And it is happening rapidly in nearly every sphere of existence!
A new work area at work.
A new den at home (and a great room in the throes of being changed).
A new routine on Monday nights.
A new sport to learn and support.
Today, a new computer with new software and icons and – oh my Lord – everything LOOKS so different!
Don’t be so dramatic you might say. My marriage is changing. My relationship with my daughters is changing. Relationship with others is changing. Where I was and what God had me doing, is changing.
Change, for some, is almost too much to bear.
We like things to stay the same, even if staying the same means being out of joint with others or God, settling for a stale, murky and dead atmosphere, operating out of fear of letting go, and remaining connected when God is counseling it is time to move on.
As I type the word “change” I sense Holy Spirit speaking, “Change implies you can always go back. Change is not what is taking place. Transformation is. ” Transformation – a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.
I can always move back to my old work cube, change the colors and flooring back to the same color and texture in my den, resume my previous Monday night routine, and not show interest in learning about tennis or go to matches. God seems to be speaking these things are a fore shadow, or indication of something new in the future, of what is taking place in my soul and relationships with Him and others – dramatic change in form and appearance never to return to the previous state.
When moving my cubicle, I had to pack up my old items and move it to the new. This was an opportunity to throw away items that were not going to fit the new space.
When renovating the den, we ripped up new carpet and padding, painted over new colors, and rearranged with new elements.
When transitioning from my Monday night routine, I had to trust God to continue on the very work He began through me, without me, and let go in order to lay hold of His heart in a new season.
Is all this easy? No. But it is necessary (so He tells me ;) ).
A couple weeks ago I shared a blog post alluding to God speaking ahead of time before one enters a challenging time in their life. Separation, threshing, squashing and pressing were mentioned. If you aptly concluded, “She must have been going through something or is going through something or is about to go through something”… D, all of the above.
With only a quarter way into the year, interesting is the most affable term to be used.
Our family had an amazing spring break. Truly. I shared a post about God speaking to me regarding being the “golden apple of His eye”, while on the beach. What I didn’t share was what He continued to speak to me following our time together.
He began to speak to me that because I am the apple of His eye, He will do everything to look after and protect me. Not only me, but the plans and purposes He has for my life, my children, those He has connected me with, and the future I’m currently oblivious to. As I listened, with spiritual ears, I was somewhat dismayed. A particular relationship, was going to appear to “take a hit”. But what would appear as a “hit”, was really God’s hand saying “this far and no farther”.
But why? You see, I am familiar with this. God has in fact spoken to my heart about relationships, particularly close ones, in the past. He has shared something was about to take place and there would be a shift. A shift that was necessary to continue to grow forward. Low and behold, it would happen. This has happened not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. I have learned when He speaks, “keep a distance…allow this relationship to rest…stay away until I say…caution and cut loose…”, I need to listen.
In three of those four scenarios, I in my desire to maintain what I considered peace and an appearance of maintained connection, would reach out and more damage would be done. God ALWAYS knows better than we do. Always. The fourth, when I was cautioned sitting across the table from someone, and this individual in fact played out behavior reinforcing God’s caution – I was grateful I learned the “hard way” times before to listen. But is it “easy”? No.
This time will be no different. There is a tension between what was and what is becoming. There is uncertainty that rattles our confidence. There is doubt that the new is really going to be a step in a more promising direction. And that is just what goes on in our own mind!
Change or transformation is also difficult because other people have a tendency to take our pruning personal. Others may not understand our directive to maintain distance. Others may be jealous of our ability and call to change, when they appear to be in a holding pattern (although they might not be if they saw the price being paid for change). Others may want us to stay the same because if we don’t, it disrupts the comfort zone they’ve established for themselves. The behavior and the way this plays out can look a variety of ways. Unfortunately, it isn’t always supportive, may come across as passive aggressive, and sometimes can get downright ugly.
Peter struggled with the pruning of Jesus, and took it personal as well. When Jesus foretold of His suffering, death and resurrection (the ultimate threshing, crushing and pressing we celebrated this past Friday to Sunday) in Matthew 16:21-28, we can see Peter’s response. “God forbid, Master! Spare yourself. You must never let this happen to you!” I imagine Peter wanted Jesus to stick around. I mean, just a few verses before, Jesus told Peter he would be the rock on which the church would be built. Peter was also looking forward to the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. How was Jesus going to build on and deliver the keys to Peter, if Jesus were dead?! How did Jesus respond to Peter taking His pruning personal?
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things that are of God, but those that are of men.” Ouch. I again imagine some serious offense and sulking going on.
It is a dangerous place to find ourselves in, when we think we have it “all figured out”. It is hazardous to conclude we have learned all there is to learn and operate from a static rather than spiritually organic place. It is fatal to allow our pride to speak up rather than be humble to the fact only God truly possesses the knowledge of good and evil and we can trust deferring to Him is in everyone’s best interest.
