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What’s Wrong With This Picture?

lindsay-baby-airport-web

Put yourself in this Mom’s place. Traveling alone with a baby.

Look closely and then tell me…What’s “wrong” with this picture? Maybe “wrong” isn’t the “right” word. Maybe “unusual” is the right word.

I’m pretty sure this would not be what I would look like if I were at a major airport, ready to travel a number of hours with my baby on a plane…ALONE! What about you?

Here is what is (wrong/unusual) = remarkable: She is smiling! She is a real, live person and she is smiling! And at peace! How did that happen?

Lindsay sent me this picture. It inspired me so much that I asked her if I could use it on my website. I figured if it inspired me, it would inspire you, too. (I’m passionate about helping Overwhelmed Moms find their way out of the fog. And this picture speaks volumes!!!) And then…when I heard her response, I just had to share it with you right away.

Because…here’s something else that is remarkable about this Mom: Her response was “Yes…but…I wasn’t overwhelmed.” WOW! She wasn’t overwhelmed??? Astounding!!!

What do you suppose was Lindsay’s secret?

Lindsay had a plan. She had spent the days leading up to this day (as she prepared to move to another continent in a few short weeks) speaking God’s promises out loud to herself as she packed and as she took care of her baby. Her husband was far away…on another continent because of his work. It was unavoidable. This was a fog she was going to have to find her way through without her husband’s help. She wanted to be victorious, even though her life was in an uproar! But you would not know it to look at her, would you?! She had chosen the HIGHER ROAD.

Life is a series of choices. Flesh or Spirit. Which will rule? Which will we “feed”? The Spirit or the flesh?

This Mom had chosen to listen to praise music even though the things in her life were in chaos. While helpers were shouting questions at her. While she had to make a ton of last minute decisions. While she had to remember to eat. While she had to remember to change the diapers and nurse the baby. While movers came and went. While her apartment looked more like a war-zone than a home…with all the sorting and packing materials all around. Lindsay had chosen to have God on the throne, rather than let her feelings rule her. She did what she could do. She fed her Spirit Soul food and it nourished her to the point that her countenance would actually shine! You can see that for yourself!

She did what she could and left the rest to God. He likes that! 🙂

lindsay-baby-cropShe is an amazing woman. She is one of my favorite people and I wanted to share a bit of her story with you. I pray it inspires you to take the time to stop, drop and pray. To remember that nothing is too big for God to handle. IF we let Him.  She made a conscious choice to meditate on the promises of God. To feed her soul with music. Not just any music. She chose music that nourishes and exalts God. Proving: You definitely are what you “eat”. His Word (the Bible) is her nourishment. AND…Praises helped her rise above her circumstances. God has a plan and she followed it. And this is the result!

Please take time to comment and let us know what this has stirred up in you. And please also share stories of times when God’s Spirit has ruled and you, too, have been victorious in a difficult circumstance. We would love to hear from you. And as Lindsay prepares to move from her familiar surroundings, your remarks could be perfect timing and have the same effect on her to encourage her to keep looking UP because GOD is BIG.

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work,” Jesus said. (John 4:34 NAS)

{{Lindsay Nichols Estes has a message for women in transition. She walks her talk and more often than not, she comes forth trusting God’s promises. She knows the secret of success. If you are in transition, and want a coach to walk through it with you, you can find her here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lindsaynicholsestes }}


Don’t Quit! Joseph… A Story of Success… via Blood, Sweat and Tears

Have you heard a version of Anything worthwhile is worth fighting for. Worth waiting for?

I know that’s not a happy thought that success comes via blood, sweat and tears, but it seems especially necessary to say that today. The media would have us believe that we “deserve” success. When we get a college degree, we “deserve” a job. And not just a job, but a job starting at the top. Because we are “qualified”, right? Isn’t that the way it works? Or maybe we believe that when we start our own business, the clients/customers will flock to us. Because we did the right things, so of course we will realize our dreams complete and full…immediately. Right? That when we do the right thing, all falls into place. Blog posts tell us that. Facebook and Twitter posts all claim that if we buy their program, we will get skinny, we will grow new hair on that bald spot, and we will be able to run a marathon if we eat the right energy bar. That’s what we hear from all forms of media. But…is it true???

