When You Realize You Don’t Know What You’re Doing….and it’s ok!

She Speaks Conference
She Speaks Conference

Have you ever gone into something thinking that you knew exactly what you wanted and needed only to discover you have no idea what you are really doing?

That was me this weekend. I attended my first writer’s conference and it was truly amazing! (If you ever get the chance to attend a She Speaks conference – GO! You will not be disappointed.) I went thinking I was going to pitch my book idea and learn more about the wonderful world of writing. I left realizing that the book is just a small part of a bigger ministry.

Ministry? Me? What? Those were the questions I began asking God as I felt my soul being stirred. The unmistakable flutters of the Holy Spirit’s gentle nudging began to transform my plans into His plans this weekend.

I have always thought of a ministry as something pastors do, or missionaries, or Ann Graham Lotz, or Lysa Terkeurst or just other people. But me? Um…nope. No ministry here – just a girl with a book about a horse.

But then the quiet voice whispered:

Encouraging and comforting others is a ministry (2 Corinthians 1:4)

Sharing the truth of Jesus is a ministry (Matthew 28:19-20)

Shining the light of Jesus in this dark world, you got it – ministry!  (Matthew 5:16)

Is it possible that this conference and even the book are not just about getting something published, but maybe about something bigger God wants to do? Is it possible that an ordinary introverted girl with horrible time management skills and a chronically disorganized home could have a ministry? If so, what does that mean and look like?

I wish I could tell you that I knew the answers to those questions, but I don’t…not yet. But I am praying for God to make His will known, and trusting that He will show me the steps to take. This weekend was all about surrender. Me surrendering my plans to His, my desires for His, my story for His, my purpose for His. I have no idea what the future holds or looks like, but I am trusting the One who does.

What about you? Have you ever thought about the fact that as a child of God you too have a ministry? We can’t all be pastors, famous speakers or missionaries, but we are all called to serve and to share the love of Jesus. To what ministry could God be calling you? What might that look like in your life? Ask Him to stir your heart and reveal His will to you. Let’s walk this path together. With God leading the way it is sure to be an exciting and awesome journey!

ps – For those interested in the publishing appointment….it wasn’t a yes but it wasn’t a no. My book is having a bit of an identity crisis. I am just not sure of the target audience. I initially thought it would be a book for teenagers, but as I wrote, the book began shifting to more of an adult short novel. Once I land on who the target audience is I will submit a proposal. I am learning that the writing of the book was the easy part!!!!!

Help us SEE that sometimes we need to say ‘shut-up’

“The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world.” 2 Corinthians 10:4

As a rule, we don’t say ‘shut-up’ in our house. It’s just one way we try to help our kids speak kindly. Trust me though, they find other ways to express their displeasure with each other!

But there is one exception to this rule: we can and do say ‘shut-up’ to the lies satan throws at us. We are trying to teach our kids to tell the devil to shut up when the assaults start: the lies that make them question God’s love for them, the lies that attempt to convince them that they must fight for top place, the lies that tell them they are not good enough.

They are learning to say shut-up to lies and to fight those lies with truth. This is a work in progress, but one I pray will take root in their hearts.

Yesterday I found myself becoming overwhelmed with thoughts of fear and debilitating doubts. My last post involved a story of me using the Bible to fight off a bee. I firmly believe that God allowed me to SEE that picture so I would more quickly recognize the real attacks that were coming the next day. I would need to fight off the lies by telling satan to shut-up and then striking him with the Truth. It took a sleepless night and the memory of the bee incident to remind me how to fight:

The lie of fear: You can’t do this! Who do you think you are? Shut-up! God says, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength’, and ‘God does not give a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind.’

The lie of self-sufficiency: You don’t need help, you don’t have time to spend reading your Bible, you need to jump right in and finish your to-do list. Shut-up! God says, “I am the vine, you are the branches, whoever abides in me bears much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.”

