Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Makes Us "Run" Correctly?

If you have been following me you know we are in the midst of a home reno with many exciting plans ahead for the home. We have completely gutted it and this week contractors are working on the plumbing and electric. I walked in while the plumbers were taking pipes below a wall, underground, from one area to another. My mind began thinking about the process. In order for the flow of water to run properly through the house, pipes had to be rearranged. They were working before; but, in order to function better, work had to be done.

We were born a certain way. Our lives were set on a course to grow, learn and develop into the person God intended for each one of us to be. Our character is shaped by the environment in which we are raised. We learn to respect those around us. At some point most of us take a good look at ourself and do an examination of where we are and what we are doing with our lives. We realize that we are doing ok, but with a little adjustment we could be doing so much better. So the life we have lived up to this point has got us this far, but with our adjustment we are going to go farther.

Part of that adjustment is realizing we have lived our lives according to the way we wanted to live without thinking about asking our Creator, God for His direction. We adjust our way of thinking. Before we make any decision we ask God for clarity:

"Is this a good move?"

"Is this the person I am to spend the rest of my life with?"

"Will this job be best for my future?"

All these questions are great avenues of communication with God. He definitely cares about our lives and the choices and decisions we make. We get to know His direction and build stronger character by reading His Word. It not only gives direction but brings healing to our spirit and comforts our soul. The reality is, it takes the pressure off of us when making decisions. Why? Because we are relying on God's leading us to do the right thing. He speaks to us in a still small voice in our inner most being.

I can hear some say it is a lame way to live because we are not making up our minds ourselves, we are letting someone else tell us what to do. I am sorry, but that is not the case here. It takes a lot of guts, if you will, to allow someone else (God in this instance) to direct our lives. We are completely and totally trusting Him. Just like going on a ropes course. You have to trust your partner with your life. No hesitancy or questioning. Just trust.

Think about this today and ask yourself:

"Do I need to make adjustments in my heart or life?"

"Am I doing life my way or do I ask God what He would like me to do with my life?"

If we are doing life "my way" we are living selfishly and not thinking of others. The first sign of strong character is when we can trust God with our life and not worry about what we want. When we do this we will be surprised to find that God is giving us the very things and allowing us to do exactly what we love to do.

So, just like we had to make adjustments in our home, so water could run throughout the house better; we need to make adjustments in our lives in order to do life better.

Happy adjusting.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What Does Your House Say About You?

All of us have enjoyed driving through neighborhoods admiring homes we see and commenting on what we think...

"That yard is beautiful."

"I would love a house like that." You get what I'm saying.

We may do this from time to time; then, there comes a time when we are really looking for a home to purchase. We get in the car and drive through those neighbors we admired. We find homes for sale, call the listing agent and make an appointment to go look at some of them.

The first one we go see has almost all of the criteria we have on our list of wants and needs. We pull up to the drive, get out of the car and meet the agent inside. Once we walk through the front door we are immediately let down because it has not been updated and is in much need of attention. Not only is it not updated but it is not as clean as it should be, especially since it is on the market for sale.

Down the street there is another house for sale and our agent wants to take us there as well. We are hesitant because it does not look very appealing from the outside. Our agent assures us it is within our price range and worth a look. Reluctantly we go.

To our total amazement it is spectacular inside! It is updated in every room. Due to circumstances beyond their control the owners could not afford to do what they needed to the outside. We now want to carefully consider the pros and cons of both homes. It is going to be a tough decision.

Let's think about this for a moment in relation to our own lives...

Scenario One:

We may look really awesome on the outside. Our hair is the latest style. Our clothes are looking good on our body. People come up to us easily to talk and get to know us. Or, we find someone we want to get to know and introduce ourself to them. After chatting we make arrangements to meet again in a couple days at a local coffee shop. After spending time together we begin to realize this person, whom we thought was someone we wanted to spend time with, is not anything like we thought. On the surface, on the outside, they looked good, but once we got to know them we found out their values, their way of life, everything about them was not what we thought. At this point we make a decision whether or not to continue the relationship...

Scenario Two:

One day we are having a bad day. Sitting alone in a coffee shop someone notices the look on our face. They are a regular in the coffee shop as well and notice we are not as cheerful as normal. We have never talked to them before because, in all truthfulness, they just did not look like someone we wanted to get to know. Wouldn't you know? They are the very person we needed all the time...

