Friday, December 31, 2010


Wow, what a year it has been for Lets Chat Friday! Who knew this day would be a blessing for so many? Each Friday has it's own special meaning for me. Nuggets of precious wisdom I can come back to and read again and again.  I love hearing from such God-fearing women. Women who stand out and make a difference. Women who in their struggles look to the Lord for guidance and support. Women who encourage and inspire.  My friend, Dawn, is one of those women. I am honored to call her my friend.  Let me tell you a little about her.

When I first walked through the doors of our church almost eighteen years ago, she is one who reached out to me and made me feel like I was home. Then she and my pastor  leave and move miles away for another mission the Lord had for them. Once she returned our friendship grew and each day since has only made my life sweeter.  I look at her and I simply see beauty. She is part of my inner circle of friends. That circle of friends who God has intricately placed in my life to help me be the girl He is calling me to be.  Teaching me, supporting me, laughing with me, encouraging me, and loving me. Loving me when I am not so lovable. Encouraging me through all that touches my life. Laughing not just at me, but with me. Supporting me through every trial and new journey. Teaching me to be a godly woman and simply just making my life richer.  She is one of the first people I call with news or when I need spiritual guidance. She is on speed dial for a laugh.  Dawn has the gift of mercy. So, when I just need to cry, she is that friend who listens without judgement. I have felt her hand of prayer upon me many times. She is that girl you see walking in leopard print and  big hair. (You Southern Baptist girls would love her!!lol)  She is not afraid to just be herself. I love that about her. She is also a gentle giver. Serving in many areas reaching others for the kingdom of Christ.  She has the voice of an angel. She is that friend you want at your side. She is the friend that every girl dreams of and the friend everyone wants to be. Her example is one that I cherish. She is that friend that helps me be accountable in my walk with Christ. Oh, the stories I could share!!  Well now, we better get on to our chat or I will just talk forever. It is my  prayer that you are blessed. I know you too will just fall in love with her.

(Robin) Please tell us a little about yourself.

(Dawn) My name is Dawn. I am married to a wonderful man named Ben. I have 3 children on earth, Molly, Benjamin and Tony, and 1 child in heaven. I grew up in a very Godly home with awesome parents and three OLDER sisters, who were and still are my close friends. My husband is a Pastor and I love being the Pastor’s wife of this church; they are very supportive and loving to me and my family. My inner circle of friends is vital to my Christian walk because they support and sharpen me daily. My daughter thought I should add that I am a GBG dresser. GBG stands for Gaudy but Good. Needless to say I like animal print and bling! LOL

(Robin) I would love to hear your testimony.
(Dawn) Well I went up to the alter at five and I remember going up and saying I wanted to be saved and join the church, but I really believe for me I was just going through the motions. I do remember wanting to take the Lord’s Supper because my Grandma Mary made the leaven bread and I felt I needed to try it because everything she made was amazing. I had no personal relationship. I was brought up in church and participated in GMA’s and many youth activities and knew God’s Word. At 11 years old the church showed a movie called, “A Thief in the Night.” It rocked my world and I knew I didn’t have a personal relationship, but I also knew that I had grown up in church and that I had already been baptized. So for the next four years I would wait until my parents fell asleep and sneak into their room and sleep on the floor! Crazy I know. I guess I thought that I would grab onto their feet and get to go to heaven. One September night when I was 15 I went to bed and the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. I wrestled with Him all night until finally I begged Jesus to take over my life and be my Savior! What a wonderful time with the Lord I have had since that night. Even through the bumps and bruises He has been faithful.

(Robin) What has been the most challenging aspect of being a mother and the most rewarding?
(Dawn) I think the consistency of love and discipline from the first born to the last born. It is vital that I keep the level of rules and regulations for each and that is so difficult with the difference in ages, 8,12 and 17. The most rewarding is watching my kids grow up and define their own relationship with the Lord and others. I also love our nighttime prayer and singing them to sleep when they were babies.

(Robin) In you journey as a woman what has been the most challenging?
(Dawn) Ugh! One word – submissiveness. It would take a book to write how many times my husband has said, “I think this would be the best path,” and I went a different path only to find out he was right. I not sure I want him to read this, but I can’t even count how many times I have said, “You were right!” When I am in God’s Word and walking with Him moment by moment, submissiveness is a very peaceful and rewarding action.

(Robin) I believe a mistake is only a mistake if we cannot walk away with a greater wisdom. Has there been a time in your life where you have faced struggle from a poor decision and how did you overcome?
(Dawn) Wow! Just one, well I have made many poor decisions and they all have had some level of struggle to overcome. Once again I go back to the submissiveness to authority. I have to overcome that by daily staying in God’s Word and constant prayer.

(Robin) How do you define success?
(Dawn) Being content with all you have and content in your God given territory so that all you do has a favorable outcome for the Kingdom of God.

(Robin) Looking back what advice would you give to yourself at the age of 18 to prepare you for life ahead?
(Dawn) Love unconditionally and don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. Do what you know is right and stick to God’s Word and let Him direct your paths.

Learn to laugh at yourself and find confidence in who God has made you.

(Robin) With a new year beginning what did you hope to accomplish this year?
(Dawn) I would like to see myself discipling others in God’s Word and His Way. I would also like to increase my self discipline in several areas.

(Robin) What encouraging words would you give to someone encountering loss?
(Dawn) Hold on to Jesus through the circle of healing. We all experience the circle of healing when we deal with loss, but those who can hold on to Jesus through those emotional, physical and spiritual ups and downs will come out stronger in their faith. Also, surround yourself with family and friends who will be like Aaron and Hur. They will be willing to stand in the gap and hold up your spiritual arms during those times.

(Robin) My Pastor says, “If the Lord has done something for you the least you can do is say so.” Dear friend what is the Lord doing in your life? (Funny, I am asking you this about our Pastor and he is your
(Dawn) The Lord is showing me that he can use me in ways I never thought possible. He has put me in a job where I can love on teachers and kids and shine His light in a dark world. I love how He does things and we don’t even realize He is already working there. The Lord has been so good to me throughout my life. He gave me a fun, supportive and loving husband, three awesome kids, great parents and sisters, aunt, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends. He has blessed me so, so very much.

(Robin) What empowering advice would you give to someone facing adversity?
(Dawn) Get in God’s Word. Find a Scripture or Scriptures that will help you through that particular adversity and write them down. I know if I have a verse that is helping me I will put it on my phone and read over it and claim God’s Truth and Promises for my life in that adversity. Don’t give up because God will not give up on you!

