9 months

I can’t believe it’s been 9 months. I am amazed as I sit and reflect that since 9 months is the length of a pregnancy, God was taking the last 9 months to birth this dream inside of my heart.

I have longed to be used to change this world. I have always felt the pull to be an encouraging light for women. In my makeup days, I thought that was the whole plan but never did I dream that today I would be praying about, and planning a women’s retreat, with a sole purpose to strengthen and encourage women in their walk with the Lord. And I would have never thought it possible that in as short as 9 months, this purpose has become abundantly clear to me.

Back on January 25th when my pastor’s wife, Anne Cullum called me to ask me to speak at our Church’s Women’s Conference, I was floored and excited for the chance to tell my testimony. Praying that God would use it to encourage the women I stood in front of. I could have never dreamed on that day, God was continuing His plan to draw me further into public speaking. I most definitely would never have thought then, that 9 months later I would be praying and asking God to open doors to a women’s retreat where I am willing and excited to talk to women about the many struggles they have and how they can find continued strength in The Lord, our God.

I sit in complete awe today as I reflect back over the past several months and shake my head in disbelief. God has a future out in front of me that I can’t even begin to wrap my head around but I promise you this. If He has it for me, I am going to give everything I have, to make sure I don’t miss a moment of it. I pray that you will begin to see the future He has for you and surrender to His plan and fight the enemy with everything you’ve got until you’ve taken hold of it. C’mon, let’s go grab our abundance together!

All In

All In. That was the theme of the Matthew West concert on Sunday night. What is absolutely incredible is that I have felt I have been in the “All In” space for these past several months. But that feeling keeps getting bigger and bigger. God is definitely up to something!

In my last post, I shared how I feel God is calling me to do a podcast. I still believe this is something I am supposed to do. There are just a few things I need to work out on the techie side to make it happen, but I am looking forward to doing it. At the same time, He is calling me to start a new bible study as well as there is the pull on my heart to do another “day event”. At the concert, there was an incredible story that needs to be told on my webpage and blog so I’m praying for the time to put that together and now, just recently, He has taken the day event idea and whispered in my heart “Women’s Retreat”

There is so much that I feel He is calling for me to do. And I want to do it ALL! At the concert as Matthew poured his heart out about being All In for Jesus, my heart cried out in the same manner. Whatever you want Lord. I am Yours. I will do all that you ask of me, just show me what my next step is. I want the life You have for me, whatever that looks like. I won’t settle. I won’t give up fighting for what You want. I won’t cave to the pressure of life and miss what You died on the cross to give to me.

The more I think about it, the more I focus on the knowledge that I feel God moving, that I watch as life shifts around me, I actually start to tremble with excitement (and probably a little bit of fear) as I wait expectantly to see what comes next. I know it’s something. And it’s coming fast. My prayer is continually desperate. I want to be ready. I know God is making me ready for whatever He has coming. I’m just holding onto His Word and Promise and trusting Him with every fiber of my being. I ask each of you for prayer as I continue this journey and know, I will be praying for you as well. I know if God is doing all of this for me, He might be doing, and will do, if you ask, all of this for you too. My prayers go out to each and every one of you as we take the next step into our future of where Christ is calling us.

Thoughts

I love how God continues to nudge me in the direction He wants me to go. As you know, if you’ve read through my blogs and watched my video blogs, it has been a journey to step out in faith and actually do the video blog. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been asking God to show me what is next. I am no longer afraid of the video blogging so I can’t help but feel there is more that He purposed when He told me to begin this process. I am absolutely certain that I am not just to do a written blog. So many times, I am overwhelmed with the whisper of the Holy Spirit that I am supposed to share and expand on my experiences with this ministry in a different way, so I have given a lot of prayer and thought as to what that would look like and what I would need to do to take the next step. Over the past few weeks, as I’ve listened to biblical teachers and surrounded myself in The Word, I’ve asked God to reveal to me more of my gifts that He has given me and how He wants to use them. I am continually reminded that my written word is given a lot of positive feedback and that through the job I do, my phone voice is deemed soothing and calming. That led me to tossing around the idea of writing out my thoughts and what I was called to share and using the video blog to get it onto my website. In thinking through that process, I recognize that I’ve had my testimony recorded before and while it was still powerful, the image of me standing there, reading what I had written, was diminished slightly by the fact that I wasn’t able to truly connect with my audience on a face to face level. When I try to take my eyes off the paper for more than a few moments at a time, I go way out in left field and start speaking through my nerves. That is not a gift that has been developed in me yet (although I feel deep within it is something He is working on!) however, what was written, and my delivery while reading, has always been something I feel God has used to move in the hearts of those who hear it. Lately, I have wondered if learning how to set up a podcast, and using that as my medium for this ministry along with my blog posts, would be the direction that God wanted to lead me.

