You are Worthy

I grew up feeling loved by my Dad, and worthless by my Mom. I became a perfectionist in an attempt to pull some sort of affirmation from my Mom. I lived to make her proud of me. Sadly, it has never come to fruition and all I got from it is frustration and anxiety. I’m old enough to not be a victim or play the blame game for any bad behavior I can exhibit time to time, but it still gets to me after all these years.

My Dad has shown me such unconditional love over the years. No matter how mad I would get at him when I was a young girl, or when my mouth gets ahead of me as an adult, he still loves me. Despite the love I received, and still do, there was always this nagging voice in my mind that told me I would never be good enough or worthy enough. That’s where my perfectionism is rooted. This determination to one day be told I did something worthy of a mother’s love was my focus even when it wasn’t my focus. I felt like I was able to overcome so much of this when I was a stay-at-home Mom for almost 12 years. It was challenging at times, but I loved so much of it and felt like I was a success. I love my sons fiercely and unconditionally. I am always proud of them and their accomplishments. I’m also proud of them when they try and fail, because at least they tried!

When I finished my degree and decided to go back to work, this is when I saw that perfectionism and frustration raise its ugly head once again. When I work so hard and years go by without promotion, it brings me right back to feeling like I’m worthless. Realistically, I know I am not and I know my boss doesn’t feel that way, but it’s rooted so deep inside of me, I struggle to get rid of it. How is it even possible to feel accomplished, confident, and find success, yet still struggle with not being good enough?

This brings me to a turning point for me that still brings me to tears. I was at a Women’s Conference this spring at my church. Going to things like these are so out of my comfort zone as I struggle big time with social anxiety and awkwardness. Anyway, my church always has gifts and giveaways for these meetings and they display these gifts at the front, on the stage. I don’t normally win things, but as I look upon this big vase sitting there shining so brightly, I felt like the Lord told me I was worthy of this vase. Not necessarily this vase, but the meaning behind it was what this vase represented. I was shook. This vase was the Grand Prize. I was sitting there minding my own business when I felt God speak those words to me. As I drove home for the lunch break, I began to tell my husband about this and the emotion of it all brought me to tears. God said I was worthy. The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth said I am worthy. I could barely get these words out. This revelation was slowly pulling on that root of perfectionism and unworthiness that was instilled inside of me as a little girl. After lunch, I went back to the Women’s Conference and needless to say, I did not win the vase, but it was still such a good conference and I won that vase in my heart with those words God spoke to me.

Shortly after this conference was my Anniversary, and very unexpectedly my husband walks into my room with this Vase! I assumed he went out and found a duplicate vase like the one at the Conference, but as the tears streamed down my face, he told me how he reached out to one of our Pastors to find out where she got it. After he explained what the Lord spoke to me at the conference, she let him know who won it and the woman who actually won it was more than happy to give it to him so that I could have it. I was absolutely shocked!

This vase now sits on my dresser in my bedroom as a reminder that I am good enough. I am worthy of God’s love. I am worthy to be healed. I am worthy of promotion. I do work hard and I do believe effort is also necessary. You’re not going to give 50% of yourself at a job and expect to get promoted. Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I don’t have to be perfect for God to love me, or my husband to love me, or my family etc. In the same way, you don’t have to be perfect to feel worthy of being loved and appreciated. Don’t allow anybody else’s insecurities to tell you different. Sometimes God uses things like vases to speak to you. Listen to Him and understand who you are in Christ. God did not create us to feel worthless. He created us to be loved and to love because we are worthy of love!

Liar Liar

desert-279862__180Lies. They are all around us. I read about little lies and completely astounding lies that shock me.

I have a family member that lies in this way. She lies about everybody around her and needless to say, she doesn’t sleep well at night. Her lies were believed for many years, but thankfully, many around her are realizing that things just don’t add up. I have my moments of frustration and tears when I can’t handle the lies any more about me. I can’t handle the lies any more about my family and other loved ones. I want to put an end to it and I have tried. The only thing it got me was cut off from them and more lies topped with more lies.