I may be a little “rocked” by all the change that appears to leading to transformation. But, I trust the Rock of my Salvation to keep me steady and cause me to be that which He needs. I pray you are able to do the same if you find yourself in a season of upheaval. I pray we are able to defer to the Master while we attempt to maneuver through transitional growing pains. I pray we don’t get stuck in the crushing, falling for the lie that this is all there is. I pray we hold onto the hope and promise there is fresh wine, fresh oil and fresh bread on the other side!
predicting what will happen in the future. In the context of Christianity, the word comes from the heart of God through Holy Spirit – not one’s natural mind.
But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak of His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come. John 16:13 MEV (emphasis added)
All receive Holy Spirit when accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Some will press in for more, and the Holy Spirit baptism Jesus said would come and told the disciples to wait for in the upper room of Jerusalem. This outpouring was prophesied in Joel 2:28 and causes sons and daughters to prophesy. See Ephesians 1:13-14, Acts 1:5, 2:4 & Joel 2:28.
How does one know if what they have heard is coming from the Lord and it is not their own thoughts?
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it delays, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3 MEV
What we have seen or heard from Holy Spirit in our thoughts and confirmed in Scripture, will materialize. It will happen, regardless of how long it may take. Can people get it wrong? Yes.
What sorrow awaits the false prophets who are following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all. …these prophets of yours are like jackals digging in the ruins. They have done nothing to repair the breaks in the walls around the nation. They have not helped it to stand firm in battle on the day of the Lord. Instead they have told lies and made false predictions. They say, ‘This message is from the Lord’, even though the Lord never sent them. And yet they expect him to fulfill their prophecies! Can your visions be anything but false if you claim, ‘This message is from the Lord’, when I have not even spoken to you? Ezekiel 13:3-7 MEV
Woah. Not only will a prophetic word materialize but it will also repair and help. But we can get caught up on the “people can get it wrong part”. If people can get it wrong, shouldn’t we as believers just stay away from prophecy all together? It’s too risky. There’s too much room for fallacy. Too much damage can be done. After all, isn’t salvation enough?
A natural and rational mind might draw such a protective conclusion. However, the written Word of God (our ultimate reference point), and the supernatural walk we are called to disagrees.
Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. But He who prophesies speaks to men for their edification and exhortation and comfort. 1 Corinthians 14:1, 3
We are to desire prophecy, not resist God’s gift. A true prophetic word from God will be similar to what was spoken of in Ezekiel, the gift repairs, helps, edifies, exhorts or encourages, and comforts the body. A divine word from Holy Spirit will also reveal the secrets of one’s heart, causing them to fall before God in worship, revealing, God is truly revealing through the one sharing the word. See 1 Corinthians 14:25. If the prophetic word does not evoke such a response, it merits being subjected to testing and reproof by others. Note, even the appointment of others will come from God, not just anyone and everyone has permission from God to share their two cents on the matter. The Spirit of God within all parties will bear witness, or confirm the will of God.
All of the examples provided in the introduction are certainly encouraging! A NEW thing! A GOLDEN year! FRESH bread, wine and oil!
What we may often forget is that in order to enter into a new thing, an old thing must die. Death is uncomfortable, and can often produce sorrow, crying or pain. Who among us doesn’t understand how painful it can be to allow old mindsets, habits, behaviors and relationships to pass away while God transforms us?
God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death. Neither shall there be any more sorrow nor crying nor pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
Sometimes we just see the glimmering gold, forgetting it must be tested in the fire, where tested equates to being examined or proved – to have one’s heart scrutinized.
I will bring this one-third left into the fire, and will refine them as the refinement of silver, and will test them as the testing of gold. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, “They are My people”; and they will say, “The Lord is my God.” Zechariah 13:9
We often do not think of the process for making bread, wine and oil. Fresh bread involves threshing, or separation of, the grain from the chaff that is then ground to a fine consistency before baking. Fresh wine includes being picked from the vine, squashed, and a drawn out process of waiting for the conversion. Fresh oil encompasses, again, being picked from the tree, grinding or pressing the olive to then separate the oil from the water and solids.
When a word comes from the Lord that seems contrary to words before it and not so encouraging, it may be easy to dismiss it or simply not believe it. Yet, when it comes to pass and events align with God’s prior revelation, we begin to see.
We begin to see Holy Spirit really does prepare and guide us towards things to come. We begin to see He really will protect the apple of His eye, as His Word declares (also a prophetic word or promise of God). We begin to see, in Jesus, we really are valued and looked after as God’s people.
As we begin to see His redemptive and protective hand at work in our lives, we become increasingly fortified, encouraged, and built up in Him. Our faith and trust in Him begins to abound even more. We begin to no longer fear the process He needs to take us through; WE KNOW He has our well-being in mind. When we know our well-being is attached to His GLORY filling the earth and others seeing and being amazed and placing their trust in Jesus, we can enter in with joy, confidence and peace to any situation or circumstance TRUSTING His word will come to pass.
God is ALWAYS good and I trust He, through this word, has repaired, helped, edified, encouraged and comforted in what may feel like or even be a season of dying, testing, threshing, grinding, or pressing to get to the fresh outpouring of blessing He has previously promised.
