WHEN GOD SHOWS UP

STEPPING TOWARD GOD WHEN YOU DO NOT KNOW THE OUTCOME IS RISKY!

Actually, it can be downright scary. To the point of making your stomach feel more than just butterflies, it can create a tsunami in there!

I recently found myself with a “tsunami stomach” situation just this last week.

I felt God prompting me to take a risk, trust Him for the results, and create an event that would not only meet the needs of our ladies at our church, but would also reach out to encourage ladies from all over our area.

I felt God telling me to trust Him and be ‘Strong in my Spirit!’ I mean after all, I’m in good company, right?

Look at Queen Esther, Mary, Martha, Mary the mother of Jesus, Deborah, Rehab… and the list goes on. But it is easier said then done! 

There is a reason they are my hero’s, they are strong, bold, confident, sure of their faith, courageous and bold. That’s why I look up to them. It is one thing to look up to them, it is a whole other thing to be like them!

I felt weak, a bit scared and unsure, and doubted my ability to accomplish the task God was asking me to do. Why would these women I wanted to invite listen to me? Would I be able to create an environment warm and welcoming enough to build them up and encourage them? Would I find the time to make sure all of the details got completed? 

Would the women come? Would the women care?

It was too big of a task for me! The tsunami in my stomach began to grow and it threatened to wreak havoc. Then it happened, the still small voice of my gracious heavenly Father whispered, “trust me,” all you have to do is “trust me.”

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I began to reflect on the lives of my female heroes in the Bible. I realized that I heard the beginning and the end of their story, and had to guess at the “in-between” times.  I imagine they had butterflies and tsunami’s swirling inside their stomachs as well, but what I realized more than anything, was that they trusted God through the entire process. They did not quit, shrink back or give up! They trusted, God showed up, and His purpose was accomplished!

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WHEN WE TRUST GOD, HE SHOWS UP!

I realized at that moment that the success of the event did not depend on my success, it depended on God showing up, and boy, did He show up!

We had a record number of ladies attend. Women from our church were there and women from all over Sonoma County were there. The comments during and after reflected their thankfulness for being encouraged, loved and treated special.

I realized that what happens in the unwritten, “in-between” time, does not determine the outcome. It is the beginning and the end that allows God to show up and do His thing!

I am so happy that I took that first step of faith, stayed in the process even when the tsunami hit, and allowed God to show up and give us one of the best times I have ever had with God’s Chicks!

I do not know what God may be asking you do, but I do know that if you trust Him, take that first step of faith, and stay the course when the waves hit, He will show up and do what only He can do!

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I love that we are in this ‘Faith Walk’ together. That we are stronger when we gather together, learn from each other, and lean on each other when the going gets tough.

Christine Cain put it perfectly when she said,

“We grow ‘strong in spirit’ when we:

*Absorb God’s Word

*Pray

*Fast

*Read Christian Books

*Stay planted in a life-giving local church

*Worship God Regularly

*Stay in Community With other strong Believers!”

By absorbing God’s Word we read about and gain encouragement from women of faith who have gone before us, have taken those same scary steps of trust, and allowed God to “show up.” By staying in community with other strong believers we gain strength ourselves!

There is no limit to what God can do! Don’t allow your circumstances to grow taller than your trust in God, and block your view from what God can do!

Speak Truth Love

TRIUMPH OUT OF TRAGEDY 

Seventeen years ago today on September 11, 2001, one of the deadliest attacks on U. S. soil occurred.
Thirteen years ago today on September 11, 2005, one of the greatest blessings in my life, and in the lives of my family occurred.
Brian Jacob Edmiston was born and my family knew God had given us a “miracle baby,” and had him born on September 11th, to demonstrate us that ‘God’s Goodness Always Remains.’
My sister and brother-in-law were married and desired to have a baby for ten years. Through several failed attempts at IVF and several miscarriages which followed, they were told that medicine and modern science could not help in giving them a child.  My sister left the parking lot of the doctor’s office that painful day when this news was told to her, threw her arms up in the air, and exclaimed,”Only You, God can tell me if I will have a child or not.” Within the month she was carrying our miracle baby, Jake.
Her due date was for sometime in early September. All she cared about was that he not be born on September 11th. I mean, can you blame her? Who wants their child’s birthday to be remembered on the same day as a National Tragedy? Who, God, that’s who!
Because my sister knew, that God had given her a miracle, God knew she would give Him the glory for it!
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GOD’S GOODNESS ALWAYS REMAINS.
“But The Word of The Lord Remains Forever. And that Word is the Good News that was preached to you.” (AKA The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord!)
1 Peter 1:25
 
