Monday, September 30, 2013

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

We had Glamour Shots Saturday. It was the first real makeovers I have done since my daughter, Carrin, died. she was constantly on my mind.
Like a kid who hasn't ridden a bicycle in a long while, there were some misses, but I am good at color and begin to pick up my stride.
Still it wasn't as easy as it used to be.
Before I was doing faces and helping them see their beauty. Now, changed by grief, I was looking beyond the skin and seeing the value of each day and praying I was creating a really special memory for them.
Two makeovers were especially hard for me. One was a saint that goes to my church. Her inner beauty glows and I was actually intimidated to make changes, but I did. Well, actually they were tweaks.
Then there was my granddaughter, Curstie. I thought I would totally lose it. In fact, I never did finish. You see, she is Carrin's daughter. Touching her was touching a part of Carrin. A bittersweet moment. Sweet to have Curstie here, bittersweet because she is on her way to Italy to join her husband. Bittersweet because I can't touch Carrin again.

So I begin again. One more Glamour Shot session this Saturday, and then I will get back to what I do best. Pampering sessions with just one or two women and bringing forth their beauty inside and out with God's help.

These are some of the beautiful ladies that I worked with Saturday. Women friends are an important part of becoming beautiful -laughter, tears and honesty, ever listening, ever being formed into His image.

Surrender to your Father and He will give you beauty for ashes in His time.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Doing It or Just Trying?

I am beginning to see that many times when I say I am trying, it is a lame excuse for not giving it my all.
When we choose to do something as opposed to try to do something, then we will have to make decisions at many levels. Choosing to read the Bible will result in turning off the TV. I can try to read my Bible, but not find the time because of the choices I make.
In Hebrew try means to test. However, if trying was transliterated to test, I would not get a good grade at all. Try gives room for gray coming out of default.
Choose is black and white. Where we fall short is gray and there is mercy.
So today am I going to try to be obedient to what God has called us to or am I going to choose to be willing and obedient?
God is moving some pieces around in my life and I swing from fear to faith. Am I trying to LABOR to ENTER into HIS REST. It is almost an oxymoron. I first thought the dichotomy was labor and rest. Today the LORD showed me it was labor to enter. Once I enter, the rest will be there. The labor is simply making a choice as opposed to trying. Labor means to make haste, do it diligently. It isn't a casual decision.
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. Hebrews 4:9-11
I was trying in my own strength.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Today I choose to let Him lead me.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Glamour His Way

Tomorrow we are doing Glamour Shots with professional photographer, Elizabeth Evans. These sessions never fail to amaze me. Last time I did one, I had a meth addict with really troubled skin. She came with a controlling mother and a precious aunt. It was interesting to see the dynamics as one by one each was transformed.
Guess who had the lesser transformation? The mom with control issues.
I was a control freak of a mom. All control issues come out of fear. Number one fear? If I don't keep it together, everything will fall apart.
That is a lie from the pit of hell and an open door to self-idolatry.
It took a crisis with one of my adult daughters for me to clearly see the crux of the problem. After the devastation of the event, I was getting sick again. Racing heart, high blood pressure, etc.
One night I gave God "what for." (He can handle it.)
I said, "God, I have repented and repented until I think my repenter is going to fall off. Please DO something."
He said, "Will you trust me?" (These come as thoughts.)

Well, that really ticked me off.
"Will I trust you? Will I trust you? I have been a Christian 60 years and you are asking me if I trust you??" I was incredulous and aggravated.

"Oh, yes, you trust me if you can see how it is going to work out. You trust me if your fingers are in the pie, but will you trust me if you see no good thing?"
Wow! He was right. My trust was conditional to the "happily ever after" ending. I had never seen that. WOW!

I was humbled and contrite. I surrendered.
That was a turning point.
I have never received the "happily ever after" ending to that event, but relationships were restored and isn't that what is important? Healthy relationships where we can share openly and honestly and even agree to disagree.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor 3:17-18

Tomorrow images will be changed on the outside and seeds will be planted to change the inside. So grateful He is in control, not me.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Will You Slow Down and Love?

