Friday, January 23, 2015


Last night a friend and I attended a Natalie Grant concert. You may have heard of it - it's her Dare To Be tour with Pastor Charlotte Gambill (who never missed the opportunity to remind us England really is our MOTHER country so we need to listen. :) ) My friend had gotten tickets to the VIP portion so we were there before the show with Charlotte and Natalie and about 50 other women. It was an opportunity to ask questions of Charlotte and Natalie, so there were a few women who did just that. While they were asking questions I noticed one continual thread weaving its way through the women...this was not a conversation to be had, this was a "here's who I am and why I'm needing you to know me...please tell me how I can be like you" time. 

Before I continue let me say something. There is truth in the adage, "It takes one to know one." I know this is true because I have been in that place. I have been the one to stand up and say, "good evening, ladies, it is an honor to be here with you. I am a (singer, writer, worship leader, mom, wife, aspiring speaker) and so my question for you is how do I ___________ to get myself on stage and share my talents with the world?" 

NOTE: I did NOT - EVER - say it like that. It would be couched with Christian friendly phrases like, "I sense God's call to share my talents to glorify His Kingdom, but I'm wondering how to overcome....." The enemy wouldn't have us be so bold in front of humble servants of Christ with our self-centeredness, would he? NO! He wants us to come off as a humble, expectant and simply curious person. 

But I did say it. I would give my resume' before I asked a question. I would share my dream before I asked how they accomplished theirs. I would tell them all the great and wonderful things about me then say I was terrified and didn't know how to get past that fear. "Is there a secret, ladies? You're on stage, and I'm not, so obviously you know the secret and I need to know it because I want to be on stage, too."

I must give Natalie and Charlotte praise here - just as Jesus dealt fairly yet firmly with the Pharisees in His compassionate frustration, those two crazy blondes spoke with friendliness and firmness in what they had to say. With the first resume' given they simply answered the question. However, as the questions continued and it seemed like each new questioner needed to one-up the last, the answers became bolder and clearer that the real problem was not the issue asked about, but the heart. The heart of the person asking "why am I no longer getting asked to speak?" "what do I do with the fear that seems to hold me back?" "how do I do what I do better so God will notice and I will be famous like you?" (that last one was asked in a very different way, but....) was the real problem. 

If the heart lacks wisdom we need to ask GOD Who will give it generously without condemnation. (James 1:5 paraphrase mine)

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey His commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise Him forever! (Proverbs 3:7)

It's a heart problem when we long to be famous "so we can share our talents for the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven." 

It's a heart problem, not a fear problem, when we are afraid we won't be good enough for so-and-so, or that we won't look the way we think we should, or that we aren't funny/intelligent/as gifted as the other person so we are afraid to step out and DARE TO BE. 





And like I said - I know this because I've been there. I've been that person asking the question but really just wanting to be able to say I told the-person-everyone's-heard-of who I am. I've been that person legitimately wanting to know how to get past my fear but not even realizing that, to those who have learned this hard lesson, I am simply a person who needs to get real with God and let go of the desire to BE something I'm not (yet). 

AAAAAAAAAnnnnnndddd....true confessions: Charlotte's words of God's truth struck down a chain in my own heart regarding the sins that so easily entangle. 

I do struggle with fear. I have lived my life within the stronghold of shame - not of what I had done, but of who I was. I have been made fun of and put down for being myself, so I've tried to fit in by being someone else. I've been there, and, although I no longer live in shame (THANK YOU, JESUS!), I still fall into the pit of comparison (which is probably why I have to write about it so much...I'm preaching to myself!). 

One gal, sitting behind me, asked the question I would have asked, but she asked it much more beautifully than I could have. "How do you deal with the insecurity and stage fright that comes from being a worship leader?" 

Natalie's answer was a balm to my soul. I'll paraphrase, but basically, she said she has learned to celebrate the fear because if she's not nervous or doesn't have a bit of stage fright then, to her, it means she's gotten to the place where "she's got this" and she isn't going to fully rely on God to show up and do what He does. If we really want God to be glorified, we need to be uncomfortable in our own skin so we don't pat ourselves on the back when things go right. 

