If you’re feeling anxious, like the enemy is on every side, and/or you simply cannot muster up joy in the Lord, this word may be for you.
My dreams can be random, or nightmares (although I believe this has come to an end). Last night I had what I felt were random dreams. I continued to toss and turn with each vivid dream. I recall dreaming about…
My grandmother who passed away NINE years ago. After her passing is when the nightmares began.
A school “market”. Many people I knew and didn’t know were there; my daughters were there as well.
So much was going on all around. Then, I honed in on a gal holding a receipt. The receipt was for “butcher school” and the total was $996.
An old friend of my daughter’s was there, upset, but freed once he was able to get out into fresh air.
Then I woke up at 5:42am.
Most of the time my dreams fade away without additional thought or concern. But this morning 996 stood out to me; I sensed Holy Spirit wanted me to read Psalm 9 and Psalm 96.
Psalm 9:1 – 2 1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. 2 I will be filled with JOY because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
I will praise and love with ALL MY HEART – the crux of Beyond: Living Unshakable!
I will tell of ALL the marvelous things God has done!
I will be filled with JOY because of God!
I will sing PRAISES to His Holy Name!
I read on…
Psalm 9:8 He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness.
In my Bible there is a cross-reference: Psalm 96:13. Ha! God does need me to read Psalm 96. I read on to the end of the Psalm, underlining: Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, O Lord, do not abandon THOSE WHO SEARCH FOR YOU; For He who avenges murder cares for the helpless. He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer (thoughts of unborn babies flooded my mind and brought tears to my eyes); the Lord is known for His justice. The wicked are trapped by their own deeds. The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God. Arise, O Lord! Do not let mere mortals defy you! Judge the nations! I noted the cross-reference to 2 Chronicles 14:11.
Given the current global climate, many things came to mind and I sensed “changes, this week”. After the confirmation to visit Psalm 96, I thumbed over several pages.
Psalm 96:2 Each day proclaim the good news that He saves. 3 Publish His glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things He does. 4 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.
THIS! This is why I am always sharing the goodness of God. Not to boast in myself, but to boast in my amazingly faithful God!
Psalm 96:9 Worship the Lord in all His holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before Him. 10 Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!” The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. He will judge all peoples fairly.
An alternate translations for “the world stands firm and cannot be shaken” is “the world is established; it shall not be moved”. Beyond: Living Unshakable points souls to becoming unshakable in their personal walk with Jesus while establishing His unshakable Kingdom in the earth. My heart was filled with gratitude for His confirmation. Then, then I read…
Psalm 96:12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with JOY! Let the trees of the forest sing for JOY 13 before the Lord, FOR HE IS COMING!
I was quickened at the thought of His return! I was excited reading the reference to JOY a second time! I have repeatedly been reminded of a word shared earlier in the year. On June 3 a brother in the faith shared this, regarding December 31, 2020 (just a few days away):
“Expect to receive repayment for the attacks of the enemy. God is now breaking the clouds of darkness and bringing people out of the wilderness. We will enter into a new season of joy, and God’s light is going to shine on you in a new way.”
EXPECT JOY. These are the words I have held onto since reading Doug Addison’s word. Much transpired following Addison’s word in June, but not one word God spoke regarding 2020 for my life was stolen. And while some days my joy waned, Holy Spirit caused it to wax when it especially did not make a lick of sense for it to!
I flipped the pages back in time to 2 Chronicles 14:11 (the cross reference in Psalm 9):
11 Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God, “O Lord, no one but You can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You alone. It is in Your name that we have come against this vast horde. O Lord, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against You!”
Again, given the current global climate, many thoughts flooded my mind regarding entities who appear to be prevailing over God’s sovereignty. But when you read on, you will see God OVERCAME the enemy of Asa. Moving on into chapter fifteen, we read the Spirit of God comes upon a fella named Azariah who is moved to share:
2 Chronicles 15:2 The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with Him! Whenever you seek Him, you will find Him. But if you abandon Him, He will abandon you.
5 “During those dark times, it was not safe to travel. Problems troubled the people of every land. 6 Nation fought against nation, and city against city, for God was troubling them with every kind of problem. 7 But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.”
Thoughts AGAIN flooded my mind…
“Holy Spirit, cause me to stay with Jesus and not abandon my walk with Him! Times are dark, travel is restricted, people are fighting in cities and nations – cause us to wake up, open our eyes, and see Jesus rather than all the problems we see in the earth. Cause us to be strong and courageous! Thank You for causing me to continue to teach, encouraged and facilitate healing through this ministry, regardless of the darkness, fighting, and problems. Holy Spirit, thank You for empowering me to be faithful to God’s call. Thank you!”
As I read on in chapter fifteen, several actions stood out to me we should be encouraged to practice ourselves. For months now, in various circles like the Rise Up Community, my church home, our county’s monthly prayer group, folks related to our state’s intercession group, and groups called to intercede on a national level have been pointing to 2 Chronicles 7:14:
Then if my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
MANY have been doing their best to humble themselves and pray, seeking His healing of a virus, civil unrest, and apparent wickedness in the fabric of the United States’ democracy. The Lord seems to be pointing to “next steps”. The word in 2 Chronicles 15 goes on to say:
2 Chronicles 15: 8 And when Asa heard these words of the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he was encouraged and removed the detestable idols…
…he [Asa] repaired the altar of the Lord that was before the vestibule of the Lord.
9 And he gathered together all of Judah… and those from Israel who saw that the Lord his God was with him [Asa]
11 They sacrificed to the Lord
12 …they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and soul; anyone who did not seek with their whole lives would perish and Asa’s grandmother was ousted as queen because of an idol
14 They shouted out their oath of loyalty to the Lord
17 … Asa’s heart remained completely faithful throughout his life.
What followed the steps Asa and the kingdoms of Judah and Israel took? God was found by them. The people were happy. God gave them rest from their enemies on every side. God provided for them. There was peace. (Read the remainder of 2 Chronicles 15).
