Words have power. Written words provide proof. You can read them, and reread them whenever you want. They can speak life to someone who needs encouragement. They can speak death to someone who is being deceived. The choice lies within you. How is it that you want people to remember you? Encourager...that is the gift that God has laid on my heart. To use my written, spoken, and/or sung words to lift people up. To be one link in their road to healing, restoration, joy. I have been without those things, and I claim them to be mine again. If you want me to seek God on a prayer for a specific situation...that is why I am here. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray God's Word of Life over you.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Relevant Reflections (Wake Up oh Sleeper)

Okay, so I’m just going to admit it…I failed to finish writing this post…two weeks ago. Oopsie! 2012 Christmas 121
The irony in it, is the message. These were the passion-filled words of my pastor that said Sunday morn…”What is happening while you are sleeping? What is going on in this world while your head is on the pillow?” I promise, I haven’t been sleeping 24/7 for two weeks…but I’ve allowed myself to be ‘too busy’ to sit and write. Same thing!

Today though, God added to what He taught me last week. So I will combine my reflection 2012 Christmas 107
to include both. =) Since I’m the author…I’m allowed!! Ha-ha! I’m a wee bit anxious about today’s post. Good anxious. That is how I know that the time is now. That God is revealing truth over the lies that someone has been believing today. You are about to experience truth followed by the freedom of grace. Read on!

The ‘pre-message’ at church a couple Sundays ago was my favorite part of the service. First Pastor Les had us listen to a song by Casting Crowns. I had never heard it before so my eyes were glued to the screen. What I could see through my tears…was amazing! God has blessed that group immensely to be able to touch the hearts of people everywhere. What is really powerful about this particular song is that it makes no difference if the listener is saved or unsaved. Either way the listener can not deny that it is truth that they speak. I will explain my theory after you listen to the song for yourself.

If you click on THIS LINK, it will take you to YouTube to listen to the song, ‘While You Were Sleeping’ by Casting Crowns. I promise you that it will be worth your time. It IS that good!!
Truth. Isn’t that song just stuffed full of truth?!? “We say save the trees but kill the children.” Wow!! That puts it into very simple, real words. Saved and unsaved alike can not deny that statement. Whether they believe in Pro-life or Pro-choice…the reality of what this world has become is still blaringly obvious. We put worth in and believe that trees are essential for our future. But life. Real, living human life…means little. Let’s apply this concept to the days of old. Stay with me, I have a point! Let’s go back to the day that Christ was being made in the image of man. Let’s think about Christ stepping down from His Throne of Glory…and becoming just like us. He made Himself vulnerable. He had to trust in the free will of man. And trust that man would choose the path of God…even if it wasn’t easy.

Let’s fast forward to this past Sunday. It was Christmas Eve Eve. Most of us probably attend church the Sunday before Christmas expecting to see lots of people and to hear the same story. The story really is a remarkable one. A flat out amazing story. But, do we just sit and listen like it is just that? A story?

It was REAL life. Can you fathom that? Can you fathom being Joseph in Matthew 1:18-25? Can you picture yourself being the man that just found out that the woman promised to be his wife, is pregnant? Just as you make plans to quietly divorce her…an angel appears to you in your dream. What now? You choose the path of God. You are scared…but the consequence of not choosing that path would have been an eternally fatal mistake, and not just for him. Joseph did not, could not fathom what responsibility he held in his choice.

And how about Mary. She knew the truth. She knew that she had never been with a man. How could she explain that a virgin was pregnant? Surely no ONE person would believe her. And the one that she had just been promised to…what would he think? He couldn’t possibly be with her when their marriage started off in what seemed to be betrayal. In Luke 1:26-38 we can read that the angel, Gabriel appeared to Mary. Okay…that is NOT an everyday occurrence. Just imagine finding yourself in that position. You are SURE that no one will believe you. And the consequences of being ‘with child’ out of wedlock back in those days were nothing like they are here in the United States in today’s culture.

Let’s put Mary into life today, 2012. The scenario is the same. The outcome…? I know that this is all just for thought…but what if pro-choice had been a choice for Mary? The reality of our life, our faith would be drastically different. If Mary had chosen to abort Jesus…just think of the eternal consequences. Our Savior. Our Healer. Our Provider. Our Comfort. Our Omni-Present. Our All-Knowing. Our Maker. Our Heavenly Father. He would have been thrown aside. Who would have known? Abortion is done in secret. In silence. Because the enemy knows that his deception must be kept far from the prayers of the righteous.

Abortion…oh how that word attaches itself to my heart and just breaks it. I saw that word beside my own name once before. "Spontanious Imcomplete Abortion". When I read that on the hospital computer as my diagnosis after my second miscarriage...my eyes instantly teared. I wanted desperately to make it go away. If it weren't 'tampering' 'with' 'medical' 'records' (insert finger quotes in your head) I would have tried to change it. It was not my choice to abort my baby...and for years I hated that my name was attached to that diagnosis. Now I trust and know that God has a plan. God has a purpose. And it will all make sense when that plan plays out to it's fullness.

Let’s try to see abortion through the eyes of Christ, the maker of all children. He forms each child. He has plans for that child. And in the quiet, dark deception of the enemy, through a ‘choice’…that child is stolen. Ripped from it’s nourishing mother’s womb and tossed aside. All because a choice has been presented. Who is the enemy taking out? Who’s ministry is being ripped away from them? What world changers are being aborted because the choice seems easier than the path of God?