I pray this word came at just the right time in your life and love, trust, joy, confidence, and peace overflow in your life and the lives of those around you. Please let me know how I might be able to join you in prayer.
1 Corinthians 12:27 All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it.
Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
However, I do believe the church should hold within it five roles and structure as laid out in Ephesians 4:11
Ephesians 4:11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
So what have I created? Well, first, I haven’t created anything – Jesus, through Holy Spirit has. If I were to place a label on it (doesn’t the human mind love to categorize things?), I would consider it something like a para-ministry. And what is a para-ministry? I’m glad you asked:
A Parachurch ministry is a ministry that operates outside of the confines of a traditional church. While many of these organizations have some type of connection to a church, those taking part in the ministry look at ways that they can give back to the local community and others in need in ways that a church cannot. Reference
This ministry began as a blog in September 2014. You can take a trip down memory lane if you like, by visiting HERE.
It wasn’t until 2016 another direction began to emerge from the blog and I sensed the Lord speaking to my heart about sharing what He was sharing with me with other women. Up to that point, I had been asked by other women to lead a challenge and have an online group, one for encouragement and support. Before I knew it a group of twenty women were joined together for one purpose, and without any self-promotion (also important to me). Even then, I drug my feet. In August 2016, I had reached out to the church leadership at the time, for prayer for direction. A word was spoken I still hold dear to my heart. Prior to going any further in the composing and editing phase, I asked my pastor, with my family surrounding me, what his thoughts were on publishing the book. "Go for it". Ok. My sense coming away from the conversation was that anything I could do would be blessed, because we need to move when God asks us to. I did.
Why was I timid? I had been burned (self-inflicted) before (this has been a ten year journey my friends) and I needed to KNOW God was the One moving me, or my relationship with Jesus, my marriage, children and other relationships were going to suffer.
In 2017, so many things shaped up. While I didn’t host any challenges, Rise Up Devotions was published, along with Courageous Humility and Rise & Pray. “Anything I can do is blessed”. In October 2017, when I sensed God wanted me to minister in person with other women, I really struggled. What would this look like? Who did I think I was? Am I “allowed”? All these questions came to mind.
I sought the council of my closest friends. I sought the council of the Pastor at Times Square Church, as I believed him to be the pastor of my family’s home fellowship. I sought spiritual leadership from a spiritual mother. I sought the Lord in prayer and through multiple requests for confirmation. "Yes". When we visited a new church in our community, the minister spoke about Rahab the Harlot. If He could move through her, He can surely move through me.
Rahab wasn’t educated, trained, or indoctrinated. No. She only had the testimony of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites and would soon have her own. "Shanon, you have my blessing – GO".
When the curriculum was created for the Rise Up Commitment in late 2017, I asked my “spiritual mother” to review and provide feedback. She read, reviewed, and blessed the content. I believed, again, this was blessing and confirmation to move forward.
Even as I moved forward, I was always very upfront with gals, “I did not go to seminary. I am just a woman who loves the Lord and His Word, who wants to see others connect with His Word in the same life altering way I have”. My position? I am learning right along with you in many regards. We can trust Holy Spirit to be our Advocate and make truth known.
With the first commitment going well, I still longed for a covering and continued blessing for what was being done. I was concerned with operating outside of an unsanctioned covering. My spiritual leader was unavailable. The home fellowship pastor was impossible to connect with. Finally, God placed two gals on my heart to connect with. One? An associate pastor, now pastor. The other? One who had once been a mission’s pastor and embarking on a new journey with God. When I spoke with both of them, I simply shared I wanted to be accountable to others and have a covering, and that God shared both of them with me to reach out to. I believe they could sense my willingness to submit as the Lord needed.
My husband and children continued to bless my involvement with the ministry (although they might admit it's not always the easiest to share). My closest friends committed to prayer and correction when needed. My spiritual leader prayed and led when she was available. Gals agreed to cover. God had brought them all to my mind, and I knew I was to submit to them and prayerfully receive any guidance or correction God may lay on their hearts to share.
Para-ministry, that still seems to be the word fitting the best. What God does here is in addition to, a supplement if you will, to the local church and bodies each gal is connected with. Coming alongside women on their journey, with discipleship and growing together, in conjunction with their pastoral care. Many times when meeting on a weekly basis, the gals express to me their pastor spoke something very similar to what we had discussed. Thank you for confirming, Lord.
My focus on women only, is also a good indication this is not a church (in the traditional sense). God has never placed it on my heart to minister to men. His heart for this ministry? Minister to my Sisters in Christ (and soon to be Sisters) well, and they will minister to their husbands and children well, as Christ leads. I’m only a conduit. A conduit who may not hold pastoral accountability, but certainly feels accountable for every Word He places on my heart to share.
My goal is not to have anyone follow me, or rely on me. I’m like Chevy Chase in the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation scene where he is connecting the two extension cords hoping to light his house up – I want to facilitate a direct connection to, and hunger for, God’s Word and Holy Spirit so each gal learns to rely on Him as they grow increasingly more sensitive to His Spirit in their lives. Why? So they will RISE UP each day in their homes, communities, church homes, and places of employment as God empowers them to do so.