(Robin) In your legacy what do you wish your life to say?
(Dawn) One of my prayers is that I finish the race honorably. I want people to look at my life and say that I reflected Jesus. I want others to know that God had called me to be a kind and loving person and that I fulfilled that with His help. I want my children to follow Scripture and to say they were able to rise up and call me blessed. I want others to look and say that I was a good listener and that I kept secrets. I don’t want to have a reputation of being a gossip or backstabber. Women sometimes struggle with those areas. Once again in a nutshell I want my life to be a mirror that reflects Jesus.

Dawn, thank you for taking time to come and chat with us. I love you my sweet friend. May God continue to work through you and reach many through the gifts He has bestowed upon you. As you begin your new year may the Lord shine upon you and bless you as you have blessed me. Jesus looks good on you my friend.

I know Dawn would love to hear from you. If You have blessed I encourage you to share with her in leaving her a message here. Next week my guest will be Julie Gorman. She will bring a message of hope that will  encourage  us as our new year begins. Blessings my friends!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Moving the furniture again?

My husband would leave out to travel across country and come home in the middle of the night only to bang his toe or trip over a table after I had spent the day rearranging furniture. I just have to chuckle at that. It seemed to happen often. He would tell me, "Just let me know when your at it again so I know to beware when I enter the house."

I seem to get this itch and want to move things around. I like change when I am the one changing it. Hmm, sound familiar to you too? My husband would say he hates change. He is the one who seems to become injured.

We move things around and bring in new stuff. Before long we have clutter surrounding us. Then we remove all that clutter and begin all over. Instead of us rearranging around us, might we make room for God and allow Him to design our life.

Our lives can become so cluttered with stuff that we don't even need. The things we think we need we can do without. God knows exactly what needs to be there and what needs to go.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your heart is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

"While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

Without all the clutter we can see the Lord clearly. Without all the stuff we have room for Him. We try to rearrange things and then invite God in during the middle of night and expect Him to find His way around our stuff. I can't tell you the times I have tried that. God isn't going to bang His toe on our stuff, He is going to remove it so He has a clear path to us. Don't let your stuff get in the way of what is really important. Let God do the cleaning for once and everything will be in it's right place.

Two midwives with faith

I began reading in Exodus 1 today. I was going to read more about Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, but I didn't make it. Something once again caught my eye and I had to stop. Beginning in chapter 1 we there is a new king in Egypt. A king that did not know David. He is fearing for Egypt because the Israelites are growing in number. Might they overtake the Egyptians? In his fear he calls for every Hebrew baby boy to be killed at birth.

Now in Egypt there were midwives to care for those women in labor. Lets begin in verse 15. "Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah." Their names mean, "Beautiful One and Splendid One." The king is telling them they must kill the baby boys, but these women of faith choose to obey God and not the king. Their lives were in danger for disobeying the king, but they knew it meant more to obey their God.

In standing in their faith, the king blesses these women. (verse 21) "And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them." Now, because he could not count on these two midwives to carry out his wishes, he no longer used them for this, but asked this of the Egyptians to carry out his orders.

What I found amazing is, the "Important people" of this story are not mentioned by name. It is the midwives who carry faith that are mentioned my name.  Because of their faith, the Lord wants us to know them here. He wants us to understand the meaning of their names. In obeying the Lord we are beautiful and splendid.

How is it I missed this before? We have situations we face everyday that we must make the decision, "Will I obey my God or will I follow the world?" Many times it is simply decisions of following self or God. Our decisions not only effect us, but all those around us. Each choice is the doorway for another.  I think more and more we are leaving God out of our decisions and simply doing what is best for us. We find here that in their decision they not only obeyed God, but lives were saved because of their faithfulness to God. In faith He will bring us through each situation. He isn't going to leave us stranded as we try to figure out what is best. We have His word that leads us in our walk daily. We have His Holy Spirit that guides us in everything. Don't make light of any choice in front of you. Pray about each one, for each one is just as important as the one before and after.

Although the world might not understand our choice to follow God in everything, blessings will flow from faithfulness and obedience.


What a lovely historical/romance Love on Assignment is. This lovely book takes place in Newport, Rhode Island during the 1900's. This is the second book of A Ladies of Summerhill Novels. The first is Love on a Dime, which I enjoyed just as much.  This  is an easy read that just seems to flow and has many nuggets to take a way. Charlotte Hale is a young girl with a dream. She wants to be a journalist. A real reporter and she is willing to do whatever to make her dream come true. She is competing in a man's world. Although Charlotte is wise in many ways, her decision to spy on, Daniel Wilmont, a professor, at the college, was not a wise choice. Her boss at the local paper thinks Daniel  is reporting blasphemy. He wants Charlotte to prove him wrong. What Charlotte is about to find out is Daniel is not at all the man her boss suggests. He is a good man, a decent man, one that Charlotte soon falls for. As Daniel is widowed, he has two children, and his mother living with him. His mother is not so fond of Miss Charlotte. Does she see something? Is she jealous? Charlotte is in over her head as she becomes the governess and not only finds herself in a quandary, but  Daniel's reputation is at stake as well. What will happen if and when Daniel finds out?  Daniel is a Christian man, and rather than Charlotte coming to find him to be unworthy, she soon finds herself seeking the very faith Daniel is living. Daniel too comes with a past. He doesn't seem to really know his children and Charlotte teaches him much about reaching out and taking time with those he loves. I love the characters in this book. They are real and easy to love. Cara Lynn James brings much detail into the story and the history comes alive. Charlotte's assignment brings her more than a good story, but a new life. You do not have to read the first book to connect with Love on Assignment, but it would be an added blessing. This one is a keeper!

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for it's review.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We can be free from our chains

There are many ways to be in bondage. Fear can hold us down. Temptation can darken our path. Pride can drown us in self. Sin can confuse us as lies become our truth. Anything that takes us away from Christ has us in chains. It can be the shopping desires that break our bank accounts. Pornography can hold us back from purity. The list can go on and on. Is there something holding you down? Does something have you by the collar? Are you dragging your feet in pity?

Until we are honest with ourselves we will continue to stay in bondage. Look back at the Israelites who were captive in Egypt. They were in bondage, but they were free. They had a hope in God. They didn't allow the Egyptians to keep their hearts from seeking God. They may have had their bodies, but they didn't have their hearts. The Hebrews knew they were slaves, but they also knew who was their real Master. They knew God had a plan for them and He would make a way.

If we remember the slaves of our country's first beginnings, they too knew they were in bondage, but they were free in their minds because they knew of the Savior that set them free. As they were beaten and bruised the plantation owners might have had their bodies, but they didn't own their faith. They sang hymns in the fields. They communicated by singing in faith. They too knew there was One higher. The King of all kings. It was His kingdom they were looking forward to. They knew this life was not their home.

