Thursday, December 22, 2011


I have been chomping at the bit to make a super-exciting announcement:

* * * * * * * * * * * *
I'm in the DREAM YEAR Class of 2012!!!!

I first heard about Dream Year at the Quitter Conference. I looked Dream Year up online and began to pray over what I saw. It's all about living intentionally and doing what God gifted you to do--this has very much been the burden of my heart. I wanted to be in on it in some way--and, to be honest, I thought I was praying big when I thought about possibly attending the Dream Year Weekend in Charlotte, NC in January.

I remember it was the end of August when I sat down with Justin and asked him how he would feel if I planned to attend DY Weekend. I showed him the website and he read quietly for awhile. Then he called me over and said what I never, ever expected to come out of his mouth:

"Why don't you apply to be on the team of twelve?"

I opened my mouth, ready to rattle off half a dozen reasons why that just would not work. This wasn't simply one weekend--it was applying to join a team of 12 individuals in whom God has birthed a vision to do something for His Kingdom--a year of audaciously pursuing the call on our lives. Honestly, that was never on my radar at all--I thought the DY Weekend was a big leap of faith! But IN THAT MOMENT as I stood poised and ready to say why it would never work for me to apply, I KNEW I was in the midst of something tremendously of God. Like, right then. I don't know how to describe it, other than I knew this was going to be a faith challenge much like up-and-moving to Boston strictly on God's leading had been 12 years ago.

As I stood there with my mind mulling over the possibilities at hand, Justin said these words to me: "Why WOULDN'T it be you?" His words were a balm to every wound of rejection and an answer to every insecurity that had been drummed up in me. Oh, what a good, good man.

By October, I had the peace, confirmations, and enough savings to feel comfortable in applying. I knew the deadline was in December, so once I applied, I knew I was in for a bit of a wait.

While I waited, I began to forget. I forgot of how I'd felt the Holy Spirit stirring in my heart the day Justin first said I should apply. I forgot how God had given such peace the week I applied. I forgot I had anything to offer, by the grace of God.

For me, the nail in the coffin was when, a week or two before the deadline, I saw online that applications had been streaming in for the Dream Year Coaching. That was kind of it for me. I really assumed I wasn't going to be in on it. Surely what I was passionate about wasn't going to make the cut in light of all the amazing things I see people doing.

* Saturday, December 10th. The application deadline date. I spent the day just kind of aware of the fact. I wasn't holding my breath at that point though.

* Monday, December 12th. I'm chosen! But I didn't know yet because I was sound asleep when word arrived. An email of congratulations was sent to me at 11pm that night. (I LOVE that this blessing had my name on it for hours before I knew about it!!)

* Tuesday, December 13th. 6am. I stumbled downstairs, still bleary-eyed and needing some coffee. I picked up my phone and saw that I had an email. And the subject of that message?

Welcome to Dream Year. :)

Still half-asleep, I wondered if I was dreaming. I read and re-read I don't know how many times. I sat down in the dark of my living room and cried and shook like a leaf for a good 5 minutes!!!

And then I read my Bible. And prayed. Bliss.

You know what was so beautiful about that moment? I KNEW God had made a way. He had to--there would have been no way for me any other way! Out of a plank of impossibilities, He carved out His way for me. And those were the sweetest, most glory-filled few moments. I imagined God absolutely GIDDY at the sight of His child realizing that He had made a way for her. I'll never forget it!

And then after those moments with the One who made a way, I ran upstairs and showed Justin the email. Justin, my husband who has listened to me vent my passions and frustrations and burdens all these years now, celebrated and rejoiced with me. It was beautiful.

My one concern was that some of what I had saved prior to applying had to be used for other obligations, but I kept assuming I wouldn't be given the opportunity anyway. So when I got word I was part of the team, I had 10 days to gather the payment--and I was short! But between selling a bunch of items around the house and the amazing love of friends, I had every penny. And, once again, God carved a way out of the plank of impossibility. Awesome.