Maybe you know someone who has chosen this road. Maybe you are that person. I am sitting here right now, broken for you. I can’t imagine the aftermath of such a choice. But as I have said before…Romans 8:28 is for all of us! God WILL use, even our most secret mistakes to build our faith.

I in NO way condone abortion…I just need to state that so there is no question. But, I do know that we serve a God who gives us new mercy EVERY morning. I need that mercy. You need that mercy. And even IF you chose death where their was life…God can use you in a powerful way. He can use your testimony to help someone else who thinks they have a right to choose. Don’t stay silent. Speak life and heal the hearts of millions! You owe it to the lost ministry of your child to speak on their behalf. Please contact me…and I will pray you to the Throne of Grace!!!! I was born for such a time as this my dear friend!!!! I would absolutely LOVE to be a part of unlocking your testimony!

Wake up, oh sleeper. The savior of the world was born while men slumbered. And now, babies all over the world are being stolen while we slumber. Who were they to be? Who is the enemy silently suffocating because he is afraid of who they might become? The choice of abortion is not limited to the unsaved. How much MORE would the enemy want a Christian to abort? World-changers can’t change anything if they are never given the chance. And in many cases I am sure that two lives are seemingly taken out. The baby and the parent(s). To live with such a skeleton would seem impossible. And when you think like that…you are exactly where the enemy expected you to be.

I am fired up today. God spoke this powerful message to me on the eve of Christmas Eve. Might not seem like a happy holiday message, but words of life are meant to make us think. Wake up won’t you? Allow God to speak to you right where you are. Listen to His voice. Choosing the path of God might not seem easy…but it will make sense. The price you pay for taking any other path…will not be worth it. The price has been paid remember?!?!
2012 Spring 149

Friday, December 21, 2012

Whew…What a Night!

I’ve been stuck staying home from work so far this week. Not by choice…but because it has been a necessity. If wasn’t one child it was another. Seriously! One child has a sinus and throat infection accompanied by two days of constant fevers. Another was throwing up. And Wednesday night something hit me. UGH! I had plans. I went from excited…to very annoyed. I hate staying home from church when God is evidently moving! I just couldn’t muster up the energy to get off the couch though. My head was pounding and I just couldn’t. Keep. My. Eyes. Open.

Normally I’d be a bit bummed to have to stay home while my husband went on to church without me. (Is bummed a strong enough word? Border line angry maybe…) That night though, I was really, really excited that he was going! I knew that God had a purpose. I trusted it. I had a relaxing night of working from my bed. (No really…I was working. Not as in the ‘keeping track of my eyelids’ type of working…but for real work. Promise! Haha!) God used my children to bless me and it was so awesome to experience, that I had no regrets. =)

These were the highlights of my night. (They might not ‘appear’ to be highlights…but I can assure you, they encouraged me to change my outlook. What a blessing these young children of mine are to me!!)

2012 Fall 1077

If you don’t know me…keep in mind that my children are all young. They range in age from 7 to 2. My two youngest were my sickly ones last night. At one point right after my husband got home from work I laid down on my couch to doze. As soon as my daughter walked in and saw me resting…she got my favorite warm, fuzzy blanket and gently covered me up. I am not even sure if I thanked her…but oh how thankful I was. I snuggled in for a quick, much needed snooze.

Random acts of thoughtfulness and kindness…those are traits of my King. =)



Just a short while later, after my husband had left for the evening, I walked into the living room to see my oldest son holding a bucket for his little brother to throw up into. While my daughter was gagging and complaining…my son was right there soothing his little brother.

Random acts of service…another trait of the King.



After Titus had gotten sick several times, I told the kids that we needed to pray for him. Aiden’s response…”I’ve been praying for him mom. I’ve been asking God to heal him and take away his pain and discomfort.”

Oh the sweet, but ever powerful prayers of a child…conversations with their King.



Finally it was bedtime for all the kids…and their mother! ;) I had made it! 7:30pm! I put it the movie of that the kids had agreed on. (Aiden tried really really hard to get them to agree to a coon hunting video…but he did not succeed. Go fig. *shrugs shoulders*) They settled in to watch a series of bible stories. Before I crashed for the night I went to the basement to check on my laundry and fill up the wood stove. Pretty soon I heard a little sniffle from the basement steps. I turned to see Ariel standing at the bottom of the steps crying. What could’ve happened? If I’m being honest…I was a little annoyed because I assumed it was because of a fight.

I’m sure I sighed. And I’m sure I asked what happened with a ‘tone’. Haha! My children are good at shutting me up. They down-right shock me on many occasions. Last night was no exception.

To my surprise, she explained that her tears were because of the movie she was watching. They had been watching a bible cartoon about the last days of Jesus. She said, “Mom, I knew that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but I didn’t like watching it. I didn’t like seeing Him dead.”

Heart…melting… We went right up and sat down on my bed. I wasn’t going brush off this opportunity to speak life into my little 6 year old daughter’s heart. I had her attention and she had mine! This is how I responded. “I understand how seeing that must have been hard. It is difficult to see what Jesus had to go through for us. But remember…He didn’t stay dead. Right?!”

She nodded her head slowly.

I continued. “And do you know what? We get to have Jesus ALIVE in our hearts because he was willing to die for us. When you see Mom cleaning and you decide to come help without being asked…that is because Jesus is in your heart telling you to show kindness. When you see Mom crying and you hug me and tell me you love me…that is because Jesus is living in you and wants you to speak words of life. When you see that Mom is stressed and you tell me how beautiful I am…that is Jesus in you speaking words of encouragement through you. It is a never ending blessing that Jesus suffered like He did.” She accepted my answer and the tears stopped. We hugged and kissed and off to bed she went. It is moments like that. That is what I was created to do. To be a mother, encourager, teacher, and example to the four most precious people in my life. I want to help shape and mold God’s design in them. And all it takes is trust and time. I trust God’s plan and I trust His time.


