Sunday, August 16, 2015

I Am His ... I Win

Hello Again Dear Ones:

Today I heard such a powerful word from God. You know the kind that leaves you with tears that refuse to be held in. And the more you let the truth seep deep into your mind and heart your soul quiets with a sobering gratitude and peace.

Pastor Steven's message was Making Headlines and it was based off of one of my all time favorite verses.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" Genesis 50:20

There is freedom in knowing God is writing your story, but often times we allow the enemy to be our life story editor writing headlines like I am a loser, a failure, worthless, insignificant and so on.

Pastor said "We don't get to choose our story, because we are not the authors but God has put the editing pen in our hands. In other words we edit our perspective. We choose the headlines of our story. Here are some of my favorite take aways from the sermon:

"It is a bad decision to let an event become your headline." "Failure is an event, not an identity." "Maybe failure is not even a failure but a lesson." "This allows us to shift from paralysis to potential." "Life brings the test but you choose the tittle." So we can headline our lives with hardship or hope. 

I have some hardships in my life that I would have never chosen. Everyone does. Some I have made it through and some are still in process but I want to headline my life with hope.  Because no matter what comes against me, whatever is intended for harm I believe God will always intend things for good. His word says in Romans 8:28,  And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

So I can live life right now as:

Broken Marriage OR Healed Marriage In Process

F.A.S. (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) OR F.A.S (Fulfilling Almighty's Story)

Homeschool Is Hard OR Heaven's Homeschool

Counseling is Embarrassing OR The Right Counselor is God's Tool

All these edits mean one thing. No matter the battle ,with Jesus, I win. He is faithful. He is good. He's writing a beautiful, nothing is wasted love story.

I am His. I win.

photo credit: 021 via photopin (license)



Sunday, August 2, 2015

Assignment

 Hello again Dear Ones:

I started out 2015 with an ache in my heart. This longing inside has been with me for as long as I can remember. It is a strong desire to feel significant. Like I matter. I make a difference. I feel so completely ordinary. Like there really isn't much sparkle to my life.

I have spent years of my life searching for my thing... you know that special something that makes me special.

I go to a church where talent abounds. I mean my pastor is a world renowned speaker and our worship leaders are known all over the world. Some of the most influential people in christian circles pass through the doors of Elevation church and then there is Michelle.

Michelle who only has a high school diploma. Michelle who is shy. Michelle who has broken areas in her heart and life. Michelle with no great skills or talents. Just Michelle.

So as 2015 started my feelings of insignificance have become an almost constant dialog with Jesus. Why am I here? What is my assignment Lord?

To be honest as the months have passed I have only become more and more frustrated with the question.

My marriage hit a spot that we could no longer cope on our own. Counseling has been necessary to help stop the bleeding. So I wasn't Michelle the awesome wife. My girls struggled so much in school that it became necessary to homeschool them. Something I never thought I would even consider. I felt completely inept to be Michelle the special needs homeschool mom. My business all though still going well did not fill up this black hole in my heart.  So it was not Michelle is an awesome It Works distributor. Ache after ache after ache. Was I going to come to the end of the year and still wonder. Why am I here Lord?

All week long I had been following the devotions in the First 5 app by Proverbs 31 ministries. Today was a weekly wrap up and that ten minute video enthralled my heart. I just wept and what those women were sharing. Things like, "He Created everything by purpose, on purpose, for purpose. And Jesus who has always been created the stories that needed to be told so He created the objects and the participants to tell those stories. Lysa TerKeurst shared how God created us for intentional purposes to be a part of His story. She said things like Your exact form of beauty is a necessary contribution to His story.  "There is no insignificant part of His creation." She talked about how out of all the possibilities that could have occurred from each of your parents DNA but how you were formed was a miracle. I started thinking about conception and how it takes place and I started to feel like a miracle. That if I am here living and breathing it must be for a purpose.

Lysa also shared how Divine appointments are not common place and how God chooses for his divinity to enter into our messy humanity. I mean that alone is pretty amazing. Because I don't know about you, but I'm a messy person.

I started to feel like I don't like how I'm looking at myself as just Michelle. I also started thinking maybe my assignment isn't so much about what I do but whose I am.

Maybe its not Michelle is an awesome ________ or  Michelle does __________ awesome but rather simply Michelle is His.


Michelle is His wife of Eric
Michelle is His mom of 6 kids
Michelle is His blogger
Michelle is His business owner
Michelle is messy but she is His

So my prayers are going to change from What is my assignment? to What Divine appointments do you have for me today, in the story you are writing Lord Jesus? 

