Faithful God.

IMG_8086You know what’s awesome?

Doing the final submission review of Brave Girl Boots and seeing how God has answered prayers for a few of these Brave Girls. What a difference a year makes. God is incredibly faithful.

My hope is that for every woman who reads Brave Girl Boots they will have a firmer grasp of the faithfulness of God.

He is for you. 

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One Year. One Vision. One God. Let’s Go!

Brave Girl,

When this popped up on my timehop this morning I couldn’t believe it. One year ago today we launched our BGB ONE YEARBrave Girl Boots Prayer Challenge. I remember hearing this statement, “If God seeds us with vision, we are able in Christ” after the thought came to me about the prayer challenge. It would be an understatement if I told you that I had no idea what was behind the yes to God.  No idea. Have we been able in Christ? Absolutely. 

So here we are. One year later. Two things have come out of the BGB Prayer Challenge that I’m incredibly humbled and honored to steward for the Lord. First is the BGB group on Facebook. What an oasis for the hurting. I can’t tell you how undone I get when I peek in and see over two hundred women in that room supporting each other, taking desperate needs to the Lord on behalf of one another. Not one time have I seen judgement. The women in that group are my heroes. Thank you! You’ve proven yourselves trustworthy at all hours of the day and night to meet every request with grace. The level we meet someone with grace shows the level we trust God to be God. If you haven’t joined that group yet, please do so now! You will find a safe space to ask for prayer and be transparent. Just to name a few things we have walked through together: disease, a mother dying, and mommies having a bad day…whatever your need is — it will be treated with respect and love.

The second thing is a 40 day published devotional based on this prayer challenge. I can’t believe what God had in mind when I thought I was saying yes to leading a prayer challenge. It makes me laugh when I think about it. God knows us. He knows sometimes vision needs to be time released. Ya’ll I had no idea where to begin with publishing a book. But each step of the way God provided. Financing – all provided. Knowledge – He brought people smarter than me along side me to point me in the right direction. “If God seeds us with vision, we are able in Christ” — I can honestly, wholeheartedly say, “Yes, and AMEN!”

I imagine women taking that devotional out each morning being encouraged by real women who walk out a real faith. Hand in hand with their God who makes them brave.  Ohhhh…I can’t wait!  We’re hoping for an April release, if not then my eyes are on Mother’s Day for the launch. We will surely keep you posted. I can’t wait to touch and smell that book. If you are a book-girl you get that statement. If you aren’t — move along. 🙂

What I’ve learned over this past year is this: each time we answer yes to God, He will faithfully respond. If you think it’s a Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown thing with God…I respectfully say to you, “You are wrong.”

Charlie Brown and Violet pulls football away-2 panel aBrave Girl, it’s time to dust off that dream. You know the one. The one you placed safely on the shelf of your heart. You’ll never know if it’s from God if you don’t step up to kick that ball.

Christmas Bravery.

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Brave Girl.

I know most of us are in the midst of writing lists, checking them twice…

Flour flying,  kids crying…

Welcome to the Christmas countdown. I don’t know about you but I told myself I wouldn’t over book, over commit or overindulge (who thought up peanut butter fudge anyway?!  Not sure if I should thank them or spank them!) this holiday season.  I firmly declared war on being weary during this wonderful, blissful season.  What about you?

“So, how’s that working for ya?”  

As I awoke this morning to a kitchen that looked like some pretty crazy reindeer games took place last night, I felt the weariness creep in.   Creep over me as the thoughts of not only tackling this baking aftermath but also the wrapping and last-minute shopping left to do.   For a brief minute, I wanted to check out for Christmas.   Maybe I’m the only one.

Turning on the news, it made the weariness seem to overtake my soul.  The darkness in this world is so tangible you can almost taste it.   It’s easier to check out and keep focused on the Christmas busyness than the evil that dwells in this world.

Romans 5:8 came to my mind, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, 
Christ died for us.”

In the middle of my chaos I was made aware of the beauty of grace in a more profound way.  The Grace offered to us through Jesus Christ is for all who sin.  If you meditate on that for a few minutes, grace becomes more beautiful and more scandalous.

Those men who slaughtered the children in Pakistan, Christ died for them. It’s their choice to receive or not but the hand of Grace is extended to them. Pondering on this makes me cherish grace all the more. None of us deserve this wonderful gift of Grace. Not one of us. Who is this God that He would know us and invite us? Fully knowing the evil that hides in the heart of mankind, Jesus came to this earth to rescue us.   All of us.   Let’s be brave this Christmas. Brave enough to believe.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder, 

    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6 ESV

Merry Christmas, Brave Girl.  

