You , my darling, are a God-shaped container !

You my darling are a God-shaped container!

You my darling are a God-shaped container!

I know you have probably never been told this but you are a container: a beautiful, God shaped container created in God’s image to reveal His amazing glory in this world.

Okay, I know God did not form us to look like a Mason Jar, but we are definitely a container that has life-giving qualities, necessary essentials for our very existence.

Don’t believe me?

Remember back in Genesis?

After the creation of the animals, a hush fell over creation…Shhhhhhh!

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

God himself began to mold the dust of the earth like a potter with clay, gently forming and designing every part and piece of a human body. When our physical body was complete, God gently pressed his lips against the mouth of mankind.

With one deep inhalation, God breathed into the container of our body!

The breath of life swirled into man and he received life  physically and spiritually.

centerpiece of beauty

You have a heart, soul, mind, emotions and will inside the container!

A container of a spiritual heart and soul

In that one breath, God breathed an eternal soul into our spiritual heart. The spiritual heart is considered the control center of a person and the ultimate container of our eternal soul.

Jesus speaks of the soul of man when he says in Mathew 16:26, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and looses his very soul? “There is nothing in all of creation that contains the value of your soul.

A container of emotions

God breathed multi-colored emotions in our heart so we could experience life with more that just black and white feelings. We can express joy seeing the glory of God in the rising sun and watching moonbeams sparkle on the water. The tears you cry and the deep sadness of your heart are also precious to the God who saves every tear in a bottle. All our emotions are directly connected to our thoughts and beliefs.

A container of Thoughts

God filled you with a mind that is capable of understanding and learning. In the complex circuitry of your mind, you possess thoughts and reasoning ability to act upon knowledge. He gave you a will with the ability to choose to believe and trust Him. That same will is capable of making you stomp your feet when you don’t get your way and then fall to your knees in prayer when you realize you need God’s help.

A container of the real you.

Most of us live our lives only seeing and measuring a person by what they look like on the outside, when the inner contents are what really matter most. Our hearts are a divine birth place of the inner self, the real you. 1 Peter 3:4 calls this the “hidden person of the heart.” The verse goes on to tell us that contents of the heart, the real you on the inside, are “precious in the sight of God.” I Samuel 16:7 “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”NIV

Precious things must be preserved

Because of the value of the workings of the inner man, scripture tells use to guard the contents of our heart. Above all else, guard your heart for it is the well spring of life. Our hearts are not just any old container, but one that needs to be sealed properly with protection.

In all of creation, God put the most valuable contents of life, right inside of you!  Because of the necessary elements inside our hearts, God began to design a way to preserve the contents of our lives.

Keep reading more each day to discover how our hearts are similar to a mason jar.

Today , just know, that you are a container designed to hold the most valuable eternal qualities on earth!

Do you see the inner you as a person of value in God’s eyes or are you focused on the outside of the container?

Do you support your friend’s ministry?

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Here is a little check list to find out if you support your friend’s ministry–

1.) Do you give your friend little tangible reminders of your support?

As I mentioned in my other post, my confidence was drooping before a big event and a friend drove some flowers to my doorstep. They encouraged me so much, that I put them in my car and took them to my upcoming event. It felt like I had a little reminder of how much my friend was standing beside me in prayer. Your tangible support could be a small piece of candy with a note or a text message with a picture. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, it just needs to be some way that you let them know you notice what they are doing for the Lord. Let’s face it- Ministry outside the comfort zone of your church family can be scary- Find a tiny way to say- GO FOR IT!

 

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2.) Do you help promote your friend’s ministry to others?

At the conference I had a book table and placed the flowers there to greet anyone who might want to talk! I loved hear ing all the responses from the ladies about the flowers. I proudly announced that my sweet friend gave these to me and I wanted to share them. It was an instant connection to the women meeting for me for the first time. They knew someone at home was supporting me and that says a lot. Do you ever post a wonderful comment on facebook about your friend’s ministry? Do you tweet her cool quotes? Do you talk about her to people who might have a connection? Do people around you know you stand to support your friend? Your praise and appreciation open the door for others to see your friend as a valuable ministry worth investing in. You are your friend’s living seal of approval. Wear her ministry with pride!

3.) Do you realize that your friendship has a vital role in the advancement of God’s kingdom?

At the conference, I was nervous but so much more confident with the prayer support of my dearest friends and the knowledge that they were” holding up my arms” in love. Many sent me text messages, prayed over the phone with me and sent me notes. Exodus 17:12-says When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset. When Moses grew weak, he had his friends help hold up his arms to ensure the victory of a battle that faced God’s people. In a spiritual way, when you support a friend in ministry you hold up her arms and help God’s kingdom advance through her efforts. Never underestimate the importance of critical friends around you in ministry. You may just be the Aaron sent in to help “hold up a friend” to win the battle for the souls of people.

