Anything Changes Everything

I like to sleep and sleep likes me. Once I'm out, I'm usually out for the night, and waking me is about like waking the dead. Mornings generally bring on a kind of sleep-induced hangover, causing me to need to slowly ease into my day (something my husband teases me about endlessly). I have been this way for as long as I can remember.

For this reason, if I ever suddenly jolt out of a deep sleep and am wide awake in the middle of the night, I suspect that it has to be the Lord. After praying for whoever He brings to mind, I might fall back to sleep, but if the Lord is really trying to get my attention, well...sleep is over! In those times, I get up, grab my Bible, pray, and try to listen to that "still, small voice". It never fails. He always has something important to say.

Last year, He had something important to say. It was just before 5am, and sure enough, I was aroused out of a deep sleep. Being that it was our last day on vacation, I honestly tried hard to ignore the urgency thinking I needed the extra rest for packing up and heading home, but the sense that I needed to get up was very strong. I put on some clothes, tiptoed out of the room, and was quiet as a mouse as I opened the beach house door.

I had never seen the sunrise over the ocean, so I figured if I was up, I would go spend time with the Lord on the beach. This particular morning, it seems, God had both a sunrise and a word that He didn't want me to miss.

I had no idea what time the sun would actually come up.  Using the flashlight on my cell phone, I made my way down the little path out to the ocean. I was somewhat leery walking through the bushes and the shadows, but I reached the boardwalk soon enough.

Stopping to take a few pictures of the moon and stars in the faint light, I noticed a bench overlooking the ocean, so I sat down and slowly took in the salty air. I savored the cool breeze, thinking about how hot it would be in just a few hours. Looking around, I realized quickly that I was all alone. It was just me, the Lord, and the sound of the ocean waves rolling in. I knew right away that this was, indeed, a divine appointment.

There are only a handful of times in my life that I can say I have sensed such an undeniable, weighty, and overwhelming presence of the Lord. In the stillness of that moment, it sat heavy on me, blanketing me in the most amazing peace. It's almost like God was waiting for me on the beach that morning. It was surprising, unexpected, and caught me completely off guard, in the very best way possible.

Sitting in awe and reverence, I didn't say a word, but I felt both completely known and completely loved all at the same time. I also felt extremely vulnerable. Before I knew it, a slow trickle of tears cascaded down each cheek. Emotions from somewhere down deep soon turned into sobs that I couldn't control. It was evident that I had been carrying a burden for far too long, because it gushed out of me as the Lord's presence scratched the surface of a painful wound. That morning, alone on the beach, I couldn't hide behind busyness or distraction or complacency. He had removed all of those. He stripped away my every defense, engulfed me in His love, and feeling completely safe.... I..... let ..... go.

You see, for a few years, I had been fighting to fit in...to feel like I belonged in a place that was way too big and way too cold. The saying "bloom where you're planted" had played over and over in my mind, so, like a good soldier, I marched on. I kept my nose to the grindstone, knowing that God saw my motives and that He would honor them. Yet, every act of bravery to put myself out there ended in failure and I had basically thrown in the towel. I had not fit in from the moment I arrived, and I never would. It was one of the most utterly confusing times in my life and honestly, I was starting to doubt that the Lord had taken notice of any of it. In fact, it seemed like it was open season on me in many areas of my life. I felt like I was dying on the inside and no one knew it.

But God.

The One who woke me up and arranged one of the most beautiful moments of my entire life...He saw it all. And He cared. Deeply. Until that moment on the beach, I don't think I knew how much.

I held nothing back. All of the pain, confusion, and hurt came out. I confessed that I felt like one gigantic disappointment and then I prayed what I now understand is a very dangerous prayer. I told God, with every ounce of sincerity in me, that I surrendered to anything...anything that I needed to do...anything that I needed to say...anything that needed to be moved, switched up, laid down, let go, given away, or completely removed from my life...I was ready, for anything.


As I sat quietly before the Lord after that, inhaling and exhaling, having poured out my heart to Him for quite a long time, I witnessed the most glorious sunrise I had ever seen! I started crying all over again, thanking Him repeatedly for such a magnificent sight. In the stillness, I felt like the Lord gently spoke these words to me, words I wrote down so that I would never forget them. I share them here, because maybe, just maybe, one of you needs to hear them as well...........

"You're a dreamer and that's no mistake. You feel deeply by design...just like I designed the sunrise you saw today. My love is powerful and constant. It's like the waves that change the shape of the shoreline according to My will. It is my masterpiece. So are you. It's okay not to fit in. It's okay to rest and not know the next step. It's okay to not 'feel' used by me. I make no mistakes. To say you are a disappointment would be to say that I have made a mistake. I make no mistakes. My love for you is powerful and constant. It will change you. Let it. Daily."

That morning, a different woman walked off the beach. My burdens were lifted. I had been profoundly changed in the presence of God.

Six weeks later, our world started to turn upside down in many ways, and while I can't tell you it was easy, I can tell you this...it was worth it!! My prayer of "anything" changed EVERYTHING. God literally moved us to a new city, put us in a new church, moved us into a new house, and even gave us a new-to-us vehicle. Nothing is the same, but all of it is better than we could have ever imagined! My life is far removed from every thought, feeling, or concern that I had that morning on the beach and I will be forever grateful that God woke me up.


