It’s Been Awhile

It truly has been awhile – July since I last posted – my birthday month! 2015 flew by, and 2016 is promising to do the same.

I’ll make this short – I have been praying a specific scripture for over a week now and it has had profound impact!

23Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

Test me and know my anxious thoughts…a very difficult prayer. Who wants to be tested? And why in the world would I want my anxiety put to the test?

What doesn’t help is – I am currently in a job transition! What? Talk about being anxious!

But my God is faithful, and He walks beside me. “Know my heart. Test my anxious thoughts. Show me my offenses…and LEAD me in the way everlasting.”

Peace. Comfort. Guidance. These are the things that come with knowing the Savior and trusting in His way everlasting. Anxiety has no place when we serve a loving God.

I’m still wanting to find a part-time job where I can help people and make them smile, and I know that God will provide just the right opportunity!

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Trim Here, Cut There

There it was, that all-to-familiar pain and weakness, spreading through most of my body. Seven years had passed since I last felt this pain, a microscopic army strategically invading my muscles and joints. My thoughts were thick like early morning fog, pain pulsing through my body and weakness mocking my every movement.

I had faced this twice before, first when I was 30 and a new mom. Diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder, our little family adjusted and made the best of the situation. Being younger, I bounced back quickly and resumed a “normal” life.

Trim here, cut there.

Seven years later, while in the midst of climbing the corporate ladder, the illness struck again. This time, the return to “normal” took years rather than months. While robbing some life experiences, it allowed time with my son and opened my heart to full-time ministry.

Trim here, cut there.

Fear of recurrence consumed daily life. Anyone with a chronic illness understands the mind games – every ache and pain raises the questions: “Could it be? What if? Maybe?”

Seven more years and “normal” faded. The questions were answered. Illness returned with a vengeance with the initial malady morphing into several disorders.

However, this time was distinctly different. The tears were the same, the lack of understanding similar. What was different was my heart – I was more Christ-centered. I trusted and knew only God had the answer. So, I prayed:

Father, here I am again, facing an impossible junction. What is your plan? Whatever it is, I accept. If illness is a thorn I must carry in order to be in your will, Lord, I will do so. Make it clear so there is no question. Take the decision out of my hands so I never look back and consider “what if…”

Peace came swiftly. God’s hand was evident. He had been molding this human clay into a significant vessel. He created in me a cistern to hold and pour out His truth. He had placed in me a desire to lead women into their significance in Christ through writing and relationships, and He had a plan.

My doctor encouraged disability, which meant facing my current boss. Not wanting to let her down, I worried the conversation would be difficult. I shared with her my situation and was surprised with her response.

She chose her words carefully. It seems my work had been suffering. I was no longer exceeding my goals, but for the first time I was below goal level. It wasn’t yet a serious problem, but if continued I could be facing disciplinary action.

This should have stung – but instead, it was as if God himself spoke: “You are not your best, Robyn. You are seeking achievement in a place that is not of Me. I accept your commitment to carry this thorn and will lead you to share with others how they are significant to me.”

That was the last day at that job, and the first day of inexpressible contentment.

Trim here, cut there.

I felt the snip of the pruning sheers as the unproductive limbs fell away, making room for a more fruitful tomorrow.

Today, the pain continues, the thorn some days digging deeper than others, but each ache brings with it peace that God is mighty and His plans greater than mine. Through pruning, God reminds me:

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I am Significant in Christ.

I will fight the good fight as a Princess Warrior for the Lord.

The journey has been difficult and my focus occasionally waivers, but He always brings me back to His purpose: To lead women into their Significance in Christ.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-2,5 NIV

 

‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”’ 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

 

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Emoticons for Life

I love to use emojis. You know, the little faces with expressions used to get your meaning across? Typing text in an email or text message can be so emotionless, and sometimes be taken wrong by the reader…unless you use those cute little faces with a smile, frown or a wink. With emojis, there is no way that the reader can misconstrue my meaning. (At least that’s the excuse I use to give me “license” to overuse these endearing characters.)

