A Mommy’s Heart

Today my heart is full of mommy joy….these are words I wrote sometime back to try to explain the wonder of her arrival in our lives, to somehow quantify how beautifully God had fulfilled every desire of my heart….playing with her today only further reminds me how He longs to do the same for each of us.

You are right, there are things that I traded in adoption. But nothing that I was cheated on.

No, I never felt the excitement of telling Jon I was pregnant. Instead I felt the delight of telling him about the baby that we could love.

No, I did not know the exact due date to have my child's nursery ready by. But I did get to decorate and prepare her room with all the joy and enthusiasm of any expectant mother.

No, I did not have a baby shower before my baby was born. I had it when she was two months old and it was all the sweeter.

No, I never felt her stir in my womb. Instead I felt the flutter of my heart when I first laid eyes on her in that hospital crib.

No, I did not go to the hospital with a specially packed bag to check in to Labor & delivery. I went to the hospital with a special bag packed to bring home my baby.

No, I did not stare at her through a nursery window; instead I stared at her in a rocking chair the first time I held her.

No, I did not feel the anxiety and pain of labor. I felt the anxiety and pain of biological visits and a six-hour mediation as I pushed to make her mine.

No, we did not have visitors in the hospital to smile and dote over her the day she was born, but we had a courtroom full of friends to smile and dote over her the day we adopted her.

No, I did not get to send out birth announcements; I got to send out adoption announcements.

No, I never conceived my daughter in my womb, I conceived her in my heart.


Interchangeable Parts

Sitting in the UT Southwestern surgery waiting room I am once again find myself in awe of God. I am honored to be sitting with my family of choice as two friends simultaneously undergo surgery in order for one friend to give the other a kidney.

As we all sit together making small talk the conversation keeps gravitating back to how amazing it is that this type of transaction is even possible. A few hours in the operating room and part of one man becomes part of another forever. There is much to marvel at in this story. Watching both their wives in the waiting room I realize why this swap is even happening. Because these two men, these two wives, these two families walk the talk. They talk big about being family of choice, about being the arms and hands of God extended, about living a life of excellence and honor. And they are doing it, big. They both speak of serving a limitless God and with their heroic actions they are proving His faithfulness. We all clapped when the first surgeon came out to tell us the donor's surgery was complete and successful. The nurse seated down the hall said she knew without seeing that it was our group that had applauded. I smiled knowing we had left a stamp of Jesus…..not just because we were excited that the surgeries were going well but we were all so genuinely joyous about what was taking place.

Beyond the love within this exchange is the sheer logistics of it. I mean really? One doctor cuts a hole big enough for his hand to reach through and plucks out a kidney…then in a nearby O.R. the recipient is waiting and bada bing bada boom in pops his new kidney! Of course there is more to it than that, months of testing and preparation, mountains of medicine, hours of prayer. But I find it fascinating that God made us for this sort of thing. That when He created us it was with this ability to bada boom bada bing various body parts to one another. The bible says we are to be like Christ. In Christ we have life, both physically and spiritually and here are these two men who are truly giving life to another, both physically and spiritually.

How miraculous is it that we have the gift of interchangeable parts? That at a set time and place, under the necessary circumstances one person can save another. That two men can give each other hope on a whole new level. That lives can be transformed. Makes one want to ask is anything truly "ours"? Are we too possessive? Do we think we own/change/have anything? Or are we simply here to share our interchangeable parts? So of course that begs the question—what do you have to share? Maybe your faith has not demanded that you give up a kidney….but perhaps you can share your story? A phone call, a word of encouragement, a meal….it is easy for us to look at the kidney as such a BIG gift but I think in God's eyes there is no big or small no fast or slow….a gift is a gift.

So walk your talk. Find what you have to give that was never truly yours but was all the while intended to be for someone else anyway…..just like Jesus came and gave His life, which was never His own, for you. It was always for you. Go be who you are to be for someone else. Give what is the only thing we truly have of our own to give: love.

Just do it

I've always thought when God spoke the mountains moved. I know now that when I listen, believe, embrace, and act upon what He speaks He helps me to move mountains. I think we all know at some point what we are called to do with our lives. Sometimes we don't like it or more often than not we love it but are scared because it seems so much bigger than what we are capable of. And it is. It's supposed to be bigger than us. It would not be a calling, a dream or a life purpose if we could do it on our own. God sized dreams require God. Period.

