Saturday, January 28, 2017

A birthday and awaiting a birth.....

Today was an exciting day for our family!  It was the celebration of Anna's third birthday.  I can hardly believe that she is already three years old.  Gwen sent me this picture from after the party.
It was a Peppa Pig extravaganza!  Anna loves Peppa Pig and I found this Peppa Pig rain coat, which she loves.  She also was quite pleased with the Frozen rain boots that she has wanted for a long time.  She was distressed when all of her siblings had rain boots and she did not.  So Grandma Lyn came to the rescue and found these.   Lia was so happy to provide face painting and temporary tatoos for all of the kids.  It was a wild and crazy couple of hours but Ken and I wouldn't have missed it for anything!  Well, almost anything...... which brings me to the awaiting a birth!

Doug and Susie are still waiting for the arrival of their precious little one.  We are all getting anxious to meet her.  We had talked about the possibility of not being able to be at Anna's party if this baby decided to come today.  Sadly, that did not happen.  Anna's actual birthday is Monday, so she just might end up sharing a birthday with her cousin!  Nothing we can do but sit and wait!  One thing is sure, Jesus knows the exact right time for this baby to be born.  

You know, it is really good to spend time with a bunch of kids and their parents.  Especially if you are really old, like me!  There was so much energy in the house today.  There were 21 kids between the ages of 2 months and 10 years!  Plus their parents!  Additionally there were some other adults that Anna wanted invited to her party - thankfully that included grandparents!   So there was a lot of noise and lots of activity.  Anna's favorite spot was playing with the pink play dough that Gwen had made.  The big kids spent a great deal of time upstairs.  It is really nice to be around these young families. 
How wonderful it was to look around at all of the kids and to know that they are all being raised knowing about Jesus.  It is such a great feeling knowing that Gwen and Tim have surrounded their family with a support system of like minded friends.  There were many churches represented in the group, but the main thing is that they all love Jesus.  It is so nice to see kids who don't know each other, come together at this kind of event and all get along and have fun.  Yes, those parents have their hands full.  But all I could think about was this verse....Psalm 127:3-5a

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  

So I decided to look at these verses in the Passion Translation, and I am so glad that I did!

Children are God's love-gift; they are heaven's generous reward.  Children born to a young couple will one day rise to protect and provide for their parents.  Happy will be the couple who has many of them!  A household full of children will not bring shame on your name, but victory when you face your enemies.  For your kids will have influence and honor to prevail on your behalf!

Doesn't that just give a deeper and clearer meaning to those verses?  Today was one of those times when I sit back and marvel at my children, now adults with their own families.  Each season of life has challenges and rewards.  These young families have sleepless nights, stacks of laundry and dishes that never end.  There are struggles with time management, activities and work schedules.  Yet, they are parenting some wonderful kids who will have influence and honor.  And there is so much joy and energy in their lives.  In the grandparenting season, there are a host of challenges also.  There are health concerns, retirement concerns, job concerns, financial concerns.  And there are worries about our children and grandchildren.  But the rewards are wonderful.  Today was one of those rewards.  Sharing across generations.  Participating in the joy and the fun.  

It is always easy to look at the troubles and to retreat into darkness when things are going badly.  But it is so worth it to see the rewards that far out number the challenges.  Even with all of the muck of everyday life, there are bright and happy spots to focus on.  The trick is to watch for the reward!  
I think that this is a better challenge then just being thankful.  This is looking for the blessing beyond the thanksgiving.  Yes, I will be making time to watch for the reward every day.  And remembering that there is more than just being thankful.

Jesus, thank you for Anna and this wonderful day to celebrate her life.  Give our family great grace as we wait for Doug and Susie's baby to come.  Holy Spirit, help us all to look beyond the challenges to see the great rewards no matter what season of life we are in.  Thank you for your plan for the family that includes blessings shared between generations.  Amen

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A blessing in disguise.....

