Friday, December 26, 2014

new perspective


If you’ve ever been betrayed by, gossiped about, or bullied by another woman or friend, then I think you’ll easily relate with what I want to say. Sometimes there is nothing more hurtful than being snubbed or talked about by another female. It goes deep in to the core of our self-worth and says, “you’re not valuable enough to deserve any better.” My life has been altered by the words and actions of other women. In some ways it was for the better, but in too many it was for the worse. Being treated like this can make you feel set aside. It’s the worst isn’t it? I mean, let’s just be honest, no one likes to feel left out or overlooked. There’s a deep craving weaved in to the fiber of our being, put there by our creator, to be desired and wanted. But that craving is meant to be curbed through our relationship with Christ. As Lysa Terkeurst said recently, “God tells us we are not set aside, but set apart.” This resonated so deeply with me because there are a million things around me that could easily convince me that I’m a nobody, set aside, and unnecessary.  But it’s nothing but a lie, made up by our enemy. Being created by God, in His image, means we have a heritage of royalty. How we live, treat ourselves and others, reflects our beliefs about that.  If you’re like me, being mistreated by someone can also cause you to become very aware of your own words and actions. It helps me to look outward at how I’m treating the women in my life. Whether it’s someone in my circle of influence or the clerk in the department store, it’s become a goal of mine to greet everyone with a smile and to give them respect through eye contact, listening, and taking genuine interest in their lives. Being hurt by someone can cause one of two reactions.  You  become increasingly aware of how just a few words, a look, or body language can either make someones day, or send them spireling in to a cycle of self-pity. Or it can make you bitter, resentful, and vengeful.  We can easily become very hard on ourselves and even start to believe we are some how unworthy, all because someone didn’t treat us as we’d expected. But this also has taught me to heed my mother’s wisdom. “always give people the benefit of the doubt.” Sometimes we are busy, over extended, exhausted, and pre-occupied, and we miss the opportunity to be kind. Unfortunately it can be misunderstood and taken as though we don’t care. But again, this is why I work so diligently at putting aside my own issues when I’m around others. And honestly, it typically will change my whole outlook on my own situation.

I think that the next generations are learning this more quickly than we did, simply because of the rampant spread of insecurity in our culture. Every decade it seems the competition increases, the availability of comparison grows, and bullying has become a consistent headline in our schools and communities. Insecurity is the breeding ground for many unattractive qualities; meanness, gossip, slander, covetouseness, competition, and a slow decline in our moral. But I think our generation is feeling the urgency that we must teach the younger girls what we’ve learned.  Women like Beth Moore, Lisa Bevere, Chris Cain, Lysa Teurkerhurst, and sooo many more have taken the torch to light the way, in spite of incredible odds. They’ve overcome so many trials and endured the worst of storms; bulimia, sexual abuse, rape,  low self-esteem, rejection, abortion, poor body image, perfectionism, demonic attack, and much more. But what they have in common is their love for Jesus and other women. There’s a generation of women growing in strength and valor that are more concerned about seeing others find freedom and reach their potential, than their own agendas. They are beacons of light, reflecting God’s grace and love, unifying us across generations and cultures. When we are focused outward, with a heavenly perspective we will see the needs. The next step is having the courage to meet them. If you will take personal responsibility to stay, flexible, teachable, and available for God to use you at a moment’s notice, change can continue to come. 

The bible confirms and empowers us with this relevant truth.

“the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanders )malicious false statements), not given to much wine, teachers of good things – that they admonish (teach) the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste (sexual morality), homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5

He hates pride, lying tongues, hearts that devise wicked plans, false witnesses who speak lies, and sowing discord among the brethren (proverbs 6:16-19)

“as a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is s lovely woman who lacks discretion.” Proverbs 11:22

“whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid/” proverbs 12:1

“an excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4

“he who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.” Proverbs 13:3

“a friend loves at all times…” prov. 17:17a

“a merry heart does good, like medicine….” Proverbs 17:22a

“she girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms…she extends her hand to the poor, yes she reaches out her hands to the needy…strength and honor are her clothing; sh shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with swisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindess.” Proverbs 31:17,20,25,26

“charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a women who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” 
Proverbs 31:30

So you see, it really isn’t optional; there’s no negotiating on the subject.  We are commanded by a loving, sovereign God to live a life that is upright and a witness to His true character. We are ambassadors of Christ therefore we cannot go on living like it’s an option. His promises are good for it. He will bring peace that passes understanding, fulfillment like nothing we’ve known before, and blessings that cannot be measured! We can always will look for opportunities to pour in to another life and find someone to pour in to our own! 