Had I gone to church…I would’ve missed that conversation. God’s strategy is unlike mine. He makes sense of what seems to be a mess. I bow humbly at His feet and continue to trust His path. Every day he teaches me something new. Each day fresh, with a new sunrise to enjoy.

My Sunrises 010  This one was from a few weeks ago over a cemetery. God’s beauty is not limited to what we might think is beautiful. He can make anything beautiful!

As for my husband…God had a specific plan for him that night too. Had the kids and I been there it would not, could not have happened. I believe in God’s plan. I trust His hand. And I am so in love with how extravagantly He loves me and mine. If you you’ve forgotten what it is to be loved like that…listen to the words to this song about his Extravagant Love. Sing it out. You know I am! =)

Oh and if you get a chance you should check out another blogger that I have come upon recently. It seems as though God is teaching us similar things when it comes to our children. Her blog post title said it perfectly…and I had tears as I read it. “Show Them ME”. Click on those words to read how the move of God is specific and simple.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Relevant Reflections (Dec-Week 2)

2012 Winter Birthdays 065
My reflection today is going to come in two parts. The first from Sunday morning and the second from that evening. Any chance I’ve been getting lately to spend time with God…He’s been revealing new truths to me. (Or reminding and reinforcing ones that I already know!) I am grabbing and holding onto each nugget of wisdom as if it were treasure.

Think about that. God’s Word is supposed to be treasure to us. Bring to your mind something that you treasure. It does not have to be expensive. Some of my most treasured possessions are notes from my family. (Go figure…I love the written word! Haha!) What do we do with the things we treasure? We usually try to keep them safe. We know where they are and we notice if they are missing. Do you keep the Word and instruction of God hidden in your heart? Do you notice if there are lies covering over the truth that He has given to you? Speaking of treasure…let’s go to a section of verses in the second chapter of proverbs. In Sunday school this past Sunday we were given material with these verses listed.

Proverbs 2: “1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Notice how many actions those verses list. Accept. Store. Turn. Apply. Call out. Cry aloud. Look (as if it were silver). Search for it (as for hidden treasure). Understand. Find.

Doesn’t it seem worth the first part of that list to get to those last two? Knowledge and understanding! Whew…that hits home. Do your part with the Word and God. Use it for your life. Apply it to your specific needs. And you will gain what you are looking for! It is right there. Black words on white paper…or in this case…pink words on a gray screen. Powerful realization!!

Okay…on to the point of this post. Sorry I tend to ramble a bit. Sunday after worship, Pastor Les has us listen to a powerful song by Chris Tomlin. Click here to listen to it on YouTube. Please, for your sake, pay close attention to the words!

Here’s my favorite part…
“I know Who goes before me.
I know Who stands behind.
The God of angel armies, is always by my side.
The One who reigns forever.
He is a friend of mine.
The God of angel armies, is always by my side.”

Don’t those God-inspired words help stir the confidence in you? Whom Shall I(We) Fear? Name, in your own head, someone/something that you fear. I won’t tell…go ahead. It does not have to be a physical fear…but maybe a mental one. Maybe it is someone who makes you feel tiny and insignificant when they talk to you, and you fear having to see them. Whom SHOULD you fear? No one and nothing. I know it is easy to say and hard to do…but let’s try to gain wisdom so that we can
follow the example of Jesus. It will be worth your effort, Promise!

Here are the words that God spoke to me about fear. “What do you fear, Vanesa? Whom do you fear? Is it fear of rejection that keeps you silent? Is it failures of the past that keep you seated when I’ve asked you to stand? Or…my daughter…do you fear the Creator on judgment day?” OUCH! I needed that. I needed to be reminded that I fear God over man. I want to walk in His light even if it is a new path.

As for Sunday night, we watched a video about aviation. I have to admit I was not excited when I heard what it was about. No offense intended. God has just wired us all differently…and it seemed as thought it was not going to ‘float my boat’. (Guess I should’ve said ‘fly my plane’. Hee hee.) Wowza, how wrong I was. I got it. I got the message the he delivered. It stung a bit at first…but I received it with open arms because I knew that God was all through it. And he had me laughing throughout the night. (I love laughing. It is my favorite. Haha!)

I won’t get all of the terminology correct because I am not at all interested in aviation. It scares me. But the message can be understood the same. Here is my shortened version of what I understood. The man in the video is a pilot of a high-tech war craft. He teaches and instructs the ‘young guns’ on how to operate these aircrafts for their first solo flights.  Right before they go out on their own he gives them a final briefing.

How would you respond to a final briefing? Would you sit back, barely paying attention, with complete confidence because you knew it all already? Almost as if this ‘old man’ had nothing he could teach you!? OR would you hang on his every word? Would you trust that he had been in this position once before and he was successful because he was, after all, still alive! First, I need to make it clear that I WOULD NOT EVER BE IN THIS POSITION…because as I said…I am not wired that way. But IF I was going to fly a high-tech war craft…I would be the one feverishly taking notes.

