Most of you know that I recently attended a speaker’s conference in Asheville, North Carolina. Participants were asked to blog about their experience for the Christian Communicators blog. Here is what I wrote…
15 Oct 2014 Leave a comment
05 Oct 2014 4 Comments
I’m always looking for the God lessons in life’s ordinary situations. However, this week, I didn’t have to look very hard. It was very clear to Jim and I that God was literally speaking to us through our circumstances.
Over a month ago, we purchased an older Honda Silver Wing scooter for me to ride. When we bought it, we knew it didn’t run right, but knew the problem shouldn’t be anything big. The bike had run well for our friend’s wife until her death about three years ago. It had a sale price we could afford and we decided to take the risk. So we bought the bike and immediately had it picked up by the Honda dealer to repair.
It was there for over four weeks until this Thursday when we finally got the call, it was done! It was about an hour away from home so we had to schedule time to pick it up. Not to mention, neither of us had ever ridden a motorcycle on the road and the class we took to learn to ride was over six weeks ago.
We were watching the weather and decided that Friday seemed to be the best bet to pick it up. It might be a little cooler, but shouldn’t be too bad rain wise. As we started out to pick it up, rain that had not been on the radar earlier popped up and it literally rained the entire way to our destination. On the way, we both wondered if we should turn back or keep going. I said a prayer and kept asking God to clear the way.
As we were almost there, it seemed like we came to a “clearing” in the midst of the storm. We got excited to think that maybe it was going to end. However, everywhere we looked, there were still storm clouds all around us. I decided to pull up the weather map to see what our future held. As I looked at the map, I could see a huge storm all around us with this little bubble of clearing that we were clearly in. However, the part to the west of us was only a small line. Being able to see our circumstances from an aerial viewpoint, even though it seemed that our future was bleak, I knew in just a few short minutes the storm would be over.
It didn’t really work that way, though, as we picked up the bike, it was continuing to rain. We were fearful about Jim having his first ride on wet pavement. To add fuel to the fire, the salesman told us, “Be careful out there. The pavement is very slick as a result of this weather.”
However, we both still felt this was the time to get the bike home, so we continued on. We tested it out in a nearby neighborhood and by the time we were assured it was running and we had a full tank of gas, the streets had dried up and we were ready to head home.
We needed to stay on back roads as Jim was inexperienced and didn’t want to ride on the highway the first day of riding. Our GPS wanted to take us to the logical way, the highways—the fast and easy path—not knowing the dangers it held for a novice rider. Realizing the path we must take for our own good, we pulled over, reset the GPS to not go on highways and continued on. Having a firm direction, it got easier but there were still several detours diverting our route along the way. A one hour trip had quickly turned into a two hour trip and we still had one-half hour to travel before making it home.
I knew Jim had to be tired, so I pulled my car over into a restaurant parking lot to pause before continuing our journey. It was not a good choice of places to stop…there were what I call thugs all around and people with obvious mental disorders wandering aimlessly through the parking lot. We quickly chose to get back on the bike and head home.
As we turned the corner heading towards our last fifteen minutes, the sun shone brightly ahead. As it was shining brightly before us, behind us another storm brewed. Ignoring what was going on behind us, Jim lowered his sun shield on his helmet and headed home, full speed.
This might seem like an ordinary stormy day. But for us, it felt like a God thing. It was as though He was saying to us all day, “Jim and Lori, there will be storms that seem to never end. But persevere anyway. You won’t know when they are going to end, but please trust Me when I say, ‘It won’t be long now.’ I can see your circumstances from an aerial view and know you will be out of the storm very soon.”
“You may grow weary and think that you can’t go any more, but stopping along the path I have ordained for you will only allow fear to set in and others to distract you from your purpose. Keep moving My children. Trust that I have your back and only want the best for you. Don’t listen to those who caution you that this might not be safe. If it is the path I have for you, I will watch over you and protect you through it all.”
Yes, the trip took us two and one-half hours instead of one. There were a lot of detours and even some scary moments along the way. Taking the road less traveled can often be a harder way to go.
From now on when I feel that I can’t keep going, I will pull up the mental picture in my mind of the storm at my back and the sunshine on my face, telling me to keep going. Keep traveling towards the One who gives you strength and lights the way.
Thank you, Lord, for watching over us and for speaking to us through our storms in life. Might we ever praise You for all that You have done to keep us safe while we travel, trusting You, on the path that You have ordained for our lives! You make even the darkest storms seem bright!
Psalm 16: 9-11 (NKJV)
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. 10 For You will not leave my soul …, 11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
11 Sep 2014 4 Comments
When I speak for Stonecroft, the title of my speech is “Change Happens.” Throughout my talk, I remember specific changes that God brought into my life at various times, all of which He used to make me who I am today. Although change is hard, it is also that which keeps us alive and moving forward.
If we were to do the same things, wear the same clothes, eat the same food, and on, and on, life would quickly become monotonous and lack purpose. Each change in our lives brings its own challenge. The biggest challenge for the most memorable changes in my life was whether I was going to embrace the change with God or rebel against God and refuse to allow it to change me.
A few weeks ago, I got the call to join 29 other ladies just like me, to attend the Christian Communicators Conference at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina. (www.ChristianCommunicators.com). My name had come up on the waiting list at the last minute and I had about a week to think about it before I took off on an eight hour road trip to my next big adventure.
During the week I was there, I was expecting God to pour His Heart out to me and tell me everything He wanted me to do in the days ahead. Since I was so confident that He would, I even sat in my room one night alone, waiting for His sign. Oh, and of course, I reminded him that when I got home, life was going to get busy so He’d better talk while I was still! I waited, and waited, and waited…there was nothing.
So, I thought, “I know He didn’t bring me all this way and remove huge obstacles at the last minute to get me there without a plan.”
About the third day of utter frustration without a single word from God, I got it. Oh! This isn’t about me! This is about God! I realized at that point, that God has a plan and apparently there is going to be change down the pike for me. However, I only need to be obedient and follow where He leads at this point.
Have you ever been there when you know a change is about to happen because God is stirring your heart, but you have no idea where He’s taking you? Have you ever been like Moses and pleaded with the Lord like in Exodus 4:10-12 (NLT)? But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or don’t speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”
Moses went on to plead once more for God to send anyone else but him! I don’t want to be like Moses. I want to do everything on this earth God has ordained for me to do. If I am to write, I will write. If I am to speak, I will speak…with fear and trembling, but I will speak. If I am to remain silent, I will…not saying that will be easy though!
I know when God moves me to change, He has my best interest at heart. He doesn’t want me to be comfortable in my own abilities and plan. Rather, I think He delights in leading the way to the next new adventure!
Is God speaking to you? Is it time for a change in your ho-hum routine? Even the most beautiful pond can quickly turn fowl and scummy when its water becomes stagnant. As I wait for The Lord’s direction as to what comes next, I would ask that you remember my ministry in your prayers. In turn, if you send me a message or make a comment, I will pray for you, too! We are all in this together!
As I look out my window and watch the leaves start to fall,
I am thankful for a God that is a God of change.
It is His way.
He wants us to be ever-changing, ever-growing, into the person He wants us to be.