My Mess

Well blog friends- my silence is typically not a great thing. It typically means that I have too much stuff going on in my brain and I can’t get it out on paper (or otherwise).

Currently that would be an understatement. I have so much stuff swarming me that it feels great just to make it from day to day. To get accomplished what I need to for today. And then I will start again tomorrow, getting just what I need done for that day.

What I am reading is messing with me; the sermon series and group study we are doing at church is messing with me; what God is speaking to my heart is messing with me.

What I do know is that God has brought me to a messy place. The beautiful ugly is that He is with me in the mess. And more importantly He has great plans for me, whether it’s through the mess or around it. But I am promising to Him that on the other side of this mess, I will be closer to Him and looking more like Him than I did before.

Much love and messiness-
GJ

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#YestoGod- Week 4

This blog post is a little late. But the reason it is so late goes perfectly with the post for Week 4’s Blog Hop on When Women Say Yes to God Online Bible Study.

One of the post options is title “Life Interrupted”. I definitely had an interruption to my week. On Friday, August 23rd, as I was leaving my office, I fell down all 24 steps to my office. For those of you who have never visited my office, here is a little view of how far I fell.

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Now my recount of this story would be incomplete, at least in my husband’s opinion, if I did not tell you that not only did I fall down 24 stairs, I also busted through the front door as though I was a superhero. And I busted out the doorframe in the process.

If you had had this experience I am sure your first reaction would have been one of thanksgiving for your life being spared… Not me! My first reaction was complete embarrassment and then I went straight to “did I hurt my knee? Dang, I can’t run tomorrow.”

But I guess the real reason I wanted to share my life interrupted story with you is something from the Bible study portion of Chapter 6. The question was “Think about a tough situation you have faced recently. Write out a brief recount of this experience and identify the three things we learned about when God says no.”

Now, first of all, I have not regularly prayed for God to keep me from falling down the stairs. However, now it is apart of my daily routine. 🙂 So at first glance, it doesn’t really seem as though God said no. But I really do pray that God keeps me safe and healthy so that I can take care of my husband and 3 kids and so that I can keep doing the work He has called me to and so that I can keep running so my body stays healthy… On and on I could go, so you see, in this moment, it felt as though God was saying no to keeping me healthy. Also, God really did show up on this day and I am thankful for Lysa’s words in this chapter to help bring God’s light into my life and bring some perspective on my situation.

When God says no, we need to be on the lookout for three things: PROVISION, PROTECTION and PROCESS.

Provision– I work above a hardware store and the guys downstairs take really good care of me. They often run up and check on me when I drop things, because they say that from downstairs it sounds like an earthquake. So the second they heard me falling down the stairwell, they came running to check on me. They didn’t have to run too far, because I was sitting on the sidewalk (busted door, remember)! They called my husband and 911 and took great care of me. Now had God not provided amazing neighbors at my office, I could have had strangers staring at me trying to figure out what just happened. But thankfully it was people I knew and people who were willing to take care of me. Also God’s provision was seen through an amazing boss who, even though he was on vacation, called numerous times to check on me and made sure that things were taken care of as they should be.

Protection– I am now 12 days out from falling head over heels twice down these stairs and my only remaining pain is in my right elbow and occasionally my back. God protected every bone and ligament as I took this tumble and I am forever grateful. A lot of people come away from falls like this not walking or worse. So I am praising God for His miraculous protection.

Process– Now of the whole thing, this is where I struggle. I would like to have instant healing, instant back to normal life, but God has been teaching me to walk through the process. He has been teaching me about rest and how it is important not only for revelation but also for healing too. Now I wish I could tell you that I spent my whole week working on my Bible study and reading God’s Word. Honestly, I can’t. That would be a lie. But I am committing to do better this week. Even though I am able to do more this week, I am hoping to still rest. And by rest I will NOT be sitting in front of Netflix watching shows. I will be diving deep into God’s Word and learning more about my sweet Jesus.

So there you have it. Life was interrupted. I am praying that it never happens in this way EVER again. So I am doing my best to learn all my lessons in one go-round!

Blessings to you all! Keep your eyes open. #Palmsup and be waiting for all God has in store for you.

“If You Want Me To”

The Lord has really been pressing in on me this week that following His lead is not about stepping out by yourself.  It is about taking God’s hand as HE leads you where He wants you. 

This morning during my Bible study time I read Isaiah 41:13 and it says “For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”

And since that time, the song “If You Want Me To” by Ginny Owens has been reeling through my brain.  So I thought I would share it with you this morning.  It is comforting to know that God has me by the right hand, through life, through parenting, through ministry, through EVERYTHING!

Lyrics:

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reasons why you brought me here.
But just because you love me the way that You do
I’m gonna walk through the valley if you want me to.Cause I’m not who I was when I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet.
So if all of these trials that bring me closer to You
Then I will go through the fire if you want me to.And it may not be the way I would’ve chosen
When you lead me through a world that’s not my home
But you never said it would be easy
You only said I’d never go alone.

So when the whole world turns against me
And I’m all by myself
And I can’t hear you answer my cries for help
I’ll remember the suffering that your love put you through
And I will go through the valley if you want me to.

#YestoGod- Week 2

This week for the Bible Study “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” we went over chapters 2 and 3. They discuss how to really know if God is speaking and being radically obedient to God’s call.

They asked us to think about a time when we had a #saywhat moment with God.

I can say that when God laid it on my husband and mine’s hearts to be foster parents, it was truly like “say what” for me.