Remember the two houses we liked and went in, just to realize they were not what we thought? I began thinking of all this when we purchased a home recently that we are renovating.

The home had been on the market for several months. I had driven past it several times and always said I did not want to even consider it because it really was UGLY. I am not joking! We looked at other homes in the area and nothing ever happened with the ones we considered. This "ugly" house finally got our attention and we broke down and walked through the house, just out of curiosity. After walking through it, we saw potential in renovating and making it a place of beauty. We placed an offer and negotiated to where we were comfortable. We are in the midst of that reno and many spiritual correlations come to mind. So bare with me...

We are working on the inside first. The inside had not been updated and it just was not designed properly. In order to bring the home to it's full potential we have to gut it and redesign it. It is going to be beautiful, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the outside.

A few pictures to see the progress:

Kitchen before reno

Kitchen during reno

The Apostle Peter tells us in I Peter 3:3-4 that we should be concerned with our inner beauty, not our outward appearance. He is not telling us to not care about what we look like on the outside; just be more concerned with what is going on inside. If we do on our inner self, which the help of the Holy Spirit, we will not only become beautiful inside, but outside as well. Often we work more on our outer appearance. We want other people to accept us by our looks. It is much more valuable to be beautiful on the inside. Respect, love, concern, thoughtfulness all come from our inner health. Our inner self will reflect what is transforming in our lives.

Let's all take a look at our house. Do we only look good on the outside? What does our heart tell us? When other people look at us what do they see? A lovely "house" which is our body, or a lovely person that comes from the heart, making us beautiful inside and out?

My prayer is we will allow the Holy Spirit to come inside our house and begin renovations. Some of us may need a major overhaul, a total gut, down to the core. Other's just might need to update their house and refresh their spirit. Then there will be those who have never really started the process and will start from the beginning. It doesn't matter where we are, we just need to take the first step and begin the reno. Come on and join me. It will be worth it, I promise.

Thanks for reading and blessings to you.

ps. stay tuned for updates on the progress of the home renovation that will be used in the future for women's retreats once again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

God's Amazing Grace and Guidance

When God is leading our life there is never a dull moment. Maybe frustrating at times, but never dull.

Wow! I cannot believe it has been 8 months since I last posted!

Many things have changed over the past couple of years on this journey of transition. As a teen I knew God had called me into ministry and I was comfortable and confident in that calling. The calling is still in my life, but the direction has changed. It is exciting and scary at the same time. When in the midst of a transition it is somewhat disconcerting; you are leaving the comfort of the known and going into the discomfort of the unknown. I am going to share a little of the journey with you.

A little over a year ago my husband and I moved from the home which I had been using for retreats for women in ministry. I didn't understand why God would take us from a place that was used as ministry for Him. That was where the frustration came in and I just prayed and waited to see what God was doing. That was not easy.

After my husband's mom passed away we moved into her condo, while the family decided whether to sell or keep it. A decision was made. God opened a door for my husband and I to purchase a condo around the corner from where we lived prior to moving to Stan's mom's condo, as well as where I had several women's retreats. Our plan is to use this new condo for ministry purposes once again. We will be totally renovating it and preparing it for what we feel God wants us to do in this next phase of ministry.

During this renovation I will be sharing photos of the process so you, my readers and women interested in the retreats, will be part of what is happening. There are other plans in the process; but that is for later disclosure. God wants to do so many things in and through each of use, we just have to be willing to allow Him. It may be a process that takes us through a path of discouragement, anxiety and even a feeling of abandonment; but He WILL NOT be far away. We have to be patient, trust, and listen carefully. We don't know what He has in store, but in the end know it will be worth everything we have gone through. God's grace and guidance is truly amazing.

Remember...God is willing to go as far with you as you will let Him in 2012. Are you willing to let Him take you into the unknown?

I am excited for 2012 and what God has in store. I so love the relationship I have with Him. I would love to hear what God is doing in your life and where you are heading this year. Let's continue in the calling God has given us together and see where He leads.

The following are pictures of the living area. The stairs you see in the pics are going to be relocated in order to have better use of space on second and third levels. Pray with me that God begins preparing the hearts of the women who are to come together for the first retreat in the new location. Dates to be posted soon!