This is a hurry up society. My husband is often tugging at me to go as soon as the last "Amen" has been said at church. But to me my church family is just as important as my natural, so I always stay to visit a bit.
The older I get the more I want to linger. Life is simply too precious to be in a hurry. When you slow your pace, you see and hear so much more. You enjoy so much more. Perhaps your tarrying could make a difference in someone's life. I love the story below for that reason. I am not the author of this story.
Just Stay

A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.
'Your son is here,' she said to the old man.
She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened.
He was heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack,
he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent.
 He reached out his hand.
The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones,
squeezing a message of love and encouragement.
The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed.
.All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward,
 holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength.
Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.
He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward,
the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital -
the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.
Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.
Along towards dawn, the old man died.
The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding
and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.
Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy,
but the Marine interrupted her.
'Who was that man?' he asked. The nurse was startled,
'He was your father,' she answered.
'No, he wasn't,' the Marine replied. 'I never saw him before in my life.'
'Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?'
'I knew right away there had been a mistake,
but I also knew he needed his son,
 and his son just wasn't here.
When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son,
knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.'
The next time someone needs you ...
just be there.
Love should always be unconditional. That is not natural Romans 5:5 holds the key:
May the love of God shine abroad in your heart according to the power of the Holy Spirit. If I am unable to love unconditionally, I have a power outage. I need to tap back in. You can. too.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Abuse Hurts

My first marriage and a couple of other relationships were abusive. After a while, the abused are like wounded rabbits attracting every coyote around.
You are worth so much more. Get knowledge. Know who you are and don't settle. So grateful that I was able to stop the abuse in my life and I know you can, too. He said he would kill himself if I left. He married twice more. lol Don't be conned by an abuser.
Because of the 25 years of abuse I experienced, the Lord seems to bring the wounded across my path. Often I am unprepared to help in my own strength. If I look at the situation in the natural, I am done.
One young woman we got involved with had addictions as well as an abusive relationship. We ran the full gamut over a period of time from inviting her into our home to her running away from us and then back to us with her abuser close at her heels.
When you feel that you fail someone, it makes you reticent to get involved with another's life.
However, if I remember that I offered love, she was unable to receive it at that time, and there are others still needing it.
When our trust is breached and  we focus on those we fail, we will never reach out.
So many need God's love and He uses ordinary people to give it. They don't need my love. I am just a girl and I will fail them and disappoint them.
They need the Father's love. Am I willing to be totally devoid of expectations and just be a vessel?
Mary Kay has an awesome campaign going on right now. Mary Kay believes everyone deserves to be in a healthy relationship. Through the national Don't Look Away campaign, Mary Kay is taking steps to educate people on how to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship and what they can do about it. Text "loveis" to 77054 if you or someone you know has experienced abuse.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fly Like a Bumble Bee

One of my strongest supporters and consultants was my daughter, Carrin. When she died in August, 2012, I quit doing facials. I hurt too much to reach out. After about six months I made myself do some free facials at a retirement village. Several months later a dear friend made it possible for me to give free skin care to every woman I facialed at the retirement village.
That yearning to reach out again was being stirred. Then without notice my husband needed a quadruple heart bypass. That knocked the wind out of me, because he was the There were a couple of other setbacks, but now though my legs are wobbling, I am beginning again.
Re-launching with Glamour Shots  this Saturday and next with my photographer and friend, Elizabeth Evans. I absolutely love giving women tangible proof that they ARE beautiful!
Carrin isn't by my side any more and I no longer receive her morning phone calls, but is there any reason I shouldn't believe in myself as much as she believed in me? I think not.
She knew and understood that I probably got in Mary Kay for a reason different than most. I hated looking in the mirror. Well, actually I hated myself. So I figured if I sold Mary Kay I had enough integrity to use the product.
The first two weeks were awful. I would stand in front of the mirror and pray, “God, show me what you see when you see me, because I don’t see any good thing.”
Sometimes I would cry. Over time it got easier and easier. Then I began do one on one facials. I saw other women cry because they didn’t like themselves either. In my heart, God's pink mission field was born.
Still I struggled because I didn’t fit the Barbie doll image of what I thought a real Mary Kay consultant should look like. It was torment. I wanted to do it for a myriad of reasons, but I was tormented. Then  the Lord showed me how I had come into agreement with what the enemy said about me instead of what He said about me. I repented.
Father God says, I am fearfully and wonderfully made and one of His marvellous works. (Ps 139:14) When I say I am not, I am calling Him a liar. Ouch!
So I began again and He showed me the bumble bee. Now some say the bumble bee should not be able to fly, because like me, his body is just too large. But the bumble bee took what he had and allowed the pressures to create a vortex to give him the thrust to fly, hover and work. His weaknesses became his strengths. So I began to copy him and build a team.
Just like the bee goes from flower to flower, I go woman to woman sometimes just to love on them, sometimes asking them to join me and then teaching them to fly, too.
Mary Kay has no territories. If you know someone, perhaps even you, who would like to have additional income or who can see this as a pink mission field as do and want to join me, please call or email me today. I  love to teach women to fly.