That’s it. That’s my hope and prayer.
The avenue to doing so is by meeting women where they are on their faith journey to becoming whole in spirit, soul and body, and then to teach, encourage and facilitate some degree of healing as His Word and Spirit leads me to do so, through the gifts He has blessed me with. This avenue has transitioned from an online platform to in-person, which is something many yearn for in this hyper connected era.
My prayer is also to continue to respond to His leading in all things... prayer, guidance, next steps - ALL THINGS - and be open to going wherever He may lead next. I hope that is your prayer as well.
Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have. And as always, I am happy to meet you where you are and join you over a cup of coffee or via a message, prayer or chat.
If you have never read it, I suggest you do. I then read about John G. Lake and Smith Wigglesworth. Leonard Ravenhill’s Revival God’s Way struck my soul to pray, as did Eric Ludy’s Wrestling Prayer. This was meaty stuff! Couple these words with God’s word to study the subject of LOVE and pray as I was learning – I was all in. My life finally became Jesus Christ’s FULLY! I have no doubt this set the course of the past ten years, regardless of the “giants” and challenges, and led me to this place, a modern day testimony taking place over the past couple of years I would like to share.
September 12, 2017 – Sent an invitation to all pastors in Whitley Co.
October 9, 2017 – Prayer Event
October 19, 2017 – Shifted focus to developing Rise Up Commitment
October 27, 2017 – Received a reply to connect with someone from the Prayer Room, to which I placed in my "back pocket"
November 3, 2017 – Dr. Ronnie Floyd President of the National Day of Prayer announced 2018 theme Pray for America – UNITY, based upon Ephesians 4:3
February 2018 – Moved to reach out to a female pastor in our community
April 28, 2018 – Meet a gal hungry for Holy Spirit and connected to NDP
May 3, 2018 – Attended 2018 NDP – I sat beside the gal I just met and learn she will soon to be lead for our county’s NDP chapter
June 13, 2018 – Current NDP lead and I meet in the prayer room in our community and discuss NDP
February 2018 – Two gatherings, one heart: prayer and worship for the glory of God and discipled souls in our county
PRAYER IS POWERFUL! And not just my prayers. This is not a rundown of what God is doing through me alone. No, it is a testament of prayers that have been prayed YEARS before I was probably even thought of. It is the testament of others who have prayed fervently for years since I was born. It is a testament of God’s desire to have His people humble themselves and pray. It is a testament God will unite the folks He has called to pray, and who are RESPONDING, in one accord for His purposes. It is a testament of hope for things to come. Revival. Freedom. Deliverance. Unity. An outpouring if His Spirit and Love! It is a testament that it is time to pray, and allow Him to transform our burdens to building as He leads for HIS Kingdom.
As we continue to focus on prayer in the Rise Up Community and Beyond experience for the last eight days of February, I want to encourage you to PRESS IN. I want to encourage you to lay everything else to the side and see what God has to say. Pray selfless prayers. Pray to know the heart and mind of God. Pray for Jesus to be seen and known through your life. Pray for Holy Spirit to intercede when you don’t know what to pray. Simply, pray.
Would you like some transparency?
I have a box of snotty tissues full for you.
I’m breaking. Breaking in a snot won’t stop, “God what is wrong with me?!” – breaking kind of way.
We don’t talk about breaking. We especially don’t talk about breaking for those leading. Leaders don’t break, right? Well, if that is a title or role or responsibility assigned to me, I’m going to be real and open and authentic and raw, we break – and I won’t pretend or fake.
There is a heavy on my heart and mind, coming from all sides. I’m grateful for the rest I found in January, because if I weren’t nestled into the heart of the Father right now, oh it would be worse.
My heart is breaking for the church.
My heart is breaking for what goes on between brothers and sister in the church.
My heart is breaking for the deceived.
My heart is breaking for the truth to be seen, heard and to reign.
My heart is breaking for the soul comfortable with malicious behavior and acts towards others.
My heart is breaking for the children who will never get to take a breath and live their calling for the pleasure of our King.
My heart is breaking.
My heart is breaking for wives whose husbands are unable or unwilling to love them the way Christ would.
My heart is breaking for men unable to receive FULLY the love of God and be led, to lead.
My heart is breaking for every child whose burden became so big; they chose to end their lives.
My heart is breaking for all the parents who miss their children so badly words are ununtterable and tears are the soft whispers many won’t hear, except the Father.
My heart is breaking for the families whose presence is taken for granted and screens and scrolling and schedules replace genuine time together.
My heart is breaking.
My heart is breaking for the woman, young and old, desperately trying to cover up the open wounds or scars of emotional and physical abuse, deception, ridicule; being called stupid or fat or dumb; rejection or promiscuity; addiction to food or binging or starving, approval, drugs, alcohol; and decisions made from lack of trust fueled by self-reliance, that led or is leading only to heartache. I have the same scars.
My heart is breaking for every woman living with the pain and disappointment of divorce.
My heart is breaking for every woman living with the loss of a husband passed too soon.
