Thursday, October 12, 2017

Taming the Tongue

Imagine that I was just steady squeezing a tube of toothpaste watching it pour out into a pile of minty goop. What if I decided I wanted to put it all back in the tube? Could it be done? No, not really. This is an example of what happens to the words we speak. Once they are spoken, they can’t be taken back. Anything after that is either just cleaning up or reaping the fruit of whatever was spoken. Proverbs 12:18 says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword…” Whether written or spoken (or typed on FB), we cannot afford to be carelessly squeezing the tube because everything we speak has a consequence be it positive or negative, in love or in hate.

There is so much power in our words that all of creation was formed by words. God actually “spoke” creation into existence! In Genesis, God said, “Let there be light, sky, earth, grass..." and so on. Then He created man in His own image and gave him dominion and authority to name every living creature. They messed up, ate the apple and God used His words yet again but this time to curse the serpent, curse the ground…curse childbirth…dang you, Eve.

Then in the New Testament, Jesus also used just His words to both curse a fig tree and to raise Lazarus from the dead. To one He spoke death, and to the other He spoke life. The point is that the same power that lives in Him lives in us, so why wouldn’t our words carry blessings and curses and life and death? Every day, we are literally speaking instructions to be carried out in some form or fashion.

The Scripture that we’re going to focus on is Proverbs 18:21. “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit.” There was a situation the other day where Kadi (my youngest daughter) and I were discussing a possible outcome. I absolutely love her faith and she challenges me in this area every day. We were sitting outside by the pool, tears streaming down her face as she was caught in the center of a middle school friend crisis. We’ve all been there. I was getting ready to speak a very likely possibility in this perfect parent to child teaching moment, when she stops me mid-sentence and says, “Before you say what I know you’re going to say, remember Proverbs 18:21. And before you tell me it doesn’t really apply in this situation, it does. It applies in EVERY situation.” She understood the power of words and didn’t even want the words coming out of my mouth because she didn’t want to give life to any other possibility other than what she was still standing in faith for God to change! She basically just flipped the tables on this little teaching moment of ours. She was so right. This principle is applied in every aspect of our lives!

I’m reminded of a really funny story from when I was in Bible college. And those of you that have ever been in Bible college know you have faith for everything! Well, I had a friend that literally killed a fly with her words. I can’t explain it. All I know is that she said, “DIE in JESUS NAME” and it did. Maybe it was sheer coincidence that it dropped dead out of mid-air or may God allowed for that teachable moment. I don’t know, but she knew the power her words carried even if no one else did. Weird story, probably won’t work for everyone, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try it, too after that. Let’s just say that I’m still having to break out the fly swatter.

Recently, I did the “apply experiment.” If you haven’t heard of it, basically it was introduced a few years ago by a lady named Nikki Owen who based it off of a water molecule experiment by Dr. Emoto to test the effects of speaking life and death. Since our bodies are about 65% water, she took his experiment a step further and applied it to an apple since it is 70% water…very close to the human body. The point is to measure the rate of decay relative to the words spoken. I sliced my apple in half and put each in a separate Ziploc bag for 7 days. I spoke love to one and hate to the other. Here are my results:  

That’s pretty crazy. The “bad” apple that I spoke death to and commanded to rot is actually rotting at a much faster rate than the good apple. You can see a bit of bruising starting on the good apple, but it still has its seeds and a decent color. If you look at the other apple, you can notice the more brown color and significant rotting on the bottom. What’s worse is the smell. The good apple still smells sweet. The other apple smells fermented. Yuck! I spoke to them each for the same amount of time and they sat in the same spot on the counter. The only difference was in WHAT and HOW I spoke to them. I’m not sure if this experiment is accurate or not, but it worked for me! Give it a try and see what results you get…that’s what an experiment is all about anyway! If this proves true, I wonder what our words are physically capable of doing to our bodies, mindsets or those we love. Words are so powerful!

Let’s close with this: If the words you speak today inevitably shape your tomorrow, what does the forecast look like?