Whatever your dream is, don't let anyone steal it from you. Fly like a bumble bee. You can do it. I know you can.
       Bee-utifully Yours
Diane Dunn

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Will You Trust Him?

I really thought I was a mighty woman of faith until I recognized  areas of my life where I really did not trust God. Oh, I trusted Him if I could see how it was going to play out or if I had my fingers in the pie. I was always "helping God out."

However, I had not reached that place of absolute surrender.

I have to admit there were times I tried to micromanage God. Not my smartest decision.
An email came today that reminded me of those time. I did not write this and I searched Google but could not find the proper attribution. If someone finds/knows it, I will happily give credit where credit is due.

" There were two men who were friends who each bought a little Olive Tree on the same day. They went home and planted them.
One man prayed and say Oh God, please send the rain for my little Olive Tree - and God did. And then he prayed and asked God to please send a lot of sunshine - and God did. And on and on - and then he asked God to send a  little snow for his tree - and again God answered his prayers. Over and over he asked and over and over God did just what he asked for.
One day he decided to go to his friend's house and visit him and see how he was doing and how his Olive Tree was. His friend was happy to see him and they went out to see his Olive Tree! It was so much healthier, bigger and full of Olives! He was just amazed at how much better his friend's tree was! With all that prayer he had done over his tree - how could it be?
So he asked his friend what in the world he had done? What secret did he have? What did he know?
His friend laughed and said "Oh, I don't know anything about Olive Trees, so I just prayed and told God that I did not know anything, but I asked Him to bless my little tree with do whatever it needed to grow and flourish and have great olives - and look what God has done!"

WOW! Busted! How many years did I do the work and expected  that He will bring the harvest. How many times was I doing things that were good ideas, but not God's?
His ways are higher than mine. So essentially I am asking Him to bless my mess!

In areas where I am disobedient, there will be no blessing. I need to yield to Him and allow Him to direct my paths. The Bible says His plans for me are for good and not evil. So what prevents me from fully trusting Him?
Today I need to take a leap of faith. Is anything too hard for God?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

God's Crock Pot

I have been cooking for over 50 years. (Yes, I started early.) When crock pots came on the scene, the lids were not tight-fitting. The axiom was if you lift the lid, add another hour to the cooking time because all of the heat would escape.
It is the same with our lives. God wants to help us deal with the things that separate from us from others, even Him.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,
but grievous: nevertheless
afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness
 unto them which are exercised thereby. Heb. 12:11
I want to get in His Presence microwave-style, push one minute and wait to hear the ding and be done.
I want the peaceable fruit of righteousness, but not the chastening. So I take the lid off, poke, prod, even remove myself from His pot, but I am not done.
He may drop an idea in my heart Too often I run with it before He has trained, formed and opened the door, I hit the shut door head on and wonder, "Where are you, God?"
He is waiting at the beginning.
Now I have to go back, add another hour or so, and learn to abide in Him. If a day is like a thousand years, what is a real hour?

John 15: 1-5 says:
1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away:
 and every branch that beareth fruit,
he purgeth it,
that it may bring forth more fruit.
3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4Abide in me, and I in you.
 As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
except it abide in the vine;
 no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches:
 He that abideth in me, and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without me ye can do nothing.
I can work at Be in Health, be a Star consultant in my Mary Kay business .or be a very good wife, mother or grandma, whatever I chose, but if I am not abiding in Him, there will be no peaceable fruit of righteousness.
If I am still, I will hear His voice, His leading.
 If I am overwhelmed, I am not abiding.
I will be stressed, not blessed.
Today I choose to crawl back in His crock pot (His everlasting arms) and abide in Him until He says I am done.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

He Can Change Your Name

Over 15 years while living in Rockwall, TX, I listened to Praise in the Night on KVTT radio in Dallas. Every morning on my way to morning prayer for one of those months, I would hear the song, I Will Change Your Name. Prayer was at 5:42 a.m. This was a healing time for me as I sought God with all of my heart.
The song was one of promise.

