Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Believing for a Miracle

Something huge is getting ready to happen. Something miraculous. I don't know how. I don't know when. But I am completely certain it will. I'm also just as certain that I am supposed to share with you all, and that scares me to no end. Most of the time when God is doing something huge in my life and in the life of my family, publicly I get really quite about it. There's always a part of me that thinks there is no way that I could ever put the sacred into words that would give it the justice it deserves. There's always a part of me that worries about what others will think, what they will say about this thing that is so precious and dear to me. There's always a part of me that listens to the fear that whispers in my ear and tells me that I don't deserve any of this and to keep it to myself. Today, I feel no different. But here's the thing...today, I'm choosing to be different.

Several months ago, the Lord told me that my hair would grow back. He told me to start believing for the miracle. He told me to throw away my wig and to not buy a new one. He told me to believe Him.

Now for those of you who don't know me, I have had alopecia since I was ten years old and have been completely bald for eight years. (To read the back story go here.) For now, other than a few patches of peach fuzz on my head, I'm still basically hairless. For now...but not for long.

I am believing that what the Lord told me is exactly what will happen. My hair will grow back and it will stay back. I will never again be bothered by alopecia. My hair will be long and beautiful. It will be a miracle. It will be a miracle that others will hear about and know that only GOD could do such a thing and many will believe Him because of it.

Again, when will it happen...I don't know. To be honest, I thought before now. How will it happen...I don't know that either, but I still believe Him. I know a miracle is coming! Please understand, I'm believing Him for not just my healing, I'm believing for my MIRACLE!!! It's coming. I won't give up! I refuse!

I am also believing for your miracle. Yes you! The one who is reading this and wondering if it's even possible for God to do such a thing. The one who wonders if God even hears you anymore. The one who has prayed and prayed for the same thing for years and you can't see it and your tired. The one who has a disease that is afflicting your body and you just want some relief, some healing. The one who is silently crying yourself to sleep because everything in your world seems to be falling apart. The one who has been held down by the chains of shame and guilt. The one who can't seem to crawl out of the pit of depression you have been in and you have begun to think that this is your new normal. To the one who has let fear wrap itself around your throat until you can't speak anymore and you just want some hope. You. Precious one, I am believing for YOUR miracle too! Don't give up! It's coming!

I am believing Him. I am believing Him for many miracles, signs, and wonders to come! I am believing for a great move of the Spirit in the midst of the people of God. It will happen. It will happen for the glory of God, through the name of the Son and through the power of the Spirit!!!! In the powerful name of JESUS, it will happen! And when it does, we will dance and sing and celebrate our God who does the IMPOSSIBLE in us, for us, and through us!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


    SnapChat  SnapChat allows you to send pictures or videos to a friend through the app for them to view for a set time (1-10 seconds), then the Snap “disappears” from the screen. This does not prevent screenshots being taken of the picture that was sent or received. Please read the terms and agreements in full.  These pictures do not “disappear”. Everything that you post     through the app belongs to SnapChat, however they are not legally responsible for any illegal activity that could rise from the app or it’s content. Again, I urge you, read the terms and conditions.

    Kik – This is a private messaging app in which you can share text messages, photos, or videos. It is next to impossible to determine the true identity of the person with whom you may be chatting or messaging. Just by simply reading the “reviews”, you will clearly see that this is a sexually charged app promoting secrecy, anonymity, and sexting. Again, please read the terms and conditions of this app.

Instagram – While seemingly innocent and safe, this is a potential venue for pornographic websites to prey on you and your children. It’s important that your profile be set to private in order for them not to gain access to your account. Beware of the “explore” section of this app, as it has been known to feature explicit content. Also, watch who your child follows. This is an app that’s purpose is to share pictures and, as we all know, not all pictures are appropriate.

    Ask.fm – The purpose of Ask.fm, both the app and website, is for users to ask other users questions, with the option of anonymity. However, anyone…and I repeat anyone, can ask the user anything, even if they do not have an ask.fm account just by clicking the option to be anonymous. Ask.fm is an incredibly dangerous app and website. Between 2012 and 2014, this app and site became associated with numerous instances of cyber bullying, some of which led to suicides, particularly in teens.

    Twitter – Use caution, set all accounts to private, and do not open any direct messages with a link. Many pornographic websites and fake profiles troll this app and website. Change your password often, as accounts are easily hacked.

    Facebook – Check and reset privacy settings often, as they can be changed without the users being notified.  Be aware that an individual can have more than one account.

