30 October 2013
Several years ago, I did something very STUPID! The enemy had me right where he wanted me, in the dark. In the dark about how God views me. In the dark about the people in my life who love me how they view me. I had experienced A LOT of rejection in my life. I will give the cliff note version.
I learned as a child that my dad wasn't my biological father. However, when he and mom divorced, it was a bitter, nasty divorce. Of course paternity test were done that showed I wasn't his daughter, my mom in her pain, wouldn't allow him to be in my life (probably a good thing because he had issues that came out later on). I never met my biological father. When I went to college, I wrote a letter ... "Hey, I'm your daughter ..." got a letter back "You are mistaken, I don't have any children" of course I had the DNA test that proved 99.9% he is (was) my biological father. One time I sent him a photo of his grandchildren without my return address because I knew I couldn't handle him rejecting my children. I had one boyfriend after another looking for "love", "acceptance", and "security". Each one just used me up and moved on. My marriage was the same way! When the divorce happened, I was glad to be getting a divorce. However, the years of being rejected by my husband left me pretty scarred up.
A couple of years after the divorce, I did a really STUPID thing! I actually scared myself! Once God got a hold of me and shook me up a little, seriously, I was in a downward spiral ... Once He got me to take a good look at what I was doing, I threw away the webcam! (That's all the detail you are getting! LOL) I know God forgave me!! It is covered under the blood! However, I have lived in fear of my children finding out. What would they think of me? Would they hate me? Call me a hypocrite? Would they never speak to me again? I've been more afraid "What if they go into politics? Those mudslingers dig up every piece of dirt possible on each family member?" I'd die! Not because of what people would think of me but only because of it hurting my kids and embarrass them. God had forgiven me but I hadn't forgiven myself. I was ashamed. I was angry that I had done such a STUPID thing. I was even more angry because I knew I had rebelled on purpose against what is pleasing to God! I was afraid. Afraid of the future. So, Monday morning, I cried all the way to work! I laid it out! Know what? God was like "Just tell your kids. Talk them just like you talk to Me and tell them before they learn it from someone else. It's no big deal. Once it is no longer a secret, the enemy can't hold you captive. I know about it and still love you! Matter of fact, I only remember it because YOU haven't let go of it."
Do you know how free I feel?!?!?! I haven't spoken with the kids yet but I do plan on it when there is a time where it is just me and them. Maybe ... maybe my story will keep them from doing the same STUPID thing! I'm serious when I put that in caps! I've made a lot of bad choices in my life but that one time (not once but "one" meaning that area in my time line) in my dark place has to be the most STUPID thing.
I'm now free to move forward! The funny thing is I'm also reading and working through Loose It For Life by Stephen Arterburn, M. ED. and Dr Linda Mintle. The first chapter or first week goes right along with A Confident Heart! Talks about loosing weight on the spiritual level. Basic summary is before working on the surface (the physical weight) gotta work on the spiritual weight. I don't know if I'll loose physical weight or not BUT I have lost a heavy spiritual load this week!
If you are a man or woman who is struggling with hurt, shame, fear, guilt, anxiety over something done to you OR something done by you; God loves you! You don't have to clean up your act to win His love. You don't have to clean up your act to win His forgiveness. His redeeming love is FREE! All you have to do is take it! He'll do the rest!
25 October 2013
God is talking to me through several means! Mostly books and studies that back each other up! Here's what I'm reading:
Draw the Circle The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson which sent me to find ...
The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson (the other didn't tell me to find it I just HAD to learn about who this Circle Maker is ..)
A Confident Heart by Renee Swope (thru Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study which is TOTALLY awesome!)
A Balanced Life a Bible Study by Mary Southerland (receive in my Email once a week!)
Maybe the reason I'm behind is because the stuff I'm reading is sinking in! I mean, I need the time to process it and apply it before I can share it.
I know I need a vacation. Vacations is an important part of spiritual growth! Rest is good! Having fun is good! So few of us actually do these two things. I have to admit, I hate vacations that are jammed packed with things to do. There's no rest in that! I'm longing for the hills and mountains though! When I look at certain things, they are far away :( I don't want to go to far because of my mother's health.
So, if you are passing by ... say a prayer God will show me where to take me and the kids to for a quick get away ...
24 October 2013
There are times when You have protected me from my own stupidity!
You have guarded me around every turn,
And guided me in the direction You desire me to go.
Even when I chose a path that made You sad,
Your Spirit gently brought me back to Your path!
At my low point,
You blessed me with Your Presence!
When I chose to do something shameful,
You loved me anyway!
I broke Your heart into
But You spared me the agony and didn't hold it against me!
