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.

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.

 

 

 

Even in this season….walk close to your Lord

walking with the Lord

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV

June 6, 2014 – the last day of teaching. The first day of a new season. Most Americans call this season retirement. I’ve been guilty of calling it that, too. Guilty because I used to say that I couldn’t find that word or anything related to it in Scripture until I went on a small Google search. There it was – retire. Moses, directed by the Lord, told the Levites that they were required to retire from their labor at the age of fifty, at which time they would assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting. (Numbers 8:23-26). http://www.christianretirement.com/content.

It’s now 2017. So hard to believe how quickly this season is passing! Seize the day! The moment! The very next breath! Why is it going so fast? Did the past twenty-nine years in the teaching field go this fast? Well, raising two sons has certainly whizzed by. I hardly remember their grade school years!

And the past thirty one years of marriage has moved at break neck speed. The vacations together; the few “come to meeting Jesus” moments create some markers in my mind. The everyday getting up out of bed to make his coffee and my tea; our hugs in the dark of night; those moments have melded into one comfortable blur.

The intent of this new season of not teaching was to have written pieces for this blog and to complete the story of the role my spiritual mom played in my life. After struggling over that project for nearly all of these years, I finally wrote her story and sent it to a magazine for their consideration. You cannot possibly imagine the freedom I felt when I pushed “Submit.” There. That project is done. No more. The memories of Doris and the legacy she left me lingers on but putting the few years of our lives together on paper is complete. And we move on.

Back to this blog. The teacher in me comes out in times like these – you have to have a plan; a direction. The purpose has been and will continue to be to bring encouragement and hope to other women who seek to walk closely with the Lord in the dailyness of their lives. The plan is to share a scripture truth that can be applied to one’s life so that you the reader will know how alive and sharp the Word of God is and needs to be in our lives.

Submitting the story about Doris cattle-prodded me in to this chair in my Diva Den! I want to push “Submit” again! And again!

Blog entries will continue! More often you’ll see a story pop up on this site. Thank you, faithful reader, for continuing to seek out my blog page. Hopefully it will not disappoint.

The word for today is to let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts and be thankful; let the message of Christ dwell among you; and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:15-17.)walk with Jesus

Go out with Joy today! Be led forth in his peace! Isaiah 55:12

Conversation on the Porch

 

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” John 14:6 NASB

You wouldn’t believe the story of my lifelong friend’s family if I laid bare all the facts out in front of you as a case in the court of law. How could anyone’s sister be so twisted as to leave their elderly mother in a small town nursing home to wither away, causing the coroner’s report to read “failure to thrive,” all the while, spending her mother’s designated trust fund money for her last days on her own raucous living? Her sister kept it quiet all these years. Sallie never realized the truth until after her mother had recently passed away.

I struggled to comprehend Sallie’s family history even into our forty plus year friendship until the last day of my week long visit with her in her home in a neighboring state.

“Acts 12 has become my favorite chapter lately,” Sallie told me in her familiar confident, dramatic tone. We were in our usual places on her front porch, which faced the mountain range, watching the birds flitting around the multitude of feeders, while sitting in the white plastic lawn chairs early in the morning. I turned to the chapter in my Bible as she scrolled to the passage on her phone. “See,” she said when I got to the part in Peter’s story that spoke to her, “the church prayed…… how does your Bible read? Earnestly? Mine says fervently. That means with great passion they prayed for Peter’s release from prison. That just gets to me how we as a church need to be more passionate in our prayers for missionaries and our own church staff.”IMG_20150719_151149

Reading further in the story, I noticed something wholly new in verse eleven: “Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” (Acts 12:11)

“Sallie,” I said, “I just saw this. Peter had to leave his people. His Jewish people. His family. His church/synagogue. His lifestyle to be something new, a Believer in the risen Christ.  That was a life change!” Sallie stared a me. “You’re right,” she whispered, suddenly seeing it too. Dianne, that’s what happened to me. I had to leave my crazy family behind to follow Christ. My family is my church family now. My ladies group on Friday nights. The people who come through my door on their way in to worship.” She thought about it. Yes, just as Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26). “Some family are easier to leave behind than others,” she mused.