{If you would like to see the video broadcast of this devotional that was shared via FB live to the Christian Women of Collin County, CLICK HERE. You can also just search that page for "Taming the Tongue."}

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Yes, No, Maybe So, Certainly...

Kind of reminds me of the beginning of an old jump rope rhyme we used to sing in elementary school. Today, I want to talk about the ability to say “no” and how that affects your “yes.” Telling someone that I cannot do something or, worse, that I don’t want to do something is VERY difficult for me. There must be a need or they wouldn’t ask me, right? Maybe no one else can do it, so certainly, that must be why I should say “yes.” Wrong…that’s just the mouthpiece of pride. 

What happens when you dilute something? You decrease its effectiveness which compromises the integrity of the purpose for which it was created. If you are a habitual “yesser” like I was, then this will set you free! Matthew 5:37 and James 5:12 both say to let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no. Though the context is in the validity of keeping your word, it sure seems like the Scripture actually gives us permission to say “NO” or it wouldn’t even have been an option!

Here are a few things that I have learned recently from personal experience:
1.       Saying “no” liberates your availability to say “yes” to the things the Lord has called you to do instead of wearing yourself thin trying to cover ground that’s not yours. Picture a piece of loose leaf paper. Leave yourself some room in the margins of your life, so that you CAN say “yes.” Time is priceless; guard it as such. Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.
2.       Saying “no” establishes your boundaries which are crucial to your health, our health and everyone’s sanity! LOL! Even the ocean knows its bounds. God is the only being with no beginning or end, and last time I checked, there was only One of Him. Boundaries are a necessary good.
3.       Saying “no” initiates the blessing for someone else that you would have essentially robbed them from…which in return makes room for your blessing anyway. It’s a win-win! Psalm 1:2-3 states, “Blessed are those whose delight is in the law of the Lord…That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit IN SEASON and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do PROSPERS.” You should probably re-read that again.
4.       Saying “no” increases the effectiveness of your “yes” and allows you to play to your strengths and passions. Not that there won’t be times when you have to do things you don’t enjoy, but you get the drift. Don’t dilute your excellence! It’s best to do one thing excellent than two (or five) things half-heartedly.

Something done out of guilt or obligation usually breeds discontentment and frustration anyway. You end up exhausted and that’s not beneficial to anyone. So, how do you know when to say “yes?” Follow the peace, identify your strengths, embrace your purpose and know your season. That might involve some prayer though in case that point isn’t obvious.

Let’s be empowered to say “no” so we can be EXCITED and ENERGIZED about our every “YES!” Can I get an AMEN!?!

Friday, August 18, 2017

I got this...

That was my thought when I pulled up to the gas pump. I’ve pumped gas so many times that it’s like second nature. The only problem was that I was in a loaner car because mine was in the shop all week. What side is the gas tank even on? How the heck do you get this thing open? What kind of gas does it even need??? My normal routine is that I lock the car when I get out to pump gas because I don’t want anyone snatching my purse or attempting whatever crisis my mind dreamed up that day. So, I proceed to the gas tank on the other side and the little hinged door WILL NOT open. I tried pushing, pulling, prying and yanking. Nope. Maybe there’s a button! I unlock the car and go back to the driver’s seat…nothing. After 5-10 minutes enduring nearby awkward stares amidst my searching, wandering and pleading, I conclude that, apparently, I DON’T got this. I began to get frustrated until I realized the answer was simple. Just Google it! LOL! To my surprise, the driver’s side door must be unlocked for the gas tank door to spring open with ease at the gentle tap of a finger. However, all of this frustration, embarrassment and wasted time could have been prevented if I had just read the manual first, but again…I got this.

Sadly, I’ve encountered this same mindset on many occasions in my spiritual walk. Oh, I’ve been through this situation before; I can handle it…until the monkey wrench gets thrown in…and it always does. I fret and stress until I realize I should have read the manual first. But I’m learning and that’s ok. Psalm 143:10 says, “TEACH me to do your will for you are my God; may your good Spirit LEAD me on level ground.” Thank God there’s grace and that He has the patience to teach me and to lead me! Just like we do with our kids, we often require reinforcement and repetition from our heavenly Father as well.