And so, by God's grace, I'm in! My Dream Year project has to do with developing an event geared toward encouraging believers to open up their Bibles, to see its relevance to their lives, and to fall in love with the Word of God. That's the nutshell version, anyway!

On a side note: A few months ago I wrote a blog post called Because of Tomorrow, What Should Happen Today? about the passage from Joshua 3 that says, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you." I cannot tell you how many times in the past 2 to 3 months that I have heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit saying, "Ready yourself." Well, now as I look back? Gosh, no wonder He wouldn't let up on that!

I welcome your prayers. God has been more than good and gracious to let me in on what He is doing. I want this event to bring behavior change, yielding in heart and life change. I want my life to be about furthering the Kingdom, and I feel compelled to point believers toward the Word! Please pray for my own personal time in God's Word in 2012. I want to cling to Him and bring Him glory. Pray for my family time to be protected. Pray for my heart to be right.

Thank you for rejoicing with me! God has brought to mind many ideas already---I cannot wait for 2012!

P.S. In January I get to go with Justin, my son, and my daughter to Charlotte, NC for the Dream Year Weekend (for free)! It was something God had in mind all along.

It just wasn't ALL He had in mind. :)


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Being at the aquarium doesn't scare me. Yes, that shark is looking right at me. Sure, those jellyfish are only inches away from my children.

But they're on the other side of some tremendously thick and strong glass. They're there. But it's not like they can really get us.

If you are a believer in Christ, then living in a constant state of fear is a lot like freaking out at the aquarium. Can you imagine walking through the corridors in a constant state of panic over what is on the other side of the glass?

There's no need. Nothing can really get to you.

As believers, we have the hope that nothing in this world can REALLY get us. Sure, there's trouble. Yes, there's suffering. Jobs evaporate, homes are lost, government makes decisions that affect us all. It can look like our fate rests in the hands of man, which is a scary thought. But that is far from the case. What power do they really hold over us? What can anyone REALLY do to us?

Hope envelopes us here. Heaven awaits us there.

Jesus has overcome the world that gives us trouble, and death has lost its sting. Almighty God is our fortress, our strong tower. The righteous run to Him and are safe.

Consider the thing that right now draws up fear in you. As you go through this day, declare that it holds no real threat against you. You are in the strong and protective hands of God. As close as that threat may be to you, in Christ it is on the "other side of the glass." You walk about in safety (Prov. 3:23) -- no matter what.

In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;
I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

Psalm 56:4

In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Psalm 56:11

The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
Psalm 118:6

So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?

Hebrews 13:6


Thursday, December 15, 2011


There's a Hooters Restaurant in town, and we drive by it from time to time. My kids often ask if they can go into "that cool place with the owl on it." My answer has been "no" more times than I can count, and without explanation. But finally I told my son that we don't go there because sometimes men don't treat women with respect there. His response?

"Well, I have a great idea. Why don't Daddy and I go there sometime, and he and I will be REALLY nice to all the ladies!"

I muffled a laugh. Incidentally, yeah...that's not going to happen.

Seriously though, it hurts my heart to see ANY woman being objectified. Nothing wrong with noticing beauty. But for a man to purposefully enter a restaurant with the intent of staring at women's chests outside of any sort of relationship with them is just plain wrong.

I think of the frightening trend toward objectification of women in our world. Everything to the trafficking of girls, to the sexualization of girls' clothing, to places that are built for men to go and stare at women's bodies rather than look them in the eyes. You say you're just going there "for the wings"? Brother, please. Nobody's buying that.

But I believe I'm not half as upset about it as our Heavenly Father. We know His thoughts on lust. But lust at the expense of His beloved daughters? I cannot imagine how His anger burns over the way His daughters are treated. Our God is slow to anger and abounding in love. But do I believe He is angry over this? Absolutely.

When I was about 12, my dad picked me up from dance class one night. And as we headed out to the car, two teenage boys made a comment about my body. Well, hell hath no fury like a father whose daughter's body just got commented on! It wasn't pretty. And should anyone dishonor my little girl? I promise you my normally-mild-mannered husband would be on that like white on rice. There would be NO tolerance for the mistreatment of his little girl.