Vine – Vine is a video sharing app where users can view, create, and share videos that are no more than six seconds in duration and run in a loop. This site is infamous for pornographic and explicit content, and has very little privacy and protective setting capabilities. 

Pinterest – Description via app “With Pinterest you can:
• Plan projects—home decor overhauls, car restorations, garden redesigns and other DIY efforts
• Dream up your next travel outing—outdoor adventures, road trips with friends, family outings and exotic travel
• Collect your favorite things—illustrations, ideas for tattoos, hilarious quotes, jewelry designs, the latest technology and inspiring art and architecture
• Save great ideas—articles to read, movies to watch, gifts to buy, art for your home, fashion and beauty how-tos, food and recipes to cook, fitness tips and great hair looks
• Get organized for a party—wedding decor, birthday themes, dresses for the dinner party and recipes for game day
      Use Pinterest today to discover things you you’re interested in, and let Pinterest inspire you to do those things. How it works: You organize all your ideas into collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”). When you find something that looks interesting, all you have to do is Pin It!” While this app and website can hold much benefit, it is riddled with pornographic images and links. Many off these images are feigned “workout” pictures, others are just “in your face” porn.

YikYak – Via the app description: “YikYak acts like a local bulletin board for your area by showing the most recent posts from other users around you. It allows anyone to connect and share information with others without having to know them.” This app allows you to send updates that anyone in your area, set by GPS services, can see in a Twitter-like timeline or newsfeed. These updates are allowed to be no more than 200 characters. YikYak is an anonymous site. Basically, other users can know where you are but not who you are. 

    Poof – This app has currently been pulled from itunes, google play, and other android app services. However many apps like it are popping up daily. These apps make text messages “disappear” or make apps “disappear” from parents. What the person doesn’t want others to see on their phone, they can make “disappear” or hidden, using these apps.

 Omegle – The slogan “Talk to Strangers” is by itself a red flag. This is an app that connects you to “strangers” to text chat or video chat with.
      Via Wikipedia:
“Omegle was initially a text-only chat that paired users at random to communicate as "strangers". However, in 2010, Omegle introduced a video mode to complement the text chat mode, which pairs together strangers who are using web-cams and microphones. The video chat also has a text window built in. 
In 2011, the beta version of a new feature, "Spy Mode", was introduced. In Spy (Question) Mode, users have two options; to be the "spy" and ask a question of two strangers, or to discuss a question with another stranger. As the spy, the user inputs any question for the two strangers to answer or discuss and is able to view the discussion as a third party, albeit without being able to contribute further to the conversation. The spy can quit at any time without ending the chat for the two other strangers. If a user chooses to discuss a question instead, as in normal text mode, the user is paired with another stranger and can discuss the question the spy has asked up until the point the other stranger decides to disconnect and/or move on to another question.
In 2012, Omegle added a special new feature to the text and video modes, the option to input "interest" tags. Adding interests lets users be paired with a stranger who has something in common with the user. A user can input as many interests as he or she would like, and if no available match is found, the user is paired with a completely random stranger instead. 

In 2013, an unmonitored version of the video chat mode was opened, leaving the original content moderator-regulated video section open to anyone aged thirteen and up as long as the content of his or her video stream is clean. Initially, questionable adult content in the video section of Omegle was filtered using image recognition algorithms only. The newer unmonitored video section allows consenting adults over the age of eighteen the freedom to view, and share with one another, uncensored explicit video streams.
In 2014, Omegle began experimenting with a "Dorm Chat" mode, which requires the user to provide an e-mail address ending in ".edu" to verify that they are associated with a college or university. Dorm Chat allows the user to chat with his or her classmates and colleagues on Omegle.”
Parents, if that alone does not scare the ever living daylights out of you I don’t know what will.

       Whisper – Via the app description: “Whisper is an anonymous social network that allows people to express themselves, connect with like-minded individuals, and discover the unseen world around us. With Whisper, you can anonymously share your thoughts and emotions with the world, and form lasting and meaningful relationships in a community built around trust and honesty. If you have ever had something too intimate to share on traditional social networks, simply share it on Whisper.” This app allows you to anonymously connect with other users through responding “whispers” or with free private messaging.

    Hot or Not Via Wikipedia: “The purpose of the app 'Hot or Not' is to rate pictures of other people. When you rate somebody as hot, and they rate you as hot, then you become connections. When you're connected, you get to chat with each other. Users also receive a hotness rating out of 10 based on the number of people who rate you as hot, vs. those who don't.” Via app description: "Hot or Not. Get in. Get seen. Get fans! Check out if you are Hot, find interesting people around you and chat with them. The hottest online community with over 190 million members!" This is clearly a sexually charged app. Parents, please, let’s all be smart about this…enough said.