Now, I've been pretty good about doing lots of good things. Praying, serving, leading…and I've been sort of good at looking like I was working on my calling. I have written a few published articles and I started this blog. Good right? God sized? Hardly.

So here is the straight and the narrow of it, if we know what we are called to do and we don't do it we are being disobedient. Ouch. And no matter how much "close to our calling" good stuff we are doing we are still disobedient. Double ouch. So, this awakening of knowing the difference is revelation, and to have something revealed means we can't go back to not knowing what we now know. We must consciously choose to say ,"ok, Jesus I know you went to the cross for me and all but I am going to stick my head back in the sand and act like you did not make this known to me" or we can say, "ok, Jesus I know you went to the cross for me and all so therefore I've got to believe you can take my actions and the dreams you have laid in my heart and make them happen if I trust in You".

Here is the kicker, Monday God made it clear my lack of faith in His ability to do what seems impossible to me + my pride in thinking somehow I had to do it all on my own = every disconnect I have been feeling. Enter new equation, My big God + My big faith = My big God ordained dream coming to pass in His way, His time and His glory. So Tuesday I acted like a big girl with a big God and made a phone call I was scared to make. And guess what? God leveled the very mountain I was afraid to climb and opened a big door for my dream to flow through. Thursday He opened another one.

I felt stupid when I was dialing the phone. Heck half the time I feel stupid when I write these blog posts. And every time there are voices that say not to do it, that people will laugh, that I'm not qualified, that who am I to think I have something to say? The door that opened Thursday was from me writing my infertility testimony and submitting it. What did both of these mountain leveling, door opening moments have in common? Action. Action taken in faith to face possible rejection and faith that God's ability was bigger than my inability. But if I had just thought about doing these things or just listed them in my journal as things I should do or even just kept praying about whether or not I should do them zero point zero action would have been taken and no doors would have opened.

So in a nutshell, I challenge us both to less lip flapping and more action taking. As Nike would say, just do it!

Mascara? Check.

Today is the first day I have put on mascara in 22 days. 22 days. Wow, I have been va va va voomless for 22 days. Well, today the mascara is back on, va-voomness is on its way back and I am back on track to global domination. My back is still hurting especially with certain movements but my healing has been dramatic and at warp speed. Frankly my husband gets oodles of credit for that because he has literally done everything in order for me to rest. So here is a cyber "thank you" to the greatest man in the world!!! Thanks babe!

Having a broken back gives one the gift (or torture depending upon how you chose to look at it) of lots of time to stare at the ceiling and think. Think…listen to the voices in your head…think some more…then decide which voices you are going to listen too. So I have listened, I have prayed, I have sorted, I have thought, prayed some more and decided it is time to move forward. Rockstar up so to speak. So here is the dish: Every day holds the power of choice. Every reaction, decision, action or lack of action is a choice. You can choose victory or defeat, lack or abundance, self indulgence or discipline, love or selfishness, fear or faith. I chose faith. Coming out of this accident I have to say I see things more clearly…perhaps one would call them priorities? Such as nothing is more essential than my relationship with God, nothing is more precious than time with my family, nothing is impossible for me through Christ and nothing smells sweeter than the top of my daughter's head.

Now none of this may seem earth shattering, it has certainly all been said before but are you acting on it? Hmmmm, ask the voices in your head then tell all of them to zip it that don't line up with what God says is true about you and the future of your dreams. So here I am, mascara on, moving forward. I went to work today and have reignited my personal business and have re-committed myself to my writing. Is that a lot? Maybe. Are my dreams big? No doubt. Do I have a lot to give the world? I'd like to think so. Can I do it all? The Voice says yes.


"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment." – Jim Rohn

"Go big or go home" - Unknown but a most fabulous mantra

A bit of a stumble…..

Did you think I abandoned the experiment? Nope, actually last Tuesday morning I took a wee little tumble down the last 4 or 5 of my stairs and broke two vertebrae in my back.