I leave you with some quotes to inspire you to be the best you. I’m on the same journey with you so never feel alone.

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and help them become what they are capable of being.
~
Goethe
“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” ~Diane Mariechild
Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt –
Remove those ‘I want you to like me’ stickers from your forehead and, instead, place them where they truly will do the most good — on your mirror!” ~Susan Jeffers

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of god. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make and manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

a masterpiece in the works


this picture may not look like a master piece to anyone, but it does to me. considering what my daughter's pictures looked like only a year ago, this is a HUGE improvement. half of the things she drew or painted in school a year ago we couldn't really identify. i'm inspired and proud of the progress she's made in only one year. her progress really is relative though. see, to me as her mother, i know where she came from. i've seen the work she's put in. i've been able to be there every step to see the transformation. so even though to an outsider it may not seem like much, or they may even think, "that's not that great for a 5 year old," they don't have the advantage of my perspective. i would defend her to the death to anyone who'd say otherwise because i know her and i know her journey. 
i think it's really similar to our own lives. we are all on different journeys and different maturities in our relationship with Jesus. how many times have you felt judged in a season you had been feeling proud of just to have survived. then one person can come along and make you doubt. because they are judging you by how they see you in your present circumstances, not by where you've come from. BUT not Jesus. He has walked every step with you in your journey. He knows exactly how far you've come from last year, last month, and even yesterday. He knows the pain you've endured to get here. and in fact, He DID die to defend that truth in your life. His sacrifice said you're worth it. He believes in the you he created you to be, not the you the enemy tells you or the world keeps trying to see you as. He knows your potential and your present position. He's seen your growth and the countless hours of prayer. He's given you strength through the struggle, perseverance through the pain, and break through in the battle. so even though others may not be able to grasp the gain you've made, you can have confidence that your Father does and He, as your creator, believes in you. HE IS FOR YOU!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

I am.....

Today after doing some thinking, I decided to make a list of some of the things I AM. Usually I spend more energy and time on mentally listing all the things I'm not or that I fail at. I'm VERY hard on myself. Anyone else know what I'm talking about? I apologize too much, talk down to myself, over think conversations, second guess my reactions, over analyze, and fall prey to thinking I'll never be what I used to be. But the truth is, not everything I used to be was so great (except maybe my jean size). Over the past 11 years, marriage and becoming a parent have given me some great wisdom and have grown some characteristics in me I'd say I rather like.
These days,
I'm more thoughtful
I'm more caring
I enjoy serving others
I am more patient
I enjoy being home with my family
I know better what's really important
I know how to make a dang good lunch box
I am great at reading to children and I love it
I sing with more passion & authenticity
I know how to laugh at myself
I have improved my decorating skills
I have better hair
I know how to balance a budget
I know how to do quarterlies for an S-corp :O)
I am good at cleaning a house
I am more encouraging
I am better at conflict resolution
I can make yummy blueberry scones, chocolate chip cookies, & fish tacos
I know how to love more deeply
.....but most importantly, I love Jesus more today and I understand more just how important it is to live my life following hard after Him.
In 2014 I am going to spend more time verbally and physically putting positive energy back in to myself. I want to stop letting energy seep out of me in to things that have no eternal value or bring no negative energy back my way. I want to stop giving power to anyone over my life other than God and stop letting others determine my value.
More serving, more giving, more loving, more patience, more loyalty, and more of Jesus.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

time to upgrade?

When I think about upgrading, I think about my iphone, technology, maybe my car or my house, but I don't typically think about myself or my relationships. In a conversation the other night with my close friend Heather Rivera, she told me about something God had been speaking to her and her husband. She spoke about the need for upgrading; spiritually, relationally, & personally. It really stuck with me because I've never given that idea much thought in regards to those areas. She said when God allows trials in our lives, it may be because He knows it's time for us to upgrade in our relationship with Him or others. Time to take the next step and grow a little more. I think most of us would agree real growth happens when our ideals or foundations are stirred & shaken a bit,or maybe when our faith is tested, because these are the times we find out what we're made of. Maybe as we are figuring it out and our true colors are exposed for all to see, we realize it just might be time to grow and step forward. Forward in our faith & our character. It may be time to dump some of the worldly things we've held tightly for far too long.
So as I look forward to this year I was wondering how can I upgrade in my own life. MANY things came to mind. Some I was thinking of for others, some for myself, & so I thought I'd share, just in case you have been giving this some thought too. (A few of the things I took from an article I was reading and they are marked *.)
 
