Stitched Together

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As I have been pouring over my fiction manuscript for the past several weeks, I realize how truly blessed I am. Let me try and explain what I mean. You see throughout this novel I am integrating memories and stories from my childhood and the precious women of God that I have grown up with: my great-grandma, Thompie, my sweet grandmas, Lucy and Mary, and my dear mom, Kay. These women helped to form and mold me into the woman I am today. I know that I am blessed to have grown up around such incredible women of God. Each one impressed different aspects into my life and taught me countless things, but above all their faith and love for God shown brightly.

To some my childhood or life in general may appear simple. However, I would not trade my close-knit family and deep-rooted faith for all the money in the world. There are some things you simply cannot put a price on.

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to thank God for these ladies. Two have gone on to be with the Lord, but their memories are alive in my heart, as I impress what I have been taught to my own children. My precious mom is such a rock for me. Even amidst the storms of life she has stood firm.

My prayer is that my life would shine God’s light into those around me as these sweet ladies have done for me.

I would love for you to share a memory in the comment section today of your mom or grandma or perhaps there was another special woman in your life who served as this type of example for you. I would also encourage you to tell them what they mean to you and also thank God for placing you together.

Lackluster Faith – Guest Post

I am delighted to have my friend Trish Cordell share with you on the blog today. We became friends through the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies and then met in person last summer at the She Speaks Conference. She is such a blessing. Please lift her up and encourage her in the comment section today. I also encourage you to check out her blog.


Have you ever huffed on an apple, and then rubbed the apple on your sleeve?  Did you ever notice how much shinier that spot on the apple became?

Have you ever put wax on your car?  First you have to wash your car, get all the dirt and grime off it.  Then you have to ensure the car is dry. You do another once over with your eyes making sure no dirt was left behind because you don’t want to scratch the car by rubbing dirt into the paint.

Putting wax on your car is more than just slapping some wax on it.  You have to use a damp, lint free cloth, and apply the wax either in small circles or from side to side using a small wipe pattern.  After you put the wax on, you have to let it dry.  Once it’s dry you can see the film over the car has left it dull.  When you wipe the wax off, you have a beautiful shine on your car.

How about silver? Have you ever polished silver?  I don’t own any silver, but I worked for a place that had lots of it.  Oh my goodness, let me just say polishing silver is not one of my favorite things to do.  You truly have to put in some work to make your silver shine!! Before I polished the silver, I thought it looked just fine.  I was for certain the silver items were good to go!!  Seriously, who needs to polish silver?

My employer brought the silver pieces to the counter over by the sink.  She filled the sink with a little soapy water.  She grabbed the tub of polish that would be used on the silver, then grabbed the sponge and was ready to show me why we polish silver.  Little did I know my car waxing skills would be coming into play.  The sponge for the polish also needed to be damp.  Then you put the polish on the silver piece in little circular motions with, as my employer said, “muscle” behind it.  It was then I was thinking, “why do people own silver?”

Let me just say, I could barely believe my eyes when I saw how much shinier the silver looked.  I believe my mouth even opened in disbelief.  I could totally see the difference in the shine compared to the lackluster tarnish that had covered up that beautiful shine.

Much like those possessions, our faith can become dulled by the circumstances we deal with every single day.  Our Jesus light becomes dull and tarnished when we stray too far or become buried in the muck and mire of sin.  Faith and hope fade into the darkness, joy vacates our being, and love seems unattainable.  How can we give love, when we can’t receive love?

There’s a big difference between polish on the outside versus the inside. Our faith is polished from the inside out.  Digging in God’s Word, (polish), letting it transform our minds, (applying polish), receiving and believing (removing polish), then practicing what we’ve been taught allows our Jesus light to…shine.  Faith and hope take stage left and stage right, joy radiates from our souls, and love pours out in abundance and Jesus is right where He should be…center stage for all too see.

Lackluster faith will no doubt get you through life. I don’t know about you, but I want more than just “getting by” faith.  I want faith that will move mountains.

Mark 11:23 says “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea, ‘and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.”

It’s not enough to just read it, or even say it, you have to believe!! We were made to shine! We were made to glorify the One who made us.  We were made to have faith that moves mountains! Where’s your faith my friends?

Cancer, Vitamins and Christ

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Today is a very special day for me for more than one reason. It is my birthday, but it is also the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. I would like to share something that is near and dear to my heart. I would love to hear your feedback. Thank you for sharing this day with me.