Down – Formerly “Bang with Friends”. This app is linked through Facebook. It’s slogan is “Anonymously find people in your social network who are down for the night.” Via the app description: “1. Pick your hot friends anonymously 2. They pick you 3. We send you a private email hooking you two up 4. Go on your date or get down!  Bang With Friends is now DOWN: We are the original and official way to bang your friends!” Once again, enough said.

Parents, it's time. It time to get our heads out of the sand on this one. We have got to be educated on this thing called social media and smartphones. The ignorance MUST stop! I have watched families, marriages, children, mothers, fathers, young adults, older adults, churched, and unchurched alike, being completely wrecked by this. Their lives forever altered with negative consequences that are far outreaching just them and their immediate families. I have looked in the faces of people I know and love, who have been wounded and hurt by the consequences of ignorance in this area. Knowledge is power. Get informed so that you can get involved helping not just your child, but yourself as well, set boundaries in this area. Our enemy prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour... don't let him in to devour your child, your family, or your home though a piece of technology that you can hold in your hand. It's YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!! If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling of a young person, or you have a young person that you care about in your life, it's your responsibility. If you own a smartphone yourself, it's your responsibility. Wake up. Stand up. Get informed. Get involved. Stay informed. Stay involved. And above all, lets love our children enough to hold them accountable and set boundaries for them, especially in this incredibly dangerous world that is social media and smartphones. It's time. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Redefining Normal

We are not normal. We just aren't. We have tried to be. And the problem is, for a long time, we were in fact "normal". We tried to squeeze our selves down into the box of nice, normal, and average. We tried to conform.

But we weren't meant to be normal. We were never meant to be average. We weren't meant to conform. We were meant to be great, to be crazy, to be beyond average, to be radical, to be far from normal. We are choosing to redefine normal for our family.


And who are we kidding, if you know us you know that the Wood Pile is far from normal anyway! :)

We have redefined what a "normal" family looks like, redefined how we have always viewed church and religion, redefined courageous living, redefined impossible, redefined what faith looks like, redefined what it means to not just believe in God but to actually believe Him and take Him at His word. This process of redefining has taken place within our own family, our own hearts. It was necessary for us to do this, because the normal we were living in wasn't abundant living...it just was not the way God intended us to live.

We have redefined what all these things look like to us, to the Woods.We can't redefine these things for you or your families, you have to do that for yourselves. Let me tell you, us living "our normal" is so much more fun than trying to make our family live in someone elses. And our new normal is AWESOME!

Monday, April 21, 2014

When In Doubt...REMEMBER!

My God is a faithful Promise-Keeper! 

Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

He acts on my behalf.

Isaiah 64:4 "Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him."

He does the IMPOSSIBLE...more than I could ever ask or imagine!!!

Ephesians 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us..."

He is a miracle worker...then and NOW!

Psalm 77:11-15 "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds. Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples."

He has accomplished my healing. It is finished!!!

Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24 “by His wounds you have been healed.”
 And so, I remember...and the doubt is gone!
Psalm 111:4 "He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate."

Display Your power, LORD!!! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

No Longer Broken

Fourteen years ago, I worked at a day care center in the baby room. One day, as I was trying to clean up the room to go home, I tripped over a baby gate and I broke my wrist. It hurt so bad. It was swollen and bruised. My wrist was broken...but then it healed. I don't call my wrist broken anymore, cause its not. It would be really weird if I did, because while it was broken at one time, its not anymore.

It's the same with me as a whole. I am no longer broken. I was at one time; I was a spiritually dead person who was broken in sin, but then Jesus. I gave my life to Him. I made Him Lord and Boss. He healed me. He made me a new creation. A brand new creature. I am not broken anymore. Why then would I call myself "broken"?
Today, on this Good Friday, as I thought about Jesus and what He did on that cross, I couldn't quit thinking about the fact that He was broken...for me! He was bruised...for me! He was hurt and abused....for me! He died a horrible death...for me! He endured all of that, so that I could be healed, whole, restored, redeemed, and made brand new. Not so that I could walk through life acting like the broken person I was before I was healed, and certainly not calling myself broken. 

But don't take my word for it.....

1 Corinthians 11:24 (NKJV) "and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you"

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) "But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed."

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)  "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."

Romans 6:22 (MSG) "But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!"

Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV) "Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for You are the One I praise."