It has been a rough week and a half since then. I feel hugely blessed and grateful that I am not in the hospital in traction or paralyzed. The emergency room doctor said it was a very rare break he has seen only one or two other times (leave it to me to be unique). I am at home sort of on bed rest. I am able to walk but have to keep it pretty simple or the pain is quite intolerable. My sweet husband has had to take over everything, all child care, all well everything….I can walk from the bed to the sofa and back and that is about it. Today is the first day I have been up to typing.

The downtime is hard for me and I am trying to figure out why. I mean I get that I am a naturally stay busy kind of person and would like to believe that I really am driven to be more than I am. But I believe God is in control of everything and if I believe that then I have to believe this down time is for a reason and something is supposed to come out of it. Perhaps as I basically have zero control right now it is a lesson in the fact that I can live and be fulfilled without having everything under my thumb. Maybe it is a time to reflect on what I truly, truly want in my life. Perhaps it is a time that I can be quiet enough to complete some things that require time I never seem to give them....perhaps God was so enjoying our time together from The Tired Factor Blog Experiment He thought we should get some more uninterrupted time? Ha ha ha, no I do not believe He caused this, but I do believe He will help me find the good things within it if I let Him. And while all of the above may be true what most resonates within me is that maybe, just maybe I have been defining myself by what all I do rather than Whose I am. And if I believe God has laid on my heart to share with women Whose they are then I better be darn toot'in sure where my true identity rests.


 

Week Two: Raising the bar

The Tired Factor Blog Experiment…

Short version: Last week was hard and the payoff so much more than I could have expected--final math says hard was worth it. This time last week, Sunday night, I could not wait to climb into bed and 9 pm felt like 3 in the morning to me. The feeling of being tired all the time was like a box I could not climb out of. The ideas and dreams inside of me seemed to dangle off the edge of my constant tiredness and I honestly wondered if my physical feelings could ever somehow mesh with my internal ambition and eagerness to do and be more OR if I would be like some kind of bizarre scary movie where the main character is full of dreams but held captive by her mind that tells her she is too tired to move. And hey, if you think that sounds way out there or a tad melodramatic then you are not battling "tired", those of you who are can no doubt relate.

So here I am, Sunday night, 9:10 pm and I am not tired. I am excited. Eager. Fired up. Certain. Tomorrow I am upping the ante. Last week, week one, I got up at 5:30.This week I will get up at 5:15. The time I have been spending with God each morning has changed me, brought me back to me and freed me. I want more. More time with Him. The way He has moved in my life, my heart and my mind this week has been astounding so all I can do is eagerly anticipate what He will do this week! I have never felt more confident and frankly more in love with myself and my life than I have after intentionally making this time to spend with Him. I am certain the two go hand in hand. This week I am ready to be bolder and step out in bigger faith. It is going to be a great week!!!!!!

I will check in with you tomorrow.

DAY 3 & 4

You people are rabid for change! I have gotten emails and Facebook messages with ya'll wanting to know how day 3 and 4 have gone in The Tired Factor Blog Experiment so here is the update.

Day 3 (Wednesday): Getting up was rough!!!!!! I got my phone out of the bathroom and hit snooze until 5:40 then rolled out of bed, slowly, oooooh sooo slowly. My quiet time was good but I really got a sense of having cheated myself when Bella woke up full throttle at 5:55. I missed Him in a new way. I went to bed determined to be more committed and demand more of myself on Day 4.

Day 4 (today): Ok, I did not WANT to get up but I did and felt like this morning I finally hit my stride. I sat on the bottom step of our staircase and prayed—it was deep and powerful and I felt whole. My entire day resonated from that time spent in His presence praying for His will, reminding Him of His promises, trusting Him to prove Himself and asking Him to mold me into who He created me to be. I had a great day…and maybe I still would have had a great day if I had slept till 6:00 or 6:30 but the peace, the excitement, the boldness I am feeling welling up inside of me I know is from the intentionality of making that time His. My pastor says it like this, "when you make what is important to God important to you He makes what is important to you important to Him". 'Nuff said.

Here is some inspiring feedback I have received in the last few days….keep it coming you wild women, thank you so much for sharing!!!!!!!


