Living In The Shadows


When someone moves away or leaves us it’s difficult to sometimes process, “why”. It doesn’t matter if it’s a co-worker that has left, a family member or friend who moves out state, or someone dieing it’s difficult. For me, it was my sister moving away from me. A little over two years ago, my sister and brother (in-law) moved away. Ash and I were inseparable. We worked together, worked out together, rode to and from work together. She was my little sister who I needed to protect from the world. Regardless of what pain or hardship it might cause me. However, there was one area I was not stronger in – and that was a walk with Jesus. She had such a strong relationship and walk of faith with Jesus. A relationship I longed for from a distance. To hear like she heard. To see like she saw. There was so much that I saw in her that I wanted, but didn’t know how to obtain it.

Little did I know, God knew exactly what He was doing when He had them move.

shadow

Let me preface something. For as long as I can remember in my walk with God, nothing has ever only happen for one solitary thing. (Read this for more on this subject.) This situation did not waver from God’s pattern.

When Ash left, I felt abandoned. I experienced the worst sadness, depression, loneliness, and hurt. My heart hurt. I am pretty sure some anger was wrapped up in there somewhere as well. At first we talked all the time, but then life happen, and we stopped talking as often. It wasn’t until a recent conversation with my mom that I realized exactly what God had done. The ripple effect of her leaving caused me great blessing in the midst of my flesh hurting. I made a comment to my mom about how I missed her and how I felt all alone. I have no “friends” to grab coffee with or go shopping with. (Read “All Alone“) My tears began to stream down my face in my moment of piercing honesty as I poured my heart out to my mom. Exposing that I felt so alone and just wanted her back in my life so I could have my friend back wasn’t easy to admit because deep inside I felt like I should have dealt with these feelings by now. This felt a little shameful to me.

My mom offered up a new perspective to me. One that completely changed my outlook on her living so far away. She said, “Being away from Ash has been the best thing for you. You couldn’t live in her shadow anymore. You gained your own relationship with Jesus.” More tears began to fall from my eyes but this time out of joy. She was right. While my flesh was upset over her leaving, I had turned to Jesus and gained the same level of relationship with Him that she had. The very thing I longed for was right in front of my eyes, but as long as I was living in my sister’s shadow, I would never have found it.

Today, I live with a renewed spirit of thankfulness. If Ash had never moved, I may not have advanced to where I have in my walk with Jesus. God knew EXACTLY what I needed in that moment of my life. Scripture says, ” The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him…” (Psalm 37:23). That is exactly what He did. He ordered my life to go as it needed to go and I just had to trust He knew what He was doing (admittedly, even when I didn’t think He did, lol.)

My challenge to you is to review your life. Whose shadow are you living in? What are you keeping yourself from? Maybe you know the answer to this, maybe you don’t even realize you are in a shadow. Find the Son and your day will brighten up. Your walk will become stronger. Your life will change drastically.

My saying is this: If you want something different? Do something different. 

I challenge you to get outside of your box (or your shadow) and press, press, press!! The pain you may feel temporarily is WELL WORTH the longterm benefits.

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All Alone


isolation

In the Spring of 2013 I was laid off from my current job in Cobb County. I did everything in Cobb County. Life was full and fun. Being laid off was a lonely experience because I couldn’t go anywhere. Watching the checkbook to make sure we made bills on one income meant leaving the house the least amount of times possible to not have to fill up my jeep at $4.00/gallon. It was easy to get through because it was only temporary.

But what about when it’s not temporary?

In my fourth month of being laid off, I was hired by a company in Carrollton, GA. Life could not have been more in the opposite direction for me. For almost 8 years, I had worked with my parents and sister. Familiar faces and relationships everyday. Now, I was in a place where I knew no one and had no relationships. It’s was lonely. Everyday my drive to and from work I just recounted the day and how I sat to myself or tried to fit in with people only to feel rejected. There was also the issue of recreating “my” schedule. To have it feel “normal” again. How do I fit in working out? Now, I have to pick up my child from daycare, how do I work that into the schedule? My routine settled into itself although it never quite “felt” the same. Even now, it doesn’t have a familiar feeling to it.

wake up, get ready
get Kait up, get her ready
drop off at daycare
work all day, skip lunch so I can workout at end of day
pick Kait up from daycare
home – dinner, showers/baths, bedtime

My schedule is probably similar to many other moms who work and have a child, but my day is very lonely. I do not have any commrodery in my life. I have work and I have family but nothing outside of that. I would love to rejoin a gym with fitness classes because I enjoy that atmosphere; but at the moment, where I work and with my schedule that isn’t possible right now. I try my best at creating friendships but nothing ever comes of them beyond a Facebook hello. Life literally gets to busy. It’s like I don’t have time for me much less friendships.

Initially, I could handle it. It was what it was and there was nothing I could do about it. Then, I noticed it began to take a toll on me in one way or another. I found myself becoming really depressed. I started to have a desire to just be by myself. Sometimes I would just curl up and cry when my frustration level was just too much to handle. Why was life like this? Why did I feel like I was in the middle of nowhere (literally, living in Rockmart) all by myself?

