Ordinary People

An ordinary people… that’s what I am.

*WARNING: transparent post ahead*

Todd and I were talking this morning, about many things … well, about everything, really. It is one of my most favorite things to do… to just sit in the stillness of the morning and spend time with one another discussing life.

One of the things that has been on my mind lately is my little side hustle with Young Living. To be honest, I truly don’t like referring to it as ‘my side hustle’ because it has become a lifestyle for me. Actually, it’s not even a lifestyle but rather a large part of my life. I have incorporated this wellness lifestyle into my life journey so much so that it is just the ‘norm’ for me and my hubby.

Having said that, one of the thoughts that has plagued me recently is that there are so many ‘oilers’ I’m connect to or follow that are doing so well building their businesses, and it just seems effortless for them. (‘Seems’ being the key word.) Many are already well-known bloggers or influencers who already have such a large following that it appears to be so easy for them to reach so many people and be able to touch and educate a vast group about the benefits of these natural, 100% pure products. That is truly wonderful, seriously, because I feel that as many people as possible SHOULD be informed about these God-given remedies.

However, this is an area of discouragement for me because I can’t reach that many people. I feel like I am stuck in my own little IG community with an open door that leads to nowhere.

I am one person.

I don’t have a vast following.

I am not an influencer, per say.

I am a blogger (part-time) but I am not successful, per say.

Do you know what ‘per say’ means?

It means ‘by itself.’

I am not these things I mentioned above, per say, but with God, I am. Todd reminded me of that this morning.

When I mentioned my discouragement, he immediately responded without hesitation, “God used ordinary people to be His disciples and do great things.”

*drop the mic 🎤

Let’s face it… these successful bloggers and influencers that I speak of are most likely those ordinary people whom Todd spoke of that God is using for His glory!!

How quickly I have forgotten why I wear my mustard seed bracelet 24/7… I never take it off! (Purchased from Marianne at Gracefully Wrapped.) My ‘faith as a mustard seed’ should not be compartmentalized and practiced only in certain areas but it should consume every area of concern in my life.

No… I am not all these things, but with God, I am.

I am what HE calls me to be for such a time as this.

I absolutely CANNOT take my eyes off of Him for one minute, because when I do, I make it all about me.

It’s not about me but rather about the God I serve.

I am not… but I know ‘I Am.’

Thank you, Todd, for that reminder.

Go out today and be ordinary, but allow yourself to be open to God and do great things for His glory.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Passion in a Picture

He wanted me to ride out to the baseball field with him.

“But, of course I will!”

I couldn’t help but snap these pics of his silhouette as the sprays of water collided with the rays of sun, making for a very “My life in a square” moment, and one that was very quintessentially Todd!

This picture captures him to the core showing his passion, not in the throws of a heated battle nor in the excitement of a victorious win, but rather in the quiet stillness of a solemn golden hour.

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” -Anthony J. D’Angelo

His passion runs deep.

He still continues to grow… because he is still excited about learning.

And he still makes my heart go puh, puh, puh…

So We Rage

During my quiet time today, I read a good word in relation to the disappointment you might face with your world leaders. It was geared towards world leaders, but it is a good word for ANY disappointment we might face in any arena of our life. The following is an adaptation from this devo with words extracted straight from the reading mixed with my own gleanings:
“WE HAVE MISPLACED OUR FAITH. Buried beneath the panic we feel due to the state of our ‘world/church/job/life’ is systemic disappointment. This makes us feel weak and pathetic, so instead of owning our disappointment – in our country, in our world leaders, in our church, in our jobs, in one another, and God help us, in ourselves – WE RAGE. Mad feels better than sad. It’s painful to long, in the words of Hebrews 11:16, for a better country and embrace the hard, cold fact that we are strangers and exiles on earth (Hebrews 11:13).
Grieve, mourn, and weep,” James 4:9-10 says. “Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despair. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.
But who wants to do any of that? SO WE RAGE.
We have become like the world “…..having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5 ESV)
Yesterday’s America (world,church, job, life, etc.) in all its honor and shame, is in ashes, but, rather than exercise the faith and obedience and earnest prayer to see God raise some beauty from the heap, some gold from the fire, we keep trying to glue ashes back together. And they won’t stick. Yesterday’s America has become an idol to us. It has no more breath in it and the thing about idolaters is that, sooner or later, they become like their idols. (Psalm 135:18)
God could do something new but we’ve lost our hope.
We want back what we’ve seen instead of believing Him for what we haven’t.
Don’t run. Don’t give up. Stop trying to glue back together those ashes yourself.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
When we run on desperation, we are driving drunk on rage, swerving all over the road, fenders dangling and headlights shattered from out collisions with one another. Any means to our end.
Our witness to the world has become the crimson-faced hysterical screams of armageddon after Jesus said “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
We are so void of vision that all we can see is a big fat “T” in the road ahead.
It is right or left.
There is no other way.
Poor, poor God. He’s down to His last two options.
And poor, poor us for having such a poor, poor God.
WE ARE CALLED TO BE PEOPLE OF FAITH IN A GOD WHO NEVER NEEDED A MAN-PAVED ROAD TO GET ANYWHERE. A dead end means nothing to a God of resurrection.
This is what the Lord says – “he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters (Isaiah 43:16) can also make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).
Psalm 146:3-9 – New Living Translation (NLT)
3 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.
4 When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them.
5 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel[a] as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
7 He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.
8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
The Lord loves the godly.
9 The Lord protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