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid

I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks My face

It was an intimate time with the Lord that reshaped my life.
Later when I served on the mission field in Lesotho, an African chief  named me Memalerato. The translation is Mother of Love. I had failed miserably at raising mine. I did not know how to nurture. I remember that God often gives us names we have to grow into. He did that with Abram when he named him father of many by calling him Abraham. So I set out to learn how to love by watching how the Father loves. Unconditionally. With kindness. Does not keep score.
I had much to learn.

Too often we believe what others say about us instead of what the Father says about us. We can not allow the sins of others to shape us.
While "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," is a lie from the pit of hell, we do not have to have to take it in.

We can be pierced, but not wounded. It is an "ow-ey", but we clean it up and treat it. We don't allow it to fester and become infected with bitterness.

Read the lyrics backwards now:
One who seeks My face
Friend of God

Does that describe me today? If so, will He not change my name?
As I seek His face, the wounds will heal. I will no longer be outcast, but treasured. I cannot be lonely or afraid for He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. He shows me this as I seek His face.

I want to have a name change.

Monday, September 16, 2013

What's the Plan?

For about 25 years I have ministering to women who have been abused. Repeatedly I ask them to read Psalm 139 OUT LOUD twice a day for 30 days.
It answers questions like: "Where were you, God?" "Does anybody care?" "Was I an accident?" and statements like: "What's the use." and "I feel like such a loser."
The enemy gives you thoughts that accuse God.
If I have learned only one thing at Pleasant Valley, it would be to question my thoughts. I can often hear Pastor Henry asking, "Who told you that?"
None of those questions come from the heart of God. Psalm 139 reveals His heart. When you know that then anything that does not line up with that is from the accuser of the brethren, Satan. Ditch those thoughts quickly before they destroy you.
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:26-27
If Jesus wants to wash us with the water of the Word, shouldn't we be doing the same?
Too often I was "rinsing" with the Word instead of a rubba dubba good washing.
Your Father loves you and His plan for you are for good and not evil to bring you to an expected end.
I can't promise you that there will never be pain, but I promise you that He will carry you and He can heal your broken heart and  bring a new life that is more than you could have ever imagined or even hoped for if only you will trust Him.
I mean really trust Him.
Let me tell you in case you have forgotten, You are loved, deeply loved.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What Am I Doing and Why?

A couple of Sundays ago, I heard my pastor say something like people call their talents gifts. Gifts are what the Holy Spirit gives you. They are found in Galatians five.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
These are the true gifts. My writing, speaking and the ability to turn trash into treasure are my talents. I am accountable for what I do with.
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country,
who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one;
 to every man according to his several ability;
and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same,
 and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents,
 saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents:
 behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant:
 thou hast been faithful over a few things,
 I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said,
Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents:
 behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant;
 thou hast been faithful over a few things,
 I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said,
 Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man,
 reaping where thou hast not sown,
and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth:
 lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him,
Thou wicked and slothful servant,
thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not,
 and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers
, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him,
and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance:
but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
This isn't just a Bible story. It is a word to the wise. How am I using that which I have been given and for whose glory am I doing it?
I have been chewing on this for a couple of weeks. There are paths set before me
Nehemiah prayed and then he planned and then he waited. Waiting is not my strong suit, but running ahead of God will be for naught.
If I am waiting, it simply means I am not ready yet OR it is not yet. I don't have to lose hope. I can wait expectantly.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Why Is Relaxing So Hard?

Ray and I are enjoying some down time with friends at Hilton Head. I am having the hardest time disconnecting from the internet, blog, Facebook and other electronic media.
I have people who will repost the blog, but I did not get them all written before I left.
I have resisted checking on my job electronically because it will ping my "fix-it" gene. So that is progress.
Where does drivenness and performance come from? Who told me that I have to accomplish something every day or I have no right to take up space on planet earth?
These are lies from the enemy.

Where has Sabbath rest gone?
Today and tomorrow I am purposing to rest in Him.
Hebrews 4 has been working on my heart for over 30 years. Ever lost a book and been so happy to find it again? That is my relationship with Hebrews 4.

