husband

It Is Well With My Soul

I heard that hymn as a girl growing up in church but never did it really mean anything to me until the last few years.

My soul is that part of me that stays still and at peace when everything else around me is in chaos, or out of my control or just plain busy with life. But in the midst of the busyness, is it well with my soul?

Yes, it is. Today it is. Yesterday it was. Tomorrow it will be.

But it hasn’t always been that way. You see, I like things now. Do it on my timeline. Fast like a drive through and pick it up at the window for immediate satisfaction. And for the most part, things have happened like that for me. I’ve had lots of favor. Not by chance so much but because honestly I’ve prayed for favor over myself speaking Luke 2:52:.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

I mean, if Jesus had to grow in favor with God and man and didn’t automatically have it, why should I automatically have it? So I prayed for it. All the time.

But to be honest, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much favor the past few years. Maybe I’m being selfish but if I made the promise to be transparent by opening up in my journals, then that means I have to let you see my selfishness and all the ugliness that penetrate my thoughts. I just have to believe I’m not alone in this big online world…so maybe let me know. Okay?

Nothing can explain it better than a quote I read this past week in Draw The Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge: “Too often we pray ASAP prayers – as soon as possible. We need to start praying ALAT prayer – as long as it takes. “

When I read that I couldn’t help but to think, “Yes, I do want ASAP.” I don’t want to pray ALAT because it’s already taken too long! How much longer can it take? If I have favor, pray for favor, seek wisdom and counsel, shouldn’t my prayers be ASAP?

I’ve looked for that scripture…it doesn’t exist (Frown face, violins playing).

So why do we get such big visions for our lives if they don’t happen right now? Our vision not just for ourselves but for those around us as well (if not, they should be just FYI). If you’re reading this blog which is hosted on our Created Woman website, then you probably know who we are as a foundation, an organization and ministry. You’ve met me, the team, come to one of our events or have just hung out with us online. So you know, at least a little bit, of the vision of CW. And I have to tell you, as passionate as I am about CW there are those moments when I’m just as frustrated.

Working – believing – breaking through – taking steps back – moving forward – resting – wondering.

The seasons rotate almost every day. It’s been five years of wonder, bliss, heartbreak and rejoicing hearing your stories, praying for and with you, and laughing a whole lot over our fashion faux pas.

So when the New Year rolled around, like most of you, I sat down to ask, “What’s this year?” It’s my 40th year on earth – yep, I told you my age – and I am super excited about this decade. I felt like the 30’s were my building decade – marriage, having babies, transitioning jobs and trying to figure out who we were as a family of four (that’s ongoing). So this decade, I would love those ALAT prayers to now become ASAP prayers.

But this is the revelation I got. “What’s in your hand?” What that meant was, “What gifts have I given you and are you using them?” So I opened my journal and wrote out the gifts God has given me based on a test I took this year, Spiritual Gift Test. My top three gifts are as follows in this order:

  • Leadership – Discernment – Faith

Paired with the one of the two words God has given me for the year, intentional, this is what I came up with.

  • Leadership:
    • Be intentional about leading the CW Family. This is an area I was challenged on at the end of last year. As the leader, I’m responsible to share the vision, empower them, and lead them in a deeper relationship with The Lord (as per definition below).
      • Definition of Leadership: Care for God’s people and lead them into deeper relationship with Christ and each other.
  • Discernment:
    • Be intentional about stopping and listening. I can’t discern if I don’t stop, watch, and listen. Ask and discern where God is leading me personally, with my family, and within our organization.
      • Definition of Discernment: to clearly recognize and distinguish between what is God and not of Him.
  •  Faith:
    • Be intentional about believing that if God said “Go” that it will happen in His perfect timing. Trust Him in all things; not just when things look good, I have favor, or happen on my timeline. But in all things.
    • Be intentional about building others up in their faith through my words, actions, and what I speak.
      • Definition of faith: build up the church in her confidence in God.

So there it is. I have to run the race set before me with the gifts God has specifically given me, not what He’s given to others. Because, like I’ve confessed before, I’m good at getting things done. Administration was not too far behind faith and when I get to check something off my to-do list it makes me wave my arms wide open and sing the Frozen song. But did I lead anyone by doing that? Maybe. Maybe not.

So whether my prayers this year happen ASAP or ALAT, I’m determined that I will be intentional about pursuing the gifts that I’ve been given and that is Well With My Soul.