"Bondervents, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bond servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is slave or free." Ephesians 6: 5-8

We are all slaves to something. Something is always trying to steal us away from God. But see, God is our Master. He is the One who sets us free. Our chains can be broken and released by allowing Him to be Master of our lives. When we have faith there is nothing that can hold us back.

"For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:20-23 

Living in sin is like having our wings clipped. As long we are being held down we are never going to fly. God doesn't just want us to fly. He wants us to soar. He wants us to soar above the temptations of this world. He wants us to be aware of the sin that can capture us.

"The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My Father's God, and I will exalt Him." Exodus 15:2

With Christ we can move past our sin. We can see the temptation before us and move the other way. God always gives us a way out. He makes a way for His children who love Him. We must make a decision. Will we worship the God of heaven and allow Him to be Lord of our lives or will we allow the world to be our God and find ourselves in bondage? There is nothing in this world can us away from God.

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against he rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

Satan knows us. He knows what tempts us and will try and place those evils in front of us daily. We don't fight against people, but Satan attacking through them. That is one way he can keep us away from those very people who can lift us up and become a circle of hope. He wants to single us out and make us feel alone. Like we are the only one who struggles with our sin. But, God knows Satan's tricks. This is why He has set up armor for us to place on daily. He knows what it will take to protect us from the evils of attack.

"Finally, brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:10,13

We can place on all the armor God gives, but without prayer it is of no good. Prayer is powerful. With prayer we can be released of the oppressions of this world and find peace wherever we stand. When we are in prayer anything is possible. We must pray in the Spirit and ask of His will. He will lead us in prayer. He knows what we need before we need it. He knows what Satan is going to throw at us and we can be prepared in the word for anything to come.

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18

When you feel as though something is holding you down. When you feel frustrated and trapped you can call out to God for wisdom, for strength and power to overcome all. I have felt cornered by the trappings of this world and found my escape in Christ Jesus. There is nothing that can separate us from Him.

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39

Monday, December 27, 2010

What's there to see?

I seem to be moving my way through the book of John. The sweet words of Jesus are many and He always brings us right where He wants us in His word. In those times we seem to understand completely what we had passed up before. I love it when I read His word and it is like I am connected with Him in that moment as He has opened my ears to hear and blessed my sight to see just what I am to learn.

In John 9:1-41 we find the story of a blind man. He has been blind from birth. He is one who sits at that gates begging. Can you see him in his loneliness? He is reaching out and all he is desiring is for someone to reach back, but people pass him by without regard. Ever feel like you reach and reach, but on one is there reaching back? I think this blind man can see more than all those with sight walking in front of him.

Jesus passes by Him. Jesus notices this man. It is Jesus who reaches out. But what do we find the disciples asking? In verse 2 they ask, "And His disciples asked Him, saying, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'' Wow! Ever find ourselves sitting there asking the same question about another? We see people hurting. We see others sick. We see others going through trials. In our pride we ask, "Wonder what they did?" Oh, we think we see, but we don't see at all. What we are missing is, these folks didn't do anything to cause their circumstances. Jesus doesn't make mistakes. We are blinded by our human reasoning. Something must have happened to cause this in this man's life. Jesus allowed this man to be born blind so that others might see His glory through this man. In doing so glory and honor would be brought to God and Him alone.  The precious, healing hands of God not only brought sight to this man, but so much more. He brought salvation.

We see others going through so much and we seem fearful to approach them. Is it contagious? Will I end up like them too? Maybe I should stay back. Yes, that would be best. So, while we stay back, those reaching out know no one is reaching back. He doesn't have to have sight to see this. It is those very people who are standing back that are blinded.

Jesus brings healing to this man. He gives him sight. In verse 3-4 we see Jesus' reply to the disciples. "Jesus answered, 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should b revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.'" God was revealed in the healing of this man. Later in this chapter it brings more questions. The Pharisees would question this man's parents. In their fear they would not answer, but told them to ask their son about his sight. As some would refuse to see God's glory, others did see. Their eyes were opened when this man's sight was brought back. Ever find yourself believing when you see God move through another?

Beginning in verse 35 we see Jesus seeking out this man who He has healed. He knows he has been cast out. But Jesus asks him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" On in verse 36 we see the man answer. "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him." Wasn't it all worth it? This man came to know Jesus as his Savior through the touch of Christ. He came to see when others with sight could not.

Too many times we get caught up in why something has happened to one instead of simply reaching out to them. What if we didn't ask, "Why?" What if we simply prayed and asked God to move on their behalf? God is waiting to move through us. He wants us to see clearly. Until we take our eyes off our self we will continue to be blinded to all God has done, is doing, and will do.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

We are quick to judge another when it isn't our place to even question their circumstances. It is easy for us to stand back and wonder what in the world they did to be this way. But, we really don't understand until it is us. Until we too walk in those shoes of uncertainty and pain we will not be able to really see and understand. That is why no one reached out to this man. They didn't care to see or understand him. We miss so much by simply looking the other way.

Let us not judge, but give others the same grace that the Lord gives us daily. I pray that my eyes might be open to all around me. That I might see with my heart and not look an appearance in judgement or questioning. Might we be those very hands and feet the Lord has called us to be. God brings healing in many ways. It may not be in the form we expect to see, but God is in the business of bringing glory to His Father through willing hearts and vessels willing to reach through the blindness so that all might see.

Wavering Manna

Last night I was reading John 6:1-40. I was going to stay up and write, but my heart just wouldn't budge. I had to stay in the word. It was then I saw something. One verse that caught my attention like never before. "Then they said to Him, 'Lord, give us this bread always.'" (verse 34)

Lets go back to the beginning. Here we see Jesus feed the five thousand. We see, Philip, asking in verse 5 where to buy the bread.  Now, we aren't going to find a local Bread Company in the midst of the desert. Jesus fed five thousand people with two small fish and five loaves of bread. Now, I don't know about you, but I love fish and bread. Once you begin eating it's as though you just can't get enough, but that is exactly what happened here. They ate until they were full. (verse 12) They even had food left over!

That evening they witness Jesus walking on water. Jesus began His morning by feeding everyone, and now again, He is showing them to have faith. He isn't finished yet! The following day, manna falls from heaven feeding those around Jesus. This is what really gets me. This is still not enough. The people want this bread always! Aren't we a hungry bunch of people? I find myself asking, "Is it ever enough?" Jesus shows me time after time He is God. He is my everything. But I find myself wanting more.

