Wednesdays with Beth: Out of the Net pt. 2

Are you a netty woman?  Or do you just have some netty characteristics?  Check it out:  http://lifetoday.org/video/out-of-the-net-part-2

Photo found here using Google.

Wednesdays with Beth: Out of the Net

So.  We’ve finished The Law of Kindness and now Beth wants us to see the Lord as our rescuer who will pluck us Out of the Net.  Is there anybody out there who needs to know the Lord as her rescuer as much as I do?!  She started this series about a week ago and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store.  Check it out!

http://lifetoday.org/video/out-of-the-net-part-1

Image from http://www.lifetoday.org

Abide . . .

Pulling from one of my favorite authors/Christ followers/women of God today: Ann Voskamp.

Abide.  Because it’s never about your capabilities.  When you’re in covenant with Christ, it’s His responsibility to cover your cracks, to be all your competency and completeness.  Inabilities, in Christ are made all sufficient, just right abilities.  Abandon worries–wholly abide. ~Ann Voskamp

This woman is amazing.  For reals.  She is using her writing as ministry and has delivered me right into the hands of the Father where I can receive true and ultimate deliverance.  Her writing is a ministry that gets result for God, drawing people to God.  She has written a book called One Thousand Gifts, a book that I read from cover to cover and am looking forward to reading again and it is the  inspiration for my “My One Thousand” page on this here little blog.  She blogs at http://www.aholyexperience.com/ daily and if by chance you do not get a new post, the archives are enough to keep you for a few weeks!  When I click away from that site, I am encouraged, challenged and excited.  When you have a moment, drop by.  It will not be a waste of time.

So.  How do you abide?  This week I am choosing to abide through scripture memory.   Huni and I have a huge decision in front of us, a decision to follow Christ wholeheartedly with true abandon in a way that we have never done before.  While I know that there is no way that we can turn and look the other way, it is still quite a decision to face because with it comes all of the ways that I am still challenged in the level of trust I have in God and how much I believe Him, not just believe in Him, but actually believe Him.  So I’m abiding by meditating on Scripture.  This one:

“Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs. (Jonah 2:8 NIV)

This verse may not strike your fancy but in my space of abiding, every time I look at it (I have it taped to my microwave because I spend most of my day in the kitchen) I’m stilled and my mind is checked and renewed and I move deeper into that trust place.  And when the hum of the day provides the soundtrack to my busy-ness and eases my mind back into self-reliance and self-trust, I walk past that verse again and again my mind has to submit to the truth of the word of God, another opportunity to believe Him.  Another chance to ditch my comfort idol and thrust myself into the will of God knowing that what He offers is so much greater than this pithy comfort I cling onto.  And bit by bit, this HUGE, CrAzY idea is becoming more and more right and necessary.

So.  How do you abide?

Pondering the Ocean

I’ve been listening to and talking with many of my friends recently and it seems like we can all relate to “ocean seasons” in our lives.  With all of its vastness, mystery and beauty, life and our view of & relationship with God, can be so very overwhelming, much like the ocean.  Seems like the waves of challenge, pain, stretching, and strengthening come in so strong, so fierce and unrelenting.  Living day in and day out, we expect life to be a walk on the beach; comfortable, beautiful, wild, but only a very controlled and contained wildness, one that we expect and can predict the outcome thereof.  Oh, but how we limit our understanding of God’s power and our understanding of how He views us and the heights that we are capable of reaching in Him.

I mean, I totally get it though.  The ocean, like our walk with God can be so scary.  As soon as we venture out into the water–our relationship with God and all that it contains– and go in just deep enough, trusting God, just enough to call ourselves Christian and surrender just enough of our lives to say that He is Lord, the waves are stirred.  Often, they are manageable at first–transitions, losses, misunderstandings, challenges . . .  the waves that hit at the back of the knee and rock us forward.  We regain our footing knowing that we needn’t resist because there will be more waves and we want to conquer, we want to be successful and pass the test.

Seems like just as I dig my heels into the sand and prepare myself to stand against the next wave, it comes indeed, and takes me under.  And then comes another.  It’s as if wave after wave rushes over me, taking me down head first, swirling me around beneath the deep, dark blue and as soon as I scramble my way to the top, cough up all of the salty water from my lungs and nose, breathe enough air to confirm that I am still alive and this wave, much to my dismay, did not claim my life, I am pulled under again, stronger and longer than before.

God desires that I fully rely on Him.

I hear you Lord, sweet and strong, even as the waves roar and crash violently, I hear it loud:

1-4 But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.  Isaiah 43:1-4 (The Message, emphasis mine)

It’s my perspective checker, pleading with me to take these truths into my heart and mind, receive them, believe them and walk in them.  Walk in Him– in His strength and power, not in my own.  It’s a common theme, but I’ve got to grasp it.  Not my understanding but yours, Lord.  Not my way, but yours, not my will, but thine father God.  So I move a little farther out into the ocean even though my fears, and some of the people around me have told me that it would be wise to get out, do life my way, use my common sense.