“I don’t know how you keep things straight any more. Yes, there are those that believe you, and there are those that don’t know you, and therefore don’t know any better than to believe you lie. I get calls and emails and messages telling me how they feel sorry for you because your lies didn’t bring me down. They didn’t stop my living and they didn’t stop my moving on from you. Your lies don’t own me, Jesus does. You think you have taken people from me, but you have only brought me closer to them and my God.”

eye-609987__180It can be a struggle, dealing with the never ending drama that comes with a person like this. I have my moments when I cry out to God wondering why this is happening and wondering how much longer it is going to happen. I believe I am an over comer and am praying for complete repentance for this person one day. I once asked my husband why it still hurts at times when I feel like I am totally over this betrayal. He told me that until this person either passes on, or repents, their behavior is a daily rejection of me. I have to fight lies and rejection!?

“I will continue to try to love like Jesus loves. I will pray for you and forgive you, but you have to change on your own. You have to be the person that God knows you can be. I can honestly say, I don’t really know who you are anymore. I’m not sure I ever knew you; the real you.”

Psalm 101:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence.

If you have a loved one that lies and manipulates, or does worse; they hurt people including you, don’t be like them. Fight through the hurts and fight through the lies. Fight through the pain. Fight for a life free of drama, even if it means that you have to let go of this person. With God, you can do this. I truly believe that God has allowed me to live this life with this family member, so that I can help others. I want to tell you to be strong and to understand that God loves you like you can’t even imagine. His love is unfailing. We try to put God in this little box so that we can understand Him better. When you cried over people and lies and those things that hurt you so deeply you could barely breathe, God was wiping every tear. He sees you. He knows you. He understands you. He made you.

You cannot lie and love at the same time. God is not a liar, the devil is. You cannot hate somebody and love God.

1 John 4:20-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can[a] he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

I want to be in Your Presence, God. I want to love like You love. Help us oh God!

Christian Criticisms….(*Facepalm*)

I have to say, it is so easy to criticize. We live in a world so filled with criticism, I don’t even know what it will be like when I don’t hear something daily. We have bandwagon criticisms and we have our own unique criticisms. God wants us to have a thankful heart, but when we choose to criticize, we are the opposite of thankful. This is that time of year when I start to see all those social media posts on what people are thankful for, which is awesome, except that those posts are generally in between all the critical posts.

I think one of the big things that bothers me is when Christians constantly criticize one another as well as non-believers. We jump on these bandwagon offenses and try to shout louder than anybody else. Is the solid red cup really Satan’s tactic to lead us into temptation away from God? My goodness people, quit being so silly and ignorant! We pull out our Bibles and tell our friends why they can’t eat that way; why they can’t drink that. We point our fingers and we put our noses in the air because we have received the revelation and can’t believe that all you sinners won’t listen to us. Why can’t we be thankful and love one another? Why don’t we concentrate on loving each other and helping the orphans and widows and saving the lost souls?

I want to be known by man and by God as a thankful person. I want to understand the widow’s mite. I want to help others understand that being thankful is being humble. When we point our fingers and criticize others, we are being proud and arrogant, which are not true characteristics of God. We need to speak the truth in love. The Bible is very clear about so many things that the world tries to tell us are morally fine. I’m not saying that we don’t speak the truth, but don’t condemn people. We want to be a people known by our love.

Lord, I thank You for all that I have. I thank You for my family and all that You have blessed me with. You are a good Father and I am so thankful that You love me more than I can even fathom. Lord, help me break this critical spirit off my life. Let thankfulness not only be for one season of my life, but I want a whole life filled with thanksgiving.

Raise Them Up…

We hear that scripture all the time. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” I pray this for my children. I pray that my husband and I are doing everything we can to train up our children to be Godly men when they are older. We want our sons to understand that the world will not like what they have to say, but we must stand firm with what scripture states.

I am in awe at how the world twists things into what they want. They determine a baby is only a clump of cells and a woman has a right to abort it if she so chooses. They determine that ‘love is love’ whether it be between a homosexual couple or a heterosexual couple, or even multiple partners. The world wants to quiet the church because they don’t want to hear that what they have ‘decided’ is morally corrupt. What the problem has become, however, is that the church is willing to compromise their beliefs in order to feel acceptance from the world. The church is willing to look at scripture and God the way the world does; incorrectly! Now, I don’t want to say that all churches are compromising what the scripture tells us, but there are too many who are. When the scriptures talk about the truth setting us free, I am pretty sure it doesn’t mean what the world tells us will set us free.