If you know anything about our family, you know we love kids! Adam has been in Student Ministry for thirteen years- so that includes our entire married life and a few years before that. Also, we have one awesome little boy! And we have also had three teens live in our home for three different school years through the exchange program. AND we have had other various teens and young adults stay in our home for varying stints of time. But when it became clear that God wanted us to open our home to love on kids in a different way, I struggled. God and I would have conversations like, “really God, isn’t spending a week with the kids at CIY enough?” Or “ok, what if we have kids over weekly for a Bible study in our home, isn’t that enough?” And I always felt God say, those are good, but that’s not the whole picture…

There are always so many questions when adding people to your family. Like how will it affect our family of three? Will they like being apart of our busy family? Can we afford this? How will our only child react to others playing with his stuff? Is this something God is really calling us to do?

This week I learned some more important questions to help see if what you are sensing God calling you to is really from Him—
1) Does what I’m hearing line up with Scripture? Foster care does line up with scripture. We are called to take care of children whose parents cannot care for them. (James 1:27)
2) Is what I’m hearing consistent with God’s character?God’s relationship with us is very much a parent-child relationship. So for us to care for some of His children is consistent with how God has always cared for me.
3) Is what I’m hearing being confirmed through other messages? Confirmations were coming from all over for us. We have several friends who are foster and/or adoptive parents and they were always encouraging us to get certified. Also, sharing God’s love was very much a theme for me during this time.
4) Is what I’m hearing beyond me? Now I feel like “beyond me” is an understatement. Being a foster mom has stretched me more than anything in my whole life. Not going overseas. Not moving 700 miles away from family. Not being in ministry. Nothing is like it. Nothing.
5) Would what I’m hearing please God? I feel like this question deserves a DUH! For this situation, this question is similar to #1 &2, God wants us caring for children who need love and direction.

And now, here we are almost 6 months into being a foster family. And I truly believe God laid in on ALL of our hearts to say YES to Him. Have the last six months been perfect? Far from it. I still have a lot to learn about loving children that have been placed away from their family. And God is still teaching me what perfect love looks like. But I am thankful that I was able to work through the SAY WHAT so that our family could say YES!

I’d like to leave you with one quote from chapter 3–

We need not fear what our obedience will cause to happen in our life. We should only fear what our DISobedience will cause us to miss.

Praying that you are listening for God’s voice as He is calling you and your family to do something greater for Him and that you will allow God’s perfect love to drive out all fear and disobedience.

#YestoGod- Week One

I am so excited to share with you what God is teaching me about saying YES to Him.

I am currently doing an online Bible study with Proverbs 31.  I have done them before, but when I heard they were doing “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” I just had to sign up.  To be honest, I have had the book for over a year.  My darling husband got it for me as a gift.  When I opened this gift I thought, “Oh I LOVE Lysa T!!  I bet this book will be awesome! Oh (insert frowny face) I bet this book is gonna require some changes… how about you go into the pile of books to be read when I am ready to change.”  And there it sat!  Until this week.  What better time to dive in and allow Jesus to work in me than with 20,000 other women from around the world! 

Chapter One was fantastic!  The verse we are focusing on this week is Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”  And after reading Chapter One, I might add more “with all your _____” into that verse.   With all your PLANS!

In Chapter One, Lysa said

We have to set our rules and AGENDAS aside– our do’s and dont’s, our social graces and proper places — and follow God’s command.  His one requirement is so simple and yet so profoud: Whatever God says do, do it. That’s it.  That is the entire Bible, Old Testament and New, hundreds of pages, thousands of verses, all wrapped up in six words.”

This week I have clearly felt God’s pull on my heart to allow my plans to be HIS PLANS. But this is what is hardest for me when applying this #withallmyheart Scripture.  I am such a planner.  I plan my menu, my daily schedule, my kids schedules, my exercise schedule.  I even have a “plan” for things I can do when I get free time.  🙂  Now thankfully, not all planning is bad.  But I need to leave margin in my life so that I can be free to say YES to God. 

Dear God, Help me to create margin in my life.  Help me to not be so caught up in my plan for the day that I miss YOU.  Help me to have my palms up and my eyes wide open looking for You each day.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies

Romans Project- Week 3

This week’s verses are:

Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:5, 6 NIV)

I just love it when God stops me dead in my tracks with His Word. That kind of a pause moment just happened. But, of course, there is some backstory to it…

I began to get fully committed to memorizing God’s Word because I want to dwell on God instead of some of the negative things that I can’t control. Well, this afternoon some of those “negative things I can’t control” were showing themselves and so I went to my memorizing spot in the kitchen and started working on this week’s verses some more. I couldn’t even get 5 words in…

Through Him we received grace… I know in situations I can’t control, my first response needs to be grace. But man, is that hard!

And why do I need to show grace? Because of the end of this section… I have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. If I want to be the Jesus girl God is calling me to, grace needs to be first response, not my last.

Praying that as you read and memorize God’s Word, you will allow it to go further than your brain. All the way down to heart. Where it changes who you are.

Romans Project- Week 1

bible-heartWhat a heart knows by heart is what a heart really knows. -Dennis Lennon

I am so happy to report that I have this week’s verses down.  AND I even recited it to my accountability partner!  I am so thankful that I can been obessing about getting God’s Word in my heart and not allowing angry, negative feelings to consume me.

I pray that you can find ways to get God’s Word in your head and in your heart!