11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall
after the same example of unbelief.
12 For the word of God is quick,
and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight:
but all things are naked and opened
unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest,
 that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God,
 let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched
 with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy,
 and find grace to help in time of need.
I always have found "labour to enter into that rest" an oxymoron. However it simply means do our best for if we don't we are in disobedience to God and we will fail.
Do you have areas in your life that are working out as you thought they would? Perhaps it is because you are not resting and reading the guidebook. (The Bible.) I have wasted years with that get 'er done mentality. If I "get 'er done" ahead of God's timing or even His place, it is as dung. Talk about spinning your wheels.
How much better to know His ways are higher than mine and to follow Him.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Behold, I Do a New Thing!

Have you lived through a desert time in your life when your very soul seemed parched?
The older you get, the more have confidence that the rain will come

We wait sometimes in anguish for it seems unbearable. It is a time for soul searching, a time to seek the Lord with all your heart, for you know that He and He alone holds the answer. 
Reminds of Isaiah who declared, "Behold, I do a NEW thing..." 
Why do we hold  on to that old thing that brought us to this wilderness?
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19
it shall spring forth That is a promise from God! 
Let go of your plans, the way you think should work out and rest in the desert quietly for the rain. Let the sun of the desert bake out those impurities so that truly you will see the Son of the rain.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Who Are You Becoming?

Ray and I are leaving for a long weekend at Hilton Head. So I am re-posting some of my favorites.
Despite my age, I never was a big Beatles fan. I think there was just too much going on in my life for me to swoon over the group though many in my dorm were devotees.
But yesterday morning when I woke up, the lyrics of Eleanor Rigby were dancing in my head.

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from ?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong ?

Have you ever felt like Eleanor Rigby? I have. I would paste on my smile and go into the world believing that it really did not matter whether I showed up or not.
Abuse does that. It really doesn't matter whether it was verbal, physical or sexual abuse. I have experienced all three and defilement and invalidation of my worth first as a girl then as a woman was just as complete.
It is just like there is no such thing as being a little bit pregnant. There is no such thing as being a little abused. Sadly, self-abuse follows because you no longer see your worth either.
I have found two antidotes. Most important I must know my identity. I am not what others say I am or even what I say I am necessarily. I am not what I do. I am becoming a creation of the Most High God. Not all I can be yet, but nevertheless I am becoming. It is a process. Am becoming.
The second antidote is to help others become.

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Perhaps lonely people come from never knowing our true identity.
Not feeling like you belong is a wretched trap. Kids join gangs because of it. Yet even after the initiation and the dares, the conformity, they still don't feel as if they truly fit in. There is always one more thing they must DO to prove their loyalty, to prove they fit in.
The book of rules (the law), that God gave us, was taken away when I became believer "in Christ." Jesus Christ fulfilled every bit of the law leaving none of it for me to even attempt to achieve.
The caterpillar becomes a butterfly. It doesn't become a caterpillar with wings. There is a complete metamorphosis. I think I spend too much time remembering my hairy, prickly, wiggly self instead of flexing my wings and flying in my new identity.
A monarch caterpillar sheds its skin five times during the larval stage. Similar to the way a snake sheds its skin when its body has outgrown the skin, a caterpillar does the same. A new, larger skin is always waiting under the one that is shed. The problem is at each stage I think I have arrived.
Suddenly, the chrysalis cracks open and out comes the monarch butterfly. Its wings are tiny, crumpled, and wet. The butterfly clings to its empty chrysalis shell as a blood-like substance is pumped through its body. Did you get that? Out of who I was, (that chrysalis shell, my incubator) there was life. Sometimes shame causes us to disavow our past. It is out of our pain that we can bring life to others through encouragement and sincere empathy.
About one hour after emerging from its chrysalis, the monarch's wings are full-sized, dry, and ready for flying. Days after emerging from its chrysalis, a monarch butterfly is old enough to mate.....and so begins the life cycle of the next generation. Days. Yet it has taken me years.

As I become more comfortable with who this new creation is that I am becoming, I can give encouragement to those still in the chrysalis, the Eleanor Rigbys.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Are You Ready?

The things you are overcoming today are the things God is using to strength you for the real battles of the future.
God is a wise economist and He doesn't waste anything,  
 Even my worst experiences can become the springboard to avoid disaster in the future. How many times do you have to out your hand in the fire before learning you are going to get burned?
It's the same with relationships, business ventures (which include relationships, too) and other decisions. When you fail, you have an opportunity to learn what not to do.