Recently, in a text message, a friend commented on my use of these expression-filled faces. With joy and vigor, I shared my thoughts about emojis. The conversation went something like this:

Me: There’s an expression for everything! They make me smile. Smiley-Face.jpgIMG_1482

Friend: 😮 That’s the only face I can do.

Me: You need to open your life up to the world of emojis! I will add them to your phone the next time I see you. They’re very free-ing. A whole new world of possibilities! lol.

Friend: How have I lived for so long without them:

Right?! Can I get an Amen!!

In the middle of the message to my friend, God politely interrupted my thoughts and posed a question to me.

Do you share your love for Jesus with as much zeal as you do your love for emoticons? Are you as eager to add my Word through the Bible app to someone’s phone as you are to add access to the keyboard of charming characters?

Ouch!

In this, the 21st Century, technology is changing so quickly it is almost impossible to keep up. The news of every new little gadget, application or trend spreads instantly like wildfire. We are continually sharing our new knowledge with everyone who will listen in an effort o make his or her life easier, dare i say, freer.

But true freedom isn’t found in a smart phone, wireless gadget, or even in darling smiley faces. No matter how many sweet emojis we add to our conversations, we are still living a life of bondage caused by sin, and true freedom is gained only through the blood of Jesus Christ.

because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 NIV

 

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 NIV

Leading your friends to the latest and greatest technology can be valuable and can make their hectic earthly lives easier. But how much more valuable is it to lead your friends to the Savior, Jesus Christ?

Next time you share an app with a friend, why not also (and more vehemently) share you faith in Jesus Christ? Add God’s Word to their phone and help them find a reading plan to begin their journey into freedom for eternity. Don’t let the truth that has withstood the test of centuries become less precious than the latest trend.

Remember, God called us to the Great Commission which implores us to be a witness. Share…I believe God will give you a great big gleeful smiley face this is a series of smiley faces made for a game ... as you do!

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NIV

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV

 

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Breathe

In with the new, out with the old. Filling every pocket, every crevice of her lungs with freshness, expelling the waste. She focused carefully on each and every breath.

BREATHE

An involuntary action controlled by her brain, but one that she had some, if only limited, control over. She sucked in a deep lung full of air, giving her body fresh oxygen, and breathed out slowly, carefully, deliberately.

She was trying to overcome a lack of control. She was overwhelmed. Her mind, her heart, felt like she was sprinting away from something…no, towards something…which was it – away or to? She couldn’t distinguish.

BREATHE

Calmness entered.

BREATHE

Focus returned.

BREATHE

Each lung full of oxygen brought soothing to her body. It would be okay – she was reminded she had all she needed.


Breathing is natural, necessary and spontaneous. It is the first thing we do when we enter this world, and the last action when we depart.

God created our bodies to use qualities that come from fresh air to sustain life. Breathing is so important that our brains maintain this action involuntarily. Even if we consciously try to stop, our brain overrides this attempt at control and causes our body to suck in the life-giving air and expel that which our bodies do not need.

Breath is necessary for life.

Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7 Amp

Life throws obstacles our way. There is a true enemy that does not want us to breathe God’s air and live out what God has designed for us. Anger, frustration, anxiety are all feelings that can consume our very being. A deep breath can be just what our body needs to instill calm. Breathing in air in the way God created, and expelling the rubbish that damages our spirit.

God gave life to our body, and eternal life to our soul through Jesus Christ. He gave us life so that we can live it to the full, and in all things praise the Lord.

Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Psalm 150:6 AMP

Let’s praise the Lord with our breath.

In with the new, out with the old – BREATHE.

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2015 Word

For 2015 – my One Word is RISK. I have lived a fairly “safe” life. I take small risks, but they are often calculated, and, let’s face it, calculated risks aren’t really risks at all.

Base jumping, tight-rope walking, cliff diving – while risk is inherent in these high-adrenaline activities, these aren’t the types of risk I’m striving for in 2015, so don’t buy me an “extreme sports” gift certificate for Valentine’s Day.

Stepping out beyond the norm into an origin of the unknown in order to achieve success – this is RISK.