Several times in the video he said the following words, “I am here to brief some of you today.” It was me. He was talking right to me…I’m sure of it. He gave an example at one point of a professor from college. This professor was the first one ever in this man’s life to care about him other than his own family. He was concerned about his spiritual well-being. Who has been that to you? And who is God leading you to? Just a simple conversation can mean the world to someone in need. Let’s be intentional on looking for and listening to people that need the truth of Jesus!

At the the end of the video the man spoke about dreams. Can you think of some of your own? Things that you long for? Things that cause you to be discontented because you are always waiting and wondering. I believe that there is a difference between a dream and a vision. I am not talking about dreams at night. I know that God can pack some powerful wisdom in our dreams. I am talking about the things you daydream about having, or doing, or places to go to. What are you over looking because you are in waiting for……….

Here are two quotes as I remember them from the video. Keep in mind these are from a man who had dreams of being exactly what he became. He got all he wanted and yet…

“Dreams…when not from God…are just a tragic disappointment in the waiting.”
“Dreams can become a memory…in an instant.”

As I said above, when I say the word dreams I am not talking about visions that God has given us. I am talking about the ‘dreams’ that we hang onto and wait for. They occupy our time and energy. They keep us from moving full-force into what God has for us in the now. These dreams can set us up for disappointment and failure if they are not what God has for us. Even if they are good. Even if they are for Him…if they are not from Him…let’s vow to go with His plan instead. Make sense?

By the end of Sunday night these are the nuggets of wisdom that God gave to me. You, as a heir to the throne, right now, hold in your hands and in your heart…the key to help someone else to salvation and safety. What will you do with that reality? God has called us to be His hands and feet. The heart of God sends people to your path so that they might come to know Him when they meet you. Can you rise up to that call? Can you see people through the eyes of Christ?

Ch (80) Did you ever have a vision from God that you are just so so so excited about seeing come to reality? That is where I am at right now. And I literally get butterflies in my stomach every time I think of it. Like Christmas morning-when I used to open my eyes as a child and see that my stocking was filled up and laying by my door, begging to be opened-butterflies. I am trying to be patient…but I’m just so excited and about to burst with God’s promise. Romans 8:28 is at work. The things of old are making sense. I’ve been asking. I’ve been crying out. I’ve been searching for truths to cover the lies that I was expected to believe. And Proverbs 2 is making sense in a new way. Knowledge and understanding of God’s ways and His perfect path are coming into view. *squeals* I am ready God. I’ve been preparing for what is to come…and I trust where you are leading. I have NO reason NOT to trust You.

Right now I am praying for you, my friend. I pray that the knowledge and  understanding of God will flood your life. And I pray that you will search for it. Cry out to God. Seek God and God’s people. Find people that inspire you to be who God intended you to be. Speak life and surround yourself with people who do the same for you. It works!

To close…let me end with some of the people that God has sent us to recently. Our new Pastor Les and his wife Jennifer. They are the real deal. They love without condition. They are authentic. They have a passion for God AND His people. They have hearts that are willing to serve. And they are contagious. They are inspiring me to write. They are inspiring me to sing. They are inspiring me to love without condition. They are inspiring me to serve. And tonight…they helped inspire an acoustic guitar worship session in my house. You may or may not have any IDEA how huge this is! Just know that God is absolutely faithful. I've believed it. I've prayed since August for it to be evident…and I trusted that God would hear my cry. Oh, and that Christmas morning excitement…just got even more intense. I can’t wait to see it all unfold. Amazed…I sit back and

Amazed! =)

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Season of Juggling is back!

This post titled “Juggle, Juggle, Thud,” was written earlier this year. God brought it to my attention today and so I am sharing it as He leads. I needed this reminder…and I pray that it can be a gentle encouragement of fresh passion for meeting with God to someone reading today. The pictures are unchanged. The text (except for this top section) is the same. And you are never going to guess what is on the To-Do list for today…folding all the laundry that is in my bedroom. Haha…figures there is always that!! With that said…the message is still LOUD AND CLEAR!! What does your juggling routine look like? Are you consciously choosing, or is it being chosen for you? Here goes…

…”Juggle, Juggle, Thud!”

Afternoon all! I am sitting here today at my dining room table, and it is covered in clothes. They are all clean…but all need to be folded, sorted, and put away. I am putting it off. But for the first time this week I am putting it off for a good reason. =) You!

How often do you feel as though someone or something is getting left in the dust? You are not alone. We ALL have our own personalized struggles…but you’d be surprised at how often we struggle silently with the exact same things. Really! I mean listen…I am a stay at home mother…as you know by now. And yet…today…without leaving the comfort of my home, I know of three people that are struggling with their devotional time. I didn’t even have to leave my house to find people that I can pray for and minister to. Divine appointment. That is what this world is all about.

See each person as God appointed. Why are they on the phone with you? How can you pray for them? What is going on in their life that could use a prayer warrior? Sometimes God will have you ask. Sometimes He will tell you. Sometimes a wave of compassion will come over you…and that is all it takes to know they are your mission for that day. Pray. Encourage. Write. Whatever He asks…do.

God sent me to a man struggling to find time to meet with Him. God sent a woman to me who is struggling with the same. They are entirely different…and yet simply the same. Their struggle is unique…yet similar. Let me explain it so it is easily understood. You see I read a devotional 4 years ago that has stuck with me. It was a divine appointment for me to have in my quiet time…that left me forever changed. How thankful I am for the words that I read that put this subject matter into a simple picture.

Juggle. Juggle. Thud. Picture with me…a person who is juggling a set of three bean bags. Not too dangerous…but still difficult. The more bean bags you add…the higher the degree of difficulty.