It was a brisk November day as I made my way across the parking lot and into the doctor’s office. My mind was going in several different directions as I mentally made a to-do list and tried to decide how to spend my day – my birthday. The appointment should not take long. It was just a follow-up from my procedure a few weeks earlier. I was so lost in thought that I almost didn’t hear the nurse call my name. It seemed a little odd that she didn’t stop and have me weigh in – always my least favorite – maybe it was her birthday present to me. The sweet little nurse ushered me into the doctor’s office and not the normal exam room. It was out of the ordinary, but the waiting room was so full I didn’t think much about it. I simply made myself comfy on the couch, pulled out my Kindle and started reading.

Before long, the doctor entered the room with my chart. He had this serious look on his face and then said, “We need to talk.” The pause seemed like an eternity. “The path results came back and it’s not good. It’s cancer.” After hearing the “C” word everything else went into slow motion. Jumbled phrases were making their way through the fog, “Caught it early,” “surgery is necessary,” and “most likely contained.” I couldn’t believe this was happening. I’m only in my 30s. This was just a follow-up. The doctor has to have picked up the wrong file. I simply needed to wake-up. It had to just be a nightmare. The next thing I know I am handed an appointment card for a specialist – gynecological oncologist – in Indianapolis.
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Just Obey: Following God’s Leading Without All the Details

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As a mother to five incredible children, I find that I am learning so many lessons through them. The most recent example of this was a conversation I had with our youngest son, Quintin (age 6).

Let me set the scene for you. We were all getting ready to leave and Quintin was poking along. I kept trying to encourage him to pick up the pace – getting his shoes on and out to the car. As he reluctantly made his way to grab his shoes by the door, I informed him we were heading to Mamaw’s house and I was certain he wanted to get right over there. He looked up at me with those adorable eyes and said, I didn’t know. Momma, why didn’t you give me all the details? I looked at him and replied, Quintin, you do not need to have all the details, just obey.

As soon as the words left my tongue I felt the conviction in my own heart. You see I have had a similar interchange with my Heavenly Father. I kept praying for God to lay out all the details in front of me and then I would gladly slip on my shoes and follow His leading. But let me ask you, is that really walking in faith and trusting God? Absolutely not.

Since I have decided to really say Yes to God, I have to simply obey with childlike faith, not questioning the details.

What about you, how is your faith walk? What steps will you take today to obediently follow God’s leading instead of standing still asking questions?

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*Don’t forget about the giveaway this week. Today is the last day to get your entries in for the prize pack. You will be entered for every comment you leave on my blog as well as liking me on facebook, signing up to receive my blog via email and following me on twitter. The winner will be announced Saturday, August 10th.

Change of Plans

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Christmas is by far my favorite time of the year. I love it all – celebrating the birth of our Savior, baking goodies for family and friends, decorating, attending Christmas programs and parties, selecting the perfect gift and then wrapping it. I usually start making preparations in the beginning of November. To say I am eager is a huge understatement. However, this year is different. Instead of filling my time with getting ready for Christmas, my days have been filled with doctors, specialists, tests, surgery, diagnosis, pain and frustration. This is the time of year that I am giving and doing for others and I simply am unable to this year.

I struggled with this for quite some time. How could I possibly do what God wanted me to do – taking steps of faith – when I wasn’t able to do? However, God spoke directly to my heart and said, Rest and trust in me, I’ve got this all taken care of. To many of you that may seem obvious, of course God has everything under control. However, to me, someone who is used to doing, this was difficult.

I have discovered that God is using this time to help me draw closer to Him and strengthen my faith. I may not be able to clean, bake or decorate, but I can read, study and pray.

The past several weeks have revealed to me that sometimes being still and resting in God takes a step of faith. This “down time” has also allowed me to focus on what is really important – the greater God has in store for me. I know that the ditches I am digging, by studying and resting in Him, will one day overflow with blessings far greater than I can imagine.

What small steps of faith is God asking you to take today to start you on the greater journey He has in store for you?

The Girl’s Still Got It – Week 6 Wrap-Up

Last week left us and Ruth wondering what Boaz was going to say as he approached. The tension must have been building with every step as Ruth watched him come closer.  The first words to her were so endearing, “my daughter”. These are the very same words Naomi spoke to her earlier that morning.  Right away, Boaz swoops in and assumes the father role.

Boaz quickly shows he is concerned about her safety and is going to do something about it. Ruth is no longer a foreigner just collecting the scraps, but now she is welcomed as a servant. This position gives her protection. In the same way, God welcomes us in His family based on everything Christ did and not on our own merit. Just like Ruth, there are times in our own lives that we must go through difficult circumstances. However, it is when we are dirty, tired and feel like we can’t go on that God whispers, “just trust me”. This is exactly what Ruth has been doing since she made the choice to leave everything and follow Naomi and her God.