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"  

Here is the amazing thing, while my wrist still has evidence of having been broken, when I gave my life to Christ I was made brand new, with no evidence of ever having been broken. I AM NEW!!! I will never again refer to myself as a broken person, because not only is that simply not true, it is a sheer insult to what Jesus Christ did. He was nailed to a cross so that He could nail down my healing. I am healed and whole. I am no longer broken. And if you have made Jesus Lord of your life, you aren't broken anymore either.  


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our Senior

I have no words to say how proud we are of this boy and of the man that he is becoming. We are honored to call him our son. He brings us joy every day. He is a gift and a blessing. He is a mighty warrior! He is a worldchanger!

This young man seeks the Lord with his whole heart. He is one of the most courageous people I know. He not only claims to set boundaries, he sets them and stays in them, even when it's tough and even when he is the only one. 

We are and will be forever thankful that the Lord blessed our home, our hearts, and our family with Woodrow. He is living proof that the Lord answers prayers and that He is a faithful Promise-Keeper.

On May 16th, this boy graduates from high school. While our hearts ache, it is with enormous pride, hope, excitement, and joy...with just a sprinkle of sadness. We can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for Woodrow and for our family. This we know, it's going to be huge! 

Momma loves you so much, Woodrow!

  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Speak The Truth In Love

Ephesians 4:15 "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ."

There are those who speak truth but have no love. There are those who speak love without truth. And there are those who love and believe truth, but don't speak. Church, we need to be people who are sincerely, passionately, and boldly speaking the truth in love.

Without love, our truth accomplishes nothing. Without truth, our love is not really love at all.

Speak the truth in love. Then we will be mature. Then we will be like Christ.


An Open Letter of Forgiveness

I have come to the place that I realize that I need to forgive you, really forgive you. Even if you aren't sorry, and you're not. It's not because you are cruel and hateful, it's because you really don't understand what you did.

"Hurt people, hurt people."

I believe that you live your life hurt and scared. It's this pain and fear that causes you to lash out at and push other people down in an effort to appear brave.

I am sorry you have been hurt by this world. I am sorry that you have been hurt by religion. I am so sorry that you have never fully seen yourself in the light of how God sees you. I am sorry that you have never understood grace or the power that you have through Christ. I am so sorry that my family and I didn't understand that until now.

You, sir, are loved. You are not a worm in the ground before the Lord. You are not defined by what you have done in the past. You can stop trying to be good enough, because in Christ you already are. You can stop trying to earn God's love by doing religion, He loves you already. Religion, doing the "church thing", won't fix the void in your life, only Jesus can do that.

I know you're frustrated and confused. I know you don't understand, but you will. You will understand soon. This is why I need you to know that not only are you loved by the Lord, you are loved by the Wood Pile, all of us! In Jesus name, we are praying for you and we forgive you. In Jesus name, I am praying for you and I forgive you.

With Great Love and in the Power of the Holy Spirit,

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hyper-Grace Believers and Name-it Claim-it Christians

They call us these names like it's a bad thing. How about we redefine these titles, shall we? Let's really look at what it is that we, as His church, are considering an insult.

Let's start with Hyper-Grace Believer. People, God's grace, in and of itself, is lavishly extravagant and unimaginably profound. There is no way that we as humans could ever comprehend it fully or be able to make it "hyper" outside the boundlessness that it already is. Jesus Christ came and died to completely forgive us of our sins; past, present, and future; and to free us from the condemnation and punishment associated with them. He paid our penalty in full on the cross. Then he conquered over sin, death, and the enemy forever, when He broke the chains of death and rose again. In His victory, came victory for us and made us overwhelmingly conquerors as well! THAT IS GRACE!!! Amazing, awe-inspiring grace! Grace that is greater than anything I could ever imagine.
I know, I know...they are saying that a Hyper-Grace Believer believes that they can do whatever they want and the Lord has already forgiven them so it's fine. Anyone who believes that this is, in fact, what we believe, has never fully known freedom and doesn't understand the grace under which they themselves stand. Coming into the understanding of what Christ did for me, who I am in Him, the freedom in which I live, and the grace under which I humbly walk every single day, makes me want to love Him better, to love others more, to serve Him with even more passion, and to walk in His power powerfully. This understanding has made me realize that there is nothing I can do that will screw up the plan of God. Sure I am not perfect, and sure I will make mistakes, but I am forgiven. Don't get me wrong, there are consequences to every choice we make, but those consequences don't define us, that choice does not define us, HE defines us, and He calls us forgiven and whole. When He prompts me and shows me where I need to change, that requires me to change, to turn away from that sin and to agree with the Lord that it was wrong, to thank Him for His forgiveness, and then to move on, taking one step in front of the other, knowing that I am fully and completely covered in the grace that fell on me when I gave my life to Jesus and He became my boss, my Lord, and my Savior. That means that when He shed His blood on that cross, it covered me, all of me, my past, my present, & my future in grace. If the knowledge of this makes me a "hyper-grace believer" than so be it.

