Monday, March 28, 2011

Litfuse Book Review

I was so excited to have been picked to receive and review Joanna Weaver's new release: Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God through Litfuse (go here to find out more about this blog book review site). Joanna Weaver (click on her name to learn more about her) is also offering the following items in a give-a-way if you go here:
  • A Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World
  • Having A Mary Spirit
  • Lazarus Awakening

This is my first blog book review and I am not sure i am doing it correctly but I am not new to Joann Weavers work! I have read Joanna's other books and even did some women's Bible studies with two of them: Having a Mary Spirit and Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. She quickly became one of my favorite authors in these studies. So here are some thoughts on this new release.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this new release...the Bible really doesn't say much about Lazarus compare to other biblical characters right? How can an author take a familiar story and write yet a third book from it and bring in new concepts? Seriously, readers...sit back and prepared to be captured mentally and spiritually in this one.

Joanna personalizes Lazarus story beautifully...thoughtfully...spiritually. I am most intrigued with the tomb concept (chapter five) that we put ourselves into due to strongholds, past experiences, hurts, habits, etc...those things that keep us from the intimacy of God we were created to have. I have to be honest here, I haven't finished the book. My book mark may currently sit in front of chapter eight but I need to do a little soul searching that will lead to a spiritual resurrection.

I am currently on over-load due to the conviction I have received from chapters five and six regarding tomb dwelling and rolling away the stone. I need to step back and reflect...meditate...change. I quote Joanna in chapter five...

"In a sense we're like the tormented man of Mark 5. We live in graveyards filled with memories. Wandering through life in a perpetual mourning over the things we have done and the things that have been done to us. We may do our best to outrun the mistakes and regrets, the hurts and disappointments, but apart from God, we find it difficult to escape the cycle of shame and self-hatred that keeps our 'sin...ever be fore us' (Ps 51:3). unfortunately, the coping mechanisms we embrace in order to manage out pain only reinforce the strongholds in our soul." (pp. 72)

This is a comfort zone for satan in our life...OUCH. But this stronghold is just like a tomb and God wants to open it and perform yet another miracle as He did with Lazarus. This tomb becomes a battle field of our soul and I think what stirred me the most were these words found through several more paragraphs:

"It's your reflection satan sees every time he looks at the heart of God...satan isn't nearly as concerned about losing you from his kingdom as he is committed to keeping you from beging effective in Gods kingdom...his one goal is to contain and restrain you". (pp. 72-73)

I know I have gone in and out of seasons where strongholds have had more control of my life, my way of thinking, my way of living. The stone to my tomb, my stronghold, tends to close back onto the freedom I have received from Christ shed blood. This closing occurs with those things Joanna addressed in chapter six: unworthiness, unforgiveness, and unbelief, and it usually occurs when I think I am most spiritually fit. It may be in a sermon addressing my great sin from my past...a verse from the Bible regarding the severity of that sin...a statement from another person referencing my great sin...and suddenly the voice of satan is there reminding me, accusing me, causing me to doubt God's forgiveness, mercy and grace.

Joanna points out that to remove those stones that close the tomb of our freedom requires a spiritually disciplined mind. This is something I am learning to practice daily though my quiet times, prayer times, and scripture memorization. But even in the best of times, satan can be ruthless in his attacks. So as I stated above, I need to rest and reflect before I proceed on in this least for tonight.

For many of us, moving the truth of God’s love from our heads to our hearts is a lifelong process. As we consider our inadequacies or grieve our shattered dreams, we find it difficult to believe that God cares for us personally.

In this life-giving book, Joanna Weaver shows you how to embrace the truth that Jesus loves you apart from anything you accomplish, apart from anything you bring. Just as He called Lazarus forth to new life, Jesus wants to free you to live fully in the light of His love, unbound from the graveclothes of fear, regret, and self-condemnation.

Just as Lazarus was instructed to "arise and go forth", this too is the message for us in this book. Through God's guidance and promptings, Joanna has out done the other two books in this series with Lazarus Awakening. Truly this is a must read for any one who is seeking the fullness of God in their life!!