You've inspired me to quit with the TV and excuses. I went for a run this morning and it was wonderful. It still kicked my butt and I thought someone should call an ambulance, but it was great! I pulled out my Body For Life book and I'm moving forward!! Thanks so much and keep blogging!!! --Kel


The Holy Spirit is moving and shaking me too! Glad you felt led, because it was major affirmation to me, and I've been up at 5 a.m. the last two days. I'm so reminded that God doesn't want his people to be bound by their emotions and to be half focused, half productive people. We are to run the race with determination, focus, drive and accountability. Keep it comin'! –Tonja


I've been on the computer for an hour too long tonight, but I did want to take minute to thank you for your new experiment. I too have really been struggling with the tired factor. I was so consistent with Jack for the first 2 years of his life and not allowing him to watch TV (for a number of reasons, I won't go into right now) but since I have been pregnant, that has all gone out the window. In the first trimester it was once or twice sometimes even 3xs a week. Up to now, it is a daily ritual. Jack wakes up passionately crying for Diego and I go back to bed for 22 minute intervals until I have to start the new episode. CRAZY!!! I have gone from hard core against TV to now a daily ritual. Well finally yesterday morning, after I read your blog, that changed. I had to not only wake up with him, but I had to become his clown to get his little mind off the torment of losing his morning cartoon. On to my next goal.....follow though on working for at least 10 hours a week at my new job. Thanks for the motivation!!! I need it. --Kara


DAY TWO

This morning was much, much harder. The voice of opposition was very loud, the bed was very warm and Bella had awoken me somewhere in the middle of the night. I actually stirred around 5, got my phone and went back to sleep. Oddly enough I woke up on my own spot on at 5:30 (I am sure God sent an angel to nudge me), talked myself into 6 more minutes of shut eye and got up (elevated my thinking) at 5:36. I had my quiet time (tears of joy and gratitude producing quiet time at that) then feel asleep on the couch until Bella woke up. No judgment, these are baby steps people.

I gotta tell ya there is power in His certainty. I mean hey, if I can tackle this change then I can do anything right? I mean it is all the same process of choice. Suddenly my dreams seem a tad bit closer and less like looming unattainables and more like possibilities. And something about making the act of sacrifice and obedience to start my day with Him is creating a stir….something is happening, good happening, yummy exciting happening….

The only way to stretch your future is to stretch your present

loosely paraphrased from Zig Ziglar

DAY ONE

The Tired Factor Blog Experiment DAY ONE:

For today I was determined to get up by 5:30 am to have quiet time with God so last night I wanted to be in bed lights out by 10 pm. I managed lights out before 11, what can I say, husbands happen. Oddly enough I had a hard time falling asleep. I was nervous, anxious, on edge, whatever ya wanna call it about having to get up early. Now mind you I am usually up by or before 6:00 am per the little voice on the bedside monitor blinking bright green to the beat of "mamma, mamma" so 5:30 was not that much of a stretch but it seemed so daunting—seriously---like I might die or something if I got up at 5:30. It was hard to even think about and I was worried that if I managed to pull it off that I would be zombie like the rest of the day.

Per my wise friend's advice I put my alarm clock a.k.a. Blackberry on the bathroom counter so when it went off I was forced to get out of bed to shut it off rather than just lay in bed, eyes half closed, slowly (who are we kidd'in) quickly seduced back to sleep by warm covers. I actually woke up a few minutes before 5:30 and pushed myself out of bed—I kid you not, full out mental conversation about having to get up and a large part of why I actually did get up was because I knew I was going to have to type about it tonight to you. I would love to tell you that it is all about my champion spirit, my warrior heart, my do or die mentality but no, all because I have chosen to be accountable and transparent to you dear reader and I could not bear to admit failure on Day One.

I settled in the living room to have my quiet time but my brain was so jumbly, like I could not string two coherent thoughts together. I knew the enemy was trying to jack up my game so all I could think to do was pray for other people and try to think of a scripture that says I am not as crazy as I was feeling at 5:40 in the morning. I kept thinking of the verse that says we have the mind of Christ…I could never remember where it is in the bible so if you know email it to me or post it as a comment PLEASE!

