Monday, November 24, 2014

Rescued - Redeemed - Restored

Those 3 little words have such enormous meaning, at least in my life!  Along the theme of the week,  Thanksgiving is a time to meditate and think about reasons to be thankful; being rescued, redeemed and restored is reason enough for my heart to overflow with gratitude.

Let's just mine the word, "rescued" for a moment.  Isn't it interesting that when we have an emergency of any sort... a fire, a medical crisis, etc. and the wonderful responders arrive, those folks who put their lives on the line for others...we are so grateful that we can't wait to thank them, to sing their praises, to let others around us know how thankful we are to have been rescued.

That's the way I feel about Jesus.  I was heading for hell (yes, harsh word but there it is); I was already in a life that was centered on self and that, my friends, was not a pretty sight!  Then I met Jesus, the ONE Who got bloodied, beaten, tortured, spit upon, mocked (I think you get the picture) for ME!!!!  And since He rescued me from a life of futility and an eternity apart from God, I am compelled to tell others about that act of love, done for me when I was (and still am) totally undeserving.  I want to love others the same way; I want to reach out to women and let them know they have already been rescued!  They just need to accept that gift.

How about "redeemed"?  Jesus delivered me out of my own self-made prison.  It cost God everything but was a free gift for me.  That is the simplest of ideas but so very hard to live out.  How can it be that simple?  But, that is exactly what happened.  Even though I continue to battle with sinful motives, ideas and attitudes, I am not habitually bound by them.  Through the working of the Holy Spirit in me, I am free to make choices that please God and certainly bring more joy to my life!

And finally, "restored".  Have any of you ever taken something broken, something you really loved, and brought it back to working condition?  Have you taken a piece of tarnished silver, polished it and then enjoyed its beauty?  That's what Jesus did/does for me!  I have many "dented" places in my past and my character was very "tarnished" in ways I don't even like to think about.  But through the love and grace of Jesus, I have been restored!

In fact, I have been restored to the place that God is using even me, of all people, to share His love and mercy and grace with others.  As a Christian speaker I LOVE to encourage other women to live out the purpose filled adventure God has waiting for them.  In God's eyes, we are worth it!

Back to the theme of gratitude and thankfulness: because I know what God has done for me through His Son, Jesus Christ, I desire to love others without conditions, without borders.  I Corinthians 13 has much to say about what love looks like from God's perspective.  (I would encourage you to read it.)  So my prayer today from my "Heaven Calling" devotional is this:  "Open my heart, Lord God, to love others as you have loved me".  Today and every day, that desire comes from a heart of gratitude.  Happy Thankful Day!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Another New Beginning

What is it about new beginnings, new ventures, new paths that is both exhilarating as well as anxiety producing? My very first post on my new blog site and who knows who will even read it? And yet, here I am, leaning into this process that so many have already accomplished so well and with such apparent ease. I wonder how they all make this look so easy?

Over the years, God has placed a passion in my heart to bring His hope to women; hope through learning His Word, through one-on-one mentoring, fellowship, the organization of special events leadership training etc. My heart became sold out for Jesus when I met Him in a women's Bible study many years ago and although I have dealt with sin, wrestled it to the ground, repented of it and every day stare sin in the face, through all of that God has wooed me with His love and given me purpose. Because I have experienced that joy first hand, I want my blog to reach women who wrestle and struggle and question and fall apart and get back up and wonder....where do I fit in God's great plan?

This blog site, newly formed and in an ongoing process of editing (much like God does with each of us!) is the result of a new call on my life. I have had opportunities to speak at retreats and events occasionally over the last 20 years and discovered great joy in the entire process. I LOVE how God brings the thoughts, messages and words to my mind, helps me get them on paper and then participates in the delivery of the message. He goes before me; He prepares the hearts of the women listening and He equips me, of all people, to share His Words.

Jeremiah 1:9 is a passage where I believe God is speaking to me and it says: "Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, 'Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.' (ESV)

As I struggled with and prayed about what to do with this passion for speaking, sharing and encouraging, the Holy Spirit revealed His leading in several ways: first, I had very positive feedback from others who have heard me speak; second, my husband, Charlie, strongly encouraged me to pursue this ministry; third, God made the way for me to hand over other ministry responsibilities at my church so I could make the time for this new direction; fourth, a wonderful conference opportunity opened up and I attended the Christian Communicators Conference at The Cove in NC last August where I had huge affirmation that I was to move forward; and fifth, I believe the Jeremiah 1:9 verse (above) cinched it all!

The various pages of my blog will provide information if you are looking for a speaker. (There will be more written about that part of my ministry soon.)  I pray my future blogs will be informative, encouraging and personal enough to encourage women to know that we all can be used by God, no matter where we have been in life.  This blog site is still "under construction" (just like me!) but it is time to move forward. Sometimes we just have to go for it, right?!