Happiness and joy! Rest! Peace! Provision! Are these not blessings many are seeking in this season? Perhaps you are as well? Perhaps you have found joy, rest, peace and provision to be elusive amidst this darkened hour and turmoil? I believe Holy Spirit is proposing an antidote. Follow humble prayers before the Lord with…
Can we not trust and move in faith, happiness, peace, rest and provision will follow in our lives as well. I believe the Lord is calling us to receive the same, by gleaning from the life of Asa and walking in obedience. This is Old Testament, you may counter. Each of these instructions are found for New Testament believers as well.
I cannot help but sense this is where God would have us, or at least myself and those within the reach God has place my life and ministry, take next steps of obedience. I could see clearly, groups of people joining together to seek and love the Lord with all their heart, mind and soul – individually and collectively. When I revisited other random dreams from the night, I zoomed in on the dream about my grandmother.
As I shared, following her passing nine years ago, nightmares were stirred up in my life. I asked the Lord if there was a significance to my Mammaw being in my dreams much of the night. Anyone of you who have listened to this podcast for the past several years may bear to mind the relationship with my grandmother and how the Lord moved through me to bring her to salvation the morning of her death – after years of hurt and heartache. God was reminding me of His faithfulness to move in response to my faithfulness to move when He shares His heart with me. This is my eager expectation for this message:
We are equipped with the next steps of faith and then walk and watch and see His vision come to pass in our lives, as He extends His hand of mercy prior to His judgment.
It is interesting the number NINE is coined as representing bearing fruit, which was the emphasis of our last study. You can listen to the study in its entirety, here. On the other side of the coin, NINE also represents judgment.
Psalm 9:8 shares: He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness.
Psalm 96:13 shares: He is coming! He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth.
Friends, allow this to be a call to respond to the Lord with humility and love and trust Him for change and the turnaround many have been holding out for. We must first start in our own lives and then allow Holy Spirit to inspire through our lives in the circles of influence He has strategically positioned us in.
I am praying for YOU and trust as you respond to the word of the Lord, allow your mind to be renewed, and cast down any vain thought lifting itself above the will of God – the Lord, in His mercy, will pour out the blessing of peace, joy, rest and the provision of His presence in your life. I trust you will receive this seed and cultivate it in order for His gifts to come to fruition in your life! I trust as you love and seek Him with all your heart and soul, immunity from any pending judgment will cover your life. Blessings!
This past week was intensely good. Sure, there were some attempts to ruin the good God things going, but the Lord has taught me how to be keenly aware and able to recognize circumstances for what they are. Thank You Jesus! This week’s celebrations consisted of finishing a six week commitment, maintaining 80% on point with nutrition and fitness, and being more intentional with nourishing the nine pound tent known as my skin ;)
The Rise & Shine, Click wrapped up our six week commitment to meet for a devotional, workout and prayer three times each week. WE set out to meet at 5am Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for six whole weeks. Yes, it was early!
I’m not sure I can claim 100% on point in the nutrition department, either. According to Whole30 protocol, SWYPO items are not allowed. And well, I made and enjoyed some modified recipes. The non-dairy cheesecake bites were yummy! I couldn’t choose between strawberry cheesecake bites or chocolate, so I topped a few pieces with BOTH. Yumm-o! And I decided to create healthier versions of the peanut butter cups. I’m going for lifestyle changes that are sustainable and I don’t “quit” after a certain period of time. Plus, it feels much more successful than reporting I gave into more peanut butter cups ;) This week, I’m also going to experiment with juicing by adding kale to the mix. Do you have any suggestions or juice concoctions you would like to share? I’m open to recipes!!
Last week my daughters and I took bold steps in nourishing our skin in a new way. My oldest daughter ditched the four skin care products she utilizes every single day, for one. My youngest wasn’t ready to take the plunge in ditching her entire regimen, but she substituted one item in trade for a couple others. I ditched the product I have used for close to twenty years now. With our oily and acne prone skin, we were nervous. But holy smokes, has it been a great week in this department as well! My oldest daughter’s skin was actually smoother and clearer – DESPITE the onset of her period.
I hope we are all looking forward to the upcoming week! Community, God appointments, commissions, and maybe even closing a couple chapters we’ve been in. How do we keep it all together and maintain peace and joy amidst it all? Plan out the week ahead, prepare meals, resolve to get into the gym, and then let Jesus do His thang! I am praying you have an amazing week this week. And I mean it, if you want to meet for a workout, share your juice recipes or learn more about the royal beauty skin treatment I am experimenting with – PLEASE REACH OUT. Seriously! Life is so much richer, joyous and vibrant when we are walking this walk TOGETHER with like-minded souls.
Well folks, we’ve all heard the saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”. Haven’t we? Last week was a success in the fact that I spent time researching and planning, maintained my commitment to work out and only had a peanut butter cup every other day ;)
In my last post I shared my “Weekly action steps to get there include: lifting heavy weights three times per week, Whole30 and intermittent fasting, and being intentional with nourishing my skin with high quality skin products.”
I made my way to the gym three times last week (woot woot!) – I am SO THANKFUL for the gals I meet with bright and early on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (you’re welcome to join us)! The past five weeks they have helped me to establish a healthy active regimen. It’s now time to graduate from the circuit room and get back into the weights, but next week. I’m going to mentally prepare one last week before going to the “big girl” weights. Oh how I have missed them!
Waiting to be “ALL IN” to Whole30 wasn’t the plan, but something I did. If 100% whole foods was my nutrition target, I met it about 70% of the way (darn you peanut butter cups!). But I will say, finally summiting the scale and having the pinnacle of that moment on the forefront of my mind, helped deter me from consuming too much outside of my goal. Thank goodness! My hormones seem to be bolstering a stronghold when it comes to the sweets.
exercise, nix dairy, poop one to two times per day (helps eliminate excess hormones and reabsorbing “bad” ones), drink water, supplement and remove/reduce exposure to environmental estrogens. Whole30 aligns perfectly with all this. Yay! With the addition of a few other elements, I should have a great protocol taking me into the new year.