I love the story of Joshua. He gets thrown into leadership after Moses dies and God tells him to gather all these people and not be afraid because He’ll direct Joshua to the land He promised. The key point here is that in order to lead and be lead, Joshua had to remain teachable and obedient. We know this because Joshua 1:8 says, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” God needed him to read the manual...first. He was teaching Joshua some important principles that he would need in order to be a successful and effective leader as they set out to possess the land.

In the same way, we must prepare in our daily lives, too, whether it’s leading employees, an army, a family, a congregation or just disciplining our own flesh! Since physically meditating on His Word all day is probably not conducive to most of our schedules, we can still drop a quick nugget for our spirit to chew on in the meantime. When my children were little, I used to get so condemned if I didn’t get my long devo time in like I was used to having in Bible college. Not convicted, condemned. Finally, I realized there was grace for the season when showers were a luxury and sleep was imagined, and if I only got 5 minutes or one verse in a day, that was ok. It took me a while to notice that God could still use those little moments of each day to teach me and lead me, but it was so freeing once I did.

So, my encouragement for today is don’t let condemnation stop you from reading the manual…even if you have to dust it off. God may give you a single Scripture to meditate on for an entire week! Even that will help to prepare you for the land you are entering or an encounter you may have along the way. It’s all part of learning and leading, and Jesus is the best teacher I know! Therein lies the beauty of it all and we finally realize we don’t got it.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Now and Forever

Normally, I don't acknowledge "dating" anniversaries, but today is special to me. Twenty years ago, Jeremy handed me a little stuffed bear and pack of Big Red and told me for the first time that he couldn't stop thinking about me.😊 Now twenty years later and I can't stop thinking about HIM!😘 Now and forever... 

How fun that we get to celebrate this evening together by picking out interior paint, flooring, tile and a front door for our home that is finally slated to break ground in a few weeks. Woohoo! The pre-sale aka "waiting" phase is over! I had no idea all this stuff gets chosen so early though. We get to choose every aspect of it before the foundation is even laid! It's so exciting and I'm loving it! I have to assume this is similar to the joy our Father feels when he intricately designed our very being and established the blue print for our lives before we were ever formed in the womb. He chose my eye color before I could see and my direction before I could walk. He must love me. Now and forever...

Just this morning I read a Scripture about God's love and the fact that NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ. What makes His love so strong? Since the beginning of this year, I have really been asking God to give me a better understanding of His love, to SHOW me. I want to feel it and I want to KNOW it. I want to make sure there is no room for doubt. I don't question Jeremy's love for me because he tells me. I can see it in the sacrifices he makes for me and the selfless ways that he cares for me. Now and forever...

But how do you receive love from someone you can't see? Today, it was revealed in His handiwork. I was reminded of Christ's love for me when I realized the amount of detail and effort that went into creating me before I was even someone else's thought. I can't begin to understand God's capacity to love because I am limited by mine. Yet His love knows know bounds, so even the pride and joy that I have experienced with each of my kids or even (finally) designing my own home is nothing compared to the magnificence of His heart towards me. Thank you, Lord for making it personal to me on this special day. It's a love that no one can take away and a bond no thing can break. Now and forever...

It's crazy how just the parallels of building a house can bring so much revelation. There is growth in the process, and I'm so thankful Jeremy and I get to walk through this new journey hand in hand...Now and forever.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Packing Tips

We are all moved in to our cozy end unit apartment on the 4th floor near Wylie and loving it! It feels like a vacation! With an elevator, nice views and no neighbors above, behind or next to us, it seems like a pretty sweet deal. Even the rabbit is enjoying the pool view from the balcony.

So I've realized that with all of the moving we've done as a family over the last several years, I feel like I've become quite the unintentional expert packer! Efficiency becomes paramount when time is of the essence, so I've compiled a few tips that have really been a lifesaver on both my sanity and my pocketbook.

1. Organize your belongings in each room BEFORE you start packing into at least 3 categories: trash, donate and keep. Get rid of as much of the clutter and junk as you can! Schedule bulk pick up for the trash and call a local charity to pick up the donated items off your porch. This will save you a ton of time unpacking and you'll appreciate the extra effort on the front end. 