Following a step-by-step formula, we already know the result and accomplishment is calculated and guaranteed. Any time we have risked even a small amount, success is not guaranteed, but through faith it is always sweeter.

Without RISK, accomplishment lacks radiance.

I have much to accomplish in 2015 towards the mission of leading women into their SIGNIFICANCE in Christ. This will likely involve quick decisions, changes in the way I have “done life,” and stepping up my general state of readiness. I may fail miserably, or I just may accomplish exactly what God has set before me. Either way – with faith I am committing to RISK in 2015.

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Content Can Be a Tightrope

content2[kuh n-tent]

adjective

  1. satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
  2. mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are.
  3. assenting to or willing to accept circumstances, a proposed course of action, etc.

I am content. I am exactly where I am supposed to be in life. In general, I meet the definition of “content,” with one blaring exception:

I want more!

As a fully devoted Christ follower, being “content” does not mean that I want for nothing, it just means that I am not lamenting about what I do not have. Content means I choose to want more rather than harbor sorrow about what I am lacking.


Content can be a tightrope – one minute balancing beautifully over the depths of God’s plan not yet revealed, and the next falling deeply into the sadness of worldly desires.


I have accomplished much, experienced great regret and failure, and there are many things that would make my life so much easier; however, in my “contentment,” I do not dwell on these temporal things. Instead, I recognize there is much more yet to do, to experience, in order to honor the life granted to me by God.

My contentment is not a time to rest and “retire,” it is a calling to steadfastly navigate the straight and narrow path set before me and pursue with passion, drive and determination God’s will for me as part of His Kingdom.

I am Content…and I will not rest until I hear the words “well done, good and faithful servant.”

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

 

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21 NIV

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Frigidaire and Agape – What Do an Appliance and God-like Love Have In Common?

I was exhausted. The kind of tired that feels like even breathing is too much work. It had been a long day and I couldn’t wait to reach the comfort of my home.

I was also hungry, but the idea of cooking was less than desirable. Even more overwhelming was the thought of doing dishes. My dishwasher had stopped working two months prior, relinquishing me to doing dishes by hand. Certainly, I am not above dishpan hands and I recognize the ridiculousness of how easy we have it in the 21st century. However, with autoimmune disorders, cooking dinner alone has numerous challenges – doing the dishes afterwards is just icing on the “pain” cake.dishes

On my way home, I gave in to my exhaustion, crossed two lanes of traffic and headed to the local Jimmy’ John’s to get a lettuce wrap. I told myself that spending the money unnecessarily was okay, at least tonight.

Upon arriving home, I went about my normal routine, feed the dog, turn up the heat, and close the curtains, when I noticed a few things were out of place. Someone had been in my house! Things were out of place – my normal chaotic mess had a small sense of order. Then…I noticed it –

a brand new Frigidaire dishwasher!dishwasher

What? Where did that come from? Who had been in my house, and how did they get in? While getting over my initial shock, I began to deduce who would have the ability to get into my home, and who knew about the broken dishwasher? I put on my best Sherlock Holmes and, in just a few minutes, I narrowed it down to a few people. After a couple of telephone calls, my sleuthing was correct – I had the culprits.

Culprits who blessed me in an unimaginable way!

I have been searching the depths of my wee brain to figure out why I have been so blessed, and can come up with only one logical answer – Love. Not just any love, but the highest form of love – Agape. The kind of love possessed by our Father and bestowed upon those of us who truly believe in Him.

God has placed friends and family around me who are the hands and feet of Agape.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

The Lord desires for all of us to feel and demonstrate a love that is Christ-centered, selfless, full of surrender and focused. Putting others above ourselves, just as Christ did when he gave His life for us. The ultimate manifestation of Agape.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

The word “thankful” is not strong enough to express how blessed I feel! Thank you, friends – you know who you are! And thank YOU God for allowing me to be abundantly blessed beyond imagination!

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Trust Issues

Let me get right to it – we all have trust issues. And for good reason. At some point in our lives we have been cheated, lied to and experienced some level of defeat. Sadly, some have been victimized physically and in far more damaging ways than others. But for each one of us, these experiences have created some level of distrust.

