Saturday, February 17, 2018

Follow His Voice

This week I had a speaking engagement in the North Phoenix/Scottsdale area. I had to leave early in the morning during rush-hour traffic. Although I had a general idea of how to get there, I put the address in Apple Maps on my phone.

As I drove out of my neighborhood, it gave me directions to take a different freeway. I figured there must have been a lot of traffic on the familiar route I had intended to take, so I followed the GPS.

About 30 minutes into the drive it said, “Would you like to save 13 minutes and take an alternate route?” Yes, please!

It had me exit the freeway and then take a highway going the opposite direction of where I was headed. I started to doubt my decision: How on earth is this going to save time? I’m going the wrong way. This doesn’t seem right. But I continued following the directions.

As I drove on, I realized that I would in fact end up where I needed to go! What seemed wrong and felt uncomfortable was actually right and a better way to get there. There was virtually no traffic and it was a beautiful scenic drive. It was such a blessing!

God is sometimes like this, isn’t He? He’ll ask us to do something out of our comfort zone. He’ll ask us to take a route that doesn’t seem like it’s going where we want to go.

But often the detour is a blessing! It might get us there sooner or allow us to experience something we would have missed had we followed our own directions.

Had I gone my own way that morning, I would have sat in stop and go traffic the entire way, which probably would have made me late and stressed, not a good combo before a speaking engagement! I had such a peaceful drive and experienced the beautiful sunrise across the desert mountains, all because I listened to the GPS. I followed instead of trying to take the lead.

So friends, be open to God’s directions! Let’s listen to His voice. The next time God asks you to do something that seems scary or uncomfortable, listen to Him. Trust that He’s taking you where you need to go, even if you’re unsure. Follow Him and enjoy the journey. You’re sure to see something beautiful, I just know it!
If you’re wondering how to listen to God’s voice, I love 1 Kings 19:1-12.

A little bit of context: the prophet Elijah is on the run. He had just defeated the false prophets of Baal when Jezebel makes a threat to kill him. Exhausted and afraid, he runs away.

God knows Elijah is depleted and He provides for his physical needs, allowing him to eat and sleep soundly in a cave.

Then God says to Elijah:

“ ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”

God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice. Or other translations say “a gentle whisper.”

So don’t expect for God to shout at you, He most often speaks in whispers. The world’s noisiness can easily drown Him out, that’s why it’s so important for us to regularly be still and quiet so we can hear Him.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Flush Your Worries

Thursday night one of our smoke detectors started beeping. My husband went to investigate. When he pulled the smoke detector off the ceiling, one of the wires wasn’t connected and all our smoke detectors went off! 

The kids and the dog were pretty scared, as you might imagine. He was able to make it stop, but over the course of the next hour, there was intermittent beeping as he fixed the problem. (If you watched “This is Us” on Sunday, you know we weren’t going to leave it unplugged! ) We also took the opportunity to review our fire safety plan and what we would do in the event of a real fire.

By the time it was all said and done, it was time for the kids to go to bed. But they were both shaken up and felt too scared to be alone in their bedrooms. Lila said that talking about the fire plan made her worried. William agreed. 

So I told them to take their worries out of their heart and head and put them in my hand. I grasped them tightly and then I headed to the bathroom where I flushed them down the toilet!

We all laughed about it and I told them I’d take their worries and would flush them anytime they needed it. I talked about how I don’t want them to worry, I want them to just be kids and let Mom and Dad take care of things. I assured them they could sleep soundly because we were here, they didn’t need to be afraid. 

Isn’t that just what God does for us? As our Father, He doesn’t want us to worry about anything because He’s in control. He’s going to take care of the things we need. He wants to take our worries and give us peace instead. He wants us to sleep soundly, knowing that it’s all going to be okay because He will take care of us—no matter what. 

(I know that this is easier said than done. I’ve battled with worry much of my life. But I’m learning to worry less and to trust instead, it’s not worth the loss of peace, sleep, appetite, joy or time that it steals from me. Not only that, but just as I wanted to take my children’s worries, I know that God wants to take mine too. I just need to let Him.) 

Do you have any worries you need to get rid of today? Pray about them, hand them over to God and then stop worrying about them. Trust Him instead! If you want to, you can even write down your worries and flush them! Worries are most certainly flush-worthy, aren’t they? 

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7 NLT

Friday, February 2, 2018

Ask and You Shall Receive

I have the coolest story to tell you. I’m still just in awe of God and how He works.