Bella started waking up just a bit before 6 am so I did not get in that much quiet time but the point was that I chose victory today. I was radical. I got up. I did something different. I broke my mold. I charted a new course. The day itself was average. Nothing amazing happened. No big fat check in the mail box, no eager message from a publisher, no life altering creative thought. BUT I forged a new path. I told what was holding me back that it no longer had any power over me. And guess what? I did not die from getting up at 5:30. My day was not even riddled with yawns. I was, I am, vibrant. Interestingly enough as I sit here to type that ugly little voice that told me I was too tired to get up is now trying to convince me that since all I did was get up a wee bit early and pray a little that it does not really count because it is not like I worked out or wrote or met any of my other goals. Whatever! That is such a load of fooey! But see that is how this madness called warfare works….tiny little red man takes a grain of truth (I did not work out) mixes it with any remnants of lingering self doubt (my thighs really do need some attention and geez, what if I can't ever squeeze out enough morning time for God and working out??? Oh the panic!) and voila you think you are a loser and the day's victory through Christ gets lost in the muck of our own tiny selfish minds. Well, NO MORE I TELL YOU! And guess what? When I rolled myself out of bed this morning I pummeled that whiny voice so while it is trying to yap in my ear right now in hopes that I will give up my quest I KNOW today's action has cemented my getting up tomorrow, and the next day and the next! You know what we call that?? Faith! Certainty! Bravado! Greatness! Progress! Firm thighs, books written, goals accomplished, and a legacy left!!!!

Day One is a success as measured by meeting my goal of getting up by 5:30 and starting my day with God. Some might say that is a baby step but for me it was climbing a mountain because my body said I was tired and my mind said I could start tomorrow to which my heart said that I AM full of greatness and at 5:26 in the morning with blurry eyes and a fuzzy robe I finally listened.

Tomorrow Day Two.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action;

be self controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be

given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:13

The Tired Factor Blog Experiment

That's it. I'm done. Done with my big talking and my little doing. Done with grand plans and puny actions. I am so over my plotting, planning and imaging followed up by my sleeping in, sneaking snacks and settling for yesterday's dose of ambition. I am tired of starting the week with a goal and ending it with Tivo. Done. Finnito. Over it.

I have big dreams. I have always had big dreams. I can remember being 6 years old and having a vivid image of what I wanted in my life. Oddly enough no amount of living has changed that vision much. I believe that God created me. That before He formed me He knew every dream He would place in my heart and that He equipped me with every skill, passion and desire to move me towards those very dreams. Now here is what I find perplexing; if I believe that then what's up with all the Tivo time?

I find myself saying the same thing over and over, "I'm tired". And I am tired. Bone tired. There is nothing wrong with me, no medical reason for being so tired. Sure I am a mom so tired is just a part of the package. I set the alarm clock to get up to spend time with God each morning and I hit snooze because I am so tired I can't get out of bed. I plan to write after Bella goes to bed and I am too tired to type. I plan workouts that don't happen 'cause I am tired. Time with friends, tired. Time with hubbie, tired. Reach for goals, tired. Seek my destiny, tired. Change the world, tired.

So this is it, tired is where I've sold out. For me tired is the tiny bit of truth the enemy takes and makes it seem bigger and more real than the truth of what God says about me. So if tired is where I give up then tired is where I have to fight. And I know that I know that I know that I already have the victory. Since "tired" is a subjective state I can only use my productivity as the objective criteria to chart my progress.

Effective tomorrow I am living experiment in biblical success. My "tired" is gonna get it's butt kicked. No more settling for less than what I am destined for because a little mouse with a megaphone and an alleged forked tail whispers into my mind that I am tired and I absorb that belief into my body. God says that I will run and not grow weary. That in my weakness He is made strong. I am restored in Him and by Him. Through Him I can do all things. All things. That includes getting off my duff to chase, catch and blow the doors off my dreams.

I am committed to being held accountable by you my dear readers. I am open to your ideas, encouragement and feedback. I am embarking on a public journey to kick mediocrity's tail and prove that the word of God works. Everytime, all the time, in every situation, even against something as random and rampant as being tired. Right now being tired is what I am letting keep me from God's will for me. I don't know what your "tired" is but I know we have to fight it the same way so I will chart my progress honestly, the good, the bad, the ugly. I will be a petri dish for the power of His word. Together we will journey to the summit of excellence and kick the excuses to the curb! So long Tivo hello fabulous!

Be looking for tomorrow's update....