Brave Girl Bonus

I saw this post on Facebook from Heather (cutie on the left) about her sister Jayne (cutie on the right) and was really touched by what Heather had to say about her sister.   Jayne has been with Jesus for four years now.  This side of heaven Jayne experienced fifty different surgeries in her forty-one years here; never once did she complain. Her favorite scripture was Phil 4:13 ” I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

AND…

Jayne was a prayer warrior.   If you had something going on in your life that required prayer you were on her list in one of her 75+ journals!   Ya’ll SEVENTY – FIVE journals.  What a hero in the faith!    Jayne knew the key to being brave: staying closely connected to God.   What a shining example of being brave exactly where God has us.

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Brave enough to live a Jeremiah 29:13 life.

Brave Girl,

For some reason cold, winter weather whispers, “purge, clean, get-rid-of”  to me.  How about you?

Last night,  I found a journal that I started in 2011.  I wish I could say I journal all the time.   Um, no.   I know that it would be an amazing discipline to continue longer than 10 months, but for some reason I can’t go the distance with journaling.  To quote Frank Sinatra, “Regrets, I’ve had a few.”  Sigh. Anyway.

I started this particular journal (don’t EVEN ask me how many journals I’ve started) on my trip to Israel.  As I was reliving this once in a lifetime trip reading through the pages of my journal I realized I had found a gem.  Not only because my trip to the Holy Land is in there but the year after my trip is captured there too.   I’ve walked with the Lord 15 years and 2011 is a spiritual marker for me.

It’s the year I began to follow the Lord wholeheartedly.  Yes, I loved Jesus before 2011, but something changed.  I knew I was empty.  I knew the abundant life had to be more than just women’s bible study and singing worship.  Please don’t hear what I’m not saying… yes, worship is a great way to draw near to God and certainly give God His due.  Because HE IS — the great I AM.   And YES, bible study is a great on-ramp to building a relationship with God.  If you are doing those things, don’t stop doing them.  I haven’t.

But I found that the abundant life that scripture talks about was missing from my own.  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.”  John 10:10 (NET)

In 2011, I found the KEY.

Jeremiah 29:13  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

That’s what was missing….a wholehearted approach to looking for God.  Brave Girl, what I discovered is this…when we are “all in” surrender comes easy. Eyes are focused on what we are gaining (Jesus) not losing.

What did I lose?   My personal rights of complacency,  laziness in my part of our relationship,  neutrality on loving well (based on feelings: if I felt like I did it, if I didn’t I didn’t.) The Lord set me on a path of discovery that year that changed my life.   Because He knew my life as I had known it would be changing.  And as a good Father, He needed to get his girl ready.  All of this is Him.

Brave Girl, God is working in your life.   Have you forgotten?  Be reminded. Be assured.  He is steadfast and true.  Determine today to no longer live by what you see, that your current circumstance is NOT the end of the story.  If you are a child of God, walk by faith — decide right now, today…that He is working your situation out for good (Romans 8:28.  His solution is not always our solution, but it will be a solution that is good.

What to do in the meantime?  Jeremiah 29:13  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. He’s already found us.  The scripture puts the emphasis on us looking for Him.  Are you looking for Him wholeheartedly?    As a young child looks for her parents when she wakes up in the morning?

I believe in the midst of “wholeheartedly seeking”  that true healing comes into our lives.  We allow God to come close enough to pull the band-aids off and begin the healing process.   The deep wounds (some I didn’t even know were there) that keep us in bondage.  Bondage can be anything we are tied to… not just addictions. Bondage to hurts, relationships,  victim mentality, etc.  Are you brave enough to let Him “have a peek at it?”   When everything in you is saying, “run away from the Healer’s touch…fill your life with busy activity for God instead.  That’s good enough right?”  Brave Girl, you are brave enough to stay.  Don’t run, fill, and hope it all works out in the end.  God has a better plan for you.  A call to wholeness. Only Jesus can make you whole. You won’t find wholeness in another person or activity.

I have found that a call to wholeness doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps and disappointments along the way. But  wholeness allows us to be very real with God and placing our desires firmly in His loving hands.   Knowing whatever the outcome,  we will not act like a victim, because my God is good,  my God is for me.

I read this journal entry to my husband last night.  And we praised God.

July 7, 2011

Fully knowing I’m in the center of God’s will for my life.  I accept it. I know His plan is good for me.  I know He doesn’t withhold blessing just to withhold blessing.  His “No” today means a greater “Yes” in my future.  I understand it.  Yet, tonight, I am so lonely for a husband. Coming home to my empty bed brought tears to my eyes.  It seems the healthier I get the more alone I feel.  How long Poppa?  How long do I have to wait?  I know you are growing my faith, and I won’t stop believing you have someone out there for me.   I’m trusting you but getting weary in the wait.

I know your plan for me is You, Poppa.   More of You.    I love you.

________________________________________________________________________

Two years after this journal entry I married one of the greatest men I know.   Truly.

My change in marital status doesn’t make this a win.   Realizing His plan all along was for me to be completely satisfied in Christ, that’s the win.