women were referring to my conviction to homeschool.

I have fought the desire to write about homeschooling because I see how this subject can divide and stir others to conviction, and some to condemnation if they don’t remember they are in Christ.

Let me begin by saying as Christians we are on our own personal journey with Jesus, and that’s what distinguishes Christianity from any other ‘religion’. Ours is not a legalistic following of rules but rather a grace-filled living relationship with God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.  Daily we have access to the Wonderful Counselor. Only God knows our heart and yieldedness to Him, and only He knows the plans He has for us and our family so it’s best to get our convictions from His Holy Spirit and not other people.  I write to encourage and share God’s story, our testimony…

I first felt a conviction to stay home with my children in 2009 when God’s Word was illuminated in my heart as I read:

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

At the time we lived a double-minded life, building façades and chasing mirages, seeking the things of the world and the things of God at the same time. I was more committed to life in the corporate secular world than the seeking a relationship with God.

When I read the verse ‘teach these to your children‘ I contended with God ‘reminding’ Him of my insecurities as a mother, let alone one that can teach them things about God.  At the time we had a Jesus loving Nanny for the children and she was teaching them to love God and love others, I felt it was sufficient to delegate this responsibility.

Eventually we partly yielded as a family and downsized to one income and a smaller home.  At the time my children were 2 and 4 and I had NEVER stayed home with them longer than the 4-6 weeks of maternity leave when they were born.  This was a huge adjustment for us to say the least.  After a few weeks alone with my children I had repented of all the ‘gossip’ and defiling words I said about all of ‘those stay at home moms’ and I was looking forward for the big yellow bus to come and take my son to kindergarten when the conviction came yet again…this time I was reading John 17:6-7.  For context, this is Jesus praying to the Father about the disciples He was given. I dared to ask that day,

LORD who do you give me to manifest Your name?

He answered, and I cried.  He already gave me two–my children.  I immediately wrote their names in my Bible praying someday their names will be in His book.

Since it was Eve that was deceived by the serpent in the garden I went to my husband and asked him to pray about ‘something’ I felt God calling us to do.

What is it?” He asked bluntly.

I held my breath cringed and clenched my teeth and barely managed to say, “homeschool our children…”

Without hesitation or surprise my husband said, “I have already been praying for three months and I’ve already researched curriculum.”

So began our ‘homeschooling’ adventure.

Let me be painfully transparent: This ‘adventure’ is HARD for me.

I am not naturally patient or kind. I do get jealous when I see other kids (especially younger) more advanced than my children, and yet I do brag to make myself feel better when my kids can do something no one else can.  I can be arrogant, and act unbecomingly. I have sought my own agenda many times, and I’ve been easily provoked to anger or giving up, and I have kept many records of my children’s wrongs. Yes, this ‘adventure’ has been a refining crucible daily revealing my need for my Savior Jesus Christ.

I remember one ‘spicy’ day when I was a ball on the floor weeping and asking God, “Why? Why am I doing this?” His gentle peace washed over me and I heard Him speak to my heart,

until Christ is formed in you…”

I look up in the Bible and see Galatians 4:19:

My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you--”

Context: This is Paul writing to the Galatians but this was a reminder to me. At first I thought, “Yes, of course, until Christ is formed in my children…” but God said,

My daughter, until Christ is formed in you, for that is my will and purpose.”  That’s when I heard,

It’s not about education, but sanctification.” Jesus is LORD

 

We no longer call it home-education’ we call it ‘home-sanctification.’  God is the Principal, the Teacher, the Head-Master and we are all His students.  This has helped me renew my mind and gain an understanding of the purpose of our lessons:

We learn our ABC’s to learn to read
We learn to read so we can learn to Read the Bible, God’s Holy Word
We learn to Write to capture and record stones of memorial of God’s faithfulness
We learn Grammar to communicate the Gospel to others
We learn Math to be good stewards of time, talent, money and resources
We learn History to learn about the faithfulness of God and consequences of sin

We learn Biology to learn about God’s creation

We learn Geography to pray for the lost to be found and strength for the missionaries

That’s it.  These are the basics of what we are learning in our household–we can’t handle extracurricular studies outside of these subjects right now.  I’m learning to be OK with that and not strive to drag my children where I want them to be or where I see other kids.  I’m learning to be like Jesus and to meet them where they are at.

