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

It’s all about Perspective…

I recently joined my husband on one of his business trips to Sicily and it was incredible. I’m very grateful that I’m able to accompany him and have these opportunities to explore various countries that otherwise would be short of impossible. But it didn’t start out that way.

When we checked into our hotel, we noticed that the covering over the large sliding glass doors were actually metal. We found that a bit odd, but there were little holes throughout that let sunlight in. However, we then noticed we could hear people talking and saw their shoes quite close to our shutters. The ground was wet and we could see the legs of what appeared to be pool lounge chairs.

My first thought was, “Oh great, we are in a room that is directly in contact with the pool area. We won’t be able to open up this shutter at all on this trip!” After a disgruntled sigh, I reminded myself that we were in Sicily for goodness sake, and didn’t have to pay a dime to get there.

No matter what, we would have a great time!

We broke the cardinal rule of international travel and promptly took a nap. Later in the afternoon, we freshened up and went out for a lovely walk along the waterfront and had a wonderful dinner. We didn’t remember anything about our “horrible view” until the next morning.

We listened and didn’t hear anyone by the ‘pool’ yet, so we decided to open up the shutters. We’d since found the electric button that began to slowly reveal something far better than we had imagined. As we pulled all the curtains back and opened the sliding glass door, we were greeted by a large private patio with a balcony…complete with a chaise lounge, a table with two chairs and an L-shaped couch! And the view ~ WOW! We had a view of the ocean and the lovely city that we were in! What a difference it made to open those shutters!

My husband and I laughed (and I repented a bit again for my discontented attitude of the previous day) as we walked out on to the balcony, breathing in the fresh ocean air, thankful that we discovered the true reality of what a gift we had received in this trip. I swallowed hard as tears welled up in my eyes as I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, “What you see isn’t all that God wants to reveal to you. Open your eyes to His revelation and you will experience more joy and contentment that you can ever imagine.”

So many times we see what we want to see, not what we need to see.

Sometimes the Lord places us in situations where we have no choice but to trust in Him, that His plans are intended for our good. Not that we will run about rejoicing when hardship crosses our path, but keeping close to our heart the knowledge and truth that God is always good.

I thought of the verse, Jeremiah 29:11, that everyone quotes with abandon. It’s on t-shirts, mugs, blankets, and those darling wooden painted signs at your local Hobby Lobby:

“ – ‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the LORD, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.”

My friends, let’s not miss the importance of this verse in context. This is in no way a statement from the Lord that our lives will be always filled with earthly goodness and easy paths. We must remember to look at scripture in context to receive the full knowledge of the truths God intends to teach us.

The verses surrounding Jeremiah 29:11 are a reminder to the Israelites who had been exiled for so long in Babylon. The Lord had allowed them to become captives of the Babylonian Kingdom due to their disobedience to Him. He allowed hardship to be heaped upon their lives. It’s difficult to understand how He could do this, but the Lord is “the same yesterday, today, and forever”{Hebrews 13:8}. When we choose to go in the wrong direction, the Lord has to retrain our steps to go according to His will. How many times do we, and ridiculously so, think that our will and our way is better than His? That is a battle we will never win ~ and trust me, you don’t want to win that one!

Jeremiah 29:10 says, “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years [of exile] have been completed for Babylon, I will visit (inspect) you and keep My good promise to you, to bring you back to this place.”

The Lord was reminding the people of His punishment.

And also the fact that His promise’s will come to fruition.

The story/lesson continues in verses 12-14, “~’Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. ~ ‘Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. ~ ‘I will be found by you,’ says the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and I will [free you and] gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ says the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’”

Isn’t that beautifully reassuring? Wherever it states in the Bible that God will or will not do a certain thing, it is a promise that we can count on.

When we call out to the Lord, He will hear us.

When we have a deep longing to seek His will for our life, the Holy Spirit will fill us with the truth and understanding we need.

When we come back to the Lord after a period of disobedience, He will welcome us with open arms and restore us to full relationship with Him.