So I woke up this morning and looked at my Facebook feed - nothing unusual about me doing that!  But then I noticed a "throw back Thursday" photo someone else had posted.  On this day 39 years ago (yes, that is a long, long time ago! Sigh!) there was a major snowstorm in the Chicago area.  And then I remembered that day, almost like it was just yesterday!  Here are my photo's from that major snowstorm....

Yes, that is me and Ken and the parking lot of our apartment.  But here is the story that makes this storm "extra" meaningful to me.  We were supposed to close on our house buy on that very day.  It got delayed because of the weather.  In fact, there was an almost two week delay before we actually finally closed on our house.  Now considering that we were supposed to be moving into our new home, you can only imagine what our one bedroom apartment looked like.  We had everything packed and only had a narrow walkway through the boxes.  We had not gotten groceries for some time, since we did not want to worry about moving stuff like that.  We had made our apartment seem even smaller than it was by purchasing furniture for our new home - before we moved in!  So we had a large dining room table and six chairs and hutch crammed into the space.  As a side note that particular table and chairs now resides at Gwen and Tim's house.  And I sit at that table every time I am there.  We were grateful for some good friends that lived next door to us.  They invited us over to eat with them.  On the second day, Ken was able to walk to a small convenience store and get some basic supplies to tide us over until the parking lot was cleared out. It certainly made our last few days in an apartment an interesting memory.  

I am really thankful for Facebook on days like today.  I would have just sort of blasted by the date and not even recalled this event.  It is good to be reminded that even when your plans have to change, or things don't go exactly as you wanted them to, there may well be a good memory in the making.  

Here I sit, in that same house that we were so anxious to finally own.  And I can tell you, that snowstorm 39 years ago was just one of many things that didn't quite go as planned for Ken and I. 
I am so thankful that over the years I have learned that it is really okay to NOT have everything happen as you planned.  It's a hard lesson, but a very necessary one.  Sometimes we don't know what is really the best for us.  It is good to let go and trust that God is in control of things.  Flexibility is a wonderful thing.  It is not always easy to set aside your plans and your ideas when something comes up.  But more often than not, in the end something good comes out of the change of plans.  It turned out that our move in date was changed not only because of the weather.  There was a delay in getting our electric meter installed.  We were blessed to have apartment management that allowed us to stay in our apartment for an extra two weeks. They might not have done this for us if it were not for the snowstorm! So the snow was a blessing in disguise for us.   By the time we actually did our move, most of the snow had melted away.  We had no way of knowing that snow was actually going to help us out.  And it was totally out of our control.  

What a great reminder to just take things as they come and not be so ridged in our thinking.  When our plans don't work out, when people disappoint us, and even the weather conspires against us, it is good to step back and take another look at the situation.  There could be a really nice blessing hiding right there for you.  It is so much easier to do this when we remember this verse from Jeremiah....
"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."

Jesus, thank you for your great love and care for us.  Holy Spirit, help us all to look at the challenges that we face from a different perspective.  Give us grace to look above the situations and to see those blessings that might be hidden from view.  Remind us, Jesus, that you care for us!  Amen

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

When your past suddenly impacts your today....

This is a picture of a portrait made sometime in the 1850's in Germany.  This couple is Johan Fredrick Tonsing and Anna Elizabeth Tonsing, my great-great grandparents.  And, believe it or not, I was talking about them today at my small group meeting!  Here is how that came about....

Have you ever thought about some of your ancestors and thought, "boy, would I love to meet them." When I look at this picture, that thought is in the forefront of my mind.  I try to imagine what their life was like in Germany in the early part of the nineteenth century.  It is only from the stories I heard from my mom, that I can piece together a bit about who they were and how they lived.  The most important fact I know about them, was that they were willing to send their children off to distant lands, with the purpose of spreading the message of Jesus.  My great grandfather and his brother came to the United States, not only for a new life and an adventure.  They came to start new churches and to spread their faith in Jesus.  At the same time, their sister and her husband set off to minister to the Zulu tribes in what is now South Africa.   Just this past week, I was contacted by an online ancestor search company with information that connects my family tree with an extensive tree from South Africa.  And Marie Elizabeth Tonsing Otte is that connector person.  Marie is the daughter of these people in this picture, who long ago settled in South Africa.