1. Give God the first few minutes of your day. Test Him in this and see how it impacts your daily life.
2. Get out of debt. YES, YOU CAN!! It's possible, you just need a plan, a budget, and some accountability.
3. Give up your ideals and make real goals that are achievable on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Every author I know who talks about success says goals MUST be written down. so give it a try. start with a week and then go from there.
4. dream and let it guide you to new possibilities for your life.
5. try writing letters to people. tell them how much you appreciate them. write thank you notes. have more face to face contact. Connect.
*6. cut bad people out of your life. these are the people that are always taking from you, whether emotionally or physically. you deserve reciprocity. every person around you is someone that you chose to keep around in your life, and it will always be your decision to keep them away.
*7. stop caring about what other people think.
      "your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. don't be trapped by dogma - which is living witht the results of other people's thinking. don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. they somehow already know what you truly want to become. everything else is secondary." steve jobs
8. look to bless someone every day either in word or deed. it doesn't take that much to give a little, but it will reap in huge ways in your life.
*9. stay off your phone in the company of others. if you can't appreciate the time you are spending with that person, re-evaluate if that person is even worth your time
10. try 5 new foods. our pallet changes over time and you may find that you suddenly like asparagus (like me:)

Remember that we are all on a road that's leading somewhere. If you do not know your destination, how will you know you're going the right way? Figure out what you're moving toward so that you're free to embrace what really matters, the journey itself (the success journey).
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

what's worth my time?

every day life can slap ya in the face faster than you can see it coming. i swear if i focus on all the things that haven't gone my way i'd loose it. what i'm coming to realize is i have to find that answer to this question, "what's worth my time?" i will admit that i can be the worst at trying to manage my days. my husband is astounded i can get anything done. i thrive in schedules, but having two little kids, i realized how difficult it was to keep them. i am now at the place where it's starting to affect my sanity and i'm going to have to make some changes. i never realized how strongly i held to my comforts and predictablility, but it really ends up getting me in more trouble than not. so in this new year i have some major items that need dealing with. things i've sworn would change and haven't. i can only pray and put my hope in Jesus that He'll give me the strength and fortitude to make the changes permanent. my mind, emotions, and family need them.
if you're thinking some of these same thoughts, join me! i love to be an encourager to those running the race with me! so if you're on your way to new paths, here's my word for you,
"you've got this! the only thing that stops you is you. whatever follows "i am" will come looking for you so make sure it's something you really want to be! you may get weary and frustrated, but call on Him, He will be your rescuer, your cloud by day, fire by night.....you've got this!"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

