Friday, May 15, 2015

3 Life Lessons from the Rain Puddle

If you live in Texas you know it's been nothing but rain for the last few weeks. Yesterday was trash day and despite the down pour of rain I knew I needed to bring the trash bins inside.  I grabbed an umbrella and with my 4 year old son in tote we went to brave the storm.  As we got down to the bottom of our driveway I could see the bins were half full of water already.  Before bringing them in I tipped both of them over on their side to let the water drain out. Just as I was struggling to get the first one back upright a car flies by and drenches us in water.  As I was returning from the shock of the fact that a car did not slow down in the pouring rain and flung a puddle of water on us another car drove by and did the same thing!  At this point it was a very good thing that I had an umbrella in one hand(useless at this point) and a trash bin in the other because this sweet church girl may have given them a gesture that I would have later regretted.  As I began to mutter not so sweet nothings under my breath I heard The Lord say "How many times do you fly by without noticing people struggling too?"

Wow God knows how to give me amazing perspective when I really need it.  It reminded me of the parable Jesus told of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37:

"There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”

“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’

Here are 3 simple life lessons God taught me in my rain puddle moment:

1. Don't be too busy like the Priest.
How many times have we missed ministry opportunities to serve others simply because we were too busy?  Many of us pray for more opportunity and bigger platforms but we fail to serve those right in front of us who are hurting.

2. Don't be too good like the religious Levite.
Again, how many opportunities have we missed to be the hands and feet of God because we felt we were "above" the need?  We pray for God to use us but when it doesn't look as glamorous as we envisioned we tend to ignore the need and hope someone else will meet it.  I'm on no soap box here, God was speaking this directly to me too!

3. Have a heart, like the Samaritan.
I love that the story says the Samaritan's heart went out to the man.  It takes yielding to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis and not allowing our schedule to take most importance when God asks us to be the Good Samaritan in a person's life. 

I hope my rain puddle moments speaks to you today.  I just love when God takes what was meant to be a mess and turns it into a message!  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pink Impact 2015 Highlights

Every year my church puts on the most amazing women's conference and every year I walk away refreshed, blessed and ready to take on the world!  This year's theme was "Light" and WOW was there light everywhere!  From the decorations to the speakers messages to the gift they gave us...everywhere you turned you were reminded to be a light!

Since some of you may not have attended the conference I want to highlight some of my favorite quotes from each speakers message for you to chew on:

Pastor Debbie Morris: "Conversations to Remember"

  • Light clarifies, qualifies & identifies.
  • Stop asking the question "Who am I" and instead ask "Who is God in me?"
  • The woman at the well went there to escape her problems but it was at the well that she met Jesus.
Blynda Lane: "This land is your land"

  • Come as you are(like Rahab), Stand on promises of God(like Joshua) and Don't be a fool(like Achan).
  • Humbly walk in this season I am in with joy and I will be more effective.
  • Don't go before God's timing, that's not a territory God has asked you to take yet.
  • How often do we walk into our territory while looking over at what others have and are doing. 
  • All my junk has to stay behind as I walk into the new land.
Pastor Tim Ross: "Now I know for Sure"

  • God is a polite stalker :)
  • Never fall in love with your place of provision or you will turn it into an idol.
  • It's when I'm asked for something I'm running out of that I get touchy.
  • Don't just stand there, DO doesn't have to make sense. 
Pastor Jimmy Evans(with Marriage Today): "10 Standards to test Emotional Health"

  • If you've been going to bed angry you've been counseled by the devil and didn't know it.
  • Feelings you have can be very real but very wrong.
  • Any thought you don't take captive will take you captive. 
  • Pray for people because it forces it out of your head and into your heart.

  • God made us perfect but we choose to go down the wrong path.
  • You are either choosing life or death in your thoughts.
  • The thing you fear is the energy that wakes that thing up.
  • If you aren't addicted to God you are addicted to something. 
  • Whatever you have wired into your brain you can wire out. 
  • I make a lousy someone else. 
  • You increase your own brain health when you praise others gifts. 

Elaine Fisher: "The Power of Light"

  • Can God trust me to be a light in a dark place?
  • Esther was called before there was a need. 
  • We must raise the bar and steward our Facebook platform well.  
  • It may cost us to be a light in this generation. 
  • In the dark, life hurts.
  • If we don't fill the lies in our lives with truth, Satan will just fill it with another lie. 

Some other amazing speakers and leaders were Missy Robertson(from Duck Dynasty) and worship with Kari Jobe!  