But think about this for a moment, there cannot be reconciliation without some kind of exile.

Whether we are separated from God for a moment in our day, or for a longer period of time, we cannot hear the wisdom the Holy Spirit desires to share with us for our life. When I allowed dissatisfaction to enter my heart about what I thought the view from our hotel room windows would offer us, I shut out God. It was as if that big metal shutter had come down over my spirit, squelching the light of God’s truth.

What if I had never pushed that button to raise up the shutter? We would have been ‘exiled’ in a sense to the confines of our room. I would’ve missed out on part of the generosity of our hosts. Part of their gift to us of having a private patio that overlooked the oceanside of Sicily would have been lost on us. How very sad that would have been!!

When I choose to trust God in the little things {like opening up a shutter on a window} it’s easier to handle the bigger things in life.

When my eyes are on Him, seeking His will, searching His heart, then the view of the world He has placed me in will always be one of contentment. Not because this earthly life is always good, but because my God is always good and He always has a good plan for my life!

Blessings,

René
perspective

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

Seeking True Identity…

Y’all ~ I am so excited to let you know that I wrote a guest blog for the Loved + Blessed Ministry!  They are an incredible ministry with a heart to help women live encouraged.

I would love for you to go check them out ~ https://lovedandblessed.com/

You can find them on Instagram @lovedblessedbox and all other social media platforms (facebook, twitter, pinterest, and youtube.

….and in the process you can find the rest of my blog ~ https://lovedandblessed.com/blogs

Here’s an excerpt…

In every super-hero movie out there, there is a moment where they have to choose to keep their identity secret or live out loud in the world with everyone knowing who they are.

I love the ending scene of the first Iron Man movie where Tony Stark’s character is being prepped for a live TV interview about the goings-on at one of his factories. The city has seen what Iron Man can do and how he is risking his life to save those who cannot save themselves from certain disaster. Tony’s handlers have given him set of note cards with the instructions to simply read the explanation they created and end the interview.

But here’s what I love.

Tony Stark’s character stands there, looking at everyone, and calmly says, “I am Iron Man.”

Of course, everyone freaks out but he has chosen to own his identity and live it out loud for all the world to see.

Okay, so this is a movie plot and things work out just how they are supposed to because it’s entertainment. It’s not real life. We are living in real life and we grapple with our identity all the time.

My heart breaks for this younger generation who is fighting so hard to find their identity.

Wading through the endless sea of social media, they are bombarded by the “unreality” of the perfect post. They are tied into how many “likes” their post receives and if it doesn’t get enough, they deem that post insignificant and usually end up removing it.

The comparison game is off the charts as well.

Constantly caught up in the tidal wave of who has what and when and how much; whether that be money, a large social media following, a significant other, or a fantastic wardrobe. There is always something they are wanting to have. Something they believe that will make their life better, give them meaning in a personal way, and bring them the identity they are so desperately searching for.”

 

We all need encouragement in our lives. We are all seeking true identity. The best place to find it is in the embrace of Jesus. And He gives us one of the best jobs we can have in this life of ours…we get to be the arms of Jesus when we come alongside one another, and bring love, grace, and joy with us.

Blessings,

René

Seeking Identity

 

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

Hey Girl…our Bodies are Incredible…

Yeah, I said it!

All of God’s creation is amazing and He claims several times in the first few verses of the book of Genesis that His creation is good…He loves His creation!

As a woman: mother of three daughters, mentor to young women in college, friend, sister, and wife…I want to celebrate how amazingly incredible a woman’s body is! Not because my body is perfect, but because I know I’m perfectly made!

A woman’s body is capable of so much!

We are created with the capacity to grow and nurture, to rise up and protect, and to create and teach.

There are several phenomenal women in my life who have given birth recently or who will be soon. And the Mom’s bible study that I’m a part of, it seems like every week someone is announcing a new pregnancy. I’m completely fascinated by baby belly’s ~ my own three and all the rest of them out there! I mean, just the fact that God created our skin to stretch like it does to hold that burgeoning belly!! Dang!!