Going Forth~Pamela

I received Lazarus Awakening as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Litfuse Publicity Group.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Family Fragrance of Respect

Scripture meditation/memory verse: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds...~Hebrews 10:24 (NIV).

We continue our Proverbs 31 Journey!! Last week we talked about the sweet aroma of affection as addressed by "Family Fragrance: Practical, Intentional Ways to Fill Your home with the Aroma of Love" written by J. Otis and Gail Ledbetter. Remember the acostic for AROMA?

You were challenged last week to incorporate some of the guidelines of affection given by the authors. If anything, I hope that you were encouraged to be more affectionate towards those you love. I can't be the only one who has unlovable days in our house-right?!?!?
This week we address thr "R" of aroma=RESPECT since the book re-view I have been selected to do has been delayed a few weeks.

As I write this series we have entered into the season of Lent. I know that normally for Lent you give up something for Christ but I felt encouraged to try and deliberately act out this sweet it affection, respect, order, merriment or affirmation instead of giving up something. My motive for doing this was to do it in the name of Christ and in honor of this season of honoring the journey He took to Calvary on our behalf. It's not about doing something that comes natural...its about doing something others would not necessary expect...but that Christ would be pleased with.

This weeks subject is a tough one in our home....RESPECT. Our authors define respect as "holding the other people in honor so they may recognize their own true worth". There has been plenty of pain, rejection, distrust & disappointments in our home. Devorice will do that. That is what satan wants when he destroys a families unity. RESPECT is one of the first things to leave the home.

"But the family fragrance is never more pleasant when each family member understands each others true worth. Each child contributes a personal ingredient that makes up the atmosphere of the home. If that unique value is doubted, or worse, stripped away, the entire family suffers."

A childs personal view of respect is tender and easily tampered with. Think of the child that comes home after being teased or degraded at school...the teenager who feels their space has been invaded when another sibling is wearing something that belongs to them and no one asked the other for permission to wear that item...or the parent who talks down or uses name-calling (ie: idiot, stupid, etc) about someone in leadership whose actions they do not agree with in front of the children...all issues where respect is destroyed.

Our authors then point out a concept that some parent seem to miss:

"Showing respect for children not only helps them develop manners and a habit of courtesy, it inhibits destructive self-criticism, and will result in respect given back to peers, parents or other....a parent can't expect to harvest respect until respect is first planted, practiced and nurtured in the home. When you make an effort to respect your children, your children will make the effort to respect other."

Planted...practiced...nurtured...our home is a playing field in which we can model respect in those situations we support and in those situations that try us. For example...

Sarah's school exam comes back with a poor do I respond? Am I immediately critical or do I respond with questions such as "did you do your best?" and if so then respond with postivie remarks that say "I am proud of you just the same"?
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. ~ Prov. 16:32 (NKJV)

If Libby is wearing Emma's boots that she intended to wear on that same day, do I scream for Libby to take them off or do I encourage the two siblings to talk through their feelings and the proper outcome?
Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. ~ Eph 5:21 (The Message)

The president promotes something we don't agree with? Do we verbally degrade him, call him names in front of the children or do we openly discuss the issue and explore the positive and negatives?

Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity." ~ Luke 6:37-38 (The Message)

Our children learn by what we give them. Our authors stated to intentionally impact our children our goal should be to inplant these two things: "to produce in our children respect for the balance of lifes up and downs" and "to produce in our children respect for other people and property by showing respect for them and their property". Sounds easy but we know in reality, it can be a hard subject to address!

Here are this weeks guidelines for us to concentrate on:

  1. Be generous with family honor in life's up and downs. When a child is entitled to honor or has earned it, the fact should not be overlooked. (ie: share it at the dinner table, hang the report card on the refrigerator!)
  2. Build up people around you, even those you disagree with.
  3. Confront your childs self-criticism with positive input-self criticism is different than self-evaluation. The first tears down, the second looks to build up.
  4. Respect your childs privacy. Give them a place in your home that is solely theirs. Don't invade it without their permission.
  5. Don't allow the fragrance of your home to be polluted with profanity (this would include TV shows).
  6. Be a parent of second changes. Forgive.
I especially like a parent of second chances. Maybe that is because I serve a God of second chances. I have needed plenty of those myself! A God of mercy and meekness...a mother of mercy and meekness?

