Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Step of Faith (Part 2)

In an email to a friend about my recent post, A Step of Faith, I recounted the rest of the story and half-joked "this should be part 2". 

But over at Godsizedreams.com this week, they're talking about how we can trust (a resounding theme in my life this year) that God's given us just what we need for those God-sized dreams.  So I've decided I really should share the rest of the story.

As I explained in A Step of Faith, God had miraculously provided all the funds I needed to attend the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conference 2 years ago.  And those miracles didn't stop once I arrived.

A woman I had lunch with on the first day of the conference came to me a day or two later and said "God laid it on my heart that there might be materials you'd like to purchase from the conference.  I wanted to give you $20 to help."

I laughed and explained I had done the proverbial "borrowing from Peter to pay Paul" in order to purchase some books - and the total was $19.81!  Her gift allowed me to cover the money I had risked spending.

An online devotional site picked up the only two devotions I'd brought with me.  And months later, a contact I made there would offer me another devotion writing job.

Then I won the unpublished writer's competition with a prize of a 50% scholarship for the following year.

It was an amazing experience for this novice!

Fast forward to the following June.

My financial status hadn't changed except to get worse.  Once again I debated long and hard about attending the conference.  Not so much because I doubted my writing ability at this point, but because I had no idea where the other 50% would come from.

Still, I hated the idea of letting the scholarship go unused.

Back and forth, back and forth...I racked my brain as to how I could make it all work. 

How I could make it all work.  When did it ever become up to me?

God had provided every step of the way the last time.  Everything I needed to make the dream a reality. Why would this year be any different?

Philippians 4:6 admonishes us "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (emphasis mine)

The previous month, the radio station I work for was bought out.  For the first time in years, employees were offered the opportunity to attend, free of charge, the New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference in Atlantic City.  While it was a generous offer, I saw nothing in the curriculum applicable to copy writers, so I elected to hold down the fort and work out of the office.

The business manager, who had also stayed behind, looked surprised to see me.  "Why aren't you at the conference?"  I explained the situation and then said there was a writer's conference at the end of July I was hoping to attend.

His response floored me. "Well, are we paying for that?  We should be."

When my boss returned from the conference I made a beeline into his office with my request based on the Business Manager's suggestion.  He agreed.  In fact, he agreed to not only pick up the other half of the registration costs, but the cost of meals and the room.  Once again all my expenses were covered.

Only God.

This year, I've put another request before God.  I'd love to attend the She Speaks conference in July.  It's three times the cost of the Philadelphia conference, and that 'ol financial situation remains the same.

A chance conversation just this week led to the offer of free lodging if I can get there.

Psalm 37:4 says "Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."

This year, I'm resting in Him.  There's no racking my brain on how to get there.  If God wants me to attend, He will make a way.

He's given me a dream to reach out to my community and show them His love through practical acts of service. He's allowed me to write about it.  And I believe He wants me to speak about it, to encourage others to take the ideas and run with them so they can change their little corners of the world.

I believe that He's equipping me for this God-sized dream.  I'm not sure if this conference is part of that process or not, but I know if it is, He will once again be faithful to provide.




Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Least of These - Offering Warmth in the Dead of Winter

Today I'm honored to have my story "The Least of These" featured at Circles of Faith. 

If you've had enough of the cold and the snow, can you imagine what it's been like for the homeless? 

This weekend, a number of folks from my church will be headed to the Salvation Army Drop In Center in Trenton, New Jersey to serve a meal and hand out some warm hats, socks and blankets.  I pray this story inspires you to go out into your own communities and make a difference...

Throughout the evening, the snow had silently fallen, blanketing everything under six inches of pristine whiteness.  Most people had made what my friend calls their “French toast run” – the obligatory dash for bread, milk, and eggs.  When morning broke bright and clear, my urban neighborhood was uncharacteristically quiet.

I slept until the cat pawed my face for her morning meal. Once she was fed, I put the tea kettle on and sat at the dining room table to read my Bible.  It wasn't long before the sounds of metal scraping concrete filled the air as people dug out.  click to continue

Saturday, February 15, 2014

When Trust Is All You Have


The judge handed down a preliminary decision.  It was not what my attorney and I expected. It was not what anyone thought would happen.

"It's still not over" my lawyer counseled.  We'll go before the judge tomorrow and make our case.

The next day, we discovered we were not on the docket. Even after clearing up the communication error, the judge refused to see us. The preliminary decision, in all its unfairness, was final.

It was a crushing blow.

Tears flowed down my face as I tried to wrap my mind around what this all meant and what my next step would be.

"We'll file a motion to have it reviewed.  We'll send along some new information."

Weeks went by.  The court date was moved a week and I couldn't be there in person.  Then more waiting. Somehow, the review decision took more than a month and a half to reach me after it was made.

Declined.

I got angry.

I felt my attorney had failed me.  The judicial system had failed me.  And God?  Where was He in all of this?

