Monday, June 29, 2009

Friends and Family

I am leaving town! Adios, Goodbye! My family and I are making the trip back to Ohio this week, I am very excited to see my family. Especially my Granny, she was diagnosed with terminal Lung Cancer back in April. She is on in-home Hospice and is also showing signs of Dementia.

I love my Granny so much and will miss her terribly when she is gone. She has always shown me unconditional love, that is how I will remember her.

I am praying for Gods peace to surround her the rest of her days. I am praising Him that He has a better place for her, a place where I will be with her much longer than I am without her.

On another note, I get to see my sisters, my nieces and nephew, my parents (including the grand ones), and friends! I am looking froward to laughing, sharing and catching up.

Family, they are so very important. I have in the past not placed enough value in the meaning of Family. Especially after I became a believer. Yes, I know, read that again, it doesn't sound quite right does it? "I have in the past not placed enough value in the meaning of Family. Especially after I became a believer."

I felt misunderstood by them, and sadly, I pulled away. I allowed a religious mindset to separate me from them, instead of allowing the Love of God to draw me to them. But, honestly, I didn't see it for what it was.

But now, I think once we have received the love of God in our hearts one of the best places to let it overflow into is our families. It is my belief that part of the problem is that instead of receiving God's love, we receive the do's and dont's of religion. Instead of hearing about how the Spirit will work in us changing us from glory to glory as we receive and believe God's love for us, we hear what the outside stuff is supposed to look like. When what we see on the outside in the lives of others does not line up, we take a prideful stand in the name of the Lord, and in a sense, reject them. Sad. I did this.

My heart has been changed about my family. I love them All. I want to reach out and let the love that God has shown me flow into their lives. I want them to know that I love them, and it no longer matters if I feel they love me the same. Because the One who matters most, DOES!

I started writing this post to simply let you know, I may not be back for awhile. I may or may not get the chance to post, read comments, or visit you for the next two or three weeks. Because I will be soaking up the sun and fun with my friends and family in Ohio!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Just Because

I am thinking about relationships today. It seems to be an ongoing theme in my heart as of late. I know that God is changing me, transforming me, and bringing me closer to Him. As He does this, I can sense that my heart toward my relationships with others will never be the same again, and I am glad.

I just finished reading Authentic Reionships, by Wayne Jacobsen and Clay Jacobsen. It confirmed so much of what has been in my heart, yet I couldn't seem to find the words, to explain. In the Church system, (which I am not saying is bad), I have many times felt like I was expected to live up to the expectations of others. I was expected to submit to their desire for me, and go against what I felt in my heart.

I have had relationships that I thought were true and genuine, until I felt God tugging at my heart in a different direction then what others thought. Then, in their minds I was no longer following God. I am really not writing this to put others down. But, to say that the most important thing I have realized is that we cannot give what we have not received. When we do not realize that God does not violate our will, to follow our own hearts and conscience, we will not realize this in our relationship with others. We will demand things from them that we have no right to demand. I have done this to others, as well. I am sorry!

God works ALL things together for our good, even our mistakes will lead us in the right direction.

"It (submission) allows us to partner with others in the process of being changed by Jesus, not to control them to do what we think best."
Authentic Relationships

Over the last five years God has shaken me and all of my ideas of what it means to walk with Him. I feel as though, I was born again, again. In this leg of my journey, I am seeing that I have demanded things from my relationships with others, even recently. I did not realize that I was filling a need in myself, with someone other than Jesus.

Three and a half years ago the Lord moved us from our home town, in Ohio, to Illinois. We knew not one soul, here. It was after we moved that the Lord began to show me the insecurities that I held with myself. Back home everyone knew me, knew my heart, and respected me as person. Here, no one knew me, no one knew my heart, no one had a reason to respect me as a person.

However, God started changing me and teaching me that there is only one true place to find security, in Jesus. He recently has shown me that I have demanded from others to fill my insecurities in my friendships. I have used my friendships to fill voids and needs in my life that can only be filled by God.

If you are my real life friend, and you are reading this, I am sorry.

I want to love you, just because,
not because you love me back in the way I want you to.

I want to accept you, just because,
not because you agree with what I think and make me feel good about myself.