A woman’s body is made to be a place of shelter as she literally grows a baby in her womb. God created her to have all the parts she needs. I want to be sensitive here and say that although I have not personally gone through the loss of a child, I have personal experience in losing a brother due to SIDS when he was only 3.5 months old, and I have several friends and family members who have gone through miscarriages and the realities of not being able to become pregnant. It is a very tender subject and my heart goes out to all who have suffered in this way.

What I do believe is that because God made our bodies to create, our God is not limited to use those qualities in only one way.

You may have cradled your a swollen belly and felt your baby kick, you may have been handed a newly born answer to prayer as you adopted a sweet baby the day they were born, or you may have held countless hands as you prayed for the young women in your life who have become your spiritual children. All of these paths to motherhood are significant and all of them carry the beauty and privilege that God has ordained us as women to carry!

We have a unique privilege in that our heart just keeps growing as God places people in our life to minister to ~ more full of His love that can be poured out!!

Our bodies are incredible for so many more reasons other than carrying a child too.

A woman has been fashioned by God with His Mother Heart. 

  • Judges 5:7 says, “The villagers ceased to be; they ceased in Israel Until I, Deborah, arose, Until I arose, a mother in Israel.”
  • ~ If you have not read the story yet of Deborah, one of the Judges of Israel, you’ve got to do that asap! God gave her the ability to listen and discern the issues of the people of Israel and bring down judgement on them befitting the requests. God’s heart leans toward us when we come to Him with our life issues and He discerns what is best for us. In this same way, Deborah was able to rise up and lead the people to a place of victory and healing…as a mother. She saw God’s people in pain and her heart could no longer take the inaction. God created women to be caretakers.

A woman has been ordained to carry spiritual truths to the next generations.

  • 2 Timothy 1:5 says, “I remember your sincere and unqualified faith [the surrendering of your entire self to God in Christ with confident trust in His power, wisdom and goodness, a faith] which first lived in [the heart of] your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am confident that it is in you as well.”
  • ~ Not only to our own children, but to all of those in our sphere of influence, are we to share the truths of scripture with. You are probably a mentor without even knowing it! Whether it is your daughters, the young mom at church who asks you questions about motherhood, your friends that you meet for coffee, or the college student you hang out with, your grandchildren or the little ones in children’s church on Sunday mornings…you are mentoring them by sharing your life and letting them see what it means to allow God to work in your life.

A woman has been given the power to protect.

  • Exodus 2 shares the story of a mother who has what I like to call the “Mama Bear” protocol, absolutely sewn into her very being. {And we all have it by the way!} These verses (1-4) say, Now a man of the house of Levi [the priestly tribe] went and took as his wife a daughter of Levi. The woman conceived and gave birth to a son; and when she saw that he was [especially] beautiful and healthy, she hid him for three months [to protect him from the Egyptians]. When she could no longer hide him, she got him a basket (chest) made of papyrus reeds and covered it with tar and pitch [making it waterproof]. Then she put the child in it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. And his sister [Miriam] stood some distance away to find out what would happen to him.”
    ~
    We do not know the name of Moses’ mother in these verses, but find out later in Exodus 6 that her name is Jochebed. This woman knew that there was something special in her son Moses and she was going to do whatever it took to protect him.     ~ I can only imagine what she went through in those months of keeping him safe from execution. But how beautiful that God provided a way for her to care for him and nurse him, even after he was found and adopted into the Pharoah’s house. This is one of God’s amazing kindnesses we see in scripture. 

A woman has been given the grace to carry life.

  • Psalm 139:13 says, “For You formed my innermost parts; You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.”
  • John 16:21 gives this insight, “A woman, when she is in labor, has pain because her time [to give birth] has come; but when she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of her joy that a child has come into the world.” 