Journal Entry #3√

XO,

Heather

P.S. Take the test and if you dare, share with us in the comments below how you will use them this year. Let’s be intentional about 2016 to use what we’ve been given.

Spiritual Gift Test Adults

[title subtitle="Previous Journal Entries"][/title]

#1 What Was It All For?

#2 Fancy Writing & Gold Letters

 

 

Please Can I Have It?

     Do you have prayers that have been unanswered; requests you’re certain, God has ignored? Perhaps the answer is in your immediate surroundings and you just don’t see it. The Jews of Nazareth were waiting for the Messiah and yet, when He walked in their midst they couldn’t see Him because their eyes were “wide shut.” Hence, their prayers went unanswered and their needs unmet.

            The same woman that desperately prays for a friend complains to God that her marriage isn’t satisfying. Could her ‘BFF’ be her husband? Is it possible the friendship is waiting to be cultivated?

The single woman who’s stressed because her salary doesn’t cover her monthly bills might be the same woman who crafts one of kind purses for her friends. The purses don’t bring her any income because she’s too timid to try to sell them.

 We can stop the pacing and the mindless eating that results from worry. God knows about our problems and He is already at tomorrow with the solution, waiting for us to catch up to Him. Our task is to move from eyes “wide shut” to “wide open” and see where He is.

 

Prayer: Lord, sometimes I let my worries look bigger than my God. I want to open my heart and mind and see you as you are; greater than any challenge I could face.

Life’s speed bumps and collisions form who we are. We can be left with tire tracks on our back, run over by life or let God leave a distinct Fingerprint on our heart. Yielding prepares us to love and empathize with others.

Live, Laugh, Love...

I woke up one morning in July of 2012 and decided I was no longer happy with my job.  While I loved the people that I was working with, the tasks I was completing each day filled me with no joy.  There was no excitement; my professional life was stagnant.  It was then I realized I was much too young to be having these feelings.  In my head I had 3 choices; stick it out and be miserable, find a new job in a new company, or relocate to our company headquarters in California.

Live

"So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life.  That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 8:15 (New Living Translation)

Laugh

"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while."  1 Peter 1:6  (New Living Translation)

Love

"Three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love.  The greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13  (New Living Translation)

After much prayer and discussion, my husband & I have decided to LIVE.  I was offered and accepted a job at my corporate office in California.  I've moved ahead of them which isn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be.  A small price to pay; we'll all be together again soon and I can't wait.  Until then, I'm entertained nightly by my family via Facetime, they are a LAUGH a minute!  All of these things are made possible for me because I believe in a God who grants the desires of our hearts and because I have a husband who LOVES me enough to follow me to another new city, and be both Mother & Father to our daughter while I pursue new opportunities for my career.

STOPLIGHT PRAYER:  Father in Heaven, thank you giving me life and for guiding me through it.  Thank you for making your will for my life the desire of my heart and for guiding me through life.  Help me to listen for your voice amidst the static that tries to throw me off course.

My Family This is my beautiful family.  I love them for supporting me in everything I do and can't wait to start this new adventure with them.

Where To Next?

I think I’ll always remember the age I was when I first needed to own a watch. I’d never noticed how much I needed one until I was a full-time student, working 30 hours a week, helping out at her church, and trying somehow to get in time each day with her husband. Having my phone in hand to constantly check the time was just a pain in the butt. Then, my husband bought me a beautiful watch! I became one of those people who checked it every 30 minutes, making sure my day was going according to plan. We get pretty spoiled that way, huh? We get used to being able to plan and predict and prepare and control. I, unfortunately, am an addict. After graduating last year, I became a bit disoriented. I didn’t have a dream job lined up, I didn’t know exactly what my next step was, and, most importantly, I didn’t know what to PLAN for. Jesus once told His disciples,“It is not for you to know times and seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Acts 1:7

I think at different stages in our lives we ask God, “Are we finished now? Can I have my dream job yet? Should I have kids now? Can we start the next thing now?” I think Jesus often still replies with “It is not for you to know times and seasons.” He wants us to trust and enjoy the ride. He wants us to rely on Him to be in control. While working hard isn’t a bad thing, I’m constantly being reminded that I need to loosen my grip on planning and controlling.  We need to be okay with not knowing what the next part of the ‘plan’ is. We have to learn to trust in what lies ahead.

To the wonder women of the world, the control connoisseurs, and the professional planners; take a breather. Take an unplanned drive and discover a new place. Leave a weekend completely open, wake up, and then do whatever your little heart desires. Learn to live a life free of anxious planning and controlling! He's got it all in His hands.