I want to support you, just because,
not because I will get anything from you that I think will benefit me.

I want to spend time with you, just because,
not because I think you can boost my ego and make me feel wise.

I want to help you, just because,
not because I need to feel needed by others to have worth or value.

I want to be free to be the me that is found in Jesus, just because,
I can then let you be that too.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Safe Place

Since my post yesterday, I have been talking with the Lord about this "Love parenting through grace" thing. I am still looking forward to reading "Loving our kids on Purpose" by Danny Silk, (which should arrive tomorrow) but I am excited about what I feel God teaching me even before I crack the cover or turn the first page. It really is the Holy Spirit that teaches us, what ever the source of the information.

So, I just wanted to share what I feel God speaking to my heart with all of my "Grace Talk" friends.

We are told that when we mess up, when we make a mistake, whenever we find ourselves involved in sin, that God is a safe place to turn. No matter what you have done He is waiting. There is no sin to big for God to forgive.

Shouldn't we too be a safe place to turn for our children? I remember as a kid my parents would say that I could be honest, tell them anything. However, it was their reaction when I did tell the truth that kept me from doing that. It did not feel safe, I was Scared! I remember feeling defined by my bad behavior, I had disappointed them. Not my behavior but I. Eventually I learned to only tell half of the truth, the parts that I didn't think were so bad, this way I was doing what they asked and protecting myself from their reaction at the same time.

I want my children to really, truly be able to tell me anything. I want to be the first, not the last person they run to. I think that having this type of relationship with them will far better model the Fathers love for them, and give me the opportunity to turn them to a God who loves them.

I am not saying that children will never receive consequences to their actions, please do not hear me say that. God does discipline us, but His way is loving, never harsh, hard, sharp or pressing. So the revelation, that is in my heart is; God has been, and still is changing me, so that I respond to my children the way my Father responds to me. If He is a safe place to run, then shouldn't I be that very thing as well?

Only God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can do this work in our hearts. I am so very thankful that He does. I am thankful that He will continue to work in me, drawing me closer to Him. Making me more like Him. Helping me love and discipline, like Him. After all, I am made in His image, and this is the image I want my children to see. This is the experience I want them to have in their relationship with me. Of course, I will not get it all right, and I am certain I will have to apologize to them when I mess up. But, I hope in building this relationship with them that they too will learn to look beyond behavior and into the heart of a person. I hope that they will see me as a "safe place" to run.

Let's Talk Grace! What about you, do you have anything to share, about what God has taught you when it comes to being a safe place for your children? Any other thoughts? Questions?

I would like to see Grace Talk become a safe place for us to have discussions. Please leave a comment, and then check back, I will try to reply to your comments. If you have a comment for another commenter, please leave that as well. I believe one of the ways we learn and grow is through our discussions and encouragement with one another. Lets Talk Grace!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Loving on Purpose

I heard something yesterday that stirred me on the inside. I have never given advise on parenting on this blog, nor do I intend to. I will however, share a bit about what God has shown me through the struggles of raising our oldest, son Chris, who is now 18.

I won't give all the details, because, well, that would just take too long. So, lets just sum it up with--being Chris's parents has been hard, challenging, heart wrenching, overwhelming, and exhausting! I had my wonderful son at the age of 16, when he was 4 I married my husband, who adopted him. It started rough, only in the past year and a half has it gotten better.

Okay, there's some background, now to my point. As God began showing me about his grace and love in my life, I began to realize that there just might be something wrong with the parenting style I had been introduced to upon becoming a believer. Sure, it was probably better than the style I had previously held, which was getting frustrated, yelling and then yelling some more. I had NO IDEA what I was doing.

I did become more of a disciplinarian. I began instilling action, consequence type discipline, became more consistent, and had more "control" over my children (2 at the time ages 7 and 2 #3 on the way). However, none of this "control" seemed to really help with my son.

It was a viscous cycle of bad behavior followed by consequences, followed by him performing what I like to call "behavior modification" for awhile, then back to the beginning. As my son grew in age and I grew closer to the Lord, I began to see that this is not how my Father deals with me. He is not simply trying to control me. He is after my heart. If He has my heart my behavior will reflect our relationship.

