Seek Him

After eating dinner with She Speaks friends, I drove away to check into my hotel.  I saw the sign and headed in that direction.  The parking lot was full and only a few dimly lit spaces were left in the back.  I decided to grab everything so I would only have to make one trip.  So I grabbed my bags, hangers, and a flat-iron and headed across the parking lot, then around the building to the front of the hotel.

I walked into the lobby and just as I sat the heavy bag onto the ground, I heard these six words:

You are at the wrong place.

Call it nerves or whatever, but I wanted to cry.  Can’t I just stay here?  Can’t you switch my reservation?  I thought this was where I booked?

No, you have to go to the other hotel about 15 miles away.

Maybe a tear or two fell as I picked up the bags that now felt heavier and I walked back to my car wondering how did I mess this up?

~You are at the wrong place!~

I heard and I felt those words. Did I miss something?  What if I am wrong?  What if this is more than the hotel that I got wrong?  I grumbled.  I doubted.  As I drove those fifteen minutes to the correct hotel, I pondered this question:

“Who wants to pick up heavy baggage and carry it only to hear – you are at the wrong place?”

Finally, I pulled into the much brighter parking lot, and parked closer to the door.  They were expecting me, and my room welcomed me.  I breathed a sigh of relief as my head hit the pillow – I was at the right place!

The next morning I sat in the parking lot drinking coffee.  It was foggy and cloudy, much like my head.  I held up my phone to take a picture and in the blue filter at the top of the windshield I was able to see the sun peeking through.

Look.

Look for me.

Yes, Lord.  Help me to see you.

Sun peeking through

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.  Psalm 105:4 

About halfway across the parking lot, I saw a praying mantis on the back of a car.   I passed it at first and then backed up to take the picture.

Pray

Talk to me.

Wow, I took the words to heart.  I needed prayer, especially today.

At our special luncheon, a new friend came and sat by me briefly towards the end.  We chatted and she said she wanted to pray for me, and later she found me.  Sitting alone in a large session, I felt her tap my shoulder and she sat and prayed such a precious prayer over me.  Only God.

I realized I left my phone charger in the car, so I walked outside and the praying mantis was STILL there.  I was standing in the hot sun frantically searching for my keys, while quickly retracing my steps in my mind to where I may have left them.  I started dumping the contents of my purse and still no keys.  I headed back to see if maybe I left them on the book table, and I stopped again at the Praying Mantis …

Pray

Talk to me.

“God I need my keys.  Help me find my keys.”  As I was praying, I looked down and saw a tiny pocket on the side of my purse and when I stuck my hand in the keys were there.  I didn’t even know that pocket existed!  There was a praise in my step – worshiping the God who hears me, when I call!!  He met me in a parking lot by a praying mantis over a set of keys!   He blew me away!  He prompted me to pray and he answered my prayer.  Only God.

I had meetings that afternoon, so I decided to leave class a little early and spend time in the prayer room.  As I walked into the prayer room all alone, the details left me speechless – again.

The fountain, the candles, the King is enthralled with your beauty, Whom shall I fear, the flowers, all details that took me back to times when God met me.  The rocks brought tears to my eyes.  Rocks have been significant to me not only as markers, but also just to hold onto in brave moments.  I picked up one and held it tightly and prayed.  As I was walking out, a girl was walking in and asked me if I was staff.  She needed someone to pray with her.  I sat and prayed for her before heading to my meeting.  Later, I spent over an hour in my car pouring my heart out to God, meeting with Him.

Pray

Talk to me…

When you are happy.

When you are sad.

When you a confused.

When you are angry.

I’m right here.

You can whisper.

I hear you.

I see you.

I love you.

I already knew how to pray, but this was different.  This was exhaling and inhaling His very presence.

It was breathing Him.

Not only at appointed times, or just in moments of crisis or thanksgiving.