My inspiration today is the story of Joseph in the Bible. Joseph had a dream. Have you had a dream? Are you continuing to pursue it, or did you quit when it got hard or took too long?

You know the story. Joseph was his Dad’s favorite. And his brothers knew that. It was way too obvious. So, when they got a chance, they got even. Not with the Dad who chose him as favorite, but with Joseph. They tried to eliminate their problem. They wanted him out of the way. The only problem was, even though the Dad thought Joseph was dead, Joseph was STILL his favorite. The empty space at the table was NOT occupied by another. His Dad’s heart was very sad. And none of the other sons became the favorite in his place. So what did they accomplish by taking matters into their own hands?

What about Joseph? At the hands of his brothers, Joseph suffered bullying, abuse, betrayal and great loss; and at the hands of others, he suffered slavery.

He waited. (What else could he do under the circumstances?) But somehow, Joseph never seemed to see himself as “under the circumstances”. He believed in a BIG GOD. THE big God!

Then, he began to find the Favor of the Lord. And he kept his integrity. He faithfully walked honorably, even when tempted to take the lower road to destruction.

He took the higher road to the Favor of God. Those appointed to keep him in line saw clearly God’s favor or him and they appointed him to positions of leadership. And they indirectly received God’s Favor through Joseph. But betrayals and disappointments continued. And he remained a man of integrity. No matter how much power he was given, he remained a man of God. A man faithful to the Lord’s ways.

And the final outcome? Remember his outrageous dream that his brothers hated him for? Hated him enough to try to get rid of him forever…

Well, that dream came true and they literally owed their lives to him…the one they had sought to destroy was later their rescuer.

Blood, sweat and tears…walking that faithful life with our eyes on the Lord of the blood, sweat and tears…not giving up…but going forward…one step at a time. Little by little. Trusting the God of the outcome.  A heart on fire for Him.

Now THAT is “success”! That is God’s definition of “success” and that is where the joy lies. Peace that passes understanding. Don’t quit. Press on. Press through. Keep looking up to the Creator of real success…via blood, sweat and tears!

Easy? No! But ask Joseph someday: “Was it worth it?” And I have a feeling he will shout out, “Yes! Undoubtedly, YES!”

Do you have a dream you haven’t yet followed through on?


Legendary Super Hero.

My Dad was a legendary super hero. He was also a single parent. That’s part of what makes him a super hero. Parenting is tough. Single parenting is tougher!

He used to say, “When my ship comes in, with my luck, I’ll be at the airport!” Then he always laughed! (My Mom’s medical bills had undoubtedly taken a toll on the bank account.) In my eyes, my Dad was a rich man. Not from wealth, position, or possessions. Rather, he was rich with integrity and steady resolve.

I knew I was loved. I knew what his values were. He lived his values. He was his values. He was deeply respected in his community.

I also knew things I could count on about him.

  • He always straightened up the house before bed.
  • He’d be there waiting for me when I got home from school.
  • He showed up no matter where I was when I was with my friends. (I liked that.)
  • He cared enough to be sure I was safe. (My friends were jealous.)
  • He never forgot a holiday.

(Whether Valentines Day, birthday, or whatever holiday…there was always a card and a gift on the kitchen table waiting for me when I came down for breakfast.)

He wasn’t a hugger, and he didn’t speak his love much, but his actions spoke volumes. I felt safe, secure and loved.

I’ve been wondering something lately…

When we read and hear the dogma about what parents should be, should do, should not do, etc., do we lose something precious and important by not rather focusing on and appreciating what our Moms and Dads did well? Does our “idea” of the “ideal” bring us into a continual state of disappointment to the point of dis-honor/anger/ & distance?