So today, my small group welcomed a visitor, who lives in our area.  His name is George Miller and he is originally from South Africa.  It was certainly one of those divine appointments and we were so blessed to hear a bit of his story.  He has connections to so many of the respected leaders that our group follows, reads, and listens to and he is such a powerful man of God.  He and his wife have been in the United States for 27 years and during those years served with many ministries.  Sadly, his wife passed away about 2 years ago and he is currently in a time of transition.  But when you meet a man like this, you can just feel the wisdom and strength that his life journey has birthed into him.  Many, many times today he shared that his wife had really been the spiritual powerhouse and he just sort of followed along.  I believe that he was really selling himself short with that statement.  After the meeting, I mentioned my family connection to South Africa. We had a great discussion about the power of those spiritual seeds sown in our generations.

I asked George what he was feeling for 2017 and he said two things.  CHANGE and we must CHANGE OUR THINKING!  Isn't that a large chunk to chew on?  Of course the message was that with all the changes happening around us, we must be open to change.  But more than that, we must change our thinking and understand that our thoughts are not God's thoughts.   On the way home from group, I was reflecting on these two things.  And I was thinking about Johan and Anna.  They had to accept change and encourage and allow their children to set off of the "ends of the earth".  They had no way of really knowing what that would mean - for them or their children.  They read and believed the Bible and knew the great commission - Matthew 28:19 -  "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"   And so they did that, having the mind of Christ.

And then I was thinking about how hard change is for me. Also, how difficult it is being in times of transition - when you just really don't know what is ahead.   It was good to have the reminder today, that God has a really big plan for each of us.  Even if we can't see how the pieces might connect today, there will be a time when we will finally see the big picture. Having George with our group today reminded us that there are connections for each of us that bring us closer together.  It is really amazing when you get a glimpse of how God works, when you hear someone elses story.  It builds your own confidence that your story has a purpose.  Be encouraged today to tell someone your story!  We need each other so much.  Let God make those connections and then change won't feel so scary and so BIG.  Ask Jesus to change your thinking - to add wisdom and knowledge and creative thinking into your day.  Together we can all face 2017 with joy and peace and confidence in Jesus!

Jesus, thank you for bringing George to our group today.  Continue to meet his needs and bless him as he seeks a new path with you.  Thank you Holy Spirit, for reminding me of the spiritual heritage of my past generations.  Give us all courage to face changes and the wisdom to change our thinking.  Thank you Jesus for good friends who stand with us.  Amen

Friday, January 13, 2017

A long delayed message......

First at bit of background for this story!  Ken and I both attended the same high school but he graduated a year ahead of me.  That means that we have these 8 yearbooks -1 for 68, 2 for 69, 2 for 70, 2 for 71 and 1 for 72.   We did not date in high school but we did share many friends.  It was actually at a friends house, in the summer after I graduated, that we connected and began to date.  My blog tonight was triggered by one of those many shared friends.

Earlier today I got an email from a company that I have not used recently - Classmates.  I never paid for their sight or really used their sight very much.  But I had registered my name sometime in the early 2000's.  After I started using Facebook, I stopped responding to emails about Classmates and I don't think I ever looked at the sight much after 2005 or 2006.  For some reason, tonight I opened that email and saw that I had 5 unread messages on my personal page.  It was a miracle that I remembered my sign in and password (I guess sometimes it is good to mostly use one or two passwords) and it was a very, very old password.  I got to my page and found these unread messages.   That message really stopped me in my tracks. It was sent to me in July of 2009.  It was from an old friend, Sylvia, who sadly passed away in 2016.