Let it snow, let it snow…

Yesterday 12 & ½ inches of snow blanketed North Texas. It has gone down in the record books as a miracle snowfall. My simple suburb was transformed into a breathtaking sight, scenery pure and thick with quiet. Hustle and bustle had clearly flown to warmer climates. Trees brushed off their unfamiliar new coats of snow. Birds no longer camouflaged by nature but instead flittering dots on a white world.

I was struck by just the sheer immensity of how much snow there was. Piles, drifts even. I recalled that once upon a time someone quite learned taught me that every single snowflake is entirely unique. No two ever the same. Ever. The piles, drifts and Texas snowmen were made of some astronomical number of individual snowflakes. Millions, billions, trillions, trillions times trillions. Each and every one of them different? Hard to fathom. I had this picture of God's mighty hand just shaking them out over my zip code. Gently but with purpose the way a farmer's wife would shake out feed to the hens. Intentional but with little effort. And I marveled about how simple everything is for God. It staggers the mind to ponder that from the dawn of time to this Texas mini blizzard every single snowflake that had ever fallen anywhere in the entire world has been different. The enormity of it is majestic. God is majestic. You can see the correlation. How can I ever doubt a God that takes the time to make snowflakes special? If snowflakes can matter that much to Him then surely He took even more care in making each one of us, well, "us". If His hand can so simply transform a landscape then what can He do with me? With you? I get giddy just thinking about what He might have in mind! Don't you too? I am no expert but I'd be willing to bet most snowflakes are never seen by anyone but God. And yet He still takes that much care with them. I would think no less of His sovereignty if He had decided all snowflakes would be identical. But He didn't. The obvious is that He designed us to be seen. To shine. Shine brightly at that. He wants us to stand out. The talents and giftings and senses humor, uncanny memorys, whatever, to glow for His glory. So how much more has He invested in our individual creation? Snowflakes barely survive a few hours and we are given a lifetime? My mind is boggled and I am compelled to live up to my personal blueprint.

Perhaps it is a silly comparison…snowflakes and us. But maybe not. God is a God of detail. Nothing too tiny for His might. Gosh, even when Adam and Eve had sinned and stood before Him with rough leaves covering their nakedness He took fur and clothed them in softness. No detail overlooked for His beloved.

He made me to be me. He made you to be you. He dusted my world with snowflakes so that I might marvel in Him. How honored I am that He longs so much to grab my attention. I triple dog dare you to spend the next 24 hours watching for how He is working to grab yours.

For to the snow He says, "Fall on the earth" Job 37: 6

Fun Fact

FYI, if you feed a 2 year old blueberries please know that they will fully reconstitute in bathwater. Enough said.

Wanna See The Face Of God?

I begged heaven for my daughter. I shook my fist in anger at God that she was not here for me to hold. I mourned never feeling a growing child move inside my belly and in my very soul I ached to mother. There was a hole in me nothing else could fill, but her.

Waiting for her was the biggest stretch my faith has ever known. But the journey was the most intimate I had ever been with God. Through those years He tested my love, He cast down every idol and He drew me to Him. I know He longed that I would desire Him more than I desired her. And how eager He and all of heaven must have been watching the calendar that I could not see that showed the date she would come into our family. As I can only picture in human terms I chuckle to think that perhaps He could barely sleep the night before I met her knowing the joy I would soon hold in my arms.

Now I have learned that the joy was far more than becoming a mother. The joy was in seeing His promise manifest before my very eyes. Every time I look at her little cherub face I know my prayers are heard on high. I know He places the desires in my heart and I know that He has good plans for me. I know He holds my hand and I know that He delights in me. I know He is my shield and my place of refuge. I know that when I look at her I see the face of God...she is a real, live, breathing prayer come to life…His hand extended to mine…His face smiling down upon me. I am humbled by the lavishness of His gift.

Now dear reader I know that you may not much care that it took me what felt like a lifetime to become a mother. But I bet you care that God answers prayers. And I bet you care whether or not faith works. I bet you are itching to see God's face revealed in your own miracle emerging from the ether of heaven into your life. So I have this to say to you: Your prayers are heard on high. He places the desires in your heart and He has good plans for you. He is who holds your hand and He absolutely delights in you. He is your shield and your place of refuge. His hand is extended to you…His face is smiling down upon you and He is eager to lavish His love upon you. Wanna see it happen? Then trust Him with your whole heart and nothing less. He has a calendar with the date of whatever you are believing for circled and I bet He won't be able to sleep the night before you see His face manifest before you.