I'm thinking it's not so much what I do that shines or matters or makes a difference rather its Him in all of those things that does. Divine appointments. I think my assignment is divine appointments. To connect with those around me. Those who cross my path. At home. At church. In my neighborhood. In Business. In whatever situation he brings me to. And just as I am. Just Michelle. Miraculously created by Him for such a time as this. This point in History I get to be a part of His Story.

Father God plant this truth deep in my heart. I matter because I am your creation. Designed with purpose for a purpose. As Lysa said, I may not always see or even like my place in your story but give me eyes to see what assignment/ divine appointments you bring to me in each and every day you have me on this earth for. I am not just Michelle I am Yours.

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10 New Living Translation



Monday, May 11, 2015

Words Matter

Good Morning Dear Ones:

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday. For me it was one of the best I have had. I would love to share why with you.

To start out I am just going to lay myself bare and be vulnerable. The past month of my life has been a hard emotional wilderness. And I am exposing myself for one reason. And that reason is... Me too. My Pastor said recently that one of the best things you can say isn't you should but me too. Plus I think the enemy likes for us to isolate ourselves so he can destroy us from the inside out.

I have been married for 23, soon to be 24 years. Our marriage started out very rough. The first 4 years were Hell on earth and I am not exaggerating. As time went on we had good people and resources that were put into our life that took us from hating each other to actually being friends. Still throughout our marriage an ugly issue was threaded into our relationship. At times it was silent but at others it screamed. But even in the silence the brokenness was always there.

About a month ago the beast would not be silent anymore. The hideous screech was so deafening that I felt the brokenness would crack to the point of irreparable damages. How true is the saying that hurt people hurt people?

My only hope for relief felt like walking away. Ending it all. Including everything that was right and amazing. Thats how crippling and hopeless this situation had become. Not to mention just how angry and embarrassed I felt to be here again after 23 years.

I went into fix it, figure it out mode. I just wanted the bleeding to stop. I began to plan my life as a single mother of six. And to be honest, a part of me felt a huge relief at the prospect of just moving on alone.

Can I just tell you how faithful God is. We are part of a eGroup with out church. This is our community that makes a very big church feel small. This is who we do life with. But I could not even bring myself to be real with them. The shame and pain were just too great. But some reached out and decided to be louder than the beast. They provided a safe place to unmask the brokenness and hopelessness. They spoke truth and encouragement when I had hardened my heart and wasn't even seeking it. They lightened our load just so we could get our footing. And I know with all my heart, if they had not, I would be sitting in a very different position, then where I am at this morning. I sit here right now wiping away tears and blowing my nose with an enormous amount of gratitude that they loved us enough to hold us up. It brings me comfort and hope to know that we are not alone. I know they pray for us and I know they are in one way or another walking this muddy, rocky, and sometimes very hard to navigate road with us. Because of them I hear hope when all I heard was there wasn't any.

So how does this tie in with my Mother's day?  Everything just left me feeling blemished. Marked with failure. Every single area of my life felt this way.  My marriage, my parenting, my job, you name it. I felt anything but lovely.  The words I heard and believed about myself became the new roar in my heart and mind.

I woke up yesterday and the chatterbox tapes were reeling in my mind. "Your kids forgot about you and no wonder they did because you suck. Look at the mess you are in. You are so insignificant and worthless."

Then my kids, my beautiful 60 little piggies grouped together and put a laptop in front of me. Instantly I burst into the ugliest cry of my life. They had made a little film for me where they used a little chalkboard and as worship music played they all came to a table to write words to describe My Mom is..... Words like beautiful, giving, best friend, intentional, a difference maker just kept flooding my eyes and heart. Every single malicious lie was being crushed before my very eyes.

Yes we are in a bit of a mess right now but my MESSiah can make a MESSage out of all of this. Words matter people. They carry the power of life and death. And yesterday my precious ninos filled my love tank with life.

Thank you Elijah, Noah, Zion, Canaan, Jubilee and Mercy for believing the best about me. For hushing the foul lies and for making this mama feel LOVED!


View their gift to me below:



Thursday, January 29, 2015

Big God

Good Morning Dear Ones:

So as we get closer to the end of this school year. The assignment that is before me with homeschooling weighs on me more and more. There is just so much uncertainty but I guess if there wasn't any then there wouldn't be any need for faith.

Last night I did a practice spelling test with Jubilee and when I look at what she doesn't know or grasp I start to feel fear rise up HUGE inside of me. Thoughts like:

How am I going to do this? If schools can't help her understand what makes me think I can help her understand? I have no degree. I am just a Mom.  This feels way too BIG.