As you know, I had my Restore – Soul Care for Moms event two weeks ago. It was wonderful! It took a team of people to put it together, there were so many details and moving parts.

Because we were going to be in the building from 3 -11 PM with set up and tear down, I wanted to provide a meal to the volunteers, speakers and worship band. I looked at several options, including Chick-Fil-A, Zupas, Jimmy Johns and various pizza places. Cost-wise, it seemed like pizzas were the best option.

A week before Restore, I spoke to a MOPS group in Chandler. It was a Thursday and usually I go to Toastmasters Thursdays from noon-1 PM. I finished my MOPS talk around 11:30, but instead of heading to Toastmasters like I had planned, I felt like I should go run an errand for Restore, grab some lunch and then head to a 1:30 meeting.

I ran my errand and while driving, I pondered where I should stop to eat. I felt a gentle nudge in my thoughts to go to Chick-fil-A near the Chandler mall. So I headed that way. I even remember thinking, Okay, Lord, you must have something for me at Chick-fil-A. I’ll be on the lookout and am open to the reason you want me to be there.

As I drove, the thought popped into my head about asking Chick-fil-A if they’d consider donating the meal I needed to provide for the Restore team. Yikes!

Let me tell you that I cringe just thinking about having to ask about something like this. I don’t know why, but I fear asking for donations and have a hard time asking for help in general. I don’t know where this came from, but I hate bothering people and I never want to be an inconvenience. Maybe it’s just an introvert thing…? Or maybe I just have issues. It’s probably both, haha!

But then, God reminded me of part of James 4:2: “…you have not, because you ask not.”

Wow! I knew these thoughts were from God and not my own. Okay, Lord, I thought, I’ll ask.

When I got in line at the restaurant, it was extremely busy from the lunch rush. When it was my turn at the register, a very nice gentleman took my order and struck up conversation. Since I was wearing my business-like speaking clothes, he asked about what I did for work. I explained that I’m a writer and speaker and had come from one job and was headed to a meeting.

He asked what I write and speak about, so I explained that I do a lot in the faith industry, for churches, MOPS groups, etc. Wouldn’t you know it that he’s also a writer and goes to the church just down the street from mine? I also noticed that it said “Marketing Director” on his name tag.

Because of the lunch rush, we ended our conversation quickly and I found a seat. As I ate, I knew that he was the person I should ask about donating the food. Because he was so friendly and we had something in common, it seemed less intimidating.

Except then he disappeared from behind the cash registers. This was the out I probably would have taken any other day. Except this day, I knew God was in it and He had given me the idea to ask. I wanted to be obedient even though it pushed me out of my comfort zone.

I stopped to get a refill of my tea when he came out from the kitchen. He said he was glad he found me because he wanted to ask me more about my writing. I said, “I’m glad I found you too because I feel like God wants me to ask you something.”

So, to make this story shorter, I’ll just say that my new friend Kaleb at Chick-fil-A Chandler Festival, graciously donated all the food for our team meal! As a thank-you, I provided them with a sponsorship and two event tickets, so Kyle’s wife (who I actually got to meet the same day I asked for the donation) and one of her friends were able to attend Restore. We were all blessed by this God-orchestrated interaction at Chick-fil-A!

I am still blown away by how God works: He speaks to us in that still small voice in our spirit, we just need to be aware of it! He also reminded me that we just need to ask for what we need. God is eager to provide for us and He’ll provide it in His own special way!

What do you need to ask God for today? What do you need to ask another person for help with? Take that step of faith and see what happens!

PS. I’d love to hear about it, send me an e-mail or leave a comment on the blog.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Restore is Less Than a Week Away!

Hi Friends,

Restore – Soul Care for Moms is less than a week away! I have been busy preparing and pouring over all the details for a long time to make this night really special.

I’ve seen some of your names on the ticket list and it makes me so excited to know you’re coming! I don’t take it lightly that you’ve purchased a ticket, I know it’s an expense to be there. It’s an honor and a privilege for me to spend time with you and for the opportunity to encourage you. Come find me to say hi during the event!

I’ve sent this out a few times, but wanted to send one last reminder to you, my e-mail and blog friends: if you’ve not purchased your ticket yet, visit the link below and use the coupon code SUBSCRIBER for $3 off. You’ll find all the event details through the link as well.

I really hope to see you there!

Many Blessings,