No.

I’m following your spirit.

I’m going deeper.

And as soon as I trust you to take me deeper, farther, further, I discover that I am perfectly positioned so that the strength of the wave does not take me under.  I am deep enough and far enough out into faith that I have no other choice but to trust you.  The land is too far ahead of me and I cannot see the ocean floor beneath me.  I must trust.  And as soon as I do, I discover that what used to take me under only rocks me a bit now.

So I go deeper in you, at your leading.

And now, I can lie down and rest in you.  Do, as Lisa calls, a God float. I’ll move according to your spirit now.  I’ll no longer strive to control, but by your spirit I will have all the self control I need to just trust you and rest in you.  Here, in this place old truths feel like new all over again; yes, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Philippians 4:13)

And I’ll go deeper still.

6-10We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text:

No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.
But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.

10-13The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way. (1 Corinthians 2:6-13, The Message, emphasis mine)

Can any of you relate to me on this?  Anybody having an ocean season out there?  If you’ve been through one and are coming out, share the beauty and glory of that deeper place in God with us!

Photo from windows2universe.org

Wednesdays with Beth: The Law of Kindness

Because you ever open your mouth to make the least utterance, you need to understand and know the law of kindness.  Whoa.

Beth Moore is on Life Today talking about The Law of Kindness and in just this first video I was both convicted and captivated.  Upon seeing the title, I wasn’t too hype about hearing her message.  I loves me some Beth Moore because her teaching is just so revelatory and passionately draws me to my Savior but a message on kindness felt, well, simple.  Honey chile let me tell you!  Simple it is not!!

You’ve gotta see it for yourself, but she talked about how we are ALL published authors even without ever having made a dime for our work thanks to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, emails, and so on.  But we are, in essence, the worse sort of writers; writers without editors.  We say what we want, how we want, as often as we want and to whomever will entertain it and if we do not act in step with the Holy Spirit we can cause so much damage and harm.

She went on further to say, “It takes supernatural power to remain kind in the mean world we live in.”  And I know this is true.

Confession:  I had a run in with the mail lady this week. (huff sigh, slowly rubbing temples with fingertips)

My mail lady is just plain old mean.  She really is.  She drives her mail truck like a NASCAR professional and she takes little care for whomever may be on her terrain.  She almost hit my sister and her fiance as they were crossing the street because they weren’t crossing quickly enough.  And she has a vendetta for garbage cans.  If she rolls up to deposit the mail and there is a trashcan in the way, she runs over it with her truck or she physically takes her hands and pushes it out of her way, as she passes by in her truck.

Craziness.

The worst day is trash day.  On trash day,after emptying the cans, the trashmen leave trashcans wherever they may land; if it’s in your yard, score!, if it’s in the road, poor.  So, on trash day this week, I was going out to move my trashcans but I didn’t get there quickly enough.  As I was moving my cans, for reals, my hands were on the handle, she ran into my trashcan.  People.  My hands were on the can and she STILL hit it!!!  I was in shock and disbelief!!  For reals.  I was stunned that she hit the can while I was standing right there with it.  Then, she sat there and waited for me to move but I couldn’t because the can was trapped between the driveway and her truck!!!  And even though I was FUMING I still came up with enough respect to call her ma’am as I tried to reason with her, (with, I’ll admit, a bit of ‘tude), that I can’t guarantee that the trashmen won’t leave my can in the road each week as they typically do to me and all of my neighbors.  She relented not.  Instead she went on to tell me where I should put my trashcan so that it won’t be in her way next time.  Frustrated, I said okay and walked away to the sound of her truck screeching down the street to the next mailbox, only ten feet away.

Pride says I should have told her “akdafljsdhfuoeyrat;jdnf;asdfua;weouirwo;,!!!!!”

Conviction says I should have been nicer.

“We never resemble our Father more than when we love someone who is hard to love.” –Beth Moore

Kindness is a challenge.  Lord help!!

Check it out:  http://lifetoday.org/video/the-law-of-kindness-part-1

His Work, Our Hands

God is always moving.  And He’s often trying to move me.

Lately I’ve been sensing this incredible pull to more ministry, in fact a complete change of lifestyle and a shift so that my life is centered around ministering to His people, third to my relationship with Him and my family.  Here’s how it happened:

Huni has always had a desire to work in full time ministry but in very specific ways.  A few months ago he spoke to me about us making a drastic decision which would plunge us right into it.  Time went by and we didn’t really talk much about it.  You know how it goes, life gets in the way: things to be done, comfort sought after a long day and then you wake up the next day and do it all over again.