I was reading in my Draw The Circle Prayer Challenge book this morning and it left me in tears. It posed the question:

"Are my problems bigger than God or is God bigger than my problems? Our biggest problem is our small view of God. How big is your God? Is he bigger than your worst sin, GREATEST FEAR, or biggest dream? IF He is bigger than all of those things, then pray like it."

What I see FEELS so much bigger than me, and based on my fear level it must at times feel bigger than God.

So today I am asking for God to expand in my eyes. I am asking forgiveness for making Him too small. I know I am walking in obedience. This step into the homeschool world is a HUGE leap of faith. Father God take us the rest of the way on this journey. Do your thing and be glorified. You decide what that looks like. Not me.  It doesn't matter what evidence is against us. With you nothing is impossible. I promise to keep showing up to what you have called me to do and I know from that I will see your promises come to life in our lives. Crush these fears in my life with your awesome power.  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is NOT bigger than YOU. Bring on the future and the hope you have for Mercy and Jubilee.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fruit

Good morning Dear Ones:

So I know the tittle of this post is not the most exciting one but to me it is the most meaningful one. You see since moving to Charlotte I have been extremely frustrated. It wasn't until I went to church last night that I was able to define exactly why I have been so frustrated.

Pastor preached a word that permeated my heart. He said "The desire to be fruitful compels us, it is why we are driven." "There is no worse feeling in your life then when you feel unfruitful." Oh I wanted to scream AMEN! He wanted to make sure he cleared up that it is feeling unfruitful that is so frustrating which is different then being unfruitful. Because "fruitfulness is not always on the outside." As Pastor Levi Lusko said in one of his sermons "sometimes the mountain that needs to be moved is on the inside."

I desire nothing more in my life then to be fruitful. I want to bare the fruit that God created me to bare.

Pastor described how pruning is painful and it happens to fruitful and fruitless branches.  But there is a difference from being cut off and cut back. Being cut back is to grow back better.

The tittle of his sermon was, This May Take A While.

The tittle alone hit me hard. You see I have struggled with knowing we are supposed to homeschool the girls next year. I have felt sure it is what I am supposed to do but completely clueless as to how I am going to do it. Educating little ones who have permanent brain damage and who obviously are not typical learners feels very overwhelming.  I keep dwelling on how many times I am going to have to DO IT AGAIN with them. Over and over and over. But the hardest thought is will it matter? Will there be fruit? You want your efforts to produce progress. You want your energy to pay off. Fruit, fruit fruit. Its all I want.

Then part two of the struggle is laying down other dreams you wanted for yourself. Things you thought might be possible if you had more time, but now homeschooling is going to have that time.

Pastor Lusko also said there is a back story to faith. There is a middle to play out. In actuality "there is no need for faith unless there is uncertainty." "There is no product without the process and there is a cost to every calling."

As I embark on home educating children with special needs it is incredibly real to me that this indeed is going to take a while. And what is a while? It is indefinite. That is the hardest part. There is no frame of duration. Just a lot of back story. But as my Pastor (Pastor Furtick) said last night "It's gonna be worth your while." All the time, trouble and expense.

So what do you do when it's still dark. While you wait for the fruit? You remain connected to the vine. You REMAIN.

"Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:4&5

Oh how true is that? I can't homeschool apart from Him. I can't lay dreams down apart from him. I can't produce any fruit if I am not connected to the vine.

I choose praise to be my breakthrough. I choose to worship even during the while. While its still dark. I will not disconnect. It's going to be with my while.

Lord Jesus, I love you. Thank you for moving the mountains inside of me. Thank you for cutting back in my life so I will grow back stronger. Bring about the fruit in my life that I am meant to bare. All the WHILE I worship you.

photo credit: p medved via photopin cc


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Passion for Obedience

Hello Dear Ones:

I hope all has been well with everyone since we last connected. I have been riding emotional waves. Sometimes I feel like I am soaring on a crest and then other times the waves break and I feel crushed by the waters weight.
Since we moved to Charlotte, more often than not, I have felt lost in the undercurrent of life. The atmosphere of transition has many times swallowed me up.
In this tempest I have battled a wreckage of my passions in life. Especially when it has come to my parenting. My oldest son has felt lost to some degree. After graduating high school and moving to a new state he has really struggled finding his assignment in our new surroundings. My 13 year old has been hit hard too. Uprooting him has brought many tears and lots of stress. My daughters although in a delightfully wonderful school, where they have been loved on well, due to their permanent brain damage from Fetal alcohol syndrome, have made very slow progress. The further they go along in school the more apparent their delays become. The one son who has found his niche in life since moving here is a complete delight to watch but has also come with adjustments to our relationship. Lets just say I genuinely delight in watching his purpose unfold and I also really miss him.