How much more for the Father who made us?

We were fashioned by loving hands--hands that intended for us purity and honor. He is enthralled by the beauty He made in you and me--altogether lovely are we! I am no object--I am Somebody's daughter. And my own daughter will head out into this world someday. I want her to know who she is in Him--and expect to be treated that way.

Don't worry, I'm not going to close out with the lyrics to "I'm Every Woman" or anything like that. :) I just think it's time for a reminder of who we are in Him.


Saturday, December 10, 2011


My husband tells the story of a time he went hiking with a group of guys, one of whom was huffing and puffing and having an especially tough time making it up the side of the mountain. Things made a bit more sense when they reached the top and the guy plunked down, pulled a ginormous watermelon out of his backpack and asked, "Anyone want some?"

Now, I have enough common sense not to try and huff a huge watermelon up the side of the mountain (or to try to climb a mountain at all, for that matter). But I sure can relate to trying to take a little too much baggage on my journey.

I can't get Hebrews 12:1 off my mind lately: "Let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." My wonderfully loving and creative God has set a course for my life--a race I was
made to run. But how can I run with my arms wrapped around a watermelon? How can my strides lead me to where I am to go with its vines draping down around my legs and tripping me up?

I can't. I cannot possibly run the kind of race in the kind of way I was meant to when I'm holding on to hindrances.

I need to drop my watermelon and run. You need to drop your watermelon and run. We were made for an abundant life and
we will miss too much of the set-aside-for-us abundance if we do not grab hold of whatever holds us, throw it off, and run like our lives depend on it--Because, in fact, the abundant life really does.

WHATEVER is keeping you from running with reckless abandon the race God has set before you,
pull it off and RUN. If anything (or anyone) draws your eye away from total devotion to Jesus Christ--even if you have to pry it off, then do so--and RUN.

Throw and Go

You may think this is just about you, that only you are affected. Not even! "Throwing and Going" impacts
generations. Can you imagine the heritage your children will receive through you throwing off what hinders and entangles? By feverishly pursuing the path God has for you? By pulling off whatever is holding you back? By walking (running) in obedience to the God who goes out of His way to bless the upright?

Or you can just keep running with that giant watermelon in your hands. Sadly, that impacts generations, too.

And think of those around you who need you to throw off everything and run. Consider the people who make an impact in your own walk with God. You need them running their race unfettered so that they can speak truth or serve or minister to you. But there are those who need YOU to run YOUR race unfettered so that you can do the same for them. We run first and foremost out of love and obedience to our God. But we also owe it to the people around us to run our race right, because of the impact it will have on them. There are people around YOU who are waiting for you to run right and fulfill the call God has uniquely placed on YOUR life, because they will be blessed by you running your race unhindered.

What's your watermelon? What's that thing you're trying to huff along with you as you run the race marked out for you? I don't even think it's that we don't want to run the race God has for us; We just want to be able to take all our stuff along for the run.

Throw off everything that hinders you.
Throw off the sin that so easily entangles you.
Run with perseverance the race marked out for you.

Throw and Go.


Sunday, December 4, 2011


"This is the one!" I gushed, pointing to a poofy-sleeved wedding dress in the JCPenney Wedding Dresses catalog. I smoothed the pages and beamed with pride, fully expecting my parents' elation to match mine.

"So here's what I'm thinking," I announced. "Wedding dress prices are sure to keep going up, so what if we buy this one now and save it for when I get married? I know this is the very dress I'm going to want, even if it's 10 years down the road."

I was 14. Aaaaand absolutely, one hundred percent serious.

I don't know how my parents kept a straight face. Their answer was something along the lines of, "Um...that would be a NO."

I was a little bit crushed. I was so sure I knew what I was going to want down the road.

My parents knew better.

