Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Five little words.
None over four letters.
19 letters in all.
Such little words with a BIG impact.

Several days ago, my husband and I (along with our oldest and her best friend, though they had a different seating area) had the wonderful joy of attending a Casting Crowns concert (also featuring Unspoken and Danny Gokey).  CC has been one of our favorite groups for many years and this was I *think* our 4th to attend as a couple.  The night, start to finish, was phenomenal.  Not only was the music, worship and performances TOP NOTCH, but each artist took the opportunity to speak from their hearts, to bring the Word or encourage, challenge, and even convict.

It was during one of those moments of sharing that I heard those five little words.


Those words have taken deep root in my heart and God has been completely at work with His whisperings of what those words mean to me.

It's like when you're driving around and relying on GPS to get you where you need to go.  Perhaps you miss a turn completely.  Perhaps you couldn't change lanes quickly enough.  Maybe you come upon construction and detours.  Maybe it's the annoying situation of driving in a city and coming upon a one way going the opposite direction of what you need or it's one of those situations where the direction changes according to traffic needs.  Or maybe you see somewhere else you want to go first or your kids (or husband!) needs a pit stop.  It always results in that little voice and words on the screen showing...REROUTING. A new calculation is made and with some little tweaks and changes, you're put back on the correct path to your destination.

Do you need a reroute today?

In what areas do you need to step back into His plan?

Are you walking a path you know is leading you AWAY from instead of TO Him?  Maybe you're walking in sin and you know it. No denying it.

Maybe you've just made some little wrong decisions here and a little there.  You didn't mean to get off course, but those little gray areas caused you to deviate more and more until you no longer know where you are.

What about some of those other areas of being out of His plan?

Did you give up on a dream or calling He gave you because it was too hard, others doubted you, or you doubted yourself? Did you give up on those dreams because they may have needed a temporary wait that you turned into never fulfilling. As a mom still in the middle of raising children, I know I have dreams that may be on temporary hold in this season, but in my heart, I may have completely stifled them in the waiting season. Even in the wait, there are ways to still be moving forward and keeping those dreams alive. They don't have to die when God gives us a temporary wait.

Are you walking in bitterness, have an unforgiving spirit? Those aren't in His plan.  Those are like weeds out of control.  They can wrap around anything and everything good in your life and suffocate them if you don't cut them down and fully remove them.  Stepping into His plan means letting it go. Then you can truly be walking in His plan for your life.  Bitterness and unforgiveness are chains.  So are jealousy, anger, comparison, and lack of gratitude.  They all just keep you locked in place and not in a place of growth and productivity.

Maybe, oh this is a tough one, maybe you've got on the track of go, go, go.  We tend to glorify busy in this day and age. Are you going so fast and have so many things on your plate that you just can't find the time to SIT at His feet and just soak Him in.  We can even be out of His plan in over-serving and over-doing. Ouch. We can be completely investing in good things, but even good things can be too much if we are losing sight of the one we serve.  Are we serving for accolades? Are we serving out of duty or thinking we can cover an empty place in our heart? Are we serving as a result of saying yes when we knew in our heart we should have said no? Has serving become our idol?  Is our level of busyness our gauge of our spirituality?  That's a dangerous place to find ourselves in.  Sometimes stepping back into His plan means letting some things go. Sometimes we can find ourselves so busy (either doing good things or doing things that have the wrong motivations) and we can't even hear Him whispering to our hearts because we have no margin to listen. Or we find we've been neglecting the nearest and dearest in our lives because we didn't have time to give them our full attention.  Ouch. Double ouch.

Maybe God has been asking you to do something and you have been walking down a different path, one of avoidance or denial. If He is asking something of you, you can run as far as you want, but it will never be far enough.  His calling will remain. That avoidance and disobedience will lead to such discontentment in your life.  Until we surrender, FULLY, we never know just how amazing it is to be in His plan.

I don't know about you, but my heart needs some rerouting. I need to be taking some steps BACK into His plan.

You know what, it's ok to not know what that plan is.  It's ok to not know where a particular request is taking you. Perhaps your path is very painful right now or uncertain.  Maybe He's asking you to walk with Him in faith down a path that you can't see an illuminated destination.  Maybe you don't know the coordinates to enter in for GPS to lead the way.