My heart is breaking for every woman living with the loss of a parent or loved one.
My heart is breaking for every woman fighting some debilitating disease – seen and unseen.
My heart is breaking for every woman feeling alone, lost, unseen, unheard and uncared for – I care.
My heart is breaking for every woman sleeping in a jail cell – physical or mental – I’ve slept there too; freedom can be had.
My heart is breaking.
My heart is breaking because there are folks around the world living without clean water and food.
My heart is breaking because there are people living without health care for their wounds.
My heart is breaking because there are souls without much who will give richly out of their poverty.
My heart is breaking because I have touched the faces of babies and elderly in the worst of places, left to be unloved, waiting to die.
My heart is breaking.
My heart is breaking because my oldest will be leaving soon, and the youngest will follow not long after.
My heart is breaking because the days were long, but the years were shorter, and now here we are – asking, “Where did the time go?”
My heart is breaking because I know, and I can’t get them back.
My heart is breaking because I WISH I WOULD HAVE KNOWN WHAT I KNOW NOW! God I wish I would have known – twenty years ago! I wish I would have been equipped with the knowledge of what only learning the “hard way” in the wilderness and fire has taught me.
My heart is breaking because many a child will grow up knowing and choose to toss the truth aside.
My heart is breaking because many a parent will teach with their lips, but not live a life aligned.
My heart is breaking because families fall apart seemingly without desire to reconcile.
My heart is breaking because this is only a glimpse of what God sees.
And it breaks me.
My heart is breaking, because there is a gift, an answer, many won’t receive.
Holy Spirit – Healer, Comforter, Teacher, Truth, Life and LOVE.
My heart, while breaking, KNOWS there is healing; healing coming from the anointed ointment of the presence of the Spirit of the living God, welcomed and free to come in and mend, heal and sooth like a cool salve.
And I am hopeful. I am hopeful because like with Nehemiah, the weeping and breaking leads to burden which leads to fasting and prayer which leads to building – building as He leads and provides and makes so.
Weeping endures for a moment (or maybe days), but joy is sure to come in the morning! Such joy will lead to Holy Spirit building in a way where no enemy from hell can stop the plans of a living God fixed on saving every soul through the blood of Jesus Christ.
I pray Holy Spirit in all His manifestations is welcome in our lives, healing is received on the other side of breaking, and joy unspeakable is manifested in a way only Jesus can create!
I love the people in my community – especially women who have wrestled, or are wrestling, with worth and feeling discouraged or unsupported. Trust me when I say – YOU ARE WORTH BEING LOVED BY GOD – and He finds your love worthy. You are also worth being supported and encouraged by others, regardless of where you are on your journey.
Now that you know who I am, here’s a little about what I do.
In day job one, I do orthopedic product design and have for nearly nineteen years. That is so weird to type! I honestly don’t feel like it’s possible for that much time to have gone by. Before that, I was a graphic designer for a sign company. Before that, I loved creating art, school and learning – I still love art and learning.
In day job two, I do internal digital communication efforts for medical missions within the organization I also design and develop product for. It is such a blessing to connect with patients, write their stories, and communicate testimonies of the underserved in a variety of ways. This role is a direct result of my obedience in the ministry God has raised up in my life the past four years.
In addition to my marriage and children, God has called me to the Rise Up ministry: to meet women where they are on their faith journey to becoming whole (spirit, soul, body), teach, encourage and facilitate healing along the way. I take great joy in meeting with our local community of gals in person on a weekly basis. I have also been blessed by the recent interest for monthly gatherings. Of course, I am grateful for where both began, online via blog and social media.
With the online portion of the ministry you, and women like you around the world, can be encouraged, equipped and empowered with a variety of resources. You may enjoy the Shanon Roberts Podcast, both on Stitcher and iTunes. You may also enjoy or prefer the YouTube channel. Or, you might like to complete one of the two online devotions found on YouVersion’s Bible App: Courageous Humility and 12 Days of Thanksgiving. I have also been honored to share as a Christian speaker at a few events. Finally, you might like a copy of one of the eight self-published books made available via hardcopy or Kindle, on Amazon.
Heads up! I know my weaknesses and you might appreciate knowing them too. My grammar is not the best. I talk fast, stammer and use my hands A LOT when I’m REALLY fired up with God’s thoughts and heart. I have had a pretty intense walk with God, but I haven’t been to seminary and have no degree (although I am now an ordained minister – TOTALLY a God thing!). I sometimes have to cease an activity I thought was God, in order to do what He actually needs me to. Because I’m human, I continue to learn to discern His voice. When it is Him, He provides the way – when it isn’t Him, I stress and strive.
I pray you are blessed in some way by the ministry and content here (regardless of comma placement and the occasional misspellings ;) ) and I look forward to meeting you where you are. God is SO GOOD. Always!
PS – if you are great at grammar and are led to help a sister out, I would love to hear from you :D
January 21st. We are already twenty-one days into the new year. I pray it has been an abundant blessing to you already!
The first few weeks of the year for me has been blessings mixed with expected challenges.