I’m learning to yield myself to His Spirit so He can lead and guide us into all Truth daily.  I’m learning the greatest ‘lesson planning’ is done on our knees after confession, repentance, cleansing and revival in our hearts.  I’m learning that when I boast and share my weaknesses with my children and others, the power of Christ is manifested in me and God is glorified.

Our family’s vision is Jesus Christ. Our most important desire for our children is that they know and love God with all their hearts soul, mind, and strength and love their neighbors as themselves. This does not mean we do not care about education, we do! We acknowledge we must be good stewards with the minds God has given us, and keep our perspective heavenward remembering “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies,” and we must remember what God delights in as shared in Jeremiah 9:23-23.

This is my holy conviction written on a stone of remembrance for those days when I will forget why I am doing this….for sanctification, not education: May Christ be formed in me…

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Thessalonians 5:23


10 + 5 = Redeeming Love

B and A

If you try to intertwine two people full of insecurities, selfishness, and pride with a deep hunger and desire for ‘love’ and purpose, you will have a shallow relationship that will never fulfill. Billy and I know this first hand.

Most people don’t know our marriage died in 2001 when we were both separated from God and decided to separate from each other.  It. Was. Over. Hearts were hardened and hurt, and shame and regret kept us apart. Even when we got back together and ‘tried’ to make our marriage work it was for selfish and prideful reasons. But God…

Little did we know in 2009 we would experience a LOVE that would change us from the inside out. This love was not from one another, but from God. In 2009 God breathed His Spirit into our lives and marriage and we began an adventurous journey with God that has brought us into a deeper love with Him and one another.  We are learning marriage is not about us, it’s about God.

Marriage is a picture of Jesus Christ and the love and fellowship He has with His Bride (the Church). We are learning God unites us together in a covenant relationship with Him as One.

We are learning walking down the aisle to the altar doesn’t end on your wedding day but it is a daily walk to God’s altar as you offer yourself to Him as a living and holy sacrifice. We are learning the most intimate experience we can have with one another is prayer at God’s throne of grace and waiting, watching, and rejoicing in His answers.

Our hope is not having a perfect marriage, or a life without trials and pain, but our hope is in Christ alone, we know from experience we cannot do this without Him.  We had 10 years of marriage without consulting or seeking God’s kingdom and it was very difficult to love apart from God. But God is the Wonderful Counselor and Healer of all.  Just as we are made alive to God in Christ Jesus, so our marriage is alive in Christ Jesus for His purposes. God has made us righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, and that is how we are able to live by faith.

This is His marriage and we rejoice and give glory and honor to God.
It is the love of GOD THE FATHER that helps us to love,
it is the blood of JESUS CHRIST that cleanses us from all unrighteousness helping us to have daily counsel and fellowship with the Father,
it is the HOLY SPIRIT Who convicts, teaches and guides us on the paths of righteousness, for His Namesake.

To. God. Be. The. Glory.

15 years. 10 years without God + 5 years with God = Redeeming Love

Thank you God. Bless the LORD O my Soul

*Psalm 103

{I realize there are hurting hearts out there. Those who have experienced deep loss either from death, divorce or division. I have prayed for you. My intention to share this day is not to stir you to jealousy or discontent but give credit and glory to God and lead you to the One who heals all Jesus Christ. I pray Jesus Christ becomes your all in all and He is enough. I pray you experience the love of God as you never had before, His love is better than any love a human can give.  I pray you know there is NO ‘happily ever after…’ just ‘joyfully eternal life’ and you can have this now…just come to Jesus Christ and you will experience eternal life. Let Him love you.}

Giving Thanks

 


Paralysis of Prayer

Sunset in Arizona taken by my Mother-in-Love

Sunset in Arizona taken by my Mother-in-Love

Have you ever struggled with analysis paralysis?