Now change the person you picture. Put yourself there. Maybe you can’t really juggle. (I can’t.) If you need to (for the picture in your head, mind you) change the bean bags to scarves. Now picture the juggling act.

Let’s name some of the bean bags. (I am using bean bags, because in my imagination I am a rockin’ good juggler. Haha!) These are things that are important to you or that MUST be done every day. Here are some that I came up with…pictures included are free of charge. ;)


Ch (168) (I realize none of my kids are actually sleeping here. But they are all ‘camping out’ on the living room floor with their pillow pets. Close enough. Lol!)

Dishes. (I guess just housework in general. Laundry…ugh, dusting, de-cluttering, vacuuming/sweeping, bathroom cleaning…etc.)

Winter 2012 005 (Here is a little shout out to Dawn’s new (to me) scent. Hawaiian Pineapple!! Um…I loathe dishes. Is loathe a strong enough word? But…I do enjoy new soap scents. My sister in law will be pleasantly surprised when she sees that I washed all of her containers and bottles just to try this new soap. I do love the smell…not so much the process. Lol!)

Recreational activities. Whatever that is to you. (Examples for me are scrapbooking, writing, photography, and singing.)

Early spring '11 032 (This is one of my favorite scrap pages from my son’s Kindergarten school year. And I must tell you. It is a copy. I have trouble creating pages in my own little head. It is overloaded with all these blog ideas…yeah that’s it…full. Haha…but I can copy with the best of them. That is why they make scrapbooking magazines right? Cut paper just like theirs. Copy their idea. Paste on all of the embellishments just as they did. Add your own pictures…and give them the credit. Lol! I did come up with my own heading…Knotty or Nice. Get it? Knotty because of the crazy hair? Hahahahaha!)


Late fall 2011 019 (2) (Love this picture of my children’s Sunday School class the week of Thanksgiving!)

Cooking/ baking. (Eating whatever you cooked or baked.)

2012 036 (Fruit pizza I made for Valentine’s Day. It was amazing!)


Fall '11 046Fall '11 061 (Setting posts for our fence. Aiden carried the post before it was set. They all gathered around it for a quick photo shoot after it was set!)

Spending time with your family.

Winter 2012 036 (2) (This is Eric, Aiden and Bill (the horse) last night. Sunset. Beautiful spring day. A man. His son. And a horse. I

abso-toot-a-loot-ley LOVE IT!)

Drinking a Pumpkin Pie Latte.

Winter 2012 004 (Latte’s are almost always a daily event in my house. Today, my flavor of choice was a Coconut Chai Latte. And yes, it was as delightful as it sounds!! THANK YOU RACHEL!)

Personal time with God!!!


Wait…that is my spot. Why is my spot is empty? Where did that day go? Where was yesterday? Last week? Why do I keep filling my days with nonsense and being okay with it? What am I doing to try to make a difference? Not only in my life…but those I am surrounded by.

Where does personal, relationship-oriented conversation with God fit in? These are just some of the things that I juggle. I’m sure your list is different. Maybe some of them are similar. Maybe none. Maybe all. It doesn’t really matter…the list isn’t the important part. What does matter is how do you fit all of these things into a 24 hour day?

Write down a list of all of your bean bags. Now when you picture yourself juggling them…throwing them up and catching the ones that are absolutely vital to your day. Which of them seem to fall most often with a thud?

That sound. The sound of a bean bag hitting the floor is heart wrenching to me today. It literally just brought tears to my eyes. That is how I know this message isn’t just for you today. Knowing that I have been showing my dishes and laundry more attention than my Savior…ouch! Why is it that His sacrifice isn’t ALWAYS worth mine?

Why is it that He is patient…and I am not. ‘Just one more thing,’ I tell Him. Just let me make my latte and then I will sit with You.

Interruption…the enemy’s tool strikes again. The phone. The stench of an obviously poop filled diaper. The dog. The mountain of things staring at me while I sit and relax to write. When I see them as a tool the enemy is using to keep me from meeting with my Savior…I can get through them and press on to my goal.

Answer the phone. Excuse yourself politely if it is not going to be short. Sit and read!

Change the diaper. Wash the hands. Sit and write!

Let the dog out. Let the dog in. Sit and listen to God’s voice.

Dishes can wait. Laundry will always be there. Your friends and family will be cared for much better when your heart has been lifted up. You won’t have to feel guilty for taking a run. Or scrapbooking. Or doing ministry at church…IF you are going out full instead of half empty. (Heard that in church a few weeks ago. Thanks Bob…I LOVE IT!)

Figure out what your THUD is. Ask God to help you manage your time better. Don’t leave your family in your dust. Don’t leave your responsibilities in a heap on your dining room table. ;) And don’t let your personal time with God always thud while you are juggling. He will keep them all going in your place when you spend time with Him. Real time. Quality time at His feet. Waiting in His presence. Singing to make Him smile.

Choose wisely. Choose consciously. Choose carefully what is vital to your day. The proof is in your ministry. You minister to your family. You minister to your friends. You minister to your church. You have the opportunity to minister to your waitress. Your cashier. Your gas-station attendant. Or you just simply don’t minister at all. Make the choice part of your morning…and stick to it! You will not regret your time with The King of Kings. He is the most amazing prayer partner…because He has the power to promote CHANGE!

I am praying for your success. Pray for mine too. Thanks LOVE!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dash Dash Dash

A few weeks ago, while I was at church, I happened to glance to the pew in front of me and noticed that one of the teens was drawing a picture. (I was still paying attention to the pastor…promise!) Every once in a while I would look again and I was just amazed. I just couldn’t help myself. I am not very artistic when it comes to drawing…so I am mesmerized by people that have that gift. (Growing up I always thought that my oldest brother must have gotten my portion of the artistic gene. Haha!)