Supplementing a healthy fat, leafy green, juicing and intermittent fasting nutrition plan with D3, B12, magnesium, probiotics, and thyroid support, will establish a healthy, vibrant and transformative-fostering environment on the inside of my body. Happy Dance! The exposure to the outside? This is where the skin care comes in. Again, having had skin cancer in the past and living with a couple questionable spots at the moment, along with the understanding everything I place on my body is absorbed into my blood stream (skin products can carry extra estrogens), carries the conviction to be intentional in this area. Not surprisingly, what appears to be the right regimen came along last week. It is a little too early to share (you know me, I only endorse after I have read, encounter, taste or experience myself), but I love the fact what I am experimenting with was birthed from a God vision and dream. Plus, the comprehensive solution seems to align with a vision I had earlier in the year. The fact that I could turn the products into dinner should I get stranded on an island with only my makeup bag and no food, is pretty cool too!
Thank you for stopping by and checking in! No earth shattering updates just yet, but I tell you what, I have a strong sense things they are a changing…
I did it! I summited two inches to the top of my scale and overcame! Thank you, thank you, thank you… If you’re just stopping in for a quick read, I shared yesterday, stepping on the scale was perhaps the biggest step of faith I’m being asked to take right now. Really, Shanon? Yes. Really.
But I did it. Was I happy with the numbers? No. Can I do something about them? Absolutely! And I will because it is time to build muscle, lose fat and nurture my skin (the largest organ of my body).
During a four month post lumpectomy follow-up in January of this year, I hopped on the scale and was not happy then, either – 167 – ouch! At least I have lost 4.6 pounds since the beginning of the year, which is shocking.
It is time to lose body fat with a laser focused nutrition program. Whole30 coupled with intermittent fasting will help lose the visceral (deep fat around my organs) and the fat closer to the surface. Both of these numbers came in too high on the scale this morning. Both carry risk for disease. Carrying too much visceral fat is a serious health problem. Studies have shown that excess visceral fat is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease and even certain cancers.
The higher your BMI (related to increased body fat percentage), the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers.
It is time to take care of my skin – also the largest organ I have. Sure I would like to reduce wrinkles and not get “droopy” in places, but it is bigger than that. Adults carry some 8 pounds (hey this is how much both my girls weighed when they were born!) and 22 square feet of it (about the size of your favorite snuggie in the winter time).
I want to keep on keepin’ on for the Lord as long a He will allow me. Sure I look forward to dancing in the streets of gold one day, but there are so many lives here who still need to know Jesus! AND – Holy Spirit deserves to live in a healthy vessel, the place He now resides.
I’m ready to do this. I’m ready to share the journey. I mean, who doesn’t like a good transformation story? I’m a sucker. Plus, hopefully you will be inspired to take a step of faith wherever God is calling you to in this season.
vi·va·cious lively in temper, conduct, or spirit: SPRIGHTLY; ZESTY I want zesty!!!
My goal is to settle into a healthy lifestyle, it is not about a size, number or date to “get skinny”. I’m in this for the long haul baby. Weekly action steps to get there include: lifting heavy weights three times per week, Whole30 and intermittent fasting, and being intentional with nourishing my skin with high quality skin products. One faithful step at a time, and I know I will be right where God needs me to be, to truly live vivaciously in the calling He needs me to press in and press on towards. See you next week, blessings!
There is a scene in the movie Footloose, the 1984 version with Kevin Bacon (does the newer version even really count?!), where the character Ariel attempts to speak with her father and he is too busy. Ariel seems to be used to not having her father pay attention, other than attempt to control her through religion, while he seems to be everything to everyone else in the church he leads and the community he is a part of. The story line seemingly points out this behavior of her father as being part of the reason Ariel becomes a rebellious, promiscuous teen – one who is slapped in the church of all places by her father, after sharing she is no longer a virgin.
Of all the scenes, why is this one coming to mind? Trust me, I enjoy the scene where Kevin Bacon is dancing solo in the barn, or where Willard is learning to dance to “Let’s Hear It for the Boys”, much more!
As God led me into ministry over the years, I have often thought of this scene. I would pray the Lord would keep me aware of what was going on in my home, and with my children. I’ve prayed He would help me not grow more concerned with the needs of others, MORE than that of those just down the hall from me. I have prayed He would help me always operate from a place of love, rather than religion.
I have seen one too many pastor’s kids slip away, unbeknownst to the shepherd God entrusted them to. I have heard too many folks judge the behavior of a child, or parent, or both, simply because the parent chose to live a life for others, rather than self, and their kiddos appeared to be experiencing growing pains and learning things the “hard way”. I have seen people who have professed the love of Jesus too often be the harshest and most judgmental when folks they held to an unknown (and often unrealistic) standard, failed or made mistakes, withdrawing or becoming overbearing. I have seen those same folks be happy to expose the faults of others and even propagate them in their circles of influence – defaming the child and the parent. After all, if the parent were paying more attention…or if the parent was so “right”… Little Johnny wouldn’t be making such blatant mistakes while appearing so white-washed-perfect, right?
You and I both know we don’t look to movies to guide us in life, we look to the Word of God – both written and spoken to us in the prayer closet. Recently, I’ve had to do just that. My kiddo messed up – BIG TIME. The details aren’t important, but sharing a few things the Lord has led me to via the circumstances, is.
Jesus was twelve when He began to operate in His free will and listening to His heavenly Father (Luke 2:42, 48-49 MEV). If at this age He believed He should be free to follow after the Lord, then at this age one can conclude kiddos begin to exercise their own free will and ability to make their own decisions – we hope they are good choices, but sometimes they aren’t. My husband and I chose to not be controlling with our kiddos. We had experienced this and it was no bueno. We had also witnessed friends who were controlling, even wielding religion over their children – again, no bueno. I trusted the Lord would lead and guide through me by His Spirit, and He has.
