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!

Shutting Down the South

icicles-700420_1280We had a snow/ice storm here in North Carolina. No school and quite a few people working from home if it is possible for them. We get quite a bit of teasing from Northerners, which I was once one of as most of my readers know. I grew up in North Dakota and snow is something I am very familiar with. Cities in the South just don’t have the equipment necessary to deal with the snow and ice like they do in the Northern part of the US.

We can look at life like these Southern snow and ice storms and giggle and tease those who seem to “shut down” when something they aren’t used to gets thrown their way. Something may seem easy to you, but it can be terribly difficult for somebody else. Are we compassionate and empathetic toward those who have difficulty, or do we tell them how ridiculous we think they are? I can’t say I am always compassionate when I should be. Truth be told, I find myself more cynical than compassionate in too many situations.

ice-branches-232781_1280How can I grow in love and compassion for people who seem to ‘shut down’ at the slightest bit of chill in their lives? I do have love and compassion for people, but I find that when people constantly put themselves in the same situation over and over again, it can be very difficult for me to tap into that compassionate side of me. Every time it snows in the South, it is guaranteed that memes and jokes will show up everywhere about it. I can laugh and joke about it with the rest of them, but I do see how the South just hasn’t been equipped for this stuff.

Some people are not as well equipped for different seasons of their life and what they don’t need is anyone reminding them how much they don’t know or haven’t learned yet.

I’m not saying we can’t ever joke with people or have a little fun with close friends, but if you have just met somebody and don’t know what their life is like, walk in compassion first. I need this post probably more than anybody out there because sometimes I feel like I see life so different than other people. My first reaction may be for someone to ‘suck it up’ before I think that maybe they could use a hug.

Lord please help me to grow in Your love and Your compassion. I want people to see You in me before AND after I open my mouth! Help me be a light that guides people to You.

 

Not My Concert

piano-349928__180I have many different passions in my life, but one of my greatest passions is worship. I love to worship God and throughout my life thus far, I have been blessed to either have been part of a worship team, or lead a worship team. I love it. I love singing and playing my keyboard and passionately pursuing God.

One struggle I have though, is when I feel like somebody is seeing me as a concert rather than a vessel to help carry them into the throne room of God. When I began to play and sing, I’m not looking for you to only listen to me, I’m looking for you to participate with me. Of course I want you to believe I sound good and see that I am gifted, but I would much rather you feel God’s anointing on me. When I am worshiping God with all that I have, I don’t want to look up and see you watching me. I want to see you enveloped in God’s presence and so focused on Him that you barely notice me. My job is not to perform for you, my job is to help you worship.

I don’t want you to think I’m being critical, because I am truly not trying to be. I am concerned that there are those out there leading worship to promote themselves and not solely God. This isn’t a platform to promote yourself. I love worship albums and I have my favorite worship leaders I like to listen to. There is nothing wrong with that, especially when we are looking to worship in our homes and don’t feel like we are ready to begin to sing out on our own. I know we worship God with our lives and in many different ways, but I am talking about this particular kind of worship.

I also love to hear feedback; good or bad. Well, maybe I don’t love to hear the bad feedback, but it helps me understand what you need to help you worship. I kind of dig it when you say you like my voice, or how I did a certain song, and that is fine to do. I love to encourage the teacher or preacher or the worship leader if I can. The greatest compliment I ever received was one person who told me that when he worships with me, he goes places [in worship] that he’s never been. That is so amazing to me. That is so humbling to think that God is allowing me to do this thing that I love. I love it and I want you to love it with me.

microphone-1128106__180I also understand that not everybody worships the same way. I don’t expect everybody to be leaping and dancing in ways they can’t. I wish I could dance like I see some people dance. My way of dancing for Him is pretty much jumping up and down. Not joking! I want you to begin to tune out your flesh. I want you to imagine it is only you and Jesus and you want to worship Him in your own way. My voice is my worship. My fingers are my worship. Raising my hands is my worship. Sometimes shuffling my feet back and forth is my worship. Sometimes I cannot do anything but lay flat on the ground and worship Him.

My point is this, worship God and allow your worship leader to help you do it. Yes, you can enjoy what you are hearing, but allow yourself to let it take you to the place you have never been before.

“How you worship is truly between you and the Lord, but I pray that if you have ever worshiped with me, you stepped out of your comfort zone because you felt God’s presence so strong that you just had to worship like you never have before.”

Thanks for reading this and if I missed anything, or if you have anything to add, please just add it to the comments! Love you!