January 1st was set aside to embark on the year with prayer, thanksgiving and a unity in spirit of where God would like to go this year.
January 3rd my health made its way to the front line – again. However, resolve to walk with God closely wherever He leads moved me to not become distracted.
January 4th joined in unity with others to pray for our community and future opportunities to unite around the purpose of prayer and worship. God reinforced He is MOVING!
January 5th I was caught in the whirlwind of a battle not mine to fight, a place where healing was prayed to be the outcome. It became a moment for Him to step in, I to intercede, for the sake of health in His Body.
January 6th I could not ignore it any longer. God needed me to have a conversation; a difficult, but necessary heart to heart. My voice trembled, the tears flowed, but so did compassion and healing! Oh give praises to the King of My Heart!
January 7th God surprises me with an opportunity to hang out with a dear Sister in Christ AND connect with other creative, like-minded women! What a GOOD GOD WE LOVE!
January 9th I find myself on the bathroom floor during my break at work, crying to God for others. Arrested hearts know no place unacceptable to intercede when He calls them to it.
January 11th Travel to Tennessee with a new friend, better said Sister in Christ – God’s presence accompanying us the entire way; my how time flies when Jesus is at the center. The Lord continued to speak to my heart and share His vision for what’s to come. It. Is. Exciting.
January 14th & 15th Knocked on my butt. Just like the enemy, he seemed to sweep in and ATTEMPT to steal from me the deposits of God in my soul. No doubt, sabotage was on his mind, as the January Beyond event was just a couple days away. BUT GOD! He shared very clearly with me the heart of the message for the gathering, one that stopped me in my tracks and reinforced the necessity for each and every one of us to ENSURE we are reading and hearing the Word of God.
January 16th it’s time to GO. I had this sense before the beginning of the year. However, a meeting at work confirmed, I will in fact be going. Serving others, sharing stories, and engaging many for the purpose of providing care to the underserved all around the world. That evening? Confirmation among others His vision in our “corner” of the world. Woot woot! Go God!
January 17th Plans and preparation for a medical mission meeting coupled with plans and preparation for the January Beyond gathering? God, thank You for moving through and entrusting with what matters to YOU!
January 18th God near instantly provided answered prayer to the concerns of several. Clearly pointing to His Word the TRUTH and heart of the matter. Again, PRAYER, attention and sensitivity to His Spirit the components to ensuring moving forward would be honoring to Him and loving towards others.
January 19th School of His Presence conference enthralls me with the Lord’s heart. Confirmation after confirmation of what the Lord has placed on my heart to share with others, and encourage them to pursue in THEIR lives. Sheer giddiness at the thought of a GREAT AND MIGHTY GOD.
January 20th Nearing the end of a committed season of fasting, God calls me into the Secret Place. The place where He shares His heart, after confirming – AGAIN – through my pastor at Times Square Church, His presence is where we can be with Him, and He makes us like Him. The place He desires each and every one of us long to be.
Today? Today I continue to be amazed at how He pours out His love and somehow causes us to only see His vision on the horizon. Though there may be mountains and challenges designed to distract us, He prepares us to move beyond them, call them to move, RISE above them, and GO. He is a way maker to the soul willing to make a way for Him – in all places, seasons and circumstances.
Friend, if this is just the first twenty-one days of the year, can you imagine what the next 344 will be like?! I can try, but I have a sense what He is going to do is FAR BEYOND ANYTHING I CAN IMAGINE OR THINK POSSIBLE! My prayer is you see He has this for YOU as well.
I was obsessed with being thinner because I had so many folks telling me how big I was, fat, my stretch marks disgusting and if I could get paid to eat I would, because I loved food.
Words spoken led to my mental illness?
Who knows? I don't care.
I stand here today, seven months from forty, knowing WHY I see who I see, although in my mind I'm not her.
In my mind, I'm someone strong. I've chosen to not fixate and obsess on a number, be it weight, BMI, body fat percentage or the like. I've chosen not to measure my worth by the size of my pants. I've chosen not to ground my identity in my appearance.
Rather, I've chosen God. I chose to fixate on the countless number of Scripture telling me I am God's and who HE says I am. I have chosen to measure my worth according to what His written and spoken word says about me. I have decided my only identity is found in Him.
According to Him, I am His beloved. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a teacher of His Word. I am an encourager to others. I am a facilitator of healing that flows from Him. In Him, I am light and love. My weight, size and shape do not impact who He says I am.
166 lbs 8 oz. The heaviest I have been in years. My weight had to be captured when today's four month post surgery lumpectomy (which resulted in an ever present hematoma needing follow-up) revealed a couple more spots in need of assessment. Gosh!! Did it HAVE to be right after Christmas break?! I'm fluffy people ;)
Have I let myself go? No, I've let God. I have allowed Him to firmly root me in love, His Word, and His truths.
Do I advocate being at an unhealthy, disease fostering, weight? No. I advocate holistic health in spirit, soul and body. I advocate being a physically healthy vessel of God, able to serve, go and minister wherever He may call one to go, at any capacity He may call to do so.