In fact, when the situation with my kiddo came up, I knew the truth right away. I wasn’t consumed by the ministry or helping others to the point of oblivion in my own home. No, He provided revelation. But He wouldn’t trump the free will of my soon to be adult child and force her to be honest. He did however pursue her to the point where the conviction He was spurring moved her to being honest and then repentance. He is good like that.
Onlookers are often dismayed at how good God can be towards those who follow after Him with all their heart, mind, soul and strength. Because their pursuit may be lukewarm (or nonexistent) at best when compared to others on fire, they often “chomp at the bit” to discover something that reaffirms the thought “no one can live life like (fill in the blank)”. When the scrutinized does make a mistake (and they will as long as they are a human being walking this earth) the thought is somehow affirmed and folks chatter, “See, I knew so-and-so wasn’t what they portray themselves to be”.
In our scenario, my daughter was concerned about the impact her decision would have on me. This wasn’t about me, it was about her. I knew the Scripture in Ezekiel, her sins are not mine, and mine are not hers. We are individually accountable. ‘Doesn’t the child pay for the parent’s sins?’ No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. 20 The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. God doesn’t hold the parent accountable for the child’s sin, nor vice versa. It is often human beings who like to project this type of mindset. It is also human nature to want to punish, or make sure someone “learns their lesson”. Again, God is not wired this way.
Ezekiel 18:21 shares: But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. 22 All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done. 23 “Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. 1 John 1:9 states it this way: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
But shouldn’t someone be held accountable? Shouldn’t they have to PAY for their actions? There needs to be some punishment! Again, when I look to Scripture, I see Jesus interact with a guy named Peter in a completely different manner. Peter did not want Jesus to obey God, by going to the cross. Sin is essentially disobedience to what God is instructing us to do through His Holy Spirit leading, at any given moment. Peter’s desire to have Jesus disobey was called out by Jesus and this is what He had to say in Mark 8: “Get behind Me, satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Satan? Really? But did Jesus withdraw from Peter? Did he communicate to everyone in ear shot his weak and sophomoric mindset, warning all He could about Peter’s “issues”? No.
SIX DAYS LATER PETER SEES JESUS IN GLORY. After six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain, alone by themselves. And He was transfigured before them. His garments became shiny, extremely white as snow, such as no launderer on earth could whiten them. Mark 9:2-3 MEV. One day Jesus is calling Peter out and paralleling him to satan, six days later He is lavishing Him with revelation and glory. I wonder how God feels when we seek to punish others rather than pursue reconciliation and His passionate purpose for them.
But what about repeat offenders? They must be taught a lesson. They must be stopped. You’re right, they should be taught. But the Lord is the One to do the teaching. He is the one to bring the justice. He is the one to bring the conviction. Any correction outside of consulting Him in prayer first, is futile and more damaging. Peter was a repeat offender. After denying Jesus three times and then going fishing, Jesus again blessed Peter rather than withhold from him or give him the cold shoulder. Luke 22:61-62, John 21:3, 6 Holy Spirit also gave Peter a boldness to preach a convicting message that then added 3,000 souls to the Kingdom of God in ONE DAY. Perhaps herein lies the issue, Jesus truly LOVED the way God needed Him to, and humans (even professing Christian ones) have a hard time with this command. Yes, this is a command.
Jesus was more concerned about covering Peter in love (1 Peter 4:8) in order for Him to reach and live out his call and destiny. I believe Jesus could see past the sins, denial, zeal and fleshly fervor of Peter and into all God had for Peter.
There is a lesson to be learned in every scenario. We learn things about ourselves, we learn about others, and we learn what God needs us to see when we look to Him FIRST and all other opinions second or third – if entertained at all. With each lesson we can choose to build up, learn and grow, and implement boundaries, or we can tear down, remain small in our limited understanding, and attempt to invoke vindication not ours to impose. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18
In the end all Ariel was looking for was her father to love her and guide her through her confusion, hurt and sorrow – she happened to be looking in the wrong places, while giving into the influences of the peers around her. Ren (Kevin Bacon) did not see her as her past mistakes or a girl he could take advantage of, but as a girl worthy of only a kiss, a beautiful dance and a tender heart. Her father? He was able to truly see his daughter, abandon religion and pursue relationship with her. Then everyone was able to dance!
I pray as we continue this dance of life, we are able to allow the Lord to lead, and joyfully follow, while dropping the stones in our hands in order to take His and be merciful, kind, forgiving and most importantly – love – to one another. I pray we are just as eager to see the plank in our own eye, as we are the splinter in others. I pray we are positioned to learn from one another and build one another up, rather than point fingers and do our best to tear one another down. Blessings!
In the past several weeks, maybe even months, I have been learning quite a bit about prophecy, process, pain and patience. Prophecy, while instructed to especially desire this spiritual gift in the Bible, seems to be misunderstood, stifled by skeptics, or altogether dismissed (1Corinthians 14:1). Process, while often slower than snails on a summer night for many, is right where the Lord needs us to cooperate and be intentional; moving from glory to glory in the Lord is a process (2 Corinthians 3:18). Pain, while a part of any growth process, also gets a bad rap. The Word says in this world we WILL have trouble (John 16:33), yet only an admitted peculiar person will free-willingly press in to the pain of breaking and pressing for the purest of the Lord’s oil to be poured out through their life. Patience, a fruit of the Spirit and so very hard to come by in this “gimme now era”, is a virtue truly only God can help us maintain in any given situation – be it our own transformation, the hope for loved ones in our lives, or a vision or painting He places on our hearts.
Holy Spirit planted the seed of this piece in my mind and heart over eight years ago. Honestly, I had forgotten about it, until I was reminded this week. Too many things in life had attempted to derail the vision with more painful circumstances than a porcupine has needles (okay, maybe not that bad ;) ). I won’t go into the pains of the past. If you’re interested, perhaps you’d enjoy my recent podcast series? It wasn’t until this past summer, the vision began to formulate in my mind. As I pondered the “glory of God” and then began a study on it (feel free to find this on YouTube), each piece continued to come together.