Let me tell you about my friend Sylvia.  I actually met her in 8th grade, shortly after we moved to Elk Grove.  We shared a class and got paired to do a project together.  She invited me to her home to complete that assignment.  We became friends after that and I spent many, many nights at her house during my high school years.  She was an only child and much loved by her parents.  They moved houses between our 8th grade year and the beginning of high school, which actually brought her a bit closer to my house.  It was a really interesting friendship since we really did not have much in common (on the surface).  But I remember laughing and having so much fun whenever I was with her.  Looking back, I am sure that she kind of viewed me as a misfit that needed to be helped out.  Which, in fact was kind of true!  The really interesting thing about this is that Sylvia and Ken went to the same church and were a part of the youth group.  I remember Sylvia bringing me to many youth activities and even a few that were at Ken's house!  She had told me many times that she was interested in dating Ken (he was older than us and drove a convertible - both very important things when you are a teenage girl!)  I however, did not see any reason that Ken would be a good person to date.  I actually only saw her one time after high school. It was Christmas time of 1973 and we happened to be at the local grocery store at the same time.  She was home from college and Ken and I had gotten engaged a few months before.  When she saw my engagement ring she wanted all the details.   I was a bit sheepish when I told her who I was planning to marry!  She exclaimed (with a great deal of drama) "That creep!  Why would you possibly want to marry him!"  Which was the exact things that I had said to her about her crush on Ken.  While we talked about staying in touch, it didn't happen.

Sylvia enlarged my world and brought so many adventures into my life.  I went to many, many parties and dances with her because of all the different people she knew.   We had countless adventures driving around - including changing a flat tire by ourselves!  I am so thankful for her friendship .  The message from Sylvia was an attempt to get back in touch with each other.  She spoke about her children and grandchildren and how much she enjoyed being retired.  She had been invited to the many high school reunions that have been held, but was never able to attend.  I so wish that I had the chance to catch up with her.  And it makes me very thankful for the friends that I have managed to keep in contact - even if it is just Facebook or a Christmas card.

Which brings me to the point of this blog.  Sometimes people are in our life for a season and then they are gone.  Then there are those that you hold close, that stick around.  And there are those that you may not see or speak with often, yet when you do get together, it is as if no time has passed. All those that have touched our life are important. Every friend, every classmate or neighbor, or coworker, leaves an imprint on us.  All to often, we forget just how important these people are to us.  After receiving this long delayed message tonight, especially one that I now can not respond to, I know that it is time to reach out to those dear ones that I have lost touch with.  Unfortunately, my list is long!   Are there those in your life that you have wondered about?  Lost touch with?  Someone who has come into your mind?  Take it from me, don't delay - call, write or message today!

We are a people that need each other.  No man is an island.  All of us thrive on contact and on love.  There is such a lack of love expressed these days.  Lets all share more love today.  Brighten someones day with a smile or a kind word.  Knock on a neighbors door just to say hi.  Don't just think about someone - actually call or write them.  This is a dark time of year.  It is cold and dreary around much of the country.  Let us all brighten it up with an outpouring of love.  When asked what the greatest commandment was Jesus responded...... "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.  This is the greatest commandment and the second is this - love your neighbor as yourself".  Yes it is time for more connection.  More togetherness.  More love!

Jesus, thank you for bringing this message to me, and the reminder that there are many I need to connect with.  Holy Spirit motivate us to walk in love and express love to all those around us.  Thank you Jesus that your light and your love brighten and empower us all!  Amen

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

When you need a little more patience....