In verse 35, Jesus states this: "And Jesus said to them, 'I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." Jesus has feed those around Him. He too has walked on the water. Why do we question Him still? Jesus calmed the sea and tells the disciples in verse 20, "But He said to them, 'It is I; do not be afraid." He shows us the way, yet we are still fearful to step out of the boat.

Jesus fills me. He is enough. He is everything. Through my faith He has given me I can trust Him. I can believe in Him. He is all I need. It is when we are truly content in our walk with Him that we begin to take our eyes off our toe in the water and see Him walk upon it. It is then we stop wondering how we will be fed and know that God will make a way. He always makes a way for us.

I can tell you in the past two years I have questioned Him. I have wondered where our next meal would come from, but He always supplies. I have wondered how are bills will be paid, but He supplies. I have wondered just how we will make it through the storm, but He forever supplies me with new faith. Each day is new with it's own set of circumstances and trials. I may have questioned Him, but I have not wavered in my faith. Through this time He has done such a work in my heart. Looking back, I would rather have not gone through all that has touched my life in the last seven years, but without it, I would not be who I am today. With each step that I need to take, God places a stone there for my foot to fall on. He too will make a way for you. We just must simply stop asking for more, when He has already given so much.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Want to hear a great love story?

There is nothing like a good love story to make my heart stir. Of course my love story with my husband still makes my heart skip a beat. Isn't love wonderful? Knowing we are loved is all we need to make it through.

Last week we had an ice storm. There wasn't large amounts of ice, but enough to cause black ice which caused many accidents and cars landing in ditches. Now, you might be asking yourself, "What does ice have to do with a love story?" Just hang with me, it gets better.

As a woman was traveling home from work she was caught in the storm. The ice made it impossible for her to go anywhere. Traffic was at a stand still since they had shut down the road.  She was running out of gas and was very cold. She didn't have a lot of warm clothing with her. After all, she was just coming from work and on her way home. The ice storm came much earlier than expected and ended up being much worse than predicted. (Isn't that just like life though?)  I am sure she was thinking she would be home and warm in no time. But, that is not what happened to her this night. In fact, while calling her husband, she realizes her phone is about dead. Don't ya know, she is just beside herself now. Her husband gets in his truck and is off to get his beautiful bride, but in the process, his truck goes off the road. You must understand, we live in the country. These are not easy roads and the road crews do not get in a hurry to get the roads clear. But again, they too were caught off guard.

So, now this is where the story brings tears to my eyes. (Yes, I cried when I heard this story.) This man was not giving up. With help from a neighbor he got back home. He dressed warm and packed his wife a bag of warm clothes. He takes off on the four-wheeler! This is just just right up the road, but at least a fourteen mile track in the cold. He was going after his wife. He knew she couldn't sit in the car with no heat for very long and like others she could have been there all night. It would be hours before she would be able to move and by then she would be out of gas. There was nothing stopping this man from going and getting his wife.  He does exactly that. Can you imagine the look upon her face as she sees her husband coming up in the four-wheeler? She might be thinking, "You crazy fool", but more than anything she had to thinking, "Wow, this man really loves me." He picks her up and they are headed for home. This is a great love story to me. He was willing to go however far and do whatever he had to do for the love of his life. He was willing no matter the cost.

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

A few days ago my husband and I went to the movies. We saw, "True Grit." This is an awesome movie my friends. Yes, I sat next to my husband and found myself crying yet again. The story line is about having grit, true grit. Not allowing fear to overcome you, but being able to do what you must. The young girl in the movie gets snake bitten and of course they are in the middle of no where. The U.S Marshall she has paid to hunt down the killer of her father is there to rescue her. He brings her out of the hole she has fallen in. Kills the snakes around her and sets her on the horse and takes off. He is old and feeble in many ways, but he is determined to bring this child to safety. He knows she will die if she is not taken to the doctor. He rides for hours. The horse is worn out. After the horse falls he picks this child up and carries her until his legs can no longer take a step. He was willing to sacrifice all. He was willing to go the extra mile. This was love.

"So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you." Deuteronomy 31:6 

There are many great love stories. You can turn on the Hallmark channel and cry for hours as you see love come to life before your eyes. My friends, there is a greater love story. It is the love story between our Savior and His children. A love story that began before the sun and the moon were hung in the sky. It carried through to  December 25 when our Savior was born and still continues today. It is a never ending love story made just for you and me.  He gave the ultimate sacrifice. His life. He knew there was no other way and He was not willing to leave us in the elements of this world alone. He took those steps to the cross when He didn't have to. He chose to give His life for ours.

Jesus Christ is the ultimate Prince of princes, King of kings, Lord of lords.  We have His love letter to prove it. He gave us His word so that we might seek Him and accept Him. We search our whole lives for love. All we really want is to be loved. His love is real and lasting.  All we really want is to be accepted. Jesus we will meet us where we are. Accept us for who we are. He wasn't just willing to go to the ends of the earth to prove His love, He went all the way to the cross.  There is no movie, no story greater than His. He didn't just die for us. He is coming back for us. He is preparing a home we could never imagine right now as we speak. He is making a room for you. You will eat at His table and worship with Him face to face. He has made a way for you my friend. He will never leave you stranded. He is prepared to be there for us when we are in our greatest need. He will show up when we least expect and carry us through our darkest night into the light of tomorrow.

"But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8

"Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Christmas Card To You

"Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:10 - 15)

Merry Christmas my friends. It it my prayer that your nest is filled with the warmth and joy and love that only a Savior could bring.

With blessings of hope, Robin

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Welcome to another Lets Chat Friday. Today my guest is Shawn Boreta and we would like to wish you  all a Merry Christmas. Since Friday is Christmas Eve I am posting early so everyone can be sure to catch our chat. It is one you do not want to miss.  Shawn is one of those ladies the Lord has placed in my life. She is one I look to every morning for inspiration. Shawn is one who has helped to inspire the theme of  my newest addition to blogging entitled  Simply Robin. What better way is there to begin the year than by  giving thanks 365 days a year?  I find myself blessed  to be surrounded by Christian women who impact my life daily with challenging me to live more abundantly for Christ. Through every struggle there is hope. Shawn has a smile that can turn a frown upside down. She has this joy that is contagious and I love that about her. Life is not perfect, but she chooses to see the cup half full. She chooses to let go of fear and embrace faith. Shawn is not only a passionate writer, but an amazing artist. You can find photos of her magnificent pieces here throughout our interview.  I hope this interview inspires you today. I pray you are blessed and find yourself asking these same questions of your own life. Challenge yourself today to be the best you can. To be the woman or man God has called you to be. Sit back. Grab you a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy our chat.

(Robin) Shawn, tell me a little about yourself.