So what changed?

I started praying. I started reading. I asked “why” about a million times. I just couldn’t understand why I was all alone. It was not immediate, but God answered me. Loudandclear

He told me He isolated me so I could work on Project Genesis, otherwise I would have been distracted. WOW. That was an answer that shut me up in a hurry (and if we are being honest, not the answer I expected). It is insane to think that God was planning that far out! I moved to Rockmart in 2009 and didn’t even think about Project Genesis until around 2010/2011. Even then, it was just a small idea. Want to know what really knocked me off my feet? He orchestrated me to be isolated – to work on Project Genesis – because Project Genesis meant that much to HIM! He wanted me working on Project Genesis so He worked it all out so I had the chance. God continues to blow my mind.

When you feel like you are all alone, ask God what is He wanting you to spend time on. You might be surprised to find the dream you have in you!

exodus 14-14

When God Pours Out


Wow. We serve God with all of our heart, worship Him when things are great, and push through the times when we feel dry… And goodness, was it worth it for me. Today, I am still in amazement of His favor yesterday.

pour out water

I spent my day at a conference behind a trade booth. This conference was dedicated to superintendents of the school systems within the state of Georgia. The day began with me standing at a booth, smiling as people walked by. To the right of my booth, was a booth titled, “The Bible Literacy Project”. In front our booth was “Positive Athlete”. To the left of our booth was a walkway. Some chose to stop and I would tell them about the company I worked for. It was a long day in stilettos, hardly moving except within my trade booth area or the occasional restroom break. While all of the superintendents were in learning sessions, I  made a round to see who else was represented at this conference. I did this on two separate occasions just long enough to work my feet some from going to sleep in 5″ heels.

Immediately, I was fascinated with the booth to our right. What was a Bible project doing at a school conference? They had created a textbook of the Bible (tieing it in with history) and were attempting to have the book implemented into high schools as an elective course. (http://www.bibleliteracy.org/) I have wanted a “textbook type book” of the Bible for months now to study with. Around halfway through the day, this woman and I were talking and she gave me a textbook! Prayers answered. 

While the superintendents and school board members were making their rounds to the booths, I thought I recognized someone walking across the room. In fact, I did! She came up to me with a huge hug around my neck. Little did I know, she had been a school board member of a local county for 6+years now. She introduced me to the county’s superintendent. Verbally, they agreed to come to lunch with me (in reference to the company I work for. God provided a divine appointment! (I was originally scheduled to go to an Alabama conference, but, was swapped to the Georgia conference last-minute.)

A booth further down my same aisle was called “Street Grace”. They were there to bring awareness to sex trafficking. She gave me an alarming statistic – that 91% of children victim to sex trafficking are enrolled in the public school system. Unbelievable. We began talking about Street Grace, which lead to God, which lead to Project Genesis. The woman I was speaking with asked if she could pray with me in the middle of this conference (with others walking around, talk about unashamed faith!). Of course I replied, Yes! She prayed for PG and myself personally. (http://www.streetgrace.org/)Covered in prayer from another divine appointment and a company willing to participate in the 2nd portion of Project Genesis!

The booth across from us, Positive Athlete, is a (directly from their website) group of high character and iconic professional athletes teamed up to promote the benefits of “positivity” to young athletes, and to create a cultural shift in our high schools.  It’s an opportunity to shape the futures of young athletes for life skills beyond athletic competition with websites and social media that tell unique stories about professional and amateur athletes who approach sports and life with a positive attitude. (http://celebratepositive.com/positive-athlete/) Throughout the day, our booths spoke with each other to pass the time. At the end of the day, the owner of the company came in and we began to talk. Long story short, he wants to be a part of PG anyway he can. Huge favor for PG!

On the way home, I was running everything that had happened over and over in my head. Seriously, just in awe of what God had done for me. As I drove home, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. “If you keep preparing vessels, God’s favor will pour out.” I immediately thought of the woman in scripture whose children were getting ready to be taken as slaves for a debt she couldn’t pay. The prophet told her to borrow vessels and begin to pour the little bit of oil she had in her house into each of them. They poured and poured, oil supernaturally filling every vessel. When she asked for another vessel and there wasn’t one, the oil stopped flowing. (Read the entire story here) Everything I was doing for God had prepared vessels. Prayer time, devotion time, being obedient, being consecrated to Him, I mean everything. It all adds up to empty vessels and today was the day God came and filled those. I was poured into and overflowing with blessings and a word!

The Holy Spirit also spoke to me a word of warning. I will not divulge this here; however, I received divine wisdom on top of everything else He had provided to me. 

The lesson of this blog – the testimony of this blog – to keep pushing through even when we don’t want to. Every time you spend time with Him, mirror Him in love to others, copy Him in His behavior when no one else would see you, you are creating vessels. Create as many as you can because He will come and fill them. When He does, you want to have as many as possible for Him to fill and for the oil to never stop.