reverance, fear, and holiness

i want to bring a challenge to you today because whether i like it or not, i HAVE to share what i'm learning and what God's impressing on my heart. it's like this unstoppable urge to bring everyone along with me. so, what i'm challenged with, i want others to hear too. so i apologize now :O)
something i've been feeling God impressing on my heart for about 2 years now is the word "holiness." it's one of those words that doesn't get thrown around in conversation very often. right along with reverance and fear. i think in these modern times we stray away from what we might consider "Bible terms," as though they don't apply to us. i think in our hearts we know they should, but we feel much more comfortable just leaving them on the pages than actually applying them to our daily lives.
i've been working through"a study of david," so alot of what i'm learning and will share will come from those pages. one thing that stood out to me that beth moore said, is that whenever God has a new day dawning in her life, he also demands a new reverence from her and has something new about his holiness he wants to show her. how true this is in my own life. but whether i respond to it is a different thing all together. i think we have seasons of movement. we can feel it. it demands response, but how many times have we felt that nudge, only to push it away and move forward with things the way they have always been....right where we're comfortable. this is where the challenge would come. we have to take God's command to come out and be seperate seriously. at some point we have to make a decision to follow. to not allow others, whether the Godless or even Christians, be our standard. how many times do we justify or gauge our lives by others. just because others may get away with irreverance, does not mean God is any less holy. in beth moore's study, she makes this statement, "we are sometimes tempted to measure our respect for God bythe lack of respect surrounding us. the godless however are not our standard. God is." i don't know how many times i've made the statement that we as Christians have a tendancy to look at our lives and pen a mark on our measuring stick and then look down to compare it to the mark of others, whether it's the world or the church. God's challenge looks a little different. try looking up. don't be afraid to see where God's mark is. it can be a bit intimadating if we see it as a climb we have to make ourselves, but if we see that the way to get there is only through the empowerment of the Holy spirit, we can see the hope of being like Christ. it's just like our pastor said a few weeks back, when we fulfill our responsibilities as believers, we have a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. we are living out who we were created to be. so many of us are stuck. i mean, how many of you actually spend time with God on a daily basis? be honest. now, if you're answer is rare, why do you think that's acceptable? as a new creation, given new life, expecting God's blessing and protection in our lives, why are we so quick to spend the least amount of time with the giver of those things. not that we should spend time with Him because of what we get, but because we love Him. we have hope of eternal life thanks to His son's sacrifice. that in and of itself is enough to spend the rest of our lives in worship and thanksgiving. instead, we give push back on commands like reverance, holiness, and fear. according to my own experience, we fear the unknown and are uncomfortable with vulnerability. we aren't practiced or trained in these things. in order to have freedom to fear God, revere Him, and strive for holiness, we have to be completely vulnerable. we HAVE to let go. we have to give Him room to change us. in order to walk out in these freedoms we have to take seriously our position as ,"a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation," (1 peter 2:9) i love my Bible. it has these awesome study tools called kindom dynamics. in one of them they make this statement." true authority is always related to a walk in purity and a constancy in worship. the spirit of worship is essental to all advance of the kingdom." ugh. how many of us really want to hear that? maybe on sunday morning, but how about on thursday afternoon when we are rounding up the kids and they are NOT cooperating. or maybe when a perfect stranger rudely cuts in front of us. how about when you're co workers are speaking of innappropriate things or gossipping about the boss. how about when your girlfriends are being critical of another woman's outter appearance. not those times. that's too much to ask of us.
so i conclude with this. we like the lessons and truths to be wrapped up in a pretty package on sunday morning. we like words like fear of God, reverence, and holiness coming out of the pastors mouth or presented in a beautiful melody, but when it comes to our personal lives, we want God to butt out. we want to live as we think we know best, just a few steps ahead of everyone else. but when life throws us a curve ball and we find ourelves in trouble, then we certainly expect God to come swooping down to rescue us.
now i can be a bit sarcastic and harsh with my words, but please know, i'm preachin to the choir here. i'm disgusted with my lack of reverance at times. with my own inability to allow God complete access to my heart, mind, and soul. but i have hope. i know God is good, kind, gracious, and only has plans to prosper me no matter the circumstance i may find myself in. and more than anything, i just want him to be proud of me. i want him to be able to trust me with more. i want others to want to know him as a result of knowing me. i want to love Jesus more today than yesterday. and i certainly hope all this for you.
i hope you're challenged today and i hope you choose the better life. the narrow, but most fulfilling path.
blessings
stephanie

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

who do i think i'm not?

.......who do i think i'm not? many days i've thought i'm not a good mother, friend, daughter, wife, and Christian. but thinking that is what holds me back from being good at those things. if i could stop focusing on my failures and see myself through God's eyes, i'd be that much closer to my destination. i look at opportunities and my first thought at times can be prideful. sure, i can do that. i'm capable. then fear sets in and i realize, no, i'm not. i cannot do that. i'm a failure. this is where the enemy sets up camp. but if i'm wise, i remember that he does not control my destiny and he is not the author of my life, God is. if i can grasp that truth and recieve it deep in to my soul, then all of a sudden i see hope in all the things i think i'm not. this is where i can get excited. all of sudden, they become a challenge. an opportunity to be better. a chance to let the Holy spirit flow through me and do incredible, miraculous things. THIS is where it gets interesting and where it may not be easy, but will be worth it. so today, i'm not thinking about all the things i'm not, i'm just giving myself up to a God who can make me all that and even better. happy soul searching!