Tag Archives: Trust

She Senses The Worth of Her Work

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She Senses The Worth of Her Work

I have aspired to these words because of the faithful example of my grandmother. 

I lived to know “love” like she did. 

Genuine, transparent and honest.

I lived to “do” as she did out of genuine love for others.

No matter their story, she gave, served and never doubted her commitment to the opportunity that God would provide. 

Available. Sensitive. Attentive.

I live to “live” like she did. 

Full. Free. Faithful.
By faith, with the Lord’s help and empowered by the “helper”, the Holy Spirit. 

She was the breath of God and that passion still breathes in me. 

She was opulent. She was a lover of life, a dreamer of big dreams and a faithful servant of God.

Why? 

Because God never does things half-way.

She was brave, strong-minded and invincible, with a whole lot of Scarlett O’Hara in her. 

She picked up the pieces in the midst of tragedy and built life kingdoms with love, grace, kindness and faith. 

My grandfather, her husband, would succumb to a heart attack at the age of 42. Gone too soon. She was resilient and has a push through attitude- There was not an option to quit but to thrive, not just survive!

Yet the steel resolve, life’s had chiseled in stone on my grandmother’s brow as her face told her story of hard things. 

YES! Hard things. 

She grew up a tobacco and watermelon farmer’s daughter. They lived on land inherited from my great-grandmother Emma Blanche Melvin. Her father, Larry Fisher married into a very wealthy, yet hard-working family and proceeded to the work of his hand- a 200 hundred acre farm alongside of his beloved.

Only two of their children survived their childhood. It was challenging but God was faithful to fill their small family with love,  mercy and commitment to giving to the greater good of others.

Sadness. Loss. Struggle. 

My grandmother would learn it all too well herself! She gave birth to my mother, Anne, and she would be her only child after many lost pregnancies.
I have never known such rich love and I have failed at much of the active part of faith spoken to and based on the “perfect” Proverbs 31 wife.

Yet I know grace, an unending love for my Savior and a commitment to give my life to loving and serving others in Jesus name.

So while I never expected unrealistic perfection from my grandmother I learned about grace from her. Grace given. Grace received. She owned her failure, sorrow, pain, offered up a sincere apology for any error and then picked herself up to blaze a new and good path forward. 

I LOVED, still love and admire her tenacity. No time to waste! She KNEW the worth of her work and she challenged me to live the same. She lived fully present despite being a widow until she died.

Passion. To dream big dreams. To obey every little unseen yet worthy sacrifice to see it to the end and to the best of my ability.

She taught me real things. Like how to make biscuits. My favorite place was standing on a short stool at the white and red metal table. Most every morning she cooked and I made biscuits. He morning routine included listening to the local news, weather and of course the obituaries on the old radio in her kitchen. I was offended shushed up so that she could hear. When she hears about a need, an unexpected loss, felt moved with compassion- we’d make more biscuits, fry some chicken, pack a box with it all and add some sweet tea. 

We’d pile in the car and deliver food made with love, wrap compassions arms around someone with great love and set the table, put ice in the glasses and make sure everyone was cared for. She  would say to me as we left every time, “We can only pray that the mourner’s sorrow would be made light with loves response.”

So, Mama Hales, this one is for you! I cannot imagine my life of faith without your tender heart and guided hand that faithfully taught me how to find my passion for doing good with my life and encouraged me to extend mercy and grace to everyone one small step at a time.

Heaven is better for you being there as I can imagine your strong demeanor and passion is bowed low before the Heavenly Father in worship. You are praying us forward and encouraging us to not lose heart. To keep the faith. To obey the Father. To never forget God’s love for us. To serve Him for all of our days.

Not one will ever likely tell of the your impact in your small world but I will remain faithful to every little thing that I am tasked to do- for YOUR glory and our good. 

So much to learn, so much to surrender and so much left to live- a beautiful legacy of faith that you have gifted us with and now we hold it all in our hearts until heaven.

“A good woman is hard to find,and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.

She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.

She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. 

She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfastfor her family and organizing her day. 

She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.

First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. 

She senses the worth of her work……and is in no hurry to call it quits for the day. 

She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking. 

She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor. 

She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear. 

She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks.

Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers. 

She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops. Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.

When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. 

She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,

and keeps them all busy and productive. 

Her child(ren) respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise.

“Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!” 

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.

Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!” 

Proverbs 31:25-3I

Finding Daily Quiet

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According to 1 Thessalonians 4, we are instructed to live a life that is pleasing to God. God has called us to holiness, and we have been given everything that we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. Holiness is defined as “sanctify”, to separate yourself from the world and to be dedicated to God. We dedicate ourselves to following Christ inside and out. Holy living, not perfection, grows out of personal fellowship with God.