(Shawn) I love people. I love the interaction, the warmth and the fellowship, as well as the challenge of people. I started my work life waiting on tables, serving people – and today I love people, being with, and relating to them, serving them.

It is very interesting how things have changed through the years, and how I would have written my story so differently years ago. And yet today, as I ponder “about Shawn”, my mind wanders back to many of the same descriptions of me I have always used; wife, mother, friend and someone who loves change… and as a child, I would have said a “gymnast,” plain and simple. I prayed over the last several days about writing this, and I asked God for clarity to give an accurate portrayal.

“The walk of righteousness or walking circumspectly is effortless, if we live in the Spirit and WALK IN THE SPIRIT.” ~Galatians 5:16-25

Many years ago, someone said to me, “we have just dumped a 1000 piece puzzle in your lap, and over time, you will put this puzzle together – color will be added, you will start to see the straight edges, images will become clearer with time, and eventually you will start to see what is being created.” That is what my life is.

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom he has called according to his plan." ~Romans 8:28

God says, “Here are millions of puzzle pieces laid out before you. Some pieces are colored, some white, some torn, some textured, and some are ready to go into place, others ready to be removed. But in the end, all the pieces will be set - two choices; the first is a puzzle that never completes, the second is one with perfectly laid pieces, all in their proper places.”

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

So, to tell you about me, I would have to start with my creator, because I am in direct relationship to who He is, and what He has done in my life. I am purposed! Indirect, by my calculations, but then I would have landed somewhere unknown because I am directionally challenged – however, very DIRECT, according to God – and, as I share my life, my testimony and my journey with others, I am reminded that the start was that of an out of sync, frightened, unsure, arrogant and insecure girl. And, today, I stand a mighty woman of God. Sure of my faith. Sure of my walk, and knowingly following His lead through the road, desert, paradise or whatever else He deems necessary – with open eyes, ears, heart, mind and objective.

(Robin) Since you have walked with the Lord, has there been a time you struggled in your faith? If so, would you please share?
(Shawn) On March 26th, 1965, I was delivered physically into this world – and on October 30th, 2002, I accepted the greatest gift ever given, and was born into the family of God. Since then there have been many storms; and through my trials, I am strengthened and through my strengthening, I become closer to who God intended me to be. Like many of us, my Christian walk began with scars of my past, thoughts that were flawed and beliefs that hindered. But through the years, God delivered message upon message until I finally listened. He is so faithful, even though I had been so resistant.

I believe my struggle is the same as many others, it is not realizing who I am in Christ, and what that truly means. It wasn’t until God gave me the gift of writing daily about gratitude that the “light” went on, and His love was revealed. As a new Christian, saved from a background full of guilt, works and relying on the approval of others, it took some time to understand grace.

The true breakthrough came when God told me to be grateful for what I have through a friend’s posting, I felt a nudge to take a challenge of giving thanks during the month of November in 2009 – this is how God revealed himself and performed open-heart surgery. Today there is restoration, renewal and healing. Through the exercise of giving thanks daily, I have grown to love the idea of thanksgiving and gratitude in my life. I have learned to love myself more; I can now laugh at my mistakes, cherish my enemies enjoy the struggles and know that there is truly light, not just at the “end of the tunnel”, but through the entire journey, if I just look for it.

Today, I no longer struggle with who I am, for I truly know that I am a child of God, daughter of the King. I can do anything because I have God. If I am tired or weary, all I have to do is call to Him, and He’s got me. My life has a plan and purpose – I am important and significant, because He thought of me in the beginning of time, and has loved me that long.

I was very uncomfortable praying, would struggle, even when I was alone.

Now I pray all the time, and love praying with others – Colossians 1:10-14.

I could never be quiet, always had to have something on or someone with me.

Now I love being still and alone with God.

I loved God

Now I am passionate about God, and KNOW who I am with Him in my life.

For years I have been unhappy with how I looked.

Now I accept who I am as He perfects me.

I shared my faith once in awhile, but only when comfortable.

Now I am very comfortable sharing my testimony.

I complained all the time; I was afraid, doubtful and felt it was everyone else’s time to “do great things” or “win”.

Now I am so grateful for where I am and how I got here – Joshua 1:9.

I worried all the time; and made my circumstances worse.

Now I know how to give everything to God.

I felt like the world was against me – so many things went wrong.
Now I am living for God’s purpose and God’s plan.

I was plagued with depression, illness and exhaustion – couldn’t understand “why me”

Now I am encouraged every day that everything I experience is to make me strong – because there are great things for me to accomplish.

(Robin) Has there been an "aha" moment in your life that has changed your perspective?
(Shawn) The power of words, especially the ones we speak to our mind, hold so much power, the power to change our circumstances, our health, our finances, our relationships, begins with how we think.

“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” ~1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

The “aha” moments are so many. In fact, He just keeps them coming. I have heard the saying before that “through my misery, I found my ministry”. For me that is true, but I will also say “that through my need to be encouraged, I found the ministry of encouragement, and that is how the Lord encourages me every day”. On November 3rd, 2009 I took the call from the Lord to listen and give thanks. On May 26th, 2010, I heard him tell me that others needed to hear what I wanted so desperately to hear, so He gave me Wonderfully Made; a Face book group that is pure edification and encouragement delivered by God’s children, through His word or the words given to them. It was that morning, on that day, that I understood the Psalm 139:14 verse, that I had read a thousand times, and today is embedded deep within my soul: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

(Robin)  Do you have a favorite Bible story, verse, song or hymn that gives encouragement when struggles come?
(Shawn) I knelt to pray, with the list of people and things to pray for, I overwhelmingly broke down. It was like all the emotions of the past 40 years, the ones I thought I had dealt with, were right there on the surface. The picture in my mind was Hannah, when she was in the temple and Eli asked if she had been drinking.

I have referred to Hannah so much in this past year, not because I could relate to her pain of not having a child, but her desires to come transparently and naked emotionally before God. To lay all the hurts of her being, and the entirety of the desires of her heart before His throne. And, in my words, I begged before God on many occasions that His will would be my heart’s desire – to remove what is not of Him, and replace what is.

“Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk.” 1 Samuel 1:13

When I first became a Christian, I heard and read Proverbs 31, and when I am overwhelmed, I run to that passage and for some reason do not feel so busy after reading it, but I’m completely blessed by the reading.

I am grateful for this last year, where I have experienced God’s mighty power through His word, His people and revelations in me. I am in love with my God and His word, my prayer every day is that someone can find the same love.