So, on September 11, 2005, four years after one of the worst tragedy’s in the world, God brought His triumph! My family and I stood around a hospital bed in Oakland, California and welcomed Brian Jacob Edmiston, God’s miracle baby, into this world!
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He is an incredible boy, with talents and abilities too many to list, who became a teenager today. God has great plans for him, and I am proud to be his Aunt Lisa!
God’s goodness always remains, and is a part of our lives even in the worst of times!
Happy Birthday Jakey Boy!  You are so loved!!!
Speak Truth Love

A CHEERFUL HEART

I have a “Cheerful Heart,” in my life and she puts a smile on my face each and every time I am around her. Her middle name is ‘RAE’, and she could not have been named more appropriately!  She is a ‘Rae of Sunshine,’ and she has a truly cheerful heart!

Her name is Allison Rae Swaney, and she is my daughter-in-law!  She is a cheerful heart who approaches life with her cup half full! She has an uncanny sense of humor, that some may call sarcasm. She calls it that, I do not. I call it ‘levity.’ She has the ability to take a comment or statement and turn it into a light hearted quip. She puts everyone at ease, and through her ‘Cheerful Heart’, puts a smile on everyones face. She is a joy to be around and accomplishes the task that makes me most thankful for her! She brings cheerful, light-hearted, joy and support to my son’s life each and every day!

She is truly a Rae of sunshine, a joy and a gift to me and today is her birthday! I celebrate her today and everyday and thank God for placing this ‘Cheerful Heart’ in my life!

The Bible tells us that a Cheerful heart is good. It is not being phony, false or two faced. It is instead being pleasant, bright, and expressive! A person in good spirits is someone who does not hold grudges, or think ill of others. They are someone who promotes cheer and makes others feel good!

This type of attitude is a healthy one!  The Bible tells us this in Proverbs 17:22,

A CHEERFUL HEART IS GOOD MEDICINE.

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The medical field backs this up by letting us know that when we are cheerful and happy we produce ‘endorphins.’ These groups of peptides react in the brain to cause us to feel better, heal quicker and actually raise our pain threshold!

Having a cheerful , positive attitude is not always an easy thing to do, but surrounding yourself with a ‘Cheerful hearted’ person can raise your endorphin level significantly! It can put a smile on your face and a spring in your step before you even know what happened to you!

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A cheerful heart brings joy to your life!

I thank God for my ‘Cheerful Heart,’ Allie Rae, and I wish her the bestest birthday ever!

Speak Truth Love

Listen Well

I have a beautiful sister who celebrates her birthday today! I celebrate her and thank God for giving me a wonderful sister who listens so well!

When my life with her started, I was bending down to sit on the floor and play with her. I was bending down to crawl on the floor with her and build block towers. I was bending down to give her a hug and a kiss. And, I was bending down to hold her hand and walk along side her as she began to take her first steps. I was only five and she was only one, but after all I was the big sister, and that was my job.

The years pasted quickly, sometimes way too quickly! These days both of us find ourselves well into our 50’s! However, to this day she has become one of the best listeners that God has put in my life!

She listens well, and she listens long. Now you may think I accidentally wrote that word… Long! But I didn’t! Some people will listen to us for a short amount of time, out of courtesy or out of obligation. Not my sister Lynnie. She listens long and she listens well. She does not constantly interrupt and interject with helpful tips or ways to end the conversation. She truly hears what you are saying and makes you feel cared for and loved as she listens to you intently. It is a gift!

God offers the same gift to us through prayer. God not only answers our prayers when we pray them to Him, but He tells us that He bends down to where we are, and He listens.

Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.

Psalm 116:2

When my sister was younger, I bent down to her to have a relationship with her. She was not my same age, and she was not my same size, so I bent down to her. As she grew up and we became equals, she began bending down to me to listen when I needed her.

In the dictionary, one of the definitions of the bend is, “ to cause, to submit, or yield; to bend to one’s will.” When we choose to bend down and are not “broken“, we are submitting our will to the will of someone else. That is what our heavenly Father does for us! When we pray He bends down and He listens! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need someone to listen! This world is tough and life gets difficult. Sometimes I may have the answer, and sometimes I may not, but I always need someone to show me they care by bending down and listening. God is always there for me and He always bends down and listens when I pray!