“God is not a mere formality, it is not merely an external surrender, it is the yielding of the life in its deepest affections and in its highest powers to be ruled by Christ Jesus alone.” Ronald Dart

God is concerned with our daily walk, and with how we live the Christian life. God created man in His image because He longed for a relationship with us. Holiness is an honor and our commitment, so that is more than being nice, saying the right words, doing the right things, acting a certain way, living by a checklist of conduct, etc…. Holiness is the who we are when no one is looking and we are alone with our God. The doing what is right, even when no one really knows the total story. It is being at peace with God and resting in the surrender of “for Your will be done” and knowing that God knows and He is near. The proof of that settled time with the Lord, purposefully prioritized every day, will produce the outward manifestation of holiness. The fullness of who He is IN us as we have been set aside for holy use! He uses and works through our humility and brokenness.

Perfection is not the goal. We all inherited sin‘s nature when man fell. And on this journey of faith, there will be opportunities for the “perfect storm” to unsettle our sails and we fall. We will fail. Repent (turn back to God). Surrender. Confess. Grow. And in spite of sin’s nature within us, we will be used by God because that is how HIS grace works through the power of the Holy Spirit in and through us. He continues to love us, grow in us and shape us into the people He created us to be for his good pleasure.

God is calling us to the more of who and what He is and in every good and difficult place, we must consistently seek and pursue Him. In every still moment we are bound by covenant to acknowledge Him. And in every privilege and call to holiness, He will work all things for our good and His glory.

Let’s find the daily quiet together. We are encouraged in 1 Thessalonians 4:11a, “to aspire to live quietly. So, let’s do this thing by slowing our minds and hearts to find the quiet moments as an opportunity for more simple, yet full living. I promise, the rewriting of your time will be the best thing you can do each day.

Take the first step. Choose a verse to meditate on each day. Use the Four “L’s” to help you slow the pace and find the  answers you long for in your heart.

The Four “L’s”

Linger:

In the quiet, with humility, focus on the verse and LOOK for the answers to the need that you have and how the Lord wants your heart to see. Ling just a little longer than before…..

Listen:

In the quiet, with a rational mindset, clear the clutter. Lean in closer to HEAR the answers for the need that you have and how the Lord wants you to hear. Do not miss this time as God often whispers in our stillness.

Lift:

In the quiet, when life happens and anxieties desire is to stop any spiritual progress, LIFT UP the verse you are focused on and pray it back to the Lord. Cry out to Him as you give back the need that you have. God wants to carry this burden. His heart rejoices when we release and lift our heaviness, burden, fear, concerns, doubt, etc… back to Him.  So, you can let go. Really.

Live:

In the quiet, where God begins the working of all things together for good, begin the process of LIVING as an active participant in finding the answers to how God wants you to live out HIS holiness in your life. How will this verse change the steps that you take today? God longs to see His Word come alive in you, His beloved. One foot in front of the other….take courage in His promises.

Be assured, that God will meet with you. He is there in every moment of every day. His gaze is fixed on His creation and the role that we play in the work of His kingdom. It. Is. Written.

“….the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10-11

God’s grace abounds in His presence. This is the safe shelter and where we find the settled preparation for our soul’s life work…..in the multiplied quiet moments that fill our lives. His story continues as He moves and works in and through your life. It is a beautiful thing in this world. His. Will. Be. Done.

Linger. Listen. Lift. Live.

Linger. Listen. Lift. Live.
Design by Danielle Bolin

Ten Ways to Pray for Moore, Oklahoma and Send a Prayer Online!

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What do we do when our world is shaken? Life’s consequences that our beyond our control remind us to stop, reflect and pray. The questions arise and leave us wondering how can we help? Who would respond if but for God‘s grace this could have been me or you? The realization sinks in when we search deeper into our hearts, we truly know that there is nothing random with God and I am reminded of how we are to live and pray.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Ephesians 4:6

How do we start the next day knowing the pain and loss that have affected so many people? How do we tell our children? lead them? help them find hope? prepare them for life’s difficulties? We cannot just forget.  How must it feel to the ones involved in such devastation~ the despair as the isolation of natures wrath-filled captivity quickly launches a heart to be shocked, feel lost, alone, angry, overwhelmed, learning to breathe again and living only one small step at a time, one day at a time.

“Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God and a scourge for Satan.” ~John Bunyon

God’s Word leads us to do what we know TO DO: We will let our requests be made know to God! We have the gift of the Holy Spirit and direct access to the very throne of God……And yes, He is very near.