(Robin) What is one thing you look for in a close friend and what is one quality you hope others see in you?
(Shawn) “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ~Romans 15:13

Friendship is a gift, and I know that God gives us relationships to cherish. I look for honesty, loyalty and grace. I used to train people, and my favorite disclaimer was, “we will be spending a lot of time together; most of the time you will like me, but there will be times when I will not make you happy; know this, your best interest is my concern, so, if I do something you don’t like, tell me; don’t harbor anything. Be upfront and honest, that’s all I ask – and I will do the same.” I am human; I will disappoint people, and they will disappoint me, and knowing that is the key.

There is harmony in friendship, with a walk in the same accord, and understanding of where that person has been and is going, as well as the ability to build and maintain rapport. There is a compliment in friendship that God fully orchestrates when they have the right focus – and our gifts are even better when we live cooperatively with others within the body.

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” ~Proverbs 16:20 (NIV)

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are lavish and deceitful." ~Proverbs 27:6 (Amplified)

“Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” ~Proverbs 27:9 (The Message)

I heard in a teaching once, and I have always known deep in my soul my entire life, “friendship is the core of our being.”

“Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’’” ~1 Samuel 20:42

I have come to realize that the friends I have in my life right now are the friends who push me to become better, they want what is best for me and I am learning more than ever in my life. I love who God has created me to be – I love what He has for me – and I love who I get to grow with. I may not always know what is next, but He is surrounding me with the greatest people, to continue preparing me for greatness.

(Robin) What are a few of your favorite books you have in your collection you would share with a friend?
(Shawn) I have read so many business or self-help books over the years. There are many that I could list, but quite honestly, it is God’s word that enthralls me; God’s word that challenges me and inspires me. May I just say, “I highly recommend it for everyone.”

(Robin) When life seems to go crazy, what is one thing you do to bring comfort and peace?
(Shawn) Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

I love music – the soft strum of a guitar or the roll of fingers on a piano. And, I am grateful for music. What a magnificent gift that God gave us! Some of my earliest memories are of me singing as a child. It seemed there was always music playing. There is a comfort in music. So, when the world gets crazy, I run to music.

Every morning I look forward to listening to worship music, and every weekend, we have music playing all the time around the house.

I look forward to the perfect music of heaven, and every once in awhile, when it is quiet from the noise of the world and His music is playing in the background, I get a glimpse, a sense of how awesome that will be.

(Robin) What is one thing about yourself you admire?
(Shawn) Just one? That too, has changed over the years. It is my ability to change and adapt; it is loving the possibilities of tomorrow as I love and live today. Today, I admire the God visible in my life. And, this is not said with any pride or conceit. It is a fact that before God, there was much doubt in my life, many moments of melancholy, feeling unworthy, guilty – and as I become closer to my creator, I am becoming a woman who desires the things of the world much less; and greatly desires a life that reflects God greatly. I know that my life is rich – and my wealth is in the mind; a powerful change from where I was just a short time ago.
“Every God-begotten person conquers the world's ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world's ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.” ~1 John 5:4-6

(Robin) What are a few of the things you love surrounding you?
(Shawn) I love to spend time with my husband, my daughter and my friends, who are truly my family. I love to create, so having a room in my house that is just me is so important. This is the room that warms me when I am cold, inspires me when I am uninspired; and where I can always go to be with God.

(Robin) What are your deepest passions?
(Shawn) My greatest desire is to see others realize how special they are, and for them to realize that they were created by a mighty God with a specific purpose. My desire is to get to know people where they are and watch the Lord change their life, and mine too, because of it.

(Robin) What is the best advice ever given to you?
(Shawn) Get to know God’s promises and know that He loves me greater than I will ever comprehend or could ever imagine. Be flexible and begin to love change. The greatest change has been the changes of my mind.

My mind is being used in ways that I never thought possible. God is using others to help do His work, imagine that. I am grateful that so much wisdom is passed on, out of love – this love runs deep in the true body of Christ, and I am grateful that after so long, I understand that I have a place that is uniquely designed by my creator. My uniqueness, talents and bubbly self is specifically qualified because it was blessed before I was even born.

Albert Einstein said, "You can never solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created the problem in the first place”.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." ~Corinthians 10:5

(Robin) In the legacy you leave, what is one thing you hope out shines before all others?
(Shawn) When the Lord takes me home, or we all go up together, I want to leave behind reminders of my life and the God that I strongly stand for. My legacy is the work God has done in me – whether it be my art, my writing or just the memory of how I lived for those who God is working on in my life; those who do not yet know Him. I want the words that God gave me to filter through and marinade is someone else’s mind as well, or for them to take a look at the colors and verses in my art and say, “Yes, Lord, yes”.

(Robin) What are you currently working on?
(Shawn) I am currently resting in the Lord. For the first time in my life, I am at rest with where I am going. My entire life I have worked toward something – I have chosen a path, and took off toward it. There is a peace that is available to everyone, and that peace eluded me for most of my life. When my adult life started, I was very young; just 18, on my own, and living away from the people and things I had known my entire life; independent, ambitious and tenacious are words that I would have used for my younger years. I have always worked on me. So, in this time of rest, I am working on being who God designed me to be. I used to scoff and laugh at people when they would identify themselves as the “daughter of the King” or “child of God”, not understanding what that meant.

I am growing in the word, by sharing His word with others.

(Robin) How do you define success?
(Shawn) It is truly my desire to be God’s ambassador. And through the years, months, weeks, days and down to each hour of my journey, I want what I reflect to be attractive. I want so much to glorify God in my work and have it completely evident in all areas of my life. And, I pray that my personal mission statement is apparent to those around me – exemplify God as I fulfill the obligations of my family and helping others reach their dreams for their families.

Success will be, when I hear my master say, “Well done”.

Oh, how I long to hear my master say,“…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

Shawn, I think all I can say after that interview is, "Amen." What a blessing you are. I am so thankful you stopped in to share with us. So many nuggets to take away and ponder on. This is one I will have to come back to and read again on those days I am finding myself in need of encouragement. Blessings to you sweet friend. Again, Merry Christmas to all my readers. I know Shawn would love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts, prayers and questions for Shawn. Check out her links below to see just all she is involved in. 

Giving Thanks Daily on Face Book 
Giving Thanks Daily on Blogger
Wonderfully Made
Equip His People Ephesians 4:11-13
My Testimony
Cherish My Enemies
Beauty From Ashes
Ezine Articles

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's your cover saying?

We all hear, "Don't judge a book by it's cover." Well, as I have been doing many book reviews I have to say sometimes I choose them for the cover. Something catches my eye. Sometimes I choose them for the back cover describing what is inside. Many times it is the words that stir my heart and sound so intriguing. Sometimes the cover speaks louder than what's inside. Sometimes what's inside is nothing compared to the cover.