Prove It!

boat-962791__180I am so fascinated by the story of Peter walking on the water. There are so many angles to look at this and so many lessons to be learned. Peter was the only one that stepped out of the boat. They all doubted that this was Jesus and Peter said if it was Jesus, to command him [Peter] to come out on the water. Jesus held so much authority to Peter, than when He commanded Peter to come, Peter got out of the boat and walked out to Jesus. When Peter realized that the wind was boisterous, he began to be afraid. He knew, however, that all he had to do was cry out to Jesus, and Jesus would save him from drowning.

Looking at my life up to this point, I look at all those times I asked, “If this is You, God, then do this.” But then, I ask in multiple other ways for God to truly prove this is Him. I have become so afraid to fail at something that I don’t always trust that is is really God asking me to do it. Peter asked for one confirmation that this was Jesus, and Jesus answered him. Immediately Peter got out of the boat. This wasn’t some little thing that Jesus asked of Peter. Peter could have died. I may feel the Holy Spirit leading me to talk to this person in the aisle of the grocery store and by the time I have asked God to confirm this is truly Him for the eighth time, that person is long gone.

historical-odtworstwo-904717__180Peter gets so much flack. He cuts off the soldier’s ear. He publicly denounces knowing Jesus three times. Even knowing some of his big mistakes, Peter is the type of guy I would love to hang out with. Peter would be the first to do something every time! He must have been so much fun.

Peter had such a love and reverence for Jesus. Oh yes he made many mistakes, but Jesus saw so much in him. Jesus saw the gifts inside of Peter. Nobody else got out of the boat that night. I bet they were all thinking, “Let’s see what happens with Peter and then we’ll know if this is truly Jesus. Maybe then we will get out of this boat!” At least that is one of the things that I may have been thinking.

I want to have so much faith in my God that I am the first to get out of the boat. I want my focus to be so much on Jesus that I don’t even notice the winds and the waves around me. I want to have such faith in Jesus that if my foot stumbles and I take my eyes off of Him for a moment, and I cry out to Him to save me, that He will.

“It’s easy to say what we will do when we aren’t in the midst of a storm. It’s easy to criticize those who stumbled and fell when they were in the storm. I have to remember that at least they stepped out of the boat. They made the choice to trust God while I am challenging God over and over to prove Himself to me.”

I can’t say I’ve never stepped out of the boat. I have stepped out and been very successful in what God asked me to do. I have also stepped out and stumbled and cried out to God for help when I did. God is so good to me. He is always there even when I do stupid things thinking I know better. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him, yet He still loved him and saved him from drowning in the midst of the storm. Jesus loves us with that same love that He had for Peter. He has the same grace and mercy that He had for Peter.

I think the only thing that I can see from Peter’s life that I wonder about is the whole “cutting off of the ear.” Really? The ear? I’d like to think that my aim would have been much better. Just sayin’!!

Thank You

heart-202582__180I just want to take a moment and thank each of you for supporting me with this blog. To you wordpress followers and my http://www.facebook.com/Fivesonsplusone followers, you are amazing. I see comments that have made me smile, tear up, and truly laugh out loud! I have gotten support from people I did not expect and I thank you. I thank you for being the kind of people who don’t make things competitive or feel like everything should be a quid pro quo. I thank each of you that shares my posts and invites your own friends to “like” my page.

I pray this year will be a huge success for each and every one of us, whether you support me or not. I want to show the love of God through my writing all the while hoping to make you smile and chuckle along the way.

Once again….Thank YOU, I love You and God Bless YOU! heart-996157_960_720

Progressing Into What??

Today as I was reading Deuteronomy, I came across this scripture.

Deuteronomy 4:2 “Do not add to what I command you and do no subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.”

God’s word is enough. We don’t need to add to it. We cannot subtract from it. So why do we see so many churches revising their church guidelines? Why do we hear so many religious people saying they have evolved in their thinking? Well, that is not scriptural or Godly. God doesn’t change His mind. He knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning. He stays the same through the ages.

So many people argue that the Bible was written for so many years ago and surely God has progressed with the times! No, you just took God off His throne and put Him in your own little box and told Him how it is. God doesn’t sit on His throne and think, boy did I screw that up making a woman for Adam; or even making them have their own gender! He doesn’t look upon us and see how Satan has corrupted too many minds and brought perversion into mainstream society as a norm and think that the ‘student has surpassed the master’!