"Second chances show that a parent has enough confidence in a child's character to trust he will see a task or situation through to a resolution. An unforgiving parent will impede the child's learning processes."

I know there is a fine line in this when a child makes a poor choice and discipline is involved. But respect should not be lost even in discipline. If Gods intentions for us is only that which would build us up, to prosper us, should we also make it our aim to do the same for our children, especially when they have crossed that line? Are we not to model the attitude of Christ in our home?

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. " ~ Jeremiah 29:11

We have to be intentional to change our home atmosphere if we have failed in this. Plant...Practice...Nuture...RESPECT. It starts with us, with our attitude, with our actions. Maybe your home is strong in this area but there are plenty of homes that fall short. Be especially attentive to this subject this week.

May your week be fragrant with the aroma of RESPECT!

Believing Him~Pamela

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Family Fragrance of Affection

Mediation/Memory Verse: But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. ~ 2 Cor. 2:14-15 (NIV)

I found this great book tucked away in my book case. I have had it for many years but, sad to say, had not read it. I am sure it was on my "list to read" at one time for me to have purchased it but obviously was meant for such a time as this. I plan to take today's message from this book. It is one out of a series of four put out by Heritage Builders. Its title: "Family Fragrance: Practical, Intentional Ways to Fill Your home with the Aroma of Love" written by J. Otis and Gail Ledbetter. It was originally published in 1998 which is the copy I have but was updated in 2009 (which is the book you see here).

When you read through Proverbs 31:10-31, can you imagine her home and the feeling she created in it? When your family walks through the doors of your home what do they feel? What do they sense? What do you want them to feel? When they leave your home do they want to come back? What kind of memories have been built in your home?

In this book the Ledbetter's identifies that the home should be used as "God's modeling studio creating a fragrance that draws them in and makes home a safe place... It is to be a creative place that exemplifies the love we have in Christ. It is a home that is consistent, reliable and predictable".

"and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. " ~ Eph 5:2

I imagined the Proverbs 31 woman creates a home that models John 14:27-a home of peace, untroubled and unafraid. A home built on faith:

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid."

The Ledbetter's define this aroma with five characteristic which I have listed below. I have found them to be so valuable that I wish I could give each characteristic its own week for review. However, I have been picked to do a blog book review the end of this month so I do not know if I can. Lets play it by ear and for this week address the first virtue:

Affection is the foundation of this AROMA acoustic. Our authors describe affection as:
"a consistent loving act of the will, openly and sometimes spontaneously displayed toward its recipients... As Christ modeled His love for us, if we live close to Him, our homes should mirror the power of that love. When that love has taken rook in the hearts of a family it is consistently manifested in an outward show called affection. Perhaps within the family unit we might say love is the noun and affection is the verb."

Intentionally we are to "distribute affection equally, but not necessarily identically, to each member of our family". You treat each family member according to their needs. You also intentionally "express [your] affection in such a way that it will take root and influence the behavior of [your] children". If you model a selfish attitude, they will learned that attitude. That would reflect a stench in the home and not a sweet aroma don't you think? On the reverse side of that thought...if you model a servant attitude, that will be picked up by your child.

Can you smell it? Can you see it? Can you hear it? Can you feel it? In a nutshell, we create the mood that makes a child want to linger in the home or to leave the home!

This chapter identified the following guidelines for the fragrance of affection:

Be sure that discipline of a child's bad behavior is not accompanied by withdrawal of your affection...never allow your child to equate your rejection of his behavior as a sign that you don't love him.

Model intentional affectionate acts in your home on a consistent basis...a child needs love the most when he is the most unlovable.

Model and teach an affectionate servants heart consistently in your home...if you want a house full of harmony, it is everyone's responsibility to learn to serve the others.

At every opportunity, say freely, "I'm sorry" and "Please for give me".

Model and teach an attitude of affectionate communication in your home...You'll communicate to them what you may never be able to explain in words.

Show your children how to keep personal priorities in order...doing this requires quality time with your child..quality time with your child only comes out of quantity time.