It’s when you are overwhelmed by the number of choices available and instead of choosing just one, you are paralyzed and choose nothing?

That’s me.

Have you ever ‘worked on a project’ similar to others {like scrapbooking, writing a blog, writing a book} and instead of working on your own, you spend ‘your time’ giving encouraging remarks to their work and forget about your own…and you never finish?

That’s me.

So when I read a blog post on the eve of 2013 from Michele-Lyn writing about World Help I immediately wanted to get involved and give my ‘time, talent AND resources’ to educate the world about the awesome ministry they have been given, but instead I went into a paralysis of prayer for a whole year.

2013 marked a year of eyes wide open for me…I have looked at this world from afar and I see. I no longer look away, delete the ‘bad news’ or change the subject. I see the needs everywhere and my heart breaks, my knees bend, and my throat groans prayers on behalf of those I see.

I used to think not making a choice immediately was a problem, but I’m learning that PRAYER IS doing something–it’s a hidden ministry that calls on the only One who can change the hearts of people and circumstances: God. Prayer helps us to listen to the heart of God and to wait on His perfect will.

These prayers have tenderized my heart, and opened my eyes, ears, hands, and provided direction and confirmation on WHERE to invest the voice, writing, and time God has entrusted me.

Prayer was the first step.

2014 is the year of mobilization…I will use my voice and gift of writing to tell others about the faith and ministry of ‘World Help.’ The vision of World Help is: ‘Help for today, Hope for tomorrow‘ they are vessels of mercy and grace and hands and feet of Jesus Christ!

Their work approach:

“is focused on meeting people’s physical needs by providing humanitarian, medical, and educational assistance and ensuring access to clean water and people’s spiritual needs by providing Bibles and establishing churches in as many communities as possible.”

I have read the ‘World Help’ website and even read “Awake: Doing a World of good one person at a time” by Nicole Brewer-Yeatts the V.P., but nothing can compare to looking into the eyes of the hurting: Face.To. Face.

For this reason my husband and I are prayerfully waiting and planning a mission trip to go with World Help to Guatemala the week of my birthday: 7/13-7/19! Having my feet on the ground of Guatemala will sow words in my writer’s heart enabling me to share a harvest with you.

Will you consider supporting us by prayer? Let us see what God will do!

Thank you.


Daily Holy COMMUN{ion}

This is a picture when I was eight years old. The day I made my first holy communion but it wasn't until I was 33 that I really had my 'First' holy communion with God!

“for through Him {Jesus Christ} we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:18

Do you prefer communication or communion with God?

Communication’ and ‘Communion’ have similar definitions. The first is the ‘imparting or exchanging of information or news’ and the latter is ‘the sharing of intimate thoughts and feelings…’

Communication can be cold and distant, while communion is intimate and relational and results in fellowship.

We were made to have unbroken communion, or fellowship with God.  Fellowship, or Koinōnia means: “fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse.”

Spending time with God in Holy Communion is a privilege we can experience because of what Jesus Christ has done (Ephesians 2:13; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12).

For years I tried in my own strength to communicate with God; I prayed, I wrote to Him in journals, I even ‘completed’ my ‘first holy communion’. However, it was not until I was still and stopped talking, and started listening that I heard God for myself and had my first Holy COMMUNion with Him.

My religion turned into a relationship.

It was no longer a one way cold communication giving God my wish list of things I wanted, but became an intimate communion and sweet fellowship with Him. I wanted to know God. The more I sought God, the more I saw He is Holy and I am not.

God’s holiness shone so brightly I couldn’t help but see my own sin and undeserving heart to speak with the Creator Himself. But grace. God immersed me with His grace, and I understood what it meant to say, “Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” A phrase I memorized at eight to make my first holy communion.