Ten Ways to Pray for Moore, Oklahoma

1. Keep Asking:

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:6-8

2. Pray Specifically:

And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers……..” 2 Corinthians 1:11

3. Pray in Faith:

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22

4. Pray aware:

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18

5. Pray About Everything:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

6. Pray in truth:

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

7. Pray Continually:

“….pray continually;” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

8. Pray in the Spirit:
Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit,and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand.” 1 Corinthians 14:15
9. Pray and Praise
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:13-14
10. Pray seeking:
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11
Pray for Moore, Oklahoma

Pray for Moore, Oklahoma
Children’s Ministry Deals

Never Give Up…

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1
We are praying Oklahoma and are reminded once again of the many devastating storms over the last 10 years of pain and loss in so many places around the United States. May our hearts continue to pray for all….always.
You can send a direct prayer to the children of Briarwood and Plaza Towers Elementary Schools by clicking on this link.

Send an online prayer to the kids of Briarwood and Plaza Towers Elementary Schools in Moore, Oklahoma.

Learning to Dance Brave

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“Fearful? Fear is always the first step of faith. Forward!” Ann Voskamp

“Whenever you are lost, forward is always the way Home.” Ann Voskamp

I am excited to share this Joy Journey with you!! But as sure as God is at work, the enemy is not far behind.

Yep. So, I took some quiet time away with the Lord today. In God’s sovereignty, I found myself reading the most wonderful passage in Hebrews 11, The Hall of Faith.

In my mind I walked and looked as if portraits of faith lined the walls of this journey.

By faith…..so many cherished men and women of faith led the way with their stories. And I reminded that, no matter what, by an act of faith, they were called by God and it most always led them into difficult places.

Today my heart was refocused for a new opportunity of faith: Learning to “Dance Happy” (Ann Voskamp) So, when fear not faith relentlessly pursues my mind and heart. When anxious thoughts long to consume me and shake my spirit. I have two choices: Fear or Faith

What things shake your faith? Push you to run into fear and anxious living? Are you hurled into an abyss and wonder how to escape? Do you (and I) worry about the things that never really happen? Or if they do, God rules by His Sovereign hand?

I would list my failed faith here but for best use of space, i surrender this time to a faithful God. The Way, the Truth and Life who completes my weakness and lifts my spirit to one of love, power, trust, dependance and grace upon grace!!

John Calvin said that the stability of the world depends on the rejoicing in Your (God’s) works.

I flounder at absorbing the fullness of God’s works!! Yet am smiling all inside at the thought of the Happy Dance and throwing anxiety and fear off the throne that I have empowered it to live !!

I continue on, intent on holding the line of faith that has been entrusted to me. NO MATTER WHAT!! And to replace the fear of the abyss with the will of God for my life that brings me such eternal joy. In every little daily thing, to pursue rejoicing over His works in my little life of faith!!

“I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more—Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . .

Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons.

We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.

Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised.

God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours” Hebrews 11:32-40

Friends, this is where the hall of faith does not end, but continues…..with you and I writing a faith-filled life story.. One little faith step at a time….for His glory!!

Today, my joy journal entry:
A Faithful God

And me……

I am learning with each new day how to Dance Brave!

Learning to Dance Brave

Learning to Dance Brave

I AM a God-Sized Dreamer

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One of my favorite books is The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. It is a beautiful picture of how calls to us to dream, work toward it, walk in it and then dream even bigger dreams. 

“The Dream Giver gave my Dream back to me. Now it is part of his Big Dream-and that means my Dream is a lot bigger than before.” The Dream Giver by Brice WIlkinson

I continue to hear God call to my heart that the bigger dream is coming. The dream that i am living is still alive and effective. I am faithfully believing God to grow and bless my blog into a place of love and encouragement for women and families in 2013.

I am just like ordinary in the book. In desperate need of a great God who takes plain, ordinary, simple me and transform my heart, passion, mission and service unto Him as great…..for His kingdom come and His will be done!!

“Ordinary knelt by the riverbank and wept with joy. The Dream Giver was more kind, more good, more wonderful and trustworthy than he had ever imagined.” The Dream Giver

Living Simply~Simply Living

Mel

Living Thanks with Bated Breath

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“In Your presence if fulness of joy.” Psalm 16:11 http://www.deniseinbloom.com

I am a self-proclaimed painfully transparent and verbose lover and follower of Jesus Christ. I am passionate 🙂 and you will likely not miss my input of thought and idea in any conversation. Certainly not a shock for anyone that knows me well. {We can discuss my failed strength at another time. I promise!}

Truthfully, words rarely fail me… I find great joy in speaking life into the hearts of those who seek out my heart for care. Humbling.

I honestly almost passed over this journal post based on the title. Sorry Ann Voskamp. I adore your ministry to my heart.