When you pray, I will listen.” Jeremiah 29:12

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Our Heavenly Father bends down when we reach up.

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, oh God. Bend down and listen as I pray.”  Psalm 17:6

God is always willing to bend down and listen! All we have to do is reach up to Him!

Are you reaching up?

Are you frustrated and struggling with an area of your life? 

Are you reaching up to your heavenly Father?

Are you tired and weary from life being so “daily?”

Are you reaching up to your heavenly Father?

Are you dealing with a situation bigger than yourself? 

Are you reaching up to your heavenly Father?

Just reach up! Your heavenly Father is faithful! He will bend down, and He will listen!

Happy Birthday Lynnie! I love you!

Speak Truth Love

The Bird at my Window

This week I have had a bird at my window. Actually, at my windows, plural!

My favorite part of our home is our ten, large, rectangular windows in our front room/dining room. They are followed by a large sliding glass door leading to the outside patio.  You read that correctly…I have ten large rectangular windows in my front living room! While it may be an architectural wonder, it is truly my favorite feature of our home. Some may call it “wasted space”, but I call it marvelous! The ten windows below are covered with white wood blinds, but all five of the top windows are uncovered, allowing the beautiful outside, inside! From the first step I took into this home, my eyes were drawn up to the five uncovered widows. Out of them I see oak trees from every angle, with their branches intertwined, creating a painting like view. Peeping though the branches of the oak trees is the sky and clouds. On clear days the sky is blue and the clouds are puffy white. On darker days, the sky is grey and the clouds are flat with dark hues underlining their forms. But those trees are always there, visible from every angle and every level. I wake up to them as I begin my approach downstairs to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee each morning. I stare out at them as my feet descend down each individual step of the staircase. I sit and gaze up at them from my spot on our sofa as I begin my morning prayer time with God. I LOVE these windows! My favorite part is that they bring the outside into me, as I sit comfy and cozy on my sofa and gaze out of them.

This week something crazy happened at my windows, that I have never seen happen before.

I heard a soft banging sound and began looking around my home. It sounded like it was up high, so I glanced up and saw a small bird fluttering like mad and hitting my window again and again.

At first it was beautiful to watch. It did not seem to be hitting the window too harshly, and did not seem to be hurting itself. I stood and watched for some time, thinking it would become exhausted and stop. It didn’t stop! My grandbabies were in the house with me and my grandson said, “Mamma, you should open the door and let the bird in!” As I explained to him that the outside was his home, and if we let him in he would be trapped, panic and eventually die, I realized God may be teaching me a lesson through this tiny bird visitor.

Why was this little, winged creature so discontented with his outside surroundings, and so desperate trying to get inside to different surroundings?

I was convinced that it must be the fact that she had a nest somewhere above or beside the window. I looked outside and there was no nest!

Then something even stranger took place. I woke up the following morning to the same soft banging sound, and watched my tiny friend flutter and fly and try her best to get inside when she was created for the outside.

God began to speak into my heart this scripture verse…

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t YOU, (Lisa), far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”  Matthew 6:26

I have been allowing “worry”, to take up way too much of my time lately. I have been allowing myself to believe that I can change or control my circumstances by worrying and fretting. I have been frantically pounding my head against a wall, or window, like my bird friend, and spending precious time trying to get into something or somewhere I do not belong. God is calling me to rest in Him, and learn to be content where He has me instead of frantically, in vain, banging on a wall or window I was never intended to be inside of.

Contentment is a difficult position for us humans. Maybe some of our bird friends even share the issue of discontentment. But I believe that learning to be content in the area God has placed us in is a valuable lesson we all need to learn.

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True contentment is found in knowing we are valuable to God.

Our heavenly Father cares for us. He is faithful to provide what we need, when we need it. We are valuable to Him. When He places us somewhere, He will give us all we need to sustain us while we are there.

Trust in God and find your contentment in where He has placed you. After all, can all of your worrying add a single day to your life? No, but God can give each and every day of your life peace, contentment and fulfillment.

I am anxious to wake up tomorrow morning and see if my bird friend has learned this lesson yet!

Speak Truth Love

God’s Choice

Have you ever felt like somebody’s last choice? The last to be chosen for the team. The last on someone’s list. The last to be invited to the party. The last choice for the position you interviewed for. Have you felt looked over, passed up, or not chosen?

If you have ever found yourself in any of these positions, I have good news for you! You are chosen, you have been selected, you have a great purpose, and loads of potential!