When you succeed, you know what to repeat.
You may feel like God has put you on a shelf and has forgotten you.
Do you remember David?
The prophet comes to his father's house to anoint a new king.
They offered a sacrifice and seven of the brothers came and each time Samuel said, "That's not the one."
Then he turns to Jesse and says, "Are these all of your sons?"
Jesse had to admit he another, but he was just a shepherd boy. (In other words, he wasn't all that much in men's eyes.")
Samuel says, " Go get him. We will not sit down until you bring him here."
So they bring him straight from the fields, unshowered and smelling like sheep. The Lord spoke to Samuel and said, "This is the one,"

10 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these.
11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

Do you understand that the Lord did not require him to shower, shave and put on his finest robe?
That is the way it is going to be.

The things David did unnoticed, alone in a field, were the things that ultimately led him to be anointed king.  He killed the lion and the bear. He survived cold, wet nights with no creature comforts. He was separated from family and friends for long periods of time, but he used this time to develop his relationship with the Lord. He worshiped the Lord. He readied himself when no one was watching.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Why do we strive for what is freely given?

I was talking to a friend this morning. Her plate is full, but her heart is, too. Her heart is chunked full of gratitude.
She was greeted this morning with the persistent pecking of a woodpecker. As she inhaled the fragrant mug of coffee, she secretly hoped no bear coveted her warm drink.
It was a brisk 62 degrees and air was clean and invigorating.
As we caught up on the phone, she shared her "aha" moments that she has enjoyed this past week in their getaway cabin. She has seen things she has waited four decades to see.
Why do we not wait?
How many times have we quit before the finish line? I know I am particularly guilty of that one. I give my power of decision to self-sabotage.

As we talked about the future, a verse came to mind.

Fear not, little flock, for its your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

Why do we strive for what He delights in giving us?
I think the beginning of the verse holds the key. He says, "Fear not."
We often don't call it fear, but stress, worry, conflicted and other gentler descriptions.

Fear not is found 365 times in the Bible, but we still fear.
If "perfect love casts out fear", why do not receive that perfect love, the Father's love?
Even if we fail, we can begin again and even again. His love for is longsuffering.
I am ever so grateful that He judges the "intents of our heart." He doesn't count against us all the goofy stuff our unrefined heart sometimes takes us. When we fall down, we repent and begin again.
Too often we beat ourselves up for wasted time, even wasted years, but He holds each day as a gift, a present. Live it as my friend grateful for the very air you breathe. Listen to the quiet and hear the small wonders whether a cricket or a storm. Appreciate it all and know it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
When you seek His face, not His hands, you will see what the kingdom really is and where it is.
Purpose in your heart today not to waste another moment on fear. Instead choose to live life fully and in the knowledge that you are loved.


Friday, September 6, 2013

He Watches Over Us

I am probably as old today as Ethel Waters was when she sang this song. This song sustained me during a very dark time in my life some 30 years ago. In fact, I had a small gift shop in the downstairs of my parents 4,000 sq ft Victorian home.
They had moved to New Orleans and allowed me to try this venture. The venture failed, but God did not.
When I moved from 4,000 sq ft to 900 in the middle of a cow pasture, I took with me the knowing that He still had His eye on me. Since that time I have lived from Florida to Texas to Lesotho, a small kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa and back to Florida and now Georgia. Everywhere I went, He went with me. Any troubles I had were because I went with me, too.
You see His eye is on us, but there is a time when that has to become a part of the decisions we make for ourselves.
Yes, when I was younger, many bad things happened to me even while His eye was on me because of another's free will. I shouted at God, turned my back on Him and ran from Him. All the while He kept His eye on me.
It is when I recognized that not only was He watching me, but He had so much love to give me if I would just receive it. Then I knew what it meant to sing back, I see you, Daddy. I see you watching me. Which way should I go? He leads me to the extent I yield to Him.
When Ray was in the hospital having a quadruple bypass, my daughter, Margie, went to the gift shop and bought me two bronze sparrows. It was a poignant reminder that we are not alone in our journey called life.
Thirty years ago I sang this without knowing what love was available to me when I returned that gaze. Today I sing it knowing because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
I am attaching one more video especially for Caitlin and others at crossroads.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Looking Back or Looking Forward?