I have many issues with trusting. One tiny example – we used to have a “24-hour rule” in my house. I would sometimes receive my favorite candy – Rocky Mountain Toffee – from clients. You know the kind – melt-in-your mouth buttery toffee covered in smooth chocolate and sprinkled with finely diced almonds. Made your mouth water, didn’t I?

I had 24 hours to eat as much of this delicacy as I desired. At the end of the time period, it became open season to the rest of the family. This rule was necessary because one too many times I went to open my prized toffee only to find that it had already been devoured. Now, the real trust issue – even with the 24-hour rule in place, I still had to hide my toffee because it was too tempting to others in my household to keep them from breaking the rule!

While my example is lighthearted, it is a small example that we are all, every one of us, sinful human beings – and we make mistakes. We have lapses in judgment. While we may not intend to hurt someone else, it happens. And when hurt occurs, a part of the heart that portions out trust gets chipped away.

Humans are quite simply, well, human. But God tells us that pure trust, whole-heart confidence, FAITH, is to be in God alone.

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8
What a beautiful example – a bountiful tree planted by tranquil water, always green, always bearing fruit!
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Distrust in others is combated with love and forgiveness. The hurt and troubles that occur in this world are temporary, so long as we place our whole-being trust God alone.
Whatever your trouble, your hurt, your trust issues – focus on the one in whom you can trust with all things. He will never leave you nor forsake you. As our Creator and our Savior, He is just waiting for you to shift your confidence, your trust, your FAITH towards Him.

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Shallow or Whole-Being Thanks?

This morning, as I was praying and giving thanks, a feeling came over me. My words were ones I had prayed hundreds, if not thousands of times. In short, they were like a memorized script. “Thank you, Father, for this day. Thank you that you gave your son for me. Thank you for your forgiveness of my sin. Thank you…”

Suddenly, I felt shallow and my prayer felt as if it was one dimensional.

All of my words were true. I believed every “thanks” that I prayed. But the depth of my sincerity wasn’t worthy of the One I was thanking.

This was not just a neighbor who gave me homemade peanut brittle, or even one of my closest friends who came over to wrap Christmas presents for me because they know how much it hurts my arms and hands.

No – my thanks were being given to my Heavenly Father!

I was praying to God! I was thanking the King of kings, The Lord of lords, the Creator of the universe.

My prayer must turn from being one-dimensional to that of a whole-being prayer.

From my head to my feet, every cell of my body focused on being thankful to the one who knit me together in my mother’s womb. My thankfulness cannot be a script, but must burst from deep within my heart to even come close to giving honor to The Lord!

Father, I give YOU Thanks – not just a thanks like thanking a best friend, but I offer you my whole-being thanks because without you, I would not even exist. Without your love, I would not have received countless blessings. Without your sacrifice of your son Jesus, I would not have hope for eternity. Father, may I never be shallow and take for granted again all you have done. I recognize that my thankfulness can never compare to your gifts, past, present and future, but pray that the heartfelt, whole-being thanks of this sinful human bring you joy and the honor you deserve.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his ;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100

Today, and every day, let’s all join in His Spirit, enter his gates, and thank God…His love endures forever.

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Breathe

God’s word for me today – BREATHE! As I was reading and praying for some friends, I took a deep, lung filling, mind clearing breath. Such a simple thing, breathing – we do it without thinking, to the tune of about 1,000 breaths per hour.

As I took that breath, God reminded me to BREATHE.

Am I not already breathing, God?

There’s a difference between the involuntary exchange that occurs in our lungs and the kind of breathing that God is asking for. Both are necessary to sustain life, but only one is LIFE itself.

To truly BREATHE is to take in the presence of the Lord. Expect and trust in His wisdom. It is not an involuntary requirement. Instead, it is a conscious act borne at the time of creation and gifted through the Holy Spirit.

To BREATHE is to Worship the Living God.

In response, the ever-merciful, wise and gracious Father rains down His unfailing love.

Whether weary or content, trust in your breath. Have faith…be still…and BREATHE.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4

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