In the Spring of 2009 my eyes were unveiled and I saw how the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ cleansed me from my past and current sins allowing me to draw near to God. I saw how the resurrection power of Jesus Christ gives me power to abstain from future sin.  That day I was taken out of darkness and put into God’s marvelous light, given a new heart and title of daughter–a privilege to call the Creator, My Abba…Father.

It was the blood of Jesus Christ that cleansed me and brought me near to God, and it is still the blood of Jesus that cleanses me and keeps me near God giving me the power to ‘master sin’.

No, I have not yet‘mastered’ sin perfectly but I know my role: I ‘practice’ righteousness and God ‘perfects. I am on a journey towards perfection called sanctification and my mind is catching up with how God sees me in Christ. I’m learning the faith, power and victory to master sin comes from God alone, He dispenses the seeds of faith, Bread of Life and anointing for each day, it is up to me whether I take it.

I have tasted the Bread of Life and seen for myself the Lord is good, faithful and righteous. I want this treasure of communion with God more than ANYTHING and I desire to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ so that I may have unbroken fellowship with God the Father through His Holy Spirit to be used as a vessel of mercy and grace for His kingdom purposes.

I am learning we can’t have unbroken fellowship or commune with God if we are practicing sin; His Word says,

“If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear;” Psalm 66:18

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall until calamity.” Proverbs 28:13-14

I am learning to come to boldly to God’s throne of grace and begin the day in a God morning.  This is a discipline turning into devotion for me. With the many fatal distractions and noise in this world I am making it a practice to wake up early in humble prayer asking God to help me set my mind on the things above not on the things of this earth.  I am learning to cast all my anxiety on God believing He cares for me. I am also learning to put my agenda, expectations and ‘to do’ lists on the altar remembering my life is no longer my own. I am beginning to delight myself in my crucifixion allowing my death to precede His living breath.

This is something I must do every morning and I’m learning to do it more throughout the day. I welcome and cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He reveals and convicts me of any sin in my life helping me to confess and repent and walk by faith in His righteous ways. I am learning transparency is transforming and God heals what we reveal. God does not finger point or condemn me for my sin, but rather He is there to save me from my sin…even the future sin.

In seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness first I am learning about the things I do which grieves the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit convicts me of what I am doing (or not doing) I confess my sins, repent (turn from that behavior and turn to God).  I call this daily devotion: Retreat, Repent, Restore, Revive.

  • I Retreat from all physical and spiritual distractions to be alone with God with the intent to be still and listen
  • God’s Holiness reveals and gently convicts me of any current sin and I confess and He grants me the sorrow to Repent
  • God Restores me keeping me from condemnation encouraging me I am to walk by the Spirit He put in me
  • God Revives me according to His Words of life and His Spirit; I am made alive and I am giddy to have personally heard from my Abba—not through someone else’s devotion to God or book, or blog but from Him directly. This intimacy and love I have for Him gives me a desire to obey Him.

In this daily practice I have been experiencing revival by His Word and I have been receiving His times of refreshing that comes from his cleansing forgiveness and grace. I am learning to walk in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

The more time I spend with God, the more I know Him. The more I know God the more I love and trust Him, that is how I am learning to abide in Him–I am learning to rest in His purposes, His ways and His timing.

Why am I sharing this stone of remembrance with you? It is as John said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

“…what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” 1 John 1:3-4

I am praying for you beLoved reader:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen” 2 Corinthians 13:14


Reconciliation: A Mother/Daughter Story For God’s Glory

my mom and i

Mother’s Day was always an awkward ‘holiday’ for me since I was not raised by my Mother. For years I was bitter and angry allowing the circumstances of my life to determine my identity. I wallowed in self pity and brooded over my insecurities and the life I never had.  That was until I saw my Mother and myself the way God does…with grace and love. This is God’s story of reconciliation...