We trust anyway.

We keep walking.

We let His Spirit convict and redirect when we stumble.  His mercy and grace welcomes us back even when we've taken the most defiant steps of running the opposite direction of Him.  We've found ourselves traveling in unfamiliar areas and GPS lost its signal.  We never have to worry about that with God in our lives.  If we ask, He answers.  If we are lost, He finds us.  If we are broken, He fixes us.  He's our chainbreaker and gap filler.  Only a whisper away. In His great love, He gives us the opportunity to step back in.  Forgiving and merciful.

Today, ask yourself "Am I in His plan?"  If you know that answer is no or you've taken a few wrong steps or lost sight of what the path He has for you is, just reach out to Him.  Simply surrender.

One foot in front of the other.
Step back into His plan.
It may be a giant step or it may be a series of small steps.  Just step.

He'll be waiting!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Work in Progress

I can't adequately express the feeling of getting up every morning and seeing little changes happening around our home.  More evenings than not, a reno project is tackled.  Some nights it may be as minimal as changing out some outlet covers or rewiring a switch.  Other nights it may be replacing a door or rebuilding some frames (seems like nothing in this house has been plumb or square!). Some projects have been much larger such as a complete bathroom overhaul.  MANY, MANY nights have been spent painting walls or dark trim white. I'm loving seeing every single surface being touched by our hands and made our own.  It's what we wanted (even with the headaches, stress, and overwhelming days). We wanted to make something old new again, even on a limited budget. Even our oldest son came home from a weekend trip away and walked around looking for what was different. He says it's like a game of hide and seek every time he comes home from being gone for more than 24 hours.

This morning the change was walking into our schoolroom and it finally being painted.  Everything hasn't been put back in place since we still have touch up to do and baseboards to replace. However, just seeing the walls done was a source of joy, even with everything now disorganized again. It was also the smile that came from walking past the first replacement door completely finished.  Seeing the final result of ONE gave me excitement and encouragement to hang in through the chaos and the days of everything being mismatched as we do one by one.

As I was looking around this morning and just seeing how far we've come, what's left, and everything in between, there was a whisper to my heart.

"I'm at work in you, too."

My heart is like our home renovation.

When we began looking at houses, we saw many that we thought were beyond repair.  We saw some that were too perfect or lacking in character.  When we walked into the one we bought, we didn't buy it for what it looked like at the moment.  We bought it for its potential, knowing it had solid structure and no major hidden issues that were of safety concern.

When Christ looks at my heart, He doesn't turn away because I'm too much work.  He doesn't see me beyond repair.

I'm a broken mess.

He sees my beauty despite the flaws.  He sees my potential.  He knows I have the right make up to create something worthwhile in.

But, do I see it?

Recently I saw a facebook drawing of a body completely covered in words.  Though I don't remember the exact caption, it was basically asking a question.  What if every word we said was written on our skin? In that particular case, it was referring to how we speak to each other and the division our nation has been facing.  In other words, watch your words.  Watch how you speak to each other or about each other.  Though I thought that was VERY powerful, I though of it from a different perspective.

What if every single thing I said about myself on the inside was written on the outside? Would my skin be covered in beautiful encouraging words or negativity?


Would I want to walk around with those negative words and feelings I hear myself speaking in my head? We can be our own worst critics.  Things we would never say out loud, we can park our thoughts on and absorb. We can say them so often we believe them to be the truth. They are lies. The lies have to be replaced with the REAL TRUTH He speaks over us.

I'm not good enough.
He says: You are more than enough.

I'm fat, ugly, old, or this or that is too big, too small, too wide, too skinny, too floppy, too bumpy....
He says: You're beautiful.  You're made in MY image.

I'm incomplete, unseen, unworthy, alone, etc...
He says:  In me you are complete, I see you ALWAYS.  You are worth every sacrifice I made for you, even to the cross. I'm ALWAYS with you.

I'm weak, incapable, not worth the effort.
He says:  Operate in my strength, let me teach you and mold you.  Let me equip you.

I've messed up too much.
He simply and powerful says:  You're forgiven.

And so many more.

IF we are willing to submit our lives to Him, He can change us from the inside out.

It's an ongoing process.

