Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our First Princess Turns 19!

19 years ago today, my heart's desire was met when I became a mother to a Beautiful Baby Girl!  Theresa immediately blessed our lives with beauty, joy, and hope.  Little did I know just how much she would teach me.  With a tender heart, I reflect on the past 19 years remembering amazing good times, and tragic hard times.  I am SO grateful for the gifts Theresa has blessed me with: creativity, courage, clarity, order, and such a big sister's heart!  I am SO pleased with the woman she has become.  I love this song, Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman, and can SO relate today!

Theresa, we love you and cherish you as a part of our family!  Happy Birthday!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When Your Mess Becomes Your Message

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
- Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Recently, my friends at Proverbs 31 Ministries posted a blog with the title, When Your Mess Becomes Your Message. Micca focused on God's ability to heal us from addictions so that we can stand as a witness. It was moving, inspiring, and extremely touching. I am blessed to have avoided the struggle with drug and/or alcohol addictions; however, this title has stirred me to consider two important things:
  1. What am I addicted to that pulls me away from God?
  2. How awesome it is that my Father God has lovingly worked all things together for His good!
As you know, I strive to be transparent in sharing the lessons I have learned along the way, however, this process requires some trust. It is a vulnerable place to stand accountable before others in an attempt to glorify God, rather than validate behavior and choices. Jeff & I had the sweet opportunity to visit with some dear friends several weeks ago, and recount some of our amazing journey. As we began to share the choices we had made, and honestly the mess we had created, my heart softened again to the Savior, whom I believe made the ultimate sacrifice for me so that I could be redeemed from the very depths of the mess I had created. What an intimate example of love!

I can relate to the addict that has forgotten who they are as a child of the Most High. I can relate to the desperate woman bound by beliefs and behaviors that leave her feeling unworthy and worthless. I can relate to the rage of an unforgiving and burdened heart. I am certainly not proud of many decisions I have made over the past 20 years, however, I am very grateful for the gifts of grace, mercy, and forgiveness! I am even more grateful for the valuable perspective my mess has given me! Like David of old, it was through the very depths of my mess that I cried out and found a loving Heavenly Father that had never left me alone to fend for myself, but had already made provision for restoration. I found my Savior, Jesus Christ that selflessly paved the way for me. I found a depth of understanding that could not have come by any other means, and I found a love and peace that truly surpasses all understanding!

I know what it is to wake up in the middle of a mess and desperately want something more! I am grateful that my parents had instilled truths in me that quickly arose out of the mess of justification and rationalization to quickly point me to the only way out!! I am happy to share my journey in greater details, however, suffice it to say that I KNOW God loves us and desires to be in relationship with us; I KNOW that forgiveness is a process that brings life, love, and peace from either angle (needing forgiveness or offering it); I KNOW that healing and restoration comes when we are willing to let go!

I have learned many valuable lessons through my journey, and "Count it ALL Joy" to allow My Mess to Be My Message!! There is great power in sharing our journeys together as we uplift, encourage, and inspire one another onto the greatness instilled within us!
Thank you for blessing my life along the way!  May you continue to be blessed as Your Mess Becomes Your Message!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

She Speaks

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."
- Proverbs 31:26

Proverbs 31 Ministries is hosting their annual "She Speaks" Conference in Concord, NC on July 30 - August 1, 2010.  This inspiring conference is designed to support women in their passion to share the messages God has placed on our hearts.  Accomplished leaders in the areas of She Speaks, She Writes, and She Leads will be on hand to encourage, inspire, and equip those that choose to make this a priority!  I would LOVE to participate!  It is SO my heart's desire to encourage and inspire women to live Life on Purpose and with Passion, trusting God in ALL things.  I have entered a Scholarship Contest expecting favor as I counsel with those wise in this area of Spiritual gifting!!!  I firmly believe that God desires us to Always Be Ready to share our faith, Speak with Wisdom, and follow the Spirit with Faithful Instruction on our tongue!!!  I am excited to Make my Mess my Message and honor God by acknowledging His desire to bless us with Peace Among the Pieces!!!  