The next thing in Chapter Six that stuck out to me was regarding Ruth’s appearance. Until reading this chapter, I always thought Ruth was beautiful and that is what caught Boaz’s attention. However, just like God, Boaz was looking at Ruth’s heart, not the external appearance. He saw her for the true beauty she really was. Then, he speaks a blessing over her; asking God to not only restore what she has lost, but to also “richly” bless her. Ruth responds with showering Boaz with compliments.

Boaz shows his compassion for Ruth by taking things a step farther and not only inviting her to eat with him, but also serving her. After eating until she is stuffed, Ruth returns to work. The rest of the men remain as Boaz gives orders for them to make it easier for Ruth. Ruth was unaware this was taking place, just like we have no idea what work God is doing behind the scenes on our behalf.

There is such a sweet tenderness between Ruth and Boaz, you can’t help but be drawn into their story. Things are really beginning to change for Ruth. God is working everything out for good – in His timing and in His way.

What stood out to you this week in the reading?

Week 3 Wrap-Up

We pick up the story with Orpah making the decision to return to Moab. As she turns to go back home, Ruth is standing there clinging to her mother-in-law. The tension builds as the readers wonder what decision Ruth will make. Naomi cuts through the tension with one word, “Look!” There is no mistaking the tone in her voice. She does not want to return home with a Moabite daughter-in-law in tow.

Naomi just sent Orpah back to her false gods and now she is encouraging Ruth to do the same. It is easy to stand on the sidelines and point out all of Naomi’s faults, but how many times have you and I done the same thing – keeping our faith to ourselves? God is interested in everyone and we are to go and reach others for Him. No matter what Naomi’s motive was God had other plans for Ruth.

Verse 16 starts with a small word, “but” that changes the whole thing. God is working in and changing Ruth. Ruth’s decision to follow Naomi was all about God. I love the reminder that Liz gives us, “God’s plans for you were already in place” (46). We have been painted into God’s masterpiece. Sometimes we don’t understand, but beloved He has plans for each and every one of us. Ruth didn’t know what wonderful things awaited her in Bethlehem; she was just being obedient to the nudging of the Spirit of God. That is the same choice we all face, will we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit even when it is not necessarily the easy path?

Ruth takes it farther, not only is she promising never to leave Naomi, but that “Your people will be my people…” (Ruth 1:16). Ruth is leaving everything behind and committing herself to the unknown – talk about a leap of faith. It is easy for us to sit back and cheer Ruth on and say, “way to go”, but we are called to do the very same thing with the body of Christ. We have to get beyond the exterior and love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ just as God loves us.

After all of Ruth’s vows to Naomi, it is her turn to respond. Evidently, she decides that nothing is going to change Ruth’s mind, so she doesn’t say anymore. Naomi needs to gain a new perspective on the situation. She will soon discover that Ruth is a blessing, not a burden.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Ruth is leaving behind all that is familiar – her country, her family and her      home. How easy or difficult would it be for you to do the very same thing?
  2. To whom could you say, “Where you go I will go”?
  3. Reading through Ruth 1:14-18, what is your one take-away or aha moment from this passage?

What is guiding you?

Imagine for a moment that you are outside at night or in a pitch-black room.  You cannot see your hand in front of your face.  You turn to the left and then the right, trying to seek out some source of light.  Then, you happen to remember the small flashlight that you have in your pocket.  Getting the flashlight out, you immediately turn it on.  Your eyes begin to adjust to the light.  Once your eyes have adjusted you notice that the flashlight helps to put light in a small area, but you cannot see the entire path.  In fact, the only way to see farther down the path is to take that step of faith in the dark with your flashlight.  You will need to go slowly, but by letting the light show you which way to go, you will make it down the path.

This same thing is true in our spiritual life.  In Psalms it says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).  The word is the Bible and if we use it, then it will be the light to guide us along life’s journey.  That does not mean that we will see everything that is coming along the path.  Just like the flashlight, we only see a little, but with each step of faith we take, we are getting closer to where God wants us to be.  God promises in Proverbs that when we follow His leading, He will direct our steps and make our paths straight; “in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6).  What a comfort that promise brings to us.

Our only requirement is to hold tight to the Light and let Him guide our path, as we faithfully take those little steps of faith each and every day.  How are you stepping out this week?  Do not stay stuck in the same place, you must move on down the path.