I cried when I read this card today sent by the ladies from my first women’s conference:

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Is your confidence wilted?

Wilted

 

I stared through tears at the flowers on my coffee table in the room where I go to meet God each morning…The weeks events were hard and not what I expected. The flowers seemed to represent my wilted confidence and my drooping hope for the future. As my head drooped too, I muttered a prayer,” God, I feel so sad- just like these drooping flowers”

Of all things, I am leading a women’s conference this week and I was feeling ill-equipted to lead anyone at the moment.”Wilted Flower Woman” can’t lead anyone at the moment, including herself!

Ministry is hard like that on people who are getting ready to share what is in their heart. It seems like the week before each talk or presentation I am faced with difficult situations that seem to rattle my self-confidence and stir up feelings of self-doubt and fear. “

As I was about to enter into another difficult conversation and confront a painful relationship,( gulp)My tendency is stuff my negative emotions inside because I am afraid of confrontation!  My door bell rang. Who in the world is coming over now? Unsuspectedly, I looked at my front door step and found a fresh bouquet of flowers. Shocked, It took my mind a minute to understand what was going on? Flowers? It is March, not Valentines Day, so it couldn’t be from my husband? I reached for the flowers as I saw the delivery person scampering quickly into their car. Suddenly, I realized the delivery person looked quite familiar….yes, I know this girl…..

She jumped out of her car and laughed, ” You answered the door so quickly and I couldn’t run fast enough.”

“She” was a precious friend who drove over  to give me flowers with a card that told me how much God loves me, not even knowing about my drooping roses in my prayer room.

I gave her the biggest hug and ran back in the house feeling refreshed. My sadness turned into joy as I realized the truth of my wilted flower prayer:

If the God of the universe has the power to hear me tell Him I feel like a wilted flower and send a friend to bring me fresh ones, then He is able to help me work through my painful relationships.

This display of His power wrapped my heart in the renewal of my confidence that it is God’s work alive and active in me and not my own! It is His faithfulness in me that will speak to women at the conference.

He can refresh my communication skills to give me words of love and not condemnation

He can take away the fear that makes me want to run from difficult conversations

He can send me people to love me even when I feel unloved

He can make a message come alive with His spirit even when I feel like a mess!

Maybe you need some fresh flowers today to remind you that your God can and will be with you to perk up your joy?

I am sending you a picture of the ones my friend gave me, so I can be the friend to you that says,

Philippians 1:6(GNT)

And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus.

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Don’t Quit!

After one week spent launching my blog, I sat frustrated before my husband.

Okay, so the kitchen was dripping in dirty dishes (whoops!).

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The unfolded laundry was mounting in wrinkled little piles around my family room (wince), The only thing I saw folded were my husband’s arms held across his chest with an unsympathetic look on his face.

I knew I had become a little a lot excited about writing and clearly didn’t have the appropriate boundaries in place yet.

As I looked into my husband’s eyes, I saw his frustration at my lack of prioritization in the home.

With one deep breath of humility, I told him I was really sorry for letting things go. I knew I had to keep my family first and any form of ministry second. (But this blogging thing is just so fun!)

I saw a smile return to his face and a look of love return to his eyes.

Whenever you are in the process of learning something new, expect a few set backs and slip-ups. You wont get everything right all at once.

Plan to say “I’m sorry, I am in a learning process…a lot! 

Just don’t quit!

After our discussion ended, I slumped onto the couch. The truth is that I really struggle with fear. I fear letting my family down and not knowing how to meet everyone’s needs, including my own   This kind of fear leads me to feel discouraged … I begin to hear a voice that tells me I can’t do anything right! That voice gives me the kind of give up quick, quit, call it off, don’t try discouragement.

I didn’t even have time to begin to pray when my seven year old daughter Faith jumped on my lap playing a game on my iPhone.

She spoke slowly …

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

I almost fell off the couch. That was the last verse my mother wrote in her prayer journal. I felt like I had just heard a verbal answer from heaven as Faith played her Bible app game, reciting the verse of the day. She just wanted to practice reading but, in my heart, I knew God had used her—had even used the iPhone app—to get a message to my heart. Secretly, I also felt I had a little wink from my mother in heaven telling me not to quit too!

Is God reminding you to stay encouraged and strong when you see your greatest personal limitations?

If you are anything like me, wanting to quit is often an attempt to reduce my fear and self-doubt , especially when I see a weakness in my own personal ability. I think it is critical to realize that fear and discouragement go together. The verse speaks to both ! Don’t be afraid or discouraged! The solution is found in the peace of God’s presence that goes with me into my failed plans and restores my purpose.

In my case, planning and time management are difficult areas. My failure to have it all together when I am learning something new makes me want to quit instead of learning how to cope with multiple responsibilities.