Always remember. each child does not have to be treated with the same kind of affection...learn how to show affection in the way a child understands and accepts it best.

If your home was to be painted into a picture, how would you describe it? Would it resemble a Thomas Kincaid or Norman Rockwell painting or would it be abstract, maybe a chaotic presentation at best?

"Affection at its best wishes neither to wound not to humiliate nor to domineer. " ~ C.S Lewis

God created the home to be a place to learn about love-to see it, fell it, taste it, smell it and hear it. So how are you doing? There are days where I want to scream and give up...blending a family can make this a difficult task but all things are possible through Him if we rely on Him. Just the other day I took off from work and decided to create a pleasing aroma in our house for the girls to come home to. The place was essentially spotless...cookies in the oven...christian music playing...and they walked in. The two youngest (ages 11 & 13) were excited to have me there and loved the cookies. My oldest (age 17) kept saying "what are you doing?" as if she was in shock and didn't know her mother could be like about a wake-up call. Time to shake it up!!

Family fragrance is not dreamy-eyed sentimentality. What we want our family members to feel when they pull into the driveway of our home is a reality so inviting, they can't wait to get inside.

That's what I want. I am going to some extremes to try and change the aroma in my home...starting with affection. This week, lets make this our work on being more affectionate, maybe not intentionally putting them into shock...or maybe (wink)? Reflect on those guidelines listed above. I encourage you to read the Ledbetters book to learn what they have behine the rest the the Aroma acoustic. Live them out and pray...pray hard for yourself to be a model of Christ, a beacon of His light in their world, His sweet aroma in your home. Be intentional.

Believing Him~Pamela

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Mothering and Discipline

Scripture meditation/memory for this week: In the fear of the LORD [she] has strong confidence and [her] children have a refuge. ~ Proverbs 14:26 (HCSB)

Last week I encouraged you to "read through the chapters in Proverbs and mark every verse that applies to motherhood and raising children. Record those verses that will counteract your impatience, your distractions, or your busyness that crowd out your ability to be the mom God intended you to be-a beacon of light as Christ is for you". So, did you try that? I took a pink pencil and have marked many verses...there is just so much. It would be easy to become discourage and note your failures but instead, I felt it light a fire under my drive to be more intentional as a mother for the sake of my children. These verses I marked screened discipline, our topic for this week.

As I was reading through the Proverbs, this verse really caught my attention on this day:
Discipline your children, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to their death. ~ Proverbs 19:18

Here's the tough question of the day...on a scale on 1-10, one representing "poor" and ten representing "perfect", how would you rate your disciplining skills with your children? I found it to be a much easier task when they were young but have had difficultly as a parent of teenagers. That verse above grabbed my heart as I read that last part "do not be a part to their death". Lack of disciple on my part leads to their demise?

I feel the writer is not referencing a physical death, though poor choices left unattended can lead to that, but instead, I feel the writer is referencing a "soul death"...a spiritual death. No doubt raising our children to love God, to want Him in their life is our greatest responsibility and maybe our greatest challenge. I so do not want that to be said of me as a mother that I was a "willing party to their death"! Read it in the New living translation:

Discipline your children while there is hope.
Otherwise you will ruin their lives. ~ Proverbs 19:18 (NLT)

There are a lot of stories out there of children who have failed in society and that failure being traced down to the parent. The result of a parents sins on their offspring is very real but you and I know that the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of God can change those generational effects. Si right now in this moment, lets instead address the "while there is hope...", the fact that there can be healing, there can be a change.

When is there hope? What is the time frame for that hope?
What if I have failed to be inconsistent in my discipline...can there still be hope?