Now that I am an ‘adult’, which to be quite honest I still don’t feel like most days…I can appreciate all of the many ways that one can be artistic. Even in drawing alone there are way too many different styles and techniques to list. This girl that I am referring to above, used what I will refer to as the “Dash. Dash. Dash.” method. She made many light small strokes with her pencil. She’d erase just a tiny little portion of her drawing (which I thought already looked amazing)…and wouldn’t you know it would improve.

The eye of the artist is specific. They know what they are going for. They have the vision. They don’t have to explain it. They just make it happen.

As I have said I am not much of an artist. I don’t have that sort of flare. (*insert jazz hands here*) I have tried the light ‘dash, dash, dash’ method. My end result is far from impressive. But there is something to be learned from this. (Otherwise why would I be writing about it.) You see I too could sit down and use the same method, the same pencil, and try to draw the same picture…but I clearly will not have the same end result. Because, you see, God has equipped me differently.

Can you see where I am going with this? Have you ever seen someone with a clearly God-given gift and been just the slightest, little teensiest-weensiest bit jealous? Maybe you’ve heard someone sing and it caused you become self conscious about your own ability. Maybe you’ve seen someone’s crafty-craftedness whip up something amazing and you sit and think…why don’t ideas like that just ‘pop’ into my head? Or maybe you would like to be more handy and you are really more destroyee. (I had a late night last night…feverishly writing a prayer from the Throne of Grace for a beloved son of my King…so back off. I am tired. ;) Haha!) Let me put in into words that you will understand.
2012 Fall 094 2012 Fall 920
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I mean really. Look at how amazing God is. He doesn’t repeat himself. He has no need. Even in twins there is uniqueness. In all of the people ever created…God has not run out of ideas. Think about the last artsy thing you did. Now try to come up with something different and new times a ba-jillion or two. (Say that last phrase in your best Dr. Suess rhyming voice.) I’m starting to feel anxious just thinking about coming up with my own stuff…and this is all just for effect. So it is easily understood. Haha! Dramatic…yes, yes, yes I am.

Each of us has a specific purpose. We have something that God has designed for us to accomplish. He made us…and He knows us…and He knows how to utilize our gifts. We make a dash and it has an effect. Someone else makes a dash and it has a whole different effect. Each of them apart from vision…is without clear direction. Each of them is vital to the final outcome though. On it’s own it doesn’t look like much. But stand back and look at how God used each dash, each little step of faith…and see who received healing. Notice who will be joining you in Heaven. Notice who is branching out in their own ministry because someone took the time to speak a small word of encouragement to them.

Do not ever think you are less because of what God has given to you. (Or not given to you.) He knows what He is doing my friend. He does not do things by chance. He does not make mistakes. He created you with passions for things that will encourage, uplift, and bless those you come in contact with. Rejoice in the talents God has given others…and ask Him to help you discover yours.

If I hear one more person say that have nothing to offer, that they have no real talent or gifts…I might just have to get in their face and yell a bit. (Can you picture me doing that? If the answer is no because you know me…and think I tend to be pretty (thank you) ahem, moving on fairly patient and even-tempered…this should stick out as something that really makes my anger rise up.) It makes me so sad, and then angry and then powerful to think that someone could believe that. I say sad because they are missing out on so many blessings by not searching for what they a have to offer for the Kingdom. I say angry because I know it is the lie and scheming of the enemy that has made them feel like they have nothing good to give. And I say powerful because I defeated that way of thinking in my own life…and I KNOW that they can too!

You see I used to hate that I was shy when I first meet people. I used to hate that I cried easily. I used to hate that I couldn’t sing like people on the radio. I used to hate that I wasn’t crafty. I used to hate that my all of my writing was written in journals and stuffed on a shelf and without purpose.
God covered over each of those lies with His truth.

My shyness is still a stumbling block, a barrier for me sometimes…but I have come a long way since the school age years. God has used my quiet nature to reach out to some that would've been scared away by the 'in-your-face' type.

I cry easily because I feel with people. When they tell me what they are going through…I really feel what it must be like. Compassion is nothing to hate. Compassion is nothing to be ashamed of.

I sing for my King and that is that. My voice was created BY Him FOR Him. (I do my best work in my van when it is just me and Him anyway.)

I am crafty. I can not do what some can do…but I have an artsy gene and I use it in ways that fill me with joy!
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And my writing…Pages of Prayer as broken my barrier. I have no idea who reads…and I am not a bit concerned with that. I write and I trust that God can handle the rest.

What are the lies that you have been accepting/believing? What abilities has God given you that you feel convicted to use? Don’t ignore God’s voice. The gentle nudge can quickly turn into a shove. Haha! Either way…His plan will be done. But doesn’t it feel better when you gently ask a child to do a simple task…than when you have to get a little bit stern?

Ask God to give you revelation. Ask Him to reveal the enemies scheme to you. So that he lay before you stripped of his power. his stronghold no longer holding you back. Ask God to show you new ways to use your gifts. Trust that He is all-knowing and that He will not lead you to a path of destruction. You know His voice. Walk in your gifts because there are people that are waiting and need to see God in a way only you can provide. Unique. You are unique and I love that!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours-ALIVE 2009

Raise of hands if you were at the Christian music festival…Alive ‘09? If you were…you probably heard the same message and worship that I did. One night in particular a woman spoke words that I had forgotten until recently. She was telling us about how she prayed these words to well-known worship song…”Break my heart for what breaks yours.” (<=Click on the link if you'd like to hear it.) She warned us that it was the most dangerous prayer she had ever prayed because God heard. He really listened to her request. And He answered. She didn’t know what to expect, but she got what she asked for. She challenged us to pray it if we felt the Spirit’s leading…but only if we really meant it. Only if we were ready for whatever might follow.