This past weekend we took a family get away to an indoor water park.  It is always a wonderful time, but very tiring.  We had several meals together, spent some time in the evening playing games and then raced around with the kids at the water park for the rest of the time.
I just looked back and we have gone to this park every year since 2011 - except for 2014 when Anna was born in January!  So this was our fifth trip to this park.  We only spend one night there, but that gives us time to swim both on the day we arrive and the next day.  So we get two days in the water.  And with little ones, that is quite enough.  Each of the rooms is actually a one bedroom or two bedroom suite with a full kitchen, so it is really perfect with little kids.  As usual, being with my grown up children and my grandchildren is always an interesting adventure.  When I was journaling today about this time, I noted some things that might seem like really small things at first glance.  But really, they pack a punch.  This was a big trip for Lia, who actually went on every activity in the park this year!  She did the "body slide" all by herself more than once.  And she tackled the "Ropes" course over the water. This represented many years of patience on the part of the grown ups who had wanted her to be ready to try these activities before she was actually ready for them.   Anna needed US to be patient as she discovered that the slide in the toddler area was actually very fun.  Once we let her get used to the idea, she warmed up and let us hold her hand on the first few slides.  By the third time, she was off.  And for the next many hours, Anna ran from the bottom of the slide to the steps and back down that slide.  Over and over. Zeke had to be a bit more patient since you have to be six to go into the hot tub and sadly he is only 5 this year!   Yes, patience.  Not easy but necessary.  A good time was had by all, in any case. 

So today I made my weekly trip to Walmart for groceries.  Always an interesting experience, but today was especially challenging.  I only needed about 1/2 a cart of stuff, so I wrongly believed that I could be in and out quickly.  I really wasn't in any time crunch, but the weather is nasty (rainy and VERY windy) so I just wanted to get home!  As I approached the check out lines, I noticed a man with one item.  So I told him to go ahead of me.  The women in front of me also let him jump ahead.  Still should not have been that long of a check out.  Little did I know what was to come.   Let me just stop right here and say, in total truth telling, that I have actually been journaling about NOT always being rushed and taking time to breathe.  So I saw this as a good opportunity to do just that!  Well, there were all kinds of problems with the women in front of me actually completing her order.  There was a coupon issue.  There was an issue with an item not matching a coupon.  There was a problem with the register.  There was a problem getting a supervisor to the register to fix one of the other problems!  As the time ticked away, I found myself getting more and more anxious.  So, I stopped and took some more deep breaths and turned to the person waiting behind me (with a very full cart of groceries)!  He was actually the fifth or sixth person to get in my line.  The others had all assessed the situation and gone to another aisle! Smart! He had already unloaded some of his items onto the belt by the time I turned to him.  We had a nice chat about our very unusual weather (50 degrees in January and 60 mile an hour wind gusts).  We talked about some produce items.  And he mentioned that his wife was on maternity leave for another 3 weeks.  That led to a nice conversation about his newborn son.  By this time, I was feeling more patient.  Even though it had been 45 minutes since I entered the check out line, I was quite relaxed.  Happy to be leaving, but also calm.  

Yes, I believe that will be one of my goals for 2017.  I will breathe and be in the moment rather than let things get me angry.  The result of that anger is usually fear and fear is never good.  I really liked that I actually felt good when I got home, in spite of a really unfortunate experience at Walmart.  This patience thing is not easy.  But in the end, it is so worth it.   
I was thinking about this scene from the movie Evan Almighty.  If you click on the link you will see a great scene and also words about patience.  Yes, it might actually be an answer for me!  If you want to be more patient, won't God give you situations in which you have to be patient?  Yes, I think this is the case.  Tonight I am so thankful for this past weekend and then this situation today.  What a great reminder for all of us!

Jesus, thank you for giving me a direction for 2017 to become more patient.  Thank you for family times and laughter and fun.  Thank you for kind people at Walmart and friendly conversations.  Give us all reminders to take a step back and breathe when we are faced with trying situations.  And thank you Jesus for warm weather in January.  Amen

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Connecting a few dots....

After writing last night's blog post, I have been thinking about what might be ahead for me.  Sometimes you have to look behind you to understand where you might be going.  So I started thinking about what has REALLY been on my heart for the last couple of months.  Tonight I have a story to tell you from my past, that might help "connect the dots" and give a clearer picture of my journey to now!