What if we step back a bit and take an honest look. If this were someone else’s parent, would we be jealous…as my friends were of me because my Dad was so predictable, available, and “protective”?

“Knowing what we are called to do is a greater blessing than striking it rich.” (Turning Point devo. 8/16/12)

My Dad knew he was called to be a single Dad when my Mom died…and he did it really, really well!

Thanks, Dad! You will always be my super hero. I miss you terribly.

 


The Bridegroom. R.S.V.P.

Headline: Jesus is getting married!

The courtship has been bumpy and long. There have been dangers of a broken engagement along the way. But any day now, the wedding will be a reality!

The wedding has been announced and the invitations have been sent. Have you responded to your invitation? It is not too late…yet…

This will be a marriage that will never drift into the mundane. You will never be bored. You will never be separated by divorce or death.

Take some time to read His Love Letter to you — the Bible — the Word of God. Get to know the Bridegroom. Start with making a list of His Greatness…His attributes. Note how He relates to His created ones. Underline. Highlight. Pay close attention. Ask Him for understanding. Begin to make a list of what is most meaningful to you as you read. I suggest that you start toward the back of the book…in the New Testament.

Try this for starters: Make the next four Sundays special. Each Sunday read one of the four Gospels  (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) so you can get to know the Bridegroom. That’s called the 4 Gospels. And it’s where you will read of His invitation to you to join Him forever. The more your read, the more you will understand the depth of His love for you!

Say yes to His invitation to you! And begin the journey toward maturity as His someday soon Bride. Little by little, growing, maturing, and understanding what it means to be a “follower” devoted to the Bridegroom. As He already is devoted to you. He longs to have you say yes! He’s done His part…now it’s your turn to respond. R.S.V.P. But that is only the beginning. The rest of your life and on into eternity will be spent walking together with Him…side-by-side. Never looking back. There is no one you can trust more than the Heavenly Bridegroom. Jesus, the Christ. The Lord.

Let me know if I can help you toward that journey of becoming all you were created to be. Don’t settle for less than that…

Filed under: Spiritual Life — Tags: , , , , — Pam Taylor @ 5:29 pm

Are You Living an Orchestra Life?

I live in a resort town. The population seems to double each summer. Actually, it’s like being on vacation all year long here in Clear Lake, Iowa. The town is overflowing with choices for entertainment and enrichment consistently from January through December every year.

One of those summer choices is the Municipal “Orchestra”. (It’s really a band, but for the purpose of the article, I’m calling it an orchestra.) They perform Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons from the band shell in the City Park downtown. Lovely.

Last weekend I sat in my lawn chair relaxing and enjoying the view of the lake and the beauty of the sounds. There was a gentle breeze. All was “well” with the world there in the park in Clear Lake. And…then…God showed up!!! Not just in the music, though He was evidently there as well…but He had a lesson He wanted me to learn in a fresh way. Amazing how He does that when we aren’t expecting it!

“When the trumpeters and singers were as one(emphasis mine)…the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.”–2 Chronicles 5:13-14.

Music played a big part in the Bible. God used music to call people to worship and to send them to war, to soothe ragged emotions and to ignite spiritual passion, to celebrate victories and to mourn losses.

Some will lead the music and some will follow the leader. The better each one knows their parts, and the better they each follow the conductor, the more beautiful the music.

I began to see how the “orchestra” playing before me was an object lesson. Like families. Like the church. Each has a particular sound. Each has a particular duty. A particular “gift” to share. Each is unique. Separately, they would not have the same effect as they do all working together as one.

So my question to you is: Are you living an “orchestra” life? Are you trying to live your life on your own, without following the leadership of the “Conductor” of our souls? The Lord God, the Creator of that music, calls you to join His “orchestra” and learn your “part” really well, so you can share in creating the beautiful music…merely a foretaste of what Heaven will be like.