My prayer for you today is this...that you would get alone with God and pour out your heart to Him like never before. Maybe He broke through the noise and distraction in my life that morning and woke me up so that He could, on this day, wake you up! He loves you!! You are not a mistake. You are not a disappointment. You are His masterpiece!!! And if you're brave enough to pray a dangerous prayer of surrender....to say to Him, "anything"...I promise, He will be faithful to come through on your behalf, both for your good and for His glory! Anything changes everything!!  


A Time to Shine

Our world. Broken. So broken.

It's hard to believe all that's taking place right now. For those of us who run towards righteousness and goodness, who believe that God's original intent was for this to be a place of love and warmth...the sheer evil rearing its head right now is hardly digestible. It's almost as if our worst nightmares are coming true right before our eyes. It's happening so fast, too! Terrible, horrific headlines seem to bombard us day after day.  

At the tender age of 8, I was at my church watching a low budget and badly-made film on the End Times, when God and eternity became very, very real. Seeing the reality of a world gone mad and a world without Christ play out on that screen, well, it pierced my heart like no sermon ever had. Suddenly, I faced the questions of "what if"...what if God was real? What if He truly IS the only way to Heaven? What if He returns and I am not ready? It was that very night, alone in my room, tiny tears staining my pillow, that I gave my life to Christ and committed to live for Him. He changed me in an instant and I knew it...even at the age of 8. 

Jesus talked about the days just before He comes...what they might look like and how those of us who were watching could recognize the signs. If you know His Word, it doesn't take much to realize that things are lining up right now, right before our eyes. Wars. Deception. Calling evil, good, and good, evil. The love of many growing cold. His gospel now being spread across the entire world through computers, cell phones, and airplanes taking missionaries to the uttermost parts of the earth. It is all lining up. 

And for believers and the church, what does this mean?

It simply means this...

I believe that very soon...even now...the darkness of this place is going to awaken within humanity the same questions that were awakened in a little 8 year old girl so many years ago. "What if" is going to be on the minds and hearts of people all across this world. Your neighbors will be quietly questioning. Your friends will be seeking answers. Your family members will strike up conversations. Heaven and Hell will not be myths as good vs. evil takes center stage. As a Christ-follower, it will be a time for you to speak the Truth like never before! YOUR testimony of what God has done in YOUR life matters immensely and will matter greatly in the days to come.

The Father promised us that in the last days, there will be a great revival and a great harvest. It will be a time when He will pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh. It will be a time when multitudes turn to Him and place their hope in Him as their Savior. How exciting is that?!!?! If that is what is upon us, then it is certainly not a time to shrink back and hide! No. It's a time for your walk and your witness to shine ever so brightly!! Please, please don't let the headlines scare you into silence (remember fear is the opposite of faith). Don't let the opposition cause you to hide. You know the Truth and the Truth has set you free. Offer that freedom to everyone who will listen!! Love your neighbor...no matter what their skin color or nationality...as you love yourself. And know this, the Lord has positioned you, right where you are, to point others to Him. Do your job and do it well.

Work as if the entire harvest depends on YOU!!

Can you imagine if we all did that?


photo credit: Camden Little 


Writing Again

The past few years have proven to be a training ground for me. What I thought I knew about the Lord has only been enhanced and enlightened. Truths about the Lord had to be settled in my heart. I have written sporadically or not at all over this time because, quite frankly, I was wrestling and searching. Trust me, friends, God was doing a deep and sacred work in my heart. I believe the lessons I have learned and more specifically, a greater understanding of what it means to be broken, will anchor me for the rest of my days.

I needed, very much, to step away...to evaluate...reevaluate again...and come to a greater acceptance that this writing and speaking thing is so very not about me. Do you know how I discovered that? I laid it down and then, I tried very hard to walk away. But walking away from one's giftings, I have found, might just be some of the hardest work of all. It is quite difficult to get very far! And God? He is persistent. I bawled earlier this year in front of an entire group of strangers as one of them spoke to this gift and affirmed what God was already whispering to me. My Father doesn't let go, and I love Him to pieces for it!

The Spirit of the Lord is passionate about reaching others through any and all means possible. When He gives us a gift, He intends for it to be used. He decides the seasons in which our gifts are used and the ways in which we are to use them, and it is our job to obey. After much prayer, I can tell you this without a doubt, His decision for me is not to walk away and not to shut it down, but to pick it back up and to continue what was started. I no longer see this as something I'm "dabbling" in. Not at all.

It is my calling. 

In obedience to the Lord, I have had this blog redesigned in a simple and straightforward way, with just my name, a few headings, and words on the page. I enter back into this online space, tiptoeing quietly to my keyboard, knowing there are things the Lord intends to do here, but in reverence, awe, and fear of Him like never before. I pray desperately that He uses my "voice" however He sees fit. I long with every ounce of my heart to honor God, to obediently follow, and then to leave the consequences up to His discretion.

You can expect nothing more and nothing less than what I feel inspired to say in this space. I won't promise any kind of frequency at this point except this...I will meet with you here much more than I have in the past couple of years. I will pour out my heart. I will not be afraid. I will not run. I will write and speak as He opens the doors simply because of this...

He has asked me to pick it up one more time.

So here I am, my friends, surrendering.


photo credit: Maquina d'escriure via photopin (license)