First the sketch created with my Bic and graph paper. Then a watercolor painting with my inexpensive paints and ink on paper. After joining a group of Christian Artists, Holy Spirit began to bring a slew of thoughts and ideas for a third iteration. I quilted photographs together to create the digital rendition of the vision seen in the center. Each component selection led by the Spirit.
The background was a photograph taken a couple years ago of the most beautiful rainbow, the golden colors and hues mesmerized me, speaking to me of the promises and faithfulness of God. The foreground colors came from a photo I had taken after having hiked the highest point I’ve ever summited, all while hearing the Lord speaking and calling to me, “Come up higher”. The stairs are from the Lincoln monument in Washington D.C., representing freedom and liberty. The bride in white symbolic of the Bride of Christ – acquitted, no longer guilty, in Christ. ALL extend and focus on the Glory of God.
This week, as I was taking notes for a new adventure, I opened a notepad and began to peruse the pages. I found the image seen with highlights, written sometime March of 2011: Glory to Glory, Walking barefoot up a glorious stream, from one stone to the next. ~ Transformed
My eyes teared up. Transformation, moving from glory to glory, and encouraging other women to connect with the Word of God and Holy Spirit to be intentional about their unique transformation journey, is where God has led me since this note jotted down so long ago. Oh how faithful He is! Not just to me, but to the nearly thirty-five other women with an array of backgrounds and challenges He ministered to through the Rise Up Commitment. Oh what a Good Lord we love and loves us!
Regardless of the speed of the process, the depth of pain experienced, and many times feeling left empty of patience, when the Lord declares a thing through a prophetic word or vision – He WILL bring it to pass! We have to add another “P”… PERSISTENCE! We must hold on, press in, press on, be okay with growing increasingly peculiar and remain passionate about our First Love, above all!
We are co-laborers with God and you are God’s cultivated garden, the house he is building.
During yesterday morning’s service at Times Square Church, Pastor Carter Conlon shared,
“Get ready for a journey!
Your life is going to change.
Your future is not going to be like your past.
You’re going to live a life that brings GLORY to God!
You're going to have a breakthrough.
And you're not just going to sing about it, you're going to live it.”
His whole sermon leading up to this statement, I was “Amen-ing and hallelujah-ing!” Everything he spoke of is exactly the journey the Lord has had me on for the past five years. Interestingly enough, it has been five years since this blog journey began and the Lord REALLY began to have His way in my life.
I was already in reflective mode, pondering the post I might write and share as a glorifying synopsis to the One responsible for every ounce of transformation radiating from this life. He set the stage. I am a living testament to every instruction Pastor Carter Conlon provided yesterday, is true.
1.Read the word yourself
2.Connect with others
3.Set yourself apart
4.Consume the WHOLE word of God - no hypocrisy – no picking and choosing palatable
5.Get ready and Go on the journey!
Reading the word for myself is exactly what Holy Spirit led me to do five years ago. It is His encouragement through me as well. Devotions are nice and easy, but Holy Spirit taking you on a journey is where it is at!
Connecting with others – others with a heart for following fully after God – did come next. The Lord brought women into my life ready to grow and transform. We could turn to one another for prayer and support and encouragement. We were, and still are, iron sharpening iron, doing life together – across multiple denominations.
At multiple points I had to agree with the Lord and say, “This (fill in the blank) cannot go where YOU are taking me. I choose JESUS over (fill in the blank)!” This was and is a hard one. “Fill in the blank” can be a relationship, habit, behavior, addiction, mindset, fear, or concern. Many times, it will be related to the thoughts of wondering what others will think. When we set ourselves apart for God, pruning and purging takes place, but oh how good is His grace!
Reading all of the Word of God, and allowing it to change me, rather than me attempt to change the word to my liking – has always been my desire. It takes courage to humbly say, “Lord, You know best. I don’t. Help me understand, embrace and follow after You.”
The journey is remaining consistent with these four keys. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. It is easy to fall out of the word. There will be attempts to disconnect us from others and keep us distanced. Temptations will come attempting to (sometimes succeeding even) have us fall back and away from being set apart. Not all of God’s Word is pleasing to read and embrace. Have you ever read Isaiah 20? After the prophet said, “Here I am Lord, send me!” God asked Isaiah to walk around naked – for three years – just to prove a point! Hard to embrace? Just a little.
But we FREE WILLINGLY choose to continue to respond to Holy Spirit – our Comforter, Counselor and Teacher. We continue to repent and keep going when we do fall down. We get back into His Word and presence. We choose to reconnect when we realize we’ve chosen the pain of isolation far too long. We choose to press on towards the mark and high calling – WHATEVER THE COST!
This is my encouragement for YOU today. I pray you declare, “I am getting up and I'm going with God! I want to see what God will do!!”
God has been speaking the RISE UP message to my heart for over four years, and He spoke it again through the words of my Pastor at Times Square Church, "We are being called by God, as the Church of Jesus Christ, in this Nation, to RISE UP and take a God appointed journey. We are. Get ready for a journey! Your life is going to change. Your future is not going to be like your past. You’re going to live a life that brings GLORY to God! You're going to have a breakthrough. And you're not just going to sing about it, you're going to live it."
This is 100% true – for the vessel willing to search God’s word, connect to the body, set yourself apart, and accept the whole word of God. Godspeed my friends!
Praise and GLORY be to God for the past five years!!! The journey will undoubtedly lead to vision, compassion, a sense of authority, the will to fight for others and TRANSFORMING more into the likeness of Jesus Christ!