  • ~ There is pain in growth. Pregnancy can be precarious and there are no guarantees. I almost lost our third daughter at 16 weeks when I had an extreme gall bladder attack. Our doctor told us that even though carrying a child is a normal function for a woman, any time our body goes into distress (like a gall bladder attack) the body will seek out “foreign entities and get rid of them.” My brain could hardly comprehend what the doctor was saying…have the surgery to remove my gall bladder so I wouldn’t have another attack but possibly lose the baby, or wait till after birth to have the surgery but if I had another attack at another point in the pregnancy, I ran the high risk of miscarriage. What? The caring hearts of all the doctors and nurses involved in my emergency surgery were beyond amazing. My husband and I are so grateful to them and to the Lord who saw fit to keep our little one safe during surgery. But in the pain of that surgery, the pain of childbirth, it really does all go away almost quicker than it came. 

A woman’s body is incredible!

Our hearts break when we walk a hard road with a friend simply because their heart is broken.

Our hearts swell with pride at our child’s accomplishments or when we see the growth of one whom we’ve been mentoring as they reach their dreams.

We cry at every single “Soldier coming home” story, even if it’s for a coffee commercial.

We rise up and fight for those who do not have a voice, or the strength, to fight for themselves.

We encourage our people to grow and change, to mature and become world changers because we know how capable they are in their gifting’s to make a difference in this world!

We serve an incredible God, who has created us to be incredible!

Women ~ our bodies, our hearts, our minds, our emotions, our feelings ~ they are all important and they are all that encompasses the reality that we are incredible!!

Blessings,

René

Women are amazing!

 

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

Living with open wounds…

I recently heard a phrase that broke my heart, “My wounds are still open.”

It is a simple, yet jarring statement. It is one that made me want to give the person a big hug and let them know that it was going to be okay. It just made me weep.

Almost as immediately as the tears came, the promises from scripture filled my mind. Jesus does not intend for us to live with open wounds. He is the Healer of Healers and in Him do we find the answer for what ails the deepest part of our spirit.

When my daughters were little, there would be the inevitable skinned knee or elbow as they played outside. They would come to me with those big crocodile tears and tell me how they got hurt. Of course, I would scoop them up and bring them inside with the promise that “Momma will make it better.”

Before I could put on the bandage though, my sweet girl would have to sit through the tough part first. To ward off infection, you have to clean the wound and it stings! I’d try to make a game of it, “I’ll sing a song and you blow on it.” Okay probably not super sanitary to blow on an open wound, but they all survived! Depending on the intensity of the wound, sometimes the cleaning out process took a few tries. Once I knew it was all clean, the antibiotic ointment was applied and then a fresh bandage. Ahhh….the tears dried up and the soul of my toddler was soothed.

It still wasn’t immediately healed but the process had begun. I mean, just the concept of skin growing back over the part that was skinned off (sorry if you’re eating right now…) is a phenomenal part of how incredible God created our bodies!  He knew our bodies would need protection and He created a perfect plan to accomplish this! He is beyond amazing!! All this to say, it takes time for the wound to heal; for the skin to grow back; for the tenderness to go away. But when it’s all completely healed, most of the time you can’t even tell where the wound had been. Sometimes it leaves a scar, but that also means that the wound is healed.

What about the wounds that happen out of our disobedience? Or the wounds that are inflicted on us by another person? A wound of the heart…the mind…the soul? You can’t put bandages on those kinds of wounds and more often than not, those wounds are the ones that take the longest to heal.

We’ve all had those kinds of wounds. The key is, what do you do with them?

From experience, let me tell you that if you are waiting for someone else to “heal” you ~ settle in. If you are waiting for the person who did the wounding to “make it better” ~ settle in. And if you are the one who is responsible for bringing hurt into your own life, you have to own up to that!

And if you don’t…

Settle in for a life of misery. Seriously! That is what you are asking for. And that misery is not the fault nor responsibility of the other person…that misery you bring it all on yourself.

