Mirages


Some seasons are just harder than others. 

I’ve been in a season where I have been towing a load that feels painful and tough. 

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Yet, at every corner, I am lavished with God’s favor. I mean lavished! I can’t be easily offended because good continues to rain down. I can’t feel rejected because God continues to bring new life, encouragement, and support. One leaves. One comes. One says no. Someone says yes! People slam doors, but God opens new ones!
 

Desert mirages fool your eyes into thinking there’s water and refreshment in the midst of drought. 
 
But in God’s world, the desert is the mirage. Even when it feels and appears dry, there’s living water and refreshment all around! 

What season are you in?


Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
 
—Psalm 1:1–3 (NIV)
 
 
 

 


2 Steps to Restoring Broken Relationships

Let’s talk. 


The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
(Luke 6:45 NIV)
Yes, I know, we’ve talked about words before. 

Don’t roll your eyes or turn this off. Let’s talk. 

Our words are powerful. Do you agree with that? 

We can use words to build others up or tear them down. For a long time, I didn’t know how to control my tongue. I barked every feeling of disappointment or anger that I had. You know what I ended up with? Nothing but broken relationships. 

I spoke those awful things because I desperately longed to be justified. My sense of self-worth simply couldn’t handle another rejection or another time when I was wrong or a bad person. I was broken from my past experiences and my past mistakes. You see, I knew that I was a bad person because I didn’t have wonderful or kind thoughts in my head. 
My little heart was always offended, wounded, hurt, disappointed. It was a weepy heart always looking for people to treat me “right.” When they didn’t (according to my definition), I would take my ball and go home—but not before I blurted out toxic words.

If I didn’t say what I was thinking straight to their faces, I would say it in my heart. I am sure my actions represented my true heart even if my words didn’t. 

I was the girl with relationships always on a thread. I was a needy, desperate girl. I fought, bickered, complained, and gossiped because it made me feel better about myself. 

Ugh.
At that time, I didn’t know this: 
“Show me a struggling relationship and I will show you toxic words. Every single time, you will see toxic words. Speak words of Life and watch God bless that relationship.” ~ Craig Groeschel, Soul Detox
I actually thought I had RIGHTS. I thought my actions and arguments were justified because of other people’s behavior. 

That’s a LIE. Trash!  

I was the problem all along. 

Ugh! How many dreadful years did I spend wrestling with this lie?
Too many!

If you are like me, there is HOPE! 
Look at your relationships. Are they constantly falling apart? 
Look at your words. Are the words you speak full of life or death? 
Are you constantly complaining or constantly grateful? 
First 
You have to fill your heart with the love of Jesus. Oh, how He loves you! He wants you to come to Him—just as you are. You don’t have to change anything about yourself first. Simply come and receive His life. He lived the life you should have lived and died the death you deserved to die.
Know Jesus today.
Second  
Now that you have the love of Jesus in you, you need to know your new identity in Him. Sure, you may understand it partly, but you never fully arrive. It is a daily renewal of your mind. Every time you are outside of your comfort zone, you must go back to your identity so you remember that you are safe in Christ. When you are persecuted, you must return to knowing God and His love for you so you can hold fast and stand firm in the battles (Ephesians 6:10–18).
Don’t know your new identity? Check it out HERE.
Your relationships will prosper. 
How have your relationships been strained because of your words? How will you restore those relationships?

How Do I Let Go?


Here I sit 

Idling car 

Rolling tears
Thoughts racing

How can life be passing 
So quickly 

She’s all grown up 
17 is fading into 18 
faster than 
my heart can handle

How do I let her go 
She drives away 
Oh my heart 
goes with her 
Oh my mind 
Memories 
Fear
Faith 
Hope 
Pain
Racing 
Prayer is the only remedy. 

Oh God
How do I let her go
How will I survive 
The gap in the waiting 
Til she comes home again

Oh my heart rejoices 
The sound of her car
Returning 

Dinners together have faded  
Friends take our place
A life waiting to be held 
In front of her 

A life completed 
She leaves behind 

Oh my table is incomplete 
When even just one is missing. 