***
It was a breezy Spring day in 2010 when my Mother and I sat on the swinging bench of my front porch–there were no more awkward silences.  Instead we were giving thanks and rejoicing in the Truth of God’s Word, “how nothing is too difficult for Him” how He IS a God of reconciliation and we knew it from the depths of our souls…

Just weeks before I was at a Mother of Preschoolers (MOPS) event listening to a young Mom’s testimony of how she struggled with insecurities of being a Mom since she was not raised by her Mom.  I knew this story all too well, it was mine too. I wasn’t expecting her similar testimony to confront a wound I had pretended didn’t exist, but there it was. I sank low in my chair, while my body trembled from my attempt to hold back tears stored up in my heart. That day I  let it ALL out and allowed God to heal a hurt.  I unclenched my hands that were holding onto the ashes of my past and gave them to my Abba, believing He would turn them to beauty.

I was in the beginning days of being a stay-at-home Momma, and now I can see that God was doing His work of sanctification to prepare me for this ministry of Motherhood.  The LORD showed me, He would heal what I would reveal…After surrendering to the conviction of the Holy Spirit I confessed to God my bitterness, anger, and my sin of un-forgiveness I still had toward my Mother.

My Mother. The woman who carried me in her womb for 9 months after being told she couldn’t have any more kids. The woman who named me Arcelia, rocked me, and cared for me until I was three, then she was gone.

The circumstances and reasons she left were irrelevant to my rejected heart, and I built a impenetrable wall around it.  Five years later Jesus Christ found her and with godly sorrow she turned back to reconcile what was lost, but it seemed too late.  I was eight years old and I had moved on, and considered her a stranger, someone I kept further than an arms distance.  When I did see her occasionally I took advantage of her guilt and shame by manipulating her to get my way.  Still she never stopped loving me and never stopped praying.

Two of the most influential items of my life...my Mom gave me: God's Word and a Prayer journal.

Two of the most influential items of my life…my Mom gave me: God’s Word and a Prayer journal.

When I was eleven she gave me a prayer journal with our pictures in it, encouraging me to write my thoughts to the God she now knew.  For my twelfth birthday she gave me my very own Bible, I hated it because I didn’t like pink and I didn’t believe. But still she loved and never gave up.

I remember hearing her sing songs about Jesus Christ and some days she would spontaneously say, ‘Thank you Jesus‘ and it made me cringe. When I finally asked her why she said that ‘all the time’ she would say, “I’m just so thankful He saved me and He let me to have time with you.” I made fun of her and her faith…she suffered much and yet she never stopped loving me and never stopped praying.

When I turned 20 I decided I would forgive her but it was on my own terms and in my own strength so it never lasted.  It wasn’t until Jesus Christ found me and I was born again in 2009 that this sad story took a turn for God’s glory!

Swinging on the bench that Spring 2010 I shared with my Mother a testimony of when I heard God speak to me.  How in 2008 I finally read the Bible she gave me, and how God sent a vessel of mercy and grace to pray for our family and disciple me–the nanny that prayed herself out of a job! God used this loving praying nanny to open our eyes, ears and heart to the unseen.

I told my Mom before Jesus Christ, I never had the confidence to be a Mother since I was never raised by her.  I believed the lies that I was a better Mother working outside the home and it was best to sacrifice time with them to invest in their future.  I ran away from my role as a Mother and numbed myself to the calling—and I put my work before my family.

After my encounter with God in 2009, He gave me a new heart and put a new spirit within me and “removed my heart of stone from my flesh and gave me a heart of flesh” and I was no longer afraid to be a Mother.  She listened as I recounted how in just 12 months God transformed my husband and I from the inside out and we began to closely follow Jesus wherever He would lead us…the first move was from Washington D.C. to Alabama.

I told her about my prayer to God that day at the MOPS event when I vowed to God if He ever gave me another chance I would cut loose the noose of un-forgiveness I had around my Mother.  I told Him I would forgive and love her the way only He could and how He responded to that prayer by having her call me the very next day! After years of rejection from me I realized why she rarely called other than Birthdays and holidays but this day was a different kind of phone call.  She heard I was born again, a woman of prayer and she asked ME to pray for HER! I told her I knew her current trial had a specific kingdom purpose, and she was to come and spend a week with me.  She came!