Awaiting His shout with you…

Let me hear from you…we are in this together!

Filed under: Spiritual Life — Tags: , , , , — Pam Taylor @ 6:38 pm

Welcome Home

An Easter message of redemption and love and hope.  I’m reading Not a Fan. Becoming a completely committed follower of Jesus. by Kyle Idleman. It brought back some memories… 

I’m excited to share with you something I wrote in 2007. The story begins in Delaware. One morning, so many years ago, a dear friend kissed her husband good-bye, left to go jogging with her friend, was hit by a truck, and left to be with her Lord. I’ve written from the perspective of my friend, Diane, as she meets King Jesus face-to-face in Heaven. 

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”—Jude 24, 25, NAS

Today, at 6:40 a.m. (Earth-time) I stepped from your world into the peaceful beauty and splendor of Heaven.  It was an easy passing…there was a quietness and a calm in the air as I passed from one world and into the next.  It was a lovely journey.

King Jesus was on the Bema Seat.  I was not afraid to face Him.  We discussed my life and I quietly asked, “but Lord, what about when I…”

FORGIVEN

(In blood red)

suddenly appeared on my hand.  “Oh, my Lord,” I whispered, as He stepped down from the Bema Seat.  The jagged scars from the rough-hewn nails on His wrists made me weep as He wrapped His lovely arms around me.  That simple act of His hug has totally healed me of my earthly experiences.  Those beautiful scars!  I laid my head on His shoulder and wept for joy.  Such love.  I looked down and saw the scars on His feet…love marks to me.  Such glorious, pure, untainted, unconditional love.  I am in the home of the forgiven.

He placed a crown on my head. On me!  How could this be? And yet, it is true!  Glorious love!  Somehow, I don’t feel unworthy.  It feels natural to be here.  As though I have always been here.  Then I remember:  “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1, NAS).

“Oh, my Lord…my glorious Lord!”  I fell before His feet.  I touched the scars.  “They are there because of my sin, not Yours!”  He lifted me up, and escorted me – His bride – to the banquet table.  “How is it possible, with so many others here, that I feel as though I am alone with You”?  I asked Him.  Those beautiful expressive eyes drew me closer – ever closer to an understanding of the purity that love can possess.

The clutter of the things that were important in my earth-life is gone. “Life is so simple here.  There is love and there is purpose; and I know that You have prepared this destiny especially for me.  You have used my earth-life to prepare me for what You were preparing for me – here – after the banquet.”

“I have been healed with Your loving embrace,” I whispered.  “Your banquet table has nourished me.  I have walked down the path with You – on Your arm as Your bride.  Oh, the wonder of it all!  Now, You have said that we have work to do – together – in every sense of the word.  You have made me worthy to be here and You have proved it by placing this crown on my head.”

I tried to kneel and He told me, “No, STAND before Me…I have made you worthy.”  So, I stood…in my glorified body – before King Jesus and He embraced me again, and said, “You have been faithful.  Well done, My lovely one.  My bride.  You are here, not for what you have done in My Name, but because you have loved my Glorious Appearing. That is all that I have required.  There is no need for My bride to ever fear My appearing.  You were created for this purpose.  Your earth-life was preparation for all of this.  I often told you, “I have My way.  You have yours.  Mine is better. You see…I was right.  My way is better.”

Then He said, “Here, My love…let Me show you how My Light sparkles through this bottle of your tears that I have kept.  Not one tear was lost…and see how they add to the beauty of Heaven—the home of the forgiven.  WELCOME HOME!”  

Meditation: The timing to share this with you seems right. Easter time…remembering the death, resurrection, and ascension of  the Lord Jesus Christ. A time to think of what it might be like for us. Are you ready to meet your Maker?  I’d love to hear from you.

 


Busted By God

Busted by God happens to me frequently.  (On those occasions, I usually only tell my very closest friends about the details, so because we are getting to be pretty good friends after all this time, I decided it was time to share one of these stories with you.)