When the Holy Spirit gave me this revelation it changed me, and was the beginning of a completely new season in my parenting. I am still learning, still growing and still seeing signs of my old parenting, but when I do, I turn them over to the Spirit and He works in me.

So, by now you are probably wondering what it is I heard that sparked this post. I was listening to a podcast from, there guests that day were the authors of "Loving Your Children on Purpose". They were talking about a lot of the same stuff I felt God had shown me about parenting and I was already intrigued, when I heard them say this, "It is not our job to control our children, but our job to teach them to control themselves." I LOVE this statement!! When I heard this my Daddy whispered to my heart and I think, I am changing again.

I have ordered this book and expect to receive it soon. I will share more when I have read it.

Lets Talk Grace! What do you think about this statement? Do you see any flaws in a action, consequence style of parenting?

I would like to see Grace Talk become a safe place for us to have discussions. Please leave a comment, and then check back, I will try to reply to your comments. If you have a comment for another commenter, please leave that as well. I believe one of the ways we learn and grow is through our discussions and encouragment with one another. Lets Talk Grace!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It Is Finished!

When you think of salvation, what do you think of? Do you think of merely going to heaven, spending eternity with God, being saved from damnation and hell, being qualified to be saved through the end times? What do you think?

I used to think that salvation meant "I get to go to heaven when this is all over." I no longer think of salvation this way. What God has shown me is that salvation is not just going to heaven. Salvation is multifaceted. One of the Hebrew words for salvation is Yeshua. Jesus is salvation. Everything He died for us to have access to is part of that salvation.

I want to share with you some of the words that I have found in my studies to describe salvation, they have really helped me see the big picture;


I was on the phone with an old friend yesterday, she was sharing some life "stuff" with me and as I was encouraging her, and pointing her back to Jesus, our conversation went something like the following;

Me: "The work is finished, God completed the work necessary for all of our problems on the cross. When Jesus said "It is finished" He meant it is finished, all of it! Now, we can look to Him and trust Him to bring forth those answers. We can look to, and rest in, the power of the Holy Spirit operating in our lives to manifest and bring forth that work. And, even the looking to and trusting part is developed by Him, so we only need to ask and keep looking to Him."

Friend: "Oh wow, I never thought of applying the sinners prayer to other areas of my life. I think I needed to hear that today."

I have to admit,I had forgotten that many people think this way. Trusting in the power of the cross has become second nature to me. Thinking that salvation was simply my ticket to heaven left me looking to myself to figure out my problems. It left me with no hope in God's promises. Looking to myself, thinking I had to "figure it out", and make sure I got right, only left me frustrated and confused.

Eternity starts now. We can begin to enjoy all God has for us while we are still here, on this earth. When we look to our Father, He can develop a deep unshakable trust in His love and power working in our lives. When we look to Him, He can help us to trust in the power of the work on the cross. He can remind us that "It is Finished!"

Let's Talk Grace! What are your thoughts on salvation? What do you think Jesus meant when He said "It is finished"?

I would like to see Grace Talk become a safe place for us to have discussions. Please leave a comment, and then check back, I will try to reply to your comments. If you have a comment for another commenter, please leave that as well. I believe one of the ways we learn and grow is through our discussions with one another. Lets Talk Grace!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Love Gives.

I am reminded by my Father this morning about the story of the "Prodigal Son". I know, I know, we have all heard this taught a million times, probably this year a alone. Okay, maybe not a million, but at least a couple, a few.

The point or the moral of this story today is a bit different from the one I have heard in the past. Today, the point of this story is about comparing. Comparing ourselves, blessings, gifts and favor of God in our lives. We have all done it, many of us are still doing it.

This is something I started praying about a long while ago. I would see God's hand at work in the life of another, and I would find my self jealous. Uhgg, what bondage it is to live this way. To not be able to truly be happy for those around us, because we are wrapped up in jealousy and envy and can't possibly feel real joy for them.

Good News! We do not have to stay this way. We can be free to love and share in the blessings and gifts of others. We can be free to celebrate with them without feeling jealous or envious of what God has blesses them with, or who He has created them to be.