My Sunrises 002Sheepishly, and timidly I prayed. Then I too quickly forgot. Fast forward to 2012. Lately I have been whining complaining having some heated discussions with God about some past and present events that I did NOT agree with. I was just letting Him know, and asking Him to reveal to me what He was thinking!! I wanted to know the purpose. I wanted to know His thoughts about what He was taking me through. I KNEW it had to make sense to someone…but I was growing weary in my ability to see His hand in it all. I trusted it was there…but I wanted to SEE it. Have you been there? Come on…it can’t just be me!?!

God’s response made me laugh and cry all at the same time. (Yes…I can do that. As I have said before, it is a special gift. Oh na-tur-all!  Haha!) His answer to my “WHY?!”…

“I am breaking your heart for what breaks mine! You asked me to remember? I’ve been answering that request for over 3 years now, and you have forgotten that you ever asked. You have screamed at Me. You have cried to Me. You have asked me to stop. But Vanesa, I know what is best. I knew that when you chose to ask AND LISTEN for my response…that you would understand nothing was for loss but for gain. I am making you stronger. I am proving that your prayers are not only heard, but that they are vital to those I am sending to you. I am teaching you how to be a more powerful and effective warrior for My Kingdom. I am showing you how to have compassion like your Father. I am teaching you how to love without condition. And I am asking you to go be my hands and feet to these people I am revealing to you. The time is now. You have been preparing for this. And I got cho (your) back!” –God

Did you cry while reading that? I definitely cried while I wrote it. To see the plan of God unfold is overwhelming…in a good way. It always makes me simultaneously laugh and cry! It makes all of the labor pains that we've had to endure…worth the birth of something greater than us. God’s response to my question was life changing. I pray that I am never the same as I was before!

So, you might be asking…what does that mean? How did God break your heart for what breaks His? Good question! I knew you’d ask! =) It was simple really. A phone call. A text. A conversation over coffee. And in those conversations came a simple request. Please pray for me. Friends of mine ask me often. I love that they view me as someone who can be trusted to do as they say they will.

What would happen next though was the part that I kept screaming demanding asking God to take from me. I would get to see first hand what these people were experiencing. One asked for prayer for a toothache…with in the next day or two my tooth would began to throb. One had a screaming headache…my head would began to pound. One was arguing with her husband...you guessed it...I was soon annoyed by the trash on the counter right above the GARBAGE CAN! One told me about how her husband was no longer in love with her…and soon I felt that with my own marriage. It wasn’t immediate. If it had been I think I would’ve put the pieces together a lot more quickly. (I hope. *grins a bit embarrassed*) It didn't last long. Just a short season so that I could say I "feel your pain sister!" With each trial that came I really truly honestly got to feel what they had been facing. For real. I promise it was neither imagined nor made up. It was real pain and aching in my heart. I felt hurt. I got angry. I whined for God to just make “one thing go right” some days.

And those examples listed above are all within the last few months. This has been happening…literally…for over 3 years now. *Smacks hand on forehead!* I felt like I was going crazy. The enemy told me I was a hypochondriac. He told me that I was just seeking attention. Or that I was just ‘making it up’. Because, you see, the longer he could delay me from searching for truth to cover his lies…the more frustrated I would become. If he could keep me in that state…maybe I would even stop praying!?

Ahhh…but our God is stronger than that. He knows what the enemy tries to use against us, only makes us stronger.

So bring it on. I want prayer requests. No matter their nature. I want to see God move in a mighty way. I want to be used because it makes my faith grow stronger. I will not fear things of this world. I trust my Father. I know Him. And I know that He is forming me to be a powerhouse of prayer for those that He sends my way. There is a spiritual war going on…and I will war with you my friend. 
2012 Summer 133

Send me your requests. I am ready for a fight! =)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Relevant Reflections (December-Week 1)

I've sat here, in my fave comfy chair several early mornings this week (while my family still slumbers) to start a new chapter. A chapter of relevancy with application. When the two pastors of my church were tag team preaching this past Sunday; I was in my pew, my pen flying across my page, taking notes. This is how I always listen to a speaker. Feverishly writing what I do not want forget from them and from God.

At one point they did a little experiment. They sang and/or quoted different theme songs from television shows from the past. The first was as follows…”Da da da dun *snap snap* Da da da dun *snap snap* Da da da dun, Da da da dun, Da da da dun *snap snap*”. Name it.

If you guessed The Adam’s Family, you are correct. That is pretty much the only one I got right because I am more from the generation that can sing you the theme song from Saved by the Bell or Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire. Even though I did not know most of the rest of their examples,  I got their message just the same.

Our brains retain what we repeat and allow to be repeated.

JamesNow let’s move to the application…take a look at the book of James in my Bible. I have written beside and underlined a good portion of it because I just can't seem to get enough of it!     For years I have claimed that it is my favorite book of the Bible, but do I really KNOW it? Could I quote it...or even give the general concept if needed? Since the answer is ‘No’, what have I done to change that? *sigh* The truth hurts sometimes doesn’t it? It is okay, we will learn from this. And we will be better for it.