As parents, it can be so easy to assume we are sending our children to Sunday school, or children’s church and they are learning what they are supposed to, but we must remember that our family is our first ministry. If we aren’t ministering to our families, then we have no right to be ministering in the church. I am talking to myself here too. I can get real lazy when it comes to certain things with my boys. Sometimes it feels overwhelming just to get them bathed, dressed, and fed!

I want to decide today for myself, and maybe you all can make the decision with me, to raise our children up right; without compromise. Let’s talk with them about how abortion is murder no matter what the world will tell them. Let’s talk about how we need to love homosexuals, but their decision to live in sin without repentance is wrong. God hates the sin, but He LOVES the sinner. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but if we repent before God, and turn away from the sin, that is when freedom happens. Let’s talk to our children about how we need to work hard for what we want. Yes, the Bible talks about doing everything as unto the Lord. That means everything!

I want to raise my sons to understand love and forgiveness, working hard at everything they do, knowing that sometimes the world thinks things are okay when scripture is clearly against it, understanding purity and how to treat a woman, how to love their wives like Christ loves the church, how to be a good husband, how to be a good Dad, how to cook, how to clean, how to worship, how to pray, how to fight, how to be angry and do not sin, and once again….how to love and forgive. This is my prayer for my sons.

Forgiveness When We Don’t Deserve It

God is Love. I guess that is where He is continually leading me lately; teaching me about love. Love is something I fail daily. God helps us with what love is in 1 Corinthians 13.

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whetherthere are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

A couple of years ago I felt like I was supposed to write a song to this scripture and I began, but it is one of those songs that I just can’t seem to finish. I can’t find an appropriate ending. I still sing it in my room, and every time it truly makes the words come alive. I find myself in tears at my failures to show love. God shows me love and forgiveness and grace and mercy on a daily basis, yet I still get angry, and envious, etc etc. When my husband and I fight, I bring up old things that he has done and I have supposedly given forgiveness for. I wonder how God can forgive me so quickly when all I have to do is ask. Clearly repentance is turning away from that sin, but seriously, He forgives us and doesn’t even remember it. I find myself fuming at times even after I grant forgiveness. I am such a justice personality. I see things as just or unjust. I see the same thing somewhat in my sons and I hope it doesn’t trip them up at times. First I have to trust God because God is a just God. There are so many promises in His word about justice, so why do I feel the need to control everything!? Perhaps that is where the problem lies. I feel out of control. I feel like I have to punish my husband when we fight because I am feeling out of control, or because I don’t think he was ‘punished’ enough. That is not my job. My job is to love and respect my husband. When I don’t, I am being disobedient to God. When God forgives me, it isn’t because I deserve it. I don’t deserve it; none of us do. God forgives us because He loves us and that is who He is. I should forgive my husband perhaps not because he deserves it, but just because I love him and the Love of God that is in me, is now shining through.

I need to remember this daily, probably every hour of every day. It isn’t about what people deserve, it is about the love of God. God loves us not because we deserve it. He loves us because that is who He is. He forgives us not because we deserve it. He forgives us because He loves us and that is who He is. When you really think about love, it is truly amazing!

Leading Worship

I have many loves in my life, but one of my great passions is worship. I love to worship and to lead worship. I’m not talking about singing a couple of songs and being done. I am talking about singing and playing a worship song that I am passionate about and using that passion as a launching pad to take His people into the inner courts of heaven. You see, when the veil was torn in two in the New Testament, that means that we can boldly come before the throne of God. He wants us to have a deep and personal relationship and experience with Him.

Too many people see God as this far off being that is angry all the time and punishes people all the time. While God is a just God, He is the very definition of Love. God is Love and when we show love to others, we show them who God really is. When I worship, I begin to move away from my wants and desires and move into a place where it is all about God and nothing about me. When we worship God, we are giving Him what He is due; like tithing and following His commandments. All these things are showing worship to God, but in this moment, I am talking about that moment that you are worshiping Him with everything that you have, and you cross into His inner courts and it is just you and Yahweh. He is everything you need and you are all that He wants. He is jealous for us; for our attention.

When you lead a church into worship, I don’t believe it is a simple 3 praise songs and 2 worship songs, then the end. It’s about taking God’s people to a place where they can worship God like never before. There are so many times in worship, even when it is just me at my keyboard in my own room, that God reveals even more of Himself to me and I get so emotional. There is nothing wrong with becoming emotional when you are in the presence of God as long as your emotion isn’t taking the focus off of God and placing in on you. I can’t help but want to praise and worship a God who loves me as much as Jesus does. I don’t think we can even fathom what His love truly is until we are in that place of truly worshiping Him. His love is exquisite, perfect, magnificent, and overwhelming.