As I drove to the airport I was excited and hopeful and thankful because this would be the first time in my life I would be alone with her.  I finally understood why my Mother used to say, “Thank You Jesus.

It was a glorious week of healing and redemption by the power of God’s Holy Spirit! Now, the day before she was leaving we sat on the swinging bench sharing our hearts and tears allowing God’s Holy Spirit to guide us to healing.  I asked for her forgiveness for the years of bitterness and anger I had toward her, and she quickly told me she had already forgiven me.  I was thankful for the opportunity to tell my Mom God gave me a new song and no longer am I singing the ‘woe is me, my Mother left me’ song because love keeps no records of wrong.  I told her I would never again hold her sins above her head.

She shared with me her past concerns of my life: when she heard I was first pregnant she thought it would be difficult for me because I didn’t have her growing up to show me how to be a Mother–how would I do it? She was also concerned because I was very ambitious and career oriented and thought the children would get lost in my achievements (she was right).

Then with tears she told me the most recent concern she had about me being a stay-at-home Mother…she said she thought it would be impossible to turn a once Air Force Captain and Business Consultant to a full time Mother…would it be too much for me? After all, I used to make fun of stay-at-home moms. But nothing is impossible with God.

She said after spending a week of shadowing me in my new life in Christ she saw for herself the testimony, “If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, the old has passed away, behold the new has come...” She saw that God’s power is made perfect in weakness and He is glorified!

We swung in the bench of my Alabama home as the wind blew the butterfly chimes that Spring of 2010 and we joyfully laughed and lifted our voices with thanksgiving, praising God for His lovingkindness and faithfulness!

**
I used to lament over lost years with my Mother but by God’s grace, not anymore. I see even in our unfaithfulness God was still working, knitting our hearts together in love through her continual prayers and enduring love–it was all matter of time when I would awaken.

God healed our relationship! My relationship with her is so loving and we now communicate often and she even read this entry before I posted it.

"All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them.  And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

When I first told her I wanted to write about what God had done in our lives but was concerned about dishonoring her by bringing up the past she said, “Write it. Tell others. It’s not about me. It’s about God.”

She courageously and selflessly said she is secure in the grace and forgiveness of God and in the relationship  we have today.  She said “People need to hear what God has taught us to help those that may be in the same position right now.”

She’s right. People need to know how to reconcile relationships—it is through the power of Jesus Christ (John 15:5)!

God is not done with this story for His glory…In the near future my Mother is moving closer to my sisters and I so that she can spend more time with us and her grandchildren.

Do you see? If God can restore what the locusts have eaten, don’t you believe He can restore anything?

God is interested in reconciliation of relationships. God wants to be reconciled with everyone, and wants us to be reconciled to one another. Who do you need to be reconciled with today? Is it God or is it another? I have prayed for all who will read this…May the Holy Spirit guide you into all Truth and may you be set free!

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Sanctifying Second Chances

Pursue peace with all men

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”       1 Peter 4:8

I was giddy to have time alone with God, and was on my way out the door when my seven year old son asks if he could join me. I politely tell him, “Not this time.”

He pleads with me and I shamefully redirect his attention from investing time in our relationship to his inanimate toys.

I leave him. And I began to swat away convicting thoughts replacing them with a justifying one:

I’m home all day with the kids and they see me all the time. I deserve this time…”

I was five minutes out, and I could no longer ignore or numb the conviction of the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart gently showing me I did not choose what was best.  I repented of my selfishness and turned the car around to swoop up the son of my vow.

I felt as though I couldn’t get to my son fast enough and I was full of gratitude, thankful it wasn’t too late to undo my poor decision.