This was an invitation to have a never-ending conversation with the one who never grows weary of me, who lets me say whatever I need to say, who guides and directs, who calls me His beloved, His daughter, His Princess.

Psalm 116:1-2 (NLT)

 I love the Lord because he hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy.

 Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 138:3(ESV)

On the day I called, you answered me;

    you made me bold in my soul with strength.

I’ve been listening to this song (Came to My Rescue by Hillsong) lately.  I want to be mindful to call on Him, to remain in Him.  What is God teaching you about prayer?  How are you seeking Him?  Take a few minutes, and listen.  Be still, and lift Him high!

On writing {A blog hop}

My friends Brandi  & Kristine invited me to join this Blog Hop on writing!  I met them online through Compel Training and just recently met them in person at She Speaks!  Both encourage me and their words are as beautiful as their smiles so be sure to visit them by clicking on their name!  This is my first blog hop, so … I am supposed to answer three questions on writing, and then introduce you to three bloggers that I follow.

Ready?  Set?  HOP!

We write to remember, to remind, to reach

Why do I write what I write?

I write to remember what God has done for me.  I write to remember how on an ordinary Friday, God told me he loved me with a magnificent Pink Sky and this time I believed it.  It changed everything for me.  He’s like that, and I don’t want to ever forget it.

I write to remind myself of who God is, and who He says I am.  Journey Pink is all about the discovery of knowing and believing that I am His, and He is mine.  I am His Princess and He is my King.

I write to reach that woman who is weary, and just getting through her busy.  If she even stops to look in the mirror, it’s not a princess she sees.  She may even know Jesus and know a lot about Him, but she’s really not even sure she’s on His radar.  She wants you to see that she is okay, but at night when her head hits the pillow a single tear falls whispering silent hurts.  I was that woman, and I found hope and healing in Him.

What am I working on?

Honestly, I am working on healing, and a big part of that for me is writing.  I have been on this journey a little over two years, and writing has been a big part of it. Writing for me is like seeing the mended vase, with Him being the glue that lines those sharp edges and creates beauty.  No matter how shattered it seems, He will make it whole again.  He will smooth the jagged edges, and shine the dull places.  He creates beauty with broken pieces.  There is hope in Him for all of us, every one.

How does my writing process work?

I write when I can whether it is typing notes on my phone, on paper or my blog.  Sometimes a writing prompt will stir something in me, but I don’t always make it to every party or link-up.   My favorite time to write is after a quiet walk in nature.  The trails just seem to line up jumbled words for me.  The hardest part is hitting publish.  I laugh when after thirty minutes of staring at the publish button (occasionally with nervous clapping or snapping fingers) my husband will say – “Please just push it!!”  Pushing publish and commenting for whatever reason is hard for me, but I am trying – a work in progress, I tell you!

Meet my friends!

I want to introduce you to three bloggers that I enjoy following.

Their transparency and truth points to Christ.

They are brave hearts making hearts brave!

Trudy Den Hoed - Freed To Fly
Trudy Den Hoed – Freed To Fly

I met Trudy Den Hoed online at the Faith Jam/Whitespace link-ups with Bonnie Gray.   She has been such an inspiration to me.  Trudy’s tagline says it all:  Hope, Healing, and Freedom for hurting souls.  Her encouragement will bless you!

Renee Ratcliffe - Eternity in Our Hearts
Renee Ratcliffe – Eternity in Our Hearts

I met Renee Ratcliffe at She Speaks and she is a gentle brave spirit.  Her writing digs deep into God’s Word and points to His hope.  Her journey has led her to focus on Kingdom Living now, and she truly lives that way.  It still moves me to remember her tapping me on my shoulder to pray over me at the conference.  She will run along side you in this race, and encourage you to keep going with your eyes fixed on Christ!