How? By knowing how much God loves you! It really is that simple. When I started praying about this in my own life, God set me free, and still is, by showing me His unfailing love for me. He showed me that His heart is to bless me. His very nature is giving. Love gives.

He began to show me that the only reason I was jealous of what others had or were doing, is because I did not know His heart towards me. I did not understand that He wants and has good things for me in every area of my life, I can look to Him and know that He loves me and it delights Him to give to me. It brings joy to His heart to be my supply!

If you want to read the story of the prodigal son today it can be found in Luke 15. If this "other brother" had only known the fathers love for him was his all along, how much differently do you think he would have responded to his brothers return?

This revelation of love is not something any of us are able to produce in ourselves, even if we try real hard, or attempt to become more disciplined. It is only revealed and given as a free gift by the Father. Ask Him today, and He will work in your heart, continually bringing you into the fullness of His love.

Lets Talk Grace! what are your thoughts? Do you struggle with comparing? Do you see how a revelation of the Fathers love could set you free?

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's Not About Me

Wayne Jacobson, collaborator on The Shack and author of So, you don't want to go to Church Anymore, He Loves Me, and Authentic Relationships, was a speaker at last weekends conference. I loved listening to Him as God stirred my Spirit within me. Much of what he spoke brought confirmation and further revelation to what God has been speaking to my heart for years now. "It's not about me."

You may read those words and think I mean it in the sense that I am not to be selfish, or self focused. And, I suppose in a sense I do, but what God spoke deep in my heart was this.

"I have called you and placed you on a hill, I have set you up high. I have called you to myself, you will forever be mine. You have no power to fix or mold your life, or that of others. You have no power to change your own heart, desires or will. That power is mine. What I have asked of you or spoke to your heart about, I will bring to pass. The areas you see yourself fall short in are mine to bring about change in. As you rest in me and turn to me, admitting your need for me, I will do all that has been place in your heart."

It's not about me...It's All about Him!

Have you ever saw lack in an area of your life and because God showed it to you, you thought "God wants me to change that, or make that happen" I know I have, many times. Most of the time when I tried, I failed. I can't make myself different than what I am, and I can not bring to pass what God has shown me, only He can.

God told Abraham he would be the father of many nations...

He did not tell him to make it happen though.

Wayne told us a story about him and his wife taking a ballroom dance class. Neither of them knew how to do this type of dancing, and what they did know they did not know how to do well. He said that as the class began, the teacher needing a partner for demonstration, grabbed his wife, Sarah. He floated her around the dance floor and she looked as if she has been dancing for years. When the dance was over the teacher said.

"To be a good dancer, only one of you needs to know how to dance."

He explained that the one who leads is able to push a hip this way, and direct a twirl that way. The only thing required from the other dancer is that they relax and follow. The only way they can mess it up is if they try to resist or figure the steps out for themselves during the dance.

This spoke to my heart, and confirmed in me what God had spoken. Turning to Him is all that is required and He will do the rest. He will lead, push a hip this way and direct a twirl that way.

When I say it's not about me, I mean it's really not about me. I do not need to know where I am going or how to get there. I do not need to try to change my own heart. I just need to rest and trust Him, as He leads me across the floor.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

He Loves Me!

I have been gone for a week now, but, what an incredible week it has been. I just attended the "Because of Jesus" Conference in Oklahoma and I have to say, as far as conferences go, (most of the time I am not so impressed, to much emotional hype and not enough "truth that sets you free") this conference was well worth it for me. I hope to return again and again. I hope that each time God speaks to my heart as He did this time.

This conference was entitled "FEARLESS" and the name fit it well. There was a lot of wonderful rich teaching, but I couldn't possibly share every detail so I will sum up what the Holy Spirit placed deep inside me.

God loves me. We all know this, right? But, do we? Do we really? Over the past several years God has been teaching me about resting in His finished work, living in the New Covenent. He has been teaching me about Grace and trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. This has changed my life in more ways than words can express. But this past weekend I felt God speak to my heart and give me a revelation of His love, like I have never experienced before.

The theme scripture for the conference was "Perfect love casts out all fear" one most of us have heard, time and time again. As I sat and took in all the truth being taught, I could feel the Spirit working in me. I could sense that he was doing a wonderful work in my heart.

