Take the next step

Be Brave.

It is time to take the next step.

Looking back, that is what it has felt like all along – step after step after step.

Every step was a big step.  Saying the words, calling the counselor, showing up for the appointment, signing up for group therapy and conferences, standing up and sharing my testimony: each and every step was a step of faith that was HUGE at the time.

Isn’t that what God is calling all of us to do? Take the next step? Even if we are full of fear and not equipped?

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God Pursues

Come to meThe steam was just starting to disappear on the mirror as I prayed in the bathroom for God to help me.  I woke up to an intense bad dream, startled and shaken.  A cold Diet Coke and some time in the Word helped refresh and calm me.  The humming of the hairdryer stopped and a song starting playing on Pandora that I had never heard before…First by Lauren Daigle.

I listened intently to each word as I applied make-up and just felt this strong desire to fall on my knees and spend more time with the Lord.

But, I didn’t have time.  I was in a hurry because I had to give a five-minute speech in front of a live audience and a video camera for the first time.  I felt like I would burst if I stopped for one minute.

I told God to wait. “Not now, Lord.”

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Don’t Shrink Back {Be Brave}

Psalm 27:14God, what is my purpose?  What are you calling me to do?

When I have prayed and asked those questions, God has answered.  I know in my heart what He is calling me to do, but I have no idea how to get there.

In fact, I feel stuck sometimes.

And the voices in my head can be so loud.   “Are you sure He said??? How is it even possible? You???”

Doubt creeps in and I freeze.

I want to shrink back, hunker down. I look to the right and the left. I see others with far more skill and talent.  I read a post or a tweet that makes me cringe in fear. The bubble of doubt grows bigger and I shrink back…  smaller and smaller.  I’m little again. I’m terrified.

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Almost there

I nervously made my way over to the bloggers retreat at The Cove.  The first session was on “Living Inspired” with Jess Connolly.   She was beautifully transparent and real as she reminded us that while we may feel pressure to be inspiring, our main role is be inspired!  We need to be deeply rooted in Christ and assured of our identity in Him.

1 Peter 2:9

I have 27 pages of notes, and the thought of condensing them overwhelms me, but there was one big thing that happened at this conference that blew me away as I felt the unfailing love of my Savior pour over me.

Fireplace at the Cove

That evening, I went to the main lobby and was greeted by a warm fireplace and the smell of spinach artichoke dip.  I made a plate and sat alone in a corner all by myself.  Two ladies came and sat by me, and in our delightful conversation I ended up sharing my heart, my passion, and my story before heading to my room with tiny snow flakes dancing on my face.

The next day as Jon Acuff was digging into the heart side of blogging, my pen was anxious to capture every word on paper.

  • He orders the steps of the righteous not the leaps and bounds.
  • Bravery is a choice not a feeling.
  • If you want to change the world, change one person’s life.

Then at the very end of his presentation, he talked about how sometimes small things lead to bigger things.  He shared about speaking to a large group of teens and having them write down how they saw themselves and why.  One girl had written something like “touched by a boy at 7, touched by a man at 12, worthless.”

At this point I was frozen, and I stopped writing.   Of all the notes I had taken, this was what I came to hear.  I felt it in every bone in my body.

He went on to say,  “We were never meant to suffer alone.  Your story is a lot of other people’s stories and they need you to be brave.  Blogging is going first. When you go first, you give others the gift of going second. Go first. Your story matters.”

I sat there staring straight ahead.

When I finally got up to disappear in the bathroom, I met one of my lobby friends who placed her hands on my shoulders and said to me, “Did you hear that???  That was for you!”

With tears streaming down my face, I said, “I know, and He had me share with you last night so I wouldn’t doubt it.”

And then I stood in the hallway and snapped this pic.Psalm 16:11

Here is this scripture from the Message version:

Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,

all radiant from the shining of your face.

Ever since you took my hand,

I’m on the right way. 

Psalm 16:11

I spent some time in the prayer room gazing at the beauty of His Creation, before returning to the final sessions.

View from the Prayer Room at the Cove

On the drive home, my heart was full and the smile on my face stretched from ear to ear.  I sang praises to Him as I watched the sunset behind me and the clouds turn pink before me.  Almost home, almost there. Almost ready to go first.

Show me your ways, Lord,
 teach me your paths.
 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalm 25:4-5