You asked me "Why?"
But You know the answer ...
You knew I needed to be wanted, loved, and desired!
You are my Lover!
You poured out every ounce of Yourself
To draw me to You!
You have shared parts of Your mysteries
So I'd trust You with my heart.
You spoke to me with such tenderness
That I couldn't no longer avoid yielding to Your
You never gave up on me!
Jesus ... You are Unfailing Love!
21 October 2013
18 October 2013
17 October 2013
My story of God's perfect love happened in a stairwell when I was about 20 years old. I was living with my boyfriend. I had been raised in church, had accepted Christ as a child, and left Him when I left home for college in Louisville. I was working in Nashville. Yes, those two cities are far apart! I had wondered far from God's will and plan! Anyway, I recognized the Voice. That still, non-accusing Voice ... "Come home" "I'm here" "This isn't what I planned for you" "Vivian, I love you!"
One day, The Spirit was more than I could bare! I think I knew the "man" I was living with didn't really love me. I also think that there was a part of me who knew he'd never fill the desire of perfect love that I was so long to experience. I was lost! I was broken searching for something I didn't understand because I had never really experienced "perfect love". I went into one of the rarely used stairwells and cried. I cried out to Jesus and He heard my heart's scream!
The road has been rough and long. When I look back, my only regret is I didn't have a stairwell moment sooner! I can see how God was working in my favor to bring me to the stairwell moment. I can also see where I would have had a stairwell moment sooner BUT it was my own stubborn choices that dodged Him. He didn't give up!
Have I always obeyed Him since that moment? No. He had to teach me and train me He IS TRUSTWORTHY! There are things I'm ashamed of doing BUT those are ALL covered by His perfect love and He will NOT hold them against me! Thank You, Jesus!
(Blog for the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study blog hop)
16 October 2013
12 October 2013
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Then the 2nd verse ...
Yesterday, I finished reading Week 3 Day 4 "A Balanced Life". Through out the whole lesson, Southerland is using the story of Mary and Martha. Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus. Mary listening to Jesus speak. It never has dawned on me until this lesson Mary wasn't talking! Mary wasn't "praying" a list of request. She was simply sitting and listening!All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice
Southerland writes "Every minute of every day is either wasted or invested ... the Bible contains over 400 verses about time, we can safely assume that time management is important to God ... One of the most valuable investments we can make is to spend time in solitude." Prayer is communication. It's a conversation, When in a conversation, in order to hear the other person we have to shut our mouths and give that person time to talk. Right? Same with God! We need to shut off the TV, shut off the computer, shut off the iPhone, shut off the radio, shut off ALL noise. We need to shut our mouths too ... AND LISTEN! Sit at the feet of Jesus and listen!
Southerland encourages the memorizing of Psalm 37: "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him." And then ask these questions which I'll answer for me:
- Why am I afraid of silence? For me, I'm not afraid of silence! I actually enjoy silence. I long for it!
- What is the greatest obstacle to solitude in my life? Now, this one is easy! Since I enjoy solitude, for more me its more about getting the chance to have it. One of the biggest obstacles is scrutiny by my mother. Mom is a "Martha" 100x's over! I can be out on the back porch, Mom will come out. There's always "work" to do. A lot of the "work to do" is created work. There's always "something" that needs to be done . She does enjoy watching TV in the evenings, but at this time of year (Autumn) by the time she does that the light is gone from the porch. I'd love if we had a "comfy" chair in our room so I could go in there and sit. There's not enough room. Pretty much, the greatest obstacle is ... I don't have my own personal space at home.
- What steps do I have to take in order to remove these obstacles? Short of going in debt and building my own bedroom ... There really isn't anything about the personal space issue. Now, there is the possibility of not coming home from work, going somewhere quiet first! However, have you ever been to Starbuck's? of Any Coffee House? Those places are ALL noise! Kill the music please ... There is the library! The one close to home is almost finished being remodeled and it's going to be bigger! Libraries are quiet ...
- What do I hope to gain from time spent in solitude? To hear Jesus' speaking to me! To know Him more and more. I want hear what He has to say. Yes, I still want to talk to Him about the joys and woes of life but I want to hear what He has to say on those same things!
Oh, one more thing .... I spend a lot of time doing things with the kids and the church. I think God is making me aware that I need to be careful. Be careful that I don't become so wrapped up that I forget to spend time with Him! I must know His Voice well enough to be catching these messages from Him. When we live wrapped up in His Presence, we live in constant communication with Him. Every where we go, we can see how God is revealing Himself to us. I think "Lord of my Choices" and "Lord of my Time" is this ... Choices over food, He ain't Lord of and wants to be BUT He can see what I can't about Time. If I'm not careful, I can fall into a "busy for Jesus" trap! He's pointing it out to me to be watchful!