Since the conference, every day, I feel like God is peeling back layers of my blindness to His love. He loves us so much! All areas of our lives are covered by His love. He wants good for us in all things. We can live fearless, unafraid, when we get it that; HE LOVES ME! His love is big enough to cover every area of my life. He loves me, He loves me, He loves me!

He loves you too! Are you feeling afraid, insecure, unsuccessful, stressed out, etc... ask God to show you His love, it casts out all fear and brings peace.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Today, Tomorrow and Always

Hey Friends! This will more than likely be my last post...till next week that is. I am going to Oklahoma for the "Because of Jesus" Conference. The theme this year is "FEARLESS" I am excited for what God has in store.

So, I hope you all have a great weekend. I will look forward to posting next week. In the meantime, Keep your eyes on Jesus and Remember that He loves you, has good things in store for you, and is big enough to handle all your cares, today, tomorrow, and always!

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Am Not Shaken!

Do you ever think about tomorrow and wonder what is to come?

I used to wonder what tomorrow would bring and I would sometimes be afraid. I lived in the thought process that "What God has for me might not be good, but it will prove a good purpose." Now, I'm not denying that sometimes we go through hard times, but where is your hope in those times? If we really believe that God has bad things in store for us in order to "teach us a lesson", then what is there to hope in?

I have HOPE.

If you are thinking that I must not have any "hard times" in my life, you are wrong. However, the "hard times" do not seem so "hard" when my hope is in a good and loving Father, who has nothing but blessing in His heart for me.

I believe in the finished work on the cross.

As a matter of fact their is a lot of change happening in our lives right now, there is a lot I am still believing God for. But I am not shaken. Not shaken by the lack of work, not shaken by the lack of faith in others, not shaken by the enemies attempts to lie and tell us that we are not well, not shaken by the fact that I know in my heart big changes are coming.

I am no longer afraid of the future.

I am not shaken, I am excited! I am excited to see how God will supply. I am excited about what God has for us. I know, that I know, that I know, that God's plan is good. All He has for me is good! It does not matter if I get life right all the time, who does? It does not matter that I do not have any answers, because God does.

I look forward to it.

I feel free. I do not have to figure life out. I simply believe and trust Him, and He will show me the way. I qualify for all the goodness God has for me, not because I am perfect and qualify on my own, but, because Jesus, qualified me! He qualifies me because He took all of my sin and shortcomings and gave me HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS! I am in right standing with God and I qualify for all of His promises in my life, simply because I believe and trust Him.

I qualify, because of HIM.

So do you!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Where Is Your Hope? #2

The last post at Grace Talk was called Where Is Your Hope? This post, is a follow up to that post. So, if you haven't read it yet, you may want to scroll down the page a bit farther, and then come back up here.

I LOVED, all the feedback that several viewers left. Some of you see the "negative" side of yourselves, and others have those that "suck the life out of you" in your lives. Either way, we are all in this together, right?

I have to admit, when I wrote "Where Is Your Hope?" I did not expect any of you to say "Oh ya, that is me" I was just expecting, hoping, you could relate. But, I LOVE and appreciate the honesty that was left in the comments. The good news for all of you that "saw" yourselves in that post, is that YOU SEE IT! I believe that means the Holy Spirit is in the process of saying "Hey, you are the Righteousness of Christ, and you don't need this any more. Let me take care of that for you." You my friend are in the process of being changed! Most people, like the ones I was referring to, they don't even see it! They think they are just fine the way they are.

If you, like me, know one or two of those that "think they are fine just the way they are" then we can continue to encourage one another in the Lord. We can remind one another to simply continue to live in the truth, be an encouragement and allow the Holy Spirit to be the One to bring about change in others.

I agree that there are those times where we have to have a healthy distance from people who constantly bring us down. But, sometimes God wants to change us so that we can be vessels of hope and encouragement to those that seem to have none.

In the face of discouragement, lets continue to shine brightly! Lets be an encouragement and an example of how God's Love brings true change! Lets show the world that being a believer is not something that we "do" it is who we are!