In May of 2008 I was introduced to a couple of ministries that I had not really been following very closely.  There was a conference being held very close to my home with two speakers that I had heard of, but really didn't follow closely.  Those two speakers were Kim Clement and Lance Wallnau.
Lance Wallnau had a unique message that I had only heard pieces of and I was interested to hear more. His message was about the 7 mountains of society and God's plan.

Kim Clement was a prophetic worshiper, evangelist, missionary and pastor.  Until that conference I had only READ his prophetic words.  (Sometimes it is easy to forget how much technology has changed in such a short time.  There were not many videos made and they were not really that accessible in 2008.  There was not Periscope or Facebook live.  Youtube was started in 2005, but not many people used it. So keep that in mind)   I would get words that Kim had spoken from several months before.  And, as it is with all of us, no human is perfect and there is no perfect prophetic voice.  But many, many people felt that being in worship with Kim brought you to a different dimension.  So, I was curious to actually experience being with Kim Clement.  

(As a side note, Kim Clement died in early November of 2016.  He had been very ill for over a year and his ministry continues to reach many, even after his illness and death)

That conference in 2008 was one of those life changing events for me.  I never actually heard Kim speak.  He only sat at the piano and played and sang.  But the atmosphere in the room was supercharged.  His message at that conference was that Chicago was a HUB for what the Lord had for the next season.  It was really amazing.  It was Lance Wallnau's teaching on the 7Mountain Mandate that really touched me.  Over the next few months I read his books and listened to his teachings and fully embraced the idea of the seven spheres of society and God's plan to occupy and influence each of these areas.  (to hear about this click this link Lance Wallnau - 7m Mandate)

Quite honestly, after 2008 I didn't really follow Lance Wallnau that closely.  I would occasionally read something about him, or see a teaching he had given.  But, in my heart, I felt that there was something important for me contained in that teaching.  Fast forward to this summer.  

Within all of the political "STUFF" going on, I saw that Lance Wallnau had supported Trump for president, believing there was a Cyrus Call on Trump to be a wrecking ball in Washington.  Additionally, I saw that Kim Clement has released a prophecy in 2007 saying that Trump would be the president of the United States.  I started to follow and listen to Lance on Periscope and Facebook and discovered that he was writing a book scheduled to be released just before the election.  That book, God's Chaos Candidate is a number one best seller.  

At this point, I am sure that I have lost some of you.  As I said yesterday I have stayed pretty silent on the election and all of this stuff.  But the REASON that I am sharing today is more about ME than Donald Trump or Lance Wallnau or Kim Clement.

As I have been listening to Lance (I follow him on Periscope and Facebook Live) I have realized that there is something very real that I am supposed to be doing for Jesus right now.  Lance's message is not just about the government mountain, it is really about what we as believers need to be doing in every area!  The message is simple.  We pray "let your Kingdom come, let your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" each time we say the Lord's Prayer.  Yet we don't expect to actually see Kingdom things happen here on earth.  We can fight those giants and we can make a difference.  Each one of us.   

So what is ahead for me in 2017?  Well, I really don't know.  But I do know that I have a great feeling of hope and excitement about what is ahead.  The best thing for me is that I don't feel like I am trying to connect the dots all my myself.  I have found a "tribe" of people who are also following Lance and together we are ready to move where God wants us to go.  I am so thankful for Lance and his ministry team.   With God nothing is impossible!

Jesus, thank you for helping me understand and appreciate how the pieces of my life fit together.  Thank you for all that you have accomplished through Kim Clement and Lance Wallnau and their ministries.  Holy Spirit, thank you for courage and boldness to share, even when it is difficult.  Amen

Monday, January 2, 2017

A New Year, A New beginning....

This last month or two  it has been increasingly difficult for me to blog.  I would open up a new post and sit with my fingers poised over the keyboard and then......nothing.  I felt like the river of all that I wanted to share had simply dried up.  I had so many thoughts in my head but somehow I just couldn't transition them to the page.  It was very frustrating.  Instead of a welcome part of my day, thinking about this blog became a chore.  So I sort of decided that enough was enough.  I would finish out 2016 and just fade off, never to blog again.  But then I had a couple of interesting things happen that have changed my mind.  Every time that I decide that I am done blogging (for some reason or the other), suddenly people start reading my blog.  And sending me emails wondering why I am not blogging.  And writing comments on the blog asking if something is wrong since I have only blogged a couple of times in the last few weeks.  That is exactly what has happened, yet again.