So be it, friends.

Now, about the title Name-it Claim-it Christian. I know what the insulters mean by this. They think that this means that we view God as a big vending machine in the sky and that we will ask for selfish things like new cars, new houses, more money, etc..... And I understand why you would be skeptical, if this is how you view "name it claim it".
But let me tell you something that you might not realize yet, Jesus Himself tells us that we, in Him and in His power, can name it AND claim it! He tells us over and over again to ask for anything in His name and He will do it, so that the Father will be glorified. He tells us that we can say to mountains to move and they will.

  • John 14:13-15  "And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask Me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

  • 1 John 5:13-15 "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him."

  • Mark 11:24 'Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

  •  Matthew 17:19-21 "Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Church, that is awesomely, incredibly, shockingly name it and claim it. Not by your blinded definition, but by His perfect, holy, and oh so clear definition, that is exactly what it is. And that is just THREE verses, there are so many more that this blog post couldn't hold them all. Please, look it up yourself, I beg you! Study this truth! It will completely rock your world! 
"But," you might ask, "doesn't that mean that you will be selfish about it all? Aren't you afraid that you might ask for something wrong?" No. I live in the Spirit, knowing He is in me, with me, and works through me. I understand that I have power in Christ and part of that power is clearly written about in these verses. I am listening for His promptings and seeking truth in His Word. I will ask for and declare freedom for the captives, salvation for the lost, sight for the blind, and healing for the body. But let me be completely clear, if He tells me to ask for a car, a house, or more money, I'll do that too, because He loves me that much and His plan for me is perfect. He wouldn't ask me to ask for something if He didn't want to give it to me. He loves to bless us so that we can bless one another! If He tells me to ask Him for something "impossible" and to believe He will do it, I will, because I've seen Him answer and do the "impossible" before. If He tells me to lay hands on someone and declare their healing, then that's what I'll do, because He told me I could and should, and I've seen Him heal before. I know He tells me my words have power, so I will speak and declare His Word over myself, my home, my family, my husband, my marriage, and my children, fully confident that what I speak over them will come to pass, because He said it would. So, if these truths make me a "Name-it Claim-it Christian", then so be it.

So be it, friends.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

"Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. 
 But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
Matthew 22:37-40

Sunday, February 9, 2014

This I Know

This I know; there are a lot of things I don't fully understand. There are a lot of things I still need to learn. There are a lot of things I still want to learn and I can't wait to understand. But there are things I do know now, things I can say I finally understand.

This I know; it's time to be brave. It's time to stop being the victim of some other person's lack of love. It's time to stop letting the words that people have so callously and recklessly spoken into my life, dictate how I live, how I view myself, and how I view the Lord. Those people include me and the words I have spoken out of my own mouth. 

This I know; it's time to stop letting what I was always "taught", dictate what I would continue to believe. It's time to stop being religious. It is time to stop wrapping the chains of condemnation around myself, when Jesus Christ already removed the lock!

This I know; I am NOT a worm in the ground beneath His feet. I am His child. I am His daughter. I am a CO-HEIR with CHRIST Himself! I am NOT nothing. I am NOT a nobody. I am a daughter of the King of Kings. His Spirit is IN me! I am NOT worthless. He doesn't expect me to bury my face in the ground before Him. He does not expect, nor does He want, me to cower in fear and shame in His presence. He tells me I can come to Him with full confidence! I can BOLDLY approach His throne of grace!

This I know; I am called to love! And I know that love is not cruel, harsh, or calloused. It is not mean or unkind. Love does not push others down like a religious bully. Love is kind, patient, and gentle. Love holds to hope and clings to truth. The Lord commands His children to love. He says that the world will know that we belong to Him by our love, not just our words. 

This I know; I do not have to chase after Him. I do not have to beg Him to be near, He already is. He is near because He is my life. He is my actual life! I am in Him and He is in me. He is my very breath. 

This I know; I am NOT powerless. I have the All-Powerful Holy Spirit living IN me. I am OVERWHELMINGLY a conqueror! In this world, I am like Christ. In Him and through Him, I am powerful. He doesn't want me to be a groveling mass of low self-esteem. He wants me to be confident in Him, and confident in me in Him. He set me free so I could hold my head high.