The days are long. 
The years are short. 
Snotty noses 
Poopy diapers
Cute voices 
50 kisses 

Fade into independence. 
“I don’t need you 
Look at me
Be proud of me
Affirm me
Do you see that 
you’ve done well mama
Tell me so 
How I long to hear your cheers
I don’t need you
To fix my problems
I got this 
I’m not a baby anymore
Don’t kiss me in front of everyone
Please don’t take my pic.”

From cool to drool
I quickly became 
In their eyes. 

Moms don’t let your hearts become offended in these times 
Because 
They’ll come back around. 

“I need my mama
Late night talks are never late enough 
Help me. 
Hold me
I’m afraid 
Do you believe in me mama?
Can I do this?  
What if I’m not enough? 
Why doesn’t anyone like me? 
I need your hugs more than ever even though I look hard-hearted at times.”

Mamas. Keep your heart open, renewed, and soft. Don’t let the harsh words, cutting words strike you deep. They need you when they look like they need you the least. 

Oh my heart in this season is wrestling with so much. 
Prayer and trust in the Lord is the only remedy. 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1 NIV)

God’s Promises Are Yes and Amen

The Bible says God’s promises are always yes and amen.
There is no expiration date on the finished work of Jesus Christ. There is no expiration date on His hope. There is no expiration today of the work He did yesterday. It’s not a gallon of milk that in a few days will expire and curdle. It is always there. It’s always fresh, always available, and always quenching.
You can trust God and His Word. You can truly put your hope in it. There is nothing else worth putting your hope in. You can’t put your hope in doctors, medicine, your boss, your employer, or your ability to work hard. All that stuff will pass away. But God’s promises are good and will endure forever.

God Gives Us the Desires of Our Heart

“But seek first the kingdom of God … and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 ESV)


That is such a difficult verse to wrap your mind around. There are so many things we want. It’s like, what’s everything? Is everything a new car? A new house? What is everything? Define it. The world defines it as owning a lot, being successful, having power and influence, a new boat, a new car, a new house, and everything that is on edge and trendy—cute clothes and nice hair, right? That is how we define it in the Western world. Now, what truly is everything? Every man is searching to be loved, accepted, and known, right? Man just truly wants to be in community and to be used by God.
The next verse that comes to mind is: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4 ESV). As we seek first the kingdom of God, we are seeking Him, and He starts implanting in our hearts the seeds of good things He wants to give to us. That changes our desires. As our desires change, He brings them to full harvest and brings them to us.
The next thought I have is, “First comes the blade, then the stalk, and then the full kernel” (see Mark 4:26–29). The kingdom of God is like a farmer’s field. First, we plant the seed. The seed starts to grow. It grows into a blade. Eventually, it gets a stalk. It has nothing we can eat yet, but before you know it, it has a full harvest. It’s something that can sustain us and we can eat. We can use what we have at the time it becomes a full harvest.
I just can’t stop thinking about these verses because right now, at this very moment, my husband is teaching a subject he loves at a Christian Bible school. When he was in his early twenties, our firm came out with a tool to understand strategic risks. We were trained on it forever. Honestly, not many people truly had a good grasp on what it actually meant. They didn’t completely understand it. We could attempt to go through the motions but couldn’t fully reach the heart of it.
But not my husband. He got it. It clicked. It was like, oh, this is the way my brain is made and created and wired. So he began implementing it immediately. He was one of the best at it. He has taught it, he uses it, and he helps CEOs and presidents understand it better. It’s interesting how few board members, presidents of companies, and CEOs completely understand it, yet more and more every day, the government is requiring something like this strategic risk tool. A lot of companies make it into a compliance checklist because they don’t understand the awesome tool it is. They don’t know how to use it to their advantage.
But if you understand that God, above all things, wants you and your soul to prosper, then you can see this tool as a way for you to prosper even when the economy is not. My husband uses this with his clients. He faithfully prays over them. We have an entire prayer team and prayer ministry that prays for our city and his clients. We have seen his clients grow and double, thrive and not struggle, and do more than survive. It’s awesome. It’s been awesome to see companies go from being in debt to being in so much wealth, just turning around. They may not know what is behind it, but I can tell you that is the power of God. We believe God and His goodness in due time will reveal that He is the author of their success.
Ken Blanchard wrote a book a long time ago, and it was so successful that he paused and reflected and realized, “I’m not smart enough to do this. This is impossible.” The success of his book made him realize God was real and was for him and that He had gifted him for this and given him supernatural power and ability to accomplish what he had accomplished. He became a Christian through his success. We believe that for all of our clients.
But what I am really talking about here is so ridiculously crazy. My husband is a gentle, quiet warrior. He prays all the time. When he was at his old company, he found the only way he could keep from responding emotionally to things that failed or went wrong and repercussions from poor decisions was to pray. The only way he could truly remain stable was to pray all day. He never stopped praying. 