Everyone has regrets. Regrets come in all sizes and are designed to keep us from moving forward.
Paul tells in Philippians, "13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
The plan of the enemy is to let the victimization and mistakes of our past become the devastation of our future. Paul exhorts us to forget those things that are in the past. How many years did I waste tied in knots because it wasn't fair? Those questions keep in the quicksand of what if and if only, never moving forward and watching life pass you by.
Isn't it time to take your life back?
I am convinced the answer to all problems is to receive more of the Father's love.

Too often we take the shortcomings of our earthly father and color God as the big policeman in the sky or someone that  is distant and not trustworthy.
If we simply open our hearts to Him and pray, God, show me your love, if we read His Word and seek Him, He will heal the broken places of our heart.
That is what He did for me. The joy and peace that I have now comes out of a relationship with Him. It is in relationship, I trust Him and receive His love. It's much more than you thought possible and then  reach forth for those things which are before us.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Using the broken pieces

I have a decorative dress form sitting on the buffet of the room I do Mary Kay facials and makeovers in.  I have dressed it in garlands of pearl and bling to remind me that we are treasures. However, if you look closely you will see watches that do not run, orphan earrings and broken baubles. It is just as much the broken things in our lives as the perfect that help shape us into who we are today.
The abuse that I lived through gave me two choices: I could be tougher so no one would never hurt me again or I can take the broken pieces of my heart and put them on the Potter's wheel, let Him add living water and re-mold me, shape me and if necessary, shape me again.
When we don't accept the brokenness then we become a fabricated personality as we put up a good front.
 Over 30 years ago when I was doing insurance sales, it was all about image. Our motto was "Fake it til you make it." I can look back and see how that opened the door to being who others expected me to be instead of who I was created to be.
Forgive me for telling this story again, but I went up to a lady in my church about six years ago and said, "I want to sell Mary Kay."
She looked me up and down and said, "YOU do???"
You see I looked more like an unmade bed than a beauty consultant.

Her next question was, "Why?"
Well, I had taken the For My Life course and learned about Unloving. I learned I was the poster child for self-hatred. (My observation, not theirs.) To get rid of it you have to learn to love yourself.
So I replied, "Well, I know I have to learn to start taking care of myself. I am not a hypocrite and I figure if I am going to sell the junk, I am going to have to use it."
Morning after morning I would stand in front of the  mirror and say, "God, I don't see any good thing. Could you show me who you see when you saw me before the foundation of the world so I can walk towards that instead of devastation?"
I wish I could tell you I got it immediately. I did not.

However, I kept looking. During the journey I became Queen of Sales and Miss Go-Give for our unit several times, but it still wasn't who I was.
Unfortunately it was my daughter, Carrin's death that took me to an off-frame restoration.
Before I was just painting the rust. Now I am willing to allow my Creator to put me back on the wheel, break me, mold me, shape me until I reflect Him, not me.
Often He will use the broken pieces to make something beautiful. Will you let Him?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Who Are You?

The longer I live the more I realize I am not the only person that really doesn't know who they are from a Father's perspective.
For years I allowed what happened to me in my journey of life defined me. So my self-definition- meaning those tapes playing in my head- said I was fat; I was abused, unclean, unwanted. I was a failure and feared failing again.  I was a procrastinator and the list goes on.

Everyone has tapes playing in their head. Obviously some are better than others. The important thing is if the tapes train you for failure, then it is time to change the tape.
When I first came to the Be in Health ministry and heard that to change I had to know who I was, who the Father said I was, I was clueless. So clueless I googled, Who Am I in Christ.
That was the beginning of changing the course of my journey. When we let people and circumstances, traumas and events define us, we will not reflect His workmanship.
Each belief brings with it a mindset.
 As a child I loved playing with a kaleidoscope. As you turned it different pieces of glass tumbled into place forming a new picture. Your daily life can be likened to one of those tiny glass pieces. Now it depends on the direction you turn it which picture you see.
It is my heart's desire that you read my blog, you, too, will be able to exchange beauty for ashes. (Isaiah 61:1-3)

I want you to see yourself as a "pearl of great price and I earnestly do not want you to take as long it took me.
If you want to change, I invite you to join me on this journey. My desire is to give a simple word of encouragement and remind you are not alone. Then you decide which turns to make to take back your life and live it to the fullest.