Don’t fail to discipline your children.
They won’t die if you spank them.
Physical discipline
may well save them from death.
~ Prov 23:13-14 (NLT)

Discipline consist of training and teaching. It doesn't have to be a painful experience. It should results in growth or change. I have this wonderful book written over 100 years ago by H. Clay Trumbull "Hints on Child Training". Every new parent should read this before having kids. I wish I had it during that period of my life. Here are some of his words on training a child:

"It has been said that the essence of teaching is causing another to know. It may similarly be said that the essence of training is causing another to do. Teaching gives knowledge. Training gives skill. Teaching fills the mind. Training shapes the habits. Teaching brings to the child what he did not have before. Training enables a child to make use of that which is already his possession. We teach a child the meaning of words. We train a child in speaking and walking. We teach him the truths we have learned for ourselves. We train him in the habits of study, that he may be able to learn other truths for himself. Training and teaching must go together in the wise upbringing of any and every child. The one will fail of its own best end if it be not accompanied by the other." (pp 1-2)

Disciplining a child is hard and sometimes it hurts us more than they know or understand at that moment but it also speaks of our love. Discipline requires being consistent and that is where I have personally fallen short. Now that our house is full of teenagers, hormones, and attitudes, it makes it even tougher. Telling my 13 year old she can't go to that friends birthday party because she has a "D" on her midterm report really saddens me. I want her to be a part of that group but her grades are priority. Making one of our girls stay in for the weekend after she lied and made a poor choice, not so painful because I know we are protecting her.

If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself;
but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. ~ Proverbs 15:32 (NLT)

Discipline is an act or establishment of lifestyle. It is a habit we have to teach and train our children to. We discipline a child when they do wrong, but we also teach our children to be disciplined in an action which leads to some form of success. The disciplined athlete produces more points for his team=success. The disciplined student in his study is rewarded with scholarships=success. The disciplined child at home who performs her chores is rewarded with an allowance=success.

"Discipline helps children live up to their fill potential, their gifts, and their capabilities. It gives them a sense of confidence as they move into the future. Dreams more frequently come true for children who see that discipline consistently pays off." ~ Tim Kimmel, Raising Kids Who Turn Out right

Our children are growing up in the me-generation and having studied this, there is a lot they are capable of doing but only if discipline is incorporated. We fail our children if we do not stand up to the "its all about me" mind-set. They have to be able to set an alarm clock, to be on time, to complete a task, and to complete their homework as scheduled. Nothing irritates me more then when I hear one of our girls teacher stating they have a 5-day late rule before points are deducted!! Seriously?? We have to teach and train and discipline our children in order for them to survive in this world we live in.

Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust in the Lord will be joyful. ~ Proverbs 16:20 (NLT)

I think too often I have allowed my own failures to get in the way of my mothering. I have to admit I have allowed the lies of satan to pull me back from actions that would have benefited our girls. Satan is good at pointing out our mistakes and making us feel completely inadequate as a mother. Allowing attitudes, inappropriate tones or words, or wrong actions to slip by without acknowledgment has only hurt them. Maybe that is why God has laid it on my heart to do better for the "while there is hope" is suddenly very short. We need to make it our aim as a mother to implant this verse into their mind and heart:

Take hold of my instructions, don't let them go. Guard them, for them for they are the key to life. ~ Proverbs 4:13 (NLT)

As we continue on this Proverbs 31 Journey, I encourage you to continue to study Proverbs this month solely for the purposes of identify God's instructions related to discipline, training, and teaching. Make a chart with three columns. In the first column record the verse you have found. In the second column record the positive results these actions (discipline, teaching, training) produce. In the third column record the opposite result, the negative outcome that result when you do not have these actions. Then all week long, pray that God will open your eyes to those teachable moments and that you would have the ability to discipline, train, and teach in love..."while there is hope".

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. ~ Proverbs 13:24 (NLT)

Discipline no matter how you look at it is hard but discipline is love. Drawing from our mediation verse above, the Proverbs 31 Woman is one who fears the Lord which enables her to be a woman of discipline. Her fear of her Lord gives her the confidence she needs to live a disciplined life and she models this to her children. She knows how to train her children well. Because of this, they can find refuge in her and she will lead them to God. My prayer for us is that we will be more intentional in discipline.