11 October 2013
Then I began writing prayers for the Prayer Squad. Now you are thinking .. "That's spending time with God..." Well, yes ... and no ... The "yes" is I study and write the prayer. The "no" part is I have to spend 20 minutes writing the text! It's not like getting on the computer and typing something with a full keyboard using all 10 fingers! It is very, very time consuming. It's not so bad if there is actual interaction! There hasn't been. There are a few ladies who do interact with me. The whole point is for us to learn to pray together, grow together, and become a group of praying women. Which means, as I share with them, they are suppose to share with me and each other. Because that interaction isn't there, I feel like my time with God is being robbed!
Believe it or not, fellowship with other believers ... Sharing of lives and discussing God and what He's doing in our lives with one another IS a way to sit at the feet of Jesus!
So, Mary states at the end of the Week 3 Day 2 "Think about the way you begin each day". I start out texting the "prayer" and then my mother interrupts by turning on the TV. I don't have any time alone with my Father. :( I HATE IT!! I'm typing this at the very time but since this is reflection and part of the study, I feel it goes hand in hand.
I don't feel I should give up on the prayer squad BUT it needs to be revamped! Either a short quick prayer OR it needs to become an Email where it can be typed easier and require interaction. I'm praying about it!
10 October 2013
08 October 2013
Well, the same thing is happening in two devotionals I'm reading!! LOL In Mark Batterson's book he writes "You'll never be ready" (Day 20). In Sharon Jaynes devotional "Got Dreams? Do the Work", she says "Get Ready". Guess what! Both are right! You see, if I only read a line or two in each devotional, these two God-inspired modern day Paul and James would sound like they are contradicting each other. When I read both in full context, they are both saying the same thing.
Batterson is saying once you have the God given vision, step out in faith. Take that first step. If we wait for the "25 year plan" we'll never accomplish what God's vision for us and we'll never be ready ... Jaynes is saying once we have been giving the vision start preparing for the vision, get ready by taking steps that will aide in completing that vision.
"You'll never be ready" -- Batterson's view is from the point of when God calls us to do something this is an excuse we make "I'm not ready!" :: I don't have the education, I don't have experience, I'm not a public speaker, I can't do this because .... So that' the type of "ready" he is referring to! If we wait till we are "qualified" we'll never do what God is calling us to do.
"Get ready" -- Jayes view on "ready" is God has given a vision, planted a dream. There are things we can do to prepare for the fulfillment of that dream. She used the example of writing her book for mothers. How she had this dream to write this particular type of book. She prepared for it by collecting magazine articles, visiting moms groups, researching, speaking at conferences, then the day came when someone asked her about a book project. She was ready! She didn't have to scramble to put the material together, it was together!
Oh, so what is God telling Vivian? You see ... "Ready" has come across me twice this week! God must be saying something ... Right? Well, OF COURSE! Now, I need to figure out what I'm suppose to be doing about the dream He gave me ... I know some of it just not sure what the next step is ... I did the first couple of steps but this 3rd one is confusing. While trying to figure it out, I study books written by women in ministry and devotionals. Look at studies by men in ministry. There's a line. Does God want me in Women's Ministry full time OR Compassion Ministry. I LOVE both! So, prepare for both so I'll be ready for either one. :)
07 October 2013
Titus 2:11-12 (NIV) "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."
Discipline holds restraint in one hand and commitment in the other. Discipline can only be accomplished in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we give our lives to God, the Holy Spirit is set free to train and direct us in the ways of God. God will not give us good habits or character. We have to choose to walk in an "upright" way. We must choose the good habits over the bad ones, and "work out the salvation that God has worked in." That's discipline. -- Mary Southerland's "A Balanced Life" Bible Study Week 3
Maybe I should label these post "LORD of ALL".
In the Spring of 2013, I joined Weight Watchers online. I lost 50 pounds! From March to November, it fell off. Then in December, I took a night job ... Which I quit this past August. I gained 40 pounds back! It wasn't Weight Watchers fault! It really does work! It is my fault. My lack of discipline.
Do to finances, I have had to drop Weight Watchers BUT I had quit tracking long before canceling a few days ago. I know God wants me to loose weight! I know He desires me to be healthy! I'm beautiful in His eyes but I'm tired ... When I stress I eat more, I can feel the munchie craving rising the moment the worry begins! Not only am I tired, I'm showing God I don't trust Him to comfort me ... Give me chocolate! Give me chips! Give me something to indulge and take my mind off the problem! That's actually the opposite of trust.