Conversations with the Lord lately have revealed a release to again become more healthy (beyond my weight and these lumps, I am fit as a fiddle!), build muscle again, lean down again, return to an optimal BMI and body fat percentage (for me), again.
He has spoken to my heart, experimenting with Beyond and allowing others to witness my transformation will support the theory: balancing the seven areas DOES reflect Christ - causing others to SEE His transformative power, be amazed and place their trust in Him as well! Also, with a couple medical mission trips on the horizon, He needs me to be physically well and fit, in order to serve others well.
For now? One day, one step at a time. The next step is ensuring my body is healthy and without disease. After that, the Lord will continue to lead me in the areas of nutrition, fitness and rest, while maintaining my relationship with Him and His call on my life as first priority.
Ladies, you are WHO GOD SAYS YOU ARE. Be encouraged to get into His Word and see what He has to say about you and His love for you. Let your self go and LET GOD.
I keep hearing this and similar phrases…
I know you’re busy… I know you have so much going on… I don’t want to take your time… I don’t want to overwhelm you… I know you have a lot… Coming from people I love and care for deeply.
I want you to know my heart. Whenever I share ALL that God is doing, it is NEVER to communicate that I am busy. It is simply to communicate what He CAN do through a willing vessel.
Have I been battling and fighting? Yes. I have. The enemy has his knickers in a knot and I sense him breathing down my back more than I like. But guess what? That is exactly where he belongs, behind me!
I recently went through an intense several days; thoughts and comments coming at me from all directions, tempting me to throw in the towel – in more ways than one. But it wasn’t because I am too “busy”. It is because powers and principalities in the unseen realm were raging, and I was the target.
My tribe, whom I love dearly, prayed for me. Some, God tapped directly on the shoulder, and they called others to intercede. I needed it. I needed to be fought for, because I was weak and stumbling. This isn’t new. This happens. Simply read Nehemiah 4:18-20 for a great example.
As one called by God to lead, there is a wrestling and discerning on what to share, and what not to share, when it comes to personal challenges. My conviction? I have to communicate my weaknesses. I have to communicate my struggles – past and present. Otherwise, you and any other woman reading this, might inaccurately conclude I am sharing from an “ivory tower”. A tower where I couldn’t possibly relate to the depths of your pain, places of shame, wore torn battle fields, and struggles.
I DO relate. I relate because those are the places I come from. Those are the places I find myself somedays now, as well.
I recently saw a post that suggested busy is an acronym for “Being Under Satan’s Yoke”. Woah. That will stop you and challenge your thoughts. Won’t it? Doesn’t that seem a little dramatic and excessive?
It might be. However, consider what Hebrews 4:11 states, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” Our striving should be to enter the REST IN JESUS.
Does this mean I was striving outside Jesus? I don’t believe so. Matthew 28:19-20 instructs us to Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
What then does this rest mean, then? With where I find myself today, I take it to mean rest in Jesus Christ, allowing His Holy Spirit to flow through our mind, will and emotions, so God’s will comes to pass on earth as in Heaven, and Matthew 28:19-20 is lived out.
When I felt heavy, when I felt burdened, when I was struggling, it was not because I was stressed, overwhelmed or because I had too much going on. It was no doubt because of what God was ABOUT to do the week ahead…
RESTING IN JESUS, LIVING OUT THE GREAT COMMISSION, AS HOLY SPIRIT LEADS. You can bet the enemy was throwing a tantrum.
The Lord’s yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give is light, we read in Matthew 11:30 – and this is exactly how I felt resting in His promises and divine appointments – AFTER the battle – a battle and spirit of heaviness that could never come from God.
You, my friend, are in my life for a reason. You will never be viewed as a burden, stressor or distraction. As I shared with a sweet friend on the phone last night just before our weekly gathering, whomever is right before me, is right where God needs me to be.
He will cause us to rest and balance, when we ask Him to. He will also fight our battles when the war is raging.
Praise God, He is good and His faithful love and mercies endure FOREVER! Where do I even begin? This morning I am rejoicing!
I couldn’t go to sleep last night. I tossed and turned. The faces in the room, the voices in unison around the reckless love of God, I standing deeply rooted in who I am and who God has made ME to be – it’s nothing short of a miracle, one that has been progressive and began six years ago today.
Six years ago today, I found myself on the bathroom floor in my place of employment – convinced it was my time to die. Convinced I would never see my then eleven and eight year old daughters again. I was convinced I had failed them and was not leaving behind the best for them.
My shirt was up and off, men and women gathered around me hooking things up to my body, while I lay on the floor asking for my brother to come in and pray with me before I left. Remember, I was at work. It was quite possibly the most horrific experience in my life. But it was a wake-up call.
The emergency room staff assured me I was fine. I was possibly stressed from the holidays, although it was noticed my heart rate was erratic and my potassium levels extremely low. The anti-convulsion medicine the emergency responders had given me seemed to calm me on the way to the ER. However, in the hospital it began again. My husband by my side, I begged him to call my former Pastor’s wife – my spiritual mother – SHE could pray me through this! Instead, I received another drug, rolled out to the car in a wheel chair, and crashed until late evening.