Shelly Tiffin ...seeking God, searching for wisdom, sharing stories along the way...
Shelly Tiffin …seeking God, searching for wisdom, sharing stories along the way…

I also met Shelly Tiffin at She Speaks, and was blown away by her transparency and determination.   She shares her life lessons and stories in ways that will make you hear God speaking to you as well. She believes in doing life together, sharing our stories with each other and being transparent.  That makes me smile.

This is a hop, so please make yourself comfortable.  Grab a hot coffee, (and/or a cold Diet Coke) and start clicking on the links.  Hop on over to their blogs, and be encouraged.  Be inspired.  Be real.

Write friends.  Just write.  

We write this to make our joy complete.  1 John 1:4

God is My Shade

I have been unpacking my heart from the She Speaks 14 conference, and quite honestly, this was a part that I had not intended to unpack here.  Until today.  In reading Psalms this morning I tweeted verses about God being my hiding place and being close.  (Psalm 32:7 & Psalm 34:18)  I made this picture and sent it to a friend and said, “Wow, that’s a promise!” to which she replied back, “Yes, and true to the end…. not some but ALL.”

Psalm 34:19-20
Psalm 34:19-20

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And then I see a tweet that reminds me to unwrap a scroll that was tenderly wrapped just for me.   Just the thought of that paper delicately rolled in twine overwhelms my heart with love.

Unroll Your Scroll
I took this picture when I saw it. I knew it would be amazing. It was. #UnrollYourScroll #UYS #SS14AP

The week before She Speaks, I wanted to run.  Those seven days were filled with anxiety, insomnia, and panic.  This sentence ran marathons through my mind the entire week – “WHAT AM I THINKING?”  I wanted to go, and was excited to go until it came right down to going and then I was afraid.  Thankfully, I remembered Jonah.

I remembered reading about Jonah just a few weeks before.  My last post before She Speaks was “God Comforts.”  I read this verse in Jonah and it jumped off of the page and rocked my world.

Then the LORD God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant.  Jonah 4:6

This verse stirred this fresh hope in my soul:  God doesn’t make us comfortable, but he does ease our discomfort.  

We visited Duke Gardens and my son helped me capture this reminder:

Jonah 4:6
Jonah 4:6

It made me think about all the leafy plants God provided to me for shade in my life. It made reflect on all of the ways He was with me.  God knew Jonah was uncomfortable.  He was right there.  He was aware, and He used this simple plant to provide joy for Jonah in his discomfort.  Jonah was very happy about the plant and it helped him to endure.

On the night before She Speaks, I was trying to get everything ready.  After staring at a blank screen for way too long, I finally decided to break away with my husband and go eat dinner together.  As we got out of the car, my heart was filled with peace at the sight of this puffy love in the sky.

Job 37:16
Job 37:16

These clouds reminded me that He has perfect knowledge and can be trusted.  After taking a break for dinner, I was able to go home, finish everything and pack.  I was ready and I was excited.  I was headed to She Speaks!

As I walked into that big room on the first morning, I took a deep breath.  The beauty and the detail on each table alone was incredible.  The bird-cage, reminding me that I am free.  The candles, reminding me to let my light shine.  The empty beautiful bottles, reminding me to be filled with Him.  The gorgeous flowers, reminding me to bloom where he plants me.  The new friends and faces around me, reminding me that I am not alone.

IMG_2618
Beautiful Details. #SheSpeaks14

And then this scroll, for me.  It was wrapped with love, and randomly placed into my hands.  For such a time as this.  This scroll, reminding me again that He is my comfort.  He is my King Jesus.  I am His princess.  He is my shade.

IMG_2598
Psalm 121:3-5 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand.

Can you see the ways God has provided leafy plants for you?  Have you experienced His shade in your discomfort and pain?  Maybe God is telling you to go to Nineveh, too?  Go, and trust Him.  He will be there with you, always.  He will be there to ease your discomfort.  He will be your shade.

Serve Him

After spending three days at the She Speaks conference, I opened the door and walked into my dimly lit familiar home.  Kids who fell asleep waiting for me were quiet in my room.  I kissed their faces and started unpacking my suitcase.