So this morning I mad a good healthy breakfast. Diced tomatoes and green onion with turkey bacon bits scrambled up with my 1 egg. As I ate, I prayed "Lord, Help me make wise food choices today. Thank You for this food for it is by Your provision I even have it." I like what Mary says "God will not give us good habits or character. We have to choose to walk in an "upright" way." I have to choose! Even though God doesn't give us the good habits or character, He helps us have the strength to do the right thing when we choose to do the right thing.
It's my prayer for strength in choosing the right foods, for my nose not to find aromas that trigger the munchies pleasing, for strength to choose exercise. I actually enjoy exercising! I feel so much more relaxed! So, not just strength but time!
I desire to make Jesus LORD of ALL my life not just bits and pieces ....
06 October 2013
It all began with a simple Online Bible Study with Proverbs 31 What Happens When Women Say 'Yes' to God. It was in this book by Lysa Terkeurst where I first saw the phrase "If Jesus isn't Lord of all then He's not Lord at all."
When God wants our attention about something, He'll make sure He repeats Himself!
At my home church, we are doing the Draw the Circle 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson. I wanted to know more about this "Circle Maker" so I purchased his book The Circle Maker. It's a DEEP book! Makes a gal think! Can't read it fast because I'll miss something! I found Batterson's blog. In his post about his new book All In, he writes "Either Jesus is Lord of all or He isn’t Lord at all. It’s all or nothing." (www.markbatterson.com)
And if we don't get it the 2nd time, He'll repeat Himself again ...
I have signed up for Mary Southerland's Online Bible Study. The current study is called "A Balanced Life". What happens with this study is we receive one Email a week. All 5 days is in one Email. Makes it nice. Can read it whenever and go at my own pace. I was reading Week 2 Day 1 the other day when my eyes caught this "To make Jesus Lord means that we submit to Him as the boss and ruler of our lives. If He is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all."
Seriously? Is God trying to tell me something about me? I do believe so!
He wants to be LORD of ALL my life not just little snippets here and there. God wants "my" to be "His".
- My time to be His time
- My money to be His money
- My energy to be His energy
- My choices to be His choices
- My mind to be His mind
- My heart to be His heart
So, what is God saying to Vivian? He is saying ... "Take a look at your life with Me and let Me show you where you aren't letting me be LORD. You are mine but there are some areas you need to let Me have ..."
For me ... it's TIME! That's why He asked for Netflix. Instead of spending time catching up on episodes of shows gone by, He wants me to spend time with Him. Instead of me spending time checking Email and Facebook-ing, He wants me spending time with Him.
For me ... it's CHOICES! Mainly food choices. He wants to be LORD of my food consumption.
For me ... it MONEY! I'm good at paying tithes, but I'm not good at saving money for a rainy day. I'm not good at penny pinching so there is a resource for Him to ask me to give for causes dear to His heart.
I went in that order for a reason. CHOICES is the key to both of those! Choices for the use of time. Choices for the use of money. Jesus wants to be LORD of my choices, He wants to be the one calling the shots for ALL areas of my life that isn't my life ... its His life to spend not my own.
Check out the following Women and Man in ministry referenced in this blog:
Mark Batterson http://www.markbatterson.com/
Lysa Terkeaurst http://lysaterkeurst.com/
Mary Southerland http://www.marysoutherland.com/
01 October 2013
Intercede for me Holy Spirit in moments when I do not know how to pray or am defenseless. Jesus, intercede for me before the Father as my accuser points his finger at me to remind me of my sin You have washed away. You are merciful! You are my valiant Defender!!
Draw the Circle Day 15
Continue to circle those you've been praying for. You can re-word it to "Jesus, contend for ___. Rescue him/her from the evil one schemes. Intercede on ___'s behalf."
Father, today I do not bring before You my mountain of problems. I bring You to my mountains! You are my God and I desire to proclaim who You are to ALL this craziness the enemy throws at me!
Listen to me, Depression and Anxiety, my God IS in control! Neither of you can bog my mind down with worry and threats! You maybe a chemical imbalance but you don't own me! Listen to me, "I cants", you're right! I can't do anything on my own! But I'm NOT on my own! I have Jesus! I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!
God, I will cling to Your promises! I will say to illness, tornadoes, and thieves: "you can rob, kill, and destroy BUT all is well for my God is with me and will give me what I need to see this life through!" You have never abandoned me! You have always been with me and will be with me to the end. When the end of my life comes, You'll still be with me! You are Sovereign! You are Holy! You are God and there is nothing this mountain can do to me for You are my Shield!
From Draw the Circle Day 14