But read I must before closing the final window on my computer as I closed the work day. I know, I was drawn by the Holy Spirit to stop. Honestly, I clicked the X and began reading at the same time, thankful to the Lord that He rescued my needy heart for one more moment with Him.

I was immediately absorbed by the tenets written as dear to my heart. Longing as I continued longing for and discovering its deeper meaning…

My response….tears…..not just one but a cascade unleashed. So much so, that I stopped….then paused…..breathe, yes breathe, I kept reminding myself……but I found myself “with bated breath” while reading this Ann Voskamp’s journal post.

The under-used phrase “with bated breath”, refers to a state in which you almost stop breathing as a result of some strong emotion, such as terror or awe. In awe, I am brought into awareness the purpose for my pause, as I vaguely remember my grandmother tongue-in-cheek saying that phrase on more than on occasion, most often with much eye communication and wondering. Huh? However, today, I found heart resolve! http://www.worldwidewords.org

Things close in and near to my heart today…..have caught my breath and God allowed me a moment of pause “but for God’s grace”…..Sincerely.

The joy of gathering with family this past week in  Thanksgiving. The sudden loss of a young soul and injury to a young family member in the community that we serve. A distressed heart as it carries the burden for another…..makes not only my breath but my heartbeat faint….parents, siblings, family, friends, the sum total of the communal family…..loss, regret, forgiveness not from God~we get an all-forgiving God but forgiving oneself, wishing for one more day, moment, opportunity….

” All of life is messy. And there are no islands in the Kingdom of God.” Ann Voskamp

How do we know the pain of the “messy” without walking through the heart-break “messy” brings, holding on in the middle of “messy”,  caring beside of the “messy”, and upholding alongside from near or afar….

Through numbness learning to breathe again, trust again, waking up from the lost moments waiting, walking one step  at-a-time, through each day at-a-time, even if barely holding on….

Not a time for placating church words that offer little solace but with arms reaching out to hold the body of the grief-laden heart and soul just as God would.

Leading hearts toward hope renewed, finding a voice again, a message, the awkward newness of it all…..

Knowing where our trust must lie and the honest, yet real inner conflict in allowing that to truly happen. To release it unto a Sovereign God and know……

A young man, Ted, battling cancer, a group of Godly, loving men in support and Ted’s humble response to this “pause” in his life. “…..nothing can steal your joy unless you hand it over”.

And the more I read, the more I keep reminding myself to breathe…..I was yearning for more of this mans resolve of simple faith…. “with bated breath”!

“Thanksgiving is action de grace in French —  and after Thanksgiving comes Christmas and after grace comes action, and we don’t occasionally give thanks to feel good but we live thanks.” Ann Voskamp

My lungs begin the slow exhale as I neared the ending of this good “pause” for me. I was encouraged and challenged to stop and allow the final words to resonate on my heart at this days ending.

Not really sure if you needed this as much as I did today, but I invite you into the joy of my little “pause”….

Today, I was reminded anew, “This Thanksgiving that never ends,” no matter my “pause”, is the way of finding true daily joy in my life as I live out the “touching of others lives with tender actions of grace.”

I am so very grateful for every person in my life that has “paused” with me through the rough places and set tenets of faith in their tender grace-filled actions that I still hold dear as a model of Jesus Christ today.

Yes. That is how I long for my heart to be bent…..I desire for it to be my heartbeat…..grateful, joyous….to  carry others burdens through in the daily through “tender actions of grace”.

“When grace rescues you, then giving thanks is the responding action. When grace delivers you, then action defines you. When grace takes you in right where you are, then you act out your gratitude wherever you are. 365 days of the year.” Ann Voskamp

My quiet moment of prayer to the Lord as I close….
Lord, never let me go, keep me mindful of this “pause” for hearing with my heart; I long and wait “with bated breath” for every opportunity to live out “tender actions of grace” that you provide for me as I move and You lead me in Your will….. for Your glory…..for Your kingdom come!

Breathing…..
“…..nothing can steal my/our joy unless you/I hand it over”.

So be encouraged today beloved of God. We are His and He is Who we depend on when we face the challenging opportunities for “pauses” that bring growth and understanding to our hearts.

Thanks so much for sharing this journey of faith with me. Praying that this offering of  a “tender action of grace” will meet need and fill all that your heart can hold!!

You are loved….

Living Simply~Simply Living!

Mel

“We’re depending on God; He’s everything we need. What’s more, our hearts brim with joy since we’ve taken for our own His holy name. Love us, God, with all You’ve got — that’s what we’re depending on.” (Psalm 33:20-22 MSG)

Check out A Holy Experience! You will be better for it!
http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/11/how-beards-men-random-acts-of-kindness-can-change-the-world/