These episodes continued on for DAYS after. Christmas came and I wondered if I would get through. I was grateful to have another Christmas with my family, and grateful God seemed to be giving me more time. I was told I was anxious and needed to relax, quit worrying. I believe I was even diagnosed with panic disorder. Huh? I had a lot going on in my life, but how in the world can your mind cause your body to respond in such an intensely terrifying way? I wasn’t convinced, but what followed was text book.
Panic attacks can happen anytime, anywhere, and without warning. You may live in fear of another attack and may avoid places where you have had an attack. For some people, fear takes over their lives and they cannot leave their homes.
This is exactly what happened. I couldn’t work for months. I didn’t go anywhere without my husband. I rarely drove my kiddos anywhere. I rarely did a thing. Once I returned to work, I had to take medication just to get there and back. This lasted the entire year. However, regardless of what I may have thought at the time, my circumstances were not indicative of the future before me. Here’s a little rundown of what has come to fruition since…
All of 2013 All I could seem to do was sit on the couch and watch the world through Facebook and Pinterest, growing a little angry with God, wondering if this was what my life was going to end like.
By 2014 the episodes had dwindled to one a month or so, anxiety medication, and other prescriptions seemed to make things worse. I kept sensing I needed to quit all medications and focus on Scripture, clean eating, and exercise. With my doctor’s approval, I did. Live Eat Sweat was born in the fall.
2015 I focused on fitness and my marriage. We had separated twice over the course of a couple years. Yes, as a Christian, Jesus loving, woman. God had to make it clear to me divorce was not to be in my vocabulary. We completed two Spartan races together, the sprint and super, he completed the Beast. That fall, I hosted the first LES 45 challenge, where we focused on Scripture, Whole30 foods, and exercise.
2016 I hosted a second and third challenge, became connected with medical missions at work, and began to think about LEGACY – and the imprint I sensed God was calling me to leave with my family and community. Rise Up! Devotions was composed; initially for our daughters and then for other women with the same stirring in their heart.
2017 Self-published five books (with the help of an amazing assistant), supported three mission trips in Dominican Republic and Guatemala, prayed for our community weekly for six weeks leading up to October 9th where I hosted a prayer event, became a Bible app contributor, invited to be a part of an art exhibit with Jesus at the center, and formulated the Rise Up Commitment. All of which were steps of faith and saying YES to the Lord’s leading.
2018 This year I have hosted two Rise Up Commitments (where thirty-six women’s lives have been impacted), launched a podcast, self-published three more books, and have been given opportunities to apply the skill set learned in this ministry, in my career in orthopedics and medical missions. Medical missions that will next year likely take me to Guatemala, Honduras and possibly Ecuador.
Last night, I stood in a room with thirty-seven women, twenty-six of which I had never met or connected with before. We worshiped in a coffee house in our community, and belted Reckless Love like we just didn’t care – and we didn’t – there was a sense God was there with us!
I will share with you what I shared with the amazing group of women last night. This post and testimony is NOT a way to pat myself on my back – at all. This testimony serves a few purposes:
1. Give GOD ALL THE GLORY for taking this apparently panic riddled woman whose only future appeared to be rotating sides of the couch, to where He has me today – firmly rooted in Jesus Christ, focusing less on self, sharing with you, and ministering to others. Psalm 115:1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
AND PLACE YOUR TRUST IN THE LORD! This is my prayer; this is my heart’s desire! To be a conduit that connects YOU to every last ounce of God’s goodness, so you too can live freely in His love for you, going beyond where you find yourself today.
If fear, anxiety, panic, worry, or apprehension has taken over your life - there is FREEDOM to be found in Jesus! His perfect love CASTS OUT ALL FEAR and will send you places you never knew you were meant to go!!
If at this very moment, you find yourself without Jesus Christ in your life – will you consider reaching out and allowing me to pray with you? I know God has an amazing future for you if you will simply take one step towards Him, and allow Jesus in.
If you’re reading this and you have been wandering, feeling lost, hurt and broken with Jesus as Savior, will you also reach out and allow me to pray for you? I know God is eager to rush right to you, give you direction, purpose and hope, while healing your wounds and broken heart, all to lead you into ALL the promises He has for you.
If you’re reading this and Jesus is both your Savior AND Lord, but you’re feeling drained and dry due to religion, will you reach out? I know Jesus desires to restore love and life to your relationship with Him.
If you’re reading this and you’re GOOD, praise God! I want to encourage you to continue to press in and press on to an EVEN GREATER MEASURE of the Lord’s goodness! There are STILL promises He has for you that far surpass what your natural mind is able to imagine.
Finally, if you are not connected with a community where you are challenged and encouraged to grow and be transformed, I pray God lead you right where you need to be so YOU can go BEYOND in YOUR faith journey to becoming whole in spirit, soul and body – all to reflect JESUS to the world around you.
A community of other women is priceless in this world. A community of PRAYING, SUPPORTIVE, ENCOURAGING WOMEN with Christ at the center, is divine – and necessary to walk out our faith in this life.