Think of a theme song from a tv show from your past. If you can’t think of a theme song…try a catchy jingle from a commercial. Now try to sing it. Go ahead…I will wait. (At least I know my mom and aunts will follow my instruction. ;) Haha!) Do you remember waking up the morning after you first heard it and realizing that you know it word for word? Doubtful. Unless you are my husband who has the memory of an elephant. (Is that even the correct expression? How does one know what an elephant can remember. *shrugs shoulders* Moving on.) My guess is that you had heard it many times…and finally it stuck with you.

When you read a passage from the Bible, do you read it once and move on? Or do you really study it? Have you tried to complete a detailed a study guide on it? Do you write it and rewrite it to make it really stick? If your answer to those questions is yes, no, no, and no…please don’t feel bad. You are not alone. You are probably in the majority these days. But we are not called to be like everyone else. We are called to be a ‘peculiar people’. People who don't follow what is easy or common, but what is right and true. After all, aren't we called to be like our Father…not our brother.

When God reveals something to you from a fresh, new perspective, sometimes it can sting a bit. You might even feel like you are not doing enough. Or maybe that you are being looked at under a microscope or told my way is better. I do not profess to have ways better than any other. (Just so we are clear on that.) I write what God reveals to me. And 99% of the time it is something He is teaching me right along with you.

Sunday as I sat in church, I felt the nudge of God. (I prefer the nudge over the shove. The shove usually comes when I have ignored the nudge for a while. *grins and stares at floor kicking a fake rock*) Anyway, the nudge…he was telling me to renew my passion for His Word…on purpose. With purpose. If I can learn a theme song that will NOT in any way change my life because I mindlessly listened to it in the background…I can memorize God-inspired scripture if I set out to do so. Be intentional. Our brains retain a lot of things that we never tried to keep there. The Word of God though…it is supposed to be ‘hidden in our hearts’. Placed there intentionally.

Let’s do a little exercise.

I didn’t loose you did I? Haha. This exercise involves your mind only…and maybe a hand or two if you really get into it. ;) Let’s say you have a small child who needs to learn a Bible verse. How would you help them learn it? My guess is...lots of repetition. Maybe an arm movement here and there. Oh...and LOTS of facial expressions. You would probably pick out key words that you could act out with those facial expressions and wild arm movements.

I currently have a kindergartener who has to say a verse for school each Friday. During the week I act out the verses with her. I get silly and over-animated because I want it to really make an impression on her little six year old mind. Did you get that? I am making an effort to make a lasting impression because it is the word of God. Couldn't I make the same effort for myself?!

AWANA. How many of you attended as a child? Or raise of hands if you send your children now. Way back when I was little, I had a leader who, to this day, is still one of my favorite people. Her name is Linda. She was the type of Godly woman that people were drawn to. I was recently reconnected with her as we started to attend the same church. I was so happy to find out that she has not changed a bit. She is still the lovable, bubbly mom-figure that I remember her to be. God had a special purpose for her in my life and I am so thankful for her. Without her and my mom, I would not have memorized the scripture that I did. They’d act out my verse when I got stuck. (Linda would use lots of facial expressions…and it still makes me giggle!) They took time because they knew the importance of hiding scripture in your heart from a young age.

When it comes to my ability to memorize, I am nothing like my husband. When we were little, I kind of…in a nice sort of way…did not like him. Not as in a true dislike…as in a UGH, why is this so easy for you!?! You see the AWANA leaders literally had to come up with new things for him to do. Haha! He would get through his entire book, review it, do a written test…and all before I was even halfway through mine.*Ahem…nerd* Haha! The only hope that most of those boys his age had at winning high sections for the night was when he was doing his test. Whew…glad I wasn’t a boy. Now-a-days, I am so thankful for all of his memorization. I can call on him with my randomness…and he usually has an answer for me. Who knew I would marry that country boy with the big brown glasses? (Love you E-Rock!)

Anyway, back to my point. I promise I am going somewhere with this. If we retain so much needless ‘junk’ in our heads because we mindlessly allowed it to seep in…what if we actually, on purpose, used our mind for the purpose in which it was intended. What if we took a chunk of scripture and dove in. Head first. Learned all God had for us and really looked for a way to apply it in our days.

Once we have all we can get…move on to what God has next. I highly recommend getting a devotional book on a particular subject or book of the Bible. This way you are looking up verses and answering questions that help you to apply it. As you could’ve guessed…I am a huge fan of any of Max Lucado’s devotionals. He has several topical studies and also many book studies. (Just trying to help you off in the right direction if you are feeling overwhelmed by all of the options out there.)

What can you do today? Is there something you are facing that you could use some light spread on? Seek an answer. Ask God to lead you down His perfect path for you. Get excited to meet with God. He loves you more than you will EVER understand…so try to give Him a chance to give you revelation in your specific circumstance. He will blow your mind with how intimately He knows exactly what you need. Trust in that beloved. Don’t forget to spread it. Your ripple effect  starts with a spoken or written word. You telling your story helps others believe God will do the same for them. Talk about Him often! I am sure He talks about you! =)

I would like to end today's post with my favorite quote spoken by Pastor Les on Sunday. "The only person who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper." *giggles* And I would like to add to that...even they don't like the process...but would like to skip right to the end result. Fresh. Clean. New.

Let's allow this word today to change us. So we can seek God with fresh fire. So we can cleanse our hearts from our old ways. And so we become that new creation that is spoken of in 2 Corinthians 5:17!