2. Buy paper products. You'll want to have enough paper plates, plastic cups and plastic utensils to last a few days before the move and a few days after the move. Everyone's still gotta eat, right?

3. Pack a suitcase like you're going on vacation for a week. Just trust me. It makes trying to find your essentials so easy when everything else is still packed in boxes.

4. Remember those paper plates? Get a few extra foam ones when you're out shopping. This is hands down the easiest way to pack your regular plates and SOOOO QUICK and EASY! Just stick one foam plate in between each regular plate like you see below. I haven't had a broken dish in transit yet!

5. Buy some brown paper bags like you use for a sack lunch. Use that to pack your glasses. Open the bag, stick the glass in it and fold in the sides. Cheaper than buying a roll of packing paper and saves time, too!

6. Get a rolling clothes rack. I got mine from Wal-Mart for under $15. (Click here to check it out). Transporting hanging clothes from closet to closet is such a pain. I used to just throw them in the car, but then half the hangers come off or the clothes end up stuffed in a trash bag until I can hang them up again. The hanging rack was so simple. Just put it together, hang the clothes, roll to the U-haul and roll it to the new closet. Done. Helpful insight: don't completely overload the rack.

Now, I can't let you think I haven't had a packing FAIL, so here was my snafu...
I decided to try some packing peanuts with my mason jars. It would have been great if I hadn't tried to hand wash a few of the remaining glasses beforehand. I thought I had dried them well enough, but apparently not. The moisture caused the packing peanuts to stick to the glass like SUPER GLUE! May as well have been concrete. Ugh. Unpacking those was not fun and did NOT save me time. So, word to the wise...make sure your dishes are 100% completely dry.

I hope that you have found these things helpful! We have been in our new place for about a week now and almost fully unpacked barring some clothes that still need to be folded and put away. Got any great tips for that? HA! 

Anyway, if you are reading this blog, it's probably because you're moving, so GOOD LUCK!   

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Keeping Up with the Tucker's...

Well, the cat is out of the bag and the Tucker's are moving to Wylie in a few weeks! (For all of our non-Texas peeps, that's about 45 minutes SE of where we are now). Had you told me this 6+ months prior, I would have bet my life against it. I mean why would we? We were completely happy being on staff at a church in the McKinney/Prosper area doing what we love from worship to special events, youth and everything in between, with incredible relationships, a wonderful ministry and looking forward to the new year. God had given us a mandate to support His endeavor which is the whole reason we moved cross country with our pastors in 2008 anyway. God expected immediate obedience to the call then and He expected obedience to the call now. 

We are firm believers in Revelation 3:8 which says "I have set before you an open door that no man can shut." So if the door shuts on a season, then God is the only one that could do it. It doesn't mean it isn't devastating or inconvenient or that we even understand it, but it does mean that we choose to trust Him regardless. We'd been in ministry long enough that we've learned when things beyond man's control occur, it's time to take a step back to ask God what the heck He's doing. So that's exactly what we did. We, in agreement with our pastors, took three weeks off to seek His face in January. During that timeframe, Jeremy and I both received prophetic words, dreams, direction and confirmations. On a sidenote, we also fell in love with a new community in St. Paul/Wylie called Inspiration, but we weren't really sure where or how that all fit in the plan.