It’s now four days later, and I’m still unpacking my heart.

I can hardly talk about it without tears.  My heart and soul is overwhelmed at the goodness of a loving Savior.  I have never experienced God in such constant and intimate ways as I did at this conference.  It was as if He was physically right there, with me, the whole entire time.  He met me.  He met me in the parking lot several times. He sat with me for over an hour in my car with the air conditioning on full blast drying the tears from my cheeks.  He met me in the bathroom at a nearby restaurant.  He met me in the wrong hotel lobby.  He met me when I made a wrong turn.  He met me during worship and in each session. He met me at a chalkboard.  He was there, and He met me.  

Finding Pink Courage

He met me in a place where I was utterly dependent and focused on Him.  I didn’t have distractions or something pressing to pull me away.  I didn’t have my phone beeping a sense of urgency.  I just had Him and I needed Him.  I was scared.  I was alone.  I was confused.  I was overwhelmed.  Yet, with all of that, I was also very excited.  I was alive.  I was refreshed.  I was fired up.  I was in a room full of other women who also have this “thing” somewhere inside of them right where the ribs meet that says, “Keep going.  Do this.  I am here.”

I asked some friends to pray for me for a spirit of confidence, hope, and endurance. God delivered.  But you know what?  Sometimes to have a spirit of confidence you need to get kicked in the gut with insecurity.  To be infused with a spirit of hope you have to know the pain of loss… and to have a spirit of endurance you have to give up from sheer exhaustion and let Him fill your tank overflowing with His renewal.

About halfway through the conference, I headed straight for the exit doors.  I wasn’t running but I was moving at such a pace that the person in front of me turned around as she heard me approaching and then backed out-of-the-way when she saw my face.  My tears.  My pain.

I started walking even faster to my car.  I cried and I cried and I cried.  I called home to speak with the kids and just hearing them in the background made me cry even more.  I couldn’t answer them when they asked, “Mom, what’s wrong?” because I didn’t know.  I hung up with them and cried out to God, “What is wrong with me?  Why am I so upset?”

“Why did that bother me SO MUCH? What am I doing?  Why am I doing this?  Why am I even here?  I’m not made for this!  I can’t take it!  I am not going to make it!”  This continued for a good hour and finally, I threw my phone down and hit the steering wheel, and said out loud, “I just want to serve these women. I just want to serve them!”

And He spoke.   It was gentle, loud, and with authority that I heard two words in my spirit.

“SERVE ME.”

For just a slight moment, I stopped crying.  I took a deep breath.  And then, I really lost it.  These tears were different.  These were tears of joy.  These were tears of relief.  These were tears of thanksgiving.  These were tears of comfort.

He puts that passion, that “thing” … of hope stirring inside of me right in between where the ribs meet.  That passion is what He uses to get my feet to move, my fingers to type, and my mouth to speak.  He alone gives me the strength to take another step, and to trust Him.  On this day He gave me the gift and the freedom – to serve Him.

Do you see that shift?  This passion, this “thing” was real, and it had shifted my focus ever so slightly.  I was focused on those I wanted to serve.  “I’m doing what you asked!  God, I just want to serve these women!”

And he said, “Serve me”.

I decided to drive to McDonald’s and get a large ice-cold Diet Coke.  She handed me the drink and still whimpering I asked her for napkins to get my face and eyes cleaned up.  I went back to my parking spot and sat.  This time with the car off.  I sat as the car warmed, sipping ice-cold.  I sat as my heart warmed, to this fresh touch from my Lord.

If you have this “thing”, this hope stirring inside of you right in between where the ribs meet, grab your favorite cold or hot beverage, and sip as you think of what it means for you to serve Him.  I’ll be sharing more as I continue to unpack my heart of His goodness.  I would love to hear from you.

If anyone serves me, he must follow me;

and where I am, there will my servant be also.

If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

John 12:26