September 3, 2014 - Began the LiveEatSweat Blog (link)
May 16, 2015 - Completed Spartan Sprint (image, link)
August 16, 2015 - Completed Spartan Super (image, link)
Aug/Sept 2015 - Strong Magazine Highlight (image)
October 11, 2015 - FIRST LES45 Group Challenge (link)
November 2015 - Shepherdess Rise Up Study (link)
March 1, 2016 - SECOND LES45 Group Challenge (link)
June 2016 - Mission Trip to Dominican Republic (link)
God began to move me from behind the keyboard and blogging, to going LIVE - completely outside my comfort zone!
September 12, 2016 - THIRD LES45 Group Challenge (link)
September 27, 2016 - Rise Up! Is Back (link)
November 21, 2016 - It's Time to RISE (link)
April 13, 2017 - Rise Up! Devotions Book Launch (link)
June 2017 - Rise Up! in Dominican Republic (image)
October 9, 2017 - Rise & Pray (link, YouTube)
October 17, 2017 - Rise Up Commitment Seed Planted (link)
God was calling me to move from behind the camera, to meet with women in-person - again, outside my comfort zone...
Jan-March 2018 - The FIRST Rise Up Commitment (testimonials)
February 2018 - Embraced my call to teach, encourage through the prophetic and facilitate healing as
the Lord leads
April 15, 2018 - Launched Podcast (link)
Sep-Nov 2018 - The SECOND Rise Up Commitment
December 13, 2018 - Beyond at BrewHa (YouTube)
God was calling me to move from a select group to a public forum where all were invited
May 2, 2019 - National Day of Prayer
May 23, 2019 - Launched "My Voice His Story" Memoir
June 23, 2019 - Launched the THIRD Rise Up Commitment in local homeless shelter with five women
August 10, 2019 - Reach Out! With roughly 200 folks (image)
God has been moving me from inside the public platform, to outside declaring His Love and Word!
Wherever you are HE is faithful to accept what little we believe we have to offer and multiply in ways BEYOND our imagination!!
"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5
Transcript from: Day One - Beyond - Glory School
I am getting ready to embark on a new season. Well, first of all, the new season is my oldest daughter is going to be a senior. She's actually starting the first day of her senior year today and my youngest daughter is a sophomore.
They're not just going off to school today. I have this sense and I have been feeling for the past couple of weeks now that I'm also going to school and it's the glory school. What does that mean? It means that the Lord has been speaking to my heart about His glory and discovering what His glory is and what it means and what is the outflowing of His glory?
I'm going to begin to share little tidbits here and there about the glory and really just share as He leads. Yesterday I Googled “glory” in the King James version. There were 375 occurrences on GLORY.
I'm going to be in the glory for three months. This morning I was reading in scripture Genesis 31:1, Genesis 45:13, Exodus 8:9 and Exodus 16:7. These Scripture led to a few stories. The first one was about Jacob and Laban’s sons getting jealous that he was becoming wealthy and he was doing well. The second was Joseph where he had become wealthy after his jealous brothers threw him in the pit, but God was restoring, reconnecting and reconciling to his brothers and ultimately his father. The third story was about Moses and Aaron praying for the frogs to leave. But the then Pharaoh does disobeyed yet again and would not listen to the Lord. The fourth was the glory of God being connected to providing meat and bread to the Israelites in the wilderness.
The four things that stood out to me was the Lord instructed Jacob to leave after the jealousy and he listened and he obeyed. That's something I'm praying for us today as well myself. The second that stood out to me was that what was intended for evil can be turned for good just like Joseph. He was thrown into a pit. Many of us know the account where it seemed like Joseph encountered one challenge after another in Egypt. The third nugget was that the Lord answers prayer when we are led with compassion, but we should not attach ourselves to the outcome. Finally, the Lord provides. God desired obedience from the children of Israel when He instructed them to collect the bread in the morning and collect the meat in the night, to collect the double portion on the sixth day, in order to rest on the seventh day.
The theme for me this morning is listening to the Lord and trusting there is wealth and abundance in the Lord. There is goodness in the Lord, but He also desires that we listen. Which is exactly what I am doing.
The Lord has been speaking to me about going BEYOND. Last year in May, I was on a prayer walk and He said, “Here.” I was praying in the Spirit and the sound “aqui” continued to roll off my tongue. Aqui in Spanish translates to “here” in English. He then laid out these seven components He was speaking to my heart, if balanced, would reflect the face of Jesus Christ. There's a whole story to I may share in the days to come.
The seven areas: God at the center of all that we do – center and forefront.Everything flows from having a connection with the Lord through Holy Spirit, prayer, scripture and a great profound love for Jesus. The second and third components are having a high calling and taking care of the essentials of this life by tending the vessel that the Holy Spirit resides in. Finally, ministering in our marriages, with our children, ministry or place of employment, and then carrying the glory of the Lord, the presence of the Lord, into all areas that we go into; the grocery store the bank work wherever we may find ourselves in her home, especially and so.
He's been saying, “All right, it's time. It's time to live this out and it's time to allow Me to minister”. So I'm entering a season where I am going to continue to pray. I'm going to continue to love the Lord. I'm going to continue to be led by the Spirit. I'm going to be getting into scripture on Glory.
I know my calling. I know what God has called me to. He's called me to teach and encourage and to facilitate healing and to minister through the prophetic by sharing with others. I know that He's called me to love my husband well, my daughters well, the community well and the Rise Up Community.
One thing that I've not been doing so well is taking care of this vessel, and so it's time for all of these components to come together and for Him to really minister to me first and foremost. This is kind of a season of rest. This year has been challenging and been a lot of spiritual warfare.
But I believe the season was essential to understand that when we press into the Lord that the enemy is going to be right there. This was something I wasn't really actively conscious and aware of I guess, nor doing something about it. The Lord has equipped me and I can now see things for what they are.
You are invited to join me on this journey. I say join me on this journey because this is really considered day one. I foresee this going on for a few months. So if you want to come along great. If not, that's okay, too.
I will only be sharing on the YouTube channel. He has made it very clear to withdraw from Facebook and Instagram. He wants His voice to be the only voice that I'm really listening to and leaning into right now. I love to follow people like Larry Sparks, Lana Vawser as well as Nate & Christy Johnston. However, He really just wants to speak to me and have me listen to Him alone.