Here's what we DID discover over the course of those first three weeks
1. God lead us to discover a church in Allen we'd never really heard of and knew nothing about. I mean what is Eleven32 anyway? Who names their church after numbers??? {Cool story comes from Daniel 11:32 which is to know God, be strong and do great exploits. Know. Be. Do.} Anyway, we watched online for the first time and the pastor spoke right to us and didn't even know it. We went the following Sunday and cried the whole service as we sensed God's direction co-mingled with the tearing away of what we knew would be an extremely difficult decision for all of us. We are loyal even to our own detriment which is why the Lord was ultimately going to have to be the One to do it, and He did.
2. It's also important to note that our current lease in McKinney would be up in the summer, so we needed to make some decisions soon. We felt a peace about moving to Wylie, but curiously, why not Allen? I mean that's where the new-to-us- church was going to be, right? This was already an about-face from the subdivision we were originally looking at in the Prosper/Celina area. Still, we followed the peace.
3. Toward the end of the first week, God began to speak to a couple of our friends who were unaware of our situation. One called us with a dream and the other with a word of knowledge. This lined up exactly with what God began to show me in His Word.
4. By the second week, we attempted to sit inconspicuously in the dark back corner of a very packed youth service and instead was called out to receive a prophetic word from someone that had never even met us. He was spot on. Again, we wept, but he also let us know things were about to move VERY fast. And boy did they ever. Keep reading...
5. During one of the "Encounter" services on week three, we listened to a guest speaker, Michael Maiden, prophesy some amazing things over the lead pastor at Church Eleven32 where he assured him that God was already bringing the leaders in to accomplish these goals...and there we sat. "Hmm, interesting..." was literally the thought that went through my head. Nothing more, nothing less. I was still just watching and listening, but my interest was definitely peaked and my heart started to pound a little faster. 
6. On the heels of that, I was reading a phenomenal book a friend felt compelled to give me. In it was something so precious to me that it was like the words leaped off the page. I knew God was speaking directly to me again. It was about a woman in the Bible I had never even heard of before. Then I went to another "Encounter" service later that night, and the speaker felt lead by the Spirit to teach on that same Bible story. I had NEVER heard it preached prior to that night and I've been in church my whole life...Bible college included. OK. Yes, Lord. I hear you.
7. At the end of our commitment to prayer and more confirmations than we could count on one hand, Jeremy circled back with our pastor who agreed that our "assignment" had been completed and supported that a new one had been given. Regardless, we are all one team with one goal and that is to make His name known. That meeting happened just days before the membership class at Church Eleven32. Woah. Can we slow the train? No? ok. 

Fast forward a few months and now we know why. After stepping out in faith, we've watched God reveal his plan one page at a time, but before I've even had time to process the previous page, the next one is already turning. Coming from someone who likes to read the end of the book first, this has been slightly unnerving to me. I think Jeremy enjoys the thrill of the surprise though. Lucky duck. Anyway, one of those pages unfolded in February when we were sitting in the "Vision" service. They revealed plans to open a Wylie campus this year. The light bulb went off. Ok, God...I see where this "could be" going. But when? Several weeks later, the announcement was made that it would actually be this fall. After promising ourselves we would never do another church/campus plant, guess who's on the launch team? Shocker. God began (quickly) preparing our hearts and we've been running full steam ahead! We've had to adapt to a new "culture" that already seemed quite familiar and have watched God open doors faster than we can walk through them. I can now look back and see His hand, His protection and His provision that has already supernaturally unfolded this year.

So with that, we will be moving to an apartment in Wylie on July 18th while our new home is being built at Inspiration in a neighborhood called Wisdom on Lantern Faith Drive. How fitting is that?! Well, we did pray for wisdom! But that's not all...remember when we lost everything in North Carolina (including our home) before moving out to Texas in 2008? Ironically, the name of our floorplan is called the "Carolina." For real! God promised to restore what was lost and we are seeing the evidence of that finally come to fruition. Yes, my fear still creeps in cautiously thinking this is all too good to be true, but then I'm reminded that my God IS good and my God IS truth. It's a little to early for me to do the happy dance, but rest assured when I have keys in hand, there will be no containing it! In the meantime, here's a view from our dirt and the lovely Lake Lavon.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hung Jury

It's been a few weeks since the verdict was given late in the evening on Friday, the 9th and it's taken this long to really think through and wrap our heads around the process. A "hung jury" was definitely not what we wanted to hear. For "Jane's" sake, I was hoping for closure and that she would never have to relive or recount those horrid details ever again. Sadly, that will not be the case. The trial has been tentatively reset for the fall and a new jury will be chosen.