I heard from a couple of my friends in Africa.  Wondering if there was a prayer need that I hadn't been able to share.  Isn't it amazing to be connected to people all over the world?  A "Facebook" friend sent me a message with holiday greetings and them commented that she missed my blog posts and the encouragement that they brought to her.  So this is a new beginning for a new year.  Here goes!

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I didn't have the family picture we took on Christmas Eve.  Gwen recently sent me this one from her camera.  I just love it.  I especially like Ellie's very real attitude about yet another picture taking session.  Someday, she will be very sorry that she didn't cooperate for these pictures!
Yes, family is pretty much the most important thing in my life.  And I love having these great pictures of our wonderful times together.     I am so blessed and so thankful for each one pictured here.  They are always the bright spot in my day. It is always easy to share and write about my family.

However, some of the things that I have wanted to share on this blog, are pretty controversial and might not be received very well by some who read this blog.  It has been a tense and dividing time in the political arena.  My Facebook feed is split between people who are really happy about the upcoming four years, or really angry about them.  For the most part, I have not been public about this and have decided that LOVE is the most important thing.  I will just remain loving and caring to everyone, no matter what!  But that is becoming more difficult since I have promised truth telling!
I really think that is the reason that I have had such a hard time writing this blog.  I have been thinking more about the READER rather than sharing my own heart.  And that is a mistake.  The real motivator for this blog was to share the things that Jesus had put on my heart.  To be able to openly express the things that were in my spirit and trust the Holy Spirit to bring them to exactly the people who needed them.  Yes, fear of man was keeping me from sharing... fear of GIANTS!

I think that this song Giants Fall by Francesca Battistelli will be my encouragement in the days and weeks and months ahead.  Please take a moment and listen to the song.  Here are the lyrics...

Everyone's telling you To let go of what you're holding to
It's too late, too far, You're too small, it's too hard
Throwing water on that spark Living deep inside your heart
With oceans of reasons  The things you're not seeing
But oh, maybe they don't  Know what you know
That you're not alone
Don't you be afraid Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything's possible
So step into the fight  He's right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small
But watch the giants fall
We could really live like this Can't you imagine it
So bold, so brave With childlike faith
Miracles could happen Mountains would start moving
So whatever you may face  Don't you be afraid
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything's possible
So step into the fight He's right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small
But watch the giants fall
Ask and believe  You're gonna see
The hand of God in every little thing
Don't you be afraid 
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything's possible
So step into the fight
He's right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small
But watch the giants fall
Miracles can happen
Anything is possible
Watch the giants fall

Yes, there have been some giants out there in my thoughts and I have been afraid to face them.  I don't know why, but I seem to have forgotten just how big my Jesus is!   This year - 2017 - is going to be an amazing year.  I am convinced that we will see many, many giants fall.  I know that Jesus is calling me to step into the fight, knowing that He is right there with me.  I know that there will be many miracles and many of those mountains will start moving.  

Expect to hear much more about the things that Jesus is speaking to me!  I don't have a clear picture myself of what 2017 holds for me specifically.  But tonight I am sure that there is something specific for me and I will ASK and BELIEVE that I will see the hand of God in every little thing!  This is for each of you reading this blog.  Don't be afraid of those really big things that seem to be standing in your way.  Join me and ask and believe!  With God anything is possible!

Jesus, thank you for reminding me that your plans include all of us.  No matter how small we feel or how hard the problem is, you are there with us and YOU will empower us to step into the fight.  Holy Spirit, give us all courage to speak the truth and to share our hearts in love.  Thank you for friends and family and music!  Amen