This I know; I pray in the Spirit so that I can be built up and edified through it. I praise in the Spirit so that I can bring Him glory and honor. I walk in the Spirit so I can lead others to His grace and to His love. I am anointed by the Spirit of the Living God and that same Spirit gives me life and breath every single day. He speaks to me. He moves in me and through me  He leads, loves, and prompts me. He motivates, encourages, and disciplines me. He teaches me and He NEVER condemns me. 

This I know; there is power in the name of Jesus and when we, as His children, speak out that name we are unstoppable! In His name, I can tell mountains to move and they will. In His name, I can tell sickness and disease to leave and it will. In His name, I can tell the enemy to get the heck away from me and he has got to leave. PRAISE JESUS! In His Name, fear, doubt, and worry have no place in my life. In His name, I am healed and whole. In His name, I AM FREE! 
This I know; He has called me to believe Him. Not just believe in Him, but to fully and completely believe Him! To believe that everything He said in His Word is true! He is calling me to believe He can do ANYTHING! He is calling me to ask Him for the impossible and believe it will happen! He is calling me to talk about His promises and the visions He has given me and to write about them, so that others can rejoice with me and can believe His promises for themselves. He is calling me to risk looking "crazy" to others and that's okay!

This I know; if you have made Jesus Christ Lord and Boss of your life, then all of these things are not just true about me, they are true about you too!!! 

Lord, wake Your church! Help them to know. In Jesus Most Powerful Name, Amen and Amen! Let it be so!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Old Skin

"Sara, you need to learn to shed some old skin."

These are the wise words that came from my sweet husband, the other day, after I had once again drug up an old hurt to prove a point. It stopped me completely in my tracks. I wanted to argue it. I wanted to get mad. I wanted to come back with something stupid like "Don't compare me to a snake!" or "Oh yea...oh yea...YOU need to shed some old skin." (I told you it would have been stupid!) .... But I couldn't, because I knew he was right.

"Sara, you need to learn to shed some old skin."

I couldn't quit thinking about it. It rang over and over in my head. And the more I thought about it, the more the Lord began to speak to me about it. It became clearer and clearer, I need to shed some old skin. Let it go. Move on. I need to wake up everyday giving myself and others the same mercy, God Himself gives to me. He says that mercy is new every single morning. It's a new day, and He wants to do something brand new. That means, I can't hold onto the old skin from yesterday, and the day before that, and the month before that, and the year before that. That's a heavy burden to bear. One that the Lord never intended me to carry. Let it go. Move on.

Let it go! Shed that old skin! Shed that old burden! The new skin is light and easy; it's freedom! He is doing a brand new thing and I want in on it! That's going to require me to get rid of the old. To truly learn to walk in the freedom that is the new. In Christ, I am a new creature and this new creature doesn't need to hold onto the old skin of yesterday.

Move on! I don't need to move on from people; I need move on from the hurt, the pain, the confusion, and the offense that those people represent. Never from the people themselves. I love them. I will pray for them. However, I won't bring them in close to me again. I won't allow them to continue to have a voice in my ear, but I will love them.

Lee is now holding me accountable in this area and he has asked me to do the same for him. We are not going to live in old skin anymore. We are not going to hold onto what happened yesterday, or the day before, or the month before that, or the year before that, or the years before that. We are going to give new mercy every single morning, to ourselves, to one another, to our children, and to others. Every day we can wake up to a fresh new day, in fresh new skin. After all, that is what our most gracious Heavenly Father does for us every single morning, faithfully and unfailingly.

Let it go. Move on. Step into the new skin. There is FREEDOM there. Real freedom, that is easy and light.

Lamentations 3:22-23 "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness"

Matthew 11:30 "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!"

2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new is here."


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Problem With Social Media

I'm sure you read that title and you thought this post would be about teenagers, our children who so abuse social media..... Well, it's not. This post is about me. This post is about you. This post is about us, as full grown adults, abusing social media. We have made it an outlet that, if we continue as we have been, could very well destroy us, our families, and our children. I don't care what form of social media you prefer; be it Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram; we have a problem. We have a heart issue. We have a society issue. And if we are believers, we have a church issue, because WE are the church. We are causing deep relationship issues within the body, that if not stopped will cause scars that our children will bear for years to come. Now you may say, "Sara, aren't you being a little dramatic here?" And I boldly say "NO! No I am not!"
It's time for us to be shaken awake. Wake up, moms! Wake up, parents! Wake up, single adults! Wake up, CHURCH!!! I have seen families destroyed, marriages wrecked, grown adults behaving like children, parent/child relationships pushed down to nothingness, true friendships becoming a rarity, and loneliness abounding, all because of an abuse of this thing that is social media.

We are replacing real life relationships for fake ones that never move farther than a screen. We are trampling on the dignity and trust of the real life relationship we do have. "That's really sad," you might say, "But that's not me". And I ask you, are you sure? Are you really sure? I had to ask myself that same question, and the reality of the answer was both surprising and difficult to grasp. Now before I post anything (and I do post things), I must ask myself "What is my motivation?" And if my answer is unsatisfactory, I must then ask myself, what need am I trying to fill? What is the why? I encourage you...no I urge you...to do the same.

Parents, especially you fellow Mommas out there, before you decide to post pictures of your kids, share your discipline tactics in the moment, lay all of their mistakes and faults out there (for "prayer" support), ask yourself if you would want your parents or your spouse to share the same kind of thing about you in a very public forum. I have seen parents, in all shapes and forms, destroying a trust bond with their children through this very thing. Why post and share with all of your "friends" and followers all of their moments; the good, the bad, the difficult, even the sweet? I have seen parents post publicly a private discipline issue that really should have stayed private. There seems to be a sense of pride in sharing their parenting prowess at the shame of their children.Oh, wow...now that's getting a little personal... I know... But think about this, how can you expect your child to trust you with the "big" things in their life, when all of their "little" things have been shamelessly shared; all of their faults, mistakes, and discipline problems aired out to the world? Would you trust a person who did that to you? Would you trust someone who stood you up in front of 500-800 people or more, and aired all of your problems? Embarrassing, right?! Respect their heart.

Anytime you use someone else's shame to empower yourself, it's degrading the relationship of trust. There is a breakdown of relationships, because of there is a breakdown of trust. In this world, where the enemy is working overtime to destroy us, we MUST circle the wagons. We must do all we can to protect the most important bonds and relationships that the Lord has given us on this earth, those within our homes. (Nehemiah 4:14) This includes our spouses, our children, our siblings, our parents. Stop tearing down the walls of trust that protect your home with your own hands on a keyboard. (Proverbs 14:1)
We must start fighting FOR one another. That means that some of those battles need to stay behind the walls of our home. Give others the same dignity you yourself would desire, especially to those that you claim to love most. Fight for them in the same way that you would want them to fight for you. We must stop selfishly and recklessly tearing down our homes, for the sake of our emotional emptiness and the voids we ourselves have created.

(Proverbs 15:4) (Proverbs 18:21) Why are we, as grown adult (cause this is about us, remember?) and followers of Jesus Christ, using, speaking, and posting words without a second thought? Because we have the "right" to our own opinion? Oh dear....
Our words have power. Written or spoken, our words have power to build up or tear down, bless or curse, hurt or heal, give life or give death, they can be poison or fruit; and guess what, we get to choose! That, my dear friends, is a huge responsibility. One that we will be held accountable for. 

I'm not just talking about wives and mothers, husbands and fathers. This applies to you single adults as well. You have families too, parents, siblings, close friends. You also are building a home. You are even now building your future, your story. Your family and its condition to come is being built by the habits you are creating, the choices you are making, and the words you are speaking right now. It's time for you to step up and begin taking responsibility for your story. 

It's time for us all; single people, married people, parents; to step up and stop behaving like full grown CHILDREN on social media. Take some responsibility! It's time, church! 

Let's discuss pictures...oh the pictures...
Deep breath, here we go...
Let me start by saying, please, PLEASE check your motives before participating in the mass hashtag game that is #ManCrushMonday, #TransformationTuesday, #WomanCrushWednesday, #ThrowbackThursday,  #FlashbackFriday, #SelfieSaturday, #SelfieSunday, Selfies EVERY STINKING DAY OF THE WEEK. For the love of all humanity.....stop the madness!!!!!!!!!
Before posting a picture, ask yourself why? Before posting another selfie, ask yourself why? Why the need to post a picture of yourself, that you took yourself, for others to choose to "like" or comment on? Is it because we all have a need to be complimented, to be accepted, to be "a part of something"? Is it because, somehow, the number of likes and "You're so pretty", "You're such a good mom", "You're such a cute couple", "Your kid is so cute/smart/talented" comments we get on said pictures, gives us that? Oh we would never say those words, we would say something like "It's just a picture" or "It's just for fun".

The reality of our true motivations can be such a harsh pill to swallow. I have had to swallow that pill, and it's not fun. It's really not fun. I have had to ask myself, "Why? Why am I posting this picture? What is my TRUE motivation and does it bring honor to the Lord?" And a lot of the time, the answer for myself is no. Not because of the picture itself. The picture itself isn't wrong, it's my heart that is. It's my desire to somehow fill a void in the moment; be that acceptance, a need for encouragement, to fill a sense of loneliness, or maybe just simply the need to be seen and heard. But when that happens, I have to ask myself why I am choosing  to go there, to that account or to that outlet. Why was I seeking to fill that void with perceived reality, instead of true reality?

Yes, the Lord can and does fill all of my needs, and He is MORE than enough! He wants to fill every emotional void I have...but He wants to use people too! He wants us to be in relationship with one another. He wants us to LOVE one another. That does not and can not come through a computer or phone screen. It just can't. That's why we are one of the loneliest societies in the world. We are a society that is so desperate for connection and love that it is almost an epidemic. We are disease ridden with the illness that is "Lack of Love."

The problem is we are making these reckless, loveless social media decisions because we are lonely. But instead of fixing it, our lonely decisions are breeding more loneliness, which is breeding discontentment and emotional immaturity. It's in this state of discontentment and immaturity, that we are inflicting wounds, on ourselves and on those we love most!

I tell students this all the time, but now it's time for us as adults to grasp this reality as well; you're Facebook/Twitter/Instagram "friends" are not your friends. That is a profile, that is an account, that is not a friend!!! A friend is flesh and blood, with an actual voice and an actual face, real arms that can hug you, a laugh that you can hear. You can look at them and see them and hear their tone when they encourage you or when they have to keep you accountable. They can see you, hear you, look you in the eyes. They will be able to see and hear your tone when you encourage them or when you hold them accountable. You can see their love, and you can love them in return. There is nothing more uplifting than to be able to look another human in the eye and connect. Really connect, not just through an account and a keyboard. We have closed off and pulled back from any true intimate friendships and relationships, and pulled in every single person on our friend list into our most personal thoughts and feelings. All of these people...excuse me, accounts...they aren't "hearing" us, they aren't "loving" us, and it's leaving us empty and lonely, which causes us to post more and reach out more....but we are reaching in the wrong direction, people! Stop reaching for an account, through an account. Reach out to an actual person! Another real life, flesh and blood human! One where you can hear their actual voice, their actual tone, their real life laughter, bare minimum; and if you can get where you can look them in the eye and see them, even better!

Here's the good news; we can change this!!!! This post is not a rant against social media itself. This post is meant to be a wake up call for us! Social media isn't bad in and of itself! Social media can be a good thing. All I'm saying is, we have got to check our motivations, watch our words, protect the dignity and privacy of others, stop trying to fill a void with it, and stop trying to replace flesh and blood relationships with an account. But most importantly, we must love one another. Praise the Lord that mercy is new every morning and we can start fresh right now, we must simply choose it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jesus in a Five Year Old Boy

Today, I was fed up. I was angry. I felt so overwhelmed and so very alone. There in my car, tears rolling down my face, I was brutally and completely honest. I told the Lord, out loud, that I was so angry, that I was hurt, that I was overwhelmed, that I felt alone, that I was feeling far from loving.
I pulled into my sister's house for a girls lunch, took a deep breath, and tried to pull myself together. I went inside, said my hellos, a smile plastered on my face. My mom was reading books to the older kids. The little ones were running around. Becca was cooking. Others were arriving. It was busy and it was loud. That was working well for me. Maybe I would go unnoticed until I could fully get it together.
As I was sitting on the couch lost in my own thoughts, I caught the eye of my five year old nephew, Mason. He was looking at me intently. I smiled the best I could at his sweet face, because honestly how could you not. Then, with a gentle smile, he quietly walked over, climbed up on the couch beside me. He wrapped his precious arms around my neck and kissed my cheek. As he squeezed tighter, he softly whispered "I love you, Aunt Sara."
As that precious five year old continued to hug me, I whispered back "I love you too."
"How did you know I needed a hug, Mason?", I asked.
"I just knew", he said. .
Tears filled my eyes, and holding back sobs, I heard the Lord say "I love you too, Sara. I love you so much, that I spoke to a shy, quiet 5 year old and sent him over there to let you know."

What a loving and gracious God we have. He is so full of compassion and mercy. And it has overwhelmed me!

Listen for His voice. Be obedient to the Spirit's leading. And like Mason, be Jesus to someone else who might just simply need to feel loved today.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Standing on the Promises

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I'm standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love's strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit's sword,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit's call
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I'm standing on the promises of God.