My friend Lisa at Bombastic Bandicot, put up a post the other day that features the song "The Motions", by Matthew West. In her post she says that this song sums up her desires. should it not be the desire of us all; to continually be changed and drawn closer to God, placing all of our hope in Him, not simply going through the motions?

Stop by her blog and check it out! Also, please leave her an encouraging comment, she has recently stepped back into the "bloggy" world and could use some new "bloggy" friends!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Where Is Your Hope?

I have discovered that I feel frustrated, and saddened, by people who are continually negative about life. I used to simply think, "oh well they are them I am me, we will just leave it at that".

However, I am discovering that these people do not just affect themselves. They affect all those that are around when they open their mouths, use the necessary muscles and allow words to come out! Do you know the kind of folks I am referring to?

The people who suck the life out of you in every conversation you have with them.

The people who can't seem to see the bright side, even when you shine it into their faces.

Is it not sad that people, especially those of us who know the Lord, cannot see past the negative? Not only can they not see past it, but they impose their gloomy ideas and opinions on everyone around.

God is good! He is good all the time! At Every Turn! In every circumstance!

I realize in life we go through tough situations. But, I guess the question is where is your hope in those situations?

My hope is always in Jesus and what He has done for me. My hope is in the fact the He, Himself proclaimed "It Is Finished!"

The world should see hope when they look at us. Not gloomy dispositions that have less hope and joy then they do. Jesus is the answer. And, there is ALWAYS hope!

My heart is broken for those who are "found" yet have no hope. Yes, it's true this post is, as you guessed, me venting...a little, okay, a lot. I will not lie, I have been frustrated this week by people who think they are being realistic, but in all actuality they are being pessimistic, with no hope.

I know not everyone is me, I tend to see the bright side. Especially, since I have found Jesus and He has developed in me, a trust in His power and favor operating in my life.

We can ALL have this hope. God is not a respecter of persons, He will do in you what He has done in me. It is my prayer, my hope, that he will continue to strengthen me in this area, and you as well.

where is your hope today?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Any Suggestions?

Okay, so, I have been thinking..."I would really like to improve my blog design."

I want it to be more...colorful, I love orange! I want to add more pictures, and I would like to get rid of the "block" look.

I know there are a multitude of places to look for a new template, but I wanted to know if you guys could give me any pointers or tips.

Any suggestions?

Being Loved By Him, With You,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Light and Easy

For many years my Christian walk was not really enjoyable. Actually, I think I worried more after I got saved than before. I was constantly worrying that I was not good enough or making the right decisions and I lived in condemnation 80% of the time (always having bad thoughts about myself).

Now, I don't know about you, but I think there is something wrong with this picture. As believers the rest of the world is supposed to look at us and desire what we have. If we are living our Christian lives in the state mentioned above, no one in their right mind would want to live like that!

"For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good--not harsh,hard,sharp or pressing, but comfortable gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne."
Matthew 11:30

You see, I had it all wrong! I was so focused on my behavior and all that I thought was wrong with me, that I was not enjoying God. His way is light and easy to be borne because when we just enjoy Him and see ourselves the way that He sees us, life is easy and enjoyable. When we learn to trust in His power at work in our lives taking care of everything, we can simply be.

Does life feel harsh, hard, sharp or pressing? If so, there is a better way! There is His way. The Holy Spirit will teach us about truth, about the finished work that is ours to rest in. Then others will desire to live as we live.

They will desire the peace that we live in, the love that we bask in, and the favor we walk in.

Since the Holy Spirit started speaking to me about resting in the finished work I have found peace and joy. I do not worry like I used to and I no longer believe the lies of the enemy. God looks upon me with favor. He has my life in the palm of His hand and I can rest, relax, and enjoy Him. I can trust in His power actively at work on my behalf.

Thank You Jesus, that we can ALL live this way, continue to show us Lord, that others may desire what we have.

Thank You

I want to thank each and every one of you who participated in Blogger appreciation week. I think that the week was great, even though Mister Linky decided to be rebellious last week LOL!

I will try later to put up links to all of the blogs that participated in some way. But you can visit a lot of them from the blog roll in my sidebar.

Thanks again!

Being Loved By Him, With You,