Normally, the cause is: I get a good idea and I spend a lot of time organizing and thinking of every possible scenario and then someone or something prevents it going forward and so I’ll find myself “clearing” with a good friend rather than talking to God about it; and so…since He is listening to my conversations anyway,  I get a check in my spirit. Hence…the Busted by God idea. Yup! He lets me know that He’s listening. Is He being mean? No! God is never mean! He’s just letting me know He loves me and wants what’s best for me! He feels that way about you, too!

Well, last Saturday, God went a step further…and I love it when this happens!

He is intimately involved in every detail of my life. I know that. But it’s really cool when He verifies that love in tangible ways. Ways I can’t ignore.

That morning, I had prayed “Lord Jesus, speak to me. I’m ready to listen and eager to obey.” Later in the day, I was on the phone sadly describing a disappointment to a friend and got that check in my spirit and continued to talk anyway. Someone had hurt me and I wanted sympathy. Suddenly, I realized it was nearly time to get to the church, since I was scheduled to assist with communion. So, I rushed off the phone to go get myself dressed and out the door.

Then, I heard that check in my spirit again and thought of my morning prayer, but I was short on time to talk with my Father and to hear what He had to say, so I rushed to the table where my Bible and study tools were still open from the morning. And grabbed up Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest all the while praying for God to “give me a word” that would direct my heart to Him and away from my complaints. So…he did just that!

I did what is known as “The Open Window Method”…open anywhere and expect God to speak. It’s normally just a lazy way to grab anything. I know. I know. Yes, I was taking the lazy way out. But speak He did! (I LOVE THIS!) I happened to open to June 17. The title was “The Uncritical Temper”. And the verse at the top was: “Judge not that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1)  I laughed right out loud. Yup! Busted by God! Because He loves me.  So, my eyes fell down the page and focused on something I had previously highlighted: “There is always one fact more in every man’s case about which we know nothing…I have never met the man I could despair of after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.”

Is that cool, or what?! Remember I was on my way to serve communion. It would NOT have been OK to have pride and criticism in my heart. Rather, I had opportunity to confess on my way there and to receive the forgiveness and cleansing promised.

Well, if you think that was the end of my Father’s lesson to me that evening, you are wrong. He gave me an opportunity to see if I took the lesson to heart…or had it merely been head knowledge.

As I passed one of the offering plates, a lady with great disdain on her face corrected me (it was so animated that everyone else knew what was happening). She had rebuked me for the way I was serving. Ahhh. I remembered my lesson. I had told God that morning that I was ready to listen. And I did. I felt His love. And I let Him love her by using me….and praying silently for her to be blessed. (BTW, I also prayed for Him to remind her that she, too, was about to take communion…just in case He was so busy with me that He forgot about her. 🙂 )

There is yet another part of this…

It’s the part that happened after church. I walked over to her and thanked her for her help and told her that next time I would try to remember to do what she had suggested. That was definitely God loving her by using me. I would not have thought of doing that on my own.

Being Busted by God is a good thing! And when you are His child, it feels like LOVE!

Have you ever had a time that you were Busted by God?

 


My Will or God’s Will?

My will or God’s will? Is it possible to know what God wants me to do?

Here’s some questions to ask yourself when trying to evaluate whether your decision is “my will or God’s will“…

  • Have I clearly and specifically asked for God’s help?
  • Do I show my trust for God with every area of my life, not merely this decision?
  • Do I even want to obey God’s clearly revealed will?
  • Am I operating on the basis of good reasons…or on the basis of changing feelings?
  • Am I choosing to take the time to fill my mind with God’s Word so that my mind is being transformed so that I can recognize His will when it is revealed?
  • Are there biblical commands or principles that apply to my specific situation? Am I choosing to take the time to look for them?
  • What are the alternatives and consequences of each possible option?
  • Are my abilities or weaknesses influencing the decision? How?
  • What decision will glorify God?
  • What will build me up spiritually?
  • What will edify others?
  • Have I sought out trustworthy advisors that know the Bible?
  • Have I been like the Bereans and compared the advice that was given…to what the Bible says…rather than merely accepting or rejecting it?
  • Am I making this decision based on how it will affect my own personal freedom?
  • Do I have an internal sense of spiritual peace that my decision is right?
  • What would be the affect if I waited to make this decision?
  • After determining whether it is my will or God’s will, am I determined to obey and please God…no matter what?