As a worship leader, you can’t just move immediately into deeper worship; at least in most cases. There are times where the people of God are more than ready to truly worship Him. There have been times where I just want to jump right into the river of God and flow right into His throne room and lay at His feet and worship Him, but as a worship leader, I get the opportunity to bring as many people as I can into His presence. I truly do not want anybody left behind. Sadly, it seems there are too often those that cannot take their focus off themselves long enough to follow, but there are so many who are able.

While I am no Kim Walker-Smith, Jenn Johnson, or Darlene Zschech, I am who God made me to be and I believe that we are to use what God gives us. I love to worship and I have gotten so many confirming prophetic words about leading worship and singing songs of heaven, that I know I am on track. I know that I know that this is what I am called to do. I have been a worship leader before for several years. I know that one day, in God’s perfect timing, that He will raise me up to lead worship once again. Until He does, I am called to lead worship in my own life and my home. That is always our first ministry. I will obediently worship Him as I am called to do, whether in my bedroom alone, or in a church, or on a stage in a whole new setting.

No Fear

When each of my sons was just a newborn baby, before we even left the hospital, I prayed a prayer over each of them. I prayed that God would help me give them back to Him. I prayed that He would help me understand that even though He gave them to me, I have to let them grow up and do what they are called to do. My boys are young enough that what they want to do when they grow up has changed pretty consistently over the years. My boys pray over different countries every night that God puts on their hearts. Some of those countries are scary and dangerous places. My motherly instinct is to say scream, “no! No you will not think of that country and you will definitely not be going over there.” I have to remember that my sons are here to bring glory to God in whatever they do. They may grow up and get an office job. They may be missionaries. They could even live in other countries in dangerous areas where they feel called to spread His word.

I love my boys so much I can’t even believe it. I never thought I could ever have this much love in my heart for my husband and my five sons. I can see how parents want to protect their children even beyond their childhood into their adulthood, but that is not what is supposed to happen. God called us to raise our children to become independent of us; to understand right and wrong; to fulfill the call of God on their lives. My boys have seen us just three and a half years ago sell everything we owned to move across the country because we felt that was what God wanted us to do. It wasn’t easy. It was hard to sell my beautiful things I had accumulated over the years. It was hard to hear the negativity from family members and the harsh words. It was hard to see the disappointment in my sons’ eyes when we told them we were selling everything and moving because we knew God wanted us to. It can be difficult, but they saw for themselves how God works. They have seen for themselves how our life is not our own. They have seen the tears and excitement as well as the anger from parents and other friends and family. One day, this may be them. They may feel called to move across the country, or even to a completely different country for that matter.

It is not unloving to let your children go. It is not unloving to let your parents go. So many parents don’t ever want to let their children go into this big scary world. We live in fear of the unknown; in the fear of failure. We have taught our children that fear is bigger than God, rather than God is so much bigger than our fears. Too many of our children are afraid to leave the nest and we are too afraid to push them over the side and let them learn to fly on their own.

I will always remember those prayers over each of my boys in the hospital. I have to remember them because one day I will want to not let them go and God will gently remind me of those prayers. I will always be their Mama and will always be there to help counsel them when they need it. They know that. They also know that God has plans for each one of them and one day in the future, they will work on fulfilling their callings.

Parents, don’t let fear hold your children back, or yourself for that matter. Children, don’t let your parents fear hold you back. Don’t let your own fear hold you back because our God is greater than any fear in this world. He loves us!

Humble Yourself

2 Chronicles 7:14
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

1 Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

I can be honest. Sometimes I struggle with humility. My personality demands justice and justice now. Sometimes I think God’s timing just isn’t fast enough. The opposite of humility is pride. I am being proud when I think my justice should be God’s justice. I could fill up this whole posting with so many scriptures on humility and God’s timing and God’s justice because is it so important. God doesn’t want or need us running around and enforcing our own forms of justice. Oftentimes we use manipulation as a tool to get justice. If one of my sons doesn’t think one of his brothers was punished enough, he often does his own form of punishment, or tries to manipulate me into adding more punishment. We see it in our children and we don’t tolerate it. Why should we tolerate it in ourselves as adults? We try to teach our children humility, yet we put ourselves above those standards.