These are just a few of the amazing Pink Impact moments and words of wisdom from the speakers. For me personally, I felt the Lord remind me to spread my light.  We must be careful as leaders to not be too insecure to light the candles of others around us.  It can be tempting to hold that candle for yourself but the truth is if we don't light the flames of those in our territory we will eventually burn out and miss the opportunity we had to light up the world.

Some sweet moments with friends and my mom!  

Every year we get an amazing gift. This year's gift was this beautiful "Light" necklace!
One of my favorite parts of Pink Impact is these prophetic words that the Pink Prophetic team writes. We each get one in our seat and every year it's exactly what I need to hear!  God is so cool!  

The Gateway Pink team is sharing blog posts on light for the next few weeks.  You can follow along here. And if you have never attended a Pink Impact you need to!!  You can learn more about Pink Impact 2016 AND their Pink Impact Cruise coming up in November 2015 here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A WILD Adventure {Studio G article}

Several months ago I had the honor of being a small group leader at one of our church's women's retreats.  While everyone was out zip lining I felt the Lord ask me to stay behind in the cabin and write an article.  After I wrote the article I felt Him prompt me to submit it to our women's department to be published in Studio G(our women's magazine released twice a year).  I argued but eventually did it.  I was a little shocked when they told me it was chosen as an article for the Spring issue but am thankful God is using my story to inspire women to live life outside of their shell.  If you would like to receive this magazine for free you can do so by visiting here and requesting one sent to you or you can read it online.  Here is the article I wrote for the Spring 2015 issue:

A WILD Adventure

What comes to mind when you think of a WILD woman?  Most of us get an image of an out-of-control woman who has no boundaries along with no clear direction, or plan. When an idea strikes her, she just runs with it and often finds herself in less-than-perfect circumstances.

The dictionary defines wild as being "uncontrolled" or "unrestrained".  I personally had a wild streak in college that was fun while it lasted but left me feeling empty and alone.  When I chose to surrender my life to Christ I wanted to bury that wild girl.  I was terrified of going back to that way of life that had no control or restrain.  I longed for boundaries and protection.  The problem was that I went to the extreme. I thought if I couldn't be wild in the way the world defines it that I couldn't be wild at all.  I needed to be the good little church girl who read her Bible every day and prayed and attended church weekly.  Don't get me wrong, all of these things are great, but they are just our fuel for the wild adventure God wants to take us on.  

This mindset change came to me when I heard our church had a program called WILD(Women in Leadership Development), which consists of a series of classes designed to equip women for leadership. I was a little shocked and intrigued at the same time.  The world may have a negative view of the word wild, but God sees it differently.  God created us in His image and there's a reason He created us to long for adventure. Being wild with God does not mean living life in reckless abandon; it means wildly following Him when the things He calls us to don't make sense.

On my journey through WILD, I learned that I have unique gifts, strengths and a calling that only I can fulfill.  I learned that I was created for so much more than just being a quiet church girl. I was created to be a confident woman who walks hand in hand with God every day as He takes me on an exciting adventure.  

Even as you are reading this, the Holy Spirit may be stirring something in you and asking you to believe Him for so much more.  If you want to be a WILD woman too, start with these simple steps that will help you begin your journey:

Identify your passions.
What gets you up in the morning?  What could you spend hours talking about?  What could you do as a job that you would do for free because you love it so much?  Our passions tend to be reflected in our everyday life.  Whatever you're drawn to was put there by God for a divine purpose.  There is no passion too small(or too big) to be of significance in God's kingdom.

For me, I love to see women walk out their God-given dreams and passions. Because I used to be so shy and terrified of stepping out of my comfort zone, I felt God call me to start a blog called "Life Outside the Shell." God has already done more than I could have ever imagined in such a short time since starting that blog. 

Fulfill the destiny God created for YOU!  
The number one thing that keeps us from pursuing that passion is the sin of comparison. If you have breathe in your lungs, then you have probably dealt with comparison at some time in your life.  Think about a puzzle and all of it's many pieces.  Can you imagine if just one puzzle piece looked exactly like another?  It would cause confusion, frustration and exhaustion.  And the picture would be incomplete because of the missing piece.  When we compare ourselves to others, we not only bring confusion into our lives but also into the lives of everyone around us.  As we cheer others on around us and help them find their place, we will also find ours.  

Hear God's voice for you.
After we discover our passions and strengths and stop comparing, we must listen closely for the voice of God in our lives.  He is our guide on this grand adventure and if we want to reach our destination, as well as enjoy the scenery along the way, we must follow Him closely.  Read the word, spend time in worship, and pray so He can show you things and directions that only He can reveal.

Will you join me in becoming a WILD woman?