The winds of adjustment have slammed into me from every direction. I have felt subpar at best and truthfully like a Mom fiasco. I didn't like my assignment as Mom any more because I have felt my performance has suffered and even more so what to do in each situation has felt like such a mystery.  How do I help one find their calling? How do I help another adapt well? How do I help something that is completely out of my control and has life long consequences and feels too big for me?

My assignment in life just started to feel too hard. So I began to desire a new assignment. I just wanted to find something I could feel passionate about again. So I began dreaming about an assignment in my church. I love my church so much and I just wanted to have a part to play in it. I began to pray for doors of opportunity to open for me. I just felt so desperate to wake up excited about my life again. To feel good at something and have some significance and purpose.

In the midst of this a decision about the girls education needed to be made. The one thing I knew for sure was public school would not be an option. So it was continue with private school or homeschool.  Their school is such a sweet place but after meetings and prayer we came to the conclusion to homeschool them so they could learn at their own pace, according to their ability and not their age. I have peace about this decision but it also made me feel depressed. It wasn't the answer or assignment I was looking or hoping for. I kind of felt stuck in a life sentence to be honest.  But as my husband graciously reminded me. Our kids are our first priority.

This morning my time with Jesus included the Greater Devotional. The segment today was titled Obedience and Opportunity, and the verse of the day was this:

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." Luke 16:10

 Here are the excerpts that spoke to me and my circumstances the most:

"Many people want God to first give them great opportunities so they can display great obedience. But often until then they won't be obedient with what they've already been given."

This question was asked; "Are you less faithful in your present responsibilities than you could be? That hit me hard. You see I have succumbed to my discouragement. I have just been getting through with the bare minimum. Rather than using what I had to give with what I have already been given and then offering a "and them some" mentality. I had "stopped at adequate rather than going all the way to exceptional."

"God won't give you more to do for Him until you do what He's already given you to do. So stop praying for a life of impact and do something as impactful as you can. Stop praying for a bigger platform and use the one you've been given. Stop praying for a better assignment and pour more passion into the one you have."

"Obedience creates opportunity not the other way around."

"Do something right now with what you have and watch the miraculous power of God multiply what you have. Be obedient with what God has given you, and He will give you more to be obedient with."

I read those words and I had my assurance. My path was clear. I knew what I am to do next. So I recommit today, to be faithful from now on, with whatever task He puts before me.  I am ready to see His miraculous power multiply. God is so faithful....even when we are faithless.

Here is to a renewed passion as I walk in obedience with the assignment he has given me, and with an expectant heart to what He will continue to put in my path to be obedient with.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Painting a Picture

Hi Dear Ones:

I am still around. Missing my writing so much. Transition is a major challenge on so many levels for all of us. I am hurting right now. We just met with a in home therapist for my sweet chocolattes. She did some evaluations and tests on them that we will have to submit and then pray medicaid will approve to cover the costs of whatever they need.

Sometimes I absolutely hate this process. I refuse to read books on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome anymore because the picture that is painted NEVER has hope. It felt like that today. The therapist was nice enough. But this is her job. She see's what we deal with on a daily basis and she see's what the books write about. NO HOPE! Where the only available options for you are public schools that don't operate on faith.

It just puts a mama in a really tough emotional spot. Stuck between reality and divinity. What I see with my eyes and walking by faith and not by sight. What do I accept and move on about when it comes to my girls? And what do I believe and hope for?

I hate the picture that is painted about F. A. S.

My girls did not deserve this. And all their struggles connect like a string to my heart and I ache with how do I do what is best? How do I protect? How do I meet their needs? How will they make good decisions and feel good about themselves as they grow and develop. What of all that we pour into to them will stick?

How do I separate myself and them from what doctors, specialist, books, and therapist say about F. A. S.?

I renamed F.A.S Fulfilling Almighty's Story, but what does that look like? I want it to be a beautiful picture. I want what was meant for evil in their lives to be 100% turned around for good. How the enemy came at my babies in the womb does not win! He does NOT have the last word. A diagnosis is NOT a destiny! My girls WILL have a future and a hope!!!!

I refuse to accept the picture of the enemy's paintbrush. I choose to be B.R.A.V.E (Breath, Remember, Ask, Visualize, and Elevate)

God created my sweet chocolates. They are HIS workmanship. He holds the paintbrush! The canvas of Jubilee Hope and Mercy Jewel will not be stroked by a medical judgement but by their creator.

We are the clay, you are the potter, we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)






Deliverer not Diagnosis decides!!

Photo credit Noah Samuel Selent
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