I had just dropped Jane off at work about 30 minutes before I received the verdict. The thoughts running through my head were "how will she handle this and what kind of a setback will this incur." I texted her the results and ended up picking her back up from work. I prayed all the way there, and I knew nothing I could say would make things better. With tears streaming down our faces, we drove back home in silence. I expected her to shut down, retreat to her room and close the door which is her typical response when she's upset. Historically, she has chosen to deal with things alone for which we now understand why. She rarely opens up or communicates her feelings, so I assumed we may not see her until her graduation the next day.

But not this time. This time was different. We all grieved, vented and cried---TOGETHER. For the first time, she knew she wasn't alone...that she was loved...and that someone else besides her knew the whole story...and believed her. Someone else knew all the details and all the shame she spent many years hiding. For three hours, I watched the Lord make something beautiful out of something so unfortunate. What I thought was a complete waste of time this week, the Lord showed me that he never wastes a moment or a tear. I saw Him take an unfavorable decision and very bleak situation and work it out not only for our good, but especially Jane's just like he promised to do in Romans 8:28. The last three weeks have brought us closer together than I ever could have imagined. Her walls have come down and she's beginning to trust and learning to love.

I've come to realize that we take for granted even the simplest things in life like love. I thought my role in Jane's life was to be a light in the darkness and share Jesus' love with her, and while that is still true, it's even more basic than I once thought. The latter is assuming that someone has experienced or understands even the general idea of love because then you can explain how His love is different. But how do you share love with someone that has no concept of love to begin with? This racked my brain. We learn love from the moments we are born usually from a parent, a sibling or someone like a parent, but what if you never had any of those? To complicate matters, Jane's mom died from breast cancer when Jane was still very young. All of this explains why she was able to show no emotion when those in the courtroom heard for the first time that she's never been loved by her father. It wasn't shocking to her like it was to everyone else. Why? She didn't know what she was missing! Thankfully, now she does and I'm honored that God chose us to model that for her and to be an example of His love. This month, she has been able to see how a real father acts, protects and cares for his children. Jane watched a real dad fight for her. My hope is that this gives her a new perspective of her heavenly Father as well. Time is not mine and not a moment is wasted, so I'll just let God keep doing His thing.


Friday, June 9th-The jury is still out...literally. It's 1pm and I decided to go to work today instead of the courthouse. The encouragement from everyone checking in on us this morning is overwhelming and much appreciated. My mind is racing and my feet are antsy, yet my heart is still at peace.

Playing the waiting game coupled with the unknown is quite a challenge for my personality. I've said many times I like to know the plan. I don't know the plan. I don't even know what the jury is thinking at this point. Nothing. Nada. Am I really going to trust God with the outcome? What if it comes back as "not-guilty?" Am I ready to lay it down at his feet? Eeek. I honestly don't know. I hope so, but I'm hoping more for victory. Absolute justice. That would be so much easier to deal with.

I'm being forced to have faith and forced to have patience. Story of my life. Ugh. So, I've consciously decided to worship through it. The song I have on repeat today is "On the Throne" by Desperation Band (feat. Kari Jobe). Click here to give it a listen!

I will walk through the fire
Walk through the darkest night
I will walk through the flood
I won't be overcome, I won't be overcome
I will walk through the trial
Walk through the valley of fear
I will walk through the storm
I won't be overcome, I won't be overcome
For the Lord is
He is able, He is faithful
Higher than the mountains that I face
Every season, I will press on
For God alone, is on the throne
I will walk in Your promise
Walk in Your victory
I will walk in Your power
I won't be overcome, I won't be overcome
On the throne
Glorious, victorious
Sovereign over all
On the throne
Infinite, magnificent
Reigning over all

The Waiting Game...

Thursday, June 8th-Hurry up and wait. That's what today has been. We finally made it to closing arguments around 2pm and it was more difficult than I anticipated. Listening to the defense address the jury and accuse a child of "crying wolf," then telling her the motive for her continued lie is that "if she recanted her story now then she would lose everybody in the courtroom there to support her" actually ended up being one of the biggest lies of the day. Our love for her is not conditional! But in forced silence we sat, unable to protest and unable to disagree. All I could do was shake my head in disgust. Luckily, "Jane" knows the truth.

