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Tag Archives: God’s purposes

Wheat and Winepresses: God Speaking Into Circumstances

wheat-and-winepressesHe was sitting in the middle of a winepress, hiding from his enemy, threshing wheat. Defeated and discouraged, Gideon was hardly a man you would describe as part of God’s inheritance of the Promised Land. If he didn’t thresh his wheat in secret, the Midianites, his enemy, would come and plunder the food, leaving him more hopeless and desperate than ever. And yet in the middle of this sad state, an angel of the LORD visits him:

Judges 6:12, ESV

And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.”

Um, what now?

There may be circumstances in your own life where you feel completely done under, barely coming up for air, sitting in the dark threshing your own wheat just to get by, trying to manage making it through one more day. You simply want to go unnoticed and un-harassed. Oh, I know several folks sitting in that place right now. It was me last year this time. And I know that in these moments, we certainly don’t feel like “mighty men of valor,” but when God Himself calls us that, He has a clear vision of what’s ahead and how He is about to use us for good.

For good? In these circumstances of certain defeat? How can He possibly use it for good?

Well, Gideon sure didn’t jump in with both feet initially. He needed a bit of reassurance, some confirmation. Do you know why?

At first he did not Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Passionate: Inviting God to Unlock Our Talents and Purposes

PASSIONATE-Inviting God to Unlock Our Talents and PurposesMy week consisted of my high school sophomore son’s history paper on the negative influences of social Darwinism on society and my third grader’s Wampanoag mishoon (canoe) project. The older one wrote an intense analysis that squeezed every brain cell I had just to follow it (although it was wonderful to be reading a paper like that again—especially one written by my offspring!). His paper flowed so well because of his passion for the subject, unlike last year’s history paper around the Indo-China Wars, for which he had no enthusiasm or interest.

My third grade son’s mishoon project required patience and varied approaches to focusing his ADHD superpowers long enough to remember the information he needed to communicate in a video presentation. I tried note cards with prompts. I tried rehearsing. Then I took a deep breath and left the room. I am pretty good at offering strategies to help his mind slow down a bit and order itself, but I was fresh out of patience and ideas. I wasn’t mean about it, but I took a break.

Enter my extremely calm husband, who decided to write out all the information Little Man (my third grader) spoke to him. Having it completely written out on cue cards, Little Man felt free to look up and let his full personality out during the video. Solving the logistical, executive functioning problem made a way for creativity to flow. It was as if we watched a door unlock and the real person come through. He instantly went into newscaster mode and ended up with such a charismatic presentation, he could run for president—oh wait, let’s not make that connection this year! [Smile.]

So, I’m just curious:

What gets in our way of letting our God-given personality and passions come out? Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Our Journey For Joshua

Our Journey For Joshua

Once again, it is my great delight to share a piece from Tammie Wommack’s beautiful heart here at Espressos of Faith. Tammie lost her son Joshua in 2008 to suicide. Ever since, she and her husband Rick have been slowly healing and are passionate about sharing their journey, hope, and paths to finding peace and joy again with other grieving families. They are also fiercely committed to suicide prevention. Their story is an amazingly redemptive one. I hope your heart is encouraged and loved on by her sincere words.

Tammie and I first crossed paths in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where we were both living at the time, rocked by different circumstances in each of our lives. God has reconnected us, and I’m so thankful for her courage, vulnerability, and willingness to be used by God to help others. May God continue to bless you, Tammie (and Rick)!

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As Rick and I travel around this beautiful country, moving from one destination to the next, we eventually find ourselves heading back to Clarksville, Tennessee, for many reasons: our precious grandchildren who keep us young, our friends who have been a lifeline and anchor for us on this grief journey, business matters that must be taken care of so we can stay on the road, doctor appointments, etc.

Our arrival to Clarksville is always mixed with so many different emotions. My heart, mind, body, and soul begin to prepare days before we get to what I call the “Joshua Zone.” I brace myself for the overwhelming rush of emotions that I know I will experience.