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. – Psalm 62:8

Pour out your hearts to HIM and He will pour out into you.

When You Are On The Right Path


In our world of Starbucks, Hollister clothes and sports cars, we have moments where everything seems to be against us (because nothing is working right or flowing smoothly) and we have moments of perfection, life is perfect and rolling along nicely. When everything is moving smoothly, fitting together like puzzle pieces, we must be doing something right. Right? Perhaps… I am not 100% convinced you can measure how we are doing in life in temporary moments of “easiness” or “hardness”.

What I can measure is where I am and if I am going down the right path with God based on things happening in my life. Scripture says, (1 Peter 5:8) “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” It also says, (Ephesians 6:12) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” In fact, this second verse is so important, it’s also repeated in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4. Everything mentioned in Scripture is extremely important but when God takes the time to mention something TWICE, we need to perk up and listen.

warfare 3

Let me give you a rundown of some recent events in my life:

A week ago, during a worship conference on Saturday afternoon, I had a vision of the congregation at that worship conference and above it were two clouds. The one to the left was spinning counter-clockwise and the one to the right was spinning clockwise. They were spinning above the congregation’s head. I knew immediately it was the Holy Spirit stirring things up in or for the people at this conference. In that moment, I didn’t think anything of myself being included since I was there.

All week-long it just stirred in me that something was changing. Change was coming. (I never could pinpoint what though).

Thursday, the Lord spoke again, change is coming. Change is in the air. This day is specific because He had me send an email to some people.

Today (Sunday) we attended our new church for the first time as ‘official members’. (For the last few months its been on our hearts to move churches. After prayer and some physical time off to test the waters, we decided it was in fact time to move.) It’s always a little scary when you are making changes but you want to make sure you are obedient regardless of how it makes us feel. This morning while at this service, we received a public word. Most of the details I won’t repeat here because they are for my family – not the internet. However, within this word being given was “it’s already happening in the spiritual realm”. That totally lined up with what God had already spoken to me! (God always speaks to me in pairs for confirmation). I left church thinking, “it’s great to know we are on the right path!!” It was one of those moments where everything seemed to be lining up and fit perfectly together.

But what happens when we are on the right path spiritually? I’m not talking about the general path of “Jesus living”, but really on the right path. The one that is narrow and you really have to be hearing from God to be where you are. The devil gets pissed off! That’s what happens! Let’s explain it this way. Remember the game where someone is trying to figure out what you chose and you would tell them, “you are getting warmer…. warmer… colder… HOT, you are HOT!”? When we are “cold” for Jesus – the devil has no reason to mess with us. You are not doing anything that could harm is worldly kingdom, and nothing to build God’s Kingdom, so it doesn’t matter. When we are “warmer” for Jesus – the devil might place some small things in your way. Some stumbling blocks to get you to try to quit or make things really, really difficult. But what happens when you are “HOT” for Jesus? What happens when you are exactly where you are supposed to be and he knows you are getting ready to do something MIGHTY for Jesus’ Kingdom? He attacks. Scripture says the devil is like a lion, waiting, ready to devour you (1 Peter 5:8). When you are “warmer” you may get some people thrown in your way or maybe some circumstances. When you are “HOT” for Jesus, the devil takes it up a level. Spiritual warfare becomes more real than it ever has before.

This is what happen to us tonight. We put Kait down for bed around 7pm. At 8pm, I heard the most ill-piercing scream I have ever heard from her. She was not screaming “mommy” or “daddy”. She was screaming in terror. I ran to her bedroom and as I opened the door and turned on the light, she was looking up, following something with her eyes in a circular motion. I knew what she was seeing immediately. My husband and myself began praying through the house, anointing it and explaining to Kait she had nothing to worry about. We reemphasized all she had to do was say Jesus. (She is only 2 years old, not old enough to understand much at this point). We turned on Christian music, turned on a nightlight and placed her back to bed. As we sat back down and revisited everything that had just happen and then began thinking about everything we had been told this week (my previous timeline of events) we agreed we must be exactly where we are supposed to be. The devil isn’t going to mess with those who are not building God’s Kingdom. He will do everything in his power to keep those who ARE building the Kingdom of God from doing it. This is why it’s so important to know who you are in Jesus. To know what is available to you in Jesus and how to use it. We have an entire set of armor at our finger tips!

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

I do not post this to say we are “high and mighty” Christians. That is not the case at all. I simply open up my life and share it as an example of the realism of what Scripture says about the devil and what he tries to do. The good news is Jesus wins every time. The power in the name of Jesus is the strongest power you will ever need. You need nothing else. Mark 16:17-18 says, “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons…” Luke 10:17 says, “The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” The devil has no authority in the name of Jesus!!!!

Kait is peacefully sleeping now. I believe if she has the ability to see the demonic side – she has the ability to see the angelic side. And tonight, her room is filled with mighty angels!