But nothing hit harder than hearing a twisted truth from the defendant himself. He took the stand and shared a testimony I'm glad I wasn't allowed to hear. But it was so unfathomable that the prosecution referenced it in closing arguments against him. How can a father declare he has never loved his daughter? He admitted to NEVER uttering the words "I love you" to her and never wanting her. He admitted neglect and rejection and literally, just didn't care. As a parent, heck as a human being, I will NEVER understand.

Keeping a straight face in the midst of my raging emotion was more than a challenge. Jeremy sat there seething and teary-eyed. Jane stayed fearless, emotionless. She took the ridiculous and false allegations against her character like a champ. But then the prosecution came out like a roaring lion, validating all and turning the tide on them instead. They addressed every attempt at "(un)reasonable" doubt cast by the defense with details not suitable for children. And yet, here we the trial of a father who "allegedly" sexually abused his child, his daughter. Jane didn't just hear it; she lived it.

We are now back in the Victim's Assistance suite of the DA's office just waiting on someone to tell us a verdict has been reached. However, as we near 5pm, I fear that the deliberation will push into tomorrow and we will be sent home once again.

In the meantime, no matter what is decided by man, I have chosen to stand on Deut 32:35 which says, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time, their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them."

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Peace Through the Storm

Wednesday, June 7th-This week has been a whirlwind of emotion so far. I'm choosing to blog about the following events so that I have a reference point in history to look back and see God's hand in it all regardless of the outcome or my inability to understand. Due to the sensitive nature of the content and to protect the parties involved, I have changed the name of the witness/victim referenced since this case is still ongoing. For those of you that may not know, "Jane" had to testify in the most uncomfortable of situations and speak of unthinkable acts in front of a jury and open court. Staring the defendant in the face and recounting a series of events that I'm not sure I would have had the strength to endure, she has developed a maturity that I've watched blossom through this process.

We were both subpoenaed to testify and it's been a lot of adrenaline, frustration and angst, but I have purposed to intercede for all involved, including the defendant. I am praying that God captures hearts that have strayed or have never had the privilege to know Him...His goodness, His vindication, His authority and His peace.

Yesterday was the first day of testimony followed by another long day today. Jane testified this morning and I am anxious to soon be able to discuss with her everything I cannot right now due to "the rule" being invoked. As a mother, knowing you cannot be in the court room for the most heart-wrenching day of her life leaves you feeling useless. Literally, the only thing I could do was pray and trust God that He would be there with her with ministering angels surrounding her. Cross examination was expected to be brutal in an attempt to invalidate her experience, devalue her character and dilute her story. I am standing firm on Isaiah 54:17 which says, "No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me."

Needless to say, when she walked out of the courtroom and I saw the sigh of relief and peace on her face, I knew God was answering prayers...not just my prayers, but the prayers of all friends and family interceding on our behalf. I cannot thank you enough! No matter the outcome, I reminded her that truth is still truth regardless of someone's ability (or inability) to perceive it.

Now we are sitting in the "Victim Assistance" suite, sequestered and drained, and I know that in a courtroom not too far away, the battle still rages on. However, I look over to find her sleeping on the couch. I couldn't help but remember Jesus sleeping in the hull of the boat amidst the storm. Talk about a peace that surpasses all understanding! (Phil 4:7)

And while my strategic piece in this puzzle has been shifted many times, my supernatural peace has remained steadfast. I hope to draw from the courage that has already been on display if or when I take the stand next, and I know that Prov 13:6 says, "Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner." I am believing for a ruling in the favor of justice, but I will choose to trust God in the process regardless. I know that he will provide the grace for whatever comes next, and I'm ok with that.

Once again, thank you for everyone that has supported us in prayer, in person, via text or social media. We have felt it and the enemy knows it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Realistic Faith

LOVE this revelation! What if you could opt to choose an alternate reality despite your current circumstance? Well, faith gives us that option! Faith gives us the ability to look beyond our present situation to a reality that is to come...on earth. Put a pin in that. But taken a step further, it is ALREADY DONE in heaven according to Matt 6:10, so reality even in another realm is still reality, right? I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me explain what started all this craziness...