When you decide to sit with your wounds open to the world, everything around you will cause that wound to sting. You don’t want to be around anyone who is happy, content, celebrating, joyous, or fulfilled. How dare they walk around with the a smile on their face when you are so miserable! And people who are sad, disappointed, angry, disillusioned, well, you don’t want to be around them either because they are taking away your spotlight of misery! You can’t win ~ and with a bitter attitude, you never will.

As you walk through your life with an open wound, you may develop a bit of a scab over it, but it’s still there. At any moment it can be reopened and the pain is deep. You feel the initial wound all over again.

The pain of the initial wound, when left untreated, only has one direction to travel…to the depths of your heart. You become irritable, untrusting, bitter, angry, and filled with rage. No one can get close enough to you to help the healing begin.

Oh my friend.

Stop.

Just.

Stop.

Proverbs 27:5-7 says, Better is an open reprimand [of loving correction] than love that is hidden. Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern],
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda].”

The enemy, the devil, satan, whatever you want to call him – all he wants to do is keep you in your misery. He wants you to miss out from all the good that God has planned for your life. He wants you to walk around feeling entitled to your wounded feelings. UGH! Satan loses in the end, well, he already has lost, he’s just prolonging the inevitable!

This is why it is so important to keep good friends in your life who will direct your gaze back to the Lord; back to the One who has your life in His hands. Jesus is a faithful friend to you as well.

It doesn’t mean that the healing process is going to be easy or fun. It’s gonna hurt! Cleaning a wound that has been left unattended…ugh!  Makes me cringe to think about it. But oh how worth it to live out your life with scars rather than open wounds.

Psalm 147:3-5 shows what the Lord does for us, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names. Great is our [majestic and mighty] Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is inexhaustible [infinite, boundless].”

Remembering that Jesus lived as God and Man on this earth can bring comfort to your heart during the healing process. He is the only One who knows what it is to be wounded physically, emotionally, and mentally, AND be able to stop it in the blink of an eye. Yet He chose the opposite.

Jesus felt the pain from the death of a loved one.

Jesus felt the pressure that came from being hunted by those who wanted Him dead.

Jesus felt the betrayal of a friend.

Jesus felt the mental anguish from Satan who tried to lure Him into temptation.

Jesus felt the physical pain of beatings to horrific that He was practically unrecognizable as He hung on the cross.

Jesus felt the despair of taking upon all the sin of the whole world…all at once…from the beginning of time until He comes back to reign forever.

He has felt it all. His wounds were deep.

But He did not walk around defined by them.

He forgave.

And because He was able to forgive and become the “once and for all” wounded sacrifice on our behalf, the verses that were prophesied in Isaiah 61:1-3 were able to come true: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me to bring good news to the humble and afflicted; He has sent me to bind  up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted, to proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives and freedom to prisoners, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance and retribution of our God, to comfort all who mourn, to grant to those who mourn in Zion the following: to give them a turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning], the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit. So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Whatever wound we have, whatever hurt you have been harboring, it is time to let it go! It’s not doing you any good to walk around with an open wound, bleeding on everyone when they inadvertently hit that tender spot.

The most difficult part of getting that wound cleaned out is to forgive {OUT LOUD} the person who hurt you. Stop giving them power of you and how you live your life! Out of that forgiveness comes a “oil of joy” and as it flows over that open wound in your heart, it begins to fill in the empty places. Over time, the wound heals, the tender spots dissipate, and the healing is complete.

It’s time to walk confidently in your healing. If you have a scar from it, go ahead and share about how the Lord healed you! There is no shame in scars. On the other hand, if you don’t have a scar you don’t have to prove to anyone what you have been healed from. Because, for by His wounds you [who believe] have been healed.” (I Peter 2:24b)

Not sure where to start? Just ask the Lord to come in and begin the healing process. Reach out to a friend who can help you along the way. You have to allow the wound to be cleaned and trust that the momentary pain of healing will be worth it.

Walk in freedom.

Walk in healing.

It’s time to rejoice that you no longer live with open wounds!

Blessings,

René

Defined by healing not by your wounds