But the Lord wanted to make sure that we were tuned in and listening.

Well, I went to the home of a phenomenal woman and she, along with her husband and children, have planted themselves in a low income community, even though they could afford to live almost anywhere, in order to be a light for Christ and live alongside the people and offer themselves to the people, in order to give them hope and practical steps to a brighter future.  I was so inspired as I listened to her talk about what it’s been like to live there and how her life as well as the lives of her children have been greatly blessed as they bless others.

After I left her home, a spark was lit inside of me.  Really.  I couldn’t get into my car fast enough before I was calling Huni and telling him all about the conversation and how our family unit needed to get focused, be in prayer and figure out how the Lord wanted to use us.

As soon as I opened myself up to the possibility that there could be more, there should be more, there were rolling hills of confirmation waiting to take me for a ride.

I am so excited to be used by God but, oh so afraid.  Frans, (that’s “friends,” but my cousin Chris pronounces it this way and I kinda like it :0) Frans, I like my comfort.  Wooooo!  For reals!! I seek it out, I watch for it, I protect it, I guard it with my life!  But I know that by doing this, I leave little room for the Lord to be my God of all comforts, as He says He is.

So, here I am.  At this place where I am happily content with my life and where it can go but still there’s enough room in my heart for dissatisfaction so that God may to speak into me and tell me about the ways that He may want to use me, push me, stretch me for His glory and for the sake of His people.  In truth, I really shouldn’t be so comfortable when there are so many hopeless and hurting people all around me.

I wonder is He trying to move you?  Is He trying to get your attention to tell you that the everyday mundane that you comfortably accept day in and day out is less than His best for you?  Are you willing to allow Him to show you what’s behind door number one?  You never know.  You might prefer to take what you can see, but behind door number one, His good and perfect will for your life, could be the life you’ve been waiting for, with thrills for a lifetime and peace enough to calm all your fears, with provision secured for all your needs.  I strongly encourage you to pray and ask Him what He’d like to do with you and then pray for the courage to follow.  We have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to rock this world!!  But first we’ve gotta have the heart and selflessness to fully stand on the Rock and the Rock alone, trusting that whatever He offers is better than anything else.

Marriage Letters: On Outside Influences

Huni,

Outside influences.  This is a good one.  Well, you took away my cable.  All the good influences are now so far from me . . . I can’t hear from them like I used to . . .Kardashians, Braxtons, Ice -T and Coco . . .  :0)     joking . . . tee hee hee . . .  :0D

I’m thinking of the sweet comment you made this past Saturday about one of your closest friends, wishing that he and his wife lived closer.  I wish they lived closer too.

I’m thinking of another of your close friends who has moved away and how I saw you grow and change as the two of you grew even closer while he was here.  I’ll miss him and his wife when they have completely transitioned to their new city.

I’m thinking of the couples with whom we spend our Thursday nights, the older couples in our life and other friends who form a circle around us and cover us with their love, encouragement and prayer.  The Lord has been so good to us, blessing us with people who love us, enjoy spending time with us, pour into us and are honest with us.  We have manifestations of Proverbs 27:17  all around.  And we are sharper.

As we’re being thoughtful and prayerful about this next transition in our lives, it’s important that we have relationships with people we can trust, with whom we can share what the Lord is doing in our lives and in our hearts.  There are so many outside influences clamoring to taint our bond, so we have to cling to Christ and be open to the people He gives us and the ways He chooses to love us and guide us through them.

We are a reflection of each other and our support groups are a reflection of who we want to be and what we can become.  If we want to be great, we have to surround ourselves with greatness.  Influence is a choice, but the people and objects that influence us can be subtle and therefore blur our ability to determine when something has changed the way we think or relate.  We need to be careful and protect our hearts and minds through prayer and the word.  If our marriage is a ministry, and through it the Lord can reach people, change and save their lives, we need to be driven closer to Him and closer to each other so that we can show up for Him and be effective.

I’m so grateful for who you are and the kind of people you attract.  We have a beautiful life partly because of the beautiful people in it.

Loving loving you,

pamela t.

This concludes the marriage letters for now.  Please visit http://therunamuck.com/2012/04/29/marriage-letters-on-outside-influences/  to read more letters.  The letter written by Amber today was just plain good.  Seriously.  A must read.

Sisters Praying

So, usually on Wednesdays I write a bit about what Beth Moore is teaching.  Thus far I’ve focused on her series on the family which has been aired on Life Today with James and Betty Robison for the past couple of months.  There was no new part of that series played today, in fact Beth Moore wasn’t on Life Today, today.  So, I wanted to take this time to see if there were any out there who need prayer on behalf of their family?