Honor All People

A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house. [Mark 6:4]

Knowledge to Build On:  The key word in the scripture is honor.  Jesus’ hometown folks didn’t treat Him as valuable.  Instead, they saw one of their own; just an ordinary local man from Nazareth.  Therefore, there was nothing notable that occurred in Nazareth.  Think of it.  Jesus - -the Son of God, is sent to heal the sick and all who were oppressed of the devil; but He cannot fulfill this commission, not because it wasn’t God’s will, but because they restricted Him by withholding honor.

What does  “honor” mean?  The Greek word for honor is time. (tee-mee)  When you speak of the word time to a Greek man, he thinks of something valuable, precious, weighty, such as gold.

Life in the Now:  Has there ever been anyone in your life that you didn’t think deserved to be honored?  Perhaps it was your parents, husband or wife, boss, or a church leader.

1 Peter 2:17 makes a point of saying that we are to “honor all people.”  Surely, Peter can’t mean rude and obnoxious people, not to mention those who are outright wrong in their beliefs and attitudes.  Why, I had a long list of those kind of people on my “do not honor list.”

But, something begin to gnaw on my conscious that told me I needed to make a change in my attitude. After much prayer and studying on the word Honor,” I came to the conclusion that:

  1. I didn’t reach perfectionism before God accepted me unconditionally.
  2. “You can honor the person without honoring the behavior.” Behavior may, indeed, be wrong, but honor and value should be released to each person who Jesus valued so much that He shed His blood for on The Cross.

Think about it:  Do you suppose we must first get a glimpse of Jesus’ finished work on The Cross for all men before we can begin to walk in true honor to those we think are undeserving?

Prayer:  Father God, I ask you in the name of your son Jesus, to forgive me of those times I have withheld honor from anyone.  Help me to honor them as a precious stone of gold that You created and for whom You made the ultimate sacrifice.

Finding Focus...Even In Our Romantic Relationships

(Excerpted from Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties in a Decade of Drama by Sarah Francis Martin. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. ©2012. Used with permission.)

 Jesus is explicit regarding what He expects of us and where our daily, moment-by-moment focus should be. When asked about His greatest commandment, Jesus replied: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

This applies as much to dating as to every other facet of our lives. Every issue we encounter with regard to the opposite sex should be bounced off these questions:

 Do I still love my God with my whole heart, soul, and mind?

Is my boyfriend doing the same?

By using this standard as our barometer for future activities with men, we’ll not only please the Lord but prevent untold heartache as well. When we focus on Him, our priorities in dating will align themselves without a struggle.

When we train our focus on God and His Word in this area, we also come to recognize traits the Bible lays out for how a husband should love his wife. The Bible is unequivocal on this issue. Although its guidelines don’t pertain to the dating relationship per se, we do receive from its pages clear guidance on what we should be able to expect from our godly boyfriends. If there’s one phrase to which I return again and again when talking to my girlfriends, it’s this: Don’t settle for less.

I’ve had several friend accept their boyfriends’ non-committal attitudes and press on in hopes that their men might change.

When we’re in a continual state of communication with Jesus, we know in our hearts that this non-committal behavior on the part of the men in our lives doesn’t cut it and that it’s time for us to move on. But if we’re out of tune with the Lord’s guidance, we may well have no clue that a relationship of this quality isn’t what God has planned for our lives. If we want to move from a troubled relationship to one that both thrills and fulfills us, we need to take the first step of allowing the Lord to lead us.

Join Sarah's online Summer Bible study & purchase her book Here.

 

 

 

Sarah Francis Martin is the author Stress Point: Thriving Through your Twenties in a Decade of Drama (Thomas Nelson, June 2012) and blogs at www.liveitoutblog.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I Was Young

  When I was a little girl my Dad would pick me up from ballet and take me to Baskin Robbins every week.  He sat in a big swivel chair and I sat right next to him in a kid size chair eating my daiquiri ice sorbet with a tasting spoon.  It was sour, not alcoholic and boy was it tasty.  I remember him brushing my hair, putting it up into pigtails and braiding them.  My hair, always adorned with the hand painted hair ribbons he made for me.  My favorite memory is singing show tunes with him in the kitchen, me singing the part of Annie and my Dad singing the lines of Daddy Warbucks.  “I don’t need anything but you,” we would sing together.