You are never too old, too young, too tall, too short, too large, or too small. You are absolutely perfect! You are God’s choice, and His plans for you are perfect. They may not fit your pre-arranged calendar, or your self-set agenda, but be assured God never makes a mistake, and you are His choice!

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 

1 Samuel 16:7

From a human point of view, we may not be the smartest person in the room, the most athletic player on the team, have the greatest amount of poise, or be America’s next top model. However, you possess everything to be the perfect you. When your heart is committed to God, His principles and purposes, He will equip you with everything you need.

He has equipped you with every good thing for doing His will.

Hebrews 13:21

Whatever God has called you to be, and whatever God has called you to do, you are enough, you are equipped, and you are chosen! You are God’s choice!

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Your value lies in the fact that you are God’s choice!

Speak Truth Love

The Desires Of Your Heart

What delight’s you? Think about it for a minute. Do not respond too quickly, mull it over in your mind and reflect on what truly brings you delight.

If you have been reading my blog for more than a week, or if you simply have read the bio on me, you know that I LOVE coffee, cupcakes, snowflakes, snow skiing, and worship music!

But if you asked me the same question I just asked you…

What delight’s you Lisa? I would immediately respond with the answer, “MY FAMILY!”

There is a smile on my face just thinking about them! When we are together it is a true delight! We laugh together, eat together, play together, cry together and worship our Lord and Savior together! They truly are The Desire’s of My Heart!

I desire to be with them every day. When they are not close by me physically, they are in my heart and prayers daily! Like I said above, they put a smile in my heart and on my face just thinking about them!

Jim and I are blessed with two biological adult children, two adult children through marriage, and two beautiful grandchildren. We are praying for more of those if it is God’s Will. It is certainly our desire!

But, three years ago last July, God called two of those “desire’s”, to leave Southern California and follow His call to Northern California. My heart was sad to have them move farther away from us physically, but overjoyed to watch them listen to God and step out in obedience to follow His call on their lives.

Then, twenty-one months ago, Jim and I heard God calling us to minister to a church in the Bay Area of California. This meant that we would be closer to our son and daughter-in-law, 2 hours away instead of 8, but would have to leave our daughter, son-in-law and grand babies.

God’s call was clear and we left, but my life’s verse, Philippians 4:13, became my daily support and sustainment. God proved to me that we truly can do “…ALL things through Christ who gives us strength!

My step of obedience first started with letting go of my children and entrusting them to God!

He asked me to take a further step to GO and minister to His people and trust Him to guard and protect my heart. What I learned was that He desired me to DELIGHT myself in Him FIRST! I had to trust that He would fill the lonely days with His presence and His peace and His joy, AND HE DID! Oh yes, I still missed them, but I learned to delight myself in Him first and desire His presence over their’s!

God’s blessings do not come to us because we deserve them or earn them, they are out of the overflow of His GREAT, VAST LOVE FOR US!

I believe with all of my heart that God’s blessings come after we step out in obedience to His call and His will for our lives.

My motto has always been…

“God’s Blessings Follow Our Obedience.”

God’s call on your life at times, may seem unclear or blurry at best, but the key is obedience!

God may or may not choose to reveal His will or call clearly to you in the moment. But undeniably, He has one for each and every one of us. As we seek it daily through His Word and Prayer, what is our attitude to be?

I shared last week on the blog about my daughter and her family moving to Northern California, where my son and daughter-in-law live. That happened twenty-one months after Jim and I stepped out in obedience, left our grandchildren, and followed His call North.

I believe our attitude at all times, seeking God’s will, stepping out in obedience, waiting on His will, and living His call daily, should be to “Delight ourselves in Him!”

Take delight in The Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4

We are to “delight” ourselves in The Lord every step along God’s path for our lives. That means each and every day! Weather or not we see His will and plan perfectly laid out for us.

I recently heard a sermon that made the statement…

“What you think about and what you act on, equals how you feel.”

Don’t miss the point here!  The “feeling” does not come before the mind and action, it comes AFTER!

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GOD’S BLESSINGS FOLLOW OUR OBEDIENCE.

Whether the obedience God asks of you today is to make a huge move, a gigantic change in your lifestyle, or to simply “Be still and know that He is God,” take delight in it! He will bless you and give you the desire’s of your heart!

Delighting in you my Friends, and in the relationship we share in Jesus!

Have a delightful week! I’ll see you back here next Tuesday!

Speak Truth Love