I just pray in the name of Jesus. If you're watching today that you and I would do what the Lord is asking us to do and trust that He is good and He is a God of abundance. I ask in the name of Jesus that if there's something going on that was intended for evil that you would be able to trust the Lord to know that He can transform circumstances into being utilized for HIS good. I also ask in the name of Jesus that we are led to pray with compassion for people just like Moses and Aaron was and then take our hands off of the outcome and the response of those people, trusting the Lord. I pray we trust that the Lord will provide and He will give us just what we need for that day, but to seek Him that day for what we need to seek Him for first thing in the morning and even in the night, just like the manna in the morning the meat at night. I pray that we were seeking Lord in the morning living off that bread of life the word of God, and then at night closing and trusting that he will even speak to us in our dreams.
So I pray this was a blessing to you. Take care. God bless and have a great day.
They looked at one another as if to silently question, “How could she have known?” I knew what I had experienced just hours before was Holy Spirit preparing me to allow Him to be revealed…
We all experience a degree of brokenness and heartache. God has made it clear the circumstances of one are no greater than another. However, we are fully aware what some live through just feels more weighty and horrific than what we can imagine.
Physical abuse – almost to the point of death – at the hands of a spouse and in front of a child.
Years of addiction to some substance or another, choosing a high over a child, waking up in a prison cell wondering “what happened”; daily wrestling shame and remorse, fighting to find worth.
Poor choices leading to having no place to go, losing your children to foster care, wrestling with constant anxiety, and fighting to live an honest life.
Brokenness and abandonment leading to layers of deep and high walls, cutting off everyone, wandering to high and far places – constantly searching – never settling.
Loss after loss, murder and suicide, abuse and torture – relentless depression and anxiety – while doing everything to fight for a child and a peaceful life.
We may read, and identify. We may read, and compassion wells up inside. We may read, and conviction pricks our hearts to reassess those things we identify as wrong or unjust in our own lives.
I knew this call was going to stretch me. I had no idea how. A couple weeks ago it was brought to my attention an individual connected to the group I am ministering with had made some considerably unhealthy declarations. The remarks oozed with darkness and actions threatened what I sensed God wanted to do. I committed to the ladies I would pray for the situation.
“Lord, push back – and out – the darkness that resides and believes it prevails, by the power of Your Spirit and presence. When I, or others in Christ, walk into the space, I pray darkness realizes it is not allowed to stay. YOU desire my Sisters in Christ be healed and made whole more than I do, please deliver them from the tactics and antics I’m being told are taking place”. I was then led to reach out to a faithful and trusted prayer partner for council and agreement.
Again, I give you an eternal truth: If two of you agree to ask God for something in a symphony of prayer, my heavenly Father will do it for you. Matthew 18:19 TPT
Prior to our session this week, I felt “off”. I was more fatigued than normal. I felt irrationally emotional. Thoughts bombarded my mind I knew were not my own. Something was attempting to convince me I did not need to show up for the week’s session. My husband could tell something was up. When he asked me what was going on, all I could do was cry.
How do I share something he doesn’t understand? How do I describe something I don’t even fully understand? He is going to think I’m crazy (more than normal ;) ). Then I felt like Holy Spirit needed me to share. I sensed this was going to be a testimony of faithfulness my husband could not deny. I believed the situation possessed the potential to be a faith builder for many.
“I feel like someone is feeling suicidal. I feel like someone really wants to hurt themselves. I can feel the heaviness of thought running through their mind.” I looked up to make eye contact and found compassion in his eyes.
“That’s deep”. Translation: I really don’t know what you’re talking about, but I believe you believe it and it’s genuine, or you wouldn’t be crying in the way you just were. He gave me a hug. I went on to get ready, blared worship music and praised while doing so. Then, I was on my way.
After opening the session with worship and prayer, I could not escape the need to pray for the one contemplating self-harm or even taking their own life. The tears again welling up, a notable quiver in my voice, and an urgency I hoped the gals understood.
After prayer was when I noticed – SOMETHING was resonating with them, their glances provided clues I was not off base. However, it was not until the end of our hour and a half together, just before we entered into our departing prayers for the week, that I learned what had been going on.
One gal expressed her challenges for the week prior, making her requests known for what lie ahead. I pointedly asked if she was the one prayed for. “No, but it is someone connected to us. It is no one in the group, but someone connected with us.” The other gals confirmed and proceeded to share the individual whose challenging words and chaotic behavior weeks prior, had free-willingly decided to part ways. SHE was the one wrestling with the dark thoughts I believed Holy Spirit was revealing… Talk about needing to call on Holy Spirit to help decipher mixed emotions!
On one side, God was being praised for answering prayer. On the other side, a very serious concern for the soul in torment elicited more concern and a need for more prayer. On one hand, five women just witnessed the faithfulness and love of the Father by placing her situation on my heart and and moving me to publicly pray. On the other hand, there was relief from the chaos they felt subjected to. On one side I was grateful I could share this testimony with my husband so he wouldn’t think I had drifted farther than he knew what to do with. On the other, I was burdened and saddened that it was true.
Jesus! Teach, comfort, guide and share truth. Please.
WE prayed. I left. I did not share with my husband. Something inside me wanted confirmation what I was hearing was factual. The next day, I witnessed with my own eyes, from the soul herself, the torment she is living with. My heart sank and I prayed.
I know I reiterate all the time about the importance of you and me hearing from the heart of God. I know I share posts that confront our complacency and hopefully lovingly convict us to remove distractions from our lives so we can hear from God through His word and prayer. I know it may feel intense, overwhelming and maybe a little too much for some. I hope this testimony confirms God’s heart to us… HE IS THE ONE desiring we set aside distractions and hear from Him. This is only one example WHY.