Women of Proverbs 31 Ministries, THANK YOU for standing for excellence!!  Thank you for offering such an amazing time of instruction and connection!  May God continue to richly bless you as you continue to honor His Mighty Name!!  


Friday, March 19, 2010

Pruning Season

"For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches" 
Isaiah 18:5

Spring begins a season of pruning, where the objective is to produce strong, healthy, attractive plants.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture's guide, How to Prune Trees there are several reasons for pruning: safety, health, aesthetics, stimulating fruit production, and increasing value.  I suggest that much like plants and trees, we too need a pruning season.  

Reasons for Pruning

Pruning for Safety involves removing branches that could fall and cause injury or property damage, trimming branches that interfere with lines of sight on streets or driveways, and removing branches that grow into utility lines.  I believe that we too can Prune for Safety by removing distractions from our lives!!  I would define a distraction as anything that changes our Heavenly focus to a Worldly perspective and gets in the way of our desires and dreams.  What activities and relationships do we allow in our lives that create worry vs. peace, frustration vs. joy, discouragement vs. hope, bondage vs. freedom?  Perhaps it is time to consider the cost vs. benefit in these areas.  Let's be bold as we honestly evaluate the reality, and courageously Prune for Safety.

Pruning for Health involves removing diseased or insect-infested wood, thinning the crown to increase airflow and reduce some pest problems, and removing crossing and rubbing branches. Pruning can best be used to encourage trees to develop a strong structure and reduce the likelihood of damage during severe weather. Removing broken or damaged limbs encourages wound closure.  What a great visual to apply in our lives.  As we aspire to create solid foundations in our lives, ones that can weather any storm, we can see the value of Pruning for Health.  I LOVE the value that is created when we remove broken or damaged limbs!  I see wound closure as a Really good thing!  I see this as a vital part of having a solid foundation!  We know that in this life there will be storms, it is wisdom that allows us to pick up the pieces and find peace and healing to move forward!  It is my experience that this is where forgiveness is vital.  Trusting the Atonement of our Savior to cover the offended, the offense, AND the offender - such an act of love!

Pruning for Aesthetics involves enhancing the natural form and character of trees or stimulating flower production.  How sweet to trust our Heavenly Father as the Master Gardener to enhance our nature as we develop Godly Character!  What can we do to ensure healthy fruit production?  Submit to the Pruning Process!! 

The USDA further suggests, To reduce the need for pruning it is best to consider a tree's natural form. It is very difficult to impose an unnatural form on a tree without a commitment to constant maintenance.  Just as vitally important it is for us then to understand and consider our nature as we prune.  I visualize the process of pruning looking slightly different for everyone.  A man will have different considerations than a woman,  adults different than children.  I think the greatest value of understanding this truth is that we enter a Season of Pruning with realistic expectation.  I tend to be very motivated by my emotions meaning I get excited easily.  This is great for getting me motivated, creating a plan, and following through until I achieve my desired result.  Good news for me, it does not however mean that my plan will work for my husband or children.  Inspiring a Season of Pruning for my family requires the heart of a Master Gardener.  First of all, I'm learning to let my Heavenly Father Prune my husband...what a peaceful and loving concept.  It is rarely my job to correct my sweetheart.  I am learning that it is far more effective for me to encourage and uplift him rather than correct....a lesson learned the hard way over and over again.  As for my children, it is a sweet thing to allow the Master Gardener to mentor me in the art of shaping and developing, and He is faithful to do so!  The moment I remember that the Covenant Relationship with God and my Husband is available to assist me in Pruning and Shaping the lives of those entrusted to us, the moment I can Prune according to my children's specific Godly Character.  This produces healthy fruit of more than one variety, rather than an orchard of exactness.

I am SO grateful for Pruning Season!  I am grateful for the process of letting go, as I continue to Trust God to shape me into the Godly Woman He designed.  I continue to practice the art of submission - laying down my agenda to that which serves the greatest good.  It is my desire and prayer that by understanding how, why, and when to prune I will produce strong, healthy, and attractive fruit,  Being Blessed to Be a Blessing!!

Happy Pruning!!