In November, we cast our votes. But if we cast our confidence in our candidates (in ANY man), woe be unto us.
Unbelief is not just the absence of faith as it if leaves a vacuum.  It is the substantive presence of spiritual infidelity.  *It will not be the scandals of our candidates (or any man) that slacked the jaws of angels.  It will be the unbelief of the church.

Remember what I accomplished in antiquity!  Truly I am God.  I have no peer; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).

We are meant to look back to what God has done in the past so our faith is set aflame for what He can do in our future.  The gospel didn’t come to us in seats of government.  It came to us in a stable reeking to high heaven with cow manure.  God didn’t plant the Savior of the world in the womb of a governor’s wife.  He planted the Christ in the womb of a peasant-girl in the middle of nowhere.  The same one who’d get to bear the reputation that she’d done something naughty and gotten herself pregnant.

Jesus never once sat on a throne here. The closest He got was the back of a donkey.  God did not blaze a trail with the gospel galloping on a horse through the halls of government.  He did it through sandals flapping on the grass.  Through the mouths of ordinary, law-abiding citizens.

It is the world’s way to associate power with people at the top, but the power of the gospel is at the bottom.  In God’s hierarchy, the way up is down.  The kings and queens of Planet Earth still have to bow low for power from the loft.

We cast our pleas prayerfully.  Carefully.  We plead for wisdom. The church of Jesus Christ doesn’t rise or fall on the backs of men.  We have our God.  He has His people.  We don’t even have to fully agree with one another to be a colossal force for the gospel.  All we have to do is agree with God that nothing is too difficult for Him and that no amount of mortal elbow grease can back His throne into a corner.

God cannot be overruled.

And it is He alone – I cannot say this loudly enough –  it is He alone who truly loves the world.
To think we care more than He does is remarkably prideful.

The responsibility lies not on anyone else.  Responsibility begins with us.  We are only as powerless as our passivity.  We still have knees to drop in contrition and desperate need for intervention.  Paul didn’t tell the government to overcome evil with good. He told US to.

We are convinced that those in ‘power’ have the power to gag God while 2 Timothy 2:9 says the word of God cannot be chained.  Difficult days are ahead.  We cannot endure them faithlessly.  Opposition is inevitable in any arena.  But at some point we’ve got to quit looking to leaders to fight for our faith. FAITH WE HAVEN’T FOUGHT FOR IS FAITH WE DON’T POSSESS.

‘At the top’ is not the only way we effect change.  We seek it.  We fight for it.  But, if we don’t get it, it has never been God’s only means to a change.

God can turn Pennsylvania Avenue into the road to Damascus, for crying out loud.  He can soften the hardest heart.  Transform the vilest offender.  Thank God no sin is too great for the power of the cross.  Oh for grace to trust Him more.

We need our faith back.
Without it we cannot stand.
Without it we cannot please God. (Heb. 11:16)
Without it we can’t grasp joy.
He still counts our faith as righteousness. (Romans 4:23-24)
We live by faith.  We love by faith.  —  Not by sight.

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. …”  (Hebrews 11:1-3)

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” (Hebrews 11:17-19)


My goal for 2017, my New Year’s resolution if you will, is to remember to RELINQUISH every thing to God in total surrender.  Every. Little. Thing.  
Today’s quiet time revelation was a great reminder of that surrendering which I promised God I would work on throughout the new year and years to come.

God foresaw this day and scheduled our births and our deaths within it.
Keep praying for change.
Keep the faith.
Run valiantly by faith drenched with hope because this race, dear friend, ends well.