Our ability to free willingly make time to hear from Him above all other voices this world throws at us, could mean eternal life or death for someone. It could be the healing someone either does or does not receive. It could be the next faith building brick a loved one needs. It could lead to the demonstration of God’s love the world around us desperately needs to see. I finally did share with my husband how the events unfolded, needless to say he was speechless yet in awe at how God had moved for one many may likely have given up on.
Be encouraged today to spend time with the Lord. Give Him what little you believe you have to give. Position your heart and soul to hear what His Spirit is saying. Take in the truth of His Word. And please, if moved to do so, pray for the healing of those lost and bound by darkness, who have concluded there may be no other way, but out.
Our parents did not model what it was like to live married as God intended and prescribes through His Word. Praise God we DID have my husband’s grandparents to look to as an example of commitment. Commitment was, is and will always be the cornerstone of our marriage.
Commitment was the word I shared with the pastor marrying us so many years ago, as the most important element to live out until death do us part. She was stunned. She shared many couple share love as the most important, or maybe a good plan, or having lots of things in common. In my heart of hearts, I knew all of those things could change, fail, or simply not be present for a season. I also knew in my heart of hearts after moving out a couple days following my seventeenth birthday, commitment to him was vital if I never wanted him to feel rejected like I had.
The first eight years of our marriage consisted of babies, building, and growing. It also consisted of selfishness, fighting addiction and one another. It was hard. Then, Jesus.
Jesus called our whole family to Himself in the fall of 2008. He called me back after years of wandering. He called my husband after years of not believing. He called our daughters to enter relationship with Him at the tender ages of five and seven. Our lives changed for the better.
We were equipped. We were poured into. We were prayed over. We lived in a season of thriving for nearly eighteen months. And then we didn’t…
This new life, while a blessing, brought its own challenges. We didn’t know what we were up against in the spirit and slowly things began to fade away again. AS CHRISTIANS, living for GOD, we found ourselves separated twice, bickering non-stop, and continuing to fight for our own way.
“But this is what God needs me to do!” I would argue.
“Who am I to argue with God?!” my Husband would lament.
Talk about creating a confused environment for our children. I thought I had this divine order of living thing all figured out. He did not want anything to do with it if the picture I presented was what it looked like. But God and His good grace.
In January of 2015 my husband was so ill with influenza he lay on our couch with a 105° fever for nearly nine days. I could have cared less. Harsh, I know. I had so many reasons, so many justifications for WHY I didn’t need to care anymore. I had an arsenal to come back with if he took even one shot with his words. I had examples all around me of Christian women I knew that had left their marriage (some even encouraged me that some marriages just don’t work out), and God seemed OK with it. Needless to say, God needed to deal with me and my heart. When Holy Spirit very clearly instructed me to sit with my Husband, take care of him, and tend his needs the entire week - I did. When He reminded me of the bedrock of my perspective on marriage to remain committed until death do us part, and to remove divorce from my vocabulary and list of options once and for all – I did.
This year, we took a BIG HIT. HUGE. Praise God He had prepared me for it, but it still hurt – deeply. This time, though, I didn’t have an arsenal of justifications for being hurtful in return. Separation and divorce were not an option (although there was a break to "breath" and allow Holy Spirit in) – God had effectively pruned those “options”. COMMITMENT, again, was the Word repeatedly coming to mind... NO MATTER WHAT.
I began to seek God, rather than solace in my pain, and ask what was going on. How could this have happened? Why?
Little by little, Holy Spirit began to reveal to me some scenarios where I had deeply hurt my Husband. He had never shared the hurts with me, for fear of communicating selfishness. However, when I went to him with what I believed God had shared with me, his facial expression said it all. Thank You God for sharing with me!
As we moved to heal and "make right some wrongs”, God laid very specific love actions on my heart to follow through on, specifically to minister to my Husband. God always knows our hearts. He is just waiting for us to ask Him what will impact the hearts of those we love, and minister to them in the most profound of ways.
Something began to happen. The Lord began revealing my heart’s desires to my Husband – and HE WAS RESPONDING. These were “little things”. I thoroughly enjoy laying in the hammock with a good book and maybe even slipping off into a cat nap in the summer. Once my Husband cut the trees down that hosted my peaceful resting place, I no longer had that small pleasure – and I missed it. As part of meeting a heart desire for my Husband, I purchased a bike to ride with him and go places with him. We talked about this becoming something more than just a leisure ride every now and again, but no firm commitment to make it practical.
Within the span of about two weeks, after following through on the love actions God had placed on my heart, the following shaped up…
My husband bought a couple posts to plant in our yard so he could hang the hammock up again. Swoon. While he was away on business, a hitch arrived on our front porch. A hitch that would support a bike rack the two of us would then be able to haul our bikes on and go on bike tours together. When the tiniest of packages arrived that would eliminate the “pop-pop” sound that could wake up the entire house when just one of us was preparing breakfast – my heart burst!
Yesterday, when he asked me to open the door and close it again with no sound, I lost it. Sure I was grateful it would no longer urk me to no end, but I was grateful for something more. My Husband was beginning to gain confidence in those small whispers and then FOLLOWING THROUGH. This is HUGE. He was beginning to respond to Holy Spirit – whether he realized it or not. But you know what? God needed me to do the same.
My Husband and I are on really different places on our faith journey, and our walks look completely different, but I know the same God we have faith in loves us both SO MUCH and desires to make Himself known through the little acts of obedience that are really magnificent, miraculous acts of obedience when we consider our journey up to this point.
Be encouraged today, listen to God and move towards His call on your life. His call will not exempt those closest to you - specifically your spouse or children – your family will always be God’s first priority in your life. If you’re willing to pray for others and trust God to minister to the multitudes through your life and voice, trust Him to do the same in your home, with your Husband and kiddos. If your commitment is waning in your marriage, take a moment to reflect on all the ways God Himself has remained committed to you, regardless of shortcomings, and allow a fresh wind of the reminders of His faithfulness to move your sails to do the same in your marriage.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.