Grief is truly a very rough and long roller coaster ride. For me, the emotions are always followed by the temptation to drink alcohol so that I cannot feel that rush of emotions I know await me as I enter the city limits. I feel like I have to be constantly on guard.

The length of time we stay and the number of our visits has varied over the years, but the feelings are still just as strong now as they were the first time we had to travel back there after Joshua died. It seems I am never really able to let my guard down until we are heading out of the city of Clarksville, Tennessee.

While I write about my grief often, I don’t always talk about my temptation to Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Take It to the Healer

Take It to the HealerWe drove to the Deep South for post-Christmas fun with my husband’s sisters, their families, and his Dad. As I looked out over the Alabama fields, I told God:

“My heart hurts. What healing do You have for me here?”

I believe He always wants to heal our wounds. It’s part of what He went to the cross for.

You know what? I found His hugs, warmth, and love in watching young cousins have light-saber battles and in playing rowdy games of “Nuts” with my nephew and nieces. I watched each God-given personality interact and shine. I saw their faces as once-babies now in mostly/almost adult form.

And I thought of this verse:

Psalm 27:13, KJV, King David speaking

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

We must see God’s goodness in everything He gives us because death, disease, addictions, injuries, and sin are thieves we can become embittered hating if we don’t focus on the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. At times, it’s a minute-by-minute choice, or else we’d lose our minds and hearts to deep grief, shame, or disillusionment.

Sometimes, seeing His goodness is so hard for us because of our incredible pain. He knows this, so we can ask Him to help us. We absolutely should.

John 15:7, ESV, Jesus speaking

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Our family of five, along with two rather compliant Shih Tzus, began our road trip back from Alabama and traveled as far as Knoxville, Tennessee, when the text came in that my 26 year old cousin Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Hanging in the Balance

Hanging in the BalanceAs ridiculous as this may sound, I recently prayed for a free caterpillar for my youngest son, Little Man.

Little Man is an outdoor kind of guy. Anything that grows, crawls, or breathes completely fascinates him. Considering his not insignificant focus and anxiety struggles, nature has become his personal sanctuary. If there’s a snake or chipmunk, a locust exoskeleton, or deer prints (in the snow) to be spotted, he likes to investigate, research, and track results. We’ve grown a sunflower and planted many things in our soil. They’ve all been their own special brand of therapy.

Four days ago, he found a small caterpillar, Smiley. We had no idea where it was in its life cycle, or rather, how close to the chrysalis stage, but we were about to find out.

I did my research and kept it in an appropriate container with leaves and a stick. After getting a little fatter and crawling around as a happy green color, he scrunched up and turned black one day. Little Man assured me this was the chrysalis phase, and sure enough, he was right, only Smiley never made it up the stick to hang in a J shape. Without the proper “hanging position,” all my sources told me he’d have lopsided wing structure/ability. What’s a girl to do?

To no avail, for 15 minutes, I chased a wiggly chrysalis around the table trying to tie a string on a stem at the end, dutifully following Chrysalis Rescue instructions to string it up so it could develop “balanced wings.”

It then occurred to me that this must be what happened to me years ago. I didn’t hang my chrysalis correctly.

Ever know that feeling? Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Power Over Mind Games

Power Over Mind GamesToday, Espressos of Faith is delighted to have guest blogger, Bonnie Sue Beardsley of More Than Just Coffee. If you pay even a little attention to me, you can see we are not only name but also coffee twins, joined at the hip by our love for God, and secondly, writing.

I drew so much wisdom from this post of hers. It somehow reached into an old, rusty wheel that turns once in a while inside my mind and heart and oiled it with God’s Truth.

Don’t we all resurrect those old negative voices now and then? See how Bonnie encourages you to follow Scripture to shut out the self-talk that holds you back. She shares what lies just ahead of pushing through. Blessings!