I can’t say that my Father is a man of many words.  Perhaps it comes from growing up with 3 sisters, or perhaps it’s 35 years of living with my Mom and 2 daughters.  That being said, when he does share nuggets or stories I listen.

A stubborn fool despises his father's discipline, but whoever appreciates a warning shows good sense.  Proverbs 15:5  (GOD'S WORD® Translation)

Despite the relationship you have with your father it’s important to understand that his life experiences are things you can learn from.  Sometimes you learn what you should be doing and sometimes you learn to walk in the opposite direction.

Each June we have the opportunity to celebrate and honor our fathers.  Take the time to truly honor both your earthly and heavenly fathers.  This is one seed you want to plant.  I believe I’m reaping my harvest now, I see it every week when my husband takes our daughter out on a daddy /daughter date to Starbucks and Toys R Us.

One of the greatest things my father said to me, while broken hearted in my early twenties, was, “Honey, if he doesn’t like you then he must be gay.”  You see, not all nuggets of wisdom have to be so serious!  I’m tucking that one away for my own daughter… when she’s 25!

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in heaven thank you for my Father & Husband.  Help me to find ways to continue to honor them even when they are difficult and make me want to scream.  Please continue to guide & protect them and they continue to do the same for us.

The Hunger Game

This past April, my husband and I celebrated one year since we joined together with friends and family and publicly became man and wife. While I find it so cliche to say I was not ready to be married the sentiment just fits. Perhaps marriage is just one of those things, like I would imagine people feel when they start a family, or buy a house. It is one of those big things that make you realize your life is making progress, you're growing up;  these things, for whatever reason, make us feel overwhelmed and under prepared. In the past year of my married life I have focused on one common thread. Through each disagreement and each celebration, I realized that we are hungry individuals. Relationships evolve and naturally we evolve with them. We change preferences, we mold to be more likable, less contrary, and while I hate those articles that make women seem like weakling sidekicks to their bread winning husbands, it seems easy to sucucmb to this marginal population after so long. I have found that dreams or goals that I held years ago have been pushed to the side for the sake of stability. I have seen my once strong will and independent streak become more reliant on agreeability. In standing back to reason with these self discoveries I had to reconcile with the fact that while I have always been independent, I have also been needy.

We all are.

That's okay.

In examining my own petty arguments or frustrations, I realized just how hungry we are.  Single, married, divorced, dating, these terms become irrelevant, we  all crave the approval of those we love. First I thought it was my warped sense of love. It must be me, this can't be normal, but alas, it is! It is normal and it is okay! We are creatures made for relationship; the give and take, the pretty and ugly, we are hungry for connection, for accountability, for something beyond total agreeability or lonely solitude.  We were made for the knock down, drag out fights, as well as the make up dinners and apology notes. Our image of love has a lot to do with how we have been loved but it also has a lot to do with how much we are willing to learn. What we know is not the end all be all and we could never sustain a relationship with that mentality. The sooner we realize that we are all hungry for the true existence of love-- affirmation, kindness, patience-- the sooner our relationships can grow boundlessly.

Mood Lighting

Recently we were going to have a rather large get together in our home and I was a bit worried about how some of the guests would get along. Since the event was at our home I felt a little bold and resolved that since it was at my home it was up to me to set the mood. I was determined that as much as it was up to me I would include everyone. I wanted a spirit of unity among all of these beautiful people that I love so much. Thankfully that is how the night went. Something shifted in my thinking after that. The lighting of a room can set the mood, but the light in the room can shift the atmosphere. Two scriptures come to mind for me

Romans 8

12Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in."

Eph 6

12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

None of us has the ability to control another person but we do have the choice of what we will agree with. I want what I bring into every situation to be in agreement with what God is wanting me to do. Without a doubt His heart for me is to show His love, His compassion, His grace and mercy. When I bring that atmosphere with me into any situation it can only brighten things up.

This new way of thinking has allowed me to really take notice of whats going on around me. If the mood is yuck I want to shine the opposite in the room. Bringing hope to the hopeless, comfort to the hurting, peace to the weary. The last thing I want to do is go into a room full of worry and agree with it. No I acknowledge it's there and consciously choose not to agree with it but ask God what He wants shining in the middle of it.  I only want to partner with what He is wanting to do not add to any negative mood that's there.

 

Do you find yourself taking on negative attitudes easily?

Consider asking God about those ideas before adopting them as your own.

 

God,

Thank you for your wisdom in this area.

Amen