The lie of competition: There isn’t room for you, others are so much more qualified than you. Shut-up! God says, ‘We are laborers together for His kingdom’ and ‘He establishes the work of our hands.’ His kingdom is infinite and eternal. It is not one room nor one piece of pie, it is infinite rooms and infinite pies.

The lie of perfectionism: Your work is not perfect. How can you even think about turning that in? You need to wait. They are going to think you are stupid. Shut-up! God says, He alone is perfect, and I am a work in progress, yet He loves me, not because of anything I have done, and not because I am good enough, but because He is love and He made me. His strength is perfect in my weakness.

I used God’s Word to swat away a bee on Wednesday, not realizing that I would need it even more yesterday as the lies of the enemy swarmed all around. I will keep telling satan to shut-up and fighting him with God’s Word. The lies won’t stop unless they are struck down with Truth. Positive self-talk doesn’t work, distraction doesn’t work, cleaning doesn’t work. Lies can only effectively be struck down with Truth.

Don’t be afraid to tell the enemy to shut-up today, and then hit him hard with the truth from God’s Word.

I SEE Diamonds, A Bible, and A BEE!

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16

While on vacation I read an article encouraging Christians not to despair about the times in which we live, but instead to be encouraged by the troubles and persecutions God’s children are facing. “Huh?” was my natural (and very deep 😉 )thought. The writer went on to explain that it is only through pressure that diamonds are forged. The pressure that is sure to grow in our country in the days to come will separate diamonds from coal and dust. It will become more and more difficult to simply go through the motions of being a Christian, or to “put on” Christianity only on Sunday mornings. The pressure of persecution and of going against the grain will force people to firmly decide where they stand: God’s side or the world’s side. The writer’s belief is that as a result of such a firm line we will begin to see more bright sparkling diamonds shine forth for Jesus.

I have been pondering his thoughts, and find that I completely agree. As I have been writing curriculum lessons from Paul’s letters to the early churches, I cannot help but notice the growth and depth that grew from such a hostile environment. The early church faced obstacle after obstacle, both from within and without, and yet the church grew and flourished. Why? Because of sound teaching from God’s Word and as a result of pressure.

God’s Word teaches truth, exposes sin, and guides our lives, while pressure forces us to decide who we are going to be and who we are going to follow. The times in which we are living are uncertain and at times frightening. However, we do not have to be fearful depressed people with no hope. We have TRUE HOPE. We have the hope of the very One who said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome the world.” We can have joy because the One who has already claimed eternal victory is making us into diamonds which sparkle and shine in the light of His Kingdom.

Let’s refuse to give into despair and fear. Instead let’s ask God to make us bright strong diamonds; to take away that which does not reflect His light, and to grow us strong for Him. Let’s hold tight to His Word; not just put it on our nightstands or pick it up on Sunday morning. Let’s treat it as the life saving, life guiding treasure that it is and use it. Let’s wear out Bibles out as we cling to them, study them, and turn to them.

The usefulness of the Bible was highlighted to me in an amusing way this morning. I was sitting on my deck having my quiet time with the Lord. I was reading about joy in the midst of trials, and felt God speaking to my heart. I held the Bible while I prayed. While praying I heard what sounded like a helicopter buzzing around my head. It was a huge and very determined bee. Instinctively, I used my Bible to swat at it. It took several swats with God’s Word, but the bee flew away and I was left standing there, wielding God’s Word like a sword and feeling victorious.

God’s Word is our weapon for overcoming the world (and apparently the bees:) Let’s pick it up today and ask God to let us SEE Him through the words He had penned for us.

(And watch out for those bees! 😉 )


Two Beautiful Words

The End. When writing a book, there are no more beautiful words! I started the book over a year and a half ago. There were a lot of stops and starts in there, but the rough draft (the very rough draft) is totally done. I will rejoice and bask in the glow for the next hour and then start editing….I am learning the process never ends!

The End. For now 😉