My son, obey your father’s commands,
and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
Keep their words always in your heart.
Tie them around your neck.
When you walk, their counsel will lead you.
When you sleep, they will protect you.
When you wake up, they will advise you.
For their command is a lamp
and their instruction a light;
their corrective discipline
is the way to life. ~ Proverbs 6: 20-23

Believing Him~ Pamela

She Speaks Scholarship Contest

I am writing this post in an attempt to win a scholarship for the above conference. As I sit in front of my laptop remembering the summer of 2008 and my first trip to North Carolina to attend the She Speaks Conference, I am flooded with emotions. God's hand was all over that trip. I was only 3 years fresh from a "pit" experience I had gotten myself into. Spiritual and mental healing had not yet occurred for me. There was no way I could afford to go on our budget then but God provided me with a community scholarship at the college where I was a professor that covered it all! Each step on the way there and each step of our ministry journey since then has had His covering all over it!

I will never forget the emotions I went through as I left for this trip...this experience of healing and re-birth. I remember the stripping off of myself, my past, as the plane took off. I was scared, scared of what God had in store for me and scared of my past. I was determined to leave behind the old me. The event was phenomenal and I came back literally transformed. I came back home equipped and renewed...more confident of what God has called me too. You can read about it here. As the plane took off for home I wanted to shout "charge"...and charge forward is just what I was able to do.

O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?~Deuteronomy 3:24

Oh how I have enjoyed this morning re-visiting that event.
That year at She Speaks I did a variety of classes in the various tracks of She Writes, She Leads, She Speaks & Blogging. I wasn't sure that one track was for me and God blessed me in every one. What mighty servants of God each of these speakers are! However, Renee Swope's key message "In the Shadow of the Cross" was the pivotal point between my God and me. A new kind of surrender for myself, being the greatest among sinners, occurred. I continue to watch this message yearly from the CD I bought to remind me of the significance of that night...that calling.

When I tearfully got up from my knees under that wooden cross that evening, one of the P31 ladies handed me a card with a word and scripture verse on amazed me then (literally took my breath away as I read it) and continues to amaze me now:

The word: secure

The Scripture: "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders." ~Deuteronomy 33:12

And that was the beginning of a most amazing journey of security in my God. A perfect word and scripture for my life at that time. I have remained SECURE in Him as I have journeyed in ministry and in life. I carried that scripture card around with me everywhere as a reminder of His message to me. A little more than a year ago God whispered for me to give that scripture card to a lady in our church fighting cancer. She has cherished it as much as I did...that little card continues to journey into other hands today.

[The Servant of God says] The Lord God has given me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens me morning by morning, He wakens my ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught]. Isa 50:4 (Amplified)

God has been so good to me and has used me in some power ministries since then. Though I am not worthy, He has grown my heart and my spiritual discipline in new and amazing ways. But I have to let you know, satan has fought back hard...very hard.
And in those times, I have to remembered Gods call and I have learned to cling to His Word for strength.

I found myself in leadership following that conference in 2008, primarily woman's ministry and Bible study. It's been a beautiful time of serving Him but God has called us to a new church in the last few months.
It seems that God likes to place us in churches that are in need. He uses us to grow a ministry and and then ask us to move on. Though I do not understand this move (our youth ministry was the largest it has ever been and the community bible study I initiated was flourishing), I know I only want to be in His will.

I see that there is such a need for these women here in this new church we are attending. So, we, I, am waiting on His timing and His word for what He wants me to do here. My heart just pounds at the potential work!! I have hit rock bottom in the past and have tasted His mercy and grace. It was so good and it has caused me to want to serve Him fully and be an avenue in which others can experience His mercy and grace and learn to passionately love our God!

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities.
~Isa: 61:1-4

I feel a new need for renewed training to better equip me for this new journey. So I write these words trusting God in this. I know that She Speaks is more than just a Christian woman's conference. It is an avenue for transformation. It is an event that will equip you beyond what you can imagine. I know it-I have experienced it! It is an open door for His plan in your life.

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.~Rev. 3:8

The spirit of God is all over every component of this event. You will see Him, you will hear Him and you will fellowship with Him. He will work through you in some of the most amazing ways if you submit and are obedient and willing to follow His direction. I am at this crossroad again...waiting for His word, His sending....

Are you in need of meeting God and finding re-direction for His calling in your life? Is your hearts desire to serve Him fully? She Speaks is the next step. My passion in woman's ministry and leadership remains alive and I know there is more for me to do. He is opening a new door...I sense it. This conference holds some valuable keys for all of us.
God willing, I hope to see you there.