This morning, as I was moved to do another video blog, I had so much on my heart that I wanted to say. There is so much that God pours into me that I want to share, but yet, as this morning, I feel when I start talking without having written it down, the words that I want to say, and the way that I want to say them, doesn’t come off quite the same as while they are in my head.

This makes me take pause and give the consideration that God just may be giving me confirmation and green light on the podcast idea. I know there is a story to be told, lessons to be shared, and He will get it done in the most effective way. I am excited about what this means as I continue this journey of learning and growing.

Now, to just figure out how to do a podcast 😀 Prayers are appreciated and I look forward to sharing again with you soon.

You are who you hang around with

I was taught this principal many years ago in my makeup business and it has stuck with me throughout the years.  It is such a true statement. As I look back during the seasons of my life, and the people that I let into my circle of influence on each part of the journey, I can see this truth in action.

For many years, my life was filled with chaos and drama and coming to recognize that I chose to be around people who suffered with the same was a game changer for me.

It was a difficult pill to swallow, and being a people pleaser, a very hard situation to change. Many times it wasn’t by choice that people were removed from my life. God was going to have His way and if I didn’t remove the people that were not good for me He did. 

Today I strive to be very aware of who I surround myself with on a soul level. While I communicate with many, have friendships with several, I have to recognize that in order to get to where God wants me to go, I have to be persistent in making sure that I surround myself not only with good people, but to find those who are in a place where I want to be. Just like Timothy in the Bible, I need a Paul, or several Paul’s in my life.  If I want to be a strong, loving, faith filled, God seeking person who walks out my faith with audacity then it is imperative that I have those same types of people in my life, influencing me with their words and actions.

I think it is important to mention that we are surrounded by hurting people and everyone is walking their own journey. There was a time when I looked around at the people that I knew and there wasn’t anyone in a place that I wanted to be. They were all struggling just like me. Today, by the Grace of God that is not the case, but finding time in this busy world, to spend time with them, it’s not always easy. Even so, I am determined to put myself into as close of proximity as I can to people who are ALL IN for God.  When I look at my top list of people that today, speak into my life, I can’t help but feel a little silly as many of them are ones I have never met. But it works.  In hopes of this making sense, I’ll list out those that I am purposeful to spend time with on a daily or weekly basis.

First and foremost, is God. I hang out with him daily. Without this relationship, none of the others would matter. Jason Cullum, my Pastor, He is such a strong man of faith and walks his talk.  I have the pleasure of being with him at least twice a week and sometimes more often if I choose to listen to an online sermon. Pastor Jacobi Martin, whose realness and transparency blows me away. I’ve never met him but meet with him weekly as I listen to his sermon on podcast. Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore and Erwin McManus (who I’ve met once) have been pivotal in my walk with The Lord, their obedience to the Lord is what I long for so I listen to them daily through podcast.

The above mentioned people are speaking and acting upon their faith in a way that my heart cries out to do.

While I am extremely blessed with deeply committed friends who follow the Lord in much the same way,  and I get encouraged by them through text, phone call or a luncheon when we get the chance, I am adamant that just like going to church, I don’t want it to be a one time a week thing, and since my beloved friends are not available on a daily basis, then I recognize it is my responsibility to let God lead me to ways of getting what He wants me to have through His Word, My church and podcasts of others who are walking out their faith in the way that I want to walk out mine.

By choosing to hang around with all of these people on purpose, it fills my day with God’s word and fills me up to overflowing.  I pray that it spills out onto others and that they are encouraged to find a Paul, or several and watch how God will use them to change their life.

Rows = Teaching – Circles = Growing

Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to watch this principal in action. Having done the one day event of Battlefield of the Mind back in July, with everyone sitting in rows in my front room as we watched the Joyce Meyer DVD, gleaning truth on how important it is to get our thoughts in alignment with God’s thoughts, then to just a few weeks ago, having the absolute pleasure of sitting in rows with sisters in Christ at my church as we watched the Beth Moore Simulcast. Both events were very powerful and needed. Learning the truth of God’s Word is an absolute must if we are to then take it to the next level. Circles. A few days after the simulcast, I was invited to gather together in circles with sisters for a dessert coffee night. It was a night of great conversation and connection. And just this past Saturday, had the utmost honor to host another Battlefield of the Mind One day event where we had the space to create circles and discussion after each session of the DVD. It was unbelievable amazing the difference this opportunity afforded us.  Our first event, while it was really, REALLY good and at the time, I didn’t think it could get any better, God allowed this go around to be truly life changing. Having the ability to hold table discussions, to watch these women come alive as they talked out what they just heard. As they shared things with each other, shared their fears, spoke out dreams and ways to implement what they just listened to. As they encouraged one another and spoke The Word of God to each other in confidence, I was blown away by the difference circles made.  Yes, rows are an absolute must, but to grow in our faith. To become all that God has created us to be. Circles are an absolute must too. We need both to walk out our faith. I thank God for the opportunity He has given me to encourage others in a circle setting. I praise Him for the possibility of Rows in my future.