Charlotte's answer hit me right between the eyes. Again, I'll paraphrase...there is a difference in fears that we sometimes don't realize. To be afraid of something because we want God to be the center of attention and we're afraid we're going to do something to botch it up is a godly fear. It is a fear of the Lord. However, to be afraid we're going to look wrong, be dressed wrong, mess up somehow or not 'do it right' is a fear of man and we need to confess that and deal with it. 

I fight within myself the fear of man. 

I know I'm not alone in that ring. I know there are many, many women who have those boxing gloves made of cement on their hands, too. 

So ladies, instead of trying to be better than the next gal why don't we learn to celebrate the fact that God created us to work together? Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill stood on either side of a woman from our local community and spoke truth - we are sisters in Christ, we will spend eternity with each other, let's celebrate and honor one another instead of pull each other down and pump ourselves up. 

is there someone you'd like to honor today? Please share it in the comments so we can all honor them, too. 

Go today, ladies, and spur one another on to outbursts of love and good deeds!!

(and I'm praying right now that if no one even responds to this that it just won't matter...Lord, I write because You're asking me to write. I surrender and ask forgiveness for my desire to be honored and lifted up for who I am instead of WHOSE I am. May You do whatever it is you want to do with this blog...and may I remain faithful to Your Word no matter the number of people reading.) 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Change of Heart

This past weekend I had the privilege of going to a local workshop with my youngest son. This is a workshop I, myself, had gone through in November of 2014, and am praying my husband will go through, too. My oldest son will be going through the first weekend of February. I count each encounter in this workshop a blessing. A program formed and begun by the sweetest couple who realized God's work is best carried out by those who understand - at a HEART level - that He loves deeply, completely, passionately, and justly.

I have seen the changes in my friends who have gone through - a more confident spirit, a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life, and a deeper love for God and His Holy Word.

I have experienced the same transformation. I walked away KNOWING that "I am my Father's love, and I have nothing to hide!" Everything I am. Every wobble, foible, talent and gift are who He has created to be used for the glory of His Kingdom. My wobbles remind me I'm not God - I will mess up and I will fail people without intention because I am human. My foibles are there to give me a heart of compassion and understanding of grace that I will pour those out on others who are hurting or stuck in their foibles. My talents have been given to be shared. (This is an area I struggle in - not because I don't want to share them, but because I have a thorn in my side that can easily creep in and overshadow the life-giving reason for them. If you understand a bit of what I mean, I'd appreciate your prayers that God would heal that place in me.) My gifts are meant for a Kingdom purpose, and they will walk the road hand in hand with the other three parts of who I am for if my gifts are not couched in humility, compassion and confidence in Him they are clanging gongs in the Kingdom.

Back to this past weekend, though, because it's a pretty awesome tale to tell!

God brought together 16 students aged ten to thirteen and eleven of their parents. A staff of about 15 as well as volunteers in the kitchen rounded out the gathering inside the building. Around the world there were others praying for the transformation - the Heart Change - that would be taking place in the lives of children, parents, and families. Prayers were answered!!

Although I cannot go into details or name any names I want to share the highlights of the heart transformations we saw.

*A couple diligently trying to parent children from a previous marriage as well as children from their own marriage saw the healing of a relationship with son and step-mom.

*A young woman who looked in the mirror and didn't see the beauty on the outside shattered the lies that she was ugly.

*A young man who could trust God for so many others discovered God could be trusted with HIS heart and HIS life and HIS dreams, too.

*A young woman terrified of the mental disorder she lived with graciously and humbly asked for and received prayers that it would not take over her life and she could be delivered from it.

*Another young woman was angry at God because her father had died when she was very young and God didn't save him. The healing that took place as she learned the truth of what happened and the happy heart that came from this knowledge was tangible!

*A young man understood for the first time that some of the happenings in his life were *not* his fault and he no longer had to carry the burden of that guilt.

*A young woman who had tried to take her life a few months earlier was given the beautiful gift of self-worth from God alone, and the change in her spirit was overwhelming...the smile on her face spoke volumes of peace on the inside.