Jer 33:3 popped up on my Bible app yesterday which says, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." The Lord tells Jeremiah this while he's sitting in prison! Present circumstance. Perceived reality. But God wanted to show him a different reality that was just as tangible and just as real, a reality that just hadn't made it to earth yet. Then the fact that He says, "I WILL" sounds like a promise and a guarantee instead of an "I could or I may." So, if I call, He WILL answer and tell/show me realities I can't see. 

My next question was, "What are we supposed to do with the hidden or 'unseen' things that God has shown us? Have FAITH. The Lord quickly reminded me of a scripture in Hebrews, but this time for whatever reason, I chose to read it in the Amplified version. Talk about eye opening!!! Never before have I read the definition of faith (and evidence) so clearly with regard to reality. Pay special attention to the text in brackets. It will rock your world.

“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality--faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].”

Woah. Mind blown. 

So is reality a product of circumstance or is circumstance a product of reality? Apparently, it doesn't actually matter because this seems to tell me that neither one has to dictate the other. 

Let me share a simple story from Monday. Kadi and I were driving back from Wylie at 4:45pm. According to GPS, it was going to take AT LEAST an hour to get home. I even made the comment that it would probably be an hour and a half since it was rush hour. After all, I drive home from work at this time every day. I would know. To me, that was a fact, a realistic expectation. To Kadi, that was negotiable, a reality that could be altered. She responds with "It doesn't have to take that long" and starts quoting Prov. 18:21 to me..."Death and life are in the power of the tongue." She was speaking LIFE to my assumed reality {insert shocked parent face here}. Case and point? We made it home in 45 minutes. She had faith in a reality she saw differently despite outside factors, other's experience or opinions. Oh to have childlike faith like that once again...

I've always thought of myself as a realist, but all this is totally messing with my head. I'm gonna need to break all this down into smaller pieces, vet it out and chew on it for a while.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

You See, What Had Happened Was...

Ok, here's the deal. I have not consistently blogged over the last few years like I used to do. Why? Because life happened. I allowed life to cloud my thoughts, overwhelm my time, expose my insecurities and silence my voice. What I had to say seemed only important to me and there was a lot of hurt and pain that dulled my passion to write. I don't have many outlets, but I love to sing and blog. It seems obvious that those would be the areas under attack...too bad I didn't realize it until now.

We all go through seasons where there are more questions than answers and more tasks than time. Priorities begin to shift as we navigate unchartered waters, wade through the doubt and worship through the storm. This year has brought about more change than any of us were prepared for, but more favor, faith and freedom than we ever knew we needed. We asked for God's direction, and He's been moving faster than we can keep up.

At the beginning of the year, the Lord spoke a word to me for 2017: FEARLESS. As I began to pray about that more, He revealed that it was not his expectation OF me, but more His promise TO me. The future would soon reveal why and boy was I gonna need it. Meanwhile, the first week of January, I felt impressed to write a specific melody that was on my heart. That song has now become my anthem. The Lord knew that I was going to need to remember the what, why and hope of the reasons I wrote it. This year started out with a whirlwind of devastating blows, but healing came quickly...both physically and spiritually. It was shocking actually. We began to receive prophetic words from various friends and pastors, none of which knew what we were walking through at the time. The absolute best book I read during this time was called "Uninvited" by Lysa Terkeurst. Don't let the title fool you because it is about a host of topics which helped to fast track my forgiveness in certain areas, trust God with the natural and tap into the supernatural. It allowed me to let go and let God. Literally. Best. Book. Ever.

We are almost half way through 2017 and I could not be more excited about what's in store. And while we are not yet ready to let certain cats out of the bag, we know that He will end up with all the glory in the end. Hard work is paying off and dreams are coming true. I believe God has given us divine inspiration, wisdom and impartation for which we are SEEING results and I could not ask for anything more. God is good all the time, and all the time, God is...awesome. =P

P.S. While I'm giving updates, I may as well tell you that we adopted another teen in January of 2016. Her name is Tina. She graduates this year and will be attending UT Austin in the fall. She's had quite the journey as well. God's grace is sufficient!