Inadequacy can cause a heart to want to quit!

Confusion can cause a heart to want to quit!

What about you? Is there some new thing you are trying to do? Are you feeling tempted to quit ?

Remind yourself of the words in Joshua 1:9 and be encouraged.

Don’t be afraid as you stand in the peace that God is able to do more than you can dream with messy, hard stuff.

For an idea of how to reclaim your joy today with this truth, read the part 2 post! 

 

Feeling Trashed? Day 3: The gift of imperfection

a repurposed heart

Friend-

I wish we could sit down and you could see my heart that has stopped longing for perfect plans …. I  am learning to embrace the gift of my  imperfect life. I don’t like this process anymore than you do but I am finding so much more joy in living in the truth of my human state. I desperately need God no matter how many years I have served him. I will never arrive at the “easy”part until the gates of heaven open for me. ( and honestly, on a bad day, I can’t wait!)

It is only when we feel trashed, when we realize we don’t have it all together, when we weep for our broken state that we find God’s power in a new way. It is such a relief to finally realize I don’t have to pretend.

You don’t have to act perfect or look like you are perfect or try to be perfect! ( whew)

My husband and I  helped run the Celebrate Recovery program of our church. Step one was to realize we are not God, to admit we are powerless and that our lives have become unmanageable. I know this sounds crazy, but the people who began to take this step were able to run with freedom in life! I was one of those people! Praise God! I was honored to be counted among the broken souls that cried out to God with their whole heart for help! Truly, these men and women are some of the most trustworthy and true saints, reaching out to others with the healing they have received.I learned a little secret about hitting the bottom of an emotional trash can –

When we hit the bottom, there are big hands to hold us and lift us up!

To fall before God on our face and admit we don’t have it all together is a gift. Scripture says ” Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.” Even today, I am wrestling an area of my life that makes me feel trashed. It is not the intensive grief I had when my mother died, but every day it makes me feel like a failure. I sat in my living room tonight and began to admit- Oh God, I don’t have this all together! I totally admit that I am powerless to change if you do not help me! I woke up this am and finally feel the first wave of freedom as I know the Lord is coming to help me. I also confessed this area of weakness to my husband and asked for his help.

In this place, God will usher in the power of HIS spirit to do work in the deepest broken parts of our hearts.

Another gift is the opportunity to dare greatly in the fight for our faith. Will you trust and not give up ? Will you walk away from the struggles and let them consume your joy?

It is my deepest prayer you will put on your big girl panties with me and learn to fight back!

Take that! Pow! Bam! Biff! Let’s give it to those emotions that try to break us down !

I love this quote!

“It is not the critic who counts… The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; …who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  Theodore Roosevelt

 

When fear yells, You will fail again! Tell fear that failure is a part of learning to have victory!

When anger rages, You are not enough! Tell your anger, God is enough, I will dare greatly to trust Him!

When sadness cries, You are powerless to be helped! Tell sadness God has all the power you need!

I pray like a  heroic women of the faith that you will dare greatly to yell back at your emotions with the truth.

We must get in the ring of the emotional fight and place our confidence in Christ who has already won our war.

And friend, if you need a girl who knows how to throw a big punch to your emotions, look no further. I have been known to do a little fighting back in my day. I am ready to remind you that God will give you the power to conquer the pain of failed plans !

You may “feel trashed ” with emotions but I assure you, you are most definitely God’s treasure –

Thankful heart – learning to be thankful again

being thankful Being thankful is different than feeling thankful. Being thankful requires action- It requires a change in your “being!” You must move from one state to another. Physiologically, it is impossible to act on  two emotions at the same time. So you can’t be ungrateful and be grateful, you can’t be unappreciative and be appreciative, you can’t be thankless and be thankful at the same time. The two week thankful heart challenge is to help move my heart into the action of being thankful.

After my mother and ten year old nephew died, I struggled to feel thankful for anything. The pain of grief blinded me to gratitude. Everything hurt. As time passed, and the intensive feelings of loss began to lift, I began to see the faces of the children I loved to dearly pulling my heart into thankfulness. Being thankful moved my heart into actions of daily love for them instead of feeling frozen with grief.  The  sound of voices I treasure, special friends and family seemed to silently call me  to come out of my loss and into life again. Being thankful for them moved my heart to make time to connect, engage in laughter and enjoy moments.

Because I know the depth of loss, I want to repurpose my heart to a heart of thankfulness that embraces the moments of every day life. I need to hit the reset button my ungrateful, unappreciative and thankless soul. So, I wondered if you might join me, being thankful for a few people in your life. This effort should take just a few minutes of your time but will set your heart into the action of  thankfulness.

Today I willing to push my heart into the action of being thankful- It is the key to a life of blessing! Will you say yes to a life of being thankful too?  Post me your answer !

I Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all things, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus…