God will show up!

“But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself; the Lord hears when I call to Him.” Psalm 5:4 

praying woman with Bible

Testimony time: God showed up…..again! In flesh and blood this time!

There were a lot of little obstacles keeping our meeting from going smooth. Mentors out, new kids coming, and I was a bit tired.

I asked a bunch of people to pray, including my prayer warrior friend of many years.

She means it when she says she’ll pray!

Upstairs in the moms’ meeting room with one of our mentors, we were setting up the tables for our meal. She found herself complaining that not all of us were able to be here; some of our mentors were unable to come for whatever reason. I stopped her and took her arm and began to pray out loud – over the room. The enemy comes in all forms. And one is complaining.

I’ve been trying to help this precious new friend understand that we’re all a great big mess. She likes to tell us she has this ailment and that problem but she keeps coming, bless her heart. We mentors come back with, “Sweet Lady, we’re all broken to pieces. And that’s okay because God uses us! He shows up and does it all for us!”broken vessels

“Our limitation is God’s opportunity. When you get all the way to the end of your rope and there ain’t nothin’ you can do, that’s when God takes over.” Denver Moore in Same Kind of Different as Me


I set up the children’s room downstairs and prayed out loud over that room. After awhile I went back up stairs and greeted the moms and the children and ate supper. Then we children came downstairs and got started. Who would walk in the room but our women’s  ministry leader! And she just sat right down on the floor (’cause she was a teacher/principal and still works out a lot so she bends easily) and Tyler got right in her lap! (He’s five and busy!) And she stayed off and on, even taking 19 month old Sophia out once for a little stroll in the hall.

Afterward, I told her she was my answer to prayer angel!!!

  Ya’ll,  it is AMAZING how GOD shows up each and every week!

So, I’m taking to heart a quote from the book Same Kind of Different as Me  by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.

“Those that are precious to God are important to Satan.”

Amen and amen.
We must get our mad face on and in our stern tone and say out loud – the enemy is not welcome here! God, be over this or this in my life! Make me to lean in to you!!! and hang on tight! To You, Lord, be the glory in the end.

Lord Jesus, take this ministry and use it for Your purpose. Thank you for allowing us mentors a glimpse into the lives of these precious moms you send our way each week. Thank you that you love each of them so very deeply. You died for them. You have a purpose for their lives. Go before each of them and make Your presence known to them. May they continue to hunger and thirst for you and you alone. Go before them, Lord. In your precious name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God will show up!

“But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself; the Lord hears when I call to Him.” Psalm 5:4 

praying woman with Bible

Testimony time: God showed up…..again! In flesh and blood this time!

There were a lot of little obstacles keeping our meeting from going smooth. Mentors out, new kids coming, and I was a bit tired.

I asked a bunch of people to pray, including my prayer warrior friend of many years.

She means it when she says she’ll pray!

Upstairs in the moms’ meeting room with one of our mentors, we were setting up the tables for our meal. She found herself complaining that not all of us were able to be here; some of our mentors were unable to come for whatever reason. I stopped her and took her arm and began to pray out loud – over the room. The enemy comes in all forms. And one is complaining.

I’ve been trying to help this precious new friend understand that we’re all a great big mess. She likes to tell us she has this ailment and that problem but she keeps coming, bless her heart. We mentors come back with, “Sweet Lady, we’re all broken to pieces. And that’s okay because God uses us! He shows up and does it all for us!”broken vessels

“Our limitation is God’s opportunity. When you get all the way to the end of your rope and there ain’t nothin’ you can do, that’s when God takes over.” Denver Moore in Same Kind of Different as Me


I set up the children’s room downstairs and prayed out loud over that room. After awhile I went back up stairs and greeted the moms and the children and ate supper. Then we children came downstairs and got started. Who would walk in the room but our women’s  ministry leader! And she just sat right down on the floor (’cause she was a teacher/principal and still works out a lot so she bends easily) and Tyler got right in her lap! (He’s five and busy!) And she stayed off and on, even taking 19 month old Sophia out once for a little stroll in the hall.

Afterward, I told her she was my answer to prayer angel!!!

  Ya’ll,  it is AMAZING how GOD shows up each and every week!

So, I’m taking to heart a quote from the book Same Kind of Different as Me  by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.

“Those that are precious to God are important to Satan.”

Amen and amen.
We must get our mad face on and in our stern tone and say out loud – the enemy is not welcome here! God, be over this or this in my life! Make me to lean in to you!!! and hang on tight! To You, Lord, be the glory in the end.

Lord Jesus, take this ministry and use it for Your purpose. Thank you for allowing us mentors a glimpse into the lives of these precious moms you send our way each week. Thank you that you love each of them so very deeply. You died for them. You have a purpose for their lives. Go before each of them and make Your presence known to them. May they continue to hunger and thirst for you and you alone. Go before them, Lord. In your precious name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Witnessing the Holy Spirit’s presence

women mentoring women one

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

I Thessalonians 5:11

Two springs ago, I was asked to facilitate the Bible study “The Covenant” by Kay Arthur at church. Facilitate really means to go over the questions in the printed book then turn on the video. And listen. That’s it. I was asked to go to a workshop on how to present her studies–the inductive Bible teaching method. I went to another city for two or three nights and sat with several other learners from many states with our little colored pencils, Bible, and huge binder. I really enjoyed it, even though I only had the prescribed twelve colored pencils. Need I say more?

I loved facilitating the study. The ladies enjoyed it and learned so much. The covenant God made with Abraham and the people of Israel, then eventually the world through Jesus Christ,  is a powerful picture of God’s commitment to His people, whether they kept their part of the covenant promise or not.  As so many ladies said, this study needs to be taught to all church members! But at the end of the eleven weeks study, I knew that teaching the Bible or facilitating a study was not for me. I was easily distracted. I wanted to present more than was allowed by time.  Though many of the ladies were kind in their encouragement, I was not asked to facilitate the following year.

I wasn’t discouraged because years ago I realized that God had gifted me with gift of encouragement.

Encouragement? It is the action of giving someone support, comfort, confidence and hope.

Did I always use it? No. Did I even understand how? Not always. But three years ago I stepped into a ministry that truly has sung my song! Mentoring single moms! Oh, how God has given me such love for them! What does that mean? On a given Wednesday night we mentor moms walk in to a vast room of round tables and chairs with a meal for the moms and their children. As they take a plate of food and plop down after a hard day of work and picking their children up from school, we sit close beside them and look intently at them and listen. We hug their children before they are escorted down stairs to their activities. One of mentors stands to gather us chatty hens together to hear a message from the Word of God. She is wise to ask us all to participate in the reading so that our moms are not only hearing the Word, but seeing it in their own Bible, however that looks. We discuss the passage, with the mind of looking to see what the Word says. We hear their thoughts, their questions and we pray. As they leave to return to their daily lives, we offer sincere hugs with knowing eyes that say you are loved no matter what you are going through. We are here for you.

During the week each of mentors who has warmed up to a particular mom or two, will text, email, or call their moms to encourage them. What does that look like? “Hi, Anne! How are you this week? Please know you are in my prayers. How may I pray for you? Do you have time for lunch or a coffee break?”

Then we make some time to see our mom to hear her heart. We pray with her.  Sometimes we have she and her children over to our home to visit, to play, to have dinner. She meets our husbands and sometimes, when needed, our husbands help with home improvements or car needs, whatever they can, willingly and kindly. The problem is not always solved, but we strive to get them to the person who can help them. If the Lord directs our hearts, we help them with financial needs. No one has to know. Only they and the Lord.

Encouragement is necessary to our faith walk.

         Encouragement does not mean handing a mom a check for grocery money and patting her on the shoulder and saying good luck. It’s not preaching. It’s not talking the entire time you’re with your mom. It’s certainly not ever communicating with your mom except for a few cursory remarks or nods on Wednesday night. There really isn’t a manual. Well, maybe there is. The real manual for encouraging single moms is the heart. God’s heart of grace in you poured over another mom. Perhaps it’s more empathy than sympathy. A hard-working mom never appreciates sympathy. She will not share her heart if she doesn’t hear yours.

Yes, there are the Wednesday nights when we six mentors are wearing exhaustion over our entire bodies. We aren’t necessarily in the mood to hear a lot of sad stories. Before we see our moms, we gather together and pray. We ask the Lord for His strength, His compassion and grace to be poured out through us on to whomever walks in the door. Then we can begin the evening.

What fills my cup? Witnessing the fresh wave of the Holy Spirit in our room every single Wednesday night! We witness two or more moms pouring out their hearts, or hearing answered prayers. You see, we have no curriculum.  We have no formal game plan except to teach God’s Word using a simple book. What we do have? Prayer. Total humility and surrender to the Lord, mainly because we really have no idea what we’re doing! So we gladly open our hands and hearts and say, “You teach these moms, Lord!” And He shows up and opens their eyes to see His Word in ways they comprehend. And yes, God gets all the glory!

Father, it is a joy to see you work in the lives of these moms. You show me You through their faith walk; You demonstrate how much you love these moms and their children. Thank you for this amazing privilege. To you alone be glory forever. Amen.

Say it boldly……the Most High is my refuge!

Psalm 91:1

 

Two nights ago I found myself on the freeway coming home from seeing my mom just as Focus on the Family came on the radio. Since it was Patriot Day, they featured a story of a survivor of 9/11.

Stanley Praimnath had an office on the eighty-second floor of one of the Twin Towers. That morning before coming to work he spent some time in prayer, but it seemed he had something heavy on his heart. He prayed for protection. He prayed, as usual, for his wife and children, but with a heavier heart that morning.

When he got to work he began receiving calls from various family members asking if he was okay. Sure I’m okay, he assured them, puzzled. He had no idea the first tower was  hit by an airplane. Not right away. Suddenly he realized he needed to get out of his building. He told a co-worker that they needed to head out of the building and go home. They entered the elevator and reached the ground floor and walked out the building when a security guard said all was well. Go back to work. Stan told his co-worker to go home–take the day off. She did. And never regretted it.

He walked back into the elevator. He rode back up to the eighty-second floor and got off. Not many minutes later his building shook and lights went off. He screamed for the Lord to bring someone to help him. The Lord did–Brian Clark. With a flashlight! Together they crawled out of the rubble from a plane having hit their building and walked down to the ground floor. But not before Stan asked the man to join him in prayer. Despite the fact that Brian thought Stan was crazy to take time to pray, they did.

Just as the two men made it safely across the street amid flying debris and shards of glass, the plane exploded causing the entire building to implode.

Only later did Stan go to Psalm 91:1 – 9/11 and read, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” He said, he knew because he believed and prayed before going down all those flights of stairs that his God was with he and Brian.

Yesterday I reread all of Psalm 91 and camped on verse 9.

“If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you; no disaster will come near your tent.”

The writer is committing his will; making a claim – If I claim that the Lord is my Most High God and I make Him my dwelling…..then God also makes a promise–no harm will overtake me; no disaster will come near my tent. If/then statement. IF I say and IF I make Him my God, THEN He does His part. To be clear…..God ALWAYS keeps His end of the bargain! He is known to protect and provide even when His people did not claim Him as their God! Even when they whined! (read Exodus)

Why did this phrase jump out at me? I’ve read this Psalm for years. This is another reason I love reading the Bible over and over–He shows me new messages in familiar passages. He makes all things new.

The Lord is showing me that we have to do our part; we have to believe that God is who He says He is. We have to make Him part of our lives–He doesn’t push Himself. We have to make, choose, commit, SAY He is my dwelling place. He is MY Most High God!

I have a deep peace in my spirit when I say He is my Most High because I KNOW He keeps His end of the promise! He will never leave nor ever forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Folks say they are for this sports team, this political party, this church group, this club. they are claiming allegiance to that group of people. I say I’m bi-churchal. I claim allegiance to two churches these days as we are sometimes in town and sometimes at our beach home, but we worship on the weekends somewhere no matter what.

The news may say folks were lucky. But we know better. So many people think or say, well, you were lucky or unlucky when Hurricane Harvey hit our region. Now. I have no idea why some got water in their homes and some did not. I don’t know why so I don’t ponder that. I leave that question in the Most High’s hands. The point is, friends, as we go about our days we make that proclamation out loud that the Lord God Almighty is the one who protects us. He is our dwelling place in all circumstances.

The more I say it, the bolder I am in my faith walk. And the enemy–the one who wants to enter my spirit and create doubt, discouragement, and despair, and who can do it well, has no foothold in my mind which is where the battle takes place.

Take a stand today and say “The Lord is my refuge, I will MAKE the Most High my dwelling.”

The Psalms of David are personal song poems to his Lord. We have permission to make them personal to us. So we boldly say out loud, the Lord is my refuge! Amen and amen!

Let us not give the enemy any room in our minds!

We may have escaped the flood waters; our home saved from the fires, or escaped the hurricane force winds. We can say thank you, Lord. Maybe the battle is depression, anxiety, grief or doubt; the loss of a loved one; financial issues; PTSD. There are a myriad of hard places we can be in our lives.

The Lord knows. Count on it. The Lord knew Stan was in a tough place. Stan called on his God. And God delivered him. Call on the Lord today and make Him known.

How He loves to be acknowledged that He is the one who is taking care of you; the One who brought you through the hard time. Not luck. Ever.

Now go out with His joy and be led forth in His peace.

It Matters Not the Size

“….Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40

She held up a onsie with a bordered pink lace tutu.

Just darlin’ we chimed in.onsie with tutu two

Our pastor prayed over the mountainous piles of donated clothes,

“Lord, bless each person who comes to get what his family needs.”

A faithful church member gathered us in a holy huddle

Before we left to make home deliveries.donations

“Lord, bless each life these ladies touch.

Watch over them with Your faithful love.”

Dirty hands and sweaty t-shirt;

Her genuine smile captured my heart.

We handed her a bag of bleach, masks, and trash bags;

A bunch of snacks and a bottle of water.

Our energetic ministry leader embraced her,cleaning supplies

whispering in her ear,

“God bless you, Sweet Child.”

Rows of turkey, ham or peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch bags

For the cleaning crew.

My new found Sister-in-Jesus prayed over the lunches

As the crew entered the building.

Lord, use these sack lunches to nourish

These precious brothers and sisters from out of town!

Thank you for bringing them here to help us!

Bless them!”

Retired from teaching but always a teacher,school supply room

She learns an abandoned school building is now home to the flooded school.

She was led to the new supply room to organize by Monday when school starts.

While sorting and shelving donations, she prayed;

“Lord, bless these wonderful teachers in this their new dwelling for the year.

Bless the children who now have a dry safe place to learn.”

My mentor friend and her husband mucked out homes til she was about to drop.mucking out a home one

Sweet single moms served hot meals to displaced families.

Yet.

My friend had family emergencies.

She prayed.

My mother, stuck in her second floor

apartment, hemmed in by flood waters, felt

useless. Until she prayed.women praying together four

A onsie or a word;

A meal or a prayer;

Manning the lunch table or driving a delivery truck;

All are needed;

Prayed over;

Blessed.

All in the name of Jesus.

Reflections on Hurricane Harvey

“…..weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

joy comes in the morningEvery place you sent me to be, You were there…..

At our home church with Dotty retrieving and checking on files of her special needs children.

On our street delivering oranges and waters to those who got water in their homes.

In a quiet little back roads community near Alvin delivering cleaning supplies, snacks and waters.

Every place you sent me to be you were there.

In the eyes of the woman who pointed to the dirty long box and said, “that’s my wedding dress. Guess I won’t be needing that anymore.” She and her sister and her husband were standing in a yard full of all her belongings and soggy sheetrock and flooring and mud and sweat. They were taking a break. It was hot and sticky and swarming with mosquitoes. We handed them some cleaning supplies,  waters and snacks, prayed and left a piece of our heart with them there on the corner of two flooded out streets in Alvin.

In the 3×5 cards with handwritten notes of encouragement from a third grade class in Atoka, OK! They were stacked on top of a box of donations they had brought to their teacher who sent it all to our coastal community church this week. The teacher said they get loss. In 2011 their tiny town was nearly destroyed by a tornado.

