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Alive and Rested…

girl sitting by water - REST - for 2-12-20 blog

Photo by léa b on Unsplash

Recently, I heard a fantastic word on festooning scripture. You may have read my previous blog (And then it was a New Year…) on this subject. So, I thought I today, I would share with you the reflections I experienced while using Psalm 23 to practice.

Pastor Christine Suh, Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Fellowship Monrovia, was the guest speaker at the Fellowship Moms Bible Study.

Festooning basically means “to decorate”. Pastor Christine then shared that she would teach us how to festoon scripture into our soul. That definitely caused me to pause. She also explained the beautiful benefits of time spent personalizing scripture to our current life circumstances.

I’ll also add, that God’s Word is not a merely a story book. It’s not a place where we can see how scripture fits into our life, or how God fits into our life. Quite the opposite. Spending time in God’s Word shows us how we are to live with God as the center of our life and how we can live so as to honor Him and glorify Him through all that we do. 

To festoon is to personalize. And because God’s word is alive, He can personalize it to us every time we decide to spend time with Him. That’s the heart of the good Father. He knows His children and what make each one of us respond to His voice.

As Pastor Christine continued with her teaching, she also showed how most passages have three parts:

  • Orientation
  • Disorientation
  • Reorientation

I love this so much because these three qualities speak of how He works in our life to show us our path and purpose. God is the God of order and not chaos, so in no way do I want to confuse you at all. Let me be clear ~ God is ALWAYS oriented perfectly! We as humans are the ones who get disoriented and confused. This is why scripture is written the way it is:

  • God gives us perfect direction ~ every time.
  • When we get disoriented, God is there to keep us stabilized with the truth of His Word.
  • Finally, God is there to refocus us and remind us Who is He, what He can do, and what our path is.

With that, I welcome you to join me in this exercise of festooning scripture! Go ahead and first read through Psalm 23 (printed at the bottom of this blog using the Amplified Bible version). After each verse, these are my first initial thoughts and feelings as I personalized this scripture.

Here we go ~

(Orientation)

Vs.1 “The LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want.

~ Thank you, Jesus, that You are always faithful to lead me on the path You have set forth for me to travel. In that path, there is no fear of being lost, in danger, or abandoned. No matter what, You will always provide for me all that I need. It may not be what I think I want, but it will be exactly what you have planned to satisfy my needs.

Vs.2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.

~ I’m grateful that You take me by the hand and gently lead me to places where I can find rest from my weariness; to places where I am able to rest in a peaceful state, and my mind is given rest from the distractions around me. I am thankful that there are opportunities that You provide for rest, and when my eyes are on You, I am able to see those times for what they are.

Vs.3 He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

~ You are gracious Lord to bring refreshment to my soul through your Living Word, through prayer, all with the opportunity to bring You glory & praise. I’m so thankful that by pausing in my day to read scripture, pray, and apply it to my life, that I can be refreshed even through the storms when they arise.

(Disorientation)

Vs.4 Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.

~ You know there will be times where I will allow my thoughts to wander away from Your truths & promises, causing confusion, disorientation, doubt, and fear. BUT ~ Your loving discipline will bring me back & Holy Spirit will wash my heart & mind clean with God’s truth over & for my life. I am grateful for Your gift of a comforter in the Holy Spirit.

(Reorientation)

Vs.5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows.

~ I’m humbled Lord by how You want to celebrate me; how You intend to gather me to Your presence to bless me beyond measure with all Your love and protection, guidance and rejoicing. With You there is nothing that I lack. When I’m filled with You, the overflow of my life will be unmistakably filled with You.

Vs.6 Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the LORD.”

~ You have called me by name, You have reconciled me to Your heart, You have come to save my soul and not condemn me. With You there is safety and joy, and that whatever trials and events come my way to cause disorientation, You will cover them and bring me to a place of peace. Forever!!

Whoa ~ such refreshment! Praise God!

I would love to encourage you to choose a scripture, maybe start with your favorite Psalm, and give it a try. When we truly meditate on God’s word and what He has to say to us, our soul cannot help but feel refreshed and renewed! Our soul and spirit long to be with the Father and what a beautiful privilege and blessing we have to openly read scripture and share with others what the Lord has done in our life.

Let your soul be festooned with the everlasting and perfect Word of God!

Blessings,

René

(Psalm 23 AMP) The Lord, the Psalmist’s Shepherd.

A Psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me],
I shall not want.

2 He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.

3 He refreshes and restores my soul (life);
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the [sunless] [a]valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You have anointed and refreshed my head with [b]oil;
My cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord.

 

Christian Communicators, Christian Mentors, College age women, Mentors, Millenials, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Seeds and Fruit…

plant the seeds - blog 2-10-20

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

My daughter Sierra recently said to me, “Well, you can’t eat fruit from a seed.” I challenged her because you absolutely can. She pointed out that if she handed me a seed and said, “Take a bite.”, it wouldn’t really be taking a bite of the fruit. It’s not ready yet. Um, hello? What is that phrase…’out of the mouths of babes!’  Okay, I mean, she’s 20 years old but still! Preachin’ to her mama!