That's a handful of the transformations. It would seem girls outnumbered boys 2 to 1 and that the boys didn't change as much, but it's simply not true. The transformations of the boys were equal in depth and breadth. True to humanity, though, they didn't share as much about what happened deep down. I assure you, however, changes took place for the glory of the Kingdom of God in each and every one of these young people. Not one of them left with the same "face" they came in with.

In talking with other parents, staff members, and the founders of this ministry, I am convinced the workshops going on around the globe bringing the work of the Holy Spirit, the healing of the Cross, and the power of the One True Living God into the day - to - day lives of His children are going to start a revolution of repentance. Those sixteen kids from this past weekend? They are going to be world-changers. WORLD. CHANGERS! Jesus spoke of the fact that unless we have the faith of a child we will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. ( Mark 10:15) The faith of these young people have encouraged me, inspired me, spurred me on to outbursts of love and good deeds.

Because of their faith the parents they live with and the people they interact with will be changed as well.

Now...there's always a flip side, isn't there? You know how we parents wonder if our kids *really* learned that lesson and if there's *really* a change that took place? Well, I didn't realize my mind was holding onto a similar question.  It was evidently in the far recesses of my mind as my ears perked up when  my son went out to play football in the street with the neighbor boys yesterday. I was cleaning the master bedroom and had the windows open to get rid of some of the stifling winter air, so it was virtually impossible not to hear the loud playground-worthy voices of 10 young men. Previously I would have heard bossiness and smack talk to make a point or to compliment others. I was amazed to hear the difference in the *tone* of my son's voice when he talked to his friends. When instruction was given (he was put in the QB role, lots of instruction spews forth...) it wasn't given in the tone of "do what I say" like it had in the past. Instead, it was given with a smile and compliment right after it or before it. When his decision was questioned by another boy he didn't respond in defensiveness, but he responded in humility and a desire to work together as a team. As I continued to listen for the inevitable argument that would lead to the disbanding of the football game I was pleasantly surprised to hear the tones of the other boys begin to change as well. It became a game of friends - teammates - comrades instead of a competition to prove who has the most powerful arm or the fastest legs.

I was given a glimpse of the power of one person changing how they interact with others.

I was given a glimpse of how the power of Jesus Christ in us can impact our world.

I was given a glimpse of the power we each have to make our world better or bitter 
just by Whose we are.

My son is not perfect - in fact, if anything, the realization that he doesn't have to earn love has greatly decreased his need to jump in and do for others what they are capable of doing themselves* - but he does love his Lord, and the change in him is greater than any act of service he could ever do!

*explanation - when his brother, who is not a "do-er" like our youngest is, has to clean his room he often asks little brother to help him. He's brilliant in this request, actually, because he knows HE won't have to think about what needs to be done, and he can ease off while little brother cleans his room for him. Last night he mentioned that little brother wouldn't even help him clean his room when he asked (as if this was the greatest travesty of life). Little brother quickly piped up, "but if I always do it for you, you'll never learn to do it for yourself." Aaaaaahhhh, Jesus for the WIN!

I hear the words of Matthew when he writes about the wise men and the shepherds coming to see the Child King, Jesus. Mary watched each one and pondered these things in her heart.

Transforming lives in the truth of the Word of God and the Spirit given to us for this life is one of my favorite things to see. My cup is filled to overflowing as I revel in the beautiful grace and glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ.


I'm curious if there are workshops like this in other areas? I know there are, but do any of you know of them? The workshop I attended is called Heart Change, and in talking to Gloria, one of the founders, she mentioned this is not the only one taking place that is in the process of changing lives deeply and truly for the Kingdom. The key to finding true change is for the Bible to be foundational, not secondary, to the process. We read in Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Without the Bible as foundation, the building (person) topples away. 

If you are looking for a program like this in your area, you could contact House Of Myrrh Ministries and ask if they know of one where you are. As one father said to me and I agree completely with, "If you had told me four years ago I was going to go through this and be who I am today, I'd have told you you were nuts. Today I would tell you I would sell everything I owned if necessary for the opportunity to go through this life change."

God IS good...does your heart really believe that?...for yourself?