Believing Him~Pamela

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: A Sold Out Mother for God

Scripture meditation/memory verse: "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue" ~ Prov 31:26 (HCSB)

I love that verse. I so want it to be said of me..."she opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue" BUT on most days I am afraid my words have been far from wise and my instruction has been far from loving. The Proverbs 31 Woman was literally a mentor to her children.I didn't do so well this morning...

My 11 year old will not wear jeans if her life depended on it. She hates the feel of them...can you believe that!?!? So, all she wants is sweats during this cold season. This morning she put on a pair of caprices as the weather was a little warmer. When I saw her instead of encouraging her to put on something more suitable...I criticized her dress. Her face was sad in the car on the way to school this morning and my heart broke. The reality...she looked cute walking down the sidewalk to her school but I had broken her spirit. Like squirting tooth past out of its tubed it doesn't go back with our words. Believe me, I quickly apologized to her in a text message and also asked God's forgiveness.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. ~ Ps 19:14

Motherhood is hard...especially with teenagers I might add. Its down right frightening and I have wanted to give up more than once. But if I give up what happens to my girls?

Priscilla Shirer metaphorically writes about the Israelites 40 years in the wilderness to seasons of motherhood in her book One in a Million: Journey To Your Promised Land. As a mother have you ever felt like you were in a wilderness? Have you ever felt completely drained and humiliated by what you have not or could not accomplish in that blessed role you were given? Priscilla writes:
"Lets be honest: parts of the journey in motherhood are dry and dusty, but the tumbleweed blowing across the landscape of my daily, mundane demands has caused me to seek God with more fevor, to reach out to Him with more passion, to depend on Him with more consistency than ever before. Again and again I am humbled as I see my inability to handle daily demands, my bent toward impatience, my need for divine stamina to keep up."

Motherhood is humbling. I found this statement above so profound as I look at our role as a mother...our success truly centers around our dependence on Him. In and of ourself we are more guaranteed to fail. But in and of Gods help, we are promised a more cherished outcome of eternal significance-a promise land. To be dependent on God we have to be intentional and willing to even be transformed.

Is it possible to find contentment in motherhood? Is there a lot out there in this world to distract you in this role? Have some of you faced your biggest storms in life as a mother? I believe God is in me and I will see you and your child through this phase of your lives.

“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.” ~ Deut 33:12

I also believe He deliberately placed Matthew 11:28-30 in the bible especially for mothers who are worn out from it all...
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

And when all else around you, including yourself, is failing God is there and He will make a way for you:
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.~ 1 Peter 5:10 (NLT)

He will guide you:
He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. ~ Isa 40:11 (NLT)

I imagine that this women who opens her mouth with wisdom and lovenly instructs her children is sold out for God. Does it mean her child will geefully follow her footsteps and love God as she does? Will it guarantee her child will always be the most well behaved child with impeciable manners? Will her children always love her, even when she says "no"?

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~ Gal. 6:9

Maybe not. But a sold out mom for God cannot be missed by the children. they see it. They breath it. they live it and they learn it. And even if they were to walk away from your example, they are more apt to come back to it. I am a living example of this. My mom persisted in her faith no matter how much I or my siblings challenged her. She won. God won.

Those who fear the Lord are secure; He will be a refuge for their children. ~Prov. 14:26

The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. ~ Deut 30:6

Lysa Terkurest posted a blog "Conformed or Transformed" on a different topic in which you can read here but where she stated "The choice is mine. If I want to be a sold out somebody for God, I have to break away from the everybody crowd". This definitely applies here don't you think? We can choose to give up, we can choose to give in to the worldly model of a mom, or we can choose to to be the Proverbs 31 Mom, by the grace of God.

This week I encourage you to read through the chapters in Proverbs and mark every verse that applies to motherhood and raising children. Record those verses that will counteract your impatience, your distractions, or your busyness that crowd out your ability to be the mom God intended you to be-a beacon of light as Christ is for you.

Obviously, I wrote these words for myself...I hope if you are a mother or grandmother you find encouragement here for those tough days!

Believing Him~Pamela