He walked out of a meeting one time, and he was super excited. “That was so awesome!” He was really celebrating a victory, and suddenly he realized, “Wait a minute. I can’t take credit for the victory if I am not going to take credit for the fall. I need to be stable in God. Stable and fixed in the wins and the losses.” He began praying all day. He prays so much that he prays every single minute he is awake. He is praying for his clients. He is praying through things. He is like a mountain. They move over time, but it is very slow. You can’t actually see it with your physical eyes. That is the character and the depth of my husband.
As he has been building his own business, he has been sought out by people across the United States. From Washington, DC, he has worked with the largest mortgage oversight companies in the nation. But he has these dreams in his heart—some things he secretly has always wanted to do. Some of our clients had asked us to come and teach them some courses. They said, “Hey, we want you to teach some courses based on what we want.” Well, for a few years, he and I wrote and developed all of these courses, and we trained our clients. We had big groups come in, and we would train them and help them obtain some continuing education.
Before all of this, in my firm, I trained new hires. I had the opportunity to teach, train, mentor, and bring them up in everything I did. It was like God had planted a seed. What I enjoyed doing at my firm, I was able to do later for a profit for our business. My husband was the same way. He was a great coach and a great teacher. Then we were teaching these classes together. It was awesome.
But deep down in his heart, he had a desire to partner his business with ministry. We didn’t really know how God even opened this door exactly. I am assuming it was just word of mouth and knowing people. But God opened the door for my husband to go teach this risk management tool he learned twenty-five years ago to Christian business leaders who are going to go out and start businesses. They are going to change the world because everyone they hire is going to be working for a firm that loves Jesus. I can’t get over how this door opened.
My husband, right now, at this very moment, is sitting at Colorado in a lodge owned by the school. He is staying there; they are feeding him and providing him a car, and they are loving on him. He teaches these students who are hungry. They are engaged, they want to learn, and they want to be great Christian business leaders. They intend to be extremely prosperous. They intend to use their money for the kingdom of God—to grow the kingdom of God. He is getting the opportunity to pour into these business-minded, sold-out followers of Jesus Christ.
I can’t get over the way my husband sought first the kingdom of God and God has added this to him—that God planted the seed years ago, and first came the blade, then the stalk, and now it feels like the full kernel. God is his Father. He is a good Father. He wants to give him the desires of his heart.
While this desire was in his heart, he didn’t make it known. God did it. It was done on the back of God. This blows my mind. I cannot get over the depth of what I understand here. I am seeing the provision of God manifest and unfold before my eyes for one of His faithful children who has been pursuing Him, seeking Him, taking the next step, and obeying and doing the next thing. He is sitting in the middle of carrying out the desire of his heart right now.
I am in awe of the good, good Father. I want you to know that is who God is. He is the God who wants to give you the desires of your heart. As you seek Him, He will add everything you desire unto you. If your desires are improper, time with Him will straighten them out. They will be according to what He has for you anyway. He is going to set you on the right path and direct your steps. He is just that awesome. Whatever you have done in the past, He is going to use it. He is going to build on it. Because a harvest is something where a seed was planted a long time ago and then the harvest comes.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude to my Father right now for providing this awesome opportunity for my husband to use his gifts in such a mighty way for the kingdom of God to be built in businesses. I just wanted to share, and I hope it encourages you.