This got me thinking about myself and what my cover looks like. Is my cover eye catching? Does it glimmer?  Does the outside really show what is in the inside? Does the inside reflect the Son, catching another's attention, bringing them in to see if there is more? Too many times we dress the cover up. We make it cute and pretty, but it isn't describing what is inside. Inside, hidden from view might be telling another story all together. I want my cover to reflect what is inside. If someone was do my review, what would they say? Would my cover match the words within? It's something to ponder over.

Too many times we judge another by the cover. We see what's there and we don't want to read it at all. I recently received a book that surprised me. I don't know where it came from. It is not a book  that I would have chosen. Not from the cover or what was written on the back, but as I opened the pages it captivated me. I couldn't put it down. It seemed to have so much to say to this girl's heart. I never would have realized what I was missing if I had not taken the time to look inside. Not just reading the first chapter, but moving to the second and giving it a chance. We all have a story to tell. It's important to take the time to listen with our heart. Our library should be diverse. Containing a kaleidoscope of blessings.

Too many times we count people out by the first impression. We see that cover and put it down never to take another look. Just think of all we are missing out on when we give up so soon. Why not take time with people like we do our favorite books? Why not get to know them? Just think about it. We travel through the book store with a cup of coffee picking up books that catch our eye. We read a few pages and maybe we put them in our bag or we set them back upon the shelf. Every book might not be for us, but each book is worth looking into.  We grab those books that say something to us. It's like a connection. But, sometimes we need to move outside our comfort zone and pick up something different. Something unexpected. You might just be surprised by what you find.

Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer

If you are in to futuristic thrillers this book is one you want to choose for your collection of reads. It is a  fast paced  thriller that is a  quick read. Flight of Shadows is the sequel to Broken Angel. I think it would be helpful to read Broken Angel first. Although Flight of Shadows can stand alone, if beginning with Broken Angel you would get a better grasp of the characters and story line. I must admit I found myself lost at some parts having a feeling there was more to the story.  This is a dark read that many will enjoy. It takes us into the dark world of the future where everything has changed and genetic codes have been broken. Caitlyn Brown is on the run. She has been hiding, but now those who have been seeking her know just where she is. Caitlyn carries secrets within her body and with those secrets comes power. As she on the run there are few she can trust.  With her unique DNA, everyone wants a piece of Caitlyn, whether for research or their own personal gain, she is running out of places to go. Caitlyn finds herself having to make a choice between those she loves and her own freedom. Something she has never really had at all.
Whether you like futuristic thrillers or not, Sigmund Brouwer is an amazing writer. There is not a Christian theme to this book that leads you in faith, but you do find a journey that leads to freedom.  The writing of this book was outstanding. Within each page you were taken inside the dark life of Caitlyn Brown. You feel her emotion and you find yourself turning the page to see what is next.  It made me see that that we all have secrets. We hold things within us that others would judge us for. Some would do anything to seek those out for their own good. Finding freedom is letting go of the shadows that haunt us and embracing who we truly are.

This book was a gift from WaterBrook Press for it's review.

Sigmund Brouwer:
Whether writing youth or adult fiction, Sigmund Brouwer is a best-selling author of more than 40 fast-paced novels. Some of his works encourage young reluctant readers into the world of books, and others provide adults with riveting tales. His youth series include Mars Diaries; Short Cuts Extreme Sports; Lightning on Ice; CyberQuest; The Winds of Light; Dr. Drabble: Genius Inventor; and The Accidental Detectives. His adult fiction titles include "Out of the Shadows," "Morning Star," "Thunder Voice," "Double Helix," and "Blood Ties."

Sigmund's diverse background surfaces in the characters of his books as he inspires kids to get excited about reading. He grew up in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, and developed an early interest in sports like hockey, racquetball, and biking. His poor performance in high school English classes led him to receive a degree in commerce from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and not to pursue writing. When a professor in his undergraduate English course encouraged him to write, Sigmund did, and he eventually received a degree in journalism from Carleton College in Ottawa. After publishing several articles for U.S. and Canadian magazines, he turned to writing books for kids reluctant to read.

In 1993, he cofounded The Young Writers' Institute with home education expert and author Debra Bell and conducts writing camps and seminars for more than 10,000 children every year. His commitment to his faith is an integral part of his creative goals, and Sigmund cites C. S. Lewis as one of his greatest writing influences. Although there is no overt Christian agenda in his novels, the deliberate underpinning of morality and redemption make his books more than tools of escape. He quotes C. S. Lewis, "There is no Christian way to write, just as there is no Christian way to boil an egg."

Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan; the couple has two daughters. He writes five pages per day on his laptop, whether he is in an airport, hotel, or dividing his time between family homes in Red Deer and Nashville.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Giving it all up

The Lord has been doing a work in my heart. He has brought me to a place where I know He is enough. I have decided I can sit here each day and think about our circumstances or I can decide to focus on Christ. I can allow my attitude and actions to show my pain and hurt or I can just give it all to Him. I can find myself in anger or I can let it go and choose to find joy. It's just like the Holy Spirit washed over me and said, "Give it all up and let Me."

I could be sitting here crying and my tears would keep coming with each thought of just how hard things are right now. I never imagined this struggle. Job loss touches your whole family. It brings hurt, anger and questions.  My son sat next to me a few days ago and said, "Mom, why has this happened? Why are things so hard?" I sat before him and said, "Why not?" I must admit I have been so confused. I mean we are good people. We walk with the Lord. We serve. We reach out to others and oh, have I cried out to God. You begin to wonder if God hears you any longer. You begin to wonder if anyone really cares. Satan loves to fill our minds with falsehoods. He is the creator of lies and deceit. He would love nothing more than for us to think the Lord doesn't care. He wants us to feel lonely and far from others. He would love it if we would just give up!

I am giving up, but in a different way. I am not giving up to him, but I am giving up everything and just letting God have my control of every aspect of my life. I want Him in my thoughts and actions. I want Him to be the center of all I do. I refuse to focus on what we don't have. I am choosing to focus on what we do. To the world, it might not look like much right now. I mean, if our house wasn't paid for, we could very well be living in our car. If I just focus on our circumstances I would not get up out of bed. I would simply stay there until things got better. But, I think that is just it. We keep waiting until things are better to praise God. We wait for the perfect situation until we offer up what we have to Him. We live our lives thinking about tomorrow. What if it never gets better? What if my husband doesn't find a job in the next two years? We never know what tomorrow will bring. We keep waiting, but the Lord is saying, "Live today!! Don't wait for better!!"