In the heart of a young lady who bared her soul to me while we drove to the hidden community near Alvin to deliver cleaning supplies to flooded out homes. She was tossed from one aunt to another growing up, each following a different faith from Jehovah’s Witness to Pentecostal to Baptist. You must have been confused, I remarked. Yep. I was, she responded. I suggested she read the book of John in the Bible and asked the Lord to reveal Truth to her. She is listening.delivering supplies to others

We are where God wants us to be.

With open heart and hands I ask Him, Lord, where do you want me today? And I go.

The cleanup will take weeks. May we here in this part of Texas continue to pray, be patient, and love. God will encourage our hearts and give us the strength we need.

home after the storm

It is a joy to pray for you!

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16women-talking-together

Similar to William Faulkner’s “streams of thought” style of writing many of his southern based novels, it seems my latest journal could just as easily be classified  as “streams of unfocused thoughts”. One page entitled “People who need jobs, Lord” lists six folks; a mix of moms, their adult children, my best friend of twenty plus years, and another friend’s son. I stumbled on this page while thumbing through my journal last night. As I reread the list, I recalled jotting down their names over the summer when each precious friend called to ask for prayer for them or their children to get a job very soon. (Securing a job is always an urgent request). Now, with great exhilaration, I wrote beside five of the six names – WORKING! Next to the sixth name I put – still looking.

As a mentor to four moms from our single mom ministry at church these past three years, it has been the joy of my heart to pray for them and then to witness God’s hand in their lives. But over this past summer the Lord showed me that He doesn’t always answer the way I wanted Him to answer.

Last January I made a solemn commitment to a friend that I would pray for her in her current job position every single day; we were praying for a job change, to be quite honest. She was in a place where her supervisor was not seeing my friend’s true potential or how hard she was working in other areas, even as she was documenting those favorable areas and trying to put her best foot forward. In the wisdom of our Depression era fathers, she did not resign her position. Instead, when the time came for her to search, she did with great abandon, and came up empty. At the end of the job searching time she returned to her position, as did her supervisor to hers.

This summer I had the privilege to be with my friend in her home town for about four days as she recuperated from a surgery. While there, over breakfast one morning, the Holy Spirit seemed to speak to my heart what my friend needed to hear.

“You know,” I said softly to her, leaning in, “you may be in this position to build some character in your supervisor. Maybe you being here in this position is not about you but about those around you. Perhaps the Lord is keeping you here to show Himself to the others in your realm of influence through you. What if this seeming unanswered prayer in our eyes is God gently letting you know He isn’t finished molding your character in this hard place?” She listened. She agreed. Her faith is deepening. Always grateful.

When God doesn’t answer the prayers of our heart the way we want (and what a small circle of vision we have!!) it is not a time for us to turn our back on Him, tempted as we are, but rather a time to say, with open hands, whatever you have in mind, Lord. You see the full tapestry of my life. I just see this tiny space with the little flashlight pointed at the ground just in front of me. You see way on out there; the other folks in my life; the new opportunities for reaching new folks coming into my life with your love.

What about the answers to prayers of the others on the list?

One mom resigned a position she had held for three years, but burned no bridges. Therefore, a colleague was able to highly recommend her to a gentleman in a related business and offered her a 50% higher salary than what she was making! She is well aware the whole transaction was ALL GOD!

Another mom on the list also didn’t burn any bridges. She waited all summer while God moved some other people such as a new principal in place who didn’t know this mom’s previous semester at the school as a student teacher. Her colleagues put in a very good word for her. She got the call shortly before school started to come on board as a third grade teacher! Her own children are right down the hall in first and fourth grades! Praise the Lord!

In witnessing all the stories this summer of God moving in the lives of these precious sisters in Christ, my own faith has deepened. I’ve learned that when asked to pray I pray. I don’t solve, fix, whine, or worry over the situation. I go back to the true word of God and say back to my Lord, you said you would provide. You said You will never leave or forsake these Your children. You know the end from the beginning and you know best what their individual needs are. So, I give you this prayer need and say “AMEN!” in agreement! You have my sister in Christ and you are already taking good care of her! Thank you!

Lord Jesus, it is a joy to pray for others and an even greater joy to witness your answers, resting in the knowledge that you know the best answer to each person’s needs. Help us all to remember how much you love us and desire to draw us closer to You in all aspects of our lives. In Your name, Lord, Amen.