Kinky?

I was in the car this morning thinking about the amazing women I get to lead and learn from every Tuesday night. I call them Radical Rockstars because I believe the type of transformation they crave can only come through radical action. I honor them for embarking upon a journey few ever brave.

As I was thinking about what us ladies would cover tomorrow night I got a picture of how transformation works. And so let the analogy begin, ya know how when you grab your extension cord and you go to plug it in it inevitably has a few kinks, a couple of knots and all together just does not cooperate. And of course you are in a hurry to get accomplished whatever it is that requires the extension cord so it is just all the more frustrating. So what do you do? You stop everything else and you unroll the cord, you undo any knots and smooth out all the kinks. Then when you go to put it away, having learned from your experience, you neatly roll it back up before you put it away.

Well, transformation works a lot the same way. You keep trying to plug away at "it" (whatever your "it" is) but there seems to be all these kinks and knots slowing you down or blocking your way all together. Now, for those not so radical they just plug in their cord anyway and are only able to accomplish what is within reach of their kinked up and knotty cord. BUT, for those radical enough to take the time to unwind years of disempowering thinking, limiting beliefs and roadblock patterns they are able to reach out and tackle whatever big, bold, bodacious dream God has placed in their hearts.

So, oh great radical one, go unwind your kinky cord why don't ya?

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may proove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Romans 12:2

A moment...

So…yeah….had a moment…..ok, per previous post I am most fired up for tomorrow's faceting to begin. BUT that is tomorrow so tonight I chose the road less faceted and decided that for dinner my daughter and I would pop out to get some good old fashioned fried up and greasy fast food. Now to appreciate this story you have to know that when I am home I tend to go for comfy rather than cute and today was no exception. I figured we were getting window food so no one would see my attire.

Once in the car I noticed the fuel range indicated 7 miles. Uh oh, I forgot I needed gas. Double uh oh, I am rocking out hot pink sweat shorts , a tank top (it is 39 degrees outside) and get this, my granny fanny velour house shoes. Seriously. To grasp the urgency of my impending shame you must know it is Super Bowl Sunday and the streets are busy. Add to that I live in one of the seven most affluent towns in America. And here I am in what can only be described as full out W.T. attire, frankly all I needed at this point to qualify for PeopleOfWalmart.com is a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.

Of course there were about 15 cars at the nearest gas station, all drivers dressed in warm, trendy attire. Glaring was the obvious absence of any other house shoes. Let's just say it takes a most self confident woman to get out of her car and pump gas in light pink rubber soled velour slippers. Oh for the faceting to begin!

58 Facets

Tomorrow is a sort of D Day for me. The first day I officially take the first of many action steps towards my 2010 goals.

Oy.

I mean I am excited….well, more like I am eager to get closer to being the me I feel I can be rather than the me who has allowed herself to stay this side of excellence. I am excited about this line in the sand to prevent me from returning to mediocre-ville. But am I eager to start the action steps? No. Would I rather sleep in and stick to my old habits. Well, duh of course I would 'cause that would be a lot easier. But my new motto is "it is not about easy it is about excellence".

Maybe I think too much. Maybe my dreams are too big. Nah, I don't buy that. I think I and we are just multi-faceted. Yep, that's it. We are like a finely carved gemstone—or better yet we are in the process of becoming a finely carved gemstone, our true brilliance just waiting to be brought out.

So by that word picture of a definition then tonight when I lay out tomorrow's schedule which involves these new action items to reach my goals then what I am really doing is laying out the tools of a jeweler's bench. Tomorrow when I start my day spending intimate time with God it will be the first cut on this raw stone of me. And as I replace old habits with new, intentional behaviors another bit of the raw and non glittering part of me will be carved off.

No diamond was ever brought from raw to light reflecting in one stroke. It takes 58 facets to make a brilliant cut diamond sparkle. I want so much for my little light to shine, not so much because of me but because of the light that lives inside of me. So tomorrow morning rather than roll over to snooze I will roll out of bed ready to be carved into the one and only me I was destined to be. Maybe I am just 58 bold decisions away from my inner brilliance…..maybe so are you.