1 Peter 5:6-7 "So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you."

Just maybe that is what He has been doing the whole time. Maybe this girl, who has always had everything she ever needed or wanted just needed to come to the place where all that was gone to truly see the Lord is all I need. We let our stuff taint our eyes. We let our stuff become our world. I have to admit. It didn't matter what I spent because I knew next week there would be more. Ever do that? We live spoiled lives.

So much happens in our lives that we are waiting on. We want everything to be perfect with our family. We want our children to visit and be part of our lives. Sometimes, they are not seeing what we see. Sometimes it will take time before they fully understand the depths of the love you have for them. As parents we want close relationships with our kids. We want to know what they are doing and have them ask, "What are you up to?" How do we think God feels about His children? He wants His children to come together. He is waiting with perfect patience. Do we ever fully understand the depths of His love for us? Just like our kids, sometimes we have to go through much before we really understand how much we need Him.

We are all in different circumstances and all have different hurts and needs. No one can understand our situation unless they too have walked in our steps. There is one who has. Jesus Christ. He has felt rejection, loss, pain, suffering, and loneliness. Just think, he didn't have to. He chose to go through suffering and loss for us. He has felt temptation. He gives us example of those who have walked in our steps through the pages of His word. Your story is there too. As the Holy Spirit wrote through men and women to bring us His word, He knew our stories could be found there too. He knew what we would go through and just what we would need to make it through.

Two years is a long time for us, but there will come a time when these two years have seemed like two days compared to our time we will spend forever with Jesus. My friends, wherever you are today, whatever you are going through, simply give it up for Him. Don't allow your worth be found in others. Don't allow your circumstances to define who you are. Find yourself in the love of Jesus today.

Psalm 84:10 "A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather be a gatekeeper on the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked."

Psalm 27:14 "Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord."

1 John 2:15-17 "Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. There are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever."

Better is One Day - Kutless

Monday, December 20, 2010

Why pack everything into just one day?

It's a week before Christmas and stores have been packed for weeks now in preparation for Christmas Day. We see people gathering gifts for everyone. Making plans to attend every party and every home invited to. We begin with smiles at first at the joy of Christmas, but at the end of the day we find ourselves exhausted, stressed and wondering where the time went.  We get caught up in the hustle and bustle and say Christmas is here and gone. Why do we seem to think we can only celebrate Christmas one day a year? Isn't Christmas something we should celebrate daily all throughout the year? For if not for Christmas there would be no reason to celebrate at all.

I mean, lets just think about this for a minute. Christmas is the birth of Christ. We celebrate this special gift one day. We pack it all in trying to meet the expectations of everyone and make all happy. We make an attendance at our parents home. We must hurry out to see Aunt Hilda and Uncle George, then get around to see Grandma Jones. Is this not insanity? What if we simply celebrated Christ's birth daily?

Lets take this into account. We could praise Him daily by living for Him. We could open our home to a relative once a month if not more having a special dinner. We could make a date each Sunday to see our parents. If you have a blended family, just simply take turns and spend a whole day with one set of parents so you are not rushed. Have many children? Take time with each one. Make a date with those grandkids. Take a friend out to lunch and share your heart. Send a card to one far away. Buy that special gift and send by mail surprising one you love just out of the blue. Maybe even call that brother and just ask, "Whatcha been up to?' Why not try unexpected blessings? Aren't those the best?

We go out to the shopping malls with a list and think, "Now, what would grandma like?" We might even call up another and ask them what one would like to have. Just think, if we spent time with these very people we say we love wouldn't we already know what they would like? We spend money on gifts when most would just really like to spend time with the ones they love.

Christmas tends to be stressful for many because we try to jam pack everything into one day and we find ourselves feeling badly when we just simply cannot see everyone. We spend every last dollar we have on gifts and cards until we break out the credit cards and spend the rest of the year paying them off. Why? Why do we go bankrupt for one day a year? If we just simply took the time throughout the entire year loving those around us would Christmas really be so stressful?

I think this is why we lose the meaning of Christmas. We lose Christ in our business. In our trying to please others, what about pleasing the One who came on this day? How much time do we really spend worshiping His birth on this day? I think it's time to let ourselves off the hook and realize we can celebrate Christmas everyday of the year just by being the hands and feet of Christ. Just by reaching out and taking time.

We have a blended family. We know the stress and sometimes hurt feeling that can come with trying to make everyone happy. Our kids have huge families and try to see everyone. We finally sat back years ago and said, "We will take whatever day is easiest." Why put that pressure on your kids and family? That is simply taking the love out of the season and making it all about us and what we want. When this day has nothing to do with anything we have done, but all to do with our Savior.

"Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation." Psalm 101

If you are tired of the added stress or if this season brings depression just let it go. We try too hard. When in fact all we must do is slow down. Stop trying to be like the commercials and the neighbors. Lets not compete. Lets not grow weary because we don't have money to purchase gifts or take that holiday trip. Just try spreading it all out throughout the year and allowing the Lord to live through us as we worship daily the One who came to bring us life.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Inviting you to join me on my new adventure

As I come to my blog each day I am excited to share my walk with the Lord with you. Here at my Nest I can share book reviews, music I love, and give praise to God each day. I can share about my struggles of illness and overcoming obstacles that affect us all. I can write about encouragement and share what I have learned from  God's word. I can share my dreams with you.

It is awesome to look back and see the Lord has been here with me every step of the way and know that with each new step He too will be here leading the way. I am a work in progress and so thankful. I am beginning a new blog, Simply Robin. I am not leaving my Nest, just adding a new adventure. At Simply Robin I am beginning the new year with 365 days of thanks. Is there a better way to begin the year? For me, it is the perfect start.

God has touched my life in so many ways. Through each struggle He teaches me. Through each circumstance of my life all I see in the end is His love. I know when all else fails, He is still here with me. I am amazed by His love. Why He chooses to love me simply boggles my mind. He leaves me speechless.

So, as I find myself on those days where I cannot get out of bed or a migraine has consumed me, I want to look to the Lord and simply be thankful. There is nothing that touches me that has not first gone through His hands. Through Him, my life brings purpose. Through Him everything makes sense. Without Him, nothing makes sense.

As Steve has been laid off for two years now, there is still much to be thankful for each day. I want to not only share that with the Lord, but with you. I want to shout from the roof tops all He does for me daily.  I want to take this new journey of thanks and spread His love even more. It is when we learn to simply take our eyes off ourselves and place them upon Him that we finally really get it. It's not about us. It's simply all about Him.

I challenge you to take this journey with me. Keep a journal. Write down each day just one thing throughout the day that you can give thanks for. At the end of the year we can look back and see all the Lord has done for us, instead of concentrating on what we think He hasn't. So, come along with me and lets see all that God can do through His children by simply giving thanks.


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