This comment was made after I shared with her my epiphany that I was trying to get something off the ground too fast. I knew what I needed to do and I knew that God has definitely called me to begin a new ministry, but I was rushing it. That’s not so bad, but I have known that I was rushing it for a while now. And what’s worse, is that because I haven’t wanted to give voice to what I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me, I’ve also brought along the group of women who’ve said they want to join me in launching this ministry, and have made them wait unnecessarily.

Hello, my name is Rene’, and I’m stubborn.

When this ministry started bubbling in my heart more than a year ago, I was so excited! I wrote down all my thoughts and what the Lord was whispering to my heart. I talked to my husband and my kids and they were all super supportive. I prayed over a list of friends to join me in this endeavor. I sent emails. I made phone calls. I hired a web designer. My daughter created logos for me. I’ve planned conference, retreats, day events, fundraising dinners, bible studies, small groups, prayer groups, etc., more than I can count.

I’ve got this.

And I launched the ministry this past Fall to great excitement and support from family, friends, and social media friends. My friend Gus even helped me create a fantastic fundraising video for GoFundMe and it’s up and running! It was all coming together.

There have been plenty of moments in the past 5 months that I’ve been tempted to doubt that God really called me to this, but I battled those negative thoughts and won. The Lord and I are in this together. I have full support from my husband and phenomenal friends from across the US who feel the same.

But I’ll admit, all the new things I’ve seen pop up ~ ministries, day and weekend retreats, websites, books, bible studies ~ all the things have made me doubt there’s room for this new ministry.

So this has been a process for me of constantly going before the Lord and giving it back to Him. He has called me to it and I know He will “launch” all the things when the time is right. The mere fact that He has given me so many ideas is proof that this ministry WILL have it’s time and it’s more than okay that all the things don’t happen all at the beginning!

Remember what I told you at the beginning of this blog of what my daughter said to me?
“You can’t eat fruit from the seed.”

Dang! It’s true!

I mean, the fruit will come from the seed, but you can’t open the seed expecting to find fruit that is ready for consumption. And if you try to, you’re actually killing the seed before it even has the opportunity to produce the good fruit.

So now, I’ve come to this conclusion that some of the plans I was moving forward to make happen need to wait a year or so (or whatever God’s timing has to say about it); now the hardest part is to tell my awesome team members.

I don’t even have a “live” website yet (btw…it’s coming in early March 2020) and there is not the platform that is needed to gather the people for events yet. It takes time. It takes commitment and hustle to get the word out and garner a following. Just because I think this new ministry is something that is needed and something I know is from the heart of God for me to do, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen overnight.

Through all of this I have learned (well, more accurately, still learning) to take a deeper pause when I feel that I’m rushing. When I feel like I’m pushing something to be created faster than possible, that’s a pretty good indicator that I’m running ahead of God. Putting in the hard work of creating a website, an email list of interested parties, partnering with businesses who share my heart, and honestly, finding the people who want more of God in their life. There’s so much more that I must DO before the “end game” fruit is ready to eat!

There will come a day when the email list is in the thousands, when the day retreats will happen, when the weekend retreats happen, even when the merchandise happens…but until then, I must be patient and not rush the fruit of what God intends to grow. After all, it’s His ministry and He will guide it where it should go.

Oh, I don’t want to forget to tell you what I heard from my team members, my friends, after I let them know that I need to pull back and have a bit of a re-start.

Let’s just say I’ve got two words for ya ~ 

TOTAL CONFIRMATION!

I’ve heard from just about everyone now (at the point I’m writing this blog) and they are all so supportive. A couple of them are actually relieved! They were feeling a halting in their spirit and weren’t sure they could continue moving forward with the way I had been planning. Boy, if that isn’t spiritual confirmation! Even my friend who is our web designer was feeling the same way and was completely relieved to hear that I was initiating this pause and time of re-direction and foundation building.

This is why I need and want a team with me!! We are on our way to creating a great foundation in 2020, reaping the fruit as growth provides it when ready.

I’m already so excited for how God is going to move in the hearts of young women to find this new ministry, Awake & Arise: A Gathering for Women! We do have our Instagram and facebook pages, but the activity will really step up in late February/early March! Be sure to check it out!

And as I’m on the analogy of fruit, the following verses of course came to mind and I’d love to share them with you.

John‬ ‭15:5‬ ‭AMP, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.”

‭‭ John‬ ‭15:14-17‬ ‭AMP, “You are my friends if you keep on doing what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you [My] friends, because I have revealed to you everything that I have heard from My Father. You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you. This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.”

If you’ve got something stirring in your heart, always be sure to carry it loosely so the Lord can grow it how He intends. His timing is always best. The fruit of any endeavor He has laid on your heart will grow in the best way, in the best time, and will provide the best return for your obedience!

Let the seeds God is planted, or already has planted, settle into the deep soil of your heart being watered by the Holy Spirit. It’ll be a joy when that seed blooms to its full potential!

And hey, I’d love to hear all about it! Let me know what God is putting on your heart! You know, if He called you to it, He will equip you to do it!!

Blessings,

René