If somebody hurts us, not only do we want them punished, we want everybody around us to know how they hurt us. Why do we spread discord among brothers? I think we all have that super close friend that we can talk to and they can talk to us where everything is private and we trust each other. That is not what I am talking about. How many times have we talked about a loved one negatively in order to manipulate or punish them, and when things finally get dealt with, we find ourselves wondering why our friends and family have ill will toward that loved one? We are sowing seeds of discord. We are gossiping. We are being proud and not humble.

When we lower ourselves, God raises us up. I know I would rather God raise me up than man. I would rather keep my mouth shut and learn to hold my tongue than to offend my King. Lord help me and all of us to learn what humility truly is. Help me learn that love and humility go together. Help me to learn that God is a just God and there is absolutely nothing He does not see. There is nothing He cannot change, fix, repair or correct. He loves us so much that He actually wants justice for those who have hurt us. Help me allow God to be my everything. God doesn’t need me, but I need Him!! Thank you Lord that Your mercies are new every morning!!

Finish Strong and Mature

My baby turned two yesterday. He was my last pregnancy. We feel like our quiver is now full. We love our sons and we celebrate each stage of life with love and laughter. As parents though, how many times have we stated how we want to keep them at a certain stage or age of life? I know we have. I absolutely love those first few weeks of my baby’s life where I can literally hold my baby day and night and just love on my perfect little angel. My husband likes it when they learn to talk a little more and he understands what they truly want!

We love our sons and ultimately we are raising them to be independent, God-fearing men. Though we all love certain stages of our children’s lives, we all know that life is a continuous journey. We grow, mature, and develop into the people that God created us to be.

As children of God, we need to continue to grow spiritually. As a newly saved Christian, we are spiritual babies, but we should never stay babies. The Bible tells us that we cannot survive on milk alone. Just as our babies move from milk to baby food to solid food, that is how our spiritual walk is supposed to be. We are supposed to read and study the Word of God and pray without ceasing. We need to learn our Spiritual Father’s voice just as a newborn baby learns his biological father’s voice.

God celebrates with us. He loves to see our growth and maturity. Just as it would seem silly for our kids to stay the same age and maturity level for the rest of their lives, doesn’t the same apply to our spiritual lives? God wants to see us mature steadily. He calls us to finish the race. That means we have to keep moving forward and never give up. I want to finish the race stronger than when I started. I want to do all that God created me to do and be all He created me to be. This life may be a race, but I am going to enjoy and celebrate each stage of it just as I enjoy and celebrate every step and stage my boys succeed in.

Empowering Women to Submit

“Women need to be empowered.” I feel like I hear those words multiple times a day. I am sure this may make some women upset, but let’s get real for a moment. Who is truly holding us down? Is it men; other women; God; children? In my opinion, every time I see or hear about empowering certain races or genders, I hear the word division. We are constantly dividing ourselves when we promote one race or one gender. Society has made leaps and bounds where slaves are freed, women are considered equal and we all have the power to make something of ourselves. I think another problem is that we would rather blame somebody else for our shortcomings than to be honest with ourselves. We need to look ourselves in the mirror and be honest about the choices we have made in our lifetime to get us where we are now.

I am saddened by the way many liberal women see the world. If you can’t kill your baby, somebody is taking your power away. How can you pick and choose what empowers a woman. I feel empowered when I have the right to bear arms and protect my family, but many of the same women who want permission to abort their own offspring, think that is absurd and outrageous that I would want a gun.

I believe that the spirit of Jezebel along with other spirits has truly blinded this nation and the world for that matter, to what God’s true order is. I remember when Candace Cameron Bure went on talk shows talking about how she submits to her husband and women were literally outraged. Marriage is an equal partnership, but God placed men to be the heads of their homes. God meant for marriage to be between one man and one woman. Too man women see submission as enslaving themselves to a man; giving up all power and choices. God meant for submission to be a protection for women and children. Too many women want men to become wimps and have power over men. There are too many marriages where the man submits to the wife and that is so against the word of God.

Yes, we all want to be empowered, but don’t allow the enemy [satan] to warp what God intended. Do not let the world tell you what you deserve or are entitled to; let God. God wants us to be blessed because He loves us, not because we are entitled to it.