The Praying Mantis and a Parking Sign


Don’t give up. 

Be persistent in prayer; pray without ceasing! 

“…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:28). 

Pray through and never give up.

 I feel God reminded me of this through His little creature, the praying mantis, who has been following me over the last couple of weeks. 

I’ve been struggling with faith and trust in God in the form of ‘worry’ over the last few weeks/months.  I am usually pretty good about letting go and letting God do His thing, but there are 2 main areas that have given me anxiety recently.  One, of which, the praying mantis more than spelled it out for me!

There is a ‘thing’ I’ve been wanting to happen for a long time now…for several years. I have wanted it so badly that it has become an area of frustration in my life.  I have felt, for so long now, that this thing, or project (for lack of a better word), has been needed and would open doors that have not yet been explored or even thought about.  The process has begun, but the good ol’ devil is trying to hinder it any way possible!  For reasons out of our control, we are at a stand still – at least for such a time as this.  This hurts my heart, as I was so extremely excited that it was finally coming to fruition, or at least, the beginning stages of the project were starting to unfold.  

When the process came to a standstill, my heart just ached and frustration set in again.  No one is at fault in this delay….it just is what it is. God has allowed this, for such a time as this, so I know He has plans underway that far exceed my expectations!

It’s like building a house….once the process gets started, you are sooooo excited that it is finally happening!  Then….you run into snags over and over and over again … sometimes you feel overwhelmed, and then frustration and discouragement set in and you think it will never happen.  

Another area of anxiety is my boys’ future.  It seems the older they get, the more I worry.  Right now I worry about their chosing the right profession, choosing the right college, so on and so forth….the list goes on and on and on.

My heart has just been in a holding place….a place of worry and anxiety…
Until now.

Look at this…..


Where did this praying mantis land??  Right smack dab in the middle of a Handicapped Parking sign! 

No, I didn’t ‘get it’ right away.  It took several visits from this praying mantis for me to finally realize that I could glean a spiritual lesson from God’s little creature!

  


He started out in the parking lot, but as I was going about my business, I realized he kept moving closer and closer to my office.  Here, you can see him on the column that is located under the awning right outside my office window.  

He then decided he liked it so much he’d just hang out around that area.

  

Here he is on a bed of flowers close to the front door.



And here, my last sighting of him (in hopes there will be more), he is seen right in front of the front office window, just peeking in!  

After seeing him a couple of times, my mind went back to my first sighting of him on the Handicapped Parking sign; and THAT’S when it hit me….  sometimes we handicap ourselves by our own ‘stinkin’ thinkin’ and thwart those areas of prosperity that God has in store for us, basically, because we do not have faith, or we have lost faith.

After stopping and thinking about this praying mantis, I said to myself, “you stupid girl….cast all your cares (anxieties) upon the Lord, for He cares for you!” (1 Peter 5:7)  
“You have been praying to Him, but you haven’t CAST your anxieties upon Him!”

There are 7 different definitions of the verb ‘cast’ in the Webster’s dictionary, all of which use a form of the verb ‘throw’ to define it.  So, in essence, to cast your care upon the Lord means to throw it in His direction as if to send off/away or to get rid of.

Rather than worry about this project, and rather than worry about my boys’ future, I need to throw those worries to God, let HIM handle it in HIS own timing and in HIS own way, rather than getting anxious and frustrated if I don’t see the future clearly or if something doesn’t happen in MY time frame.  I must TRUST in His plans, for HIS plans are far better than I could ever ask or imagine!
Yes, I do have my quiet time every day.  Yes, I am in communion with God on a daily basis…every day all through the day and sometimes through the night.  However, I have gotten caught up in my own desires rather than focusing on the desires of HIS heart, and this has allowed worry to creep in slowly, but oh, so surely!  

I looked up the facts on the praying mantis and his defensive tactics:  The praying mantis will either flee from danger if necessary, or he will confront his enemy by putting up his dukes and fighting like a boxer. 

The fact that the praying mantis will stand his ground by putting up his front legs and fighting has reminded me that I may not see a quick answer to my prayers, but I must stand my ground by being persistent in prayer and never giving up until I see the answer, whatever it may be.  I must flee from the devil – from the worry – by putting on the whole armor of God – DAILY.  

God is a patient God. 
God is a faithful God.
God is a loving God.

I must be patient.
I must persevere! 

“…though he will not rise and give to him…, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs” (Luke 11:5-8). 

Just keep asking in prayer.  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

And, whenever you see a praying mantis, remember….it’s time to keep praying!!
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).