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“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

I’m sure when Paul wrote Philippians 1:21, he was talking about physical. What I learned is this verse is one of the most powerful truths to ending the negative self-talk. We let it run amuck in our heads everyday.

For to me to live is ChristA couple weeks ago a good friend and I had an argument about me being able to write fiction. I felt like there was no way I could do it. He just told me to get out of my head and do it. Yes, I have a BIG problem with listening to the voice inside saying, “You can’t do this,” or “You wouldn’t be good at that.”

It doesn’t matter if I know Philippians 4:13 says that I can do all things in Jesus. It is when I let the voice get in my way and stop me from even attempting to try to do something, like write a fiction piece.

This week there was a challenge in a post to write a spontaneous piece to a picture in the post. My first thought was there is no way I could do that. Then as I sat looking at the picture thoughts of what was going on in the scene started popping into my mind. I pushed past the negative thoughts and wrote down what was going on in my mind about the picture.  When I finished it, I could not believe what I wrote.

Did you notice what happened? I had to die, put to death the negative self-talk to do what I thought I couldn’t do.  When I died to my thoughts of not being able to write fiction, then I became alive to new God was working in me.

 

What are some of your mind games you need to die to, so you can live what God has planned for you?

 

 

Here is my spontaneous piece (the picture that inspired it can be found here):

 

The ship is back!  She threw open the sash.  Leaned out, with hope that she could see the face she long to see once again.  She scoured over every face on the deck until finally her eyes met his.  Her heart leaped to her throat and tears started flowing down her cheeks.  He’s home!  She couldn’t wait to hear his stories of the trip.  She wanted to run as fast as she could down to the ship but she couldn’t stop looking into his eyes.  The fear of if she stopped he would be gone again.  How her mind raced; “How was her appearance?  Did she have everything needed for his favorite meal?   How much longer until she would be in his embrace?”

 

Bonnie Sue Beardsley

 

For years I have been comfortable serving in women’s ministry behind the sound booth.  When we move to Texas,  I lost that hiding place.  Soon after we moved God placed  on my heart to write devotions for women.  I fought with God over that.  I was a busy wife and homeschooling two boys.  Didn’t God know I didn’t have time to write.  Ten years later several friends asked me to start my own online study.  He never gives up on us.  Now I write for Him.

 
 
*This blog was first featured at More Than Just Coffee. Join Bonnie at her Bonbon ‘n’ Coffee Link-up Party each Thursday!

**It has also been shared at any link highlighted here: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Pick Your Pin Tuesday, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Grace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-Up, Me, Coffee & Jesus, Dance With Jesus, Blessing Counters, Coffee & Conversation, Saturday Soiree, Tell His Story, Find Stability, So Much at Home, Faith-Filled Fridays, Reflect His Love and Glory Link-Up, Bonbon ‘n Coffee Linkupand Christian Mommy Blogger.

 

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Subway Vision

Subway VisionRecently, I was sitting on the Boston T staring at the feet of many people. Wow, her toenails need painting, just like mine. Cool wedges…wonder where she got them? He is dressed to the nines. I wonder what he does? Does he like himself at the end of the day? Oh my, that child needs a new pair of sneakers for school; I hope his family can manage that.

I’ll admit I wasn’t looking at the whole person. I just was gazing at feet. I wasn’t trying to make assumptions. As a writer, I visually see things and then have a nonstop ongoing dialogue with myself in my head.

I also receive snippets from God throughout the week as to what to write about, and “subway” came through crystal clear.

The next day, at the suggestion of a sweet mentor, I was listing so many questions I have for God. I truly have more questions than answers. I don’t imagine He was exhausted from my list, but I sure was. And then an area I had been praying about for a while came into focus on a day when I was troubled that my father was so knocked down by chemo that he couldn’t continue the treatments that week.

I was so scared to carry out the actions I felt God was telling me to take with regard to another person. It was an area of constant rejection and pain. Am I tough enough for the response, God? Maybe we should try this at another time?

And there it was, plain as day: Read the rest of this entry »

 

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