Because, truth be told, by the time I actually did get married, my tastes had changed just a tad. And I think I might have *cried* if I'd had to get married in that poofy-sleeved monstrosity! I do not know what possessed me to think that all that abundant fabric billowing around my shoulders would be a cute look. And on my eventual wedding day, I donned a lovely, simple gown. With thin little sparkly straps rather than shoulder poofs so big as to obstruct my side-to-side view.

But I'd been so sure I knew what I was going to want down the road.

Think back over your life--over the things you were convinced you had to have, over the people you were sure you wanted to take the journey with you, over the way you were so certain you wanted it to go.

Were you right?

I wasn't. SO not right. I wasn't right about a lot of things I was so sure I would want long-term. And the way that I found out I wasn't right about them was by receiving what God intended to give me all along. And then, all of a sudden, what I was so sure I would want quickly paled in comparison to what my Ephesians 3:20 God held before me.

Thank goodness my parents didn't give me what I was so sure I wanted. And thank goodness God doesn't, either! His ways are higher than mine, and perfect forever. He does not change with times or styles or seasons. What He gives is lasting--and right.

And so right now as you consider that thing, that person, that opportunity you are absolutely convinced you will want long term, at least entertain the thought that God might have more for you--And that perhaps one day, when you hold His immeasurably-more-than-all-we-could-ask-or-imagine gifts He has given you, you'll think of all the things you wanted as little more than poofy-sleeved wedding dresses boxed up in a closet.

You think you know what you want--and what you will want. But--glory to God--you might just be wrong. :)

Now to Him who is able to do
immeasurably more
than all we ask or imagine,
according to His power
that is at work within us,
to Him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations,
forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Thursday, December 1, 2011


If you want to know what's going on around you, then don't look around you.


On my way to work I always come to this "VEHICLE APPROACHING WHEN FLASHING" sign. It's at a bend in the road with very limited visibility, so rather than looking left and right before turning onto Burnt Hickory, I have to stare straight ahead at the light to know whether it's safe to turn right or left. If the light is flashing, then a car is coming (whether I can see it from my vantage point or not, it's coming). If not, it's clear--and safe for me to proceed.

Seems counter-intuitive to look straight ahead rather than right or left, but it's the safest way.

Because there are cars coming around the bend just beyond where I can see them, and if I pull out simply because I can't see any cars coming, I could get hit. So I cannot trust in what I see when I look side to side--my view is just too limited. I have to stare straight toward the light and take my cues from it.

There are things that you and I can't see in the limited view of our humanness. We can't see that that "harmless" flirtation could eventually cause one heck of a train wreck, and that's why our God urges us to run like heck (my paraphrase) from sexual immorality--and even from the steps that could potentially lead toward it. Harmless? Hardly. It's not a game, it's not a fun diversion. It is a catastrophe waiting to happen. And maybe we can't see that one swipe after another of our credit cards is going to land us in a financial collision eventually, but that's why there are constant urges--just in Proverbs alone--not to proceed into obligations of debt.

When we look around at our circumstances, they may appear safe. But that's exactly WHY WE CAN'T look to our circumstances--we just can't see what could be coming around the way that is currently beyond our view. We need to fasten our gaze straight ahead on Jesus and on His perfect Word, because it brings to light what is hidden and speaks to what we cannot see.

And on the flip side, there are times when victory, redemption, and enormous joy are just outside our limited view. We can't see any fruit from our faith, but it doesn't mean it's not on its way. There may be something absolutely glory-drenched right around the bend that is about to collide with our lives in the most beautiful way.

Maybe it's the family who has prayed for years to be matched with a child finally being told there's one waiting. Maybe it's the brother coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ when you weren't sure it was ever going to happen. Maybe it's the job for which you've been praying that lands in your lap just as you were about to give up hope. Proverbs 2:7 says that He holds victory in store for the upright, and the Hebrew word for "in store" suggest that the victory is hidden--unseen. But that victory is very much in store for us, nonetheless.

Want to understand what's going on around you? Don't look around you! Stare toward the One who brings understanding to our oh-so-limited view.

Let us fix our eyes on JESUS,
the author and finisher of our faith.
Hebrews 12:2

No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love Him.

1 Corinthians 2:9