Peter was rescued. You are too–from errors, evil, and enemies. He wants to give you Himself. Sallie’s family is her church family. She grieves over some of her family members choosing a lifestyle not in line with the truth. She prays for them, keeps a window of her soul open to them in case they want to see her and hear of the Lord’s love for them, but in the dailiness of life, she has moved on. And she’s the better for it.

Tough? You bet it is. Ask Nabeel Qureshi, the young Pakistani-American who chose the truths of the Bible over the errors of the Quran, which led to his parents asking him to leave their devout Muslim home, for good. He has said, “I left Islam because I studied Muhammad’s life. I accepted the Gospel because I studied Jesus’ life.”

Thankfully, not all families are ones to leave behind. There are those wonderful parents who love and obey Jesus and walk the talk of the Christ-filled life. But. If you have those in your family who are keeping you from growing in Him, ask the Lord to strengthen you to choose Him and walk with Him fully.

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

Beauty for ashes

…….to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness of instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.” Isaiah 61:2.3

True Life: Our beach home was brought to life when two young boys and their older sister bounded into the den followed by their mom lugging the bag of beach towels and snacks. My husband and I were delighted to have them spend a weekend with us playing on the beach followed by a simple supper of kids’ food – spaghetti and meat balls that evening.

As the boys were being entertained by my husband downstairs in the garage and their sister was in the bedroom listening to her i-pod, mom was sharing with me a little of her life story. “I wouldn’t be here today if my wise church lady friend hadn’t told me to get into my Bible and claim a verse, and make that my scripture for life. I was to lean into it when things got very messy; to go to it daily and to believe it. The Lord gave me Isaiah 61: 2. He will bring me beauty for ashes. And Dianne, He has. I cannot tell you how many answers to prayer; the healing that is going on with my children; His provision over and over. That truck for our son that was GIVEN to us! He is bringing the beauty from all the muck of the mess my ex-husband made in our lives. He, the Lord is right with us!”

I stopped what I was doing in our kitchen and just looked at her, tears welling up in my eyes. She was truly radiating God’s presence within her. She was a living example of the blessings of God and His hand in a precious life who went to the Word and sought after Him. She didn’t run to anyone or anything but Him.

The Lord gave me a song to cling to back in the day of rejection in my former marriage. Through the simple lyrics of “I am loved,” He was reminding me that yes, He the Lord loved me, even through the pain. During the separation and following, He brought a sassy wise church lady into my life and led me back to the deeper places of the Word, always reminding me that I was loved.

https://youtu.be/jfMm6cHPjzE

True Word:  In my pain and rejection I sought the Lord and He heard me and brought me out of the despair.”  Psalm 77:2. This Psalm of David reveals a time of deep soul-searching in David’s life. Faith is hard to grasp but faith can find a solution, which is in the sanctuary. God always hears when a soul-seeker comes to Him. Meditate on all that Lord has done for you, His mighty deeds and give Him praise. He promises to draw you close when you seek to draw close to Him. His faithfulness never fails.

True Hope: To those who may not have been led to a “wise church lady” in your hurting rejection days, here is the word; run to Jesus. Run into the Word made flesh and ask Him to cover you with His presence; to lead you to the verse for you. He will. He promises that He will. It is also my personal hope that more churches all over the country will open their hearts to the single moms in their community. We mentor moms with Moms@Midweek welcome any mom who comes through the door on Wednesday nights between six and eight with a light meal, fellowship and solid teaching from God’s Word. You may find us at www.hnw.org/women. mom-at-beach

Prayer for this day: Lord Jesus, life is hard. You know that. You also hear. You see. May we seek your face daily and lean into your promises and watch you work in our lives, as we surrender to you. Your word never fails. You, Almighty God, never fail. May we never forget to draw close to you. In your name, Amen.