Adapted from an article appearing in RBC Ministries devotion book. And that article had been adapted from: How Can I Know What God Wants Me To Do? 

Filed under: Coaching,Spiritual Life — Tags: , , , — Pam Taylor @ 7:14 pm

Invest in Your Future ?

Invest in your future? What does that mean in today’s economy? Jason Bohn was a college student when he made a hole-in-one golf shot that won him a million dollars. He had a plan. Rather than squandering the money, he used it to improve his golf skills–a type of  “living-and-training fund”–an investment in his future, paying off with a win on the PGA Tour’s 2005 B.C. Open. (And proving “Bohn’s decision to invest in the future instead of living for the moment was a wise one indeed.”)

Likely, we won’t make a million-dollar hole-in-one, like Bohn. So how does this translate into a non-golf pro’s lifestyle and investment in our future?

“In a sense, that is what Jesus calls us to do.” (Invest in our future. But..how do we do that?)  We have been entrusted with resources–time, ability, opportunity–and we decide how/where/when to use them. Our challenge is to see those resources as an opportunity to invest long-term. ‘Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’  (Matthew 6:20,21).

Think of your resources: your talents, time, knowledge.  “These are temporal and limited. But if you invest them with an eye toward eternity, these temporary things can have enduring impact.” What about your personality strengths and spiritual gifts? All these things are gifts to us from Creator God, with the intention of our investing them for eternity’s sake.

So…where is your heart? Earthbound or Heavenbound? And what is your focus? Now or forever?

You’re alive and reading this today, which is proof that you still have time and opportunity to invest in your future. “It will not only have an eternal impact, but it will also change the way you view life each day.” 

I’d like to hear from you about how you’re investing in your Future.

Onward! 🙂

Bill Crowder (adapted from Our Daily Bread, October, 2011)


Self-pity vs. Self-compassion

Self pity vs. self-compassion. What’s the difference? And, who cares?

Self-pity is a passive self-absorbed thing. It prevents us from having self-compassion. And it prevents us from fully loving others.

Imagine. (Pleeeeasssseee…Totally stop everything right now and take a few minutes to truly imagine with me...) Imagine a time when you’re tenderly and compassionately caring for someone that is ill. You lovingly put them to bed.  A little later, you go in to check on them and they are asleep. You stand in the doorway and you watch them sleep and you pray and will them to be well again. You have compassion for them. The person turns over, looks at you and you realize, that person…

It’s YOU!

Now…if you can stay in that moment of time, healing is waiting for you there!

Self-pity vs. self-compassion.

Modeling. Our children model what they see in us. If we don’t forgive ourselves, the child likely is unforgiving toward the mother/father and toward self, as well.

Healthy child: “My mother/father loved life.” However…If we raise “healthy” kids, and we only love them, but we don’t love ourselves, they too will have difficulty loving themselves, because that is what was modeled for them = NOT loving oneself.

Disclaimer: of course we are not referring to the model that embraces thinking the world revolves around oneself, but rather a good healthy love of what the Creator decided we would be. He chose our personality, our spiritual gifts, our talents and skills. To not embrace who we were created to be, is an affront to our Father. We owe it to our children to know the difference between self-pity vs. self-compassion.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. Have you found this to be true?

 

 

Filed under: MomCouragement,Spiritual Life — Tags: , , , — Pam Taylor @ 11:09 am

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