When God Moves…

God is boundless. He sees neither small, large, fast, slow, far nor near. His timing is always perfect. He doles out miracles as simply as snowflakes and His love knows no limits. The bible is clear when it explains that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. It is only us, in our finite minds that define how God should be or act, when He should respond and how it should look. It is in this that we miss the opportunity to be in awe of His Sovereignty. Facing a situation we decide in our human minds what the outcome should be and by when it needs to occur. We are all that limit what God can do for us, in us, through us.

God moves when God wants to move. He knows when and what is best for us. As a Father who treasures, loves and adores us He acts, He answers, He nudges our world when He knows is best. More to the point, God moves when it is most to His glory. God moves by our faith not by our desperation.

King Darius issued a decree throughout his kingdom that no one could pray to any other god for thirty days. Punishment for violating the royal decree was being thrown into the lion's den to certain death. Daniel had risen to a place of esteem in King Darius' palace but every day in his own home he bowed before the Lord and prayed to Him in thanks asking for His help. In time Daniel is discovered and reported to the king. Though it distresses King Darius he orders Daniel thrown into the lion's den, has the door covered with a stone and on the stone seals the door with his own signet ring "so that Daniel's situation might not be changed". The next morning he returns to check on Daniel hoping against hope that he has somehow survived the night with the lions. He calls out and is overjoyed to hear Daniel reply that he has indeed survived the night saying "my God sent His angel and he closed the mouths of the lions and they have not hurt me". Daniel is released and "no wound is found on him because he had trusted in his God" and King Darius commands that the Living God be served for He endures forever and has saved Daniel from the lions. (Daniel Chapter 6)

Daniel never lost faith. He believed in His God. He believed that his faith in Him was the only thing that could save him. Could God have saved Daniel from ever even being thrown into the lion's den? Of course. Would it have been as glorious? No. Would it have inspired a mighty and vain king to decree that an entire kingdom was to bow low before and lift up the name of the one true God? Maybe. Did the miracle of Daniel's safety make for a jaw dropping display of God's might? Yes. Was He most glorified in the edge of your seat out come? Absolutely. God knew Daniel was safe. Daniel knew His God would deliver Him. Obstacle + Faith = God glorified

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced a similar opportunity. King Nebuchadnezzar decreed that all must fall and worship a golden statue he had built. They refused and were summoned before the king. He told them that they must worship his gods and fall before this idol in worship or that he would have them thrown into the fiery furnace and asks them "then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?". Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego tell him that they do not even need to defend themselves to him in this matter and that the God they serve is able to deliver them and that even if He did not they will not worship another god. King Nebuchadnezzar is furious and orders the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal. He then has the three of them bound tightly together by his strongest soldier. The furnace is now so hot that just the wave of heat from it instantly kills the soldiers who take Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to the furnace. The three bound men are thrown in and as the angry king looks on he is shocked to see four men walking around inside the furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar calls them out of the furnace and all of his court in is in amazement that these men have survived and there is not even the slightest scent of fire or smoke on them or their clothing. It is then decreed that no one can say anything of dishonor about the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego "for no other god can save in this way". (Daniel Chapter 3)

Again, God could have stepped in at any time and have prevented them from being thrown into the fire. But is it not awe inspiring that they escaped not burned, singed, or even smelling like smoke? That is poetry. That is glory. That is God.

In both these stories someone else said these men must turn away from the one true God. In each story these men held their faith above all else. Both times the men are cast into situations of certain, inescapable death. Both times they escape, aided by God's angel, without a mark on them. Both times all that is certain and inescapable is the glory of God.

I would never refer to God as a last minute God, though He seems to show off in the home stretch. There are moments when the answer to a prayer appears immediately. But when God longs to stretch us, when He demands our whole heart in faith, when He is itching to show off on our behalf, typically it appears to us as a last minute save. Like He swoops in with a mere minute to spare and saves the day for us, then wiping away our tears He lifts us up on His mighty shoulders and parades us around in His moment of victory. We serve a jealous God. Our role is to be in relationship with Him and allow our lives to bring Him glory. The only way we can do either is through faith. Radical, blood pumping, down to the wire knowing He is on your side faith. Remember God does not operate in our concept of time. There is no last minute, no cutoff date, no expiration on His might. He will move. He will revel in our faith. He will be glorified.