I ran to his room and see him tacking a note to the door.  I got on my knees to look into his hurt eyes and speak to his rejected heart:

I came back for you! God showed me I wasn’t choosing what was best…”

As I say these words I read the note he tacked to the door, which confirmed the urgency of my conviction and his bruised heart:

“I hate Mommy!”

My heart sinks and aches of this revelation and I see his embarrassed look of regret as he tries to tear off the note and I ‘cover‘ the note with one hand and gently place my other hand on his, and say:

Oh this. Yes. I understand my son, Mommy is not perfect, and I did not choose wisely, do you forgive me?”

He nods, and hugs me tightly.

I shove the note into my pocket as a stone of remembrance to remind me not to miss out on future opportunities to sow God’s unfailing love. Holding hands we race to the car as giddy children of God, excited for the opportunity for our reconciled hearts to communicate over coffee, milk and cookies. 

***
I tell my children about God every day. I tell them about His great love and how Jesus Christ laid down His life for the world, so that we can be reconciled to have an intimate relationship with God the Father.  I tell them about the conviction of the Holy Spirit, how He will guide us into all Truth helping us to trust and obey God’s Word. I tell them how Jesus Christ is alive in me.

Yes I SPEAK of God’s love often and God gives me ample opportunities to SHOW my children this type of love…of laying down of my own selfish desires to listen to their hearts.  If you could see more than a snapshot of my life you would see I have missed many opportunities.

For our flesh, to love is easier said than shown–but not for God, God IS love! The same Holy Spirit dwelling in Jesus Christ dwells in me so the Truth is I have what it takes to love the way God has called me to love.

I’m thankful for God’s grace and forgiveness and for His Holy Spirit guiding me into all Truth, and I’m thankful we ‘get to’ show the Lord Jesus Christ to others:

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14

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Church @ A Chipotle Restaurant {God’s Giving, God’s Glory}

“…Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?’ He said, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed My sheep.” John 21:17 

*I am sharing this confession not to boast about my sin. Sin is not a laughing matter, it actually makes me mourn. I share this to boast about my God, to testify He is alive and His Spirit still convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment and He uses yielded vessels to show His love. This true story is an example of how I willfully made choices not to grieve Him with my disobedience–even though it wasn’t first time obedience.

I like Chipotle Restaurants and I love God.

To love God is easier said than shown.  God says, ‘If you love me you will keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). God’s two greatest commandments involve the word LOVE so I’d say love is very important to God.  I’m learning love is an action, not a feeling–you can’t love without giving and this particular sunny California day God was about to teach me again about His love….

Before I left the garage of my Grandma’s house to pick up our lunch I prayed God would give me an opportunity to share life giving words to a hungry soul.  Twenty minutes later I was paying for my favorite meal and excited to return to my Grandma to share the goodness of this perishable food when God answered my forgotten prayer.  As I looked towards the exit door I saw a homeless man outside.  I quickly looked for another exit so I wouldn’t have to pass by him and be bothered when all of a sudden the Holy Spirit convicts me of my lack of love. God ordered my steps…He told me to go out the door near the homeless man: it was my choice to obey or not.  I obeyed. As I walked out he asked for change and tells me he is very hungry. Not wanting my food to get cold, and remembering I have no cash, I selfishly tell him I have nothing to give him and I walk away. I was wrong.

The Holy Spirit gently reminded me of the change in my wallet and the change of my heart. I turn back and excitedly say,

“Wait, I do have change to give you!”

He thanked me, and as I dug through my wallet I asked him his name. Joey. I asked Joey if he knows the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course he knows about Jesus Christ, he lives in America where the Gospel is plentiful, but after a few words about God I could tell he did not know God. Joey was hungry for more than perishable food. Joey was telling me about lent and said a few incorrect things. I shared with Joey about what God had been teaching me about a different type of fasting.  A fasting that happens as a result of being mournful and sorrowful for my sin and disobedience towards God when I become too distraught about my sin I can’t eat. I asked him if he knew about that kind of fasting? He shook his head. I asked him if he knew the love of God and shared the Word:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16)

I went on to share what Jesus Christ says eternal life is:

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3)

Joey looks intently at me and says, “I met people like you the other day.”