When we say that the Bible is an old book and the world has changed. Yes the world has changed, and the Bible may have been inspired to be written a long time ago for us, but it doesn’t take away the power that God’s word brings us. In Deuteronomy, His word says not to add or subtract from it. Man can attempt to change governmental laws all they want, but they will never ever change God’s laws. The Bible is filled with answers, and power, and encouragement. The Bible tells us to watch out for the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy us. If you believe that gender is fluid and sex is between whatever man, woman, or thing you want it to be, then you don’t know Him. You don’t know God and you have lost all fear of the Lord. What you have gained is the fear of man and the fear of rejection. You won’t be standing before a group of your peers on Judgement Day. You won’t be able to tell God that ‘love is love’ or that the world is evolving. Yes, God is a merciful and gracious God, but He is a just and jealous God.

If you believe that the world is evolving and it’s just better to go with the flow, then you have rejected the Holy love of God and replaced it with the unholy darkness of the enemy of God. God does not change. He gave us a choice to choose Him, but He will not make us choose Him.

Lord, today I choose You. I choose to follow Your commands and to not add or subtract from them. I repent for ever listening or obeying the enemy when I felt it was the right thing to do to compromise. God I know one day every knee shall bow and ever tongue will confess that You along are God. I thank you for Your grace and mercy on my life and I will continue to worship only You; My KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS.

Love

When you think about love, what do you think about? Your spouse? Your children? Your job? Your parents? God? When I think about love, I think about so many things. Love is a word that I don’t think you can define beyond “God is Love”. How can one define God? We as mere human beings try to put things in little boxes with pretty little bows and when we take it out now and again, we know exactly what we are talking about. If we understood love and how God loves us, I don’t think we could even stand up. When I think about the love that I have for my husband, it sometimes overwhelms me. I think he must not even have a clue how much I love him; how much that loves grows daily. I think about my sons and wonder if they have a clue how much I love them. Love is giving something, but love is also taking something that somebody else is giving. Love is comfortable, yet love can be the most uncomfortable thing in the world to you at a moment.

Look back at your life so far. Think about good memories and even bad memories. Love was always somehow involved. I look back at my childhood at times and wonder how different I would be today if things had been better. I don’t think I would understand God’s love and grace like I do today. I don’t think I would be as strong as I am today. I overcame my childhood. Don’t get me wrong. My childhood wasn’t even near as bad as many children around the world. I have a Dad who loves me and is proud of me. I thank God for him every day. I could have turned to the world to fill that void of a Mother’s love in my life, but I chose to turn to God. I want His love to consume me and not a hatred and bitterness that the enemy can use for his purposes.

Love holds no record of wrongs. That is hard sometimes to forgive and let go. It can be hard for me to have a fight with my husband and not bring up his past mistakes. That is not fighting fair. When we ask forgiveness from God and repent from our sins, He erases them. He doesn’t even remember them! That is love. That is what we need to consume us; mind, body, and spirit.

The world today has perverted love. We use love as an excuse for our sins. We are literally perverting who God is. God help the nations that have perverted Him and have used God as an excuse for our sins. We need to pray for our nations and pray for each other that we can all come to understand who God is and what love truly is. One day every knee will bow down; One day every tongue will confess He Is God! Lord help me to show Your love to others. Open our eyes God!

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.

Where is the Fear of the LORD?

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

My husband and I were talking about this just today. What has happened to the fear of the Lord? I can’t say that I have complete understanding of every scripture in the Bible, but I feel like I understand this scripture in my own way. I would love any sort of feedback from all of you if you have anything to add to this!

Now I talked about fear a couple of days ago and I pointed out that we are to no longer have fear; that Jesus took it up on the cross with Him and we are freed from it, but this ‘fear of the Lord’ is a different fear. This fear is in reference to utmost respect and love and reverence toward Him that we are in absolute awe of Him. This fear is complete abandonment of our former sinful lives and nature, and trying to live our lives Christ-like. Christ loves us; all of us, unconditionally, but He will never change His mind about sin.

When we look at the news and the world around us, the world wants us to see ‘progress’. When you read your Bible, does it say something anywhere about one day in the future, how God will throw out all His laws and commandments because society has progressed so far that we just don’t need them; we don’t need HIM? I know mine doesn’t say that!

I believe many in the church who have compromised their morals and lifestyles in the name of progress have lost that fear. I believe we live in a ‘God will forgive me’ society that lacks repentance. I can’t say that I am sinless. I struggle with things often, but I will forever bind His word to my heart. I will learn even more so, to fear my God because He is a Worthy and Holy God. I think we humanize God and try to make Him like us so we can understand Him better. I know I have found myself in the past doing this. I would ask myself, “How does God forgive so quickly and easily?” Well, because He is God!

God gave us a will so we can choose Him. I will choose Jesus over immorality in the name of progress every day. I encourage you today, get to know Him. Spend time with Him.

Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty. Who was, and is, and is to come!

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.