Just like in our home reno, we are finding some things take MUCH more time than we thought. As we begin to pull back one layer or remove one part, we find there is something else lurking underneath. We can't just leave it, it must be fixed underneath or the outside fix won't last long. The same in our hearts, we HAVE to let Him go deep.  Just a little patch on the outside of our hearts may be a temporary fix, but if we don't get to the root, we will still rot.

House renovating just like heart renovating isn't quick, easy, or without mess. It's downright chaos and filthy.  You can get one thing accomplished and cleaned up, but as soon as you start something else that mess just spreads.

We can feel like God is at work in us so much that we can't get one change in our hearts rooted, established, and "cleaned up" before another one is overtaking and leaving us all over the place again. Our hearts are complex and messy.  I dare say that none of us have just one single area needing work.

THAT feeling drives me crazy.  I can easily get discouraged knowing that I have so many things to work on at once.

So what do we do when we have a long list of things for God to change in our hearts or tasks at hand?

I have to apply the same things to my life that I'm applying in home reno land.

We can't do everything at once, either financially or with our time. We have to decide what makes the biggest impact, be logical, and be willing to wait on some things. We aren't giving up on the other projects, we just realize that they aren't immediate.  They make take extra planning or extra prep work.  Some may take multiple steps.  No different with our hearts.

Expect mess. Be willing to get dirty. Be willing to fail and try again.
Enough said.

Keep a goal in mind and remember why you started in the first place-
In the middle of the chaos, when you're stepping over paint cans and supplies, when your clean floor or your fresh laundry or dusted furniture is now covered AGAIN, or when something you just got unboxed and organized has to be moved HAVE to remember why you are doing what you are doing and keep looking towards the finished project you have in mind or YOU WILL LOSE YOUR MIND.  When you're making heart changes or working towards a physical goal (like fitness or weight loss), you have to keep looking towards the results you are wanting or you will easily give up on the hard days. Know your WHY and WHERE you are going or it's easy to get lost.

Focus on the positive changes-
Today I can look at the finished door and be proud of what's done.  I can look at the schoolroom's walls and be excited.  OR I can look at the undone and things left to do.  Which do you think brings the most peace? Focusing with gratitude and accomplishment or getting bogged down about what still isn't right or in process.  When we are allowing God to shape us, we can look at what He's already done in us and let that encourage us to keep on the path.  Or we can choose to focus on the negativity and drown.  Our choice.

Embrace the flaws-
It's ok to have imperfections.  We will never be perfect.  God doesn't expect perfection.  He knows our hearts and motivations.  Let me add, some things we see as flaws aren't actually flaws.  They are things that make us unique. We aren't meant to be identical to someone else. We bought this house despite it being a very unique shade of green.  To some it's a "flaw" that needs to be changed.  To others they love it because it has character and uniqueness.  We all have some things that might annoy us or make us self-conscious, but they really are a part of us and a part that makes us who we are. For example, I'm extremely introverted.  For so long, I saw that as a flaw.  In reality, that same personality trait makes me more intuitive to the needs of others and gives me a deep level of empathy. Some things aren't flaws at all and just need to be embraced.

Work as a team-
No project in our home has been done alone.  It's taken each and every one of us.  Some of us have more vision, some of us have more skill, some of us have knowledge and some of us have hands on experience.  We all have our talents and gifts.  It takes all of it. When we don't have the skill, tool, or know how:  we ask, we borrow, we research, etc...  In our heart reno, we have to ask for help when needed.  First of all we ask God for help. We ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We also ask for help from others that can rally around us and help us. A friend who has walked our path, prayer warriors, encouragers, etc...

Above all, we don't quit when we don't see the progress we want or when the task is taking MUCH longer than we thought.  When it gets more complicated we don't run away.  We dig in. We try harder. We try a new approach.  We step away and regroup, take a break if necessary.

Renovation is time consuming.  As I'm learning first hand, it's a constant work in progress.  One task leading to another...


When you see a finished project you KNOW it was worth the blood, sweat, and even tears.  (Yes, there's been all of that involved at some point or another).

When you reach a goal, you know it was worth it.

When you see your heart being shaped to be more like His, you know it was worth the uncomfortable refining and pruning.

So beyond worth it.