I smile and respond, “Joey that is God sending you messengers desiring for you to be reconciled to God, to come back to Him. I know this to be true because I prayed to meet someone that needed to hear God’s words and God sent me you.”

With my eyes filled with tears I looked into Joey’s eyes and said, “Joey God loves you with an everlasting love and He forgives you and wants you to follow Him.” Joey’s lips quiver and his eyes begin to well up with tears threatening to burst.  I asked him if he believed that? He didn’t say anything. I told him I would pray he will believe and that God would send more messengers to him and I turn to walk away again and look around me. I begin to get angry at all ‘these people’ who have and don’t give…then God convicted me of the log in my eye and I mourned for my sin because I am ‘these people’ again God speaks to my heart:

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 2:15-17

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and in truth” 1 John 3:17

Full of unspeakable joy I tell Joey, “God just told me to buy you lunch, come inside with me!” He is in shock.

What Joey didn’t know was this required me to die to self and walk in faith.  I didn’t have the money to buy this meal but I knew God told me. I shared James 2:15-17 with Joey and we walk up to the counter and I see the look of shock in the faces of the employees, some with disgust. I asked him to order whatever he wanted and he says, “Uh, just chips and salsa please.” I reply, “Is that all you want? You said you were hungry.” I realized he had never stepped foot in this restaurant before and the looks of the employees were distracting him so I ordered him exactly what I ordered myself following God’s command to love your neighbor as yourself. As I was placing Joey’s order I couldn’t help the tears that were streaming down my face–it was a mixture of mourning and joy.

The mourning was for my delayed obedience and for Joey’s spiritual famine…he doesn’t know Jesus Christ, the love of the Father, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. The joy was for God’s compassion and forgiveness and that God chose me to show Joey His love.

When I get to the cash register the young lady takes my card to charge and another employee comes from behind and cancels our order and says, ‘It’s all taken care of.” I burst with the first thing in my heart, “Praise God! Thank you!” Just when I think I am finished God tells me to sit with Joey and give thanks and pray with him. Again, I die to self because I didn’t know where his hands had been and God was specific: to pray holding his hands. I obeyed. We sit amongst a crowded area and I pray as the Holy Spirit gave utterance. After we prayed I knew I was done because I was overcome with the peace, love and joy that filled my heart. I told Joey I would continue to pray for him as the LORD reminded me and I left a different person. The restaurant was silent as I felt all eyes watch me leave and I knew God was glorified in that place.

Jesus says:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1)

I share this encounter with you to praise God with me and to testify of His LOVE. As I have confessed, my flesh wanted to walk the other way three times. My flesh wanted to:

  • Deny Joey money
  • Deny Joey God’s eternal food
  • Deny Joey perishable food
  • Deny Joey intercession
  • Deny Joey love

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).

God’s Spirit directed my steps and it is His righteousness that deserves all the praise, honor and glory! God is glorified because it was His giving:

  • God gave His Son Jesus Christ to reconcile me to Himself allowing me to have a heart to love, ears to hear Him, eyes to see
  • God gave me His Holy Spirit, the comforter that teaches me and guides me in Truth and brings to remembrance God’s Word
  • God gave me the courage to obey
  • God even took care of the cost of Joey’s lunch!

I am a vessel. I desire to be a yielded vessel of God’s mercy, grace and LOVE. My faith was strengthened that day and I was no longer hungry because I had been filled.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:11-12

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven”. Matthew 5:16

**I realize there are people that will want to take advantage, and who knows, maybe that was Joey’s intention but God’s Word tells us only He knows the thoughts and intentions of a man’s heart. My calling is to remain connected to the True Vine and follow and obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I am not telling you to give anything, I am not the Holy Spirit, there is only One God and He is looking for yielded vessels to inhabit to pour out His love, I pray you are one of them**

 


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