On December 31st I wrote about my "one word" for the new year.  I had no idea what it would be.  I'd prayed about it, debated on it, but didn't know what it was until, as I looked over what I had written in the post so far, I saw one word surface over and over again.  

Trust.

I braced myself.  I've walked with God long enough to know a word like that means lessons are going to be learned.  You don't trust without being put in situations where you have to exercise it.  

So where was God?  Right here.  Waiting for my decision.

Would I trust Him?

Would I believe He was still good if things didn't work out as I expected?

In a devotional entitled "False Security", I read these words "are you depending more on God's provision than on God himself?

I had to think about that.  I wasn't sure I'd ever separated the two entities in my mind.

When I first entered this battle, I was okay.  I had this - I've trusted God before.  He's provided...

Money. And from the craziest places - for expenses like food, gas, insurance, utilities.  It's a good thing He has cattle on a thousand hills, because I know more than a few have been sold on my behalf.

A job.  One that He not only placed me in, but preserved through some very shaky times when others were not as fortunate, including a company sale this past May.

A car.  I was blessed with the donation of (yes, as in free) a 2005 Nissan Altima when my Pathfinder gave up the ghost at 262,000 miles a little more than a year ago.

Each time a need arose, I brought it to Him, confident I could trust Him to provide.

But this time, no provision is evident.  I'm in the 11th hour and I still see no definite way out.  In fact, it seems like everything I could possibly lean on is being kicked out from under me.

When I was given my word, I was also given a scripture.  Proverbs 3:5 & 6:  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Lean not on your own understanding...trust in the Lord.  Could it be any more plain?

In fact, every day this year...all 46 of them so far...God has shown me the word trust.  In scripture.  In song. In the email of a friend.  In a devotional.  In a picture posted on Facebook.  Even in the title of a book I was given for my birthday.  The word "trust" has become ubiquitous.

I'm on the look out for it now.  Excited to see how it will appear.  Knowing that seeing it is a promise from God...a personal gift, just for me.

As I write this today, the circumstances have not changed.  The judge didn't suddenly change his mind. Things haven't turned in my favor.  The way forward is not crystal clear.

What has changed is my attitude.  I have laid it all down.  I am taking days one at a time, holding on to His hand, confident that while I cannot see where any of this leads, He does.  His provision is still there, even if it looks different than I imagined.

I love Ephesians 3:20.  Today it has come in front of me 4 times.  4 times!! Talk about confirmation. Ephesians 3:20 says this..."Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..."

I imagined an outcome that I did not receive.  But God is able to give me immeasurably more.

I was going to quote Psalm 84:11 here - "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." and then my eyes fell on the next verse..."O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you."

Thank you Jesus - I found my word trust for today.

photo credit





Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Back Story

Over at God-sized Dreams they're talking about the back story to their God-sized dream this week.




Mine started with rejection.  

No, I wasn't the least popular kid in school.

In fact, I'm probably one of the few who actually enjoyed high school.

I ran track and played field hockey.

I was in the chorus, advanced chorus and drama clubs.  I even won first place for a duet I sang with my now Broadway actor friend in the "Cultural Olympics" - the artsy kid's answer to competition at my very sports-oriented high school.

I was National Honor Society.  I was 10th in my class of 440.

I was an achiever.  And, I was a believer.

But...I had absolutely no self-confidence whatsoever because I put my trust and faith in a person who always belittled my achievements.  And then I married him.

Why do some of our greatest hurts come from the very people who should offer protection?

After years of negativity spoken over me, I was convinced I was no one, with nothing to offer.

Eventually, I sought solace in the church.  I put my faith and trust into doing things.  I began by organizing a women's retreat.  After approaching someone to ask why we hadn't had one in several years, I was handed a stack of folders and told to "have at it".

Anyone who's ever coordinated a women's retreat will truly appreciate this...in less than six months, I found a location, a speaker, put together an agenda, and signed up 50 or so women.  Success, right?

No!!

Instead of appreciation, I was bombarded by complaints about the speaker, the content, the meals, you name it.

Why do some of our greatest hurts come from within the very place that should offer healing?

I came home from that retreat scarred and defeated.  So much so, that the following year, when I once again led the retreat team, my unsaved husband said "Why would you do that to yourself?  They ate you alive last year!"  Even he saw what the experience had done to me.

I wish I could say that rejection ended there.  But life is not perfect.  People are not perfect.  The church is not perfect.

Still, there is a difference in my life today.  When rejection comes, it does not mean all is lost.  Joel 2:25 says "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you."

What I now realize is that although painful, each experience, each rejection, moved me on to something or someplace else.  And with each new thing, another piece of the puzzle fit into place.  My faith and trust is now in God alone.  Rejection has led to restoration.  And restoration has equipped me to begin living a God-sized dream.

What has God used in your life to equip you for His purposes?  I'd love to hear your story in the comments...