If I can be honest, but delicate (because some of them may read this and I don’t want to embarrass or shame anyone–at all), I’d like to expose myself a little bit.   If you could know anything about me, you’d think I have it pretty together, not perfect by any means, but a pretty solid chick.  You’d never guess how much I have to overcome daily and how much I have already overcome through God’s grace and love alone.  Why?  My family of origin is quite dysfunctional, broken and in great need of redemption.

It pains me deeply when I think about all of the things my family is ridden with–alcoholism, infidelity,  jealousy, low self-image, domestic violence, drug abuse, pridefulness, lack, depression, illness, adultery, fatherlessness, and the list goes on and on and on.  It makes me very sad because these are people that I care about and who mean a great deal to me, but also because there is a such thing as generational curses and I am having to fight these demons off of me and my children so that the vicious cycle doesn’t repeat itself and satan have his way.  No.  So I pray for my family and I attach the word to them, name by name and one by one.  It starts to get over my head a bit at times and feels like too much to handle, but I have a Father who holds my whole world in His hands.  Surely He can work miracles in my family.

Perhaps there are others out there who’s family can use a little prayer?  If it’s your family or the family of someone you know, I’d love to pray for you & yours and invite you to pray for me & mine.  Please leave your prayer requests in the comments and pray for the person who commented before you.  I’ll personally pray for each prayer request left here, with pleasure.

The family is soil, fertile and rich, ready to receive good seed and a able to produce a wealthy harvest.  It is a training ground for great people to be formed and, often, the roots of  how people develop the type of relational styles they use to engage others everyday.  In families right now, both brilliant people and broken people are being formed.  God desires to reign in homes and families all over the world.  So does satan.  People get ready.  It’s time to pray.

Marriage Letters: I Trust You Because . . .

Huni,

I trust you.  And trusting is so hard for me to do.  Me?  Trusting anyone or anything?  Me, the one who’s been so dangerously betrayed by those who were supposed to be trustworthy.  The little girl in me always remembers that and she begs me to protect myself and trust no one.  I have had to fight fear and try so hard to receive your good and know that you are safe and it’s been a fight.  A struggle.  But I do trust you.  Or I, at least, am trying to because I know that it is important for our marriage and my growth, (and your growth, for that matter) and I try to live believing that you are trustworthy.

The first glimpse of just how trustworthy you are came after a series of Impact retreats and conferences.  I remember telling you that I appreciated how your character remained the same; when everyone was watching, and when it seemed that no one was watching (because I was watching . . .more than I care to admit :0)  I knew then that I could trust you to be yourself.  And that this cool guy with a heart for the Lord and great character, was truly that . . . and more.

That palpable sense of trust covered me still when, through our dating relationship, you showed me yourself, your family, your God, your heart, your love.  Emmanuel, you surrounded me, every time you got the chance, physically and emotionally.

And here we are, almost seven years into our marriage, but ten years of walking together, striving to know the other, striving to truly love one another and make each other happy and I know it, strong and sure:  you are trustworthy.  I’m thinking about how you let me lay all of my fear, shame, sin and ugliness before you and instead of judging me, you loved me and became angry for me, seeking a way to protect me from further hurt and harm.

So when I act like I don’t trust you, please continue to be patient with me and continue to love me through it.  This trust thing is a huge plunge for me.  At times it glides and at times skids, rough and rocky.  The opportunity to trust you is hardly about you, but more about all that that moment represents.  You think, “Pam, you know me.  You can trust me.”  I think, “You’re asking me to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and I don’t even exercise on a regular basis.”  Huni, I do know you.  You are the sweetest person I know.  I know you want good for me and you mean good for me and I want to allow those truths to blanket me and make me feel safe.  Because that’s trust’s right hand man–safety.  I’m the one in this situation who needs to work harder for the trust to flow better.

As I grow to show you how much I love you and trust you, I try to remind myself that it’s safe because your love for me is another way that God shows me that He loves me.  And I want to give you the same grace.  I want to lavish you in the freedom of knowing that I trust you to make good decisions for the health and benefit of the girls and me.  I want my love and trust for you to make you feel strong, confident and capable in the world, daily, because I know that God desires to use me to show you just how much He loves you and what He thinks of you.  What a privilege and a high calling to trust you and to represent Christ in loving you.  He loves you best, but He must think a great deal of me to give me the charge of loving a man like you.  I know that as I lean into Him and rely on Him, loving you and trusting you in a way that He desires will accomplish all that I hope for you, and greater, all that He has in store for you.

I love you E.T.

pamela t.

If you haven’t joined me yet, please consider writing your spouse a marriage letter.  This experience has been rich for me, to ponder these things, to share my ponderings with my husband and plant seeds on behalf of my marriage.  I’ve also enjoyed reading the letters of others and being encouraged at the glimpse of the way other marriages work.  Visit:  http://therunamuck.com/2012/04/15/marriage-letters-i-trust-you-because/  to see what I mean.